Betrayal and Banishment

EVENTS NEWS #412
Date: 12/13/2012 at 05:54
From: Anonymous
To : Everyone
Subj: Betrayal and Banishment

Glowering beneath his cassock, Archdeacon Maljer strode through the
halls of Mhaldor's quiet cathedral, his solitude rudely interrupted by
the vociferous cries of heathens. As neared the gates of Mhaldor, the
guttural voices of ormyrr could be heard chanting from a close distance,
and his ire grew.

"These creatures grow too bold," the archdeacon angrily addressed the
city. "They pray to their own god upon our doorstep and do not show
proper reverence!"

Finally he stood at the city gates, glaring outward at the priests who
had assembled nearby.

"Cease your heathen supplications, you overgrown lizards" Maljer yelled
in their direction. "Lord Sartan is master here, not Bal'met!"

In response, a heavy boulder came soaring in, landing on the foot of
Archdeacon Maljer, who howled in rage as a guttural chuckle resounded in
its wake.

"This foolishness will not be tolerated," Maljer muttered, summoning two
Naga assassins from their nearby post. "Teach them a lesson!"

Each pulling an arrow from his quiver and nocking it to his bow in one
fluid motion, the assassins took aim and fired, hissing in pleasure as
they found their mark upon an ormyrr priest.

A group of ormyrr thundered in, eyes narrowed suspiciously as they
flexed their hulking muscles and belched small plumes of noxious green
flame in an attempt to intimidate.

"Leave our gates," Maljer said dismissively. "Our Master may trust you
enough to serve as our attack dogs, but you are not worthy of walking
the streets beside us."

Slowly stepping forward, an ormyrr guard came face-to-face with Maljer,
exhaling a slow cloud of smoke before giving a fearsome roar that blows
the daemon archdeacon's white hair back with the force.

"You will regret this, you pathetic beast!" Maljer shrieked in rage, and
the growing tension finally broke as a full brawl erupted between the
ormyrr and Mhaldor's guards.

Snarling viciously, a muscular ormyrr struck the first blow, raking a
Naga assassin across the face with his razor-sharp claws. At his side, a
Tanjinn monk shifted expertly into a scorpion stance and launched into a
flurry of kicks and punches, breaking the limbs of a muscular ormyrr's
limbs. Seconds later an ormyrr priest flung a handful of metallic dust
at a knight of the Maldaathi. Soon all were enmeshed in a chaotic tangle
of limbs and weaponry.

Dust rose from the streets as more ormyrr rushed through the gates,
entangling with the guards in a furious fracas. From all over the city
guards were drawn to the sounds of fighting, and the brawl escalated. In
the uproar of the fray, few noticed three priests quietly gathering
together in a ring, grasping each other's forearms tightly.

Rasping out a guttural string of syllables, the priests chanted louder
and louder, but the only recognisable word was "Bal'met." With
increasing fervour the priests flailed their arms, eyes rolling wildly
as they were surrounded by a growing aura of light.

Suddenly, a blast of raw power radiated outward from the trio of
priests, consuming the entire crowd of brawlers, both ormyrr and
Mhaldorian, in deadly flames.

All was silent at the gates of Mhaldor as the dust settled. But the
repose was brief, and soon the sanguine fog that surrounded the City of
Evil began to billow and rise. Above the city's spires appeared the
furious visage of Sartan, the Malevolent.

"Bal'met!" shouted Sartan. "Your lackeys encroach upon My domain. Call
off your minions before I crush them!"

Then, deep within the roiling stormclouds that raged above Sapience,
Bal'met appeared, his narrowed gaze fixed upon the crimson fog of the
west. Sinister and dark, his gruesome laugh fills the skies, and he
turned away from Sartan with a mocking smirk.

As quickly as the vision appeared, the clouds quickly shifted, and once
more the sky was simply a churning blanket of thunderous brume. Dark,
sinuous shadows wove across the firmament: a pair of Dala'myrr moving
toward the west, their forms twisting in unison as they neared the
craggy isle and dove toward the earth, hissing with unrestrained
pleasure.

Mounds of earth flew into the sky as the Dala'myrr slammed into the
ground and burrowed far below. Rumbling and groaning, the earth shook as
the great wyrms moved below the surface, and the spires of Mhaldor's
tall buildings shuddered upon the western horizon. Under the ground,
bloodworms and Blackrock dwarves were crushed by falling rocks. Even a
priestess of the Goddess of Vengeance, whose temple lies hidden away
beneath the island, fell victim to the great quakes brought on by the
burrowing Dala'myrr.

Furious at the wanton disaster brought to her devotee, Keresis addressed
the God of Evil.

"This is a warning," she insisted. "Bal'met sees us as his pets, not the
other way around. He must be taught a lesson and brought to heel!"

"Scour the island for ormyrr and slay each one you find," Sartan
instructed the city. "Should you encounter a Dala'myrr, destroy it as
well.

"No," the Goddess of Vengeance interrupted with a hiss. "Leave the worms
to Me."

~ ~ ~

Loud cracks resounded through the bowels of Mhaldor, shaking the ground
and causing the buildings to tremble as its citizenry prepared to hunt
down the ormyrr. Loose stones and pebbles danced and jostled upon the
ground, disturbed by the movement below, but Mhaldor was undeterred.

