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Kostchtchie: A History in Faerûn
By Jared Rascher
The following information on Kostchtchie is not meant to be definitive, or the legend that follows to be assumed to be exactly what Kostchtchie's origin in the Realms would absolutely be. Rather, this is a legend that might be useful in relating parts of Kostchtchie's story and tie those elements to the Realms.
For those interested in more information on Kostchtchie, the article on him in Dragon Magazine #345 is an excellent source.
The history of the creature known as Kostchtchie has been nebulous to many sages that have studdied him. Many have assumed that he was simply a demon from the start, one that was interested in violence and physical power, traits that he decided to use to garner worshipers among frost giants. Others have assumed that Kostchtchie was himself a frost giant that somehow himself became a being of demonic power.
Recently some old folk stories and legends have been found in Rashemen that might actually shed some light on the history of the being known as the Prince of Rage. The veracity of these documents has yet to be examined, but they do provide for some interesting information that might lead to some solid facts about the being that rules the Iron Wastes of the Abyss.
Koschei of Rashemen
Koschei of Rashemen was a twisted and ugly man. While he was a member of a berserker lodge and trained in the traditions of the warriors of Rashemen, Koschei was violent and ugly, and no woman would have him, no man would count him as friend. Eventually Koschei wandered into the wilderness to be by himself, and the witches considered this to be for the best, to allow him to come to terms with his anger.
Koschei did not know it, but while he went into the wilderness, he was watched by a presense rarely spoken of in Rashemen, the Mother of Durthans, Stara Baba. From her wandering hut, she watched Koschei and sensed his dark spirit and foul temper, and she decided that if Koschei could survive a bit longer, she might have use for him.
Koschei eventually went back to his village, and decided to win friends and women by proving his worth in battle. When a horde of goblins and ogres led by a Bhuer hag attacked the village, Koschei was the first to charge out into battle. Koschei flew into a fury immediately, and tore into the hag's minions, but he also wounded several of his fellow berserkers in the battle in his blind rage.
After the battle, the twisted man Koschei was brought before the witches of the village, and they named him nydeshka, a blunt sword, and was given a blunted sword to use in his next battle. This was a death sentence, a proclamation that Koschei was too dangerous to his own to be allowed to live, and that his rages would be the end of him the next time the village was called into battle.
Koschei was enraged, and left the village. He wandered back into the wilderness where he was spied by Stara Baba, and this time she decided to act on the gift given to her. Stara Baba approached Koschei, who attacked her. The Old Witch easily paralysed the twisted warrior, and presented him with a gift. The gift was a set of skulls, each nested within the other. A sprite's skull within a halflings skull, within a human skull, within an ogre's skull, within a giant skull. But within the sprite's skull was a black gem.
Koschei accepted the strange gift, and Stara Baba told him to hide this skull, for as long as the skull was safe, Koschei would not age, and could not die.
Koschei returned to the village that had spurned him. He killed the women that had spurned his advances, and he killed the witches that declared him nydeshka. Any of the men that would not submit to his authority he tore apart with his bare hands.
Koschei gathered disaffected berserkers, those declared nydeshka, and those that lived outside of tribes. He gathered to him hagspawn and all sorts of twisted creatures, ogres, and goblins. Koschei grew larger and larger, and no man could harm him. He despoiled various villages, slaying first the women of child bearing years, then any witches.
Eventually the Othlor of Rashemen grew concerned about the threat of Koschei the Twisted and his army. The consulted with the Telthor and asked for a champion to aid them. The Telthor took mercy on the Othlor, and saw Koschei as an abomination, and they gave the Othlor the ability to summon a powerful spirit of the planes, a warrior spirit known as Gwynharwyf.
The berserkers and the witches engaged Koschei's army while Gwynharwyf herself beset Koschei. Koschei resisted the power of the spirit warrior, but after seeing how her blows were shrugged off, and the nature of Koschei's strength, she surmised that his strength was not his own.
Gwynharwyf called on the Telthor to guide to the source of Koschei's power, and she found the skulls that Stara Baba had given the twisted man. Koschei towered above the battle field, but when Gwynharwyf struck the first skull, Koschei shrunk to the size of an ogre. When she struck the next skull, he shrunk to the size he was as a man. Eventually he was the size of a small sprite, screaming in rage, and then Gwynharwyf shattered the gemstone, and Koschei died.
The witches shattered the rest of Koschei's army, and Gwynharwyf returned to the planes. But Koschei's soul was retreived by the Mavawhan demons when it traveled to the Fugue Plain, and was lodged in the glaciers of the Iron Wastes. The rage and darkness in Koschei's soul grew, and eventually, Koschei bonded with the Iron Wastes, and was reborn as Kostchtchie, the Prince of Rage.
Kostchtchie's Current Interests in the Realms
Kostchtchie is a misogynistic being, and his cults view women as only worthy of use for reproduction. Females are never seen as true members of a tribe, and once beyond child bearing years, they are sacrificed to Kostchtchie. Frost giant tribes that worship Kostchtchie do not allow for the worship of other deities, and as such they violently attack tribes that worship Thrym, or even worse, Auril.
The Shining White Crusade
A powerful Thrall of Kostchtchie named Hretic the Stricken has been recruiting bands of frost giants and ogres to his banner to strike down what he sees as a sign of great decadence among the frost giants. Hretic sees the "civilized" frost giants of the Shining White as a symbol of decay, and the fact that they worship Auril, a goddess, and thay Orel the Greyhand allows his daughter, Gerti, to rule in his infirmity, all call out the giants of the Shining White for destruction.
Hretic is travelling the length and bredth of the Savage Frontier trying to recruit more tribes. He preferrs frost giants, but has gained a number of ogres and even trolls to his banner, including many giant hating ogres from the Ice Spires (those these are worshipers of Baphomet, Hretic plans on slaughtering all of his non-frost giant allies after Gerti has been slain anyway).
The Hermit of the Great Glacier
Rovik, a frost wizard living on the Great Glacier, is a nominal worshiper of Kostchtchie. He does not care for Thrym as a god, and sees Auril as a deity too concerned with humans and lesser races. Still, Rovik never thought he would be a major player in Kostchtchie's plans, until recently.
An aspect of Kostchtchie appeared to Rovik and told him to gather to him all of the disaffected frost giants of the great glacier, all of those that chafe under Iryclea's rule, and all of those that lust after the thrill of battle. He has been told to wander the wastes and gather these giants to him, and that a sign will come. When that sign comes, he is to bring all of those affected by the "sign" under him and surge forth to slay and enslave all of the tribes that were against Kostchtchie, and all of the humans and dwarves of the glacier as well.
Rovik does not known what this sign will be, and he does not see himself as a match for Iryclea, but he trusts that the sign will be coming soon. Already he has seen the unread of the dragons on the glacier . . .
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