The Nameless One
"No wonder my back hurts, there's a whole damn novel written on it."
"I wonder what I did to make death reject me."
Fear names. Names have power in identity. Others can use names as weapons. Names are a hook that can be used to track you ... Remain nameless, and you shall be safe.
I am the Nameless One.
— Inscription in the Tomb of the Nameless One
Narrator: [On opening the Bronze Sphere]: The sphere wrinkles in your hands, the skin of the sphere peeling away into tears and turning into a rain of bronze that encircles you. Each droplet, each fragment that enters you, you feel a new memory stirring, a lost love, a forgotten pain, an ache of loss - and with it, comes the great pressure of regret, regret of careless actions, the regret of suffering, regret of war, regret of death, and you feel your mind begin buckling from the pressure - so MUCH, all at once, so much damage done to others... so much so an entire FORTRESS may be built from such pain. And suddenly, through the torrent of regrets, you feel the first incarnation again. His hand, invisible and weightless, is upon your shoulder, steadying you. He doesn't speak, but with his touch, you suddenly remember your name... and it is such a simple thing, not at all what you thought it might be, and you feel yourself suddenly comforted. In knowing your name, your true name, you know that you have gained back perhaps the most important part of yourself. In knowing your name, you know yourself, and you know, now, there is very little you cannot do.
Nameless One: What can change the nature of a man?
The Transcendent One: I have seen you live a countless lives, Broken One, I have lived your endless quests that accomplish nothing except spread your torment though the multiverse. Then, this is my answer and you are my proof: Nothing can change the nature of a man.
Nameless One: You are wrong. If there is anything I have learned in my travels across the Planes, it is that many things may change the nature of a man. Whether regret, or love, or revenge or fear - whatever you believe can change the nature of a man, can. I've seen belief move cities, make men stave off death, and turn an evil hag's heart half-circle. This entire Fortress has been constructed from belief. Belief damned a woman, whose heart clung to the hope that another loved her when he did not. Once, it made a man seek immortality and achieve it. And it has made a posturing spirit think it is something more than a part of me.
The Transcendent One: Believe what you will. You will die again, and you will forget again.
"The Mortuary, a big, black structure with all the architectural charm of a pregnant spider."
"The Rule of Three is... one of those 'laws' about the Planes, about everything tending to happen in threes... or everything's composed of three parts, or there's always three choices, and so on and so forth."
"Sigil is a ring shaped city that's squatting on an infinitely tall spire on what some claim to be the centre of the planes. Of course, how it can be at the top of an infinitely tall tower and how it can be at the centre of the planes raises some questions."
"You know, it wouldn't kill you to show a little civility, fiendling. Or hug me...or kiss me."
An elderly man was sitting alone on a dark path, right? He wasn't certain of which direction to go, and he'd forgotten both where he was traveling to and who he was. He'd sat down for a moment to rest his weary legs, and suddenly looked up to see an elderly woman before him. She grinned toothlessly and with a cackle, spoke: 'Now your third wish. What will it be?'
'Third wish?' The man was baffled. 'How can it be a third wish if I haven't had a first and second wish?'
'You've had two wishes already,' the hag said, 'but your second wish was for me to return everything to the way it was before you had made your first wish. That's why you remember nothing; because everything is the way it was before you made any wishes.' She cackled at the poor berk. 'So it is that you have one wish left.'
'All right,' said the man, 'I don't believe this, but there's no harm in wishing. I wish to know who I am.'
'Funny,' said the old woman as she granted his wish and disappeared forever. 'That was your first wish.'
"Hail... traveller. Your eyes have the weight of one who has travelled long to be in this place."
"Your path is mine."
"Steel marks flesh, but flesh cannot mark steel."
"When a mind does not know itself, then it is flawed. When a mind is flawed, the man is flawed. When the man is flawed, that which he touches is flawed. It is said that what a flawed man sees, his hands make broken."
"There cannot be two skies!"
"In *knowing* the teachings of Zerthimon, I have become stronger."
[Memory] The emaciated Zerth lies broken before you, his skin ashen and coal black eyes focusing on nothing. But you know that these are the least of his wounds; it is faith that dealt him the mortal blow.
[Last words] "I may be bested in battle, but I shall never be defeated.
"You! What is it that brings you here? Perhaps, even in death, I still hold some shred of use for you... [Hisses]... My Love?"
