Travelling the shifting sands at night was always a dangerous task. Freshly recruited into the Ouzquin Dremorix army, young Fallava and Moruz followed the grizzled veteran before them. They were hunting a band of Latrani orcs, and the trail was fresh. The grey-haired Avaki raised two fingers in a sign of silence as the trio neared the top of the rise, and slowly, the man breached the top of the dune. 'Aaahh,' Avaki exhaled mournfully as he slung his Ouzala over his shoulders. Down the other side of the dune lay an oasis, and as Fallava and Moruz came forth they saw the reason for Avacti's sigh. The corpses of a dozen Ouzquin Dremorix lay in pieces across the bank of the water. Blood stained the sand. Without looking back to the young man and woman, Avaki spoke softly, 'Vauraki has fed well this night.'
A chill ran up Moruz's spine. He could have sworn he heard a wilting howl inside his head.
The idea of Vauraki the Dreamstalker began in the Ouzquin Dremorix culture. Vauraki was first depicted as a carving of crimson-stained obsidian; a jagged wolf of black, volcanic glass which stood alongside many carvings and figurines of Axtrami, who held the creature back with a leash of lightning. The figure was intended to represent the darker side of Axtrami; it represented death, the unexplained; the wierd of the world, and nightmares. The leash of lightning held by Axtrami represented not only the fact that Axtrami was able to hold these negative things at bay, but also that he could control and unleash these things at will - Axtrami is, of course, not renowned as a benevolant god.
Due to the nature of Axtrami, it was inevitable that once this figure of Vauraki was accepted into the culture, that the image would be given life.
The clouds boiled like water above the black stone plains, and Lazarut stumbled forth fearfully. The Ouzquin Dremorix man was dreaming - this he knew - but the feeling of this dream was... different; odd somehow. He felt like he was invading the privacy of someone's sanctum; and that he was about to witness something he was not supposed to. So Lazarut continued walking aimlessly, repeating over in his head, 'Wake up... Wake up Lazarut... Wake up.'
Suddenly the dream-world flashed crimson. An incredibly massive bolt of lightning - red in colour - seared down from the sky. It struck the stone some fifty yards away from Lazarut, and the Dremorix screamed in terror, falling backwards. Violent lashes of molten rock spewed forth into the sky - liquefied by the intensity of the lightning itself. Once the lava struck the stone once more it solidified into jagged shards of Obsidian. These shards scraped and tumbled across the ground as though guided by some unseen hand into the middle of the crater left by the bolt. Within seconds, a figure was formed, and Lazarut scrambled backwards with his hands and legs in fear. An obsidian wolf stood; streaked and marbled with crimson glass. It's eyes were orbs of swirling magma, and as it flexed itself, the tinkling of glass could be heard. The beast - Vauraki - let out a wilting howl to the heavens, the sound bringing thoughts to Lazarut's mind of glass crushing, men dying and children weeping.
In the next second, another bolt of Azure lightning streaked down from the clouds and where it struck, the cloaked figure of Axtrami stood. The being held out one hand and electricity shot out with a buzzing sound, striking the wolven horror in the neck. A leash of lightning was formed between Axtrami and the beast. The god had chained this creature to himself.
Finally, Axtrami noticed Lazarut lying some yards away, and the Ouzquin Dremorix man felt the surprise all around him - the sensation that Lazarut should not be here intensified to a painful note. A second passed where the two stared at each other - Vauraki snarling and pulling towards Lazarut against it's electric leash. And then Axtrami unclenched the fist around the leash.
Instantly the lightning winked away and the bestial terror frenzied, bounding and leaping towards Lazarut with the crunch of glass. The man screamed while Axtrami stood passively, observing. 'WAKE UP LAZARUT! WAKE UP! WAKEUPWAKEUP!' Lazarut screamed as he shuffled backwards. Vauraki lept at the man, it's jagged, obsidian maw closed around Lazarut's throat, and Lazarut sat bolt upright screeching in his bedroll.
