Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Beastmen of the Haunted Forest
The tribesmen who live to the north, members of the most eastward-pushing Untash group, have some experience with the savages that live within the Haunted Forest and give it its name, as they sometimes come raiding onto their lands looking for captives in their dark sacrifices. While the Untash are themselves consummate raiders and cavalry, the savages of the Haunted Forest are surprisingly fast and hardy. While they can't sprint like a horse, they have the endurance of a wolf, and can run seemingly without stop.
The savages of the Haunted Forest are sometimes compared to the xenophobic changelings or woses of the Shifting Forest, but in reality, they have nothing in common. The changelings are the diluted descendents of werewolves, but savages of the Haunted Forest are some other kind of savage beastmen of uncertain provenance. Hairy, and with a stocky skeleton and thick muscles, the strength and endurance of the beastmen is beyond that of men, and comparable (if not even greater than) that of a Neanderthal. They are also tall. With grayish black or leathery brown, hairy (although not furry) skin, the savages have clawed feet. They have curled ibex-like horns that occasionally give them an almost goatish appearance, but in reality, their inhuman faces are more ape-like than goatlike--flat, with wide, spreading noses, and wide mouths full of sharp teeth, with molars that can crack open bones like a hyena. They wear little other than a kilt of roughly tanned (or even untanned) hide, sometimes that of a human. They savagely hunt and kill anything that enters their forest, and occasionally leave it in search of victims for their savage rites.
Sometimes called satyrs or thurses, but also known as beastmen, they have no formal contact with any civilized nation. Indeed, except among those who live on the borders of the forest, many believe them to be a myth or legend, and dispute their reality. This is, however, not the case. The thurses exist, and their evil may be more dire than many could believe. On their blood-stained sacrifice stones lie the lives of many innocents. More to the point, their dark god, who slumbers deep in the woods, is starting to slumber much more fitfully. An ancient, chthonic entity named Demogorgon, it is a being capable of perhaps unmaking the world as we know it, and the sacrifices of the thurses, its children, may wake it much sooner than many expect.