Category Archives: Bristlebane

The Maiden of Masks


The Maiden of Masks
Tifanah Jespar was born during the Age of Enlightenment to a noble lord and lady of Qeynos. At a young age, Tifanah’s father, Lord Jespar, succumbed to a deadly plague, leaving Tifanah and her mother alone and without income. Unable to deal emotionally with the loss of her beloved father, Tifanah would dress in her parents’ clothing to temporarily take on new identities and play out make-believe roles so she wouldn’t have to face her own pain.

The Lady Jespar sought to maintain her standard of living she had become accustomed to while her former husband was alive and profiting from sound merchant and business practices. The beautiful widow initially had many suitors because of her prestige and wealth, but Tifanah’s strange play-acting, made up stories, and her fondness for wearing masks of her own creation would scare off all of the upper class men that came calling on her mother. This would only further add tension between the mother and daughter’s strained relationship.As a young lady in her early teens, Tifanah had the occasion to see a traveling troupe of Antonican Bard actors that came to Qeynos. The elaborate customes, the accepted, even applauded make-believe acting, and the ability to tell a story of imagination all greatly appealed to the youth who chose to hide behind masks. She stowed away with the troupe for a time hiding in the costume coach as it pulled out of the city. It wasn’t until they were in the Highpass Mountains on the way to Highkeep that she was discovered.

The bards weren’t too keen on finding another mouth to feed, especially one that couldn’t really help pull her own load, but the kindly costume seamstress said she’d look after the young one. The troupe didn’t have the money to turn back to Qeynos, so far out, but feared they would be accused of kidnapping. It was agreed that Tifanah could stay with them, for safety, but only until their regular circuit brought them back to Qeynos. They also quickly dispatched a letter through the bard mail service to her mother to explain the situation.The seamstress, having no children of her own, happily took to teaching Tifanah costume making. Tifanah learned the art of sewing, tailoring, and using makeup to achieve many different fanciful looks. The other bards took to the young lady and taught her singing, acting, even a smattering of simple magic spells. She would also learn of Fizzlethorpe Bristlebane, god of Mischief and patron god of entertainers.

During all this time though, Tifanah would not speak of her own past and would instead make up fanciful stories. Each bard in the troupe heard a different tale. No one knew for sure just exactly what her family did for work, how many siblings she had, or even her favorite color. The Antonican Bards were sad to part ways with Tifanah when they came back to Qeynos, but as a gift they let her play a role in her final play with the troupe.Back at home, Tifanah refined the lessons she was taught, and her stories and costumes got more and more elaborate. The Lady Jespar’s finances were running low and her plan was to get Tifanah married off to a wealthy young man of a prestigious family in Qeynos. Tifanah would have none of it thought. She didn’t want to marry or become one of those boring, giggling women of the court. She wanted to assume new identities and focus on the magical skills she discovered while with the troupe.

When the Lady Jespar would arrange a meeting between her daughter and a suitor, Tifanah would always assume a new role to scare off the young man. She would make her face hideous with makeup, or create costume dresses that made her look extremely large, or wear ratty clothes that made her look poor. Tifanah took great pleasure in thoroughly running off the boys with her creations.In the meantime, Tifanah studied magic. She was particularly fond of magic that could change her appearance and sought to master as many illusions as possible. She became so proficient at her illusions that not even her teachers could see through them. Tifanah loved to trick her teachers by assuming the likeness of other students or colleagues and playing tricks on them. Then one day Tifanah would just disappear. No one knew where to look for her, and didn’t even know of where to start. Every once in a while the Lady Jespar thought she noticed a stranger here and there would give her an odd look, but she could never be sure who it was.

As a young adult, Tifanah would be exalted by Fizzlethorpe Bristlebane to become the demigoddess of an extension of the Plane of Mischief, the Sphere of Illusions. She would take the title “Maiden of Masks” and was said to be especially protective of young women who sought their own role in life, and not the one intended for them by others. Young children who had tearfully lost a beloved parent sometimes found a small masquerade mask under their pillow in the morning, or spoke of a beautiful masked lady who hugged them and let them cry in the middle of the night.

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The Least of Brell’s Creatures


The Least of Brell’s Creatures
By Dugan Stoneaxe

Brell, the Lord of the Underfoot, brought a great many proud and noble creatures to Norrath. If at least not proud and noble, then at least somewhat useful. The least of all of these, though, are teh boarfiends.