Onlookers from across the lands who paid close heed to the realm of
Death saw gruesome visions of dying ormyrr, gutted and cut down by Sir
Tirac Vastel and the party of Mhaldorians who followed him across the
desolate island. Ruthless in their slaughter, the party marched from
shore to shore, trampling all who stood in their path. As they passed,
even a lycopod landed a killing blow upon one unlucky victim, to the
bewilderment of Achaeans everywhere.

Blood began to soak the soil of the western island, and a murder of
crows blackened the firmament above the Northern Vashnars, streaming
from their underground home and taking to the skies. As the dark
silhouettes wheeled through the air, the Goddess Keresis appeared in
their midst, furious and terrifying to behold as She raised the Blade of
the Dreadlord in one hand.

Narrowing her eyes at the island beneath her, the Goddess of Vengeance
appeared to be searching closely for something. Then, with a resounding
battlecry, the Goddess of Vengeance hurled her sword toward the blighted
earth, where it struck like an arrow piercing flesh. Tremors shook the
world as two Dala'myrr shuddered and shook beneath the island, fatally
pierced by the point of the Goddess' blade.

Under the watchful eyes of Sartan and Keresis, the numbers of ormyrr
upon the island soon dwindled, and Mhaldorians returned to their city,
satisfied with their completed task. Frenetic chanting issued forth from
Baelgrim Fortress, and the dwarven initiates of Blackrock raised their
voices to join the chorus, wailing invocations to the Malevolent One.

"Your treachery is no surprise, Bal'met," thundered Sartan. "We have
been anxious, waiting for you to make a move. Did you think us blind to
your scheming?"

Weaving his clawed hands, Sartan snarled in concentration, and an aura
of sinister power began to gather about him. Sanguine tendrils of
noxious fog rose up at his command, snaking through the firmament and
twining with roiling stormclouds, churning in a circular motion high
above Achaea. Gravely he uttered a string of harsh, formidable words in
the language of the gods, his voice carrying over the thundering howl of
the strengthening whirlwind.

Terrifying to behold, Bal'met remained silent upon the firmament, his
expression faintly amused as he watched Sartan's orchestrations in the
sky.

Lightning flashed amidst the turbulent storm, and a gaping void began to
grow at its centre. As the eye of the storm opened wide, beyond could be
seen an endless plain of shattered ruins surrounded by blackened, wiry
grasses: the legendary battleground of Nishnatoba. Upon the
blood-stained lands stood the Goddess of Vengeance, defiant and
powerful, the Bow of Malice pointed outward as She aimed it directly at
Bal'met.

"Leash this animal," Sartan called out to Keresis, "and let us show the
dog its new home."

Without a word, Keresis loosed an arrow from the Bow of Malice. Like
fire it blazed through the sky, and gleaming links of crimson chain
began to uncoil at the goddess' feet, following in the arrow's wake.

A roar of pain soared through the firmament as the arrow struck Bal'met.
Sparking with flashes of blinding light, the chain that spanned the sky
grew taut, its links penetrating through and coiling around his immortal
form. The god writhed in outrage, eliciting a savage cry of triumph from
the Goddess of Vengeance.

Continuing his ominous intonations in the ancient tongue of the gods,
Sartan reached out toward the vortex, which began spinning even more
wildly than before at his command. Caught by surprise, Bal'met flailed
as the overwhelming force of the whirling winds began to drag him closer
and closer to the centre of the maelstrom.

A crack of thunder rang out as Keresis gave a mighty heave upon the
chain, pulling Bal'met through the turbulent storm to the plane of
Nishnatoba.

"Now, at last, it is my turn to serve vengeance to you," she proclaimed.

Clouds and lightning whipped dangerously around the open portal to
Nishnatoba, through which Keresis could be seen circling Bal'met with a
cruel smile.

"Keresis!" shouted Sartan across the planes. "Time is running out, the
gate must be sealed NOW."

The glittering eyes of Keresis narrowed as she glared outward at the
storm-wreathed opening, watching as it wavered and began to diminish in
size. With a frustrated snarl she abandoned her prey, heading toward the
opening and away from Nishnatoba.

Suddenly the deafening shrieks of Dala'myrr were everywhere, and dozens
of the ferocious creatures descended from the clouds above Sapience,
rushing across the sky toward the tempestuous vortex. Sartan gritted his
teeth, bending his full will toward the storm, his veins glowing with
fire against his ashen skin as he strained to keep the portal open.

One by one the Dala'myrr streamed through the air and into the portal,
blindly seeking their trapped master and pummelling Keresis back as she
tried in vain to escape Nishnatoba. But Sartan could no longer hold open
the path between the planes. With a mighty bellow he released his power,
causing the great vortex to shudder and close with a violent crash.

A wave of raucous energy rolled over the firmament, battering the
heavens in a relentless onslaught as the glimpse of Nishnatoba vanished
from sight, along with Bal'met and Keresis. Moments later, screams
echoed from distant Nishnatoba as Keresis, Goddess of Vengeance, was
consumed by the raw power of Bal'met.

How Bal'met escaped his chains and why he still remains bound to
Nishnatoba remain a mystery; all we can be certain of is the dire
circumstance that now brews upon that plane. For only moments later, the
resounding voice of Aeon, Lord of Time came ringing: "Sartan... you
fool. That was the worst place you could have chosen to banish Bal'met.
Nishnatoba is more closely tied to the Fire behind the Flame than even
the Prime Material... pray you have not doomed us all."

Penned by My hand on the 2nd of Ero, in the year 613 AF.