Arc will have Order. Chaos must be eliminated. Only through Order will there ever be peace in the lands of Lost Souls. Chaos will be crushed through whatever means possible.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.

It has been a very long time since I have taken the time to record my thoughts here. The madness of Ganesha has finally left me, after many months. I barely recall the thread of my journeys, except to know that it was replete with insanity, violence, and death. Yet Zerth was right: I now have a clearer understanding of myself.

During my madness, I experienced many, many visions. Most of these, I am certain, were the product of my damaged mind. A handful, however, cannot be explained away. In these few, Ganesha was always present, as were other of what I assume were similar deities. One particular tableau remains vivid in my mind. Ganesha erected a wall, which I walked through without thought (for such is my ability these days). Immediately, another wall sprang up before me. This wall too I stepped through, though not without some difficulty. Ganesha trumpeted His (Its?) joy, and a third wall arose. I strode boldly forth, only to pull up painfully short at a wall that was impenetrable to my form. I felt the minds of these gods observing me as I sought some way around the latest barrier. Finally, growing frustrated, I unleashed a torrent of eskaris upon the wall, which vanished instantly. I sensed... disappointment... from Ganesha's solid form, but a spark of interest from one of the other gods. I was held in some sort of stasis while divine thoughts reached an accord.

Suddenly, I was released from my bondage, and yet another wall sprang up from horizon to horizon. I somehow knew that the only way through this vision was to conquer the wall as I had done previously; I was also made to understand that, should I fail, my life was forfeit. This simple allegory had turned into a struggle for my very existence. Again I sought to pass through the wall immaterially, and again I was rebuffed. I quickly focused a stream of eskaris at the wall, expecting results similar to my last attempt. In this case, however, the wall wavered, but held. Puzzled, I sat down to consider my options. Ever the scientist, I lashed at the wall with a wave of fire. Again the wall wavered. I struck it with plasma, and again with pure death; once more the wall wavered but held firm. I absently grabbed a stick and began to draw formulae in the dust while I considered my few remaining options. My mind began to blur at the edges, and suddenly it occurred to me that the runes and symbols I had inscribed could be combined into a single overarching principle. I sensed a presence guiding my thoughts, allowing me the fulfilment of this idea; at first I thought it was Ahrikol, reaching through my madness to assist me, but I soon came to realize it was another of the pantheon that begat Ganesha. This figure appeared to be covered in ash, and had a serpent wrapped around its neck; I could tell little more, as my mind felt as if it were about to explode. This figure smiled down at me and said one word, "Shiva."

At once a great wind blew away my calculations and I instantly inscribed a single rune which captured the principles of fire, plasma, radiation and death. Looking at the wall, I pronounced aloud the name of the rune. The god laughed in delight, and a second word entered my consciousness, "Destroyer." Instantly a brilliant light arose from the center of the wall, and it vanished in a torrent of green flame, leaving an enormous mushroom-shaped cloud and nothing more. In my dream, the god looked down on me once more, and I sensed his pleasure. He inscribed on my forehead a crescent moon and vanished.

I awoke from this fevered more-than-a-dream, and the inn at which I had been staying was a glowing pile of ash around me. As my gaze rose further, I noted that the entire village was ablaze, and what corpses remained were flash-burned beyond racial recognition. Still in the throes of my madness I was not sure what part, if any, of what I had experienced was fantasy; but after I regained my senses, I revisited the spot where the village once stood. Nothing grows there now.

My journey continues.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Heh. Well, I AM embarrassed. Turns out I wasn't insane at all. After a good night's sleep and a nice cup of hot coffee the next morning, I feel just fine.

Wait, I don't eat. I'm sick. Concentrate.

Yesterday I had the most interesting conversation with a kender thief's left shoe. To be perfectly candid, it used to be his shoe, but it's mine now - sitting on a chair next to me, keeping me company. The kender didn't need it any more. Some of the patrons are complaining about the smell, but if they knew what was inside the shoe I just bet JUST BET they wouldn't complain any more. Anyway, the shoe ( I call it "Bob"... an odd and almost unpronounceable name that came to me in a dream) told me things. It told me how to play the is-not-is game. Are you interested? Very well. Stop bleeding all over, sit down and I'll show you how to play.

What? Have I killed more innocents? Focus, damn it!

