The Death and Birth of the Celestials (Warcry 2016)
Mortals of all realms, heed my words. I am High Chronolger Esxen’Tenadall of the Thalan. There are events in motion that even our most powerful oracles cannot foresee. It falls to my order to record them for future generations. In these troubled times, I will give witness to the pivotal moments in coming days moments our prophets cannot see. Should I fall, I leave this to you so the knowledge is not lost.

The Gods, in all their varying states of moral decay, universally abide by one covenant. This law no God disobeys. It is unknown why, but throughout all known history this law has been held sacrosanct, until now. That law states no God may hold his or her celestial realm on the mortal plane. Gods may visit the realms of mortals, projecting themselves via avatars or heralds, they may send their angels and minions, but none can call this material plane home. In July of the 2257, the Isle of Melinda was besieged and conquered by the God-Creature known as Ga’more. Ga’more, in all his insolence and greed, has defied the one law.

Know that I tell these histories as a neutral observer. I leave my personal annotations here as well in parentheses.

February 15th, 2258

A lone hunter crosses the rainbow bridge, his bow is drawn and ready to loose the full might of nature’s wrath on any who would dare stand against him. I can read his face. There is confusion. This God-made home of stone does not sit well with him. He walks as if every step on this unnaturally built road causes him pain. Still he moves on. Into the great hall of Odin, father of the Gods, Dunarthos enters. The All Father sits on his throne while hordes of dead Einher battle each other around him. His one remain eye scans the arena and trains itself on the nature God as he enters. His other socket lies empty. Its eye was plucked long ago, the price for the secrets of wisdom and rune magic. Dunarthos approaches with caution and trepidation. The All Father stands and Dunarthos aims his bow. The God of Nature speaks in a soft but firm voice, “You requested parlay. I have come. If this is a trick…”

Odin replies “Lower your bow. If I wished you dead, you would have never crossed the Bifrost. You know why I have summoned you.” Dunarthos sneers at that comment, as if he were but a simple minion that could be summoned. Odin continues, “You feel it. I know you do. You are more attuned to the natural state of the mortal world than I am. Something must be done.”

Dunarthos nods and lowers his bow ever so slightly. “I do, as do the others. You did not need to ask me here to know that my arrows will answer the call to end the God-Creature.”

Odin sits, stroking his long white beard. “Just so... Instead I lay before you an obligation. The eve of Ragnarok approaches. I worry for my children and safeguards must be put into place.” Odin pulls from his golden armour a leather bag and spills its contents onto the ground below. Runes - ancient, wooden, carved from the trunk of the World Tree itself - scatter before both Gods. Odin stares at them with this single eye. “I have cast the runes many times. I cannot read the future and they have never failed me before. I can see your future, however. Gaze upon the wisdom of Yggdrasil, and see your fate. Help me, and I will change it.

Dunarthos gazes intently at the magical runestones on the floor before him. His expression turns from curiosity to horror as he reads what his current future holds.

(I am unable to read the runes and I cannot chronicle what he has seen.)

He raises his head back to the All Father and speaks again, only this time with a hint of uncertainty in his voice. “What do you ask of me?”

Odin nods and speaks, with no pride or gloating in his voice, “In the Well of Urd sits the eye I sacrificed for wisdom and power overwhelming. Fetch it. Break it into five pieces and stick it in the heart of the World Tree. We are Einher. We are forbidden to touch it, but you can enter the tree unnoticed. You are the only one that can do this. Nay, not the only one, there is another, but you are the best chance for my kin. Do this and I will see the loom of fate spun in your favour.

Dunathos, without another word, turns and leaves the great hall.

(I cannot be certain of what I saw next. A shadowy figure only visible from the periphery of my sight. Further inspection of the area revealed nothing save for a single X in the dust where I believe I saw the shadow last.)

May 5th, 2258
Yggdrasil, The World Tree

(Upon the World Tree I arrive. Not in time to witness Dunarthos’s actions but the aftermath of his deeds will be recorded here. Strangely, at the base of the World Tree, I see blood and the same X marking as I saw in the halls of Valhalla. Curious.)

High in the branches of Yggdrasil a new nest has appeared. Guarded closely by the Eagle that calls the upper branches his home. Inside the nest I spy five golden acorns. All the acorns sit patiently basking in the high sun, save one. Smaller than the rest and without as much golden glow, this one acorn vibrates. If it were a child, I should say it was unable to sit still. It rocks back and forth inside the nest, bouncing the others around it. With a single giant push it bounces off the largest of the golden acorns and breaches the walls of the nest, falling to the ground below. The drop downwards is long and as the acorn impacts on branches and bark, it becomes cracked and broken. It strikes the ground with a heavy thud and breaks open completely. From within the shattered remains of its shell, an emaciated Einher male shakes the dust off his pure white skin. Everything I see about this man tells me he is unfinished. Whatever gestation is required for the creatures in those acorns has ended prematurely for this one. The Albino’s red eyes scan his surroundings until they finally focus upwards on the nest he once called home. He laughs then. Not a laugh like a man would make, but more like a dog or Hyena. I see him moving always. Unable to be still. His eyes shine bright red for a moment. They take on a crafty, mischievous look and he begins to ascend the tree he just fell from. I will follow.

May 6th, 2258
Yggdrasil, The Savage Nest

The Albino has made his journey to the nest. He begins to pick up the acorns but is forced to give pause as the largest and brightest of the remaining four begins to crack. It would appear he does not wish to see what emerges. The acorns are large and it is apparent that this creature is not built for strength. He struggles to leave the nest with his bounty before he is caught. One acorn spills from his hands and bounces over the end of the nest. I spy it as it falls. Unlike this creature’s fall, that acorn bounces hard off one of the outer branches and lands in one of the many streams that flow along the trunk of this great tree. I watch as it floats to a larger body of water before being taken away in its rapids.

(I followed that steam some time later and found it led to the vast oceans of the mortal plane. The acorn, however, I could not find.)

With two acorns in hand, the Albino begins to descend. It is difficult for him and he almost loses his footing on more than one occasion. After the third near fall the Albino pauses. He breathes deep, searching himself. I see his skin tense, as if he’s flexing his newfound body. He smiles then, a sly grin. Cocking his head back, he howls. It is not a wolfish howl that escapes his lips. Instead he lets loose a sickening shout. A scream mixed with laughter. It carries on for a few seconds and echos down the World Tree. He pauses and listens. A moment later the howl is returned. A second howl follows, then a third. Within moments a cacophony of laughing and screaming fills the air, sending birds flying in fear on the branches around him. Gathering at the base of the tree I see hyenas. Dozens of them. The Albino tosses one of the two acorns he was holding down to the pack below. The acorn appears to be shorter than the others but equal in width and more solid. As it falls he shouts a command to his new minions. “Take this. Hide it in the deepest darkest mountain so that no one will find it.” The largest of the Hyena pack catches the acorn in his mouth with ease and the pack leaves the base of the tree. With only a single acorn now, the Albino descends easily and is gone before I can follow.

(I see nothing further from these new beings until much later.)

May 28th, 2258
The Isle of Melinda, Western Shores

Ga’more himself arrives upon the shores of this isle. His armada of innumerable Brood seem to ferry him across the sea from his stronghold in unknown lands, using their bodies as a land bridge. I believe he aims to make this isle the citadel from which he will assault the continent of Maud’Madir. The war here has taken its toll. The Brood are everywhere. If there is life still uninfected by their touch, I cannot see it. The only mortal men I see are those cultist figures that serve Ga’more. He looks no different than any mortal I have seen before but I can feel his power. He fully manifests on this plane against the law which all Gods must follow. It makes him more powerful than anything I have ever witnessed. It also makes him vulnerable. Unlike the other Gods and interlopers from other planes, his death here will not simply send him back to his native home. He has made this place his domain. Here he will die forever. It appears the dragon Essyllt understood this, but alas, she has failed. She rests now, in a small iron cage held in Ga’more’s right hand. An iron collar binds her neck with a chain running to Ga’more’s wrist. I can sense the dominating ego of Ga’more subverting Essyllt’s freedom with his iron will. He disfigures her form, pumping his infectious poisons into her scales, manifesting as large white boils. Domination and control are the realms he claims dominion over and it would appear that even the Firstborn cannot resist him. I did not arrive soon enough to record their battle, but it matters not. This abomination calls the plane of man his home and has made a pet of the Purple Firstborn. The other Gods will not likely stand idle.

May 29th, 2258
The Isle of Melinda, Eastern Shores

They are arriving now. Never in the history of this world has there been a record of this. All the Gods, Light, Dark and those that claim dominion in between, all together. All their differences seemingly put aside.

(It is my belief that the Gods know more than we do on this breach of celestial law. For all the Gods to band together, after fighting since time immemorial, signals to me that the actions of Ga’more threaten more than just the mortal realm. I fear they believe if he is not stopped, all life, even celestial, will end. This is a theory. It is difficult to record all that I see here. There is so much. But I will try.)

The first to arrive is the father of the Light Gods, Roland. Fully armoured in golden white plate and with golden wings extending a dozen feet from his back, he lands softly on the sandy shore. Sunlight seems to follow him. It does not just reflect off his armour; his armour intensifies it.

Next comes the Lightbrighter, Kael. True to his humble fashion, Kael simply appears. Like Roland, Kael is armoured in simple white plate covered by a white tabard. In his right hand a golden scale, and in his left his fabled Sunsword, burning bright. The two nod to each other and turn to watch the others appear.

I see a circle of flowers grow before me. A moment later Sabrina and Cassandra materialize from its center. Both of them are beautiful but Sabrina outshines all of the Gods. I feel my heart race when I see her. Things I should not be feeling as a Thalan. I should approach her and let her know I am here. Perhaps I should give an offering to appease her...

(I leave this note to explain my actions. I was bewitched. Thankfully my discipline and my innate Thalan resistance to charms was greater than her entrancement. I apologize for interrupting this record with my own personal failures.)

Next come the Gods of Darkness. It starts with a shadow, stretching far from shore. As it grows, I see the water freeze wherever the shadow creeps. When it reaches the shore, four figures step out of its darkness; Malagant, the Lord of Autumn emerges at their head. Each footfall withers and kills the vegetation around him. Next steps forth Baagh, the Bloodletter. I can see nothing of this hulking beast’s features, for he is covered from toe to head in beaten, bloodstained armour. Blood continually pours from the mouth of his massive full face helmet.

Pandora comes next. I feel the air frost around me. Her features are delicate, yet her body scarred beyond imagining. She wears little, but what you can see is a mess of healed and open wounds. Last to leave the shadowy cloud is the Razor. Cloaked in shadow-black armour, Raze’s only identifying mark is the old iron mask she wears upon her face.

The others come soon after. Ryiak, lythe and graceful. Festus, fat and jovial. Abacus, who seems completely disinterested in what is going on and instead counts the gleaming coins in his purse. Dael’rion, fully armoured for conflict and flying his banners of war. The Lady Ll’yandra, Queen of the Mortal Elves. Salam, arriving via circle magic and without much celestial flare, channeling heavily, mana perfusing his very being. The Muse, with no weapons or armour visible, but playing a simple lute.

Charon, who is so hooded I am only able to identify him by his skeletal hands arrives, surprisingly, by boat, escorted by a small contingent of female Savar. After disembarking, the boat and the Savar sail once more.

(I must pause here to give explanation on what I believe to be happened next. I felt time slow and then in the next instant Cronos was there. I can only assume time stopped and I stopped with it.)

Cronos is here, although I did not see him arrive. In his hands he holds a large hourglass filled with black sands.

The last to enter does so with much uproar. A figure arrives from the darkness of the treeline. An elf wearing a half mask covering the upper half of his face, in his hands the rotting heads of two elves. They have been dead for quite some time. I hear Ll’yandra scream in horror. He stops, as if only to make his presence known to her, and then returns to the forest’s darkness.

Ll’yandra voice raises above the others, “Unfathomable. He is no God. He does not belong. Who did this?”

Pandora steps forward and smiles. As she does, a fresh scar on her face tears open and begins to bleed. With a soft and penetrating voice like ice she speaks, “I did. He may be useful here. I granted him passage from his infernal prison. It took great effort, as your magics are well cast. Did you know his prison was built from Elven shards? He’s massed quite a few of his own. I think he means to break free with them. You should be very careful he doesn’t find your magic garden.”

Ll’yandra, now channeling heavily, steps towards the Ice Queen. “Bitch. You will know true suffering for this. You’ll pay for the desecration of my beautiful children and then I’ll see that you pay twice over for this insolence.”

Roland steps forward then and places his hand on Ll’yandra’s shoulder. “Not now. After. We will bring them the law’s rightful justice.”

Pandora steps back into rank with the others, but not before reflecting loudly, “I think you mean my children.”

The last to arrive is the host of Aesir-Vanir, lead by the All Father Odin. Thor, Freyja, Forseti, Heimdall, Skadi, Njord, and Tyr. To either side, far from the main group, Hel and Loki. Odin steps forward, ignoring all the others assembled until he stands before Roland. The two eye each other and cross arms in the warrior’s fashion, with respect and honour. Roland then shouts a command. “Dael’rion, Salam, Cronos, join with us. Let us plan battle.”

June 1st, 2258
Isle of Melinda, Eastern Shore

I see Ga’more again. He sits on a ziggurat made of bones. Fae bones, if my eyes don’t deceive me. I see the tell tale signs of Wood Fae horns, but also others. Massive bones that can only belong to Fae so far removed from this realm that, even to me, they seem monstrous. They must be battling him here, those creatures from the Far Realm. His power is incredible. He sits atop that throne, unmoved and unmoving. I see Essyllt. My heart breaks. I can sense her corruption. Brood insects crawl over her skin, inside her mouth and ears. Veins of poison or corruption glow black against her purple scales. Her eyes have no light left in them. I am weeping.

High atop his mountain of death, Ga’more waits.

(I hold no love for the Gods. Few Thalan do. But to say that I was not moved by watching the host of celestial beings stride in force across the field of battle would be a lie. It was, in every sense of the word, glorious.)

The celestial host stops at the steps of the ziggurat. Ga’more stares down from above, no expression betraying his emotions. Roland is the first to speak, “Ga’more, as I am told you are called, you subjugate and murder without honour or purpose. Your mad quest for raw power has reached the limits of our tolerance. We all take issue with Draconic forces; but to enslave one in this fashion is a crime unimaginable. But even that might be overlooked had you not breached the most sacred covenant. You have taken root in the mortal plane. It is the only law we all follow, for reasons we all understand. You knew the risks when you made this choice. These only scratch the surface of your crimes.”

With that Roland turns to Kael, the Judge. Kael takes a single step forward and speaks with impartiality, “Your crimes have been weighed on the scales of justice and you have been found guilty, unworthy of pardon. You are sentenced to death; quick and with mercy if you acquiesce. Have you any final words?”

Ga’more sits there, looking quizzically down upon the gathered host. He stands up then, the mountain of bones shaking under his power, and smiles. “I have but three.” Reaching up Ga’more undoes the small latch on his iron cage. “Fly, my pet.”

Chaos follows. From the ground around the Gods and from the sky above their heads, the Brood flood towards them. As the Purple Firstborn takes to the air, Roland leaps upwards towards Ga’more. Wings pushing him with a tremendous force, he clears the entire structure with single stride. Roland aims to drive his holy sword into the heart of the God-Creature, but it was not to be. Roland, leading the host of the Gods, is caught by the impossibly quick hand of the God-Creature Ga’more. Holding Roland there by the neck, with a strength unimaginable to mortal and divine alike, he squeezs until Roland’s head bursts upwards, sailing away from his limp body. Gasps are heard from the Gods below and, I fear, I may have made an inappropriate exclamation myself. Roland’s body, arms and armour, dissolve into golden light, and a moment later Roland appears back on the battlefield. His wounds gone, his body renewed. I hear the Gods, united regardless of past dealings, cheer him then.

Calling forth with a commanding voice, Roland shouts, “You are a fool. Powerful, no doubt, but a fool nonetheless. You cannot slay us; our celestial heavens are where we call home. You, however, have chosen a different path. If you die here, you die forever - and we can and will battle your hosts for an aeon if needs be.”

