Eastern Chalcedonian High Plains - Ablution Peaks
Idesweek, 15th of Sulime, 628 of the Fifth Era
6:00 - 12:00 Culus Regional Time
Wild Men, a catch all phrase given to the poor souls who through constant bombardment of chaotic magic, have lost their sanity, their 'humanity', their civility…. indeed have degraded to a status of wild beast. Many of these men, women, and children were exiles, banished by the Lord Bishop of Culus, and for one reason or another did not get the help of the Templars of Mercy. Others were travelers, explorers, and merchants - forced to travel the wilds and somehow or another, got stuck beyond the protective shelter of magicteck domes. Some became this way due to being under prepared, not outfitting themselves with the right magicteck protective equipment. And even others became this way after making wrong choices, taking paths that steered them through areas of extremely high magic saturation for a lengthy period of time. But whatever the causes for their state, Wild Men are a dangerous, savage lot. No longer possessing the skills or desires of civilization and community, wild men herds make no settlements or camps. Instead, they are constantly on the move, following herds of prey, some which include the still sane.
Wild men seem to stick together in small herds, even though there is no apparent social order about them. It is almost as if the only reasons they stick together is for protection against the other large predators. Indeed, the need and desire of survival is one trait that hasn't been wiped from them.
One herd of wild men was roaming the edge of the Eastern Chalcedonian High Plains, tracking a herd of rock eaters - a strange bread of part horse, part buffalo, that seemed to eat rocks. Of course, they really didn't eat rocks, but had a long tongue which could easily pick out the large and succulent bugs that hid amongst these rocks. A few of these would feed a small herd of twenty wild men for a week! It was in this herd that a young man had for some reason decided to look upwards into the Ablution Peaks. And there he saw it… a distant light that shot down from the heavens into the nearby peaks.
Curiousity overcame him. And so he left the heard, and started to ascend with the peaks. An image seemed to be burned in his nearly empty mind, leading the man to where the 'star' fell, and as he got closer, desire and a strong sense of urgency filled him, causing this wild man to climb even faster. Perhaps a small benefit of the magical mutation that caused this man to loose his identity, he did not tire, he did not ache, and he did not fear.
It was not long, maybe two hours at most, before the man reached some peak who's name was long forgotten. There, crashed into the barren ground, was a black orb with a single, small crack running along its bottom. The wild man was at first fearful of this orb. But slowly, he inched closer to it, almost getting down on all fours. As he stared at the black orb, the wild man could almost see a fire building within it. And then, it spoke.
"Son of man, I cast away that which obscures your mind. Approach me now and give worship, for I am your god."
As the orb spoke, memories rushed back into the wild man's mind. This sudden return of all which was lost was so powerful, so overbearing, that the wild man had no choice but to fall before the orb. Within moments the over whelming feeling subsided, and the man stood - understanding shining from his once lifeless pupils. "I… I am Amos!" The man said, instantly covering his mouth with surprise. It had been so long since he last could talk. The voice of the orb had returned to Amos his memory, his civility, indeed… all that he ever was. He could remember that he was once a merchant from Culus, and that he had went to make trade with the nearby Wilderness Camps, only that he didn't make it. Poor luck had him first having to escape a herd of wild men, and then a xenian, and then even a magic storm, taking shelter in the worst of all places, the Chalcedonian Jungle. There he had gotten terribly lost, and before long, had fallen to magic poisoning.
"I am Amos Moore," the man said to himself, astonished by his returned memory. "I AM AMOS MOORE!" he shouted in joy. Amos then turned to the orb and knelt down to it, "Oh great and wonderful object you are! You have restored me! But, pray tell, what are you?"
The orb answers in a mighty voice, "I am the Will of your god. I am the Will of Zodo."
"The Will of Zodo?" Amos questioned. He did not know why, but the name Zodo caused him fear and dread. There was something about that name, and Amos knew he should know it, but for some reason he did not.
"Fear not Amos," the orb responded, "You have been chosen by the creator of power. You have been restored of what you had lost. You shall be lifted high on a pedestal of great power, respected by all. All that your heart desires and more shall be yours, if you praise Zodo and follow his Will."
Amos nodded solemnly, "Oh mighty Will of Zodo, truly, you are great and I shall honor and praise you. Your will shall be my desire."
Amos lift up the orb from the ground, which then floats from his hands and orbits him. "Southward," the orb spoke, "Forsaken is our destiny. You shall be the bearer of Zodo's Will, and when His Vessel has come, he you shall serve. All who you pass shall follow you, or flee from you, and around you, all shall be as it should be."
Amos starts to head down from the mountain with the Orb of Will, only to stop a few steps later. "I am naked!" Amos realized, "Oh great Will, how could I travel among others like this? Surely, I would be laughed at, surely I would be seen as a fool."
The orb responds back, "Worry not, for it is the Will of Zodo to prepare his prophet with the tools he shall need for success. You shall be clothed in the robe of the great High Priests of the Holy Body, ones worn only by two others before - Ormus and Lector Clairstory."
As the orb spoke, the very mountain seemed to rise up around Amos, and cling to him. At first, Amos was afraid that he would be smothered or crushed, and tried to push back against the rising dirt. But his fear subsided and turned to wonder as Amos witnessed the dirt transform into cloth. Within a few minutes, Amos was completely clothed in a white, hooded robe with a crimson red band, about six inches in width, running vertically down his right side. This band started just below an old symbol that rested upon Amos's heart - the Eternal Flame.
