How... How much longer does it have to continue? Have we not suffered enough already?For hundreds of year had Ro'Zari existed in Prethoria, unknown to the rest of its inhabitants. They were only ever mentioned as urban legends and in creepy stories told in the dark of the night, stories about shadows lurking around, waiting for a careless person to step in a dark place to never come out of it again. Sometimes, naughty kids would be told those stories by their parents, and they would stay awake all night, too afraid to go out of the safety of their home. No one has seriously considered it to be anything more than a story, and those who have claimed to have seen them with their own eyes were just laughed at by everyone they tried to tell about it. For example, there was once a most famous human wizard, Banteer the Wise, who died in oblivion as Banteer the Mad after he went on what everyone saw as a wild goose hunt after the shadows that lurk in the dark. He was not entirely wrong in his assumptions, but dead wrong in his assessment of the danger.
A hard lesson is always easier to remember. That one we will never forget.Long ago, a place of peace and knowledge existed. Its inhabitants called themselves Ro'Zari, people of magic, and their home was simply named The World. There were no threats nor enemies for Ro'Zari except themselves, and their society rapidly developed. Magic was an everyday practice, and rarely could you find an artisan who did not use it to some extent. Those were the good days, in which the Ro'Zari prospered under the loving care of their gods, which they viewed as parents. And with every day their society developed, it was getting closer and closer to its end. The wizards of Ro'Zari, who could turn the mountains into dust and tell the rivers where to flow, became arrogant. They were too proud of their power and wanted nobody to tell them what to do. Complete freedom was their desire, and just as most children, Ro'Zari started to perceive their gods as those who denied them that freedom. Secretly, the strongest wizards of them all started to create an extremely complex and powerful spell, and they have spent many years researching and debating it. And by their great power, their arcane knowledge of the world, and their zealous dedication, they succeeded. The spell's goal was to grant their people freedom by denying the gods any influence they could possibly have over the Ro'Zari. And the only way to do so was to banish the gods completely from their world. The preparations for the ritual took many years. Much gold changed hands, caravans with things needed for the ritual were secretly moved around the country, and some wizards died from old age and other causes only to be replaced with new ones, just as talented as their predecessors. One night, an enormous wave of magic energy swept the land, changing the very landscape and making people wake up in terror. The gods were forever banished to other planes, a deed that, not by intent, claimed the lives of all who took part in that ritual. But it was not the end. Inyr, a leader to the gods and the one who was believed to have created them all as well as Ro'Zari and the world around them, took offence. After the ritual was completed and before its power forced the gods to leave the place, Inyr renounced the traitors. "You wield the magic we taught you against us; for that I would take back the power you did not deserve in the first place, and return our grief a hundredfold; and you will lose all you ever had and loved, and you will live for all eternity in misery, for that is what you doomed us to."
How long ago did that happen? A minute, a day, a thousand years... I do not know. Time has no meaning here. An endlessly repeated nightmare was our punishment.The next moment, the Ro'Zari found themselves in a strange place they had never seen before. They could see no grass or sun, nothing bright and living but endless grey mists and a path between them. The fire of a torch was almost grey, barely visible in the mists, and the land could not be seen even when one was lying on it. Even the sound could be barely heard a few meters away, swallowed by the mists, and the magic did not answer its former masters. The Ro'Zari tried to follow the path, but it only led on and on forever unchanging. Soon enough, people started to disappear. It would seem they just made a step or two into the mists and most of them never returned. The ones that did manage to find their way back to the rest of the group spoke of complete silence and opacity, of screaming until their throats hurt and yet not being able to hear themselves nor see anything around. No one knows for how long the Ro'Zari have wandered in that land. As time went by, the people would just disappear into the mists, being unable to find their way out of them. Some of them would even step off the path, hoping to escape the unchanging nature of their surroundings. Soon, the bodies of Ro'Zari started to die, but even after the death of one's body, its shadow on the ground continue to live due to the Inyr's curse. Unable to speak, with no physical feelings, not even the pain, they were slowly descending into madness, losing all of their memories and their very minds. The path forever continued, often crossing other paths or splitting into several, getting wider or narrower, and the Ro'Zari continued to wander in the unknown. As they moved along, they would on rare occasions encounter small, floating islands of grass and strange creatures travelling the same paths. The Ro'Zari would then prey on the tiniest morsels of magic energy, hungry for the minuscule relief it provided in allowing them to keep their mind for just a little longer. That energy, or the way they consumed it, hurt them badly, but it was better than becoming nothing.
