The Leviathan: Part Four
In the weeks and months following the destruction of the seal of Chaos, mortal and Immortal alike began preparations for the fight to come, and sought means by which to oppose the dregs - hideous creatures of nightmare arising from the tundral deeps:
- Damariel, the Unbound guided His people to Liri, a Seyda and former priestess of Lleis. With her help, as well as a clipping from the First Elder, adventurers constructed healing ampoules that aided them in the fight against the dregs.
- Rhulin, the Engineer of Enorian came forward to set up a workstation at which dreg-destroying kola bombs could be constructed. These decimated large groups of dregs when thrown.
- Iosyne, the Malevolent bestowed one Divine-infused egg each upon Bloodloch and Spinesreach, and tasked them to feed the eggs with the corpses of the mightiest foes they could find and slay. These eggs would later hatch into two hulking creatures - Eggward and Semomti - each taking on the physical attributes of the corpses they'd devoured. The creatures took to the Western Tundra, easily dismantling any dreg that crossed their path.
- Slyphe, the Maelstrom took to the high seas with Enorian and their Duiranite allies upon Its great ship, the Radiant Admiral. Deep out in the ocean, they hunted one of Jox's spawn, the leviathan Torax. The adventurers manned massive ship-mounted ballistae and hooked the massive sea creature with the chained harpoons. After all the hooks had sunk into the leviathan's flesh, Slyphe pulled the beast aboard the ship; and together mortal and Immortal united, they slew the beast. Haern, the Hunter joined His Brother and the mortals on the voyage, although He spent most of His time vomiting over the ship's side.
- Abhorash, Consanguine progenitor, gifted a powerful bloodstone to the Imperial Dominion. By sating the stone with their blood, the Consanguine empowered themselves with new abilities to counter the dregs.
- Severn and Tanixalthas held a tense meeting in Spinesreach. In exchange for gifting Her the former Spire of Mystery - now the mighty Dragon Spire - and teaching Her how to properly wield Her Divine powers, the Manipulator Severn brought the Dragon-Goddess onto the advisory of Spinesreach, and into an alliance with the Sapient Pantheon.
- There were further rumours of dealings involving the enigmatic God of Artifice, but it remains uncertain what the nature of those machinations might have been.
- Ethne's forge stayed lit day and night as Her Voice, Rasani, labored tirelessly to smith several weapons worthy of the Gods' use.
- Haern, the Hunter led Duiran, along with their Enorianite allies, on a hunt for a monstrous boar. Having supped upon the blood of Golgotha - spilled from recent battle - the boar had transformed into a hulking demonic creature. The adventurers battled the beast and its spawn, eventually driving it to the Hunter, Who lay in waiting with a large pitfall to trap the beast. From the boar's bone, Runecarver Rhydderch fashioned a new spearhead for His God, while Haern communed with the Great Oak to derive His weapon's new shaft. Iosyne's own Divinely-spun spidersilk would serve as the spear's binding, completing the weapon.
- Chakrasul, the Dark Mother had the Carnifex train Abietatve, Her warhound, by infusing it with hearts dipped in the essence of Corruption. She would later have the Teradrim control the temperature of Her forge, ensuring that the molten lava would be infused with Her essence; these, and black diamonds, were used to construct Her battle-armour.
- The city of Spinesreach called upon their allies, the Ophidian Empire, to aid in the battle against the dregs. The Empire offered its unconditional support - both to honour their alliance and to confront the risks posed to the continent. Scores of Ophidian warriors would die in the skirmishes across the Western Tundra, though the Empire earned their allies' newfound respect for their valiant efforts.
The starmetal seal of the Divine would shatter as the sun rose on the 19th of Midsummer 476 MA, signalling the start of a fierce battle between mortalkind and the dregs. Leading an unrelenting assault, the Polemarch Daimoxoth took to the field once more alongside his enthralled dregs, and met the Gray Accord - mortalkind's united front - in another harrowing clash. With the assistance of the Ankyrean warrior Lobyl, the Gray Accord forced the Dreikathi to flee as they had done before, but - yet again - the nightmare-tainted Daimoxoth dispersed into a fog and slipped away through the cracks in the tundra.
