What's all this barmy stuff?
Want to find out what has been forgotten in the Styx?
Not enough barminess for you?
"Even the good can sees the joys of entropy, every stream of
nature smoothes the pebbles along it's bank and every breath of life wears
away the outside to the pebble within."
Among the lofty cliffs and hidden valleys of Arborea, behind misty glens where the elves and eladrin frolic and the sprawling vineyards and fields of the Greeks, live the secretive and shy race of the Ütainfo. They are called the water shapers, the whistlers of the wind, and to those sods of less heart, they are called the erosion beasts. They, simply put, guide the flow of water and wind through it's life. On Olympus they carefully travel along a rivers edge, delighting in creating waterfalls, dams, and fountains through the natural means - carefully moving rocks and moss grown logs to cause ripples and flows within the stream to delight any artists eye. They are the ones that make the giant cascading falls among the Oceanus' rivers and streams, the ones that create the hidden vaults behind the beautiful cascading falls. The beaches of Ossa are there playgrounds when they are upon that layer, watching over the waves as they smooth rock and shell, leaving swirls and patterns within the sand. The Ütainfo are even found on the white deserts of Pelion, where they guide the wind as it carves the rocks to make strange stone shapes and swirls in storms. They are artists of nature, using the slow peaceful erosion of the water and wind as their brushes.
Somewhat primal in their appearance, they stand taller then a human but often walked hunched so that there large, and quite skillful hands are closer to the streams and flows the shape. Their dark gray-blue fur is as slick as a duck, and they often wear loose fitting robes, or more accurately tarps, that are engraved with spiral and flowing designs of water - so that when the Ütainfo get wet doing their work, the water drips off in a beautiful flow. As they move rocks to change the flow of a stream or tie hollow sticks to a tree to create a haunting melody, the Ütainfo's large and blank eyes fill with a shifting array of bluish swirling colors that reflect the light. Though intelligent and knowledgeable, the race is still shy of even the native eladrin, hiding behind boulders or ducking through a waterfall when anyone is perchance to see them. Their designs are still easily seen though, a permanent artists touch on the flow of a stream or shape of a standing stone. They are still Arboreans however, being truly playful and creative at heart, such as wearing a slight grin as they use large hands to squirt water up from a stream on to a happy Coure before disappearing from sight.
Though the culture of the Ütainfo, what little is known of it's secrets, is rooted in the deep storms and might rivers of Arborea, they sometimes travel outside it to lay their touch on other streams and waterfalls to shape. Spotted sometimes in Elysium or Ysgard in groups on pilgrimages, there's even chant of one living in Sigil - where he works by carefully allowing the flow of the Cage's acidic rains and scratches of razorvine from the wind on stone. He is still as secretive as all his race, Sigilians only being able to see his handiwork but never the artist.
I think I was beginning to miss the spire. It's gnarled and lofty infinite slopes, the small mountains below that were no less in grandeur for being of measurable heights and that I had named Mount Spoon, Spiky Bit, and Spirally, and above all the dreamy donut of the Cage that I could swear would sway as the fluffy clouds parted around the spire's peak. I knew my pet rocks, all hidden in a bush at the foot of spire and my sacred wooden spoon missed me also and were waiting. All this passed my mind as I saw the spire again in the distance as I returned to the lumpy Outlands, just a few seconds before I fell screaming to the ground.
Hearing a similar scream nearby, a large bubbling mass of reddish marsh decided to march over and meet my face as I plummeted, and hit with a slow gloop, and strangely, a croak. Spluttering, more for the fun of it, I floated up to the surface of the shallow water, lying sprawled on my back. Sticking out of the water nearby was an old moldy sign, which read, "Your not bloody welcome to Torch, watch the first step".
Ah, even with the acidy water already eating a hole through my trousers, it was good to be back within site of the spire. It had taken us, that would be my 'lothy acquaintance who was currently only a pair of stockinged feet sticking out of the marsh and some bubbles, much of our sanity to cross the peaks of Gehenna to chase after a round arch of a portal that had decided to roll down the slopes, but we had finally made back to the Outlands. I beamed.
I decided the landing could of been worse, Torch's gate has always been a bit tricky the way it floats - not that you could blame it with the nice view from up there - but we had landed, not in the nearby and dry slopes of the town whose buildings could be seen like a bad case of sticking boards together with spiky bits, but in this nice bubbling, acidic, red march. I could feel the hot water already easing my aching bones and tearing off layers of dirt and skin. And it was boiling. Allot.
With a slow sound of croaking and squish, the water nearby erupted in a small boiling fountain of a geyser, throwing the arcanoloth bleakinik with striped stockings into the air, along with enough frogs to start a croaking choir. As each of them landed with a splash that sent ripples through out the reddish water, they croaked. The 'loth, he had never quite told me his name as it was something about it not being true or somesuch, bloody barmy if you ask me, looked at me slightly startled, and said, "Croak?"
Wringing out my sleeves, and happily splashing them back down again to send frogs swirling through the march as the tried to nibble on my clothes for some reason, they did seem to have such nice sharp teeth, I raised my eyebrows at my fellow traveler, "Mmm?". It sounded like a philosophical statement, and it's best to listen politely even when a cutter's telling you there theory of how talking to a wall makes it happy and bounce.
"Crrrrroack... croak", he added, though he look just as puzzled. He then tried to signal something with his hands, but that stirred up the frogs, who after figuring out they couldn't nibble us out of their march, decided to croak happily along with the 'loth.
I scratched at my chin, "You have a slaad in your throat, cutter?" Oh. Grinning slightly as I splashed happily over to the 'loth, sure enough down his snout was stuck a fat bluish frog who looked at me with teeth sharper then the 'loths and went "Croak". Scratching my chin some more with this puzzle, a sharp clicking sound bounced around in my bonebox as the 'loth tried that little telepathy trick, like the woosh of someone who was taking their fingers down a chalkboard and a smart sod had beat them over the head with the board, entered my head, "Erk, get the sodding sodding sodding frog out, out, out! It tickles!".
I nodded, and looked around for something to pat him on the back with, that would pop the frog right out, but all that was around was more red water and killer frogs. Then an idea struck me. Sn'ops could help! Nodding at the 'loth with a barmy grin on my face, I gestured in the direction of the spire as I started sloshing off toward it to get my pet rock Sn'ops. It was the perfect size to get that troublesome frog out, and until then I'm sure the frog could keep the 'loth company. With a slosh, I was headed back to the spire.
All content copyright 1999 Jeremiah Golden or credited authors.