The Dark Times
10,000 years before the current events depicted in Rage, Bane of Demons, during a period now called as the Dark Times, a horde of demons got out from Hell to invade Earth. At this time, Earth was mostly populated by cavemen and dinosaurs, though there has been mentions of a few older races of beings looking like humans, too.
The Gods of Arthkan witnessed this invasion and, under the advice of Kori, God of Wisdom, Zas the All-Father created Rage to fight the demons in their name.
After having slaughtered all of the demons he could find, Rage began to slaughter humans too. Shocked by the acts of their creature, a party of Gods descended to Earth, to stop Rage. After restraining Rage, these Gods decided to chain him in Dark God Mountain, in order to keep him as a deterrent against demons. Kori wrote in his Book of Wisdom the formula to free him. After its completion, Kori left the Book of Wisdom on Earth, for humans to find, as a gift from the Gods.
The Kingdom of Arthkan
Roughly 10,000 years after The Dark Times, after what was called The Great Wars, Kothas, son of Uthan, became king of the european kingdom of Arthkan. Though not detailed yet, The Great Wars involve first Kothas’ father Uthan, then Kothas himself conquering most of Arthkan. Many lords ended up swearing allegiance to the king, who offered to his most faithful of followers baronies, counties, and others.
Kothas has had three daughters with his first wife, and remarried after she died with Queen Gelda, who is said to taking care of most of the affairs of the state. Many people are now saying that King Kothas has become senile, and is unfit to rule.
Even worse, demons have begun to reappear on Earth. The Fortress of Kahel, one of the many fortresses surrounding the Kingdom of Arthkan, has been taken by Master Demon Torg and his cohorts.
The Tarot of Khain Alhazred
Ennis, baron of Mendor, Arlin, Count of Dubrios, Lorne, Count of Orbis, Aldaro, Duke of Calbriga, and Marta, Duchess of Champagne, were all part of a cabal to dethrone King Kothas. Brann of Dubrios, Arlin’s right-hand man and nephew, was charged of recruiting rich and powerful lords to help the cabal in this venture.
An obvious question was raised in their first meetings: who will be the next king? Though of royal blood, Duke Aldaro wasn’t a likely candidate, being an alcoholic, who most of the time couldn’t take any wise decision about his own affairs. To top it off, everyone in the cabal was mocking him. It seems that at one point, Duke Aldaro’s mother just had enough of it. As it happens, Aldaro’s mother is also a goddess, which makes Aldaro technically a demi-god.
In one of their reunions in the ruins of the ancient city of Kerdak, in the barony of Mendor, the cabal at last met Aldaro’s mother. Furious about how her son was treated, she plainly explained them that Aldaro was their future king, and that she will give the orders through him, from now on.
After this scene in Kerdak, and during many meetings afterwards, it didn’t occur to anyone to ask what the name of Aldaro’s mother was. And this little detail didn’t escape Nicodemus, King Kothas’ High Mage and main adviser. As indicated in Rage #2, Nicodemus is secretly in contact with the cabal, and exchanges informations through Ennis’ right hand man, Orin. As in all religion books, the Arthkan Book of Peace lists the names of all the Gods of the Arthkan Continent, with their ranks, powers, and history. As High Mage, Nicodemus is able to invoke Gods, and might be able to do something about Aldaro’s Mother. If she wasn’t devious enough to hide her identity to everyone.
Roughly six months later, after returning from his latest trip, Brann urged Arlin to gather the cabal. Arlin told Ennis what Brann had told him, and Ennis mandated Seer Khain Alhazred to help them glue together the many clues of what Brann told Arlin.
The remaining members, of the cabal learned that Brann joined a band of mercenaries going to castle Arvenskar, in the Drustan Mountains. After crossing the Maedac plains, the mercenaries entered Pict territory, and had to fight the Picts in the forests. After this battle, Brann gained the trust of the mercenaries, and the mercenaries gained a new captain. They then reached castle Arvenskar, and learned that its master was a lord Sibelius.
While discovering what happened with the cabal, Khain Alhazred began to suspect that they had some sort of secret leader, whom everyone seemed to fear. The identity of the leader was not long in coming: the cards revealed a flashback to the scene with Aldaro’s mother taking control of the Cabal, which happened six months ago.
Bane of Demons
Meanwhile, Nicodemus was trying to do something about the demons invading the Fortress of Kahel. Having in his possession the Book of Wisdom, in which was written the way to free Rage if demons were to reappear on Earth, Nicodemus showed it to King Kothas, who ordered him to free the creature.
