‘I will get free… I will kill him… I will save them.’
My thoughts were strong as I had been lead out of the Shadowfell into the Material World. My hands were chained together, first in a line of many other ragged and suffering people. My people. People who had taken care of me, trained me, spoke their hearts of seeing a free world where the Overlord controlled no one. My brothers and sisters, as close a family as one could ever have. I loved them…
Night after night, I watched the Overlord sacrifice my friends over his altar… I watched as day after day, the sky darkened to match the world of my birth. The first few times I struggled against my chains, I tried so desperately to rip free… to save my brothers as they clawed at the air to get free… so futile they tried to deny the Overlord’s ritual blade a chance to do it’s inevitable work.
After that… I lost hope. I am not proud to admit that, even in the words of this dusty bit of parchment. I had such fire… such hope for the future my brothers spoke of. The world they told me, with such confidence, that I would bring. Looking at the world behind me, I wonder what good it would do. I wonder if I can do it. I’ve accomplished so little, yet so much of significance for people that I have never met. While the ones I know and love are cold and dead, and I can do nothing to help them.
After giving me more than my fill on watching his deplorable activities… I was thrown in that dungeon. I’m not sure how much time had passed, with no day or night to guide me, I felt time slip away with my confidence. With my courage.
Then came my new companions, perhaps my new friends. They were dead… but the
Overlord Harivec, his name is Harivec. Harivec would go to any expense to fulfill his scheme, and with them, he would have the power he needed to finally merge the worlds together. However, they had the fire that I had lost through endless torture. They had the strength that was taken from me by shackles and iron.
Eorik had prepared himself, and made his way past the castle’s defenses and guards into the bowels of the dungeons. It was in his haste that he tipped off the guards so heavily placed on our cell. However, the distraction was enough. Dalrak and Travek, brothers and Sons of Moradin, ripped free the shackles anchors clean from the wall. They released their other friends, Naivera and Rahvin… and then me. During the ensuing battle, I could do nothing but huddle in the corner. I will be honest… I was scared. I had no weapon, I had no power… and I knew what Harivec would do if we did not succeed.
The group persevered though. Pushing through the guard, they smiled and welcomed their freedom. It took little coaxing for me to finally abandon the cell, and after recovering our items, I told them of Harivec and his plans. Apparently they had a rough idea of what was going on, but through my words finally gained the complete picture. Without any words of begging, they went after Harivec. At first I didn’t understand… why they would so willingly sacrifice themselves against Harivec when they could run. It was with each encounter we had with Harivec’s minions that my fire rekindled… that I began to understand self-sacrifice… that I began to reaffirm my destiny.
During our raid through the upper levels of the Castle, Eorik and I went off to scout the surrounding floor while the others set down a camp. He is a good man… though with that talking dagger of his, I must admit my nervousness. I don’t much trust something like that. It reminds me of Harivec, a creature of no life, given sentience and force by magic. During the exploration, we came across an item. It had belonged to my friend Harve. He had been a good man, one of the best climbers I knew. He had been the fifth to die.
It took us a good amount of time, and a lot of blood thirsty fighting to make it to the last chambers at the top of the Castle. I can remember it now… as if it were stuck in my head, forever bound to play out it’s course.
Eorik and I had taken the lead, silent as shadows as we kept an advanced eye for the group behind us. As we approached the door, we could hear the ritual chanters speaking without having to press our ears to the door. Sucking up a breathe, we prepared ourselves for the fight ahead. I knew Harivec was beyond this door… I knew it. I could feel it, like a tingling up my spine that let me know that my prey was just over the hill. Perhaps it was the Prophecy at work… perhaps it was merely nerves.
Dalrak took Eoriks place next to me, and I primed my bow with an arrow; ready to be released in an instant. It was a flurry of actions after that… in the space between a blink and a beat of the heart we were upon them. Dalrak kicked the door in, with a strength possessed by no other man, ripping the hunk of iron clean from it’s hinges and near ten feet into the room. Inside the room was Harivec, sitting atop his throne. The Vampire Lord standing off to the side watching their undead minions at work on their dark altar.
Harivec’s face still held the twisted smug confidence his ugly visage always held, but his cold dead eyes were wide with fear and surprise. I shouted out, my words ringing with a conclusion that only a hunter could see for his prey, “It’s over Harivec! No more will die, except for you!” My arrow was true, I had fired at replicas of Harivec my entire life. I know that mans corpse better then anyone in the realms. My arrow slammed into his shoulder, I could see the special shaft exploding upon impact, lodging a series of splinters throughout the wound to distract the spellslinger. Eorik dashed across the room, diving past the Boneclaws wicked attacks, and leading the charge. Dalrak was not one to be out done as he charged into the other Boneclaw, his hammer crunching through the creature.
My gaze caught the Vampire Lord, Mazikar, and I grinned as I pointed him out, calling over my shoulder to Travek, “Son of Moradin! The Vampire Lord!” I knew the Vampire Lord to be strong, and knew only the light of Moradin would truly conquer him. Travek was confident, as he always was when it came to dealing with undead. Holding up his Holy Symbol of Moradin, he called forth a ray of light from the heavens themselves, the power slamming into Mazikar with a power that forced even I to look away. When my vision returned, Mazikar stood still, though chunks were missing from him, his vampiric visage hissing loudly as he brought up his cape to block the lingering rays of radiant energy. Naivera called forth a blizzard, clouding the area in ice and magical energies as she put her back to the wall to control the awesome cosmic forces she called forth.
