ANNOUNCING THE WINNERS: Haunted Halloween Event
ANNOUNCING THE WINNERS
Category: Clever Costume
Category: Spooky Costume
Category: Spooky Costume
Category: Clever costume
Category: Clever costume
Category: Clever Costume
Entry: Stufferton's revenge - He stole my wand
Category: Pet Costume
Entry: Battle Snail
Category: Pet Costumes
Entry: Kitty Cosplay with Morgie and Rhae
Category: Pet Costume
Entry: Lizard Wizard
Entry: Children’s fables
The hands of Calamity were brushing through the Underrealm once more. The year is 1287 Post Calamity and the Tulnar face a plague of disappearances. 109 children missing and only 14 bodies found. Some with blood still oozing from bite wounds; others impaled on stalagmites.
The Council of Representatives, or the Council, is a group of leaders elected by the Tulnar to represent the interests of the four original races and the hundreds of ethnic groups within the Underrealm. They’re the unifying factor of the diverse Tulnar people.
The Tulnar had taken to story-telling as a way to evade the ennui of the Underrealm. Slowly, stories morphed into the carriers of their history and the tools of teaching the young. Only one is trusted with the responsibility of educating the youth of life’s dangers - the Chief Story Teller, Fable. He’s a cottontail bard with a voice deep and passionate as the flame in a smelter’s hearth and an affinity for the Bhusera – Underrealm cats with crystalline shells and pools of opaque amber for eyes. In particular one Bhusera had been his companion since childhood, always accompanying him on his travels throughout the Underrealm.
Unyoris, the ursine village, is the first stop on Fable’s journey to warn the Tulnar youth. The children are collected in a dark chamber, excited to hear his stories.
“Children come near. Lend me your ear. Listen well as we retell the story of how the Calamity befell,” Fable proclaims to the children’s cheers. He conjures orbs of light that adopt the form of people and buildings, enacting his tale.
“We once lived on the land above where sunlight kissed our ancestors’ skin. But then the Calamity struck. Corruption spread across the land,” Fable pinches the light and blackness seeps out contorting into deformed creatures and crumbling buildings. “The eight other races fled to Sanctum, while we sought shelter in the Underrealm. We were safe.” He paused, observing each child, their eyes wide and mouths agape.
“Or so we thought.
“A century and a half ago the hundred year rain began to fall. Water touched by the Calamity bore through the rock and formed a lake here in the Underrealm. Those who drank from it were snared in catastrophe’s grasp. The tainted came to be called the People of the Rain. The children’s bodies were too weak to bear the Calamity’s burden and wilted, while the adults fell under a curse. Some grew mad and their hysteria drove them into wild Bhusera dens. Their corpses were picked clean. Others took to the knife. Families were slaughtered and hung in village centres. Many didn’t show signs of corruption until years after the lake dried to bone. One woman, who gave birth to her first child thirty years later, upon holding her new-born baby, clawed his right eye out before she could be restrained and incarcerated with the tainted.” The light forms a baby’s head. A hand creeps towards the face and punctures the eye. As it pulls away scarlet light spills onto the ground and the eye deflates, sliding off the fingers onto the floor. The children scream.
“Now we fear that another who was touched by the Rain may be on the loose. Children have been vanishing like smoke. We’ve been finding their bodies…” Fable casts the light so that mirror images of the children before him are strewn about the room, marred by bite wounds or pierced by hooks in the walls.
“There’s danger in this world. You need to know who you can trust, and who you can’t. For making the mistake once can cost you your life.” At this Fable scratches the chin of his Bhusera. It smiles, revealing the absence of one of its canines. He casts the light to fill the room.
“Children, tell me what you have learned today,” Fable opens his arms with a flourish. They begin squeaking inaudible replies. With a sluggish crescendo they answer, “The world’s not safe! Don’t go near wild animals! Only speak to those you trust!” The last one caught Fable’s attention, “Yes. Now who can you trust?” The children pipe up immediately, some colour returning to their cheeks, “Mommy and Daddy! The village chiefs! The Council members!”
“Good choice,” Fable draws the words out as a smile etches onto his face. He casts a spell with a wave of his hand. From the ground behind the children rises a mimic of each and every child. In his mind he issues the command ‘go home, little children.’ Before the children can react, the mimics leave and place a magic seal on the door. Fable is not only a bard, but a summoner. From his cloak he pulls a dagger made from his Bhusera’s canine. With a single stroke he combs the locks from his right eye, uncovering the scars that mark a gouged socket. Scars that were the first and final mark of the only family he ever had. A dagger wrought from the tooth of the only friend he ever had. The dagger that carved the last moments of 109 young lives.
