CATALYST: DARKNESS AND LIGHT

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It all began with a story of love.  Corellon Larethian lusted after Araushnee. He coveted her from afar for centuries, finally taking her as his lover in secret. Despite the fact that Corellon was already wed to Sehanine, the affair continued unbidden and resulted Araushnee’s pregnancy. Unable to hide his affair any longer, Corellon was challenged with dissolution by his wife. Fear of dishonor and banishment struck the Elven god at the core of his being, and he instead turned on his lover. He banished Araushnee from the Fey, renaming her Lolth and banishing her to the Abyss … forever.

She took with her a third of the Fey, those loyal to her, becoming the creatures now known as the Drow. She claimed a section of the Abyss for her own, calling it the Demonweb Pits.

But they were all of them deceived. Lolth waxed in power, her hatred and forgiveness driving her to powers beyond recognition. Infused by the Chaotic powers of the Abyss, she become a demon. And she plotted her revenge.

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And she waited. Centuries passed. Lolth schemed, pouring her malice and trickery into each plot against the surface world. She conspired with the Illithid, drawing on their hatred for the sun. All the while, she planned for the stars to be right for her moment to extract vengence against the Seldarine, the ruling Elven gods, led by her former lover, Corellon.

In 1358, the gods were cast out and punished by Lord Ao during the Time of Troubles. Lolth saw opportunities for apotheosis but her conspiracies failed.

Time and time again, her schemes failed, but finally in 1372 came the War of the Spider Queen and the Rise of the Drow. Lolth gained more power, drawing her eight aspects  into one great avatar. This set the stage for her rise to godhood.

 By 1385, Lolth had ascended to become the new goddess of magic, filling the gap left when Mystra was murdered.  The Spellplauge accomplished what Lolth had only dreamed of previously, creating a new foothold for her among the gods and wiping out many of her opposition in one fell swoop.

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The Spellplague was a disastrous event that occurred when Cyric beheaded Mystra at the behest and with the aid of Shar, who sought to obtain control over the Weave, the universal structure of arcane forces. However, Mystra’s death resulted in the collapse of the Weave, causing arcane magic to cease to function properly and Toril to be transformed. The Spellplague affected almost every part of Faerûn and certain areas were eliminated entirely, while others were created anew. Mulhorand, Unther, Halruaa, the Shaar, and Luiren were all devastated or completely obliterated by the Spellplague.

Waves of azure flame caused by the Spellplague swept across the lands of Faerûn and killed or altered everything that they touched. The curtains of blue fire also extensively reshaped the landscape in various ways and caused the formation of many earthmotes, pieces of land that were floating due to the influence of magic. Conflict, chaos, and political upheaval occurred throughout the nations and states of Faerûn, especially among peoples who relied heavily on the use of arcane magic.

Dweomerheart, Mystra’s fortress, was destroyed during the Spellplague and sent Azuth, the god of wizards, to the Nine Hells, where the archdevil Asmodeus consumed his divine spark and became a god. Savras died trying to defeat Cyric, but Deneir wrote himself into the Weave as the fortress was obliterated, passing out of known existence. For his actions, Cyric was tried by a conclave of gods. The deities found Cyric guilty of Mystra’s murder and sentenced him to one thousand years of imprisonment in his divine realm, the Supreme Throne. Shar, however, escaped punishment.

By 1395 DR, many of the effects of the Spellplague had ended and most arcane magic had returned to a semblance of normality, but there were a few major changes to the way that spells were cast. However, Lolth had devised a method to allow her loyal Drow to grow in magical potency, allowing Drow wizards to rival the power of Drow Priestesses. Drow wizards found that their spells were cast with maximum efficiency, making them nearly unstoppable on the battlefield.

Lord Ao, again annoyed by the actions of the deities, declared that the gods and goddesses would no longer be able to meddle in the affairs of mortals. Their abilities to enter the Prime Plane were severely limited, causing them to rely on the faithfulness of their scribes, monks, clerics, paladins, and other worshipers. They could still enter the mortal world as Avatars, but they would essentially be mortal, taking the chance of being killed outright. Since the deities had to rely on their mortal followers, this gave rise to the demigod beings including Chosen, Exarchs, and Champions.

With the gods and goddesses so limited, it created as power vacuum that would be filled by lesser beings like godlings, demons, devils, titans, and other powerful creatures. Lolth was pleased by this turn of events mainly because of her position of needing to remain directly in contact with the mortal realm to preserve the Weave.

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It was at this time that Lolth began to hatch a stratagem that would ultimately devour the suns of seven different worlds. Using her connection to the Weave, Lolth found the mirror of Dweomerheart within the Plane of Shadow. She confronted Shar for control of the Demonweave as a distraction, seizing the fortress for herself and her order of militant monks known as the Order of Soul Spiders.

It was called the City of Lacc. Using its already dread capabilities, she infused Lacc with arcane wards and powers beyond mortal understanding. The City ground through the Plane of Shadow, using its terrible powers to devour the suns of seven different Prime Material Planes, alternate realities to the Prime of Faerûn.

The Soul Spiders took slaves at each of the seven worlds. Each of the slaves was outfitted with a crossbreed creature made from the combination of demonweb spiders and Illithid tadpoles. The resulting monster is a spider that latches on to its prey’s back, taking control of the host and feeding on it. These slaves were deployed as fodder during the devouring of worlds.

Lolth used the power of these seven suns to fuel her divine spark, increasing her abilities and powers beyond her original imagination. She used this power to peer into the Far Realm, attempting to return the awful creature known as Tharizdun to the Abyss. She finally seduced Corellon Larethian, luring him into a plot to reunite the races of Elves. Corellon was willing mainly because the Elves has diminished greatly during The Sundering.

At the end of 1395, Lolth’s plans were disrupted by conspiracy of Heaven and Hell. A group of mortals were chosen by the King of Hell, Asmodeus, and Metranon, archangel of Thoth. The mortals were guided, in time, to the place called “The Forgotten Temple” where they murdered the child who had been Chosen by Lolth and Corellon to unit the Elves against all the other races.

With the child dead, Lolth’s plans fell apart again … but only for a short time.

In 1484, the Drow wizard Tsabrak Xorlarrin cast a mighty spell on the Silver Marches. The spell had been crafted by the Illithid Methil El-Viddenvelp on the order of Matron Mother Quenthel Baenre. While casting the spell, Tsabrak become a conduit for Lolth, Mother of All Magic. The spell covered the Silver Marches with rolling clouds of smoke that blotted out the sun and changed daylight to something less than moonlight. This spell slowly spread throughout Faerûn, shadowing it in eternal twilight.

By 1489, the world of Faerûn was changed. The lack of daylight has affected its folk, but they persevere. Evil has crept into the land like a festering disease, slowly consuming strongholds and major cities. Waterdeep was constantly being raided by Drow swarming from the corridors of Undermountain. Bhaal had been reborn, taking control of Baldur’s Gate. The Sword Coast erupted into civil war. Thay transformed into a nightmare land of Undead. Netheril returned to power. And Tiamat rose to take control of the lands of Kara-tur.

And now it has been seven years of darkness. It is 1491, the Year of the Scarlet Witch. Evil rules Faerûn, but yet there are pinpoints of light that give its people hope.

Hope for a return of light to Faerûn.

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