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The Irda

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The Irda
« on: December 28, 2014, 08:03:52 AM »
 

Zigra

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Prologue: The Song

She stood alone on the platform. She was ancient, as ancient as the stone that made up the palace. Her sky-blue skin was thin like paper and creased with wrinkles, her once dark hair was nearly white, and she required a cane to walk. Yet, despite all this, she still possessed the same unearthly beauty as all of the Ogre race possessed.
 In a way, she was all alone in the world. All who lived during the generation of her youth had long since turned to bones. Normally, an Ogre would not have been allowed to live to her age. Elders were seen as a burden to society, and it was the law that an Ogre be given an honorable death before they reached old age.
 But she was not like other Ogres, for she possessed the Gift. She was blessed by the gods with a voice more beautiful than even that of a siren. She could sing like no other being upon the world of Krynn. The Ogre people revered her for her voice, and therefore she was allowed to persevere to old age. And so, for tens of thousands of years, the Keeper of the History enchanted the Ogre race with her voice.
 Now, before an audience of the Ogre empire’s ruling council, the Keeper sang the song which gave her her title. She had sung this song so often over the millennia that it she was far beyond just knowing it by heart. No, the song was like a part of her very being. It was the song which spoke of the very history of the Ogre race.
 The Keeper opened her lips, and the words rang out. Though they had heard it countless times, the audience was enthralled by the story that came forth. The song began describing a dawning age where the gods sought to populate the world of Krynn with intelligent life. They took the very stars from the sky and fashioned souls from them. Then, they fashioned bodies for those souls. From this the three Starborn races, the Ogres, the Elves, and the Humans, were born.
 Each of these three races were vaguely similar in appearance, yet they were also different in many ways. The fair-skinned Elves were a beautiful race that was reasonably gifted in magic and had a culture that was close to nature and they could live for centuries. The Humans were more ugly than the Elves, and they also had limited magical abilities, short lifespans, and chose to live in squalor of caves.
 It was the last race, however, that impressed the gods the most. The mighty blue-skinned Ogres surpassed the other two races on all levels. They were better than the Elves at everything the Elves believed themselves to excel at. They possessed greater beauty than the Elves, greater physical strength, greater singing ability and musical talent, superior magical abilities, and where the Elves could live for centuries, the Ogres could live for several millennia.
 Takhisis, the queen of the gods, was so taken with the Ogres that she made them her chosen race, and decreed that they would not only rule over Krynn, but rule over the other Starborn races as well. And so it was that the Ogres set out upon the world to stake their claim upon it. They built grand cities in mountains and then went forth to conquer the other races. The Elves, knowing they could not match the Ogres, hid in their forests like cowards. The ugly cave-dwelling Humans, being too stupid to run away and too weak to fight back were quickly crushed by the Ogres and their entire race made into slaves for Takhisis’ chosen children. And so, Takhisis and the other gods looked upon Krynn and saw that all was finally right.
 As the Keeper finished her story, her audience applauded, as they always did. Then, a couple of young male ogres came onstage to assist the elderly Keeper in walking off.
 The ogres in the room were not the Keeper’s only admirers. A lone figure stood among their numbers, barely noticeable. This individual was not like them. She was smaller in stature, had pale peach skin instead of blue, brown hair with brown eyes that nearly matched, and her clothing was made up of filthy rags that were in stark contrast to the clean and elegant clothing worn by the ogres in the room. A human. A human slave, to be precise.
 The human girl’s eye grew misty. She had heard stories of the Keeper of the History and her beautiful singing voice, but few humans ever had the honor of hearing it. Now that she heard the Keeper’s voice for herself, she was moved to tears by its beauty. Even the fact that the story the Keeper’s song told spoke negatively of her people didn’t detract from how gorgeous the song sounded to the girl.
 The girl had only a short while to take this in before she felt something hard strike her head from behind. She instantly fell to the ground.
 “Get back to work, human filth!” she heard her taskmaster yell.
 It took a little bit for the girl to get back to her senses. When she did, she quickly got back up and returned to her duties. But, in her mind, Ashlina felt herself lost in the Keeper’s song.
 

