Atlas Rules Resources Adventures Stories FAQ Search Links
The Testament of Corinn Marylebonby Geoff Gander
The Testament of Corinn Marylebon is a very slim volume - almost a pamphlet - measuring 9 inches tall by 7 inches wide, containing 30 leaves of parchment bound in tan-coloured cloth, upon which the title is stamped boldly in black ink. It was published in AC 987 in Glantri City, by the well-known firm of Gauthier et Fils, who publish both famous and obscure books. Roughly 200 copies were printed, after which the author disappeared. To anyone reading the Testament, it will be readily apparent that the writer was disturbed. Although imprinted professionally, the text itself is in many places highly fanciful and nearly incomprehensible - changing topics without preamble, describing places unknown to even the most learned sages, and recounting events so far back in antiquity that no account should be possible of them.
The Testament is a rambling account of the last known years in the life of a student of the prestigious Glantri School of Magecraft, Corinn Marylebon, whose researches led him to uncover what he believed to be a great cult dedicated to the worship of "demonic Beings that should not be". While his own studies made him familiar with the outer planes and their denizens, he claimed that these "Beings" (sometimes simply referred to as "Them") were to conventional demons as the Immortals were to mortal creatures. What made Them horrifying, in his view, was that their natures and motivations seemed to be incomprehensible, and their power appeared to be incredibly vast. The basic premise of Corinn's account is that long ago, a great, multi-planar battle was fought between the Beings and a host of supreme entities described as being more benevolent, for dominion over all creation. The Beings lost, and were imprisoned in other dimensions where they could see all, but do no harm, while the planes evolved into their present states. Eventually, there arose mortal creatures, some of whom were able to hear the Beings' messages, and were thereby lured into their service. Corinn asserts that this was the beginning of a great cult devoted to Them, which still persists today, dedicated to freeing Them from their prisons and bringing about their dominion over the world and the stars. He also claims that this cult is present in every known realm.
Corinn claims that he uncovered evidence of the cult during a trip to Darokin, where he heard tales of "a fallen realm, north of the Cruth Mountains and east of the Atruaghin Plateau", which in its heyday had been devoted to the worship of one of the Beings, named Yuranos. Although it is evident that Corinn tried to find the lost realm, he writes little of his journey, though it is apparent that he discovered something that shook his beliefs. =20
"Would that I had never wandered off those paths that we were never meant to leave! My journey of discovery was folly, and I fear the thing that I discovered, that which beguiled me, and which I foolishly brought of that benighted land back to my home will be my undoing. Even now it seems to leer at me, as though it knows my fate and is content to sit back and watch the spectacle unfold. I shudder to think of the inhuman mind that devised it!"
Towards the end of the book he recounts a series of increasingly disturbing dreams concerning imagined journeys over moors and into swamps, always pursued by someone, or something, intent on doing him harm. Frequently, Corinn refers to "that thing" - the object that he fears - as the source of his dreams, but he is unable to break its hold over him. His final, most vivid dream actually describes the item:
"In my darkest dreams, when I thought myself alone, I saw a form approach me out of the swirling mists, in this dank, dark place at the back of my mind. Always it beckoned me forth, where, I do not know. How long I had envisioned this place I did not know either, yet always, whenever I cast my vision thence, there came to me one image. Nestled in the midst of a rank miasmic swamp, its foetid gases choking all life that would take root in such a place, there was a forlorn, rocky hillock. Upon that hillock, resting in a tiny depression, there lay a statuette, carved in the likeness of a creature I knew not, nor ever wished to see! That loathsome form burned itself into my mind, so unwholesome a form should not exist - must not exist! Yet my own eyes could not deceive me. Such an inhuman form could not have been imagined; it must have been the sitting subject for some mad sculptor! I ran, then, running as fast as I could, through murky waters and over forgotten hills, frantically seeking a respite from all that I had seen.
"On and on I ran, yet always I came back to that accursed hillock, just as I had found it in the waking world. Each time I came closer and closer to that damnable statuette, that thing that mocks me even now! I was being followed, but I saw my hands reaching for that thing. I screamed, but could not stop myself - my mind went cold, and as though looking at myself through frosted glass I saw myself picking up that damnable idol, a look of wild glee on my face! I cannot stop it now; all is done.
"Now, I wander listlessly through my regular haunts, not knowing where my dreams end and my reality begins. I dare not consider what might be the truth. When I listen, I think I hear footsteps, growing closer, but no one is there. Neither drink nor opiates can drown them out. It is coming for me soon, and no sorcery can protect me! There is but one thing I can do to be free, but I must tell all who will listen what I now know."
The Testament is one of a handful of books that refers to the Outer Beings. Although it only names one of them - Yuranos, more commonly known as Yurrgh-Thal in other texts - it is significant in that it was written recently, and not by someone who was either an authority in such matters, or who explored the subject for religious reasons. Corinn was an average student who stumbled onto something far larger than he ever imagined, and published what he learned to warn as many people as possible. The Testament is also a significant work in that it relates in plain language one of the better -known theories surrounding the origin of the Outer Beings.
This book is also one of the few existing texts that refers to the existence of the fallen realm of Meruvar in what is now southern Darokin, which Corinn visited in AC 985. Meruvar, a kingdom in which the worship of Yurrgh-Thal was open and widespread, was a unified nation for only a short time (BC 190 - 174), but that period was an exceedingly dark one in Darokinian history, in which the Outer Beings made many inroads into the Prime Plane. Although the heroes of that era sought to destroy all knowledge of Meruvar and the Cult of Yuranos, they did not entirely succeed. Remnants of the cult survive in the eastern Malpheggi Swamp and in the forested hills between Hinmeet and Mar. Corinn describes some of the cult's rituals in his book, and speculates where the site of Meruvar's ill-fated capital city, Ardannon, might be. He also describes an artefact of Outer Being worship, the statuettes of Yurrgh-Thal, one of which he found during his trip and brought back with him to Glantri, which proved to be his undoing.
Anyone who studies the Testament will gain the skill Outer Being Lore at 1, unless they already have that skill, in which case their skill will increase by one if it is 3 or less.