Book One: Ordered by Gods
CHAPTER FOUR:
Jungle Tribes of Divinity

A bedtime story, er, I mean "campfire tale," by Thalazzar

Thalazzar's stock of Bluerush Root was running low and the closest city was growing ever farther away. As the companions sat about their evening campfire, the wizard concentrated on the conversation to keep his mind off the growing twitch of his moustache. Inigo was telling the companions what he knew of the lands to the south, tales of zealots, drugs and conflict in the jungle. Thalazzar listened intently, absorbing everything and contemplating how these tales fit with the messages and history contained in The Last Book. Soon, the mercenary had told what he could and the fire grew silent. The night was young, though, and no one yet seemed ready for sleep.

Feeling his lip twitching from the need for root, Thalazzar fondled his pipe and searched for distraction. Thinking back to his time in the Land's Edge Woods, the wizard's thoughts suddenly camp upon a tale perhaps relevant to their talk on Divinity. Deciding to fill the silence with the distraction of a story of his own, Thalazzar began to recount what he knew.

"I believe I have a tale about Divinity as well" began the conjuror. "I hadn't thought much of it before but now that I hear Inigo's words, it seems that I have studied some of the tribes native to that land."

Thalazzar explained that what he knew was not of the politics or wars of men. At least, his history was not one that normal scholars would have heard of. The wizard, however, had had unusual teachers as wizards tend to have and his knowledge was sometimes equally obscure. But his tale required a bit of truthfulness as to his past.

"Before coming to the Federation I spent several years in the company of a sylvan protector and mentor, an Ent of the Land's Edge Woods whose name was Stooped Birch."

"This Ent was a great friend to me and had for hundreds of years learned things about this land that the most of the races of this world pay little attention to - the history of forests, jungles, and their creatures."

Thalazzar told the tale of a secret war unknown to men, a secret war between two races big and small. The first was the Oota Bataboota, a tribe of fierce jungle trolls. These trolls, unlike their more northern cousins, had blue tinted hide which they painted with bright war paints - pinks and whites, oranges and purples - garish to men's eyes, but quite at home in the bright colours of the southern jungles. This tribe was led not by warriors or sorcerers, but by voodoo witches whose fireside jungle chants and drums filled the denizens of their jungle home with fear only matched by their cruelty and wicked curses. They lived on islands in the Sea of Lost Souls, off the coast of Divinity, in waters where even treacherous Feraln elven reavers dared not tread.

But one race shared their home, hiding in sylvan grottos, steamy volcanic pools, and the bright jungle canopy on the mountain sides where the Oota Bataboota could not easily reach. The Shyamelyn pixies, distant cousins to the fairies who frequented Stooped Birch, were not a warlike race but defended their secret hiding places with a martial finesse worthy of their sylvan heritage and a thousand years of intimacy with their islands. The Shyamelyn lured their large evil enemy into steaming vents and volcanic flows, wielding their arrows to distract and illusions to hide the island's heated weapons.

While losses meant little more than an irritant to the Oota Bataboota, every fey that fell was hundreds of years of history lost from their immortal enemy. The trolls derived great pleasure in crushing their enemy's brilliant gossamer wings into coloured pastes and using them to make their bright war paint. The Oota Bataboota also squished captured or fallen fey between wooden planks, wearing the pressed pixies on their shields and ritual masks as an herbalist would press flowers in a book. So clad, the trolls would dance and sing into the night, beating their drums and leaving the fey to dream of days before this menace came into their islands.

Thalazzar finished his tale to find once more the silence of his companions around the campfire. This time, however, the weight of politics had been replaced by a sense of wonder at the magic of this world and that night, they all dreamed in oranges, whites, pinks and blues.

Next!
A few words from the Dungeon Master

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