The Broken Lands and ki-lin: Part 4 (log)

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Held on Imaerasta 11, 5118 (9/11/18) by Xorus Kul'shin as part of the Fourth Annual Ki-Lin Hunt, in association with Beacon Hall, Twilight Hall, and House Brigatta. Note as a disclaimer that the stories for the Graveyard and the Broken Lands were set in the Shadow World timeline, and that this lecture is only trying to make it consistent with the Elanthian history. Lorgalis and Kadaena did not exist in the current game setting, and the Sylvans, Althedeus, Despana, and Grishom Stone did not exist in Shadow World. The interpretation of Bandur Etrevion's behavior uses the assumption the story is partly based on H.P. Lovecraft's "The Shadow Out of Time". The Temple of Burning Night is a temple of Orgiana, rather than Eorgina, which was a theocracy run by Kadaena's daughter that was contemporary with Bandur.

[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 the Fyrentennimar disk, the Rendena disk, an orange tiger, the bloodstained Xorus disk with scuffed and dented sides, an animated patchwork flesh monstrosity, the Sledgem disk, the Kyrvil disk, the Beyrn disk, a crimson and ivory canvas tent with an open tome over the entrance and a shiny pickle barrel.
Also here: Fyrentennimar, Lady in Waiting Rendena, Keeper Astru, Oldain, Mayor Lylia, Purveyor Rolfard, Lord Sledgem, Kyrvil, Event Planner Beyrn, Chancellor Kaldonis, Tinagra
Obvious paths: none

You see Xorus Kul'shin the Warlock.
He appears to be a Dark Elf.
He is tall and has a gaunt frame.  He has scintillating Eye-of-Koar emeralds for eyes and dark skin.  He has shoulder length, flowing silver hair.  He has a black leather mask contorted into the visage of a vruul over his face and a spider-shaped birthmark on his wrist.
He is in good shape.
He is holding a warped black rowan runestaff with twisted stygian sigils in his right hand.
He is wearing a shadowy black hood, an ora-chained dark obelisk crystal embellished with an attractive Scalu symbol design, a high-collared black leather coat, a six-fingered dark glaes hand set with amarathine silver-incised crystal talons, a heavy backpack, some vruul skin casting leathers etched with horrific images of demonic slaughter, some blackened glaes vambraces, a deeply incised obsidian signet bound in silver, a dark glaes band, an emerald-set black faenor ring, a small abyran'ra skull, a pair of loose stygian black leather trousers, and some polished black leather boots.

Xorus clears his throat.

Kaldonis says, "Then I would like to turn the floor over to one of the most distinguished loremasters of our time."

Folding his left arm behind his back and dipping to one knee, Kaldonis bows respectfully to Xorus and inclines his head.

Xorus says, "The history of the 'broken land' is one of esoteric and forbidden knowledge, so it is only fitting to speak of the theocracy that corrupted Uthex Kathiasas."

Xorus says, "It was founded by the prodigal occultist Bandur Etrevion, who built the local necropolis with its phantom gatekeeper."

Xorus darkly jokes, "This is often haunted by grave robbers. The thieves never left, having fallen to ghoul rot."

Xorus says, "The story of the brothers Etrevion, Bandur and Kestrel, are fairly well known to fortune hunters. Its finer points have been poorly understood."

Xorus says, "Where the younger brother had thrown his lot in with a warlord, the early years of the elder brother are much more sinister."

Xorus says, "In his youth Bandur was dark and morbid, with a warped intelligence. He suffered with a streak of jealousy."

Xorus says, "He lacked the charisma, physical prowess, and libidinal charms of his younger brother."

Xorus says, "It was necessary for Bandur to acquire his power in other ways."

Xorus says, "However, he was a low born human, making him a paradox. It was impossible for Bandur to have known the things he did."

Xorus says, "What is often misunderstood about him is precisely this, that his knowledge of the black arts was unnatural."

Xorus says, "The immediate apprehension of the horror and madness of the greater cosmos. It is the essence of esotericism."

