Oh boy! Dave can’t attend for the next two sessions so leave it to him to attempt to side-game the important plot stuff so that he can be included and so that Trent’s information isn’t filtered through the likes of his unlikely traveling companions. Well done Dave! That’s a clever and useful right there! I’m curious though about the Naked Man’s acquiescence to travel with you to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Had I snorted an entire bottle of Elmer’s Glue only moments prior? If I really said that then I’ll abide by it…I will. If anyone remembers it differently you are being charged, now, to come forward and assuage the veracity of Brent’s verisimilitude because I’m fucking retarded (which I happily admit).
Okay…so here’s a response:
“Hey there naked guy,” Trent said to him as he walked over. “Would you mind holding this a moment?” Trent handed him an iron rod, and kept a close eye on the man as he took it, to make sure he wasn’t another elaborate illusion.
The naked man says, “Why do you insist on calling me such names? I admit, my current unclothed state is rather unbecoming (his physical beauty makes everyone male jealous and everyone female aroused — it is at the godly levels of beauty) but I must prevail upon you not to be preoccupied with such trivial matters in the face of such adversity. Alas, I do not remember my name so to provide you with an alternative would be unbecoming. I am truly ashamed of what has become of me.” After the evasive response and an insistent look from Trent he takes hold of the rod and continues, “Ah, what would you have me do with your rod? It is a fine rod! What is this metal? My miners and metal-smiths would love to have a look at this…provided they could actually speak.”
Satisfied, Trent takes the iron back and continues. “I know your memory is still hazy, but I thought you deserved to hear the real story of what’s actually been going on. Not that mashed-up version the demi-god fed you earlier, which was laced with misinformation, assumptions, and inaccuracies.”
The naked man is radiating his alignment — evil — supernaturally and he replies, "yes my memory is…hazy. It is as if something is intentionally preventing me from remembering certain things. I…I feel more “awake” than I did before. I certainly feel more aware than when we first arrived here, home. But…when I consciously attempt to focus on certain memories and…access certain…thoughts it is as if a malicious amnesia moves to block my mind’s eye. I…I cannot describe it. It is more frustrating now that I know I must help my people. Something I once knew…or might remember…could help solve the mystery of their mystical illness. Speaking of which…what have you done to me to allow me to speak to you? I was otherwise afflicted by this “curse” the same as the populace — what manner of sorcery is this that enables you to understand me? Or perhaps it is sorcery that allows my tongue to unravel and embrace our god-given language? Is it your ears you have affected or is it my tongue?" He stops, takes a deep breath and a wistful, crestfallen look washes over his face. “Thank you for clarifying.”
“You’ve indicated that we’ve disappointed you somehow. That we haven’t lived up to some vague request you made of Jescha, and by extension all of us. But yet you can’t elaborate on it. Maybe if I fill you in on what led us here, to this place, then it’ll help you to recall what led you to be here as well.”
The naked man replies, “disappointment with you is reflective of my disappointment in myself. I have…power…at my disposal. I have incredible strength at my fingertips. I have amazing abilities at my beck and call. And I am impotent to affect a change. The people cry out to me. These, my people, they call for my help and I…I have called on the woman who awakened me.” The naked man turns and then looks directly at Jescha. “You, woman, you have stirred me from a long, dark slumber and for that I am grateful. But my return to consciousness is fraught with agonizing disappointment. I am awakened knowing that my people need me. I am awakened knowing that there is much I do not know…or do not remember. I am awakened knowing nothing of my former self, who I was, what I have done, and what has become of me. Here I stand above all that has been true. The only thing I know for certain is that I MUST help my people. I MUST restore their ability to communicate. I asked your help because you were the first one I saw when I awoke. If these are your friends then, by extension, I would extend both my gratitude…and perhaps my disappointment. I feel drawn…inexplicably…to the throne though I do not know that I was ever a king. I call these my people because I feel their hearts beat in time with my own but I do not know that they were ever my subjects. I…” he trails off.
“We don’t come from around here. Where we come from, we started things by following a Deevil Reagent who goes by the name Baaz to a city controlled by the Lord of Hades, Mödius. We went there after the Deevil because he was in possession of a powerful magical artifact. A sword which, according to a book called The Codex of Souls was supposed to be in possession of and guarded by a god. But it was not in that god’s possession any longer.”
