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Temple of the Unknown - Table of Contents
:: Please submit Temple Unknown History ::
:: Priestess of Unknown ::
:: The Kryger VosRapier Story pt. 1 ::
:: The Kryger VosRapier Story pt. 2 ::
:: The Kryger VosRapier Story pt. 3 ::
:: The Path of the Unknown ::

TEMPLE Unknown

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We are currently missing sections on Unknown's History and Lore. If you have submissions please contact the webmaster so they may add them to the library.

Priestess of Unknown ...

[Note: This story first appeared in the FIRE IN THE SKY: The Spurian Chronicle, Vol. 5, Issue 2, titled: Priestess of Unknown.]

I found fear today.  It came in the form of that which I worship with all my heart...the Unknown.  Being raised in a culture that praises courage and honor, this incident has robbed me of both.  Even now, hours after the fact, my quill shakes on this paper just remembering him:  His cold eyes, his haughty confidence, and his ambient power.  He was the incarnate of evil and fear.  He was Erebus, the Shadowlord.  After weeks of questioning his courage for never showing his face, he made his awful yet magnificent presence known to me today.

Weeks ago, when the shadows began to pop up around Spur, I was told of one who ruled them named Erebus.  Every night, in my arrogance, I would call for him.  Begging for him to show his face that I might fight one worthy of me.  When he did not show, I would denounce his name and call him a coward.  Today, I was shown the folly of my ways.  It all started when Denin and I were alone in Town Square, and he was telling me of a meeting he had with the above mentioned Shadowlord.  I, as usual, questioned Denin's loyalties, for he had had many such meetings with Erebus.  Before I knew it, my tongue had gotten the better of me, and began telling Denin that if it had been me meeting Erebus, the Lord of Shadows would now be dead.  Looking back on the events of my life, I can recall times when I wish I hadn't done something or said something...this tops that list.  For little did I know that Erebus had taken an interest in our conversation, and appeared to us.  I remember it well, for though he came in the form of a San Elf, I could instantly feel that he was not limited by the forms which we mortals are.  He seemed to encompass the whole square, and when he spoke, his voice shook the heavens.  "You have something you wish to discuss with me?"  It was all I could do to keep from collapsing.  Every part of my body screamed for me to run, yet my Leuian heritage told me to strike at him with all my strength.  The two apparently canceled each other out, and I spewed some pathetic words of defiance.  In my life, I remember times when I have laughed in the face of Taath, or suffered injuries without so much as a flinch that would kill most, yet I feared this being.  I feared not his killing me, for death is a natural part of life, but rather I feared the Unknown. I feared what he could do to me that was not as merciful as death.

Not wanting to be viewed a coward by a brother, I decided to come up with a reason not to attack the Shadowlord.  As I recall, the pathetic excuse I came up with was that I was angry with the enemies of the shadows, the vapor dragons, and for that reason I would let him live.  He gave me a look as close to pure amusement as I have ever seen in anyone.  He then pet me and said with his thunderous voice," I could use one with your fire."   Something in my head snapped, and I prepared to rake my claws across his smug face, but my muscles wouldn't move.  "Don't ever touch me again," I replied in a voice as cold as ice.  Denin readied his rainbow acid halberd, whether to attack or defend me I still don't know...for his part in the shadow affair is as yet a mystery.   Luckily for me, Erebus decided not to destroy me, and after a few tense moments of my puny attempts to show him my fearlessness, and even a few miserable threats, he decided.  His point was made, and he left.  I cannot describe the feeling of relief at his dismissal, and it was not until that time that I noticed I was shaking uncontrollably.  I had never shaken before, but knew it to be a trait of that which others have termed 'fear'.

Many have said that I acted with wisdom and self control by not attacking, but even now, I know it was cowardice.  Perhaps Unknown wanted me to face this threat to learn humility.  I do know, however, that until we meet again, I shall always have that black mark on my honor.  For weeks I called him a coward for not showing his face, and when he did, I backed down with my tail between my legs.  Perhaps it is better I did not attack him, but I know that win or lose, if I ever see him again, he will forever curse the day he decided to let me live.  With these words as my witness, that I swear.

Revised: September 02, 1998.
Copyright 1995 by Mythic Entertainment.
All trademarks or product names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.

:: [Go To Top] ::

The Kryger VosRapier Story pt. 1 ...

[This article was originally presented in the Oct. 1, 1997 Issue of the Dragon Fire Chronicles, entitled "The Kryger VosRapier Story pt. 1" by Kryger VosRapier.]