Xorus says, "This is not the petty conjurer's tricks of summoning imps and malign spirits."

Xorus says, "It is the transformation of the 'self' through higher existences."

Xorus says, "Harrowing. Astral projection. Dream walking."

Xorus says, "Whatever you wish to call it."

Xorus says, "There are only fragments of records from these war torn years, and the precise way it happened cannot be known. But the torments of his later life first began in the desolation of his youth."

Xorus says, "He was haunted by disturbing dreams that seemed to come from outside himself, where he was often unable to tell later if he had been unconscious."

Xorus says, "These were preceded by omens, premonitions. He would speak of things out of joint with time which would unnerve those around him."

Xorus says, "There were almost subconscious hallucinations. He would feel he was truly somewhere else, places alien and grotesquely other."

Xorus says, "To others he would seem strangely distant, with bizarre affect; as if the host of some other inhuman personality."

Xorus says, "He would lose time only to come to his senses later, having constructed terrifying and demented idols."

Xorus says, "What was happening to the young Bandur would be obvious to anyone familiar with the occult."

Xorus says, "There was a malevolent power grasping blindly from the black, horrible abyss of forgotten aeons, reaching into his mind across the vast and incomprehensible gulf."

Xorus says, "Perhaps it was a special disposition in him, some rare sensitivity that called out to it. Perhaps he summoned it upon himself handling some dark fetish."

Xorus says, "Whatever the case may be, he referred to this force of darkness as the 'Shadow', and it consumed him while gifting him extraordinary insight."

Xorus says, "Thus prone to fits of possession, what he suffered from were no mere amnesiac states, but the inspiration of demonic revelation."

Xorus says, "In this way he was like Grishom Stone on Erythro Island, or in a much earlier age Despana with the Book of Tormtor."

Xorus ironically says, "... an impossible relic, in an unknown language, written in glyphs with no known meaning."

Xorus says, "There are times when horrible myths have more truth than the rational excuses."

Xorus says, "It was not only a thing of another world, the suffering of Bandur Etrevion, but a thing reaching into him from the past."

Xorus says, "These nightmare visions were often of exotic vistas, far flung places hiding the most terrible secrets and dangerous artifacts, whether those long since past or which did not yet exist."

Xorus says, "He was fluent in tongues never heard by men. Possessing memories not his own, recalling what had not happened yet, and mastering arts unknown to blackest grimoires."

Xorus says, "Others would be disturbed at such barbarous and alien voices, and he effortlessly wrote cryptic texts in bizarre scripts as if transcribing them."

Xorus says, "This is not so unfamiliar. So-called 'Dark Elves' speak the 'voice of Rhoska-Tor' even without ever hearing it."

Xorus says, "It is an uncomfortable subject outside of occult philology, and yet the phenomenon is undeniably real."

Xorus says, "Bandur was able to absorb the knowledge around him with unnatural fluidity, so augmented was he as a conduit for some other lurking horror of the nether world."

Xorus says, "This secondary personality held all manners of eccentric pursuits, whether the most trivial and childish to the highly obscure and specialized."

Xorus says, "It was as though it was unfamiliar with the time it found itself, yet was able to make effortless corrections to elder texts of prehistorical hieroglyphs."

Xorus says, "He was himself obsessed with understanding his flood of visions, knowing these dismal places were somehow important but not for what reasons."

Xorus says, "This led him on bizarre quests. Attempting to correlate the contents of his mind. Seeking to mend his fractured understanding."

Xorus says, "These were often realms such as the Broken Lands, which is almost surely how the portal to it was discovered."

Xorus says, "It was in his youth that Bandur swore himself to the Shadow, which represented itself to him as 'Kadaena', translating as 'Empress' in the very old dead language of Iruaric."

Xorus says, "This is the same 'dark queen' or 'dyar K'mur' who, according to terrible legends, fashioned the vruul as servants and unleashed demons upon the world."

Xorus says, "In some ways she thus resembles Eorgina, who is blamed for the Ur-Daemon; in others Gosaena, which has clear etymological similarities."

