Thread: Harqual: Mythology and History!
Thursday, 26th February, 2009, 09:14 AM #1
Guide (Lvl 11)
Harqual: Mythology and History!
Okay, I had originally posted some of this as a "story hour" some time ago but I cannot find it through the use of my Meta Fu. Plus, I've changed some tidbits here and there since then; therefore, I've decided to repost it here under my own Kulan forum.
Most of this exists on my Wiki but it isn't complete. This will be where the most complete version will be posted from now on.
Basically, this thread will detail my Harqualian Mythology including my Divinity War fiction as well as the History of the continent since the end of that divine conflict.
My PbP players are free to read this if they so choose. It will help them immerse themselves into the setting more (IMO) and give them some important background information.
Last edited by Knightfall; Sunday, 1st May, 2011 at 02:01 AM.Robert Blezard
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Guide (Lvl 11)
The Mythology & History of Harqual
I have never reached this point ever in my years of gaming and had never had the ambition. But then I read The Wyrm’s Turn in DRAGON Magazine #244:
“Like most folks, I imagine many more campaigns than I’ll ever actually run — especially the latest version of my house campaign... which is, of course, my ‘next’ favorite.This made me think about one of my own campaigns, Kulan, and how far it has come. And yet I have never truly understood what drives me to keep it going. It doesn’t have much history or been played to every corner of the maps I’ve drawn and redrawn. I’ve only shared it with three people who aren’t the most avid gamers ever known. In fact, it is not even my first campaign world. That distinction will always go to Malecade (i.e. Time of Ages).
On that note, write me a short letter describing your own house campaign — whether you’ve actually run it or have just dreamed it so far. We’ll print the most interesting in D-mail, where everyone can see what you’ve imagined.”
— Dave Gross
It’s really a combination of many things.
1) Personal Fulfillment: Too leave a personal legacy, no matter how obscure it might be. Too leave something behind for others to enjoy. Even if it is only some distant relative sorting through old boxes after I’m gone.
2) My Pain: The fact is that the game has had more impact on my soul than anyone else could ever know. In the years of my youth it gave me a way to channel the painful emotions of adolescence and doubt. It strengthened me and gave me hope for the future.
3) My Imagination: Ever since I was little, my mind would wander to things out of place in our world. Studying pictures of the myths & legends of other times in history such as Stonehenge and ancient Aztec ruins, as if in a dream. Seeing them come to life in my mind and losing myself to the fantasy of whatever I’m looking at. I didn’t pay attention in school very much unless it was Social Studies. It is a powerful gift to imagine something that is beyond reality such as magic and dragons. To feel the wings beating in my mind carrying me higher than one should dare to go. I have always wanted to fly!
4) My Heart: This is hard to put into words but all my campaigns have been a expression of my deepest love for family, friends, and other more passionate hopes & dreams. I guess you could call me the doomed romantic. I can never feel something halfway...it’s all or nothing. And usually, that is what brings about my downfall in the end. I have cared very deeply about many wonderful women in this world; most never knew. All because I could never find the courage to express it verbally. Shauna, Carla, Jennifer, Susan, Stacey, and Samantha.
Samantha, now there’s a tale . . .
But I think I’ll make you wait for that one. All these women have truly inspired my soul at one point or another. And I thank them all.
Last edited by Knightfall; Friday, 9th July, 2010 at 06:58 PM.
Guide (Lvl 11)
THE ERAS OF HARQUAL
This was the only place where I could possibly start. Before anything else about Kulan existed there was Harqual. Born out of barbaric beginnings, Harqual is a land rich with wild tracts of land, untamed peoples, and strange magical phenomena.
A lot of what was written here was created as I wrote it. Any comments, questions, or suggestions should be sent to me by e-mail.
The First Era
Out of the Mists
The first god to come to this great land was Cronn. It is said that Cronn was born out of the mists of the far north, Cronn is the Great Lord of the People of the Northlands.
Mirella, The World Goddess, recorded his birth in the Book of Time. The goddess of time and history, Mirella has existed on Kulan before any other god or goddess, no matter what they claim.
Cronn instantly realized her power and knelt before her in the heavens. “Ask what you will of me, milady, I am your servant!”
She was touched by the barbarian god’s gesture but shook her head. “No Great Cronn, your destiny is not with me but with the land that bore you. You are its master and slave, you must guard it for all time against those that would destroy it.”
With that she left him. So great was his sorrow that he could not serve the lady, tears streamed from his eyes to shatter the earth. Thus the first of Cronn's barbarian children were born. Cronn led his people into the wilds of the Northlands where they still exist today as they did thousands of years ago.
Mirella was also the goddess of all magic on Kulan at this time. But she did not have the desire to keep such a gift from others. She soon passed on her power to several other powers across Kulan, including Immotion, Patron of Magic. Immotion is one of the early children of Cronn. Or at least, she is a direct result of his creation.
It is known that Xuar, her brother, was and still is her rival for the arcane. Xuar was jealous of her power and attacked her in rage when he found out that Mirella had gifted her with the power that he desired. He plunged a wood spear into her heart and drank her divine blood in order to steal some of her magic. Thus he holds power over the Necromantic Arts.
