Part Two: The Truth? Can you handle the Truth?
At some point, it is expected the PCs will interact with Incarnos. He longs to tell anyone who will listen about the Lorestaves. If the PCs do not interact with Incarnos, for example, if they allow the Holy Knights to capture Incarnos and do not intervene, another NPC can deliver the following information. Likely, this will be Carylle of Temelburh (listed in the NPC section as the barmaid Cornille), who has learned most of this information. If Incarnos is captured, we can assume that she has learned everything, but has yet been unable to uncover the hiding place of the Lorestaff. Without Incarnos’ help, finding the Lorestaff may prove difficult.
Below is the information delivered by Incarnos. It may be broken up or interrupted by questions. Delivering the following speech exactly and intact is unnecessary, as long as the PCs gain this knowledge somehow. If it is delivered by any agency other than Incarnos, it will need to be altered.
The man rises. Though he moves with stiff caution, you see no marks, neither bruises nor blood. He looks around, as though confused. Finally, his eyes rest on you. He smiles.
“My thanks. I had not expected help in such a place. But I can see that you have good hearts and strong limbs. I wish I could show my appreciation, but all I can offer is the truth of the moment, which I do not believe you would wish to hear.”
Incarnos does not expect that the PCs will be interested in the cause of his beating or in learning what he has to tell. If they exhibit interest, he will certainly be willing to share what he knows.
I have a private room on the second floor of this establishment. I can offer food, drink and a tale that will make you wonder at the very world around you.
If the PCs accept, he will lead them to the room. First, he will stop and speak to the man behind the bar, passing coin.
The room is well appointed, dominated by a large table in its center. Settees and divans rest against the walls while chairs surround the table. Tapestries-perhaps once impressive and vibrant, now dull and uninspiring-cover the walls. Soon after you enter, bearers follow, depositing a variety of food and drink on the table. That done, the man closes the door and locks it. He sits at the table and sighs.
“So, here we are. My name is Incarnos. I am an immortal servant of gods lost centuries ago.”
Incarnos is not here to tell the whole truth, so his story avoids his own responsibility for the ascendancy of Herotus.
Incarnos holds a cup before him, not bothering to drink. “I have troubles calculating the time, but it was centuries ago when other gods watched over the world you call Morvia. Twelve great gods controlled the elements and forces of nature. They cared for mortals as best they could, but left to them age, disease and pain. Some thought this unfair, and in their concern, looked for a way to alleviate the suffering. Herotus offered himself as an alternative, promising to rid the world of care. Many flocked to him, believing him.
“His servants came to the world and set themselves against the servants of the Twelve. The people turned from the Twelve, believing the words of the servants of Herotus. More, in those days, the servants of Herotus could use powerful magics, and so it seemed as though Herotus had more power than the Twelve. In the end, without worship, without the devotion of the people of this world, the Twelve disappeared. It is not known, even among the immortals, if the Twelve had been destroyed, banished or simply left this reality.
“Herotus then betrayed all those who had supported him. Many spirits and demigods were destroyed, others bound with powerful spells. I was banished to the mortal world, to live as an immortal and behold all that I had unwittingly helped bring to pass.
“But in his arrogance, Herotus failed to secure his victory. While his servants attempted to erase all knowledge of the Twelve, some knowledge remains. Even that knowledge is tangled with myth and legend. You know of the twelve swords of Herotus bound knights? A myth. The Temple of the Holy Mount once housed the last relics of the Twelve Gods. Staves, crafted at the dawn of the world, and instilled with a small essence of the Twelve, were hidden in the vaults of the Temple of the Holy Mount. The servants of Herotus were unwilling to destroy such powerful items and may have hoped to one day tap their awesome power. However, greed, as is common, led to an unexpected end.
“Stories tell of the minions of demon lords stealing the twelve swords. Not so. The staves themselves, perhaps sensing their own peril, transported themselves through their own mighty magics. They returned to those temples in which they had first been formed. There they wait.
“Each of the twelve staves holds a key to unlocking the mystery of the Twelve Gods. Each staff will lead the bearer to the next. When all twelve are assembled in the temple of Lugh the Shining, King of the Heavens, the Old Gods will return, to once again lay claim to Morvia and free it from the dominion of Herotus the Deceiver.
“This area is known as the Temples for a good reason. Here was once the Temple District of the ancient city of Baudus. And on this very ground, where this shabby temple of sin stands, once stood the Temple of Kernunnos, the Lord of the Dead, the Master of Change. It is his staff that is the first key. It is his staff that can lead to the resurrection of the true gods of Morvia.
“I am here, in this place, because the staff calls to me. It is time for it to come into the light. The Old Gods are ready to oppose Herotus, but the door must be opened. The fortress’ gates must be opened for the battle to join. I ask for your help in finding this staff. I ask for your help in freeing Morvia from the grip of a deceiver.”