What follows is an account of the events that occurred in the third year of the Ninth Kingdom. These events are put together by eye-witness accounts, rumors, and the songs of bards across Wandrossa.
What happened in 9K3?
Here are the events of Year 9K3 as they occurred.
Rise of the Lizardmen
On the southern shore of the Bog of Hingwell west of the Drakecrags, the lizardfolk followers of Qruasz built a small community. At the center of this community they began construction on a might, multi-tiered temple. Their leader, Traxl, a herald of Qruasz oversaw its production. For now, the lizardfolk appear to be peaceful, however, the markings of Qruasz have begun magically appearing on trees and rocks within 6 miles of the community, warding off threats.
The Altar of Tragedy
Rumors of a cult spread throughout all of Known Wandrossa, reaching the thoughts of Charlemagne “The Great”. Charlemagne, having just established a thieves’ guild in Bygrove, sent his trusted Chosen One Naith and her Merry Men to investigate. Naith was joined by Hildegaard, one of Avelynn’s Chosen.
Upon arrival, the party discovered that the Altar was once again occupied by cultists, this time in service to Agnulivana the Witness.
The Temple of Grixelbrand
South of the Altar of Tragedy, a temple made of dark, black stone held up by columns of yellowed bone emerged from the bog’s waters.
The Herald of Kymopoleia Arrives
Another herald of the gods appeared, this time a mysterious woman named Alira with the power of elemental lightning and thunder granted by Kymopoleia herself.
“I seen it! The house–wow!–a brilliant blast of light as one of the houses in the southern part of town erupted with a lightning bolt, destroying the whole place,” exclaimed an eye witness. “Then, this girl upped and levitated out of the hole and took the river where she walked heading east along the Wicked.”
Turning east to the Sea of Mena, some believe she sought to open a portal to her god’s chaotic realm. However, the mystic forces surrounding the region of Wicked Maple Grove and the Drakecrags prevented her from getting beyond the eastern tree line.
Even still, Wicked Maple Grove experienced unseasonably high rainfall and powerful winds, resulting in numerous casualties from flooding waters.
May the Overdeity protect us if Alira should ever make it to Mena.
Thieves in Bygrove
Bygrove, already descending into chaos as its people reject Governor Elmure’s wishes, found itself home to a new gallery of rogues, this time born of a partnership between Ashtai and Charlamagne. Naith, a dark elf chosen of Charlemagne, lead the guild.
In the forested areas near Bygrove unusually poisonous flora began to appear: nightshade, wolfsbane, and devil’s snare started growing more frequently in these parts of the woods, posing a small threat to unknowing travelers.
Of course, Charlemagne’s minions naturally saw this as a boon, further aiding in their devious pursuits.
Speaking of devious pursuits, an impossibly thick fog appeared on the road leading from Bygrove to Orlggthorp. Only the chosen of Charlamagne seem to be able to navigate the forest, fleecing travelers of hard-earned coin to make their way.
Port Mathis Founding
Just a half a day’s walk east of Bygrove, Port Mathis was founded by followers of Coram Krulak. This hamlet was a trading town built on the river to sell the fruits of the forges to traders and traveling adventurers. It was well known for the dirt pit in the middle of town for adventurers to spar. Oh, and one loud tavern named The Serpent and Hellhound.
Krulak’s Chosen, Davy O’Sullivan spent the year creating the guild named Brawlers Bangers and Boozers with its first hall in Port Mathis. Bangers and Boozers was a guild to connect adventurers with requests across wandrossa and, in turn, smiths to those adventurers.
Alira, frustrated by the borders set by the Greater Powers, retreated to this new homestead where she was greeted in kind by Coram Krulak’s followers. Her arrival was marked by a feast.
Eltun, the Wild Town
9K3 saw hundreds of outlanders flock to Eltun, possibly to receive protection from the powerful gods whose temples were found there, including Dimitrios the God of the Hunt. The majority of the immigrants many would consider barbarians. However, thanks to the connection to nature Eltun’s new inhabitants possessed, food production ramped up considerably there, providing a valuable food source for all of the Wicked Maple Grove Region and bringing great wealth to “The Syrup Town.”
As the town grew, Byldanos toiled in the surrounding forest, tearing up the trees and land for farms. He then created a new construct, a “John Deer”, an automated farming machine, to serve the people of Eltun. In addition, Byldanos’ Chosen One, Prometheus, The Magical Blacksmith, worked with the folks of Eltun to improve the town’s defenses.