The is-not-is game goes like this. Close your eyes.. oh, they're already closed. You're very good at this game - a real fast learner! Now... think of something you don't have. Anything really. Maybe a rock. Maybe a rainbow pibrit or an azure unicorn horn. Well, let's stick with a rock. Now visualize that rock behind your little closed eyes. Oh, let me shoo away those flies. They must be quite distracting. Alright. Once you have a firm picture of that rock.. I mean firm! You make a not-is hole where the rock is supposed to go. Just a space the exact exact exact size of the rock, filled with not-is. Easy, right? Then... then... you just fill it - fill that space with -is-. Now if you play the game right, and you win, the not-is space gets filled all full of is, and the rock appears! It's better than magick, cause it's like.. more magickal, do you see? You can open your eyes now. I told you to open your eyes. Fine, I'll open them for you, and just take them... icky sticky... since you aren't using them.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Traveler's Challenge

My search for a cure to my condition continues. Healer after healer has puzzled over my lack of heartbeat, my sensitivity to sunlight, and my newly discovered ability to pass through certain solid objects. On occasion, my frustration at their stupidity has led to violence, but I seem to care less and less about that these days.

At first, I was convinced that my continued experiments with eskaris and necromancy had caused and/or worsened my physical state; now I am less certain. Whenever I bring the matter up to Ahrikol, he quickly changes the subject, and I believe I once saw a faint smile play across what passes for his lips. Nevertheless, he encourages me to seek a cure, as long as it does not interfere with the constant assignments he requires of me.

One of my recent tasks led me to the Lost Lamb Tavern in Losthaven, where I was to eliminate an upstart soldier of the Erisian Liberation Front. Evidently this drow had been speaking out of turn about the "power" of chaos; the fool barely realized that his abilities stemmed not from chaos, but from the whore Eris' relationships (carnal and otherwise) with a number of other deities. As I stepped through a wall to confront him, he drew back in terror, then immediately started to call upon his little pet gods. I silenced him with a flick of my wrist and, now powerless, he fell to his knees to beg for his life from a newer god. His pleas were answered with fire and death. Such are my tasks, and I have grown exceedingly good at them.

Afterwards, as Aildrek the barkeep mopped up what was left, I noticed one of the Travelers holding forth about the peace and tranquility offered by his beliefs. These creatures are generally good-natured and have a natural affinity to order, so I tolerate them and their proselytizing. This particular fellow is named Zerth, and seems to be quite a legend in these parts. The locals have even erected a statue of him in the town square (although I have noticed the statue is changed from time to time, probably depending on the whim of the current ruler of this town of idiots). I listened to Zerth for quite some time, and could see why the townsfolk were impressed - he almost seemed to be reading my thoughts and speaking directly to me. He spoke of fate, and challenges to be overcome; he spoke what I thought at first were outright lies, but with a slight nod of his head, I could see the truth in his words after all. Finally, after most of the village rubes had gone, and Zerth sat in meditation, I approached him. Before I could speak, and with his eyes still closed, he said "You seek an end to fear."

"I fear nothing", I replied.

"You fear what you are becoming."

I wanted to sneer and turn away, but at that moment Zerth opened his eyes, which seemed to flash slightly in the darkness. My words of disdain fell away from my mind, and I felt compelled to keep listening. Again he said, "You fear what you are becoming."

"And what might that be?" I asked.

"Something other than what you were, and something other than what you wanted to be."

I tried to roll my eyes at the mystical garbage, but could not. "I offer you a challenge," intoned Zerth. "Meet this challenge and, while you will still be... a thrall... your path to enlightenment will become clearer, and you may gain a measure of peace."

A thrall? Thrall?! I began to draw my sword, but the volition to do so suddenly seeped from my hand. Zerth mildly observed, "I offer you peace, and you seek to harm. No matter. Do you accept the challenge? Do you accept the opportunity to achieve a greater level of clarity?"

I weighed my options. This Traveler seemed to have some power over me that my magicks could do little to counter. More to the point, he claimed to offer me respite from my troubled mind. My physical condition, my growing anger, my outright disdain for most other creatures in this shadow, all this weighed heavily on me. I had been promised so much from so many in the past, only to be disappointed. But Zerth seemed at once both sincere in his belief that he (or rather his god) could help me, and rather amused at my struggles to overcome his mental influence. I had little to lose.

"Fine, I accept your challenge."

