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Wolves Amid the Lambs

Wolves Amid the Lambs


Nothing lasts forever. Yet nigh on a century after his death and the god Macchus somehow seeks to prove this wrong. The scourge that was born from his corpse pervades the planes. Affliction reigns, and all are drenched in its maddened mirth.

989 readers have visited Wolves Amid the Lambs since The Adversary created it.



Picture yourselves as privy to a war between gods.

When Macchus slew Haemathos, the worlds held their breath. All the planes of the starsea stood united in wonder-struck terror at the sight unfolding in the skies. It went on for days without end. Stars erupted, blooming into oceans of light and fire that washed across the dueling celestial bodies before petering out like the dying petals of a celestial flower. The star speckled void was ignited with a dizzying display of beauty. Chunks of matter larger than inhabited planes were casually dashed to dust, space and time rent asunder in a cloud of cosmic blood and aetherial exhalations. The song was strung until the strings were snapped, and one of the mighty deities was finally dead.

Macchus crushed his rival's head, reducing the once apparently indomitable god to an immaculate carcass hanging in the skies above Nervanna's heartland. When the ordeal had passed, it was believed an end to the tale. A spectacle to be sure, but not something to linger on. Terribly ghastly business, after all. The day-to-day drudgery went on just as it always had before. The needs of a growing nation weighed heavily upon every citizen and lord of the land, after all. Indeed, the corpse of Haemathos suspended high above became a regular sight to the people of the Empire. A reminder of what was, and a harkening to potential change in the future. After all, none had suspected Macchus to so brazenly initiate a feud with such a powerful peer. If this drastic of a change of fortunes could befall a god, then the mundane were all too enslaved to the same fickle twists of fate.

Yes. Change did in fact hang from a thread, its blade poised to strike the soul of Nervanna.

What went unnoticed by the mundane below, and only offhandedly heeded by the gods, was that not all was well within Haemathos' remains. Teeming beneath the sacrosanct skin there dwelt a legion of beings desperate to reenter the world they were deprived of so callously. For you see, nearly two millennia past Haemathos had set his eyes upon a land rich with mana. That force which seeps into every element of reality, permitting puissance of all sorts. Seeking to increase his own power, he callously rent it from its place in the starsea and swallowed it whole.

Along with all of its inhabitants.

After having been lost to unfathomable suffering for so many centuries, the death of their prison and jailer alike finally gave them the key to their release. They destroyed Haemathos from within, then like a plague of locusts these beings burst forth, raining upon Nervanna in the millions. From there they spread to every corner of every known plane. Once mortal, these.. things, these God Eaters were now Afflicted. Changed forever by the eldritch and obscene. The panic and carnage that ensued nearly crippled the Empire, washing like a calamitous fog across the worlds in a torrent of blood and insanity.

Imperial Port of Gargara, Athidiad – 73rd year of the Affliction

Among foreign jewels, the sea and sky harbors of Gargara gleam with exceptional lustre. When the Nervannans conquered the plane of Athidiad they were quick to transform the already wealthy port city into an even more prominent center of trade. Like the rest of the worlds, however, it bears wounds of Afflicted wrath. Scores of them brought their anarchy here, and once the initial horror had passed many chose to remain. Such a bustling seat of commerce means droves of bodies. Warm chalices of mana ripe for the emptying. Yet, so many go untouched. The ever malingering dread of the Afflicted has faded, even if such a lapse is unwarranted. Things seems oddly more calm since the Asylum's rise. Though 'calm' might not do justice the permeating worry of a bated breath that now the worlds hold.

When the initial bloodbath began to wane, many of the Afflicted began to settle into the new world. Reacquainting themselves with things that seemed alien and strange, yet long ago would have been utterly prosaic. Not all gave in so easily to the malignant menagerie of madness, grasping desperately to a tattered semblance of their previous lives. Still their innate need for mana, deranged psyches, and unnatural gifts would not allow them to simply reintegrate into society. Driven by their base desires and shunned by the mundane, the God Eaters were forced to choose their paths. To join the mighty Asylum, rue of empires; band together against the Lords of Madness; or walk alone, to prey and be preyed upon.

In Gargara, with its vast cosmopolitan nature, is the perfect area of.. opportunity for Afflicted seeking their path. For those seeking to drift beneath the radar, the bustling congestion the city provides is the perfect cloak. With the cloak comes the dagger, and all the business that lay within. Crime is not so simple a lifestyle for those with the abilities of the Afflicted. Those in positions of great influence, such as the Lady of Marigold, often have considerable need for such talents, and the most appropriate of applications. Like any venture, crime is not without its competition. Be it rival interests, or the stringent efforts of Imperial law enforcement, the sea of enemies is nearly without end.

As the worlds set into their silence, they await the entrance of blue ruin.


