The Tricks of Impdom

Imps must always have their tricks. This core mantra is a cultural cornerstone for imps and their sneaky, malign magic. Imps, being naturally tricky creatures possess a tuned mastery of lesser magic–a magic that is born of their blood and most often leveraged as a heightened defense mechanism against both enemies and predators. Imp tricks are as natural as venom to snakes, poison to toads, and the armored shells of tortoises.

Imp tricks frequently surface in dire situations wherein an Imp may find themselves at the mercy of a cruel master or bound for the belly of a hungry beast. Or they can sometimes be activated through some silly, esoteric bodily gesture unique to the individual. Though the physical nature of these tricks varies wildly, from simple disguises to sudden flashes of uncanny light, Imps are not considered to be of any wizardly importance and their marvels are not by any stretch of the imagination linked to the wonders of sorcery. After all, most Imp tricks can be dispelled with a simple sneeze.

Wyrd Womps

Womps, or Wyrd Womps are enormous, six legged beasts that live lethargic lives, half-buried in the cool mud of bogs and swamps throughout Eem’s western hemisphere. Beneath the mud, their wide jaws are rowed with flat, squared teeth and gnash at the rocks and roots of their soggy burrows, rooting for worms and grubs slumbering beneath the surface.

Womp legs are as stout as tree trunks and host cloven, hooked hooves for deft digging despite their bulk. Their blue-green hides are ten inches thick, and are nearly impervious to spears, which make Womps a poor game animal, but particularly desirable beasts of burden for those willing to invest the time and energy to wrest them from their homes.

The word Womp comes from an infrequently spoken Boggle dialect. The word derives from the down-note tuba sound a Womp makes when it lurches through the mud. Coincidentally “Womp” is also a Goblin term for squishing, which may have very likely been the last thing a Boggle might here before being stepped on by one of these gentle giants.

Yorn’s Hold

yorns_hold

The disappearance of Yorn’s Hold is ghost story. Strange. Unsettling. And bound to keep folk guesses for a hundred years.

The exact location of the once mighty sister-fortress to Castle Lake was completely lost. One might ask how massive amalgamation of stone and mortar can be lost, or how even the geography of a place can be so changed that no remnant of it exists. And perhaps the fairest question might be: What happened to Yorn and his people?

Yorn was an elderly member of the Grimley Wood Barony some years before Golo the Gargantuan and his terrible appetites brought the ogre to Castle Lake. Back then, Yorn was a wealthy wool merchant of lesser-noble stock, whose lands were gifted by the King himself after Yorn lead a victorious skirmish against a band of renegade, Felmog Knights who had been demanding unlawful taxes from the people of Yorn’s Hold. Despite the Counts of Kreeth and Maax denouncing the actions of their renegade warriors, Yorn’s Hold was besieged with little to no help from Castle Lake or any other.

After seven days of brutal attack, the last siege ladders were thrown from the walls and Yorn himself, feeble as he was, rode out and met the Felmog in mortal contest. Yorn fought bravely, dehorsing a young upstart named Karaban, a war captain famed her many crusades and also for her wealth and collection of rare things. Having lost her advantage, Karaban fled with her knights into the woods, cursing the name Yorn for her embarrassment.

To mark the victory, Yorn decreed a grand celebration to be hosted in his Hold and spent no small fortune from his years of wool profit. Invitations were received from as far away as Harp’s Edge and anticipation for the magnificent event became palpable. And that is where the mystery begins.

Upon arriving for the party, visitors suddenly found themselves lost on a familiar road. Landmarks well known seemed farther than before and familiar trees were no longer so familiar. Locals disappeared; their homes seeming to have vanished entirely, or perhaps it was that folk just forgot where everything was. Maps were suddenly wrong, as well cut and well known paths through the Starless Sedge or Nargyle’s Haunt no wound into mazes that lead nowhere.

Most perplexing of all was the utter disappearance of Yorn’s Hold. For those visiting from Castle Lake, intimately familiar with the trail, the keep no longer occupied its century old location. No stone could be found, no sign of any foundations were found. It was as if Yorn and his people had been transported to another place. Either that or everyone in Eem had forgotten their way and no modern map would show it.

In time the mystery became legend. Was Yorn’s Hold cursed? Was the whole world Cursed? None can say. But a peculiar ghost story surrounding the renegade, upstart knight called Karaban has for many years haunted the fireside musings of Grimly Wood. And from that ghost story an adage: Vex not a knight of Felmog should they have a witch’s pride.