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About Shadows of Darkness


Shadows of Darkness

Have you been nervous lately? Having trouble sleeping because of strange, skittering noises in the walls and voices gibbering unpronounceable words in the middle of the night? Self-conscious because people seem to be staring suspiciously at you everywhere you go? Feel like you need a nice, long stay in a clean, well-padded room, or at least a vacation? Well, then, don't go to Mordavia.

Mordavia is a small valley nestled amidst the Malignant Mountains to the south, the Carpathologic Mountains to the west, the Aphotic Alps to the north, and the Heinous Hills to the east. There is but one pathway to this valley and as it is currently cut off by a mephitic and quagmire-filled swamp, entrance to Mordavia is rather difficult. This isolation, though, creates an atmosphere of fear and mistrust that will add immensely to the emotional state you will experience here.

From the abandoned Castle Borgov, whose last inhabitant disappeared under, shall we say, mysterious and suspicious circumstances, to the malevolent Monastery of the Mad Monk, to the uncanny and horrific Mouth of the Dark One, Mordavia has everything to put that spine-tingling chill in your blood and the delirium of incipient madness into your mind.

The town of Mordavia, too, has much to offer. You will be most welcomed at the Hotel Mordavia. Such a lovely place. The garlic hanging from the eaves gives this inn a festive appearance, as if every day were Hallowe'en. You'll meet the colorful natives, who will greet you with such apprehensive stares and furtive glances that they will soon have you feeling right at home among them. Be sure to visit the local Mad Scientist. You're sure to have an electrifying and illuminating experience there.

On the sightseeing tour, there is nothing quite like seeing the cemetery by moonlight. You never know whom you might run into there, after all. If you are very fortunate, you may catch a glimpse of various inhabitants rising from their graves to greet the darkness. Do not attempt to feed the Undead, for they rapidly develop a taste for human flesh, and that does wreak havoc upon the Tourist Trade.

All in all, you won't find a more interesting or exciting vacation paradise than the Land of Mordavia. Be thankful for small favors.

Of all the so-called Dark Ones, Avoozl is certainly one of the darkest. "Ye shall know Avoozl cometh when the very sun itself doth fear to show its face, and the Shadows of Darkness covereth the earth," or so wrote the notorious Mad Monk, Amon Tillado, before his unfortunate demise when he choked on a piece of cuttlefish. The study of the Cult of Amon Tillado is a object lesson of the fact that some things are better left unsaid, some deeds better left undone and some articles best left unwritten.

Amon Tillado was first heard of when he founded a Monastery in the faraway village of Mordavia hidden away in the valley of Mordavia. Little did the peaceful residents of this quaint little town realize the monstrous magnitude of the effect this malefic menage of morbid monks would make upon their fragile lives. For Amon Tillado drew into his hideous halls the myriad kooks and crackpots who seek desperately for someone to tell them what to think and do. And so they gathered like famished vultures around rotten carrion to worship unmentionable things and perform unsanitary rites.

Even the Boyar of the land was drawn into this maelstrom of monstrosity. For Barishnikov Vasiliovitch Borgov (or "Barney" as he was known to close acquaintances) was a most ambitious man. He thought that by encouraging the cult, he could draw many a curious and wealthy stranger into Mordavia, thereby sending real estate prices skyrocketing, and he would thus accrue a tidy profit from "Location, location, location." Little did Barney realize that he, too, would be drawn into a horror only the criminally insane or writers whose names end in King could ever comprehend.

For one dark, dreary day in the dire month of October, Amon Tillado croaked.

The Monks were thrown into chaos. Without the Mad Monk himself to lead them, they had no one to tell them what to do. Then did Barney comprehend the magnitude of disaster looming over his brilliant schemes of land development and urban renewal. Thus did Barney become High Priest of this unnatural and unwholesome cult.

So came the accursed, atrocious, and acrimonious moment when Barney heard the Call of Avoozl, and answered it!

The sun did hide behind black, foreboding clouds and the wind did wail with the caterwauling of cacophonous cries the day the cult began the vile and hopelessly sinister summoning to draw Avoozl into this world. Muttering unspeakably muffled shibboleths, the insane and misguided monks approached Mount Malign, a tall promontory south of town. Entering a small cave in the side of this mountain, they began the horrid rituals to evoke Avoozl's arrival. Heedless of the potential disaster and destruction of this world as we know it, the Monks prepared to do the deed of dire doings. Avoozl waited... and the mountain top writhed in anxious anticipation.

Then did the Mage Erana come, accompanied by the Paladin Piotyr and righteous armies of the surrounding areas. Drawn by the maelstrom of malevolent magic, summoned by the sound of sordid speeches, beckoned by the baneful and brackish blackness that besmirched the sky, these daring and undaunted do-gooders were determined to drive the Dark One back to its distant abode.

But they arrived too late. Already the cave was altering, mutating into the awful aspect of Avoozl. The armies met with the maddened monks who too were changed by the rituals. What were once humans, albeit rather moronic and hopelessly malleable ones, now had become creatures of such horrible appearance that even the sturdiest of the stalwart soldiers lost their lunches and blew chunks.

Hopelessly outnumbered and unmanned, yet did the good guys face the horrendous odds. The Mage Erana herself battled with the very essence of Avoozl. On and on into the endless night did the combatants con-tend, while the world awaited the outcome in flustered frustration.

At long last, the feeble rays of a hesitant sun broke over the eastern mountains. From the cave mouth of the Dark One, a single man came crawling, bearing a Wizard's Staff. Piotyr the Paladin returned with all that remained of Erana.

To this day, when the moon is dark, and the winds are still, strange things can be seen near the Cave of the Dark One. Forms and shapes of things that were once human still lurk in the vicinity, whispering in the night strange tales of a High Priest that did not die, but waits within the dark confines of the cavern, guarding a ritual that will someday again be used to summon the very shadows of darkness themselves. For is it not written, "In his vacation resort at Club Dead, Avoozl lies twitching"?


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