The Afflicted – What causes a man to transcend his mundanity? Furthermore, what indeed does it mean for one to be Afflicted? Is is the madness that induces such a transformation, as so many assume? The truth is.. the derangement is not the cause, but merely a symptom of the change. When the mind is unable to process that which it has been privy to, it will seek any recourse to protect itself. It will divide, unravel, or twist itself to fit a new mould. The Afflicted are not merely insane, for madness can indeed exist without the more unfortunate side effects of Affliction. Those who have been exposed to forces beyond their ken – sights beyond seeing, words beyond hearing, knowledge beyond understanding – and the arcane mysteries within will invariably be forever transmogrified. In nearly all cases ever studied, the victims exhibit a crippling desire to obtain more mana alongside a propensity for the more violent means of acquisition. The degree to which this madness rules them, and the more precise facets of their underlying psychoses, are often as diverse and discordant as the mental states of the Afflicted. The God Eaters are a unique strain of Affliction, markedly more powerful due to the nature of their catalyst.

God Eaters – Those unfortunate souls who inhabited Ghalamo Fi at the moment when the great god Haemathos ripped their world from the planar tides and swallowed it whole. For nearly two thousand years they festered in a sea of black bile and caustic blood, churning in the eldritch composition of a warped divinity. When Macchus slew their captor, the Afflicted began to devour their prison from within, likened to a swarm of maggots by the observing gods who did nothing to aid their plight. When at last they broke free from the ruined corpse, the Afflicted spilled across the worlds like a horrid blight. Forever twisted by torment, the consumption of holy flesh, and having imbibed deified blood, these creatures were but mockeries of the beings devoured so long ago. Their bodies often malformed, minds broken or fraying; they spread their misery and madness to the worlds. Forever transposing their semi-divine sickness upon the mundane.

  • Sadist – These twisted souls are the purest soldiers of violence. Like all the Afflicted, they crave mana – are defined by its call. To make more of themselves, they create misery most masterful with tool, spell and tongue. Often they are the least beset by crippling madness, instead overcome by intense desire. A need. A sweltering, craving calling to mutilate and destroy – for ruination's many forms are each an art, and of the canvas they are disciples. Hidden behind plain eyes and placid faces lay a legion of monsters, jaws unhinged and teeth laid bare for the tearing. Beasts in plain clothes and simple skin. Their implements are whatever they might favor, be it blade, magick or manipulation. However they may see the deed be done, so it shall be. Sadists oft make up the most forward of the Afflicted, those who venture out amongst the mundane when tact is needed and the less violent and volatile are not required.
  • Masochist – An Affliction not unique to the God Eaters, but uncommon amongst the otherwise-born. These poor souls have been eternally shattered by the desolation of Haemathos' humours. Unlike every other Affliction formed before, they do not seek to obtain more mana. Instead, they seem to long for the torment that had swaddled them for so many long centuries. The burning blood that bathed them, however, has strengthened their beings far beyond that of even their peers. What might kill any other Afflicted would only inflict a minor wound. Magickal blasts, crushing blows, and stinging blades do little to faze. Often they place themselves at the beck and call of other Afflicted, willingly stepping into the conflagration if only for the bit of warmth that might be found.
  • Deceiver – The Deceiver has two names based purely on the division of gender: Incubus and Succubus. Similar to the state of the Wendigo, the Deceiver may only obtain mana through a single means: That of the carnal act. Unlike the mundane who follow a similar road, the Deceiver's love is lethal. They are in a similar circumstance as the Sadist, usually lacking the more obviously maniacal tendencies of other Afflicted. Apart from the deathly nature of their touch, there is little to distinguish them from the mundane externally. Their predatory desire to hunt is as ever prevalent, the need for more mana driving them to kill again and again. They often rely on trickery and illusion for defense, employing magicks intended to obfuscate rather than openly destroy.
  • Riven – The Riven have had their minds shattered into entirely disparate beings, fully conscious and separate personalities inhabiting a single frame. Indeed, the horror of their catalyst was so tremendous that it required more than a single identity to carry the burden. It is rare that these inhabitants go unaware of one another, for better or worse. On the one hand, broader perspectives could indicate a greater deal of versatility as the talents of one mind lessen the failings of another. It could also mean that their very existence is an eternal battleground, with the various dwellers endlessly warring for dominance.
  • Seeing – Awakened by the terrors of Haemathos' cosmic innards, the Seeing are sensitive to the hidden nature of reality. Their eyes pierce the veil, unable to look away from the mysteries and terrors that lie beyond. One with the Sight is as privy to revelation as they are insanity. It can be difficult to differentiate between the real and hallucinatory. Visions and voices plague their everyday lives, muddling perception and rendering rationality a difficult goal to attain. Others still are lost within the maze of baffled senses, believing the mundane world outside to be strange and dull. The Seeing are notable for being the most powerful arcanists among the Afflicted. Not only is their aptitude increased, but their repertoire is greatly expanded. This clade of Affliction encapsulates two distinct, but inherently related subordinate states:
  • --Mazikin – The Mazikin have been blessed with a penchant for more directly pernicious magicks. These masters of the black arts are renowned for their frightening prowess, easily rivaling and even exceeding the talents of the Azilia. Though their Sight has blessed them with enhanced a keener intellect, which they employ to frightening ends. The Mazikin are counted as one of the more predatory Afflicted, who instinctively opt to indulge their crueler impulses. This is in stark contrast to the psychological condition of their close cousins.
  • --Kindly One – Disturbed beings who alternate between aiding the wounded and bringing low untold misery. Like the Mazikin, the Kindly Ones possess a greater innate predilection for magic. Unlike their Seeing brethren, they gravitate with a natural grace toward arts that are more beneficial. Spells that mend wounds and cleanse diseases. This seems to suggest a more benign mindset, and after a fashion this is the case. To some degree, the Kindly Ones are motivated by a desire to help more than hinder. However, they are not so two dimensional. Also in their possession are malignant sorceries of another sort. Rather than simply destroy, their harmful spells encompass a vast array of crippling curses. As this would suggest, the name they have been given is simultaneously fitting and mordantly contradictory.
  • Wendigo – These wretches are doomed to raven like animals upon the flesh of the living. No simple act of violence may net them the mana they lust for. No, to have their fill they must lade their bellies. Numbering among the most savage and demented of the Afflicted, the Wendigo is the most base of predators. Like an animal they stalk, chase, and tear. With gluttonous hunger they fight tooth and claw, wielding magic and might to sunder and gorge. They are a terror, with the beast reigning nearly unfettered. They are dominated by cravings, overcome by the insatiable, perpetual need to kill. Even so, this requirement has more than just a psychological basis. Physically speaking, a Wendigo is an impressive specimen. Stronger and larger than the average man, and with needs to fit. They burn through their fleshy fuel at an alarming pace when flexing their thew, which is typically very often, and it is not uncommon for them to appear strikingly gaunt and emaciated.