Cronn was enraged by Xuar’s actions and banished The Jealous Arcane from the Northlands. Thus is it that Necromancy, also known as The Forbidden Art, is a taboo of all followers of the North Gods.
Immotion’s encounter with her evil brother had left her in a broken state. She had not the power to heal her wound with sorcery and was on the brink of losing her immortality. Thus it was that a young tribesman, who loved her dearly, sought for a way to heal her. He begged great Cronn to raise part of the Northlands up high enough for him to touch the sun and use its light to keep her warm. Thus were the Greystones formed and so to the God of Healing and the Sun, Jalivier.
Cronn praised Jalivier for his wisdom and compassion and offered him anything he desired. “I have only one wish great Cronn, to be at Lady Immotion’s side for all eternity.”
Cronn could see that his daughter was smitten with the new, young god and whole-heartedly agreed. “Let it be so!”
And with their joining came five children — Kuil, Larea, Ramara, Sanh and Tok. Kuil was the oldest and a master of stealth. He was destined at an early age to become the God of Rogues and Illusion. Larea came next and was born wild. She is the Goddess of the Wilderness, The Hunting Princess. Ramara was the third child to bless Immotion and Jalivier and had a beauty beyond anything Cronn had ever seen. “Truly we are blessed to have such a child born amongst us.”
She was made the Goddess of Love, Beauty and Joy. Sanh, the second youngest was wilder than even Larea. He had his father’s spirit from birth and strove to become as strong as Jalivier. And his father was proud, despite his chaotic nature. Sanh was appointed God of the Wind and Sky and Lord of Thunder.
And then, then there was Tok.
Last edited by Knightfall; Friday, 9th July, 2010 at 07:00 PM.
Guide (Lvl 11)
Tok was one of the North Gods’ greatest tragedies. Tok was born as a mad, monstrous hound with huge tusks and six limbs. Xuar placed a curse on Immotion during the birth and Tok was the result. Tok ravaged the Northlands for over a decade killing tribesmen and destroying the forests of his people. Worse, those he killed did not truly die but became undead creatures that stalked the land alongside him.
Cronn loathed the idea of killing one of his own for Tok was not naturally evil, simply mad. He knew that Tok’s soul would evaporate into nothingness without some form of release from his madness. Instead, he called through the planes for a god that would cleanse his grandchild. Many came to help but none could end the creature’s pain.
Then came a strange god, named Issek, from an unknown, distant plane of existence. This god possessed power over those that must endure torture and hardship. Issek confronted Tok on the Plains of the Long Divide without fear or malice. Tok charged towards Issek as if to slay the alien god but all Issek did was stare the creature down as it came closer. A sudden change came over Tok and he stopped abruptly. He tilted his head like a lost pup and blinked at the strange off world deity. Issek turned to Cronn and smiled. “He must come with me to my home in the planes and must never leave my side or he will revert to his madness.”
“So it must be.” Cronn was saddened to see his grandchild in such a state. “But you must come and visit us from time to time so that we may see him. He may be mad, but he is family.”
Issek agreed without pause and did indeed come to visit the pantheon every chance he could spare. Thus it was that a divine chair was set at Cronn’s Great Table for Issek, as Lord of Tortured Souls.
This event left Cronn with a dilemma.
All the undead creatures that were created by his grandson had to be destroyed and set to rest yet they were still his people, even if corrupted by Necromancy. Thus it that Cronn again called through the planes for a god to cleanse their tainted souls. Many vile gods and goddesses answered his call and he was appalled by their bloodthirsty nature and sent them away.
Then came Hades. He was dark and foreboding, there was no doubt about that. But he possessed a certain peaceful and honorable quality that Cronn admired. “Your people are welcome in my realm if you choose. But you must understand that most of those that enter will simply fade away into the realm and cannot be raised.”
“Perfect.” Cronn was most pleased, as those that die should not be brought back to life by any means. Thus it was that Hades was given a seat at Cronn’s table, as the Lord of the Dead, and those of Cronn’s people that had died at the hands of Tok found eternal rest in Hade’s Underrealm.
Thus, it was that Cronn began The Calling. Issek and Hades were the first to answer the call, but they were not the last. Soon Cronn had dozen’s of desperate powers trying to escape death or increase their own power. The gods and goddesses that came to his summons overwhelmed Cronn.
He called out to Mirella and asked, “Great Lady, what am I to do! All seem eager to sit at my Great Table but I cannot choose between them!”
Mirella spoke to him. “Great Cronn, I am pleased by your humble wisdom. They can not all sit at your Table for their isn’t room. I suggest you choose those that are in need and noble of being.”
Thus these new gods and goddesses were given a seat at Cronn’s Great Table. Aegir, Anacoro, Bast, Cull, Daghdha, Damh, Inanna, Lokun, Rel, and Santè.
