Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Secrets of Desylinn: The Chaos Man

by Frank Shaw

When the first to take the moniker of the Chaos Man came down from the Black Fire Mountains, he brought fiery destruction with him. Finding an abandoned Elven fortress, shortly after the Imperial collapse, he destroyed it utterly. It is said he brought fire from the sky itself and only a handful of the refugees taking shelter there survived. Of those few, most were gifted with magic and they followed the linen wrapped, heavily cowled “man” who stood head and shoulders taller than an ogre to his next destination.

The stories say he traveled down the Elven road to just north of the border to the Geato Marsh. He carried nothing but a large, sturdy, wooden box with a bizarre magical lock. Each village, encampment and fortress he and his expanding army of mages entered was laid to waste. The survivors,  mostly spell-casters, followed in his stead, joining the others. Whenever asked the question “Why?” to the destruction he had laid down on his path he would answer softly “To see my potential realized. Like the others who have gone before me.”

Word of this small army was ushered by a vanguard of fleeing survivors who did not have the magical talent of the throng. Soon settlements were nearly abandoned before the Chaos Man's arrival, with only a few hopeful, woefully addicted, or desperate spell-casters left. After long months of travel the Chaos Man arrived at the newly formed city now known as Hub, which still surged with refugees coming from other parts of the recently emancipated Desylinn.
The group, some say numbering a thousand, others say numbering ten thousand, was asked their business. The Chaos Man spoke, which he rarely did, and said they would like to help in exchange for a place in Hub. The mages were given a small corner to eke out their living and in exchange they began to truly build the city with their power. Their first act was building a great feasting hall known as the Halls of the Councils of Chaos. Here the Chaos Man, whoever that may be today, resides with his advisors and meets with the heads of the Mage Schools from the city.
The question of the original Chaos Man’s identity has never been fully satisfied. The first Chaos Man took refuge in the Halls shortly after they were built and was never seen again. “The Chaos Man” has become the de facto title of the Mage Guild leader, and the position seems to change hands frequently. One week a meeting with the Chaos Man will bring forth a dwarf with a tattooed face, the next will land you in a discussion with a one armed Minotaur, and the one after that will have you sitting with an ancient Gren Maitre for tea. How each individual Chaos Man takes power is never fully explained to outsiders or even lower ranking guild members, and the advisors and faction leaders are not telling.
The current popular rumor is that the Chaos Man is really a council of the current hundred and one most powerful Mages in the city. Another is that the Chaos Man is a simple discretionary title held for a week or two before being passed onto the next eligible candidate. One theory is that because of the fractious nature of the Mages Guild and the unsavory dealings they have with other guilds, especially the Music Guild, there really isn’t a Chaos Man and it’s simply a front to outsiders - that the guild itself is actually not nearly as organized as they let on. Of course there are whispers that the Chaos Man is still the same, and always has been the same individual, but he simply uses powerful magics of illusion and shadows to appear different each time.
No matter the truth, it is rare when an outsider gets a visit with the Chaos Man. It is an even rarer event when he attends any of the Great Guild Councils. In fact, most dealings with the Mages Guild are usually conducted with one of the school captains, who are intimidating at best and cruel or malicious most of the time. The calmer captains only chuckle and shake their head when asked to meet with the Chaos Man, as if having a private joke. Typically the only response is, “If you only knew.”