Black Scimitar of Crushing
|Discovered By||Johaan Thorbrandr|
|Discovery Location||Mangai, Dwilight|
|Current Owner||Johaan Thorbrandr|
"After months of tracking whispered rumors, false trails, and the activities of more than one foolish necromancer, I finally came upon a sunken crypt - deep within the caverns of Mangai, in the nation of Fissoa. Though Lord Alekhsandr, Prince-At-Arms of Fissoa had supported my adventures thus far, the time came for me to prove myself to the world-at-large. Descending into the putrid catacombs, for two seemingly-infinite hours I wandered its rank corridors in search of something worth my time. Coffin after coffin lay empty and disturbed, the archaic scrawl of ancient names long-since worn by the merciless passage of time. After losing my bearings only Gods' know how many times, I came upon a magnificent archway deep within the bowels of the underworld. Its spiraling pillars bore the etchings of a language unspoken by mortal men for heedless eons, writ of some maddening pictographic script I shan't dare describe. Swallowing my fear, I trudged forward - grand tapestries of thick cobweb set aflame by the cinders of my skyward torch as I cut through them with the sharpened edge of my blade. A strange chitter could be heard from afar, spawned by what I assumed to be a legion of pestering rats - so easily skewered in singularity, yet terrifying when gathered into the occasional ravenous horde. Too late did I realize the foolishness of my ignorance! I veritably stumbled into the heart of a massive undead horde, no doubt raised by the combined stupidity of some wayward necromantic cult long-since consumed by the very beasts they sought to raise. Called forth from the blackness of subterra by the essence of another mage's corruption, the horde would soon ascend - feasting upon village after village, leaving nothing but undeath in their wake.
For a moment I considered turning back... Pretending I'd never seen the grotesque statues of inhuman deities, the wandering tendrils of otherworldly beasts, the fell images of a dark script whose age no living man could ascertain... But in my cowardice I would condemn innocence to die a violent death. I thought of my wife, who claimed her own life in stark-raving madness after a certain beast took from us our beautiful son. In the dead of night, as I earned my coin guarding the hall of some meandering noble house, the object of a necromancer's fetish did rupture the feeble wooden door that held the terror of the outside world at bay. My infant son lay sobbing in his crib, his mother a crumpled mess of unconsciousness after the beast nearly cleaved her very face asunder. In some cruel twist of divine fate, my wife survived the blow - but our son... My dear boy... When I returned home the next morning, exhausted from curtailing a group of foolish brigands who thought the noble's exquisite pottery collection was well-worth their lives paid in blood, I found in his crib naught more than a bloodied sheet, a tuft of gently-curling hair, and a single severed finger... My wife blamed herself for the attack, believing the creature was summoned forth by the scent of a meat stew she so lovingly sought to cook me. I blamed myself, knowing I might have stopped the beast if I weren't off gallivanting about in the court of some blue-blooded drunkard. That very night my wife took her own life, my son's necrotic appendage tightly-grasped in the hand opposite a skinning blade I kept in the dresser beside our bed. I lost everything that day. My wife, my son, my love, my dignity, my home, my spirit.
So I burned that blasted wooden crypt to the ground, my wife and son's remains left within, that no undead thrall might rise in their wake. Never against could I look upon another woman with love or lust in mind. Never again might I spawn my own seed, only to have them torn from my loving gaze. I dedicated the meager remnant of my miserable life to the annihilation of necromancers and the evil they so foolishly create - that no man must feel the pain that I have felt. That no woman must live to see her own child consumed by the maw of living evil. That no home may be cursed by the black stain of undeath, left only to be cleansed in holy flame. And now, I have a choice... An opportunity... To flee and live another day, or sacrifice my life in the memory of all I once held dear. Closing my eyes, I listened to the laughter of my wife and son. I recalled the honeyed scent of her hair, the supple flesh of her bosom, the warmth of her embrace, and the smile I fell in love with so long ago... And I recalled my son. Glimmering curiosity poured forth from hazel eyes, a permanent smirk upon his innocent face. I heard the cry that reminded me what it is to truly have a place in the world. I reveled in his childish laughter, in the stories I told, in the grasping of my monstrous finger by his tiny little hand... In the end I sighed, exhaling into that murderous crypt the immeasurable weight of a decade of guilt. Shame. Regret. And in that moment I knew my purpose was manifest.
Somehow, they failed to notice me. A series of ornate sconces lined the wall, freshly-oiled by forementioned necromancers prior to the Black Sabbath that claimed their souls and birthed the horde before me, and I did the unthinkable: I shut my visor and noisily charged forth across the edge of the mindless horde, lighting every thrice-damned sconce in my wake! The incredible chamber blazed with luminous flame as I beheaded the first line of mindless thralls, but the first of many to come. Upon their rotting husks did I unload an eternity of hate, eschewing the ocean of disgust in the depth of my shame. Corpse after corpse fell in my wake, until my shield blocked the wide-swipe of an undead champion. There! The "voice" and "spirit" of the horde! I fought long and hard, countless wounds pouring forth my lifeblood, which left the remaining creatures in a frenzy. Yet I dared not rest. I could not falter. The safety and vitality of countless families placed their burden upon my back, and I shouldered their cries of innocence with every jab - every slash - every cleave. Finally, when the last thrall had fallen, I managed the unthinkable! Summoning the might of my forefathers, comforted by the memory of my loved ones, strengthened by the faith a true nobleman had placed in me, I sundered the champion's rotting head from its armored shoulders - watching it roll eye-for-eye until it bounced down a flight of stone steps I had failed to notice. For hours I battled, exhausting my body beyond the limits of mortality, until all that remained was the force of my undying spirit. Yet in the end I persevered! My legs heavy with use, sweat mixing with the blood that dripped down my face, my chest, my arms, and thighs, I marched to find the head of the bastard champion, that I may show it to my liege as proof of my conquest. At the end of the spiraling stair I found a veritable bounty of precious artefacts, most of which were useless trinkets I might pawn off to a traveling merchant, but one thing struck me as unique. In the petrified grasp of a gored necromancer did I find the Black Scimitar of Crushing, an object whose power I could feel from across the span of its deathly repose. I claimed it as mine, in trust for Lord Alekhsandr - the man who made possible my quest for redemption, and ascended. I sealed the entrance to the crypt, then, and etched into its surface a warning: wrought from the very same runes I spied deep below... That its blighted denizens might never claw their way into another home. That no man might face his doom at the hands of the unknown. That foolish necromancers would know to avoid this place forevermore. I buried my grief upon that day, where no mortal shall ever walk again.
Dawn! Oh, precious sunlight of the bountiful firmament, how I've missed you! Today is the dawn of a new life. A new hope. A purpose renewed. I must find Lord Alekhsandr - he will know what best to do with so evil an artifact. I march, then, for Fissoa. On my way, a merchant caravan agrees to purchase my cryptic baubles for an incredible 2 gold coins, and 4 silver! Luckily, a bountyhunter accompanied them - from which I also claimed my 9 silver from the local undead-hunting bounty, proudly displaying the champion's severed head and the Black Scimitar as proof. Certainly, this ordeal has granted me a new appreciation for adventuring. I even picked up a few new tricks along the way! Onward, then, to Fissoa! -By Johaan Thorbrandr (Gregory J. Struck, player of Johaan and Alekhsandr Aurea of Fissoa - 2015-11-13)