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Some more thoughts on how Orcus set things upby Steven B Wilson
I envision this as a 3-phase plan, referred to briefly above as certain body parts of certain Immortals: The eye of Zirchev, the arm of Halav, and the heart of Petra.
The eye of Zirchev is the Seer. Those who have read my "Karameikan Timeline" (which might actually contradict some stuff I outlined here) and "Traldar and the Legend of the Eyes" stuff over at the Vaults will have a pretty good idea of why the Seer is referred to as an eye. The events to remove the Seer take place before this adventure.
Ironically (and of some humour to Orcus), Stefan Karameikos IS inspired by Halav to some degree and is therefore the "Arm of Halav." Cutting off of this arm is what this adventure is about. I actually plan to have Stefan at the Battle of Kelvin to be killed. This gives further fuel to the holy war fire to come.
The heart of Petra...before I say who it is, let me first say that this revolves around the holy war that comes after this adventure. This role goes to a lady that leads the fight - not to defeat anyone or win the war, but to be a voice of reason, a soother of emotions, a calm presence in a time of chaos. This lady, now in her mid 40s, takes charge in a time when her uncle (in his aging condition) cannot control all the myriad details of the Church of Karameikos in crisis. This "Heart of Petra" is none other than the Thyatian beauty of Threshold - Aleena Halaran. Although not the Queen of Karameikos, I see her as becoming a real power in the future as she leads the Reunited Church (not that she sees herself as such - humility and humbleness are what lead to the people loving her).
Now, back to Orcus. Up until the holy war, Orcus wants to keep a low profile and let others do his work for him. Removing the Seer is the trickiest part of his plan. He sets it up as a Zirchev vs. Arik deal. Arik? Yeah, I've always thought of him as having some connection to the Eyes of Traldar so it becomes natural for him to be involved at this stage. Unfortunately, Arik is imprisoned by the other Immortals and it wouldn't do for Orcus to be seen messing around in such company. So Orcus "borrows" a few of Arik's followers - something that will not endear Orcus to Arik, not that Orcus really cares.
Stage two, the removal of the arm of Halav. Simple. Orcus recreates the Beastman War by pitting Stefan Karameikos against the warpriests of Ranivorus/Yeenoghu. Not only does Ranivorus and Halav hate each other due to their mortal conflict, it takes very little effort for Orcus to convince Ranivorus to become involved and thus removing Orcus from the spotlight.
Now the holy war is all Orcus. He is in his element of mass destruction and pits him directly against Petra and her chosen champion, Aleena. Yea, Aleena isn't a cleric of the Church of Traladara, but that is what makes her effective in quelling the violent members of her own order and her compassionate service to the Traladarans gives her the popular support to lead the Reunited Church of both Thyatians and Traladarans.
While Halav, Petra, and Zirchev do lose some power due to the death of clerics and followers, the heart of Petra wins out in the end. I don't think Orcus really knows what troubles he has created for himself by thrusting Aleena into the forefront of the battle against the forces of evil.
Okay, this has gone far beyond the confines of the Red Hand of Doom adventure, but it is what started this whole line of conjecture for me. I hope others enjoy it as well.
BTW, I have no idea how this fits into the timelines presented by the Mystaran Almanacs over at the Vaults. I just had the idea and ran with it.
P.S. Yeah, I've had a crush on Aleena since the mid 1980's...what can I say?