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This book can be collected by Defiants only.

Rewarded from the Quest ‘A Personal Request’, part of the Defiant Abyssal Saga. This can only be done by Defiant Characters.

Book Text

By the hand of the Faceless Man of Meridian, this is my account of my time within the Abyssal:

I was a young man when I joined the Abyssal. A young man with ambitions, like any other. These ambitions took me to places, however, unlike most others.

I discovered a forgotten book in the home of a man who had been hung up in the town square for crimes against decency. Though I was instructed to burn everything I found there, it was clear that this was a very old tome, and it spoke to me. It spoke of power, and it begged me not to destroy it. I could do nothing but oblige, hiding it in the folds of my coat.

Page 2

This book was written by a woman named Lyrr. At first, it seemed nothing but insane ramblings, written sometimes backwards, sometimes sideways, sometimes in spiraling codes I had to study carefully to crack. My impulse was to abandon it, but my desire to understand pushed me to continue to decipher the passionate and wonderful language I saw before me.

As I came to understand this knowledge, I hungered for it ever further. At night, I dreamed feverish dreams of a woman with no eyes who stood naked on the shoreline, beckoning me to sea. I desired every moment to find her. The skin of my betrothed, flesh and blood though she was, felt like cold stone against my fingertips, passionless and dead when compared to this woman and the secrets she whispered.

Page 3

History had insights into this woman’s fate. It was she who spurred the creation of the cabals that spread the madness of the dragon Akylios through the lands of Telara. And so she did for many years, until a dwarven witch hunter skewered her through the middle with a pike. I was surprised to find that all shock I should have felt at the realization she was a dragon cultist was missing, and in its place was a righteous anger toward the dwarf and his blind ways. This woman had spoken in a wonderful poetry of knowledge beyond anything his small mind could hope to understand.

I knew that those cabals had not died completely with her, that fishermen spoke of faceless men and women who occasionally sent squalls at their ships on moonless nights. I decided then I would find them. I could not anticipate, however, that it was them who would find me.

Page 4

It happened so suddenly. One moment, I had been embracing my mother, and kissing my betrothed good night, and the next I found myself assaulted on the roadway, my hands and legs bound with a bag over my head as I was carried away into the night.

They took me to a circle of stone on the rocky shoreline, where runes were scrawled in sanguine script around a fire erected of skeletal driftwood. They chanted and danced, frenzied, and spoke to me of what I would learn, what I would know, if I would learn the lessons of the master of the Deep.

Page 5

I embraced all they offered. Even as a knife dug into the flesh of my face, dripping blood onto the sand, I asked for it all. A shimmering snake of water was summoned from the depths, and it coiled around me, sucking all warmth from my chest. I surrendered my face, and my name, on that shore, casting them into the surf, hoping they would reach Akylios and reassure him within his prison that his knowledge would be spread despite the cretins and their hope to keep him buried deep.

I donned my mask that day, and I have not removed it since. When I happen to spy a mirror, I no longer regard it as something separate or alien, but rather a continuation of my own flesh and self.

Page 6

I will not repeat all that I did within that cabal. I apologize for nothing, but that does not mean I enjoy thinking of it. Great secrets were mine, to be certain, but the price of those secrets was often too great to confess.

My ambition, however, carried me far, and when the Tidelord who lead my cabal was decapitated by an erstwhile adventurer, I found myself once again approached under cover of night. The Tidelords, usually so quick to squabble and split, had come together to initiate me as the newest of their number. I was to be initiated in the Abyss, and take control of my coven. Nothing, I thought, could please me more than that moment.

How wrong I was. How terribly wrong.

Page 7
Just as Lyrr had so many centuries ago, we rowed to the middle of the sea. Weights were strapped to my legs, and with the Tidelords watching, I plunged into the water. Down I sank, wrapped in the cold currents of the ocean. The pale slivers of moonlight that managed to penetrate the ocean’s surface vanished from sight, darkness filling my vision.

I heard him then. With his cracking prison, Akylios’s voice had once again begun to fill the depths. At first, my heart soared, but then, slowly, I felt it grow cold. As my mind was filled with visions of infinite knowledge, I was overcome with a sense of madness and of loss as I realized I stared into a terrible void.

Page 8

It was only then that I felt the true nature of my master. His was not an ecstatic passion but a bottomless hunger, in which infinite knowledge was bloated to profane nothingness and gibbering incomprehension. I felt a fool then, a terrible fool. In my passion for knowledge, I had been hurdling down a course in which it would lose all meaning.

I struggled then, against my bonds and against the song of Akylios. He could sense my rebellion, and though he was too far, and too weak, to stop me, his song grew cruel and torturous. He whispered terrible things, the deaths of countless whose minds he had consumed like porridge. It was all I could do then to retain my sanity and my life as I realize my lungs were all but empty.

Page 9

Somehow, I escaped, alive and with my mind. Or at least, I can only hope and presume I did. Who can say if everything that follows, if indeed this very moment, is not just a raving hallucination and I still spin in his claws at the bottom of the ocean?

I could only proceed with the assumption, however, that had I broken away; that I clawed my way to the surface, gulping in air desperately as I crested, and fooled the other Tidelords into believing my ritual had been completed. That in time I delivered Meridian to the Defiants, and joined their number, though I remained faceless and nameless, a monster of my former allegiances hiding beneath a mask.

My only alternative is, well, madness, and the dark vastness of its terrible void.

on Twitch