Knightfall's Gods of Harqual Story Hour [Updated: Jun 16/04]

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
Ok, I've decided to begin a new Kulan-based story hour. This one will start with the reposting of Harqual's Mythology, in a slightly reduced format. This beginning section is less narrative but still tells the story of how the gods came to be. TheN I will move on to reposting the Divinity War narrative, which I am going to edit as I write (as well as maybe adding a few things).

After that, I will start telling new stories about the gods of Harqual from the time of the Mortals War and Black Wars, as well as other 'short stories' as I think of them. I am going to try and do this in a linear fashion but I'm sure I'll end up jumping around from time period to time period.

Mainly. I'm doing this to be flesh out Harqual history and mythology, which, to me, always will need improvements. Plus, it gives me a chance to 'flesh out' the Planes, as I explore the Kulan Cosmology in a narrative format.

I have no idea where this story will end up but I'm hoping it will be a fun trip.

Cheers!

Knightfall1972
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Out of the Mists
The first god to form on 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, 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 northern men.

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.
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* A deity first described in the 2E reference College of Wizardry.
 
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Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
The Calling
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 bore 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.
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* A god from Fritz Leiber's World of Nehwon.
 

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
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.

Fallen Avatars
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 crashed 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 feared to tread.

Up next... the Second Era begins.
 

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
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.”
 
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Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
The Challenge of Friendship
The Second Era of Harqual brought great change to the land. Contact was established with both Janardun 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 worshipped 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.”

“Done!”

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.

“Hmm, 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.

Up next... A prelude to war.
 

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
A Call to Council
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 quarrelling 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.

Silence.

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 and beseeched 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 ones 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.”

“Whoa,“ 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?”

“Several times.”

“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.
 
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Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
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.

“What is-?”

“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 ChildrenAmand, 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.
 

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
The Wars’ Begin
The Sword Gods corrupted the hearts of men and turned brother against brother, father against son, and nation against nation. War soon ravaged across the countryside and Cronn knew great sorrow as Hiisi’s evil spread. This endless conflict would become known as the Mortals War.

A dark empire rose and dominated all that stood in its way in the name of Hiisi, their dark patron. They spread as far south as the desert known as the Great Expanse and darkness ruled the land. This despotic land would become known as the Empire of Swords. The Ne Mei‘neav stood their ground against the dark hordes praying that their human allies would not surrender to the minions of the Lord of Darkness.

Meanwhile, the Sword Gods attempted to break the North Gods’ alliance by any means possible. They attempted to turn brother against brother and daughter against mother. However, the North Gods continued to stand together in solidarity. Actual open warfare didn’t occur until after the fall of Zell.

Zell had been the God of Frustration and the youngest of the Dark Children. He was considered the runt of the litter, constantly put down and tormented by his siblings. Thus, he earned his title as the God of Frustration, as he doggedly tried to gain Hiisi’s favor and always found a way to fail.

“You are a pathetic excuse for a god and a son. Get out of my sight.” Hiisi refused to coddle the boy.

“Yes, Dark Father.” Lost without his sire’s approval, Zell took to roaming the countryside of Harqual causing frustration wherever he trod.

He spent his nights lost to melancholy for many years until adolescence came upon him. He tried in vain to tempt mortal women, failing in frustrated rage. He would lose his mind and control, after trying to fight his evil nature. Thus, the objects of his affection would always die brutally at his hands.
It was this conflict of evil and the desire to find true acceptance and affection that destroyed the Lost God.

One evening, on a warm, clear night, Zell wandered from the safety of the Ragik Peninsula and into the lower reaches of the Northlands. He did this unwittingly, as he was lost in his melancholy. He came upon a lake shining under the moonlight, as clear as fine crystal.

There he saw a sight that would tear the evil from his heart and crush it under the power of desire. Hela, the Peace Goddess, bathed nude under the moonlight with sylphs and nymphs to wash her. He was transfixed with her beauty and all thoughts of pleasing his Dark Father left him.

Frustration had fallen in love with Peace.

His arrival didn’t go unnoticed by the gentle goddess. She refused to show fear believing that Zell had come to steal her godsoul. Her entourage including centaurs and other sylvan creatures moved to defend their goddess.

Zell made no motion to stop them falling to his knees, his head bowed, at the edge of the lake. He accepted his fate whatever it might be. He could meet oblivion at peace with his own dark soul.