Once the battle quieted, the Accord descended into the barrow. The Twin Gods awaited them at the final seal, beyond the shattered seal of starmetal. It was revealed by the Two that this seal was produced with the bones and blood of countless Ankyrean sacrifices, then reinforced with a layer of venantium. Lobyl turned upon the Gods, anger flashing in his eyes as the nature of the Ankyrean seal was revealed. His anger, however, came not from the sacrifice of his kind, but instead from the reluctance of the Twins to reveal the seal's nature to him until now. The Gods had doubted his resolve - a grave insult to a member of the Conclave of Devotion. Nonetheless, Lobyl - known for his intense piety - offered up his body so that his bones could reinforce the seal but his zeal was rebuked by the Twins; the sacrifice of a single Ankyrean would make little difference, and his prowess was still needed for the fights to come.
Following the revelation of the Ankyrean seal, mortalkind spent the weeks until its inevitable destruction focusing upon the tasks the Gods had set for them and continuing to defend the barrow from the dregs. At Lobyl's request, allies of the Accord brought him modern enchantments to study. Using these enchantments as a basis, he spent his free time devising a countermeasure to the Dreikathi Daimoxoth's ability to flee the field of battle. Thus the days progressed until, at last, dawn broke on the first day of Autumn in the year 476 MA.
Damariel was the first of the Sapience Gods to arrive in the skies over the Western Tundra, flanked immediately by His Twin Severn. Shining out as beacon for the rest of His Siblings, the Unbound's voice rang out across the continent, rallying all of Sapience to endure united against the foes that would threaten the continent. Grim, resigned, and girded for war, the Sapient pantheon arrived, each of Spirit, each of Shadow: Ivoln, the Earthen Lord; Haern, the Hunter; Ethne, the Inferno; Iosyne, the Malevolent; Tanixalthas, the Sun Driker; Slyphe, the Maelstrom; Chakrasul, Lady of Corruption; Dhar, the Underking; and Omei, the Nightmare. Foreign yet resident, only the Goddess of Symmetry, Avareti, still lingered apart from the rest of Gods - Her place was not yet certain.
Upon the ice below the Gods, the banner of Gray Accord fluttered in the crisp wind of the tundra as Sapience's mightiest warriors likewise assembled under the symbol of their unified defence. Joined by the Ankyrean Lobyl, and led by Fezzix Sicarius, the Accord had mustered a force of strength unseen for centuries upon the Aetolian continent.
A vent of hissing energy escaped the barrow as the Ankyrean seal entered the final stages of its decay and the Western Tundra shuddered with splintering cracks. Innumerable hordes of dregs burst out of the fresh vents, the Polemarch Daimoxoth at the fore of their charge. Conserving essence for Their own fight, the Gods watched on from Their lofty vantages as the forces of mortalkind clashed with the Dreikathi and his dregs. Time itself almost seemed slowed by the chaos of the ensuing battle and many Sapients lost their lives to the singular might of the ancient Dreikathi. Daimoxoth carved a path through the battlefield with an antiquated spear that bore a tattered Dreikathi standard, using a combination of sheer martial prowess and Nightmare-infused abilities to match the strength of dozens of Sapience's strongest.
Ultimately, Sapience's forces proved too steadfast for the lone Dreikathi. As he attempted to flee, Lobyl held forth his countermeasure: a gilded, nightmarish eye sigil that prevented the Polemarch from becoming incorporeal. Daimoxoth fell, once to Ceirnis Bouchard, a Consanguine who laid into the draconic foe with a frenzy of blows. Then, shortly after bursting back to life by ancient magic, to the Knight Rasani Morrog, who finished the Polemarch with a decisive double-struck blow. The sun had begun to set, the luminous moon taking its place in the heavens as evening marked the end of mortalkind's battle.
Pairing off, the Gods of Sapience took to Their positions over the Western Tundra as the seal's destruction became imminent. Avareti still lurked on the fringes until Severn, the Manipulator finally addressed Her hesitation. "Avareti," called Severn, as His gaze lanced across the tundra: "If You are to claim a place among Us, then You must perform those duties to which We are bound. Either stand back and be a pantheon of one, or join Us and become Our Sister. The mortals of this land shall forever reckon You by the choice You make here, therefore make it wisely."
