Lanterns trailed through the sky, vessels of prayer set aloft as mortals gathered to see the ritual completed. It was not long, however, before the memories of the aslaran turned from hope to fear, as a deep, dark presence began to make itself known once more. The flames of the lanterns quickly died, replaced by a sickly odour that creeped through the sky above the Razines, leaving no time for celebration. A dark, permeating voice broke the silence that befell the Basin as mortals turned their attention to the heavens above, “Victory is mine, food,” the presence spoke. Stirred by this mysterious being, the Elders began to appear from the Havens, Mysrai being the first to make Their presence known. Numerous Elders followed suit, but it was Drocilla who first showed Herself to the creature that lurked.
As more Elders appeared, the beast began to shrink back, shrinking away from Their presence, but its identity would not remain secret for long, for Estarra called upon the Elders to name the creature that crawled through the sky. Mysrai, gazing through the many paradigms that were, are, and could be, was the first to sense what this thing really was, and They called upon Drocilla to name the foul creature. Sharing a bond from long ago, Drocilla stepped forward and named the Soulless abomination to be Nemach, the lesser Soulless that the Traitors had once used to create the very elixir from which She drank.
Nemach quickly sought an ally in Drocilla, but She repelled His unwanted advances, and it wasn’t long before Yomoigu interrupted the affair, alerting Estarra and all present to a prison inside of which the lesser Soulless could be held. Estarra came forth from within the Havens and ripped the beast apart, but Nemach was too strong, forming instead a mass of writhing tendrils that quickly launched towards Drocilla.
As a surprise to all, the tendrils began to split off, making their ways towards the cities and forests as mortals prepared to fight off the Soulless creatures. It wasn’t long before a mass of tendrils reached Celest, the City of Light, where Darvellan sprung to their defence. The Navigator plucked the stars from the mist surrounding Him and launched them at the creature, sending Him flailing away as they burned into His flesh. Glomdoring was the next target for the Soulless beast, who thrashed through the forest with ease. As He approached the Master Ravenwood, the forest responded with an attack, and Viravain appeared from within the very soil that lie beneath it, the Wyrd stirred to life by Her presence. The Goddess and the Glomdoring fought together and the abomination was quickly destroyed, His very essence raining down upon the forest, feeding it as the Wyrd began to repair.
Suddenly, a hypnotic song rang through the sky, echoing away from the city Magnagora as Drocilla appeared within the sky once more. Reminded of His initial purpose, Nemach turned course once more, lashing out at the Tainted city as Drocilla continued to sing. Soothing notes turned to shrieks as the Songstress lashed out at the tendrils, sending a wave of dissonant melodies towards the creature. Magnagora shook as the Enchantress made one final strike at the beast, sending it flying towards the east, the Goddess trailing behind it before disappearing from mortal perception.
Lacking a target, one of the tendrils turned away from the battle and writhed its way towards Gaudiguch, where it was met by both Crumkane and Mysrai. The two Elders worked hand in hand, launching projectiles at the beast. The tendril returned with a surge of energy, lashing out at the Divine, sending Crumkane flying and Mysrai without Their shield. The two Elders quickly recovered, returning with a barrage of attacks which sent the tendril crashing down into the mountains, defeated. Still sensing possible routes of victory, two more tendrils broke out, the first heading towards the city of Hallifax. Jadice rose to the city’s defence, repelling the beast with a barrage of ice and crystal which tore the creature apart, sending bits and pieces flying through the air. Recovered from the drain that protecting Nature inflicted Her with, Lisaera appeared to drive away the final tendril from the Serenwilde, calling upon the power of Mother Moon to aide Her. Silvery light formed a bow within the Goddess’s hands, and She launched a barrage of pure moonlight at the abomination, penetrating His flesh and sending His lifeless form to the ground below.
Complications soon arose as Yomoigu returned with His prison, the creation meant to house the lesser Soulless in their whole form. Calling upon the mortals of the Basin, Yomoigu asked them to defeat the remaining pieces of the Soulless God Nemach and to return the corpses to Him atop Avechna’s Peak. Mortals took to the highways and mountains, hunting down the remains of Nemach that spread across the Basin much like the fungus that preceded Him. Blackcaps and rotmongers appeared in droves, yet the mortals quickly disposed of the rest of the Soulless abominations, returning them piece by piece to Yomoigu’s prison.
Unbeknownst to both him and the Elders, Leolamins would be the one to place the final piece in the prison, which sealed itself around the Soulless presence. Yomoigu secreted away the Prison, charged with its protection so that its prisoner may never harm Creation once more.
Alas, victory did not come with a price. Nemach was able to fuse Himself with Nature, and in the purging of His essence, the Seal of Nature was weakened. Sensing the presence of Kethuru seeping in through the cracks, Estarra the Eternal took to the skies, once more calling forth an Ascension to repair the Seals and return the Almighty Kethuru back to the Astral Plane.
And thus, the Nine Challenges will once again be initiated to find which mortal will ascend and save creation from destruction for yet another generation.