Appendix A | Appendix B | Appendix C | Maps
Aagaard: This massive black fortress was the capital of the largest Human kingdom in Erebia. It fell to Vlockor's armies without a fight, and now serves as the Demon Lord's base of operations.
Alloria (Lori): An Elven sorceress and wizardess, she flees her home in Anjali when Vlockor's Demons invade and conquer it in their search for the Ninth Hellfire Gem. Her resolve to find a way to stop the Demon Lord leads her to Krell's village in the Druunhaelen mountains, where she finds a mission and allies worthy of her loyalty.
Anaiyailla (Anna): Krell's younger sister, a vibrantly beautiful woman with an enchanting voice, she brings to the fight one thing the Demon Lord cannot defeat: the love and light of God, a force beyond Vlockor's ability to thwart or taint. And, though unaware of it herself, it is her prayers that wake the Dragon Krishna and send him into the skies near her village.
Anastas Mikoyan: A half-Elf, half-Human, wizard in the Baezean military and good friend of Darius, Anastas fights the Demon armies even though he does not share the faith in God of his countrymen. While proficient in wizardry magic, his hopes rest with the more powerful sorcery magic-as yet unscientifically employed by the priests and clerics-for he believes that only through its mastery can the Demon Lord be stopped.
Anduihil (Andy): Alloria's younger brother, Andy loses his life in the Druunhaelen Mountains defending her.
Anjali: This Elven city north of the Dykonor Mountains in eastern Erebia was the home of Alloria and Anduihil. It fell to an airborne squadron of Demons shortly after the Ninth Hellfire Gem arrived there.
Archfiend: The Archfiend is the most powerful of all Demons. They possess genius-level intelligence and are powerful magicians. Their numbers are limited, and they range in shape and size from Human-like to gargantuan monsters.
Baeza: A continent on the other side of the world from Erebia, it is the homeland of the knights of Baeza. Baeza was invaded by Vlockor nearly 180 years before the events chronicled in this book, and about 20 years after the Demon Lord came through the Great Barrier and seized the first Hellfire Gem. Through 40 years of war, Vlockor battled disciplined and resourceful armies of the continent until he found there the second and third Hellfire Gems. He then left in search of the fourth gem, leaving a formidable army to finish conquering the mountainous northern region of the continent, a task at which it failed.
Beastspawn: A Beastspawn is the offspring of a Pit Beast crossed with a large mammal, usually a horse. It has large wings and a small innate magic that allows it to fly. Talons, sharp teeth, and a slightly reptilian look mirror those of a Pit Beast, but the Beastspawn usually has the fur and body structure of its mammalian parent.
Cellestillena (Celleste): A Sylph who befriends Anaiyailla, she becomes an ally of those trying to thwart Vlockor's efforts to find and retrieve the Ninth Hellfire Gem.
Chief Ogen: The first son of the Ogen clan lord, Tyrus Ogen. Chief Ogen travels with Kripa into the Druunhaelen Mountains , bringing along hundreds of warriors from his clan.
Darius De'Maakthorn: A Paladin of the Light and Captain in the Baezean military, Darius's faith in God guides and inspires him in the fight against evil. Darius is the last of an ancient order charged with the preservation of a talisman that once belonged to Saint Sevannah. (See Prologue.) Darius and his countrymen have come from the other side of the world in a desperate attempt to stop Vlockor from recovering the final gem.
Dragon: An ancient race from a bygone epoch, Dragons are so rare and prone to such long hibernations that most doubt they ever existed.
Dreuth-sur: One of the original Pit Demons Vlockor brought through the Great Barrier. He is arrogant and powerful, and despises Kripa for usurping what was rightfully his command: the mission into the Druunhaelen Mountains to recover the Ninth Hellfire Gem.
Druunhaelen Mountains: A vast forested wilderness in northern Erebia, the Druunhaelen Mountains are home to the Dragon Krishna, Krell and Anaiyailla, Cellestillena, Kripa-and the fabled Temple Mount.
Elf: Elves are shorter and slighter than Humans and are said to be related-the probable offspring of Humans and fairies. They are fair and comely, and tend to have long lives. Elves usually prefer to live in isolated communities in forested lands, but there are many who associate freely with Humans. The Elves and Humans of Baeza have formed an especially strong alliance, a bond necessitated by the need to defend against Vlockor's armies.
