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The Ruschk

Posted By Ibn on 10-Dec-2004

From the journal of Carlo di Cenza

In our time here, we have come across several different species of creature, most of which have proven extremely hostile. We have faced monsters imbued with undead life, ethereal beings composed of magical energies, and strange humanoid creatures that wage war with clubs and spears. But the most interesting foe we have faced is the Ruschk.

ToD Artwork Ruschk
The Ruschk are a race of shamanic warriors who make their homes deep within the icebergs and mountains of the cold islands. Unlike the other creatures we've fought, the Ruschk appear to be quite intelligent, though our few efforts at communication have ended swiftly and violently. The Ruschk attack on sight; they have no interest in peaceful negotiation.

The Ruschk wear little in the way of armor. What they do wear tends to be made of animal skins. They keep their faces covered and wear their hair in a sort of topknot. They adorn themselves with jewelry made of bones and teeth. They fight with weapons forged from ice. Somehow, these weapons are hard as steel. We have yet to discover a method of shattering - or even scratching - these ice-forged arms. We suspect they may have been imbued with some type of magic, though our mages can detect no trace of it.

The Ruschk were discovered by a group of knights who were exploring the Isle of Ruin. After days of travel, they were beset by a violent blizzard and were forced to make camp in a cave carved into the side of a glacier. The cave appeared to be shallow at first, but a quick search turned up a thin sheet of ice that served as some sort of doorway. The knights shattered the ice and discovered a cavern that delved quite deep into the iceberg.

Our knights only made it a few steps in before the Ruschk lunged from the shadows. They gave no warning cry; they simply attacked. Our knights had no choice but to defend themselves. Several of our knights were slaughtered in the first rush of the fierce creatures. However, the few who remained were able to successfully fight off the Ruschk. In a battle which could only have lasted a few seconds, they managed to kill all seven of the Ruschk who inhabited that cave. But before the last was killed, it spoke. Its words were foreign and its dialect thick, but it clearly spoke some form of language. The soldiers were unable to remember much of what it said, but the word "Ruschk" was spoken several times. And so that is what we call them.

Unfortunately, that last Ruschk was unwilling to lay down its arms, though our knights halted their attacks once the creature began to speak. Despite the fact that it was the last of its tribe and had no hope of victory, it still pressed its attack. It seems these creatures know nothing of surrender. Our knights had no choice but to slay the fiend.

The knights delved deeper into the cave and discovered many items that appeared to be religious in significance. Shrines and totems littered the cave. A host of the Ruschk ice weapons were placed on display on the cave walls. But the most startling discovery was the book. The knights found a large, leather-bound tome deep within the cave. It is filled with hundreds of pages of brittle, yellowed paper and covered in strange symbols that we've never seen before.

Have we finally found the beings that created this archipelago's mysterious structures? Are they the keepers of the strange, magical secrets of this world? What knowledge could they impart to us if we could just find a way to communicate with them?

The Duke has spent many days studying the tome, though he has yet to translate any of its arcane writings. I helped him decipher many an ancient Roulean and Milantean text on Ispar, and so he asked for my assistance. I fear I was of little help, though. These strange symbols were beyond my understanding. However, I am certain that if we continue with our efforts, we will one day uncover the book's arcane mysteries. Until then, we just have to hope that the Ruschk are content to let us live in peace.