Y is for Yeuthania #atozchallenge

The third member of the Maidens (the other two being Cadaveria and Necrotia). Yeuthania is a powerful Necromancer who, like many others, is drawn to the potent arcane nature of the Grey Isles.

She is responsible for the creation, empowerment, maintenance and upkeep of the Isles’ many abominations, such as the Ettin and the Wights serving the Janissary. Yeuthania spends most of her time among the ruins or the crypts under the palace. Occasionally she captures one of the Lemures for her morbid experiments.

This woman is insatiably curious; ever exploring, observing and experimenting. In another age she would have made a fine scientist, albeit a cruel and heartless one.

She is frequently at odds with Cadaveria and her coven: their realms of sorcery often conflict and they often dispute over who gets access to the unholy sites ripe with magic at rare parts of the month or year.

What is Yeuthania’s relationship with the Grey King?

  1. Wife: her marriage to the Grim Monarch was arranged; the Clerics of the the Dark Light wished for a union of their order with House Grey Isle. She couldn’t care less about the King, but has always been thrilled to have complete freedom to pursue her morbid research. She has a vested interest in protecting the Grey Isles from intruders; the place is a veritable goldmine for those of her kind.
  2. Sister: she is the King’s twin. Resentful of being denied the crown by virtue of her gender, she has kept herself occupied by study of the dark arts. Occasionally she aids the enemies of the Grey Isles because she wants her brother to fail. She would be pleased if he died and would assist any conspiracy to remove him from the throne (as long as she can take it for herself once the blood has been washed away).
  3. Mistress: Yeuthania was the first of the King’s secret lovers. In reality, she used the King to access his incredible library; she wanted to learn necromantic rituals to resurrect a deceased loved one (lover? husband? child?). In time she actually grew to care for the man, but as irony would have it, her new feelings of affection were too late: he had become smitten with another (possibly Cadaveria, if the nature of her relationship to the King is a Mistress as well). Regardless, she was eventually able to distract her love-sickness with study and ritual.
  4. Daughter: Yeuthania resents her family immensely when the King and Queen split. It felt like a betrayal. For years she has been secretly taking control of all Undead creatures on or around the Grey Isles. She is the true Lady now: the King and Queen are entirely delusional about their sense of control. Ultimately, the Isles have chosen those two as rulers and Yeuthania might one day find herself betrayed by the very land that gave her such potent magic…

Yeuthania Zombies

The necromancer’s trademark creation is a formidable minion. It resembles a grey, ash-coated corpse of a drowned being bearing a single glowing rune on it’s forehead. Its eyes are smoky black pits.

These Zombies can extend their arms to over 10 feet away and their  grip is bitterly cold and strong.

As they pursue their quarry, they always maintain a closing proximity; no matter how fast or far their targets flee, when they look back they’ll find the monsters just as close (or closer). They bend reality in this way through fierce necromantic sorcery.

Yeuthania Zombies feed via a long, hollow tube that extends from the grotesque hole that passes for a mouth in its face. They have the life-draining abilities of a Vampire.

Such Zombies have the regenerative properties of a Troll and can only be permanently destroyed by total immersion into the Lake surrounding the Grey Isles.

X is for Xanthic Sigil #atozchallenge

Of those who visit the Grey Isles, painters, poets, writers, scholars, philosophers, playwrights, actors and muses are special targets for another form of horror: the Xanthic Sigil.

The lush, melodramatic atmosphere of this dreaded place is enough to fuel even the most sterile imagination. Those with a creative flair, however, will likely witness this phenomena and be forever changed if they allow themselves to be overcome by their own curiosity and obsession.

The Sigil will first appear to them in a subtle but eye-catching way: as a detail in a painting or sculpture, in an otherwise benign page of a book or as a piece of jewelry on a standout person at the palace.

Afterward, on their first night on the Isles, they will dream of the Sigil; it will appear important and portentous. The next day, they will see the symbol in other, similar places but no one else will notice or even perceive it at all.

If the individual inquires about the symbol, or begins to research it in the palace library, they will be at risk of obsession. They must pass a Wisdom saving throw or several frenzied hours will pass in their quest for knowledge and satisfaction.

The Xanthic Sigil will come to represent forbidden desires, unfulfilled promises, tormenting regrets and a pervasive, inexplicable angst. Others will notice that the character has unknowingly decorated themselves with the symbol somewhere on their person: drawn or painted onto their clothing or jewelry, usually.

The only way to overcome this obsession is to leave the Grey Isles for at least a week. Even while they’re gone, the fascination will persist and the Sigil will haunt them in other places. After a week of abstaining from this pursuit (requiring a Wisdom save each day), they will be free.

If left to pursue this emotional situation, they will find that the Sigil itself is a great source of power: it stands in for any foci needed for arcane arts of any kind, and replaces any required components for rituals. A character can even forego sleep to instead obsess over the Sigil: while they will heal one less Hit Die per long rest, they only require half the normal minimum number of hours needed.

If 2 weeks go by for a character who deliberately obsesses over the Xanthic Sigil, they will be visited by a cloaked and masked figure (that no one else can perceive in any way, even through magical means). This being will follow and watch them for hours, causing great disquiet and fear in the character (disadvantage to all checks requiring mental or emotional focus). After 1d6 hours, the player shall be told by the Referee that their character is suddenly keenly aware of their dark fate: they are doomed.

The character will die of terror. In a fortnight they will arise as a Wight of Kharkossa, in another plane, to serve in a nightmarish court for eternity.

 

W is for Well of Souls #atozchallenge

Crypt of despair the old man is there
Forming a circle of magic and prayers

Guarding the well the black hole to hell
It’s evil must never arise I can tell
Holy mission forever he’s sworn

To protect our world from hatred and scorn
He will not fear though the Sabbath is near
Twelve strokes for Candlemass darkness descends

Break the circle and all hell comes loose
The well of souls must stay sealed

—The Well of Souls by Candlemass

Within the Grey Palace is an ancient well guarded by a very old knight. The room is adorned with holy symbols and written scripture to keep something from leaving the darkness there.

The elderly knight is essentially immortal as long as he stays in the room, in the presence of the well. He has become bitter and grim in his countless years of vigilance and will try to forbid anyone from entering, using force if necessary. He has sworn a sacred oath to guard the well and the King of the Grey Isles does not want to interfere (because he can’t remember why the well is important). So no creatures of the Grey Isles, even the most mindless or destructive, will ever willingly approach the Well of Souls.

If the old knight is ever forcibly removed from the room, or if he is killed, all of the spiritual seals protecting the world from the horrors in the well will become undone. What will happen next

What is the well?

  1. A direct tunnel to a shadow region of hell. Infernal beings wish to enter our world and wreak havoc through replacing world leaders with possessed tyrants.
  2. A connection to the realm of the Unseelie Court. Vengeful faeries bide their time to invade our world and bring back a Golden Age (with humanity as slaves).
  3. A portal to the underworld. A malevolent Lich Queen wishes to unleash her undead armies and bring about the apocalypse.
  4. A Hydra-God who, according to prophecy, will poison the world’s oceans and set all crops on fire.
  5. A direct conduit to the Opal City. The Queen of the Fossil Throne wants lead her watery dead legion and reclaim the Grey Isles.
  6. A gate to an imprisoned Elder God named Zel’otahk. This formless abomination wishes to undo all other religions and become once again worshipped by all living (and unliving) things. And perhaps to devour the world too. Why not.