|The Dark One|
Child of Chaos
- "At last I am again in this world!" Came the chorus"
The Dark One spits a caustic goo that causes damage over time and pools in a stationary AOE at the end of the shot.
|Level 1||Level 2||Level 3|
- Eye of Chaos
Chaos itself peers into the arena, casting fear in his enemies, and boosting the mana of allied players.
|Level 1||Level 2||Level 3|
It has been almost a year since the incident, yet still I languish here in this Halvalas care-house. The dreams have mostly left me, but there are still nights when the skies are clear, and the baleful pole-star grins at me from the crystalline aether above. Those are the times that I draw the heavy velvet curtains and call the caretaker to bring a sleeping draught, lest I descend once again into the seething madness that brought me here. Perhaps by writing these words, and committing my memories of that cursed night to paper I can rid myself of the persistent horror that haunts my every waking hour.
I took a gigantic shit should begin with an introduction, my name is Dunston Pierce, of the Marsienne Pierces. While not as wealthy as some I have seen here in the city, my family has a profitable winery and has graced the fair hillsides of Merseinne with their vintage for three generations. My mother, rest her soul, passed when I was a boy, and my father and sister have run the winery my entire life. I, however, chose the scholar's path rather than the vintner's, and left home when I was nineteen for the colleges in Ta’lil. There I passed my days in bookish study, and thought little of home. That is, until I learned of Orley Hall, a cold ruin on the Horn of Chaos. Oh, would that I had never met Claudius Rarelick and learned of the Ochre Tome. Perhaps the horror I am to reveal would not have been shown then, to me.
Indeed, had I not made the acquaintance of Mr. Rarelick in my freshman year, I would not have been subject to the rascal's fantasies, and perhaps I would not have sought the uncanny mysteries that lead me to the Ochre Tome, and thereafter to decrepit Ohrley Hall. Had I never heard of that forsaken tract of storm-washed shore, had I not been so young and intrepid, had Claude not entered my life, perhaps then fate would never have driven me there. Yet fate did take up the two of us, and would ultimately deliver us unto the Horn of Chaos, and the ruins of Ohrley Hall.
I met him at a reading of archaic poetry. Rarelick was a slim youth, six months my senior. He was sallow and pale, but fastidious, orderly, and smart as a whipcrack. Furthermore, the boy was perceptive to a fault. He and I fell in quickly over the evening, each offering our own sharp critique of the poets in whispered undertones over countless pots of bitter tea. This was to become a pastime, and we soon became a fixture at the dusty bookstore where the readings were held. It was there that we would first hear of the Ochre Tome.
It was in fact, in the ritual evisceration of a haphazard account of a traveler of the far north, that Claude and I heard first of the so-called Ochre Tome of Kalgoth. This was, as the swarthy woman at the podium read, a singular codex that offered nothing less than control over the very Titan Chaos. The rede this woman chanted into the crowded room spoke of a long-lost lord and lady, of a Titan's Child. She went on into the night, hers a song of jealousy, vengeance, and, finally, of the titan Chaos' wrath.
Rarelick was enthralled. The idea of mastering the powers of a titan was enchanting to him. I am given to suspect that the fact that it was Chaos that the Ochre Tome offered was particularly tantalizing, as Claude had always been so particular, so cleanly, so ordered.
Thus, it was on that night that our fates were unwittingly sealed. My friend Rarelick was a man obsessed. He spent hours in the Great Library, tearing through the ancient histories, searching the stacks. Weeks passed, and my own studies suffered as I sacrificed more and more time to aiding my companion on long candlelit surveys of ancient civilizations and arcane geometries. After a month of deteriorating grades, I dropped out, and moved in at Rarelick's family estate outside of the city. In the days to follow, our studies made leaps in progress. One afternoon in July, I found an elemental clue to the location of the Ochre Tome, in a crumbling, third-generation copy of the Confessions of Telsit. If the Telsit scroll was to be believed, the book of legend was squirreled away in a lonely monastery in the Aeran Highlands. We left that very evening, and took a caravan North to the Highlands.
