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         Copyright © Randy Bowers. All rights reserved.


Lord Kishanu's Story

In the evening, the companions of the Path of Yodha approach Max to speak with him privately, but this occurs at some point when Max is engaged in discussion with the others. The say to him that Rajaniish has a veritable fortress of advisers about him and that he trusts no one. They also talk about how they have heard rumors that Rajaniish isn’t even mortal, but that he is actually a demon, but this could just be the talk of people. He is known however to have a very strange deformity – his hands face the wrong way. They complain that none of them have been able to get close enough to the workings of the house, for each of them are too distinguishable. Ruth says that he was able to get some of Rajaniish’s guards to speak, but that they became suspicious when Ruth casually mentioned rumors of body stealing creatures in the Shinveta area. Later he was attacked by some thugs who unsuccessfully tried to dissuade him from making such inquires; and since then the guards who bear the regalia of House Rajaniish have been avoiding him.
    This is when Ekiver (Lord Kishanu) makes his appearance.

"Indeed, Rajaniish has surrounded himself with a formidable foe, against whose machinations he himself is immune, for the Tsochari cannot control the body of an immortal. They, like Rajaniish, are creatures from other worlds who seek comfort among the beings of this one. Rajaniish enjoys the physical comforts, pleasures and intrigues you provide, while the Tsochar relish the flesh, ignorance, and control which they can exert upon you.
    "I have long battled against their plots, those of the Tsochar that is to say. I know well how they infiltrate weak societies to prey upon their inhabitants. I once was a traveler too, a man with companions. They and I traveled far across the land in support of the glorious Eastern Empire’s goals. Twas in the swamps north of here, the Dahl Swamps, that we failed in this task and introduced a terrible evil to our homeland.
    "There we found a tribe of lizardfolk, called the Zshunezshar, feared among the other tribes. It was said that these lizardfolk knew a special ritual which would call forth sinuous creatures from other realms and that specially chosen ones among them would then be taken by these creatures, possessed by them for a time, to offer guidance to their folk. But over time, too many of these were summoned, the Tsochar were allowed to move from body to body. They were not sacrificed to the dark gods of the Zshunezshar as had been tradition, and now their influence has spread here to Hana.
    "In those days though I knew none of their danger, of how they look at humans and other intelligent beings as little more than food. How they possessed immortal memory with which they coldly calculate their invasion of our lands.
    "The Zshunezhar captured my companions and I and summoned these wormous beings to their altar where one of my companions was taken over by it. For days it spoke in the tongue of the lizardmen to their shamans while I and another sat imprisoned, waiting for our day to come. But the Zshunezhar failed to execute my Tsochar infested friend in time, despite the edicts of their god. The creature learned too much and of the cities that lay beyond the swamps, ready to be preyed upon, and so it escaped.
    "The lizardfolk freed us, thinking we would be able to aid them in their recovery of their 'gods,' but no, it was just as alien to us. We escaped during the night while away, tracking the best, and followed its signs as it moved from body to body and arrived in the United Kingdoms. Onward we chased it to the Eastern Empire, where I cornered the beast. We fought, but in its travels it had grown so very powerful and I was overwhelmed. It invaded my body and used its presence there to punish me for the troubles that I had caused it. Then, it made known to me how it had seeded the land with its young, even as I had chased it across the land.
    "Helpless against it, trapped in my own misbehaving body, I fell into a great despair. My subjects were taken by its spawn, the strong among them who survived the invasion of their bodies were then sent to manipulate my holdings. I watched in horror as it worked to destroy my homeland and turn its people into cattle.
    "How ironic my salvation then that I should become such a monster known to think little better of mortals. It was one of your ancestors, Ahnkor, though his existence has no doubt been hidden from you by your forefathers. One cannot blame them, but my gratitude to your family extends to you since you too share my cause. I digress.
    "In one night, I was freed of my mortality and unexpectedly freed from the influence of the creature that had tortured me so. I tore at the flesh of my body, trying to remove the beast from within me, but its roots were too deep. Yet, it finally knew fear for its spawn fled from me. I slew them all, but still, their progenitor is my constant companion, but now I am its master. We are inextricably one.
    "Since then, I have hunted these creatures, eradicating their nests where I can find them, and I have followed them here, Hana. Oh, but they are cunning. How fortunate for them that this city of corruption should be so near to their birthplace? Indeed the gods have a sense of humor."