Prologue: The Introduction
This story takes place on a world quite similar to our own planet Earth, but also very much dissimilar. This world is called Dart.
On this ancient planet, there were once many human nations. They lived in an unsteady balance for many thousands of years, but with vastly varying ideals and religions, an inevitable war broke out. For one and a half thousand years, the nations of this world warred with each other, the violence escalating to unprecedented levels. Few nations retained any semblance of order, falling into deepest anarchy. The war ended only when there were no longer any resources left to fight with.
Ninety-nine percent of the world's population died in the war. Savage tribes formed out of the survivors and settled into the far recesses of the battered planet, each occupying a harsh, seemingly unlivable environment. But they stayed alive.
Some hid deep within the earth extending their limbs deep into cracks and crevices, leeching water and minerals from the rock surface. They scraped molds and bacterial slime in the unlit places of the world. Others hunted and gathered deep in the tropical jungle. Still others roamed harsh wastelands, absorbing the scant moisture of desert rains. Ages passed and as the humans adapted to their extreme environments, certain bodily organs began to take on increasingly dominant functions while other parts fell into disuse, becoming nothing more than vestigial attachments. As the years rolled by, these useless organs disappeared, leaving behind the single functional body part.
Huge mops of hair lurked in dark caves snaking their long, absorbent tendrils into fissures and spitting unusable waste at encroachers. Kidneys roamed the forests in packs, drinking in the lush nutrients of the trees and plants. Mutilated hands roamed impossibly steep mountains, eating lichens and mosses. Arms paraded in vicious, cannibalistic hunting parties on tropical islands. These creatures, once human, had evolved into terrible, barbaric forms.
One species retained consciousness and intellect: the eye. The eyes descended from the few nations that preserved law and order throughout the duration of the war. In a savage world full of grotesque mutants, the eyes prided themselves on their high culture and mental acuity. They were taught from a young age that they were the shining light in a dark territory. They took it upon themselves to purify the world of the other subhuman species, deeming them degenerate and unclean. Thus an official order was passed, EDICT: YEAR of EXTERMINATION, or simply, EYE.
The purification was met with greater resistance than expected. The tribes they sought to exterminate fought back and invaded several outlying eye cities. The eye government diverted all resources towards EYE, but after several years, it became clear that this was not a one-year operation. A special weapons research division was installed to find new and more interesting ways to kill the encroaching tribes. Ocular, Inkorporated dissected captured foes to find out what made them tick. They used this knowledge to push the tribes back to their own lands. It seemed that it was only a matter of time before the purification would be complete.
And it is thus, that we can begin learning the tragic tale of Patches Deadlights.
Eye-Hooker of the West Seas
The eyes, as intelligent and cultured as they believed themselves to be, had also developed their own savage and twisted rituals that spoke to their dark beginnings. The ritual of Ichigan is their darkest and most sacred.
Once an eye reaches the age of one, he or she must perform the ritual of Ichigan. The eye is placed before a series of objects, observed upon by the great Cyclopean Council. These objects include pick axes, swords, calculators, mops, etc. The eye birthling must crawl towards an object, thereby confirming its place in society. The item selected is considered to be a reflection of the eye's basic instincts. Thus, those eyes that select items deemed "evil" are shot and incinerated.
Peter Pupillus was born to a prominent eye family in the quiet village of Oculus. His father was an eye-laser chirurgeon and his mother was a gifted seer. The Pupillus family had donated a considerable sum of money to the Ocular, Inkorporated Doomsday Project, which investigated weaponry capable of annihilating the village. When Peter turned one, he was placed before the council to begin the ritual of Ichigan. His family had great hopes for him. Most thought he would follow his father's path and select the chirurgeon scalpel. All in the village agreed that Peter was destined for greatness.
And then he walked up to the hook.
Hundreds of years of research had shown that the hook was a sign of pure evil. No eye had ever selected it in the ritual of Ichigan, and over time, the hook was considered somewhat of a joke. Many suggested its removal from the process, but the Cyclopean Council insisted it remain.
The first salvos of gunfire penetrated Peter's soft and fleshy eye, permanently scarring him for the rest of his life. But Peter had uncommon quickness for one so young. He leaped out of an open window and slithered away under cover of darkness with the hook firmly in tow.
For weeks, hunting parties were sent out to find and destroy him, but Peter was nowhere to be found. Faint tracks could be seen heading west, towards the ocean. Assuming he would perish from starvation or be killed by wilderness beasts, the hunt was called off.
But Peter was far from dead. Although he had incurred severe injuries, Peter managed to stay alive, foraging for food and hunting prey with his deadly hook. He traveled west, eventually coming upon the open ocean. There, he happened upon a group of swashbuckling arms, kidneys, and hairs singing a chantey on the shore. The pirates took a vote on whether to eat him raw or roast him first. But none could bring themselves to slaughter the poor, bleeding eye with the sharp hook. They brought him into their fold, and from that day forth, he was known as Patches Deadlights, Eye-Hooker of the West Seas.
Oswald Pupillus, was born on the same day as Patches, forty years after his disappearance and assumed death.
Oswald's Pupillus lineage was fiscally responsible for the creation of the Super Eye-Laser that now stood upon Mount Oculus, poised to destroy any city or village in a five hundred mile radius. It turned out that the Ocular Inkorporated Doomsday Project had badly misunderstood their instructions, and had created a superweapon rather than performing a study on countering the effects of such a device. Instead of dismantling the weapon, Ocular Inkorporated decided to continue work on the project. Several eyes, including the Pupillus family, were outraged at this misappropriation of funds. The official government stance on the project: "If life gives you a doomsday weapon, use it!" The mountain was sealed off from the public with three Orbs of Sealing, and research continued. The Cyclopean Council held the three orbs safe, as they were the keys to entering the mountain.
At Oswald's ritual of Ichigan, he selected a paintbrush. Oculus villagers were thrown by this selection, as the paintbrush was often a sign of delusion and madness. However, Oswald proved to be a deft artist. At the age of six he had already begun experimenting in painterly spellcasting, an advanced skill that up to that point had existed only in myth and legend. He began working for Ocular, Inkorporated at the age of ten.
Today, on Oswald's eleventh birthday, Patches is returning to Oculus.
Revenge of the Jed-Eye
Patches storms the village, killing every member of the council and taking the orbs. He rushes the mountain with his cutthroat band of arms, hairs, and kidneys, undoing the seal placed upon it. He reseals the mountain before him, entrusting the stones to his three most gifted under-bosses.
The local militia of Oculus cannot penetrate the mountain. Villagers flee in terror as Patches assumes work on the final stages of the Super Eye-Laser. It will only be a matter of time before he finishes its construction and destroys the entire village … or more.
Ocular, Inkorporated is on the clock. The Super Eye-Laser could be completed at any moment. The majority of the eye military is locked in fierce battle at the frontlines of the war. Patches's underbosses have fled to three exotic locations and in the time it would take to mobilize the eye armies, it will be too late for Oculus, nay, the world.
They task you, Oswald, with finding the three orbs and bringing them back. A few troops they will send to aid you in your quest. But make no mistake, this mission lies solely in your eye and brush. Can you find the stones in time, before it's too late?