Chaotic wayang witch of shadow
Maloyan is a crafty wayang witch whose eyes constantly look for trouble and whose face always seems to have a smile. Though his frame is surprisingly small and his skin unusually dark even for a wayang, his arcane spells and supernatural powers are not to be trifled with. While he usually uses his skills to create pranks and cause trouble to amuse himself and his pooka familiar Molepia, he does have a greater goal in mind.
Maloyan sees himself as an agent of chaos who strives to maintain the world’s balance despite the works of great evil. Already he has spent the last decade trying to undo the treachery of the half-fiend Surzul, who banished numerous wayangs to the Material Plane and enslaved the wayangs of Noedig in the Shadow Plane. With the help of the former Archdiviner Cyan, he located and rescued hundreds of wayangs scattered across Meier, and bought them back to an enclave on the outskirts of Gideon City, led by his father. Meanwhile, his sister Moroyin remained on the Shadow Plane, leading the remaining wayangs and creating hope by maintaining wayang traditions in her stoic and lawful manner.
With Surzul recently defeated by a band of adventurers, the rescued wayangs have been able to return home to Noedig and reunite with their families. However, it is now clear that there are wayangs still missing. Using his newfound scrying abilities and continuing to bargain with Cyan, Maloyan continues to search for lost wayangs across the Material Plane. In the meantime, he has also vowed to protect Noedig by keeping an eye out for any other evils that might threaten the wayang tribes—especially anything that has to do with the hated Surzul.
While he takes his duties seriously, this does not mean that Maloyan does not constantly have fun. Any of his traveling companions must eventually grow accustomed to the wayang’s unsettling toothy grin and eerily moving thin, bony fingers, made worse by the disembodied giggling of his invisible pooka friend. However, showing discomfort will only provoke more practical jokes, as his friends quickly learn.
The Story of Moroyin and Maloyan
• There is a well-known seer of old, who belongs to the Leadworthy tribe of the wayangs of Noedig. Many decades ago, he came with a prophecy to a tribal elder Umbardow and his wife Tenebria. The two wayangs would give birth to twins—one of stoic tradition and one of chaotic laughter—who would help the wayang tribes survive great evil over the coming centuries.
• Umbradow was a middle-aged elder who was well respected among the Leadworthy tribe. He came from a long line of elders, all of whom were firm devotees to the Great Dissolution. Known as a wayang with the ability to bring people together, he was popular among all the tribes.
• Tenebria was a younger wayang who was also well respected among the Leadworthy tribe. Though she did not participate in the meetings among the elders, she was known for her wisdom and care. Since she believed not only in the Great Dissolution, but also the less popular Great Balance, she was someone who passed no judgment on ideas, but instead was always willing to lend a listening ear. She knew some simple magic, and frequently was looked to as a caretaker for sick wayangs. In this way, she was a mother to the whole Leadworthy community.
• Tenebria, excited about the prospect of giving birth to two children whose presence would bring balance against evil, decided to give them names that were ancient and prophetic. Ages ago, when Noedig was first established, two twins rose to stabilize a shaky start. Their names, which were a combination of Ancient Gideonese and Wayang, were Moroyin (meaning “solemn light”) and Maloyan (meaning “bright darkness”).
• And within half a decade, the two twins were indeed born. The first was a girl, large and pale. The second was a boy, dark and frail. They were as different as night and day, and yet they were inseparable from the start.
• The young girl, Moroyin, was very large for a wayang. Even as a child, she dwarfed other wayangs her age, and with her uncommon pale skin, she frequently stood out. For a child, she was extremely calm and patient, and it was frequently pointed out that she was never seen crying.
• The young boy, Maloyan, was quite different. Very small and thin for wayangs his age, he tended to be much quicker and more impatient. His skin was extremely dark—so dark it was difficult to spot him in the shadows, unlike his sister. Yet for all of his impatience, the boy had a sense of humor, and it was frequently pointed out that he was almost always seen smiling or laughing.
• Their childhood was not without its tribulations, however. Tenebria never quite recovered from the difficulty of childbirth, and began to waste away. Within a few years, she passed away.
