Beyond Divinity

The Story So Far

All of Creation is at war.

On one side, the Excrucians. These otherworldly, malevolent beings seek to devour every piece of Creation – everything that is or ever was – for a purpose unknown. While their footsoldiers, Shards, swarm like locusts, cutting a path of destruction across the world, their superiors are cunning and patient, constructing elaborate plans within plans for the downfall of everything. Excrucians are nihilistic creatures, and often care little for bargains or reasoning, unless they further the destructive plans of their superiors.

On the other side, the Gods. Masters, builders, and maintainers of the World Tree, they have found their creation under sudden threat from a place that not even they knew existed. From somewhere beyond even their comprehension, their enemies came – but the Gods were not defenseless. Greater Gods formed the front lines, with entities such as Jehovah, Shiva, Zeus, Odin, Ganesh, and countless others taking the fight to the Excrucians. To maintain order on the tree itself, the Gods splintered off their power, offering it to mortals so that they may further defend their associated concepts. These beings were the Nobilis.

The war has been raging since the earliest times in man’s history, and shows no signs of abating. That is, until the God Chronos was wounded in battle. As his flesh was torn forth, it was recovered by a powerful Excrucian. Warping it to its whim, the Excrucian used the flesh to master the flow of causality itself. The Excrucian was now in a postiion to do more damage than nearly any of his kin. With steeled mind, he set to work on uprooting the world tree itself. By disrupting critical events through time, the roots would be weakened, and thus cause the complete collapse of all Creation.

The Gods knew the destructive potential of this Excrucian, but were too occupied with the front to directly confont him. So, in their stead, teams of Nobilis were gathered to find and stop the threat. Coyote, the trickster God, gathered a team consisting of Weapons, Apathy, Madness, Pulse, and of course, Time. They would later come to be joined by others as the situation grew more dire.

Discovering the source of one of the time disturbances was in year one, within the roman empire, the Nobili wasted no time in investigating. They soon found that the Time Excrucian wasn’t acting alone, and had taken with him lesser Excrucians mimics with control over Edges, Dreams, Water, Conflict, and Velocity. With some investigation in Rome, the gods found that these Excrucians had been manipulating events here for months, preparing for the arrival of “the symbol”. It was near this time that Coyote enlisted the aid of the power of Chess, as he was the only Nobilis apart from Weapons to have had contact with Excrucians prior to this. Pulse became infatuated with Chess, and soon the feelings were recipricated.

Upon killing many of the Excrucian shards in Rome, and completing various personal investigations, the Gods came to the conclusion that the Excrucians must be planning something with the birth of Christ. Of course, such interferance would have (or should have) brought about the attention of the Nobilis of Religion – though this did not seem to be the case. To investigate further, they tracked down the Power of Organized Religion to a point in time they knew he would appear – at a party for godly beings at a bar in 1920’s Boston.

The party went well, in that they recruited another Nobilis (the neophyte Thread) to their cause, talked to a sleazy buisnessman (the Power of Deals), and flirted with (or rather, WERE flirted with by) the Nobilis of Scotland. It was less successful, however, in getting information out of the stoic Religion, who eventually retreated to his Realm. And of course, no party is complete without someone coming from the future, half dead, to give you a key forged at the dawn of Creation by an ungodly abomination before dying and dissapearing. Sadly for the pack of Gods, this future visitor was Time, bearing an Excrucian key, and leaving without explanation.

The godly group split, some deciding to confront Religion in his realm, while the others chose to return to Rome to keep an eye on the Exrucians. The diplomatic group had little luck with Religion, but did manage to steal a living, beating heart from his realm before they left. The other group were trapped in a series of dreams by the Dreaming Excrucian, falling into their slumber unaware sometime during their journey back to Rome. Managing to wake from the dream, they slew the excrucian shard, finding the remnant of the Nobilis of Dreams that it devoured. From there, they reunited and continued to Rome.

Deciding to take the fight to the excrucians, the group had their new ally Thread trace the link from the dead Dream shard to the other Dream shards, where they planned to kill them one by one. Finding one, they ambushed it, but the still living fragment of devoured Nobilis inside it caused it to ask for mercy in exchange for information. The group decided this would be a good opportunity to interrogate the Excrucian, and began extracting information. Unfortunately for them, the Excrucian Warmain who had stolen Chronos’ flesh had planted this Dream shard for exactly this purpose, and lay in wait for anything revealing to be said during the questioning. Indeed, the gods unknowingly let slip where they had found the mysterious heart, which was all that the Excrucian wanted to know. Allowing the shard to die, the Warmain appeared before the gods, freezing them in place with his power. He told them that they were very useful to him alive (for reasons unknown), and, letting them live, he sent them forward in time.

