Duk'sa (short story)

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This is a creative work set in the world of Elanthia, attributed to its original author(s). It does not necessarily represent the official lore of GemStone IV.

Title: The Duk'sa

Author: Highlord Starsnuffer Sunslayer

The Duk'sa are a mysterious and mostly unknown sect of the Dhe'nar. Originally, the Duk'sa were a part of the greater Elven people, as were the Dhe'nar before the elves split into separate houses.

When the Dhe'nar followed Tahlad to Rhoska-Tor, it was the Duk'sa, which means Shadow Hunters, that led the way to that barren land.

The life of the Duk'sa was hard in Rhoska-Tor. Life in the caverns dampened their natural magic, and the dark essence that flowed through the hallowed plains created a void of life. While the Magi and the Priests strengthened their power, the Duk'sa were hurt severely.

Slowly, the powers of the Duk'sa were lost. After a time, they were no better than the common foot soldiers. As life at Rhoska-Tor began to settle down, the innate connection to the land and its creatures that the Duk'sa possessed began to reemerge. As the Dhe'nar began to adjust to life in the barren plains, new problems began to show themselves. Ailments of unknown origin and body wracking sicknesses began to take their hold.

Though the outbreaks of these problems were very minor, the sicknesses were a nuisance. It was the Duk'sa that searched the barren plans for what little herbs they could find to assist the Dhe'nar empaths into healing the sick. It was the Duk'sa that laid the trail for the Dhe'nar to follow to the promised land of Sharath.

Sharath proved renewing to the Duk'sa. With the lush jungle and abundant life, the Duk'sa found their natural powers returning. With the return of their magic, they began to once again fill their place in society.

The Duk'sa led raiding parties into the jungles around Sharath, returning with much needed food and supplies. As the Dhe'nar began to fall from the teachings of Noi'sho'rah during the Dark Time, the Duk'sa grew more distant from the society.

As the various castes vied for political power, the Duk'sa retreated into the jungle and isolated themselves. When the Temple Caste began slaughtering anyone who disagreed with their self-proclaimed "godhood" the Duk'sa left Sharath alone completely. They followed the old ways, hunting for their food, respecting and worshipping nature and striving for an inner peace. Then came the cataclysm that destroyed almost all the Dhe'nar.... Luckily, most the Duk'sa survived.

The Great Fire changed the jungle around Sharath, changing everything into a grey-black ash. With the change in the forest, the forest dwellers began to change themselves. While the Duk'sa still strove for inner peace, their ways became darker. Their ability to hide in the dense foliage shifted to hiding in the shadows of the great ashen trees. The magic of the Duk'sa themselves became darker, which helped them in dealing with the twisted creatures that began pouring from the jungle.

Presently, the Duk'sa inhabit the jungles around Sharath, providing information of the surrounding lands, and acting as a first line of defense against any attackers. Although the other Castes disagree, the Duk'sa claim that if an attacker should get past these Dhe'nar rangers, Sharath itself would be lost. The Duk'sa are masters of ambush and shadow tactics, second only to the true Dhe'nar assassins.

Though not quite as skilled in the art of melee as Dhe'nar warriors, these Dhe'nar rangers are backed by potent spiritual and natural magic. They remain a small, but elite force among the Dhe'nar, and guard their secrets closely. They are masters of gathering information...watch your back; there may be one behind you.

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