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    Posted on Fri, December 10, 2004 by Farcluun
    abysslin writes "I am one of the Abyss, forever cursed to walk the lands of the mortal Aerdy. Shame and pity have been laid upon me by my brethren and loathe for home I do. Until my impossible task is complete I can never reach home, for it is the great one whose hand holds me here on this land, and in this reality. It is his word, which I must undo.

    I walk the paths of mortals forever looked upon as a freak, my power feared. Their eyes follow as I pass with curiosity, then with sympathy, then with anxiety, almost in hopes that I will break into a furious rage and display my outer-worldly powers.

    It is only Drax the Invulnerable who knows me now, for it is he whom also fell into a similar fate to mine own. He too has been scarred by betrayal and false truths. It is to him and him only that I owe my friendship. Together he and I will release ourselves of our individual curses. We have his Death Knight lackey, Andromansis, and Yebzura the gnome lighthouse keeper-scholar, working night and day to this end.

    Soon, soon Drax will be at peace with death and I will be able to return home and release my vengeance upon those that have tried and convicted me.

    I am the so-called Fiend-Sage of Rel Astra

    By: abysslin
    Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.


    CY 522, a Garasteth child destined for success was born and, as Aerdi custom dictates, was raised by a "rival" house, Darmen in this case. As the child matured into a man, he grew into his role among the power holders of the Aerdi.
    In CY 557 this young and ambitious noble hailing from the Aerdi House of Garasteth graciously assumed command of the very powerful and strategic Aerdi city of Rel Astra, eager to restore Gasteth as a cornerstone of the Aerdi Tribe's power. His name is Drax.

    Drax grew to be a very prominent figurehead amongst the Aerdi and solidified his place as the primary representative of the Garasteths, shortly after beginning his tenure as Rel Astra's ruler.

    Although Drax felt a strong loyalty to the Aerdi Tribe as a whole, he still distrusted the other houses and his only true loyalties were to the house of his name, Garasteth, and to that of the house that raised him, Darmen. Drax's superior, Ivid "the Undying," began introducing fiends amongst the higher ranks in his command, and it is to this end Drax began searching premptively for a means to counter this measure if the need ever arised.

    In the mean time, Tenser of the "Circle of Eight," and some unaffiliated adventurers had braved the perils of a demi-plane and recovered a powerful artifact known as the "Crook of Rao." This artifact had proven to be exactly the advantage Drax had been looking for and he quickly devised measures in which to obtain this artifact.

    Meanwhile (in the 570s-80s CY, during the Greyhawk Wars), in the outer-world a Blood War was raging between the inhabitants of the 9 Hells and the Abyss. The Abyss, after initially enjoying great success in their advancements of this Blood War, began to collapse internally. An Oerthly demi-god, Iuz, was summoning daily, a number of fiends from the Abyssian Army.

    Desperate, and with their army faltering in the Blood War, Abyssian authorities are desperately seeking a means in which to return their kin home to aid in the war. This ofcourse, would be the "Crook of Rao," held in possession by Lord Drax the Invulnerable of House Garasteth, Supreme Ruler of the Aerdi Free City, Rel Astra.

    And so begins the tale of the Fiend-Sage of Rel Astra...


    ENTRY 1:

    We are not faring well in the Bloodwar. The mortal deity, Iuz has been summoning vast numbers of our count and subjugating them under his word. He is using an Oerthly device from his dwelling in the mortal city of Dorakaa, known as the Blackspear Chamber. We can not counter its power and have found ourselves at its mercy. This Iuz claims a number of us daily, forcing our kind to represent him in his mortal war. Even now, as I lay plans for our next siege into the enemy’s heart, our count dwindles.

    Lately, the Balors have been forced to rely upon even the lowest of Tana’ri to defend our Abyss, whilst the greater Tana’ri are being sent to the front. This is a tolerable, but unfortunate circumstance for us.

    ENTRY 2:

    My Balor master has learned of an Oerthly artifact capable of returning our kind from the prime. It is in the hands of a Lord Drax the Invulnerable of House Garasteth, ruler of the mortal city, Rel Astra. I am to meet with him soon to negotiate the use of this artifact.

    ENTRY 3:

    I have received a very peculair message from our enemy ranks. Mammon, ruler of the 3rd layer, wishes to meet with me. He claims to have a desire to aid us in some fashion in regards to our upcoming onslaught of the 9th layer were his mater Asmodeus dwells.

