Most surviving accounts of the Wars of Rendelshod, sometimes called the Sack of the Northern Kingdoms, were recorded by Galafid, the noted sage and advisor to Teroip Stemtarp, the last Senior Lord of Rendelshod. This noted sage was believed to have been in Stemtarp's service prior to the beginning of the Wars, stayed with him during the 20 years the Wars lasted, and was finally sent away with the other servitors just before the Lords of Rendelshod faced down the Demon Prince Jxtl and lost.
It was believed that Galafid, a human, died shortly after the Wars ended. Every evidence from that time, fragmentary as it is, points to this as a fact. However, accounts supposedly written by Galafid turn up, dated centuries later. An analysis of the age of the documents and the handwriting, as well as the writing style lead most authorities to believe that they are authentic. How this is so is unknown.
Author's Note: The writings that follow were originally conceived for the background for my series of adventures involving the search for the Rod of Seven Parts. I scrapped the original basis and went with a mandate from a god to find the Rod so he could use it to avert a war between the gods.
However, the idea proved too interesting to let die, so I used it to flesh out the back history of the World, especially the Lords of Rendelshod. This led to a non-party adventure in which the group played the 18 Lords of Rendelshod after they reclaimed their Cleavers and hunted Jxtl down. It was an interesting adventure for the party as they got to play the Lords, condemned to Skeleton Warrior status by Jxtl, while avoiding the pitfall of letting players play regular characters that are undead. Given the ease with which 18 Skeleton Warriors went through armies of demons, it reinforces the idea that undead are NOT player characters!
I decided afterwards that Jxtl was only slightly dead and he later recovered and rebuilt his power, although that took another 600 years of game time. While he was no longer a factor in that campaign or the two that followed it (nor my brother's two campaigns), Jxtl is is a factor in the current campaign.
Two centuries past the Lords of Rendelshod still held sway over many a desolate and formerly evil place. Many a king or prince felt envy, but no kingdom had the power to challenge the great Lords. Many a Lord died in the service of his Goddess, Epixennexipe, but always came another to replace his great predecessor.
A tragedy it was that their greatness extended itself to their minds, for the truly great have no need of arrogance. Even more unfortunate it was that Epixennexipe herself drank of the deadly pride that infected us all.
They battled devils, Greater and Princes, and a many it was they slew. But their short sightedness was their downfall, for they looked not at the dangers of the Abyss. So it was that Jxtl, Demon Price of Deception, intervened on the behalf of the devils and struck the Goddess down through trickery. And So It Was Her End!
Now demons, devils, and many evil creatures aligned themselves with the evil kingdoms and the Sack of the Northern Kingdoms began.
For twenty years the Wars continued, and in that time the Keeps of the Lords of Rendelshod fell, one by one. In the year their last Keep stood unsacked the Lords made their decision. Sending away their lesser members and servants to help the remaining good forces, they left their Keep undefended and traveled to Jxtl to face their doom and avenge the death of their Goddess. Revenge they found not! Only unending doom!
Defeated they were and doomed to un-Life everlasting. Their Blades were taken 'way and left with false hope they returned to their homelands and dispersed.
Jxtl spoke: "Your Blades I return to the land of men. When all are recovered you may try again your luck and then be doomed to an unending fate worse than that has already overtaken you. But before you leave on your separate ways I say this to you (as he held one Blade high): Until this very Blade is found none of the others will reach your hands!"
And so he dispersed them, but his doom was the trickery that all else about him is, for the Blade remained with him in the Abyss so that the Lords' torment would never end.
The ruin of our world is complete. Gone forever is Caradin, the bright kingdom adorning Mount Thunder. Gone is Lepadillia, heart of the Elves, its great forests blasted to splinters and burned. Gone are the warrens of the Dwarves and Gnomes, the Kirik Mountains, shaken and crumbled by Hell. Sunk is the bright land of the Halflings, changed now to a deadly marsh.
But, too, is destroyed Saracind, the heart of evil, shattered by its own greed, its mountain fastness now known as the Plateau of Death. Where lay horrid Jkith is now the Mithril Mountains, their evil cities shattered and buried. The cities of Rharhiky died in the creation of the Great Sandy Waste, consumption by sand a most proper fate.
Only untouched are the Valley Elves, denizens of the Valley of the Mystical Mage. In the far frozen north, in a land of steam, this magical place remains as it was. To reach it one must travel past the Shattered Hills, once the Kariks, and travel to the gate ...