It was the 3rd month on the year 259, I was 19 years old and ready to take on the world.  My father (Kalathar VosRapier) was a Devoted Sword Cleric of the Unknown, my mother was a Hand Cleric of the Unknown, and my sister was a Sword Cleric of Odariousgo figure.  Well it was my birthday, so my father came up and said, "Son, I believe it is time you started to learn how to defend yourself, the ways of religion, and how both affect us as a whole.  I glanced at him with an ambition he would never expect and said, "When do we start?"

No sooner did I get those words out of my mouth, we were out back in my father's training area sparring and learning battle tactics and skills.  My devotion to the Unknown was that of a Novitiate statusthis part of my father's teachings really did not peak my interest as a young Hithual, but his hack and slash stories were the highlight of my day.  After awhile he gave up and focused all his energy towards the battle and combat skills I needed as a Hithual fighter.  Many a day I would come home nearly dead from the beating I had taken.

Even though I was taking a severe beating, I sometimes noticed that dad's health seemed to be getting increasingly worse as the days passed by in our training.  I did not even think twice about, for he was an old Hithual and had survived things some only dream about.  It wasn't until one day when I was a little concerned about my father and was waiting for him at the training area that I really started to worry.  He did not show.  I ran home as fast as I could, puffing and panting I yelled, "Mother where is dad?"  I then heard a voice coming from the secret hiding place under the hut where we were living.  I proceeded down the corridor to find my mother and sister sitting down there shivering in fear.  "What is wrong?" I yelled.  My mother looked at me with terror in her eyes and said, "Son we are being invaded.  They sounded the alarm and your father headed for the City of Krynn to help defend."

I immediately grabbed dad's old Giant Steel Mail out of the trunk along with his battle-axe and proceeded to head out the door, my adrenaline pumping so hard and fast I did not have time to be scared.  I ran to the mountains as fast as a Hithual possibly can (very slowly).  When I got within about 1500 meters from the battle, I heard the sound of clanging armor, screaming beasts, and tons of Hithuals yelling out battle commands.  I quickly made it up to the ridge of the mountain above where the city stood and looked down to see what exactly was attacking it.   With great surprise, I saw the ugliest looking creature I had ever seen.  If it had not been for me hearing the other Hithuals yelling "trolls," I would have never guessed what they were.

I readied my battle-axe and proceeded down the hill to advance in battle and help defend the City from this terrible invasion.  As I got down on a flat surface I realized these things were almost three times my size in height, so I dodged and weaved all the way to the city where I saw my father fighting off five trolls by himself.  I watched in awe for a few moments as he swung his blade with such grace and power, and runes began dancing all around him.  Suddenly a fire dart exploded on one of the trolls.  They did not seem to like fire very much at all cause when dad hit em with it they screamed like the dickens.  Dad was taking some serious blows during this battle, and just when I thought he might fall he yelled out by the power of the Unknown, "I pray thee heal me."  Am amazing glow surrounded him, all his wounds closed up, and he looked healthy as ever.

I quickly moved toward him to help what little I could.  I swung as hard as I could, a good blow to the back portion of the trolls left leg.  It immediately turned and clawed at me and then bit me in my armthe pain was so tremendous that I dropped the axe.   The second the troll let go of my arm I reached down and grabbed the axe with my other hand and tried to swing again.  It was such a great blow to the trolls head, it let out a loud scream and fell dead.  My father dropped two more and was about to turn around and face the last one when the troll landed a critical claw to his torso and a devastating bite to his neck.  I had never heard my father scream in such pain ever before, and as I looked on I felt my adrenaline, anger, and emotion all come together in one as I swung my axe as hard as I could at the troll.  It was a critical hit to the troll's neck, for it paused for a moment and fell to the ground minus its head.  I immediately turned to my father as he lay there with blood squirting from his neck.

He attempted to bandage it the best he could and stared at me in the eyes and said, "I am very proud of you son, but I have something I want to tell you.  There is another VosRapier ye don't know about.  Ye have a brother named Vasile, son.  He left us when ye were very young.  He is a great warrior as you will be someday, so find him and continue your training.  He left to the south towards a City called Spur.  There son, you will encounter many different races and other adventurous folk, so be very careful 'cause not all are like our race and act honorably.  Here, I want ye to have me bastard sword and Giant Black Platinum Mail.  Make me proud, son.  Now take your sister to Spur with you, for she is ready to practice her priestess hood, tell your mother I love her, and move her north to the Hithual underground City of Kyrnn.  There she shall be safe and live happy amongst our kin.  In the City of Spur there lives a great priest of the Unknown named Armonius.  Find him and keep up your faith with the Unknown.  Also there is a CA there run by a Hithual named Kraggon.  He is a great fighter and ye can learn a lot from him in your final stages of training, son."

