Monday, 30 January 2017

A KINGDOM OF THE MAD ON THE MOONS BLACK SIDE

The Dark Side of the Moon is populated by, and composed of, the dreams of those who sleep in dungeons. Anyone dreaming in a dungeon dreams of this place and cannot leave it in their dream. Which makes dungeons a doubly bad place to be.

This place is lit only by starlight and stolen mists, but it is also an area of this world, a land which grows more powerful and who's borders interpose with ours as shadow moves across the dial of the moon like the lateral blinking of a lizards eye.

The vision-people of the moons black side are moon-dragooned and serve as churls in the Fractal Baronies of the Unseelie Chivalry, knights who kneel to Barons bound in loyalty to the Court of the Sleeping King.

The Sleeping King dreams his fortress and his court and the hypnagogic dreamscape of his lands and if he wakes all will disappear and chaos will snap the scales and break the balance of the political moon, bringing disaster to the star-lit sands. Therefore he is lullabied by an endless supply of hollow-eyed holocaust-bards snatched from their homes and stolen from their lands by the soft-shoed Silent Knights whose cloaks are stitched from the skins of embryonic mice. Rows and rows are carted to the Kings court on the dark side of the moon, chained and forced to pipe without rhythm, tone or tune until the all go mad and die, then the bard-corpse is detached and dragged away only for the bard to be replaced.

But this is not the only palace in this land, and not the only lord.

There is the Court of the Moon, rumoured to be ruled by a masked Selenian Queen, and the Knights of the Moon ensure a constant supply of new dreamers and new lands by venturing out into the waking world and lending their services as bounty hunters, cops and prison guards.

Anyone dreaming in any dungeon, anywhere in the world, lends their strength to the Kingdom of the Mad and so it serves those Knights that as many people as possible should be imprisoned for as long as possible as deep as they can possibly be.

They care nothing for innocence or guilt, only imprisonment, and there are many in the world who share their view, and are keen to call upon their blades of smoking glass and their moon-bronze chains.

Wherever the dungeon dreamers are, erupt blocks of Piranesi-buildingforms, impossible labyrinths of black stone, impossible archways and infinite rooms. These are the result of the dreams of the long-term dungeon-doomed, and the deeper and madder their imprisonment is in our world, the more magnificent the palaces they build in theirs.

And there is the Court of the Grail. The Sacred Bowl filled with the ever-replenishing black spit of God, hurled out as he shook his many-angled prison somewhere in the cosmos-core, beyond the reach of reason or measurement, hopefully never to escape.

The Holy Sputum breathes out the Verdant Land. Even without sunlight or warmth, the monstrous life-giving  power of the black spit is so intense that all over the dark side of the moon, trees and plants of primitive and eldritch kind boil up out of the lifeless white sand, black grass grows and nodding vein-blood-purple orchids burst their sacks.

by Beth Moon

So due to these three horrors, the mad visions of the Sleeping King, the nightmare memories of the dungeon-churls and the awful verdance of the black gods spit, life, and economy come to the moons blind hemisphere.


THE KNIGHTS OF THE MOONS BLACK SIDE

The preferred mount is a horse/goat hybrid with enormous polycerate horns, the eyes and legs and hooves of a goat and the body and speed of a slender Arabian steed. They can climb anything, perch anywhere and can chase escaping dreamers by leaping from branch to branch through the forest canopy, and by dancing from arch to arch in the Piranesi-dungeons.

The hearts of these Knights are so cold that they can freeze the water of an ocean as their horned horses hooves press against its waves, they can sweep out of the sea on frozen tides clad in rosepetal mail held together by thorns, or armoured in mantis wings pinned by the biting heads of ants, holding shields of glass with porcelain swords.

Amongst their orders are Mad Knights, men who were good knights and went mad, now believing impossible things, heroes who forgot themselves or those who were never knights at all but simply believe they are, driving only by the power of their delusion, Elvish Knights from the Otherworld, spirits of Autumn and Winter who hate mankind and mans imaginings, masked Knights of Misrule who’s king rules hidden from an endless carnival of death, Grail Knights, brave and honourable men who serve and protect the spit of god that brings life to this cold land, who’s eyes see only dying worlds  and cracked realities, and Goblin Knights, Goblins who have gone completely mad and sworn themselves to tell the truth and do only good, and who have been forced from Goblin lands, cloaked in clanking tin armour, mounted on pigs and told never to come back.

The Oaths and Orders of these knights are various and awful to a man.


Order
Thing you have to do
Power you get
Lost by
The Order of the Cold-Heart
Break the heart of someone in love with you.
Own heart freezes, gain ice powers.
Falling in love.
The Order of Discord
Always lie.
Can change shape at will.
Telling the truth (trapped in current shape).
The Order of Strife
Never courteous, always contemptuous.
Doors & locks fly open for you, can’t be trapped by anything.
Saying please/thank you/just being polite.
The Order of Pandora
Cruel to women.
Love curse/Charm powers.
Kissed by a maiden of their own free will/kind to a woman.
Order of Hate
No friends.
Immortal/immune to harm/blades.
Share a fire/food with someone/help them/allow yourself to be helped.
The Band of Ashes and Sparks
Condemn the innocent, free & assist the guilty.
Elemental immunity, can’t drown, burn, fall, be crushed be earth or stone.
Giving a true or fair judgement, helping an innocent person.

Never wash/be clean.
Invisible at will (but they can smell you coming).
Cleaning yourself, even a small part.
The Knights of Anarchy
Never take and order and kill any social superior on sight.
Can’t be killed by any royal authority or command.ie. if a king/queen says to someone “go and take out this deadly knight in my forests” that command can never be fulfilled.
Allow a king or queen to escape your sight/swear loyalty to any feudal hierarchy/be loyal (could even mean keeping a coin with a king or queens head on it, rule revealed by Knight leaving certain kinds of treasure behind)/obey an order.
Waste Knight
Live only in the waste-lands.
Perfect hunter, can always start a fire/find shelter/can’t die from exposure.
Spend a night in any built dwelling/eat cooked food.
Red Knight
Challenge everyone on the slightest pretext, never turn down a challenge and never show mercy to a foe.
Decapitation Strike, like a Vorpal Blade effect on any blade you pick up.
Show mercy, behave honourably to a defeated foe.
Moth Knight, Barrow Knight etc
Swear fealty to a particular enchantress of wizard.
Can polymorph into a particular thing. The Barrow Mages sworn Knights can turn into autumn leaves and float away/escape/sneak up on you but you can spot them in summer & early spring.
Disobey your wizard.

3 comments:

  1. It all feels solidly Dunsany/Mallory with a drop or two of Kingdom Death:Monster. The knightly orders especially have a languid sublime sense to them.

    ReplyDelete
  2. name suggestions for the Smelly Guys
    -Order of the Stench/Stench Knights
    -Order of the Great Funk
    -The Moldering Order
    -The Order of the Miasmic Body
    -The Order of Encrustment

    ReplyDelete
  3. I feel like Manning is/should-be one of these Knights.

    ReplyDelete

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