a shop in Skara Brae, I came in range of a whispered conversation between
a merchant and his customer. They spoke with such gravity, I could not
help but approach them. As I moved in closer, the customer made mention
of "the Order.." At that, the merchant scanned the room with concern.
Seeing me he turned to his customer with a look of reproach.
He hissed through his teeth, "Damnation man! What are you thinking?
Silence, do you wish us dead?!"
Talk of ‘an Order’ partnered with such a reaction can only mean
one thing, they were speaking of the Order of the Ebon Skull (OES).
My curiosity was piqued, I had heard much about OES, but then what citizen
has not? Always on the watch for a story to share with our readers,
I decided to explore this conversation and see where it lead.
"Greetings!" I said.
The Shopkeep shot a look of disdain towards the customer. Quickly
composing himself he flashed me the wide and friendly smile of a merchant.
"Why, Aleph Aeirs, what can I do for ye friend?" He said, maintaining
"I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation..." I said.
At this the customer, (who for his sake shall remain anonymous)
seemed to choke on his breath. Visibly shaken he said "Aye, ah..I am
placing..ahh..an order! Yes, that is it, an order with my good merchant
here..." The merchant bobbed his head in response, his smile waxen.
And the game was on. "Oh? Placing an order you say? For a moment
I thought you were speaking of something altogether different, say perhaps...the
Order of the Ebon Skull?"
The merchant dropped his smile, eyes turning to slits.
The customer began to stammer, "The wha?..orda...aba...ebe..ska..ah,
who!?" A bead of sweat rolled down his temple.
The Merchant, having dropped the facade, turned three shades of
red. He looked at the customer, teeth clenched and eyes narrowed and
said in a measured tone "[name witheld], I think it is high time you
were on your way..."
The customer looked on the verge of tears. "Aye, leave..must go
now, when did it get so late? I must be off..." and he hurried out the
door as if pursued by demons. I watched him through the door as he shoved
through the crowded streets in hasty exodus.
I began to say "Seems your customer suffers a disorder, perhaps
he should loo.."
The Merchant interrupted "Aeirs, I know your game...there is no
story here, merely a customer and a merchant discussing an order..and
that is that!"
It appeared that witty discourse was innapropriate just now, a change
in tactics was in order. I reached into my pack. Removing a pouch, I
tossed it on the counter.
"The gold in that pouch tells me something different merchant..."
The merchant eyed the bag. He then looked at me and said "Do I have
your word that you will not mention my name in connection with this?"
I was nearly giddy, but I kept my composure. "Aye, you know me friend,
my word is as good as the gold in that pouch, I do not wish to cause
ye any anguish, I am merely...collecting information."
He wavered for a moment, then snatched the pouch of gold. "Here,
let me tell thee all I know of this..."
I followed the merchant to a private room in the back of his shop.
It is there he gave me the name of a man in Moonglow.
"Their dark priest, Bal-Anon Dak, frequents the Lycaeum in Moonglow,
go there and talk to Ramsay the Scribe, he will point you in the right
"The information is appreciated merchant. I thank thee." I said.
"Thanks indeed!" he said with scorn. "We shall see how ye feel after
all is done. Far be it from me to refuse a man’s gold, but the OES is
not an organization to trifle with. In the end, ye may find ye pay for
this story with more than gold."
A chill wound its way up my spine. Trying to act nonchalant I said
"Bah, I do not fear the OES, superstition the lot of it!"
I made my way to the door. The merchant called after me. "Remember
your word! Make no mention of me in this, MAKE NO MENTION!"
"You have my word." I said without looking back.
And with that, I left. It was time to do some research on the Order
of the Ebon Skull..
I spent the better part of the day gathering as much information
as I could on the Order of the Ebon Skull. I found that people were
not inclined to discuss the OES. I broached the subject with my trusted
friends. They were incredulous that I would wish to contact them. Each
tried to convince me not to continue this research, not to write this
story. But I would hear none of it. There was a story here, and I intended
to find it.
After gathering as much information possible, I arrived in Moonglow
without Incident and quickly made my way to the Lycaeum. A sense of
dread pooled in my stomach as I reach the entrance. An inner voice began
to reason with me. Should I follow through with this? Ignoring my fear,
I hardened my resolve and entered the Lycaeum.