    I must admit, I am very hesitant in this endeavor. But if their politics can be bent to our gain, then I can not ignore this oppurtunity. I will meet with him in the nuetral territories of Carceri or Gehanna.

    ENTRY 4:

    I have returned from negotiations with Drax bearing unpleasant news for my Master Balor. Drax, it seems, believes Iuz having control over our kind is much to his benefit and considers the situation strategically more important than any services we have to barter.

    What tactical advantage he receives from Iuz enslaving our kind is beyond my comprehension, but mortal politics seem much like those of our enemies, the devils. Perhaps it is because his Overking too, controls a number of our kind. Some day, I will take this mortal’s life (or unlife, as it seems he is cursed to some bizaare form of undead) for such ignorance, but not while he holds the artifact we are in need of.

    He did, however, allow me to view this Crook of Rao. It amazes me that these mortals can harness so much power within such mundane objects.

    ENTRY 5:

    I have notified my Master Balor of my inability to convince the mortal Drax to aid us in returning our kind from the prime. His disdain for me has grown.

    I will redeem myself with my secretive collaborations with Mammon. For now, I am the only Tana’ri that knows of Mammon’s interests. Securing an advantage in the Bloodwar of this magnitude will bring more attention to my role in the war, and soon I will be the one called Master.

    ENTRY 6:

    I have returned from Gehanna. Mammon is more cunning than I had given him credit for. He, along with Dispater, ruler of the 2nd layer, have devised a most intrigueing plan.

    Dispater plans to invite Asmodeus to the 2nd layer for some devilish ritual at the time our campaign unfolds on the 9th layer. This will heavily weaken their defenses, giving us an advantage we could not afford on our own.

    It is Mammon’s mayhemic hope that in our attack, many of Asmodeus’ Dukes and Barons will fall to our blades, raising Mammon and Dispater in their pitiful political ladder by replacing the Dukes of Asmodeus with those more loyal to them.

    In trade, I only had to offer up the exact juncture in which our onslaught will commence. Obviously, I have accepted their proposal, for the Tana’ri only gain.

    ENTRY 7:

    It seems Drax has had a change of mind. My Master Balor has informed me that Drax wishes my return to his Rel Astra to further negotiate the use of his artifact. I must not fail in this with our plans for the 9th layer unfolding so soon. Having our count returned from Iuz will only ensure our victory in this major battle of the Bloodwar.

    NOTE: From this point on, the Fiend-Sage recounts to his journal using the mortal calender, having settled on familiarizing himself with the realities of the prime material.

    584 CY, Coldeven:

    I have been betrayed. My former Master Balor had learned of my dealings with Mammon and has considered them to be treason.

    When I had arrived in Rel Astra, my former Master Balor, Lord Drax, and the Death Knight, Andromansis were awaiting my arrival.

    My former Master Balor allowed me his knowledge of my dealings with Mammon and had already negotiated the use of Drax’s artifact. In exchange for its use, he has given Drax my True Name. I am now effectively held under Lord Drax the Invulnerable’s word until a chosen event unfolds. Until the undoing of his Overking’s act that changed him to the unlife, in the case.

    I am to obey Drax in all extremities and aid his Death Knight lackey, Andromansis, in coordination with the Lighthouse Keeper-Scholar Gnome, Yebzura, in researching the reversal to this phenomenon known as an Animus.

    584 CY, Planting:

    I have been in study with Andromansis and have found him to be an insuboordinate servant to our master. Instead of researching the means to reverse our master’s condition, the lackey has been concentrating his efforts in reversing his own curse of living death!

    However, I do so despise Drax and want no part in his happiness, so I have not reported this issue, nor taken the matter into mine own hands.

    Although, curing my master’s condition will free me of my servitude, I have grown rather fond of this mortal city. I’ve grown accustomed to their fancy garments and delicious plates, accustomed to spending days within the confines of their great libraries and scholarly institutions, accustomed to learning the mortal politics and history of this prime from my master, Drax.

    I’m in no hurry to return to the Bloodwar. My revenge upon Lord Drax and my former master can wait, for now…

    584 CY, Reaping:

    In studying the Crook of Rao it seems so long as a mortal holds sway over me, that I will not be affected when its power is unleashed. My master must’ve already known this, or he wouldn’t have struck the deal for my servitude. From what I can discern at this time, it is becoming apparent that mayhaps, only those summoned through the gates of Dorakaa will be returned to their home.

