*The young Saris is now dressed in full iron plate armor, tinted in a platinum and essence color combination which accentuated her long, flowing ebony hair and her white and black pelt. Its gleaming radiantly in the soft light and she seems to radiate an aura of comforting warmth. Something that would make someone feel at ease and safe around her*
Somehow, I wasn't really surprised when Archbishop Tomas told me that there was more than one problem I should be worried about when I delivered the letter.
The Aegis are EVERYWHERE!
After I delivered the letter to Archbishop Tomas, he told me about two different things. The first being that there was yet another tomb that was potentially jeopardized. When I asked him about it, he told me that it belonged to one of the most powerful Human Kings to date, in fact, the very King himself who led the bipeds in revolution against the dragons all those years ago, Ashlander Vandus.
I've heard of the name through scholarly studying on my part and of course, education from my mother too. Naturally, I felt that I should investigate this and tell Paladin Geriad, but Archbishop Tomas told me that Paladin Geriad would be unable to help me this time because he was investigating corruption over the Chiconis Battlefield. He did say, however, that I might be able to help him with that, after we attended to the matter of purging Ashlander's Tomb, but he wasn't completely certain either.
As it turns out, a few others were looking into the matter of Ashlander's tomb as well, among them were two Saris. One was a Warrior by the name of Galinore and the other was a Scout, by the name of Kyuli. There was also a SSlik that was there, a Warrior as well, by the name of Kerrsol. It seems like all of the trainers are aware of these things, though, I suppose I should expect no less from the very ones who train us.
After speaking with my companions, it seems that both Araminta's investigations, along with Paladin Geriad's and my own investigations have spread the news and warnings across the Peninsula and many of our trainers are sending their students to help.
I could never have grasped the enormity of this matter before... not when I was first starting out my training, but things are starting to fall into place now and it chills me to the bone to see just how bad things really are, despite the fact that the Aegis seem to be quiescent.
I'm beginning to see that they've taken to doing things more subtly, with an occasional blatant invasion, like the time Mother had to help with those invasions throughout the land... which, have also been happening a bit more too. I'm... just not strong enough to be able to help just yet... I must get stronger and help Mother and all the others with this! It just feels like I'm so far behind that I won't ever catch up! It makes me squirm inside, having to sit out or avoid getting involved in these invasions that have been happening.
Things have gotten so bad that I've had to ask mother to fashion me proper armor now. The enemies have become so much stronger than I could have imagined as my investigations and studies continue. The silk cloth I had before... just couldn't stand up to the strength of my foes now.
After my companions and I discussed matters, they decided I should take the lead and guide us into the tomb since I seemed to be the most experienced fighter, especially against the undead, which, I suppose does make sense. I have specially trained to destroy the undead and guide others in battle against the undead. It made me feel important... like I could finally do something to help protect others and perhaps teach them how to fight against the Aegis too.
We traveled to Pleasant Canyon and headed southwest, making our way through the Shadowed Coast. On the way there, though, I did notice smoke in the distance and a lighthouse, but thought perhaps it was another Militia Patrol also making its way to the Tomb, so I paid it no attention, instead, focusing on guiding us there as quickly and safely as possible. With how all the trainers were sending their students out on this mission, surely the Militia was taking action in it too.
We found the tomb without incident and we felt it would be a good idea to destroy the patrols around the tomb to open up a pathway. After we did so, I volunteered to stay behind in order to keep the area secure, while they delivered their reports since the undead have a nasty habit of refusing to stay dead. These undead weren't much of a threat to me, so it was easy to keep the area secure until my friends got back.
Once they did, I left to deliver my own report while they waited and gathered within the tomb. I returned after a while, after speaking with a scholar at the Tower of Clerics as well, and we were ready to continue. I led the way into the tomb, though we waited while we prepared ourselves for battle. I channelled my magic into the Aura of Light that Paladin Geriad taught me to both protect and help us against the undead.
The moment we left that chamber, we ran into many undead, all at once and they quickly swarmed us, but thanks to my magic in both nature and spirit, I was able to draw most of their attention away from the others.
I'll try to summarize most of it where I can, but we fought our way through the tomb and found a spirit that had been trapped there... Anchored there, if you will, by a terrible creature. He asked for us to find this... Torrash and destroy it to release the bindings of his chains, of course, to do that, we had to scour the tomb, but at least he told us it was on the upper level of the tomb.
I asked Kyuli to do the scouting, because, well, since she's a Scout, I thought that would be fitting for her to do, while Kerrsol, Galinore, and I kept the undead at bay. She found him in a chamber at the far end of the upper half of the tomb and we soon gathered in an entryway to prepare ourselves for a fight. Judging by its magic and abilities that I sensed active, I knew it had to be a Reaver of sorts, like my sister.
