The First Age

We all know something sleeps within humanity.  We eat up the legends: vampires, werewolves, superheroes.  We seek in dark theaters and we pour through boring tomes; and we secretly wonder if some sliver of the stories is real.  Legends are based on myth after all, and we don’t realize their origins have faded into time.

But time is not a black wasteland of questions. 

Time is a wheel

The Water Guardians

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Three water guardians inhabit in the earth. They are unique creatures, only one of each kind exist, that must remain submerged in water. They were each tethered to an object, bound for eternity to guard, that was split into three shards. This object was a weapon of devastating potential in the hands of a god, that upon the end of the godwars, was split into three pieces each referred to as a 'shard' and separated from one another by great distances around the world. 

 

These shards were given to specific guardians, who either voluntarily or by coercion, were bound to the shard forever. The monsters are sensitive to male channelers, and when one channels in their presence, they will arise to defend the shard by viciously defending their domain. 

 

The first such guardian was seen in In Due Course. It was found and killed by Sören and Declan at Roopkund Lake (aka: "Skeleton Lake") located in the Himalayan mountains of northern India. Sören found a temple beneath the lake holding all manner of artifacts and treasures, everything bearing some kind of sea motif. But the shard called to him, and he immediately took it for himself. Unfortunately, Declan did not survive the booby traps of the temple, and died of poisonous gas, and Sören lost an eye, (again: poor Odin). The remainder of the temple has yet to be excavated. 

The creature canted its head like a charmed snake. Despite Declan’s assault, its attention was focused on Sören. No, he abruptly realised; on the runes he wove.
— Sören, In Due Course
Roopkund "Skeleton" Lake, in northern India is filled with hundreds of perfectly preserved skeletons.

Roopkund "Skeleton" Lake, in northern India is filled with hundreds of perfectly preserved skeletons.

Something like an altar - empty of crowning glory - thrust from the ground. Stylised waves worshipped its base, tenderly carved sea creatures arching out from the waters. Sören’s hand groped the cool marble. Searching. Until the brush of his touch met something that made the rune sing.
— Sören, In Due Course

 

The second guardian was hinted at in Elias' biography. It killed a boat full of research scientists, including Elias' uncle, investigating thermal vents in the sea south of New Zealand, close to Antarctica.

According to Elias' investigation, and an insane scientist that has been locked in asylum at The Guardian for fifty years, the creature was released from its underwater chamber after an earthquake and has been feeding on giant squid ever since, the carcasses of which have been washing up on shore recently.

While in the area, a shipping vessel known as "The Rage" received a distress call from a ship being attacked by a monstrous creature, in The Voyage. The Rage, under the leadership of Captain SynJyn Quick and thanks to the valiant effort of the crew known as 'The Vikings' was able to escape by cloaking themselves from the Guardian, although unbeknownst to them, the real reason they escaped harm was because the original channeler that it sensed was now dead, and with the threat alleviated, it slunk back underwater. This story has since been released on the news of the Scroll.

The Monster rose 100-150 feet out of the water, no idea what was below the ocean. It’s 2 arms ended in hands, to finger and then to claws, there was a hint of several tentacles splashing around the creature. The head seem to flatten near is top, slopping back into a point, it was made to swim under water.
— SynJyn, The Voyage
Time froze on “The Rage”, as the lump in the monsters throat, that once was living human beings, was swallowed whole, lower and lower until disappearing into the beast stomach.
— SynJyn, The Voyage
For a good minute that drew out into infinity, the Monster nor the crew moved, SynJyn was sure no one breathed.
— SynJyn, The Voyage
The water turned black before something flashed before his eyes. Ice erupted in his face and pain lanced through his right hand.
— Tony, A New Life

The third guardian has been even more elusive. It sleeps in the Moscow River and only a shadow of it has been seen beneath the frozen ice, darting with incredible speed. Rumor says it is a shark that swam upstream from the Baltic or Caspian Sea. However, locals call the creature a Rusalka, the spirit of the river guardian with a bloodlust that must be satiated with sacrifice. It was chased by Elias, Tony and his crew in A New Life and has not been seen since. 

