Bael's Proposal: The Oath of Ages
Bael rolled the blazing sun of Pelor across his fingertips. Vague wisps of memory harkened back to when such feats of dexterity were common for him. As he tried to recall what that life was like, he suddenly became all too aware of his physical shortcomings in this life. His hands faltered, and his holy symbol clattered to the ground. Bael grimaced at the unintentional sacrilege. His relationship with his deity was hardly adoring, but he did his best to keep things amicable.
“Sorry,” he muttered mostly to himself.
His companions sat, mostly keeping to themselves. He noticed the group’s sense of foreboding. Nothing had been said, but there was a sad knowledge amongst them. Their quest had taken them to places great and small, but it had been rooted in places they knew amongst each of their own pasts, but now, things would change. The past would only serve to keep them rooted in place and shy away from the task at hand. When Reshard Tam left them there had been congratulations and goodbyes, but no one but Bael realized what his departure portended. He had argued more vigorously with Reschard than anyone, but that was because he knew what Reshard was. He was a man of the world. A man of beliefs, passions, virtues, and foibles, but one that fought for what he loved for all the right reasons.
This group of once-Inquisitors were coming to realize that they sought to face down, alone, the mistakes made by Gods. It had fallen upon them to fix the multiverse, and no group of mortals could truly say they were equal to the task. With a growing sense of dread, Bael began to realize that no group of Immortals had even been up to the task…
There were five of them left now. Where there had once been thousands, only five remained. Bael looked over the maps of the heavens. “I know where he is. I was at the left hand of creation when the heavens were made, I know these maps better than anyone.”
Azazel nodded. “I have given the mortals knowledge of war and weapons and steered them on their course. They will fight.”
Penemue grunted. “They have letters and numbers to manage their fighting men.”
“The power of the sun remains at their fingertips. Already, one has risen to command the light,” Shamsiel said softly.
“The others did their parts too,” Samyaza said gravely. “None of us can ever return from whence we came, but we can rid creation of abomination.”
Bael nodded. “Then let us take an oath, in the mother tongue. Our comrades have died, our allies have forsaken us, but the Chained God remains. Let us cast aside all bonds upon our flesh and spirit but one: the destruction of the chained god.”
Penemue glared at Bael. “Is such a thing necessary?”
“He has corrupted much. None sworn to him would dare take such an oath.” Azazel pointed out. “By my arts of war, I swear my life and my eternal soul to the destruction of the Chained God.”
Samyaza too looked skeptical. “You would swear an oath that would require you to leave behind your mortal wife? I understand she is with child as well.”
Bael fell silent for a moment. “We all must make sacrifices to join in such an oath, but it is the only way to ensure there will be a future for them.”
Shamisel needed no more convincing. “By my inner light, I swear my life and eternal soul to the destruction of the Chained God.”
Penemue went next. “By my mastery of the Words of creation, I swear my life and eternal soul to the destruction of the Chained God.”
Samyaza looked at the others, and gave a heavy sigh. “By my knowledge of the hidden ways, I swear my life and eternal soul to the destruction of the Chained God.”
Bael felt fell power gathering around he and his companions. He wondered what history would make of them. When it was finally his turn, youngest and least experienced of the Deva, Bael spoke the words. “By my skill with the axe, I swear my life and my eternal soul to the destruction of the Chained God.”
Amongst them, he could feel a shared power pointed unerringly towards one target. He pulled on the riggings of the Legacy. “Do we lift off?”
“Aye, for one last time,” Samyza said.
Bael’s eyes flashed open. He looked at his companions and felt their dread. “My friends,” he said softly as he rose to his feet. “We embark on a journey that has never been completed. At the dawn of creation, I tried to stop this madness, and I failed.
My memories are fragmented… but I do know this much. There is power in Oaths and causes, particularly amongst those with great power. In the Supernal Tongue, these Oaths can grant us the strength we need to move forward when alone we would surely falter. Let us take an oath, in the mother tongue. Our comrades have died, our allies cannot help us, but the Chained God remains. Let us cast aside all bonds upon our flesh and spirit but one: the destruction of the Chained God.”
Gurias blinked. “But what of Arborea?”
“All the treasure we could get!” squeaked Darian.
“Our holy bonds to the divine powers,” Light said gravely.
