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Taathian - Table of Contents
:: High Sorceress Aiena ::
:: The Talisman of Angran-Sar ::
:: The Ravings of a Mad Man ::
:: Laston Ildliche's Journal ::
:: Sacrifice ::
:: 4 Prayers ::
:: Taathian Meeting - Balor gives a sermon 5-8-311 ::
:: Taath: God of the Void - Scruple Tamarind ::


The 8th God: High Sorceress Aiena, Lord General of Taath

I am darkness, I am terror, I am that which lurks just beyond the eyesight of mortals, I am the shiver up your spine, the sudden chill that makes the hairs of your body stand on end, I am the feeling that something is watching you, I am watching you. Only the most devout of Taathian priests, the true masters of pain and terror have spoken to me, even less know my name. Only one ever has seen me in my true form, only one mortal ever have I served, only one ever has invoked more terror in the heart of mortals than I, and she is known as Aiena.

From the day I discovered her, I have been at her side, though rarely she has known it. I have watched and taught, discussed and learned, for she was the one written of in the ancient books of the first priests of our lord Taath. When the Gods were young to our world and our dark master’s following was but a tiny group of those most devout. The God Sa, the post powerful and mighty of the Gods in the early years, came to my dark lord to proclaim a prophecy of the birth of one who would destroy the balance in the heavens. Sa told Taath that if he did not kill the one prophecized of, Sa would cast Taath from the heavens and curse him to walk the world forever as a mortal. My lord agreed to the terms, though I, watching eternally from the darkness of his lair, knew the dark one would keep no such promise.

She was but thirty when I first received reports from my spies, Setites mainly who owed me eternal favors for my granting them freedom from some Odarous forsaken prison. A Sanene from the Isle of Muldavia who had killed her master (A Muatana-al of some notoriaty), stolen his books of magic and escaped into the foothills with the rest of those who had served the Muatana-al. For an Elf of such a young age to accomplish such a feat was astounding, but even more shocking to me was the way by which she accomplished such. She did not murder her master in his sleep, nor did she trick him into his death, but rather she simply defeated him with her magic, tearing apart his defenses as if they were weaved by a child and utterly destroying his entire being with massive waves of fire. This Elf, barely even a child by Elven standards, had defeated one who had studied magic for more than a thousand years, and whose power was greater than nearly any other in the world.

Rather than send my spies to watch her, I myself traveled from my dark masters domain to seek this child with such power. Usually the common Setite would do fine to keep track of the matters such as this, but I feared one with such incredible power would likely discover my spies quickly and destroy them, leaving me with little information. I found her quickly, her power radiating around her drawing me in like a fly towards the light. Around her, above her, below her, into her very soul I circled devouring up all I could, feasting on a lush source of power and energy that revitalized the very depths of my immortal being. I could feel her weakening, her mind crumbling, her power slowly draining into me second by second, and then suddenly it ended. This young one, her black hair swirling around her barely developed form, crackled with bolts of lightning that sent me reeling away. She turned to me, though no mortal could see me unless I allowed them, she ran her deep black eyes across my form, sucking me into her well of darkness, I felt powerless as she said, “Servant of the dark one, immortal from the planes of terror, you will serve me as you do your master”. She did not listen to hear my response; she simply turned back to her book of the arcane and nodded in my direction, to signify that she knew my answer without needing to hear it.

Within seconds I found myself surrounded by the familiar coldness of the dark master’s realm in the heavens. The burning cold surrounded me like the warmth the mortals feel from wrapping themselves in a blanket, we the servants on the lord of pain feel the greatest warmth from the ice cold darkness of his might. The great one and I spoke at length, of the prophecy, of the child, and of her powers. I had given her the first battle, she caught me by surprise, but she was no match for one of Taath’s immortal servants, few in the heavens were. That very evening I returned to her, this time unnoticed, though at times I feared she may be able to sense my presence in the darkness as her gazed wandered across the shadows when she looked up from her studies.

Within a few days I had learned of her situation, her family, and most importantly her great powers. This young Sanene, her soul filled with hate and disgust for all, had control of the ancient magics. It was quite apparent to me she didn’t know how to use them, nor did she understand what they were, but none the less my immortal skin crawled and itched at the presence only the magics of the ancients could cause upon my form.

Before I continue, you priests who read this may wonder now what the magics of the ancients were, as the world has changed and events have led much of the magic of the ancients to return to our world. Kralen, crafter of the gray sword, which we within the heavens called the godslayer, stole from the world a small part of its magic upon crafting his sword so that he might take control of the temple of Sa. Many spells, though their weaves still existed in tomes and scrolls, simply could not be cast by the mages of the world, as the energy required to create them had been drained into the gray. For reasons still unknown to me Aiena was capable of creating these spells, spells of incredible power. The spells of the ancient Frontacian empire, spells from the tomes of Telfast (he who alone weaved the unmagick spell, when it took hundreds of thousands to weave it again), and perhaps even more frightening was her ability to weave the spells of the ancient Arachnians, spells capable of devastating an entire world. Sa’s power in the heavens had faltered, and the predicted return of the cults of chaos on the southern edge of the continent Aradath had left the heavens in further turmoil. The dark lord knew none would discover his weapon in this young Sanene until it was too late, and by then we knew that Sa would be no match for our might in the heavens. So it began, starting only as whispers into the child’s ear, help with spells, rituals of pain, sacrafices of blood to the dark one, and membership in the dark ones temple. She had long forgotten my existence, as her world was crashing forward leaving little time for distant memories behind, she noticed not, nor did she care, the whispers of suggestions floating about her head.

Within twenty years I had crafted her into a perfect follower of the dark master Taath. Her ice cold hate for all beings, her lust for power, and her incredible magic lifted her further and further within the heirarchy of the temple, all those who would not bow before her coming were removed and died horrible, never-ending deaths at both her hands and mine. The dark lords gifts upon her grew greater and greater as well, quickly she had become one of Taath’s most trusted servants. He cared not for the loss of those whom she killed from within the temple, as the dark master Taath worries little for those who are too weak to hold their positions, only those whose rise up to stand in their place are of importance. As her fame and power grew, and Taath’s gifts upon her became greater, I too began to have a larger role within sorceresses’ life.

Rather than whisper suggestions, I began to give commands, which she always followed without question, believing my voice to be that of her masters. I must admit, I found some glee in being called master by this one, even if she thought I was another, for it was her who had told me but a few short years earlier that I was hers to command. To my dismay, my command over her would not last much longer, as the power of the forces of Oisin grew in the far southern reaches of Aradath, my lord began to worry about his own place in the heavens should the followers of Arioch prove triumphant. I did not trust any of our army’s generals, and made such clear to my lord Taath, for each while devoted in religion to the dark master, each was devoted in life to themselves. To try and stop Oisin and his cult followers the dark one turned to me and my charge, Aiena. Many of the priests of Arioch had artifacts from the reign of the Frontacian Empire, and some from far before that from the earliest years of the world when man and Dragon battled for control of Aradath. To defeat these, we were convinced Aiena’s powers were our best hope and so she was summoned.

In the darkest cavern of Taath’s realm of the heavens, there exists the diamond of lost souls, it’s glittering facets giving off the only light visible within the utter darkness. Many an hour have I spent staring within the diamond at the trapped souls, tortured every second of their existence by the burning desire to be freed from their tiny prison. It is within this diamond those who fail the dark one in life spend eternity in death, their souls never given rest. When I come, they know my presence, many of them taking the form of a tiny pulsating ball of gore the likes of which would invoke immediate vomiting from any mortal who laid eyes upon their twisted beings. Those who are given a form with eyes stare out from within the diamond, begging me for their freedom, calling out to be saved, their high pitched wails of utter terror a never-ending cascading waterfall that courses down upon me and refreshes my being. It is here, with this diamond, I am reminded constantly of the dark master’s loves, and mine as well, to smell and sense the delightful aroma of terror and pain that mortals bring to our world. When Aiena was summoned before the diamond, much to my dismay, the smell of fear was no where to be found. Could my eyes penetrate the vast well of darkness that is Taath’s lair, I’m sure I would have seen her crooked little smile mocking the fate of those trapped eternally within the diamond. While the diamond would play a role later within this tale, the summoning of Aiena before the dark one is far more important at this junction.

