Monday, January 01, 1990

Other Ideas--The Black Tower

Hidden in the mountains, far from the Ark or the Core, there is a beautiful lake. The water is still and cold, reflecting with icy precision the stark blue sky. In the middle of this lake is an island, upon which is built a single tower. It is not a large building but it is sufficient for its purpose. For it is the headquarters of the Black Tower, a secret conspiracy of Blessed, devoted to the development, control, and refinement of the Blessing. Many Blessed see the Black Tower as their only hope for acceptance within a semblance of normal society anywhere. Others see it as a way of making the world pay for its persecution of the Blessed.

The Black Tower is run like a guild. There are apprentices, journeymen, and masters, just like any other guild. Yet it lacks the stability of other guilds because of the high death toll among its members. It is hard to learn the mental discipline required to control the Blessing. Many die trying, and others lose their lives to a simple lapse. There are only a few masters of the Black Tower, and they often conceal themselves, spending their time in meditation, struggling to control the raging power within.

The Black Tower has lofty goals, yet even the best cause requires funding. So, on occasion, the Black Tower accepts donations from various anonymous contributors. In return, the Black Tower expresses its gratitude in terms acceptable to the contributor. And so a political rival perishes in the night, or a precious item vanishes from a secure vault. The Black Tower knows how to repay its debts.

What would happen if a High Lord hired the Black Tower to intervene in an ongoing political dispute with another High Lord? What if Ark troops stumbled onto the secret lake? What if an apprentice tried to flee the Black Tower, taking his knowledge of the location of the Tower with him? What if a journeyman on assignment refused to carry it out?


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