Hello hello! And welcome back to The Chronicles of One Telaran, my leveling and lore guide through the wonderfully questy world of RIFT.
As I write this it is late October, and something very scary is happening in the world. Something utterly terrifying. An occurrence that will shrivel your soul and make you want to lock yourself in the bedroom and hide beneath your blankets. (Because, as every self-respecting kid will know, that rather light duvet you have on your bed is all you need to deflect the attacks of any number of crazed nighttime monsters.)
But what is this horror of horrors I hear you ask. Is it zombies? End of Days? Have sparkly vampires taken over the world?
It’s worse than any of the above.
Picture the scene. You head out to the shop, maybe just for a loaf of bread, a pint of milk. Whatever. You make your way around the shop, (trying your best to stay away from the sweet aisle). And then it happens. You hear something familiar. Familiar yet out of place. Something coming over the speakers.
In OCTOBER! I mean, really. Just the sounds of those trite little ditties sends my soul into paroxysms of fear and triggers a Pavlovian reflex of guilt and panic. (What am I going to buy Significant Other? What about the kids? Does the son still remember that ludicrously expensive toy that he saw advertised? The one that shapeshifts between a robo-butler, an attack dog, a tank, and possibly a life-sized parent replacement? Because if he does, he’s going to be sadly disappointed come Christmas day, will probably stop believing in Santa Claus, and will spend the rest of his years a bitter, empty shell of a man with no hopes, no dreams, and a firm belief that life will always disappoint him.
I don’t need that in my life right now. And certainly not in October.
So today (and next week), I thought I’d talk about something that scares the bejeesuz out of the people of Telara. I’m talking about the Dragon Cults, the people (and elves, dwarves, fae, etc) who are trying their best to bring the Gods of the Blood Storm through to Telara.
And the first of these cults we’re going to examine is the cult of Regulos himself. The Endless Court.
The Endless Court began as a conspiracy between the dark mage Alekor Devishnille and the warlord Mahr Rilthain. I mean, these guys were already pretty naughty. They didn’t hold doors open for people, (even if those people were right behind them! I know, crazy, right?). They didn’t give up their seats in the local coach to old women, and then they didn’t even feel guilty when the rest of the coach glared at them for the rest of the journey! These guys were bad news.
When they both decided to sell their soul to Regulos, Mahr went the biblical route and offered his sons as a sacrifice to prove his loyalty, whereas Alekor went the mass murder route, slaughtering entire villages in Regulos’s name. Both were equally acceptable. Because this is what Regulos asks of his followers. That they embrace death with an enthusiasm and eagerness usually only found among Apple users awaiting the yearly iPhone announcement.
There is no room in Regulos’s cult for attachment to life. In fact, the first thing you have to do when signing the application form is to hand over your loved ones. Initiates must allow the cult to take prisoner the one person closest to them, and during the rite of initiation the hopeful applicant is ordered to murder said loved one on an altar dedicated to Regulos.
But I suppose that’s the kind of thing the people who want to join Regulos’ cult are used to. The Endless Court is made up of the dispossessed of the world. Those who have no hope anyway. Murderers, rapists, outsiders, Twilight fans.
They used to operate behind the scenes, influencing governments from the shadows, but more recently they’ve come out into the open. They no longer hide, but openly proclaim their allegiance to their dark lord. And all this is down to Alsbeth the Discordant. Ever since she betrayed the Guardians, using Defiant tech to destroy Port Scion, she has been leading the cult forward, putting herself forward as right hand-woman to Regulos.
Good luck to her, I say. We all need our dreams.
Next up are The Wanton
The Wanton are the Cult of Fire and they want to burn. To burn everything and everyone to the ground, for flames and heat to consume, to destroy. You know how little kids are absolutely fascinated by candles, matches and stuff? The Wanton are like that, but they don’t have the internal filters to realize that actually burning your family home to the ground (with them still inside) might actually be a bad thing.
The goblins and kobolds who are members of the Wanton don’t want to conquer or steal, to take prisoners. That’s too much like hard work. They just want to see everything destroyed by flames. (Although, what they intend to do once the entire world is nothing but a plain of desolate ash is something no one has ever thought to ask them. Probably because they were on fire at the time.)
Unlike other Dragon Cults, they have no legendary founder. The cult is just a bunch of pyromaniacs running around trying to burn things down. They keep no records. They have absolutely nor strategy beyond – you guessed it – setting things on fire. And they don’t do it because they hate nature, or even hate people. They do it because they like the smell and the sight of flames. (And I do have to admit, there’s something very evocative about the scent of woodsmoke in winter. Not that I’d burn a house down to smell it. Just that, you know, it’s a nice smell.)
There is no hierarchy among the Wanton. They are too busy laughing manically while standing silhouetted dramatically against a burning village for them to worry about leadership. All they have are individual war bands that wander around the world setting fire to things. They’re sort of like teenagers wandering around the streets looking for trouble. No grand plan or anything. They just do it because they can.
Next week, more Dragon Cult madness. And possibly more complaining about Christmas.