Friday, 20 April 2012

A-Z Blogging challenge

R is for Raving Monar

Raving Monar, also referred to as Monar the Mad, is a semi-legendary figure, featuring regularly in tall tales and stories of derring-do from all over the land. Described as a lanky, bald man, sporting a beard in some versions, always dressed in a plain brown robe, Monar is said to wander across the realm, looking for unfortunate adventurers and innocent bystanders to play his tricks on and make mischief. Usually he is identified as a human wizard or an arcane scholar, sometimes as a supernatural being in human disguise. Once he encounters a hapless band of travellers, unaware of his true identity, Monar engages them in conversation, setting them up for a quest of sorts. Monar spins a confusing tale, leading the listeners to think he's quite mad, and subtly drops hints and specifics about a great treasure he has found the location to. Invariably this treasure appeals to the baser desires of humankind: lost, valuable artifacts, huge gemstones, mounds of buried gold and the like being the most frequently mentioned as both the object and reward of the undertaking. Needless to say, the heroes of the story are quite often destitute and but too eagerly follow Monar the Mad's lead, taking no heed of the latter's cryptic messages and ramblings, thinking themselves quite smart indeed.

The heroes reach the location described by Monar without much trouble, and lulled into a false sense of security they are ill-prepared for what awaits them. They descend deeper and deeper into damp dungeons or decrepit ruins where the laws of nature and phsyics are warped beyond recognition, horrid monsters (slimes, oozes and jellies being a favourite) claiming a few of the increasingly less merry band of adventurers, while they become more and more puzzled by the mysterious riddles, dangerous traps and idols of eldritch deities native to the locale. After much hardship, death and bloodshed, the decimated group eventually reaches the final chamber where the object of their quest should be kept; instead they find mocking notes, more ravenous creatures or gateways to some hellish plane, revealing the full folly of their quest.

Those that make it out of the death trap return to find Raving Monar gone. Some stories tie directly into another one by having Monar leave a message, this time revealing the true location of the promised treasure. The wretched adventurers, of course, have learned nothing from their experience and proceed with the doomed quest.

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