The Magic Tree


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Iuz has been able to rise in power so swiftly in part because no great Power of Oerth has struck out against him. There is an important reason for this. Iuz has the Prime Material as his home plane, and Oerth as his home world within that plane. Other Powers dwell elsewhere and look over many worlds on the Prime Material. Thus, they do not give Oerth the undivided attention Iuz does and it is almost a Law of the Powers that they do not intervene directly in the Prime Material to strike at a deity which has its being there. The key word, of course, is directly.

Rather, the good Powers of Greyhawk empower their servants to oppose Iuz. To this end, they grant spells and special powers, such as those of priests and the protection from evil and healing skills of paladins. if they did more, then evil deities would regard it as fair game to do more likewise. Oerth would become a battleground of the Powers and might ultimately be destroyed. On Oerth, even the appearance of a Power's avatar is extremely rare. Oerth is a world where mortals suffer, triumph and perish without the Powers favoring or opposing them by direct action.

There is one exception to this non-intervention law. St. Cuthbert of the Cudgel has been allowed to strike against Iuz, when his avatar assisted those imprisoning Iuz in 505CY. That St. Cuthbert would wish to fight Iuz is not unexpected. Of the "martial" lawful good Powers, Heironeous has his great struggle with his hated brother Hextor, while other lawful good Powers are more peaceable and kindly; guiders and protectors rather than warriors. But St. Cuthbert is a doughty, tough fighter, and he hates Iuz's chaotic evil nature. That he was allowed to strike against the Old One is surprising. He could only have done so if powerful evil Powers agreed to this, for all Powers must agree to such an action. Istus could tell us that Incabulos cared not, but that Nerull's croaking voice was decisive in giving permission.

One final point bears stressing here. On Oerth, if a Power acts directly with the permission of the other Powers (and the Greater Powers are the ones who really count), that Power and its allies are then indebted to the others. When evil Powers allow a good Power to act directly, good Powers may at some later time have to stand back and allow an evil Power the same opportunity. Small wonder that such direct actions are rare! Whether St. Cuthbert can, or would wish to, appear to combat Iuz again, only Istus can say.

As for the Old One, of course, he hates good Powers with a passion. St. Cuthbert is his greatest nemesis, obviously, but he has no special enemies among the rest. Iuz regards neutrally-aligned Powers as pathetic, fence-sitting irrelevants. But when it comes to evil Powers, ah, then Iuz the Old grows truly terrifying in his malefic rages and fear. Iuz hates and fears Nerull. Many of the Hierarchs served The Reaper, and Iuz fears the wrath of the sickle-wielding one. Iuz knows rationally that Nerull is unlikely to act directly because of the loss of one small land in the many worlds where he reaps his grim harvests, but still Iuz fears. Above all, Iuz fears Tharizdun, the buried Dark God, and those who would free him from his slumber of ages and raise him to become undisputed overlord of all evil Powers of Oerth. Iuz simply spits derision against other evil Powers, even Incabulos.

Iuz plays a difficult and dangerous game with Lolth, tanar'ri Queen of Spiders, goddess of the drow. Drow attend Iuz's court and Lolth has an ambassador-priestess there. Eclavdra and Iuz smile and bow to each other, but they dance a deadly pavane together.

So, Iuz has his own domain and other Powers cannot, or choose not to, act against him. However, Iuz still has a few spots of special weakness. He daily series his soul gem, hidden by Zuggtmoy's servants, paranoid that something might happen to it. Also, the secrets of the Soul Husks of the Howling Hills gnaw at Iuz's soul, or the remains of what was once his soul. Philidor the Archmage, the Blue Wizard, looks calmly out over Iuz's lands from the Vesve Forest, biding his time. Iuz is an emperor now, but he is not invulnerable.


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