Posts Tagged ‘Magic’

A frail old man lives upon a lost hill,
A spectre of a man,
A man with power over life and death,
He is the Necromancer,
A god over mortal flesh,
Warts and all.

A wave of the staff,
Rotting hands pulse skyward,
A chanted incantation,
Banshees shriek in the black,
A flourish of the hand,
Maggots surge from pus-filled corpses.

A sacrificial blade drips crimson,
Coffins and crypts are clawed open,
A forbidden ritual,
Bones rattle as if sentient,
A dark grin,
The dead horde begins its carnival march.

A twisted mind once filled with thoughts of family,
His rancid creations are a hollow replacement,
Their eyes no longer see,
Their minds no longer reason,
Their hearts no longer beat,
And no longer love or feel.

Necro

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A hat to look the part,
A familiar for companionship,
An inferno to awe,
A hex to transfix,
A chant to bewitch.

A potion to fall in love,
A ward to soothe heartbreak,
An alchemical formula to rebuild,
A lightning bolt to annihilate,
A typhoon to punish.

A wand to focus your might,
A word of power to challenge the gods,
An enchantment for sustenance,
A bound angel for heavenly guidance,
A pact with evil for infernal privilege.

Witch, wizard or warlock,
You choose your own magic,
You choose your own brand of sorcery,
You choose your own way.

Sorcery

“Madness is a funny thing isn’t it? I don’t mean amusing funny, but curious funny. Alright, sometimes it can be amusing funny too! I once saw a man kissing his cell-wall. Very amusing! However, I mostly find madness interesting. Since finding my way here after getting lost, I’ve seen many mentally damaged individuals who were simply fascinating. The scientist in me finds it all very invigorating. I see a new manifestation of insanity every day it seems. Just yesterday there was a woman who spoke compulsively and inexplicably in a completely new language every time she opened her mouth. Fascinating! Now obviously, I’m not insane, I’m the Hag-Man after all. I just got lost and ended up here. Nope, I’m not mad even if we are all mad here.

I wanted to tell you about a particularly mad man I met just the other day. We spoke over the space of a few hours, about many different subjects. He has odd views on the weather, I’ll tell you that for nothing. We spoke at length over a few mugs of ale and were rather jolly. This man called himself the “Cultmaster”. He told me of his past, over many ales. Oddly enough, he never became intoxicated. I daresay he was some kind of sorcerer. That lot tends to be able to avoid drunkenness. He was a small, stout man. With short, parted blond hair and a clean shaven face. Quite unremarkable really, apart from having quite brilliantly blue eyes. They almost glowed eerily.

He claimed that he was from a small town in the USA. He told me of a relatively uninteresting childhood and young life, I mostly switched off for that part. The most intriguing things he told me about were his love of theater and of a particular disdain for romance. He adored tragedies. I believe he said he loved to see partnerships shattered and marriages collapsed. His words, not mine. He didn’t actually tell me where that thought came from. Where this unrestrained hate came from. I’m assuming he had a particularly terrible love life. Most likely insane as well. He was bitter when talking about people he knew getting married and gritted his teeth often. He said he was beyond that. Far too good for that. Ahh, yes, quite the narcissist he was.

He told me more about his love of the theater, how he watched everything ever written  by Shakespeare and commonly listening to opera. A man of culture, you could say. He told me how he wished to be a playwright of some kind. He had been practicing with puppets, which he called “Lost Souls”. He wasn’t a huge fan of people so he had learned how to fashion small doll actors out of cotton and arcane power. He then produced from his coat a pair of little dolls. They were about a foot tall. Entirely black, with cartoonishly large heads. They had a red cross on their torsos and green crosses for eyes. They were inanimate and silent. The Cultmaster then clicked his fingers and the dolls sprang to life. At first they just stood there staring at one another. Then one started to softly smile, and waved at the other. The other doll then smiled back and waved in response. It was as if these dolls were friends. The dolls waddled closer and then embraced. The Cultmaster looked on, unflinchingly.

