The Veturium Tales Vol. 1: "Death and The Tempest"
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My name is Robin Caulfield, 21 years old at the time of writing, a transgender woman, and someone who is very appreciative of the support I’ve received from so many wonderful people in the process of creating “The Veturium Tales”. I am the creator of the Veturium tabletop campaign setting, and these short stories are the background and lore behind that setting. I encourage you to share my work if you enjoy it. Share it with your friends and family, coworkers, fellow tabletop gamers, and anyone you think might find it interesting.
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Ka’lok carried Laia in his arms as they marched through the caverns of the underdark. They moved deeper through the caverns while beasts and fiends charged to the surface beyond them. The hulking Ka’lok grinned towards his bride as they came towards an open cavern. Within the cavern stood legions of demons, weapons drawn as infernal growls and grumbles roared. Ka’lok released Laia as the two stood side by side atop a rocky ledge twenty feet above the armies of the underdark. The hordes roared in celebration of the pair. The beasts appeared restless, ready to spill blood in the name of their demon king and his bride. Ka’lok held a single hand up, silencing the masses and commanding the cavern. Laia stepped forward to the ledge, streaks of purple drawn vertically from her eyes to her jaw. “My darling children of chaos, the time has come for the end of Lo’kol and his vendetta against your creator. The task has fallen to you now to conquer the world above in your kings honor. Do you fight for Ka’lok, beasts?” Her tone was sharp, and the response was ferocious. The legions roared in acknowledgement. “Do you pledge your lives to the demon king?” The roar repeated equally as fierce. “Then in Ka’lok’s name, fight! Spill blood and wreak havoc! Repay your god for giving you life by sacrificing yours in battle in his name! Fight, my horde! Chaos has arrived!” Laia stood there, arms outstretched as the legions of the underdark rumbled towards the surface with ferocious battle cries. Ka’lok wrapped his arms around her waist, holding his goddess tightly.
“You are my soul, Tempest Queen.” He rested his head on her back for a moment as the demons emptied out swiftly. “My brother has developed the surface world for the last five hundred years. He’s got that woman by his side, the oracle. He’s winning.” Ka’lok’s voice strained with tension at the thought of his brother, Lo’kol.
“Your legions will not be enough, my sweet.” Laia turned, placing her hand on his chin before leading him deeper through the underdark. Ka’lok was mystified by her beauty and grace as if it were the first time he’d seen her. They approached the chamber where Ka’lok carved her from ruby, Laia waved her hand and made a mirror appear. The mirror was made of sapphires as opposed to glass, and with the snap of her fingers it began to show Lo’kol and Vis on the surface. “They will be far too much for those beasts, and the realm of men and monster ravages the world above. That woman sees all and your father made her the keeper of knowledge. However there is one way that Tyus has come to me and told me you can defeat your brother and claim what is rightfully yours…” She turned back to Ka’lok as he grabbed her by the hands.
“Whatever it takes to defeat him, it will be done.” He was stone faced. Nothing seemed able to deter Ka’lok from his eternal fight with Lo’kol, and Laia knew something he did not.
“There are many domains yet to be discovered, even amongst the gods. That woman will surely know this, but she was simply a product of your brother’s envy. He does not love her as you love me, my sweet. If we were to conceive a child, he would be born as one of us. He would give us the advantage in the fight and grant you a new domain to be at your disposal.” She held his hands tightly, and he responded with a simplistic nod.
“Is this what you desire? I shall not force anything upon you that you do not wish even if it would help defeat Lo’kol. It is your choice, my treasure, whether or not you decide to bare my spawn.” Ka’lok turned away from Laia, opening his hands and staring deeply into his palms. She grabs him from behind, resting her head on his shoulder. The two stand calmly in silence for a moment before Laia turns Ka’lok to face him.
“It would be my greatest pleasure to create something with you, my reaper. We shall fight this threat together, and time will belong to you.” Laia grinned, the chaos roaring in her eyes like a fire out of control. Ka’lok nodded, sweeping her off of her feet as they moved into their private chamber not to emerge for what seemed like days.
The Trickster in the Library.