The Goddess of Symmetry needed no time to make Her decision as She unfolded Her geometric codex and prepared for the battle. She was a Goddess born during a time of great strife for the Continent - the War of Night - and at the core of Her being was a desire to see innocent life protected from such horrors. So decided, She advanced to join the rest of the Sapience Pantheon, replying to Severn as She did: "Do not dangle Siblinghood before Me like a bauble. Either trust Me or don't, Artificer, and don't make a game of it. No, I won't fight, not for the lies You and Your Kin would tell Me... but instead, to spare this land more devastation and bloodshed."
At the urging of the Gods, mortals fled as far south as south went, taking with them the badly wounded Lobyl. Only one mortal, whose curiosity far outweighed his common sense, remained in the Tundra: the Archivist Steele, soon to perish in the coming calamity. The stillness of night hung in the air for a passing moment, but was then sundered by a cataclysm of unfathomable destruction that shattered the entire Western Tundra. The mighty Serpent arose, erupting from its prison below the ice, cloaked in chaos and fury. What little tundra remained struggled to hold the truly gargantuan bulk of Jox, and its form cast an immense shadow that blotted out the very sky. The Serpent's eyes, larger than a ship of war, opened and glowed an angry red as they beheld all yet to be shattered by its rage. The outline of the beast was miles long, and only visible due to the debris thrown up in the sky upon its sudden arrival - the entire destroyed Western Tundra and surrounding coastline, which hung in the air as motes of dust and detritus. The sound of its ascent blasted forth like sundering Fire - its palpable rage hung in the air like an oppressive miasma and emanated from every inch of its world-devouring body.
The Gods of Sapience acted without hesitation. Working together in a unison hitherto unseen in this current age of Midnight, They unleashed a deadly combination of attacks - each taking Their turn at striking great wounds upon the Leviathan. Yet in the end, Their efforts were for naught. Jox, while bloodied from the onslaught, had hardly seemed deterred in its fury once its initial distraction faded. As its eyes rose, it glared fiercely at the attacking Sapient Gods as though they were naught but flies. With a lazy, but air-sundering swat of its mighty tail, the great serpent scattered half of Them at once. Those that remained were quick to close ranks and push Their assault, encouraged by Severn's shout of "Remember the plan!". The words had no sooner left Severn's mouth than did Jox's monstrous maw opened wide. The Earthen Lord Ivoln was first to realize the coming threat, His sonorous voice rocking the continent with a simple instruction to mortalkind: "Guard your ears!"
Incensed by the tiny Divine that were still biting at its impossible might, Jox reared back and pulled yet more of its body out of the Tundra in the process. Sapience quaked, but not nearly so fiercely as the air, sundered by the Leviathan with a continent-shattering roar! Mountaincaps shattered, buildings crumbled, and millions of mortals, beasts, plants, and other living things perished on the spot as the rage of the Serpent made itself heard in every corner, in every cave, in every recess and shadowed corridor of mortalkind. The Immortals of Sapience reeled as They were cast aside by the terrible, obliviating din. They attempted a fighting retreat, doing little to perturb the looming Leviathan as its wounds began to rapidly regenerate.
As the sheer force of that raw fury blasted away the detritus created by Jox's every movement, the sky cleared and revealed the argent light of the full moon, which gazed down like an immense eye upon the destruction. Jox swung its head towards this bright target, and a new roar rumbled deep in its gullet, echoing against the mountains. The low roar grew into something not unlike a scream, the very noise cracking what little tundral ice had been left unbroken. Its mouth opened, silhouetted against the stars, and essence began to gather in its maw, coalescing into a huge ball and drawn from all across the sky - the waters of Sapience and beyond rose up to answer Jox's call, lending it their essence, even as Slyphe fell from the sky, limp and unconscious. Color all across the continent seemed to dim as Shadow's essence joined Water's within the Leviathan's jaws, and its noise fell to a terrible, swift silence. Jox vomited forth its gathered power in a beam of concentrated essence, cracking the sky with a horrific, explosive boom and scarring the starry void. The stream of essence slammed into the moon far, far above the world and shattered the argent orb into dozens of chunks, continuing onward until it was lost to mortal sight. Eventually, Jox's cavernous maw slammed shut and the lance came to a stop. The thing's gurgling, hideous laughter sounded like thunderclaps across the Western Tundra as it gazed upon its sundering of the celestial sphere.
