Faerin's Twenty eighth post
Dear Father Portas,
I hope this letter is able to reach you. And I hope that you still consider us friends and give this letter a chance. It contains important information for you, your order and the fate of the Arcarost Valley.
As you may recall, we assembled the legendary Dwarven weapon Peacebringer at great cost to fight War, the avatar of The Morrigan. While we managed to defeat War, the weapon was stolen from us. Pax, the son of Dianecht, tricked us and took Peacebringer. He claimed that he would use it to kill the gods of war. Pax himself was responsible for the imprisonment of The Morrigan and the release of the avatar War. It is clear that while he might believe his intentions to be good, he is following a path of evil deeds.
To stop Pax from further corrupting himself, we set out to remove his temptation. We therefore travelled to Mason’s Hall, where Peacebringer was forged, to learn how to destroy it. We went down into the caves of the Ogrol, back to the forge of the First Hammer. But we found it guarded by Mountain Dwarfs. Apparently no one was allowed access to the forge without permission from the king. Not wishing to start an incident, we headed back to acquire the proper permission. As we journeyed once more through the tunnels, we heard a yell. We ran to help and found a Dwarven woman under attack by a giant worm. We rushed to her aid and through quick action from Fierna the worm was banished. The Dwarf introduced herself as Ruby and she said that she was one of the researchers investigating the First Hammer ruins.
As thanks, Ruby joined us to talk to the king. She understood the importance of our quest. It was soon clear that she wasn’t like other mountain dwarfs. She didn’t treat myself and my brother as outcasts. Rather Ruby seemed to agree that the hill dwarfs and mountain dwarfs needed to put their differences behind them.
We were able to secure an audience with the Mountain Dwarf King quickly thanks to Ruby. The king was somewhat unhappy with the forge as it would not allow him to forge a second Peacebringer. The researchers, including Ruby, were investigating why that was the case. However then came the biggest surprise, Ruby was actually the Mountain Dwarf King’s daughter!
We suggested that the reason that a second Peacebringer cannot be made is because there can be only one. But we explained that we were on a quest to destroy the Peacebringer that we had forged. With some extra convincing form Ruby, the King relented and gave us access to the forge. As it was late, we decided to sleep before heading back down into the Ogrol caves. Ruby invited us to stay with her, which we gladly accepted. We had a lovely evening meal, where we shared stories and experiences. Ruby was now dressed completely as the part of the princess: gone were the sturdy work clothes and now it was all silks and gems.
The next day, we headed back down and touched the forge as we had done so before. We learned that Peacebringer could be unmade on the forge where it was created. However as we communicated with the Morrigan statue, a second plan arose. Our ancestors had once communicated with the gods themselves to learn the secrets of forging Peacebringer. It turned out that Ruby knew the ritual that they had once used. She agreed to share it with us and we set out to modify it. We needed a counter point to The Morrigan and her creation, so we adjusted the spell to contact Dianecht, the god of life. We travelled to the temple to Dianecht in Mason’s Hall and convinced the clerics to allow us to perform the ritual inside. A key component in the ritual was a symbolic sacrifice, so we gave up the last few healing potions that Varris had carried with him. The healing nature matched the nature of the god, and we still felt a close connection to the divine following the loss of Varris.
Nissa and Thorin initiated the ritual. The walls began to glow a brilliant light, until we were encased in whiteness. Then Dianecht appeared before us and we made our case. She explained that Nuada had been properly warned of Pax. She told us that even Peacebringer and the strength of the Demi-god would not suffice to take down a god. We asked her to help us make a counterpart to Peacebringer, which could destroy it. She was hesitant as she does not like weapons. Furthermore, such a creation would bring war and destruction to counter the nature of Peacebringer. But in the end, she agreed and created a forge underneath Khan Hall where such a weapon could be forged. However the weapon would only be allowed to exist as long as Peacebringer did.
So we travelled back to Khan Hall using Nissa’s teleportation magic. Ruby joined us as she wished to learn more about the hill dwarfs and their history. We found the new forge in the catacombs under Khan Hall as Dianecht had promised. We decided to wait until the next day to make preparation for the forging. Fierna went to get Lyn, my sister who actually knows something about forging weapons. Nissa awakened a new tree to guard Khan Hall, which she nicknamed Barkly. I brought Ruby to the Hill Dwarf First Hall on griffon, so she could read up on the history of my ancestors.
