Rise of the Stone Lord
A divine servant of a dark lord.
Namiir Kahre, Human Cleric 3 LE Graz’zt; Med 27 Male 6’ 180lbs. Grey eyes, Jet Black hair, Pale skin; Str 12, Dex 8, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 16, Cha 14; Hp 30, Ac 17, T 9, FF 18, Spd 20’, Init -1; Skills: Concentration 2/x2) Piercing and Bludgeoning 8lbs, Light crossbow steel, 5 torches, 3/day’s rations, Cleric’s vestments(true black robes), 5 sunrods, 9 bolts, Scroll of cure minor wounds, 239gp, Total weight: 104.75lbs (Medium Load); Combat casting, Scribe Scroll, Spell Focus(Enchantment), Thrall to Graz’zt, Evil Brand, Rebuke Undead 5/day, dmg with natural weapons and unarmed attacks, 2, 2-1+3; 0-Detect Magic, Read Magic, Light, Resistance, 1-Demonflesh, Bane, Doom, Shield of Faith, 2-Demoncall, Bull’s Strength, Spiritual Weapon, Spiritual Charger; Traits: Relentless, Hardy; Flaws: Vulnerable, Poor Reflexes;
Old BeginningsNamiir Kahre. From and early age his mother raised him near the town of Taxdus. She taught him to show compassion, mercy, honesty, hard work, and every other good characteristic. His father demonstrated all of them to him and his two siblings. Until one day a call went out for volunteers to help fight a fearsome foe known as the Blood Conquerors. Namiir’s father could do nothing else but sign up for artillery duty where he fought in several battles. After a year the war ended and the Kahre family waited impatiently day after day for Namiir’s father to return. Finally he did, in a bag. His artillery crew had been attacked by an elite drow strike force during the final battle and none had survived. The money Namiir’s father had earned was sent to begin to rebuild what had been lost in the war. One month later Namiir’s mother became deathly ill and needed to be healed, but the family had no money to pay for the healing. Namiir and his brother worked hard but could not make enough money even to feed them all. So Namiir’s sister sold herself into slavery so that her family would have more money and fewer mouths to feed. But it was not enough and when news of what she had done reached her mother, it crushed her will and she died. The strenuous toil continued for Namiir and his brother, Jersald, but they could not keep it up for long and they both became sick. Their money had run out and they had no food. A kind family brought them in and nursed them back to health. It was a mistake. The disease spread to the family and they were not strong enough to resist it and they all died after nearly a week of terrible pain while Namiir and Jersald finished regaining their strength. Some years passed while they lived and toiled until evil again came to the Kahre family. It was the evening of the full moon and a disturbing wind howled through the few trees near their house when a stranger knocked on the door. He was cut and bruised, gasping on the doorstep begging shelter and safety. Against Namiir’s warnings, Jersald let him and sat him near the fire for it was a cold night. Only a few moments later the door was burst open by vile cultists who had been hunting the man. The two brothers and the man fought them and eventually drove them off but not before the man was killed and Namiir’s brother sustained a fatal wound. Two days passed while Namiir tended to his brother’s injury but was frustrated as it did not improve. Then the cultists returned, this time in greater numbers and with burning torches. Chanting madly, they set fire to the house. Soon the fire had spread and threatened the last escape route through a back window. Namiir was only barely able to survive and was forced to leave his brother to burn to death. As he fled, Namiir could hear the screams of agony rising above the chanting. Namiir travelled to a monastery where the monks let him stay as long as he worked hard. And work he did. Without needing to care about what he would find to eat each day he worked very hard without tiring. A year passed while he tried to forget his life and all the sorrow he had been through, then another when he thought about nothing else. He learned one thing from his youth: no good deed goes unpunished. Now he was an adult and wanted revenge. So he sought out the cult that had burned his home and killed his brother. When he began to ask around in seedy taverns he learned that it was no longer the only cult in the area. There were now two cults, the old one, the Cult of Juiblex, and a new one, the Cult of Graz’zt.