It was as if time had locked our opponents in surprise as we came bellowing into the room. It was then that time seemed to snap back, like some crashing wave hanging over us all. As it did, Rahvin moved into the room, calling forth the forces of magics he had forged dark pacts with, forcing Harivec in an explosion of power, to teleport atop a brazier and directly next to Dalrak. I could feel a smile on my face as I saw the tactic, an arrow already nocked as I took aim. One shot, and my arrow pierced through Harivec’s leg, sweeping him off balance and smashing him into the fiery embers of the brazier below him. He had been even more unprepared to explode in flames. However… I couldn’t control myself as I rushed forward. I felt my blood explode with speed as my heart raced beyond imagine… and then I was upon Harivec slashing wildly in a crazed blood lust. The fire bit at my eyes, and I lost sight as my steel went wide and around the thrashing lich lord.
True to form, Eorik raced across the room, drawing the attacks of enemies away from us. His moves graceful as he stepped along the sliver-thick edge of brazier, flipping over a swipe of a Boneclaw, then rolling under the strike of the other Boneclaw. He came up on his feet, his dagger at the ready, and with stabbed, with a precision borne through intense training, into Harivec. The Lich screamed in agony… thrashing under the assault. Dalrak brought him hammer down, and I will swear to this day I saw the solid iron legs of the brazier bend under the force of the blow as Harivec was crushed further into the flames.
However… victory was not ours yet. As Dalrak swung back around to face the Boneclaw directly before him, Mazikar caught his eye. I did not know it then… but it was in that instant the Vampire had taken control of Dalraks mind. Seeing himself outmatched though, and his ally falling swiftly before us… Mazikar gave us one last hiss, and escaped as mist through the collapsed roof. Naviera weaved another blast of ice, showering the other of half of the room in a torrent of chilling doom.
Harivec was not done either, pulling himself to his feet, he began casting a spell. Eorik and I tried to stop him, but now that he was alert and on his feet… he began that much harder for my blades to find their mark, and Eorik had to contend with a hail of ice mere inches from his blast distracting him from his target. Taking a page from our own spellslinger, Harivec let loose a blast of freezing wind around us. I felt the fierceness of his spell slam into me… but my blood continued to pump with barbarian fury. With that wild anger, I pushed the spells effects away, breaking free of their effect.
Travek, having gained back the holy power for his spellwork, stomped into the roof. With a single word of blessing, it sounded like a gong was sounded in the room. Harviec was blown clear back to the other end of the room, into the trappings of Naivera’s storm, and the Boneclaw before Dalrak simply shattered and crumbled to floor dead.
I was not ready for it, but my instincts made me jump at just the right moment, as Dalrak’s hammer swung in to take my gut. However, his hammer was not the only threat, as before I could backpedal away even further, I felt the reverberations of the hammers incredible speed and power left in it’s wake slam into my gut. I coughed up a lung as Rahvin, displaying an amazing amount of power, crafted a flowing black ring of energy around Harivec, trapping the lich’s arms to his body and wracking him with unimaginable amounts of pain.
Sensing the end approaching Harivec let out his last curses, proclaiming he would not die… that this was not the end. I felt a stab in the gut at that… but I did not hesitate. As Naivera began weaving another spell, I brought my bow to aim. With a twin twangs, two more arrows added themselves to Harivecs body. The lich gave a terrible shriek as he crumbled to his knees, and that’s when Naivera’s spell washed over him. His body was covered in a sheen of ice, then slowly it cracked… and exploded in the last mad powers Harivec had.
I felt… peace. As I watched the dust of his once whole bodies settle on the ground, I felt true peace. It didn’t last long though as Dalrak raced across the room, and smashed his hammer into my chest. The pain… I can never accurately write down. I stumbled back, firing an arrow feebly as I coughed up blood between us. Eventually, the matter was settled and I was informed of how he came to become dominated. I still have the dent though on my chest… and I believe I might carry that scar forever to remind myself of the terrible power that my enemies will face as long as I travel with Dalrak. He apologized, and I accepted… it was not his fault.
As Rahvin and Eorik set about collecting up all the treasure, and Daralk and Travek cleansed the altar of it’s dark power… I collected Harivec’s remains. Or at least, what I could collect. Which was only but a thimble of dust before the ice melted and washed away what was left. Then I found their bodies… my friends. I knew that they were dead… but still, to see it. Naivera hugged me, and I am glad to have a small piece of comfort in this dark place. After Travek had destroyed the altar and broken the dark ritual Harivec had performed, I had him cleanse the area around the bodies, and arranged them in a funeral pyre. Travek gave them the last rights of Moradin, and I am sure that will be enough.
I think I might of upset him with my comment about his god… but I hold little to concern to it. The only god we had known was the Overlord… if all the other gods would abandon us to his torture, I’m not sure if Moradin really is good enough for my friends. However, that is on the road behind… and I must look to the road ahead.
Naivera and Travek told me about this object called a phylactery. Apparently, as long as it exists… Harivec is not truly dead. The shock was not as terrible as Dalraks hammer, but still… it left me a bit winded. I was so sure that he was dead… so sure. It looks like I still have my destiny to fulfill. They said the phylactery would be kept in the safest location the lich had… and I knew what that meant. It meant… we had to go the Domains of Dread. Or at least, I had to.
Now… how to convince them to come with me?