The naked man replies, “if you are not ‘from around here’ then where are you from? Are you my people? I would ask whether or not you know me but I know already that you do not. How did you come to this place and how did you find me, there, in the sands? The first thing I remember is waking up, with you all around me, lying in the sands. The woman having finally aroused me from the Nocturne Slumber.” At the mention of the Codex his eyes brighten. “The Codex of Souls? That old wives’ tale? This…amnesia seems to surround certain events, certain memories, it is…selective…in blocking my recollection. I know this name — this farcical name — The Codex of Souls but all I know is that it is nonsense. I…think I remember that. Is it possible for this to be true? If I am missing some memories or being prevented from remembering is it possible to have implanted my memory? I am forced, now, to question everything — even those scant few things I think I know.”
“While we were there in the Demon city, war broke out between the Deevils from Dyval and the Demons from Hades. This fighting, according to that book The Codex of Souls, is going to continue to escalate until all of existence is destroyed by it. Some of us have already experienced the side-effects of this war upon their home dimensions. But at the start of this war, in that city, the Deevil Baaz used the artifact sword in his possession to kill a goddess.”
The naked man replies, “Deeeevils? From Deevall? Demons from Hades? None of this is known to me. Two parties are fighting, according to an apocryphal accounting, and their fighting will escalate until they inadvertently destroy all of existence.” He pauses for a moment to reflect. “Did I gather that correctly? I don’t understand how that affects me. I’m not sure I trust the nonsense written in that book. You say you witnessed a sword, wielded by a deeeeevil, strike down a goddess. Of that I also cannot help but be incredulous.”
“Through some subterfuge Baaz then allowed the artifact sword to fall into our hands. We had an audience with the gods and were told they did not want the artifacts back. They had their own problems to deal with now. They did gave us information gleaned from The Codex of Souls before leaving though. How there are seven of these artifacts somehow tied to seven sins, which were to be safeguarded by the gods in preparation for the end of the world. There are seven demonic beings named, but their association with any side is not discussed. There are seven virtues mentioned which may or may not have artifacts associated with them. And there is mention of seven ‘demon’ plagues which will be reach across space and time to impact every world, universe and dimension… One of those plagues, actually, was called the ‘Tongues’ plague, and it seems probable that it’s affecting the people here. Including you, somehow.”
The naked man replies, “Baaz? Again, this name is not known to me. I can’t even say that I know what a deeeevil or demon is? If they want to war with one and other then let them! It is not my place to interfere in the affairs of men!” He stops for a moment, “Seven artifacts, you say, seven sins, seven virtues, and seven plagues? You claim that this language-affliction that tears my people apart is one of these plagues? That it is also affecting me? Hmmm…these are outrageous claims you are making.”
“After the gods made their speech and left us mortals to our own devices, we made our preparations and then set about trying to learn what we could from this artifact. That was when Jescha picked up the artifact, and heard someone she thought was you talking to her. A portal then appeared, we all went through it, and blacked out. When we awoke it was in the desert and you were with us, naked, and unable to speak until we used magic on you.”
The naked man continues, “The gods, heh.” He snorts derisively. “I’ve seen how they leave men to their own devices. I know how these wayward children treat their wayward children. Don’t speak to me about the petty squabbling of gods. Enough of that. The woman, here,” he indicates Jescha, “picked up this artifact…this sword…and heard someone speaking to her and then a portal appeared,” He stops and clucks his tongue. “What is a ‘portal’? No matter, so you walked through it and ‘awoke’ in the desert outside of this place…Babylon…and I was miraculously with you, asleep. If I was asleep how is it that the woman spoke to me? And how did it come to pass that she thinks she spoke to me when she held this…sword? You know, heathen, you speak in riddles and you are confusing. I am inclined not to trust you and I sincerely hope you do not begrudge me my doubt if not outright disbelief.”
“Still you either could not or would not tell us anything, but something Jescha heard or saw when she held that artifact made her believe that we had to help you. She didn’t know how to help you though. None of us did. So we followed you into this chaotic city. You walked straight to the ziggurat in the center of the city unmolested and unnoticed. When you stopped at the base of the ziggurat steps, we were attacked by Chaos demons. Once we repelled them you climbed the stairs to the top chamber and went inside, ignoring everything which was outside.”