    Furthermore, the artifact’s magics can only be called upon by servants of Rao, its supposed creator. This has put my lord in quite a dilemma, as he has no allies that fit such criteria. Somehow, I also sense that my lord does not wish to let the artifact leave his grasp.

    My lord has left it to me to divine whom we may call upon to invoke the artifact’s power.

    584 CY, Patchwall 5:

    My lord is furious! His Overking, Ivid, has allowed a legion of his army to slip from his command and they have laid seige to Rel Astra, and even know are looting the outskirts of the barbarian quarter.

    I have spent much of the last hours slaying the Overking’s militants, but now I must rest after exhausting much of my energy.

    584 CY, Patchwall 8:

    My lord has finally driven off his Overking’s invaders and has commanded his own military to sack the Overking’s supply routes both north and south of the Grandwood forest.

    I am to oversee these orders and make sure they are carried without hesitation, hardly a task suitable for my power. I can understand my lord’s desire for exaction in this endeavor, but I think this role better suited for one of his lackey generals rather than waste my talents.

    584 CY, Patchwall 20:

    The Overking has magically abducted my lord. I can not fathom how he was able to elude my divinations. I was unable to forewarn my master.

    I have sent an ambassador to Rauxes to negotiate his release. Knowing Drax, I will be plotting revenge for him rather than enveloping myself in study of his unlife, nor the Crook of Rao.

    584 CY, Patchwall 27:

    My lord has returned home to Rel Astra, feigning understanding of the Overking’s inability to control his troops from laying seige to our city.

    It was one of his own from House Garasteth, that accursed Xaene, whom was responsible for clouding my vision and disallowing me to foretell my lord’s abduction.

    As I have predicted, his words are those of revenge, no longer focused on the Crook of Rao, or his unlife.

    Fortunately, I have managed to find an agent of Rao willing to deal with the undead Drax and a fiend such as myself, in regards to the Crook, the Canon Hazen of Veluna. He had begun his journey to our city just yesterday.

    584 CY, Sunsebb:

    I have further studied the Crook of Rao and was able to discern it had been used to help the moonmages of the Grandwood to imprison an agent of Nerull, Sabbastith, an ancient black dragon from the Vast Swamp. I assume his cell lies within Spikerift.

    This would explain the presence of Auruma, the gold dragon, in the Grandwood that Andromansis and I were puzzled about.

    My lord is extremely excited to hear of this and wishes me to devise a strategy to reclaim the Crook of Rao once the Canon has used its power, in the event that the crook can also be used to free and control Sabbastith.

    I worry about my master’s sanity at times. Sabbastith is far beyond my power, but I will do as my lord wishes and the Crook of Rao will be reclaimed after its use.

    585 CY, Fireseek:

    The Canon, Hazen has arrived in Rel Astra and we ofcourse are extending him all hospitalities.

    Drax, fully knowing that I am able to reclaim the Crook of Rao at any given time is only asking for some minor magical trinkets in return for the artifact and the Canon seems overly willing to give in to such meager demands that one would normally grow suspicious of. Foolish mortals…

    Apparently the crook’s use is more sophisticated than we had first anticipated and the Canon has warned us it may be a year’s time or more before its power is invoked. My lord, being pressured by my former master to uphold his end of the bargain, is quite troubled by this detail.

    He has asked that I accompany Hazen back to Veluna and aid in the ritual, but obviously the Canon has declined, as a fiend in Rel Astra is much different than in the lands of his home. I would rather enjoy slaying any mortal of Veluna whom would dare challenge me.

    585 CY, Flocktime:

    The clergy of Hextor within the city is up in arms. Apparently some smallish sect of their church has devoted their worship to me.

    My lord wishes me to denounce their heretic praise and threaten their lives if they do not return to Hextor, but I am finding myself enjoying the attention. Perhaps I will humor them for a time…

    585 CY, Wealsun:

    Yebzura believes he and Andromansis are on the verge of a break-thorugh in the study of our master’s unlife. I have taken measurements to be sure this information does not reach Drax, less I be forced to double my efforts in this manner. Dabbling with negative energies has been tiring on mine own powers.