Humans – Humans are the fodder from which seeds will spring. Among the mundane, none are more populous. None more adaptable. Few are as ambitious, and fewer still have reached the lofty goals established by mankind. Ghalamo, Nahmtothet, Oriomos, and indomitable Nervanna are all composed principally of humans, and their influence shows. Their great success has had both its boons and pitfalls. Having spread so far has enabled humanity a greater deal of fortitude. Should one plane fall, there are yet scores more dense with their kin. It has also gone a great way to ensure that humanity's interests are often seen to before the needs of others, if only by sheer weight of outcry. On the other hand, they have also made themselves a primary target for meddlesome transmundane beings. Foremost the gods. Several of whom have taken it upon themselves to reshape the clay of human makeup, churning out entirely new species from the base material.

Azilia – The Azilia were once human. Their heritage still remains readily apparent, and they are but one of a number of races sharing similar histories. At some point in their past, their ancestors were transmogrified through the intervention of a god. In particular, this one was named Ptelpa. A horned deity blanketed in marvelous mountains of diamond that erupted from its body in all directions. None can be certain of its true motivation, but by its whim all the people of Azil were augmented so they harkened to its appearance. Blessed with significantly greater longevity and magickal aptitude, the newly born race of Azilia would eventually grow to positions of prominence all across the worlds – even seizing the reins of Nervanna. As their origin dictates, the features that most drastically separate them from humans are the growth of twisting horns from their foreheads and dazzling crystal formations peppering their bodies. These latter facets tend to develop mostly on the back and joints- such as shoulders, elbows, knees, and knuckles. In rare cases these crystals may become so dense as to hinder or even completely negate movement. Aside from these, they do appear very similar to humanity in all other respects. Though they exceed in all matters mental - exceedingly intelligent with great magickal aptitude - the Azilia are remarkably frail. Their tremendous spells and knowledge are as dust should they take but a single blow.

Therians – Another of the species born chiseled out from the human foundation. Unlike the Azilia, the Therians appear exactly like normal humans. At least on the surface. What sets them apart - the one facet that divides their blood into a separate clade altogether - is their ability to transform. The Therians, sometimes disparagingly referred to as beastmen, possess the singular power to transform themselves into the shape of an animal. Only ever a single creature, mind you. The hidden nature beneath their flesh has nothing to do with blood, as the forms of the parents do not- as a rule- carry over to the children. Any such instance is purely happenstance. In their human form, Therians tend to possess keener senses than typical man, though rarely are they grossly enhanced. This ability was granted to them by the god Jaro-gamak for reasons utterly lost upon the mundane. The ramifications of his actions have rendered the Therians anathema, and they are rarely accepted in human dominated planes should their hidden side ever become public knowledge. The act of metamorphosis is known to be physically taxing, possibly involving some degree of discomfort, disorientation, and even pain.

Limnites – The so-called β€œwee folk” of Limnas have, in a twist of irony, made a titanic impact upon the many worlds of the starsea. They are perhaps the most diminutive of species, most growing no taller than three feet at highest, but they have not allowed this disparity in size to hinder them. In general appearance they are very reminiscent of humans, with only subtle differences setting them apart. They are remarkably dextrous and famously versatile, having succeeded in nearly every venture their species has undertaken. The effects of their enterprises can be felt far and wide in nearly ever corner of the starsea. The very first airships were of Limnite design, and their scientists held the honor of successfully refining juhtt long before any others. Limnas has long been at the forefront of technological advancement. From improving basic household conditions to complex military machinery, no one can do it better. Though they are accepted by and large among the planes, and are a fairly common sight, traces of bigotry do remain and can be observed in pejoratives such as β€œdollop”.


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