Erebia: A continent in the northern hemisphere of the world. The site of Vlockor's search for the Ninth Hellfire Gem.
The Great Barrier: A vibratory force that separates Earth from Hell, the Great Barrier is not visible in the physical world, nor does it have a conventional location; it simply keeps the physical manifestations of the two planes apart. Under certain conditions, or by mastery of abstruse magic spells, a person can see through the barrier into the other plane, and with greater refinement even breech the barrier, though almost invariably in a narrowly circumscribed way. For a denizen of one plane to breech the barrier and cross into the other plane requires the assistance of a denizen of the latter. Further, except in the case where a Hellfire Gem is used, any such breech is only temporary.
Hellfire Gem: There are nine Hellfire Gems. Their physical manifestation on Earth occurs whenever the predominate consciousness of Earth-souls turn from the goodness, the spirituality, and the lucidity necessary to ensure the harmonic ascendancy of the Earth plane.
To an Earth-being, a Hellfire Gem can tantalize with the specter of infinite power, but only an Archfiend from the Nine Hells can actually use a Hellfire Gem. In possession of one, such a Demon can employ it to keep himself on the Earth side of the Great Barrier, as well as to draw from the Nine Hells a certain number of other Demons. Additional gems exponentially increase the number of Demons an Archfiend can draw through the barrier. With all nine gems the Great Barrier can be completely dissolved and all the denizens of the Nine Hells can be raised to the Earth plane. An Archfiend can also use a Hellfire Gem to bind willing Earth-beings into allegiance and obedience to his will. Those bound are known as "Hellsworn."
The Hellfire Gems, existing as they do only as a result of a preponderation of the bad, or material consciousness on Earth, can be affected by propinquity to the good or spiritual in varied and unpredictable ways.
Hellsworn: A Hellsworn person is an Earth-being who has voluntarily sworn an oath of allegiance to Hell in the presence of an Archfiend in possession of a Hellfire Gem. This oath overwhelms such a person with the collective consciousness of Hell. Functionally, the Hellsworn are reduced to mere ego-based consciousness and, so, are overrun by all the basest desires to which flesh is heir.
Kian: An experienced Elven warrior, Kian travels with Alloria after Demons invade and conquer his home city, Anjali.
Killmeville: This is a moderately sized, sprawling city located in the forested plains and hills between the Druunhaelen and Dykonor mountains. The city is home to various humanoid races that coexist through trade, despite mutual distrust and fear. There is no law save for the rules imposed by the local lords. It is to Killmeville that a small Baezean military unit has been detached to defeat those who would support Vlockor and to recruit those disposed to fight against him.
The Knights of Baeza: The only military force in the world to have held off Vlockor's armies, the Knights of Baeza sail to Erebia in a desperate bid to stop the Demon Lord from acquiring the Ninth Hellfire Gem. They are an efficient and experienced fighting force, whose officer class is heavily composed of sorcerers and wizards.
Kreen: This monster resembles a mantis-only one six to eight feet tall. It can wield weapons in its clawed pincers, but is only semi-intelligent. In pitched battle, it is a fierce opponent. The Kreen is a race created by Vlockor's magic, adapted from an insect he found prowling the deserts of Eriqat-a continent across the eastern ocean from Erebia-when he crossed the Great Barrier 200 years ago.
Krell: Anaiyailla's older brother, Krell is a charismatic Human warrior possessing extraordinary strength and willpower. He lives within a small community deep in the Druunhaelen Mountains , far removed from the conflict enveloping the world-that is, until he finds himself in possession of the Ninth Hellfire Gem.
Kripa: A shrewd half-Orc wizard, Kripa's drive for glory leads him back to his birthplace in the Druunhaelen Mountains as a commander of an expeditionary force. His orders are to create a forward base of operations from which Vlockor's armies can project power and recapture the Ninth Hellfire Gem.
Krishna: An ancient golden Dragon of immense size and power, Krishna is drawn from a centuries-old slumber in his underground lair deep in the Druunhaelen Mountains . His excursion from that lair prevents the Ninth Hellfire Gem from being delivered to Vlockor-diverting it into the hands of Krell and his people.
Lalendren: This is the largest and grandest Elven city in all of Erebia. It is located in the western ranges of the Druunhaelen Mountains , just north of Crystal Lake . Lalendren acts as a beacon for those fleeing Vlockor's armies and has already withstood one assault by his Demons.
