Lies of Tytalus to Harax the Doomed

Hello! I invite anyone to have a bit of writing fun :slight_smile:.

Harax: “Master, where did magic come from?”

Tytalus: “My boy, I don’t know. Work it out for yourself.”

Harax: “But I heard from Tremere that Bonisagus invented magic as we know it.”

Tytalus: “Tremere!? Bonisagus!? Boy, don’t listen to that cunning old dog. Fine, I’d better tell you what I know. Sit down and shut up.
No-one knows where magic started, though some magi think it’s this or it’s that, it’s the old gods or the new God or whatever. Truth is no-one knows, they just think they’re on to something that feels right. Much like people believe in this God.

Harax: “Master! Blasphemy! Our priest says that speaking against God is a great crime, punishable by…”

Tytalus: “Yes, yes, a thousand burning snakes in my eyes and all the other places too. I’ve heard that fat pompous churchman yammer on more than once. Now, I said sit down and shut it and I’ll tell you what I know.

In about 462 AD, in Palermo, the wizard Triceritus Magnus pretended to grow mightily offended when his apprentice questioned him before the audience about all of his powers, calling him a fake. Triceritus, who mostly used magic to fool mundane folk into believing they should give him money or else risk his frightening wrath argued in a voice filled with doom and despair even when the apprentice poked holes into his bad acting; to the audience’s general amusement.

Triceritus Magnus (A name Triceritus had made up years before on a whim) then summoned the spirits of the earth with the ancient bracelet he had won in a game of Hazard to come and rip his young apprentice into the earth. As expected, the stone hands reached up from the floor and seized the apprentice’s feet as the audience gasped. Even as Triceritus began his speech asking magnanimously for forgiveness and the apprentice began to beg for his very life, something happened off script.

The hands sucked the young apprentice into the earth; none were more stunned than Triceritus; his mystical bracelet had never done that before. But true to form he turned and demanded money from the audience who paid in full. He searched for his apprentice for about half an hour, saying half remembered mystical words to coax the spirits who did not come. He eventually gave up and moved on to the next town.

Harax: “Master, that doesn’t sound anything at all like… Arrrmmm!”

Tytalus: “I said shut it. Now your lips are bound together. If you apologise I’ll undo it.

Harax: “mmmmrrrrmmm!”

Tytalus: “Didn’t catch that. Anyway. To continue from where I was rudely interrupted…

Unlike his fallible master, the apprentice was sucked right under the earth and found himself deep at the bottom of an ancient roman well. Using the one magic his master had actually known (little to the apprentices disappointment of the ‘Master Wizard’ he had signed on with) he created a little light with a prayer to Helios, similar to the one we even use now. Looking around, he found himself not just in a well, but an ancient series of rooms with dozens of scrolls and tablets from the Cult of Mercury, a Roman cult of magi that were rumoured to have more power than the Emperor himself whom Caligula had executed.

The young man began to study his true passion; magic. At that time, being a wizard was quite dangerous, much more so than now; wizards are jealous creatures that horde power at the best of times, and before the Parma there was almost no chance that spells would fail to work. So he went off and searched the ancient places of the world for magic, for that first storehouse of the Mercurians had some notes in it; evidence that a magical defense was not only possible, but wizards had already found it!

As it always is with wizards of the time the young man learned so much he wasn’t so young anymore and the few times people had tried to fight him it hadn’t gone well. But he was good Christian and tried not to kill, though I daresay he raided more than a few wizards for their magical trinkets. I mean, just because something is in the past doesn’t mean things were rosy. You have to understand we were like animals back then.

…I’m sorry, I digress. The young man found this idea and eventually he came to the cave in the Alps. No-one is sure why, particularly, but I suspect Criamon knew something about the place, likely powerful in magic. So the young man disappeared for some years and the rumours about this master wizard got worse.

Harax: “Aarrrrgh. Worse? And this story isn’t right at all, I heard it was much later. Are you lying again?”

Tytalus: “Well done, boy. You managed to stay silent for at least a diameter. I’ll have to think of how to do this for longer periods of time. It’s relaxing. You being quiet when I’m telling the truth, that is.”

Harax: “…”

Tytalus: “Excellent. Now.

So there’s all these rumours and this fairly attractive young witch, with wonderful tracts of land in Thessaly and a serious penchant for snakes and being tied down has a dream about our now aging man. It’s somewhere about 530 or so by now, and a young man named Tytalus and his brother Wolfie are suckling from a fetid breast in Normandy and having a miserable time…

Harax: “I could care less, master. What of the actual story?”

Tytalus: …Well, this rather amazing young woman with three nipples called Trianoma –

Harax: “What!?”

Tytalus: “Oh yes. It’s actually more common than you might think. I studied it, you see, along with the other two…”

Harax: “Master, I can’t believe you can say this in Durenmar of all places. You’ll get a challenge to war! You know Flambeau is itching to show he’s superior to you in battle. And what if Mistress Trianoma comes over?”