    I’d rather the evolution of their progress come to fruitation unaided by my powers. However, when the solution has been found and my lord has returned to the realms of the living, I will be free of his word, and most certainly will be returning him to the realm of the dead.

    585 CY, Reaping:

    I have secured power amongst the high nobility of Roland, via a false pact I have struck with a nephew of Lady Barbern. Drax is quite pleased, as we now have more weight in the political decisions in regards to the eastern free cities.

    585 CY, Goodmonth:

    Xaene has been cast out of the Overking’s court under grounds of treason. He apparently came before Ivid, stricken with plague. In his madness, the Overking accused him of treason by trying to inflict his master with the disease.

    This bodes well for my lord and I, as Xaene was quite familiar with my powers and was able to cloud my visions. Something Xaene’s replacement, Koroolck will most likely not be able to do.

    585 CY, Harvester:

    My lord has forgotten his mind. He wishes me to send him through the confines of time so he may see if his Overking, Ivid, dies at my lord’s own hands.

    In explaining the limits of my powers I did, however, use my vision to foresee his Overking’s death and was able to discern that the event will occur in the not-so distant future and with my lord present.

    Comfortable with the thought, he sat back in his throne grinning, an expression I can not recall him ever employing.

    585 CY, Sunsebb:

    The Canon Hazen has sent word that his clergy is nearly ready to unleash the powers of the Crook of Rao.

    I have foreseen this event, coined the “Flight of Fiends” by the mortals, and have found that my lord’s Overking will find himself in a very vulnerable situation. My lord Drax, has already begun preperations.

    586 CY, Coldeven 3:

    The “Flight of Fiends” is near. My lord has us positioned on the western edge of the Grandwood, just north of Garolian’s Way. We are fully prepared to march on Rauxes.

    586 CY, Coldeven 4:

    Canon Hazen has invoked the Crook of Rao’s power and the “Flight of Fiends” has begun. We march on Rauxes today!

    586 CY, Coldeven 7:

    We, along with other nobles of Aerdy have crushed the Overking. The rule of House Naelax is now over.

    Oddly enough, Xaene was present in aiding the sack of Rauxes and was responsible for Koroolck’s death. He fled before a council of Aerdi nobles was convened in the ruined capital or I would have slain him there, in the courtyard. Apparently now, my lord is sponsoring one from the House of Darmen, Xavener I, as the new supreme ruler of the Aerdi.

    586 CY, Planting:

    We have returned home to Rel Astra and I have reclaimed the Crook of Rao. Hazen never seen it coming, and the deed fills me with roars of pride.

    For now, Lord Drax has commanded me to confine myself to the lower towers and discover how the crook may be used in controlling Sabbastith.

    586 CY, Goodmonth:

    General Herzog Grennel of House Naelex has used my lords funding to declare himself ruler of the North Province.

    My lord has sanctioned this event as it keeps Darmen from becoming too powerful, or coming too near our Rel Astran borders and away from the Medegian lands my lord wishes to claim his own.

    586 CY, Patchwall:

    The southern Empire of the Scarlet Brotherhood has taken advantage of our particular situation. With our scattered resources and the land being generally war-torn, they have situated blockades among our naval and our oceanic trade routes.

    None of our shipments navigating the Azure Sea routes from this, nor the previous month, have reached their destinations.

    Unfortunately, this very cunning manuever has very much benefited the Scarlet Brotherhood, as they are now in control of all trade routes within 300 leagues of the Tilvanot Peninsula. Reports from the Wooly Bay and Sea of Gearnat cities have confirmed that their trade ships too, have been captured by the Scarlet Brotherhood.

    Apparently most cities Rel Astra contains trade compacts with are in a similar situation as Rel Astra itself, in that we are unable to send sufficient military naval units with our trade vessels in attempts to break the blockades.

    My lord fears for Rel Astra’s economic well-being in this matter and is pursuing alternative routes over land to counter the imminent halt on the city’s primary tradeways.

    586 CY, Sunsebb:

    The Scarlet Brotherhood’s blockades have been crippling our economic stability at a rate much more accelerated than my lord has expected.

    My divinations have revealed a score of Scarlet Brotherhood agents among Rel Astra’s populace and after conferring with my lord, we have come to the conclusion that these agents may be playing a major role in the Scarlet Brotherhood’s interception of Rel Astran trade ships.

