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The Merchant Leeches of X'yethby Bruce Heard
in the wake of Woodgate's demise, the mad city of Wendar, the lands in the area have begun dying. The disease is deep rooted, as it affects the lifeforce of the land itself, but also its magic here on the Prime and beyond in the ethereal. It weakened the border between the two planes in the vicinity of the Known World.
The Leeches of X'yeth, a race of monstrous merchants, have detected the change and use the opportunity to their own benefit. One concrete use for the distortions the Woodgate Madness causes, the Leeches are able to create a series of invisible and mobile portals between the Prime and Ethereal. The gates connect with each other through ethereal wormholes, allowing quick travel from one to the other. Once confident that their portals are reliable, the Leeches begin contacting wizards on the surface of Mystara.
They offer the use of their portals... for a fee. The payment consist in a bit of a visitor's lifeforce, not enough to be truly harmful but sufficient to feed on and more importantly breed more Leeches. Their plan is to develop their business, sell any wares found on the ethereal for those willing to pay, and ultimately, grow a population large and strong enough to invade the Prime through their gates.
The first few gates are opened. One in Glantri, another in Wendar, followed by another in Karameikos, Thyatis, Ochalea, Alpha, Aquas, and Herath. More are regularly opened over the following months, as non-wizards also begin using the convenient wormholes. Some even think of possible military uses...