Ala

(Bulya)

Basic Information

An ALA, plural ALE, is a loathsome demonic Hag* recorded in the peasant lore of the Molasarians* and their Likan* neighbours. Ala are considered by most to be Demons * of bad weather who lead hail-producing thunderclouds in the direction of fields, vineyards, or orchards to destroy the crops, or loot and take them away.

These horrific female creatures are extremely voracious; they hunger constantly for food; especially for the flesh of man. Ale particularly like to eat children; snatching them from their beds or screaming out of the storm to sweep them up into their grain sacks.

Like their northern cousins, these Hags * draw their magic from the moon and are very active about the time of lunar eclipses when their magical power waxes strong. When people encounter an Ala, their mental or physical health, or even their life, is in peril; however, if they are brave and possess a strong nerve her favor can be gained by approaching her with respect.

Being in good favour with an Ala can be very beneficial: she makes her favorites rich and saves their lives in times of trouble, but if the fickle demon comes to believe they have betrayed or spoken against her their lives are forfeit. Often those who worship or once worshipped the cthonic serpentine draconic principle of ancient Molasaria* find themselves to be on a better footing with the Ale.

Ala are Fey* creatures of chaos and wrath and their appearance can be quite varied; it is said that many of their forms betray the ancient twisted ancestry that spawned them, the mating of an ancient forest Hag * and a primordial Worm*. Others claim that the Ale are fellow spawn of Hydra *, Gorgons * and the like out of the Emphidian* demoness Echidna, others yet claim they are ancient Faerie* beings of the wilds.

Ale are at all times surrounded by a ' black wind' of strange vapors, they are, in appearance, large female Human-like beings with huge fang lined mouths and strange serpentine features. They can shift shape to look like a Human* or animal at will, and can become invisible if they bathe in Human* blood for an hour. Ala can also alter their size growing from their normal Ogreish * size to truly draconic proportions.

Ale can be found in a variety of climes throughout their range; they live on cloud-choked mountain sides, or in a lake, spring, hidden remote place, forest, cave, or gigantic tree.

While Ale are frequently an enemy to Humans*, they have powerful enemies who can defeat them, in Molasaria* these enemies were traditionally Dragons*. After the establishment of the True Faith* various Saints* began to take the Dragons’* role; however, there are rural beliefs in which the Saint* and the Dragons* fight Ale together. Giant Eagles* are also regarded as defenders against Ale, chasing them away from fields and thus preventing them from bringing hail clouds overhead.

Individual Ala Appearance

Within Lika* among the mountains and dark forests the most common reports of the Ala is as a great dark cloud of black vapours before the storm clouds, her powerful hissing resonating in front of the dark hail clouds.

In Molasaria*, huge Ala with wide crow-like wings and long thick snake-like tails hidden within the contours of strange dark clouds pounce on lone villages, unprotected in the current age by their draconic 'guardians'. When an ala–cloud overtakes the village, villagers peer into the sky hoping to see an Giant Eagle* emerging there. They believe that the mighty bird can banish the Ala–cloud from the fields.

Likan* settlers in Moasaria * say that the Ala lowers her long tail to the ground and hides her head in the clouds as she attacks, seizing crops and peasants alike in the coils of her tail and dragging them up into the clouds. It is rumoured that anyone who sees her face will become instantly insane.

It can be said that the huge bloated serpent-tailed form of Ala are more often sighted among the Molasarian* and bordering mountains, whilst within the forests and fields the demonesses appear to prefer/adopt a more subdued Human-like form.

In southern Molasaria* the Ala is a black and horrible creature in the form of a wind-blown cloud. Similarly, in the mountains bordering the Principalities the Ala often appears as a cloud of black vapour moving over the land. Wherever she goes, a dark whirlwind blows, and those who are exposed to the truth within the whirlwind go mad.