These gods brought with them a desire to truly be part of Cronn’s growing family and beget several other lesser gods and demigods as a sign of solidarity. Thus, the Hall of the Northlands filled with the laughter of the Divine Children: Anon, Euphoria, Hansa, Hela, Jaeger, Mayela, Nessus, Sialic, Thorn, Truce, Tulle, and Zealot.
Guide (Lvl 11)
From the Unknown
It was around this time that a strange supernatural event shook the heavens. In the middle of a cold fall night a bright cosmic light flashed in the heavens.
This great supernatural event caused the night to become day for one evening. This event was soon followed by hundreds of meteors raining down to the earth for two solid days. On the third day, three bright meteorites streaked through the night sky and came down near one of the southern lakes. They hit the ground with such force that the tremors could be felt north of the Greystones.
Cronn instantly was concerned that this dark omen might mean hardship for his people. If only he had know the truth.
Guide (Lvl 11)
The three meteorites were actually avatars of another planet in Kulanspace called Trel. Trel had been a small, arid world that suffered greatly due the influence of over two dozen dark gods. The people lived in fear of their dark lords. The worst of these were Alhark, Mussin, Nether, and Vall. Of these four, Mussin was the most despicable and depraved.
The gods schemed and plotted against one another and took any chance to steal one another’s power. This went on for endless centuries with the Trelan people caught in the middle. However, it soon reached a boiling point when a Spelljamming vessel made contact with the small world.
A wandering priest of Ptah, whose name is lost to history, and his small crew crash-landed on Trel. He was horrified by the way that the groundling gods treated their people! He instantly went underground in Trelan society and incited the good people that still remained to rebel. Within 50 years he had destroyed three of the smaller evil sects and was leading hundreds of thousands of crusaders across the barren world against the evil masters of the world.
Ptah was overjoyed by the young priest’s drive and appeared to the man in a vision. He granted the priest limited divine power, making him a demigod-proxy of Ptah. The new fledgling power instantly appeared to his people and told them of his great gift from Ptah. His devoted followers praised him and Ptah with joy and reverence. The god swiftly gained power on Trel and destroyed dozens of lesser evil powers. In less than twenty years he had become an intermediate god.
Only eight evil powers remained and they were all hard pressed. Only Mussin and Nether saw the long-term prospect of remaining on Trel. Utter destruction. Nether wanted simply to flee into the planes but Mussin was too much of a vengeful god and braggart just to leave the world to the enemy. If he could not have it, then no one would.
Thus it is that Mussin set in motion the Dark Purge. He sought out four of the lesser dark gods and destroyed them, stealing their power. With Nether at his side he took as much divine power as he could. Then he entered the very core of the world to unleash the dark power he had stolen. In his rage, he destroyed several avatars of his remaining rivals and drew the new god into direct conflict.
They fought for a year and a day and the world suffered endless natural disasters; floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, waterspouts, hurricanes, etc.
The people sought for any way to escape their dying world. Very few actually made it. In the end, Mussin broke the young god and the world exploded in a divine fire. Three gods survived the destruction of the world, Mussin, Nether, and another dark god named Zae. The same three that fell into the atmosphere of Kulan propelled by the shear force of the planet’s explosion.
Zae was a lesser power of little importance on his world and didn’t survive the impact. Mussin and Nether barely survived themselves. The two would have faded out of existence if not for the help of Xuar. He found the dark pair struggling to survive like mortals in the wilderness.
“I will save you, dark brothers. But I demand a boon from you if I do. You must promise to aid me in destroying my kin and help me conquer all of Harqual.”
“It will be as you say, Xuar. We shall aid you as long as our power grows. And I will teach you the purge so that you may steal your kins’ power.” Mussin was desperate and readily agreed for both he and Nether, who was too weak to deny Mussin’s words.
“Vengeance shall be mine!” Xuar felt the Balance shift in his favor.
But another sensed the shift in the Balance as well.
Mirella had instantly been aware of Mussin and Nether, after their fall, but she had not sought them out hoping they would simply fade away into oblivion. But when Xuar made his vile pact with them she knew she could not wait for the Balance to weed them out. The dark trio was abhorrent when she came, and Mussin sought to destroy her and steal her power. It was a pathetic attempt.
“You are curs and twisted dogs but I cannot banish you. The alien nature in you limits the control the Balance has over you but don’t think for an instant I can’t destroy you if I so choose. I will be watching.” Mirella turned to Xuar “You most especially. You seek to control the Balance for your own ends, Xuar. You may sway some of Cronn’s people, but in the end you will be defeated by your own jealous nature.”
“We shall see, Mirella.” Xuar spit the words like a rabid dog. “You underestimate me!”
With that, Xuar shifted the dark trio to his hideaway on Teverroot Island, where even Mirella’s followers feared to tread.
Guide (Lvl 11)
The Second Era
The Children of Tu
The end of the First Era came with the dawn of a new civilization in the southern region known as The Storm Peninsula. Before even Cronn walked the land of Harqual, there were the animals. Great cats stalked the southern plains and savage wolves hunted mastodons in the north. The most powerful of these races of animals were the tigers of The Storm Jungle. These beasts were larger and more intelligent than most of their wild cousins. Some believe that the Cat Lord of the Beastlands blessed them.
