Eternity

Twisted Timelines
Epilogue

Those heroes accompanying the caravan across the desert met their end at business end of a roaming death worm, which, although it was slain, left their surviving members stranded in the desert. Unable to complete their true destinies, they never encountered the Alchemist, never fought by his side against an encroaching army of Divs, and were never caught in the fated catastrophic explosion of the Alchemist’s stockpile. As a result, no one was pulled across time and into the heart of the ancient Osirion/Jistka conflict, where they were meant to join the Song Pharaoh’s rebellion, assassinate the Pharaoh of Forgotten Plagues before his evil could be accomplished, and drive Ahriman back into Gehenna.

Instead, Ahriman and the Pharaoh of Dark Plagues conquered all of northern Garund, nearly dragging the rest of the world into their private war of ambition. The Pharaoh was ultimately only undone by the withdrawal of his ally and fell victim of his own pride. The now immortal god-king vanished before his rebelling populace could see him ultimately destroyed. Now two immortal dark powers lie dormant, hidden in the deserts of Garund.

With Ahriman’s continued presence in Thuvia, the Divs under his command were left with far greater power and free reign. Acting as agents for the demigod of corruption, they began subtly manipulating the nation, influencing the city states directly and indirectly. The noble ideals of the Elixir’s sale were swiftly lost, allowing virtually anyone with gold to purchase a phial. The increased dangers of travel in Thuvia proved catastrophic to the nation’s trade and its economy became even more dependent on the Elixir’s sale. Passhow’s power and influence would grow to dwarf those of the other four city-states. Aspenthar and Merab became ports more of strategic than economic value, and Thuvia’s attention turned far more towards militaristic and defensive interests. Still, none have tried to take the Elixir by force or even invaded Thuvia’s sovereign soil in any significant way.

Beyond the nation’s borders, the Living God, Razmir, has been easily able to discretely obtain the Sun Orchid Elixir. Without the investment of resources in its acquisition, Razmiran’s ruler was able to strike deeper into the River Kingdoms before an allied force drove him back to his present borders. Only an opportunity presented by Razmir’s temporary absence allowed the River Kingdoms to accomplish that victory.

South, in Garund, Lirgen’s crippling defeat at the hands of ancient Osirion forced Yamasa to become a military power, using its famous astrologers and seers to ensure victories, but leaving it a starving nation. When Osirion collapsed in on itself with the Pharaoh of Dark Plagues defeat, the Yamasarans annexed what remained of their northern neighbor and sister nation. They remained a power in Golarion, enforcing control over much of the Fever Sea and Arcadian Ocean right up until the Eye of Abendego Opened, when the nation’s gentry largely fled the country, the prophets committed mass suicide, and the rulers watched their lands drown and fleets be destroyed under the hurricane’s fury.

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Ambushed and robbed, but not beaten
Welcome to Pashow

Amidst preparations and festivities readying for the coming Auction, each of you responded to a notice posted by Seemi Qadi and calling for those brave enough to seek “gold and glory” in the Thuvian desert. No sooner were you, along with an elf and a halfling named Sami, hired by Seemi, then you were ambushed by thugs and thieves. Whilst combat ensued, your employer’s carefully hand-drawn map was stolen. You were able to dispatch all the muggers, but not before the map was passed off to an invisible mage waiting on a nearby rooftop. Interrogation revealed that it was the local hedge-wizard Ashran who desired the item.

Meanderings and personal discoveries eventually brought you to the wizard’s tower, where guards and traps utterly failed to halt your quest to reclaim the valuable parchment. Even Ashran himself yielded to your threats, allowing himself to be bound and handed over to the authorities. He made an effort to bribe each of you after it was revealed he was a member of the Usiij, but none of you were so easily taken in.

Now, two of the city watch are escorting you, along with Ashran and one of his hirelings, back to the Sarac-Inn, where Seemi waits, eager to get on with his quest to find and sell a sun orchid.

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Hasim's Journal - 3 Neth
Divs Without, Demons Within

. . .

Returning to the Inn, the ambush struck; a div and its wretched familiar. Alaqua was struck down, I was cursed with boils, and the beast escaped justice. Praise be that by the church and Her mercy I was cured, and praise them too for taking up the task of finding the beast. We were overmatched to be sure. It is by a grace beyond me why we survived at all.

. . .

Restoring Alaqua is difficult. Positive energy seers him, only negative energy revives. In the morning I will pray for aid that I might give it in kind. We found a flask of blood on his hip. We must confront him, find out how he came by it. I’ve sought wisdom in these pages, and the truth is clear: if it came unwillingly, the deed is a black one. I will pray for compassion and decision in fair measure. I have not lost hope for him. His bravery in the ambush speaks volumes toward his character.

. . .

Seemi and the town guard both proved generous in rewarding our deeds. We had Seemi in a bad spot for negotiation. I am glad to go with the man. To be paid a better amount is welcome, and needed: but this life of adventure is sometimes so inglorious. The songs never sing of how the glorious hero managed to feed his camel or keep sharp his sword during the months in-between. I hope there are no bad feelings over business. I am confident that he has paid a fair price for a good group: never have I seen four strangers find teamwork with such ease. The captain of the guard will see me again in four weeks. He has promised me a drink if I survive the desert. I will accept it when we all six of us survive. I feel I can rely on myself. The greater glory is in proving reliable to these six new friends.

