Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Halloween Treat: W'ndygo for Labyrinth Lord

The Grey Forest takes up about 1/5th of the country of Qent, a stark, foreboding place that nearly divides the lands in half. Many legends have been born from the place, witches, beast men, and even spiders the size of hunting hounds. One of the most enduring stories comes from the elves who have settled the Forest's southwest area and have traded with humans for decades.

As the story goes, Aengus Swiftrunner was always a rude and unruly sort, quiet and distant for an elf and cruel like a human. He preferred his own company to their great tribe and would hunting for days on end, alone, amongst the Forest.  After one trip lasted longer than a full week, his cousin, Brenneth Shiningstar was asked to find Aengus by his mother, Aela. Bren, a friendly young elf, took some friends to search for his cousin, because Aela was his favorite aunt. 

After three days and nights the group found an area of the forest that smelled of rot and decay and where no forest sounds could be heard. Soon, they came upon a foul shrine of bones and skulls and wooden bowls, thirteen in all, filled with dark blood. Nenya Stormheart, Bren's intended wife, had apprenticed under Shaman Nighthawk and knew it to be a shrine to W'ndygo, the Devourer. She invoked the protection of the Huntress and begged her beloved and their friends to leave at once.

However, Bren not wanting to let down his favorite aunt, refused to leave, fearing Aengus could have fallen prey to the loathsome warlock that entreated to the Devourer. He resolved to camp nearby for the night and to ambush this blackest of magicians and to hopefully find out his cousin's fate.

Night seemed to come quickly and this friends, though nervous, stood by their friend. First came the screams, as if an elf was being attacked, pleading for help. Against Bren's wishes two of his companions went into the dark and all that could be heard were their pain-filled screams that lasted far, far too long.

Next came the howling wind that took Bren's best friend, the elf who was to be his Second upon his wedding day to fair Nenya, driving him fiercely against first a hearty oak and then an ancient ash before finally yanking him, unconscious straight up into the night sky. Minutes later, blood and gore rained down upon Bren and Nenya, a foul and grisly rain.

As Bren ran to his beloved, a gaunt hand with impossibly long claws burst through Nenya's chest, her heart in hand. Numb and struck dumb Bren stopped as the monster before him let Nenya's lifeless corpse fall to the ground as it began to tear at hear like a ripe and juicy apple. Though smeared with gore, the monster's body  emaciated and warped, Bren recognized the face of his cousin, Aengus.

Between bites of heartmeat, Aengus told Brenneth to leave now and warn their people to never return. That Aengus claimed this part of the forest for W'ndygo and that any elf who trespassed would meet a worse fate than he Bren had just witnessed.

Overcome with fear and grief and even madness, Brenneth fled then and told his tale.

And his tribe has heeded his warning to this day.

Aengus Swiftrunner, W'ndygo 

for Labyrinth Lord
AL C, MV 60', AC 6, HD 8, #AT 3 [2 claws/bite], THAC0 12, DG 1d8/1d8/1d10, SV 5 fighter, ML 11, Move Silently 63%, Climb Walls 94%, Hide in Shadows 57% XP 320

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