The Nine Hells: This is the home world of Vlockor and his Demon minions. It exists on a separate plane than Earth, yet both are closely related through the dualism of the two primary forces of the physical universe. As such, Earth and the Nine Hells are "out of phase" with each other, and kept separate by the Great Barrier. Of the two primary forces (think: good vs. bad, spiritual vs. material, or lucidity vs. delusion) it is, of course, the bad that was to be dominant in the Nine Hells and the good that was to be dominant on Earth. Neither, however, reigns supreme in its respective plane.
Oresis: A Human city located on the shores of the icy northern waters where the Knights of Baeza make their first landing in Erebia.
Orc: This race is distantly related to Humans and, in silhouette, an Orc could pass for a Human, but Orcs generally are less intelligent and tend toward baser and more materialistic lives. By any standard, even their own, Orcs are ugly. They usually have fangs, piglike noses, and sickly colored skin-orange or yellowish, or sometimes a dark green. Orcs have long faces, fat lips, and very coarse hair. They can often be found living in subterranean lairs, but can also form urban communities and associate with Humans.
Paladin: A title given to a Baezean knight who has shown himself not only to be a formidable warrior, but to possess wisdom and charisma, and an ability to use sorcery magic.
Pit Beast: This Demon weighs anywhere from four hundred to two thousand pounds and can stand up to ten feet tall, though its preferred posture is on all fours. Its teeth, claws, and talons are like knives, and its forearms are long, strong, and dexterous. The Pit Beast's head is reptilian, like an alligator's, but with a shorter jaw and a much thicker cranium. Long curving horns protrude from the top if its head, and its eyes burn red to match its red-scaled body. Its wings help it to fly, aided by the monster's levitation magic. While the Pit Beast can cast many powerful spells, they are all innately generated, because it lacks the high intelligence needed to weave spells.
Pit Fiend: This Demon is the greatest and most terrible of all the Demons, short of the Archfiends themselves. The Pit Fiend stands seven to ten feet tall and weighs up to fifteen hundred pounds. They are humanoid in that they have two arms and two legs and stand upright, but the massiveness of their bodies and the profound differences in their biology puts them in a genus of their own. A Pit Fiend's head can have many forms, but always with a large mouth, sharp teeth, red-orange eyes, great spiral horns, and a countenance etched by every wicked desire. Large wings fold in around its red-scaled body when it is not in flight, and it sports talons the size of daggers. The Pit Fiend is highly intelligent and has mastery of numerous magic spells, both innate and personally crafted.
Soldier Demon: Lowest of the Demons, the Soldier Demon is not particularly intelligent. They are humanoid in form, typically standing six to seven feet in height and weighing two hundred twenty-five to three hundred pounds. They appear as large and grotesque male Humans with hideous orange-red skin, blackened and hardened by fire. Their features are obscenely exaggerated: noses are fat, large, hooked, or snoutlike; ears stick straight out, are very large or very small, or are long and pointed; chins and brows protrude; often, small horns jut from cheekbones, knees, elbows, shoulders, and knuckles; teeth are foul and fanged; lips are fat; muscles bulge monstrously; fingers are long and clawed; large horns protrude from the skull; and they have other similarly unsavory attributes.
Sorcery Magic: More powerful than wizardry magic, sorcery magic is seldom mastered and little understood. It exists everywhere and lies in all things, but, unlike the wizardry magic, it is not tethered to the astral or physical worlds. Sorcery magic usually draws from the causal (or ideational) realm and is, thus, subject to the laws thereof.
Within this realm are two broad forces, each of which vie in perfect duality for the allegiance of the evolving consciousness. These two forces can be understood as good and bad, spiritual and material, or even lucidity and delusion. When a person's life force, or soul, vibrates in consonance with one of these two forces-most commonly with just an aspect thereof-it begins to become possible to access and use sorcery magic. However, accomplishing this harmony is problematic because the laws governing consciousness transcend the physical world.
Thus, attuning the vibratory state of one's soul with either of the two forces is not a matter of engaging in any specific actions or in mastery of any physical or natural phenomena. It lies in one's connection to the macrocosmic consciousness of the universe, within which operates the microcosm of each soul. In this manner, the sorcery magic is available to individuals who act congruently with a purpose of one of the two primary forces of the universe.
