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A Pernicious Story - background of Pern Mistwoods

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________Part 1 : In Mistwoods shrouded ____________________________________________

In Luiren, a small part of the southwestern reaches of the Longwood near the border of Dambrath is called the Mistwoods.
Rumours have it haunted by ghosts and demons, as well as the other monsters common to the areas near Dambrath,
where many monsters and results of failed breeding experiments have been let loose by the Dark Matriarchy of nearby Dambrath.

The small and slightly isolated village of Bramblemist nestled at the edge of the Mistwoods knew and feared the horrors of the forest.
In there, the Mistwoods Warlocks , a family of halfling warlocks had dwelt for generations, their presence both a blessing and a curse,
for they were known to be cruel and dangerous, yet their power shielded the village from the trepidations of the other monsters so common in the area.

The Mistwoods lived by their pact, which was so that in each generation the firstborn child was sacrificed to the hellish patron that gave them their powers,
the soul of the firstborn purchasing his younger siblings their dark gift.

As a symbol of this power, a seal of the deal, an individual mark is upon the body of all the "gifted" children,
most often on the face or brow. They change subtly , almost unnoticeably as the warlock grows and changes in personality and power.

While a birthmark, it seems far to intricate, more like a tattoo. The marks can not be removed. If cut away, they always grew back,
either where they were, or somewhere else if the limb they on were gone, as found by those few who tried to remove them.
Most however have looked at them with pride, a symbol of their greatness.

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________Part 2 : A Pernicious Beginning ____________________________________________

Eviscerata Mistwoods, Called Evis Mistwoods, was of the eight generation of the line.
She never married, but traveled and enjoyed "casual company".

After one such encounter, she became pregnant, and she did her duty as she had been taught she must,
sacrificed her firstborn, whom as the custom where, never received a name, and never would.

Her second child, also after a random encounter, was a son, whom she named Pernicious Mistwoods,
for she foresaw he would have the power to wield deception and bring great destruction.

The child, she took care to raise to become a good young man, as was needed for him to reach his full potential.
Raised self-enlightened, or "evil" as many would claim, he would find an early grave, her visions told her.

And so Pern, as he believed his name to be, grew up. He knew his moter by name of Evis, as did almost anyone else.

Despite whispered accusations and fear in the eyes of the local village near the mistwoods,
he grew up a follower of Arworeen, the halfling god of protection, believing himself and his line to be gifted with magic in their blood,
a line of misunderstood sorcerers, in the superstitious and isolated village.

As he grew up his powers began to manifest. And his relation with the villagers being strained at best, at one point emotions came to a boil.
A crop had failed and the Mistwoods was as usually blamed.

Neither were at fault, Pern would never do something like that, and Eviscerata had no reason.
It was practical to get food from the village, so she preferred their crops to be good.

Although the villagers feared Evis, and knew that many monsters avoided the village due to her, sometimes emotions boil up, and someone threw a rock at Pern, hitting him in the head.

He reacted by instinct, filled with shock fear and adrenaline, he shot his first eldritch blast, and nearly killed the man. Pern was shocked, and the people gathered to a mob, complete with torches and pitchforks.
He ran towards home, and luckily, the mob stopped as they saw the stone hut in the woods, remembering they were on the territory of the witch, Evis.

Angered and worried at what had happened, and seeing her son bleed from a small wound on his brow,
she told her son it was time to see the world, to travel to places where people where less narrow minded and superstitious,
and old legends and ghost stories about the mistwoods where not whispered in fear.

Pern had always had a wanderlust, and readily agreed, he did want to see other lands.
He left a few days later, and traveled north, eventually towards the city of Silverymoon, a city reputedly of culture and learning.

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________Part 3 : Burnt bridges, and Eviscerations _______________________________________

Unknown to Pern, should he go home, he will not find the village of Bramblemist there.
He may find his mother, or she may be gone... but the ruins left of the village will likely still be there.

Eviscerata Mistwoods watched her son disappear.
Having dared to spill Mistwoods blood once, the villagers may do so again,
they had outlived their use... and it was far to long since she had lived up to her birthname.
She started her her preparations.
Secretly she removed all the wards protecting the village from the monstrous failed experiments that roamed the area,
before she carefully prodded them to attack the village.

She herself made sure there was no survivors.
And she enjoyed it thoroughly.

