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Oard: Politica Temporaby Nicholas Hudson
As a preface to this document, and indeed, all others dealing with Oard, I should mention that when I initially visualising and creating this information, I did not have a copy of Chronomancer (in fact, I don't think that supplement existed when I first began thinking these concepts). I did however posses a copy of Transdimensional Turtles, a supplement for TMNT and other Palladium systems (which I liked, and recommend as material for anyone who can find a copy). I don't think that it matters too much anyway, as I'm not dealing with the game mechanics of travelling through time, but instead more with the world setting of time travel in Mystara (and, in any event, I use OD&D, so Chronomancer technically isn't applicable :), and as Oard use technological, not magical means, they probably would need somewhat different rules). Once I got Chronomancer, I tried updating anything that looked wrong, but I might not have caught it all. If anyone sees anything that grossly violates canon, please post and I'll see if I can rethink the concept.
Virtually no mortal has the slightest idea of what the Oard are, their intentions, or where they come from. Those who have accidentally encountered them invariably mistake their mundane sciences for novel applications of existing magic, those that survive that is. As mentioned in both the prologue and CM6 Where Chaos Reigns, only with close inspection would a mage recognise Oard technology as anything other than magical, and would likely dismiss most of what they would normally encounter as "third-rate Karameikan U. shop work; I mean, a glove of magic missiles that doesn't even always hit?!?".
When one considers the near-total lack of chronomancy on Mystara, as well as the fact that the Immortals of Time have no interest in letting a mage go to the Oard's home time, it is understandable that the most any mage knows is nothing more than the rare existence of a flesh-metal golem (a few mages have created a magical look-alike, but it is nothing like the original); those that learn any more have their memories erased by agents from the Sphere of Time.
What may not be obvious is that most Immortals are oblivious to the danger that the Oard pose. Khronous has gone out of his way to ensure that only Immortals of Time deal with Oard, and uses his position as ranking member of the Council of Intrusions to prevent other spheres from learning about the Oard race. He believes that if the Oard were common knowledge amongst his Immortal peers, that many would go instantly go off on a quest to destroy them, and he believes that that course of action may prove the most deadly of possibilities. Khronous is biding his time until he knows enough to stop the Oard menace.
Inside the Sphere of Time
Whenever dealing with near-omnipotent entities and their relationships, politics becomes a subject of immense importance, particularly so in Mystara's Multiverse. Unlike the Powers that rule other dimensions, such as Planescape's cosmology, Immortals are not grouped together based on moral or ethical stances (with the possible exception of Entropy, which does tend toward, but as I play, not necessarily reach evil), but instead fit in a tenuous claim of a similar "Grand Interest." While one can assume any Power from Baator is both lawful and evil, one cannot make any such assumption with regard to any sphere (again, see statement about Entropy above). At most, one can simply state that Time tends towards neutrality, and has no tendency towards either good or evil. Furthermore, the Powers are often the physical and spiritual manifestation of some particular ethos, and thus are extremely unlikely to change alignment, whereas most Immortals were once mortal and keep the same freedom to choose their beliefs; most Immortals started on the quest for immortality because, and this is one reason among many, but an important one, they didn't want to die. This lack of ethical banding, and the ability to make new moral choices like mortals help to prevent easy grouping of Immortals inside one sphere.
It is possible, however, to make some generalisations about the Immortals of Time. They do have a similar "Grand Interest", but more importantly, they all became Immortal the same way. As a result, most Immortals of Time posses the following characteristics:
- They are extremely patient. The Task for the dynast must last at least twenty (!) years. The next longest requirement listed for any path is ten years for the polymath, which doesn't count as much as the polymath will not remember a good deal of that time. Furthermore, that is the time the nation must last; the preparation time to build such a mighty empire would be an important consideration. As a way to cheat death, the dynast isn't all that attractive.
