The lick of embers against the night sky dances like fireflies. Around the blaze sits a hodgepodge of guildlings who have started to gain notable Influence around the lands of Tol Eressëa. As their ale starts to empty, the travelers begin to share stories from their recent quests. Stories of dragons & spirits, of heart-felt losses & hard-won victories, of nightmare-inducing fears and heart-pounding joys. Of all the tales they spin around the dying fire, one story seems to linger in their minds, even as the warm glow of the fire dwindles. As all tales, this one is ever-changing. Passing from one guildling to another, taking on new shapes and forms as the days go by; however, one thing stays constant: it always ends with a trail of rust-tinted floor.
A tired and worn-down ranger, beaten and bruised from his journey to find the long-lost crypts of the ancient Majar, leans against a large hill to catch his breath. The mossy patch gives way and the ranger finds himself in a gut-wrenching downward spiral on the forever-forgotten steps. The worn ranger rights himself and produces a torch from his bag. As he does, our ranger notices an airflow against the torch, yet the air around him feels warm, moist, and totally still. The ranger, confused and unable to think straight, turns around. For the briefest of moments, the air is filled with a blood curdling scream - moments later, only silence…. And a patch of blood-stained ground.
Our three wanderers’ lay on the soft & lumpy forest floor, with their eyes open and their breathing halted. Thoughts of doubt wash over them like a tidal wave of fear, leaving behind suspicion and angst as the monstrous wave recedes back to the ocean of the mind. As stories of guildlings sudden & extended disappearances spread from pub to campfire, feelings of fear begin to couple themselves with an inborn desire to earn Influence with Tol Eressëa and claim the riches that come with Hero of the Realm.
Even with a renowned champion in their party - does this group of mismatched guildlings know what it’s getting itself into?”
A twisted & deranged Warlock chants in an unknown tongue. She shakes the very ground as she summons all the powers of her pact to bend the Balrog (so she thinks) to her will. Dedicated to gaining its power, she engulfs all in an inferno of black flames that are said to carry all the power of The Pit itself. Yet, as the immortal flames slowly fade away, only a patch of crusted-red puddle remains.
At first light FiascoTK, Arrow, and Crazyypersonn6613 plan to continue on their journey, yet they forget that tomorrow is promised for no person. In the deep hours of that night, the gentle breeze begins to carry the echo of a far-off laugh and takes on a chill. Just as the final flake of light begins to recede from the evening prior’s fire, a blur charges into camp and effortlessly pins Crazypersonn6613 against a splendid oak. Amidst his blue and swollen face, the words “wh….who… what do you want?” Thraximundar answers only with a twisted smile as he brings up his other hand, revealing the unconscious Arrow gripped by the neck. Licking his teeth, the zombie assassin goes to sever the heads of his prey.
Minutes away from the camp, the renowned champion, FiascoTK, sits atop a fallen tree, legs crossed, eyes closed. While our other two adventurer’s sought respite from their quest, the pious sought guidance from his deity. Whether it be the guidance of said deities, or years of developing his reflexes and skill, FiascoTK springs to life and speeds through the forest - dodging trees and branches with simple swerves.
FiascoTK appears behind Thraximundar with a silence even the assassin cannot sense, and with the mutter of some words, manages to strip away Thraximundar’s connection to his mana. The undead assassin’s smile flips in the other direction as he drops his prey, lands on all four, and turns to see his foe. Time comes to a halt and the world goes quiet as the two stand frozen, eyes locked, Thraximundar lunges at FiascoTK before the moment can pass, seemingly forgetting the two very-much-alive guildlings.
As FiasoTK and Thraximundar go blow-for-blow, FiascoTK quickly finds himself exhausted while his zombie assailant seems to grow stronger, despite his severance from mana. As if the universe mirrored itself from moments before, Thraximundar now stands with his elbow digging into FiascoTK’s throat as Crazypersonn6613 & Arrow manifest from behind, each mustering all strength to unleash a landscape altering attack on the undead menace.
Knowing his time for this kill has passed, the demented Thraximundar begins to retreat, with our three heroes close behind.
This….. This is how we make our names known. This is where we find glory!”
Our three suddenly find themselves at the edge of a cliff watching as Thraximundar thrashes violently around on the ground, digging his ancient claws into his dead and flaking skin, shrieking unintelligibly, gasping as the last of his mana seems to escape him. The three are quick to take advantage of the incapacitated foe as they move in for one final attack. Sensing his demise, Thraximundar quickly comes to and charges at the three. Using the force of a bygone Majar, Thrax quickly pins the three heroes on the ground, mouth drooling, as he hisses at FiascoTK
“what did you do?!… Who are YOOUUUUUUUUUUUU?!!!”
