6- The Pantheon Displeased

Kizrak the Tyrant, a champion of Rallos Zek, settled down for the night on a bed of concrete in Oggok, shunning creature comforts. In the damp cold he lay, surrounded by dark stone walls with no blanket, no light. His only solace came from the pinching plates of armor under his back.

As he did every night, Kizrak closed his eyes and relaxed his mind so he could properly focus on his prayers. Having had an affinity for his god for hundreds of years, he found it easy to sense Rallos Zek as he prayed. He fancied that, on occasion, he would have dialogues with his god.

As the clammy world around him faded from awareness, he felt himself fall into a state of ethereal openness. He freed his mind's voice and began his prayer, asking Rallos Zek for the strength to continue to help any chosen warriors find their way to the Realm of Heroes through worship and war.

As he recited the prayer, he felt something out of the ordinary. In his mind, the vast universe that Kizrak prayed into began to close in on itself. He felt a strong presence. A booming voice crashed through his subconscious. It was Rallos Zek himself.

"There is no longer a place for mortals in the hearts or minds of the gods! The insolence! The arrogance of those that prayed to us and then dared to enter our homes and attempt to kill us!" the God of War bellowed. "We turn our backs on you foul mortals. We gave life. We imbued our children with our own powers and we answered prayers. Well, no more!"

"My almighty Warlord, what is your will? What would you have me do?" Kizrak asked through his thoughts.

"There is nothing to be done. We have chosen to ignore the prayers, the sniveling, the begging," Rallos Zek roared. "Mortals believe themselves powerful as gods, so much so that they challenge us. Us! So be it. If they are so powerful, they have no need of us! Henceforward, the prayers of our despicable children on Norrath will be ignored!"

As quickly as Rallos Zek's presence came, it left. Kizrak's mind was immediately silent.

Kizrak sat up with a start and opened his eyes. He knew all too well what the ire of the gods could bring upon mortals. He had watched his own brethren, the ogres, reduced to slovenliness and ignorance for daring to attempt to usurp the power of gods.

The pantheon of Norrath had finally come to agreement on an issue -- that the arrogance of mortals, their own children, must be punished.

Kizrak, a devout warrior, wanted to let all of the foul mortals of Norrath know what they had done. He left Oggok that night and wandered into the Feerrott toward someone he had all but forgotten.

"Drizda Tunesinger, I have a message for you and the Antonican bards to pass along to all Norrathians," Kizrak said.

Drizda, a messenger for the League of Antonican Bards for years, was extremely taken aback. She had been dodging ogre bouncers for years in the Feerrott while delivering messages. Now cornered by Kizrak, she was not about to argue.

"What words would you have me spread across the lands?" she said.

"You tell the arrogant and proud of Norrath that the pantheon is angry. Mortals have become too bold in entering the planes of our gods. The prayers of all Norrathians will no longer be answered. Mortals will be punished for their arrogance," Kizrak bellowed.

"This cannot be true! What of those who pray and give offerings to their gods? What of the devout and loyal?" Drizda wept.

"Rallos Zek himself told me. The actions of the many have outweighed the efforts of the few. Tell them -- tell them all! The children of the pantheon must walk alone," Kizrak said, abruptly turning and walking away.

Drizda quickly journeyed to Freeport to tell Felisity Starbright about Kizrak's news. Felisity considered the information for a moment and then set to work to spread the news. She had already heard rumors that week that some paladins in the Hall of Truth who called upon Mithaniel Marr for strength and guidance were getting nothing but silence in return.

With great sadness and worry in her heart, Felisity could not deny the validity of the tale. With the help of her students in the Marsheart's Chords, over one thousand letters were crafted and put in satchels to be delivered to every city in Norrath by her network of bards.