However, they reached their status, the tigers evolved into something more than just beasts. They gained a spark of intelligence. The first of their kind to achieve this state called himself Tu. This massive male was confident and proud of his enhanced abilities. He strove to dominate his entire race and make all the animals bow down to him. He would have succeeded, if not for Mirella.
“You have yet to prove yourself capable of wielding such power as that which you seek. You must encourage your people to grow strong in the mind as well as in the body. Only then will you understand that which you seek.” Mirella appeared to him in all her divine power and he was in awe of her.
“It will be so World Queen, I swear it. My people will be the greatest in the world.” Tu bowed his head reverently his voice strong and clear.
Mirella could not help but admire his pride and strength.
“Yes, but if you are to compete with the other gods that have come before and to come still, you will need your own ‘gift’ to bring to the world.” Mirella blessed Tu with the right of divinity over his people, as their master and protector. “Yet, you must tread carefully, Tu. For I shall be watching you and how your people interact with the Balance.”
“They will make you proud, All-Mother.”
Thus did Tu ascend to godhood, amongst the other Gods of Harqual equal to them yet their rival. And the Children of Tu spread over the southern lands from The Storm Jungle to the Savanna of the Sun. They competed with the followers of the North Gods, especially the rakasta of the south.
However, Tu was still not satisfied.
“I will have it all. It is my divine destiny to lead my children across the world.” Tu knew he could not yet challenge the people of the North Gods for dominance of Harqual. “I must wait and allow my people to grow, as the All-Mother suggested. Only then will I bring my ‘order’ to Harqual.”
Guide (Lvl 11)
The Challenge of Friendship
The Second Era of Harqual brought great change to the land. Contact was established with both Janardûn and Margoth-Nal and magical flying ‘constructs’ appeared in the sky. These alien constructs brought the first of the Mei’neav or ‘new people’ to Kulan. Dwarves, elves, gnomes, halflings, and countless races of humanoids appeared every year.
At first, Cronn and his people welcomed the Mei’neav but soon they became concerned as more and more of the newcomers spread across the land. Not only that, the newcomers worshiped strange alien gods that appeared as omens and visions.
Cronn had no control over these new gods and soon saw them as a threat to his people. “How can I respect those that will not even visit my Great Table. I beseech you, come and feast with me!”
The greatest of the Elven gods, Corellon, spoke for the races of Ne Mei'neav or ‘new races’.
“Great Cronn, it is not our way to appear directly upon the Mortal Plane. Such show of power is frowned upon amongst our kind and may leave us defenseless against our enemies.” Corellon spoke to Cronn as a father would a stubborn child.
“What cowardice is this? You speak like a small child, afraid of his own shadow. Mighty Hades will sit at my table, why not you?” Cronn words were meant to stir the elf god’s spirit.
“You uncouth barbarian! How dare you accuse me of cowardice, you have never left the Mortal Plane. I challenge you, Cronn, to face me in the planes for the honor of your people.” Corellon’s words shook the Northlands.
“So shall it be! You choose the place, I’ll choose the challenge.”
And so Cronn went to the Outer Planes and faced Corellon on the Pillars of Koth in the deepest wilderness of the Beastlands.
“You choose well, Lord Corellon. Now lets see if you’re up to my challenge. Ours will not be a contest of battle. Ours will be a test of strength, honor, and trust.” Cronn gave the elf god a wry smile.
“What do you have in mind?” Corellon stared in shock at Cronn. Had he underestimated this savage god?
“Each of us must bear the other’s divine weight on his back and jump from pillar to pillar until the last one is reached. The bearer must keep the other from falling at all cost, even at the risk of his immortality.” Cronn’s words echoed across the Beastlands.
“You surprise me Cronn. But I am up for your challenge. I’ll even go first if you like?” Corellon already knew what the result would be.
“So be it.”
Thus, Corellon bore Cronn’s divine weight as he jumped from pillar to pillar without a single misstep or pause. The elven god’s quick reflexes and sharp mind sought out the most direct path from one edge to the other. And thus did Cronn, when it was his turn for honor, carry the elven god without misstep or pause. Each had matched the other perfectly and both had convinced the other of his strength, honor, and trustworthiness.
“You have taught me a most valuable lesson this day, Great Cronn. My power flows not only from my people but from here on the Outer Planes as well. Yet you were willing to risk your divine power for the honor of your people without any such claim. I will be honored to sit at the Great Table and feast with you and your people. And I’m sure I can convince the other gods of the Ne Mei’neav as well.”
The two sealed the friendship with divine blood, with the Warrior’s Greeting of the barbarian people of the Northlands. A drop of this blood fell to the land of the Beastlands, mixing with its essence – creating the noble yet savage Seraph, The Bloodbrother, half elf and half barbarian.
Corellon greeted his new godchild with open arms. “Welcome, we are your fathers, this place is your mother. Its creatures are your friends and allies. Come, meet both your families and we shall celebrate together in Arvandor.”
“Yes,” Cronn beamed at his new son. “Truly, now the elves and my people are brothers in friendship and blood.”
