By Marcos Santiago
Targus is the property of the author, Marcos Santiago and is used with permission by Candlekeep. Email Marcos with any comments and feedback on this story.
A note from the author:
"This is a little piece of fiction about a Chosen of Tempus. Besides being a marginally interesting tale, it contains what I consider good insight into some issues involving Tempus, Targus and Garagos, which might earn it the classification of Realmslore.
It ends near 1358 (ToT), allowing some freedom for DMs to create the path of the chosen to suit their own needs."
The Valley of the Gods - 20 years before the Dawn Cataclysm
Tempus and Targus stood across the Valley, staring at each other.
The still air carried the distinct smell of tension and sweat and oiled steel.
The green fields and the tall oaks seemed greener than they should, greener than any field and any oak in any other place over the face of Toril. The sun covered the sky with the mightiest of glares. The place where Gods laughed and cavorted from time to time was about to see blood.
The blood of Gods and Saints.
To one side Tempus silently gripped the handles of sword and axe. His weapons and armor were blackened, as if used in a thousand battles, and his closed helm let none see his expression. At his feet, impassively waiting for the battle to come, the youngest Warpriest of Bloodhall prayed.
Still bearing the birth name of Cedric of Ormpetarr, the initiate knew that even being unblooded and unnamed, he was chosen because he was born for greatness.
Saint Tempus Foehammer himself had descended from the skies, riding Veiros and Deiros, and handpicked Cedric between hundreds of initiates, to be a witness to his bid for ascension.
To the other side, Targus seethed with unbridled rage at the impudent little Saint, who dared to challenge him. The young man at his feet looked like a shaman of one of the barbarian tribes of the North. His name was Garagos and he was as impatient and as eager to see blood as his God.
Presiding over the entire scene was Jergal. The possibility of the death of a Godlike being was enough to interest and attract the Dark God.
The moment was right and the challenge began. The might of the two brutal giants was such that the battle raged for the breadth of twenty years. Sustained by the mystic forces of the Valley of the Gods, the two young witnesses learned the moves and fighting stiles of the War Gods, while waiting for an outcome.
Sometimes a moment for the Gods can be a lifetime for a mortal man.
Hundreds of wounds crisscrossed the skin of God and Saint, and the years of battle began to wear their endurance.
Looking for an opening to strike down Tempus, Targus resorted to a less than honorable tactic, and hurled a spear and an axe at Veiros and Deiros.
The unexpected attack took the two Godlike creatures completely by surprise, and the grisly wounds inflicted by the gigantic weapons showered Cedric with their divine blood, infusing him with their mighty essence.
Distracted by the cries of his loyal mounts, Tempus looked away from his enemy for only a second. Seizing the opportunity, Targus dived in for the kill, striking at Tempus with all of his remaining eight weapons at the same time.
Mortally wounded by the terrible onslaught, Tempus lost the grip of his Greatsword. The ensorcelled blade sliced through the air, cartwheeling toward Veiros and Deiros, to finally embed itself in the holy ground, driving itself point first through the chest of the man called Cedric.
The strength of the blows forced the dying body of Tempus stumbling back. His shadow loomed over the convulsing body of Cedric, and the slick blood running over the battlefield made Saint Tempus slip. Falling backward, the pommel of his own Greatsword pierced his back, bursting through his godly heart.
The mighty blood of Tempus dripped slowly over the blade, covering the trembling body of Cedric, and entering his chest, mixing itself in his bloodstream and changing him forever.
Cedric bellowed in pain and lust as his very soul burned with the influx of godly power.
With a mighty war cry, Targus turned his back to the field, and faced Jergal, tearing out his Bloodmantle, and holding it as a trophy.
“I won, old crone”!
Jergal remained silent and static.
The still body of Tempus twitched. His gauntleted hand closed into a fist. Slowly rising himself, with a hole sputtering blood from his chest and back, Tempus once more stood tall.
“Targus”! Garagos’ cry echoed through the Valley.
The many armed God turned itself a second too late.
The spiked gauntlet of Tempus smashed itself in the face of Targus, crunching bone and sinew.
Targus’ mantle flew from his hands, engulfing Garagos in the blood of the countless vanquished foes of Targus.
Quickly entering a grappling stance, Tempus applied a neck choke to Targus, while driving his spiked knee through his enemy shoulder blades.
For one full week Tempus sustained his grip as Targus slowly weakened. Sensing that his resilience was ending, the barbaric God tried a last desperate move, heaving and rolling mightily.
Tempus let go of his hold, and grasping Targus’ tangled hair in his left hand, drove his spiked fist through the back of the desperate God’s head.
Targus’ eyes rolled wildly in its sockets and the closed.
Silently Tempus stood.
Facing Jergal, the Saint let the head of his vanquished foe fall to the blood drenched field, stepping over it with his steely boot, cracking skull bones and spilling gore.
The Dark God finally spoke, his voice sounding like the moans of countless damned souls wailing through the eons.
“So it ends…”
“Tempus Foehammer shall be know from now on as the new God of war of Faerun”.
“What shall be done of your defeated rival”?
A sinister glint lighted Jergal’s eyes under his hood.
Tempus stepped aside from Targus’ head, rolling it over. The defeated God’s eyes slowly opened, a red haze dulling his senses, blotting his reason and preventing any reaction.
As if speaking, Tempus faced Jergal, his faceless helmet staring at the monstrous head of the God of the dead.
Understanding Tempus’ wishes, Jergal spoke again, a note of disappointment on his somber voice.
“As the new God of war and conqueror of this battlefield, Tempus wishes to let Targus live, but he shall have most of his powers stripped, along with his name.
Targus shall be, from now on known as Garagos, after the name of his choosen witness. The man formerly known as Garagos shall be from now on nameless”.
Rage, confusion, weakness and frustration consuming his body and soul, the newly named Garagos felt his powers fading. With a wrathful cry he ran, leaving the Valley of the Gods, stumbling in shame and defeat.
Tempus walked to his mounts, and for a moment, stood by his choosen follower.
Facing the Warpriest, for the first time Tempus spoke.
“You shall be named Targus”!
“Blooded by my own blood you shall live forever”!
The Wargod mounted Veiros and Deiros, and left the Valley of the Gods, heading for Knight’s Rest, to ponder over the new Dawn that approached.
Jergal looked one last time to the Valley of the Gods..
To one side a nameless man, drowned in blood.
To the other side, a changed man, transfixed by the bloody sword of a God.
“As you are now undying, you’ll be beyond my grasp for all time, and for that I’ll give you the curse of knowledge, for the Valley of the Gods shall be your eternal prison”.
And Jergal walked away.
The Valley of the Gods - Kythorn 15, 1358 DR
The Time of Trouble begins…
The weave and all magic powers and bonds, mortal and divine, begin to waver and fail.
After centuries of contemplation and struggle, Targus finally managed to yank out Tempus’ Greatsword from the holy ground of the Valley of the Gods.
Within seconds the wound that was reopened by the violent pulling of the ancient blade began to close itself.
Whipping the caked blood and the dust of his worn clothes, Targus took the weapon left to him by his God and slowly began the long walk toward the distant mountains.
Much had happened since his departure from the mortal world, but one thing was unchanged.
Tempus was the God of war, and Targus was his Chosen.
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