I've seen how much damage my sister can do too, so I asked them to let me catch its attention and make it focus on me. Because of the dangers of a Reaver, I felt it would be reckless not to use my one paw sword and shield, because even if my armor couldn't protect me from its blows, at least my shield and weapon could if I parried and blocked him well enough.
I closed the distance between us and channeled my magic once more, this time, using my power to cloak me in protective life magic to both shield me and enhance my strength. I've used the ability before, when I was in the other tomb with all those necromancers. It's called Stand Against Darkness. What it does is, like I said, sheathes me in powerful Life magic to both help protect me from the undead, as well as cause them severe damage.
Once I got his attention, I called to my companions and we battled him together. To that point, he had to have been the most difficult enemy I'd faced and I'm glad I had my friends to help me. I couldn't parry and block every hit of his, so he did hurt us pretty badly, but after some effort and quick-thinking, we managed to survive and defeated him. As he crumpled into a pile of bones, we all felt the shock of his power, like... an explosion of thick, greasy, distasteful magic that made my fur and nose curl.
We only got to rest for a little bit, because all the other undead felt it too and they came rushing at us again. It was a struggle and they did manage to defeat both Kerrsol and Kyuli, despite my best efforts to protect them. Galinore and I battled hard and managed to beat them back after I recovered my strength and was able to unleash my Stand Against Darkness ability again.
With the last skeleton falling, I rushed over to our fallen comrades and restored them to life with my magic. Unfortunately, I'm no Healer, so they would still suffer the penalty of death, but at least they were alright and could continue to fight. Together, we returned to Antolathes and told him of our success.
We also had collected a few pieces from the skeletons that Scholar Kayl Reynos in the Tower of Clerics needed for some of her studies, so we decided that'd be a good time to recall and bring her our findings. Again, the four of us returned to the Cleric's Tower and gave our reports to Bishop Ronae, who is the Bishop that Archbishop Tomas put in charge of this task.
Bishop Ronae and Scholar Kayl sent us back into the tomb to investigate the lower level this time, to see if anything had happened there, though they didn't seem too confident of anything good at that point, after they heard about what we'd just faced.
Scholar Kayl wanted us to see if there were any ghosts within the tomb from whom we could get some sort of... spirit vapor from for her research and Bishop Ronae wanted us to try to find King Vandus.
After we wrote down all our notes, we returned to Pleasant Canyon and made our way back into the tomb. Once in there, the undead we'd destroyed had already returned... this time, in larger numbers than before! This was not a good sign to me and I wondered if there was a necromancer... or more than one here as well. Considering what Paladin Geriad and I had found in the last three tombs.
We even investigated to see if Torrash had returned as well and unfortunately, he had. Galinore suggested we fight him again to make sure he hadn't bound Antolathes again, so we did, though this time, we managed to defeat him a bit faster than before... maybe his last defeat had weakened him a bit, but even so, he was still just as dangerous as before.
We made our way into the lower levels of the tomb, only to see that the entire pathway forward was covered in Berserker ghosts, judging from what I know about them. Which, to me, didn't bode well.
The reason I say this, is because, if you remember, I decided to study under a Berserker trainer, to help me keep my own draconic blood in check when I get a bloodlust running through me. Back to the point, it wasn't a good situation because first off, there was at least twenty Berserkers in that hallway and secondly, as we were coming down the stairs, every single one of them triggered their Berserk Rage and rushed us all at once.
I didn't have much time to react, but I called upon my Druid training and summoned a lightning storm to shock and stun them, then created a bramble barricade to stop them in their tracks as well to buy us enough time to single a few of them out. I also drew upon the power of nature to infuse us with a natural fury that would make us strike harder and again, I used my power to stand against the darkness to further protect and power our strength.
The ghosts hacked through my bramble barricade pretty quickly, so I drew upon my Spiritist training and sucked the life from all of them while we fought. It was a spell that Mother had taught me, Ethereal Paroxysm. Basically, its spirit magic that drains the life from all of the enemies near you or a target you choose to heal yourself. Its also a spell that Kytali likes using as well. The power to manipulate Spirit magic strongly flows in all of our veins, so, the ghosts weren't too pleased with that and focused all of their attacks upon me at once, which is both a good and a bad thing...
On the bright side, it let me hold their attention, while my friends attacked them and it kept them safe. Unfortunately, its also not easy to defend when you are being attacked from twenty different sides at once. Thanks to my magic and skills, I was able to hold them off and even managed to defeat at least five of them before I became exhausted. I needed time to rest so that I could use my skills and powers again, but they gave no quarter and I couldn't keep up with them.
