Hammer of Lithandiel

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Almost three centuries ago, a wizard by the name of Najera created two artifacts of unspeakable arcane power, an amulet and a staff. Najera grew so attached to these devices that he became paranoid and destructively protective. Whether it was Najera's pride in his creations or the creations themselves that drove him to evil is still debated by scholars of the arcane. His friend, a Green Order magus by the name of Lithandiel, researched and forged a dagger that would temporarily suppress the artifacts' power, so that the pitiable soul who was once a good man could be put to rest and the world protected from his madness. Lithandiel succeeded in this, and hid the artifacts from the world.

However, such power does not stay hidden long. A century or so later, the leader of the remnants of the Gold Order remaining from after the Great War, a selfish and sinister mage named Lobera, happened across a book that mentioned the artifacts of Najera and their dire promise. Being a Gold Order mage, Lobera naturally sought out the power of these relics. And find them he did. Bringing them before the orders of the Fold of Eight, he proposed an annual spellduel tournament, the victor of which would carry the Najera artifacts for the next year. Unfortunately, no-one was able to ever defeat Lobera while he held them, and thus he carried them on until he sought out lichdom.

Around thirty years ago, shortly after the Vortex of Chaos events, rumors of the continued existence of Lobera, now a demilich, and the artifacts he possessed began to circulate in the orders of the new Trust. Some orders sought to possess these artifacts, some to study, and some to destroy outright. No matter the purpose, it became known that the only thing that could counter the power of the artifacts was a weapon forged with the same enchantments as Lithandiel's dagger. The Ivory Order of the Sun contacted an ancient dwarf who had lived in the old times, a former archmage of the old White Order named Garlok Rapotri, to forge this new weapon. He assented, under the condition that he could make a hammer instead (since he preferred hammers anyway), and gave the Ivory a list of rare component items that would be needed to replicate the magic of the dagger of legend.

Lobera, meanwhile, began to assert his power more and more. In single combat, he slew the archmage of Ivory, D'Anjal Veskander'Rai, while the rest of the Ivory was trapped nearby, unable to help. The demilich took control of D'Anjal's body so that he could not return to the mortal realm. From the afterlife, D'Anjal passed on his mantle to Lafreth Theoalideth, to continue to lead the Ivory against this menace. Lafreth had put together a consortium amongst the Ivory, Green, Blue, and Ashen to work towards the destruction of Lobera and prevent the Ebony from gaining control of the Najera Artifacts. They succeeded in gathering most of the components for the recreation of Lithandiel's weapon, but one component remained: a piece of the mortal flesh of a mage turned lich.

Meanwhile, Lobera's archrival and former apprentice, the demi-lich Ibrasis, tricked him into wanting the weapon constructed. Lobera approached Grace Dane-Unuldur and threatened death and destruction in Mikona should the hammer not be made in short order. Grace and her husband Morran Unuldur contacted Lafreth and asked the Ivory to make them this hammer, to protect Mikona.

As fate would have it, a new face arose in these times. Fergus Goodmane, an elderly citizen of Mikona, Lafreth's apprentice and recently appointed Senior Mage of M'Chek for the Ivory, became a go-between for the continuation of the plot to create the hammer and destroy Lobera. Garlok, the old White archmage, had taken to making visits to Mikona to check up on progress. He spoke with Fergus and told him of the need for haste, and to contact him when Fergus had found the final ingredient. In this time Grace and Morran began pressing the Ivory for developments, and their association suffered. The two, worried only about the safety of the city, turned instead to Damar Ogdem of the Ebony.

The Ivory had procured some lichskin gloves, and Fergus attempted to contact the old dwarf. However, when Garlok came to visit, Fergus was out distributing foodstuffs to relieve the communities around Nelthrope Keep, as their winter supplies were the latest victim of the M'Chek-T'Nanshi War. Thus, Garlok was intercepted by Grace and Morran, who sent him on his way.

Time was growing short.

Fergus disappeared for seven days and seven nights shortly thereafter. Upon his return he convinced the Ivory that they would need to work together with the entire Trust to ensure the safety of Mikona. The lichskin gloves were altered and enchanted and wouldn't work; what was needed was a raw piece of lich flesh, something that most assuredly the Ebony could acquire. Unfortunately, lines of communication between the Ivory and Ebony were well-nigh non-existent, and they were not able to construct the hammer in time to appease Lobera. Thousands in Le'Or and Mikona perished that day, falling to the demi-lich's dark armies.

The Trust had seen enough. Damar Ogdem provided, at long last, a bit of flesh from the lich Sorvanok, but only after striking a deal with Lafreth that favored his interests. Garlok's assistant teleported away with the final component and Fergus Goodmane. Fergus returned alone, with the hammer, and a staff that shone brightly with an almost divine light. It was agreed that Morran would wield the hammer to strike down Lobera... however word arrived from the north that the fiend's armies were marching again on M'Chek. The Ivory and Ebony set up defenses at Finmaegen Keep while the Ashen and Blue prepared to defend Equaloria. A great battle ensued as hundreds of vampires emerged from the shadows and assaulted both fortresses. The night sky was set alight as if day as arcane power flashed across the horizon. In the melee, Lobera appeared and Fergus rushed to hand the hammer to Morran. Unbeknownst to all, though, the Hammer of Lithandiel had forged a magical bond with Fergus' pure soul, and would not leave his grasp. Thus Lobera escaped destruction, and the battle continued. The Green Order arrived from the north and turned the tides of the battle against the undead horde. Lobera was forced to retreat, and set up his defenses for the final showdown that was to come.

A few days later, mages of the Trust convened in the canopies of T'Nanshi and set off to the roots of Le'Or. In the center of the group was a single, grim, elderly Ivory mage holding a softly glowing hammer. The group entered Lobera's tower in the roots, a bleak catacomb guarded to this day by undead magi of the Gold Order, and fought their way to Lobera's lair. There the demilich appeared, and slew all but four mages with powerful necromancies and evocations. Fergus swung the brighthammer, again and again, his feeble blows glancing off the magically hardened shell of the fiend. Lobera, grinning a ghastly grin, turned his full wrath upon the old man, dispelling his protections and draining him of life.

But a mage of the Green sprung to Fergus' side and rescussitated him with a skilled hand. He rose to his feet, still blinded and stiff from his brush with death, and with every bit of strength he could muster landed a final resounding strike upon Lobera's back. The artifacts were overwhelmed, and in a mighty flash of light, the hammer shot through Lobera's stolen body, shattering him in an explosion that rocked the foundations of the tower. As the Hammer of Lithandiel crumbled to dust, its power spent, and the necromantic energies dissipated from D'Anjal's shattered remains, only two things remained whole... an amulet and a staff of horrible power.

Since those days, Damar Ogdem went on to reform the Gold Order of the Sand, Fergus Goodmane reformed the White Order of the Light, and Lafreth Theoalideth stepped down as the Archmage of Ivory. The Artifacts of Najera were split up, one resting with Ebony and one with Ivory, so that their horrible power would never be used together again.