|“||There are many who would stand in your way towards obtaining the power found within the Well. I would move to tip the scales in your favor.||„|
|~ The Well of the Furies.|
The Well of the Furies was a central plot device in the M.M.O., City of Heroes. The Well of the Furies is the receptive point for what is known as the power Incarnate, a multiverse embodiment for power as a concept.
The existence of The Well of the Furies was found in legends and old records discovered by soldiers, Marcus Cole and Stefan Richter during their tour of duty in World War I. Stefan had been exposed to mustard gas and though he survived, his condition was steadily getting worse. Random bits of records across Europe convinced both soldiers that one ancient myth, The Well of the Furies - a meeting place for the gods of ancient Greece, was real and with the stories of mortals able to be empowered by the very waters the gods them-selves drank from; Pursuing the legend seemed the only way to save Stefan. Stefan was more than a war-buddy, his father, Rudolf Richter, had raised Marcus after his mother's death and his father's abuse after his decent into alcoholism, and so Stefan had been like a foster brother to him, as a result Marcus quickly put together an expedition based on what Stefan could piece together from the scattered scrolls and folk-lore in the villages they had been to through-out their active duty. They eventually found the island mentioned in the texts - Praxidae, an otherwise long-lost Greek island and according to the texts, resting place of the Well of the Furies. To Marcus and Stefan's profound joy, the Well was real and the two immediately drank from the waters. Upon drinking from the well both were replenished and Stefan's ailments ceased, though his skin and eyes never reverted in appearance. The renewed vigor both gained was just part of what had happened to them, as they would discover later, they had become Incarnates - imbued with ageless youth and semi-immortality, unable to die except via a massive amount of force, the sort of force, only another Incarnate could ever produce.
While at the Well they found other artifacts of the ancient Olympians, the Girdle of Hera, which they took back to give Stefan's sister, Monica. Additionally they also found Pandora's Box, fabled source of all the world's ills but also resting place for humanity's hope to overcome them. Finding it revealed that actually how it worked was that the so-called box contained the bound up potential in humanity and opening it would bring about an new era of heroes to the world not seen since the times of myth, which of-course both men gladly unleashed on the world, creating the game's new golden era of re-awakened meta-humans, technology received a massive boom all at once, there were several scientific break-throughs in the following years, there was an explosion in mutant births that seemed to usher in a new stage of humanity, dimensional rifts began occurring creating human-alien contact and all manner of magical phenomenon began to occur in the corners of the world. As they left the isle though Stefan tripped off the treacherous cliffs and fell into the sea, Marcus believed his friend to be dead, killed in a tragic fate just after being cured, but he had found a boat in the care of an old friend, who he killed immediately and then made his way to shore where he would meet up again with Marcus. Stefan at that moment claims to have gained a form of clarity, that one must take what they desire or be swept aside by a cold-uncaring world.
Both men found they had powers, each one-half of god-hood. Marcus had the physical aspects of a god and Stefan the mental aspects of god-hood. Marcus soon found he was as strong as he needed to be for any situation and Stefan found he became as smart as he needed to be to over-come any problem, this was in addition to both finding they were near-immortal. Stefan began using his abilities to get away with petty, yet perfectly executed, crimes and invited Marcus to join him. Marcus did join Stefan at-first but his conscience soon got the better of him, when the crimes began calling for violence and death to be executed, Marcus not only abandoned Stefan but he took up a masked persona of "The Statesman" to prevent them and others like them from using their powers for criminal acts, to make up for his time helping Stefan. Stefan disappeared shortly after Statesman arrived on the scene, feeling betrayed, Stefan would spend the next decade amassing his own masked villainous persona Recluse, who would strike against Statesman later and then retreat again to establish an empire of evil in the Rogue Isles, at which point he would re-title himself "Lord Recluse". And the story of Statesman, Lord Recluse and their discovery of the fabled Well of the Furies were tied together as the background event that catalyzed the rebirth of the meta-human.