• The day of mourning and celebration for Tenebria’s passing was one marked with particular importance. The infant twins joined their father at Tenebria’s funeral. On that day, the strong Moroyin stood up on her own and took her first steps. These steps brought her to the shrine to the Great Dissolution that sat by her mother’s body. As she fell to her knees, her hands reached out and grabbed one of the idols on the shrine, and the superstitious wayangs present muttered that Tenebria’s passing endowed her daughter with a primal link to the Great Dissolution.
• The wayangs then turned to watch Maloyan, the tiny child who continued to smile toothily despite his mother’s death. Unlike his sister, he did nothing; he was simply not strong enough to yet stand. But as they watched him, the sound of a tapping at the window caught their attention. There a raven sat, knocking on the glass with its beak. When Umbradow went to open up the window, the raven flew immediately to Maloyan, who reached up and caressed it with a tiny hand. The raven was the boy’s companion from that day forth.
Their Later Youth
• Over the next few decades, the two twins would become well-known among the Leadworthy tribe, though perhaps they were seen more with interest than with respect, at first.
• Moroyin was a young woman who followed the wayang conventions closely. She underwent ritual scarification at an early age, scarification that was seen as a wayang tradition to represent their ties to the Great Dissolution. Despite never showing any proficiency with magic (unlike her mother), her physical strength was immense, and she insisted on contributing to the tribe with her physical prowess.
• Additionally, Moroyin took great interest in the inner workings of the tribe, and so she frequently accompanied her father to the meetings of the elders. Though she rarely spoke (which was a characteristic she exhibited regardless of the setting), she watched and listened carefully, providing occasional insight and wisdom only when asked. Many found it surprising that she spent her time with so many wayangs who were so much older, but she did not find it upsetting at all.
• Maloyan, on the other hand, was a young man who seemed to try to defy the rules whenever he could. While he rarely would act in malice, he found great humor in setting up practical jokes and creating trouble. With the help of his raven, Nigrala, he would find the most obscure locations to watch as his traps were sprung by the unwitting. His dark complexion often aided him in hiding, and as he was seen as too frail to partake in the ritual scarification of most wayangs, he only had ritual tattoos, which were frequently of dark color as well.
• Nonetheless, Maloyan was tolerated among the tribe for being a talented arcanist, who was willing to help the tribe when asked. (And he made sure that you made your request clearly; vague requests often led to playful results.) Additionally, his small, deft fingers made him skilled at the art of wayang tattooing, and with his magical abilities, he began to provide magical tattoos for the tribe. Frequently these tattoos would depict symbols of the Great Balance as well as the Great Dissolution, for he believed he and his sister were less shadow and light, but were instead embodiments of chaos and law sent to restore balance.
• Maloyan’s choice of company was more questionable, however. He treated everyone with respect (though for him, respect meant the willingness to crack jokes at one’s expense), including those who were often seen as odd outcasts and outsiders who did not fit in with the close-knit wayang tribes.
• In particular, many were alarmed at his “friendship” with the half-fiend Surzul, who was known to be bitter, angry, and hateful. However, Surzul tolerated the young wayang as Maloyan provided him with information about the tribes and a means of trade, while Maloyan gained some insight about the world outside of the Shadow Plane, as well as the occasional magical item crafted by Surzul himself. Though Surzul found the wayang to be too facetious, and Maloyan found the half-fiend too obsessed with “revenge” and “the eventual fall of Gard,” the two continued to work with each other.
• When the two twins were close to their sixtieth birthday (the equivalent of a human around twenty years of age), everything changed, and not for the best. The half-fiend Surzul returned from the Material Plane with an artifact of great power, which gave him domination over the wayangs. Within the day, he declared dominion over Noedig and claimed the wayangs as his slaves.
• The wayangs, however, were not willing to accept this claim. Over the years, their relationship with Surzul gave them access to some magical items (many of which he had himself crafted), and they chose to take these up in arms against Surzul. Little did they know that these objects were trapped, and on Surzul’s command, would banish them across the Material Plane.
• Umbradow, though apprehensive about war with the empowered Surzul, was obligated to lead his tribe in battle against Surzul. Wielding a magical dagger, he was joined by the reckless Maloyan, who felt betrayed by Surzul’s treachery. The patient Moroyin, however, waited with the remainder of the tribe to keep watch. Despite her physical strength, she suspected that Surzul’s new magical powers could not be matched.