"You are one who is both blessed and cursed, my love. And you are one who is never far from my thoughts and heart."
"The nature of you curse should be apparent to you, death rejects you, your memories abandon you. Do you not pause and wonder why?"
"I shall wait for you in Death's halls, My Love."
[First meeting with the Nameless One] "Looks like the Dusties lost one of their deaders!"
[To Morte] "Get yer eyes off my arse!"
"Aye, now what yeh be wantin' to know about me for? Are yeh jest bored? It's not some grand tale, it isn't, so if yeh're expecting some epic yeh'd best go rattle yer bone-box at someone else, jig?"
[When confronted by The Transcendent One in the Fortress of Regrets] "[The Nameless One] matters more to me than life!"
"Through observation, sensation and experience shall the truth of the multiverse be revealed."
[When being clicked repeatedly] "Simple minds, simple pleasures..."
"May my faith lend me strength..."
"Ignus hears you."
"Ignus wishesss to BURN."
"When the Planessss burnnnn and all life is but torchesss, then Ignusss ssshall at lassst... be at peace."
"One day, Ignus will kill you all."
[When killed in the Fortress of Regrets] "Master... forgive me. I have betrayed your teaching."
"Identification of self was compromised by doubtings + mullings + analysis."
"I think, therefore I am... I think."
"I forge the weapons by which the universe will be unmade."
"Metal is like flesh. Both carry potential in their veins. When tempered with heat and pressure, the potential surfaces."
"There are no limits. Limits are but a link in the chain of order. All limits must be shattered."
"All must fall on Entropy's blade. The time comes when it will be necessary to breach the walls of creation. Order will be put to the sword. Its chains will be broken. The Multiverse will be unmade."
"Immortality is only a word. All that exists can die. Every living thing has a weapon against which it has no defense. Time. Disease. Iron. Guilt."
Nameless One: What happened to the legions that once used this tower?
Coaxmetal: Entropy has unmade them.
Nameless One: What happened to planes this tower invaded?
Coaxmetal: Entropy has unmade them.
Nameless One: I...see.
Yves: Greetings. I am Yves Tale Chaser.
Morte: What a coincidence. I too chase tails.
"Once upon a time, a girl came to an oracle who was rumored to know many things and asked of it a boon. Her life was in need of direction, so she asked this oracle as to what would give her purpose...
"Now, the oracle was not evil, but it was vague and tended towards drink, which caused it to be obscure in many matters of judgement and focus. Its only answer to the girl's question was that within one story that she would hear in her lifetime was the truth that she sought. The girl went off and collected stories, which she chases to this day, not knowing which of the thousands hold the truth.
"Such is the danger of a foolish question and the wisdom of an unspoken one."
— Yves' origin story
"Once upon a time, there existed a Modron. It was newly-created, its logic fresh and untested, and it had come to Sigil, following the commands of its Modron superiors.
"It knew of nothing but commands and dictates, of obedience and passing along the orders of its superiors. For you see, Modrons are only aware of the commands of their immediate superiors - they have no grasp of a higher authority. Until this one.
"One day it came upon a small shop, within which there was a small clock that could no longer tell time. It was cracked along the edges, the wheels of its hands broken. The Modron immediately set itself to work at getting the parts to fix the broken clock.
"It made a new wooden housing for the clock's parts, replaced the bent springs, carefully filed and oiled the clockwork machinery, and carved new hands from the sparse metal available to it. The newly-repaired clock's precise ticking reminded it of the great gears of Mechanus, and it comforted it as much as any thing may comfort a Modron.
"And what the Modron never came to understand was that it truly loved this clock that it had worked on, and for reasons it could not explain, elected to remain in Sigil and be with the clock for the rest of its years."
— "The Clock and the Quadrome"
"The tale concerns a suitor of Lady of Pain, one of many over the years. He was a young man who was obsessed with the Mistress of Sigil. He saw her everywhere, in every corner of her city. He would hear the rustling of her robes, the scrape of her blades, and grew infatuated beyond all reason. He hoped that if he worshipped her, that he would at last be able to see her... and so worship her he did.
"He was found dead on the blood-soaked steps of his own home, grievous stab wounds covering the whole of his body... but his eyes were open wide, and upon his lips was a triumphant smile."
— "The Lady's Suitor"
"Once, a murderer roamed Sigil's streets, a black-hearted man by the name of Kossacs. He had been blessed by his Abyssal mother so that no one could strike him with an intent to harm or they themselves would die. He revelled in his blessing, using it to start fights and murder anyone who crossed his path.
