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/qst/ - Quests

PRELUDE - Eftsoones com'st thou, with ill impartations yburdened, by secret sorrow distrained.
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In this age of contention athwart the Borysthenes,
In the Nameless Sea where all is written in water,
Here lies wasp-apple words of lost Ravenspurgh
Borrowed ink of gall and rust.
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Enthroned in kingly infirmity, the Court Unbidden: Strengthened in stumbling enfeeblement,
Emptying the common purse of threasure,
And filling all hearts with hate.
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There lies the Tarpeian Judgement, close to the capitol;
Behold the lies sithence her fallen pleasure yet breeds.
For souls of geese with but the shapes of men
Flitting o'er the demesne of a hangman prophet,
Did marry a gallows to beget young gibbets,
As King Unbidden weaned cannons, and begets
An able cannonade i' th' face - but let that Abe;
Comes then mercy's instrument quickly
To a gorbelly fool, Boorish King John's son,
Who lards the lean earth he walks along
By his Vizier Richly betrayed in indignities,
Was he in vile subornation undone.
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One tongue for these mouthed wounds
Shed drop by drop into dust.
With cracked crowns and bloody noses
We play at sarsen maumetrie, trill ornaments
As Truss a woman's mood, pipe a merry Mordant dance
Whilst strange concealments encircle the stage,
And await a harsh sennet's entrance.
They come like sacrifices in their trim
And to the fire-eyed maid of smoky war
All hot and bleeding will we offer them.
And if we live, we live to tread on Kings
To unknit the all abhorred-knot of their desconfiture:
By those who pray on this painted world,
To those who prey upon her.
What fool comes before our Imperious Throne
Pouring supplication as thin drops of whispered grief
Before the Sea of our greater Misfortune?
Treason dances in thy face:
Thy voice, the cords;
Thy manners, the ladder;
Thy scheming soul, the hangman, rather!
>>Perhaps offer the king a gift, some entertainment or diversion to distract him from his madness and melancholy. What could that be? (write-in...)
>a captive of a subjugated realm? (Oh please, let there be an enslaved barbarian queen...)
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You call to bring forth the fettered daughter of woe... yet reproach catches in the false passage of your throat.

(Will none of your commands be obeyed?
Unless... you actually speak them...?)

You smell smoke and cinders in the drifting glow amidst the stone walls around you.

>Try another command from the original choices here >>5340801

>This is so frustrating... you can see the prisoner right there... gesture and mime dumbly in her direction to try to convey your meaning, in the absence of words

>She is not the prisoner. Call for another (try and describe the prisoner...?)

>Something else?
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Sir Pellory Pickthanks

Enter a knight, who appears at the King's side.
(He stares at you suspiciously)
(Sir Pellory is accompanied by halberdiers and men-at-arms)
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(A hooded figure, whom you do not recognise, watches silently from the courtyard steps)
Well he's got a bodyguard here now, he's out of the reach of regicide.
Might as well keep going with a theme here...

>She is not the prisoner. Call for another (try and describe the prisoner...?)
>a prophecy

"Lord of Lords, I bring you the means to attain what you most seek. This woman was once the prized concubine of the most savage of tribes far beyond our lands."

"But she is not the prize I supplicate myself for you here, it is her handmaiden that I offer in tribute. Her language is only of her harsh and foul homeland, and she does not yet know of our fair tongue, but Legend tells that the last day she ever lives her voice seizes Destiny, her role then as Oracle. The last words she will ever speak will dictate the Fate of the World."

>Do or say something else...?
We try and recall just who the hell we are to have all these resources, the Vizier falsely enriched?
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>The Vizier?
>I bring you...
>NOT thou
(You had considered flattery, but wisely avoided it. To thou'st a king, to address the King familiarly would have been a deathly error...)

Somehow you feel the meaning of words begin to reveal themselves more comprehensibly to you.

The plangent clarion call of some strange instrument resounds mournfully across distant battlements.

Cousin, cousin, how have you come so early by this lethargy?

Lechery! I defy lechery. There's one at the gate.

Strange phrases shadow your memory as you think upon this Vizier - you do not think any Vizier resides in this land. Is a Vizier some sort of Chancellor? Perhaps some words sound like other words. Or maybe the King is mad.

When Sir Pellory speaks, you are mercifully spared any further tortuous periphrastic conceits. He glances worriedly at the King:
- This is not the time for foolery, O great sovereign. Fire and siege approaches our battlements. We must make haste...
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(Strangely, you see that whereas the King was once armed for battle...)
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...He now appears more youthful, though with a dangerously dissipated, dreamlike demeanour:
- Stay awhile, Sir Pellory. We wish to hear this seeress, and what she speaks of tomorrow and the days to come. Bring the prisoner forth! And call for a learned scholar of the court - one who can ascertain if her conspectuity be feigned or counterfeit...
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Arvel Straunge-Trull, a Sizar

It is said that a learned fool is much more foolish than a mere fool; yet knowledge of such an aphorism however, is beyond Arvel's specialty.

(Enter a court scholar, in elaborate robes. He appears rather young and inexperienced, though possessing a haughty bearing)
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>Speak the prophecy of the captive Barbarian Queen. The King, Sir Pellory, The Sizar, The Halberdiers all gaze upon you expectantly. (Write-in?)

>The manner of this arrogant Sizar, Arvel Straunge-Trull, doth displease you. Is there no other scholar of the court?

>Perhaps whilst the King, the Sizar and the rest of the audience are distracted by your exotic capitve, now is the time to conjure some other gift? Write-in or choose another from the list here:

>Did Sir Pellory say something about... a siege? Are you besieged? Run to the battlements and witness what has come...

>Something else?
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(A great plume of flame billows in the darkness beyond the battlements, throwing lambent shadows over crenellated stone)
>Speak the prophecy of the captive Barbarian Queen. The King, Sir Pellory, The Sizar, The Halberdiers all gaze upon you expectantly. (From her loins the great conqueror of woe with golden eyes shall be born! He will usher away the sadness of the world and bring the kingdom to a golden age! Half-King, Half-Barbarian. An envoy of two worlds. )
>>The manner of this arrogant Sizar, Arvel Straunge-Trull, doth displease you. Is there no other scholar of the court?

I demand my reward souv
The Barbarian Queen begins to recount her tale:
- Hear my soul speak. I am named She Of Many Names, as Ga'ewa Gagoangwe, as Gudit; in your lands have I walked as Glyndwyr, as the Norn Queen Galadriel, as the...

(You interrupt the Norn Queen here and utter your prophecy,
of loins, of woe, of sadness, of gold etc)
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The Court Scholar Arvel becomes very excited and animated at your mention of loins. His earlier haughty demeanour entirely falls away, as he rubs himself ecstatically in intellectual conjecture and pondering:
-This... this is a true prophecy! Loins! Golden eyes! It sounds much like a tale of the Fallen Nacirema! The proud warriors of that lost empire worshipped a Golden God Of Five Eyes, squatting over the world in their loins, as they watched over the Six Realms... We know only of the Land and the Sea. Some say the Nacirema flew to the skies as birds, and one danced to the realm of the stars. Yet the Fifth and Sixth fabled realms are lost to us. Some believe the Fifth Realm was crossed through an altar of star-metal... Now the myrmidons of the Nacirema, their armipotent armada and navy, venerated an aquatic beast. It was probably an otter. Maybe a seal? Only the navy myrmidons of Nacirema knew. And the legend also carried a dark warning, for you see, a God Of Five Eyes could never possibly watch over Six Realms...
The Scarred Lady, Tamlyn

The woman
whom you almost mistook for the captive Norn Queen earlier turns in horror at your prophecy.

With delirium in her eyes The Scarred Lady whispers:
-Half-King... Half-Barbarian... This is the prophecy of the Half-Men! The horrors who do the bidding of Dol-Kien, the Dolourous One, The Keen Lord Of Suffering - and this wicked Norn Queen - she, She is His Surety! The Dead Trees will walk! The skies will darken with carrion gulls, great vultures - We are lost, we are undone! We must flee...!
The Dolourous Lord
The Keen Lord Of Suffering
The Usurper

In the last Year Names of the ancient annals of Ixachitlan, Place Of The Great Earth, it is said Dol-Kien was once a troubadour of far flung isles conquered by the Fallen Empire of Nacirema, the empire where men bargained with Pain and Sorrow, and used Dolour as means of exchange. The legend tells of how the Lord Of Suffering borrowed great words of making from a mythical bear-wolf, and reforged them into a binding of great evil, perhaps a necklace, torc or arm bracelet of some form.

For thousands of years the land was enslaved under the everlasting unchanging dominion of the Half-Men Unbeings, until Namuras The Sage sought to make the world anew with industry and hope. The Sage sent his wise and trusted emissary, the orator Ormstunga, in gentle entreaty to the savage Centaur King of Nahorr, a barbarian who feasted with relish upon the murdered flesh of war-sacrifice, rumoured to even include that of his own son. Yet all was lost as the Orator Ormstunga was betrayed by complot of the wicked witch-daughter of Nahorr, it was said she could deceive honourable men by appearing in many guises, shedding her lascivious and sinful womanly flesh to walk as a man or warrior, truly an impossible feat of foul ensorcelment.

Alas, the wise Sage Namuras was vanquished by Faldnag Bridge-Breaker, Ruin Of The Fallen Fire, a usurper who had formed a sinister pact with twisted abominations of walking barbs and branched thorns. The solitary hero Mullog Griefbearer tried desperately to seek the aid of the Tower Of Light Reborn. Mullog fought valiantly despite being stricken with sickness, the torment of captivity and even being beset upon by the accursed Half-Men, Unbeings who bore the hated gifts of the vile Norn-Queen Galghastdriel. The triumph of evil was complete, the Two Towers fell, and the Light Reborn was extinguished forever.

In the dark age of slaughter and corruption that followed, the Empire of Nacirema was conquered by the Half-Men, who plundered her many treasures:
Horrors of Dol-kien, the Dolorous Lord, The Keen Lord Of Suffering. They are formed from stitching the sawn corpses of men, and given hallucination for a soul. The Half-Men are said to spread foul narcotics of the noxious leaf wherever they walk to poison and intoxicate the populace; the ancient legend of The Usurper describes a grim portent of their coming - when dead trees uproot themselves and walk.
>demand reward
There is a mysterious flower growing upon the stone slabs in the castle courtyard; you did not notice it before. You feel this is your reward...
>Examine the strange flower
(without examining it) Choose ONE:
>Try to call upon an ally, create an npc
>Try to recall an item you possessed from another game, another quest playthrough
>Receive an Ancient Rite, a spell
>Try and create an Ancient Rite yourself
>Make a wish
>You have a feeling all magic is cursed. Spurn this flower, and leave it alone.

>ask for another scholar
As waters into a shipwreck, so do questions flood into your thoughts. Who is this Boorish John's son? Is this "Vizier Richly"... Rishi? Who is Truss? Is Mordent a type of musical embellishment? Is maumetrie a shockingly prejudiced impolitic word? Who is this Shinzo, isn't Abe pronounced Ah-bey, not ah-bee, thus ruining any sense of rhyme? What is a sennet? Is this castle Ravenspurgh, what even is it? What is the all-abhorred-knot? And how much has the QM shamelessly plagiarised?

Your questions spew forth onto the perplexed face of the court scholar Arvel. He protests
- I ... I admit I know not of these personnages, I am not as wise as that great Natural Philosopher Hieronymous Erde, he is far more learned than I. If only he were here!

The King turns petulantly to the Sir Pellory:
- We must hear the meaning of this prophecy. Find this Hieronymous Erde at once!

>Scream at the King: the Half-Men are here!
>Clearly, you must consummate the prophecy of loins and golden eyes etc with the Norn Queen; this is exactly the romantic atmosphere for such an Act. Commence this immediately.
>Offer to search for Hieronymous Erde
>The Scarred Lady Tamlyn warned you of vultures and carrion crows. You must get underground...
>Something else?
A strange banner has appeared upon the battlements, writhing in the illumination of the pillar of flame near the walls.
>Offer to search for Hieronymous Erde
>Stress that the prophecy must be consummated before we leave! (Not us, though.)

I'll let the other anon pick the reward since he earned it.
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Deathseer Severed Orb

You pluck the strange flower by its roots from between the cracks of the courtyard stones. Was this where the hooded figure
was standing and watching silently before?

The air is filled with a cloying sweetness, though the fragrance is quite enticing. To your surprise, the stalk of the flower is quite long, almost an ell's length, the span from forearm to finger. Or is that a... hell's-length? A part of you groans inwardly.

The flower-wand clasps the fingers of your hand in a caressing welcome. You see the calyx and the veined whorl of petals form into a delicate orb, of the purple-coloured testament of war.

(You may take this flower-wand with you; you feel as if you may call upon the gifts of your reward once only
at any time - but what will answer?)

(Magic always has a consequence. Unleash it at your own peril.)
>consummate the prophecy

BRABANTIO: What profane wretch art thou?

IAGO: I am one, sir, that comes to tell you your daughter
and the Moor are now making the beast with two backs.

BRABANTIO: Thou art a villain.

You hear the echo of strange words in your head again; the meaning of them troubles you.

At the side of young King Ravenspurn,
the captive Norn Queen
- what was her name again? - begins to croon a lilting song, whose cursed refrains shake the walls of the keep as the pangs of birth...
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Chant Of Five Suns / Birth Of The Five-Eyed Sun

First from Great Dark Sky came Half-Sun
Rivalry between chosen, limping Day and Night,
Until the war-club struck the heavens, cast
Sun-fire to blackness and void, to the mouth
Of the Jaguar gave the flesh of All Men.
Then the Second came upon the Magician,
Made men climb and howl as the limbed mischief of trees,
When the Feathered Serpent in his squall of shame blew the monkeys away.
Third was the Lord Of Rain, no tears forsaken
For his stolen Wife Of Flowers,
Grief of drought and beseeching heard no answer
Until anger overflowed to deluge of sky-fire, and
Only ashes remained.
Fourth the loving Jade Lady Of Rivers, whose kindness brought the Flood
And changed Men to fishes, found no praise
Among the bones of those unmade.
Now is the age of the Fifth, jealous demons of moon and stars,
By the scent of blood in heaven, do we deter
The shaken earth and the swallowed Sun.
Temple-Fortress, before the ziggurat steps ascending to the Hall Of Initiation
Palace Ixachitlan, Place Of The Great Earth
(amongst the cult of Half-Men, the Beast With Two Backs begins to take form...)
You have a horrifying premonition of what the Song Of Five Eyes, the birth of the Five-Eyed Sun will invoke... is the Norn Queen calling to hurl Ravenspurgh through the ripped caul of worlds, back to The Dead Land of her home, that barren and stillborn womb, the accursed ash dunes of ancient Ixachitlan? The wasteland wilderness of Fallen Nacirema?

Has the host of Half-Men, war legions of The Dolour, come to seize this captive Queen of yours, in the name of Dol-kien, The Keen Lord Of Suffering, The Usurper? What horror is this? You have a feeling the QM has truly strayed from Shakespeare... at least the dead wood of Birnam forest has not walked. You must be ever vigilant against the Walking Wood, uprooted Birnam or any Burnham upstart of the North.

>End this horrifying apocalyptic cataclysm, the birth pang of ruptured worlds. Speak the Norn Queen's true name

>The QM has truly given birth to a literary abomination. End this by killing the Norn Queen now
>Kill the King instead
>Kill everyone?

Just ignore this, let the birth ritual happen
>Search for Hieronymous Erde
>In the Great Hall of the Keep
>In the castle dungeons

>Something else...?
>>Search for Hieronymous Erde
>>In the Great Hall of the Keep
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The fire from your vision, from the sacrifical pyre burning atop the ziggurat steps of the great Temple-Fortress Of Ixachitlan,
the same burning conflagration detonates across the night sky of this fortress, the very courtyard where you stand.

But this time you feel the backwash of scorching heat, hear the agony of screams and scent the bitter stench of charnel flesh.

