The Story - Chapter 5 - The Heart
At the surface, the path of destruction left in the wake of the Horsemen only seemed to deprive areas of intelligent life. It's unknown if the riders themselves were aware of it at the time, but it was having a deeper impact on the world then most could understand.
The gods, though they had not been seen in the world for hundreds of years, derived their power from the life force of the planet- and subsequently, those that lived on it. As the count of it's inhabitants dropped, so did the power of the gods slowly began to diminish.
Off in their separate plane of existence, the drain was first unnoticeable. A nagging feeling, or an itch they couldn't exactly reach.
It wasn't until the weakest of the gods began dying off that they began to pay attention.
In their weakened state, the Horsemen were now beyond their power. In a mad scramble for survival, the gods began to cast their eyes and their minions across the world to anything that could supplement their power and stave off an inevitable death.
Most of their attempts were fruitless, or the found sources expended so quickly that they bought only hours or minutes at a time. Several of the gods aimed their focus at a re-discovered ruin unearthed in the East, a previous Horsemen destination known as the Temple of Ancients.
The remainder, however, turned their sights to a burst of energy much more promising. The energy released from War's mine not only caused his castle to rise into the air but acted as a beacon for the power-starved gods.
The High Gods Seren and Zaros were the first to send their forces, followed by the god Zamorak, who switched his gaze from the East to the West. The schemer Sliske was next to arrive, not a god himself but equal in power and ability. The four factions converged on the mine, battling through the endless waves of War's Golden Army to reach the opening in the earth.
While the gods themselves had the same intention for invading, the generals they had sent had their own:
The demonic Twin Furies Nymora and Avaryss; generals to Zamorak, as well as the Shapeshifter Helwyr; general to Seren, had a score to settle with Slike's general Gregorovich, the Faceless One. In past wars, he had consumed the sister of the Twin Furies, as well as tortured many of those under Helwyr's command, earning the ire of all three.
The Dragon Rider Vindicta, as well as her mount Gorvek; Zaros's generals, held a vendetta against the Furies and their forces, as they had massacred Vindicta's people while she was young. Herself, her mount, and a few drakes were all that survived. The Furies in kind were keen on completing their genocide, apparently not amused at the survivor.
Gregorovich held no specific enmity to any one group but had a general disregard for life. An early experiment of Sliske's, he was eventually replaced by Famine's stolen Barrow Wights as his primary servants. Gregorovich had been cursed with eternal life and unending hunger, which had led him to consume the Furie's third sister in one of their encounters. In another encounter with Helwyr's forces, he had dissected some of his elven troops in hopes of discovering the secret of their immortality, or a cure for his endless affliction.
The factions left a portion of their forces to prevent the Golden Army from approaching and re-taking the mine, and all four descended. Battling each other and wiping out the mining forces, the factions managed to create camps in the far corners of the mine; defendable positions they could use to focus on the task entrusted to them by their patron gods.
The source of the outpouring of power that drew them all there turned out to be the crystalized lifeforce of the planet itself; a substance that would be named 'Anima Mundi'. Dwarven miners that had been captured were forced into the task of refining this material, as well as crafting powerful armor enhanced by the substance. The generals were even able to use Anima to restore ancient artifacts of their gods to life, powerful weapons once used by the gods themselves.
Driven by their own greed, their directives from the gods, and a loss of their own senses deriving from the Anima itself, the four factions eventually stopped fighting each other all together, and instead vigorously attacked any and all veins of Anima they could find.
Little did they know, much as a body fights off infectious diseases, so too did the planet have it's own defenses. In their lust for the planet's life force, a great tree miraculously sprouted in the center of the mine. Within it, an avatar of the very substance itself rose- Telos, the Warden. The living golem massacred the forces of the 4 factions, until the generals each were able to use their god's ancient weapons to holding the avatar within the tree, both expending their power and losing them to Telos.
Despite everything, the four generals eventually succumbed to the madness induced by proximity to the earth's life force- and not a drop of Anima managed to leave the mine.
Again, left without results and running low on time, the gods again shifted their gaze out across the world- this time, to twelve items of legendary power even they came to fear.