Accursed Origins

The Accursed are a side-effect of the destruction of the blue crystals that the Red Tide raised at various points around the island. These crystals appeared to serve as loci of corruption and distortion of the Tide, allowing it to bypass the protection that the Godbone permeating the Sunset Isles normally granted the land. Creatures in close proximity to the crystal were mutated and deranged into cannibalistic servitors and worshippers. Several of these crystals have been found and secured as of this writing, yet only the North Neck crystal has been destroyed. As such, all Accursed currently existing were those caught in the North Neck crystal's destruction. Update: Presently, the blue crystal settled in the Mantle Peaks was destroyed by the Shogunate sorcerer Roku, in the process transforming hundreds of his soldiers into nominally loyal Accursed. More recently, the blue crystal found in Tien Lung was destroyed by the magistrate Pang Lung, creating a corps of local Accursed capable of throwing back the besieging Tidespawn that had surrounded the city.

Shortly after the first discovery of the crystals, the Hall of the Founders in the Temple of the Nine Immortals was visited by a great miracle, with nine green jade spheres manifesting upon a mosaic-tile map of Ektau. The positions of the spheres roughly approximated the locations of the nine blue crystals, and local arcanists labored for months to divine the meaning and significance of these spheres. What they learned remains a secret among the upper echelons of Xianese government. All that is known is that at least one of the spheres has been stolen thus far, and one was dispatched to North Neck, there to be placed in close proximity to the blue crystal there.

The crystals proved impervious to ordinary methods of destruction. Chips and shards could be blasted loose, but the crystal itself would reform in moments. Yet no sooner had the messenger touched the sphere to the North Neck crystal than it dissolved into a torrential flare of green light that washed over the entire Great Berm, covering both North Neck and all its satellite settlements and villages. Reports disagree on some details, but a rough outline of the transformation has been assembled by various witnesses and scholars.

The transformation itself took no more than a few seconds- a few excruciatingly painful seconds for most. Approximately one-tenth of the entire population was changed by the blast: men, women, children, even infants in the womb, though the last resulted in the invariable death of their mothers and usually the death of the infant as well. The race of the victims did not appear to matter in most cases, with the exception of goblinoids, as no goblinoid-blooded creature was touched by the effect. Elves, dwarves, halflings, gnomes, and half-elves all shared the transformation, however, though by the time it was complete their resemblance to their original race was no more than notional.

Immediately after the transformation, the victims were assailed with a terrible rush of impulses. These cravings covered virtually every sin imaginable, from blood-crazed violence to sordid debauch to arrant thieving. Roughly half of the victims were capable of controlling these urges, while the other half gave themselves up to an orgiastic indulgence in their cruelties and wants, an indulgence that plunged the entire city into chaos as those that retained their self-control fought to restrain them. Ordinary guardsmen and citizens were almost helpless against the Accursed, as even the least of them was gifted with enormous hardihood and powers of eldritch destruction. The ones that retained control were able to subdue their comrades only after brutal fighting, in which a quarter of the Accursed perished. They were aided in that the sudden rush of infernal urges lessened as the day went on, damping down to no more than the occasional keen impulse to wrongdoing.

The present state of the Accursed along the Great Berm remains uncertain, yet it appears that they have retained their identities and wills. How they intend to deal with the Xianese choice to make their land a testing-ground for the spheres has yet to be determined.

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