First Player
But, as we often see, against some storm,
A silence in the heavens, the rack stand still,
The bold winds speechless and the orb below
As hush as death, anon the dreadful thunder
Doth rend the region...

The echoing words make your thoughts swim a little. You feel the meaning of anon has perhaps changed from what it once meant in the elder ages.

Sir Pellory's face
is seized by a most unwarlike terror. You have a feeling despite his armigerous aspect, he is far from being possessed of great estimation or command of arms amongst his men.

To the dismay of his accompanying halberdiers,
Sir Pellory seems ready to flee.

(optional: before heading to the Keep, to search anon for anonymous - er, Hieronymous...)

>Ask Sir Pellory for a weapon

>You think you already possess a sword, perhaps? Examine it
(you did not choose any other gift here)

>Write-in and give an inspiring speech to the Halberdiers, try and encourage them to hold the porticullis of the inner keep, to ensure you are not overrun. A better speech might dissuade Sir Pellory from his cowardly retreat, buy you more time to find Hieronymous Erde, and perhaps affect the Birthing Rite Of Five Eyes...

>Something else? (can write-in any further preparatory actions before heading inside and searching the Keep)

>You possess all that you need. Head into the Inner Keep of Ravenspurn now
Preparatory actions you can take before entering the keep:
(all optional. You may choose as many as you wish, but bear in mind there may not be enough time... I will prioritise the first few choices)

>Ask for weapons, write-in? Sword, mace, axe, a halberd? etc
>Ask for a crossbow, a longbow etc
>Ask for a wheellock, an arquebus etc.
>Ask for armour
>Ask for torches, or some light source
>Ask for other miscellaneous accoutrements
Ask a question to

>The King, who appears distracted, as if in a dream

>Sir Pellory (he is on the verge of fleeing)

>The Halberdiers. They seem restless and bewildered, ill-at-ease.

>The Sizar, the Court Scholar Arvel Straunge-Trull. Even in his corpulence he looks very pale.

>The Scarred Lady, Tamlyn. Her injured face has twisted into a look of grim resignation.

>Try and ask The Norn Queen a question (the whites of her eyes are rolled back into her eyelids, as she chants the Birthing Song Of Five Eyes. You think you must speak her true name to induce a response)

>Something else?
>Write-in and give an inspiring speech to the Halberdiers, try and encourage them to hold the porticullis of the inner keep, to ensure you are not overrun. A better speech might dissuade Sir Pellory from his cowardly retreat, buy you more time to find Hieronymous Erde, and perhaps affect the Birthing Rite Of Five Eyes...
>>Begone Woe! The only thing that fills my breast is courage! I look at the fiery sky and laugh at it's fury! How dare it rain fire instead of its usual watery fare! At least summon a storm or lightning instead of this farce of the sky's true might! Hark Halberdiers! Will you let this poor imitation of the skies fury scare you! Only a farce of a knight would fall for that! They would be a blasphemer of the oath of knighthood, only fit to be picked apart from limb from limb by vultures until they're half-flesh half-bone! Show your golden courage and banish the sadness from this place!

>Ask for a sword
>Shake our fist at the sky and call it names. Dare it to rain water down like it's supposed to.
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On the other side of the porticullis to the inner keep a murderous warhost has gathered, of fire and brandished steel, smoked with bloody execution. Terror clutches at the hearts of the King, and all that accompany his diminished and fearful retinue...

(You give your inspiring speech.)

Great cheers and huzzahs brighten the faces of the Halberdiers. Even Sir Pellory looks momentarily ashamed at his craven retreat, and unsheathes his sword to offer to you:
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Gwaith Camlann
A fine though ordinary blade, borne by one easily startled, who has never seen a true battle. The sword was found discarded upon a grassy hillock, her blade stained not with the blood of mortal foes, but the blistered, venomous entrails of an adder.
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Perhaps due to neglect and long disuse through the ages, the point of the blade has been rounded and broken off on this sword. What purpose could that possibly serve?
You try to call upon the heavens, to quench the inflamed and impassioned war cries of those who lay siege upon you, screaming for your blood. Nothing answers at first, and yet...

The peculiar flower you found,
begins again to unfurl.

The gentle susurrous of youthful murmurings, the tremulous pattern of petals in the wind.

The young Voice Of Petals gently sings:
-Take me to a high place; I will give you command and splendour. Stand with me upon a great height, and see all the kingdom in but a moment. You cannot come to harm - not from even a stone. This power was given unto me, as I can give to anyone I wish!

(To quench the fire of the gathered host with storm and rain requires a great act of sorcery. You must expend the power of the Flower Wand, use Anagnorisis, if you wish to greatly confound the enemy)

>Follow the entrancing Voice Of Petals, set the Flower Wand upon the highest height of the Inner Castle Keep

>Command the Voice Of Petals to reveal itself. Will you see the truth or merely what you wish to believe?

>You know this Voice Of Petals and of what it speaks. (Write-in)

>In every game that this QM has made, sorcery is always entwined with horror. Crush this eldritch flower into fragments, and cast it aside.

>Ignore the Voice Of Petals for now, enter the Castle Keep to find Hieronymous.
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At the porticullis comes a great hammering, that makes your seated heart knock upon your ribs.

You hear a strange braying, as if of beasts, but it is lost in the clang of the spiked gate against iron and nails.

Your speech roused the bewildered Halberdiers - they rise in a great clamour, swelling towards the breach, to hold back the fevered shapes of death before them.

You see one man-at-arms cry
-Judge us not by our number, but the number of dead we leave behind us!
And he raises his sword and charges.

Even Sir Pellory attends the fray, from the safety of the rear.

You glance upon this sight, as you wonder if you have sent them all to their deaths.
>Command the Voice Of Petals to reveal itself. Will you see the truth or merely what you wish to believe?

>>Receive an Ancient Rite, a spell
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The courtyard before you is enveloped in battle.
All around you is fire and the flailing and threshing of limbs, as if the night has come to reap a harvest of blood. Did the halberdiers not hold the gate?

You see men that walk like beasts, Jaguar-Men, and plumed birds with burning skulls in their beaks and wings of flayed flesh. Many of the Half-Men - for this is what you assume they are - seem to be painted blue, like the woad of the Tattooed Isles of Old, the Painted Men of Pretanic Isles, Prydain or Brython. Blue must be the colour of ritual sacrifice amongst these Half-Men.
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Yet in another instant, a sudden stillness, you blink to see you are standing in the bright sunlight of a garden, filled with exotic flowers. Yet this - this cannot be a garden of Ravenspurgh?

There is a wildness to it, that does not seem natural.

By the swirling eddies of a waterfall you can see a beautiful youth standing and gesturing. He - you think it is a he - smiles kindly at you, and beckons you to come nearer.
The Joy Reborn
The Eternal Garden
Pleasure Prince Of Petal And Thorn
So enraptured are you by the exquisite beauty of this Prince Of Flowers, that for many long heartbeats you cannot even speak.

The Eternal Garden places a slender finger to his lips, and gestures wordlessly to the swirl of the waterfall below.

You can see a glint of a treasure there - but perhaps it is a mere scintillation of the jungle sunlight? A refracted mirage? The waters of the pool appear quite shallow and inviting, despite the cascading roar of waters around you.
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Lotan Ring
Sigil of the hungering wyrm L'Otan, called Leviathan, The Devourer that ever encircles the dominion of all beyond Ixachitlan, Place Of The Great Earth.

The Nacirema knew him by the name of Kukulkan or K'uk'ul-chon, Precious Feathered Serpent, Wisest Amongst Men, and Lord Of The West. They made offerings of knives and wind jewels, spiralling conch shells that caught the whirlwinds and thundering tempests of his great power. Amongst the Nacirema, the snake itself was the embodiment of The Great Dark Sky.
Human sacrifice amongst the Nacirema recalls when Kulkukan descended to the Underworld, resurrecting mankind from the bones of previous mortals destroyed under four suns of fire and flood. Kukulkan returned life to the land by anointing mortal breath with the blood of his own wounds, inflicted upon his earlobes, tongue, calves and manhood, beneath the ever vigilant gaze of the Fifth Sun of Five Eyes.
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The advent of Kukulkan came from a tale of a maiden, named Chimalman or Chinaman, who swallows the rich dream-jewel or emerald of Nacirema, and gave birth to a devouring serpent.
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In the iconography of Nacirema, the shadows cast by the stairways of their great step-pyramids create the foreboding illusion of a great writhing dragon serpent ascending a ziggurat mountain.

It is said that the pride of Kukulkan caused his tongue to be burnt by the sun. Yet the Nacirema also spoke of Kukulkan's demise - how drunk upon pulque, he cavorted with his elder sister, a devoted temple priestess. In shame and regret, Kukulkan adorned himself in turquoise and jade, hurling himself upon a great pyre. His heart followed his burning ashes back to the heavens, ascending to become the dawn star.
>Reach into the waterfall, and take the Lotan Ring

>This is all clearly a dream, an illusion. All of the Ravenspurgh halberdiers are being killed, slaughtered and sacrificed in the castle courtyard right now. But how can you break free from it? (Write in)

>You have a feeling the QM is sadly weeping because this has strayed greatly from the Shakespearean narrative he originally planned. But did Shakespeare's plays have Five Acts? What does any of this nonsense about the maiden Chimalman's dream, the dragon climbing the ziggurat-mountain, Nacirema, L'Otan, Kukulman, Five Suns and Five Eyes even mean? (Write-in to try to gaze into the abyss and divine what the QM means; the sheer horror may unhinge you)

>Turn and ask Osirantinous, The Joy Reborn a question (write-in)

>You want to live in this beautiful garden forever. You belong here now. (Explore Ixachitlan)

>Something else?
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QM: advanced (very difficult)
If you think you know where the Precious Feathered Serpent Kukulkan / The Great Sky Wyrm Lotan / The Devourer currently resides, link to the relevant paragraph section of this thread that describes it.

>Greentext link the section which conceals the place where Lotan dwells
>>This is all clearly a dream, an illusion. All of the Ravenspurgh halberdiers are being killed, slaughtered and sacrificed in the castle courtyard right now. But how can you break free from it? (Write in)
The classic way to break out of a dream is to kill ourself with the macguffin
Swift, swift, you dragons of the night, that dawning
May bare the raven's eye! I lodge in fear;
Though this a heavenly angel, hell is here.

Your hand scrabbles for the sword, for Gwaith Camlann. You must end this dream. Your hand rakes long trailing flecks in ashes and dust.
Osirantinous watches with immense fascination from his Eternal Garden. Even amidst all the flowers there, he finds the greatest beauty in witnessing death.
A chanting in the distance, a banshee song, that seems to warp the air.

There are many tales of the battle of good against evil, though fewer are the tales of recognising good from evil. Perhaps all songs have mingled here, beneath the leaden glow of a grey sun.

Your hand finally grasps the hilt of the sword.
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You see Camlann as the battlefield had once been.
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A king who drew a sword from stone and another sword from water. A king who fought and slew his own twisted son.
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That son born of incest by a witch half-sister, a Half-Man, tricked and misbegotten just as his own father, he they called Dragon, had once been deceived. Was this king the feathered serpent Kukulkan? Kukulkan, who had loved his own sister? This must have been the same tale.
And this sword, the sword in your hand... The King Of Stone And Water had met his Half-Man son in peace, in negotiation. There would have been no bloodshed, no slaughter... but for one startled knight, who inadvertently spied a serpent, an adder coiled in grass. By a cruel trick of fortune the glint of his sword was seen as betrayal, battle was given, and the last blood flowed from the King Of Stone And Water.
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You wonder what it is that The Usurper truly performs. In rebellion does he divide the action of the body from the will of the soul? And in violent overthrow, the overturning of order, does the Usurper unmask a new self... perhaps this is how the Half-Men are truly made.
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>Walk the Endless Battle Of Camlann, and find escape in death. (search for items, or another ally. You can write-in for more items from the list below)

>You have seen all that can be seen here. The chant of the Norn Queen will soon rupture the world. Enter the Great Hall of Ravenspurn; only by becoming anonymous - finding Hieronymous Erde - can you truly escape the birth pangs of the grey Sun of Five Eyes

>Something else?
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The Astromancers have gazed far and yet the people swim in the mud of misgivings. Though it may be dark, that uncertainty creates real hero's. Stand strong and let the pain and suffering call forth a light to cut in in twain.
In the blood and mire of battle, you see a path paved with light; glowing candles, guiding you back to sanctuary.
You are standing in the Great Hall of Ravenspurn. All is silent.
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Your monstrous thoughts have given birth to horrors. You hope they have not followed you here...
You wonder what has become of the King, the halberdiers, his retinue. Is the castle deserted? Where are all the attendants and servants, perhaps they fled the keep before the siege?

Instead, as you enter the Great Hall - Telesterion, The Temple-Fortress, Hall Of Initiation - you seem them all assembled.

Thousands of them, though you suspect, if you counted, there would be precisely one thousand nine hundred and twenty-two. Nobles, courtiers, servants, knights; masters of the kennels, hunt and horse; cooks and scullions, blacksmiths, bowyers, candlemakers; priests, counsellors, scholars, scribes... Surely Hieronymous Erde is here?

All of the castle gathered in the Great Hall are frozen in oblivion. They stare upon the candles in utter silence.
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There is one candle flickering here unlike the rest. It dances and flickers strangely.
There is an aged knight walking alone amongst the silent, frozen enthralled crowds. He seems to be searching for someone or something amongst them...

At the far end of the Telesterion, you can see two stained glass windows.

>Speak to the aged knight (write-in)

>Speak to the flickering candle (write-in)

>Examine the stained glass windows.

>Examine the frozen crowd, staring in oblivion

>Just ignore whatever is happening in this Great Hall, the Telesterion. Proceed further, and continue to search the castle.

>Something else?
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Sir Gaufrey Manless

A famous adventurer knight, who despite being aged and elderly, advanced in the burden of years, is renowed across the realm. Earned the epithet Ha-Mazakaran, The Warlike One, during the Crusades, as he undercut swathes of heathens, leaving them widowed and manless, wailing in lamentation for their heaped dead. In his youth Sir Gaufrey was a famous adventurer, who is said to have sailed as far as the river ziggurats along the jungle that marked the edge of the wilderness of ancient Ixachitlan, approaching the cradle of the mythical starmetal altar with his young squire Sir Aindriu. Others whisper that Sir Gaufrey was inducted early into the sects of debauched merchant sorcerors, given the immense wealth of his lands and lineage, though he has always exhibited an austere and ascetic discipline. Despite his age Sir Gaufrey possesses a full head of hair, and is most definitely not bald.
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There are three stained glass windows. One depicts an eagle perched upon a tree, a coiled dragon or serpent beneath it. The tree is surrounded by sacrificed animals, goats and rams, prostrate in blood.
Another depicts a king clutching a sword broken over a ruined city. The sky around him burns in blue flames.
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The last stained glass window depicts a skull hovering above a serpent entwined in flowers. The sky is filled with Eyes and Suns, bordered by a field of swords.
You hear the wailing chorus of infants growing ever closer...
(QM: I did not expect this, hehe)
>Speak to the flickering candle
I seek the stranger who numbers 4 score or more, with your beautiful light guide me to them.
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What a strange name this is for a sword! Forged from a splinter of the starmetal altar.

Sword of Sir Gaufrey, given later to his squire Sir Aindriu, before the old knight abandoned his long suffering wife.

The blade of the sword is inlaid with gold, and curves in a yellow smile like a scimitar. Sir Gaufrey was fond of this xanthous device, the golden curving crescent of sunshine and smiles, and emblazoned it often upon his oriflamme and his heraldry.

It is said there were four swords like it, four - or five? Scholars and merchant sorcerors could never agree. Another name for these swords was Fang, though for some mysterious reason, this was inscribed as Faang in the old runes.

It is said that the coming of Faang, the Five Swords, was the harbinger of Five Eyes, the age of Five Suns, the doom of the fallen empire of Nacirema.