Knowing that information purchased from a merchant can yield varying
results, I set to finding Ramsay the Scribe. I searched the nearly empty
Lycaeum, finding Monks wandering throughout, but alas, no Ramsay. I
entered the library in the northeast corner, and decided I would ask
if any of these scribes knew of a Ramsay in their order. My query was
cut short when a voice addressed me.
"I know you Aleph Aeirs, I know what you seek." it said.
I turned about, looking for the source of the voice. You can imagine
my surprise upon seeing Azazel, Daemon Knight of the Order of the Ebon
Skull. Azazel stood just inside the shadows, wearing full black platemail
beneath a flaming red skull of a head. Seemed that in my search for
the OES, the OES found me. Here is the recounting of our conversation.
"The Lich Lord will be be in attendance, ye may have bitten off
more than ye can handle, mortal...what is it ye wished to consult us
about?" said Azazel.
He then cackled madly. I looked about the room nervously, as scribes
with worried expressions made their way for the exit.
I mustered my will to speak "I have prepared some questions about
the general nature of the OES, and ask for opinions on matters concerning
"Ah. And with mine answers, you will do what, breather?" said Azazel.
The conversation was interrupted when the Lich Lord Azalin walked
into the room. With skin as white as bone and gaunt facial features,
he was every bit the lich. Except for the dry rustle of his black and
purple robes, he made no sound as he crossed the room . Azazel bowed,
and fearing for my safety, I bowed as well. In the presence of one such
as Azalin, respect for his position is the first order of business.
"I had ah… intended on… well... publishing the conversation at UO Stratics."
"A reporter then. One who would make our views known to the... populace."
said Azazel with a sneer.
"Yes… We have kept abreast of the workings of UO Stratics," said Azalin.
Azazel looked my way, motioned with his gauntleted hand and said
"Ask away then, mortal, but be prepared for the answers."
"Aye… but only that which you wish to share...I have no desire to
bring your wrath upon me or my organization." I said.
"Wise for a mortal… very wise." Said Azalin.
Azazel looked at me, the fire where his eyes should have been intensifying.
"Perhaps this one has Oblivion in him, yes?"
I thought it wise to ignore the comment, and asked my first question
"To begin, tell me dark ones, what is your station within the ranks
"We are Azalin, the Lich Lord of the Order of the Ebon Skull" Azalin
"I am the Daemon Knight, Sect Leader of the Death Knights." Said
"I must comment on the OES
Crypts. I found the information quite chilling. In particular, I
found the Convergence of the Unmaking and the description of OES Sects
to be disturbing, to say the least." I said.
"We performed much work on the material found in our Crypts." said
"We trust you found it… enlightening, so to speak."Azalin said.
"Aye, so to speak...Would you care to elaborate on some of the philosophies?"
Azalin smiled darkly as Azazel began to describe The Convergence.
"The Convergence of Unmaking, we have found, is the easiest way to explain
the powers of Entropy and Oblivion to mortals. Oblivion is, quite simply,
the end of all that is. Entropy is the force that feeds Oblivion. In
concert, they form a never-ending cycle of annihilation."
"A 'yin and yang' of destruction. One can not exist without the
other driving it." Azalin added.
"We of the Order have learned that the only way to abide within
this cycle is to embrace it. Of course you realize that these are mere
terms. You breathers delight in labeling those forces which you do not
understand... but I digress," said Azazel.
Having a good many questions to ask, I continued on "I feel this
relates to the current state of things, tell me your thoughts on the
balance in our realm. Many fear that evil grows by leaps and bounds,
while the forces of good sit idle or dwindle away."
"We have sponsored and allied with several other like minded organizations,
of Evil, Holy
Disciples of the Guardian, Cult
of Infernal Necromancy and Clan
Giovanni. They are on a rise, and we promote their growth any way
we can. Once the Sanctum
of the Damned is complete, evil shall truly descend on the land
in a crushing wave of darkness," Azalin said.
