CHAPTER 9

2 NEW EVENTS UNLOCKED

WAR COUNCIL

Mission accomplished! The Old Gods are awakening! But what do they do for – or do to – Azuhl? You gave us lore and ideas for 2 new event cards – now it is time to vote for your two favorites:

This poll has ended (since 1 year).
"A New Dawn" | The Empire falls back to the center of the map, and Chaos to the edge, giving you some breathing room.
38.70%
"Visions from The Old Gods" | Pay AP to draw or select one of your precious feats.
20.70%
"Bane and Boon of The Old Gods" | Get help, but The Empire will get some too!
16.27%
"The Oracle of the Third Moon" | Pay AP to gain knowledge of hexes or cards.
13.43%
"Imperial Blockade" | The Empire makes a play for the Sea Towers - will they overreach?
10.90%

*Please note that we have to playtest these thoroughly, so they might change a bit.

Below are the stories written by fellow rebels, to continue the tale of Kha’al, Syndra, Baranth and Ronja. Click on the name to read their contribution to the Lore of Azuhl. Please keep writing this story with us!

It had been months since the adventurers left the Prophetess of Thorns in the Nethersea. After completing their mission they drifted away, on their own journeys and to their own peoples. Things went on much as they had before the quest began. The Empire continued to vie for territory with the hordes of Chaos, and the peoples of Azuhl tried to get by.

Trade and commerce had slowed because nearly all travel through the Nethersea had stopped. Anyone lucky enough to return from a trip through a Nethersea Gate came back with stories of horrible monsters just beyond the threshold attacking anything that came near.

It was a day that started like any other, people were eating and drinking, marrying and being given into slavery. Without warning massive roots materialized out of every known Nethersea Gate. Slithering across sea, ice and land like huge Anacondas, they burrowed deep into all the islands of Azuhl. In panic many tribes as well as the Imperial legions tried cutting back these undulating invaders, but neither axe, nor fire, nor spell of any kind would leave a lasting impression. One moon passed and then another, but no new disturbance occurred. Even the roots themselves settled, no longer thrashing about after the first few weeks after emerging from the Gates. The peoples of Azuhl began to accept things as normal once again. Then the message came.

On every island, in every settled location, including the Capital in the center of Azuhl, slender roots shot out of the ground, wriggling and wrapping around themselves until they formed a mound about the size of a person. Some said that from a distance and at a certain angle the shape looked like that of a robed woman bent slightly as if in prayer. Any tampering with these mounds had the same results as the larger roots; nothing could be done about them.

On the evening of the summer solstice, two days after the appearance of the new mounds, an impelling force comes over every inhabitant of the islands of Azuhl. Work is stopped. Celebratory feasts are halted. Services and trainings are abandoned. Some rise from sleep, others came in from tending fields or hunting. Slowly every single person alive in Azuhl finds themselves staring at one of these root mounds which are now covered in thorns and blossoms. Time passed and the gathered finally began to regain their awareness. Some speak in frightened voices to their neighbors, questioning how they arrived together at this place. Others begin crying out loudly in fear. A few collapse to the ground, wracked by sobs or uncontrollable shivering. In the midst of all this the mounds shift, straightening up. Offshoots grow out of their sides, as though arms are spreading wide to take in the crowds. Then all around hear a voice in their heads.

 

“Sons and Daughters. You who have forsaken us. Know that we are saddened, but we forgive. To all who seek our return. Return to us. New lands have we. A new home. A paradise for those we love. Return to us. Venture through the Gates. You will know we awake, and you will doubt no more. Return to us. Leave the realm that was stolen from us. Leave it to those who sent us away into sleep. We will not seek vengeance, for they will devour themselves. Return to us. But know any who venture into our grace must believe. Must kneel. Must supplicate. Never again will we be rejected by our creation. We are the Gods of the Ancients. We are the Gods of you, our wayward Sons and Daughters. Return to us.”

With the final words etched into the soul of every person gathered, the root mounds shiver, wither, crack and crumble to dust at their feet. Stunned and shocked the people stumble back to their villages, homes, tents, to discuss this ‘message of the Gods’.