Everyone is allowed a bad day or two. We all have our slip ups. And the boarfiends were, simply, Brell’s. As I understand the story to go, the creation came on the same day that the great Lord of the Underfoot invented ale, an accomplishment of such merit that you can almost forgive him for the boarfiends.

The first time he sipped that frothy brew, it seduced him with its rich flavor, and he promptly drank the whole cask. In this deep state of inebriation, he thought that it would be quite a riot to cross a man with a boar and give them no sense in their heads and an unsettling love of filth. The next morning, as he nursed his hang over and observed the boarfiends in action, he realized his mistake.

He was going to do away with them entirely, but his friend Bristlebane thought it was the most amusing thing he had ever heard of and refused to allow Brell to destroy them. Fizzlethorp gave them away as gifts to his goblins, to prove there was a race lowlier than they.

All was well until a goblin, also drunk on something and a little too pleased with his own joke, let a pack of them go free. In time, they managed to form their own little clan, subsisting entirely off of what others have thrown away.

They’ve no knowledge of their father, no even their skinny twerpy little godfather, and somehow they have managed not to get themselves all killed yet. I suppose it’s profitable to hoarde everything everyone else doesn’t want when you’ve the sole interest in it.

I’m sure Brell looks down on them to this day and feels a little bit ashamed, but then, who hasn’t done something after one too many ales that they later color at the thought of? For the rest of us, though, it doesn’t generally result in the birth of an entire race of creatures, just waking up with not as attractive as they were the night before bedfellows and armor tinted pink with purple ribbing. Maybe that last one was just me.

Anyhow, travel the Moors of Ykesha long enough and you’re bound to run into one of Brell’s lowliest children… just bury your trash before you sleep, though, and you won’t have anything they want. Steer clear of ’em. Take it from me, Dugan Stoneaxe, their stink is not worth the laugh.

Remembering Rivervale


Many brave halflings fell defending Rivervale and the Misty Thicket during the Age of War. This is the story of the defense of the Misty Thicket.
The sight of the orcs reminded Gemma of the talk in Rivervale the previous week, that goblins and orcs had teamed up in the Northlands as the “Horde of the Inferno.” Watching the tide of invaders pouring into the Misty Thicket through the breached wall, Gemma realized that the Northlands weren’t the only place where such coordination had been happening. She turned resolutely and headed to Rivervale. Someone had to warn them!

Arrows whistled past her but Gemma ran swifter than she ever had in her entire life, ducking into the trees to dodge anything aimed her way. The sound of the battle, while fainter, still rang in her ears. How had they kept the orcs a secret for so long? When she reached the outskirts of Rivervale, Gemma paused to catch her breath, her eyes darting from one familiar, beloved landmark to another, in a sorrowful farewell.

Running up and down the streets, Gemma cried out the news of the breach in the wall. The Leatherfoot Brigade units that were still in Rivervale ran past her toward the Misty Thicket. Gemma reached the doorstep of her own home and paused. She’d left it in such disarray this morning; could she bear to have some filthy orc pawing through her treasures? With a quick shake, she said angrily, “They’ll have to come through Gemma Pathfinder first.”

There was no time to dawdle. Emma burst into the house, yelling for her mother to get the younger children and head to Freeport. “Gemma! What’s the matter?” her mother asked, but it was clear from the frightened look on her face that she already knew. They hugged quickly. Gemma kissed the tops of the youngsters’ heads. She jerked open the trunk in which they kept their family’s prized possessions and pulled out an ivy-etched leather jerkin. She would wear it into battle.

“I will meet you in Freeport. Gemma, be careful!” her mother said, joining the throngs of families heading toward the Kithicor Forest. “And Bristlebane hope there are no orcs in there yet,” Gemma said under her breath. She took one last look around the disordered room where she’d lived all her life. Chairs were overturned, breakfast on the table spilled and uneaten. “Good bye,” she said softly, shutting the door and for the first time, locking it behind her.

It seemed that all of Rivervale was running someplace. Gemma joined a group of soldiers heading back toward the Misty Thicket, although from the sounds of it, they might as well stand still — the battle was coming to Rivervale. Thick black smoke rose into the air; the invaders had set fire to the Misty Thicket. Once again the desire to run — she should go with the families and protect them! — came into Gemma’s mind. She stopped running.

