I am a criminal. I am wanted for the betrayal of my country. In the process of saving magic users from extinction, I have tainted the title of Blood Raven. But while conversing with my father I discovered something; I do not care how others perceive me, so long as I know what I do is right. Though I follow through with my father’s wishes, I have every intention of continuing to free mages. Some things must hold their importance above that of family. Let it be written in history, that Blood Raven was the one who had to betray his country, his people, his family, purely out of love for them.
We are in Velistirith. I’m dragging my companions along on this task set upon me, and I can’t help but feel I am endangering them; again. It will not be an easy task finding out the truth of King Gregor’s disappearance, especially when we are known enemies of Dracos. At Thorman’s suggestion we headed for a tavern in hopes of sitting in on some talk of the city, anything to find out more of Velistirith’s royalty. Thorman split from us heading south of town attending to a personal matter. Jhulaer and Balidor joined me at the Dwarf’s Belly to gather information. I attempted visiting with the barkeep asking about the castle and the king, but received little information of value.
Jhulaer notified me of a Halfling at a table eavesdropping on us. We decided to have a short chat while at some time during this Balidor left us. We later found out that the name of this Halfling was Thomas, a criminal or sorts. He offered Jhulaer and I a smoke of a substance I was not familiar with which made me feel quite unfocused, slowing my vision and reaction. After realizing his confidence in the skill of larceny, Jhulaer and I agreed to hire him for the purpose of obtaining one of the King Gregor’s belongings. After this is done, hopefully Jhulaer will be able to better scry for the missing king. We paid Thomas 6,500 gold to complete this task for us and he left without a handshake of agreement. We are to meet him in two nights at the front of the coliseum. Hopefully he keeps his word.
After our visit with Thomas, Jhulaer and I went in search for Thorman heading to the city’s south. During this we noticed how little the guards are on patrol compared to when we were last here. If there were truly a missing king, would not the guard be searching every home and corner of the city for him? Before coming across Thorman I saw a monument in honor of a Dracos soldier titled The Widow Maker. Despite all of the men he killed to have that title placed upon him, he was still a hero in the eyes of Dracos. Despite all of the men I’ve killed to save mages, I will never be honored in such a way.
Once we had united with Thorman we decided to wait for Balidor back at the Dwarf’s Belly and purchase lodging for the night. We waited for some time when a raven cawed from outside. The caw rang in my ear with a cold fear down my back in remembrance of my nightmare with Pain and Suffering. I darted outside and observed the bird perched atop the tavern. Its wings snapped back unnaturally and a familiar darkness seemed to overtake it, a darkness I had once seen in Thorman.
The creature then took off deeper into the city.
Without time to think, I chased after the raven as fast as I could. I jumped my way atop a building and was able to see it heading to the town square before losing sight. The three of us ran there the quickest we could in search for the bird, but there was no sign of it. We eventually came to the conclusion that Balidor may have paid a visit to his former church, but upon arriving there we saw the little of what remained.
We then broke our way into a nearby abandoned church with a statue of a reaper at the hall’s end; a god I’ve heard little of. I found a secluded room for Jhulaer to cast her scry spell in while Throman and I kept watch. After an hour she came out of the room in a rush of concern informing us she could see nothing of Balidor, but heard his screams. Without any other options before us, we began searching the immediate area of abandoned churches, bursting down any doors we could. Eventually I happened to come across one with a raven perched upon it. Not the same raven, from what I could tell, but when stepping inside… something was immediately wrong with the place. The darkness almost seemed to seep in my blood, channeling a familiar fear… but of what?
I made my way to the upper level hallway using the dim light of my sword to find a lone door at the end. It was locked so I tried breaking through to no avail and decided to find my companion more capable of such tasks. When Thorman and Jhulaer had joined me we broke our way into the room to find… ravens… Hundreds, thousands of them. Ravens. All dead, their jaws snapped in half. The sight froze me.
“I’m going to watch you die now.” The voice of Pain seeping into my ears through horrid recollection.
And then a scream, and a shove as Thorman trudged past me. I snapped from my trance and moved to catch up with him. The three of us began searching the lower level for any hidden entrance. It was then that Jhulaer and I heard two familiar voices, that of Pain and Suffering, from upstairs in the room with the ravens. Without hesitation, Jhulaer moved to get us out through a transportation spell but Thorman told us to wait. He was transfixed by the voices despite the danger. Jhulaer coudln’t wait any longer, and in a blink we stood outside the building. Thorman began to run for the entrance and I ran after telling him that the elves in there are not the friend he once knew. I also realized that we had yet to find Balidor.
With only one logical place left to be checked, I told Jhulaer to dimension door us to the cellar of the building. I knew the risks of a failed transport spell, but I had full faith that Balidor was somewhere below. In an instant we were brought below.
What I saw before me was of the most unnatural experiments I had ever seen conducted upon a person. Balidor was in a crucified stature with three tubes fed into him; his arms and neck. In the corner opposite of him sat an old man with abnormal eyes. Seeing Thorman’s reaction, I immediately assumed that we were in the presence of Dorin.
There was no time to lose. Jhulaer and I rushed to remove the tubes from Balidor. Upon doing so, blood rushed out of his neck and arms in a speed I had never seen. I instantly cupped my hands over his neck to hold in the bleeding, but had I pressed any harder I would have began to choke him.
Once we had done our best to free him, Thorman came over to assist carrying Balidor as Jhulaer prepared a teleport spell. But Thorman had left Dorin alive, and as Jhulaer was nearly ready the old man leapt onto her back and bit down on her neck. I drew my rapier as quick as lightning and stabbed the demon through the head. Jhulaer cast the spell and we were instantly teleported to the Dwarf’s Belly.
We rushed into one of our rooms and laid Balidor on the bed, watching the life slowly drain from him. We did everything we could to suppress the bleeding. Thorman grasped his friend’s hand tightly. I watched as the two friends, who had known each other for so long, paid their farewells. I said something to him, I can’t remember what. Anything to help his passing and assure he would not die in vain.
Once his last breath had been taken, I slumped against a wall and began to count; Alton, Reginald, Iorni, Vosh, and now Balidor. Five. Five too many. Maybe the gods truly are g—wait!
A flash of light.
I stood up in amazement as I witnessed bright light surging through Balidor’s body. He breathed heavily and stirred in the bed while his wounds began to heal.
“I told you some of us handle death better than others,” spoke Jhulaer.