The Legend of Murkach

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The Legend of Murkach

Post by Djehuti on Tue Jun 27, 2017 4:11 am

The combined faction profiles of the Seelie Court, the Unseelie Court, and the Sylvans tell a story titled: Legend of Murkach, telling of his campaigns against the Fey in the year 883

(from Sylvans faction profile)
In the year 883, the Orc general, Murkach, set out to enslave the Fey race. It began with a small wood near to his home village, where pixies and nymphs were said to dwell. And it ended very badly.

Murkach knew the little Sylvan Fey were fragile and frail, the sort of beings whose spindly forms he could crush in one of his mighty fists. With his warriors at his back, such pitiful little creatures would be easy prey, and it angered him that no warlord had troubled to secure their submission.

So he sent his two best scouts, Grumak-the-Fox and Mute-Dothak, to investigate the Sylvans. These two set off, and vanished into the woods. When they emerged, a year and a day later, Grumak spoke not only of trees which bore fruit all year round, of fat pigs and slow deer ripe for hunting, and of feeble Fey, but also of secret paths that would take the Orcs to invisible, hidden lands - the realms of the Seelie and Unseelie Courts, where even greater prizes could be won.

Murkach summoned his fifty strongest warriors, and they armed themselves for battle. They marched through the fields of wildflowers about the woods, and into the sun-dappled groves, expecting combat. But there was no battle. At the heart of the woods the Sylvans stood assembled, and as the Orcs approached, they bowed as one. None looked like any other. Some had wings like butterflies, some skin like bark, some stones for eyes, some moss for hair, some silver skin, some golden beards, some cloaks of leaves, some the ears or snouts of animals, but all bowed and prostrated themselves before the Orcs.

“We cannot fight you,” the Sylvan leader whined, “and so we must surrender. We are your slaves, great conqueror!”

The Orcs cheered. Murkach grinned.

“Then bring a feast! Bring gifts! Honour your new owners!”

That night the Sylvans gave the finest banquet that any Orc has ever tasted. It began with cuts of succulent meat, then horns full of wine brewed from every berry even grown (and many that had never grown), and then moved on to salads of flowers, and desserts of sugar and cream and nuts and fruit.

Murkach did not eat, but moved between the clearings where his warriors dined. He smiled when he saw them sink their teeth into great plates of meat. He frowned when he saw them pick flower petals from salad bowls. And when they licked sugar and cream from their fingers he grew dismayed.

By the dessert, his warriors were starting to giggle. He saw one hug a Pixie. Another tickled the tummy of a small furry Sylvan. A third warrior pranced around the clearing on his hands and knees, giving rides to Nymphs who sat astride his back. He demanded an explanation.

“We play with our friends!” his warriors said. “We want make them happy!”

“No! No, no, no, no!” Murkach roared, as he understood what had happened. “Poison! Poison food! The poison makes you children. Worse, makes you like Elves! Worse! Fey poison makes warriors weaker than Elves! Stupid, silly!” And he dragged the warriors from their tables and ordered them “We will have revenge! We will burn down the trees!”

“Oh! No!” his mighty warriors began to weep. “The poor trees! We love the trees!”

No warrior would light a fire there, and Murkach dragged them all, one at a time, out of the groves, tied them together with a long rope, and dragged them all in a long line back to the village. For three weeks he beat them soundly, and fed them the reddest meat, until at last they ceased their simpering and regained their Orcish temperaments.

Then he called Grumak, the scout, and said, “The Fey have made us fools. We will have revenge! You spoke of greater lands. Can you find them?” Grumak said that he could find the lands of the high Fey, the Seelie and Unseelie, and so Murkach roared that he would raise a thousand warriors and would conquer the very heartlands of the Fey, to show the world that an Orc would not be humiliated.

To take fifty warriors against the Sylvans, the low Fey, had been foolish. He was too angry to realize that to take twenty times that number against the high Fey was twenty times more foolish.


(from the Seelie Court faction profile)
As his army marched through the forests of Norweld, the Orc general, Murkach, mused about what form The Barrier might take. No army had crossed it before. No general had ever stormed it. He imagined a great wall of black stone, towering above the ancient oak trees. He wondered if, since it was a Fey barrier, if it might be made of sculpted silver or living vines, or something equally impractical. He did not expect it to be a wicker gate, set in a dry stone wall.

Already frustrated by his scouts' inability to find entry to the Sylvans' realms, Murkach decided to handle the reconnaissance personally. So, he called his two lead scouts, Grumak and Mute-Dothak, and the three of them discarded their armour and dressed themselves as merchants to approach The Barrier.

“What's the secret? We can walk in?” Murkach scowled at Grumak as they stood in front of the gate. “But there's nothing. Just more forest.”

Grumak shrugged. “We ask permission. Nicely. That's their rule.”

“Ask permission! Who do we ask?” Murkach growled.

“Me, me, me!” replied a small white squirrel. “That would be me, me, me, me!”

“Right.” Murkach looked down. “Errr.... Can we come in?”

“Oooh! Could a squirrel stop the mighty Orc? ‘Course I can't! Can you come in? ‘Course you can! Welcome, welcome!”

“Right.” Murkach lifted the latch of the gate, and the three Orcs stepped through and immediately vanished.

For two days the three remained beyond The Barrier. The dour Grumak and the mute Dothak never hinted at what they saw. But Murkach later, when drunk, muttered about a castle of glass, about a market where a trader offered to buy his dreams, and about passing out after drinking Dandelion Nectar Wine. In one drunken night, Murkach also later said that they were thrown out of The Barrier, though he did not say by whom: apparently the three Orcs had joined the audience of a play entitled, ‘The Siege of The Barrier’, which was a story about three Orcs who disguised themselves as merchants to sneak into the Barrier to plan an assault; the play ended after the first act and the actors explained that the second half had not yet been written; Murkach, indignant to know what would happen next, had started a fight, and then had somehow been forced to leave.

