Twisted Minds

The Players The World Map

A tale of madness and the dark paths of the human soul.

 Chapter 1, session 1   The Gathering December 6th, 1999

     What is madness? Is it a twisted view of reality? A broken mind? Or simply a poor soul who sees things the way God never meant us to? Can we categorize it at all? Perhaps insanity is not so easy to stuff into a labeled box and put on a shelf. Who are we, in our arrogance, to define "reality"?  

   Our story begins as a tattered string of events which will, we hope, weave into a cohesive whole. The first takes us to Tar`Dallin, a vardunian man of the hunt. After taking down a panther he encounters a strange man, dressed in tatters, who has been running for days. He is in sheer terror, as he has been running from the Plains of Aamon where he and his former companions reportedly found an extremely powerful talisman. The man is hysterical, but Tar manages to get some of his story from him before he passes out.

   The man and his companions were in the service of Baron Vilgor, a ruthless cymrilian nobleman, in search of some legendary talisman lost in the Plains of Aamon. It seems their search was successful, but the entire group lost their lives... or worse.

   The second thread of our tale is the story of Tamarianis, the technomancer. She is working on a project, the Articulated Hunting Veriform Flyer, a project near completion, but lacking in one component. She needs to get special Veriform crystals from some ancient mines in Aamon. In spite of this, she continues her project without them, and to her dismay, the Flyer only manages to plummet to the bottom of a nearby canyon, destroying itself. Now she is looking for two things: one, the Veriform crystals that she needs for the second flyer, and two, a sucker, ah, "investor" to pay for the thing.

   The third thread of our tale is the story of Akev Te'Sul, a master of the Dark arts. He is on a small mission given to him by a merchant. He is to kill the merchants enemy, but not in person, he is to summon a demon to do this instead. The summoning goes exactly as planned, but the demon has a different idea for the sacrifice. The demon desires the Merchant's soul, and not the slave's. He takes it in exchange for information, the location of a hidden passageway in Akev's tower.

   After the demon has left, Akev investigates the passageway and discovers a cache of magical paraphernalia and some ancient maps... maps from the Time Before Time! He realizes that he has, among these items, a map of the Plains of Aamon, and it has the tower of Koraq marked on it.

   Koraq was, according to legend, the mightiest sorcerer of ancient times. His tower, should it still stand, would be a source of unfathomable arcane wealth. Without delay, Akev prepares to depart.

   The fourth thread of the tale is that of the Black mage Haj Hirsaad, a twinling, half dominated by the soul of another. He awakens one morning with blood on his hands, no memory of the previous night, and guilt on his soul.

   While cleaning the blood from his hands, a knock comes from the entrance of his home. It is his mentor, Zill'Amir the Grey. She uses the holy symbol of Allah to temporarily suppress his inner demon and tells him of something she discovered; a magical Talisman from the Time Before Time, which could allow the weilder to perform miracles. With it, Haj could at last silence his alter ego forever. Zill says that she would persue it herself, but she has foreknowledge of her own death, and knows she will not live long enough to make the journey.

   Haj wastes no time and prepares to depart. Zill'Amir gives him the use of her own steed, a horse-like being of supernatural origin... the only sort of animal Haj can ride, due to his demonic burden.

 Chapter 1, session 2   The Gathering December 13th, 1999

     Are we prevented from seeing by our ignorance? Or are we bound by our knowledge? Knowledge can be a closed door to new thoughts. Does our certainty of what the truth is interfere with knowing? Can there be more than one truth?  

   Tar'Dallin's brother, Kay, had a hut nearby where the madman that he found could be taken to and cared for. The humid climate made carrying the mans limp body all the more difficult, but Tar managed to gain the hut in a reasonable time an was very pleased to find his brother occupying it. Kay tended the mans wounds, but despite his expert attention, the mad man's state steadily deteriorated. He seemed to suffer from a affliction Kay could not fathom, yet he was able to draw them a crude map which showed the Axus river running down the middle. He pointed to the left side of the map and croaked: "Look for the split rock..."   "...go north...   watch for the grey...   and the giants.   The tower...   the tower of madness...   don't let Vilgor get it!"

   The man passed on shortly after that, and the brothers buried him with what ceremony they could, wondering if they should take up his quest.

   The Necromancer, Akev Te`sul, set out on horseback after establishing the ancient wards to protect his tower from intrusion. As he passes through the city, to population nervously avoid him as he passes through. Children flee, mothers hush the cry of their babes and the elderly make signs to ward off evil.

