- Posts: 177
- Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2010 1:37 pm
This one saw fit to draw a weapon on me and scream. I then proceeded to cast a Quickened Sand Warriors, summoning 3 Sand Golems from under his very feet that proceeded to beat the man into a bloody pulp. Caved the man's head in like a canteloupe.
When will people learn? When a Thayan Conjurer is alone...he is never TRULY alone. His "friends" are never far.
Pretty sure I just invented a new spell. "Flesh to Blood Stain."
It was super-effective.
- Posts: 177
- Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2010 1:37 pm
"Ahh! Red Wizard! Don't trust him!". I get that one a lot.
These idiots don't seem to realize that the Enclave has invested a lot of money into this place. It makes logical sense that I do what I can to keep it safe. Protect our investment, as it were.
After all: can't make any money if all of your customers are dead. Bad for business and all that.
Not like I do this for reasons of altruism. I'm a bloody Red Wizard. We don't do that.
We...dont' do that. Do we?
No. No. Don't be an idiot Azymandeus. You're a Red Wizard. Bloody act like one.
- Posts: 177
- Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2010 1:37 pm
Today, at the Enclave, I received a Summons that a customer had a rather fancy book to sell. A Dusty Tome.
I negotiated the purchase of the Tome, believing it to be quite worthless. But it did contain a name. A name I will not mention here.
I figured some lesser Outsider. No big deal, right?
So I scribed the creature's name on a Diamond in my possession, and I commenced the summoning.
...imagine my surprise when an ANGEL appeared before me.
Not just any Angel.
An Archangel.. Of some type.
"A THAYAN DARES TO SUMMON ME!!!?!?!?!" it bellowed. But then it gazed into my soul, and it was amazed by what it saw.
That I, Azymandeus Faustus of the Red Wizards...
...am not actually an Evil Man. Selfish, sometimes. Certainly greedy. But not actually EVIL.
The Angelic being gazed at me in silent judgment. His fists clenched around his Holy Sword, which I assumed he was about to lift and strike me down.
But then the Angel did something I did not expect...
...the angel SMILED.
"Perhaps...this is Providence, Red Wizard of Thay. Perhaps I am here...to save your soul. For I can see that the taint of Evil has not fully taken you Thaumaturge. Not yet. But you wear the Robes of Slavery and Corruption. If you continue wearing them...they will leave a stain upon your Soul that may never be removed. Stick with me, Thayan, and I shall make you something greater than any Zulkiir can ever be."
I immediately scoffed at him.
"And what could possibly be greater than a Zulkiir!?" I challenged the Angel.
He merely looked down upon me, with a Grin.
"Simple, Azymandeus of Thay....
...I can make you A GOOD MAN...
- Posts: 177
- Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2010 1:37 pm
This was far beneath a Red Wizard of my status...but I didn't care. I had spent all of my gold feeding my spellbook, And my coin purse was far too light for my liking.
I had summoned a twin pair of Sword Archons to serve as my Envoy. Due to the Dusty Tome that I had recently acquired, containing the True Name of an Archangel of the Heavens, I have taken to summoning and binding Angels to do my bidding.
I needed the practice controlling them.
I had summoned and had spoken with the Angel from the Dusty Tome at some length, hashing out the "Terms" of the Angel's servitude.
"I will Slay only the Wicked: No innocents. I will help you overcome your obstacles. But I shall not Sin. And neither shall you..while in my company."
I reluctantly agreed. I would be loathe to pass on the service of such a powerful being. Even if it means not getting to be my usual charming self for brief periods at a time.
While at the Xvart village I wanted to see exactly what my new friend could do, and so I called him forth.
"What is my Task, Thaumaturge?" he asked.
"To Slay the Wicked that would harm the Innocent." I replied.
"This is acceptable."
"I figured it might be."
And so my new friend proceeded to get to work...and he dispatched the little buggers with his gigantic, glowing Greatsword rather quickly. I was quite thoroughly impressed.
And, of course, while he was doing all the work I proceeded to loot the little bastards. I picked up several rather nice weapons, a massive pile of junk, and then came across an incredibly nice set of Full Plate, which I removed from the corpse of the fallen adventurer who had been stripped of his flesh and eaten by the Xvarts.
The Plate was of exceptional quality. But it was very, very HEAVY.
I huffed, and puffed, and heaved the Armor onto my shoulders.
"Right...let's Teleport to Beregost and sell this garbage."
I prepared to cast the spell, and I reached into my coin purse. I then just remembered. I did not have the Gold required to cast the spell. And the Shapechange effect that I had cast some time ago had already expired, leaving me without the means to Shapeshift into a more powerful shape to carry the items.
The Archangel looked at me...and chuckled.
"Here, can you carry this for me?" I asked.
"I will not.
"Because I will not be a Pawn to your Greed, Azymandeus. I am not your pack mule. It is my task to slay the wicked. If your body is to be weighed down by your own Greed...let it serve as Reminder how Greed weighs down your own Soul."
I grumbled. This set of Full Plate would fetch a nice price at Market. And I truly needed the gold to fuel my spellbook. I pleaded with the Angel. Who only smiled, and placed his hands upon the hilt of his sword, gazing down at my small, mortal shape. I trudged along, and trudged, and trudged...
"Your Burden is Great, Azymandeus." Quipped the Angel.
"Thanks for noticing, Wanker!" I snapped back. But the angel only continued to chuckle. "You think this is humorous!"
"No. These are laughs of joy, not humor. You are learning a Lesson, Azymadeus of Thay. Greed is a Burden. And it is one of the worst Burdens of Man. Ever do you humans create new machines, ever do you enslave more people, to carry your own burdens for you because you cannot lift them yourselves. And ever do you seek to obtain MORE. Ever do you seek to add more weight to your shoulders, and hold yourselves Down. But the Burden of Greed is just like any other burden of weight, Thayan...
...you can always simply PUT. IT. DOWN!"
I huffed. I puffed. I wheezed. It was only another mile or so. I could make it. If nothing else, I could make it to High Hedge, sell the small trinkets, and then teleport to the Friendly Arms inn to sell the nice item at auction. I huffed. I puffed. And I trudged. And the Archangel merely followed in Tow, preaching to me as I walked.