As he spurted out those last words and ceased to move or breath anymore, I grasped him and cried until I suddenly heard a voice from behind me.  It was a form dressed in the finest silk outfit I had every seen.  He had a eternal glow emulating from around his body and he hovered about 6 inches off the ground.  He said, "Kryger your father is only gone physically, but mentally he will always be with you.  His soul shall now be put to rest."  With one flick of his wrist the wounds on my father vanished.  Then he hovered close to my father and briefly laid his hand on his forehead, and within seconds they were both gone.  The only things that remained were his Platinum Mail, shield, bastard sword, and his amulet of the Unknown.  I gathered my father's belongings in a pile, finally I realized that all the trolls were gone when I looked around me, I saw roughly 60 Hithuals deadbut three times that number in trolls laid beside em dead as well.  Amidst my sorrow and grief, I felt a feeling of inspiration come over me as I remembered hearing my father dying words "you have a brother, son."  With this in mind, I attempted to rush back home quickly with all my father's belongings.  How I managed to carry all his and my belongings is still a mystery to me, but at the time I was in a different state of mind.

When I got back to the hut, I saw my mother crying and packing all her things in satchels and backpacks.  In shock, I said, "Where are ye going mother?"  She glanced at me with a look of grief and said, "My son, I know of your father's death.  I knew before he left that he would not return.  Tears of sorrow filled her eyes and she said, "He has been sick for sometime now.  I must go to the City of Krynn in the morning. Atoko and ye must head to Spur in the morning.  Ye father did tell ya of yer brother Vasile?  I am sorry I never told ye about him, but I did not want to loose you as well.  I watched the tears roll down her cheeks as she said, "He left about 15 years ago to fight the holy war against the Taathians, and we have not heard or seen of him since.  Please look after Atoko, for she is still young in mind and faith.   Spur has much to offer both of ye.  Take our saving, get settled, and find ye brother.  This journey shall take ye about five days my son, so be very careful.  May the Unknown guide ye there safely."  I packed all my belongings that I could carry in my four satchels and cried myself to sleep.  The next morning I discovered my mother had left a brief note for me a and some ale for us on the table.  I woke up Atoko, we gathered our things, and headed off to the south for the wonderful City of Spur.

****DAY # 1****
Atoko and I set off on foot following dad's ole maps that he had stored around the house.  Twas a quiet and peaceful day and not too cold for traveling.  Atoko and I had been no further than the mountains from our house, so this was definitely a change of pace.  We walked for roughly 13 hours without a sign of anything till we came along this old man peddling items on the side of the road.  He looked to be a very old human with barely enough energy or power to stand.  As we approached him he stood up immediately, leaning on a black laced cane with a ruby on the top of it, and spoke in a very young soft voice.  "Hello, my name is Jhortho.  I am selling items that ye may be interested in so please gander all ya want."

"Greetins, Jhortho this is Atoko and I am Kryger," I responded.  "We are headed to the great City of Spur."

"Well then you will need some ale for your vast journey will ye not?  I have the best ale in the valley, and tis said to be the best ale in the lands.  I dunno though 'cause I don't drink.  It's  not good for my health ya see."

With a look of surprise, I said in Hithual to Atoko, "This guy looks like he is over 100 years old and he talking about worrying about his health." I chuckled and said, "Well Jhortho, let me taste this legendary ale you have to sell."

"Okay, follow me."

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The Kryger VosRapier Story pt. 2 ...

[This article was originally presented in the Oct. 1, 1997 Issue of the Dragon Fire Chronicles, entitled "The Kryger VosRapier Story pt. 2" by Kryger VosRapier.]

We followed Jhortho around his cart where he pulled out this keg that had "Ale Masters" written upon it.  I smiled at Jhortho as he poured some in a mug for Atoko and I to try.  I guzzled mine down fast and put my mug out for more, when he looked at me kind of strange and said, "This is fer buying not giving." "I know Jhortho, but I need to be able to taste it before I buy it." This ale tasted a lot different from what I was used to, but it sure was sweet and good.  "How much for the keg Jhortho?" I asked.  He pondered for a moment and said, "Hmmm.  How about 5 gold?" "Okay 5 gold it is."  I paid him and we went on our merry way.  We decided to keep our mugs full the rest of the day with this peculiar tasting ale.  About three or four hours passed and Atoko was getting tired, so we decided to make camp and move on in the morning.  We set up four-hour sleeping shifts for the watch; I took the first shift, which was uneventful along with the rest of the night.

****DAY # 2****
Atoko woke me up from her last shift and said, "Lets get going."  So, we got all our stuff ready and marched on.  We traveled at least six to eight hours when we happened along this very small village. Naturally curious, we ventured in.  When we got close, I could see a few short green-skinned forms standing about talking in a strange hackish language.  As we got even closer, the forms dispersed in all directions.  We continued to walk on when a elderly one of these forms stepped out and waved his cane with a skull attached to it at me.  I felt a probing sensation, then a tingle, and then it went away.  "What are you doing?" I yelled.  "Stop that now."

