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Mysteries of the Black Mask

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Wahisietel
Oct Gold Premier Club Member 2005

Wahisietel

Posts: 3,426Adamant Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
Have ye ever heard of the sort of evil, flesh-eatin' horrors that dwell in the darkest pits of the world? The sort of dark, sanity-breakin' THINGS that cause the livin' to drop to their knees and weep for the fate of all creation? - Cavey Davey

Believe it or not, unlike 90% of the threads on this forum, this thread actually has nothing to do with the Gods, the Mahjarrat, or the Sixth Age, but instead deals with an older storyline that most lore fanatics fail to give a second thought; the Pirates. Specifically, the Black Mask. While many dismiss the mask as a mere ingredient of the slayer helm, and the Cave horrors as simple slayer monsters, I think there's something more to them.

Just what is the temple that Captain Donnie says is used to create the Zombie Pirates? Why are there references to the black mask absolutely everywhere? Just how significant is it? Could it be connected to Rabid Jack's return? Does the black rock near the Harmless caves have powers over the dead? And what of the Skeletal Horror?

There's definitely more to the cave horrors and mask than meets the eye, if there wasn't then they wouldn't be referenced all across the pirate series and game itself. In this thread, I'll detail every reference and possible reference to them that I am aware of, and offer my own speculations as to what they mean. Unfortunately, I don't have a grand theory on them, merely bits of speculation. Nevertheless, they should serve as food for thought.

Table of Contents
1.1 You're reading it
1.2 Rum Deal
1.3 Mos Le'Harmless surface
1.5 Mos Le Harmless caves and the Cave Horrors (1)
1.6 Mos Le Harmless caves and the Cave Horrors (2)
1.7 The Ex-ex-Parrot (1)
1.8 The Ex-ex-Parrot (2)
1.9 The Skeletal Horror (1)
1.0 The Skeletal Horror (2)
1.10 Archibald Paldock's diary
2.1 The Skeletal Horror (3)
2.2 A Clockwork Syringe
2.3 The Exile - Blood from a Stone
You never were our brightest star, Khazard. 'Vermin slaughtered like lambs'? What does that even mean?

10-Oct-2014 14:33:54 - Last edited on 11-Feb-2015 10:33:28 by Wahisietel

Wahisietel
Oct Gold Premier Club Member 2005

Wahisietel

Posts: 3,426Adamant Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
References

The mask, the horrors, and an ancient civilization that once inhabited the islands of the Eastern Sea has been referenced as far back as Rum Deal in 2005, with the latest known reference being as recent as A Clockwork Syringe in 2011, or possibly even Player-Owned Ports batch 3 in 2015!

Rum Deal (2005)
The first possible reference to the mask and the ancient civilization that may have created it is fittingly in the first quest in the Pirate series, Rum Deal. If you ask Captain Donnie if you can join his crew, he spills a bit about how the Zombie pirates are created and first mentions his boss, Rabid Jack.
Original message details are unavailable.
Captain Donnie: Well, ye'll be glad to know that after that little performance I'd be glad to have ye on me crew!
Player: Huzzah!
Captain Donnie: Course, I'll have te kill ye first.
Player: Oh...
Captain Donnie: Don't ye worry, lass. After we take the island I'll have the boss haul your body to the temple and...
Captain Donnie: Err, never mind.
Player: Never mind what?
Captain Donnie: Ferget I said anything.

He reveals that the Zombie pirates are created by taking bodies to some kind of temple. By itself this isn't particularly meaingful, but it does mean that someone created the temple and abandoned it before the present day, as I somehow doubt Rabid Jack is the temple building type.
You never were our brightest star, Khazard. 'Vermin slaughtered like lambs'? What does that even mean?

10-Oct-2014 14:33:59 - Last edited on 11-Feb-2015 10:34:04 by Wahisietel

Wahisietel
Oct Gold Premier Club Member 2005

Wahisietel

Posts: 3,426Adamant Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
Mos Le'Harmless surface (2006)
As the island home to the horrors, it naturally has a number of references to them. The most obvious reference is the Jungle horrors, weaker versions of the Cave horrors that roam the jungle of the island. They have an examine text of "A horrible, emaciated ape like creature with beady green eyes.".