"Fool. You are willing to carry this burden for your own Greed. But would you carry this burden for another, I question? Would you set aside the desire for your own wealth, and your own power, that you would actually help someone?"
"I'm helping ME, Angel! I need the Gold for my spellbook, to replace what was stolen from me!"
"No, Thayan. Wealth and Power are not something that you NEED. They are merely something that you WANT."
"YES!! I WANT IT! WHAT'S WRONG WITH MONEY!?"
"Because the Want of Money is the Root of ALL EVIL, Thayan. Pride is the Soil from which all Sin Sprouts!! And GREED is the Root that Grows from it and takes the shape of a WEED, Azymandeus! It's like Kudzu!! It sprouts up, and It chokes all it comes across, and keeps it from seeing the LIGHT!! And things that do not see the Light, Azymandeus...."
The Angel reached down, and he placed his hand upon my shoulder.
"...they cannot GROW.
I sneered at him, Defiantly, as I hefted the armor to my shoulders and continued to trudge, slowly. It wasn't far. I could make it. I could make it.
I could...make it....
I...would make it!!
As we approached High Hedge estate the Angel assumed the form of a man, and he walked into Thalantyr's shop with me. I sold him my trinkets, just enough to get the gold for a Teleport spell. I cast the spell, and appeared at the Friendly. The Angel followed behind.
As I arrived by the Campfire I looked at the gate of the Inn.
Just a little further.
Just a little further.
I finally made my way to the merchant, and sold him all of the useless trinkets. Why he buys the bloody things, I cannot fathom. But he does. And that's all that matters. I took the few small bags of gold I got for my troubles and sauntered my way over to Muddy, and unloaded the armor, finally, from my person. I put a hefty price on the Armor...nearly 30 bags.
I then proceeded, immediately, to walk over and plop down onto the bench by the gate with a THUD, breathing heavily. The Angel, in his human form, chuckled at me again.
"What's....so funny?" I huffed, puffed and wheezed.
"I must admit...I enjoy seeing a Prideful, arrogant man brought so low because he saw fit to push forward in his own arrogance."
"It was not arrogance...it was necessity.."
"Remember, Thaumaturge: As part of our binding we agreed: I cannot lie to you. But you also cannot lie to me. You did not push forward out of necessity. You pushed forward because you needed to know that you could. It was not necessity. It was because you could not stand to FAIL."
"I do not FAIL!!!"
"All men Fail, at some point Azymandeus. You should know that, from the sheer number of your students who failed in your classes."
"They were stupid, lazy, and couldn't apply themselves! They were not FIT to be RED WIZARDS OF THAY!" I shouted.
"And how many of them do you think received 'punishments' from their families because they could not fit into YOUR insanely high standards?"
"Good! I hope they put them down!! So that their stupidity can't poison the Mulani Bloodline any further!"
"You mean Euthanized!! For not being good enough. The same thing that happened....to your own baby, Azymandeus!!"
"DON'T. YOU. F---ING DARE!"
But the Angel merely smiled. He had made his point.
In Thay, when all children are born, they are inspected. Children who do not pass the inspection, who are deformed, or small, or sickly...
...they get discarded.
More to the point, they get Sacrificed.
The Primary Deity of Thay is the God of Fire, Kossuth.
And Kossuth only accepts a sacrifice....through Fire.
I burned my own baby boy. Alive. Rather than let it live deformed.
Because that is the Law.
The core of all Thayan Law.
No Mulani...shall ever be weak.
I glared at the Angel, with a fury in my eyes unlike any I had known for a while. It took every bit of restraint that I had not to toss every grenade I had at the Holier Than Thou creature. But I restrained myself. I was in close proximity to the inn, after all.
The angel grinned again, just as he started to vanish.
"I have not dismissed you yet!"
"Oh, but you have, Azymandeus. The moment you gave in to your Wrath. Have a nice day."
The Angel vanished into the light. I cursed under my breath, and took my newly earned gold back to the Enclave.
There's nothing that hurts one's Pride quite like being out-witted by a Feather Duster....
- Posts: 177
- Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2010 1:37 pm
I was in the alchemy laboratory this morning, working on a new design for a Silver Shrapnel grenade.
The idea is to take a fragmentation grenade, and use Silver Nails to deliver piercing shrapnel at a high velocity.
The experiments are coming along nicely.
As I was creating the Grenades...I heard a voice.
"Oh, bugger all...I'm finally losing it. I really have to stop messing with the Far Rea...."
"Azymandeus of Thay..."
"...Bugger all!!" I shouted "What do YOU want!?"
"I see that you are creating weapons....to fight the Devils."
"How astute, Bird-Brain. I can sell these weapons to the Fist for a bloody fortune."
"Or....you can give them to the church."
"Oh, I'll certainly sell them to those lot as well, I imagine they'll pay quite the premium."
"The Churches are strapped for coin, Azymandeus."
"Bah! Nonsense! The tithes that they collect almost daily..."
"Are going to feed and house the Refugees displaced by the Fiends." the Archangel interrupted.
"Bah!! The church. Poor. That's rich..." I scoffed and quipped.
"And true. They are struggling, Azymandeus..."
"Aye, well...." I began to speak
""...not your problem."
"..not my.....err..."we said at the same time.
"You forget, Azymandeus, your binding to me allows me to see into your soul. I know your thoughts, almost as well as you know yourself."
"Yeah, well then you know I think you're a...!!" I began.
"Wanker." He finished. Only serving to prove the Archangel correct. He did know me. As well as I knew myself. This irritated me to no end.
"...wanker." I finished. Clear frustration in my breath.
"Azymandeus, I know you to not be a truly evil man. But you ARE lost. You have allowed those Robes that you wear to make your decisions FOR YOU. You have allowed those Robes, and the Power they bring, to corrupt your ideals. You are an Educator, Azymandeus. Not a Conqueror. You are an Engineer. Not a Warmonger. You believe in the power of Science, the power of Knowledge, the power of Invention. You are a Gondsman, through and through. But you are a Gondsman, Azymandeus, in the servant of Tyrants. And that makes you extremely dangerous. How many have you sacrificed in the name of Science at the Orders of your Leaders?"
