The Broken Lands and ki-lin: Part 2 (log)

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From the annual Beacon Hall Ki-Lin hunt of Frontier Days, 9/10/5116. The background messaging left in the log was some less than natural weather.

[Beacon Hall Annex, Commons Park]
Shielded by a thick evergreen hedge, this broad expanse of lush green lawn provides a welcome respite from the chaotic world just beyond the arch.  Not many steps away, a large and elegantly drooping willow provides a shady resting place.  Further in and across the way, an open gazebo shelters a rope hammock, several comfortable looking pillows, and a wobbly tea cart.  A pebbled path meanders over to the far corner, leading to a large glass-domed sandstone building.  You also see a grizzled dusky curhound, a fickle desert spirit that is flying around, a flagon of winterberry ale, a flagon of winterberry ale, a flagon of winterberry ale, a flagon of winterberry ale, a flagon of winterberry ale, an orange tiger, a huge dusky shrike that is flying around, a short-taloned grey and white goshawk and the Kaldonis disk.
Also here: Xorus, Skog, Fyonn, High Lord Beldannon, Blade Aurach, Bushwack who is sitting, Ylandra, Keeper Astru, Alisaire, Aihan, Fehala who is sitting, Chancellor Kaldonis
Obvious paths: none

Xorus says, "When I spoke last year I addressed the history of Uthex Kathiasas and his seduction by the theocracy of Bandur Etrevion."

Xorus says, "There is much that may be elaborated on this subject, but I will focus instead on the nature of his creations."

Xorus says, "The Broken Lands has often been confused with the surface of Lornon, which is ultimately from its association with the Dark Lords."

Xorus says, "It is something much more subtle. The convergence of worlds. Some blasphemous extension of reality coexisting with the moon."

Xorus says, "It was sealed off for thousands of years as an interdimensional prison, quite possibly designed and forged to that effect."

Xorus says, "The portal to these 'broken lands' is very unusual in that it is not a gateway as such. One does not simply walk through it."

Xorus says, "It is invoked with runes of warding, causing you to vanish, becoming projected into a higher dimension."

Xorus says, "This is much the same principle as 'purgatory', with its paths of light and darkness, the trans-planar void from which the death goddess reincarnates spirits."

Xorus says, "As you may know, the hooded figures are the vestigial remnants of the theocracy, who regard 'The Empress' as the guardian of the 'dark path'."

Xorus says, "In the dead language of Iruaric this translates as 'Kadaena Throk Farok', but I will not waste time on the philology of this matter."

Xorus says, "The high ideal of their cult was ascension into immortality through the transmogrification of the soul into the demonic."

Xorus says, "It is much more forbidden than most of the dark arts. The idea is so esoteric it defies the subjugation of words."

Xorus says, "And yet it has become only too familiar. Vathors mutilating corpses. The unnatural hybrids of blood magic."

Xorus wryly says, "I would have made an apprentice of that half-Ithzir spawn in town."

Xorus says, "In the case of Uthex Kathiasas the method was an ancient artifact from the Age of Darkness, which he used to fashion extra-planar entities from concentrated power."

Xorus says, "Whatever you wish to call it. 'Spirits born of death.' 'Power given physical form.' The artificial transformation of consciousness into physical being."

Xorus says, "There is an intimate relationship between high necromancy and the demonic, and so Uthex fell prey to his own ignorance of sorcery."

Xorus says, "These entities of his were not demonic, and will only be summoned by accident. They migrate between worlds or coexist across multiple realities."

Xorus says, "First, there are the fog beetles or 'Dictics' which wander through interplanar rifts, often infesting abysmal realms haunted by major demons."

Skog shudders.

Xorus says, "The serpent demon of Shadow Valley. The Ordainer of Bonespear Tower. The Ur-Daemon imprisoned in the bowels of Teras Isle."

(Fehala lightly traces the outline of her blackbird talisman with a single fingertip.  She looks equal parts enthralled and disturbed by the subject matter, leaning ever so slightly forward.)

Xorus says, "Unconscious, ever dreaming horrors, sleeping through blackest eons until the heavens align unleashing their madness."

Xorus says, "It will not be surprising if one day they appear around the Red Forest. These shadow realms are all deeply similar."

Alisaire smiles.

Xorus says, "Warped, unstable chasms of irreality out of joint with time, where the fabric of being is utterly wracked."

Xorus says, "They are marked by their unnatural fog, with a baleful pollution of foul black ichor. It is caustic with some variation in forms, yet seemingly integral in the waking of nightmares."

Kaldonis squeaks, "Or Melgorehn's Reach perhaps, it's also a little strange in time."

Bushwack gasps.

Xorus says, "In the case of the Broken Lands the fog comes from a sea of boiling mud, the illegitimate offspring of a vast colony of Hoard, which when freed are capable of phasing through hundreds of feet of solid matter."

A thick fog rolls in and settles over the area.

Xorus says, "The hoard are collective amalgams of imperceptibly small beings which are all mutually self-aware of each other even through the veils."

Fehala pauses in an observational trance.

Xorus says, "Imagine a coral reef forming itself into mud golems, splitting in half at will, and you have the spirit of the things."

Kaldonis shivers.

Fyonn says, "Not a pretty picture."

Xorus says, "The rest of the jagged plain is surrounded with a huge forest of Crystyls, tremendous sources of information that will coexist in multiple places and may shift between realities."