Religious disciplines offer the most reliable path toward this end, and the magic is commonly known as "The Source" to those for whom it is revealed. The extent to which a person can draw magic from The Source is dependent upon the person's attunement with the conscious force from which the magic arises, and the person's ability to advance an objective of that greater consciousness.
To use this magic, a person must learn to create spells, a process that can take little more than a thought when the desired effects of the spell in relation to the laws of the physical universe are well understood-and, as has been noted, when the spell is congruent with a purpose of the greater consciousness from which the magic is drawn.
The highest form of sorcery magic comes not from either of the two primal forces, which together comprise the ideational universe, but from the progenitor of the material, astral, and ideational aspects of those three planes: the Light of Creation. Only the greatest of saints have ever achieved harmony with this, the ultimate source of magic.
The adept in this highest form of sorcery magic learns to draw life force (or prana) from the ether and to cloister that energy in their cerebellum, heart, and deep spine. Some learn to draw so much prana that they appear to have a halo, blatant even to the uninitiated. Engorged with prana, the astral and causal faculties of the seven energy plexuses of the body (i.e., chakras) become manifest, including the ability to use the astral and causal counterparts of the five physical senses. For example, the astral faculty of sight allows an adept sorcerer to see the eight fields of magic. (See "Wizardry Magic.")
Sylph: A very rare creature, a Sylph lives far away from all organized communities or societies. They are always female, and stand just four feet tall when fully grown. Sylphs possess exquisite beauty, resembling small, but exceedingly fair, Elf maidens, and have clear dragonfly-like wings. Their innate magic powers protect them from the elements and predators, but they lose their magic as a mating mechanism, forcing them to reproduce so as to regain it. While Sylphs prefer to mate with Elves, with the union negotiated through the agency of Sylphs or Elf maidens, most any male of any of the human species (e.g., Elves, Orcs) will do. The offspring is always a female Sylph.
Wizard Demon: This Demon is Human-like in form, but it also has large wings that enable it to fly. The Wizard Demon is moderately intelligent, some of them more so. They are able to use wizardry magic, casting both spells that are innately generated and ones that they fashion themselves. Their features are much like the Soldier Demon, but less exaggerated. They are not as big or heavy, nor nearly so strong, and the redness of their skin stands out more because it lacks a black undertone.
Wizardry Magic: More commonly used, known, and understood than sorcery magic, wizardry magic is a natural force in nature. It permeates everything, existing in the air, amidst solid objects, and even the vacuum of space. Like a chemical reaction when certain molecules are mixed together, wizardry magic exhibits real effects when bent and molded in specific patterns. These patterns are known as spells, and there are eight known fields of primordial magic from which spells can be composed: Enchantment, Divination, Evocation, Illusion, Alteration, Conjuration, Abjuration, and Animation.
This magic is employed in differing ways. For some, such as Cellestillena and Dreuth-sur, the spell patterns are generated by their subconscious, like an expressed trait of their DNA. For others, such as Anastas and Alloria, the spell patterns must be generated consciously, a trick that requires the awakening of the astral senses, intelligence, patience, and much practice. To generate spell patterns in this way, a person must first learn to "see" the magic as it travels through the ether-an ability that is closely related to one's perceptual intelligence. Once a person can "see" all eight fields of the magic, the next ability that must be learned is to harness "threads" of the magic, and to bend or fold those threads into the specific patterns desired, which requires strong force of will and deep concentration. And, of course, one must know in what patterns to bend and fold the magic for it to be of any use.
The process by which spells are created and then stored for later use is known as "imprinting." An imprinted spell stays in a person's mind until called forth and used-unless they are jarred into dissolution by some type of trauma.
* * *
A BRIEF TIMELINE OF THE CONFLICT
NOTE: The years are dated from the founding of the Baezean Church of the Light, which occurred several years after the defeat of Vlockor and his Demons at the Temple Mount, in the time of Arwen Saharta, Achea Artexerxes, Dirk Steyn, Thomas De'Maakthorn, Ronaldus Magnus, and other great saints, wizards, and warriors.
9250: A powerful fallen wizard, Ceci Dobyns, discovers a Hellfire Gem in the treasure room of his master, the aging and feeble King Asiano, who rules over the Kingdom of Babak in Eriqat. Dobyns, driven by dreams of exploiting the preternatural magic he senses in the gem, steals it and attempts to gain mastery over it.