• And it was thus that Maloyan found himself among the first to be banished from the Shadow Plane. When he lifted his hand to use of the Ring of Spell Storing that Surzul had given him, there was a great darkness as he was whisked away, and then a great light, as he found himself stranded and blinking in the daylight of the Material Plane.
• And as Moroyin watched the battle continue, she saw her father and countless other leaders disappear in unknown flashes of darkness. She retreated back to the tribes, and was left to protect the remainder of the now-defenseless wayangs.
• Maloyan found himself dazzled by the bright morning light of the equatorial Bocan Islands of the Material Plane, banished by Surzul’s trapped Ring of Spell Storing, which was no longer with him. All that he had were his few possessions and his raven, Nigrala.
• Soon too, though, that would be gone. As Maloyan struggled to deal with the daylight (for most wayangs are nocturnal), he frequently sent Nigrala to go scout for him. One day, Nigrala did not return. Instead, after an hour, another raven came back to Maloyan, and, landing on his shoulder, spoke to him in a female’s voice, saying, “I’m Molepia! It’s nice to meet you.”
• Maloyan, confused, inquired as to who Molepia was, to which Molepia explained that she was his new familiar. “Exatris has decided that the time was right for you to find a familiar of the Material Plane.” Upon asking who Exatris was, Molepia merely transformed into her natural pooka form, giggled, and replied, “Your sister has her Dissolution idols. You? You have Exatris.”
• As frustrating as it was to have this giggly bunny girl as his new familiar, Maloyan and Molepia got along very well. Though Molepia (who frequently remained invisible) would try to play jokes on Maloyan, she was very receptive to him as a familiar, and was more than patient when it came to communing with Maloyan’s shadow patron. (Over time, he would realize that Exatris was the name that his patron took, but none of his research would ever uncover more than that; it was likely that Exatris was a pseudonym for some other power.)
• And though Maloyan greatly regretted the loss of Nigrala, his raven, he realized that perhaps Nigrala, like his mother, had passed into the shadow and returned to him in the form of this pooka. It was somewhat superstitious to believe, but the reality also was that, despite the fact that familiars age more slowly, the raven was decades old, and perhaps the old bird’s time had come as well. It would be a truth that Maloyan would never uncover.
• With his new pooka companion, Maloyan began to travel towards Gideon City, where he hoped to find the Material Plane’s entrance to a well-known portal between Noedig and Gideon City. Though it was a difficult transition, he began to sleep during the night and travel during the day, for unlike the nocturnal creatures of the Shadow Plane, the Material Plane’s beasts were active while the sun was out.
• Maloyan’s travels led him to the port city of Morgan, where he ran into a powerful wizard named Cyan. Cyan, a former Archdiviner of Eustace, was seething from his own recent banishment from the order of Archmages. Maloyan explained his situation to Cyan, whose interest was flagged by when Surzul was mentioned. Cyan asked Maloyan to tell him more, and that in return, he would try to help the wayang. He revealed that there had been talk of a large number of wayangs recently appearing in odd places, suggesting that this might be linked to Surzul’s treachery.
• Thus began a working relationship between Maloyan and Cyan. Though the wayang had little interest in actually participating in Cyan’s new “Clairvoyance Society” project, he agreed to help perform tasks for Cyan and his friends. In return, the diviner offered to use his arcane powers to help Maloyan locate the various scattered wayangs, starting with someone of critical importance to Maloyan: Umbradow.
• Maloyan learned from Cyan that Umbradow was lost in Arcland, where the wayang elder had found a few others. Maloyan departed from Morgan to find his father, and Cyan and he agreed to meet in Gideon City in two month’s time.
• Maloyan rescued Umbradow and the lost wayangs, finding them hiding in a port city on the southern coast of Arcland. Using his witch powers to save them from the clutches of Arcish slavers, Maloyan fled with the others towards Gideon City, where they hoped to find the portal back to Noedig. On the way, they picked up a few more wayangs stranded in Arcland and Gard.
• Upon arriving in Gideon City, they learned that the entrance to the portal to Noedig was hidden in a well-guarded government building. (It was later revealed to be inside the basement of the Gideon City’s Senate Building.) With no access to Noedig available, Umbradow decided to create a small, hidden enclave on the outskirts of Gideon City for the wayang refugees.