“Wait,” Hela was many years older than Zell but still an adolescent compared to most of her fellow North Gods.

She sensed the change in Zell. In response, his form shifted. Gone were the hard lines of his frustrated existence and the bleak armor of the Suffering Soul. In the place of darkness came the hope of light and salvation.

“I love you, Peace Goddess.” Zell looked up into his heart’s hope praying that she would not reject his love. “I will spend the rest of my existence proving it to you. I swear it!”

“I can see the truth in your soul, Zell. I accept and encourage the love you feel inside you, although I can’t promise to love you back the way you put all your hope for.”

“I will accept that Fate, if it only means that I can serve your beauty and goodness.”

“Will you accept my grandfather as your liege, Zell.” She knew his answer before he spoke it.

“I will, my love.” Zell bowed his head in fealty to Hela. “I will swear it before all of your kin in Lord Cronn’s Great Hall.”

And Zell was true to his word. He came before the North Gods and swore allegiance to Cronn in front of the other gods of the Pantheon of the North. They did not doubt his word, as Zell opened his godsoul for all of them to see.

“You truly love my granddaughter, Zell. I hope you will not be disappointed if one day she chooses another.” Cronn spoke alone with the Lost God.

“Her acceptance of my love will last me the rest of my existence, Great Cronn.” Zell now wore the trappings of the North Gods, his transformation complete.

“Aye, I know it will.” Cronn embraced the newest member of his pantheon. “You are lost no more, Zell. Now, you are the Found God.”

* * *

Hiisi was enraged when he learned that his youngest godson had sworn fealty to Cronn. He refused to allow dissention from his offspring. Zell would not be allowed to add his blood to Hiisi’s enemies. He forced his pantheon members to attack the Hall of the Northlands, in order to bring Zell to justice.

The battle lasted a dozen mortal years and threatened to sweep away all those living near Cronn’s Great Hall. The North Gods took turns watching in the night for the next attack from the Sword Gods.

“This is my fault,” Zell felt the frustration weigh him down. “Fate has come for me. I am not meant to find peace.”

“Nay Zell,” Nessus, The Archer, tried to comfort his adopted brother. “We knew that they would come, brother. You must not give up hope.”

“I do not wish to bring ruin and death upon those I love, Nessus.” Zell looked back towards the Great Hall.

He knew exactly where Hela was inside the divine structure. He could feel the other young gods and goddesses in the Hall as well. They were resting. Twelve years of constant fighting was hard, even on the divine. Zell had insisted on fighting to protect the Hall, even though he was younger than his new brothers. Cronn had been wary at first, not wanting to lose his new godson.

“Do not put the conflict solely on your own shoulders.” the North God of Mounted Warfare’s words came out from the night, as he returned from his patrol. “Conflict with the Sword Gods was inevitable, Zell.”

“Yes,” Anon patted his adopted brother on the back. “Hiisi was just looking for an excuse to start this war.”

The night was shattered by godfire as the Sword Gods came out of the darkness. With them they brought an army of evil humanoids and dark soldiers from the Sword Imperium. The North Gods had allies of their own.
The fight would find the end of two gods on that night. The Dark Children surrounded Anacoro and tore him apart, But not before the North God had sent one of them to oblivion first. Zell had mourned the passing of Anacoro but did not shed one tear for Shoku, his dark brother and Sword God of Vendettas.

* * *

The Siege of the Great Hall continued for several more years. However, in the end, the Sword Gods overwhelmed the followers protecting the Hall and Cronn’s Realm on the mortal plane was destroyed.

Several of the North Gods fell on that day. Anon was brutally killed by Amand, his godsoul consumed by the Sword God of War. Zell, again, felt that the death’s of his adopted kin was his fault.

“No, this will not happen! Not again!” Zell attacked Anon in a rage. “No one else shall die for me on this day!”

Zell smashed his great longsword, Found-Peace, against his dark brother’s blade. He would not hide from his dark kin behind the death of his friends. He would end the Siege of the Great Hall, one way or another.

“Ah, little brother,” Amand’s poisonous words sought to break Zell’s will. “Still trying to prove your worth, I see.”

“I do not have anything to prove to you, dark spawn.” Zell thrust his sword at his older sibling again and again.

