The Emerald Spire Superdungeon
PC played by Taylor (Deceased)
Q1. What do you look like?
A1. Slender Shoanti in simple clothing, covered in tribal tattoos of family import and of the Spirits.
Q2. Where is your family, if any?
A2. All dead from plague, except for my brother who travels with me.
Q3. For whom or what would you make sacrifices for?
A3. The protection of family, the Spirits, & the preservation of the dead.
Q4. What is your greatest regret?
A4. The loss of my family to the plague.
Q5. What are your greatest dislikes?
A5. Processed food, cheese is spoiled milk.
Q6. What topics or activities fascinate you?
A6. To watch nature untouched by civilization.
Q7. What habits do you possess?
A7. I will zone out at random, even when in conversation.
Q8. What secrets do you harbor?
A8. That our leader, Thousand Bones, wanted me to become the next spiritual leader of the clan.
Q9. Are you rational or passionate about your feelings?
A9. I was passionate, but have become rather cold since my family’s death.
Q10. Are you superstitious or sophisticated past superstition?
A10. It is not superstition, the Spirits effect all and certain rituals effect the outcome of life.
Q11. How strong is your faith in your patron deity?
A11. I believe in the Spirits like I believe in every person I meet, they are as real.
Q12. How self-confident are you?
A12. I am confident in my bonds with the Spirits.
Q13. What drives you to adventure?
A13. To run away from the loss of my family & the responsibility of my role in my clan.
Q14. What region do you hail from?
A14. A Shoanti tribe from the Skull Clan near Korvosa.
“There are many realms across this world, each with their own unique treasures. Through my travels I have been lucky enough to see and experience quite a few, and this is yet another story I was gifted with in my time.
“Picture a land devoid of life, dry and desolate. The ground cracks thirsting for the smallest drop of water, yet what falls from the sky instead is fire and ash. With this harsh environment comes the harsh creatures who somehow survive there, all as deadly as the next. This badlands no doubt is a place where you would expect human settlement to be the last thing you would see, and no doubt when I came upon these Cinderlands, as they are called, I too thought the same thing. Much to my surprise I was wrong, for in this gauntlet of danger and starvation, a tribe of humans irk by in their existence.
“They are called the Shoanti, a people that most would view as barbaric, but I found to be spiritual and wise beyond their years. Now the Shoanti are divided into seven clans, each with their own sigil and specialty. Now I admit I could spend days talking of each of these clans I was lucky enough to spend time with, but for today I will focus on the Skull Clan. This is one of the most devout of the clans and they have an interesting and important duty that all other clans revere and fear. They are the guardians of the burial grounds and the souls interred there. Their spiritual leader is the shaman Thousand Bones, a man who is as magnificent as he is imposing, and under his leadership the Skull Clan, or Skoan-Quah in the Shoanti tongue, have done their duty stoically.
“In my time with them I learned many things of their people, and many stories of their past, but to share with you dear reader, I decided for a most enamored tail. It is one full of hope, that because of many hardships turned to great sadness, but sadness that borne a new and much different hope. It is a story of the bonds of family, in on of the harshest places on earth, and like most of my favorite stories, it is the story of how ordinary people set on the path to become adventurers. This is the story of the brother and sister Azure and Uzure.
“Their story starts simple, with the meeting of the mother and father. The father Tanrov was a trader whose duty was to travel between the clans, and other nearby settlements to barter for goods to help the clan survive. On his travels to the Axe Clan he met the exotic beauty Yola, and as the cliche is so commonly used it was love at first sight. He convinced her to come back with him, and though she was quite besmirched with Tanrov, it was his standings in the Skull Clan that finally won her over and convinced her to come with him. Now since you do not know the Skull Clan as I do, outsiders are not most welcome, so when Tanrov brought Yola back with him the clan was against this joining. Thousand Bones’ himself talked to Tanrov telling him of how no good can come from an outsider, even another Shoanti in the Skoan-Quah, but Tanrov refused to listen throwing the weight of his reputation and position to silence any naysayers, even the great Thousand Bones.
“Their marital binding happened before seasons end and they were due with child just a few short weeks afterwords. Before the end of the year the eldest son Uzure was born. Like most males in the Skoan-Quah he was fore-told as a great protector, but the shaman of the clan were perplexed that this glimpse of his future showed that he would not be a great protector of the dead, but something more valuable. His first few years were uneventful, most being cared for by his mother while his father was away, and the next event of note happened a way after Uzure turned two, Yola again was with child. There were two things significant about the second child, first being that all the shaman believed that this child was close to the Spirits themselves and even in the womb had the makings of a great shaman, and the second was with the birth of the little girl Azure, came the death of her mother Yola.
