Harqual: Mythology and History! - Page 4





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  1. #31
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    Tu the Cat God
    The two pantheon gods knew that Tu was more then a match for them. They had a choice – leave the Northlands to him or go down fighting.

    “What do you think, Seraph?” Hansa readied himself for anything.

    “I’m not going anywhere.” Seraph growled in response.
    The two gods rose into the air slowly, eyeing the cat god and keeping their distance from him. They moved to flank the Feline God but he backed away, evading them.

    “Ah, Cronn’s barbarian children. Now, to find out just how strong you really are.”

    Tu raised his spear and two pantheon gods readied themselves to get out of the way. Tu did not see them smiling until it was too late.

    “Look behind you.” Hansa mocked the cat god's pride.
    “Oh please,” Tu started laughing at the two little barbarian gods’ supposed jest. He should have looked, as he brought his arm forward to strike a hand reached out grabbing the spear.

    “Hello Tu, remember me.”

    Rel pulled on the spear with all his might, flinging it and Tu over the range of the Greystone Mountains. Tu howled as he hit the hills on the other side.

    “That is going to leave a mark.” Hansa was glad that Rel had arrived. Now maybe they had a chance. “I think the odds just got a little more even.”

    “Rel, where did you come from? Not that I’m not glad to see you.” Hansa felt something odd about the whole situation.

    “Larea told me what was going on here. Now, where are those two degenerates?”

    “Probably lost on their way to the Twilight.” Seraph laughed.

    “Well, you two have been busy. Cronn would be proud.” Rel looked at his nephews with admiration.

    “Well, Tu did help I guess.” Hansa looked towards the Sword Gulf. Something was wrong he could sense it. “Where did he go?”

    The three gods looked to see if Tu had regained his dignity. He was no where in sight.

    “I don’t like this. Where is he?” Hansa felt it then, his sister’s pain. “Hela!”

    Then he vicious cat god appeared out of nowhere striking Hansa from behind. The blow sent the young god spiraling out of control to the ground. The force of the impact left a huge crater with no sign of the God of Soldiers.

    “Hansa!” Seraph called out to the fallen god hoping to receive an answer. He didn’t get one.

    “Damn it, how’d he get over here without being spotted.” Things had gone from not too bad to horrible in mere seconds. “Seraph, do you know where Hela is? I can’t sense her or Hansa.”

    “I can’t feel their presence either.” Seraph didn’t know what to do. He couldn’t leave Rel to face Tu alone. Yet, he felt something was wrong. “Rel, Truce has fallen. I can sense his journey to the Twilight beginning.”

    “Not so arrogant now are you?” Tu laughed at the duo’s plight.

    “Damn you to Baator, Tu!” They weren’t Rel’s words. The rage took Seraph once again and he attacked blindly without any sense or reasoning. He had lost another relative, perhaps three. All sense was gone in him. There was only rage now.

    “Seraph, no wait!” Rel’s words could not snap his nephew out of his rage. All he could do was back the Elf Barbarian God up, and he hoped that they could hold out until Seraph’s rage ended.

    Rel attacked Tu just as Seraph struck his first blow, his sword in one hand and his favorite weapon in the other, a Rakasta war claw he called Cat’s Paw. The three gods thundered through the sky. Tu used his spear like a staff, blocking blow after blow. Not even Rel’s sword could cut through it. The three gods fought across the mountain sky, striking at each other, looking for an opening. They passed over the Great Forest of Harqual, the Hather Plains, and the desert known as the Great Expanse.

    Rel could tell that Seraph was tiring, as the rage left him, and Tu was gaining the advantage. Rel moved in and blocked the other cat god’s obvious attempts to deliver the final deathblow to the Elf Barbarian. His attempt was weak and Tu slammed his fist across Rel’s face sending him to the savannas below. Rel’s Avatar exploded as it hit the ground and it took several moments for him to transfer another one to the mortal plane.

    That was all Tu needed. He speared Seraph in the midsection, sending the North God on his own journey to the Twilight, then turned to face Rel’s new Avatar as it formed.

    “No!” Rel was shaken by what was happening, he had made an oath to protect Cronn’s kin. It had meant so much to him now that all his own were gone.

    “Two down, one to go.” Tu’s laughter could be heard as far away as the Cold Barrens in the Northlands.
    Robert Blezard

 

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    Mothers’ Love and Rage
    Larea had known the instant that her daughter’s godsoul had been taken from her. She and Ramara had gone to Hunter’s Rest, to use Larea’s scrying mirror, in order to find out what had happened to the Peace Goddess. But they couldn't find any trace of her or the Scholar God, for that matter.