Lazarut panted and wheezed - such a vivid dream! He could still feel the hot sting of the glass teeth around his neck. Lazarut raised a hand to his throat and his heart stood still - he could feel the trickle of a warm liquid on his neck, and felt something hard jutting into his skin. Lazarut plucked it out and raised the object. There, stained in his own blood, was a single, jagged obsidian tooth, streaked with crimson.
Birth of Vauraki
Experienced by Lazarut of Karikun
Belief and faith have unruly siblings; Imagination, and Superstition. Axtrami, the god of the Ouzquin Dremorix is in fact a creature which feeds on and is empowered by the very act of someone believing in it.
Vauraki was brought to life by the Ouzquin Dremorix people. Unlike the Vantin - the original, dead race which gave birth to Axtrami - the human Ouzquin Dremorix have a vivid sense of imagination and superstition; these alternate natures of of belief caused a split in Axtrami - something the god didn't anticipate - and created a creature which feeds on the superstition and fears of people the way Axtrami is empowered by faith and belief. Vauraki is effectively the Ouzquin Dremorix's incarnation of the Devil - Voodoo, the living dead, murder and all the horrors of the world are Vauraki's domain.
Like Axtrami, the bestial Vauraki once incarnated began only as visions within the minds and dreams of the Ouzquin Dremorix believers, and it was unable to manifest itself physically. However, Fear and superstition spreads much faster than faith, and in the last few decades, there has been many tales of hearing or seeing a glimpse of the red-and-black jagged wolf at sites of horror; Mass murders, haunted areas, Sacrificial sites and the like. It is not the Obsidian wolf itself that performs these horrific deeds, but it's presence is simply strongest at these areas.
Moruz stalked the graveyard, Ouzala held at the ready. The moon was full, and fear stained his heart. After five years of serving his people in the Ouzquin Dremorix army, the warrior had been trusted with a sensitive mission. This task was a great trial, for the dead had risen! Juxis, a deceased former general of the army who had turned traitor had risen once more as a fearsome Nantuin Xactaki - an obsidian revenant!
Abruptly a wail was heard just behind him, and Moruz turned, swinging his weapon just in time to deflect a clawed attack from the very beast he was stalking! The battle lasted some time; the undead beast was tough, and had grown claws of obsidian where it's fingers once were. However, Moruz's training and skill prevailed and luckily the Xactaki was young and weak. The warrior had managed to spear the creature under the chin, crushing the orb inside. The full moon oozed behind a cloud, casting a deep shadow on the world as the undead monster was slain.
Moruz shuddered, raising his eyes; he felt the gaze of something terrible and powerful on him. His eyes scanned the graveyard for some seconds before they rested on a mass which was perched atop a crumbling mausoleum - was that there before? In the dark, the Dremorix man could have sworn it was a wolf he saw; perhaps a statue carved in the shape of one...
Suddenly the mass moved; Moruz heard the crackling of glass grinding against itself as the wolven form stretched, and two eyes opened: Swirling orbs of magma! The warrior moaned in terror and took a step back at the sight of this, and the wolf-like mass crouched down in a pouncing position. It leapt forth towards Moruz, but mid-flight the moonlight breached the clouds and the shadow disintegrated into nothingness.
Moruz actually physically wretched at the fear he felt. Was it just his imagination? Did he really just see Vauraki, or was it all in his head? The vision of death still at the front of his thoughts, Moruz wasted no more time. He ran from the cursed graveyard and did not look back.
Rather than possessing intelligence and sentience, Vauraki is elemental in nature. It is a primal, bestial force. Vauraki is not something to be called on or reasoned with. Nevertheless, once every couple of generations or so, some upstart Ouzquin Dremorix get it in their heads that they can draw dark power from Vauraki by worshipping, summoning or attempting to control it. These people are sometimes found some time later wandering the desert, irreparably insane. More often, parts of their bodies are recovered strewn throughout the shifting sands. Vauraki does not want or care for worshippers, and drawing the eye of the beast can only ultimately lead to your demise.
In the Ouzquin Dremorix society, equal amounts of horror and respect are granted Vauraki. While it represents death and horror, it is still a shard of Axtrami, and to reject this part of Axtrami would be to reject a part of their god. All they can do is worship their god of glass and storms, and pray that he is kind enough to keep Vauraki chained on it's leash of lightning.
