The work contained on the following pages is the property and copyright of Jared Rascher and is used with permission.
Legends of the Magus-Progenetor
By Jared Rascher
What follows is an excerpt from the research journal of a travelling sage, Alraedus of Elversult. Alreadus stayed briefly at Candlekeep while trying to uncover the secrets that he was musing in this journal, and left behind this segment of his notes.
Alreadus travelled to several places to follow up on his information, and eventually wound up in Mulmaster, consulting the Demonologist Heargriist Arandagrist. Neither Alreadus nor Heargriist has been heard from for the last decade, and Heargriist's notes and most of his magic was spirited away by his assistants, who likewise have all managed to disappear from the notice of anyone in Faerun.
Legends of the Magus-Progenetor
This particular legend has facinated me for some time. The Magus-Progenetor is a legend that has been repeated in several cultures, and though the legend is persistant, it has never been particularly well known. Still, I have found variations on the tale in ancient Imaskari ruins, Netherese and Elven books, Mulhorandi and Untheric tablets, and even references to some of the characters that figure into the story in Nar records.
The Magus-Progenetor was said to be a tall man who always covered his entire body in clothing. He wore heavy robes, heavily stitched and riveted, and also work thick gloves that still allowed for deft finger movements, and boots. He always wore a hood up over his head, and always had a mask over his face. This mask was said to appear as a humanoid face, carved to appear absolutely impassive. His true race was never mentioned in any of the legends.
According to some records, the Magus-Progenetor's robes and other clothing bore a powerful enchantment that kept him from aging, as well as allowing his body to constantly regenerate itself. It was rumored that if even so much as a drop of his blood remained to stain his robes, and if his robes remained intact, that eventually the Magus-Progenetor would be whole again.
While most stories mention the glowing city that the Magus-Progenetor ruled from, the specifics of the city varied by account. Some accounts said that the city could travel instantaneously from one location to another, appearing in various places around Toril in order to facilitate the Magus-Progenetor's experiments. Other stories, however, say that the Magus-Progenetor's city actually travelled from world to world, and that the powerful wizard was not native to any known world, but has travelled extensively among them.
The Children of the Magus-Progenetor
The Magus-Progenetor was facinated with life in all of its forms, and was said to constantly modify it, creating several creatures for only the very basic humors of life. He was said to be thrilled to alter such humors and grow life from nearly nothing. He was particularly fond of altering animals that he found in nature, and adding the humors of more intelligent creatures to them. Depending on the tale, the following creatures are all said to be, in one way or another, his "children": Catfolk, Equicephs, Gnolls, Minotaurs, Desmodu, Armand, Goatfolk, Nycter, and Lupin.
A particularly interesting variation on this tale places the Magus-Progenetor in Faerun during the age of Ostoria. According to these legends (mainly those found in Netherese records), the Magus-Progenetor alernatively asked Annam himself, or the ruler of Ostoria, Lannaxis, for permission to use large numbers of ogres for his experiments. The legend then says that either Annam granted him dominion over the ogres, or that Lannaxis sold him ogre slaves wholesale for his experiments. Some legends say that minotaurs were created from adding the extracted humors of humans and ogres to the bodies of great bulls.
The Prodigal Sons
It is said that each of the races spawned by the Magus-Progenetor had a leader, an exemplar that was placed above the rest as the paragon of that particular species. While many are mentioned, two names, Yennogruth (associated with gnolls) and Baztopheth (associated with minotaurs) come up more than any other. Yennogruth and Baztopheth were said to be favored above all other paragons, and the two were fierce rivals.
After years of rivalry between the two, Baztopheth (having just stolen many magic items and some artifacts from his "father") grew restless, and led a band of minotaur rebels and ogre slaves against the other man-beasts, but Yennogruth and his gnolls managed to drive back Baztopheth's forces. Baztopheth managed to escape the city and instead began to rouse ogre tribes to his banner, carving out a small region under his control with his minotaur and ogre troops.
Eventually, the Magus-Progenetor gave Yennogruth his choice of artifacts and items to take with him to aid in a hunt to bring Baztopheth back to the city. He worried that Baztopheth would rouse the giants against him. Yennogruth took a large force of gnolls, and also took several necromantic items with him, allowing him to raise his fallen adversaries as ghouls, creating a hunting pack to aid in his tracking of Baztopheth.
Yennogruth brought Baztopheth before the Magus-Progenetor, but rather than yeild to the judgement of the powerful wizard, Baztopheth grabbed a book of lore on the modification of creatures, and dove for a portal that he remembered how to open. He cast himself into the Abyss, and while some stories have him being destroyed by the demons there, other stories say that he used the book stolen from the Magus-Progenetor to bargain for a position under some demon lord or another.
Yennogruth took his pack of ghouls and gnolls with him into the Abyss to hunt Baztopheth, and was never heard from again.
While to date no Nar records have a complete recounting of the entire legend of the Magus-Progenetor, it should be noted that the names Yennogruth and Baztopheth both show up at various points in Nar records, though such accounts are fragmentary, and while the names are amazingly similar, they may have nothing to do with the account detailed above.
It is very interesting to see these accounts of the genesis of various races. Unfortunately species such as gnolls and minotaurs are notorious for keeping poor records of such things. It this is true, then it would mean that minotaurs and gnolls were part of a civilized society before humans were even a major factor in Faerun.
Of course, if the accounts written in some of the Elven records are to be beleived, these events actually transpired over several different worlds. And of course, there is the possibility that all of these accounts are entirely allegorical or fictitious. Still, the ramifications are facinating, and bear following up.
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