Enderal:Myths and Legends (Book Series)
The “Blind Miner” is supposedly one of the most well-known Endralean lore. The reason for that is likely the fact, that it occurs right beneath the feet of Ark's citizens: down in the mine shafts of the Tar Pit, the country's second biggest mine system.
The Blind Miner, whose actual name is unknown, is, according to the legends, a Lost One that lurks in the tunnels of the Tar Pit. Countless lives of careless workers and Undercity dwellers are said to be taken by him. His eyes are hidden behind bloody rags, his body covered in sickly skin and boils; his grotesque face consists of inhuman teeth, sharp and spiky like those of a wolf.
The reason for his existence is, according to the legends, a disaster which took place 6342 n. St. deep down in the mines: A rockfall buried a tunnel together with fifteen miners, trapping and separating them from the outside world. The amount of rubble was too high, even after three weeks the entrance was still closed off. After another three weeks passed the miners were believed to be deceased, the entrance was reburied and the path barricaded.
A cruel fallacy — for the miners were still alive. The first few weeks they lived off the little amount of provisions they were carrying with them, once it ran short they started catching Eiterkäfer and rats, to consume them. The sheer will to survive and the sound of the pickaxes on the rocks, that were isolating them from the outside world, gave them hope.
As the sound went silent, however, they started to panic. They were trapped for all eternity, and they knew it. Little by little they lost their mind, everyone except the one we know to this day as the Blind Miner. He, a former foreman that was praised with popularity among his comrades, reminded everyone to be calm — and hour after hour, day after day, spent his time searching valiantly for a way out.
The more days passed, however, the more dreadful their situation became. The Blind Miner was no longer able to soothe his comrades panic, and the steadily worsening hunger did the rest. One day a glimmer of hope appeared: The Blind Miner discovered an exit. With joy he wanted to return to his comrades, but on his hurry back he encountered a cruel sight: the corpse of one of his men. He was terribly mutilated, his belly was ripped open by some sort of axe. Blood and intestines were scattered around the dusty ground.
Even before he followed the voices coming from around a corner, he knew what happened: His comrades devoured that person.
Raging anger consumed the man. They were this close from rescue, this close! And still they decided to engage in this inhuman act, instead of believing in Malphas' light. Without a second thought the Blind Miner freed the axe from the corpse and rushed to his comrades, which stared at him with bloodstained mouths and frightened eyes. Before they knew what happened to them, he killed them all.
But instead of leaving the mine shaft, he stayed with them, because he realized what he did. Filled with disgust he ripped out his eyes, to no longer have to bear the sight of his deed.
To this day it is unclear if the “Blind Miner” actually exists, but arcane investigations point toward it. Apparently he has a magick protection at his disposal, which makes it impossible to physically harm him. According to legends, a psionic totem may break the spell, but it is unclear how one could be created, especially since the practice of psionics is forbidden. Solely the apothecarii could have access to this knowledge; but even if they do, they would have probably locked it away.
According to a little, yellowed chapbook, in Dark Valley the Grimm resides. The following part could be secured from the rotten booklet:
Deep down, in Dark Valley,
a man with deep sorrow
steps up and down, evermore.
Salavation [sic] is his objective.
For long he craves the last voyage,
the eternal paths to come,
but refused it is to him,
he wishes for exemption.
His inner monster rages and howls,
when he digs his grave,
Since long ago it has taken him in possession
and inhibits his dead.
Now he lurks for valiant fighters,
who bring an end to his agony.
But every weapon failed
on the black pelt of the Grimm.
The white in his eyes dazzling,
seems frightened aflame,
so is the monster's only weakness,
the blazing flame in flesh.
His earlier life long forgotten,
his deeds, his name.
The atonement through Malphas was righteous,
The ink of the last lines dissolved due to the moisture and the paper went rough and fragile. Who or what exactly it is concerning is therefore not further known, but it seems his human cast was accompanied by something bestial. However, stories about the criminal Arveldhiin show remarkable similarities.
Centuries-old legends report about the infamous murderer named “Arveldhiin without scruple", who is assumed to have conducted countless murders in Dark Valley. Not even high-ranked members of the Order were excepted.
Once Arveldhiin was lurking on a trader caravan in the Dark Valley. The murderer's gang created a bloodbath spared nobody, even children were among the dead. Malphas himself spoke a punishing verdict upon Arveldhiin that his character would stick on him for all time. He combined the murderer without scruple with a grotesque, wolf-like monstrosity, with which he had to fight from then on in his mind, and which occasionally broke outward. Since like a wolf, Arveldhiin was characterized by a wild and animal-like mentality, which he had to fight as a burden with his last humanity ever after.
