Happy April 1st everyone! I hope you enjoyed our fiction written by the one and only Lamentz, in addition to the the fake shaper reveal art done by theKez.
Waystone revealed the next shaper on their official forums today, starting with a shaper reveal image and backstory. The shaper embodies the spirit of Subtlety and its lore story is titled: Clandestine.
Markkun 29, 1543
Fourteen days before the Dawngate opened
He scampered down the muddy road, thankful for the torrential rain that kept the humans indoors. Skavars were commonly looked down upon by others as lesser creatures, and anything to keep the bare-skins away was a clemency to the oppressed species. However, the time for considering his lot in life was cut short by arrival at his destination. A small, but ornate house rose above him. It almost seemed to beg him to liberate its vast riches. He paused for a moment as he weighed the consequences.
After thinking better of it, the small creature raised a furry fist and knocked softly three times quickly, and twice more slowly. Before his knuckles left the polished oak surface, the door opened outwards, causing the skav to jump back in surprise. Warmth and light spilled out of the now wide-open portal, and the skav eagerly dashed into the dry building.
Before he could get past the threshold, a loud voice rang out, “stop!” The skav skidded to a halt a few feet inside the door and glanced over his shoulder for the source of the voice. A wide-eyed human wearing a very formal outfit stood next to the door. The skav tried to place the emotions on the man’s face. He was not very good with human expressions, but he thought that he saw a mixture of surprise, fear, hatred, and… constipation? Perhaps that was just the man’s usual expression.
The tall, stuffy man started making flustered shooing motions with his hands, “Rodent! Filth! Get out of this house! I don’t know how you got in, but I will not have your kind destroying my hard work!”
The skav didn’t move. He only looked at the man with confusion. He thought that this was the right house; the door had opened at the secret knock, so surely he was in the right place. If that was so, then why was this strange human trying to make him leave?
Much to the tall man’s chagrin, his attempts to scare the skavar away were futile.
“Perseval, What are you doing?” A shrill voice cried from the hallway. The tall man and the skav froze, and both sets of eyes turned to the source of the cry. The skav’s ears swiveled forward in curiosity. A woman was marching down the hall, her shoes clattering on the hardwood floor. She had a very serious expression, but it seemed that a cheerful grin would be much more at home on her face. The skav could tell that she was very beautiful by human standards, although this had no effect on him. He would never understand how anyone could be attracted to a bald, circle-head.
Perseval blustered, “I was trying to remove this vermin from you house, my lady, but it will not budge!”
The woman slapped him across the face. As he cowered, she shook a finger at him and said, “You do not speak of my guests in that way, Perseval, you know better!”
“Yes, my lady,” the man said timidly.
With a satisfied shake of her head, the woman turned to the source of the conflict. “Now then,” she began with a wide smile, “I thank you for coming on such short notice.” The skav recalled some of the human etiquette that he had learned long ago and removed the dripping hat from his head and made a clumsy bow. The woman stifled a giggle as she witnessed the three-foot skavar attempt to bow to her. The motion had been made especially awkward by the weight of his drenched clothing.
“Please, follow me,” the woman said sweetly as she turned to go back down the hallway. The skav followed the mass of fabric and hair down the hallway and into a small study.
The room was incredibly sparse considering the affluence evident in the rest of the house. As far as furniture went, there was only a roughly hewn table with two simple chairs in the center of the room. The walls were completely devoid of adornment. The skav could not see the surface of the table, but he saw stacks of documents and ledgers towering above him.
With a quiet click, the woman closed the door behind the skav. “I am sorry for my butler. He can be a little… prejudice.” The bubbly cheerfulness was gone from her voice. The airy grin was also vacant from her face. “Do you have my summons?” The woman held out a hand urgently.
The skav took a moment to comprehend what she had said. When he realized that her airheaded personality was actually a façade, he came to his senses and dug through his numerous pockets until he found what he was looking for: a wrinkled piece of parchment that a shadowy man had handed him in a seedy tavern late the previous night.