- - They are excellent managers and strategists. To carve out a realm of at least 50,000 people in a world filled with so many would-be rulers of All They Purvey requires a good deal of planning and work. As the country needs to last for a long time, the dynast will be involved in all of the elements of empire-building and maintenance. With those four major challenges coming up, the dynasty must be healthy and well-run, and that doesn't just mean that the peasants pay their taxes and you have an army; the dynast must make sure that the economy is up (avoiding irrational exuberance, of course :)), humanoids are down (hostile ones, anyway), and all of your neighbours at least tolerate you. In short, King Stefan would be a great candidate for dynast (after what he's survived, I'm hard-pressed to call him just lucky any more).
- They think in the long term. Immortals of Time understand the importance of planning for the future, and take the time (no pun intended) to consider the ramifications of whatever action they are about to undertake. Their Quest and Trial grind this philosophy into them; by helping their descendants in the far future, they see the effects of today on tomorrow.
- They tend towards neutrality (see next chapter) and have an affinity for water. What the water implies about their personality, I don't know. Good swimmers?
- Although this may be different in your campaign, there are far fewer official Immortals of Time than any other sphere; this may lead to these Immortals being cliquish, reclusive, and/or haughty, regarding themselves as above all the "common" spheres. On the other hand, since there are so few Immortals of Time to hang out with (all the more so as Protius is decidedly anti-social, al-Kalim and Vanya seem to have one-track minds, and Khronous is very, very busy and very, very stressed, see later), perhaps the Immortals of Time must become more cosmopolitan in their outlook and associate with the other spheres more than usual.
Guilt By Association
Political Parties of the Gods
Like mortals, Immortals have disagreements over the best way to approach any situation, and often form groups to best lobby for a particular philosophy or belief. It is no different inside the Sphere of Time, but the questions the Masters of Eternity discuss are far removed from what a Ethengar diplomat would debate with a Rockhome merchant. The burning question for the Immortals of Time is what to do with the time continuum: should Mystara's timeline be free from any temporal meddling, even that used to fix paradoxes that erupt from mortal time-travelling? If temporal "manipulation" is allowed, how much and when? Should the Sphere of Time use it powers to gain some sort of advantage against the other spheres? These and more are the problems that Time's philosophers argue over, and have formed groups to press for one solution or another.
Amalgamated Confederation of Neo-Anti-Re-Establishmentarians, Incarnation IX
Party line: Anarchist Political Punks
Policy: Mix-and-Match any paradox from any time-traveller
Known Members: None
Quote: "And that is why, my freedom-loving friend, that we shall triumph over the forces of the unthinking...hey, is that thing on? I told you, no clairaudience crystal balls! This interview is over!"
Synopsis: The ACNAREI-Nine is an outcast organisation from the halls of Entrem. Advocating a vague philosophy that whatever happens to the timestream is fine by them, the ACNAREI-Nine Manifesto of Grand Thought and Benevolence is constantly being amended to support whatever inconsequential cause de jour the group decided to espouse that week. They do not believe that it is anyone's place to prevent tampering with the timestream, a view the more verbose defend by invoking fate ("If it's meant to change, it's meant to change), the less eloquent seconding with a cry, "C'mon, it'll be fun!" As an outlaw group (more as a result that they decided they'd look cooler if they were underground), no Immortal officially claims membership. At this time, they wield no real power in the Sphere.
Blade of Cycles
Party line: Secret Defence
Policy: Protect the multiverse from Oard
Known Members: Khronous (head), Ordana, Protius, Thanatos, Verthandi (until top secret recon mission left her missing), Yav
Quote: "I have no knowledge of any such mission, and I am certain that if I did, I would not be at liberty to discuss said mission."
Synopsis: The Blade of Cycles is unknown to all Immortals except those who are in it. It is covered extensively in the next chapter.
Party line: Bureaucratic Operations
Policy: To keep time running, watch for chronomantic intrusions, support the Sphere's power
Known Members: All Immortals of Time, Khronous (head)
Quote: "Time waits for no man, but she does linger on a few Immortals."