Initially this was all to the story there initially was, The Well of the Furies was the origin source of the game's signature hero and villain, incarnate and thus unable to be duplicated by any of those whose powers were tied to the more mundane origins of Technology, Science, Mutation, Magic and/or Natural reawakened by Pandora's box. Late in the game though a fragment of The Well of the Furies is uncovered by the time-traveling brotherhood known as Oroboros. The head of Oroboros, Mender Silos, had before achieving his place as a god-like time keeper, gotten to his position through numerous acts of villainy to cheat death long enough to reach that point. Oroboros was Mender Silos's way of repairing all the damage he had done in his early attempts at time-travel to reach his transcendence. One of the bits of information literally lost to time was the Well of the Furies, whose location was kept secret by Marcus and Stefan but in the vast ocean of information Oroboros needed to sift through on a daily basis eventually one of the Oroboros Menders, Mender Ramiel, had found the island of Praxidae with the help of the Players during their tenure helping Oroboros. As repairing the time-stream is relevant to both heroes and villains Oroboros reaches out to either once they are exposed to time travel in the various plot points scattered through-out the game. And helping Oroboros, at level 50, the max level in the game up until then, prompts Ramiel to contact the Players about pursuing his research. Once Ramiel discovers Praxidae, he tries to keep the Players out of the discovery and instead rushes off to report to Mendor Silos, pursuing the meeting in secret reveals much about the Well of the Furies. The Player will find a small cracked piece of ancient marble that made-up the Well itself. They take the marble to Statesman and Lord Recluse to try to get information on it.
Both Statesman and Lord Recluse refuse to elaborate on the Well of the Furies, both insisting it is more trouble than it is worth and the Players best drop their investigation all together. However when the men are exposed to the shard both men become mouth-pieces for the Well of the Furies itself. The Well talks through Statesman and Lord Recluse, though it clarifies it can not act through them and only speak briefly. The Well offered both Marcus and Stefan the chance to be not merely god-like but full living gods, as there were two methods to become a true Incarnate, the fast way and the slow way. By drinking the Well right away both had without knowing it already started on the fast method, but upon being contacted both had ceased that path in it's tracks. The fast way would be to completely take the Well into themselves and become full gods, but in doing so both would become puppets for The Well of the Furies. Neither intended to sacrifice their free-wills and so they refused to take a second sip, limiting the Incarnate powers to that of demigods, nether ever dared pursue the Well's power further. Lord Recluse had sought to create an artificial Well of the Furies by mapping out all the super-powers of the world and investing them into himself with the aid of his mad-scientist, Doctor Aeon's "Web Device", however the device had been destroyed in a previous arc and the Well assures the Players it would pale in comparison to the true Well of the Furies anyway. The second method, the slow method, was to gradually absorb the powers of the well from it's mere presence, breaking down all the set limitations of mortality, not giving the mortal any powers but allowing them to continue training their own powers without any built-in limits. With it's time about to ware off The Well of the Furies tells the Players to seek the only other available Incarnate, Hero 1, a former war-veteran meta-human from Britain who had gained his Incarnate powers by uncovering the sword Excalibur, a weapon forged in the very waters of the Well. Both Statesman and Lord Recluse collapse after the Well's hold over them fades, each able to prevent the Well from excreting it's extended will over them, but unable to prevent it from materializing it's forces through-out them to briefly speak.
Hero 1 had lead a charge in 2004, at the game's launch, in an event dubbed, the Rikti War, a mass invasion occurred by the alien-like extra-dimensional war force known as The Rikiti. Leading the final leg of the counter-invasion had seen Hero 1 captured behind enemy lines. As one of the game's late arcs to fight the remaining Rikiti menace would find, Hero 1 had been captured, experimented on, mutated and mentally enslaved by the Rikiti and re-titled as "The Honoree". Heroes and Villains must re-fight the enslaved Hero 1 to speak with the Well of the Furies a second and extended time. As Honoree was already mentally broken-down he had no way to prevent from awakening the true power of The Well of the Furies. Upon beating the Honoree, the Well congratulates the Hero and Villain on proving they had what it took to fight an Incarnate but there was a problem, The Well could no-longer manifest in Primal Earth (code name for that main dimension) because it had already been claimed in another universe, Praetoria Earth (an alternate reality where the signature heroes had used their powers to rule instead of protect the world). The Emperor or Praetoria, Tyrant, AKA Emperor Cole, AKA the Praetorian version of Statesman, had been given the same offer that Statesman and Lord Recluse had been given, except in this reality, Marcus had not so much as hesitated and drunken deep of the Well of the Furies and then killed Stefan, gaining full god-hood and a replenishing fountain of divine power.
