Sailor legends whisper of an isle, which lies somewhere in the Seeping Sea. Some say it exists only in the minds of intellectuals and those suffering from ennui, but as a few lucky (and some unlucky) souls have discovered over the years, Riddlerock does exist. A scant two miles long and one mile wide, this island has no vegetation whatsoever, being riddled with sand, pebble, stone and little else. In fact it quite bland as islands go, nothing to see and nothing to do.
Unknown to most, Riddlerock serves a singular purpose. It plays host-site to a peculiar contest held once every ten years by the Three Riddling Sages, the Riddle Masters, a peculiar contest, open to select, and sometimes accidental participants, those few which stumble upon the place at precisely the right moment. Others, sail from far and wide corners of the world, to test their wits and claim the title of Riddle-King for a decade.
The End was nigh!
And so the Three Prophets gathered for the last time as prophets, and when they once more strode forth into the world, they did so as The Riddlemasters, for their Final Prophecy had not been heeded by their brethren and their warnings were ignored. And a great blight fell upon the land. And the Prophets were no more, grown bored with their own prophecies, their minds by now infected with irrevcable madness.
Wandering the world for many years endlessly, and without purpose, the three sages finally set sail from the coast, never to return. Nothing more was heard from then again, until their resurrection as the Riddle Masters Three. The three wise companions settled upon this small isle, and called it their own.
Having long ago solved the Riddle of Immortality themselves, the Riddle Masters have little need for nourishment or sleep. If they are not killed, perhaps they will never die, who can say? They have certainly survived at least the last three hundred years, humbly living out their existence on this humble rock.
They sit and ponder the meaning of life when they are alone, arguing and debating endlessly meaningless points of interest and philosophy, never quite reaching conclusions or agreement. Their genius is surpassed only by their lunacy, and to listen to the trio's conversations for any amount of time, is dangerous to the listeners mental balance and sanity.
The contest itself is not unlike any other riddle contest one may encounter in an inn or town square. The select participants, never more than twelve, take turns solving riddles posed by the Riddlemasters, until only one "Answerer" is left. The Riddlemasters then announce the winner as the Riddle-King. At this point the Riddle-King can ask the Riddlemasters any three questions, to which the the Riddlemasters (in a rare moment of mental lucidity), will always provide the correct and right answers.
"How can the invincible dragon, Zessuphlex be killed?", "Where is the lost tomb of Mitzilplik?" "How can the curse of the Winter-Witch be reversed?" and so on.
Eventually the riddle-solvers will disperse, (there is *nothing* to do or explore on the island otherwise) and the three riddling madmen return to pondering and contemplating the multiverse and all of its many, boring secrets for another ten years, until the next contest.
Additional Ideas (2)
The Riddlemasters Three
The three former prophets, originators and purveyors of the age-old riddle contest are as follows:
Torn Rope, ‘The Frayed One’
Torn Rope got his moniker from the noose and torn rope-end, which he always wears about his neck. No one knows his original name, but it is said he was once, long ago, a common thief who was about to be hanged for his crimes, when the rope he was suspended from, suddenly frayed and shredded, allowing him to escape the gallows. It is further said that at that moment when he tumbled to his freedom, Torn Rope was siezed by a sudden, unexplained bolt of wisdom and enlightenment, which allowed him to become what he is today, an encyclopdeic fountain of knowledge. Yet his mind is as frayed as the rope on his neck.
Originally a university scholar, hailing from the cloying and scholarly kingdom of Hedwyg, Ischta was old when the moutains were young. At least that is what they say about him, "they" being theose who don't know. In fact nothing is known about Ischta, except that he is wise and he is mad. When not engaged in riddle-asking, Ischta can be found slurping salt-water at the shoreline, on all fours, or engaging rocks in conversation.
Tortle the Multiplyer of Unwit
A man sporting the head of a rabbit, due to some long-forgotten curse, Tortle hails from the Drying Lands, a country of cracked earth, and some say, a cracked populace. Quite thoroughly, but subtly mad, like his peers, Tortle suffers from indescribable psychoses and quirks, his mental faculties "alien" at best. Originally hailed as a lone prophet, Tortle traveled far from his own lands in search of wisdom, and thus came upon the pair, who became his lifelong friends and companions. Tortle's greatest fear is witnessing sunsets and sunrises. He avoids both events at all costs.
Note: If anyone can think of appropriate riddles, riddles that omniscient madmen might ask during an ultimate riddle contest, please do post them as scrolls!
A humble homage to "The End is Nigh" Forum thread by Strolen
There is a saying among dwarves, vampires and the Red-Leg gypsy clans. Never answer a question while you're dreaming. Or more apt, never aswer a question truthfully while dreaming
A peculiar lifeform needs mentioning, the only other interesting life-form found on Riddlerock, aside from the three lunatic sages.
Riddle-Worms are a myriad of tiny fragments of the psyches of the Riddlemasters, made manifest. These creatures are minuscule and nigh invisible to the naked eye. They congregate in small clusters which under bright lights appear as a greenish sheen in the air or sand. Their attack is insidious. Riddle-Worms simply wait for a sentient being to go to sleep, then enter directly into the victims eyes, effortlessly squeezing through the closed lids, without alarming the host, while oozing a morphine-like slime from their microscopic bodies. Once implanted, the host creature's eyes cloud over with a pale green hue, beneath the closed lids.
The Riddle-Worms begin their assault. They attach themselves to the nerve-endings of the eyes, and begin transmitting "messages" to the cortex. The sleeping victim begins to be bombarded by "voices" questioning him or her with archaic riddles, beginning with easy ones but becoming progressively more difficlt and complex. As the host-victim dreams, the questions proceed endlessly, and the riddle-worms do severe damage to the nervous system. Several hours under the effects of the Riddle-Worms, will cause an intelligent creature to lose control of their bodily functions upon waking, up to and including losing even the involuntary functions, such as the ability to breathe, quickly dying without the aid of companions. The more riddles a host answers correctly in this maddeing dream state, the more intense the riddling becomes and the more agitated and sweaty a victim will be. The key to surviving the Riddle-Worms is by answering the riddles incorrectly. After a few riddles wrongly answered, riddles the Riddle-Worms consider "easy", the Riddle-Worms quickly grow bored and agitated, and give up, harmlessly exiting the sleeping hosts eyes, and move on to another, "smarter" victim, or return to their dormant state, until the next nightfall.
Fortunately for the sane everywhere, Riddleworms are known only to dwell on Riddlerock and nowhere else. The Riddleworms ignore the Riddlemasters, as their mad minds are too cracked even for the worms.