Xorus reminds, "These 'names' of the gods are only dead words. Fash'lo'nae meant 'spirit of the past.' Phoen was 'travel' as the sun does in the heavens."

Xorus says, "Eor ail'Giina descends from dragon myths. In the archaic Elven their roots were instead 'leader' and 'ancient.'."

Xorus says, "There is, of course, a familiar history in it. There have been many names for the Shadow."

Xorus says, "Grak'na'Den. The Maw of the Void. Father of the Black Heavens. Althedeus."

Xorus says, "Whether this was the 'Shadow' the Sylvans warded in the Heart of the Wyrdeep over ten thousand years ago, or who gifted Grishom Stone with blood magic on Erythro Island, or who attempted to enter our world as an urnon golem under Melgorehn's Reach cannot truly be known."

Xorus says, "There can be no question that the dark vorteces of the Broken Lands, however, are only weaker forms of the voidlings of its shadow realm."

Xorus darkly intimates, "It is perhaps not so much a coincidence, in the end, that Erythro Island emerged in Darkstone Bay."

Xorus says, "While he was pursuing his own ends in the service of this malice, his brother Kestrel was serving a Dark Elven conqueror, who was known in those darkest years as 'Lorgalis'."

Rolfard covers his ears.

Rolfard raspily says, "The name draws pain to my ears."

Xorus says, "I will be calling him Lorgalis for simplicity. One of his standards was the black sea drake, the symbol of a cult which served him. It is found in a few places in this region."

Xorus says, "Lorgalis would often subvert kingdoms from within by adopting false identities in royal courts before assaulting them with his hordes of orcs and worse terrors."

Xorus says, "The Sylvans from roughly this time spoke of a Dark Elven usurper they instead called 'Myrdanian' who attempted this very ploy on them."

Xorus says, "The Red Forest likely originates in their war with him, which makes its relation to the Shadows only too relevant."

Xorus says, "Regardless. Lorgalis was himself a former 'servant of the Shadow', and was of great interest to Bandur, wielding terrible demons in these wars of dominion."

Xorus says, "It was the subject of his most famous book, 'Servants of the Shadow: Power Through Thralldom', which gave great insight to the enemies of Lorgalis."

Xorus says, "Thus, while Bandur was secretly manipulating his brother up the ranks in the military of this warlord, he was also aiding the opposition."

Xorus says, "He was exploiting what he learned from within the enemy camp to leverage his own access to rare antiquities."

Xorus says, "For this work he was recognized by a famous college, where he would have first met Uthex Kathiasas, and was granted unlimited access to the Library of Biblia."

Speaking quietly to Xorus, Oldain asks, "This college still open today?"

Xorus says, "It was to his everlasting bitterness when he was banned from Biblia after being caught stealing an ancient speaking crystal from its highly guarded vaults."

Speaking to Oldain, Xorus says, "Sage Uthex was with what are now called the Order of Lorekeepers. They locate themselves in multiple places, especially Ta'Illistim."

Xorus says, "Bandur was, of course, not truly a scholar. He cared only for acquiring artifacts and dangerous relics."

Xorus says, "It is almost impossible to steal from Biblia, and so the seduction of it was overwhelming."

Xorus says, "It was some six thousand years ago when this all happened, which was a time when 'Lorgalis' controlled the waters around what we call Darkstone Bay."

Xorus says, "The kingdom to the south was guarded by the Wyvern Crown, a powerful artifact which was said to sweep up armies with tremendous walls of force."

Xorus says, "It was only through the sorcerous intervention of Bandur that the invasion attempt by Kestrel from the north was not utterly defeated."

Xorus says, "For this narrow victory Kestrel was rewarded with a fiefdom along the windward edge of the Bay where the Landing is now."

Xorus says, "It was only a small annexation along the coastal cliffs. Kestrel was not the lord of the surroundings lands."

Xorus says, "He was a fair ruler but had no interest in it. Before long he built his own fleet of corsairs to plunder the other settlements along the Bay."

