The Hues of History

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The Hues of History

Postby Storyteller » Sat Nov 01, 2003 11:35 pm

I sat within my meager lodgings, reflecting upon my next performance and remembering those that I have given. There are so many to remember, so many yet to give that there was nothing too spectacular about my musings, but that all changed quite suddenly.

One moment I sat alone, and the next I was no longer alone but an elderly man sat in a chair across from me. Before I could think to question his intent, the Presence washed over me. I became aware that this man was no man, but was instead the Binder. Awed, for stories are my life and this was the keeper of all stories, I sunk to my knees in reverence. "Welcome, Oghma. How may I serve?" I asked in a hushed whisper.

His gentle face creased into a sad smile as his wise eyes beheld mine. "Be at ease, Storyteller. I come to thee to impart knowledge, for that is my domain. This story must be known, and it shall fall to thee to tell it. Do not withhold from any thine knowledge of this event, for 'tis the consensus of the Conclave that by the hands of the mortals shall this be contested. There shall be those who choose to ply their hand in aid of their Chosen, but this battle doth lie in thine hands."

I could not think of what to say, to argue or protest or even question the Binder when I was knocked flat as I felt the might of a God's knowledge infuse my mind. For one brief instant, I beheld the world as the Binder sees it, seeing the Great Library of Lore that He makes his home in. Then it was as though one tome opened before my eyes, and I saw the story that I tell you now.

There is so very much history involved in the backplot of this story, so much that it cannot all be told but merely summarized. Many, many years ago there was a mighty battle against an ancient god of tremendous power, Auzorm'tvorl as he was known then. He was defeated, naturally, by the combined efforts of the Heroes of the day as well as a Conclave of twelve elder gods who locked Auzorm'tvorl, also known as the Vile One, into a prison and sealed it for what they hoped was all time. Weakened by the struggle and the prison, the Vile One settled down to wait, reaching what influence he possessed into the realms of Faerun to wreak what havoc he could. Those elder Dragons who survived the titanic battle on Mount Skelenak retreated to their lairs and entered into an enchanted slumber, to await the day they may be needed once more.

Centuries passed, and the memory of the Vile One passed from nearly all living creatures. He bided his time, as only a God can do. For He knew that nothing is truly for ever, that one day he would be free to finish the task of destroying Faerun. And He was not disappointed, as not long ago His opportunity arose. Bane, allied with two other Gods stole the Tablets of Fate and Ao cast the Gods from the heavens. The Time of Troubles was upon us.

What happened then is only superficially an aspect of this story, but the unforseen side effect was that the divine seals upon the Vile One's prison were stripped of their immortal strength. He pounced, tearing a small hole through the wards that would allow his consciousness through, if not his essence. He started several plots in action, and sat back to await the outcome.

His first and most dangerous plot was destroyed, as Orcus fell beneath the blades of allied mortals. It was of small matter to the Vile One, who was already well immersed in his next plot. His followers, disguised as traders and merchants were moving about, gathering materials to create His intended Vessel. And that which would destroy the last seals upon His prison had been found. An ancient netherese artifact, the Vile One had expended centuries of effort to corrupt its power to serve him when activated as it lay in the Crypts beneath the town of Scornubel.

The Prism had been discovered by a party of adventurers contracted by the silver dragon Tsakchanar. She is ancient, descended by one generation from those Elder dragons who fought against Auzorm'tvorl so many years ago. She was aware of his presence, and of the weakened seals that were still just managing to keep His essence contained. The Prism, well documented by its creators as having the power to seal portals forever, seemed just the tool that could be used to re-inforce the seals or sever the connection entirely.

Her research was hampered by another of the Vile One's secret allies, a powerful wizard who had apprenticed under the Mad Mage himself. Trobriand sought glory, glory and power and was willing to believe that the images his scrying pool were true augury, and not the twisted deceptions of mad God imprisoned away. Trobriand set his minions to harrassing the dragon, trying to steal away the Prism from her before she could activate it. His allegience became apparent to her, and his insistence upon claiming the artifact influenced her belief that she truly was on the correct path to ending the menace presented by the Vile One. She formed an early alliance with Lord Erlan of Greycloak for patrols under Mount Skelenak, where she would be performing the ritual to seal the Vile One's portal once and for all.

