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The Madness of Igmoo
Well known throughout the realms is Igmoo the Mad, proprietor of magic and subject of many a horrendous tale involving death by immolation. Surely you as I, must often have wondered about Igmoo and how he came to be of such an imbalanced nature. Igmoo’s tale is one of lust for power and the perilous balance that the human mind must never cross when delving into the arcane arts.
One blustery night, while huddled over a cup of mead in a small tavern in Gnomebarrow a traveler I had not seen before had chance to relate the details of the tale as he had come to know them. While I cannot vouch save for the truth of this tale, I can ensure you that the details as told to me offer a fascinating look into the mind of the magus and the dangers of venturing too far into the shadow world of the arcane.
Igmoo as he is now known, was born Igmonglus Oshkame in the small town of Gent on the Crystal Bay. Though Igmoo was born to a simple fishing family in a backwater village, his ability and innate magical nature was known from a very early age. At the age of four, it is told that Igmoo was able to cause the flame of a candle to grow to the size of a small squash though no trick other than his will and a few whispered words. At the age of 9 Igmoo’s family home was completely burned to the ground. Were it not for the fact that the village itself nestled directly on the crystal bay, and water so close to hand, the entire town surely would have burned to the ground. While the family put the fire down to natural causes, the rest of the village felt that the fire had been started through means anything but natural or ordinary and blamed the young Igmonglus for nearly costing them their homes.
While magic is widely known and accepted throughout Derlith by those such as you and I who have traveled and experienced the world, I assure you that a small village is a very difficult place to grow up for a boy so different from the rest of his people. With some none too gentle suggestions from the town elders, Igmoo was presented to the wizards school in Highport for examination for the purpose of enrollment and education. His enrollment examination was paid for by the town in an effort to remove the dangerous child from their midst. After a cursory examination, the archmages at the school readily accepted Igmoo as a student and welcomed him to his new home.
In his studies, Igmoo excelled, and quickly surpassed all of his contemporaries in his ability to learn and channel his mental energy. While young mages were learning cantrips designed to bolster campfires and blow out candles, young Igmoo could be found late at night tossing flaming spheres at stray cats in the courtyard leading to many a bald alley cat being found near the mage school.
Igmoo’s constant disrespect of the rules governing the use of magic by magelings led to considerable concern within the hierarchy at the mage school and his insatiably need to create magical fire led to his being placed under magical prohibition for a period of two years, during which time, it was hoped that he would mature and develop a respect for the magic which he commanded so easily. For a young mage, this punishment should have brought patience and a respect for those more learned than he, for Igmoo it brought only bitterness and a burning desire to learn more than his teachers.
On the outside Igmoo appeared to have accepted his punishment and went about his chores and his studies in much the same way as the other students at the academy, but under the surface the seeds of bitterness and discontent continued to flourish as the one thing Igmoo wanted most continued to be denied to him.
As the period of prohibition drew near to an end a meeting was convened by the teaching archmages at the college and much debate occurred on whether or not to lift the ban at all. Fawn, a gentle archmage responsible for many spells designed to grow flowers and weed vegetable gardens led a faction that called for a permanent prohibition being placed on the young mage and his expulsion from the school entirely. After some heated debate relating to the young man’s potential and his apparent good behavior, Igmoo’s supporters won out and the prohibition was lifted and Igmoo was free to practice spell casting once again.
The next few years passed in apparent quiet and little is known about this period of Igmoo’s life. By all accounts he studied hard and appeared to have become a quiet and studious mage working to graduate from the academy. Only years later did questions start to surface about how quiet the young mage had actually been, as it was during this time that some strange things began to happen near Highport. One evening four cows were found burned almost completely to bone at the Jones cattle ranch and an immense patch of charred earth surrounded the carcasses. On another occasion the entire farmers market north of Woodinville burned to the ground, strangely though the fire started on a night which is remembered for torrential rains and crashing thunder by nearby residents. Whether true or not, many of these happenings have now been ascribed to young Igmoo and his lust for magical fire.
"So much for the historical part of the story," said the traveler as he pulled deeply on his mug of warmed mead. "Now to explaining the madness which possesses the magus." The traveler ordered us each another cup of mead and bent to continue his tale.
Igmoo finished his apprenticeship at the wizard school without further public incident and much to everyone’s surprise announced his intention to stay on at the school as an instructor. Many of the Arch-mages were deeply surprised by this decision, figuring that Igmoo would seek to leave the school to seek adventure and profit, he seeming to have no love for the authority which has placed him under prohibition for not obeying their rules. What the arch-mages did not know was that Igmoo was staying for entirely selfish reasons as they would later realize. For some months past Igmoo had procured for himself a shadow cloak and mask, and while no-one can say for sure how a mageling might come into possession of such valuable tools of the assassin's trade, Igmoo immediately put them to use.
