Chapter 11: Battle

Korasal Klyseer had been in the services of the Di'Zok Royals for over a century. He enjoyed his position as the commander of the Di'Zok troops stationed outside Chardok and was proud to offer his protection. This latest news he received, of the possible betrayal and death of the Overking's Chancellor was not good news. He awaited a message from the outpost by the Lake of Ill Omen on the situation. He received it in the form of fire as it exploded from the ground around him, immediately followed by the sting of two arrows as they entered his chest. His skeletal minion rushed to meet the forces, but was torn to pieces by a white spiritual ball of light. A burly fighter in bronzed armor rushed up to fight Korasal face to face. Korasal touched him and felt the energy of the fighters onslaught seep out of him. The Klyseer quickly cut him down with a stroke from his blade, the Runic Carver. His victory became small when wolves burst out of the trees and tore into his legs, taking him to the ground. Two more cuts from the blades of a ranger had him gasping for one last breath. He turned and looked into the blue rage filled eyes of Loral Ciriclight.

"Your chancellor sends you a message." Loral said before smashing the 200 year old dark knight's head open with the battleworn morningstar of Kelethin.

Prince Selrach Di'Zok was discussing the latest plans of his father and mother to increase the forces around the goblin strongholds near the Frontier with his advisors, when the front door to their keep came smashing down with the fists of a huge elemental. His advisors, both skilled sorcerers, immediately began chanting their spells of protection while the Prince unleashed his own dark magics, tearing the elemental into chunks of dirt. The mercenary battle group that laid siege to the keep began pouring in, cutting with the might of an army and casting arcane spells only spoken by the mightiest sorcerers in Norrath. Fires burned and ice blasted from both sides in the battle. Cuts deep enough to slay the mightiest fighters were healed before they bled. After seconds that seemed like hours, the sorcerer advisors of the prince stood captivated, unable to move under the magical whispers of enchanters, while the prince was slain and beheaded. Loral picked up the head and set it on a red velvet chair who's cost could feed the city of Felwithe for a year. Let that be the first thing the Overking sees when he returns, he thought.

The ancient books of the the Iksar describe the last days of Venril Sather's role as the emperor of their people. They describe his reign of terror as he ruled all of Kunark with an iron fist. They speak of his love for another practitioner of his dark art, the Necromancer Druzilla. With her he found his only true happiness, and it was shortly taken from him when she was assassinated by those in his senate who opposed him. His rage was felt by every living thing on the continent. His most loyal servants were sealed in the tomb of his beloved, cursed to live forever screaming within the mountain city of Charisis. Before he went into seclusion, he gave the key to the tomb to the only servant he could trust. His spy within the Chardok empire, Xalgoz the Vampire. Children were threatened with a visit from Xalgoz should they not behave, and the name became a slang term used within the vulgar mouths of the sailors of the Overthere, but nothing else was ever heard of the legend. Loral knew otherwise. His hunt of the undead of Kunark led him to a tomb outside the new cities of Cabilis. Deep within, past the spectral guardians and skeletal minions, Loral faced and destroyed the vile Xalgoz. From the mouth of the vampire he tore free a tooth. The tooth implanted by Sather two thousands years earlier as the key to Drusella's resting place.

Venril Sather, the lich-king of the Iksar empire, sat on his granite throne imbued with his dark power. The throne fed him the visions of the outskirts of his keep, the ancient castle of Karnor. He enjoyed the constant strife of the outlanders as they battled with his army of lycanthropes. The mighty Drolvargs tore into the skin and bones of their victims, sending them screaming into the sands of the dead land around the castle. Sather had to admit that the armies of the outlanders were well organized and powerful, but his unlimited supply of undead kept them from ever penetrating his fortress. He was safe within his inner palace, protected by his powers, harvested by the perversion of nature throughout the two thousand years he resided here.

Sather was about to contact his spies within the outpost city of Fironia Vie when a young barbarian warrior in blue armor stepped into the door. Silence laid heavy as the two looked at one another. The lich could hardly believe a living thing had managed to even step foot into his throne room, but here he was. Then the instinctive twinge of hunger as he imagined the life force this young warrior must have rang in his mind and he smiled. Floating off of his throne he approached the warrior. Instead of cringing in fear, the warrior swung his twin diamond headed blades and cut into the dead skin of the lich. Sather ignored the cuts, knowing that soon they would close while the life force of the fighter was drained of his body. He thrust his clawed hand at the chest of the warrior, but hit an invisible barrier just before penetrating his armor. Confused and angered, he cut again. The warrior continued slicing into Sather, his blades mostly glancing off of the spells of protection Sather had in place. Sather howled with rage and continued to rip at the warrior, still hitting nothing but air. He was so angered he didn't realize the others that entered the room. Wizards, enchanters, rangers and monks entered, each beginning to cut, bash and blast into Sather's spiritual armor. Enchanters refreshed the energy shields around the single warrior when Sather began to come close to breaking through. Never once was he able to recharge his life force. Soon his own spells failed and he fell to the mighty party.

Loral stepped through the door, along with a small halfling dressed all in black. The halfling smiled at the corpse of Sather, as did Loral.

"An excellent job my friend, even Sather's runes of protection were not enough to stop your nimble fingers. Tunare thanks you, as do the citizens of Fironia Vie." The halfling nodded, but smiled greatly when Loral dropped a heavy sack of gems into the halfings hand. Loral had learned what drove these men and knew how to get what it was he required. As the rest of the party looted the room, Loral studied many of the tomes and parchments around the room, searching feverishly for the information he sought. Finally he found a dusty book with an ancient symbol of a lost religion on the cover. He sat crossed legged on the floor and poured over the pages, careful not to let them fall apart in his hands. His eyes widened and his mouth curled into a smile.

A universe away, in a land of ever green pastures, where the woods walked in harmony with the spiritual animals of dreams and wishes, the Mother looked into her pool of visions. She witnessed the deaths of the four pillars of evil in Kunark. She watched as they were slain in her name. She watched as Loral studied the tomes of ancient lands, travel into the depths of dungeons and talk with the loremasters and scribes. She saw Loral at the bazaar in the Commons after spending a week in the depths of Sebilis. She watched him trade for a book from an old grave robber. Skimming the pages he smiled and tucked the book into his pack. He pick up his blackened shield and dark mace and then the visions within Tunare's scrying pool collapsed. She spent a few moments more watching the dark waters of the pool, hoping her visions would return. When they didn't, Tunare wept.