With his Cloud-sword in hand, Sir Gaufrey Manless plundered great treasures and wealth from the crusades, and earnt his true appellation of Hamazakaran.
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With a guttering of flames, the Candle Maiden speaks:
This place is not what it seems; everything has a meaning.

When you give the lost their true names, you restore this land to what it once was.

When you give the lost a false name, the world betrays you in turn.

You may choose to remain Nameless, but in doing so the old names die.

Fear battle only when you fear Death. The sword in your hand may kill with a thought - but let it be the right one!

Lest the madness takes you, and leaves you as the Half-Men: undone.
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Sir Gaufrey is moving amongst the crowds of frozen and unmoving castle denizens. His face is contorted in madness.

He wails and bellows alternately in frustration and sorrow:
- Where is my wife? Where is she? Perhaps she has been taken by the Half-Men... or the slave-merchants of Urshull Vandal-Eye... I cannot remember her face? Her face? If only I had some memory of her... And that traitor, Sir Aindriu! Where is he? Is he in league with those hated Silverless mercenaries, the Anargyroi? Has he been taken by the Half-Men? What has become of us?
You see a band of silver glinting upon the ring finger of Sir Gaufrey.

>Say to Sir Gaufrey: there is a wedding ring on your hand. Right there. Can you not see it? Will that help you remember your lost wife?

>Insult Sir Gaufrey. Either write in your own insults, or perhaps Shakespeare may speak through you...

>Speak the name of Sir Gaufrey's wife

>In a terrifying moment, you realise what inspired the QM to create Aztec-Tolkien. It is truly horrible. Write-in what you think this is...

>Use Anagnorisis, the Flower Wand,
to reveal a true name (this expends its power, for now)

>Well, you have a sword. Kill this stupid senile old knight and loot everything he possesses (commence battle)

>Ask Sir Gaufrey a question. Does he know where Hieronymous can be found?

>Ignore this entire scene of madness. Walk to the three stained glass windows, whilst thinking of that old videogame Hexen. I wonder what you have to do?

>Something else?
You know her, it is inside you. Three questions, if your memory is not sparked a curse may be put upon you.
Is her skin as dark as a midnight forest?
Does a scar stretch from cheek to cheek?
Is she a candle in the wind?
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Sir Gaufrey turns with frenzied eagerness towards you - you wonder if you have deepened his madness.
-We must... scar ourselves. With darkness! This is the penitence we must perform! My wife... no, no more of that. Come, there is a beast of old deeper in this place. It will feast upon... forgive me. It will aid you! You shall be my new squire. Not that worthless wretch Sir Aindriu. Let us find this beast, and scar ourselves with darkness, extinguish these hated candles and their light...

The ring coiled around Sir Gaufrey's finger glints with ominous triumph.

>Follow Sir Gaufrey to the beast in the castle

>Enthusiastically begin self-mutilation whilst chanting: Yea, the Time has Come! Scars and Darkness! Scars! Darkness!

>Try and return his memories some other way (write-in). For example, call him by Hamazakaran, The Warlike One. How did he come by that name in the crusades?

Kill Sir Gaufrey now. He is lost.
>Use the sword, Gwaith Camlann, from the last battle of the King Of Stone And Water

>Use the strange flower-wand, Anagnorisis, your reward, that showed you the decadent Eternal Garden, where the Pleasure Prince Of Flower And Thorn Osirantinous dwells

>Use Anagnorisis, the flower-wand, not to kill but to reveal a name. This expends its power (you feel it can be replenished, but at a cost...)

>Flee from Sir Gaufrey. You sense there is a passage ahead, concealed behind one of the three stained glass windows. Break one of these:
>The Eagle, Tree and Dragon
>The Burning King, The Sword, The Ruined City
>The Skull, The Sky-Storm Of Eyes And Suns, The Serpent And Flowers
>This is stupid. Smash everything! Break all three stained glass windows, just to be sure

>Something else?
(You hear the screaming of infants, intermingled now with clattering chains, and what sounds like panting tongues or a cacophony of incoherent voices accompanied by the lashes of a whip or scourge. A heavy, sodden mass is dragging itself towards you. It feels very close)
>>Try and return his memories some other way (write-in). For example, call him by Hamazakaran, The Warlike One. How did he come by that name in the crusades?
Gallant Sir Gaufrey why hast thou forsaken your mind?
(In the distance, you hear the strange mournful sound of a sennet)

Thou, poor soul, would be mild
When starveling souls with sighs and tears
Do mourn to see thee beguiled.
There dances the warrior Amazon
Upon the wending river to Ixachitlan;
Upon courage and honour had I a monopoly
Might my squire and fair wife yet be with me.

(Choose from the choices here
or write-in?)
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You observe that some of the madness has left the face of Sir Gaufrey. He will lead you willingly to the beast (and perhaps not feed you to it).

>Follow Sir Gaufrey to the beast
>Continue to question Sir Gaufrey. Ask him where Hieronymous is, ask him about the stained glass windows, other questions etc.
You have a feeling you might be caught by whatever this is...
but perhaps he will help you fight it?

>Ask Sir Gaufrey about the amazon warrior

>Try and command Sir Gaufrey to surrender his strange ring
>>Continue to question Sir Gaufrey. Ask him where Hieronymous is, ask him about the stained glass windows, other questions etc
This is about aborted monsters isn't it
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>aborted monsters
(QM: hehe this is not it)
You are beginning to suspect that your own mind has become usurped by the thoughts of another. Perhaps this is how the war of self against self begins, the maiming of the mind, from which the Half-Men are torn.

You think carefully to the tale of Sir Gaufrey, called Hamazakaran, his strange Cloud-sword, his lost wife and the ring upon his hand. When you attempt to question him further, the words catch in your throat:
-Sir Gaufrey...Geoffrey...Jeff? Of Hamazakaran... Amazon?

This makes no sense to you. What does an Amazon have to do with a strange ring? Or for that matter, even the myth of Five Suns and Five Eyes?

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is an upcoming American fantasy television series based on the novel The Lord of the Rings and its appendices by J. R. R. Tolkien.
Amazon bought the television rights for The Lord of the Rings for US$250 million in November 2017, making a five-season production commitment worth at least US$1 billion. This would make it the most expensive television series ever made.
The season is scheduled to premiere on Prime Video on September 2, 2022

Cybersecurity experts warn on UK spy deal with Amazon
London October 29 2021
The deal between GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 and AWS, Amazon’s cloud arm — estimated to be worth £500m to £1bn over a decade — was revealed by the Financial Times earlier this week.

Jeff Bezos Got Divorced and Stirred Up an International Conspiracy
7 April 2022
A wayward chief executive officer, a tabloid newspaper determined to humiliate the world’s richest person, a callously disloyal brother and dramatic allegations of cyberespionage and international intrigue.
The events surrounding the divorce of Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Scott in early 2019 were almost too far-fetched to believe...
You see the light of clarity fading in Sir Gaufrey's eyes; the fog of madness has once more fallen upon his brow. The old knight seems listless, distraught, his movements fallen into torpor and lethargy.
- Is this... my wife? Is this her face? Why, this is her! Truly this is her face! O come, let us embrace her, young squire! We will hold her together. Embrace her as a child to a loving mother...

Sir Gaufrey cannot aid you in battle. You have a feeling that if you try to harm this abomination - that he believes to be his wife - Sir Gaufrey will oppose you too.
The Blearie Queene
Once a queen fell and knocked her head upon a stone, as she Wade across a river. She called for aid amongst the fisherfolk there, but past her did they Row; hence her unborn child was cut from her. Ever since, the faery queen has sought to take her sorrows back from men.

(based on the legend)
A war-mace that appears as a knobbled orb of writhing demons unborn. You feel it possesses greater power, once it savours blood.

In your hand, you see the strange Flower Wand
flare, with an unnatural flame. It seems to grow weighty, first with a swelling pustulent ichor, then with the groans of crawling veins of iron, tendrils that entwine the once delicate stalk and stem of the flower orb and petals. You feel a wave of nausea when you see what writhes upon it.
(QM: The Flower Wand has transformed into this mace, Caulbearer, in your hands)
>You cannot hope to fight both the Blearie Queene, and Sir Gaufrey - for a start, you possess no armour. Flee towards the stained glass windows and break one of them
>The Eagle, Tree and Dragon
>The Burning King, The Sword, The Ruined City
>The Skull, The Sky-Storm Of Eyes And Suns, The Serpent And Flowers
>This is stupid. Smash everything! Break all three stained glass windows, just to be sure

Commence combat:
>write in and describe which target you attack first, and with which weapon. You can describe a particular tactic or approach if you wish. Bear in mind you do not possess any armour

>The Blearie Queene

>Sir Gaufrey

>Gwaith Camlann
(is there something unusual about this sword which has no point? Write-in if you know its purpose)


>Attempt to unleash a spell with the Flower Orb. Write in what form you wish it to take. eg it can be an area of effect spell of some form, or even a distraction etc. You feel if you attempt a great sorcery (thinking back to how you tried to call for rain and water to quench flame earlier, and ended by the Eternal Garden's waterfall) the ultimate effect may not entirely remain within your control. A modest sorcery may have greater success...
(QM: all magic always has a consequence. Unleash it at your own peril).

>Something else?
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QM: There is also another choice, as always...

>Do as Sir Gaufrey delightfully commands. Join with him, and embrace the Blearie Queene.
>>Do as Sir Gaufrey delightfully commands. Join with him, and embrace the Blearie Queene.
>>Attempt to unleash a spell with the Flower Orb
Turn every weapon and every impurity into flowers
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Perhaps your destiny is to return to the mother, the womb of thought. There is safety in her embrace, separated from the uncaring world.
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Usurper's Hand

A severed limb, gnawed upon and scorched with venom, drifting serenely somewhere through the amnion. You see the glint of silver upon one of its fingers.
Something about the shape of its splayed fingers reminds you strangely of the Flower Wand...

As you contemplate this mutilated hand, the pulse and throb of a sickening paroxysm bursts through your frame. Your vision blurs into smears of convulsive darkness, as a memory shudders through the ache of your mind...
(QM: unfortunately, this spell fails catastrophically; not only is the power unleashed far beyond what you can control at this stage, but the flower wand was transformed into the Caulbearer war-mace when the rite was cast, corrupting its manifestation)
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Seeling Night
Feared ensorcelment of The Usurper, one of the ancient Obediences, accursed invocations and forbidden rites. A blind compulsion sewn by an Unseen Hand that tames the souls of men through their passions and greed, to submit to the machinations and infallible Will of Tyrants. Those who called forth the Seeling Night witnessed great riches and power before an altar of murder and war, until at last they were uprooted and given the reward that they deserved.

(...) Come, Seeling Night
Scarf up the tender eye of pitiful day
And with thy bloody and invisible hand
Cancel and tear to pieces that great bond
Which keeps me pale!

The Tides, Vourukasha witch-pirates
The Obediences, Unbidden Court
The Strictures, Eschatonomists
The Consolamentum, Preceptors, Censorate
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>Grasp the venom-scorched hand, with its finger banded by glint of silver
(New Mission: Find a way to invoke The Seeling Night)

>Leave the Usurper's Hand alone
(Resume Mission: Find Hieronymous Erde (become anonymous?) / Escape The Five Eyes

You appear to be standing upon the parched white stone of a deserted castle courtyard, basking beneath a bright noon sun.

>Examine your surroundings. What is this place?
>Search the surroundings for items
(can write-in from lists here)

>Call out into the empty courtyard (write-in)
>Something else?

This can only be another illusion, a dream. You are being slowly digested by the Blearie Queene. Cut through the caul which imprisons you. Return to:
>Ixachitlan Jungle, Eternal Garden
>Gwaith Camlann, Last Battle Of The King Of Stone And Water
>Telesterion, Great Hall Of Initiation, Ravenspurn Night
>>Gwaith Camlann, Last Battle Of The King Of Stone And Water
>>Examine your surroundings. What is this place?
>Search the surroundings for items
Traitor's severed head. If nothing else we can throw it at people.
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You are searching the castle courtyard for a means of escape, to return back to Gwaith Camlann, the last and endless battle of The King Of Stone And Water.

Where the King fought and slew his misbegotten son, born of the trickery and witchcraft of his half-sister, yet saw himself slain in turn, and the fall of his kingdom.

Slowly, the unseen contours of this world become clear to you. The Blearie Queene is the illegitimacy of birth. Why is it that some are born to greatness, to beauty; to a life of ease, wealth and splendour, yet others have misery thrust upon them? Born poor, to terrible poverty. Born ugly. Born deformed. Born to cruel parents. Born to kind parents, who are then cruelly murdered. Born an orphan with no name. Born to slavery. Born free, but given to a life of usury and debt. Born to an accursed fate. Born sick and already dying. Born and forgotten. Born and given to another, born abandoned. Born of rape, incest.

You cannot choose to be unborn to such torment - when others are born to glory and joy. Perhaps there will always be Highborn and Lowborn. They just remain Unseen.

In the renaissance, learned men once believed in the superiority of bastards. A strange shadow of recollection flits across your mind, the forlorn Dwarf of a familiar thought - or perhaps you watched some popular play once, which tried to suggest such an idea, upon a throne of swords and dragon fire.

But the learned men of history saw that bastards were often better, cleverer than legitimate men, hardened through neglect and adversity against those born to a life of luxury and ease in their lineage. Why was this so? Could it have been in the greater excitement, desire and passion of their conception - a truer love, bastards begot divine gifts? Why did Providence not, after all, convey legitimacy through divine birthright?

It was a troubling idea: that heaven, through a mysterious caprice of birth, could misplace the fates of men.

>The most common reading compares the connections between fatherhood and kingship:
whether, inspired by some diviner lust,
his father got him with a greater gust

And if such injustice of birth should occur - why, what then? Rebellion? Murder and blood, war, violent overthrow; or the crawling bloodless shadow of treachery, a peace of betrayal, conspiracy and complot?

Such times would call for a Usurper.
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Above you, the merciless searing rays of this unnaturally bright noon sun scour the slabs of parched white stone.

There is no shelter here, no overhang or roof that offers relief from the white sun. The castle is ruined as if it had been torn apart by a siege, long, long ago.

It is enough to make you thirst for darkness, an endless night; anything to escape the blinding, sickening, shadeless sunlight.
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By the recessed spiral steps of some sort of collapsed well or curving walkway of this white castle you can see a suit of black armour, fallen though still intact - except it seems to be missing a hand, a single gauntlet, and also a helm.

The black armour is empty - there are no remains left inside, no corpse within.
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Black Dragon Armour
- missing helm
- missing gauntlet

It seems reminiscent of armour that might be worn by that Pale Prince Of Ruins, that slender and sickly albino sorceror-Emperor, Elric of..., er... Osric of Elsinore?

"May you writhe forever... in the Higher Hell!"
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By the gate of the sun-scorched castle stands an imperious looking woman, white-haired and robed in a gown of night. She is crowned with jewels and gold. Her features are sharpened by a delicate disdain, beautiful and cruel to behold. When she sees you gazing upon her, she asks:
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-Do you know the purpose of that sword and Rose, Usurper? Why are you possessed by them?

>>5342201 (unknown)
revealed as
>>5342601 , and also
>>5343990 (and...?)

>Er... you are not sure this was in Shakespeare. Ask Ursa: excuse me, lady, do you happen to know... where I might find the severed head of a traitor? You know, for... throwing... at people.

>Well this woman is probably a traitor; these fetch quests are so easy to fulfill. (Commence combat) Attack and behead this disdainful woman with
>Gwaith Camlann, the sword
>Anagnorisis, the Flower Wand
>Caulbearer, the demon war-mace
(QM: you find now you can command the form of the wand/mace, having suffered a slight mishap earlier)

>Reply to the lady, write in why you bear the sword and Rose.

