Return of the Long Night
The Haidic warlord Ugus Fost is one of the most famous and colourful figures in the region’s history, where he is remembered as a hero by the Syrkakar, and a brutal invader by the Jaimani Elves. Born Ugus Syr, he came from the east with his Haidic horde, entering the Blue Forest and nearly wiping out the Jaimani Elves there. During this period there were many Fustir among the upper reaches of Lu’nak in the Black Fork mountains and along the north coast. Giving Quellbourne to the west a wide berth, Ugus struck against the Fustir. He killed their lord in battle and declared himself the new lord of the Fustir-Gost. To legitimize his rule, he forced the dead Fustir lord’s young widow to be his own bride, and Ugus Syr became Ugus Fost.
But as happens with many an ambitious warlord, Ugus bit off more than he could swallow, and some of his own Haid clan leaders rebelled. He retreated with his loyal clans and subject Fustir into the woods. For over a decade he ruled a formidable force there and they became known as the Syrkakar, the Lords of the Blue Forest.
But the powers of the Iron Wind did not like any rising power, and they saw Fost as a threat not easily destroyed with their usual tools of guile and treachery, so the High Priest Athimurl decided it was time to test his power to awaken and control an ancient, sleeping evil – a tool of pure terror. Simply known as a “shard”, once arisen it was difficult to control and almost impossible to halt.
It was set against the Syrkakar for long enough to depopulate all of Dír and the Blue Forest. It came only at night, or under the deep cover of the trees, but over the space of a few weeks they killed thousands. Most of the dead were found with terrible slash wounds, some beheaded. Some were discovered with gaping head wounds, their brains gone. A few victims completely disappeared.
So it was that in 4166 Ugus Fost died a horrible death from the same evil, yet more horrible because he did not die immediately. He was found at the edge of the Forest of Dír, almost unrecognizable since something had eaten Ugus’ brains and heart and liver.
The resting place of Ugus Fost is one of the most famous—and perhaps infamous—of those in the region. Tales abound about the tomb of the renowned conqueror-warlord, many of them conflicting. Just about everything about it varies…
His tome lies outside Rapata, in the lands of Saralis.
Ugus was lord in Lu’nak. He ruled the Blue Forest for two decades long ago, giving power and plenty to those around him. Yet, he too was weak in arms; only the dense tree-laden land gave shelter to his warriors. Still, the minions of the Unlife were broken many times, and the siege became long and hard. Time was the tool of the dark. The Priest Arnak felt the pangs of wait, however, and his master had an awesome wanting that could not be swayed. Thus came forth once again the strains bred upon the Fustir and the Demon. Once they served Kadaena, now they answer to new masters. They came as six and sixty, led by one standing some ten feet in height. And they were cruel beyond hate. Uttermost evil flowed in their wake, as the cool green coats blended among the boughs of the great trees. Few fled; all died.
To this writing, it is said these were the instrument that slew a land altogether, sparing only the youngest of Ugus’ daughters for the Sorcerous Priest who was their mentor and master. In three days the army that had so proudly stood fast for four faces of Orhan bled their last cries of freedom. All of their four thousand saw the rays of light no longer. The silent, swift breeze in the trees had passed, leaving no life. The chill breath of the Iron Wind had come to stay the land, wielding an ancient weapon re-awakened.
As the largest of the six and sixty stood forth, the foul lords of Gaath settled to divide the spoils. This, the leader of the Ku’ul (Shards of Dír), was one called Shar Ti; he wore deep brown, with a helm of shimmering crimson. He ate the brains and bowels of Ugus Fost, taking the organs from the living body of his mannish foe. So darkness devoured Lu’nak. This was the last of the northern forest realms, and was given over to the masters of the branches to mark their lives in the trees they so coveted. Only there did the Priest of Unlife relieve the soil of his haunting desolations. Even now it remains a land of great trees and hardy woods. Should the demons that ravaged its people ever be cleared from this planet’s fair face, the lovers of the yew will once again see what Iloura meant by the “lords of the land”.
— The Annals of Kuriac Su (4166 TEI)
Transcribed by Elor Once Dark
Retranslated by Esniak Menaz, Scribe of Nomikos,