    Then Bast had appeared in Larea's realm sobbing. She had felt her peaceful son die but didn’t understand why he had left the Upper Planes in the first place. Larea told her about the harsh words that were spoken and the apologies that followed. Bast had been mad, thinking Hansa had lead her son to death in the Twilight.

    Only when they finally learned what had transpired between Hela and Thera did Bast regret her own harsh words. No one deserved to watch her daughter be tortured like that. Bast was sad that her son was gone but at least he had died quickly. Larea immediately began searching for Hansa but she could not find him either. Fearing the worst, she eventually came across Rel, Seraph, and Tu battling above the southern lands of Harqual.

    They had not known that Tu had become involved. The three goddesses watched as Tu gained the upper hand, sending Rel’s Avatar crashing to the ground below, obliterated. Ramara cried out not knowing if her husband was gone. Then they watched Tu kill Seraph before Rel’s next Avatar could shift to the Material Plane.

    Not being able to watch anymore, fearing her husband might be next, Ramara dropped down on the ground sobbing. Bast wrapped her arms around her adopted sister.

    “I can’t take this anymore, this has to end.” Larea was beside herself with grief.

    Not only was Hela gone and Hansa as well, but now all her sister’s and adopted sister’s children were gone as well. The pantheon was dying.

    “Bast, stay here with Ramara. I must go to Celestia to tell Cronn what has happened and to do my duty.” Balefire burned in her eyes, as emotions that she thought she'd forgotten raged through her once more.
    Robert Blezard

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    The Battlefield of Lunia
    Jaeger and Larea appeared on Lunia at the same time at almost the same spot. Larea had been following the battle’s progress, as it had unfolded, and everyone kept asking ‘where is Jaeger?’

    “Where in Hades Underrealm have you been!” Larea grabbed the God of Honor and shook him.

    “I found something that can defeat Hiisi. I can’t say more than that but it could be the break we need.”

    “Damn it Jaeger, it better be. While you’ve been traipsing around who knows where, we have been dying out here. Euphoria, Hansa, Hela, Truce, Seraph, and Zealot are all gone.”

    “Euphoria…“ The God of Honor felt heart brake.

    Larea let Cronn’s godson go, storming off into the fray to look for Cronn. Jaeger felt like he had betrayed everything he stood for. The God of Honor, how could he ever call himself that again?

    “I make a new vow today, that I will avenge my fallen kin, even if it costs me everything that I am.” Jaeger’s entire body filled with an unearthly fire that he had never felt inside before. “Everything that I have ever aspired to be, that I’ve forgotten on this day. Honor demands this sacrifice!”

    Jaeger drew his sword, Honorbound, and charged into the battle, looking for the Lord of Darkness.

    Across the battlefield, the other North Gods were barely holding their own. Cronn and Mayela fought back to back killing fiend after fiend. Sanh and Garl fought side by side while Jalivier and Moradin did the same. Cronn had sent Kuil out of the battle and away from Celestia to find out how Hiisi seemed to know the North Gods every move. He had yet to return.

    Hades had arrived just after the third wave of the horde had came. His dark form gliding over the battlefield slaying fiends was a disturbing sight to behold for the celestials. The fiends didn’t like it much either, as Hades decimated entire legions of both evil mortals and fiends.

    ‘Come to me dark ones and we shall dance the Dance of Death’ had been the only thing he said when he arrived.

    Of course, Hades had been surprised to find Oberon and Titania fighting alongside the North gods but said nothing. Nothing distracted the Death God from claiming the lives of more fiends.

    Corellon had not come. It was to be expected. The God of the North knew that the Elf Lord had to respect the wishes of his fellow gods in the Elven Court. They had never agreed with the two Patriarchs’ friendship.

    More then likely it was Seraph that was the key problem. The Elven Court would not accept the Barbarian Elf God with two fathers and the Beastlands as his mother. Thinking of Seraph pulled his consciousness away from the attacking fiends in front of his of a second. He felt something. Then the fiends rushed him and he put his godson out of this mind. He swung North Rage four times and dozens of fiend died.

    Cronn shift part of his consciousness towards another part of the battlefield. There, Lokun was wiping out several stands of evil mercenaries. Lokun was proving himself good in the battle and didn’t look like he was in any real trouble.

    Lokun’s heroic behavior on the battlefield was something that Cronn hadn't expected. The Sky Traveler had helped hold the line just as the fourth wave of Sword God follower’s came though from the Outlands.