The Well tells the Players it currently belongs to Tyrant so it can not manifest outside Praetoria anymore as per Cole's wishes and it can not make the Players the same offer of a fast method, but just the time exposed to it's fragment and Statesman/Lord Recluse and then Honoree meant the barriers of mortality had already broken down for them and the slow method was already underway. If the player engages in the various Incarnate task forces they absorb more and more powers from the Praetorians who were also given the Well of the Furies to drink from by Cole in order to consolidate his power with Incarnate allies. Though the Players need to slowly build up their additional power they gain a + 1 level stat, representing their accession beyond level 50 with level 50 +1, which will raise as each Praetorian Incarnate trial is done and or repeated to gain more and more Incarnate shards. But since this method is gradual it also prevents the Well of the Furies from exerting even minor control over them. The Well reveals to the Players though it's original location if they wish to see for themselves.
The Well of the Furies is no longer on Praxidae there is an indentation in the earth where a well-like structure existed ages ago but it appears to have been removed from that dimension. As the Well is multi-dimensional it can close off any single manifestation. Mendor Silos concludes it is lost to Oroboros but they should return later to study the area for archeological purposes and he and Ramiel move on. However with the Well's origin confirmed the Player may begin the slow method by seeking out Incarnate Powers wherever they manifest, most of which, thanks to Emperor Cole are now in Praetoria.
The Well of the Furies incites madness in every Praetorian exposed to it. Emperor Cole had long since been shown to be so egocentric he was willing to kill his own people in-order to go unchallenged, though he still needed to validate all this as being for "the greater good", thus the Incarnate trials all have to do with dismantling Cole's hold over Praetoria.
Behavioral Adjustment Facility Trial
During the first real incarnate trial the Players will need to team-up in a team of no-less than 16 to fight the mechanical Praetorians Nightstar and Siege, Praetorian versions of the heroes Luminary and Citadel. Both are more than mere automatons and have achieved sentience, using their exponential learning each has become a Praetor for Emperor Cole. Both are put in-charge of the Behavior Adjustment Facility or "BAF" for short. In his attempts to seize the alternate reality of Primal Earth, Cole has begun various radical operations, starting with releasing the doors of the BAF, Mother Mayhem, the Praetorian version of the heroine, Sister Psyche', is a psychic who up until now has been mentally pacifying the people of Praetoria. But Mother Mayhem now intends on turning all those imprisoned in her facility for "re-education" free at once as sleeper agents in the Praetorian resistance, who will then sabotage all meetings with Primal Earth. In order to not lose their foot-hold to Emperor Cole's door-step the forces of Primal Earth must fight off the entire facility and ultimately Siege and Nightstar. Siege and Nightstar have been modified though, by Neuron, Praetorian version of the Hero Synapse, and Emperor Cole's mad-science booster, who had been given a drink of the Well of the Furies. Neuron was always power-mad, but with the Well of the Furies fueling him he has dropped all pretense of greater good and just aims to solidify any and all power he has, starting by upgrading Siege and Nightstar to manufactured Incarnates. Neither's judgment is affected as the Incarnate power is built onto them and not absorbed but both are still ultimately tools of the Praetorians and thus by extent the Well of the Furies.