Of course, not all was peaceful in Eltun. Azirath, frustrated by all the green surrounding Eltun and his own followers, brought forth his might to cause a drought. However, he was stopped by Aelfdine. Regardless, the drought had some effect, ruining Byldanos’ efforts that year.
Fortunately, Dimitrios’ outlanders were able to keep the Eltunians fed and happy through the dry spell.
To ensure safety for the denizens of Eltun, Aria Crystalstone lead all manner of fey and beasts to occupy the surrounding woods. She created set paths for travelers, and enforced rules upon the forest denizens, instructing them not to kill anyone on the roads.
Beasts of the Drakecrags
Folks from all parts of the Blackleaf Forest saw young and adult red dragons atop the peaks, demonstrating why the mountains are named Drakecrags in the first place.
Furthermore, the gentlefolk of Heaminster spoke of a man whose face is like a snake’s traveling west into the mountains. This “Beast King” as some have called him (in whispers) vanished into a cavern in the Drakecrags.
Good and Bad Events in Orlyggthorp
Sister Anna, devoted of Avelynn, set up an orphanage in Orlyggthorp.
Meanwhile, Vestal’s disciples started an organized crime ring. However, the group has been off to a rocky start, as The Sphinx Dedomenon, one of Rhodaman’s Chosen Ones thwarted their movements at every step.
The Secret of Woestone
Tasked by The Mournful Knight, First Chosen of Rhodamon and Aliyah the Oracle of Bone, a group of adventurers headed south beyond Known Wandrossa to investigate the ruins of the metropolis Woestone.
The Academy of the Arts Opened
Created by Aubeley, this academy functions as a place for those artistically inclined to learn and improve their talents and how they can access magic through their arts. In the academy, there will also be shrines to each of the gods in the Museum Pantheon (Ambrosia, Aubeley, Byldanos, the Jade Panda, Toshokan, and Yupni.) Aubeley’s Chosen, Orphentos aided in its construction.
With a howl that echoes through the Drakecrags, the wilds south of the Drakecrags began to grow unnaturally. Over the year a forest full of magic and nature grew. In its center, a giant tree towered above the rest. Within that tree stood Goliath, Lupus’ guardian.
As the Spellbound Woods grew, some part of it began to show signs of unusual development; flowers and fruits were more sinister and dangerous than before, with some starting to grow thorns and changing to a darker hue. Animals that fed off of the mutated plants became more territorial and strangely defensive around the plants. Some small carnivorous flowers blossomed.
The monsters within and surrounding the grove knew that there was more to this area afoot. They respected and protected Spellbound Woods valiantly allowing few in and fewer to leave.
The Lake of Blood
Just east of Tamor, hunters discovered a huge pool of blood forming. Leaping from the water were horrible leeches with three, wild eyes. The hunters fled, warning their vampiric masters in Tamor.
Temlakos Against the Darkness
The Mad Solar Temlakos, Fallen of Enombath, in a fit of rage, marched on Tamor–again. This time, however, he was turned back by the Chosen of Indronyx assisted by two of Saern’s doppelgangers. After only a few seconds of facing the Night God’s minions, Temlakos fled back towards the Hollow Meadow, tail between his legs.
In the debacle, the doppelgangers scanned the thoughts of Indronyx’s herald, Nemesis, learning some of the Dark God’s plans. “Heaminster…”
From a distance, Piermo watched the Dark Gods’ Chosen Ones, debating whether or not to get involved. Nemesis, noticing the Divination God, heard Piermo say on the wind, “It would be a shame if all those chosen ones defending Tamor from the fallen solar found themselves otherwise lost in the far realms while the solar was running amok.”
Nemesis snarled, “Explain?”
But it was too late: Piermo was already gone.
The Devastation of Heaminster
That spring day in Heaminster started like any other. Gardeners trimmed flowers. Smiths put new shoes on horses. Children played in the streets.
In a small tea house surrounded by old friends, an old, medusan woman named Meadra let it be known that she knew the secret to the lost god Enombath’s tomb.
The moment the dead Sun God’s name escaped her lips, clouds filled the sky, casting darkness over the hamlet, sealing its fate.
