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The Visit of the Mishtafikin

I sleep under the stars in the hopes that, Inke willing, I catch a glimpse of my beloved family once again...or the creatures that stole them from me. I have little hope left that these monsters will ever return to this land again, knowing what I do now.
— an anonymous storyteller, Vitlesh Folktales for Children
  The Vitlesh have many superstitions, tall tales and stories. Many of them get compiled in books such as the one above. But this particular tale has caused a stir in academic circles across the multiverse. Namely, because it sounds like it really happened but can't possibly have done so. And yet, the tale of the Visit of the Mishtafikin persists; whether it is truly fact or fiction has yet to be determined.  

It Takes You Away

The story begins in a small rural Vitlesh village where peace reigns and the harvests are plentiful. The villagers of Marawn are happy and nothing seems amiss.   That is, until a young boy from the village goes missing. The townsfolk scour the town and the nearby steppe for any sign of him. Not a clue surfaces for over a month.   Then the boy comes back. He returns home to his relieved parents and tells a bizarre tale of animal-headed creatures dancing around a campfire. The boy joined in and stayed with the motley group for the night, eating strange fruits and telling stories of these "Mishtafikin." Unaware that weeks had passed, the boy only has a positive view of the experience. His parents banned him from visiting these creatures again, believing them to be Fay of some kind.   The next night, the boy wakes his parents, whispering that he can hear the Mishtafikin dancing outside. Sure enough, unearthly music plays outside the family's dimma. The wife of the family promises her husband that she would return and goes outside with her son to confront the creatures.   They never return, and despite years of waiting, the Mishtafikin never came back to Marawn again.
CW: kidnapping, loss of family
Date of Setting
Around 30 years ago
Related Ethnicities
Related Locations

What are the Mishtafikin?

Several theories exist regarding the origin of the strange creatures mentioned in this tale.   The most common is that the Mishtafikin are stand-ins for some other force, such as demons, raiding parties from neighbouring hostile nations, or more commonplace threats. The villagers of Marawn simply saw illusions of otherworldly figures and assumed them to be the real thing.   But recent work in the village itself lends credence to the idea that Marawn's townsfolk might have witnessed something else. Namely, no demon or sophont has this kind of animal physionomy. Even the Weretouched of Renath simply has animal-like features, not animal-headed forms.   There are some known as Xenosophontists who believe that the Mishtafikin are sophonts from another magical world in this dimension that has otherwise had no contact with the main five. While this would be an astounding discovery, they so far have no proof of this fact.
All images in this article were created by me, EmperorCharlesII, unless otherwise indicated.

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