Xorus says, "These expeditions kept growing longer, having to go ever further away. Bandur held no interest in actually governing as the regent."

Xorus says, "He plundered the royal treasury acquiring legendary items and commissioning daring thefts from collections all over the world."

Xorus says, "There was chaos as sinister cults emerged while law and order decayed. Brigands and foul beasts preyed at will."

Xorus says, "In all of this turmoil Bandur cared only for his own obsessions and eccentric hobbies."

Xorus says, "When some hideous incident finally forced Bandur to act, if only to silence his advisors, he assembled death squads of his own wicked creation."

Xorus says, "These were warped travesties such as demons, transmogrified beasts, undead, foul constructs and other such horrors."

Xorus says, "He ruthlessly purged the lands of all dissent, crushing the cults, and supplanted them with a theocracy."

Xorus says, "One of these strongholds on the coast, I suspect, belonged to one of Kestrel's now headless sons."

Xorus explains, "Lorgalis was rumored to have had some degree of affiliation with Luukos."

Xorus says, "The cemetery on the coastal cliffs is clearly from this period."

Xorus says, "In this theocracy the 'Empress' was portrayed as the guardian of the forbidden 'dark path', which led to the infernal realms of the demonic as a blasphemous contrast to Lorminstra."

Xorus says, "The devotions of the cult were a black mirror of the worship of Death, with hooded figures and sacrifices as deeds for salvation in purgatory."

Xorus says, "His 'Empress' was portrayed as a dead goddess of prophecy and ascension, whose headless body had fallen through the Gates of the Void."

Xorus says, "It was only fitting that the insufficiently devout were ritually decapitated by the theocracy."

Xorus says, "When Kestrel returned from this last voyage he was infuriated at his usurpation, where after all, it was only a fiefdom and not their own kingdom to do with as they wished."

Xorus says, "There was an invasion on the northern border which called away his forces, and Kestrel was forced to use an amulet of summoning Bandur had made him in their youth."

Xorus says, "This reliance on Bandur for saving him with demons only exacerbated the fighting as Kestrel was scathed with the hollowness of his own accomplishments."

Xorus says, "In a fit of possession Bandur killed his brother, ripping out his soul instantly, which he immediately regretted and was haunted by it."

Xorus says, "Using the bodies on the battlefield he constructed bone golems to build a burial mound shaped as an overturned war ship."

Xorus remarks, "The bone golems were once in the crypt, but they were all destroyed a few decades ago."

Xorus says, "The corruption of dark power and the increasing burden of this intrusive power feeding upon his guilt were driving him ever deeper into madness."

Xorus says, "His attempts at drowning his anguish were futile in spite of mind-warping elixirs. It was only a matter of time until he ended it all."

Xorus says, "Somewhere in this time his earlier acquaintance, Uthex Kathiasas, had been lured in to work with the dome in the Broken Lands."

Xorus says, "The hooded figures corrupted him with dark power. Uthex was killed in the same year Lorgalis conquered this whole region."

Xorus explains, "Lorgalis summoned a very powerful demon who invaded from the south and cleaved this Wyvern Crown with a sword."

Xorus says, "The monastery guarding the portal to the Broken Lands was built to hide it from Lorgalis especially."

Xorus says, "The relation of the Broken Lands to these nightmare visions is quite subtle. It is in the legends surrounding the origins of the vruul and possibly even Marlu himself."

Xorus says, "The inscription on the Dark Shrine was ancient, but refers to conditions that did not exist until centuries later, an easily understood paradox in this context."

Xorus says, "It is from a poem that has appeared independently in other temples of the dark gods, while having come from disparate times with no connection between them."

Xorus says, "Whatever primordial power was working through Bandur was, in turn, able to write those words in a script that would not exist for thousands of years."

Xorus says, "Iruaric was originally transcribed in hieroglyphics, the phonetic representations are far more recent."

Xorus says, "Indeed. If you were to manage to open that vultite manuscript in the crypt, you would undoubtedly find it written in Common in spite of being greatly older than that language itself."

