Chapter 26: The Wars of the Underworld


So it was that deep below the surface of Arrasia that Grism and Dyonicos continued their war from since the destruction of Lima. And the half-dwarves of Dyonicos were foul and evil beasts and they served Dyonicos alone and they built many great citadels in his honor. And long had Grism and those that were with him forgotten the colors of the surface world and knew nothing but the darkness of the underworld. And there they too made homes for themselves and made things of mithral and their halls were splendid to behold and filled with all manner of magnificent things.

And also was there Xagraxsus, who had lay hid in the darkness of his great citadel and surrounded himself with all manner of foul beasts and even brought orcs into his black world, who now served him, and beasts that caused the ground to shake beneath their feet, such was their great size and power. And he watched the wars of Grism and Dyonicos and he laughed and at last he went to Dyonicos and told him where he may find Grism and how he might defeat him and he also went to Grism and he told him where he might meet find Dyonicos and how he might defeat him. And they gathered their forces against the other, but were betrayed, for Xagraxsus had entrapped them in his web and unleashed his own armies against them to his advantage and caused the very earth to open and spout fire upon them and he looked to defeat them both and be the master of the darkness of the underworld.

And Dyonicos fled the onslaught, with those that could follow, and retreated and was defeated and Grism was taken prisoner and his dwarves scattered and Xagraxsus was master of the darkness. And Xagraxsus took Grism and cast him into the hells of Herophet and thought he was done for. But Grism long had survived against reason and did so again and struggled to his feet and knew not that he was in the frozen hell of Gorodin and so began his long journey, for he vowed he would face Xagraxsus and avenge himself of this betrayal.

Yet in the darkness of the underworld, Dyonicos came upon one that had hid even from Xagraxsus, and there had built a realm filled with her dark elves who served only her, Tettungba, and who had built a great temple in honor of her and it was a foul place that was filled with great evil and the stench of her offspring was strong. But Dyonicos was not afraid and he went to Tettungba and called her to fight with him, for Xagraxsus was now master and would destroy her too, if he knew of her. So it was that Dyonicos called to him those that had escaped the great battle and the purge thereafter and to him came those that had been hid and he returned to Tettungba with an army, ready to fight.

So was a great army of dark elves and spiders and all manner of foul beast gathered by Tettungba and she allied herself with Dyonicos and they armed themselves and sharpened their blades and marched to war and Xagraxsus was taken unawares and many citadels that had been lost were retaken and the armies of Xagraxsus forced back. But soon he had mustered his forces, and also a great army of harpies, and he met with Dyonicos and Tettungba and there was a great battle between them and many were slain, yet none could gain advantage and the both sides redoubled their effort and more were killed and still none could defeat the other. So it was that a great war of attrition began and they would fight when they met and citadels were destroyed or captured and recaptured and the darkness stank with the blood of those slain and the bodies were strewn all over.

And Grism stood alone in the frozen wasteland of Gorodin and fought great beasts there. But his mithral armor gave him great protection and he slew those that dare fight him and he traveled through the hells of Herophet and came to Tuska and there came across a small fountain, through which the essence of Onnus flowed, and his lips were parched and he drank from the water and felt himself made great and he knew that Onnus had given him a great gift, for he had drunk from the Fountain of the Immortals and was pure of mind and to him had been given immortality and great power. But still was the journey through the hells of Herophet a great ordeal, until at last he came to Herophet itself.

But those in Herophet were distracted, for they now looked to Arrasia and were filled with the greatness of Amman and they saw not the small form of Grism pass through and he came to the River Mothex and called to Oida to ferry him to Damarkan and to Canath, where he sought out Kavak and told him of his journeys. And there was a great joy in Kavak, for long had it been since he had seen Grism, and he saw now a new greatness in him and gave to him Karrabo, which had been as part of Canath but were given over freely. But Grism was not content and he sought to return to Arrasia and return to those that had for so long followed him and now thought him dead and he called to Kavak and Graxber to join him, but they would not, for Lima was destroyed and to Arrasia they would set foot never again and Grism thought them weak.

So for Grism was forged a great waraxe and it was infused with the power of Kavak and they also took his armor and made it mightier still and he was returned to the underworld of Arrasia and came not cowed or hid, but proudly and for all to see and he called for the dwarves of the deep to come to him and fight with him once more and they came and saw in him great power and were made stronger by it and their smithies forged mighty weapons and they prepared for war.

And Xagraxsus became aware of Grism, but cared not, for he thought to defeat him again. But his armies were split, for Dyonicos and Tettungba had yet to be defeated, so sent what he could spare. And there Grism was revealed afresh and Xagraxsus was made aware of his strength and power and felt doubt and this was felt by his armies and they were defeated by Grism and their citadels of old recaptured, though they were now foul places and the dwarves no longer wished to dwell there. And to Dyonicos did Grism next turn and his armies marched against him and Tettungba and into the fray did Xagraxsus also throw the might of his armies and he fought not only Grism, but also Dyonicos and Tettungba and the underworld was filled with the Great Chaos of the Dark.

And there did Dyonicos retreat and those that followed him fled back to their homes, for they were thoroughly defeated and Grism himself made chase and would have brought the end of Dyonicos, if he could, but he left the darkness and was given refuge by Voln in Ellari. And Xagraxsus and Tettungba did fight and many of the cities of the dark were razed as the ground trembled and the battle between them was mighty fierce and they were both hurt. Yet it was that Tettungba was defeated by Xagraxsus, though he was wounded and suffered greatly, and she too fled the battle and left Arrasia for Murster, her home of old, though Olmus was pleased to see her not, for she brought her stench with her.

And finally were the armies of Grism and Xagraxsus alone left in the great battle and neither would yield. And when Grism returned to the fight, having seen off Dyonicos, he also did fight with Xagraxsus, who had been injured, and again the world did shudder from their blows and Grism cleaved Xagraxsus with his axe and he was hurt. But as they so fought, so were the armies of Grism defeated and would have been destroyed, but for Grism, who called upon Xagraxsus to let them live and if he allowed it so then Grism would not bring about his end here and that all would retreat and fight another day. And so it was agreed to and the battle concluded and Xagraxsus returned to recover his wounds and the great gates to the citadels of the dwarves closed and to neither side victory nor defeat.

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