Realms Beyond – A classic turn-based fantasy RPG

World Building #5: Cormac and the Cult

The gods are dead. Peace upon their virtues.

I was present when Rethgard burned and ash suffocated all cries for help. I witnessed the fall of Caer Pedryvan, long before it fell to the besiegers’ assaults. I listened to prayers lost in the wind, until hunger forced the godsforsaken to feast on their dead. I called to freedom all those doomed souls incarcerated by fear in Eastgate’s walls, hoping the fortress’s stone would keep the disease at bay that crawled out of the Dustmoor as Midlandshire’s righteous scourge. Do you hear the wailing? And the curses of those who had faith in your virtues? The day will come on which “The Black Hand” shall tear down the decrepit fortress and tear out the throats of those who put spoiled corn and rotten meat in the bowls of their brothers and sisters. Hear the wailings arise from Eastgate, while they joyfully watch martial games in Medcaut! They feast above the corpses of those slain for the audience’s enjoyment. Hear the jubilations of those who call the swords of the faithful to swing without rest! They who forge to lively song the chains that force once-proud Tharsians into Kvenland’s bondage. Men and women they wish to break like the trunks of the proud trees they cut down in the north and then ferry down to their stark lands, so they may be fashioned into lances to be shattered against comrades’ breasts. To their grave carry the virtues!

But what weighs such trivial bloodthirst compared to the blistering boil of Waystead, rampantly growing on a mountain of bones! I saw it fester like an ulcer and surround itself with walls upon walls, which cannot manage to keep out the worm that feeds from its putrid flesh. Greed erects its own citadel on Waystead’s hill and stares down upon a city that drowns in it. Do you see the poor lost souls? They are driven through taverns into the voracious arms of the many whorehouses, and declare their love towards ever new piles of useless junk, peddled by crooks and swindlers. At night the great horn resounds to announce the closing of the gates whose hinges creak like the rusted doors within forgotten dungeons. In truth, these districts are the prisons of the destitute! Do you still believe the tale that these walls keep out the foes? They are for you! You are their prisoners! You lie and betray. You defile all who enter your abodes without restraint. And how skilled you are at murdering each other… your ingenuity finds many paths. And the bastard child of your cruelty is torture that causes pain without death, so sweet release may not come to your suffering victims. And you call yourselves the keepers of the virtues? Carry to the grave their legacy!

Originating in this rotten heart, the flood of falsehood flows northward the Greyadder to Cairn Thuath. Is it not blood that surges against the shores of the Galtan Sea, and is the fortress not a butcher whose ramparts reach into the skies as witnesses of incomparable arrogance? To how many who freeze in the cold could the mighty hall offer shelter? O Cirramón, highly vaunted ancestor who on his mighty throne sees, hewn in stone, the ages pass: what do your marble eyes see, o king of emptiness? Sunwardens did you see come and go. And next to them thousands of those damned by their hands. Do you listen with approval to the screams of those who suffocate in the smoke of the fire-wheels they are bound to, burning and choking in the name of the gods? Does no one have pity on the innocent? Is it dissonant to your ears to hear songs of feigned piety at solstice, while elsewhere they scream and scream as the flames consume their living flesh? Fortress of screams! Fortress of bones! Terrible songs of pain resound within your walls. But no pleas soften the hearts of your bloodthirsty knights, who set out on Tuachall’s order to ravage the lands while pennants of virtue stream from the tips of their bloodstained lances. Earl of Glenthearn, I call thee forth to the battlefield of your hypocrisy to submit yourself to the judgment of the slain! Come forth, so your victims may summon a sea of blood poured forth from their wounds to drown Cairn Thuath and your noble line in the consequences of your sins. Carry to the grave the burden that weighs on you!

And also to the west Waystead carries its rotten seed. Towards Bridgewater, which is lovelier in its bloom than silverystar yet just as poisonous, where corrupt collectors take your coin even for crossing the bridges and hang from trees the poor souls who cannot pay, just for the sake of entertainment. Seek they in “The Merry Hangman“ absolvence for their sins at the bottom of a tankard? Or is reflected in the swill that fills their mugs the desperate thrashing of their victims’ limbs? But no, those whose tongues once tasted power over life and death crave to taste again the rush of taking lives, and so they giddily anticipate the next poor fool who cannot pay their extortionate fees! But I ask, when will the fat mayor Henry Fitz dangle from the rope he deserves!? Henry Fitz, who trades women like cattle and commits robbery under the guise of taxes, as long as gold flows into his hands. Who would be surprised to know that these waters, flowing from the west, have their source in Ethuvien, home of the degenerate elven vermin? Just as nightmares are caused by bad food that lies heavy in the stomach, so the land is haunted by the bad waters that flow into it. That is why bad dreams lurk in Fiarach’s dark forests, while restless shadows wander through the ruined castle of Dún Ifrenn.

Even the wilderness is not spared from the depravity. The Drywon of Ynys Dryw isle who call themselves tree-knowers, growing in the forests like wicked weeds. They cavort with vile fey and wild elves, perversions of nature they worship as her protectors. And yet the people are too blind to see their degeneracy for what it is: they harbor love and respect for the Druids and believe in their ungodly lies, worse even than the lies of Cormac’s priests. Their very being violates the rightful order of the world, and yet the elven lies that are Druidic tenets find approval in the ears of men. Like the rivers that run to Bridgewater, originating from elven lands, so the Druids’ enticing words have been told to them by elf and fey. Their little cult flourishes among men, for those who do not participate in the violence and betrayal of the cities instead participate in perverted rituals of faeries. Oh, how great is the humanity of Cormac! Carry to the grave the rotten bark of trees.

Why do you still bow your heads before false prophets and jeweled crowns of gold that have been forged with your sweat and your tears? Recognize your true nature! May the chains break that snake-tongued priests have laid around your limbs and thoughts. Rise, you children of the Inner Flame, so that your Lord may be pleased with you! For he is coming to redeem you. Oh, how he is coming! As a storm, as bolt of thunder, as a dark star. As a falling heaven and beginning of eternity. He shall arrive with fire and with night. His is Hylia’s body, whose wasting rays fashioned your shroud. From burning firmament and thundering clouds will rain down her blood and drench the lands with lust! Then become intoxicated by the setting sun, so you may feel the power of stars in your blood! Celebrate his arrival, you children of the Flame! Celebrate it with relentless destruction! Stride through the wreckage of broken oaths! Reject the bondage of regret! Shatter the idols that enslave you! Give in to your wants and desires! Whatever you crave, seize it! Satisfy all your long-proscribed cravings!

I see a new world rising from the fires of his flesh and with it the armies of the ostracized, who once lived in want like you, but now rejoice in the joyful flames of his kingdom of salvation. Rupture, Argea, for your savior is near! The virtues are dead. Peace be with the gods.

– Pamphlet of the “Cult of the Inner Flame”

This blog post is also available in German language.

Comments in the forum