The ContactThe new cult was in need of anyone who would help them claim dominance over their rival. Namiir searched for a contact who could get him in but it was not easy since no man who values his life goes around asking how to join a demonic cult. But he was fortunate enough to learn of someone who recruited in a tavern at the outskirts of the town. The tavern was in a worse section of town where even scoundrels walked carefully through the streets. Filth is piled around on the corners and rats run amok, fighting to survive and to kill for no apparent reason. Disease is more common than murder and claims far more lives. This is the area that would simply prosper were it burned to the ground. And the tavern, the Frothing Swine, is the epitome of it all. Nearly every shady deal, assassination, robbery, kidnapping, and cult on the side of town is planned here. A place of watered down beer where the serving wenches have to keep a knife on them at all times for their own safety, this was nothing less than hell in the mortal world. Namiir had entered the place on occasion, looking for his contact, but had never stayed long. Namiir passed through the area a few times and finally he saw someone who might know how to find the contact. He was crawling through the filth, grabbing at rats and breaking their necks for no other apparent reason than for pleasure. Grabbing a shard of broken glass Namiir approached him and threw him up against a wall, the shard of glass at his throat. “I shall ask and you shall answer. Where can I find the contact to the Cult of Graz’zt?” The man was a foul sniveling shadow of what a man should be and his weak, whining voice did nothing to earn him respect in Namiir’s eyes. “I don’t know! Please let me go, I won’t tell anyone I saw you. I swear!” Namiir was not in the mood to deal with such cowardice, “You had better know because if you don’t then you won’t be trying to grab rats out of the filth but your own life blood. Now who is he and where can I find him?” At that he let out an almost pitiful whimper and sob but some pressure from the glass soon made him begin to speak, “I-I-I don’t know his name. No one does! But he usually wheres a muddy cloak without a clasp and sits in the Frothing Swine, near the back. Oh please don’t kill me, please please oh please…” As his whimpering droned on under the man’s breath Namiir cut a slash across the man’s face, causing a shrill scream of pain and terror as Namiir released him and tossed away the shard of glass. Entering the Frothing Swine, Namiir saw who he was looking for sitting at a small table with a mug of ale and a rat in his hand. Namiir cautiously approached the man, being careful to walk around the main area of the tavern so as not to be noticed by quite so many people. When he finally reached the man he was horrified to see that he was not only holding a rat but letting it gnaw on the tips of his fingers, and there were scars all over his hands from where he had done so many times before. There was also a fresh scare across his face. The man looked up as Namiir approached and when he sat down at the table his fist crushed the life out of the pitiful rat, tossing it to the floor once it stopped squirming. “What do you want, Namiir Kahre?” he snapped. Namiir was taken aback that the cultist knew his name. But he gathered himself quickly to reply, “I have heard that you choose who may join the Cult of Graz’zt in the region.” “And just how do you know that?” The man was getting very fidgety, another word that was just too blatant and he might attack or run, Namiir also noticed several large orcs a dozen or so feet away watching their conversation closely. Namiir decided that a forward, truthful approach would seem alien and suspicious to this craven lowlife. Thinking quickly he tried a different approach, “I am looking for something to do. My life is too boring to continue as it is.” “But why wouldn’t you go to the Cult of Juiblex? Why were you looking for me?” He seemed to be a little more comfortable but still suspicious. “Do you take me for a fool? I know how to choose the one who will triumph.” Namiir held a haughty sneer on his face, hoping to convince him of his sincere intentions. The last comment seemed to please his contact, and help his chances. “And win they shall. But why should I let you join the ranks, what do you have to offer.” “My loyal services. But I shall answer no more questions.” “You shall answer any questions I ask, either willingly or under torture,” he obviously would not suffer to be opposed in any way but was not inclined to press the subject, “but I do not feel like asking any more. Go to a burned out shack, two hours walk out of town from here. You will be greeted by one of the priests and led to the initiation ceremony.” Namiir rose from the table and saw the orcs relax as he passed. On his way out he was bumped into by one of the serving wenches. She quickly moved on but he felt something in a fold of his shirt. Once out of sight of town he reached into his pouch and took out what had been put there. It was a marbled blue stone with a note tied to it. The note read: “If you would see both cults in ashes as I and my organization do then you would do well to help us. If you agree then place this stone in the fire place of the house you are sent to. Help us for the good of all.” No good deed goes unpunished. A lesson hard learned but never forgotten. Namiir crumpled the paper and threw it into the mud, the stone he also tossed near it. Soon he came to his destination. His old home. It sat there, a burned out husk of what he remembered, reminding him of why he was joining a demonic cult.
