|“||My goal is to liberate the Mahjarrat, and I will do whatever is necessary to achieve it.||”|
"It's no small wonder I haven't lost my mind!"
Ptolemos was born in a region known as the Sundered Sea in Freneskae. After a civil war crippled his tribe, he and his brother left it and traveled until learning of Icthlarin's offer, which they accepted. Both were among the Mahjarrat brought to Gielinor. He then faded into obscurity up until the end of the Fifth Age and the beginning of the Sixth.
Upon his resurgence Ptolemos tried to remove the gods from Gielinor so that the Mahjarrat could rule it instead. However, none of his plans worked and in the end only succeeded in getting him killed. He and the army he'd built to fight the gods' armies were all found dead in a fortress in the North.
After dying, Ptolemos' spirit refused to leave the realm of the living. It became tethered to the Mahjarratbane he had created and remained as such until he and a dragonkin he was possessing fell into an unstable energy rift. What became of him afterwards was unknown, although some speculated that his soul was either destroyed, put to rest, or dispersed across the world.
In recent times, however, a handful of people have discovered what truly befell Ptolemos: He not only survived the fall, but is alive once again, under the alias Ptolemy Dean. So far he has shown no recollection of his past or true identity, but it's only a matter of time before those who do come after him.
The Sundered Sea
Ptolemos was born in the region known as the Sundered Sea. Its name came from folklore his tribal elders often spoke of: the Creator-God, enraged by the actions of Her creations, split the sea in Her fury. Under Her wrath, the seabed crumbled and collapsed whilst newly-formed gorges and ravines drained the seawater. The former sea became a barren wasteland and served as a warning to all mortals on Freneskae. In time, steep crags jutted up from the marred earth, formed from the shifting of tectonic plates. Only a few of the nomadic tribes dared cross the godforsaken region.Ptolemos' tribe, however, had no choice.
The elders took pride in of their tribe's history, such as how they were forced to withdraw into the region by an aggressive tribe and the hardships they suffered while traversing the land. Several tribesmen and women died and many more would have surely followed if they hadn't learned how to till the earth. The tribe eventually built a settlement high in the face of a crag above their fields where it prospered, shielded from the elements of Freneskae and enemy tribes.
Ptolemos was raised as a warrior for his tribe. He was brash and hotheaded, with little patience for hunting or agriculture. He preferred to fight with his kin on the battlefield where the magic flowing from his hands came as natural to him as the sharp words that passed his lips. Other tribes learned of their success in cultivation and grew jealous; they wanted the crops for themselves. They led attacks frequently, but were easily repelled due to the strategic placement of the settlement and its strength. The number of assaults eventually dwindled until they became infrequent.
As the tribe continued to flourish, some of the elders attributed their prosperity to the Creator-God and worshiped Her. Others, however, refused to do so. Because of their conflicting beliefs, infighting erupted. It persisted until the tribe finally split; those that worshiped the Creator-God forced the non-believers from the settlement, but at a great cost. Many men, women, and children on each side were killed, and the settlement severely damaged. Those that left took with them a large portion of the settlement's store, bringing about a dark age for the settlement.
Ptolemos was young when the infighting began. His mother and her side of the family were passionate followers of the Creator-God, and they fought for dominance over the settlement. Although Ptolemos lacked such faith, he still fought with them against the non-believers. Ptolemos' father was among the many casualties.
While the survivors were able to rebuild their homes, they couldn't restore their settlement to its former glory. When their crops were hit by an affliction, people started to whisper. Some believed they should try and join their sister tribe, the nonbelievers, while others suggested starting another war. The elders would not have this. They convened and decided that their next ritual would require a larger number of sacrifices as to please their god and bring back prosperity to the settlement. By random selection, the sacrifices were chosen.
Ptolemos' mother was one of them.
Although his mother was humbled at being selected, Ptolemos was angry. He refused to allow it and argued with the elders to choose someone else. They were inflexible and proclaimed it was the will of the Creator God. Ptolemos stormed off, furious, and dwelt on the matter. He concluded that only by force could he prevent his mother from being sacrificed. But alone he couldn't fight them; what he needed was an army. Luckily, he knew where to find one.
Those that had split from the original tribe settled outside of the Sundered Sea after being unable to thrive in its harsh climate. Because of their location, they were prone to raids by other tribes. Compared to that of their former home, their defenses were poor and inadequate. Consequently, their stores were depleted just as much as the settlement's, even more so. It was them who Ptolemos approached. Rekindling old enmities was easy, considering their wretched conditions. Now he had the army he needed to save his mother, although whether they fought for him or themselves remained to be seen.
On the eve of the ritual, Ptolemos and his army infiltrated the settlement. Chaos ensued immediately. Too late did Ptolemos realize that he had no true hold over the other tribe; they had led pitiful lives after being forced out of their home. They were out for blood.
War had come to the settlement once more, but not as some of its people had expected. It was a bloody, hard-fought battle. In the end the non-believers emerged victorious. The tribal elders were caught by surprise and killed, ironically becoming the very sacrifices used for their ritual.
Not only was the number of casualties staggering, but the damage to the settlement proved irreparable. Skirmishes soon broke out among the survivors, leading to the destruction of the settlement's prized crops. To some it seemed as though the Creator-God had truly abandoned them.
By this point Ptolemos and his brother had long since abandoned the settlement. Their mother had been killed during the initial attack, something both Ptolemos and his brother blamed him for. The two left the Sundered Sea together to begin new lives. Unfortunately for them, there were some who interpreted their departure as an admission of guilt for destroying the tribes' famous crops. Hunters were dispatched to pursue them with the intent of capturing them dead or alive.
The brothers trekked across Freneskae, eluding their hunters for time. When confrontation was inevitable, they fought and drove their pursuers off, although they would always return later. It became a game of cat and mouse that lasted for years. But that all changed when Icthlarin arrived.
Word spread throughout Freneskae that some being had emerged, promising them passage into another realm where they would have the opportunity to engage in wonderous combat against its denizens. The brothers were skeptical, but curious enough to travel with the other Mahjarrat to learn the truth of the matter. Their hunters were curious as well and abandoned their task to join the exodus. They discovered the rumors were indeed true and met the demi-god Icthlarin himself.
Pledging their service alongside the other Mahjarrat in attendance, Ptolemos and his brother accompanied Icthlarin to this new world.
Mid- to late Second Age
The Kharidian Desert was known by all as a cruel and harsh mistress during the day, but at night her true colors showed. Creatures that thrived during the cool, dark hours emerged from their burrows to seek out their next meal, while others retired to wait until dawn. Those that stood vigil during this time knew the phrase 'survival of the fittest,' and saw it play out before them. Included among these sentries was Ptolemos, who was glad to be out here for once. He used to loathe this post where all he did was keep watch until someone came to relieve him—that is, if they even remembered to. Now, though, he found himself looking forward to when it came his turn to relieve the man before him and take his place.
This night had been particularly difficult. Ptolemos and his brother had fallen into yet another heated argument, which led to the him stomping off. Their relationship had been strained ever since their arrival to this new world. Sure, it was a marvelous one, filled with plenty of opportunity, but the past is never one to be forgotten. Even as they fought side by side on the battlefield, a gulf separated the two brothers, one deeper than any physical manifestation, and it continued to grow with each passing day.
Ptolemos suddenly grew alert. He had heard something nearby. He listened carefully—there it was again!—somewhere ahead of him. At his gesture the entire field before him was bathed in light. Stepping forward, magic coursing through his raised hands, Ptolemos looked upon the rogue that dared try to sneak past him.
A lone meerkat, paralyzed by the sudden light show, returned his gaze.
Both Mahjarrat and meerkat kept their eyes locked on the other. A minute passed before Ptolemos lowered his hands. "You're not supposed to be here," he spoke, his eyes never leaving those of the meerkat's, "Tuwa." The meerkat smiled mischievously, and in the time it took to draw breath, had reverted to its natural form.
"You're no fun, Ptolemos." Her lips drew up in a mocking pout. "What's wrong? Sand in your unmentionables?" She received a dirty look for her snide remark.
"No? So what is it, then?" She cocked her head to the side and lifted a hand to her ear. "Speak up, I didn't catch that." Ptolemos raised his voice and repeated himself.
"It's nothing?" Tuwa grinned knowingly. "Ah, I get it," she said, sidling up to him. She pressed her body against his while wrapping her arms around his shoulders. "Family issues." Despite this eliciting a grumble from Ptolemos, she wasn't pushed away.
"How did you know?"
"Hard not to, especially after the shouting match you two had." Feeling an angry retort forming in his throat, Tuwa reacted by silencing him with a kiss. When they parted, Ptolemos couldn't remember what he was going to say.
They stood there together, one embracing the other, their words going unspoken but not unheard. When Ptolemos spoke, his words were soft and earnest.
"Why did you come here, Tuwa?" In response, she laid her head against his shoulder, using it as an excuse to glance past him. Pleased with what she saw, or rather didn't, Tuwa spoke words of magic. A shimmering dome cascaded over and around them, encompassing them within its semi-translucent walls.
"There," she said. "Now we can't be overheard." She released him and stepped back, her eyes falling on his.
"Big things are happening, Ptolemos," Tuwa said, her voice unsteady with barely suppressed emotions. "Rumors circulating throughout the tribes say—"
"Rumors can't be trusted, you know that," Ptolemos interrupted. Tuwa shook her head and started again.
"These aren't your run of the mill rumors. I've spoken with several others and they've confirmed them." She licked her lips while casting her eyes over the desert sands. Ptolemos waited for her to continue, biting his tongue to keep from speaking out again.
"You've heard of what happened between Icthlarin and one of our own?"
"You mean Sliske?" Ptolemos asked. He'd heard it from someone who had been there to witness it. Apparently, the two had an altercation, which resulted in Icthlarin releasing the wights Sliske had claimed for himself. Tuwa nodded.
"Well," she said, her eyes twinkling with amusement, "a little bird told me that Sliske wasn't quite pleased with what happened. In fact, I heard he's gone and joined with...," She paused, drawing out the suspense. "Zaros."
"You're joking." Judging by the expression on her face, Ptolemos could tell she wasn't. He took a minute to mull over the revelation before asking a question of his own. "What have the others said?"
"Some have spoken out against him, others say good riddance..." Her eyes suddenly took on a feverish gleam. Ptolemos knew that look well. It made him uncomfortable. "There are some, though, that agree with his decision."
"Think about it, Ptolemos," she began. "How long has it been since we have fought an army greater than His?" She mistaked his silence for hesitancy and continued. "The Kharidian is free of any large-scale conflict because of us, and yet Icthlarin and his family are the ones worshiped and praised. Meanwhile, Zaros' forces describe Him as a benevolent being who favors and rewards His faithful. If we just—"
"Enough, Tuwa," Ptolemos said, cutting her off with a gesture. "You speak of treason. Our oath—"
"Oath!" Tuwa laughed. "Icthlarin sought to control us with that 'oath' of his. You of all people should know that we can't be controlled." Even though Ptolemos growled his displeasure, Tuwa persisted. "Haven't you ever wanted to fight for something greater than yourself? All this war and bloodshed needs a purpose."
"And you think Zaros can provide just that? A purpose?" Tuwa nodded sincerely.
Ptolemos remained silent for a time, considering everything she had said. He couldn't help but think her words held some truth to them. He also had no doubt that Sliske's betrayal wouldn't be the only one, given time. But was Zaros any better than Icthlarin? If His empire was anything to go by...
"I need time to consider this, Tuwa." Again, she nodded.
"It's not an easy choice, but I know it's the right one. And by all means, tell that brother of yours everything we have discussed. Perhaps he'll be more receptive than you." Grinning, Tuwa leaned forward and kissed Ptolemos on the cheek. As she did so, the dome around them unraveled.
Once separated, Tuwa looked into his eyes. For a moment, Ptolemos thought he saw something that hadn't been there before. She disappeared before he could fully register what it was, but the sensation he felt in turn was not unwelcome.
Second Age Schism
Late Second Age
The transition from Icthlarin to Zaros came easily. Tuwa was successful in her endeavors to convince Ptolemos to leave the service of the demi-god and serve under a greater power. Whether he did because of her arguments or out of love for her, Ptolemos never did say outright. But whenever they were together, their eyes revealed their true feelings for one another.
Ptolemos didn't forget about his brother. In fact, Strabach followed them, and together the three carved out a new life for themselves under the Empty Lord's reign. The brothers became soldiers in Zaros' ever expanding army while Tuwa became one of His many bishops. Ptolemos grew content under Zaros' rule, despite not worshiping Him.
And then Zamorak got his hands on an elder weapon.
While Ptolemos was not actively engaged in the betrayal of the Empty Lord, he did notice the tell-tale signs of change. By then, however, it was too late. He fought against Zamorak's conspirators, but it proved futile. Zaros was seemingly destroyed by Zamorak and his empire started to crumble.
Try as he might, Ptolemos was unable defend the dying empire. He fled the Holy City of Senntisten when given the command and was deliberating over whether to go underground when he received a cry for help. It was faint and fleeting, but it was enough.
Tuwa, he thought, his mind frantic with worry.
Ptolemos knew he had to return to the abandoned city: Tuwa chose to remain there to mind the relocation of His most holy artifacts, despite Ptolemos' pleas urging her to leave with him. "Stubborn woman," he recalled saying to her just before leaving, "Zaros is gone. If you're not careful, your love for Him will be your undoing." As he cast the spell that would take him to Senntisten, Ptolemos couldn't help but hope he was wrong.
He materialized before the temple's imposing double doors whose gilded designs reflected the light of the dawn's approach. A quick search revealed the street to be filled with looters of all types. While most ignored Ptolemos, a few looked him over, determining whether or not he was worth robbing. They were, however, dissuaded from taking that course of action when he sent one of their own through a wall with a flick of his wrist.
After his brief display of power, Ptolemos turned his attention back to the temple. Tuwa was inside somewhere, he could feel that much, and she needed his help. A gust of conjured wind blew open the doors. Striding in, Ptolemos immediately felt a wave of energy rush over, through, and against him, followed by an emptiness.
Horrified, he realized he was too late.
He hastened to the temple's main chamber, refusing to believe what he already knew. After blowing open another locked door, he froze; three ripper demons were clustered around something on the floor. The sight of them made his insides seize, and although he couldn't see what it was, he knew what lay at their feet. Incapable of expressing his grief and outrage with words, Ptolemos responded by spearing the nearest demon with conjured bolts of lightning. As it fell, its comrades reacted.
Agile as they were, the two demons slipped past their fallen ally and had already closed half the distance between themselves and Ptolemos by the time the first demon's body started crumbling into ash. The demon closest to him raised its claws in anticipation—and slammed head-on into an invisible wall. It fell back a step, disorientated, while its partner evaded the barrier and sliced Ptolemos' outstretched arm, who failed to jerk it back in time. Snarling, he cradled his injured arm and used magic to transport himself to the exposed rafters above. The two demons gave chase. By using their claws, they were able to hoist themselves onto his level.
