Tales of the Dendrelyssi
MELANCHOLY ON THE SEAS
I usually find sailing enjoyable, the act of navigating the high seas, plundering the enemies of the Dendrelyssi, ruling the Crimson Lands. My kind use to rule these lands, we conquered them using our demons, we used fear to control, we were invincible.
Since the end of the war with the humans of the Crimson Lands, my people are now a shade of their former glory and we’re forced to resort to mingling with “them” to survive. I find the prospect intolerable most days, the goods days I find succour in drink, beautiful women, and duels to the death as I hone my blade craft. Had I my father’s warship I’d be reaping the lands but there are so few us now, although we crushed their armada as they approach the shores of Dendrelyss, it was bittersweet, we suffered greatly and lost a great many noble souls.
It angers me.
I find myself daydreaming of past glory when all that’s visible on the horizon is water. Ever since I’ve found passage on a human trading vessel named the Scarlet Seagull, it’s sturdy and seaworthy for a human ship. All I ever do most days is revel in the past within my mind. Most Dendrelyssi would probably try and take the ship but I’m not like most. The captain was once a cabin boy back during the war; he would tell his crew stories of how they had barely escaped the great war and how they face my people. Especially when he haunts them with tales of my people. I can see it in his eyes, the fear, but also the respect. He took a chance with me and I became a crew member on his ship.
It’s been many years since I’ve travelled from Necrolorn, the capital city of my race. Wanderlust gripped me like a vice as I grew tiresome of the slaves; what was once something of a pastime has become ordinary, tedious, and insufferable. I would have killed them all and replaced them with new ones but these days we can’t just outright kill slaves. They are innumerable now, we have to walk a very fine line less they revolt against their masters. So I left hoping to reclaim what was once lost.
Oh, how I missed the glorious empire.
I’ve been with this crew for many months on the sea, my skills as a sailor was a boon for them but they are always cautious around my presence, they have seen my many moods during our travels. They were at best tolerable and at least trustworthy, I could call them comrades but I don’t. I’m always at arm’s length. We sailed to many ports, I experienced the world first hand, mostly whoring and enjoying what miserable means of entertainment was available and tolerable. That is until we arrived in Krorn, the Krandians still harbour a deep hatred for my race.
Tensions flared immediately as soon as I stepped off the ship, which led to an incident that forced the captain to depart very quickly after a few hours at port. The crew had to drag me back on board before news spread of my existence in Krorn. Krandians hunt my people now.
Had I an army behind me, I would have razed Krorn to the ground.
Being a rich port, the captain realised that if he wishes to continue to trade with the Krand, I needed to be gone if he wanted to come back. I had to get off the ship in the next port of call. A place called Sanctuary. A haven on the south coast controlled by Dralucia.
A few weeks later, we arrived in Sanctuary. What a shithole of a city, the stories I hear from the crew, it’s supposed to be a shining gem but how can they compare that to any other city we’ve visited. In my mind, they’re all cesspools of human filth compared to Necrolorn or Mnenthaynal at the height of our power.
I needed to remove the stink of the sea from my body. I needed comfort, I needed to get lost in drink and in flesh. That was the only thing on my mind. It’s always on my mind. I’ve measured every port city we’ve visited based on the carnal pleasures experience.
As soon as I stepped off the gang plank, the first human I saw, I ordered through gritted teeth to tell me where the whores were and made my way in the direction he indicated.
My spirit had darkened once I got off the boat. I loved the sea. It’s going to be difficult finding another ship that will have a Dendrelyssi on board as I realise I’m stuck here for the time being.
Why do humans always ramble on? Can’t they be direct and to the point? As I wander away I could still hear him talking. At least these pathetic humans have the mind to give me a wide berth, I’m probably the first (or only) Dendralyssi they’ve seen in quite awhile. I’m probably the monster they tell their children to fear, rightly so as I smirk at the thought.
I needed a release from the mundane and so far Sanctuary is the very essence of mundane for a city, but my mood quickly worsened as a man-child tried to steal my purse (or so I thought). I hotly pursued him through the crowd until he had the misfortune of tripping on his gangly feet, I pushed my way angrily toward him brandishing my two-handed sword in one hand, I push the tip towards his throat. For a man-child, he can scream as if he was strapped to a torture rack.
I would have enjoyed that so much if this place was home. Home… so far away now.
I threatened to cut his throat if he did not return my coin purse. His screaming caught the attention of the city guards and for some reason, a raggedy man came along with them holding a stick, he tried to explain to the guards the boy had stolen my coin-purse. A big mistake on my part as I realise it was I who had taken his purse as I tried to explain who the thief was.