>You recognise the type of sword Gwaith Camlann resembles, clearly the QM has played too much Dark Souls and Bloodborne.
Write-in the type of this sword with no point, and explain that as your purpose to this imperious Lady

>Ask: Lady... Ursa? Are you related to... Urshull Vandal-Eye?

>And the QM has given it away. Speak the true name of this woman.

>Completely ignore this woman, just start donning the Black Dragon Armour with a silent grim-faced look of resolution

>Ignore everything, push past this woman and explore the sun-scorched white ruins

>Something else? (Ask questions etc)
Urshull Vandal-Eye
The Slave-Taker
Son of a famous warlord who once marched beneath the Fylfot, the Four-Footed Beast-banner. Urshull Vandal-Eye once served as an apothecary and chirurgeon, yet fell to the worship of obscene heresies having been influenced by the unholy consult of the Warguild and a lure of immense wealth from merchant sorcerors. His skills in anatomy and medicine became prized as Urshull adapted first to the role of torturer, then slave-merchant, serving as a valued counsellor to the Unbidden Court, and preying upon fugitives and desperate families fleeing from unceasing war.

A sad tragedy and irony of Urshull Vandal-Eye and his profession is that despite the immense wealth he acquired from slavery and torture, he himself helplessly witnessed his own beloved innocent daughter, Rose, stolen from him, by an unknown rival.
>Do you know the purpose of that sword and Rose, Usurper? Why are you possessed by them?
Symbolic of a cock?
>Ask: Lady... Ursa? Are you related to... Urshull Vandal-Eye?
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Without hesitation or warning, the beautiful yet cruel Prince-Provost Lady Ursa strikes you across the face.

Her blow leaves a red welt across your cheek which stings terribly; you feel the baking furnace of the hot noon sun above scorching the tender skin of your face, although at the same time - you cannot help but notice that her cruel hand is scented with some intoxicating, irresistible musk, some seductive perfume or Black Myrrh of the far deserts or orient. It is so shameful and enticing at the same time...!

(QM: in medieval times a Prince meant simply: princeps, One That Is First. A Prince could thus address any that commanded a Power, a prelate, an abbess, or what would later be called Princess)
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Lady Ursa's face warps with wanton scorn:
- How... dare you! How dare you! On this day, of all days, when the Sun has risen as this! Do you not see this Sun, and what it has done to our land? What the desert and parched sands will do to us? You should be ashamed!

A land enslaved by this Sun... where our people no longer have water enough for even tears to weep!

Do you mock me, you slave? With the name of the hated Slave-taker, Urshull Vandal-Eye? I had presumed that you - as the bearer of that sword - that you were an Executioner.

Finally, a wielder of sword and Rose to deliver Judgement upon the hated Slave-Taker, Urshull - long the hated oppressor of our people - he who languishes in our dungeons awaiting his fate even as we speak.

But the vile and wicked Slave-taker does not die! And not for want of trying. They say he is one of the ancient Highborn.

The Silverless mercenaries, the Anargyroi, have tried everything - even the Threefold Death of old Lailoken. He resists falling from the Tarpeian Cliff, hanging, drowning. Poison and stabbing, the wheel, fire - all have been tried. He will not die! It must be his Highborn blood...


(QM: a strange speech is recalled to your mind)
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White Ruins, Drudenfuss Court
Imperial Reichskloster Lorescheim

QM: other questions you can try to ask the mysterious Lady Ursa.
(You can ask as many as you wish, though some questions may provoke surprising responses.)

>Does she know of Hieronymous Erde? Where might he be found?
(Mission: Find Hieronymous / become anonymous / Escape The Five Eyes)
>>5343957 (the horror...)

>What is the Seeling Night? What purpose does it serve?
(Mission: Find a way to invoke the Seeling Night)

>Who are the Anargyroi, The Silverless mercenaries? What is their allegiance?

>What does she know of Osirantinous, The Eternal Garden, Pleasure Prince Of Flower And Thorn?

>Does she know where the devouring Great Wyrm Lotan / The Leviathan / Feathered Serpent Kukulkan is hiding? (ask her about the riddle here)

>What is this place? Berceuse? Drudenfuss, Reichskloster? If Ravenspurgh is like England, is this place... Germany? Or France? If Lotan is L'OTAN / NATO, er... where is fantasy Ukraine in Aztec Shakespeare Tolkien Elric Moorcock World? Is the QM completely insane? (QM: you know the answer to this)

>Something else? (write in)
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QM: Actions...

None of this Aztec-Tolkien-Moorcock-Shakespeare-Ukraine-NATO nonsense matters to you. You are infuriated this cruel woman dared slap you! Well, her head makes for a pretty good trophy. Commence combat, attack with the choices here
>Gwaith Camlann, the sword
>Anagnorisis, the Flower Wand
>Caulbearer, the demon war-mace
(QM: beware, there may be a trick here...)

>Attack with a spell using the flower wand. Write in and describe what form you wish it to take. You feel your command of the rites has improved, though it is far from mastery yet. Remember the perils of all magic, and their ever-present consequences.

>Take and don the Black Dragon Armour in the ruined spiral well. Well (hehe) you may just have to strip naked in front of this princess lady
(the armour is missing a helm and a gauntlet)

>Offer to undertake the execution of this corrupted and evil Slave-Taker, Urshull Vandal-Eye.
Perhaps your sword can finish the task?
QM: if you choose this option, you must specify
>Public Execution
>Private Execution
The Prince Provost Lady Ursa will insist upon a public execution. You can attempt to persuade her later, though.

>Visit the dungeon where Urshull the Slaver is being held. Perhaps question the Silverless mercenaries guarding him, to learn of some more details of why he cannot die.

>All of this is really boring and tedious. Push past this woman, and explore the sun-scorched city ruins by yourself.

>All the clues you need should be here. Speak the true name of Urshull Vandal-Eye.

>You know the place where the dragon Lotan resides. Greentext link the paragraph section of this thread that describes it.
>Does she know of Hieronymous Erde? Where might he be found?
>What is the Seeling Night? What purpose does it serve?
>What does she know of Osirantinous, The Eternal Garden, Pleasure Prince Of Flower And Thorn?
>Does she know where the devouring Great Wyrm Lotan / The Leviathan / Feathered Serpent Kukulkan is hiding? (ask her about the riddle here)

>Offer to undertake the execution of this corrupted and evil Slave-Taker, Urshull Vandal-Eye.
>Public Execution
But we have other plans hehehe. When the accused is called to the chopping block, we bribe the guards to bring her instead of the slave taker. We should talk to Ursull first to formulate the plans of our little coup hehe.
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When you consent to perform the public execution of the wicked Slave Merchant Urshull Vandal-Eye, Lady Ursa becomes visibly overcome with relief.

Her features soften a little and she gladly answers:

>Seeling Night, Hieronymous Erde
-I know not of this Anonymous Nerd you speak of, nor of this strange rite... But there is another stranger imprisoned in the dungeon too. He is very clearly insane, and believes himself to be some sort of Highborn philosopher, though we find his tales to be utterly unbelievable. There is no truth in what he says whatsoever! They have always said that you can tell a wizard by his lying tongue, in which case he must be a powerful one... Perhaps this stranger comes from the Land of Ravenspurgh or Raving Sperg and can answer your questions.

>Osirantinous, The Pleasure Prince Of Petal And Thorn
- Know you not of the glory of the Church of Envy, of the wondrous Odalisque and Mirror? The Belsire and Beldame have proclaimed their veneration throughout our realm! Perhaps the Beauteous Beldame and Belsire themselves are the incarnations of Osirantinous and the beloved Odalisque upon our Land. TheThreefold Virtues of the Church of Envy are so easily learnt: Beauty, Youth and Love. Never become Old! It is a sin. And we must fight constantly the inner crusade within our hearts, slaying all that become Ugly. Being Ugly is a great heresy, a terrible sin! Why would you choose to be Ugly? Not only does it offend the self, it is sickening to be beheld as such by others. Truly a wicked, wicked sin!

>Great Wyrm Lotan / The Leviathan / Feathered Serpent Kukulkan
- Those names sound as if they are from a foreign, faraway realm. By the tilted spires is the Pagoda of Loulan - it is a common gathering place for merchant-adventurers, entertainers and storytellers. Sometimes even Highborn attend them, and it is rumoured the Beldame and Belsire sometimes watches their performances on occasion in disguise! They will likely know there, at the Pagoda.
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(You have time for every single one of these. But the order of priority you choose may affect later events)

Visit the dungeon first, and investigate
>The Slave Merchant Urshull Vandal-Eye, who apparently cannot be executed or killed
>The mysterious prisoner of Ravenspurgh or Raving Sperg
>The Anargyroi, the Silverless Mercenaries guarding the dungeon. They have already tried executing the vile prisoner, so perhaps they have the most accurate information?

>Visit instead the Pagoda of Loulan first, by the tilted spires, to learn more about
>Seeling Night
>The great devouring wyrm Lotan / Leviathan / Kukulkan
>The whereabouts of Hieronymous Erde

>Something else?
(QM: you may at any time attempt to write in and guess
>greentext link the section where Lotan dwells
>speak the true name of Urshull Vandal-Eye
>guess how Urshull Vandal-Eye can be delivered to True Death (is the answer already available?)
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Drudenfuss, Order For The Reclamation Of Antiquities
(known also as The Dungeoneers)
Two of the beasts that sheltered and ate of the leaves of Laeradr, the Betrayer's Tree, the goat Heidrun and the hart Eikthyrnir, commonly decorate the pentagram sigil of Drudenfuss, adorning shields and shrine-amulets alike as apotropaic wards.

Merchant-adventurers and dungeoneers of Drudenfuss are said to delve deep into the veins of the earth excavating relics to affirm both history and scripture.

Rumours of vandalism and looting or violent behaviour are frequently accompanied by protestations of
-This is archaeology! I am an archaeologist from the future!
-I am making... an Art! This is Art! It is very valuable!
-It fell down... by itself!
-I was examining this maiden for diseases!
-I am really a woman! You dishonour yourself by fighting me!
-I was actually an eunuch, an eunuch all along! You stabbed nothing!
-He tripped onto... this cannonball, that has demolished his ribs!

A common insult directed against the swaggering merchant-adventurers of Drudenfuss is to describe them as dungeon-punks. Expect to be challenged to a duel afterwards.
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Silverless Mercenaries
The Silverless Sect is said to have repudiated both the Warguild and the Voice Of Oration, choosing instead to venerate Charity. There is no sigil or glyph common to their adherents; they accept both men and women from all walks of life, rich and poor. Some have described them as Beggar-Knights.

The single tenet of the Anargyroi is to never accept remuneration, money, gifts or favours, for anything that they do. Some have observed that the Silverless themselves are split into unknowable internal factions; others believe them to be mere pawns for the undertakings of others. Many of the Silverless perhaps do not understand themselves even why they do what they do.

Yet another mystery of the Silverless Sect remains the enduring question of how many of their mercenaries come to be so heavily armed.
>>The Slave Merchant Urshull Vandal-Eye, who apparently cannot be executed or killed

>The Anargyroi, the Silverless Mercenaries guarding the dungeon. They have already tried executing the vile prisoner, so perhaps they have the most accurate information?
How about we try to convince/bribe them to work for us instead?
Since we have the time...
>The mysterious prisoner of Ravenspurgh or Raving Sperg
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Any relief you possessed at escaping the harsh sunlight of the neverending noon outside, as you enter the dungeon of Drudenfuss, is swiftly overwhelmed by unease - not just at the sepulchral miasma and decay that pervades the entire sunken corridors of oubliettes and pits, the gloom that the faint lanthorn flames can barely illuminate, interrupted only by the occasional clank or groan of chain, the moans and their echoes of madness:
-Aieee! I say I am No Elf! No Elf! I am no spying spy! Wait... I confess all... please... I confess... the traitor is you! Ha! Wait - your mother! Sister? Wait, I say - wait - no! Aieeeee! ReeEEEE!

Er... well. You are not entirely sure what that was.
The Masque Maker
(Hunchbacked Old Crone, carrying Bell Staff)

Just before the cells begin you can see a strange hunchbacked old woman bent with age. You almost recoil in shock when at first you think she is sprouting many faces - demon faces - all along her midriff and sides. You see an instant later they are masks of all sorts and sizes. The hunchbacked old crone, the Masque Maker, grunts dismissively at you when you approach, and loudly jangles a staff with bells at you. Perhaps she is the gaolkeeper's wife?

Some of those masks worn by the old hunchbacked crone, The Masque Maker, include:
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1/ Dungeoneer Helm
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2/ Executioner Hood
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3/ Feathered Serpent Shaman Mask
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4/ Golden Conqueror Morion Helm
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5/ Golden Skull Visor (Crested Galea)
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6/ Langkasukan Dragon Lion Mask
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7/ Moon Snake Half-Mask (Arlecchina)
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8/ Rusted Baby Verdigris Mask
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9/ Walking Wood Deathmask
Behind the Old Masque Maker you can see a circle of guards - are these the Silverless?
Two of them seem to be engrossed in some sort of game - perhaps it is Senet or Shahmat.

The remainder of the guards are staring at this strange boardgame and sniggering and winking at each other. You have a feeling that they may either be betting or gambling on the outcome:
-So this is ...Le Carte de Tendre?
-Why, that lake is shaped like... exactly like...
-That river dangles like a...
-Look, that forest! It grows exactly in the hairy place of that ravine over there...
-But why are there two small hills, and a large erect tower in between?
-I do not understand this valley with two lumpy circular hills side-by-side and then two small stones in the centre of these hills. This game is stupid.

(inspired by https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Map_of_Tendre)
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There is one guard whose eyes are lined with what looks like kohl, perhaps Black Myrrh. He stands apart from the others, standing and staring in silence upon an abyss of darkness.
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>You intend to bribe the Incorruptible Anargyroi, the Silverless Sect whose religion is to accept no reward. Write-in your genius plan.

>Maybe you understand how Le Carte de Tendre, that silly game, works. Write in your genius innuendo.

>These mercenary guards seem stupid. Why not just walk past them, they are not even paying attention.

>Proclaim: The Prince-Provost, Lady Ursa has appointed me High Executioner. Take me to
>The vile Slave Merchant, Urshull Vandal-Eye
>The mysterious Prisoner of Ravenspurgh, or Raving Sperg
If you choose this, you must declare
>You are wearing the Black Dragon Armour
>You are basically naked
and carrying a large sword and a flower.

>Ask the hunchbacked old crone, the Masque Maker: why do you adorn yourself with so many masks?
>Ask her something else (write-in)

>Ask the Black-Eyed Guard a question. He seems so lost in phantasmagorical thought, as if in a meditative trance (write-in)

>For some reason, you want to kill and loot everyone. (Commence combat, write in your first target and weapon used. This will require a dedicated section lol)

>Something else? (write in)
>>Ask the hunchbacked old crone, the Masque Maker: why do you adorn yourself with so many masks?
Ask for a mask of the mercenaries commander
Are the Silverless Mercs anonymous?
You ask the old crone why she carries so many masks. Before you have even finished your sentence -
DEATH! Death!

(The Masque Maker cackles loudly)
-Death masks. For the dead! Here is a death, for you...

(QM: In terms of the game, this functions as cosmetically representing how you are seen by others, separate from your armour, ie a feather mask and a metal helm have no impact on your overall defense. This is akin to a rpg videogame where you toggle the "hide/show helmet" visual appearance option without affecting attributes etc. Currently you do not possess any armour at all. There may be options to acquire others later, though at a cost.

You can choose based on what events you expect or anticipate to occur later on.

Or if you want, just choose based on instinct and whichever looks most appealing to you.)