His other followers were not idle during this time either, as Trobriand and Tsakchanar dueled with one another. They arranged for the construction of a mighty Golem, and commissioned the Drow and their allies to deliver it into the caves of Mount Skelenak. They accepted, and discovered to their surprise that the previously barren tunnels were now patrolled by groups of elves from nearby Greycloak. Sadly, the elves were no match for the drow in their own tunnels, and before long the Golem was delivered to its cave, there to await the coming of a great event. One of the party, the assassin Nilan, seemed to sense something amiss and tried to destroy the construct, but he was prevented from doing so by his companions. Rather than this be a tragedy, it has proved a salvation that he was stopped.

The day arrived for Tsakchanar to attempt to use the Prism to destroy the Portal behind which Auzorm'tvorl was imprisoned. Her elven patrols had been reinforced from the earlier incursion of the dark elves, and they patrolled the area vigilantly. Tsakchanar also sent an agent to some of the adventurers who had aided her in the past, and arranged for their transport into the tunnels to serve as another line of defense. Feeling suitably protected, she erected an arcane barrier to block entry to the ritual circle and began the process of activating the Prism.

This was what Trobriand had waited for, and his own plans were set into motion. He commissioned the dark elves to once again strike into the tunnels, drawing attention away from his true purpose. They accepted, all too eager to spill the blood of the elves and a great battle began outside Goortok's guard post. Through special portals, the mage's metallic minions poured into the area where Tsakchanar worked and where the adventurers awaited to guard. As the battle raged near Goortok, so too did the allies of Tsakchanar battle with the metallic Thanatars of Trobriand's creation. The adventurers were cut off from the aid of Tsakchanar's other allies by the double-pronged attack orchestrated by the wizard, and courageously they held their line despite the odds against them.

As all were suitably engaged by the respective forces, the wizard opened yet another portal and stepped into the complex behind the defense line of the adventurers from the surface. He was halted by the energy field that Tsakchanar had erected, and before he could work at destroying it his raiding party was detected by a rear-guard that the adventurers had established. During a rare lull in the fighting, they fell back to assault the wizard and block his progress towards where the dragon worked. Flickers of light danced through the tunnels as the Prism's magic activated, and by its light the battles intensified. At one point, Trobriand's forces drove off the dragon's allies, but they soon returned to assault anew. The dark elf opted to aid the dragon's allies rather than his own people, and his blades helped turn the battle against wizard.

As his allies fell around him and the Prism's task neared completion, the wizard grew desperate and tried to turn Tsakchanar's allies against her. He cried out a warning that the Prism was corrupt, hoping to stay the blades and spells that fell around him. It was to no avail, and as his protective contingency spell whisked his battered body away the Prism shattered under the magical force it unleashed.

To Tsakchanar's horror and the dismay of her contracted allies, the Prism did not seal shut the portal as her research had indicated it would. Instead, the subtle machinations of the Vile One were revealed, as the corrupted nature of the Prism's magic instead sundered open the remaining wards and guards upon the portal. As the enchanted crystal shards rained down around Tsakchanar's body, a quiet undertook the entire world of Faerun as Auzorm'tvorl's essence flooded out of its prison. For the briefest of instants, He nearly possessed the distraught dragon, and it was only the presence of the Golem nearby that encouraged him to house his spirit in that Vessel instead. The world began moving again as the Vile One began His trek to where His followers waited, as the dust settled around Tsakchanar's shattered hopes and the adventurers who'd aided her. The Vile One was free once more.

This then, is the story of His release. Auzorm'tvorl is free once more, just as Prophecies have foretold. They were cast by a priestess of Selune, many centuries ago and enchanted to remain hidden against this day. I can only assume that the Monoliths upon which they were writ are no longer hidden, and it seems that our beloved world once more has a mad god to fight. For there is no doubt that his intention today is no different than it was ten thousand years ago.

The destruction of this entire world.

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