To my darling Ruby,
If you are reading this, then our quest to save the world from destruction has also become our final quest.
We knew that when you receive a message from Fierna to come urgently, that something serious is going to happen. But it was far worse than we could have imagined when I left. We already knew that there was something seriously wrong with our world. After fifty years of relative peace, entire villages have started disappearing. The touch of the gods has all but gone from the world. I have felt my connection with Lugh waning for the past few years and do not think I could summon his power if I wanted to. This is something we have not witnessed since The Morrigan disappeared fifty years ago, and that ended with our war with Pax and the Obligation. We had hoped our confrontation with the gods was far in the past, but it seems that fate had other plans.
I joined my allies at Woodsong, and they were all there, Thorin, Nissa, Fierna and Sevento. But the appearance of Feyris Inaste was a great surprise. We had thought Feyris long dead to a dragon so many years ago. I was instantly overcome with joy to see my friend again. There were many a tear shed. We had tried to bring him back from the dead, but his soul had not been willing. Now we know why. Feyris had agreed to become a champion of the ancient goddess of creation, Imma. He had been forced to distance himself for the world as Imma needed him for a grand plan. Now Feyris had come back to us because they needed our help.
Feyris explained to us what Imma had been up to and the secret that the Gods have kept from the world since its creation. A secret we once learned so long ago, but had been sworn to keep. Our world is a prison. Imma was the first god and created everything, including the other gods. She had a partner, Aro, who was the god of destruction. He was to destroy what she had created so that there would be balance, so that nothing could last forever. But this scared the other gods, for one day, they would also be destroyed by Aro's power. So they conspired against Imma and Aro. They defeated Aro and stole his power. They decided to give it to the god, Ourborros, who was the most trusted among the gods. However Aro's power corrupted him, drove him mad with anger and Ourborros turned on the gods. So the gods imprisoned him in a world. But the seals of his prison would only last for a while before they must be renewed and a new prison must be created. This has happened before and it is happening again. The prison is weakening so the gods have set out to make a new world to imprison Ourborros. They plan to let our world be destroyed and trap Ourborros once more. Only their most faithful servants have been allowed passage to the new world, and this are the disappearances we have been hearing about. The rest of us have been left to die with our world. We have been abandoned by the gods.
But Imma has her own plan. She wishes to break the cycle and restore Aro's power back to its rightful owner. Her servants have created a weapon to defeat Ourborros. Everything is ready. They just need someone to go and break the seals that imprison Ourborros. And breaking those seals is kind of our specialty.
If it had been anyone else than Feyris, I would not have joined. You need a lot of trust to join on a quest to deliberately destroy your own world in the hopes that there is a God waiting to restore it afterwards. But I have faith in Feyris and know him to be true. So we agreed to break the seals. In return, we were given Imma's blessing, which restored our lost divine power. My connection with Lugh was gone, and had been replaced with another. One far more powerful, but more distant.
We knew that the seals were kept in Matt Sadom, as we had dealt with them and the Vault of Creation before. We sent a message to our old companion Miri, who was now the Warden of the Material Plane, but got a reply to stay far away from the seals. But we were determined and so we teleported to Matt Sadom anyway.
When we arrived at the teleportation circle, we let Fierna do the talking and she deftly dealt with a very panicked servant. We were soon out in the open and started looking for any sign of the Seals. Matt Sadom featured several strange bell towers, and each time a Seal broke, one tower would ring. So we surmised that this might be where the Seals were being kept, or that there was at least some kind of link to them. We choose to first visit a tower, which had already been rung. However as we walked the streets, a crowd started gathering. I believe we somewhat underestimated our own fame and we soon had an entire entourage joining us. When we arrived at the tower, we found in in disrepair. Several shops had been put up next to its walls and squatters had taken residence. We paid our crowd no mind and entered the tower.
The main entrance had long been broken but featured the sign of the Vault of Creation prominently above it. A central stairs climbed up high into the bell tower itself. The bell now featured a large crack alongside another sigil of the Vault of Creation. We searched the entire tower and found a secret hatch. Underneath we found a round stone with the sigil. It had now mostly lost all of its magic, but it seemed to be a broken Seal.