9253: Ceci Dobyns' attempts to manipulate the magic of the Hellfire Gem led him straight to Hell, where he began communicating with Vlockor by means of an esoteric spell. When Vlockor convinces Dobyns that the magic of the gem can be his by opening a gate to Hell and casting a mindlink through the gem, Vlockor comes through to the Earth side of the Great Barrier and takes control of Dobyns' gate-spell through the mindlink. Overmatched, Dobyns kneels before Vlockor, offering up the Hellfire Gem and himself as Hellsworn. Then, taking control of the gem, Vlockor begins bringing other Demons through the Great Barrier. Dobyns recruits others of like mind in the Kingdom of Babak to become Hellsworn.
9254: Vlockor is able to discern with his powerful divination magic that the next nearest Hellfire Gem is approximately two to three thousand miles northeast in the neighboring continent of Baeza. Dobyns, meanwhile, assassinates King Asiano and assumes the kingship of Babak as Vlockor's puppet.
9255: In the desert sands north of Babak, Vlockor discovers a large insect species. His magic is able to transform it into an even larger, semi-intelligent, mantis warrior. Known as the Kreen, Vlockor begins breeding himself an army of these warriors.
9256: As Vlockor recruits Orc populations from the outlying areas of Babak, making Hellsworn of their leaders, he and Dobyns are forced to quell an uprising in the kingdom. Before the year is out, Orcs openly police Babak alongside troops loyal to Vlockor and Dobyns.
9258: Vlockor begins waging war on the surrounding kingdoms. He brings from the north the Kreen armies he had been secretly building, helping him achieve stunning victories.
9261: Vlockor has conquered half of Eriqat, and his armies are growing.
9268: Vlockor has conquered all of Eriqat except the Dwarven mountain fortress in Korshok.
9271: Vlockor begins his assault on Baeza, sending thousands of small ships and boats across the Straight of Rymar with his armies of Orcs, Goblins, Kreen, Demons, Humans and Dwarves-most of the latter two impressed. King Gabrielle (of Windsor province in southern Baeza), however, was not caught unaware, and his knights would have turned back the assault, save for the treachery of King Tulac (of Shantar Province) on his eastern border. King Tulac had made a deal with Vlockor in exchange for power and reward, and had become Hellsworn. His treason set King Gabrielle into retreat, costing the latter the greater part of his kingdom.
9272: Vlockor secures a toehold in Baeza. Controlling the two southernmost provinces of Windsor and Shantar, he begins scouring the landscape in search of the Second Hellfire Gem, using his magic to narrow the possibilities, and eventually determines it is north of the lands he controls.
9276: Vlockor's forces are engaged in furious warfare with the Baezean knights of the kings to his north, and are having great difficulty gaining ground against their disciplined and resourceful forces. Further confounding Vlockor is his inability to find any more potential traitors willing to become Hellsworn for the rewards he can offer.
9280: Feeling certain the Second Hellfire Gem must be in Basalari, the capital of the Kingdom of Greylock, Vlockor personally engages in battle to break the stalemate. Shortly after Basalari falls, the second gem is found in the rubble. Vlockor immediately uses the gem to bring more Demons through the Great Barrier, replacing the ones lost in war and then some, the power of the two gems together working exponentially (i.e., where one gem could draw through the barrier one Pit Fiend, two gems could draw four, and three gems could draw nine).
9292: Vlockor is in solid control of the southern third of Baeza as he continues to wage war, his magic having narrowed the location of the Third Hellfire Gem to a province in northern Baeza.
9332: After forty years of fierce warfare, Vlockor finally captures the Third Hellfire Gem, finding it in a squirrel's nest in a northern province. The Demon Lord has control of nearly two thirds of Baeza now, and he immediately begins using the third gem to draw from Hell hordes of fresh Demons, more than replacing the ones lost in war. Meanwhile, all the still-free northern provinces of Baeza have united under Lord Vahle, Supreme Commander of the Knights of Baeza, and his new bride, Queen Alballa of the Elves, the High Sorceress of the Light.
9333: Vlockor determines that the next nearest Hellfire Gem is somewhere thousands of miles off the eastern coast of Baeza, in the far-off continent of Shirani. He sends scouts to investigate the defenses and politics of the land, while he commissions the construction of the ships-all the while persisting in his efforts to subdue all of Baeza.
