“A Sage will kill a Marauder.
A Marauder will kill a Sage.
A Marauder will kill a Marauder.
A Warden will kill a Marauder.
A Marauder will kill a Warden.
A Sage will kill a Warden.
A Warden will NOT kill a Sage.
All will kill Architects gladly.”
-Old Peasant’s saying.
The air was thin atop the Sage Mountain. It had always been thin, because Sage Mountain was a really fucking high place. The highest place in all of Craicorn's newly formed mass. Some might say that their high place on the island was a well-deserved mark of their place in the world, but they would mentally slap you for saying that. Altitude-based notions of superiority are a mark of primal instincts, and an obstacle on the path to cosmic understanding on a universal level.
The mountain was topped by The Library, a magnificent marvel of masonry carved and built over the mountain peak. Those who belonged to the Sage Order lived at The Library, or rather, they lived in a fortified monastic village around The Library, with the help of loyal peasant farmers under their protection. The Library was no small trove, but rather the crown jewel of knowledge and wisdom in the world. Every surface within was brimming with magic artifacts and flying wizard books and shit, because of course there were. They’re Fantasy Sages, for fuck’s sake.
The Sacrist, TriJon the Mercybringer, was the keeper and organizer of tomes and artifacts. He was the only one allowed to give people permission to touch them, and the one charged with investigating and cataloguing each new one submitted to the Library. His travelling scholars and laymen alike had brought much knowledge to The Library. The greatest secrets of Medicine, History, Science and Magic alike had been laid out before him over the course of his administration. Right now, an acolyte had brought him a spaghetti grinder.
“Where’d you find this thing, Sister?” Trijon asked, gently prodding its surface with an ice cube. It must have been a silver spaghetti grinder.
“It was in the bottom of a boiler in the abandoned brewery!” She said, proudly, “The peasants were using the residue to make some sort of vegetable paste, and this was on the bottom.”
“...How do you know it’s magic?”
“Crank the handle, Father Trijon!”
Father Trijon did crank the handle, and it generated a foul-smelling condiment, seemingly out of nothing.
“Eugh, what is that!?”
“It’s Marmite, Father.”
“What the fuck is Marmite!?”
“It’s considered food in the Eastern Isles.”
“Oh?... Well, I suppose this could come in handy in a siege, then, assuming we don’t resort to cannibalism first. Excellent find, Acolyte! You’ll be a Sage yet!”
“Thank you, Father Trijon, I do my best!”
There was the sound of splintering wood in the Library again. It had persisted throughout the interview, but now there was yelling. The Mercybringer reluctantly decided to intervene.
“Alright, who’s breaking things!?”
“I’m just pannin’ a dummy, Father! No need tae worry!” Said Brother Silas. He appeared to be exploring the finer points of smacking living scarecrows with a rusty shovel. Trijon snatched up the glowing manual that was animating them, and the stuffed shirts fell limp to the ground.
“Brother, I told you already, you aren’t allowed to animate things in the library!”
“But I need the Conjeror’s ‘Andbook to animate things, an’ I cannae take it out of the library!”
“Exactly! Now clean up your mess and fuck off. Three days on Necronomicon Translation Duty for you!”
“Ya cannae punish me for this! Father Berkaz gave me permission!”
“Wait, Berkaz is a Sacrist?”
“You made ‘im a bloody Sacrist!”
“How did you convince him to let you smash scarecrows in the library!?”
“I told ‘em that, if we invented martial arts fer peasant weapons, we could spread the word and convert more towns by teachin’ ‘em independence, self defense, control o’ mind an’ body, that kinda thing.”
“Wow, that’s actually a pretty good idea, what inspired you?”
“Ah was off on mission t’convert one of the Architect’s towns, but they tried burnin’ me fer witchcraft, so I kinda had te fight ‘em off with one o’ their shovels.”
“Alright, that’s it, you’re gonna have to take a mandatory vow of silence and cleanse yourself at the Waterfall Temple.”
“You shut your beak, man! Do you know what kind of trouble you’ve started!? Brothers going into foreign lands and killing the townsfolk is going to bring bloody, interorder conflict to all of us! Be glad I didn’t make you take a vow of Chastity, like Ford!”
“Ford Isnae Sage, though?”
“True, but Ford also shouldn’t ever reproduce.”