Back with his army, Murkach roused the force for battle, and led them through the woods to The Barrier. He pushed wide the gate, and stepped through, into the wood beyond. He walked back and forth but the wicker gate seemed now to separate only two tracts of woodland. Then he looked down and saw the squirrel.

“Right. Squirrel. We come in?!”

“Oooh! Err! No!”

Grumak coughed. “Nicely,” he growled, quietly.

Murkach struggled with the word: “P-p-please! Please, we come in?”

“Err! No!”

Murkach grabbed the squirrel and held it up to his face. “I asked nice! I said Please!”

The squirrel glanced at the Orc army, a thousand bristling spears and curved swords, a thousand wide eyed Orcs panting for blood. “That's not nice. You can't come in.”

Murkach roared, and pulled off the squirrel's head with his hands, casting the bloody parts aside.

“Oooh!” the squirrel's severed head glanced around for his body, confused. “That's really not nice! Now you definitely don't get in!”

And Murkach's army never did get in. He had the wicker gate torn from its hinges and then carried it around with him as a trophy. But it made no difference to the Seelie Fey, and to this day, any polite merchants and travellers can gain entry to The Barrier if they're nice to the squirrel.


(from Unseelie Court faction profile)
The Orc general, Murkach, had twice been humiliated by the Fey, both by the Seelie Court and by the Sylvans, but he had not yet lost a single warrior. A thousand snarling Orcs stood at his back, and he was not about to retreat. Here, for the first time he could see a door to a Fey city.

The door of Blackbriar stood thirty feet tall, a slab of granite set into the hillside. There were no hinges, no handles or locks, but the locals said that beyond the slab lay a city built of ash and elm, where decadent Fey lords and ladies whiled away their endless days trading riddles and playing games, using the souls of mad mortals as gambling counters.

All day the Orcs had tried to prise the door open, to push it and pull it, but in vain.

“They are children!” Murkach roared at the door. “They play games. They waste time. They lock their gate, but they have no armies, no weapons!”

“They have magic,” the leader of the scouts, Grumak the Fox, growled in a whisper. “No walls keep them out. They walk in our dark dreams. They know our fears.”

“We are Orc!” Murkach roared, “We have no fear! So tell me, when it opens?”

Grumak looked at the ground, and shifted uneasily.

“Tell me! What said the traders?”

Grumak shrugged. “The first moonlight, after dark. First moonlight opens the door.”

“How?”

Grumak shrugged again, and muttered in his low growl, “Fey magic. Dangerous.”

“You are scared!” Murkach glowered.

“Not scared. Careful. Clever.”

“Coward! No coward will lead my scouts! You there,” Murkach called across the second in command of the scouts, Mute-Dothak, “you can't speak, but can you lead?”

Dothak smiled, and nodded.

“And what would you do? Would you attack?”

Dothak's smile became a grin, and he nodded again.

“Then you lead my scouts now. And we attack tonight!”

And they attacked that very night. As the moon rose and its light touched the granite slab, the stone swung back and a dark passageway stood open, undefended. A thousand Orcs roared and rushed forward, armour clanking, heavy boots thundering into the passage, war-cries echoing down the tunnel.

In the end, only two Orcs stood outside the portal, quiet and alone at the foot of the hill, Grumak the Fox, and Mute-Dothak. And Dothak turned to his companion, shaking his head, and opened his tongueless mouth, saying in a voice like the wind across a frozen lake,

“You were right, Lord of the Dawn Light. The Orcs really are so foolish. We have won, without a single battle fought.”

But Grumak shook his head.

“Don't flatter me, Lady of Ice,” he said, with a voice like the rustling of leaves on a spring morning. “You have tricked me, and you have won. I have handed the Unseelie Court a thousand souls, and my own Court has nothing to show for it.”

“It was a good game,” Dothak smiled, “and that you are angry makes it all the sweeter! I shall write a song of how I made the Dawn Light bitter and cold!” And Dothak laughed. And he laughed until snow fell from his eyes like tears, and fell from his hair and his fingers and from his clothes. And he laughed until nothing remained but a pool of snow and the echo of his laughter.

Grumak shook his head, and he sighed as the east wind blew, and in a flurry of flower petals, he let the breeze carry him back to his Seelie home, away from Blackbriar.

And of Murkach and his great Orc army, nothing more was ever heard.

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Misted Lands connection?

Post by Djehuti on Tue Jun 27, 2017 4:16 am

Some have speculated this story links to the Misted Lands mystery


Freyja wrote:
I'm convinced that resources are the key to Misted Lands.  There are 2 factions that offer "Harvest Resources" in the hubs - just like every square in ML.

Seelie Court: http://elgea.illyriad.co.uk/#/World/Map/-146/241
Unseelie Court: http://elgea.illyriad.co.uk/#/World/Map/760/-658

The other clue I have is from the Sylvan faction description.

Sylvan Faction excerpt: also of secret paths that would take the Orcs to invisible, hidden lands - the realms of the Seelie and Unseelie Courts, where even greater prizes could be won.

So far, I cannot send a trader or resources to Unseelie Court due to my standing with them.  

My theory, is that (perhaps under a certain moon phase) that the Unseelie Hub will open and once a city has a trader at both Seelie & Unseelie Court, then the Misted Lands will be open.


Whether connected to Misted Lands or not, the line "“The first moonlight, after dark. First moonlight opens the door” does sound very quest-like

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