    Yes, Cronn just might make a good barbarian god out of Lokun yet.

    “Father,” Mayela’s inner voice was steady as it entered the barbarian god's mind and Cronn knew that nothing endangered her.

    “Now is not a good time for a chat my dear.” Cronn decapitated a nalfeshnee that had made the mistake of charging him.

    “I don’t want to chat, father. We need to switch places, you have to see something.”

    “Can’t you just describe it to me.” The nalfeshnee fell and several dretch took its place. They were less eager to die.

    “No. Seeing is believing.” Mayela’s thoughts had a feeling of hope in it.

    The mental conversation had taken less than the heartbeat of a mortal. Dozens of fiends came at Mayela but she faced them calmly, stoically. The two deities shifted with only a thought.

    Cronn though he was dreaming at first. But there she was chopping down fiends heading right for the Lord of the North. The Hunting Princess was unleashed from her sorrow.

    “Something has happened, Mayela.” Cronn felt it again. The feeling he’d had when he’d thought of Seraph.

    And then, in a flash of ancient elven magic, over the rise came Corellon with an army of elven mortals. The elf army swept a path through the fiends taken hundreds down for every dozen elves lost. Soon the fourth wave was pulling back. Larea joined the Elf Lord as they approached Cronn.

    “Better late then never my friend.” Cronn greeted Corellon with the Warriors Greeting. “But I have this feeling you’re arrival isn’t all good.”

    “After I heard what had happened on Kulan, I could stay my heart no longer.” Corellon looked torn apart. A feeling hard to judge in elves let along their gods.

    “Tell me.” Cronn looked at Larea’s face and knew he’d been right about his uneasiness earlier. “Larea, what happened?”

    She told him the terrible news that almost all of the young gods were gone. She also told him that Jaeger had joined the battle and about the strange secret that he refused to tell her about.

    “I was a little rough on him, I hope it didn’t shake his confidence.”

    “He can take care of himself.” Cronn took the death of Seraph hard. Two of his blood children were gone in the same mortal's day. “Mayela, go and find your mother. Tell her what has happened then try to find Jaeger.”

    “But father, you just said Jaeger could take care of himself. I want to fight with you.”

    The army of elves had pushed back the fiends to the edge of Oceanus’s shore. The celestials had reformed their lines and backed the elves up; taking out stragglers that tried to slip by. The North Gods in the area had gathered around their Lord to here the grim news.

    “That will be kind of difficult since I won’t be here.” He had to go. He could feel Harqual calling to him. “I must go to Harqual and face Tu. I’ve put this off too long already.”

    His announcement caused quite a stir amongst the gods. They all started questioning his decision or volunteered to go with him. Then the Soldier of Light stepped in front of Cronn.

    “Father, you cannot leave the field!” Jalivier couldn’t believe it. “If you go, morale will suffer!”

    “Damn it Jalivier, look around you! How will I help morale? The only one that provides morale around here is you. All the celestials here fight for you. All the mortals of Celestia that died here fought for you. To them, I am just your barbaric father who rages across the field every once in a while. No, this is your fight Jalivier. You, Inanna and Mayela are why we have yet to be overrun. I am needed elsewhere. Rel won’t last long against Tu. He needs my help. I must go. End of discussion!”

    Before any of them could argue further, Cronn was gone. The celestials didn’t even notice that the Lord of the North had left. Mayela did as her father asked and went to find her mother. The other gods organized for the continuing wave of darkness that was destined to come next.
    Robert Blezard

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    Rogue versus Assassin
    Shortly after leaving Lunia, Kuil and his followers had discovered and dispersed a good portion of Hiisi’s information network, which had been keeping the Lord of Darkness one step ahead on the battlefield, as well as details regarding certain ambushes he had set up against the members of the North Gods.

    This is why Aegir had not shown up for the battle when he had promised to be there. A strike force of aquatic mercenaries and godlings for hire had pinned down the Sea God’s forces in another region of the great river Oceanus. None of them had been able to reach the shores of Oceanus on Lunia.

    Of course, Kuil knew that the Lord of Darkness would never have taken on such responsibilities himself. The most logical choice for such skullduggery was Vespin, the Sword God of Thieves and Assassins. Tracking The Assassin and his followers had not been easy. Vespin was good at what he did, however Kuil was better. After all, he was the North God of Rogues and Illusion.