LS1

The dolls became closer, embracing more and more. The first doll even managed a simple kiss on the cheek of the second. These dolls seemed to be in love. It seemed so real and poignant, despite the toy-like features of the actors involved. These so-called Lost Souls didn’t seem all that lost to me. Then it all seemed to go wrong. The Cultmaster clicked his fingers again. The second doll stepped away from the first, looking away, and held out a hand to push the first doll away. It appeared to be sobbing all of a sudden. The first doll began to cry uncontrollably. Were they breaking up? Why? Why did I care so much? Was this the Cultmasters influence?

LS2

The Cultmaster pulled out a third doll and clicked his fingers once more, bringing it to life. The third doll walked quickly over the second doll and took its hand. It was stealing it away from the first! The second doll embraced the third and then kissed it soundly on the mouth. The second and third dolls then waddled to the other end of the table hand in hand, leaving the first alone and apparently heartbroken. The Cultmaster grinned quite menacingly. He threw what could only be described as a miniature rope to the first doll and clicked his damned fingers again. What happened next is almost burned into my eyes. The first doll, still sobbing, picked up the miniature rope and tied it around its own neck. It then slowly looked longingly at the other two dolls and walked to the edge of the table. I couldn’t watch. The doll attached the end of the rope to the edge and, sobbing softly, leaped from the table. There was a short silence and then nothing.

LS3

A doll committing suicide sounds insane, in and of itself. But somehow this really hit me in the gut. I don’t usually show emotions, but I somehow couldn’t help tearing up, watching the lifeless form of the doll hanging from the table. The Cultmaster laughed hysterically at this point and clicked his fingers a final time. All three dolls went limp and lifeless. The feelings of sorrow and misery suddenly and bizarrely vanished. It felt like it had all been drained out of me in an instant. He laughed for what seemed like an age and then collected his little actors. He didn’t seem at all fazed by the horror that we both just witnessed. This was some kind of magical puppet show.

The Cultmaster called the little Lost Souls the Pint-Sized Cult. He was their master and he told me how he made them fulfill those same acts we just witnessed constantly. Sometimes he would vary the act somewhat, but the result was the same. It was a miniature shattered romance, but with full sized emotions. He told me that he watched these same acts over and over again, savoring the heartbreak and melancholy. Not only is he a narcissist, but he’s also a monster in my eyes. The Cultmaster traveled around and outside the Asylum, “performing” this play to crowds and taking in all of the sorrow. He seemed to feed on the heartache somehow. Perhaps it was the sorrow that gave him his powers? Did he simply live to create grief? With a slight grin and a wave, the Cultmaster promptly left after his show, leaving me feeling somewhat empty and violated.

I didn’t really know what to make of this madness. The Cultmaster had an amazing power, to be sure. Begrudgingly, I can’t deny that. The way he manipulated the Pint-Sized Cult was marvelous, but the sickening stories he imposed on the Lost Souls was not something to applaud. I couldn’t help feeling that there was some kind of intelligence behind the dolls eyes. Almost as if someone was trapped within them. Perhaps that is where the name Lost Soul comes from? That thought left me shaken. The horror of witnessing the play could not be anything compared to the horror of acting it in over and over again. Terrible.

So there you go, I’ve told you a story of the one of the most bizarre individuals I’ve met thus far. If you ever were to meet him, be sure to leave swiftly. Do not watch the play, it could be the end of your heart…”

“Not only humans reside here in the asylum. Oh no indeed! There are myriad entities in these halls. From demons to vampires, from faefolk to sorcerers, from beasts to things ever more unknowable. The asylum is a menagerie of sorts. Anybody or anything can potentially find its way here. The more bizarre and demented they are, the easier they can find it. I get along with the majority of things here, even the most unusual inmates. In fact, the cellmate opposite me, a good friend, is a cyclops. The cell at the end of the hall is said to hold a man who can turn anything he licks into diamond. You’re never far from something strange or unexplainable. That’s just the nature of the asylum. There is never a dull moment!