Next we traveled to a tower where the Seal had not been broken yet. We also avoided the crowd by going invisible. The next part required a bit more subtlety and with our entourage following us, this would have been impossible. This tower was guarded unlike the previous one. So it was clear that something precious was inside. Feyris donned a disguise and then used his magically-acquired feminine wiles to distract the guards as we approached the tower. Sevento dispelled the magical locks on the door and the Nissa took care of the physical ones. We entered and found a tower very similar to the previous one. The trap door was in the same place, and so was the Seal. However Sevento noticed magical tethers connecting the Seal to the bell tower and the main tower of Matt Sadom. He disabled the tethers with his magic and then I hit it as hard as I could with the blade I had once gotten from Dulahan’s Avatar. There was a flash of light and I ended up somewhere else.
After I hit the Seal, I found myself on the Celestial Plane once more. Summoned by the gods, no doubt triggered by our attempt to damage with the Seals. Again I found myself in the chambers in front of all the Gods. Strange to think that the Gods were now familiar faces to me, and that standing trial in front of them does not worry as much as it used to. However given that these beings could vanquish me with a flick of their finger, I remained very very careful. Especially as there was a face I did not recognize. The Gods explained to me that the Seal had not yet been broken but that I had triggered a security mechanism. They asked why I was intent on destroying the Seals. I told them the truth, that I wished to save my family and my world from their plans. They offered to save me in return for stopping. But I turned them down, as after all that had happened I had little faith left in them.
They spoke of a usurper that was messing with the Seals. It seemed like Matt Mattonwy had lost his position as the God of Magic, and the newcomer had taken his place. And now Matt Mattonwy was somehow interfering with their plans to create a new world and moving Ourborros to it. He had done something to the Seals that had them very worried. In fact, it seemed like they saw him as a bigger threat than myself and sent me back to cause chaos.
When I came back, it was confirmed. The Seal had not been broken. The magical thread linking the Seal to the main Tower had triggered a fail safe. So we knew our next stop. As we travelled through the city, we knew that our intentions had been revealed when we were beset by mechanical beasts. Obviously someone did not want us to break the seals and set the creatures to stop or at least delay us. We made short work of them, and Nissa even managed to turn one into a harmless little dog. After the constructs had been defeated, we found the markings of Matt Sadom on them.
We came to the Mage’s Tower and discovered that as we suspected the magical lines led straight to the chambers of Matt Mattonwy. Since his expulsion, he had taken up residence once more in Matt Sadom and had claimed an entire floor for his private us. None of the other wizards seemed inclined to resist any request from the still-technically a god. We arrived at his quarters and were immediately stopped by a set of guards. Fierna promptly banished them and we entered without issue. Inside we found a majestic temple with many doors. We simply followed the lines of magic forwards until we came upon a locked door.
We knocked and eventually Matt Mattonwy himself opened. He told us to go away and used his magic to push us back down the corridor. But we had patience, so we set ourselves down and had a quick look around. Evidently Matt Mattonwy was not as patient and he sent two giant golems to throw us out. However Fierna banished them to another plane and we slipped past them. Once through the corridor that had been denied to us, Sevento placed a wall of force to block the golems from returning.
We entered the chamber and found Matt Mattonwy in the midst of a strange ritual. This is where the magical lines form the Seals were converging. Apparently he was also in the process of breaking the Seals, in the hopes of assimilating the power of Ourborros for himself. He explained, somewhat reluctantly as we weren’t giving up, that Edon had returned and taken back the domain of Magic. So this was his chance to return to being a full-powered God.
Matt Mattonwy grew tired of talking and he did not trust us to not interfere with his plan. So he sent his golems to remove us from the Tower. But we fought back. Feyris burst out in radiance and grew angelic wings. Nissa turned into a giant blue dragon. Together with Sevento, Nissa blasted the golems full of lightening. We closed the gap to Matt Mattonwy and attacked him proper. Trying to keep him down so that he could not cast his spells. However in a single second that he was not pre-occupied, Matt Mattonwy did something and Thorin disappeared. We renewed our attacks, but the former god was able to cast another spell. Then I saw everything go dark as well.
