The Hammool Riders

Achrovach, Teller of History

“Glenrah speaks wisely of the Hammool and those who ride them.  These words add to her account, though they still do not tell the full story and its glory.” — Achrovach, Ushen Teller of History.

The hammool riders are a presence throughout the southern plains of the Tamarran Continent.  They are virtually always ushen; the hammool they ride are wild hammool, not those that have been captured and used for transportation over the many roads of the Continent.

To properly understand the hammool riders of the southern plains of the Tamarran Continent, it is first necessary to understand a little something about the southern plains themselves.The Plains of Lochuum (LOCK oo um) make up the largest expanse of open land on the southern half of Tamarra (see the map of the Tamarran Continent).  They cover an area that runs almost 700 miles west to east and 400 miles south to north, with land that stretches all the way to the Zhemshen, the Inner Sea on the south, and the Yomoros Mountains, and the Kellith Sea on the east. The Lauggash Mountains serve as their northern and western borders.

The Plains are a lush expanse of gently rolling hills, rising and falling like the waves of a deep, ancient ocean.  The lowest parts are covered in high grasses, six to ten feet tall, that come in waves of yellows, tans, and browns.  The grasses are interrupted by enormous varieties of flowers, some small and delicate and others that tower tall and flamboyant above the grasses, sometimes reaching out above even the crests of the hills themselves.  The higher rises and hills are often covered in dark green and gray grasses that lie close to the black, rich soil of the Lochuum region.  In the center of the Plains of Lochuum, running northwest to southeast, is the giant Long Lochuum River, which begins as a series of small streams in the eastern outreach of the Lauggash Mountains and ends its journey south of the Yomoros Mountains, where it tumbles off high cliffs and crashes into the Kellith Sea.

The ushen were the first of the Ten Races to populate the southern part of the Plains of Lochuum.  The free and open space of the Plains spoke to the ushen, who value individualism and have a great love of nature. The hammool were already there when the ushen first arrived on the Plains.  Hammool are giant creatures.  An adult is typically 20-25 feet tall  (some are as high as 30 feet), 15-20 feet wide, and anywhere from 30 to 60 feet long.  With eight sturdy legs, they are some of the strongest creatures on Tamarra.  Although they are one of the largest and heaviest creatures on the continent, their natural affinity with Body Energy makes them one of the fastest and most graceful.

It is no surprise that the ushen and the hammool would find each other.  They are similar in temperament, having the same love of family, with strong bonds to even their most distant cousins and kin.  Both species have a love for the Lochuum lands so strong that it often surpasses their own love of life.

It is unclear when it began, but there is little doubt that the ushen have ridden hammool for millennia.  The relationship between a hammool and its rider runs deep.  Both of these proud creatures must agree to the partnership: the hammool must select the rider, and the rider must want the hammool.  The commitment is lifelong.  We do not yet know how the hammool and the ushen communicate.  The ushen won’t say, but it is thought that song is at the heart of it.

Once an ushen has found their hammool companion, the ushen’s tribe performs a ritual: in the hour before sunrise, the rider-to-be eats an enormous amount of food, welcoming the abundance of the life and the journey they are about to enter. They demonstrate the sacrifices that may come with this relationship with a fast that ends at sunrise of the following day.  At this time songs and chants begin and the leader of the tribe bestows blessings, ending after several hours with a sudden silence.  The ushen will then eat three leaves of the crussra, a short, spiny plant that grows only on the tops of certain hills, and walk out into the grasslands, returning the next morning on the back of their hammool companion.

For the rest of their lives the ushen and the hammool companion will roam the Plains of Lochuum.  Most will find other Hammool Riders and become a part of an existing troop of Riders, or form their own.  Their lives will consist of travel and exploration.  They will learn all that the Plains of Lochuum can teach them, from each kind of grass, flower, and root that grows on and under the Plains, to each hill and contour that gives the Plains their shape and texture.

Pottells Explained

By Grommakk Dakkar, Dwarf Evoker and Station Three Energetic Zoologist, Naldrin University

Grommakk Dakkar

Many have said to me, “Grommakk, what is a pottell?”  Since so many in our wonderful city are woefully uneducated about even the most common creatures in the oceans of our world, I have decided to write this brief, but acutely incisive, summary.

Pottells are large to enormous leaf pads with a remarkable ability to float on the top of the sea, even while carrying significant weight. Their surface is dotted with clusters of small multi-colored flowers, and their undersides are covered with arrays of tiny, sturdy tendrils. The shapes, colors, and contours of these gigantic leaves vary considerably according to climate. They are strictly saltwater plants, although they do have close cousins in many of the lakes and rivers of the Tamarran Continent.