Within the forests of the Leskac region the Ala takes on its more earthbound form as a great hag with an enormous mouth. One tale from the region has it that a Sorcerer* kept such an Ala bound in his barn; she drank thirty liters of milk every day and ate a boy child every third til they were both put to the torch by the local villagers. Another tale says that an Ale in the form of a flock of ravens used to take the crops from the Gerasvic vineyards before a wandering holy man bound the hag into a barrel and sank her in the local millpond.

In Analika's* mountainous Elf* and Wolf *-haunted forests the Ale who interact with people make great use of their metamorphic powers, after which their true selves can be seen only by those gifted with The Sight though the Human-looking Ale cause houses to shake when they enter.

The most evil deeds of the Ale involve destroying crops in fields, vineyards, and orchards by leading flocks of hail storm clouds overhead, usually during the first half of the summer when grain crops ripen. Ale also seize the vitality from the crops of a village and transport their fruits to another place, purportedly in their huge ears and grain bags, thereby making some villages poor and leaving their inhabitants to starve whilst others are made fat and rich.

This was long held as the reason why the Androvac region in central Lika * was so fruitful: it was where an Ala, long ago bound by a local lord, Levedes Androv, ( of voracious appetite for both sorcerous secrets and maidens blood if local tales are to be believed) transported her plundered loot to.

The people of Konik believe that the local Ala ( Nicknamed Baba Needles) defended the crops of the area where she lived from other Ale. If hail destroyed the crops, it was thought that an Ala from another area had defeated the local Ala and stolen the crops vitality. The villagers of Konik were, of course, unaware of the terrible price the families of Frespic, further down the valley, paid every winter in the children that were stolen by the Koniki headman and his men to feed the hags loathsome appetites.

Ale can also spread their influence over fields and thwart the ripening of the crops, or worse, consume the field’s fertility, and drink the milk from sheep, especially when it thunders. Ale also possess great strength;and often uproot trees as the hail drives down around them.

Protection from the Ale


If Dragons*, Gods* or Giant Eagles* were not present or would not intervene then attacked villages often turn to magic.

In many cases a particular Ala could be addressed by a secret personal name: Smiljana, Kalina, Magdalena, Dobrica, Dragija, Zagorka, etc. which if discovered could be used to drive the demon away.

There is also a custom used when the approach of an Ala was perceived: to bring a table in front of the house, and to put black bread, salt, an iron knife with a black sheath, and an axe with its edge directed skywards on the table. By another custom, an iron fireplace trivet with its legs directed skywards, iron knives, forks, and the stub of a candle were put on the table. The efficiacy of these measures is not known but salt and iron are known to be banes of many foul creatures.

Habits

Another characteristic common particularly among forest dwelling Ala is extreme voracity; in the Leskov region, Ale are widely feared and many villages tell of local Ale who steal children and devour them in their dwellings, which are full of children’s bones and spilt blood. Less often, they attack and eat adults; they are able to find a hidden Human* by means of their incredible sense of smell.

Ale are very active around the time of lunar eclipses when their power is three times its normal strength. ( 3x normal mp.)

Ale are able to make men insane; by staring into their eyes.

When people encountered an Ala on a road or field, they could catch dangerous diseases from her.

Ale gather at night on the eves of eclipses, diverting men from their ways into gullies, and torturing them there by riding them like horses.

A careful Human* going into an Ala’s house, which is frequently deep in a forest, but may also be in the clouds, in a lake, spring, cave, gigantic tree, or other hidden remote place, or on an inhospitable mountain, can have varied consequences.

If he approaches the Ala with an appeal, and does not mention the differences between her and Humans*, he will be rewarded. Otherwise, he will be cruelly punished and probably eaten.

According to local history in Molasaria*, a stepdaughter, driven away from home by her stepmother, cames to an Ala’s house; addressed her with the word mother; picked lice from the Ala’s hair full of worms; and fed the Ala’s “livestock” of owls, Wolves*, badgers, and other wild animals; behaving and talking as if these things are quite normal to her, and was rewarded by the Ala with a chest filled with gold. When the stepmother’s daughter came to the Ala’s house, she did the opposite, and the Ala punished her and her mother by sending them a chest full of serpents, which blinded them.

