You have been taken by the Mists

Author Topic: The High Priestess: Poison is Medicine Part Two  (Read 1097 times)

ladylena

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The High Priestess: Poison is Medicine Part Two
« on: March 30, 2020, 03:50:37 PM »

Death. An eternal circle, that we experience as a joke on us all by Nerull.
For before they spoke we were young and new, we had never experienced anything.
There was just existence, no life or death as we know it. But that changed.

A God came down and spoke to us,
He told of the wonders in the world,
Of the trickery and fun
Taught us of the cycle.

While we played he grew bored, we grew dull.
"Come children, come and listen to my wisdom."
He sent his winged and horned servants to bring all together
And began to speak.

He showed us the seasons
The warmth of the sun, the cold of the frost
The cycle of nature. Birth and rebirth,
Trickery is his nature, and so he spoke
"All things whither and die, Children.
"All things come to an end. Even you.
"Do not forget the cycle of nature."

Some of us he pulled aside.
"Trusted ones, know the truth;
Death is a joke. Be my eyes and ears."
He gave his few a sliver of his power.

The power to continue his prank.
Undeath grew from this as lazy Nerull
Ceased to monitor his joke.
"Horned ones, winged ones.
"Send back the fools for me.
"Keep them in line."

And so his servants set out
They collected the wandering dead
Returned them to their place
And let the joke play out.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2020, 11:22:57 AM by ladylena »

ladylena

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Re: The High Priestess: Poison is Medicine Part Two
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2020, 03:51:35 PM »
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There are a lot of misconceptions about the Gundarakite God of old, Nerull. The Barovians confuse him with some old Tergish god Erlin, while otherwise, people seem to mistake him for the outlander god of the same name.

This is interesting because they seem to have many gods that share the same name. Their nerull is a purely evil god. He hates- no loathes, all forms of life and believe that undeath is supreme. His priests are tasked with killing as many as possible. They see being made undead as a blessing?

The Nerull of Gundarak is quite different. He is a lazy trickster who delegates his duties as a god to fiends, and made death a joke on mortals to amuse himself. Now that being said he is a fearsome being as he is Death.

Death is all around. It comes in many forms and many things die. From the leaves and trees, insects, undead, us. The seasons show us death. Nerull is much more than what common people know. Yes death is important, as it is his domain, so His priests remain secretive, for death is mysterious. Chaos, trickery, death. He is pestilence, he is the fall and winter, he is what all beings must eventually bow to.

We are all equal in death. There exists a secret that few know, and that is how to achieve true death. Not this farce of death we frequently face. No, this is the death of eternal rest. The death that frees us from the suffering and trickery. Where we break free from his massive joke, understand it and join him, forever free of suffering. Allowed to embrace bliss.

-High Priestess General

ladylena

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Re: The High Priestess: Poison is Medicine Part Two
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2020, 03:40:28 PM »
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There is a flip side to this though, one I've recently uncovered.
What is Death without life?
Where do we come from?

We are born of the void and return there.
Out of the Darkness we are born.
The Night Mother, the keeper of life, and Nerulls consort is the one to birth us.

What exists before the light of life? Darkness.
What is death but unknown darkness?
Why do we fear things in the dark?
It is because we do not understand.

She has been overshadowed by Death
Forgotten by us, but responsible for all
She remains silent; ever there for us.
She is the light at the end of the tunnel.
Perhaps someday we will learn how to return to her

We have become trapped in Nerulls game
Forgotten it all, and blind to the truth.
The Night Mother and Nerull
They Rule Together.

-High Priestess General

ladylena

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Re: The High Priestess: Poison is Medicine Part Two
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2020, 11:38:05 AM »

As if proof of the very notion she believed, she stirred to watch it all begin again.

ladylena

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Re: The High Priestess: Poison is Medicine Part Two
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2021, 11:43:19 AM »

After months of solitude, she returned once more. It was time to meet with "Little Laszlo" and the other rebels, the army. The world was being shaken by disasters and portents of the end of times. Her dreams were filled with passion once more and wild with desire. She would teach, she would share, and she would protect. While the end may be near, she knew not to fear. It would be only a trick of the Old God, or a proper end to suffering for all. Darkness would rise and the light would fall, and from it all a new Gundarak could rise up once and for all.