Zerth whispered some small prayer, and suddenly my mind left me entirely. I was unable to speak, barely able to think, and all of my demon-haunted past seemed to swirl around me, screaming at me, imploring me to stop. Through this cacophony of insanity, one thought came clearly and strongly into my mind. It was a voice, seemingly Zerth's but someone else at the same time. "This is your challenge: seek your path forward through this madness, and you will have clarity on the other side." Zerth vanished in a rainbow of colors, and I was left to stumble out the door of the Lost Lamb almost powerless, my magicks useless.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Fate of Casmerne

Much progress on the magickal front. I have decided to disregard both my initial fears and conventional wisdom regarding the study of necromancy. While the practice of this art can be somewhat... disconcerting... at first, the power derived from the study of death cannot be denied. And is this not why I came to Ahrikol in the first place? Besides, necromancy is not evil in and of itself.

My studies of these dark tomes have revealed new runic possibilities which appeal to me greatly. For example, let me recount a recent experiment during which I stumbled across the rune "dysamak". In the magickal laboratories deep within Yevath, I built what I call a shadow focus. This focus allows me to shift my physical body, well... sideways, for lack of a better explanation. During initial testing I found that, while I was in a focused state, I could barely be affected by physical means. As my goblin assistants attempted to hit me, I was able to evade their blows in an almost unearthly fashion. During this trial, it suddenly became clear to me that the essence of this magick could be captured in a single rune, a rune I now have permanently inscribed on my ring. Unfortunately, the generation of the dark energies used by the focus require a unique device of my own design which is powered by gnome blood. Vast quantities were required, necessitating the virtual extermination of three gnome villages. I left a few of the tiny children alive so that they may repopulate. Poor little things, I hope they are quick about it. Much work remains.

Speaking of blood, my physical condition has continued to deteriorate. I no longer eat or drink, and my skin has taken on a definite shadowy caste, almost to the point of transparency. I dare not ask Ahrikol about it again. He has been distant of late, evidently involved with plans of his own to rid the world of chaos. Deciding to seek help elsewhere, I sought out the renowned healer Casmerne. This tuatha is (or was.. but I get ahead of myself) legendary for her ability to heal virtually any malady that might befall one, even to the ability of reanimating corpses! I admit this last bit caught my interest from a professional standpoint as well, and I resolved to study her techniques while I sought her help for my illness.

After much travel, I found Casmerne ensconced in comfort in Losthaven. Evidently, healing the sick pays quite well. Still, she seemed genuinely concerned about my condition and was willing to try and reverse it. After much tedious praying and the application of herbs and such, Casmerne determined that what has befallen me is not a disease, not an injury, not a curse. She believed I was dying, probably from my experiments in eskaric magick. I implored her to help me, since my war against the forces of anarchy had only just begun in earnest. After pondering awhile, the tuatha decided to try "reanimating" my already living body, in the hope that it would reverse my condition. She removed a warpstone from a pouch, and grasped it firmly, praying to her god for the necessary power to work her magick. Suddenly, from the sky, instead of the divine light we both were expecting, a voice boomed. "Casmerne, your hubris is too great! Your ego drives you toward the darkness, much like the wretched creature before you. You seek to heal him? He is beyond healing. Heal yourself instead." Suddenly, with an arcane flash, an aura of protection around Casmerne that had I previously overlooked vanished utterly. At almost the same instant, the warpstone delivered its foul energies into her body. I watched in horror (and some amount of fascination) as her body transformed into a parody of what she once was. As she screamed in pain, horns grew from her head and her limbs grew joints where none should be. Her very race seemed to change, growing almost demonic in nature. Instead of beauty, there was deformity; instead of a holy aura, an unholy taint.

I left her there on the floor, howling in pain and anguish, and I resolved never to have dealings with these clerics again. If their gods inflict this much agony on one of their "chosen", I can only imagine the whim that would cause my undoing. If I am to die as a result of my quest for knowledge, it will be whole, and as an Amberite.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

An Unlikely Companion

I have met any number of strange creatures while performing various tasks for Ahrikol. Most recently, he asked me to explore a new glade which had appeared seemingly overnight near Losthaven. As I entered, I found it to be infested with spiders. Normally, this would have caused me little concern, but as I explored, the spiders seemed to get larger and more ferocious. I found an opening in the center of the glade that led to some caves; it was from here that the spiders seemed to be emanating. As I was proceeding, I suddenly found myself face-to-face with a figure in a suit remarkably similar to my own. Thinking that perhaps this was another ambush by a minion of chaos (they have been frequent of late), I prepared myself for battle. I focused all my concentration into one of the runes on my ring, and started a process that I have come to learn shoots bolts of highly charged energy at my opponents. A pity those orcs had to die in the experiments, they were fiercely loyal. As I raised my hand, the figure blithely removed his helm, and greeted me as a friend. I lowered my hand (little did he know how close he came to injury) and did him the same courtesy. "I am Beasty," he exclaimed, and an odd beast he surely was.