    He had found one of Vespin’s Avatars skulking around the edge of Ramara’s realm, obviously intending to go after the Goddess of Love. Vespin had probably thought that the news of the death of Euphoria would make her vulnerable. He had not expected to find the Hunting Princess there and had stayed his hand, waiting for the Goddess of the Wilderness to leave.

    That’s when Kuil had grabbed The Assassin from behind shifting both of them to his realm in Elysium. Once there, he put his dagger, Shadowstealer, through the Vespin’s Avatar. The dark god flashed out of existence, and Kuil was sure that he wouldn’t risk losing his last Avatar by shifting back for vengeance.

    Yet, he came back, spitting every blood oath and vile curse known.

    “I’m going to eat your godsoul!” Vespin was mad, real mad.

    “You always were a fool, Vespin,” the two gods had always opposed each other and competed for the same worshippers, except for assassins. Kuil didn’t accept assassins into his flock, considering them unpleasant mortals that didn’t understand the finesse of being truly roguish. Of course, Vespin had no such morality and relished each kill one of his assassins performed. “You’ll never stand a chance against me in my realm.”

    “We shall see!” Vespin lunged at Kuil with bloodlust in his pitted eyes.

    Kuil dodged him easily slapping The Assassin with the flat of Shadowstealer. Several of Kuil’s followers gathered around to watch the two deities duel. They remained quiet in respect for their god and many were mentally taking notes.

    Kuil was enjoying himself, as Vespin fumed and raged. The Rogue knew that he could take Vespin without trying but toyed with him, like a cat playing with a mouse. Twice more did Vespin feel the flat of Shadowstealer, once against his back the other along his face.

    Only when Vespin threatened a group of Kuil’s followers that had strayed to close to the fight did Kuil move in and destroy Vespin’s final Avatar with a swashbuckling flourish. Vespin screamed as Shadowstealer penetrated his back, sending the dark one on his journey to Twilight.

    Kuil sheathed Shadowstealer turning towards his flock of followers that had gathered to witness the destruction of The Assassin.

    “And that, my friends, is how you do it.”
    Robert Blezard

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    The Last Battle, Hiisi Arrives!
    Jaeger waded through the battling armies of darkness and light with one goal – find the Lord of Darkness. At times he became embroiled in localized fighting, aiding celestials that were being hard pressed by Hiisi’s dark horde.

    “Where is he?” This was the question that plagued Jaeger, as he fought his way across the battlefield.

    Jaeger was overwhelmed by the carnage being wrought by the dark horde of the Sword Gods. They claimed more and more celestials as the battle progressed. Only when things seemed lost did help arrive. Elves! Thousands of elves poured over the battlefield from every direction.

    Jaeger knew that Corellon had come. Seraph, it had to be because of him. He was Corellon’s son as much as he was Cronn’s.

    “Seraph,” Jaeger already missed his elven brother. “I will avenge you my brother and I will see you again soon, in the Twilight."

    Then the rage took Jaeger and he charged into the fiend army with celestials and elves following in his stead. He decimated the evil hordes, pushing them back farther and farther, driving them against the shore of Oceanus. Dozens of fiends were destroyed by the purity of Oceanus’s waters while Jaeger fought one against hundreds of demons. The celestials and elves cheered as he destroyed several key daemon commanders by throwing himself against them, taking them deep into the pure waters.

    The young god burst out of the water holding his godly sword, Honorbound, high in the air roaring in defiance at the evil of the Sword Gods. The sight of this untamed barbarian god destroying their commanders sent thousands of fiends into a scattered retreat from the North God.

    It was then that a massive wave of fiends appeared from the portal leading from the Outlands. Lead by the Lord of Darkness himself.

    “Hiisi!” It was all Jaeger could say before the dark hordes pressed anew and he was forced to retreat against the onslaught.

    The horde of fiends came in the thousands and all seemed lost, as Hiisi played his final card in the gamble to destroy the Pantheon of the North. All thoughts of challenging Hiisi left Jaeger’s mind as he tried to survive.

    On the other side of Lunia, the pantheon gods were in shock as the new wave of fiends destroyed all but the most powerful of the celestials and elves. Jalivier knew the day was lost without some sort of miracle. The fiends were too many and his forces were being decimated. His thoughts turned to Cronn and he knew that the Great Father had been right. The celestials would die for Jalivier but if he fell, they would not fight on for Cronn. Maybe for Inanna but not for his father.

    “I must not fall,” Jalivier spoke the words to himself and no one else. The thought of dying without being with his wife Immotion, the Goddess of Magic, again made him all the more determined. “I will be with you again my love, I swear.”