The words of Taath are not to be repeated before any, for they are meant only for those who hear them, a summary however of what was done I will give for it is quite possible the dark one saved the entire world that day. Aiena, then high sorceresses of Taath, spoke to the master and I at length, though when her gaze fell across me her eyes burned with a fury of the ancient magic’s of fire within her. A scroll, she was given, with a spell capable of destroying the most powerful artifacts held by those within the cult of Arioch, the fabled rings of Arioch. Armed with the power to battle Oisin’s most powerful weapon, Aiena was given command of the armies of Taath across the continent of Aradath, and sent to seek out the rings of Arioch and destroy them before they led Oisin to victory.

Before the master of the heavens, our lord Taath sent her to the troops, he first gave her one task to complete to prove her dedication to the cause. She was returned to her family, now working with another Muatana-al who were attempting to clear out a section of Muldavia for their own. She stood outside of the small brick home where her parents were sleeping; I watched her face intently for I knew this moment would define the rest of her life. Her eyes flashed with a burning hatred, one I could not have imagined existed within her towards these, her parents who raised her. The twisted, crooked little smile crossed her face as she moved towards the door, carefully measuring every step so as not to lose her will to complete the task. With a single motion of her hand the front door of the home exploded inwards in a massive gout of flame. Sparks showered down from the threshold of the home surrounding her in a eerie glow as she stalked through the door like a wild cat seeking its prey.

There was no recognition on the faces of her parents as they ran at her with weapons in hand. I could see in their eyes they knew they were no match for her, and the fear surrounding them floated out like a miasma, giving off the first hint of mortal terror that awakened my nostrils. Calmly, she spread her arms out around her and flames rose up in all directions setting the old timber of the home immediately ablaze. Her father first swung at her, his blade whistling harmlessly past where she had once stood, he could only stare in shock as her dagger suddenly slammed through him from behind and he fell to the floor. She then turned to her mother, and a cackling laugh erupted from her lips, so high pitched and terrible was it that I, an immortal servant of the dark God Taath, cried out in pain from the pitch of her laughter. Her mother could only stare wide-eyed as death approached her; the cold hate burning in Aiena’s eyes was enough to freeze her mothers very blood. With a loud clank the mother dropped her weapon to the floor, its steel ringing out through the air as it bounced harmlessly across the cobblestone floor. Aiena muttered a single world, turned upon her heel and left the building, she never looked back to see her mother go up in flames as the house collapsed down upon the aged Elf. I however, did stay to see her fate and knew her mind before she was killed by the fiery inferno around her, the mother had recognized her daughter, and the shock alone had left her motionless without hope of escape.

“Tell me, servant” she said as she turned back to the blazing remains of the home, “do you think I am ready to face the world in this task the master gives?”. I did not respond to her as we slowly floated away on the wings of a translocation spell towards the armies awaiting her arrival, but in the back of my mind I questioned if the world was ready for her.

The dark lady she was quickly known as by her troops and enemies alike as she took a stranglehold on the power of the Taathian armies. Her cunning and chaotic nature led to be a mighty force in battle, as her forces clashed with the armies of Oisin and raced through them in a firestorm campaign across the southern section of Aradath. Her ruthless tactics earned her the eternal respect of her troops, and put terror in the heart of her enemies. Those found alive at the end of battles were chained together and butchered at the start of the next battle to fill their enemy’s hearts with fear and to build up a bloodlust in her own troops. She employed the highest clerics of Taath who called upon the undead to join the battles as legions of skeletal warriors rose up to fight alongside the hordes of Humans, Thugians, Oog-ra, Sanene, Arachnians, and Go-blin-al loyal to Aiena. Within three years her armies had claimed back nearly half the land Oisin had taken, nearly all of the rings of Arioch had been destroyed, and Taaths power in the heavens seemed more secure than ever. The prophecy seemingly had begun its course, and I alone stood at the side of the dark lady, her hate for me seething from her heartless form, but her respect as well allowing me trust no other received.

As her victories continued, her supreme confidence continued to grow, she last I heard her speak she told her commanders that she was Taaths hand within the world, and any she touches will be destroyed by her awesome power. Whilst she slept that evening I took her wrist within my hands, and held tight, her skin slowly turning blue beneath my touch as her arm began to freeze from my chill touch. She immediately lept up at stared directly into my blazing eyes, I was greatly taken aback but my grip on her wrist did not falter. As our stares met, crackles of energy exploded in the air around her as I dared her to fall into the darkness of the cold, finally she gave and shook off my grip, rubbing her wrist and cursing me in every language she knew. I left her that evening to return to my master, but the message had been given, she was no stronger than the hands who guide her and no match for all the beings of the world as she thought.

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The Talisman of Angran-Sar ...

[Journal Entry, Morning, 4/3/308]

I was not surprised to be greeted in the morning by a silk shrouded scroll case three weeks ago to the day of this writing. Many days I find new objects or texts within my cloister that need to be examined. This day was no different, or so I thought. Had I known what secrets were to be revealed I would have prepared my defensive magicks fully before unwrapping the scroll. One can never be too careful with some of these archaic writings.

The material of the case should have been warning enough, but it would seem I have become too confident in dealing with such items. I knew immediately that its origins were of ancient Taathian design. The scroll case was bone, most likely human, finely engraved with the symbol of the Vulture surrounded by images of unspeakable depravity. I have seen many of these depictions before, but I have still been unable to separate myself from the vile acts that they describe. Each time I touch one of these objects, the hairs at the base of my neck stand up on end, and a chill seems to seep into my very bones.

Without protection, opening the case and revealing the tattered contents was a mistake I admit. I thought nothing wrong, that it was more than likely just another fragment of religious work that's value was truly in its age and not content. That is, until I saw a name in ancient Sanene engraved in the cap. That name was Angran-Sar.

Angran-Sar, a name I had but seen mentioned once before, echoed through my mind. Visions of a past acquirement caused me to reel as a wave of nausea knotted my stomach. From somewhere in the distance, I could hear a quiet cackling, as if something knew what I was about to do. I cursed myself for being so careless, a cold sweat breaking across my brow. I waited for whatever terrors would be unleashed by the opening of the bone case.

Seated within my cloister, the minutes passed like hours. Those sounds, which I had become accustomed to now, rang loudly in my head. Each pass of a broom across the tiled floor grated my nerves, as if each strand of hay was a dagger cutting through my flesh. The crackle of torches used to light those confined areas of the guild were as maces pummeling my skull. The very chair I sat upon felt as if it were lined with a hundred nails, driving slowly into my body.

And yet, nothing came. Slowly the sickness passed. My heightened senses dulled and the pain subsided, leaving me sure it was no mere luck that kept the demons from coming. It seemed as if something wanted this information known; something wanted me to transcribe the text.

The deciphering of ancient Taathian texts has never been a task I relished. Not only are they inherently dangerous, their cryptic style and obtuse use of imagery conceives difficulties unlike any other I experience in my position. Although the archiving and cataloging of what we consider the Forbidden Texts does fall solely upon my shoulders, for I am the most capable, it still does not become easier with each new tablet, each discovered artifact that is presented to me.

So it was with a mixed sense of mild disdain and curiosity that I tipped the scroll case and peered into it, cautious of a typical trapping many Taathians use to protect their knowledge. More than one careless Sage has lost a finger to the small blades that are sometimes placed in scroll cases. I had been careless enough already; I would not continue down such a treacherous path.

My caution, though necessary, yielded no devious contraptions. I slipped my finger in, immediately contacting the familiar ridge of curled parchment and carefully fished my prize from its case. The yellowed scroll slipped easily from its security and lay furled upon my desk. The material itself was old, but well preserved. The paper was dry, but not brittle; slightly discolored but not warped. That this piece had been meticulously kept was readily apparent. Why, where, and by whom was another question entirely.

It was then that I noticed the lacking receipt which accompanies each new piece left for me to inspect. Although the young apprentices that seek to join our Order are occasionally lacking in their duties, I have never known a single one not to fill out the proper inventory sheets we use to begin the cataloging process. Keeping their quarters untidy will never be grounds for dismissal, but failure to accurately log all incoming objects is grounds for immediate termination. I made a note to myself to speak with the attendants on duty about this later. At the moment, there was a much more important riddle to be solved.

I carefully unraveled the scroll, placing the smooth rocks I use for weights at each of the corners. I had once used obsidian as my weights, for they were pleasing to my eyes, but I soon found such a powerful representation of the Lord of Demons was a dangerous vanity. After a brief episode with a minor imp, I immediately found four suitable stones in the courtyard and spent the next few hours sanding them to the shape they now hold. I could have easily commanded a neophyte to the task, but after that experience, spending a few hours under the sun focusing my mind on other things was a welcome relief.