The guards I could have taken on quite easily I imagine, but I let that small brief moment of time standing there assessing the situation cool my head. I angrily (more at myself for being fooled so easily) shove the purse into the boy’s chest with a hiss. He was quick to leave the scene as the guards requested I accompany them to ‘fill out paperwork’. Bureaucrats, these humans know no bounds of patheticism, they can be sometimes daring and bold like this raggedy man they have falsely accused of being an accomplice to my brazen act of public thievery. Thievery… our arrogance was our downfall and they treat me like some ruffian, they take the word of a man-child over a Dendrelyssi… incredulous humans. I would have had their heads if I wasn’t too preoccupied with fulfilling my desires as the thought returned.
I tower over them, I glower down at them. I can see the discomfort in their eyes, their fear is palpable, I taste it over the sea-salt air. Detaining a well-armed Dendralyssi was not something they wanted to do today, that was clear as the fish stunk day. The captain was satisfied with just taking note of the raggedy man’s name and my own and letting us be on our way.
I leave their presence as quickly as I entered, I didn’t need their permission anyway, why did I tolerate their presence for so long as I think to myself as I make my way towards the area the locals refer to as the Red Lanterns. All the while ignoring the raggedy man that has decided to follow me.
Again, the boldness in these humans.
Raggedy Man, as I have come to call him, is a talkative fellow, it would be endearing if he had not been so rank, it was clear he hasn’t bathed in days as his odorous smell of some kind of animal filled my nose. I really can not be bothered to learn his name as we arrive at the single street lined with brothels and women.
The disappointment washes over me as I curse under my breath as I inspect the squalor and quality of flesh I see before me. I was about to turn away and make my way westward to the better part of the city, if I can’t have flesh, then quality drink will suffice when a view caught my eye off to the side of the street. Compared to the rest, this building stood out of place, it exuded opulence and my desires resurfaced.
THE BLOOD RED STREET OF RED LANTERNS
I was so caught up with curiosity, I didn’t even see a girl run by me and the group of men until two of them aggressively pushed their way through me after her.
They were brazen to lay their hands on me broke my focus. Burning hatred instantly flared as I stalked after them with my well-handled two-handed blade. I let the weight of steel take me, feeling the momentum of its razor sharp edge cut through flesh and bone. In one powerful swing of steel, I cut them down like the dogs they were as they confronted Raggedy Man. My mood quickly changed as the blood on my blade exhilarated me, and it’s only been an hour or so since I arrived in this city.
I did not see the others coming for me. but Raggedy Man did. Before I could notice him move, he handled the two other men like a blur.
I have to be cautious with this one, this Raggedy Man. There is more to him than what he appears.
Sanctuary was starting to grow on me as I spit on the bodies I had slain and mutter under my breath ‘humans should know never cross a Dendrelyssi…” as I let the thought trail and the anger subside.
It wasn’t long when I noticed the most beautiful human woman standing on the doors of the very place I was walking towards was beckoning us. My loins were afire once again as I cleaned my blade on the fallen and walk towards her like a moth to a flame. I wasn’t paying much attention to what she was saying as she led the Raggedy Man and myself into her house. She was the most stunning human I have ever laid my eyes on as she commanded her servants to attend to our needs as they led Raggedy Man and me upstairs to a room. Food and wine were provided as the commotion outside started to attract my attention.
The guards had arrived at the carnage Raggedy Man and I had caused.We could not hear what they were saying when the woman approached them as the guards themselves started to search the surrounding buildings. “Hounds,” Raggedy Man muttered as he indicated the differences between the guards. I paid it no mind, they weren’t coming here, so they didn’t concern me,
Comfort is what I desired, I ate the food and drank the wine and waited in anticipated excitement. It wasn’t long until we were summoned to the madame of the house’s presence. Her name is Myrtis, Madame of Aphrodisia House.
We make our way to her private room, Raggedy Man introduces himself to her as Dalarech, he moves like a cat, stinks like a human. I care not for his name, it’s guttural speaking his name in the bastard language of Low Dendrelyss. The only language we both understand.
It hurts my mind thinking about it.
I’ll just continue to call him Raggedy Man, he moves like one anyway. Myrtis, however, demands attention as I hungrily watch her like a big cat stalks prey.
I wasn’t paying much attention to the conversation with Myrtis, I found myself saying things that didn’t matter, mostly feigning interest in what they’re talking about until they mentioned a wizard’s name, Enas Yorl. It was a small flicker of interest as my lust for Myrtis overtook my thoughts.
It will be quenched like a thirst in desert heat as I think to myself, I will have her one day, but not today. Today I will be satisfied with her whores to cleanse the dirtiness of today and relieve the troubles that haunt my dreams.
I enjoy their presence thinking of Myrtis as the afternoon wanes into the early night.