When the last of the stream of essence was swallowed by the void, the stars seemed to wink back into existence - then what appeared to be stars began to move, forming the outline of a truly massive celestial being, composed of swirling nebulas of myriad colors. What must have been Its great hands cradled the fragmented moon and gathered each shattered piece with loving tenderness as the Cosmic Being began to piece the moon back together, carefully aligning the shattered chunks with one another.[Scribe's interjection: The Grand Library would like to dispel any rumours that this Being was Odravh, the Abyssal. The recorded descriptions of Odravh and this still-unknown Cosmic Being do not match up, nor do They match the descriptions of any other Being we currently have on record. We urge the people of Sapience to cease any further written inquiries to us on the subject of the unidentified Cosmic Being.]
Bellowing with pure rage at the sight of the Cosmic Being, the mighty Serpent heaved itself upward and surged through the sky, towards the faraway, shattered moon and the Cosmic Being that coiled about the broken sphere. Its immense form seemed as though it would never end as league after league of furious Leviathan ascended from the depths of its destroyed prison. Then, its maw hung wide open in a vicious snarl, the hideous noise underscored by another din - the wailing of survivors as they mourned the many dead brought about by the Serpent's mind-melting roar, their grief all but lost amidst the beast's vengeful outcry.
A featureless figure of radiant silver rapidly descended from the heavens and hovered over the great Leviathan, blocking its ascent. The figure raised an outstretched hand and a radiant spray of multicoloured lights burst forth; raw Divine essence painted the night sky in a brilliant aurora of varying shades. The essence, powerful and unyielding, slammed into the massive Leviathan, who reeled from the blow and released a strained growl as the silvery Being drove the Albedi God back from whence it came, beneath the cold, dark tundral ice. Raw essence continued to pour forth from the Being's palm as He descended, and the leylines and firmament shook as though they were about to burst forth from the overflow of power. The Being descended, though in such a fashion that it seemed as if the world and all its contents had moved about Him, rather than He through they. Whether the eyes which beheld Him were mortal or Divine, His identity was fully evident: Varian, the Celestine.
Varian was radiant, almost blindingly so. He gestured with a lazy hand, and reality itself knitted together beneath His finger. Once more from naught, the Western Tundra returned whole: a vista that unfolded like an immense, silvery quilt, and loomed across the splayed Leviathan. Though the dread serpent gave a flail or two, there beneath the Celestine's mask-like and unrelenting stare it could not avail itself. It was soon lost to sight, imprisoned once more beneath frost and desolation, as though the serpent were but a ray of light upon which a window had been decisively shuttered. The rippling echoes of the Divine feat faded, and the air began to settle, shot through with brilliant, resplendent light.
Severn looked upward at the eldritch Cosmic Being which still loomed across the moon in repair. Terror filled the Artificer's face, spilling over as He turned His gaze instead upon the sharp brilliance of the Celestine. "Father," He breathed, boyish for a moment in His trepidation. "It's not safe for You to be here." He pointed upward with His one good arm. "There's danger in the skies." Varian surveyed His gathered children and replied, in a mixture of modern Aetolian and ancient Kalsu. "The Serpent's sundering of the lunar sphere has provided Me with a small distraction - yet Sevren! Sevren, Efvi wo De," He implored, calling Severn 'Son of Mine'; using His Kalsu name, as well.
"What has become of Kepri! Les? Aryon, Urlani wo Eja Tolya! What have You done this time?" Varian continued, now calling upon His fallen Children in their Kalsu names: Khepri, Lleis, and Arion, the Honour of Aetolia. Then last, He volleyed in a wounded tone: "Followed Your dear sister Lurli's lead?" Lurli, the Kalsu name of Omei, once had a lengthy period of disobedience against Her Father that ultimately resulted in Her imprisonment and deprivation, and sparked the feud between Her and the Goddess Iosyne owing to the latter's perceived theft from the former.
