Cruel Fates conspire
To bring grim tidings
From whence he came
To where he goes
Not even knows
Sends hearts to fright, the mouthless drone
The Leper-King without a throne
Sardonic whispers, lucid might
The King of sinful appetite
Avert your gaze, avoid his skin
To touch it is to taste his sin
Descendant from nothing, the scion of naught
The Leper-King, gods, what have ye wrought?!
Do ye hear?
The mouthless drone
The Leper-King without a throne
From amidst the bones, something arose, something alien and uncouth, something which drove me, he who hath seen horrors and walking corpses aplenty, to shudder in dread.
-Fosstyr the Gravedigger
The Leper-King, also known as the "Leprous-King" in some sage circles, emerged from the brittle mounds of gargantuan rib-cages, skulls, and spines littering the Place of Bones, where the remains of monsters of past ages lay unmolested for ten thousand years or more. The Place of Bones it was whispered was a vast field, upon which the gods of old, had once slain the abominations which once roamed the worlds and plagued the races of Man, before the coming of the New Age.
Bearing witness to the Leper-Kings emergence was one, Fosstyr of the Gravedigger's Guild, and it was the Gravediggers Guild, which had alerted the citizens of Irrea, of the Leper-Kings coming.
The Leper-King emerged, and began to stride across the landscape, as Fosstare could only stare in disbelief. What was this creature? A god? A devil? Fosstyr could not know. Fearful, yet his curiosity feverishly aroused, the humble gravedigger, decided to follow the Leper-King, to see where he would go. The King for his part, seemed oblivious to everything around him, ignoring any lifeforms in his path.
Eventually the Leper-King came upon the closest village to the Place of Bones, a small hamlet, named Bitter-Cove by its accursed inhabitants. Ironically, Bitter-Cove was indeed a colony of lepers, cast out from their former lives, and sent here to live amongst themselves, far away from the folk that dreaded the mordant affliction of these sufferers.
Fosstyr later related what he witnessed when the lepers of Bitter-Cove first came forth to see the towering and bizarre Stranger in their midst...
Old Gogymos, through rotted teeth, first spake the name.
Bifrost Behold yon Leper-King. He cometh. He hath heard our strangled cries and muted whispers. Salvation is nigh.
Every society has its own fervent beliefs. The afflicted, the outcasts, those pitiful and pitiable lepers, have their own mythology as well. And in Bitter-Cove, beside Bitter Bay, did the lepers congregate, and spin tales of their miseries and misfortunes, and conjured up images of worlds where their kind were not ostracized and banished from society to the outskirts of civilization. Along with these utopian worlds, they conjured up images of old, pagan gods, and even chose one for themselves. An amalgamation of many different antiquated legends and outdated dogma. Their own messiah. A patron god of lepers, who would one day come to offer salvation to all of his suffering children.
The Bitter-Cove messiah cult was well entrenched and established by the time the Stranger, years later, first came upon the village of the damned.
The Leper-King appears from afar as a gaunt giant of indeterminable race, nine feet tall, with a somewhat graceful stride, very much unlike the strides of the walking dead, to which the King is often falsely compared.
His flesh, which can be seen from beneath the dark-stained veils and wrappings covering his emaciated form, is scabrous and yellowing, flakes of skin, falling from him as he strides, not unlike that of an actual leper. And so he was named, by those hearing of his existence, in far-away, onion-domed Irrea.
A mask covers the face of the Leper-King and beneath the mask, a mouthless face, smooth, uninterrupted skin stretching down for his sallow, sorrow-filled eyes, devoid of features, where his mouth should be.
A weird, bee-like drone, a muted, unnerving buzzing of insects, can be heard emanating from beneath the mask.
The Grim Parade
More commonly known as the Freak Parade they follow the Leper King as he walks the lands. They are the outcasts, the rejects of society and civilization. Hunchbacks, Lepers, all sorts of deformed abominations. Drooling morons, mutated children, ghastly deformed dwarfs, lunatics and the insane all flock to the Leper-King as he walks the land.