"...many." I quietly said, looking down at my Alchemy table.
"How many lives have you ruined because you chose simply to follow Orders rather than to do what was right?"
"...many." I replied again. After all...our pact made it so that, no matter what, I could NOT LIE to this Celestial being.
"How many of your youth have you INDOCTRINATED, using your position as a Professor to condition them to the Thayan way of thinking. Just like YOU WERE!?"
"...MANY!!!!" I replied with a roar. "As is my TASK! AS IS MY COMMAND! IN SERVICE OF MY COUNTRY AND MY PEOPLE!"
"YOUR PEOPLE ARE EVIL!!!! BUT YOU! ARE! NOT!!!"
I was pushed back, staggered by the Angel's powerful statement. It hit me, almost like an unseen fist. A light filled the Laboratory. The Knights did not come. After all, only I could hear the Angel, as it spoke to me telepathically. And it was not at all unlike flashing lights explosions to come from an Alchemy laboratory.
There the Angel stood before me, an Astral Projection only, but still very much there.It was bathed in a Golden Halo of light, which emanated from it, lighting up the entire room in such a manner that it nearly blinded me. It floated before me, it's wings outstretched.
...all Six of them. A Solar. Of immense power. I will not write his name in this journal...for I fear that another to learn this name could learn all of my secrets..
"For if you were, Azymandeus of Thay....the light I emanate forthwith would have slain you the first MOMENT that you gazed your eyes upon me. I have seen into your soul. You and I are LINKED, Azymandeus!. I can see your soul. I know your thoughts. I know your emotions, your feelings. I know the GUILT that you feel....But I also know that you BELIEVE that what you are doing is WRONG. But you do it, anyways, because you are FOLLOWING ORDERS!"
"I....AM..THAYAN!!!!!!" I screamed.
YOU ARE A MAN!!! YOU HAVE A CHOICE!"
"I HAVE NO CHOICE! I MUSTOBEY!"
"THAT IS A LIE!!"
"YOU SAID IT YOURSELF!! I CANNOT LIE TO YOU!!!"
YOU ARE LYING TO YOURSELF!!!"
"......." I paused. I was speechless. I was gasping for air. I was angrier than I had ever been in my life. But I knew that if I gave into my wrath, like last time, that the Angel would be dismissed. So I calmed myself. I pulled out a Devilweed joint, I keep one in my pockets at all times to calm my anxiety, and i popped it between my lips, blowing the smoke all over the Alchemy lab. The smell also helped to remove some of the smell of the more...odorous reagents. Functional. And just plain fun.
"...why do you disturb me, Angel? Why do you come to me this day and interrupt important work..?"
"Because I have learned a Truth, Azymandeus. I have learned a Truth that will shake the very foundation of your soul. I have learned a Truth that....I think you deserve to know. And it is my duty, as ((REDACTED)), seeker of TRUTH, to reveal to you. Azymandeus....I think you need to have a seat."
I sat down, puffing on my devilweed joint. The Angel's projected form walked over to me, and leaned over. He placed his hands upon my shoulders, and he stared me directly in the eyes.
"Azymandeus of Thay....you have been lied to. Your greatest Sin...is not your fault."
"Wh..what...?" I weakly, meekly questioned.
"Azymandeus of Thay...." the creature said as it gazed deeply into my eyes, and I into his. A sign of ultimate respect. That I might look into his eyes and KNOW that what he spoke was naught but the purest of Truth.
"...your Baby was not Sacrificed....
....your baby was MURDERED!!!"
- Posts: 177
- Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2010 1:37 pm
What I am about to reveal to you, Azymandeus, is going to shake the core of everything you have been taught to believe. And when I reveal this to you...it is going to change you. It is going to hurt you. And it is going to shake you. But I swore to you, Azymandeus of Thay, that I would always be honest with you. That I would always reveal to you the truth. And I have just discovered a truth about you, Thayan...that is dire indeed."
"...get on with it then..." I whimpered.
The Solar placed his hand upon my head, and it began to telepathically send me images of what it had learned.
I looked around, and I saw myself standing within the foyer of my childhood home in Eltabbar.
I looked about the grounds. Every sight. Every smell. Every one of the memories hidden within my subconscious brought to the surface. I could hear the Bazaar in the distance, and I could hear the clatter clatter of footsteps on Red Marble as the servants moved about.
As I took in my environment..it was good to be home after all..I looked about and saw a child. A small child. An infant Mulani boy. Wearing a very expensive set of silk pajamas.
I saw myself.
I was perhaps five then. A small child. As I looked about I saw the servants I had grown up with. And then I looked...and I saw a girl.
Her name was Annekah. She was a Slave girl. She had been born into slavery. The child of two other slaves. We bred them like champion horses, after all.
She was just a little younger than me. And she was being conditioned to obey her Mulani masters, from a very young age.
I then looked at myself and saw the young version of me walk over to her...and offer her part of the cookie that he had been eating.
"Azymandeus!" I heard a yell from across the courtyard. I looked over and saw my father.
My father, Arthurax Faustus. Master Conjurer at the Thayan Academy.
He was a bald, and fat man. Fat because he was lazy. He used to Teleport around the house because he was too lazy to walk up the stairs. He was always seen drinking red wine, smoking devilweed, and tended to walk about the house with his insanely large stomach hanging out of his robes over his belt-line.
"We don't feed them, boy!! They get the scraps, and they learn to like it!"
I then watched my father walk over to a young girl, who could not have been more than 4 years old, and strike her across the face.
"That's for making eye-contact with your betters!! And that's for taking something you don't deserve!! Now get back to work! And you, young man...!"
I then saw my father ball up his fist, and raise it to strike me. Just as he did, however, I saw a rather humorous sight:
A magical, glowing Fist, made of pure energy, shot from across the other end of the courtyard and slammed directly into my father's fat face.
As I looked to the other end of the Courtyard I saw a woman I hadn't seen in several months, since my arrival in Baldur's Gate.