The monks were reticent at first, and bade us make obeisance to their saints and drink of sacred wine before they allowed we pilgrims, under strict supervision, to peruse the scriptorium. We could copy no verse, nor map, but we were allowed to read whatever it was that we wanted. The Ochre Tome was not there, but instead we found a translation of the dread tome. The monks assured us that the original had long been destroyed, if it wasn't a myth to begin with. Thrilled even to see the copy, we insisted that we be allowed to read.
This copy of the infamous tome was writ in red ink on crumbling scrolls. Over and over, mentions of the Chaos were intermingled with bindings and curses. Equally strange were the blasphemous depictions of the titan Astra, and the mad drawings that intermingled the two. And then there were the indecipherable maps, and smatterings of mad poetry that punctuated the drawings. And oh, such drawings! The scrolls that so fascinated us were replete with diagrams and charts that we had no hope of remembering. Still, we intrepid explorers were undaunted.
One early morning, when the pole-star shone high, Rarelick shook me awake in my sparse cloister bunk. His hand was over my mouth lest I cry out, and I saw that he held a bundle of cloth the size of a codex. At that moment, I knew the score, and silently leapt out of my bed. After I slipped on my boots, we crept from the monastery and out the garden gate into the night. By the time the monks woke, we were well into gnome country. The inn we stayed at the next night had no beds our own size, so we slept in the stables and spoke excitedly of our adventures to come. Little did we know what they would be.
Our belongings light, due to our rapid departure from the monastery, Claude and I decided to "hoof it" down the well-tended pass and out of the mountains, and then to hire a coach to the sea. Our next stop, Halvalas, glorious gem of the West! I had never been to this most glamorous of cities, but we were not to linger long. Claude took the scrolls to an old teacher, who we hoped would help us to divine the meaning of the charts. In the meantime, we took up rooms at a rowdy common house. It was that night that the dreams began.
In the beginning, they were simple distractions, quickly forgotten to renewed torpidity, but later they began to consume my nights and render restful sleep impossible. It took only a week for Claude's colleague to decipher the maps and show us our destination, the Ohrley Estate on the southern coast of the continent, but that week was an eternity of nightmares. At first, I would wake into a dream of floating, as if upon a sea, but with no waves nor surface. Then, from the neathy deeps would come a great daemonic cephalopod, a massive tentacled thing out of a hoary mariner's last trawl. At the first I would see only glimpses of the beast, but as the week bore on, the thing got closer and closer until at last it had me. As it drew me close it pulled me not to a voracious, devouring mouth, but to it's eye! I woke screaming many of those nights. Claude's pale, sweating face showed me that he, too had seen the terrors I would describe, night after night, but he was a stubborn cuss, and was determined.
Claude's colleague gave him the news, and after a day of rest and provisioning, the two of us travelled south on horseback to our final destination on the Horn of Chaos. The nightmares did not lessen, but grew worse as we traveled. Each night in my bedroll, I thrashed as unnamable creatures from beyond the stars arrived to devour the lands below, and then I woke, awash in sweat, to find it had only been dreams.
Claude was driven by a more and more fevered desire to arrive, and, three days into our trip, when his shrewd eye spotted the silhouette of a tower against the horizon, his shout was exultant. Sure enough, no more than two hours ride down the gentle coastal slope, we were at the crumbling, grey walls of Ohrley Estate.
From the backs of tired steeds, we looked over the gap-toothed wall and across the wind blown marsh grasses that grew thick between the old stones. Farther off there stood the stark walls and black, hollow windowpanes of a squat manor. That was where we planned to camp. Had I but known what was to transpire there, I would have fled then, but the spirit of adventure was upon me, and I had to know what was to be. Besides, my partner in adventure would not be stopped, and what would become of him, were I to leave now? I swallowed my dread and carried on. Claude was focused on getting to the eldritch manor and setting up camp, but in my mind, all was shrouded by my fear of the terrible eye I had seen each night in my dreams. I had come to far to retreat, though, and so I grimly carried on.
