This week Jacinth turns his attention to the southwestern corner of Dereth, and looks back at the history of a place many adventurers (and their Vitae) know all too well, the Singularity Caul:
It is a fact of history that any given city, territory, or piece of land worth having has been under the control of more than one master across the ages. Even Tirethas, the celebrated City of Lore, has possession of Roulean, Gharu’n, and Viamontian forces throughout its long history. The same fact holds true on Dereth, as nearly every inch of land upon this isle has been touched by at least one of countless races, including Isparian, Empyrean, and everything in between. However, while many locations have changed hands far more frequently, few of those changes even approach the significance of those that befell the island we now call the Singularity Caul.
The Caul’s origins go back to the very height of Empyrean culture. Originally a domain of the Yalain, the island was a sort of vacation resort for nobility. Using their vast talents of geomancy, the manipulation of soil and stone by way of magic, they raised and lowered great stretches of land, creating a labyrinth of earth in which to amuse themselves the same way Aluvian nobles playfully lose themselves in mazes made from hedges and other shrubbery. Like many indulgent aspects of Yalaini culture, though, the luxurious aspect of the Caul ended during the first Shadow War; Bael’Zharon’s forces overran the island, taking it for their own purposes.
The Hopeslayer’s power waxed and waned, but no one sought to reclaim the Caul. Perhaps enough dark forces remained on the island, even after their master’s defeat, to rebuff any would-be incursion, or perhaps the Yalain simply deemed the land “unclean” after so long under Shadow control and thought it uninhabitable. Whatever the reason for the abandonment, the island sat, silent and isolated, for hundreds of years. For a brief time, the Caul once again saw life, as the returned Bael’Zharon used the twisted, dangerous peaks and valleys within to test humans who would serve him. But again the powers of Shadow waned, and so the Caul came under new masters.
A cadre of Virindi, calling themselves the New Singularity, wished to free themselves from the restrictions of true Virindi culture, and they rebelled against their brethren. Seeking a base of operations, they turned to the Caul and drove the remaining Shadows from its surface. Countless Derethian adventurers made their way to the island over the years, and the New Singularity eventually fell, unable to achieve their dreams of freedom and individuality, but the Caul remained a Virindi possession until one of their own unleashed a terrible secret that had long been hidden beneath the land.
The rogue Virindi Aerbax, the sole surviving member of the New Singularity, wished to strengthen his people by merging the Quiddity, the core of Virindi consciousness, with a powerful energy source he had discovered upon Auberean. To further this goal, he formed an alliance with Ler Rhan, the long-missing Shadow General. Together, they journeyed to the darkest depths of the Caul and awoke the Margul, a frightening race of reptilian creatures Rhan had created millennia earlier as surrogate children for his friend and master Bael’Zharon. This new unholy army swept out across the land, driving the Virindi from its shores and retaking it for their dark masters. So the Caul remains to this day, a wretched, twisted landscape, populated by creatures beyond the most fevered nightmares of any man or Empyrean. Perhaps the island may once again see a new master, one who would again drive the darkness from its surface and lead it into a new age. But with the horrors that now stalk the over- and underworld of the Singularity Caul, I fear such an age is a long time in coming.
For more on what you might hope to find on the Caul (besides and/or including a painful death), check out the writeups for Caul Recall,the Orphanage</>, Sepulcher of Nightmares, and [a href=”http://ac.warcry.com/compendium/quests/index.php?action=display&id=310″]Tunnel of Love.