The Dyrwood, Part 6: The Saint's War and Waidwen's Legacy

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The Dyrwood, Part 6: The Saint's War and Waidwen's Legacy
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The Dyrwood, Part 6: The Saint's War and Waidwen's Legacy is a book in Pillars of Eternity.

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Items in italics are quoted directly from the game.

In 2807 AI, war returned to the Dyrwood. St. Waidwen, transformed supposedly into a living incarnation of Eothas, marched on the Dyrwood from Readceras, beginning The Saint's War. The Dyrwood rallied at Halgot Citadel and took the battle to him in Readceras, attempting to prevent as much damage to their own land as they could. Even though there were devastating losses for the Dyrwoodan forces, using Hadret's military techniques combined with Galven Regd's strategies, they were able to secure a few victories for themselves as well. Readceran forces made their way into the Dyrwood through White March - unopposed by the locals at Cold Morn - leaving Mercy Vale burned and devastated. The contempt the Dyrwoodans have for Cold Morn for this betrayal lasts well after the war ends.

Desperate to end the war and eliminate St. Waidwen, the Magranic clergy of Dyrwood developed a special bomb that was hidden beneath the bridge at Halgot Citadel. Intending to lure Waidwen to the bridge and then detonate it. Their ploy succeeded and St. Waidwen was completely destroyed, along with most of the forces with him and the entire bridge. The twelve Dyrwoodan men and women who volunteered to delay St. Waidwen on the bridge were also lost, their sacrifice and martyrdom celebrated by the Dyrwood in the ensuing years. The bomb would come to be known as the Godhammer, and soon after the battle, the citadel was renamed ‘Godhammer Citadel.’ St. Waidwen's forces were easily routed after his death and the Dyrwood set about rebuilding from the first major conflict in over a century. In retaliation for St. Waidwen's action on Eothas' part, many Eothasian followers were purged from Dyrwoodan communities or driven out via social pressure.

Less than a year after the devastation of The Saint's War, tragedy hit again. In 2809 AI, the first Hollowborn was reported in the Dyrwood. Many of these poor creatures died within weeks or months of being born. The outcry from the populace calls for blame or punishment be leveled against someone, whether it be the gods, the mothers, the government, or the Eothasian followers.

Responding to great sociopolitical pressure to try and help the Hollowborn, animancers developed a process to transplant animal souls into the infants, that they might develop survival instincts and even a basic personality. The process seemed successful, so it was repeated on tens of thousands of Hollowborn, even though many animancers disagreed with the technique, worried about the ethical implications. These protests were largely ignored and discounted. The process was soon named "Salvation" and the Hollowborn given souls this way were called the "Saved."

Five years after the first Hollowborn - an orlan girl - is saved, she entered puberty. In a matter of mere weeks, she transformed into a ravenous, feral creature devoid of all conscience. Soon, all of the Saved would experience the same fate. Each one, upon reaching puberty, would transform into what the locals called ‘wichts’ (uncontrollable children). After researching the problem, animancers discovered an incompatibility between the animal souls and the children’s bodies. This fueled the parents' anger (as many of them had to kill their wicht children). The animancers responsible were widely denounced and many of them were dragged from their homes, beaten, and - in many case - killed. Most surviving animancers left the rural areas en masse and headed to Defiance Bay. Others left the area completely, moving to the Vailian Republics to study in peace.

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