Thus, it was that Corellon and Seraph were given a special place of honor at Cronn’s Great Table. And Corellon was true to his word and convinced the Great Gods of the dwarves (Moradin), gnomes (Garl), and halflings (Yondalla) to sit with Cronn and his kin at the Great Table. And all was well, for a while.
Guide (Lvl 11)
A Call to Council
Prelude to the Divinity War
In the centuries that followed, Harqual grew in strength and civilization came to the regions south of the Greystone Mountains. The Mei’neav spread out into the regions that matched their homelands on the countless worlds they traveled from.
The dwarves spread throughout the mountain ranges, the elves settled in the Great Forest, and the halflings put down roots in the dales and the meadows in between. The many humanoid races set about carving out a place for themselves either alongside the rest of the Mei’neav or in competition with them.
This left the wild coasts of the north, untamed savannas of the south, and the boiling deserts in between for the last of the Mei’neav, the new humans. Now these humans weren’t much different than Cronn’s people in appearance, except maybe their skin and hair color, but their habits and mannerisms were very different. Most spoke languages that were hard to understand, relying on magic for day to day life.
Soon, these people were quarreling amongst each other over land, of all things, and building large, fortified dwellings five times the size of a Barbarian’s long house. They divided the land amongst themselves in things called kingdoms and pushed into the fringes of the lands of the other Mei’neav.
Such a thing was unacceptable to Cronn and he called together the members of the Great Table to set things right. He accused those that warred with each other of upsetting the Balance and demanded that the hostilities cease.
“Do not forget that you are here at my Table only by my grace and will. I will not tolerate the current behavior of those that look to you for guidance.”
Now most of the gods and goddesses of the Great Table understood Cronn’s words to be true, and were shamed by their petty quarrels, but a few remained defiant of the Lord of the North.
“Bah, why do we listen to such nonsense!” Lokun was the most vocal of them.
“Choose your words carefully Lokun, this is a place of honor!” It was Hades dark voice that rose above the clamor of the Hall of the Northlands.
“Thank you Hades.” Cronn had rose from his seat and stared down the God of Mischief and Strife. “As for you Lokun, do not question the integrity or honor of my Hall again or-”
“Or you’ll what, Cronn.” This time it was Inanna. “Lokun has a point. Without strife or conflict where would he be? And what about me, hmm? Without conflict, what good is the Goddess of War?”
“What Cronn means is that there is a time and place for conflict and there is a time and place for respect.”
Cronn could not help but grin at the words of his grandchild.
“Exactly Ramara, it is not honorable to war amongst each other. We are supposed to be allies, not enemies. How are we supposed to stand against those who would defile this place, not to mention protect the people we are sworn to protect? Every turn of the seasons, more and more of our people are lost to the temptations of Xuar and his followers. There is nothing gained by fighting amongst ourselves, but the losses could be staggering if Xuar has his way.”
“Yes, even now he tries to corrupt my people as well!” Cronn nodded in agreement with Corellon’s words. He could always count on the Elf Lord’s support.
“Bah, all you do is talk and debate while Xuar becomes stronger and stronger. Maybe I should go and see if he will let me into his alliance, hmm?” Lokun propped his feet up on the Great Table.
Cronn crossed the hall before Lokun could move and proceeded to kick the chair out from underneath the Trickster. “Do not joke about such things Lokun or I just might send you to him myself, head on a platter!”
Now Lokun is a vain god and took Cronn’s action and words as a threat to his dignity. Looking up at Cronn from the floor, his eyes burning red with anger, he vowed to all that he would break the Hall of the Northlands asunder when he returned. Then his Avatar blinked out of the Hall as he transferred that part of his mind back to Hougard.
“He always been a hot-head,” Aegir shook his head at the actions of his fellow Asgard. “I don’t know why Odin puts up with him.”
“Well, I’m not Odin and he is not welcome here ever again. I’ve had it with his whining and pathetic attempts to trick my people with his immature jokes. Do you here me Lokun, you bastard!”
“Calm yourself father,” Seraph had never seen Cronn so upset. “You know how Lokun is, he’ll rant and rave, brooding for months in Winters Hall, then he’ll come back, pleading for your forgiveness.”
“Seraph’s right, “This time it was Kuil’s turn to speak. “He may be a hot head like Aegir said but he’s no fool. If he tried to join the dark gods, Xuar would destroy him and take his power.”
“Even I hate to admit it,” Cronn shook his head in disbelief at his own words. “He does have his uses. But if he wants to come back, when he comes back, I want a real apology.”
“Agreed,” Moradin stood up beseeching Cronn to sit down. “Now if we please get back to the matter at hand, I have some disturbing news for you my friend.”
“I have a feeling I’m not going to like this.” Cronn moved back down to the head of the Great Table patting Tok on one of the beast’s heads as he sat down. The God Hound wagged its tails and curled up near Cronn’s feet. “So Moradin, my dwarven friend, what troubles you so?”