It’s true that the asylum is endless. It’s our own dimension. There are as many cell-blocks as there are stars in the sky and nobody is tied to one cell. Oh, apart from that one man who is literally attached to his cell walls, but I digress. There is one cell-block few dare to enter however. This cell-block is said to contain one of the strangest beings I know of. Yes indeed, even the Hag-Man is lost for words. They call it the Brain-Beast.

In all honesty, nobody really knows what it is. Even I. Is it a demon? Some lost monster? An old god? What ever it is, it’s certainly powerful. It wouldn’t have been able to carve out something a territory otherwise. They say it resembles an over-sized human brain with a bizarre and unnerving mask, emblazoned in orange and dark green. The expression is ever-staring and freakishly gormless. There are said to be four eye holes, so I suppose the creature has four eyes. From the brain hangs something of a vestigial spinal cord, like an inanimate tail. From the flanks of the brain are four iron joints, from which four fleshy arms sprout. The arms are said to be of differing lengths. At the ends of these fleshy arms are skeletal hands in white silken globes. Very unusual.

Brainbeast1

They say the Brain-Beast was once man. An insane man, by all accounts. Mad, yes, but a genius if there ever was one. Genius and insanity often go hand in hand don’t they? Typical really. He was a man that not only displayed signs of multiple-personality disorder, but also ironically wished to be able to be in several places at once. I daresay this was due to a demanding occupation and an ever more demanding married life. The man wished to be able to work 24 hours a day every day, while still having a home life. He also wanted sorely to have an active social life. Simply too much, even for a genius. You could say he was innately a busybody. A true workaholic, as well as an aspiring barfly.

The man was a scientist, a professor or perhaps a doctor. It’s not entirely clear. As all men of science are known to do, he began to concoct a plan. A plan to cure his ailing life. He was going to be in several places at once, ethics be damned. What happened at this point is something of a mystery. How did a scientific and prodigious busybody with a mental disorder become the abominable being we hear of today? Some say he made some kind of deal with a powerful demon. Others say he conducted an experiment so foul that nobody wishes to speak of it. Some inmates speak of unknown sorcery. Some say he summoned the Brain-Beast and was consumed by it. Nobody knows for sure. Myself? I believe that one of his more ugly personalities took over and caused the experiment to go awry. The man was turned into the Brain-Beast by accident. Naturally I would take my own theory over any other.

What ever the case was, the mans wish was fulfilled, in a sense. As the Brain-Beast wanders, reportedly by floating in mid-air through telepathic means, it carries in each hand a lifeless puppet. The creature somehow fashions each of these puppets into a human figure. Each one different, each one random. Perhaps one is his original form? Others could be people he knew or people he has seen before. Perhaps they are simply from the creatures imagination. The figures change seemingly at a whim. One could be a young blond man, another could be elderly woman, while yet another could be a one-legged man. It simply doesn’t appear to offer any challenged to the creature. It gets stranger though. The creature hangs each of these puppets from strings attached to its fingers, like an old puppeteer. The Brain-Beasts true body vanishes into thin air, leaving only the puppets. The puppets are horrifically lifelike, they look like real people. Expressionless faces stare outwards. Then the strangest thing happens.

