The Rise and fall of Boar-Vrotland
Boar-Vrotland was a place of low rolling hills with valleys, lush and fertile floodplains, old forest growth and verdant with life of all kinds. The Gallu river was called Blue Spine, and on it the few humans that dared to venture into the lands of the giants to trade would bring their craft. To the west were the peaks of what the giants there called The Stone Hands (for the stone hand-like formations that giants had made to denote their territory to each other and outsiders). In the low valleys and forests lives the brutish Hill Giants – constantly raiding their neighbors like vermin. Over the peaks floated the cloud homes of the Cloud Giants, a few snowy peaks were home to a small band of Frost Giants. The Stone Giants were the greatest of the clans in the area – great crafters and enigmatic scholars. A few lone Storm Giants wandered the area serving to keep the peace between them all. Only Fire Giants were absent from the community. For hundreds of years the area was peaceful, barring the constant Hill Giant attempts to rise from their brutish station… but when not at war, they made good laborers.
In CY 3209 a meteorite fell from the sky (later to become known as The Moon Sword), striking hard and laying waste to many of the Hill Giant steadings and forests in the area north of the river. In its wake it had laid open a great gash in the earth. The Stone Giants came seeking the cause of the calamity and discovered a vast network of underground caves, rivers, lakes, and all glittering with cheap crystals. The stone Giants moved down from their high valleys and deep caves and founded Bouroken, the Under-Twilight Realm.They invited the Ducateon to share in exploration and to teach them some of what they were seeing that was new to them. The other races were jealous – the Stone Giants simply moved in, as if it was ordained that they should own the place. Many resented the Ducateon presence in the area, even their exploration of the Stone Giants old homes – an Out-Holt was created and dubbed the “Reach of the Ailing Moon” (the source of the name was never made known).
Over a hundred years the entire Stone Giant culture shifted. They founded steadings in the places the Hill Giants normally took for their own. They moved their great herds of mountain sheep, goats, and cattle into lowland fields connected to this new underground kingdom. They planted orchards at Telebre-Daya, Telebre-Tolya, and Telebre-Bunel. Vineyards were planted at a place of 3 creeks called Telebre-Daebrau. Orchards at Kaer-Tjian and Kaer-Dlor.
The Stone Giants traded exquisite stone and crystal work, some pelts, weapons of strange stone, and a strange blue liquid said to have a myriad of properties, taken from deep underground in their new realm. They traded with the elves and Klaurians (centaurs) for rope, mare’s milk, petrified wood, horse sinew and hides, precious eagle eggs, and mushrooms (grown only in Klaurian manaure). From their ranks rose a half-dragon, half Stone Giant holy woman named Nuringa Murel. She negotiated with a small enclave of Lizard men settled along an area of the Stillwater Eddy and they traded for salt. With the Ducateon for silver and nickel and men for animals and inks. Especially prized were the ram horns of the Stone Giant’s herd. They were made into battle standards, drinking horns, and war horns. The sigil of the Stone Giant Jarl Hromaegnar of the clan Oxsulla was the ram skull; “Ram Butts Mountain” was their war motto. The clan grew powerful and their influence unchecked. They erected figures of stone upon the hills, forests and river shoreline known as the “standing rocks” as a sign of their accomplishment. And resentment set in.