Choose ONE:

>1/ Dungeoneer Helm

>2/ Executioner Hood

>3/ Feathered Serpent Shaman Mask

>4/ Golden Conqueror Morion Helm

>5/ Golden Skull Visor (Crested Galea)

>6/ Langkasukan Dragon Lion Mask

>7/ Moon Snake Half-Mask (Arlecchina)

>8/ Rusted Baby / Verdigris Mask

>9/ Walking Wood Deathmask

>The Silverless are anonymous / Hieronymous Erde
(QM: This is actually an amazing idea I had not thought of...! Let us see what happens later...)
>6/ Langkasukan Dragon Lion Mask
>2/ Executioner Hood
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Trait: Thousand Faces Of The Betrayer
You are not sure if this is a curse, or a power; it lies dormant within you, for now. You can choose to adopt both of these guises at will

>2/ Executioner Hood

>6/ Langkasukan Dragon Lion Mask
Take all the masks then
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(You feel hands grasping at your face, as if some unseen corruption clings upon it.)

The trait: Thousand Faces Of The Betrayer is strengthened. But at what cost...?
Adopt any guise from >>5345132 at will.
The Black-Eyed Guard,
sockets streaked with kohl or Black Myrrh, continues to gaze alone into darkness, with a haunted look.

Of the circle of guards
you observed earlier, you hear the following discussion:

(Frustrated Voice Guard)
-This stupid board game is stupid! There are not even any dice rolls! How do you lay wagers and bets when there are no dice...

(Distracted Lovelorn Guard)
-I am so in love with her. That new dancer girl at the Tilted Pagoda...
She is so graceful! No other courtesan can compare to her. O, for but a stray glance, a lingering glance... (heavy-hearted sighs)

(Brutal Guard, sharpening blade with whetstone)
-She isn't a courtesan, you mooncalf!

(Mischievous Guard)
-You should persuade Graelent, over there
to visit. But he has taken a Vow of Silence! Well, at least that leaves a tongue free to... you know...

(silence, stares at darkness)

You are donning the Executioner Mask,
gesturing at your executioner sword and proclaiming your credentials from Lady Ursa...

It seems to be working, but then:

Frustrated Guard:
- Wait! Halt! If you have truly come at Lady Ursa's behest, she will have given you her Name...

The Brutal Guard abruptly stops sharpening his blade and also looks up at you expectantly.

>Write in what you plan to do...

Try the choices from

>Kill everyone, commence combat

>Appeal to Graelent somehow? But has he actually taken a Vow Of Silence?

>Speak Lady Ursa's true name.
>Speak the true name of Urshull Vandal-Eye

>Something else?
>>Speak Lady Ursa's true name.
>>Speak the true name of Urshull Vandal-Eye
Demand their obedience
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There is something strange about the tale of Urshull Vandal-Eye and Lady Ursa which you cannot entirely place.


Why did the Lady Ursa address you by the appellation of sword and Rose? Your flower-wand
resembles more a severed limb and an orb
Than a Rose. Maybe the Lady Ursa is under some sort of enchantment, seeing only what she wishes to see? Like the Black Myrrh beneath the eyes of Graelent?

You think back to Sir Gaufrey Manless of Hamazakaran (Geoffrey... Jeff of Amazon?)
Some words sound similar to others.

Perhaps this is true of Urshull Vandal-Eye, Prince-Provost Lady Ursa and her true Name too.
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Suddenly you hear the whooping of a madman who is fleeing from his cell. He is hopping and twitching and howling something like "Chivalry" or maybe more accurately:
-Shiva-ree, shiva-REE! I am free! Free, I say! FREEEE! REEEEE! SHIVAREEEEEEE! You cannot catch me, I say!

The insane man escapes screaming from the dungeon.

Bizarrely, none of the men or even the Old Masque Maker pay any attention to his escape, except one of the circle of guards, who barely glances up to mutter:
- He will be back, probably. He usually comes back. I really do not know why. He must enjoy it here; he must really enjoy dungeons.


(QM: Unfortunately, you have lost the chance to meet the mysterious Prisoner Of Ravenspurgh, the Raving Sperg...)
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Varin de Sou, Le Vicomte de Narrenturm
A patron of Drudenfuss, The Order For The Reclamation Of Antiquities, the nefarious Vicomte is believed to have developed a morbid fascination with dungeons through his friendship with the Marquis des Madelonettes, though his standing within the Court has fallen after the latter's
mysterious disappearance.

The Vicomte had been obsessed with getting revenge upon Hieronymous Erde - casting him together alongside all his associates into the deepest dungeon imaginable.
Le Vicomte Varin de Sou, in league with the jealous court musician Arbeau of the Feathered Flute, finally achieved their triumph by accusing Hieronymous Erde of presenting a false, dancing and preening Elf before the Beauteous Beldame, the Contessa and Maiden Knight Ysentrud of the Church Of Envy:
-The aforementioned Elf made a grievous error, mistaking the Beauteous Beldame for the Belsire, calling her a he.
-Furthermore the wicked Elf was also unmasked as a treacherous agent of Imperial Langkasuka Of The Lotus And Cannon, or in the words of Le Vicomte, "A spying spy, I say! No Elf! No ELF! I say!"

As a result the Beldame proclaimed Derogeance upon Hieronymous Erde and banished him from the Court. All Elfes across the realm were declared Ugly.

The fate of this Elf and his wicked accomplices remains unknown.
An ELF is possibly also an Extended/Emergency Lending/Liquidity Facility, Expanded Loan Facility etc.
>Nonprofit Organization Expanded Loan Facility (NOELF)
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(My other quests include:)

Song Of The Oath And Wild



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The guards do not appear convinced by your tale; they believe you to be an impostor. All of the guards suddenly become very alert, scrabbling for their weapons...
- The Prince-Provost could not possibly have sent you! You do not even know her Name!

Yet strangely the Black-Eyed warrior, Graelent, who had stood apart from the others and their strange board game, chooses now to speak. Perhaps he feels a certain kindred spirit with you:
- I will vouch for this one. What do you need?

(Graelent will escort you to meet the imprisoned Slave-taker Urshull Vandal-Eye. Decide now any preparations you need to make:)

>When you meet Urshull, let Graelent accompany you, watch and listen. If something goes awry, perhaps he can help... but will he hear some information that may prove to be far too revealing?

>Meet Urshull alone, with Graelent standing guard outside

>Write-in any questions you have for Graelent, or any other preparations. For example, you could adopt a different guise with your newfound ability, Thousand Faces Of The Betrayer
Some questions you can try to ask Graelent (he may not know answers to all of them)
>The whereabouts of Hieronymous Erde?
>Does he know of the Seeling Night?
>Where could Lotan be hiding?
>How come the Silverless are so well armed? Is it true they never accept payment, gift or favour?
>What happened to previous guards who tried to execute Urshull Vandal-Eye? Is it true he cannot be killed?
>write-in other topics etc.
>Meet Urshull alone, with Graelent standing guard outside
>Does he know of the Seeling Night?
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>Does he know of the Seeling Night?
-I know a little of this. In the ancient age fortune was conferred by Birthright and Blood; the worth of men was decided by the glory of their lineage. Some were Highborn and some Lowborn, and this fate was fixed and could never be changed.

But this led to the age of usurpation and rebellion, for who could countenance the cruel whims of fate the stars witnessed over the fortune of mortal birth?

Many were those of humble means who believed they could do better; there were even a few of noble birth, weary of their burdens.

All this led to Envy, then conspiracy, then treachery and war, unceasing bloodshed, as men sought to wrench fortune from the lives of others.

There was a philosopher who called for another way - a means to undo Blood and Birthright. We forget his name now, but the rite he spoke of was named The Unseen Hand. It was a strange form of taming blindness, a compulsion that manipulated men to placidity through their own interests - greed and avarice, if you will - yet avoided the contention and strife of battle. Blind and tame in the pursuit of commerce and gain, the Unseen Hand led for many years to Peace.

All I know is this pursuit of gain, tame blindness through greed, was taken too far. Even in a time of Peace the rite of the Unseen Hand became corrupted, the Blindness and docility became everlasting darkness.

In this age there were those who knew that Peace through Greed could never last. They chose to abandon wealth, to never take recompense for what they undertook: no treasure, no gift, no favour. These were the Anargyroi, the first Unmercenaries, whose Names were Truth and Trust. Ever do I walk in the shadow of their deeds! But the Silverless of today are far fallen; most of them are of a beggarly sort. Many of them gamble, cheat; pursue the pleasures of flesh, steal and cut purse and throat in equal measure. Some of them borrow but the names of the saints of old, and hide the dark schemes of others under falsehood.

And all know The Unseen Hand - the Hand that became The Seeling Night - brought forth horrors: madness, monstrous forms of those who had forgotten themselves - The Half-Men.

Beware the corrupted path of magic, for it is ever the Path Of Lies!

romanized: Agioi Anárgyroi is an epithet applied to a number of Christian saints who did not accept payment for good deeds.
Gwarchae Peryglus

A sword given by another, long gone, to Graelent, the Forlorn Silverless, as a reminder of chastisement for an unchaste youth.

Once there was a throne that killed all those unworthy of it; that same Perilous Throne resides in this sword.
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Graelent leads you down a long dungeon passage before a door that burns with a chiaroscuro of darkening golden shadows.

You are surprised to see that there are no guards, no grating or spiked gates or chains before this chamber entrance.

As agreed, Graelent will stand guard outside here. He cannot overhear or eavesdrop upon anything you say to the Slave-taker, Urshull Vandal-Eye; nor can he intervene in anything you do - or that is done to you...
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You can see the passageway ahead leads to stairs ascending into a chamber bathed in golden light. The air here is clean in contrast to the dungeons before. But you smell a slight sickly tang... the bitter incense of Black Myrrh, which burns and produces an intoxication of cold clarity in those that imbibe it.

If there are any preparations you wish to make before entering, declare them now. e.g. ready a weapon,

adopt a disguise, etc.

>(optional) Write-in any preparations or actions you wish to make

>You are ready. Enter and meet with Urshull Vandal-Eye
>Anargyroi, the first Unmercenaries, whose Names were Truth and Trust.
Non profit charity's?
Wear Golden Conqueror Morion Helm.
And bear Caulbearer.
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You are wearing:
Golden Conqueror Helm (Morion)
Before you ascend the steps, Graelent offers you a final word of warning:
- Urshull Vandal-Eye has perpetrated many foul deeds. He pretended to offer sanctuary to those who fled war, entire families... and when they ran tearfully in gratitude before his legions, he enslaved them...

One of his favourite pastimes was to take the young and elderly, the weak and infirm - those of no worth to be sold as slaves - and herd them in an endless circle before chariots, spears and arrows, tighter and tighter, until in screaming frenzy and panic they enmeshed into each other in a trampling stampede of crushed limbs and gore.
(You examine the blunted head of the war-mace, Caulbearer, and see a strange warmth of memory upon it)
You enter into a large subterranean chamber, more reminiscent of the vaulted ceilings of a church than a dungeon.

Above you chandeliers sway amidst the ribcage of gothic voussoir arches, bearing the compressive weight of the stone beneath which they are entombed. The stonework and architecture is so elaborate and ornate, you wonder if this is even a prison at all.
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You can see suspended among the chandeliers a form of thurifer, a bowl censer from a hanging chain dispensing incense of Black Myrrh throughout. The drifting black fumes surround all light in choking haze of murk and vapour, enshrouding the surroundings in blooms of flame with the alternate appearance of delirious, golden radiance and distorted drifting shadows.
Bathed in the precious radiance that emanates from the chamber is one opulent individual. You are even more surprised to see that he himself is carrying a sword.

Urshull Vandal-Eye speaks:
- I know why you are here, Usurper.

First, a gift; but then, hear my tragic tale.

For you must think me very wicked and cruel... which, I am.

Yet I am not the only one!
Two Tales Of Maskelyne
(Lesser Rite Of Invultuation)

A conjurer's trick which you feel you have probably seen before.

It was made famous by the stage magician Maskelyne, though it was known to many others.
It consists of simply switching places with another on the verge of death. There are many variants, a box of swords, a drowning tank, a curtain pulled before a cage.

When cast upon an assailant - especially an unsuspecting one - the attacker quickly finds the demise they desired for another, delivered to themselves.

(QM: in case you are unfamiliar with spells and ancient rites in my older games, all magic is unique and single-use only; once cast it is forever lost. Magic always has a price, a consequence. Use at your own peril...)
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Slowly, Urshull Vandal-Eye drifts closer to you - within swords-length, wafting the sickly tang of Black Myrrh fumes - and begins to weave his tale through haunted eyes:
- You think you have been sent by Lady Ursa to end me, a cruel Slave Merchant. But did you not see the manner of Lady Ursa herself? Did she not strike you and call you slave? She is a slave merchant herself. I know this, for she is my long lost daughter, Rose.
I was not always like this. When my daughter was taken from me I gave everything! By the Greater Light and The Lesser, I searched from the jungles of Langkasuka to the wilderness of old Ixachitlan. I bribed slave merchants and cutthroats all over to learn of where she could be found. When they would not talk - yes, I tortured them. Soon I was a slave merchant myself, having known and killed so many in their company. In this age of war, gold was to be got through only a few means - the Black Myrrh, gunsulphur, the sword; fire and steel and slaves.
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When all this failed, I turned to other powers. None came when I called - wicked and cruel as I was, I remained but naive as to truly how far one could fall to corruption. It required yet more sacrifice, so I gave... anointed altars with those families and fugitives of war, anything to bargain for the means to see my daughter again.

And from that gift of blood, one of the old powers came...
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Ananse Peh'Olse, The Witch-Spider, Speaker Of First Death

Vodoun Witch-Queen of the Nacirema, once a cruel and decadent ruler of Ixachitlan, Place Of The Great Earth.

After her reign-mate died of drunkeness amidst the revelry of the Cult of Elibomotua, Anansi the Spider seized the many-coloured mantle of worship amongst the House Of The Feathered Serpent.

Tens of thousands of slaves and war-captives had their hearts plucked from their chests in sacrifice to Witch-Spider Peh'Olse, upon the chacmools of the tiered ziggurats of Ixachitlan, and it is said that countless more Nacirema perished seeking the fabled ice milk or snow cream, in which the Spider Queen Ananse Peh'Olse sought to bathe in, to restore her beauty and youth.

After the capture of the sacred conquistador Five Hundredfold Banner by fearsome Jaguar-warriors and obsidian spear-throwers devoted to Spider Queen Ananse Peh'Olse, the missionaries and inquisitors of the Oration had no choice but to acknowledge her power over Ixachitlan. In a reluctant act of syncretist concession, they venerated Ananse Peh'Olse as Annunciata Dalesandre within their Holy Consolamentum.

Some seers have procaimed that the advent of Ananse Peh'Olse upon the shores of Tangleng Ongkok, the Eastern Peace of Imperial Langkasuka Of The Lotus And Cannon, heralds the ending of the Age of the Fifth Sun and Five Eyes, the doom of the world.

Though the great empire of Nacirema eventually fell to the Weather Cults of Elibomotua and later the Plaguebearers of Tenretni, foul skeletal star demoness of Tamoanchan, Eater Of Filth, the memory of the Vodoun Spider-Witch Ananse Peh'Olse still invokes fear amongst the scattered remnants of the Ixachitlan tribes.
"Pares su, Aieee! O reatg oddessg fo Nacirema! NaciREEEEma! NaciREEEEE-ma!"

(Screamed invocation to Ananse Peh'Olse, before Rite Of Heart-Carving upon the Eagle gourd)
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Urshull Vandal-Eye pauses briefly. You see him wipe tears that smear as murky streaks from his hollowed and stained eyes. From grief, or the vapours of Black Myrrh?

The Slave-Taker continues:
-I was tricked! It is always so with magic, with Lies... My life-sacrifice was granted - I was returned to my daughter. But the foul witch-spider of Ixachitlan, the Speaker Of First Death Ananse... she took from my daughter her memory of me! She cannot recognise me, her father, at all!

Now am I bound to this prison by my daughter, for I could leave by sorcerous power at any time... and yet I cannot, for to do so would be to abandon my daughter once more, and acknowledge that all I have done is for naught!