Emanuel had called her General, this army may yet need her tactics to guide them to victory. She would answer the call at long last and give it her all. Risk everything, what little she had left. She would submerse herself in the coming war and be prepared to give it all for she knew she would either repeat this suffering or be freed from it eternally. Nerull, the Trickster, would determine that. She could hear the divine calling, begging her to take action, to dive into the deep.

It was time for a new Erzsebet Varga.

ladylena

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Re: The High Priestess: Poison is Medicine Part Two
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2021, 12:04:42 PM »

An Auntie and one of His chosen. Her new life was beginning and she was gaining her power back. Her courage. She had found her people.

These women had suffered the same as she, and she as them. If the army would not take them they would make their own. They could fight like her, they could understand her, they could learn from her. For the first time in years Erzsebet was alive and excited. Thrilled for the things coming ahead of her. This time was different, she could feel it, and while she may not take a leading role in this Black Army, she would certainly take part and make a final name for herself.

The women ventured from the foot of the Counts Castle west to Berez in hopes of finding them. It was a long slow journey and they spoke much during the walk. Erzsebet had not been in Berez in a few years, but she hoped that the Burgomaster was the same whose wife and children she had helped save. Even at the cost of Kin who did not listen to her warnings. Outlanders had done most of the damage, but she was the one who unlocked their cage and smuggled them up and out. That night, in her room, she fondled her medal, letting the memories of those earlier times wash over her. She cried for the losses she suffered at the hands of both Outlander and Barovian alike. She grieved and raged over the betrayal of her Kin. At the loss all Gundarakites suffered, and felt something new stirring in her.

Protection. She wanted to protect them all. To safe guard them, to ensure they never suffered again. That very moment, Erzsebet realized that, while she may not give birth to a child, all Gundarakites would be her children. She would view them as a mother would. Guard them like a mother wolf. She would fight for them, and give into the wild, burning passion and desire that welled up in her. A maternal instinct that she could not fight. The heart of ice she often wore seemed to do little to chill the fire that was now burning in her soul.

This time she was not fighting for herself. This time she was at war for all of the Gundarakites who were harmed at the hands of the oppressors. She had survived, and learned from the failures of the others around her, she could do things better this time. And so, repeating a ritual of years ago, she pierced her hand, stabbing into the floor beneath it. 'Nerull, God of Death, Ruler of All, Trickster and Manipulator, I summon and call upon thee in my time of need. Let me hear your voice again and give me guidance. I will succeed where others have fallen.' As she pulled the knife up from her hand, she smeared the blood into a chasm like design. 'Hated Mother, Night Mother, Mother of All, Darkness that Birthed the Light, show me your will so that I may lead and follow it.'

A sense of calm washed over her as her prayer finished. When was the last time she had felt this sense of calm? She could not recall, and for the first time in years, she slept a peaceful sleep, devoid of dreams, just a blissful blackness.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2021, 12:27:15 PM by ladylena »

ladylena

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[A page in a Journal]
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2021, 01:12:04 PM »
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The Tenets of The Old God
1. Do not take the life of a child, or mother. Every taken life must matter.
2. Respect Death, for it is everywhere, and always watching.
3. Secrecy is key.
4. Those who betray shall fine no reprieve or safety from harm.
5. The Hunt is Sacred.
6. Revere the Night, for She is Mother to all.
7.Trickery, lies and deceit shall be our tools.
8. It is our job to hasten his joke. Spread disease, chaos, and death in meaningful ways.

Are these right? Or are there more? I will figure that out in time...

ladylena

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Re: The High Priestess: Poison is Medicine Part Two
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2021, 06:22:47 PM »
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It is right there, the flip side that is oft ignored.
The symbol. The oldest symbol is the sickle and butchers knife crossed over an orb of beautiful starry night sky.
The weapons are Nerull, while the orb of night sky is the Hated Mother, the Night Mother.
The source of all, the void from which we come, and some day, return to.
Yet the years have been unkind to Her.
It has seen the balance lost, and all that remains now,
Is the skull and scythe which can be found in the outlanders version too.
The mists have existed longer than we have,
They have taken people since then, and seen things become corrupted,
Changed and twisted to suit the ill advised whims of fools.
We must not allow ourselves to fall victim to them any longer.