Synopsis: The Clockworkery is the bureaucratic government of the Sphere of Time. Everyone in the Sphere plays some role in ensuring the Sphere runs properly and that time proceeds as it should. It is not a political party as such, but any party wishing to advance its cause would do well to occupy high positions here. Khronous has the final say on any position or policy, but he is by nature a thoughtful and democratic man, and he has quite a bit on his mind. As a result, it may be possible for a faction that he does not agree with to gain control of the Sphere's activities, but so long as he felt the Sphere was not in dire danger of being run completely into the ground, he would bide his time, as he has quite a bit.
Party line: Reactionary
Policy: To prevent and remove all interference in the Mystaran timeline, from all sources
Known Members: Sharpcrest the Squid-Slayer (head)
Quote: "They have taken away not just our land, our sea, our children,
and our lives, but our very history!"
Synopsis: It is a little known fact that the Mystaran timeline as it exists now actually contains several paradoxes at key points, points that have dramatically changed the development of Mystara and its races. Some of these paradoxes are naturally occurring (as much as the more orderly Immortals, especially from Matter, would hate to admit, nature does occasionally really mess up), others have been placed by the Oard as a key to taking over Mystaran time, and others have been created by careless chronomancers, either from Mystara or aliens. While history tends to smooth out these distortions, some are too large to go away, and become ingrained into Mystara history, producing both good and ill effects.
The Crest agrees with the Lasting Season (see below) in that new paradoxes should be avoided, but goes further, calling for the removal of the "ingrained" paradoxes so to speak. Sharpcrest investigated these paradoxes, and discovered that one prevented the shark-kin from a pre-eminent position in Mystara, and in fact is contributing to that species' current decline. A few minor Time Immortals believe that their petitioners lives could be improved by such a radical change (for some, such as the shark-kin, it could hardly get worse). Although the Crest doesn't have nearly enough support to push for such an idea, it is possible that they could start to form an alliance, and they have been aggressive in seeking out Immortal candidates.
Party line: Liberal
Policy: Permit chronomancy, minor mortal editing of the timestream
Known Members: al-Kalim (more conservative in nature, but this is where Protius is, and so...), Kallala of the Seven Veils (head), Petra, Protius (more by association, and really hates the way al-Kalim keeps following him)
Quote: "Time is a canvas, let all paint what they might."
Synopsis: The Pendulum believes that mortals and the timestream is not as bad a mix as many in the Sphere would believe. While the Pendulum avoids the extremism of the ACNAREI-Nines, they feel that mortals should be allowed extensive use of chronomancy, even going so far as to allow minor (by Immortal standards) editing of history, all subject to Immortal review, of course. The incident where the Alphatian chronomancers were annihilated could have been avoided they argue: Time certainly has the resources to make certain times off limits, such as the technological Blackmoor (the Comeback Inn is fine, and has been for a long time, which the Pendulum uses as evidence for their cause), the days of the Carnifex (which has been a problem, see later), and possibly certain Nithian eras. The Enlightened Pendulum, along with the Lasting Season, dominates Time politics, and most Time Immortals belong to one or the other. Normally Khronous leans slightly in this direction, but the stress and paranoia of dealing with the Oard invasion has left him to slide to a more protective, conservative point of view.
Hammer of the Epoch
Party line: Nationalistic Fervour, with quasi-Fascist leanings
Policy: To use Immortal chronomancy to seize control of non-Prime worlds and planes
Known Members: Taroyas (acting head), Vanya (titular head, toned profile down due to an Immortal investigation of the death of the Thyatian Emperor, Immortal media calling it Thincolgate)
Quote: "It is not to be thus, but to be safely thus."
