Timeline: 300 AF to 399 AF
Three hundred years after the Fall of the Selucarian Empire, all of Sapience celebrates the new century with a rousing set of festivities. As the New Year dawns, a brilliant, massive display of colourful fireworks explodes over the continent, awing the populace with never before seen pyrotechnic delights. The following months are filled with celebratory activities. There are continual banquets and parties replete with feasting and revelry. Most agree that this is the social event of the year. In the Garden of the Gods, the Pantheon joins in the celebration as the Divine Logos sponsors a series of contests to test the mettle of all who desire to participate. Opening with an intellectual exercise, Sarapis stages a Quiz on Achaean history and related subjects. Shakti wins first place, followed by Jerle and Saruman. A fervent Egg Hunt sees Shakti win again, followed by Brinn and Jerle. A rollicking Tumble Race is won by Rick in first place, followed by Yeshua and Vand. A Triplets Combat session ends with Andelas, Zero and Rivalyn placing first. They share the glory with Shakti, Estach and Jarik in second place, and Fostrow, Stee and Kail in third. In honour of the newly formed Jesters Guild a contest of Jokes is held. From the subtle to the crude, from the metaphysical to the ribald and profane, the jokes fly fast and furious from the contestants. All Achaea delights in this amusement and occasional laughter is even heard from the heavens, as the gods themselves are drawn into the rampant mirth fest. At the end of the hilarity, Jarik, Shakti and Deonymus garner first, second and third places respectively. The Jokes Contest is followed by a Costume Ball. Among those most delighting the judges with their inventive garb are Bambi, Saruman, and Idempotent. Aringar, Tylin, and Yeshua win the top three prizes for their prowess in gaining the fruits of the hunt with their bashing skills. A game of Capture the Flag is led by Oakstone, followed by Ashtan and Shallam. All of Achaea waits with bated breath as Sarapis tallies the collective results of the various contests and announces an overall winner. That winner is Shakti. And for her prowess she is granted the thousand-year-old, legendary Staff of Nicator, created by the Logos Himself for Nicator and last awarded to Isildur.
The minions of Sartan, God of Evil, continue their desecration of the shrines of many of the other deities. Nettled past hope of restraint, Aegis issues a clarion call to the Alliance and their followers to go to war with the Evil One and His minions. Although Sartan has been noticeably absent from the Material Plane, His followers obstinately refuse the conditions of the Divine Alliance for cessation of hostilities and continue to badger the public news boards with their stubborn, loyalist rantings.
For the first time in the known history of the world, a guild declares war against its patron city-state, when the Infernals throw down the gauntlet, publicly, before the government of Ashtan. Shocked and scandalized by this treasonous breach of protocol, Ashtan's reaction is quick and powerful. The Archons look upon the events that follow with amazement as the collective fury of the Ashtanite citizenry explodes against the traitors. Crowds pour spontaneously into the streets and shouts demanding blood and retribution of the traitorous guild fill the air. Eventually the mob coalesces around Epicurus and the Dowager Montaganet who lead the angry mass of citizenry to the Iron Citadel. They breach the walls of the once proud fortress and drag forth Dacian, the Martial Master of the Iron Keep. Spitting his defiance and cursing Ashtan, Dacian is thrown to his knees and his vituperation is finally silenced as the blade of Ashtan's Lord High Executioner separates his head from his body. The Executioner tosses the bloodied, staring head, with its stump of neck, into the crowd, where children from the Orphanage delight in the new found "toy" and promptly begin a game of kick-the-ball with it. Some onlookers later say that they could still see the lips moving impotently as the eyes glared with unsated rage. Acting as with a single mind, the mob erupts in an orgy of destruction as they raze the Citadel to its foundations, setting it and all within to the torch. When it is done, the crowd stands in mute witness. No sound but the crackling of flames and the occasional collapse of rubble is heard as the thick, oily smoke of the conflagration rises over the City. A breeze springs up, dissipating the dark cloud and as it disperses, some say they hear a low moaning upon the wind. Some say that is merely the wind itself, whistling about the stones of the now ruined battlements. Later, some occultic scholars say that what was heard was the dying of the very Oversoul of the Infernals. For in their haste, obstinacy and arrogance, the lords of the Iron Citadel had committed a kind of suicide, not being aware of the psychic and metaphysical bonds that tie a guild to its genius loci. Without guildhall or teachers, without history even, given the dependence on written records, with no city to even call their own, the Oversoul of the Infernals could not be sustained, and so died, and with it thus died the once proud and strong Guild of the Infernals.
The leadership of the Infernals claim to be unbowed by their fate of their guild. They regroup and form what they call the Interim Battalion, a name reminiscent of Raajin's now defunct Exodus Battalion. Unlike the case with Raajin's band though, there is no city-state willing to grant succor to the disgraced former Infernals. Some of the Battalion now have second thoughts and claim that their leaders have misled them. Such is their grief and disappointment that they renounce the Infernals, the Battalion, and Sartan, suing for the forgiveness and mercy of those they have wronged.
Sartan, feeling the perturbations in the ether caused by the dissolution of His chosen guild, reenters the Physical Plane and seeks revenge the erstwhile Infernals by sending hordes of skeletal warriors, dragons and demons against Ashtan, the city He once Patroned. His machinations are for naught as the Bastion of the North defeats each of these measures. Undeterred by these setbacks, the proud Prince of Evil humbles Himself to ask Valnurana, Goddess of Sleep and Dreams, to aid him in achieving peace between Himself and the Divine Alliance. Once alone with Her though, he uses His power to place Her in a deep trance and begins a rite of His own devising designed to usurp Her power over the Dream Realm. Sartan seeks to bring the nightmares of the mortal kindreds into physical manifestation in Achaea, threatening both Gods and men. The Evil One is, however, unable to bring His ritual to completion. Angered, he gouges out the eyes of Valnurana, vampirizes Her essence and tosses Her immortal form at the base of the Pillars of Heaven.
As Sartan worked His vile magics, nightmares had indeed begun to increase in frequency and intensity throughout the world. Many had their sleep plagued by intense dreams filled with unspeakably obscene images of dread, decay and destruction. Eris, suspecting that all is not well, seeks out Valnurana for an explanation. What She finds makes Her divine blood run cold. Bearing Valnurana's body to the River Temple, the Goddess of Chaos is able to heal the Lady of Sleep and Dreams enough for Valnurana to reveal what has happened to Her. Outraged, Eris calls out across the heavens in challenge to Sartan who laughs and insults Her and attempts attack. The clamour is heard in the Garden and the Alliance rises up, enraged, against Sartan for His desecration of the gentle Valnurana and the past misdeeds of His minions. Even Ourania, ordinarily choosing to eschew the squabbles of the Divine and keeping Her own counsel, erupts in fury. Caspian, Aegis, Eris, Lupus, Phaestus, Agatheis, and Ourania march upon the malevolent One. Achaeans cower in fear or gape in wonder as the sights and sounds of godly battle fill the skies. With a concerted effort the Alliance captures and binds Sartan, hurling Him into the Sea before Aegis and Lupus wrench a mountain from the Vashnar range and trap the Lord of Evil beneath it. Even victorious though, the seven deities give a collective shudder as they watch the mountain reform into an island, warped by the very essence of the immortal trapped beneath.
Valnurana, healed although still bereft of Her former divine voice and sight, and feeling unwarranted shame at Her inadvertent and unintended aid to Sartan, retreats into the Dream Realm, wounded in spirit. Dreamseer begs Agatheis, the Elemental Lord, to aid his Lady. Enrinyes, daughter of the Goddess, likewise pleads with Phaestus. Enduring great travail, the Orders of Phaestus and Valnurana, as well as other volunteers to who hold the her dear, follow the instructions of Phaestus, who is eventually able to craft for Her a pair of sapphire eyes. Returning Her voice proves more difficult, but the Elemental Lord, in concert with Vand and members of the Magi, Warlocks and Priests guilds, hoping against all hope and persevering against seeming failure, is at last able to succeed in conducting a rite that allows the divine voice of Valnurana to be heard in the land once again.
