Honor Bound

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Fantasy Realm

Featured Review on this writing by Celtic-Scribe63

This is fan fiction set on the world of Oerth better known as Greyhawk Setting from the game, Dungeons & Dragons. My plan is to occasionally write other stories related to this one or unrelated stand-alone(s) within the boundaries of the above mentioned world.

Cover by Desygner


 

 

 

The three figures  crept through the catacombs in a single file line. The torchlight they carried casting away the rat filled dark only to crash in behind like a ships prow against the sea.  The light cutting shadowy waves to only batter and bash their nerve and resolve as the inky darkness closed in again from behind. Their object of desire close at hand but its finding would be a miraculous task without some type of otherworldly guidance, that guidance laid in the palm of the leading figure. It’s ghostly green light painting a pale aura over its carrier’s grim visage. 

 

“The book is close, the pull is getting stronger,” said a frail, sinister looking man awashed in the light of a gem encrusted crystal skull. The torch light flickered and danced from the hand of the man that stood behind, but its mundane firelight did not intrude upon the deathly glow of the lich’s phylactery. This unoerthly light did not cast away shadow, it threw aside the vale of countless decades obscured by the will of gods that no longer held sway over the accursed place. 

 

The two men that followed looked at each other with mutual fear, the trepidation of the last few years serving under the Mad Mage of Denbrick, a title neither would dare utter, culminating into this dark journey of the catacombs of the ruined Blackmoor Manner. A place that once stood for all things good and fair, now, as dark as a demon’s soul. Its brick and mortar turned to bone and sinew of a palpable evil. An evil their master gladly traversed for a book promised to him by a lich’s bodiless soul that laid in his palm in payment for bringing his phylactory to this ill fated place. 

 

“Bring the torch forward,” said Burosa D’Celiac, Mad Mage of Denbrick. His eyes growing wide as he looked upon the huge double doors that stood before him. The skull that laid upon his hand glowed with a renewed intensity. “This is it, the vault of the Pelor Templar’s of old. My destiny awaits within. Bring the damn torch!” 

 

The torch bearer reluctantly came forward, his eyes going to the skull, shuttering, then averting his gaze to the large doors. Handing the torch back to the third man, he examined the lock  as he went to his knees, pulling out a leather scroll from his waist, then rolling it out beside him on the cold stone floor.  The black leather sheath was lined with metal instruments of the thieving trade. Their metallic sheen ignored the flicker of  torch light and took up the green pale hue of the phylactery. 

 

The thief picked up one tool, examined its tip, shook his head and placed it back from whence it came. His hand hovered over  the rest as if waiting for some answer to come to his mind. 

 

“You thoughtless twit, pick the lock, it can’t be any harder than the countless others you pilfered over the years for me,” said the Mad Mage, as the crystal skull stared on with its death glow. 

 

The third man shrunk behind the other two as he made a step back towards the catacombs, he preferred the open vaults and their decaying inhabitants to the unknown beyond the green glow. Three of his friends lay dead in the halls and corridors of the structure above, now his friend Telbruck was nervous about a lock and knowing the surety of the master thief’s abilities this was too much for him and his resolve to handle, he was beginning to waver. 

 

“Bring the torchlight closer you fool sellsword—Telbruck can’t work in the dark!” 

 

Gleahon reluctantly stepped back into the green death glow of the phylactery, its crystalline skeletal smile mocked him as the Mad Mage turned back towards the sweating thief. The torchlight flared as it met the green light once more, then diminished as if the oxygen was sucked from its breathless flame. Gleahon’s remaining courage wilted along with it and he accepted his fate, a fate bound by honor. 

 

Telbruck decided on an instrument and went to work, moments later a satisfying click was heard only to his delicate trained ears. The doors slowly open and the three men were awashed in a  millennia of stale stagnant air. 

