Following the death of Mondain,
Mondain's remains - his heart, brain, and an arm
- came into the possession of monks of the Brotherhood of the Rose.
Each year since, the remains had been put on display in commemoration
of the Stranger's victory,
and 300 years after Mondain's defeat, the next place for display was
Vesper. The fates of the shards of
the shattered Gem, however, were unknown until that time. Some may
wonder how there may be gems within the worlds if the worlds are in the
gems, but rest assured many saw them with their own eyes. Scattered
throughout the land were strange tombstones with odd riddles, and the
solution to these riddles lead seekers to find those lost shards, but
the shards themselves also offered riddles, and these led to a prophecy:
Upon a day when snow doth fall,
Within the week, Lord British issued a proclamation that to stem the growing tide of crime and murder in the land, an order of knights were to be established who would wear shields bearing the king's symbol of the silver serpent and bring order to the land. Lord Blackthorn in response also established a knighthood to bear his own symbol and to oppose tyranny. The two resolved that these orders of knights would have leave to fight freely, even within the cities, without interference of the guards.
In the wake of these announcements, the city of Wind, long forgotten, revealed itself to the world and invited the most skilled mages to join Wind and pursue the principle of Balance. The Order and Chaos knights continue to battle unabated, regardless, even to this day.
Only a great disturbance in the aether could have called the shards from the deep, and from our historical perspective, we can guess at the cause of that disturbance: our Britannia's first encounter with another facet. By that time in Ilshenar, the Ilshenarians had banished the four Followers of Armageddon Martoo Saul, Junin Pince, Zendella Kxriss, and Miron Vehl through their facet gate of Justice. The place to which they were banished was our own Britannia. The Followers immediately set about insinuating themselves into positions of influence. They began to collect bits of blackrock, the most rare of substances, and horde it in secret caches throughout Britannia. The peculiar property of blackrock is that it can block and channel aetherial waves as no other substance can. One application of this effect is to open gateways between dimensions, such as those the Cabal used to contact the dark wisps. They saved the blackrock for a time when they would need to consult with those allies again. Allies in Britannia were gathered under the name of the Zog Cabal but were never inducted into the true ethos of the Cabal in Ilshenar, nor made aware of the existence of that facet.
The relics of Mondain, and their
keeper, Brother Olic, were captured by orcs on the road travelling from
Vesper to Britain, but Olic was rescued and the relics redisplayed in
Britain. In all likelyhood, this was the first move of the cabalists,
who were still unknown to the people of Britannia. There was,
however, another villain who might have desired the relics, and none
can say for certain who it really was who tried to steal them in Vesper.
The cabal entered public view by the murder of an upstanding man, Hartham the weapons trainer of Trinsic. The criminal was found by Crawworth the captain of the guards to be a man named Duryn, who however revealed nothing of use before taking his own life. At Hartham's wake, a man appeared who revealed the murder to be but the first act of an agenda to frustrate Order and Lord British's desire to unify the shards, enacted by an organization calling itself the Zog Cabal. Investigation yielded little information about the Cabal, but the scrutiny uncovered gold embezzled by the paladin Juo'Nar. Juo'Nar was banished from Trinsic.
Shortly after, Britannia was beset on three fronts. Twin liches Lathiari and Kyrnia raised the dead in vile experiments, Juo'Nar the fallen paladin harried Trinsic with armies of demihumans, and trolls staked a claim to the northern shore of Vesper. Speculation ran rampant that the Zog Cabal masterminded it all from behind the scenes, but the Cabal's agenda lay on entirely different lines. Nevertheless, Crawworth resigned his position in Trinsic to dedicate his time to revealing the Cabal. In his stead, Flinth Desryn became the new captain of Trinsic's guard.
Rather than being agents of the Cabal, Juo'Nar, the lich twins, and the trolls were agents of a new threat, entirely unsuspected by anyone at the time. Minax was by then aware of the multitude of other facets on the shard. She did not yet have the means to travel between facets, but she was able to communicate across them. She instructed the troll brothers G'Splat and G'Thunk to unify their people to regain what was lost to Uulther Malphane, and she told Juo'Nar of the magical necklace that he employed to command orcs and lizardmen.