In a faint yet calm voice he replies “I am FiascoTK” as he deftly dislocates his own shoulder to slip through the zombie’s grasp, stands with an outstretched arm and breathes. Piercing light shoots towards the abomination, countless searing blades of pious light. Thraximundar, emboldened by the feeling of death - even his own - smiles. As the last of his form fades away into boiling shadow,
I’ve marked you all now, even death is not an escape from my fury.”
Our heroes rise up, quietly dusting themselves off and tending to their beaten bodies.
“After.. That” *breathes deeply* “all of Tol Eressëa will be lining up to praise us.” said Crazypersonn6613.
“Praise is reserved for the gods, Crazypersonn6613” retorted FiascoTK.
“Oh, lighten up, FiascoTK! Crazy is right, this… this takes us that much closer to winning the riches & secrets of Tol Eressëa. We need to celebrate.” cheered Arrow.
“We’re out of mead, Arrow” *turns around and begins walking West* “And if the stories are to be believed, no Majar - even a dead one - goes down from such a rudimentary attack. It was too easy. Far, far too easy.” warned FiascoTK.
A warm intimate feeling begins to surround the inner spark of our contestants, and a voice more radiant than the suns and as physical as the ground takes shape in the air, giving the impression of a figure standing before you.
"Your time in Tol Eressëa so far has brought me much boredom. I expect more. I demand more. Put forth names and tributes if you ever hope to be Hero of the Realm. My treasures are not for the greedy, but for the pure. They are not for the toxic, but for the kind. They are not for the winners, they are for the ones who have never lost. It is time we make this fun."
The familiar electric feeling encroaching on your spark begins to expand, as if exploding in an array of lights and sounds. As if your very own spark is singing to you. The song materializes and begins to spread throughout Tol Eressëa as it does. With every note, trees turned to mountains, mountains turned to vast lakes, and sweeping valleys materialized where once only charred land existed. The lands of Tol Eressëa begin to sing, and in their song exists death & creation as the island recreates itself.
As the sun rises & the sun sets on this altered Tol Eressëa landscape, the winds begin to carry a certain melody to them. To the unfocused, it likely sounds like a gentle breeze making its way through the thickets & dunes; however, to those that are in tune with Tol Eressëa can hear it singing,
The Keepers have lost their way. Like all, they fall. The powers of the Arcana have smote the pain. The stakes now raise, now give praise and brace - for The Dungeon."
Lover, fighter, dreamer, schemer, gamer.
At the raise of a hand,
We’ll drop to one knee;
Give way does all, even the land
Crumbles beneath our feet; we plea
The Will of the Valar, not yet do we understand
As Last Light on Freedom’s Eve passed away into a blend of shadow and vibrance, so too do the hearts of our Adventurers explode in a radiant light of courage and daring. Emboldened by the ferocity of GeraldK, The Ender and his triumph in The Dungeon of the Ark of the Valar, all the lands are scoured by the guildlings in the quest for similar glory as they race to be Hero of All-Realms; Yet, one does not choose to venture into the dungeons of Tol Eressëa. Tol Eressëa chooses only the finest in the lands to open her secrets to.
One such secret found its way to the feet of ones known as: Chilljackson, Darkness, and Jojimbu. For while the rest of Tol Eressëa found its way at each other’s throats for Influence, these 3 pious folk put their faith fully in their deities and blessed The Keepers of the Way with command over the other island guilds. The flames of their courage are stoked by Influence, and our 3 Believers - driven by a higher calling - gather together and venture to the highest peak of the tallest mountain in all of Tol Eressëa. Atop the Peak of Thangorodrim, beaten by the bitter cold, our 3 Believers stumble upon a small crevice in the breast of the mountain. Looking only for warmth & reprieve from the icy maw of Thangorodrim our weary travelers find not what they seek. As they pass through to the innards of Thangorodrim, the glint of a jeweled light encompasses the horizon. Driven by curiosity, or perhaps something more primitive, our travelers follow the light of their new god. The wet, rigid, cold walls of the cave turn to a never-ending sea of gold and treasure, washing the walls with a prism of greed & riches.
Now, if you’ve never met the Vicar of Souls, you know two things - they’re bitter about everything, and they put The Way above all. Naturally, a leader of The Mighty and the most pious guild in Tol Eressëa, expects the same devotion from their guildlings.
Now, something you might not know about the Vicar of Souls - he has been in Tol Eressëa, some say, since Eru Ilúvatar sang the lands into creation - even out-living many of the deities he once praised. It’s only fitting that a being so ancient would have a few powerful friends, including an Elder Dragon or two.