Synopsis: Believing in the pre-eminence of the Sphere of Time, and recognising that its control of chronomancy gives it an unbelievable advantage, members of the Hammer call for using the awesome powers at their disposal to take over non-Prime worlds (so as not to attract the notice of Immortal observers) and their attendant planes, until Time is powerful enough to start taking over Prime locations. While the Hammer of the Epoch is officially interested in increasing the dominance of the Sphere, virtually all of the members are concerned with a slightly smaller focus: themselves. In spite of the extreme views espoused (or perhaps due to them), the Hammer strikes a chord with many of the Immortals of Time (remember that they were at one point all heads of major states), and may come to be a major player in time.
Party line: Conservative
Policy: Restrict chronomancy, prevent all editing except where desperately needed
Known Members: Calitha Starbrow, Ordana (head), Vanya (recently more active), Yav
Quote: "... (A)ny Immortal who isn't a Lasting Season by the time they're a temporal has no brain."
Synopsis: Primarily opposed to the Enlightened Pendulum (but in a competitive and professional way), the Season feels that mortal interference, or even unnecessary presence in the timestream is disruptive to history. The Season tends to invoke fate, but in a much different fashion than the ACNAREI-Nines do, proclaiming it the Sphere's duty to enforce the natural timestream. They do not support, however, the removal of paradoxes and interference once they have been so established in the timestream removal would cause more disruption than benefit (in opposition to the Crest), but instead seek to prevent such an occurrence in the first place.
Party line: Utopia
Policy: Selective editing of timestream by Immortals to create a utopia for all races
Known Members: Chardastes (head), Liena, Verthandi (not currently, but she wrote the original document)
Quote: "We have within our grasp the potential to create the perfect world!"
Synopsis: Discounted as a group of hopeless dreamers ungrounded in the harsh reality of life, the Age nonetheless continues, despite the absence of the honorary founder, Verthandi (the Tidal Age did not exist before she disappeared, but her essay on the matter is the founding document for the Age). Recently, they have begun performing research that seems to indicate that they may have some basis in reality after all: limited experiments in select parts of a planet far from Mystara show promising signs of fruition, despite interference by a few Entropic Immortals. Whether the experiment succeeds, and whether that will be enough to convince the other Immortals of Time to proceed with such a plan, is up in the air. The Age often finds companionship with both the Hammer of the Epoch (which is using them as an excuse to set up their "utopia") and the ACNAREI-Nines (who support just about any and all causes).
"Nor stony tower, nor walls of beaten brass..."
The Blade of Cycles
The Ultimate War
Hidden within the highest echelons of the Sphere of Time lurks a secretive organisation that has managed to hide its existence from all other Immortals, the Blade of Cycles. Dedicated to the eradication of the Oard menace from the timestream, the Blade will not rest until OardTime is annihilated. An eternal conflict, only one side may become victorious. No quarter is asked, and none given. History is their battlefield, and time their weapon. Since both sides have access to the most advanced magical and technological time-travelling spells and equipment that will ever exist, the battle known to the Blade as The Terminal War and the Oard as The Ascendancy can and does occur everywhere and everywhen.
Even though the Oard possess fantastically advanced technology, capable of damaging and even killing Immortals, the Oard know that they would not stand a chance against the aggregate Immortal community in physical combat. The Oard plan is a subtle reworking of history, so as not to attract Immortal attention, and that is why the Oard have not simply invaded, say, Thyatis or Alphatia. Oard are extremely thorough and meticulous is their planning, and managed to conceal most of their interference for most of history; if it were not for a university student, Oard victory would be a foregone conclusion.
Six hundred years after the founding of New Blackmoor by the legendary Dr. Khronous, a computer science sophomore at Uther U. (Go Fighting Hide Hunters!) by the name of Caspian Dore wrote a database program for the Municipal Waste Treatment System payroll to help pay his way through college. A month after the database was implemented, Dore was called back to fix an unanticipated glitch: a municipal employee accidentally entered a negative number for hours worked, and the monitor started displaying unintelligible symbols. Dore was justifiably puzzled: he had naturally foreseen such a problem, and had written a class to catch the input error before it caused the program to abnormally terminate.
