Shroud of the Avatar – Cult of Spears Lore – Chapter 3: The Lord of Golems
Good Evening Friends! Tonight we have chapter three of the Cult of Spears lore. Arrun takes a break from Dippy and informs us of one of the events going on before the arrival of Dippy arriving outside the village of Evergrove. We meet yet another important individual as well as begin learning details about the land of Nimbus as well as the first name of one of the Divius. I hope you enjoy this next chapter as we discover more about this new world that Novia is but one land of, as well as some of the events that lead up to the return of the Avatars whom we play in Shroud of the Avatar.
Chapter 3: The Lord of Golems
The first time I heard about the land of Nimbus, was when I listened to my friend, Andres, describe how he came to know The Mistress. His knowledge of magic and history helped not only myself, but Dippy continue to grow into the man who would strive to change the world for better. Learning from those who came before us as well as understanding of the context of history and the decisions made not just years ago but centuries ago can help you make better decisions in your present and future. When Dippy and I made our way to Nimbus, the foreknowledge we had gained was invaluable. In fact, it saved our lives.
*crash*, a long haired, unkempt man smashed his fists through a table in frustration. “Sigh, why won’t it work?” This dark stone basement was quite large, and while dimly lit, could be easily seen to contain tables of vials, crystals, and reagents. A small oil lantern in the corner flickers and the man looks up. “Another storm coming eh.” He wanders up the long winding staircase into a gorgeously decorated manor. The marble statues, the silver, and stained glass showed a wealth that truly out shown everyone else in the small village just down the mountain. As he closed the shutters on each window, he sighed and looked down at the village. Over a decade ago, a plague hit the region. No name was ever given to it, for no cure could be found. It was known for slowly killed its victims in quite the horrific ways. Once infected, a person’s skin starts to get hard and turn black. As it spreads, the pain increases as more of the body literally dies and turns to dust while the host is still alive. In time, those infected are not only are screaming for death, but their own internal organs fail because they also are turning to dust.
The next morning as he walked through the village, a young man walked up to him with a big smile. “Well Good Morning, Master Andres. Wonderful to see you today.” “Doran, I said you no longer need to call me Master. You are a master in your own right now. You travel so much and do so much good, you have made me very proud to have trained you. At least give me this.” The two men chuckled and embraced. “Come, have breakfast with me,” exclaimed Doran, “We have much to discuss.” Andres felt a ping of joy seeing his former pupil. It had been years since he had any sort of joyful interaction with another person. The gloom had broken the spirits of everyone. After the death of his wife, Dimiea, he had put all his efforts into his research to find a way to help the village, but to no avail. This brief respite from reality warmed his heart for the first time in far too long.
As the two talked, Andres learned about all the places Doran had traveled to in the past year. He was fascinated to hear about all the political changes in the region that never affected or even reached as news in the village. Not only were they now part of a whole new kingdom, but the plague had wiped out most of the royal family that used to rule the area. “As I traveled, I was given this,” Doran pulled out some old parchments, “I have no clue what exactly they mean, but they mention one of the Divius specifically, Raros. It also shows these crystals, similar to the ones you showed me from Nimbus, that you received when you were young.” Andres peered at each quickly and instantly recognized most of the symbols. These were plans that could save each of the villagers who were plague infected. Andres promised to take some time and study them and get back to Doran. The instant he got home, Andres proceeded to his underground study. He reached for his waterproof strongbox he had hidden in the small underground spring of water he used. As he opened it up, fond memories of his years on Nimbus came back to him. He had me this wife there, and gotten married in one of the gardens of the capital city. He spent days in the libraries reading and learning all he could. As he regained his focus he grabbed the few items he was able to smuggle back home, a large supply of pink crystals as well as a book, candles, a small pouch, and some parchments.
