For so long I have wondered what Bahamut has planned for my future. My destiny has never been clear to me. I’ve sought clarity. I’ve prayed for guidance. I’ve led armies and fought wars in which many have died; all in hopes of finding my peace…and my place. Finally, on this day, I believe I’ve stumbled on a piece of my destiny…and it is glorious.
Today, my colleagues and I spoke directly with our employer. He still has yet to show himself to us in-person, but rather prefers to deliver his orders through a magic, blue orb. I’d prefer to do business face-to-face, the honorable way, but what choice do we have. After introducing himself, the Baron purchased the map from Surean and Elsus Bloodstone provided him with a safe place to stay until he could return to his home. He had no other insight into the map, other than to say that he believed the writing on the back was of significant importance and that he would have it analyzed. The map itself, he believed, may be at the root of many a rumor. I must say, I grew tired as he rattled off one bed time story after another. I see no use in such story telling and wished he would save it for the children.
From what I recall, there were four tales. A sea hag with a cursed treasure. Preposterous. A Paladin raising money for missions, only to disappear with the gold. Unlikely. A counterfeiter with a large, fake treasure. And finally, a kidnapped princess; whose ransom was paid by a king who made the gold with her face as its mark. All those involved disappeared. Many rumors have some truth, but these did seem rather ridiculous, at the time. I found the most interesting story, that of Ganilar, Surean’s uncle and the owner of the map. Barron Zardi called Ganilar a friend and spoke highly of his adventures. Ganilar was a great and famous Paladin warrior who sought increasingly dangerous adventures, each one more glorious than the next. He disappeared a year ago and was thought to be dead. Regardless, we decided to press on and find out exactly what lies in waiting on the end of this map. The Barron provided us with transport, once again, but this time it would be by water.
We headed down river, following the map to a secluded beach. There was a cave that was only revealed at low tide, and only for a brief time. We decided to investigate this cave, but with caution. Once inside, Mika provided enough light for us to explore. We noticed two chests in the back of the cave and a skeleton on the ground. Could this be Ganilar, the great Paladin we have been told of? It was clear this person had died in battle, as he lay in rusted armor and next to him was his sword and amulet. The sword…for a moment, I swear it called to me. In a whisper. I picked it up and must admit, I lost myself in it’s glare for a moment. I was then brought to my senses by Alain, who asked to hold the amulet. It was of his god, whom I have no tie, so I told him he was welcome to it and continued studying to sword.
Unfortunately, my study would have to wait. At that moment, we heard a strange noise from the top of the cavern. Spiders! I knew it almost immediately by the clicking and despicable noises they make when they’re hungry. We banded together and prepared for battle. We now knew what had killed the soldier lying in the sand next to us. No one should meet such a fate alone. These spiders would not succeed again. With new sword in hand, I felt stronger than ever. This battle would not end in their favor! It was a marvelous fight. I felt swifter with every attack, stronger with every blow to my enemy. I will say, however, that I was careless at times and without the help of the cleric Alain, I might have been lying next to my Paladin brother in the sand. But, there was no backing down. I would not leave! Thankfully, with the skill and bravery of my comrades and the added strength and power that the sword and amulet seemed to give Alain and I, we all prevailed. Mika’s brilliant use of magic. Dara’s accuracy. Feydreth’s stealth and strategy. All proved too much for these weaker foes. Glorious indeed.
After slaying the spiders (and making quite a mess in the cave), we decided it was time to investigate the chests further. Feydreth ensured the chests were not rigged with traps of any kind and opened them to check their contents. The first had only old books, ruined by time and salt air. The second was a little more difficult to open. I tried, but was too weak from battle to be of much help. I then had to rest, as I could barely stand. Feydreth couldn’t pick the lock due to corrosion. Finally, Mika was able to freeze the lock and remove it easily. We discovered 800 pieces of gold! Quite a sum. (Though we determined later that 400 of them are fake and the rest marked with the face of the kings daughter. They must be melted down before they are spent. Else, we might be thought the kidnappers.)
As the others investigated the chests, Feydreth noticed I was standing over the fallen Paladin. He offered to help me give this warrior a proper burial, which I greatly appreciated. We started to dig a grave, but then decided this wet cavern was no place for a great warrior to rest. After discussion, all of us agreed to bring his body back with us to the tavern and Surean. If this was, in fact, Surean’s uncle Ganilar he would want to hold a memorial of sorts, I’m sure.
We headed back up river to report our findings. The entire trip, I continued hearing strange whispers and couldn’t stop studying the sword. After the battle with the spiders I had seen names appear on it’s blade. Hundreds of names emblazoned on the sword. The last, was Ganilar. Are these all names of fallen warriors? My brethren? Somehow I felt connected with each of them. But, how? I was hoping the Barron or Surean could explain.
When we returned to the tavern, Elsus and Argos (the blacksmith) were eager to hear our story. Argos was particularly interested in the sword and kept staring at it…and me. I first wanted to speak with Surean and show him the body we discovered. He recognized the sword, amulet and armor as that belonging to his uncle, Ganilar. I felt it important to tell him that the sword I now held gained vengeance over his uncles killers in the cave. He thought it only fitting that it remain with me and the amulet with Alain. Again, the dwarf, Argos, stared intently at the sword and finally stepped forward and asked me for it. I started to give it to him, but hesitated. I don’t know why. He assured me he just wanted to examine it, so I finally let him. He said he recognized the sword and after leaving briefly, he returned to tell me startling news.
The sword is called Valor and gives its owner greater combats skills. This I already knew. However, it is also cursed. Cursed by its original owner who was over zealous in his desire for glory and died in battle in a failed attempt to protect his king. Because of his failure, the king was brutally slain and the sword bares the curse of his faults. Argos says this sword will drive me to achieve glory and justice, at all costs.
There is a way to remove the curse, he continued. And I realized, what he was telling me is what I’ve waited all these years to understand. I now know what my future holds. The swords curse can only be broken by achieving what it’s owner could not. A noble’s life must defended, and by it, victory, glory and valor restored to the sword. I, Nicodemus, will fight until the end of me, or achieve victory in the glorious battle that awaits. At last, I now know my destiny, my fate…and it is tied to Valor.
After hearing this, I’ve been lifted to a new excitement in my adventures. I was eager to continue our quests. The Barron informed us that his people had discovered the runes on the reverse side of the map read “Denal’s Grave Holds the Key,” which is what Mika had already determined. However, the word “key” could also be read “skull.” He determined that the graveyard in question may be located in Col Fen, an old name for a city destroyed in the last war. Our group decided to go to Col Fen and investigate the graveyard. Upon arriving, we noticed several tombs and I spotted an undead creature rising from the ground. I despise undead. They are un-holy creatures and I dispensed of this one rather quickly. We then heard a woman screaming and a baby crying. All of us rushed into the tomb where the noises came from only to find more, disgusting undead with the woman as a prisoner. We are poised to destroy them all and I am eager for yet another victory.