I perused the writing briefly, as was my custom. I always try to get a general sense of the piece before becoming too involved in the details. This has helped me maintain the perspective and distance required of me many times in the past when dealing with complex objects. Just as with the wooden images some of the Usil children have been known to play with, if you focus too long on a single aspect of it, the whole becomes lost to you. This type of blindness is one of the trappings each Sage must be wary of.

The writing itself was Xan'Scrit, which is a rare find. Materials written in this language are coveted and heavily guarded by Taathian Temples. From the limited Xan'Scrit writings I have at my disposal, I have determined that the Taathians believe it to be the language spoken by Demons. It is my experience that only the most devout Taathians comprehend these writings completely. How the Taathian priests come to learn the language I have yet to determine. From my research, there is no known institution that instructs the clergy in it. An institution could very well exist, but my limited access to these works has not confirmed or denied such an establishment.

Xan'Scrit writings speak of ancient portals and gateways that link our world to others. They allude to Fiery Arches, unpronounceable names, twisted imagery conjured by only the most malevolent minds, and descriptions of arcane symbols whose creation is detailed but use is strangely unexplained. Yet their nature is so cryptic, I question my own interpretations of these works. Many times, upon subsequent reviews of previous translations, I find myself unsure if I have properly deciphered the document. The symbols and letters that comprise the writing seem almost to shift even as I gaze upon them. I doubt there is sorcery involved, but simply a trick played upon the mind by the closeness in representation each figure has with the others. Had I a greater library of this writing I am sure I could translate these texts with complete accuracy.

Recognizing the nature of the script, I prepared to translate the document to the best of my ability. Not being a lengthy manuscript, the inkwells, quills, and tallow candles I had on hand would suffice. I searched through the shelves of my personal library and pulled two tomes from them. These were the compilations of years of research translating Xan'Scrit. Few of the pages of each volume were filled, but I always prepared for future discoveries. As I dropped the tomes on my desk, a small puff of dust arose from the volumes, nearly causing me to sneeze. An unfortunate side effect of refusing the apprentices access to dust my personal quarters, I again noted that I would need to be more diligent in the care of my own resources. I lit tall candles that would burn for hours into the evening should I become so consumed with my work that I failed to notice the passage of time. Being interrupted by failing light when I find myself in that place of my mind where the translation begins to flow is unacceptable to me. Arranging the blank parchment in an orderly fashion as I always do, placing my manuals within easy reach, and positioning the two candles to provide maximum illumination, I began the painstaking process.

The ability to observe and record details of events are essential traits of any sage worth his or her parchment. Yet what happened over the course of the next few days I am still unsure of. The translation began as any. I examined each symbol carefully, copying its likeness to the first blank sheet of parchment. This is a standard precaution that I always perform twice. I cannot suffer the loss of knowledge and, until this day, I had never failed to complete this process. Yet each symbol that I transcribed was blurred, no matter how careful my penmanship. Repeatedly I attempted to copy the intricate style and each time I failed. With every failure, my supply of parchment began to dwindle. It was then that my frustration began to consume me.

As a sage, I am constantly presented with items running the breadth of all known languages, some modern, some ancient. I am called upon to decipher code that at times turns out to be little more than a poorly formed limerick. There are times when the sheer lack of information regarding certain subjects I have been employed to research is frustrating. Nothing I had ever experienced before prepared me for what I was feeling now.

My work became hurried, even slovenly, in an effort to overcome this obstacle. The more I fought for control, the greater the mistakes I made. I had always prided myself on the clarity of my copies and the readability of my penmanship. I could not fathom how such a thing as this was possible. The last memory I have was of crumpling the second to last sheet, hurling it across the room, and slamming my fists against the desk in rage.

As I woke from a deep sleep, utter darkness and a painful stiffness in my neck greeted me. At first, I doubted whether I was truly awake. I did not know where I was or what I was doing in this strange area. Vague images of nightmarish creatures flared briefly before my eyes, startling me. I bolted straight up onto my feet, my neck and back audibly cracking, causing me to wince at the blackness. I nearly fainted from the exertion. My throat and mouth were drier than the deserts of Oasis, my limbs trembling and weak, threatening to buckle under my weight. I became aware of a soft tapping that grew steadily in volume until it resounded all around me. Slowly, my eyes grew accustomed to the darkness, and I reached out feeling a sturdy object before me. As my fingertips explored it, I realized I knew this object. It was my own desk. I was within my study. Somehow, I had let the tallow candles burn down and out.

It is common of me to fall asleep at my desk while working. Yet I had never slept long enough to let my candles burn out, nor had I been this stiff in years. Spending hours upon hours hunched over my desk, those pains had long been overcome by my body. Now, I teetered within the confines of my cloister, unsure of how long I had been asleep or what I had been doing.

I made my way across the room, using my desk as a guide until I reached the door. From the other side, I could hear the apprentices screaming my name, inquiring about my health, and pounding on the stout oak. I tried pulling open the portal to my room, but my weakened body would not accommodate such a feat. The door was heavy and difficult to move even when I was vigorous. I tried calling out to them, but little more than a rasp issued from my throat. Leaning against the door for support, I tapped slowly on it. It took a few moments, but eventually they quieted down after one mentioned he heard something through the raucous. They then informed me that the door was barred from the inside and I would have to open it if they were to help me. With the last of my fleeting strength, I was able to unbar the door.

I would learn later that I had been locked within my room for three days.

My recovery was slow. Healing magicks and curative potions were administered to me constantly during my stay at the infirmary, but had little effect. The priests brought to see me were baffled by my condition. A few even called out to their gods to restore me to health, but even that only brought brief relief. It would take me two weeks to regain enough strength to return to my room and investigate the strange happenings.

Although I was fully rested, a lingering cloud of slothfulness seemed to follow my every step. I was told that my study lay untouched since my rescue, and so with a bit of trepidation I returned. What I found there astounded me.

Indeed, my chamber was left untouched, either that, or vandals had been through it. The shelves of my library lie empty, their contents spilled onto the floor. Pages of arcane lore, ripped from their bindings, were scattered across the room, a virtual carpet of knowledge. I stepped over these carefully, making my way towards my desk, knowing that I would spend weeks organizing these pages and placing them back in their rightful bindings.

Perplexed would be one emotion to describe what I felt when I gazed upon my desk. The inkwells were all toppled, their dark ichor permanently staining the wood. Each of my fine quills was ravaged, some broken in half, some splintered into scores of pieces. Large clumps of wax and small splatters from my candles dotted the workspace, their holders no where to be seen. Most peculiar of all was the manuscript that waited for me.

"That which divides the waking from nightmare worlds has been blurred to me, the barrier between sleep and consciousness blown asunder. As I stare out upon the muddy path before me, a strange scene besets itself. What is familiar is imposed upon by the impossible. All about me, familiar buildings are engulfed and swallowed by wavering images of a twisted landscape; formations of blackened rock jutting from those very structures I have entered spiral up towards a sky that is one moment clear, the next a savage sea of blood that billows with noxious fumes. The commoners, many of whom are family to ones I have taken for my sacrifices, scurry about as they normally would. As my eyes wander about them, motes of grayish-black light pass through individuals, twisting their images briefly into something truly not of this realm. Even the fiendish representations of the demons of the One True God within the hallowed halls of my temple do not depict such depravity accurately. Beasts of horrors not seen before by my eyes, some flying upon tremendous leathery wings, others crawling about on scaled bellies, waver in and out of focus as each land asserts itself.

By Taath, these creatures can see me!

I feel the hunger they have for my flesh; I smell the carrion upon their breath. I know now what it is I must do.


I did not remember translating the text, but the script was obviously my own. Mine, yet different. Sloppy and written in haste, the artistry of my characters were turned into a jagged slanted mess across the parchment. I would have to copy its entirety if I were ever going to catalog it. I do not tolerate shoddy penmanship, especially my own. I dreaded the task, for just as the thought came to me, visions of my ordeal washed over me. I saw myself, within the very room I now stood, scribbling across the parchment in a mad rush. A crazed look infused my eyes, turning them nearly black. And behind me! By the Gods, what is that thing behind me guiding my hand with its spectral claw?