The roof of the manor had long collapsed, and the darkness in the stars yawned above us where the legends say that Astaroth himself tore the sky. Our little campfire barely fought back the blackness all around, and the stories we had heard since that fateful night in the reading spun in my head. Child of Chaos, The Dark One. It was as though the names were being chanted ceaselessly, to the cacophony of a thousand wheedling flutes. The names rang over and over again in my mind, and I could not sleep.
After midnight had come and gone, I watched the stars wheel about the pole-star, high in the sky, and I swear that night, that I saw, flitting amongst the far-off aether, a strange and amazing creature. It was huge, like a sailing ship, or a dragon, but shaped like a squid of the depths. It flew effortlessly without wings, and glowed in strange patterns against the night sky. I shuffled across the stones to wake my friend but, by the time I had him roused, the thing was gone. Claude scoffed at my supposed vision and bade me get back to sleep. When I did, again I dreamt of the terrible eye, and I woke trembling in fear.
When the sun rode high, and we broke from our survey of the ruin, I again told Claude what I had seen in the sky the night before. This time, however, he was much more keen to listen. When I was through, Claude took me to where he had spread out the scrolls that we had stolen from the monastery. He showed me how he had, with the help of his mentor, figured out the proper spell for summoning, and binding, a being called the Dark One. I was dubious, but, testament to my foolish loyalty, I allowed Claude to direct me then in the most macabre ritual that I have ever before experienced.
Over the course of the next three hours, we labored in our blasphemous art. A storm gathered, and day turned to a darkness more oppressive than night. Still, I followed behind my friend as he called blasphemous names into the gathering tumult. I lit his candles, and cast the salt where he bade. It seemed forever had passed in the gathering of the powers around us when the man I had called friend stopped speaking, dropped his arms to his sides, and turned to face me. It was then that I saw that he was gone. Behind the eyes of the man I had called friend orange fire raged, and when he opened his mouth to speak, a hundred voices spoke from his throat.
"At last I am again in the world!" Came the chorus. My blood ran cold as, behind ol' Rarelick there arose a disquieting purplish glow. A strange writhing erupted in the very air around us. The thing that had been Rarelick stumbled towards me then, arms outstretched, and I turned to run, but the hellish purple glow had surrounded us both in a widening circle. My legs felt like lead, and running seemed an impossible chore. All around me, tentacles began to slither through purple tears in space.
I looked back at Rarelick. My friend was engulfed in unearthly flames. He had fallen onto the papers spread about the floor and they were burning merrily in wild otherworldly colors. Behind him rose an immense squid-like being, floating against all gravity into the sky above me. It turned just slightly to regard me with the nearest of its massive, baleful, orange eyes. I'm sure I screamed then, I remember trying to flee, but there was a purplish goo that sapped my strength on the ground and the walls. A fire was growing behind me, apparently the manor walls had caught where Claude fell. I redoubled my efforts, but every time I thought I was free, I found myself looking straight into that eye! I dodged into a hollow that turned out to be a shattered foyer. Outside lay the night, so I ran. The last thing I remember is the huge thing reaching out from the darkness above for me. It just barely touched my back, and I have a burn scar to attest to that. Still, I have no idea how I got from there, to where I am writing this now.
The last that I recall of that night is that dread tentacle slowly lowering from above me in the flicker of the growing fire. Then I woke here, in the rich comforts of Halvalas. A few days later, my sister, having been sent word of my plight, sent ample funds for my keeping. The staff treats me well, even if they are a little watchful, and my nightmares are leaving me. I'm feeling much better! Soon they will let me return to my family vineyards in Marsienne. I sleep well now, my dreams are glorious and I wake excited and renewed. No longer do I dream of terrible eyes or gruesome tentacles. Instead, when I sleep, I dream of the Battles Above, where I will ride to glory in the service of the titans, on the back of the Dark One that I am honored to belong to.
- Lead and conquer - The Dark One's Shogspurt attack is most effective if your foe actually hits the AOE. Aim jut ahead of them, where you know they will be unlikely to dodge the final effect.
- Fear is a weapon - The Eye of Chaos causes fear in your enemies, which will make them flee from wherever the Eye comes into being. Strategic placement can really change the game!