The InitiationInside of what was left of the walls he saw three men already there. One was in a ragged shirt and pants, his left arm hung broken in a sling at his side. The second was an elf with a vile look to him, he was always looking out of the corner of his eyes, never directly, and his hands never stopped moving, either pawing at his own pockets or rubbing together and a nervous twitch never left him. But the third stood tall with a look of disdain for both of the others, he wore robes of blackest night and held a wooden staff topped with obsidian in his hand. As Namiir approached they all had different reactions. The craven one watched him suspiciously, the one with the limp arm made no notable reaction, but the robed one seemed impressed. The robed man spoke, “Ah, now that we are all here a few introductions are in order. I am Vashnir, Priest of Graz’zt. The man with the broken arm is Ardail, the elf is Hirshnir, and the new arrival is Namiir. Now follow me.” and with that he began to slowly walk off. Namiir and the Hirshnir followed but Ardail hung back. A glance over his shoulder let Namiir see him bend down next to the fire place before catching up. They walked for the rest of the day and into the night. Hours of silence later they began to hear chanting in the distance, it reminded Namiir of the chanting around his home on that fateful night. As they approached the sound they could tell that it was not in any wholesome language but one which sounded cruel and harsh. In the next hours of midnight they were inducted into the temple of Graz’zt. A circle of black robed men surrounded a ring of flame easily twenty feet across. Within the circle at its center stood a tall man, stripped down to the waist and armed with a wicked looking knife. A dozen or so domestic animals waited off to the side for their apparent slaughter. Namiir and the others were lined up just outside the ring. Now that he was closer Namiir could see that there was an intricate pentagram within the fire, which burned hot, extremely hot, and Namiir was surprised that the man could stand within and not be scorched for they were farther from the flames than he. One by one the animals were driven into the ring where their throats were cut by the man in the circle, whom Namiir assumed was the high priest. As each one was slain its blood gushed onto the pentagram which began to glow, faintly at first but with each sacrifice the brightness grew in strength until it shone upon the entire assembly. Then, invoking a terrible utterance in a terrible language unlike anything Namiir had ever heard, the high priest raised his arms above his head and began to absorb the light from the pentagram. Soon becoming a monstrous, deformed creature that looked like a cross between an ape and a boar. Grotesque and horrific its fatted flesh layered down its front and sides and gathered around its jaw. A small pair of raggedy feathered wings sprouted from its back, seeming too small to be used. With a horrendous cry it raised its horrible voice into the night. Lifting up its arms rainbow twists of light began to swirl around it, gathering intensity until Namiir could hardly bear to look at them. Then they burst outward, bringing Namiir’s worst nightmares with them. But Namiir stood his ground, for when death finally comes for his well-intended actions, fear would do nothing for him. So he stood his ground as the terror hurtled toward him by. Thinking back, he could never remember what it was, only that it caused great fear in him. But it passed him leaving only a vague sense of dread and cold sweat. Looking around and breathing heavily he saw that nearly everyone else was screaming in horrific terror, some even clawing at the air before them, except for the demon which was laughing in cruel glee at what it had wrought. Namiir looked around more closely and noticed two things. One was that Ardail made no noise, and unlike everyone else his eyes were focused, looking at the monster within the ring of fire, tears streaming down his face. The other was a woman, a very familiar woman who was screaming like most of the others, but Namiir had seen her before, then he knew where-at the Frothing Swine in Taxdus. Presently the cacophony subsided. The creature seemed overly pleased with its mischief. Then it spoke, “Mortals! I am here because I have been called by Nashroom Vulg’anat, slave of Graz’zt. Due to his favor with his master I am not harm to any of you who are loyal. But the reason for this summoning is to determine who shall be loyal and who would betray the Dark Prince. Now, you!” It pointed at the craven Hirshnir, “Enter the ring of fire and prove your loyalty.” In stark terror at being selected out and told to enter what seemed sure to be a painful death the mongrel fled. As he