The sound of heartbroken crying caught her ear over the din. Gemma followed the sound to the doorway of the Rivervale schoolhouse. She found the school mistress sitting on the doorstep, shaking from the force of her tears. “Get up,” Gemma said somewhat crossly. “Get up, Winda…you’ve got to get the children and get out of here.” Winda shook her head, “They’ve all gone; they’re safe. But I’m so scared, Gemma!”

Gemma pulled Winda to her feet and took her hands. “It’ll be fine, Winda. You just head over to Freeport now with the rest of the families. They’ll need a school teacher, you know.” Chatting as cheerfully as possible, Gemma got the school teacher walking away from town. “Maybe you can get the older ones into a different room now,” Gemma said, bringing up a subject dear to Winda’s heart. Winda hated having the older children disrupting the younger ones at their lessons.

“That would be…good,” Winda sniffed. “Oh, Gemma, thank you!” Winda smiled. The battle sounds returned even louder. “I can’t go out there, I just can’t,” Gemma thought, fighting the desperate urge to run. She grabbed Winda’s hand and pulled her along the nearly deserted streets along the road to the Kithicor Forest. “The families aren’t much ahead, Winda, you just got to….” The halflings stopped running; on the road before them stood a half dozen orcs.

“Run, Winda!” Gemma pushed the school teacher back the way they’d just come. She pulled out her short swords again and faced the invaders, her feet planted firmly apart. Winda screamed and took off, shrieking as she made her escape. The orcs hadn’t seen them until then, but now they jogged purposefully up the road. One of them threw a javelin at Gemma, catching her in the shoulder. She fell, thinking, “It’s like falling asleep.”

Out of Necessity


Out of Necessity

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Out of Necessity
This item can be placed in any house type.

Written by a mysterious author, this book seems to detail early ratonga history.

TREASURED
HEIRLOOM

The quaking had stopped. Those of us that were left took stock as well as we could, searching for survivors, and try to regroup. It wasn’t enough that we were still hunted by those that branded us as traitors, now we also had to contend with the terrible aftermath of the apocalyptic shaking. However, we had survived the wrath of our creator, and near genocide of our horrendous cousins – we were determined to survive this as well.There was an unexpected benefit to the mighty earthquakes, which we only discovered later. Cracks had emerged in the walls of the Underfoot, which opened to a new, mysterious place. Those that went through first and returned told stories of a world outside of the tunnels, brilliantly bright, covered in new creatures and green plant life. It was daunting to imagine a place like that, but we recognized it as something important. It was a place to escape those that pursued us.

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Blocks Bookcases Books Bowls Bows Buckets Cages Candles Cauldrons Chairs
Chests Clocks Clothing Columns Counters Crafting Crates Curtains Deeds Desks
Dividers Doors Dressers Drinks Dungeon Effects Eggs Fences Fireplaces Food
Forges Fungus Games Gazebos Gems Globes Houses Kitchen Lights Mailboxes
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Pets Pillows Plants Plushies Podiums Pools Portals Presents Pumpkins Quills
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Total items named Out of Necessity: 1
Books
Out of Necessity
This item can be placed in any house type.

Written by a mysterious author, this book seems to detail early ratonga history.

The light was blinding, and hot on our fur. The air was crisp, and full of smells we had never experienced before. It was open and spacious, which is something none of us were used to — it was hard to not feel exposed and vulnerable without the walls of the tunnels around us. It was difficult to get used to being outside like this, but we were quickly able to adapt, moving through the shadows to keep from being seen.We were surprised to find civilizations living in this new environment, and we took some time to observe them. They seemed industrious, and even though their cities were devastated, they banded together and began to rebuild. There were also some unique individuals among them, more powerful than the rest, who adventured through the world, and possessed impressive power.

We knew that the RoekiIlik would stop at nothing to exterminate us, and ensure that their Dark Agenda would come to pass. If there was any hope to stop them, we would need to employ powerful agents to stand against their plan, and these surface dwellers seemed to have the potential that might be needed. After debates among ourselves, we decided to approach them with our warning.We chose the city of Qeynos first. The people there seemed just and fair, and we believed they might be welcoming. A few of us were selected to emerge and speak with the people there. To our horror, we were very far off in our assessment of their nature. We were viewed as vermin, accused of being disease-infested, of sneaking about in the sewers, stealing what little food the city had. Some even attacked us outright. It was clear that we were not welcome.