"It amuses me to think that your very society is based on the virtues
of the puppet, yet, as you speak, 'evil' continues to gain power." Azazel
"The puppet king is more evil than they know... so corrupt are the
false virtues," added Azalin.
Azazel found this statement to be quite entertaining, and broke
into a blood chilling cackle. Uncomfortable to say the least, I decided
to change the subject.
"What do you think of organizations created to fight the forces
of evil, organizations like Britannian
War Council?" I said.
"We think them a farce. The BWC has no real power and has accomplished
nothing to hinder us. The Councils
of Virtue are more effective than they… if only barely," said Azalin.
"Aye, their goals are too ill-determined and widespread for them
to have any effect." added Azazel.
"While they may be effective against some riff-raff and ruffians
of the realm that dwell in Buccaneer’s Den, they do nothing against
the true evil forces behind the scenes." said Azalin.
"They do not even accomplish enough to hold our attention, in fact."
"Nay... we have not looked their way since their creation. But we
will be in attendance of their destruction. Ye can count on that," said
"If we even need to be. I see Entropy working within their ranks
without our conscious effort," said Azazel.
Fighting to keep the indignation from my voice, I said, "While it
is true that the BWC has found some difficulty in organizing, there
is a resurgence in commitment and energy of late. You do not see this
group as a threat or a concern for the Order of the Ebon Skull?"
"Not at present. Not in the least." said Azazel.
Azazel grinned wryly, if a skull could do as much. "If they grow
to become a threat, they will be dealt with quickly and without mercy,
you have my assurance."
Now was not the time to engage in a war of words, and as I was representing
UO Stratics, I decided to leave it at that and continue with our interview.
"Azazel… you made reference to Lord British. In perusing OES documents,
I find much discussion around our King. Understanding that your talk
of our sovereign is less than flattering, do you have any comments about
Lord British’s long standing absence?"
Azalin hissed, tensing hands to look more like claws. What they
said next was quite disturbing.
"We’ve scared him off, it seems," said Azazel with a smile.
"He came and made reference to us as "the unseen enemy" a month
or so ago in a public adress. He has not been seen since then within
our realm," Azalin added.
"I have a personal opinion on British that differs somewhat from
that of mine companions. Many point to parallels between our philosophy
and Blackthorn’s, but I consider Blackthorn more of an enemy to our
goals than British. British has, as his ultimate plan, the unification
of the shards. This, of course, means the destruction of well nigh all
of them. While we would rather see the shards crumble under the weight
of their own corruption, we would rather see them be destroyed than
to exist as they now are." Azazel said.
"And be sent spiraling towards Oblivion to become what is known
as a Shadowlord." said Azalin.
Azazel, considering the Lich Lord’s words, said, "Aye, my lord speaks
of what happens when shards are allowed to destroy themselves. When
a shard of existence is allowed to destroy itself as a result of its
own corruption, that shard is banished unto Oblivion. All the malevolent
energy that was stored within the shard is then released in the form
of a terrible being known to mortals as a Shadowlord... powerful servants
of Oblivion. This is the fate we would prefer for all the shards," said
I shuddered involuntarily. Staring off into the distance, I whispered
to myself, "Frightening thought..."
Azalin grinned, obviously pleased at my reaction.
"To some shortsighted mortals, aye… to us ‘tis a fine goal to achieve.
It only quickens the course of fate."
"But in regards to Blackthorn, his ends are to see the shards continue
as they now are. He is a... humanitarian. Most reviling. One thing that
we must make absolutely clear, if I may return to an earlier topic?"
"Aye, as you wish." I said.
Azazel began with fervent zeal, "The way of Entropy is the only
way. The shards will end. One way or another, all will be destroyed.
Only those of us who have fully embraced Oblivion through Undeath will
remain once this happens. The multiverse will be ours... it is not a
matter of who will be victorious, it is merely a matter of time."
I paused at this. I was confounded. I found that even I, a man who
attempts to live his life by the Virtues, could not argue this point.
A feeling of malaise began to seep into my spirit. Being in the presence
of the OES was beginning to take its toll.
"I find I have no argument for that, only to say I do not much like
the idea of living life only for the anticipation of oblivion." I said.
A lame attempt to suggest there was more to life than death.