Our adventurers charge heedlessly into the shimmer of greed that fills the mountain. Leaving behind their arms, senses, and Faith - a sudden awakening of rage and destruction gives way beneath their feet, as if the mountain begins to devour itself. Where once they stared into the eyes of wealth, they now stare into the ruby eyes of Velomachus Lorehold. Glazed portals for the rage & disappointment of The Vicar of Souls.
With every flail of his mighty tail, the mighty dragon breaks away the land beneath Chilljackson’s feet. With every puff of his fiery breath, he scorches the faith of Darkness. With every slash of his talons he tears away at the armaments of Jojimbu. The battle rages on, the ancient fires of Velomachus begin to melt away the sins of our Believers. As their powers, abilities, and arms fail them one by one, our Devotees are finally stranded with a singular weapon that can win. Jojimbu is the first to yell out in prayer to his respective deity. One by one, our Believers fall back to their most awesome weapon, their faith. And their chants are answered. Our dutiful warriors begin to run on ground that is not there, to swing with weapons no mortal can wield, and pierce dragonscale for the first time.
At the height of their chants, the dreadful Velomachus is forced to retreat deeper into the gullet of the sleeping mountain; however, our Believers are once again blinded by mortal ways. Enraged in the powers their deities bestow on them, they foolishly plot their next moves with hubris. In arrogance they charge forward with another barrage for the Elder Dragon, eager for personal glory drenched in dragon’s blood. Velomachus turns to face them, with what can only be described as a smirk, as our crazed Believers scream their hefted weapons towards the dragon’s throat. Alas, the strikes are hollow, the reverberation of metal on scale the only sound echoing in the cavern. Velomachus stretches his wings fully and quickly contracts, the force of wind sending the once-pious flying only to crash violently into the cavern walls and fall crippled into the heaps of treasure.
Chilljackson is crushed ‘neath Velomachus’ tail with a scattering of gold coins. Darkness is torn to shreds, with the emerald encrusted crown slanted atop his head. Even Jojimbu, the first to remember his gods, is eviscerated in a wildfire that melts his bone & the surrounding diamond into a single disfigured monument.
From the shadows the Vicar of Souls emerged, nodded toward the dragon and approached the remains. With a sigh, the ancient warlock hunched over and began to chalk the outlines of ancient runes, black smoke bubbling from the floor and wafting over the heaps of treasure....
As this tale spread through Tol Eressëa, Adventurers clamoured with excitement. Unshaken by the ruthlessness of the Elder dragon, they yearned to prove themselves in kind. Spurred by the possibility, guildlings swarmed the country-side questing for Influence, our other guildlings remained hard at work: slaying beasts, defeating evil, and adventuring throughout the lands - all hard at work to earn favor in Tol Eressëa. Despite the untimely demise of their heathen brethren, The Keepers of the Way once more show their talent to the other guilds. Through the shared might of their weapons and their faith, The Keepers of the Way have once more claimed victory and will head back into The Dungeon on Sunday, July 10th; however, should they fail to redeem themselves….. Far greater horrors than The Faith Eater remain for them.
Jake & footnmouth
To your guilds you’ve gone, a home you’ve found.
But be bound not, to where you lay
For you cannot stay, a world yet you must cross
Yet, if ever at a loss, you must not stop
For only one, atop may sit, the Hero of All Realms
Though skilled are all
and to all are, second,
to One you fall
only one may last
the rest, forgotten, in the past
alone is, the Hero of All Realms
So: the wittiest, strongest, most daring & most powerful beings in all the land - driven by an inner instinct - marched in the direction of the guild that their spark most aligned. While every folk was unmatched in their respective discipline, they each had unrecognizable ways of preparation for the challenges to come. Some sharpened steel in The Pits while some sharpened mind in The Library. Some packed their rations and set out to brave the lands of Tol Eressëa while some bent the knee to gather wisdom or clarity. And yet still some, whether from an otherworldly confidence or stupidity, spent their days with a pint in hand at The Tipsy Gypsy Tavern, perhaps the holiest place in all Tol Eressëa.
Regardless of how they spent their idle time, The Mighty: the Vicar of Souls, the Iron Fist, the Silent, and the Archmage Supreme soon gathered their herd of heroes and journeyed them forth into the mysterious lands of Tol Eressëa, with every resource needed to claim honor for their guild & bring glory and riches to themself, perhaps, as The Hero of the Multiverse.
Some of the initiates siloed themselves, choosing to stalk the competition from afar. Still others, bolstered by some inner rational, joined together in arms as they set forth on their quest. Some even found camaraderie in the ranks of other guilds. Three members in particular, whether by fate or choice it is unclear, found themselves uniquely bound. Two from the ranks of Skullbash, known in their lands as Elodin & GeraldK. The other from the Alliance of Arcana, Hexprat.