BB3

The puppets come to life, each of them imitating human beings. Each puppet acts independently. The Brain-Beast seemingly controlling each one individually, with absolutely perfect aptitude.  Oddly these puppet people are able to move unhindered, as if there were no strings holding them up. Distance doesn’t seem to matter. One puppet could be doing something at one end of a building while another could be in a different room, on a different floor. It must be some form of magic. The Brain-Beast can now be in several locations at once, acting and seeing through these puppets. It could be building something with one puppet, while getting materials at the other end of the asylum with another puppet. These puppets can be dangerous, perhaps due to the creatures power, by possessing immense physical strength and appearing to feel no pain or fear. The Brain-Beast can fight with these puppets, since an aggressor can never know exactly where the creature is at a given time due to its invisibility. It could be behind them in the same room or in another location altogether. The man got his wish, he essentially became several people, controlled by a tremendously powerful mind. I daresay the creature is as insane as the man whom it used to be. Acting at random and without an end goal. It is simply content with fulfilling it’s wish of being in several places at once.

BB2

I found it hard to believe when I first heard the legend of the Brain-Beast. It seems anything can exist and even thrive in this asylum. It does highlight just how bizarre this place is. I do not yet understand why the Harlequin fashioned this asylum. Why would any being create such a place? Is it a reflection of himself? Is it a hiding place? Or perhaps a prison? It simply makes no sense. I intend to find out someday though. Not even the Harlequin can outsmart the Hag-Man, I swear it…”

“During all my travels and all of my years, there are few beings in this world that worry me more than the Julmurns. These abominable, reptilian creatures have stained countless lands with blood, razed numberless homes and brutally ended untold lives. I hesitate to call these beings evil however, they are simply blinded by what can only be described as an immensely influential theocracy. Julmurns live in a church-state, one that dwarfs even that of the Human Religion of Dust of the past. The Dust is ironically integral to the Julmurn culture as well, in a far less harmful form however. The Julmurns once surged from the wastelands of the south end of Primea, intent on dominating all “inferior” beings. They sought nothing more than to bring all of Primea under their theocratical and tyrannical yolk.

The Julmurns hail from the Zyst Einode (yet another Dust Wasteland), south of the Pienna mountains in the neutral lands. They have carved something of a state out of the savage lands of the southern edge of Primea. A Julmurn is typically regarded as a savage and loathsome creature, almost universally despised in the lands of mankind. Julmurns are something of a tribal race, primitive in terms of technology yet well versed in the occult. They prefer to live in villages scattered throughout the Badlands of the south, electing to live in smaller groups rather than erect grand cities. There is one exception to this rule however. There is a place deep within the Zyst Einode that is said to be something of a sacred city-cathedral. Julmurns rarely mention it. There are few depictions of it in Julmurn texts. Mankind has never set foot there, nor has humanity even bore witness to it. It is simply referred to as the “Unseen City”. Even Julmurns that have ventured out into the world appear to know nothing of it either. I have been unable to learn anything more on this firmly mysterious place.

The Julmurns are a truly archaic race. Tribal records even predate those of humanity. They are, therefore, believed to have evolved far before humans did. It is possible that the Julmurns are more aware of where the Dust came from too. An odd theory perhaps, but the Julmurns raise some interesting parallels to Dust monsters. You see, the Julmurns are a Dust-based race, yet are not created by any form of Dust magic. They could be referred to as a “natural” Dust creature. Also, unlike Dust monsters, Julmurns haves some measure of intelligence and are undoubtedly self-aware. They are primitive, yes. Perhaps even barbaric. But they are not monsters. They are simply another fascinating, albeit terrifying, race of our world.

Unlike Humans, Julmurns are a fairly unified people. They very rarely war with each other and appear to exhibit a certain brotherhood amongst themselves. They commonly trade amongst villages, they have even been known to trade with outside powers, such as Hauteclaire or Bulrin. There are Julmurns that venture out on their own, even settling in human cities, but these are the exceptions rather than the rule. This race-wide kinship can largely be attributed to the powerful Julmurn religion. The Julmurns refer to this as the “Topisulk” or the “Way of Dust”. The Julmurns worship the Dust, it pervades their very being, their very society. They believe that all life came from the Dust and that the Julmurns were chosen by the Dust as some kind of “Prime race” Julmurns view themselves was the prime examples of life in this world.  Flux and mutation are tenets of their religion, the Julmurns embrace Dust mutation as the will of their deity. Dust monsters do not harm the Julmurns and have even been known to serve them in some of their conquests. They believe that one day the Dust will perfect their forms into demigods. But first they must demonstrate their superiority over the inferior children of Dust. Because of this belief, coupled with the Julmurns chosen habitat, they are highly subject to Dust mutation. It is common to see Julmurns with extra sets of arms, secondary jaws, extra eyes or all manner of other shocking anomalies. They embrace these changes as gifts from the Dust. They are physically beings of constant flux. A Julmurns day isn’t complete without contact with the Dust after all.