9340: Vlockor sets sail to Shirani. He has not yet conquered all of Baeza-indeed, the mountainous northern provinces under Lord Vahle and Queen Alballa remain stoutly defended-but he is impatient to get the fourth gem. His fleet carries to Shirani over thirty-three hundred Demons, ten thousand Kreen, four thousand Orcs, and around one thousand others, such as Ogres, Hobgoblins, and Human knights that have chosen to become Hellsworn. In Baeza, he leaves behind roughly three thousand Demons along with myriad Kreen, Orcs, Goblins, Hobgoblins, and impressed Humans, Elves, and Dwarves. Vlockor delegates control of the army in both Eriqat and Baeza to Ceci Dobyns, who is charged with conquering the rest of Baeza. When Vlockor's ships arrive at Shirani, his expeditionary force promptly takes the port city of Chalfin. Thereafter, he sets about to conquer the continent as he searches for the Fourth Hellfire Gem.
9356: After sixteen years of conquest by both war and capitulation, Vlockor has defeated and enslaved most of Shirani, a land less sophisticated and organized than Baeza. The fourth gem is delivered to him by an Elven wizard, Endoloren Hosallor, who becomes Hellsworn rather than face persecution or death. Endoloren found the gem deep underground in the ancient tomb of a Dwarf king. Vlockor lost more than a thousand Demons and half his Kreen through the years of fighting in Shirani, but his ranks of Orcs and other monsters, as well as Humans, Dwarves, and Elves, have swelled with both volunteers and those impressed into service.
9358: Vlockor sets sail down the western coast of Shirani, toward the southern hemisphere of the world, where his magic has indicated the next nearest Hellfire Gem is located, somewhere in the continent of Sohaili. He leaves behind sufficient forces to hold Shirani while he uses the fourth gem to draw from Hell more and more Demons every day. Vlockor's arrival in Sohaili brings the fall of the great city of Aspinwell in the northern kingdom of Salmerin.
9366: Vlockor remains on the warpath, looking for the next gem. His armies stand at over forty-five hundred Demons, four thousand Kreen, as well as a swelling number of indigenous forces. However, the resistance here is fierce-the years of war in the adjoining continent of Shirani had inspired a robust and spirited military buildup for defense against his arrival. Vlockor sends for more Kreen from Eriqat.
9369: Dozens of large galleys and longships arrive with twenty thousand Kreen. Vlockor moves his headquarters to the newly conquered fortress of Aelseth as he continues to push southward.
9390: Vlockor has all of Sahaili subdued, but has yet to find the Fifth Hellfire Gem.
9401: The Fifth Hellfire Gem is found deep in the Earth of a snow-covered mountain peak.
9402: Vlockor's magic tells him the next nearest gem is thousands of miles east across the ocean from Sohaili, in a land called Ansaria. He wastes no time in setting sail, his fleet of large ships carrying over forty-six hundred Demons, fifteen thousand Kreen, and thousands of Ogres, Orcs and other loyal troops. Throughout the voyage, he continues to swell the ranks of his Demons by using the fifth gem to draw more and more through the Great Barrier. The fifth gem allows him to bring from Hell twenty-five times the number the first gem allowed.
9403: Vlockor's fleet arrives on the western shores of Ansaria, and his armies quickly lay waste to the port city of Eagan and the surrounding kingdom.
9405: Vlockor has control of southwest Ansaria. The Sixth Hellfire Gem is delivered to him by a young half-Elf wizard who had discovered it years ago during his travels, but had not known its significance until Vlockor's arrival. The young wizard then agonized over what to do with it, but ultimately chose the riches and privileges being offered by the Demon Lord.
9406: Vlockor uses the sixth gem to bolster the numbers of his Demons. His magic reveals to him that the next nearest gem is in Ansaria, somewhere in the northeast.