The naked man nods, “Yes, yes…I remember that, vaguely. I seem to be able to create new memories…unhindered. Though the time before the throne room is hazy. I was…waking up for a very long sleep. I do not know how long but I can only liken it to the feeling of being…groggy…after a long day of fighting in the arena, a long night of carousing in the den, and a long morning of laying with my woman.”
“At that time, what was outside the chamber was a woman laid out on an altar, inside of an active magic circle. She appeared neither alive nor dead and was in fact in a state of suspended animation, or frozen in time. Her appearance was similar to the goddess Ishtar but we did not verify whether or not ‘she’ was under any illusions – that’s important because of something which happened later. When we followed you in the room you had stopped and knelt in front of the throne. The throne had a skeleton wearing a crown sitting in it, and arranged around the room in positions of prayer or worship were dozens more skeletons, all seemingly people who pre-date the people here, of this place.”
The naked man pauses thoughtfully. “A woman on an altar is somewhat commonplace here. That she was ‘frozen in time’ as you put it…is a strange magic. The goddess Ishtar could not be sacrificed. That makes little sense. Inanna is worshiped in Uruk, her holy city, and she leads a cult of faithful followers in sacred prostitution. Inanna is…the courtesan of the gods…and her love, as her lovers find out, is fatal. Just ask Tammuz…the poor wretch. To hear Gilgamesh tell it her love was his undoing. Though, Gilgamesh can only be trusted as far as Shamhat’s legs wrap around Enkidu.” The naked man blinks his eyes. “Shamhat…so young, innocent…Inanna was always jealous of her.” His memories seem to revolve around this time and place…selective memories. “Those puerile, irreverent children are beneath our notice. We shouldn’t pay them any more heed than they deserve. Regardless, the throne, the skeletons, and the crown. This makes even less sense.”
“Our half-god ally over there tried to touch the crown and became possessed by some female being. Both his actions and his recollection after the event seem to confirm this. My other allies restrained him, took the and placed it on the head of the woman in suspended animation, still in the magic circle. At that point she began to bleed form every pore of her body and would not stop. She was removed from the altar and it was destroyed but that did not stop it. When we used negation magic on her, however, the bleeding did stop.”
The naked man responds, “Your ally is ‘half-god’?” He addresses Jescha, “you truly keep some interesting company. So this man touched the crown on the skeleton who was sitting on my throne and he became possessed by a woman. You then took the crown, placed it on the head of a woman who was ‘frozen in time’ who looked like Inanna and she awoke…on an altar and began to bleed. It is as if the sacrifice was stopped, frozen in time, and began anew once the magic was destroyed. If the crown possessed your friend with some…entity…a woman, you claim…perhaps this same entity now inhabits the body of the woman on the altar who looked like Inanna.” He stops briefly to collect his thoughts. “This is most curious. As opposed to thinking about the resultants of an unfortunate series of circumstances let us, instead, look at the origin: Whose head the crown was originally on? Some usurper sitting on my throne. I feel as though it is my throne…let us assume that it is. This usurper sat in that throne until he turned to the dust of bone and the sinew of flesh rotted away. Why did he not leave? Why did my subjects, the skeletons who ‘pre-date’ this place stay there? Were they frozen in time as well? If they aged into skeletons then time couldn’t have stopped. Were they prevented from leaving the room somehow? Was that room a prison? I saw the bright blue lights that eviscerated the spider queen. What was really going on here? How do those lights work? They are a new magic? Some trick of technology? We have too many unanswered questions to logically step to an answer.”
“You, of course, were still oblivious to all of this. When my companions removed the crown and took off with it, you then got up, knocked the skeleton aside that was in the throne, and sat there yourself. At that time the skeletons all throughout the room stood up and began clapping. When I came back in the room I saw a celestial map which appears to direct the observer’s attention to seven locations around the world.”
“Yes, I remember as much. With the crown removed, for some reason, I was able to move freely, to think clearly…to take my rightful place on the throne. A map you say? I know nothing of this but it doesn’t surprise me. These primitive people have long taken to cataloging the known world and taking account of their surroundings.”