Investigation revealed that an insidious virus had lain sleeping deep within the core code of the municipal server, and had been programmed to activate when a specific sequence of events occurred. The virus had been prematurely opened when the faulty input had been given to the database, quite by accident. Too caught up in midterms to think much of the origin of the virus, an over-stressed Dore quickly deleted the virus, allowing the safe input of incorrect data, and inadvertently saving New Blackmoor from alien invasion. As per Municipal Ordinance 234.5-7B6/D, Dore filled out a 27-N8EZ form, which was sanguinarily filed and forgotten.
Forgotten until Khronous appeared, that is. On his third and final time-travelling escapade as a mortal, Khronous arrived five years after Dore's graduation to save New Blackmoor, this time from an internal threat, the likes of which New Blackmoor had never seen before: Information Implosion. Characterised by a neurotic need to record every minute detail in triplicate, Neo-Blackmoorites had acquired more information than they could hold, and the impending overrun could end life as they knew it (which would have really annoyed clerks in the Bureau of History Division of Disasters, as they would have had to file more than a few forms to record the shutdown of basic civilisation). Elected officials were frozen, and the populace panicked. Khronous developed new archiving software, discovered a new source of material for memory storage, and implemented paperwork reduction procedures, saving the day.
During the overhaul, Khronous unearthed Dore's report, along with a copy of the virus. Intrigued by what the virus meant, Khronous kept a copy for his own research. Although he wasn't able to delve into the virus during his mortal life, Khronous created an avatar to investigate it after reaching Immortality. Not finding it worth the effort to expend any considerable amount of energy, the virus was not unravelled for some time. As it turned out, this was fortunate, because Khronous completed analysing the program just as he became Full Hierarch, and noticed a few problems in the timestream.
Verthandi, Full Hierarch prior to Khronous, and a member of the Council of Intrusion, overheard while in a mortal identity, quite by accident, three Thyatian nobles discussing the Nithian Empire. While that was not in and of itself unusual, the location of the palaver was: Surra-Man-Raa. The Bead of Oblivion, buried beneath the sands, should have prevented the nobles from being more than vaguely aware of the great empire's former existence, but the men were speaking of such things that they should not have known.
Verthandi informed Khronous of the occurrence, but decided to delay telling the other Hierarch's. Khronous agreed with this counsel, and the two of them began spying on the nobles, and were shocked to find that they had disappeared from the present day via a "spell" that neither Immortal knew; this spell was, of course, the Oard mirror. Greatly alarmed, the Temporal Duo began sojourning eras and ages to find the fugitive nobles. In one of these expeditions, around 600 AC, Verthandi vanished without a trace, and Khronous took over as Full Hierarch of Time.
In the intervening years, Khronous, through careful observation and extreme thought, discovered what the nobles were (Oard, of course), and what their plan is. Recognising them as a threat at least as powerful as the draeden, burrowers, Outer Beings, or the Mystara line being cancelled, Khronous began organising the counter-offensive.
Description: The head of the Blade of Cycles, containing the Oard menace has taken up a great deal of his tenure as an Immortal, and caused unbelievable amounts of stress; a lesser being would have cracked under the pressure by now. The fact that he must appear normal, ie, calm and collected, so as not to arouse any suspicion from the other Immortals places him under even more stress. The lesser members believe that this stress is why Khronous allowed Thanatos in the Blade, but, in deference to his power, knowledge, and ability, there haven't been any open dissensions.
Role in the Blade: Khronous is the head of the Blade, and as the Full Hierarch of all but one of the members, he wields considerable authority over the group. Khronous is, however, a deliberate and democratic Immortal, not given to autocratic displays of power at all. He will always seek input and suggestions from the group; Khronous recognises that it is only through a unified wall of force can the Oard invasion be withstood. As the Blade's head, Khronous does wield ultimate veto power over any action, and approves, or not, new members.