The Southern Seas are roiled and the corpse of many a creature, both of land and sea, lie dead on the beaches or lost forever in the depths. Our party came near such a fate but a friendly bit of land interposed itself between our ship and the deeps, and we are wrecked but alive on a fruitful shore. Where we be now I know not but those of us knowledgeable of such things believe our position to be the Island of Korpu, somewhere on a northern shore.
Reaching Rary, northern most of the island of the Southern Kingdoms, I no longer believe possible. Whether they exist any longer, or no, I cannot say. Travel we did, not four hundred miles due south of the point south of Jakith, and there, where two hundred miles travel should have brought us to Rary, we found no land. As noted before the seas were rough, but a ship of our size, while not equal to a dromond, was still able to laugh at such waves.
I take this time to now record and preserve my account, that such might outlast my pitiful self and be of value to some future generation. I am old and may not survive the coming rainy season, this spring of 6847, nineteen years after the beginning of the Great Wars of Destruction.
On our eighty-first day out from the point south of Jakith the storm sprang up and put to an end our search for a place of refuge. The winds and high seas pushed us north at an incredible rate. From the First Mate's calculations of our present location we traveled eleven hundred miles in a day and a half.
Lost at sea are seventeen of our twenty-nine crew, including our Captain. Out of one hundred twelve passengers seventy-two remain, but seven are expected to die within the week from injuries sustained during our rapid travel. We no longer have a cleric of power to save them, even if our patron gods were accessible to us. Too, if permanent shelters cannot be erected and sufficient quantities of good gathered before Fall, many more shall perish.
We have food enough to sustain our reduced numbers for three weeks, double that if strict rationing is imposed. Fortunately fresh water is plentiful for there are three springs in the area. The rainy season will be bad but some will survive and will be able to raise crops to prevent a second happening of famine. I despair I will not be among them.
Of the Lords I cannot say. They sent myself and all other servants away some four months past. I speculate that the Great Storm sprang up at the time of a terrible battle between the Lords and the enemies of the Lands of Men. The result I may never know.
This I write in the four hundred seventy-first year after the end of the Wars of Rendelshod. I am at the last castle of Rendelshod that still stands. The other seventeen are scattered in pieces or crumbled by ill-used forces of nature. Druids still curse those who would do such.
My investigation of the burial crypt far below the castle first discovered strong enchantments upon it. I was able to discover that more than one spell has been cast. Good has protected the burial chamber for the former Lords with creatures of the Positive Plane. Evil has protected the eighteen biers of stone.
The Lords never added those biers so I know not why, for sure, the reason for their placement. I suspect, but may never prove, that when each Lord recovers his Cleaver he will be forced to rest upon one. Also when each Cleaver has been found all the Lords are assembled a shift will take place -- to the realm of Jxtl.
Of course this may never take place, as the Prince of Deception kept the Cleaver that is fated to be the first found. But I know a brave fool stole that fated Blade and escaped Jxtl's realm. He later lost that Blade, but told me the story afore demons caught and punished him.
Think, I do, that Jxtl prepared for the possibility that the Lords might recover their Cleavers. Even with that Blade upon our Plane the eventuality of retribution is small.
Searched I have for the other seventeen blades, but none could I find. I hoped that such help might gain the reprieve that the Lords desire and deserve, whether it would or not I shall probably never know. In the past four hundred and seventy-one years I have seen four of the eighteen Lords, and if they are rare, their Cleavers are rarer.
Recorded by Galafid
This is a brief account as told by Teroba Tur, a half-elven fighter and thief who raided the demon prince Jxtl's treasure room. Tur did not survive much past telling this story to Galafid.
Having cast a Change Self spell I simply walked through the palace of Jxtl, looking like a Type VII demon. I used a quick mind and found his treasure room, which was completely unguarded as no thing would DARE to enter it for fear of his wrath. HA!
I had an idea of what I wanted, mostly jewelry and gems, things easy to carry. I knew magic deteriorated in that hellish place so I planned on little, having gone for fame and wealth anyway.
I changed my mind once inside. I saw the broadsword hanging on the wall, all silvery and gleaming. I HAD to have it!
That idea changed when I pulled it of the wall. The shock nearly fried me clappers! I still wanted it so I wrapped it in cloth to shield me, grabbed a few items that appeared the most valuable, and lit out of there.
I was almost back to the gate when the alarm sounded. I made it through by the skin 'o me teeth. Once back I faded through the city and listened to a thousand people get croaked as a horde of demons poured through the gate. As soon as the coast was clear I got clean out of the city and came here ...
Copyright 2007 Bryan Fazekas