For his trip, Nicodemus had to go to Deer Antler Inn, a famous inn in the village of Trall, not too far from the Nerkal mountain range, were sits Dark God Mountain. There, he met Mark Longfellow, a reknowned guide who also happens to be the brother of the owner of the Inn, Galf Longfellow. Mark formed a team to guide Nicodemus in the mountains, and after a long trip, they reached the place Nicodemus was looking for: huge doors carved in the mountain itself that even Mark had never noticed before.
The gigantic doors had to be opened by a special spell that Nicodemus read in the Book of Wisdom. The little party then went inside Dark God Mountain, and at the end of a labyrinth of tunnels, found Rage, chained to a wall, and seemingly sleeping.
Nicodemus told Rage that he would be freed under condition. Nicodemus would leave him with only a fourth of his power, so that he could be manageable, and would magically chain himself to him, to monitor him at all time. Rage would basically be at Nicodemus’ service.
Seeing no better choice, Rage agreed, and Nicodemus uttered the spell to free him. Rage began to break his chains, and made the whole mountain tremble, while Nicodemus and the others ran in the tunnels toward the doors. They then saw Rage calmly get out, and went back with him to the village of Trall.
Their first stop was Deer Antler’s Inn, in the middle of the night, in which Rage killed the captain of the Royal Guard over a girl. Galf, the innkeeper, made Nicodemus and Rage go out swiftly from the inn. Still in the middle of the night, Nicodemus and Rage encountered Tuk, a young vagrant who just stole some merchants. For reasons still unclear, but that will begin to unravel in Rage #2, Rage told Nicodemus that Tuk was to go along with them in King Kothas castle, and Nicodemus reluctantly agreed.
In the middle of the day, Rage, Nicodemus and Tuk reached Kam’lot, the new castle of King Kothas, and met King Kothas, Queen Gelda, and two of Kothas’ three daughters, Mylen and Ariane, who all somehow put themselves at the service of Rage, the Bane of Demons, as the creature is considered a messenger of the Gods themselves. While Mylen was showing Rage his chamber in the castle, and a place was made for Tuk in the stables, Ariane went to see Nicodemus, who happens to be one of her tutors, to learn more about this famous Bane of Demons.
Ariane told Nicodemus that she would go with them to free the Fortress of Kahel from Master Demon Torg, but she also had other plans. Ariane believes Nicodemus too old to keep his hold on Rage for long, so she wants Rage to go to the next best candidate: herself. To that end, once back in her room, she opened her own book of magicks and sorcery, Orgald The Virgin’s Book of Spells. In this book are supposed to be formulas of enchantment, love philters, and many other spells and recipes, intending to take the book with her, and try to enchant Rage at the first opportunity.
Meanwhile, Queen Gelda entered Rage’s chamber. The queen is actually cheating on her husband with just about the strongest and fairest men in the kingdom. The captain of the Royal guard Rage killed the night before was one of them, and it kind of excited the queen. While Rage and Queen Gelda were making love in Rage’s chamber, they were watched magically at a distance by Sibelius, and Master Demon Torg, waiting impatiently for Rage to come to Kahel.
The Road to Kahel
Au matin, Rage, Nicodémus, Ariane, Tuk et quelques soldats étaient prêts à partir en expédition, et libérer la forteresse de Kahel. Une hache supposée magique fut donnée à Rage pour l’aider à gagner ses batailles, et le groupe commença son voyage.
After crossing the plain of Ghir the whole day, the group had to stop for the night in the forest of Terak. While the others were busy, Ariane went to see Rage who was meditating instead of sleeping, and tries on him Zoraa’s spell, a spell from the Book of Spells, which basically implies dropping some scintillating powder on him while reciting a spell, then kissing the victim. But this didn’t seem to work on Rage.
Before Ariane had time to try again, demons were attacking the camp. As everyone were defending themselves, Nicodemus discovered that Rage might be able to free himself if his concentration faltered. The demons took Ariane and Tuk, and Nicodemus saw them fly in the direction of the Fortress of Kahel.
The Fortress of Kahel
Later that same night, on foot, after crossing the forest of Terak, Rage and Nicodemus managed to reach the Fortress of Kahel. Along with many demons watching them from the walls above, the two characters met Jarn, a midget who seemed to be Torg’s human servant. Jarn explained them a little of Torg’s plan while guiding them toward the Master Demon.
They found Master Demon Torg in the dungeons, with Ariane and Tuk hostages, and beside a flaming pit called a Hell’s Pit, that Nicodemus seemed to know about. Nicodemus tried to negociate with Torg, but Rage simply killed Jarn, then threw himself at the Master Demon, his aura making him crazy. Surprised, Torg let the hostages fall into the pit.