Ptolemos regarded the demons with undisguised hate. Although his arm bled freely, he didn't feel it nor care; the two demons had his full attention. Both were positioned on opposite sides of him, using their claws to balance themselves. He kept an eye on them both, all the while trying not to lose his own footing. More than once he nearly lost it, which resulted in him flailing his uninjured arm to regain it. Whenever that happened the demons would click their claws on the wooden beams like an improvised drum roll. This served only to enrage him further.
Ptolemos resolved to cast a spell that would vaporize them both, along with the entire roof and even himself. But as soon as the words passed his lips, he slipped. At that same time, the ripper demons leapt. Unfortunately for them, their intended target was now below them, while their claws were still aimed forward. They tried to twist out of the way, but it was futile. Both demons skewered the other. As he fell, Ptolemos saw their deaths and laughed. He continued to laugh even as the floor came up to greet him.
What came next passed in a blur. He vaguely recalled dragging himself over to Tuwa's corpse. She lay next to an altar dedicated to her lord, the linen cloth adorning it stained with her blood. Bending low, he stroked her forehead. She felt cold.
Ptolemos stayed with her far longer than he should have. Whenever he'd tried to go, though, he found that he couldn't. Hours passed before he finally found the strength to leave. As he prepared to go, something caught his eye. It was the manner in which Tuwa's right arm was bent beneath her body, as though she had clasped something to her chest in an effort to protect whatever it was from the ripper demons. Gingerly, and with a heavy heart, he lifted her broken body to see what it was. What Ptolemos saw froze his heart.
It was an icon of Zaros.
Third Age Tales
The following are personal accounts of those who knew Ptolemos from the mid- to late Third Age and the early Fourth Age:
Moranle Lisyth, a human known to have aligned with Zamorak after Zaros' defeat. A scrap of paper was found next to what is believed to be his remains. A copy of it can be found in the Varrock library, as the original was burned along with the remains for fear of being cursed:
- I don't believe it. Gaaspi, my sweet Gaaspi...dead. Killed by that monster. And for what? Revenge? I was only acting on my orders. I'm just the summoner, for Zamorak's sake! Oh, how could this have gone so wrong, so fast...?
- I'm so sorry, Gaaspi. It should've been me and not you. Not my daughter... I promise, I'll make things right.
- I won't let you be forgotten.
Brasald Cuthgard, a human known to have served as a captain in Zamorak's army. Records of his files were found during an expedition into the Wilderness and are now on display in the Varrock Museum:
- Transfer Request #347
- Name: Rekhyt.
- Position: Soldier(?).
- Requested: Transfer to a company assisting in the eradication of any remaining assets of Zaros(who?).
- Fulfilled: No.
- Notes: Request came in a few weeks ago. Wasn't aware we had it until Officer Cadet Joza found it lying beneath a stack of old request forms on my desk. Didn't recognize the name, so I reviewed the files of those who had served under the previous captain. Found only one mention of a Rekhyt, but it was over sixty years ago. Could be Dowil's idea of a joke.
- Transfer Request #421
- Name: Rekhyt(this again?).
- Position: Soldier.
- Requested: Transfer to a company assisting in the eradication of any remaining assets of Zaros(seriously, who?).
- Fulfilled: No.
- Notes: Request came in a week after the first one. Officer Cadet Joza found it outside my tent this morning. Told Dowil to [expletive] off. If he does it again, I'm forwarding it to the Major and will advise disciplinary action be taken against him.
- Transfer Request #443
- Name: Rekhyt.
- Position: Soldier.
- Requested: Transfer to a company assisting in the eradication of any remaining assets of Zaros.
- Fulfilled: No.
- Notes: That son of a [expletive].
Gephisvros, a lesser demon who was known to have served under the Elder Demon Thammaron. A record of his conversation with an alleged Zamorakian wizard can be found in the Wizards' Tower:
- Ptolemos? Yes, I know of whom you speak, although I have not seen him or his kind for many centuries now. It is for the best in my opinion, but that is not why you raised me, is it? Let me start over.
- Yes, I know of Ptolemos. He, a Mahjarrat, and I, a demon, fought in the seige of Uzer during what is now known as the Third Age of this world. Thammaron led us then, and did so up until his retreat. It's funny, now; much blood was shed over that city, which is now little more than sand and a memory. But I digress.
- We talked little back then, Ptolemos and I. In fact, he rarely talked throughout the entire campaign. It was only out of pain, pleasure, or necessity when he did. He refused to speak of his past when questioned and simply stated he was there to 'bring glory to Zamorak.' A lie, of course, but I didn't care. We each had our objectives and that was enough for me.
- In the end we emerged victorious. Our celebrations, however, were short-lived. A single but powerful Mahjarrat caught us by surprise. Thammaron's forces were utterly decimated. That day, I was just one of many banished back to the Infernal Dimensions.
- As for Ptolemos, I don't know. It's possible he survived, but that's a story for another day. As of this moment, your debt must be paid.
Eydis Ulfdottir, a human who participated in the hunt that nearly brought about the extinction of gnomes. A partially intact tablet was recovered from Troll Country and given to her surviving descendants in the Fremennik Province:
- . . . Hedinn Rockcrusher, Gisl Bergrsdottir, and I, Eydis Ulfdottir,
- do hereby cast you beneath earth and stone. By the strength of our
- ancestors, infused with Guthix's blessing, we bind you, foul demon
- of the dark elements, so that you may never see the light of day again.
Early Fifth Age
"This is the place?"
Escord could taste the disappointment in her words as she studied the cliff face. From where she stood all she could see was a large rock pile. Carmit led his horse to stand by hers. "Beneath all that lies treasure beyond our wildest dreams?" she asked, not bothering to hide her skepticism.
"Well, I might have exaggerated a bit," Carmit replied. "Nevertheless, I'm confident in my source." Escord reined in her horse and called for it to stop before turning her attention to Carmit.
"You better be right. This whole trip will have been for nothing otherwise." Carmit gave her a sly grin.
"Have faith, Escord. There is treasure here, I'm sure of it." Escord ignored her one-armed friend and looked over her shoulder. Her lips pursed at what she saw, or rather didn't.
"Oh, great. Where did those dolts run off to now?"
"Perhaps they fell asleep? Or maybe they ran off with the wizard," Carmit suggested playfully.
"The wizard?" Escord snorted. "He couldn't run two steps before tripping over his own feet. I wonder why I even let him come with us. He hasn't done anything useful this whole trip. In fact, all he does is read his books and complain about how cold it is."
"Don't forget that it was he who sponsored this trip for us in the first place. Part of his stipulation was that he accompany us as to record what we find." Carmit paused. "Think of it like this: should anything happen to him, his share of the profit goes to us." Escord looked at him knowingly, but was interrupted before she could say anything.
"Miz Escord! Miz Escord!" Groaning inwardly, Escord turned to the source of the voice. A pair of goblins bound up to her. They were both panting and howling while waving their arms in the direction behind them. The one to her left started spitting out words faster than she thought possible.
"Bearattack," he began before stopping short after being smacked upside the head by Escord.
"Slower, you idiot! What happened? Where is the wizard?" Before the goblin could recover, his partner jumped in.
"Big bear—no, huge bear—attack us, but nice wizard fight it off! Save us!" Escord noticed Carmit grinning from ear to ear out of the corner of her eye.
"The wizard saved you two? I find that hard to believe. Where is he, then?" As the goblins launched into a winding story of where he was, Carmit leaned in close to Escord.
"Perhaps he's gotten himself eaten alive?" he whispered. "If so, I pity the man. But on the bright side, that means more for us." Escord shook her head and pointed past him. As he turned, she saw Carmit's grin sink into a frown, but only for a moment. As the wizard neared, up came the grin again.
"Look here, Escord; the hero returns!" Carmit bowed as best he could from his saddle. "You see, my friend here thought you were dead and was awfully disheartened at the prospect that she may never be able to thank you for saving her fine aides." His sarcasm was lost on the wizard.
"Oh! Please forgive me, I didn't mean to worry you." The wizard gestured at the two goblins, who were watching him with admiring eyes. "It all happened so fast. I was just telling Azu and Garco here—I hope you don't mind, by the way, but I wasn't told what their names were, and since neither of them could recall what they were either, I gave them new ones—about the dangers of the Wilderness, when all of a sudden a bear leaped from the brush."
"Azu very nearly lost an arm, but I knocked the thing over with a spell, giving them time to get away. Then I ran as fast as I could. I think I lost it, but we probably shouldn't remain here too long." He cast a worried glance over his shoulder. Escord rolled her eyes.
"Fine. The cliff face isn't too far from here. We should be there in a few hours, and then we'll make camp." The wizard beamed.
"Good to hear! Mind you, I was just starting to get cold..."
After reaching their destination, Escord and company struck up camp just as night descended. They slept soundly for most of the night, that is until Azu and Garco woke everyone up with their shouts about a bear sleeping in their tent. By the time the two realized they had both mistaken the other for being the bear, dawn had come.
"You two," Escord said, indicating Azu and Garco to follow her, "this way." The two did as they were ordered. She led them to the edge of the rock pile she had saw the day before. "Dig." She unceremoniously dropped two shovels on the ground near them and left them to do as she said.
"Escord, may I ask you a question?" The wizard had spent all morning writing and watching the goblins dig. When she didn't answer back, he went on with his question. "What do you think we'll find under all that rock?"
Escord looked up from her card game with Carmit. "We better find treasure."
"But what kind of treasure? Gold, or maybe runes," he began, stopping early when Carmit interjected a question of his own.
"What is it you hope to find, wizard? Surely you of all people have an idea as to what's beneath all that rock. I mean, you are funding this expedition after all." When Escord mistook the wizard's loss for words as hesitation, she interjected with a comment of her own.
"How typical. 'A magician never reveals his secrets,'" she recited. With a snort, she turned her attention back to her game with Carmit, who was busy studying the wizard closely. As a merchant, his eyes were wired to catch subtle changes; the wizard's lapse hadn't gone unnoticed by him. But before he could work out what it meant, his concentration was broken. "Carmit, it's your turn," an impatient Escord pointed out. He apologized and resumed the game, but also made a mental note to watch the wizard carefully from then on.
Progress was slow, but a few days later both Azu and Garco had dug out enough dirt and rock so that the wizard could use his magic to carve out a path into what lay below beneath it all.
"I can't see a damned thing down here! We need light," Escord started, cutting herself off as the wizard conjured a ball of fire in his hand. It illuminated their immediate surroundings, revealing a damaged corridor littered with debris. A quick search later and all of them were equipped with a lit torch, except the two goblins; Escord couldn't trust them not to light themselves on fire. "All right, listen up! Everyone stay close and don't touch anything. Especially you two."
"But Miz Escord..." Azu and Garco stopped their complaints when the wizard assigned them the task to hold his equipment, which pleased them immensely. "We help nice wizard!"
"Yeah! We not lose wizard's things!" Escord called for their attention once more before leading them out of the corridor and into the depths of the ruins.
"What do you think this place was before whatever happened to it?" the wizard asked, his nose practically in his book, writing down everything he saw and heard.
"My source claims this was once a temple that also doubled as a library," Carmit replied from his position at the back of the company. "It used to be up on the cliffs above us if you can believe that."
"Really?" He wrote that down in his book. "It's in such remarkable condition if that's true. I mean, just imagine..."
"He's right," Escord interrupted, calling for them to halt. "This place shouldn't even be standing." She considered the room they were in; a large chamber filled with broken pews, what looked to have once been an altar, and more debris. "Everyone, we'll stop here for now. Rest up." Azu and Garco immediately threw themselves to the floor and began rifling through the wizard's things, while the latter was too busy picking through the wreckage of the room to notice. Carmit took the chance to speak with Escord privately.
"Escord? A moment, please." He waited until she was within earshot before continuing. "Now is the time to take the wizard out," he whispered. "With his nose in that book of his, he won't notice before he hits the floor."
"I don't know, Carmit," Escord said. "Something about this place doesn't feel right. And where's the treasure? Your source..."
"It's probably hidden somewhere further in. But first..."
"No. We might need him to get to the treasure. Until then, we wait." Her tone left no room for argument. Carmit scowled, but in the end acquiesced. Turning her back on him, Escord addressed the others. "Rest's over. On your feet."
"We'll cover more ground if we split up. You two," she said, gesturing at the goblins. "Go with Carmit. Don't let him out of your sight. Wizard, you're with me." Carmit glowered at her from across the chamber, which she returned. Escord was anything but stupid; she didn't trust him to be with the wizard alone.
"Are you sure?" the wizard asked. "What if the others find something important while we're apart?"
"Then we'll meet back here. Anything else?" No one spoke up. "Let's head out."
An hour later, both Escord and the wizard were carefully making their way through the ruined temple when the latter spoke up. "I don't mean to be rude, but that friend of yours makes me nervous. He's always watching me, like he doesn't trust me or something. I didn't do anything wrong, did I?"
"No. Carmit's just an odd man. He takes time to get used to."
"Oh." Fifteen minutes passed by during which neither spoke. The silence made Escord uneasy, something that she rarely felt. She spoke up to get rid of the uncomfortable feeling.
"You never gave us your name, wizard."
"I didn't?" The wizard stopped to rest against the wall and laughed nervously. "How silly of me! My name is," as he answered, the section of the wall he was lay against collapsed in on itself. He fell inward with a yelp.
"Wizard! Are you alright?" Escord looked through the hole, cautious not to fall through herself. "Wizard?"
"I'm—agh—I'm fine!" He muttered something she couldn't make out. "Oh my... Escord! Come here quickly!" She squeezed through the hole, making sure not to trip over the broken stonework, and found an old staircase twisting downward. With her torch held in front of her and her other hand on her belt, Escord followed it. When she reached the bottom, she found the wizard standing in the center of the room they were now in, beckoning her to come closer. "Take a look at this." She crept closer, treading softly.
He stood next to two pedestals. Escord had noticed earlier that they both had something on them, but couldn't tell what they were from her distance before. Now that she was closer, she could see what they were.
"What is this? A block of ice?"
"I think so, yes. The other one's made out of rock, I think."
"What are they doing here?" Escord asked, "and why isn't this ice melting?"
"I don't know, but I can feel magic at work here. We should be careful."
Escord didn't hear his warning, however, for something within the ice had caught her eye. She immediately reached for her belt and drew out her dagger. The wizard watched her with concern as she raised it above the ice.
"What are you doing?" he asked.
"There's a gem inside the ice. I'm getting it out."
"But what about... Hey!" She struck the block with her dagger. It bounced off, leaving only a tiny scratch. She cursed and tried again, only to get the same result. Escord spun around to face the wizard.
"Use your magic to melt the ice!" The wizard frowned.
"I don't think that's," he said before cutting himself off as she pointed her dagger at him.
