Seventy five years ago there was a movement within the nation of Quisaadi known as The Divide. When the voice of Zinnaeris reached through the void to speak with the ancient elven people there were two basic responses: embrace the cultural enlightenment the elves of that far off nation provided or reject it. Those that took the words of the Zinnaeris to heart migrated to the clearings that dotted the forest while those that rejected them dove deeper into the great forest in protest. A few stragglers refused to let this far off nation change them, but they were in the minority.
Kel’saris was born 20 years later in one of the deep villages. There he was taught the values of self sufficiency and self actualization. Only those that did not depend upon another to survive and could live in balance with the natural world could achieve their true potential and pass that on to their children. A community was not inherently bad, but when it grew so large as to shelter those that should not survive it had become a blight and a violation of the world that had given them life.
As all citizens of Ishi’il, Kel’saris was trained in a fighting style that emphasized both mobility and disabling or killing multiple targets at once. It was a technique that favored the lone man fighting the hordes and stepping away as the victor. The truly enlightened had no need to fight among themselves, but in self defense one must often defeat those that rely upon numbers to mask their inherent weakness.
It wasn’t enough.
She came in the night, silent and unseen. A sickly elven girl, her body malformed and her eyes alight with hatred and pain. It would be years before Kel’saris learned the truth, but this child was the ward of a powerful and wealthy elf from one of the sky cities. She had been born deformed, but unwilling to let her die her father had kept her alive, her life little more than that of a caged animal forced to exist against its very nature. Raging against a cruel world but unable to end her own life her hatred lead her down dark paths, her efforts coming to fruition when she was able to obtain a book of the most vile necromancy. Now, a creature neither dead nor alive, she lead an army of bound spirits, determined to see all that is living brought the same misery as she endured.
Against the ethereal undead spirits the defenders of Ishi’il could do nothing. Even as the blows of the warriors passed through the bodies of the attackers the tendrils of dark energy devoured their noble essence, leaving them shriveled husks. Retreat quickly became the only option, but the spirits were quick, striking down the elves from behind as they fled. Having been on patrol on the opposite side of the village Kel’saris was not part of the first wave of defenders to fall. In fact, by the time he reached the outskirts the slaughter was all but complete. It was there he found Vhor’al, a dear friend who continue to draw breath through sheer will alone. Vhor quickly explained what had happened before making a demand of Kel. Aci’kala and Tal’adi, Vhor’s wife and daughter, were not in the village that night. They had to be warned. Aci was a more than capable druid, but if they returned to the village they would die a pointless death. They had to know what had happened here. Unwilling to refuse the request of a dying friend Kel disappeared into the night.
Confronted with the death of her husband and the destruction of their home Aci’kala almost lost herself. It was only the soft cries of her daughter that enabled her hold on her sanity. With no way to fight back they agreed to disappear even deeper into the forest, hoping that the necromancer would not follow them while they tried to discover a way to avenge the fallen. Here, within a darkness that the rays of the Sun could rarely pierce, Aci taught Kel the ways of the predator, showing him how to shift his physical form and both survive in the hostile depths and also protect Tal. They were all that was left of the pack. And while they both held a hatred of the bloat of civilization, the bonds of family was a powerful one.
It was several months before the forest seemed to start speaking to them in their dreams, looking for champions to strike down the necromancer that continued to defile its depths. Taking heed of the visions the small family delved deeper into the forests than they had ever gone before, well beyond the boundaries where they could protect themselves should the woods turn against them. For days they traveled, seemingly under the protection of the spirits of nature themselves, until coming upon the greatest tree they had ever seen. As they stood within its all encompassing shadow a bolt of lighting tore through the canopy, striking the tree and splitting it down the center. And from the heart of the tree, it’s edges now alight with flame, rose two spears. Needing no further instruction Aci and Kel took the weapons for their own, knowing they were the advantage they needed to finally end this nightmare.
Bal Gaisos and its twin, Bul Gaisos, were infused with the power of the forest itself, and with these weapons Kel’Saris and Aci’kala were able to strike out against the monster that had destroyed their lives. The battle was quick and decisive, but the outcome in doubt until the final moments. But as Aci drew the fallen spirits to herself, Bul Gaisos finding purchase in their ethereal flesh, Kel struck from the shadows, Bal Gaisos driven through the heart of the child the earth should have reclaimed years ago. As her body slid off of the end of the spear the bound spirits were freed, dissipating back into the forest now that they were no longer shackled by the necromancer.
It has been a decade since that night, but Kel, Aci and Tal (who has shown talents as a shaman as she enters adulthood) have shown no signs of embracing the peace their vengeance brought them that night. Though another deep village would surely have taken them in, they have instead chosen to walk a different path. Their battle was successful, but they would be fools to believe the war was won. The sky cities still grow, their promises of protection too much for most elves to resist. And now it seems the once scattered nations have run out of lands to consume without encroaching upon that which has been claimed by another. The blight of civilization is expanding at a disheartening rate, and if it isn’t stopped the world itself may be wiped out.
And so they have turned to a new pack and a new goal. The ruins of an ancient society have surfaced, and if they can discover what destroyed that civilization maybe they can use that to destroy another. Such a goal is considered extreme and evil by those that have come to rely upon the false comforts of the masses. And so they masquerade as treasure hunters searching for wealth. Only those that are both sympathetic and trustworthy know the truth.