Pentharian, God of Righteousness, and Lorielan, Goddess of Knowledge reveal a newly constructed Chrysalis Basilica, built outside the Material Plane. As onlookers gape, a rift opens in the heavens, and with great decorum and ceremony, the two deities direct the placement of the rebuilt holy place upon the crater bearing the ruins of its predecessor.
The island beneath which Sartan lies imprisoned becomes the scene of mysterious and disturbing manifestations. Chief among these phenomena is a stalagmite, located inside the island's mountain. Sartan's followers begin to repeatedly impale themselves upon the object, their purpose unknown until some few reveal that they have been told that thus may they purchase the release of the Evil One from His bonds, with their blood and life essence. Others, through divine trickery, are told that impaling themselves upon the thing is a way of ensuring His continued imprisonment. Those who do not believe the lie, led by the Church and Oakstone work to prevent the continuous serial impalements, but their efforts are largely fruitless.
Soon a miasmic, roiling, blood red fog begins to spread about the island, consuming vegetative life. Eventually the fog, growing in power and evincing an eerie quasi intelligence begins to spread to the continent, belching forth foul demons who terrify the populace of Sapience. Gaia, the Earthmother, becomes alarmed, and seeking to stem the horrific tide, causes an earthquake with which She hopes to sink the island, apparent source of the evil haze. Alas, the fog only spreads with renewed vigour. Adding insult to injury, the event seems to crush the bonds of Sartan, allowing Him release from His prison, whereupon he sets forth forming a new body from the now plentiful supply of demonic fog.
His new body is a horror to behold, mutilated, scarred, as though the evil once held deep within His heart, was now worn upon His face and form. Rejoicing in His newfound fortune, the God of Evil proclaims Himself Sartan the Malevolent. He takes control of the island that was once His jailer, imbuing its very stones with His essence. In an act that promises dire fortune at some point in the future, the Malevolent One calls His faithful unto him, brings into manifestation a monstrous edifice called the Baelgrim Fortress, and endows an organization calling itself the Maldaathi Knights upon the former, humiliated Infernals. Kaelin is appointed as leader of this new guild.
With most of Achaea now at peace for the nonce, discussion and debate on the natures of so-called Good and Evil once again dominate the public news boards ad nauseam. Lately, debaters on the subject of the true nature of Chaos, oxymoronic as such a subject must perforce be, have also entered the fray. Achaea abides.
Sartan consolidates his power on the Isle of Evil and within Mount Mhaldor, which lay underneath Baelgrim Fortress. Using this location as a magnet of evil, He acquires control over all of the landmarks, and destroys the one that most closely represented Chaos, the Cave of Golgatha. Finally, he renames the Fist of Dameron as the Fist of Sartan. In a gesture of spite, he forever cuts off the flow of essence to the Occultists Guild.
The Occultists, reeling from their loss of Necromancy, begin looking into their own past. Through the study of the Burning Times, they learn of an ancient power their predecessors wielded, and seek to reclaim it. Concurrently, the Church begins its own investigations of their records of these times, worried what the Occultists may be up to. This results in the discovery of a ritual in the past, that by some mistake had forever cut the Occultists off from their latent power. Through carrying out this ritual in the present, Shakti, Silverstorm, and Saruman lead the Occultists in bridging the gap across centuries of the Great Occult Work, anchoring the two times, and restoring the lost art of Occultism.
Gaia gives up her coherent consciousness to the forests, and nine forest spirits appear in the aftermath. Shortly afterward, the forests become sick and diseased. Groves cease to function, plant life begins to die out, and animals grow disturbed and rabid. The forests themselves attack those within, and the spirits grow concerned that without assistance or the Mother, the woods will soon die out.
An extended Dreaming is held, and as a result, the forest folk use ancient potions to heal the spirits. At Urania's behest, the forestals coax the Gaian Tree into giving up its essence; in doing so, it becomes the Great Oak. Balance is restored to Nature for the time, and a new spirit is born to watch over the forests until such time as a new protector arises.
Rain and snow clear the rubble blocking the way to a monastery north of Jaru, called Shala'jen. Shortly after, explorers discover ghostly monks roaming its halls. The rain also floods Lake Vundamere, which washes away debris and allows exploration of the area surrounding it.
Aegis and Eris fuse the divine essence of their realms together into a sphere of energy and plant it atop the Golden Dias of Creation, causing the sphere to soak up the primal chaos around it and grow into The Eileithyian Tree. Sapience watches with baited breath to see what may come of this union, the likes of which had never been seen before.
The tree blossoms with twins, a boy and girl, but before the couple can admire their new children, a slash tears across the sky, and an entity enters into the realms from beyond. Killing the thing of chaos that was the children's guardian, the entity steals the boy god and returns to beyond the skies.
Later, the Eileithyian Tree offers up the young girl, and an overjoyed Aegis and Eris named their daughter Pandora. This joy is marred, however, as the sky tears open again, and the entity returns to steal the fledgling goddess as well. The entity is revealed to be none other than the one-time ally of the Triumvirate, Prince Slith. In a rage, Aegis chases Slith back through the tear in the sky, the rift between the worlds sealing behind them.
Cree founds the Arcanist guild in Cyrene.
Pandora steals the Caduceus of Castigation from Sarapis while he visits other realms. When questioned, Pandora responds with cheeky indifference. The Caduceus has fused itself to her palm from overuse, however, and can only be recovered by hacking it off at the wrist; Phaestus crafts her a new hand, made of silver, to replace the old. For her actions, Sarapis names Pandora the Goddess of Mischief.
The Wall of Power, which keeps explorers from venturing into the far northern reaches, shifts northward. Rick Stormcrow discovers the village of Kamleikan, and Senans discovers Aran'riod.
Following the upsets within the forest, a path is uncovered by a dryad in the Northern Ithmia. Queen Titania calls for Oakstone's aid, and the explorers return with stories of Forest Watch, an ancient human settlement long since overtaken by buckawns.
During a construction project in Hashan, a ruined temple is uncovered, and the angry, hate-filled spectres of the former inhabitants overwhelm those nearby. Explorers discover a journal detailing the former cult and their focus, and how their cult had split into three sects: one to the night, one to darkness, and one to dreams. Each sect worshiped a planet embodying their given belief, and by measuring the alignment of these planets, they determined which sect would rule the cult.
The device was intended to 'cycle' to the next planet every two decades. However, when Hubrisian and the Dream faction were in control, it did not cycle as it should, and Hubrisian's dreams of grandeur were realized as he claimed this Divine Right that his sect should continue to lead, armed with his Herald Siren who had foretold this in his dreams. This same dream creature sealed Hubrisian within the temple with the other two sects, his arrogance laid bare as they stripped his powers of Night from him. The entire Dream faction was cursed and destroyed for their treachery, at the machinations of this Siren, none other than Alp the Nightmare Siren.
Those intrepid researchers of Hashan realized Alp fit the description, and upon asking her about it, she seemed joyful to relieve the incident where she dispensed 'justice' to the lot of 'blasphemous, prideful clerics'. When pressed about how this was done, she admitted to replacing the device with a fake replica that would never change from Dreams, which was how she engineered the whole facade. But her machinations didn't end there. Through manipulation of Kryvar, she led the assembled to partake of a public dreaming in the ruined temple, where she then told them of all she had done. Unfortunately, this had also called the spectres of the temple, making them aware of the presence of the Nightmare Siren that had tormented them so long ago.