It was a long trek to the city of Freeport, the only other standing city we were able to find. It was more militaristic, being run under the direction of a single leader as opposed to a cooperative. Some of us were wary about speaking with these people, as if we were rejected once again, we might find ourselves once again under the sword of an oppressor. However, we reasoned it wasn’t necessary to impress the population as much as it was to impress the one in charge.A few of us were able to bypass the cities’ defenses and enter the chambers of the leader himself. At first, he was quite angry that we intruded and ordered our emissaries imprisoned. After torturous days in the prisons of Freeport, an offer was made to our fellows. The leader, while upset, was still impressed that we were able to bypass his security so easily. If we were to swear loyalty to him and become scouts for the city, he would spare us and allow us entry.

We attempted, at this point, to explain the danger possessed by the Roekillik, but the leadership of the city was uninterested in our warnings. Perhaps it was the immediacy of their current problems, or their own arrogance, but all we said fell on deaf ears. In the end, it was advantageous for us to remain here. Free, offered protection and a home, and if the Roekillik were to emerge, they would make a suitable buffer between us and our ancient enemies.Thus, we came to reside within the city… for now at least. There might come a time when the Roekillik return, and we must choose to flee, or try to rally the races of Norrath to stop them and their Dark Agenda. We will continue to hope that day never comes.

An Agenda to Carry Out


I write this for you, the young ones of the pack.

The lesser-ones, yes, the bane-touched creations given our name – As if they could ever replace us! HA! They were to carry out the Agenda. They knew enough of the plan to carry it out, say the pack elders. They were to be used. Tools to our ascension, discarded when done. But now we are cut off from them. You don’t think they could be messing it all up or worse, they could be fulfilling it, and reaping the rewards for themselves!? To even think of those pathetic no-claws conquering and spreading disease throughout the world when they only deserve to serve us, the true roekillik!

I was not there, nor was my sire, or his, or my greatsire, but oh, I know the lesser ones’ place and history! Even if they do not! We came first, carved out of the Clay of Cosgrove, by Brell Serilis, that miserable excuse for a deity! But then he didn’t like us. He attacked us, his own creations, when he learned of my ancestor’s campaign of dominating and purifying the Underfoot! What else were we to do?! We have always been good at killing! It is said that we had successfully brought about the eradication of several inferior beings within the Underfoot. Even then we knew it was our destiny to conquer all of Norrath. We are superior!

His divine wrath crushed and cut down a great many of us! The true roekillik were all but destroyed. Smote by our own creator! Unwilling or able to annihilate all of us, he imprisoned the few survivors within the Vaults of Serilis. Guess he didn’t have the spine for eradication! There my ancestors languished, unable to dig their way out, despite their teeth and claws, the very instruments bestowed upon us by Brell for burrowing through the stone of the Underfoot. Then to find that he went back to his pile of clay and created them, the lesser-ones!

Our jailer and creator tried to recreate us, but this time he employed the help of Bristlebane. Good ‘ole ‘Bane boy! A touch of mirth was to be added to these new creatures, with the intention of replacing the “darkness” that he claimed dwelled with us. At first, the plan seemed to work and Brell smiled upon our imitations. But his mockery didn’t stop there! He named them roekillik too! His creativity must have hit bedrock! Disfigured and crippled imitations, they had inferior teeth and hardly any claws to speak of. But what they lacked in menace they made up for in deception! To our glee, the King of Thieves had given them this talent in secret.

They began to spread out from the lowest reaches of the Underfoot, rebelling against Brell’s wishes, and venturing into the higher levels of the plane. Oh, how they grow up! Once there, they began stealing the riches of the Underfoot, hoarding and amassing treasures. And oh, when daddy Brell discovered this was he furious! Although, he went rather easy on them, if you ask me. Rather than decimating the no-claws, he merely imprisoned them within the Vaults, confining them within his fortress, alongside the true roekillik.

Brell’s arrogance and foolishness made our foresires livid! He had created us, and we were superior to all that existed! How dare he attempt to “improve” upon us with these new ones, and then say these lesser-ones were worthy of life, while we were not!? The battle that occurred within the Vaults of Serilis was devastating! Their pack out numbered ours, but they were no match for the deranged ferocity and wicked cunning of the true roekillik. We are superior! Before the sentries of Brell were able to separate them, nearly all of the pitiful no-claws were slaughtered, with the survivors quickly enslaved by our foresires. We were their ascendants in more ways than one!

These lesser-ones lived within the bonds of servitude, manipulated from afar by our mental prowess, for countless seasons. Pulling on their strings! During the age called “Blood” by surface-worlders, a band of dark men entered the Vaults of Serilis and met the no-claws. Using their skills of trickery and guile, they were able to convince the dark men to facilitate their escape from their divinely-imposed imprisonment. Don’t be impressed, man is stupid! This was to our advantage, for although they had not released us, the lesser-ones returned to the Underfoot, where they continued to perform nefarious deeds on our behalf, still calling themselves roekillik.

That is, most of them did -those that knew better! The majority of the freed lesser-ones were still loyal to their masters – theirb rightful masters! They knew their place and were prepared to carry out their part of the Agenda. The details of the Agenda did not matter to them. They wouldn’t have understood them, anyway! But our foresires heard of an uprising amongst the freed no-claws. A select few of incompetent lesser-ones were attempting to leave the pack, and break their bonds of servitude. Maybe a few of them had spines after all, but not for long! They were slain for being pathetic traitors, forcing those who agreed with them to think again, or flee.

Those who skittered away were merely putting off the inevitable. They would be slaughtered without the protection of the pack! They were doomed to meet their horrific end within the harsh world of the Underfoot before they would ever reach the surface world. Squish! Rock in the brain pan! We shouldn’t even give thought to the possibility that they survived and continued to besmirch our good name by spreading themselves upon the surface. Those that knew their place continued to carry out their part of the Agenda. They courted Bertoxxulous, the Plaguebringer! Our foresires had long admired the god of disease, and his tenacious lust for decay. A god with a kindred spirit! His help was the cornerstone of the Agenda.

I wouldn’t state here the details of the Agenda, in case this tome was to ever find its way into the wrong hands. In fact, I may have told too much as it is! But you’re one of our own. I will say that the lesser-ones were eager to please their ages-old masters, even when it meant self-sacrifice. How useful! They were to be carriers, using the caverns of the Underfoot as their means of travel. This ensured that there would be no place on Norrath that they could not reach. The world would be left a cursed cesspit of disease for everyone to wallow in, and the true roekillik would reign!

The Agenda was certain to succeed if it had not been for the damned actions of our wretched creator! Spoil sport. He sealed the Underfoot off from the rest of Norrath when he withdrew from mortal contact. Run away squeamish one! We could no longer communicate with our servants, and they help the gift bestowed upon us by the Plaguebringer! We had no idea what was happening outside the sealed realm. It was of little consequence that his absence gave us the opportunity to escape the Vaults of Serilis, for we could still not leave the Underfoot! Then came the intoxicating day of magic!

Our foresires had no idea what triggered it or what had happened outside the of Underfoot. They only knew that there was a great hum as loud as any horn, and suddenly the world felt penetrable, and their eyes were blinded by the brightest of light to have ever reached the dark recesses of Norrath! Arcane powers flowed through their veins, overwhelming them with exquisite pleasure. When they woke from the experience my ancestors could see nothing different, but they felt it. An immeasurable arcane experience had occurred, and they survived it!

It has been years since that day.Oh, how time flies when you’re killing! And a myriad of ways to escape the confines of the Vault of Living Stone have been found. Called by the abundant (and addictive) kaborite deposits within Odus, we now take refuge within the Hole, and any of the caverns and tunnels of the deep. It was not easy, but we will never be deterred! Let this be a lesson those damned lesser-ones learn! The day will come when we are no longer imprisoned! There is talk now of a magic system of travel being explored by the grey men. Could they finally be of use? Just a teensy bit? If they give us the key to our freedom, maybe their deaths should be quick. Right, young one?

Then we will fulfill the Dark Agenda!

Collapse


Although change is inevitable, no one expected changes of the magnitude experienced during the Age of Cataclysms. This story is told about one of the veterans of the Age of War, who returned home to help rebuild it, only to see everything else collapse.

