The Forgotten Throne
What is the Vile?
Scholars and mages have debated the exact nature of the Vile since it first appeared, and even to this day are no closer to defining it than they are to “curing” it. But it is possible to speak about it in broad terms, so long as one keeps in mind that these statements are never absolutes, but very general guidelines.
In essence, the Vile is a contagaion. It travels from organism to organism through many common vectors of disease (including but not limited to: blood, ingestion, or inhalation), and has shown itself capable of infection even through certain psychic means (such as exposure to certain types of text written by infected individuals, or hearing the Elder Tongue spoken aloud).
The results of Vile infection take two forms: Vilebloom (which is defined as “othering of the body”) and Madness (which is defined as “othering of the mind”). One or other of these traits (often both) manifest in all of those who are subject to Vile infection, though the degree of effect can vary wildly.
Vilebloom most often takes the form of physical mutations such as rapid muscle growth, bone reformation, or the development of new extremities. In some cases, the results can transform an infected person into a nearly different organism altogether. It is common for these mutations to be asymmetrical, grotesque, and may even cause failure on the body’s normal ability to regulate itself correctly; in some cases, the vile is simply fatal to the infected party.
Vile Madness is considerably more insidious, since it manifests itself through behavior rather than physical symptoms. Madness effects the cognative abilities of an infected person, altering their perceptions and causing deteriorations in the infected person’s ability to reason soundly. In short, they begin to think strangely; they often lose the ability to focus, or will tend to become fixated on ideas or interests that fall outside the norm.
This is compounded by the fact that nearly all of those who become infected spontaneously develop an ability to parse the strange, swirling language known as “Mad-Hand”. The notion that a language could spontaneously develop in the brains of infected people suggests some soft of uniformity in their infection, but what that might be remains unclear.
The Mythical Origin of the Vile
“Over two thousand years ago, the great and powerful Emperor of the Elven Nations, Xarus the Fifth, brought together the greatest minds and most powerful mages of his time at a council which became known as “the Conclave”.
They were learned scholars and proud warriors, but in the end they were also mortals, and lusted as mortals always do for a power greater than their own; Divine Power, which would place them on the same footing as the immortal God-Spirits themselves. Their rituals were intended to harness the power of the cosmos, but instead their workings tore into the very fabric of the world, sundering the lands and boiling the seas.
And in the midst of this chaos there came a nameless evil, bubbling forth from the deepest and darkest places. This evil unleashed a malignant change upon those once-noble leaders. It transformed those it touched into monstrous beings, whose terrible power was fueled by equally terrible depravity. They wasted no time in spreading their malignance throughout Ellothiel, transforming the citizens into twisted beasts who set out to ravage the countrysides throughout the Elven Nations and beyond.
It was only then that the evil was given a name fit to its nature: we called it the Vile."
- Wallace Heidammur (Nostenbracht Scholar)
The Origin of the “Gift” (as told by Kelara)
“When the conclave reached out into the Cosmos, they drew the attention of a being as old as our world, who was curious about these simple creatures who dared to reach so far beyond their borders. But as it drew near, the Elder found himself trapped here upon this world. It settled itself into the earth near Ellothiel, and began to regain it’s strength in hopes of one day trying again to return to it’s home amongst the stars.”
“But as it rested, it began sharing it’s wisdom and power with those whose power had brought him here. Sadly, there were many who were not ready, in body or spirit, to receive the Gifts that the Elder gave to them. It twisted their bodies and minds, and they caused much harm to those who lived in the lands nearby.”
“This is what drew the attention of the Spirits, who were angry to see beings other than themselves becoming so powerful. They attempted to seal away the Elder, not realizing that their powers would not be enough to chain him. So instead their powers ripped into the land, attempting to destory the Great Old One in a calamity of nature. This too failed, and in the process countless lives were lost as the Cataclysm ripped the southern continents apart. Their folly exposed, the Eldrichar joined together and drove away the envious and angry Spirits, who returned to the south to gather for war and plot their revenge.”
“The next generation passed in a boil of war, and in the end the God-Spirits took their revenge. They attacked the Elder near Ellothiel, ripping him to pieces and stealing those pieces away to keep the Elder from ever returning to his full strength. The blasted away the southern lands of this continent, drifting it farther north and away from any other coastline. Finally, they filled the water here with monsterous leviathans to keep my people from ever leaving, and to keep anyone from the south from coming here to join with us.”
“And so it has been for two thousand years – the Gifted have continued to struggle to keep the forces of the Spirits at bay, while trying all the while to restore our Elder to his former glory. And then, if we are fortunate, perhaps he will chose to bring some of his faithful with him when he returns to the place beyind the sky, carrying us to new worlds where no one will wish to wipe us out.”
- Kelara, in her story to the Party (Oxalathiel)