I saw my mother.
Her name is Moira Faustus. And she herself is a Master Conjurer. A master Chemist, Alchemist, and Engineer.
More to the point:
She is Professor Moira Faustus. Professor of Interplanar Studies at the Eltabarran Academy of Binding and Shaping.
The woman whom I modeled my entire career after.
I am Assistant Professor at the Academy.
It turns out that Nepotism is quite rampant in Thay. Funny that.
"You will not hurt MY SON, Arthurax. I do not care if he is also yours. This boy is the future of our bloodline. And you WILL NOT strike him without MY approval. Do. You. UNDERSTAND ME!?"
Arthurax glared daggers at his wife. But Arthurax also knew that, in the Thayan Hierarchy...she outranked him. Arthurax and Moira both wore the Red Robes in the house. But SHE wore the pants in the Family.
He retreated, gritting his teeth. Arthurax was always a bit of a misogynist. But he always yielded to my mother. Not because he loved her. But because being married to her afforded him a very nice lifestyle.
When she had married him Arthurax was a young, fit, ambitious man. When she became pregnant with me, her only child, it was decreed by Thayan Law that he could not Divorce her. Not that he ever would. But she also could not divorce him. For while Moira was a very powerful, well-respected figure of Academia Thay is still, very much, patriarchal in nature. Men tend to receive infinitely more rights.
"Yes, Ma'am" he said, with venom in his voice as he snapped his fingers and teleported back to his room. Moira smirked at her small victory, and then proceeded to walk over to her young son. The young boy looked up at his mother, with eyes of gratitude and love, for having stopped his father's assault.
Only for her to reach out her hand...and backhand the boy across the face herself.
"Your father would have used a close fist. Those leave bruises. NEVER feed this worthless trash your food again, Azymandeus. Do you hear me!?"
The young Azymandeus nodded, and Moira walked away. I saw the young boy clench his fist in anger. I did the same.
For it was the first memory I ever had of my parents endless cruelty.
It certainly would NOT be the last.
- Posts: 177
- Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2010 1:37 pm
It was my first day of Thayan Academy. And my mother, being a Professor at the Academy of Conjuration, naturally pulled several strings to insure that I was accepted.
Sufficed to say, I was hardly the best student. At first anyways.
In fact...you could even say that I was a bit of a problem child.
I knew, for a fact, that the only reason I had been accepted to the Academy was due to my mother's nepotism.
And because of that Nepotism I also knew, wholeheartedly....
...I could get away with Anything.
And I did.
I made Stink Bombs in the Alchemy laboratory, and set them off in the Cafeteria.
I vandalized other Red Wizard's spell circles, and altered them to be...well, shall we call them..."Phallic?"
I used Gust of Wind spells to blow up people's robes.
I cast Curses of Flatulence on their food. Created powerful Alchemical laxatives, and put them in people's drinks.
I copied other student's homework, I slept during class.
And, suffice it to say, I got around.
Being a skilled alchemist -- the one talent I actually ever possessed --enables me to make very potent drugs.
And I did. And sold them to the other students at a very high premium.
And being the son of the Professor of Interplanar Studies meant that I was completely free of all accountability.
Privilege. Power. And completely and utterly above the Law.
The way a True Thayan should be. The way I was taught to be.
Then, of course, there the Mulani women.
Red Wizards of Thay may only be pure-blooded Mulani. And in fact, we have to prove it through pedigree. And being the son of a Professor meant that, of course, you had certain...pull...when it came to other students. My mother knew that if she was helpful to those who were helpful to me it would only work to cement my base of power. And so she did.
I bedded a great many Mulani women during my time at the Academy. It was a tradition, of sorts, to make love in the Thayan Library. A rite of passage, to sow one's wild oats among the cornucopia of Knowledge and Power that was the Library of Magic.
Some Mulani men made love in the Library. I arranged to have it shut down for an evening....and hosted an Orgy that would have made Malcanthet herself blush a deeper shade of Crimson.
To put it plainly: I was a naughty, rebellious youth. Uncontrollable. Uncontainable. Unaccountable.
As the Angel showed me my memories of my wild childhood I laughed merrily, recounting all of the good times. And then the memories fast-forwarded, again, to a very fateful night.
I was standing before my Mother in her office. She sat back, in her wing-backed chair, steepling her fingers. She was looking at me, a look of sheer disappointment upon her face. A look of pure anger. It was one I had come to know very well. And one I had come to fear.
For I had committed several acts of atrocity during my time at the Academy. I partied. I drank, excessively. Did copious amounts of drugs. Bedded numerous women. And all of these things she simply shrugged off. "Mulani Boys will be Mulani boys", she used to say.
So if I did something that made my mother truly angry at me...I knew that I really f----ed up this time.
"She's pregnant, Azymandeus. You impregnated a classmate before graduation!! Do you have any idea what this means!?"
Moira stood up from her chair and walked over to the young Azymandeus, slapping him across the jaw. She made sure to curve her fingers just a bit, to guarantee that her sharpened nails dug into his flesh. I still remember my cheek hurting for two days after that.
"That I'll have to raise the little bastard?" the past Azymandeus scoffed.
"Not only that, Azymandeus. But you will also be required to marry that girl. For no pure-blood Mulani child can ever be a bastard if both parents are still alive! You know this! You MUST marry that girl. And I had already selected for you a woman much more....fit for a Wizard of our Station. You messed up good, Azymandeus. And it's going to cost both you and me a great deal!"
"Mother, I'm sorry..."
"You're damn right you're Sorry!!" Moira screamed as her clawed backhand went across the other cheek of the past Azymandeus. As it did, the Future Azymandeus could almost feel the strike, just as if it were new.
"Gah!" he screamed.
"You're the Sorriest excuse of a Red Wizard I've ever seen! You dont' study! You don't apply yourself! Azymandeus, you are a GENIUS. You aced EVERY single aptitude test we have ever given you!! You have unbridled analytical capabilities. Your memory is Eidetic, you remember EVERYTHING. You can perform complex mathematical equations in your head. And what do you do with it!? What do you do!? YOU MAKE AND SELL DRUGS!! YOU FORNICATE! AND DRINK!! YOU ARE WASTING YOUR TALENT!!! YOU COULD BE A CIRCLE LEADER AND YOU ARE A DEGENERATE!!!"
