The pantheon was in disarray, an imposing atmosphere shrouding the disorderly Celestial Hall. The gods were all seated respectfully on their pedestals, not one of them missing. None of them were even focused on comprehending their laws, their gazes instead focused on the central region around which the greater gods sat.
Two formidable greater gods were missing from their position. Cyric was ultimately an evil god, so the others didn’t really miss him, but Mystra’s loss had struck them hard. With the Weave destroyed, they were grieving the fact that numerous ancient Magi had escaped into the world. Although only a few had revealed their existences so far, it still caused a huge effect.
“Oghma! You are the wisest of us… Please, take a look at the future of the greater gods,” one of them asked. He possessed strong divine force, being seated on a pedestal shrouded by morning light.
“Not good…” the God of Knowledge turned his gaze away from the greater gods, shaking his head.
“The Weave being destroyed hurt multiple worlds, and even triggered turbulence in the four elemental planes. Most of the prime material plane is destroyed as well… This was originally the combined power of the gods; nobody here can prevent harm… The Overgod tried to stop the damage from spreading, but I’m afraid he had to pay a large price…”
A feeling of unease spread around the room with Oghma’s sigh. The gods secretly whispered amongst each other as they looked at the huge crack on the World Crystal. Their gazes were filled with worry. Of course, there were still a few with ambition glowing in their eyes.
“That damned God of Massacre… You should have listened to Mystra and attacked his divine kingdom!” Tyr was clearly flustered and exasperated. He’d lost an important ally with Mystra’s fall, and more importantly the chaos that had erupted in the prime material plane was great cause for regret.
“It’s all a conspiracy by the Magi! We didn’t realise it in time…” The gods started to whisper. The word Magus had become a forbidden word in their circles, but they finally had to face this ten thousand year old threat. The Final War was already underway once more, and even the formidable powers couldn’t guarantee their own safety.
*Ding!* A crisp bell ring echoed throughout the entire Celestial Hall, and the gazes of all the gods fell upon Kelemvor.
The God of Death coughed, looking around before speaking with a low, hoarse, voice, “I suggest we stop all current internal conflict, banding together as we prepare for the second dusk. We are to make an oath, the violators to be eliminated…”
“I agree!” Tyr was the first to express his approval, followed by the Morninglord, Lathander.
“I, as well.” Surprisingly, the third person to approve was Gruumsh! The tall golden orc stood up, every strand of hair on his body erect as he spoke with a resounding voice, “The fight between the orcs and the north is only an internal conflict. Right now, we should focus our strengths against our common enemy. The Orc Kingdom will stop all attacks on the Silverymoon Alliance effective immediately, and the current line of control will be our border.”
With their goddess dead and the Weave destroyed, the Silverymoon Alliance was on the brink of collapse. They were after all an alliance of wizards, and with a majority of them losing their abilities they suffered devastating damage. As long as the Orc Empire continued to attack, they would definitely be able to chase Alustriel out of the northern lands.
With Gruumsh proposing this right now, there was no need to suspect his sincerity. Oghma and the other intermediate gods expressed their stances as well, and the evil gods eventually decided that their hatred for the Magi was more important than short term goals. Everyone made an oath, the Styx being the witness.
“First we need to verify the number of Magi that invaded the world. Oghma should be able to take care of this…” Kelemvor initiated.
“Mm. My intelligence says those Magi are more cunning than before. Most of them have hidden themselves, leaving only a few revealed…” Golden divine force formed a screen that displayed the image of a different world. “The Filthy Evil Eye and the Chaos Lord are in the Abyss, while the God of Massacre Leylin is in Baator. There’s also Distorted Shadow as well, and the latter two are confirmed to be related to the epidemic spreading around the prime material plane right now…
“And these are only the confirmed ones. Even more have hidden themselves…” Oghma raised his brows, deep in thought, “The prime material plane is the foundation of our faith. These Magi have grown smart, starting a massacre there instead of directly fighting us in our divine kingdoms…”
The many gods grew gloomy. The Magi had directly struck their weak spot this time. With the prime material plane being their biggest source of faith, the death of all its mortals would cause the fall of at least half the gods in the world.
“These despicable Magi, aiming directly for the mortals…” The gods roared in anger, their helpless voices seemingly piercing through the void of the Celestial Hall.
“Talona…” Oghma looked at a lady behind him, wrapped in layers of black gauze as she emitted a putrid smoke.
This was Talona, the Mistress of Disease. Her prestige within the prime material plane was such that some even linked the current epidemic to her. She was an expert in matters of disease.
The Mother of All Plagues stayed silent for a long time, however, before speaking with a hoarse voice, “I am a goddess of poison and disease, not cures. I can only say the Magi are using an interesting thing… It seems to be related to what Kukulkan used when conquering Debanks Island…”
How could the Lady of Poison not notice what Leylin had done on Debanks Island? His ambitions had been exposed early, or it wouldn’t have been a problem for him to get a place in Talona’s church.
The World of Gods and the Magus World were both of equal rank, possessing terrifying suppressive power. A majority of the Magi chose to stay low-profile, living quietly in seclusion as they accustomed themselves to the changed laws. It was unlikely for common bacteria and viruses to have such an effect after being suppressed, so the scale and damage of this plague caused everyone to think of Leylin’s methods.
“You’re saying Leylin did all this?” Tyr stared at Talona.
“No,” Talona chuckled, “Well, not necessarily. They seem like an inferior imitation, perhaps the work of another Magus. Leylin is currently stuck in Baator, and he won’t be able to come out without killing Asmodeus…”
Talona stole a subconscious glance at Umberlee. This intermediate god was unusually quiet, a repulsive aura being radiated from her as she clearly tried to avoid previous incidents.
“However, I have good news. Those Magi aren’t working together, and there are conspiracies and fights amongst them. It’s even scarier than our own conflicts…” Talona declared loudly.
“Silence!” Oghma saw the disorder in the Celestial Hall, and had to be loud to stop the gods from whispering in secret. “Since the Mistress of Disease does not have a good method, we can only rely on our priests…”
Helplessness surfaced on Oghma’s face as he said this.
Originally, gods could bestow an inordinate number of divine spells as compared to demigods. A single Remove Disease would be able to eliminate any troublesome plague no matter the complexity. However, that was all in the past. With the Weave broken down, spell transmission took far more energy than before.
With a limited number of divine spells, the priests could only remain at a loss as huge swathes of innocent commoners died. The gods were losing their foundation.
Only now did Oghma realise the depth of Leylin’s progress. The Weave’s destruction had released the ancient Magi, yes, but it had also destroyed the strongest class of Professionals in the prime material plane. At the same time, the energy consumed in granting a divine spell had increased severalfold, rendering them unable to make an accurate and timely response.
Such deep cunning was terrifying, and it left the powerful gods feeling a chill of fright.
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