I scan the fray, looking for signs of battle, but there are none. The Brood, uncountable, have ceased attacking. Instead they simply circle and draw the Gods in closer. Ga’more laughs, mocking their efforts. Three simple words escape his mouth that will spell the end for the Gods gathered here today. “Breathe, my pet.” And with that Essyllt, flying high above, releases her Firstborn breath onto the celestial host below.

(There is no recorded history of Essyllt having ever used her breath in battle. It is widely known that all Firstborn possess a unique breath weapon. Styphon breathes acid that turns anything it kills into undead, Ahriman breaths frost, and so on. Perhaps those scholars thought Essyllt too small and weak to muster such an effort. They were wrong.)

A cloud of purple fog fills the battlefield, and then quickly disperses. The Gods stand there, bracing for some horrible effect to take hold but nothing seems to have happened . They look to each other then, some even laughing, but that laughter quickly fades. One by one, each of the Gods becomes more substantial, their ties to the celestial planes fading. Their majesty and glory diminish slightly. Essyllt’s breath is not one of fire or acid. It is much worse. The Purple possesses the strongest weapon in all recorded Draconic arsenals. Her breath severes. The Gods, once all powerful and immortal, are not only cut from their celestial realms, but now forced into this one. Trapped and mortal, the realization dawns on them and the battle plan is abandoned as they slip into chaos and anarchy.

Credit is due to the Gods of Light. For even knowing their immortality had been cut by the diminutive firstborn, they still hold fast, drawing weapons and readying for the charge. It is Odin who steps forward, facing Roland while Ga’more watches in amusement. “I say thee nay Roland. You have tried, but if you try again you will die. There are those ill suited to battle here now.” Odin motions in the direction of Cassandra, Muse, and Sabrina, who are obviously nervous and apprehensive of joining the fray. “Take them off the battlefield, along with the others. They need you. My kin and I are more than capable of handling this insolent wretch. War is our heritage, and the song of battle beats deeply in our hearts.”

Roland looks to Kael, who nods in approval. “I take no pleasure in leaving the field of battle but if you believe yourself capable, then I will protect the innocent.”

A parting gesture is given by Odin then, to Salam and Cronos. The All Father turns his attention to Ga’more. “You’re in trouble now, pup. Taste the reckoning due to your ilk.” Raising his enchanted spear into the air, he shouts to his battle kin behind him. “Einher! Battle calls to us. Let us become the ancient rune of coming storms! By my hand, Ga’more, your affliction on this world will cease to be.”

With that cry the clouds turn black. Thunder booms with such force that it shakes the very earth. A stormfront the likes of which the world has never seen begins rolling in from all directions.

(It became apparent to this chronologer that Odin’s wisdom may very well be unmatched among the Gods. This secondary attack, now delivered by the Einher Gods, had likely been pre-planned, perhaps as a contingency. It is unknown whether Odin knew what Essyllt’s breath weapon would do, but he was ready for it nonetheless.)

Hel and Freyja drop to their knees and begin carving runes into the ground. Brood foolish enough to get close are quickly dismantled by rotting undead Einher that burst forth from the ground at Hel’s command. As they work their rune magic, the others attack. Loki is the first to strike. An opportunist, Loki was not idle while the Gods spoke their challenges. Climbing up back side of the ziggurat he positioned himself ready to strike a true assassin’s blow. Ga’more however, is well prepared. As Loki leaps, Ga’more spins around, catching Loki in the same throat grasp as he had employed on Roland. Hoisting him into the air, he spits a single word into Loki’s face. “Pathetic.”

The trickster smiles. “You knew I was going to do that. I knew you knew.” And with that the body of Loki flickers and disappears. Ga’more spins around again, catching another Loki as it materializes out of nothingness. It smiles too. “Nope, wrong again.” More incarnations of Loki attack. Each is caught and dispelled. The pace of attacks grows faster, each image of Loki dispersed, until Ga’more grows more frustrated. Finally, without warning, Ga’more shout “ENOUGH!”. He moves from a defensive posture to that of a beast on the attack. His arms blur with such speed that it is impossible to follow by sight. Loki after Loki after Loki is caught, crushed, swatted and killed. Finally, the images of Loki slow. Whatever magics the God of trickery has been employing are wearing thin. Ga’more pauses his attacks and scans the sea of Loki before him. Reaching out into the blur of Einher images, he strikes true, pulling out a single image. Hoisting the true Einher God high into the air he speaks, “I have you. Now know my power.”

Loki, his head held between the crushing grasp of Ga’more’s hands, screams in pain. The other Gods relent for a moment and watch in horror. Bringing his fists together, with strength and savagery beyond fathoming, Ga’more begins to crush the head of the Einish God. Loki’s screams begin to die out as his brains drip from his fractured skull. But it seems they do not call him the God of Trickery for nothing. A stiletto, specially crafted with singular purpose, pierces the back of the God-Creature, sinking deep into his flesh. Ga’more screams and spins as the image of the skull-crushed Loki laughs and disperses. Loki, the true Loki, stands there now. All other versions fade away. He speaks to Ga’more with sly grin spreading across his face: “And now I have you.” He holds up the stiletto, its center designed to extract blood from its victim, and he casts it down to the circle of runes. That was the last smile he would make. There are no more tricks up his sleeve. With a single swipe of his powerful arm, Ga’more removes the head of Loki the Trickster and kills the first of the Einher Gods. As the body falls and rolls down the bone steps of the ziggurat, Ga’more turns to the other Gods. Around him, from every crack and crevice, Brood begin to pour out of the structure and attack.

The Einher Gods cry out at the loss of their brother. Thor, the proud thunder God, screams out in furious anger and raises his hammer to the sky. The clouds grow darker as bolts of lightning begin to rain down with increasing frequency. The carnage caused by this powerful attack slaughters Brood by the hundreds, but their numbers do not seem to ebb. Neither though does the indomitable will of the Einher Gods. Thor, swinging his mighty hammer Mjolnir, leaps into the air, while Odin, Tyr, and Heimdall begin their ascent of the bone ziggurat. Crushing Brood with fist, foot, and a bevy of enchanted weapons, the three Einher warriors show all who would witness what true valour in combat means. Heimdall is first to the top. His enchanted shield blocks every blow aimed at him, but Ga’more was not idle. Extending his arms out to his sides, he speaks a word of power. Hellish flames appear in his palms and quickly form into two wicked sickles, burning with hellfire. He attacks Heimdall with a flurry of blows, each strike with the force of a hundred of the fiercest warriors. Heimdall’s shield holds fast against the attacks, and Heimdall himself does not counterattack. Instead, taking full defensive posture, he simply blocks every attack, allowing the others to enter the fight. This tactic, while seemingly clever, proves to be his undoing. Ga’more realizes quickly his weapons cannot shatter the White God’s shield and instead feigns frustration. Heimdall, believing himself safe, stares Ga’more down. Unfortunately for Heimdall, Ga’more stares back. Heimdall realized the folly of his actions a moment too late. The piercing gaze of Ga’more’s domination takes hold, penetrating his magical defenses and obliterating his will. Ga’more, in a calm and soothing voice, speaks out to Heimdall. “Friend,” he says, “lower your shield. This is just a misunderstanding.” Heimdall’s mind, now fully under Ga’more’s sway, agrees. The last thing the White God sees is the conflagration enter his chest and consume his heart.

Odin and Tyr reach the summit a moment too late. When Odin sees Heimdall consumed by the fires of the summoned sickles, a noticeable change comes over his face. His brow furrows, and his grip on Gungnir, his spear, turns his knuckles white. Odin does then what only the All Father was capable of. Raising Gungnir into the air, he enters a true berserker’s rage. The storm brewing overhead quickly becomes a hurricane. A forked bolt of pure arcane power shoots down from above, striking Tyr and Odin himself. With eyes glowing red with fury and their mouths foaming with rage, they burst forth with reckless abandon, striking only for the kill.

Down below, things fare poorly. Forseti, Skadi and Njord guard the runic circle as the two Einher women work their magic. Monstrous Brood erupt from the ground, their carapaces covered in magical sigils. Njord is the first to fall as a gush of acid from a tanker Brood envelopes his entire body. His flesh dissolves first, and then his bones. His magical possessions fall to the ground with a clank, the sole witnesses testifying to his existence. Forseti tries calling out to his fallen brother in desperation, but he is quickly silenced by the razor sharp claws of a Brood assassin, which seems to materialize out of the air before him. His windpipe lashed, the pillar turns defensive, moving until he is back to back with his sister, Skadi.

The two fight bravely together, ice magic flying from Skadi’s fingertips, freezing Brood in place. Forseti strikes, shattering the insects with his mighty club - but still the Brood come from every side. The two look at each other and then at the amassing horde. They nod, smile, and then turn to the two women casting their ritual. Forseti speaks, “Finish this, and know we died well.”

They turn, Forseti taking lead in front of Skadi. Skadi ceases her ice attack and instead summons a greater power from within. Her flesh begins to glow blue as her eyes frost over. Forseti, holding nothing back, begins his attacks. “None of you are prepared,” he roars. The heads of Brood fly by the hundreds as he let loose a whirlwind of decapitation. So great is the carnage that soon any attacking Brood is first forced to climb the growing wall of its dead kin’s carcasses before it can so much as see the Einher Gods. This attack, however, leaves Forseti with no defense. Claws, mandibles, and acid stick the God, and as his limbs are cleaved from his body. He spares a single loving look at his sister before she loses him beneath the insect swarm. Tears of ice fall from her cheeks, and power grows within her. A sphere of icy death manifests and grows, emitted from the Snow Goddess. Skadi’s body becomes a pillar of ice. The process of this final transformation is lengthy, but Forseti’s sacrifice has given her the time she needs. With a final cry the magics in her explode forth. The Brood around the circle, now closing in to disrupt the ritual, are taken in a shockwave of ice. Thousands upon thousand of Brood are instantly frozen in place. Their sacrifice gives the Gods the time they need.

On the outskirts of the battlefield, Cronos silently makes his way through the field of battle towards the ritual, sliding with ease around the frozen statues of Brood. His black hourglass is held tight in both hands.

Atop the ziggurat an extraordinary battle rages. Odin and Tyr, filled with the Odin’s true berserker's rage, cut down anything that dares stand in their path. They care not for wounds received and, by my own eyes, receive them they do. Brood pour forth from every direction to protect their master but the Einher Gods do not care. Screaming battle cries and singing songs of glory and valour, they cut them all down. The two mighty Gods face Ga’more, taking position on his sides. Ga’more’s hellfire sickles strike true, cutting deep wounds into the Gods, but the rage carries them on well past death. But Ga’more is not so easily defeated.

Speaking words of unknown power, the God-Creature casts his spell. The Einher Gods are pushed back by a unknown force and Ga’more begins to grow in size. Five feet, ten feet and finally forty feet tall, the God-Creature grows. Despite this new form before them, the Einher Gods do not slow. Leaping into air, Tyr stabs Ga’more arm’s, digging his sword deep into muscle and joints, rendering the arm useless at the elbow. Using the impaled sword as an anchor, he launches himself higher. Becoming weaponless in his climb does not seem to hinder Tyr and, summoning all his strength, he lands a solid blow with his crafted golden hand, to the giant God’s jaw. There is a loud crack as bones shatter where his fist landed true. Ga’more screams in pain and, reaching out with his uninjured hand, he grabs Tyr in his mighty fist. With all his might Ga’more begins to squeeze. Blood begins to flow from underside his fist as the God Courage is slowly and brutally crushed. Bones pop and shatter but still the God of Heroes fights on, punching and biting as he painfully dies. With his last breath he calls to Odin, “Take the opening father,” and then fell silent forever.

With his right arm injured beyond use and his left crushing the last life of the God of Courage, Ga’more is finally vulnerable. Odin strikes with his spear, first into the knee, then abdomen, then chest and finally digging into Ga’more’s shoulder as he climbs the giant beast. Ga’more turns his head to face the All Father, now standing on his right shoulder. His voice echoing throughout the entire Island, he shouts at Odin, “You are a fool old man. You cannot defeat me. I am eternal.”

Odin, with blood pouring from more wounds than I could count, stands tall on the shoulder of the giant. He spoke with nothing short of pure majestic valour, “I’m not here to defeat you. That is what the rune of undoing is for. I’m just keeping you busy.” Odin points with his magic spear towards the runic circle, now glowing all the colours of the rainbow. Ga’more turns his head and, for a brief moment, gives the opening the All Father has planned. With calm voice he looks to the sky, “Now, God of Thunder!”

Far above the battle, almost into the heaven themselves, a comet begins to fall. Thor the Thunder God, his hammer Mjolnir outstretched before him, begins his final descent. An almost unlimited force of pure power, driven downward by every enchantment and runic magic at the Einher’s disposal, marks its target far below. It gathers speed with such ferocity that the air itself begins to burn around the falling God. There is a loud crack as the God of Thunder breaks the speed of sound and then moves faster still. Inside the fireball of magic, Thor forces himself downwards with every ounce of his Godly strength. The heat melts his flesh but still he pushes downward. Ga’more turns his gaze upwards and, with horror and disbelief, raises his good arm as if he could block the incoming comet.

In the runic circle below, Hel and Freyja begin their chant. The runes grows hot with ancient, pure magic. The frozen Brood begin to thaw and slowly the insects begin to move again towards their target. The women in the circle pay them no mind. Hel, Goddess of the Dead is the first to rise. Speaking loudly with a voice like maggots crawling in flesh, she calls out to the circle’s runestones. “I am the first. Let my sacrifice please you.” Taking the blood-covered stiletto Loki gave his life to obtain, Hel pierces her own heart. Her body stands still for a moment and then explodes into multicoloured magic. The runes around the circle grow brighter and flare to life as the magic of the Goddess of Niflheim is absorbed into the ritual. Cronos stands by the circle's edge, watching and waiting.

With Ga’more’s attention turned to the comet that was once the God of Thunder, Odin attacks. Gungnir strikes true, deep into the left eye of Ga’more. Pulling with all his strength, Odin rips his spear from the giant’s bloody socket, his eyeball skewered on the end. High above, Thor falls faster. Screaming with the last of his strength, the Thunder calls out to his father. “FOR ODIN! FOR HONOUR! FOR ASGARD!” Activating the final rune carved into his hammer by the ancient dwarven smiths so long ago, the God of Thunder gives honour to the Gods and mortals one final time before his flesh was consumed by flames. Sacrificing himself, he transfers his spirit into his faithful hammer, feeding it the fuel needed to strike a final time.

The giant hand of Ga’more reaches up and grabs the All Father. With Odin firmly in his grip the God-Creature opens his mouth wide. Odin appears not to care. With his last remaining strength he throws the eyeball-capped spear towards the runic circle. As he enters the mouth of the giant he laughs and rips out a tooth as the jaws of the giant close down.

(I truly believe that this plan, had it been successful, would have been the undoing of Ga’more, but that did not seem to be the will of the fates.)

Odin’s aim is true and the spear flies towards the circle, carrying with it the final component needed to complete the ritual. A ritual that I believe would have made the next single strike against Ga’more one that would obliterate him. Unfortunately the spear is not the only thing flying in the sky this night. Essyllt, pulsating with Ga’more’s infection, snatches up the spear within her maw. Biting down hard, the once thought unbreakable spear of Odin snaps in twain, the eyeball falling short of its target. Freyja screams in disbelief. “No!” she cries. “We cannot complete the ritual without the eye.” She frantically turns to Cronos for answers.

“There is no choice,” Cronos replies. “Do it now and I will assist you.”

Freyja nods to the God of Time and takes up the assassin’s weapon. Reaching deep into her golden robe, she pulls forth a rune black as night. Holding the rune in her right hand and the blood covered weapon in the other she begins to speak. “I give my life today so that others may live. My kin has fought to the bitter end. There was no retreat, there was no surrender. Only battle, glory, valour and honour. Remember us, and be like us. For Odin. For Asgard. For Valhalla!”