As this trio ventured the lands of Tol Eressëa they lost their way within the Umbra Vale, for not one among them knew to read the stars. Frustrated by their ill fate, Elodin foolishly sought shelter within an overgrown ruin, and upon entering discovered an object. It sat upon a crumbling altar, and glinted in the torchlight. With confidence and explicit unthinking, Elodin chose to handle the relic. This disruption of the ancient relic known as The Ark of the Valar, soon began a quake within the crypt and collapsed all exits. The Seed of the Gods had awoken, and by the Valar’s powers gifted by Eru Ilúvatar, the gods of the multiverse were thrusted into existence.
Blinded by a radiation of shimmering light from the Prismatic Bridge, our party of three were hopelessly pitted against incarnation after incarnation of the mightiest deities to exist outside of Aman. However, deities like The Scarab God and Bontu met their final deaths to Hexprat, Conquistador of Death. Athreos & Cosima, bound by the might of Elodin, the Unstoppable, were forced to escort their brethren (and themselves) back from whence they came. These two great heroes fell nonetheless, and alone stood GeraldK, the Ender. Loosing his rage on friend and foe alike, summoning a tidal wave of allies to his side, Geraldk blotted out the Ethereal Light of The Ark itself - blotted out a light second only to The Valar themselves.
Another tug is felt coming from within your sparks as images of the feats of Elodin, Hexprat, and Geraldk unfold before your eyes.
Let your eyes lay claim on the valour of The Ender & his party. Revel in the fact that this glory is but a fly to that which awaits The Hero of All Realms. The Dungeon of the Ark of the Valar is but a house chore compared to that which awaits those who bring Influence to their Guild.
The images fade away from around you, and in their place images of Elbleino, the Silent and his guildling, Crazypersonn6613 assume reality.
Just as your heart basks in the greatness of GeraldK, your eyes are averted to witness the shame of Elbleino, the Fallen & his guildling, Crazypersonn613, the Usurpur. Watch as they mock the lands of Tol Eressëa, Elbleino’s fellow Valar, and even Eru Ilúvatar itself. Let it be known that I have cast these two into the very bowels of Aman, and there they shall fester unless their guild can return glory unto them.
So which path will you choose, Hero?
All the while, in the nest of Guilds, lines were being drawn. Some say not all who wander are lost, but the headless patrons of the Timeless Wanderers were ironically so. With one enemy taking care of themselves the Keepers quickly ascended to the role of puppet master. They sowed a frenzy of paranoia amongst The Skullbashers, their addled minds incapable of recognizing the ploy. Predictably, the Alliance of Arcana dallied away in their Library on theory instead of action, except when to claim intellectual superiority over the others. While the Keepers stoked the embers of discord in the mead halls, they dutifully conquered on the battlefield, swelled their flock, and transformed their initiates into unyeilding advocates of the light and darkness.
At Last Light on Freedom’s Eve, let it ring through the lands that the Guild of the Keepers of the Way has found favor with the land of Tol Eressëa. Choose from among you the mightiest and most chivalrous, and await their summoning to The Dungeon of The Land Eater. For glory to Guild & Land alike.
Lover, fighter, dreamer, schemer, gamer.
Across all the multiverse, the ebony-engraved Bells of Charity are struck by an unseen force. The floating pyres in the sky come alive with a radiant light from beyond the color barrier. Across all realms heroes, villains, and those that walk the line clamor with excitement as their hands (or other appendage, for the non-humanoids) reach for sword, lute, and staff alike. For as The Bells are struck, it must only mean one thing: Season 4 of Command the Cause has begun.
Before you can queue, and as if by some divine design, each and every @League Contestant suddenly has a woodland creature at their feet: a dog, a squirrel, a hawk, even frogs. Each and everyone carrying an addressed scroll. As you touch the parchment, it begins to speak to your mind:
"Greetings, traveler! I have scoured all the realms to find the worthiest (or most degenerate) adventurers in the land, to gather them for the quest of quests. I hereby welcome you to my home plane of….. Well, why don’t I just show you ….."
An involuntary tingle begins to erupt in your chest cavity as some otherworldly, unseen hand reaches deep into your Spark and lites it ablaze with the sense of adventure. The Blind Eternity dissipates around you and you find yourself standing atop the highest peak in a field of gentle rolling hills.