• In the meantime, Maloyan met with Cyan, who revealed the location of more lost wayangs across the Occident. Maloyan decided to leave the wayang enclave to search for these wayangs, providing Cyan with small services in return. Each wayang he found he sent back to his father’s enclave in Gideon City, or brought back himself.
• Thus began Maloyan’s decade-long mission to return Noedig’s banished wayangs to the Gideon City enclave. His roamed across the Material Plane of Meier, from the hills of the Occident to the steppes of the Orient, through the jungles of the Bocans and into the forests of Freedland.
• For despite his seeming spontaneity, his loyalty toward the Noedig wayangs was unwavering, whether they were from the Leadworthy tribe or not. He chose to go any length to rescue his fellow wayangs and bring them back into the fold, taking special care to cause trouble for those who attempted to oppress or shackle his comrades. (The Arcish were especially guilty of this.)
• Meanwhile, his sister Moroyin was left in the Shadow Plane, where she tried to help fill a leadership void after the mysterious exile of the majority of Noedig’s elders. Over the years, the large, patient wayang led her fellows in quiet resistance against Surzul’s harsh subjugation, in particular by insisting that the wayangs continue to abide by their traditions despite Surzul’s attempts to oppress them. Her devotion to her beliefs in the Great Dissolution was seen as especially inspiring, and when she continued to insist that the tribes’ suffering would eventually end, just as shadow gives way to light, other wayangs also began to share the belief and hope that “this too shall pass.”
• Moroyin was seen as a pillar of solidarity in the community, who provided wisdom, protection, and non-magical healing for those in need. She carefully considered their plight and tried to offer practical solutions to the difficult problems that arose from Surzul’s tyrannical demands. Even while wayangs perished under Surzul’s iron fisted rule, she tried to bring hope and strength to the others.
• In this manner, Moroyin soon became one of the new de facto leaders of the Leadworthy tribe, and despite her young age, was seen as a reliable problem solver and mediator between the weakened tribes. In the vacuum of leadership, Moroyin’s solemn light was a beacon of hope.
• And the wayangs’ hopes were not misplaced. After nearly a decade of suffering among the wayangs, the Leadworthy tribe’s seer brought for another prophecy. Their tribulations would soon end, when outsiders from the Material Plane would arrive unexpectedly to bring death to Surzul and freedom to the wayangs.
• And indeed, liberation soon came. A band of adventurers—including the swashbuckler Chaz, the champion Lucto, the paladin Lyndria, the gunslinger Gunderson, the shaman Mariana, and the wizard Tan—found themselves mysteriously teleported to the Shadow Plane. Seeking the help of the wayangs, they learned of the half-fiend Surzul’s palace, which was fortunate, as they already knew of Surzul and sought to destroy him. And within a matter of days, it was over: Surzul was cloven in twain by the party’s paladin, and the half-fiend’s palace crumbled into shadow.
• At the time, Maloyan was in the Orient, in search of a distant cousin who, despite being a savvy caster, had a knack for finding trouble for himself. In return for the wayang’s location, Cyan had asked Maloyan to fetch a magical item from an overseas abjurer (who turns out to be Tan’s aging great uncle).
• Maloyan returned to Gideon City with his cousin only to hear of Surzul’s quick defeat. Jealous and angry at not being able to have his revenge on the half-fiend, he seeks out Tan, the new wizard friend of Cyan, who was purportedly involved in Surzul’s defeat.
• In the meantime, the location of the portal between Gideon City and Noedig was made public. By order of the dragons, it was relocated to a plaza in Anthemgate, where the wayangs from Umbradow’s enclave were able to use it to return home.
• Umbradow and Moroyin finally met again after over a decade, and Umbradow joined his daughter among the leaders of the Leadworthy tribe once again.
Their Continuing Journey
• This is not the end of the twin’s story, however. Though many champions of the Great Dissolution or the Great Balance fade into memory once their tasks are complete, Maloyan and Moroyin still remain active in their respective communities—a sign that their journeys are not yet over.
• With many of the tribal leaders returning from their banishment to the Material Plane to repair a decade’s worth of damage caused by Surzul’s treachery, Moroyin is hailed as a leader and savior among the wayangs. She is given a formal seat as a tribal elder, and is appointed an official diplomat and mediator between the reunited tribes.