    Jalivier divided a small portion of his consciousness so he could sense her in her realm across the planes. There, Immotion fought her own battle, as she sat in her realm, the Soul of Magic in Elysium. She fought to keep her dark brother’s magic off the battlefield.

    Xuar was the Sword God of Necromancy, as well as Jealousy, and was trying to use his powers to raise the fallen as undead under his command. However, Immotion had foreseen this and she was dedicating herself to keeping her brother’s power at bay. It was difficult but not impossible. Xuar and Immotion had about the same power level but Immotion had more access to a variety of magic. It was working; Xuar couldn’t gain access to the dead.

    “We must keep to hope, my husband.” Immotion sensed Jalivier’s thoughts viewing her.

    “Hope, it is all we ever need.” Jalivier focused his entire mind back onto the battlefield, rallied the elves and celestials to him, and pressed forward into the chaos to send the demons of the Sword Gods back to the Abyss.
    Robert Blezard

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    On Olympus
    Apollo felt like a helpless mortal. His beloved Hela had died a cruel vicious death and there had been nothing he could do to prevent it. The God of Prophecy had wept when he heard the news of her torture and demise. Not even he had seen this coming.

    Hela had gone to see if the rumors about Gaoterlog being destroyed were true. That was the last time he had seen or heard from her. She had disappeared to visit her kin dozens of times before, being gone cycles at a time. But she had always returned and Apollo hadn’t given the war her pantheon was waging much thought. But now, now he watched as her pantheon crumbled.

    “I feel like I am betraying her by not being down there.”

    “You must not involve yourself in this conflict, Apollo.” Zeus understood his godson’s pain but remained defiant towards the Light-Bringer. “No matter how much you loved Hela, she was not one of us.”

    “I don’t care,” Apollo walked away from his Father’s scrying pool, his back to the Thunderer. “Hades fights with them because they have become more like family to him than us. He fights with passion, with a belief in something beyond the Outer Planes. He believes Cronn and his kin can make a difference and so do I.”

    The Thunderer was enraged by his godson’s open defiance of everything that Zeus had provided for him. Yet he was also oddly proud of him as well.

    “If you go, you go alone. You may not take any of your followers with you and I will not intervene in this battle on your behalf.”

    Apollo shifted out of Zeus’s temple without a word. He would avenge his beloved. He would destroy the evil witch Thera for her crime, even if it cost him everything on Olympus.
    Robert Blezard

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    On the Material Plane
    Rel was in trouble. One Avatar left, fighting a Greater God on his home plane, and no one to help him. Yes, he was definitely in trouble.

    Tu knew it too.

    The God of the Tabaxi was toying with the rival cat god now. Letting Rel find his feet and his strength, just so Tu could knock him down again. Rel didn’t stand a chance from the moment the fight had become just the two of them. Yet he refused to yield to the wicked patron of the Tabaxi. He would not surrender; he would die fighting for his people and for Cronn.

    “Well Rel, had enough?” Tu was so smug. “Do you yield?”

    “Never!” Rel rushed in against Tu once more and was slammed to ground of the Savanna of the Sun, as a reward for his bravery.

    The cat god was near his end. He could feel himself drifting towards the Twilight, his power draining away. Tu was laughing at him, as the other cat god hovered in the air above the broken God of the Rakasta.

    “Cronn-”

    The word was a personal farewell to his liege, not a request
    for the Lord of the North to come to his aid. Yet, there he was. He appeared some distance behind the two cat gods. Rel knew there was no need to play Tu for a fool a second time. Cronn would announce his presence in a moment.

    The Lord of the North roared a barbaric battle cry charging towards the God of the Tabaxi. Tu turned to meet the new challenger not realizing it was Cronn until it was too late to get out of the way. Cronn split Tu’s Avatar in half with North Rage. It blinked out of existence.

    The vile cat god’s next Avatar appeared near the two pantheon members growling at the barbarian god. Cronn beckoned the God of the Tabaxi to continue the fight. Tu howled coming at the Lord of the North with his spear in hand. The two rose into the sky, thundering across horizon.
    The next thing Rel knew the God of Rogues and Illusion was at his side.

    “You look terrible.”

    “Thanks a lot Kuil.” Rel felt weak and broken.

    “Cronn sent an Avatar to find me so that I could get you out of here.”

    “But we can’t just leave him here alone. He needs our help.” Rel wouldn’t just pick up and leave his Lord to face the God of the Tabaxi alone.