. . .

“Darkness is older than Light. It runs deep, unseen. To see the Shadow is to bring it into the Light.”
Light and Truth

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Northerner's Journal - 4 Neth
On Divs, an Abstract

4 Neth
Headaches: Returned today. Moderate severity.
Nightmare: Continuing. Unchanged.
Muscles: Stiffer than usual, but no serious change. Regular stretching continues to dull pain.
Miscellany: Engaged in altercation with Div today. Engaging from range remains noticeably less taxing.


With the band’s apprehension of Ashran, it would appear we have made an enemy (or curiosity) of some Div. Even the mage could see we were being toyed with when it struck. As a result, I’ve consulted several tomes and bestiaries within Pashow’s Temple of Nethys. I record my insights below:

“Divs are a categorical family by means of their common corruption, rather than any biological basis. Their original forms are unknown to this humble author, but it is certain that they come from before even the Starfall.” ~Emad ibn Faruk’s Treatise on Genies and Other Desert Wonders

“The magicks of my brothers did little to slow the beast. Electricity and acid, in particular, seemed only to slow its advance.” ~Confession of Abbas al Aziz, the Blue Traitor

“Divs, like many foul creatures who have turned from Her light, have no defense against one pure in thought and act. For lesser men without recourse, iron mined from the deepest depths serves as a poor, yet singular, alternative.” ~The Dawnflower’s Blade

Further, it seems each grouping of Div possesses a unique compulsion (possibly related to the corruption of their form? Or what invited the corruption in the first place?). I have tested one of the below and found great success. This information was gathered from an unknown text, the cover burned beyond recognition. It can be located along with the rest in the library at the Pashow temple of Nethys.

Doru
DoruA floating head. May come in many forms, but the one I have encountered personally is illustrated to the side. They are compelled to gather and hoard secrets. I used this compulsion to lure one into a clear trap that it was aware of, and though the cleric dealt it grievous wounds, it escaped.

Aghash
Sand creature, humanoid, save its head. A gaping maw holds a single, massive eye within that shimmers with multiple colors. It is compelled to destroy forms of beauty. As it bestowed a curse of boils upon the cleric (most beautiful of the group), I believe this to also be true.

Hira
Sand Stalker, description missing. Compelled by challenges.

Ghawwas
Sea Monster, description missing. Compelled by sound, specifically bells? Source script is damaged.

Akvan
Description missing. Compelled by hatred of Genie.

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Nadira's Journal - 8 Neth
Desert Dangers

The expedition continues to prove more dangerous than I anticipated. In the three days since we left Pashow we have been forced to defend ourselves three times from various enemies. While we have prevailed thus far each time it is by a narrower margin. Despite having journeyed into the desert on numerous occasions before, I cannot remember being this hard pressed. I find myself wondering how many threats my master’s magic kept at bay that he never told me about.

Thankfully my own magic continues to grow as we continue our journey. The encounter with the wizard Ashran, and the acquisition of his spellbook, has opened my eyes to the workings of more directly disruptive spells that I did not previously have a reason to pursue. Indeed, the timely use of a multiphasic chromatic array has already saved my life once. Though, I am sure that master Gellius would have been quick to chastise me for forgetting the first rule of illusions during a recent combat with a sand elemental; visual distractions mean nothing to creatures without eyes.

That encounter has left me with a degree of apprehension. I had always considered an actual encounter with creatures closer to my own kin to be a remote possibility as there were no such encounters during previous expeditions. Although, if my current thinking is correct, the reasons for such a situation may not have been strictly statistical. I have for many years contented myself with a theoretical understanding of my heritage. I am not sure if I am ready to deal with what I really come from.

And yet, my companions were very accepting when they learned what I am. While their ways are still perplexing to me I feel that I can trust these strangers more than the people I grew up with. Which is disturbing considering one is a half-vampire.

Perhaps the Northerner is right; I am too naive to be out here.

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Al Alaqua's Journal, 9th Neth

The Div Woman came to me in a dream. The others say she came to all of them as well. She came to Nadira – I know this. I have seen the look in her eyes. Perhaps the Northman. Hasim, for the first time since our meeting, I am suspicious of. When a man makes that much clamor over a thing, the thing is usually a mirage.

The woman predicted a pit. The wagon would pull ahead, she said, and the others would be attacked by a beast in a pit which would try and eat them up. I saw this happen to Hasim. She was right. She was seen things. But this does not mean she knows the minds of men.

But it does not mean she does not, either.

Maybe the woman was right. Maybe the mean to trap me. Maybe they only see me as an animal, like a jackal or falcon – trained to hunt with, or a mule, to carry their burdens, or a dog, to watch over them at night. They would not be the first. She said I should wait until they were weak and strike, like a predator, like “I was born to be”. And she is right – they would not be the first to learn from the mistake of using me as such. But if I do this thing, am I not just what they are using me as? Are they not right? If I striker at them like and animal and they are my friends, then I am a wild beast, and deserve death. And if I do not strike, and they are using me as such, then I can always strike later, and otherwise I will be dead – and it matters not. And if I do not strike, and it turns out they are my friends, then it is all for the best.

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