This page is chronological record of campaign updates and narratives.
Until he saw the dead fury in the Angierthan's eyes, Malgas was certain that he and his underlings could crush the foreigners. After all, the Maklu had given him the honor of guarding the princeling for its eventual sacrifice to Thurm's great glory. All Malgas had to do was keep the infant secure until the moon reached its zenith.
That was until the foreigners had infiltrated the ruined temple where the slavers provided the offerings to the dark god. In response, the High-Priestess Zarene sent the command to dispatch the slaves and princeling. Slaves executed, Malgas was about to plunge his dagger into the child-prince when Zarene's soul-ward went dark. Zarene was dead. Malgas saw an opportunity. He had a handful of elite soldiers with him, as well as gifts from his god, Thurm. The time was not yet right for the child to be sacrificed. If he defeated the foreigners and made the sacrifice, he would show that he had Thurm's favor, and would be awarded his rightful place as High-Priest.
Still filled with certainty, Malgas was drawing Thurm's dark power into a final lethal strike when the Angierthan struck him down. In the fleeting moments before his death, Malgas was thankful... it was a better fate than what he'd face at the Maklu's hands for failing his duty.
Kurig stared at the battle-gloves he wore, deeply ruminating over his failure. “These are the only weapons I am worthy of,” he thought. A surge of blame flooded his thoughts, filling him with self-loathing and “what ifs.”
He became a Knight of the Realm, like his father before him, a defender of the royal line. It had become his dream as his father recounted the tales of his adventures and service to Ahra, the Errodian princess who would later become Queen Consort of Bhel. As a gift for his service, his father was awarded a knighthood and given the duty as a royal guard. It was unheard of in any realm for a half-breed ogre to bear both honors. Kurig had eagerly followed in his father's footsteps, and was awarded the same honors when he reached manhood at age fifteen.
Only recently knighted, he had failed them all. He didn't see the signs of betrayal until it was too late. Despite his father's warnings, he refused to believe that his mentor and battle-trainer would ever be disloyal to the crown. Kurig remembered the final, hurtful words he uttered to his father before storming away. Now, the rightful rulers of Bhel and their heir are dead, and the land is falling to barren waste. The cold truth cut through him like frozen iron.
Returning to apologize for his words, he heard the screams and shouts from the throne room. Kurig was oblivious to the ambush as he raced through the throne room doors. In mere moments he was overcome like a guileless recruit. The blood... his father's broken body vainly shielding Ahra's lifeless body... his mentor, Kaashak, sitting on the throne holding Maklu Haldaan's severed head by the hair. As he was dragged away struggling and screaming, the cold realization dawned on Kurig that his father was the only loyal guard in the throne room.
The following months in the pits and arena, Kurig fought numbly. Always wishing for death, always failing with each victory. Even crushing the arena-master's neck didn't give him the execution he sought, just a higher value for sale on slaver's row. Of course, it was a matter of time before he would be seized again by the Maklu Kaashak's guard, and his owner executed for daring to sell him. It was a matter of time before he would return to the pits and arena. In a turn of fate, however, he was bought and given freedom by a group of foreigners who needed his help getting into the slaver's temple...
Kurig's thoughts were interrupted by the return of his newfound companions. They looked exhausted and the priest was nursing some serious wounds. He almost didn't notice the swaddled infant in priest's arms. "Another slaveling to escape the knife," Kurig mused until he recognized the child's platinum locks and ice-blue eyes. Time stopped. Time raced. Kurig's challenge was instinctual. "What do you plan to do to the child?" he asked. He was instantly ashamed by his words. They were not the treasonous murderers that orphaned the child, nor would they harm an innocent soul. They were friends who risked their lives to rescue those they could. Kurig was relieved at their acceptance and understanding when he confessed his shame, and struggled to keep tears from welling in his eyes as they gingerly placed the infant into his hands. "My prince," he whispered to the child, "I failed your parents and mine. Unto my life, I will not fail you."Kurig stared at the battle-gloves in which he held the infant prince. “These are the only weapons I am worthy of,” he thought, "but they are in your service until I am dust."
In all of Hafnar's long years as a Koloi Loghur, there were few times his heart had been as heavy as it was now. He had taken painstaking care on the traditional three nights of preparation for the funeral rite. The Dragon Prince had spared no expense in providing every means for proper decorum and a pyre -- the very finest of everything was expediently acquired and delivered. Hafnar had seen more modest funerals for Angierthan kings.
As he recited the Prayer of Passing, Hafnar could not help but glance at Thorfinn from time to time. Hafnar had forbade a betrothal between Inge and the young warrior, sensing that tragedy would befall them. He had then blamed him and his friends for the N'marian raid that devastated their village. And when he had received word that Inge had died with slavers' shackles upon her, he had held a burning hatred for Thorfinn. He would perform Inge's funerary rite, and then lay the Loghur's Curse upon him.
Now, as he looked upon Thorfinn, he remembered the boy that ran and played with Inge when the two were children, and the man that later held the truest love for her. He saw the weight of guilt and loss that Thorfinn had borne. He also saw the burgeoning madness in Thorfinn's soul. The same madness that possessed Thorfinn's grandfather ... for the same reasons. "As with your grandfather, Galti the Boar Spirit has marked you for his own," thought Hafnar. "Such a terrible burden."
Despite himself, his blame and anger slipped away, and was replaced by compassion. As Inge's smoldering pyre was consumed by the waves of the Silver River, Hafnar set his hand on the young warrior's shoulder. "May your heart find peace, Thorfinn Hegnirson," he said softly. "Do not blame yourself for this."
As the night deepened, Hafnar secluded himself in his guest quarters. In all of Hafnar's long years, there were few times his heart had been as heavy as it was now. Under the weight of his grief, Hafnar bowed his head and wept for the loss of his granddaughter.
“It won't be long now,” Kurig thought as he strained against his chains. They would be coming to take him to his beheading soon, and he would be ready for them. Kurig knew that his chances to escape the axeman were slim, but he wasn't going easily to his execution either. Regardless of his fate, it was good enough for him that the prince slipped through the Maklu's clutches.
As if on cue, footsteps approached and the cell door clattered open. In stepped a single guard. He had a confident and dangerous look about him, although he bore a good-natured smile. “You should have brought more guards with you,” growled Kurig, “I will not sell my life cheaply on my way to the chopping block.”
“It would be a pity to sell your life at all, my friend,” the guard smirked, “Besides, I am not buying.” Kurig was surprised to hear the burr of a northwestern Endelian accent in the man's speech. “What I mean to say is that I am here to rescue you.”
Kurig's mind raced. Could this be a trick?
“Desmond Shadwell, at your service,” the man said patiently, “I'm a friend of a friend.”
Shadwell deftly produced a key, and unlocked Kurig's shackles. “Now,” he said, “shall we take leave of this gods' forsaken place? Or do you wish to stay for your execution? I hear headless is quite the fashion here in Bhel.” Kurig hesitated, unsure if it was some kind of ruse. “If we don't leave soon, Kurig, we'll both be very fashionable,” Shadwell said more urgently, “I for one do not want my head decorating the city gates, nor do I want to keep my partners waiting...”
Back to top of page