Tytalus: “Ah, he won’t do anything, he’s all wind. And just you think about those nipples whenever you see her, my boy.

Harax: “Gross.”

Tytalus: “Exactly. But also amazing.”

Harax: “I mean you’re disgusting. How did I end up with you as my master?

Tytalus: “Good luck.

Anyway, Trianoma has this dream and starts travelling about with her bitch of a sister. She hates the Romans, the man is roman, blah blah blah, dragon, blah blah blah, they end up fighting and the man beats her and her sister because he’s got the Parma now. He ties them up to Trianoma’s endless pleasure and because he’s who he is he can’t help start teaching everything he knows like a complete idiot. The rest you probably can work out. Trianoma comes to meet us, Wolf boy and I eat Guorna the Fetid and steal her power, Criamon hugs himself and mutters a lot, Flambeau starts screaming “Join or Die!” whenever he tries to meet new people. You should go and try and be his friend, Harax, he really needs help.

Harax: “Why don’t you call him Bonisagus?”

Tytalus: “Who?”

Harax: “The man you keep mentioning who discovered the Parma.”
Tytalus: “Did I say the man who was Triceritus apprentice was Bonisagus?”

Harax: “Er… no… wait, what?”

Tytalus: “It’s the bells for Tribunal. Time to go.”

  • Lies of Tytalus to the Apprentice Harax the Doomed, 15 of 3412.

I enjoyed reading that.

Yes, nice one :slight_smile:

^ This.

Harax: Master, how long did you serve your apprenticeship?

Tytalus: Think you’ve got what it takes, Harax? To be a wizard? You’d die to the first mentally deficient peasant with a bent stick.

Harax: No, I’m curious. What was your apprenticeship like?

Tytalus: Rough. Hard.

Harax: That’s it? Mine is rough! No other apprentice had to fight two axe wielding skeletons –

Tytalus: That’s nothing. That’s just play.

Harax: Just play!? I almost died! I was healing for weeks!

Tytalus: And isn’t your mastery over corporeal necromancy so much better? Challenge, boy. Challenge. Fine, you want the story? You’ll get it. Truth.

Harax: I believe you every time you say you’ll tell the truth. Like I believe I’m the King of the Romans.

Tytalus: Shut up. Early on I was an orphan. Son of a whore, though I didn’t know that till much later. Raised up in Paris. Lovely place. Mud. I remember it fondly. Mainly mud and shit. Too many people crammed in. Big place, though at the time I didn’t realise how big. I had nothing else to compare it to. My mother fed me as best as she was able till I was perhaps five, then died to leprosy. I didn’t realise then, but I had it in me. Didn’t show it’s ugly head till years later. Anyway, I was running with the other kids and stealing. We carried knives, thought we were tough, thumbed our noses at everyone. We cut other kids to make them hurt, or beat them and stole their clothes.

Anyway, that life means you get into trouble. We did it to one kid, wealthy, his belt and gloves all fine leather. I remember… the colours of those gloves, the feeling of that soft skin on my hands. I was so happy, except when I noticed I’d stained them with the kid’s blood. I remember kicking him, blaming him for that. The fury I had in me back then. I just leave him, swagger away and brag to my friends. They were afraid of me then. I was the one who’d done it. I think I was eight. No idea what happened to that kid.

Harax: Eight winters?

Tytalus: That’s when she noticed me. She had little spirits everywhere telling her what they saw. And when she heard of a little kid willing to knife another boy and kick him while he bled gets back to her. So I start getting little… spirit friends. Things get easy, I start scoring real goods. Silver. I’m nine years old. Maybe ten. I’m the boss of my own little urchin army. They hate me, but I’m blessed – or cursed – with what seems like them to be luck. By eleven I’m the pickpocket king of Paris.

Harax: Spirit friends?

Tytalus: Airy spirits. Just sent to watch over me. Give me a helping hand. I see them, of course, but I don’t care. The buggers are around all the time anyway no matter where you are. A minor spirit of odd noises distracts a mother before I steal her pearls. A spirit of gluttony makes a guard drink himself into a stupor. Occasionally a spirit of fog comes to visit, helping me get away. Nothing really awful. Eventually I get used to it. Rely on it. That’s when she comes, of course. Not her; the fat old bitch never moved much till the end. No, a seeming, an illusion. A spirit projecting her image. It tells me that there’s great power, blah blah blah, come now or lose everything.

Harax: And you refused?

