Distortions: The Adan'f

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Distortions: The Adan'f


Since before most living beings can recall, the Adan'f have inhabited the Whistling Wood of Ilithi. Horrific tales of reptilian monsters have been told as their plague has risen and fallen through the years. Like all mortal beings, they adapt and change, but certain qualities remain constant across time. To our good fortune, an anomaly formed in recent years has given rise to a greater understanding than ever before. The following information has been derived from decades of personal study as well as several interviews with the transformed Adan'f Hssarith. All of it is accurate to the best of my knowledge as of this inking, but the wise man never writes off the possibility of disinformation and misperception.

Xelten Tyrsin
398 AV


Most know the Adan'f as they are now, resembling in many ways monstrous versions of our more civilized S'Kra Mur friends. It is interesting that this was the chosen form of these weapons -- they were created to serve just such a purpose -- since their creators were S'Kra Mur themselves, the Dragon Priest followers of Dzree. The original Adan'f, and many of the Adan'f being created even today, are necromantic mutations from a massive lacertilian species known as shalswar. Had the Dragon Priest Empire not fallen when it did, the Adan'f might have become a very potent army: intelligent enough to think for themselves and employ powerful magic, but obedient to their masters, whether willingly or through magical coercion.


Among the Adan'f, there are three known castes: blood warriors, shadow mages, and spirit dancers. They typically have distinctive appearances, down to the thickness of their tails and the coloring of their scales. Aberrations have formed on occasion, however, usually among the strongest of their species. Adan'f have no childhood, being created fully adult, but they possess approximately the same potential lifespan as a S'Kra Mur. The Adan'f are led by a chieftain of sorts who is advised by individual leaders of each caste, including its own. Shadow mages and blood warriors can usually be credited with some degree of sanity, and it is from these two groups that leaders are usually found. Hssarith stereotyped shadow mages as "craven but cunning", while blood warriors are "aggressive but not too bright." There are, of course, exceptions. Spirit dancers are by nature stronger, but the process by which they gain access to sorcery tends to warp their minds in one way or another, leaving them unfit to lead or lacking in such desire. There has been one known exception, but more on that later. Power tends to be the deciding factor as to who is in charge, and the former leader must die for the new one to take its place. There is a sort of politics, since the spirit dancers, the only caste capable of resuscitating fallen Adan'f and of creating new Adan'f, effectively have the collective ability to decide on the leader of the Adan'f clan as a whole.


As previously mentioned, the Adan'f have taken residence in the Whistling Wood among the graves of their fallen masters; however, their choice of location may be a matter of necessity. It seems that the Adan'f are incapable of straying from this land for too long without suffering consequences. The stronger the Adan'f, the further and longer they may go. It is a matter of speculation, but it seems likely that the Dragon Priests possessed a means by which to keep the Adan'f elsewhere longer.

Fortunately, the Adan'f have not discovered any such method for themselves. Beneath the Whistling Wood are the Ice Caves, where the Adan'f have formed a stronghold of sorts. Through the necromantic machinations of a spirit dancer called Xerasyth, a magical illusion was constructed in these caves long ago, similar to the sort of invisibility modern necromancers employ. Due to this, only Adan'f are able to perceive how the caves actually look. This overwhelming magic forces others to find solid walls where there are none.

An example provided was that a person walking into one of these walls would be seen by others as doing just that, but would in fact hit his or herself to produce the appropriate injuries. Likewise, a rock thrown at a wall would be seen to bounce off, but in truth the rock would have been cast elsewhere in the first place. The illusion is continually charged by spirit dancers from within their stronghold, making it apparently impossible for their fortress to be breached by outsiders.

Recent History

It has been decades now since Hssarith first sent his emissary to begin peace talks between the Adan'f and the citizens of Shard. Hssarith was an Adan'f of the shadow mage caste and leader of the clan. Hssarith's Spirit General was Xerasyth, who led an insurrection aided by the Blood General Vigther. The Shadow General, whose name is unknown, sided with Hssarith and was slain as a result, eventually being replaced by Zaevas. Xerasyth performed a ritual in an effort to steal Hssarith's power, but it had the unforeseen side effect of removing the Adan'f curse. Though the details are unknown, Hssarith somehow rose from the ritual barrow in the form of a S'Kra Mur. Many asked if it was possible to do this with all Adan'f, but speculation by Hssarith is that this was a fluke and unlikely something that can be replicated. He has since managed to attain favors from Meraud and has assisted Shard in fighting the Adan'f, both through information and a presence on the battlefield. Due to Xerasyth's failure to kill Hssarith, he never became the proper chieftain. The culture of the Adan'f may have been permanently changed as a result.


Xerasyth is unique. Hssarith remarked that the only sane spirit dancer he ever met was Xerasyth. While spirit dancers claim that they are able to choose what sort of Adan'f they make when transforming a lizard-like creature, or that they are able to intentionally decide upon its strength, Hssarith believed that only Xerasyth ever really knew what he was doing. Before leaving the Adan'f, Xerasyth amplified Vigther's power to horrendous levels, created the fearsome Vaktarr, and left behind several other enhanced minions. Each of them was marked by a unique appearance not found among other Adan'f. At the time of his departure, Xerasyth was believed to be over three hundred years old, thrice the age at which a normal Adan'f would succumb to death. He was always curious, always performing experiments, and always learning. After taking control of the Adan'f, he performed rituals on members of the Eleven Races, released a plague upon Kermoria, and even worked with remnants of the Dragon Priest Empire while successfully declaring Adan'f independence from their former masters. At last, he found a way by which he could break the curse and leave the Whistling Wood, something no other Adan'f (save Hssarith, unintentionally) had accomplished. Through what is believed to be yet-unknown necromancy, he either transformed or transferred himself into a S'Kra Mur. Some claim that he has now transcended even this form and appears as a fair-skinned Human.

There remain more questions than answers regarding Xerasyth's separation from the Adan'f of Ilithi. It appeared he had no intention of ever returning, yet he made certain to leave them fully capable of protecting themselves both from the encroaching threat of Lyras and from Ilithi residents. Whether this gesture was out of some unforeseen sentimentality, constituent to greater schemes or merely an ephemeral amusement is unknowable by any but the creature himself. Additionally, endless consideration of his motivation would not likely produce a definite conclusion regarding why he left at all. The pursuit of greater power is awfully cliched, and given his penchant for the unexpected, it seems possible that he merely wished to enjoy a holiday. In any case, the most certain statement one could make would be simply: if there is ever such a time that his mind is made known, the opportunity to act will indubitably have already passed.


The Adan'f expressed fear at the coming of Lyras and became relatively silent. Though the lich has been defeated, they remain, as of this writing, secluded, with only their weaker forces still scouting the Whistling Wood and the upper Ice Caves. It is presumed that Vigther has taken full leadership, though it is unknown whether he has returned to the previous hierarchy of a chieftain with advisors. In any case, the threat remains, lurking ominously out of sight, and the tales of monstrous reptiles haunting the shadows of Ilithi are not likely to fade any time soon.