My brother and I were imprisoned in a gem stone. Luckily when it was broken, we returned instantly. And when we did, we found Matt Mattonwy dead. Apparently after we vanished, the battle turned sour and loss seemed almost certain. But out of nowhere an arrow appeared and struck Matt Mattonwy dead. It had been Cedric, our long lost friend, who had apparently dealt the final blow. I know our friend would come through for us, even after all of the stunts that he pulled. But when we come to, Cedric was gone once more, back to the shadows.
In the mean time, Sevento and Feyris had begun studying the ritual that Matt Mattonwy had been performing. It had somehow connected the Seals to the four elemental planes. It was still active and still tuned towards Matt Mattonwy, even though he was now deceased. We resolved to undo this fiendish ritual before messing with the Seals again. In the center of the room we found a stone tablet engraved with a sword, a heart and a book. There was room to place small stone fragments that had been scattered across the floor. This tablet had been used to kickstart the ritual and could be used to disable it. We just needed to place the stone fragments back in the reverse order. Luckily we managed to get it right on the first try and the ritual was undone. In the moment that the ritual failed, we heard a voice promising eternal doom.
Then we heard a bell. A seal had been broken. The ritual no longer protected the Seals from damage. Then another bell sounded, another Seal gone. A cascade occurred. Before long, all ten bells were ringing across Matt Sadom. The ritual seal in the center cracked and broke. Reality itself seemed to warp around us and a portal opened.
We stepped through the portal and found ourselves in a room with a giant minotaur. We prepared for a fight, but the minotaur simply welcomed us. It had been a long time since he had seen anyone, he told us. He explained that he was but a shadow of his former self. A manifestation of Ourborros. Apparently anything that gets destroyed by the power of Ourborros exists within a limbo state close within the God. The minotaur seemed to indicate that he may have been Aro in a previous life. In any case, he could tell that we had affinity with the power of Aro, likely due to our use of the God-slaying arrows. He explained that time works differently where we were now. That centuries in here, were mere seconds out there. Thus the world stood still as we would continue our quest to free Ourborros. We therefore took the chance to rest and enhance ourselves with magic before moving on. When we felt ready, we said goodbye to the minotaur and went through the only door in the room.
We found ourselves in a chamber filled with sarcophagi and a giant obelisk in the center. Crystals seemed to be growing out of the corners of the room and glowed with ominous light. Naeriss stepped forward and told us that we could not continue with what we were doing. His family had been sworn to protect the Vault of Creation as the prison of Ourborros. He lifted his hand and the crystals lit up and hit us with powerful magic. Then he called forth a sphere of darkness from the obelisk. It moved slow but as soon as it got near, it hurt as it tried pulling your armor and even our skin away. Specters appeared from the sarcophagi and attacked us. We needed to keep away from the crystals and the sphere of destruction as we took out the undead. However even after Feyris’s magical hand crushed Naeriss, the sphere and the crystals did not stop. Sevento eventually managed to get the sphere under his control and during a tense mental tug-of-war, we managed to use it to destroy some of the crystals. However the sphere grew more powerful with each crystal it consumed. Only after the last crystal shattered, did it also vanish and the door forward unlocked.
The next room featured a prominent statue. It held an inscription detailed a tale of Arysia, the former god of prophecy. It spoke of a servant of the god, who at the urging of his wife asked for a reward for years of service. However he gained a prophecy that his wife would be slain by a terrible monster. A choice had to be made if he wanted to save his wife or if he wanted more power. In the mean time, we had a look around and found a strange book with a description of a creature called Oni. However the more book-savvy among us knew instantly that the information contained within was incorrect. When Sevento switched on his ability to see invisibility, he discovered that we were in fact surrounded by Oni. We fought back the Oni and discovered that the information in the book was correct, despite being wrong for normal Oni. But then something changed and the Oni became resistant to our strikes. Feyris noticed that the text in the book had also changed. So Feyris changed it to say that the Oni’s could be easily slain by any means. And remarkably this worked! The Oni’s defeated, the next door opened.