Seeing your executioner sword, Urshull is seized with sudden hope. He scrabbles desperately and falls to his knees before you...
-There is a way! There is a way! Hear me and trust me. My bargain with the Witch Spider was for Life. But if you agree to execute me, deliver True Death to a Highborn with that sword, yet cast at the same time that spell of old Maskelyne... the rite of exchange of life and death, I will die and yet also live! You will be completely unharmed. I swear it! No harm can come to you! And I will be reunited with my daughter once more... at long last!
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Consider all that Urshull Vandal-Eye
has said about Lady Ursa
and all that has occurred. In particular, consider

>You may ask Urshull Vandal-Eye one question before deciding (write-in). He however appears very eager to hurry you along...

Decide what to do:

>1/ You believe Urshull Vandal-Eye is telling the complete truth; it was pretty obvious Ursa was his long-lost daughter. They should be reunited at last, and perhaps they will redeem each other, heal the parched land of this neverending daylight...

>2/ Urshull Vandal-Eye is telling the truth. But re-uniting them would be wrong; by his own admission both of them are horribly corrupted, cruel slavers and tyrants.

>3/ Urshull Vandal-Eye is lying. He said a lot of words, but this does not even look like a prison. Maybe he and Lady Ursa are in league, and she is sending an endless stream of human lives for him to prey upon in the vaulted dungeon down here? You never did learn what happened to those that tried to execute him in the past...

>4/Both Urshull and Ursa are lying. She is probably trying to usurp him, and seize his slave empire for herself.

>5/ You are not sure your sword will deliver True Death to Highborn. Doesn't Graelent possess a sword like yours? If it were so easy he would have performed it already? If only you had met the Vicomte Varin de Sou, perhaps he would know the surest way...

>6/ Are Urshull and Ursa the same person? If only you knew their true names... (write-in)


Use weapon -
>A/ The Sword, Gwaith Camlann. Urshull insists you must use this executioner sword for his ancient rite to take effect
>B/ The Flower Wand
>C/ The War-Mace, Caulbearer. The demons upon it hunger.

>I/ Do as Urshull Vandal-Eye asks: agree to execute him, whilst invoking the rite Two Tales Of Maskelyne. If it works he will be restored to his daughter, his bargain with the Witch Spider undone. You will switch places with him: pray that Urshull told you the truth, about what awaits you...

>II/ Urshull is lying. Pretend to execute him as agreed, but at the last moment do not use the rite. Hope that your sword can really deliver True Death to Highborn, and kill him once and for all...

>III/ Both Urshull and Ursa are lying. Well now you will have to kill everyone (commence massive battle, I will need a new section lol. Write-in which weapon and what you wish to do)

>IV/ Something else? Write in. At any point if you can unmask the true names of Urshull Vandal-Eye or Ursa, you feel that might help unlock some as yet unrevealed choices...
>>You may ask Urshull Vandal-Eye one question before deciding (write-in). He however appears very eager to hurry you along...
What happened to all the previous guys who tried to execute him?

>2/ Urshull Vandal-Eye is telling the truth. But re-uniting them would be wrong; by his own admission both of them are horribly corrupted, cruel slavers and tyrants.

>IV/ Something else? Write in. At any point if you can unmask the true names of Urshull Vandal-Eye or Ursa, you feel that might help unlock some as yet unrevealed choices...
I get who the witch spider is (Pelosi) but I can only guess who the two are. Bezos? Biden? Yellen?
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(QM: unfortunately these are not the true names of either Lady Ursa or Urshull Vandal-Eye)

>What happened to all the previous guys who tried to execute him?

You think back to the suit of Black Dragon Armour, missing a helm and gauntlet, discarded upon the parched white stone slabs of the courtyard above. Nothing remained of whoever wore it, not even a corpse...

QM: Other players can also continue asking a question each; the choices remain as shown here
or write-in your own plan of what you wish to do...
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>5 eyes
Trump and the Jan 5th hearings or Ghislaine Maxwell?
What would he change if he could?
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>Five Eyes
(This lore is correct, but sadly the rest is not. However, I will offer this additional choice:)

Either choose from
>Free Urshull Vandal-Eye of his burden
You believe that Urshull Vandal-Eye is telling the truth. But he has been separated from his daughter for so long, that even if all he says is true, that the curse upon him can be broken by switching places with him, allowing him finally to be reunited with his daughter... she will still spurn him, and never forgive him for all the evil he has done.

>Write in a speech to persuade him to realise this, to swear never to pursue her or slavery ever again.

A better speech will persuade Urshull to leave the realm, but as you know not his true name nor that of Lady Ursa, you will forfeit all rewards.

You may also end up being hunted by Drudenfuss, for aiding in the release and escape of their prisoner.

>What would he change if he could?
Urshull Vandal-Eye gazes through his haunted eyes upon the demon war-mace, Caulbearer. Through the haze and fog of Black Myrrh incense you are not sure if his expression is of grief, regret or... fear? But Urshull says quickly:
-Never use magic! It will betray you in the end, as it has done to me! All magic is falsehood and lies, never trust it!
(Does he fear the demon mace? It stirs with restless warmth by your side)

QM: I will allow maybe one more question from any other players, and then it is time to decide...
Here are some example questions:
>Why does the rite have to be performed by your sword? Why not another weapon?
>How did he become Highborn? Why can he not die? And what is the Fylfot?
What is all that about? (you may know this already if you played my other quests)
Urshull Vandal-Eye has bargained with many occult powers.
>Ask Urshull if he knows of the Seeling Night
>Ask Urshull if he knows of Hieronymous Erde
>Ask Urshull if he knows of Lotan and where the dragon resides
>write in something else etc.
>Urshull is lying. Pretend to execute him as agreed, but at the last moment do not use the rite. Hope that your sword can really deliver True Death to Highborn, and kill him once and for all...
Ursula von der Leyden?
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There is a maiden in white
walking through a sunlit forest. She seems to be beckoning you to follow her...
Inside the hollow of an old tree, you can see a shaft of sunlight illuminating a mound of old earth, with a singular clarity of purpose.

There is something old and forgotten embedded upon the moss and rocks there.
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Executioner Sword
The strange name of a twisted sword with no point.

By Horatian, Juvenalian and Menippean rhetorician duellists this sword was known to take many forms, appearing at times as an elegant, needling rapier, or a massive, two-handed cleaving blade.

(The form of this weapon is absorbed within Gwaith Camlann)
Completed (hidden) mission: banish Urshull Vandal-Eye / Prince-Provost Lady Ursa from Drudenfuss, Imperial Reichskloster Court

The Aristocratic Ineptitude of Ursula Von Der Leyen
APRIL 30, 2021
>Rose Ladson
She enrolled at the London School of Economics under the name Rose Ladson. Few people at the time were as conscious of the lingering legacies of slavery as we have now become, but her choice to assume the name of her slave-holding ancestors was an indication nevertheless about her comfort with unchallenged and inherited privilege.

But another key factor often gets overlooked: her lineage.
Von der Leyen held the post as defense minister from 2013 to 2019, a remarkable run considering her inexperience.
The scandal is usually called the “consultant affair” due to the untold hundreds of millions of dollars von der Leyen and her chief deputy Katrin Suder paid to consultants who were responsible for helping to determine how the military should spend its substantial armaments budget.
When your hands clasp upon the hilt of the twisted sword with no point, Satire, you see the strands of the world unravel.

For a moment, you perceive the endless stretch of trees within the Old Forest Of Idols as they truly are - layered branches and entangled possibilities, a true Pathless Labyrinth.
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And in a flash of blue fire the forest is gone.

The twisted Executioner Sword, Satire, strikes sparks as it descends and grinds the flagstones of the dungeon floor.

Urshull Vandal-Eye has vanished. You suspect, in all likelihood, that the Lady Ursa is nowhere to be found either.

You hope no trace of them remains upon this world, and they were banished back to wherever they came from.

There is still a golden remnant of the Slave-Taker's opulence, that rests upon the scarred dungeon floor by your sword:
Gold Slave Skull

QM: Congratulations on solving the name puzzle!

You can loot this item as a treasure, perhaps trade it for something. It is basically a skull anointed with gold, so do with it what you wish. Yes, you can indeed throw it at people if you really want to do so.

Also, you can loot this item

Black Myrrh Censer
It looks like the item here. This functions as a very primitive flail / ranged weapon, it is essentially a non-lethal knock out or hallucinogenic short-range, throwable on a chain. Consider carefully the consequences of taking Black Myrrh or bringing this item with you where you go; it is very noticeable and cannot be concealed.

>Take the Gold Slave Skull
>Take the Black Myrrh Censer
>Take everything

QM: Next, write in your priorities. Some examples as to what to do. I will progress the story approximately based upon your submitted objectives

>Investigate where Lotan resides
>Investigate the Seeling Night
>Investigate the whereabouts of Hieronymous Erde

>Some other location or lore you have heard of?

>You do not care about these stupid quests, just loot and kill everyone

>Something else, write-in?

You can also write-in and request another item or weapon from the lists here
(You do not receive it, but might encounter it later on...)

>Request another item from the lists above
>Take the Gold Slave Skull
>Investigate where Lotan resides
Although I didn't solve the puzzle, will swap to his vote if he wishes.
>>Take the Gold Slave Skull

Was there something we could do on the tower?
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There, take it, prince, and if my form lie there,
Then I am yours.

[He unlocks the golden casket.]

O hell! what have we here?
A carrion Death, within whose empty eye
There is a written scroll. I’ll read the writing.

All that glisters is not gold,
Often have you heard that told.
Many a man his life hath sold
But my outside to behold.
Gilded tombs do worms infold.

When you grasp the slave skull anointed in gold,
you see a brief glimpse of the fallen empire of Nacirema, the end of the Age Of Five Suns and Five Eyes, the doom of Ixachitlan.

Is this the fate that awaits the world?
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Child Of Chaos
Slave Of Freedom
The Hanged Man
The Unfreed Tyrant / The Fallen Freedom
Bringer Of Heaven In Gold And Flesh

Descendant of The Chaos That Came Before, cosmogony of the Ancient Freedom of aeons lost and long gone. Yaldabaoth was once the Slave-God depicted as a serpent with the head of a lion - perhaps symbolising the dual powers of strength and nobility conjoined with treachery and deceit.

The Old Believers of the Fallen Freedom Yaldabaoth venerated the Serpent of the Eternal Garden, who bestowed knowledge upon mortals through the Betrayer's Tree, and liberated them from Creation. Others look to the tale of Tolath Dag Gadol, the crimson maggot-worm that was bait for the great Leviathan that swallowed the raging Sea.

The old gnostic prophets spoke of a vision where Yaldabaoth was enslaved in chains and given to excruciation after being cast out from Tarwan-Nhura, Land Of Light, or Taruan the Divine Land.

Venerated by those who obeyed no law, and knew only the tyranny of strength and plunder - pirates and brigands - Yaldabaoth The Slave Of Freedom was both secretly craved for yet also greatly feared by the downtrodden and outcast, beggars and slaves.

Upon the first discovery of Ixachitlan a great iconoclasm ensued, in which all monuments, shrines and images of the Serpent Lion were defaced and destroyed, to be forgotten from the memories of all that came thereafter.

The worship of Yaldabaoth was then recast by the Church of Oration as a giver of rights and Law, though it is alleged some cults of the old believers remain.

(inspired by)
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By the Tilted Pagoda Of Loulan,
you can see a large hanging bell, and an ornate golden lion. In the background further off there is the sound of gongs and cymbals, tambour and flower drums, as well as flutes and plucked zithers or citharas of the Orient.

Yet within the Pagoda you can see some figures who appear on the verge of a brawl. You hear the following voices:

(A nervous, increasingly desperate voice)
- But you see, you must let me in! I really am a very powerful Wizard! As Arvel Straunge-Trull... wait, no, I mean, er, um, Faldnag Bridge-Breaker of the Ruined Fire, I command you to let me in! Fly, you fools! And this man, this is my friend Sir Aguecheek... er, no I mean, er... Legolast. Yes, that is not a stupid fake name. This is Agu...I mean, Legolast, the Last Elf. And this is my friend er... let us call him, um, er... the Jolly Halfling. He is very jolly and pleasant and gay, I mean gay, in the old sense of the word, you know, not the insulting sense. You are not gay. Unless, er, you understand it in the old sense of the meaning, in which case you are? I do not want to offend you. Please, we really need to just go inside! Our friend is already in there and waiting, he has been waiting for so long. This is really important. We must meet him!

(An extremely sceptical masculine voice)
- What do you say, Willowjade. Shall I let them in?

(An angry girl's voice)
-No! I know what they are here for! They are here to... ogle our beautiful dancers! Who are not courtesans! They want to ogle and molest them inappropriately instead of listening and appreciating our beautiful operas and culture. (A loud clashing of gongs and maniacal screeching, discordant scraping of gutstrings and wolf-hairs heard in the rehearsal background) Please punch him, Brother Spade!

(The masculine voice again)
- They do not... seem violent. Tell me again, Wizard, where are you from?

(The nervous desperate voice again)
-But I have already told you five times! You just keep making me repeat myself! Look, maybe that stranger over there who is sort of naked for some reason yet also carrying a sword and a flower and a skull (?) might be able to help us. Can you come vouch for us, O kind stranger? Help us get inside?
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Arvel Straunge-Trull, masquerading as
Faldnag Bridge-Breaker, Ruin Of The Fallen Fire

(For some reason, you manage to see through his masterful disguise.)
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Legolast The Last Elf

Maybe an Elf? Does an Elf wear a green hat and cloak?
The Jolly Halfling
He is very jolly.
He leers at you intently. He seems to be staring at your hands.
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Sagacious Brother Spade, The Monk
An enormously fat and muscular gigantic man. He is carrying a huge and heavy iron spade.
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Willowjade, The Fan Girl
She is a ... fangirl?
You think she is probably a dancer or performer here.
Willowjade glowers indignantly at the three intruders within the Pagoda.
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Help Arvel Straunge-Trull enter the Pagoda of Loulan, and meet his friend:
>I am sure Arvel, er... Faldnag Bridge-Breaker, is indeed a wizard. He can prove it by performing great magic for us...
>You sir, good man - Legolast The Last Elf. Look, he is wearing a silly hat and a green cloak like an Elf or whatever that is. Surely that is proof enough?
>Er... why is the Jolly Halfling staring at your hand? (take a look at your hand)
>(Write-in a speech that will help Arvel Straunge-Trull and his friends enter the Pagoda))

Help Willowjade and Brother Spade
>I know you! You are not a wizard! You are barely even a scholar, Sizar Arvel Straunge-Trull! (unmask his disguise)
>Turn around, Legolast! Are you even really an Elf?
>Er... that Jolly Halfling looks a bit strange. Is there something wrong with him?
>(Write-in a speech that will help Willowjade and the Monk, Brother Spade get rid of these intruders)

>You think you know who Arvel... er Faldnag The Wizard, Legolast The Last Elf and The Jolly Halfling have come to meet up with. Loudly announce who this is and maybe they will come out instead?

>Completely ignore this situation and bang on the flower drum, play with some musical instruments. It is fun, you know you want to try it... (QM: take no action and see how the situation develops)

>So, this is what the world has come to. This is what Aztec-Shakespeare-Tolkien-macroeconomic-occult conspiracy eventually leads to. Unsheathe the sword of Satire and kill everything before you. It is too horrible.

>Something else, write-in?
>I am sure Arvel, er... Faldnag Bridge-Breaker, is indeed a wizard. He can prove it by performing great magic for us..
You think you know who Arvel... er Faldnag The Wizard, Legolast The Last Elf and The Jolly Halfling have come to meet up with. Loudly announce who this is and maybe they will come out instead?
A dwarf of some kind?
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Belch The Tall Dwarf

(You notice this average-sized man slipping past you towards the backstage area of the Pagoda, as everyone else appears distracted)
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Upon being asked to demonstrate his power, Arvel Straunge-Trull, in his disguise as the Wizard Faldnag, reddens visibly. He begins to stammer and hesitate, protesting (for reasons completely unrelated to limitations of the QM's cinematic knowledge or film preferences)
- Ah, er, well you see, um I do not have my... magic walking staff with me, you would not part an old man from his walking stick? But they confiscated it in the Dark Hold of Mordo... er, Mordor? And also I have sprained my hands, ow, ouch, um yes it really hurts. So you see, I am actually really powerful, I can do things like summon a butterfly that was definitely not already there, and make a bright light, so long as I am standing on a hill with the sun behind me. Oh wait, also I can make a chariot crash! And I can control time!