 

The torch from behind burst into uncontrollable flame engulfing Gleahon and  nearly reaching the vaulted roof above. His screams echoed through the catacombs then seconds later an ensuing fireball hurled the steel doors open, bashing into Tulbrook,  his body hitting the back wall in a bone shattering thump from the force. 

 

Gleahon laid smoldering on the stone floor. His charred form unrecognizable as something once alive except for the seeping blood, bile, and the undeniable smell of burning flesh. 

 

off of his bald head, eyelashes gone, but his face held a sardonic smile that matched the one of the skull that still laid  in his open palm, casting its green glow.  The magical robes that he wore shielding him from the blast. He looked down admiringly at the fine threaded garment and stepped into the void beyond the double doors, never looking back at his fallen comrades. 

 

The phylacteries ghostly light  crept into the small room like spilt ink to parchment filling in the darkness a few feet at a time pushing back the reluctant shadows as if they were being dispelled rather than simply receding to normal torch light. The mage did not notice the battle of wills between shadow and phylactery, his gaze was trained upon his goal, a raised dais at the center of the room, upon it, the book of the lich, Lerrek. 

 

  The book promised to him by Lerrek himself through the power of the phylactery nearly a decade prior. This moment representing a decade long pilgrimage across seas of ice, treacherous landscapes, and countless abandoned temples and endless leads, after endless leads. Finally he found the fallen Paladin to Pelor, Gleahon, who knew of this place. 

 

The Mad Mage of Denbrick came forward stopping at the dais, it’s cold stone jutting out of the floor like a reaching hand. Upon it laid a book of none descript leather, nothing extraordinary about it. It was like countless other books he had found among his travels, all disappointments in their own way, although some held great knowledge, just not the kind he sought. He laid the phylactery down next to the book, it’s death glow brighter than ever before. With shaking hands he grabbed the cover, straining, he flung it open, its bindings surprisingly heavy for such a small thing. 

 

The lich that was  imprisoned amongst the pages of the book stirred for the first time since being trapped here by Pelor’s priests of old, his mind thick with webs, he could somehow think again. His phylactery was near, he could feel his immortal will pulling at his physical form from the crystal skull. All that it had seen and known over the thousand years he now knew. He was becoming one with it, he could see from its emerald eyes, the book laid open on the stone dais. The wizard that brought his phylactery here stood over the book with greedy eyes. 

 

The books pages started turning as if an unseen hand flipped them in search of a particular page of interest. It stopped on a painting of a king sitting on a thrown of crystal, a skeletal king long dead except for green piercing eyes in deep sockets, eyes that grew in intensity reaching across a void of time. The undead king stood, his hands reaching across the parchment and into the chamber, bony  fingers reaching, finding the Mad Mage’s neck. 

 

  The mage stared in shock as the dead hand grabbed him. The bones creaked against the living man’s throat, tightening, cutting off the windpipe. The Mad Mage of Denbrick fell to the stone, his dead gaze still showing a look of disbelief as Lerrek climbed from the pages and step down from the dais. He turned and grabbed his phylactery shoving it in some unseen pocket amongst the folds of his black robes. 

 

  He exited the doorway of his tomb of imprisonment entering the hall where Tulbrook and Glaehon laid.  Stopping at Glaehon he said, “Rise forsaken Paladin of Pelor and take your place as a knight amongst the dead, you will be my general, my confidant in this unfamiliar time, my Death Knight.”

 

 



Submitted: November 14, 2020

© Copyright 2020 C.S. Gainey. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Celtic-Scribe63

I enjoyed this tale immensely. It brought back some memories of my bygone D&D days. Creeping around tombs and caves, not knowing what waited for us around the corner, and the banter between the characters was good.
You set the atmosphere well, dripping with dread, you could taste the tension in the air.

A very nice piece of writing.
Well done

Tue, November 17th, 2020 9:14am

Author
Reply

Thanks man, I used this to kind of get back into it. This is the first thing I’ve been able to write in a while. Happy you enjoyed it!

Clay

Tue, November 17th, 2020 3:47am

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