Curse of the Avatar

--Houston Dragon aka John Hosie

Know that is has been nearly 30 years since the day I pulled the Avatar from the Sea of Tenebrae... If only the Titans had stopped me. Hydros could have drowned him, Lithos could have sent his minions of Death. Stratos could have sucked the sweet air from his lungs. Pyros could have rained fire upon his body. But none of these things happened. Instead, while I was still a simple fisherman on the seas, the Avatar appeared within the great Sea, and I, only wanting to help, pulled his unconscious form inside my boat.

Ah, if only I had foreseen the destruction the monster would bring! Gladly would I have cast him back upon the waves, had I but known! I brought him to shore nearby the city of Tenebrae; there to mend his wounds and help him recover. The first thing I noticed about him was the strange clothing he wore. At first, when he awoke, he told me it was a costume given to him by the people of the land he protected far away. I had no reason to doubt him, so I accepted his claim. Feeding him, and even parting with my own bedroll, I told him of the city and our leader, Lady Mordea. Curse mine ignorance for not seeing how his eyes lit up with a strange fire at the mention of our Lady. While we had some difficulties with her reign, he seemed eager to remove her from power, undoubtedly to set himself in her place. Being naive, I agreed with him that her power was misused, and that she should be dethroned. Only wishing to help, I sent him in search of my friend, Bentic, at the city library. Ah, Bentic! My friend, I grieve for your death, and wish I had never set the Avatar upon his path! Meeting with Bentic, the Avatar pumped the residents for information, all the while spreading malicious statements about Lady Mordea. Bentic, a wise scholar, made mention of the strange wizard Mythran who lived upon a plateau overlooking Tenebrae. Mythran, who my studies later identified as Lady Mordea's original rival for the throne of Tenebrae, welcomed the Avatar with open arms. Here was one who could be used to topple Mordea from her throne, leaving the way open for him.

The Avatar spoke of the Guardian, that ancient being who protected us from the Destroyer of Worlds. Intrigued, Mythran, who was secretly a Zealan follower, offered to help the Avatar destroy the Guardian's link to our world. Foul betrayer! To cast aside nearly 200 years of peace and prosperity for his own greed and avarice!

Mythran told the Avatar of the four Titans that ruled our land. He reasoned that if the Avatar was out there distracting the Titans, Mythran would have a clear shot at the throne. Instructing the Avatar in his own brand of magic, the wizard sent him to the Necromancer.

The cemetery of Tenebrae is an ancient place, founded by the first Necromancer, Moriens, during the pact with Lithos. The Avatar, his mind twisted by Mythran, met with our Necromancer, Lothian, and her Apprentice, Vividos. Pretending to be a supplicant for Apprenticeship, the Avatar tricked Vividos into revealing the secrets of Necromancy, in hopes of using the power over the people of Tenebrae. Conspiring to gain more power, the Avatar learned of a sacred dagger used in the Necromantic rituals. This dagger, held by the Tempests of Tenebrae, was used during certain rites. Lothian, realizing the Tempests had sprung from the Necromancers, gave the dagger to Lady Mordea as a balance of power. The Avatar, realizing that Vividos was jealous of Mordea's influence, persuaded him that it was vital the dagger recovered. Vividos, never a terribly bright individual, agreed readily. The Avatar then, under the guise of helping the Necromancer, managed to steal the dagger from Lady Mordea's bedroom. How he gained entrance to her inner chambers is still unknown, despite the torturing of several castle servants. Returning to the cemetery, Vividos, eager to become the Necromancer, killed Lothian with the dagger, thus sealing the pact with Lithos. Reminding Vividos of his debt, the Avatar was named Scion and set upon the path to become Apprentice. Through trickery and magic, the Avatar survived the challenges within the Hall of the Mountain King, and took the mantle of Apprentice to bear.