Despite this assistance, the trolls failed in their objectives. G'Splat was slain, and afterward the trolls' resolve evaporated. Juo'Nar pressed Britannia's ability to defend itself, drawing attention to attacks on the shrines while raiding supply caravans. One such raid led to the death of the wife of Flinth Desryn. Desryn redoubled his efforts at locating Juo'Nar, until with the help of Brother Olic, Juo'Nar was at last found in Ocllo and slain. Notably, neither G'Thunk nor the body of Juo'Nar were accounted for when all was said and done.
Lathiari and Kyrnia seemingly acted entirely on their own motives, engendered by the traumatic loss of their mother long before, but they too were assisted with information from the Enchantress. After the pair were driven from their tower in the environs of Yew, adventurers discovered there a magical device created from the same material of which the shrines were constructed. Whereas the shrines are well known for resurrecting those who have met a violent death, with Minax's help the liches had corrupted the stone so as to raise the dead who had died naturally and peacefully, a method Minax herself would later apply. Sage Humboldt charged adventurers to find any remaining corrupted shrinestone and bring it to him to be hidden. While the sage researched a way to put an end to the liches, Lathiari and Kyrnia made an assault upon Trinsic. Lord Blackthorn took it upon himself to rally defenders and meet them, but in the ensuing battle, the liches opened a red moongate and forced Lord Blackthorn to enter. Some claimed in the following days to see Lord Blackthorn at various places in the land running into red moongates as soon as he was spotted, but no explanation has been offered for these sightings. From that time, Lord Blackthorn was not seen for many months. Sage Humboldt at last devised a way to destroy Lathiari and Kyrnia. He did this by consuming their very hearts, the blackness of which consumed his own life also. Only a potion that drew its power from the Bell of Courage itself allowed him to survive long enough to eat the hearts entirely. The sage's passing was mourned by many in Britannia.
For a time, evil in Britannia was faceless and unknown, but its continuing presence was revealed by the theft of the relics of Mondain from Britain's Counselor hall. Crawworth immediately declared the theft to be an act of the Zog Cabal, but Sage Winslow (who succeeded Sage Humboldt) suggested a re-examination of the facts, since as yet the only evidence for the Cabal's existence was the raving of one madman at Hartham's wake. More evidence appeared in the form of a notebook salvaged from a burning ship off the coast of Vesper. The book bore the title "Zog Cabal," but its contents were indecipherable. The notebook was transported to Crawworth in Trinsic, and Winslow also traveled to Trinsic to examine the book himself when it arrived.
Unknown to all, and through adventures that cannot be guessed, Sage Winslow met his end in the dungeon Shame sometime after his arrival in Trinsic. His fate was not uncovered until many months after, for his identity was assumed by the Cabalist and Follower of Armageddon, Miron Vehl. With none the wiser, Vehl used Winslow's position as a cover for his activities.
Finding no means to comprehend the strange glyphs in the notebook, Crawworth left the matter to Winslow and directed his attentions to Vesper, where the book's writer may have been at some time. On the north bridge from Vesper, Crawworth was abducted and held for many days by mercenary orcs. His rescuers found evidence that the Cabal was responsible.
What followed was the greatest accomplishment of the Followers of Armageddon and their most famous act in Britannia. They gained access to all the knowledge left in Mondain's brain, which they had indeed stolen in Britain, and learned more about the nature of the Gem of Immortality than they had ever hoped. No one can guess at the thoughts of such a man as Mondain, or what the Followers' ultimate objective might have been. As the thoughts of the four Followers of Armageddon turned back to Ilshenar, they began to discard servants whose usefulness had declined. The ranks of the Cabal from that point began to thin. Some cabalists believed the Followers' spell was a failed attempt at casting Armageddon and lost faith in their leaders. Others became fearful that life might actually be wiped out and wanted no more part of it. The Followers' next step was to gather the blackrock caches and consult with the dark wisps.