“My people have heard rumors that another dark god might be trying to gain power here on Harqual. It concerns me because I’ve heard of this god’s reputation. He lives and breathes hate, caring nothing for those that enter into his evil service. And his power is great, my friend. As great as yours or mine.”
“Hmm, so who is this dark god we must be wary of? And why haven’t I heard of him before this?” Cronn scratched Tok’s ear as he listened to the dwarf god’s words.
“While both generous and wise my friend, you have a lot to learn about the universe and the gods in it. Not all are so visible as say the Olympians or the Asgard. Although I do believe that the Finns are related to the Asgard somehow, I’m not sure. Hmm, it could be worth looking into.”
“Moradin, I’m sure it is but could you please tell me who this defiler is.” After dealing with Lokun, the last thing Cronn wanted to talk about was the Asgard.
“He is known as Hiisi, Lord of Darkness.” Moradin said it without any change in his tone but the murmurs from the around the Table, from the Old Gods present, indicated to Cronn this was indeed serious.
Inanna stood with her hands on the table. “Moradin are you sure of this?”
“I am sure.” Always monotone, that's Moradin for you.
“Inanna, do you know this god?”
“Not personally, Lord Cronn but I’ve heard of him. He is most vile and if he is trying to gain power here, it can’t be good. Not even I would want to face his Avatar in battle alone. It is said he can strip away a god's power just by touch, maybe even one's essence.”
“That doesn’t sound like something I want to go through.” Rel turned to Hades. “What say you Lord of the Dead, have you heard of this vile one?”
“Yes, I have,” Everyone held their breath, for when the Death God speaks all should listen. “He has no honor, no redeeming qualities, he cannot be bargained with, I assure you, and he will kill anyone that gets in his way. I know this for a fact, he’s killed dozens of gods, absorbing their power like Inanna said; he even killed a Olympian once.”
“Unbelievable,” young Anon seemed shaken by the Death God’s words. “I didn’t think it was possible to kill an Olympian. I wrestled Hercules once and he whipped my butt and he’s not even a full-fledged god.”
“I only wish that were true, young one,” Hades looked at his adopted nephew. “No Anon, no god is indestructible.”
“Who was it?” Nessus, one of Cronn’s young grandchildren, sometimes had a tendency to speak without thinking.
“Nessus, it is not polite to ask that!” Rel chastised his young son. “I’m sorry Hades, he’s still very young.”
“No apology is necessary, my friend,” Hades looked down the Table towards the young godchild and smiled, a rarity for the Death God. “The boy meant no harm. It was an innocent question.” Hades looked around the table stopping at Aegir. The Old Man of the Sea had a grim look on his face. “Besides, Aegir and the other Old Gods here know who I’m talking about.”
“Aye.” The old sea god spoke up at the mention of his name. “Hiisi killed Achelous, the eldest son of my old friend Oceanus. I’d never seen him so sad as on that day.” Aegir looked up at Hades, a question on his mind. “How is that old Titan been lately, I haven’t heard from him in some time?”
“He and Tethys are fine, I guess. It’s not like they come to Olympus very often and I hardly ever visit there myself.”
Hades felt a tug on his dark robes and looked down to see young Hela, one of Cronn’s youngest grandchildren, looking up at him with an inquisitive look on her face. “Uncle Hades, what’s a Titan?”
It was what the room needed to break the sour mood, as Hades laughed for one of the few times in his existence and picked up the little goddess and sat her on his knee. He looked over at Cronn who was trying very hard not to laugh. Then he noticed Hela was still waiting for her answer, kicking her feet back and forth in anticipation.
“Well you see little one, a Titan is sort of like an Olympian but much older. They have been around for so long that some would say they’re as old as time itself.”
“Oh, so there like my grandpa,” Hela pointed to Cronn. “Old, wise, and stronger than anyone else, is that right?”
Now the entire Hall filled with laughter and Hades shook his head. “Not exactly, little one.”
Hela scrunched up her face and shook her head. “I don’t understand, explain it to me again. I have all day.”
Hela’s mother, Larea, came across to Hades chair and picked up her daughter. “Come along dear, I’ll explain it to you after we are finished. You shouldn’t pester you elders at the Table, you know that.”
“Oh mother!” Hela’s face looked like she was being punished in Carceri.
“I’m sorry if she bothered you, Hades. I know you like to come here to relax, not be pestered with questions by little girls.”
“Oh but I am relaxed, Larea,” Hades looked across the Table at Cronn. “My friend, have I told you how much I enjoy coming to visit with you and your family?”
“Well I do. Mount Olympus is never like this. Zeus would never let children into his Temple like you do your Hall. It would drive him insane.”
“Aye, Odin is the same way,” Aegir smiled. “Can you imagine Hades, dozens of godchildren running around Odin’s throne, Hlidskialf, while the All-Father holds council with the rest of the Asgard.”
All the Old Gods laughed at the thought of Odin losing his composure in such a situation.
“Speaking of children,” Cronn looked across the Hall and noticed that the younger children were getting fidgety, having to sit around and listen to all this talk. “Anyone who wants to go outside and play, is free to do so.”