Cronos steps into the circle. The magics of the runes begin to pulse erratically as the circle barrier is breached. Freyja drives the weapon into her heart, her body dissolving into magic, like Hel before her. Cronos picks up the black rune and turns his hourglass over. Raising it into the air he utters two simple words a split second before the God of Thunder strikes: “Ritual complete.” Time slows as the magics of the runes begins to take effect. As Mjolnir, fueled by Thor’s own essence, strikes the top of Ga’more’s head, the world around me explodes. The last thing this chronologer remembers seeing is a shadow envelope Cronos, spiriting him away before the shockwave of fire and death filled the area.

When the smoke clears, I am sickened by the carnage. The other Gods are gone. Those close to the explosion are cast into the air and I know not where they landed. The others likely fled. Where the ziggurat stands is now a smoking crater but, to my dismay, Ga’more stands tall. His head is cracked, slit open from chin, up across his skull, to the nap of his neck. His brain matter oozes from the wound, blood gushing from the lost eye. But still he lives. The Thunder God’s mighty hammer lies broken some distance away, its hammer’s head separated from the shaft.

I wait for the God-Creature to move. To step forth from the destruction and resume his conquest, but he does not. I suddenly sensed the magic. The spell has not worked as intended but the flaw still gives hope. Time has been slowed for Ga’more. He cannot be harmed but he can also do no harm. His movements, while minute, are still there. Given time he will remove himself from the sphere of magic that is slowing him, but still… there is a chance. The Einher Gods died how they would have wanted it; in a blaze of glory, battling an enemy and fighting with courage... And with their dying breaths, they gave us hope.

June 1, 2258
Isle of Melinda, Northern Shore

(I sensed a great quantity of Fae magic just moments ago. This is not Ga’more but perhaps there are still some alive on this isle. A moment later I arrive to give witness to an unrelated source of non-Fae magic.)

I find Dunarthos in a cave full of Brood. He has been captured and badly wounded. He stares at the corpse beside him, the Muse. Their chest cavity is open as if something burst forth, their flute lying, discarded, on the ground nearby. Knowing this is the fate the runes foretold, the Hunter starts to make peace as a Brood Queen approaches. He grimaces as her mandibles open and a long thick tentacle extends from her orifice. It reaches out towards him, seeking entrance to his mouth. There is a loud crackle then from somewhere near the entrance to the cave. The Brood Queen turns in surprise, tentacle withdrawing back to the safety of her mandibles. A moment later the tip of a spear protrudes from the back of her head, inches from his left eye. The Brood Queen drops to the ground and behind her stands a Wild Elven Huntress. A second spear appears in her hand, poised at Dunarthos. Beside her stands Salam, the God of Magic. He motions for her to lower the spear. “Easy, Sybil. We are here to save him, not skewer him.” He steps forward to the Hunter and begins the process of removing the disgusting organic bonds that hold him. “Dunarthos, this is Sybil. You should thank her. I would have not gotten this far without her. She’s a God, like us, only… different. She doesn’t speak but I’m not sure if that’s a result of what I did or if that’s her natural state.”

Dunarthos, confused, responds, “What you did? A God? A new God? Why are you here helping me. We are not allies.”

Salam smiles. “Let’s see, I brought her here, she is from... how do I say this so your simple mind understands? Another place. I tried to bring them all but I think they are dead. She’s the only one. Well, that’s not completely true. There was Noctria but Dietremem seemed to have consumed her the moment she arrived. It wasn’t pretty. So, not a new God, but a new God here. She’s not very pleased with me. And I’m helping you because I owed the All Father a debt, and he owed you a debt. He helped me with my Ajaunti problem and now I am, posthumously, returning the favour. And now I’m done. Goodbye.”

Dunarthos reaches out to stop the man but his wounds overcome him and he falls to the ground. “Wait, I cannot leave this place. My wounds.”

Salam, without glancing back, simply replies, “That’s not my problem,” and walks out of the cave. Sybil stays. She studied the God for some time before finally making a decision. Lowering her spear, she takes him by the arm and helps him out of the cave.

June 1st, 2258
Isle of Melinda, Northern Shore: Dusk

The shadow I saw take Cronos was Raze. I witness the two of them travelling together. The Razor speaks through her metal mask, “I saved your life, Time God. Now get me off this island and back into my celestial realm. Oh - and I thought you might like this back.” Razor pulls the black hourglass from her shadowy robes and places it in his hands. “You owe me.”

Taking the hourglass, Cronos replies, “It would appear that I am in your debt. Fair warning: the threat of Ga’more has been… delayed. I am bound by code of non interference. I cannot alter time to aid you. If your time has come, I must allow it to happen naturally. However, I’m going to get myself off this island, and you may join me if you… Wait. Someone is approaching.”

A moment later, two figures emerge from the treeline into the clearing. It is Roland and Kael, weapons drawn. The sunlight from Kael’s sword causes Raze to recoil in pain.

“Lady of Revenge,” says the Lightbringer “You’ve walked the dark path unhindered for too long. Your vengeance is finished. Now is the time of Justice.” Roland and Kael step forward. Roland exhales deeply, his breath fogging the air before him. A cold chill fills the area.

“I think not,” says an icy female voice as Pandora steps out from a shadow. Following her is the shadow itself. It twists and turns until a vaguely humanoid figure appears, black as night but filled with a multitude of stars.

Kael spits on the ground before him. “Pandora... Dietremen, I knew you would not be far behind this filth. You are all guilty of crimes. Your judgement is at hand. Lord of Time, you may pass.”

Cronos nods and steps forward. Even behind the mask I could feel the hatred in Raze’s eyes. “Your debt, Cronos.”

Cronos responds without looking back. “I told you, I am forbidden to alter the course of fate. If it is your time, you must end.”

Raze, speaking surprisingly softly, “Your time will come too, Cronos. That I promise you.”

(The rest of this encounter has been foretold by our prophets so I took my leave.)

June 1, 2258
Isle of Melinda, Eastern Forest: Midnight

I arrived to see Festus, the God of Wine and Celebration, surrounded by Brood. Credit where credit is due, Festus held his own. It would appear the God of Merriment is not with his defenses, or offences. Hoisting his giant enchanted mug like a club, he used it to crush Brood in massive numbers. The ones that go too close he’d bounce off his rotund belly, sending them sprawling into the insects behind them. I expected the worst when larger, more fearsome Brood arrived but still he surprised me. He pulled forth a enchanted torch from his many rolls of clothing and fat. He drank from his mug and held the torch to his lips, letting loose a stream of fire as he exhaled the potent alcohol. The Brood burned alive and he just kept on smiling, often hoisting up his mug like he was making a toast. When the fire-resistant Brood arrived I knew he was done. Even with no tricks left the God of Merriment still smiled. He once again raised up his glass to the approaching Brood and said in a jovial voice, “If this is my time, then so be it. I raise my glass to you bugs. I hope you get drunk on my blood!”

I may start calling Festus the God of Luck because just as the Brood were about to strike their killing blows, a shadow darted across the battlefield. It was quick, almost impossible to see. It shot back and forth through the Brood and, as it passed, the insects fell dead. I caught a glimpse of dual rapiers and I knew the Cat Lord had arrived. When the bugs were dispatched, Ryiak was there, standing before Festus with a giant smile on his whiskered face.

“Spare a drink?” he said.

June 2nd, 2258
Isle of Melinda, Southern Shore: Dawn

Sabrina is here, alone on the path. Oh, my heart’s desire. I should go to her… No, I must focus.

Sabrina walks the path in this ancient forest, alone. She seems more concerned that her clothing is dirty than she does about the possibility of danger. She stops only to admire the flowers or speak to the many birds, nestled in the trees. There is a loud crash not far from where she is standing and she is startled. I almost leave my space of hiding but I maintain my resolve. Cautiously she moves through the trees with grace and elegance. When she reaches the source of the disturbance a look of horror crosses her face. In the distance, Baagh the Bloodletter has somehow found himself in an ancient garden, probably one of the few remaining in this once beautiful forest. His armoured fists smash priceless statues. His heavily armoured feet crush the beautiful flower beds as he roars with bloodlust. Sabrina’s face turns from horror to rage as she gathers up her skirts and, without any sort of sense for her own safety, approaches Baagh.

“You filthy, disgusting animal,” she cries. “How dare you. This place of beauty…oh, no.”

Baagh turns to the Sabrina slowly. With blood flowing from the mouthpiece of his battered helmet, he spits at her. He unsheathes two wicked black battle axes that were strapped to his back. “Your voice hurts my ears. These statues hurt my eyes. These flowers hurt my nose. Baagh will crush them. Baagh will destroy them. Baagh will destroy you.”

Sabrina recoils as she quickly realizes the danger she has just put herself in. I ready my arsenal of spells just in case. She looks behind her and realizes retreat is not an option and battle is an even worse choice. Sabrina then does what she knows best. She straightens herself up, pulls down the deep receding neckline of her dress and, as Baagh readied himself for a charge, she speaks softly at him. “I’ve heard such great tales about you, Baagh. How strong you are. Look at those muscles. I bet you could kill anything with those muscles.”

Baagh, fully ready to rend this tiny Goddess into many pieces, pauses. Confused, Baagh stops and stares at the Goddess of Beauty. Her enchantments start to work their ways into his simple mind. “You think Baagh strong?”

Sabrina, sensing her opening, summons the magics in which she excels. “Oh yes, Baagh. I think you’re very strong. And handsome… probably.”

Baagh, slightly cocking his head, responds, “Baagh very handsome. Baagh show you.”

As Baagh reaches up to remove his helmet, Sabrina interjects, “Oh please no... that’s fine Baagh, keep it on. It’s a nice helmet. The spikes are... very sharp looking. It makes you look very fearsome. Do you think I’m pretty Baagh?”

As the Goddess’s love spell draws tightly around Baagh’s mind his demeanour changes. Lowering his axes he stares at her, not with rage, but longing and admiration. “Lady is very pretty. Baagh not notice before. Baagh like pretty lady. Baaagh s...sssss...ssssorry that Baagh smash things and anger pretty lady.”

Sabrina smiles at Baagh. A fake smile, hiding disdain for his ugliness, but it goes unnoticed to the God of Bloodshed. “Baagh?” Sabrina asks. “Would you like to travel with me? It’s very scary out here and I’m all alone. I could use a big strong… you, to protect me.”

Baagh, eager to please, sheathes both his axes and agrees. “Baagh protect pretty lady. Baagh… love.” Taking a step forward, the hulking giant mistakenly knocks over the one remaining statue in the garden. It hits the floor with a crash, smashing into a dozen pieces. Baagh stops, fear in his eyes, and looks at Sabrina. Shruging with both shoulders he says, “Sorry again.”

The two leave the garden together. I’m going to kill Baagh.

(I leave this note here after careful reflection. I believe my notes have been stolen and altered by an unknown entity. Some mischievous being that wishes the readers to believe that I could be swayed by mere beauty.)

June 2nd, 2258
The World Tree, Root System

(The Albino has hidden inside a forest, near the root system of the World Tree. The golden acorn he stole from the nest has hatched. A large Einish women is speaking to him. She exudes a quality I can only describe as motherly. She is attractive as far as Einher go. There is such love in her that I can feel it. A wanting to nurture others. She calls him Sverin.)

“This isn’t right. We were supposed to be a family. My poor, poor Sverin. Look at you, you’re white and your eyes… they glow red. You poor thing. Come to me, let me hold you. I will make everything alright.” She reaches her arms out to the Albino, trying to embrace him.

“Stop,” he exclaims. “I’m perfectly fine. I don’t need you. You’re obnoxious. This was not what I was expecting.”

She looks hurt. “You don’t mean that. I am the caregiver. I can feel it in my spirit. I will protect the spirits that die, see to their needs and love them. Mortal men and women will fight and die and I will make sure they are taken care of in what happens after. That is what I do. Let me take care of you.”

Sverin looks at her with disgust. “You’re boring me. All the other Gods are gone or dead. I can’t believe I must spend an eternity with you. Wait. The other Gods are gone. Of course! Listen… Haldora was it? I know a place where there are spirits that need you. Yes, this is perfect.”

Haldora eyes brighten at the thought and she leans in to listen. “Who is in need? I will go to them.”

Sverin smiles slyly. “Not far from here, there was a great hall. I watched for a time until I got bored. Gods were there and the warriors that died well in battle were taken there. Their spirits kept in a place called Valhalla. But the Gods are gone now. Nobody is there to take care of the fallen. Let me show you where it is.”

Haldora’s face brightens as she eagerly follows Sverin. He takes her up to the World Tree, over one of the many branches that leads to the outer planes, and across the rainbow bridge. He leaves her there, before the now empty Halls of Asgard, and makes his way back across the Bifrost. As he crosses the threshold, an immensely strong hand seizes him by the scruff of his neck and hoists him into the air. Sverin looks up with fear in his eyes at the warrior who stands before him. His hair and beard are red like fire. “Who are you? What are you?” the imposing bear-like figure shouts.

Quick thinking Sverin squirms. “Put me down. I am Sverin, I am a healer, I tend to the spirits in the great hall Valhalla. Who are you?”

The red haired man responds, “I am Valdr. I am searching for the one who desecrated the nest. My children and my wife, are gone. I was informed by an eagle who lives in the branches that it was a cowardly thief. A figure was seen removing the acorns, the gift from the World Tree that gave us life. We were to be a family. When I woke in the nest, I was alone. What do you know of it? Speak truthfully or I will have your head.”

Sverin speaks before thinking, “Yes, I know who did it. Her name is Haldora. She is evil. She ate the others. I escaped but fell from the tree. She cursed me to look like this. She’s here now. I came to help the spirits of the valiant dead in the great all beyond but she came. She’s there now, likely eating them.”

Valdr shakes with rage. Dropping Sverin to the ground he commands him, “Do not move.” He makes his way across the Bifrost bridge. Of course, as soon as the Einher is out of sight the new God of Trickery runs. Speaking to himself, he says, “That lie… It felt… exciting. The rush! That was the most entertaining thing I have ever done.”

Valdr, his mind clouded with anger, bursts down the door of the great mead hall. Haldora is there, but before she can speak, Valdr strikes her down with his fists. He grabs her by the hair and drags her to the edge of the rainbow bridge. “You have done great evil. My family, my children, are gone because of you.”

Haldora, confused and still reeling from the blow having recently received, cries out. “No, it’s not true. I’ll take care of them. I will love them like my own.”

Valdr, with a single hand of his muscular arm, hoists the Goddess of Protection over the edge of the Bifrost bridge, her feet dangling into the void of nothingness below. “Liar! My son saw you. I caught you consuming the fallen. MY FALLEN. You can rot in nothingness, lost for eternity, as penance for your crimes.”

Haldora screams as the misguided God of Battle drops her into the abyssal void below. Her screams carry on for quite some time, longer than the chronologer would have expected. Sverin, from a distance, watches Haldora as she is cast into the lands of the lost. There is regret in his eyes. I saw it. But it is quickly replaced with the excitement at the risk and thrill of his actions.

With purpose, Valdr walks into the great halls of Asgard. A short time later he emerges in the sky, riding an eight-legged horse with pure white wings. He flies down to the plane of mortal men. Once again, I do my best to follow him.

(I went back some time later, not out of need but curiosity. I found Haldora. She is lost now. A thing only of nightmares.)

June 3rd, 2258
Isle of Melinda, Western Shore: Dawn

Valdr allowed the horse to decide his destination. I can only assume the magical beast would take him to the fields of great battles and there was none greater than the battle that had just transpired. The Brood seemed busy as the battlefield was empty, likely hunting down the other fleeing Gods. When Valdr arrived he dismounted and looked with disgust at the time-locked God called Ga’more. He turned and began searching the field battle for lost souls to take home. While he found no spirits awaiting transcendence to his hall, he did find something else. Reaching down just outside of the crater, Valdr pulled a leather bag from the carnage. He opened the bag and cast its contents to the ground. Odin’s runes, ancient and still full of power, poured out. Runes that held the wisdom the All Father had known. Valdr studied them and their power was infused into him.

