Ok. Decided to go with all major PC as Marked Ones here. This sets up the group perfectly.
Basically Phtunk likely exhibited the marks and the Church of Thoth investigated (being the God of Knowledge and all). They soon found Khonsu and over time the rest of the PCs. They found that these marks belonged to the original Kwo and the Lucky Seven (only important for those that know History).
Anyway, these marks have appeared on champions throughout the ages…except for 2 - yes, the two the Church were missing. This (along with the chance to destroy Rahotep) was the real reason the Church sent their 6 Marked Ones out to complete the group by finding Wind Chaser and Vision Seeker. Apparently their stasis or Fates knowing they would return prevented their marks from being repeated…(well in this region anyway - they didn't know about Marked Ones from other areas ;)).
SO, each of you have a brown, 'triangular' mark you have each had since birth. Following the Dream (see below) a rune-like black sigil appeared near the birthmark. Since, these sigils have spread with every significant undead or necromancer your PC has been involved in slaying - so some have spread much more than others ;)
So when we start I will give a sheet with your original birthmark and original sigil. (I haven't included the spreading sigils, but VS, WC, Khonsu and Marak's have all certainly spread a lot. Phtunks not at all until latest adventure, and others somewhere in b/w). In the meantime make sure you have ALL read The Beginning below, inserting your character's name and origin in where necessary.
(All Marked Ones shared this common dream. Insert relevant experiences and names into the brackets).
In the beginning…
Whilst sleeping, you dreamed. It seemed to you that you heard a distant voice. The echoing call was loud enough to rouse you but so fogged and unclear that you could not understand the repeated phrase that whispered eerily through (wherever PC is sleeping).
You got to your feet, saw your bare limbs and knew it was but a dream. Looking back, you could see your own body lying deep in slumber. You could see your own chest rise and fall in the silver moonlight.
Again came that distant, murmuring call, and the note of urgency rang within it, and in a fashion you now find hard to remember in full, you went forward from the moonlit darkness of your chamber, through barriers of space and time, until swirling grey mists blotted everything from sight. Yet you still advanced, in some form of progress unlike the ways of the material world you had left behind – forward through greyness that obscured your vision like the clammy embrace of a night-born fog.
Out of the shifting mists came, again and again, that haunting call that had summoned your spirit forth from your own flesh and into this world of eerie darkness and phantom mists. Gradually the call of the voice, repeated over and over, became clearer: “(NAME of HOMELAND). (NAME) the Marked One!”
You could hear it distinctly then, but were puzzled: what meant the name ‘(NAME) The Marked One?’ Never had this term been linked with your name. Surely it couldn’t refer to that simple brown birthmark on your body.
You then came to where you could stand on solid footing, and it seemed, in your dream, that the grey fog cleared away. A dim, unearthly light struck through the blur of vapour. Now you stood in a hall of titanic proportions, whose ebon walls and lofty, vaulted roof seemed carved from the dead-black stuff of night itself. The faint, mystic radiance seemed to shine from the very walls themselves, whereon you could dimly discern colossal carvings, which stretched from the floor to the arched ceiling far above.
Every inch of the walls was cut and worked into a stupendous pageant of tiny figures – a vast, sweeping panorama peopled with millions of struggling, warring men. Peering closer, you marvelled at the strangeness of their raiment, weaponry and dark skin, derived from distant realms and remote aeons. Above this straggling pageant of ancient kings and heroes glowed other shapes as well – malformed, flesh-peeling, uncouth and terrible. You then realised that you walked through a timeless dream, wherein your spirit had been summoned by a foreign, ancient force that guarded and watched over this dark race of man.
You kept moving forward and came upon a broad, curving stair, which rose in steep ramps of black stone to unguessable heights. Here, the cliff-like walls were adorned with cryptic symbols in some ancient esoteric script. Averting your eyes from these enigmatic glyphs you went up the mighty stair and saw that every step was carven with the writhing coils of an abhorrent form of a nightmare, a malignant and nameless demon of darkness, in such a manner that with every stride you set your heel upon the blunt, questing serpent-head that lifted from the curving stair.