The immense size and strength of pottells makes them perfect for use as transportation, and indeed many ride them to travel the waters of our world. The smallest, only a few feet wide, can carry a child or a dwaheely or two. Medium-sized pottells (20-30 feet wide) are frequently used for short travel along the coasts, and typically carry 6-10 passengers. They do not go into the deep oceans, as the roughness is more than they can manage. Large pottells, however, reach spans of hundreds of feet and can easily navigate throughout even the deepest and most violent oceans of our planet, and can carry many dozens of passengers.

A pottell typically moves by drifting along the currents of the sea.  However, they do have a limited capacity to propel themselves by rippling their fringes, paddling through the water at speeds up to 25 miles per hour.  Of course, if they are carrying passengers, they travel much more slowly. I would note that folk who travel by pottell are mostly those who love the sea and enjoy getting wet.

A number of mystics have mastered the ability to pilot these unique creatures. Widely known as “pottell pilots,” though they prefer the title “navigator,” they play a vital part in using pottells for transportation. The skills of these navigators, and their love for pottells, is well-known. The most accomplished of them are able to convince pottells to curl their leaf into a ball to shield their passengers from waves and winds. Accounts tell of navigators whose pottells would curl up into  an impermeable ball, allowing them to travel through the worst storms and submerge themselves to travel under the waves for hours at a time.

With that I will end my discourse, hoping that and it serves the needs of those who desire a greater understanding of our world.

How to Keep a Blink Bat from Blinking

Grommakk Dakkar

By Grommakk Dakkar, Dwarf Evoker and Station 3 Energetic Zoologist, Naldrin University

As we all know, Imbelnhi Ulanwey captured the essence of the blink bat in the marvelous prose of his Bestiary.  However, there remain many misconceptions about these odd and singular creatures. One question I am asked repeatedly by ordinary folk who approach me on the streets of the city, as well as by the most learned scholars in the halls of Naldrin University, is this: how does one carry around a blink bat when it has the ability to vanish into thin air at will?  This question is of particular interest to those who wish to hire blink bats as messengers for governments, businesses, and the wealthy.

The public’s ignorance on this topic is as profound as it is longstanding. In this short treatise I will attempt to press aside this dark shadow of nescience to reveal that which is, in the end, stunningly obvious.

Blink bats can teleport – that is, they can disappear from their current location and instantaneously re-emerge in an entirely different location.  As Imbhelni states in his well-known Bestiary; “They have a strong instinctive connection with Physic Energy that lets them find the holes and tunnels behind the space we see”.

There are two well-known ways to keep blink bats stationary without fear of teleportation. The first method relies on a rare Energetic skill possessed by a small set of particularly gifted Evokers, this author included.  This skill leverages the ability to imbue objects in the world with particular Energetic qualities, working with a rare metal to imbue it with an Energetic signature that disrupts teleportation. This metal, ellanum, is highly effective at saturating objects with Physic Energy, and is used to construct blink bat cages. This process has been passed down over many centuries by certain Evoker Guilds on the Tamarran Continent (the Naldrin City Guild is one of them).

Once the elements of the cage have been appropriately saturated with the correct amount and kind of Physic Energy, the material will hold that Energy in place for a year or more.  The imbued material creates an Energetic cloud surrounding the cage which, for lack of a better word, “confuses” any attempt a blink bat might make to perform a teleportation. We should be clear that it does not strictly prohibit the blink bat’s use of teleportation; however, it confuses their perception of physical space so that they are highly unlikely to end up where they intend.  When these creatures are kept in an Energetically imbued cage, the bats seem to sense this cloud of confusion and so remain docile, and present, in their enclosures.

The second method for keeping blink bats in place is significantly more mundane. We have discovered that these fascinating creatures are especially fond of the fruit of the charling bush, which grows throughout the Tamarran Continent, and is ubiquitous in and around the Sce Aldu Caverns*.  Each bush can produce thousands of small, red berries throughout the year.  The bushes are beautiful, with their striking red fruit attached to the bush under slender blue leaves. Most important, charling berries are as sweet as any berry or honey on the Continent, and blink bats love them.

The crux of this is that once a blink bat has discovered that someone has charling berries in their possession and is willing to share them, they will remain obediently at their side.

I thank you for your consideration of these words, and now please stop asking me this question.

* The Sce Aldu Caverns are a gigantic series of tunnels and caves under the Suong Mountains in the far southwestern part of the Tamarran Continent.  As Javeer Akcher notes, in one of his footnotes to Imbelnhi’s Bestiary, “The Sce Aldu Caverns have long been identified as the source of bizarre physical properties. Scholars at the Evoker’s Guild speculate that they lie on top of one of Ethem’s hearts, and thus potentially contain a higher density of spatial contortions than any other area on the planet!”.  This may explain why these caverns serve as the greatest habitat on Tamarra for the blink bat.

