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The Purifiers

September 05, 2015

demoIn the Millennium of Purification, a group of Elves and Dwarves join forces to purge the world of the dark magicks they themselves once helped unleash. Is there a chance to make up for their sins of the past and restore order to the world? Find out in the serial fan fic: The Purifiers.

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May 05, 2015

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September 05, 2015

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The Journey to Phi

The hull of the large merchant vessel slams against the coral reef, violently flinging its crew across the deck. Captain Northar grabs his helmsman by his shirt as he yells, "What ye be doin' to my ship?! I thought I told ye to follow the course I laid out!"

As the captain yells, the helmsman feels more than just the mist splash against his face. He doesn't bother wiping the spittle from his face, even though a trickle is starting to run down towards his eye. His tone is calm and respectful as he responds, "Sir, I did. I followed the exact same path you told me, the same path the Ferryman showed us last, sir." He knows better than to argue with the captain when he's in a mood like this, especially since arguing can lead to a splashy departure from the crew.

The captain digs in again, "Then why did we crash?!"

The helmsman responds, "Sir, I don't know, sir."

Captain Northar grits his teeth, ready to shout more when he's interrupted by the screams of another sailor. "Something's out there, captain!"

The captain glares at his helmsman, then shoves him away as he finally releases him. He turns his attention to the new crisis at hand. "What do ye mean … sumthin'?"

The sailor stutters, "I ... I don't know. It was ... I don't know. I saw something moving in the fog. I couldn't tell what.

Captain Northar shouts, "Someone better start tellin' me sumthin', and it best not be 'I don't know!'"

"I can tell you," says a voice from off the bow. The captain and the others look. Sitting off the bow of their ship is a ferryboat. The man upon it looks to be a sailor. He places a pinch of snuff on the back of his hand and inhales, closing his eyes to enjoy the moment.

"The Ferryman," says Captain Northar. "I remember ye. What games ye be playin'?"

The Ferryman replies, "Games? I'm not playing any games. You've made the sea angry. You didn't respect it."

The captain screams, "There's not a sailor alive who doesn't respect the sea!"

With a half grin the Ferryman replies, "If that were true, then you'd have hired a Ferryman to guide you safely. Instead, you're stuck on that reef."

"This be yer work, aint it!" accuses the captain. "What kind of magic ye be weavin'?"

"Me?" asks the Ferryman. "I weave no magic. These reefs are alive, like any sea creature."

Captain Northar replies, "Reefs aren't alive. Ye just want me payin' yer ferry taxes. Well, I'm sick of it!"

The Ferryman throws his head back as he laughs, the boisterous sound echoing all around them. "The reefs are alive, and they move constantly. There is no set path to sail, no pattern to memorize or predict. We Ferryman spend years understanding them. That is why we exist. But ..." He puts his tin of snuff away. "If you have no need of our services, then I will be on my way. Let me know if you ever get tired of sitting on that reef." He then starts to casually row off.

Just as the fog is about to consume him so he's out of view, the captain calls out, "Wait!" He pauses, hating what he's about to say. However, he finally spits it out, "I'll pay yer bloody ferry tax."

The Ferryman stops and turns his attention back to the merchant vessel. He smiles, basking in his moment of triumph. Then he adds, "Very well, but because you disrespected the sea and made it angry ... double the usual price."

 

The Island of Phi

Before anyone can start adventuring within the Kingdom of Phi, they must first make it to the island. Seeing as the island of Phi is located near the center of the known world and next to a world famous vacation spot of Lopan, one may think travelers to Phi is not only common, but also easy.  However, this couldn't be further from the truth. Despite what may seem to be an ideal location, Phi is known for a perpetual fog that constantly grays the skies. Such a gloomy scene is unappealing for many travelers.

Increasing the difficulty of travel to and from, the island is surrounded by large coral reefs that thrive in the volcanic waters. To make matters worse the coral reefs are constantly changing, and doing so in an unnatural way. This makes mapping the reefs out impossible and a waste of effort to even try, and the fog makes it nearly impossible to navigate by visuals alone. The only way for any ships to successfully traverse the waters without damage is to hire a Ferryman, specially trained Phi sailors that serve as guides to foreign ships.

While the island does have valuable natural resources, the difficulty coming to and from the island makes it unappealing for most capital ventures, especially when they can find those same resources in other lands with half the complications. The island has four large port towns (with populations approaching 50,000), but the rest of it is covered in farms, not very appealing to most travelers.

Still, Phi is not without its lures. The wool of Feyani, a llama-like herd animal, is the island's chief export. Feyani are only found on Phi, and they protect their prized beasts zealously. They know that if the Feyani themselves were ever exported, and some other land began successful breed them, that their economy would suffer. This has caused underhanded business men to hire thieves to steal Feyani for them. However, the islanders do not take kindly to Feyani rustlers. With the fog and ever-changing reefs, any would-be thieves find escaping easier said than done.

Another draw to the island are the Wyverns, a dragon-like predator. The locals view the Wyvern as pests and would love to see them wiped out. This brings Wyvern Hunters to the island looking to kill stuff and earn gold while doing it. Though nice in concept, few who hunt Wyvern survive their first encounter long enough to regret their mistake, even fewer have ever succeeded in actually killing one.