reached the circle of cultists they slew him, laughing maniacally. The demon then turned to the next man, the would-be traitor Ardail. “Enter the ring of fire and prove your loyalty.” Courageously he entered and was not harmed by the flames but at a nod from the woman from the tavern the demon grabbed up the man and bit his head off. The rest of the body soon followed the head in a grisly meal. Now the creature turned to Namiir and repeated the foreboding phrase, “Enter the ring of fire and prove your loyalty.” Knowing that to flee was death, and to enter was a more terrible death, Namiir held his ground and met the demon eye to eye. He felt the stare of every eye upon him, the demon’s most of all. Their hostility and wills fought his own but he had led a harsh, unforgiving life, had known sadness as much as life, pain, loss, agony, hatred, lust for vengeance, this battle of wills was a match for him. Nervous sweat began to form on his forehead, soon dripping into his eyes, stinging them. But he did not dare remove his gaze from the demon. After what seemed to be an eternity the demon broke eye contact and pronounced him loyal. Namiir felt a sense of victory as the cultists cheered. Then the demon left the way it had come and the high priest stood there once more. The high priest, Nashroom Vulg’anat, called Namiir forward, a mixed look of surprise, suspicion, and respect on his face. Feeling that it was now safe enough, Namiir approached the flames and passed through to the other side. The heat increased as he approached the center of the ring and his skin began to blister but Nashroom cast a spell on him and the heat resided. Another spell and his blisters were gone. He was then told to remove his shirt and kneel. He did as directed. Nashroom then used the still bloody sacrificial dagger to carve a design of a six-fingered hand on his chest, the symbol of Graz’zt. As the high priest worked pain flared in Namiir, harsh and terrible pain which made his eyes sting. Just when Namiir felt that he must pull the knife away he remembered the screams of his dying brother, he focused on those screams and the helplessness that he had felt that night. With new determination he suffered through the operation but when it was done he almost sighed audibly in relief.
The WomanWhen it was over the fire subsided and Nashroom Vulg’anat approached Namiir while the rest of the cultists began to file away. “Well, I’m impressed mister…” “Kahre, Namiir Kahre.” “Namiir, yes well I shall be watching you closely, few can even meet a nalfeshnee’s gaze let alone stare one down. So tell me, why have you joined our ranks?” He had refused to answer the contact for two reasons, one was that he thought the truth would make him more hostile, two was that he didn’t like him. But Nashroom seemed more confident, he was definitely used to being in charge and expected obedience, probably because the other option would hurt to say the least. So Namiir answered him, “My house was burned to the ground with my brother in it by the Cult of Juiblex and I want vengeance.” “Ah, you know there is another among our ranks who also seeks revenge. Ashara, come here.” He motioned to the woman from the tavern who briskly approached and stood expectantly facing him. “You called, High Priest?” Her voice sounded like silk, and something about her made Namiir trust he. “Yes, I’d like you to meet Namiir, he too seeks vengeance. Perhaps the two of you could work together when we conquer.” While speaking to her Nashroom kept her gaze with one of his own which spoke volumes, though in a language Namiir could not understand. “Now, if you would be so good as to direct Namiir to where he shall be sleeping for the time being that would be…pleasant.” “Of course, High Priest.” Then she turned to Namiir and smiled, “Please come with me.” Ashara then turned and began to walk away. Namiir bowed slightly to Nashroom before quickly catching up with her. As they walked through the light forest along a well trodden path Namiir could not help but wonder what she wanted revenge for. But before he could open his mouth she spoke, “So what is your reason for vengeance? If you don’t mind my asking?” “They killed my brother and burned our home. What about you?” “They killed my family too, I guess we are more in common than I first thought.” Namiir wondered absentmindedly what her good deed must have been for her to suffer such loss, and almost caught himself pitying her. They continued on in silence for a time before she spoke again, “I saw you stared down Nashroom during the ceremony, I have been here for a couple of years and I have never seen anyone do that.” “How do most people complete the initiation?” “You think that was the initiation? That was only the first part. But most don’t put the stone I give them into