To mortal hand, Alp was nigh invincible, but the spectres posed a real problem and threat on her life, so beseeching the gathered, she offered the location of the device should they come to her defense. And they did, beating back the assembled spectres in no time at all. Alp made good on her promise, and as Ciries and Synthesis performed the sacred ritual described in the journals, the device shone with renewed power. Valnurana assisted them in telling which star the device now pointed to, Noxstra, the star of Darkness, and left with cryptic words hinting that more had yet to be revealed.
Gack arrives in Mhaldor, offering to set up a slaving business, to which Mhaldor promptly and happily agreed. The fortress of Moghedu was raided, and it's citizens captured to sell into slavery, and the deal was profitable, up until Mhun scouts began to invade Mhaldor's isle to look for their missing brethren. The Mhaldorian reprisal was swift, laying waste to the forces and launching on Mhoghedu, while the Mhunna had plans of his own, digging tunnels under Mhaldor to enter the city and take their own revenge.
As the Mhaldorians reached the Mhunna, he stopped them saying he had a surprise for his evil enemies, at which point Gack could be heard shouting about Mhun invaders. And promptly silenced. During this time, allies of the Mhunna rallied in Moghedu, and when the Mhaldorians launched their attack on the Mhunna in retaliation, they were repelled. Gack was brought before the Mhunna, and though tortures, would not reveal the location of the captured slaves. His execution ordered, it had seemed his fate sealed.
Mhaldor rallied to attack Moghedu again, but was repelled by the Mhunna and his allies around Sapience once more, forced to retreat and rethink their strategy. They would not return the slaves, and the Mhunna would not return their citizen. However, when the Mhunna retired for bed that night, he handed the key to Gack's cell off to the captain of the guard. Mhaldor chose this time to attack, sending in a strike team to liberate the key, and Gack, though the alarm had been sounded, and every step of the way they fought tooth and nail. When they reached the cell, the battle spilled inside, and Gack was slain in the fray. Mhaldor carried his body back to their home, where he promptly opened his eyes and smiled, having been playing dead the whole time. And Mhaldor's reward? The treasury of Moghedu, that Gack had stolen during his imprisonment.
Mhaldor establishes their city government, and fills their ministry positions.
After Eris sneezed on the Black Forest during a stroll, mysterious mushrooms began to appear. Upon eating one, one would experience what had been deigned by some partakers as a 'bad trip' to the realm of Bopalopia, fit with talking animals and a princess that needed saving.
Small snakes and sibilant hisses are seen and heard all over Sapience, culminating in a massive black snake being found on Mount Mhaldor. This reptile was sentient, and called himself a General of Sartan. After many accusations at those who did not fully commit to evil, the snake struck out at an invisible attacker within the midst of the crowd of Mhaldorians. Shortly after, he claimed it was time, coiling and biting Yig and Mistral in the crowd, and informing them that they were to leave their old lives behind. They would be Naga now, their bodies transformed to be serpents.
The Naga guild is formed by Yig, as the Epitome of Torment, taking Mistral as his secretary.
The Goddess Demeter is brought into the realms from her slumber through the combined efforts of the forestals, having gathered ingredients and seeds from all over Sapience to perform the ritual necessary.
The star Noxtra falls out of favour, as Lunastra rises into prominence. To mark this event, Twilight pulls back the darkness that had shielded the three stars of the ancient cult from mortal eyes. In respect of the cult, Seneschal Calla of Hashan ruled that the city would follow the traditions of the cult, changing it's ceremonial title of patron from the triad of Divine that ruled it to match whichever star was in prominence at the time.
In honour of Demeter's arrival, Eris hosts a festival, followed by a party within the Black Forest, where Chaos Tequila flowed like water. When both Eris and Demeter grew divinely drunk, Eris decided to play a trick, slipping Demeter a goblet of pure Chaos which the goddess unknowingly imbibed. Realizing what had happened, Demeter was not to be outdone, and slipped Eris a goblet filled with the primordial matter of the Green. Both goddesses then left afterward to try and sober up, only to find this mixing of influences had profound affects on their realms. The treekin were born in the Black Forest, while the Tier of Primal Chaos in the Great Erisian Pyramid was overgrown with forest, treekin appearing there as well. The ones within the Black Forest were pacified, but the chaos that had warped them could not simply be undone. Through tireless attempts of teaching, however, they became sentient, assisting the forestals in their future endeavors.
Agatheis leaves as patron of the Arcanists, and Lupus takes over as patron.
Aringar becomes the first mortal to achieve the form of Dragon, granted this by Ashaxei herself before the assembled Divine. He chooses to become a Blue Dragon.
Venturing into the ancient troll city, the Occultist Xerimor summoned Taug, with the assistance of Mistral, Hwolf, Prophecy and Rakot. Upon arrival, Taug requested of Xerimor revenge against his betrayer, Danaeus. Rallying Mhaldor and storming the Chaos Plane, there they slew Danaeus and with the help of Taug, brought him back to Mhaldor. In a ritual chamber hidden in Mhaldor, Taug fashioned a red altar, trapping the soul of his betrayer to eternal confinement. As a reward for his actions, Taug gave Xerimor the altar, a powerful tool that could summon, bind, and imprison those of other planes.
Golgotha, Emperor of Chaos flew into a rage at this, and demanded the Keeper of the Chaos Gate build him a portal through which to enter Sapience. With the help of the occultists and the Keeper, a portal was formed and through it, Golgotha stormed into Mhaldor, his presence in the realm felt by all. There, he freed Danaeus from his prison, but there was a catch in the artefact, and someone had to take the Chaos Lord's place. For his treachery, Golgotha trapped Xerimor, and departed the plane with Danaeus, satisfied that justice was complete.
Xerimor was not to be lost to the sands of time, however. The citizens of Mhaldor rallied to try and free him, and through vision, knew that the sacrifice of something holy being was necessary to finish the ritual. For this, they turned to the assistance of Azmodai the Pit Fiend. Using his powers, Azmodai summoned the priest Valeo and bound him to the room. The priest refused to help, but continuous torture and beating made it too much for his guardian angel to bear, who summoned herself to aid her master. Taking this chance, Azmodai bound her to the altar and sacrificed her, freeing Xerimor.
Xerimor had plans concocted during his imprisonment, however, and immediately used the altar with it's now trapped angel to summon forth Morimbuull and create a mighty pathway to usher in hordes of daemons to do his bidding. Valeo was not indisposed, however, and forgotten during this rituals he regained his senses. And giving his all to heal his fallen partner, was able to revive the angel at the cost of his own life. The angel then took Valeo and attempted to flee through the only exit--Through the portal. The act of entering while Morimbuull was still leaving the portal caused a backlash of energy, sealing the portal and the two parties on either side.
Xerimor had prepared for this, however, and used skills of necromancy, domination, and daemonology learned during his imprisonment to bind Morimbuull, demanding he impart his knowledge of the daemons and apostasy. The enraged Morimbuull refused, but eventually was forced to relent. And thus, Xerimor founded the Apostate guild, focused on the worship of Lord Sartan.
While this carried on, those of Twilight's Order carried out a ritual within the Shadow Realm, from research into the ancient methods of their Order. The ritual progressed in that twisted place, attended to by Sharbrena, Cleric of Darkness. As the ritual progressed, she began to siphon the darkness out of the Darkenwood itself to empower the ritualists and herself, causing great harm to Urania, the spirit of Darkenwood. As Urania cried out in pain, the ritual grew stronger until Sharbrena cackled, vanishing into the summoned darkness, while the ritual proceeded onward after that strange event.
A key found in the streets of Kasmarkin led an intrepid group of adventurers to the tomb of Overlord Gruul, leader of the Arcanian mercenaries. But also in the tomb was a coinbox, that reacted to coins being put inside. Once enough had been donated, it turned into a chest. Only accepting silver bars, when it was filled, it became a vault. Gold bars were necessary this time, and when it was filled, the group was transported to a small bazaar in Delos, and discovered an alleyway which led to the Temple of Wealth and Trade. Solving the puzzle to give entrance to those assembled, they stumbled upon Prospero, just finishing his meal. And thus, the mortals dined with him, and he returned to the realms with them.