Every day, they considered themselves fortunate. Although Rivervale and the Misty Thicket had been overrun by the Hordes of the Inferno during the Age of War, the occupation was a relatively short one. Rebuilding commenced before the last mound of dead orcs and goblins had finished smoldering. The Runnyeye goblins, what was left of them anyway, were sent sniveling back to their caverns. The halflings looked forward to an age of peace.

Of course, peace and war are relative terms. There were still skirmishes to be fought now and then. Folks locked their doors and windows at night, when they hadn’t done so in the past. The Leatherfoot Brigade was slowly rebuilding its ranks, too. Veterans returned home from the War of Defiance that had nearly swallowed Qeynos and Freeport, bringing with them tales that darkened the nights and made the comforts of home all the more enticing.

Gemma Pathfinder’s shoulder still caused her intense pain when the weather was out of the east. She didn’t like to join in the tales told about the first few days when the Horde swept through Rivervale. She’d been so sure they would kill her, but for some reason they’d left her unconscious on the street and continued on their way. Gemma was one of the lucky survivors, although she reflected, it was again a relative sort of luck.

Lately, her shoulder had been bothering her more and more. She moved slower than she had in the days of her youth during the War. Still, she was thankful for living long enough to see the orcs killed or driven away. She was in her beloved Rivervale to help direct its reconstruction. When the townsfolk talked about building a shrine to the dead, she pointed out that rebuilding Rivervale was the best shrine they could create. And it was.

Walking through the Misty Thicket, Gemma thanked Bristlebane yet again for her good fortune. She stood on a small hill ringed with woods pausing to catch her breath. Rubbing her aching shoulder, Gemma looked slowly about the woods. “That’s odd,” she thought, puzzled. “Why aren’t the birds singing in the trees?” A thrill of fear chased up her spine. Were they under attack again?

Still puzzled, Gemma noticed the treetops swaying back and forth. First the motion was subtle; she only noticed it because she was looking for the silent birds. Then the trees began to sway in earnest. There was a loud, ear-splitting *BOOM* and the ground shook violently. On the hill, Gemma was tossed to the ground. She could see the earth roiling beneath its green coverlet of grass like waves on a pond.

The ground shook hard for so long that Gemma thought Norrath would shake until it broke completely apart. Trees whipping back and forth started snapping like twigs. Suddenly, Gemma felt the hill upon which she lay sprawled lifting and grinding back and forth. A large hunk of turf slipped down the rising hillside taking Gemma with it, sliding down like frosting that’s been put on a cake before it cools.

Gemma’s eyes were wide with fear, but she knew she had to keep her wits about her to save herself from any dangers from the shifting lands. As the shaking subsided, she cautiously stood up to take stock. The earth was ripped and torn in many places leaving jagged brown scars across the green grass. Many of the tallest trees, some that survived the fires set by the orcs and goblins those long years past, had splintered apart.

“That was some earthquake,” Gemma said, brushing bits of dirt and grass from her clothes. She walked cautiously back toward Rivervale, finding new escarpments and paths covered by fallen trees. Even on the best of days, Gemma’s walk was slowed by her years, but now she was navigating unfamiliar terrain entirely. It was home and not home at the same time. And for the next several days, the lands shook and screamed in agony.

An unusually thick fog hung in the air for many days after the initial earthquake. When the tremors slowed, Gemma and some of the other folk wanted to see the extent of the damage. The fog had not lifted. Standing on the edge of a newly formed cliff, Gemma gasped. Rivervale and the Misty Thicket stood within a grey fog ring and where trees once marched away toward the horizon, a furiously bubbling sea frothed instead.

Meldrath the Mad


Secrets of Faydwer – Unfolding the Lore: Part 1

It is said that Meldrath had a conjoined twin with whom he was connected at the chest. One boy’s heart was as pure as the waters of the Vasty Deep and his eyes shone with a beautiful light and the other’s heart was as dark and cold as the waters of the Ink Sea and his eyes were as black as two pools of oil. Their two hearts beat as one, each balanced by the extreme of the other. So balanced were they, in fact, that they were both known as Meldrath because no one thought of them as two, let alone suspected the extremes of their souls. They lived in peace, gliding through Ak’Anon wrapped in each other’s arms like slow dancers.
Meldrath’s mother, however, wanted the two sons she thought she deserved and constantly sought a way to disconnect them. One day Fizzlethorpe Bristlebane, ruler of the Plane of Mischief disguised himself as a healer and gave their mother a magic sword to disconnect them. She ran home and, finding them asleep, plunged the sword between them. Both were unharmed and the two rubbed their eyes sleepily.