They appeared: Indronyx, God of Darkness and Night.
There was confusion at first. No one in Heaminster had ever seen a god before, let alone a Greater Deity. However, their fear was immediate when Indronyx spoke.
“I will take no chances, Enombath will be denied!”
From the shadows, Indronyx’s horrors emerged, instantly attacking the people of Heaminster. Those who didn’t initially flee were torn apart, their life drained from their corpses.
Indronyx wasn’t alone. A trio of dragons from the Drakecrags took to the town, bathing the medusan hamlet in flames–the children of Malic.
Before the two gods could wreak more havoc, Avelynn, the goddess of Life appeared, thwarting the dragons with blasts of radiant energy. The massive drakes instantly perished, their wrecked bodies crashing into the nearby Centaur Wood.
“Indronyx!” yelled the mother of all, “While Heaminster does not house many of my children I cannot stand for such reckless slaughter. I will protect these children in their time of need.”
While she distracted the evil god, a massive iron golem bearing the sigil of Byldanos entered the fray. The behemoth grabbed Meadra, whisking her away from the chaos, across the Wicked and into the southern forest.
Of course, the chaos was faster. Black tendrils borne of madness pulled the iron golem back, horrifically dissolving its material form, puffs of poison and smoke ebbing out of its ruined body. After tumbling to the ground, Meadra attempted to use her stone gaze on the formless horrors tearing apart the machine that saved her; to no avail.
Fortunately, a guild of Toshokan sages calling Heaminster their home pulled Meadra away from the savage creatures, banishing most of the creatures from existence with powerful magicks. With the medusan safe, the sages formed a circle protecting her and others they’d rescued from the fury of the gods. Then, much to Meadra’s and others’ surprise, ink poured from the eyes and ears of the sages, coagulating into a humanoid form in the middle of them. For a moment, it appeared as if this “Inky” being winked at her, before turning and leaping towards Indronyx’s dark beings. Was this ink creature on the side of good?
Inky, a servant of Toskokan, cut a swath through many of the God of Darkness’ horde until another entered the mix: a pair of grinning warlocks, disciples of Ashtai. Aided by blue-glowing, wisp-like creatures called lost souls, they used their eldritch might to slow down Inky, allowing the lost souls to hamper the Avatar of Knowledge, pinning him to the ground.
Then, the trees themselves came to life. Faeries and dryads of the Blackleaf and Centaur Woods going against Indronyx’s hordes. Their leader, a treant in the form of a cackling woman, spoke with the voice of Kash the Trickster.
“It’s always more fun to root for the underdog!”
The sylvans freed Inky and further drove back the hordes. Meanwhile, the knowledge sages held their dome of protection over Heaminster’s few survivors.
Kahlza’s formless creatures returned from their banishment, throwing themselves against the sage’s defenses. But the sages stood their ground.
… that is until a horde of blood thirsty-barbarians arrived, cleaving their way through the treefolk. Kash’s treant avatar collapsed under their axes, and soon they turned to the Sages of Toshokan. Their dome began to contract and crack.
At the side of the barbarians were ferocious wolves. They were beasts of Lupus, lead by Lupus’ herald, Leshen the Wanderer, a towering, rail-thin figure whose head is that of an elk skull. Leshen’s claws pierced the dome, shattering it. The sages collapsed to the ground as the Heaminsterites cowered under the might of the dark, fey creature.
As Leshen drew up his wicked claw to strike the old, medusan woman dead, he suddenly started to… dance?
Music played and Leshen danced, seemingly with no way to stop himself. An elven woman emerged from the ruins of the village, playing a haunting melody on her flute, causing the Leshen to dance. The horrid creature cursed. While distracted, one of the sages cast a spell commanding all of the Kahzlan Barbarians to drop their weapons and hit the ground, giving two of the Toshokan Sages time to usher Meadra and the Heaminsterites further into the wood. Sadly, the other Toshokan Sages perished, torn apart by the Leshen’s wolves.
Running through the dark trees, chased by barbarians, wolves, and other unspeakable horrors, the people of Heaminster came face to face with a huge creature with the torso of a humanoid snake and the lower body of a great serpent. Meadra, recognizing the creature as a herald of Urasil, kneeled before her goddess’ avatar.
“Have you come to protect me, oh Shanzed?” said Meadra, naming the Xiphonan.
