Reign of Winter

A Warrior's Death

And the Witch Queen's Servant

With the demons defeated, and Sarenrae’s holy fires extinguished, the three lonesome heroes gazed down the charred hallway to where the frost giant fell. There, with the great axe blade still wedged in his side, lay the crumpled body of their comrade in a widening pool of his own blood.

Galinus, having already witnessed the deaths of two other friends, breathed a heavy sigh, wondering if this meant the Korvast he had known had befallen a similar fate in some other world, and if perhaps this Korvast was paying the price for his counterpart’s brashness.

Mistral, the newcomer, had not known Korvast long, and simply stood dumbfounded that something had managed to fell such a seemingly invincible man.

Tyg however had fought with Korvast in many battles, and rushed to his side refusing to believe his friend’s death. The wound was grave, as the axe had bent the plates of Korvast’s own armor deep into his abdomen, but Tyg couldn’t know his fate for certain until he removed Korvast’s helmet.

He had only seen the man’s face once before, and he could understand why Korvast always hid it from view. Hideously scarred from being half-eaten by dogs as a child, Korvast was one of the ugliest men Tyg had ever laid eyes on. But as he removed the clasps of the helmet and raised it off the man’s head, it was not Korvast’s face he saw staring back at him.

It was the face of the old man they had all met that fateful day in the forests of Taldor, the rider who had bestowed upon them his blessing, and his curse.

“The trials you shall face will be graver yet, and though some may die, your quest shall live on until the tyranny of Elvanna is vanquished. Let not your courage wane, or your conviction waver. For ye must not dwindle to defeat, and the mantle of the witch queen’s plight must be taken up by another. In her great wisdom, there are allies in these lands she left behind for a purpose.

“The warlord could be freed from his servitude. He will always hate her, but he is strong, and his thirst for vengeance could be used to buy his aid. Get the book, and use it to free him and strike down the invaders here. But beware the power of the coven. Do not let them face you as one.

“Go now, through the mausoleum… to the south… and beware the flame…”

With his final words the face of the old man faded away like a dream, revealing the scarred face of the man Tyg had fought beside. Tyg’s head fell. His eyes were now lifeless, gazing wearily into the endless darkness beyond.

Comments

Without proper wood and tinder, Galinus performs some priestly rituals. The burnt decomposing flesh falls away from the Sun Knight, leaving a pristine alabaster skeleton. He mutters some archaic words, and the skeleton becomes etched in burning orange runes. He turns to his companions.

“No true Knight of the Sun deserves to rot in a dungeon. I have sanctified this corpse to ensure that our fallen comrade does not rise as a foul undead beast. He earned a better death than this, but considering our cirumstances, I pray Korvast will accept this as our best effort.” Galinus turns back again to the remains of Korvast the Paladin. Galinus wraps his green tabard around the big man’s armor,encircling it in a funeral shroud. The falchion the knight wielded is placed above the shroud, grasped in the skeletal hands. Korvast’s remains seem at odds with the savage dungeon surroundings. The corpse seeming to be ever vigilant of the evils around it, even in death.

Looking at the remains, Galinus lights his pipe, shaking his head in shame. Tyg places his hand on the cleric’s shoulder, “I knew him best, and I would say he would’ve appreciated it. It’s nice, for a human’s death.”. Galinus shoots the elf a look, to which the ranger winks and smiles, knowing he meant it in jest.

The priest takes another puff of his pipe, and looks at his two companions. “The Black Rider, I do believe his riddlespeak pertains to that strange centaur guardian of the hut. Why this warrior would wish to join a quest to save his captor is beyond my comprehension, but we will need all the help we can get. Let us find this book, and bring it to him. I can only hope to convince him our path is righteous, and our convictions meritable. I know not the flame the Rider mentions, but I shall be wary of it.”

A Warrior's Death
jacobzwaldman jacobzwaldman

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