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  • Andrew M. Trauger

The Roark

Updated: Oct 7, 2021

Ordin Austmil-Clay tells of a day when "the cursed Roark" attacked the Cerion Forest, taking captive several dozen of his kin. Deep underground they were driven, caged, tortured, and fed to nightmarish creatures. He was only sixteen on that particular Tarchannen night, the darkest night of the year. Two years later, after having witnessed most of his kin perish in the Subterrain, Ordin and only seven others finally were rescued. But the memories haunt him still.

The Roark are dragon-blooded creatures, but more cunning and ruthless than most other corruptions. Estimates place their number in the tens of thousands. Many theories abound as to the original progenitor, with a majority of scholars pointing to Falasteron the Black or one of his early spawn. What no one can agree on is the natural creature that was corrupted from the unholy union. Because they bear humanoid features, many assume a human corruption, but many of their features suggest that the Roark may be an entirely different race. Most Roark possess a form of chitinous exoskeleton, pupil-less gray eyes, horny protrusions in various places, and "open" or non-existent nose and ears. Skin tends to run from light to dark gray and most specimen are hairless.

The entire body of Roark are male, with one notable exception: the Queen. She is said to be ageless, centuries old but appearing youthful still. No one knows whether the males age; indeed, it is possible that they don't. Reproduction, then, might have nothing to do with mating and conception; rather, the hordes of Roark might simply be formed, continued corruptions of additional base creatures. Each of the males is fashioned for a particular task: jangchi (warrior), qo'richi (guard), ishchi (worker), or ovchi (hunter).

They have organized a full civilization beneath the surface, led by a loathsome, vicious, and cruel Queen, who is ever accompanied by the hulking figure of her Guardian, a massive creature thought to be one of the original Roark and--possibly--the Queen's mate. Under her oppressive rule, the Roark colonies slowly tunnel through the underground, striking on the surface when all is black, when not even the stars give their light. Whether this is for advantage or because natural light is harmful has not been determined. When the surface is breached, no life is safe. Men are killed in combat or gathered up as prisoners. Women and children are slain instantly or fed to the Abominations.

A Roark abomination is a hideous creature, disfigured, hunched, and lacking in both the exoskeleton and skin. Yet, it cannot be said that an Abomination stems from a different source; it may be just the horrendous malformation of a corruption gone horribly wrong. Its movements are pain; its mind long ago broken. If it has a soul, it must be suffering the greatest of agonies.

There are many reasons people--the Dokari excepted--generally do not venture underground. But chief among them are the Roark.

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