Avoiding the Tikbalan

The Talino people are known for the food, customs, and warrior arts that they have brought with them from their home islands. Unfortunately, many of their monsters also followed them. There's an infestation of tikbalang here in the Zone. I'd advise against traveling alone or outside the city walls at night!

Them tikbalanang are tricksters who like to lead travelers astray. They're a step above the usual gremlins and bug-a-boos that can be scared off with a simple "tabi tabi po." I've run into a few of them coming home in my cups, but they've learned to steer clear of orc sergeants with silver-laced cold iron axes!

The tikbalang are tricksters spirits that originate from the Talin Islands. They are notorious for hiding in the jungle along paths between villages. At night, they trick travelers into following them into the jungle. They do this by masquerading as a friendly face in need of help, or they cast illusions of calls for help or crying babies. They lead the travelers deeper and deeper into the jungle until they are hopelessly lost.

At this point, the mischievous tikbalang shows its true self, that of a tall spindly humanoid with the head of a malnourished horse covered with rough hair. The victim races off into the jungle becoming more lost and desperate as the laughing horse-headed tikbalang chases them. Then the monster loses interest, or if the victim becomes boring, the tkbalang usually leaves. It could care less if its victim ever finds their way home. It leaves them to die of hunger or thirst or to become prey for some other monster in the jungle.

Tikbalang in the Zone

Like many of the spirits of their homeland, the tikbalang followed the Talinos to the interdimensional crossroads of the Kirinal Concordance Zone. They enjoy the effluent aura of Faerie, Shadow, and different Primes that washes out of the Kirinal Pit every week. Also, they find no shortage of foolish souls to torment on the nighttime roads between the Cantons of the Zone.

Unlike the duwende, the tikbalang have proven to be too feral and skittish to enter into the civilization of the Concordance. Instead, although as smart as mortals, these fey creatures remain on the outskirts of cities and towns. The walls are warded against them, and the trained mages and warriors are powerful enough to slay them.

On the night before his first flight to the Shattered Moon, the drunk Entulesse soldier was separated from his squad. He had been looking forward to participating in the Mad God's Gamble but he passed out before he could have his balut.

He foolishly wandered outside the walls of Menelost Telperion despite warnings of tikbalang and shatter-kith abroad beneath the almost full moons. He emptied out his bladder without calling out "tabi tabi po" and he heard a croak of disapproval.

"Stupid elf!", and he looked down to see a frog in a soaking wet top hat. "I hope the tikbalang gets you!"

As the frog hopped off the elf's gaze rose up to find one of his missing soldier friends just a little bit further into the woods.

"Come on starling! We're all over here having a great time without you!"

The soldier grinned stupidly and walked past his friend. As the soldier passed, his friend turned into a tall spindly horse-headed monster that chuckled softly to itself.

"This one's going to be fun!"

Cover image: The Zone Generic Header by Ellysium


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