Lambda Sector Trial
The LAMBDA sector, is the main military industrial complex for Praetoria. It is protected by Marauder, the Praetorian version of the Primal hero, Back-Alley Brawler. Neuron had also formulated a synthetic version of The Well of the Furies, waters, similar to what Lord Recluse had constructed via his Web Device. As it is not truly the Well, Marauder is not taken over by the Well, though his powers receive a mighty boost and he fights with the power of a demi-god to protect his sector. Marauder is the only Praetorian with no alternative goals, he seeks only to protect Praetoria and has not been corrupted by The Well of the Furies, much like Siege and Nightstar though, as he is working for Emperor Cole he is by extension working for the Well of the Furies without knowing it.
Keyes Island Reactor Trial
The siege of Keyes island power-plant is against that of Praetor, Raymond Keyes, also known as Anti-Matter], Praetorian counterpart to the hero, Positron. Doctor Keyes was radioactive, and exiled to the power-plant that now bares his name, due in part to the fact his powers made him hazardous to the public, but in truth the main reason was Neuron had stolen credit for most of his inventions and Keyes had been sent into isolation for stirring-up descent by challenging Neuron's false claims. With Praetoria on the offensive, the forces of Primal Earth need to start taking their own offensive and seizing the power-plant that keeps Praetoria running smoothly. Emperor Cole has given Anti-Matter a sip from the Well of the Furies, now making Keyes a walking nuclear bomb and driving his persecution complex into such high-gear he now feels validated to do anything to avenge himself on the world. The mad nuclear scientist meets heroes in his power plant and attempts to turn them into stray particles in the name of his role as protector of Praetoria's power source.
Dilemma Diabolique Trial
The ghost, Diabolique, a Praetorian version of the heroine Numina, has been bound to the will of Emperor Cole for years. But with the emergence of the Death God Mot, in Primal Earth, reaching out to any who would hear it and Diabolque's own actions taken in the Night Ward, a section of Praetoria that shifts into the ethereal realm, Diabolique has seen an opportunity like no other, to escape her service in undeath by becoming an avatar of Mot and thus an Incarnate. Mot and Diabolique were both defeated in earlier trials, with Diabolique being bound in the Night Ward and Mot being forced to eat it's own death in order to survive it's defeat, thus caught in an endless cycle of dying, but the two soon found they could complete each-other's paradoxes and they merged. Diabolique empowered Mot and with her new Incarnate powers became an embodiment of undeath. Diabolique possesses heroes of Primal Earth en-mass and has them line up before her to devour their souls. The forces of Primal Earth must defeat half of the possessed heroes and free the other half's souls by cutting the connection between Diabolique and Mot with a weapon uncovered in the Night Ward. Though the power of the weapon is used up killing Mot and Diabolique, the wielder, Dream Doctor, reveals it can be recharged with more incarnate trials and used to take on Emperor Cole himself to cut the connection between him and The Well of the Furies.
The Underground Trial
Emperor Cole achieved power in a fight with the titanic beast known as Hamidon, a creature which exists in both worlds. Hamidon was a scientist seeking to save the world by repairing the environment whose research turned to mutation as he eventually turned himself into an Incarnate of the very planet's wrath. The Praetorian Hamidon's forces, the Devouring Earth, were the major invasion force of the 21st century instead of the Rikti, still from another dimension and as such they crossed into only Primal Earth, not Praetorian Earth. But the Devouring Earth rise up was a similar event in scope of destruction. Somehow the Devouring Earth have made contact with the Primal Earth Hamidon and are using their synced thinking to meet each-other in one of the dimensional tears used to get to Praetoria. If the two Hamidons meet they will become exponentially more powerful and over-run both worlds. But to reach Hamidon's messenger the Primals must go through the infected underground tunnels of Praetoria, long since abandoned by the Praetorian government. The tunnels contain, in addition to all manner of monsters made of mutated humans under Hamidon's control, also spores that are constantly breathed in by the heroes. The spores of Hamidon constantly create a confusion effect that tries to take control of the minds of the Players. Only the absorbed Incarnate powers already established from the previous trials can undo the spores of the man-made Incarnate. At the very end of the trial the forces of Primal Earth make a shocking discovery about Hamidon by telepathically scanning it, Hamidon had an accord with Emperor Cole. Emperor Cole had agreed to let Hamidon rule the wilds if Praetoria was left to him, thus showing the very basis of the Praetorian government was that of a man who had sold out his own planet for control over humanity.