The next day we went down to Dianecht’s Forge and prepared for the worst. As before when we made Peacebringer, we were assaulted by creatures spilling from portals. This time, they were celestial instead of fiendish. They manifested as great hounds looking to tear us to pieces. Their essences once defeated fueled the creation of the axe. Lyn and Cedric did the actual forging while the rest of us took care of the hounds. Before long it was done, and the axe was named Warmonger.
This was a terrible weapon born out of necessity and we gave it to the most noble dwarf of our group, Thorin, to save guard. It was not charged yet as it required a soul. The stronger the soul, the more powerful the weapon would become. However the soul would also be consumed if the weapon is unmade. We were also worried about the presence of an evil soul tainting the nobility of the wielder. We resolved to only use the weapon as the absolute last resort.
So we set out investigating a second possibility. We learned of a powerful weapon that can be created with materials found in Am’Saor. Thorin used his magic to contact Dianecht once more, and we learned that Am’Saor is not on this plane but that it was hard to get to. A creature named Yeshua knew the way but Dianecht forbid us to talk to him. We needed more information so we went to the Wandering Walker. We left Ruby with my sister Airyn and gave her a sending stone. In the Wandering Walker, we found someone who knew of ways to make the trip. Normal magical teleportation was impossible. However we could travel across the Astral and Water plane on boat. Or we could use the Dwarven tunnels in the Underdark and the plane of Earth.
We stayed the night at the Wandering Walker, but were all beset by bad dreams. We saw an army in silver armor on a marble floor. In the background we saw Mount Celestia, the home of the gods themselves. We saw Pax addressing the armies as their commander. The army lifted their left hand as he spoke. Pax held a burned staff and broke it into pieces and a dark smoke spread into the left hands of the army. We awoke with pain and a warning. A message from Ruby through the sending stones, there was something very wrong at Khan Hall.
We returned immediately and learned that the statue to Dianecht in the forge was crying blood. The statue also showed cracks in the before perfect marble. Khan Hall was also beset with heavy rain that seemed to spread darkness. Four undead winged creatures descended from the sky, each with a fallen angel. One came forward, claiming to be ’The Herald’. He declared the decree of Pax to seize the heretical weapon that we had forged. We refused to give up Warmonger and fought the undead creatures. Fierna managed to banish one back to the Celestial plane. Two others were brought down and the last one fled. Exhausted, we went back to sleep at Khan Hall.
The next morning, we witnessed another event. A huge fireball shot through the sky and crashed to the North into distant mountains. This could be no coincidence and we set out to investigate. We first returned Ruby to Mason’s Hall for safety and then travelled to Aola’s tower to the North. We encountered Aola near her tower and she was also unaware of what the fireball could signify. So we travelled onwards on summoned creatures. We soon ran into a scouting group of Dragon riders, who had also noticed the fireball but again no new information.
After several days of travel, we reached the crater site. The neighboring forest had been set ablaze and had burned down. The crater showed no sign of what had caused the impact but it was littered with dead orcs. Giant tracks led away from the crater, so we followed them. As we followed the trail, we were approached by an orc waving a white flag.
We agreed to hear out the orc and he beseeched us to return to his village. There we found many wounded, whom we healed as best as we could. The orcs explained that a giant had landed in the crater a few days ago. They had sent out their war party but he had slaughtered them all in a mindless rage. The description of the giant matched that of Pax. We spoke briefly to the orcs and motivated them to rebuild their society and move past these tragedies.
We followed the tracks once more and found ourselves back at the cathedral where we had first encounter The Bringers. This time instead of a solemn place, it was a crypt. Several Bringers had been killed, including Avalok, and the stone army that had once stood proud was now smashed into pieces. We did find a teleportation sigil to the city of Lucem, the seat of the Obligation of Good Will.
While we are no allies of the Bringers, it brought us sadness to see this fate befall these angels. So we summoned the Bringer Molta to inquire what had transpired. He arrived quickly and was surprised to find the cathedral in ruins. He did know of a great war that had been waged in the Celestial Plane several days ago. We told him what we knew of the event and surmised that Pax had lost his battle against Nuada. Molta explained that the statues were an army of heroes awaiting their return, which were now lost. He also noticed that several precious materials had been looted from the cathedral. We told Molta that while we disagreed with their stance, we strongly disagreed with the actions of Pax and would see him brought to justice.