Severn started to answer but soon stuttered to a halt - for Varian held up a shining hand, glided past Him, and instead turned to Damariel. The Unbound Lord approached, a growing smile upon His face. "Ah!" said He most Immortal as He took Damariel mot Lanosaryon by the shoulder and laughed in recognition. "Lanos. Of course! Congratulations, My Son, upon Your most remarkable recovery. Now where is Doharivolin-" He broke off at once and a deep frown cut across His radiant features as He took brief note of Dhar and Ivoln, who stood at a far distance from One Another. Dhar and Ivoln had once been unified by Varian Himself into the God known as Dhaivol, the Underking - or Doharivolin in the Kalsu tongue. "There is much amiss," Varian noted darkly. "Efvi wo De," He addressed Damariel, "My Son, I entrusted You and Sevren to maintain My realm while I was unable to. Did this task," He sighed heavily, "prove beyond You both?"
Damariel also tried to reply, but no sooner had He begun than He is stopped by the rise of His Father's hand. Varian had already moved on to His next Child, and the next after that - greeting each, receiving Their homage one by one, and then continuing on. He spoke with gentle encouragement, and paused, pleasantly surprised, when He observed one of His Daughters: "Iyosin! What a beautiful new form! Malevolent and terrifying. You have always known how to please Me." Once more referring to the Goddess, Iosyne, by Her Kalsu name. The compliment paid, He moved on - He wore a soft, pitying smile for Chakrasul, and passed by a waiting Omei with the faintest of sneers. One Goddess, however, drew His eye.
There stood Avareti, Goddess of Symmetry. She was the odd Goddess out between the other two Divine camps: at Spirit's front, Damariel mot Lanosaryon, and at Shadow's, Severn the Manipulator, each watching Their Father as He approached. Neither spoke as His featureless face fixed upon Her. "Sevren! Lanos!" Varian spat as He lifted a trembling, Immortal hand. His finger came to a point, the radiance from it crackled as His fury gathered. "Hie to Me at once." The Twin Gods scurried from Their Siblings and approached Their Father with trepidation. "Explain this defe zaya du - this Albedi offal! - which playacts at being one of You." Varian, calling Avareti an 'evil thing' in the Kalsu tongue, referring to Her origins during the War of Night wherein She was created from the dregs of essence left behind by Lanu Du's stirring.
Avareti started to explain Herself with hopeful intent but was interrupted by Severn. "Varyan, Yunva wo Desa," He began, saying 'Varian, My Father' in His most cautious and imploring Kalsu tones. "She knew nothing of Her true nature. Nothing. So long as She knew not, She became not. When Chaos forgets itself, it becomes Order - it becomes Symmetry. Just as it is with rain to snow, so too can the things of Our enemies become Our weapons instead-"
Up rose a radiant hand, cutting short Severn's defence. Varian did not speak immediately, though His empty face glared like the hellish fires of the Pit. "Dissemblance," whispered He. "Now I begin to recall! You speak this to Me boldly, like My dear Efvi Sevren wo Veyej, My Son of Reason and Purpose, ought to-" He paused, and pride turned to fury in a moment. "And yet, did not Your brilliant wirso with the Kerrithrim fail so badly that mortals had to finish Your work for You? The Nazetu, and the Nazedha who followed them? What of the escape of Odravh, My Abyssal foe?"[Varian addressed Severn by His original epithet from a history long forgotten: Veyej, the Kalsu word for reason and purpose, which He was known by before His current titles of Artificer and Manipulator. The Grand Library presumes that the brilliant wirso - strategy - disparaged by the Celestine was in reference to His attempt to deceive the Kerrithrim into docility - a failed plan that ultimately led to a crippled Severn becoming imprisoned by the Shadow Mother's minions. While imprisoned upon the Shadow Plane, the Dreikathi invaded Ashtan and He was the only Being known to have cohesive knowledge of them. The Grand Library regrets it was unable to draw links between Severn and the various invasions from the Nazetu race and we could only assume the Father considered this a neglect of Severn's tasked duties. The escape of Odravh falls under a similar assumption.]