The form, seemingly unfazed by my yelling, advanced towards us.  I drew my bastard sword and got in a battle stance.  This also did not seem to scare him, but finally he spoke in a form of common, a very poor common at best.  He said, "Hello I be Grokk, leaber ub de Go-blin-als.  Who be you and why you be in my home?"

Trying not to laugh at his poor common tongue, I explained, "This is Atoko and I am Kryger.  We come from the village north of here called Kremlin.  We did not mean to invade in on your privacy.  We're just passing through, we are heading to the City of Spur."  His eyes got extremely big and he started spurting off words in that hackish language again.  Next thing I know, we had bout 30 to 40 Go-blin-als armed to the teeth surrounding us.  The elder Gobbie said, "We'b hab a gobbie here dat neeb to gob dar to be bak wif his family."  I raised an eye at Grokk and said, "You want us to transport a gobbie to Spur?  What is in it for us?" Grokk pondered for a moment and replied, "We'b can pab sparklies and monies forb it?"  I looked at Atoko and asked her in Hithual if she minded.  She shook her head no, so I said, "Yes we will bring the gobbie to the City of Spur for aleI mean monies," I mumbled.  A smile came across his face and he said, "Kryber youb doing a goob deed tobay.  This gobbie be berry special.  He'b hab the mark ub a chaos noble and hab thrown rights to beeb Prince Mer-blin-al.  Be berry carful wib him.  He'b ib young and tends to geb intoob truble."

"My name is Kryger not Kryber," I mumbled. "Yes, we will be careful and get him to his destination safely I promise.  Immediately after we decided to take the Gobbie to Spur, the elder screamed out some horrifying words and the everyone started cheering and poking me with there little spears.  I started grumbling because the next thing I knew they are all grabbing Atoko and me and asking us to follow em to one of the little huts they live in.  We followed and went inside with one of em yelling something at us.  "Sleeb, sleeb, sleeb, go morbing, go morbing," he said.  I looked at him strange and assumed he was telling us to go to sleep and that we leave in the morning.  Tired, Atoko and I laid down and went to sleep.

****DAY # 3****
Morning arrived with a spear poking me in my side and a Gobbie staring me eye to eye saying, "Lebs go, lebs go, geb up, geb up."  I woke up Atoko.  We got ready and waited to see which Gobbie we were escorting to Spur.  In minutes the elder Gobbie came out holding a hand of a 1'7" gobbie who looked as innocent as could be with eyes almost bigger than his head.  The little Gobbie was dressed in what looked like the remnants of a few rats, snakes, and whatever else he could get his little paws on.  I bowed briefly and reached out to greet the little fella, but he hissed and then tried to bite me.  Then he ran and hid behind the elder and shivered.   I gave out a little chuckle and said, "Is he going to wanna come with us?"
The elder bent down and said a few words to the little goblin, smiled, and said, "Yes I believe he is ready now."

"Okay lets go then, for we need to make up for lost time as it is."

As we are leaving, Grokk says, "His name is Gagglebee or Gagz for short and he'll eat almost anything."  With all that said, we headed on our way.  I tried to make small talk with Gagz, but no doing on the first day.  He just scowled at me an hissed.  Every once in awhile I would catch him looking at my leg and licking his lips.  That is when I knew it was time for us to stop and eat some food.

We stopped briefly on the side of the road to eat and Gagz looked at me like "your going to go get me some food aren't ya?."  So, knowing I could not eat with him staring me in the face, I got up and tried to find some small rodents that he would eat.  I eventually found some stuff that he was satisfied with and boy was it messy.  Ack.  I almost got sick watching him eat and then add the skin to his armor.  Like glue it stuck there.  His odor was so atrocious I did all I could to make him walk in front of us or behind us, depending on which way the wind was blowing.  Well we had been traveling about eight hours and saw no sign of anything anywhere.  I looked at Gagz and said, "Do you know where we are at?"  He looked at me with that look of confusion as always, so I ceased asking him anything anymore.  The day seemed to fly by as it neared its end, so we made camp on the side of the road just out of view of anyone coming along.  We set up watches again and of course Gagz didn't stand any watch.  I grumbled at him and muttered beneath my breath, but at least the night was uneventful.  In the morning, we packed our stuff and headed out.

