Age of Worms
Initial Discussion with Manzorian
The Age of Worms
“The Age of Worms is foretold in a prophecy that speaks of a coming apocalypse, an age of death and writhing doom. Normally such rumors should be dismissed—doomsday prophecies are typically the product of nothing more sinister than madness. This prophecy is different. It can be traced back, through various incarnations in books, tablets, and carvings on walls, for over two thousand years. It does not change in content during this time—it has not evolved through clumsy attempts of fanatics desperate to reword its predictions to support their agendas."
“This alone would be enough for it to merit further study. But even more interesting is the fact that in the last few years several of its predictions have actually come true. In one prophecy, it predicts the ‘ruin by fire of a city built in a bowl in the spire’s shadow.’ Just last year, far to the south, the city of Cauldron—built in the caldera of a dormant volcano only a few miles from Kyuss’ one-time home, the Spire of Long Shadows—was nearly destroyed by a volcanic eruption. Other prophecies speak of the recrudescence of the worm-eaten dead, the recovery of potent artifacts from ancient tombs, the destructive manifestation of an immense demonic tree in a distant city across the sea, the arrival of a ‘Fane of Scales’ amid a storm of wind and fire, and the cleansing of an evil taint from a city besieged in the past by giants."
“These events have all come to pass, and quite recently. In fact, there are only two prophecies remaining to be fulfilled. The first of these mentions the reunification of a tripartite spirit—I assume this is a nod to the goals of the Ebon Triad. The second remaining prophecy reads: ’And on the eve of the Age of Worms, a hero of the pit shall use his fame to gift a city to the dead.’ I believe this last line may have been speaking of Loris Raknian (certainly a hero from the gladiator’s pit) and his recent attempt to sacrifice thousands at the end of the Champion’s Games. Yes, I’ve heard of this, and I know you played a role in its prevention. It remains to be seen if your actions actually made a difference or not, but it would be foolhardy to assume that those who are trying to fulfill the prophecies will abate their efforts.”
“Kyuss is an enigma—what we know of him is sparse. We know that he was once a mortal, a powerful priest who ascended to godhood. He ruled a city named Kuluth-Mar far to the south, and was famed for the creation of undead. A former companion of mine, a wizard named Balakarde, made an extensive study of Kyuss and his ways. You might even say he was obsessed with Kyuss.” Balakarde: “When Balakarde learned Kuluth-Mar was the likely location of Kyuss’ divine apotheosis, he could barely restrain himself I cautioned him against going to investigate the ruins. One does not simply teleport into an unknown region without doing some research. Yet Balakarde wouldn’t listen. He left immediately, returning two weeks later with a wild look in his eye. He wouldn’t say much of what he’d found there, and before he moved on he asked me to hold on to some of his notes. He promised to return later and tell me more, but that time was short and he had to head north to follow a new lead. He vanished without a trace not long thereafter. I intended to try to track him down, but unfortunately, other events conspired to take my attention away. I suspect he is dead now. Or worse.”
“The notes Balakarde left with me are unfortunately rather sparse. They confirm that Kuluth-Mar is located in the Chultan Peninsula, far to the south, and estimate that Kyuss ruled the city more than two thousand years ago from a fortress called the Spire of Long Shadows. Balakarde believed that this spire was the site of Kyuss’ ascension to god- hood. Kyuss built a ziggurat to serve as the foundation of the Spire of Long Shadows. Balakarde writes how the ziggurat was a powerful magical focus for the ritual that propelled him to divinity. Much of Kyuss’ might has since left the city of Kuluth- Mar, but powerful undead servants and lingering touches of Kyuss’ own miasma make the ziggurat a fell and dangerous place. Balakarde visited the ruined city several times, but never penetrated the spire itself I never found the journal pages that described his earlier visits.”
“The Age of Worms prophecy predicts that several major magical artifacts shall surface in the months before the end. It does not indicate that these artifacts have a role to play in the realization of the Age of Worms itself only that their appearance marks that the time is near. I know of several that have surfaced of late; the Black Blade of Aknar Ratalla, the Tome of the Black Heart (neverwinter), the Obsidian Eye (shining marshes), the Dread Forge (the underdark), the Bindings of Erivatius, and now, as I’m sure you’re aware, and a fragment of the Rod of Seven Parts. I’m sure that more are to come.”