the fire pit and may enter the fire with the high priest safely.” “I thought it was a demon in there.” “Oh, no. It is a fairly simple ritual that changes Nashroom into a semblance of a nalfeshnee for a short time to impress the fresh members. But don’t go speaking of this to any of the other cultists, most don’t know and if Nashroom found out I was telling his secret he would be furious.” “So what is the next part of the initiation?” “You have to survive under the instruction of a teacher, though it may surprise you to know that most fail at this point.” They began to walk into a ruined fortress that Namiir had not noticed while approaching. At the entrance several lustrous women with bat-wings and tails holding large swords stood on guard. They walked through a series of corridors, down a flight of stairs, and then down a final corridor before stopping at a door. “Ah, here is you bedchamber.” Within there was a table, a chair, a worn bed, and a pile of blankets in a corner. Moonlight filtered in through a small window high on the wall. There was a door with a lock but it was obviously very old and worn. Then Ashara spoke again. “I shall come for you in the morning to show you around the temple some more but until then you will need your rest, goodnight.” With that she left Namiir to his own thoughts. Once she was gone Namiir closed the door and searched through the pile of blankets for the cleanest one. They were all filthy so he left them and went to the bed. It was an old mat of straw upon a rickety wooden frame. It was also as filthy as the blankets. He flipped it over and that helped a little. The table looked like it would hold some weight but not much and the chair looked barely able stand by itself. Namiir closed the door, grabbed one of the less filthy blankets and sat down on the bed. After thinking about the evening he began to weep, and continued until sleep claimed him.
The SisterIn the morning, Namiir awoke to the sound of footsteps outside of his room. He swiftly rose to his feet and dressed. In a few moments he was ready to go and see what the commotion was. As he opened his door he saw that the cultists were all walking in the same direction, deeper into the temple. Following them, Namiir soon saw that they headed into a huge room with tables and benches in the middle of the floor, and each one was filled with food. Breakfast. They all sat down once they reached the tables and ate at their leisure. The food was good and filling but nothing spectacular. Still, Namiir ate hearty and was filled. Then he noticed a platform at one end of the hall. When almost everyone had finished eating Nashroom climbed up and addressed them all. He delivered a sermon from Graz’zt and, looking around, Namiir could see that his words enthralled the entire congregation of about eighty, including Namiir himself. After the sermon which lasted about a half an hour, work began. As a new acolyte he was led by Ashara to his first teacher. Vashnir, from his initiation, was his first teacher. He was harsh and demanded that every chore assigned be completed immediately, even if Namiir was busy working on another chore. And he ordered Namiir to complete many chores before night fell. But then Ashara came to take him back to his room. When they arrived they talked for a while before she left. Namiir was sad to see her go, he had enjoyed the time they had spent together. But he had other things to think about, such as how she had mentioned that she had sold herself into slavery to help her family with money problems. The next day passed much as the previous one. But this time Namiir felt the hardship a little less with speaking to Ashara again to look forward to. Night came and Ashara once again walked him to his room and again stayed a little while before leaving for her own room. When she was just about to leave Namiir stopped her, he had questions that needed answering. “Ashara, did you have any brother’s?” “Yes, why did you want to know?” “What were their names?” “Why do you want to know?” “Just answer me!” “One was named Jersald, and the other-” then she looked curiously at him, "the other was named Namiir. But tell me why you want to know. “My name is Namiir Kahre.” At his words Ashara halted, then she began to mumble to herself, her eyes unfocused. Namiir could not catch every word but he could discern occasional murmurs, “…it’s not a lie…he couldn’t know…no one knows…my master is dead…lies…lies…lies…” He felt the urge to interrupt her but contained it for a few moments. But soon he did speak, “Ashara, that is not your real name, is it? It’s Vellia, Vellia Kahre. You are my lost sister.” Upon hearing that she fled the room and ran down the hall. In silence and sadness, Namiir closed the door and went to his cot to sleep until the next morning.
