Mantengase by all accounts was a handsome if rather typical looking man. Unlike most caricatures of wizards, he was clean shaven and seldom wore a hat. He favored the robes of a philosopher or banker instead of the enchanter’s djellaba. He is also noted for having worn a sword on his side and never used a walking staff as many older men are wont to do.
Born the third son to an influential banking family, Mantengase was raised in the rarified realm of the wealthy. There are precious few families that experience great wealth as well as being courted by the nobility without being part of that incestuous social class. By the time he was 20, Mantengase had studied extensively at home as well as 2 years abroad. A profitable marriage saw Mantengase married to Savila d’Amerigo, the eldest daughter of the plutocratic Merchant’s Guild Guildmaster.
Together, the couple produced three sons and two daughters as well as being heavily involved in the chartering of a Pilot’s School to train navigators for the growing merchant fleets. This school would survive for another 200 years until the later dissolution of the standing Merchant’s Guild due to widespread corruption. Commisions, savvy investing and the like saw Mantengase retire early from the school to persue his own agendas, though Savila would stay on as the assistant Chancellor of the college until a few years before her death.
Mantengase and Magic
At the age of 50, having already been an explorer, investor, cartographer, chancellor, husband, and father, Mantengase decided to follow the ascribed highest path of man and started his career in sorcery. Two years later, he had acquired a suitable library, a laboratory, a well known magical tutor and two consors, or assistants. What was unexpected is that Mantengase demonstrated a natural ability to comprehend and utilize magic. This natural ability combined with his resources made him a potent sorcerer in a short period of time.
As Mantengase’s magical research continued his stumbled upon several esoteric texts dating back several thousand years. Originally transcribed from Chthonic cave writings, he translated the text, now famously the Mantengase Codex, and recieved a revelation. Writing furiously he attempted to contain this revelation in a short work titled Panoptimus. The core of the work described man not as a single race, but as a hybrid one. The living, breathing organic body was one species, the sentient mind and soul an inorganic second. Knowing correctly the the Faith would suppress his work and see him destroyed as a first magnitude heretic, Mantengase did not release his work immeadiately. Instead he concentrated on mastering the new mode of magic he had discovered.
It did not take long before other sorcerous types started to notice that Mantengase had stepped beyond the currently known boundaries of magic. Concerned about daemonic influence, or horrific contamination, these other magi sought his council as well as bringing members of the Faith along on certain occasions. Annoyed, but accepting, Mantengase entertained the guests as he would have any others but was loathe to let them into his sanctum or to see the notes of his works.
It was inevitable, but his work and it’s heretical nature was discovered. Before Mantengase could orchestrate an escape, he was detained by the Inquisitors of the Faith and placed under arrest for various crimes against the faith and abuses of magic. He vehemently protested, calling upon his tormentors for peace and reconciliation. They would not be dissuaded. What added insult to injury was that his third son Arciniegas was among the Inquisitors as he hadsince joined the church. The two elder sons and the eldest daughter refused to vouch for their father, though the youngest daughter Aasia came to his defense and personal aid.
After his trial Mantengase officially passed his holdings that were not siezed by the Church to Aasia, instead of his sons. This was quickly overturned by the brothers who instead granted Aasia, treacherous in their eyes, little more than a pittiance of her rightful share. As he was marched to the executioner’s block he made his final oration. He spoke aloud his heresy, promised that his work was not done and that there would be retribution against his traitorous sons and slanderous daughter. With that uttered, he was beheaded by Prince Andol Lugose the royal executioner.
Mantengase had an extensive estate including a three story palace in the home port of the Merchant Guild, a country estate and hunting lodge, as well as his private tower and laboratory. The Faith seized the tower and library and disassembled both. The tower would be sold to stone masons piece by piece while the library itself was locked away in one of the Vaults of Inequity beneath the library-cathedral. After this ransacking, Aasia was given a pittiance and was extirpated from the Mantengase lineage.
Since his death, several strange things happened. Roughly a decade afterwards, the children of the traitorous brothers were afflicted with a strange ailment. Their skin was blotched with weeping sores that grew strange fibers, many experienced nightmares and strange waking dreams of pellucid images and burning phantasms. Several of those afflicted became autistic or suicidal, writing out large pieces of Morgellon’s library before killing themselves. The Faith was at a loss as the daughters of the eldest daughter Aafra cut strange designs into their flesh and used their own blood to write on the walls. it was not until a sage saw the writing that he recognized it as the Chthonic runes that Morgellon had originally translated three decades prior.
Within two centuries, the Mantengase vanished as a family, coinciding with the dissolution of the Merchant’s Guild. Most of the surviving family broke away from their cursed name and avoided magic at all costs. It was discovered that those who studied the sorcerous arts were much more prone to Morgellon’s Curse than those who prayed or plowed the soil.
Morgellon Mantengase discovered a method to seperate his mind and soul from his corporeal body. While his theory that humans are hybid creatures is pretty much bunk, the techniques of his magics are surprisingly solid. Before his death, the mage cast his last spell, permanently seperating his mind and soul from his body. This had the disadvantage of causing him to be spread very thin, making consciousness difficult and performing magic even more so. Not to be dissuaded by something as paltry as corporeal death, Morgellon focused his attention on his treacherous kin.
The rashes and tubules grown from their tortured flesh as conduits for Morgellon. The more advanced the affliction, the more gathered the mind of the mage becomes. This has the subconscious effect of the infected person gaining pieces of his memory, such as suddenly being able to understand the Chthonic runes, remembering shipping ledgers or maps, as well as writing out parts of his books.
At the current point, Morgellon exists on a subconscious level but over the years has slowly become more dense. He still afflicts those of his blood, but since the end of the official family name his affliction has become much less common. Given a few more centuries Morgellon will eventually condense and reform as a formerly human spirit, or avatar of magic.
Morgellon is dead and gone by human standards, he cannot be raised from the dead, or contacted by traditional sorcerous means. A wizard who found and studied a copy of his spellbooks and savvy enough to try some astral version of Contact Spirit ‘could’ contact Mantengase but this should be very very rare and divined entirely by the players without DM hints or tips. The Affliction itself is certainly still around, but only affects a few hapless individuals a years, sometimes vanishing in a short time, sometimes lasting until their death, premature or otherwise.
Panoptimus and the Mantengase Codex - Quite unexpectedly, copies of both books appear, freshly written. The Faith is outraged since they have worked diligently to keep these books hidden, their secrets intact. The new writter is an unfortunate clerk with a slight penchant for magic who has started suffering from Morgellon’s Affliction. He has found that by writting out the passages from his dreams that the affliction is diminished. To date he has scribed the Panoptimus six times (it is a relatively short work) and the Codex twice. The PCs are hired to find the terminate the source of these villianous tomes.
The First Lesion - One of the PCs, likely a mage, gains a new rash complete with strange structures growing from it. Removal is painfull and slightly alleviates the condition, but does nothing to stop the lucid nightmares and daydreams. For inspiration for these events images could be drawn from Astral creatures and phantasmagoric images from the astral plane.