[Journal Entry, Evening, 4/4/308]

The sages and neophytes are concerned. Again, they rescued me, called to my chambers by mad screams that resounded from my very throat. Three of them now recover in the infirmary, victims of my thrashings. I do not remember resisting, but thankfully, none have sustained permanent injuries. That is not to say they did not suffer grievous wounds. Two sustained deep gashes upon their bodies where I apparently bit them. The third suffered a broken nose and jaw. I was told that it finally took four more of them to subdue me. From the bruising on my body, it is painfully clear that I resisted with much force.

I am not a strong man, having forsaken physical development over the exercise of my mind. Had someone told me I would be capable of such violence a month ago, I would have laughed. Had they told me I would commit such atrocities, I would never have believed it. Yet, here I sit within my room, afraid to enter what was once my sanctuary for fear of the same thing happening again. I have become very intimate with that emotion since I began translating the accursed scroll. I am not the only one who is afraid these days. Today, after nearly a full day of being bound to my own bed, I was finally released. The sages and apprentices who have taken care of me are obviously afraid. They say that it is not me they fear, but the power that seems to have infused itself around me. However, when I look into their eyes for the fleeting moment before they avert them, I know it is me that they are truly wary of.

We are trained to be logical and observant; to not let our emotions interfere with our duties. We are students and watchers of all things that unfold around us. We document these happenings laboriously, in the strictest of manners. Now, with the discovery of this scroll and all that has transpired since, our discipline begins to falter.

[Journal Entry, Early Morning, 4/6/308]

I cannot sleep.

My body is exhausted, but my mind refuses to comply with its demand. Yesterday, I ordered a few select tomes brought to my chambers so that I might review them and complete what I have begun. I know now that I will not be allowed to rest until I have satisfied whatever force compels me to work. I fear for the safety of the other sages and neophytes.

Spread out before me are five fragments of a tome which came to me many years ago. It was from these fragments that I first learned the name Angran-Sar. I have never catalogued their existence nor have I stored them within the vault where the Forbidden Texts are held. I have kept them near to me since their discovery. Why I would breach protocol for five simple pieces of parchment I had never understood until now. They were waiting for the manuscript of Angran-Sar to be brought to me.

Five tattered remains of a much larger tome written by an unknown author started this. Although I have access to quite a few rare and valuable Taathian archives, they were of little help in translating the remains. Over the years, I have researched their mysteries when I could, but it has been frustrating as almost all research dealing with Taath and Taathians tend to be. Many times, I cannot in good conscience give credence to the majority of these reference materials as many were written by the mad. Their bias towards Taath and outrageous embellishments of theories and histories make them nearly useless. I say nearly only because somewhere within their incoherent ramblings there must be some truth. Therefore, it is now that I look to some of the most eccentric writings to seek that which I could not find in more trustworthy documents.


[Journal Entry, Late Evening, 4/6/308]

I have completed my research. Using the original manuscript of Angran-Sar and the rendered version as a basis, I believe I have translated the five scraps successfully.

"And so thus Angran-Sar wandered through the Endless Wastes, searching for the lost Al'Kel'Nar, City of the Dead."

"And for three score weeks he sat upon a dune and heard the voices speak unto him with whispers of power to behold..."

"In that, he learned the knowledge to create the holy talisman...."

"...invoked the Thousand Sacred Names the power of the Talisman was unleashed, and Taganoth came unto this world, revealing its majesty to him."

"... did he gaze upon the Maw, and his mind was shattered...."


[Journal Entry, Early Morning, 4/7/308]

Sleep has been pilfered from me again this night. For several hours, I have been sprawled out across my bed, unable to find comfort, unable to rest. I cannot reflect upon what I have learned. I cannot sleep and write my summation refreshed, as is my custom. It must be completed now. There are voices speaking to me from the shadowed corners of my room where the candle's light is held at bay. These voices whisper to me, bidding me to continue, to finish what must be complete. One moment they are as a lover, soothing and seductive, they next they taunt me with lurid descriptions of grisly torment.


[Journal Entry, Mid Evening, 4/7/308(?)]

Angran-Sar, a cleric of Taath who by best estimation lived nearly 350 Spurian years ago, was not a remarkable individual. Other than the few relics I have in my possession, I have been unable to find his name mentioned elsewhere, except as an entry in an ancient census. This single line has merely two words that describe him, they being "devoted" and "excessive."

Alluded to in his only surviving writing, Angran-Sar set upon a pilgrimage in search of a lost city known as Al'Kel'Nar within a vast desert called the Endless Wastes. I have been unable to substantiate the location of the Endless Wastes as it appears no where on any of the maps I have at my disposal. I would discount the existence of Al'Kel'Nar except I have found mention of it in a single passage:

"And so was left Al'Kel'Nar to the Dead, for it was truly their city. Woe unto those who remained for only madness was left to them. For upon its cobblestone streets, emerging from the blackness of its shadowed corners emerged beasts beyond compare; demons, undead, and abominations wholly unnatural and evil would inhabit its once grand edifices. Al'Kel'Nar was thus consumed by the sands, and the necropolis was born." - Xarinath of Penthania

I have been unable to determine if Angran-Sar actually entered through the gates to Al'Kel'Nar, but the fragments do suggest he found it. He camped upon a dune for "three score weeks". At the end of that time, he had gleaned the knowledge to create a holy talisman of Taath from voices that spoke to him.

The fragments speak of invoking the "Thousand Sacred Names", which illustrates the cryptic manner in which Taathian writings are often composed. Although this phrase appears in many Taathian manuscripts, the exact nature of its meaning is still lost to me. What I do know is that these names hold great religious power to those who worship the God of Pain. Whether they are actual names, which I find highly improbable, or a complex ritual incantation is still beyond my grasp.

The fourth remnant also refers to something called "Taganoth…revealing its majesty to him." Combined with the fifth parchment describing a "Maw", I now quote from the Chronicles of Vasuvix:

"And the Maw gaped, shaking the land under its fiery maelstrom. So did it cry out, brackish blood seeping forth from the wounds it had suffered. Thusly, this is how Taganoth came unto the world.

So great was His fury that the relic was shattered, splintering into His four aspects, scattering them to be swallowed by living rock. And the Eye of Obsidian was lost forever in a teaming sea of blood."


[Journal Entry, Early Morning, 4/8/308(?)]

My work is finished. Yet the voices still speak.

I see no sign of the morning coming; no light of the day.


Words of Angran-sar

Angran-Sar's ghost asks, "Have you ever smelled the corpses of thousands being butchered before you? The sweet aroma of a fresh frenzy of death, rivers of red flow across the ground, in some places deep enough you can bathe in their thick dark caress."

Angran-Sar's ghost says, "The city of the dead led me there, creatures not still living, yet not quite dead wandering in the middle of the Endless Wastes. They claimed none other had found it before, but I knew when I arrived they were wrong."

Angran-Sar grimaces and cries out in terror.

Angran-Sar's ghost says, "The remains of those who came before me were clearly displayed in the center of town, a rotting festering pile of corpses, the stench unmistakable from miles away, no where else had I felt stronger with my Lord than here."

A worm crawls out of Angran-Sar's empty eye socket and tumbles to the ground beneath you squirming.

Angran-Sar's ghost says, "There, in the city of the dead, I found what I sought, the circle of destiny, my path to conquest, I retired to the dunes for what seemed an eternity until they spoke to me. The voices told me the path, they opened the way."

Angran-Sar's ghost says, "I followed the path, ready and excited, my choice was clear. It wasn't until too late that I realized the voices were those from my nightmares, not those of my prayers. Within moments they were upon me....And I sank into eternal darkness."

Angran-Sar sobs madly and claws at his empty eye sockets.

Angran-Sar's ghost screams, "They can see me, oh Gods, they can see me! Don't let them see me!"

Angran-Sar's ghost says, "The darkness haunts my every moment, those tearing claws, those ripping fangs, my endless screams into the nothingness. No longer can I close my eyes, they haunt my dreams, there is no escape....."

Angran-Sar giggles madly and gnaws at his arm.

Angran-Sar stares directly forward.

Angran-Sar's ghost says, "I am Angran-Sar, master of the talisman, traveler of the dunes and discoverer of Al'Kel'Nar, city of the dead. It I who opened the maw to devour us all, it is I who must eternally face them when I close my eyes, must forever relive the torture again."

A bit of flesh flakes off of Angran-Sar's leg and crumbles to the ground below.