A mages college is a strange place for those of us who are not magical folks, almost all of the functions of the college are driven by magic, and those who spend time in the college consider this to be normal and think nothing of it. However, this same familiarity with magic creates a dependence on it, and most mages firmly believe that they can do anything with magic and that it supercedes any and all non-magical means. Because of this Igmoo was able to use his newly acquired articles of attire and sneak out from his room late in the evenings, venturing further and further each night. Mages trained to search for invisible and magically warded intruders were not on the lookout for the slender mage cloaked in shadows as he stole around the campus night after night. Eventually, Igmoo found what he was after, the hidden staircase which led to the top of the north tower, the repository of all of the forbidden magical knowledge which was safeguarded at the mage school. Sneaking up the stairs, Igmoo nearly made the mortal error of alerting the massive golem sentry which guards the door to the library. Beating a hasty retreat, Igmoo returned to his quarters to begin planning his assault on the library guardian.
Whatever Igmoo may now have become, there is little doubt that in his youth, he was a brilliant mage, devious, cunning and exceedingly brilliant. Having spent weeks working on a plan to deal with the library golem, one rainy night Igmoo setout to put his plan to the test. Skulking across the campus Igmoo made his way to the hidden entry to the tower and silently entered the portal and sealed the door. Next, the mage made his way up the stairs partway and placed a large plate of hammered iron on the steps to one side of the stairway. Quietly he chanted the words to an incantation and flame poured from his outstretched hands to the sheet of iron heating it to a glowing red, then with a swift movement, he removed his shadow mask and swept back the cowl of his cloak to reveal himself to the golem. Immediately alerted to his presence the massive Iron golem lumbered down the steps with the intention of crushing the intruder with massive fists of steel. Igmoo backed down two steps and waited for the Golem to approach closer. As the golem reached the step where Igmoo had placed the sheet of iron the mage called out a strong incantation and primal fire leapt from him to the piece of iron briefly melting the metal and sealing the golems feet firmly to the sheet.
What Igmoo had not counted on was the weight of the massive guardian, and as the golems feet became bound to the sheet of steel, the rest of its massive bulk toppled forward toward the mage. With one last stab of antagonism the guardian reached out and swiped at Igmoo on its headlong plunge down the stairs. A massive iron fist smacked Igmoo shattering his shoulder, arm and collar-bone, then the golem slammed face first into the stairs and careened downward. In massive pain and nearly drained from the ordeal so far Igmoo realized that the noise of the golem plunging down the stairs would very soon bring other mages to the stairwell. Summoning what little energy he had left Igmoo called down a wall of fire to fill the bottom of the stairwell and dragged his battered and broken torso to the top of the stairs. Passing the magic wards on the door, Igmoo entered the secret library at the top of the stairs and gazed around at the walls of tomes and scrolls which lay before him. Half crazed with pain and exhaustion, he could already hear the voices of the mages at the stairs trying to get by the wall of fire which he had created. Having no time, Igmoo madly grabbed at the first massive tome which bore the arcane symbol of Incarnus. Paying no attention to the warnings scrawled on the outside of the tome, he broke the clasp and began to pour over the shifting text contained within.
Almost immediately upon commencing to read the tome, Igmoo’s mind was overwhelmed and his consciousness was drawn into the power of the fiendish swirling symbols. With demons and fire dancing through his mind, Igmoo learned the words to the powerful immolation incantation but he had neither the training nor the fortitude of will to protect himself from the effects of being plunged so deeply into magic this evil and arcane and he was unable to pull back from the precipice in his mind.
When the college archmages eventually were able to bring down the spell Igmoo had enchanted on the stairs they found him in the library bleeding and broken and completely catatonic. His lips and tongue were singed and blackened from muttering the words he had just read.
To protect themselves from the embarrassment of having to explain how a junior mage had broken into the most secret and guarded enclave at the wizard’s academy the archmages of the college decided to keep Igmoo locked away and never to tell what had happened that night.
For thirteen years, Igmoo was fed and cleaned each day by a nurse but remained catatonic and unaware of the outside world. The pure power of the text had completely overwhelmed the young mage and in self defense his mind had completely shut down.
When, after thirteen years in a coma Igmoo did awaken it was immediately clear that only parts of his mind had returned to him. His body broken and bent from not having been healed properly and raving mad, Igmoo was spirited out of the mage academy and taken by coach to a sanitarium deep to the south near Tradetown, where it was hoped that he would be locked away and never heard from again. The arch-mages of the college gradually forgot all about Igmoo, secure in the belief that he was caged up and completely bereft of his senses. Imagine their surprise when ten years later a wizened and completely mad Igmoo proudly setup shop just down the street from the academy where this entire tale had taken place. Apparently Igmoo had remained in the sanitarium for a period of only two years prior to being released, at which time he had joined a band of adventurers eager to have a powerful mage at their side, if somewhat leery of his imbalanced personality. Venturing into the firedrakes in search of the legendary Kobold King’s throne as a group, only Igmoo returned and it was whispered that in a fit of madness he had incinerated his entire party, believing them to be flying fish, come to take him away. Offers from other bands of adventurers were never made to Igmoo after this and eventually he decided to settle back in Highport and open the shop with which we are all familiar to this day.
"Be careful how you deal with him," warned the traveler, for I don’t suspect that Igmoo is likely to regain his senses any time soon. And with that, the traveler bade me goodnight and I sat by the fire working diligently to pen the tale for you as it had been recounted to me.
- The Chronicler -