Enderal:Myths and Legends (Book Series)
The "Blind Miner" is probably one of the most well-known pieces of Endralean lore. This is likely in large part due to the fact that the events surrounding the myth took place right beneath the feet of Ark's citizens: deep down in the mine shafts of the Tar Pit, the country's second largest mine system.
The Blind Miner, whose actual name has been lost to time, is a dreadful Lost One that lurks in the tunnels of the Tar Pit. The sight of him would be able to spark fear in even the most hardened adventurer. His eyes are hidden behind bloody rags and where the rest of his face should be there is nothing but a grotesque, giant maw filled with rows of inhuman teeth, sharp and pointed like a wolf's; yellowed bone is visible through what is left of his rotting gray skin, which is covered in boils. Countless careless workers and Undercity dwellers are said to have lost their lives to this monstrosity.
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 sealed a tunnel, along with the fifteen miners working in it at the time, trapping them with no way out. The pile of rubble was so high that even after three weeks of labor to clear it, the entrance remained closed off. After another three weeks had passed, the miners were assumed to be deceased and the rescue attempt was abandoned. The entrance was reburied and the path barricaded.
A cruel fallacy, for the miners were still alive. The first few weeks they sustained themselves on the small amount of provisions they had carried on them. Once those ran out, they started catching puss beetles and rats for consumption. The sheer will to survive and the sound of the pickaxes on the rocks which isolated them from the outside world, gave them hope.
As the sound made way for silence, however, they started to panic. They were trapped for all eternity, and they knew it. Little by little they lost their minds, everyone except he who is nowadays known as the Blind Miner. He was the foreman of the group, praised with popularity among his comrades, and reminded the others to remain calm. Unwilling to give up hope, he continued to search for an escape, hour after hour, day after day.
Yet the more days passed, the more dire their situation became. The Blind Miner was no longer able to soothe the panic among the rest of the miners, and the steadily worsening hunger did the rest. Unrest brewed, aggression and conflict simmering right beneath the surface at all times, one spark away from eruption. Still, eventually the Blind Miner clinging to his last sliver of hope paid off: he discovered an exit. With joy he returned to his comrades, only to encounter a cruel sight on his hurry back: the corpse of one of his men. He was terribly mutilated, his belly ripped open by an ax. Blood and intestines were scattered across the dusty ground.
Even before he had followed the voices coming from around a corner, he knew what had happened: his comrades had murdered one of their own and devoured him.
Raging anger consumed the man. They had been so close to rescue, so close! And still they had decided to engage in this inhumane, Pathless act, instead of believing in Malphas' light. Driven by the same determination with which he had continued to search for a way out, the Blind Miner freed the ax from the corpse's belly. The remaining miners were crouched together and looked up at him with wide, frightened eyes when he stormed around the corner. There was no hiding their bloodstained mouths and fingers. Before they realized what was happening, he had killed them all.
But instead of leaving the mine shaft, he stayed with them, filled with disgust because of what he had done. He tore out his own eyes to no longer have to bear the sight of his deed.
Author's note: To this day it is unclear if the "Blind Miner" truly exists, but arcane investigations suggest that this myth is in fact grounded in reality. Apparently the monster has a magick protection at his disposal, which makes it impossible to cause physical or magical harm to him. It is speculated that a Psionic totem may break the invulnerability, but it is unclear how one could be created, especially considering that practicing the School of Psionics is forbidden. Solely the Apothecarii could have access to this knowledge; but even if they do, they will probably keep it locked away securely.
According to a little, yellowed chapbook, in Dark Valley the Grimm resides. The following segment could be secured from the rotten booklet:
Deep down, in Dark Valley,
a man of boundless sorrow
paces back and forth, evermore.
Salvation is his objective.
For long he's craved the last voyage,
the Eternal Paths to come,
but refused they are to him.
He longs for exemption.
His inner monster rages and howls,
while he digs his own grave,
Since long ago it has claimed possession
and stalls his dead.
Now he lurks for valiant fighters,
to bring an end to his agony.
But every weapon failed
on the black pelt of the Grimm.
The white of his eyes dazzling,
seems frightened when aflame,
so is the monster's only weakness,
the blazing flame to flesh.
His earlier life long forgotten,
his deeds, his name.
The penance ordained by Malphas righteous,
as he [...]
The ink of the last lines has dissolved due to exposure to moisture and the paper decaying. Who or what exactly the text is concerning therefore remains uncertain, but it seems this creature's human cast was inflicted with something bestial. Stories about the criminal Arveldhiin show remarkable similarities.
Centuries-old legends report about the infamous murderer named "Arveldhiin without scruple", who is believed to have committed countless murders in Dark Valley. Not even high-ranking members of the Order were excepted. Once Arveldhiin was stalking a trader caravan in the Dark Valley. The murderer's gang created a bloodbath in which nobody was spared; even children were counted among the dead. Malphas himself exacted punishment on Arveldhiin: his Pathless character would taint him for all time. The Lord merged the murderer without scruple with a grotesque, wolf-like monstrosity, condemning the man to wage constant battle in his own mind, lest the monster broke out and took control. Like a rabid wolf, Arveldhiin was overcome by a wild and animalistic mentality, which he had to fight to resist with his last humanity ever since.
One of the perhaps most eerie and gruesome legends of Enderal is the one surrounding the Ash Widow.
