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Star of Vanyaby Bruce Heard
End of the universe in a couple of centuries...it'll make Wrath look like a picnic :)
Now, don't jump to conclusions here. First off, not all Old Ones necessarily agree with "Plan A". Perhaps they have a "Plan B", or at least, some may give a little secret help to whom may deserve it to make sure our favourite setting doesn't go kablooey altogether! :)
I'm picturing this as essentially background stuff for the clerics who discover/get involved with this plotline. It's something to keep in mind and scare those in the know.
I'm not sure I explained this very clearly in my updated description -- what is the final purpose of the Old Ones in all this? Here are my thoughts. The Old Ones want to teach the Immortals something about humility and especially, *self-sacrifice*. In so doing, some of those who deliberately sacrifice themselves to the cause of the Immortals may learn a few valuable things about the Old Ones as a result -- which is fine by the Old Ones, by all means.
For the mortals, Old Ones just want to teach them a lesson of Wisdom. The Old Ones want to get the point across that mortals should recognise when to walk away from temporal power in order not to forsake their true destiny -- becoming Immortals, or in the eyes of the Old Ones, reaching beyond their normal selves rather than simply taking what is too easily given (the artifact's many powers). The Old Ones want the mortals to acquire the kind of spiritual discernment that makes them perceive what is true and what is not.
The Old Ones certainly don't want to wipe out the Mystaran universe, but they will if BOTH the Immortals and the mortals fail to learn their lessons. The least of the failures is that of the Immortals, because as long as there are mortals, there can be new Immortals, eventually. It's just a question of time, which Old Ones have plenty of. Actually, a premature success on the part of the Immortals remains highly undesirable from the point of view of the Old Ones, because it would not allow enough time for mortals to get the point addressed to them.
Total failure of the mortals is more of a problem, especially if they need to be wiped out in the end. A few surviving Immortals could conceivably create new races to replace the previous ones, but it would not be enough to make up for the overall failure of the Old Ones experiment, and they may ultimately just come over and personally finish off the last Immortals before giving the Mystaran universe a new purpose.