Willowjade the Fan Girl becomes increasingly suspicious. She snaps shut her fan (which you see appears to be curiously edged with iron) and pokes at him threateningly:
- You are not a wizard! You do not even have a beard! Everyone knows wizards always have beards. I think you are some sort of perverted scoundrel, and the rest of your accomplices are trying to slither into our pleasure chambers to leer at our beautiful dancers who are not courtesans when they are getting dressed and changing clothes!

To which Arvel Straunge-Trull stammers and repeats:
- Ah, er, well you see, um I do not have my... magic walking staff with me, you would not part an old man from his walking stick? But they confiscated it in the Dark Hold of Mordo... er, Mordor? And also I have sprained my hands, ow, ouch, um yes it really hurts...

Fortunately, you are freed from being imprisoned within this terrible temporal tautology. The Sagacious Brother Spade, the Monk, interrupts and says:
-The solution to this is really simple. Just tell us who your friend is or looks like and we can fetch them for you.

Willowjade squeals suddenly:
- Don't leave me alone with them! Especially that Legolast, the Last Elf man! He is so manly and threatening, and not at all attractive to me! I do not want to be alone with him, and gaze deeply into his eyes. But these ruffians, they will overpower me and I will be so helpless and...
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Legolast, The Last Elf
turns at this in an extraordinarily Elf-like and pompous, gruff, male, very masculine, deep, low, rough manly, definitely male voice
- Fie, fie, a plague and pox on thee! Thou art a cautelous callet, a hilderling, a prick-song mewling lamb that entreats her butcher, an overscutched smock, a strewment of a whoremonger's pillicock girlond...
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The Sagacious Monk, Brother Spade, ignores this.

Setting the shovel end of his massive guillotine-like crescent iron spade into the ground, the Monk declares
- Very well, I will remain here. Describe this friend of yours to this Stranger, and everything will be resolved. But first, I must ascertain that the Stranger is trustworthy, honourable. We cannot keep you outside only to have a Stranger in your place peering through at our dancers undressing in their backstage undergarments - that will never do! Tell me stranger, do you follow the Spade? Do you know why we Monks carry the Spade?

>Without hesitation, agree enthusiastically: Yes, good Brother! I too follow the Spade! Behold, this is my sword-shaped spade! (Brandish the spade... er, sword, Satire, as proof)

>Well, finally your years of accumulating dedicated anime and wuxia knowledge can be put to use. You know why Monks carry a spade. Explain why (write-in)

>That unsettling, creepy and disturbing Jolly Halfling is still leering and staring at your left hand. It is getting a bit worrying. Is there something wrong with it? (Take a look at your hand)
>Ask the Jolly Halfling a question (write-in)

>(Take Willowjade the Fan Girl's side, get rid of Arvel Straunge-Trull) This Legolast the Last Elf just insulted you! And something about him seems a little unusual... maybe it is just the nature of that rare creature, the Elf...

>Something else...?
>>Well, finally your years of accumulating dedicated anime and wuxia knowledge can be put to use. You know why Monks carry a spade. Explain why (write-in)
> To bury bodies and hit people in the head with.

>>(Take Willowjade the Fan Girl's side, get rid of Arvel Straunge-Trull) This Legolast the Last Elf just insulted you! And something about him seems a little unusual... maybe it is just the nature of that rare creature, the Elf...
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When you reveal the lore-secrets of his sworn temple brotherhood, Brother Spade is awestruck:
- How... how did you...?! No matter, my brother! You are truly a trustworthy individual! I will show you to the Fragrant Sanctum Of Eternal Vermillion Undergarments immediately! (QM: please reflect upon why the undergarments are eternally vermillion) Now you, Wizard, tell this Honourable Spade-Monk the name of your friend, so that he may bear your message to him, and bring him forth...

Arvel/Faldnag appears very uncomfortable with this:
- Um, well no. You see I cannot reveal that, because, you see, it is meant to be a surprise, that is it, it is a secret unfathomable surprise that will take more than killing me to kill me to reveal, I am not ready...

The Jolly Halfling
suddenly leans over and hisses
- Tell himmm...sss... tell hiimmm... Offf tthhhe ggllory offf tthhhee Brrrrrinngger Oofff Fffleshh, ...sss... Maann-Fffleshhh... ssss...

Arvel Straunge-Trull pales and swallows. Trembling all over, his lower lip quivering, Arvel quickly says:
- Yes, My Lor- I mean, at once! His name is, however, very learn-ed, see how I pronounce the last syllable there, for I too am learn-ed, not retarded, but usually it requires many years of deep study to contemplate these ancient names, you must study all the syllabaries and abugidas, otherwise you might get them Wong, it would be embarrassing, culturally inappropriate, people might mistake one person for another person. I do not want to offend anyone! (The Jolly Halfling hisses again) Ah yes, at once! So his name is of course the Noble Lord
Ah-ra-go-ern, son of
Ah-ra-tho-ern, it may be a bit too hard for you to pronounce, it requires a lot of effort because it is so exotic and foreign sounding... note in particular the Elder Futhark digraph rune th, takes the form of a p or þ in our modern language, so that the archaic obsolete ancient word thorn we now know as þorn...


Throughout this long rambling, Willowjade the Fan-Girl has been staring at the Last Elf Legolast with a mixture of repressed lust-anger intermingled with interrupted requital. You have made her love him (?) even more.

Willowjade suddenly declares:
-Oh I do not care about your Arrow-Porn son of A-Raw-Prawn, or Arrow-þorn however you spell it. Let this stranger in! And I have a performance to give in a while...(she glances longingly at The Elf Legolast)... will you join me?
You see a large gathered crowd of individuals amidst the riot of red backstage from the inner sanctum of the Pagoda - all around are swathes of silk in scarlet. But what is your plan for getting the attention of the right one?

>You have decided to abandon the mission of Arvel Straunge-Trull, for it is now replaced by a far more important mission: stealing underpants. Try and find some underpants to steal (QM: you can also try and look for some better clothes)

>Just shout out extremely loudly, over the clashing gongs, cymbals, drums and incessant flutes and screeching zither rehearsal music: I want Arrow-Porn! Is there any Arrow-Porn here? Noble Lord son of A Raw Prawn? Anyone? Give me Arrow Porn! (QM: unfortunately you lack linguistic proficiency to pronounce the name of Arvel's companion correctly, it is too Strange and foreign.)

>Maybe if you blend into the crowd for a while, you will be able to notice who is unusual. But how can you do this?

>Something else? Write-in.
>Maybe if you blend into the crowd for a while, you will be able to notice who is unusual. But how can you do this?
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(you are wearing: Golden Conqueror Helm)
(you have been discovered)
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Willow Song

Slender as the dressed height of jade
Ten thousand streams of green cascades;
Whence comes the fronds and delicate braids?
Verdant wind, of second moon -
Becomes her scissoring blades.

(QM: in my translated version above I take a liberty splitting the final stanza in two, second moon actually refers to February.)

You are attempting to blend into the crowd as Willowjade The Fan Girl gives her dance performance. Whilst she moves in an elegant and graceful manner, you wonder if she is perhaps a little new and nervous. Willowjade appears very self-conscious, as she keeps eyeing Sir Aguecheek / "Legolast, the Last Elf" to see if he (?) is watching her. It does not appear Willowjade's courtship fan-dance is producing much effect, arousing the desired ardour in the disinterested Last Elf, or even leading to any reciprocal attention at all...

As you are examining this awkward scene, another Pagoda entertainer has approached your vicinity.
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Miike Naritsugu, Lady Violence
She is carrying a parasol and a little tea kettle.

Lady Violence gives you a look as if of recognition. She says:
-You must come with me - your horse has died. But we will fix everything for you; just follow me to the stables.

When she sees you are about to deny that you have a horse, Miike places her hand gently against yours, as she murmurs sweetly yet with a quiet conspiratorial urgency
- Your friend, the Strange one - we know he is here. Please, follow me.

>Just ignore this Mike woman, that name sounds very suspicious. Maybe she will go away.

>Well this is an ambush. But you feel like you probably could survive it, unless there were Thirteen Assassins who had prepared elaborate traps beforehand in a village filled with hidden swords. Also, why would a dishonoured lord commit suicide right in front of his enemy to shame him instead of at least trying to avenge his son's death? Many such strange questions fill your mind, when you follow Lady Violence to the stables...

>You think you see a connection between your task and why Lady Violence wants you to follow her to the dead horse. Write in if you know what it is.

>Ask Miike Naritsugu / Lady Violence a question

>Something else?
>>Well this is an ambush. But you feel like you probably could survive it, unless there were Thirteen Assassins who had prepared elaborate traps beforehand in a village filled with hidden swords. Also, why would a dishonoured lord commit suicide right in front of his enemy to shame him instead of at least trying to avenge his son's death? Many such strange questions fill your mind, when you follow Lady Violence to the stables...
>Ask Miike Naritsugu / Lady Violence a question
What in the god damn are you talking bout?
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Your mind swims with itching unease and confusion; you wonder if you have stumbled inadvertently into some bizarre conspiracy of the Unbidden Court. Is it a case of mistaken identity... perhaps in your incorrectly chosen disguise
Lady Violence mistook you for another? Yet she mentioned the Strange one, she must know of Arvel Straunge-Trull, his extraordinarily unconvincing cosplay disguise
and how he is not really Faldnag Bridge-Breaker of the Ruined Fallen Fire...

You think on how Arvel Straunge-Trull described your task, in finding his friend, and the risk of getting the person Wong, due to the delicate difficulty of all these foreign and unpronounceable ancient names. How Arvel Straunge-Trull appeared beholden or enthralled to the command of that sinister Jolly Halfing, who spoke in such a Strange manner himself...

And then your mind shudders with yet greater spasms of conjecture and paranoia; for did you not leave Arvel Straunge-Trull by the courtyard of the castle, in distant Ravenspurgh, by the halberdiers, on the verge of being overrun by a bloodthirsty, murderous Half-Men Horde? How could Arvel Straunge-Trull have possibly even survived?
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Across the reach of the endless Void, the Nameless Sea, the land of Ravenspurgh is pulled into the Dead Land of Old Ixachitlan, the Fallen Empire of Nacirema.

The Rite of Five Suns and Five Eyes is complete, and you are helpless to prevent it...

(QM: you wonder if all this might have hinted at the right disguise, the right mask:)
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As her performance ends,
Willowjade The Fan-Girl runs weeping off the stage in tears:
- I tried so hard, I... don't know what I got wrong...(sobs) The Last Elf is not interested in me at all...! (more sobbing, as she shakes and smears all her rouge and cinnabar with the white porcelain of her face into one ghastly scarlet-streaked smear) The Elf must hate me because I am Ugly. Ugly! (sobbing and gasping wretchedness)

Miike Naritsugu, Lady Violence, twirls her parasol with a little flourish of malice and glee as she observes her rival dancer's romantic humiliation.

Then Lady Violence turns back to you, still with the nails of her hand entwined in yours. Leaning closer, very close...

Lady Violence urges in an intimate hushed undertone of promise:
-But you are looking for (she mouthes soundlessly, and indicates: "Aragorn"), are you not?

He is waiting for you in the stables, The Prancing Pony, by the temple shrine. It is very important that you meet with him in private, away from any prying Eyes...

(...) carried the Black Knight alongside Doctor Strange and the Avengers as they battled Ymir and Surtur;

Aragorn is a fictional character and a main protagonist in J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.
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Miike Naritsugu, Lady Violence, leads you to the Pagoda stables. She smiles prettily and bows daintily as she leaves you there.
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No-one is waiting for you at the stables. You do see what appears to be an ill or injured horse, lying slumped in an odd upright position with its forelegs splayed upon the ground. Is it actually dead? Yet it is upright, still half-standing?
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Before you can move to inspect the unnerving horse, you hear a quiet click. It sounds akin to a metallic trigger, cranequin and ratchet, the pulled drawstring of a crossbow.

You have one chance to undertake a pre-emptive action here; one very slim hope of survival still remains...

>Think very carefully what you can do to survive this ambush, and write-in...
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Given that it is a life-or-death situation in the quest, I will also offer other escape write-ins, but they will unfortunately be just as difficult:

-(difficult) if you have been following the sheer occult lore insanity of Aztec Shakespeare Elric Moorcock Tolkien and now wuxia? world, and know where the great wyrm Lotan / L'Otan / Leviathan is situated, ie which section refers to it, greentext link to the place where it is mentioned. Think of it and you may find yourself there...

-(very difficult... or very easy?) if you have guessed the other secret, which does not require following any of the world lore, but is revealed through some of the strange attached pictures of the game, write-in and something dramatic may intervene and help you. If you have knowledge of Shakespeare, think of something actors refer to often in his plays... You can also greentext link one of the picture sections as proof.

>Greentext link the text section of interest to the Great Wyrm Lotan

>Either write-in what you think the other secret is, or greentext link a strange picture related section which reveals it
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Let him kill us. Cast the spell that will switch the person being killed with the killer.
The spell here.
>cast at the same time that spell of old Maskelyne... the rite of exchange of life and death
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A Strange thought occurs to you even as the barbed arrowhead that marks your End hurtles towards its target.

Time seems to pass so slowly,
in precious heart-measures of pulse and breath,
when savoured so close to patient Death.

Perhaps being surrounded by all the masks, the fluttering silks, the vermillion and scarlet of the dancing performers, the gongs and cymbals and zithers - perhaps this has conveyed a strange sense of theatricality and introspection upon your thoughts, a sense of foreboding.

It almost feels as if there been someone from afar who has been trying to warn you. Someone orchestrating an elaborate yet sinister game. You reflect upon how even as you wore the Golden Conqueror Helm
the Golden Helm that betrayed you to a sinister conspiracy that lay in waiting, ready to pounce, there seemed to be a voice from afar, crying out a warning, though its meaning was almost beyond understanding...
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Why can this mysterious entity not simply tell you in plain words where the danger lies? You shake your head in disbelief. It is almost as if you are entangled in some horrible game, being made to play for the whims of a Nameless audience. You shake this unbelievable thought from your head, and turn to face the barbed darts whistling towards you...
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You are raising your hand, with the Flower Wand of Anagnorisis, to cast a rite, a desperate unleashing and unravelling of nature and meaning; a rite to grasp at the last hope of life you have left, and bend it to your Will.

What was the name of the rite again? You are seized with panic... what exactly did it do?

The Two Tales Of Maskelyne - a strange name. This Maskelyne could never have existed, and you are perhaps not sure what those Two Tales could be?

But even as you think it... the ancient rite surges, untwines itself, igniting and coiling around the flower brand as if it is aflame.

And nothing happens. Have you been tricked? Urshull Vandal-Eye himself told you never to trust magic. Was his spell a lie, like all spells are Lies?

You realise now that you did not perform the bidding of the Eternal Garden... to bear the flower to a high place...

When you expended the magic of the Eternal Garden upon flowers, you depleted the Wand and its power...
(This is the trick and curse mentioned here)

You look in horror at the Wand, Anagnorisis, the strange flower that is becoming Caulbearer, the demon emerging from its dormant prison.

Starved of blood, it seems to have taken on a new appearance, and you realise why the corrupted friend of Arvel Straunge-Trull was so fascinated with your hand, the hand that had grasped the Flower Become Demon...
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Anointed Caulbearer (Bloodstarved Variant)
- You feel the living hunger of its metal flesh. If it does not feed soon, the demons within will consume your soul.

