Age of Strife
1825 to 2250 A.O.D.
The recent history of Avlis is marked by one major event, Valok's attempt to re-enter the Prime Material Plane fifty years ago. This attempt was thwarted by a number of adventurers, whose names are well-known to the chroniclers because they figure in Avlis still today: Vanoviel Niltaurwen, Aratelda Ringthong, Andrinor, Orianna (aka Raven), and Tupaia Dagroth.
This group's heroic deeds begin oddly enough with their capture, in Blandenberg by an orc raiding party. No one knew what the hell orcs were doing in Blandenberg, but they seemed to be kidnapping people left and right.
When they awoke after being kidnapped, the adventurers realized they were on a slave ship. Evidently, the nation of M'Chek was prime pickings for slave traders because there are so many people. Just who was buying the slaves was often a mystery, but in this case, a lord in the Kurathene Empire by the name of Crullath was suspected.
The heroes escaped the orcish ship when they were rescued by a wemic named Borrr'Gorak, general of the armies of Lord Joral Arvanos V of the Kurathene Empire. The wemic general enlisted the heroes' help in determining why Lord Crullath wanted slaves imported from M'Chek. Crullath and Arvanos were involved in a bitter war at the time, and the wemic feared that Crullath was using the slaves as conscripts for his army.
The heroes agreed, and they were dropped off in the city of Andarr, which is one of the Seven Cities, independent city-states that have banded together in a confederation. Through a series of adventures, the heroes uncovered a few things:
- Crullath was indeed collecting slaves for his war against Arvanos
- Crullath was dealing with orcs to get the slaves, specifically an orc named Mandaharuk, a high priest of Valok in Mikona.
- Crullath was also dealing with a major lord in Mikona named Lord Dagroth. The plan was for Dagroth and Mandaharuk to help Crullath crush Arvanos in return for some land of their own in the Kurathene Empire.
After eliminating some slave trading outposts in the north, the heroes decided to help Borrr'Gorak further by journeying through Mikona to find out more information. It was on their way back to Blandenberg where they were headed anyway. Once in Mikona, the heroes met a woman named Jade, an elven noble diplomat sent from T'Nanshi to help negotiate with M'Chek on the war.
Jade helped the heroes expose Mandaharuk and Dagroth. Mandaharuk was banished from Mikona, and Dagroth was fined. Feeling particularly angry about this, Mandaharuk ambushed the party a couple of times, resulting in a desperate battle where the heroes and Jade had to flee Mikona or be destroyed.
The heroes fled into the Plane of Shadow and decided to head off Mandaharuk wherever he was headed. Through a series of adventures on the Plane of Shadow, the heroes reached the orcish city of Brekon, where they believed Mandaharuk would go because it was the stronghold of the Church of Valok.
In the city the heroes were approached by a orc named Khalik. He told them that Mandaharuk had to die for his audacity to attack the Kurathene Empire because such a move would undoubtedly turn them against Brekon and the orcs would be destroyed. The heroes agreed to kill Mandaharuk for him.
Soon after that, they found out even worse news about Mandaharuk. He was assembling a slave army to conquer Arvanos, but he was also working below the Valok temples to summon up armies of Baatezu to augment their forces. The combined slave/baatezu army was going to destroy Arvanos, then turn on Crullath and take the whole of the Kurathene Empire, to start with. When they returned to Khalik and told them this, Khalik thanked them and walked away.
The heroes planned an assault on Mandaharuk. They learned that he was working in the basements of the main temple of Valok in Brekon to summon armies of baatezu. Vanoviel enlisted help from the Church of O'Ma in the matter, through the network of urban sprites she met in the city. The heroes and their cleric helpers from O'Ma staged a large attack on the temple of Valok.
When the heroes fought their way to Mandaharuk, they noticed Khalik had sided with him. Hearing about the army of baatezu, Khalik decided that it was a plan that may work, so he reneged on killing Mandaharuk and instead joined him.
A large battle broke out and Mandaharuk was killed, but Khalik escaped through a pool into the elemental plane of water. The heroes had to make a long journey to the nixie city of Qwandovia to find a portal of their own so they could go after him. After gaining passage to the portal, they made their way through the plane of water and traced Khalik to Sigil, the planar city of doors.
In Sigil they learned much. Andrinor discovered his lineage as the son of a cambion and an elf; the elf was Aratelda's aunt. Through another series of adventures they also learned some dire news...
Khalik was making bigger plans.... He had enlisted an old pupil of Angadar to help. Together they would gather the components necessary to enter the Nine Hells and open a portal from there into Avlis where Valok would be able to come through. Normally gods cannot enter plain portals with their entire essence. They can only send avatars through. Khalik was under instruction from Valok to build him a portal where he could take his entire godly essence into Avlis. Angadar's pupil was a powerful mage who was happy to oblige if they paid him. The payment was to be the death of Angadar, for the pupil had a grudge. Valok accepted the payment and they all got to work.
The heroes found out these details, and they decided they could not stop them without help. Avlis was in danger, and without divine help, they were almost powerless. So they made their own journey over the top layer of Hell to find Angadar's realm and alert him of his danger.
Angadar was the god of arcane knowledge, and his realm was a vast library underground which opened up into a forested ground level with dwellings both at the base of the trees and in the treetops. He received the heroes guardedly and told them he needed time to think. One of the heroes, Jade, was his daughter whom he had not seen in a while, though she was not pleased to meet again.
