Gendin’s Journal – The Lords of Rendelshod

a page from the journal of Gendin, son of Arissa and Temone of the dwarven Clan Gilderlo

The Lords of Rendelshod

September, 1443 AWR

The Lords of Rendelshod are difficult to discuss.

Not from an emotional point of view — from a factual point of view.

I have located dozens of records that were supposedly written by Galafid, the advisor to Teroip Stemtarp, who was the last senior Lord of Rendelshod. Galafid survived the Wars of Rendelshod, but reportedly died less than year later.

Maybe half of the account I located were written by Galafid, the other half by pretenders. A careful examination of the writing style identified the real from the fake. In addition, I’ve located over a dozen records attributed to other scholars where it appears that Galafid was the author. Most of these were dated between 200 AWR as 800 AWR.

Which begs the question: who — or what — was Galafid?

I’m not going into this now, as Galafid is a topic all of his own. Regardless, my research has taken several decades of research. Making it more difficult, the events described occurred more than 9,000 years before my birth.

The Lords of Rendelshod ruled Trivana for nearly 5,000 years — that’s 100 dwarven generations, and over 250 human generations. At the time the Lords were destroyed, no race could claim knowledge of a time before the Lords ruled Trivana, not my own nor the elves.

I’m getting ahead of myself. The Lords were not the day-to-day rulers of Trivana. There were dozens, maybe hundreds of kingdoms across the world, each that ruled itself. But the Lords protected Trivana from exterior threats, and in subtle (and not so subtle) ways exerted their influence. When a Lord made a pronouncement, the most powerful kings listened and usually obeyed.

Initially the Lords were representatives of many races, some of which no longer exist. As eons passed, races were excluded and in the final few centuries, the Lords were all human. As their goddess Epixenie became more rigid, the Lords followed suit.

There is no clear picture of what conditions were during the last centuries of their rule. So much was written for and against them, it’s impossible to resolve. What is clear is that Epixenie grew arrogant and prideful, as did the Lords.

The demon lord Jxtl used her arrogance and pride. He tricked her into a weakened position, and killed her. Demon lords are powerful, but killing a goddess? It’s almost unthinkable. That is probably why it worked.

Her murder initiated the Wars of Rendelshod, which enflamed the multiverse. Nearly half the existing gods were slain, as well as swathes of lords of the Outer Planes.

The post-war Trivana was badly battered. The Kirik Mountains that run the full length of the northern shore of  Trivana have no peaks higher than 1,700 meters. Formerly, peaks were as much as 6,000 meters. The ancestral home of the dwarves and gnomes were crushed. The forests of Lepadillia, the heart of the Elves as Galafid called it, was flattened and burned. Less than thirty percent of the dwarves or elves survived the war to move on and find new homes.

Saracind, a nest of demon worshipers, was also destroyed. It’s well fortified location is now known as the Plateau of Death. None who venture there return. That is not just tales — I’ve researched it for nearly three decades, and no expedition that made its way onto the plateau has returned.

A tidal wave of sand buried the cities of Rharhiky. From all accounts, they died too easily. Regardless, the Great Sandy Waste as that desert is named, still exists. Periodically stories surface of travelers finding ancient cities uncovered by the winds, then later recovered.

I claimed I’d not be sidetracked, yet I was.

In the nineteenth year of the war, the Lords assembled at the Castle Rendelshod, the last keep of the Lords of Rendelshod still standing. From there they traveled through a gate to Jxtl’s domain. Their intention was to slay him, so that no matter what happened, Jxtl would not profit.

Remember that the Lords were arrogant? My realization from all my research is they define the word.

Regardless of Galafid’s lofty prose, the Lords lost. Jxtl killed all eighteen, then cursed them to undeath. He took their Cleavers, the greatswords each carried, and scattered all but one across Trivana. His doom stated that they’d not recover their blades until Teroip Stemtarp’s blade was recovered.  He kept Stemtarp’s so they would suffer an unending doom.

Jxtl was, at best, a fool. His own arrogance defined his doom, much as Epixenie’s arrogance led to her own. A mere few centuries later a half-elven thief dared to raid Jxtl’s treasure room and stole that fateful blade. He managed to lose it before demons caught him and meted their version of justice on him. But the die was cast –8,000 years later Stemtarp recovered his blade, and in short order the other seventeen recovered theirs. Once all were assembled, they set out to destroy Jxtl.

It’s possible that Jxtl was the greatest (if that is the correct adjective) idiot in the history of GeKeb. First, he transformed the Lords into the most powerful undead warriors in existence. He planned for them to survive for eternity to suffer their fate, so he could revel in it for eons. Lesson 1 — never create anything so powerful that you cannot defeat it.

Lesson 2? Never spend time gloating that could be used to eliminate your enemies. Gloating over an enemy’s grave is far smarter than gloating over their living body.

Lesson 3? Never believe that you are infallible. Jxtl firmly believed that Stemtarp’s blade would remain in his possession and their doom was without end.

The Lords slew Jxtl’s mortal form, and the thirteen survivors returned to Trivana and were made mortal again.

Some of the Lords wanted to wage war on the Council of Rendelshod, as the Council used the Lord’s name. After all, it hadn’t been used in 8,000 years.

Stemtarp still led, and he stopped them. The Council had aided the Lords and redeemed the name, so he let them have it. The Lords became the Knights of Polaxis, finding a new demi-god and intending to continue their work.

Sadly, Stemtarp fell in battle three years after defeating Jxtl. When returning to mortal form he was at the age he was when made undead, in his early 70’s. Instead of retiring, he worked to keep the Knights on the path he had established. There is strong evidence that his fall was murder, as the younger knights wanted him out of the way. Without Stemtarp in the way, the Knights tried to make war on the Council of Rendelshod. That, too, is a story for another day.

Nearly 1,400 years later Jxtl had rebuilt his power and was up to his old tricks. He failed to learn important lessons from his losses, so he not only repeated them, he made worse mistakes. I traveled with the Council of Rendelshod to face Jxtl again, and this time my blade killed him permanently.

Other gods fear Cieldren, my god, but not because of his strength. He is often called “the defenseless one” as he has no martial skills. He is feared because his Champions are all potential god slayers. In that respect, most gods are wiser than Jxtl was.

Note: In the language of the Lords of Rendelshod, the letter p at the end of a word is silent. Teroip Stemtarp is pronounced tear roy stem tar. For all their wonders, humans make some amazingly strange choices.

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