Newminor looked and chuckled to himself. “Avoid, how cute. Well, I suppose that gets the point across, doesn’t it? Those are indeed the Demon Marshes, and not even the bravest souls dare journey near.”
“What is it that scares you so?” Bander asked innocently.
Newminor smoothly spread his arms apart and corrected the elf. “Hey! I am not scared of anything.” He paused for a moment and looked at the map. His eyes grew large as he stared at the region. “I simply see no need to go looking for trouble, and entering that area invites trouble.”
Never one to pick up on subtleties, Bander continued his probe. “Then what sort of trouble would one get into if they went there?”
Newminor looked at each member of Linvin’s company in disbelief. “You know, when I said you folks were out here without a clue, I was just having fun at your expense, but you really know nothing about anything outside Sartan, do you?” Before anyone could respond he continued, “Well, that speaks pretty poorly of your nation. They think they are so powerful and mighty, yet their own people are ignorant of what lies beyond their borders. How sad. This probably isn’t even your map, is it? Let me guess, you took it from the goblins and can’t interpret the symbols. I can’t believe I even let such a pathetic bunch come to my aid. In the future, I must be more choosey with my associates.” He strode over to the fire and tasted the stew cooking. Then he took a slice of jerkyand lay down on his blanket.
Linvin showed controlled irritation. “My good Newminor, your flagrant insults are indeed distracting, but you have once again spoken volumes without answering the question placed before you. So please relent with the sarcasmand answer my cousin’s question. To this point, you have been amusing, but the time has come for plain talk. Tell us about the Demon Marshes or pack your bags and leave.”
Newminor stopped chewing like his jaw had stopped working and swallowed the meat in his mouth nearly whole. He was surprised and impressed at Linvin’s ability to control his temper and stay on task.
“Very well, Elf-Man,” Newminor said. “Centuries ago, before the written word and the nations of our day, there were the Dark Ages. There was no unity among men or elves or anyone, other than goblins. The savage beasts prayed fervently to their demon gods, who aided them in the rape of the world. For an untold number of years, their madness and destruction reigned supreme.
“Details of their undoing are unknown, as no records were kept. Legend has it that a climactic battle took place in a great valley. The battle raged as the tide shifted back and forth, with the fate of the world at stake. Despite insurmountable odds, the goblins and their demon masters were defeated by the narrowest of margins. The remaining goblins were vanquished to the Goblin Nations in the north and the Great Southern Marshes near Valia. Their masters, however, could not be killed. They were instead imprisoned in the Demon Marshes. Their greatest source of power was said to come from the prayers of those who worshiped them.
“For that reason, the goblins were told by the victors that their gods had been slain. Separated from the faithful by mountains and great distance, the demons remained weak in their watery prison, preying only on the foolhardy that entered their realm.
“It is said that the loss of life in the final battle was so horrific that the loved ones of the dead wept uncontrollably. Their tears of sorrow united and washed over the dead but did not allow them to float. The storm of tears filled the valley and washed away all evidence of the massacre. It also flooded the prison of the demon gods and added to their hatred of man and his allies. The body of water created was the Sorrowful Sea.
“It is also said that, from time to time, a demon will escape the Marshes for a time and roam the lake, but they are bound to the marsh and always return. In their stead, they are rumored to control various sea monsters created from their dead servants, who roam the sea and do their bidding.