The second room contained some grass and a handful of small trees. Among the trees were clusters of eggs. On the far end of the room was another statue. The text inscription continued the story of the man and Arysia. It told of an offer for a powerful ritual that would grant him the ability to save his wife. It asked at the end if we would accept the offer or not. As we puzzled over the story, we felt a shift in the air. Suddenly several large groups of phase raptors appeared. A quick spell from Sevento slowed the raptors to a crawl but they still remained dangerous. In fact, they even managed to knock Nissa out of her animal form and attacked her somewhat more feeble gnome form. Luckily Fierna was around to get her to safety. It took a while but in the end we defeated all of the raptors. Then we simply had to figure out the puzzle on how to open the next door. We expected the door to be open after we killed the raptors but that wasn’t the solution. We tried throwing one of the eggs at the door, but that also didn’t work. I made some tasty omelets from some of the eggs, but that had little effect. Thorin smashed all the remaining eggs, but the door would not open. Looking in the Ethereal plane revealed only more eggs, but a solid door. Finally with the last egg, we figured out that we had to open the door with an egg in hand. We felt a bit silly that we didn’t try that before.
The third room was smaller and the walls were ancient, with cracks and spider webs. Yet another statue stood to the side. This one continued the story and spoke of the dark price that the man had to pay to save his wife. It told that the man would one day become a monster himself. Knowing this, would the man still accept? Again the statue offered no resolution. However we heard a voice cry out and green light emerged from a crack in the floor. Out emerged a figure that we had been expecting since we learned of the rules in this world. Dulahan, or at least a manifestation of Dulahan stood before us once more. And he asked his sword back.
Dulahan seemed calm. He looked around for Cedric, but did not see the one who caused his end. He drew his sword and attacked. He immediately came after me, trying to take me out. But Nissa turned into a giant crab and pinned him down. We unleashed a barrage of attacks but it wasn’t enough to take him out. With a sudden blur, Dulahan teleported away from Nissa’s grasp and right behind me. He knocked me out with several hits from his swords. Luckily my allies stepped in and brought me back to the fight. With a final blow with his own avatar’s sword, Dulahan was dead once more. The door opened and we could continue to the next room.
The fourth room held two pools, one light and one dark. Behind the pools stood another statue which only asked a few questions, who was to blame for the events of the story, and in the end what did the man gain? We tried guessing at the answer as we did figure out that the story was an allegory for what happened with the Gods and Ourborros. But we did not answer correctly, and we were suddenly hit with waves of destructive magic. It took all of our resistance not to die then and there. We saw no means of disabling the trap so we jumped into the lighter pool in the hopes that it would be our salvation.
We seemed to have guessed correctly in that instance as we found ourselves back in the Vault of Creation, near the Tree of Life and the Tree of Death. We entered the mausoleum sheltered beneath the two trees. We found ourselves in a dark room with a large statue of a sleeping snake. We pushed the statue aside to reveal a winding stairs going deep into the dark. We went down and were engulfed in darkness. It was eerily quiet, only the sounds of our footsteps could be heard but there was no trace of an echo. It was as if we were climbing down a mountain during the night. Then without warning the stairs ended. We noticed in time so that we did not fall down wherever we were. Nissa summoned a set of magical bats for us to continue on. As we went down into the darkness, we felt isolated and alone. We were wary and tired from the battles and trials. But we had to continue on our quest, especially now that we were so close. Everyone was tense, almost holding their breath for what we would find. Any moment, we would run into Ourborros, the eater of worlds, the mad god, and the source of our perpetual cycle.
But then without warning we found ourselves once more in Woodsong. We did not known what happened. One instant, we were in darkness, the next we were all around a table enjoying drinks in front of the Broken Tower Inn. We felt restful and at peace. I felt better than I had since starting on this crazy adventure. It was as if it were fifty years ago again, and we had never heard of Ourborros, Pax, Dulahan or even Xerax. The only one that was missing was Nissa. But in her place, sat Tukas, my great-great grandfather. Tukas sat there as he always had, smiling and smoking his pipe. He told us how proud he was of us and that we had done good. Thorin and I boomed with happiness and we immediately ordered a set of Khan’s Finest. Then I started filling in Tukas on everything that he had missed. I told him of our children and more.
