Banecroft Barony

Lore :: Summarized account of the Second War Against the Nameless One








~300 years ago:
A young being, protector of the Northern Wilds (and thus aligned with the Kal en Dral gods) was embraced by the vampire/god Azrael. As a result of this corruption, the was abandoned (or worse) by her fellow guardians and the Kal en Dral as an undead abomination. Being young and impressionable and powerful and immortal, this being became the Namless One: she added to her personal vampyric powers with all the dark arts she could master, sired her childre Mara, empowered an avatar and raised an army. Then she tried to get back at the world which had hurt her. To corrupt all life, and control it all, so it could never hurt or betray her again. But she was defeated by the forces of civilization. Unknown to all in later years, the Namlesss One's evil was not completely eradicated, but rather trapped in the Lost Gate, a magical construct. Meanwhile, her Childre Mara waited paitently for centuries to revive her beloved mistress.

Fall, 994: Mysterious shadowbeasts destroy a village near the Northern Wildes. Strage artifact "the Lost Gate" appears, 4 adventurers are lost within it. Tetch followed by Folkestone is made captive of Childre, a change-child minion of the Nameless One. Childre's hubris leads to his death at the "hands" of the forces of nature.

February, 994: The ancient sorceress Marie asks adventurers to explore the Lost Gate in order to rescue the 4 lost adventuerers and to restore the hearts to her Gargoyles. During that questing there are some victories (Gwen aquires in honorable combat the swords Smaug+Fafnir, which destroyed the Namless One's Avatar in the First War) but many, many adventurers are lost in the Lost Gate. Lady Anne and Lady Dee lead research project which cracks the riddles surrounding the a mysterious artifact which showed up suddenly. This yields a magical ritual which was used to rescue all lost within the Lost Gate - turning it inside out. Unknown to all adventurers at the time, this act released the Nameless One and her treasures from their imprisonment. It is my belief that Mara left this artifact hoping we would deduce it's mysteries and release her mistress. By Finagle and Faelie! I just realized - I was THERE when the artifact appeared, I might have met Mara herself all unknowing! I remember seeing it being pressed into the hands of some adventurer only a few feet from me...

July, 994: Groups of monsters gathered to fight for the right to become the Nameless One's new avatar. Adventurers quested in the Northern wilds to cleanse it of the Nameless One's impure feuding armies. The Orc Clan Kurian won the right to be uplifted by The Nameless One. Ironically, their strategy was to run away, avoiding combat while the adventurers slowly slew all the other factions. More importantly, the adventurers recovered two pieces of the Soul Blade. It was later learned that the soulblade was the result of a super-powerful version of a "hide the soul" spell... until the soulblade was assembled and destroyed, the Namless One was unkillable. It was also discovered that Karena ShadowRider had been taken prisoner by the Nameless One. The adventurers were assisted somewhat by the natural deizins of the Northern Wildes - the Savage Beast and Jaymir the Black Unicorn.

May, 995: The Nameless One attacked Folkestone with her army and released her orc avatar, Skullcrusher. Serabet and Garret and Lorhner cleverly turned the Fire Elemental against the Nameless One. Randal recovered Marie's heart, restoring it to her and freeing her from the Nameless One's control. The forces of the Realms and Folkestone acheived victory by the most narrow of narrow margins. The Nameless One's monster army was turned back and Folkestone was unconcoured.

The Grey Company begins sending us mysterious clues on various aspects of the Namless One. September, 995: A small group of adventurers questing in the nexus on the etherial plane goes through a gate to a sacred grove, where they consult with a grouha to learn more about the next step in defeating the Nameless One. But first their way is blocked by one of the Namless One's generals with minions. I slew this general in honorable combat.

Later, twenty brave Realmsians quested Into Toril Wilderkin's Tomb to find the pommel piece of the Soul Blade. While in the Tomb, several adventurers angered both the Kal en Dral gods and Tanith of the Grey company by raiding the tomb. However, we were successful - all pieces of the soulblade had by now been aquired.