One of the perhaps most eerie and gruesome legends of Enderal is the one surrounding the Ash Widow.
The Ash Widow was a charming young woman who had been promised to one of the sublimes as his companion. Her hair was long and colored in a reddish blond in the likeness of late autumn leaves; and her eyes were tinted in the deep blue of the sea. She was wise and well-read, played the lute and enjoyed large popularity at her family's estate, in no small part due to her cheerful and buoyant character. Her future companion, the son of a rich count, also was of high repute; and when the two swore each other companionship, the bards were singing many a song of in praise of the two lover's dignity.
But not long thereafter the newlywed wife noticed discrepancies in her husband's character — though at feasts, with other sublimes present, he always spoke gently of those treading the lower paths — his wife heard him tell different stories entirely after a few cups of wine: He held no sympathy for craftsmen, artisans and, worse still, those dwelling in the Undercity.
"There is a reason as to why Malphas blessed us with our path", he said. “Our blood is worth more”. If initially it were such words that made the young woman feel anxious, words quickly turned into deeds: He had the legs of a stable boy who had saddled his horse incorrectly broken; and knocked out a serving girl's teeth after she had spilled wine on his coat. When the young woman confronted her husband about this, he merely regarded her dismissively and walked away.
As the years passed, the woman's sorrow grew with each new winter. Often she thought about running away, however, as her husband's crimes were not directed at her and he could even show noble behavior at times, she did not dare to put these thoughts into practice: After all, where could she have fled?
One day, however, things would take a turn for the worse: A young, Half-Aeternean maidservant had begun her service at the castle. She was hardly sixteen winters old, and of shy nature. But the woman noticed her companion's glances and stares — filled with a mixture of malevolence and lust that sent shivers down her spine.
Soon thereafter, the woman realized how the young servant was always avoiding her glance, the head bowed as if she were terribly ashamed in her presence. Her companion, too, came to their bed increasingly absent and unenthusiastic.
Day and night she pictured to herself what her husband might do with the girl until she decided to hide in the wardrobe on the day the Half-Aeterna was supposed to clean the chamber. Before, she told her companion that she would seek out the peddlers visiting the region near the castle, as they did every full moon.
As soon as the servant had shut the door with shaking hands, the latch rushed down. From within the wardrobe, the woman saw her companion standing in the doorframe, panting with excitement. The Half-Aeternean girl stood still, frightened and without any sign of resistance as the man grabbed her — it seemed that she had accepted her fate long ago. After being rudely pushed to the wall, where she hit her head, something unexpected happened. A wave of magic energy took hold of the man — the traumatizing event must have awoken the young girl's magical talents. Magical bands entangled the man's right hand and covered it in darkness. Angry and surprised, he grabbed her throat and the shocked girl was no longer able to keep up the spell unknown to her. When the dark veil dissolved suddenly, only a malformed claw remained where previously the man's hand had been.
Irritated by his body's wild-magical deformation, the man waited for a few seconds, thinking, though his healthy left hand remained at the servants throat. He concluded that he would be unable to continue walking the path of the sublimes when soon all world would know that he laid his hands at a witch — his previous life would be at an abrupt end. So he took hold of a glowing oil lamp, but before he was able to throw it at the still petrified servant, his wife stormed out of the wardrobe to stop him.
But it was to late — the blazing oil poured on the floor and in moments the woman's and the young girl's clothes began to burn. In the moment of their death, the servant's wild-magical powers merged with the deceived woman's desire for revenge to form a powerful and horrible spirit-being — the Ashen Widow.
After the fire was quenched, the man chopped off his deformed claw-like hand with a woodcutter's axe. To his family and the other ones present at court he insisted that the half-Aeternean servant had attacked his wife with wild magic out of envy, burning down a part of the room. He had tried to rescue his wife when his hand was burned in the magical fire, forcing him to leave his wife and remove the remains of his charred hand.
The count's son was able to preserve his good name, continued on the sublime path and finally succeeded his father. But up to the end of his life he was unable to find a new companion; and each night he encountered the Ashen Widow, who robbed him of his sleep and poisoned his dreams. His life as count and lord of the castle was a miserable one. And when his last hour approached, he realized that it would long be forbidden for him to enter the eternal paths; and with remorse he anticipated his next life which, in accord with Malphas' will, he would have to spend in the Undercity.