The CultDays began to pass by without change, the first week, then the second, then the first month, then the next, and the next. Before long a year had rolled by in the same, endless toil. Vashnir worked his pupil hard, the work soon became long nights and missed meals, though breakfast was never missed for otherwise he would also have to miss the daily sermon. Namiir did not see his sister anywhere, and when he asked about her he was merely told to go away. Then one day Namiir was approached by her after the daily sermon. She refused to answer his questions but instead led him to where he would begin his studying. Vashnir had noticed him and recommended him to become a cleric, so he began immediately. She quickly left him and his days as a cultist continued. But he learned quickly and soon gained enough recognition from Graz’zt to cast his first spell. Given a plate of rotted meat and sour milk he prayed to his master and was rewarded with now freshly cooked meat and milk that had not yet separated from the cream. A test from Vashnir proved that it was truly delicious and not merely an illusion, though Namiir never learned for himself on that occasion. As a reward for being blessed by Graz’zt Namiir was given a heavy suit of armor made of steel plates over a chainmail shirt and pants. Straps were used to distribute the weight evenly but it was still weighed down by it. After his first casting he eagerly studied, enthralled by the power he could command. Through long hours of study and prayer he was granted more spells. After two months of toil and studying he called to Graz’zt, and channeled the power to command others to do his bidding. And by the end of his second year he had learned a very many things.
Ashara and VelliaOne of the things he learned was how to find Vellia. He learned also from forcing her to spend time with him what had happened to her after she sold herself into slavery. Her master had been cruel and lent her as a courtesan to anyone with two silver in their pockets, most of them were drunken villains who scourged her flesh and she had the scars to prove it. To protect herself she imagined each time that she wasn’t the one suffering, another was, another named Ashara. Ashara began to spend more and more time doing what Vellia had done until Vellia was nothing more than a forgotten corner of her soul. Her Ashara side had never known any feelings besides lust, pain, and hate, so when her master took her to bed, she cut out his heart and choked him with it. Then she fled her previous life, Ashara in control when they were in danger and Vellia in control the rest of the time, but when she found her home in ashes and bodies in it there became nothing left but Ashara. She joined the ranks of the Cult of Graz’zt and through the favor of Nashroom she became his right hand, sensing what he wished and fulfilling it obediently. That is until Namiir reawakened Vellia by calling her by name. Vellia and Ashara then fought for supremacy. She refused to see anyone for several days, until her hunger and need to survive gave Ashara the edge needed to bring her back to her old self. Since then she had merely avoided Namiir until he had cornered her. But now she was in full strength and he saw her regularly in the dining hall.
