Roughly 3000 years in the past (about 2000GR), a being known as Manaas discovered how to quell the disturbance between planes, which makes passing between planes possible, including manipulation of the etherreal energy between the panes (a.k.a. “Magic”). This energy works like grease, reducing the natural friction that keeps planes contained. Even the gods with all their power were unable to penetrate the planar boundaries. The roiling planar cauldron has long since cooled to freezing solid.
Manaas’s plan was to allow the kingdoms of realms to turn on themselves, and allow artifacts imbued with magical properties to be lost or forgotten. When no threat of magic able to cross planes remains, we will hold the denizens and gods of planes hostage to his ability to selectively traverse planes. The promise of allowing the demon gods to overrrun, say, Erathis’s domain (the goddess of civilization) comes at a near-impossible cost. Manaas will become the master of gods!
Such a feat cannot be accomplished, alone, nor is impenetrable. A small seed of envy secreted away in the heart of Hallen, the Left Hand of Manos, after an offhand decision. Over the ages, the seed wound through her heart, slowly strangling her love of Manaas and Seth, his Right Hand. When the vine of envy suddenly burst into blossom, Hallen cast the dammed, etherreal power open, destroying herself and Seth in the process. The planes were deluged with the torrent ethereal power, causing them to wag and collide, tearing into one another. Thus, the sudden and massive resurgence of magic and monsters burst across the material plane.
Manaas closed the ethereal source, but it was too late; it would take millenia for the influx of ether to dissipate. Desperate to recover from the devistation of his scheme and fearing retribution of the gods once they are able to regain ability to traverse planes once the ethereal flood subsides, Manaas sent a horde of spies into the material plane, to recover any and all significant artifacts that may threaten his plot. One agent of Manaas learned of a powerful, elven relic that long preceeds the Time of Dwarves and Humans, to the days of Illefarn: the Mirror of Dannas. The reflection of the mirror is so fine that the viewer can see behind them. Far, far behind them, into the past.
Manaas immediately shifted all his efforts to locate this mirror. Additionally, another relic must be located: a conduit through which the ethereal power may be funneled into the mirror. If a relic capable of piercing the planes instead focused its power on the mirror, it may open a portal into the past, instead of another plane. With the immense store of ethereal power availble to Manaas, the reach of the mirror’s vision through the annals of time could be limitless. Manaas now had a second source of coercion against the gods: bend the knee to Manaas, or be erased from history. After all, even the gods has a beginning. All one must do is simply prevent their creation.
The Raven Queen informed the party that the mirror is likely located in the ruins of Iliyanbruen, in the area of ancient Neverwinter. It is extremely powerful, and will be difficult to destory. The party must find a rich source of power, to assure its total destruction. Two sources are found in the area: power crystals from the felled, floating city of Xinlenal, and the ancient primordial that once again slumbers in the depths of the dwarven empire of Gauntlgryn, below.