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The Truth About The Ancient Tortles' Frightening Secretby Bruce Heard
>>The SC timeline suggests the tortles had their own civilisation at one point, before they were scattered and assimilated/exploited by other, more aggressive races.<<
The idea I was playing with was that the tortles had been created by the Immortals to help them *work the land*. Basically, these *construction workers* had been originally created so that they could call upon Mystara's elemental powers to control and modify the land, saving Immortals from having to use their own power. The more tortles, the more elemental power they had. The idea was that the Immortals used them as a pool of manual labour to move mountains around, change rivers, pull in soil or water from the elemental planes, in order to shape the lands way back before the other races came into existence. After some centuries of playing around with their planetary sandbox, the Immortal moved on to other more important affairs, leaving behind a bunch of unemployed tortles. Without a sense of purpose and not being *designed* to compete against other races, the kind and peaceful tortles almost disappeared from Mystara. (The monoliths were used to focus the elemental powers when masses of tortles would gather around them.) Since then, a revival of the tortle is unveiling this amazing past, revealing how tortles could once again control earth and seas. Naturally, this is a frightening thought for the rulers of other races and nations who shiver at the idea of a few thousand tortles lifting mountains up in the air, and dropping them on top of their capital -- quickly forgetting tortles *are* peaceful and well-intentioned. So the other races became more aggressive against the tortles, with the intent of preventing *any* sort of tortle gathering. As a result, the tortles are closing ranks to defend themselves, thereby precisely creating the situation where tortles can indeed pool their powers and become a real threat.
>>Might there be a tortle enclave in the Hollow World, where this lost tortle society continues to exist, unchanged?<<
Quite certainly a society of water and earth elementalists. Perhaps it's because the OW tortles found their HW brethren that their ancient secret has returned to the surface...
>>If so, I can picture the SC tortles finding out about its existence from various HW-explorers' stories, and sending the Company of the Shell to make contact with their long-lost cousins (especially if they're so serious about rediscovering their roots).<<
Something like that! :o)