Re: The Irda
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2014, 08:58:55 AM »
 

Zigra

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Chapter 1

 “Not again.” she whispered to herself.
 The dream came to her often, and though she knew precisely how it would play out, she was helpless to stop its course. It began with an overview of cities and villages the likes of which no ogre knew being set ablaze. Cities built by elves, humans (curious, as she had always been led to believe that humans were too stupid to know how to build anything of real use) and by other races that she did not recognize.
 The things that were attacking these cities were an atrocious sight to behold. They were bipedal monstrosities standing 8 to 9 feet tall. Their skin ranged in hue from ugly olive green to a sickening urine-like yellow. Their bodies were bloated with grotesque distended bellies. Their arms and legs were thick and ended with filthy and cracked nails. On top of all that, their faces were a twisted mess with large rotting teeth and heads made up of gnarly hair that appeared to be in the process of falling off in clumps.
 That was not the worst part. She didn’t understand how she knew this, but she found herself painfully aware of the knowledge that these hideous monsters were her people. Somehow, some way, the beautiful ogres had become ugly brutes. It was a horrifying destiny that awaited them, yet there was hope. There was an inner voice within the dreamer that told her that she alone had the power to avert her peoples’ fate.
 “How? How do I do this?” she always tried to ask that inner voice, but the world faded away before she got the chance.
 Slowly she awoke, and the Keeper found herself alone in her bed in her private quarters. The realization of finding herself awake always made her want to dart upwards, but her body was too weak and feeble to be able to do that anymore. Instead, all she could do was lie there and ponder her dream as she always had for much of her life.

                                                                       * * *

 Lord Teragrym Semni, the oldest and most powerful member of the Ruling Council, sat within his personal chamber and read the report before him grimly. Another deformed child born in one of the outer territories.
 He rubbed his temples in growing frustration. How could this be possible? The Ogres were perfect beings. Unlike the lowly humans, ogres were always born free of physical deformities and physical and mental handicaps. Until recently, that is. In the past decade, ogre babies were being born with deformities that would shock even a human. Everything from extra arms to two headed abominations were being reported. And the problem only seemed to be getting gradually worse.
 For now, the solution was simple. All babies born with such deformities were quickly and 
quietly exterminated. This was done not only to ensure the continued purity of the ogre bloodlines, but also to make sure that the public at large did not discover the existence of these abominations. The Ogre people needed to continue believing that they were the purest and most perfect of all races.
 Teragrym brushed such concerns aside for the time being. There were more important matters on his mind than the well being of his people. Such as the continued wealth and prosperity of him and his family line.
 “Send in my daughter.” he commanded to one of his aides.
 It was only a short wait before Teragrym’s daughter entered the chamber. He smiled as he admired the young woman before him. Selasia, his only female offspring. The one who was key to his greatest ambition.
 The girl was only at the beginning of her adolescence, yet she already had the sort of buxom and curvy body that was typical of adult ogre females. She also bore the sky-blue skin that ogres were known for. Yet it was her hair that set her apart from the average ogre. Where most ogres had either black hair or dark blue hair, Selasia had strawberry blonde hair, a rare genetic atavism that made her something of a gem among her own kind.
 It was no secret that Teragrym lusted for the girl, and would gladly commit acts of incest with her (decadent behavior that was not unusual among the ruling families). But, alas, the girl always spurned his advances, and it was even rumored that she would prefer to have that sort of relationship with her mother instead.
 “Is it time, Father?”
 “Indeed, my dear. Do you have the orb?”
 Selasia nodded and pulled a small yellow sphere from the pocket in her dress and presented it to her father.
 “Good. I have made all the proper arrangements on my end. Tonight, when the Keeper sleeps, you will make your move.”

