Champion of the Gods: Neldin
Although hardly a secondary character, what would the book be without the ultimate bad guy. Neldin’s importance is mainly ‘off page.’ He will make appearances during the series, but they will be brief, as the gods are not allowed to directly interfere. Despite His lack of ‘face time’ on page, Neldin is the architect of the war and it is His hand that guides Meglar. I thought a bit of background on Him would help understand the entire series.
Neldin and the Great War: From A History of Nendor
In the beginning the seven gods of Nendor banded together to create the world. Each took some part of the world over which to hold sway. Each was permitted to guide and indirectly aid their followers, but they were not permitted to directly intervene in the affairs of the world. Any direct action by one god against the followers of another would allow the aggrieved to take steps to right the wrong.
While the others sought dominion over the skies, earth and seas or chose to guide people’s hearts, minds or arms, Neldin chose to guide people into the afterlife. He maintained the system where some were granted eternal peace, some were reborn and a small few were cast into Neblor, the place of eternal darkness that matched their souls.
During the first age of history, worship to Neldin was part of daily life. Even if He was not viewed as favorably as His siblings, prudence demanded appropriate offers be made during one’s life to avoid being sent to Neblor. For thousands of years, Neldin kept shut the Eight Gates of Neblor and seemed content with His domain.
But Neldin secretly desired more than the dark recesses of His realm could provide. He longed for dominion over the entire world, not just the power to decide what happened to the souls after death. From His dark realm, He plotted and schemed. He watched His siblings for signs of weakness that He could exploit. Finally after thousands of year, He devised a plan.
Using the dwarves of Trellham, Neldin incited a class war between the poor, of whom there were many, and the rich. Poor and rich were defined not just by coin and wealth, but also in love. Neldin sought those who felt spurned or wronged by one whose love they desired.
Manipulating His devotees, Neldin convinced His followers in the dwarf kingdom of Trellham to attack Khron’s temple. Neldin’s true intentions however became clear only after the battle began. After bottling up Khron’s forces, Neldin’s supporters launched an attack on Seritia’s temple and razed it to the ground.
Angered at Neldin’s deception and cowardly attack on Seritia’s house, Khron allowed His rage to take control just as Neldin had hoped. Lashing out, Khron destroyed His brother’s temple before His siblings could stop Him.
Free to take a like action, Neldin launched the second half of His plans. Opening the Eight Gates of Neblor, He sent His dark hordes into Trellham through the shattered remains of His temple. Neldin nearly destroyed the dwarf kingdom, but Seritia found a way to close the Gates.
When the Great War ended, worship to Neldin dropped off almost entirely. His temples were razed and His few remaining followers were hounded into hiding. But time has no meaning to a god and Neldin licked His wounds and used His few, but loyal followers to plot His next move.
Neldin’s importance to the story, and to Farrell in particular, will become clearer at the series continues. Without giving away too much, there is a connection between Farrell and Neldin that none of the people closest to Farrell knew about. How Farrell handles the God of Death will affect the ultimate outcome of the war.