9407: Vlockor continues building up the Demon contingent in his armies. They now total seventeen thousand and are growing, as he moves to solidify control in southwest Ansaria. Though he has lost several thousand Kreen in warfare, the ranks of his other warriors have swelled with local Humans, Orcs, Goblins, and the like-both the volunteers and the conscripted. Meanwhile, the Seventh Hellfire Gem lies in the hands of King Aszoroth of the Herron Empire. Knowing of the Demon Lord's plan-to bring Hell on Earth by acquiring all nine gems-King Aszoroth vows to thwart it. He gathers all the greatest wizards, sorcerers, warriors, sages, and people of God in the land, and has devised a plan. As part of the plan, he allows a distrusted nobleman to overhear of a false plan intended to draw Vlockor into a precipitous attack. The ploy works. The nobleman goes to Vlockor and tells of King Aszoroth's plan, and the Demon Lord indeed launches a premature assault. King Aszoroth springs the trap, routing the Demon Lord's armies, in the process killing ten thousand Demons, thousands of Kreen, and many more thousands of his other troops.
9408: Vlockor's armies are driven back to his stronghold in southwest Ansaria, where they hold off King Aszoroth's forces.
9409: Vlockor solidifies his hold on southwest Ansaria and continues to use the Sixth Hellfire Gem to draw Demons through the Great Barrier, rebuilding their numbers to over eleven thousand.
9413: Vlockor's armies go on the offensive, forcing the allied forces under King Aszoroth to retreat.
9428: Through fifteen years of methodical warfare, Vlockor's forces control all of Ansaria, except Aszoroth's kingdom in the northeast. The ranks of Vlockor's Demons have been reduced to just under ten thousand, but the numbers of his Orcs, Ogres, Goblins and the like have burgeoned, as well as those of the conscripted Humans, Dwarves, and Elves. Even the ranks of Kreen have grown, by sparing use of them in battle to allow them to breed.
9431: Vlockor takes Aszoroth's kingdom by launching a multipronged assault from land and sea, and by using his Demons and the Kreen more aggressively than before. King Aszoroth and the Seventh Hellfire Gem, however, are nowhere to be found.
9432: Vlockor learns that King Aszoroth has taken the gem to one of the many islands off the east coast of Ansaria, and prepares his forces to invade.
9433: Vlockor captures Prothos, the largest of the islands, and begins to besiege the others.
9438: Vlockor finally corners King Aszoroth on a small island and captures the Seventh Hellfire Gem. The King made the Demon Lord pay dearly for this victory. Nearly two thousand of his Demons perished in and about those islands, as well as many more thousands of his other troops. As for King Aszoroth and his praetorian guard, they escape through a spectacular ruse.
9439: Vlockor's magic locates the next nearest gem, the eighth, somewhere in the continent of Erebia in the northern hemisphere above Ansaria. Vlockor sends scouts as he prepares his fleet for the voyage, and he begins using the seventh gem to rebuild his Demon armies.
9441: Vlockor sets sail-leaving behind over two thousand Demons in Ansaria, along with the bulk of his other forces-and lands his fleet in Erebia at the twin cities of Dusek and Dyne. With him are over eleven thousand Demons, ten thousand Kreen, three thousand Ogres, five thousand Orcs, and thousands of others. Dusek and Dyne fight, but they are no match for Vlockor's hordes.
9443: The kingdoms of Larabee, Ruhl, and Kairys fall to Vlockor's armies as Orcs and Goblins and the like flock to the Demon Lord's banner. The Eighth Hellfire Gem is delivered to Vlockor from the treasure room of the Elven King of Larabee.
9444: Vlockor's magic discerns that the last gem is somewhere in western Erebia.
9446: Bringing hordes of Demons through the Great Barrier with the seventh and eighth gems, Vlockor begins to roll through Erebia, conquering kingdom after kingdom. He takes Fortress Aagaard, the largest fortress in the world, with barely a fight, as the mere sight of Vlockor's armies-twenty-four thousand Demons, nine thousand Kreen, and tens of thousands of Orcs, Ogres, Hobgoblins, and the like, as well as tens of thousands of conscripted forces-cows the King of the mighty fortress.
9447: Vlockor sets Fortress Aagaard up as the main seat of power as he sends armies out to conquer the rest of western Erebia in search of the last gem.
9448: King Aszoroth makes land at the port city of Orlick, Landon Republic, in the southeast peninsula of Erebia. With him are several ships and a thousand of his surviving troops.