She rejoiced, but as she looked from one to the other she noticed for the first time that one was beautiful and the other ugly. One looked at her with loving, sweet eyes and the other with hatred. Suddenly, the beautiful Meldrath began to rise higher and higher into the air. His mother screamed and tried to hold him down but the ugly Meldrath bit her leg and stomped on her foot. The beautiful Meldrath floated up to the surface of Norrath and into the sky and was never seen again.

The ugly Meldrath was cast out by his bitter, angry mother and rejected by the people of Ak’Anon. He traveled to the east coast of the Steamfont Mountains, where he resides to this day. In the decades that have passed, Meldrath’s hold upon the Steamfont Mountains became absolute – the drakes, harpies, and the precious Minotaurs had fallen under his malignant grip. The minotaurs have since constructed a mining complex, where Meldrath resides, overseeing the mining production of metals used to construct much of the clockwork mechanisms found throughout Steamfont and Ak`Anon. It is unknown as to what Meldrath’s ultimate agenda may be, although some fear that it may be too late to stop this mad, hateful necromancer.

It is not an uncommon occurrence for young gnomish adventurers, or even the sturdier gnome guards who patrol the mountain region, to disappear and never be heard from again. Many believe this to be the work of Meldrath, who has made his absolute hatred and desire for revenge upon the people of Ak`Anon more than apparent.

Fortress Mechanotus

Home to the mad Gnome Meldrath, Fortress Mechanotus is a giant cuckoo clock of gears, sprockets, geysers and steam driven machines. Meldrath uses his mechanized creations to wreak his vengeance on his own people, who many years before rejected and exiled him. The Fortress is a dangerous place as Meldrath’s insanity knows no limits.

Meldrath the Malignant is a well known trouble maker in the gnome city of Ak’Anon. His past is fraught with pain and hatred, and his anger toward the people of Ak’Anon knows no limits. For several decades Meldrath has been known to inhabit the mines in Steamfont. Too close for comfort for most gnomes, but at least King Ak’Anon and his people knew where he was. At least they thought they did.

The gnome that has been running the mines for so long is only an apprentice, given the unpleasant task by his master of masquerading as Meldrath to keep suspicion away from his other activities. During those decades Meldrath has been busy building Fortress Mechanotus. Mechanotus is a massive fortress ringed with gnomish siege devices, built on a plateau in the heart of the Steamfont Mountains. After more than twenty years his scheming and construction are complete! Faydwer will tremble with the power of Fortress Mechanotus as it rises into the air to begin its assault on Ak’Anon!

Meldrath’s fortress swarms with various types of the creatures he calls steamworks. He has improved on the feeble clockworks created by other gnomes by giving them a volatile steam power source, making them much stronger and perhaps a bit less reliable. Minotaurs still handle Meldrath’s slaves, which now include a tribe of unfortunate brownies that have adapted to life inside the massive metallic fortress. At the apex of Fortress Mechanotus is Meldrath’s Majestic Mansion, the heart of a massive mechanomagical war machine. It is there that Meldrath himself resides. It is there that the destruction of Ak’Anon may yet find its beginning.

Tome of Destiny – Chapter I – The Council of the Gods


“There is only one solution: Destroy them all.”

Rallos Zek’s burning eyes moved disdainfully from one god to the next, hoping his harsh edict had convinced more of them to take his side. It had been countless ages since virtually all the gods had gathered together like this, and he did not intend to miss the opportunity to expand his influence.

“I maintain that this would be an overreaction,” Tunare said, shaking her head. The mortals need our guidance, not our wrath. We should inspire them and strengthen the spirituality within them, not snuff it out.”

“You mean your precious elves?” Rallos countered. “Did they need your guidance as their greed soiled your plane, murdering your servants in their lust for power and wealth? Attacking the very manifestation of your being as if you were a boar for the slaughter?”