"Do it. Now." He nodded slowly and reached for his pouch, digging out the runes required for the spell. When she motioned for him move closer to the pedestal, he did so.
"This isn't necessary, you know. I just have a bad feeling about this is all."
"Look at the size of that gem, you idiot! It'll make us rich!" She silenced any further complaint with a quick prod.
"Ow! Okay, okay! I'm doing it." The wizard concentrated on the block of ice. Within moments it began to melt.
"Hurry!" Escord watched with growing excitement. When the wizard's spell was finished, she quickly snatched the exposed gem off the pedestal, which drew a sharp intake of breath. She hadn't expected it to be so cold!
"Now the rock." The wizard stared at her as though she were crazy. "There's bound to be one inside of it as well!"
"Escord, please," the wizard implored. Escord, frustrated, turned from the wizard and sheathed her dagger.
"Pah! Go find Carmit, then. Tell him what we have found." When he hesitated, she reached for her belt. He gulped and quickly left to do as she ordered. As he went, Escord turned her attention to the block of rock. "Now, what do we do about you?" After a few minutes of consideration, she knew what she had to do.
Slipping the cold gem into her pocket, Escord gripped the block of rock and pushed with all her strength. It moved a few inches, so she stopped and tried again. She eventually succeeded in pushing the block off the pedestal after several tries. It fell to the floor and broke in half with a loud crack. At the same time, everything went dark.
For a moment, Escord thought she had been struck blind. But then she realized her torch had simply gone out. Carefully, she crouched down and felt around the floor. She found her torch and as the gem that was inside the block of rock. Pocketing that, Escord rose to her feet and felt along the wall until she found the stairs.
"Wizard!" Escord shouted up the stairs. "I need light!" There was no answer. Cursing her luck, Escord cautiously made her way up the winding staircase.
Escord lost track of time as she slowly navigated her way through the ruined temple using only her hands to guide her. She'd given up calling out for anyone since no one ever answered in return. Onward she trudged until finally, up ahead, she saw a light. As she neared it, however, her chill ran down her spine.
Carmit lay face down on the floor, a large bruise on the side of his head. His torch, now on the floor, had caught something close to it on fire, which was the source of light Escord saw earlier. It gave off an awful smell, one that she was familiar with but couldn't place.
"Carmit?" Escord whispered. "Carmit?" He drew a ragged breath at her voice. The relief Escord felt didn't last long. "What happened to you?" When he started to speak, she went to his aid.
"It was—argh, my head—the wizard, I'm sure of it!"
"The wizard? But why..."
"He's after the gems!" Misinterpreting the surprise on her face, Carmit persisted. "The goblins found them, said they were floating in something. I don't remember what. When I tried to take them, the goblins got spooked and ran." He paused to gingerly prod his bruised forehead. "We have to find them. Those gems will make us rich!"
"What about the wizard?"
"Forget the wizard! We find those gems, and then we get the hell out of here." Escord regarded Carmit coolly.
"All right. Tell me which way the goblins went and I'll find them." When Carmit tried to object, Escord cut him off. "Look at yourself! You're in no condition to walk."
"Fine. They went that way." He indicated a corridor to their left. Escord made herself a makeshift torch from the fire and turned to leave him. "You better not forget about me."
"I wouldn't dream of it."
Twenty minutes later, Escord came across one of the goblins. She couldn't remember what its name was, but she didn't have to. It was dead. Whatever killed it had left it terror-stricken even in death. Escord searched its body and found one of the gems clutched in its hands. She took it before continuing down the corridor. On the way she found a trail of blood, which she followed to find the second goblin.
"Miz Escord..." It lay with its back against the wall, one hand held over its stomach. Escord could see the blood staining its fingers.
"What happened to you?" She crouched beside it and took the gem that it held in its other hand. It didn't even try to resist.
"One-arm man hurt me... Garco try to help, but he fall." It moaned.
"Do you mean Carmit? He did this to you?" Escord frowned. " What about the wizard? Did you see him?" It smiled at the mention of the wizard.
"Nice wizard come. He save us..." The goblin's voice trailed off. Escord stood and considered what it had said. And then it suddenly dawned on her. The smell from earlier, she remembered it now. It was the smell of burning flesh.
Escord felt panic rising up inside her. She turned to run, but something caught her by the arm. It held her tight. As she struggled to break free, she heard a voice.
"Well, well... What do we have here?"
Ptolemos felt good. Very good. In fact, he doubted he had ever felt better in all his life. The woman he had deceived was now dead, as were the goblins and the one-armed man, but not before he had interrogated them.
Carmit, the man with one arm, had been very open with him. After trying to kill the goblins, he had gotten lost and was the first one Ptolemos met. This was how Ptolemos had learned of his meddling with the pillars, which he was quite grateful for. After all, their greed had led to his liberation.
When he learned of the others in the temple, Ptolemos killed Carmit and sought the others out. He found one of the goblins and dispatched him with no effort at all. The thing died of fright at the sight of him! As he hunted for the other one, however, he heard the woman calling. Before she found him, he set fire to the real Carmit's body and played the part of an injured one as to set her on the path, with him following closely. Upon seeing the other goblin die, Ptolemos made his presence known and caught Escord. He learned what he could from her, and then killed her as well.
Something bothered him, though. Both Escord and Carmit mentioned a wizard in their company, as did the dying goblin. Yet search as he might, Ptolemos found no sign of any wizard at all. This irked him. But then again, if the woman had spoken truthfully during her torment, which Ptolemos had no doubt about, the wizard had most likely left before Ptolemos made his presence known. It was unlikely he would return, too, judging by what he knew from Escord and Carmit.
At any rate, Ptolemos was now free from his imprisonment and quite eager to reintroduce himself to the world.
Late Fifth Age, circa year 169
Ptolemos attended the upcoming ritual and was eager to receive the power he thought he deserved. After teleporting to the plateau and positioning himself next to Kemses, Ptolemos observed the rest of his kins' arrival. It was a formidable sight to behold; neutral, Zarosian, and Zamorakian Mahjarrat alike all formed a ring around the marker. A few of them began the ritual by nominating others, and since no one volunteered, the politics soon dissolved into insults and bickering.
Then came a name: Baylon. One of the weaker of their kind, Baylon had few allies. The majority of the Mahjarrat were more than happy to sacrifice him, but that didn't satisfy everyone—especially Ptolemos. When a Mahjarrat named Kisbeth started attacking Baylon, Ptolemos stepped forward and tried to break them apart, arguing that the pitiful Baylon should be saved for the next ritual and that a stronger one should instead be chosen. His words were ignored by most and Baylon was brought before the marker. Ptolemos didn't like that, nor did Baylon's allies. He was successfully freed just in time, sparking a battle among the power hungry Mahjarrat. An unfortunate Mahjarrat was eventually sacrificed, her life essence used to rejuvenate her kin.
For the first time in over two millennia, Ptolemos was rejuvenated.
The Ancient Dragonkin Site
Late Fifth Age, circa year 169
Long before the rejuvenation ritual happened, Ptolemos and Kemses were trying to track down the Stone of Jas. Familiar with the Stone's energy signature, the duo began their search. It took some time, but Kemses and his troops were successful in finding one. Unfortunately, angry dwarves were between them and the source. A stalemate ensued; neither the dwarves nor Kemses' men would back down.
The dwarves eventually grew impatient and sent a negotiator over. The dwarf, a Captain Berli Goronhad, explained their situation to the leader of Kemses' troops. An emerging mining company had ordered them to search the area after hearing from a reliable source that something valuable might be there. If they were to return empty-handed, they would be shamed and exiled. The leader of Kemses' troops agreed to give them a considerable amount of gold ore they recovered during their stay if, and only if, the dwarves left. The dwarves obliged, but not before collapsing the tunnel behind them to ensure they wouldn't be followed.
Time flowed by, the ritual came and went, and the cavern was all but forgotten. That was until Rosaline Haines, a devout chaos monk at the time, received a vision. It exposed her to Ptolemos and his plans. She became enamored with the Mahjarrat and decided to aid him. Rosaline used her vision as guidance and discovered the journal of Karir Zeknof in the Forinthry Ossuary. She read it and learned its contents.
Karir was a dwarf miner and a survivor of a mysterious incident that occurred during a mining expedition beneath the Dwarven Realms in the Third Age. He recounted what exactly happened in his journal: the tunnel his party was in collapsed, revealing a large cavern with great statues of what could only be translated as tall, humanoid dragons. He also described an arch leading into a wall and some sort of mechanism in front of it. Before the party could investigate further, a dragon appeared and attacked them. Many of the miners were killed before they could escape. Those that survived described the event to their superiors who, acting in their best interests, sworn them to secrecy and collapsed the tunnels leading to the cavern.
Ptolemos, at this point, was captured by Arachnea, a Zarosian Mahjarrat. A worried Fykeric, the High Clerist of the order that Rosaline was a member of, returned to the Forinthry Ossuary. They worked together and discovered that Ptolemos was indeed alive. An overjoyed Rosaline then turned on Fykeric and struck him down. She assumed the position of High Clerist, though in reality, she'd abandoned Zamorak, which left her unable to call upon His power. She immediately sent into motion Ptolemos' plan, while continuing to search for him. One of her self-appointed tasks was to retrieve bane ore, which she did after meeting with Kemses. A dozen cartloads of the precious metal were delivered to the Forinthry Ossuary.
It didn't come as a surprise to Rosaline when she learned of Ptolemos' escape. After all, he was a powerful Mahjarrat. She met and informed him of what transpired during his absence. Impressed, Ptolemos made her his pupil. The two began plotting. Ptolemos began his search for the ancient dragonkin site, while Rosaline set out to find the necessary components for the ritual her master was planning: wyvern hide, a phoenix quill, and dragon's blood.
Ptolemos met with Kemses after recalling the cavern they discovered long ago. They traveled there and searched the area, eventually finding an impassable collapsed tunnel. Ptolemos was determined to get through the debris and decided to bring some of his monks to clear it, while Kemses volunteered his own troops to help. When Ptolemos returned to the Forinthry Ossuary to gather a few monks, he brought back with him the bane ore Rosaline acquired for him. When he wasn't digging, he spent a lot of his time experimenting with it, as well as Arachnea's bracelet.
Following a few weeks of hard work, Ptolemos sent a message to Kemses and informed him he was close to clearing the tunnel. He also included how many of the workers swore they'd heard strange noises, though he suspected it was just their imagination. The message took a while to reach Kemses, and by the time that it did, Ptolemos and his men had finished clearing the tunnel. Ptolemos eagerly ran ahead and was overjoyed when he saw what lay before him: the ancient dragonkin site. He recognized the arch and the mechanism as described in Karir's journal. Examining them revealed the arch was actually a deactivated portal and the mechanism its switch. Much to his chagrin, Ptolemos realized that he needed a power source to activate the portal. It was then that the dragon attacked.
In his haste, Ptolemos forgot to properly examine his surroundings. The site was in a state of disrepair; it was at least thirty feet long and twenty feet wide, and would have been even larger if the floor opposite of the deactivated portal hadn't collapsed in on itself, revealing a network of tunnels that stretched gods-know-how-long. It was within these tunnels where the dragon had resided for centuries, preying on the creatures stumbling through the dark. It immediately attacked Ptolemos with its firebreath and talons.
It was bad enough that the dragon had caught him off guard. What was even worse was the fact that he couldn't cast a spell. Try as he might, Ptolemos couldn't use any magic. Too late, he realized an anti-magic field surrounded the site, dispelling all enchantments and nullifying any type of magical spell. Ptolemos was weak once more, just as he had been for several centuries. He did the only thing he could do: run.
He fled into the tunnels, hearing the screams of the monks and Kemses' troops as they were burned alive, torn apart, and feasted upon. His thoughts weren't about them; they were about his own safety.
There was a rumbling noise ahead of him. The dragon! It knew these tunnels better than he did.
Ptolemos turned on his heels and ran back to the site, his mind racing. He didn't recall picking up a hatchet, but realized it was there in his hand a few minutes later. Another roar alerted him to the dragon's presence up ahead. It was as if the beast was playing with him. Ptolemos cursed himself for being such a fool. He retreated down another tunnel and found himself standing before the beast itself.
Smoke curled from its flaring nostrils as flames licked its maw. The thing's beady orange eyes fixed on him, its intent clear. Ptolemos reacted instinctively and tried to cast a spell. To his amazement, a shaft of blazing white light soared from his hand and struck the dragon in its breast. It reeled, roaring in pain, and breathed fire towards him. A barrier of magical energy was enough to ward off the flames. Ptolemos grinned. He was in control now.
Within a couple of minutes, the dragon was mutilated and trapped beneath a combination of rock and magic. Ptolemos had defeated it, but suffered some injuries of his own. As he made to leave the tunnel, Ptolemos remembered having pocketed a piece of bane ore before they cleared the tunnels. He pried a scale from the dragon with the hatchet and concentrated. It took a great deal of his power, but he cast another spell—tune bane ore—and it worked. He'd finally succeeded in casting the spell!
Ptolemos returned to mechanism's chamber and discovered Kemses and Thane already there. He was angry that they hadn't arrived sooner, but soon got over it due to his building excitement. He told them a little about the site: how he learned of it, what he'd been through, and also about the anti-magic field. He directed them through the original tunnel where the bodies of the monks and soldiers lay. At the edge of the anti-magic field, he stopped and told the other two to go ahead. They passed through the field and awaited him.
Ptolemos began rolling up his right sleeve and explained to them about the bracelet he wore and how its enchantments wouldn't work within the field. He told them how he'd tried to remove it before, but magic was out of the question, as was prying it off; it'd already disappeared into his skin. He asked Kemses to look in the cart behind him and toss him the bane ore it held. Kemses did as requested and threw it over. Ptolemos placed it outside the anti-magic field and lifted his right hand.
The hatchet in his left hand cleaved through his flesh, severing the bone and tissue with ease. He cried out and collapsed to his knees. The hatchet and his severed right hand fell to the ground. Ptolemos tucked his bleeding stump into his robes. Blood flowed from where it'd been cut cleanly through, right above where the bracelet had been. Kemses and Thane remained silent and unmoving until Ptolemos asked for help. He ordered them to move him next to the bane ore and his right hand. They did so and watched as he cast the spell to tune the ore to his blood, bone, and flesh. He was successful once more and presented his creation to the others before falling unconscious from exhaustion and blood loss.
Ptolemos had made Mahjarratbane.
The Assault on Kemses' Fortress
Late Fifth Age, circa year 169
When he woke, Ptolemos was surprised to learn he was in Kemses' fortress. As it turned out, Kemses had brought Ptolemos back with him to recover. Ptolemos was worried, believing Kemses had taken the Mahjarratbane while he was unconscious. Fortunately for him, the precious metal was left alone. It lay on a pedestal next to his cot, along with his severed hand. He spent the rest of the week recuperating from the ordeal.