Now, while most would be content, even overwhelmed, with such an honor, the Avatar, ever greedy for more power, set in motion a plan to overthrow Lady Mordea. It had been rumored that Mordea was aware of the Avatar's plans, and certainly she took steps to prevent it. Sadly, my friend Bentic was killed during arrest. His strident outcries against Mordea offended the Captain of the Guard mightily, and as such he was killed in the name of treason against the throne. I was arrested as well, but went peacefully, as I was confident in Lady Mordea's wisdom. In fact, it was merely minutes after I was jailed, that Lady Mordea and her Seneschal, Salkind, arrived to offer their apologies. I would remain incarcerated as bait in a trap for the Avatar. Lady Mordea hoped to catch him in incriminating circumstances, and thus have him executed. While I was technically free to go, I offered to remain to help in her plans. Elated, Mordea promised me great rewards for my help. Shortly thereafter, the Avatar, sneaking into the prison, asked me of my arrest and of Bentic's death. Remembering Mordea's plan, I told him of her tyranny and how Bentic needed to be avenged. Bloodthirsty in nature, the Avatar agreed readily. Through illegal and unethical means, he obtained Salkind's journal where he learned of a diary kept by Bentic that was locked away in the castle storeroom. Undoubtedly fearful of whatever information Bentic may have wrote about him, the Avatar broke into the storeroom through magical means, again provided by Mythran. The castle guards, under the watchful eye of their Captain, were quick to respond. After a fierce struggle, they dragged the Avatar to the great pier at the edge of the city where criminals were executed.

Now, I must digress for a moment. The events which happen next baffled me then and now. The Avatar, through the reading of Bentic's journal, learned that I was the bastard child of Lord Keldan, our former Tempest, and as such was imbued with the powers of Tempestry. Now whether or not this was actually true is in truth unknown. When the Avatar boasted of our Lord's prior indiscretions, everyone was thrown into a state of shock. Using our moment of indecision, the Avatar attacked Lady Mordea, in hopes of killing her.

I cannot go on...the guilt is so strong. It was I who killed our Lady. By my hand did she lose her life. I'm not sure what came over me that day. Perhaps an unknown greed that surfaced within my breast. I found myself renouncing Lady Mordea, and calling for her death. Lady Mordea, in self-defense, made to cast down lightning to deal with the traitors in her midst. I knew I would not be harmed, as Tempestry flowed through my veins, but the Avatar, through some unknown means, was also protected from the violent strike. Such was the power of the blast that the guards that accompanied the Avatar were struck dead. I made to strike Mordea with my own power, yet I do not remember summoning the flames that surrounded her. All the same, terrible flames leaped to life around her body, and screaming with a sound that has haunted me all my life, fell backwards into the Sea of Tenebrae.

I became the Tempest of Tenebrae. The Avatar, following Mordea's death, must have been furious to see that I had gained power in his place. Jealous as ever, he set about correcting the problem. Knowing the ever greedy nature of the Titans, the Avatar traveled to the Temple of Flowing Waters to meet with Hydros. There he struck a bargain, he would gain the powers of Tempestry to rival my own in exchange for the Lurker's freedom from the enchantments placed upon her long ago by Kalen, the first Tempest. Readily Hydros agreed, seeking only her freedom to wreak havoc upon the lands. As usual, the fool Avatar opened the channel allowing the Lurker to move freely across the lands. Fortunately, Hydros, a cunning one, refused at that point to transfer her power to the Avatar, mistrusting his greedy nature. In fact, her thirst for vengeance was such, that she stripped even me of my Tempest powers and wracked the land with terrible storms. Concerned only for his own safety, the Avatar came to me for advice on how to stop the storms. Worried for the safety of my people, I told him to seek the Sorcerers within their Conclave.

The Sorcerers, originally Theurgists, had managed to trap and contain Pyros within a prison of their own making, thus being able to tap into the Titan's vast power for their own use. The Avatar arrived within the Conclave seeking a way to tap into all of Pyros' power. Passing himself off as a supplicant, he managed to gain favor with Bane, an Acolyte. Jealous of the First Acolyte, Vardion, Bane tricked with Avatar into obtaining Vardion's True Name, which she used to summon a daemon to kill him. Stepping into the First Acolyte position, Bane awarded the Avatar the title Acolyte. After facing a series of challenges within the great Obsidian Fortress, home to the Master Sorcerer Malchir, the Avatar found his way into the inner chambers. Once there, he was tested to prove his ability in sorcery, and when found adequate, was taken to the great pentacle for the summoning of Pyros. Such an act was inherently dangerous to all who participated, yet Malchir was able to maintain control of Pyros by use of the Tongue of Flame, an ancient piece of the Blackrock Obelisk. The Avatar realized that without the Tongue, his efforts to control Pyros would be useless. So, under the cover of darkness, he sneaked into Malchir's private chamber and killed him, taking the Tongue of Flame from his cooling body. Ransacking Malchir's personal library, the Avatar discovered a tome that detailed the original Blackrock Obelisk's destruction into five separate pieces. Three of these pieces were already within the Avatar's possession: the obelisk tip, the Tongue of Flame, and a blackrock chunk known as the Heart of Earth, appropriated during the Avatar's sojourn into the Hall of the Mountain King.