“Yippee,” Hela jumped out of her mother’s arms and headed for the door of the Hall, with Hansa, Nessus, Seraph, Sialic, Thorn and Tulle not far behind. Only Anon asked to be excused, not to play – to go and practice with his sword.
“I think I’ll go and watch the children, just to make sure they don’t run off.” Damh never did like meetings. “Euphoria, I would be honored if you joined me?”
Cronn smiled at his beautiful granddaughter as she turned red at the sylvan god’s obvious interest. She hesitated and Cronn decided it was best to push this relationship forward.
“Go on child, he won’t bite.”
“Grandfather, please,” Euphoria sat there with her mouth open in disbelief. “You’re embarrassing me.”
“Well if the lady isn’t interested, then I’ll have to sit and watch the children alone,” Damh sighed, shuffling his feet, and moped towards the door. “All alone.”
Regaining her dignity, Euphoria got up from the Table and came up beside the Fey One. “I didn’t say that, now did I?”
He offered his arm and the two walked out of the Hall together, closing the great, heavy doors behind them with a resounding clank.
Inanna rolled her eyes and tapped her fingers on the Table. “Well, its about time. I thought those two were never going to get together. All that mewing and shuffling about was starting to get on my nerves. You were right to push the matter forward Cronn."
“I think we were all getting tired of it,” Cronn smiled pouring himself some Ambrosia. “Hades, you will have to remind me to thank Dionysus for this wonderful Olympian drink. It’s fantastic.”
“Actually, it would be best to keep it quiet. Zeus would become incensed to learn that Dionysus had gave you some of his personal stock.”
Cronn looked in his cup and then at Hades who was grinning at the thought of Zeus seeing a prime world pantheon drinking from one of his barrels of Ambrosia. “I believe you are right. That would not be good.”
Cronn picked up his cup, drank a little and then cleared his throat. “Now, can anyone else tell me anything more about this dark god, Hiisi?” His tone clearly stated that the rest of this meeting would be serious.
“I’ll tell you this, if the Lord of Darkness has come to Harqual, it is with one goal above all others.” Corellon’s tone was just as serious as his blood brother’s had been and he sat there with his head bent low.
Cronn took another drink, not want to let Zeus’s personal stock go to waste. “And what is that, my friend?”
Corellon looked up staring at Cronn.
“I see, he’s come for me.” Cronn had never felt fear before but he was sure that’s what he was feeling now, from somewhere deep inside.
“What, you can’t be serious!” Jalivier stood up and shook his in disbelief. “Not even this Hiisi could be that bold. Father is a greater god, in the place of his power, Hiisi wouldn’t stand a chance.”
Jalivier calm yourself,” Cronn did not appreciate his son-in-law’s tone towards his elven friend. “Corellon is one of the Old Gods, if he think that this Hiisi is a serious threat to my life then I will listen. And so will everyone else at this Table, understood?”
Jalivier slumped down into his chair and closed his eyes. “Corellon, I am sorry. I know what you is say is true, it’s just I am worried. Not for myself, but for the children.” Jalivier opened his eyes and a look of terror spread across his face. “If this Hiisi can challenge Cronn on his own world without fear, then I shudder at the thought of what he would do if he got a hold of any of the children.”
All eyes strayed to the door.
Cronn turned to Issek. “You know I think it would be good for Tok to go outside for a while, don’t you agree?”
“Indeed,” Issek stood and called Tok from his place next to Cronn’s chair. The great God Hound bounded down towards the Lord of Tortured Soul and the two quickly headed outside to really watch the children.
“Now the question is, what do we do about this dark one?” Kuil looked at his grandfather with concern.
“What can we do,” Cronn took another drink of Ambrosia, staring down towards the end of Great Table at the God of Rogues and Illusion. “But wait?”
The Hall became deathly quiet and no one said anything again about the matter, as the Pantheon of the North moved on to other concerns.
Guide (Lvl 11)
The Third Era
The Uniting of the Sword Gods
Hiisi did come to Harqual to steal Cronn’s essence and increase his own power as a result. He appeared on the edge of the lands of the North Gods, laying waste to the mortal barbarians who stubbornly stood in his path. He cut them down like worthless chattel striding towards the Hall of the Northlands. The North Gods came out to meet the Lord of Darkness as one.
“You shall not pass, dark one!” Jalivier stood shoulder to shoulder with Cronn daring Hiisi to face him in a fair fight.
“I have not come for you, whelp. But I will go through you if I must.” Hiisi’s words were calm and calculating.
Hiisi rushed the God of Light and their godly weapons clashed. Hiisi knocked Jalivier back to the ground. He rose his greatsword, Caller of Darkness, to destroy the young god. His sword never came down as Kuil sneaked up behind the Lord of Darkness and skewered him with Shadowstealer, his godly dagger.
“You shall all pay for your impudence.” Hiisi screamed. “None may stand in the way of the Lord of Darkness.”
“Nay, dark one.” Cronn brought his huge greataxe up into the chest of the Lord of Darkness, cleaving the dark god nearly in two. “For the North Gods stand united against you, Hiisi. And not even you will prevail against so many.”