Goals for the Blade: Khronous believes that if the Oard menace were known to the rest of the Immortal community, he would not be able to prevent them from moving forward with a full frontal assault on OardTime, and research indicates (to Khronous, at least) that such an attack may actually ensure the Oard dominance (see future chapters for more information on this). Khronous realises that the Immortals (and their creations) and the Oard are ultimately mutually exclusive, so while he is careful in his methods, they are ruthless.
Description: Along with Protius, Ordana was recruited by Khronous at the Blade's founding, after the disappearance of Verthandi. Ordana was chosen due to her great power and age, and her extensive knowledge of history, as well as plenty of followers for use in anti-Oard plots. Khronous also brought her in for another purpose: although normally an Immortal of preservation, there is nothing as far removed from her philosophy of Natural Life than the Oard. Once she saw what the Oard are up to, her anger swelled, and it hasn't gone down since. Her assistance will also be used once the Oard are defeated, to prevent other Immortals from supplanting Oard to the Hollow World.
Role in the Blade: Ordana, like all of the Time Immortal members, extensively scans the timestream and compares various histories, both for Oard plots, and in an attempt to find the Oard home time. Ordana's massive following is often used to counter Oard interference; as a result, elves are often (unknowingly) cannon fodder in a war they would have difficulty understanding. Ordana also provides valuable reconnaissance in the Hollow World.
Goals for the Blade: Ordana wholly and unrestrictedly despises the Oard, and is one of the most active proponents for an aggressive assault on the OardTime, when it is found. Although she would be more confrontational than Khronous, for now she is content to follow his lead.
Description: Like in most things, Protius seems to be somewhat disinterested in the Oard intrusion. What some make take for complacency, is actually the cover for a complex, inhuman mind. Along with Ordana, Protius has a very long history, and has seen much happen over the ages. His chaotic nature is readily apparent though, and he is something of a wildcard in the Blade.
Role in the Blade: Most Oard plots seem to occur on land, but that may just mean that their Undersea actions are extremely covert. Protius keeps a careful eye on events beneath the waters, and offers his considerable following to the cause: often extremely useful, as Protius' followers are both varied and many.
Goals for the Blade: Protius' interest lies solely in the sea; he acts against the Oard so that the oceans will be safe for aeons to come. Since he has a relative lack of interest in the campaign, he tends not to come up with many actions, but is a dutiful agent.
Description: The manifestation of death and destruction, universally reviled as the Source of Evil, its only true goal the complete end of all life, including its own, not even a member of the Sphere of Time: what could Thanatos possibly have to offer the Blad of Cycles? Is Khronous crazy? Yes, crazy like a fox.
After all of the other members had joined, Khronous realised there was a problem: the quest for Time encourages Time Immortals to be creators and shapers, not ravagers. Although they possess more knowledge of time and its lessons than any other Sphere, Time lacked the practical knowledge to completely eradicate civilisations. They could try on their own, but there was too much at stake. Then Khronous had an epiphany: who better to wipe a race off the face of the timestream, such that they would never had existed? Thanatos.
Although the other members were apprehensive at first, they came to accept the necessity of the situation. For its part, Thanatos readily accepted: the Oard, perhaps the most orderly and lawful race to ever populate any multiverse, were anathema to Entropy, and Thanatos can't very well end reality if its dead, now can it? Furthermore, Thanatos has found some other benefits from its new association (see below).
Role in the Blade: Thanatos' minions count among their number the most twisted, diabolical, and vile creatures in existence, wielding unholy magic and blasphemous powers: perfect for a war. As an Entropic Immortal, Thanatos also provides a very nice scapegoat for any activities that draw the attention of the Immortal community. Most importantly, however, is Thanatos' planning: recognising the importance, it is crafting its most vicious scheme ever.