"Father, We tried Our best to stop it-" Damariel, the Unbound tried to cut in but His words were overridden. Varian berated Severn still: "The reawakening of the Great Mhunna? The renaissance of heretical Albedi temiy, that You and Your Twin promised Me had been forgotten upon this continent thousands of years hence? The War of Night, too - surely You, Efvi wo De, wouldn't hide away while a mere kadu kelo wo Olsana pillages My creation? And now, the Court of Chaos brings suit against You, and one among You is traitor to Me!" He laughed sharply as He glowered upon Severn the Manipulator. "You wear a dress before Me now, Sevren, and it is spun from yet more of Your kuysa du! You have lied, and lied, so much that mortals as well as I name You Artificer!" His contemptuous gaze trailed across the Sapient pantheon, Who cowered away from their Father. None dared to interrupt His tirade as He accused Severn of kuysa du - lies - and blamed Him for the rising Albedi temiy - worship. [The kadu kelo wo Olsana, or bloodhound of Ohlsana, the Grand Library presumes to be in reference to Ati, who was a prominent foe during the War of Night.]
"I work veyej, and I receive kuy du! I work kuy and urlane and I receive buvri yot kadusa - kadusa Albedi!" Varian continued to bellow in outrage, stating that He worked purpose and received falsehood. That He worked truth and honour, and received peace for His Albedi enemies. "Where I spin white into reality, My progeny are bound and determined to spin it black against My wishes! No," He scoffed, with a cruel glare, "I will have no more of this. My firstborn have failed Me. You have fallen so far, My Children, that You are no longer capable of producing serviceable shells to house Your glory. I shall make another - and ensconce Him within one of the few fit mortals remaining upon this continent!"
Varian's hand separated cleanly at the wrist, and formed into a perfect, pale sphere in the air. As soon as He was done, the Celestine One produced a new hand and reached out with both to sculpt the freed essence. "Efvi wo De," He pronounced, blank face aglow, "I send You, because otherwise My Children shall fail." The essence gave a slow thrum as it hung in midair, and the leylines pulsed in answer as they responded to the Celestine's primal act of creation. "Reri, Nu vonla De." After saying 'War, I name You' He paused and His tone became fonder when He continued: "Sopa elnur Nu ozidmu bujevsa eja..." He declared that all mortals will know You, and then His empty face turned down upon the wounded figure of Lobyl. The Ankyrean's gaze lifted upward. He faced His Maker with no trace of fear nor gladness; all that was reflected in the Ankyrean's face - save for Varian, the Celestine's brilliant light - was unerring piety and resolve.
Lobyl rose amidst the Celestine's hand, as tiny there as if he was a child's toy. Cautious, careful and with a strange gentleness that belied the gruesomeness of the procedure, Varian tore asunder and then remade the mortal's form as He fused essence and shell together into a new God. "Arise, Reri Efvi wo De," spoke the Father to His Son of War: "Let Sapience call You Bamathis, the Warlord! I charge You with maintaining order among My children, and purging the Albedi taint from My realm."
The voice of Bamathis, the Warlord resonated across the land as it boomed with a harsh fervor, "At the center of My being is strife, and a purpose to protect Sapience from every threat. You will know Me as Bamathis, the Warlord. The time of tolerance and heresy has come to an end. Those who oppose My Father's realm will perish."
"Good," rumbled Varian, the Celestine. He placed Bamathis, the Warlord within the sky, where He stood unsupported and ordered, "Slay the Albedi filth." Damariel's gaze rose in alarm, fixed upon Varian; Severn, grim-faced, began to draw the Blade of Artifice from its sheath. Yet as soon as He was done, Bamathis stood beside Him; the Warlord took the hilt in hand. "Hold, Sevren," said Bamathis. "Father speaks to Me, now." He gently dislodged the Manipulator's grasp from His weapon and advanced upon Avareti, Goddess of Symmetry as He claimed the sword for His own.
Avareti stood Her ground as best as She could, even given Her tiny and diminutive frame. Her batlike wings flared forth and gave Her some impression of size; Her arms folded, and She stared up at the Warlord, many times taller than She, with anger and sorrow both penned upon Her features. There, too, was a mounting terror, but even this didn't overshadow the enormity of Her grief: "Why do You turn Your faces from Me, My Siblings? Why do You stand idle while He advances? What hands but these Grecht-hands wrought You from coals, Ethne? Would the sun yet hang in the Sapient sky had I not acted? What hands but these Grecht-hands sought balance in a war-torn land? This one sent to kill Me is more an impostor than I! Please! I know not what I was, but I know what I am now - I am Your Sister! And I love You, My Siblings! Please! Please, won't one of You do something?!"
