Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Dave's not here, man (a prelude to an adventure)

Ready to roll, +Shawn Sanford. Something to work from. I'm not sure what the adventure involves (only have read the back cover blurb), but this should take it in the right direction.

Ever since the collapse of Emirikol's tower, Kormaki had felt listless, a sense of pervasive dread and impending doom filling his waking moments. His brush with his deities had, on balance, been something other than what he'd ever expected, and certainly nothing he would wish for. Even the arms of Wendylita, the High Priestess of the Metal Gods' Iron Cathedral brought him little comfort. For a time, he sought refuge in drink. It didn't work. So he drank some more, and stonger stuff. All that bought him were hangovers and blank places where his memories should be, and bruises and scrapes where his skin should be. When his brothers and sisters in the Divine Order asked him what troubled him, he had no real answer. Nothing did. Everything did. He didn't want to talk about it.

After several weeks of this pathetic crap, Kormaki discovered, quite by chance, that he still had one more dose of the Purple Tentacle. He'd first encountered this substance back in the days when he'd just started adventuring with the Order, back before the Order even had a name. There had been a well, but not an ordinary well. When they'd approached it, they'd been attacked by some hideous beast from beyond space and time. They'd sent the bastard packing, of course, but it had left behind the tip of one of its purple tentacles. Long story short, they decided to see if it had any special properties... particularly psychoactive properties, and... well, yeah... they got totally high. Hey, man, it was the Seventies; it was a crazy time. They'd seen visions of things and places beyond the realms of their imagination, and it changed their perspective on the world around them. From this communion was born the Divine Order of the Purple Tentacle. But here was one last dose... "What the hell," he muttered, and drained the vial in an instant, chasing it with moonshine.

Perhaps hell-beasts from beyond space and time age differently than creatures of this plane. Perhaps substances derived of them do, as well. Whatever might be true, the Purple Tentacle had somehow become even more potent with age. Kormaki's mind was transported to every place, and every time. He watched the march of history from its beginning to end, and witnessed, first-hand, each of his lives upon this world, past, present, and future. Whole universes were birthed and then died, and he was witness to every moment, every tiny detail. Everything was born. Everything lived, Everything died. Everything was born again, lived again, died again, over and over and over. After a while the details began to blur into formlessness, and only the recurring patterns remained viable: Birth-Life-Death, all connected, with no beginning and no end.

Kormaki awoke, many hours later, his head hazy, his body weakened from the Tentacle's effects, remembering virtually nothing of his visions, but muttering to himself, over and over, like a mantra, "Deathisnotfinaldeathisnotfinaldeathisnotfinaldeathisnotfinal..." He blinked his eyes, and rubbed the crud out of them. Reaching for the whiskey bottle to wash the foul taste form his mouth, he suddenly was confronted with a moment of absolute clarity: a vision of Dave Filth's final moments, right before, during, and after he was sucked into that wizard's accursed jewel, and lost forever.

In that moment, everything clicked into place. Death is not the end, but only the beginning. Thus it only stood to reason that Kormaki's duty to his flock, even if that flock was only a gongfarmer-turned-warrior and a newly-frocked member of the cult of the Metal Gods, also had no end... They were brothers to death, through death, and from death, onward. And in that moment, he found a new purpose. He would confront Death itself, if need be... but Dave Filth would live again.

Filled with righteous certainty, Kormaki readied himself, donning mail and taking up axe, he hit the streets to look for those who might join him. They'd have to be brave, or fools, or both. As he strode down the filthy streets, guided by his idiot vision, a lost hymn was revealed to him, and so he knew he was on the right path. Though it led to death itself, it was the only path to take.


So we bravely gather, though we moan with dread,
Do you see before you, the Kingdom of the Dead?