• Maloyan, on the other hand, remains on the Material Plane. Bitter that he had no part in ending Surzul’s evil, he continues to work to undo the half-fiend’s deeds by continuing to search for the missing. With many families finally reunited, those who remain missing have finally become clear, and Maloyan insists on persisting in his task.
• Additionally, Maloyan vows to his sister and father to remain vigilant for any issues on the Material Plane that might threaten the future of Noedig. This includes keeping a watchful eye out for anything linked to Surzul (such as anything related to Gul Eeron Vort or the Snake of Sevens, both ancestors of Surzul of whom the half-fiend frequently spoke) or any other greater evil that might arise.
• In the meantime, the Gideon City enclave has shrunk drastically. Few of the banished wayangs remain; those who insist on staying because they “like the Material Plane better” are often given odd looks and are described as “sunwashed.” A few of the younger, more adventurous wayangs have decided to venture out into the Material Plane as well, whether to learn more about what is out there beyond the Shadow Plane, or in hopes of defending Noedig much as Maloyan has promised to do.
• Whether or not greater threats to Noedig persist is unclear. However, the twins still continue to prosper, which, based on the Great Balance, cannot be a coincidence….
Notes on Beliefs
• If you were to ask Moroyin, devotee of the Great Dissolution, what her and her brother’s role were, she would tell you together that they are to bring balance to the world around them. Different as night and day, their two opposing powers en tandem would help the wayangs resist the trials and tribulations of the coming decades. During the last decade, she remained on the Shadow Plane to be a solemn light for the wayangs in the dark, while her brother roamed the Material Plane to bring bright darkness back to the wayangs who were lost. Together, they would maintain the cycle of shadow and light and prevent evil from breaking that cycle.
• If you were to ask Maloyan, whose interests lie more in the Great Balance, what he and his sister’s role were, he would tell you that together they are to bring balance to the world around them. Though they are polar opposites, being champions of Chaos and Law, they work together in harmony to ensure that Good and Evil stay in balance. During the last decade, he traveled throughout the Material Plane to bring freedom and agency back to the lost wayangs, while his sister remained in the Shadow Plane to protect the traditions of their people. Thus they were able to resist the pull of a greater force of evil, much as how two individuals pulling at opposite ends of a rope are able to drag something up more easily than a single individual pulling from one side. Together, they would maintain a balance of alignment and prevent evil from disrupting that balance.
Notes on Names
• “Maloyan” is a reference to Palom (the black mage twin brother of Porom from Final Fantasy IV) and to yang, the negative or dark half of the yin-yang complement. The “bright darkness” meaning is arbitrary, though one might say that the name means “bad darkness” (from the Latin “malus” meaning bad and the Chinese “yang” meaning dark).
• “Moroyin” is a reference to Porom (the white mage twin sister of Palom from Final Fantasy IV) and to yin, the positive or light half of the yin-yang complement. The “solemn light” meaning is arbitrary, though one might say that the name means “tomorrow’s light” (from the English “morrow” meaning tomorrow and the Chinese “yin” meaning light).
• “Umbradow” is a merging of the English words “umbra” and “shadow.”
• “Tenebria” stems from the Latin “tenebrae” (from “tenebra”) meaning darkness or shadow.
• “Nigrala” is a merging of the Latin “nigra” (from “niger”) meaning bright black and the Latin “ala” meaning wing. This is also a reference to the familiar Blackwing from the webcomic Order of the Stick. NIgrala was almost named “Nedrios,” based on the Spanish “negro” meaning black.
• “Molepia” is a merging of the Latin “molesta” (from “molestus”) meaning troublesome or annoying and the Latin “pia” (from “pius”) meaning loyal. I mistakenly thought that “pius” meant small (it is instead the Latin “parvus”) in reference to the pia mater, the innermost meningal layer that protects the human brain. Molepia was almost named “Lepapia,” as the Latin “lepa” means rabbit.
• “Exatris” is a merging of the Latin “ex” meaning out of and the Latin “atris” (from “ater”) describing a dull black. Exatris was almost named “Ludeus,” a merging of the Latin “ludus” meaning game and “deus” meaning god.