Astru begins to twitch her wings.

Xorus says, "The only way to communicate with them is immediately through mentalism, which is a conspicuously recurring quality of the things in the Broken Lands."

Xorus says, "The purpose of the hoard and crystyls is the exploitation of their omniscience, serving as the source of templating for forming extra-planar entities. Their will is broken by the power draining dome."

Skog deeply says, "Sorries... picturing purdy fishes fallings from de reef golem...."

Skog ducks his head.

Xorus says, "It is not possible to summon or control any of these things in their natural forms. They must have been made artificially, much as the Faendryl speculate of the verlok."

Aurach nods.

Xorus says, "This control through the dome is partly why Uthex named his works in Iruaric. When properly spoken the language has telepathic powers."

Xorus says, "In fact, the power of the artifact is so intense that telepathy is all but useless, undoubtedly intended to dominate these beings."

Xorus says, "He was not making mere copies, but rather unnatural hybrids. His intent was to forge useful forms of invulnerability."

Xorus says, "In this respect his work is reminiscent of Vespertinae, but that is a subject for some other day."

Alisaire looks lost in thought.

Xorus says, "When the corrosive black ooze is not quiescent, or perhaps when crossed with beings summoners once called 'Absorbers', it takes the form of enormous blobs with a penchant for submersion in vast subterranean warrens."

A small rabbit darts past and disappears under the hedge.

Xorus says, "These have been called 'magru', likely etymologically rooted in 'morgu', one of the archaic names for Marlu. There is inconsistency of phonetics and pronunciation in the descendant forms of Iruaric."

Xorus says, "There are cryptical texts suggesting another such name was Gogur, similar to 'morgu' as well as 'gogor', which was the archaic name for his vruul."

Xorus says, "Fancifully one might imagine these things as the viscous, pustulent black ooze of his blood, possessing only the dimly half-forgotten awareness of sublime horror."

Fehala glances over at Xorus and winces.

Xorus says, "Uthex called them lug'shuk traglaakh, a translation of exceptional difficulty. Loosely, 'ugly fiery wet-emptying made from the loss of cave things'."

Astru frowns.

Alisaire chuckles.

Fyonn laughs!

Fyonn says, "What a language."

Fyonn grins.

Bushwack cackles!

Astru agrees with Fyonn.

Xorus says, "It is a play on words referring to their use in making caves, as well as their need to wander all worlds devouring flesh."

Xorus says, "Whether they are related to the v'reen morphs, which breed in much the same way, is a question worthy of research."

Xorus says, "The 'cave things' or 'traag' implied by their name were huge black panthers with double rows of teeth, venomous claws, and the innate ability to summon demons."

Xorus says, "These were made extinct by the magru along with anything else, except for the lizards in the cavern, which are seemingly mere thralls to their will."

Xorus says, "Incidentally, the v'reen morphs has the ability to summon lizard-like beasts at will to aid them, and traveled through the earth freely."

Astru nods slowly.

A low growling sound is heard off in the distance.

Xorus says, "The largest of these 'lizards' are the myklian, an anagram of 'many ilk', for their diversity of forms. These seem to be unique to the Broken Lands, indigenous or else perversions of ingenuity."

Bushwack says, "Demon Panthers... me likes the sound o' them."

Xorus says, "They were originally named 'kiskaa raax', meaning chilling claw, because of the cold flares they throw off. In a way they might be thought of as 'dire lizards' or 'toad things'."

Xorus remarks, "Their bodies are protected with bony protrusions, similar to those formed by mentalists and the direbeasts of the Red Forest."

Alisaire nods once.

Xorus says, "Then there are the dark vorteces, which Uthex called the 'dyar rakul' meaning 'dark cold shadows', another subtle play on words implying the shadows feed upon the power of others."

Skog's eyes glaze over as he stares, unfocused, into the distance.

Xorus says, "These have unknown origins. In my opinion they are an unnatural hybrid of the Nycorac and Blacar, which are also mind oriented, and assault their victims by draining their life forces."

Xorus says, "The Nycorac are invisible predators who are immune to almost everything, felt only as cold chills by their prey, while the Blacar are floating black spheres driven mad when thrust into material worlds."

Alisaire ponders.

Xorus says, "The vorteces will begin dissipating if they wander beyond the stairwell. The hazy tenebrous orbs appear to be part of their birth-death cycle."

Xorus says, "In contrast to these are the vruul, loosely the 'Eyes of Kadaena' or 'dread seers', which are constructs like undead golems."

Fehala cocks her head at Xorus.

Xorus says, "These sleep for thousands of years in the foul black fluid of their urns until they are awakened with ritual sacrifices."

Xorus says, "The vruul are very ancient, hidden in long forgotten crypts. There were invasions of them in the war with the Vvrael."

Aurach nods to Xorus.

Xorus says, "Lastly, the ki-lin are amalgams which ordinarily will refuse to aid other beings of darkness, but these are presumably unnatural ones who are willing to cooperate."

Skog leans forward.

Xorus says, "Ultimately this would be because they were formed or at least controlled, like the Broken Lands itself, through an artifact which bends reality to the will."

Xorus says, "These beasts of the broken lands cannot be eradicated as long as the crystal dome exists to reincarnate the souls of the cultists."

Xorus says, "And that is, however briefly, the nature and origins of his creatures. Thank you."


This lecture is the second part in a series about the Broken Lands and its surrounding context: