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  1. #21
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    The Sword Strikes into Celestia
    Kuil had heard the rumors of a planned invasion by the Sword Gods, but not even Cronn would have suspected this. Kuil watched in disbelief as dark soldiers, mercenaries, and fiends came through a portal from somewhere in the Outlands.

    Jalivier had asked his son to find out as much as he could about the ‘rumored’ invasion and where it was to strike. The God of Rogues and Illusion had sent his followers to spy on the Sword Gods followers to gather as much information as possible.

    There efforts, as well as the god’s own abilities had led Kuil to the first layer of Celestia, Lunia. Now, his primary Avatar watched from behind a powerful illusion, while another stood with Jalivier in the Citadel of Light.

    “There are hundreds of thousands of them, father.” Kuil was worried about the many communities located on the edge of the shores of Lunia.

    Many of the communities’ champions had rode out to meet the initial group of evil soldiers to come through the portal. Soon, thousands of mercenaries had poured through as well and some of Lunia’s greatest heroes, both mortal and petitioner, quickly fell to the hordes.

    “Hiisi has been busy,” Jalivier stood next to Cull, Inanna, and Cronn in the Great Hall of the Citadel of Light, as well as his son’s Avatar. “This is sooner than expected. We will not have time to gather a united force.”

    “We cannot just take the field like a bunch of chaotic sellswords.” Cull had been more than a little upset that Jalivier had attacked Gaoterlog without him. “No offense to you Great Cronn.”

    “None taken, my friend.” Cronn was the de facto head of the pantheon but he knew the wisdom in allowing the more lawful members of the North Gods to do the strategic planning.

    “Normally, I would agree with you.” Jalivier looked over the dimensional strategies floating between him, Cull and Inanna. “However, it seems we are needed on Lunia now, not later.”

    “Jalivier is right, we must bring our own followers to the first layer of the Seven Heavens as soon as possible. We will work out strategies as we go.”

    “Hmm,” Cull immediately saw the potential of more dynamic, yet well defined strategies. “This could be an interesting challenge indeed.”

    “Always the optimist,” Kuil watched both the armies of the Sword Gods and the events in the Citadel, as easily as a mortal would walk the ground. “The armies seem to be in two camps. The fiends present are mainly demons but there are some daemons as well.”

    “Yugoloths,” Inanna, with only a thought, added the daemon factor into the dimensional strategies Cull was developing. “We’re going to need everyone who can muster up their forces in this battle.”

    “Agreed,” Jalivier opened a portal from his realm in the second layer of Celestia to Lunia. “I am taking my strongest followers with me. They will fight to the end.”

    “Yes,” Cronn transferred his primary Avatar to Celestia next to the opening portal that the Defender of the Light had opened. “But whose end?”

    Jalivier’s followers poured from the portal in the hundreds of thousands. Soon the other North Gods were given the word and a multitude of portals opened onto the first layer of Celestia. The opposing portal from the outlands opened again and more Sword followers strode out of the surf and onto the shore. The fiends gritted their teeth as the pure waters of Oceanus burned their bodies but still they came, in hope of blood and chaos.

    The followers of both pantheons gathered opposite of each other, as more and more warriors and Outsiders came to the field of battle. The citizens of Lunia scrambled for safety as the dark followers of the Sword Gods advanced to lay claim to as much of the shore as they could possible hold.

    “Kuil, help as many of them escape as you can.” Cronn would not let innocents be slaughtered if he could help it.

    “I will do my best grandfather.” Kuil shifted away.
    Cronn wondered if the other gods of Celestia would finally take notice of the threat, which the Pantheon of the Swords represented.

    “Probably not,” Cronn called out to his followers on the mortal plane. “I will not force you to fight. I ask you to come and defend those that cannot.”

    Cronn knew Kuil and his followers would need the help.
    _________________________________________________
    More later...
    Robert Blezard

 

  • #22
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    Moments Later…
    The Hunting Princess arrived at the Citadel of Light with her children and Seraph to find only the God of Oaths and Contracts working at Oathtaker.

    “Truce, where is everyone?” Hansa looked around at the empty citadel.

    “They have gone to meet Hiisi’s army massing near Oceanus’s edge in Lunia.” The scholar god looked up from his desk.

    “Already. Damn it, why wasn’t I informed of this.”

    “I am not a God of Messengers, Hansa – besides why don’t you ask your mother why.”

    “Mother?” Hansa looked at his mother.

    “I’ve lost a husband and my eldest godson, did you expect me to just stand idly by while my last remaining godson runs off to war with his grandfather?” Tears welled up in the goddess’s eyes.

    “I don’t believe it, you asked grandfather to leave me behind. How could you do that?”

    “I-I’m sorry.”

    “Let it go Hansa.” Seraph stepped between the two. “There’s nothing you can do about it now. We must go to Harqual at once and deal with Deltum and Enduma. Only we two can stop them now.”

    “Hmm, what’s this you say?” Truce looked up from his writing.

    Hansa slammed his hands down on Truce’s desk.

    “Deltum and Enduma are causing havoc on Harqual. There are tornadoes and volcanic eruptions everywhere. The mortals, our friends, are dying. If you spent more time fighting and less time looking at scrolls you might feel something for the pain they are going through.”

    “Hansa!” Hela was shocked by her brother’s word. “It is not your place to say such things. Truce cares just as much as the rest of us.”

    “How was I suppose to know that?” Truce had his head down with his arms over his head. Hansa’s words had hurt him badly. He was still very young, even for a god.

    “I’m sorry cousin. Hela’s right, you care just as much as the rest of us. I am a fool.”

    “It’s all right, you simply care more than most. Truce looked up at his cousin, smiling with tears in his eyes. “You are truly our grandfather’s grandson. I on the other hand-”

    “Enough.” Seraph couldn’t stand much more of this. “Hansa you are not a fool and Truce you are not a coward. As we speak, mortals are dying. I am going to Harqual, alone if I must.”

    Seraph walked away from the rest, one thought on his mind – dealing with the Sword God twins. Hansa stepped in behind his uncle looking at his mother the whole way.

    “Be careful.”

    “I will mother, do not worry so. It’s just the twins. They may be evil but they're babies at heart.”

    “I’m coming with you.” Everyone was shocked to see Truce get up from Oathtaker and walk to where his cousin was standing.

    Truce never left his desk.

    “Truce, you don’t have to do this.” Hansa was genuinely worried about his scholarly cousin.

    “Don’t worry about me Hansa. I’m not going to fight. But I am going to help. The mortals that are suffering could use my help. I can heal those that need it. I can ease the minds of those I can’t. Ensuring them that they will find rest in Hade's Underrealm.”

    “Very well,” Hansa was still not sure but if anything did happen, Truce would know to shift back to the Outer Planes immediately.

    “I’m coming too.”

    “Hela, no I won’t let you.” Larea's heart sank at her daughter’s words.

    “Mother, I am a complete goddess now. I don’t need your permission and Truce will need my help. I am going, period.”

    The Huntress backed away in horror, the thought of losing both her remaining children too much to bear. She shifted away without a word.

    “Hela, for once I agree with mother. This is not a good idea.”

    “You can’t protect me from the universe, Hansa. Anon is gone, there was nothing you could do to save him.”

    Hansa remembered it well. Amand had surprised them, attacking from out of nowhere. No honor, no remorse. Hansa had tried to warn his older brother but Amand cut his elder brother down before he could speak, stealing Anon’s essence through the power of his blade. Amand had just stood there laughing at him. Then he shifted away when Hansa had challenged him. He could still hear the dark god laughing at him.

    “All right, but stay safe.”

    “Excuse me, mortals are dying, mortals are dying!” Seraph was not a patient god. His heritage made sure of that. Quick to react and even quicker to temper. Some said that Seraph was the Beastlands' incarnate.

    The four barbarian gods shifted to the World of Kulan to meet the dark twins and Fate.
    Robert Blezard

  • #23
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    Lokun in Niflheim
    “Where is she, Hel?” Lokun confronted his daughter in her realm. “And don’t lie to me, daughter. I’ll know if you do!”

    “Father, I don’t know where she is. Stop accusing me of helping her do something you won’t even talk to me about!” Her father wasn’t a patient god, but she wasn’t about to give Lokun anything. Lokun! Even thinking the derogatory version of her father’s true name sickened her. He betrayed her with that name and the form he took as one of the gods of the backwater world he now called home.

    “Father, Loki, please, you have to believe me.” Hel knew her foul mother was watching from a veiled portion of Niflheim. “Mother hasn’t done anything to deserve the words you use.”

    “Really, you think so?” Lokun’s form shifted to that of the true vision of himself, that of Loki, Trickster of the Asgard. “I know you are here, mate. Why don’t you tell her what you have done? Are you afraid she will realize you have betrayed her as well as me!”

    “This is my realm, father. You will not accuse my mother without real proof.” Hel, despite her inner torment and self-loathing, truly cared for her mother. She was one of the few who she could count on.

    “The Dark Children of Hiisi are my proof.” The god Loki shifted back into his guise as the Sky Traveler of the North Gods. “Did you think I wouldn’t find out, wench!”

    “W- what?” Hel looked through the veil at her mother. Angrboda, The Mother of Monsters and the mate of both Lokun and Hiisi smiled back at her daughter. “Mother, is this true?”

    “I knew you were here, Angrboda.” Lokun broke through the weakening veil his daughter had raised to shield her mother. “I cannot tell you how displeased I am with what you have done. How could you mate with that bastard.”

    “He offers true power.” Angrboda was an imposing figure, being an Asgardian giant, a race with the power of the divine. “Something you have forgotten as a member of Cronn’s brood. You talk of betrayal. What about how you betrayed me, betrayed your children!”

    “I did not take another mate, wench.” Lokun moved to strike out at Angrboda. “And you are one to talk of betrayal. After all, you are not my wife, you were just my mistress. You betrayed you own kind to mate with me or don’t you remember how irate Surtur was when you first told him.”

    “He came around eventually, my love.” Angrboda sidestepped his blow. “You and he have become great allies. Don’t throw that all away by continuing to consort with the enemy.”

    “What have you done?” Lokun didn’t care what Surtur or the other Asgardian giants did now. The Asgard hate him and the giants only respect him for what he is supposed to bring to Ragnarök.

    “The giants unanimously agreed. You must stop consorting with the North Gods or lose your place during the events unfolding in Asgard as we speak. Ragnarök is happening, Loki. It is beginning. Do not falter now.”

    “No! Ragnarök is not my destiny anymore,” Lokun turned his back on his former mate. “I will not betray Lord Cronn. Tell your kin they can do what they like. I don’t care anymore. If Ragnarök is destined to begin now then I will stand with the Asgard, if they’ll have me, and fight with the North Gods against your brood.”

    “You cannot be serious!” Angrboda was in shock. She had underestimated the Trickster’s loyalty. “You will be destroyed if you turn away from Ragnarök now.”

    “Nay, wench.” Lokun approached his daughter and embraced her. “For I am a North God now. Even if the Asgard fall, a part of me will always live on as Lokun. I have seen to it.”

    “Father, please don’t say goodbye. You’re all I have now.” Hel glared at her mother with a newfound hatred. Despite how much she wished her father hadn’t joined the North Gods of Kulan, she hated Hiisi and the Dark Children even more. They gave evil a bad name.

    “Do not fret, Hel. This isn’t goodbye. You will always be my favorite child. You know where I am and you are welcome to visit.”

    “Don’t you dare try to subvert her!” Angrboda screamed in rage. This wasn’t going as she’d planned.

    “Do not listen to her, daughter. She is old and bitter. I must go. The North Gods will need my help in the final battle to come. This new war is my Ragnarök now.”

    “I- I understand, father.”

    “As for you,” Lokun turned his head back towards the Mother of Monsters. “I swear I will do everything in my power to ensure every Dark Child you have beget for Hiisi, or ever will, dies a horrible death!”

    “You cannot win, North God.” Angrboda shifted away back to Hiisi’s realm.

    “Father, can I help?” Hel couldn’t believe she was saying the words.

    “No, this is not your war. You must decide upon your own destiny, dear daughter. However, do not let the legend of Ragnarök determine your future, Hel.” Lokun hugged his daughter tight shifting away to meet his fate on the shores of Oceanus in Lunia.

    Hel felt him evaporate away from her, hoping it wouldn’t be the last time.

    “He has changed so much,” The death goddess wondered what was so special about these North Gods. What was so great about this land known as Harqual. “I will go to Harqual to visit with him and see this barbaric land he loves so much. I swear it, by Niflheim. Perhaps my future belongs to me and not to the legend.”
    Robert Blezard

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    The Savanna of the Rain
    Rel’s realm in the Beastlands was like ordered chaos surrounded by untamed wilderness. Rakasta, both living and petitioners, moved from camp to camp, hunting antelope and even wilder game. It was always thus, except for today. No, today Rel’s people mourned the loss of his beautiful daughter by the hands of Xuar.

    The Seelie Court had come to Rel’s realm the instant Titania and Oberon had learned the horrible news. Damh told Rel what happened and that Puck had tried to stop the Xuar from taking Euphoria.

    Rel looked at Puck. Still battered and bruised, the little Sylvan had taken an awful beating. He looked terrible, but Rel could see that it was his heart that was hurting the most. They all felt this way; Euphoria had brought them all great joy. The pixies and sprites were weeping uncontrollably. He wouldn’t have believed it if he hadn’t seen it with his own eyes.

    “There was nothing you could have done Puck. Xuar is very strong.” Rel’s own torment was worse.

    Both Titania and Oberon were dressed all in black, and the Seelie Court would have depressed a fiend in its current state. Rel was devastated. First Nessus, then Thorn and now this. All his children were gone. “Oh, by the Old Gods, how am I going to tell Ramara?”

    “She may still be alive Rel, you must not lose hope!” Damh knew that the chances were slim, but he had refused to believe his beloved was dead. “We must tell Cronn, he’ll figure a way to get her back. I refuse to give up and neither should you.”

    Rel admired Damh’s strength of heart. But then, Damh hadn’t watched Mussin rot away Rel’s two sons before his very eyes. But he refused to show weakness, as his people watched – he must remain dignified.

    “Yes, there is always hope. Word has come to me that Cronn has gone to the shores of Oceanus on Lunia. Hiisi has acted quicker than we thought he would. You must go and tell him of this great tragedy. I must go to Arborea and tell Ramara.”

    Without another word Rel shifted to Ramara’s realm to tell her of their daughter’s fate.
    Robert Blezard

  • #25
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    The Shores of Oceanus on Lunia
    Cronn had hoped the pantheon would have more time to prepare. But when Kuil reported that an army of fiends was gathering on the shores of Lunia, he knew that Hiisi wouldn’t wait any longer. It was beyond anything he had imagined. Thousands upon thousands of demons, daemons, mercenaries, dark priests, bloodthirsty humanoids, and vile necromancers stretched further than even he could see.

    The sight of an army of such size visibly terrified the army of petitioners and celestials brought together by the North Gods. Kuil and Sanh stood to either side of Cronn.

    “By the Old Gods, there are so many of them.” The God of the Sky spoke to his brother.

    “He sees Sanh you don’t have to point it out so bluntly. The soldiers might hear you and lose faith. You must remain strong at all times.”

    “Yes, Father,” Sanh had a tendency to speak without thinking. Or as mortals might say, he had a tendency stick his boot in his mouth.

    Corellon had not arrived yet and Cronn wondered if his friend would risk his people in the onslaught that was soon to follow. Cronn wouldn’t hold a grudge against his friend if he didn’t show, knowing that he had a duty to the elves before Cronn's pantheon.

    No, Cronn would not hold it against his old friend. That was not his way.

    Besides, Moradin and Garl were here. They had stayed with Jalivier during preparations and promised their armies of petitioners and mortals to the fight. Both of these armies were risking a lot, the gnomes more than the dwarves. Petitioners in Garl’s army would fade away into nothing if destroyed. Those in Moradin’s army would simply dissolve and merge with Celestia.

    Even though the gnome army was small, most of those that once lived on Harqual were here. Of course, they didn’t remember that but something inside them told them this was important and so they had come. Garl never forced his petitioners to fight away from Bytopia.

    Inanna rode a giant, ruddy celestial horse near the front of the gathering armies of the North Gods. As the Goddess of War in the pantheon it was her right to lead the first charge. He worried about her safety of course but she could always take care of herself. That’s what he loved about her.

    Cronn had insisted that Issek stay in his realm with Tok. Cronn was afraid that if the God of Tortured Souls fell that Tok would return to madness and switch sides without realizing what he was doing. Issek didn’t mind. Fighting a war against fiends isn’t what he does best anyway. He did send his proxy Aragol, however, with a little extra of Issek’s power to help ease the suffering of the mortals that would be wounded. Aragol carried a mortal-sized version of Issek’s special jug and would use it to give dying soldiers a chance at least.

    Cronn looked across the field for one god in particular. Of course, Jalivier was holding strategy meeting with Cull, Moradin, and Garl. Cronn’s warrior daughter Mayela was praying with a group of mortals. He was proud of the Goddess of Nobility; she was ferocious in battle like her mother, yet had his strong unbreakable ideals.

    He saw his godson Zealot, the God of Barbarian Rage who had more of his mother in him then he’d ever admit. Zealot was working his followers into a wild frenzy, getting the barbarian-priests ready to rage. None of them would attack until their god told them, however. The first few of the Sword God’s soldiers on the front line were going to be in for a big surprise.

    Surprisingly, Lokun had come and was preparing himself for battle. The Sky Traveler had appeared late in the preparations but was adamant that he be allowed to ‘destroy the spawn of Hiisi’ as he called them. He had even bowed before Cronn and re-sworn fealty for all time. Cronn had been more shocked than moved.

    Lokun had not brought an army with him, however. He wouldn’t risk his petitioners so far away from his realm and probably would stay out of the main fray himself. But he would be useful all the same. He had a tendency to annoy both gods and mortals and would lead fiends into ambushes and death traps. Yes, Lokun would enjoy himself today.

    Of course, Hades wasn’t here yet, as he was petitioning Zeus to let him raise an army of Olympian mortals to join the battle. Zeus wouldn’t allow it, of course, but it didn’t hurt to ask. He’d say no, and Hades would come by himself anyway. But probably not until more fiends had arrived from the other side of the portal.

    Again Cronn scanned the army looking for his favorite godson. His other children knew he favored the God of Honor. But then again, he was everyone’s favorite. His siblings adored him and his mother too. Inanna had heaped praise on her godson, yet he always remained humble. Yes, Jaeger was a fine young god worth his power in love.

    “Where is he?” It was not like him to be absent for something so important, and Cronn worried that something might have happened to him. His attention was pulled back to his surrounding as Hiisi’s dark horde roared surging forward. Inanna took the first line of celestials and mortals to meet them. The noise was louder that the surf pounding the shore of Lunia.

    The Final Battle had begun.
    Robert Blezard

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    Jaeger and the First One
    As a boy, Jaeger hadn’t believed Lokun’s stories about where he was now. Only when the Sky Traveler had told him that the place really existed had Jaeger hoped he was right. If he was wrong, it could cost him everything.

    Lokun had told him of the place where Old Gods went to sleep, not to die but to sleep for an eternity. It was said that these Old Gods knew most of the secrets of the universe, if not all of them. However, no one had ever been there and came back to tell about it.

    Yes, if he was here then Jaeger had to find him. It could save his pantheon, his entire world.

    Jaeger had entered Twilight Hall, to find a god older than the Mirella, Zeus, Odin, or even the Titans themselves. He risked everything.

    He crept through the shadows, making sure not to wake the giant, sleeping Old Gods. Kuil would have been proud of him.

    They were huge, these sleeping gods and they made no sound as they slept. Lokun didn't know how true the legend was to reality; the Hall was as large any realm and nearly as crowded.

    Several ancient reclusive Old Gods were here as well. He didn’t know their names but recognized them from descriptions he had heard from such gods. Deities older than even the Chinese and Japanese Old Gods. Jaeger was in awe of their power and size. He felt like a mortal sneaking through a lair of giants.

    He made his way past them, one by one, praying he wouldn’t accidentally bump into one of them, or worse, the Guardian of the Dead, the old God known as Anubis. That would not be good. The Hall was actually a cavern and dozens of chambers branched off in every direction. He picked his way along one then the other, trying to find the place he sought.

    They’d be fighting by now. Of that, he was sure. His father would be wondering where he was. It would all be worth it if he was, indeed here like Lokun said. He just had to convince the Old God to tell him what he needed to know.

    “I could get lost in here.” Jaeger felt like he was running around in circles.

    His words echoed through the cavern even though he had only whispered them. He clamped his mouth shut with his hands and knew what fear was like for a mortal. Yet, none of the Old Gods stirred. ‘Don’t do that again’ he told himself and continued searching.

    Just when he thought that Lokun might have been wrong, he came across it. A door as tall as a hundred Greater Gods and almost as wide. It was made out of wood, if you could call it that. It felt like steel or something similar but much older. ‘Great, just great, how am I supposed to get in?’ Jaeger thought the words but did not say them out loud.

    Then he noticed a small opening near the middle of the door. ‘It couldn’t be that easy could it?’ Jaeger climbed up to a giant keyhole and found that he could walk through it without even having to bend over.

    What he found was beyond his recognition. He came out into a room, not some monstrous cavern. But a small mortal proportioned room.

    “Okay,” Jaeger looked around confused. The keyhole was the door. “This is so weird.”

    “I don’t mind, it’s comfy.” Jaeger turned and looked to see where the voice came from. There wasn’t anyone there. “Down here you little whippersnapper.”

    Jaeger looked towards the floor and standing there was – something. It didn’t look like anything he’d ever seen before. It had arms, legs, even a head but-

    “Of course I have a head.”

    Jaeger hadn’t spoke out loud; it could read his mind.

    “Yes, you’re right but it isn’t polite for you to point that out. I must say you godlings these days are a strange bunch. Now when I was a New God, things were different. Everything was a little less chaotic, no, no, I don’t mean like that. Chaos today isn’t even the same anymore. No, I can’t explain it to you.”

    “Uh-”

    “My you are a talkative one. You mind is so full of questions, questions, and more questions. Yes, I’m the one you seek but if you call me the First One again in your mind, I’ll bop you on the head. Hmm, that’s better, more polite. Now what can I-”

    The Old God stopped talking and looked at Jaeger.

    “Oh, you want to know about the ritual. You do realize what your asking, don’t you? You’re asking me to give away their secret. The power you seek could destroy them all if used by the wrong god. Why should I trust you?”

    “I give you my word as a God of Honor that I will only use it against Hiisi. If I am lying, you would know.”

    “You are a bright young boy.” The Old God smiled. “Yes, I can see that your heart is pure. Now sit down over there young one and I will tell you what you wish to know.”
    Robert Blezard

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    Love in Sorrow
    While Cronn was wondering where Jaeger was and while Jaeger was in Twilight Hall, two goddesses sat in the Temple of Love on Arborea. Larea had come to find comfort with her sister, Ramara, the Goddess of Love and Beauty. She was sure that her children would not come back from Kulan.

    Ramara tried to comfort her, saying it would be all right. But she too felt an odd feeling of dread. Something was not right, she could feel it. Only when Rel appeared before them with a look so long that it could have gone around the Great Ring twice, did she know she was right.

    “Rel, oh no, please no.” Ramara had felt this twice before.

    “I’m sorry my love, Euphoria is gone.” Rel had only heard Damh’s words. He could not take them to heart. His daughter was gone. He would not give his wife false hope.

    “How?” Ramara was crying and Larea tried to comfort her sister like Ramara had done for her.

    “Xuar took her.” Rel sat down beside his grieving wife and took her into his arms. “She was caught just outside the Seelie Court in the Beastlands. The fairy god Puck tried to save her but he was no match for Xuar.”

    “Oh Ramara, I am so sorry.” Larea had never seen her like this. Even when her two godsons had been killed she had remained composed. But that had been different, Nessus and Thorn had died in battle. Euphoria wasn’t a warrior, it felt so wrong.

    The Love Goddess wept for her fallen child and the flowers around the Temple of Love withered and died as the realm felt her pain.
    Robert Blezard

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    Rage of the North God
    The battle wasn’t going well. Fiends and celestials fought one another, as the Lord of the North waded through them. The Rage had not taken him yet as he pushed through the onslaught of the hordes of the Sword Gods. The Lord of Darkness was nowhere in sight. Not that Cronn was surprised; Hiisi would never lead the first charge. He was too much of a coward.

    Zealot was gone. He thought the words again, not believing them.

    Mussin, Emcey, and Teve had surrounded Inanna; Cronn had thought his wife would surely fall. But then Zealot had come out of nowhere and taken Emcey from behind. The dark god screaming as his essence was destroyed. Teve had spit foul epithets at Cronn’s young godson and charged into him. The two grappled together rolling through battled between the dark horde and Jalivier’s soldiers of light.

    Inanna had regained herself and Mussin had retreated from her. He had known that going one on one with the Goddess of War would have destroyed him. He sent fiends after her, of course, but he might as well been sending sheep to the slaughter. She cut them down one by one, trying to get to her godson. She came upon them just as Teve put his sword through Zealot’s chest. Inanna’s scream echoed across the battlefield and Cronn had known Zealot was gone. She avenged her godson before Teve could move sending the dark god to join Emcey in the oblivion of Twilight.

    “Receive my godson into your care, Anubis. Keep him safe from corruption.” Cronn grieved for his son he kept his mind on the battle at hand. There would be enough time to grieve later, if there was a later.

    The second wave of the dark horde came through the portal from the Outlands sooner than expected. Hiisi was putting everything on the line. Cronn was sure of one thing, a pantheon would fall this day. Another portal opened and Cronn thought for a second that the day was lost.

    Instead of dark soldiers, the strangest army Cronn had ever seen poured from the portal. Fairies! Cronn was sure he was seeing things. But then Titania and Oberon came through the portal. Fiends all over the battlefield howled as Titania’s powerful magic ran through them. The fiends scattered and a legion of dwarven petitioners took advantage of the distraction pushing them back.

    The Sylvan Queen and her Consort walked towards Cronn. Their faces showed sadness and Cronn wondered what could have upset them so. Then Damh came between them and looked up at his barbarian friend with tears in his eyes. He handed the Lord of the North his granddaughter’s favorite shawl.

    Cronn’s eyes grew wide as he felt the rage take hold of him. His cry of anguish thundered over the battlefield and the fiends knew fear. Inanna turned and saw a side of her husband that she had never seen before. He was larger, his eyes glowing with balefire. He thundered into the heaviest fighting and slaughter dozens of fiend with blow after blow of his huge greataxe, North Rage. The celestials parted and let the Great Lord of the North take the battle to the dark ones.

    Only when Inanna saw Damh kneeling on the battlefield clutching a shawl did she realize her husband’s pain. Euphoria was gone. Cronn had loved her like his own godchild, as he did the entire pantheon. This was different then losing Zealot though, he had been a warrior and knew the risks, but Euphoria, she had only been a child – a joyful, beautiful, wonderful child.

    Inanna felt her heart sink as the realization of what had happened. This was not right. Her temper started to take over and she rode into the fray to join her husband just as the third wave of the Sword Gods’ followers appeared from the Outlands.
    Robert Blezard

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    The Northlands of Harqual
    Seraph led the three lesser North Gods through the planes to the Material Plane. What they found was carnage beyond belief. Harqual was dying. Deltum and Enduma had done more damage then any of them had ever seen. Entire tracts of forest lay charred and broken, barbarian villages wiped out by disaster and floods. The land uprooted, laid to waste.

    The four gods split up, as Truce and Hela went to help those they could, while Seraph and Hansa went to punish the dark duo for their crimes against the mortals.

    Seraph and Hansa didn’t have to look too hard. The dark twins had moved further south to near the Greystone Mountains. The twins had conjured dozens of tornadoes and the mortals were scattering in fear.

    The rage took Seraph almost immediately and he smashed into Deltum, knocking him out of the sky. Several of the tornadoes dissipated, as a result, and the two gods tumbled to the earth. Enduma turned in time to meet Hansa and the God of Suffering and the God of Soldiers grappled in the sky while the mortals of Harqual looked on.

    On the ground, Seraph got the upper hand on Deltum skewering the dark god with his spear sending him to the Twilight in a flash of light. He looked up just in time to see Hansa and Enduma tumble down the mountains to the ground below. Seraph rushed to help his kin and found him down on the ground with Enduma about to take his essence. Seraph roared and Enduma looked up to see the Elf Barbarian God baring down on him. This allowed Hansa to kick the dark god off him.

    Enduma saw that he was outmatched but still had enough power to shift back to the Outer Planes. He took to the skies and tried to out run the two gods. He didn’t even see it coming. A giant spear flashed through the air passing through the dark god like he was nothing but a nuisance. Neither Seraph nor Hansa had thrown it. They looked up in the sky to see a cat god hovering above them with the sun behind him.

    “Rel?” Hansa wondered how the God of the Rakasta had learned about their plight.

    “No, little god, I am not your grandfather’s pathetic servant. The God of the Tabaxi has come to claim the lands of Cronn.”

    “Tu!” Seraph spat on the ground as Hansa said the name.
    Robert Blezard

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    Violence against Peace
    “Well, this development is most useful.” Thera watched as the God of the Tabaxi challenged the two North Gods on Harqual from the Pit of Violence on the 256th layer of the Abyss. She had not come when her father had ordered her to. He could burn in Hade’s Underrealm for all she cared.

    Several dark creatures slithered past her feet as she looked for the prize she sought.

    “Ah, there you are little one. You are going to regret leaving the safety of the Outer Planes.” Thera hated her more than any of them. She represented everything that Thera was not and she swore that she’d make the Goddess of Peace suffer. Thera drew her sword, Bloodhunter, and transferred her Avatar to the Prime Material Plane, arriving right behind the little goddess.

    They were both there of course, her and the bookworm. The little Scholar God did even know what hit him. He was dead, his essence gone to the Twilight, before Thera had time to pull her sword out of him. She wouldn't consume such a weak, pathetic creature.

    “Truce!” The Peace Goddess saw him evaporate but didn’t know what had killed him. She turned and looked in horror as the Goddess of Violence sheathed her sword.

    “Hello Hela, do you want to come out and play?”

    Half-dead mortals scrambled to protect their beloved goddess but Thera swatted them away like flies. She grabbed Hela by her hair and lifted her into the air with her.

    “If you kill me my brother and Seraph will have your head.” Hela screamed as the two floated over the Sword Gulf.

    “Actually, your kin are a little busy right now. Tu should make short work of them.”

    “Oh no,” Hela’s fear grew and she began to struggle, trying to break free.

    “You see little Hela, you are all alone now and I am going to make you suffer!” Thera tightened her grip and laughed as the Peace Goddess struggled.

    The Goddess of Violence summoned the dark power passed down to her by Hiisi and began to draw out Hela's godsoul. The Peace Goddess tried to scream but her voice came out as a whimper. Her skin turned bone white and then her body faded from sight gone from existence. Thera held up the dead goddess’s godsoul, as a ball of pure fire, in her hand in triumph.

    “Here me, Mother of Kulan! I have destroyed this goddess to prove that one day I will rule your world and bring darkness to this land. I entomb her godsoul to the waters so that you may share her pain!”

    Thera held the godsoul in both hands her eyes glowing with evil darkness. She willed the energy contained in the godfire to transfer from her hand to the waters of the Sword Gulf below. The energy spread out along the surface merging with the water, trapping Hela’s essence there, not really alive, yet not dead either.

    The All-Mother watched helplessly as Thera tortured Cronn’s granddaughter. As Hiisi’s influence and evil had spread throughout the land, her power over the dark, alien gods he spawned began to wane. She needed all her energy just to contain the dark pantheon to Harqual. But if Cronn’s pantheon fell, there would be no stopping them. Mirella watched as Thera shifted back to the Outer Planes laughing the whole time.

    The waves began to thrash against the shores of Harqual, as Hela tired to escape her watery prison. Thera had done her dark deed well; Mirella could feel the trapped goddesses' pain.
    Robert Blezard

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