Is this world supposed to be a pardon, issued by Inyr, or was it mere luck that we found it? Either way, it is our sanctuary and home now, and we must do anything possible to secure our place in it.One day, a group of Ro'Zari, who had already split into many small groups and lone wanderers, realised that the mists around were getting less dense. It was not the first time they encountered that anomaly, but it was still something differing from usual, so they decided to follow up on that trail. In fact, the word "decided" may not be the most fitting, as by that moment the whole group had already lost their minds and memories completely, moving and keeping together on sheer instincts and reflexes. They continued to move around in the area, trying to find a reason why mists were dwindling, until a strange power pulled them all strongly in the same direction. Being pulled from the mists, not understanding where they were and what was happening with them, they started to have a strange sensation of falling. In a moment, the landscape around changed into green, ordinary woods. It was the Endless Forest near the Great Plains. The Ro'Zari did not comprehend the normality of that wood but understood that it was something new. Curiosity was probably the only emotion the Ro'Zari had left by that time. The group discordantly scattered around, exploring a new place and searching for magic energy that they could have drained, but it was no use. In fact, the arcane energy was everywhere around them, but the Ro'Zari could not sense nor use it because they lacked aura which Inyr deprived them of, and strangely enough they could not drain local creatures. So it continued for a while until one of the Ro'Zari stumbled upon a battle of bipedal creatures, in which one of the combatants created a spell that flew right next to that Ro'Zari, allowing them to sense the magic energy the Ro'Zari so craved. Rushing to the caster, the Ro'Zari tried to drain them to no effect, but when another spell was cast... the Ro'Zari, touching the caster's shadow, was able to capture the spell. No one had even noticed that strange shadow which then ran away and started to consume the energy within the spell, and thus the Ro'Zari mind began to reappear. That one Ro'Zari was not the only one of them to find the obtainable magic energy in others' spells. Over centuries, they slowly evolved, regaining their mind and knowledge. Most of their memories were lost or became vague dreams, but their basic identities remained mainly intact, though many of them lost even that. The more spells a Ro'Zari captured and the stronger those spells were, the more energy they had to regain those tiny bits of themselves and to fortify their minds against disappearing again. The Ro'Zari started to search for battlefields where they would stealthily feed on the spells, running away before anyone would notice something strange going on. After all, casters often counter enemy spells, so who would ever think of a shadow stealing them. The careless Ro'Zari, especially the more mindless ones, were sometimes spotted moving around though. Later, many Ro'Zari found their way into the cities, including the human ones after they conquered the Great Plains, which were a riskier but richer feeding ground for them, and that is how the legends about them were born. Nowadays, many Ro'Zari have already evolved to at least an average human or elven intelligence, going as far as learning how to use the captured spells instead of absorbing the energy in them, and often following someone to experience things through observing them.
Ro'Zari, Magic and Society
You think because you can use magic and I cannot, you can come into my house and demand things of my daughter and I won't be able to do a thing about it? Well, in most cases you might be right, but there is a detail you do not know about me. I'll tell you. The price for that lesson, however, shall be your life!Initially, the Ro'Zari could only consume the arcane energy in spells to regain their intellect and identity and to keep them from degrading once again. All their skills and knowledge about magic, even when regained through that process, were now useless due to their lack of aura. They had, however, a reasonably high talent for magic and centuries to practice it, and so most of those who evolved enough to attain basic consciousness learned how to use the spells they stole. And Ro'Zari can retain a significant amount of spells, depending on the amount of magic energy within, and they can use even the strongest ones though it would be rather random without the sufficient understanding of spell's nature. Of course, a more powerful intellect boasted more advantages than a proclivity towards manipulating magic. Some of them are even capable of removing and adding parts of already charged spell formulas, thus changing their effects, or combining parts from different ones to create an entirely new spell. The process is risky and often fails, causing the spell to misfire or to be completely ruined. The goal of most Ro'Zari is to feel like living, sentient beings once again. After all, they were once highly intelligent, wise people, and now they have to live forever alone, hiding in some dark places like rats. That is the very reason they stick to using humanoid shadows most of the time even though all Ro'Zari can control and change their size and form at will as if a person who casts a shadow was changing the way they stand, sit or lie. And they are always in pursuit of the spells that allow them, at least for a while, to walk among other sentient beings, to talk and drink with them. A spell that can forever transform its target into a living creature is the absolute goal of any Ro'Zari, and some of them have achieved it though it did not give them their auras back as it was unable to overpower the curse of a rather strong god. In fact, there are more ways to get that spell than just stealing or creating it. Many Ro'Zari found a lot of valuable information and things during their journeys, and thus they are often quite rich in both money and knowledge and can sometimes even afford to buy a scroll or usage of such a spell — under the guise of temporary shapeshifting magic, of course. There are advantages in being an immortal shadow, after all, though gods are probably able to kill Ro'Zari if they have enough divine energy to overpower the will of Inyr. And though Ro'Zari do not remember their past and each other, they often answer each others' requests for help if it not too costly, especially those still in a shadow form. They communicate by changing their shadows to represent the thing they are talking about, using cheap, accessible spells to write with and so on. Favours are of a high value between intelligent Ro'Zari, but not high enough to entirely rely on them, so most deals are performed through the exchange of information and spells, the latter kind done by simply shooting the spell at its buyer.
About 6 feet (~1.8m)
Remove these ads. Join the Worldbuilders Guild
Don't mind that weird image in the article, I couldn't find a better one so put that to illustrate the point for now. Will change later, as well as putting up the cover image.