English Bill, Old Cob, and the Before Time

Pirate101's latest update, Moo Manchu's Tower (see a drop guide HERE), also slipped in some lesser-known details, including a new puppet show for the Duck of Death. This telling tale of English Bill's background story reveals much about his origin... and perhaps a little bit about Old Cob, too.

Before you hear my input, watch the new show for yourself in 1080p HD!

The Duck of Death's Background Story

English Bill may never have been a nice guy, but he wasn't always evil. He began by driving out his own kind, only to be betrayed by his Marleybone allies. Eventually, he went for revenge. Now an outlaw and wanted man ...er, duck... by many parties, he was forced to flee. Bill found himself in the world of Darkmoor, a location that has been confirmed as a future world our pirates will visit.

There, he met spiders from the Before Time, when there was no Spiral. What the story's narrator, the Thunderbird, means is that the Spiral is simply fragmented pieces of the shattered First World bound together by Bartleby's Song of Creation. This is the same one Morganthe attempted to force the Lords of Night, ancient beings who watched and listened to Bartleby bind the Spiral together, to sing and teach her.

Selling His Soul to Grandfather Spider

The most notable of the Before Time Spiders is Grandfather Spider (also known as Old Cob), a third ancient being along with Grandmother Raven and Grandfather Bartleby. To see Old Cob's story explained in one of the most interesting side quests around, click HERE.

Now, it never comes out and says "Old Cob," so we can't be certain that this is actually who takes the soul. More likely, perhaps, is that Old Cob had some influence on these shadowy creatures, "sowing chaos to one day reap." Wizards learned in Khrysalis Part 1 that Old Cob may have been the first of the spiders, but he was not the only spider or creature of shadow in the First World before it shattered during the battle of the Titans.

Atlach-Zath and the Before Time Spiders

If you've never wandered through Devilfish Hollow, you should give it a look. You only use two fights there, in the first part of the cave, for a very low-level quest. If you start running around further into the location, you find that the creatures have a sudden (and odd) jump in level to about 25. If you climb the ladders across from the entrance and past the water moles, you'll find a few spiders. They look like normal enemies, until you enter the battle. There, you meet Atlach-Zath. Take a look at his eye structure versus the one in the puppet show. Coincidentally, the location layout for Devilfish Hollow is identical to that of The Hive, where Old Cob and many Before Time spiders reside in Khrysalis.

We also know he's a Before Time spider, though, because there's another named Atlach-Leng in the Abyssal Cave, with a long web bridging a gap.

"A dream of Light comes here, to these plumbless depths. A Light in the dark. A child under an endless, starless sky. I was here before the First World was broken. Ever since Grandmother Raven locked the shadows away. I am named Atlach-Leng: Web Maker, Light Drink, Ghost Spider. Is it time to shake off the chains of sleep, to stretch my web to the world above, to drink deep of the hot, salty blood?"

Bridge to the Dreamlands

You see, the names come from Atlach-Nacha, the spider-god from the Cthulhu Mythos.

Atlach-Nacha resembles a huge spider with an almost-human face. It dwells in a huge cavern deep beneath Mount Voormithadreth, a mountain in the now vanished kingdom of Hyperborea in the Arctic. There it spins a gigantic web, bridging a massive chasm between the Dreamlands and the waking world. Some believe that when the web is complete, the end of the world will come, because it will create a permanent junction with the Dreamlands allowing monsters to move freely into the waking world. 

Atlach-Nacha probably came to Earth from the planet Cykranosh (or Saturn as we know it today) with Tsathoggua. Because of its appearance, Atlach-Nacha is often referred to as the Spider-God(dess) and is believed to be the regent of all spiders. Furthermore, the giant, bloated purple spiders of Leng are thought to be its children and servitors.

Do you recall walking across this to battle Atlach-Leng in the Abyssal Cave?

Darkmoor and the First-World Split

The big question is how most of the Before Time spiders are in Khrysalis, but you see a few here and there in Skull Island and Darkmoor. I suppose they were separated when the First World shattered. I'd be curious to know just how many there are, where they may be, and whether or not Old Cob's final scene from Khrysalis Part 2 isn't him releasing the last of the Before Time spiders.

What I find so intriguing about Old Cob and the Before Time beings in general is that they ARE the history of the Spiral. They are these creatures of enormous power hidden away throughout the Spiral. Sure, people like Malistaire, Morganthe, and Kane are all ruthless individuals seeking to destroy the Spiral. But the Shadow Web stretches even beyond it, "touching the Spiral with Spider's welcoming arms..."


  1. How wonderful and delightfully a bit scary. Perfect for October. You have a mighty gift for storytelling. Keep up the bard skills. They do you proud :D

  2. We're on the same page with this. The first time I watched the puppet show I instantly knew it had to be Olde Cob's Avatar or one of his children.

  3. You and I are on the same page my friend.

    The minute I saw that puppet show, I instantly thought of Old Cob.

    And I started to think.

    In the Orb side quest, it is stated (if indirectly) that Morganthe, for all her power, was simply a pawn of Old Cob, a way for him to enact his revenge for being locked away for so long. Now that we know the origins of the Duck of Death, I can't help but ask:

    what if Morganthe wasn't the only pawn in his game?

    The spiral is a big place, and if a Duck from cool ranch can find a way to gain the favor of Grandfather Spider, who's to say those from other worlds can't, as well?

    I think that Morganthe was only the begining.

    1. I am not entirely sure that Morganthe was so much a pawn of Old Cob's as we think she was. He predicated that what would happen would happen... it doesn't mean he orchestrated it. Old Cob, I believe, isn't as evil as everyone thinks. But that's a post for another day. ;)

    2. I think there's no such thing as a 3d arc coming just yet either. But, Morganthe is not a minion of the shadow web. She got expelled from ravenwood, and created the shadow web to take revenge on Ambrose. Maybe, we are still in the first arc. That morganthe murdered Sylvia Drake or something, and that THAT got her expelled from ravenwood. Makes sense right?

  4. I think that cob has many more pawns then kingsisle let on. Remember Malistaire, where does he fit in.Or Kane. I honestly think that Kane is cob's ultimate weapon. Whatever is in el dorado , is what cob wants. What I found alarming is that Morganthe didn't know who cob was, yet she knew the lords of night. Grandmother raven probably didn't want people to know cob was real. That would explain why she asked Ambrose not to teach shadow magic, because cob uses it. And why did that spider mage recognize cob. He may be more evil than we let on.


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