I felt the Fear again that I had felt back then. I had seen what my mother had done to someone when she was this Angry to them. I remember one day, in class, one of her more arrogant students dared to stand up and say to her "I think you are wrong" about a matter involving a Planar portal. The way that she "corrected" her student...
...she had the Golem Assistant grab the student, stick his head through a portal...and then closed it around his neck.
My mother created a Spell as part of her Thesis for when she acquired her Doctorate, and became a Professor.
She called it "Arcane Guillotine."
It was her prize creation, and it won her several awards and much recognition among her peers.
And it is also why this woman was one of the most fierce and feared Non-Zulkiir Red Wizards of Thay that Eltabbar had ever known.
The Countess of Conjuration, she was known among her students.
But I just called her "Mum."
But I did not, until now, learn of the full depths of her depravity. What the Angel showed me next sent shivers down my spine....
- Posts: 177
- Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2010 1:37 pm
My child was being born in the antechamber, as many Thayan children were. Thayan nobility, specifically followers of Kossuth, oftentimes saw fit to have their babies born in the temple.
The baby's mother, a Mulani woman from a lower-class family named Asheera, was going into labor.
She and I were not particularly close. We didn't have any real feelings for each other. We were merely two stupid rich children who had way too much fun one night. But though I never particularly cared for Asheera...she was the mother of my child. Ergo: She was meant to be my wife. Whether I wished it or not.
The Firelord approached the Young Azymandeus, and the look upon his face was one of sadness. I'll never forget the next words the man spoke to me.
"The child...is deformed, Azymandeus. I am sorry, my child. But you know what this means..."
"NO! CHECK AGAIN! IT'S A MISTAKE!" the Young Azymandeus shouted.
"It's no mistake, Azymandeus." I heard my mother's voice as she walked forth. My mother was many things: A Scientist, an Alchemist...she was also a skilled doctor. And this was her grandchild, after all. She insisted that she be in the chamber during the child's birth, to make sure that absolutely nothing went wrong.
She stepped forward, and within her arms she held a little red blanket. Wrapped inside of it was my child. My son. His name was to be Orestes. She approached the Young Azymandeus with the blanket and offered it to him. He looked down at his son, my beautiful little boy...and saw that his arms were, indeed, mangled.
"And...nothing can be done? Can the Priests not fix him!?" I pleaded.
"No, Azymandeus. They can regenerate and heal wounds...they cannot cure a natural deformity such as this. I am sorry, my child, but your baby will forever be crippled. And by Thayan law...you know what this means."
"Please...please don't make me do this..." the young Azymandeus begged of the Firelord. But the Firelord, his expression grim, only frowned.
"Thay demands it, Azymandeus. Those unfit to serve...are not fit to live. You know this to be cruel. But you also know that it is..."
"...Necessary." the young Azymandeus responded. Tears in his eyes. As I gazed upon the past version of myself a tear fell down my cheek.
The Archangel, quite simply, was showing me the single most painful memory that I had ever endured.
As my mother took the child and walked away with it in her arms, followed by the Firelord, the young Azymandeus fell to his knees, weeping into his hands. I will never forget the pain I felt. How my screams echoed through the hallowed halls of the Temple. I remember staying there, unable to stand, for nearly ten minutes.
As I watched the young version of myself go through this agony I could not help but wish that I could comfort him in some way. If only I could send some message to him, from the future, that this was not the end of his world.
But it would be a lie.
I fought back tears. Why would the Angel be so cruel as to force me to relive this moment? The moment of my greatest sadness. My greatest weakness. But then as I looked over to the glowing Celestial he placed his hand upon my shoulder.
"Walk with me, Azymandeus of Thay. For you must see the truth..." he uttered, as he beckoned me forward. We followed the projection of my Mother, holding the infant, as she went back into the antechamber where the baby had been born.
Asheera lay upon the bed. She was weak. And heavily sedated. The birth, I had been told, was a complicated one. She did not survive it. She lay on the bed, dying. But she gazed up at my mother, holding her infant, in a heavily drug-induced state, and she reached for the child..
...only for my mother to slap her hand away.
"You little (germbag). You stupid, weak little slag! You will NOT marry into MY family!! You and this little bastard are not going to ruin everything I have worked for!! You are not GOOD ENOUGH for MY SON!" she yelled.
My mother then walked over to Asheera, reached into her pocket, and pulled out a syringe. As Asheera was unable to fight back my mother leaned over...and plunged the syringe into her neck. Injecting her with...something. I know not what exactly.
Asheera struggled for several moments...and then finally succamb. But as there were no other visible wounds, it would have been easy to assume she died during the childbirth.
The Firelord then picked up the child, and turned to my mother.
"And what of the baby?" he asked. "What shall we do with him?"
"Thayan law demands that the child be sacrificed to the Firelord. And so...he shall be. And Azymandeus, as the father, will be the one required to do it. As law demands."
"As law demands" The Firelord responded. "Now, of course, there is the matter of....our arrangement?"
"Indeed.." Moira grinned wickedly, and pulled out a rather nice looking magical ring. The firelord extended his hand, and she placed it into his palm. "My Donation to the temple..."
"Firelord smile upon you, and keep you warm..." the Firelord chuckled, putting the ring into his pocket. He then lay the child into a crib.
As he lay the child down...there was a flicker of arcane magic which seemed to surround the boy.
I approached the projection of my son, for I wished to look upon his face. As I did, as I gazed into his adorable little eyes...a flicker of Arcane Magic seemed to come over the boy. Or, rather, a spell was dissolving from him.
A spell of "Disguise Other.
" My baby...was not deformed at all...
..he had simply been made to LOOK that way.
My eyes opened wide, and my jaw could have hit the floor, as the revelation was made to me.
"Oh, bugger all..." Moira stated "...I'll need to make sure to Extend that spell next time, for the sacrifice. Can't have the little bastard returning to normal halfway through his own execution. And the best part of it all: I don't even have to do it myself. Goodbye, you little bastard. You'll not ruin my family."