Lorhner, through a feat of intuitive deduction which still leaves me stunned, solved an extremely difficult and important mystery.

March, 996: The Nameless One, having proved that the armies of the Realms can defeat her army, joins forces with Zermarks. Together, they send a strike force which recovers the Mace of Rhomer, an artifact necessary to defeat Zermarks.

June, 996: Karena, STILL a prisoner of the Nameless One, is released from her ongoing torture by by Sir Shane's sword.

The Shadow hunter appears in this era, systematically hunting down the members of Folkestone. We later learn this is in order to take samples from their bodies, allowing the Namless One's blood magic to create Folkesclone. Blood clones identical to the originals but loyal to her.

August, 996: Zermarks meets his final death at the hands of adventurers. The blood clones of Folkestone give us quite the battle. Gwen gives up the swords Smaug+Fafnir in partial payment for us to pass the dragon, allowing us to get the final part of the Valdonian mage's body. With his knowledge, we learn what must be done next. The soulblade is reforged in a ritual organized by Lorhner. With the help of a fire goddess and an understanding of the rules of reality, the adventurers make great sacrifices to empower Dorthak, a dagger capable slaying the otherwise-invincible Avatar, Skullcrusher.

May, 997: Toh-Rahni, air elementals bound to service of the Nameless One obliquely begg to be released. Voltric frees the first one. "Ripples" in reality begin to give the attentive premonitions of how the dreamwar must happen to have any chance of success. This allows us to take certain precautions which certain aspects of the dreamwar easier. For one example among many, the fighters had an straightforward time reaching the rendezvous point in the Namless one's psyche because I had arranged for a guide to meet us. June, 997: The Dreamwar. The Nameless One cannot be killed until her soulblade is destroyed, but the ritual to destroy it requires her Truename. In order to do this, intrepid adventurers went on a spirit quest into her mind itself, our meat bodies inert and helpless. While we did this, others protected our bodies from an onslaught of the Nameless One's armies from within a hastily but precisely contructed fortification. During this battle, McKrie slew Skullcrusher with Dorthak. Meanwhile, in the Nameless One's psyche, we fought the manifestations of her spiritual strengh, her ego, until we had stripped it all away to reveal her id, her uncovered self. This left only the hurt child beneath the monster. As we bore in on her, her last defences swept aside, there was some confusion. Finally she blurted out, "Do you want my name? Is that what you're here after?" in her hurt child's voice. "Yes, by Faelie! That's what we've come and fought and died over!" I exploded finally. She revealed it, and I knew no more of that battle. Amazingly, Randal had already deduced what it was, as he had solved a difficult riddle based on Lorhner's earlier discovery. My first words back in the waking world was blurting out her truename, followed by "Randal was right!"

September, 997: Now armed with the Truename, it was possible for us to cast the ritual to destroy the soulblade. This had to be done at a specific place. This quest was complicated by the fact that only a few could carry the soulblade without being posessed. Those of us who were able to carry it had been sought by the nameless one's minions to strip away that protection. As chance would have it, at this point there were now few who could carry it indeed. Others fought us a path through to the lake of fire, and I cast the soulblade in as Heron cast the necessary spell. The Nameless One was now slayable.

The Nameless One summons Banein, evil spirits of Kal Ker Bain gods, inciminal to the Kal en Dral. I think this was a move of desperation, as the Banein proved to be a horrible threat allied with her, but not I think fully under her control.

December, 997: Stuart and Savyne each released one of the remaining bound air elementals. The one Savyne released returns the Staff of Chimeron which it had just stolen. Now free, they give us vital information.

