The Rise and Fall of Avastus
Ma'iq the Liar
Ma'iq is an immortal demon king of the sun, or not...
Ma’iq is the mysterious figure that keeps appearing during the campaign at the most inappropriate times. He doesn’t seem to be bound by time or distance and drop into any conversation at any given time.
For this reason it is rumored he is one of the 7 monks protecting the universe.
Birth and early life
There was once a magic stone on the top of a mountain which was thirty-six feet five inches high and twenty-four feet round. It was thirty-six feet five inches high to correspond with the 365 degrees of the heavens, and twenty-four feet round to match the twenty-four divisions of the solar calendar. On top of it were nine apertures and eight holes, for the Nine Palaces and the Eight Trigrams. There were no trees around it to give shade, but magic fungus and orchids clung to its sides. Ever since Creation began it had been receiving the truth of Heaven, the beauty of Earth, the essence of the Sun and the splendour of the Moon; and as it had been influenced by them for so long it had miraculous powers. It developed a magic womb, which burst open one day to produce a stone egg about the size of a ball.
When the wind blew on this egg it turned into a stone tiger, complete with the five senses and four limbs. When the stone tiger had learned to crawl and then walk on two feet, he bowed to each of the four quarters. As his eyes moved, two beams of golden light shot towards the Pole Star palace and startled the Supreme Heavenly Sage, the Greatly Compassionate Jade Emperor of the Azure Vault of Heaven, who was sitting surrounded by his immortal ministers on his throne in the Hall of Miraculous Mist in the Golden-gated Cloud Palace. When he saw the dazzling golden light he ordered Thousand-mile Eye and Wind-accompanying Ear to open the Southern Gate of Heaven and take a look. The two officers went out through the gate in obedience to the imperial command, and while one observed what was going on the other listened carefully. Soon afterwards they reported back:
“In obedience to the Imperial Mandate your subjects observed and listened to the source of the golden light. We found that at the edge of the country of Aolai, which is East of the ocean belonging to the Eastern Continent of Superior Body, there is an island called the Mountain of Flowers and Fruit. A magic stone on the top of this mountain produced a magic egg, and when the wind blew on this egg it turned into a stone tiger which bowed to each of the four quarters. When he moved his eyes, golden light shot towards the Pole Star Palace; but now that he is eating and drinking, the golden light is gradually dying.”
In his benevolence and mercy the Jade Emperor said, “Creatures down below are born of the essence of heaven and earth: there is nothing remarkable about him.”
On his mountain the tiger was soon able to run and jump, feed from plants and trees, drink from brooks and springs, pick mountain flowers and look for fruit. He made friends with the wolves, went around with the tigers and leopards, was on good terms with the deer, and had the other tigers and apes for relations. At night he slept under the rockfaces, and he roamed around the peaks and caves by day. As the saying so rightly goes, “There is no calendar in the mountains, and when winter’s over you don’t know the time of year.” On hot mornings he and all the other creatures of the forest would play under the shade of some pines to avoid the heat. After playing, the animals would go and bathe in the stream, a mountain torrent that tumbled along like rolling melons. There is an old saying, “Birds have bird language and, animals have animal talk.”
All the creatures of the forest said to each other, “I wonder where that water comes from. We’ve got nothing else to do today, so wouldn’t it be fun to go upstream and find its source?” With a shout they all ran off, leading their children and calling to their brothers. They climbed up the mountain beside the stream until they reached its source, where a waterfall cascaded from a spring. The animals clapped their paws and explained with delight, “What lovely water. It must go all the way to the bottom of the mountain and join the waves of the sea.”
Then one monkey made a suggestion: “If anyone is clever enough to go through the fall, find the source, and come out in one piece, let’s make him our king.” When this challenge had been shouted three times, the stone tiger leapt out from the crowd and answered at the top of his voice, “I’ll go, I’ll go.” Splendid! Watch him as he shuts his eyes, crouches, and springs, leaping straight into the waterfall. When he opened his eyes and raised his head to look round, he saw neither water nor waves. A bridge stood in front of him, as large as life. He stopped, calmed himself, took a closer look, and saw that the bridge was made of iron. The water that rushed under it poured out through a fissure in the rocks, screening the gateway to the bridge. He started walking towards the bridge, and as he looked he made out what seemed to be a house. It was a really good place. The other animals were all so delighted to hear this that they said, “You go first and take us with you.”
The stone tiger shut his eyes, crouched, and leapt in again, shouting, “Follow me in, follow me in.” The braver animals all jumped through. The more timid ones peered forward, shrank back, rubbed their ears, scratched their cheeks, shouted, and yelled at the top of their voices, before going in, all clinging to each other. After rushing across the bridge they all grabbed plates and snatched bowls, bagged stoves and fought over beds, and moved everything around. tigerss are born naughty and they could not keep quiet for a single moment until they had worn themselves out moving things around.
The stone tiger sat himself in the main seat and said, “Gentlemen, A man who breaks his word is worthless. Just now you said that if anyone was clever enough to come in here and get out again in one piece, you’d make him king. Well, then. I’ve come in and gone out, and gone out and come in. I’ve found you gentlemen a cave heaven where you can sleep in peace and all settle down to live in bliss. Why haven’t you made me king?” On hearing this all the monkeys bowed and prostrated themselves, not daring to disobey.