The Martles of Ethem

By Javeer Akcher: Senior Physical Investigator for the Guild Energetic Research Collective (GERC)

Martles, of course, wander the oceans of our planet, Ethem.  It is not as well known they they also roam the Tamarran Continent as well as (according to rumor) beyond the reaches of Tamarra.

Martles do not found cities or kingdoms because they spend much of their lives traveling and exploring the world. They do have homelands on Ethem where they are born and where they return periodically for large gatherings of their kind.  It is said that there are four martle homelands on or near the Tamarran Continent:

Allassa Marren, in The Icy Wastes: Deep beneath the surface of the Icy Wastes lies a vast network of tunnels.  It is said that it extends far beyond the borders of the Tamarran Continent, an expanse that is so large that even martles rarely travel it all.  It is said among martles that “It takes five lives to know the tunnels of the ‘waste land’”. Some martles, a very few, have made it their life’s quest to explore and understand all of these tunnels.

Vashaff, in The Eastern Coastline Volcanoes: Six major volcanoes line the eastern coast of Tamarra where it meets the Kellith Sea.  They run from the Zwingel Territories of the zweyjen along the southern coast of the continent to the Sea-Looking States, which lie off the eastern coast.  There are martle enclaves scattered among the many firths and caverns found where the Eastern Mountains meet the rough ocean waters.

Tooleesa Arroon, in the Long Coral Reef: The Long Coral Reef is hundreds of miles long, running north to south through the Lossolla Sea off the western coast of Tamarra. The martles have long had a homeland in the northern parts of this reef.  Over many centuries they have developed a strong racial bond with the various kamari enclaves that live here in these forested lands that line the western coast.

Ka Gra Kanna, in The Rock Islands: These islands are located in the ocean in the far north of Tamarra, a little over 300 miles north of the Land of Hetherall and almost 200 miles below the southern coast of the Icy Wastes.  The martles and the Ice Giants that live there have, over many centuries, become strong allies and often good friends. They are known to help each other in time of need.

It is interesting to note that martles have eidetic memory: their minds capture everything that happens to them and around them as they travel the world.  For this reason they are sought out as “witnesses” to history and as guides to help travelers find their way on their journeys.

Martles can live very long lives; there are some who are believed to have lived as long as six or seven hundred years or more.  One of my great friends, the martle named Aktil Na Baylarassa, is no exception. Born in SP~4,682, he is one of the oldest martles in the world.  He can remember when the Regma Worms rose out of the sea to attack Eldrim city and when the Nulentians arrived on the shores of Tamarra to launch their second invasion of our Continent. He was even there during the bloody Wars of Sorcery.

If you are ever fortunate enough to meet a martle in your life’s travels, it would be wise to make their acquaintance.  If the opportunity presents itself, befriend them. If it should happen that the martle you meet is Aktil Na Baylarassa, please give him greetings from his loyal friend Javeer.

Bound by Stillness: The Undead, Letter Two

Sula 48, SP~5,015

Magistrate Weshem:

It is good to hear from you again. I am always happy to answer further questions you may have. As I said, my thought process concerning the undead is colored by my own personal experiences, so this may account for the somewhat disjointed organization of this letter.

In my last letter, I wrote about how Stillness makes Undead incredibly difficult to damage, affect with powers, etc. I know this seems bad enough, but it is not actually the worst aspect of the Undead.

As you know, Spirit binds together not just the creatures who inhabit Ethem, but Ethem itself. Spirit pervades the world. To use a very simple analogy, Spirit’s adaptiveness makes the world “soft,” while stillness’ inertia makes it “hard.” The result is that wherever Stillness-bound creatures go, Stillness pushes on Spirit, and Spirit yields. This creates a sort of aura of Stillness around the Undead. When a living creature enters this area, their Spirit is itself “pushed,” and its hold on the other Energies that comprise that creature is weakened. The practical effect is that a part of the creature’s life force — and their power — is drained. And to make things worse (because things can always get worse with the Undead), the power of this aura grows as more and more Undead are massed in a single area.

You specifically asked why they’re referred to as “Undead” when they are, in a scientific sense, just as living as you or I? Well, since Stillness does not usually occur naturally, it is extremely rare for creatures to be born bound by it. Most Undead creatures are the result of Spirit-bound creatures dying in an area pervaded by Stillness — either an Undead’s aura, or a Quiet. Their Spirit Energy quickly dissipates, but sometimes their Energies are re-bound by Stillness. Thus, the vast majority of Undead have actually died as Spirit-bound creatures and come back as Stillness-bound ones, giving rise to the vernacular term.

