So I wrote a fanfiction based off of the concept of "The Darkest timeline. It's set at the beginning of what the wiki calls arc 3 or episode 81. This is part 1 or 3 planned. It won't let me post it all at once though so I'm cutting part 1 into 3 parts. So I guess this is part 1 part 1. Copy/pasting from a word document screwed up the formatting, sorry about that, tried to fix it as best I can.
The Darkest Timeline
Part 1: Adherent and Demon
Somewhere a voice on the edge of death whispers a single word, and a contract is sealed.
Jaela woke up in the world not precisely where she thought she would. She had thought that Erathis was going to send her to Yangahr, but apparently, She had other plans for Jaela so she had appeared directly in this new city of Pelor’s Hope. Everything was so new to Jaela and she couldn’t help but glance at this thing and that as she went. She had passed a sausage cart on her first day and worked a few hours helping to cook the meat and take orders from customers to earn a single meal and it had been worth it. Erathis had sent her with a bit of money but she enjoyed helping the cheerful old man who had run the cart. Seeing him smile and laugh with his customers made it worth it to her.
At length though she made her way to the impressive gold palace of Pelor to present herself to the Council of Eight. She got a little nervous as she waited outside the chamber of audiences, and she started compulsively checking her bag of holding to make sure she had everything she needed. Never a bad thing to be careful! Soon enough though they were ready for her.
“Hello!” said Jaela cheerfully to the room full of old men sitting on high chairs behind a table looking down on her in an almost complete circle. There was one chair open however and something about that bothered her but she couldn’t say why. They were all dressed so nicely with jewels and soft silk robes but held stern expressions that were far too serious in her opinion. They also wore powdered wigs, which Jaela thought was kind of silly. “I’m Jaela, avenger and adherent of Erathis, and I’m here to help you all fight back the abyss and the demons.”
“Right, right,” said the man in the middle chair with the big gavel, “You’re representing the faith today correct?”
“Oh yes!” said Jaela. “That nice cleric Father Orville told me to come here so here I am.” She tried to add a bit of enthusiasm to the proceedings since everyone around her looked so grim, but it didn’t seem to be working yet.
“Well since the Arcane Representative seems to be missing, I suppose we ought to be getting this meeting underway,” said the man. “the first motion-”
“I’m sorry,” interrupted Jaela, “but what happened to the Arcane representative?” She walked forward and stood in the very middle of the circle of chairs.
“No one is sure what happened to Zird, he has been missing for quite some time,” said the man with the gavel. He leaned forward to look at her more carefully. “You haven’t by chance heard of a wizard, possibly a spinning one, making inconvenient requests of people and generally behaving in an impossible but whimsical manner?”
“No, I haven’t,” she replied while wondering if she couldn’t get a chair for herself since she was starting to get a little self-conscious with all of them looking down on her from above.
“A shame,” said gavel in a voice that clearly communicated that it wasn’t. “Now if we might get on with the meeting, I was about to discuss the problems we have discovered occurring outside of our borders.” He cleared his throat and looked down at a list before him. “Firstly, of course, is the rift to the abyss which has absorbed the city of Caer and is letting Demons into the Prime Material Plane. Second it appears that a group of mind-flayers have taken up residence within the Swamps of Ichtaka. Thirdly we have heard that a band of gnolls lead by Yeenoghu himself have been set loose upon the Prime Material Plane and are ransacking village after village on near Caer.” This set the men on the benches to whispering. A Demon Lord here? On this plane? “Fourthly, an Ancient Red Dragon has taken up residence within the walls of Mastwick and he seems determined to stay there.”
“A little too close for comfort,” muttered one of the other men, and there was much nodding of agreement from the others. Rabble rabble rabble.
“And finally,” said gavel, “there appears to be a cult of Orcus within this very city that are attempting to open up another rift into the abyss. Obviously our guards are doing every-” but the rest of his sentence was once more cut off, this time by the uproar as the other important men began to ask questions and demand solutions in equal measure, but not near so much as they called into question the competence of gavel.
Jaela for her part felt a hideous weight on her shoulders. It was so much to handle, but maybe… “There are several sources of help we might find though,” said gavel, “an army of Bahamut is gathering in the north near Mastwick and there is a coven of witches in Eveningshire that is supposedly providing aid-”
“Excuse me,” interjected Jaela, “but I was thinking of heading out into the world and trying to figure out how to close the portal into the abyss myself, and I was wondering if there were any adventurers here who could help me with that?” She looked around at each face hopefully. Anyone would have done really, just someone to talk to on the road would be nice.
“I’m afraid not,” said gavel when it became clear that no one was going to respond, “I’m sorry but it would seem you’re on your own.” A chill ran up her spine. Something felt horribly wrong about that. It’s dangerous to go alone.
