Steltum Thrumbard (?? to 15,263 GY)

The Sorcerer of Lone Peak, Steltum Thrumbard was once set to become the greatest scourge that the world of Allornus had ever known. The man known as the ninety-ninth div, the ninth son of a ninth son, born of no mother and gifted with strange powers rose up in the north-east some seventy years ago, surrounded by great mystery, and proclaimed himself to be the herald of the end times. Preaching that he was the agent of the apocalypse that would begin the world anew, in an epoch where the divh would be thrown down. He was able to assemble a sizeable following, before being defeated by Braglok the wanderer, and agent of the fabled Giriff Soulrender. With the so-called herald gone, the cult that had grown around him dissipated, but Lone Peak is still considered a place of great evil.

Early Years and Prophecy

Of Thrumbard's early years, little is known. In that he fulfilled certain criteria of an ancient prophecy, we know that this Ghanish sorcerer was the ninth son of a ninth son, so he must have had eight elder brothers, as did his father. He was also "born of no mother" - part of a cryptic couplet of the prophecy in question thought to indicate that he was saved prematurely from the womb of a dead mother, or something to similar effect, considering that were he the result of some immaculate birth or horrid magical experiment he would not have had a father. He is thought to have originated in a remote part of the Ancient Duchies, somewhere along the Kardesian border. The heavy ritual scarring upon the sorcerer's face were in keeping with the practices of several Carroghan tribes of that region, as was the exceptionally pallid caste of his skin. However all of these things are really just speculation.

Sorcerer of Lone Peak

What becomes a matter of recorded history (if no longer living memory) is his rise rule over the Lone Peak. Lone Peak was the name of a great mountain that rises up out of the plains of Vo Beloslakya, once known for belching fire and ash into the skies during the centuries following the Sundering, when it first rose out of the flat lands. Believed to be home to a Baalfr, the Ghans of Vo Beloslakya avoided the land around the mountain, encircling it with shrines to keep the evil of the place contained. When a mystic claiming the name Thrumbard appeared in the tiny fortified townships around the region, asking questions about the mountain and making frequent pilgrimages to the shrines around it, he was met with the suspicion that greets all strangers in the place, but thought of little more. And so, when he vanished, few wondered at the scarred mystic's fate.

What is now known is that Thrumbard made a pilgrimage to the peak of the mountain, and met with whatever spirit dwelt there. In early years it was thought that he pledged himself to it, but now it is believed that he banished or slew whatever force held sway over Lone Peak, and took it for his own, finding caves cut by molten rock thousands of years ago in which to make a home. And with him, Thrumbard brought all manner of forbidden lore, gathered over the early years of his life, by coin, guile or force. In solitude, in this place of great magic, perhaps even with the spirit of the mountain enslaved to his will, Thrumbard made a study of those dark magicks that he had gathered, and learned of the powers of the Baalfr and their followers. And as he grew powerful and bold he drew servants to the base of the mountain, who wished to be his disciples, and he used them to test the most unstable and untested of his lore, or else to sell their lives, and very souls for gifts from malign beings that dwell beyond the veil of sleep.

The Gift of No-Thing

And with the dream-lore of the mystics Thrumbard came to see that something dwelt within him. Long had he known that he had sight beyond that of normal men, the ability to see where the fabric of the world was disturbed, and an aptitude for the arts beyond that of the masters under whom he had studied, but now that he was practising the dream-walking of the mystics Thrumbard began to see that there was more. That something dark dwelt in his heart. Something he had never seen before. And it fascinated him. More and more Thrumbard spent time dreaming, until eventually he reached out, and he touched it, and he found something that both enchanted and terrified him dwelt within his very soul. It spoke to him, and he knew that he alone had been given the gift of no-thing. And so when he awoke he reached out, took the arm of one of those followers who prayed around him while he slept, and he unmade the man, and he was no more.

Able to unmake, to channel the energies of entropy, Thrumbard knew that he had been given a gift that no other had ever had. One that was forbidden even the divh. And he rejoiced.

Over his time as master of the Lone Peak, Thrumbard began to explore the void within him, and his power over entropy. He sought to find its meaning. He pored over ancient prophecies about the unmaking of the world, religious texts penned by lunatic zealots of long forgotten divhi, and the most bleak and forbidden foretelling of perverse seers and grim prophets. And he came upon one such tale that detailed the end times - a time when the void in which the world drifts re-emerges at its core, and unmakes it from within. He discovered that the spirit, the new centre of the end time would come in the form of elemental nothingness, housed in a vessel as all elemental spirits are, and that spirit would be a man, one who was the ninth son of a ninth son, born of no mother, and the more the prophecy applied to Thrumbard, the more he embraced it as the truth. Eventually he announced to his growing legion of followers that he was the harbinger and herald of the end times, the man who would unmake the divh, and remake the world as he chose, and as proof he offered his own power. One even the divh were forbidden to wield. And thousands came to prostrate themselves at the foot of the mountain that was now also his throne.

Herald of the End Time and Defeat

But Steltum Thrumbard knew he had weakness. He may have cowed the very divh from opposing him, for he was not struck for the world in a storm of divine fury, but he was but the imperfect mortal vessel of the energies of the end, and he could die, and if he died another would be born and steal his destiny from him. Thrumbard would not have that. And so Steltum Thrumbard, div, sorcerer and mystic, summoned a great host about him, of Carroghans and fanatics and divhless men from every part of the east, then with their herald at its head that host marched, and carried its will across the nations of northern Ghana. Where their foot fell they did not conquer, but slew, corrupted and destroyed. The shadow world loomed close where they marched, and twisted dreamspawn howled and gibbered and surged in ruins that were half unmade. And at the maddened host's head, amongst capering madmen and half imagined monsters, on an impossible palanquin of steel that was not, came the sorcerer Thrumbard. All knew that he had to be stopped, or he would raise up a force that could challenge the great nations of the world.

And so it was that the ancient magician Giriff Soulrender, chronicler of the world, assembled the greatest heroes of the age into one place, and met with them in council, to impress upon them just how dire the need was for the Sorcerer of Lone Peak be slain. They came together and their small number made a raid against the Lone Peak during the winter, while the elite elements of Thrumbard's army were camped there, and fought their way up the mountain. None who survived to confront Thrumbard will speak of what happened in that mountain, but in the end the sorcerer fell to the Task Sword, wielded by the Kardesian known as Braglok the Wanderer, and his army, without a leader, dissolved, and fell into in-flighting and petty rivalries.

So passed the herald of the end time, but does that mean that the end times are averted, and that the power of the no-thing has returned to the void beyond the world? None can say.