I knew it wasn’t really Tukas, but I just wanted to live in this moment. Feyris eventually convinced him to drop his disguise and we were soon faced with a woman I did not recognize. But she seemed powerful. She said that she had arranged this for us. A bit of rest before our battle. She explained that she was a former god. She said that not all gods had abandoned us and our world. And that she had a gift for us. Then she touched each and every one of us, each time triggering an effect. For me, my hands turned into stone and moss for a second before returning back to normal. It reminded me a lot of the blessing I had once gotten to arrange our marriage. We had gotten a bit of power for something, but for what we did not know at the time.
The former god said her farewells and told us we could stay as long as we wanted in this fake Woodsong. She then left through a portal leading to a grand city with a large army and an enormous cannon. A brief awakening that while we rested, the fight for the world continued. But we tried making the best of it. Nissa also appeared but spoke little of what she had encountered, just wanting to also enjoy herself. The food and drink was as good as we remembered it and it brought us back to a long time ago. We traded stories of all that had occurred and when it got too late, we retired to our beds.
When we woke, we knew it was time. We walked out of the village that had been created for us and were engulfed once more in darkness. We continued forward on summoned bats and my celestial griffon. We soon found ourselves above a giant sleeping snake. It was large enough that it could have easily wrapped around the entirety of Khan Hall. Its body as wide as most houses. It was entirely still, seemingly make out of stone but carried far too much detail to be a carving. In the center of the coiled snake, stood a purple crystal, which we summarized was the final Seal. As we approached, a figure appeared in a flurry of raven feathers.
The Morrigan, the god we had freed from Marianne so long ago. The mastermind behind much sorrow in those days. She called out to us that we would be punished for what we had done, all of the wars we had stopped, and what we were doing by freeing Ourborros. She immediately unleashed a torrent of strikes with her blades. In return, our magic and our weapons had little effect on her. She was after all a god. We turned our attention to the last Seal and hit it with our might. It did not shatter as easily as the other Seals, but it did crack. And from that crack some of the power of Ourborros leaked out. It infused our weapons with a strange purple glow, and now when we hit The Morrigan it did hurt her.
So she moved back a bit and summoned a familiar face. Pax as we once knew him, before he fell. He did not speak but drew his sword and approached. But quick thinking from our casters created a magical barrier between us and Pax. The many colors swirled around us as we stood near the central crystal. Pax didn’t give up though and started forcing his way through the barrier. Layer after layer he pushed through, but in the end he could not do it. His armour had been burned and scarred, but he seemed as fearsome as always. He paced outside our magic shield, just waiting for an opening. But we still had a few tricks up our sleeves.
We could pass through the barrier at will. So I jumped through and clutched the Sending Stone that I had once given to Pax. And I used it to send a message to the angels that must have been waiting 50 years. They had committed themselves to execute Pax’ last command. When I spared their life, I demanded that they help clean up the mess they made. and now was their chance. They appeared soon after and simply grabbed Pax by the arms. The half-god was unable to free himself, and the angels teleported him away. I do not know what they did with the manifestation of Pax, but at least we could continue breaking the final Seal without his interference.
So we shifted our attention back to The Morrigan. It would not be long before our magical barrier broke and we needed time to break the Seal. I summoned all of the divine power that had been granted to me. It was far more powerful than Lugh had ever given me, and Imma’s light coursed through my veins. I could feel my body changing in response. It became stronger and my wounds started healing. My beard grew so that it covered my armor and the warm smells of barley and hops hit my nose. Sevento cast a spell at me, and the familiar haste washed over my body. I felt strong, and I was fast. So I jumped on Ourborros’ form and ran at The Morrigan. And I hit her with all the might stored up within me. All of the pain she had caused us, all of those lives that were lost in her quest for ever more wars. Finally I was on equal footing with her, and with the power of Ourborros held in my sword, I could actually hurt her. She flew away from me to go after my weaker allies, but summoned another Pax.