“Now this part gets a little fuzzy for me too, because it doesn’t quite add up. While we were back in the throne room with you, we left our three-eyed companion with the ‘no-longer-bleeding woman’ outside, still wearing the crown. Then she woke up, had a conversation with our companion, and disappeared. His response was to open up a travelling portal himself and also disappear. Yet he claims not to remember these details.”
The naked man boggles and shakes his head. “I do not understand this either. Can your ‘three-eyed companion’ be trusted? Can the woman wearing the crown be trusted? The man who was possessed by the crown…did he share a mind with the crown? Can he ascertain its desires? It seems to me that someone was freed from this…prison…a usurper…MY USURPER! YOU ALLOWED THIS CHARLATAN TO ESCAPE IN SOMEONE ELSE’S BODY?!?!” He tenses, visibly, clenching his fists…and walks away. “This is impossible…no. I am falling into a trick of your twisted logic. No. Perhaps events unfolded differently. There are many other explanations for this.” He is muttering to himself away from the group. “No, think about it rationally. You are still groggy from the slumber. You aren’t thinking clearly. These people are not to be trusted. Think calmly. The circumstances are not important anymore. You must find a way to rescue your people. To save them from this curse…the plague of tongues.”
You wrote out more conversation that he refuses to listen to.
“The…the body of Marduk? B,bbut…it was an illusion? And it looked like the woman who looked like Inanna from the altar…and the crown. This is very confusing. And his…I mean…her tongue was ripped out? Ah yes, I saw her…Inanna. She was…as a daughter to me…a very mature, seductive, and…tempting…young woman. She truly is dead, of that there can be no doubt. To what end? What purpose did that serve? Pointless, trivial waste of life…of potential.”
“The son of Apollo? Who is that? And who is his son? Should it spark recognition in me? It doesn’t. He put a dead woman on a sacrificial altar? Why? Isn’t the purpose of a sacrifice to kill the victim DURING the sacrifice…not before? So his blood flowed through the altar and onto me…and into my consciousness. For that I must thank him…whoever this ‘son of applelow’ is.”
“Your assertions resonate with me. I defeated this ‘Widow’ summarily and handily. I cannot be withstood — not by men, nor by gods — all shall perish.”
“You have given me much to contemplate. I must recede now and meditate on these revelations — I must find a way to restore Language to Mankind. We will reconvene here when Sin meets Ninkasi — satisfied with desire and sating his heart. In the meantime, I shall pray now for the Descent of Inanna for she goes to her sister.” The naked man literally vanishes before your eyes — dematerializes — right in front of everyone.
Am I to assume that you now want to go talk to Mummuu and to do that via email so we don’t have to waste two hours of time on Saturday the 9th — or risk that someone will do something rash or without consulting the group and..gasp…get possessed or get killed by Mummuu or…whatever?
[OOC: In Ancient Sumerian Mythology (Babylonian is a derivative thereof) — your mythology rolls — I didn’t “offer” this information before because no one said anything or suggested anything about a correlation with the constellations and the gods. Ancient people were superstitious, they were believers in the stars, the heavens, the mythologies, etc. It is clear to me now that it might have been a little too difficult — no one even “guessed” it or said that they want to look at the map and cross-reference it with mythological references. In the future if there are mythology rolls to be made we can handle it differently. I don’t want to just give you the entire plot because you made a skill roll. I am open to listening to feedback regarding this development and I welcome constructive criticism. I know I explained to Dave / Trent about how the constellations aligned and gave seven coordinate locations. I didn’t give him the specific deities / constellations / locations because it didn’t seem appropriate — I was hoping someone would say something — even shout something in passing or to hint at there being a meaning behind it. No worries though. The meaning behind it is NOT integral to the plot. It may offer you some more insight into the story. This Mesopotamian Melodrama is ONE HUNDRED PERCENT doable without delving into any of the little mythological tidbits or side-quests or any of the easter eggs and other shit. All that stuff is OPTIONAL. It is there for your enjoyment. If you’re getting frustrated feel free to tell me to fuck off and move forward with the main plot / story.]
[OCC Astrology: Ishtar / Inanna is the divine personification of the planet Venus. Sin / Nanna is the divine personification of the Moon. Shamash is the divine personification of the Sun. Anu is the divine personification of the sky, heavens, and constellations. Enki is the divine personification of the planet Mercury (and southern constellation Pegasus / Stars of Ea)]