As the end of 299 CE quickly approached, unbeknownst to many in the Basin of Life, powerful forces worked to secure the means to shape the fate of the First World. Following the kidnapping of Jeremiah and raids of the previous month, the ice devils — enemies of the Basin apparently under the command of enigmatic beings known as the Forsaken — turned to the cities and forests, attacking statues and trees to steal further resources. As the fervent attacks continued into Roarkian, the weather grew increasingly severe and erratic.
Astrologers began to note the gathering energies of a rare astrological occurrence: the Syzygy, which happens only once every 250 years when all the planets align in one sign. As the planetary energies converged, the ice devils began to appear upon the Astral Plane, attacking the spheres one by one and encasing the nodes in impenetrable ice. Overcome by disturbing images of the astrospheres, adventurers gathered to investigate, finding the power nodes no longer accessible through their icy prisons and the spheres overtaken by foul, icy winds.
Despite the best efforts of brave adventurers, the astral nodes continued to fall throughout Roarkian to the ice devils, until only Aries remained untouched. As the Syzygy began, this final node was taken just as a lull in the weather allowed the Basin to view briefly the planetary alignment. Moments later, though, the convergence was hidden from view as the sky was ripped apart by the fury of a surging tide of cold from the north, bringing with it even more terrible weather anomalies as the planets aligned in the Sign of the Skull. The Basin was pelted with shards of ice, even while the ground baked beneath them. Black lightning struck indiscriminately, rains bowed even the strongest and the wind brought some to a complete standstill.
While the weather raged, some of the Elder gods were found in varying states of distress. Eventru was overtaken by fear for Lyreth, and paranoid delusions, while Morgfyre was overtaken by Hajamin and some of His other personalities. Others were equally forgetful or erratic, save for Raezon, who was soon found within an obsidian tower, high in Avechna’s Teeth.
As most of the Basin dealt with the attacks of the previous months, Raezon had instructed His order, led by Nymerya, to prepare to harness the power of the Syzygy, and constructed the tower for this purpose. It remained hidden, secretly drawing power from the Syzygy and protecting Raezon from the effects the other Elder gods suffered. When others discovered the Obsidian Tower and flocked there for answers, Raezon was unwilling to offer any information beyond questionable lectures about the planetary alignment. In truth, He was continuing to draw power from the Syzygy.
As His experiment reached its apex and the Syzygy began to lessen in power, the other Elder gods were drawn to the Obsidian Tower, where they regained a small amount of clarity, protected to a lesser degree by Raezon’s experiment. No longer distracted by the Syzygy, Raezon questioned those gathered, sharing that He had experienced a worrying interference in the Syzygy energies. Connecting this to the attacks on the astrospheres, He quickly confirmed with Elostian that an outside force was seeking power through both the Syzygy and the astral nodes.
From mortal descriptions of the ice-covered nodes, he modified his tower to produce a sphere of plasma which would crack the icy shells covering the nodes. He instructed those in the tower to gather essence to power the tower now that the Syzygy was complete. Once the icy covering was cracked, each node had to be drained completely to break any link to their power which had been established during the Syzygy.
After many bits of essence had been placed in the constructs within the tower, Miciah retrieved the first sphere, freeing the node of Cancer, which Magnagora then sought to drain. Mortals continued to free and drain the nodes for two months, fighting waves of ice shades and wraiths that erupted from within the dead bodies of astral creatures to defend the nodes. Those that battled the ice creatures were covered with more and more debilitating ice bites.
Finally, the last node was fully drained by the combined forces of the Basin, the last bit of power drawn by the hand of Aerys, breaking the ice devils hold on the Astral Plane. As the ice melted from the node on Aquarius, the excess energy churned in the air to form a portal, through which an enormous plain of rotten ice could be seen, upon which thousands upon thousands of ice devils faced an enormous marble tower, encrusted with glowing gems stones. Sitting forlorn on a ledge of the tower was Jeremiah Gryphta, who quickly leaped from the ledge and dived through the portal. As it closed behind him, several cloaked figures could be seen turning in surprise.
Lehki beckoned to Jeremiah as Ixion led those gathered on Aquarius home to Jeremiah’s place on Avechna’s Peak. Jeremiah then produced the Hearthstone of Il’vania, telling them that Il’vania was a Vernal Goddess and that the stone carried with it the warmth and love of a good home. Touching it, they were relieved to be healed of the ice bites which they had accumulated in their battles on the Astral Plane to free the twelve nodes and rewarded with Czigany coins.
Many questions still remain about the intentions of the ice devils (and their mysterious masters) and what goals were accomplished by capturing the energies of both the Syzygy and the astral nodes. What was the marble tower seen through the portal on Aquarius? And, for that matter, what about the Obsidian Tower of Raezon? Perhaps the true purpose of these two towers, marble and obsidian, will remain unknown forever, along with the mystery of what it may have gained for their masters.
However, even though the wild storms passed with the freeing of the Astral Plane, the sky remained wounded above the Basin of Life with no sign of healing.
Thus, the Era of the Wounded Sky has begun.