Drawing her bow, the Xiphonan Heroine Shanzed loosed arrows as long and thick as spears into the chests of the snarling barbarians approaching. “We must leave this place,” she hissed.
“I’m afraid Indronyx has cut off our connection to extradimensional escape, m’lady,” noted one of the sages, bowing his ink-covered head.
Another of Shanzed’s arrows sailed through the trees, ending the life of a monstrous wolf.
A whisper erupted from the dark wood, the voice of Leshen, unseen.
“I see you, old snake. You have never been a match for my power.”
“We’ll see about that, old haunt!” yelled Shanzed, placing the pair of sages and Meadra onto her back. Swiftly, she slid through woods away from the madness of Heaminster.
. . .
Back at Heaminster, Avelynn continued to battle Indronyx, shining her loving light on the Dark God. Joining Avelynn were followers of another life Goddess, Ambrosia. Kash’s treants continued their pursuit, as well, encircling the God of Darkness. With the combined might of the three life-giving gods, Indronyx’s shadow over Heaminster began to withdraw.
Good was winning.
Then, the air filled with the sounds of yapping war cries–goblin hordes bearing the mark of Yikas spilled across the river, loosing arrows into the forces of good.
“It’s not over yet,” sighed Avelynn.
. . .
Meanwhile, as Shanzed sped through the forest, a poisoned arrow found its tip in the heart of one of the Toshokan sages. He was dead before he hit that ground.
Yikas’ trusted assassin, Oir was near. As a master of stealth, however, not even mighty Shanzed could see the goblin rogue move through the trees. Oir’s second arrow hit Shanzed, nearly toppling the massive serpentwoman in mid-stride.
. . .
Despite Avelynn and Kash once holding the upper hand, they were now surrounded by hundreds of shrieking goblins. The gods hurled every spell in their arsenal at the beasts. Even the elven bard of Aubeley fell to their arrows, her lifeless body left pinned to a ruined stable wall.
The darkness continued to grow.
Minotaur-like beasts with the skin peeled back from their faces cut through more of Kash’s forces.
“Razing a city looks so ugly- it doesn’t suit you, Indronyx…” came a voice. It was Ambrosia herself, appearing before the forces of darkness from seemingly nowhere. At Ambrosia’s side was her young, pink-haired herald, Lyra.
Lyra’s music shattered and bound the goblins while Ambrosia created sentient life from the early spring flowers to hold back the skinless beasts. Avelynn, able to turn back to the prize–Indronyx–cast her full might against the Shadow God once more.
Lyra then fell, an icey blast crippling her. Ambrosia withstood the cold, but turned her attention to the sky and a gigantic snow owl. This, of course, was–
“Yumia,” Ambrosia tsked, wagging a finger at the winter goddess high above.
The cold wind grew colder. Kymopoleia turned her attention away from her own projects to assist in the destruction of Heaminster and those who would seek the Tomb of Enombath.
Darkness, wind, and rain consumed the hamlet.
Before Lyra could drown in the misery, a dead man’s hand pulled the girl to her feet. Before her, the noble girl saw a featureless–and nude–creature, its rotting torso floating above its legs, held together by entrails like some kind of morbid puppet. Opening its mouth at an odd angle, the words of Agnulivana spoke directly to Indronyx.
“I see great repercussions wrought by your actions here, Indronyx.”
With a flick of his wrist, Agnulivana’s avatar pulled Yumia from the air, sending her into the roof of a burning building–instantly extinguished by her innate chill, of course.
“I see the damage that finding the dead god’s tomb will cause but I see the threat caused by the infighting here in the immediate times will threaten all of Wandrossa. I hope you can forgive me.”
Indronyx didn’t respond.
His darkness turned to plague-ridden mosquitos, filling the air. The pests enveloped Agnulivana’s mouthpiece, lifting the avatar off its feet, further separating its torso from its legs. After a moment, it was gone, devoured by insects.
To make matters worse, pouring through the streets came Thruk, the Formless One, Chosen of Lor’gax, a black slime of gargantuan proportions. Lyra turned her magic towards the creature, holding it back, allowing Avelynn and Ambrosia an opportunity to regain their composure.
In addition to the inclusion of Thruk, Indronyx, growing impatient, began to glow. Though dim at first, the glow crescendoed as a blinding light forcing Avelynn, Ambrosia, and Lyra back.
