The Wastelands

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Once part of the great orcish empire of Dobrekan, the Wastelands became part of southern Jechran after the Great War. Around the year 1000 O.D. a cataclysmic event rendered much of southern Jechran uninhabitable and saturing the blasted remains of the land in a strange magical energy. Since then few mortal races have ventuered into the wastes, though changelings have shown an immunity to the magical residue found there.

History

One of Valok's main enemies in life was a dwarf warrior named Durethar. The two of them adventured together, but they were always in competition. Eventually a hatred developed between them and Valok parted on bad terms with someone he saw as a less intelligent companion.

Eventually, Valok was captured by The Negerai Prime and disappeared. Durethar, however, never forgot his hatred and jealousy and tried endlessly to find out if his former companion ever did well for himself, and if he did, how he could take it away from Valok. The truth was Valok caused much embarrassment for Durethar, on many occasions, and Durethar wanted revenge. He was determined, but largely unsuccessful in fulfilling his vengeance at that point. Knowing that elves like Valok can live a long time, Durethar (a human) prolonged his lifespan in an effort to continue his search.

One day, Durethar got a break. He managed to track down another elven companion of Valok's who happened to be present the day Valok was apprehended. Though it was nearly 1,000 years before, the elf described The Negerai Prime that took Valok and the Spelljamming vessel in which the extraplanar monstrosity rode. Rejuvenated by his find, Durethar rushed to find out more. In his high hopes, he wanted to find a body or grave site to spit on for some closure. Alternatively, a shriveled and helpless elf he could kill would be fine. Immediately after that conversation with Valok's other former companion, Durethar took to the stars.

For years he searched the spheres, never finding another lead. Then by happenstance he encountered a vessel coming out of a realm called Avlis. Talking to the crew, he was astounded to find out that not only was Valok alive and well, but he was also one of the major gods on that world! This news infuriated Durethar and crushed him. There was now no way to bring any meaningful discredit to his hated frenemy.

Distraught, Durethar decided to quietly set down on Avlis in order to figure out what to do next. He landed in an interesting area near the eastern coast of one of the larger continents. The region was populated by four major races. To the south was a treacherous race of lizard men. Northward was a mixed population of human and elven women. Westward was a vast population of industrious dwarves who craved the resources in the area, and worshiped a god named Fegall. Indigenous to the area was another strange race he never saw before. The referred to themselves as changelings, and they lived generally solitary lifestyles. Complicating the area, the lizard men were using it for slave resources and they were constantly at war with the female warriors from the north. The dwarves were being taken slaves as well on occasion, but Durethar noticed that they were too disorganized to deal with it properly, unlike the native women to the north. This is where Durethar saw his chance.

Durethar was a stickler for discipline and organization. Being a dwarf, he knew what it was to work hard, but he noticed that many dwarves were too soft in their sense of order. This warrior Fegall was a bad influence on them. Weeding out the weak and enforcing strict discipline was the only way, in his mind, to achieve greatness and power. He saw his way to get at Valok through the use of these dwarves. A plan was slowly forming in his mind. He did not yet know how he would achieve his goal, but now he at least had a way to get some power under him.

The plan was to organize the dwarven settlement in the area to retaliate against all the invaders actively. It was slow going from the moment he first revealed himself to the outpost. However, after several missions of proving himself, and a long and drawn out campaign to oust the leader of the area, Durethar found himself in control of the establishment. This was a good beginning for him, and the outpost flourished into a city. The city became larger and larger until it controlled the entire area and more cities were founded as the mostly dwarven population grew and fanned out.

Financially the place also flourished. The resources in the area became useful to the entire newly forming nation of Deglos immediately to the west. Moreover, the area controlled by Durethar was independent and acted as a buffer between the shaahesk to the south and the women of Jechran to the north. As Durethar's nation got stronger, it invaded and conquered land away from both the shaahesk and the Jechranians.

As time went on, the dwarves in the area now known as Durathoin began to look to Durethar above their former hero, Fegall. He was their new hero and gained power accordingly to his plan. However, it was not enough to take on Valok, and his inspiration began to stagnate once more.

Just as he was about to become destitute, a new breakthrough occurred. On the verge of becoming a demigod, he knew that he did not have long to exist on that plane, but this was of no consequence because he found a way to challenge Valok. A sage described an artifact of immense power supposedly residing at the center of the world. It was called The Eternal Spark. With this item, he could become Valok's equal once more, and then finally supplant him.

Durethar ordered his minions to start digging...

Finding and touching The Eternal Spark was only a piece of Durethar's plan. In order to defeat Valok, he would need to get to his enemy in full energetic form so they could fight with their full essences and not their avatars. This would require a portal capable of taking his full Greater God essence to The Nine Hells where Valok dwelt, and those types of portals were special. Finally, all of this needed to be complete by the time he ascended to Demigod status on his own, at which point Mikon would come to collect him from the plane and his chance at becoming strong enough to defeat Valok would be forever gone.

As his minions dug beneath the ground, aided by magical explosives he taught them to construct, Durethar worked with his sages to create a fortress to the north that would house the portal. He used the dirt and rock pulled up from the digging of the giant hole to the center of the world in order to construct this building.

Everything was going according to plan until an errant group of adventurers sabotaged the portal and upset his digging efforts, causing an almost insurmountable delay. Infuriated, Durethar put all his concentration into thwarting the adventurers who dared oppose him, but then everything happened at once:

Durethar ran out of time.

Just as his body completed its transformation from Immortal to Demigod status, two beings showed up: Mikon in his true energetic form and Valok as an avatar.

Mikon ordered him to be escorted to his new home, but Durethar refused.

Valok laughed.

Durethar started to fight.

Mikon sighed and destroyed Durethar instantly, but this had two unforeseen effects: the expenditure of power by Mikon set off ALL of the remaining magical explosives that were in storage to dig the rest of the hole to the center of the planet, and the residual energies from the sabotaged portal interacted with Mikon's power and the explosives to increase their yield exponentially.

The intrepid adventurers that saved Valok were killed in the blast, as was the avatar of Valok which was of no consequence. Mikon was unscathed but the land around the area known as Durathoin was forever scarred. It would never grow regular vegetation or support regular life again. All that was left was a wasteland.