Phaeree Descriptions


Giant, Ettin


Our magick portal to the Phaeree realm opens now to the bright sunlight of the exterior world. To our surprise, we see a pair of dark-skinned figures regarding us from thirty feet away. Slight of build, with pointed ears and high, arched eyebrows, their elven features immediately identify them as members of the Drow race.

The two of them, a male and a female, wear clothes of tightly meshed, silk-like material, and each bears a backpack. They are armed with longsword, dagger, and crossbow. The male smiles and spreads his arms magnanimously.

"Well met," he says. "I am Serimak, and this is my companion Coranthia. We are advance scouts," he says with an unabashed grin.

The sages' tomes report that Drow are rarely seen in groups numbering less than a dozen, so we may assume that he is telling the truth. She reaches gracefully and scratches the back of her neck, her lips forming a seductive little smile. He tosses off his pack and sits where he is. Pulling his feet up under himself in a cross-legged fashion, he leans back on his palms in the grass. She shrugs and drops down beside him, hugging her knees to her chest and placing her long chin on her knees.

He says, "Please, talk with us a while. We have just finished a march, and our feet are weary. I've seen so few humans in my time; I would love to learn more about your people. Tell us, who are you, and where are you from?"

She cocks her head and grins at our caution, eyeing us inquisitively. "What's the matter, cait sith got your tongue?"

We stammer a bit, and tell them a little about ourselves... but only a little, for we are still suspicious of beings that have always been represented as one of the consummate evils of the dark underworld

When we ask what they are doing on the surface world of Phaeree, they both laugh. "Silly people, we dark elves dwell throughout the realms. The majority of our race prefer the interior world, though, for there our keen darksight is a definite advantage, and there are plenty who serve us without hesitation."

"Frankly, we're not surprised that your legends have us painted as Evil. After all, most of you only know of us from what our pale-skinned cousins tell." They grin at each other. "We are, after all, a cultured people -- skilled in the arts of magick, poetry, religion; and capable fighters, too."

And then, without proper thought, one of us makes the mistake of comparing them to the Seelie. A grim scowl hardens his face into an obsidian mask, and his eyes narrow.

"Never, ever, compare us with those ignorant faeries. Their ways are not our ways, and we hate them and all their ilk"

Seeming to ignore him, she fixes us with a blank stare, and then smiles. Spreading her arms, her back stiffens, and she says, "Would you like to hear an example of our culture? I shall sing for you a song of our homelands in the Interior."

Without waiting for an answer, she begins singing in a lilting, melodic voice. Almost too late, we understand what it is that she's doing. As they said, Drow are poetic, and have full command of Spellsongs. Her attempt to lull us into passivity would have given them the tactical advantage...

Uncrossing his legs, he slowly rises to his feet and focuses his malign gaze on us. Cold waves of terror begin to wash over us, freezing us in place. She continues her song as she stands up beside him. They exchange a knowing glance, and we see them draw their weapons and sprint for our location. Without hesitation, we drop the veil.

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Giant, Ettin

The foggy shrouds of our portal clear away to reveal a dusky, rocky cave mouth. The darkness is intense here, but somewhere far above we sense the dull purplish glow of the interior 'sun' of the Goblinrealms. In addition to the dim light filtering through the portal, we also become aware of some foul-smelling odor from nearby.

With a scuffling sound, a shadowy figure rounds the rocky boulders surrounding the entrance, and suddenly we are face to face with a huge, two-headed humanoid not twenty yards away.

It seems as surprised as we. In rapid succession, the two heads look from us to each other several times, alternately squinting and leering at us before turning back. With an exchange of growling words between the two, followed by a pair of simultaneous grunts, the two heads finally turn back in our direction to fix us with glares from both pairs of the creature's deep-set beady eyes.

Yes, my friends, this is an Ettin -- one of the Goblin races of giants. They are ugly and stupid, but also cunning and capable of wielding Heka. Often found in Subterranean Phaeree, they mostly dwell in caverns on the fringes of the Interior world. They are almost always solitary, luckily for us.

As the thing starts to take a cautious, measured step towards the portal, it stops abruptly. It has sensed the iron we bear. Yes, it is wise for you to draw your swords, for Ettins -- like many Phaeree dwellers -- are very susceptible to the cold iron of Aerth. Again its heads swivel back toward each other, as if to question itself on whether we are worth the risk.

One hand begins a gesture, and we see the eyes roll back in the head on the left. The other head orients on us, and the hand on the same side draws a large dagger, drawing back as if to throw. Again we close the portal scarcely seconds before the deadly combination attack can be completed!

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As we open the portal to our next sight of Phaeree, it seems as though a tumultuous storm rages beyond the mists. As they clear, however, the sounds become more sharp and distinct. We soon realize that we are viewing a great battle.