Later, during an attempt to capture Pyros within the Tongue of Flame, the Avatar released the Titan of Fire. Pyros, enraged at his captivity, began to hurl great storms of fire upon the land. The craven Avatar, scared for his own safety at the hands of Hydros and Pyros, entreated me to help him. Now know, reader, that I was most unhappy with the Avatar's actions thus far, yet I still clung to a foolish hope that he would help recover the land from the Titans' actions. To Argentrock Isle I sent the Avatar, to seek the Theurgists of the Order of Enlightenment.

Argentrock Isle, home to the Order of Enlightenment...home to Stratos, Titan of Air. Founded in our ancient past by Stellos, the man out of time who resurrected Kalen's lost love as the cost of his sight, yet was imbued with immortality as a result. The Theurgists were the healers of our land, gentle and kind. Into their den did I send the Avatar. May the Titans forgive me... For here was power, different than before, but power all the same. The Avatar offered himself as an apprentice to the Theurgist ways. Stellos, sadly unable to see what beast he allowed within his walls, accepted him, and started him upon the training to become a Disciple. Ever eager to add to his personal power, the Avatar flew through the training in a matter of days, whereas it had taken others years to complete. It was later rumored that in his quest to gain Discipleship, the Avatar was responsible for the death of Torwin, a young seeker who apparently discovered the Avatar's true nature. During their confrontation, the Avatar apparently threw young Torwin from the edge of Windy Point. As there was no proof to the contrary, Stellos accepted the Avatar's story. Furthermore, the Avatar later appropriated the Breath of Wind, the fourth Blackrock piece, from Stratos. Its removal caused the canceling all of the Theurgists' spells, including the one that kept Stellos alive. With his death, and the loss of their power, the Theurgists later disbanded.

Four pieces did the Avatar possess, the last was in my care. When I was a simple fisherman, I journeyed upon the Sea, looking for the places the schools would be. During my travels, I pulled a strange object from the Sea. The stone, which I later learned to be made of Blackrock, was unlike any I had seen before. It seemed to glow with muted powers, but despite my efforts, I was unable to invoke them. As the years progressed, I placed the stone within a chest, locking it inside. It wasn't until the Avatar showed me his fragments, that I understood what it was. I had found the Tear of Seas, the Blackrock piece that Kalen originally used to contain Hydros. The Avatar, using trickery, convinced me that giving him the Tear would best serve our land. Grateful for a chance to help, I agreed.

That was the last I saw of the Avatar. Shortly after the rain and fire storms ceased their terrible destruction. Hopeful, I tried to call upon my powers of Tempestry, but to no avail. A brief search revealed that all the branches of magic in the land were now useless. The Titans were gone from our world; removed by the Avatar for his own bidding. While few mourned the loss of Pyros and Lithos, there were many who missed gentle Stratos, with her ability to heal and comfort the sick. And of course, I missed Hydros, for without my power, I was a useless Tempest indeed. Many people died during the time we now call the Age of Darkness. Between the horrible rain of fire that consumed anything it fell upon, and the terrible rainstorms that killed the crops and caused great damage to the land, our peaceful way of life on Pagan was over.

We abandoned the great city of Tenebrae. The few that were left traveled to the Plateau to meet with Mythran, who realizing the damage he had caused, offered to open the way into the Ethereal Void, so that they might find a better world to live in. Grateful, hundreds fled into the Void, searching for a new home. Where they traveled, and how they fare are unknown. As for myself, I remained behind with Mythran to stay on the Plateau, to warn others of the Avatar's coming, to prevent the destruction of my world from reaching others.

To those that read this work, beware the one called Avatar. Learn from the mistakes of Pagan, and protect yourselves from our fate.

Signed Year 28 of the Age of Darkness, Bloodwatch
Lord Devon, Tempest of Pagan

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