A day later, and after haggling for hours with the council over what objective to achieve next, Jaela eventually had her heading. She also had a group of soldiers to help her escape the embattled city, a hardened core of fighters known as the Sun Shields. She had decided it was best to head north and check out this Army of Bahamut. Her decision was in no way influenced by her deep desire to visit the fascinating town of New Newfoundlandland that she had heard about. Well perhaps a little. She could still help people and do a little sight-seeing right?
She had bought a horse and named it Bluemoon and had considered naming it something a little more extravagant. She had refrained though for though she was a handsome horse, she was still just a horse.
One of them muttered something to her about her getting vengeance for the Harpers, but there was no time to pause and ask about it because the gates were already opening, and the Sun Shields were getting ready to charge. Hundreds of those winged demons (Vrocks were they called? She couldn’t be sure) circled outside the gates and it seemed to her that those great leathery abyss-spawn were waiting for them. Their flight patterns were far too close to those of vultures for her liking.
As soon as the gates were open wide enough Jaela and the Sun Spears spurred on their horses and galloped at full speed out into the no man’s land between the walls of Pelor’s Hope and the forest. Within seconds of leaving the city two Sun Shields were dead, picked off their horses by speeding Vrocks that dived with unnatural speed. Their great claws crushed armor easily and the soldiers were screaming long before the Vrocks tossed them in to the air and they came down with a splat.
Jaela bobbed and weaved, turning her horse with as much precision as possible to avoid the demons that dove towards the ever-shrinking band. Soon it wouldn’t be enough though, without a caster to confuse or obfuscate their position or truly skilled fighters to guard her back she would have to improvise. The next time a Vrock dove to snatch her from her horse she removed her halberd from her back and waited for the last possible moment to strike. She spun her halberd with the full force of her powerful arms and decapitated it in mid-air. One down. It was time to go on offense.
It was hard on horseback, but Jaela managed to dance the Iron Dance. Though she was only a few days old her halberd felt as natural in her hand as though she had trained with it for a hundred years. It was a blur as it wove around her, striking and flowing, driving off all but the bravest of demons. When one almost got in behind her through a gap in her defenses, she leaped up 5 feet in the air off the back of her horse and kicked the Vrock as it screeched past. The only problem with that was that she now had no horse. Bluemoon was carried forward by her momentum and snatched up by a Vrock. Jaela had mere feet to go though as she traveled towards the tree line and there simply was nothing to do for Bluemoon. She glanced back towards the Sun Shields and saw a few retreating back towards Pelor’s Hope, but their chances of reaching the walls alive seemed slim. Frankly there wasn’t much hope for them but what was she to do? The whole point of this operation had been to help her escape. She couldn’t go back now and thereby invalidate the deaths of the fallen Sun Shields. She made the dash to the trees and kept running.
A shadow in the trees notices her arrival and pursues.
Winston was just a simple boat man, so when a tall purple lady came out of the trees and helped push the Chum Guzzler from where the storm had beached it, he wasn’t quite sure what do with her. “Thank you for the help purple lady,” was all he could think of.
“Oh, it was no trouble,” bubbled the purple lady, “My name isn’t purple lady though, it’s Jaela, Adherent of Erathis.” She struck a pose with her hand on her halberd, and Winston wondered if maybe he was supposed to applaud that or something.
“That’s very nice,” he said, “Do you know I’ve never met a purple person before?” He scratched his chin. “Did you maybe fall in a barrel of paint?”
She laughed at that. “Oh no, I’m a Deva. It means that I am a semi divine being that has lived many lifetimes, reincarnating after each death. I can even remember them to an extent.” He furrowed his brow in confusion.
“Good for you,” he said groping yet again for something to say, “How can I help you since you helped us?” He gestured back towards the Chum Guzzler as Winston and Cooper began to lower the sails.
The purple lady smiled at that. “Could you maybe take me to Mastwick?”
The shadow follows.
Onboard the ship Jaela was having a good time. She tied down ropes, swabbed decks, and made friends with everyone she could. They were a funny lot, talking their sailor talk and reminiscing about a group of adventurers they had used to transport everywhere. She had asked where exactly these adventurers might be, but the sailors had merely shrugged. Still she was getting better and better at completing the various tasks required of a deckhand. A few days into the journey and she felt like this adventure had finally hit its stride.
That flying demon was going to be a real problem if she didn’t deal with it soon though. It hadn’t gotten close enough for her to see yet, but it had been dogging their heels for days now, flying just low enough to be seen. She felt a little giddy at the thought of it being their heels. She was only a week old but already she was sure she hated the idea of traveling alone. In either case though she was going to have to figure out how to deal with that demon, because she was sure that it was going to be much more of a problem than any of the Vrocks were. On the one hand it looked much larger than any of the Vrocks had been. On the other hand, she felt an irrational feeling of dread whenever she saw it as though the demon blocked out the sun and cast the world into shadow.
Then again, maybe she did have a solution, and a simple one at that. She glanced towards her pocket and felt the comforting weight inside. Jaela shook herself. She really shouldn’t spend so much time worrying when she could be getting to know these friendly sailors better and figuring out exactly who this Xantolin was.