Xorus says, "The Graveyard is adorned in contemporary language, which is disturbing if given a moment's thought. Other parts of the necropolis use very archaic Elven."

Xorus says, "The crypt was inspired by a temple of Eorgina. Specifically, the precise spots where the 'Helm of Kadaena' was held, but only centuries later."

Xorus says, "Nor is this the only paradox of prophecy in its grand design. For the necropolis as a whole plays at deeper meanings."

Xorus says, "The path around the crypt and burial mound for instance forms an infinity symbol, centered over Bandur himself, which is mirrored by a manifestation in the Rift."

Xorus says, "The Rift itself is a kind of nightmare, the world mind touching on other worlds, whose symbolic forms may be used for esoteric divination."

Xorus concludes, "This would be another subject entirely. But now you will see it coming, and you may not even lose your head."

Rolfard glances at Xorus and clasps his hands in a reverent gesture.

Xorus leans on his runestaff.

Speaking raspily to Xorus, Rolfard says, "Thank thee for the telling, the history is refreshed in mind."

Questions

Speaking quietly to Xorus, Oldain asks, "Have you ever been to the Rift?"

Xorus nods at Oldain.

Speaking quietly to Xorus, Oldain asks, "And survived?"

Oldain gasps.

Xorus says, "It is a temporal rift but the way the warp manifests is highly symbolic."

Speaking solemnly to Xorus, Rolfard says, "The part about transcending time is where I always end up fixated."

Speaking to Rolfard, Lylia says, "I find the study of linguistic drift and temporal anomalies particularly fascinating, personally."

Speaking raspily to Lylia, Rolfard replies, "Strange how, for example, you may seperate one bird from it's family and it can know the song of it's parents without ever hearing it."

Xorus says, "By the voice of Rhoska-Tor, earlier, I meant the Dark Elven language. It is magically inborn."

Xorus nods at Lylia.

Xorus says, "Fash'lo'nae and Phoen, for example, are Iruaric."

Xorus says, "The human word 'drake' ultimately derives from Draekeche, the archaic Elven word for darkness."

Speaking softly to Xorus, Astru asks, "Have you ever thought of writing a book?"

Speaking to Astru, Xorus says, "I wrote a book just recently. It will be on the demonic corruption of nature spirits."

Lylia says, "I am not certain languages ever die. They are transmuted, and parts are lost. Hm, just as parts of the personality may be lost upon ascension to Arkatic power. The Arkati are potent but narrow."

Kyrvil says, "Always thought drake was derived from another language meaning dragon or something of the like."

Kyrvil says, "Not darkness.."

Kyrvil rubs his chin thoughtfully.

Xorus says, "The ancient elves equated the dragons with the darkness."

Speaking raspily to Kyrvil, Rolfard opines, "Think about what happens when a drake flys above, between the sun and you.  the shadow cast..."

Xorus says, "They traveled under the forest canopy at night for safety."

Rendena softly asks, "Don't think that was always so? isn't phoen light?"

Xorus says, "Yes. The sun travels across the sky through the day as well."

Xorus says, "The earliest known records of Elven oral traditions for Marlu speak of a blackness chained beneath Lornon."

Xorus says, "Involving the 'chief' or 'leader' and the 'ancient' or 'eldest.'."

Xorus shrugs.

Xorus says, "Vaelsoth Inzuniel addressed it in his History of Fash'lo'nae."

Xorus says, "Lornon has the same name in almost all cultures. It is thought to be one of the oldest surviving words."

Xorus says, "In Iruaric 'loorn' means 'the lonely.'."

Xorus asks, "Was there anything else, or are we baiting ki-lin?"

Speaking to Xorus, Lylia says, "I know you have not lived long enough to watch languages change as the stars do over time, but one of these days, I would like to talk about some of the subtler shifts you have noticed over the past millennium or so."

Speaking wryly to Lylia, Xorus asks, "In the languages or the constellations?"

References

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