-High Priestess General

ladylena

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Re: The High Priestess: Poison is Medicine Part Two
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2021, 02:04:58 PM »
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The Old God is one of trickery and deception, and so it stands to reason that each variant of his worship, each interpretation could be all valid. Perhaps like the seasons, all these aspects are merely different parts of himself accentuated. One aspect is much like winter, harsh, a danger to all life and living things. The one I have come to learn and understand is perhaps more akin to fall. All things die, all things are equal in death. We scramble to prepare for the harsh winter.

If death is a deception, then maybe the two versions are just another deception as to who the Old God really is. Or perhaps due to the mists, the passage of time, the corruptive nature of man, outlanders, and the desire to use religion for power have twisted it far beyond the truth. Would it then be up to his followers to figure that out?

The Barovians have mistaken Nerull for some tergish god Erlin (I still can't find out anything on that diety), the outlanders have their hater of life version... I admit to know very little about what Duke Gundar believed beyond the stories of sanctified slaughter, which, I suppose would be his will in the means of spreading chaos and particularly fear. I have come to believe that Nharov Gundar succumbed to the twisting and perversion of the Old God.

I have met outlander priests and priestesses of Nerull, and they are cruel. Life is an affront, an abomination that should be rendered dead as soon as possible. They long for the gift of undeath, seeing it as the supreme gift of their god. They are happy to kill people for very little reason beyond the fact that they are alive. They hate it, they hate life so much that the things I have read from the inner sanctum of the church, I will keep secret until I die for it was terrible beyond words and no one should know those wicked, Evil deeds.

Emanuel Maryszkas begged the Old God for help when he was being chased by barovian militia (I know the horrors they comitted personally), and by miracle his prayer was answered. Fear washed over the militiamen, allowing him to find safety. Fear, not death swept over them. Fear is an aspect of chaos. I prayed to the old god as I was being beaten to death in that cell, begging for a miracle. I got that, I was brought to this stone temple like place, and made to make a vow and I was returned to life, outside of the citadel, far away from Vallaki with my weapons, gold, items and everything. There we have an act of trickery, I was there and I was gone. Leaving nothing but the evidence of their crimes. There is also an aspect of death to that, I lost a child in there and that life was never returned.

I feel like the lacking piece remains with whatever Erlin was.

-High Priestess General

ladylena

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Re: The High Priestess: Poison is Medicine Part Two
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2021, 03:17:10 PM »
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True Death.

Isn't that what we all long for? Freedom from suffering, from pain, from everything.
When we take a life we must remember that we are cursing that individual from here on in to never ever be found by Him.
We choose the fools to trick into believing that we are granting them salvation in death,
But that is not what we really do.
I have said before that deception is His way, so then, it must be ours.
Death is a deception, so then what is true death?
True Death is being freed from his trickery and deception,
Maybe, just maybe, if we have earned it, we may gain a seat by his side.

-High Priestess General

ladylena

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Re: The High Priestess: Poison is Medicine Part Two
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2021, 06:28:48 PM »
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Death does not care who you are. What your status. How much your wealth. Your beauty, power, money, all of it. None of it matters in the eyes of Death.

That is a fact, from the rich to the poor we are all equal in death. All stuck in this loop of deception and trickery, a giant joke, until we figure out what exactly that deception is. Which I am sure will be revealed to us in time.  Or perhaps not and it is something we will only learn after we have figured it out.

The Night, the Hated Mother, the Night Mother. Mother of all, and the void to which we can only hope to return. She lays dormant, suppressed by a Barovian cult that has mislead many of our kin. I've heard some outlanders refer to the Morning Lord as Lathander, but I admit I lack the insight into their cult and belief system. I do know that for some reason they have a relic that would free our Mother.

I remember meeting Her and her companion. I walked across her inky blackness suspended on nothing but faith. I was told of a set of gloves, gloves of the dawn or something. I can't recall the exact name anymore, but these gloves they keep secreted away to keep our Mother at bay. They fear the darkness, thinking that only the light can bring salvation. Yet, we all come from darkness. We exist in darkness before we enter this world, and when we die, it is darkness again. The light is a fleeting thing like a flower in bloom. Even it will fall to the mighty Father and Mother of all.