Goals for the Blade: Thanatos wants the Oard eliminated, but it naturally has a few ulterior motives as well. The most obvious is that Thanatos now has (however reluctant they are) actually allies from another Sphere. Just as Time has gained some Entropic knowledge, so too has Thanatos gained important information on Time, which it will most certainly use to its advantage in the future. Thanatos also uses the activities of the Blade to help further its own ends, such as in the Nightwail/rage/storm series (see below). However, Thanatos is plotting against Khronous, widely acknowledged as the most intelligent, knowledgeable, and perhaps powerful (remember, he is closest to becoming an Old One) Immortal: just as Thanatos seeks its own ends, so too does Khronous oppose it; given their respective talents, this combat is extremely subtle and no one else is quite aware of this contest.
Description: Khronous recruited Yav to use his and his followers prophetic ability. Yav accepted the mission, but not without some reservation. Secretly, he believes that they may be tempting fate, and engaging on a course of greater destruction than the other Immortals realise. Yav feels that perhaps OardTime is meant to be, that the current multiversal cycle is coming to a close, and that it is destiny for Oard supremacy. He follows his orders though, and keeps his reservations to himself.
Role in the Blade: Yav and the Yavdlom serve primarily as an early-warning system, identifying possible sources of Oard intrusion and attempting to locate where the Oard home time is. Yav has created a symbol for the Oard, a metal mask, of an almost human face, and the Yavdlom's prophets report any and all visions of this symbol.
Goals for the Blade: Yav joined because he was told to, but is increasingly uneasy with the whole concept of the Blade of Cycles: involving himself in the wars of the timestream violates his personal beliefs of what he should be doing, and is non-interventionist by nature. Although reluctant, Yav will do what he is told to, for now.
The Blade has three goals:
1) Seek out Oard Interference
2) Eliminate Oard presence in the current timestream
3) Locate and destroy the Oard home time
The goals are listed in the order of how well they have been accomplished, which is, sadly, very little. Although the Blade has been successful in fending off enough assaults to prevent the destruction of reality as they know it, they cannot help but feel as though the Immortals are slowly losing the war. This sense of failure only propels them further in their determination, however, and if they lose, it will be an epic fight.
An Example Mission Code Named: Nightscream
On Denagoth's northern border, Oard machinations had reached critical mass: the Ascendancy would be guaranteed if the plot were successful. Even though the Blade knew that direct intervention would only exacerbate the problem, they decided that they needed to respond with their followers with such force (involving loaned artifacts) and speed that the other Immortals would certainly notice and begin to investigate. The other Immortals needed to be removed from the scene for the duration of the siege, which could easily last several months. Normally, this would be unthinkable, but the combined mental might of Khronous and Thanatos came up with a plan...
Ordana announced in Pandius that it appeared as though a group of Carnifex mages had developed chronomancy, and were preparing to leave their time before they would be imprisoned. Greatly alarmed, all of the Immortals interested in Mystara, aside from Asterius, left with Ordana to stop the outbreak; no Immortal noticed that Khronous and Thanatos seemed rather stiff and mechanical.
They were actually avatars of the two Immortals; Khronous stole the other Immortals time markers and gave them to Thanatos, who hid them in the Temple of the Eight Sweet Winds. While the Immortal community was gone from Mystara, Khronous oversaw the destruction of the Oard plot in northern Denagoth. Meanwhile, Thanatos had plans of its own, and instigated the events as detailed in the Nightwail/rage/storm series; although not sanctioned by the Blade of Cycles, Thanatos was kept in the Blade, as the others recognised that such side-line actions would be inevitable, and the Blood Brethren were foiled in any event (unknown to Thanatos and Asterius, Khronous weakened the vampire sheath to allow Asterius to contact a group of adventurers, and prevent the corruption of both the Hollow and the Outer World). By prior arrangement, Thanatos took the fall for the stolen markers, and lost its position as Full Hierarch of Entropy; Khronous had assured Thanatos that it would soon be back on top, and as Wrath of the Immortals proved, Khronous was correct.