Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Shard - Part 1 - The Mind

Upon your defeat of the 1st shard of Karavakos, you see a white mist rise from his body and speed away towards the stairs.  Amongst his books, you find a series of books that appear to be diaries.  After some figuring, you think you have arranged them in order of this shard’s earliest days here to more recent entries and what you find is…disturbing.

The early entries are filled with guilt, and loss, and pain, and heartbreak over the loss of Vyrellis…over the countless conquered slain, but it is his suffering at the death of his lover that touches you.  The pages are stained with ink, tears and…is that dried blood?  It was clear that this shard contained whatever part of Karavakos that was still good, and loving. 

As the pages turn you can see that love and compassion slowly fade into paranoia, memory loss, and obsessive behavior.  Vyrellis is mentioned less and less and instead the pages are filled with mention of new creatures arriving in “my domain”.  There are entries concerning his battles with these new arrivals, all ending in his victory.  For a time, his new conquest was to be the “lord of this prison”.  However, after a time, he either grew tired or his memory loss began to drain his desire for the empty victories against creatures that kept “returning”, as Karavakos put it.  The comments of “Didn’t I kill this one before?” and “he seems familiar to me” are seen many times throughout the pages of the diaries.

You also see entries about “new friends who talk with no mouths” and “friends that never cease asking questions about any and every topic”.  “They speak in my mind and never let me rest…INSANITY!” is the last coherent diary entry you read.

From this point on, the diaries are filled with inane babble, but you do see many short, almost out bursts, that have to do with sequestering himself in his hermatige.  There are entries about “another lock…must put another ward on the door.  There’s someone knocking.  Must put another trap on the door.”

It is clear that, in the end, his mind was gone and his only concern was talking to his “friends” and communicating with the “one eyed man” as well as more locks….never enough locks.

Once you have read the diaries, the head of Vyrellis quietly sobs at the loss of what might have once been the part of her former lover that was still good and what she loved, so many ages ago.

Pyramid of Shadows - The Story Leading Up To Things

At the end of the last adventure, the bad guy (A rogue mage named Paldamar) had a few items that had led you to believe that he was searching for a "place of power" that contained "vast magic and wealth for the taking" and that he was to "seek Karavakos".  His notes seemed to describe a location in a lush forest about a week’s journey from Thunderspire Mountain, where you were currently adventuring. During the days after you departed, not completely sold on investigating this "place of power" you all began to have similar, yet personally specific dreams. 

The common imagery was this.

You see the surrounding lands and they seem familiar to you, due to the time you have spent wandering them in the past.  Yet...they were not "right".  Where you know towns should stand there was only wilderness. Where you know there should be no settlements or where you know that old ruins stand, instead you see thriving locations.  How odd...?

In other dreams, you see a tiefling, a petty lord striving for more power, usually in vain.  You see his bride...a tall eladrin woman of ethereal beauty, and between them you sense a strong, loving bond...but his lust for power was growing as was his desperation for gaining it.  You also notice that the imagery, armor, weapons and other details harken to an age long gone.  Some of the sigils and symbols have not been seen for many thousands of years...??

Next, the scene darkens and you see the tiefling kneeling before a dark shadow and words float into your mind through the dream.  You hear "they will be invincible in your world, none will stand against them....your enemies will crash against them like waves against the cliffs and you will rule your world.  Do not let your army fall...this is your price for this power.  If your army falls, you fall with them.  Stand, Karavakos, and take ownership of your new destiny and this world."

The scene shifts and you see Karavakos at the lead of a vast army of unspeakably horrible creatures....demons, devils, all the abominations of the 9 hells at his command.  Opposing armies fall before him like the wheat harvest before the scythe.  And his power grows.

New scene, the Eladrin is in tears begging Karavakos to stop.  She loves him, but not what he has become, the tyrant, the heartless blade of the conquering army.  He now rules all the lands, what more does he need with other worlds?  How much can one lord require to satiate his lust for power?  But Karavakos did not listen and set his sight on the feywild...his army was invincible, what did he have to loose...

Next you see Karavakos marching in a lush green land, mystical in its essence and behind him his horrid army.  Then, without warning he is onset by a vast host of beasts both beautiful and dire, onset by countless arrows that were thick enough in the sky to blot out the sun, onset by the land itself upturning to swallow the demon army, vines that drag and bind, rivers that divert from their true path to consume and drown the evil that has entered their world.  And in the face of Karavakos, you see fear begin to dawn as the realization of the dark powers words begin to reenter his memory...."they will be invincible in YOUR world...."....the feywild was not his world.  His thoughts go to Vyrellis, his mate whom he brought so that he might show her this world and its conquering.  He turns to run and grabs her and flees back to the rift to his world as his army is utterly consumed by the fey and their beasts and their world.  Just as he reaches the rift, the last of his army is destroyed and he throws Vyrellis through the rift, but it is too late.  In a single instance, the rift slams shut ripping Vyrellis’ body to shreads, and in the gristly scene Karavakos is simply....gone.

You always awaken from these dreams with the extreme urge to seek this place and unravel its mysteries.  Each of you sees specific details that urge you even more so to take up this quest.