he elven druids forever speak of the Final Harvest. Dwarven priests drink to Fimbulvetr, the “Long Winter” that will come before the “Death of Powers.” My friends, my enemies, all those who read this I warn you. We have reached that winter.
To the priests of Moradin, while I fought to channel the rage of King Hextor Wornhammer long eons ago, your bards knew me as Redeye McIronbeard. When age cut down that champion of Woden and he fell in battle to a younger king it was Redeye the Undying who accompanied his boastful soul on the wings of Valkyrie song. While my honored brother quaffs mead with Thor and battles the Gods for sport, it was I who passed the ages in travel across the planes of Ao as the famed scribe of Heimdall the Red. If I could tell you the knowledge I gained, your minds would shatter like goblin skulls beneath your warboots. In your mortal shell you cannot handle the truth of it. But tell you I must, with short verse and small words.
Mystra is dead, murdered by Cyric the Mad and some say that Shar had guided his hand Our God Tyr the slayer of Helm allied with Sune and Lathander to imprison Cyric in his own realm. This crime occurred in 1385 DR which your scribes now call the Year of Blue Fire and the same year that the champions Millaesh Ivellios and Thefarest Sayin disappeared from verse.
When the Goddess of Magic was slain, her entire plane exploded in a nova of blue spell fire. That fire raged across all of Ao’s multiverse and burns even now. Mystra’s spell weave completely collapsed, making all magic useless. Libraries, wizard towers and temples simultaneously exploded as all the magic they contained was released in one massive detonation. Most of the powerful wizards were killed instantly. Others were driven mad and wander their worlds as imbeciles. Only the weak minded or the incompetent survived and many of them are scarred.
In your plane, entire worlds were destroyed and all magic ended. The magical blue fires of the Spell Plague erased entire continents on your planet. Most of your world’s population was wiped out of existence. A fourth of the survivors were stricken with and killed by the plague. Another fourth starved from the famines. Still another fourth died in the wars that followed. You are all that remain and you are dying by the thousands even now.
You are here because Toril and some of her cities were shielded by Gods and heroes or your eyes would not be reading this. To make matters worse, Toril’s sister planet thought once to be a myth, collided and partially combined with your world.
Wild magic burns freely with the scourge of Mytra’s Spell Plague. of those who survive, many including monster and beast now control or are controlled by a portion of Slain Mystra’s power. The world is more dangerous. We have done much to repair the damage but our once limitless resources are now easily exhausted. The fires still burn. Many of the Gods are dead. Many are lost. Many have no power and are as mortal as you.
Yet all is not lost. Your shattered economies are reviving. You have recovered some magic. not all of the strong have perished from your ranks. The suffering you have endured has hardened you as the smith’s fire hardens river mud into dwarven steele. Still, you must prepare yourself for the worst. The peace you have earned is but the eye of a great storm that has not finished its war with you.
That feared Goddess Shar of the dark is repairing parts of the Shadow Weave as best as her knowledge will allow and for her own purpose I have no doubt. We believe that Shar helped Cyric murder Mystra to exact vengeance for their personal wars but also that Shar might absorb the Spell Weave as her own Shadow Weave was an embarrassing replica. She miscalculated and with Mystra’s death, both Weaves collapsed. Yet Shar prevails and has accomplished much. She has also combined the Negative Energy Plane with the Plane of Shadows, a perversion that she calls the Shadowfell. Without the light of Mystra to counter her dark power, one can only imagine the suffering in store for any that do not side with her. Yet as powerful and unstoppable as Shar appears, there is a far greater threat that causes even her to tremble.
You have restored power to some of your lost artifacts and created new, albeit pathetic items of power. You are to be commended for surviving at all but again I warn you. Ao is reborn. The long Winter is coming.
We of Toril are protected by the Gods. How could this disaster that spans worlds and planes have happened? In order to understand a century of strife we must try to understand the past.
In the Year of Blue Fire, Mileash Ivellios Baron of Cormyr’s Stonelands and Thefarest Sayin the exiled prince of Mullhorund were left to defend Toril from demonic invasion in the absence of their Gods and the Chosen. Eliminster and the champions of the Gods were defending Toril from new enemies across the planes. The Gods had entrusted this task to mortal heroes because the Gods were waging war against themselves concerning the rebirth of Ao the creator. It is said that Ao who created all would soon destroy all on a whim so that he could delight in rebuilding it, like a child playing with toys.
Toril’s heroes were sent on a quest to retrieve an artifact that might prevent the Destroyer from returning to life but that quest failed.
Ao was and is the God of Gods. The Gods that forged your reality were in turn forged by Ao. That you have not heard of him is no accident. There is no God living or dead who can understand Ao. For me to try is meaningless.
All of Ao’s creation is believed to be based on a mechanical and spiritual balance of push and pull, dark and light, good and evil. There is no light without darkness. Each creation gives the opposing creation perspective and meaning, contrast. When Ao created the Gods of light, he then created the Gods of Evil to give them meaning. There can be no joy without suffering for joy is the loss of suffering. There can be no suffering without joy because suffering is the loss of joy.
The Gods of light created angels to fight the demons that had been created by the Gods of Dark. Lucifer and Asmodeus were two of these angels. The Gods of light tell that these angels rebeled against Ao and were punished but Asmodeus and Lucifer have told a different story…
According to the Prince of Lies, The creator was also a destroyer. Evidence of this is displayed in the life and death cycle of all that Ao built. Ao had created and destroyed countless multiverses before this one, just for fun. He has never valued his creations and never will. In order to save themselves and creation from total destruction, it was necessary for the Gods and their angels to take action. Lucifer and Asmodeus were chosen for this action and they did so willingly.
Ao was a fool, confident and trusting. Murdering him was easy. The God’s body fell but could not be destroyed so his children, the Gods of Good and Evil, hid his corpse in the Astral Plane where the Githyanki have built their cities on his flesh since the dawn of their time.
Lucifer and Asmodeus were not thrown to Hell but came willingly. A contract was signed by the Gods, giving the angels power to punish the dead and to draw power from that torment. Since the contract allows devils and demons to profit from damned souls, these Lords became heavily invested in tempting mortals to their hells. Over time, such ‘fallen’ angels have absorbed enough power from damned mortals to become Greater Gods themselves.
Such an absurd story was never once believed until Thefarest and Milaesh found the corpse of Ao in the astral plane. Without the lost Bell of Asmodeus, the heroes could not prevent his awakening. Many Gods from across the planes rushed to keep Ao under but in the end, Ao’s eyes opened. He looked on his creations without emotion and then simply vanished.
Seconds later, Mystra was murdered and the multiverse burned. The year is 1479 DR, the year of the Ageless one. May Ao have mercy on our souls.