"….. Ah! There, welcome to Aman! Specifically, welcome to my personal island: Tol Eressëa, which boasts the largest collection of, er, 'toys' in all the multiverse. I have brought you here to compete against the most skilled, powerful, and witty beings in all the lands. To the death, of course. For the title of HERO OF THE MULTIVERSE. The road ahead is not easy, and you shall receive no help from me. But worry thine little head not, sweet traveler o’ mine! To your North, East, South, and West you will notice a brilliant castle some ways off in the distance. These are the palaces of the Four Guilds of Tol Eressëa, the power houses of Aman. Choose your path carefully, as there is no turning back once you step off this hill. I have entrusted the care of each guild to my closest of confidants, the Guild Leaders. They await you with provisions and further instructions. Now gather all your courage, wit, and skill as you take your next step - and falter not! Your each and every step will be watched, weighed, and tried as we search for the worthiest amongst you. Oh, and remember - we play by my rules here!" *uncontrollable maniacal laughter*
Lover, fighter, dreamer, schemer, and gamer.
What if you could….
Save a stranger from hunger // save a friend from their own thoughts // help find the cure for ___ disease // send a child to school with full belly // gave purpose & meaning to a soul who has neither // could save a stray // save the world
What would it look like? If you’re expecting an answer - don’t. The truth is: “charity,” or a “Giving Mindset”, is different for absolutely all of us. To you it might mean spending your entire weekend volunteering at the food bank - but it doesn’t have to. Maybe that terrifies you and keeps you away from a Giving Mindset - but it doesn’t have to. Maybe it just means buying an extra burger for that down-on-his-luck fella, or maybe it’s just treating them like a person and saying hi.
I cannot tell you what happens if you do any of those things. I cannot tell you what it will look like, how hard it will be, or what will come of it. But I can tell you that each and every one of those things shares the very same beginning: someone like you deciding they care a whole awful lot and taking the first steps towards having a Giving Mindset.
It starts by…
realizing you can help by buying an extra burger // texting your friend ‘how are you’ // putting a quarter in the donation jar // putting on your cape
Today, we’re currently raising funds for ASPCA, so let’s highlight this example: It starts by giving a little piece of yourself (your time & energy to fill up a food bowl) that you can spare, to something or someone else. It doesn’t matter how little or big.
When people think of charity, they often think of a grandeur vision of saving the world instead of saving a world. That’s a scary thought. An intimidating thought: How could I save the world? How could I give to someone else when I’m living paycheck to paycheck? How could I give to the world when I struggle to wake up, work, play with my kids, sleep?
And even if I had money and time - where would I give it? What charity is important to me?
To obtain the Giving Mindset, you need to move beyond your idea of Charity. It’s not spending all day Sunday picking up litter, and it probably doesn’t save the world. It’s A) Realizing there’s a need and then B) Giving a piece of yourself to that need. Those are the first steps to a Giving Mindset.
Start by getting out of your own little world and paying attention to what’s around you.
It starts by sitting in a drive through and shifting your thoughts from “Why is that weirdo just standing there” to “I wonder if that person doesn’t have anywhere to walk to….”
It starts by seeing that dog in the road and shifting your thoughts from “WHY is that dog standing in the middle of the road!? I almost ran into that ditch!” to “That dog must be terrified to just stand in the road. I wonder if it’s lost”
It starts by shifting your thinking from “I don’t want to embarrass myself by asking…” to “I don’t know this person, what do I have to lose? What do THEY have to gain?” and “I’m just going to get out of the car and check for a collar.”
It starts by realizing that it doesn’t matter where you give your time to, but that giving your time whenever you see a hole you can fill.
And that is The Giving Mindset. You shed your personal biases of the world. You don’t ask yourself “what if I had stopped and checked on that dog?” or “I wonder if that dog is okay.” Instead, you pull over and find out. You find out by taking one irrelevant moment of your day to do one small thing that is of the slightest inconvenience to you. And then another moment. And another. You do this over and over and over until you habitually drop a dollar in that jar or, as if bred into you, pulling over the car when you see that dog.
What do you have to lose? Maybe:
What do they have to gain? Probably:
The first step is your next step. I implore & encourage you to take that and every step after with The Giving Mindset.
And hey, if you’re still struggling with recognizing ways to help - we’d love to help you! We are currently raising funds for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The help this community gives them might just be the difference for saving a furry friend, and the help that furry friend gives its human friend might just save another life.
As a personal note, the things Command the Cause does is 100% possible because of each and every one of you. If you’re reading this, you have helped Command the Cause and, by extension, all the charities we’ve supported just by being a part of our community. Play games, have fun, and help us grow so we don’t have to wonder ‘what if’ anymore ❤
Lover, fighter, dreamer, schemer, and gamer.
Major updates, milestones, and announcements will be posted here.