Little did he know that Azulra's creation Pingsan had witnessed the act through scrying.
When Azulra was notified of what he did, she grew afraid. The creation of Mahjarratbane breached the terms of their alliance. She attacked the Forinthry Ossuary with her demons and slaughtered the few remaining chaos monks living there. During the assault, High Clerist Rosaline was wounded and taken prisoner by Azulra, but not before sending a message to Kemses. Azulra then met with Arachnea, whose interest was more on the bracelet still attached to his severed hand, and together they planned an attack on Kemses' fortress. Rosaline, at the behest of Azulra, was later sacrificed to revive Domino.
Ptolemos had received the High Clerist's message by this point. He told Kemses to prepare his men, believing Azulra was going to come after him. He was proven somewhat right when her demonic forces assaulted Kemses' fortress, although he was unaware of Arachnea's participation.
Shortly before the assault, while Ptolemos awaited Azulra and her forces, his severed hand was switched with Rosaline's own through the use of a magic spell. The two Mahjarrat spoke briefly before the demons charged.
Ptolemos was unimpressed when they failed to penetrate the barrier surrounding the fortress. Kemses' men retaliated by striking down a large number of Azulra's demons before the barrier was breached. Ptolemos retreated deeper into the fortress while Kemses' men fought against the onrush of demons.
Azulra and Arachnea brought more reinforcements to aid in the battle, while Ptolemos summoned more of Kemses' men. Without Kemses there, however, his men were unable to defeat their attackers. Those that weren't killed fled the fortress to regroup and recover after the devastating loss.
Demonic scouts were ordered to search the fortress. They found another barrier, one they couldn't pass. It led to Ptolemos' room. From within, he spoke. His words were directed towards Azulra, trying to goad her into joining him. Azulra was unwilling, mostly because of the Mahjarratbane. Ptolemos assured her that Kemses held it. They shared more heated words before she relented. Azulra, along with an invisible Arachnea and a hellhound pup, teleported into Ptolemos' room.
As soon as they materialized, Ptolemos activated his trap: two glyphs of entanglement, inscribed onto the floor below the entrance and above it on the ceiling, caught and bound them. The spell would last thirty seconds.
He only needed ten.
Reaching behind him, Ptolemos pulled a sheet off the pedestal, revealing a glowing glass globe. The magical energy he had stored within it was fluctuating at a dangerous rate. With the Mahjarratbane visibly attached to his belt, Ptolemos prepared a teleportation spell and told them it would soon explode. Azulra, still bound, prepared a magical shield to protect her from the energies, while Arachnea had others plans.
As Ptolemos started to teleport off, Arachnea cast a spell to attach the globe to him. With a look of surprise and fear, Ptolemos vanished, the globe teleporting with him. A few seconds passed. The glyphs lost their power and the barrier outside the room dissipated...
Ptolemos' aura winked out.
The Bane of Zamorak
Early Sixth Age, circa year 0
Ptolemos, after teleporting into the dry air of the cavern, knew he had only seconds before the magical explosive device attached to him went off. With a twinge of frustration, he also realized that trying to deactivate it would be a waste of said precious time. He'd made the damn thing, and deactivating it was not part of the manual! Luckily, he didn't need to.
With trembling hands and a racing mind, Ptolemos crossed the threshold of the anti-magic field. The magic that kept the device attached to him immediately dissipated, while the device itself fell to the floor with a clatter where, upon impact, it exploded. A torrent of magical energy was released, buffeting the cavern. Ptolemos, shielded from the harmful explosion, couldn't help but sob in relief. Even from his position within the anti-magic field, the intense heat released from the explosion was nigh unbearable.
Ptolemos had underestimated Azulra and it nearly cost him his life. But he was still alive, and he was angry. Angry at Azulra, at the gods... at himself. He'd let himself get caught like a mouse in a trap. Vowing to never make that mistake again, Ptolemos strode further into the ancient dragonkin site. He decided to study the portal and the mechanism, despite the fact that he couldn't use his magic. Figuring out the power source for the mechanism became his top priority.
Some time later, a party of dwarves found Ptolemos. They'd come to investigate what the source of the explosion was. Ptolemos, promising vast riches, easily persuaded them to assist him. While never leaving the anti-magic field, he prepared a letter and sent one of the scouts from the party off to deliver it to Kemses. The message was written in their native tongue to ensure the privacy of its contents. The remaining dwarves stayed with him to provide sustenance.
The dwarf eventually reached Kemses and gave him the letter. In it Ptolemos revealed how he was trying to deceive the others to buy himself some time to finish his project. He asked Kemses to collect wyvern hide and a phoenix quill, the last of the components he required for his ritual. He then went on to state that this was the last time he'd ask Kemses for anything and that they should consider each other even afterwards. In the letter's postscript, he told his ally to kill the dwarf, so Kemses did.
In the days following the letter's departure, Ptolemos' aura began to bleed through the anti-magic field. It would only be a matter of time before the other Mahjarrat would be able to sense him again. Ptolemos, too wrapped up in his own project, couldn't even begin to imagine what would come next.
Even inside the field he could sense something happened. Ptolemos stirred from his deep meditation and rose to his feet. The very earth around him seemed to sing, at least to Ptolemos. The dwarves didn't know what to make of it, and described it as an ill omen. Ptolemos wasn't sure either, but it was unlikely to be beneficial to his plans.
To make matters worse, the anti-magic field now had no effect on his aura. The others could feel him now and would realize he was still alive, if they had even been deceived in the first place. He could remain here and try to hide, although someone would come eventually for him. He needed to make the first move, and fast. As he mulled the matter over, one of the dwarves approached and informed him of movement outside the boundaries of the field. Ptolemos felt a chill go down his spine. Have they come already? He wasted no time. Leaving the field, Ptolemos went to investigate. What he found surprised him.
It was one of the monks from the Forinthry Ossuary. Lerok, Ptolemos recalled. Seeing the monk brought back memories of what Rosaline told him long ago. Lerok was one of the few monks that went with her to Aspera Tower. She'd said he was killed, along with the others, by Leila Kala Aren, a.k.a. Arachnea. Yet Lerok was definitely not dead nor was he undead. He was alive and looked absolutely terrified. Ptolemos demanded answers and Lerok was more than willing to provide them.
Lerok, along with another monk, Davin, had survived their encounter with Leila after signing some kind of contract she produced. They fled from the tower and eventually separated. Davin settled in Draynor Village, while Lerok chose Lumbridge. They both agreed to abandon their faith and try to lead normal lives as best they could. They didn't realize Arachnea had other plans for them.
The contract she had them sign gave her their undying servitude. Returning home one evening, Lerok found a letter waiting for him. He was meant to deliver it to the Emissary. He found himself unable to disobey and did as he was told. Whether it was luck or a miracle, Lerok found him. Ptolemos immediately asked for the letter, which Lerok happily gave him, and read it. It was an invitation to a meeting Arachnea was holding. It also promised that both Lerok and Davin were in no way bound to her.
Ptolemos wasn't thrilled with the idea of going to a meeting, especially one held by Arachnea. He decided to go anyway, against his better judgment. It was better than waiting for them to come to him, and he'd at least receive answers. But before he left, Ptolemos needed to wrap up some unfinished business.
Lerok was the first to die, struck down by Ptolemos' magic. It had to be done, Ptolemos reasoned. He was a liability and no amount of written promises would convince him otherwise. The dwarves were second to fall. Afterwards, Ptolemos teleported to Draynor Village and killed Davin as he slept. Another liability now gone. Ptolemos was pleased. It had been awhile since he last felt magic flow through him. Now he was ready to go to the meeting.
Ptolemos wasn't the first to arrive. He could feel at least two others there, not counting Arachnea. Another was approaching. Kisbeth. He could tell from the way she blasted her aura carelessly. Once inside, he and the others all sat around the table Arachnea was sitting at. There were five of them in total. Introductions were held; Mirrah was a new face, as was the Human-Mahjarrat crossbreed Ellie. The reason they were summoned was revealed by Kisbeth: Guthix was dead, his edicts broken.
Ptolemos' heart skipped a beat. The edicts are broken? He tried to appear indifferent, but his eyes betrayed him. He was afraid. Nothing was preventing the gods from returning and ruining everything. The rest of the meeting was about voicing allegiances and Azulra. Ptolemos told the others he wasn't planning on being part of the wars to come. Another Mahjarrat, Xolotl, joined them. It was time to leave, Ptolemos decided. Azulra was undoubtedly looking for him.
After leaving the meeting, Ptolemos contacted Kemses. His ally informed him of where he could find the last two components he required for his ritual. A phoenix quill was in the possession of a Fremennik tribe, while some wyvern hide was held by the Chosen Battalion, a group of Bandosian-worshipers Ptolemos'd met once before. He knew what to expect from the brutish louts. First, he paid a visit to the Fremennik tribe. After that, he launched an attack against the Battalion. Things didn't go as planned at first—it seemed like they never did—but he was successful in the end. Now all that remained was the power source.
Ptolemos, having spent days studying the mechanism, knew what to look for. He cast a strong divination spell and discovered that what he needed was being held in the Varrock Museum. He wasted no time. Breaking into the museum and stealing the device was as simple as taking candy from a baby. Ptolemos now had all he needed to activate and perform his ritual.
As he was returning to the ancient dragonkin site, Ptolemos was contacted by Azulra. She asked him to meet her and Thane. Ptolemos demanded that Thane ask him instead to make sure she wasn't trying to trick him. After Thane did so, Ptolemos decided to humor her. Of course, not everything was as it appeared...
They met in an abandoned citadel far above Gielinor's surface. True to his word, Thane was there, as was Evgeni. Azulra greeted Ptolemos in the keep by activating a tele-block around the entire structure, followed by a barrier to prevent any interruptions. The trap was sprung. Azulra talked while the other two attacked.
Evgeni's energy attack bore a hole clean through Ptolemos' abdomen, while Thane's spell successfully stunned him before he could react. Evgeni came close to performing a killing blow, but Azulra commanded him to stop and released a fire spell that struck Ptolemos head on. He fell forward, burnt and terribly wounded. Azulra instructed them to remove the Mahjarratbane from him, which Thane did. She then asked for it, but Thane and Evgeni refused. Both believed the weapon too powerful to exist—it had to be destroyed.
An enraged Azulra lashed out at the two. Her demons swarmed the citadel and began to attack them. Amidst the chaos, Evgeni acquired the dagger. It started to glow white hot in his hand, its temperature raising exponentially. He quickly destroyed it with his magic. Azulra called off her demons, frustrated with the two's actions. That's when Ptolemos' body began to move.The skin, it seemed, began to squirm beneath the robes. Red ants soon erupted from them. They left in a hurry, leaving the magically constructed false Ptolemos to dissolve away. Ptolemos' voice then spoke to them. He told them the dagger they destroyed was a mere copy before revealing a smidget of his plan: to utilize the power of the dragonkin and cast himself back through the currents of Time where, with the assistance of the Mahjarratbane dagger, he would murder Zamorak and assume his role in history.
With the knowledge of the future and the elder weapons taken from Zamorak, Ptolemos planned to challenge the Empty Lord and become a god.
Early Sixth Age, circa year 0
The ancient dragonkin site stirred to life once Ptolemos placed the ancient effigy into the mechanism. The anti-magic field surrounding the site immediately fell away, dispelled; the earth groaned beneath his feet as if waking from a long slumber; the arch leading into the wall started to glow and emit a pleasant humming sound. In that moment, Ptolemos felt triumphant. He reveled in his success and the excitement in the air before reluctantly facing reality.
The ritual required his full attention and a considerable amount of his power. Any interruption could cost him everything. Ptolemos needed to prepare. He began by weaving a number of powerful wards around the cavern, and then set up a number of deadly magical traps. Even then he was unsatisfied. He decided a force of his own was necessary, and knew just the person that could lead it.
After creating his forces, Ptolemos grew aware that Azulra had died. He sought out Arachnea, Evgeni, and Xolotl telepathically and asked them if it was true. They confirmed it. Ptolemos had mixed feelings. Although he saw it as a waste, he couldn't help but feel relieved knowing it meant one less nuisance in the world. He retreated from them and back to the matter at hand.
While resting, Ptolemos sensed a disturbance on an outer plane. He went to investigate and found Yokrad and Drok, two members of the Chosen Battalion, had somehow been transported to Yu'biusk. Ptolemos took the form of an ourg spirit, and figuring he could use this to his advantage, bade them welcome. He wasn't aware that Yokrad wore the reconstructed pendant of Bandos. It forced him to reveal his true form to the two, who recognized him from their previous encounter. Drok started to attack, but was scolded by Yokrad.
Ptolemos came clean with them about his purpose and told them he wanted to purchase a few goblins. They bargained until Yokrad seemingly agreed on a price. Ptolemos told them he'd bring them their gold and tried to teleport, but found himself unable to. Yokrad suggested he take the portal they came from. As Ptolemos neared the portal, it exploded.
The force knocked him off his feet and hurled him through the air. It was a trick! Yokrad had been ordered by the pendant to kill him. Drok prepared a spell, while Yokrad was taken over by the pendant. Ptolemos got to his feet, preparing his own spell. They fought for awhile, neither side gaining a foothold until it neared its end.
After several attempts, Ptolemos managed to remove the pendant from Yokrad. However, he failed to prevent Drok from putting it on. Through their combined efforts, Ptolemos was defeated and swallowed by the goop on the devastated plane. The two Bandosians left through a portal spawned from the power of the pendant. Once they were gone, Ptolemos crawled out of the goop, his pride as equally wounded as his body. He retreated to the ancient dragonkin site to lick his wounds.
A Matter of Family
The following is taken from Ptolemos' notes and regards an encounter with Yurlungur Neraka, his uncle:
19 Bennath, Year 0 of the Sixth Age.
My uncle visited today. I was alerted to his presence when he had one of his creatures pass through my nexus. I deactivated my traps so that he could pass through unhindered. I was being courteous at the time, but knowing what I know now I would have kept them up for him to discover himself. A part of me hoped we could work something out, something that could benefit us both. That wasn't the case.
He continued down the tunnel and found the dead dragon, which he took. I don't mind; I have no further need of it. After that, he went back to following the tunnel. I laughed when he tried to locate me. Of course, his attempt failed because of a clever system I devised myself. Utilizing a simple windup music box of dwarven make, I warped the noise it produced with my magic to 'drown out' any sort of divining act, as well as a number of other things.
He teleported directly to the music box and wasn't very happy with what he saw. I thought it was hilarious. We started to talk, mostly about family matters. I wonder if he took what I said about my mother to heart. It's been so long ago and yet I remember it as if it were yesterday...but the past is the past. I have accepted what happened and so must he.
As we neared the end of our conversation, he made me an offer: I join his family, and with them, start a war amongst our kin. I declined. After all, I'll have my own war to fight soon enough. He didn't take it very well and asked about my plans. When I told him, he figured I might resurrect the late Azulra. The very idea...it's preposterous! I gave him an ultimatum, as I gave the others: try to intervene and I'll be forced to kill him.