The Julmurns were first encountered by humanity in the time of Emperor Otto Bulrin, when a Julmurn raid was initiate on the neutral city of Hauteclaire. A message of requested aid was sent to the Bulrin Empire, whom answered with an army built from the folk of Ontarfeld and Emperor Otto’s personal guard. The raid became a full siege, with an estimated total of 12,000 Julmurns present. The defense forces of Hauteclaire only numbered roughly a thousand, with the Bulrin reinforcements numbering about 3000. Upon Otto’s arrival, he witness horror like no other, civilians caught outside the city walls by the Julmurns were being butchered and even eaten in some cases. The Julmurns also appeared to conduct strange rituals on living and dead captives alike, spawning horrific Dust creatures. Otto took note that the Dust monsters appeared to treat the Julmurns as kin.

Upon witnessing this travesty, Otto ordered an attack. The Bulrin forces battle tooth and claw against primitive (though effective) Julmurn melee weaponry, Dust monsters and destructive Dust magic. Unfortunately in an unforeseen flanking charge, Otto was slain by an unusually large Julmurn with four arms. However the typical Bulrin discipline won out in the end, with the Bulrins successfully managing to meet up with the beleaguered Hauteclaire forces. Reinforcements from the Nordfeld 2nd legion and a detachment from the Kingdom of Riefe border forces arrived at this time and together the Humans managed to push the Julmurns back south to a previously unknown pass in the Pienna mountains, evidently where the Julmurn horde had initially poured from. Here, the Julmurns began to flee en masse, cursing as they went. The day was won. From that day onward the pass, which is now known as Union Pass (in honor of the Bulrins, Hauteclairians and Riefans who fought there), is kept under close guard and watch by neutral forces, in case of future attacks. There would be further, yet smaller, raids from the south but these were always beaten back by the staunch defenders of Union Pass.

Perhaps you now see why Julmurns are almost universally hated and reviled where ever they go, almost treated in the same way those innocents at Hauteclaire were treated by the Julmurn horde. However, as mentioned before, not all Julmurns are like those butchers. Not all Julmurns follow the Topisulk and indeed not all are savages. There are Julmurns within Human and Demien circles, often hidden, taking employment as guards or strongmen. These same Julmurns ofttimes find a form of kinship in the criminal underworld, utilizing their strong bodies as leg-breakers or robbers.

The average Julmurn is roughly 7ft for males and 6”5ft for females, dwarfing any average Human. They have roughly humanoid bodies, sporting two arms and walking on two legs. The head is always lizard-like, oft even complete with crests. Their bodies are hairless and instead are scaled. Julmurn skin tones can range from grey to a fleshy/pink color (like a Human) to near greens. They have a tendency to slouch, which tends to mask their true height somewhat. It is a scientifically agreed fact that almost every Julmurn is something of a physical powerhouse, musclebound and durable. Unfortunately, they suffer for this strength in the mental department. Though often cunning, Julmurns are naturally dim-witted and notoriously stupid. They struggle with Human speech, electing instead to speak in their native tongues. It has, however, been known for Dust to give to give individual Julmurns unnatural intellect. I even once heard a story of a Julmurn inventor. Take that with a grain of salt though.

