The Incursion into Shadow

Date: 2/3/2010 at 12:47
From: Anonymous
To : Everyone
Subj: The Incursion into Shadow

Almost a month had passed since the arrival of Polemarch Andalso and his
army. Arion, the Truthseeker sat on His throne in Mostyn, brooding, for
there was something strangely familiar about the invaders. His other
half whispered to Him the Truth, and He struggled to hear it. But as
always, the memories of Lanos remained just beyond His reach.

Silently, an airship drifted in from the horizon - the same airship that
had been coming back and forth from the Dreikathi homeland since the
initial invasion. Arion turned His gaze outward, focusing His attention
with hungry curiosity upon the vessel in an attempt to gleam more
information. The God frowned. Something was not right. The airship was
there and its occupants were clearly visible there, clearly tangible.
Yet they were beyond His touch, their existence a complete foreign
entity in its metaphysical makeup to Aetolia. Before these invaders, His
powers were no greater than the strongest mortal. Arion stirred
uncomfortably in His throne, His fingers strumming impatiently upon the
armrest. He did not like that thought.

The whispers continued to torment Him, the incessant sound constantly
holding promises of revelation. It was enough to drive a lesser being
mad. Arion forced Himself to ignore the unintelligible buzzing of His
brother - He had long ago given up trying to access those memories.
Lanos knew the Truth behind these recent events. Of that fact, the
introspective God was certain. Arion sighed heavily with regret,
relaxing His posture slightly as He let His thoughts drift aimlessly. If
only Lanos had been stronger, if only He saw through Severn's trickery.
Sudden realization filled the Truthseeker as His thoughts converged on a
single name: Severn. Abruptly, He slammed a metallic fist into the
throne and leaped to His feet. Of course, Severn was the key. He had
been blind to not realize the fact sooner. Everything pointed to that
single being.

Pacing angrily across the throne room, Arion's mood darkened as the
pieces began to fall in place. The Kerrithrim shared a similar nature
with these invaders. They were beyond the influence of the Gods, carved
from an unrecognizable source of essence. Yet contrary to this,
Severn displayed a kind of understanding of the beast. He began to dwell
on the death of Lanos, the original Lord of Truth. He had known
something, this much Arion had concluded from the whispers and
half-thoughts, despite being unable to make any more sense of it. Why
had Severn behaved so rashly, taking action to kill Him? Arion knew the
Artificer best, or so He liked to think. His Brother was not wont to
take needless risks.

Even further back did the Truthseeker take His thoughts, to the very
beginning of this age. The one selfish action which began it all: The
Grand Artifice. An illusion of depth unprecedented in Aetolia, an act
which would surely have used almost all of His essence, but for what
purpose? To cover up the actions of some foolish mortals and their
projects gone awry? To sate Severn's own desperate need for recognition?
No. There had always been a goal, an angle, a greater meaning behind His
actions. This was no different. Their Father, Varian, was always so
proud of His creation, but when Severn changed that creation, when He
made it His own, the Celestine's reaction was tantamount to a slap on
the wrist. Varian clearly condoned Severn's actions. Dazed, Arion sat
tiredly back in His throne, shocked by the implications. His father, the
very Lord of Creation, had cause to deceive.

"Father, enough of this!" did Arion rage at the heavens, "Tell Us of
these creatures, why are they beyond Our touch?" Yet only an
impenetrable silence greeted His questions. "I demand that You answer
Me! This isn't fair!" A part of Him still hoped He was wrong, that the
wrong conclusion had been reached. Yet as the silence dragged on, His
father's guilt sunk even more deeply in the Truthkeeper's mind. The
Maelstrom added His own demands for answers, though Arion knew not if He
was simply emboldened by His own words, or upset by any conclusions
reached Himself regarding the inexplicable nature of the invaders.
Sickened, voice tinged with bitterness, Arion responded to the silence
with a threat, "You leave Me no choice, Father. I will bring Our Brother
back and He will tell us the nature of these creatures."

Arion summoned both His own order and that of Severn to His throne room.
His Order was quick to obey and grudgingly the order of Severn
cautiously presented themselves as well. Heated words were traded
between the two factions, as Arion demanded knowledge of the entrance to
the Shadow Plane. The Manipulator's order debated internally on the
matter, not fully trusting such a long-time enemy. Desperate to get her
Patron back from the plane of Shadows, Villi agreed to cooperate with
the God, much to the dispute of her peers. And with that, Arion bade
both the servants of the Artificer and the Templarate alike to seek out
the gateway.

Villi was quick to contact Mordia, a priestess high in the service of
Severn. Upon explanation of the situation, Mordia cautiously shared that
while she did not know the location, she knew who did. Argas, a Minotaur
captain, was quick to respond to Mordia's summons. He did indeed know
the location of the gateway, but became angry and defensive when asked
to share the knowledge - it was a secret entrusted by Severn to the
Minotaurs and they guarded it jealously. Eventually, Villi and Mordia
talked reason into the stubborn bull, who in turn conceded he would
discuss the matter with the High Shaman.

As the minotaur made to depart, the thick gauntlet of Arion quickly
grasped Him by the throat, as the God appeared. "You will tell Me NOW!"
He screamed, eyes flashing violently with impatient rage. Bewildered and
shocked, Villi and Mordia voiced their outrage at Arion's actions. As
Mordia summoned up the essence of her Lord to strike, the intruding God
disdainfully tossed the minotaur towards her and effortlessly blocked
the attack. As Argas rose to his feet, the Truthkeeper snarled
viciously, contempt dripping from His every word, "If you won't tell Me,
I'll just remove the option." A hand struck out to grasp the minotaur's
head, wrapping around it completely. After a moment's pause, Arion
tossed the minotaur aside once more, stating "I've seen all I need,"
before vanishing.

Not long passed before a bright gold light cleaved through the sky to
strike deep within the Tarea mountain range. Arion glanced around the
minotaur village with contempt. The knowledge He had obtained from
Argas' mind informed Him the gateway was guarded by the village, long
kept hidden by the Artificer. Hurriedly, the minotaurs began to throw
themselves in vain at the advancing God. He cut easily through their
ranks, pushing the mortals away as He bellowed out a taunt, a slight
maniacal edge to His voice, "Your pitiful servants die like the snakes
they are, Artificer!" He continued His way through the village, reaching
the concealed gateway to the Shadow Plane. A mad gleam entered His eyes
as surveyed it, and the God chuckled softly to Himself, "All too easy."

Fires raged through the village in wake of Arion's rampage, thick plumes
of black smoke rising up into the sky. The smoke above the mountains
began to contort, darkening noticeably like tendrils of ink. The
impenetrable shadows gave way to a swirling vortex, a gaping maw in the
sky itself, which lead on only to blackness illimitable. Beasts of
shadowy darkness charged out of the black chasm in the sky as the
Truthseeker ascended towards the portal. Grasping the blades of Truth
and Valor, Arion charged toward the gate. The madness in His voice fully
evident now, as He shouted one last time, "Aha, ahahaha! I am coming,
Artificer!" The shadow beasts lunged toward the Truthseeker, an insane
hunger evident in every inch of their being. Arduously, Arion fought the
beasts and the darkness itself back into the opening until He stood at
the edge of the Shadow realm itself. Without hesitation, He stepped
through. Behind Him, the hole on the sky closed, as though it had never
been at all.

In wake of all this, many mortals often glance worriedly towards the
west where the invading army readies itself for war, silently hoping for
Arion to return soon with answers.

Penned by my hand on the 7th of Lleian, in the year 295 MA.