Hiisi watched as the North Gods surrounded him. He would not win this fight. At least, not yet. The Lord of Darkness shifted away to his realm, The Nether Lands, to brood in silence. He could not force the rest of the Finns to battle this new foe, even though he led the pantheon. No, he would need other allies.
“You will never beat my kin on your own, Hiisi.” The voice spoke to him from across the planes.
“Who are you?” Hiisi was curious but angry at being disturbed. “You dare violate the boundaries of my realm.”
“Forgive my intrusion, Hiisi.” The voice congealed into the form of the Jealous Arcane. “I am Xuar, first son of Cronn and an outcast amongst my kin. I offer you fealty and a better chance to take my father’s place, as the dominant deity of Harqual.”
“How can you help me, North spawn? Convince me or you will discover oblivion.” Hiisi doubted the godling could do anything for him.
“It isn’t me who can aid you, but we who can aid you.” Xuar moved to the side as Mussin and Nether appeared before Hiisi. “This is Mussin, God of Decay, and Nether, known as the Black Tyrant.”
“You all come to offer me fealty,” Hiisi could feel the power of the three gods together. “Why should I accept?”
“Here me Hiisi, I come to offer you an alliance.” Mussin’s words were dank and full of filth. “Both Nether and Xuar will call you liege but they will also pay homage to me. Together we can destroy the North Gods and rule Harqual as we see fit. Together we could conquer all of Kulan.”
“While you’re power impresses me, you have yet to show me what you can do.” Hiisi could sense something more that they weren’t telling him.
“I will teach you the secrets of the purge.” Mussin knew he had already won. “A way to take a deities godsoul as well as its essence.”
“That is not possible! The structure of the outer planes forbids it. The essence of a deity is hard enough to take. But to take its godsoul is unbelievable.”
“I will prove it to you, Hiisi.” Mussin turned his head towards the edge of Hiisi’s realm. “Bring him forth.”
Another of Nether’s avatars appeared dragging the half-destroyed form of Santé, the North God of the Quill. He forced Santé to the damp, earthen floor of the Nether Lands. Hiisi felt a strange bond with the Black Tyrant, as if the deity was his own kin. His name matched Hiisi’s realm, which was unusual in of itself. This one would require watching.
Mussin stood over the form of the beaten North God. He reached down into Santé’s body and began to draw out the godling’s godsoul. Santé’s screamed in agony as his life force was taken from him. Hiisi watched in dark satisfaction.
“Here is my proof.” Mussin turned to Hiisi holding up the God of Quills fiery godsoul for the Lord of Darkness to see. “Do we have an agreement?”
“Give it to me and it will be so,” Hiisi licked his lips at the thought of consuming another deities godsoul.
“Nay, you and I are to share this godsoul as a form of solidarity. We will each consume half and Nether and Xuar will pay us homage.” Mussin held the godsoul just beyond the reach of the Lord of Darkness.
“Fine,” Hiisi was still not satisfied so he raised the stakes. “But all must swear loyalty to each other, regardless of fealty, as must any other who wishes to join us.”
Hiisi withdrew Caller of Darkness and thrust it deep into the ground of his realm. The ground shook and a ring of stone swords rose up around Caller of Darkness. Hiisi placed one hand upon the pommel of one of the stone swords.
“This ring is binding to all that agree, even myself. If you doubt me Mussin then feel free to test the magic anyway you please.” Hiisi waited for the God of Decay’s answer.
Mussin tested the boundaries of the magic for several mortal hours, but the time was only moments to the dark gods.
“The magic is binding to all, I am satisfied.” Mussin place one hand upon the pommel of the sword directly opposite of Hiisi. “I am your equal in this ring, Hiisi.”
Next went Nether. He took his place by Mussin’s side, laying his hand upon the stone sword next to Mussin’s. He did not speak.
Xuar went last. He surprised Nether by standing next to Hiisi, opposite of the Black Tyrant. His words surprised Nether even more.
“I am your equal in this ring, Nether.” Xuar had tested the magic as well.
“Never mind, Nether. I explain it to you later.” Mussin cowed the Black Tyrant with a single thought. “Now, as for this.”
Mussin held up Santé’s godsoul and split it into two. He consumed one half while Hiisi consumed the other half.
“It is done. We are one pantheon now.” All spoke in unison. “We are the Pantheon of Swords.”
* * *
The news of Santé’s death hit the North Gods hard. Cronn swore vengeance for the lost of his friends. However, the Pantheon of Swords grew to include several other dark gods. First came Druaga, God of Vile Summoning. Then came a dark being known as the Mother of Monsters and the Circle of Sword Gods increased to six.
Hiisi joined with this goddess to spawn his own twisted godlings known as the Dark Children – Amand, Ces, Deltum, Emcey, Enduma, Shoku, Teve, Thera, Vespin, and Zell. Thus, the Circle of Swords Gods increased once again, too challenge the strength of the North Gods.
Note: The Dark Children’s mother was as evil an entity as the Lord of Darkness was. Yet, she remained in obscurity, as Hiisi demanded. No one would know why until much later.
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