This sub is mainly for Lore and historical purposes, to enhance and further develop the Ouzquin Dremorix society. However, plots and encounters can be drawn from Vauraki.
* Minor encounter/Adding Flavor to an encounter; Travelling through the desert with an Ouzquin Dremorix guide the group encounters a band of undead creatures. After the beasts are slain, a horrific, sourceless howl can be heard in the distance. The Ouzquin Dremorix is visibly rattled by this sound and when asked, tells the tale of Vauraki.
* Tomb-run; flee the beast! : The party has raided an ancient tomb filled with occult, mummies and other such horrors. After clearing the final chamber and looting, they feel the world seem to teeter a bit off balance and their torches dim, as though something -wrong- were near. Suddenly, the Obsidian Wolf appears, forming out of the shadows. The group has no hope with fighting this creature as any pieces shattered or broken from it reform quickly; all they can do is run! They must make it out through all the passages they have been through while the horror chases them. Any traps left unsprung may aid them in slowing the beast down, as well as closing doors or collapsing pillars in the path. Once they make it out into the sun or moonlight, Vauraki will pounce out, and then disintegrate into nothing as it touches the light.
And so on.
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? Responses (10)
I really like this sub, Shadoweagle. I share the same thoughts for the origins of divine figures from people's beliefs in game worlds.
The only downside is the dumbing down and removing any real personalty from Vauraki as this limits its use somewhat. Something unintelligent cannot in my opinion, be truly evil.
Thanks val. It isnt evil, per se. Like Axtrami it is defined by how the ouzquin dremorix believe in it. As they say; good and evil are man-made ideals :)
while it represents all the 'evil' ideas n the world, Vauraki itself is true neutrality - it is only doing what it was born to do.
I like this submission but can't find the vote button on IE or Firefox.
At last I get to vote.
Some heady myth-making here. Good stuff! Evocative imagery of a crimson-stained obsidian wolf! Some nice prose.
I'm curious regarding the paragraph that begins...'Rather than possessing intelligence and sentience, Vauraki is elemental in nature. It is a primal, bestial force....'
The Ozquin Dremorix gave birth to the Vauraki based on faith-and-belief 'projection'. If enough believe strongly...it comes to be. So far so good. When the occasional 'upstart' Ouzquin Dremorix attempts to summon/control Vauraki, do they understand that it is a 'primal, uncaring, elemental entity', or do they have some idea that they themselves created it, and thus *can* potentially worship/control it?
If that question doesn't make sense, fair enough, we'll move on :p
I'll close with...yet another great addition to the world of Ouzquin Dremorix!
Those 'upstart' Quinnish folk are all deluded into believing that they are 'special', or that they have made the right precautions, or that they are powerful enough to overcome Vauraki, or that they can convince Vauraki to conform to them. They are all wrong. Their own hightened sense of self-worth is their own undoing. Vauraki is unbiased when it comes to it's slaughter of such people.
Although it's not something that Axtrami tries to hide, the average Ouzquin Dremorix does not know or realize that Axtrami's (and Vauraki's) power is based on their belief. They just believe him to be a god, always there regardless. Some OD are more enlightened to the fact though.
It is possible that one of these enlightened people try to summon Vauraki with this thought in mind, but the overall belief and fear of the Ouzquin Dremorix society as a whole will far override one person's attempt at believing they can control him.
Bareka, The OD home city will come soon!
Blood-thirsty obsidian dream wolf things are always brilliant. How could you not, with that many adjectives? Anyways, according to the rules given, it would seem natural for the Storm God' violent side to emerge, and one could argue that a person's violent side is bestial, wolflike, and thus the Vauraki is created. Wicked good work, SE.
This is an exceptional idea. I love those kinds of primal forces. I also love the the relationship between belief and power. Once again, an excellent addition to the intriguing Ouzquin Dremorix.
Hmm, I must have missed this one. Goodness, I'll probably end up reading all of these before the PBP ends. Ehm, right, the sub itself; Lots of nice lore, I would say that even if this being isn't really evil, it makes sense given the nature of the desert and the OD's culture. Coyote's snatching babies and what not, so a dog shaped being fits very well.