The Kurshok are a race of amphibious humanoids who dwell within a sunken citadel below the City. Much like Karath-Din, this city experienced a time of violent upheaval in which the earth literally opened up and swallowed it whole. Unlike Karath-Din, however, the Kurshok survived their ordeal and live still in the ruined remnants of their once-proud civilization. Kurshok appear as tall humanoids with semi-scaly skin and fins on arms, leg, head, and back. They are typically not very intelligent, but only for lack of education. The society itself was apparently once sophisticated and elegant.
Unfortunately we know very little about the ancient past of the Kurshok and even less about the centuries that followed. Kurshok history is passed down orally and was seldom committed to paper. What little knowledge we have today was recovered from writings and texts found within the Sunken Citadel and its ruins. We have discovered some small amount of information, though, and will record it here. Of course, all that follows is told from the perspective of the Kurshok and time.
In the ancient days before Karath-Din, the world was dark place full of only the Trickster and his minions. However, one race stood out among the others. A rarity among the followers of the Trickster, the Kurshok learned to shape stone. With this newfound ability they raised a mighty city out of the wilderness and dedicated it to their master the Leaf Lord. He was apparently pleased, as Kurshok legend holds that they were most favored of his followers. One might imagine that he was delighted to see the blessings of his enemy - the Builder - used to praise himself.
The Kurshok were adventurers and warriors. They explored much of the Trickster's domain and mapped it out on parchment years before mankind learned such concepts. They began to learn the ways of metalcraft and ship-building. Towers and citadels were soon followed by metal weapons and tools. Stone walls and buildings were followed by stone vessels which floated on the water. As time progressed, a king was placed in power above them and he was loved by the citizens. Little did they know, however, that their favor was soon to be at an end.
The king placed over the Kurshok by the Trickster was called Gruliac. A fearsome warrior and full of Kurshok pride, Gruliac seemed the perfect king for his people. In time, their achievements astounded even the Woodsie Lord himself. The Kurshok wished some form of recognition among the followers of the Trickster - something that set them apart from the other races. In response to this desire, the Trickster granted them a crown of silver and jewels. Upon donning the crown, however, a change overcame Gruliac. He claimed that the Kurshok had surpassed their master and he, Gruliac the Great, was mightier even than the Leaf Lord himself.
Although he loved the Kurshok people, the Trickster could not allow such disrespect to continue. He immediately demanded the return of the crown but Gruliac refused. The Trickster than attempted to take the Crown by force. Gruliac battled him in a fight of epic proportions and refused to yield even after the loss of his hand. The Trickster was so angered by the indignation of the Kurshok that he commanded the earth to swallow all of Kurshok civilization. Their immense Citadel was violently thrown beneath the ground, their towers crumbled, and their ships were washed away by the sea. Throughout it all, Gruliac led his people and promised them vengeance.
When the upheavals subsided, the Kurshok found themselves sealed underground. Much of their city had been destroyed and thousands of lives had been lost. Gruliac encouraged his people, telling them that they had been betrayed by the Trickster, and he has been known as "The Leaf Devil" ever since. At their king's urging, the Kurshok began to map out the remnants of their city - now the Sunken Citadel - and slowly adapted to their new surroundings. These events have been known ever since in Kurshok legend as "The Great Fall".
As the Kurshok struggled to survive after the Great Fall, many of their old ways gave way to the necessities of survival. Those who could construct spent their remaining years repairing what little was possible, and had no time to pass on their skills. Education of the young was replaced by the necessities of food-gathering and mapping. Within three generations, much of the former knowledge that the Kurshok had prided themselves on was lost. Within six generations, most Kurshok could not even read or write. By the passage of ten generations, the very existence of a surface world - called "The Above-world" - was considered a myth.
The Kurshok have survived in this manner for countless generations. They patrol their Citadel still, awaiting the day when they can have vengeance upon the the Trickster and his minions.