Julmurns who follow the Topisulk view all other non-Dust based creatures as inferior and unworthy of existing. Theirs is a traditional and superstitious race, with countless traditions and customs, from war-dances to mating rites. Their entire culture revolves around the Dust or “Konigcyste”. Their creation story, which is well known to scholars all over, is a strange tale of an intergalactic being, Dust, a lost people and something that the Julmurns call the “Pilczar” or “Weak God”. It is unknown whether this Pilczar is the intergalactic being or the lost people however. It is a mysterious story, even the Julmurns are ignorant of its true meaning.

It would not be unreasonable to think that the Julmurn culture may hold clues into the nature and creation of the Dust. Let us hope it is not our doom…”

From the memoirs of Hermann Maestra.

Julmurn

 

“Nobody knows where the taint came from. Nobody knows who or what created it. Nobody knows why it exists. Nobody even knows what it truly is. Amazingly, a little over 2000 years ago (during an era of time known as the “Olden Days”) our ancestors worshiped the taint. Seeing it as a means to greater power. Indeed, the “Dust” as it is known IS a means to a greater power. The power of magic.

Those who learn to manipulate the Dust can give rise to horrifically powerful magics. They can create fire from thin air, they can transmute one object into another, they can slow their own aging, they can even raise the dead to serve them. These are just grains of sand in an immense desert of possibilities. Magic is raw power. A “Dust Mage” can do anything, given practice and patience. This power comes at a tremendous cost though. The Dust will destroy your mind. Maybe tomorrow, maybe many decades from now. But it will.

You see, the Dust is like an invisible poison. It is almost everywhere, sailing around in the atmosphere. It seeps in and out of everything, corrupting and distorting. It behaves erratically. Impossibly. As a Dust Mage can do anything, so too can the Dust itself. Dust breeds madness it all life it touches. Minds shatter and bodies mutate. It even breaths disturbing life into abominable creatures. Beasts of Dust come seemingly from the aether.

Dust monsters, as we call them, can look like almost anything you can imagine and some things you cannot. I saw a Dust abomination once that appeared almost indistinguishable from a child, save for green glowing eyes and a second enormous gluttonous maw on its abdomen. I saw a Dust monster that resembled a regal knight of old, but sprouting from its back was what can only be described as a set of gallows with a maiden hanging low from them. These beasts of Dust appear to represent concepts that the Dust has corrupted. It corrupts the very concepts the world relies upon. They are happiness turned to gleeful murder, they are the family of twisted amalgamations of flesh, they are faith turned to obsession, they are love turned to bondage. Dust simply creates living nightmares.

With all this said, why would anyone choose to walk the lonely path of Dust? The raw power of course! A Dust Mage can outdo any normal man. Magic is the great conqueror, I’m afraid. My word, i seem to have gone on something of a tangent. Forgive me!

Our ancestors founded the “Religion of Dust”, the worship of Dust and all of its manifestations. Madness, true, but magic is also the great persuader. How were they to know it was the Dust causing men to go insane? How were they to know that it was the Dust causing their fields to wither? How were they to know it was the Dust creating the horrific beasts that ravaged their travelers? Perhaps they were too blinded by the sermons and commandments of the so-called Dust clergy. The Dust Mages were the ones who held the power, they were the ones who fooled the frightened populace. They fashioned themselves into priests and clerics. The Confederacy of Dust was founded.

Those were dark times indeed, when those zealous or made enough to undertake the rites of Dust to join the religion proper were turned into mindless, heartless servants of the priests of Dust. Anyone who didn’t show their faith were exiled, killed or worse. The so-called “Army” of the Confederacy was a horde of zealots and maniacs, nothing like the disciplined military of today. Our ancestors were xenophobic to the extreme, slaying outsiders who did not show fervor on sight. The economy too was a shambles, it was a truly corrupt system controlled by the bigots of the church. Education was heavily dictated and controlled by the priests, creating new generations of believers.