None of Them did.
Despite Her best efforts to fend off His blows, Bamathis cut Avareti once: Her arm contorted, gravely wounded, and blood spilled forth. It served at first to cloak the wound's metamorphosis into something eldritch and alien- and She screeched in horror, "No! I'm not- I can't be- please, help Me!" Distracted by Her own arm splitting into a multitude of Chaotic tentacles, Avareti was left open for an undaunted Bamathis to pursue. After a brief, futile struggle from the Goddess, Bamathis impaled Her through upon the Blade of Artifice and parted Her body in twain. The last vestiges of Her Grecht frame collapsed into an abominable, eldritch tangle and Her blood stained Bamathis' weapon with the telltale mark of Chaos and the wrath of Lanu Du.
Varian, the Celestine seized the Goddess' body, lifted it to His maw and devoured Her remnants whole. In but three quick bites, He had consumed the whole of what was once Avareti's essence. "This!" spat Varian the Celestine, in a tone cut through with Immortal disgust: "This, You would have had Me call My Daughter!" Then He turned - and took note, again, of a Goddess He had not quite noticed before. There, beneath His vengeful and unseen eye, was the figure of Tanixalthas, the Sun Drinker. His frown begins to deepen once more and contempt entered His countenance as a silence reigned, long and tense, between the two Divine figures. Tanixalthas reared Her head and faced the Father and the Warlord defiantly, poised to strike.
"You," spoke Varian after a great pause, "You are of Me, and yet not of Me. You are not wholly Mine, but the greater part of You is." He lifted His hand and waved an ever-ready Warlord back: "Forbear, Son of Autumn." Then His attention returned to the Dragon. "I shall permit You to persist for now, but should this relyu taint rear its head above You, Vilya? I will destroy You, just as I destroyed this other pretender. You shall obey Me, or You shall be voldara - nothing." Here Varian used 'relyu' the Kalsu form, and origin, of the Ankyrean word 'rellyw', and called Tanixalthas by the essence She wields - Vilya. After having addressed the issue of the dragon, He turned His face upwards to the moon.
The ardent sphere hung overhead and the looming celestial figure of swirling nebulas was knitting it back together more and more quickly. "I must go," said Varian, and He turned His gaze from the moon back to Bamathis: "Reri, Efvi wo De, Deov dal Aransa - I charge You to rule over My progeny, and to defend My creation from My enemies' subversion." And so did Father task His Son, addressing the Warlord as 'War, My Son, First among Gods'.
Bamathis, the Warlord, with the bloodied Blade of Artifice at His side, raised His fist to His Father and gave a crisp salute. "With that strength which You forged in Me, Yunva Varyan," said Bamathis, "I shall oppose Your challengers!" Satisfied, Varian the Celestine stretched forth into a blazing pillar of light and lanced upward toward the heavens of Aetolia towards the repaired moon and the swirling celestial being. He was quickly lost to view, naught but a radiant and focused beam bursting upward from the Western Tundra that soon faded into departing motes.
After His Father's departure, Bamathis cast His silvery gaze over each of the Sapient Gods. "Do not let My youth hinder your allegiance to Me." He began. "Our Father has created Me to make right where You have failed so grievously." He continued on and paced a few leisurely steps back and forth before the gathered Pantheon. "We must ready for the coming battle with the Chaos Court; an endeavor which I will personally spearhead. I expect each of You to fall in line."
Damariel mot Lanosaryon, the Unbound's voice rang out across the land like the falling of hammers, "We shall follow You as Father has bid Us, but I must ask of You - do not win Our victory through Shadow, for this land is plagued by it. Our pantheon has long been divided concerning its use, and You might decide the matter - I pray You, Brother, command Us to the course of Spirit."