At last you saw a tomb, hewn from one massive ebon rock. The top of which was dominated by an etched carving of a great, roaring cat whose face was cloaked in a mane. To either side, in the silent gloom of the knighted crypt, rose terrible forms of two stupendous, celestial birds, clawed and beaked, with wings outspread as if to shelter beneath their stony pinions that who slept within the black sepulchre. From the ebon gloom emerged a titanic figure, robed and hallowed in golden light like a mane. It hobbled forward as you stared into its majestic dark face.
“Speak, O mortal!’ the black face commanded, in a deep voice resonant as trumpets. “Know you who I am?”
Taken quite aback you mumbled that this being was unknown to you.
“I am Kwo, The Lame Lion. The Crippled Champion. Harken well, O (NAME)! In times long past, the Orisha of Life gave me powers and wisdom beyond those granted to other men that I might wage war against the infernal and malignant Serpent of Death, Zombi and his Servant Kings whom I strove against and slew, and in the slaughter gained my own death as well. And so it was that those who accompanied me were marked for great deeds as you too have been marked by the spirits of eternity for undying fame.”
His grim face impassive, after a pause, the deep, ringing voice of the Lame Lion spoke on. “A task awaits you O Marked One. For this task, your spirit was destined from the beginning of time itself.”
After a pause you could not help but ask what this task was. Your voice sounded meek and insignificant in the vast tomb.
Kwo continued, “The task is to save the world from the Terror that once stalked the land of my people and now again looks to arise and stalk your lands and torment your brethren. A terrible doom hangs over the lands of all folk; a doom darker than your mind can grasp – a terror that strikes down and enslaves the very souls of your people, whilst their bodies are rent asunder in hideous and bestial torment by the hands that should have fallen into dust almost 1,000 years ago!”
The ebon-faced giant fixed your sullen face with the splendour of his blazing, golden eyes. “But, to accomplish this, you must seek others who are marked as you are. Only together can you put a stop to this. This very night you must set forth alone, in stealth and secrecy, possibly to never again gaze upon your homeland, but to ensure it survives as the bountiful place it is”.
“The way is (direction to take from homeland). The journey may be long and hard, and many perils stand between you and your ultimate goal – perils whence not even your gods can shield you. But only the Marked Ones, of all beings, can tread this path with a chance of victory. Look for your mark in your travels. It is of significance. Though you will find others who hold your cause and will be willing to help, yours alone are the perils and the glory; for it is given to few mortals to save their world!”
The dark face smiled down at you from the cloudy light. “One gift alone I may give you. In your greatest hour of need it will be your salvation. Nay, I can tell you naught more.” Through a mist of glittering light a dark hand reaches out to touch you exactly where your birthmark is. There is a flash of light and then a darkness covers your mark.
“One last word” said Kwo, “The Necromancer Kings of old used the emblem of the wagon wheel. This emblem is still displayed. Beware of it! Also look for new alliances and the dark pyramid.”
“Go now child of (deity name)” continued the dark figure, “It is not wise for mortals to stray too long into these shadowy realms whereinto I have called your spirit. Return O Marked One, to your fleshy abode, and the blessing of the eternal orisha of light go with you, to lighten your dark and dreadful path! Never again shall you behold the face of The Lame Lion – not in this world, nor in the many worlds to come, through which your soul, reborn, shall venture and struggle in lives beyond this one. Farewell!”
Gasping with shock you instantly awoke, sprawled (where PC was sleeping), bathed in sweat. So it had been a dream! The wine/ale you had consumed before sleeping had given you this fearful vision…
…And then you looked at the brown mark that had accompanied you since birth. There, right beside it, where the hallowed, ebon-skinned giant had touched you in your dream, was a strange dark rune the likes of which you had not seen before. (Show each PC their unique rune).