Angran-Sar's ghost says, "Inside the maw, the horrors are eternal, the worst creatures of my nightmares flee in comparison to these demons of the darkness. They stare at me with eyes that hunger for my flesh and lust for my soul. They have stolen everything from me."

Angran-Sar's ghost says, "Taganoth reveals its majesty before me, and into the maw of the world of horrifying nightmares we are all devoured. Long ago I tore the threads between us, and now they tear the threads within me, piece by piece until nothing but the tattered remains."

Angran-Sar's ghost says, "Born of the cities of Al'kel'Nar, shattered the pieces are within my bloodied hand, lifeless upon the dunes of eternity they call to me from the darkness, their voices slowly driving me mad..."

Angran-Sar's ghost says, "Warped creatures from the darkest nightmares dance before my eyes, surely a dream is all, soon it will all fade....I open my eyes and the nightmare remains, the insanity grips harder at my mind and threatens never to release its death grip upon me."

Angran-Sar's ghost says, "Crawling, squirming, tearing at the ground as they inch closer, the creatures of my madness become my reality, my dream is much much more. They can see me....Oh Gods, they can see me..."

Angran-Sar's ghost screams, "Gods no, creatures leave me be, my heart is mine alone, you may not feast on it this eve, I have no more to give!!"

Angran-Sar sobs.

Angran-Sar cries out in terror.

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Ravings of a Mad Man ...

The Culmination Of My Dreams, or The Ravings Of A Madman by Nenad Vugrinec, Archpriest of Taath was found in a secret room beneath the Temple almost 175 years after his mysterious disappearance. It is a shabby, tattered book, bound in soft pale leather and written in spidery script and red-brown ink. It was originally written in a little known Sanene script used by Taathian clergy.)

At last, my dreams are realized. My enemies on Thermalliche have been destroyed, reclaimed by the Chaos Lords for their ineptitude in destroying me, and I have found favor again with the Lords for surviving this long despite all the odds against me. I alone against most of the top Taathian clergy, and I survived and thrived as the HighPriest of Taath here in Spur. Taath smiles at me this day. In fact he does more than that, I sense his presence growing as I write this.

[Here the writing becomes difficult to understand and what can be read makes no sense. For example, one stretch of 7 or 8 words reads like this. "Blood daughter, stolen vessel soul reaped rapture " There is some speculation that the presence of Taath sent Nenad into temporary fits of insanity. Others who knew him claim that this was a device of Nenad's used intentionally to intimidate those that opposed him. There is little proof either way. There are two full pages of gibberish. One wonders exactly how far anyone would go merely to present an image or reputation. It is this translators opinion that Nenad was truly insane, and Taath's presence threw him farther over the edge than he already was.]

Taath has spoken to me. I am to return to Thermalliche and begin my rise toward the High Seat and bring the Great Temple truly back within the hand of Taath. Keralatt, will oppose me, I am sure, and he has many allies. But he is a weak minded fool who has conned himself into believing Taath is on his side. Taath has assured me that I am his chosen one, and so long as I have faith in him and continue to please him, I will prevail.

I must make preparations for a sacrifice in his honor this week. I have had my eye on a young Fir Elf, and taken two of my servants off the rack so that they may regain the use of their limbs and go in search of her this evening.

[Two paragraphs or so of complete Gibberish, starting with, " Mother death horse torn stretched innocent screams away."]

The ceremony was most delicious, the young Firene's screams reminded me of one of my acquaintances who I have feigned friendship with for many years. Laurana Rian Ferdain was too well protected for me to ever sacrifice. The wrath of Dragons is never something one evokes casually or for pleasure. I used to have the most pleasurable dreams of tearing Laurana's heart from her still breathing chest as I watched the light fade from her eyes. The difficulties in hiding her from Sa long enough to perform the task while evading wrathful dragons was never something I could overcome. Still, the young Firene's red hair and fair skin reminded me of Laurana, and her dying screams evoked many pleasurable memories of dying painfully with the Tall cleric of Sa as Carnivorous Spiders and Demons tore our bodies apart.

In anycase, Taath is pleased, and I now begin my preparations for travel to Thermalliche. Dolomodes is well equipped to serve as HighPriest in the Spur. I will leave the keys to my office to him, though not the keys to my private apartments.

I do not wish to pay for the transportation of myself and my servants so I must convince the Captain of a ship I know that it is in his best interest to provide me passage. His daughter is of just such an age where she bruises easily without too much difficulty. Perhaps a few bruises here and there, and the abduction of his Son will entice him to take me for free. [Again more gibberish, "Blood, death wall floor ripped bring me etc..."]


The Captain was a stubborn man, and his wife and son provided little pleasure. Still, we leave for Thermalliche in the morning.

[The text ends here and begins after a few pages. Why Nenad did this is uncertain. Perhaps he felt like he wanted to add detail later when he had time. The text seems to pick back up after several days. We will start there next time.]

We must make a small detour on our way to Thermalliche. My dreams have revealed to me a powerful talisman which will help me in my quest to unify the Taathian church on Thermalliche. My most recent intelligence leads me to believe that Keralaat, is much more powerful than I had believed. His family's fortress is well defended with many mages and warriors, and of course a host of Taathian priests. Structurally it is extremely sound.

In order to unify the Temple, it is necessary that I make an example of Keralatt. I do not wish to take the time to launch a conventional attack. I will spend some time locating the talisman, and use a combination of greed, treachery, betrayal and deceit to bring Keralaat to his knees before me screaming.

We will land in a short time on a small island about 4 days north of Thermalliche. It is here that we will find The Talisman of Teranus. Teranus was a follower of Taath almost 800 years ago, that raised the Taathian church to such a standing within Sanene culture that over 90% of all Sanene worship Taath. The Talisman gave Teranus obscene power of cruelty and brutality which he used to bring his opposition to their knees. It is whispered by some to have the ability to inflict pain upon the bearers foes without that foe needing to be anywhere nearby. Others have whispered that it had the ability to steal the soul from a person without killing the individual, leaving them a twisted and soulless being, capable of unspeakable brutality without remorse. Victims of the Talisman over time it is whispered become twisted, warped creatures with little human resemblance.

With the Talisman, I intend to create a personal bodyguard of the soulless. The power of the Talisman will lend me more than enough power to eliminate Keralaat and his ilk.

[Flesh torn spirit invaded bloody child." The more I read these incoherent ramblings, the more I think there is meaning to them. I must discover it.]

[Stuck here between these pages is a folded piece of parchment in an obviously different handwriting than that of Nenads spidery script. It is bold and flowing using a dark black ink.]

Captains Log. Day 3 of this Dark journey: This journey has become my personal waking nightmare. Master Vugrinec's presence aboard my ship grates on my very nerves and indeed, the tingling feelings in my spine never seem to go away and escalate wildly whenever he is near. I am forced to cater to his every whim, as memories of my wife chill my soul. I denied him at first, even after my daughter came home silent and bloodied. Then I came home to find my son gone. My wife stood in the living room facing the door, her eyes blank, unblinking. What the Sans touch did to her, I may never know. Her retreat into madness and her lifeless eyes as I left her in care of her sister haunt me. No, even the nightly cries of my cabin boy followed by his whimpering until dawn, cannot make me bring more harm to those I love. This San owns me.

My thoughts turn more and more to reefs and shallow waterways. Feeding this great evil to the sea seems to be my only escape. Perhaps, the reef north of

[The log entry ends here, with plenty of room left on the page.]

The Captain is a fool. His sailors have been doing my bidding for 2 days now. He believes the cries of his Cabin Boy mean that secrets are safe with the boy. The old fool! The boy tells me everything, including the details of the Captains Log. This ship sails where I want it to go. Right now we should site the Island I am looking for in the Afternoon, if my calculations are correct. I believe the Captain will be the first victim of the Talisman.


["Black instrument spine split terror, spirit hate warped man, emotion capable absent hungry." Is the black instrument the Talisman? I have never run across mention of this Talisman in my studies. But then little is known of Thermalliche outside the San elf race.]

Well, it was much easier than I had thought. We landed on the island to find it completely deserted. Most of the Island was completely barren, except for a ring of vegetation on the outer fringe of the Island. In the center of this Barren Island I found by following the tingling sensation in my spine, the shattered remains of several hundred warriors. In the middle of this carnage was a single skeleton of a black robed being, holding this jet black Talisman in his hand. A similarly jet black chain hung around the beings neck. Interesting color this material, your eyes seem drawn to it, and it seems to suck ambient light into it, making the darkness almost complete.