TPN Campus Trial
The Total Praetorian Network, or, "TPN" campus is a news station broadcasting a Praetorian controlled message to the masses, initially this is only a public relations issue the Praetorian Resistance is mostly concerned with, however after Primal Earth receives proof of Emperor Cole's plot with Hamidon, they begin a campaign to broadcast the truth to the people. Television is an A.I. that exists in Primal Earth as well and has a Praetorian counter-part, both are embodiment of T.V. brought to life as a side effect of the psychic Seer Network. While Television works for Praetoria as a default, it is first and foremost loyal to it's viewer-base and will broadcast anything that it believes the masses will find interesting. With the promise of a story that will bring down Emperor Cole himself, the TV sets up an event that will allow the story to be broadcast to the masses if the forces of Primal Earth can get to it, thus making an epic news/entertainment-piece out of the very race to alert the masses. However it is revealed that yet another Praetor, Mother Mayhem, has been given a drink of the Well of the Furies. Mother Mayhem no longer pacifies the masses and now incites them as slaves to seize the forces of Primal Earth as they try to give Television the recording of Cole's conspiracy with Hamidon. The mercenary Maelstrom, is protecting the TPN campus and the final obstacle preventing the truth from being broadcast. The forces of Primal Earth must not merely kill Maelstrom but do so without killing a single enthralled citizen for the sake of ratings in order to keep Television on their side.
Minds of Mayhem Trial
The TPN broadcast is a success but still the forces of Praetoria are on Cole's side, more over they seem more loyal than ever, soon it is revealed why, Mother Mayhem has not merely control over the local citizens but all of Praetoria. Mother Mayhem has eclipsed the very will of all of Praetoria's people by mentally possessing them all at once. Mother Mayhem has used her newly awakened Incarnate power to create psychic copies of herself and all of them have taken over the bodies of each and every Praetorian citizen. Mother Mayhem originally wanted to help the people of Praetoria by giving them what she saw as peace of mind, but upon becoming an Incarnate all she cares about is maintaining her hold. Drinking the Well of the Furies has turned the once radical yet altruistic psychic into a domineering slave-master. Only one thing can allow the forces of Primal Earth to make their final push against The Well of the Furies, siege the Mother of Mercy Mental hospital and remove Mother's hold over the world once and for all.
Mother Mayhem has three avatars in addition to an army of psychic copies of herself, Penelope Yin, an young up-in-coming psychic with Resistance sympathies, Malaise, a former thief with mental problems who Mother Mayhem helped as one of her first patients to be "re-educated" and Aurora Pena, Mother Mayhem's former assistant who acted as Mother's main body after she met her death in the Hamidon War. Penelope had gone into the asylum willingly to try to infiltrate it but was ultimately overtaken. Penelope has the romantic attention of Metronome AKA Russell Brandt the Praetorian version of the villain Clockwork King. Metronome had latent psychic powers which moments before death, he instinctively used to project himself out of his body. The psychic ghost agrees to help manifest the psychic network that Mother Mayhem has constructed in order to free the enslaved Praetorians and by extension his beloved Penelope. The forces of Primal Earth must press the attack while holding off all three avatars of Mother Mayhem and dealing with an army of Mother Mayhems projected around the Praetorian thralls. Once Metronome manifests the network the nodes of it need to be destroyed and doing so, without killing anyone in the midst of the mass riot, will free the minds of all those controlled by Mother Mayhem, including Aurora herself and removing Mother Mayhem from power.
With the last of her power Mother Mayhem manifests an aspect of the Well of the Furies itself, guarded by Malaise, who becomes Mother's last host, having long since been completely reprogrammed as a thrall with no will outside of Mother Mayhem's. In this final battle with Mother Mayhem she will continue to exist for as long as the aspect of the Well of the Furies does. Destroying the Well of the Furies's aspect removes the last of the Seer Network and Mother Mayhem become as a mental algorithm trapped in an out-of-date network.
