The War of Souls was a defining event for me. As Tetch has
related, nearly all of the nobles were posessed by Nemesis
and formed his army. They were of course on the whole the
most experienced and skilled adventurers. As chance or fate
would have it, Lord Cinnabar and I were the only nobles who
had escaped posession, at least of those present at the
beginning of the first day's battle.
There five boxes that we had to get had been sent forward in
time by the hapless mage who had accidentally released Nemesis
ages ago. Seeking to undo the damage he had inadvertantly
done, the mage had brought forward the tools and his knowledge
necessary to stop Nemisis. Unfortunately Nemesis knew where
they would appear and positioned his army of posessed adventurers
there. We had to get them from him. But his army was stronger
than ours, and every time we engaged them their skill and
experience overran us.
My understanding was that the first box was recovered Saturday
afternoon, singlehandedly by Lord Cinnibar. According to how he related the tale, Cinnibar offered to willingly join Nemesis, but this was a ruse. He cleverly gained Nemesis's trust by backstabbing Folkestone, then at great risk waited for an opportune moment to seize the box and run back to our base. Saturday evening re-enforcements arrived and we
concentrated our forces to attempt to take the next box by storm.
Our army attacked, and the line wavered. I was slain but quickly
raised by supporting healers. In the moment that I was rejoining
the line, I could see that we were not making progress against
them - an instant after I was raised, Nemesis-posessed Eldritch
had swept through us like a whirlwind, slaying the healer from
whom I had benefited. Thus, I took a chance - instead of engaging
the line, I burst through it, running hard towards the box. Two
of Nemisis's army were in reserve to guard it, but I dodged around
them and the magic missles they fired. If it's one thing I was
good at back then, it was running. I snatched the box up, abandoning
my sword in my haste and ran the gauntlet back towards our lines.
While I ran around the rearguard again, after I passed them they
managed to place a magic missle in my back. I fell, the box
(which Nemisis and his people could not move) now very close to
the battle line. I am told that moments later a shift in the tide
of battle allowed our forces to recover it from that forward position.
I know little of that night. We were defeated soundly, and if not
for a mage who asked to come with us I would not have gotten past
the first encounter. His name, which will live forever in infamy,
was Caliban, and we suspected nothing.
The next day a morning's battle netted us one more box while those
gifted in deciphering the mage's hodgepodge of notes concentrated
on deciphering the proper way to conduct the ritual necessary to
defeat Nemesis. In this, the spell components from the boxes
we captured were necessary. Lorhner, now cursed with the mage's
dagger, was a large part of the decipering and ritual organizing
effort. Lord Cinnibar and I had the much simpler task of trying
to organize the defence of the ritual circle from Nemesis's
The plan was roughly this: Pol Coville would venture into
Astral space and lure Nemesis into a specially prepared,
extremely intricate ritual circle. There Adyan would
meet Nemesis in single combat. But the Nemesis's demonic
powers were such that no warrior could stand against him
unassisted, hence mages specially bound to the perimeter of
the circle would cast magic to empower Adyan. While the
mages assisted Adyan, the fighters had to hold off the posessed
Unfortuantely we were unlucky. First of all, our understanding
of the ritual had a subtle flaw such that Pol Coville was
lost into the endless void of astral space, but he was successful
in luring Nemesis into the ritual circle. The loss of Pol
Coville would have repercussions for years. Apparently in
his earnest attempts to survive in that empty plain, he
contributed to the elemental planar crisis which took us 3
years to fix.
Even worse, we were fouly betrayed. Caliban was with the mages
supporting the ritual circle, and he betrayed the efforts of the
Realms by backstabbing our mages, dooming Adyan's effort.
I have not forgotten. Never in my entire career have I been faced
with so fundamental a betrayal. Like I said earlier, it was a
darker era. He had been checked for Nemesis-marks, he was not one
of the posessed. He is wanted still.
And of course the posessed army overran us defenders as well.
Nemisis departed, but I believe his power was diminished, at least temporarily, by the damage done to him by Adyan in the Ritual circle. Certainly he was unable to continue his possession of the nobility. I did not
know at the time he left to take Tetch to hell. His eagerness
to spirit her off may have contributed to what saved us - the defeated
and the posessed alike - from being under his power. I heard rumors for
years later of him wandering the planes.
* * *
However, I am happy to report that many years ago, I chanced
upon a copy of Lorhner's collected lore. I could not keep
that data, but I was able to make hasty copies of certain
items. Planning ahead, I concentrated on and copied into my
notebook the notes regarding the ritual to stop Nemesis.
I was doing this based on Lorhner's raw data, (that time-
traveling mage's notebook), not Lorhner's final conclusions.
Unfortunately the mage's notes were very confusing and took
time to puzzle out and I was pressed, so I am worried that the
notes I took may have an error. After all, our original ritual
team back at the War of Souls had more time to decipher it, and
they made an error. Thus I am not inclined to trust my notes,
but I'm happy to share what I gleaned.
Of course, more recently Nemesis wraiths again have walked among us, fighting people in honorable combat. Those who are victorious against them (currently Iacob and Lord Da'oud) are possessed by Nemesis.