Chapter Four

We had been talking about it for years: resurrection. Cebo knew that it was possible, being a cleric and all that. I didn’t believe it at first, but the little guy managed to convince me eventually. He said that we could bring Andrunor back to life, provided we could find a priest with a good enough connection to their god. The others were all for it. Thus, we decided on a little adventure. We would travel to that wizard kingdom across the sands. They supposedly had some temples, and some way of aiding poor dead Andrunor. Thus we set out. I left my loyal friend Devon to watch over my business while I was gone, and took with me a couple of rangers: Trevor and Agamemnon, elves from the distant Pomarj. Trevor was a no-nonsense, down-to-earth guy, a good fighter and a good scout. Agamemnon was different: a bit flighty, a little strange, a very moral and upright man, and so in tune with nature that it gave him special powers. The two loyal minions along, me, Joshua, Cebo and Garflin went on our quest, leaving Phelps behind to be king and grow old. We traveled across the wind-swept deserts, battling a horde of skeletons, slaying an insane desert bandit, and finally arriving at The Misspoken Passage, a city built right into a volcano, a wondrous place where dragons nested and wizards made their homes. We were eventually able to get passage into the city, and made a deal with a cleric there to get Andrunor raised. The first temple we spoke to, Pelor’s, I believe, was unwilling to do the deed for a nonbeliever, the second church was more concerned with making him into an undead creature. The Halfling goddess Yondalla, however, was willing to help, at least for the sake of her priest Cebo. Now, despite the fact that a number of clerics have been friends of mine, I’ve never quite felt right about the whole idea. Most of them sit inside their temples all day, perform strange rituals, speak to beings that nobody else can see, and act generally fanatical and crazy. Now, most clerics are decent folk. They believe in what they do, and for that belief their gods give them power. My problem is mainly with those gods. In all my life, I have seen no proof that the gods are any better than the rest of us, no evidence that they care for anything more than their own self-interest. They will raise the dead, sure: but only if you pay them a few thousand gold pieces, and they’ll grant you all the miracles you want, but only if you agree to serve them. As for the afterlife, I’ll talk about that later. Let’s just say that I’m not terribly fond of religion: the gods seem to be no better in their actions or motivations than the kings we mortals make. I would rather be my own master. Just as Andrunor was being raised, we suddenly were called back to his city. Lockinton was attacking! Apparently, Tabber was not as dead as we had thought, or his son was just as bad. Our armies clashed, battles were fought. Yet before any of this really started, myself and the rangers had to go up north and investigate some strange sights. Apparently, people had witnessed a circle of men, standing around a monolith and chanting. Odd lights were also seen. We went up there, finding out that all of this was true. The men were druids. They didn’t speak, they didn’t even stop their chanting. They never responded to us at all. Something very strange was going on. Nearby, it looked as though a virtual army of orcs was gathering, obviously planning something very big. Before we could go back, I met with the others. Apparently, much had happened during this journey. Lockinton attacked; led by some kind of undead being. Cebo was dead, sacrificing himself for the good of all, but Andrunor was living once more! With them was also a monk, a fellow named ?Mike?, and though he was a monk, I soon found out just how little honor he had. Anyway, I decided to show the druids to my ‘friends’. It was a mystery to them too. Andrunor thought that some kind of magic was going on. It looked to him like they were keeping something inside that rock. He and Joshua soon found out how true that was when they stepped through a nearby invisible portal. Meanwhile, me and Garflin were left outside. At that moment, the dwarf decided to do something incredibly stupid. He tried pulling the druids away from their circle. (I admit that I tried helping a little, at first) When this didn’t work, he attacked one of them. This did work. It broke the man’s concentration, killing him. A huge magical explosion came out from the rock, splitting it in half as an interdimmensional portal opened up. By this time, I was well behind a tree, and watching intently. All the druids were slain. Garflin was knocked onto his back. My companions appeared once more, and with them a familiar figure: Jacob Tabber! Glowing with energy, he was clearly a lich now, an undead being, the same being we had seen from a distance, batting King Persalous. He had not been dead, merely imprisoned. Now he was back! He spoke to everyone else, not yet knowing I was there. He threatened them, and offered them positions by his side if they helped. Andrunor refused, and was immediately killed for the second time. At this point I ran, later finding out that all of my other ?friends? had joined with Tabber. On the way back to town I met up with Trevor and Aggie again, and we hid our tracks from the others. They all betrayed me; all making deals with Dark Lord Tabber to keep their puny lives. Garflin was the first to die, as he in regret attacked Tabber’s orcs, slain by their many numbers. It was left to Joshua and Mike to find me and slay me.

Meanwhile, I spoke to Phelps, warning him that if they came back claiming to serve any "Dark Lord" that they should immediately be executed. I ordered Devon to do the same, to kill them if they had turned. They did come back. Phelps tossed them right into prison when they talked about joining Tabber. A day later, he called them to a ?secret council meeting? in an abandoned farmhouse. There, Devon and my men executed them, burning the farmhouse to the ground. Nearly all my friends were dead; two at my own command. Everything we had worked for was fading into a bleak nothing. These men who had been my friends for so many years were now slaughtered: dead, pathetic traitors. All were slain by Tabber, but also by their own fear, by their own desire to bow down to powerful men just to save their own lives. It began to rain; the beginning of the great deluge of fifteen years back: Tabber’s rain. The lands around us grew soggy, the deserts flooded. The world was transformed, as was I. I had felt fear upon seeing Tabber as a lich, fear for my own life. Now I feared him no more. I realized then that I had to put an end to his evil, had to slay him once and for all. I had released him, and thus it was my job to make sure that his undead ass went right back to hell.

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