Travels With A Deathknight

Prologue

We are fighting for our very souls in these war-riven, dark days, and for the souls of our comrades and loved ones. Death is no longer considered the greatest evil, for after death, should the Lord of Chaos prevail, the horrors will be greater than any we can now imagine… and our imaginings grow more dreadful with every passing hour.

The Divine One inspires us still. His courage in the face of these monstrous horrors is as a beacon of light, leading us ever onward and keeping our hopes alive. I can no longer expect to live through these times, but I am content to fight for the children of Rivellon.

The Divine One’s heart is broken for the child he had struggled to save, but even thus he is a formidable warrior and a valiant leader. We all grieve his loss of Damien, even as we arm to battle the demon that Damien has become. Today’s meeting of armies—the legions of the Divine and the hordes of the Damned—will be fearsome indeed, and although no coward, I do not welcome this test.

Our troops hold a rise that commands the broad plains to west and north; a small wooded valley lies to the south, and behind us is the pass we guard. To the north we can see the forces of the Damned moving slowly toward us. By daylight, they will be upon us. We must hold, whatever the cost. My blood chills as I ready for the call.

Day 1

It is done. I have failed, and will pay the price. Did our forces prevail? Did we hold the line, and keep the Damned from feeding on our townsfolk? Are there soldiers enough left to defend our lands and our people?

Just before dawn, I led a small contingent down a narrow, over-grown path leading into the wooded valley. We intended to surprise an enemy scouting party whose fires betrayed their position. Betrayed! Ah, we were the ones betrayed! This was no scouting party, but a few pretenders sent to lure us, safe in the knowledge that full three-score heavily armed fighters hid nearby. I only remember the heat, the blood, the screams and cries, the flash of spells off in the hills as the main armies engaged, the weapons clashing around me. Bodies at my feet. My comrades’ bodies, obscenely entwined with the carcasses of monsters and the black-hearted mercenaries of Darkness. We fought numbly, stubbornly, with little hope but much will. Our goal in the end was to thwart just one more creature, to strike down just one more enemy, before we in turn fell.

And then blood in my eyes, movement to one side, another sharp pain, and darkness.

How long ago was that? I am weary, hungry, confused. It seems I am in some dungeon, for the doorway is barred, the walls are stone, the furnishings sparse. A pallet, some straw, a small bucket, a covered barrel serving as a table. A husk of bread on that makeshift table, and a cup of… water? Can water be that foul? I stand in the clothes I wore, much soiled now and tattered. My boots, at least, do not leak. My pack, which lies on the floor in the corner, still holds a few healing herbs, writing materials (which I now use), and the four small gems I sewed into the lining on that long ago day when I left for the wars. The knife, pipe, tobacco, and spellbook (standard issue) are gone.

There is nothing else but… rats! By the light of the torches flickering in the passage, I see dozens of them scurrying about. Perhaps they are my only companions in this hellhole.


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