It squirmed as I picked it up, and immediately began a struggle for control. I won barely near the end. I believe Taath helped. But it is mine now, without question and ready to do my bidding. The battle was not without cost. Deep in the core of my being, a seed has been planted, I believe the touch of this talisman has asserted itself within me, and attempts to grow. What an insidious plot, I must take some time to figure out how to fight this before it consumes me.

We sail now for Thermalliche, without the Captains help. I turned the Talisman on him as soon as I was back aboard the ship. His screams echo in my mind most deliciously. His sailors obey my orders unquestionably, indeed they hurry off to do my bidding as if their lives depend on it. I imagine that their lives do depend on it. At least their lives as they know it. The inhuman cries of what was once their Captain echo from the Crows Nest where I have had it chained. If only I had had the Talisman to use on his family, before I sealed them inside their house and burned them alive.

I hope to figure out how to have this creature obey my orders. Though I may lose a few specimens before I figure out how this thing works. Perhaps as we grow more connected, its power will come to me more easily. For now, I am content, we land on Thermalliche in two days. 

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Laston Ildliche's Journal ...

Some time ago, I came upon Laston's personal journal. Though Laston has passed from the surrounding locale, his story is nonetheless an intriguing one. Those of you who love a good story, sit back and smoke your devil weed while you read. Have a glass of bloodwyne, or whatever it is you do. I shall publish it in the Emjedah Empire News under the Gargoyle's Gaze writing archives, but I leave it here also for your convenience.

Sorceress Sarithiya Darklure


Written on the inside cover

I have begun this journal so that I might better reflect upon my actions, or so that is what Master Jhinne tells me. Master Jhinne is a sword master in our village and a cleric of our Lady Rinanni. Contemplation, reflection, strength in solitude, dedication to community, these tenets will allow you to serve well and remain true. Contemplation before action strengthens resolve, reflection upons ones actions is to know your soul, one must find ones strength in solitude before one can add to the strength of the community. So I shall keep this journal, only through introspection can we learn to examine our own actions and learn to judge ourselves. If we cannot learn to truthfully judge ourselves then we shall be doomed to walk through our lives in chaos and dishonor.

Day 1 - Third Month, 1st Day of the Year 252

I woke this morn before the dawn in anticipation of the coming day, this will be my last day in the village for some years. It has ever been my fondest desire to enter the priesthood, and on the morrow I shall enter service to the Lady. I dressed quietly and walked to the red cliffs overlooking the tormented ocean, there I greeted the sunrise as the frigid wind swirled about me. My emotions reflected the relentless winds buffeting me. Torn between prideful confidence and a deep humility that I would be worthy to face the up coming task, I turned and went to face the day.

Master Jhinne said a strange thing today. He stated that it is better to lay down ones life for peace than to succumb to violence oneself. I questioned him regarding this for I had always been taught that this world is embraced in a never ending battle between good and evil. How then can we hope to defeat the forces of darkness with kindness alone as they slit our throats? Master Jhinne merely smiled at me, as if he had been expecting this question. Laston, he said, there are many shades of light and dark in this world. I will not tell you not to judge others, for if no one takes responsibility to judge what is right or wrong then we all descend into chaos. Yet, even as you may deem someones heart is black, who can tell but the goddess if a gentle touch of kindness is all that is required to nudge that soul back to salvation. There is indeed a battle between light and dark, yet the battle must be fought with love as our strongest weapon, when love fails then we must rely on the lesser weapons wielded by strength of arm.

Day 2 - Third Month, 2nd Day

Mother smiled at me with a look of pride in her intense green eyes as I donned my travelling cloak. I turned to my father expecting to see a similar sentiment expressed and was caught off guard as I saw him frowning sternly at mother. Laston goes to become a cleric of Rinanni this day, calmly stated father, do not encourage him to believe his calling is any greater than that of a blacksmith or baker. Each is equal in the Ladies heart, reflect on these thoughts as you make your way to the temple, he instructed. Of course father, I said as I touched my palm to heart and bowed in farewell. How clearly he sees into my heart I thought as I broke into an easy run. It would be several hours of travel around the bay on foot even at a brisk run and I had hoped to arrive early enough to explore what will be my home for the next four years. Father had offered to sail me across the bay, but I felt it better to arrive afoot on my own, rather than skipping across the waves in the family launch as was our weekly custom when attending service. Thus I arrived footsore and dusty at the gates of the temple. Little was accomplished today other than the assembly of the candidates and the mundane concerns of assigning each of us dormitory space.


Day 23 - Third Month, 25th Day

Almost a month has passed since I last set quill to parchment, the masters leave little time for idle pursuits. It is unlikely I would have found the time for this entry had not Master Jhinne not visited today. He reminded me that it is not enough to want to be virtuous, we must examine our very thoughts so we may examine the truth in our own intent.

I bested Cantel, the third year champion, today while sparring under the tutelage of Mistress Alwe. I took small comfort in the victory as she chided Yantel on his sloppy footwork. Yantel actions after the match have me concerned. I first thought when he glared at me it was out of shame that he had been bested by a student two years his junior, but strangely his expression turned to one of pity and forgiveness as he calmed himself. I scarcely heard the cheers of my classmates as I left the glade. For what reason would he pity me?

Day 108 - Sixth Month, 18th Day

The general feeling of unease I have sensed among Yantels circle of friends seems to be spreading among even my own classmates. I question myself and wonder if I am being overly vain in thinking that they are whispering behind my back? Surely I can't be imagining this. Next week I meet the fourth year champion in contest, never before has a first year student been honored so. Yet I take no great pride as physical prowess in battle has always come easily to me. Surely my classmates don't think my success in sparring is going to my head. As I contemplate further I have decided my fears are unfounded. Truly, what could I have been thinking to accuse my peers of dishonor, even if only in my mind. I shall seek the guidance of Mistress Alwe before the match tomorrow to see how I might atone for my impure thoughts.

Day 115 - Sixth Month, 25th Day

I confessed my thoughts to Mistress Alwe this day. To my consternation she did not speak for several long moments and no expression passed across her face. Finally she quietly told me that she could not answer my question and would arrange for a meeting with the Prelate after the morrows contest. I shall spend the remainder of this evening in solitude and reflection and trust to the Lady to grant me peace.

Day 116 - Sixth Month, 26th Day

I stood today in the fading light over Sumnal as she struggled to rise. Although the match lasted for near an hour I sensed I would triumph in the opening moments for my opponent appeared distracted from her task and fought at times with uncontrolled rage that clouded her judgment. She fought long and furiously past the point where she should have yielded according to the custom of a students match. To my astonishment the contest master ended the match and declared me the winner as the crowd grew quiet. To my shame Sumnal lurched to her feet and cursed me as the son of a thief. Time stopped, with perfect clarity I remember roaring in defiance as my claws tore through the corded flesh of her throat. The only sound I heard was the beating of my heart as I ran from the glade into the darkening forest, for in my heart I knew she had spoken the truth.

All is a blur of pain and confusion. I scarcely recognize my own thoughts. I hunger for vengeance as naturally as I breath. What force has driven me deeper into these mountains for days on end without sustenance? They are hunting me like an animal, for that is what I am. I ran through the night until I reached the village of my ill birth. I must have appeared as a specter as I arrived with the dawn. My father awaited me at the edge of town, the pathetic creature looked at me with pain in his eyes as he recognized that I had learned his foul secret. He did not resist as I took his life with brutal efficiency. Master Jhinne was wrong, to lay down ones life for peace is a despicable act, born of futility. His soul departed this world and his flesh rotted for he did not seek his false goddess. Death had solved nothing, more would be required.

I continued like a wraith to our homestead, only to find the wretch who called herself my mother weeping upon the stoop. I saw for the first time the fell godmark of the nameless one upon her. Only a child's misplaced love for a parent could have poisoned my vision all these years. To my disgust she pleaded for mercy and screamed for sanctuary as I dragged her by the neck through the dirt streets of the village so that all might know of her dishonor. The villagers turned their eyes aside as we passed lest they be tainted by her shame, or perhaps lost in their own guilt. Such a rage I had never known before and her feeble protestations were in vain. As I turned towards the obsidian gates she redoubled her thrashing and screaming as she realized the fate I had chosen for her.