This process of resurrection is, understandably, quite a system shock, and most creatures do not survive mentally intact, becoming mindless, animalistic “shells” or “shufflers,” who roam semi-randomly, attacking anything they see. This includes other Undead, although they sometimes seem to form a sort of “pack” of shells. We haven’t quite figured out why, though we suspect it has something to do with the degree to which their Spirit was corrupted by Shadow. The more they are corrupted by Shadow, the more they are drawn to similarly-corrupted creatures. This can make for… odd sights. I once saw a pack of two humans, an ushen, four kamari, a wolf, six deer, and a large number of squirrels. The latter actually made me laugh, right up until they got close enough to me to start draining my life force with their aura of Stillness. I know it will sound funny to anyone who wasn’t there, but I will never look at squirrels the same way again.

The worst are the revenants — Undead who have made it through the process intact, and retain their sentience. Revenants are able to control shells simply through force of will. A disproportionate number of revenants are Channels, unfortunately, and they retain all of their ability to channel the Energies. Which proved a serious problem in the war.

I hope that answers your questions. If you would like a more scientific response to your query, I encourage you to write to my colleague Emil Hill. She is one of our leading theoretical researchers specializing in Stillness. I hope, though, that this letter will round out your understanding of the true nature of the Undead beyond just what GERC publications will tell.


In Faith,

Davvik Katten of the Fireforge Clan

Senior Fellow

GERC Shadow-Inflected Energies Department, Stillness Division

Bound by Stillness: A Letter Concerning the Undead

Kogu 56, SP~5,021

Grommakk Dakkar of the Fireforge Clan

Magistrate Weshem:

Thank you for writing to me. I am happy to answer your question as to the nature of the Undead.  As a member of the GERC Shadow-Inflected Energies Department, I have studied this matter in depth. I seriously hope you will never have one come before you in your court, but I can see why you would want to be prepared. Your city’s legal system is certainly… thorough. And yes, I do understand how access to the subject matter might not be easy to come by, even given Naldrin City’s prodigious libraries. After all, the bulk of our knowledge on the subject is quite recent, and resides here in our archives.

Before the Stillness Wars, I thought of Undead (I know I should refer to them with the technical term Stills, but after meeting them face-to-face, it no longer seems appropriate) the same way that every other member of the GERC does: interesting, admittedly dangerous, but ultimately unproblematic creatures. Of course there were reports of shells (or shufflers, if you prefer) cropping up here and there. Every once in a while, we’d even hear about revenants causing all sorts of problems. But militias were sent out, mercenaries were hired, or (in some extreme cases) the Enforcers were dispatched, and the problem was soon put right. But for all that we knew, and all that we thought we knew about the Undead, we were totally unprepared for what would happen when we met them en masse.

But you didn’t take the trouble to write to me to ask about the Stillness Wars – you wanted to know about the Undead. I’ll be happy to tell you about them, although I warn you that my theoretical perspective has been forever biased by my personal encounters. However, I’ve spent enough ink on preamble. Let’s get to the meat of the issue.

We are held together, as you no doubt know, by Spirit. Spirit is the binding force that glues the rest of our Energies together. Without it, we would just be five “clouds” of pure Body, Emotion, and so on. Spirit is adaptive — it can learn, change, and grow. What makes the Undead different from us is that they are held together by Stillness energy. Stillness, like Spirit, binds other Energies together. But where Spirit is movement and change, Stillness is inertia and stability.

This has good effects and bad. For instance, we know (now in theory and in practice) that the Undead, being bound by Stillness, cannot learn as quickly as we can. It will take them approximately twice as long to master any new skill, or to learn any new information. This great weakness is ultimately what we exploited to win the Stillness Wars. However, the unchanging nature of Stillness also gives Undead a great advantage — they are incredibly difficult to damage or kill. Because Stillness will continue to bind in the face of dramatic changes to the state of its attached Energies, blows that would kill a Spirit-bound creature will only cause moderate damage. Powers that might have an overwhelming effect on a living entity will only marginally affect the Undead. They can endure great extremes of cold and heat, go for long periods of time without food or water, and have tremendous stamina. It is known in theory (and hopefully never in practice) that this same effect means Undead creatures will live for an unnaturally long time before succumbing to old age.

I hope you find this information helpful. You are, of course, welcome to write again if you require any further assistance.


In Faith,

Grommakk Dakkar of the Fireforge Clan

Evoker, Station 3 Energetic Zoologist

Naldrin University