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The Drymgard

by Rutger Dag

The Drymgard, or Osyrri, are a semi-secret cult in the city of Ylaruam whose origins are shrouded in mystery. What is known of them is that they support the current Caliph of the Prefect Faction, though they do not entangle themselves in politics. They are devoted to the destruction or banishment of “things that do not belong”, which they call “Othryr”. This includes demons, undead, and especially Nightmare creatures. Individuals of the Drymgard (Osyrr is singular, Osyrri plural)will sometimes be seen in towns and villages, quietly entering and asking a few questions about the appearance of some monster or other, dispatch it, and then leave just as quickly. They are not permitted to accept any but the most solemn of praise, and this is generally understood by natives of Ylaruam.
A foreign merchant, enthusiastic in his praise of a drymgard’s efforts, may suddenly have the feeling he has entered a noble’s banquet after stepping in a cowpie. They are allowed to accept simple verbal thanks, a small denomination of coin, and any other non-unique item as repayment for services. The repayment of services is important, and has to do with the ossyr’s religious beliefs, that one must be thankful for what one has received in life, one must use his strengths for the betterment of mankind, and one must not take on airs and arrogances lest one become that which he wishes to destroy.
The Caliph is happy to have them in the city and works with them at the highest level to identify and locate such creatures for the betterment of the Emirates. If his political enemies incorrectly believe that the Drymgard will fight for him in something so temporal as a political coup, so much the better.
The truth of the Drymgard is that they were created in the time of ancient Nithia as a magical knightly order to defend against the dark things the magekings were creating. They themselves were altered by the craft of the magekings in rituals that remain in the deepest of secrets of the cult. In this ritual, the elder Osyrr binds an ornate silver dagger to the petitioner. The ritual has two effects. One, the dagger is then used by the Osyrr to gain power from the defeat of Othryr. He does not have to strike the killing blow, but should be involved in the defeat of the creature. To gain power from a creature he did not engage with is dishonorable. The second effect is the creation of the blood dog (bloodhound?). This creature is part of the Osyrr, and part of Nightmare. Its sole purpose is to kill the Osyrr, and for that reason is kept beneath the temple and well fed by the young petitioners. If an Osyrr betrays the order, the hound is released and will find the Osyrr through magical means.
In combat, the Osyrri are known to use large, ornate crossbows for the first round or two, then engage their foes with their scimitars. At the end of battle, if an undead, demon, or nightmare creature has been defeated, they take their silver daggers and draw out what remains of the essence of the foe, gathering power.