He dropped to his knees, unprepared for this onslaught of magic he received. He screamed as the knowledge bombarded his mind. He felt blood trickle down from his forehead, across his nose and, in a moment of awakening, a third eye opened. Valdr fell to the ground and for a moment I feared he had died but soon he began to stir again. He rose from his feet, his eyes, all three of them, now glowing blue with the wisdom of Yggdrasil. He scanned the battlefield once more until he found the items he was searching for. Just outside of the sphere of time he found his prizes. Delicately, he picked up the shaft of Odin’s spear and the head of Thor’s hammer, and placed them atop Sleipnir’s back. With nothing more to be done there he rose into the sky.

June 5, 2258
Deep within the Mountains of Gerdain.

There is a forge and a smith. A Dwarven woman with Einish features. She is beautiful and tall by Dwarven standards. Her immaculately kept beard hangs idly at her feet. She works tireless at her anvil. No one visits her. No one knows who she is. She is alone and she hates it. Valdr enters the forge bearing the broken pieces of the past Gods’ arsenal.

“You are my child and you have been wronged.” Valdr says with sorrow in his voice. “You have been taken from me and now you are something that I cannot love.”

The Dwarven woman responds, her beard dragging across the floor as she approaches the God. “I know. There are things here, deep in this mountain. They tell me things. I am young but I know much. My name is Magnora.”

Valdr smiles. He briefly opens his third eye. “I am called Valdr. I, too, am young and know more than I should. Listen. I am not without mercy and you have done no wrong. Forge for me a weapon worthy of my standing and I will teach you the runes of creation. I cannot accept you as a child but I can teach you how to make your own family.”

Magnora pauses, thinking. Finally she replies, “I want to create a thing of beauty. Something that loves me and inspires me. If you teach me how to make this, I will forge your weapon. Return to me in three days.”

(I spent the three days in her forge, watching her work. Her craftsmanship is unparalleled. The beauty that she poured into her creations was miraculous. She give her creations spirit.)

On the third day Valdr returned. Magnora was ready. She presented to him a glorious weapon, a two handed hammer, named Brotnabru. He lifted it with such ease that he surprised even himself.

Pleased with her creation, he reached into his bag and pulled forth the rune of creation. Placing it on the table, he spoke, “Payment as promised. I must warn you. This is powerful magic, more powerful than mortals have ever seen. You are playing with life itself. You can create it but you have no control over it. Be wary.”

Magnora took the rune into her hands then looked longingly at her anvil. She turned and nodded.

Valdr spoke for the last time. “You have an ally in me, Smith.” And with that he left the smith to work her forge.

June 5, 2258
Asgard, Bifrost Bridge

Exiting his mead hall, Brotnabru in hand, Valdr strode with purpose to the edge of the Bifrost Bridge. Valdr kneeled down, placing a hand gentle on the multi-coloured road. “You are old my friend. Well used and well loved. I am saddened that I did not know the others that traversed you. That was the past. I must look to the future. If I am be alone then I cannot risk an unguarded entrance into the halls of the spirits I am to protect.”

Valdr stood then. Raising his newly enchanted weapon over his head, and summoning all the strength in his youthful Einish body, he brought it down on the ancient structure. The Bifrost bridge, older than time, traversed by a multitude of heroes, Gods, giants and honoured dead, shattered like glass under the force of a single strike. As the pieces fell downwards into the void below Valdr held up his weapon. Shards of the bridge, freshly shattered, had defied the weapons enchantments and embedded themselves in the hammer's head. Valdr did not seem to take this as an ill omen.

With the safety of his home ensured, Valdr, the Three Eyed God, also known as the Winter Bear, God of Bravery, returned to his great hall to prepare the evening feast for the valiant dead.
David Ashby
Underworld LARP Canada - Co-Owner
World Shaper Lead: 2017
June 8, 2258
Mountains of Gerdain, Magnora’s Forge

Amongst my other observations, I have returned to watch the growth of Magnora. With the rune of Creation in her grasp she has flirted with the creation of life, making all manner of golems over the past few days tirelessly. Modeled after small animals and fae, her previously lonesome workshop is kept tidy by a score of stone, bronze and steel rabbits, raccoon and pixies.

Each one is a work of moving art, efficiently moving about their tasks, whether sweeping, cleaning crucibles or tending to the precise and elegant garden Magnora keeps below a chink in the cavern's walls. The movements of the golems paired with the slow swing of Magnora's beard as she bends over her work table is hypnotic. A dance as though each creature is an extension of the Dwarven crafter's will, each with a clear purpose.

Her attention is focused upon a pair of hand-like apparatus, with fine braided wires crossing like tendons. Her purpose seems to be to cover the hand with a gossamer fine sheet of mithril, the rare metal bending to her will as easily clay.

As she covers one palm, the young crafter gently strokes the fine lines pressed into the palm wistfully.

I feel as though I may be watching something intensely private and sense that my attention is better served elsewhere. Before I leave Magnora, she summons one crafted pixie with exceptionally large eyes.

“Find me something worthy of these hands,” she instructs the bronze pixie before it takes flight and leaves the workshop.

June 9, 2258
Mountains of Gerdain, Magnora’s Forge

The bronze pixie has returned, scratched and burned. The golden lute of the Muse weighs its flight severely, causing the small creature to careen towards its creator. Magnora takes the lute and inspects it, turning it this way and that under a keen eye. The pixie itself goes to a pair of constructed rabbits which begin to remold its flesh.

In my time away, the young Dwarf has added a pair of lean, elegant forearms to the hands, bright with polished mithril.

(It may be unprofessional of me to hypothesize, but I do believe that Magnora may be in the process of creating a work of ultimate beauty. A contrast to the pain wrought by Ga'more upon the material plane.)

Holding the lute up to the hands, Magnora mutters to herself, “This could...maybe...though a harp...”

Leaving the lute by the hands, she retrieves the rune of Creation and touches it to the palm briefly. Suddenly, the hands grasp the lute and begins plucking a gentle melody like a babbling brook. With the music of the lute, Magnora turns back to her work table, a smile tucked within her fiery red beard.

The best I can describe her latest project is a copper rib cage split open as the Dwarf pulls a heavy silk bag towards herself. With a surprisingly deft hand, she places tiny stitches in the silk until she has the shape of a lung. This she places in a fine golden oil.

Looking at the collection of organized oddments on her work station and shelves it is apparent that Magnora must intend to create the companion she spoke of to Valdr. Wrought in silk, clay, bronze, steel and mithril, the crafter made herself a collection of organs and what could be bones.
David Ashby
Underworld LARP Canada - Co-Owner
World Shaper Lead: 2017
July 1st, 2258
Eastern Forest, Duvain

(I am pleased to report that I have broken free from the bewytching spell Sabrina had over my heart.  I find her now, with Baagh, traveling a well beaten path off the coast of Duvain.  Her golden hair shines in the sun like precious metal.  I can see her eyes clearly now.  They are as blue as…  I must get back to the report. I assure you though, the spell is broken.)

The hulking god of bloodshed, Baagh the Bloodletter, towered over Sabrina, following her like a love sick dog. He was silent and seemed enamoured in her radiance. She would occasionally turn around and flash him the smallest hint of a smile that would make his heart skip and his legs grow weak beneath his heavily armoured greaves. She strutted along the path and stared up admiring birds as they flew southwards in formations across the blue sky. She stopped then and knelt down to admire the summer flowers that grew along the path. They watched together as two hummingbirds darted in and out around one of the flowers, then landed and began to mate. She laughed softly and smiled up at Baagh, who then knelt down at her side.

“Look at this, can you see the beauty in it all Baagh?” Baagh only grunted from beneath his helm, spraying a light spatter of blood down upon the flowers.  At that sight, Sabrina’s face grimaced in disgust, but only for a brief moment. They both looked at the birds upon the arrangement of colourful flowers, when suddenly a swift, harsh, icy breeze howled through the air. Baagh and Sabrina got to their feet as the flowers withered from the cold, and the two humming birds dropped dead to the frost covered grass.

Pandora, the Winter Queen, walked down the path towards the two, snow forming upon the ground with every step she took. She wore armour of frozen steel that exposed much of her near naked form. Upon her pale blue flesh, and up to her shorn scalp, were a combination of tattoos and scars, forming a living tapestry of pain and suffering. Across her chest was an especially fresh wound that looked like it had been cauterized by a flaming weapon. She stopped in the path and pointed a long spear, whose head looked like it was made from pure blue ice, directly at Sabina’s head.

(Pandora!  What is she doing here?  Sabrina may need my assistance.  I shall make myself ready should she become in need.)

“Oh child of violence and carnage,” Pandora said to Baagh, her icy breath fogging the air before her, “What has this wretched cunt done to you?”

Sabrina shrieked with anger, “Horrible, vile, disgusting piece of human refuse, who do you think you're calling a...”

“SILENCE!” Pandora commanded with a voice like cracking ice. “You have seduced and tricked him with your pathetic parlour tricks. I demand you drop this spell of yours and submit to me, I promise your suffering shall make you better.”

“What an ugly way to be. I think he is much better this way, don't you think so Baagh?” Sabrina put a delicate hand on Baagh’s massively muscled arm as she spoke.  Her mere touch causing him to quake and shiver in delight. “She wants to take you from me,” she whispered, in a voice as soft as a lullaby. She raised her eyebrows and flashed a smile at the hulking juggernaut.  Baagh reached behind him and took both of his black axes from their sheaths upon his back as he focused his attention on Pandora.

“Sabrina makes Baagh’s heart feel not blood!” he bellowed, as he began to stride toward the Ice Queen.  With each step, blood began to foam from the mouth of his spiked helmet, as he prepared to deliver his brand of carnage.  Pandora, however, stood still and resolute as the Bloodletter closed the distance.  Baagh, seemingly uncaring, wound up and swung one of his giant axes; he hit Pandora in the chest with the flat of the blade and sent her sprawling violently down the path. “Baagh just warming up!” he shouted.

Pandora rose to her feet, blood dripping from various old scars that were brutally ripped open.  Dusting herself off, she called out to Baagh from across the field, “No, poor lost Baagh; I know your spirit, I know what your heart truly desires.  It is not this wench.”

Pandora’s icy eyes locked onto Sabrina, “You may have his mind now, but you do not know the bloodrage that rests inside him, a bloodlust that can be manipulated if you have the right...incentive.” With her last word, Pandora withdrew a small, clear orb from the folds of her armour.  As she held it into the air, it turned blood red, and a moment later a portal ripped open behind her.  A strong gust of cold, winter’s wind blew from the portal, as a band of Ice Elves in plain white robes marched forth, standing before their Winter Queen.

“Feed your blood lust, do not be so easily tricked. Show him, my children.” At her command, the Ice Elves shrugged their robes to the floor. They stood there then, naked and exposed, their flesh filled with a thousand scars, each telling the story of an eternity under Pandora’s icy embrace.  They each held in their right hand a wickedly sharp, serrated blade that reflected no light from the overhead sun. One by one, they raised their weapons and began to slice and slash at one another, letting loose a torrent of blood and gore into the air. As the killing flurry increased in cadence, not a single one called out in pain.

As the pool of blood began to flow towards Baagh, his pace slowed, until finally he stood still and silent in the middle of the path. Sabrina walked up behind him and, once again, put her hand on his shoulder; he sat there for a moment, unmoving, before dropping his axes to the ground.

Sabrina whispered quietly from behind him, “My love, pay no heed to them.  You belong to me now. Look upon my beauty, you will see that your heart beats only for me.”

Baagh slowly turned around, facing the Goddess of Beauty. She placed her other hand upon his shoulder, channeling harder her charming magic.  Baagh responded a moment later by lifting up his monstrous arms and placing his hands on her shoulders as she had done to him.  She stared at him for a moment and saw her own reflection in the gore and putrid white liquid that dripped from the spikes on his helmet.  “Baagh’s heart beats blood,” he said calmly.

Sabrina smiled for a moment, completely unaware of the irony his words.  Suddenly, without warning, Baagh jerked his head back and brought it quickly forward, driving the spikes of his helm into her soft eye sockets.  Her scream was outdone only by the sound of her fracturing skull as it split with a sickening crack.


(This is Chronicler Esireal Thalan.  My subordinate has become derelict in his duty of noninterference.  I shall be replacing and attending to his funeral rites once we are able to recover his body.)

Baagh laughed deeply and loudly as Sabrina fell to her knees and clutched at her face, crying and shrieking in pain. Blood poured from where her eyes had once been, it leaked through her hands, as putrid white goo dripped anew from his helmet spikes.  Baagh raised both of his heavily gauntleted hands, and he brought them down together with a hammering force upon the bridge of her nose. A fountain of blood sprayed from her mouth, and across his chest, as she crumbled to the ground. This seemed to only enrage him further, for the bloodlust was in him now.  He knelt over her and began to pummel her chest and stomach.  Pandora laughed as ribs cracked and bones snapped. When he was done, he picked up her broken, shattered body and held it over his head with both hands.  Blood and guts poured down from her battered frame, showering Baagh in the gore.

Sabrina, broken and shattered, summoned the last of her strength to weakly cry out, “Please, no;” but Baagh only roared in victory and brought her down upon his knee with such force that she was torn in two, ending her life forever.

Baagh, blood flowing like a river from the mouth of his helmet, stared down at the decimated remains of the once Goddess of Beauty.  He poked the gaping hole that was once her face and spat, “Much better.  Now you beautiful.”

Pandora, knowing there was no more suffering to witness, walked over the bloodied bodies of her sacrificed Ice Elves, and onward towards her Orb summoned portal. She paused at it’s edge, then she turned and called to the Bloodletter, “Baagh. I met this enchanting woman named Haldora.  She is pretty, like Sabrina is now.  She says she knows where the Garden is.  Would you like to smash another Garden Baagh?”

Baagh, however, paid her no heed.  He seemed more content playing with the corpse before him and did not respond.  Pandora shrugged and said, “Very well, there is another who I’m sure would love to go,” before stepping through her portal, leaving the corpses of her Ice Elves to rot in the sun.

(A short while later, after all the combatants had left the field, I witness a small bronze construct, i believe crafted by Magnora, enter the field. The moment Baagh finishes desecrating the corpse of Sabrina, the create darts in and snags a lock of her golden, blood stained hair.  With its prize firmly secured it is gone in a flash of light.  Interesting.)

July 3rd, 2258
Haldic Bough, Yggdrasil

Dunarthos, freshly healed from the wounds sustained in his encounter with the Brood, travels with Sybil in silence.  Both proficient hunters stalk along the trunk of Yggdrasil, the World Tree, attempting to uncover an entrance into their own celestial heavens.  Both pause at the exact same second, as if sensing something ahead, then quickly drop to the ground.  In the blink of an eye, Dunarthos nocks his bow and draws, while Sybil summons a magical spear, poised to throw.  He motions her over and speaks quietly, “You sense it too?  Over there.  I see a cave covered in strange runes.  Something inside is in great suffering.”

Sybil only nods, and the two then begin carefully moving forward, blending into the forest around them.  They reach the mouth of the cave with ease before pausing to study the entrance.  Dunarthos motions to the threshold of the cave for Sybil to see.  Carved along the upper half of the entrance are the words “Par Liggr Hann Til Ragnarokrs”.  Dunarthos once again looks to Sybil, who simply shrugs.  He speaks to her quietly, “Perhaps a language not native to your home.  It says here he lies, till the end of the world.  Perhaps it is best if we leave it be.  It does not seem able to come out and we are…. vulnerable.”

Sybil looks over to Dunarthos and glares. Dunarthos sighs before responding to her wordless disapproval, “Yes, you are right.  Proximity to true death has dulled my sense of duty.  There is an animal of some sort in need, and we will see to it, together.”

Sybil nods in approval before flashing him a sly smile.  Together, hunter and huntress, they enter the ancient cave and make their way down the damp dark stone path into the unknown.

(I silently make my way down behind them and take refuge in the safety of the darkness.  It smells here of animal and blood.)