Strzyga

Beast form

Beast form

Strzyga is a vampiric demon in Polish folklore. It is born to human parents, but has two hearts, two souls, and two set of teeth. Often a child born with already developed teeth was said to be a strzyga. They are sometimes said to have bright red hair and blue eyes.

When a strzyga dies, only one soul passes into the afterlife. The other soul reanimates the corpse and begins to prey on the living. At night, the strzyga flies around by transforming into an owl and attacks travelers or those who are lost in the woods. It drinks their blood and eats their internal organs. It can also foretell a death in a family if family members hear it wailing at night.

It can be killed by cutting off its head and burying it separately from its body. A person likely to become a strzyga can also be prevented by burying the body face-down with a sickle around its head.

The word strzyga likely comes from the Latin word strix, which means “owl,” but is also a nocturnal blood-sucking monster in Roman mythology.

They can shift from human form to beast form. They are found in all settings: urban and country. They are of strength and size as an oni, but less cerebral than one, even more so in beast-form. In human form, they are rather zombie-like and intensely focused on their goal to eat. They also have unnaturally red hair on their head (human) or back (beast).

Human form

Human form

Fawn

Fawns of both genders were devised by a mind with a insatiable lust for art and beauty.  They are stunning creatures at rest, but when they dance, it is breathtaking.  Today's fawns are long diluted in majesty from that of their ancestors, but occasionally, a miraculous child is born under the perfect combination of events.  The greatest dancers cultivated by the Imperial School of Ballet in St. Petersburg were all most likely fawns.

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Quetzalcoatlus

Introduction

Civil War soldiers pose with the remains of a potential quetzalcoatlus

Civil War soldiers pose with the remains of a potential quetzalcoatlus

Modern paleontologists have identified the quetzalcoatlus as a flying reptilian bird, an azhdarchid pterodactyloid from the Latest Cretaceous that ended 65 million years ago.  However, like other species of Dinosauria, their lifetimes existed in unknown Ages-past from an unknown number of turnings of the Wheel.  

The quetzalcoatlus has specifically been called "one of the greatest freaks of all time," by the Harvard professor Percy Raymond who described the animal's flight patterns as "bat-like" rather than "bird-like."


Appearance

They have a membrane of skin that stretches from the trunk to the forelimb. They were probably soarers and gliders but depending on rising thermal air currents or other modes of lift, could have sustained active flight for some time.  They folded their wings in like bats and roosted in similar fashion. They have a long neck with slender, toothless jaws.  Their heads are capped by a bony crest and have claws on the tip of their wings with which to grip prey.  A Texan student in the 1970's reported the largest specimen ever found with a wingspan up to 40 feet in length and suggesting a body weight approaching 200 pounds.  Despite their size, they have proportionally small, slender-boned feet likely unable to lift anything of significant weight.

 

Sightings

Policeman Arturo Padilla of San Benito, Texas, was driving his police cruiser through the wee hours of the morning in 1976 when something unusual appeared in his headlights. It looked like a big bird. Only a few minutes later fellow officer Homer Galvan reported it too. A black silhouette that glided through the air. According to Galvan it moved without ever flapping it's wings.

A short time later Alverico Guajardo, a resident of Brownsville, Texas, reported he'd heard a thumping noise outside his mobile home at about nine-thirty at night. When he looked out the door he saw a monstrous bird standing in his yard.

‘It’s like a bird, but it’s not a bird,’ he said. ‘That animal is not from this world.’
— witness

Sightings of the big bird multiplied. A radio station offered a reward for the creature's capture. A television station broadcast a picture of an alleged bird track. It was some twelve inches long. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, concerned that hunters might mistake a large rare and protected bird, like a whooping crane, for this creature announced that, "All birds are protected by state or federal law." 

