Welcome to the home of "The Burning Eye Clan"
where we dwell
You enter a musky plain at night, the air seems thick, yet, strangely, it has an almost aromative aura about it. You continue your pace walking through the plain, stopping occasionally to take another glance at the map that appeared to be magically tattooed upon your arm. As you continue walking, you begin to feel a strange sensation. It is as if something is watching you.. from all sides, and yet from no where at all. The source is apparently not tangible, yet very real. The very hairs upon your arms and legs begin to twitch and your heartbeat speeds up to an unnaturally quick pace. Yet something draws you nearer, something.. comforting and desirable. Greater than even your overwhelming curiosity for such a mysterious place, is your driving intuition to continue walking upon the path that is now glowing rapidly upon your arm, the most vivid section seemingly indicating your precise whereabouts.
Suddenly the light on your arm simply disappears and everything is completely dark. You try to see your arm, your feet, even your hands, yet all your attempts are in vain as it is simply too dark for even the most magically imbued creatures to see in such absolute darkness.
Then suddenly, almost as suddenly as it had vanished, a light appears directly in front of your eyes. It is a gigantic Frost Giant, one larger than any you had ever seen before in your many travels. It had the insignia of a clan tattooed upon it's breast that you couldn't quite decipher right away. After a few moments, however, you realize it is an insignia you have briefly glanced over in ancient books of lore, of great power, and even in the tales of fairies and elves. The Frost Giant beckons you:
"Follow me, my master awaits your arrival"
Now becoming slightly nervous, you decide to simply nod and follow the incredibly powerful giant, not wishing to fight such a formidable opponent on its own popcorn stands where, without the giants light, you are unable to see the blade in which you wield. It seems that even your magical prowess is weakened in the environment, disabling any ability to form any sort of light whatsoever.
As you continue to follow the Giant, you begin to have another strange sensation course through your body, tingling slowly up your spine eventually reaching every delicate nerve ending in your body. You anticipate something coming closer, something large, undefined, something incredibly powerful. As you near this magical entity, your thoughts turn towards the words of the incredible Frost Giant leading you. He stated his "master". This realization puts you on the defensive, for what powerful being could ever control such a mighty foe. Suddenly your thoughts are put to a halt when the Frost Giant stops, pointing straight ahead.
"Continue in this direction. Do not turn away at any time or you will be transformed into ashes. You will know what to do when you arrive at your destination."
Beginning to tremble at these powerful words, you continue ahead along the path that was put before you. After a few minutes walking, you begin to see the outline of something in the distance. You cannot seem to make sense of it however. As you close in on it a bit more, you see four small outlines, about the size of your fist in length, and, to the best of your senses, appear to be slightly moving.
As you continue walking, you notice the lines are still getting larger indicating not only that the mysterious figures were a good distance away, more than you had anticipated, but also that you do not seem to have any depth perception in this strange environment.
Eventually you get so close, and the lines are so high above you, that you have to slightly twist your head in order to keep the mysterious things in your sight. Unfortunately, upon that slight movement the lines crack open releasing an incredibly bright light emanating from each of the four figures with a black dot in the middle of each. Then suddenly it dawns upon you, the lines are eyes !! Directly upon this realization two huge columns of fire pour down from two openings; the openings of two dragons mouths ! Each column of fire is sent down in a straight line, however, halfway between you and the Dragons the fire turns in mid-air directly towards you. As the abysmal flame heads towards you, your thoughts again turn to the Frost Giant's words: "Do not turn away or you will be transformed into ashes." In only the few moments you have left before the fire reaches you, you snap your head straight ahead in the path designated to you by the Frost Giant and just as suddenly as the fire had turned towards you, it reverses its course heading back in a straight line, narrowly missing you, and forming two walls of fire trapping you from leaving on either side.
The fire seems to be powerful enough that its light is not even affected by the magical properties of the environment, and you are finally able to take a glance at least at whatever lies directly before you. You wish you could take a look around and examine the area around you as well, but you don't want to risk being transformed into ashes, as the Frost Giant so subtly warned.
