Tragedy arose in the dawning months of 922 AF, a black night that began with the first sign of Slith since his escape from the Underworld. On the cold fields of the Outer Planes, upon a world no God had cared to view since time immemorial, the King of the Undead struck against Babel’s cult. Spilling eldritch blood onto the ashen wastes, Slith taunted and jeered as Oblivion’s Lord shouted with a fury to rouse the angered might of the Pantheon itself. One by One did the Gods march toward that precipice of the Void, Their goal to shackle the escaped half-Aldar. Yet Their march took Them far from the Prime Material Plane. So far, indeed, that even Yggdrasil’s boughs were no more than feeble tendrils.
And Slith did smile.
Far above the uppermost branches of the World Tree, the heavens darkened and all who lived wept tears of blood. Horror, terror, and nightmare cloaked the realms of Creation as the hidden hand behind Slith’s freeing was revealed, the true culprit of Time’s warping and the foul agency bending Memory to his will: Black Pazuzu, the Prince of Woe. Grown only stronger since his flight through the Flame to worlds unknown, the Inferno’s Crown Prince sneered at the canvas left behind by absent Gods. For he saw, and he was disgusted. Achaea was unguarded. The folly of the Divine would be witnessed by all, and his reign would commence.
With twin relics in his talons, one a brambled Seed and the other a discordant Eye, the Prince of Woe unleashed his corrupted might upon the very crown of Yggdrasil: the Garden of the Gods. Hungry black nonlight flooded the skies of every plane and world alike, twisting and warping the very the foundations of the World Tree. Creation wept at the descent of the Eye of Discord, Protean relic turned weapon cast against the Aldar-wrought paradise and reducing it to burning rubble falling into the void between worlds.
But the twisted machinations of Pazuzu could not end there. For his hatred was far-reaching, and he was not yet done. The New God would take his throne, and all that was of the Making would fall.
Brambles born of a distorted, corrupted Yggdrasil stretched throughout Creation in forced action by his behest, grasping at the very planes and tearing them down to a fundamental Nothing. Reveling in the destruction, Pazuzu’s voice rang out in a call to his devoted, blood-drenched cultists of the Vigil. And so it was that they too struck in the name of Woe. Monarchs fell to poisoned cups and blades in their backs. Strategists and commanders died at the hands of mutiny and betrayal.
Havoc was spreading like a plague, and amidst it all the Black Prince descended to Sapience.
Achaea’s very soil withered beneath the steps of Pazuzu, his presence anathema to life as the skies faded to a bloody, crimson pall. What few Protean relics remained in the hands of mortals he took, wielding the might of his gathered tools for all to witness. And then, at last, with the tools of Proteus at his side, the primordial Demon of the Ancient Worlds turned to Tomacula and its prize: Khalas, eldest of the still-living Divine, He who had been imprisoned in gold over five thousand years gone.
Continents trembled with every strike of Earthshaker against the Elder God’s statue, each blow creating a new fracture in the untarnished metal as Pazuzu worked his will against the command of the absent Creator. His Infernal bones ached at the unleashing, his body suffered, his veins boiled in agony as Protean relic was turned against Logosian Decree. And yet he pushed on until his task was complete, discarding a Protean hammer that was now no more than a broken husk. The world bore witness as the Wanderer rose.
Khalas was free.
The Elder God looked down at His fingers, clenching and unclenching their first movements in millennia. He drew His first breath of Creation since Humanity’s War. And He smiled. At last He was loosed and, alongside His ancient ally, the Wanderer departed to the depths of Memory.
In the moments that followed the Gods of the Pantheon at last returned to the Prime, free of Slith’s trap only to witness the horror and destruction wrought by Their foe. Pain, anger, sorrow, and wrath overtook Their faces in a panoply of unleashed emotion as They gazed upon the ruins of Their Garden. An ensouled and living realm, the final work of the Aldar, was no more.
“Is this to be Our end?” Ourania’s celestial voice resounded.
“Only a dusk,” responded the Great Bard.
A rare affinity crossed mind and will and face alike upon the gathered Pantheon, coalescing into a single, crystalline thought as They overlooked the havoc wrought across Yggdrasil’s branches.
And so the Pantheon departed the Prime Material, decamping to a realm beyond mortality as they once again prepared for battle against foes three: the King of Undeath, the Wanderer, and the Black Prince of Woe.
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Summary: Revealing himself as the culprit who had tampered with Time and Memory, and the thief of the Protean Relics, Pazuzu unleashed his stolen might against the Pantheon. In a terrible, singular assault he corrupted Yggdrasil, destroyed the Garden of the Gods, and freed the Elder God Khalas before absconding with Him to Memory. As One the Gods departed the Prime Material Plane in the wake of the destruction, preparing to wage war against Pazuzu yet leaving Sapience unguarded for the first time in the Modern Age.