May, 998: The Mairrage of Sir Collin with Queen Meg served double duty as a mustering point for the armies of the Realms to march on the Namless One's citadel. The Nameless One's armies made a pre-emptive attack, supported by machmadren sleeper agents and turle-like monster re-enforcements from another dimension. Queen Meg was kidnapped, and in the battles that raged that night and the next morning, much of Chimeron was destroyed but the Nameless One's army was defeated. I recoved the Staff of Chimeron from enemy hands, and Heron used it to rebuild Chimeron Castle more magnificent than ever. Marie provided us a bold guide to lead us to the Nameless One's citadel, and blacksmiths feverishly worked all silver available into blades for the morrow's battle.

I was appointed general of the army, which was disposed as follows: The army's basic unit of battle was the Squad, lead by the usual group leaders. The squads were organised into two commands of 4-6 squads each. The two commands of the army were commanded by McKrye and Shane. As they marched north, the army was harried by Shadowbeasts and delayed by small armies of undead, goblins and trolls. Excellent discipline and organization kept casualties to a minimum during the march. Arriving Friday at the outskirts of the Northern Wilds, a planning meeting was held. While fighting that night would have put our forces at a big disadvantage, I feared that we could not wait until morning, despite the disadvantages. "We knew this job would be difficult when we took it!" quoth I. I feared that a delay would allow the Nameless One to escape or give her time to cast a powerful ritual.

One alternative was to quest to prevent her from escaping. So we quested to enter Between, a mysterious realm related to both the Dreaming and Reality. The army quickly aquired the elements needed to enter Between. Once there, we capitalized on a conflict between the elemental forces there. An aspect of Karena, Shane's daughter was reascued from Between. We encountered both the evil and remorsful aspects of the Nameless One's personality. We brought the two aspects together and strengthened her remorseful, self-destructive side until it was dominant. We withdrew from Between confident that she would be awaiting us in her fortress the next day.

On the final leg of our march to the Citadel, we encountered the usual small forces delaying and harrying our approach. Mckrye's Command led at first, but I rotated Shane's command into the lead part way through to put fresh troops and undamaged armor in the lead. The approach to the Citadel was guarded with a moat (real water, a foot deep or so) and the single entrance had a portculis with towers on either side. The Namless One's army was arrayed within, supported by archers, healers, mages and the Nameless One herself.

Knowing that if we did not break through the gate we would be picked apart until our force was broken, we assaulted the gate with all our strength. Our armored fighters were met by a withering fire of boulders, magic missles, arrows and fireballs. The only way to enter was by squeezing through the sides of the portculis one at a time which was impossible under the swords and pikes of the main part of the enemy army. Casualties mounted and the initial assault faltered. Then the Shadowbeasts led by Shadowright made a sortie and harried the rear of our army, emperiling our healers where they collected the dead and making our main assualt vulnerable to being backstabbed. Worse, the Shadowright himself was quite invulnerable (although not a direct threat) and raised the shadowbeasts periodically. An assassin planted in our midst made his move. From my vantage point on a stump in the middle of the moat, I had a good view and feared for the success of the battle.

Our forces met the shadowbeast threat in an ongoing skirmish in and around the moat and near the healers. Notable for their successes in those skirmishes were Makta, Cedric of Rhiassa and Ean of Tuath Fasac and many others. The healers a great job raising our dead with group healing spells while under threat of attack, notably including Kethrellen of Rhiassa and Gwendolyn of Banecroft and those who dragged the dead. But I knew well that the healing magic would run out eventually. We had to have a breakthrough before that happened!

A few moments of the battle stand out in my mind: A vampire minion of the Nameless One fought too bravely and was dragged off by our forces instead of by the enemy. The Staked vampire was brought to Kestrel for decapitation, etc. The vampire tried to use her charm ability to tell him to remove the stake, but his formidable protective magics blocked hers and he finished her off. The Shadowright disrupted our light spells holding his beasts at bay, and he created undead from Alias and Pedriac of Thorn Valley who he sent after us after they were slain valiantly skirmishing with the shadowbeasts. I split my attention between calling out directives to the army (You! Get those dead bodies back to us! Do not attack that shadowbeast alone! Look out behind you! Their healer is the woman in the short brown hair, concentrate your fire on her!), firing arrows through the portculis into the mass of The Nameless's army, and drawing my swords to help intercept a Shadowbeast or two.