________Part 4 : Revelations in High Hold ____________________________________________

Traveling towards Silverymoon, Pern's ship stopped at High hold, and looking for work, his traveling purse lean.
He found that his talents was useful in this dangerous land.

Over time, as he used his power, they grew. And when it grew, the need to let it out, let it rage and rip and destroy grew ever greater.

Pern solved this by going out and killing the evil that dwellt nearby,
and threatened the settlement, thus he could satisfy his need to kill with the power, with a clean conscience.
Perhaps he should have felt more ashamed of the joy he took in this... but he thought it the joy of doing good.

After a while in High Hold, Pern met a woman called Brooke Running,
who recognized his magic for what it was, a warlocks magic.

Pern was shocked to hear this. He also connected old stores of atrocities commited by his family, rumors of the mistwoods being demon-haunted,
and a fairly large amount of informations on demons and devils in the home library, to figure out the origin of his powers.

He was fairly certain his powers where of either hellish or abyssal origin. After a short crisis, he managed to pull himself together.
Convinced that anyone make their own fate, he strove to prove himself good, and win himself a better afterlife.

The thought of the pact he has likely inherited weighs heavy on his mind.
He assume that he has inherited that too along with his powers, and he does not know what it is,
nor with what power his ancestor made the pact with.

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________Part 5 : Evilution ____________________________________________

Lately things began taking a sinister turn.

Searching for a portal or artifact believed to be in the area, and calling to warlocks subconscience,
due to a sudden influx of warlocks, Pern among them, he focuses on developing his senses,
pushing them further and using his hell-born eldritch power to enhance them.

For a time he is greatly confused.
He see and hear things disjointed in time, see dangers in the immediate future, and get warnings from the "voices" in his head.
After some time, he comes to terms with the ability,
limiting it to the more immediate future, wich is much clearer.

His dark foresight whisper of things that he seem to remember as he hears of them,
of vast seas of boiling lava, desolate wastelands, and horrid images of the blood war,
as well as dreams and nightmares.

At last, his powers reaches an apex, the voices whisper a word, a word of change.
Uttering it, Pern find himself transformed into a cornugon, with a mind that is his own, yet a personality that is... different.
It is a powerful devil, a hellish creature of pure evil that calls itself .... Pernicious.

Slowly their personaliteis begin to merge into one being, their memories flowing into each other.
In halfling shape Pern is still more like he was, and in cornugon shape, Pernicious traits seem more dominating.
Pern enjoys his devil shape, it feels strangely natural for him.
Although the Pernicious personality traits is more to the fore,
they are so intertwined that they are not fully separate entities anymore, they share all their new memories.

Pern is now doubting wether he is a devil in disguise, or a halfling turning into a devil.
Or a Devil becoming a halfling. As Pernicious he is having the same doubts.

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________Part 6 : the dream : _________________________________________________

Faded images, as trough mist... a dream... or a memory ?

Many years ago... On the first layer of the hells, a Cornugon,
lone survivor of its troop stands before shakled before one of the Nine,
the eight generals leading the Blood War for the devils.

The cornugon goes by the name Pernicious, and it held a small command.
Its troop fell into ambush, and only he escaped, carrying vital information back,
but he has been blamed for the loss.

Skill and cunning is rewarded, but incompetence is brutally punished.
Pernicious is being tried, wether he should be rewarded, or punished.

The pit fiend speaks the judgement.

"This Cornugon shall be punished, for losing the troop, Yet rewarded for bringing the inteligence.
It turns towards the shackled cornugon.
"This my judgment: your life essence shall slowly be filtered trough to the prime material plane,
into a line of warlocks that is seeking our power.

Piece by piece your essence will be transfered, for each generation,
and lie dormant, untill the second child of the ninth generation is born.
Then you shall be reborn as a mortal, and remain ignorant of your past,
untill you grow in power enough to remember who you really are.

Thus, we will have a native on the plane that is also our own.
This glory is your reward, this chance of success.

Your punishment is that should the line fail, before you are reborn as the ninth, you will never be whole,
what remains here of your essence will be devoured by the plane itself,
and what is already transfered will simply disperse."

The image ripples and fades, mist covering it up... then the dream fades as morning comes,
and Pern awakes, wondering if this is memory or deception.