                                                                     * * *

 Selasia exited her father’s chambers. As she prepared to move down the hall, she felt somebody watching her.
 “Do you really wish to go through with this?” the voice of the one watching her asked.
 Selasia turned to see the face of a woman who looked very much like her, save for the dark blue hair.
 “It is Father’s command for me to do so, Mother.” Selasia answered.
 “You’re not exactly known for giving in to his wishes.” her mother pointed out, referencing how Selasia always spurned her father’s sexual advances.
 Selasia raised an eyebrow, looking at her mother curiously.
 “Do you not want me to possess the Gift? Do you not want this family to have even greater prosperity?” the girl asked.
 Her mother’s eyes darted around the room, as if she didn’t want anybody to hear what her daughter had just said. The cause of her fear was that her husband and daughter were about to commit an act that most would consider blasphemy. They were going to steal the Gift from the Keeper of the History.
 A few weeks ago, Teragrym had acquired a peculiar object from the priests of Hiddukel, god of wealth and prosperity. I small yellow orb. This orb was said to steal the abilities of one person and transfer them to whomever carried the orb itself.
 For the longest time, Teragrym was never satisfied with just being a ruler. No, he wanted to be revered and worshiped. And now, he had the means to make that dream come true. Using the orb, he would have Selasia steal the Gift from the Keeper and pass it on to herself (Teragrym would have liked to get the Gift for himself, but it was said that it was impossible for a male to possess the Gift). With Selasia as the new Keeper of the History, Teragrym would, in theory, vicariously receive the sort of reverence from the people that he long sought.
 Selasia’s mother walked over and embraced the girl.
 “It’s just that I fear greatly for your safety.” the woman said, “If the priests of Takhisis knew what we were doing, we’d all burn, ruling family or not.”
 Selasia smiled, and then put her own arms around her mother and then whispered in the woman’s ear.
 “Do not fear, Mother. Once I have the Gift as my own, I will be beyond the touch of even the priests. And once I have the reverence of the people, it will be within my power to finally dispose of Father. Then you and I can finally be together as we always should have been.”
 Selasia then gave her mother a small kiss on the lips before parting ways with the woman. Khayllene smiled lightly as she watched her daughter leave, and prayed that the girl would be well.

                                                                  * * *

 Ashlina lie awake in her bunk. The bunk was very tiny, and she shared it with two other slave girls who lay on each side of her. The three of them had to squeeze tightly together just to fit. Such bedding was typical for slaves.
 “What are you thinking about?” asked Zina, the girl who lay at Ashlina’s right side.
 “I...heard her today.” Aslina answered, “I heard the Keeper of the History. Gods, her voice was so beautiful!”
 “Of course it was.” Zina responded, “All ogre women have beautiful singing voices, and everybody knows the Keeper surpasses them all. So, what of it?”
 “I...I don’t know. There is just….something….behind that voice. I sensed a sort of sadness within her, and I found myself wishing I could make it better.”
 Zina smirked at Ash’s naivety.
 “Whatever you feel about the Keeper, you need to get over it. The Keeper is an ogre, and she couldn’t care less about what a human like you thinks of her. Besides, it’s not like our taskmasters would ever let you get anywhere near her.”
 Ash realized that Zina was right. Ogres had no regard for humans other than to beat them into submission and servitude. The Keeper was probably no exception.
 With that, Ash attempted to sleep in her uncomfortable bunk. Yet, she still could not take her mind off the Keeper’s song.

                                                                    * * *

 Far above the orbit of Krynn and its three moons, there was silence. Anyone watching the scene would have gotten the feeling that this was just the calm before a storm.
 Indeed, something broke that calm. A small point of light far off in the distance manifested. The light quickly grew larger and larger until it burst out into a swirling vortex. Something slowly worked its way out of the vortex. It was a fleshy mass, over 800 feet in length. Curiously, even though the mass was made out of living flesh, it was shaped in a sleek manner, not unlike some type of vessel. A horrific sound, like the cries of countless damned souls, emanated from the mass.
 Inside the flesh mass, a large group of creatures observed Krynn with growing anticipation. In a day’s time, they would go forth upon the planet and collect their loot.
 “Party time, guys!”