No additional sightings have been reported since the 1970's.  

Other flying reptilian creatures have been noted, however, in modern day reportings.  From Africa, people have reported a semi-aquatic winged animal called the kongamato while on New Guinea and the surrounding islands sightings are claimed of a gigantic, bioluminescent, crested flying creature (the duah) and a smaller, long-tailed version, the ropen.  It is unknown if these animals are related to the quetzalcoatlus.

Namesake

The quetzalcoatlus was named after the Aztec god, Quetzalcoatl; however, they were originally created from the workings of the Huastec goddess, Tlazolteotl. 

Legend

Tlazolteotl, (c) Rachel Hughes

Tlazolteotl, (c) Rachel Hughes

Within the American pantheon existed a goddess by the name of Tlazolteotl.  a goddess of purification, steam bath, midwives, filth, and a patroness of adulterers. In Nahuatl, the word tlazolli can refer to vice and diseases. Thus, Tlazolteotl was a goddess of filth (sin), vice, and sexual misdeeds. However, she was a purification goddess as well who forgave the sins and disease of those caused by misdeeds, particularly sexual misdeeds.  For this, she was called the "Goddess of Dirt," and "Eater of Ordure," or "she who eats sins."

 

Mythos

Tlazolteotl was of the Huastec people along the Gulf of Mexico, familiar to, but smaller than the Aztec pantheon.  A Healer, cleanser, and purifier, Tlazolteotl's rituals included offerings of human gold (urine) and divine excrement (feces) that she could together use to cleanse the ritual's participant of their sin and thus create harmony once more within the community.  

The godwars of the late 5th Age eventually pit the gods of the Aztecs against the lesser-powerful gods of the Huastec peoples.  Tlazolteotl commanded the blackness of her rituals to manifest into a creature she could use to defend the harmony of her community.  Thus were born the Sin Eaters, great, flying reptilian-like creatures that were drawn-to and fed-upon the greatest of sins: in this case, the betrayal and violence of their Aztec neighbors.  Primarily, her hatred of Quetzalcoatl, leader of the Aztec pantheon, made him her greatest target.  In time, Tlazolteotl sought individuals of great need for purification from which she could siphon their sinful enmity and craft ever-larger and more enormous beasts.  Thus the size of her bat-like creatures were proportional to the sinner she purified.  

The Sin Eaters are named after Quetzalcoatl because he was their primary target.  Their ever-insatiable hunger for his people drove him to mutate the creatures into true animals that although they still hunted and fed-upon sin, they were now subject to natural law: life-cycles, roosting habits, and mating; therefore, they were capable of being killed.  

In the thousands of years since their inception, quetzalcoatlus northropi thrived in upper Mexico where fossils of their remains are most commonly found: Northern Mexico and Southern Texas.  

Modern quetzalcoatlus

The modern quetzalcoatlus of today are primarily small enough in size to be mistaken for bats, hawks, or owls.  They continue to sense the smell of sin, and like the vampire bat, feeds upon individuals whom behave contrary to moral law, that is, anyone that sows discord and disharmony, that today, might be defined as a sinner either great or small.  

(c) Aaron Sims Company: Visual Effects

(c) Aaron Sims Company: Visual Effects

It is unknown whether the American quetzalcoatlus is related to other rumored, reptilian-like flying creatures such as the Indonesian ORANG-BATI, the Vietnamese AHOOL, Cameroon’s bat-like OLITIAU.

Drakaina

The truth of these monsters are based off a legend of a woman who a mistress of Zeus.  She was cursed by Hera to devour all her own children she had with Zeus.  As a result, she was transformed into mothering a race of creatures which breathe life into modern, vampiric tales.