The blackrobed priests scarcely glanced at my godmark, dark eyes drank in my anguish as they opened the temple doors wide to receive me. Was it madness or joy I felt as I threw the demon who birthed me to the ground at the feet of the Inquisitor? I recall screaming at him that I would destroy him should he let her die and escape eternal torment. At this moment Rinanni herself saw into my soul and fled, deserting me to my destiny. I had become a creature of Taath.

How easily I was led into submission through the softness of the Ladies lies. The truth is nothing that can be searched for, I was a fool to believe the pursuit of peace would enlighten me. Truly it was comforting to be led down the path of perceived virtue, yet in the end love is no more righteous than any other weak emotion. Mere mortals shall never discern the truth in this world, indeed most mortals scarcely have the wit to deceive themselves that they are good. Pain is the only constant, I see that clearly now. Pain my parents chose for me, they rightfully kept me ignorant all these years of my young life. Ignorance was the forge in which they created me, in which they lifted me so that my fall would be glorious. All my ideals, my heritage, a cruel mockery. I see now the joy those vermin took as they looked upon me as they whispered of my shame among there weak and treacherous selves. What fear they must have felt in my presence, knowing in their hearts that they were as wretched as I, fearing to face the truth of their basic nature.


I shall take to sea tomorrow on a warship. Inquisitor Kell recommended me to the Taathian Captain Apsel as I can no longer stay in Leuia. There is unrest in my village, seemingly they are equally divided between hanging me and feting me as a hero. The fools lack the intelligence to even understand me, I renounce them all, may they all rot as I go forth to spread Taath's gospel upon this earth.


The sleek gray warship cuts easily through the tormented swells at the harbors mouth even in this light breeze. She moves like a predator past the press of heavily laden trade ships. On the horizon black stormclouds loom. I shall prepare myself for the coming storm, I shall welcome it.

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Sacrifice ...

On High the Holy Hand of Taath!

The One true Lord of Alle Darkness

Oh Loath is Light to Let him be

And So He Smites It down.


Contrite odarian feel the mighty Hand

For Darkness holds thy heart.

Sly rinanni Doe laydown again for Him

As with sheep-herds you sae'ften lay .

Though not unseen, unknown sae quiet stay

And sit your midd'n fence alone.

The Serpents Tongue- Seth- Stae hidden well!

Deep in tha shadows silently whisper

As if the darknesse glowes Sun-Fulle bright.

An' though the trees and animals away ,

elindale skinn'd and scarr'd will freeze

An' cringe an' cower in the Cloath of Night!

But Thief! Dam'd Thief of Magick, dead soon will be

When in Dire Darklight's Din Thy Blood Be Spilt.


When Faerie-healer Flies through the Temple Taath

Light by Dark b'easily Surpassed. Lo, Death!

Th'Altar gleam-glows Black! Saech Holy Gore as this!

And confuss'd then kill'd the bug Bleeds sae well.

Th'Dagger douses light an' grim Death holds thee.

Tha' Hand tha' reaches down for thee, Oh bug,

Shall hold thee High an' Head down t'eat.

Before th'Altar thy bare-breast be split

Tha' hides your little Heart sae filthy .

An' with Thrust-quick; There, th'earts removed.


The Dark did slay Dread bright

In Starry Skydom o'er Temple Dark,

And red the dreary River ran

As fraisch Blood boilt o'er inta Town.

Tha eagle 'gainst the Vulture battled Vainly,

The street-lamps shimmering shewd Red,

The helms are shatter'd and heads then smash't

And pyramidly piled be th' pigsty pantheon

As Mangled flesh-mounds grow amidst

The glowing Pools of goredom's grease-

And so, slowly, Dark sweeps light away

And sates his sanguine lust somewhat this day.

Author Unknown

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Four Prayers ... 2/20/02

I spend more time in the Lord's temple now than ever before--praying, offering sacrifice, meditating, speaking with the members of the congregation. In doing so, I have noticed again, as I often did in Spur, a starkness, a poverty even, in our worship. Too often, we walk into the temple, recite a simple formula ("O Taath, accept my humble offering!"), lay gold upon the altar, and depart.

Such is indeed proper and sacred. Yet should we not strive always to do more? Should we not make, as often as we can, sacrifice of blood and flesh? Should we not open our souls to the Lord's darkness? Should we not utter prayers and chant hymns that do full reverence to the majesty of Taath?

I have heard, in recent days, as with many of you I have prayed to the Lord for guidance, eloquent and heartfelt words from many of this congregation (Sarithiya, Surik, Gutwrencher, Barracuda, Renlak, Galadriel, Foren, Bael, and others) ; words full of dark and cruel beauty, words sharp as honed blades and pure as stabbing fire. I share here some of those words, woven together now into four prayers; should words fail you as you stand before the altar, by all means use these.

*** *** ***

May all be offered unto you, Lord Taath!

May every living body come now to the threshold.

So close to death....hanging by a thread, radiant with pain.

May every soul tremble in Your hands

Open to the darkness, standing on the razor's edge

To be taken only when You choose.

To burn in the pure flame of faith.

May all be offered unto Taath!

*** *** ***

Lord, your servants stand before you.

We come to suffer in Thy name.

With hands of iron, hearts of fire--

With every nerve a raging storm--

We suffer in Thy name!

*** *** ***

I come from the land of darkness

I hail from the hills of sin

You have looked into my heart, Lord

And you know what lies therein.

I come from the land of darkness.

I know what the Old Ones know.

Dark deeds here upon the altar

Red blood in the crusted snow

*** *** ***

Torment always to the foes of Taath!

Pain to those who speak of peace

Hatred in ever mounting waves

From blood-soaked mountain to red-frothed sea

Torment always to the foes of Taath!

*** *** ***

Foom Thurunder
Priestess of Taath in Emjedah

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Taathian Meeting ... The 5th day of the 8th month in the year 311

Last night, a gathering of the most vicious and insidiously evil of all Spurians did take place within the central chamber of the temple, as they awaited the arrival of the former Inquisitor, Balor Mrykrydia, who had promised a sermon to Taath's loyal followers. The tension and angst for bloody violence and hatred was palpable as thick black storm clouds gathered over the roof of the temple outside. The primal scent of blood ran from the altar and filled the air as Arachnians, San Elves, Leuians, Go-blin-als, Penthanians, Hithuals and Oog-ras whispered dark prayers, or bowed their heads before the altar in supplication. As the malicious energies rose, lightning crashed down all around the temple. A terrified pack mule whinnied as it tore out of the temple before the proceedings, lucky to have escaped with its life.

After a short wait, Balor Mrykrydia strode into the central chamber, his very long, dredded, bluish-black hair falling around his blood-stained white linen sacrificial robe. His cold orangish-red eyes glowed as he ordered Vennister the Arachnian to "Place the paintings where they belong". The missing paintings! There they were, though how they were retrieved still remains a mystery. Vennister, a muscular spider with pitch black eyes, quickly did as he was ordered. Balor announced "The Lord has seen to the recovery of these minor objects".

As Taathians settled before the former Inquisitor, he said, "The Lord has seen fit to gather the Faithful here at the foot of the Altar of Sacrifice within the walls of this Holy House". He then gave his sermon, which told of the legend of the great Sanene witch, Aiena, and her journey to greatness as a servant of the Lord Taath. His sermon was as follows

Many are present in search of knowledge and answers. Questions of leadership, titles, and material objects fill your eyes. Instead, I offer an insight on the service by two mortal Souls. A once great Sanene witch served the Lord with absolute devotion to the Path. This sorceress led great armies to spread the Will amongst those who opposed Purity. Success and failure were both known to this one, but she moved forward with Faith and Loyalty, rewarded with ever increasing power. The Lord is all knowing, able to reach within the Soul and ask the very Heart that which it seeks. And with this, the Sanene was dealt the remaining life of her chosen path.

This witch found herself upon magic she believed would bring her power equal to that of the Lord Himself. With great deception, was she coerced to battle the Lord's servant of magic, one of six servants that others call gods. With the aid of the Almighty, many were brought suffering and an unendurable anguish as this foul usurper drained magic from the lands, So pleasing was this, it remained as such for several days. Many are to say the ghost of a warrior broke the back of this God creating magic. Truly it was the work of the Lord as whispers upon the ear that moved the arms. For the Lord moves in ways that even the Pure may not grasp as He bore down upon the one who wished greater Glory than was given. And the Lord did revel in this demise, The Ignorance surrounding her, the Fear this ghost warrior sent racing into her heart, the Pain of one withering away to dust. For she lost Faith and was cleansed the final time.

