Tsinkhitastu is dominated by beasts, with whatever thinking life there is merely living out of the animals’ way. Great herds of deer, goat, and bovine wander the world, tearing down whatever artificial boundary is put in their ancestral path, while packs of carnivores and solitary hunters alike prey upon the herds, following them in their yearly motions.
Within this drama, smaller creatures make their lives. Squirrels and rodents flit about, grabbing at what seeds and grass they can find while dodging the jaws of serpents and eagles. Bugs, from the tiniest gnat to the largest ettercop, fly, crawl, and nest across Tsinkhitastu, as the waters are filled with fish and frogs and other swimming things.
But all of these are nothing to the great God-Beasts of Tsinkhitastu. All living things tremble at the God-Beasts approach, if only for the quaking of the ground beneath them. It is on the backs of the God-Beasts that the only cities of the Wild World are built, for only the God-Beasts, high above the rest of the animals, can protect civilization from the chaos below.
But even these mighty creatures can be brought down. The varg riders, the goblins of Tsinkhitastu, care nothing of the dangers their beasts pose. There are few among them that don’t bear the scars from being bitten by their wolves, and those are the ones that were not eaten outright. The shamans of the goblins will even let the ettercops bite them on purpose, for this is how they work their magic.
The venom of the ettercops does strange thing to the mind of the shaman. Divorced from its body, the mind is free to wander the world, seeing through the eyes of other life. This mind fusion can affect even the God-Beasts. While the shaman is one with the giant, he can make the beast stumble, as if he was doing little more than a tapping it on the knee, sending it tumbling, leaving the cities above to be attacked by the varg riders.
I dread the day that the shamans make the God-Beasts do more than stumble.
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