He’d watched the children throughout his performance and the mimics would behave just as the children would. In three days the mimics would dissipate into obscurity, awaiting their rematerialisation from beneath the summoner’s veil. By then his visit to Unyoris would be but a memory, and Fable would have attended two more villages.
No one realised that through the water of the womb Calamity had also tainted those born to the People of the Rain.
<p><b>2nd Place </b></p>
Entry: The Gnawing
In his torn and dirty clothing, a man from the gallows walks the dark alleys covered in dirt and trash. His stomach growling and his mind desperately holding on haunted from stories. In the alley he picks up a dirty letter with specks of blood closed with an unknown seal. A seal which promises riches to his eyes as he greedily opens it, seems like reading lessons in the abbey finally paid off.
“Inquisitio sacra de rebus contra naturam Gradus: A
After following the incidents of sudden outbursts of violence only ended by the afflicted deaths I have found this information out. It shall be delivered only to the generals of the order and higher. It should be only read by one person and treated carefully.
Corruption it is the horrible thing that drove us from Verra. The creator of behemoths equipped with maiming trunks of arms easily tearing a man in half teeth strong enough to maim any knight no matter how thick the Armor.
Now these things might not be here on the top with us, but some say the beauty of this place has lulled us into a false sense of security. Too late they say, too late did we escape.
These men with their broken lips twisting in unimaginable horror. Their eyes blinded by their own hands as they tried to carve the knowledge out their skulls, though they all know it will stick in there forever haunting them with every human they see.
They whisper words seemingly alluring and promising of knowledge but in truth dripping with poison. Words telling us who have made the mistake to listen, like I, that there is something hidden much deeper, deeper than any dwarf could ever dig.
It doesn’t matter how virtues you are or which god you follow the corruption doesn’t care and no gods can save you from it not once it is inside. Deep in your being where your mind can’t look waiting patiently.
Maybe therefore these men are trying to claw it out, or better scoop it out like butter cream from a pot. They don’t want to know that no matter what they will do it could grab them at any time, and the thought of it is gnawing on their frail minds till they cannot take it anymore.
It certainly seems so to me as I can feel my nails scratching against my skin, even when I try to stop it.
These seem to be the first signs of this occurrence now called “the gnawing” by us agents whom have been given the order to investigate this occurrence. The contagiousness of this phenomenon however seems to not be bound to being thought by someone else who has contracted it. Rare but still occurring, the knowledge can simply seep into your being as if the waiting demon inside had chosen to reveal its ugly face to you laughing as you digest what you have learned.
The start of the investigation seems to be the end of the affliction, the person giving into the corruption inside.
People maiming others with no regard to who it is, I had seen it myself a mother striking down her own son with a meat cleaver severing the head from the shoulders after hacking on it several times, the blood still gushing out of the kids mouth foamy and bubbling over red lips.
Though the most horrifying is not their acts of bloodshed. It is their smiles and laughter their faces. Twisted in unnatural ways grinning wildly at their gruesome tasks only stopped by death. These things will haunt me for the rest of my short life as I suspect my own life to take no different turn now that I have contracted it.
The current solution to burn the afflicted areas seems ineffective and no other cure has been found in my search.
To make out if a crime stands in relation with the phenomenon it has been proven as accurate to check for signs of self-harm. The entire body can be used to ease the pain of gnawing and I have even witnessed people pulling off their own bit by bit.
It is clear, that this letter needs to be classified, I do not even want to imagine the horror of this knowledge spreading by peasant mouth, the ensuing damages would be enough to shake our empire. Sadly, I have to no solution to this problem and I am highly worried about what opening the gates to the origin of the corruption will do this phenomenon.
I have wasted enough time after delivering this letter I will have to subdue myself the pain in my head is growing ever stronger and the scraping of my nails on my bone can only keep it away for so long.
Wallerick Porst von Rothoehen Investigator“
He finishes reading. A sharp pain in his right shoulder. He freezes. Fingers are digging into his flesh. He turns his head in an attempt to glimpse his assailant. A jaw. Blood-soaked teeth. A snap. Everything turns to black.
As his consciousness fades the last thing coming to his ears is laughter
but not from outside, from inside.