The Dork Circus
Aidan was born to farmers in the Desdinary Basin, near the village of Falcon’s Bend on the Desdigraphy River. He was raised to be a farmer, worked as a farmer, and thought farming was to be his destiny….until one day when he was exploring the woods nearby with a friend, Danrick.
The boys were mapping out a cave system they had discovered in the slopes of the Greater Silver Crest Mountains, when one of the tunnels led them into a disturbing chamber dominated by an ancient stone altar. They had disturbed a shrine to some infernal being, and their exploration awoke him. A devil (later identified as the Wygrul appeared and in a flash consumed Danrick while a horrified Aidan watched, before stumbling away and running through the caves as fast as possible. He made it home, but that night the fiend tracked him and attacked, killing his parents and setting fire to the house before he once again escaped, running through the night towards the village inn. The next morning, the people of the village, led by their mayor, organized into a troop to go deal with the devil. They made their way towards the caverns, led by Aidan, but found instead an ancient temple where the entrance had stood just the day before. The village men, armed with rusty old weapons or makeshift farm implements, bravely confronted the devil inside and were decimated by his expertly-wielded glaive, only a handful escaping back into the surrounding woods. The terrified men reunited in a clearing nearby, some weeping, some staring around them with empty eyes, all drenched in the blood of their brothers. That was how Aidan found them nearly an hour later, when he told them that he had finally slain the devil. He was armed with the fiend’s glaive as proof, and a haunted look in his eyes.
The village hailed him as a hero, even as they mourned so many dead. Some even suggested he should serve as the new mayor, as the old one had been one of the first to fall. Aidan refused any award or acclaim, disappearing that very night.
For months, Aidan wandered the landscapes of the Desdinary Basin and the Two Rivers Basin, slowly making his way toward the town of Bolston. He had heard stories of the plenty to be found there, and hoped that he could escape his past and return to living a normal life, perhaps as a stablehand.
But Bolston had a secret. The people had found a new god, Ahriman. And they worshiped him by infecting visitors with some kind of parasite, which they refer to as Ahriman’s Love. They didn’t even deny infecting Aidan and the other newcomers he had met in the town.
Aidan and his new-found companions explored the town, finding two Githzerai in a locked tower to the north. After a near-deadly fight to force answers from them, the companions found themselves virtual prisoners in the town inn. Only by faking acceptance of Ahriman’s Love could Aidan escape their scrutiny. Luckily, Aidan’s new Eladrin companion Threlyn’Andywynn had found the devil’s glaive that the Gith had stolen and quickly returned it to him.
The companions settled on a new plan: cross the impassible Greater Silver Crest Mountains to discover where Ahriman’s Love came from. Luckily, they found some kind of Dwarven highway under the mountains, starting from a secret entrance beneath the local Temple of Moradin. After a run-in with a minotaur, they found the correct path and after a 10+ mile journey, found themselves coming out into the mountain air, the highest peaks of the range behind them.
But what they found was chaos: war-torn remnants of the United Empire of Untza who were very familiar with the curse of Ahriman’s Love. They revealed that the parasites are the eggs of what they call the lizards, which have been at war with the Untza Empire for the last 75 years. The commander of this rag tag army known as The 10th Regimen wanted to execute Aidan and his companions immediately, but they were convinced to forebear by a display of elf magic, once more by the Eladrin Andywynn, and the interference of a crazy-sounding ranger named Levi Telfort.
Levi told the companions of a legendary healer on the far eastern coast of Lako Lar, in The Floating Fortress of Kir, who might be able to cure them of the parasitic Ahriman’s Love. He told them of two ways to get to the healer: a treacherous river journey or a trek across the Mogg Desert, where legend says Gavriel the Evergreen may yet dwell in his hidden castle. The companions chose the desert, and set out. After many dangers, not least of which was the desert’s oppressive heat, they found some Gith watchers who were deceived into sending them directly into the hidden castle by magic. The companions found the castle infested with both Gith and minor treasures, including a magic map (Gavriel’s Map) that they used to escape to the coast.
Finding themselves near a great underground river, Aidan and his companions made their way to the surface and struck out along the shore northward toward the town of Accrington. In this Ahriman-controlled city, they discovered elements of the humans’ anti-Gith resistance, who brought them to The Floating Fortress of Kir and introduced them to Emperor Darvin Kahied and Dame Quelenna Xiloscient. Quelenna healed the companions of the taint of Ahriman’s Love, but in the process discovered Aidan’s deepest secret: He did not kill the fiend that decimated his village. Instead, he made a pact with it. As long as Aidan lives, the fiend will be content to feast upon only those that Aidan slays. But Quelenna knows the name of this devil, and she knows that the Wygrul will not stop until it has destroyed entire world.
Aidan and his companions set out toward the capital city of Ahriman’s realm to destroy his evil once and for all. They use Gavriel’s Map to make their way to the Spirit Forest, a dead forest populated only by ghosts and spirits that attack them every night as they attempt to raft downriver toward the city. During these attacks, Aidan is terribly wounded, and finds himself aged 60 years.
With Aidan severely aged and in poor condition, the companions retreat back to The Floating Fortress of Kir to speak once more with Quelenna Xiloscient. She tells them of the Fountain of Youth, springing from the roots of the Tree of Life on the plane of Arborea, where Ahriman originally came from. The only known portal to Arborea lies near the old Elven city of Sylvania, south of the Spirit Forest. The companions set out at once, back to the haunted deadwoods. They travel for days before finally finding an elf who leads them to an ancient Tree Ent.
The Tree Ent has no desire to help the humans enter Arborea. He fears that the presence of humans in Arborea will draw the attention of Ahriman and expose their slowly-regrowing forest to his destruction yet again. Aidan loses his temper in the face of this rejection, and forces the Tree Ent to transport all of them into Arborea, but with the promise that none of them can ever return to the material plane. Once there, however, the party was able to find Corellon without too much trouble and he allowed Aidan to drink from the Fountain of Youth until he was almost back to his correct age. However, he returned them to the Spirit Forest with a spell that stole their memories (at least, most of them).
The party resumed the northward trek down the river toward Disa, encountering the village of Nola Treen just a half day’s journey outside the city. The town had been ravaged by a band of thugs calling themselves the Human Liberation Front. Aidan hated the way they treated the brainwashed followers of Ahriman, and when the party was unable to convince the bandits to help them assault Disa or to turn aside from burning down the village, he enjoyed killing their leader. Luckily, they had already divulged a secret entrance into the city, through the sewer system.
Aidan and his companions found the sewer entrance to Disa without too much trouble, thanks to an unattended rowboat, but have found themselves facing assassins in the tunnels….