You notice that you are walking not on any physical path, or even, seemingly, anything at all, but rather you appear to be walking on a path of stars. Before you, you notice a magnificent tower with humungous spires and spikes protruding from every direction of the tower. It is something you would have once believed so incredibly massive that no living being would have ever even been capable of thinking up such a building. It's entire foundation seems to be based on the principals of magic and light. In fact, it almost appears to glow slightly while the Dragons continue to breathe their flames, seeming as if the building is absorbing all the light around it. Perhaps, you think to yourself, that is what keeps the building standing; the powers of light are absorbed by the tower in order to keep it standing, explaining why you were unable to create any form of light in the area before the tower absorbed it.
You continue to walk up to the tower until you reach a hardened wall; your path has come to an end. Despite this, you cannot see any tangible method of entering the building. You decide to look for a lever or button along the bricks of the wall, so you place your left hand on the wall first. As soon as you try to push on the wall however, you fall right through and into the building, landing directly on your face.
As you stumble back to your senses and find your positioning back on your feet, you look around the room, slowly at first, as you are still a little shaken by the previous time you tried look around, but as you become more confident that it is safe, you examine every little detail of the intricate palace. The place is magnificent, and upon entering you notice it appears far larger inside than it had outside. This is an amazing feat as you were astounded by the size and magnificence of the tower before, and now it appears infinitely greater.
As you look inside, you notice rows upon rows of beautiful torches, chandeliers, and other stunning artifacts. One of the most astonishing pieces you find is your own reflection in a glass looking sphere. You had only heard about such things in rumors, these are things of great power and magic, rarer even than a dragonscale: a mirror. You examine the mirror more fully, noticing an exquisitely crafted frame holding the mirror in place. The frame is crafted out of some alloy containing the best properties of both adamantine and mithril. You also notice thirty-five well polished and expensive gems circled equally distanced apart from each other, as well as one expertly cut fire emerald directly at the top of the mirror. Each of these gems seems to be imbued with a powerful magic, not only defensive magics, but also something else.. something you can't really decipher.
As you move your hand over one of the gems, it begins to glow, slowly at first, but then more quickly until it reaches a rate at which your eyes can barely follow, and seems to level off at this one speed. You move your hand away and, quicker than it had started, the gem began to slow down its pace until it finally stopped glowing altogether. You decide then to test the other gems, and you slowly go over the first fifteen or so gems receiving similar effects. It is at this time you notice that, when one of the gems nears its peak, the image in the mirror begins to distort. The image starts with the faces slowly changing form, and soon the whole image starts to alter, forming into a sort of swirling pattern. Eventually all color is lost in the mirror and all that is left is a grey swirling cloud. After a few seconds however, the swirling begins to stop, and an image forms. At the second the image forms into a complete picture, you also notice that the gem has, in time, reached its peak. In the mirror you don't see too much that's very interesting, just a room much like the one you are currently in, minus a door and a very curious adventurer. You continue to stare into the image, and are about to try another gem when you notice something entering the image. A group of Centaurs, some carrying bows, some with swords, enter the picture. They don't seem to suspect anything and continue on their patrol. You realize that the picture in the mirror is actually a window to another place, and, you suspect, probably to another floor of the tower.
You decide to see what's in a few other floors, and again you start at the first gem. When the smoke clears and an image forms, you see one orc carrying a spear and sleeping with his back to a wall, and three others in a group seemingly playing some type of game that you can't quite make out. You try another one, this time you try the twenty-fifth stone. This one takes slightly longer to become a full image, but when it finally does form you see a rather large formation of well organized Ogres. You find this very strange as usually ogres are very dumb and rarely ever have formation of any sort. Yet here before you lies several Ogres in a perfect line, all holding well crafted swords and shields in an identical manner, and fully dressed in the most exceptional armor you have ever laid eyes upon. You think back to the Frost Giant, and even the Dragons. The Frost Giant seemed to have spoken in a tongue that was far too intelligent for any giant you had ever seen, and furthermore the fact that the Dragons seemed to have followed the exact bidding of some external force assured you in your observations: some powerful being must have complete domination over the thoughts and actions over these creatures, something so powerful it makes every part of your body tremble by the mere thought of it. And yet, you realize, if this being was so powerful it could have easily conquered you as efficiently as it had any of the other beings residing in this tower. You believe this being must have some reason for calling you here, or else you are sure that you would already be a mindless zombie doing the bidding of this being. This revelation comforts you slightly, and you shake off your fears, wishing to examine yet another gem.
