The Leviathan: Part One
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.
Those already familiar with the barrow soon noticed something awry: the ancient lead seal that had previously barred the barrow's deeper reaches lay destroyed. As the adventurers went inward, they were greeted by a reanimated Ankyrean warlord standing in eternal vigil before a second seal fashioned from shieldbark and infused with Dendaric energies. Immediately apprehensive, the reanimated construct demanded that the gathered 'rellyw' present the proper authorization for being within the barrow. Despite many attempts to sway the Ankyrean to reason, it remained singular in its purpose even as the seal behind it began to strain and give way. After a brief and fierce battle, the reanimated Ankyrean was laid to final rest.
The Minotaur God Severn soon came upon the scene, demonstrating His intimate knowledge of the site as He rushed to examine the decaying shieldbark seal. He turned to the people of Duiran, urging them to infuse the seal with Dendaric energies in an attempt to reinforce it. The people of Duiran hesitated, for the Manipulator's reputation as well as His blatant elusiveness towards questions on the seals left the forestals mistrustful of His intentions. As Aloli and Lirael resolved themselves to infuse the seal of Dendara, it finally ruptured in a shower of splinters. Their help came too late to save the seal - although as further events unfolded, it became doubtful that anything might have been done to prevent it.
As the adventurers proceeded past the destroyed seal deeper into the barrow, they came upon a third seal: this one was wrought of forged metals, and another reanimated Ankyrean warlord was its warden. Described as the seal of Fire by Severn, it too was straining, in threat of giving way. The Manipulator, losing His calm, declared the present situation impossible and urged the citizens of Enorian to begin reinforcing the seal of emberite, iron, and copper with their Fire. Yet in light of considerable historical precedent, Enorian had even less reason to trust Severn than Duiran, and remained united behind their Vanguard Lexen's opposition of Him. Resigning Himself to allow the seal's destruction take its course, Severn announced that the fourth seal was of Earth and ordered its Shadow-tethered wielders to prepare.
In the next chamber, Zenobia and Akaryuterra were quick to move to the quartz seal of Earth and begin reinforcing it under the Manipulator's direction, and others soon joined. The reanimated Ankyrean warlord was of questionable sanity, and resistant to attempts at conversation. The Ankyrean-incarnate Mazzion was brought in to try and calm down the deranged warden, but after he failed a spoken test in Kalsu, the reanimated warlord launched its assault upon the gathered group and was promptly put to final rest. The Earth-wielders continued to channel their power into the seal - but it was clear to all their power alone was not enough. At Severn's urging, the Teradrim Zenobia chanted out an impassioned prayer to the Earthen Lord Ivoln - and though it was promptly answered, the Earthen Lord putting in His strength, even the combined might of He and other mortals was not enough to stem the seal's damage. Soon, it too exploded in a shower of crystalline shards.
The Underking Dhar arrived before Severn could announce the fifth seal as Death, for His Order had brought the barrow's events to His attention. Although the God of Death claimed no prior memory of the seals, He still intuitively recognized the anaxagorite seal as one of His own making. Without further prompting, the Underking immediately set to reinforcing it, calling His Wardens - Lexen, Wylliam, Belgarion, and Iames - to join Him in the task. The rest of the mortals dealt with the seal's undead guard, who was more insane still than the previous.
Damariel mot Lanosaryon, the Unbound came then, before the work upon the fifth seal was yet completed - like the Underking, His Order had caught His attention. Recognizing the seals, Damariel rounded upon Severn and demanded to know how they had broken. The Manipulator dismissively claimed ignorance, saying that the situation was still too fresh to investigate. Despite the best efforts of Dhar and His Order, however, the anaxagorite seal could not be mended. Though they had managed to slow down its decay considerably, they could not stem it entirely. Noting the inevitable fate of the seal, Severn urged His Twin to begin gathering His strength - the seal of Spirit would be Their last hope.
Slyphe, the Maelstrom was the next Divine to arrive, intrigued by a gathering of Its Siblings. Startling at the God of Water's sudden appearance, the Twins moved with eerie synchronization to shove Their Sibling away from the seal, demanding that It leave the barrow at once. In spite of initial protest, Slyphe took note of Its Brothers' warning and departed.
Shortly thereafter, the anaxagorite seal entered its final stages. Cracks broke out across its surface with increased severity. Damariel instructed Dhar to conserve the remainder of His essence and allow the seal to meet its fate. No sooner had Dhar and His Wardens stepped back from the seal than it exploded into thousands of tiny metallic shards. Past it lay the way deeper into the barrow.
The adventurers pressed on, coming to the sixth seal of Air that had been constructed from skysilver. As Damariel settled in to meditate and focus His strength, Severn noted the Dragon Goddess Tanixalthas, wielder of Air, was probably slumbering and would be unlikely to help Them either way - this seal was a lost cause. Toz, Kelliara, Akaryuterra, and others of Tanixalthas' loyal following still made an effort to slow its degradation and wake their Goddess, but the seal continued to strain loudly, heedless of their efforts. The remaining mortals took down another gibbering reanimated Ankyrean guard, still madder than the others - and the Divine conserved Their essence.
