Grumpkins

Conversations with Otto Arundel

An ongoing series

“So, Bermejo. You seem well-versed in lore and such.”

“Bards often take inspiration from history, Otto. You never know when a tiny detail from some ancient battle will make for a delightful song.”

“Right. So, I was thinking.”

“…”

“Your past is my future.”

“…”

“Events that were ahead of me are behind you. Behind me, too, now, I suppose. Except I don’t remember any of it because I wasn’t there.”

“You want to know what has happened since you were banished.”

“Exactly!”

“And that was in the Year of the… Riven Skull, I believe?”

RIVEN SKULL, yeah! That was a great year for me.”

“Until you were banished.”

“Look, just tell me what I missed, all right?”

“Okay, Otto. The first thing you need to know is that in the time you've been gone, Faerûn has been through three world-shaking cataclysmic events: the Time of Troubles, the Spellplague, and the Sundering. These were all very, very bad.”

“Do any of those involve Tyr? He’s the god that grants me divine power. He must still be around, because, as you have seen, my mighty blows are imbued with Tyr’s holy strength!”

“… sure. Now, listen. Let’s begin with the Time of Troubles — also known as the Fall of the Gods, or the Godswar. This all began in the Year of Shadows, which came about a hundred years after you were banished. For the rest of us, it was a hundred and thirty years ago.”

“…”

“So the Time of Troubles started when Lord Ao, the Overgod, cast all the other gods down from the heavens and sentenced them to walk amongst the mortals.”

“So Tyr came to Toril? That’s awesome! Did you meet him?”

“…”

“Oh, right, you’re not a real elf, I keep forgetting. You have that scruffy beard and everything.”

“Also, I’m twenty-one years old.”

“You’re saying you didn’t meet him.”

“Listen. The Time of Troubles was a time of great upheaval. Magic went wild, the existing order was shattered, gods died, and new gods rose. You know Bane, the god of tyranny?”

“I am sworn to oppose him!”

“Indeed. So Bane and Torm slew each other in battle.”

Torm? No! Some of my best buds worship Torm!”

“And you know Bhaal, God of Murder?”

“His followers are the worst! My order is devoted to their destruction.”

“He was — who could have predicted? — murdered. By a mortal.”

“It must have been a great hero who did the deed! Was it a Knight of Samular? Surely it was! Only a Knight of Samular could take down Bhaal!”

“Actually, it was a human thief from the streets of Zhentil Keep. His name was Cyric. He slew Bhaal with the legendary sword Godsbane, and took over as the new Lord of Murder. Then he killed Leira, The Lady of Deception, and stole her powers as well.”

“Hold. You’re telling me a mortal became a god?”

“Cyric wasn’t the only one. Lady Kaitlin Tindall Bloodhawk, leader of a small band of mercenaries, prevailed against overwhelming odds and turned back an invading horde of goblinkind, saving the nation of Tethyr from utter annihilation. Her skill and valor were so great that the Lord of Battles raised her to godhood, and she became the Red Knight, Goddess of Strategy.”

“Was she hot? She sounds hot. ‘Lady Kaitlin Tindall Bloodhawk’ — how could you not be hot with a name like that? Oh, man, can you imagine what it must be like to fuck a god?”

“Well, that happened too. Bhaal had foreseen his own death, so before he was killed, the Lord of Murder lay with countless mortal females and sired scores of progeny, all of them infused with his divine essence. One of the Bhaalspawn, Sarevok, planned to ascend to godhood himself, and almost caused a war between Amn and Baldur’s Gate before he was stopped. It’s a famous tale around these parts. Many great songs have been written about it.”

“Fine, fine. But what of Tyr? Tell me of Tyr, bard!”

“Well — in your time, you probably knew him as Tyr the Evenhanded, yes?”

“Indeed! Or ‘Tyr Grimjaws’ — I like that one. Or ‘The Lord of Justice.’ That’s my favorite. ‘BOW DOWN BEFORE THE LORD OF JUSTICE, VARLET!’”

“Uh-huh. So, the thing is, these days, most people know Tyr as ‘The Maimed God.’”

“… what?”

“That’s because his sword hand was bitten off during the Time of Troubles. By Kezef the Chaos Hound.”

WHAT?”

“Also, he was blinded. He dared to question the justice of the Overgod’s decree, so Ao gouged out his eyes.”

WHAT???”

“Later, during the Spellplague, Cyric tricked Tyr into killing his friend and ally, Helm, god of watchfulness. After that, Tyr lost all faith in his ability to lead his worshippers, and abdicated his godhood.”

“…”

“Having shed his divine essence, Tyr died fighting off a demonic invasion of the upper realms.”

“…”

“There, there Otto. It was a heroic death. The stuff of legend. I’ll sing you a song of it sometime.”

“…”

“… oh, also, he got better. Did I forget to mention that? Yes, Tyr returned to the Realms during the Sundering. Remember, the Sundering? I mentioned it earlier.”

“… Tyr’s not dead.”

“Not anymore, no.”

“… he’s still the God of Justice.”

“He is.”

“Oh thank the gods. I mean… you know what I mean.”

“I do, actually. Take heart, Otto. There may be a lesson in there for a young squire such as yourself.”

“Knight.”

“Knight, of course.”

“I’m just so happy my god is back! Now that I think about it, what could be better than that? That’s so badass. Back from the dead! Tyr! And good as new, yes? He got his hand restored and his eyes restored and he’s ready to go out and kick the ass of those demons that took him down!"

“Oh no. No, Otto, I’m afraid not.”

“Explain yourself.”

“‘The Maimed God,’ remember? Also known as ‘Blind Tyr.’ Nowadays, his faithful are known to wrap a strip of cloth over their eyes to remind others of the blindness of justice.”

“… I’m not doing that.”

“That’s between you and your god, Otto.”

“… stupid mind flayers.”

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