****DAY # 4****
Well, it was a blistering day out, the sun beating down like never before it seemed.  This told me it was time to break out the ole ale in a hurry.  I filled up Atoko's mug and mine, but Gagz kept pulling on my Platinum Mail saying, "Gib me, gib me, gib me."  He held out his hands and motioned for me to pour it in his hands so he could have some.  I looked at him with a funny grin and said, "You want some ale Gagz?"  He nodded his head so fast I thought his neck was going to break.  "Calm down my little friend," I said, "Sheesh I will give ya some."
I pulled out another mug from my backpack and poured Gagz some.  He guzzled it the second it hit the bottom of the mug.  I looked at him and said, "You sure your not part Hithual?"  I chuckled, but he just looked at me in confusion and blurted out, "Hibual, meb nob hibual, meb Mer-blin-al."  I nodded and we continued on our way without hearing another word from him.  We moved on at a pretty quick pace and did not see or hear a thing till we came upon a narrow crossing in the path.  A muffled sound came from the bushes to the east, so I said, "Shhhh....ye two hear that?"

They both nodded yes, so I started moving in that direction.  We tried to sneak up the best we could but then again we are Hithual not khats, so we made some noise.  Luckily, it did not out drown the yells for help I heard in the near distance.  We moved up most quietly to see two Elvish-looking forms kicking the crap out of the old man that sold us the ale a couple days ago.  I wondered for a minute, how that old man beat us here?  I jumped out of the bushes, readied my bastard sword, and said, "Leave him alone or ye shall die by my blade."  They both looked at me, laughed, and then continued to kick Jhortho on the ground.  I advanced at the one on the right, and swung and hit him with a perfect blow to the torso area.  He fell and started yelling in pain, while the other advanced and swung a scimitar at me.  He hit me in my left leg right below my mail, and although it hurt like crazy I ignored it and swung back.  I hit him in the arm and he dropped his sword and ran.  I sat down and said, "Atoko heal me please.  I am hurt bad."

She came over to me and laid her hands upon my chest for a moment and said a few religious words.  I felt a bolt of healing go through my body.  I beamed at Atoko, hugged her, and said, "Thankies sister.  I got up, walked over to Jhortho, and said, "Greetins my friend.  I see our paths have met again?"

Jhortho got up and said, "Do I know you?  I meet so many people, I tend to forget.  Sorry if I have offended you."

I smiled at Jhortho and said, "No offense taken friend.  We met a couple days ago and you sold me some ale.  Well, we really need to be getting going, so take care and be more careful next time.  We may not be around to help you next time."

I looked around to see where Gagz was and found him digging through the dead elf's belongings.  "Gagz?  Come here what are you doing?" I asked.

He popped straight up, put his hands behind his back, and said, "Nubbin, I'b doob nubin, jus lookin ab de elb here."

"Well lets go we got to get going." I said, muttering something beneath my breath  He looked at me all innocent and started to follow.  It wasn't no more than three or four hours later that I spotted a City about 10 to 15 miles away.  I jumped up and down, thinking we were almost there.  "I see the city over the next ridge."

With that little bit of excitement, we did not care to stop and rest.  We wanted only to get there as quickly as possible.  We proceeded to the glorious City of Spur which was only 2 hours of travel away.  We finally came within full view of the city and advanced towards its gates.  There stood two fully armed guards with their pikes readied.  The guards stood motionless as we walked through the marble archway.  The second I turned around to hug Atoko, I noticed Gagglebee was heading off down an alley.  I followed as fast as I could to catch up with him and looked around frantically trying to find him.  I followed a street down near its end and started to smell this nasty odor.  It was so bad I almost hurled a couple times.  I continued to look around at what looked to be the city trash dump.  I yelled, "Gagglebee where are you?"  Just when I was about to give up, I saw something moving in the garbage to the northeast of where Iwas standing.  I proceeded that way with caution, and when I got like 5 feet away from the noise, Gagglebee jumped out of a pile of trash yelling, "Leeb, leeb, me lib here, me lib here."  I laughed at him for a second and then said, "Come on lets go, you want to see your mother don't you?"  Eventually, he shook his head yes and decided to followed me back to the town square.

There in the center of town square, I saw a old gobbie sitting on the ground eating what looked to be the remnants of a rat or rodent of some sort.  I approached him and said, "Greetins my name is Kryger and I was asked to escort this gobbie to Spur safely.  I was wondering if you could bring him with you when ya go back to your home?  He is the Mer-blin-al or something like that.  He keeps yelling it out as if it is important, so what do you say?  His mother lives in this town somewhere.  I believe Grokk said her name was Skwashie WormSquisher, do ye know her?"
The old gobbie looked up and said, "I'b no'b him mum, I'b tak dar now'b."

I looked at Gagz and said, "Well little buddy, hope to see you around.  Enjoy the City of Spur."