You may wonder how our great Bulrin Empire came to be from such a state of zealous idiocy. When the Religion of Dust was founded, it was small scale as you would expect. It was simply a sect of Dust magi who sought true power. Despite all of their wisdom, even they could not see the corruption in their souls and on the their bodies, the corruption of the Dust. Greatest among them was the Primarch, Garin Moldavic. A mage of extreme power, he claimed to have journeyed from a land far to the west, across the sea. A land were Dust was common and easily wielded. He led the mages to silently and effortlessly murder the previous chiefs and leaders, regardless of their devotion to the Dust. Then the Primarch declared himself and the other magi the true leaders of the land.

Oddly, the people willingly fell to their whims, perhaps out of fear or maybe out of genuine curiosity. Over time the small kingdom of the old chiefs became a great empire. The Confederacy of Dust was growing. At this point, it was close to the size of our modern day Bulrin Empire. The Primarch and his clergy ruled the people with an iron fist. Utter faith was absolutely required of everyone in the empire. But in every dictatorship, there will be mavericks…

There was a group of soldiers who had endured enough. Their families butchered and friends either dead or insane, this group rebelled against the magi. They declared war upon their own masters. Records of this rebellion are few and far between I’m afraid. All i know is that the soldiers were cunning in the extreme. One by one, the magi were cut down, until only the Primarch remained.

The people were joining the soldiers in droves, they were to be slaves no more. The Primarch fled to his grand temple in the capital. He surrounded himself with the few truly zealous guards and various fanatics. The rebellious soldiers, led by the man known as Conrad Bulrin and aided by the peasantry, fought their way through the fanatical tide. Up the mammoth stairs of the grand temple they fought, cutting down legions of Dust worshipers. As his soldiers held the worshipers off, Conrad Bulrin and give of his closest officers charged the temple itself. Tragically, two of the officers were killed in the charge. Conrad led the remaining officers into the prayer chamber where the Primarch awaited.

As soon as the group had entered the chamber and set their eyes upon the cornered Primarch, the entire chamber became a swirling vortex of Dust and created a barrier between Conrad and the Primarch himself. Helplessly, he watched as the mage vanished into thin air. The storm subsided, along with the fury of the battle outside between the soldiers and the fanatics. The fanatics lost the will the fight upon learning of their lords disappearance. Conrad and his men claimed victory. Conrad reclaimed the country back from the Confederacy of Dust in the name of the people. He ended up becoming their new ruler, ironically.

He took to the role enthusiastically, by all accounts. He began to reform the country, into what is today the Bulrin Empire. The went through a large scale transformation as the Religion of Dust (and to some extent, its followers) was abolished and removed. The Confederacy of Dust became Bulrin, the land named after its liberating hero. It was not until Conrad’s son, Ulrich, took over from his father that Bulrin became the Bulrin Empire as under his leadership surrounding regions were brought under its yolk. The Empire was split into four provinces, each partly named after the officers who fought at Conrads side. It was a time of great change, but also great joy.

And so, the Religion of Dust was crushed. But alas, its taint was never completely expelled, the wastelands created by the magics the Dust magi had used remained. Also, even to this day it is a mystery what became of Garin Moldavic and there are always whispers of secret covens of Dust worshipers all around the continent. Dust itself remains, as it always has. Perhaps the Religion of Dust isn’t as dead as we think…”

From the memoirs of Hermann Maestra.

Ryan Sargent saw some pretty crazy things in the city of Ebonton recently. I know that seems to be a constant for him, but there you go. Has he been fooled by an amazingly clever stunt or has he truly witnessed the supernatural again? Let’s see what he has to say for himself…

“I don’t know why i try to enjoy myself. My leisure time always seems to end up sprouting questions about the supernatural somehow. Perhaps I’m cursed or something. I went to watch some theatre shows recently. The shows were amazing, as i expected. Full of amazing magician tricks and some pretty unbelievably dangerous stunts. One in particular was quite something to behold. An absolutely gorgeous young woman began the stunt by saying some strange words in an unknown language. This struck me as bizarre straight away.  Then she motioned to the stage crew to activate the machine at the other end of the stage. This machine was unlikely to pass any health and safety checks whatsoever. It was a series of rings a few feet apart that were held up on end, almost like a tunnel. The insides of the rings were quite clearly circular saws of some kind. The rings then began to move about independently of each other, creating a pretty hellish obstacle course for our young stunt woman.

