|his morning, we found a thick envelope in front of our door. We ripped it open with trembling hands and pulled out several cards with fascinating yet frightening illustrations of creatures yet unknown and a hastily folded letter. We do not want to keep you waiting so read on to find out how Amaro is doing.
In my last letter I told you about my plans to visit the orcs in Zao Steppe and the return to Farmine. In Farmine, a dwarf told that most Tibian creatures now carry new items with them. He had slain several commonly known beasts and instead of the massive amounts of food and heavy stuff they used to carry with them, found much lighter items which he could stack in his backpack. Even more, he was able to sell most of them for an even better price than the heavy stuff before. For example, he got a carrion worm fang from the corpse of a pesky carrion worm which he could sell to Fiona. And Malunga happily offered him some gold coins for the thorn of a thornback tortoise. Have you already heard about that? Should I ever return, I'll try to find out more about it.
But back to Zao... I know you're curious to hear about what happened there but I'm struggling to focus my memories on that. I've come across many strange creatures so far and as an explorer, it's my duty to study them a bit and tell you more about them. I've already named all these creatures so I guess you can call me a zoologist now. Also, noting down my observations helps me to take my mind off of the dark emptiness in my soul. I've attached a couple of illustrations I made. Be warned though that some of them are more than just scary...
The hostile climate of the Zao Steppe, the dry and dusty ground, doesn't scare away insect life-forms and creepy-crawlies. For example, I discovered a vile species of beetles. I named them lancer beetles. They often band together in enormous swarms to devastate whole areas with their ravenous appetite, spreading disease and taint wherever they go. And of course, spiders... those little whirlwinds of fury... I encountered a fearsome species in underground caves, a species that captures prey in a most horrible way: by vibrating its abdomen the wailing widow creates a variety of sounds that lures and even stuns its prey.
But I also ran into a larger creature, an aggressive beast with a voice like thunder and sharp teeth - the gnarlhound. I've seen some of the them serving the orcs as hunting animals, beasts of burden, mounts and occasionally, even food source. Orc marauders ride those feral beasts into battle. They are probably one of the reasons why the orc horde manages to break through the barricades in front of the lizard city Zzaion on a regular basis. However, their attempt to seize control of the city never lasts long and they soon end up getting pushed back out of it by the lizards. Then, both sides immediately start to prepare themselves for the next battle.
However, I fear that is not the entire horror Zao holds. But let me explain. After the traveller and I had paid the cavemen a visit, we started for the Dragonblaze Peaks. Yesterday, we finally reached the vicinity of the mountains. But alas, I was plagued by a terrible nightmare last night. A dream so vivid and horrifying that I don't dare to sleep again. I think I've seen what awaits me behind those mountains...
Lizards were chasing me. Lizards, I've never seen before... well trained armies of lizard legionnaires, elite troops consisting of lizard high guards, lizard dragon priests capable of powerful magic and with an obsession for conflagration and ritual arson. There were also lizards with an overly aggressive, even self-endangering fighting style. Lizard zaoguns, this name still echoes down the dark hallways of my mind... And I saw lizards with a dark skin as if the black oily substance flows right through their veins, as if the dark presence has chosen them as a temple. Their souls must have been driven to madness...
But I saw even more terrifying creatures.... The lizard armies were led by dragons... mighty dragons. Draken warmasters full of rage and sheer power, draken spellweavers casting spells that could shatter whole armies.
Suddenly, a few ghastly dragons appeared in my nightmare. Their bodies looked as if they had failed miserably in an attempt to transform themselves... abominations, shrieking in their eternal agony. I tried to run away but I could not move my legs, I screamed... and finally woke up in cold sweat.
And now, several hours later I still feel like all my energy has been drained from my body. Something is poisoning my mind. Maybe I've already spent too much time near those black puddles. I'm afraid my curiosity might kill me this time but the knowledge I gained, the experiences I made, won't be lost. That's the reason I'm writing these letters... even if I should perish, my spirit will survive.
Who can stand such nightmares? Amaro seems to be in danger. What do you think? We have started a feedback thread on the discussion board where you can find a short list summarising the new content presented in this teaser. If you want to see the other illustrated cards Amaro attached to his letter, have a look at our supported and promoted fansites.
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