Almost as if they'd planned it... all of the remaining ghosts carefully aimed at my weak points and synchronized their attacks. It was too much for me to handle and they cut me down where I stood. As my vision faded, I saw my friends fall one after the other until darkness overtook me.
Fortunately, all of us are protected by the Gift, but unfortunately, that meant having to return to the Tomb and fighting through the legions of the undead all over again as well as dealing with the weakness from death.
The undead really wanted to hold onto this Tomb, I feel, but that is probably because its the tomb of one of the most powerful Kings in all of human history. Were I one of them... I'd want to control a King as powerful as that....
Anyhow... we returned to the Tomb, though a bit more prepared this time. A human, named Ignis, was in the area and had probably been investigating why there was four of us all in this area. At any rate, he gave me the most powerful blessings he could cast upon me and those that my companions could have as well.
Invigorated and ready, we rushed into the Tomb, once more facing the army of undead that had multiplied again. It was a long fight, but we managed to make our way back to where we were slain and this time, I used their own tactic against them. I rushed in, stunned them all with a lightning storm and drained their life in the same moment I activated both my Aura of Light and my Stand Against Darkness. The others weren't far behind and we raged through their numbers before they were even ready for us.
It was difficult, to be sure, once they counter-attacked, but fortunately, our surprise attack managed to destroy most of them in the first rush. As their ghostly forms dissipated, we collected the vapor that Scholar Kayl needed and found that King Vandus was indeed under the Aegis' control, although, I wasn't too surprised at that, considering how stiff the resistance in this tomb had been the entire time.
We felt a powerful, sinister magic emanating from the tomb room and the King himself, so we decided we should retreat and speak with Bishop Ronae about it. Once there, he told us about a Ritual Stone that we could make to use upon the King to put him back to rest and Kerrsol called upon a dragon it knew, by the name of Racktor to gather some components for us in the time that we'd have to return to the tomb to collect something known as a 'soul fragment'.
Scholar Kayl also wanted one of these fragments too and so once more, we returned to the tomb, only to see that their forces had multiplied yet again. This was getting more and more difficult each time we returned! We had to end that possession soon!
Scholar Kayl told us that she suspected only the most powerful, bone knights, like Torrash, would have connections to the spirit world strong enough to create souls that would fragment upon destruction. Taking her advice, the four of us returned to Torrash's chamber, only to see that he had indeed returned once again. Similar to the last two times we fought him, we used similar tactics and brought him down once more.
True to Scholar Kayl's word, Torrash was strong enough to drop the soul fragments we needed for the Ritual of Eternal Rest. Once again, we returned to the Tower and once there, Racktor gave us the other components we needed and then we spoke with Bishop Ronae, who 'brewed' up and fashioned the Ritual Stone to be placed into our weapons.
Once more, we made our way back into the tomb, fought through the legions of undead, who had returned in the greatest force yet imaginable, and then returned to the lower chambers. Considering how well our strategy worked on the ghosts before, we did it again and decimated their numbers.
When we arrived at the chamber room, I stopped the group and asked who had a weapon socketed. Only Kerrsol and I had weapons with sockets, so I had Kyuli and Galinore focus their attention on the hellhounds and skeleton knights while Kerrsol and I fought the King himself.
It was a grueling battle and both Kyuli and Galinore fell to the knights just as I landed a finishing blow upon the King himself. I quickly switched weapons to finish off the dogs and knights with Kerrsol's help. I restored Kyuli and Galinore to life and we made a hasty retreat just as the ghosts rushed towards us.
We made our last trip to the Tower and the entire Tower rejoiced when we gave them our news.
Archbishop Tomas did say, however, that I'd not be able to assist Paladin Geriad's investigation on the Chiconis Battlefield yet, because he'd received a telegram from Mayor Vandus in Dalimond that my assistance was needed with investigating the status of the Militia all over the Dalimond Peninsula.
Despite the fact that all of us had suffered at least one death in our journey, while it is upsetting, I also feel rather accomplished too. Then again... these were some of the most powerful Aegis I have fought to date and their numbers kept multiplying each time we returned to the Tomb.
I know my friends and I need to train harder and grow more experienced, but in this particular adventure, I have begun to see just how powerful my path as a Paladin will make me. That in itself gives me hope. Like my sister and mother, I'll become strong... and I'm getting stronger all the time and I'm getting even better at fighting the Aegis too.
When I master my Paladin training, I really will become a force to be reckoned with and Paladin Geriad will be proud, so will Mother and Kytali.
I need to return to Dalimond now, but that's all I have to share right now.
Thank you for listening to me and may Merrasat's gaze watch over you.