Within days an exodus of many peoples begins, migrating towards various Nethersea Gates. Ship captains, nearly destitute after so many months of being unable to ply their trade are swamped with requests to travel to the other side. Most refuse because they know, or have heard the tales of the dangers that lie just beyond. But a few too brave or too desperate sailors do start taking groups beyond the portals again. Those that do never return.

Disturbed by the ‘message of the Gods’ and by masses of people attempting to leave his kingdom, the Emperor orders his Legions to jail anyone trying to venture through a Nethersea Gate, embargo all sea traffic, and finally destroy the Gates themselves. Thinking little of how it would affect his own ability to move troops throughout the land, or of the many ships and soldiers he has on the other side, first one then another of the Nethersea Gates is torn down, many of the Sea Towers along with them. In time only two or three Gates remain standing, these protected from further harm by some power beyond the shimmering blue light. Gradually the nations of Azuhl, facing the new terrors of an enhanced war footing by the Imperials, unchecked hosts of Chaos roaming about, and no solid evidence of the promises spoken of during the ‘message of the Gods’, return to doing what they do best; whatever they can to survive.

Our heroes of the Uprising remain, however their roles have changed. No longer do they strive to depose the Mad Emperor. Now they work to defend their people from the ever increasing Chaos threat, as well as helping those who have given up on this life and would rather take their chances on the ‘Other Side’ by guiding them to the last few Gates and protecting them from the Legions who would prevent their leaving. Stepping through the Gate themselves has crossed the mind of each one of them, but they’re always brought up short for one reason or another.

Ronja and Hanzo, along with most of the Mohyar are distrustful of any promises of peace and prosperity, especially if it’s not gained through their own deeds. They’re determined to stay in Ahuzl unless concrete proof of a better life is shown to them.

Syndra and the Druhwn are taking their typical ‘wait and see’ attitude. IF there are lands now in the Nethersea it will still take some time before there are enough people on those lands to provide them with sufficient trade opportunities.

Kha’al trusts completely in the words of the Old Gods, but is concerned about leaving his people to the whims of the Choas hordes. He will remain to defend those he has always defended until there is nothing left to fight.

Baranth will leave, but only when he is the last Duerkhar that hasn’t stepped through the portal. He will be the rearguard. None of his people will be left behind.

Kyushi is excited to see the changes that have occurred in the Nethersea, either good or bad. If the monsters still exist right at the entrances to the other realm that would be interesting. If however it’s true that there is now land he would definitely like to scout out a good plot for a new tavern. He’s willing to wait though, until getting back through a Gate carries less risk that running an Imperial blockade.

The crew all sat dumbfounded, trying to internalize what they just experienced.

For Kha’al he witnessed a passing of time throught battle. Small clan clashes, to large skirmishes and all out wars. Past histories that lead to empires built on the ruins of the civilizations before them. A cycle of violence when racial devides and forced beliefs ruled. A lesson for what awaits mortal kind leaving Kha’al with a strong desire for a united community.

For Syndra it was enlightment, having felt powerful mastering time and space only to feel small and insignificant when shown her scope of understanding was infantile. For Syndra her vision for what awaits mortal kind was rooted in education and expelling the beliefs that ‘we’ mortals are the masters when we are all but the students. Surviving the chaos is a matter of learning and breaking through ignorance. Literally ‘waking up’ to life.

For Ronja who relied so much on logic and the tangible world through planning. Even though she is a wanderer she prided herself on facts and prepared. Her vision threw this askew as she was not shown images and didn t experience sound. Instead she was overwhelmed with feelings – emotions and intentions. Left with a future for mortal kind with increased empathy and intuition.

The spiritual awakening was complex and different for everyone. As they struggled with the events that occurred they all strangely felt renewed. Internally looking back on their own life memories as only opinions of their experiences verses a concrete reality.

Hallgrim was the first to the speak, “lucky my ship isn’t red as we crashed into this icy blue cause then we’d be marooned.” Thinking himself clever and laughing outloud.The Kap’lan surveyed his ship and the remaining crew began repairs.

The adventures mourned the loss of the Prophet but surprisingly were not afraid to continue on without her guidance. With the awakening of the Gods, a task that seemed impossible when they set out on this adventure, the next step was to rid the land of the chaos forces allowing the Old Gods to rejuvenate the realm. Imperial rule and leadership would be crushed by the Uprising if the clans could unite. But the imperials had training and battle experience and they would be needed to take up arms in the coming conflict.

Kha’al was kind of releived that finally the solution was Blood &Fire! But it needed to unite the people. It could not be battles that raged across the land or through time it needed to be one final showdown. Bringing the Legions, the Mage Breaker, the Ironclad and the Nameless together against the chaos hordes. Each of the clans would need representation and a shared enemy would unit them all.

A plan began to form and Hallgrim claimed he would get his questions ready and ‘test’ the waters and reenter the Neathersea. Hallgrim would use his influence to get the Nethersea Kap’lan’s to gather the clans and use the Nethersea to bring them all together metting up with the Uprising. Each hero offered up a clan leader to contact. Dugpa for the Krowh, Yanny for the Duerkhar, Hanzo of the Mohyar and Fhayanor of the Druwhn. These herders, hunters, gatherers, raiders and traders would not come easily. But each clan had stories and shared beliefs in the Old Gods and the awakening had started. The ice that the final battle would be fought upon was already melting and the freezing cold seemed to be receding. The respect and honor of this Uprising had grown and would continue to grow as Hallgrims network spread the story of the Prophet of Thorns waking the Old Gods. The stories and beliefs would power the Gods and hasten the restoration of the realm.

As the Nethersea Kap’lan’s returned more and more people to the gathering the life force would attract the Chaos horde. The Imperials with their spies would hear of the gathering and come in full force to crush the Uprising. With the two powerful enemies of the Uprising being pulled together set to clash with each other and the Uprising ready to take advantage – what could possible go wrong?

The Drakorean Empire is all that can be remembered, but a long time ago in a galaxy far far away (Sorry =) different story) Anyways, but long before the Drakorean Empire there was not peace but a balance. Everything had a purpose, there was a cycle to the world.

 

Yanny found herself sitting at a campfire, the fire illuminated just enough light to see three other logs with people on them. A Krowh, a Druwhn, and a Tua-Than and a strange woman walked around the campfire. She had thorns and blossoms sprouting all over her body. She had everyone’s attention, she stopped between the Krowh and the Tua-Than women. “I believe you two know each other but maybe we should have introductions. Dugpa and Yvai first looked at one another realizing once again they were in some kind of vision. “I am Dugpa”, “Yvai”, “Syndra” and Yanny being last “Yanny”. “Good, now that you all know each other let us get to the important part.” As the Prophet of Thorns finished speaking, the campfire flared up.

 

“Long before The Drakorean established dominance, and disturbed the balance of the world, the world was in a state of symbiosis.” As The Prophet spoke the fire seemed to flash images for all to see, almost as if it was illustrating the words she spoke. “You see the ancient gods were not always as powerful as legends now tell, they once struggled to keep the forces of Chaos at bay. I do not know their exact origin but they say there was a great awakening. The gods did not know who, how, or where they came from, or what their purpose was.” Yanny could now see the fire’s color change and it depicted silhouettes rising from the ground, then a shape of a slightly different color approached and they began fighting one another. If this so-called Prophet’s voice did not give her this eerie feeling she might have gotten lost in the beautiful display. “Then one day one of the ancient gods stumbled across a village, now there was nothing special about the village, but the village was under attack. A chaos demon was terrorising women and children, while the men struggled to fight it. When the Ancient God joined the fight it was over almost instantly. The tribe was so thankful they praised the Ancient God for his skills and powers in battle and as they did so the Ancient God felt power like he had never felt before. The tribe asked him to stay, they promised to feed and shelter him as long as he helped protect them against the evils of this world.”

 

The Prophet paused and took a drink out of a water skin. Yanny was slightly confused as she thought this was a dream or vision so why would the Prophet need water? Suddenly in her head she heard, “It is for the blossoms my child” Yanny jumped slightly letting out a quiet and short screech. Yanny saw the Prophet smirk and then she continued. “Out of curiosity he accepted, however being an Ancient God he could understand these people but they could not understand him. He also needed to figure out how this tribe was so helpless to defend themself but could grant him such power. As the days turned into weeks and the weeks turned into months the ancient god could find no source of power but his power seemed to come from the tribe’s people. The Ancient God also noticed a strange side effect. The longer he stayed with these people the more he took a personality similar to them. For one he took on a warg as a companion, now most likely due to his God powers his warg grew to three times the size of any warg the tribe had seen.” At that point Dugpa’s eyes widened as she could see in the fire the same face of a Warg that came to her in her first vision but not with the scares yet on one side of its face. “The tribe used these Wargs for both friendship and war and specifically the Gods warg was quite usual against the monsters of Chaos. Another boon of the relationship between the God and the Tribe was that specific tribe men and women started to show magical powers. These powers allowed for many useful things, but the most important was it gave the tribe a way to communicate with him through those select magic users. The Ancient God realizing the importance of this symbiotic relationship needed to tell his brothers and sisters if they had not discovered this themselves.”