“Holy shit you’re a wise sage. No wonder they put you in charge of The Library!”
“It’s true. Now go, face the trials of the Waterfall Temple and don’t come back until you’re finished! AND STOP FUCKING TALKING!”
So Silas rode, shovel in hand, to the Waterfall Temple…
Mizarys Dragarian was clearly born to be a Feudal Ruler, or at least a prostitute, not a sworn Missionary Sage of the Realm. This much was obvious as the Bugger of Dragons uneasily juggled the tasks of walking down a cliff face and balancing her brood on her head with maintaining the rare level of subconscious hip-swivel that comes with demanding your offering in orgasms. But alas, Mizarys’ followers had been redistributed throughout the 4 orders, and so she really had to get around. Hence, she was made the official minister of Inter-Order relations.
Forseeing that “relations” would not last long with Mizarys at the helm, Mercybringer sent a young “Apprentice” to go with her and “Learn the ways of diplomacy”. Of course, Mizarys hated the very notion of children accompanying her anywhere. She immediately went to the most dangerous place she knew.
“Mizarys,” said the little silver-haired girl walking alongside her, “Why are those people down there throwing someone into the firepit?”
“It’s a Marauder Wedding or something. Any Marauder gathering that doesn’t involve someone getting thrown into the firepit is considered a dull affair.”
“Yes, yes, very interesting. Let’s just get to the throne and give the Khar our offerings for the day.”
They had finally arrived on more flat ground, behind some tents where something indescribable was surely going on, from the sound of it.
“Mizarys, what are those people doing?” said the apprentice, trying to make sense of the firelit silhouettes.
“When two marauders love each other very much, sometimes they fuck each other to death. Other times, they kill each other to death. For some, there’s no difference. They’re a hard and uncivilized bunch of-” Mizarys piped down to watch some barbarians draw knives and try to dick-stab each other, “OH COME ON, SWEEP HIS LEGS!”
Weaving their way past some drunken slashers, they finally found their way to the throne overlooking the firepit. Upon a gilded stool made from troll skulls and Disco records, was the robed terror himself, Bloodlord Man-Ender.
“Who the fuck are you?” His scratchy baritone rolled down the steps of his throne, echoing off the sides of the cliff.
“Ambassadors from the order of Sages.” Mizarys said, “We’v-”
“Skip the bullshit, you know that’s not part of the process here.”
“I’ve brought a little... Annoyance with me, who you may have for your entertainment…”
“An annoyance?” Her apprentice squeaked with interest, “Ooh, where?”
Man-Ender grumbled, “I already have loads of annoyances. Why would I want this one?”
“You could, I don’t know, kill her! Get rid of her! I mean, look at this little shit, she’s tiny! You could play bocci-baby with her!”
“I play bocci-baby with Fordici’s minions. Something’s gotta set her apart.”
Mizarys turned to her apprentice, glaring hard, looking for any particular talents, “Apprentice, do a trick! Make it snappy!”
“Oh… Okay… I, uh…” Her apprentice was faltering. Something had to be done about this, and fast.
Mizarys quickly changed the subject, “Would you shut up that troubadour in the corner!? His poetry is like a verbal AIDS.”
“Oh, yeah!” Her apprentice smiled, producing a few scrolls, “I agree, but he’s getting better. I’ve written several commentaries at length about how he could improve his writings.”
Man-Ender smiled from beneath his hood. They could see the pointed pearly yellows glistening from the pillar of flames behind them, “That’s one helluva trick! I think I’ll keep your annoyance! Minions, have those comments seared into the bard’s groin!”
The apprentice smiled smugly as two sweaty marauders grabbed the bard and dragged him off behind a rock with an alphabet of glowing branding irons.
“What’s your name, little annoyance?” Man-Ender roared jovially over the increasingly high and squeaky screams of the bard.
“They call me Vera, Vera of the Orchards!”
Mizarys frowned. Her apprentice was taken care of, but it wasn’t half as bloody as she’d hoped.
Somewhere at the corner of some unacknowledged roads, a standing stone sat at the bottom of the mountain. Many words were carved on it, by creatures the Sages had called “Beyond the Meta”. They went as follows:
“This is The Library, or rather, the concept of The Library. This is where the Sages may record any historical events regarding the Orders. Here is where we establish ourselves as the best faction. All those who enter The Library without a damned good short story to justify it must be shamed, and the Library defended from these lazy trolls, who threaten the sanctity and legitimacy of our tales.”