    “Don’t worry,” Kuil smiled at his fellow pantheon member. “Grandfather can take care of himself.”

    “But-”

    Kuil picked up the cat god shifting to Ramara’s realm. Kuil was right of course; Cronn could take care of himself. Ramara embraced the fallen cat god and her love made him glad to be alive.
    Robert Blezard

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    The Tides of War
    The battle was turning into a rout.

    Jalivier knew he’d lost the day, as fiend after fiend poured from the Outlands portal controlled by the Sword Gods. The portals had not closed since it last opened and his forces were being overrun. Without help the pantheon would die in its infancy.

    Hiisi had turned loose a horde not even the Lord of Darkness could control. The fiends ravaged the first layer of Mount Celestia and those gods with realms on the layer closed their borders, cutting off the fiend’s ability to access them, as well as the rest of the Seven Heavens. This also cut Jalivier off from his realm and his followers had rallied behind their Lord to protect him from the fiends. He was losing so many close friends and allies.

    Fortunately, none of the other pantheon members had fallen during the initial onslaught of Hiisi’s latest horde. Corellon, Damh, Garl, Hades, Inanna, Jaeger, Larea, Lokun, Mayela, Moradin and Sanh were all fighting the good fight. Jaeger’s initial absence had been forgotten by all and he seemed possessed on the battlefield. He led charge after charge and Jalivier was worried that Cronn’s godson was actually trying to martyr himself.

    Lokun was also obsessed for some reason. He fought so hard that Jalivier thought Lokun was channeling Odin. He had refused to discuss the reason for his passion driving him. All he would say was ‘I swear I will always fight by your side against the Sword Gods’. Jalivier had been speechless.

    But none of that mattered now, Hiisi was winning – slaughtering, really.

    Druaga, Mussin, Nether, and Thera had joined their Dark Lord on the battlefield and the five dark gods had the advantage.

    Had.

    Just when Jalivier was sure that Hiisi would steal his godsoul, two things happened. The first was a huge shock. The Olympian Apollo appeared on the battlefield riding a giant Pegasus steed. He flew over the battlefield and started gutting fiends left and right.

    Jalivier heard him call out a challenge to the Goddess of Violence. “Here me Thera! You have violated the one person I loved most, my beloved Hela! I have come to send you to the Twilight where you shall remain for all eternity!”

    Thera rose to meet the Old God against the wishes of her Dark Father. Apollo’s winged steed sped towards the dark goddess and the two clashed above the battlefield. Again and again the two gods swords met. But the Old God was too strong for the goddess.

    “For Hela!” Apollo cried out as he delivered the deathblow.
    This event gave hope to the Army of Jalivier’s Light, as it was now being called across the Outer Planes. They fought more inspired at the presence of another Old God on the battlefield. But it was the second event that truly gave hope to the pantheon’s forces.

    From the Great River Oceanus, an aquatic army of Asgardian petitioners and mortals rose from the water and took the fiends from behind. Aegir’s forces had broken the blockade sent by Hiisi to prevent his involvement in the Final Battle. The Old Man of the Sea rose from the billowing depths, his voice echoed over the land as he roared in defiance at Hiisi’s plan.

    “Ha, you thought to keep an Old God down, did you Dark One. You will feel the wrath of the waves and it children! This I swear today before all present!”

    Aegir conjured hundreds of water elementals from the depths of Oceanus itself. The water elementals fell upon the fiends, carrying with them the purity of Oceanus. The demons screamed in pain as the pure water burned their skins off.

    Soon the hordes of the Sword Gods were in disarray and the Army of Jalivier’s Light was sweeping across the battlefield. And one lone, young god renewed his search for the Lord of Darkness.
    Robert Blezard

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    Cronn versus Tu
    The two Greater Gods raged across the sky, matching the others speed and intensity. They fought from the Savanna of the Sun to the peaks of the Greystone Mountains. Cronn knew that Tu was a formidable foe and used all his strength against the vile cat god.

    Cronn was starting to feel the rage flow through his godsoul again but suppressed it concentrating all his energy on keeping Tu’s great spear at bay. His great axe, North Rage, wasn’t the most effective weapon against the cat god’s spear but he wouldn’t fight with anything else. North Rage was part of him, like an extension of his essence. Tu never showed any sort of emotion during the battle, except to hurl insults at the barbarian god.

    “You pantheon is collapsing, Great Cronn.” His words mocking Cronn’s heritage and kin. “Soon I will send you to the Twilight as I did Seraph!”

    That did it.