The world ravaged by demons and fiends remained salvaged by Lo’kol and Vis. While Ka’lok created and culled an army born from the land and stone, Lo’kol cultivated the rise of civilization. Creatures roamed the world, inhabiting forests, scouring lakes, flying from mountaintop to mountaintop without fear. Beasts of great and small sizes, simple and magical in nature, the most impressive of them all being the dragon hordes scattered throughout Veturium. While these creatures created their own lives, around them lingered sentient and intelligent races spawned by Ka’lok to ruin Lo’kol’s vision of perfection. Humanoids of many different degrees began learning the ways of survival and advancement thanks to the gifts of knowledge given to them by Vis. These tribes worshipped the gods, offering tributes and honoring them as well as their values. Lo’kol and Vis were creating the world in their image, passing moral values unto the humans, elves, dwarves, and various other folk. There was steady growth and peace throughout Veturium, even with the demon armies marching on the surface dwellers. With the assistance of the gods The First Folk, as they were called, battled the warriors of the underworld back. They were on the verge of victory, Vis was overseeing the tribal peoples development in the wildlands when the tide of the battle began to shift.
The First Folk were united as one tribe with three powerful warriors leading the charge against Ka’lok’s forces. They were a Dwarf by the name of Lurin Stout-Hand, a woman who stood taller in spirit than she did in stature and had the strength of twenty men. Followed by a person born of dragons by the name of Alagran the Bold, a young dragonborn boy who was hardly cautious and always ready for a fight. Then there was Delia Alavara, an elf with a tactical mind and a heart full of desire and dreams. These three had the trust and support of the rest of The First Folk, but someone had the ear of Alagran and Lurin. From within the underdark rose a young man with green skin, blue eyes, and horns shaped like a coiled snake. His name was Rakon, and his words were like poison for The First Folk. He whispered the false will of Tyus into the ears of Alagran who broke off with a third of the tribal folk, abandoning Lo’kol’s war as it was not his own. “Tyus wouldn’t want you fighting against either of his sons, would he? This is the fight between a god of death and his brother of life, we needn’t die for them. Tyus wanted us here to cultivate his world, not to die in it.” The clever creature fooled Alagran, and so Alagran founded the first tribe of Volüm, pledging their faith to Tyus. Shortly thereafter Rakon sent whispers and thoughts of treason racing through Lurin’s camp. “Lo’kol wasn’t even the one who gave you life, right? Ka’lok created the humanoids, Lo’kol only wanted the beasts of land and sky. Why serve him? Delia is the puppet of the librarian, Alagran has recused his people from the fight, and now you have the opportunity to join the winning side. Force the Elven folk away, pledge yourself to Ka’lok. It’s only right.” And she did.
Lurin fell for the words of the sly fox Rakon, following Alagran’s lead and breaking away from the group of The First Folk. She found herself aligning with the demon armies, pledging her tribe to Ka’lok. The process took years, Alagran and his people had long since settled in the Wildlands while Lurin and the demons forced Delia and the remaining elves inland, land locking them in the center of the continent while the demons surrounded them. Eventually, the elves accepted defeat, recusing themselves from the battle between Ka’lok and Lo’kol. The tide had shifted back in favor of the God of Death, and Lo’kol couldn’t understand why. Meanwhile, deeper within the underdark, Ka’lok and Rakon stood face to face. The two beings embraced tightly and Ka’lok grinned wide. “You did well, my son.”
Rakon, the trickster god and son of Ka’lok and Laia, transformed into a fox and left his father in that moment. He disappeared back to the surface, but Laia replaced him next to Ka’lok shortly thereafter. The Tempest Queen laid her head on her partner’s shoulder, the two divines admiring the chaos that Lo’kol’s surface world had become. For a moment perhaps, Death and The Tempest had the upper hand in the battle between life and death. Elsewhere, Lo’kol and Vis regrouped, trying to figure out where they went wrong and that’s when Vis discovered what had happened. Rakon fooled them all and even misled the Goddess of Knowledge and Wisdom without leaving a trace. He used her own followers and her own teachings against them, changing their minds through logic and reason abandoning their real faith. She recognized he was clever, and expected no less from the son of The Tempest Queen and Death himself. She knew there would only be one way to recover and save her husband, and this time she would take a page out of Laia’s playbook. She knew she had to give Lo’kol a child, or else he would lose.