Many Sages have argued the exact meaning of these words for a long time, but it was unanimously agreed that the Sages should build a Library on top of the mountain.
I like your altered "Book of Weird" version on replacing, giants (sages), trolls (marauders) ogres (wardens) and humans (architects) for the various orders instead.
Only steal from the best of them.
As the lone warrior stalked down the long and lonely hallways of the gigantic fortress, his footsteps echoed behind him, sending reverberations throughout the whole structure.
The Northern Fort was truly an awesome sight to behold- even though there usually was no one around to behold it. The various fortresses and strongholds of the Order of the Wardens were scattered all throughout the realm, each and every one of them sturdy and very well defended. They had to be, with the Marauders causing havoc everywhere with their raids, raping everyone and whatnot.
But there were two things that set the Northern Fort apart from the rest. One was the sheer size of the structures, the towers seemed to stretch up to the clouds, and then some. The walls were made of solid iron, and thick as a dozen men put together. You could get lost for hours within the maze-like hallways of the buildings if you did not know your way. Of course, if you got lost, you were not a true Warden- and did not belong.
The other factor was the damned weather. The winds would howl and bite at one’s cheeks all day and night, and frostbite and hypothermia were a constant danger to everyone. Worse of all was the snow. It never stopped snowing this far north. It was as if God was pissing on them all and taunting them as his waters froze and turned into white sludge. Huge piles of it built up on the roofs of the wooden barracks- once even crashing in through one of the roofs, killing half a dozen people.
The fortress was large enough for a thousand men and women to stay there indefinitely, cramped into the small barracks like sardines. The bread was stale and the wine was weak, but the life of a Warden was not built around comfort.
Of course, a little comfort might have eased the anger of the warrior, his armor clanking as he expressed his annoyance through the rough impact of his footsteps. Finally reaching his destination, a large wooden door, he yanked it open and stormed inside. Inside is a dark room with a few candles scattered here and there, just enough light so that the warrior can see directly in front of him. There is a single wooden desk, with a tall, imposing figure sitting on a small oak chair behind it. As the man leaned forward, coming into view, the warrior noticed his intimidating skull helmet- the animal it belonged to had to have been the last of its kind, because nobody had ever seen anything like it. The horns stretched out wide behind it, making Buck look a lot larger than he actually was. The slender jaws of the helmet seemed to be constantly leering at him, as if examining whether he would be its next meal. Of course, the helmet was far more preferable to what was underneath...
Buck finally spoke up, his voice raspy and grating. “So why are you interrupting my very busy schedule once again, Spartacus? Surely this isn’t about that book idea you had yesterday?”
“I’m sorry Buck, but this is bullshit! What do you mean I can’t write about a capybara getting his asshole explored by a couple of brave adventurers, that’s a fantastic and original idea!”
“It’s immature. Writing about a literal butthole would lead to too much toilet humor- and while that might have been funny in the past, we have to move on from that kind of stuff from now on. Besides, it’s not technically “discovering” something, because I know for a fact that Malk’s ass has already been discovered and thoroughly explored by several black dicks.”
“Come on! Everybody loves a little bit of toilet humor, and my adventurers would examine how the black dicks have had an effect on the flora and fauna of the environment! It’s fucking educational!”
“My hands are tied, Spartacus. I need you to run a few errands for me, anyhow, you’ve got no time for writing your childish stories.”
The warrior sighs in exasperation. “Fine, fine, give me the damn grocery list so I can pick up your milk.”
“It’s a little more complicated than that, I’m afraid. You’re going to travel about... 500 miles south, give or take. On horseback.”
“What?! Why the fuck for, my ass is going to be sore for the entire year!”
“Mind your language, the overlords are watching us. You need to go to the rest of the forts, check up on a few of them because I haven’t been getting any messages from them. Whether it’s because their fort’s been destroyed or they’re just too lazy to write a couple words on a scrap of paper, I don’t know, but it’s vital that all our forts remain active. You know what the Marauders are doing nowadays, right? They’re getting more dangerous by the month, and we need to stop them wherever we can. Remember, we’re the glue that barely binds this wreck of a realm together. Without us, it all falls apart.”
“...Alright, I’ll sacrifice my ass for the good of the realm and the Order.”