And the Hill Giants hatred grew and grew. Eeking out a living at the edges of the Stone Giants realm above and below the surface was tedious at best. Bullied by all the other races of giant, their leaders found allies in the earth. The children (spiders of Go-Zen) of the Drow Witch-Mother Xauk brought the whispers is discontent back to their queen. She had lived for a thousand years, watching the rise of the Stone Giants from afar, cast out of her own kind’s safe embrace of the deep darkness she dwelt in the roots of the deep forest. From her maze-like network of root systems, deadly fungi, webs of deceit and her children’s home were all their victims struggling cries were telegraphed back to her, so she could revel in their death vibrations. Now she saw the means to achieve Lichdom at the tip of her fingers… the power that the Stone Giants had would soon be hers. As far as any can tell, about 3280 she began to gather unto her the cast outs from the tribes of the dark-spawn. Ogres, Orks, and Orrish of all types soon fell under her sway. She knew she could not control such creatures for long – her promise of revenge on the surface dwellers was to be married with the hate and frustration of the Hill Giants and would end in an orgy of violence and destruction. She appeared to them as an apparition at first, and built trust. Soon the Hill Giants began to heed her advice and she grew to have many followers among their kind… more than enough to enact her plans. Her dark servitors had been spreading a slow rot in the forest for decades. Fungi bred deep in the lands of the Fey-Born Drow, her people being master poisoners.Spell after spell, potion after potion, ritual after ritual she enacted, she bargained with dark powers, she drove her “children” and body to the limit, and her mind to the edges of sanity. At last, all pieces were in place and she struck. Death and disease, poison and pain beyond all reckoning she brought to Boar-Vrotland in the fall of 3441. Her lair would be found, a pictogram record of her actions, but profane and vile too – in the end it was burned along with a huge swathe of forest to contain the evil.
The records of the battle for Boar-Vrotland exists only from the memory of the single survivor, the Klaurian centaur Nexx Spear-Shaker. As best as can be determined, the forces of the Witch-Mother numbered some 200 Hill Giants of the Blackened Foot tribe, a half dozen Frost Giants, a dozen or so Ogres, a few dozen Orks, a hundred or more spider-creatures, and a thousand or more of the Goblins and off-spawn. They faced almost a hundred Stone Giants, a couple dozen cave bears, a lone Storm Giant, 500 or so lizardmen, a dozen Ducateon, a half dozen Elves and 7 Klaurians. Nexx recalls that it was the elves that gave the few moments warning the prevented it from being a massacre. Nexx remembers a cloud castle floating above the battle but the Cloud Giants assisting neither side.
Nexx remembers the massive lightning flashes, and the ground shaking first. Poison from her children, and overwhelming numbers of the Blackened Foot tribe laid low Crae Kya the Storm Giantess as she came from the sky like anger personified. The details are unclear, but the battle rages as long as the rest combined before her wounds overtook her.
Hromaegnar, Jarl of the Oxsulla wielded Oxsulla’s Wrath – a spear of cold wrought iron chain, wrapped around a petrified long spear, the tip of strange meteorite stone jagged and sharp that rent flesh like a trowel in a garden. It was called “Heart Piercer” by his Hill Giant enemy for this is what it did, and did well. On the day of death, he lead his people into battle against a mighty horde. The screams of his targets were what Nexx remembers most, their burst hearts fountaining blood so that the Jarl looked to be made of blood and viscera like the walking dead.
Nexx remembers Prooshd and Addo – the root tenders – called upon the trees to walk. But the trees were poisoned by the Witch Mother’s servants. They wielded massive clubs of tree trunks with the root systems intact – like a spiked club. Two of the largest Stone Giants, they swept their foes in swathes, but were eventually overcome. Prooshd died fighting, and Addo survived to blow the mighty horn Aurldur. It is said you can still hear her voice on the wind, calling for her dead mate. Her ultimate fate is unknown, but she was not present on the battlefield after the cyclone.
Nexx was Hromaegnar’s voice – his runner – on the battlefield; he was the swiftest of his people present. For this he saw much of what happened.
From the east came the “Wind Benders” – a self titled elite group of Hill Giants that bend massive bows to their task of death. Reigning death from afar, they looked to be the tide that would strike low the defenders for sure. Using the river as cover, the entire population of the 5 villages of Lizard Folk rose from the river to surprise the bowmen. Nuringa Murel had commanded them to attack and they slowed the prized troops the chief of the Blackened Foot tribe had put into battle. Nuringa animated the “standing stones” of the area and attacked the Wind Benders. The sacrifice of the Lizardmen and the magic stone men were enough to bring the shock force down. During the battle the priestess was killed by a Hill Giant named Dawn Closer – Nexx remembers him as a braggart and fool, but he managed to survive her initial assault and brought her low by playing dead and stabbing her in the back, with a blade that dripped wretched venom. Dawn Closer was no sooner rising and bragging of his accomplishment – shouting it for all to hear when a pair of his people rode him down, skewering him with lances and slashing him in quick circles as he limped and raged at his broken leg asking for a “fair fight” with his dying, lying breath. One of the attackers was killed by supporting Ogres.
