Gnoll Origins

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Gnoll Origins

In the beginning, there was nothing. With a bang, boom, and crash, the universe is made by an unnamed creator. By who, you ask? What does it matter, when there are riches to plunder and blood to spill? Still, the gods and goddesses never seem content with their own kingdoms, and must meddle in the affairs of ours. In this way, Marjack sought to demonstrate his power by creating something in his image: bugbears.

After proclaiming bugbears a complete success, Marjack sought to further demonstrate his power by creating something unlike himself: Ankha. She was tall and savagely beautiful, with arms as big as tree-trunks and a body as unyielding as a mountain.

So began Ankha’s story: she struggled to find her place in the world, and Marjack was always watching her. She knew this because it was an uncomfortable, burning sensation to be watched by a god. This created great resentment in Ankha, and pushed her to learn magics to both sustain herself and, one day, throw off the shackles of Marjack. This also bred an immediate resentment for bugbears, as they were bent unceasingly to Marjack’s will.
Ankha wasn’t the only creature to walk the land, however. Soon she encountered goblins. Soon after she was annoyed with scraping them off her feet and went to war with them. Marjack soon decided he would use Ankha to stamp out all goblins (because his favored race, bugbears, were getting pretty tired of them too), and sent his greatest champion, Zul-Han to guide her along this path. He did not appear in his true bugbear form, however; instead, he was disguised as a reflection of Ankha.

Together, the two brought great pain to the goblin horde, and Ankha learned the magics of war. The two also impressed many different species into their service. All who were defeated were given a choice: serve as fodder for the war, or die where they stood. During this time, Ankha also grew close with a creature Zul-Han collected as a spoil of war: hyenas. She loved them for their brutality, and how they would show no mercy to the goblins they eviscerated. She loved them for their strange looks and manner, which struck fear into their enemies. Most of all, she loved them for the way they laughed: at each other, at her, and most of all, at their captor: Zul-Han. They became her unflinching companions, and would fight by her side in even the most harrowing of battles; over the course of the war, they became her closest confidants. It didn’t hurt that, like her, they also hated bugbears.

Not all was going well with the war, however. As time marched on, Ankha became increasingly suspicious of Zul-Han’s motives. It started with small things: they never attacked bugbears, and Zul-Han talked to himself at night. The truth was revealed, however, when the glamour on Zul-Han was broken during a particularly intense battle. Ankha may not have noticed because she had her hands full with a few dozen goblins, but one of her hyenas started barking to alert her to a new threat. When she looked for a brief moment, she saw a bugbear where Zul-Han once stood. Though the illusion was quickly reinstated, the truth had been revealed.

From that moment forward, Ankha began planning. She knew she could not attack Zul-Han directly, so she decided subterfuge would be her blade. She had heard rumors of great goblin champions, warriors and shamans, who may be strong enough to kill a god’s champion. She decided this would be her plan of attack. It was easy to convince Zul-Han to attack such a goblin, too, since the goblin armies would be dealt a great blow if one of their champions were slain.

After a march of death and scorched earth, Ankha and Zul-Han drew out a goblin champion. Zul-Han and the goblin immediately began to battle; Zul-Han for the thrill and the goblin for revenge. Armies on both sides of the war were scattered or obliterated; only Zul-Han, the goblin, Ankha, and her hyena’s remained. With great magics filling the air, lightning began to strike all around them. Soon, virtually everything except the combatants were reduced to ash. Ankha could also see that without assistance, the goblin would be crushed. Zul-Han seemed to have a well of power much, much deeper than she imagined. Unwilling to relinquish her revenge, she charged him from behind jumping at his throat. A raw, primal scream emanated from every fiber of her being, but a bright flash tore through the sky and struck her before she reached Zul-Han.

Though she should have died in that moment, she didn’t. Her rage welled up deep within her heart and wouldn’t let her die. Though the lightning strike had taken her mortal sight, being so close to death had given her the ability to see beyond the veil. She even saw the string that tied Zul-Han to this mortal plane. With renewed purpose, she attacked Zul-Han. Neither his neck nor his eyes were her target, however; instead, she tore at the line that linked him directly to Marjack. Zul-Han mostly ignored her, instead focusing on finishing the goblin. As he was about the deliver the final blow, however, Ankha yelled, “ma aldha kashah litkehsh?!” and severed the line from Zul-Han to Marjack, causing him to fall dead. Ankha held the tether to Marjack fast, however; she had plans for its power.

First, she used Marjack’s own magic to remove his mark from her. For at least a few moments, she would be totally free. Next, she fed Zul-Han’s remains to her hyenas, filling each bite with a little piece of Marjack’s power. Ankha knew this deed would not go unanswered, but she felt it was fitting. Soon after, the hyenas underwent a startling transformation: they stood on two feet, they started to speaking, and their stomachs growled with an insatiable hunger. Not long after, an unruly pack of gnolls burst forth from the site of the first feeding, ravaging all in their path. This gave Ankha great satisfaction, but it was short-lived. Soon after, Marjack appeared before her unearthly sight.

Marjack had no time for the gnolls, and considered them beneath his attention. Ankha, however, was a different story. She had to be punished, and killing her would be too easy. Instead, he gave her immortality and placed her on the hottest star in the galaxy. There, she would always writhe in the pain of his sight, the thing she had struggled so heartily to escape. Ankha was not content with this fate, however, and still had wrath smoldering in her heart. To this day, she whispers apocalyptic secret to all who would listen.

The goblin war was not over yet, though. It was not until nearly every inch of the earth was soaked in blood that the warring finally paused. The gods were now too attached to their races to see them destroyed, and decided, just this once, they would try a diplomatic solution. Each god would get to throw a stone, and their race would live wherever it landed. No gods or goddesses claimed the gnolls during this time, and as a result, they became nomads. This also gave the gnolls their own strange power, having no reliance on their own will. In time, the great gnoll horde split into the clans we know today. Their stories are still being written as we speak.

Now you know the truth of the origin of the gnoll. May all false versions and prophets meet a gruesome end.

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