Beasty looked for all the world like an elf, but an elf aflame, and with an amazing set of wings that the suit of armour had previously hidden. This must be a phaethon, a creature I had presumed to be myth. He was armed with an equally amazing weapon - some kind of dagger that glowed and spit energies similar to my own. Fascinated, I wanted to ask him about the blade (I thought I could perhaps make use of it in my search for more advanced offensive magick), but he appeared... lost... as if a part of him had been ripped away. I soon learned that he was one of the legendary Rangers, and that his familiar, a great drake, had been grievously wounded in battle. After further conversation, and sensing only a moderate amount of chaos in Beasty, I decided to offer my help while the drake recovered. Law demands honor, after all, and I was curious to see how a creature of flame would fight.

Speaking of flame, I have recently been rewarded for my efforts on the behalf of Lord Ahrikol with a sword composed of solidified fire; a blade which I can summon at will. This has proven exceedingly useful in these web-laden spider pits. Additionally, I have taken on some peculiar physical traits: my hair and skin are slowly changing color toward the darker end of their normal range, and I have almost no appetite. I am growing concerned that, despite my precautions, my experiments in magick are having unforeseen side effects. I can only hope that Ahrikol will forgive my carelessness and restore me to health, for such is his power.

Gathering ourselves, Beasty and I headed into the corridors of limestone and spider silk. Almost at once, we encountered a particularly huge and grotesque arachnid; it smelled, almost as if it were rotting from the inside. We dispatched it quickly however, and I started to gain some respect for my new companion's prowess in combat. What followed was a seemingly endless stream of spiders of various sizes and types: ice spiders, electrically-charged spiders (as unlikely as *that* sounds), and gigantic spiders of every color. All fell before our blades and my magicks until, rounding a corner, we ran straight into a horde of the beasts, led by a pair of rachnei. These vile creatures I have encountered before, and I have learned to both fear them for their size and vicious temper, and despise them as heartless killers. As we fought the creatures, we were pushed back, back. My spirit was almost exhausted from the previous fighting, and this huge group had caught us unprepared. Beasty cried, "This is the band that hurt poor Bill," (for Bill is what he named his drake; an exceedingly odd name for a giant female lizard). As if the name alone was the key to some obscure magick, Bill herself appeared in a cloud of vapor! With a mighty roar, Bill threw herself into the fight beside us. Beasty appeared to take great courage from the drake's recovery, and threw himself into the fight with a wild yell, flaming fists striking enemies in rapid succession, and his glowing dagger plunging deep into the spiders. This courageous flurry allowed me a moment to recover, and I sent blasts of eskaris and fire toward the rachnei leaders. Still, we were sorely pressed, and even Bill started taking further damage. I steeled myself, and shuddered as I threw out my one remaining magick... necromancy.

Yes. I have secretly been studying these forbidden arts. Well, I say secretly with irony, for no one else in Yevath seems to care what I read or where my experiments lead. Indeed, I almost feel as if some unseen force is encouraging me down these dark paths. But that cannot be true. All I know of Order reinforces my belief that Order defines "good", and Ahrikol is indeed a great force for Order in every respect. As such, his great magicks would never allow true evil to reside within Yevath.