The final Incarnate Trial is that of Magisterium, the capital of Praetoria. The final arc of the Night Ward saw Tyrant confronted by Lord Recluse, presumably during the main Incarnate trials. Lord Recluse calls out Tyrant, forcing him to realize none of what he did was for the people, but only for himself. Faced with the undeniable truth of his cause Tyrant has a crisis of faith, forced to see at-last that all he was concerned about was himself. Praetoria had collapsed around him due to the mad-machination of his Praetors, all of whom had been driven mad by the Well of the Furies, which Cole himself had been drinking for years and compelled to share when his rule was threatened. With nothing left to validate his intentions Emperor Cole burns Praetoria to the ground by manifesting the full power of an Incarnate. Cole's last crew are, Chimera, the Praetorian version of Manticore and an assassin looking for an excuse to kill, Black Swan, a sorceress who had been causing the troubles in the Night Ward, Shadow Hunter, the Praetoria version of the hero Woodsman and in Praetoria a mad hunter, and Nega-Pendragon the evil-side of the Praetorian Hero 1, brought to life by Black Swan. With naught but sadists and lost souls to stand by him, Tyrant goes into a madness brought on by a combination of despair and a desperation to cling to the last of his power, nurtured by The Well of the Furies. In this final trial once Chimera, Black Swan, Nega-Pendragon and Shadow Hunter are dead, Cole himself appears. Reality breaks apart, the Well of the Furies manifests and Emperor Cole drinks deep from it, growing more and more powerful but more and more unstable as the fight goes on. Dream Doctor's weapon, the dagger of Jocas, will send anything it cuts into an isolated pocket universe called The Shadow Shard, as it was used to cut the tie between Diabolique and Mot it must be recharged by the power Incarnate. The only way to defeat Cole is to break apart both the manifestations of the Well and him at the same time. Dream Doctor's depleted weapon can be recharged by the manifestations themselves, so each image of The Well must be first absorbed then destroyed even while fighting a full-Incarnate. Until The Well is exorcised from Praetoria, it will revive Cole perpetually. Once the Well is gone and with his final defeat, Emperor Cole seems to be awoken as if from a trance.
- With the game canceled before any further Incarnate arcs this is the last seen of The Well and Cole. However developer notes indicate Cole, while de-powered is eager to find a way to make-up for the fanaticism induced by The Well in intended future story-arcs.
Intent and InfluenceThe Well of the Furies seems to want naught but to indulge in the power-lust of others. It has no intent to destroy, only nurture ambition and power lust - unfamiliar with how easily the human psyche' is corrupted by these forces. The Well has a disdain for Statesman and Lord Recluse as both rejected it's power even seeing a preview of what they could have been. The Well especially dislikes Lord Recluse, for being smart enough to know the full scope of it's power, lust for it and yet try to make his own version of it rather than embrace it. Emperor Cole, becoming literally drunk with power, is the height of what The Well of the Furies wishes to see in mortals but constantly seeks someone to replace him as The Well has no inherent loyalties. The Well does not specifically possesses Tyrant, rather it becomes a part of him which leads to obsession.
It is said that the powers stored in The Well come with built-in tendencies and influences, Statesman inherited the powers of Zeus, leading him to become a massive egotist, though, one focused on doing good. Lord Recluse received the hellish powers of Tartarus, making the evil within him inviting. However both men still have their own goals and will, with the powers they absorbed only creating new ways of thinking about the world and their place in it. Tyrant wanted the power to bring order to the world - his order, but without the pride of Lord Recluse or the nobility of his Primal Earth counter-part, the Well is able to completely consume him. Becoming one with an Incarnate seems to complete the Well of the Furies leading to a sort of mental symbiosis between the Well and Cole, with one addicted to the over-whelming power and the other able to experience the world through the senses of a mortal.