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 Post subject: Blackened Theological Tome
Unread postPosted: Tue May 01, 2018 10:32 am 
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Location: New Zealand
The Path to Procampur

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Image sickly yellow moon perched over the blackened Vast, its pale light waxing and waning behind the clouds sailing lazily by the course of the winds throughout that heavenly expanse.

The ancient city of Procampur shon like a jewel on the dark coast far below - and a jewel it was. Yet a way from it on a treacherous path through the wilderness Brynwood a pair of men marched in desperate haste against the night toward the promise of civilization. Though their way beneath the great willows and oaks was unlit, one with the predatory eye accustomed to the dark hours might see they were much unlike one another in most every way - and indeed, such predatory eyes did discern them...

One, great in stature, went in a coat of black brigandine and wore a sword. A great shield was carried on his back. His bare head was heavily tattooed, and his face, with intricate symbols and glyphs. A warrior - but not native to the Vast.

That other, more lithe than his armed guard and himself baring a staff, wore robes of such rich red as to seem black in the night - as blood very well might, when under the scrutiny of moonglow. He was tidily bearded, and a shaven head was covered by a crimson cowl.

Led by the warrior the pair emerged from the forest path into a long clearing where stones stood - ancient and terrible druidic sentinels.

Wordlessly, the pair proceeded - led by the warrior - passing the strange arrangements. Some stones were slightly dished to shelter moss covered skeletons and mummified remains which stood venerated in eternal vigil.

Before long they emerged into the center of the grove - an unimpressive circular and spacious henge with a central altar of uncut stone. Before the altar the warrior halted and turned to face the staff-barer. A solemn stare was exchanged between the two.

The wizard looked left and then right from under the brim of his hood, his sharp blue eyes drawn to sudden movement occuring round abouts him as shadowy figures stepped out from among the standing stones to encircle them both. The large knight drew his sword with a rasp of steel and stood in defiance of his companion, rather than defense. The red eyes of gnolls, bugbears and hobgoblins glowered murderously, reflecting in the moonlight. What also reflected with more lustre were the badges they wore, depicting an extravagant arcane signature of Abjuration.

"Lallara..." the mage muttered - bitter, but unsurprised.

"Regard formality!" boomed the knight, approaching the wizard until the pair stood face to face. An armored hand clutched the mage by the jaw and held him there, bruising under his glaring scrutiny. "Zulkir Lallara Mediocros," the fighter snarled. "She has determined you will not be received by the Enclave in Procampur. Give my regards to your Lord Rethgatula Bolshara - you will both be in hell tonight."

The knight shoved the wizard's face aside and turned his back, commanding the motley assortment of Thayan footsoldiers in the goblin tongue itself as he removed himself back to the altar to observe. Wary to apprehend the red robed human these cowardly humanoids, nontheless, began to close from all sides brandishing their axes and swords...

Inside of those precious few seconds the mage raised his staff, closed his eyes and spoke three alien syllables. Bestial cries of alarm broke immediately from the would be killers as they looked round about in confusion - he had vanished.

The knight turned back to find the absence of his quarry and his eyes narrowed. He reached up to his brow and touched a complicated tattoo cut into his forehead which burst suddenly with a discharge of magical energy and began to steam. Immediately an arcane ward wreathed his body - a protection from spells, granted by his Abjurer overlords. He began to scan the area, even as he barked orders to troop to spread out and search the area.

Not a minute had passed before cries of alarm broke the stillness. Horrible cries of inhuman henchmen - first here, then there. Distant, then near. The clash of combat - all around! The knight remained in the heart of the henge, pacing around the altar with his sword drawn, his breath a steady mist on the cold night air as he observed the skeletal silhouettes prowling throughout the grove, tearing down the gnolls and bugbears by their sheer numbers.

The last cry of a hobgoblin soldier sounded shrill and then all was silence - but for the hiss of of skeletal feet dragging through wet long-grass as they encroached on the solitary soldier from all sides. Invisible to the naked eye the mage walked among the dead as if he were one of them.

Summoning his might the warrior began his onslaught through the skeletal horde, hacking with the vigor of a fighting man. He smote with his blade cleaving skulls in two, kicked with his sabaton and beat with his spiked gauntlet - but the moss ridden, rotten boned warband were too many. They tore him down from all sides in terrible grapple - but for his heavy armor could do him no real harm.

Only when the knight was subdued by the horde did the mage approach him directly. His invisibility fell like a cloak mid stride revealing the man. His spellbook - a blackened theological tome - lay spread open in his gloved hand as he came to a halt before the kneeling fighter.

The staff of the mage leaned forward stopping short of touching the brow of the knight. Despite the man's struggling - and his strength was great - he could not break free of the boney vice grips that held him fast in the hands of the dead.

A long moment passed in a silent stare between the pair - the knight glowing with his ward and the wizard glowing with wrath. The magical tattoo on the knight's forehead shone brightly to begin with, but it had begun to expire. They both knew it was near to gone.

As soon the Abjuration faded the wizard declared his incantation - a ray of negative energy channeled from the wizard through the staff and discharged. It burst into the knight's head, necrotizing all flesh, overflowing from the mouth, eyes, nose and ears as dark vaporous falls...

. . .

In the heart of the Enclave of Procampur a formal social function was well under way for the aristocrats and merchant lords of Thay, celebrating another successful financial year for the new Enclave initiative under the enterprising Autharch Samas Kul. The young mage had arrived in the midst of the evening celebrations, near to midnight, disheveled from the road. None seemed particularly interested in his arrival but he did catch the eye of the hostess.

"You must have made remarkably good time on your journey to be here already, Daeron Belhagruz Odrenkh. It is good to see you."

"Thank you, Zulkir Lallara Mediocros." Belhagruz bowed, "It is good to be seen."


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