You decide to hover your hand over the thirty-fifth stone assuming this to be the second highest floor in the tower, and containing the most powerful beasts just outside of the being in control of the entire tower. You carefully place your hand just over the gem, a dazzling sapphire precisely cut into tens of thousands of miniature facets. After a few minutes, a picture formed in the mirror and at first you didn't notice anything specific. However, as you peered more closely into the mirror, you begin to realize what your actually looking at, and this astonishes you beyond anything you could possibly imagine: a trio of mindflayers standing together in their designated positions around the mirror, and staring right at you ! You jump back a little bit, but slowly come closer once more, examining their purplish skin, their many tentacles coming from their mouths, and their excessively large eyes with their pure black pupils. Once again you find yourself more afraid of the powerful being in charge of all this, until your thoughts and sights turn towards something else. In the background you barely make out a fourth Mindflayer, and something else.. you look a little closer and then you realize the other thing your looking at is a Drow elf.. and the Mindflayer is eating it ! You simply do not know what to think at this point, until all three of the defensive Mindflayers raise their right hand with their palm outstretched in the direction of the mirror on their side. It seems like they are beginning the incantations of a spell, and suddenly the Sapphire stops resonating and the image on the mirror returns to the picture of a lone adventurer in a seemingly bare room.
You ponder everything that has transpired in the previous moments, and before your mind can come to any conclusion, a trio of voices enter's your thoughts and state very directly to you:
"Enter the room sealed by the Fire emerald or your mind will be devoured much like the Drow's in our room."
After the message is finished, the voices exit your mind and everything is silent once more. You feel slightly nauseous at this point, however decide to heed the word of the three voices and place your hand over the Fire emerald, not knowing quite exactly what will happen. Several minutes pass before the Fire emerald even starts to resonate at a reasonable pace, and after a while the cloud in the mirror begins to dissipate just as it had always done with the previous gems. This time, however, the the cloud simply disappeared leaving nothing on the mirror at all. It seems as if the image is magically protected by some other means, as if the being on the other side did not wish to be seen at this time. Slowly, you are able to make a handprint, one identical to yours in every way. You place your hand on the outline on the mirror, and immediately you are pulled into the mirror entering the other side, again falling face first on the floor, which is made of a material you have never seen before, and no doubt incredibly precious.
As you look up, you notice magnificently designed sofa's, beds, and other delicate comforts made of high quality silks and fabrics found only in the most dangerous areas, some of which not even in this plane of existence. There are several jointing rooms to this one, each one decorated in fine jewels and crafted out of precious metals and other materials. The place literally shimmers with wealth, and you realize that if you were to somehow take with you any one artifact from the entire tower, you would be wealthy enough to live like a king for the remainder of your years without any worries whatsoever.
You then notice the room you are in contains hundreds upon hundreds of mirrors, each with a solitary gem in place. The mirrors closest you, in line, have identical gems to the ones in the mirror in the first room. You take a look in one of them and notice some unusual monsters that you cannot recognize, and in another, the one nearest the one you came from you notice four Mindflayers, still staring directly at you. One of them raises it's hand, it's index finger outstretched in what appears to be a path he is pointing towards. You look behind you, and notice there is an excessively large and overly decorated door in the exact direction the Mindflayer pointed at. You take a look back at the mirror, but all you see is yourself once again.
You decide to follow the path the Mindflayer set out before you, and walk towards the door. As you reach a close distance to the door, it automatically swings open to your presence. You continue to walk, but then you realize your feet are no longer connecting with the ground and you are being pulled by some other force !