“Don’t lie to me, Zell. I can feel the frustration in you still. You haven’t changed as much as you are trying to convince yourself of. Come back to the Sword Gods. Dark Father will accept you back if I vouch for you. We are your kin. It is where Fate destines you to be.”

“No! This ends now! No more games and conniving words, Amand! I would rather meet oblivion than return to Hiisi’s dark brood!”

“So be it, runt.” Amand crushed Zell back with one stroke from his great bastard Sword, Helldawn. “But you will not meet oblivion. You shall come with me, or at least your godsoul will.”

Amand forced Zell to his knees, holding the adopted North God down with all his strength. Zell knew his Fate. He had seen it in his youth. He was meant to die in this way, but not by Amand’s hand. He called out with is mind to his closest brother. ‘It is time, brother.’

“No!” Nessus’ head turned on the other side of the continuing siege. “I cannot do it.”

“You must, Nessus. Amand must not take me.” Zell spoke the words out loud and in his mind. “It is my Fate. Mirella will guide us to our destinies, brother.”

“I-I will miss you, Zell.” The god known as The Archer drew back his godly bow, Wind Guided, and fired an arrow across the field. The divine arrow flew straight and true, Zell closed his eyes and whispered the thoughts to her as the arrow pierced his soul.

“I will always love you, Hela.” With that, Zell met his Fate in oblivion.

This was the first act of the divine drama that would become known as the Divinity War.
 

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
To the Planes
Cronn watched from Jalivier’s Citadel of Light in the Seven Heavens, as the war on the mortal plane raged on. He had become less amiable as the years past, more sad, more grim. After the pantheon had lost the Great Hall of the Northlands Hades had suggested that the Pantheon take the fight with the dark gods to the Outer Planes.

“If we go there, the dark gods will follow. Yes, the Mortals War will continue but less damage will be done to Harqual without us battling in the sky, godfire descending on the lands below.”

Cronn was loath to leave his people and to let them fend for themselves against the dark followers of Hiisi. But he knew that Hiisi would follow him into the planes, afraid that his prize would escape him. Thus, the Divinity War shifted to the Outer Planes.

“Enough! I’ve seen enough,” Cronn smashed the mirror that showed his people suffering under tyranny. “Will this madness never end!”

Corellon looked at the broken mirror. Cronn had become more and more unstable in the last few decades. His pain was great; he truly did love his people, as much as he boasted. “It’s hard to watch, I know. But it is the way it has always been so, since time began.”

“I don’t care, it’s not my way!”

Corellon tried not to smile. Not at Cronn’s pain, but at the image in his mind of a neophyte elven god raging in pain at the site of his people being butchered by orcs and goblins. Forced to watch helplessly, while the Olympian Thunderer, Zeus, gave the same speech. It felt like only yesterday, but was in fact many eras ago. Cronn reminded him so much of himself at the beginning of his godhood.

“Well, maybe Jalivier will return from Baator with good news. There must always be hope.”

As if on cue in a great celestial drama, Jalivier came through the giant oak doors of his Citadel. He was battered and bruised, but whole. He knelt in front of his Father and began to speak. “Great Cronn, we have won a great victory this day.”

“Stand Jalivier, and tell us of this great victory.” Cronn’s voice was slightly passive. Jalivier was the ultimate optimist and always said the same thing, no matter what the outcome was.

“We took Gaoterlog.” Jalivier stood, beaming with pride.

“Yes!” Cronn’s voice shook the heavens and his heart soared. Gaoterlog was Amand’s realm, Hiisi’s oldest godchild, in the third layer of the Nine Hells. “At last Anon, you are avenged!”

“Indeed this is good news.” Corellon knew that Hiisi wouldn’t care about losing his godson, but he would care about losing the power that Amand wielded – a pantheon that loses its God of War usually didn’t survive long.

Soon the Citadel was filling with other pantheon members as the news quickly spread around the Outer Planes.

“My Lord,” Inanna appeared next to the Lord of the North and embraced him. “I came as soon as I heard. Is Hades here yet?”

“Here,” Hades appeared out of shadows. “I am happy for you, my friend. I respected your grandson very much and I am glad his godsoul is finally at rest.”

“Uncle!” Hela appeared from her realm in Arborea.

She was growing up so fast and had become very beautiful, so much so that the god Apollo petitioned Cronn to court the goddess. He had told the Olympian god that his granddaughter’s heart was her own and that if he wanted to court her that he’d have to ask her himself.

