Nelcatl sighed, slumping into his chair as the dwarven citizen walks out his door. This was his final meeting of the day, though the night has long since begun, the darkness lurking outside his door. He sat in a small wooden room, lit by a single flickering candle located on the wooden desk he sits at. Dipping his quill in ink, he starts rigorously writing, for a city leader has no time for rest. It’s quite an odd story, of how a Mezoar came to lead a city, involving the deaths of close friends and monstrous beasts.
In the beginning, there was only eight, a band of Mezoar with no army to fight for, and no home to go back to. They were sick of the war; of the blood that pooling around their feet during combat, of the endless search for that artifact, and of the screams that that they can never quite forget. These eight were special, the only survivors of a bloody battle fought against a group of adventurers. Monsters in the skins of men they were, ripping through swarms of Mezoar like they were nothing, ending them in single swings of their swords one by one. The Mezoar commander was the only one that could resist them, downing two of the adventurers before they fled the battle, but in the end, the commander and the downed all succumbed to their heavy wounds.
They were the eight that survived, but only six are remembered; Ezcapan, Eleuia, Tema, Zanima, Mahuico, and Nelcatl. The names of the last two are long forgotten, two victims of many in the lands of Ohr, another failed attempt at survival. The eight survivors fled their camp that day, burning everything they didn’t carry to ashes, and taking the fastest road far away from that fight. They were lizards with no real plan but survival in this cruel land, walking the roads they came across until they ran out of road to walk, and then they’d find a new one.
They travelled for several years, finding the occasional town they could earn some coin at and quickly rest, but they still lost two of them on the way; one died on the side of the road, his starvation too strong for him to continue, and another mauled by a bear while hunting for meat. They continued on through the losses, as every moment of stalled action just left another opportunity for death’s door to open.
The six lizards were travelling down a small dirt road, though it could hardly be called one, the bright summer sun illuminating just how overgrown and ill-maintained it was. Hungry, but not starving after a lucky boar catch in the forest last night, the group walked down this road surrounded on all sides by forest, a single mountain visible in the distance over the trees. The party was travelling in pairs of 2, Ezcapan & Eleuia dual wielding daggers & scimitars respectively, marching ahead of the party and singing a Mezoark song. Mahuico and Tema were walking in the back, wielding a heavy crossbow and a short bow respectively, grumbling about their stomach. Then you had Zanima, twirling his javelin in circles, while Nelcatl walked beside him, war hammer and shield in hand.
As they continued on along the road, Ezcapan stopped, turning to face the forest on his left. The rest of the party stopped in silence, familiar with his adept perception after so much travel, and prepared their weapons for battle. Before long, a large tree crashed down in front of them, separating the front party members from the rest, and revealing a large spider. A blue and white spider, reaching near 14 feet tall, two giant fangs hanging under its dozen eyes.
The spider jumped forward, biting at the closest target, Ezcapan, and striking home. His arm was ripped straight off as the spider rammed into him, and the fired bolt/arrow from our backline flew into the air as the spider disappeared. Confused and panicked looks spreading across the party, the spider reappeared right behind Natcatl, going in for another strike, and missing. Natcatl swiftly dodged, striking against the spider the same moment as Zanima, wounding it’s sides. Another arrow flew through the air, hitting it straight in the eye, while a bolt hit the ground near its feet. It screeched, disappearing for several seconds before reappearing above the wounded Ezcapan sitting on the ground, and it tried to finish the job. The bite pierced through Ezcapans head, helpless with such a heavy injury, Eleuia trying and failing to strike it back. With Ezcapan left dead on the ground, the spider screeched once more, and disappeared into the air. Natcatl yelled to retreat, leading the party off into the forest as fast as they could run.
Suffering from the loss of their comrade, they cautiously head through the forest, sorely aware of how dangerous that spider could be when ambushing them. They knew one thing about the spider, that they were woefully unprepared to fight such a beast. Travelling the rest of the day into the forest, they set up camp hoping to make it through the night, and slept. The day they woke was a harsh one, as they discovered losing Ezcapan meant more than their scout warning them ahead of time, they also lost their wild expert. Without him, they were lost in the forest, unsure of where to head.
Over the next month lost in the massive forest, the spider killed another one of them, Mahuico, while they were hunting for food in packs of two, Eleuia barely managing to get away. They trained in that forest, for survival and revenge, with only four Mezoar left they had little room for mistakes or weakness. Day after day they were in that forest, hunting for bare survival, training by fighting the occasional monster that showed it’s head, encountering the spider several times but escaping every time with minimum injuries on both sides. This continued for nearly a full year, until the party travelled far to the mountain one day, and encountered a frightening sight: A spiders nest, full of these abominations, hidden in a cave surrounded by webs deep in the mountain.
The party knew they stood no chance at fighting this many spiders, but came up with a plan involving relics from their fight in the war: Explosives. With the heavy training they’ve been through, and their skills as soldiers, they snuck into the spiders nest in it’s moment of stillness, and lit the webs in flames. Kiting the spiders inside, their entire nest on fire, they lit the explosives placed around the cave and blew it all to hell. The rocks fell from the cavern roof, crushing spider after spider as they scrambled around, panicking, screeching, and chasing the party. The party sprinted out the caves exit, blowing the final explosives with their torches and crushing any spiders chasing after them.
Though their nest was blown, they knew more spiders were roaming the forest, and they spent weeks tracking down and killing the rest, eventually reaching a shocking revelation: there was an entire small town located in this forest, cowering from spider attacks. Having learned of their acts against the spiders, the town was overjoyed, finally having the freedom to move around, hunt, and grow. The spiders had terrorized this town for decades, the only reason they survived were due to the spiders ignoring them if they stuck close to home, and their downfall gave them the freedom to expand into the unoccupied forest.
The lizard’s, with no other place to go, and being famously accepted there, spent many years in that town. It grew into the forest, eventually growing into a full blown city, though the other lizardmen slowly drifted away. Tema died to illness, a quiet and peaceful death on his bed. Eleuia went off to become an adventurer, seeking the combat that he’s been surrounded by his entire life. Zanima developed trade routes with other cities, eventually becoming a merchant and travelling far away. The only Mezoar who remained in this city was Natcatl, eventually rising to lead the city in it’s growing development. It’s been decades since their fight against the spiders, and the city was still growing strong, the small deathly village that used to occupy these lands was nowhere in sight compared to the houses, taverns, and shops lying throughout the city.
This is the city of Tenoch, home of “Natcatl the spider slayer” as they like to call him, the head of the Tenoch council. He puts down his quill, blowing out his candle as he gets out of his chair, and walks out the door. That was the document officially resigning himself from the council, retiring to live out his life as a combat trainer with his wife for the rest of his life. Forty years later, his son, Ezcapan, is now the sole member of his family; the head of the council and an experienced fighter.
Credit - Rolant (Pharros).