"Ye need not anticipate it, breather. It will come about regardless."
Azalin smiled, as though he could see the turmoil broiling inside
"Ye shall meet it one way or the other, mortal... ‘tis a matter
of time. If ye anticipate it ye can understand it. If ye serve it, Oblivion
shall serve ye in return... ‘tis a mutually beneficial arrangement."
I was nonplussed. "As you can well imagine, I find this all quite
unnerving." I said.
Azazel regarded me with deadly seriousness "There is nothing to
be unnerved about. These things we speak of are merely facts. Fate,
if you prefer."
We sat in silence for a moment that seemed to stretch into infinity.
It is then that a withered elderly man, hair and beard long and grey,
appeared at the entry. It was the High Priest Bal-Anon Dak. He entered
the library of the Lycaeum, surrounded by an aura of dark power . Friends,
there are times in our lives when we are faced with personalites of
such strength, it is a battle to not lose ourselves in their presence.
Bal-Anon Dak was one of those men. He surveyed the room, and smiled
"The OES is widely known and feared...there is talk of a quest.
I wish to hear of it… as much as you will allow." I said.
"Aye... the Codex" said Azalin.
"It is known as the Codex of Oblivion." Azazel added.
Azazel looked to Bal-Anon Dak "Perchance the High Priest can tell
you of it."
Bal-Anon Dak smiled darkly, "All the prophecies as they pertain
to the land with respect to Oblivion are contained in it.... but we
will not tell ye what they are. It is the written word... the history...
it contains the truth where no other written word does."
"And you search for this… Codex of Oblivion still?" I asked.
"This matter... is something of a secret," replied Bal-Anon Dak.
"Bal-Anon, would ye care to discuss the Masses with the breather?"
Bal-Anon Dak smiled once again, turning to look at me, "Aye..."
He continued, "The Black Mass, a ritual like no other... systematically
held each and every week. There ye will find the spoken word of Oblivion.
The Black Mass is now public. It is a ritual of Darkness. There the
nature of death is exposed and the truths we wish to awaken the land
to exposed. A warning: it is not for the faint of heart. We have had
people leave the ritual screaming in terror."
Once again, I found myself unable to contain my dismay. "I can only
imagine..." I said.
"Bal-Anon and the other members of the Clergy see Oblivion as a
god, and worship it as such." added Azazel.
The dark priest smiled once again "Ye may come if ye wish it." He
"Aye... we often have well known guests.. Ra of AMT
was there not too long ago and was rather impressed with our works...
ye should attend too. Ye are invited to join us in our revelry." said
I sat in silence, the very idea! Me, attending this 'Mass'. It sounded
horrifying, but I had come this far and many would benefit in knowing
what goes on at the Black Mass.
I looked to Azazel "Were I to attend, would I be assured safety?"
"Aye, all guests of the Black Mass are granted amnesty. The Black
Mass is held every Sunday night at 10:00 PM Eastern." Azazel said.
This was it, the culmination of this quest. I would go to this Black
Mass, I would witness evil in action, and expose them to the world.
I looked Bal-Anon Dak eye to eye and said, "I will join you then."
Azazel cackled once again "Aye, very well then, we shall adjourn
this meeting until then."Below you will find the finale, the last insallment
of my Expose on the Order of the Ebon Skull. Beware, this is by far
the most sinister installment. And although this signals the end of
my work on this story, I am certain this will not be the last we shall
see of the OES. Read on friend, read on and know evil.
- Aleph Aeirs
What I have written are events as I have witnessed them. The Black
Mass is now a publicly advertised event on our shard, open to all. But
I warn you, think twice before attending. As I reflect upon the dark rituals
I witnessed during this story, I find I am no better a man for experiencing
it. I hope now to find redemption through the education of my fellow citizens.
As a result of this experience, I search desperately for men and women
of a holy order. An antithesis to this plague of evil. Surely there must
be an organization for spiritual redemption! In any case, I shall keep
you posted as to the results of my search. As always, your questions and
comments are welcomed. Until next time friends, fare thee well.
Special thanks to Ce'Nedra Willow, without her support during this
dark time, I do not think I could have completed this.