As Moira left the antechamber I looked upon the past echo of my baby. I clenched my fist. I clenched my fist so hard that my fingernails dug into the flesh of my palm, and blood spilled upon the floor. As it did the entire scene faded into black, and once again I found myself standing within the Enclave in the Alchemy laboratory.
The Archangel looked down upon me. His eyes were full of sadness. Because our minds were linked, because we were telepathically sharing a vision, our emotions were also intertwined. He felt my pain. And I felt his anger. Anger at this great injustice that had been committed against my newborn child.
"It's...a lie..." I started to say. But I knew for a fact that it was not. For the Angel was unable to lie to me, as part of our agreement. And I had known fullywell the cruelty of my mother. I simply did not know, exactly, just how deep her cruelty went. But I could not utter the words. Because I could not say anything to the Angel that I knew to be untrue.
I gazed down at the floor, speechless. But thanks to the Telepathy...I did not have to speak. I did not have to speak at all. The Angel could hear my thoughts. The Angel could feel my anger. Could feel my rage. Could feel my hopelessness, and my despair.
"It's...it's not RIGHT!!" I yelled. "It's not Fair! It's...It's...." I stammered.
"It. Is. UNJUST." the Angel stated, simply.
As I gazed up at this glowing, Celestial creature I could not help but wholeheartedly agree. This was injustice. This was MURDER!
And worst of all...I had been made to believe that it was all my fault.
The Archangel simply placed his hand upon my shoulders, and extended his six long, shimmering wings. And then did something that I truly did not expect. Something that I, a Red Wizard of Thay, no doubt did not deserve.
The Archangel pulled me into an embrace. And then I began to cry.
I cried like a child. But he merely held me. After all...we were linked. He could feel my pain. And I could feel his anger. But I could also feel something else from him:
I felt his sympathy.
Here I was: A Red Wizard of Thay. A Professor, who had indoctrinated countless youth into our order. Who had been a tool of my government to enslave and control the minds of our Youth, to turn them into obedient countrymen. Obedient servants. Just like me.
And here he was, an Archangel from the very Heavens, showing compassion to one such as me.
I was torn. Simultaneously angry that such a being would pity me, for Pity was for the weak.
But also glad..to have someone who at least SEEMED to somewhat care.
Something I had not had in many years.
And so, without a word, with tears streaming down my face I simply stood there, for a long time, the Angels' hands upon my shoulders.
It was then that the Angel looked down to me, and lifted up my chin. He gazed into my eyes and spoke plainly.
"It is time, Azymandeus of Thay.....
....for you to make a CHOICE..."
- Posts: 177
- Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2010 1:37 pm
"Yes. You would be."
"To cast aside all I know! All I am! To give up my power, my position, my resources, my LIFE..."
"...in order to save your Soul, Azymandeus of Thay."
"You would put a target on my back! For the rest of my life!?" I shouted
The Angel smiled as he pointed to my cloak.
"You already HAVE a target upon your back Azymandeus. In the most literal fashion..."
It is true. The Symbol of the Red Wizards was upon my cloak.
Funny how it looks oddly like a bullseye....
The Angel laughed. And then...so did I.
The Angel was absolutely correct. I already HAD a bullseye on my back. I was literally wearing it upon my back every single day that I walked about with my cloak. A LITERAL bullseye for someone to use to shoot me in the back.
"Heh...you know, now that you mention it...hahahahaha!"
We both had a hearty laugh. We both had a hearty laugh for several, several minutes. As our minds were linked, I imagined all of the assassins that were waiting in the bushes, just waiting for a man wearing a bright red shirt with a literal Bullseye upon his back to walk by.
"Worse, I'm wearing a bright red Robe!!"
"And take it from me, people in Red Shirts always get shot first. Don't ask me how I know this. I just do."
We both laughed. We both laughed until there were literal TEARS streaming down our faces. We both finally caught our breath before the Archangel turned to me.
"You see, Azymandeus. You're not an Evil person. You're just a rebellious youth who wants to have fun, be comfortable, and more importantly: You want to INVENT. You want to CREATE. But these people, Azymandeus, they are taking your talent, your ability to build...and they are making you create weapons of WAR."
"To fight the Devils..." I interjected.
"For now. But what about AFTER Dragonspear, I wonder? How soon do you think before your government forces you to turn those weapons on...other people? How long, I wonder, before your Grenades and your Bombs and your Gas are turned upon an innocent population? How long, I wonder, before you go from being a mere Inventor...." the Angel stood before me, and gazed down directly into my eyes "...into becoming complacent to MASS MURDER!! ENSLAVEMENT!? GENOCIDE!?!?" the Angel screamed to me. Telepathically, of course.
"I....I...I..don't know..." I was shaking. He was right. I was creating weapons for my Enclave, to fight the Devils. But it would not be long before these weapons were to be used for other things. As the Angel looked into my eyes, he delivered into my mind telepathic images of women, children, families, all enemies of Thay being consumed by Fire from my grenades, as they were being tossed through windows by Thayan Knights. I saw images of massive bombs being dropped on villages from above, off of the backs of flying monsters.
I saw children grasping their throats, breathing in fumes from poisonous gas.
I saw images of Siege Engines, launching barrels of Alchemist Fire and setting entire villages on fire.
I could smell the sweet, almost honey-like smell of burning flesh. And could see snow in the air..that was the ash of Human beings. I gazed out upon fields of burning corpses. And I knew that, despite the fact that I am not the one who was throwing the bombs...
..it was I who put them in the hands of those who did.
And while I am not the one who started the Fire, I am the one who provided the Fuel.
So while I was not Guilty...
...I was still an accessory. To murder the likes of which I could never have imagined.
I shuddered at the thought of it. I visibly cringed.
"You are merely a Scholar, Azymandeus. You, personally, have never murdered in Malice. And while you are a slaver, and while you are Greedy, and Lazy, and Arrogant.....you are not actually EVIL. But you could be, Azymandeus. If you continue wearing those robes, and travelling the path that you are one you WILL find yourself among the Damned. And you will only serve to fuel their Evil. You will be nothing more than a minor Cog in a great machine. And you are meant for much better things than to be a mere Cog. You are an Engineer..."
