"Gather around kids. Let me tell you an ancient yarn about the legend of Dark Maya," said Crannus Moruk, he set a tankard of ale down next to him as he slowly sat down on the steps leading up towards the Dangarn Inn. He waited patiently as the children playing near the stables quieted down and gathered to hear the old man speak. Even a few adults paused in their daily business, including the undertaker Rorrin Greenglove.
"I love this story," remarked Rorrin, but Crannus didn't seem to hear him or pretended not to. The undertaker took a long drink from his ale, seeming very pleased with where this story was going.
"A long time ago, around the time that the great Battle Behemoth Bogdan was building his Bogkeep," began Crannus.
"I am related to Bogdan!" shouted one of the children. "Me too!" shouted another.
"Sssshhh!" hissed Fai, one of the more responsible teenagers present.
Crannus took a sip of his Kazarkian ale and continued. "At that time Maya, one of the Great Heroes of the time, was already a very powerful mystic and wizard. But she craved more power. While her comrades were building castles she went alone in to the world seeking to increase her power. A bit of a trickster, she took to charming ogres to serve as her allies and then used whole bands of ogres to help her to take down dragons. It was while she was doing this that she found a powerful cursed item, a Jade Circlet with unusual markings on it."
"Maya didn't know it at the time, but this circlet was the source of her undoing. She didn't know what it was so she tried it on and tried to identify what it did. Unfortunately the Jade Circlet was evil, and intelligent, and it twisted Maya's mind and made her evil. This is how she became Dark Maya."
"The circlet also gave her immense magical power. It was a powerful artifact made by a mystic from the Far East, one of the mysterious Tower Lords who existed at the time. The more Dark Maya used the artifact, the more powerful she became. Soon she rivaled the Tower Lords in their power, but her past alliances made it difficult to control her. They offered Maya the position of Tower Lord multiple times, on the condition that she kill her friend, the famed Indrasen the Assassin. But always Maya refused, despite being evil, she refused to kill her friend."
"So the Tower Lords made a scheme in which they would train an ogre magi to become more powerful, and then they tricked Maya into believing the ogre magi was something even more powerful, a Night Hag. They assigned to Maya the night hag as an assistant, but in truth made the ogre magi the Tower Lord. The hag then convinced Maya to assume the disguise of an ogre magi. The Tower Lords had one goal, to pit Maya against her old comrades so that she wouldn't have any choice but to kill them."
Rorrin chuckled at this point, trying to stifle his mirth. Crannus again seemed to not notice.
"Then the Tower Lords gave Maya a task, one which they knew would bring her into conflict with her old comrades: To kill King Margus, which we know as the first king, King Margus the Conqueror!"
"Long live the king!" shouted Rorrin Greenglove and then took a drink. "Long live the king!" shouted several other adults, a small crowd now gathered.
"Maya failed in her task, foiled by the Heroes of Olde. They then tracked her down to her underground cavern on Reaver Isle and set about their task of killing the Tower Lord. But who was the Tower Lord? Was it Maya, who had assumed the guise of an ogre magi? Or the ogre magi, who had assumed the guise of a night hag? They didn't know so they just killed both of them."
"My kind of heroes," muttered the undertaker.
"Indrasen the Assassin dealt the killing blow, killing her long time friend. After the dust had settled they found Maya's body in the rubble, having changed back into her original form after dying," continued Crannus.
"Just like a werewolf!" shouted one of the kids present.
"Yes. But with Maya dead there were many unanswered questions. And then the Heroes of Olde saw the mirrors, magical mirrors used by the Tower Lords to communicate with others of their kind. Inside them they saw the Tower Lords laughing at them. Laughing and laughing. It was then that Indrasen the Assassin swore vengeance on them all, wanting to hunt them all down. But that is another story..."
"And then what happened to Maya?" asked one of the younger kids present.
"Since she was dead, Maya's spirit was finally freed from the Jade Circlet. But all the evil she had done, for years under her guise as an ogre magi, had tainted her soul. The Heroes of Olde tried bringing her back to life using powerful divine magic, but she was dead and her soul trapped in the astral plane. Even the gods refused to give her final rest, as she had not worshipped them in life and her soul was so tainted by evil. She was now touched by the Duality of Good and Evil. Tainted by the Black Rose, as the necromancers call it."
"Over time however the legend of Maya grew. Wizards and mystics began to worship her and build shrines to her. This worship freed Maya's soul from the Astral Plane and allowed it to wander the higher and lower planes of existence. She became a goddess, or as we know her today, the goddess of magic."
Rorrin Greenglove began to slow clap. "And what was the moral of this story?"
"Oh well, you know. Never wear weird magical objects when you don't know what they do. Also don't do acts of evil, as your soul might be trapped on the Astral Plane and we cannot all be as lucky as Maya to become a god."
"You forgot about the Duality of Maya and Dark Maya," commented Rorrin, a devious smile on his face. "There is a lot more to that story."
"Oh well, you know. That is another story..."