“That’s the spirit. Oh, and check up on the Sages and the Architects while you’re down there, see how they’re doing. They’re probably doing even worse than they are.”
Spartacus trudges through the snow, heading for the stables. “Fuck! Well, guess I’m going to have to get this over with...Mom? You in here?”
A large black mare trots over, snorting. “There you are. How are y-” I take a look at its behind, and groan. “Mom, have people been molesting you again? There sure are a lot of sick freaks out there.”
I saddle her up and swing myself up on top of Mom, riding her. “Well, Mom, we’ve got a long journey ahead of us. Please don’t go as fast as last time, my ass bruised for a month after that.” With that, they trot out of the stable, through the courtyard, and out through the iron gates of the Northern Fort. The biting winds of nature howl all around Spartacus as he looks towards the long winding road south, the snow starting to pile up in his hair.
“It’s a fucking long way south...well, let’s get going, Mom. Daylight’s burning and we’d better get there before that Scottish penguin mucks something up.”
And with that, they head down the road, the titanic shadow of the Northern Fort looming behind them.
The Man in Bandages. The Tavern Between the Worlds. The Mustachio with the White Sailed Boat.
These were the legends Ella loved to read as a child. Ella lived with her uncle in a large house. His father's father's father's mother's father began building it. They called him Ezekiel, the first Architect. But Ezekiel was not a builder. He wrote stories such as the ones Ella read as a child and he wrote stories Ella would not be allowed to read for many years to come. And with each story he wrote the house grew bigger it became.
When Ezekiel passed away, his daughter Calypso kept on writing. Her stories were abstract, sometimes never even resorting to plot. The writing was so beautiful men came from hundreds of miles to read them. And the house grew in ways no one could have imagined.
Calypso had a son and a daughter. Alexander was wise and wicked, and Zoe was kind but simple. Both were writers in their own right, but Zoe's true talent was her art. Throughout the now massive house she painted the most beautiful murals. Using the brightest and best colors she poured her heart out into the art. Alexander was a writer of little note. His stories lacked depth. For years and years he grew jealous of Zoe's talent, and on his wedding night he killed her. The house mourned for three years. The usual movement and life of the house came to a halt. The errie silence loomed through the halls and haunted any who enter.
Alexander's son never knew his father. In what he perceived to be an act of artistic brilliance, Alexander took his own life. His note read "ars imitatur vitae". As a result, young John grew up alone. He had the company of his mother of course, but she didn't talk very much, as often happens with the wives of egomaniacs. She never got over the suicide of her murderous husband. While searching for a friend or a mother, John learned to talk to the house. He learned to script it so that it would bend to his will. John was the father of the Adventure game. His epic battles inspired countless writers to join him in this new form. John lived a good life, but it was never complete.
Ella's grandfather was a soft spoken man named Jasper. Jasper was very smart. From the time he was a young boy he was mastering the intricacies of Latin and Esperanto. However, Jasper had a fatal flaw. He had no creative talent. He was aware of his lack of talent, unlike his own grandfather. Instead he devoted his time to reading. He read every book written by all of his ancestors. He doubled that writing in interpretation and analysis. He died peacefully in his sleep, proud of what he had done.
Jasper had triplets. Three fair blond haired boys. Jasper loved them with all his heart, but he hated that their birth had killed his wife. One of the boys died at age seven of sickness. Both of his brother felt like a part of them was missing for a very long time. Ella's father tried to escape in drugs. He died, leaving his young orphaned daughter Ella in the care of the remaining brother, Kyle. Kyle lost both of his brothers before he turned 18, which. He tried his best to raise Ella, but it left him a sad broken man. He could have done great things, or so the house told Ella.
This is the Architect legacy. We are far from perfect, but we treat each other like family. The House of the Fisher King lives inside all of us, waiting to grow.
So, we just write sagey stuff in here?
Whenever you get around to it, just make sure not to do both at once. If Kingdom of Cystia and the Order Wars merge universes, it's going to fuck up the entire Crisis Crossover thing that I keep continually putting off.
A Sage's Work
The Marauder sails on seas of blood
And drowns in the coming of the storm,
Too weak from fighting reckless floods
Of enemies in the early morn.
The Warden watches from his perch
As prisoners like the Marauder fight,
Too cruel and foul to lend a hand,
His prisoners denied the light.
