Keester Snaps

Keester Snaps | Rickety Stitch

Keester Snaps always bite. They are hostile, horned beetles that are unwanted in almost every culture, kingdom, and continent of the known world--but for one, tiny exception. Keester Snaps are utilized as steeds, beasts of labor, and watch dogs by Boggles. Indeed, what better way to keep a shipment of Troll Dung safe than on the back of an infuriatingly nippy Keester Snap?

Keester Snap taming has been passed down amongst Boggles for generations. The first ‘Snappers’ were wrangled by Chim ‘Knuckle-Poker’ Shnop, famed Insect Wrangler and coincidental Slayer of the dread Goblin, Foogar the Stepper-onner. Chim wove his lassos out of honey weed, not only to lure in Keester Snaps with the delicious scent, but also to bind them with sticky strands. Once wrangled, conditioning is more for the wrangler than the wranglee, as it takes a fair amount of time for a Boggle rump to firm up with calluses in order to deflect the searing pain of a Keester Snap snap. But that’s a small price to pay for the protection and mobility that Keester Snaps provide forest Boggle communities. And besides, Keester Snap handler fatalities only account for 19% of premature Boggle deaths (only 10% of Boggle deaths are from natural causes, anyway.)

Warden of the Wood

The choosing of a Warden of the Wood is an important thing, but not one whose methods are easily understood. There are no elder councils or arduous labors that mark a Warden. Instead, there is a strong spiritual pull emanated from the woods themselves.

As with all things, the forests of Eem have spirits, which drive the hidden purpose of being that guides every action and reaction within the marvelous enigma of life. Forest spirits come in many shapes and forms, from wisps of glowing lights that dance through the boughs of old trees, to slow moving dewy drops, touched by the earth’s will to slake the thirst of flowers.

Spirits have names as well. For instance, Ump the Spirit of the Stump who dreamed of a Warden to come at last to Grimly Wood and rid him of the nibbly mice, which would hollow him out so fiercely that a stiff downpour almost drowned him. So Ump wished and hoped and wished and dreamed, and lo there came the Warden of the Wood, with her magenta hair and heavy hooves to deliver him from nibbles.

Wardens are gifted with a sense for the state of natural things. They are not wizards or mystics, they are bearers of the will of the Spirits, and simply grasp the ballet of the wilderness, as aptly as a falcon would sense the subtleties of the wind.

War of the Shimmering Shar

The War of the Shimmering Shar was a conflict fought between the Shryms of Shrym and the Dweorgs of Shar lead by Ogo the Beardless. The war began when a Dweorg surveyor accidentally drained the Shimmer, a vast underground water network and important water supply for the under-desert land of Shrym. However, there is much speculation whether or not the draining was an accident at all.

Ogo the Beardless, Dweorg chieftain of the Shar was a greedy, monger of gems and riches, but more than that, he was obsessed with what unknown wealth could be discovered in the darkest pits of Shar. And so, with the ringing of the Dweorg bells, Ogo commanded a great expedition into the deep. Thousands descended, building makeshift frontier camps out of the stalks of winnow shrooms and hollowed out stalagmites. Tunnel routes, depth chutes, and ladder matrixes criss-crossed and spiraled deeper and deeper until the molten iron seas of Eem’s core lit their newly discovered chambers and rolled like white-hot waves. Ogo was pleased, but there were no riches to be had, only the inexhaustible iron sea, the ultimate deposit of raw material for sale to Boggart smithies.

A city was built at the lip of the largest chasm overlooking the molten core. The city was called Shar’s Bottom and it was mined for many years until the day word spread that on the easternmost edge of the molten sea, a great vortex spun into a mysterious chamber, leading deeper still. The Dweorgs greedily devised a plan to cool the molten sea and venture down–and so began the draining of the Shimmer.

None alive know how it was done, but the Dweorgs devised boring machines that pricked the stony bed beneath the Shimmer and diverted the massive water flow into the core. Shrym took no notice for years, until there was a sudden and terrible cave-in which flooded the molten core, and produced such a force of steam that Shar’s Bottom was blasted from the surface of the rocks. Ogo was among the survivors of the calamity and wasted no time to explore the rapidly cooled vortex which he proudly called Ogo’s Portal.

Ogo delved and descended, the walls of the hole still smoking. The other Dwoergs in his troupe pleaded to stop, but Ogo would not. The heat began to rise again, at which point Ogo earned his namesake as the glow of the molten sea singed his face and arms free of hair. The temperature rose so rapidly that his lonely, golden ring dangling from his flared nostrils drooped, but Ogo would not stop. Now alone, but for a single scribe, Ogo stepped over the heat-exhausted corpses of his venturing band and towards what looked to be a white archway, seemingly carved by sentient hands. Glyphs were carved on it. The markings hummed at his approach, great vibrating letters of a language he could not understand. Words drummed from gleaming pylons. What wonders had Ogo found? At this point the scribe clamored in fear of the mysterious gate, climbing madly back to the rim of iron sea. Red veins of molten iron glowed, pulsing like veins along the cave walls. The scribe raced to the top, navigating the drooping ladders and lifts. The scribe’s feet were black with burns, his hands and feet raw and searing with pain. At last, at the top, he was assisted by worrisome Dweorgs who expected the molten sea to break free of the temporarily hardened crust. And just as the erupting iron burst, and liquid fire rushed from the blistering face of the deep, a god-like trumpet sounded from Ogo’s Portal and the vortex collapsed upon itself.

In the following days Dweorgs faced the rage of Shrym in the form of clattering bombards, booming across the Underlands, showering Dweorg nomadic camps with tumbling rocks and cave ins. The Dweorgs retaliated, marshaling grand raiding parties, their bells ringing and clanging into the many corners of the underworld. The War spread throughout the Underlands, rising from the depths of Shar.

Boggarts and Goblins were forced to build defenses themselves, walling and bricking up profitable tunnels like the Middle-Route Maw, until a peace could be brokered. And soon a peace was.

From his black cave, Gargamug the Grumpus, one of the last dragons in Eem lurched from his bed to scold the warring civilizations. For Gargamug was a tired dragon, a wyrm of great age who longed for quiet and would have no more racket of any sort, in any part of the world beneath. And so he came with his woolly hide and gleaming eyes and thundering tail and feet, roaring for a cease to hostilities. It has been said that a quarter of Shrym wet themselves when Gargamug came and that Dweorgs did not mine for two years following the dragon’s demands.

Since the end of the War of the Shimmering Shar, Shrym and the Dweorgs have made amends, even trade and share loose relations. Though none on either side would admit to trusting the other, there are far more pressing matters in the Underlands of Eem that demand their attentions.