He said he wouldn't allow me to go through with it and attacked. As if I hadn't expected him to turn on me. I evaded his trap and summoned Rosaline and her skeletal warriors. He withdrew into the shadows and summoned more of his creatures. While she ordered her men to attack, Rosaline stayed behind to protect me. Even in death, she serves me wholly. It's rare to find such devotion among humans, less so the undead.
I'll admit it was rather challenging to fight back while he was hiding in the shadows. I'll need to find a way around that in case he ever tries again. While our forces fought, he kept launching several spells at me before trying to stab me in the back. Fortunately, Rosaline heard him above the noise of battle and threw herself in front of the attack. Her wound wasn't terrible, but it prevented her from participating in the remainder of the battle. I'll be sure to mend it later.
Oh, I shouldn't forget how he tried to trick me with illusions of Arachnea, Evgeni, and Azulra. They didn't work as well as he thought they would. Arachnea and Evgeni wouldn't have stood around, hurling insults at me. No, they'd have tried to kill me straight away. I don't even need to explain why the last one failed. At this point, I grew irritated. I had the skeletal warriors withdraw close to me and erected a magical shield around us. I then woke the slumbering stone golem I'd created specifically to guard against other Mahjarrat.
I must confess, I hadn't planned on awakening it so soon, if ever. It's a last resort because of the simple fact that it's made to attack Mahjarrat indiscriminately—including myself.
My uncle must have gotten tired of trying to kill me because he left soon after my construct emerged. Perhaps it scared him? Either way, I guess he thought he could destroy me and the ruins by having his creatures explode. They did little harm, apart from injuring some of the skeletal warriors and disabling the golem.
On that note, I ought to go reinforce my magical defenses now. Not that I doubt my own power, of course.
His Purpose Revealed
Early Sixth Age, circa year 0
Ptolemos was manipulating the portal's energies when he heard someone calling for him. The voice was familiar. Arachnea. She was at the ruins, probably in one of the outlying tunnels. Ptolemos answered her call, using magic to extend the reach of his voice. He greeted her and wondered why she had come. They exchanged words before Ptolemos invited her further, if she dared. She was unafraid and proceeded.
Arachnea walked through the tunnels unhindered for Ptolemos' defenses were deactivated. She passed through the nexus and eventually found the area where the dead dragon had been stored. She investigated the blood-filled vials, and after realizing what it was, took one for herself before continuing onward. She then discovered a small windup music box, similar to the one Yoral found before. She examined it before leaving her 'mark' on it.
Up ahead was Ptolemos, his attention fixed on the portal. Rosaline was beside him, her fiery gaze upon Arachnea. A shimmering magical barrier separated them, as well as a line of skeletal warriors. Ptolemos welcomed her and asked why she had come. This sparked a conversation that would last for some time.
Arachnea wanted to know what he was planning, saying the others had differing opinions on it. Ptolemos was eager to explain himself. He told her his stance on Zaros and Zamorak, and why they didn't deserve to be worshiped. He claimed their kin was too blinded by their faith to realize how they were being used by the gods, how Zaros and Zamorak were acting selfishly and not for the benefit of their kind. She asked how he meant to rectify this. Ptolemos responded by gesturing at the portal behind him.
Ptolemos explained his plan to use the powerful relic of the dragonkin to cast himself back in time to the point where Zamorak was still a mortal. Once there, he'd strike him down with the Mahjarratbane and assume his form. With the assistance of the elder weapons, he'd go on to become a god by defeating Zaros and absorbing His power. All of this had been said before, but only now did Ptolemos reveal his true purpose: the unchaining of the Mahjarrat.
It was necessary for him to become a god. The only way he could rid Gielinor of the other gods was to become one, Ptolemos reasoned. History would be changed. The manipulative gods would be gone, and the Mahjarrat would be left unchallenged to rule over the realm, as was their right.
Arachnea was skeptical. She doubted he could go through with it. Ptolemos, on the other hand, believed he was the only one capable. The others, he reiterated, had too much faith in their gods. He then told her that he would do what needed to be done to make sure he succeeds; a subtle threat, should she try to stop him.
Arachnea was not like his uncle, however, and told him she was going to watch how it played out. Ptolemos thanked her, relieved he wouldn't have to fight again. After finishing their discussion, Arachnea teleported out of the ruins, taking the windup music box with her. Rosaline insisted that he should have killed her while she was within in grasp. Ptolemos dismissed her comment and went back to work.
An End and a BeginningThe following are the last words of Fykeric Bliem, a worshiper of Zamorak, as he describes his last encounter with the Ptolemos, as recorded by Emre Issan, a scribe of Al Kharid:
12 Raktuber, Year 0 of the Sixth Age.
It was time. I could feel it in my bones, as if my lord was speaking to me. The others had come and waited while I prepared the ritual that would take us to his lair. I drew my blood, inscribed the circle, and spoke the incantation. In a flash of light, we were there.
The act left me mentally and physically drained. I prayed to my lord for strength. The others, they were eager to finish this. Yoral hid himself in the shadows using ancient magic; Domino was armed and ready, a look of hunger on her face; Arachnea was as calm as ever, reminding me of the calm before a storm. I felt my strength return while being in their presence.
Looking around, I saw a ghastly sight: vials filled with blood littered the tunnel. I was sickened. Apparently he had kept a dragon there and drained it of its blood. I had an inkling of an idea for what purpose it served. We wasted no more time and started forward. I walked ahead and led them past the magical defenses and traps woven in the tunnels.
By this point I began to grow uneasy. A strange buzzing noise filled the air, echoing from somewhere down the tunnels. We soon came upon an intersection of tunnels, and it was there I felt it.
A great wave of energy washed over us. I knew what it meant, knew we had little time left, if any, to stop him. Like a fool, I rushed forward. He had to be stopped!
I found the chamber and saw him. Ptolemos. He was near the portal. I started forward again, but was stopped by Rosaline. Even then, after all that happened, I pitied her. Once one of the most devout of our order, she'd abandoned my lord to follow Ptolemos. I tried to talk to her, to guide her back to Him. She didn't listen. I wasn't even aware of the blade in her hand until it pierced my stomach. She then kicked me away, leaving me to die.
There was another wave of energy. I was fading fast and could barely breathe. I realized the others were there in the chamber once Ptolemos started to speak. I dragged myself away, knowing there was nothing I could do. I waited for death to take me. It never came. I realize now that my lord was watching over me then, keeping me alive to witness what happened next.
Arachnea, Yoral, and Domino emerged from the shadows. Across from them were Rosaline and Ptolemos, standing close to the portal. They were protected by some magical barrier. Ptolemos' undead were ready to defend him should the need arise, to which it did.
Demons and shadow creatures summoned by one of the three clashed with the undead. Steel met with claws, shadows with light. And that was only the beginning. A monstrous creature emerged from part of the ruins. A golem, I think. It went after Yoral and Arachnea. The latter met it with her blades, although I don't think her attacks met with much success. Physical and magical blows appeared to do nothing to it. It continued to hound them both, despite their attempts.
I couldn't tell when the tide of battle changed. I must have blacked out. When I awoke, the next thing I saw were the demons and undead being blasted apart. The golem was still fighting, but Arachnea and Yoral had did something to it. The glyphs over its body were deteriorating. Through their combined efforts, the pair sent the construct towards Ptolemos' barrier. I heard Rosaline cry out.
Ptolemos, unaware of his creation, was immediately swept off his feet as it barreled through the barrier, destroying it. Both he and it disappeared through the portal. Something then happened. I'm not sure what, but either the portal wasn't ready to be used or the golem disrupted it somehow. I saw its foundation crack, and to my horror, watched as Ptolemos was warped by its unstable energy. His body was torn apart, ripped in half, and shredded into pieces simultaneously; his bones twisted, cracked, and splintered. His mouth opened in a scream, but only blood came out. I couldn't look away.
Something started to ooze from him, some sort of energy. It started to well outward, but was caught by a vortex forming in the portal and was sucked in. Both Ptolemos and the golem disappeared within it, as well.
There was a bright flash of light, followed by an explosion the likes of which I have never felt before. The heat burned my skin, seared my throat. I felt the cavern we were in begin to collapse. I thought I was going to die there, but it was not so. My lord saved me, I'm sure of it. He could not, however, heal me of my wound. It started to bleed once more, but at least I'm home.
The task my lord laid out before me is finally complete. I know I'm dying, but I'm not afraid. My only regret is that I failed to spare my brothers and sisters their fate...
Fykeric Bliem passed away a few hours later. As requested, his body was cremated and buried at sea.
But It Was Not So
Pain. All he knew was pain. Excruciating, unimaginable pain. The world he now stood in was lost on him, as were his memories. His mind begged for an end to to it all, screamed for what could be its only salvation: death. He felt rather than see everything go dark...and then he opened his eyes.
After his laughing fit, which had early split his sides, Ptolemos carefully studied his surroundings. Yes, he had made no mistake as to where he was. But there was something wrong, something different about it. Realization then struck him like lightning. It wasn't Freneskae that was wrong...it was him. He could scarcely believe it. I have to be sure, he told himself, and that meant he needed to travel.
The journey was uneventful. Ptolemos encountered no living thing nor did he come across any existing settlement or indication of one. The world was, as far as he knew, empty. This only strengthened his resolve. As he neared his destination, Ptolemos began recounting his tribe's folklore to himself. Everything he knew about the Sundered Sea, about its creation, he went over in his head. He lost track of time as he scaled a mountain that separated him and his home. Upon reaching the summit, Ptolemos froze.
Before him was a sea, stretching as far as the horizon.
I am in the past. Those were the first words that swept through his mind. The portal had worked! It had sent him back in time, but not where nor when he first intended it to deliver him. The golem, Ptolemos concluded. It must have disrupted the portal's magic. But why here of all places? He brushed the question aside as he had more pressing matters to attend to.
Pursuing his plot to rid Gielinor of the gods was all but ruined. Without the Mahjarratbane dagger, any attack against Zamorak would fail. He decided that he would return to the future. But how? Ptolemos wasn't sure. I'll find a way, he vowed silently, and then added with a mirthless smile. I have all the time in the world, after all.
Ptolemos lost track of time as he toiled away on past Freneskae. He was trying to replicate a portal that would take him back to his time. He traveled far and wide to locate the materials required to complete it. When he felt tired, he took brief slumbers to renew his strength. After locating all that he needed, Ptolemos transported them and himself back to the sea. Although it was not yet his home, Ptolemos felt comfortable there. He began crafting the portal's framework immediately.
Between hibernating and working, Ptolemos reflected on the incident that had brought him here. He was angry and vengeful when he first arrived, but as time passed he realized that those emotions would only consume him, and in the end, destroy him. Instead he poured his wrath into his project, using it as a source of strength. His wrath faded with time, which left him feeling more stronger than ever—physically, mentally, and emotionally. He progressed far before hitting a snag.
The portal's framework was complete. However, when Ptolemos tried to create the portal itself his magic failed. He didn't know what the problem was, and spent a long time trying to unravel the mystery. Then, after waking from one of his deep sleeps, it struck him. Something in the timeline was preventing the spell from working. He had to find out whatever it was, and so attempted to cast his mind forward to see. His first attempts failed up until he found an anchor point: his abyssal ants.
Perhaps it was due to the unique circumstances of their realm from which the ants originated from? Ptolemos didn't give it much thought. He was far too busy uncovering the issue with the timeline, which he eventually did. Without interference on his part, events weren't leading up to him being sent back through time. He was then forced to expend a great deal of his power to deliver visions to Fykeric Bliem and Rosaline Haines, as well as direct his ants to guide the latter. This would lead up to the necessary events that'd spark the future portal's usage.
As his consciousness returned to the past, Ptolemos was exhausted. He knew the portal would work now. The events in the timeline would come about as they did for him, and so he slept one last time.
When he woke, Ptolemos was surprised at how calm he felt. It seemed like a lifetime ago when he first opened his eyes and found himself in the past, and now he was about to return to his time proper. He cast the spell and spoke the words, and the portal came into being before him. He stepped forward...and stopped.
Something was wrong with the portal. It was fluctuating wildly. Too late did Ptolemos realize his mistake. He had misspoken a word and now the portal was out of control. Acting as fast as he could, Ptolemos tried to correct the magic. He was successful in binding it—for now—but at the same time it taxed all his strength. I was so close, he scolded himself. Now he had only minutes before the portal collapsed.
It was now or never. If Ptolemos didn't go, he faced another lifetime of rebuilding everything. But surely the others would notice his return, and with him as weak as he was...unless he somehow hid himself. A moment from his past came to mind. Yes, Ptolemos concluded, that will work. It has to. After all, he thought, it is a lesson I learned from the great Arachnea herself.
He was ready now. The magic was starting to build up and was already straining the binds he'd put on it. While closing the distance between himself and the portal, Ptolemos prepared his body and mind for what he was about to do. He was only one step away now. The next would whisk him away from this place. Ptolemos closed his eyes and took the step.
Ptolemos' binds on the portal fell apart as soon as he disappeared. The energy released from its collapse was of such magnitude that it warped the land and sundered the sea.
Early Sixth Age, circa year 0
Ptolemos called to his kin, and they answered it. There were at least fifteen Mahjarrat in attendance, more or less. They were curious as to why he had summoned them all to the North since the rejuvenation ritual had yet to occur. Ptolemos gave them their answer in the form of a speech.
He told them their kind were going extinct as they fought and killed each other because of their faith. The gods, he continued, cared nothing for them. Instead, they only saw the world as their sandbox and would destroy anything and everything to become its king. However, there was a way out. But it would require effort and determination on their part.
They must fight in this war, but not for any god. They needed to fight for themselves and their race; they must fight alongside the Godless. No more would the gods rule over them, using them like tools and slaves. And once they were removed, the Mahjarrat would rule over Gielinor as was their right!
But not all of the attendees were for this idea. Many rejected it outright, while others pointed out its flaws. Some left immediately. Those that stayed witnessed his powerful spell.
Casting it upon his severed right hand, Ptolemos created a new constellation in the sky for all the beings on Gielinor to see: the hand of a Mahjarrat, open in defiance. For one night only it would remain. But that would be long enough for all to see it.
Those that had lingered thus far also saw a rare sight indeed. One of the females went into labor and shortly afterwards gave birth to a child. Could this be a sign, perhaps, or was it merely coincidence?
Early Sixth Age, circa year 0
Ptolemos and his army were waiting in the North, eager for the moment when they would burst from their fortress, like maggots out of a carcass. The monstrous Mahjarrat force would be a blight upon those that thought Gielinor easy pickings, or so Ptolemos fancied. When word reached him of the appearance of two gods near Lumbridge, Ptolemos awaited the words of his allies to confirm it was so, electing to stay behind himself to prepare the army should the rumors be true. What he failed to realize, however, was that an even greater danger had finally tracked him down and was just then approaching his doorstep.