   A few days ride into the desert Akev Te'sul came upon three old dunes-women on a pilgrimage to the Holy City of Kasmir. When approached by the arrogant Desert mage, the first one raised the cowl from her head, exposing a face worn with age, wind, and sand, saying "We are on Allah's Walk, and we have come to our place. You are the first of the Darknesses, that which was foretold."

   "The First Night", the other two mutter.

   "May your allah save you then, you will need him." he scoffed.

   "Do not mock Him, darkness. He will save you when all else is lost."

   "Whatever, old woman!" laughed Akev Te'sul.

   She covered her head once more, just as the second in line uncovered hers. She was younger, of middling years, though her eyes seemed as ancient as the desert. She spoke: "Chose your actions carefully, darkness. The present is pregnant with all possibility. Act with haste, and you will be lost."

   "What is that supposed to mean?!"

   She covered her head without responding. The third revealed herself then... young and beautiful, a courtesan perhaps. Her eyelids were colored with the hues of the setting sun. "Wisdom comes with time, darkness. The sands flow through your fingers more swiftly than you know. Even now, others seek that which you would grasp. Chose your allies carefully among them, for your enemies will chose themselves."

   As she covered herself once more all three begin walking towards Kasmir. In a rage, Akev called out to them; "Bah! you know nothing of what I seek! Yes, walk away! and for your own good it will be! the next time I see you, i will run you down like grass!" Yet when he shouted after them the women turned, revealing faces completely unlike those he had seen moments ago. They did not recognise him, and recoiled in fear just as those in the village had done.

   The desert storm was subsiding when Haj Hirsaad mounted the devil steed loaned to him by his mistress and began his journey. The creature raced along through the day and into the night, making no sign slowing down. By dawn of the next day, Haj Hirsaad was feeling the effects of the journey. But as the sun began to lighten the eastern sky another rider's silhouette became visible. It appeared to be dressed in the traditional black robes and turban of a Desert Mage. It was Akev Te'sul. Each Necromancer halted and cordially greeted each other. As they spoke, they revealed that each of them was traveling to the same place as the other. Despite the tradition of animosity that prevails between Desert Mages, they decided to travel together for mutual protection in the foreign land.

   After carefully packing and saying some awkward goodbyes to her colleague, Tamarianis descended from the mesa-top city and began her journey to retrieve the Veriform crystals for their project. She mounted her horse and began her journey. Some two weeks latter she had reached the border of Cymril and Kasmir. While getting used to the progressively more fertile landscape, Tamarianis was startled to see two Kasmirans being pursued by three Cymrillians robed in white. Tamarianis chose to side with the Kasmirans. However she was not able to reach the wood that the other two had disappeared into, and was caught by the cymrilian knights and very badly beaten.

   However the Kasmians where not about to desert her, both charged out of the wood and dispatched the two knights, before turning to attack the leader of the trio, a White Wizard.

 Chapter 1, session 3   The Gathering December 20th, 1999

     Madness comes like a lover at midnight, taking away your breath with an ice-cold kiss. Your head spins and twirls like a storm caught in an endless moment, and you don't care if you die tomorrow because you're alive tonight. Colors leap and your heart gallops with the horsemen, trying in vain to keep up with the passion that you know lies just out of reach. Will you ever come down?  

   A holy paladin of the Silver Light, Sir Luke Sarinbo, and his squire and cousin, Daishan Yarr, follow the trail of the Trinity Knights. The Trinity Knights are another faction of the church, who are being manipulated by Baron Vilgor. Vilgor has discovered the ambitions of the Kasmirans, and has sent the Trinity Knights to make sure they cannot interfere with his schemes. It is rumored that Vilgor is going to go with the next expedition to Aamon personally.

   Back on the trail, Sir Luke has found that the Knights have split into 2 groups, one veering westward, and the other moving towards the east. Calling upon the divine, he attempts to discern which group he should follow. He gets a puzzling answer, the cross was warm in one direction, but pulled to the other. It pulled to the east, so Sir Luke decided to trust his instinct and follow the eastward group.

   Deep in the forests of Vardune, Tar and Kay Dallin were preparing for their journey to the plains of Aamon, to honor the last request of the dead man they found earlier that day. They heard some strange noises coming from the animals nearby, and upon going out to check on it, they saw that every kind of forest creature was fleeing to the east.. Kay started to utter words of caution, but found Tar had already bounded off into the woods to the east, so, grumbling, Kay followed. What they saw next was an unpleasant shock... The forest had caught on fire.