My stomach turned as I spoke the one word of necromancy I had commited to memory. Even before it passed my lips, a dark writhing stream of anti-life burst from my ring and in an instant consumed one of the rachnei. I grew sick at the results, and Beasty exclaimed in horror. Still, we had to fight or die. Bolt after bolt of darkness stole the life from the horde, each bolt coming slightly easier than the last. Beasty and Bill fought heroically, and at last the spiders were defeated. Panting in both exhaustion and revulsion at what I had done, I looked up to congratulate Beasty on his revenge. But the phaethon backed away in disgust, Bill snarling at his side. Lowering my head, I spun and strode away into the darkness.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Interrupted studies

My studies of runic magic are continuing at a terrific pace. I have now grasped the basics of the familiar pyromancy as well as a new (to me) and somewhat mysterious art, that of "eskarimancy". Eskaric magic seems to elicit rather odd energies which eat away at anything living. I have taken special care to ensure my safety in these experiments, though Lord Ahrikol insists that I am somehow protected. I have also encountered, during my frequent searches through the archives of Yevath, a large section on the illegal arts of necromancy. This disturbs me somewhat, for two reasons: first, that such foul information is allowed to persist in such an open manner, and second, that I am somehow drawn back to it again and again. I have not ventured to open any of the books, but I cannot seem to resist their siren call. More and more frequently, I find myself standing in the middle of this section without realizing how I got there. Ahrikol assures me that the books are safe, and that he keeps them only for souveniers of a darker time. Still. The books are not dusty.

On another note, Ahrikol summoned me into his chamber and assigned to me a mission. I am to undertake various quests, and in return will gain more runes and more power with which to enforce Order. His first task seemed trivial: travel to the Northlands and seek out an ancient dragon named At'lordrith. This dragon was to test my intellect with a number of riddles and then send me on to another task. After making my way to the dragon's cave (no small feat, since it is situated high on a cliff wall; I was forced to take to the trees to reach it), I faced the dragon, expecting the worst. I had prepared a number of potions and leximantic charms to ward flame attacks and such, but the dragon seemed preoccupied and did not attack. Instead it peppered me with riddles, a quite tiresome bunch of old posers, most of which I had encountered before. Quickly growing bored, I asked the dragon to get to the point of my quest. Startled into actual action, it mumbled some idiotic instructions and gave me some scales from it's hide. I left there shaking my head; how could such an ancient and supposedly wise creature be so apathetic? Perhaps it is secretly chaotic and seeks to confuse my overall mission? Vowing not to be detered, I completed At'lordrith's tasks and reported back to Ahrikol. He rewarded me with a rune that improves my night vision. Now certainly this ability will be helpful to me in our fight against disorder, still I found myself longing for a more "direct" application of power. When I brought this request to Ahrikol, he chuckled and told me to expect many changes in the near future, changes which would more than prepare me to take our battle to the enemy. When I pressed him further, he grew impatient and I suddenly found myself standing naked in the middle of the desert. I see that it is not wise to tax my teacher, and will not do so in the future.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


I pondered the offer carefully. The bitterness I felt at continued defeat still weighed heavily upon me; at the same time I knew very little of this Ahrikol. Sensing my hesitancy, the great lord of Yevath (for that was the name of this fortress) offered more of his insight into the fight for true order.

"So much of the world has fallen into lawlessness and chaos. I am dismayed at the feckless rejection of my rule in many places. Do they truly so prefer anarchy?"

I replied, "No right thinking individual prefers chaos over harmony. Still, as a whole, many civilizations seem to revel in discord."

Ahrikol gazed at me with an appraising eye. "It is their choice to forsake my advice. But it is yours to take up the mantle and fight for what you know is right."

I gazed slowly around the vast chamber. Guttering fires lit the expanse but dimly. Yet through the shadows I could see others of Ahrikol's servants - many grotesque and disfigured. Was this to be my fate as well? Then, through some magick unknown to me, there appeared before me a majestic figure, girded in hyperium armours and wielding a blade of flame.

"This could be you", stated Ahrikol. Again he had seemed to read my innermost thoughts and concerns. "My Ringwielders are a powerful tool in my quest to unite this world. Join them, and you shall walk with me in the conquest of chaos."

Never had words had a more profound effect upon me. I sensed that what Ahrikol said was true, that I would indeed be the recipient of great power, power which I could use to right the wrongs done to me.. errr... to the world. I knelt before the mighty Ahrikol and said, "I seek a Ring of Power".

Ahrikol peered at me, as if seeing through to my innermost self, then gestured. Suddenly my right hand was adorned with a golden ring. The ring pulsed with power, almost like a heartbeat. At the same time, through some arcane process, I was made aware of a handful of runes at my disposal; runes for which I need but petition lord Ahrikol. I was greatly heartened by this, and wanted to experiment with my new abilites immediately, but decades of trials had also taught me caution, and I resolved to learn more of the rune magicks I now controlled. I retired to the great libraries within Yevath, to study, and perhaps to brood.