Path of the Black Flag Excerpt: “The Abbe of Theleme”

The ‘abbey’ to Theleme was a sort of commune founded hundreds of years ago by the eccentric fire giantess, Pantagruela. Unlike her more warlike kin, Pantagruela had no wish to conquer and enslave others. Instead, she merely wanted to live in peace, do her own thing, and enjoy the company of other beings doing their own things as well. She founded the abbey as a sort of ‘anti-monastery’, a place where the only rule was, ‘Do as you will.’ Being an enormously rich and powerful giantess, not many people questioned this rule.

After more than a century of relative peace at the abbey, Pantagruela died. Since her personality was the binding force of the community there, it soon disbanded after her passing, and the giant-sized abbey stood empty. It was soon inhabited once again, however, by the even more eccentric Tengu wizard and mystic, Horus the Great. He  founded a school of magic, determined to do away with the stuffiness and hierarchy found in traditional magica schools, and in life. In this, he was inspired by the Abbey of Theleme’s original charter, and was a great admirer of the philosophy of Pantagruela. This school lasted only a few years before scandal and a lack of funds drove it apart, and Horus moved on to other pursuits. Its impact was sufficient enough, however, for the Horusite philosophy of wizardry to grow and outlast the second incarnation of the Abbey, and indeed Horus himself.

Another, more commercially minded wizard named Mirabilis claimed the Abbey of Theleme after the departure of Horus. He hoped to capitalize on the the reputations of Pantagruela and Horus, and built a sort of tourist attraction into the structure of the abbey. This project was abandoned shortly thereafter, as Mirabilis found the construction work continuously disrupted by strange disturbances. Despite his best efforts (and those of several adventuring parties) he was unable to stop the disturbances, so cut his losses and went on to construct a tourist attraction based upon the exploits of a whimsical family of ratfolk.

Nowadays the abbey serves as an artist’s commune and event space. Artists of various disciplines, including those who use arcane magic as their medium, reside and work in the various nooks and crannies of the giant-sized abbey, while bards and skalds use the the large common rooms for concerts and exhibitions. The local authorities frown on what they consider to be blatant lawlessness and the corruption of the youth, but due to the number of magical wards and guardians installed by the previous master and mistress of the abbey, they can’t really do anything about it. These wards and guardians do not seem to bother the artists, or their audiences.

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