Appearance of Castle Merciless
The Castle Merciless stands high on a rocky outcropping, overlooking a vast expanse of stone-speckled plains. The Castle is built in the modern style out of granite, with an outer wall surrounding a tall keep (also granite). The walls rise precipitously up from the brink of its plateau. The style of the Castle is fairly average, save only for the nine-sided, pyramidal roof of the keep. The walls are mainly unadorned and dirty, and the gate is slightly charred, as if a fire was set there long ago. The trail up to the gate is narrow, but not so much so that it is in any way dangerous.
The surrounding area is normal in any aspect you could think of, except, of course, for the giant venomous rats, but that’s a different story.
History of Castle Merciless
Several centuries or more ago Sir Derrick the Brave won the battle of Giragoth, and earned the king’s favour. In return for services rendered, Sir Derrick received "the castle", back then it had no name. Sir Derrick and his direct descendants lived there for five generations before being driven out by a mysterious plague.
The next owner was Baron Helmuth. He was a nervous, pulpy man, completely overshadowed by his wife, Getra, and, some say, his manservant, Grothol. According to the local gossips, Getra and Grothol were plotting to kill the baron and run-off with the money.
As such, no one was surprised when a maid ran out of the castle screaming bloody murder. But what did surprise them is the two bodies found in the castle: Baron Helmuth and Baroness Getra. Grothol was nowhere to be found.
After a lax investigation by the town sheriff (also the town drunkard), the matter was put down as a man of unknown disposition killing his employer and his mistress.
The property was then auctioned off, and bought by John Mimple, an old friend of Grothol’s. Mimple lived there peaceably enough with his household, but there were some very strange rumors concerning his foreign valet. About three years after Mimple moved in, strange glows began to be seen late at night through the windows of the Castle. The light-sightings continued for six or seven months, and then suddenly stopped. Mimple became more and more nervous and curt during this time, but when the lights disappeared, so did his sourness. Once again, he was invited to parties by the well-to-do’s and, in return, invited them all up to his house for a grand All Hollows’ Eve ball.
For days, the village was alive with anticipation for the ball. Wagons rolled up to the castle endlessly, carrying all sorts of bundles. When the night of the party came, literally hundreds of people, invited and not, streamed up the road to the Castle. They were greeted cordially at the door by their host, and were quickly seated around his great table.
The venomous rats picked up their heads at the horrific screaming that came from the Castle that night. Only one person came out alive from the Castle, John Mimple, torn, bleeding, and completely mad. No one ever found out what happened that night, and Mimple never said. The most anyone heard from him was his constant muttering:
"Castle Merciless. Dread home of he who wanders the night."
Over and over he murmured those words, over and over.
The Mysterious Happenings at Castle Merciless
When Sir Derrick originally built the castle, he told the architect to build him a normal castle, nothing out of the usual, but a little bird told him to add the nine-sided roof, literally. A small bird hopped onto his workbench one day as the architect was working on the plans for Sir Derrick’s castle and told him what it wanted. It spoke in no uncertain terms of what would happen if the keep’s roof were not just what it wanted. The architect, not wanting to anger the talking bird, built the roof exactly as specified, almost. While the bird told him to use lumber from the rowan tree to construct the roof, the architect instead used oak, sturdier and cheaper. This proved disastrous for Mimple, as rowan wood has protective properties, said to hold at bay evil spirits.
The bird was a messenger from the dread Igg’sotiequ, He that dwells in nightmares, the land called Gluush.
Igg’sotiequ wants to come to this realm to feast upon the tender bodies of humans, and he has found a way to accomplish this. In an ancient tome he discovered in his land of shadows, Igg’sotiequ read a passage scribed by the fabled Dulrigar of the Hallows, it is as follows:
When the stars are right,
When the moon aligns,
Then a gate may be opened,
And one may come through.
Then the world will darken,
And the one will rule.
Igg’sotiequ read these lines and saw his chance. He set things in motion here on the mortal coil, and waited for the opportune moment. Occasionally, things needed tending, and then Igg’sotiequ would reach his influence into our world, and then withdraw.
One such time was when Sir Derrick’s descendants were struck with plague. He needed them to leave the Castle, and he forced them to go. Later, Igg’sotiequ sent one of his faithful, Grothol, to prepare for his coming. Grothol installed himself in the Castle with the Baron and his wife to whom Grothol had attached himself. To finish the projects set him, Grothol summoned a pair of Herthers, fiendish servants of Igg’sotiequ, resembling a cross between a goat and a wasp, with the nastiest bits of both. Unfortunately, the use of oak instead of rowan in the roof caused the Herthers to gain control over Grothol. They forced him to bring them the baron and his wife who they slaughtered. They then changed Grothol into a foul perversion of what he was, and locked him in one of the vaults built beneath the Castle.
Mimple was also in the service of Foul Igg’sotiequ, as was his manservant. Mimple performed dark rituals and created hideous things in the name of his god and hid them all away in the same vaults that house the Herthers and Grothol.
Then, when the time was ripe for his dread lord’s coming, Mimple invited most of the town up to the castle. That night, he led his guests down into the vaults in a grand "treasure hunt". But no treasure was found, only slavering, many-headed creatures from nightmare.
Mimple escaped by slipping through a back door, but a monstrosity chased him up and he only just escaped with his insanity not-quite intact.
Castle Merciless Now
The castle still stands where it has been for years. Since that horrible night, no one has gone near the outcropping. No one knows what happened that night, or what Mimple’s words meant.
But Igg’sotiequ knows, and, his ceremony performed, now dwells inside those walls.
Fortunately for we mortals, the foul god miscalculated the ceremony and is now trapped inside the walls of Castle Merciless. But he is, even now, throwing out tendrils of dreaming to certain of this world’s inhabitants to try and bring them to him so that he may be set free.
- One of the characters awake from a dream in a cold sweat. Frightened, but not knowing of what. All that they can remember from the dream is the image of a brooding castle high on a cliff, and a cry for help from one trapped inside.
- One who had a dream sent by Igg’sotiequ is about to unleash him on the world, when he discovers that he is missing a key ingredient. Perhaps a sprig of holly, or that branch of rowan meant to protect him from the god once set free. So, obviously, he hires the heroes to get him said item. What will they do when they find out what he is planning to do with the item?
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CodexHerther ( Lifeforms ) Intelligent Species - Other
The abominable servants of Igg’soteku.