"Luci where are you? Come on, you promised to play with me!" A child's voice echoed. In the suns dying light, a small shape darted across an empty street, hiding behind crates or whatever else it could find. Lucius allowed himself to rest for a bit. He closed his eyes, tried to calm his breath. He needed to hear, hear if the voice was getting louder, getting closer. That voice that sounded like his friend Mirus, but wasn't. Oh, gods, it wasn't.
They had played along the old canal, where that ruin stood. He and Mirus and Lia and Cir. Hide and Seel, their favourite game. After a while Lucius was alone, calling for his friends but no one answered. Then Lia had called to him from the ruin. He ran to it but stop dead in his tracks a few feet away. The voice came from what had been a small gate, small piles of rubble beneath it, the interior hidden in shadows.
Lia still called, but Lucius didn't want to move. He couldn't see her, hidden in the darkness of the entrance. Something about the way the shadow looked didn't feel right. Send goosebumps down his spine. It looked like it moved, crawled, stretched feelers out to grasp and claw at anything near it.
Cir's and Mirus's voices joined Lia. "Come, Luci! You have to look at what we found! There is treasure here! You have to look! Come!", they chorused. But he couldn't. Wouldnt. The shadow wasn't right. It just...he turned away and ran as fast as his little legs could.
"Luci! Come Luci!". His exes shot open. Again. The voices. Closer again. Jumping up he started again. Running, running, running. The voices closer and closer and closer. Behind him, above him, from the sewers, the windows. There! His house! Just a few more feet. Putting everything into his run, he burst into his home, turned around and smashed the door shut.
For hours he hid in the small room under the staircase, ear pressed against the door, listening for the voices. Nothing. Only silence. He just had to wait. Wait till mother was home. All would be good. There would be fish for dinner, his mother had promised him that. Then she would read him a story before bed. And the next morning he would go play again. Cir and Lia and Mirus would be there, laughing and making fun of him. Call him a coward. He would pout for a bit but then laugh with them.
After hours of waiting, he heard someone opening the front door. He heard a bag been tossed aside, a coat hanged on its holder, the old wood making that creaking noise and finally his mother call out to him. He smiled. She was here. It was over.
He smiled when he called out to her. Smiled when he opened the door to his small room. The smile was still on his face when the door opened. And when he saw that it wasn't his mother standing before him.
- The Little Boy and his Mother, Vardanian Folk Tale -
A Monster on the Streets
Most of the stories about the Idrin stem from the Time of Twilight. The newer tales are assumed to be created in response to a series of grisly murders that took place in the city of Aurasio in the early 7th century DA.
Over a period of three years, nineteen people were killed. All of them from the cities upper middle class, all living in what was seen as one of the safest parts of the city. Over the same period, residents repeatedly reported about strange voices, coming from seemingly nowhere. One even claimed to have seen a shadow standing over one of the victims corpses before dissipating.
Authorities have dismissed these as ramblings of drunkards and panicking citizens. Fact is however that the perpetrator was never found. And to this day the people of Aurasio whisper: Beware the shadows and voices!
Artistic depiction of the Idrin. A mysterious creature from ancient Vardanian folklore.
A thousand Voices
- Date of First Recording
- 7th Century DA
The Idrin is an old creature. Older than the Dawn. The Oblivion Hour
brought shadows and ashes. Under a blood-red sun and sickly green moon, many strange beings found their way into the world. Hunting in the shadows and stalking man across ashen plains and among ruined cities.
It is made from shadow, liquid smoke. Mostly black with hands of corpse-like white. They can imitate the voice of every human they come across. The copy is perfect in almost every way. Sometimes they use it to lure their prey. Other times they simply toy with humans, driving them insane or have them hunt after them for hours on end.
Why they do this, how they know which voices to imitate and which people are important to their prey, what happens to those that are caught by one and why they hunt some and just play with others. None of the legends gives an answer.
And that is what they are my lord. Legends and tales from a time when Humans feared their own shadow. Don't worry about it.