Staring into the Eternal Flame, the lost secrets of the old Church of the Holy Body seemed to fill his mind. Amos began to realize things that only those closest to Zodo knew, the truth of Zodo and the Orbs - at least from the viewpoint of Zodo himself. The Eternal Flame, very few realized what it truly represented. It was the illustration of Zodo's great plan, crafted long before Nor'Ova even came to be, during the time when zodo - who disagreed with Archelus's plan of creation - went behind Archelus's back and created his own.
Betrayed by his own two created sons, Zodo had been split into many parts. Zodo's Will, Power, and Spirit were each sealed into orbs that were meant to withstand anything in order to keep Zodo's power at bay and unable to rejoin. Zodo's Soul was trapped within the eternal realm of damnation known as Xodod while his mind was left to be, only able to influence those who allowed themselves to be influenced. Only once did all these forces come together, and the result created a change within the universe. It also created Nor'Ova.
The Eternal Flame represents these parts and the great plan of Zodo. A red orb surrounded by three flames which seemed to orbit it. Each flame was a part that was sealed in an orb, Zodo's Will, Zodo's Spirit, and Zodo's Power. The central red orb symbolizes the Vessel, the one who is supposed to become the body of Zodo on Nor'Ova. It is all held together by the Mind of Zodo who's influence puts all things into motion. A long forgotten part of the story is that the Vessel is supposed to bring together the three orbs and take in their parts. Then, and only then would the Vessel cast Ablution, releasing Zodo's Soul from Xodod, taking in Zodo's Mind, and becoming the physical embodiment of Zodo himself.
Stricken by the terrible grief of a lost love, which is more terrible for a xodian who, should they love do so with all their heart, body, and soul, Taal Mercleis had found the Orb of Power near the end of the Third Era. It was the same orb that the ascian emperor had used during the Great Ascian Conflict of the Second Era. He wished a terrible vengeance upon those that killed his bride, desiring to rip away their selfish greed and desire that led them to do such an act. Such a powerful wish, made by a very decendant of one of Zodo's sons, caused the Orb of Power to break, and the Power overtook Taal, transforming him into Taal Zodo. Taal became the vessel of a foe he once fought.
He was supposed to unite the other orbs, but a self proclaimed and very arrogant paladin known as Ardatha put a stop to him, and wounded him greatly. When Taal Zodo recovered in the Fourth Era, Taal had managed to force his own mind not to remember the plans of Zodo. Without such plans to act upon, the Power of Zodo thought that all was achieved, and propelled Taal Zodo to cast Ablution - which thanks to the efforts of many brave souls, he was interrupted and the Power of Zodo was defeated and scattered all over Nor'Ova.
The Orbs of Spirit and Will however, remained, long forgotten by all. Taal's last great act to try and save the world from himself, to prevent the true ablution, also caused such powers to be lost to the memory of all. The Orb of Spirit remained, lost and buried, under some ancient and forgotten ruins that once belonged to the a forgotten tribe of dwarves. The Orb of Will remained where it had since before the time of Nor'Ova, deep within a floating rock that became Xenopolis. For a long time it was worshiped by the Reapers that called this land home, until they found something else to worship - science and ancient rune stones. Only recently, propelled by the very Soul of Zodo in answer to a prayer, did it leave them. Using a young boy, it willed itself to be thrown from Xenopolis, where it fell upon a mountainside to be discovered by Amos.
And so, Amos walked - a Beholder of the Orb of Will and a prophet of Zodo. Zodo knew that true ablution could not be reached as things stood now with Power scattered to the winds, but that did not stop him from seeking other plans, and another path…
Soon Amos came across a roving tribe of Wild Men feasting upon the carcases of recently killed travelers. As Amos and the Orb approached them, the same field of magical control that had healed Amos began to envelope them. At first confusion over the sudden regain of their more recent memories of their sane life and of civility… then disgust and horror over what they saw themselves doing. Some cry out, begging to know what had happened, while others pleaded mercy on them for their crime.
Amos called out to them, "Please please dear friends! Fret not over what you had done when you were struck mad. You were hungry. You had to survive. Sanity and civility were not in reach for you. But, they can be now!"
"Who are you?" They asked of Amos, and there were some who inquired about the Orb that floated with Amos.
"I am Amos, prophet of Holy Zodo. I bring you word of his mighty Will made manifest, his desire to restore to you what has been taken from you and to make complete his most perfect plan. If you will but kneel to almighty Zodo and follow me, all that you need and desire can become yours, and more!"
Some of the crowd began to kneel, but one, but seven of the group questioned, "But that doesn't seem right… Something within makes me fear, repulse even at the name of Zodo."
Amos grew angry with the question, "How is Zodo evil when he has just now restored you? Speak not against your god. Instead, offer him worship and praise, lest you not only loose what you have gained, but even more!"
The same seven that questioned before knew deep in their gut that something was wrong. With doomed bravery they responded. "Zodo shall never have my worship! He should rot in the Pits of Xodod."
The others, including Amos, stepped far from them. Within momments, vines from the very ground wrapped around the seven and trapped them. The vines pulled them to their faces on the ground, facing Amos and the Orb. The seven were soon overtaken by a horde of rats who clawed at, bit into, and chewed upon the seven as they cried out in terrible agony. Before he had lost his self, before he had met the Orb, Amos would have been terribly repulsed by the gruesome display. He would have been one of the seven. But the Will of Zodo had changed him. Amos knew in his heart they deserved their faith. He even secretly enjoyed watching them suffer for speaking against his god as they did. To the new Amos, that was right. That was just. The others, they knelt before Amos and the Orb and proclaimed Zodo as their god….