. . .
In the forest, Oir moved through the trees nimbly, sending arrow after arrow into Shanzed’s backside. Tired and slowed by Oir’s poisons, Shanzed could barely keep her head up. She stopped, letting Meadra and the lone Toshokan Sage off, assuring that she would hold off Yikas’ assassin while they escaped. Saddened, Meadra and the sage fled further into the forest.
Struggling to upright her torso, Shanzed pulled her scimitars from her side and charged into the forest looking for Oir.
. . .
Heaminster was gone.
Only dust and ruin remained where the peaceful town once stood. Hundreds were dead. The forest surrounding the hamlet was left burned, twisted, and irrevocably ruined. Pestilent plagues of pests blotted out the sky; even the dull, red glow of the Eternal Eclipse was cast aside by the might of Indronyx.
Horrific creatures carved from nightmares shredded the corpses of the Heaminsterites; those that didn’t become food, rose again as the undead minions of Vaal Kral, the final god to join in.
From miles away, the people of Addukkhin, Bygrove, Orlggythorp, and Eltun watched in horror, all their armed forces at full alert. The tower of darkness over the Centaur Wood could even be seen from Tamor, where its vampiric sorcerers watched with bewilderment.
The handful of Heaminsterites that did survive were protected by Rhodaman’s Great Silver Dragon, Aradahmet the Bright who delivered them to Olyggthorp.
Outnumbered and severely overpowered, Ambrosia and Avelynn had no choice but to use their last remaining bit of energy to slip away before the dark gods utterly destroyed them.
“There’s no beauty in defeat,” Ambrosia quipped.
“Nor is there any in death. We’ll find another way,” said Avelynn. Despite Indronyx’s preventative measures, the two goddesses escaped.
. . .
Meandra and the last Toshokan Sage were six miles from Heaminster when they climbed into a small, root-thick cave in the side of an overgrown hill to hide from the goblin.
Both were tired, bleeding, and exhausted. The sage cast protection spells over their temporary shelter as the last bit of light faded from view.
“Light,” spoke the sage. And the light came. The medusan and the sage held hands together, keeping the light between them.
The look on both their faces said it all. This would be the last light the two would ever see.
A sly chuckle came from the rear of the cave.
“Found yeh, didn’t I?” cackled Oir from behind the pair.
The two tiredly turn their heads, but it was too late. One of Oir’s arrows hit the sage in his throat, preventing any further spells from escaping his lips. Meadra watched in horror as the sage lay dying, coughing on his own blood.
“Quite a run yeh put me on,” smirked the goblin, knocking another arrow.
“I’d kill yeh, but I think the boss would like to do the honors ‘imself.”
Oir’s shadow then shifted, lifting from the ground and taking on a humanoid form. It was Nyx, Indronyx’s darker half. This was how Oir snuck into the cavern avoiding the notice of the two.
The shadow clutched Meadra by her throat, lifting the old, medusan woman off the ground. It began to drain her life with its touch.
“It matters not,” she croaked, “He will return.”
Suddenly, Nyx was stopped as another dark creature leaped onto the shade, this one made of pure ink. Pouring from the eyes, ears, mouth, and nose of the dead sage was once again Inky, reformed, and using his last bit of might to save the medusan woman. Wordlessly, Toshokan’s avatar pointed towards the exit, encouraging Meadra to flee as he held back the dark god. Meadra fell to the ground, coughing, crawling. As the sage died, his light left with him. Darkness eclipsed Meadra.
Inky and Nyx fought, black fists of shadow landing blow after blow against “flesh” made of ink; arm blades made of ink, slicing at the umbral being’s form and so on. Of course, Inky was no match for the dark god, easily cast aside, dissolving into a pool of ink on the cavern floor.
Nyx, done with last words, cast a bolt of dark energy through Meadra, instantly disintegrating the old woman.
“It’s done then, yeh?” asked Oir, putting his bow on his back.
Nyx gave no reply, sliding back into shadow. Gone.
“Not much of talker, innit he?”
Whistling, Oir casually walked out of the cave and back out into the Blackleaf Forest.
Secrets of the Dead
In the Realm Between, Rhodaman welcomed the dead of Heaminster including Meadra. Rhodaman pulled the tired, dead medusan aside to hear her secrets, finally learning the location of Enombath’s Tomb.
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