Screams split the night air, as Urania, the spirit of Darkenwood, cried out in terror and pain. Dark demons called qlippah were devouring the forest, and attempting to devour her as well. Both Forestals and the Darkwalkers rushed to aid, and through forming a ritual with the advice of Kalleah, the spirit of Hazel, they attempted to call forth the dark being that had sent these lesser demons, to banish it once and for all. The ritual took an unexpected turn, as they summoned the creature, but were no match for it's power. It devoured those leading the ritual, and laid waste to the assembly. Urania was nowhere to be found by this point. Through sheer force of effort and cooperation, and many deaths, the ritual was performed and the beast locked away, but those assembled grieved the loss of Urania to achieve it. Putting together a second ritual, they attempted to pour forth their love and energy for the fallen spirit. The circle became disrupted, but Malkyr, the Oracle of Demeter, pushed on and sent the energy regardless. Green light and darkfire danced across the sky as a rift opened, and Urania stepped out, looking healthier than ever. The place the rite took place in, would be forever changed.
A village hidden in the Southern Vashnars was discovered by Greywolf. Their inhabitants, the Aeraithians are a small race that can glide, but not fly, and speak a native language that is not achaean.
Eleusis awakens in the Eastern Ithmia and forms, led by Covenant Stormcrow, Tearstorm Le'Yuet, Riakar Nakanishi, Elsp Le'Yuet and Mysti La'Saen.
Urania, spirit of Darkenwood, suddenly cried out to all that she was in pain, peculiar given that a large amount of mortal and immortal time and energy had been going into cleansing the forest. Arcane and archaic remedies were sought, to little avail, most notably in Cyrene. Undead animals are sighted within the borders of the forest, as the situation wears on.
The illness of Darkenwood took a turn for the worse, as the sickness twisted Istishia, Queen of the Arachnoi, into a loathsome undead creature. Twilight admitted the undead were a side-effect of his own methods of trying to cleanse the forest, and working with Demeter they better sought a cure. Believing the cure to be found in a mysterious artifact in Cyrene, treekin marched into Cyrene and began to turn over stones and reduce streets and buildings to rubble, trying to find the artifact buried beneath it all. Indalecio spoke out against them, but his pleas fell on deaf ears as the treekin continued destroying the city for their artefact, until the baby blue dragon, Blu, slew one and chased the rest out of the city. In return, Twilight sent the qlippah to silence Blu so their work could continue, but the citizens of Cyrene rallied around their dragon, turning on the followers of the God of Darkness. The standstill wore on as Darkenwood continued to decay.
The followers of Twilight would not be stopped, however, and using the qlippah to assault the young dragon, the citizens fought, but it wasn't enough. Blu was defeated, and faded away to another realm. All that remained was half of an amulet, that Twilight claimed was part of the artefact they were searching for. The Dark Lord used the amulet to put Darkenwood into stasis, halting the undead spread, but not fixing it yet.
Eris with the help of Feliss, Miriyan, Khalid, Estach, Shakti, Aneila, Karyn, and others began an experiment with the Living Spire. As the spire was completed, a bolt of power shot up toward the heavens, and Eris approached the vortex this created, her own power growing. The force imploded, however, knocking Eris from the sky as chaos spread across the land, and when this chaotic energy touched the Darkenwood, none other than Slith was revealed. Enraged, Eris threatened to burn the Darkenwood down if it meant retribution on the man that had stolen her son, but Demeter pacified her enough to allow the gathered mortals to handle the situation, lest things get out of control. Chasing Slith all over the Darkenwood, eventually defeating the Prince. With his dying breaths, he revealed he had been working for Sartan all along. After stealing the young god, he let Sartan split his being in two, one leading Aegis off beyond the realms while the other hid beneath the Darkenwood and siphoned it's essence.
Sartan laughed at his pawn, and produced the child, binding him to the fissure beneath Baelgrim Fortress that had been storing the dark energies of the wood for some time now. Enraged, Eris tried to free her child, but the power of Chaos alone was not enough, and Sartan threatened that any further attempt would be met with the death of the child. Powerless to help her son, Eris turned on Twilight and Demeter, demanding to know why they continued their efforts in Cyrene while the Darkenwood was still being drained. They believed the cure could still be found in Cyrene, and continued to hunt it...and to the shock of mortal and immortal alike, Valnurana revealed herself and asked Eris not to blame them, as Sartan had deceived them with false visions.
Valnurana was asked how Sartan could deceive another Divine in this way, and to the horror of all, she admitted to using an ancient artefact to help Sartan in his scheme to destroy Darkenwood. Sartan merely laughed at these revelations, hidden within his realm, while Valnurana explained her only desire had been to seek vengeance on Twilight, and was as horrified as everyone else when they became aware of Sartan's scheme involving the stolen child god. When she became aware, she stole the artefact back, the Eye of Proteus, and promised to help free the child. The Garden convened, looking for new ways to tackle this issue.
Soon after, Demeter had a vision of clarity, and knew the other half of the amulet to still be within Cyrene. She came to the city, and demanded, angrily, that it's citizens allow her to look for it, while green lightning arced across the skies. None spoke against her, and pooling the lightning, she slammed it into the bridge she stood on, destroying it and frantically digging through the earth for the amulet. Finding it, she restored the damage as a token of thanks, before hastening to the Darkenwood. Both halves of the amulet whole again, Twilight gave his half to Demeter after they used it's combined power to return the arachnoi queen to normal, freeing her of the bonds of undeath. With the forest's decay stopped, it would take much to heal it. But at least it would have the chance to heal.
Twilight readied his troops for war, and Sapience waited with baited breath for what may come next.
Using the Eye of Proteus, the Divine could merge the power of their realms, and in doing so created artefacts of power in every city. The Well of Chaos was formed in Ashtan, the Fontis was formed in Hashan, the Cauldron of Infinity was formed in Eleusis, the Icerune Crater was formed in Cyrene, and Daybreak's Mirror was formed in Shallam. When empowered, each could produce a warrior, and given they were created from the same artefact as the fissure that caged the child god, their use would loosen the bonds that kept him there. The armies of Sapience, save Shallam who did not join the war, marched on Mhaldor to free the child god, some of which succeeded in getting through, and loosening the bonds.
A kris dagger appeared in the Mannaseh Swamp as a demonically female voice called out that it was time and demanding to be taken to the fissure. None were able to pick it up, save Stee, Knight of the Maldaathi, who promptly tried to take it back to the fissure. The forces of the Child's Army did battle with him, but eventually Stee was able to cast the knife into the fissure, where it struck the child god and revealed the true purpose of Sartan's plan. With the child struck with the kris, and the collected energies, he was able to revive Indrani the Demon Queen, who then fed on the essence of the child god to try and claim his power as her own. In the midst of this, Eris broke into the battle, and stealing her freed son away, prevented his death at Indrani's hands. Tucking her son into the Eileithyian Tree, she named him Pandemonium, and gave up much of her own divine essence to save his life, while he slept peacefully in the boughs of the tree once more.
Finally, using both halves of the amulet, Maklyr initiated a ritual involving those of many faiths, using the combined energy and power of those present to combine Urasia with Propasia, healing Darkenwood of it's evil taint. The forest now stands as a haven for both Nature and Darkness, as well as a reminder that no matter how grim the situation, mortal faith and Divine working can overcome it.
A contingent of dwarven miners moved into the Siroccians, greatly upsetting the orcs who felt it their personal domain, as well as their private treasure chest of mined wealth. Unfortunately for the dwarves, the orcs have set up a new outpost nearby whose members have discovered that it may be easier to kill the dwarves after they mine the metal rather than mining it themselves.
