The Gnolls of Raef - The Begininng
Date: Wed, June 02, 2004
Topic: Myths & Legends
In Elven year 975, the Gnolls of Suss Forest, backed by Bestial Clerics of Yeenoghu, conducted raids into Celene in order to capture Elven sacrifices to their deity. On one of these raids, an Elven Noble Maiden was captured. No Elven noble had even been captured and certainly not a noble female! Yeenoghu came before his worshippers just before she was to be sacrificed. In an act of complete disrespect, Yeenoghu raped the noble Elf. Just after Yeenoghu had departed this foul act, the Elven army arrived in full force. They killed almost all of the Gnolls unfortunate enough to be present. They hunted the bestial clerics, attempting to wipe them out. The young Elven noble, though barely alive, managed to survive.
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The Elven Clerics and Druids told the Leadership of Elves that she was with child and that the child should not be born. The young Elven noble refused to allow this, claiming that love and compassion for the child would dissolve the evil of Yeenoghu and his horrendous act. The leadership insisted on her potentially vile offspring’s demise forcing her and her attendants to flee to a remote and forested area of Celene.
Unfortunately, she was never able to prove herself correct, as she died in childbirth. The attendants, out of respect for her wishes, did not kill the child but took it back to the place where it was conceived and placed it on the broken alter. They returned to their homes, telling the Elven leadership that their Lady and the child were dead.
It was because the child did not look at all like an Elf that it was spared. An old Gnoll priest found the child and took her to his leader. Seeing an opportunity, the Leader, named Debreak, claimed the child was a gift from their God and was to be raised as the new spiritual leader of the tribe—a tribe to rule over all Gnolls. The child was named Raef.
Raef grew quickly and was educated in rudimentary reading by a Cleric of Yeenoghu. She learned very quickly and was a very agile and strong fighter, displaying great skill with both the long sword and composite longbow. As she grew, so did her magic. Raef learned her skills early, forced to prove herself against other gnoll children and their parents, jealous of her status. This would have been normal in gnoll society, except parents did not normally get involved. But in Raef’s case, parents were forced to get involved for the sake of their children, a few of whom perished after having pushed Raef too far.
As she grew to adolescence, Raef was both feared and respected. She led a number of raids on elves and humans with chilling success. Her strategy was uncanny and unconventional in gnollish terms, yet her greatest difficulty arose as the result of other males who bridled against having to follow a female in battle. However, the gnoll Leader continued to back Raef, pointing to her victories and the riches she had brought the tribe. Eventually, as both Raef's powers and strength became more refined, the resistance to her leadership faded and soon all celebrated the success that Raef brought.
Time passed and the old leader Debreak was near death. He called a meeting of his pack and proclaimed Raef as his successor, forsaking even his own children. And, as in the tradition of Gnolls, she slew him then and there. Two of the now dead leader’s children attacked almost immediately, jealous and full of rage against what they perceived she had stolen for herself. Raef dispatched them before they could even touch her. The other children skulked away with their followers, and thus began 10 years of civil war. Yeenoghu delighted in the carnage for awhile until he realized that his power based was beginning to ebb away. He sided with those who presented the least threat—Raef’s opponents. She was too powerful and threatened the Gnoll way of life. Besides, she did not even worship him!
Early in the war, Raef’s successes were numerous; partly due to a weapon she had created called the “dire flail”. She had an old human monk she had captured train her elite troops in the art of using it. She made her own, which is said to be made of magic and some of the soul of the old monk. It was not until Yeenoghu bailed out her opponents that they had any success. Raef quickly realized that fighting against the God of the Gnolls would be fruitless. She had her followers fake her death. While the war of succession continued between the children of Debreak., she and her pack of followers left the Suss Forest and travelled to the Joten Mountains.
In the Joten Mountains, the Gnolls of Raef flourished. Raef continued her practice of capturing those she needed to teach herself and her people. Elves for language arts and archery; humans for their physics and military training; dwarves for their mining and craftsmanship were all forced to teach Raef and her followers. Raef’s people were in turn expected to learn or be cast out of the pack. All races were used to teach her core group of followers magic. She encouraged specialization, to a point, but felt it necessary that all should have at least a basic understand of all things.
The teachers, for their part, were well treated if they taught well and did not try to cause harm or to escape. Teachers that taught falsely or deceived were slowly tortured to death for all to hear. This practice was not often required. Teachers, however, could never return home and some died trying to escape.
As the generations passed, this practice of capturing other races faded. Raef saw her people grow both in strength, population and in intelligence. They were highly ‘civilized’ (to use a human term). Militarily and politically, the Gnolls were very astute. With the Dwarves, they had treaties against the Giants and with the Humans they had treaties of neutrality. The Elves were very suspicious of Raef. Some believed that she was not all Gnoll, but could not prove it.
Raef herself did not seem to age much at all. On her 500th birthday, she still looked much as she did when they had arrived in the Joten Mountains. Her followers had become her children and they respected her, worshipping her as if she were a God.
She allowed her people their own government, which was a democracy based on one vote per Gnoll over the age of 20. They had their own courts and laws. The council only went to Raef in cases of emergency or guidance.
Raef, with her clerics and magicians, studied magic in its many forms. Though her power grew, she never abused it. Some say it was the training of the old monk, others say it was her Elven blood.
The 1700’s in the Elven calendar were the golden age of the Gnolls of Raef. 1799 showed the first signs of tarnish as a small group of Gnolls, not liking the democratic style in which they were required to live, left the Gnolls of Raef.
They were captured by the Elves. Their memories searched for information about Raef. They then realized that Raef was the child of Yeenoghu. Fear gripped the Elves and they wondered what they should do. They decided to expose Raef’s people to Yeenoghu using the renegade Gnolls they had captured and some magic and illusion.
Yeenoghu was so enraged by what he learned that he is said to have destroyed his entire dwelling. He raised an army of Ghouls and Gnolls and mounted a surprise attack on Raef’s people with, unbeknownst to Yeenoghu, the help of the Elves.
The battle was long and bloody. Raef’s Gnolls were very skilled but were severely outnumbered. Yeenoghu and Raef battled until an Elf assassin distracted Raef just long enough to allow Yeenoghu to strike the killing blow.
Almost all of Raef’s people were slaughtered. Yeenoghu granted no mercy. A few, however, escaped, taking Raef’s body with them.
I, as one of the betrayers of Raef, am left behind. I write this that the record be true and in hopes that in some way I might atone for my horrible crime.
Blessed be One that guided us from darkness.
A Betrayer of
The People of Raef