The Fall of Arendur

A remembrance

by Silvanus Andrellus

'Ar' --Always
'Endur' -- Endure

Time passes so differently for me now. Years used to pass as minutes, centuries as days. Now each passing moment seems an eternity. I sleep, more often than not, dreaming of what once was, wishing, praying for it to return. All I have are my memories. And memories could never do it justice. 

I weep for what was and no more is,
The old realms, the kingdoms, the kings.
I hunger for these things, but what more is,
I cannot forget these things

I shall change as the things that I cherish,
Shall fade as they faded before.
As foam upon water shall perish,
As sand washed upon the shore...

I will make the city live on, even if only as a memory.

"Time passes differently for those who make it so."

Tolumvire was fond of that saying, using it to illustrate his vision. "Arendur can be whatever we want it to be...there is no limit. The only limits are those we make for ourselves."

  By this time Tolumvire had attracted the greatest minds the multiverse had to offer. It was an exciting time, where nothing, no problem, no issue was too grand for these great thinkers to solve.  

Together the best of the best were working on a problem of cosmic significance. Historians, theologians, arcanists and even oracles had all come to the same frightening realization. Arendur, which was perhaps the pinnacle of civilization to this point, was destined to be destroyed, like every city before it.

How could the gods, how could fate, how could time itself be so cruel as to destroy something so beautiful? To not even give it a fighting chance...?

Tolumvire, the sage, the warrior-poet, the arch-mage, the inventor, the dreamer, refused to accept that 'fate' left no other options for him, or for the city he called home. He created a plan, one that would cheat fate of its spoils, a plan that would allow Arendur and all its citizens to continue to prosper.

He planned to break the vicious cycle that called for Arendur's destruction. A monumental task, no doubt, but one that was not impossible--especially for a man like Tolumvire.

Cycles and cycles ago, during the first Great War of the gods, the universe had been sundered, creating the Outer planes, the Outlands, the Elemental, the Astral, the Ethereal, and the Prime Material. The only place where the planes were still united was the very place where they had been sundered all those ages ago--Raak-po, the first city. What most people fail to realize is that remnants of even the first city exist today, if you know where to look.

Arendur, like Raak-po before it, was based upon the most ancient magicks and technologies known to mankind.  The core of the city predated even the first gods!  He had discovered and learned how to use these ancient secrets; something no man and maybe no god had ever fully done before. Arendur was the nexus of the multiverse--with the proper understanding you can do with it what you please. Tolumvire had that understanding and he planned to use it.

To break the cycle, Tolumvire believed you must first undo that which had been done years ago. You must unite the planes--create a universe from a multiverse.

The most difficult part would be to merge the Infernus (the hells) with the rest of the multiverse. Eons ago, the gods had created the Infernus to imprison demons. Tolumvire had already foreseen the necessity of this task, as unpleasant as it would be. For years already, Tolumvire had been the Grand Master of a Cabal of Thaumaturgists (wizards that had mastered the demonic arts) and Slayers (holy warriors whose lives were devoted to destroying demons).   

As it was became more evident that Arendur's time was coming close to an end, A ritual was prepared at the Gatehouse. All the greatest Thaumaturgists in the realms were present. Slayers were on hand to witness (and to handle any unexpected events). The key elements had been assembled. The Gates to the Infernus, for better or for worse, would swing wide.

The rest of Arendur stood by, expectant, awaiting the dawning of a new age. Fathers stood proud, only seeming relaxed and strong for their families. Mothers watched, anxious, praying that their children would live to have families of their own.  Hopeful children lined the rooftops, curious but confident that Tolumvire would set things right.

Tolumvire finished the ritual, placing his essence, his very soul, into the incantation.

None of them could possibly plan for what happened next.

After the Gates Opened the City Burned
The Gatehouse shuddered, the streets quaked, the air was electric and dreadfully silent. A cold fog roiled through the gates and spread throughout the city. Onlookers began to scream. Reality folded, and unspeakable horrors poured into the city.

Whether the ritual was somehow disturbed, flawed, or just impossible, is still a matter of controversy. Seeking only to prevent Arendur's destruction, Tolumvire had unwillingly sped the process.

The Cabal immediately fell upon the creatures at the gates, battling their way towards a stunned and seemingly defenseless Tolumvire. Their sudden heedless charge forced the demon horde back and saved Tolumvire from a senseless slaughter. But as they tried to retreat to safety, Tolumvire refused to go. Instead, he solemnly grabbed Sorrow, one of the famed three swords, and he plunged headlong through the gate.

Tolumvire fought his way through the the demon masses into the Gatehouse. A handful of Slayers followed, willing to sacrifice themselves for their people and their leader. They realized the gates had to be shut quickly to end the destruction. Unfortunately, the only way to do this was shutting them from the inside. When the time came, Tolumvire sacrificed himself to close the Gates. 

Though Tolumvire's selfless sacrifice forever closed the Infernus, the damage had already been done.  Arendur lay in ruins. The prophecies had been fulfilled, the cataclysm had occurred, and another age, the Age of Legends, had come to a violent end.

Tolumvire died so that others may live. In his mind, his sacrifice was penance--the least he could do for his failure. There is one consolation to this sad tale. Though the demons of the Infernus may have ravaged his physical form, they did not claim his soul. His essence was consumed by the ritual. His soul will remain part of the city, part of Arendur, and now part of Sigil, until it can merge with the incarnation of Tolumvire in the next cycle.