A whimper echoes through the cave as the two move further in.  Whatever is down there is large and injured.  The whimper quickly cuts to a growl as the creature senses the presence of others in its home.  Two large glowing red eyes appear then, cutting the darkness and flooding the area with eerie light.  Exposed by this unexpected illumination, and realizing their stealth has been broken, the two stand — weapons ready to let loose a volley of arrows and spears should the monster attack.  With a small motion of his left hand, Dunarthos commands the mossy walls to glow green giving the two enough light to see their fate.  Before them, a monstrous black wolf crouches defensively in the corner of an even larger cavern.  Around the massive wolf’s neck are the remnants of a thin gold chain once made of hair, it’s end is frayed and broken, as if recently shattered.  It hangs down like the end of a leash, almost to the cavern floor.  On the ground near the creatures left paw is a shattered sword.  His right paw, however, seems to be the source of his discomfort.  A small green runestone, stuck to the wolf’s fur, pulsing with green energy up the creature's leg.  Each time it pulses, the wolf winces and whimpers as if in great pain.  Dunarthos lowers his bow, as Sybil watches in confusion, “Lower your weapon Sybil,” he says. “We have nothing to fear here, at least not at this time.  That is Odin’s rune stone of entrapment.  This creature is bound here, likely for a very long time.”

As if understanding the words Dunarthos spoke, the massive wolf growls deeply, shaking the cave and sending small stalagmites to fall down about them.  Slowly, with a voice like gravel, it speaks: “I am Godslayer.  I am the father of wolfmen.  I am he who shall devour the Sun and the Moon. Who dares enter the home of the Fenrir wolf?  Have you not had your fill of my torment?  Come to gloat or mock me more?”

Dunarthos, surprised by the wolf’s words, replies calmly and with compassion in his voice, “No.  We are not here for that.  We sensed your pain and are duty bound to help nature’s creatures when they are in need.  You, however, is not what I was expecting.”

He turns to Sybil then, “If the All Father trapped this creature here, it might be best to abide by that wisdom.  I am unsure what to do.”

Sybil, without reply, lowers her spear and approaches the creature.  She extends her hand as she slowly walks.  The wolf growls at her, causing her to give pause, but then quickly whimpers in pain as the rune’s magic pulses through its body once more.  She lowers to a single knee and closes her eyes, using her huntress’ intuition to connect with the creature before her.  When she opens her eyes a moment later, they are filled with tears.  She looks to Dunarthos and nods.

“Fenrir wolf,” Dunarthos speaks. “My companion says that your heart is not corrupt, yet Odin has trapped you here. I would free you, but I need to know the reasoning behind this.”

The Fenrir wolf growls once more, “Odin, the betrayer!” he shouts. “Fear is the reasoning.  They feared me because of my strength.  They feigned friendship to trap me.  An innocent game, they said we would play.  They would put a chain around my neck, and I would break it.  I wanted their approval. They did this twice, the second chain being much stronger than the first.  I became suspicious on their third attempt, for the chain they wished to tether me with was thin and made of soft gold.  I should have known it was a trick, but I was foolish and young.  I allowed them to place the golden chain around my neck, but only if Tyr, the God of Courage, placed his hand in my mouth as a gesture of good faith.  I did not think he would give his hand so freely, and I lowered my guard to their deceptive ways.  When I realized what they had done, I howled.  I was betrayed  The chain was not golden, but instead woven from the hair of a goddess.  It was magically strengthened to hold me.  They drove a sword into my mouth to stop me from gnawing at my golden shackle.  I snapped down, taking Tyr’s hand, but it was too late.  They laughed at me, mocking me, before leaving me here to rot. But I am Fenrir.  None can match my strength and endurance.  I broke free from their chain and was preparing to seek my swift justice for what they had done, but the accursed All Father was waiting.  He cast his rune on the ground at my feet.  Once again I am trapped, betrayed by those I did no wrong to.  Never again.”

Dunarthos nods, “Odin is wise but he does not respect the creatures of the world as we do.  I share his fear of your power and potential for destruction, but I will not walk down their path and betray my duty.  I will free you, Fenrir wolf, but I wish your word that you will do no harm.  Leave the Sun and the Moon be.”

The wolf growls as Dunarthos begins to walk towards him, forcing the hunter to step back. “Lies,” the wolf growls, “I will not fall prey to your trickery and deception.”  You have come to kill me, sent by Odin, no doubt.”

Dunarthos shakes his head. “Odin is dead.  The gods who trapped you here are all dead.  They gave their lives to protect the mortals of the realm. There is a larger evil in this world, named Ga’more, and if he is not stopped he will devour a lot more than just the sun and moon.  But that is not your problem.  Your quest for vengeance is finished.  It was over before it began”.

The wolf pauses then and looks uncertain. “I.. do not know if I believe you.  How do I know this is not another trick?  Tyr gave his hand to seal their deception.”  The wolf then stops as if thinking.  “I have learned from my mistakes, for I am no longer young and foolish.  A hand will not suffice.  If you are telling me the truth, and there is no ill will in your heart, place your head in my mouth, hunter.”

Dunarthos looks at the wolf in disbelief. “Time has driven you mad wolf,” he says, “ I am offering to free you, but you can’t expect...” Dunarthos stops mid sentence, as Sybil moves forward with purpose.  Without fear in her eyes, she leans forward and offers her head to the monstrous beast.

Fenrir, his eyes wide with astonishment, slowly lowers his head.  Cautiously, as if expecting a trap, he opens his massive maw.  Sybil winches as the smell from the creature's breath envelopes her in an unseen fog.  She does not move nor flinch.  As he places his razor sharp teeth around her neck, a skeletal hand falls out to the ground.  She closes her eyes and calms her breathing.  Dunarthos, eyes wide in fear for his new companion, wastes no time moving forward.  He reaches for the rune stone at the wolf’s paw to retrieve it and break its enchantment.  As he takes it in his hand, the green glow fades.  The runestone crumbles to dust, and the green arcs of energy fade from the massive wolf paw, freeing him from his enslavement.  The wolf’s eyes widen even further in disbelief. Slowly he opens his maw, and Sybil removes her head from what would have been an instant death. Dunarthos walks to her, and she nods to him.  They turn to the wolf. “You are free. We ask nothing in return but your pledge that you will cause no harm.”

The Fenrir wolf stands tall on his four unbound legs, filling the cavern with his hulking form.  He speaks now with admiration to the two hunters, “I have spent an eternity planning the death of those who have wronged me. I know not what to do with myself now.”  Pausing for a moment, the wolf lowers his head so he is eye level with the pair of hunters.  “You have my word, hunters. I will not forget this but I need to think.  This wolf’s ears can hear all in Yggdrasil.  If you have need of me, call”.

Dunarthos and Sybil both nod to the wolf before returning to the passageway out. Sybil   silently takes Dunarthos by the hand.  He feels her body quiver and shake as she releases the fear she worked so hard to hold back.

Behind them, the Fenrir wolf howls.

June 7th, 2258
Southern Forest of Valune, Felnir

(There has been no celestial rivalry greater than that between the God of Undeath and the God of Freedom.  Malagant and Ryiak have been at odds since the first recorded history of our order.   Their most recent interactions tell of Ryiak severing and stealing Malagant’s own finger while in the heat of a battle; in turn, Malagant cursed the Savar in his vengeance, transforming a majority of them into undead.  I find the two once again at odds, however, Malagant appears to have the upper hand.)

The God of Freedom has been caught.  He lies, bound hand and foot, atop the Altar of Undeath.  A gruesome evil artifact created by the Lord of Autumn, designed to raise to undeath the spirit of any unfortunate victim murdered upon it.  The air is thick with the smell of burning leaves.  I spy Malagant gloating over the struggling body of his prey.  His long black cloak is tattered at the edges, and flows unnaturally as if blown by an unseen wind.  His hood is pulled up to obscure any detail of his face, if he even has one.  The field around them has seen much battle.  Remnants of undead litter the ground, and trees lay fallen by the dozens, rotted by dark necromantic energy.  Ryiak has suffered grievous injuries as well.  His torso and head are covered in deep black wounds, while his arms and legs show signs of rot, in some places exposing bone. There is blood everywhere.


Ryiak, seemingly unaffected by the pain of his wounds, struggles in vain as the Lord of Undeath spits his threats.  I can see the fear in his black and swollen eyes.  His usual cocky demeanor appears shattered by the threat of eternal torment as an undead slave.  Malagant reaches into the folds of his black robes and produces a wicked ichor dripping dagger.  He raises it high over his head, directly above the heart of the Cat Lord.  His laughter is deep and filled with victory over his ancient adversary. “SAY SOMETHING CLEVER NOW, BEFORE YOU DIE. WHERE IS YOUR QUICK WIT AND TIRESOME JOKES, RYIAK? WHAT ARE YOUR LAST WORDS BEFORE I DRAIN YOU OF YOUR LIFE?”.

Ryiak stops his struggle, and turns his head to meet eyes with the Lord of Autumn.  He opens his mouth to speak, and blood oozes from the corners of his mouth: “I…  I would like another drink.”

These words appear to confuse Malagant, but his perplexity is short lived as a large hand, gaudily adorned with jeweled rings, slams down onto his right shoulder.  As the hand pulls back, Malagant is spun around and finds himself face to face with the rosey cheeks of Festus,the God of Merriment. “Coming right up!,” Festus shouts,  before driving his massive enchanted mug into the face of a very surprised God. There is a loud crack, as stein meets skull, then the Lord of Undeath staggers backwards from the blow. Festus laughs jovially, as he wastes no time engaging the now stunned Master of Undeath. Grasping Malagant’s head in both of his fat hands, Festus pulls him forward with all of his might, bouncing him hard off of his rotund belly. The powerful blow, undoubtedly deadly to mortals, sends Malagant soaring across the field, where he lands with a loud crash against a copse of trees.  By the time Malagant regains his senses, the God of Merriment has already begun his charge.  Slow to start, but once moving, the Lord of Festivities became an indomitable juggernaut of fine silks and expensive jewelry.  Malagant rose to his feet just in time to meet the full charging force of Festus the Unstoppable.  As the two gods collided, the ensuing thundering clap shook the forest and was heard as far as the capital city of Felnir, miles away.  When the dust settled and the smoke cleared, the Lord of Autumn was flat on the ground.  Festus, still laughing, pulled long and hard from a drinking horn on his side.  He reached down, and turned Malagant so he was facing the sun; “Let’s see what you really look like, Lord of Undeath,” he said.

Festus reaches down and removes the cloak that hides the features of the Lord of Autumn.  He laughs then, a deep, jovial laugh, as he hoists Malagant in the air for the world to see.

(This Chronicler must admit that I am surprised.  I had expected to see a foreboding skull or rotted face. Not this.)

Presented before Festus is not a skull or undead visage, as he likely expected, but instead a young boy,  “Ahahahahahaha oh… look at you,” Festus mocks, “You’re just a little, itty bitty baby. Aren’t you the cutest little thing?  Does your mommy know you’re out here?  After midnight, causing a ruckus, raising the undead?  Tell ya what - why don’t you have a little drink?  Don’t tell anybody, because you’re probably not old enough yet. It’ll  just be our little secret”. Festus reaches down and jams the tip of his drinking horn down Malagant’s throat, forcing him to drink his potent brew.  Festus drops him to the ground, along with the empty horn, then takes a step back to watch the effects.  Malagant rises to a knee and attempts to stand, but the brew has taken hold.  He stumbles drunk and falls to the ground, as the world begins to spin around him.  “Oh no,” Festus says grinning, “somebody can’t hold their liquor!”

While Malagant trips and stumbles, trying to get up, Festus reaches once again into the folds of his fine silk clothing and produces a small silver flute.  He blows a sharp, quick note into the mouthpiece, activating its magical power.  The flute begins to hum and vibrate, before leaping out of Festus’ hands into the air. A strange melody starts to play from the animated instrument, growing louder as the device begins its dominating song.  “Now then,” Festus laughs, “Lord of the dark pantheon; let’s see how well you dance!”

Malagant, with the help of a nearby tree, has managed to get to his feet, but it becomes apparent that his vision has doubled, as he unsuccessfully swings at the air beside the God of Wine.  Festus only laughs and watches.  A short moment later, a strange look of confusion takes hold of Malagant’s young face.  He looks bewildered at his arms, as they rise into air against his will.  His legs kick up, one after another, as he begins to feel the effects of the magical flute.

(It is this Chronicler's opinion that there has never been such a surreal vision as what I am witnessing here.  Malagant, the Lord of Undeath, the Master of Darkness and Evil, dancing his first jig).

As Malagant looks at his own dancing body with betrayal, Festus just laughs and begins to clap.  “That’s the spirit my new party mate!” he shouts, “ Let us celebrate!  Your first dance, I got the God of Undeath drunk! And my good, dear friend Ryiak has narrowly avoided death once again!”

Malagant, upon hearing Ryiak’s name, forces his bobbing head to gaze at the altar.  In the chaos of battle, Ryiak, the God of Freedom, has escaped. The altar lay empty; the manacles and bindings lay discarded on the ground.  A change comes over Malagant then, and it does not go unnoticed by Festus, who slows his clapping.  Malagant’s eyes begin to glow red, a stark comparison to his innocent, boyish face.  He turns to Festus, who is only now beginning to understand that he may have underestimated his foe.  “ENOUGH!” he shouts.  As he does, the young flesh dissolves from his face revealing a charred blackened skull.  Festus takes a small step back, picks up his mug, and swings heavily at Malagant.  The Lord of Undeath, with renewed necromantic energies flowing through him, and sobered in his natural undead state, catches the cup with his skeletal hand.

YOU WILL PAY,” Malagant threatens, channeling black energy into the large jeweled mug.  As the dark magic travels into the magically enchanted mug that Festus was known for, it rots away.  Festus, eyes wide with terror, turns his back to the Undead Lord in an attempt to flee, but the slow start that gave him such power before now works against him.  Malagant grabs hold of the multiple golden chains adorning Festus’ neck and pulls tightly, choking him in a makeshift garrote.  Festus grasps feebly at his throat as he gasps for air, but Malagant only tightens his grip.  He feels himself being dragged backwards, towards the altar.  Malagant, with the strength of a hundred undead coursing through his body, pulls the gasping Festus across the field; with a single hand, he throws the God of Wine onto the altar’s black, blood encrusted surface.  The bindings, sensing a new victim, snake up along the altar’s sides, wrapping tightly around the bloated limbs and chest of the gasping god.


“Nooo, please,” Festus cries,   “Nooo, anything but that. There is no joy in undeath. It is worse than death.   Kill me, please, but not that..Anything but that.”

Malagant, devoid of mercy, says nothing as he retrieves his wicked dagger from the ground.  Raising it high above his head, he plunges it deep into Festus’ heart.  The altar begins its own dark dance.  Blood begins to drain from the god’s body, running down dark grooves in the stone. His flesh begins to blacken as he screams,  large chunks rot and fall to the ground, filling the air with steam and the stench of death.

(I expected the screams to stop once the altar had finished its foul magic, but they did not. They never stopped.  I close my eyes at night and hear them. I have no doubts that he screams still, for eternity.)

As the bloated and rotting corpse of Festus finishes its necromantic transformation, the bindings on the altar release. The undead God of Merriment arises, still screaming, and takes his place beside his new master.  Malagant draws up his hood, obscuring his features once more, and speaks to his rotted creation, “COME MY NEW PET.  FOR YOUR INTERFERENCE I WILL SEE YOU SUFFER FOR ETERNITY: NEVER TO FEEL JOY, MERRIMENT OR PLEASURE AGAIN. YOU MAY THINK THE COST IS WORTH YOUR ACTIONS, BUT YOU ARE WRONG.  RYIAK WILL SHARE YOUR FATE SOON ENOUGH.”

(Shortly after the two left I spied Magnora’s bronzed Pixie construct enter from the treeline.  It cautiously makes its way through the battlefield before stopping at scene of the dance.  It carefully picked up the drinking horn discarded by Festus when the Lord of Undeath took his natural form and attaches it to its back with thin golden wire.  With great care it quickly leaves the battlefield and heads east, likely towards the creator’s home.)  
David Ashby
Underworld LARP Canada - Co-Owner
World Shaper Lead: 2017
July 17, 2258
Yggdrasil, The World Tree. Far Southern Root

(I spy Sybil and Dunarthos traveling south along the World Tree. Their fondness for each other grows more apparent with each day they travel. Dunarthos spends most of his time teaching Sybil the ways of this world, introducing her to the various plant and fauna and their uses medicinally and in combat. I often find them holding hands, staring longing into each other's eyes and silently smiling at each other for no discernible reason.)