Peregrine broke down the porculis, allowing us a fighting chance! I spotted the Shadowright's contract in the churned up mud in the gateway, how it got there I know not (presumably it was on a monster slain in the intense fighting there). Even as I called out the order to get that at all costs, Shane dove forward into the blades of the enemy in a heroic but doomed attempt to get it which would have ended the shadow threat. The enemy was too quick and had recovered it from under our noses. The battle raged on.

As a fresh group of raised adventurers rejoined the assualt, we finally managed to break into the Citadel. Re-enforcements poured into what was a bloody last stand for the enemy. Their healers dead, the Shadowright's contract broken the battle was ours except for mopping up. And dealing with the Nameless One herself. While the main part of the army withdrew to avoid a possible Final Strike, those protected from the blast stayed behind to finish her off. Although the finish was not straightforward, they managed. Peregrine had wisely used her true name to keep her from using her final strike, so all was well. Victory at last, after all these many years!

Even so, we did not rest easy on our laurels. There was many a minion, Banein and general who had fled the Citadel which we had to hunt down to ensure the Nameless One's dark legacy was buried.

In September 998, adventurers seek out and slay a Banein blocking a trade route to the west. Sir Lucas does the lion's share of the damage to the Banein.

In October 998 Sir Pyr, Sir Aelias and I successfully quested to restore Marie's beauty, as a reward to her for the great service she had rendered us all.

In November 998, adventurers ran down the Banein Ravener. The Ravener was beaten, but would have escaped into another plane if not for a daring and risky move by Sir Lucas.

Nero and Kethrellen attempted to contact the Nameless One's spirit in order to gain insight on how to defeat a pressing new threat. Unbenonced to them, her spirit was more powerful and canny than they expect, and there was the danger she will be freed. Sir McKrie stoped their ritual. March 999, adventurers undertook a Dark Hunt beneath Chimeron to kill Mara, the Dark Childe of the Nameless One. There we faced Folkesclone again. We were successfull in preventing the turtle-like monsters from opening a gate to their home dimension and leading an army through, but Mara slipped through our fingers with her vampyric powers. In the retreat, we faced the Kobold general but in the confusion we were unable to slay him.

June 999, The Lunatarans promised to aid the Valdonian as a reward for his help. Other adventurers destroyed one of the last remaining Banein, Hunger.

Late in the year 1000, we discovered that the shadowpack is still alive, but without new programming (save their last orders, to kill me). It is discovered that someone is trying to take control of them again. The next day, others slew the Banein Theurge.

That winter, I asked for a volunteer among my followers for a perilous quest. Elwick volunteered, and I tasked him with finding Mara, to seek her out wherever she was. For rumors were that she was walking around in many places of the Realms. He carried this out with great initiative and dispatch. With a group of his friends he learned a great deal about Mara. Furthermore he was unwavering in hunting down Mara's vampyric childre. Unfortunately his great bravery did him in... for in year 1000 he was trapped by Mara, and the whole Realms was confused by the blood clones of him and a machmadren posessing the original.

In the invasion of Banecroft, Spring 1001 Phoenix freed Elwick from the Macmadren posession. Also, Azrael was present in person, who slew one of Mara's Childre with a negligant wave of his hand! Since then, Mara's vampiric childre dogged our steps at several adventures, and we hunted them when the opportunity presented itself.

Now we have definite word that the Nameless One's forces gather again. Old allies and valiant comrades have been slain. New vampiresses surface, and old foes raise their heads. A new challenge, your challenge, is before you. May this record of what came before aid you. For I have found that my greatest tool was not my blade or bow or book of lore, but rather an understanding of how our chief foes think.

I hope you find this history of interest.

Baron Diamond