    The rage took Cronn in a way he had never experienced and he roared a thunderous barbarian war cry and charged the cat god. Tu had never seen anything like it and actually wondered if he was afraid. Cronn’s Avatar grew to twice its normal size. He towered over the cat god, as North Rage smashed into Tu’s great spear, splitting it in half like a mortal weapon.

    Yes, Tu was sure that what he was feeling was fear. He fled before the onslaught of the Lord of the North. Heading for the city of his people, Tattenger. There he would be at his strongest; there he could face Cronn on his own terms.

    The cat god quickly outdistanced the raging barbarian god reaching Tattenger far enough ahead of Cronn to summon all his divine power. Tu’s great spear reformed in the presence of his greatest power, and when Cronn finally arrived, Tu’s Avatar was almost the same size as the raging barbarian’s.

    The two clashed above the streets of Tattenger. Each gaining the upper hand and then losing it almost as quickly. Tu’s essence began to dwindle while Cronn’s rage sapped his strength as well. Soon the two gods fought like mortals in the streets of Tattenger, brawling like two rivals for the same wench.

    “Enough, I’ve had enough of this nonsense! I have no time for this!” Cronn swung North Rage sending Tu’s Avatar into a nearby building, destroying it completely.

    Tu pulled himself from the wreckage of the building only to be pinned to the ground by the barbarian god. Cronn held Tu’s Avatar down with all his strength calling out to the sky.

    “Here me Mirella, I have defeated the God of the Tabaxi and petition you to grant me a request.”

    “What is your request, Great Cronn?” The All-Mother appeared before the two gods and Tu’s people bowed down to the Great Mother of Kulan, awed by her presence.

    “I request that Tu and his people be banished from Kulan for his crimes against my kin.”

    “Why do you not just destroy him?”

    Cronn shook his head looking at the Tabaxi God. “I did not start this quarrel and will not destroy one who has yet to gain the wisdom to realize why his actions are wrong. If I destroy him, I would be no better then Hiisi.”

    “Indeed you have become wise through the ages, Great Cronn.” Mirella smiled at the barbarian god. “I will grant your request.”

    “You cannot do this! It is my destiny to rule!” The cat god snarled and spat at the All-Mother but could not break free of Cronn’s grip.

    “Perhaps,” Mirella stood above the howling cat god. “But not yet. I banish you, and your people as well, from the lands of Harqual for a 1,001 years. Hopefully by then you will have matured a little.”

    Mirella looked to Cronn and he nodded that he was satisfied. Then Mirella reached through time to find a place where Tu and his people could not escape. There she sent the cat god and his people to languish. Thus it was that the city of Tattenger left the mortal plane, forgotten in time.

    “Thank you All-Mother.” Cronn dropped to one knee and paid homage to the Mother of Kulan as he had done all those ages ago.

    “Now is not the time, Great Cronn. One of your kin is risking everything he is to break Hiisi’s power over Harqual.”

    “Who?”

    “Jaeger.”

    “No!”
    Robert Blezard

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    ø Ignore Knightfall
    The Challenge
    Hiisi knew the battle was over, he had lost almost as much as Cronn’s pantheon. All the Dark Children were gone, there power with them. Hiisi had had to beg Thera to come to Lunia and add her power to the battle. But then the God of Prophecy had arrived and sent her to the Twilight.

    His blockade had fallen as Aegir had surprised everyone by rising out of the Great River with a battle ready army of followers. If Hiisi had received word of the event like he was suppose to then he wouldn’t have been caught between Jalivier & Aegir’s armies. Vespin was dead, he knew his godson would never have let this slip by.

    His pantheon was broken but he refused to surrender. Better to retreat and regain his power then die needlessly in savage battle. Hiisi motioned to Mussin to call the retreat. The vile god laughed at Hiisi’s plight, and he, Druaga, and Nether shifted away from the shores of Lunia.

    “Damn you to the Abyss, Mussin, you will suffer for this!”

    “No!” A voice rang out behind the Lord of Darkness.

    Hiisi wondered who would dare contradict him turning to see Cronn’s godson Jaeger walking towards him. “Well, this is an unexpected pleasure. I feel like taking my frustration out on someone. It might as well be you, little god child.”

    “You’ll have your chance.” The young god smiled as if he had already won. Jaeger raised his voice calling out to the sky in the ancient tongue of the Old Gods. “I invoke the ancient tradition of the Finnish Pantheon. I call for Haastekehä!”

