Walking Backward Through Darkness
A powerful angel, his naked golden body covered only by his white feathered wings and long, white hair looks up as you enter; shock, fear and hope flashing across his slightly feline face.
Standing he would easily top ten feet in height but he kneels within an inlaid circle, feet, arms, neck and wings all secured to the ground by glistening, black chains. The runes carved into the circle and the floor around it writhe and reform as you watch. Despite their alien forms, their meaning burns itself into your brain: Obedience, Obeisance, Oblivion.
The Forgotten was the herald of an ancient, long-dead goddess who sought to expand her power by gaining footholds on more and more worlds.
The goddess, initially a simple protector of travellers, had entered world after world, her servants spreading her word and ousting less powerful gods and absorbing their purviews and powers into herself, becoming an All-Mother. With worshippers in the tens of millions singing her praises on a dozen worlds, she turned her eyes on Golarion.
The local gods were no match for her power and quailed as her servants entered the world. She set to, sending forth prophets to demonstrate her power and uproot the local faiths as she had so many times before. This time, however, her mightiest servant, the general of her celestial army found himself moved by the pleas of a minor goddess, not for herself but for her worshippers who were being slain for their unswerving faith.
His own faith shaken by the contrast between his own, all consuming mistress and this minor deity who sought only to protect her charges, the general ordered his armies from the field and refused to campaign further.
Infuriated, his goddess summoned forth her most loyal retainers from all the worlds at her disposal, ready to destroy these traitors.
As the two armies faced one another, however, the goddess’ most beloved servant and chief herald approached. Fearing that any victory would come at too high a cost, he asked permission to treat with the rebels – and seek their peaceful surrender. The furious goddess, however, denied this request and ordered that the rebels be not only defeated but exterminated.
Seeking to prevent this atrocity, the herald disobeyed his mistress and travelled, in secret, to speak with the general leading the rebels. After hours of negotiating, he convinced the rebels to surrender before the battle began, in return only for their being allowed to return to their original worlds rather than being forced to continue with the crusade.
Elated with this success, the herald returned to the goddess’ camp and brought this agreement to his mistress, hoping she would seize this opportunity to avoid war between the factions amongst her own followers. She, however, was furious at being disobeyed and order the herald imprisoned until he had learnt obedience.
Her last act, before commanding the first strike against the rebels, was to set a contingent of her servitors to creating a prison for the herald – declaring that he would held until he had learnt obedience and that that his former name and position name would be erased and forgotten by all.
The war raged for months and the herald, from within his prison, watched as his goddess became more and more unstable, wasting her strength in displays of fury and revenge that served only to alienate more of her servants. The rebellion spread across all of the worlds on which she reigned, forcing her to divide her power.
Thus it was that an alliance of Golarion’s gods was able to forge an alliance with her servitors and cut off that aspect of her that was within Golarion, closing the gates and portals through which she conducted her wars and leaving her unable to draw further reinforcements or power from her more established worlds.
The Forgotten watched as his mistress was stripped of her divinity and hurled, with her most ferocious servants, into the abyss. His prison, however, still stood secure, its powerful magical defences and guardians intact – waiting for the goddess who would never return.
For thousands of years, the herald has been chained, awaiting a judgement that he knows will never come. In all that time, none have made it through the defences to his chamber.