Lashual had finally found him. The trace was potent now; it flared with the strength of the sun, despite being beneath the immense weight of snow and stone. He didn't hesitate. The memory of the itch was still strong.
Ptolemos knew something was wrong. From inside his office he heard the shouts of those throughout the fortress. Although unable to make out their words, he could tell by the tone of their voices and the general commotion outside that they were under attack. How someone even knew they were here, he didn't know, nor could he figure out what they could gain by attacking a fortress filled with rejuvenated Mahjarrat. Either they were stupid or...no. Ptolemos didn't want to think about what the alternative might be. He crossed the room and pressed his hand against the door.
Lashual followed the trace as best he could, but the fortress was a mess of corridors and dead ends. His frustration grew with each step. He was going to find him, and when he did, he was going to tear him apart.
No sooner did Ptolemos open the door than was he swallowed by a cloud of yellow smoke. It stung his eyes, choked him. He recoiled in pain. He didn't know what to make of this, and judging by the retching and coughing he heard, the other Mahjarrat were in the same state as him. Ptolemos groped for a wall to support himself and strained his ears. There was something else down there with them...something big.
He heard a loud crash ahead of him, as though something had slammed into a wall. Voices rose in alarm, but were quickly cut short. Ptolemos tried to reach out to his brothers and sisters, but none answered his call. Desperate, he sought a telepathic link with someone, anyone. His attempts met no success. Whenever he tried, the yellow smoke assailed him. It numbed his mind, drained his strength. Ptolemos grew uneasy. Whatever was attacking knew to disrupt their senses. He soon abandoned his efforts to communicate with his kin and waited.
Lashual met resistance while negotiating the fortress' winding corridors. They were, however, easily quashed, due in no small part to his spell. His 'yellow smoke' incapacitated most, allowing Lashual to finish them off with ease. Those that somehow mitigated its effects put up a fight, but ultimately fell like the others. As he hurled a broken corpse away, Lashual felt a tremor of exultation course through his body.
Ahead of him, enveloped by the trace, was the one he'd been seeking.
Ptolemos fell back a step in shock. He could see the silhouette of their attacker through the smoke at the opposite end of the corridor. In dreaded realization, Ptolemos knew it could see him, too.
Lashual watched the Mahjarrat as it fled back into its room. Let it try to escape, he thought to himself. There's nowhere he can go where I won't find him.
Ptolemos shut and locked the door behind him. Not that it would do any good, he figured. But at least it kept out some of the smoke, which might just save his life. He could already feel some of his strength returning. It was still too dense to allow teleportation, however, which meant he needed to improvise. Summoning what strength he had, Ptolemos weaved a magical ward, surrounding his office from the outside. Afterwards he retreated to the wall opposite the door, and with his back against it, reached into his robes.
After circumventing the ward, Lashual confronted the Mahjarrat known as Ptolemos. No words were exchanged for both were too busy studying the other, gauging their strength and predicting what their first move might be. Lashual noted that the Mahjarrat held something in his hand, and was amused to learn it was nothing more than a piece of metal. Then...Ptolemos struck.
It was over in the blink of an eye. Ptolemos lunged forward with the Mahjarratbane, his aim true. But his enemy proved to be faster. It seized him by the throat. With a swift jerk, Ptolemos' world was plunged into blackness.
Lashual let Ptolemos fall to the floor and watched as the trace gradually dimmed until it disappeared altogether. Satisfied, he then plucked from his forearm the piece of metal that served as the Mahjarrat's weapon. Before his inevitable demise, Ptolemos had managed to thrust it beneath one of his scales. Lashual gave it a cursory glance before discarding it.
With his objective complete, Lashual allowed himself to revel in his newfound freedom. He unfolded his wings and stretched them out to their full length. The itch he was so familiar with was now dead alongside the Mahjarrat, and so too was his memory of it. He was free to do as he pleased.
While flexing his stiff muscles, Lashual's eyes fell upon Ptolemos' corpse. His upper lip curled back, revealing rows of sharp teeth. Free to do as he pleased...
As he soared through the skies above the fortress, Lashual couldn't help but think over what his freedom meant for the world below.
Thrice Dead, Not Beaten Yet
Early Sixth Age, circa year 0
Far out in the Southern Sea, also known by some as the Unquiet Ocean, a lone flying citadel hovered idly over churning waters. One could tell from its dilapidated appearance that the floating land mass hadn't seen much activity in years. In fact, it'd long been abandoned by its original occupants. And yet, on this clear day, a thin trail of smoke could be seen stretching into the cloudless blue sky above; an obvious sign of inhabitance. So did the Mahjarrat find Rosaline.
Marethyu, Scorpiana, Evgeni, Strabach, and Jarenthar; all of them had traveled to this lonely speck of land in an endless sea of blue to find her after Marethyu's wight had learned of her location. Upon reaching the flying citadel, the five searched its grounds to find her. It proved rather easy. A smoldering campfire, the source of the smoke, was situated near a tent, and not far from it was a sleeping griffin.
The campsite was nestled close to the edge of a enormous gaping hole in the citadel's foundation, which offered a pleasant view of the startlingly blue, active sea below. The appearance of the Mahjarrat stirred the griffin from its slumber. It clicked its beak halfheartedly before returning to its nap. This alerted its rider, who emerged from her tent, a grumpy expression present on her haggard face. Rosaline addressed the group without any enthusiasm, wondering aloud what their purpose for being there was.
Marethyu related Ptolemos' death to her, using the broken fragments of the Mahjarratbane as proof. Rosaline was unfazed by the news, having learned of his death through other means. They asked how his demise came about, and so she told them his killer was none other than a dragonkin using a powerful spell it created itself. Terming it 'yellow smoke,' Rosaline explained how it specifically targeted the innate abilities of Mahjarrat and made any type of magic very difficult to cast.
When Scorpiana expressed her curiosity by asking how Rosaline knew so much, the latter dismissed it, saying she knew many things, and then started to divulge a number of unknown facts about the dragonkin in question.
Lashual as it was known, had met Ptolemos before, in a manner of speaking. The ancient dragonkin site used in Ptolemos' grand scheme was actually Lashual's own creation, and he slumbered far beneath it. When its portal was activated, and ultimately destroyed, the resulting energy released awoke the beast. It came after him for reasons unspecified and slew him before leaving for parts unknown. When asked where it went, Rosaline gestured towards the hole beside her.
She told them she'd been tracking it over the last few days, and with a slip of the tongue, also mentioned someone else had helped her find it. Dismissing the second person as the griffin, Rosaline then told them how she thought it was headed for the citadel, but that it changed course and dived beneath the water. Before she could continue, Scorpiana insisted once more that she tell them how she knew all of this. Rosaline told her that she knew because she was meant to, and while saying so, her hand unconsciously went to a spot near her neck. Continuing her tale, Rosaline related how she'd been watching for days now for any sign of activity, but all had been silent.
Scorpiana then made a snide remake to which Rosaline seemed about to react to when she suddenly stopped and tilted her head. Her eyes went wide, and after quickly smothering her fire, she dived to the ground, all the while warning the others to do the same. As they did so, a low rumbling came from beneath them.
From out of the ocean erupted the dragonkin. Its emergence caused water to spray everywhere and form large waves. It soared higher and higher, flying past the citadel to reach the skies above. Upon reaching its zenith, the beast stopped and spread its wings, allowing itself to hover. It breathed in the air, and then turned its gaze to the citadel below.
The others were frozen, unsure of what to do. When Evgeni attempted to communicate with it, Rosaline whispered for him to shut up, her hand creeping towards her collar. Luckily for them, the dragonkin didn't seem inclined to talk back. With a belch of smoke and flames, it left. Rosaline immediately got to her feet and began disassembling her tent. As she did so, she cocked her head to the side and nodded.
Upon finishing her task, Rosaline neared the edge of the hole and studied the sea beneath her. She spoke to the others, telling them that the dragonkin had a purpose for going down there. When Jarenthar suggested it was looking for something, Rosaline confirmed that it'd already found what it'd been looking for. When questioned, she told them there were ruins beneath the water's surface, and that they should go investigate them while she remained in the skies to track the beast.
As she prepped her griffin for flight, Rosaline addressed the Mahjarrat. She explained in detail that the ruins below had some sort of barrier, which in turn probably generated and sustained enough oxygen for something to live within it. Preparing to leave, Rosaline suggested they hurry. When Strabach asked how she knew of the ruins, she grinned knowingly and drew down her collar, revealing the other half of the Mahjarratbane, intact, tied around her neck. With that, both Rosaline and the griffin took to the skies after the beast.
The group descended into the ocean with the use of magic. They passed through the barrier around the ruins and touched down in what appeared to be a city entirely dedicated to the dragonkin. Strangely enough, the ruins itself hardly looked like ruins at all; the place could have easily been mistaken for being abandoned. An eerie emerald glow was cast over everything by light filtering through the barrier. They briefly considered the origin of the city before moving on through the winding streets.After an hour of walking, they came upon the city square. An enormous dragonkin effigy dominated the scene. None of the highest buildings even came close to its midsection. Because of its staggering height, however, the top of the barrier had cut cleanly through its neck. Near its base lay the head of the dragonkin, broken and ruined. Its eyes gazed upon what looked to be a rift the size of a small pond cut into the street.
Upon closer inspection, they discovered energy swirling within the rift. It was muted brown in color and moved in a sluggish pattern. Slabs of stone floated lazily in circular patterns above it. Every now and then small wisps of light would come into being and float a few feet before dying out. As they discussed what the energy rift could be and what to do about it, a voice spoke to them.
It was Ptolemos.
He stood before them, close to the edge of the rift. His form, however, was translucent and blurry. His appearance unsettled them, particularly Strabach. He hadn't come for chit chat, however, and wasted no time in getting straight to the point: the dragonkin, Lashual, had done something to the energy in the rift, which was but a small part of the world spirit—the Anima Mundi—and as a result, this particular rift and the energy contained within was decaying.
The air around them shifted without warning; the earth began to quake. Ptolemos vanished from sight, leaving the others by themselves. Left alone, they decided it would be best to leave at once. As they prepared to depart, the spirit of Ptolemos re-appeared and urged them to go at once; Lashual had returned and was collapsing the barrier as they spoke. As they left, Strabach lingered for a moment with his deceased brother who, with a smile, promised they would meet again.
As they fled the ruins, the barriers around it crumbled and the weight of the sea came crashing down upon it.
Following their departure, Ptolemos returned to Rosaline. It took barely a second for him to find her; she and her mount flew above the floating citadel that marked the location of the ruins under the sea. She shifted on her saddle as he grew close, moreso feeling his presence rather than see it.
"Master, forgive me," she said, her head hung in shame. "I arrived too late. The beast is gone." Something pressed down on her shoulder, applying an uncomfortable pressure. She felt herself cringe at its touch, but even so, gave in to it fully. A sensation much like electricity coursed through her dead nerves. Realizing what this meant, Rosaline couldn't help but tremble with excitement. Like his presence, she felt rather than heard his voice inside her head.
We have work to do.
A Finality for Two
The following audio is taken from Rosaline Haines' magical recording device and regards a series of events between her and the Mahjarrat Ptolemos as they prepare for their fight with the dragonkin Lashual, as well its aftermath:
32 Ire of Phyrrys, Year 0 of the Sixth Age
My master is lost, although not in the sense of how I know the word. He is... I'm not sure how to describe it. Enthralled? Enraptured? Those are the closest words I know that come close to describing him. Even as I speak, I watch him; his outline is indistinct, and were it not for the light emanating from the rift I would be unable to see him. I cannot help but worry.
Ever since our discovery of this place he has barely moved. The rift commands his every attention. I can recall similar instances like this from our time with similar rifts, but those instances never lasted this long. So far he has only broken from his stupor once, only to deliver me instructions. Considering his strange behavior, I am more than willing to do as he asks with the hope of returning him to me.
36 Ire of Phyrrys, Year 0 of the Sixth Age
It took me several days, but I am successful. The tele-orbs have been crafted and enchanted, as well as the dagger. I return to him now.
38 Ire of Phyrrys, Year 0 of the Sixth Age
I must admit that I had expected my master to be well upon my return. However, it was not so. He remains where he stood the day I left. Despite my best efforts nothing seems to draw him out of wherever he is. I will wait for him, though.
I have discovered more instructions carved in the walls of the cave. I go now to do as he instructs.
3 Novtumber, Year 0 of the Sixth Age
The Mahjarrat have been informed of their task. They each took a tele-orb and left to do whatever they do. I have my doubts and suspicions, but they seem willing enough. Still, I don't trust any of them for a second. As for my master, he still remains unresponsive. I have searched the cave but found nothing new. I have faith, though. He will come back to me. He has to.
9 Novtumber, Year 0 of the Sixth Age
My master has returned. He tells me it's time. I alert the Mahjarrat as I speak. Together we shall destroy the one who killed my master. I am eager to see the beast dead and my master avenged.
11 Novtumber, Year 0 of the Sixth Age
I don't understand... My master is gone. He won't answer me. It's their fault! The other Mahjarrat acted too fast! Had they only waited for my the signal, my master wouldn't have had to possess the beast! He wouldn't have had to...
No. No, I refuse to believe it. He has left me before but always returned. I will not lose faith again. I will find him. I will find my master. This I swear.
14 Novtumber, Year 0 of the Sixth Age
I don't get it. I have tried everything I know, yet nothing. He doesn't answer my calls... I must be doing something wrong. Perhaps I'm looking in the wrong place? But if not the Beyond, then where?
15 Novtumber, Year 0 of the Sixth Age
I had an idea overnight. My master fell into one of the energy rifts while possessing the dragonkin, so his fate must somehow be linked with them. But what does it mean? I don't know... I should find someone with knowledge of these rifts and learn what I can from them. But where do I start looking?
17 Novtumber, Year 0 of the Sixth Age
Good news. After returning to the Forinthry Ossuary to notify Sacheverell of my master's fate, I asked him for advice regarding the matter. He revealed to me that Steven has spent the past few months studying what they call the art of divination. It's funny, really. The druid never struck me as being suited for this sort of life, but I have to admit that he's surprised me thus far. I will seek him out and ask what he knows of the rifts. Perhaps he is the key to learning what happened to my master.
19 Novtumber, Year 0 of the Sixth Age
I have found the druid. Turns out he'd gotten himself captured by bandits while traveling through Edgeville. He's alive, if not shaken. I'll see what he knows about the rifts once he's recovered enough. Before finding him, though, I ran into a Mahjarrat. He was the one who helped me find the druid. I don't know what he had to gain from it though... Either way, I'll have to be careful. I don't know if any of the others are looking for me, but if they are... Well, at least we're in Varrock. There's no shortage of places to hide.