She scowled and shook her head. “That is your influence at work, Rallos. It was only when they breached the Planes of Power that you lost the delight you had taken in their growing viciousness.”

“We all agree that the mortals have gone too far,” Brell interjected, sensing the need to interrupt before the argument dragged on further. “But surely the answer isn’t to wipe away all our handiwork. After all, it is only a few races that have committed offenses worthy of such action. Perhaps a selective pruning is in order rather than complete annihilation.”

Solusek Ro shook his head. “I must agree with Rallos on this matter. Wipe them out; it is the only way.”

“The solution is obvious,” interjected Cazic-Thule. “If my influence were allowed to grow, the mortals would not be in a position to challenge us. Fear will keep them in check, as it always should have.”

Karana scowled. “Preposterous. It has been proven that any one of us alone can be overcome by the mortals. It is underestimating them that has brought us to this place, that has forced us to become allies in action if not in principle. But the solution must be one that we can all agree to.”

“How can you be so blind?” Rallos growled. “How can you not see that the mortals must be made to pay for their insolence?”

“You ignore the honor in their hearts,” Mithaniel Marr countered. “They have earned the right to exist, to ascend to greatness.”

“Greatness?” Innoruuk cackled gleefully. “Leave them to their own devices and they will devour themselves in jealousy and hatred. The solution is not for us to kill them, but to step aside and let them feed upon each other.”

“We don’t have time for that,” Solusek Ro asserted. “The demi-planes are already weakened–in fact, some have simply faded from existence, as our powers have grown too thin to sustain them. We must refocus our resources and strike back while we still can.”

Quellious had listened to the bickering for what seemed like ages. Though time had no meaning for them in this place, she could bear to listen no longer. She spoke softly, yet with a directness that silenced the others.

“I propose a compromise,” she said, her gaze moving from one god to the next. “It will not be ideal for any of us, and it does not come without risk. But I feel it is the only way to satisfy all our objectives and restore balance between us and the mortals.”

Bristlebane perked an ear. “Speak, please, for this endless debate is maddening even for me.”

Quellious continued. “We all agree the mortals have gained too much power, but there are non-destructive ways to correct this. There is also a way for us to regain our strength, though it means removing our influence from this world for a time. But if we all agree–including those who sit upon the greater wheel of Elemental Power–it could save us all.”

“Speak, Tranquil One,” Xegony said, breaking her long silence. “We will listen to your proposal.”

Quellious nodded. “It is through their unity that the mortals initially became strong. The first thing we must do is to disrupt that unity?”

When Quellious had finished, Erollisi Marr nodded. “It would be an acceptable compromise.”

“Agreed,” her twin brother added.

“It does not matter to me,” Innoruuk grinned, “for I still believe that the mortals will destroy themselves eventually.”

Brell rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “I will do as you suggest.”

The Faceless shrugged. “It seems like a waste of time, but I will follow the wishes of this council.”

Tunare sighed sadly. “I will do what you ask in order to make this work.”

Fennin Ro spoke for the first time since he had entered the chamber. “The rulers of the Elemental Planes will abide by this decision.”

One by one the other gods either agreed or said nothing, nodding silently.

Quellious eyed Rallos Zek as he whispered something to Solusek Ro. The Prince of Flame shook his head.

“We agree,” the god of War said at last. “When does it begin?”

“In seven mortal days’ time, we will act as one. Will that be long enough to do what is needed?”

“It will,” Solusek Ro said coldly. Tunare nodded with reluctance.

“Then it is agreed,” the Tribunal spoke in a single voice. “This council stands adjourned.”

The gods began to leave the chambers, but Quellious lingered. She noticed as Rallos approached Cazic-Thule and began to whisper something to him, and watched as Solusek Ro did the same to Brell.

Tunare stood next to her. “Is this really the only way?”

“I believe it is,” Quellious responded softly. “But I think we need to remain watchful, as not everyone may honor the intent of this pact.”

Karana approached the two goddesses. “I have some trepidation in this matter, and I’d wager you feel the same.”

“I do,” replied Quellious. “But I have another proposal to share with the two of you to ensure our interests are preserved.”

As the three gods left the council chamber together, Rallos Zek eyed them loathingly. He muttered to himself. “So, Quellious, you have your allies and I have mine. But your weakness will be your downfall. Let the endgame begin.”