Tytalus: Nope. More power? I couldn’t help it. I was bored. She was naked. What else could I do? Anyway, I follow her down into the crypts and I get met by a collection weird and wonderful things. Dead servitors. Spirits, ancient histories playing themselves out. The bound spirits of the dead. Then I meet her. She keeps her illusion on for the moment, but it’s her place so her stench lingers. It’s not like most smells. You don’t get used to it. And it stays with you, in your nose, clogging you up for days. It wasn’t until I spoke with Bonisagus that I even learned that was just a part of her magic. So much for master of spirits, hmm? I never even knew until barely five years ago that each mage has their own nature in their spells. That's my apprenticeship, boy.

Harax: Hah! You finally didn’t know something!

Tytalus: I never claimed to know everything. Just a lot more than almost everyone. So she promised me power over the spirits and the dead and could rule princes and kings with my power if I pleased if I became her apprentice. So I did.

That’s when things went really nasty. It was all wonders and luxury to start with, of course. Every apprenticeship always is.

Harax: You call this luxury? I have to do your laundry and cook and clean...

Tytalus: Luxury. Luxury. Anyway, it started being easy. I’d just be doing the same things I was doing, except now she got most of the proceeds. It was part of the cost of apprenticeship. I’d get a small portion, she’d get most. Then it was… worse things. Go and rob a tomb, take a limb, bring it back to her. She’d compel its spirit to reveal where the treasures were, or all sorts of things. Get the spirit of a dead mother to convince a dying son to donate to a local church. Get the same priest so drunk he never noticed when a dozen urchins came in and stole a kings ransom in silver. Tricks. Traps. We were everything that people were frightened of. We'd go and do things to women. Children. make the spirit of a devil possess a girl and snap her own neck while her parents watched. That sort of thing.

I loved it, of course. I sucked from that diseased teat and learned almost nothing. That bitch was good enough at beguiling that she got away with teaching me almost nothing. But I learned. I watched. I got tuition from a wandering priest who wanted more than gold to teach me Latin, the basics of reading and writing. I stole in to her chambers, read her books while she cavorted with the dead. I learned enough that I thought I'd try something. Something within my power. Something worthy that was in my power. So I tried to summon and bind the Devil.

Harax: What!? Master, infernalism!

Tytalus: Yes yes. We all have our baby stories about wetting the bed. So I wet the bed in a fairly terrible way. See, I sort of succeeded.

Harax: I…you…

Tytalus: Sort of. Otherwise this would be a different world. No, the Devil showed me the error of my ways, sent me to experience every one of the hells. For what felt like centuries. I was gone for a year.

Harax: Gone?

Tytalus: Disappeared in a sulphurous cloud, apparently. At the time all I remember was screaming. And I remember thinking that perhaps playing with this sort of fire isn’t worth it. When I get back I've been replaced by a milk-faced boy she'd stolen from some cult and I'm covered in weeping sores I soon find out is leprosy. Argh, be off boy, I can't stand the sight of you.

Harax: Master?

Tytalus: My sores plague me. Be gone.

And that.

Is there a rule against self-quoting on the forum, or if it is as acceptable as in academia?

Waiting for more, very nice read.

'Master, why does Rego cause apple trees to come to season? Surely it should be Creo?'

'What? Arrrgh, I'm sleeping. Merinita's uppity brat challenged me to outdrink him with faerie wine. My head is killing me. I'm going to die.'

'It's important, master. Didn't you always tell me the importance of having an inquiring mind? Following my magical potential?'

'Follow it somewhere else before I consider a permanent solution to your curiosity.'

'But master, didn't you say you're the greatest master of magic since the world was created? That you've done things no other wizard has? That you once ate the sphinx, duelled Hermes in a magical battle and won, defeated the singing priests of Apollo over Trianoma's unconscious body, a dozen other amazing things?'

'While all those things are true, bugger off.'

'My magical talent is being wasted because of you, you know. Do you know they call me 'The Doomed?'

'Yep. Love it. Started it myself.'

Tytalus yawned, rolled over. A particularly bilious green, he reached for his wine, took a hefty swig. Retched. Threw off his cloak, poked the faerie maiden next to him until she got off his leg.

'Now, what do you want?'

'Shouldn't Creo rule whether plants blossom, not Rego?'

'Yes it should.' said Tytalus. 'But it doesn't. Next question?'

'Oh, that was all, master. Just putting my curious mind to work. Thank you.'

'That's it? Couldn't it have waited? My head is killing me.'

'Oh, I think the band of jongleurs I hired with the last of your money might help with that. Thanks, master! I feel my magical potential is again on the increase.'

The sudden sound of a drumroll and the piercing sound of bagpipes and the hurdygurdy brought sudden tears of joy to Tytalus about his apprentice' magical curiosity as the wine twisted in his belly and he began to vomit.

  • Lies of Tytalus to Harax the Doomed

Aargh! Mark!

This is a great thread. I found the wiki the other day with the writeups for the game where I played Arkady, you're a great writer so it was cool going back and remembering an enjoyable campaign. I'm running a game at the moment and ran across this.