Leng

Overview

To the outer world, Leng is simply a backward place with a provincial attitude toward strangers. The chief exports are furs from animals that live in the high forests, and a delicate fabric woven from the webs of giant spiders that inhabit those same forests.

Politics

Leng is a dry, mountainous region ruled by the Autocrat of the Outer Ring, whose name is never spoken. It is said that one can summon this great sorcerer by invoking this name, just as one may summon a demon; but unlike any demon, he cannot be controlled. In addition to ruling over Leng, the Autocrat is the supreme power in the Guild of Sorcerers, a pale copy of the Brotherhood of Yasnac. The guild is strong within Leng, but its activities are greatly hidden for fear of the same powers that engineered the banishment of the Brotherhood of Yasnac. The Autocrat has plans to change this, for he has read in ancient texts of beings of darkness such as would make the most powerful demon seem a child by comparison. The Autocrat has dreams of contacting them to offer his Guild as acolytes. Rumours of this plan have circulated about Leng, and the population in general hopes it will succeed and bring power and wealth to their country. Moral concerns are not very important in Leng. News of what the Autocrat would do has not left Leng, for the rugged land does not welcome strangers. The very few outlanders who did get wind of the scheme will never leave - they are buried too deeply. As the supreme ruler of Leng, the Autocrat is empowered with the right to order execution for no better reason than whim. Serving the Autocrat directly is the Outer Ring, composed of the Masters of the Guild of Sorcerers, who act as the Autocrat's chief administrators. The Autocrat's will is enforced by the Lesser Ring, composed of elite fighters who have sworn to die in the service of the Autocrat. It is whispered that drugs and spells have made the Lesser Ring believe that vast rewards in the afterlife belong to those who die carrying out the Autocrat's orders. The outer world is generally unaware of the doings of the Autocrat and his Ring, for their delving into the dark lore is quietly done in the underground caverns common throughout Leng. Unlike the Lord Emperor of the Brotherhood, the Autocrat prefers to move about his purposes with guile rather than bombast. This approach seems to be effective, for the Guild has successfully managed to summon a great Dragon, which in return for ridding the land of would-be intruders, lives high in the mountains of Leng, in harmony with the local inhabitants. Similarly, a great Drake, which, ages ago, had been conjured up in Kesmai by the Yasnaki lives contentedly in the highlands of Leng and assists the Autocrat in the harassment of strangers.

Geography

Leng Town

Leng town lies on the western side of a great rift. It is a peaceful haven in a land of turmoil, only because the Autocrat chooses to leave it that way. In the town you will find many of the familiar shops, with the wizard's hut being central in the town. The wizard, Derf, nicknamed 'Crazy' (he isn't really crazy - just somewhat backward), is probably one of the most renowned in the land, and it is he who trains the most talented of wizards. In the south-west corner of town is a small throne room. The Queen of Leng (though she is Queen in name only) sits there, and bemoans the loss of her daughter, Ianta. She offers great regard to the person who can locate and bring Ianta back to the throne room. The town also houses a bank, pawnshop and weapons trainer as well as the usual outlets. You will not find a priest or a thaumaturge here however. So great is the Autocrat's hatred for the Grand Order of Thaumaturges, that these have been forced to take refuge in an underground temple on the east side of the rift, at the north end of the desert. In a garden atop the gym, the sage and Puck reside. Puck is a ninja of old, and if any martial artist who is worthy were to approach Puck and offer the correct items, he will bestow to that martial artist gauntlets of great power.

The tanner has set up shop west of town on the desert fringe. Also west of town is a shimmering veil. If one holds a red gem with a pulsing core (many are found on sandwyrms, and have been referred to at times as the sandwyrm's heart), one may access the hidden room that lies behind. In the far north-east corner of the plains is a pit which leads down to the hidden temple. The thaumaturge trainer there is also among the best to be found, the fact of his survival is a testimony of that fact. The confessor ghost may also be found in the temple.

Desert Plains

Because the Autocrat has generally ignored the town area, its vicinity has become home to some vicious creatures. Sandwyrms, hyenas, and manticorae roam the desert plains outside of the city walls. Sandstorms constantly move across the plains and pose a great threat to life and limb. A great troll guards the bridge over the rift east of town. A centaur archer, deadly in accuracy, patrols the area outside of the city walls. The plain is not a safe place for the unwary traveller. The graveyard is located south of town, behind a great wall. An adventurer may journey here to have access to the Underworld via a portal that is located within the graveyard. South of town, outside the city gates, is the locker vault, and across the sand, is the Dink Blam Cafe. It is said that the original proprietor met an untimely demise by uttering the phrase "Dink Blam and Dorp it". No one ever understood the meaning of that phrase, except maybe a few old-timers, but the name of the cafe was changed to the Dink Blam as a result of this utterance.