"During one of his murderous rages, he was captured by the Harmonium with nets and brought before the Guvners. The trial was short, final, yet Kossacs laughed at the proceedings, knowing that no one among them could harm him without dying horribly. At the final day of his trial, he was proclaimed guilty and sentenced to death.
"Kossacs sentence proclaimed by the Guvners was this: 'Confinement for thrice-thirty days, during which time you shall give up your life, be declared dead, and your body removed when all signs of life cease.' Kossacs laughed and dared any of them to try and harm him, yet the court was silent.
"The Mercykillers lead Kossacs to their prison and locked him in a dark, empty cell. There was no cot, no lights, and the only door was a steel grate in the ceiling.
"As they lowered him into the cell, the Mercykiller told him—in the corner of your cell will you find a chalice. It holds poison. Your death will be swift.
"'Aren't you going to execute me?' Kossacs snarled at the guard.
"'No one in Sigil shall lay a hand on you with intent to harm,' came the Mercykiller's reply.
"'Then I spit on your cowardice!' Kossacs laughed, feeling for the chalice in the darkness, then hurling it at the wall and shattering it. Its poison dripped from the walls and dried, until it was no more. 'Come then - you will have to try and kill me now.'
"But there was no response from the grate in the ceiling. It was then that Kossacs noticed the cell had no cot. No lights. And no food and water. All that remained was the shattered chalice, the poison gone. And for the first time, Kossacs knew the icy touch of death's approach.
"In twice-thirty days, the grate opened, and Kossacs' body, now cold, was taken from the cell. It had given up its life, and the execution had been carried out."
— "The Execution"
Ravel: Well now, my pretty thing, have you returned at last? You were a-gone so long a time that I a-feared you forgot poor, lonely Ravel.
Nameless One: I did forget for a time. But now I have returned.
Ravel: Have you? But what has returned?
[To Nordom] "There is no room for "2" in the world of 1s and 0s, no place for "mayhap" in a house of trues and falses, and no "green with envy" in a black-and-white world."
"I have forgotten more of the Art than you shall ever know."
"I am but a woman who has sorely...soarly? Soarly missed her beloved creation. Some have named me crone, gray lady, Yaga sister, night hag—but myself is my name, Ravel, Ravel who puzzles well, providing conundrums to decipher and laying impossibilities low."
"You have forgotten your place, half-man. Humility is in order."
Trias, The Betrayer
"And what would you wish of me, mortal? Speak your mind and leave me to my memories of paradise."
"How is it that you believe that you have earned the right to any truths in this life or the next? Such arrogance."
Trias: I will not be judged by you mortal; not when you have lived the lives you have. Let me tell you of Betrayal: betrayal is cowardice... selling weapons to your adversaries out of fear that they might stop killing each other and turn upon you. Betrayal is refusing to lead by example. Betrayal is letting the Fiends run rampart through the Planes until evil has corrupted all hearts. [Summons demons to fight for him.]
Nameless One: What really happened to your wings, Trias?
Trias: [Smiles] All the balefire and hate in all the hells can not compare with the wrath of a father's anger.
"Why are you so surprised? You have wandered in great circles across the planes in these countless lives you have lived. Such symmetry. Such futility. Go now, back to where it began. Go back, and die."
Nameless One: Have you forgotten the face of your father, Trias?
Trias: What? [And his mask of aching, divine beauty slips, consternation rolls across his features and you can glimpse the torment within, if only for a moment.]
"Perfection through punishment."
"Justice is not blind... for I am Her eyes!"
Vhailor: When the injustice is great enough, justice will lend me the strength needed to correct it. None may stand against it. It will shatter every barrier, sunder any shield, tear through any enchantment, and lend its servant the power to pass sentence. Know this: There is nothing on all the Planes that can stay the hand of justice when it is brought against them. It may unmake armies. It may sunder the thrones of gods. Know that for all who betray justice, I am their fate. And fate carries an executioner's axe.
The Nameless One: I see.
Vhailor: No you do not see. Pray that you will never see.
Dhall: Know you? Ha, I have never known you, Restless One, [There is a trace of bitterness in the scribe's voice], no more than you have known yourself... for you have forgotten again, haven't you?