The myths claim that the Ashen Widow's ghost still walks among the castle's ruins; and those foolish enough to bring her husband's claw to the old castle will be able to raise her from the dead. We can only speculate on the claw's current location, but it is said that it still reaches high prices among antique dealers. Again and again, one of them sells the horrid remains for good money after acquiring it for little from disheartened and ashamed adventurers who did not turn out to be daring enough to conjure up the Ash Widow's spirit.
In younger times, the mothers from Duneville told their children of the “Mountain in the Desert.” This, they hoped, would purge their children of their youthful boldness, so challenging to those who seek to stay true to the path, especially in their early years.
The words set down here concern a wild mage who retreated to the Powder Desert, the better to surrender himself fully to Entropy — and to pull otherworldly beings from different realities into our own. It began with hair and scales, then full limbs, and, in the end, entire beasts. He bore no interest in humans, and cared nothing for spectral beings or the Lost Ones.
Following a few rainy seasons — which the reader may consider akin to winters in our Heartland — he had grown so skillful in the use of forbidden magic that the summoning of animals from the desert lost its appeal. Those alternate realities, he found, were too similar to our own mundane plane. Though he witnessed great cats unlike anything found in our world, and gazed upon richly-colored, gangly birds, or observed jet-black Bone Rippers, in time the wild mage came to regard the exotic beasts with a studied eye. He designed special cages for the creatures he summoned, and took to observing them closely. The mage watched closely his specimens, sketching what he saw; and, satisfied with his drawings, returned the beasts to their own time and place. Research, you see, was his singular passion.
This wild mage, whose name remains forever lost to time, found himself adrift in the sea of endless realities, unable to orient himself, and so sought after a plane where time itself ran separate from our own. Quite to his surprise, the mage succeeded one day in anchoring his mind to a far-off world. Thrilled as he was by what he saw through the veil of distorted haze in that exotic plane, he soon managed to pull the first being he discovered into our reality.
The beast proved a towering lizard vast as a battering ram, with menacing horns and a gigantic armored plate on the back of its skull. In his haste, the wild mage had failed to register the sheer size of the lizard, and soon paid the price for his hubris. When the portal from the distant world appeared and spat the gargantuan beast into its meager cage, the bars burst wide with a mighty crack like thunder. Perhaps feeling torn from its natural place and time, or perhaps terrified of the rending sound of the cage, the great monster raged at the wild mage — and drove one of its murderous horns through his eye.
Thus ends the story, and the life, of the wild mage. It is said that even today vagabonds might paw through the twisted remnants of the rusted cage, and find there traces of a skeleton weathered away by time and desert winds. Of the monstrous lizard from out of time, however, nothing remains, save the whispers which still breathe life into the ancient legend. They call it the Mountain in the Desert.
A lesser known myth is the one of the “Steel Warden”. Its lack of popularity is all the more astonishing considering it is one of the oldest mythological creatures of Enderal.
According to legends the Steel Warden was once called Ibraêl Râthu, a Half-Aeterna, who served in the ranks of Arcanists Dal'Marak's most trusted — who, as we all know, bears the blame for the devastation of the Thalgard region. It is said, that Ibraêl, a most path-abiding man, saw the disaster coming. More than once he has advised caution, which his master ignored.
One day — scarcely two moons later the catastrophe, which we know today as the “Sunfire”, was bound to happen — he decided to act. Dal'Marak has strayed from the righteous path and Ibraêl knew it was his holy duty to stop him. This pained him to an unbearable extent, as he had served Dal'Marak for four decades.
Nevertheless he snuck into his master's chambers at night. Yet as he was huddling over his bed, the axe raised above his head, he suddenly froze midway through. With eyes dilated by terror he had to watch his skin turn grey and his back sprout prickly outgrowth. With his last vim he uncovered the sheets under which a human form loomed. It was a scarecrow.
Ever since it has been Ibraêl's destiny to wander the catacombs of the now ruined monastery, in which Dal'Marak had carried out his research. His will is bound to his old master by a manner of magic and even though he is already deceased the curse still lasts. Marauders, sunborn and lost have already tried to finish the rigid figure, but Dal'Marak's magic was too powerful: Neither fire, nor ice or poison can harm him and even the mightiest of blades just barely cut through his armour.