Tuk grabbed a rock by chance, and Ariane grabbed Tuk’s trousers. Nicodemus helped them escape the Hell’s Pit, then the fortress. Once outside, Ariane and Tuk noticed the demons were retreating toward their quarters, since the day wasn’t far in coming. Under the mental orders of Nicodemus, Rage took the supposed magical axe, and struck the Master Demon, breaking its handle in the process. Furious, Rage finished the fight with his fists, then grabbed Torg, and threw him into his own Hell’s Pit.
At this time, Nicodemus felt a presence in the Hell’s Pit, which spout a huge column of fire out of it, and made it explode. The fortress crumbled on Rage. Nicodemus, Ariane and Tuk spent many hours during the day looking for Rage in the rubbles of the fortress. In the end, Rage himself dug his way from the rubbles and stood before Nicodemus, who knew that his problems weren’t over yet.
Trouble in Kusha
Meanwhile, far from Arthkan, in a Continent called Kusha, where live people with mostly black skin, events were unfolding which would have far reaching repercussions in the Rage Universe.
As written in the fabled book “The Travels of Thyresias”, when travelers come to Tekha, the nearest harbor city of Kusha from the sea, if they are to go further into the jungles, they would take what is called “The Road of Diamonds”, which leads first to the Bathu City, one of the few cities of the continent, then to the Bathu’s Diamond’s mines, where slaves extract diamonds for their Bathu masters. The diamonds are then taken back to the Bathu City, most of the time to be sold in Tekha.
In the Diamond Mines, three slaves, M’jala, Hokwui and Bwerani were working to extract diamonds. While berating M’jala, one of the guards slipped by accident and broke his skull. Hokwui took control of the situation, and ordered M’jala to take the keys from the dead guard, and free the three of them from their chains.
When another guard came to check on them, Hokwui killed him, then still under the orders of Hokwui, the slaves went into the mines with the dead guards’ weapons, and freed the other slaves. At some point, Hokwui was at the helm of a little army of slaves, and they were all going toward the exit of the mines.
The Bracelet of Chance
When they went back to Kam’lot, Ariane and Tuk began having meetings with Erasmus, a sorcerer who established himself in the surroundings of Kam’lot. Ariane needed a teacher, since Nicodemus still wasn’t willing to teach her magicks, and Tuk followed Ariane mostly wherever she went. When he met Ariane and Tuk, Erasmus noticed a bracelet on Tuk’s arm, and recognized the Bracelet of Chance, an item that had been stolen to him long ago. Erasmus immediately agreed to teach Ariane magicks. Wondering how this magical object ended up in the hands of Tuk, Erasmus tried several times to hypnotize him and convince him to give him the bracelet, since by some magical way, the bracelet can only be given, not taken, but to no avail. Always, something happened to disrupt the hypnosis. Erasmus began fomenting new plans to get it back, but needed to be sure it was the real item first.
Meanwhile, Nicodemus had to deal with the killing of the captain of the Royal Guard, which had angered the whole Royal Guard of Trall, and triggered an inquiry. The way Nicodemus smothered the inquiry isn’t known yet, but it was pretty efficient: a few days after the beginning of the inquiry, no one in the Royal Guard talked about this event anymore, save a few angered soldiers who talked about taking Rage down in secret.
Morthog, the Worm God
Erasmus learned that Gonthorian priests of Grom were going to sacrifice a virgin girl to Grom’s pet Worm God, Morthog, in a place where stood an ancient altar, in the Marches of Ghir. Erasmus talked about it in one of his course on Magicks, before Ariane and Tuk, and Ariane decided to do something, while Erasmus seemingly tried to dissuade her. In the end, Ariane had the last word, and they created a plan, based mostly on what Erasmus was telling them at the time. Ariane and Tuk would go to the ceremony disguised as priests, they would wait for the priests to begin chanting, and while the priests were distracted, Ariane and Tuk would free the girl, and stay as close to her as possible, so that Erasmus could make them both disappear and reappear by his side. The plan was supposed to be a secret, but Ariane told Mylen about it on the day of the ceremony, right before going to the ancient altar’s place. Mylen in turn told King Kothas, who sent Nicodemus, Rage and the Royal guard to the place of the ceremony.
The day of the ceremony, Ariane and Tuk came to the ancient altar’s place disguised as priests, presumably after having knocked down two priests, and stolen their robes. The priests began chanting to invoke Morthog The Worm God, who would come to take the virgin. When Morthog appeared, the priests were indeed distracted, and for a good reason.
