Song of the Elves

Epic fantasy novels and short stories by David Charles Shepherd

Creatures

Boarbacks – As mysterious in their origin as they are frightful in their appearance; neither man nor beast, the boarbacks resemble a cross between a human and a wild boar.  Standing upright, growing up to 7ft, the boarbacks have stiff bristles covering their skin.  Their bestial faces end in long snouts, with sharp tusks protruding from the jaw line.  A distinctive ridge runs along their spine.  Faster than a human, they are propelled along on muscular legs which end in cloven hooves.  Their natural habitat is unknown, though in Rhoderica they are found in thick forests.  They have canibalistic tendencies and have been known to eat humans and elves that they have killed in battle.

Darklings – Imagine a sliver of your darkest nightmare, removed from your dream, brought to life and poured into bipedal form – such a creature would resemble a Darkling.  Little more than shadow, in their ghostly forms they stalk the night.  Creatures from beyond the Majoran Mountains, they are drawn by fear and distress.  Their thorn-blades carry a poison that invades the soul and can drive a victim to insanity.  Darklings are ungodly creatures, created from magic long forgotten, in a time before humans walked abroad in Rhoderica.

Zelts – Six legged beasts of burden, with hides as tough as stone.  Their blunt heads are used as battering rams in a skirmish by the races that take them as their steeds.  With multiple rows of blunt teeth they can grind bone and and flesh in an instant.  Zelt herds used to be common amongst the foothills of the Majorans, but in the time of the humans they were seldom seen in Rhoderica, having migrated to the frozen north some time before the invasion of the elves.

Southren – Green skinned savages from a tropical land located to the south of Rhoderica.  They first appeared in Rhoderica fifty years after the invasion of the elves.  Elvish historians claim they were sent to restore a balance of good and evil to the land when the Summerlands were born.  A distant relative of the human race, they live in clans, obeying the rule of a chieftain.  Shamans live among them, using powerful elemental magic to control the weather.  On occasions the southren have been known to band together to create vast armies, though their natural instinct is to live in communities of several hundreds.

Nordakin – pale skinned cousins of the Southren living as traders beyond the frozen wastes.  Normally a peaceful folk, in desperate times various chieftains have driven them southwards to claim fertile land.  Their diet consists of fish and snow mammals such as polar bears and seals.

Gnarls – work animals of the Nordakin.  Great tusked beasts, three times the size of a polar bear with claws as long as a dagger, these creatures pulled the snow sleighs of the nomadic Nordakin.  They proved to be fearsome steeds in battle.

Ice-wyrm – frightful serpents of the icy wastes, their swollen transluscent bodies pulsing with blue veins.  Ice-wyrms have rings of teeth to filter fish, but they can devour a man in seconds if one stray into their lair.  They are not known to be manhunters, but they have occasionally been driven in to service against men by the Nordakin.  They can grow up to a hundred feet in length, with bodies as wide as a cottage.

Sea Serpents – The Bridal Sea is one of the deepest oceans of the known world.  Monsters of the deep have been known to attack shipping along the coast of the Summerlands.  The most common type of sea creature to endanger the lives of sailors is the sea-serpent.  Growing up to two hundred feet in length, they drag ships to their grave by coiling their snake like bodies around the vessel.  They mate for life and tend to live in pairs.

Dragons – Thought to be extinct, sadly they returned with deadly consequences during the second century of elven occupation of the Summerlands.  Dragons vary in size, from the reclusive woodland variety of thirty feet in length, to the mammoth fire-breathing kings of the mountains, growing up to one hundred and fifty feet long and standing as high as a keep.  They have startling intelligence, but can be susceptible to dark magic.  Evil magicians have sought to control them in the past, usually with dire consequences for the magic wielder.

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