When Ala die their corpses are devoured by maggots and give birth to great clouds of blood-sucking flies which spread many diseases.

The Aloviti

The Aloviti are those male children born from the mating, almost always non-consensual, between a mortal man and an Ala. Aloviti are described as unusually tall, thin, bony-faced, and grow a long beard and moustache.

When the weather is nice, they work and behave like the other people in their village, but as soon as the dark clouds covered the sky, he used to close themselves in their houses, put blinds on the windows, and remain alone and in a trance as long as the bad weather and thunder last.

It is said that they are immune to all forms of faerie magic and may intervene with the denizens of the wilds on behalf of their village.

Female children are invariably Ala and grow to maturity in under a year, they are said to be quite beautiful for the first 2 years but then take on the form of an Ala in their 3rd year of life.

Adversaries

Ale have many adversaries, including Dragons*, zmajeviti men ( Sorcerers* who claim draconic bloodlines), Giant Eagles*, and a number of Saints* of the True Faith*.

In ancient Molasaria* the principal enemy of the Ala is the Dragon *, the firedrake; he is able to defeat her and eliminate her harmful effects. Dragons* are thus seen, by those villages who worship them, as guardians of the fields and harvest, and as protectors against bad weather.

Ale can also be defeated by zmajeviti men, who have a Human* mother, but a Dragon * father.

In todays Molasaria* under the True Faith*, St. Elij often replaces the pagan dragon as the Ala’s main opponent. In a common village tale, very much frowned upon by the Church*, the duel involves St. Elij and the Ala, but there is a belief that the Saint* and the Dragons* in fact cooperate: as soon as St. Elij spots an Ala, he summons the Dragons*, either takes them aboard his chariot or harnesses them to it, and they jointly shoot the Ala with fire and lightning.

In a version more tolerated by the Church*, St. Elij shoots lightning and fire at the devils who lead the hail clouds; the devils in this case are obviously Ale.

A Giant Eagle’s* appearance in the sky when thunderclouds threatened was greeted with joy and hope by people who trusted in their power to defeat an Ala; after defeating the Ala, the eagle led the clouds away from the fields. An explanation for this, recorded in eastern Lika*, is that the Giant Eagles* which nest in the vicinity of a village want thunderstorms and hail as far as possible from their nestlings, so coincidentally protect the village’s fields as well. it is unknown whether the powerful birds of prey are actually effective against Ale or if the belief is simply a matter of folklore.

Average Statistics

ATTACK 19 Claws (d8+1, 5)
DEFENCE 13 Armour Factor 5 (Scaled and Rubbery Flesh)
MAGICAL ATTACK 20
MAGICAL DEFENCE 9 Movement: 10m (20m)
(flying - 50m)
EVASION 5
Health Points: 2d10+15 Rank Equivalent: 6th



STEALTH 16 Vision: Dark Sight
PERCEPTION 8

Individual Ala possess all the powers and weaknesses of a Hag*, plus some or all the following additional powers:

  • Summon Hailclouds. For effects see Water Elementalist*.
  • They are surrounded always by a cloud of black vapours, which functions much as the vaporous cloud of the Cloud Spider* does.
  • They may shapeshift at will into Human* or animal form; all Human* forms will be pale of hue and dark of hair with black eyes, all animal forms are large, black furred and wild looking.
  • They may turn Invisible* as per the Sorcerer* spell if they bathe in Human* blood for one hour before hand.
  • They may swell themselves up to three times their normal size for an hour a day; though their stats are not affected beyond the increases given to 'Swollen' Ire Goblins*.
  • Looking into the eyes of an Ala exposes one to madness; the Ala uses its MA of 20. Roll on the Madness table if affected, the madness dissipates after a lunar month.
  • Human* homes shake in their foundations if entered by an Ala, the Ala may instantly transport up to 3 tonnes of produce from a field and transfer it magically to crops in another field.
  • They may command any natural animal and often keep a large number of feral 'pets' about their lairs.

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