Dungeons the Dragoning: The Rising Tide!™
The First Song
Give, until you have nothing more to give. Show them that even with nothing, you can give everything
Flesh and Blood,
Hate and Love,
Make up this Mortal
“You of all beings should know, Hell hath no fury like a woman Scorned!”
- Words exchanged between the First Song and the Scorned Exarch
There is very little concrete knowledge of the Scorned Exarch outside the Grand Library of Ioun, but other sources do give a hint of her origins. Most notable among these are the oldest bardic works, where she bears a striking resemblance to one of the actors. While these works describing the Dawn War are rather embellished, it cannot be discounted that she seems to be present in the major battles against the Primordials. What confounds those few who pursue the ends of this most obscure of knowledge is that the figure in these works is of a completely different character and demeanor to the one who walks in the present age.
Theories abound are ascribed to the differences, from imperfect transcriptions over time, to the outright corruption of the very Words of Creation since those ancient times, but still no conclusion can be made, for the truth of the matter is kept by the gods themselves, and they do not to speak of it.
What have I Done?
“Sovereign Edge, thy name is Annihilation”
- The Words that ended the Scorned Exarch
While descriptions of her form are consistent – her platinum blonde hair and golden eyes an unmistakable mark of identity -, that of her known arms and armour are not. Previously described as wearing rusted full plate and a broken longsword on a rotten scabbard, very little else was known as she wore a cloak over herself. Later, it was said that after a battle with some adventurers, her armour was seen to bear sigils too defaced to be recognized, though it is suspected to be that of the gods themselves. More bellicose paladins have assumed that it is the mark of their patron god that adorns the rusted flanks, and have sworn terrible oaths to bring her to justice.
She has not been seen since her trespass in the Great Library of Ioun, and another figure has now captured the minds of many: A shining maiden whose wings reflect the endless expanse of the Astral Sea, stardust fluttering in her wake, holding the Storied Sword in her grip as she dove from the highest peak of Celestia into the Abyss below.
Gave me no Child,
So I Willed one
“I shall grant you mercy, for your goddess cannot”
- The Final Words given to the White Knight
While sinister in demeanor, she is not known to visit wanton violence in her passing, though that is not to say that destruction does not follow her. Many paladins have sought to track her down despite the being proscribed by their Oaths, and many cities and towns have suffered in the wake of such battles. Centuries of songs and stories have been written towards these duels, mostly espousing the courage and skill of the challengers, but all end in nearly the same manner – Superior swordsmanship overwhelms most, while a rare few have their own divine powers turned against them, ending with a show of mockery by sparing their lives, after taking their divine icons.
Made me lose Faith
But I’ve come too Far,
To turn around,
There’s too much at Stake
“No! I won’t lose you again!”
- The Promise of the First Song
More unnerving than her unbidden powers are her seeming contradictory actions. While known to commit acts against any crown, kingdom or god to further her unknowable ends, she has also been suspected to be the power behind a few violent uprisings, most notably the one and only successful slave rebellion in the City of Brass, which caused the removal of the previous Sultan many centuries ago. Her force of personality has cultivated a following amongst the Faithless, but very few survive for long, for most are left to fend for themselves or expended like arrows from a quiver. Her exploits have garnered enough attention that the Great Bard Winter of multi-planar renown is known to have disappeared in attempting to track her some decades ago, and has not been seen since.
I gave you Heart,
I gave you Soul,
I gave you Power,
But your Sorrow,
I did not put there
“You cannot kill me, no more than you can kill Hope”
It is quite unheard of for the forces Above and Below to agree upon anything, aside from the well-known cessation of open warfare between the gods and primordials, but they have come to terms on a few rare topics. Aside from the mutual spurning of the Abyss and the demons within, they both see the Scorned Exarch as a threat to their interests, and have sent their champions to bring her to judgement. Over the aeons, no champion has been successful, and some have even treacherously forsaken their previous vows and oaths to come under her banner. Marshaling an unknown number of powerful allies has made her many enemies not just in the realms of the immortals, but also in the lands of ambitious mortals coveting the power she must possess to cow even the great powers of the Planes.
They call you Monster,
I call you my Child
They call you Evil,
I call you my Child
“No Judge. No Jury. Just …”
Those who have had the luck – some would say misfortune – to be in her presence have said that visions come unbidden to them, some coming quickly after the encounter, while others claim to endure days of waking dreams. The more faithful see this as an insidious attempt to sway those against her to her side, while more ambivalent victims think otherwise. No matter their views on the matter, all agree that the places and events they see are not their own, and are cast in a nostalgic, if not regretful light. What they see is never clear, but all feel a deep sorrow that brings forth their own dark memories.
And still I Cry,
For fear that you will lose your Way,
“Afraid of Heights? You should be…”
Men and Women of their faiths that have pursued or put into writing actions and events she has been suspected of having a hand in, both recent and ancient, have come to form a rough image of her movements. While they are very much sure that she furthers her goals with her continued travels – some would say trespass – into the Higher Planes, what she truly seeks seems to be in the Material Realm or in the deeps far Below. Where once she would only dare the peripheries of the realms of the Divine, now she is bold enough to walk the very slopes of Celestia under the gaze of the gods themselves, who seem keen on willfully ignoring her presence with contempt. It seems to be that the higher she sojourns Above, the deeper and deeper into the Abyss she also delves as well. Whether her quest leads her to the steps of the Overgod’s realm or the very heart of the Abyss is a grim outcome either way for the Realms.
The Wrongs I’ve made,
You will make Right
Ƚ ʥȹȵɏ ʥɕɏ ɉʤȽɻɏ
Ƚ ɚɸɠ ʥɕɏ ɝȹɻȵ
ȸʡ ʩȽȶȶ ȹɠȶ ȸʡ ȶȽɏɻ
Ƚ ȵȹɦʨɏ ȹ ɻɸɠɉ ʥɕɦɸʤɉɕ ɕȽɻʥɸɦʡ
ʥɕɸʤɉɕ Ƚ ʥȹȵɏ ȹ ɻʥȹɠɚ
Ƚɝ ɻʥȽȶȶ ɝɏɦɏȶʡ ɕʤɝȹɠ
ʥɕɏ ɉɸȶȶɏɻɻ ʡɸʤ ɠɏɏȶ
ȵȹɠʥ ȸɏ ɝɏ