There does not seem to be any apparent pattern to the Grim Parade. The Pilgrims follow the Leper King wherever he walks confident that their salvation is near. What the exact nature of this salvation is, nobody knows. When the Leper King is near a city the unfortunates of this city are drawn to him by desire. They need to join him, nothing else matters.
When they have joined the ranks of their brothers and sisters they are in a state of bliss. They sing and dance and do not seem to have a care in the world. If they eat and sleep no one knows. The Leper King and his Grim Parade are seen as a bad Omen, and nobody dares to stay near for long.
And so he walks the lands still, drawing to him new Pilgrims.
The Making of a God Behold
Look up young God. See you the stars?
The Serpents and sirens on the periphery of the slag heap. Medusa in the helium and the meta-morphic songs of the angels in volcanos's mammon and leviathan. The sylphs and her salamander. The age, the slime, the ashes. The Tree of Life in the forest of pieces. God and the eternal conflagration of fire spread by the satellites of the Angels.
Imagine the time.
The unutterable material of time keeps within its darkest folds the secrets of many a powerful God whose names shone over the earth before floundering under the night and within the long generating sleep when the oceans boiled to the sound of the giants rumbling breath.
You are born of the sport of Gods and men uniting their innumerable thoughts in one soul. Made of basalt, porphyry, marble of meteors raised in mad towers which groped the sky where there still stalked the clouds of birth. The gods breathed images. Men raised idols. Each block turned from the quarries, from the gulfs, from the volcanoes and from the sky could have chrushed any one of the cities of forgotten names.
Night- Coming from the east seemed to battle with the shade of the temples. And the sun at every dusk avoided the trap of mouths of stone which floated and rolled with the tide of the crowds. .
In Ikrosh the making of a God behold.
The Leper King is intended as a backstory of mythical value. Perhaps the Adventurers upon entering some long lost tomb of old spot an old mosaic depicting the King and his Pilgrims. But some plot hooks are added for your pleasure.
-The Aventurers make their way along an old dirt road flanked on each side with overgrown grass giving way to isolated corpses of trees, which eventually thicken into a dark forest. A slight breeze rustles the leaves and the area is filled with a relaxing quiet. Smoke rises across the treetops some distance away, indicating the presence of a nearby town. In the distance the Adventurers spot a tall cloaked man walking ahead of many people carrying lamps and singing strange beautiful hymns.
The scene seems unreal and otherworldly in the rapidly dwindling sunlight. As the Leper King strides by them, apparently oblivious to their presence one the pilgrims calls to the Adventurers: "Join us brothers, the journey is almost over, salvation is here".
-The Leper King long thought a myth of faraway lands is actually headed towards a major city where the Adventurers are located. The Adventurers are hired to investigate before he reaches the city. This includes reading long forgotten texts and prophecies to find the truth of his nature.
If you use the Leper King in your campaign be aware that he might become an major campaign changing event.
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? Responses (8)
Enjoyed the way this is written. Will be good as a back story. Actually was torn b/w a 4 and 4.5
Hastur?! Very nice, work, Mike, very nice indeed. I love the mythic qualities of it, and I also like that the idea of his being a "leper-king" was sort of attached to him. Humans will see what they want to see.
...and there... sat a lumpish figure robed in yellow silk with red and having a yellow silken mask over its face. To this being the slant-eyed man made certain signs with his hands, and the lurker in the dark replied by raising a disgustingly carven flute of ivory in silk covered paws and blowing certain loathesome sounds from beneath its flowing silken mask.
I feel unwholesome and unclean after reading this, a tad lumpish. Very good work, and strangely discombobulated enough to make me ponder your sanity score, and if perhaps you've recently lost a point of it.
Well written, and I love how you make it seem like parts were pulled from a epic saga. Very Bardic.
Very good! I can't really add more apart from wondering how you would elaborate on him being a campaign changing event.