    I have, ofcourse, relieved them of their duties…

    587 CY, Harvester:

    With Rel Astra’s economy dwindling, my lord has been forced to re-open trade with the northern barbaric countries, Ratik, and even the humanoids of the Bone March.

    589 CY, Ready’Reat:

    It has been with many passings of the moons that I grow tired of being absorbed with the Crook of Rao. My findings have been meager, and means to control Sabbastith are far from my grasp.

    Finally a new task has been appointed to me. My lord wishes me to draft a compact, heavily biased towards Rel Astra and magically touched so as all who sign it would rather meet death than break the binding of the agreement.

    This compact is to replace the Compact of the Eastern Aerdi Free Cities and will be henceforth known as the Solnor Compact. So far, Ounsty is willing to renegotiate, and my contact in Roland is sure to persuade Lady Barbern and the "Five," that it is in their best interests to cooperate as well. My lord has also requested the Sea Barons become involved, but negotiations have been sour.

    I believe the compact will heavily favor my lord and allow him the power he requires for future endeavors of conquest, ecspecially in regards to Medegia, which even now we are beginning to occupy.

    590 CY, Readying:

    For too long our trade ships have been under the vice of the Scarlet Brotherhood blockades and the western cities refuse attempts for nautical trade in fear of losing more ships and trade product.

    Reports from our agents indicate the Scarlet Brotherhood has lessened their patrols and ship-count of their blockades, believing after many years of success, that fear has taken over and no country is willing to risk running their blockades.

    My lord has requested I accompany a trade vessel through the blockade of the Tilvanot Strait and on through to Hardby. He believes the Gynarchy, whom still controls trade there, will see this successful delivery as a weakness in the Scarlet Brotherhood and resume trade with Rel Astra.

    I will prove successful in this task, as I am in all endeavors my lord entrusts to me.

    591 CY, Fireseek:

    My lord has been, for the most part, successful in occupying the See of Medegia and now occupies nearly a quarter of its lands holds claim to nearly half of the old country.

    591 CY, Coldeven:

    Yebzura contacted me in regard to his progress. He claims he has found the means by which to reverse my lord’s fate and return my master to the mortality that is human.

    When I confronted Andromansis on this subject he denied Yebzura’s findings and claimed that they have only found the solution to reversing his own fate. In knowing Andromansis, it is clear he is witholding information from me.

    The time for slaying Lord Drax, the so-called Invulnerable, has come. Returning to my home, the Abyss, and feeling the relief of my revenge, is near…

    I am one of the Abyss, forever cursed to walk the lands of the mortal Aerdy. Shame and pity have been laid upon me by my brethren and loathe for home I do. Until my impossible task is complete I can never reach home, for it is the great one whose hand holds me here on this land, and in this reality. It is his word, which I must undo.

    I walk the paths of mortals forever looked upon as a freak, my power feared. Their eyes follow as I pass with curiosity, then with sympathy, then with anxiety, almost in hopes that I will break into a furious rage and display my outer-worldly powers.

    It is only Drax the Invulnerable who knows me now, for it is he whom also fell into a similar fate to mine own. He too has been scarred by betrayal and false truths. It is to him and him only that I owe my friendship. Together he and I will release ourselves of our individual curses. We have his Death Knight lackey, Andromansis, and Yebzura the gnome lighthouse keeper-scholar, working night and day to this end.

    Soon, soon Drax will be at peace with death and I will be able to return home and release my vengeance upon those that have tried and convicted me.

    I am the so-called Fiend-Sage of Rel Astra


    References: WGR7 Ivid the Undying, Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, Steven B. Wilson’s GreyChronodex

    You can learn more of the Black Dragon, Sabbastith, in my last POSTFEST: SPIKERIFT article by following the link below.


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    Re: FIEND-SAGE of REL ASTRA (Score: 1)
    by bdpenney on Tue, January 04, 2005
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    VERY nice read! I feel bad for not reading it earlier, for it was a lot of fun to see the Fiend Sage's attitudes and chagrin toward being 'sold out' to Drax.

    Thanks for the references to Xaene in the article, the accursed lich lives on!

    Keep up the great work, postfest ROCKS!

    Re: FIEND-SAGE of REL ASTRA (Score: 1)
    by abysslin ( on Wed, January 26, 2005
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