A Poxnora fanfiction.
Gekaal tasted the humid air and it was good. The swamp was warm and moist this evening, full of the promise of new life. He allowed himself the pleasure of leaping across one of the many channels which intersected the mire. Upon landing he guiltily looked around to check if anyone had witnessed his moment of frivolity. Not that it mattered, the swamp should be a place of happiness. A small Anuran let out a pulse in protest at being disturbed by the leaping priest, before hopping back into the reedy shelter where it had been resting.
The last of the evening's sun shone between the branches of the bogwood trees, breaking the scenery into a kaleidoscope of movement and light. A soft circular patch of moss, that sits between two mighty Mireoaks, was already full of the young Boghoppers. Gekaal paused to watch and enjoy the antics of youth. One particularly large Boghopper was wielding a sword almost the same size as himself, until the weight toppled him onto his back. Some of the younger tads took the opportunity to scurry over their fallen brother, reveling in their victory.
Crouched on the edge of the circle was Kartch, his famous harpoon 'Destiny' in his hands. "It is a beautiful swamp evening for your stories", said Kartch as he lay Destiny on the ground. He was clearly enjoying the tranquility, as he lay back and supported his head with his hands.
Gekaal smiled, these moments seemed to be rare in his old age. “It is good to be at one with the swamp, as it should be.”
From the corner of his eye, Gekaal noticed one of his smaller pupils whose mood did not match the evenings beauty. He signaled for him to come over and speak his sorrow. “Respected high one”, whispered the young Boghopper, “so many of my brothers are already becoming what they will be. Look at Shaankal”, he gestured towards the sword wielding pupil, now back on his feet, “he is made to be a mighty bull. But me? What will my future hold?”
Gekaal placed a reassuring arm across the shoulders of his unsure diminutive pupil. “It is important to remember that we are all the swamp”, he gestured to the expansive wetland, “and we all have our part to play. Do not fret over your future, young one. You will learn much from your teachers, as long as you listen and think on their lessons. Over time, you will grow into your own path”.
As seconds pass the fledgling Boghoppers became quiet, aware that Gekaal was ready to begin his lessons. One by one, they crossed their long legs and formed a circle around the revered storyteller. Today they would learn about the history of Poxanthuru, about a time before the existence of the Forglar Swamp and how their homeland came to be. Although the pupils valued these lessons, Gekaal knew that the attentive pupils were more interested in the story of Jyx the Shadesworn.
From the time that they were mere tads, they had been told of Jyx and how he would carry away mischievous Boghoppers. He was the hidden menace that mothers used to get the silence they required. He was the threat that brought discipline to the unruliest tad. He was also, unusually for these kind of figures, very real.
"There was a time when the swamp was not here," Gekaal began, “when the source had not poured her waters into our lands. To know the swamp, to be one with the swamp, we must know the origin. So now we start our lessons of history, at a time when the Cyclops empire was the mightiest in the whole of Poxanthuru”.
"The Cyclops were not as we know them now, brutish and of limited intelligence. These Cyclops were skilled in the arts of magic and many devoted time to the spiritual nature of the Peaks. They could communicate with the natural elements and were as one with their land as we are as one with the swamp." Gekaal paused, turned his back to the tads and looked almost wistfully to a time long since forgotten by so many. “They built the great and beautiful city of Myridin, ruled by the great emperor Kalmyrid.”
A more somber Gekaal turned to face the tads. “It should have been a time of peace and balance but this great empire was tainted. It was tainted with the scourge of slavery.” A long, thin finger pointed in the general direction of the Salaman city of Seljichan. “The Salaman were enslaved by the Cyclops,” his head bowed sadly, “forced to put their inventions to work for the empire. It was in the city of Myridin that a young Salaman by the name of Jyx was hatched into a world of slavery.”
"The lands that Jyx was hatched into were not at peace." Gekaal paused, contemplating the plight of the Cyclops race. “The Cyclops have always been a tribal race, some more comfortable on the battlefield than in times of peace. Many of the warrior tribes demanded that Kalmyrid lead the Cyclops to complete dominion over Poxanthuru. There were others, those who craved a great Cyclopean legacy, that argued for a culture to be proud of. With no chance of compromise, the Cyclops did what Cyclops always do. They turned to violence.”
“Civil war erupted throughout the land as tribe turned on tribe. Great alliances were formed and the empire threatened to tear itself apart. Kalmyrid was left with little choice, violence was the language of his people and so he shouted louder than all of the other tribes combined. The great hero Zeventrech, the most trusted of advisers to the emperor and a powerful wizard, led the royal guard against the warring factions.”
"Zeventrech led a short and brutal campaign against the tribes. Wherever there was fighting, the royal guard would appear and use their powerful magic to enforce the peace." Gekaal stopped talking, aware of whispering among the tads. “You have questions?”
“We did not realize that the Cyclops could do such magic”, a bold tad volunteered the opinion of the group.
Gekaal smiled kindly at the tad. “There is much that people do not know about the Cyclops. Their natural affinity to magic is remarkable. True, they do not always understand how they control it, but they have an innate ability which is rivaled by few.“
“The unrest was soon sedated,” Gekaal continued the lesson, “and a kind of peace settled over the empire once more. The problem with using force to bring about peace, is that the underlying disharmony between the tribes was not addressed. The tribes ceased their war, but they did not lay aside their beliefs.”
Cyclops can use their natural affinity with magic to great effect
"It was during the tribal war that the first Salaman rebellion failed before it really ever started. To understand how the story of Jyx begins, you must first hear how his friend Stychen led the doomed rebellion."