After examining the paper for a few moments, the woman sighed with relief, “Excellent, then I know you’re the one!”
The skav looked at her with curiosity. He had never worked with a woman before. They typically found the very thought of a three foot rodent repulsive, much less having to actually speak with one.
The woman sat down at the table and gestured for him to do the same. He crouched on the chair so as to be at eye level with his soon-to-be employer.
“Now,” she said, “There is a relic that I need you to… obtain… for me.”
The skav mentally rolled his eyes. Relics seemed to be the only things worth stealing these days.
Aprelle 1, 1543
Eleven days before the Dawngate opened
Darkness was all that surrounded him. The soft glow of his lantern had been a small comfort in the cramped tunnel, but he had been forced to extinguish the light as the need for stealth grew. Now, he burrowed forth in total blackness. Even if his eyes hadn’t been exceptionally weak, it would have been futile to rely on sight in any capacity.
The skav was burrowing through the ground. It was his specialty. The most famous thieves in history weren’t largely comprised of the rodents for nothing. Some praise the skavs on their ability to move silently or their ability to blend into almost any shadow to the point of invisibility thanks to their mottled fur, but the truth behind their success lies in the simple ability to burrow through solid dirt with nothing but their paws. They work surprisingly quickly too, which is why they also only work for exorbitant amounts of money. And they love money.
This particular skav was perhaps the most skilled and most elusive of his kind. He took every job seriously and always returned with what he was hired to find. In fact, he took his job so seriously, that he had long ago relinquished his name. Personal glorification would only make his job harder, so instead of having to deal with bounty hunters and would-be assassins, the skav simply became anonymous. Inexplicably, no cleverly contrived nickname could stick to him, and nobody could describe him with more detail than simply his being a skav. By all official accounts and personal recollection, he didn’t even exist.
Now, he was on the hunt for a mysterious relic; a typical job description for a master thief of his caliber. However, something about this particular job seemed different, as if he were doing it more for himself than his employer.
The plan was simple in design, and as long as no extraneous circumstances made themselves known, it would be relatively simple in execution as well. The skav would burrow underneath the wall of the castle where the relic was being held, and eventually reach the moat. Since he would emerge underwater, nobody would be able to see the hole that he came through.
After swimming to the castle wall, the skav would stealthily climb to the room where the relic was being held. It was in a windowless vault with but a single entrance, but this didn’t faze the skav. He had breached vaults of the highest security numerous times before, and this one would be no different.
The skav slowed his digging as the dirt started turning into mud. He would need to disturb the water as little as possible when breaching the floor of the moat. Although he was operating at night, unnecessary splashing might attract the attention of the guards.
After a few minutes of careful digging, water started to flow into the tunnel. Thankfully, due to the skav’s method of digging, it did not flow endlessly. Instead, it was slowed by the loose dirt that filled the hole. Even if the moat did drain into the tunnel, the skav would be long gone before it was noticed by the guards.
The skav took a deep breath as the water rose to his neck. He untied the waterproof sack that had been attached to his foot and clutched it to his chest. Using just his legs, the skav pushed through the remaining mud and into the moat. He slowly kicked his legs and drifted towards the castle.
He reached the bank and silently slipped onto the bank. Hiding behind a large bush that was next to the castle wall, the skav changed out of his soaked clothing and into a dark grey cloak that had a mesmerizing combination of shades on it. Even in the pale moonlight, it seemed to shimmer in and out of existence. Under this cloak he had on a black form-fitting outfit made of soft fabric. He slipped the waterproof sack onto his back underneath the cloak as well. Finally, he used a short length of rope to tie his wet clothes to a rock and carefully slipped it under the water.
After searching the area to make sure that there was no evidence that he had been there, the skav looked up the castle tower. The large stones used to build the wall were blocky and stuck out enough to grant him easy purchases for climbing. His destination was directly above him, but the last window before the vault room was several floors below it. Instead, the skav had his eyes set on a small arrow slit set further up the side of the tower.