East Side of Rift

Near the temple, behind a room of darkness and a secret door, is the Amber stairwell, named after the ghoddess many years ago, where some claim that she actually walked the earth for a time as a mortal. The stairwell is where most adventurers are dropped off when they arrive from Kesmai (particularly if they use the portal that is located in the Kesmai dungeon). From the stairwell, an adventurer may journey down the stairs to sand serpents passage, or climb (or jump) into the shark infested waters of Lac d'Leng, or simply jump to the east to the garden outside the dark tower.

In the far south-east corner of the plain is a small oasis, and a climb up to the Stonehenge portal complex. From the main plains level of Leng, one can reach the portal complex, which is hidden in a small, sandy area 80 foot above the surface. The portal complex is usually guarded by a wight, but is otherwise deserted. This complex will lead to any of the current known lands.

Stables

The shimmering portal on the west side of the plains (west of town) leads to a stable complex. The stables were once used to house horses, though no one has seen a horse in ages. The stables are maintained by a group of hobgoblins, and behind them lies a secret door leading to some living quarters, from the hallway found behind the stables is a small teleport, useable by martial artists only, that leads to a small, secret complex where the ninja train. The ninja master, Shidosha, is a mighty ninja warrior, and is in the process now of training a new generation of the order of ninja to act as foot soldiers to the Autocrat. Up the stairs from the stables is a passage that connects the stables to a secret stairway behind the mausoleum.

The Dark City

High above the level of Leng town lies the ruins of an even older city. The dark city was once the capital of Leng. Nowadays, this is where the Autocrat has centralised his power and the whole area is heavily defended. Roaming the main level of the dark city are many spell casters, members of the Lesser Ring who are fortunately blind in the darkness. On the other hand, there are also many undead wraiths that can see perfectly well in the darkness. These wraiths are said to be the remains of guild members, so evil that only their undead presence persists. Along a passage on the north side of the city are several skeletons and other undead that guard the entrance to the sand serpents lair.

The Dark Tower

The base of the dark tower is in the centre of the old city. Many of the passages around the base of the tower are permanently covered in darkness, and only those that have night vision can see to make their way around. Inside the dark tower, there are numerous forces of chaos. Including the base, there are five levels to the tower each inhabited by progressively more fearsome beings. Many of these, invisible unless they are standing next to you. At the very top of the tower lives (if that is an appropriate term given his lifestyle) the dreaded, blood sucking vampire. While it has never been confirmed, it is said that this vampire is, in fact, Vlad the Autocrat, although many doubt this, believing the Autocrat to be an even more powerful being. With him are several powerful creatures including griffins, salamanders and liches, who act as his personal bodyguards. Taken as a whole, the dark tower may well be the most dangerous area in the known world. The vampire alone, can despatch a medium warrior with a single death spell without the need of chanting, can strike with tooth and nail for similar damage, and is rumoured to be poisonous with his bite. He may only be harmed by silver weapons and a few magic spells. On the levels below the vampire, the forces of chaos gather in such numbers that even the strongest of adventurers can be engulfed without even striking a single blow.

The Mausoleum

In the east side of the city is a grand avenue that ends with a mausoleum to the north. within the mausoleum is a statue that guards the crypts contained within (rumoured to contain the mortal remains of Vlad, though no one has ever found them). Also near the mausoleum is a presence of fear, who will cast terror on the unwary (and sometimes even the wary) adventurer and follow it up with deadly curses. The presence is unique in that it is the only totally invisible creature in the known lands.

The Griffin Rookery

There is a climb south of the Tag range that will lead to a higher level of the cliffs, which is home to some griffins. Higher still up the cliffs of Leng is the griffin's rookery. Here, the Guild of Sorcerers bred griffins to help with guarding the various portals and other outdoor areas. The griffins that live here are some of the most vicious to be found (except perhaps the lawful griffin of Axe-Glacier). Also on this level are many hobgoblins and fighters that have chosen to make their home in the wilderness. The fighters, known as berserkers are all members of the Lesser Ring and sworn to serve the Autocrat by ridding Leng of all outsiders.

Thieves' Guild

The Leng chapter of the thieves guild keeps its headquarters on this level. The fact that Leng thieves are tough is due in part to the fact that they must be able to survive the journey to and from the guild. It is known that while much of the modern thief magic was stolen, there was once a legendary thief, Lurkio, who was also a great wizard. It was he who developed the hide spell that all thieves treasure. He also set about duplicating the shimmering portal of Leng within the thieves guild and it still functions today. Any brave thief may enter the ninja lair through that portal, using the same round red gem as a key. Not many thieves choose to venture that way as the rewards are few (or at least unusable) and the dangers many. No thieves who attempt to enter the guild will find themselves unceremoniously deposited in the river that flows behind it. Many is the reincarnated, unarmed thief who lured his would-be killers towards the guild entrance and then, they having been drowned, made a clean getaway.