The two travel wordlessly, hands locked as they walk. Dunarthos stops periodically, touching the ground with his weathered hands as if speaking to the tree itself to gleam direction. That night, as they make camp, there is a great rumbling beneath their feet. It shakes the entirety of the tree causing leaves from high atop to fall down about them. The two gather their weapons and move close to each other. There is obvious concern in both their eyes as if they can feel something wrong in the air.

“Something is wrong,” Dunarthos declares. Sybil gives him a look that implies he is stating the obvious. “The World Tree,” He continues. “It is in great pain.”

Sybil touches the ground as Dunarthos had taught her and nods in agreement. Another deep rumble shakes the world again, pelting them with debris from the branches above. Sybil points down a dark road that seems to lead into the roots of the tree itself. Dunarthos looks worried. “Yes, the root system.” he says, “We need to go down then.”

The two cautiously disband their camp and make their way towards the underground roots of the tree between worlds. As they move downward, the rumbling increases. Dunarthos stops and drops to a knee, “Oh no… such agony. It’s as if the tree itself is ripping apart. We need to hurry.”

Sybil feels it as well. Her face is a mixture of pain and concern. As the two enter the root system of Yggdrasil, the source of the tree’s suffering becomes apparent. The roots of the World Tree have been gnawed apart by something great. Dunarthos turns to Sybil and whispers quietly, “The roots keep the tree alive. The tree keeps the realms alive. All of them. If the roots die, the tree will die. If the tree dies, we all die. Everything dies.”

Without needing any further convincing, Sybil picks up her pace and moves towards the source of the rumbling, now becoming more apparent ahead of them. The two move around a large decaying and chewed up root before stopping dead in their tracks. Dunarthos whispers in horror, “Mother of gods. This cannot be.”

Sybil raises her head to see what has shaken her love so deeply. There, in the darkness, wrapped tightly into the now decaying roots, a massive brown worm sits. Wingless but measuring well over fifty feet long, it's tough skin plated with rock-like scales. The brown dragon holds in his mouth the last living root. It pulsates with glowing white light used to feed the World Tree and keep it healthy. With a great show of strength the dragon snaps down with his mighty jaws, and in doing so, severs the last chance of hope for all living things. The World Tree screams and Dunarthos and Sybil fall to the ground, clutching their heads in pain. There is a cracking noise, as if some giant rock had just split in two in the distance. The sound is followed by the crow of a single raven as it takes to the air. The World Tree, the living embodiment of life for all realms, begins to die.

The connecting severed root, still in the Dragon’s maw, begins to rot with black ichor. It begins to spread upwards, along the base of the tree, to the world above. Where it touches, death and decay take hold. The Dragon roars in triumph, “Nidhogg is victorious! After an eon of battle, the last root is devoured.”

Dunarthos shakes away the pain that emits from the tree in its death throes and stands defiantly before the brown worm. “I know of you,” He shouts. “Nidhogg the Firstborn. He who chews on the roots of the world tree to cause its death at the time of Ragnarok. What have you done? You spell the doom for us all!”

Nidhogg only laughs, “Foolish god. Your time is at an end, the realms will die and there shall only be one realm left. Nidhogg’s realm.”

Dunarthos turns to Sybil as she gets to her feet. “Sybil,” he says in a voice she has never heard before. She looks at him with confusion in her eyes. “I can save the tree,” he continues, ”But I need to get to the root under the dragon.” Sybil nods, but also raises an eyebrow as if sensing there is something he’s not telling her.

Dunarthos reaches into his hunter’s cloak, pulls out a ivory horn covered in magic runes. He hands it to her, which she takes with suspicion. “This is my huntsman's horn,” he tells her. “It will summon the Wild Hunt.”

Turning to Nidhogg, Dunarthos shouts, “Dragon! I am Dunarthos, master of the hunt and defender of nature. You have committed an act so heinous, it defies reason and logic. I will not stand idle. You will pay for your crime.”

Motioning to his companion with a nod, Sybil places ancient artifact to her lips and sounds the battle horn.

Nidhogg laughs, his voice deep and guttural, “Is this the best you have huntsman? Are you going to summon your dogs on me?”

Dunarthos replys, “No, not dogs. Just one.” Then readies his bow.

Deep inside a nearby cave the ears of the Fenrir wolf perk up in attention. His eyes glow green as a wicked smile spreads across his furred face. A moment later the huntsmen’s call echoes loudly.

(The ensuing battle was so great that this chronologer was forced to retreat. When the proverbial and literal smoke did clear, the Dragon Nidhogg was gone, burrowing away deep into the land.)

Dunarthos, Sybil and Fenrir stand together at the base of the world tree. They all carry great wounds from the battle, but none that seemed life threatening. Fenrir looks worried as he speaks to Dunarthos, “This does not bode well Hunter. That decay and infection will spread to branches soon. The eagle that lives high above will die. The tree will die. We will all die.”

“I know,” Dunarthos nods. There is hesitation in his voice. He purposely avoids Sybil’s gaze. “I think I can fix this, but...” His voice trails off.

Sybil throws her hunter a concerned look in an attempt to get his attention. Finally, frustrated, she grabs his hand and pulled him towards her. He looks up, his eyes wet, and in that moment she knew. She shook her head no, pleading at him, pulling sharply at his hand.

Dunarthos took her hand in his, “There is no other way.” he said, tears now rolling down his face. “I can heal the tree and I can save everything, but I can’t stay with you. Sybil, In all my years of travel I have never met my equal until now. I have never cared for somebody so deeply. I love you. I love you and that is why I must do this.”

Sybil began to weep with him then. She was strong but felt no shame crying with the man she loved. Dunarthos closed the distance between them and she reached over and pulled closer still. He wiped away her tears with his large calloused hands and stared deeply into her eyes. “I need you,” he said, forcing a smile. “I will enter the tree and become the roots. I need you to protect me. To protect all of nature. I will become the land, but you will become the hunter. You will be my hunter and you will live in my heart forever. It is the only way.”

Sybil fought the urge to argue and stop him. In her heart she knew there was no other choice. She knew they would all die otherwise. Her eyes betrayed an understanding. She took his face into her hands and pulled him close, kissing him with such passion that the Fenrir wolf looked away in embarrassment.

When the two lovers broke their kiss, the wolf spoke to Dunarthos, “You will become the father to the land. Your sacrifice is worthy of my praise and my loyalty. I will stand with Sybil as her guardian and her friend, together we will protect you. I will offer her my cunning and my strength. I will teach her the ways of the Therian for they too shall serve her. I give you my word, father of the land. Plus, all the gods I wanted to kill are dead anyway.”

Dunarthos laughs and playfully scratches the neck of massive black wolf.

He turns to Sybil and smiles before giving her his final embrace. When their kiss is done he steps backwards into the gaping hole where the last and largest root was torn free. He outstretches his arms and drives them deep into the rotting bark and summons the full fury of nature. His limbs transform, becoming hard and barklike. They lengthen and twist as they turn into roots. His body turns a dark shade of brown and hardens. Layers of bark, mud and dirt being to form over his form and within moments Dunarthos is fully consumed Where his body once stood was now a living divine root, connected to the World Tree, healing it back to health. The only reminder that a god once stood was an old gnarled face hidden the wood.

The disease that was spreading along the tree began to subside. The god of nature began his work as father to the land. At his side, Sybil and her companion Fenrir stood watching and protecting. Her heart was broken, but she would see him safe as long as she lived.

July 18, 2258
Summer Courtroom, Ruins of Delahsia, Isle of Melinda

(This place is sacred and frightening, even to a Thalan. Before the isle was assaulted this place was where the true fae of the summer held their court. Violence is forbidden here. Although the structure has been destroyed I can still sense the powerful fae magic that permeates the area. I couldn’t draw my weapon or cast offensively, even if I wanted to. Perhaps that is why Malagant and Roland stand here now.)

The two gods with a history of adversity stand on either side of this courtroom, facing each other. They wait for someone, or something. Malagant’s dark robes obscure his features but tucked firmly in the belt around his black robes is a plain simple looking dagger. Roland is also dressed plainly, his sword sheathed and his golden wings tucked behind him.

They remain there, all day and all night, staring each other, waiting.
David Ashby
Underworld LARP Canada - Co-Owner
World Shaper Lead: 2017
(The following excerpt has been reviewed and collected from the late Esxen’Tenadall's records. Post-dated to July 1st)

July 1st, 2258
Mountains of Gerdain, Magnora’s Forge

I have done something normally forbidden to my station. I have interfered. Curse Baagh and his violence. He has snuffed out the only true beauty of this world. I will see him pay. I have interfered to much already, but I can ensure that his brutishness does not triumph. I will see her reborn.

(My apologies for the emotional bent of this record. I have taken a lock of Sabrina's hair. At first I knew not why - desperation perhaps - but perhaps it was a seeking for balance. To not let the record of Sabrina's perfection end.)

I find Magnora, as ever, about her work. She has not created anymore golems since beginning the work of this mithril body. The arms have been set in front of a canvas, and blindly create the torn landscape of Melinda in vivid colours. The Muse's lute, however, seems to have been dismantled and reshaped into an elegant harp nearby, the golden wood stained red.

The rib cage seems to be nearing completion, as the Dwarf meticulously smooth’s thin sheets of mithril in place. The collection of organs must be neatly tucked inside the rib cage as Magnora's shelves are clear of the variety of pieces. She is unaware of me so focused on her work, but the bronze pixie from before stares at me from its perch of the shelf. Its purpose it seems, must be to see and seek. 

I hold out the lock of hair, shimmering, iridescent, at one moment blonde, at another ebony. The bronze pixie silently flits over to me and takes the hair, its mistress still focused on her work. I see that the pixie has another lock of shimmering hair, the ends caked in blood. I have done more than I should, and will be replaced as High Chronologer for my actions, but Sabrina's was not a story I could let end. This will be my last entry before being collected.

July 9th, 2258
Mountains of Gerdain, Magnora’s Forge

(My predecessor had taken a significant interest in the work of the Dwarven crafter, Magnora. I have chosen to visit her workshop and review her progress.)

The crafter has assembled an androgynous torso with shimmering mithril skin. A canvas is set before it, and it blindly paints while the chest expands and contracts with breath despite the torso's lack of head. The head, an exquisite creation with almond shaped eyes, a pleasantly broad mouth and delicate fine-boned structure, sits on the work bench, eyes half closed as a stout fiery haired Dwarven woman carefully inserts shimmering strands of hair one-by-one into their scalp. The hair seems to be a collection of silk strands and iridescent hair that appears blonde in some lights, and deep raven's wing black in others. 

The rune of creation is near at hand and as she knots each strand, it grows to pool on the work table and spill over the side. 

I watch for some time and note the drinking horn of Festus sits on one shelf, the bronze pixie perched beside it. As both I and the pixie watch, Magnora swiftly covers the scalp with a number of fine strands before gently brushing the hair out of the automaton's face and secures it with a finely wrought gold and pearl clasp.

She then lifts the head and takes it to the torso, the shimmering hairs floating just above the stone floor.

“Celeste,” Magnora says, “Hold still.”

The torso ceases its painting and places its paint brush and palette on a small table next to it. It then holds still as the dwarf gently aligns the head to the neck and proceeds to insert a number of small screws.

She works through the night, adding a number of small screws and spot welds, calibrating the head's range of movement. As the sun rises and the small garden in the next cavern is bathed in light, the dwarf sits back on her heels and gazes at her creation.

I leave her as she stares in wonder at what she has created. 

July 11th, 2258
Mountains of Gerdain, Magnora’s Forge

I return to find Magnora and her creation working together on a broad swath of cloth. The automaton sings a lilting wordless tune, adding decorative embroideries here and there while Magnora marks out the outlines of a garment.

“No, Celeste, like so...” Magnora reaches over and deftly stitches a rune of protection, before handing the needle back to Celeste. The automaton's lovely face creases with a slight frown before mimicking the rune and then adding wild embellishments in silk thread along the border. Their flesh has faded from bright mithril to a pearl hue while the multi-coloured hair has become colourless yet refracting and reflecting light like a crystal. They are most becoming from an objective point of view.

Watching the automaton I realize that perhaps it has some individuality, at least its chaotic need to embellish and create. Magnora, for her part seems, equally awed and frustrated by her creation's willfulness. After a moment, she takes the cloth from Celeste, who seems neither male nor female, and is propped in a chair with wheels, clad in a simple linen tunic.

With the cloth removed it is apparent that the creation has no legs. The dwarf comes and pushes the chair over to another table.

“U-me, drinks,” Magnora orders the bronze pixie, who collects a pair of drinking horns, while one of the stone raccoon waddles over with a pitcher of sweet mead. The pair of golems pour the mead and pass it to Magnora and Celeste. Magnora's horn is silver wrapped, but otherwise plain. She takes an immediate sip and examines the cloth as Celeste accepts their horn. It is the horn of Festus.

The bronze pixie looks knowingly at Celeste who tentatively drinks from the horn. The creation pauses, and their half-lidded eyes open wide. They take another sip from the horn, and the pixie puts the rune of creation in Celeste's other hand.

“I want legs,” Celeste says suddenly, melodic tenor full of astonishment. Magnora stops her examination of the cloth to look at Celeste, equally surprised. “I want legs.” Celeste repeats, before taking another sip. “I want to dance, and travel, and create...”

Magnora looks wounded. “You do not want to stay?” the dwarf asks in a small voice, “Do you not...appreciate me too?”

Celeste regards the dwarf, “I...appreciate you, love you, but are there others I can love too? I...feel...a need to experience more.”

Magnora seems pained, and shakes her head, “I'm not sure...” she looks Celeste up and down, noting the horn, the rune, the pixie whose normally brown eyes hold a bit of red.

A shadow crosses Magnora's face as she suddenly lunges at the pixie, “You did this,” she says furiously trying to grab the bronze pixie as it leaps in the air and grows in size, bronze sheets tearing away to reveal alabaster skin, gaunt male features, red eyes and a white hooded mantle.

Celeste looks on, shining crystal eyes wide, as Magnora grabs her hammer in her left hand and draws a stiletto with her right. 

“What have you done? Where's U-me? Who are you?” Magnora asks, taking a wide stance.

The thin albino man laughs cruelly, “Severin, little sister, the one who sent you on your little journey here to become what you are.”

The dwarf side-steps between Severin and Celeste, the latter of who has begun to shift intuitively. The fine-boned jaw becomes a bit more square, their hair a shaggy shoulder length white mess. Soon Celeste mirrors Severin's appearance except for their multifaceted crystal eyes and lack of legs.

Magnora looks at her creation briefly, before focusing on Severin once more, “Celeste shows that you only love yourself. Why do this to them? Why make them aware of more?”

“Because all things must change, little sister,” Severin states coolly, “Make the legs.,” both Magnora and Celeste glare, “will come back to you.”

July 18h, 2258
Mountains of Gerdain, Magnora’s Forge

It has been a week since Celeste awakened due to Severin's meddling. Magnora, it seems, has taken the Trickster's advice and constructed a pair of legs and is fitting them to Celeste's torso. The act of crafting seems to weigh heavy on her as she calibrates each leg.

For their part, Celeste has reverted to their androgynous opalescent state and plucks at the lap harp created from the Muse's lute. Festus' horn is by their side. The rune of creation is put aside on Magnora's work bench.

Magnora makes a few last adjustments, before stepping back and offering Celeste one broad palm. The pale creation places one elegant, long-fingered hand in the Smith's and stands unsteadily. Celeste steadies themself on the dwarf's shoulders, Magnora’s braided crown of hair barely reaching the willowy Celeste's chest.

They stand there for a moment looking at each other. Celeste wiggles their new found toes, lean and elegant like the rest of them, and then smiles. They kneel and give Magnora a hug before dancing and leaping about the workshop as Magnora's collection of golems pause in their tasks to watch.