The Olympian did just that, after he recovered from the shock, begging Hela to be his consort. Being a strong willed goddess she put him off for a while but he persisted, following her around like a lovesick puppy. Hela had cared for Zell more than she had known and would not accept the Olympian’s advances, at first.

Hela’s heart had healed and Ramara had helped her pluck Apollo’s love strings. Hela had been so good at it that Zeus had originally thought that she must be Ramara’s daughter. When he found out that Hela was in fact, the Hunting Princess's daughter he had exclaimed that Apollo was out of his mind with love for sure.

“I heard you were back, is it true, your army took Gaoterlog?” Hela glided on the marble floors like a elemental princesses through the air. She hugged Cronn, Inanna and then her uncle.

“Yes child, Anon was avenged today. As were all of our kin lost because that butcher and the Dark Children.”

“Zell… Nessus… Sialic… Thorn… Tulle… ” Cronn spoke the names of the fallen. “Meet brave Anon in the Twilight. Take him to Anacoro’s side in the peace of the oblivion.”

Hela became sad at the mention of the fallen, but then she smiled running back towards where she had first appeared. “I must tell mother, she will be so happy that Anon’s pain is finally over.”

She vanished as quickly as she came, leaving for her mother’s realm, Hunter’s Rest, in Elysium.

“Still the same joyful girl, even after all these years of war.” Moradin had spoken the words. He and Garl entered the Citadel of Light, appearing near the oak doors. “Jalivier, I here you kicked some Sword tail today. Why didn’t you tell me you were going, I would have gone with you.”

“It never came up, I was gone so quickly this time that I didn’t even have time to bring Cull with me.”

“You laid siege to Gaoterlog without the God of Strategy. You did perform a miracle, didn’t you?” Moradin was inspired by his friend’s dedication to the cause.

“You could say that.” Jalivier had become aware that he was a mess and quick replenished his power so that his armor gleamed and his skin looked untarnished. No one said anything, allowing the Sun God his one vanity. “However, that battle might be won but the War is not. I lost some of my best followers today, celestial and mortal.”

The mood sobered a little and the Gods started to shift back to their own realms until only Cronn, Jalivier, Inanna, Hades, Corellon, Moradin, Garl, and Rel were left in the Citadel.

“I’m sure we can find the time to honor the dead,” Cronn put his hand on the Sun Gods shoulder. “But first we must be prepared for a counterattack from Hiisi’s brood. He won’t take this lightly and will probably send his troops into the Upper Planes to enact his revenge.”

“Demons and dark warriors attacking the Upper Planes.” Hades words echoed through the Citadel. “The rest of the Olympians are not going to like that one bit, except maybe Ares. He’d love to test his troops in such a battle.”

“Do you think he would throw in with Hiisi?” Cronn didn’t like the idea of facing both the Lord of Darkness and the Unfortunate One.

“No, he’s not likely to trust Hiisi or any other god with an agenda. More than likely, he’d send his troops in on no one's side and simple fight for the love of it.”

“Ugh, Ares! No strategy, no honor, and no brains!” Inanna stared at the ceiling shaking her head in disbelief. “How any war god could just throw away good troops, for no other reason than the love of blood, is beyond me!”

“Cronn looked at his beloved and smiled. “Not every war god has your good sense, my dear, or your beauty.”

“Flatterer.” Inanna and Cronn had originally joined together and beget children to solidify her joining the pantheon. Eventually, they became friends and now, had become much more than that. So much so that Inanna’s realm had shifted over the years, from Baator to Mechanus then from there to Arcadia.

She had then renamed it the Heart of Battle and left Enlil and the Sumerians altogether, tired of being ignored by her former husband. Cronn was much more to her liking. He was passionate treating her with the respect he knew she deserved. Of course, Enlil had been incensed. But Inanna did not care she was in love. How could she deny her very nature? “I’d hardly call Ares a good comparison, my love.”

“How true, he’s not much to look at is he. Hades?”

“No comment.”

“I guess your right.” Cronn roared with laughter. “Zeus would probably hear about it if you degraded his son.”

“It’s not Zeus that concerns me.”

“Ah yes, I seem to remember hearing that Hera has quite the temper.”

“Again, no comment.” Hades let a small smile creep onto his face.

This time, they all laughed.

