By Tooth And Claw Dragons

Twisted Beasts of the Cursed Isle

A legend about a small isle off the coast of Khankirae, where an assortment of exiles from the Order of Mages made a grave mistake.

Welcome, traveler. Come, join my camp. Help yourself to what's in the pot, such as it is. No, I don't care where you come from. Nobody on Khankirae will care to ask such a question, or expect an answer. But enough about that. You look weary. Perhaps you'd care to hear a story to help pass the time. A bit of a cautionary tale about the dangers of meddling with powers beyond your control or understanding.

You see that island over there, just below the horizon? Yes, that's the one, with the faint glow hanging over it. I'd stay away from it, if I were you. All manner of strange creatures prowl that forsaken place, unnatural beasts with frightening deformities. Word has it that folks who go there come back changed, if they come back at all. You see, it's not just the beasts you have to worry about. That eerie glow is far worse than any beast could ever hope to be. Used to be that island was home to seabirds and an anchorage for fishing boats.

That was before some strange folks who'd gotten themselves kicked out of the Order of Mages arrived. We didn't ask why. We even feigned not to know who they were, though their robes and regalia were plain to see. This is Khankirae. Anyways, they settled on the island, and began to build themselves a great tower, all made of stone and metal. Gods only knew what they were hoping to do. Wasn't long before we could see the tower taking shape, so we figured amongst ourselves that they were setting up an Order in Exile or some such. We were wrong.

After the tower was completed, they warned us not to approach the island, speaking of some grand working that they couldn't allow to be interrupted. Caused quite a stir, but none of us could rival their power, so we did as we were bade, and stayed away. In the end, it was the right choice. We kept an eye on the island, but it wasn't until after sundown when we first noticed something strange. Mm-hm, the glow. At first it was faint, little more than a mist, but as the night wore on, it grew into a cloud so bright it looked as though the sun was rising. Some of us spoke of setting to sea and getting as close as we could, but wiser heads prevailed, and we decided to keep our distance.

It was well into the darkest of night when the glow seemed to fade a bit, then flicker; we figured they’d be about done with whatever they were doing. We were ending our watch when, without warning, the whole thing exploded! The whole island was set to glowing as the tower collapsed into rubble. We didn't dare approach the island, not with that unnatural glow hanging so heavily above it. We figured there was nothing we could do anyways. We were wrong, and we were right. Most of them, it seemed, had begun to flee before the place blew up. At any rate, dozens of them reached shore by morning.

We learned they'd been trying to harness some form of magic, but it had slipped out of their control. Something about too much moving metal parts, or some such. Did they learn from this? Not a bit. Already they were speaking of setting up elsewhere, and trying something new. This while their island still glowed, as did some of their number. A few of them wound up glowing even brighter than the island had, before abruptly fading into dust. We were happy to see their backs when they finally left. But we didn't dare go to the island until long after the glow had faded to what it is now. We regretted ever setting foot there.

The whole tower was a ruin, stones shattered and metal bent into unnatural shapes, and all the while we were stalked by peculiar beasts, eyes glowing, some with too many, some with too few, all driven to madness by whatever had happened. A few poor fools ventured into the tower itself. Only two came out some time later, ranting about how everything inside was wrong, even as their bodies began to glow before they suffered the same fate as the rogue mages. We fled the island, never to return, chased back to our boats by the twisted monstrosities that still lurk on the island.

See, occasionally one of the wretched beasts will fall in the water, and its body will wash up on shore. And occasionally a fishing boat will drift or be washed closer to the island than her crew would care to venture, and they'll spot things moving around. And, sometimes at night, we'll see something swimming in the sea near the island. Something dark in the waves, with a long body and brightly glowing, unblinking eyes. So, we keep our distance.Ever so often, we’ll hear rumors that a group of rogue mages have caused another explosion in some distant land. My advice to you is, should you ever meet them for yourself, you'll keep as far away from their workings as you can. If you need to see for yourself, and can afford to hire anybody crazy enough, you can go have a look for yourself. Me? I can be persuaded to be crazy enough, if you can part with enough coin.

Written/Told by: Hob, human fisherman from the Draeilk Islands
Contributed by: Fyfergrund

Return to the Library