I is for Ichneumon #atozchallenge

The King of the Grey Isles has an intense fear of reptiles. As a child, he was bitten by a snake. As a youth, his lover was killed by a Basilisk. As a soldier, he saw an entire legion nightmarishly incinerated by a dragon’s fire.

Needless to say that he has taken measures to protect his kingdom. At great cost, in both gold and lives, he acquired a rarity among magical beasts: a ferocious Ichneumon.

It resembles a very large, long-furred weasel with formidable claws. The few who know of its existence might know that it’s gaze petrifies reptiles and that it’s bite or scratches kills them instantly.

But even the rarest expert on mythical fauna will not likely know that the Ichneumon is a Dragon killer. It is immune to Dragon Fear, unharmed by Dragon’s Breath and it’s claws and teeth can easily pierce the hardest of a Dragon scales.

This creature is one of the few living things that make Wyverns, Basilisks, Hydras and even Dragons feel actual fear.

It has kept it alive through sorcery and the mists. Most of the time it sleeps in the form of a stone gargoyle on one of the palace roofs. But if a reptilian monster comes to the Grey Isles to wreak havoc, the Ichneumon comes alive and begins its hunt.

It will stop at nothing to kill its prey, for it loves the taste of reptile blood and heart-meat more than anything.

The Ichneumon is responsible for the bones of tyrant lizards that lay at the bottom of the lake. The Queen of the Opal City has proudly made her throne out of dragon remains; her sceptre is a Wyvern’s tail.

The smartest wyrms stay clear of the Grey Isles entirely.



F is for Fuath #atozchallenge

Pronounced “foo-wah” (Irish origin).

These creatures of the deep are the protectors and guardians of the Grey Isles. Any mortal being who enters the lake without paying the Charonian Ferrymen, uses their own boat, has a leisurely swim or even accidentally falls into the water, the Fuath will come.

Their method is simple: grab and caress your flesh with icy cold hands and drag you down into the depths to drown, which is accelerated by their deathly breath-sucking kisses.

If you die this way, you join the ranks of souls trapped in the Opal City… but forever trapped in a living nightmare of despair.

The Fuath don’t usually try to entrap mortals by luring them into the water… but it does happen on occasion. Above water they appear in whichever form is most desirable to the potential victim: gorgeous men or women of absolute perfection to each onlooker. No one sees exactly the same Fuath… but then again, few survive to tell the tale.

Under the water they are skeletal, rotten, scaly, spiny and translucent in the worst possible ways. The only things that give them a semblance of joy is draining out warmth and breath from their victims; their vicious mockery echoes throughout the abyss when their targets die of fright.

While they respect the King and his servants, they ultimately serve the Queen of the Opal City, which lies at the bottom of the lake.

As monsters, they are immune to magic that inflicts cold or heat. Mundane weapons cannot give them wounds, save ones made from Cold Iron, which betray their fae ancestry.

They will never leave the water: if somehow forced out, they turn into black sea-slime and re-materialize the next sunset in the deepest underwater caverns.


E is for Ettin #atozchallenge

Patrolling the many halls, dusty rooms and frosty courtyards of the palace is the Undead creature called the Ettin.

It is a multi-headed giant held together with old bones, mummified flesh and necromancy. It stands easily at 15 feet tall yet it can squeeze through the smallest of doors or narrowest of corridors. Its body appears to be very stiff and it sounds like a creaking bag of bones and frayed ropes. However it is quite flexible and elastic… eerily so. Anyone witnessing the way it distorts itself to squeeze through tiny openings always provokes an ability check to hold off sheer terror.

Most of the time it patrols like an automaton; only provoked into action on command (by the King, the Maidens or by Desdemonia). Otherwise if it perceives anyone deliberately trying to harm any of the inhabitants of the palace, or vandalizing any of its objects, it will seek out the offending person no matter where they are located and no matter how far away. The Ettin will track them down relentlessly and attempt to grab and place them into its massive ribcage (from which there is no possible escape, either through force nor by magic). The trapped individual will be brought to one of the many Oubliettes where they will await judgement… or be forgotten and either die of starvation or from slow consummation by Shadow Ghouls.

However, the Ettin will not leave the island; it will not follow someone into the water. The necromantic energy that gives it unlife immediately cease if the creature ever touches the lake.

If destroyed, it will re-form the next sunset and resume its patrol… or the pursuit of a quarry…