    “What, no, you can’t…“ Hiisi did not have time to finish his sentence. Eight Avatars of the Finnish gods appeared around Hiisi and Jaeger. Ahto, Ilmatar, Loviatar, Mielikki, Tuonetar, Ukko and Untamo.

    “The challenge has been made Hiisi; do you accept or forfeit your station to the challenger?” It was Ahto that spoke the words.

    “You can’t be serious, he isn’t one of us.” Hiisi was furious. As long as he was within the circle of Haastekehä, he could not shift away from Lunia.

    “It doesn’t matter if the challenge comes from outside of the pantheon, you know that. Or do you forget how you came by your station amongst the Finns?” The Mistress of the Forest spoke in rebuttal.

    “Don’t patronize me Mielikki. And yes, I will accept the challenge.” Hiisi looked at Jaeger laughing. “You little fool, you can’t defeat me. No one has ever defeated me in Haastekehä.”

    “I don’t have to defeat you, I just have to trap you here long enough for the rest of my pantheon to finish destroying your army.” Jaeger looked passed the circle of Finnish gods noting that a growing number of celestials had seen the Finnish Gods appear and riders were already on their way to tell the rest of the pantheon. They would come eventually but not soon enough to save him. Not that they could, no god may interfere in this challenge. Not even his father could pass through the circle of Finnish Gods.

    Jaeger’s words enraged Hiisi and the Lord of Darkness made the first move. Jaeger evaded him easily, as the Dark One was not thinking rationally. Jaeger tried to keep his foe off balance by mentioning that Hiisi’s allies seemed to have abandoned him. That really ticked him off and he almost caught Jaeger flatfooted. The God of Honor wouldn’t last long against these odds, even with Hiisi on Jaeger’s turf. Not that Celestia was his home plane, the Prime Material was. But to Jaeger, the Seven Mounting Heavens were like a second home.

    Instead of dodging Hiisi’s next attack, he surprised the Lord of Darkness by meeting him head on, striking out with Honorbound against Hiisi’s torso. The first hit was his, which enraged the Dark One even more.

    Hiisi tore into Jaeger, gaining four straight cuts with his sword. A great cheer rose up from one side of the circle, as a group of fiends had gathered to watch the spectacle. Jaeger blocked the next blow and noticed that a group of celestials cheered him on from the other side of the circle. Law versus Chaos, Good versus Evil. This was what it was all about on the Planes. Jaeger did not care; this was for Harqual – for all the mortals that he had grown up with, fought beside, and watched die. That was what this was all about!

    The rage took Jaeger and he fought with no regard for his own essence. He took the fight to the Dark One, beating him back to the edge of the circle. Hiisi was battered by the time Jaeger's rage had subsided. Yet his strength was still greater than the young god's determination. He slammed into Jaeger, sending him sprawling to the ground. Jaeger was hurt badly by the blow barely getting up to his knees. The rage had sapped his strength and he could feel himself slipping away towards the Twilight.

    “You are beaten, young one.” Hiisi stood over Jaeger and raised his fist in triumph. The fiends roared at the sight while several of Jaeger’s pantheon members looked on, helpless to do anything.

    Jaeger looked to see his sister Mayela standing outside the circle with his mother Inanna. Cronn was not there yet. It didn’t matter, he had lied to Hiisi – he wasn’t stalling. It was time for phase two of his plan. Something that the First One in the Halls of Twilight hadn't suspected he knew. Jaeger was not even sure it would work.

    “I have fallen Hiisi but I am not beaten.” Jaeger’s words echoed across the shores of Lunia, as Jaeger grasped Honorbound at both ends. “Here me Old Gods of all the Planes of Existence, I convey my essence to the Outer Planes wishing only one thing in return. That Hiisi be banished to Carceri for as long as my Great Father watches over the lands and people of Harqual. This I do freely with no tricks or illusions.”

    Hiisi’s eyes widened with fear and he reached out towards the young god in desperation.

    “No!” Cronn appeared just as Jaeger snapped Honorbound with all his strength.

    Balefire erupted within the circle consuming Jaeger’s essence. The Old Gods of the Planes saw the young god's sacrifice and invoked the ancient Banishing that would trap Hiisi in Carceri for as long a Cronn watched over Harqual.

    “Jaeger!” Cronn watched helplessly as his godson gave his life in the Banishing of the Lord of Darkness. A mist swirled around Hiisi and the Dark One screamed as his essence was transferred to Carceri.

    Silence echoed across Lunia, even amongst the pantheon's enemies. The war was over.
    Robert Blezard

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