Atoko and I went the opposite direction to find a fellow Hithual that might know my brother.  We strolled on through town checking out all the shops and stuff and saw a red headed 2'11 Hithual come out of a gem shop.  I made my way up to him and said, "Greetins kin, my name is Kryger and this is my sister Atoko.  We are new to Spur and are looking for our brother."  The Hithual looked at us and said, "Greetins my name is Dolak.  How are ye this fine day?  Who is yer brother friend?  Maybe I can help ye find him?

"Vasile VosRapier," I said with pride. "He is a great warrior I hear among our people."
"Hmmm...Vasile, Vasile.  The name does not ring a bell for some reason, but I tell ya who will know.  Kraggon.  He is in the Rose tavern.  Let's go.  I shall bring you there to speak with him."

We followed him down a couple streets and finally to a wood building with a ale mug and a keg sign slanted in a "V" shape swinging above the door.  "This is it kin, I really must run.  I am late to my meeting so be well and enjoy Spur."  We exchanged bows and good-byes and proceeded into the tavern.  To my surprise when I looked around, there were like 15 Hithuals in there drinking and having a good ole time.  I looked around the room trying to spot the one they call Kraggon.  We seemed to have piqued a little interest 'cause a few had stopped drinking and were looking at us curiously.  A rather large Hithual stood up from the bar and approached us.  "Greetins I am Kraggon, are ye two new to Spur?"

I looked upon Kraggon, who was twice my gerth and had three times as many scars from battle, and I let out a quiet gulp.  "Yeah we are new and we are looking for our brother Vasile VosRapier.  Do you know him?"

Revised: September 02, 1998.
Copyright 1995 by Mythic Entertainment.
All trademarks or product names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.

:: [Go To Top] ::

The Kryger VosRapier Story pt. 3 ...

[This article was originally presented in the Oct. 1, 1997 Issue of the Dragon Fire Chronicles, entitled "The Kryger VosRapier Story pt. 3" by Kryger VosRapier.]

A big smile came to his face and he said, "Vasile is ye Brother?"

"Yes he is and this is our sister Atoko." I answered most quickly.

Kraggon raised his hands for all to be silent and said, "Well, let me be the first to welcome both of ye to Spur.  Your brother was at the hall last I saw him.  Come with me and I will bring ya there.  As we journeyed through Spur, everyone waved and bowed to Kraggon with the utmost respect.  Atoko and I were in awe with all the different races and the respect they showed towards us.  We finally got to a huge bronze door with the letters CA engraved upon it.  A shield, hammer, and forge were also inset into it.  Kraggon made a gesture, said a few words, and the huge door opened wide to reveal two Hithuals sitting down drinking ale.

One was dressed in the nicest ceremonial robes and the other looked like the meanest fighter I've ever seen.  They both greeted Kraggon and then glanced in our direction.  The religious Hithual noticed my medallion and a smile came across his face.  "Greetins kin," he said most cheerfully.  "I am Armonius the revered one."

I bowed and said, "Greetins this is Atoko and I am Kryger,."  The second I said our names the mean looking Hithual glared at me with a look from hell and said, "What did you say your names were again?" "Ah.  Atoko and Kryger and we came from the great divide to meet our brother Vasile and to further my training."

He stood up and walked towards us with a evil grin upon his face.  A nervous twitch went down my spine as he looked us over.  He spoke with a gruff voice and said, "You're a little too skinny and small to be a Hithual aren't you?"  I was to nervous to say anything so I just nodded up and down.  He smiled and said "Greetins my brother and sister, I am your brother Vasile."  I beamed at him with the biggest smile and then jumped up and hugged him.  Atoko joined in our group hug which lasted for quite a while.

We sat around and drank ale until we all passed out from fatigue, not ale consumption.  After we all gained consciousness about six to eight hours later, Vasile looked at me and said, "So you wanna practice your skills do ya?"

"Very much so brother.  Will ye teach me?"

"Of course I will train you.  We shall start first thing in the morning after I get your living arrangements all set and catch up on all the gossip from home."

Well, as I proceeded to tell Vasile about the troll invasion and that our father had died, a look of the utmost sorrow and sadness took over Vasile's face.  A tear formed and rolled down his depression soiled cheek.  He spoke with a saddened tone and said, "How is mother doing?"  I explained the whole situation to himabout how mother moved to Krynn and I took Atoko with me so she could further her religious studies.  He put a hand on each of our shoulders and said, "Well lets find ye two some ale,  I mean food and living quarters so we may start both of your training.  Armonius will guide you to the temple district Atoko.  He can help you three times better then I could even think of, for I am a fighter and know very little about religion."
Vasile got us all situated with living quarters and introduced us to a few people on the way.  I decided to go to sleep because our training started early in the morning.  I laid down and said a few prayers for my father, mother, Atoko and my new found brother Vasile.  No sooner did I close my eyes, it was morning already and Vasile was up with a full mug of ale already.  "Well get up bro.  We got a lot of training to do."  I finally got up, gathered myself, and got dressed.  Vasile led me to a what looked to be a fighters guild of some sort.