AssassinsThe next year brought with it the first actual conflicts with the other cult. The Cult of Graz’zt was somewhere in the number of a hundred strong and the Cult of Juiblex was about the same number. An equal battle would result in many losses, but if Graz’zt’s cult could gain an edge then their losses would be far less. After a few skirmishes had claimed around a dozen lives Namiir found that advantage. In secret he approached the contact to the local assassin guild along with Ashara. Their meeting place was the Frothing Swine. As they entered Namiir could see a familiar figure with a familiar scare sitting at a familiar small table in the corner, holding a rat and letting it gnaw on his fingers. They cautiously approached their Contact and Namiir noticed that the orcs sitting near became just a little more alert than when Namiir had been alone. They both sat at the table and the Contact crushed the rat in his hand. Then he spoke, “Ah, Namiir. So good to see you again. And Ashara too, I see. So what do you want this time?” Ashara answered first, “We would like to hire an assassin.” Namiir grimaced inwardly at her bluntness, but knew that if he added anything he would look like more of a fool than she. But the contact seemed unperturbed as he replied, “How long do you wish to hire one for?” Before his sister could speak Namiir quickly answered, “My companion misspoke, our employer would like a certain individual to be…removed from his current position.” “I do not often ask questions but I must ask, who is this person?” “He is the leader of the Cult of Juiblex. We could do the job ourselves but it would be better to leave it to professionals.” “Very well, when you drop two thousand into the sewers at the entrance south from here an agent will be sent. And the target shall die, with no chance to revive him.” As there was nothing left to speak about they returned to report to Nashroom.
Vengeance and DefeatThe next month, on the new moon, the Cult of Graz’zt marched into the night after dropping two thousand gold into the sewer. By the time they reached the hideout of the Cult of Juiblex it was in the midst of a battle with itself. Amidst all the confusion Namiir discerned that their high priest had died and a half-dozen other priests were fighting each other with their servants to claim the title. The Cult of Graz’zt rushed in and began the massacre. Before the night ended all of the worshipers were either dead or in chains being driven back to the temple. Namiir helped drive the slaves while he thanked Graz’zt that his cult would never fight like that. The next week Nashroom caught a lethal disease which quickly killed him, despite the magical healing given him by the other priests, Vashnir included. For several days the air was thick in the temple and the guardian succubi were extra finicky when allowing worshipers through the entrance. The night of his death Namiir was shocked to find that the entire temple had exploded in a fierce blood-lust the same as what had happened to the Cult of Juiblex. There was no enemy cult to slay them all, but none was needed. Namiir searched for Ashara and eventually found her in the worship hall with several other clerics fighting off a band of acolytes. Namiir aided her until the acolytes were all dead or fleeing before he spoke to her, “What is happening?” “Nashroom is dead. Myself, Vashnir, Helktab, and Ansuroth have each claimed the right to lead the cult.” “But why have you? You are not a priestess.” “No, but if anyone else rules they will suspect me because of my loyalty to Nashroom and have me killed.” “But why? You are loyal to Graz’zt, aren’t you?” “I am but they will only view me as a threat to their own power.” “No, it is not right to kill other servants simply because they are a threat.” “Regardless of what you think, brother, I must succeed or die trying.” Namiir helped her fight off several other waves of enemies before leaving the temple. When they reached to entrance to both the temple and the high priest’s quarters they stopped, grateful for a short respite. Now Namiir turned to his sister, “You are going to lose, you know, you do not have the favor of Graz’zt to inspire your followers.” “What else would you have me do? Surrender to the mercies of one of the others? There is no other option, Namiir, I must try.” Namiir knew that she was wrong, but what was the correct thing to do? Then it came to him, “There is another option. Come with me and leave this temple. Together we could found a new one.” Ashara gazed at him for a few moments, thinking it over. But then she spoke, “No, this is my home now, I cannot leave it. It pains me that you are leaving but I shall not stop you. May you do well in your journeys, but not with me.” Sounds of running foots steps came from a side passage and the score of cultists loyal to Ashara took their positions to repel an attack. “You should go now, pray for me.” With that Ashara took her place to direct her followers and Namiir turned and fled from the temple. He kept running until his lungs ached and his legs felt as if they were about to fall off. Then he stopped to rest and decide what he was going to do next. Unable to formulate any long-term plans he began to simply walk. He continued until he could see Taxdus in the distance. Walking to an inn he took refuge. For six days he ate nothing and refused to leave his room. During this time he prayed to Graz’zt for guidance. Through Graz’zt’s guidance he decided that to serve Graz’zt was not the same as serving chaos. Graz’zt was more concerned about worshipers and servants than about spreading chaos, though he was not against it and often encouraged such behavior. But to raise a temple that served Graz’zt and commanded respect from others at the same time would be the epitome of service, especially if Namiir could find a way to bring that temple and it’s worshipers to the abyss and so directly aid the Dark Prince. At the end of those six days he had settled his restless spirit enough to leave his room at last. He handed the innkeeper the money for his stay, ate a filling meal, and left out of Taxdus for truly the first time in his life.
