Nargyle’s Haunt

Nanawat Nargyle, also known as the Madman of Izmus, Nanawat the Insomniac, and Never-nods Nargyle, got lost in Grimly Wood.

Long ago, in the small, bordering fiefdom of Izmus, the scholar Nanawat Nargyle awoke from a fevered sleep to the voices of spirits, voices that began coming to him every night from the deep of Grimly Wood. Voices, he said, sang to him, cooing at the border of his consciousness, making strange demands. For years, Nanawat raged against the voices, but each passing moon their dark and twisted poetry encroached on his sanity, until at last he left his tower with nothing but his robes and sandaled feet, to finally squelch the voices once and for all.

Dirty and confused, he stumbled down the Middle-Route Run, never stopping to drink, never sleeping a wink. Never heeding the warnings of wanderers who told him not to enter Grimly Wood, where the trees were haunted and a thick blanket of old fog lay over the woods like dirt over a coffin.

Nanawat grimaced as the voices beckoned, and felt his insides curling, his hair greying. From the fog the speaker called him. Amidst the wretched trees, black with decay, an impenetrable gloom rolled over Nanawat’s feet. Milky vapour climbed up his shuddering legs and crooked spine; he felt something diddling his fingertips, so real but not at all. Engulfed by the fog, Nanawat Nargyle, Madman of Izmus cried, “Let alone my waking mind! Let me sleep! Let me sleep!” And in the blinding murk of whirling gloom the gloom itself seemed to reply. “No more sleep,” it calmly said, “No. Never. None again.”