A Northern Wind Rises
Two-hundred and fifty years ago, the 3rd age ended, and the world nearly ended with it. Unlike the other two recorded turns of a new age, this one was brought by cataclysm, a war of the gods that rent the multiverse asunder and forged it anew in the fires of planar holocaust.
The cataclysm was brought by the gods of the ancient Northern religions, led by their father-god, Odin. They had been gone from this plane since the end of the 1st age, when they were imprisoned by various means, most by other powerful gods. Only Odin had been unassailable, and he set into motion the things that would bring Ragnarok, and cause a reset of all this, as it has many times before. To this end, he gave rise to a demigod son, an Aasimar who came to be known as Gleb Odinson.
However, Odin did not foresee the actions the other gods would take, both for and against this. Nor did he anticipate the actions of mortals the way he should have. Time had taken it’s toll on the Allfather.
There were many figures of importance to this story. Swen, the Gnomish son of Loki, who had also escaped his captivity long enough to sire a child; Aelon and Daloni, the long-separated children of Tiamat, who chose to defy her will and strike at her with the forces of Valhalla; Garth, the elven ranger, and Serafina, the halfling monk, the only true mortals of the team, were able to keep the pace, with the gifts of powerful tools from the gods, driven by natural prowess.
This team of six realized only the first part of their destiny when they put a stop to a dragon army trying to seize ancient artifacts of their religion, the worship of the evil Dragon goddess Tiamat. As they finished their task here, Odin contacted the two demigods of his bloodline, and laid forth the events that would come to pass. He contracted Gleb and Swen, along with the rest of their party, to do what they could to aid the coming destruction.
But Swen was tricky. He, like his sire, saw a way to turn this all to his advantage. He convinced his friends that Odin’s plan was good, except for one detail – he planned to leave himself and the other gods of Asgard at the top. And if the world was to change, Swen believed that it should ALL change – including the gods.
And so, the party wandered. They assembled the things Odin sent them after; Aelon and Swen quickly divined that the objects were ones that, when combined correctly, would deliver irrevocable death to even a god. They did the things he asked; Dalani and Garth came to understand that they were setting the scene ahead of time for the battle to come, a battle between gods that would be waged on their plane.
And the battle did come. The strike was brutal and without warning for those targeted. Within a week, the Asgardian gods were free from their captivity. Within two more, they had slain those gods who would not bend to the Allfather and join with his plan.
That was when the party made their chose, and slew Odin. His divine power, indestructible and beyond comprehension, found a new home immediately in his half-mortal son, Gleb, who promptly used it’s power to destroy the rest of the Asgardians, and anoint his friends as the first gods of a new pantheon that would protect and rule the souls of this fractured earth. Which, of course, was what Swen wanted the whole time.
These events were not without consequences for the mere mortals who walked in the shadows of these giants, though. Many of the planes, especially Midgard, were shattered by the aftermath; kingdoms fell, forests were swallowed by the earth, oceans boiled as volcanoes erupted and mountains rose where plains once stood.
Most of the multiverse was dead. If a census had been at all possible, it would have discovered that 70% of what lived was now dead and gone, many of them destroyed forever. The abundance of magical energy released by those deaths forced magic to change, forced the scale of power of the very universe to change.
On Midgard, it was found that the Underdark had collapsed almost entirely when Lolth was slain by Thor; the drow, with no home and their faith shattered, emerged into the sunlight to seek sanctuary with their above-ground brethren. The elven remnant, though hesitant, extended a hand to their cousins, and accepted them. Though ‘drow’ is still used and accepted, their race is now formally known as dusk elves.
Along with the dusk elves, another race saw an opportunity to improve their station; from the wreckage of their former ways, the Goblins rose to aid the civil races of Midgard. Forming an alliance with the desperate elves, the goblins agreed to help defend their growing settlements in exchange for payment and fair treatment, the same as any other civilized race. From there, they proved their worth and trustworthiness, and meet the same level of acceptance now that half-orcs once did.
Four of the six heroes of the Rending rose to become gods. Gleb, possessor of a potent Spark of Divinity, became Gleb the Father-God; Aelon, transformed into a full dragon, became the God of Dragons and Magic; Daloni, now a full half-dragon, forged godly blades to wield as the Goddess of Battle, Strategy, and those of dragon blood; and of course, Swen, who became Gleb’s closest friend and greatest source of paranoia, as the God of Trickery, Cunning, and Music.
The other two chose instead to remain on Midgard, and help rebuild. For their help, they always have the eye of Gleb upon them, granting them advantageous fortune, along with being immortal by way of their old friend simply sending them back for more.
Garth chose to help replant and replenish the earth, wandering for the last 250 years between settlements to deliver seeds and supplies to those who need them, along with informally founding a group that calls itself the Order of The Windward Seed, more commonly known as the Green Knights.
Serafina went back to her monastery, a master beyond any they had ever seen. Gleb had gifted her with a glimpse into the truth of Nirvana and the way of peace, and she singlehandedly reformed her order, and in fact all monastic orders left on Midgard. They now all follow her teachings, though some have split off in years since, either from a desire to do things differently, or from malice towards her personally.