Ariane and Tuk freed the virgin, then fought the priests, and fled via the narrow passageway leading to the mountains, from the ancient altar’s place, while Rage appeared and began pummeling Morthog. Ariane, Tuk and Seta, the virgin who was to be sacrificed, met Nicodemus and the royal guard on the way.
While Rage was litteraly destroying Morthog, the Royal Guard arrested the priests and their High Priest, Gohnar, who demanded to see the king about it. A few days later, Gohnar pleaded his cause as he could before the king, but Kothas reminded him that human sacrifices were now forbidden in the Arthkan Kingdom. At the time of this discussion, it was learned that Tuk and Seta had a quick affair, in between their fleeing and the arrestation of the priests, that Ariane didn’t like Gonthorians, as most everyone in the Arthkan Kingdom, and that Nicodemus was himself a Gonthorian, and that he fought the followers of Grom long ago.
A while later, that same day, Nicodemus told Ariane that he would have some words with Erasmus, whom he definitely wanted to meet. He then opened the Book of Spells, explaining Ariane that the spells she described would never work, then seemingly fell under a spell himself, and suddenly found the book to be the best one ever written. Shutting the book, stunned, Nicodemus said that he would have some talk with its author, Orgald the Virgin too.
Their new mission would lead them to the Brethain Isles, which main isle was now called The Many-Angled Land. According to Nicodemus, they would have to go to Deer Antler Inn first, supposedly to map the best route to the Brethain Isles.
But Nicodémus, Ariane and Tuk were far from the only ones who needed to go to the village of Trall.
Serena, priestess of Axliom, God of Nature and Plants, had also been sent on a mission by her temple. At night, on a full moon, crossing the forest of Jaras on her way to Deer Antler Inn, where she had to go to meet someone, Serena encountered an unknown man bitten by a werewolf.
While Serena tried to cure his wounds, the man began his transformation. Once completely transformed, he tried to catch Serena, who was now fleeing for her life. Serena stumbled upon a scene involving Orin of Mendor and a few bandits.
Orin of Mendor
Right-hand man of Ennis, baron of Mendor, Orin was set to meet Nicodemus at Deer Antler Inn, and was crossing the forest of Jaras, on his way to Trall. His trip had been interrupted by bandits, but before anyone had time to act, Serena jumped in, then the werewolf who was hunting her.
The werewolf maimed the bandits, and while the surviving bandits were fleeing, Orin planted his sword into the werewolf’s heart, which had the effect of immobilizing it, though not killing it, since the sword wasn’t made of silver. Orin then went with Serena to Deer Antler’s Inn.
And then, things got complicated. A second Serena was on her way to the village of Trall too, though not especially to Deer Antler Inn. She met mercenaries who were after a priestess called Serena, who would be holding a special purse.
Serena fought the mercenaries to a standstill, then showed her last adversary that she had five special purses herself, and that anyone who would want to steal her should go find her in the village of Trall.
Erasmus and Serk
Through sources of his own, Erasmus had learned that Rage, Nicodemus, Ariane, and Tuk were going to Trall. With his friend Serk, a demi-god touched by the curse of the werewolf, whom he tried to cure years ago, Erasmus followed them from afar. Erasmus and Serk set up camp in the hills near by Trall, and while Serk was waiting, Erasmus went to the village, to Deer Antler’s Inn.
A night at Deer Antler’s Inn
Serena and Orin arrived at Trall that same night, roughly at the same time as Rage, Nicodemus, Ariane and Tuk who were already installed at a table.
Orin and Serena were greeted by waitresses Helena, Enyd, Clara and Jen, as Galf, Mark, and their cousin Muriela, who worked at the inn as a waitress too, were tending to Rage and his companions.
While Galf and Mark took Rage, Nicodemus, Ariane and Tuk to a special room where they would plan their trip, Serena and Orin found a table. At another table, three mercenaries looked at Serena, noticing that she had a purse with a special sign, like the other priestess they stole and killed a while before, one also called Serena. They began to ponder if they had killed the right one. One of the mercenaries sat at a table near Serena and Orin to listen to their conversation.
While Mark was helping Nicodemus plan his trip with Ariane and Tuk, Muriela was setting Rage up in the stables. Nicodemus seemed to want to avoid as much as possible to make the trip on boat, but in the end, decided that he had no choice but to take the shortest route. While Rage and Muriela ended up making love in the stable, Nicodemus abruptly left his companions to go take some fresh air outside.