Krel, highest ranking of the Order of Agatheis in the Druids, founds the Sylvan Guild.
Following the previous botched experiment of the Living Spire, Eris sought to try again. Once more, power filled the skies, culminating in a vortex that Eris attempted to control. For a time, it looked as though it might work. Until the vortex shattered and the backlash of energy turned the Chaotic Goddess to stone, a state which none of her occultists could free her from, no matter how hard they tried. The denizens of the Great Erisian Pyramid grieved, referring to her as the 'controller of that which could not be controlled'.
Shortly after, reports came in from all over Sapience of strange happenings--reports of clothing squirming and talking, of towers rapidly decaying, of pillars walking, of rains of tiny ducks. Then, long established denizens of Sapience began acting unnaturally: the Black Boar began proclaiming himself a baker and seller of pies, a boy in Shallam proclaimed himself king, Epicurus himself tried to eat Ashtan, and Zsarachnor began planting tulips in Eleusis. What started as simple oddities began turning dangerous as all over the land toxic bubbles and even tendrils began arising, afflicting many throughout Sapience. And, finally, the denizens of Thera and Jaru began hideously mutating into twisted forms.
Pandora attempted to quell the chaos of the spire, but unable to control it, it repelled her as well and the young goddess retreated to the Eileithyian Tree, crawling into it's branches next to her sleeping brother. Twilight appeared across the heavens with the Soulgem of Gladius, shouting his intentions of rewarding him. Throwing the soulgem at Twilight's own obelisk, the two merged, and the Obelisk rebuffed Twilight until he faded into Oblivion--an act the rest of the buildings of Hashan echoed support for.
With three Divine now 'defeated' in driving back this threat, many turned to Belladonna's Keep in search of Gladius, only to find him and Dawn missing. Upon discovering this, Belladonna was furious and sent her minions into the realms to search for them, only to be met with the task forces of the Church intent on stopping them. The Church eventually pushed back to the Keep, wherein they slew Belladonna as well. The miasma in the air seeped into the abandoned Temple of Gaia as well, as the Great Oak uprooted itself and moved into the Great Grove, planting itself back down as the paths through the temple faded. The temple laying itself to rest.
Dawn and Gladius were discovered on the rocks out of Shastaan, attempting to use the Eye of Proteus, despite the dangers such would pose to mortals. Ignoring the warnings of the Divine, they tried their hardest, but the artefact failed, becoming inert as the chaotic taint roamed unchecked. It gathered together into a single cloud that struck out at each city in turn, but the artefacts created from the Eye for each city rose up in response, summoning guardians to combat the taint and protect the cities. Cyrene, however, had a special surprise as the font tore open the gateway that had kept it's beloved dragon, Blu, from returning home fully grown to combat the taint. One by one, the cities fought the taint off, though it only grew stronger each time. When it seemed as all hope may be lost, Dawn proved to be alive, and both calling and binding her spirit to that of the Phoenix she launched a counterattack on the taint, driving it deep underground and cleansing the realm of it's remainder...With the last of her strength, she returned Eris to normal, and resigned herself to perish, spent beyond measure.
But Sarapis would not have this. Praising Dawn for her devotion, faith, and selfless courage, she was granted the gift of Immortality, and became the Goddess of the Sun, Mithraea, her actions earning her a place among the Divine.
In the aftermath of these events, however, another side-effect was seen as the realms returned to normal. From each font came forth eidolons, which then settled in part of Sapience. In Ashtan, the relic known as the Well of Chaos bubbled forth with unformed things of chaos which colonized the Mhojave desert underneath the Great Erisian Pyramid. Hashan's Fontis burst forth with a herd of lamassu which formed a colony in Northern Ithmia. In Mhaldor, the Fissure belched forth abominations which have taken refuge on Mhaldor's island. In Eleusis, the Cauldron of Infinity released flower maidens which currently reside reside in Western Ithmia. In Shallam, Daybreak's Mirror created fairies which took residence in the Aalen Forest. Finally, the Icerune Crater in Cyrene released a flock of drakes which flew to the Southern Vashnars.
Fierce hurricanes lead to multitudes of dead fish wash up along the shores of Sapience's east coast. Found to be in the center of the Hurricanes is Caspian, withered and aged and responding to little around him save his gaze fixed on the Trident of the Seas. After many attempts to rouse the Sea God, nothing seemed to work. The Guardians of the Seas took note, Borak and Notia were the first to appear, whispering their glee that Caspian was incapacitated so badly. Eusia attempted to approach, but the gentle spirit was driven away by Notia. When Sefyr arrived, he ran to embrace his Lord, but Borak grabbed him and threw Sefyr far out to sea, silencing the weaker spirit. Sefyr has not been seen since.
Eventually Aeolos, the Triton arrived, awestruck at the sincere desire of the landwalkers to help the Sea God. He listened to those who kept silent vigil over Caspian, and eventually Aeolos friend and master joined them, Caspian's own son Neraeos. Seeing his father's stare, he assumed his father wanted to wield the Trident of the Seas. Plucking the artefact from the sands, he turned to give it to his father, but Caspian had withered away to dust in that instant, leaving Neraeos no longer just the son of Caspian, but the God of the Seas, taking his place among the Divine in the Garden.
Jirken, the insane alchemist, is freed from his confines under the city of Shallam by the combined efforts of Sojin, the Naga and Akechi Jupiter Dawyn, the Daemonic Hand of the Tanjinn. Immediately he takes up residence in Mhaldor, continuing his destructive experiments.
The Underworld is discovered after fights with Zsarachnor, leading to the deaths of many adventurers in this new and dangerous place.
The anguished cries of a dying butler were heard, as he pleaded for assistance from ambush as he traveled en route to the Temple of Indrani. Those that responded to the calls too late found him in a pool of his own blood, with sordid letters laying beside him detailing love struck affairs between the followers of Twilight and Indrani. What's more, the letters hinted at a relationship between the two Divine themselves, and plans to move the Obelisk out of Hashan and relocate it elsewhere. Gossip abound.
Following the discovery of the letters, the followers of both Orders went into seclusion, save one. Dusk appeared within Mhaldor, risking death to fulfill the geas placed on him by his departed Lord. There he sought audience with Indrani, and begged both her forgiveness, and to allow the Obelisk to be moved to Mhaldor. She declined, then gave him a caveat. If all of Mhaldor, as well as the followers of herself and Sartan could be convinced this move would be in their best interests, she would allow it. And so, Dusk took to the streets to attempt to convince the populace and fulfill the final task his master gave to him.
Hycanthus, Maklak the Ice Wizard and Haag the Swamp Witch carried out a ritual on Polyargos. The Ritual centered on the Angel Mirror, though they were slain before the ritual could be completed by a group including Diminish, Koralin, and Landon. However, the interrupted ritual caused the mirror to grow dark and dry up, while a mirror image of Koralin attacked him, causing him to have to fight his own reflection. This was not all, as the landmarks all over Sapience began to have mirror images of themselves come alive to catastrophic effects of those unfortunate enough to be present.
The Conclave tried again to organize, though Maim had different plans. Slaying Haag, it was reported that she was carrying a large number of landmarking items with her, and later, Maim was seen standing over Hycanthus' corpse as well. She attempted to strike down Maklak as well, but Blaise and Proficy stepped in, delaying the Conclave member's slaughter as he hastened to Polygaros with a fresh slew of landmarking items. Maklak and O'ising met here, pouring these items into the mirror, and much to the chagrin of those who wished to know more of the situation first, Sapience aided the effort and gathered landmarking items to add to the mirror as well. Eventually, a small tremor shook the area as the mirror finally sealed and the nightmare of mirror images wreaking havoc across Sapience ended with it. They blamed the adventurers of Sapience for the disturbance int he first place, as it wouldn't have happened had they not disturbed the first ritual.