You quickly fly through the air and land with a loud thump on the ground, directly before a dazzling throne surrounded by what would seem to be the riches of a thousand kings. As you begin to lift yourself back up, you raise your head and notice at first two midnight black boots tapping on the floor. Next you see a tightly wound midnight colored robe. On this robe are rather large eyes, each about the size of your hand, placed consecutively one after the other upwards in a line on the front of the robe. One rather large eye is placed directly on the belt, holding the robe in place. You also notice that each of the eyes has a different pupil and make to it, possibly meaning each one is a replica of an eye of a different race, and probably of the most powerful races. Next you see a flowing rainbow cloak. The many colors flow in horizontal rows down the cloak, and are always moving vertically down the robe. The neck piece that holds the robe to the wizards neck is crafted out of gold and imbued with many beautiful diamonds. In your examination, you also notice a star ruby crafted on an adamantine ring, probably imbued with magical properties beyond imagination. You continue your search to his other arm, which is wielding a white gold staff and sitting atop the head of the staff is a rather large ball of fire. The fireball has no apparent connection to the staff, however it follows along the head of the staff as if it were completely attached. Finally, you take a look at the wizards face. You see that he is looking down upon you, and has two streaks of grey hair sticking straight up from his otherwise balding head. He has rather large eyebrows, that are slightly longer than the entire length of his eyes, and come down to form a "V" shape, giving him an almost sinister look about him. His mustache flows downwards from either side of his mouth in a wave pattern. Each side seems a mirror of the other. Ironically, both his mustache and eyebrows are brown in color, while the little hair atop his head is definitely grey. The wizard halts your observations, calmly addressing you:
"Greetings Adventurer. I am Piccalo of the Burning Eye Clan. I am in charge of this organization of adventurers, much like yourself. We are a collective group designed to uphold peace and light. This is a rather profitable field as other, less "pure," clans, such as The Black Claw, are often weak and fall to our might. We fight together as one entity, protecting one another. All within this organization are considered strong and equal in our quest to uphold all that remains good and decent: morals, honor, valor, courage, and skill. These are our primary trademarks. All you see before you now, in this throne room, this tower, all of it will become as much yours as mine if you choose to join our cause. If you do not, perhaps the Mindflayers might not mind a midnight snack.. whatever you choose, think long and hard. Choose wisely, your life may depend on this decision."
You ponder for a few moments, the place is excessively ordained with magical goods, weapons of great power, and ancient books of lore. Yet you are still unsure of your ultimate decision. You reply to Piccalo's speech:
"Piccalo, leader of the Burning Eye Clan, B.E.C., if you don't mind my calling it, can you tell me how I know that you are not equally as evil as, for example, Sevander of T.B.C. ? Since I have entered this tower I have seen more riches than I have ever even heard of in books or tales alike. This, to me, represents a strong desire for greed. Furthermore I have also realized that you dominate the minds of weaker creatures, slaughter other, possibly innocent beings, and.."
Piccalo halts you with a silence spell at this. He seems slightly agitated, however has yet to blink a solitary eye.. not one of his many.
"Adventurer, you seem rather observant in your ways.. if I was truly as evil as you may believe me to be, I would have long since dominated your mind as well. As you can see, with or without your aid, there are many more that might wish to take your place. Do not consider yourself so special as to believe that is not true. However, the point of this Clan is for all who stand for good to unite together as one, regardless of personal strength, and focusing more on strength as a collective. This is why we would wish the involvement of ALL who stand for the right code of honor, not just the strong. It is also true that I have used my own power to dominate the wills of those weaker than myself. This, however, is limited to those with evil hearts. I consider myself unable to dominate the minds of the lawful or the good people in the popcorn stands. You appear to have seen Dragons, Giants, Illithids, Orcs, Ogres, and Drow. All of these have black hearts and evil intents. This is why I have chosen to take control over their minds and make them more productive for the side of good. I do not find this an unequal balance, rather an aid to all who should wish to join B.E.C. Now, I will offer you this Ruby. When you decide to make your ultimate decision, you may use this to send a personal message directly to me indicating whether you should choose to join me, or to ignore our cause. Regardless of your choice, you will not be directly penalized. However, should you choose to not join B.E.C., you should be very wary of what you do from that point on, for if you are to attack one of our members or join another clan of evil intents we will be most severe in our further treatment of you from that point on. As an additional incentive, this gem is also imbued with the power to send you directly into the mirror room from which you entered this floor of my tower. Each of the mirrors in that room will send you to a different place, 36 send you to a different floor in the tower, however the remaining ones will send you to places from various areas of Mardelan and around the world, to as far as alternate planes of existence full of adventure, danger, and treasure alike. This additional magical property of the Ruby will only be activated once you join our clan and, if you choose not to join, the Ruby will simply disintegrate into a fine, worthless powder. The choice is yours."
With that, Piccalo performs a powerful spell teleporting you directly back to your home. You have a lot to think about at this point, and you are left with many unanswered questions. However, based on the information at hand, you feel you are now ready to make a final decision. A choice that may enter you into peril or the unknown, another adventure among the many.