“You keep this up Hades and the denizens of the planes might learn you have a sense of humor.” Cronn was beside himself with mirth. Hades could always make him laugh and he really appreciated the Death God’s dry wit. “But let’s not forget why we’re here. Do you think you can keep Ares and his troops out of the battle to come?”

“Yes, he owes me a favor. I can’t say more than that.”

“Good enough,” Cronn was satisfied. He then turned to address the God of the Rakasta. “Rel, how do your people fare in the southern lands of our homeland? And where is Euphoria, I haven’t seen her in over a cycle?”

The cat god held up his head with pride. “My people have held the followers of Hiisi to the northern side of the Expanse, Lord Cronn. The darkness will not spread to the southern lands, I assure you. But it is not Hiisi’s minions that I am worried about, it’s the blasted tabaxi!”

“The tabaxi! Not again! I thought we settled this dispute. They can have the Storm Jungle and settle in the southern parts of the North but the savannas of southern lands are for your people. If only Tu would see reason, I don’t understand why he won’t speak with me regarding this matter.”

“No offence Lord Cronn but you are not a cat god.”

“Really, he doesn’t think I’m good enough for him? Is that it? Well you tell this cat god, no offence to you my friend-”

“None taken.”

“You tell Tu that if he makes trouble, I will personally skin the hide off his back.”

“It will be a pleasure.” Rel bowed to his patron then straightened himself smiling at Cronn. “And… Euphoria has been at the Seelie Court. Damh took her to introduce her to his queen. Titania absolutely adores her.”

“Damh wishes to make Euphoria his bride in the Seelie Court. It’s getting serious.” Corellon smiled at the mention of his Sylvan friends.

“Ah yes, young love. It is wonderful to here of such bliss in such troubling times." Cronn’s mood brightened at the mention of his granddaughter. "Rel, you be sure to let Damh know that Titania and Oberon are welcome here anytime they want to visit.”

"Yes, Great Cronn.” Rel lifted his arms as a signal that he was about to transfer his Avatar back to his realm, the Savanna of the Rain, in the Beastlands but Cronn raised his hand and spoke once again.

“Just remember to tell Damh that Oberon’s little trickster friend Puck must be kept on a short leash, if he comes along. I’ve heard too many tales to let him roam free around here. The last thing I need is for him and Lokun to get together and cause mischief.”

“I will.” Rel dropped down his arms to his side in a flourish transferring his Avatar to his realm.

“If you will excuse me Father, Mother,” Jalivier had become fond of Inanna and when she had left the Sumar Gods he had told her that he would be honored if she would let him address her as his Divine Mother. Inanna had agreed wholeheartedly and would have probably cried if she had been a mortal woman. “I must find Cull and prepare our defenses for the battle to come.”

“Of course my son.” Cronn was happy that his godson and new wife had learned to respect and care about each other.

Jalivier bowed to them both and then turned and addressed Moradin and Garl. “I take you two are going to want to come as well.”

“Ha, you just try and stop us, my boy!” Moradin rubbed his hands together and elbowed Garl. “We’d been wanting a crack at those Hiisi spawn for cycles! Ain’t that right Garl?”

“Damn, right! Those Sword bastards have been giving my people nothing but trouble since they showed up on Harqual. It’s time for some major payback.”
Jalivier turned to Corellon. “What about you Elf Lord, do you wish to join in on the strategy session?”

“Unfortunately, no,” Corellon looked at Cronn. “I have matters to attend to in Arvandor, if you will excuse me, my friend.”

Cronn nodded and Corellon’s Avatar vanished.

“All right then,” Jalivier stepped to one side and beckoned for Moradin and Garl to proceed ahead of him. “Gentlemen, after you.”

Moradin and Garl tromped out the door with the clomping of their heavy boots reverberating throughout the hall. Jalivier followed closely behind, telling them all about the taking of Gaoterlog, and how he had led the final onslaught himself.

“It was glorious.”

Cronn watched them go and wished his godson would boast a little less about such things. Yes, the battle was a great victory but Hiisi’s forces were bound to pay it back in blood. Boasting too much can make one careless on the battlefield the next time round.

“I must go,” Hades walked back towards the shadows. “I must speak to Ares and cash in that favor he owes me.”

After the Death God had gone, Inanna wrapped her hand in her husband's. Then the two gods wandered out of the Citadel of Light, seeking a quiet place to be alone.
 
