The Horn of the Chylath

One of the most mind-boggling “crafting accidents” that was ever recorded was certainly the unfortunate events that occurred when Kyanth Orgg, a highly promising scion of a renowned chief of the at that time mightiest clan from the Plains of Sykes, went on search for the Horn of the Chylath. Now you ought to know that the warrior clans from the north erroneously considered the Chylath a powerful early barbarian people and their direct ancestors. What now happened can ultimately be blamed on a disastrous translation error for which – as we know today – a young scribar (that is a chronicler trainee) from the Great Library in Eloysion is responsible. However – and this excuses him somewhat – many of the numerous dialects of the north are quite tricky and it is still the case today that different tribes speak an idiom that for outsiders sound completely identical, but in which identical sounding words can have completely contrasting meanings. The multitude of clan wars in the north is often ascribed to this very fact. But we don’t want to get caught up in the eventful history of the Northern Territories; let’s return to Kyanth Orgg and his sad fate.

At that time the reign of Kyanth’s father was already drawing to a close. Old, sick and – as many claimed – in a continuous state of mental confusion, he still clung to his power like a drowning man holds onto a drifting trunk. Kyanth, in whom the old shaman blood of his family line was stronger than it had been in his ancestors for many generations, had – in accordance with the tribal laws – only one possibility left open to take his father’s place as warlord ahead of time: He had to present a divine miracle to the clan’s Great Council. If he did so, they had to acknowledge it as a sign of Aureth’s will and force the most powerful men of the tribe to pay him their homage and declare him the new leader. You’re right in thinking that back in those times some things were much simpler than today.

But which miracle could be of help in this case? Finally, Kyanth remembered the tale of the Horn of the Chylath, an artifact that was said to be so powerful that it lend its wearer unthinkably large powers in battle. It was clear for Kyanth; he had to investigate the story of this artifact and make sure that the Horn of Chylath came into his possession. Because if he would sound the legendary horn in midst of the Great Council, the powerful and noble men had to accept him as their new warlord.

So his way led to the Great Library of Eloysion where he met the afore mentioned scribar adapt who became instantly inflamed for Kyanth’s quest. He managed to discover an old text, written in the age-old high language of the Garmathi, that once was used by the inhabitants of the western riverlands. Their scholars had collected much knowledge over the inhabitants and creatures of the world in that time and also explored and surveyed the territories of the north. One of the many texts was on the history of the Horn of the Chylath and, to Kyanth’s immeasurable luck, apparently included detailed instructions on how to summon this legendary artifact. His young scribar, whom he had promised a barrel of the best Alanthyan wine and ten heavy gold ducats for his efforts, worked for two days and two nights on the translation of the old text.

This is when he made his far-reaching error. Had he just had a little more experience, a little less wine and a bit more sleep, he might have realized that the Chylath were not a powerful warrior people but rather a strange species that settled the northern world in the days of the Creator. From today’s perspective we would describe these creatures as semi-intelligent rhinoceroses, distinguished by their enormous size and their impressive strength. Though rhinoceros is not quite right as the male Chylath had a single horn protruding from their foreheads that they could use as deadly weapon. And even if the Chylath did not possess any distinctive intelligence – at least what we nowadays perceive as intelligence – there was a rest of Aureth’s power in them, as it was in all the creatures of the beginning. Today, scholars are certain that Aureth connected them with the “Song of the Ground” and that this enabled them in case of danger to let their horns grow to double their size.

But all this the ill-fated Kyanth learned only much later. As soon as he held the craved document in his hands, he rushed back home, carried by the storm his own fervor raised, and immediately called a meeting of the Great Council. There he sang the old song of the Chylath so that the powerful horn could manifest before everyone’s eyes. Well, what manifested was something entirely different and as the Great Council included only male members, everyone present immediately was captivated by the song. We know the power of the old songs well nowadays and the “Song of the Ground” is one of the most powerful ones. No living being is able to evade its sound and effect, with the exception of the singer. Within short, the council members were writhing, screaming in fear and pain, at Kyanth’s feet and his terror was great when he had to watch how something began to grow out of the men’s foreheads. It were the horns of the Chylath, grown out of the listeners’ skulls. As they reached their full length, they measured an entire Cambrian cubit, which is the length of an adult man’s arm.

Those who tell of these happenings speak of an incredible bedlam that broke loose in the clan’s camp. Some of the unwilling horn-bearers, driven by pain and anger, attempted to lunge at Kyanth but were at once dragged to the ground by the unfamiliar weight of their newest headpieces. Others, moving unsteady and swaying on all fours, tried to ram their alleged tormentor with their deadly horns. While doing so, they often got that unluckily into each others’ way that many of the council members led a very short life as horn-bearer.

Kyanth barely escaped from his home village and he was never seen again. A few days later, the adept that helped with the translation was found dead. Drowned, headfirst in a barrel of the best Alanthyan wine and with a heavy gold ducat that stuck between his eyes as if someone had pushed it with brute force into his skull. It is said that after the now useless scribar had been removed from the barrel, the still useful and eminently delicious wine was handed out to the scholars of the Library in remembrance of the unlucky deceased adept.

Now you want to know what happened with the horn-bearing members of the Great Council, right? Well, that’s a different story and you may hope to hear it from those that were there when it happened. If they talk to you, as they’ve changed quite a bit since – and not only their physical characteristics. Until then, always keep in mind one thing: you should always verify your sources when you’re wandering throughout the wide Aetherran lands. There won’t ever be a shortage of secrets and you will be told stories that keep astonishing you. But – and this only as a well meant suggestion – if you want to survive, then suspicion ought to be among your most faithful companions.