Sarapis, not having slept in millenia, napped to ensure his focus would be full on the Year 350 festivities. While he slept, he encountered a dream that did not pass. A dream of a woman of beauty beyond measure. Despite Eros having departed the realms, Love and Beauty had not faded, but flourished. And so, stripping his essence from Eros, Sarapis gave this essence to dream, naming her Selena the Goddess of Beauty and Love.
Scarlatti, hearing of the beauty of the new goddess, returned to the realms to see her for himself. Moved so by her beauty, he fell in love, for passion is the province of the artist. The Lord of Arts returns to the realms once more.
Jephrey, Jaru's chocolate peddler, goes to Shallam for help when bandit's threaten his home. Meeting Vizier Trevalyan in secret, he tells the vizier of his plight only for the bandits to catch wind of his indiscretion and proceed to burn Jaru to the ground. Shallam rushes to their aid, and driving off the bandits and discovering a key which led them to a mansion in the Shamota hills where the bandits were trying to regroup after the attack. Using the key, they entered the mansion and proceeded to slaughter the bandits, until only the help were lift, fear stricken. Searching the mansion produced letters and more keys, this time leading to a townhouse in Shallam full of supplies, gold, and sapphires.
Jaru's citizens seek shelter in Shallam, unsafe to stay in their burned down homes, and Shallam responds by housing them in the palace while reconstruction efforts were underway. Shortly after, a letter arrived at the gates of Shallam addressed to the 'noisy builders', with the ear of the mayor of Jaru attached. Eventually the investigation led to extracting information from bandit guards, and eventually to the quarry the citizens were using to rebuild Jaru. A secret entrance in the Shamota hills was discovered to the underground tunnels the bandits had been using, and through perseverance they eventually encountered the man in charge of the bandits, Itian Bavek. He proved uncooperative to reveal his plans, and the citizens of Shallam merely slew him instead, rescuing the mayor and proceeding to celebrate their victory.
Moghedu launches a plot against Mhaldor, digging tunnels beneath their city to cause it to crumble in on itself. Meeting with the leaders of Mhaldor, the captain of the guard delivered the Mhunna's demands. A release of all the slaves Mhaldor had stolen, recognition of Moghedu as having a right to exist. The Mhaldorians simply laughed, and as the attack was ordered, it seemed their city would be lost. That is, until a statue of Sartan came to life, protecting the tunnels underneath the city and attacking the Mhun forces there, repairing the damaged construction. Eventually, Mhaldor acquired more slaves from Moghedu to fill out the tunnels, and they were turned into the city's sewers.
In response, Mhaldor declares Moghedu under it's control, sparking outrage and a prolonged war as others in the realm rushed to Moghedu's aid. Mhaldor and the Mhun fought back and forth, at times victory seeming certain for either side, though after much bloodshed and death Mhaldor was eventually repelled and all entrances to Moghedu were sealed to keep the Mhaldorians out.
Moghedu attempts to move it's non-combatants to somewhere safe, enlisting the help of the alliance that aided them prior to defend Moghedu in their stead. Mhaldor captures a Mhun scout and in torturing him, discover the tunnels leading to Moghedu dug underneath their own city. Shortly after, Mhaldor launches an attack into Moghedu, and proceeds to tackle the defenders while raiding for treasure. However, when the Moghedu army returns from moving their citizens, they make quick work of clearing out the attackers and any stragglers, reclaiming the safety of Moghedu. After collapsing the tunnel Mhaldor used and compensating the defenders, Moghedu opened back up to the public--Though Mhaldorians were to be attacked on sight.
Diamondesce hosts a monk tournament, with a mysterious figure approaching her to suggest a worldwide free-for-all be held as well. In a truly monumental event, Kir, Tenchu, Jupiter, Locus, and Diamondesce herself placed in the monk event while Rangor, Landon, and Kandor were the final three in the free-for-all, Kandor coming out on top. Following the battles, a ceremony was held, during which the mysterious figure was revealed to be the Scrula, Kaanvyr, and heralded the return of Matsuhama, the God of Combat. Matsuhama graced those present with congratulations on their victories, before retiring to the Garden to reacquaint himself with the realms.
The Blackrock Clan emerges outside Mhaldor, proclaiming undying loyalty to Sartan. Mhaldor makes contact and offers alliance, while those of Phaestus's Order are rebuffed, the Blackrock claiming Phaestus turned his back on them when he dropped a mountain on them.
The existence of the comet Ethian was discovered by adventurers, as many denizens across Sapience became more wary, more alert. Apollonia began having visions, while it was Gladius that confirmed that of course there was such a comet, coinciding with Ethian's Crossing.
Haag, Maklak, O'ising and Hycanthus were found dead, their hearts cut from their bodies as two strangely robed women were seen fleeing from each of their respective locations, headed for Polygaros. Sensing change in the air, Sapience followed, and the women cast a spell to protect themselves as they carried out a ritual on the sealed Mirror landmark found there. Sacrificing the hearts, and one of their own, the power of the landmarks were focused into the mirror, destroying them all one by one as their energies gathered into the sky over Polygaros. The Birth of Destruction was then ushered in by the Red Dragon Yudhishthira manipulating and controlling the energy, the resulting explosion forming the the Divine embodiment of the principle of destruction, the Goddess Makali.
The forests of Rheodad and Shala-Kulia were discovered by Evadne and Garth, respectively. But just as soon as the two forests were discovered, it became apparent they were cursed. Ghostly whispers pleading for help could be heard within Rheodad, while a malignant purple flame burned within the city of Shala-Kulia. Hidden underneath Rheodad, the ghost of an ancient Ashtani necromancer, Amphites, was discovered. And it was revealed he had cursed the land long ago, breaking the staff of Shala-Kulia into pieces. Regretful of his actions, he pleaded for the adventurers that should they do his soul one last favor, he would release his power over the forests. All he wished, was to see the spirit of his long dead wife, Carina who had died in Shala-Kulia. They succeeded in bringing her to him, and restoring the staff of Shala-Kulia, freeing the forests of their curse.
Long absent from the realms, a rite held by Itkovian and Seelie Otanthalian upon Shallam's walls calls Tarah, the Goddess of Compassion, back to the realms, much to the joy of her Order that had persevered in her absence.
For the past two years, criminal activity in Sapience had spiked. Every city was feeling it's effects from regional criminals, and while Eleusis turned to violence, Cyrene and Ashtan turned to cunning to shut down their criminal operations and glean information. Shallam and Hashan, however, had been funding the criminals willingly, and none of the cities save Ashtan seemed willing to share what they knew. When the dust settled, the mastermind Felisse took to public pronouncements, sarcastically thanking the cities for helping her acquire all the gold she needed for some further plan, and criminal activity promptly lessened across the land.
Lightning crashing around the chapel Sirrocian Mountains to the God of War heralded his return. Immediately asking of his son, he went to the Eileithyian Tree, pledging to ensure his child's safety.
As the courtship of Selene and Scarlatti grew, he gave to her a grand gift: The village of artists high in the mountains, Caer Witrin. As others marveled at the new village, Scarlatti met with his love in the center of the village, and producing a 'loves-me-not' flower, proposed to her. She accepted, but immediately fell ill. As those gathered and Scarlatti above all others fretted over his wife-to-be, he called for his sister, Mithraea, the Goddess of Healing. Mithraea confirmed what some already feared, that it was Scarlatti's proposal to the Goddess of Love and Beauty that caused her to fall ill. Loving one more than all others sapped the essence of who and what she was, and distraught, Scarlatti knew what he must then do. Leaving both her side and the realms, it wasn't long before Selene made a recovery...but Scarlatti would not be quick to return.