Perhaps the largest draw to the island kingdom of Phi is the Citadel of the Sun, an ancient Elven fortress that rests high atop the tallest peak of Mount Phi. Within the Citadel are the Magi, a group of Elves who are the last holders of an ancient school of magic known as Mosaic Magic. Many come here seeking the council of the Magi, or to learn some of their arcane knowledge. How many actually gain the answers they seek or ever leave the island again is another matter entirely.

 

Rumors

There are four main port towns on Phi. Ferrymen escort foreign ships through the changing coral reefs and to one of these four ports. These ports are where player characters are most likely to start their adventures. If the player characters ask about the coral reefs and what causes them, they're likely to hear some rumors. The Ferrymen tend to be the best storytellers and each has their own belief on why the reefs act as they do.

On the west coast of Phi, Ferrymen are most likely to tell the story of Aco and the Juggernaut. After the Old Ones were placed in their eternal slumber, there's a legend that each of the pantheons were entrusted with guarding one of those who sleep. Due to Thoth being instrumental in their defeat, the Pantheon of Light & Dark was entrusted with Xy, though it gives no indication of how. The responsibility of Netosa fell upon Lictalon, even though he was not a god. To protect the world from his evil, Lictalon is said to have planted the seeds of purity which would forever watch over him (see Book 11: Eastern Territory and the "Glade" for more details). Meanwhile, Aco was delegated to watching over Erva, matching darkness with darkness. Aco is said to have placed Erva in a deep and dark hole, and after she did The Juggernaut lifted a giant boulder and placed it over Erva to seal it away forever.

The Ferrymen say that the rock the Juggernaut placed over Erva is actually Phi itself! Yes, the Juggernaut lifted the entire island and placed it on top of an Old One to trap it there forever. However, Erva was too large to be completely covered, and its tentacles still reach out. It is these tentacles which now act as the coral reefs, their movements unpredictable as the Old One dreams. Some stories go on to say that Aco now uses her magic to conceal the inhabitants of the island in a fog to hide them from the evil that lurks beneath, or that the fog is from the darkness of the slumbering one seeping up form the depths below.

Ferrymen of the south coast often tell stories of the coral reef being alive. Their philosophies tend to be more druidic in nature. These Ferrymen attempt to understand the reefs, and through understanding learn to navigate them. Those who show the sea respect, such as Ferrymen, are allowed safe passage, while the coral reefs lash out at those who anger it. Rumors from sailors who've journeyed to Phi before, and even from the occasional townsfolk on the island, suggest that if the coral reefs are alive, then it is the Ferrymen who have found a way to control the reefs with the coral acting as their attack dog.

To the East, Ferrymen tell tales from the Ta'Palladia, holy book of Rurga. The deific realm Mhedibab is said to be one giant tree, the Sword Tree. Before the Pantheon of Rurga ever came to be, another war waged on. The conflict came to an end when a Great Sword landed a strike so powerful that it destroyed the old world. Blood from the final blow seeped into the Great Sword, the only remaining remnant of the world past, transforming it into a tree which became known as the Sword Tree. From this tree the first gods were born, gods born from war.

Everything on Mhedibab, from the comfortable mansions of the gods to the homes of the humans that live there, are built on the tree, either on its branches or its roots, or as part of it. It is the roots of the Sword Tree that stretch out and connect Mhedibab to the four worlds, said to be where the sword struck down so hard that it broke dimensional walls! The Ferrymen say that it's the roots of the Sword Tree that form the coral reefs around the island. With worshippers of Panath in the Western Empire and the growing following of Rurga in the Eastern Territory, the roots of the Tree Sword are growing, and right under Phi which stands at the center of both the Western Empire and Eastern Territory.

Further north, Ferrymen commonly tell the tale of old magic. Long ago a Mosaic Mage enchanted the coral reefs to come to life as a way to protect the island. Most say that it took place during the Elf-Dwarf War and that the Magi, enlightened men of knowledge, had no desire to take part in such a futile war. So they used the reefs to serve as a barrier, protecting the island and letting it act as a refuge for those who sought a purpose higher than war. Even after all this time the reefs continue to act under their enchantment, either because the Magi still feel the rest of the world is not ready for their knowledge or because the effects of the magic still have not worn off! However, can Mosaic Magic truly be so powerful to last thousands of years?

Other, less popular, beliefs include the spell being cast to protect the island during the Western Empire invasion over 400 years ago. Though it's generally accepted the reef's unnatural movement began long before then, this theory is growing ever more popular as the many citizens grow more and more nervous as they hear rumors of the expanding Western Empire fleets and armies. Another combines theories from both west and east, saying that the seeds Lictalon planted grew into the Sword Tree that gave birth to Rurga and the rest of her Pantheon, and that the reason they are warrior gods is to protect the world from the evil.

While there are several other possible rumors that make interesting stories, there is one that warrants attention. It is something only few will tell, but only when they think no one can hear them, and even then they seem paranoid, as if some ominous force is watching them. The story goes that the coral reefs are not a magical enchantment by the Magi, but a powerful curse! Instead of protecting the island, the curse serves to entrap the Magi, keeping them here as a prison.