"What would you have me do?" I questioned.
"Cast aside the Robes. Cast aside the Tattoos. Remove them from your skin. Remove those Robes from your back. For just like any Burden, Azymandeus, whether it is Greed, or whether it is one's own sin.....you can always simply PUT. IT. DOWN."
Those words rung with me. It was just like the set of Full Plate, that I had dragged several miles because I was too poor to teleport. I could have merely set it down. I could have merely cast it aside. But it was my own greed, my own desire, that urged me to keep this burden. My own pride that would not let me admit defeat. My own arrogance that would not allow me to admit that I was uncapable.
"The Robes you wear do indeed provide you with great comfort. Great wealth. Great power, and privilege. But they are also a terrible Burden.
For in those Robes, while you have inherited all of Thay's Benefits.....
You have also nherited all of their Enemies.
All of the people that would see only the ROBES...
...and not the MAN underneath them. The MAN who simply wants to invent. The MAN who simply wishes to teach, and to learn. The MAN who is being forced, by his Government, to commit unspeakable atrocities that he himself...does not agree with. A MAN.....who believes that his Government is WRONG!!"
I looked up at the Angel, who formed an almost wicked smile upon his face. I did not think that it was possible for an Angel to have a mischevious smile. But this Solar that stood before me, the very light from him so bright that it hurt my eyes, has the most mischevious grin upon his face that I had ever seen.
...possess the soul of an ANARCH!!"
- Posts: 177
- Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2010 1:37 pm
"Do you not remember your Youth, Azymandeus? Do you not remember the mischevious boy who used to cast Fart Curses on his classmates' morning tea and force them to walk about with flatulence the entire day? Do you not remember the degenerate who bedded every underclassman who would take him hom for the night, and the wild child who used to skip class to go smoke Devilweed at the Festhall? Do you not remember this boy, Azymandeus?"
The angel waved his hand and showed me my past. He showed me the rebellious child that I was. He showed me all of the pranks that I pulled. The things I stole. The endless orgies. The almost constant intoxication.
But then he showed me the night that my child died. And he showed me the man who immediately came after.
After I was forced to burn Orestes alive in the Ritual of Purification by Fire, I changed. I threw myself into my studies. I threw myself into my work. Anything that I could do to hide the pain. The pain of losing my child. The pain of being a disappointment to my family.
So I studied. And I studied. And I studied some more. And while the other students were home in their comfortable beds I was perusing the library by Candlelight.
I read every book that I could get my hands on, using spells of Divination to literally tear the information from the pages of the books and implant it into my mind.
I studied everything. Architecture. Engineering. Biology. Botany. Chemistry. And then I started to study the Planes.
The planes fascinated me unlike anything ever before. The planes, in their infinite mysteries, could potentially hold infinite knowledge.
The death of my son had left a hole within me. A void. And I needed to fill that void with anything I could. Whether it was wine, or women. Or in my case..
...a complete and insatiable GREED for knowledge.
But there is some Knowledge that man is loathe to seek. There are THINGS in the Mulitiverse that, even to merely learn of their existence, is to begin to drive them mad.
I started school at the Academy when I was 18, as all prospective Red Wizards. But I had been studying since I was a boy. My mother did not give me dolls. She gave me building blocks, and I was designing buildings by the time I was 9. My mother did not give me a puppy. She gave me a Golem. And she instructed me to study it's mechanics. For if you understand the mechanics of machinery...it helps one gain a vast understanding of the fundamentals of the Planes themselves.
I had inherited my mother's genius. I had inherited my mother's predisposition for knowledge. Because I had inherited...her compulsion. My mother and I we are...different.
Our brains work a million miles a minute, whether we want it to or not. Our minds stagnate without puzzles. We go insane when we do not have problems to solve, or things to invent.
"Let not my mind Stagnate. Give me puzzles. Give me Riddles. For boredom is a Fate worse than even Death." (( --- Sherlock holmes. ))
But where before I had filled the void with partying, drugs, and women...now I was filling it with information. I learned everything that I could. About EVERYTHING that I could.
For the next 7 years of my life I studied from sunrise to sunrise. And because of the gift of my mother's Eidetic Memory...retained nearly all of it with near perfect recollection. A gift that runs in my family. And one of the secrets to my mother's success as a Professor....she never forgot anything.
Unfortunately while a Permanent Memory is also a wonderful Gift....it is also an overbearing curse.
I remember everything. Whether I wish to or not is completely irrelevant. And the horrors that I have seen, with my own eyes, have left their permanent mark upon my mind. And perhaps even, arguably, upon my very soul.
I had indeed been quite the rebellious anarchist during my youth. But those days were over. That fire in my belly was quelled the moment that it was used to burn an innocent child alive. The fire within my heart was gone that day. The fire within my soul had been quenched.
I could no longer feel the warmth of Fire within me.
It was this day....that I lost my faith.
Not in Man, or his Infinite Failings.
Not in myself, for I had little faith in myself anyway.
I lost faith in my God.
The Fire of Kossuth never again kept me warm. The Fire of Kossuth was gone from me. When I watched my child burn alive I asked how any God could be so Barbaric.
But with the angel's revelation to me I realized: It was not Kossuth who demanded the life of my child.
It was an incredibly evil human being.
A Human Being who bribed a Priest to put words in the mouth of my God, and demand a "Sacrifice."
It was this day I lost faith in the Gods. It was this day, I lost faith in the Church.
This was the day....
...that I became a FAITHLESS..
- Posts: 177
- Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2010 1:37 pm
I was angry. Angry at Kossuth, for demanding that my Baby be burned alive. Angry that I had been forced to place the child upon the altar. Angry that I had been required to give that which I had hoped to love more than anything....to the whim of a God to which his life truly means nothing.
I watched the Young Azymandeus pace around his room, clenching his fists. I was pacing around the room as well. But seeing as how the young Azymandeus could not perceive me, I passed through him several times. I had been pierced through the heart with the latest revelation that I had uncovered about my Mother.