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The mother of the Drakaina was originally a queen of Libya named Lamia who eventually became a mistress of the god Zeus.  For her treachery, Hera, Zeus' jealous wife, killed all of Lamia's children, the Lamiae.  She then cursed Lamia to be transformed herself into a monster that hunts and killed others.  Lamia embodies the idea of one who is treated monstrously and out of grief and despair becomes a monster herself.  

Abilities

Many myths go on to describe the special attributes to the Drakaina regarding eyesight.  The original curse said they were unable to close their eyes and such found the bright light of day to be painful, and so they were driven to seek the shadows of night.  However, it is said they eventually removed their own eyes and in exchange for the loss of wordly vision gained the heightened senses of prophecy.  

In reality, the Drakaina are indeed demons of night, but their speed, ferocity, and powers are derived from abilities to sense several moments into the future, passed down from the prophetic skill of their mother, Queen Lamia.  For this reason, they are notoriously difficult to trick or destroy.  In myth, it is said only the power of a god or demigod, a channeler, could destroy them.  

The word drakaina references a female python or dragon, the feminine of drakon.  A title given to the Lamiae for their grace as well as their poisonous fangs.  

Today they lurk in darkness and hunt, bloodthirsty and merciless.  Their male counterparts are the Dreyken.  

Rakshasa

The great battle of Asuras involved the march of their soldiers upon the mountain of gods like "ants crawling up a hill."  By meditation on war, armor, and weaponry, the Asura overcame their Deava enemies through assimilation of demons, spirits, and ghosts: either corporeal beings of physical demonic body, one such creature being the Rakshasha, or spirits which possessed other humans (see wefuke).

Rakshasa were most often depicted as mean, fierce looking, ugly, large as hills, black as soot, with two fangs protruding down from the top of the mouth, having sharp claw-like fingernails, and growling like beasts. They were also depicted as cannibals with an insatiable hunger, who could smell the scent of animal, man or flesh from great distances.  

Reflecting the conflicting alliances of Deavas and Asuras, there were both good and evil rakshasas, and as warriors they fought alongside the armies of both good and evil.  They were expert illusionists, capable of blending within any rank and file troops in service of whatever lord held their alliance, particularly under cover of darkness.  When the Atharim ended the godwars, Rakshasas took to unprecedented dining on human travelers and terrorizing human settlements.  All too poignantly, in the Indonesian and Malasyian languages, rakshasa means "monster."  Today, they indwell dark, quiet places in the world, continually dining on human flesh, and emerge at night, scampering fast and nimble in shadow.

 

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Asuras / Deavas

These are deities which originate from the Zoroastrianism religion which was founded by the Prophet Zoroaster in ancient Iran around 1500 BC.

The most important texts of the zorastrianism religion are those of the Avesta, of which a significant portion has been lost, and mostly only the liturgies of which have survived. The lost portions are known of only through references and brief quotations in the later works, primarily from the 9th to 11th centuries.  In some form, it served as the national or state religion of a significant portion of the pre-Islamic Iranian people for many centuries.

The Avesta says that: At the end of the "third time" (or perhaps, third Age), there will be a great battle between the forces of good and those of evil in which the good will triumph.  Two copies were created, one which was put in the Persian house of archives, and the other put in the Imperial treasury, but both were supposedly destroyed by Alexander the Great's conquest of Persia.  Remaining sections were taken by the Greeks.

In texts evolved from the Avesta, deities known as Asuras and Deavas are described.  The Asuras were originally just, good, and virtuous, but their nature had gradually changed with new political alignments and alliances.  As well as with changes in moral conceptions and ritual, these gods changed sides.   On the other hand, in the original Avesta, they are described as wise and good and it is in fact the Deava which were the enemy.  

What is clear, is that as documented by the ancient Zoroastrian religion, the warring between Asura and Deava may have been more of a philosophical difference rather than as physical enemies.  So perhaps neither were in the right or wrong, they were simply opposing factions in the god wars.  Furthermore, depending on which text at what time is referenced, both Asuras and Deavas have been villainized.  What is also agreed upon is that both were powerful and mighty.  