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By the dead horse of the Prancing Pony stables, first a single stray crossbow shaft, then a hail, as dozens of arrows, bolts and darts hammer against splintering wood. Entirely solid wooden beams are gouged and punctured with metal.
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Crossbow (Goatsfoot)
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Wallarmbrust (Cranequin/Windlass Heavy Crossbow)
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Langkasukan Repeating Light Crossbow (Envenomed)
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Half-Men Cult Fanatic

From a feral throat there is a harsh cry for surcease, a voice howling in triumph entwined with the cries of man and woman and beast.

The figure steps forth bearing a strange cylinder, with neither touch-hole nor trigger, akin to a primitive fire-lance of old.

With a slow burning serpentine match cord and a punt of oiled cloth, the barrel of the weapon ignites:
Some hidden store of black powder, yet another buried trap lest the victim should survive the rain of darts, ignites and detonates.

There is an earthshaking roar of flame; the already tilted Pagoda Of Loulan is shaken by tremors to her foundations. Screams and panic fill the air as dancers and half-naked courtesans (QM: yes there are always courtesans) flee the billowing plumes of choking black fumes and falling rubble and burning cinders.
You think you are dead. But not quite dead. Not as dead as the worshipper of Half-Men, the cultist ambush sniper, who has been blown into mammocks of flesh and bloody mizzle, having first been pierced with dozens of arrowheads, and is now scattered in separate streaks of meat in your place by the burning crater of the stables.

But there are darts buried in the side of your arms and upper chest... the sorcery of the old Slave-Taker, Urshull Vandal-Eye, and his conjurer trick of exchanging life and death could only save you from the killing bolt.

You are bleeding and grievously, mortally wounded, and you feel as if you can barely struggle to stand, let alone wield a heavy weapon like a mace or sword.

You are standing in the temple shrine by the stables, having used and expended the Two Tales Of Maskelyne to exchange death for life with the Half-Men worshipper, the cultist sniper who fired the first crossbow bolt beginning the ambush. You think there are dozens more of them, surrounding you, and then you hear a voice from the shadows:
- Ah, er, well you see, um I do not have my... magic walking staff with me, you would not part an old man from his walking stick? But they confiscated it in the Dark Hold of Mordo... er, Mordor? And also I have sprained my hands, ow, ouch, um yes it really hurts. So you see, I am actually really powerful, I can do things like summon a butterfly that was definitely not already there, and make a bright light, so long as I am standing on a hill with the sun behind me. Oh wait, also I can make a chariot crash! And I can control time! Wait, where is this? What...what has happened? Why is everything on fire...

>You are bleeding to death and almost dying. Lash out with your last strength using the Bloodstarved Caulbearer, and let it feed upon this soul... perhaps it will restore you?

>Cry out for help, pathetically. Is there something wrong with your throat... it is filled with blood...

>You can barely wield any melee weapon given your wounds. Try and retrieve a nearby ranged weapon:

Crossbow (Goatsfoot)

Wallarmbrust (Cranequin/Windlass Heavy Crossbow)

Langkasukan Repeating Light Crossbow (Envenomed)

>Something else? Write-in...
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>Call a timeout
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[Alarum: excursions. Enter NORFOLK and forces
fighting; to him CATESBY]

CATESBY: Rescue, my Lord of Norfolk, rescue, rescue!
The king enacts more wonders than a man,
Daring an opposite to every danger:
His horse is slain, and all on foot he fights,
Seeking for Richmond in the throat of death.
Rescue, fair lord, or else the day is lost!

[Alarums. Enter KING RICHARD III]

KING RICHARD III: A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!

CATESBY: Withdraw, my lord; I'll help you to a horse.

KING RICHARD III: Slave, I have set my life upon a cast,
And I will stand the hazard of the die:
I think there be six Richmonds in the field;
Five have I slain to-day instead of him.
A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!


You wonder at the power of this Aragorn, son of Arathorn, or A-Raw-Prawn that brought you Arrow-porn or Arrow-þorn. Was he a king or a dead horse?

But one thing, one unspeakable thing you remember, from all the old tales of the Lord Of The West: he walked within the mountain, invoked The Fallen Freedom, from which he called forth an Army Of The Dead.

In the War of the Ring, Isildur's Heir, Aragorn, called on the Dead Men. Summoning them to the Stone of Erech, Aragorn commanded them to fulfill their oath and be free.
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Through ragged breaths you glance outside the temple shrine, to see that the neverending noon, the heat and sun of before that scorched the land, has finally come to an end. Now dark shapes swirl in the sky, occluding the Greater Light, and the shadows of vertiginous ziggurat spires are cast down by Suns newly arisen.
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The Cult Of Half-Men openly stalk the streets, parading the unnatural sigil of their kin. The Blue Sun of The Divine Land, Tarwan, has come to them... You remember this blue was ever the shade of war and strife, from the war-woad of the ancient Pretanic Isles, to the blue of Nacirema rain-sacrifice.


And they chant strange chants: to Dol-kien, whom they name Hokkien, and praise the glory of Tangleng Ongkok given to them upon Gold And Flesh.
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Some fight them, but they are few. Among them you think you see the rise and fall of a massive vermillion and gold blade, or... spade?

And the sword in your hand, the twisted sword with no point, Satire. It is always within your grasp, waiting for its wielder; you need only reach for it. The sword is in your words.

PRINCE HENRY: By heaven, Poins, I feel me much to blame,
So idly to profane the precious time,
When tempest of commotion, like the south
Borne with black vapour, doth begin to melt
And drop upon our bare unarmed heads.
Give me my sword and cloak. Falstaff, good night.
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Inspired by

Richard II
Henry IV, part I
The Hollow Crown (2012 TV adaptation)

Coriolanus (2010)
Polanski's Macbeth, (1971)
Twelfth Night (1996)
The Merchant Of Venice (2004)

Julie Taymor Film Adaptations
Titus (1999)
The Tempest (2010)

Tad Williams, Caliban's Hour, novel, and
Memory, Sorrow, Thorn Trilogy

The Faerie Queene, Edmund Spenser

RPGs and other Literature
Jack Vance, Tales Of The Dying Earth
Michael Moorcock, Elric Of Melnibone
R Scott Bakker, Prince Of Nothing Trilogy
David Gemmell

Zak Smith:
A Red And Pleasant Land
Maze Of The Blue Medusa

Ultraviolet Grasslands, Luka Rejec
Red Sky Dead City

Vaults Of Vaarn

Dungeoneer, Fighting Fantasy

Thank you for playing anons!

Thank you for enduring my terrible Shakespeare fetish hehe.

I can stay in the thread and answer any questions. It is probably a good idea to stop here before I expose my utter ignorance of Arvel Straunge-Trull and related cinematic knowledge, or inability to imagine any more wuxia lol (I think I went a bit WFRP/40k chaos cult in the end, this is all I can manage for ttrpg hehe).

As mentioned all my previous games had hidden themes, the Invultua Galerne Golgotha games were about war. For this one the theme is in the title, it is about usurpation, and culture being overwritten.

The inspiration came to me when I remembered AMZN were acquiring the rights to Lord Of The Rings, given the upcoming TV series soon in September I think, I thought it would be funny if they made the LOTR Aztec etc.

Then I read some Aztec mesoamerican mythology and decided, it would be a good idea hehe.

So nearly all the mythology in this game is based on actual myth, there really was a serpent cult to Yaldabaoth who worshipped the fallen freedom and knowledge the snake gave in Eden etc, there really is a Mayan deity Kukulkan (I switched some myths from the related Aztec Quetzalcoatl feather serpent etc). Many of these amazing myths have been forgotten and lost, or been usurped by others who have taken their Names.

As I tried to prove with the wiki links, it is fun to use your worldbuilding to shadow the real world.

Thank you again for reading and playing the game!
Other quests:

Song Of The Oath And Wild



Did we die like Abe did?
hehe no I think the anon here
was too scared to continue?

I think this one may just end inconclusively with the mysterious Usurper hero hiding from the rampaging Half-Men marauders
whilst contemplating if they can make a final defiant last stand...

Incidentally one way I imagined delivering true death to the Slave Trader was through obtaining a primitive cannon or handgonne like this one

Solutions to the riddles
Lotan: so the way to work out where fantasy Ukraine is within Aztec Shakespeare Tolkien Elric Moorcock also wuxia world without succumbing to occult nonsense madness (it is all true argggh) is to realise the answer is obviously a place... So just read through from the beginning, and look for the first place... oh look, it is in the second section hehe
Borysthenes (Ancient Greek: Βορυσθένης) is a geographical name from classical antiquity. The term usually refers to the Dnieper River and its eponymous river god

The other riddle about the pictures I was planning on developing a bit more if the game possessed. But basically hinted at by the Shakespeare quotes, the weird pictures here
>>5346814 (notice the curtains?)
and also by this item name, Anagnorisis
>a moment in a play or other work when a character makes a critical discovery.

The idea is you are in a sort of weird play. You can command Deus Ex Machina interventions by realising this and summoning "stage" interventions or effects by saying certain lines or words, e.g. call a storm with certain lines from The Tempest. etc. You can step out of worlds and change scenes etc.

That is what all the sennets and alarums in Shakespeare often signal with scene changes and also, in many many Shakespeare plays the actors stop and reflect upon how they that feel all their world is a stage as if acted in a play etc... At any point if anyone wrote in suspecting this, some special stage effects would happen hehe
So Ravenspurgh/spurn/spur was a real place, I chose it because
1/ it slightly sounds like dnd Ravensloft, hehe
2/ it was the landing place in Henry IV part I from Shakespeare, where the Usurper Bolingbroke later King Henry returns from exile and deposes King Richard II when he is busy fighting (mainly being defeated) in a foreign war distraction with Ireland
3/ Ravenspurn is I believe part of a 48,000 boepd North Sea gas field that is 15% of UK national gas
4/ The old medieval landing site sank into the Sea

I had some Call Of Duty Modern Warfare sea refinery assault style scenes left over from Golgotha, maybe that would have been the chance to reuse them etc.
The original look of this game was going to be very Ultraviolet Grasslands UVG inspired the ttrpg by Luka Rejec, so something like these pictures (see below). But I abandoned this look because I could not assemble enough artwork in this acid fantasy aesthetic style
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How I make lore for games and worldbuilding:

I mentioned before that I like fantasy to be historically situated, and also feel bizarre.

So for example the Two Tales Of Maskelyne spell comes from a 19th century family of magicians who performed that trick, John Nevil Maskelyne to Jasper Maskelyne, as well as the Charles Dickens novel A Tale Of Two Cities, the ending of which inspired the execution scenario.

Another thing I like to do is design by subtraction, I heard that term originally from Shadow Of The Colossus. What I try to do is heavily interweave obscure real myths, then deliberately omit or not mention a few things.

So for example there already exists an amazing King Arthur rpg, called Pendragon, the game mechanics are very strong in that ttrpg. But what interests me is a setting where instead of saying You Are King Arthur, Here Is Excalibur, I like the idea of calling him the King Of Stone And Water, from pulling the sword from the stone and the sword from the Lady Of The Lake etc. Graelent is based on a lustful knight from later medieval tales, but his sword is named after Siege Perilous and Sir Galahad. The sword Gwaith Camlann references the much better tale of how in the last battle Arthur was on the verge of reconciling with his Usurper son Mordred, except one knight drew a weapon to kill a stray adder, and so the battle began.

And maybe instead of Arthur being born of Uther Pendragon, the dragon is an Aztec/Mayan feathered serpent dragon (Quetzalcoatl / Kukulkan). It just so happens that the Mesoamerican dragon myth features some weird royal divine-sister misbegotten incest, similar to the King Arthur / Morgane /Mordred thing, so yay that aligns. Other random coincidences I wove into the worldbuilding were the Five Suns aztec creation myth, Shakespeare plays in Five Acts, and the Five Eyes (this picture was really just a coincidence >>5346822
the eyes arrghh the eyes).

The Eternal Garden and Osirantinous,
who appears very briefly in my earlier Galerne game, references Dorian Gray (Osiris - Antinous).
Ok I admit it is also a bit Slaanesh, I am cursed to write everything as 40k.
His speech here
is clearly based on the Bible, but the better reference is actually to the Luke 4:5 cult from William Gibson Peripheral / jackpot novels.
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Embracing the way of the flower demon, and feeding it hehe predictably leads to Soul Calibur-esque giant fleshy demon eyeball swords...
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Freeing yourself from corruption presumably requires you to go the way of Sekiro (maybe a bit too scary for some players)
So which 40k faction do you have mr Souv?
hehe I am not a wargaming player. My first rpg was actually 1d100 WFRP 1e and later 2e, the ones with insane stats abbreviations like I Initative In Intelligence lol.

But in those days everything was heavily homebrewed and customised, getting rpg players together or even finding rpg inspiration was hard for me (think back to what the world was like before Harry Potter LOTR etc, there was not that much rpg fantasy lorebooks lying around for me)

My rpg knowledge and DM style came from gamebooks like Lone Wolf, Fighting Fantasy and later Dungeoneer.

I have never really technically played strict dnd, even though I know some of the 5e rules from season 1 and 100 season 2 episodes of Critical Role argh, and old 2.5e Bioware Baldur's Gate videogames etc

In terms of 40k I did absorb huge amounts of old lore, the Slaves To Darkness books on Chaos (hehe maybe the cursed flower wand feels akin to that), I read nearly every Dan Abnett novel from Gaunt's Ghosts, Eisenhorn, Ravenor, Bequin etc. and also his Horus Heresy stuff the Space Wolves one is well written. Dan Abnett incorporates some weird real world references too like Maze Undue (maison dieu, it is a reference to the Tower tarot card explained in his novels). Basically when I think of 40k I think of Dan Abnett. Then I understand GAW looked at their share price, decided they needed to actually get paid, and made sacrifice to Tzeentch or something and the Lord Of Change wrecked all the WFRP lore with Marvel comics Age of Sigmar noooooooo (I stopped following warhammer lore around then)

So in conclusion, I feel very old. Probably most of my 40k lore knowledge is outdated anyway now and there are better experts on /tg. But I would encourage everyone to check out that old 80s lore, a lot of it feels very different to what fantasy and sci fi are becoming these days.
do you have any preferred 40k factions or settings? I am actually surprised by how little 40k discussion there is on qst, maybe tg nonstop 40k threads absorb it all. The 40k quests seem quite popular settings for players.

The difficulty with my worldbuilding is to try and make it not 40k lol, because WFRP then 40k has absorbed everything hehe from Tolkien, Elric Michael Moorcock (Eightfold Chaos Star, and the Khorne Blood for the Blood god is actually blatantly from Elric of Melnibone Arioch god etc), even aztec was covered with lizardmen, maybe wuxia is the one area which 40k has not fully absorbed or wherever Jaghatai Khan comes from (WFRP used to have Cathay etc)
I just saw you mention it and asked. Reading the 8th edition core book maybe pick up the Space Wolves omnibus. And I got 12 free games from their magazine, that's my knowledge of the setting.
To the anon who asked about the Candle Maiden from the qtg - I might keep some factions hidden for future games in this setting...

In my older quests and game settings there was an Ancient Rite called Whispering Fire, it let you speak and listen through flames (e.g. eavesdrop or spy on people - interestingly, other spells could also be sung / sent through flames this way)

Yet another spell was called Furnace of Avarice, it unleashed a conflagration that burnt away all wealth and belongings (maybe that is happening to us in the real world today, if you know some economics...) So perhaps the mysterious melting Candle Maiden and Silverless Mercenary is related to those rites of fire in some way?

Really the symbols and meanings are up to you to interpret... But maybe it was just me trying to do a sort of Bloodborne doll / dark souls shrine maiden quest infodump character. It is a bit difficult for me to diegetically give out information sometimes if the anons do not ask questions etc, I try to keep everything in-game for immersion. In a ttrpg campaign it is much easier to roleplay it and just tell you outright game lore.

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