M is for Merkourios the Medusa

Merkourios

Merkourios is a Gorgon (Medusa, according to D&D), a rare male of the kind. From his desert palace he sends out to the world beautiful poetry and extremely life-like statues of famous warriors and heroes. The latter are, in fact, challengers from far and wide who sought fame in defeating the Somber King (but failed, obviously).

His works are famous; the poems are cherished by the common people because they lift up the spirits of the downtrodden and unfortunate. His statues sell for great prices for some are of legendary demi-gods and fantastic creatures, such as Minotaurs, Centaurs, Demons and even Giants. He has so far been undefeated because of the continuous stream of these exported treasures.

Background

Merkourios was once the king of a great empire. He constantly fought over ownership of the throne with his twin sibling Ammonios. While they both had equal birthright to rulership, Merkourios was far more popular with the people on account of his brother’s sorcerous ways. Ammonios seemed all too eager to resurrect the ancient rituals of human sacrifice, while Merkourios was a charismatic warrior and poet.

Through some nefarious plot, Ammonios managed to trick his brother into going on a quest to slay a threatening “cult” hiding in the desert. It turned out to be a lie; the people that Merkourios’ war party slew were, in fact, holy pilgrims of a benevolent Oasis Goddess. Angered by this barbarous act, the Goddess cursed Merkourious so that he could never be around other people without harming them and turned his greatest warriors into serpents forever melded to his skull.

Ashamed and devastated, Merkourios hid himself in the forgotten palace of his ancestors, hiring only blind servants and aides. He fell into a dark despair as his brother ruined their kingdom and turned it into a dreaded and feared canker in the land.

Using this NPC in your campaign

Merkourios has all of the powers of a typical Gorgon (Medusa), but he is a good-hearted and charitable soul burdened with countless years of pain and sadness. The heroes could encounter him in one of a few ways:

  1. They recognize a lifelike statue in a town square as one of their allies who had vanished recently; the investigation as to how this came to be could lead them into the desert.
  2. The heroes, if more combat oriented or if they’re a band of monster slayers, may hear rumors of a Medusa living in the desert. Once they get there, things become complicated when his true nature becomes revealed.
  3. The heroes are on a quest to slay the evil sorcerer in some desert kingdom. They may find an unexpected ally in Merkourios.
  4. The party Bard comes across one of Merkourios’ poems: not only is it heartbreakingly haunting, it contains a secret message: a call for help by a man wishing to end the tyranny of his evil brother.

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