Pern himself is unaware of quite a bit of the information in the above posts. As is expalined in part 2: A Pernicious Beginning, he didn't even know he was a warlock when arriving at High Hold.

As to whether he is a devil reborn as a mortal, or not,
as indicated in Part 6 : The Dream, I leave that up to the DM's, whatever makes a better plot, if it ever comes up

If he's not its simply deception from his devilish patron, and the fact that Pernicious is of a more evil bent, influence from his hellish power, and/or a construction of his own mind.

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________Part 7 : Back in The Village: __________________________________________

A small figure stood at the borders of what once had been the village of Bramblemist.
Clad in a fine chainmail, that shows signs of a long time on the road,
his face hidden under the brim of his wide feathered hat, he stood there, watching the ruins.

There'd been signs before. The road had begun to deteriorate,
and he'd had to occationaly deal with an the monsters once kept at bay by wards and fear.

Once those creatures would have haunted his nightmares, would have torn him to shreds.
Now they had been an inconvenience... and the first indication something was wrong.
Normally he'd just have passed from sight, used his power to walk unseen past them,
as he had done with other threats on his long journey, but this was too close to home,
they shouldn't have been here. Here his mothers power should hold sway, keeping most of them away.

He took a last look over the smoking ruin, then uttered a word,
feeling the rush of power briefly wash over him as the spell took hold, then he sped into the forest.

The small house still stood, but signs of neglect vere evident.
He walked carefully to the door, noted the wards placed there, before he opened the door.


There was no answer.
He stepped inside, the house was empty, had been emptied.

Most of the furniture was still there, with a thin layer of dust on it,
but anything of value, anything that his mother would be likely to bring with her was gone.

What had happened? Pern wondered as he stood in the abandoned house.
Invisible to the eye, like a ghostly presence from the past,
fitting to the abandoned building and the nearby village ruins.

Had monsters come trough the wards, causing his mother to flee?
She might have had warnings, she was a powerful witch...

Stretching his senses, he tried to delve back, to see what had transpired, but that power was not reliable, and strangely enough, worked better for glimpses a few seconds into the future.

Finding no clues in his old home, Pern turned back and walked to the village once more... He searched, and found the hidden ward-stones Evis had put at the borders of the forest gone, or cracked.

Something or someone had destroyed the wards...
and the tortured monsters of the woods had destroyed the village.

With a heavy heart Pern walked over to the field of graves on the outskirts of the village.
Studying the graveyard, he found that several had not been named.

No survivors to name the others then... these people had been buried by strangers, most likely a patrol sent out to investigate when no one heard from the village...
or if the monsters came out of the woods later, the patrol was sent to investigate that.

Among the recent graves that had names, he could at least not find his mothers.
Another sign she had made it. Perhaps she had fetched the patrol,
but if so she hadn't stayed behind to identify the corpses.

HE could understand she didn't... she had protected the village,
but received little but fear in return.

But any trail would be far to old to follow now.

With a heavy heart he looked down the road. This place had nothing for him now.
Ruin had come after he'd left on the journey that led him eventually to High Hold and Silverymoon.

Perhaps if he'd stayed... his growing power might have held this place safe...

He started walking. If ruin had come to his old home, then he would travel back to his new home, he had made

friends in High Hold, he had a place there. He'd aided in defeating attacks on the town, and it was there that

his power had matured and grown.

It was also where hed learned the truth of whom and what he was.

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________Part 8: Leaving is destoying: __________________________________________

Pern traveled north again, sometimes by caravan, sometimes by ship,
other times taking shortcuts striking out on foot across dangerous territory.
An invisible halfling could usually travel unhindered where merchant caravans couldnt.

A few half-truths smoothed out most trouble, and what he couldnt talk himself out of,
provided an outlet for his power, and frustration.

As he drew closer to his destination, a sense of unease began to build.
There hadn't been any ships heading for High Hold, so he'd taken passage to Silverymoon.

Hed asked the captain about news from high hold, but the captain, a superstitious man,
had refused the subject entirely.

When he arrived, he was tired and had gone to an inn,
hoping to get some rest in a bed that didnt move all the time.

At the inn he was surprised by a tall-folk lady who promptly started cuddling him at first sight.

Checking his money pouch was still there,
he managed to confirm that this human woman was indeed not some old friend
he'd managed to somehow forget.