In life, the Ash Widow was a charming young woman who had been promised as a companion to a man of the Sublime Path. Her hair was long and shaded a reddish blond in the likeness of late autumn leaves, while her eyes reminded of the deepest 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 character. Her future companion, the son of a rich count, was also of high repute; and when the two swore each other companionship, the bards were singing many a song in praise of the two lovers' dignity.
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 of greater value." Initially it were only such words which made the young woman feel anxious, yet 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, but since her husband's crimes were not directed at her and he could even display 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 took a turn for the worse: A young, Half-Aeternean maidservant had begun her service at the castle. She was barely 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 started to realize that the young servant always avoided her glance, the girl's head bowed as if she were terribly ashamed in her mistress' presence. Her companion, too, came to their bed increasingly absent-minded and unenthusiastic.
Day and night she pictured to herself what her husband might be doing to the girl, until she decided to hide in the wardrobe on the day the Half-Aeterna was supposed to clean the bedchamber. She had told her companion in advance that she would seek out the peddlers visiting the region near the castle, as they did every full moon. Both eager and dreading to learn the truth, the woman crouched between gowns and coats and waited.
As soon as the servant girl had entered and shut the door with shaking hands, the latch rushed down. From within the wardrobe, the woman saw her companion standing in the door frame, panting with excitement. The Half-Aeternean girl stood frozen, visibly frightened and without showing any sign of resistance when the man grabbed her - it seemed that she had accepted her fate long ago. After she was roughly shoved against the wall, hitting her head in the process, something unexpected happened.
A wave of magic suddenly took hold of the man - the traumatizing event must have awoken the young girl's magical talents. Black magical bands, like shadows solidified, appeared and snaked around the man's right wrist, up to the hand, and jerked it back. Within seconds his hand was covered entirely by seething darkness. His surprise quickly overcome by rage, he grabbed her by the throat. The choking grip made the shocked girl lose what little control she might have had over the spell. When the dark, otherworldly ropes dissolved abruptly, only a malformed claw remained of the man's previously healthy hand.
Furious, he stared at the deformation caused by the servant's wild magic, his unaffected left hand still around her throat. For a few seconds the both of them stood motionless while the permanent consequences of the magical defense sunk in. The man had to conclude that he would be banished from walking the Path of the Sublimes when soon all the world would know that he had laid hands on a witch. His current life of comfort and luxury would come to an abrupt end.
So he released the girl, only to yank a burning oil lamp off the wall. Before he was able to throw it at the still petrified servant, however, his wife stormed out of the wardrobe to stop him.
But it was too late - blazing oil poured from the lamp on the floor at their feet. In the blink of an eye the woman's and young girl's clothes caught fire and set them ablaze. 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 terrible spirit-being: the Ash Widow.
After the fire had been extinguished, the man cut off his deformed, claw-like hand with a woodcutter's axe. To his family and the others present at court he insisted that the Half-Aeternean servant had attacked his wife with wild magic out of envy, burning down part of the room. His hand had been burned in the magical fire when he had tried to rescue his wife, forcing him to abandon her 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 eventually succeeded his father. But till the end of his life he was unable to find a new companion; and each night he encountered the Ash Widow, who robbed him of sleep and poisoned his dreams. His life as count and lord of the castle was a miserable one. When his final hour approached, he realized that it would long be forbidden for him to enter the Eternal Paths. With remorse he anticipated his next life, which he - in accordance with Malphas' will - would have to spend in the Undercity.
The myths claim that the Ash Widow's ghost still walks among the castle 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 commissions high prices among antiquarians. Time upon time one sells the horrid remains for good money after acquiring it for little from disheartened and ashamed adventurers who turned out not to be daring enough to summon the Ash Widow's spirit.
Even till recent times, mothers from Duneville have told their children of the "Mountain in the Desert". This, they hoped, would discourage their children's youthful boldness, so they do not stray from the Path in their early years, when it is all the more alluring.
The legend revolves around a wild mage who retreated to the Powder Desert to be able to fully devote himself to the School of Entropy - and pull otherworldly beings from different realities into our own. It began with hair and scales, then whole limbs, and, in the end, entire beasts. He bore no interest in humans, and cared nothing for spectral beings or the Lost Ones. His fascination was with animals, dwelling in sandy planes not quite like ours.
He designed special cages for the creatures he summoned, and took to observing them. The mage watched his specimens closely, sketching what he saw; and, once satisfied with his drawings, returned the beasts to their own time and place. Research, you see, was his singular passion.
Following a few rainy seasons - which the reader unfamiliar with the desert's climate may consider akin to winters in Heartland - the mage had grown so skillful in the use of forbidden magic that summoning 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 reality, gazed upon richly-colored, gangly birds, and observed jet-black Bone Rippers, in time he came to regard the exotic beasts with a bored, experienced eye. So he reached farther, searched longer, and taxed his abilities to find something more alien.
This wild mage, whose name has been forgotten long ago, found himself adrift in the sea of endless eventualities, unable to orient himself, seeking a reality where time itself ran separate from our own. Quite to his surprise, he succeeded one day in anchoring his mind to a far-off world. Thrilled by what he saw of that exotic plane through the hazy, distorted veil, he quickly set his mind to pulling the first being he discovered into his reality.
The beast proved a towering green 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 reptile, 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, deafening crack like thunder. Perhaps angered by having been torn from its natural place and time, or perhaps terrified by the rending sound of the cage, the great monster charged 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 to this day vagabonds might paw through the twisted remnants of a rusty cage and encounter the remains of a skeleton weathered 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.