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    The Gnolls of Raef - The Begininng
    Posted on Wed, June 02, 2004 by Farcluun
    IvorMac writes "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.

    By: IvorMac
    Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

    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
    1801 EC
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    Re: The Gnolls of Raef - The Begininng (Score: 1)
    by Kirt on Wed, June 02, 2004
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    As a metaphore for the creation of the Flind race, this work is fine.

    But if it is intended to be "fact", I find Yeenoghu's repeated personal involvement overdone.

    The use of italics is a little distracting, and I would like a footnote with a CY conversion for the elven years so I don't have to dig out the calender.

    An interesting read, thanks!

    Re: The Gnolls of Raef - The Begininng (Score: 1)
    by TheocratIssak ( on Thu, June 03, 2004
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    Hi all-
    I read this thinking that it would open some new avenues. It did that, but it also opened some that are extremely unbelieveable. I must agree that CY conversions need to be posted, even if these dates are extremely ancient. Also, the style of writing could be improved. An example, "No Elven noble had even been captured and certainly not a noble female!" Not that CanonFire has editing requirements like the OerthJournal, but many of the CF editors would be willing to edit this article to help it along. Again, not a requirement, but something that would help the overall story.
    Now my comments about the article:
    I don't really like the Flind god's personal involvement, other than his raping of the olven noble. I like that as well as can see that happening. He leaves just as the olves come for retubution. From here, the noble claims love for her future child. I find this to be unlikely, but believeable enough. I would have liked a describition of the child. A flind and olven combination is something that needs words or a picture to describe. As a child, the image is important for the believibility of the story. And this describition needs to be updated later in the story as she grows and takes over the tribes.
    The describiton of the new born would also help for us to understand why the attendants left the baby on the Flind's alter. If the mother felt love for the child, why didn't they take her back to the olven kingdom, even if many nobles wanted an abortion? Again, the image of the child is important. If the child looked more olvish than Flindish, the other nobles might have been willing to allow the child to live with them. Of course, if the child was extremely ugly, they may have left it on the alter, hoping the child would die. You hint at this by saying that the child didn't look at all like an elf...but what did she look like?
    Again, style here, but you use the word quickly twice, very close to each other in refering to Raef being raised and educated. To me this meant that she reached adolecence much quicker than a normal olve or flind. Here again, a describtion of Raef would be helpful, espcially, when she begins to take leadership of the raids, and the males not willing to follow her.
    I dislike Yeenoghu's personal involvement with the civil war between the gnolls. You also state that Raef doesn't follow his believes. By stating that, you're opening up a section of the story that you don't close or explain. Why doesn't she follow him? He is her father. Her tribal elder (and adopted father) followed him. Does she not worship any god?

    There is a dramatic difference in the second half of the story. With Raef leaving the other gnolls, she captures people to teach her and her tribe. They later begin to follow a democratic ideal. This is a dramatic turn of events, and although you do say that it takes many years, seems a little to modern. Also, along this vein, why is it that Raef lives so long. Gnolls only live 35-50 years or so. Half-olves have slightly expanded human life spans. So 500 years and Raef still had much life in her, seems too long.
    When the non-democratic gnolls leave and are captured, you say that the olves probed their minds, but how was this done? If the olves found out that Raef was the child of Yeenoghu but had a democratic society formed (which even the olves dont' have), why would they be concerned? You don't say when Raef went on her own, but lets say it was EY 1000. 700 years have gone by, and sure olves and gods don't forget, but after that long, the Raef gnolls have kept themselves hidden, it seems difficult to believe that the olves would suddenly become concerned. Also showing Yeenoghu that Raef had escaped his wrath seems un-olve like. If the olves had sent diplomats and they were turned away, killed or otherwise harmed, I could see this.
    So Yeenoghu attacks the Raefian gnolls with Ghouls. Why? Is undead part of his portfolio? Just doesn't seem to fit with the rest of the story. And then the olves help. Wow. The battle story could use more than just a few sentances. Why was it that Raef is an equal combantant to Yeenoghu? I do like that it takes an olven assassin (which I wasn't aware of too many of them) to help him win.
    Ending the story with Crewgath, a gnoll follower seems unrequired. If the begining was written to someone in particular, or another introduction...priest to his parish or a beggars story, then I could see it.

    I rate this story a 1 out of 5 stars. I hope that my criticisms enable you to either change the story to fill in the gaps and make it better or to increase the understanding and feeling of your next article.

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