The Gods found themselves in the same place they left, but in the year 2024, near an American military base. Realizing that they were held here by the power of the Excrucian, they went on to investigate the base. They learned that the base had lost all communications several days ago, and were sending out distress calls. The Gods had disguised themselves as officers answering one of these calls, and aided in restoring power to the base. When communications were restored, they found the other units had evacuated, as a satellite-mounted weapon of mass destruction was malfunctioning miles above thier heads. The party made fast friends with a small group of these soldiers, and with a strange old man that they had detained for his own safety (though rambling and insane, the man seemed to have a spark of divinity, proving immortal and familiar with some of the Nobilis- namely, Madness and Weapons). Wishing to help the mortals, the gods organized an evacuation, but disaster struck when internal conflict broke out. It soon became apparent that the Excrucian of Edges and the Excrucian of Conflict, disapproving of their master’s plan of leaving the Nobilis alive, took matters into their own hands, disobeying him to kill all of the timeshifted gods. As the rescue effort went downhill, veering into a fight for their very survival against Edges and Conflict, they were, themselves, rescued.

The Power of Scotland, wishing to turn her flirtation with Weapons into a full blown one night stand, had sought out the elusive power by talking to Coyote. When she learned he was in danger, she called in favours with the Power of Trains and the Power of Illusion, the former of whom created a time and space hopping locomotive to scoop up the endangered powers. Also rescued were the mysterious old man (who remained nameless) and the soldier Tanner, who remained in awe of the proceedings. While the gods wished to rest and regain their strength, there was to be no rest for them – Edges and Conflict had gotten onto the Realm Train, and attacked. In the ensuing battle, Apathy and Illusion were killed, but both Excrucians were defeated – Conflict permanently so. Coyote, noting the voids left by dead or devoured Gods, replaced Illusion and Conflict with his own children, ascended to Godhood. Tanner, they decided, was safer back on the mortal realm, and so she parted.

After resting, and back in their own time (relatively), the Gods decided to take what they had learned from the Dream shard and confront Religion once again. Using knowledge gained from the Power of Information, they met with Religion on Mt. Sinai. Once again, the negotiations went sour, but they were informed that Religion intended to use the heart to harm Excrucians, and for generally well-intetnioned ends, though this was difficult to believe. Eventually, they were allowed to keep the heart in exchange for the excrucian key, which they noted would work just as well in any ritual intended to harm anyone.

Still suspecting involvement with Religion and the birth of Christ, the group decided to investigate the birth itself, to catch any Excrucian sabotage as it happened. But it seemed the jaunt forward in time was more than just an inconvenience. It was a temporal delay the Warmain caused, such that they would always arrive to late to stop the Excrucian plot. Indeed, upon arrival, they found no birth, no Christ. However, they stil lsensed Excrucian presences, and upon tracking them down, they were attacked by a shard of the Excrucian of Velocity. Though he killed both the strange old man and Scotland’s anchor, the Excrucian was defeated, rendered insane. In this deranged state, he divulged further information – that Christ was still born, just in another place and time, and that Religion would not allow it to happen any other way. But indeed, some kind of bargain was struck between the Excrucians and Religion. As Scotland left to mourn her anchor, the other Gods looked for new information on this changed timeline. They knew, however, that time was running out – the root of the World Tree was collapsing under the stress of the major change.

They discovered that Christ was born as the Norse God of Light, Krist. Needing the deity to set things right, they wasted no time in travelling to Valhalla, home of the Norse Gods. Once there, they found the Excrucians were fighting on this front as well. Asgard was being assaulted, and both the Frost Giants and Loki,the God of Tricks had sided with the enemy. To enter Asgard, they paid the toll of the head of a Frost Giant leader. Upon meeting with Odin, they found that Excrucians were planning on freeing Fenris, the Wolf of Hel, who would proceed to devour all of Creation. The Gods offered to stop this band of excrucians in exchange for an audience with Krist, and Odin accepted.

In Hel, they found themselves prey to a fiendish (-ly obnoxious) series of puzzles and battles, while being confounded by increasing levels of group paranoia and strange phenomenon. Loki, it seemed, had infiltrated their group in an effort to gain access to Hel (a place he was cursed to never enter or leave unaccompanied), where he eventually freed Fenris. After a colossal battle with the God, they used tremendous power to render the whole series of events a mere illusion – meaning Fenris was still chained, but Loki remained alive. Considering this as complete a victory as one could gain against a greater God, they made their way back to Odin, only to find that in their absence, all the Valkaries of Valhalla had died. To complicate matters, they also found themselves in the presence of a Power of Relief, who seemd very intent on “testing” them…

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