As a consequence of the terrible power of Mondain's mind even in death, powerful earthquakes rocked the world after the Followers' ritual. Hundreds of elementals were released at the site where the spell was cast, in the mountains north of Minoc. In the aftermath of the earthquakes, new passages were discovered under the earth. The old ways to Ambrosia had been reopened. Lord British assigned Crawworth to lead an expedition and survey the new land. Crawworth's expedition made contact with the people of Delucia and encountered the Terathan and Ophidian races, to whom the expeditioners lost their lives.
Such a visible and dramatic action by the Zog Cabal demanded that new efforts be directed towards revealing this still-mysterious organization. Sir Duquelle offered a sizable reward and the thanks of Lord British himself for the live capture of a Cabalist, so that they might reveal much-needed information. Duquelle did discover valuable information, but paid for it with his life. Sir Geoffery assumed leadership of the investigation and first pursued the matter of Duquelle's death. Silencing Duquelle proved to be a misstep for the Followers of Armageddon, as the act left clues very damaging to their cause. They were forced to abandon their hideout in Vesper, and Winslow was jailed on suspicion of involvement. Most critically, the existence of the blackrock caches was discovered, and the locations were quickly put under constant guard. Evidence was also discovered insinuating that Julia the Tinker was involved with the Followers of Armageddon, and she was placed under house arrest. Investigation of Winslow's activities revealed that he had been researching wisps and had prompted Mariah the Mage to undertake research on blackrock. No evidence was discovered of wrongdoing on the part of Winslow, and so after some time he was released.
With the constant vigilance of guardsmen at the known blackrock caches, several Followers of Armageddon were apprehended and imprisoned in Serpent's Hold. However, by the time Nystul devised a way to open the caches' magically locked chests and remove the blackrock from the Followers' reach, they had already recovered a substantial amount. As the captured Followers of Armageddon were moved from Serpent's Hold to Yew for an eventual trial, one was freed by collaborators. Associates of Gruzak, the notorious half-orcish assassin, secretly poisoned the remaining Follower of Armageddon in custody. The poison was obscure, but a cure was concocted from especially rare and potent forms of garlic, ginseng, and nightshade.
Some accusations were made that the attempted assassination had been commissioned by none other than Lord Blackthorn. Lord Blackthorn had recently returned unexpectedly to Britannia, bringing tales of his explorations of Ambrosia. He did not comment on the reports of witnessing him entering red moongates in various dungeons after his abduction, but very uncharacteristically expressed the need for greater enforcement of the virtues, especially on criminals such as the Followers of Armageddon. Any link between Lord Blackthorn and Gruzak remained tenuous and unsubstantiated.
The Followers of Armageddon still in possession of their freedom wasted no time in bringing their plans to fruition. Sending most of their remaining followers to a diversionary attack on Trinsic, they abducted Julia and Mariah to their sanctum in the depths of dungeon Shame, where the lingering effects of Mondain's ancient spells facilitated contact with dimensions outside Britannia. There they compelled Julia and Mariah to craft two stone pentagrams from the Followers' blackrock. The pentagrams were transported to the surface for the ritual to summon the dark wisps. Britannian soldiery intervened just as the ritual was completed. The dark wisps were destroyed, and the remaining Followers of Armageddon, save only Miron Vehl and the one in prison, were slain trying to defend them.
Leaderless, the remaining supporters of the Followers disclosed themselves in erratic, purposeless attacks. Tracking them down, Halston Montil interrogated members of that motley crew until at last learning of the Follower's hideout in Shame. Halston and the Britannian forces arrived in Shame at a strange standoff. G'Thunk the troll was facing down Miron Vehl, leader of the Followers of Armageddon. To one side stood Mariah and Julia. G'Thunk intended to kill Miron Vehl, blaming him, for whatever reason, for the death of his brother G'Splat. The words of Halston Montil, Julia, and the others gathered would not dissuade G'Thunk, and he descended upon Vehl. Julia interposed herself at the last moment, taking the blow that sent her into a coma, from which she has never recovered. G'Thunk was slain in the ensuing melee, and Miron Vehl surrendered himself. Preparations were made for a trial of Vehl and the other captured Follower of Armageddon, but both inexplicably died in custody.
The truth of their origins and motives remained a mystery until the discovery of their compatriots in Ilshenar.