Chapter 8: The City of Mist

It had been a week since Loral assisted in the battles with General V'Ghera and his minions. Azile had convinced Loral to spend a few days resting in Felwithe before returning back to his war against the Ring of Scale. The return home had partially served its purpose, Loral was rested, but far from relaxed.

Loral pulled the large locked chest out from underneath the bed in his small apartment. He opened the chest and milled around the contents, not really sure what he was looking for. He pushed aside his golden armor, rewards from the temple of Solsek Ro. A layer of dust had accumulated on it since he packed it away. He now wore a much lighter Jarsath scale armor he found on Venril Sather's undead minions in Karnor's Castle. Many of his traveling possessions had been replaced with more practical items. More practical in battle. The priests of Tunare frowned on this, but they never faced the beasts Loral had killed.

Then he saw what he had apparently been looking for. The dusty skull smiled at him once again, the grin making Loral's heart sink. He had thought the item lost, or sold on one of his many trips to the Oasis bazaar, but there it was. Seeing the skull gave Loral an introspective view of his life. In his recent days, battling for the freedom of the Elven nations and the word of Tunare, all he had seen was death. The very city he grew up in seemed foreign compared to the battlefield of the Dreadlands. The stink and blood of hundreds of creatures replaced the pristine robes he used to wear. While he often reminded himself that he was the hand of Tunare, the black empty eyes of the skull showed him the raw truth. He was not her hand, he was her fist.

That night nightmares raked through his sleep. Thousands of years ago a mighty city of the Iksars was destroyed because of the treachery of one of their leaders. While the citizens led their normal daily lives, no different than those of Felwithe, one of their elders made a pact with demons for nothing other than personal gain. The pact led to the death of all of the men, women and children of the city and it became lost for a millennia. Their spirits still roamed the city, unable to rest after the demons raised them from the earth. This traitor still ruled over the city, far above in his tower while the innocent cry for their loss below.

Loral woke staring at the dark battleworn mace he had picked up in Kithicor. The screams of children as they are torn apart by black demons echoed through his head while he looked at the dull gray aura that surrounded it. Once again Tunare sent him on a mission. He must find this lost city and avenge the deaths of so many innocents.

His years in Kunark gave Loral a keen knowledge of many of the lost monuments to the Iksar's past. It was not long before he found the city, following the rumors and lore of those he fought with. He even had discovered a group of adventurers also seeking the lost city. There he reunited with his friend, Desjardins, the barbarian shaman. Together they traveled via spell and by foot through the overgrown Emerald Jungle and to the entrance of the city.

Thousands of years ago it had been a mighty city. Giant Iksar statues adorned every pillar, guarding the gates with their stone blades. Inside the city, a feeling of gloom touched the hearts of the adventurers. A true horror had been unleashed here, there was no doubt.

Upon entering the city, they were immediately attacked by the ghosts of long dead Iksar. Their icy touch sought to tear the life from the adventurers, but the adventurers were strong. Magical blades and powerful spells tore the spirits to ethereal shreds. Huge lumbering golems, magical creations by some powerful wizards slammed into the warriors' line of defense sending them sprawling. Only the mightiest casters could blast their clay bodies down.

Further into the city they crept. Past the inns, merchant shops and houses of the dead until they reached a courtyard. Here they established a battle camp. Scouts would enter further and draw out the horrors that laid within.

These horrors came in the shape of giant black constructions, called Black Reavers. Their armored skin so black and lifeless that spells were simply absorbed into it. No eyes stared at the adventures and no sound aside from the slamming of unearthly metal could be heard from within the depths of their skin. The casters switched to increasing the strength and protection of their warriors who cut, slashed and bashed the beasts until they fell, one right after another. Upon cutting down the last one, a spirit of an ancient wizard was released from within the black vessel and rained fire upon the party before being destroyed by the mighty adventurers.

The adventures fought their way into a keep near the back of the city battling the unholy Reavers along the way. Inside, they discovered a hidden corridor that led to magical translucent ramps. These ramps took the adventurers up into the sky above the city. Houses and great halls floated above, held up by ancient and powerful magics.

Upon entering one of these halls, the party was ambushed by a team of undead warriors and casters. The lord they sought was apparently aware of their presence. The battle raged for an hour with both groups using magic to bring back their fallen heroes and unleashing the powers of gods upon each other. With nearly total losses, the adventures were finally victorious, cursing the last wrath that stood in their way.

After bringing back their dead, the party continued, walking carefully along the pathways that spanned a kilometer above the city below. Finally they reached the lord's tower. It stood untouched and silent ready to unleash hell upon the heroes. A thief of the party went in to draw out the lord and within seconds, they were attacked by another fist of Reavers. Each one fought with the force of an army and did so completely without emotion. They were simply constructions built for death. Loral felt a chill through him when this thought crossed his mind. When the final one fell, Neh'Ashiir, the traitor, raised from the remains of the armored hulk. The party felt a new rush, facing this demon and unleashed all they had. The lord rained poison and fire upon them, dropping many a strong warrior. Wizard's spells were interrupted with a choking cloud of noxious gas. Loral feared they would lose. Then the magical blades of a dozen fighters cut deep into him and Neh'Ashiir fell.

Loral stepped over to the fallen specter, wishing to see the face of such a horrid creature. What he saw made him stop short. The face was of an old wrinkled Iksar, nothing more. His eyes were gray and sad, no hate could be seen in them. Loral could still feel the sting of the creature's spells, but he felt no hate. Neh'Ashiir was as much a pawn to the dark forces of Norrath as anyone. Loral felt tears come to his eyes.

The rest of the adventurers split the treasure of the tower with one another. Ancient artifacts of a long lost culture were given to the mightiest adventurers. They quickly regrouped and made the decision to continue the battle against the undead of this scarred city. Loral no longer wished to continue the battle, he had seen enough pain. He bade his friends good will and returned to his home. His home along the scorched earth of the Dreadlands.