Rift: Travels Through Telara Part 8 - The Endless Court
Join Guardian scribe, Padraic, and his trusty, yet slow-witted lackey Bran, as they travel the length and breadth of Telara documenting the people, places, history, and folklore of the world. Before its all gone.
Travels Through TelaraBy Padraic
Greetings, dear reader. Today you find me scribbling my entry in a ditch beneath a hedgerow. This ditch is rather muddy. Why am I doing this, I hear you ask? Well, some of you may have noticed the absence of Bran in last weekÂs missive. No? Well I can't blame you. I, myself, barely noticed his absence. That was, until I needed a new nib for my quill. After wandering around for most of the afternoon, asking local villagers if they had seen a slack-jawed young man staring into space, I eventually tracked him down to where he was sitting outside a local tavern.
And what was he doing there? Waiting, thatÂs what. Waiting to catch a glimpse of a local barmaid he seems to have fallen for.
How, I hear you ask, does that lead to you lying in a ditch, Padraic? IÂll tell you, shall I? Bran wants me to feed him some lines to impress the object of his desire. So I lie here in the mud, while Bran stands above me spouting off-the-cuff poetry to the love of his lifeÂs bedroom window.
Sigh. The things I do forÂ well, for what? I was going to say, Âthe things I do for good helpÂ, but we all know that would be a lie.
Anyway, while I am waiting for BranÂs barmaid to appear, I thought IÂd jot down some notes about the Endless Court. We all know there are six dragon cults, one for each of the Blood Storm, but letÂs face it, the strongest and most terrifying of these is RegulosÂs cult.
The Endless Court began as a conspiracy between two of the most powerful figures of the day. They were the dark mage Alekor Devishnille and the warlord Mahr Rilthain. These two men were the vilest of creatures. Beings of pure evil. Mahr sacrificed his own children to prove his loyalty to Regulos. There are many tales of how he did this, ranging from tying them to posts and letting them die of exposure, to tossing them into a pit where feral dogs had been starved for days, to murdering them in their sleep. Alekor, meanwhile, slaughtered entire villagers to harvest their body parts to use in his dark magic. Once he was done, he left a pile of hollowed out bodies for the scavengers to devour.
This is RegulosÂs demand. That his followers must embrace death Â not the natural cycle of decay and rebirth, but the void of all life. There is no room in the DestroyerÂs service for attachment to life, and especially not for that which makes us human - attachment to love. The first task of piety to Regulos is for the hopeful cult member to sever all attachments to their old lives by sacrificing the one they love the most. Initiates must allow the cult to capture the person closest to them, whether it is a wife, a husband, a child, or a sibling. During the rite of initiation, the initiate is required to murder the person on an altar dedicated to Regulos. All love and hope drain away with the victimÂs blood. Only then is Regulos convinced of the supplicantÂs dedication.
Alekor and Mahr were the first to wear the black robes of Regulos. Other followed, the dispossessed, outsiders, murderers, rapists, those who had been expelled form normal society. They all found a home in the Endless Court, where their debased and evilÂ proclivities were not handicaps but rather a means of promotion. They all work toward the final day of Telara, and the traditions started off by these two men were passed down through the generations. Even once Regulos was banished beyond the Ward, the Endless Court carried on. In fact, this only seemed to anger them, and they vowed to free their dark master.
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ÂYour skin is as white a freshly fallen snow and your hair as yellow the kiss of the winter sun,Â I whisper to Bran.
ÂYour skin is as yellow as winter snow and your hair as white as a fresh sun,Â repeats Bran.
Anyway, the Endless Court. They have always been with us, a secret society moving behind the most powerful of thrones, corrupting, planting thoughts of evil, always pursuing the ends of their dark patron. Every once in a while, they played their hand too forcefully and have been discovered, their members then rooted out and punished. And always, the variety of those willing to give their lives for Regulos is a surprise. Knights, Dukes, scholars, mothers, philosophers. All seemingly normal people who under cover of night commit debased deeds in the name of their master.
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Behind this rebirth in the Endless Court is Alsbeth the Discordant, the greatest servant of the Destroyer since Aedraxis fell. She is the Betrayer, the Guardian who used Defiant technology to breach the Ward in Port Scion. It is her fault the once-glorious city is now a decaying hive of the undead, ready to spill out and cover Telara in a wave of corruption. If the Endless Court is successful, it will be down to Alsbeth's actions.
Excuse me again. Bran is signaling.
ÂYour voice is like the melody flowing from the beak of a morning finch, while your features look like they are hewed from the finest marble,Â I say.
"Your features look like a finchÂs beak while your voice is like the gravel of a marble statue,Â repeats Bran.
Right. That should do it. Ah good. There we go. A bucket of water over his head. Maybe now Bran can get back to focusing on the job at hand. Until next time, dear reader.