Varrock... I never expected to see this place again. It looks exactly like it was when I left all those years ago. My family must still live here. I wonder if... No, I shouldn't. It would only make matters worse. That life is behind me now. It's long past time I forgot them and they me.
21 Novtumber, Year 0 of the Sixth Age
Damn it! I'm such a fool. I shouldn't have gone out in the first place. But how was I supposed to...? Forget it, it doesn't matter now. We have to leave the city by tonight. At least the druid's well enough to travel. I'll have to steal horses for us before we go, but that shouldn't prove too hard. I'll question him as we make our way to Skelkesh.
Despite what happened I'm glad I got to see my little brother's face again. He almost made living under our parents back then tolerable. Glad to see he's also found someone special, too. He better treat Richie right, otherwise my next visit will be far more worse than the last.
23 Novtumber, Year 0 of the Sixth Age
Steven has given me much to think about. As we made our way back to Edgeville he described what he knew of the energy rifts from personal experience. Afterwards he asked why I was asking about them, so I told him of what happened. He paled. He knows something but won't say tell me. Fine, I will play along for now. We wait for Skelkesh now. Once she's arrived, we will make for the rift my master fell into. And once there I will make him talk.
26 Novtumber, Year 0 of the Sixth Age
I'm surprised, I didn't have to make the druid talk after all. When we reached the cave Steven saw the rift and began spouting all sorts of nonsense. I only understood half of what he said, but it was enough. As I speak Steven's near the rift divining or whatever they call it. I asked what he was trying to do and he told me he was trying to learn more of this rift in particular. If it goes well he said he might be able to tell me what happened to my master. So for now, I wait.
39 Novtumber, Year 0 of the Sixth Age
I don't believe it. Steven did it—the druid actually did it! He found my master! And of all the places... I have begun making preparations as I speak. Steven's decided to remain here to tend to the rift. As if I care...let him freeze to death if he so desires. Meanwhile, I will... Who the hell are you?
The following events are listed chronologically, meaning they have already transpired and may have been elaborated upon in earlier sections:
- Ptolemos meets a Zamorakian Mahjarrat named Kemses. The two frequent the ritual site, trading information about current events and of their Zarosian kin. Kemses introduces Ptolemos to the residual energy left behind by the Stone of Jas. The two erect a magical ward in front of the cave that leads to where the energies are at their strongest.
- Ptolemos meets and allies with several Zamorakian Mahjarrat. They are: Raine, Drachmus, and Altanquin. He also shows interest in a Zarosian Human-Mahjarrat crossbreed Tenebra. The two come to an arrangement for the next rejuvenation ritual.
- Ptolemos meets and fights a Zarosian Mahjarrat named Azulra.
- Ptolemos poses as an emissary sent by Zamorak and enlists the aid of several dozen chaos monks to restore the temple he was imprisoned in.
- Ptolemos attends a rejuvenation ritual and is successfully rejuvenated.
- Ptolemos is deceived and captured by Arachnea, a Zarosian Mahjarrat. He is released by Arachnea after she forces an ivory bracelet onto him. He's unsure of its purpose. Ptolemos later removes the bracelet by amputating his hand. It was held in Arachnea's Vault for a time, until it's later destroyed as a result of a spell.
- Ptolemos meets a Mahjarrat tribe who have been searching for Azulra ever since she betrayed them. After being informing of her death they leave him, but not before their leader calls him 'nephew.'
- Ptolemos meets with Kemses to inform him of recent goings-on. He discovers one of Kemses' army's camps razed to the ground. He questions Kemses and is introduced to a survivor. The survivor, a disguised Drok, leaves, allowing Ptolemos to talk with Kemses in private. Shortly after, they're attacked by Drok and the creature responsible for destroying the camp: a dragonkin. Ptolemos suggests to his ally that they use the hobgoblin as a distraction. He then flees, leaving Kemses and Drok to fend for themselves.
- Ptolemos is brought into Dissidious' realm, along with others, where they are trapped until they remove whatever's keeping them from leaving. Led by Dissidious, the party head for a city not far from them. There they encounter more Mahjarrat and one of Dissidious' beasts, which they manage to subdue. After being introduced to Fear, a creation of Dissidious, they're led through the city by him. They walk the streets while Fear tells them information relating to the realm and its master.
- When they arrive at a infirmary, they see an icyene they recognize having seen before. After Fear interrogates her, they learn the names of people who might be responsible for having brought them there. Fear informs his master, who tells them to meet him at city hall. Upon arrival, they see Dissidious and another man standing over a defeated automaton. He gives them enchanted goggles before introducing them to the other man, whose real nature is that of a modified werewolf.
- As they prepare to enter the city hall, it explodes. A mysterious stranger appears and subdues Fear. After a hasty conversation, which included an introduction and several revelations, he leaves. Dissidious wakes after being knocked unconscious by the explosion and explains that they need to go to the graveyard. They depart for a train that will take them there.
- Fykeric meets with Leila Kala Aren and implores her to get others so they can stop Ptolemos. He discusses his visions with her. He meets and successfully persuades Domino and Yoral to help them. They make preparations to attack Ptolemos. The four successfully defeat Ptolemos. Fykeric later succumbs to an injury sustained during the fight. His body is buried at sea.
- Rosaline tries to recruit bandits for protection. Although their leader initially refuses, Rosaline allows them three days to think the offer over. She returns and negotiates with a new bandit leader in return for their service. Rosaline continues to recruit men and women for Ptolemos' cause, as well as gather information for him. Nearly all the recruits are killed when the ancient dragonkin site collapses. Rosaline survives and is able to salvage a sliver of Ptolemos' Mahjarratbane, which survived the original's destruction.
- Upon Ptolemos' return to Gielinor, he is met by 'Cassie,' Azulra's cousin. They speak briefly about where Ptolemos has been and how he returned. Near the end of their conversation, she tries using some of his blood to gain control over him. When her attack misses, she teleports away.
- Soon after his encounter with Cassie, he is contacted by another Mahjarrat. The voice implies they know each other, so Ptolemos asks that it come to him. It does so, but conceals itself from him. The two discuss where he has been and what he plans to do now that he's returned. Ptolemos explains all that he learned during his absence, such as how foolish he was to think the past could be changed. He explains how his intentions are the same as they were before. Now, however, he believes that fighting with the Godless is the only way they can be realized. He then requests her name and is told that he knows her. As she leaves, letters form in the snow, revealing her identity.
- Ptolemos teleports to Witchaven, the 'territory' of Kisbeth. She soon arrives and is surprised to see him alive. She makes a remark about it, which amuses Ptolemos. They openly discuss what happened to him and eventually reach the topic of his plans. He tells her that he "only wants what is best for their kind," and when she asks what that is, he explains, "For us to be free." Ptolemos changes the subject to the Godless when she tries to pry further. They talk about them and the last great war. Kisbeth leaves, saying she has much to think about. Ptolemos leaves, too, having business elsewhere.
- Ptolemos, busy working in the desert, is contacted by a wight. It tells him its master, Marethyu, wishes to speak with him. Ptolemos remembers meeting Marethyu in Dissidious' realm and decides to humor him. He teleports to Ghorrock. He meets with Marethyu and they discuss the latter's plan. Ptolemos believes it's a fruitless endeavor, but concedes that he might be able to persuade a few to aid him. He tells Marethyu to seek out Kisbeth, saying she might be interested in it. Ptolemos then leaves, but not before Marethyu invites him to partake in the plan whatever may come.
- Ptolemos contacts Arachnea and asks for his hand back. She inquires as to why he needs it. Hhe explains that it's a component for a spell he's working on. Ptolemos denies that it's for more Mahjarratbane ore and reveals that it'll serve as a "sign for change," and that the hand itself will be destroyed in the process. The spell is harmless, he adds. Arachnea thinks about it before asking where he is. After being told, she sends it to his location. Ptolemos notices that the bracelet is gone and that it's in good condition. He thanks her for giving it to him before returning to his work.
- Ptolemos, after days of intense scrying, finally finds what he's looking for. He travels off realm for a few hours before returning with another Mahjarrat, his brother, Strabach.
- Ptolemos is once again confronted by 'Cassie' (her real name being Penindasan) and the ghostly apparition of Azulra in the Forinthry Ossuary where he masquerades as a humble initiate. After summoning an undead dragon to watch the entrance, Penindasan, plagued by Azulra, demands to know where Ptolemos is. An initiate, who is actually Ptolemos in disguise, is forced to retrieve Rosaline. He does so and watches the scene unfold before him. Rosaline bluffs, saying Ptolemos is dead. When things begin to heat up, Ptolemos steps in and orders Rosaline to leave. He discusses the meeting he held earlier, informing Penindasan of his attempt to try and unite the remaining Mahjarrat against the gods. She rebuffs his efforts and leaves shortly afterwards, Azulra in tow.
- Justice Icriulis comes to the Forinthry Ossuary in search for Ptolemos to ask for his aid in finding a friend who's lost in Morytania. Ptolemos, in the guise of an initiate, listens to him and says their leader, Rosaline, would be willing to help if they were given something in return. Icriulis agrees to give them cooked sweetcorn before inquiring how Rosaline would find his friend. Ptolemos gives him a vague response and bades him farewell as he leaves.
- Ptolemos invites three of his kin to the Forinthry Ossuary, knowing they'd shared an interest in his offer about the Godless. Accompanied by Strabach, he leads them to a chamber deep within the temple under the guise of Rekhyt, an initiate of the order. He reveals himself and asks if they're ready to join him alongside the Godless. They agree, much to Ptolemos' relief. They speak of other matters, such as other Mahjarrat and how best to interact with them, the Godless, and their future after the war. After confirming their partnership once more, Ptolemos resumes his disguise and leads the three—Skolfarik, Lazarus, and Izachera—out of the temple.
- Ptolemos and Strabach visit the Academy of Heroes to speak with Evgeni. They find him sitting at the central fountain, nearly naked, and drinking rum. After a brief exchange, Evgeni, now clothed, leads them to the Academy's library where they speak in private.
- Ptolemos inquires whether or not Evgeni will fight for Zaros in the war, to which he replies, "That remains to be seen." Ptolemos also asks if Arachnea, Evgeni's wife, is still aligned with Zaros. The answer is yes. Ptolemos then asks him a question: would he be capable of following Zaros if His great plan included the deaths of his wife and child? Noting that the answer he received was what he expected, Ptolemos, with Strabach, stress how the Godless are more than capable of winning the war.
- Afterwards, they discuss what the future will hold for their kind should the war be won, and the enigmatic Sliske and his agenda. Ptolemos admits he cannot provide direct answers for all Evgeni's questions. After more time has passed, Evgeni reveals he's been thinking about the Godless since the meeting, and even before. Ptolemos decides it's time to leave. He and Strabach go, but not before expressing their gratitude for hearing them out.
- Ptolemos meets with two Mahjarrat going by the names of Lord Hol-lis and Zantik. The former offers an alliance between Ptolemos' godless followers and his own Zamorakian followers, while the latter says little. After much consideration, and some persuasion on Hol-lis' part, Ptolemos agrees to the alliance. However, he reminds the two that such a fragile alliance won't last for long. Hol-lis suggests Ptolemos seek out Thane before they seperate.
- Ptolemos invites Thane to the ritual site. Instead of appearing personally, the latter comes as a shadow. The two talk, mostly about the gods and their kin. After some arguing, Thane allies himself with Ptolemos, but says he'll still serve Zaros and the Creator-God. They also talk about the upcoming war and breeding. This gives Ptolemos an idea. The two then part ways.
- Ptolemos pays Marethyu a visit, feigning interest in his project. The latter sees through him and asks if he needs anything. Ptolemos discloses his interest in building an army from the Mahjarrat remaining in their homeworld. Marethyu reveals the location of a portal that'd take them there. He asks if Ptolemos would like to see it, and then leads him to it.
- They arrive in Port Phasmatys Plaza where a group of vampyres are congregating. After asking the permission of Lord Umbra, Marethyu leads Ptolemos to its location. The latter exercises caution while dealing with the portal. Marethyu goes through it and returns with a captive Mahjarrat in tow. They bind it before communicating with it. It reveals its name is Crokum. By careful negotiation, Ptolemos and Marethyu convince it to join their cause. Crokum goes back through the portal to convince other Mahjarrat to join them. Marethyu suggests using his fort as a place to hold them.
- Before leaving, he suggests they talk with Scorpiana, a Mahjarrat who attacked one of their allies. After being invited, she appears at his fort. Together, Ptolemos and Marethyu convince her to join them. Once she leaves, Ptolemos does too, but not before expressing his gratitude to Marethyu.
- After Ptolemos and Marethyu successfully negotiate the service of one hundred Mahjarrat to fight for them, they decide to hold an impromptu rejuvenation ritual to strengthen them. Although lacking the appropriate sacrifices, they and their army travel to the North.
- As they prepare to select the sacrifices, Crokum and his followers attack Ptolemos and Marethyu, having planned to usurp the duo to gain control of the army. Ptolemos proposes to duel Crokum one-on-one. He readily agrees, believing he can overpower his crippled kin.
- As the two face off, Marethyu places himself behind Crokum's followers. When it becomes obvious Crokum's winning, Marethyu quickly slays his followers. Ptolemos, using their abrupt deaths as a distraction, then kills Crokum using the sliver of Mahjarratbane.
- With his army rejuvenated, Ptolemos leads them back to their fortress. He shortly returns with Marethyu and Scorpiana to dispose of the corpses. Marethyu suggests they devise a lie to tell the other Mahjarrat who might come investigate. Shortly afterwards, Penindasan arrives for that exact reason. After his two allies leave, Ptolemos tries once more to convert her to fight with him. She refuses and leaves. Ptolemos then returns to their fortress.
- Ptolemos and Marethyu visit the Acadamy once more in an attempt to persuade Evgeni to join their cause. Marethyu insists they reveal their army to him. Evgeni doesn't take the news well. Marethyu reveals his mate, Scorpiana, is pregnant in the ensuing discourse. Evgeni states he will join them if he can get those he cares about to join with him. The two then leave the Academy.
- Marethyu, Scorpiana, Strabach, and Evgeni arrive at the fortress, only to find it eerily silent. Marethyu reaches out to try and contact Ptolemos, but the attempt fails. So, too, do their attempts to sense any of their kin forming the army they'd brought from Freneskae. Marethyu immediately suspects Ptolemos has moved the army. A dripping noise gets their attention. They proceed forward cautiously. A sharp metallic scent washes over them as they near a corridor...
- Rounding it, the four are welcomed by the sight of the army, dead, their bodies strewn hither and thither. Most show signs of battle: gaping wounds, torn flesh, and extremities twisted by magic. Most notable are the ones either burnt horrendously by fire, the stonework around their corpses melted by the sheer heat of it, or the bodies of the younger Mahjarrat who appear to have just dropped dead for no reason, their bodies naked of any visible sign of trauma. The air is filled with magical residue, the remains of a powerful magic.