New BeginningsHe travelled for a time, wandering the country side. He would lodge with those who benefited from his magic as payment for his lodging and then move on. He told no one his name but simply kept moving. Until he was captured by the Wind Tribe. It happened that he was wandering through a particularly dangerous area of the woods when he spied a ruined fortress. Graz’zt’s power had protected Namiir thus far but it was getting dark and it would be suicide to sleep out in the open. The ruins looked like the safest place he would find so he checked curiously into an entrance on the second floor. Seeing no signs of residence he entered and picked out a comfortable place to sleep. When he awoke he was bound to a chair and his possessions were gone. He was in a small room with a chest near him. After about an hour of shouting and cursing and all manner of blasphemy against every divine being except his own he remained silent. Silent until he heard something beyond the confines of his cell. Voices. A conversation was going on. One voice was defensive and demanding but the other seemed to be inquiring-and perhaps Namiir could hear a slight amount of mockery to it. Just then his door was opened and a strange man wearing the skull of some sort of animal as a hat looked in. Namiir could see one who was…‘off’ when he saw one. There were others behind him, two more men in armor. Then the defensive voice shouted and they began to fight an unseen person to the side of the door. The one with the skull on his head shouted something about freeing him before firing a spell off to the left of his door. Namiir smiled to himself as he strained again at his bonds, these were people who could release him, people he could find measurable safety among, people he could control. At least, that’s what he thought until he learned that their leader was a paladin.
It was just after midnight, all was dark save for the moon and stars above. It was finally time. Namiir had slipped; while trying to sneak past some lizard creatures his foot caught on a stone or a root or something and he had cried out as he fell, “By Grazzt!” When he looked up the paladin, Ambrose, was glaring at him. Namiir had done a fairly good job thus far at keeping his fealty hidden, including a daily precaution to make sure that Ambrose would not be able to detect the unholy power within him. But the Knight knew the name of the Dark Prince.
“I challenge you to one on one combat!”
There was no avoiding this, it had been coming for over a month now. Namiir accepted and orderd the other party members to go and hold off the Lizardfolk who had now noticed them. Then the battle began.
Ambrose gave a prayer to Hieroneous for his Favor; Namiir called out a prayer to the Dark Prince. Ambrose took a step forward and swung his spiked chain at the cleric and cut him deeply across his face; Namiir responded by stepping back himself and calling on his master for the aid of a minion and was answered with a Dretch. Ambrose twisted around and caught both the demon and Namiir with a single slash, wrapping the cain around the head of the Dretch and whipping it back. Magical energy pulsed as the demon’s head was pulled off; Namiir then stepped back again and castanother spell, making the ground beneath the paladin slick and icy. The next few moments consisted of Ambrose striving to rise, and finaly suceeding, while Namiir cast two more spells. The first was unholy power which took the form of sticky, inky, blackness which pulled at the life-force of the paladin. The second called on Grazzt for more than just his favor, but a granting of his power as well: a call that was answered. Greatly strengthenned as well as wounded, Namiir used a scroll which mended some of his injuries and then readied his weapon as Ambrose approached to finish him off. The rest of the battle was short and bloody as each traded blows, but Namiir was no true fighter and wounded as he was he quickly fell.
Orsten came over and, using his knowledge of mundane healing, stopped up Namiir’s more serious wounds. Namiir was then tied up and waits, unconsious, for what may happen next.