The days passed as he fought with his own conscience as to what to do, and a week later, he awoke and went straight to his study. He knew what must be done, and nothing would stop him from saving the people he loved, the ones who were there for him after he lost the one thing that was important to him. For days he worked diligently… On the floor of his workshop, shapes were formed with a mixture of ground pink crystal, chalk, and a silver metallic dust mixed into it. Along with one pink crystal, other reagents and candles were on smaller pedestals in very specific locations within or on the main shape. In the center was formed a human shaped figure out of clay and stone. That night, under the cover of darkness, he drugged and brought one of the infected villagers to his study. He chained her to the wall and added some black dust from a pouch to the pedestal with the pink crystal. Adding a metal shield to this one pedestal, he adjusted it until he was certain it was perfect. Andres sat down on his stool and sighed. “I never thought I would have to use these crystals again. Forgive me, Dimiea…” As Andres mumbled as his hands covered the crystal and black dust from a pouch, a flame broke out… as his hands parted a blinding light was focused on the old woman he had chained up.
The pink silver mixture burst into flames and as the reagents burned in the fire, the dirt/stone form glowed. Andres grinned, “so far so good…” He held onto two sheets of the parchment from Doran and one from his own safe box. He sat cross-legged on the floor, his bones creaking as he attempted to bend his knees into a position he had not done in so long. As he read the words, the flames danced, the light moved from the old woman onto the form. Eyes and a mouth formed. Then fingers and toes too. Andres’ heart leaped for a second and he quickly refocused his energies on the task at hand. As the fire and light diminished , he noticed the crystal was still intact. Seeing that, he grinned as he turned to face the now much more refined human form of clay and stone. The chest was moving but no air moving, a reflex? He turned to check the body of the old woman only to discover what he already knew to be true… nothing remained but bones. A clear feminine voice came from behind him… “Andres?” He turned. “What am I doing here?” “I was trying to help.” As the old woman came to realize what had happened, her anger grew more and more and she attempted to take it out on Andres. As her fist closed in, his hand raised with the pink crystal. She froze, as if she no longer had control over her own actions. Andres teared up and look at this ugly beautiful new body he had given to one of his friends. All he could say was, “I’m sorry… I didn’t know what else to do. Everyone has been dying.” “I know.” was all she could say.
In only two more days, Andres had perfected the ability to manipulate souls, not only into other bodies, but the memories and will of the souls as well. The effort of saving all these lives, was taking its toll on him. His aging body had a difficult time with even one ritual, let alone multiple each day. To make things worse, even Andres had finally contracted the plague he was working so hard to eradicate. Each golem was formed uniquely, not only out of clay and stone, but sometimes using iron or the cloudy white crystals from the underground cave his study lay in, underneath the manor. Soon everyone he cared for, every soul in this small village at the foothills of the mountains had become a golem. Some while grateful, resented his actions. They were soon given, as Andres put it, “an adjustment…” telling them that he needed to make sure the plague was fully removed from them and that they were safe. The new community of just over two dozen souls, in the dimly lit cave system in the mountains, was grateful to Andres… whether by their own will or his…
After a long night of sleep, Andres woke up to find himself chained up to the wall in his own study. A shadow moved in the corner of his eye. He looked quickly, only to be slapped in the face. “I see you are awake, my friend.” In front of him was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Eyes as black as onyx… Skin blueish grey… Wearing a necklace of the most beautiful shape made out of pink crystals. “Do I have your attention?” He could only nod. “I want to thank you, I had heard of the power of the crystals of Nimbus, as well as how to grow them. But I had never seen such mastery of them.” She ran her hands over the necklace. “You are truly a man of unique skill. I knew my faith in you was well place.”
Andres now knew that Dorin was manipulated. “What do you want? The way to Nimbus?” Andres was slapped again, only this time by a young woman, very much Novian as he could tell from her features. “Show some respect to Mistress!” she exclaimed… “Behave please sister; he is after all, only a man. He is just scared. Go get your sisters from the balloon.” She turned to Andres, “I already know of the fire needed with a balloon to go to Nimbus. In fact, I am here to offer you and your “family” a new place to live. After all, will you all be truly safe here once the royal family discovers what has happened?” Andres looked frightened. There had already been too much loss, and the new Queen was not known for her compassion. Knowing what he was thinking, Mistress simply grinned as two maidens clothed in crème robes placed down a statue made of gold… “Meet your new body, I hope you like it…”
“What will you have me do?”
“Simple, my talented friend,” she ran her soft fingers over his cheek, “I just want you to help me save the world, by turning his power against him, just as you have started here…”
She placed a pink crystal in his hands; he looked at the pedestals and saw them prepared.
“As you wish, Mistress…”