We set out to investigate the teleportation circle. Sevento used his magic to see that it did indeed lead to a temple in Lucem, guarded by the Obligation of Good Will. He used his magic to look around and found Pax in a nearby temple to Dianecht where he had installed his throne. Thorin communed once more with Dianecht and learned that indeed Pax’s rebellion had been defeated. Pax had now taken control of a part of Lucem, but his intent was still focused on the Celestial Plane and the gods.
We did not want to risk it to travel directly to Lucem, so we first travelled to Darovius. We ended up in a temple and soon found a priest who could answer some questions. He had not heard of Pax, but knew that the Obligation of Good Will had sent out a rally a week ago. This is when we sent you a sending, as it was clear that Pax was somehow involved with your organization.
So we continued to Lucem. We first made a stop at a trading post, where we learned that the Obligation army was indeed on the move and looking for a new crusade. We did manage to then enter Lucem, with our only loss being a somewhat evil book from Magelord Arcarost that Sevento had been carrying around. We stopped at an inn and formulated a plan to separate Pax from Peacebringer and hopefully turn him back to Good. We returned to Mason’s Hall to get the anvil that Peacebringer was forged on. We also went to Matt Sadom to buy the magical items that we would need. I also picked up a new pair of sending stones while I was there. Then we went to Woodsong to the shrine to Dianecht and set up our tower there. We had a final rest in Sevento’s magical house before the battle the next day.
All preparations in place, Cedric, Thorin and Nissa went back to Lucem to confront Pax. Unfortunately Pax was better prepared than Cedric expected, and they were captured. We were told to join our companions in Lucem. So we went and spoke to Pax. He reiterated his desire to kill at least one of the gods of War. Though Nuada had defeated him, he could still take out The Morrigan. He revealed to us that as we suspected, Marianne was the vessel for the god of war. He spoke of bringing his army and his weapon to kill her. But we vowed to stop his pointless crusade. The ends do not justify the means as he had already caused a massive loss of life. We argued that the power of Peacebringer had corrupted him, and urged him to let us destroy it as we should have done when War was defeated. But Pax refused.
Leaving us no choice, I threw him a sending stone to maintain a means of communication. But when Pax caught it, he let go of Peacebringer for an instant. And an instant was all that Cedric needed. Cedric grabbed the weapon and Thorin immediately recalled us to Woodsong where the anvil awaited. Cedric and Thorin set about destroying Peacebringer as soon as possible. But Pax followed shortly with his own magic. He smashed the tower once but saw that it resisted his attacks. So he unleashed a powerful earthquake to bring it down. As the tower crashed, Sevento placed a magical barrier so that the destruction of Peacebringer could continue. Nissa, Fierna and I were distracting Pax on the outside. Nissa summoned many woodland creatures to harass the giant, Fierna used her best magic but found Pax very resistant, and I struck him with my sword. It was a close call, but Cedric and Thorin managed to break Peacebringer once more and the imprisoned soul was released. With that Warmonger also wasted away as it was no longer necessary.
Pax was furious and as he screamed, his veins turned red in rage. He vowed vengeance and disappeared. We headed back to Woodsong for a well needed rest. But we did follow-up on a last thread. We went to see Marianne and explained what we had learned. We gave her the piece of Peacebringer and she did sense a familiarity. We told her to focus her mind on that familiarity and witnessed a remnant of the avatar War appearing nearby. We gave her the weapons that she carried and told her to focus on the ravens. Soon two Celestial ravens appeared on her shoulders and we pushed her further. Then there was a blinding light.
And we came face to face with The Morrigan. She seemed disappointed as she had hoped that her liberation would be at the hands of a great army in a bloody battle. We told her what had happened with Pax and War, and she laughed. The Morrigan was still expecting a battle when Pax would come and that would be enough for her. This was her plan all along. She told Pax how to imprison her. She had hoped he would do as he did and it would lead to war and battles. Furthermore she wished to corrupt Pax, the son of Dianecht, and she obviously succeeded.
So this is what has happened. Pax has mobilized the Obligation of Good Will, but has done so for all the wrong reasons. Pax wanted to kill Marianne, the ward you yourself vowed to protect. He assembled his army by ripping the souls from angels. He killed many mortals who simply were in his way. Worst of all, he played right into the hands of an evil god wishing only battle. He is now truly fallen and desires only revenge. And he has taken to Obligation of Good Will on this same path.
So I beseech you, Father Portas, to listen to your friends and reason. Ask questions and you will find my words to be true. We want nothing more than to prevent a confrontation and save the innocents who live in the Arcarost Valley.