The following morning seemed brighter than any prior for the Wayside Inn. Not only did they inhabitants of the inn survive the night, but there was a break in the storm. With the dawn was the welcomed sight of the sun, and every window was open inviting it in.
The new day also brought a new voice to the inn. The white haired man had woken and shared his incredible tale with Fealwyn and Dorwen over morning meal. A tale that span centuries and begin in the long forgotten kingdom of Illian. A tale of tragedy as Leyorin, last of the Phoenix Guards explained just how the One Eyed Revenant came to be…
Several centuries ago, Leyorin and his brother Gregory were proud members of the honorable Phoenix Guards. A magically enhanced order that started as royal guards and grew to become peacekeepers of the northern nations. They were known for their incredible prowess with the spear and for being nearly immune to magic. It was also said that they could not be killed.
In the white haired mans tale he explains that the Guard had stood for a 100 years before it’s betrayal from within. That they along with the High Kings of Illian had help keep the nation safe from numerous evils. Their primary duty was to protect the bloodline of kings as well as the Eye of Illian, or Dragons Eye as it was called. A magic stone gifted by the Golden Dragon Glaedr, that could summon him in times of need.
A Guardsmen was never to covet power, never to kill an innocent, never betray their king… Gregory did all three in the most heinous ways, bringing about the fall of Illian and the Guard.
In the final battle where most of the guard fell defending the escape of the royal family, the king faced the Gregory the betrayer and was slain. With his final breathe the king cursed both Gregory and Leyorin. The former to never know peace, and to be consumed by his power lust. The latter to know no rest, until the Dragons Eye was safe.
It was over the next hundred years that curse became apparent. As brothers fought numerous battles and played cat and mouse with the Eye, never able to deliver the killing blow, they both stop aging. Only their hair turning white with time. To Leyorin this was a true curse, but for Gregory seemingly blessing. For as the decades passed he began to acquire wealth and power, but his curse too became more pronounced as nothing would sated his desired for Eye of Illian. His sense of cruelty growing every year he did not posses it at which many innocents suffered.
Several hundred years of this and Leyorin knew he could take no more. He would end it once and for all. Setting up what he thought would be the final conflict atop Dragon Falls, Leyorin again battled his brother but this time when the moment came, he did not not falter… Defeating his brother with a combination of mortal wounds with one taking Gregory’s eye, and watching with sorrow as his bother fell life to rocks below.
He thought it was over, and for a time it was. He even knew peace for a while. But it did not last. Just before the Shadowfall Gregory returned in his new dark form. The final stage of his course had taken him. Relieved of his mortal coil he was fully consumed by his obsession and walks the earth as the One Eyed Revenant. Always seeking the Eye. But it was after the Shadowfall that he began to gain control and employee other undead. It appears that in these dark days his power continues to grow. His last encounter was nearly his last in this life as he had to leap from a ravine to escape, suffer the nearly fatal wound in the process. For the first time and centuries Leyorin truly felt death touch and is worried that if his brother were to ever slay him… that he too may rise as a Revenant.
Silence settled on the table as both Dorwen and Faelwyn contemplated the words. With a knowing look between them the Knight and Cleric agree to stop this evil before more lives are lost. Dorwen and group left the guardsmen at the end and set off to the old crypts several miles away figuring it a likely place for the undead to rest.
The journey to the hills was not as safe as noon sun would indicate. For as they moved the forest in the foothills, the group was ambushed by two hill trolls. The leathery skinned creatures healed wounds nearly as fast as their were inflicted. Leaving many wounds, mortally so to Andrews horse, before the pair were finally put down and burned with fire. It seemed unusually for creatures as these to be out in the day. Most camp fire tales spoke of trolls in caves or stalking at night.
Pressing onward the group found the cliff side crypts as the storm once again returns to its wet fury. With some sharp eyes, and divine magic the made their way deep into caves depths. The stench of death and decay growing ever stronger. Faelwyn lead them to a large antechamber that at first glance appeared to be flooded. The liquid covering most of the floor seemed dark and oily as it reflected the light oddly and gave no hint at what lay beneath.
From the doorway a ramp lead down to the flooded chamber floor with another ramp leading to an exit on the other side. Dorwen was taking this in when an already in motion Andrew volunteered to take a closer look below. No one but Rowe had noticed an incredibly ornate sword, laying on the damp ground near the “water’s” edge. Even with the limited torch light he could see the glint of precious stones. Faelwyn gave a slight warring to Rowe that he did not like the looks of the water. But Andrew’s hearing was impaired by the sight of rubies… then due to being submerged in the dark brine For no sooner had he reach for the blade than four sets for undead hands reach from below the “waters” surfaces grasp and pulling the merchant in.
Valentyne was the first to enter the “water”. Dorwen ready his crossbow and Faelwyn readied to help where he could. I was not until the cleric got a good look at the creature that he realized just what type of danger Rowe was in. For this was not actually water, but the bodily fluids of a mating pair of Lacedons, Aquatic undead. This was their spawning pit. Ingesting the “liquid” could be just as dangerous as the creatures that lived in it. With grim determination, and sealing his lips “EXTREMELY” tight he waded into the water battle the evil in its lair.
For several moments nothing broke the waters surface yet it moved violently as its occupants battled beneath.
Finally the heroes broke the surface, first Andrew, then Valyntine and finally the priest who didnt stop until he was half way up the ramp. Opening his mouth to finally call on the name of the Maker and begin to burn away at at the undead filth about him. After several moments and continual chanting from the priest the pool of bile steamed away revealing the sunken floor and about 5’ of water. The bodies of the Lacedons had either been burned away in the waves of positive energy emitted by Faelwyn, floated in dismembered pieces in the remaining bit of water.
Battle won, the party once again moved forward feeling their prey was near. Bot not before Rowe dove once more into the brackish water. Faelwyn briefly fearing Rowe was already turning prepared another prayer until Rowe resurfaced holding the bejeweled sword above him in silent victory.
It was a short walk down that lower tunnel that lead to what could only be a kings chamber. And it was there that they faced the one formerly known as Gregory. Sitting upon a dead mans throne, one red eye glowing beneath his hood. A dark fog seemingly coming from him, covers the floor and creeps up the sides of the walls.
Dorwen’s verbal challenge is met with the calm arrogance only the undead can manage as Gregory’s promises to raise the group after their defeat to serve him in killing his brother. With that Fallen Knights are animated from their rest to clash steel with the heroes. Their massive two-handed blades leaving their marks on the party as necromantic pulses from Gregory work to repair the damage done to the Fallen Knights.
Dorwen seeing this changes tactics and the group focuses their attacks. Taking out two of the fallen knights before Gregory could repair them. However, Gregory too sees their healer and attacks Faelwyn wit such ferocity that priest falls with other wondering if he still lived. Dorwen, seeing an opening did not hesitate. Driving his blade through the eye slit of Gregory’s helm and into his glowing right eye.
With a scream of tormented pain and a flash of dark energy the dark robed figure crumbles leaving only a battered and beaten helm rolling on the floor. The battle is over.
After several fights, and the long slow travel back through the horrible weather it is late eve before they begin to see the Wayside Inn’s shape through the trees. A welcome site as all begin to pick out the pace knowing warm food and beds are so close. Or are they…
Movement catches the groups eyes and something tells them not to break cover. The feelings of warmth quickly fade as they see two riders head back northward, and the stable hand lead two other mounts into barn. All bare the markings of the Blackguard.