The Grand Moot Of The Howlers

I am the Were-bear, Guurhal, and I am called The Mighty.

From the time I made my pilgrimage south from my homeland in the frozen north, to tend to an ancient shrine of my Goddess, the Ruby Sorceress, I have been blessed with a life that shall not taste a natural death from the winds of time and the Ages. Long since have I watched the world from my verdant throne, deep in the Forest of the Moon, caring not for the politics of men and elves, nor for the world beyond our borders. This story, however, is about a time when the goings-on in my woods threatened to spill out into the world, and to bring undue attention upon us…

Some three-hundred years after the Tanar'ri had been struck from this world by the sacrifice of my Brother, those who made the Last Stand, Aurakkis and the Children of Bahamut, another army was brewing in the shadows. Unlike the demons spawned from the Blackest of Heart, this army was wily and largely successful at keeping itself hidden from the world. Among the many nations that arose after the fall of Aurak, it was widely whispered that any who entered the Forest of the Moon would never emerge. None among them, save those with Sight or Magic, could know of the threat that was growing in this place, this sanctuary that I had adopted as my guardianship.

The Howlers were ever-plentiful both in their depravity, and their numbers. As the twisted spawn of Erythnul, The Many, they were always thrown to chaos, strife, slaughter and malice. From the time that I had begun my vigil in The Forest, I had always thought of my sworn enemies as undisciplined, utterly driven by a lust for blood, and otherwise incapable of any organized effort against me, or the world at large. It became known to me, eventually, that I was gravely mistaken in my estimation of their ways.

I can remember it cleary, that long night, when a half-elven woman, bloodied and savaged, dragged herself into our camp, having found her way through the living maze of The Forest by some blind luck, or perhaps divine intervention. She had clearly been the target of a Howler hunting-pack, and so it came as no great surprise to us that when she sighted human-looking beings around a seemingly civilized camp, she cried out for aid and pleaded for medicine, rather than attempting to remain hidden. We took her in after finding no scent of evil upon her, save what had been done to her. I did personally attend her for a time, and was vexed in my heart to hear her story, for it belied a greater wickedness in our woods than I had dreamt possible.

She, Temidrael, claimed to have entered The Forest in search of an old druid. Her people, the Elves of Endrel, had sent her forth to find this man in the hopes he could attend to some menace that had invaded their forest, toxifying the land and even the air around its lair. She whispered of a horror, a Great Wyrm, green both in color and in envy at the lands of the elven-folk. While I never did make it my place to take the elven lands into consideration, hearing of such a terrible sin against any forest did pain me deeply. And so I listened equally deeply, as the woman spoke of abominations closer to my own home.

She explained that upon entering the Forest of my Goddess, she had been quickly set upon by a ravenous pack of werewolves, and, after being blooded and brought near the point of death, had been dragged by her feet to one of their infernal lairs. I nodded, knowing all too well that the Howlers engaged in such behavior, and I praised her for what must have been a valiant escape; after all, She was only the second visitor to my Forest that had ever escaped the Howlers after being captured in such a fashion. She then told me something that sent daggers of ice through my heart and even unto my soul.

A leader had arisen among them. An Alpha-Male, one who brought an order to their chaos and a cruel intelligence to their wild and wanton blood-lust. She met him, this creature who called himself Karrd Blightwreaker, there at the Howler lair. Such was his power among his kind that a gathering surrounded him unlike any I had ever seen with my own eyes. I would not have believed this woman had I not the Scent, for I could smell no lie upon her even though my reason told me that what she claimed could not be! She said they numbered no less than six-thousand strong, and that their baleful howls were so loud, and in such a number, that they threatened to split her ears and steal her hearing forever.

My heart thundered in fear as I listened on, for this Karrd had spoken of open war against the fledgeling Nations. He proposed to mobilize all of the Howlers into an army, to move them out of the Forest and into the cities of Men, crushing the world in the name of The Many. The more Temidrael spoke about this creature, the more the horrid realization struck me —this could be no Howler, this Karrd. He must be a Magus in disguise, and one of great power and persuasion to conceal even his Scent from their kind. Tamidrael spoke of a light in his eyes, and a strange weaving of his clawed hands, as he spoke forth and enthralled the masses of the Howlers, bringing them all under his sway. This was the Foulest news indeed!

I could not stand idly by while some outside force brought the strength of Order to the evil of the Howlers!

So it was that my clan and I left our camp that day, to find this Grand Moot, and rid the Forest of this "Karrd's" influence, even if it meant our lives…

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