Besides the obvious however, there is another more subtle one. An Ancient Pillar with the examine text of "This seems to stand out." can be found next to the clothes shop on the island's town. It is black, and seems to be of similar architecture to the Mos Le'Harmless caves (detailed later). The owner of the shop may be questioned about it, which gives the following dialogue:
Original message details are unavailable.
Player: Where did that pillar come from?
Mike: Dunno. There are a load of islands out this way, and a lot of them have little bits and pieces like this scattered around.
Mike: The way I see it, there must have been some people out here at one point, then they went away.
Player: Where?
Mike: Search me.
Player: I'd rather not...

Mike states that lots of islands in the Eastern Sea have relics similar to the pillar, and speculates that there was once a civilization on the island that vanished for some reason; could it be the same one that created the temple Rabid Jack is using?
You never were our brightest star, Khazard. 'Vermin slaughtered like lambs'? What does that even mean?

10-Oct-2014 14:34:04 - Last edited on 10-Oct-2014 14:59:57 by Wahisietel

Wahisietel
Oct Gold Premier Club Member 2005

Wahisietel

Posts: 3,426Adamant Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
Mod Le Harmless caves and the Cave Horrors
Let me go, can't ye hear them? Howlin' in the dark... I'm not hangin' around te be killed! The Horrors, the Horrors! - Monkey

Now, on to the horrors and the mask itself! A ruined cave entrance can be found on a beach just west of the town. It looks man-made, and is surrounded by what is either vines or glowing green energy. Cavey Davey stands guard outside the cave, warning people of the Cave horrors inside. He explains that they are much stronger than the Jungle horrors, and have "a howl that freezes the blood in your veins". He elaborates that the masks they wear make the sound of their howls magical, so normal methods of protection from sound such as earmuffs do not work, and a magical witchwood icon must be worn instead.
Original message details are unavailable.
Well, ye see them Jungle Horrors? Well down in the caves there be Cave Horrors. They are bigger, badder, meaner, and have a howl that freezes the blood in yer veins. Wearin' earmuffs or a helmet won't work, cos them masks they wear make the sound magical. Only thing that works is wearin' a Witchwood icon.

Witchwood is a magical extinct tree otherwise only mentioned by 50% Luke during Rum Deal. Exactly why it offers protection against the cave horrors masks is unknown, but it's still worth noting. 50% Luke explains it can be used as synthetic body parts, and that it regrows if it breaks.
Original message details are unavailable.
50% Luke: But on the good side, all my thrashin' and pained squealin' settled the matter in the Captain's mind, and he had the shipwright carve me half a body out of his Witchwood Planks.
Player: Witchwood? What's that?
50% Luke: Tis a special, magical wood from a now extinct tree.
50% Luke: Once they nailed it all in place the stuff moves like it is part of me body.
50% Luke: The stuff will also grow back if it breaks, which is dead handy.
You never were our brightest star, Khazard. 'Vermin slaughtered like lambs'? What does that even mean?

10-Oct-2014 14:34:08 - Last edited on 10-Oct-2014 14:42:21 by Wahisietel

Wahisietel
Oct Gold Premier Club Member 2005

Wahisietel

Posts: 3,426Adamant Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
The Cave horrors themselves are found inside the caves, and appear to look like grey Jungle horrors with red eyes wearing *dun dun dun*, Black masks! If a witchwood icon isn't worn when fighting them, true to what Dave says, their scream deals devastating damage. They have a chance of dropping the mask, and as you probably know, it boosts melee by 12.5% against slayer tasks. It also has 10 charges which are activated at random, these lower the opponents defence. It is also one of the materials used to create the Slayer mask.

The caves themselves are rather swamp-like, containing pools of goo and mushrooms. They are obviously man-made, as its walls are held up with wall supports, some of which are decorated with human skulls. Two staircases made of black bricks can be found in the north-eastern section of the caves, which lead to two islands with Mahogany and Teak trees.