Kosh's Lair

To the north and east of the main plains area is a 100 foot cliff that leads to the cave of the Leng dragon. Kosh is much tougher than Daisy, being able to take many more hits before falling. Also, he hits much harder than Daisy, and only the most stout of adventurers even consider going there. Kosh requires a blue-glowing weapon of some sort or very strong magic spells in order to even penetrate his hide.

Amber River

From Grim's Folly, if you follow the Amber River east, you will find another climb to the highest level of the cliffs. On this level are many air drops that lead to the dungeon complex of Leng. Also following the cavern passage on the southern part of the level will eventually lead to a stairway which was the original entrance to the dungeons. The dungeons of Leng!

Dungeons of Leng

One need only mention the name to bring a feeling of dread to most adventurers who have visited there. The dungeons are swarming with the creatures of chaos, including many of the more powerful undead. There is a powerful wyrm that wanders the area. There are even undead casters in the dungeons that have, over the years, learned how to deal with thieves by not automatically retreating to cast their spells, but instead casting them up close. Many treasures may be found within the dungeons, from simple gold and valuable gems, to potions that will restore mana to wizards. Drake potions may be found here, and many of the more exotic treasures are just waiting for an adventurer to come and claim them (if they dare).

Mountain Wilderness

High up the cliffs is a wild, mountainous area inhabited by many wild creatures that roam the woods of this level, including a tiger. Even the ducks have turned chaotic (well, if the drakes can do it, why not the ducks too?) though they are really more of a nuisance than anything else. As you arrive on the level to the east (following the Amber River from the falls) you will find Dong's hut. Dong is the high martial arts trainer, and will train only the most advanced martial artist in the ways of hand and foot while the lesser martial artist will receive a rebuke if he requests training. To the very far south is a hut, which contains the old knight trainer. He took to this very remote hiding place many years ago to avoid the attention of the townsfolk. Behind a secret door, waits Ianta. She is the princess of Leng and an initiate wizard. She was captured a long time ago and locked up in a room on this level. Any that would lead her back to town (and the way is overloaded with peril) can expect to be well rewarded for their efforts. On the far west part of the level is a small glacier, ending in a climb that leads to the cave of the drake.

The Leng Drake

Long ago, when the lands were young and the brotherhood was still mighty, a drake was summoned in the province of Kesmai. This is the only time that one of the brotherhood's summonings was recorded as being successful. The brotherhood summoned the drake to rid the Island of Kesmai of the pirate base that had been stationed there. Once the drake was finished with the pirates, the brotherhood had him shipped over to Leng, where he went on a rampage, killing and eating many people (mostly virgins when he could find them). Finally sated, he looked around until he found a lair deep in the caverns at the very top of the cliffs. There, the drake summoned to him a vast array of minions to guard his area. Many minotaurs came and some of them brought manticorae to assist them. A lich or two also answered the summons. Most of these guardians were set outside the inner chamber, though a few were allowed to enter into the drake's presence. The drake himself is bigger than average, though his attacks are roughly the equivalent of the Axe-Glacier drake. His size may be due to the fact that he is always hungry (perhaps due to a shortage of his favourite tidbit), and therefore tends to eat those that would dare to disturb his repose. The forces of chaos are very strong in this area, such that the creatures will regenerate quickly, and huge zoos have been known to form here.

People

The people of Leng are smaller than average, but very quick. They tend to be pale, owing to an aversion to the sun. Much of daily life in Leng is carried out during the early evening and night. The members of the Outer and Lesser Rings, the ruling class of the island, are never seen during daylight hours. The general population tends to have black hair and dark eyes that are flat and non-reflective. It is said that these eyes are the legacy of a strange race that came to Leng in older days and interbred with the natives.

Sorcerers, Fighters and Thieves are numerous in Leng, and Wizards not terribly uncommon, but Thaumaturges are unknown. The few Thaumaturges who visit Leng from other lands tend to have fatal accidents. The short sword and the bow are favored weapons in Leng. Fighters from Leng more than make up for their lack of size by their speed and training - and their lust for blood. When Leng's inhabitants journey to the dungeons, it is most likely for the twin purposes of seeking lore of the Brotherhood, while also finding things to kill. The Autocrat allows no killing in Leng, except that which he personally orders; he views any other type of death as the loss of a useful servant. There have been a few emigrants from Leng who left because of disgust with the practices of the Rings, but they are always silent, knowing that the Autocrat has dispatched assassins to deal with those who lightly talk about his business.

See Also

Known Lands

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