 

“As he tried to explain what he needed to do, the tribe seemed hesitant. He promised that they just needed to keep faith and everything would be okay. He also promised that he would leave his Warg behind for extra protection while he was gone.” He said “You are the true guardians and I promise not to forget you.” The Prophet began to chuckle as she spoke the next part. “Due to the tribe being new to magic the few magic users misinterpreted what the god had said however it seemed to boost their confidence so he let it go. They thought he said you are the Forgotten Guardians.”

 

Now it was Dugpa who let out a gasp. “Yes” the Prophet said, “The Krown, also known among your people as the Forgotten Guardians, who lived on this very island we now call Azhul, were the first to start worshiping a God, gain the ability to use magic and paved the way for what us God-Touched know to be the longest period of peace the world has known. As word spread among the Ancient Gods, they too began to find their own followers also becoming unique upon themselves.” The Prophet looked at Yvai, “the Kraken you release upon that Siren, was the last of his species that the Tua-Than’s God saved and kept as a guardian of the waters. He must have called out to you.”

 

As time passed many different tribes, clans, herds, houses, and truly all walks of life adapted to the new order of things and life flourished. As such time started to pass when the great evils of chaos were starting to be forgotten, gods started passing parts of their powers onto their most loyal followers, yes us God-Touched, in order to help keep the peace and train new generations in magic. Until one day a God passed along a little too much power and that God-Touched became corrupt. That corrupt God-Touched began conquering land and is later known as Aezher the Immortal. As the years passed the Empire began to twist its history to hide the fact that Aezher was truly power hungry and was once one of the most loyal ancient god followers of his time. He thought that he could handle the job of the gods and slowly began to take over. Thus the began fate that the gods feared would happen again, a great period of time where they lay dormant, and Aezher insured that happening by sending out his legions to destroy their temples to hide the real truth of his betrayal to the world.”

 

Yanny, Dugpa, Syndra, and Yvai all sat there in silence unsure of what to say. The Prophet could see they were all processing. “That is why I have brought you all here, Azhul once was the origin of the great awakening and it must be again. Your magic has still been retained in some of you while others need help learning it” As the Prophet said that, she looked at Yanny. “I need you to seek one another out. Teach each other, learn from one another, spread the word to all other rebellions of the empire, listen to your instincts, and above all listen for your Gods to reach out once again. in order for them to rise to power with you by their side.” The fire started to flare up even higher and hotter. “I am no longer of this world as I was needed to plant the seed of power in which the gods will be able to return, and when they do so, you must be ready. You four have lots to accomplish! And with that the fire exploded outwards.

 

Syndra woke up with Kha’al and Baranth above her, concerned looks on their faces. She could see the blue membrane of the Sea Gate just close. Syndra realized that the vision she just had was most likely the Prophet of Thorns last “words”. She looked at Baranth and Kha’al. “I know what we must do next!”

A New Dawn

The prophet of Thorns gave rebirth to all the sterile lands of Azuhl, Chaos retreating in the NetherSeas. The Old Gods now awaken, people saw hope in this new dawn and the Empire, in complete disarray, was drove off of their lands and have retreated around the Capital, trying to get an hold on the remaining fortification.

Return of the Emperor

At first, it was rumors, a distant whisper, an old prophecy. The rebirth of the Emperor, awaken by the High Priest of the Inquisition. Although the Prophet of Thorns wipe the Chaos from the lands, the Fracture remained partially open. With their dark rituals, the High Priests did the inconceivable, bringing the Last Emperor, back from the Underworld. Despair swept through the lands as the Emperor armies march again on the Rebels. The ritual also called the Darkness back into the lands are rumors or horrifying Hordes are now coming through the NetherSea Gates. All is lost.