-High Priestess General

ladylena

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Re: The High Priestess: Poison is Medicine Part Two
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2021, 09:47:16 AM »
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I am curious as to why it was the deciever we called upon. Out of all of His servants, why that one? Was it a test to see who was paying lip service and who was faithful? There were some of us who gave our oath to the Old God, while some gave their oath to the fiend. While this fiend may be one of his servants, it is still a fiend, and should be trusted as much as an outlander. It is my understanding that when dealing with fiends one should pay very close attention to the words being spoken. Hm, I guess outlanders can prove to be useful in some ways, I learned that from them.

Now I understand a little bit more why the cult in Berez had that weird multi eyed fiend there directing them. And really, what should I expect? Those things are who He sends to do His job. Why would he take time away from watching the deception play out to give his followers clarity? I wouldn't. When I spoke with Tobi, I think that was his name, an immortal being, he spoke about how life gets boring when you are around for centuries, so why would a God be any different? If our God is any proof, they aren't. Could this just be a deception of his?

I have spent hours down here in the temple, sitting and contemplating everything that happened. Out of the kin I brought with me, I saw at least two who were in shock and wanted to flee when the fiend came. To me this means they do not know our faith all that well at all. Devils and demons are his minions, his servants. We should show them respect, but not blindly follow their orders. Which is why I said my oath to Nerull, and not to the his servant like that fiend wanted. I will respect what was told, and bathe in the glory of streets running red with the blood of fools.

I was a little surprised to see some Barovians, but their use of Erlin only makes me believe that the truth of the Old God lies in a combination of the three variations: Nerull of the outlanders, Nerull the Old God, and Erlin the Tergish God. The outlander Nerull loathes all life and seeks death everywhere, the undead are exalted. Nerull the Old God, created death are a deception or joke to amuse himself, undead exist because he is too lazy to manage them and he uses fiends as servants. All I know about Erlin, or Irlek is that it was some sort of demonic god?

But it is time, things will be new and I must shed the distress and anguish of the past. We will not repeat the same mistakes. We will not fail as they have before. We will unite Gundarak and Barovia! Freed from all tyrants! Gloriously even under the worship of Death.

-High Priestess General

ladylena

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Re: The High Priestess: Poison is Medicine Part Two
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2021, 09:23:29 AM »
Finally. At last she had her chance to help her kin take back their homeland. It went smoothly, and almost as she predicted. When the smoke rose into the night sky, illuminated by the flames of the burning ships, the outlanders came. They brought their weapons, their desires and goals. Yet, this time, Erzsebet was pleasantly surprised. These outlanders did not come to stop them, no instead they came to help. They joined them to take Berez and reclaim their lost homeland, it was not expected. She was prepared to take them down, but yet, they became a useful ally that night and day.

Mists pooled around the front gate and croaking, hoarse voices began to utter one word: "Strahd". Images of the events of 772 suddenly flashed through her mind. The very same undead had attacked there before, but in many more swarms than this time. Erzsebet had tried to warn the army that they would likely encounter the undead minions of the Devil Strahd, they did not believe her or listen. She prepared potions and items that would help them fight against the undead. She had taken a few and shown them combat with the undead, but she did not feel like it was enough. Thankfully the outlanders that showed up were aware of how to fight the undead. The army had magic which was used to burn swarms of the shambling dead that attacked.

The siege was a success. However the nights success would be taken from them all by a letter sent by a traitor. Not a traitor to the army, but a traitor to the cult. A letter delivered that night to the Lieutenant detailed the events of that secretive night. It revealed the names of people who sought to keep hidden. Exposed those placed in other groups to spy. But that letter did not just destroy those secrets it destroyed the trust between the soldiers. And when one of the cultists spoke up and claimed all were complicit in a vile act, that same cultist shattered some of the faith in their leader. Claiming he was not able to do what must be done. Claiming him a coward and sealing the fate of the others.

Erzsebet was certain that she would need to take drastic action to save herself and the true faithful. Her mind raced through her tools and tricks, remembering two contracts that she had come to possess. It would work, and suffice if she could not talk her way out. An unfortunate pattern of being accused of being a cultist or rebel had given her the insight to word things carefully. She explained how going against the cult leader would be suicide, and that she was not aware of who the individual was that was at the center of the sacrifice. Her words painted a picture of regret, perhaps even remorse, of fear, and of not knowing better. Her words described her view of each person being responsible for their own actions instead of blaming it on all involved. She did truly believe what she said when said: "I believe Emanuel should be held accountable and responsible for his actions and his choices..." For they were his alone.

