Chapter 65: The Dark Trio

*The following is found in a small black leatherbound book within the journals of Loral Ciriclight, inked in black classic elvish script*

Enemies surround and envelop us. Enemies attack from without and within. They attack our adventurers, our armies, our cities, and even our minds. One could easily go insane considering the dangers all around us, could become paralyzed with a fear built from the truth of the situation.

I choose no such path. Danger surrounds us but the Mother has given me the power to push it back into the shadows, to help build a world where our children can grow, live, and grow old without being ripped apart by the barbed arrows of the Kyv or torn open by the clawed hands of a vampire of Mistmoore.

For five years I have researched and analyzed these threats. I have sent many spies into the dark reaches of the known worlds. I have poured over the dusty old tomes deep within the breathing halls of Old Tanaan.

For five years I have plotted. Now it is time to act.

I have isolated the greatest threats to Norrath into three areas.

Deep across the Abysmal Sea lies the broken lands of Taelosia. There, a commander of the Muramite armies, a Tunat Muram, sends his armies forth. So far no Muramite assassin has set foot on the lands outside the sea, but time runs short. This commander, a possible lich or shapeshifter, rules from the charred Taelosian temple of Tacvi.

This commander is but one of many. His lord, a being of immense power, lives in a citadel known as the Asylum of Anguish. He floats in his chambers above the destroyed lands of Kuua. Like the Tunat Muram, this creature, his advisers, and his personal guard must be cut down like weeds invading healthy crops.

We cannot hope to destroy the Muramite armies completely. Spirits deep within the outer realms speak volumes of the size and scope of this millennia-old army of destruction. Even the Overlord of Kuua, the Mata Muram, is but one of many beings pushing chaos and horror outward from an unknown core of insanity.

Another threat lies in north Antonica. In the pits of Lavastorm, the lich-king Venril Sather has poisoned one of the last remaining nests of the Ring of Scale. His black magics, tools for his centuries old scheme of revenge, have created beasts of terrible power and great danger. One of these, the lord dragon Vishimtar, threatens to release his poisoned children over all of Antonica.

The final threat strikes like cold steel in my heart at his very thought. He is a being I have battled with in nightmare since I was a child. I have fought his minions since the days I first left Felwithe and ever since, his thin fingers have played the strings of a dark song within my heart.

He is Mistmoore, the vampire lord. Only recently has his home been tracked to a keep, known as Dreadspire, that resides between two worlds - ours, and the demi-plane of Blood. For centuries he has surrounded his keep with an ongoing war of powerful dark armies. Werewolf tribes, drachnid nests, and the lost empire of another powerful lich king known as Draygun, all protect his citadel from the outsiders.

I must further research Mistmoore's plots and the guardians who protect his secrets. His agents surround me, agents sent by his master of spies and assassins, an ancient vampire lord known as Vule. Looking into the dark shadows of Mistmoore's plot is not a task to which I look forward.

These three dark sects; the Muramites, the cursed dragons, and the vampires of Mistmoore; pose the greatest threat to Norrath than any other force since the Green Mist wiped out the Shissar. Too long, knowing what I know, have I spent in passive fear. Too long have I used my advanced age and the pains of my past to protect myself from the trials I must endure.

I am a being of Tunare. I am her Hand upon Norrath. It is my life's responsibility to protect her lands and her creatures from the dangers they face. I have the tools, I have the allies, and I have the powers to face these fears.

And face them I shall.

Loral Ciriclight

The Hand of Tunare

3689 in the Year of the Willow