It is a spontaneous performance of unmatchable artistry. The Common tongue fails to be able to accurately convey the grace with which Celeste moves. Magnora moves to her work bench, placing their tools back methodically, before picking up the rune of creation. Celeste does one last spin, their linens floating about them before bowing to the golems. 

“Take it,” Magnora holds out the rune to Celeste. “Take it and go...explore and love and...create.”

Celeste takes the rune and presses it to their palm, “It is already part of me,” Celeste observes as the rune refuses to meld with their flesh; they place it back in Magnora's hand, folding her fingers around it, “Keep it with you, so that part of me shall be with you.”

The dwarf holds the rune close and looks up at their creation with tangible longing and sadness. “I will.”

“And I will be back,” Celeste promises, planting a kiss on Magnora's forehead, before leaving the cavern through the garden.

(I watch Magnora as Celeste leaves the workshop. When her creation is out of sight the smile on Magnora’s face darkens into a frown. Tears stream down her eyes as she slowly walks towards the fires of her burning forge. She removes the rune of creation from her palm and casts it deep into the flames as she utters the words, “Never again.”)
David Ashby
Underworld LARP Canada - Co-Owner
World Shaper Lead: 2017
July 30th, 2258
Bakura, The Garden

(I preface this entry in order to explain the strange conundrum of my current location. I sit in a place between realms, deep inside a great mountain. To my right, the fabled Garden of Ll'yandra, Goddess of the Elves. It rests outside of the city of Dul’Agan, deep in the Bakura mountains, home to Eleghast'Thalan or Stone Elves as they are commonly called. To my left is a shoreline, its river flows from the dark place known as the Deadlands, a waypoint for spirits travelling to their celestial heavens upon final death. This place, this Garden, exists in both realms, the dead and living. The Garden, its location a well guarded secret until now, is home to shards of the elven races. It is said that when an elf dies they do not ascend or descend to their heaven or hell, but instead their shard is returned back into the garden, ready to be born anew. It is also said there are no new shards and for this reason it is a great loss when a shard is destroyed or corrupted. I am a true Thalan, I worship no god but I can confirm we elves, true or subset, do posses a shard. How they came to be under the care of Ll'yandra or rest in her garden, is of great debate. Regardless, the Garden is here and its secret has been discovered. I worry.)

The Garden walls are high and made of ancient stone. An unnatural multicolored glow emits from the treetops that barely crest the massive walls. Two colossal gates stand closed, barring entrance to this sacred grove of elven life. Beyond the Garden sits the fabled city of Dul’Agan and its impenetrable golden gates.

On the shoreline leading to the river of the dead stands Pandora, Goddess of Pain. She wields in her right hand her Orb of Power, Blite, known for its mastery over gate magic. To her left, the obese and putrid form of a newer power, Haldora, Mother of Nightmares. Maggots and worms drip from her dry dead hair before falling to the ground and turning to dust. She speaks to Pandora, her voice deep and hoarse, “As promised, Ice Queen. I have claimed the Deadlands as my domain. I followed its shores to this hidden place and now you know it too. Remember our bargain, Pandora.”

Pandora turns to Haldora, giving her a look of utter contempt. “You disgust me,” she says, causing Haldora to sneer. “But a deal is a deal. When I am done, you may have what is left over.”

Haldora takes a step back until she is knee deep in dark waters, “What of Ll'yandra?” she says. “She knows we are here. She is coming. I can sense her.”

Pandora scoffs, “She is old news. Her time has come. Her actions have caused so much suffering. I must thank her before I kill her.”

As if on cue the Garden doors explode outwards. Ll'yandra, The Mother, dressed in simple white robes, exits her sacred home to face those that would dare desecrate it. Beyond her, hundreds of massive giant trees, their branches filled with glowing shards that hang down like fruit. There is a fire in Ll'yandra as she moves towards the two other women with intent.
“How dare you!” She says in a cold icy voice. “Are you so foolish that you think you can attack me here, in my own home?”

Pandora, ignoring her question, casually looks around, “Look at us. All mothers.”

Ll'yandra pauses for a moment before speaking, “You are no mother. You stole your children from me. I cared for them and I loved them. You kill them at your whim. You torture them, brand them, beat them, and then discard them. Mothers are filled with love and kindness. You are no mother.”

“And you,” she says, pointing to Haldora, “I don’t even know what you are. What sort of sick twisted life did you lead that cursed you to be what you are now? Your children are monsters and they should be put down. Death is a better alternative than life under your care.”

Pandora, spits out a cold and bitter laugh, “Oh, Mother of Elves. The title is a mockery of maternal delight. My children, not yours, are well tended for. I teach them of growth through pain. They grow stronger because of the suffering I inflict on them. They are loyal to their mother, unlike the Elves that you have left. And how dare you judge us? You care for your children? Once every year you stand idle while they are slaughtered by your own creation. You had the opportunity to destroy him, but you didn’t. You let him go. On more than one occasion. Your children suffer and die, their shards corrupted beyond reclamation… because of you.”

Ll'yandra, shaken by Pandora’s accusation, takes a step backwards. The glow of the garden beyond the wall seems to dim and fade with her falter. Her voice cracks slightly as she responds, “No… elf must not kill elf.. I didn’t.. I couldn’t..”

Pandora relentlessly continues, “You couldn’t? You could. My children suffered because of you. Well no more. It ends now.”

Ll'yandra takes a deep breath and regains her composure. As she does the light of the shards glow to match. “No. Your words are poison. I will not have it here. This is my domain.” With that Ll'yandra raises a single hand high into the air. From within the Garden a single green shard rises into the sky. It sits there floating, its light giving off a bright contrast against the grey stone of the mountainous cavern walls. Ll'yandra shoots her hand forward and the shard obeys her command, loosing a bolt of pure light towards the Ice Queen.

The Mistress of Pain braces herself as the bolt dissolves her magical defenses. Ll'yandra raises another hand into the air as a second shard rises up. “Did you think you could defeat me here? I command the power of the entire elven race in this place. You foolish bitch, you cannot defeat me alone.”

A flicker of shadows along the far shore gives Ll'yandra pause and causes Pandora to laugh. “Oh,” she says mockingly, “I am not alone.”

The colour drains from Ll'yandra’s face as she stares wide eyed at the shadow. She steps back again before turning to Pandora. “No. You did not. Please no, not here. What have you done?” Her voice turns quickly from calm to a panicked scream. “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?”

The shadows cease and from the darkness the Pathergast stands defiantly. He moves with unnatural stealth and speed, spear ready and poised to strike like a scorpion’s tail. Ll'yandra turns from the other “mothers” and faces her new foe. She lets loose the built up power of the waiting shard behind her, in pure desperation. The bolt of light streaks from the shard to the Pathergast, but rather than strike true he simply raises his hand and grasps it. The beam of light in his hands begins to glow black. The corruption and darkness quickly flows back towards the shard before engulfing it in shadow. There is a loud crack and the shard’s light fades. The Pathergast pulls forward then and the shard bolts towards him. He grasps the broken shard and places it to his chest, absorbing it. Ll'yandra screams in dismay.

Pandora, watching from a distance, only laughs. “Oh, you fool,” She says, “that’s what he wants. This is what you have wrought and this is what you deserve. Let’s face it, you’ve been a horrible mother.”

Ignoring Pandora, Ll'yandra calls out to her lost child in desperation. “Please.. My son. Do not do this. I will not let you into the Garden. I will die before that happens.”

The Pathergast only smiled then. A wicked grin that told Ll'yandra his answer as he moved forward to take his mother’s life. Ll'yandra, nodding in bitter acceptance, began to channel heavily and with sadness in her voice declared, “I will die then.”

Just as the Pathergast moved forward to kill, a static charge fills the cavern, causing all parties to give pause. Glowing wards appear in the air, manifesting out of seemingly nothingness. An echoing voice fills the minds of all in attendance. It is deep and commanding. “No mother, you shall not die today.”

The wards continue to power up then begin to pulse energy, connecting together to form a psionic barrier between the three groups. The Pathergast snarls and began striking at the wall of invisible energy that keeps him from his prey. At that moment the golden doors of Dul’Agan opened wide, releasing into the cavern, a host of Stone Elves. At their lead, King Leoncio and at his right side, his queen, Bellineth. Behind them the entire council of Adun and following that royal host, the entire nation of Eleghast'Thalan. Thousands of Elven men, women, children and the elderly, some still in their night clothes, but all armed and ready for battle. They marched towards the darkness as the shard in the garden began to hum and vibrate.

King Leoncio, speaks without words, his mind carrying his voice through this now obvious pysonic amphithere. “We are the Eleghast'Thalan, charged with protection of the Garden since time began. This will not continue.”

Ll'yandra, watching the host of Stone Elves enter the battlefield, cried out from behind her ward, “Leoncio. No, you cannot. Pandora is right. I have failed you, I have failed our race and I have failed as a mother. I will hold him off for as long as I can, take the shards from the garden and get as many out alive as possible. Retreat, this is my fault and not your fight.”

King Leoncio continue his march expressionless. His mind echoes his response as he moves towards the Pathergast. “That is illogical. You are the mother to all and the needs all Thalan exceed the needs of one subset. This is our charge. Do not fear mother, fear will only cloud your mind. We are not defenseless.”

Ll'yandra cries out again but the Stones Elves seem to pay her no heed. They approach the Pathergast as a force, with their king in the lead. The Pathergast however, was not idle. He viciously strikes down at the wards, slowly etching away at their protective barrier. As the Elven king comes close, he pauses his assault and focuses his attention on this new enemy. Reaching deep within his black spirit he pulls forth a globe of shadowed energy. The Elven King however, did not slow. As the Pathergast releases his magic, it is the Queen that jumps before her husband, taking the full effect of the malevolent spell. As the dark magic strikes her chest, she cries out sharply in pain. The blackness devoures her then, disintegrating her body and obliterating her spirit. Showing no emotion to his wife’s sacrifice, the Elven King closes the distance. The Pathergast reaches into himself again to prepare a second attack, but Leonico was too close. The King of the Stone Elves did not draw a weapon or channel magic. He simply placed his right hand on the side of the Pathergasts cheek, spreading his fingers up to his temple.

As his touch took hold, the Pathergast froze in place. Leonico spoke then to his adversary’s mind which echoed for all to hear, “Our minds are one,” he said. The Pathergast’s eyes went black as the King took hold of his mind. ”You are a book to me now. I open you onto page one. Ahhh, Angelic as we suspected. Fallen from grace. I see your hatred and your vengeance. Such fickle emotions, I place them in a box. Page two, I see your prison now. Both the prison in your mind and in your hell. I free your mind and place it in a box. I place that box beside the other. I will study your hellish prison now. Built by The Mother, made from her shard. I understand. I see your plans now. You corrupt shards and take them to hell with you. All to expand your prison. Your prison was small, but now it is large. You have devoured many elves. This is unacceptable. Page three, I seek your name. I see your defences, your locks and chains. They guard your door which protects your name. Your barriers and traps are no match for me. I pick your locks and discard your chains. I grow and climb over your walls. I see the door now that hides your name. It is green. It is shut, locked and does not open. Interesting.”

King Leonico speaks then, the first physical words out of his mouth, directed to the army behind him, “Council of Adun. Lend me your mind.”

One by one the council of Adun approached the two mind locked combatants. Their lead, a female Stone Elf with long flowing grey hair, firmly places her hand on the shoulder of her king, lending him her mind. Behind her, the other council members follow suit placing hands on shoulders of the elves before them and send their mental strength, discipline and training to their king. As this power of mind expands, it casts a psonic net of thought.

King Leonico returns his gaze to the Pathergast. “The minds of the people are now one. Ahh I see the door again. I fashion a key from id and open the lock. I place the key in a box and place the box on top of the others. I open the door and see your name. This is not your true name. That is still hidden. I will search more. I see your chosen name. The Pathergast. The letters are black and dripping with poison. An obvious trap. I expected better. They stand defiant though, protecting your mind and something else. I fashion gloves. I feel your mind resist but you are no match for my ego. I fashion ten boxes. I pick up each letter of your chosen name and place them in their box. I stack those boxes with the others. Your chosen name is gone, I strip you of it. Your power is diminishing. Page four. I seek your true name. A veil of oil obscures my vision. I fashion fire and burn it away. I see a pedestal on which rests a mask. Ahh, you hide your true name. It's in your eyes. I place the mask on my own face and see your eyes. Ah, another trap.”

King Leonico falters as blood begins to drip from his eyes, ears and nose. He struggles to speak, “Eleghast’Thalan, lend me your mind.” Like the council before them, the entirety of the Stone Elven nation places their hand on the shoulder of the elf in front of them. The psionic net grows and strengthens as every adult, child and elder, grasp each other upon the shoulders, creating a line of connected minds that extends well past the garden and into the city itself. Leonico, renewed with the mental strength of Stone Elf nation, steadies himself and continues his assault.

“Better. I disarm your trap. It is defeated. I see your eyes now, I look past them to your true name. Mortigeist. You are the Mortigeist. I seize that name and own it. It is mine. I command you fully now Angel… wait.. Demon? Interesting, but irrelevant now. Will investigate later. Mortigeist, I command you, drop your defenses, lower your weapons. Your death is at hand.” As Leonico speaks his command the Mortigeist obeys and drops to his knees. His spear hits the ground and rolls off to the side. His dark magic dissolves as he releases his control over the power, as he is commanded.

“I see it all now Mortigeist,” Leonico continues. “Your walls are gone, there are no defenses left. Page five. I see your shard. It is… beautiful. Unexpected. I grasp your shard and I being to squeeze. I feel it crack. My hand is pierced. A trap within your shard? Oh no.”

The Mortigeist opens his eyes and stands then. Ll'yandra begins to realize too late the trap her child has sprung. She cries to Leonico to let go, but the hold the Mortigeist has on his mind is complete and unwavering. It was then, in the darkness of this place, that the Mortigest spoke for the first time in his existence. Four words that echoed throughout the minds of everyone present and down the psionic net into the great city. With a cold dead words, fashioned from the torment of ten thousand obligated elven shards, he calls out, “THIS.. WORKS BOTH WAYS.”

The Mortigeist reaches up with his right hand and places on the cheek and temple of the King of the Stone Elves, forcing his mind into the psyche of his target. While king Leonico was methodical and precise with his dissection the opposite rang true for the Mortigeist. King Leonico opens his mouth as if to scream but instead, only the dark demonic voice of the Mortigest came forth. “OUR MINDS ARE ONE,” the king unwillingly says. “I SEE YOUR DOORS, LOCKS AND DEFENCES, I OBLITERATE THEM. I SEE YOUR CHOSEN NAMES, I OBLITERATE THEM. I SEE YOUR TRUE NAMES, I OBLITERATE THEM. I SEE YOUR SHARDS. I CORRUPT THEM. I SEE ALL YOUR SUPPRESSED EMOTIONS. I RELEASE THEM ALL AT ONCE. YOU ARE SHATTERED.” As he brutally went his way through the King's mind, shattering his defenses with raw strength and power, a physical change began to manifest. The geometric markings on the Stone Elf’s face began to vibrate and undo. His skin began to harden and his flesh grew taunt. The markings, now jagged and unraveled, pulsed with a black energy, cracking the skin. The painful and disfiguring change reverberates through the psionic net to the council behind him, then to the rest of the Stone Elf nation connected to his mind. One by one their faces crack and shatter as the Mortigest’s corruption of their shards takes hold.

A silence filled the air then and even Ll'yandra herself, held her breath. All of them, gods and mortals, sat watching the the Stone Elven King. His face betrayed the silence first, the corners of his lips quivering then bending upwards, engaging muscles that had not been used in thousands of years. A smile slowly creeps upon his face. It is unnatural and causes Pandora to visibly shudder. His lips then part and betray a laugh, quiet at first, but soon growing in volume. A single tear rolls down his cheeks, over the black fingers of the Mortigeist, still clutching the side of his head. Laughing and crying, both at once he stutters out the words, “My wife.. You killed my wife. I loved her… oh gods, she's gone. Why? Such despair.. It hurts so much. How could it hurt so much? My love. NO!”