I bring you now, to my own dedication and personal service. I am the Ignorant, as I embrace the Lord and the Lord alone. Nothing not of the Path are seen with these eyes. I am always with Fear, as I create and possess it both. I instill it upon others lest they forget it's natural place. I myself, Fear of failure to spread the Word as the Lord sees fit. It is such, that has brought me so close to the Path. I Hate all that is not True, all that is not Pure. I serve none in this room, nor do any here merit even slight consideration. You are not the Lord, you do not question my Faith. Such is reserved only to the Lord.

A large flame then arose from the altar, curling around Balor, and set him aflame. Balor's body withered and turned into dust. Many gaped in shock and bewilderment. Finally only his voice could be heard saying, "I have served here as the Lord has desired. May each of you show your own Faith and Purity and accept this blessing of Pain the Lord allows you". As his voice faded into the dark chambers of the Taathian temple, an army of greater demons appeared. As they advanced on the followers of Taath, and began their bloody massacre, lightning crashed all around the temple. The Faithful screamed as claws tore into their flesh, splitting them open, but their screams were more of ecstasy than the searing pain that struck their bodies. For it was the much desired blessings of Lord Taath showered upon them.

Unfortunately, some Taathians did not accept the Lords blessings. Bags Bluebeard the Hithual ran in fear, as did Lolth the Arachnian, Flower the San Elf, and Dekahr the Frontacian. Others stood and fought the greater demons, but were no match for their strength and numbers. Sir Vorn exclaimed to one greater demon "Honor in battle!" as it webbed him and then four of the demons slew him. Foom the San Elf exclaimed, "Taath be praised!" as a demon bore down on her with its claws. Again and again, greater demons appeared, one after the other, clawing the Faithful down into bloodied masses on the cold floor of the central chamber. Headflinger said wryly, "See you bastidges on the other side."

The Faithful:

Balor Mrykrydia the Psycian
Quezok Menace the Arachnian
Kyundo Kilmaron the San Elf
Gwoss Moss the Monitanian
Lexie Kilmaron the San Elf
Gravakiv Kraczacn the Arachnian
Lerana Syrsan the San Elf
Vennister Lucendrine the Arachnian
Jurax Vermiculor the Penthanian
Lordin Mikalah the San Elf
Balcus Husnock the Penthanian
Laston Ildliche the Leuian
Marika Danier the Leuian
Irisa Darkmar the Monitanian
Sormin Materio the San Elf
Sarithiya Darklure the San Elf
Marquis Talismar the Frontacian
Quen Onta the Go-blin-al
Dumb Trimulak the Oog-ra
Leyara Rin the Leuian
Foom Thurunder the San Elf
Mildain Organgrinder the Hithual
Vekkattraka Artakkatrrk the Arachnian
Bushwig Bill the Go-blin-al
Raangel Poisonsilk the Arachnian
Anansa Weaver the Arachnian
Headflinger Gritloo the Hithual
Kyntavis Onyx the San Elf
Sir Vorn Ulmarthan the Noble Leuian

Reported by: Sarithiya Darklure

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Taath: God of the Void

Author's Note: This is the seventh in a series of articles on the religions of Aradath. My intention is to shed some light on the religions, get a little below the surface stereotypes and focus on the beliefs that define it and its effects on the lives of its followers (and sometimes others). I consider this article the first in my series to fail utterly to do that. -S.T.

Taath: God of the Void
by Scruple Tamarind

Just say His name: Taath. A shadow and a silence fall.

Common wisdom makes Taath the god of pain, fear, and ignorance. Common opinion makes Taathians a band of bullies and torturers who have conveniently found a god to support their hobbies. If any religion could use a little exposition, this is it.

I interviewed several Taathians over a period of more than a year. I expected to find three types: the power brokers, the sick and twisted, and those weak-willed pawns held in thrall by the first two types. The Taathians refused to fit my expectations or even fit a discernable pattern.

They are a diverse group. I spoke to clergy and lay followers of many races and backgrounds: Oogs and Monitanians, Arachnians and San elves, Humans and Psycians. I was after that kernel of commonality to open the door a crack and give a fresh perspective to the outsider. I never found it. I found a kaleidoscopic, fragmented group, and more questions than answers.

The Arachnians may be the truest and most pure Taathians. Matriarch Raangel described Taath as Father. Consider how extraordinary this title is for a matriarchal society. "Because the Betrayer turned his back upon his greatest race of rune casters," she said, "cast us away... the Father saw our future and gathered us to Him." (Betrayer is the Arachnian name for Sa, god of magick; when asked about the rare Saian Arachnians the matriarch answered, "Yes, I feasted on them." .) Nearly all Arachnians are Taathian, another sign of how strong is this bond. There is undeniably something pure about the covenant between the Arachnians and Taath. I saw none of the politics and self-indulgence that marked other interviews. "He wishes the weak culled, the strong tested...which is the way of the Arachnian," she told me.

While many I interviewed seemed more interested in politics of Emjedah or an appreciation of a god that doesn't bother them ("Taath quiet" one Oog confided), or one that doesn't get in the way of "experiments", others did try to explain the nature of devotion to Taath. Here are some of their words:

A Taathian cleric who has since left the temple told me, "It is probably different for us all.. but He gives us strength, He gives us focus, He gives us acceptance of that which we have in common with Him."

Foom, Sanene leader of the Emjedah temple of Taath has written, "Pain is the wellspring of spirituality, and the path along which the progress of Life proceeds. Clearly, if living things may be said to have been designed, they were designed in large part as conduits and reservoirs of pain... what may be the ultimate purpose of our suffering, we may perhaps never be able to know, any more than a lump of ore can say why it contains the traces of precious metal."

Vlik said, "Pain... it's a means of control, for one..hatred.. to spread fear... I believe that Taath wants us to spread fear more than anything."

I asked why not torture fellow Taathians and leave the rest of us alone? Isn't it an inefficient use of time and energy dealing with reprisals from relatives of victims? On cleric replied "It isn't just about pain, but about fear and hatred. A willing victim would not likely raise large amounts of fear or hatred for Him to feed on" and that there was a public aspect to "keeping the rest of the population at a heightened level of fear." This is an unique feature of the Taathian temple: they rely on outsiders, not as possible converts so much as unwilling tools for their rites, in fact, the more unwilling the better. You could say this makes the Taathian temple in a way the most extroverted of any of the temples of Aradath, and the most political since it imposes itself upon the community so vividly. (The question of why this is tolerated by the community is not within the scope of this article.)

Pain, therefore, has its uses. Several Taathians pointed them out for me: avoiding serious injury, focusing concentration, an offering to Taath, and as a tool for control or generating fear. It is undeniable that pain and fear give Taathians a lever over others. And yet, the Taathians made it clear to me that there is something they crave in pain that is more elemental than it's mere usefulness as a tool, and this I must admit I cannot comprehend.

Another pillar of their faith is ignorance. As difficult as pain is to understand, ignorance is even harder to comprehend as a strength or a virtue. Why would any god encourage what is essentially a weakness? Gwoss the Monitanian told me, "Everyone is ignorant. We is brave enough to admit it, to see it as strength. We is not blind." Try as I may, I do not understand.

I am left (in my ignorance) to make up theories at random to explain Taathians, to put them in a comfortable little box that I can pretend to understand so I can sleep at night, my door doubly latched. Therefore, let me say that Taath seems to me to be a God of Negation, a God of Void, Lack, Denial. The concept of ignorance certainly qualifies in this regard. It is well to remember that the Arachnians suffered a catastrophic negation with the Unmagick, and which god profited most from it, gaining a powerful race of devoted followers. Their sacrificial rites revolve around an outsider, a victim brought in to fill the role and to serve as a reflecting surface or focal point.

Jade the san Elf said, "I saw these manifestations of my Lord in those who were not Taathian... Odarians who covet bloodshed more than honor and order. Rinannians who cower with closed mouths instead of standing up for peace. Sa'ians who desire the acquisition of power more than mastering magick." Again, the gaze turns outward, in this case finding faith in the negation of the religions of others. I tried to ask the Inquisitor of Taath, Vincentiv at the time, about this but he declined an interview. At least I think he did. He never said anything at all.

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