The most interesting feature of the caves, however, are the tiles spread around its floor. The tiles depict what appear to be Black masks. Most of the masks on the tiles are fully symmetrical (with the top half of the mask being mirrored over the bottom half), although a few of the tiles near the staircases look like standard black masks.

Could the horrors have constructed the cave? Why is it in ruins? Could they be the civilization that created the Zombie pirate temple and built the Ancient Pillar? If they were intelligent enough to make temples and build dungeons, why do they solely inhabit one dungeon, killing foolish adventurers? And what relation do the Jungle horrors have to all this?

Could the horrors be a degraded form of the original civilization? What caused them to end up in this state?
You never were our brightest star, Khazard. 'Vermin slaughtered like lambs'? What does that even mean?

10-Oct-2014 14:34:12 - Last edited on 10-Oct-2014 15:01:50 by Wahisietel

Wahisietel
Oct Gold Premier Club Member 2005

Wahisietel

Posts: 3,426Adamant Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
The Ex-ex-Parrot (2008)
In Rocking Out, we discover just who Rabid Jack really is, and how he killed himself by jumping from This Albatross. The quest itself doesn't have anything related to the horrors, but the post-quest content DOES.

Speaking to Bill Teach after the quest results in him giving you a magical cage which he found up by a hill near the entrance to the Mos Le'Harmless caves. He explains that he found a dead mole in there, but when he removed it, it became alive.
Original message details are unavailable.
Here, take this. I found it up by yon black rock on the hill. I think it be magical. There was also a dead mole in there, thrashin’ around like it were alive. I shook it out and it burrowed away. I never seen anything like it in all my days. I’m sure it’ll be worth some money.

One of the rewards for the quest is the ability to look after the parrot of the pirate Achmed the Brutally Violent. Unfortunately, by the time it's given to you, it's an ex-parrot. Putting the parrot into the magical cage achieves nothing.
You never were our brightest star, Khazard. 'Vermin slaughtered like lambs'? What does that even mean?

10-Oct-2014 14:34:17 - Last edited on 10-Oct-2014 14:43:51 by Wahisietel

Wahisietel
Oct Gold Premier Club Member 2005

Wahisietel

Posts: 3,426Adamant Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
The hill that Bill speaks of of has a black stone tablet on. It has the examine of "There is a very, very old picture carved in this...". The picture is of... *dun dun dun*, a black mask! Rock fragments can be chipped off the slab, giving the message: "You chip away some of the black rock. When you look back the gouges seem to have smoothed over.".

Using most things on the slab gives the message "Something sinister happens a long way off. But, for all intents and purposes, nothing interesting happens.". Using the Ex-parrot in a magic cage on the slab, however, makes something VERY interesting happen...
Original message details are unavailable.
You touch the cage to the black rock and there is a strange flash and vibration in the air. The ex-parrot slowly opens its eyes and begins shuffling around the cage.
Player: It's alive! It's ALIVE!

The combination of the slab and the magical cage is able to resurrect dead creatures, in this case the parrot, creating the Ex-ex-parrot pet. The pet is fed using the rock fragments from the slab. Putting the Ex-ex-parrot back in the cage and using it on the slab again provides another message:
Original message details are unavailable.
You touch the cage to the black rock, and there is a strange flash and vibration in the air. The ex-ex-parrot caws horsely in time to the vigration. This is rather unsettling.

Perhaps the temple Rabid Jack is using has similar effects to the slab, but on a much larger scale.
You never were our brightest star, Khazard. 'Vermin slaughtered like lambs'? What does that even mean?

10-Oct-2014 14:34:21 - Last edited on 10-Oct-2014 14:46:44 by Wahisietel

Wahisietel
Oct Gold Premier Club Member 2005

Wahisietel

Posts: 3,426Adamant Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
The Skeletal Horror (2009)
The one place outside the Pirate series or pirate-related areas that references the mask and the horrors is, oddly, the Rag and Bone man and Fur 'n' Seek quests and wishlists. Both quests have Archibald Paldock (AKA the Odd Old Man) requesting bones, with the mysterious sack of bones on his back seemingly controlling his mind. After the quests, Archibald requests yet more bones in two wish-list miniquests. Once both wishlists are complete, it's finally revealed what he was up to.

