Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Din'tarra hunters

For the inhabitants of Valtyr, the Great War that ravaged the world for over two hundred and thirty years has come to and end. For most, the scars of that dark time have faded, replaced with the hope for a better tomorrow and the quest for new adventure. For some however, the War’s effects can never be forgotten and they pass down the whispered dangers of the Demonfold and Shadowfold to the generations to come in stern warning.

But for yet a few, the War is still very much alive. The Demonfold and Shadowfold still exist in scattered pockets throughout the world, corrupting those they find and killing the rest. As if this were not bad enough, the Primordial Hordes also pose a threat in the more remote places of Valtyr. While the masses might feel safe in this new Age of Trials, there are groups that know better. The Din’tarra hunters are one such group.

Formed in the early days after the end of the Great War, sometime in the month of Larksong in the year 2333, the Din’tarra began as a group of warriors who drove out pockets of demons, undead and Primordials from the outlying towns and villages of Mierg’s western borders. Led at the time by a fanatical elven hunter named Atherô, the early members of this group were some of the most ruthless fighters and skilled trackers of the times. Atherô knew that the dark tide had been pushed far back by the defeat of the dark god Mezodan and his puppets, the Storm Knights, but he would not rest until he was sure that every last demonic force that served Mezodan and his consort Vegra was destroyed.

To this end, he rallied those of similar mind and passion to his cause. He named his group the Din’tarra, which means “shadow hunter” in Elvish. Alone, he led over sixty men, dwarves, cerenoth and elves into the belly of the Nivenesh Jungle and began his pogrom of the remains of the Demonfold and Shadowfold. When he came across Primordials, he slew them. When he found occasional bands of Ithrak, he didn’t hesitate to take their lives. And when his hunting party found the demons or undead they primarily sought, he unleashed such fury and skill that he could not be stopped.

Those that followed Atherô cleansed the land of the foul taint of the Dark Lord’s power with each passing year. Many died in his service, but many more joined. Atherô himself finally succumbed to old age and found his own death in the glory of one final hunt far from Mierg’s boundaries where he had begun the Din’tarra. In the month of Rosebloom in the year 2545, he led a raid against a powerful kiz’mahr and its host of wraiths and wights just outside of Last Gate in the far northern reached of Rynell. The attack proved successful and Atherô discovered the whereabouts of a breach between this world and the Lands of the Dead. Quickly enlisting some of his group’s supporters in the Brotherhood, he managed to seal the rift, but not before a strange new type of undead burst free and claimed his life. The spirit was a horrible amalgam of decay and dark energy and it fled the confines of the area before the distracted Din’tarra hunters could stop it.

Atherô’s body was buried in private by those present on that day. A new leader was chosen from among the Din’tarra ranks, and after two days of mourning, the remaining Din’tarra set of at once to track and destroy the spirit that had killed their former leader.

To this day the Din’tarra still hunt the rumors of Demonfold attacks and Shadowfold sightings throughout the world. While only a few can stomach the hard lives they lead and gruesome sights they have witnessed, all realize the debt they own such a group for doing what they cannot. The Din’tarra are fanatics for their cause (and some say even a little deranged from the horrors they have witnessed) but there is no argument that they are some of the best hunters in Valtyr and the foremost authority on the practices, habits and powers of the Demonfold, Shadowfold and Primordial Hordes.

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