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Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
The Nether Lands
Hiisi started to tear apart everything in sight when he learned that Amand had let Jalivier defeat him. The God of War hadn’t been Hiisi’s most intelligent godchild, but had been the strongest of the brood.

The Gods of Swords stood back, near the stone Ring of Swords, as Hiisi tore roots out of the earthen ceiling screaming and ranting about ‘that stupid bastard’ and ‘I should have killed him myself.’ There wasn’t any reasoning with him when he was like this. Of course, he was almost always like this.

Thera, the Goddess of Violence watched her father with hate and scorn. He was wasting valuable time brooding over her inept brother. Amand had been terrible as the God of War, and she was positive that eventually Hiisi would grant her his place. There was no one else strong enough in the pantheon, and if he did give it to someone else, she’d just kill the unfortunate godling and take it. Yes, Thera, Goddess of War and Violence. She liked that; the universe would tremble at the mere mention of her name.

The dark goddess smiled at the thought of the joy it would bring her to add her father’s power to her own. He wouldn’t be able to stop her. None of them would. Not even Mussin or Nether would stand against her after that. She’d have to kill them both eventually, of course, just to consolidate her power in the pantheon.

The God of Decay would be the first to feel her wrath. Nether could wait. She might even be able to use him when the glorious day came. Yes, the God of Hate and Tyranny could be useful, as long as he remembered his place.

“Hiisi, darling.”

Thera glared into the dark alcove where Hiisi’s black consort, Thera’s mother, sat. Hidden by the shadows she always remained distant from the rest of the Sword Gods. Thera hated her, of course Thera hated everyone, but the cow would die a slow and painful death. Thera would drink her mother’s godsoul, slowly.

“Amand is gone. There’s no sense ranting about it. We must prepare to strike back a Cronn’s brood before they have a chance to prepare.”

Hiisi turned to look at the red eyes staring out from the darkness of the alcove.

“I will decide when it is time to strike!” He continued to stare her down, as he slowly moved towards her. “Do not forget your place!”

“My humblest apologies, dear one. You are right of course.”

Hiisi smiled, believing he had won. He turned his head toward the rest of the Sword Gods. “Does anyone else wish to make a suggestion?”

His tone stated simply that the next being to suggest something would lose their head and, perhaps, their godsoul as well. No one spoke, no one even moved. Not even Mussin would openly defy him when he was like this.

“Good,” Hiisi turned his back them all. “We will attack Cronn and his vile pantheon of weaklings but only after prying into their affairs. I’m not going to just thunder into the Upper Planes without some sort of plan. Vespin, come forward!”

“Yes, Dark Father.” The God of Thieves and Assassins stepped forward and kneeled in front of Hiisi.

Thera hated how submissive her other older brother was. He’d have to die as well.

“Send you best proxies into the Upper Planes and have them locate where each of Cronn’s brood is hiding. I want to know where they all are at every moment from now on. No more surprises. No more incidents like Gaoterlog, understood?”

“It will be as you command, Dark Father.” Vespin immediately shifted his Avatar back to his own realm, eager to please Hiisi.

“Teve, step forward.”

The Dark Warrior knelt in front of his father, as Vespin had done before him.
Thera didn’t like the looks of this.

“I need a new War God,” In Thera’s mind Teve was already dead. “You will take Amand’s place on the field of battle.”

“I will make you proud Dark Father, I swear it!”

Hiisi was proud of his choice, unlike Amand before him; Teve was totally loyal to him. He noticed that Thera was visibly upset.

“I see you think I choose wrong, my dear. Do you wish to make a suggestion.” Hiisi’s eyes burned with anticipation at how Thera would respond.

Thera ground her teeth turning away from he father looking at her brother’s former place in the Ring of Swords. She made no sound, however.

“As I thought,” Hiisi snarled in triumph so that everyone could see and hear. “Never forget your place Thera or I will pass your power to another and demote you to the Goddess of Scullery Maids! Now get out of my sight!”

Thera was seething inside, humiliated. As she shifted to her realm in the Abyss she swore to herself that she’d make him pay for this.

Teve moved back to his place amongst the Sword Gods. Hiisi continued to call his servants forward.

“Druaga, I want an army of fiends! Hordes of them! I don’t care if you have to steal larvae from the Dark Eight themselves, I want an army not even the Old Gods would want to face!”

