Lord of Shadow & Flame
1. Darkest Night
Excerpt from the journal of Renack Fellblade…
As a boy I spent many hours playing in the forests around the village of my birth. Much of this time was spent alone as I was not like the other children. In particular I was the antithesis of my vaunted brother Cyrien. He was born with the power of magic flowing through his very veins and beloved by our people as the ‘chosen of Eilistraee’ and heir to the leadership of our Clan. Where he was embraced by our people as our next great leader, I was shunned for being different, dangerous, even cursed. People always fear that which they don’t understand.
While playing alone one afternoon I lost track of time and as evening came on I found myself lost and far from home. I knew that all I could do was find a safe place to rest and wait until the light of dawn. The deep boughs of a great fir tree became my bed and hiding place for as the darkness of night deepened, so too the ravenous beasts of the wild woods emerged, hungry for flesh.
That night was the longest of my life. I could hear the beasts not far off tasting my scent on the air and slowly circling, closing in on my hiding place. I knew it was only a matter of time until they found me and tore me apart. In that cold, dark hole I knew fear.
It was in those moments that She first spoke to me in hushed, whispering tones. She told me that if I could give up everything – my family, my hopes and dreams, I could conquer my fear and that I might be spared the bloody death that awaited. I begged Her to save me, to spare me from that terrible fate. But no, She told me that if I could not find the will within myself to survive, then I was not the one She sought, was too weak and so did not deserve to live. What choice then did I have? I embraced the darkness.
In the dark hours before dawn She told me her name and of the great destiny She had in store for me. She was The Mistress of Night and I was her Chosen.
No longer do I fear the dark.
2. Gateway to Power
Hanging in the grey, cloud-streaked sky over a mighty mountain range was a castle unlike any other – a skycastle. The mighty fortification was built atop an up-turned mountain animated by awesome secret magical powers of flight known only to the ancient Netherese. This was the last of its kind in the skies over Faerun and the kingdom responsible for its construction had long since perished.
Deep within the shadowed chambers of the castle, a group gathered in a great throne room that once served as an audience chamber to a Wizard King of Netheril. To an untrained eye, the group would appear no different than many of the powerful adventuring bands that travelled the Realms seeking their fortunes. Yet this was not adventuring band and their purpose was far from riches and glory.
Renack stood before them, a breastplate of glowing starsteel covered his chest, the Fellblade, his chosen weapon, ensorcelled with arcane power strapped to his right hip.
He approached a raised dais at the end of the chamber upon which rested a throne carved from a single block of obsidian. An imposing figure sat upon the glossy throne, a tall human man with pale flesh and cloaked in living shadow that moved about his form of its own will. An aura of power surrounded the man, his black eyes reflected his shadowed surrounds and spoke of ancient secrets long since lost to mortal kind.
The Lord of the sky castle was the first to speak “Is your group ready to depart Renack?” the voice was strong and when it echoed through the cavernous chamber, everyone within turned to listen.
Renack bowed diligently before replying “Yes my lord. Final preparations are complete, my team and I have everything we need and are ready.” Renack rested one hand casually on the pommel of his blade as he spoke.
The lord nodded “Remember, your first priority is to locate and secure the source of magical power within Myth Drannor, everything else is secondary. My divinations have confirmed that what we seek is within the ruined city, but it has been impossible to key-in on an exact location. Even my magic cannot breech the Mythal covering the city. None the less, this source of power is key to completing the ritual – we must have it.” The master’s voice was calm and low but full of seriousness.
Renack nodded his understanding. “It will be done milord.” He knew his mission well and would see it done with his usual obsessive fervour. Seeing his master was finished, he bowed again and withdrew back to his team. Striding past he spoke briskly “It’s time, let’s go” the group fell in around him.
For Renack this was their first real step towards victory. After decades of work and sacrifice in preparation, he knew that this was the time of ascendancy his Dark Mistress had whispered of.