The architect only slaves and labors
To build and sate his earthly mind,
Yet building structures to the sky
Has on the ground left him behind.
When blood is shed and souls are dead,
And bodies lay shackled to the soil,
The wise Sage leads them to the sky,
His mighty passage wrought from toil.
Thee that treads on Sagely ground,
Shall never know thy mortal wrath,
For we, thine kin, hath become Gods
For following the righteous path.
Sage Leo of the Heavenly Scales
You're both pretty close to commendable here. You should revise your passages and post improved second versions!
Or you know, just use the edit feature and save a lot of scroll time for the viewers of our site.
Just let me know when it's done
What do you recommend we fix?
"No, you failed all the trials of the Hall of Ancients." The Novice-Master frowned, "Even and especially the ones in the spiky murder basement of Ass."
"But the Clerics liked it!" Brother Silas protested, "They gave me a share o' the tithe and an ordaination and everything! I'm a bloody Friar now!"
"You and I both know that failing 3/8 trials is the same as failing all of them."
"Y'knae, I find it hard ta see it tha' way."
"You have to be concise. You have to be clear. This is especially important when you're a Friar! A Friar should know better!"
"Fine. What's in the way of Cosmic Understanding this time?"
"I'll make this very easy for you. You don't make any sense."
"You don't make any sense, ya judgemen'al bastard!"
"No, look... There's no flow to anything you're doing. I've read your historical accounts. You jump from thing to thing. You can't introduce anything right! There's inconsistencies! How do we know whether that Architect from the House of Unemployed Eunuchs is called Ford or Fordici!?"
"There's a House of Unemployed Eunuchs?"
"It's a very expansive world we live in! Look, just... Just try to get your thoughts in order. Think about what you're saying when you go out to be a Friar, alright?"
"Why would I need to say anythin'? Why would I need to go out? I thought I just made breaded food..."
"... Do you... Do you not know what a Friar does, Brother?"
"Tha Friar fries things, yeah?"
"... You have a vow of silence to keep. Go stand for an hour under the waterfall and think about everything you've said."
Silas groaned and left the Novice-Master's office. A man in green Librarian's robes walked in soon after. This prompted the Novice-master to look up from his work.
"Do be quick, Brother Seto, I have a lot of bureaucratic matters to be handling right now." He said.
The Novice-Master had already dipped his quill in the inkwell, but he figured it was rude to work on these papers in the midst of their meeting. Seto had a bit of an urgent look in his eyes anyway.
"Brother, I've been noticing strange entries popping up in the new Auto-Anthology tome that we installed. The one with every written history we've made?"
"Some of them aren't made by Sages. They're from Architects and Wardens all of a sudden..."
"Oh, is that so? From whom exactly?"
"Well, one was the Architect who collects those Northern Birds and dresses them up. The other was from the point of view of the hench-eunuch from the Wardens' Fortress. The Warden's getting close to our national boundaries on courier duty, and the Architect's... I dunno, writing some kind of manifesto about a figurative house."
"By Aman's beard, we've brought a lot of eunuchs from the Homeland when we colonized this place. Is he a pillar or stones kind of eunuch?"
"Well... Going sheerly off of legend, he lost the pillar in a horribly one-sided battle, so he has all the rage and none of the outlets..."
"The man sounds dangerous, keep an eye on him."
"Actually, I just sent pigeons telling them to stop using ink from the plants around here. Y'know, the ones enchanted to write themselves down in The Library. Then their histories won't show up in our database and we'll have a less biased account of everything."
"What!? No! Having them write their Histories in our Library gives us a serious advantage! We immediately know what they're doing when they do it!"
"Brother, isn't that spying? Isn't that an act of war?"
"A warrior is edging around our boundaries. A man who's all stones and no pillar is a dangerous one! We have to keep an eye on him. Keep those backwards, feudalistic fools away from our Venetian paradise!"
"Prejudice is an obstacle on the path to Cosmic Understanding, Brother."
The Novice-Master sighed heavily, "You're right. The previous meetings have left me very worked up. I need to get some fresh air and introspection. Can you send someone to go meet with them when they get near our borders? Make sure everything's still... Relatively cordial?"
"Everyone at Waterfall Temple is currently on duty or meditating, Brother."
"Wait for one of the meditators to come back down for chores and send them off, then. I'm sure they'll do just as well..."