Artifact Stories

Moonsickle: The Scythe of Corruption

by Spudboy

From the memoirs of Yggral, the dark sage, Chapter 6 - "My Undoing"

I wish I hadn't created it. But I did, and now I have to wear the shame forevermore. I ask, who understands torment of the soul until they too make a pact with Chaos?

My name wasn't always cursed throughout the land, you know. Once upon a time the name of Yggral was ... well .... I wouldn't go as far as lauded ... or praised ... but the common folk didn't make the forked protection sign at my mention. Once upon a time the farmers in Derenyo saw me as their friend. As Yggral the Promised. Now... well, now... I'm Yggral the Evercursed. As so it should be.

Back in my youth, Derenyo was a happy place. Much bigger than it is today. The advent of chaos changed all that. Back then I was a bright young lad studying the Art. I thought that I would become a druid too ... like my fathers before me. But being a druid is obviously more than just empathy with nature and the natural world - you have to BE a part of that. I thought I understood it all. I failed.

I sometimes try to excuse myself by claiming that all I've done....all the mistakes I've made have been in an _earnest_ desire to protect the nature I love. To _save_ it from the chaos-spawn. A true druid wouldn't need to find such excuses, though. I've failed once more.

I'm sorry. I'm rambling (deep breath). Back to the matter at hand. Chaos entered the world. That is an undisputed fact. How exactly it entered our world, no one is yet sure. No one has so far managed to penetrate its lair to the full depths. But Chaos is here. And with it came the moonrock. When it fell from the skies in our village, of course _I_ had to be the one to study it. In my youthful arrogance I assumed that it would reveal its secrets to me and to me alone. Although my master Guth-Akala should have had precedence, I hid it. Still to this day I do not understand exactly what possessed me to keep it close to my breast. Surely I should have realized that it was working its foul magicks on me even then ... drawing me from my nature studies ... taking my will.

But though I abhor the evil rock and what it has become, I still desire it. Even though I know the twisted mutations it has forced upon me, which have caused normal men to shun me ... I desire it still. The rock was cursed. And it damned me, too. The rock was black, darker than night, and infinitely more evil in its very nature. It possessed me, and possessed my very thoughts. A metallic rock it may have been at the time, but its sentience demanded that it should be formed into something completely different. Can you guess what? A weapon, of course. Derenyo was, and I believe still is (whatever its name has changed to nowadays), primarily a farming community. My knowledge of weaponry as a druid-to-be was understandably limited. Farm implements I understood however, and moreover I could appreciate how such an implement could become a weapon. A weapon of no mean might.

My obsession did not go unnoticed, however. Under cover of night I fled my well-meaning friends and family - I carried that foul stone away - to where no man could take it from me. I ended up in a rather forbidding looking tunnel. But I needed somewhere far from human companions. It would do. I wasn't alone there. Down in the depths of the mountains I found a company of dwarves. Although I had no desire for companionship, they had a forge and a master weaponsmith. And I learn quickly. Strange...I learned how to forge farming implements in next to no time...but still I couldn't manage to learn that the black stone was death for me. It corrupted my very soul - and still I didn't put this fact together with the rock. Before long I had fashioned a large scythe from the strange dark material. Fancying myself to be 'Yggral Evilbane', in my arrogance I declared war on any wrongdoers who would oppose me. Now I can see that it was the malign sickle itself which prompted such impetuous thoughts. The more I would use it ... the longer I would carry it ... the more corrupted my poor flesh would become. Until eventually I would become nothing more than a minion of the very Chaos I abhorred.

That was when I first heard of Chaos. The dwarves had rumoured that its source was to be found deep within their own home. This was long before they constructed a large stone portal to shield themselves from its insidious radiation - in these days it was nothing more than a wild rumour. And of course Yggral Evilbane (aided and abetted by the accursed scythe) would cleanse the chain. I descended further into the forbidding region than I had ever ventured before. Foul creatures and evil wretches fell before my mighty strokes; I thought myself invincible. I tried to dismiss from my thoughts the strange mutations my body was undergoing. 'twasn't the fault of my eldritch weapon, surely? But a manifestation of the Chaos I felt beneath me. I was wrong. Yet I continued to delve... That is until I met my first (and last) Stone Golem.

The clouds of Chaos had warped the very rock itself into a semi-sentient being of evil. And for once my enchanted Moonsickle could not contend with the gargantuan form in front of me. It was then that I first comprehended the sin I had wrought... in creating such an abomination the world would not be free of the taint of Chaos. And destroying such a potent Artifact was well beyond my now mutated and corrupted means. Flinging the black blade down to the earth at the feet of the Golem, I fled the pits. Past the once-friendly dwarves (now they held nothing but contempt for the wretch they saw scuttling in front of them), I escaped the forbidding (or should it be forbidden?) tunnel and out. Out where? That I do not rightly know. But I can feel myself becoming more and more corrupted daily. In one of my last sane acts, I intend to close off the sinister dungeon which is now my home. My now tainted druidic skills can perhaps once again be used in this bottom lair of spiders and rats and cats and other animal beings. Perhaps I can atone for the sin I have committed - and once more be known as 'Yggral the Promised' rather than the Evercursed.

Updated January 25th, 2003
© Copyright by the authors and Andrew Williams 2000-2003