A quiz of Achaean Lore was held, with Zenui, Delphinus, and Latus took first, second, and third respectively.
Manticores attacked Genji, and after venturing into their nest to save the mayor of the atavian settlement, he was discovered dying in a small niche where the large manticores could not reach him. He tearfully admitted regret, and offered the adventurers a journal that would explain everything. This it did, such as mayor Gehan's guilt at being the one destroying the keystone that allowed those outside the walls to venture to the legendary homeland of the atavians, Arcadia. It detailed how he split the keystone, and what he did with the four parts, which a group of quick thinking adventurers recovered. The keystone was reforged, and with the group led by Garth and Asara, the path to Arcadia was once again opened.
Eleusis was greeted by Tiglia of Moghedu, who had been out sightseeing around Sapience. When questioned where she would go next, she remarked that Bagwar's Copse sounded interesting. When told that area of the forest had long been overgrown, Tiglia responded that a shipment of iron had been sent from Moghedu recently, and the returning mhun had told of how peaceful the village was. Intrigued, those gathered left with Tiglia to where the area of the forest was to be, finding the path cleared and the peaceful village of Bogwar's Copse thriving in it's place.
Storm clouds over Ulangi turned into a full blown hurricane as adventurers arrived, culminating in a rock slide revealing a small southern beach. As the storm subsided, the moans of pirates where heard, who had been shipwrecked in the horrid weather. While those gathered questioned them, a ferry rowed out from their intended destination nearby, to check on his missing friends. Knowing a way to this pirate port was in hand, many boarded the ferry to Mysia without question, this small port near Ulangi previously unknown, but now bustling with swarthy activity.
A portal appears in the Dardanic Grasslands, Zenui the first to discover it and experiment with it's effects. By the time others arrived, the portal shifted slightly, no longer allowing him access, but instead pairs of robed figures began to emerge in pairs. One was slain by Rocktamer, though the fallen figure's partner quickly absconded back through the portal and out of reach before anything could be done. Further reading may be found in the Vertani War.
Silver light shone over the Temple of Justice, and from it the Goddess of Justice, Miramar, made herself known to the gathered throng. Among them, Aegis, Selene, and Makali were present. The Goddess of Destruction gave to Miramar the Sword of Judgement she had forged in anticipation. She offered it with words that may it destroy injustice and separate the just from the unjust. The Goddess of Beauty gave to Miramar a shimmering blindfold as a symbolic gift to the blind nature of Justice. That it strikes without remark to race, gender, or affiliations, instead being equally meted out to all. With this welcoming, she returns to the realms to take her place amongst the Garden.
Following odd movements of the Blackrock dwarves, Mhaldorus grew more agitated with the city he defended, demanding they discover the Infernus Occulum, and sending them to Jirken the mad alchemist, who promptly sent them out to Vinia the Black. One long line of conversation later, they were given a journal, which eventually led them to a statue in the Northern Ithmia that held the necklace all along in secret. Recovering the Infernus Occulum, they returned to Mhaldor to put it to use. Following the visions were led to a small cavern the Blackrock had been digging out, without having any clue as to why. There, they witnessed the birth of the Goddess of Vengeance, Keresis, who proclaimed her realm to all of Sapience.
Volandria, a nixie of Riparium, was found collapsed on the bridge to Delos. The quick thinking Shadowsnake who found her, Jaizsur Ta'sa, rushed to get water from the nearby river, reviving the dried up creature. She revealed she had been looking for her sister, who was much more adept at surviving out of water, but was eventually coaxed by Jaizsur to return to Riparium and that he would continue the search on her behalf. Giving Jaizsur a string of pearls, she relented, and traveling to the Gypsy village to the north they discovered an all but impenetrable marsh west of the settlement. It didn't take long to discover a dark castle among the reeds, the estate of the Enverrens. They also discovered an underground system of caverns, and in them, Volandria's sister, who thanked them for sending word on her sister's behalf. The nixie was helped, but the mysteries of Enverren Marsh were only just beginning.
Working with agile fingers by the small altar on cliffs near Tasur'ke, the Matron spun a robe of thread that shimmered like the heavens. Joined by the Crone, and later the Maiden, they sent those gathered to get clay from the beach. The night was illuminated by a strangely bright and full moon, and before long it was clear as to why. As the ritual was completed, a bolt of lightning tore into the finished robe, and Ourania, the Goddess of the Moon had made her presence known once more to the realms, as the Maiden, Matron, and Crone vanished, their work completed.
Exerting his presence on the world above ground, Lirthak, the leader of a previously unknown race called the Gnoll, decided he wanted something fresh to eat. Dispatching slavers to the surface, the pair headed first to Minia only to be rebuffed, then to Actar, capturing Blossom. A motley crew of Cyrenians responded, and searching the hills of Sapience for any entrance to the Gnoll's home, they eventually found it in the Granite Hills. There, they confronted Lirthak who refused to release the girl, and resorting to more aggressive negotiations, slew the gnoll who tried to stop them from recovering the girl. Eventually Blossom and her aunt Merrygold were reunited, and Manara Burrow now clear to the whole of Sapience, where the gnoll had enslaved the mingruk, among others.
Fak'trar, the Roulette Attendant of Shallam, leaves the city in search of exploring the rest of the world.
Vellis has long being a fixture in our lives, and early one morning, seeing no novice needed him at the time, he decided to take a walk and stretch his legs. While passing through the Aureliana Forest, he was approached by a beggar looking for alms, and when Vellis granted the man's request favourably, his thanks was a rock to the head. Crying out when he came to that he had been stolen from, adventurers from all over Sapience rushed to his aid. Eventually the man was found and brought to justice, and the item stolen returned to Vellis where it belonged. A magnificent little chest was given back to the butterfly collector, and after the group pressing as to what was inside, he relented that as a child, he had stumbled onto the Grotto of the Butterflies, and inside the chest was the first butterfly he had ever caught from it, all those years ago. Returning to their work, all was normal again in the countryside.
A mhun child was lost in the Mhojave desert, Calithandir, Ladydeath, and Shiro taking to trying to find the girl on behalf of her distraught, though Ladydeath for differing reasons. While the other two wished to return her safely home, Ladydeath wished her harm, and when Shiro found the girl in a scorpion cave, and helped her back out to her mother. The Mhaldorian attacked the group, who retreated with the mother further into Moghedu where it was safe. The trials brought to a close, Shiro was rewarded with a family heirloom of the mother's, created by a master mhun crafter, as thanks.
A small goblin made it's way from the Northern Ithmia into Hashan, collapsing almost as quickly as he came. He cried for food and help, which Korben gave in the form of mutton and ale. Thanking his saviour, the goblin then proceeded to empty out the black contents of his stomach, and tell his tale. On a spiritual journey from his village in the Dakhota Hills, he traveled into the Eastern Ithmia when hunger set in. Finding ripe, black berries, the goblin dug in, only to find himself in paroxysms of pain and intense nausea. Korben traveled to the village to seek help for the goblin, while Bambi stayed to comfort the weary soul, and returning with a potion from the shaman of that village, the goblin was quickly nursed back to health as the poison was counteracted. The citizens offered to let the goblin stay for a while, but Grunik declined, and returned to his village post-haste.
Pouring his troubles out on passersby, a weary Vedel had had more than enough of the constant fighting of Elena and her father Vishengo, and left Manusha. Hearing his story, Mulisha and Shaadra offered to try to mediate the issue. When they arrived, however, they instead found Elena pleading with them for one thing. Escape. Concocting a plan, her partners distracted Vishengo, while Shaadra snuck Elena out of the village. Taking her to visit Tasur'ke, and eventually Delos, she was overwhelmed by all the sights to be had, and new experiences. In Delos, however, she was discovered by an infuriated Vishengo, who instead of yelling at his daughter once more...merely pleaded with her to come home. Eventually relenting, and intending to hold her father to the promise that when she grew to be 18 she could leave the village whenever she liked, she returned to Manusha, and the crowd began to disperse.