“The duties to our people,” Glandrin intoned.
“The sanctity of ourselves and our mind,” Ziegfried warbled.
“The right to drink beer for our lord,” Mielka cried in dismay.
“The pursuit of the perfect form,” Raiden sneered.
Gnosis-on simply grunted.
Bael looked at them all sadly. “All worthy goals and worthy devotions for people of this world, but all equally irrelevant should we fail in our charge. Those concerns, those worthy tasks, they are no longer our destiny. We fight so that others may one day return to such lofty purposes. I know not what happened directly before joining all of you, but I know now it was guided by providence. I can finish what I started. For me, reswearing my oath holdd much less dread. I can tell you, it will aid us, but the choice must be each of yours. It will power you through adversity, but it will rip you further away from what you once were. The issue should be discussed, calmly, and at length."
Each PC can discuss here in the forum about the oath, swear the oath, or forsake it. If you swear the Oath, in character the format is: “By my _______, I swear my life and eternal soul to the destruction of the Chained God.” What you include in the _____ will shape what power or powers the oath has that any of those who swear it can invoke. However, swearing the oath will have consequences, both in what you are forsaking and what you will give up to achieve the goal.
Any who do not decide by next Thursday, November 4, are assumed to not swear the oath.
The silence from his comrades was deafening. He had expected disagreement, support, harsh words, and passion. The awkward shuffling of feet was disconcerting. Bael’s hand casually checked to make sure his axe was free of its baldric. Perhaps some of them were in league with the Chained God already. Might they be planning to attack him, here and now. None were as outspoken against the Chained God as he. Could he trust them going into the Temple of Elemental Evil? Could he even trust them with their mission?
Perhaps, it would be better to be on his own. He failed with a group once before. He knew enough old lore to begin the process of amassing impressive power to himself alone…
Light raised his head and looked at Bael. “Calm yourself, Phoebus. You suddenly throw such heavy words at us, asking us to sacrifice something precious for power to defeat this Chained God, and yet you won’t be patient enough to let us ponder this quietly? You already waited a thousand lifetimes, a few more minutes or seconds will not harm you in the slightest.”
Rising to his feet slowly, Light looked at the rest of those assembled. “That said, perhaps, everyone else is simply waiting for someone else to go first. Fine. I am no stranger for making oaths and pacts for power. So be it. Whether or not my queen has a purpose for me or not, I am starting to grow tired of waiting. I will protect my queen even if my soul is torn to shreds by all those who have claimant on it. So be it! I will give up everything!”
Slamming his fist down into the table before him, Light began the oath through clenched teeth.
“By my eternal and unwavering devotion to my queen, I swear my life and eternal soul to the destruction of the Chained God!”
[Oath. Complete. Let me know if I broke anything. _]
Gurias returns from his short absence in utter dishevelment. His hair is unusually messy and frilled, his robe undone, and, to his dismay, his pants on backwards. His left hand remains on his forehead while he squints as though he just came from the sun itself.
“My dearest apologies for my absence and absent-mindedness, comrades.”
Gurias pauses and struggles to speak as his face turns a slight greenish hue, the smell of debauchery is overwhelming. “I need to sit down…”, Gurias exhales as he seats himself.
“There was no way I could predict what path Corellon would lead me upon my exile from the Feywild. How could I expect to not only help protect this plane from destruction, but to be able to see the greatest reaches of known existence. From the Shadowfell to Pandemonium, I have seen more than any mortal creature could hope to see in a lifetime.
“I have since learned through trial and tribulation that my true purpose in this life should be to place the well being of others above my own enjoyment. While I have been welcomed back to Arborea with open arms, I cannot look upon that place as my home any longer, not without thinking my late mother at least.
“The past few days have been spent in Arborea, but only to host the most grandeur, epic, opulent party the fey has ever seen. To the dismay of my kind, it was a farewell party, but they do not know that yet hic. I would not expect most of them to understand, but those important to me shall. All the people and wines that I adore simply cannot coexist with this Chained God. I am willing to sacrifice whatever it takes, be it the finest cheeses or my life. Therefore I stake this oath in honor of that sacrifice:
“By my mastery of the Eldritch storm, I swear my life and eternal soul to the destruction of the Chained God.”