It took him less than a minute to reach the arrow slit. His mottled grey cloak made him nearly invisible on the wall. Unless the guards had been staring at the wall, they wouldn’t notice the slightly discolored spot that was the skav’s cloak.
Now it was time for some magic. The arrow slit was much too small for the skav, but with the right preparations, such a small thing would be no hindrance for the thief. Hanging onto the stone tower with only one hand, the skav used his feet and free hand to pull a small stone tablet out of the waterproof sack.
The skav set the tablet in the gap. After a few seconds, the tablet started to glow. The skav made sure that he was completely covering it with his cloak to block the light from those below. It did not take long for the tablet’s shapings to take effect. The narrow opening silently grew until it was just large enough for the skav to slip through.
Inside the room, the skav found that there was no guard on duty. Apparently this queendom had grown lax when it came to security. The skav wasn’t complaining. It was every thief’s dream to be the reason for the increased protectiveness of valuables.
Silently, he slinked across to the door of the vault; a simple wooden affair with a complex lock. The skav may have laughed if the situation weren’t so serious. Locks of all complexity were no match for this thief, and this one didn’t even have any shapings to make things more interesting.
Ten seconds later, the skav was inside the vault. He carefully walked into it, making sure that the door stayed open. It was most embarrassing to be trapped inside a vault while robbing it. The vault was dimly lit by hundreds of glowing stones. They sat on shelves lining the walls. The skav wasn’t sure what to think of them all. They seemed to serve no purpose other than providing light. Actually, the skav thought that most of the things within the vault had little discernible purpose, the large basin of sand near the door for instance.
He searched the vault, careful to watch for booby traps. It only took him about five minutes to find what he was looking for. Slipping the relic inside of his bag, the skav turned to go. However, as he opened the vault door, he came face to face with three well-armed guards.
The one closest to him brandished his blade at the skav. “Surrender your weapons and put your… err… hands on your head.” The guard awkwardly made stabbing gestures with his sword to emphasize his sentence.
The skav didn’t skip a beat as he jumped back into the vault. He looked around for something that could be used as a weapon. Those glowing balls caught his attention. He reached up and grabbed one. On closer inspection, he saw that they had shapings carved into them.
With a bang, the door flew wide open.
The one the skav was holding had multiple shapings on it, but only one that he recognized, volatility.
Without thinking, he threw the heavy stone ball towards the door. The guard that had opened the door ducked, and the ball flew behind him and struck the wall where the arrow slit was.
Concussive force blasted from where the ball hit, and incredibly bright light filled the room. The skav did not get hit by the full force of the blast, but the guards weren’t so lucky. The two that had been outside the vault had been thrown up against a wall, getting knocked out. The one in the entrance pitched forward and fell into the basin of sand.
As soon as the man touched the sand, he was engulfed by it. The sound of deafening wind filled the room for a split second. When it stopped, the guard was gone.
With no time to lose, the skav looked around for something that could help him escape. He warily eyed a biragga leaning against the wall in the corner. It looked ancient, but the skav had heard tales of biragga riders from the East, and figured that this was probably one of the biraggas used for flight.
Voices echoed from the stairs. More guards were coming!
Since nothing else in the room seemed promising, the skav grabbed the biragga and one of the explosive balls. Praying to the spirits for protection, he ran out of the vault and threw the bomb back into it. Without skipping a beat, he leapt out of the hole that the first explosion had created and clung to the biragga for dear life.
The massive explosion destroyed the entire top of the tower and caused the flying skav to rocket away from the castle, into the sky. The skav’s attempt at subtlety had failed and now he was flying across the night, clutching a useless piece of wood, cursing himself for attempting such a feat.
Miraculously, before the skav started falling to the ground, the biragga righted itself and began to glide, the shapings on its side glowing brilliantly. The skav was paralyzed with relief. He thought that maybe he should try praying to the spirits more often.
With the skav equivalent of a smile, he patted his pack and steered the biragga towards home.