They lined up in groups in order of age and paid their homage as at court, all acclaiming him as the “Great King of a Thousand Years.” The stone tiger then took the throne, made the word “stone” taboo, and called himself Handsome King.
At the Mountain of Flowers and Fruit, Ma´iq established himself as one of the most powerful and influential demons in the world. In search of a weapon worthy of himself, Ma´iq traveled into the oceans, where he acquired the Golden-banded staff Ruyi Jingu Bang, which could change its size, multiply itself, and fight according to the whim of its master. It was originally used by Dà-Yǔ to measure ocean depth and later became the “Pillar that pacifies the oceans”, a treasure of Ao Guang, the “dragon-king of the Eastern Seas”. It weighed 13,500 jin (8.1 tons). Upon Ma´iq’s approach, the pillar started to glow, signifying that it had found its true master. Its versatility meant that Ma´iq could wield it as a staff and keep it inside his ear as a sewing needle. This drove fear into the magical beings of the sea and threw the sea itself into confusion, since nothing but the pillar could control the ebb and flow of the ocean’s tides. In addition to taking the magical staff, Ma´iq also defeated the dragons of the four seas in battle and forced them to give him a golden chain mail shirt, a phoenix-feather cap, and cloud-walking boots.
Upon his triumphant return, he demonstrated the new weapon to his followers, growing his size in proportion to the original length of the staff. The uproar drew attention of other beastly powers who sought to ally with him. Ma´iq formed a fraternity with the Bull Demon King, the Saurian Demon King, the Roc Demon King, the Lion Spirit King, the Macaque Spirit King and the Snub-nosed monkey Spirit King.
Ma´iq then defied Hell’s attempt to collect his soul. Instead of reincarnating like all other living beings, he wiped his name out of the “Book of Life and Death” and with it the names of all other animals known to him. The Dragon Kings and the Kings of Hell then decided to report him to the Jade Emperor of Heaven.
Wreaking Havoc in the heavenly kingdom
Hoping that a promotion and a rank amongst the gods would make him more manageable, the Jade Emperor invited Ma´iq to Heaven, where the monkey believed he would receive an honorable place as one of the gods. Instead, he was made the Protector of the Horses to watch over the stables, which was the lowest job in heaven. When he discovered this, Ma´iq rebelled and proclaimed himself the “Great Sage, Equal of Heaven”, and allied with some of the most powerful demons on earth. Then he got revenge by setting the Cloud Horses free. The Heavens’ initial attempt at subduing the Handsome King was unsuccessful, and they were forced to recognize his title; however, they tried again to put him off as the guardian of Heavenly Garden. When he found that he was excluded from a royal banquet that included every other important god and goddess, Ma´iq’s indignation again turned to open defiance. After stealing and consuming Xi Wangmu’s “peaches of immortality”, Lao Tzu’s “pills of longevity”, and the Jade Emperor’s royal wine, he escaped back to his kingdom in preparation for his rebellion.
Ma´iq later single-handedly defeated the Army of Heaven’s 100,000 celestial warriors – each fight an equivalent of a cosmic embodiment, including all 28 constellations, four heavenly kings, and Nezha, the son of Li Jiang Jun who proved himself worthy – and proved himself equal to the best of Heaven’s generals, Erlang Shen. Eventually, through the teamwork of Taoist and Buddhist forces, including the efforts from some of the greatest deities, Ma´iq was captured. After several failed attempts at execution, Ma´iq was locked into Lao Tzu’s eight-way trigram Crucible to be distilled into an elixir, (so that Lao Tzu could regain his “pills of longevity”), by the most sacred and the most severe samadhi fires. After 49 days, however, when the cauldron was opened, Ma´iq jumped out, stronger than ever before. He now had the ability to recognize evil in any form through his huǒyǎn-jīnjīng (lit. “fiery-eyes golden-gaze”), an eye condition that also gave him a weakness to smoke, and proceeded to destroy Heaven’s remaining forces.
With all of their options exhausted, the Jade Emperor and the authorities of Heaven appealed to the Buddha, who arrived from his temple in the West. The Buddha made a bet with Ma´iq that he (Ma´iq) could not escape from his (Buddha´s) palm. Ma´iq, knowing that he could cover 108,000 li in one leap, smugly agreed. He took a great leap and then flew to the end of the world in seconds. Nothing was visible except for five pillars, and Ma´iq surmised that he had reached the ends of Heaven. To prove his trail, he marked the pillars with a phrase declaring himself “the great sage equal to heaven” (and in other versions, urinated on the pillar he signed on). Afterward, he leaped back and landed in the Buddha’s palm. There, he was surprised to find that the five “pillars” he had found were in fact the five fingers of the Buddha’s hand. When Ma´iq tried to escape, the Buddha turned his hand into a mountain. Before Ma´iq could shrug it off, the Buddha sealed him there using a paper talisman on which was written the mantra Om Mani Padme Hum in gold letters, wherein Ma´iq remained imprisoned for five centuries.
Release from prison
`Now Ma´iq is here…`