ike other children brought up in the great city that is Tarant, I was immersed in both
song and story of the horrific beasts which abide in Arcanum just as soon as I became
aware of the world around me. Often I would travel to the Zoological Society with my
mother, where I would spend hours looking over the fascinating specimens, or simply
gazing in awe at the enormous, blackened skull of Bellerogrim, last of the Great Dragons
which, to this day, remains the centerpiece of their collection. On occasion, my father
would collect the family for holiday in Caladon, where our annual visit to the zoo was
always the highlight of my journey, for it was certain to have some exotic display or
exhibit for my perusal. I can still recall a small Verise Wyvern that captivated me
on one particularly memorable outing. It was a pleasure to discover that, as I became
a man, the lore of my childhood had entered into my bloodstream, as it were, continuing
to flow through my heart and mind. And who has not had this experience? The things we
hear and see as children tend to linger persistently in the subconscious, and the stories
and sayings we heard time and again from the lips of our parents are often forever etched
into the places of our dreams.
It is a foregone conclusion in my mind that the experiences of my childhood paved the way
for my passionate studies in zoology and traditional folklore at Tarant's esteemed University.
It has always been my opinion that while many live their entire lives sheltered here, in
Tarant's massive embrace, an entirely different world exists without her walls, one filled
with awe inspiring magick, infinite beauty, danger, and often death. And so, as I progressed
through my studies at University, I began to gather all of the myths and parables, stories
and legends, the songs and the wise sayings upon which I, and thousands of other children
throughout the many centuries, had been nurtured, assembling a tremendous quantity of ancient
texts on the diverse creatures that exist within Arcanum. Upon completing my education, I,
along with a few dedicated colleagues, left Tarant to explore the wilds of Arcanum that we
might validate the accurateness of the tales we had only heretofore heard or seen in books.
We hoped that we might discover yet unknown qualities and characteristics of the creatures
we might find, and therefore correctly describe to the people of Arcanum the beasts that
roam the land.
While my main purpose in compiling this anthology was to present a true and vivid depiction
of the magnificent creatures of Arcanum, I was also motivated by the desire to recapture the
fading memory of the wonder and terror that had inspired my childhood in Tarant. We have
invested countless hours of research in order to study the beasts of Arcanum in their natural
habitats, learning much from our often perilous studies, not the least of which pertains to
the viciousness of the nightmarish creatures of our youth. Gathered within the following pages
is the culmination of our work.
Please be assured, dear readers, that the descriptions of the beasts herein are both true and
accurate first hand accounts from field studies that I, or my esteemed colleagues have completed
over the course of the past twelve years. On rare occasion, it has been our extreme misfortune
that we are unable to locate a particular beast for scrutiny, despite the possession of numerous
tomes and scrolls describing the creature in detail. When such an instance has occurred, I have
deigned to include the sum of our written research, noting that we were unable to locate a living
specimen for analysis, rather than dismiss the beast from these pages.
In conclusion, I would like to add a personal note. The long years of labor which have gone into
the preparation of this work will be more than rewarded if it will reveal to the reader the details
and accurate depictions of the many beasts of Arcanum and, in consequence, safeguard him in his
travels abroad and, perhaps, fill him with a sense of awe. It is my deepest desire to both educate
and captivate you with the beauty, the wonders, and the horrors that roam this glorious land in which
I wish to acknowledge my indebtedness to Professor Reginald T. Dennison for the discriminating taste
he brought to the shaping of this volume, and to Ms.Violet Frye for the skillful and devoted hand
with which she piloted the book through its technical stages.
I also wish to thank Frederick Bartholomew of the Tarant Private Library and his assistant Daniel
Callway; Ve'Tura for allowing me access to Tulla's expansive library; Ferko Lydell for generously
allowing me to draw from his wide erudition in natural behaviors; Miss Gertrude Rothschild and Logan
Durnstop of the Zoological Society; Ly'kahn Professor of Zoology at the Caladon Zoo; and Edward
Willoughsby and his unending thirst for knowledge.
Sir Theodore F. Maxwell III