We know far more about the Asura than the Deava.  For instance, the Asuri is the feminine form of these gods.  Whereas the Asur refers to the masculine which were keepers of Fire, and known as Asha, and acted as agents of truth and justice.  In reflection of their deity, such gods bore the title "Asha" -- a term likely devolved from earlier etymologies as the words (Asha and Asari) sound phonetically similar to titles of channelers from the Fourth Age.  

 

Wefuke

Wefuke comes from the indigenous Mapuche people of south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina.  These beings can have solid, material bodies, evanescent ghost-like bodies or are extracorporeal spirit-like entities. Their energy is characterized by its propensity to disturb and / or destroy the balance of the world’s natural order.  

Unlike other living beings or spirits that possess their own soul, wekufes are soulless.  They are said to have originated in mythical battles of old, under the command (and manipulation) of magic users, priest-like men who wore only black.  Wefuke have the power to capture, command, or compel a human target most likely by possession.  Once in control, they use their newfound bodies for their own purposes.  This is the only time in which a wefuke may be killed: while it is in possession of a human body.  Unfortunately, the human host must also die.

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Jann / Ghul

Ancient Islamic tradition speaks of the Djinn, powerful deity-like entities that are born of smokeless fires and dwell in the Kaf, a mythical mountain range said to circle the Earth.  There are many types of Djinn, and sub-types that can be defined by their colour.  Most importantly, are the Jann, or perhaps the Ghul.

Recorded history of the Djinn began some thousands of years ago, and with all things written by 'ancient' man, the accounts were cryptic, embellished, and fraught with mysticism and fable.  The Jann are described as a mostly benevolent type of Djinn, shape-shifters who lived in the desert, and take the forms of whirlwinds and white camels. They were believed to be open-minded about humans, and were among the first Djinn encountered by people, and were sometimes attributed to leading those travelers they liked to oases.  They often appeared as tall, dark robed figures that floated gracefully along the sand, leaving no tracks and untouched by the desert winds.

The Ghul were much the opposite of the Jann; shapeshifters also, who could disguise themselves as mortal men and women to better lure their prey away from caravans or villages.  The Ghul were nocturnal creatures who inhabited graveyards, ruins and other lonely places. Sometimes they are described as dead humans who sleep for long periods in secret graves, then awake, rise and feast on both the living and the dead. Ghul also personify the unknown terrors held by the desert.

The stories of old describe the Jann and the Ghul as mortal enemies, but some historians have had other theories.  That the Ghul and the Jann were one and the same, and the differences were a simple matter of one's view on the subject.  The allied Djinn were referred to as Jann, while those that were controlled by the enemy were the Ghul's.

The Jann appear to be semi-incorporeal beings, or perhaps they are only partly phased with our world.  Conventional weapons can be effective against them, but it's really a 'hit and miss' application; some rounds will find something solid to strike, others seem to pass straight through.  They are weakest in bright light, and strongest in the dark.

For an example with an encounter with the Jann / Ghul, see Hood's biography.

 

Wolfkin

Urban legend often portrays these as lycans or werewolves, but Wolfkin are something else.  Their origins are unknown.  Almost every culture speaks of creatures with kinships with animals, wolves in particular, and they are often portrayed as violent and dangerous.  

In truth, not all wolfkin are mindless monsters.  Indeed, wolfkin develop a relationship with wolves and some wolf-like characteristics in themselves. They can communicate telepathically with nearby wolves and will gradually develop golden eyes with very keen sight and hearing.  In addition to an extraordinary sense of smell, they are able to discern other humans' and animals' emotions with considerable accuracy.  

Those which delve too deeply into their telepathy may go mad and eventually believe they are a wolf themselves, behaving, eating, and living as a wolf (or in a pack) in the wild.  These insane wolfkin are the likely sources of the werewolf legend, and are indeed, quite dangerous.