Along with many of my fellow exiles I was drawn into the mysterious realm of Adytum by the power of the Dialyth, those two enigmatic standing stones that lie beyond the Outer Plain of the Abyss. I had visited them before in their quiescent state, and had been pulled to Adytum out of the void on one occasion shortly after their activation, but now they were fully powered, pulsing with warmth and magic as they retrieved the exiles from the limbo to which we had been consigned by the fall of Puddleby. We quickly discovered two facts: first, that the Portal leading from Adytum to Purgatory had been closed; and second, that the formerly empty areas located to the south of the Dialyth was now swarming with the worst sort of Undine, everything from Skeletals to Greater Wraiths. A pitched battle immediately ensued, and in the midst of the noise and confusion I heard the ever-mysterious Inner Voice informing me that Scheme and LeAnn had become "Untainted." They were to be the first of many. The process of becoming "Untainted" seemed shocking at first, but later it became almost routine; the exile came into contact with an open Portal, and was immediately immersed in a mystic fire that burned away all but the most basic possessions and knowledge. While the flame was burning the exile became all-but-invincible, rapidly cutting down the ranks of the Undine that had invaded the Planar Temple. This ability soon became essential, as wave after wave of powerful Undine forced their way towards the Dialyth in an obvious attempt to destroy the standing stones, and it was only through the extreme abilities of the "flamers" that the tide could be turned, as even Hooded Shadows and Greater Deaths fell before their burning fire.
Once the fire had gone out, a former flamer entered the "blue" state, having lost all of the training and goods that had been acquired over their months or years of exile. Once you became "blue" you were unable to fight any but the weakest of the Undine, and were easy fodder for the many Wraiths and Revours that prowled the Temple. There was a great deal of debate among the exiles about the meaning of the "Untainted" transformation, with some suggesting that it was a trap laid for us by the Darshaks, noting that the blue color was similar to that of the Orbs; others maintained that this was a gift from the Ancients to purge us of our worldly natures so that we could pass unhindered into the next world that had been so long foretold. I was of the second opinion, based upon some hints that I had gleaned from reading the oracles, and I also felt that the great number and power of the Undine that were attacking Adytum could not possibly be resisted forever, however well we fought; sooner or later they would defeat us, even with the help of the Dialyth. Indeed, it was only through the power of the "flamers" undergoing the transformation that we were able to hold Adytum at all, and once all of us had been forced to become "blue" the battle would be over, our defeat certain. It seemed to me that we needed to find another path to victory, and the only road that was available was to assume the "blue" and enter the unknown realm of Perdition through the Portals.
Perdition proved to be both strangely familiar and utterly strange. In appearance it resembled the original settlement of Puddleby before the outer walls were built; but this was appearance only, as the buildings and fences were insubstantial, and we found that we could pass through them with ease. And Perdition was not empty; it was filled with a steady stream of Revours, hunting us down with the usual mindless determination of the Undine. This battle was not as one-sided as it might at first appear; first, each newly transported "blue" was inspired to great feats of strength, and for a brief time could rapidly cut down several of the monsters; second, we received untainted clubs during the transformation, which allowed us to inflict substantial damage on the Revours in Perdition and to evade their blows as well; and finally, we were able to meet the steady stream of Undine with wave after wave of exiles, as more and more of us took on the "blue" and joined the struggle for Perdition. These waves would not have been possible without the continued assistance of the non-"blue" exiles who remained behind in Adytum and the Planar Temple, because when an exile fell in Perdition they were instantly drawn back to the Dialyth, and had to pass through the Temple again to reach a Portal and thence back to Perdition. Without the strength of the most experienced warriors, healers and mystics who remained to hold Adytum these returning "blues" would have rapidly been slain by the hordes of Undine that were assaulting the Dialyth, and the battle for Perdition would have been lost. With the help of the non-"blue," we "blues" were able return to the battle in Perdition again and again, and eventually we were able to gain complete control of Perdition for substantial periods of time.
There seemed to be no direct exit from Perdition, but when the first exiles arrived they found a Portal that led to yet another planar area, in which was found both a Portal leading back to Perdition and a Rift that led to the Void. Even to a simple dwarf such as myself it seemed obvious that these Rifts were associated with those that had blighted our islands; and if they could be healed we could stop or even reverse the spread of the Rifts. At first it seemed a simple matter, but there were a number of these planar areas, and each was swarming with more and even more Revours; perhaps these were the very locations where these unnatural beings were being formed, to pass through the Rifts and devastate our land. In addition, only one or two of the Rifts were accessible at a time, as the Portals ebbed and surged with the currents of the planar flows. When a Portal opened to a Rift we "blues" would pour through the opening and engage the Revours in desperate struggle; with sufficient force we could usually gain control of the area surrounding the Rift. It was then a matter of forming the now-familiar double ring of healers, fighters, and mystics, and holding off the waves of the Undine that would attempt to overwhelm the defenders and send us hurtling back to Adytum. The task was complicated by the instability of the Portals, which tended to close at the most inopportune times, cutting off all reinforcement to the Rift area, and by the constant danger of falling into the Void that the brave healers faced as they struggled to keep their depleted spirit above the death limit. And all the while the fighting continued in Adytum and the Planar Temple to keep the return route open so that fallen "blues" could return through Perdition and once more join in the battles surrounding the Rifts.
The constant attack and retreat of the battle lasted for days without rest, and on many occasions I was near despair at the continued strength of the Undine. At first it seemed that we would never be able to heal the Rifts, but as more exiles joined the ranks of the "blue" the balance began to shift. I do not know if we had finally forced the Darshaks to expend their last reserves, or if it was due to the intervention of the benevolent Ancients, but it seemed that the tide of Undine began to abate somewhat, and the periods of healing the Rifts became longer and longer, with our mystic companions reporting that the darkness was receding. In addition, we had learned that by passing back and forth through the Portals we were immediately healed to full health, and this ability made it possible for the "blues" to quickly self-heal and allowed the healers to concentrate all of their efforts on healing the Rifts. After many attempts the Rifts began to close, although not without several desperate attempt by the Undine to reclaim the Rift areas, and not without the devastating earthquakes (or should I say planar quakes) that accompanied the closure of a Tear. When a Rift closed the quake was so severe and exiles died so quickly that many did not even have time to fall, but were drawn still standing to Adytum, where they were left upright, unable to move. As the struggle continued the Rifts began to close, first one, then two, then finally it seemed that they were falling as quickly as we could reach them through the unstable Portals.
I was in Adytum when the final Rift was closed, and with it came the most devastating planar quake yet. Only a few of the strongest (or luckiest) exiles were able to survive the terminal cataclysm, but despite the extreme violence of the event there was extreme jubilation in the hearts of the exiles, and certainly in my own: for we had come through the battle on a road that was long, difficult, and at times seemingly hopeless, and we had triumphed over the Undine, the Darshaks, and the Void. That Inner Voice that I feel must surely reflect the guidance of the Ancients directed us to the Final Portal in Perdition, which they were only able to open to us now that the disruption of the Rifts had been removed. This Portal led us into the restored and rejuvenated Puddleby where I now write these lines, and where we lucky survivors have been able to start our lives renewed. In our struggle we lost our possessions, our skills, and worst of all the many, many exiles who were unable to pass or refused to pass through that last gate into the then-unknown future. It is this loss that is the most tragic part of this tale of victory, and it is to the memory of those brave and unfortunate lost exiles that I dedicate this humble narrative of my experiences.