They were joined by a less huggy (praise arworeen, two of them would've smothered him, he thought)
tallfolk woman, emerging from the same room the first woman came from.

Conversation revealed the hugging woman was Lysidia, a priestess of Lathander.
She reminded him a little of an old friend, another priestess , but of Silvanus.
She too had displayed a tendency to treat halflings as huggable teddy bears.

The other woman was an elven druid, Rose, but she left most of the talking to the first woman.

Pern learned that Orcs had overrun High Hold.
And Quaervarr was just a smoking hole in the ground.

Anger was rising up from the back of his mind... once again, he had left...
and once again destruction followed in his absence.

Pernicious whispered words of revenge in his mind,
and Pern swore to himself that this time, he would avenge the destruction of his home.

He knew not even he could take on an entire orc army,
and the probably most famed and dangerous orc leader in generations by himself,
so he asked if they knew who might be organizing the war with the orcs.

He got two names of people who may help him.

Pern thanked for the talk and the news, and retired for the night.
He was tired, and the news had crushed what hopes he had held about continuing
his life in high hold as before he left for Luiren.

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_____Part 9 : The weight of stones and memories __________

Time passed and Pern found himself readjusting to
life in the silver marshes.

At night, dreams had vanished, instead replaced by
memories... Pernicious memories, of ages fighting the eternal war.
The worst part, the Hin thought, wasn't the horrid contents,
the gruesome sights of the blood war.

The worst was not the normal fear and horror of a nightmare,
nor the revulsion natural from witnessing such sights,
hearing such screams. It was the lack of those.

It was seeing it all trough the eyes of a fiend.
Remembering it as it remembered.
In the dream he acted as a fiend,
watched as a fiend, felt like a fiend, he WAS a fiend -Pernicious.

And the fiend was rarely moved by the sights he saw,
the rare cases he was, it was mostly a sick, cruel delight.

Waking up in the morning was the worst,
when the shadows gave way, and the dream-memories finished.
When he remembered how he, or the old he, or whatever to call it,
had felt.

His devil side had continued to merge with his normal self,
but over the course of time, he had a feeling that while they were both
more the same, it seemed the current... being, they made up,
was more Pern than Pernicious.

He opened a leather pouch he kept safely hidden on his person always,
and gripped the greenish smooth stone, a melody coming to mind as he
gripped it.

Clovers gift, to help calm the mind and meditate, she'd said,
tough to Pern it was more.
A reminder of a friend that cared,
That gave an item close to her without asking something in return,
despite having frequent problems of her own,
or perhaps it was from an understanding born from those problems.

The other item in the bag, he valued for similar reasons,
yet also opposite. An amethyst earring.

It too was a gift, more recently acquired,
freely given by a troubled woman whom fate had dealt harsh cards.
Given as a reminder for hope in the dark.

Clovers gift was valuable because it came from a good friend.
The earing Mischa gave him because it came from someone who didnt
know him well, a stranger.

Both were personal items, and giving such items to someone like him
spoke of a great deal of trust, and faith in him.
He knew enough of magic to know that sympathetic energies
in personally valued items could be used against the giver.

"So why not use them." a stray thought came trough.

He closed his eyes, holding one in each hand, and focused on them both,
two gems, two anchors against the horrible age and evil of the devil's memories.

Two anchors to tip the scales in his favor,
to keep from drowning in the current of those memories.

Neither Hin nor Devil could stop the process, he was sure of that.
But he could hold on to as much of what he was as possible.
Make sure he was, when all was done, more Hin than Devil,
more light than dark.

And maybe he wouldnt be damned.

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________Part 10 : The road to hell is paved with ??______________________________________

Pern sat cross-legged before a campfire in the empty cave.
It was roomy and much taller under the ceiling than would seem necessary for the Hin.
He washed down the last of his meal with a gulp from a waterskin,
before putting everything a good bit away.

The flames danced across the patterns of his facial markings,
as he reached in to arrange the firewood a little,
giving the normally handsome hin an eerie look.

Straightening his back he closed his eyes, hands resting on his knees.
He sat still, breathing calmly for several minutes,
before uttering a single word in infernal :

"Pernicious" in the common tongue.

Immediately eldritch energies rose from his skin, washing over his body,
expanding and warping it to the shape of a horned devil,
the cournugon he knows as Pernicious...
his earlier self, a past incarnation of sorts.