Orin went outside, at a secret rendez-vous point. Nicodemus secretly joined him, and they talked about the latest events. It seems Nicodemus was already aware of the Cabal’s intentions, and that Orin is his informer. What worried Nicodemus the most at this point was Duke Aldaro’s mother, who seemed to be a goddess. But the goddess of what? All the gods’ names are listed in Arthkan’s religious book, the Book of Peace, and Nicodemus is a high mage, which means he actually can invoke gods, among other things. And in all the Cabal’s dealing with Aldaro’s mother, she never told them her name. Orin then told Nicodemus they still didn’t know about her name, then told him the rest of his story. Now, Nicodemus had reasons to be worried, but he still had to go to the Many-Angled Land. So he left the meeting, furious. Not far away, one of the mercenaries was watching, though he didn’t hear the conversation. He then returned to his teammates.
Meanwhile, Erasmus came to the village of Trall, and began to magically put to sleep every patrons outside of Dear Antler’s Inn, which included three soldiers who talked about ambushing Rage, and whom Erasmus forced to reveal their plan.
After checking on Nicodemus and Ariane, Erasmus went to Tuk’s room, to try and convince him again to give him his Bracelet of Chance. As Tuk was somehow resisting hypnosis again, Erasmus felt that Nicodemus was waking up, and had to give up on his plan.
Erasmus went out from the inn, and met up with Serk, at their camp. He told Serk about not being able to have Tuk give him back the bracelet, and about the soldiers plans for Rage. Serk told Erasmus that the moon was full, and that he didn’t change thanks to Erasmus’ spell, and surmised that the bracelet was purposefully clouding Erasmus’ mind. Erasmus didn’t believe it, told him about his new plan: They would to follow the soldiers who planned to kill Rage, waiting for them to be farther from the village, then change them into werewolves, and sic them against Rage and his companions. Thanks to the Bracelet of Chance, Tuk would survive the slaughter, and Erasmus would be able to gain his trust more easily.
The day after, Rage and his companions spent the whole morning buying supplies, and trying to find silver weapons at the Trall market, then the whole afternoon travelling on horse. The evening was coming, and they were now in the valley of Neril, setting up camp. They were followed closely by the group of soldiers who wanted to kill Rage, and the soldiers themselves were followed closely by Erasmus and Serk. Seeing that both groups were settled, Erasmus and Serk decided to make themselves known by the soldiers.
The First Night
After Erasmus explained the soldiers a little of what was going to be done to them, Serk changed into a werewolf, and slaughtered most of them, leaving only ten survivors. Realizing that ten survivors wouldn’t be enough to kill Rage, Erasmus magically enhanced the werewolves’ power using a pinch of his Kezan powder, a rare artefact prized by many sorcerers along the world. Now, the werewolves would be stronger, and heal faster.
Erasmus sicced the newly created pack on Nicodemus’ camp, in the valley below… and then something happened to him. Suddenly, Erasmus began to doubt himself. The pack might be enough to kill Rage, but wouldn’t it be too much for Tuk? What if the bracelet was eaten or lost in the battle? Eaten away by doubt, Erasmus went down the slope too, toward the camp, closely followed by Serk.
Meanwhile, back at the camp, while Rage and Nicodemus were sleeping, Ariane was trying her Zoraa’s spell on Tuk, who kind of took advantage of the situation, as always, but they were both interrupted by the werewolves attacking the camp. Nicodemus joined them while a few werewolves were slaughtering the horses, and Rage was fighting the rest of them. Nicodemus, Ariane and Tuk tried to hide while Nicodemus invoked Napalm, God of Fire. Napalm lent Nicodemus the Titan of Fire’s powers in the nick of time, and Nicodemus literally fried the whole pack… to no avail. Since, they had been magically boosted by Erasmus, the werewolves reconstituted, and attacked them again.
Erasmus and Serk arrived at the camp with a new plan: Erasmus boosted his hypnosis powers to the point of telepathy using another pinch of his Kezan powder. He was now able to use his powers against the werewolves while Serk was ordering them around, trying to become the leader of the pack. They both managed to control the pack, while Serk and Rage began to fight.
In the end, under the eyes of an unknown soldier who escaped Serk’s slaughter a few hours earlier, the pack scattered in Neril valley, toward the surrounding towns and villages, but not after having bitten Nicodemus, Erasmus, Ariane and Tuk. Erasmus changed into a werewolf, and ran in the valley, followed by Serk. Meanwhile, back at the camp, Nicodemus, Ariane and Tuk were going to change into werewolves themselves, while Rage was gloating, triumphant.