The bones form a gigantic Skeletal Horror, which is then fought to free Archibald of its control. The skull of the horror is, as noted by Archibald, very reminiscent of the black mask. After being freed, he explains that the skull of the Horror was forcing him to collect bones from other creatures to rebuild it, and describes its power as fascinating, stating that it seems to tap into the energy of Gielinor to build its own evil force.

Original message details are unavailable.
The Skeletal Horror’s power is fascinating. It seems to tap into the world’s energy to build its own evil force. I would rebuild it for scientific purposes, but we can** risk it trying to take over the world or anything.
You never were our brightest star, Khazard. 'Vermin slaughtered like lambs'? What does that even mean?

10-Oct-2014 14:34:25 - Last edited on 10-Oct-2014 15:03:55 by Wahisietel

Wahisietel
Oct Gold Premier Club Member 2005

Wahisietel

Posts: 3,426Adamant Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
His diary explains how he came into possession of the Horror's skull and some of its other bones. Specifically, that some adventurers found some extraordinary bones within the Harmless caves, which didn't match any known creature, were extremely white, and didn't look ancient at all. Archibald then dated the bones to a creature alive near the end of Third Age, and set off on an expedition to the caves.

He and his team discovered more bones, including the Skeletal Horror's skull. The Skull gave him dreams that told him that it would give him great power, and he eventually took the bones and skull away in a sack on his back. He was captured by pirates, but noted that the Skull frightened them, and speculates that it was giving him its protection. He was eventually dumped at sea, and the skull frightened off some lobsters, allowing him to swim to shore. It then drove him to collect bones for it to rebuild itself, setting the events of the quest series in motion.
You never were our brightest star, Khazard. 'Vermin slaughtered like lambs'? What does that even mean?

10-Oct-2014 14:34:30 - Last edited on 10-Oct-2014 14:52:05 by Wahisietel

Wahisietel
Oct Gold Premier Club Member 2005

Wahisietel

Posts: 3,426Adamant Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
Original message details are unavailable.
32nd of Pentember.
The latest excavation revealed a skull in a very good condition. The skull is large, as large as an adult dragon, but ape-like in appearance. It has strange excrescences on the temples. The maw displays a pair of long teeth, though one of them is broken. The creature’s skull reminds me of the scary black masks worn by some of the creatures in the cave.

35th of Pentember.

We’ve made good progress in reconstructing the skeleton the skull comes from, even though a lot of the bones retrieved are in a poor state. It’s been a tiring job, but the fact that I haven’t slept very well for several nights now probably has something to do with it. I have this recurrent dream of some greater power talking to me, though words are mumbled. Together, we shall do great things!

1st of Fentuary.

I think we’re missing the point. It is all becoming clear in my mind: that skull will bring power to whoever has it – my dreams tell me so. I hear the great power and it tells me to escape. Tonight, I will be going, and the skull and bones shall be going with me.

17th of Fentuary.

North coast of Morytania. I left the island over two weeks ago. I tried to stow away on a ship, but was caught by the unfriendly owners. They shackled me and threw me in the ship’s hold, and left me there for a week. They were frightened by the skull and did*’t dare touch it. It might even be why I’m still alive. The great power was with me all along; I have its protection.

After a week, my precious bones and I were unceremoniously dumped into the sea, handily not too far from the coast.

The white skull scared the lobsters away, letting me swim back.

Now, the great power wants more bones.

Lots of bones.

Clean bones.

Bones everywhere!

Together we shall do great things!
You never were our brightest star, Khazard. 'Vermin slaughtered like lambs'? What does that even mean?

10-Oct-2014 14:34:37 - Last edited on 10-Oct-2014 14:52:49 by Wahisietel

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