A dark whisper echoed out of Azdun, as though of darker intent were called to it. Discovering the source to be a Gargoyle trapped in a stone form, the creature spoke to those gathered, telling them it was cursed by an atavian shaman. He promised servitude, and great wealth, to any who would free him from his bondage...and the way to properly break the ritual, was to bring him atavian corpses. The shaman from Genji sensed something was wrong, but when he arrived he was slain before he could sleep by the gathered crowd, much to the dismay of several atavians among them. What followed was a grand hunt for corpses, which the shaman attempted to stop again, after having prayed to Sarapis for salvation. Before he could even finish collecting one portion of the salve he intended to use to destroy the gargoyle, those of dark intent slew him again, adding his corpse back to the growing pile. Shortly after, it happened. The gargoyle's bonds were loosened, and he rewarded those who helped him. By slaying them, those that stood against him, and everyone in his path, flying out into the countryside. Eventually, the dragon Garth put an end to his savagery, but what remains is a lesson in the dangers of trusting such things.
When those of Shallam in Lorielan's Order had visions of a great crystal army fighting a horde of undead, they sprang to action. Through following the words of Munin, a water nymph of Lorielan's Temple, they were led to Kasmarkin, and once there, to summon Sh'Fah to the material plane. In doing so, they drew the battle that was once there to this plane, as Slith, who had engaged Lorielan on Kx'Khrah, followed Sh'Fah to finish off Lorielan's general. His plot had nearly been complete, and no meddling mortals were going to keep him from it. The battle continued, and when it seemed as though Slith would have the upper hand, Lorielan intervened, though Slith stopped her cold, claiming he had prepared for this and could control her, brandishing an artefact that hummed with the same energy Lorielan gave off.
Using this opening, Sh'Fah struck out at Slith with one final blast of energy, taking the undead prince by surprise, and knocking the artefact from his hands. This one chance was all Lorielan needed, recovering the artefact and merging herself with the stolen essence of hers within it, thwarting Slith's plan for her. Still, he seemed undaunted at even this setback, and before he fled, left her with a chilling warning. That though he may not have the Goddess of Knowledge, the rest of the Te'serran Alliance was his to control.
Revisiting the past would make these events make more sense. When the War of the Divine Child raged on over Pandemonium, the part of Slith that had led Aegis into the realms beyond returned, hiding in wait and watching at how Sartan had treated his 'pawn'. What's more, he watched as Indrani grew to such power, absorbing the divine essence of Pandemonium. Seeing a plan, he laid in wait until Pentharian, the God of Valour, fell ill, and sneaking into the Te'serra Pavilion unnoticed, he stole a portion of Pentharian's essence. Just enough to use, at a later date. He could not directly control the Divine with as little essence as he had...but he could influence them, and laying a trap for Pentharian on another plane, it was he that planted the suggestion to leave the material plane in Pentharian's head.
The God of Valour was captured, and in experimenting on the god, Slith learned that Pentharian also held bits of essence from Lorielan and Mithraea as well. Using these, he could attempt to control the whole of the Te'serran Alliance...and as expected, he was again the cause for Mithraea's departure from the realms. Lorielan proved harder, as the Goddess of Knowledge was a mental fortress to his attempts. Eventually, he was able to convince her to leave for the Crystal Plane, giving him time to further his machinations before dealing with her. And thus he did, developing a plan to weaken her through battle to put her under his control. This is when he led his undead legions into Kx'Khrah, and this is when the mortals unknowingly intervened, giving Lorielan the edge she needed to resume control of the situation.
And this is when she returned to the realms once more.
A parrot lands in the middle of Shallam, holding a ransom note for Fak'trar. If 100,000 gold to be returned with the bird in exchange for his release. Unfortunately, the bird flew off immediately after. Taking to Mysia to rescue their citizen, Varick and the others of Shallam cornered one of the kidnappers who had drunkenly stepped out for more rum, and he was discovered when the parrot finally returned to Mysia...and to him. Making a mad dash for the safety of the hideout, the drunken pirate led the assembled there, and to their credit, they attempted a peaceful solution. Of course, the pirates grew bored, and killed the defenseless negotiator before he could react, which led to the rest of the assembled rushing in to kill the pirates and free Fak'trar, promptly bringing him back to Shallam.
A plague hit Sapience, forming in the manner of sludge in the rivers and streams, first seen affecting Ephialta, the Keeper of the Flame of the Zaphar. As she grew weak, so did adventurers who came into contact with the sludge, like Brandi Silverwing, though it was Blujixapug Lucoster who was the first to perish to the quickly spreading plague, that now threatened all of Sapience. Unbeknownst to those on land, deep within the Temple of the Sea, a single tear shed by Ourania as she had risen from the waters nine years prior was undergoing drastic changes. It grew, and pulling all the fresh water from Sapience into itself, it continued to grow, leaving the accumulated sludge in the dry riverbeds of the land. Once it had gathered only the purest water, it transformed into a young woman, Ourania and Neraeos came to the temple to behold their daughter...and Neraeos christened her Kastalia, proclaiming her dominion over all lakes and streams of Sapience. Ourania, knowing her daughter to be tired, took her to retire in the garden, but not before the fledgling Goddess handed a bulb to Greyda Corten, telling her to plant it within an enchanted spring. The Garden of the Dryads seemed the perfect place, and the bulb blossomed into a beautiful large, white lily. Using the petals of the lily, the forestals cleansed the realm of the sludge, effectively ending the plague, which began to recede.
Shockwaves deep within the Granite Hills were responded with cries of terror as fire wyrms poured from a newly gaping maw of rock deep within Manara Burrow, and proceeded to slaughter everything in their path, which included any adventurers. As they made their way to the surface, it became clear to Sapience as a whole that this was not a simple outpouring that could be contained. More wyrms appeared as quickly as they were slain, and days passed with no end in sight as cities and forests together felt the wrath of the rampaging wyrms. Imyrr Rousseau had an idea, however, and calling on the master demolitionist of the mhun in Moghedu, they gathered the ingredients he would need to create the required explosives. A large detachment came forth to protect the mhun as they traveled to the maw deep within the Burrow, and laying the explosives, they sealed the hole and thus where the wyrms came from. All that remained was a crack that one could barely slip through, to head into Nuskuwe below, the realm of the fire wyrms, and other strange creatures deep beneath the earth.
In a ceremony held at the Shrine of Ascension, Sarapis called Maya back to the mortal realms, and just as he was formed of Ayar and Proteus merging together, so did he merge Maya, the Great Mother, and Makali, the Goddess of Destruction together, and transfer the spark that he held as the crux of all Creation to her, passing the torch to new Maya, the Great Mother.
Aznahz, son of Morimbuul and the human Ravai, called Mhaldor together in the name of their Master. Sacrificing first Daitya, then Wulfen to read their entrails, he realized the answer to his questions was there, but just out reach. Next using daemonic magic on Wulfen's head that had been torn from the corpse, it began to sing eerily. Aznahz offered no answers to what this meant...merely stating, "So it begins."
As foretold by seers all over Sapience, Mhaldor was called together at the behest of Sartan, who made his plan clear. To better oversee the spread of Evil, he desired to be split back into the two gods that had been merged to form who he had become, Shaitan and Apollyon. To do this, he required the help of another, and the past of Keresis was revealed, her being one of his Dreadlords back during the Chaos Wars, and having fallen in battle, he laid her into slumber to recover. Acknowledging her past, though as Divinity she owed him no allegiance any longer, she did him one favor in response to his in saving her life. Tearing the great stalagmite from under Mount Mhaldor, she cleaved the god in two, and from those two halves, did Shaitan and Apollyon spring forth, returning to the realms.