“Tanrov was devastated and even though he was still quite young Uzure did not take the news well either. The clan as a whole mourned Yola’s passing, even though most still did not accept her as their own, and after the ceremony for her passing soul was done, the clan turned to the children of Tanrov. Tanrov’s duties were too important to the clan for him to stop, so it was decided because of the importance of Tanrov and the fore-told importance of his children, that they would live with the family of Thousand Bones. Jal, Seoni, and Gaekhen were Thousand Bones’ son, daughter-in-law, and grandson respectively, and they would take in Tanrov’s children as their own while he was away. This way Tanrov kept his duties, and the futures of his children could be carefully monitored by the clan’s most important family.
“I must admit at this point, the details get a little fuzzy, the brother and sister were prone to keeping to themselves, so most information I got was spotty and unreliable, but this is the best version of the truth I managed from the Skoan-Quah people. It seems at a very early age Azure began to move water with her own force of will. Though not unheard of, no one from the Skoan-Quah ever have done this. Though I believe it was her axe clan blood that gave her such a gift, the Skoan-Quah people believed it was a gift from the Spirits themselves, most likely to belittle her axe clan heritage. These gifts did lead to Azure being gifted the name ‘One who dances with water’ and her brother ’Sister’s Guardian’. I admit these names sounded better in the Shoanti tongue, but I could never figure how to spell them correctly, and written word is not a strong suit of the Shoanti.
“The siblings were known to go out at quite a young age, Azure to prepare her shamanistic rituals for the training she had begun, and Uzure to protect his sister. Most journeys they had were not of import, but one in particular was. Azure being young and brash had decided she could collect a special flower that was in a very dangerous area of the Cinderlands. She played it smart and snuck in, while Uzure stayed behind saying he was having none of it. A source of mine seems to contradict that though, saying he actually followed from afar, still annoyed she would not listen but also worried for her safety. She managed to come unscathed through the event, but Uzure was not so lucky. Though claiming to have fallen down a short cliff side, it was revealed to me that he instead fought and killed a small group of orcs stalking her without her knowledge. I like to believe in the bravery of Uzure, instead of the clumsiness, but I will leave it up to you to make your decision. They made it back to the clan safely, though the wounds Uzure wore left scars that still lay on his skin even today.
“The next event of import I learned of was when things started to take a darker path for the siblings. Their now surrogate brother Gaekhen, had turned away from his family’s craft to follow Tanrov’s duties, believing someone had to learn the job and his kids were busy cradling the hope of the entire clan. He began following Tanrov on many trips to other clans and even non-Shoanti settlements. It was in Korvosa that things turned for the worse. The city then stricken with civil unrest, became violent when Tanrov and Gaekhen were there. Though both tried to escape they got separated and Gaekhen was slain in the chaos. To make matters worse his body was then stolen and sold to a necromancer. Through the might of Thousand Bones, Korvosa was inclined to help, sending their best non military personnel to help. They retrieved the body and slayed the necromancer, but it was too late as the damage was done. Though Thousand Bones just wanted the body for a proper resting in the tribal burial grounds, Azure and Uzure, who had grown quite fond of Gaekhen in their own way, were devastated.
“Korvosa claws were not yet done tearing apart the Skoan-Quah clan either. After the civil unrest was settled, Tanrov set off again as supplies were required for the clan to persist. He made it in and out of Korvosa seemingly unscathed, but he brought back the curse of Korvosa with him, the Red Veil. He knew not what he had and even though he started showing signs before making it back to the clan, he trekked on believing the shamans of the clan could heal him. He was wrong as his death happened mere days after reaching the clan. Worse still the Veil spread across the clan claiming many others. It was a dark time for the Skoan-Quah indeed, and none felt it more so than the siblings. Though neither caught the Veil, many friends and loved ones did, and the loss of their last immediate family weighed heavy on them. Azure took it especially hard as she was younger and her training left her more empathetic than her older brother. This breaking point solidified when the Veil finally ran it’s course.
“Thousand Bones knew the recent loss of so many Skoan-Quah hurt the young Azure, and went to comfort her and put her sorrows to rest. He told her of how important she was, especially after recent events. The life of a shaman is hard, he said, and filled with many great sorrows, but you must push on so that the clan can follow your example. He wanted her to be the next spiritual leader of the clan, and thought it was time her training come directly from him, and told her she should take a week to grieve and then her true training would start. Then she was left to her thoughts, but Thousand Bones’ gambit pushed Azure the wrong direction. All the weight put upon her destiny, plus the added loss she had suffered, made her do something drastic. She left the clan without telling anyone, even her own brother, but as Uzure normally did, he followed her anyway protecting her as always.
“This was the last the Skoan-Quah had ever seen the siblings. No doubt they are forming many more stories elsewhere, but none is know to this explorer. The Skoan-Quah lives on though, coming back stronger from the blight of the Veil, and Thousand Bones still lives as well, showing at his extreme old age that he is the true master over death. I wish I could have spent more time with the Skoan-Quah, but with most of my travels time is never on my side and the other clans beckoned for my arrival. So be ready for my next column and stories from the Shoanti Moon Clan, a group of hunters and warriors unlike anything I have ever seen before.”
Keep exploring and keeping your mind open dear reader,
Sir Elric Masterson