From atop a small bluff we look down upon a battlefield, seething with hordes of misshapen humanoids. The figures are similar, but we can make out two separate standards carried through the fray. With a start, we realize that the sight we are witnessing is that of two goblin armies engaged in mortal combat.

Under the light of the purplish inner sun, these ghastly long-limbed beasts appear hideous. Fangs biting and blades chopping, they hew mercilessly at each other. They are completely engrossed in their warfare, with no regard to us. The two forces number nearly a thousand between them. They are armed with all manner of weapons: axes, swords, spears, and clubs. And many times they use no weapons at all in close combat, instead tearing and biting at each other like the beasts they are. The noise from below is horrible -- snarling, screaming, and howling they rush back and forth, like huge waves in an ocean.

Here and there we note there are shamans among them, blasting each other with their vile magicks, each seeking to tilt the balance to their side. One of every score of their number seem so empowered, and the streaking bursts of Heka are awesome in frequency.

With a start, we remember that each individual present is able to detect magick, and were they to pause momentarily and glance in our direction, they would know us to be here. That terrible thought sinks home, and though the fierce combat is fascinating, we know we must break the connection to the other world before we are noticed.



[Back to Index] Our final journey to Phaeree opens upon a bright moonwashed tableau. In the distance we see a small walled city. We can smell the campfires, and see the glow of lights from within. We peer in curiosity at the heavily defended settlement, for the surrounding land appears untouched by war.

On the near side of the city we catch a faint glimpse of a sword's flash in the moonlight. Watching patiently, we see stealthy movements, and soon, when our eyes have adjusted, we can make out the shapes of a half dozen figures moving toward the city in the near-darkness.

Listening carefully, we hear guttural whispers, and we recognize the long-armed humanoids for orcs. This is, in fact, a small raiding party intent on stealing into the city. Similar to their cousins the goblins, orcs are primitive in nature, though this provides them with heightened senses -- keen smell and excellent night vision in particular. We must be extremely careful, for any slight shift in the wind or sudden move on our part will alert them to our presence.

We note that in addition to their thick greasy hides, they wear a varied collection of leather armor. For weapons they bear clubs and spears, and a few possess axes and swords. We know these weapons must be of Phaeree make, for orcs -- like others of this world -- are highly susceptible to iron.

As they skirt the ramparts, we lose sight of them temporarily. Soon enough, though, we hear the hue and cry of the city's guardsmen as the bandits are detected beyond the wall. The shouts that rise from within the walls are soon answered by others, and within moments we hear the clash of arms. We soon see the orcs retreating at a rapid pace in our direction. In their arms they carry sacks and loose items liberated from the city. Though these creatures are somewhat stupid, their keen night senses make them successful at hit-and-run tactics.

One of them stops short, shocked, and points in our direction. As they were running this way, it is easy for them to note our presence. Now they are torn... do they confront us, or turn and face their pursuers? With a grunt and a motion, the leader urges the bandits along at a tangent, and they follow him into the thick brush. Not wanting to be mistaken for the raiders, we close the portal, just as the guards from the city come into view.

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Once again we watch in anticipation as the portal is activated. This time, however, the mists seem to resist us, becoming sluggish and dark. When finally they part, the effect is more like that of a thick black cloud being sucked inward, as the next tableau is revealed.

The sight is unsettling -- a broad dark plain of cracked stone, lit by a strange purplish glow. All at once we realize that we have a glimpse of the interior world of Phaeree, lit by the plum-colored darkling sun of the goblinrealms. Far away through the gloom we see the ground rise up into a great crag of ebon stone, and atop the peak sits a massive, brooding castle of the same material. And wheeling about the towers are a number of ebon-hued creatures, circling on leathery wings.

As we peer anxiously at the huge structure, we can pick out more details. The main entrance to the stronghold lies through a pair of wide gates, and even as we watch, they begin to slowly slide open. What follows next fills us with cold waves of dread, for issuing forth from the castle is a veritable army of black-garbed humans. Some are afoot, but many are mounted on great, misshapen dog-like beasts -- Yeth. This is the host of the Slaugh, and they are on the march. Knowing that the distance between us is no shield against these evil mages, we willingly close the portal as quickly as possible!

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The portal opens, once again showing the inner world of Phaeree. In the distance, we can see a small band of Slaugh hunting something. Half their number are mounted on great and misshapen dog-like beasts, and all are running with at least a dozen more of the fearsome creatures.

Suddenly, those running free take to the air! It seems as if they are hunting a flyer of some sort, although we cannot discern exactly what through the portal. The Yeth are snarling and barking in a most fearsome manner. Within a few minutes, they bring whatever they were hunting to earth, for they pursue it and gather around it. Only then do we see that it was a Pegasus.

We close the portal upon the view of the foul creatures savaging the once-proud creature, sickened by the sight.

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