Elderly Hive Dweller: I'll bet ye've got all sorts o' barmy questions! [Mimics your heroic stance] Greetin's, I have some questions... can ye tell me about this place? Who's the Lady o' Pain? I'm lookin' fer the magic Girdle of Swank Iron, have ye seen it? Do ye know where a portal ta the 2,817th Plane o' the Abyss might be? Do ye know where the Holy Flamin' Frost-Brand Gronk-Slayin' Vorpal Hammer o' Woundin' an' Returnin' an' Shootin'-Lightnin'-Out-Yer-Bum is?
Fell: The flesh knows it suffers even when the mind has forgotten.
Nameless One: This? This is just a frame.
Old Mebbeth: Ah, but so are you, child.
Buried Villager: Who am I? [Laughs bitterly] You might as well ask a grain of sand for its name, cutter, because that's how important I am.
Pharod: [Chuckles] A piece of wisdom, corpse. A man is often wrong about a great many things... and a dead man has been wrong one too many times.
Lothar: You truly know very little, about very little. Have you bashed your head against every rock that has fallen from the Mountain of Ignorance?
Nixl Xander: They do not possess the true fire. They speak of creation and they boast of their potential but they do not create anything beyond the mundane. Their imagination is poor, obsessed with the small details. A true Dreamer, I say, creates a grand scheme and then concentrates on the details. Starting with the details is for the ants of the imagination - the small insects who aspire only to be fed.
The Pillar of Skulls: Meaning and death is what you seek... Two separate things they are for a normal man. But for you... one and the same.
Morte: Look, chief, these dead chits are the last chance for a couple of charming young bashers like us. We need to be chivalrous - no hacking off limbs or bashing them to pulp looking for keys.
Nameless One: Last chance? What are you talking about?
Morte: Look chief, THEY'RE dead, WE'RE dead, see? Wink, wink?
Nameless One: You can't be serious.
Pharod: Dead men can keep no promises and promises to dead men are easy enough to make, corpse.
Nameless One: You are no Samaritan, Pharod. There must have been another reason.
Pharod: [Pauses. Then his face contorts in rage.] Aye... after you had strung a score of my blood on the hive wall t'DIE, I had enough reason to promise you the PLANES themselves! And after your butchering self barges in my HOME, my KIP, to ask a 'boon' of me... [Regains control] Aye, I agreed.
Nameless One: I... am sorry for your loss, for what that's worth.
Pharod: [Laughs] These catacombs are as deep as a Dustie's pockets.
Nameless One: And as deep as the greed of man.
Pharod: Oh yes, and the greed of man is something that can counted upon when nothing else is left, eh?
Qui-Shan: Your patience... is noted. Qui-Shan... will speak... with you... now.
Morte: Powers no, not another berk who talks... like... this.
Nameless One: You're going to eat me?
Ghrist: Aye, as soon as ye finish with ye damn fool questions.
Nameless One: You can try, but you'll die from a bellyache as I gut you.
Ghrist: I'll take that chance.
Fall-from-Grace: You know, Nordom, you are perhaps the cutest little rogue modron I have ever encountered.
Nordom: 'Cutest' is a subjective term. I prefer the designation "fearsome cubed warrior".
Fall-from-Grace: Of course! That's why you're so cute.
Nordom: Attention: Morte. I have a question. Do you have a destiny? A purpose?
Morte: Is Annah still wearing clothes?
Morte: Then the answer is yes.
Morte: Hey Nordom, knock-knock.
Nordom: Why do you persist in addressing me as a door?
Morte: It's a joke, you stupid polygon! You're supposed to answer "Who's there?"
Nordom: I know who is there. It is you. Why would I ask a question when I already know the answer?
Morte: Just forget it.
Nordom: Attention, Fall-from-Grace. I wish to address your body.
Fall-from-Grace: Pardon me?
Nordom: Your body. Your form. Your reason for selecting it. Why?
Fall-from-Grace: Why... I suppose I find it comforting. Besides, I rather like the wings.
Nordom: It would be more practical for you to assume the form of a modron. It is 13.27% more efficient. Give or take +5.2%.
Fall-from-Grace: Why, Nordom, are you trying to court me?
Nordom: It was not my intention to initiate legislation against you.
Fall-from-Grace: Morte, I'm curious... What are you?
Morte: Me? I'm the Head of Vecna.
Fall-from-Grace: Morte, I'm curious... What are you?
Morte: Me? I'm 'le petit morte'.note