“Now gentlemen….if you’ll excuse me, I need to find Mielka….” Gurias then stands up and attempts to exit the room with grace, but upon nearing the door, face-plants and falls unconscious.
Zigfried looked up from petting the head of his newly acquired ‘thrall’ and chimed in. “Oh right! I was lost in thought there for a moment. By my humanity, I swear my life and eternal soul to the destruction of the Chained God.” After speaking his oath, his focus promptly returned to dotting on the strange creature.
[if it wasn’t obvious, that was Josh’s oath]
- Tomorrow is the last day to swear (or not) the Oath of Ages. Currently sworn are Bael, Gurias, Light, and Zigfried. They (and anyone else who swears it) will all get access to a special group Oath power.
- For Sunday’s game, I have Dennis, Josh, Richie, and Sean signed up. I have room for 1-2 more. The game will be at my place from 1-6.
- All previous boons have expired, and everyone has gotten a new power. If you want something else for your power, let me know.
- Everyone should now be level 19.
- Everyone gained 21,000 gp to spend on whatever they like (may I recommend some healing potions) and a level 21 item of your choice. If possible, have those already bought and selected before the game. Message me if you need some options of what to pick or need access to Compendium.
- Istarmani was killed, Alexandren is rubble but freed, the Inquisition is destroyed except for one order, and Ebbek perished in battle.
- A massive party was held on Arborea to celebrate, and to prepare for the Etherium cleansing.
- Unfortunately, something went terribly wrong in the ritual to cleanse the Etherium. It was sabotaged by Kelemar Stormborn, causing a violent magical eruption in the center of Arborea, and banishing all Etherium throughout Einland. Since Arborea was held aloft by Etherium, it crashed into the sea. Gurias, thanks to Aramath’s sacrifice, was teleported out of the blast, just in time for him to see Arborea crash and burn.
- In the aftermath, everyone meets up on the airship. Bael reflects on the situation, and unlocks one of his oldest memories: swearing an Oath with other Deva to destroy the Chained God. Upon coming out of the vision, he proposes a similar Oath with the party.
- Next adventure, the party will head to the Temple of Elemental Evil, the Chained God’s stronghold in the mortal world. Kelemar Stormborn, Zumcantor, and one of Dyson’s lieutenants commanding a flight of dragons are all expected to be there, among other surprises…
I assume by ‘immorality’, Bael actually means his ‘immortality’?
“Last time, I swore by my axe. But since then I have lived a thousand lifetimes. I am more than just my axe.”
“By my immortality, I swear my life and eternal soul to the destruction of the Chained God.”
Glandrin sits, unmoving, as the weight of the decision hangs over him. Outwardly he appears calm, but inwardly, he struggles. Only his eyes betray his emotions. Finally, he blinks and looks up, as if awakening from a dream.
He says to his companions, "Brothers, we have stood together against the forces of chaos and evil for many moons, and now the time has come for the final push. No matter why we choose to fight, or for whom, we will never achieve our dreams as long as the Chained God remains. Unless he be destroyed, all will be lost and all our efforts to pursue other paths will be in vain. Thus, let us join in this oath and bind ourselves to this noble task.
I swear by my steadfast endurance, the destruction of the Chained God."
Gnosis-on looked down upon the creatures he stood with. All of them speaking words. Gnosis-on knew of the great power of words.
Words that held weight, words that held lives, words that could open the seven seals of death.
Gnosis-on took a long breath and huffed out a deep snort.
“You, adventurers all. Once I knew you as blood-thirsty. Lusting for power and gold like no other.”
He pauses, in thought.
“Now I know that there is more. You speak oaths of words. Oaths of sacrifice for ones other than yourself. I shall swear with you.”
Gnosis-on lays his crackling mace upon the table, stills himself, and closes his old eyes.
Reaching out a grizzled hand into the air he begins to draw a crack upon the world. Power sizzles as the rune comes to life.
“By my given name,” sound is sucked from the room, light flickers, and the all present can feel their stomach lurch as the world stops before a distant rumble of thunder brings all back to focus. Gnosis-on pauses as the rune is complete, “I swear my life and eternal soul to the destruction of the Chained God.”
With one final movement he bends the rune to his will, forever changing its shape.
As Gnosis-on settles on the bench behind him, rubbing his palms upon one another, he stares distantly to the others.
“Come and I will teach you to let creation know your Oath”