The Kurshok have almost no interaction with the City. To most Kurshok, rumors and whispers of the "Above-world" are the ramblings of fools and madmen. Occasionally a Kurshok will find its way to the surface but in many instances such a creature is either killed or never finds its way back to the Sunken Citadel. The few who do are labelled as "brain-fevered" and ostracized from Kurshok society.
The Kurshok have lost their ability to forge weapons but still have an ample supply of blades from before the Great Fall. Most Kurshok can be seen carrying large swords equal to most men in length. Kurshok have little strategy when dealing with intruders and typically charge towards the intruder before using the swords. Of course, even an unarmed Kurshok is capable of dealing severe damage.
The following section records what few writings we have been able to recover from the Sunken Citadel.
"Four clicks for the pride of existence. We are Kurshok. Most bold, most brave, most clever among all the world's creatures. Scholars and adventurers most favored in the eyes of Him, the Leaf Lord. Five clicks for Gruliac, most favored of all and King of the Kurshok. Human and tree bow before him, and we bathe in glory. Three clicks for the vanity of pride. Our people built towering castles and mighty ships. Among all the Leaf Lord's creatures, we were most favored. Still not content, we wished to be set apart. But still we were favored, and the Leaf Lord gifted the King called Gruliac once more with a golden crown of power. Two clicks for the folly of vanity. Gruliac donned the crown and felt its power. Gruliac the beautiful. Gruliac the strong. Gruliac the mighty spoke: 'I am greater than the Leaf Lord himself!' But dark and terrible is the Leaf Lord, and as great was his love for the Kurshok, now twice as great was his anger. One click for the doom of folly. The Leaf Lord opened the earth and banished us beneath it. Here we dwell forever with no lord or ally, no sun or moon, no rain or wind. The Leaf Lord reached out for the gift he had given us. Gruliac fought him bravely and kept for us the crown, but his hand was destroyed. As are we."
"After the Fall - Three clicks for the Kurshok. The Leaf Devil counted to bury us under the earth. Many perished, but we survived. Gruliac wears the crown still. We will find a way back above! Two clicks for our underground home for now. Gruliac counts that a new map must be made to show us which rooms survived the fall, and where they are now, and which caverns can be used to walk between. The theater renews our strength. The cave crystals there shine brightly and remind us of the sun. The former arena will serve as our new hatchery. Even now eggs are counted and placed there, and we prepare as we always have for the Hatchling Day that will come soon. The throne room is intact as well, and from there Gruliac can watch the rebuilding and oversee the survivors of the Great Fall. Tonight we celebrate our survival and curse the followers of the Leaf Devil. Tonight we sing songs about the open sea and the sky so hidden from us. Tonight we sing of how we will find a way back to the above world, to return when we are strong again, when our numbers count what they were before the Great Fall. We must teach the young ones to never forget the above world, in case the Leaf Devil imprisons us here for very long time."
"Count ten for King and Crwwn. Gruliac the Great fell and lost his hand and wore the crwwn til he died. Gruliac spawnd Grustam, brain feverd to serch for upper world. Spawnd Grenderic the Generos, shared the crwwn to frends at Hatchling Day who kild him and kept for ther own. Stop line of Blood Kings, start lesser-Kings. Kurshok sufferd King Orpet who spawnd Orpetolia who ruld for 50 but knew nothing. King Boramin took Crwwn, scolar who trid to save the learnings but faild. Pertok spawnd Bergamis spawnd Gruvat (kin of Grenderic) spawnd Formak spawnd Moriac. All wore the crwwn, but say no more on its power. The crwwn not loved Kurshok. The last Kings are Tormac, Fromulat, Bisit, and Merdiac, then chaos times come. The crwwn waits until we have a great King to offer, until we learn all that is forgoten, until there are foes to battle, until there are new thrones. And scolar and Kurshok named of Turish, who writes this, will be gone past counting."