Following the seal of Air's explosion, the adventurers went into the next chamber, where the seventh seal awaited them. Damariel approached the lumenite seal of Spirit and began channeling His essence into it with intense focus, His followers Aloli and Tenshyo supporting Him however they could. Watching His Brother work, Severn decapitated this seal's reanimated Ankyrean out of irritation, demanding silence from the room so that Damariel could focus. But even the unmatched might of the God of Spirit was not enough to fix the damaged seal, which strained still against His work. With a grunt of finality, Severn readied Himself for battle and ordered His Siblings to follow suit - the next three seals after Spirit were not so easily slowed.
Yet Damariel still resisted, "Down arms!" He ordered His Siblings and then urged Them to lend Their essence to Him, claiming to be close to a critical point in its stabilization. Dhar came to His Brother immediately, and Ivoln soon followed. Severn hesitated but soon joined His Brothers. With the essence of His Brothers channeled through Him, and mortals helping where they could, Damariel redoubled His efforts upon the seal. Blinding light and crackling air filled the room as the seal's corrosion fought the combined power of the Gods, finally subsiding as the seal temporarily stabilized.
The tundra rumbled and quaked in immediate response - the angered throes of the being imprisoned behind the seals. Outside the barrow, muffled voices joined together in a series of indistinct, groaning screams. Haggard and diminished in stature from the depletion of Their essence, the Gods ordered the mortals outside to investigate while They looked to the remaining seals to determine the cause of what had transpired. Outside the barrow, the mortals found a small horde of nightmarish dregs that had crawled their way up from cracks in the ice formed by the quakes. Along with these dregs came Lobyl, a living Ankyrean commander, and he slew the warped creatures alongside the adventurers.
Sickly and confused by his surroundings, Lobyl at first thought he was stuck in 'another nightmare'. He demanded of the 'rellyw' gathered before him, asking for reports on the war - not yet realizing he was a man out of his time. This talk was interrupted by the Severn and Damariel's arrival. Both Gods stopped short at the sight of Lobyl, for he was familiar to Them. Lobyl - albeit with mild hesitation, for the Gods were no longer familiar to him - took the knee before the Twins, frantically relaying a report on the war in which he had been fighting. Severn interrupted, explaining to Lobyl that a span of years well over a thousand had passed since that war, and that Lobyl's information was no longer relevant.
In the conversations that followed between Gods, Ankyreans, and others of mortalkind, three key facts were revealed: firstly, that Lobyl was from the Second Immortal Epoch - a time long before the formation of the Ankyrean Order which Qeddwyn and Yrtez has served. Secondly, that the Ankyreans had been engaged in a great war against the Dreikathi, whilst the pantheons of Sapience and Albedos clashed in cataclysmic battles. Thirdly, that the last thing Lobyl remembered was fighting against a cunning Dreikathi Polemarch in the Tundra when the great Leviathan Jox, a God of the Albedi, dwarfed the sky with Its immensity. Before Its maw could devour both armies, the world shook with a blinding light: there had been a great shattering of the heavens, and Jox was stunned. Seizing this opportunity, the Goddess Omei had descended upon the great serpent and sealed Him in an unending nightmare below the tundra. Lobyl and the armies of the Ankyrean and Dreikathi were inadvertently caught in the nightmare and sealed alongside Jox. Severn speculated that Lobyl and the dregs were thrown from the nightmare by the thrashing rage of the Leviathan within Its prison. The dregs themselves are thought to be those ancient Ankyreans and Dreikathi, warped beyond recognition over millennia by the Goddess' nightmare.
But the most shocking fact was delivered by the God of Truth Himself - Sapience had been betrayed by a God of its own pantheon. Jox's mind was bound quiescent by the seals in the barrow, designed to leave Him unable to struggle against the nightmare; and those seals had been sabotaged by one of Varian's children. Essence, of the kind shared by all of Sapience's Gods, lingered upon the place like fingerprints. Severn corroborated His Twin's story and immediately moved to accuse Dhar of treachery. The immediate bickering that followed was broken by an exclamation from Lobyl as the night sky crept its way in-
Stars had not been a common sight in Lobyl's era.
Still weary from Their efforts on the seals, the Gods let the matter of the traitor drop for now. As They departed, They warned the mortals that the seal of Spirit was only temporarily held fast, and that its eventual destruction would still occur when the strain became too much for Damariel's reinforcement. The Gods would try whatever They could to reinforce the three remaining seals, but they'd been damaged beyond repair, and the knowledge of how to build them was a long-lost product of Lobyl's time.
The release of the Leviathan - the incarnation of rage - was inevitable.
Although Severn estimated Jox could be stopped if They joined together, He judged that if this came to pass, most of Sapience's Gods would perish in the effort.
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.