The new Pax was of his demon form. After his fall, with tell-tale demonic wings and horns. This Pax was also silent but immediately came after us once again. But Feyris cast a quick spell and Pax simply stopped in his tracks. And then turned towards The Morrigan. Feyris had cast a spell on the new Pax and he was now entirely under Feyris’ command. The Morrigan was now flanked by myself, Thorin and the new Pax. It was tough, but we started noticing signs that we were wearing her down. But she countered our attacks, and countered hard. With just a few strikes of her swords, Thorin was down. And in one swift motion, she made sure to end Thorin’s life there and then. I cried for my brother as she throw his dead body down into the void.
But then Nissa swooped in as a Blue Dragon and caught the lifeless Thorin. I jumped down and immediately used my divine powers to bring Thorin back to the living. As we were preoccupied with Thorin’s return and The Morrigan was distracted by Pax, Fierna seized her chance and struck the final blow on the Seal. A great flash of light and a thunderous sound followed. Ourborros awoke and saw a small gnome, Sevento, sitting on his nose. The great snake started moving and shook Sevento off. We pointed Ourborros at The Morrigan if he wanted his revenge and gathered up.
We do not know what happened next as Nissa immediately cast a spell to return us to our world as soon as we were all together. Whatever fight Ourborros had with The Morrigan could have lasted ages in the darkness, while only moments would have passed in our world. But there was nodoubt who would have emerged victorious. If The Morrigan was smart, she would have escaped as soon as we did. But Ourborros was now awake and Imma’s plan was now fully in motion. We emerged from the spell to find a world devastated.
I am sure you saw and felt it too. The giant tears in the sky. The constant earthquakes shaking everything apart. The air itself even felt wrong as our magic had disappeared once more. Our hearts sank. We caused this by releasing Ourborros. It was bound to happen, sure. But it may have taken a bit longer still. Now our world was being torn apart in the hopes that it could be saved. It was the only thing we could have done.
Our first thoughts were of our families and loved ones, but without magic we were stranded in Woodsong. Only Nissa held a small piece of power, but it was quickly waning. Perhaps enough for a single trip if we were fast. A clarity came over her, as if she was being called somewhere. She was hopeful and said that not all had been lost yet. She had retained her power for a reason and we still had one last task to fulfill. She opened a portal and brought us before Irminsul and Leafert, now hatched from his 50-year cocoon. And then her power also vanished.
Leafert had been expecting us and escorted us high into Irminsul. As we climbed, we could see the devastation far and wide. The sky was lit aflame with the dying efforts of the gods as they were one by one consumed by Ourborros. As Belenus passed, the sky darkened and eternal night set in. A large mountain then appeared out of nowhere and headed towards Ourborros. There was a large flash and a beam of light appeared on Ourborros.
The end is here, Leafert said as we approached the site where once the Feywild gate had stood, where Irminsul had been born. He could only save a small part, and needed our help to save the rest. Or at least the fragment of the other planes that had been bound to us by the mysterious God. We can give up the fragment to Irminsul, but who knows what that will do to us. Nissa looks sorrowful. I do not know if she was told more or if she simply feels the inevitability like the rest of us. I cannot say if I will return. I cannot say if this will save our world, if this will save our children.
But I have faith in my allies and my friends. And I have faith that good will prevail.
So I am sorry that I did not return to you. These last fifty years have been amazing and our children have been the greatest adventure I could have hoped for.
Tell our daughter Ryne that I know she will be a great ruler one day. She has her mother’s smarts and she will do great things once she realizes how amazing she is.
Tell our daughter Tyne that she always reminded me most of her uncle Thorin. I am counting on her to get everyone through these troubled times and I couldn’t think of a better person to bring light to a dark world.
I haven’t given up hope that our daughter Ashlyne is out there somewhere. When you find her, tell her that I love her very much.
Tell our son Feyris that he should be free to pursue his art. His namesake was one of the greatest artists I have ever known and these last few days have reinforced my belief that he is worthy to carry on the name’s legacy however he sees fit.
Tell our daughter Evalyne to never give up her dreams and to never back down. She is already a force to reckoned with and I fear for anyone who dares cross her path when she grows up.
Tell our youngest Selyne that I am sorry I won’t b able to share any cupcakes anymore with her. I am so proud of her and expect great things from her for when she grows up.
With all my heart,