There were a lot of fighters practicing a lot of different skills.  The first month he trained me in a technique of how to block blows with my shield and then I learned how to treat myself if I was to get hurt.  Soon I learned a neat trick of how to disarm another person while in a combat.  A couple months passed while I practiced those three skills and wacked at trees with me bastard sword.  I would get brave every so often and challenge Vasile.  Ouch, big mistake there.  He would beat me till I was black and blue, but as the months past I got better and better.  Someday I will beat him, I would sigh to myself.

This was our daily routine every day, no breaks, no days off, for my brother was the real deal Hithual fighter.  Every night when we were done training, we would go to the Rose Tavern or the hall and drink ale all night.  It was rumored that my brother emptied the shipment of ale that came from the great divide, in one night mind you.  Sheesh, and I used to think that Solic is bad.  Put them two together and ya better hide anything that resembles ale.

Well it was about the six month mark when Vasile said, "I think its time you distinguished yourself in the fighters guild.  Lemme explain how this works.  See first ya fight everyone in the guild over the next two weeks and depending on how ye do is where ya are ranked in the guild."  Then he proceeded to tell me that he was ranked in the low 30's.  On that little bit of info I thought for a moment and said, "hmmmm...no wonder I have been getting the crap beat out of me everyday."

The big day had finally come.  I fought 20 fighters and finished the day with two wins and eighteen losses.  This was about how every day went for the whole two weeks.  The last day they read off the ranking and names of the people in their respectable spots.  I wound up being number 99 and I was thrilled to death.  I wanted to get so drunk to celebrate that it wasn't even funny.  As happy as I was, Vasile was equally unhappy with my performance for he had expected better from me.  So for the following six months we trained three times as hard as normal.  He wore me out from the second I woke up till it was time to hit the tavern for our traditional ale drinking contests, which normally ended up with the barkeep throwing us out for insufficient funds.

Well days came and went so fast that before I knew it I was ranked in the 60's then the 50's and started putting on some serious weight and muscle to boot.  I was a stocky 450lbs at 3'11.  I finally matched my brothers size, but was far from his skill at arms.  Months and months passed and I moved up on the guild listings with haste as did Vasile.  As I got better, Vasile seemed to get better.  I couldn't seem to beat him in his skills.  I tried on a daily basis to do so, but still wound up getting pummeled every time.  ::sighs::

My goal in life was now to be able to hang with my brother in a spar type battle without getting beat up severely.  So from then on every day when we were done training, Vasile would head right to the tavern and I would slyly sneak off and continue to train with either Forlan or Rebel.  Word was that they were two of the best Hithual warriors in Spur.  I trained with one of these two for at least six to eight hours every night.  During this time I had also learned many other fighting techniques and styles from them.  After about three months of this sort of extra training, I seemed to maybe have the edge on Vasile in a couple of my skills so I once again challenged him to a spar.  We stood toe to toe looking at each other, bowed briefly, and stood back in our fighting stances.  Vasile lashed at me with the first decent blow to my right arm,  and I swung back and was easily blocked by his shield.  Then he swung again and I barely deflected it with my shield.  This went on for like an hour and a half with both of us only getting hit maybe 12 times total.  Just as I started feeling that I was doing well, fatigue started setting in, and my shield and sword became very heavy and cumbersome.  As I got more and more tired, Vasile used that to his advantage and started knocking the crap out of me.

As I was getting beat around, I remembered back to what dad taught me about our god blessing us with strength if we pray for it.  So I yelled out by the power of Unknown, "I pray thee strengthen me," and not even a second later a spark flew and hit me in the chest with a jolt of energy.  I felt more refreshed then if I had gotten 12 hours of sleep.  I stood up and began a number of flourishing blows at Vasile, and he countered all but one.  A strong blow to his right arm convinced him to drop his weapon and begin administering first aid.  This did not phase me for I continued to attack him and accomplish my goal of defeating him.  He managed to successfully thwart all my blows and heal the couple he didn't.  After about three and a half to four hours of constant battle, we both finally fell over from fatigue and claimed it to be a tie.  Vasile looked at me and said, "Brother ye have come along way and I am proud of your accomplishments and to be your brother."  A sense of caring and sensitivity came over me as I released a tear of accomplishment for me and one of love for my brother who got me where I am today.  For that I salute him and to this day look up to him. ::Kryger beams at Vasile::  My training with Vasile lessened, but our hunting and drinking increased drastically.   Nothing much has changed since those days except Vasile is still ahead of me on the fighters guild at # 2 and I trail him by 3 slots at # 5.  This is the story and life of one Kryger VosRapier.