“It will be done, Dark One.” The God of Vile Summoning left his master’s realm to do as he was bid. Nothing would stand in his way.
“Emcey!”

The God of Lawbreakers stepped forward and bowed to his father. “I am at your service, Dark Father.”

“Always,” Hiisi was especially proud of this one. He was both loyal and yet loved to cause trouble. “Send whoever you can throughout the planes and have them the recruit the most vile revolutionaries and mercenaries they can find.”

“As you command, Dark Father.” Emcey stepped into the darkness vanishing to his realm.

“Deltum, Enduma! Hiisi turned to his twin godsons. “I want you to go to Harqual and cause as much mayhem as you can. I want Cronn’s people scurrying around confused like ants without a hill. Destruction and fear, understood?”

The Gods of Disaster and Suffering smiled at each other swearing an oath to their Dark Father, that when they were done, the lands of Cronn’s people would be unlivable. They then shifted out of the Nether Lands to Harqual to start their evil playing.

“Teve,” Hiisi addressed his godson again. “Prepare your followers for battle!”

“Yes, Dark Father.” Teve saluted shifting to his realm in Baator.

All of his lesser gods now had something to do, or think about, and Hiisi’s rage had subsided. Only the more powerful dark gods were left in his presence: Mussin, Nether, and Xuar.

Xuar, the only one of Cronn’s kin that he could stand. The Jealous Arcane, the greatest ally in his pantheon. Of course, being the God of Jealousy and Forbidden Magic meant that Xuar would give anything to keep his place amongst the dark gods, even tolerating Hiisi himself. Yes, Xuar wanted his power, Hiisi knew that – they all did. But Xuar was so jealous of everyone else that he would do almost anything to please the Lord of Darkness.
It was this thought that gave Hiisi an idea.

“Nether! One of my spies has told me that Cronn’s grandchild Euphoria is currently residing with Damh in the Seelie Court.”

“What do you want me to do?” Nether bared all his teeth and then licked his lips in anticipation.

“I want you to bring her here.” Hiisi looked at Xuar and saw his jealousy rise; he had wanted to take Euphoria for his own. “She is to be a prize for my consort to do with as she pleases.”

“Can I hurt her a little first?” Nether grinned like an evil feline about to taste a helpless canary.

“Whatever you wish, just make sure her godsoul is still intact when you get back.”

“It will be as you command, Hiisi.” Without moving, Nether shifted away to find the location of the wandering Seelie Court.

“As for you Xuar, I have no use for you at this time. I will call on you when I need you.” Hiisi noticed that the Jealous Arcane was fuming inside at what he was being denied.

“As you wish, Hiisi,” Xuar felt as though someone had torn out his godsoul. What had he done to deserve this dishonor? He must try to make amends to the Lord of Darkness. “I have something that I need to take care of anyway.”

A small smile crept over Hiisi’s face. He knew that Nether would never get a chance too bring Euphoria to him. Xuar would find her first and present her to Hiisi before Nether even knew he’d been duped. And Xuar would hurt her even more than Nether would. This was something that would not sit well with the Nether; more than likely he’ll take his frustration out on Damh or one of the other Sylvan Gods.

“Brilliant,” Mussin knew him better than either would ever admit. “Playing one against the other like that. I am glad that we are allies Hiisi, I hate to think what you’d try to do to me if we weren’t.”

“Yes, Mussin, be glad I tolerate your wagging tongue.”

“Do not forget Dark One that I am not one of your obedient children. We are allies; I am not your servant. Xuar might be loyal to you now, but Nether is totally loyal to me. If I told him what you just did, he’d swear revenge. Druaga would also follow me if I promised him the magic that Xuar wields. And your daughter would gladly betray you just for what you did to her.” Mussin’s eyes burned red, as the Lord of Decay challenged Hiisi’s words.

“Tell me why do I put up with you? At every moment you challenge my power and spit in my face in defiance when doing so. Why shouldn’t I just take your godsoul and be done with it?” Hiisi locked eyes with the God of Decay, his eyes burning with hatred.

“You are welcome to try Hiisi. But never forget that without me you’ll never drink from Cronn’s godsoul and corrupt his brood. Never forget the secret, relating to the purge, that I withhold from you.” Mussin vanished from the Nether Lands leaving Hiisi alone with his consort.

The Lord of Darkness immediately started ranting and tearing things apart again. His consort left him to his tantrum.
 

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