I remember what happened next as if it were yesterday.
The Young Azymandeus cast a spell of Teleportation, and transported himself to his mother's Alchemy Laboratory. And then he got to Work...
Even in my impetuous youth I was still a master Chemist. I always had been. The way that chemicals bond with each other. The way that they interact. The way that one can augment or deaden another.
It turns out that if you have a fundamental understanding of Chemistry...you gain a fundamental understanding of the semantics of Spellcasting. Ergo the study of one has a habit of making one infinitely better at the other. For understanding the "Ingredients" of a Spell are not at all unlike understanding the machinations of Chemistry.
As I watched the Young Azymandeus work the Solar sped up time. I watched a very fast, very energetic Young Azymandeus pace around his laboratory before beginning to mix Alchemist Fire.
LOTS of Alchemist Fire. He worked, and he worked, and he worked. The Laboratory in his home was far too quiet these days, for his mother was constantly grading papers at the Academy and his Father wasn't allowed inside of the laboratory because he was fat, clumsy, and she didn't want him to knock over things that could potentially EXPLODE.
So Azymandeus was free to work in peace. He cast a spell of "Programmed Image" to portray an illusion of himself on his bed, sulking. Which was very believable...considering what he had just gone through.
But the Young Azymandeus was PISSED. I will never forget his pure, raw fury.
After two entire weeks of boiling enough Alchemist Fire to declare war on a small country Azymandeus walked to the other side of his mother's Laboratory...
...which contained a Teleportation Circle.
Of course their house had a Teleportation Circle. Azymandeus' mother was a Professor of Conjuration at the Academy. His father was a Conjurer so fat that he teleported literally everywhere. His father would teleport to the end of the street rather than walk.
And so Azymandeus, ordering the Assistant Golem in the Laboratory to pick up the kegs of Alchemist Fire marched them over to the Teleportation Circle...and keyed in the Circle's Destination.
The Altar of Kossuth. Which Azymandeus had placed a QUICKENED MARK RUNE, as he was placing his child upon it to burn him in offering to the God of Fire.
Azymandeus tied all of the fuses together....and lit it with the fire from his Devilweed Joint.
Just before the Barrels all VANISHED in a puff of Red Smoke.
The Young Azymandeus could not refuse the sacrifice...because doing so would have branded him a traitor to Thay.
But he would make sure that he had his VENGEANCE....
- Posts: 177
- Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2010 1:37 pm
A massive explosion at the Temple of Kossuth, which decimated their altar into rubble.
Fortunately, nobody was killed. After all: whenever ANYONE walks into the Temple of Kossuth one of the first "Prayers" that the Clergy gives them...is protection from magical Fire.
In a Ceremony to Kossuth great Fires erupt from the Altar. Fire dances around the room. Efreeti are sometimes summoned to create Walls of Fire all over the room, and the Petitioners and the Congregation sing and dance their prayers while dancing upon hot coals that cannot burn their feet, and magical Fire which cannot burn them.
For if the Fire burns you in a Temple of Kossuth...it means that you are not worthy of him. It is one of the most core beliefs of those whom worship Kossuth: That if Kossuth is truly angry with someone that he shall burn them to their soul, and no form of protection shall stop it.
There is another such Fire that exists within the Planes. It is known as Hellfire. A creation of Mephistopheles, Archduke of Cania. Lord of the 8th. The Patron Devil of Dark Knowledge and of Alchemy.
Something that I knew quite well because of a fact not known by too many people in Thay...other than myself.
The reason my mother was so obsessed with Conjuration, with Alchemical Fire and Explosives...
...is because my mother, Moira Faustus, is a Flaming Ranseur. A High-ranking, Ruling member of the CULT OF MEPHISTOPHELES!!!
And my Father, Arthurax....was both her APPRENTICE.....as well as her DISCIPLE.
(( HINT HINT, DUNGEON MASTERS! POTENTIAL PLOT THREAD! **COUGHS BACK IC!**))
It was easy to blame the attack on the Cult of Mephistopheles. I knew my mother was a Cultist...but nobody else did. So I stole one of her sacramental Robes...and made sure that a piece of it was left upon one of the barrels. Using an adamantine Scalpal, which Mother used to scribe Spell Circles and Runes into solid stone....I etched their symbol into the barrels. A Three-pronged Ranseur.
Mephistopheles was a known Enemy of Kossuth because both of them represent the desire to establish complete control over the force of FIRE.[b/]
But as Kossuth's command over Fire is Divine....
Mephistopheles' command over Fire had to come from both Dark Sorcery...and from SCIENCE!!
There is a reason the Cult of Mephistopheles attracts evil Alchemists, evil Engineers, Evil Doctors, and evil Scientists. Because their leader appeals to their desire for the advancement of ALL SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE.....at ANY COST.
It is for this reason that Mepistopheles....is one of the Chief Enemies of the Church of GOND. For they represent the ultimate perversion of Scientific advancement at the cost of innocent lives....and Souls.
The Cult of Mephistopheles tore my family apart. Corrupted my Mother. Corrupted my Father. Turned them into Mad Scientists who were quite literally hell-bent upon destruction.
And worst of all....they tried to corrupt ME!!!
My father had forced me to play Lanceboard with an Imp every day for nearly 10 years. And while he did the Imp used his suggestion abilities upon me...to force me to study. Every single day, for the Devil could cast Suggestion each day...compelled me to Play. Compelled me to study. Compelled me to learn.
My mother was forcefully Indoctrinating me into the Red WIzards of Thay...
...and the Imp was Indoctrinated me into a future potential LEADER of the Cult of Mephistopheles.
For just as my mother wanted me to succeed her as Professor in Thay...
...she also wished for me to be her Successor as a Flaming Ranseur.
She was quite literally conditioning me....
...to replace her when she died...
...and to join her in DAMNATION!!!"
And being the Rebel that I was. The Defiant Youth. The Anarchist Engineer. The Professor...of Anarchy...
..I rebelled against my Parents the best way that I EVER could have....
...I joined the Church of their WORST ENEMY!!!"