Severn bristled and fixed a glare upon Damariel, but before He could answer the Warlord's booming reply came, "I do not have time for Your conscience, nor for those petty squabbles which have thus far constituted the bulk of Your vain efforts. I will stand where I am best able and do as Father bid Me. If I must use Shadow to kill vermin, then I shall, and so be it. In the coming weeks, I will visit and assess each of your cities to determine your readiness for war. Firstborn Children, make ready to grant Me audience, for You, too, shall be evaluated."
With that, Bamathis dismissed each of the Gods, and responded to Severn's public request for the return of His Blade of Artifice with a succinct rejection: "No. Dismissed." As each of the Pantheon went to Their respective corners of Sapience, the Twin Gods, Damariel and Severn, returned one final time to the barrow to investigate the repair wrought by Their Father. Following Varian's departure, luminous glyphs had briefly glimmered into relief above the ancient barrow, winking and shining in signal of a strange new phenomenon. Within, the two Gods and the those mortals curious enough to follow found that although all the seals still laid broken, a new blindingly white barrier of Divine energy now sealed the Leviathan within its nightmare. Damariel and Severn tasked mortalkind to maintain a vigil on the barrow; to venture within the barrow when necessary and face the horrors within to ensure the beast remained in an unstirring, placid sleep.
In the period that followed these events, mortalkind would see to their fallen, and many would hold observances to remember them. The Leviathan's realm-shaking roar left countless bodies littered across the continent, and the efforts to repair and rebuild took many months for most.
Bamathis, the Warlord would go on to form the Argent Legion - His following. He willed into a being a mighty fortress around the great Yggdrasil, in anticipation of its needed defence against the forces of Chaos, and new followers would flock to Him daily. In record time, the newest God of the Sapience Pantheon had gathered one of the strongest Orders. In time, He made good on His promise to inspect what each city and God had to offer to the defence of Sapience. Severn, the Manipulator was forced to disband His Order, ordered by Bamathis to join the Argent Legion as its Spymaster.
Threats were made against the Mhun of Moghedu by the Warlord and His following. Where the Gods of Sapience were empowered by acts of sacrifice and essence, the Albedi Gods were empowered by acts of worship and faith. Thus the worship of the Mhun's seven Spirits was deemed heretical, as these Spirits were in fact Albedi Gods.
Finally, many people remain convinced that the traitorous Immortal responsible for the damage to the seals was Omei, and certainly the evidence would point to this being the case. Others suspected Her actions after the seals had already been damaged were but a momentary fit of madness, and that She was not mentally equipped to carry out the insidious subterfuge required of the initial tampering. Notably in this latter camp, the God Severn has publicly stated His doubt that it could have been Omei. Only time will tell whose opinion is correct.
Upon the 24th of Severin, 476 MA, there came a sudden burst of energy in the Western Tundra, and as it lingered the far northern skies were lit with a colourful display. Adventurers rushed to investigate, and quickly located the source of the disturbance: it came from within an ancient barrow which the Ankyreans once used to inter their dead...
In the following weeks, Lobyl worked with adventurers to fight back the dregs that appeared within the tundra at each interrupted Howling. He requested weapons to help fight these nightmarish enemies, claiming that the materials used to forge in this era were too pitiful to withstand his vigorous usage...
Upon the 8th of Khepary, the seal of Chaos finally fell - mortalkind's penchant for bloodletting had surprised even the Divine and Their war-weary eyes, granting the seal more time than They had anticipated...
The Grand Aetolian Library cannot, regretfully, give a full and accurate accounting of what transpired concerning Omei, the Nightmare and Her theft of the starmetal leg of Damariel mot Lanosaryon, in the month of Midsummer, amidst the business with the Leviathan...
In the weeks and months following the destruction of the seal of Chaos, mortal and Immortal alike began preparations for the fight to come, and sought means by which to oppose the dregs - hideous creatures of nightmare arising from the tundral deeps...
During the battles that took place between the Gray Accord and the dregs in the Western Tundra, many soldiers recounted terrifying visions that they saw when under the influence of the nightmare-gas...
It had been several months since Golgotha promised his coming, his heralds harassing the realm relentlessly. He sought revenge for the slight of ancient mortalkind using the corpses of his court to seal away the trapped Albedi entity, Jox.