Written and told first hand by: Kryger VosRapier

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The Path of the Unknown ...

By Scruple Tamarind

Author's Note: This is the seventh in a series of articles on the religions of Aradath. My intention is to shed some light on the religions, get a little below the surface stereotypes and focus on the beliefs that define it and its effects on the lives of its followers (and sometimes others). I consider this article the first in my series to fail utterly to do that. -S.T.

There is an eternal mistiness on the path to the Shrine of the Unknown. To those of us not of the faith it is foggy indeed, fraught with mystery and offering few clues to the hearts and minds of the followers - nay, the companions - of the god Unknown. With the kind help of several of those who walk beside Him, I attempted to see through their eyes for a brief time and see beyond the veil of mystery surrounding the god we call Unknown.

The Shrine of Unknown near Spur might at first be mistaken for an Elindalian shrine. Enormous trees tower all around, swirling mist below. And indeed, both faiths concern themselves with the preservation of balance. The furnishings of the shrine are simple and utilitarian, with the exception of a magnificent mural depicting an enormous tiger, a misty pillar containing some artifacts, and the coral altar.

The followers of Unknown share a confidence, a tranquility, a palpable sense of self-awareness that I came to envy as I spoke to them. A popular diety despite the mystery shrouding Him, Unknown has many devotees from a wide range of backgrounds. All those I spoke to, Human to San to Oog-ra, spoke in imagery of walking on a Path with Unknown. To call them "followers" is not correct, but none of those I spoke to could offer a better term. They are "with" Unknown, they "walk beside" Unknown, they do not follow. In all aspects, from how they come to Unknown to how they live their lives, it seems self- awareness and intuition guide them. They are not led, coerced, or commanded. They are companions.

Many of Unknown were not raised in the religion, but came to Him later. They describe a calling, or an inevitability. "I think that those destined to follow Unknown are destined from birth, regardless of the paths they may take to get there or realized their destiny - it is there," Archon Kagee told me. When asked about her own journey to Unknown, she replied, "I looked deep within myself, and realized that after all the things I had been through, they were leading me back to where I belonged. Some people find Him right away, some of us are a bit stubborn." I was astonished to hear that the temple of Unknown does not seek to recruit or convert others. "When Unknown is one's path, they find it themselves," the Archon said. As Corea put it, "Pursuasion negates the true balance." Pai told me One's path may not lead to Unknown, but so long as one follows their path, Unknown is pleased. To have them do otherwise would upset the balance.

"Balance" is another word heard over and over again in any discussion of Unknown. It may be that all the energy they save by not recruiting is being poured into vigilance of the Balance. It is a complex topic. There is the balance within an individual, the balance of nature, the balance of the Pantheon and the balance of the Universe. Corae explained, "All things in life need Balance - for every evil there is a good. For every life there is death, and life again. All things in nature and the universe are correct when there is balance." This is a common theme: No good without evil, no light without darkness. No order without chaos. As Cieran said, "All gods are valid. We are perhaps the only faith in Aradath who embrace Taath as well as Odarous. One cannot be without the other." Balance may be within one's self, knowing one's true path, or it may happen in small ways every day in words and actions. Most dramatically, in a crisis great exertions may be required to restore Balance. Stanrar said, "For the most part the balance of the universe maintains itself, at times it needs aid. But if one tends not to see things in a balanced sense of seeing all sides, they miss part of the picture." This touches on another tenet of the Unknown, that of knowledge. Growth and knowledge allows one to see more of the whole and allows one to judge before acting - or not acting - in preservation of balance. The Human cleric Pai strives for non-interference and guidance in everything finding it's own true nature. "It is not balance to remove the fangs of a snake. A snake must be a snake."

Other than the mists and fogs surrounding the temple, it is rare to see a physical manifestation of Unknown. One example is a phantasmal tiger that has been seen around town. Also, Munger the Oog-ra had his shackles removed by a mist-like being which he followed, thinking to play with it, to the Shrine. Munger's understanding of Unknown, like that of his brethren, is of someone to walk beside on a path. He spoke of the kindness of his templemates and how he was welcomed immediately. Perhaps it has to do with their faith that those come who are meant to come, and that what happens is part of a larger equilibrium. They do not evangelize, they do not preach. They were gracious in speaking to me but at no time tried to pursuade me that their faith was the best faith. It gives them a compelling air of being at peace with themselves. Cieran summed it up thus: "There are all things... in the center lives my god."

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