What follows is the Prelude to a series of books I'll be crafting in game. A collection of journals of sorts describing my toons decent into Novia and Madness. Hope you enjoy it. If you'd like a copy or to follow the series you can contact me in game. Toon name is Eaj Cire. Thanks. Have a good one. See you inside. . . “The Manifesto of Flesh: Prelude” I am no Avatar. I am not, nor have I ever been, a paragon of virtues. Though I have lived attempting to embrace the sacred, I have, as we all do, faltered. I am human after all. My focus in life, was simply to make my wife’s life beautiful. And to be, in some small way, each day, a better man than I was before. A beautiful path, yet a focus, quite narrow. I see that now. Yet even knowing such, I’m not sure if I could do it all again, I would change anything. She was my World, as I was hers. That was enough for me, for us. I know little of this place I find myself in. I was not born here, nor did I come here as so many before me. I have heard the stories, I have read many books since my arrival. I have come to understand, this place, Novia, is a strange blend, of those born here, and those like myself, that came here from Earth. They call them Outlanders. They whisper of Avatars. They speak of prophesies. Though I may be one, I am surely not the other. And the prophesies written, never meant to include, one such as me. For even though I lived a life embracing virtues the best I could, I am now, something else, something less, something worse. Those before me, they of broader perspective, have come, one after another, to find glory, adventure, balance of self. Some have come, to set things right. To save a land of virtue, even as virtues fade, slowly die. Perhaps an attempt, to halt the decline of everything that truly matters, before this land, becomes as the one they left behind. Others have come, hidden among the virtuous, to sew pain, fear, power. For as this land, this wonderful place, battles to regain it’s former glory, they see not the opportunity to make things right. They see only the chance, to make things theirs. I knew nothing of Novia. I was not like you. I did not listen to the whispered secrets. I did not read the ancient texts. I did not solve the riddles. I saw only a single thread. Where as you, those like you, saw more, deeper. You saw the tapestry. You dared to step back, and see the brilliance, the beauty, of the weave itself. You followed it’s threads. Unraveled it’s mysteries. It’s language of runes. It’s words of power, and travel. And one by one, as saviors or destroyers, you came. A single step, through a door of light, perfect clarity, and madness complete. A step made not of moments, but of lifetimes. I am no Avatar. I found no secrets. I solved no puzzles. My journey here, was in fact, very few steps. I came here not to save nor pillage this World. I came here looking for a man. I have come not to save anything, but myself. And even now, I fear, it may in fact be far to late for that. For once, I was ruled by Love, Romance, Passion, Joy. The sacred defined me. Now, I am ruled only by hate. Now I am driven only by vengeance. Now I am nothing. And yet, everything. Simply a ghost of the man I was, that followed a madman through a doorway of light. In my World, they called him the Poet. Such a sick and twisted title, for one such as he. Someone, somewhere, used this moniker to label him, and it simply stuck. It went viral. As all horrible things do. His work, his words, his acts, Flowed across the internet like a virus. Infecting the feelings, the curiosity, the very heart, of human nature. That was his genius. He understood, in this day and age, one can not simply speak, or whimper, or even scream. Not if they want to be heard. No, in this time, one must bash the World over the head. One must be, so brutal, so heinous, that the World, could simply not look away. His brutality was limitless. His mind sharp as the razors he used to cut. And his deeds, could not be ignored. I had of course heard of him, his work. His sickening song, that he carved in the flesh of his victims. Made so much worse, for it’s truth. For he spoke not of evil’s, nor voices, nor did he make demands. He spoke, no, he wrote, of the dying of the sacred. Of the Death, of Virtues. The first few cases made the news, his method screamed out to a World going deaf. Eight victims, each in a different state, no connections, no pattern, other than that which he carved. At first the police were baffled. Each body found, a single letter or number carved in the stomach. The heart, removed. As the FBI was brought in, as the case files came together, the picture was clear, simple, and terrifying. For those letters, that single number, those bodies, when brought together, spelled out, Chapter 1. After the first eight, each body found, always missing a heart, was carved more and more. At first sentences, than chapters. Eventually the bodies they found were covered from head to toe in words, carved by a madman, read by a World gone mad. They called him The Poet. He called himself nothing. He only called his work, The Manifesto of Flesh. I like most, was appalled by his deeds, just as I was appalled by his followers, his fans. Surely there is no end, to depravity. But I like most, silently wept for the fallen, and moved on with my life. What more could I do? That’s what I told myself. That’s what I still tell myself. Thirty seven victims. No end in sight. This man, His Manifesto, Had redefined, viral. He was everywhere, a Media darling. I’m sure they hoped secretly he’d never be caught. He was ratings in the flesh. He was making careers. He was the newspapers, the web. Hell, he had his own t-shirt. I like many, blocked it all out, and just tried to live my life. Just went back to making my wife smile, Even as my heart ached, For the fallen. Sometimes Fate, is a blessing. Like the day I met my wife. Sometimes, it’s a curse, Like the day I held her as she died. She was number thirty eight you see. It was a day like any other. Breakfast shared. Work. She had the day off. We did lunch. We smiled, we kissed, we giggled. Just us, being us. I got home late that night, I don’t even remember why now. I knew something was wrong the moment I walked in the house. There was no music, no smells of cooking dinner. Yet there was a smell I knew all to well, copper, pain. I had spent years in the Military, saw far to much, did far to much, and so I knew, the moment I opened that door, and caught that smell, something terrible had happened. Muscle memory. I flowed through the house, closing on that smell, praying, screaming in my head. A part of me expecting to find my wife, written upon, her heart removed, laying still upon the floor. I was half right. Though her heart was still in her chest, her body was carved, head to toe. I never read what he had written. I had interrupted him you see, his work, his latest chapter to his Manifesto, was not yet complete. It never would be. Muscle memory again. I moved through the house, understanding, he had not finished, understanding, he was still here. Like the ghost of silence I had once been, I entered the kitchen, to blinding light. Through the window overlooking the back yard, the sliding door off the kitchen, I saw something impossible. A doorway, of sorts, crafted of light, energy, magic. Between it and I, he stood. Naked, covered in blood, He simply looked at me, And smiled. Looking into his eyes, I saw joy. Sorrow. Genius. Insanity. All in one. I saw for the first time in my life, True evil. He spoke than, a voice I’ll never forget, Words I had never known, And the doorway shimmered, Began to compress. And with a little wave, And another smile, Even as I broke from my stupor, Ran for him, He turned, stepped into the light, and was gone. I never hesitated, Even if I had stopped to rationalize my choices, There was nothing for me here now. With a smile of my own, Insanity pressing in, Tears running down my face, I stepped into madness, The impossible, And followed him, Wherever he had gone. I am no Avatar, I am no Champion. I am not what prophecy spoke of. I am only a man, Hunting a man, Praying with each step, I can somehow remain, The man she loved, As I pursue evil, Madness, Trying with every breath, To not become each, As I search for justice, Or Vengeance, Or both. I will find him. I will end his Manifesto, I shall carve in him, The End. And God help, Any that stand in my way….