Chapter 45: The Fireborn

For three thousand years Fxandrakulzis the Fireborn ruled his lair in the caverns of Garulon within the Plane of Fire. It was not a large lair, perhaps two thousand minions, but it afforded him the opportunity to delve into his passion, necromancy. Five hundred years previous the Fireborn acquired a book outlining the dark art. Following its instructions he tore apart dozens of his demonic minions and mortal slaves only to raise them as twisted undead beasts. But the Fireborn was not satisfied. He constantly sought out new necromatic magic to add to his dark powers. Soon his wishes were answered.

At the height of his power, the lich Miragul opened up rifts to both the Plane of Torment and the Plane of Fire. He knew of the Fireborn and had heard of his vast knowledge of necromancy. It took a great deal of the lich's power, but soon through a burning summoning circle deep in his icy labratory, Miragul pulled the Fireborn into the world of Norrath.

The Fireborn found that the lich Miragul was the only mortal he had ever liked, even perhaps admired if a greater demon can admire any mortal. Together they built creations of true villainy and great horror, the Demonbone Skeletons. These twisted remains of mortal bodies and demonic spirits had a thirst for blood beyond any creature of Norrath and an unnatural strength to match.

One day Miragul left the Fireborn's laboratory and never returned. It mattered little to the red leathery-winged demon. He drew fourth minions of his own world, huge muscled beasts like himself and continued his work. Soon the icy caverns of Miragul's lair were filled with the Fireborn's demon-blooded undead. Even planar beasts of Torment served his will, some huge rough-furred hulks and others hideous malformations of flesh, muscle, and fanged tentacles. Soon after, the caverns of Miragul's lair had been uncovered.

It was then that the Fireborn met the priest.

He had just finished the construction of a huge and powerful demonbone skeleton, one built from the bones of a cloven hoofed Tormentor and a mammoth. It was filled with a dark spirit that made even the Fireborn shivver. He found the entrance of the adventuring party to be quite timely.

The Fireborn sent a telepathic command to his new beast and both he and a fellow red-winged demon watched the monstrosity rush out into the icy caverns. A crash of thunder filled the hall. A blast of heat rushed into the normally chilled halls. For the Fireborn and his companion it was a taste of the fiery pits of home. The clash of battle could be heard in the hall for perhaps a minute and then the party entered the Fireborn's lair.

The Fireborn took no chances. He sent the other demon forward and sent a wave of lava over the party. Each member of the six used some form of protection from molten rock. Three hid behind shields, two behind cloaks, and one simply let it roll off of the protective shell of his armor.

The party was very well equipped. He soon saw that their skills matched their equipment when his minion was cut down under a flurry of blades and spells.

The Fireborn had not lived for four thousand years by acting rashly. He knew when he was out-matched. He was already chanting his darkspeech, preparing to return to his own world when the first arrow pierced his side. His spell fizzled when a stunning blast from the outstretched hand of a dwarven bladeswinger knocked him back. The sword wielders of the party where on him in an instant, tearing into his thick red skin and through his leathery wings. He ripped at them with claws lined with fire, inflicting hideous gaping wounds but blue waves of light sealed them and the party continued their attack.

Then a voice filled his head, a telepathic voice in the darkspeech of the demon princes. It was a voice he knew well.

"Hello, dear friend," Xuzl spoke.

"Master! Protect me from these hideous mortals!" the Fireborn pleaded in his own telepathic reply.

"You cannot win, especially not against one holding me," the voice spoke calmly.

The Fireborn saw it. A circular shield blazing with fire held by the golden-armored priest. A thousand questions entered his mind but all of them were silenced when a beam of searing red energy burned a perfect hole through the center of his head like a third eye. The last thing he saw was the shield blazing with fire, the fire of his master. He awoke on his island of rock in the center of a thousand mile lake of lava in the Plane of Fire. It would be five hundred years before he could return to Norrath again. Streams of lava rolled down his red cheeks. He had been betrayed.