The demon’s cloven feet landed on deck and it let out a gout of flame. The chains hanging off its body clattered on the wood, one even getting caught in the rigging, but the demon just shook its vast body once and the rope snapped. It was so big that Jaela wondered if its bat wings might not span the entire length of the ship once it completely spread them. She just hoped her plan would work before it spat out any more fire and set the ship on fire.
Winston and the other sailors had just hightailed it beneath deck to hide in what they called “Thom’s Meat Fridge” whatever that meant. Apparently, it was the most secure room onboard. She pulled together her courage and faced the demon head on, adopting a battle stance with her halberd in her right hand.
With her left hand, however, she pulled forth her Demon Binder. She bared her teeth at the demon and said, “In Erathis’s name I command you to return to the abyss!” Her will focused completely into the tiny bit of wood that was her Demon Binder and prayed. Not all prayers are answered.
As she had always known was possible, the Demon Binder flashed with bright light and the vast demon cried out in alarm, but then the light faded. The demon remained. It looked at her with something she was pretty sure was a slightly amused face mixed with bestial battle lust. Jaela trembled underneath its gaze.
Several hours later, the shattered remains of the Chum Guzzler washed up on shore several miles south of Fairmyr and they took the corpse of Jaela with them.
Aludra was getting a little tired of explaining to Thom why exactly they couldn’t just go back and murder Harper. “He’s almost certainly dead Thom, and even if he isn’t then we don’t know where he is.” Her feet were starting to drag beneath her, and she was extremely glad that Ros thought the griffins would be well enough for them to ride soon. She knew there was no point looking for Harper, but she fully understood why Thom wanted to kill him so badly. The scenery around her, burnt trees and miles of open road, did nothing to improve her mood.
“You don’t know that for sure,” said Thom, “Just let me find him and then Blood Drinker and I can show how much we we’ve missed him.” She fully sympathized with the sentiment but really wished he would stop saying it with a full erection. “Let me kill him a little so I can add his stupid hair to my collection.”
“Even if we could I already called dibs on the first shot at the guy who started the apocalypse,” said Aludra. Her hammer was really starting to feel heavy on her back. “And can you put Blood Drinker back in its sheath? We’re pretty easy to follow if there’s a trail of blood behind us going back miles.”
“I’m not afraid of anything on this road,” said Thom, gesticulating with his bloody sword and sending a spray of blood out over the dirt.
I am. Thought Aludra. Responsibility. She looked towards where she knew Deephome was and sighed to herself. There was nowhere else to go, and they might be able to find a cleric who could remove the devices from the back of their heads.
“Hey Bucky,” said Thom, turning around with a light in his eyes, “Come up here, I want you to hold Blood Drinker for a second.” Suddenly his scaly face became confused. “Bucky? Where are you boy?”
Aludra turned around herself now, panic filling her stomach immediately. There was no sign of the Githyanki boy, nor any sign of Ros or Daisy. Oh shit. She thought. “I’m a terrible mother.” She clutched Thom’s arms and he turned towards her with murderous eyes.
“I smell Gnolls,” growled Thom.
Jaela jerked awake from where she lay on the banks of the Nerroe Sea and spat up a whole river’s worth of salt water. She looked around shakily at the waterlogged remnants of a boat. No not just any boat, the Chum Guzzler. Wait… the demon! The demon had killed her and she was dead now wasn’t she? She remembered the demon’s teeth sinking into her neck and beginning to squeeze. That wasn’t right, couldn’t be right. This was not the Raven Queen’s realm or the afterlife of Erathis where she could wait a short time for rebirth as a hundred different people. What was going on?
Jaela. Said a vast echoing voice inside her head. Jaela your work is not complete yet. The trees around her, more like a jungle or a swamp than she might have expected seemed to shiver.
“My Lady?” asked Jaela, “is that you? Lady Erathis?” She knelt on the ground as she spoke, and her voice was a croak.
You need not speak out loud for I can sense your very thoughts when I speak to you like this. Said the voice. It is indeed your god Jaela. Jaela couldn’t assign any description to the voice because it echoed repeatedly on the inside of her head and the echoes somehow canceled each other out, making it impossible to make out the tone of the speaker. You have far yet to travel and I cannot allow you to rest or reincarnate yet my child. You must prepare yourself for the trials yet to come. Worry not though, for I will guide you.
Jaela could not remember a time in her many lives that Erathis had spoken directly into her head completely unprompted, but then again spontaneous resurrection of this type had never happened to her either. She stood up and dusted herself off. I understand my lady. She thought with determination. May I ask what it is you wish me to do? Besides close the portal into the Abyss of course.
Jaela seek out the necromancer known as the Rickert Svenson. Said Erathis. You must acquire an item known as the Hammer of Sundering as it will be instrumental in closing the portal.
Jaela controlled her breathing and focused herself. Of course, my Lady, and may I just say what an honor this is-
I know Jaela. Interrupted the voice of Erathis. Now it is time for you to go and complete my good works.