The fiend lowered his head, adjusted its sitting position slightly,
and rolled its shoulders before focusing its mind inwards.

Pern, or Pernicious, focused its mind,
trying to remember all that it could about planar travel,
how to reach across between planar barriers.

It had had once held the ability to call others of its kind,
as well as respond to such calls.
Such memories came easier in this shape.
Or perhaps they were easier on his mind somehow when in devilshape.

It sat there for many hours, lost to the past.

Night fell, and the fiend at last lifted its horned head,
speaking a single word in infernal. ..

Again Eldritch energies rose up from within the creature,
this time shrinking it back to a Hin.

Pern shook his head, the memories did not contain as much as he had hoped...
Some knowledge, but not enough... And not in a form he could use, understand.

He felt he was no closer to a solution with the red flowers and the planar wounds.
Grabbing a light blanket from his pack, he wrapped it around himself,
and fell into an exhausted sleep.

When morning came, a pale faced Pern was already cleaning camp.

It was there, a nagging ache almost, or an itch.
Something unwelcome, a thought unbidden...
Akin to a horrible song stuck in the brain.

In his mind, he saw how to use his will,
punch trough the fabric of reality, set up a connection, a draw...
To open a gate that would drag the a victim trough, drag someone to hell,
and compel them to stay... the knowledge on how to doom a soul...

For eternity.

First the victim would be tortured... then it would be devoured,
its soul gone, its essence fuel for the hells and its devils.

It was not what he wanted.
he considered himself a fool for thinking it'd be that simple.

No he got what would serve the devils, of course.
He got what would feed them,
and most likely doom him as well, should he ever use it.

He could feel the enchantment in the back of his mind,
the sheer evil of the spell's nature... and it was his to unleash.

He shivered... he let himself open to his old memories and knowledge...
His mind had comprehended it in his sleep...

The tidbit he had found might or might not be of help...
But he wished he could forget it.

The power to bypass the gods, to condemn a soul directly to hell, to toss it screaming into the arms of the hungry devils there and then...

It was not a power he had ever wanted.

Especially since he knew that sometime...
It would be oh so tempting to use it.

He prayed to Arworeen he would be strong enough.

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The Hin read the easily understandable and large runes
beneath the portal.

He rubbed his chin... someone was obviously trying to
keep people from entering the portal... why ?
And where did it lead ?

This close to Silverymoon it may be important.

Possibly the author hadn't thought of the small folk when writing the message, as in their tongue it could easily be interpreted as
"WELCOME! Please wipe feet."

He realized stepping trough it may be unwise,
despite the friendly message, but curiosity was a Hin trait,
and Pern occasionally felt the need to assure himself
he was still mostly Hin.

A few years ago he might have jumped trough directly...
now he took the time to prepare.

SOME amount of caution hed learned crawling trough
various crypts tunnels dungeons and lairs, and whatnot.

Meticulously Pern took out a few scrolls and read them aloud,
triggering their defensive wardings,
before making himself unseen...
no telling what manner of creatures lurked behind this portal.

Stepping trough, an empty room faced him.
Slightly disappointed the Hin looked around, empty stone walls,
with a chest at the far end.

Wary pern spotted something on the floor. A trap.
He wasnt quite sure about it they had never been his strong suit,
but he thought he could smell a faint hint of alchemist fire, or a similar substance. Fire traps then.

He spoke a name, Pernicious, charging the utterance with eldritch energies, changing into the sturdier form of a devil.

The devil stepped cautiously forward..
he couldn be sure hed spotted all the traps.

Caution was well advised. Lightning shot from the walls,
powerful enough to hurt even a large devil badly.

An inferno filled the room as several fire traps went off, flames every bit as hit as those in hell, but the cournugons skin did not as much as blister.

He stood a bit, allowed his infernal vitality to heal him before pressing on. What was valuable enough to guard with such
dangerous traps, in such an abundance, really arose his curiosity...
though the lightning smarted like hell.

Lightning struck a few more times, it was worse than a raging thunderstorm in hell, but he managed the end.

Gingerly lifting the lid of the chest, after examining it for even more traps, he found treasure and the answer to his question.

A periapt of wisdom, scrolls to return the dead to the life, and a scroll that could summon a powerful elemental.

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