Hello there! And welcome back to The Chronicles of One Telaran, my weekly leveling guide through Telara. Today we will be covering the final three Dragon Cults of Rift. In previous articles I have explored House Aelfwar, (a jealous, broken-hearted guy gives in to hate), The Wanton (Pyromaniacs Support Group), and The Endless Court, (Where Goths go when they grow up.)
The first Dragon Cult we'll be talking about today is The Abyssal.
The Abyssal are the cult devoted to the mad God, Akylios. Akylios is the god of magic and secrets. He’s the insane one, remember? The only that wants to hear humanity scream. The one that giggles and says things like, "It rubs the lotion on its skin. It does this whenever it is told." (Five points to the first reader to name the film.)
His followers are not much different.
The very first leader of The Abyssal was a woman who heard his broken call, and instead of running away like all the other sensible people, she instead found herself a boat and rowed out to sea, where Akylios likes to hang out. I mean, what's with that? Actually considering what she did next, it’s perhaps understandable that she decided to respond to Akylios’ call. She was obviously a bit touched in the head. (I say ‘a bit’, but that’s like saying the original Highlander move was ‘a bit good’, or that Highlander 2 was ‘a bit crap’. Understatements, all of them.)
So this mad woman tied a rock to her legs and jumped into the raging ocean. As you do. She was pulled down into the crushing depths, but instead of literally imploding from the pressure, she found herself in the presence of Akylios and the god, touched by her devotion, or perhaps just a bit scared at this insane stalker woman and hoping she would go away, imparted some of his knowledge to her.
This didn’t go as she hoped it would. Even the tiniest portion of the mad god’s knowledge snapped her mind clean in two. Not only that but it wiped all her features from her face and her name vanished from her mind.
But on the plus side, she became the first leader of the Abyssal. So there's that.
Members of the Abyssal range from those like this Faceless woman, seekers of answers that the human mind was never meant to comprehend. Other members are after more mundane knowledge. Arcane secrets or knowledge over other men.
The Abyssal are actually the hardest dragon cult to understand. The other cults all want something. Destruction by fire, the death of everyone, everywhere, Nature triumphant. Whatever. They all have a goal. Something to keep them busy on those boring, rainy Sunday afternoons. But the Abyssal don’t seem concerned with that kind of thing. They want to free Akylios, yes. But only so that his madness can touch everyone on Telara. I mean… why? They are the unknowable. The gibbering masses that speak directly to the primal sections of the brain.
The Abyssal are not as tightly organized as most of the other cults. They have independent cells led by “Tidelords”, and these Tidelords sometimes work together, coming up with plans to free Akylios from his prison beneath the depths. But usually they just get on with their own thing.
The Abyssal are known by the faceless masks they wear, symbolic of them giving up their identity in the name of Akylios. But not just symbolic. Practical too. Because before being accepted into the Abyssal initiates are required to cut their features away. Seriously. And if this doesn't push them over the edge into insanity, then the touch of that forbidden knowledge they pass around like drugs will. These guys are pretty scary. Like, Christopher Walken scary.
Next up is The Golden Maw
The Golden Maw is the Dragon Cult of Laethys. These guys are like Every. Single. Rapper. That you see on MTV. They like the bling. Really like the bling. They worship it, in fact. They worship money, greed, ownership, and jewels as well as the gold and silver. These are the things Laethys craves, so it is the same with her cult. Members of the Golden Maw range from merchants, corrupt politicians who have been bought off, embezzlers, blackmailers, tax collectors, second hand car salesmen… Well, they would if they existed on Telara. The glutton, the pervert, the narcissist – anyone who desires something, who craves, who wants, and who then goes out and tries to get, is welcome in the Golden maw.
But these guys are never happy. They are always jealous of what their neighbor has. They never have enough. Greed, jealousy, avarice, these are all traits that Laethys encourages in her followers. They have their meetings (*ahem* - parties) in the halls of powerful politicians and the estates of the sinking rich. And while they sip caviar and guzzle fifty year old wine from the shoe of a gold-painted courtesan, they plot about how they can seize even more wealth and power. Sort of like the bankers on our world.
Unlike The Abyssal, the Golden Maw has a very strict structure for its members. Acolytes are required to (metaphorically) lick the boots of those above them. And the only way for them to rise up this pyramid of power is to amass their own wealth. Through whatever means necessary.
The final Dragon Cult is the Storm Legion. You'll have to forgive me. The Storm Legion’s entry is short because no one really knows much about them. This is kind of fitting, because the Storm Legion is the cult of Crucia, the dragon of the air. Crucia, if you will remember your past lessons, is the Goddess of whispering evil, the voice in your head that leads you to kill. She was like the intelligence chief of the Dragon Gods. When they first invaded Telara, Crucia was a hive mind that controlled vast armies, all of them obeying their queen.
This is what the Storm Legion is, a hive mind that carries out the will of Crucia. Nobody really likes her or her cult, because they are so fickle and will betray a past ally at the drop of a hat. The cult bends whichever way they are told to, and most are only aware of the tiniest part of any grand plans Crucia might have. They do what they are instructed, knowing that their actions, however small they might appear, are part of a grander design whose ultimate aim is to free the Broodmother.
And there we have it. It’s always good to know who you’re fighting, don’t you think? Now you know exactly what they stand for as you cut off their heads and drive them into the ground.