9449: All of western Erebia is under Vlockor's control, and his ranks of Demons have swelled to over thirty-three thousand. Meanwhile, the Knights of Baeza have captured Ceci Dobyns, the wizard who first allowed Vlockor through the Great Barrier almost two hundred years ago, and who has been in charge of Vlockor's forces in Eriqat and Baeza since the Demon Lord left in search of the other gems. The aging Dobyns, kept alive by magic, tells all he knows about the gems, the Great Barrier, and Vlockor's plan to bring Hell on Earth. Lord Vahle and Queen Alballa decide that they must stop the Demon Lord. They commission all their ocean-going ships to carry troops to Erebia, and begin construction of more, even though such action significantly weakens their defenses against the Demon Lord's forces, still arrayed against them in Baeza.
9/8/9449: Sorrell Gilliam, a great Human wizard and former advisor to the now Hellsworn King of Aagaard, tracks down the Ninth Hellfire Gem where it had been cast into the mouth of an active volcano. Gilliam retrieves the gem from the molten lava, and, on the wings of a Pegasus, takes flight toward the still-free lands of northeast Erebia, where his good friend King Sahadeva rules over the Elven city of Anjali.
9/10/9449: Following the same leads that Sorrell Gilliam had followed, Vlockor's minions descend upon the volcano and search in vain for the last gem.
9/20/9449: By thorough interrogation of every source that led to the volcano, Vlockor discovers that it was the wizard Sorrell Gilliam who retrieved the Ninth Hellfire Gem.
10/3/9449: Unable to locate Gilliam because of the wizard's shield spell, Vlockor dispatches airborne squadrons of Demons to three cities to which he believes the wizard may have fled: Lalendren, Emrani, and Anjali. Each squadron of Demons consists of one Archfiend, five Pit Fiends, fifty Pit Beasts, five hundred Wizard Demons, five hundred Beastspawn, one thousand Soldier Demons, and several wyvern carrying selected Hellsworn warriors.
10/8/9449: The mighty Elven city of Lalendren rebuffs the assault, sending Vlockor's Demons back in retreat.
10/12/9449: Emrani falls to Vlockor's Demons, this mercantile city of Dwarves and Humans mounting only token resistance.
10/14/9449: Vlockor's Demons fall upon Anjali and find there the wizard Sorrell Gilliam. The city is well defended with many powerful wizards and sorcerers, as well as many great warriors, most of whom have gathered there at the behest of Gilliam himself. However, several Pit Demons manage to recover the final Hellfire Gem during a pitched battle-a battle that seemingly costs the life of the Archfiend Draakvaar, though he ends up recovering-and decide to take flight, hoping to carry the gem back to Aagaard.
10/18/9449: Here begins Chapter One of Book One of the Inner World Series, Blue Dharma: The Story of Anaiyailla .
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PHONETIC KEY TO SELECTED NAMES
- Aagaard: Ah-gard
- Abajian: Ah-bah-she-en
- Achea Artexerxes: Ah-chay-ah Are-tuh-zerks-zees
- Alloria Ellissaya: Uh-lore-ee-uh El-liss-say-uh
- Anaiyailla: Ah-nye-yale-luh
- Anna: Ah-nuh
- Anais Nin: Uh-nay-iss Ninn
- Anastas Mikoyan: Uh-nass-tess Mih-koy-un
- Anduihil: An-dwuh-hill
- Anjali: On-jol-lee
- Arwen Saharta: Are-when Suh-hart-tuh
- Baeza: Bay-ee-zuh
- Bahrick: Baw-rick
- Balezaark: Bale-zark
- Cellestillena: Sul-es-til-len-nuh
- Cidera Sharr: Sid-err-uh Shar
- Darius De'Maakthorn: Dare-ee-us Duh-mock-thorn
- Dohr: Door
- Draakvaar: Drock-var
- Dreuth-sur: Drooth-sir
- Druun: Droon
- Druunhaelen: Droon-hale-en
- Erebia: Ear-ebb-ee-uh
- Kaelin: Kay-linn
- Kian: Key-un
- Kripa: Cree-puh
- Lalendren: Luh-len-dren
- Masseryk: Maz-er-ick
- Nagrek: Nag-grek
- Nakula: Nah-cool-lah
- Naomi: Nay-oh-me
- Nyanja: Nye-an-juh
- Ogen: Oh-ghen
- Riordanall: Ree-ore-dun-all
- Ry'danen: Rye-dan-en
- Scillieri: Silly-airy
- Sinon: Sigh-nun
- Sorrell Gilliam: Sore-el Gill-ee-um
- Spyrus: Spy-russ
- Tyr: Tier
- Vlockor: Vlock-ore
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World Map 1
World Map 2