I hope this message finds you alive and well, in that far realm to which you were … exiled.
Apologies for that.
Apologies for a lot, really. I’m afraid I’m to blame for a great deal of trouble — more than you know. I knew my actions would have consequences, but I believed it was all worth it, then. It was a sacrifice I was willing to make, if it meant I could save… could save… well… but it’s too late now, isn’t it?
The situation has turned dire. The Gods of the Dawn War hold their Celestial Tribunal soon, and there’s not one possible outcome that doesn’t make my stomach turn. Your old friends will be present — they’ve been asked to testify against her. Even with their testament to her crimes, and darkness of character, I don’t know that the gods will listen.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned, these past three years, it’s that even the Gods can’t help but to be mired in politics.
Three years? Has it really been so long since we last saw you? Yes, I do believe it has. How time has escaped us…
I suppose I should back up a bit. Fill you in on what you’ve missed, yes?
You should take comfort in the knowledge that your friends did save Vol-Thagoryx. Well, saved it from total destruction, at least. The city still suffered greatly, and to some extent, it was at their hands.
Given my… actions… I was not present to witness these events firsthand. The moment Rakashir’s power was drained, the Blighted Stars made a swift exit.
James had claimed the Eye of Koreph, attempting to unleash its power on the rampaging ice hulk that was the empty husk of Rakashir’s physical form, but he lost control. Whole districts of the city were annihilated, their souls added to the thousands that James would be burdened by.
In the end, though, he regained control, with the assistance of your friends, and the empty god was destroyed.
Empty, though. It was just empty husk of a god. That’s important. The true soul and power of Rakashir were imprisoned, and in the possession of Ral Fayn, my employer. Former employer, that is. Long story.
Now, after Vol-Thagoryx, your friends quickly found themselves caught up in another conflict, this one between a couple of filthy dwarven cities. Some scuffle over a hammer, I hear. Again, I wasn’t there.
In this time, I was employed by the Blighted Stars, doing the bidding of Ral Fayn. It was terrible business, but I believed I had no choice. They had… leverage…
But what we did in that time — it is very important that you understand.
It’s about the Gods, you see. Three of them.
The first was Rakashir — I’ve already covered what happened there. His power was drained, and the Iceshard God was destroyed.
Next came Orcus, Demon Prince of Undeath. The Blighted Stars, we found another way into the Shadowfell, and there we hunted down and confronted Orcus. His power was drained, just as Rakashir’s had been, and stored within the Sigil of Adarakk.
The third god, though…. that’s the most important one…
Zehir. A god of darkness. More importantly, a god who was already a member of the Gods of the Dawn War.
You probably don’t know much about the gods, do you? You never struck me as the sort to keep apprised of the comings and goings in the celestial realms…
Rakashir, Orcus, and a great deal of other gods — they’re all what we’d call Wild Gods. Independents. They run solo, yes?
But Zehir? Zehir had been inducted into the Pantheon, the Gods of the Dawn War. This brings power and privilege that the Wild Gods simply don’t have. On the other hand, it brings laws. Rules. A member of the Pantheon must adhere to celestial laws.
Moving on… Zehir, too, was slain, and its powers drained into the Sigil of Adarakk.
But that was so easy… so very easy. Well… I mean, it was a God. It was very difficult. But it was difficult on the same scale as a Wild God, not a Pantheon God.
It was as though Zehir didn’t know how to use its own powers. That troubles me, still…
So, three gods. The Blighted Stars possessed the power of three gods, stored within that cursed talisman. I was complicit in all of this.
Despite my cooperation, however, Ral Fayn would still not give me what I sought after. He continued to hold it over my head, promising just one more task, but never delivering on his promise.
I became disenchanted. I would not continue furthering their dark goals — and working alongside her — if Ral Fayn would never uphold his part of the bargain.
And so I began to plot. I’ve always considered plotting and scheming to be one of my strong points, you see… I returned to the libraries of the Kharnadas Consortium. I had to sneak in, of course, after what I did to Winston. Oh… poor Winston… if only he hadn’t put up a resistance…
I researched the Sigil of Adarakk, seeking a greater understanding of its power, and how it functioned. I discovered that I could, potentially, force it to reverse its effect, allowing myself to draw souls out of it. If I could manage to reach in and pull out that soul — that one soul among the many that Ral Fayn carried around with him — I could finally break free of the Blighted Stars.
It would require another talisman — something else capable of storing the souls of something so powerful as a god. I continued my research, and found the perfect artifact — the Golem’s Heart.
What made the Golem’s Heart the perfect choice? Well, her, of course.
In researching the Golem’s Heart, I picked up a few bread crumbs, traveled deeper into the rabbit hole, uncovered the horrifying truth about her past.
Well, it’s horrifying, but it also really clears things up about why she’s so horrible.
Oh… I’m sorry, I’m out of time. I have to go.
Listen, there is more that I have to say to you, and I will, in due time, but you must know this now —
The Celestial Tribunal begins soon, and the Gods of the Dawn War will be making a decision as to her status. If she gains a place among them, she gains power. Oh, so much more power. And that’s a scary thought. But if she does not gain a place among them, there will be consequences.
Zehir was a member of the Pantheon. Zehir is dead. That leaves a vacancy in the Pantheon… an imbalance…
Though I tremble at the thought of Ninaran gaining so much power, I am struck with equal terror in considering the consequences of an imbalanced Pantheon…