While her lips played service to those present her mind was frantically trying to decipher the true traitor to the cult, to her. She blamed herself, as she brought them in. She took them there, she was responsible for them and failed to properly vet them. The betrayal rekindled her lack of trust within her kin as it dawned on her that she had only ever seen betrayal by outlanders and other Gundarakites, a surprising fact that a Barovian that she trusted had yet to betray her. She was shaken back into reality hearing that she was on thin ice, but would not die. She followed the order barked at her by the lieutenant and ventured out into the night, listening to the conversations between outlanders and Gundarakites. She wandered through the streets, fearful that her possible last ally may be killed. She prayed for guidance, considering all her options, but it turned out, she did not need to worry. Her other ally walked out of house and into the night. Waves of relief washed over her as she went up to check in.

Another of the army approached the pair, who instantly assumed the worst. What a surprise it was when she had to explain why everyone was tense. The downfall of being a good soldier, if you obey orders exactly, sometimes you miss out on other key details. In this case, the letter. It was a confusing and conflicting evening, there was success and victory, but also betrayal of the highest caliber. Sometimes the upside of being a good soldier, as Erzsebet learned, was being able to focus on the event at hand, and that even was a victory.

ladylena

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Re: The High Priestess: Poison is Medicine Part Two
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2021, 03:50:53 PM »
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Proper death is a reward. It frees us from the cycle and the agony and suffering that seems to be existance. Because Nerull, the Old God, is a trickster, we find two deaths: one true and one false. The false death is the one we see most often around here. It is the death we return from, the death that we are ressurected from. True death however, there is no returning from.

It breaks the cycle and possibly even frees us from the deception He created to amuse himself with. It is a true gift, for that sort of death is lasting, there is no returning to the angony and suffering. It frees us from it all and if we are lucky, reunites us with those we loved who have gained a true death. It is not something to fear or dread, but something to embrace, much like the false death that we experience often. The false death grants us a slight taste of what we may hope to one day achieve, it goes to show us the power of our Lord, and in a way, his kindness, for sometimes we are returned to continue His work.

The Old God is mysterious, chaotic and strange. As a being that has lived eternity over, we can not fully understand him, as that sort of existance outside of time is not for us to know. We are merely pawns in his grand design and we can only hope to serve Him well.

-High Priestess General

ladylena

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Re: The High Priestess: Poison is Medicine Part Two
« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2021, 12:00:24 PM »
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I have read the logs in the back of the church, I have told the leader of his failings by permitting outlanders to run the cult. He allowed them into the church and they corrupted it fully. They replaced our Old God with their Nerull. With their evil, vile, disgusting, murderous life hater. They changed it away from the truth and even farther than it already was thanks to Gundar. That man who I believe was misled, his faith corrupted by a need to control people out of fear. He, like those outlanders, has slaughtered wantonly in the name of Nerull. Ignoring the dogma, not trying to understand it, but simply using it as a tool to kill.

That sort of religion has no place in our newly formed former homeland. The Old God is not an entity that loathes all life, that sends his priests out to murder everyone and anyone. No, that is not our faith. That is not what the Old God desires. That is what the outlander nerull desires. For the outlanders god of the same name is evil, wicked and sinister. That god would slaughter all and his priests would long for undeath. All life disgusts that perverted diety. That is not the Old God. That is not the Nerull of Gundarak.

Our Nerull, the Old God, is a trickster. A lazy God who can't even be bothered to tend to his duties. He has mastered the art of deception and trickery, and created death as a grand joke on us for his amusement. That is the God of Gundarak. He is Death, and the cycle of nature. He is the great equalizer. The one that no matter our position in life, we all must face one day. Every single thing fades and dies. That is his power and his domain.

We are not to slaughter everyone for the sake of killing. We are not murderous outlanders. We are to help spread his joke, ensure it plays out. That means meaningful deaths, meaningful actions, not the ridiculous slaughter of all that many have grown to believe our faith is.

The Old God Nerull of Gundarak is the nerull of the outlanders.

When I was returned to life and saved from the Barovians, I met His avatar, and He made me vow never to kill a child or its mother. Every life we take must matter. We are not barbarians.

-High Priestess General