Maerk of the Frost Giants, made a cowardly attack upon the family of the Jarl of Oxsulla. Wielding the axe “Breath Splitter”, and leading a pair of other Front Giants, they attacked the royal family. Under his axe and his brother’s went the massive cave bears of the Jarl’s, his wife and youngest daughter. Nexx did not see what happened to his son.
The rest of the Frost Giants, made an attempt to get to the creech of the young under the earth. A pair of centaurs, cave bears and their cubs, a pair of elves and a few of the Stone Giants lead by the Jarl’s right hand man Grusch tried to rally. Grusch wore the Horned Helm of Duhr Madak – an ancient and powerful relic of his people. Never had Nexx seen such a thing in all his life… “Ram Butts Mountain” personified and mountain yielded. The earth shook and trembled as each frost giant was laid low, but the battle raged with all the other forces. The Jarl was dying, being overwhelmed. He called to his best friend, who, covered in blood and with several broken bones from the force of his own blows, waded into his foray to secure the horn Aurldur.
The Witch-Mother, her fate was seen by the Ducateon. They entered the field as a squad of heavy infantry, a death dealing machine of hand-to-hand combat. The held the flank of a group of Stone Giants Hovind, Koa, Oduzt, Aund, Ketl-Di who held one side of Shoulders of Iurd – the pair of bluffs that marked the entrance to the underground caves. The minions of the Witch-Mother were carving a bloody swath to it after the Jarl had fallen when the rally happened. A pair of Ducateon survived that battle to relay the news that all the giants attacking her had died, as had almost all the Ducateon, but that the roar of mighty Anaiis Koorsh, the cave bear mother lead the last of her kind. Bleeding from ears, nose, mouth from the poisons coursing through her veins, she bit the Witch-Mother’s head off. So toxic was her blood, that it killed the old great dame of a bear.
Gruth the “speaker” (a shaman) of the Blackened Foot tribe was slain by the last of Nexx’s people. The paintings on the Witch-Mother’s cave found later by the elves show she humiliated him and his place in the tribe was nearly removed completely.
Nexx knows now who blew the horn, but the first note of feared war horn Aurldur of the Jarl’s rang out. It forever sealed the way into the twilight realm under the earth, in addition to everything else it did. The Stillwater Eddy surged and emptied onto the floodplain, and the plain of Toppe collapsed, causing the rover to surge in as well. The Shoulders of Iurd were washed away and many began to drown. Moments later a second note was blown and a wind arose. All of the Kanwae Bas – the sacred throwing stones the Stone Giants always attack with en masse first – rose into the air to strike down their enemies once again. As bodies were thrown through the air, the sickening crush of pounds and flesh giving way to stone echoed over the area. The cyclone tore through the Boar-Vrotland, tearing bodies of friend and foe alike apart, forever mingling their blood and bones and a storm of vengeance. The only thing saving Nexx was his running jump for the river before getting caught up in the effect. When it was over, not a tree stood, and the area was mostly a lowland basin, scrubbed clean but fertile with the life essence of thousands of dead.
There was no sign of the underground caverns. Aurldur, the ancient relic of the clan of Oxsulla was gone – along with its people. Nexx was found the next day by the elves who had come en masse at the tortured call of the wild deep in the heart of Rhyl Forest. Half drowned, it tooks days to recover. He related what he could remember and as the elves sensed no lie in his heart, he was released after he healed. Nexx was never seen again.
On the histories: It is said that Nexx put place names to many of the events, but that the accounts circulated by the elves later removed them for fear of disturbing the restless spirits of the giants.