- Marethyu casts a spell to scry the fortress, searching for Ptolemos, or rather, his body at this point. He comes across a room he is unable to see into; either the remains of a spell or one still being cast prevents him from doing so. Mareythu sends out Spidoodle, his field mouse, to see what it can find. It returns shortly later after uncovering no survivors. Whatever had wrought this carnage had been efficient. They proceed forward, heading for the room that couldn't be seen into.
- They reach it and find a powerful warding spell is in place around it, blocking out any sight or sound from within. Both Evgeni and Marethyu combine their strength to dispell the ward. After counteracting it, the four enter.
- They discover the room's interior smashed to pieces. Ptolemos' corpse lies amongst the wreckage, viciously torn apart. The warding spell had apparently been a last-ditch effort by him to keep out whatever had killed the rest of the Mahjarrat. The four share their disbelief that Ptolemos would have gone down so easily. Whatever had killed him and the rest of the army must have been powerful, indeed.
- Marethyu asks Strabach to try and identify his aura so they can confirm it's Ptolemos' corpse they see before them. When he tries, Strabach is unable to do so. His body, like the rest of the dead Mahjarrat there, gives away nothing.
- Marethyu finds and examines Ptolemos' hand, which appears to be holding something. Upon closer inspection, he finds the shattered remains of the Mahjarratbane clenched in it. Half of it appears to have been broken off entirely, leaving no trace of where it can be found. The pieces in his hand, however, were powerless, their enchantment gone. The four leave the room.
- Outside, Marethyu suggests they find Rosaline. They start discussing what could have been responsible for the total annihilation of the army. Evgeni expresses his condolences to Strabach for what happened to his brother. Strabach, in return, expresses his regret for what's happened, but states there are more pressing matters that concern them. They then leave.
- With Rosaline's help, Ptolemos tracks down Arachnea. She is studying one of the energy rifts when he appears before her. She seems exasperated by his appearance, wondering aloud, 'Don't you ever die?' He ignores her comment and instead asks what she knows about the energy rifts. When she gives him an accurate answer, he explains how, as a spirit, he perceives the rifts differently. This leads to a discussion over how he learned of the dragonkin that killed him and its tampering with one of the rifts, and how it must be stopped before its influence spreads further.
- Ptolemos then explains to Arachnea how he managed to get the dragonkin's blood on the remaining piece of Mahjarratbane he had before dying, and how this could be their one shot at killing it. She reluctantly agrees to help him. Relieved, Ptolemos leaves her to acquire the materials they need before initiating their plan.
- Marethyu and Scorpiana return to the abandoned fortess in the North to retrieve some artifacts. Rosaline announces her presence and says her master wishes to speak with them. Ptolemos appears, inquiring about his remains. Marethyu offers to store his soul in a phylactery, but Ptolemos refuses, revealing he wants his body destroyed in order to protect himself. He then describes his meeting with Arachnea, reminding them the dragonkin—a very dangerous beast—is still on the loose. Marethyu leaves, asking Scorpiana to stay behind to help Ptolemos. They retrieve his remains and destroy it, but not before Scorpiana and Rosaline discreetly obtain a sample his blood for themselves. They then part ways.
- Ptolemos searches for Azulra's spirit. He finds her at Penindasan's castle in the Wilderness. She asks what he is doing there. Ptolemos begins by questioning whether she's been keeping up with the events around the world. She answers yes, so Ptolemos directs her to the topic of the energy rifts. He asks if she will help him learn more about them. Azulra counters his offer, telling him he should restore her physical form if he wanted her help. She concludes that he needs her alive to fight the dragonkin that he unleashed. He acquiesces and tells her he will see what he can do. Azulra advises he leave before Penindasan returns, so he does. Once Ptolemos is gone, Azulra briefly reflects how saving the world will only lead to her death before returning to the spirit realm.
- Following their meeting, Ptolemos seeks out a way to restore Azulra's body. Unfortunately, her remains were destroyed after her death. This made things difficult, but eventually he came to one conclusion: vampyres. He and Rosaline travel to Morytania, where they meet Lothorian Foryx. After much convincing, Lothorian agrees to help them, but on one condition: they must retrieve and return to him a sample of blisterwood, which had been previously stolen from him by the Mahjarrat Arachnea. Ptolemos accepts the arrangement and leaves with Rosaline.
- They search for Arachnea and find her where they last met. Ptolemos inquires about blisterwood and learns from Arachnea what it really is. He falsely admits that he met a vampyre who's going to restore Azulra's body, and that to kill him he needs blisterwood. He also knows Arachnea has some. After much lying, he manages to convince her to give him it. He and Rosaline then leave.
- The two return to Morytania and meet once more with Lothorian, along with his progeny. Lothorian, after seeing they have the blisterwood, takes them to an energy rift. He directs them to throw the blisterwood into it, which they do. All four watch as it is destroyed. Satisfied, Lothorian then leads them to an area where they will stay until he can rebuild the body from a blood sample Ptolemos gives him. After he and his progeny depart, both Ptolemos and Rosaline study the rift and wait until the deed is done.
- As they near the end of their time in Morytana, Ptolemos and Rosaline meet a demon. It leads them to the river Salve, where they find a box cleverly hidden. A letter reveals it's from Marethyu, and that it should not be opened until they're out of Morytania. Returning to their hut, the two are then summoned by Lothorian to his tower. The vampyre was true to his word, and the restored body of Azulra lay before them. They conclude their business and each take their leave.
- Ptolemos then contacts Azulra's spirit and tells her of her restored body. They meet in her temple and talk. Azulra questions how he did it and if there was anything else Lothorian did to it, to which Ptolemos denies. She possesses her body and, after refusing to help Ptolemos with the dragonkin, leaves to fully bind her spirit to it. Yoral, her father, appears as she leaves and attacks Ptolemos, threatening him with necromancy before shortly leaving himself.
- After recovering from Yoral's attack, Ptolemos and Rosaline meet with Arachnea once more. Knowing she'll be upset about her blisterwood, Ptolemos offers the gift he received from Marethyu as a 'symbol of trust and good faith.' She accepts it and asks about Azulra's fate. He says her revival was necessary in their fight against the dragonkin. He then asks her to tune some bane ore to the dragonkin's blood and, as she does so, describes his plan of attack. After the ore is tuned, Ptolemos and Rosaline leave.
Material-wise, Ptolemos left little behind. But regardless of what people think of him, it can be said that his intentions were always for the betterment of his race, although some of his actions throughout the later parts of his life may have be seen as counter-intuitive to that of his original goal.
|“||My father? I didn't know him very well, but some Mahjarrat did. They say he was foolish, ignorant, and would have destroyed the Mahjarrat utterly in his pursuit of power. They are thankful to be rid of him. Most, anyway. Those that mourn him do so because they knew his true intentions. He sought to rid the world of the gods, and so bring about a new era; one where the Mahjarrat could rule over the lesser races without equals. He wanted to free them... I like to think that despite his flaws he played his part well... Perhaps in his final moments he did.||”|
– Alorah's thoughts on her father when asked about him and whether or not she believed he ever embraced Zaros
Ptolemos, when in his rejuvenated form, stood at 8', and had a heavyset build garbed in flowing red robes. His face was once stripped bare of all but bone, but after successful rejuvenation, his dark brown pearlescent flesh grew back. He had aged visibly during his absence from the present, and had sprouted growths from his chin. With the ritual drawing near, his flesh began to tighten and would have soon disappeared altogether.
Atop his oblong head was a gold circlet where, in its center, was a rich golden heliodor gem with a winking cat's eye. Underneath it, lining his brow, were similar, although smaller, gems. His angular cheekbones and prominent chin were offset by his close-set eyes that had black sclera and red irises. Pockmarks were smattered over his cheeks.
His right sleeve was sewn shut above the wrist, his right hand missing after he deliberately cut it off. Upon his return, Ptolemos received a small scar on the palm of his left hand, which he kept as a remainder of his past trials.
Rekhyt is Ptolemos' most often preferred guise while out working in the field. It's almost always a human in form. He has several incarnations, but the most prominent two are known as "Old Rekhyt" and "New Rekhyt." The first he used when he manipulated an order of Zamorakians by posing as an emissary of Zamorak. He included characteristics of his natural form, such as his red eyes and large physique, to appear more intimidating and aggressive. It worked well, but he later abandoned this form in favor of a newer one.
Ptolemos allowed himself to appear and act much more human the second time around in order to gain the trust and respect from those he led in the Hand of Ptolemos.They responded well, making this approach a much larger success than the first.
Ptolemy Dean is not just one guise but a series of aliases Ptolemos first adopted when he successfully returned to Gielinor after he was sent back in time to an ancient Freneskae. In order for him to return unnoticed by his kin, Ptolemos warped his own mind, effectively burying his true identity beneath a complex layer of mental locks and chains. Alongside these barriers he'd inserted two simple suggestive commands: "stay alive" and "keep moving." Unbeknownst to him, the wards he put over his memories would eventually evolve, spawning what would later become an own individualized self.
Although Ptolemos made it back to Gielinor, he didn't arrive when he wanted to be. Before passing through the portal, Ptolemos failed to realize the extent of its damages. It proved unstable; instead of bringing him to the Sixth Age, Ptolemos found himself in the early Fourth Age. Without his true memories, his false identity followed his commands, steadily developing a personality of its own. Near the end of the Fourth Age though, something changed.
Either Ptolemos' wards began to deteriorate or his false identity grew aware of itself. It began creating its own commands, while also improving upon the two originals. In the Fifth Age it assumed the identity of a soldier named Thomas Dean, who it had found dying on a battlefield. It then terminated the original, whereupon it became the new Ptolemy 'Thomas' Dean. From there it moved eastward, where it got involved in an expedition that unearthed the Forinthry Ossuary, a temple his past self was imprisoned within. It quickly fled before he was discovered by himself.
Not much is known about what Ptolemy Dean did during the gaps between his emergences. He eventually wound up in Varrock near the end of the Fifth Age and started a life there. He disappeared shortly after the Worshipper Occupation though, and following a series of events, he remembered his true identity. But this particular guise didn't end there. It became the physical form known as 'New' Rekhyt during Ptolemos' time leading the Hand of Ptolemos.
After Ptolemos was killed by Lashual, his spirit was unable to leave the living realm. He stayed and accompanied Rosaline in their quest to kill the dragonkin, which ended when he and it both fell into an energy rift. What happened to him then is unknown. Far to the north though, the guise known as Ptolemy Dean awoke. Unable to recall what happened to him, he returned to Varrock to resume his life, unaware of his true nature and the dangers that follow him should he ever realize it.
As a spirit, Ptolemos' appearance didn't change much. When manifested, he appeared as he had been during his life, although he was semi-transparent due to his condition. Over time, however, his form grew more solid. His presence was known to make the temperature in the immediate area drop significantly.
Ptolemos was known for his arrogance, short-temper, and weak disposition before his death. In truth, he was nothing but desperate, although he'd never have been caught admitting it. He became distrustful of other Mahjarrat over the centuries and tried to avoid them unless they could become potential assets. Consequently, he didn't have many allies and therefore dedicated time to gaining support through other means. Being cold, calculating, and manipulative was common practice for him when engaging with others whose services he could exploit.
Ptolemos had no love for either Zaros or Zamorak. He aligned himself with his Zamorakian kin purely because he wouldn't worship a god who he blamed for the death of a loved one long ago. He eventually made the transition to godless once he returned to Gielinor and continued supporting them up until his death.
Ptolemos matured during his absence from Gielinor. He learned how to control his anger and also became more lenient and mindful of his fellow kin.
As a spirit, Ptolemos' personality didn't appear to have changed much. He believed his mission to rid Gielinor of the gods was too important for him to simply abandon, so he chose to exist in a state of perpetual limbo until he could accomplish what he set out to do during his life. However, upon discovering the energy rifts created after Guthix's death, Ptolemos became obsessed with them. This led to him abandoning his mission in order to protect what he valued above all else.
Ptolemos was a Mahjarrat of modest power among the remaining Mahjarrat during his life. He had all the abilities akin to his race, such as telepathy and shape-shifting. A successful rejuvenation empowered him with new-found strength. His arsenal of spells was vast, as well as his knowledge of the past and the arcane. Despite his bulk, difficulties arose whenever he participated in close combat.
In recent times, Ptolemos experimented with the denizens of the Abyss. After several trials-and-errors, which resulted in the deaths and disappearances of at least half a dozen chaos monks, Ptolemos succeeded in subduing a type of Abyssal monster not unlike an ant. He used his magic to warp the creature until it became docile and capable of self-replication.
Strangely, even without Ptolemos' guidance, his ants showed continued signs of cognition and were reportedly seen more often then they had been in the past. They eventually lost their self-replicating capabilities and are now thought to have died out completely.
Through trial-and-error, Ptolemos learned the tune bane ore spell. He later created Mahjarratbane, using his own severed hand to tune the precious ore. Only a sliver of his Mahjarratbane survived the incident in the ruins of the ancient dragonkin site. It was in Ptolemos' possession when he died and was broken. Half of it still survives and is currently in Rosaline Haines' possession. She obtained it after Ptolemos' spirit carried it all the way to the Forinthry Ossuary, where she discovered it. It served as an anchor point for his spirit, meaning he was connected with it and could only travel so far from it.
Ptolemos gained new talents as a spirit. They included materialization, possession, and the ability to manipulate the world with his willpower. However, he couldn't use anything he learned during his life unless certain conditions were met. For example, Ptolemos could only cast spells while possessing someone.
Materialization allowed him to manifest himself on the world and physically affect it, at the cost of the world being able to affect him. Possesson enabled him to possess a host, either willing or not, and take over their body. He could also 'blink,' which meant he could move over distances in the blink of an eye. His touch was be harmful, or at least uncomfortable to living beings.
- He Opened His Eyes - A short story about Ptolemos.
- Misgivings of a Cleric - Another short story related to Ptolemos.
- A Waking Dream - A brief summary of Lashual's awakening.
- Hand of Ptolemos - An order founded in Ptolemos' name.
- Forinthry Ossuary - The temple Ptolemos was imprisoned within.
- Yurlungur 'Yoral' Neraka - Ptolemos' uncle.
- Azulra Neraka - Ptolemos' cousin.
- Alorah Taredi - Ptolemos' supposed daughter.
- Click here to listen to Ptolemos' theme.
- Ptolemos was thought to have been sterile when he was alive.
- Although now with Alorah Taredi claiming to be his daughter, the truth of the matter is uncertain.
- Ptolemos is a Mahjarrat defined under the terms of the divisional split theory.
- Near the end of his life, Ptolemos was one of the few of his kind to openly support the Godless.
|The Neraka Tribe|
| Living: Azulra Neraka, Penindasan Neraka
Extended Family: Alorah Taredi, Ptolemos, Strabach
Deceased: Yurlungur 'Yoral' Neraka