   They ran the back to the tree-city of Vashay, their lungs ready to burst, to warn the village. Upon entering, it became obvious that the village was aware of it, people were yelling and running about in the trees. upon arriving at the home of the lord of Vardune, Viridian, they found him issuing responsibilities to his "Botonomancers", the faithful quasi-priesthood of the forest.

   After assigning the botanomancers their duties, he turned to Tar and Kay. He told them they were to track the firestarters, who were believed to be from the east, and had fled westward towards Aamon. Tar, furious, accepted the mission. His brother Kay, usually unconfident, was angry enough to join the reckless Tar on the mission to the west.

   Back in Cymril with the two black magicians and the technomancer. The battle was long, but the knights had been defeated by the superior might of the Kasmirans, although Tamarianis, the technomancer, had been knocked unconcious. While the knights were down, their leader, a priest of the Trinity, had drawn forth his holy cross, and conjured up holy energies to strike at Akev and Haj. The battle was fierce, and arcane and holy energies were flying back and forth en mass, but the priest's cross and devotion were not enough to defend against the onslaught of the two kasmirans.. In a combined effort of the two, Infernal energies swept forth and overcame the Priest, dropping him to the ground with smoke rising from his mouth and ears.

   At around this time, Sir Luke and Daishan's path had turned south. Following the tracks, they found a riderless trinity horse wandering about, and saw that there were tracks leading deeper into the small forest. Warily, they began to ride south once more.

   Haj Hirsaad had just relieved the fallen Knights of their money and other items, and the two were about to reflect on their victory, when they heard riders approaching from the north. Before they could act, Sir Luke and Daishan had ridden into the clearing. Both sides reguarded each other suspiciously, as Sir Luke and Daishan had swords drawn, and Akev had warned them loudly to sheath them or die. Though both sides were bitter and ready to strike at the first hint of trouble, Sir Luke's honor demanded he tend to the injured Tamarianis before dealing with the belligerant Kasmirins. Calling forth the divine energies, he layed hands on her wounds, and healed most of the damage caused by the knights.

   After some of the tension had left, Sir Luke explained how the Trinity Knights were working for the malicious Baron Vilgor, who had discovered Akev and Haj's motives, and also that he had come to stop the knights from killing them. After burning the bodies of the Trinity Knights, they agree that Sir Luke's offer of help is for the good of all of them, and begin to travel westward together for several weeks. During the travels, Sir Luke perceived something about Haj's "horse", discerning that it is certain to be unnatural, and definately evil.

   Before long, They arrived in the forests of Vardune, usually well guarded by suspicious natives, but this time they saw none. on the second day, they saw why.. A forest fire had ravaged a very large part of the forest, which had obviously drawn the attention of the natives to more pressing matters. Daishan Yarr, the squire, seemed unusually upset about the fire to his companions, claiming that it was somehow unnatural.

   Within an hour of encountering the blackened area, they reached the far end and came across thirteen Vardunians standing in a circle, around what appears to be a small tree. The companions called out to the silent Vardunians and to their surprise, the "tree" turns to face them, turning out to be Lord Viridian himself. A man-like being seven feet tall, brown skin, and leafy green hair, his features seeming to be carved into a face of inhuman beauty. Viridian revealed that he has known of their coming for a long time, that they are "the fellowship that follows the two nights and preceeds the long night", and that they herald the end of the age. He then told them to head westward quickly to catch up to two of his children he had sent after the ones who started the fire, likely the Baron, and also told them to be wary, for ahead lies an abomination.

   To the west a short distance, Kay and Tar Dallin discovered tracks of a sort they had never seen before, oddly shaped, but easy to follow. As they began to catch up with whatever made the tracks, they heard a loud thrumming, repetitive noise of something massive walking. Matching steps with the thrum to dampen their own noise, Kay and Tar crept close enough to see.

   Before them plodded a huge beast, Almost ape-like in general shape and mode of travel, but unlike any beast that walked the lands of men. This creature looked to be from hell itself, made of sheets of black rock, seperated only by a churning, glowing, fire that seemed to burn from within. From behind no head was visible on its massive shoulders, at least 10 feet in width. The session ended with a gasp from Tar and Kay.

 Chapter 2, session 4   The Journey Begins January 3rd, 2000

     In all major socializing forces you will find an underlying movement to gain and maintain power through the use of words. From Witch Doctor to Priest to Bureaucrat it is all the same. A goverened populace must be conditioned to accept power-words as actual things, to confuse symbols with reality. In the maintenance of such a power structure, certain symbols are kept out of reach of common understanding; symbols such as those dealing with economic manipulation or those which define the local interpretation of sanity.  

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