Like a plague the Mortigeist’s corruption fills the King, passing through the psionic net to the council behind him and beyond. One by one the Stone Elf precession begin to lose grip on the training that held their emotions at bay. It started first with a smirk or a whimper, but quickly grew in crescendo as laughter and weeping filled the air. Cries of horror and pain escape Ll'yandra’s lips as she watches in horror as her children succumb, one after the other, to the Mortigeist’s domination of their minds and corruption of their shards.

King Leonico, his royal robes wet with the tears still streaming down his face, calls out to her in desperation, “Mother!,” he says with a smile. “We have failed. I cannot stop this. Haha.”

Ll'yandra only cries in return, “My child, no! Please no. I am sorry!”

Leonico, summoning the last of his mental facilities, shouts back, “There is only one way, mother hahahaha. You must….hehehehe… open the way. Hahahahaha.”

The Mother of Elves recoils in horror, “No I cannot!” She cries back. “I will not. You will be lost to me. You will be his.”

Leonico giggles, “We are Shattered Elves now. We are already lost hehehe. But we the Garden and you. mother, while I still have some..hehehe control.”

Ll'yandra shed a single tear then. The third of its kind in all of history.

(It is recorded in myth that Ll'yandra has shed two tears in her life. The first stuck the ground and shattered, giving all elves what they know to be their shard. The second tear dropped at the fall of the Thalan. When the humans committed the first sin and divided our people. The third tear falls now, for the loss of her children. A result of her own doing.)

As the tear land on the soft dirt, the shards in the garden began to sing a requiem's song. Ll'yandra channels into the ground and the air behind the Mortigeist begins to thicken with magic. She channels brighter now, pouring all her anguish, sorrow, regret and anger into a single casting which she painfully releases behind her fallen Angel. A rift of magic tears through the air behind her monstrous creation, opening up a portal of arcane energy. Its surface betrays its destination; the fiery pits of hell and the prison of the Mortigeist. The Mortigeist looks on, anger in his eyes. King Leoncio laughing through his tears, reaches up and grabs the Mortigeist by the throat and pushing him backwards. The King smiles then, a wicked large grin that fills his face. Laughing he whispers into the Mortigeist ear, “Go to hell.”

The Mortigeist, sensing the inevitable, grasps the hand of the manic King, draggin him and all who were mind-linked, down the demonic hole that he calls home. In blink of an eye the Mortigeist, the King and the entire nation of Eleghast'Thalan, are pulled through the rift, into hell. The rift then closes quickly behind them with an explosive force that knocks the three mothers to the ground and disarming Pandora of her orb of power.

A quietness fills the area then, a peaceful contrast to the maniacal laughing and crying that filled the air only moments before. Ll'yandra rises to her feet first, her face full of sorrow. She turns to the only remaining figures on the field of battle, who are scrambling to shake the stars that fill their vision. Seeing the two, Ll'yandra’s demeanor to change dramatically. She stands tall now, channeling heavily. Before the two could react the Mother of Elves raises both hands into the air. Behind her, thousands upon thousands of shards take to the sky in response to their mother’s call. They began to hum and sing a new song. One of justice and retribution. Ll'yandra speaks then with such anger and majesty, “Pandora. I thank you.”

Pandora, regaining some of her senses, begins searching frantically for her Orb of Power, known for its ability to gate the Ice Queen away from danger. It lay a few feet from her on the soft earth but just out of reach. She looks up at Ll'yandra, confused by her words, but equally fearful of her life.

Ll'yandra motions with her hand and a bolt of pure light shoots forth, striking the Goddess of Pain in the chest. Pandora screams, clutching her torso while frantically trying to reach her Orb. “I said, I thank you.” she says. “You have taught me a valuable lesson on suffering. You have made me stronger. You were right, I have been a poor mother. But no longer.“

Motioning again with her hand, two more bolts of light streak down, striking Pandora, cutting deep into her thigh and legs. She reaches her orb as the second bolt hit, crying out in pain. With the orb firmly in her gasp she weakly stands and holds Blith out in front of her, defensively.

Ll'yandra motions a third time and the shards responds, firing a dozen consecutive bolts of pure light magic at Pandora. This time however, the orb’s red surface seems to absorb them. Pandora weakly laughs, “Fool, you may have won this battle but at what cost? An entire race of elves, shattered. Corrupted by your creation, serving him for eternity.”

Ll'yandra’s face did not betray emotion at the Ice Queen’s words. “Yes,” she simply said in response. “My fault. I accept it now. You expect me to crumble? To allow the weight of my actions to destroy me? They will not. Suffering breeds strength, isn’t that what you say? I will learn from my mistakes. Never again shall I put anything before the lives of my Elves.”

Taking a step forward, Ll’andra’s voice raises now in anger, “Never again Pandora. I will kill you for what you have done, but first I strip my protection from your abominable offspring. They, like the Shattered Elves, are lost to me. No longer will a true elf need fear your twisted children. I will kill them on sight for the greater good of our kind and as punishment for your crimes. Just as I will kill you now.”

With a unseen mental command, the shards of the garden begin firing bolts of light in rapid succession. Pandora’s Orb, Blith, absorbs them all, protecting its mistress but the cost of this power seems to deny her the chance to use its gating ability. Pandora, her face straining shouts out, “We can do this all day, fool. Blith absorbs your light.”

Ll'yandra’s eyes glow red with anger, “THEN I WILL EMBRACE THE DARKNESS!”, she shouts.

Pandora’s face changes from pained to surprise as half the shards in the garden begin to glow red to match their Mother’s eyes. Bolts of black energy shot forth, joining with the light from their brothers and sisters. Ll’landa feels them, their anger at her for her past transgressions. They rage as they pass by her, deviating from their intended path to make the mother painfully pay. Their magic digs deeply into her flesh, cutting her arms, legs, and face, spraying her blood like mist into the air. The Mother understands and stands tall through the pain, accepting her punishment. Having inflicted their pain upon their mother they continue past her towards Pandora. Bolts of both light and dark magic rain down, striking Pandora in the face, chest and stomach, ripping open gruesome wounds and spilling great quantities of her blood on the sand of the shoreline.

As the onslaught continues Ll'yandra, bloodied but unwavering, shouts to her decimated foe, “Nothing, neither light nor darkness, good nor evil, shall ever stand in the way of my children again.”

Pandora, crumbles as the bolts of divine magic assault her. With the last of her strength, and with a mouthful of blood, she spits out a final, “Fuck you.” before smashing the orb into her own chest. As the orb shatters, a unstable gate appears, sucking in Pandora before exploding outwards with magical force. The remains of Blith fall to the ground, broken and lost forever.

Ll'yandra turns then to Haldora then. The Mother of Nightmares speaks nervously, and brings her hands up in defence, “I had no idea she would bring that monster here,” she cries. “Please show mercy, one mother to another. “

The Mother of Elves spits at the ground before Haldora’s feet. “There is nothing I can do to you that you have not already done to yourself.” She says. “You are pathetic, you are unloved, and you are a disgrace to motherhood. Slink back to your abyss and feed on the scraps that no one else wishes.”

Haldora cringes at the harsh words but slowly backs away into the depths of the murky waters of the river of death.

Ll'yandra, turns a final time, facing the shards that floating vibrantly in the air above her. Their song changes to that of acceptance and justification. She breaths deeply before addressing them, “My children. I am sorry. Forgive me. Never again will I allow my own personal feelings or wants overcome your safety. Never again.”

The mother of Elves turns then and walks into the garden. She calls up a final time to the shards above her before the garden doors close.

“Come.” she says. “Mother is home.”

August 3rd, 2258
Isle of Melinda. Arctic Summit

As the freshly repaired ships of the Empire sail towards the horizon, the elder fae of the Winter Court gather at their most holy of sites. Upon the highest hill these true fae join under the shadow of the giant God, Ga’more. They are distinctly aware that his time-locked prison slowly wears thin and his minute movements grow steadily faster.

The first to arrive at the sacred site is Tremellose, Lord of the Court. He carries in his hands the egg of Essylt, taken from the Summer Court through deceit and violence. He places it gently on an ancient stone altar at the hills peak. He then reaches into his winter robe and withdraws a simple wooden box whose surface appears to be etched with an eight pointed star. He draws the box close so the others cannot see and slowly opens the lid, peering inside. His eyes widen for a moment before he snaps the lid down sharply.

“Interesting,” he says. “Very well, let us begin.”

He raises both hands into the air and begins to channel a dark blue energy. As he initiates his ancient fae magic, the clouds above darken and a cold chill fills the air. The snow, that has not stopped falling for the past three days, begins to thicken.

With uninhibited power he speaks these words:

“The day is short; the sun a spark, hung thin between the night and dark.”
When sky is low; the wind turned grey, our heart of ice you will obey.
When we who joined, our Court of Winter, bring our storm of cold steel splinter
Our power drawn on ancient lands, released at once by unseelie hands”

As the Fae Lord finishes his first incantation, blue motes of energy rise from his hands ascending into the sky. The clouds above turn blue with magic as a loud clap of thunderous power infuses them with fae magic. Satisfied with his reaction, he picks up the Firstborn Egg of the reborn Faerie Dragon and holds it high in the air.

“The purple’s egg within our cradle, it’s power mine; a faded fable.
By winter's hand, by craft by art, what once was one, now fly apart.
The threat above, he doth command, this home not yours; this faerie land.
By right of Lord I end this war, from whence you came here nevermore.”

His voice rises in crescendo as the ritual draws complete. As the last line is shouted forth, icy tendrils drop down from the clouds towards the southern shore. They strike for but a moment before dispersing. As their faerie magic takes hold, the shadow of Ga’more flickers and fades, sent back by the ancient ritual to the lands he first called home.

With their work complete, the Court of Winter gather their things and return to their homes. Slowly, over time, the inhabitants of the war torn isle follow them.

August 4th, 2258
Celestial Heavens, Hall of Time

Cronos waits in the Halls of Time.

He sits upon a massive clockwork throne that clicks and whirls counting the passage of time in all the known realms. The doors on the far end of the chamber open silently; a hooded figure quietly passes through the threshold. He glances at the thread covered walls, each glowing and pulsing with the arcane magics of time. He moves towards his intended target. As he approaches, the dark figure removes his hood revealing the face of a mature human male with a short black goatee. Charon, the Lord of Death, stands defiantly before Cronos.

“I am not your puppet, Lord of Time,” he says with disdain. “I do not get summoned. I am here out of curiosity only.”

Cronos leans forward slightly, his large black hourglass swings like a pendulum off the chain around his neck. “You are no puppet,” he replies, “that is why I asked you here. Time is short, come forward Charon. I have something important to tell you.”

Charon raised an eyebrow before stepping towards the Lord of Time. “Time is short? How can time be short with you as its master?”

Cronos did not answer. He only stared at Charon without emotion. Somewhere in the distance the chime of a clock rings, its significance unknown. Charon sighs, giving up on receiving an answer. He steps before the clockwork throne.

As Charon draws near Cronos leans forward and whispers in his ear. Charon’s eyes grow wide with shock and he nods slowly. Satisfied that the Lord of Natural Death understood his words, Cronos raises his arms and grasps the thick iron chain around his neck, lifting the heavy black hourglass that named him the Lord of Time. He holds it in his old weathered hands a final time before offering it to Charon. Charon, hesitant to accept this offering, slowly reaches upwards and takes the ancient artifact. . . It was heavier than he suspected.

“If you are sure?” Charon says, his composure regained. “I mean, of course I accept. . . but.”

“There can be no debate.” Cronos replied. “It is the only way. To do any different would disrupt all of time itself. There is no cost that is worth that.”

Charon nods again, this time with a sadness in his eyes. Wordlessly, he turns and leaves the halls. The chime of the clock bell rings once more.

As the doors to his chamber shut, the Lord of Time sits back in his throne and stares at the many threads of time along the wall. He seems frustrated and uneasy as he looks around the room, waiting for something unknown. A few moments pass, and he stands with a grunt before pacing the stone floors. He returns to his seat and begins tapping his fingers on the metal arms of his clockwork throne impatiently. He sighs deeply and folds his hands on his lap. He stares down at them, old and withered. The hands that had held and maintained so much time in his history as it’s Lord. He looks up then; a calm comes over his face. He breathes deeply, nods and speaks out loud, “You’re late.”

The Lord of Time knew the ending to every story, far before the stories ended. It was for that reason that, when the black stiletto pierced his heart, he did not cry out or even seem remotely surprised. He simply looked down at his hands a single last time, closed his eyes, and died.

The body of the Lord of Time began to harden and become graniual like sand. His attacker placed in the dead god’s hands a metal mask made of iron. A moment later Cronos’s body began to break apart and flow like the sands in the hourglass he once wore around his neck. As his body broke apart, the metal mask fell to the ground filling the hall with a sharp metal clang.

The clock in the distance chimed once more, then ceased its song forever.

August 5th, 2258
River of Death, Aboard The Reaper.

Charon sits upon a simple portside bench aboard his ship, The Reaper, turning over in his hands the black hourglass of Cronos. His brow furrows with uncertainty. On starboard side, his firstmate Felix, a female human, nonchalantly gathers a tangled net from the deck. As she undoes the mess of knots she looks over to her master with slight concern.

“What’s up, boss?” She questions. “You look wrong.”

Charon replies without looking up from his hourglass, “If I take this power, it may change me.” He pauses for a moment as if trying to identify this stranger feeling. “I am afraid.”

Felix, her net untangled, casts it into the black waters below. She begins to heave on it while simultaneously responding to her captain. “I get that,” she replies. “But I don’t think change is bad. Worked out for me. Thanks for that by the way.”

Charon does not respond, but instead stares intently at the hourglass watching the black sand as it falls from the top of the glass into the bottom. Felix, with a final loud grunt, hoists the net onto the deck. She crouches before it and begins digging through her bounty, pushing her hands deep into the mess until she finds her prize. Slowly and carefully, she withdraws from the net a yellow glowing orb. Its light is faded and its surface cracked and fractured. She stands then and places the orb on a black wooden pedestal that looks as if it was designed to hold the yellow sphere. The orb glows fainter as it’s placed in its home. It sits there as if it had been there before, and for a very long time. Her work done she turns to Charon, “Who are the hags in the back?”

Charon looks up at Felix and then past her to the Orb. “What a shame.” he says before addressing her question. “They are my angels now. Hags, Crones, Fates, Norns. They go by many names. Leave them be.”

Felix nods and turns her attention once again to the pedestal. She places her hands on her hips, studying the scene before her. “It needs something…” she says.

She reaches into the folds of her colourful garb and produces a stick of thick black charcoal. As Charon speaks she moves towards the orb, charcoal in hand. “Do you want it?” he asks. “Felix? Do you want to be a Goddess of Time?”

Felix, hunched over the orb, replies casually, “No thank you. I’m not a big fan of that wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey... stuff. But thanks for asking.”

Charon sighs. Felix stands and admires the work she has just completed. Upon the faintly glowing yellow orb she has drawn a frowning face with childlike artistry. She nods before exclaiming, “Perfect!” with a giant grin. She turns back to Charon then says, “You do what you gotta do boss. I’ll be here still.”

Charon nods at his faithful first mate. He hoists the hourglass up by the chain. Taking a final look at his fate, he places the black chain around his neck. He notices no physical differences save for a continuous stream of fine black sand that begins to cascade from his skeletal hands. As the grains fall to the deck of the ship, they fades into nothingness.

Charon looks at his hands, then to Felix. She questions him, “You good Charon?”

Charon takes a moment to consider the question. He responds slowly, but with confidence. “My name is Vesmir.”

Felix nods and throws him a sly wink. “Sure thing boss. Let’s get out of here. I’m on the wheel!”

As Felix races to the wheelhouse, Vesimir turns to stares out at the vast grey ocean.

“Change is good,” He says to no one. “But there has been enough change for awhile. Let it end here. It’s about time.”

(The work of this Chronologer is now complete. The gods who have survived have returned to safety of their celestial heavens. Those that did not shall fade from memory like so many celestials before them.)
David Ashby
Underworld LARP Canada - Co-Owner
World Shaper Lead: 2017

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