What followed defied any rational explanation!

The stunt woman held her arms out to the side. Then, slowly but surely, the woman began to levitate slowly. The audience was dumbfounded of course! But i got that sinking feeling in my belly that i always got when something supernatural was nearby, call it a monster hunters intuition! The woman levitated about 3 feet off the floor and stopped. Then she said some more unearthly sounding words. She turned slowly towards the obstacle course of death, still in the air. In a matter of moments the woman had performed some form of elaborate spin and burst through the air, passing unharmed through the spinning blades. Dodging and spinning while moving through a tunnel of saws of death? The audience was amazed! My eyes narrowed. The woman touched down on the stage at the other end of the machine again. The show was over. What a stunt right? I believe it was something different.

I had to read up on this. Check out some legends of magicians and the like. I don’t believe that it was some clever trick. I’m certain of it, it was magic! Now I’ve seen a good number of monsters in my time, but humans with the ability to wield magical abilities? That’s a new one. Of course, its not much of a stretch. There have been stories of wizards, medicine-men and witches since the dawn of recorded history. Conveniently enough, i found a legend pertaining to the very area this city was built on. I won’t get into how i found this for professional reasons. The legends of the Showmen. Wizards who used their powers to wow and confound the populace. Sounds harmless enough right? Not so.

Magic is real. We all think that the stage magicians and puppeteers are merely entertainers, but beneath the veil of their mundane practices lies a wholly different truth. These cryptic denizens of the world refer to themselves as the ‘Showmen’. Their gift, though impressive and awe-inspiring, may be more rare than many of the other denizens of the unknown world. They call it ‘Showmanship’ or the ‘Power of Purple’. An ancient gift from the heavens, depths or the aether (who knows?). Given to a small number of people who were forced under oath by some unknown being to keep the art of Showmanship secret. They were, however, encouraged to train others in the ways of their art but were told to draw new initiates from the dispossessed or the homeless. Presumably so as not to arouse suspicion. The reason why this magic is to be kept a secret is, unsurprisingly, also a secret.

As the legend goes, the gift of Showmanship was given to approximately 20 people by an unknown yet unbelievably mighty and persuasive being. There are conflicting views on what exactly the being was. Was it a god (or THE God) that passed down the power? Could it of been some Demon? Satan? An Elemental? Others still say that there was some kind of fairy baron who wished to turn these humans into some kind of perfect entertainers for some obscure reasons. Another told of an imp who tried to take control of these people and somehow messed it up. There seem to be countless theories, each with contradicting ideas and evidence. In truth, nobody truly knows where Showmanship came from. Showmanship, by its very own nature, is hard to categorize. Showmen seem to be able do almost anything. From generating different colour lights to creating devastating flames, from levitation to  invisibility. It’s a scary thing to imagine in the wrong hands and yet there doesn’t seem to be any accounts of the power being used to harm. Perhaps that was another tenet of the original trainers. Perhaps it is simply used to entertain, to beguile, to confound.

It’s strange when i seem to find a new supernatural thing that appears to be completely harmless. I always expect to find some kind of horrific being that feasts upon human flesh. Or a creature that wants to turn humans into its slaves. Showmanship would be dangerous in the wrong hands true, but keeping it safe and confined to the theatre seems to be the very point. I don’t know what to think. I have to be missing something. I feel this particular aspect of the supernatural world needs further investigation, there are far too many blanks here. I’m certain to be missing something…”