After thinking it through, Angadar summoned Andrinor. He told him that he needed Andrinor's help. In the library there was a book written by the Negerai who first roamed Avlis. It told about methods of becoming divine, or increasing the power of something that was already divine. Angadar however could not read the book for it was only readable by an undisciplined mind. So he impressed upon Andrinor with a favor, that Andrinor should read the book for him and Angadar would link to his mind and absorb the information that way. Angadar linked to him and gave him some power to boot.
Andrinor obliged. He found much information on the book about deities and deification, including a certain spell. It was a ritual incantation. It would only work if cast in the presence of at least two deities – in true form, not as avatars. The two deities must be one good and one evil, or neutral, and the caster must be the third polarity. So good, evil, and neutrality must all be represented in the mix. Andrinor memorized the spell and held off on it for fear of retribution by Angadar if he should cast it.
O'Ma gave gifts to the heroes. To Vanoviel, his cleric, he bestowed a sword of great power and charged her with the mission of forming an order of Champions to further O'Ma's ideals. She accepted and became the first Champion herself.
Shortly after that, they mounted the attack. The heroes were sneaked into the realm of the goddess Tianna, which adjoined Valok's realm. She was his consort, and the goddess of Deceit and Trickery. They made their way through the realm, narrowly avoiding conflicts with the goddess, to come up in Valok's realm.
Through keen planning, they destroyed Khalik and Angadar's pupil, among others, but the time was too late. The portal was opened.... and both Tianna and Valok were very mad.
Standing in front of the portal, the heroes found themselves face to face with Tianna's true form, and they were about to be obliterated when suddenly Angadar showed up and pushed Tianna through the portal into Avlis.
Through another series of events, this caught Mikon's attention (Mikon found out about Valok's plan and was there to kill Tianna and stop Valok due to the actions of a man named Nimonay Dunster. He was the lord of Equaloria Keep and the founder of the Equalizers of Mikon, the holy order of neutral warriors.). He was furious. He immediately destroyed Tianna utterly, for it was Mikon's job to keep the gods off of the Prime Material Plane and out of Avlis.
He then went through the portal the other way into Valok's realm and warned Valok not to go into Avlis. Valok was incensed at this but he made no motions. Mikon then closed the portal and destroyed it after going back to Avlis.
Angadar and the heroes fled Valok's realm and recuperated back at Angadar's place. But before long, Angadar's realm was under full attack by Valok himself and his army of hell creatures. He was no longer interested in tact... he was interested in killing.
Angadar feared for his existence. Valok was a much more powerful god and could easily dispatch him, so Angadar and the heroes fled the realm as it was being destroyed. They made their way to Acheron... Valok followed. Then Mechanus... Valok followed. For each plane they fled through, Valok was on their tail.
Eventually they reached Elysium, where O'Ma was able to use his true form instead of an avatar. O'Ma, Angadar, and Valok fought there. Andrinor seized his chance; he recited the spell he had memorized, for he felt that Angadar was distracted and could not stop him.
He was right. Andrinor transformed into an intermediate deity and entered the battle against Valok. Soon Valok was weakened and had to retreat. The battle was over.
The heroes, triumphant, said their goodbyes and went their separate ways. Tupaia Dagroth inherited the Dagroth estate, as her half-brothers were killed in battle. Aratelda Ringthong became Aratelda Rinthon and took charge of the armies of T'Nanshi. The half-nymph Vanoviel Niltaurwen formed the order of Champions and founded the city of Elysia. Orianna, aka Raven, formed a thieves' guild in Mikona with ties to the Seven Cities, and secretly, Elysia itself.
Andrinor took his place among the gods and started his church. Jade went back to diplomatic duty. Angadar took on Tianna's discarded mantle of Deceit & Trickery, which elevated him to an intermediate deity.
The latter half of the Age of Strife was dominated by wars in southern Negaria. Tensions rose when M'Chekians, suffering from food shortages due to overpopulation, encroached on T'Nanshi, cutting down forests to use for farmland. Hostilities began as early as the late 1800's but war was not officially declared between the two nations until 2133. The war was intertwined with the Second Fairy War, in which Drotid sided with the Titanian fey; Drotid eventually entered the M'Chek/T'Nanshi war in as an ally of the former. Drotid eventually pulled out of the war, and in 2148 M'Chek and T'Nanshi signed a peace treaty which also formed the buffer zone known as the Blandenberg Protectorate.
In 2142, not long before the war ended, a great shaahesk warrior named Kasseshisrath, was freed from a crystal prison in the confines of Nem in Deglos. Upon returning to his homeland he rose to the ranks, soon becoming the Voivode, the leader of Drotid. In 2181 Drotid declared war against M'Chek, a declaration puncutated by the assassination of Lord Walsington, then leader of M'Chek, by shaahesk assassins. The war raged for decades; in 2227 the shaahesk occupied Elysia. They would hold the city-state until 2235, and two years later the war would finally end with the assassination of Kasseshisrath by Sir Thaylis Beign, the Breath of Pelar.
But there were bright spots during this period of fighting. Cha'reth ascended to godhood, becoming the god of peace and healing in 2113. In 2161 the Violet Order of the Skull formed, kick off a chain of events which resulted in the formation of the nine mage orders comprising Andrinor's Trust.
Major Events of this Era
Timeline → Age of the Gods | Time of Dawning | Fairy War | Great War | Age of Immortals | Age of Darkness | Age of Strife | Ongoing