Weary from our foray into the Mere of Dead Men, we decided to make camp early along the road leading to Neverwinter. In the fading light, the crumbling mass of the spire is no longer visible above the treetops, but dusty fallout from its destruction still lingers in the sky. The ruined stronghold is now nothing more than a heaping mass of stones, and will no longer serve as a bastion for the corrupted cultists that had previous inhabited it. Even with Amauntator’s guidance, we barely made it out of that accursed place alive.
After last night’s brief rest within the spire, we made our way deeper inside the labyrinth of tunnels. With each step I felt an increasing lust for blood that was almost insatiable, and I knew immediately that it was the effects of the curse consuming me further. For a moment, I thought I might be completely overwhelmed by the urges, but the thrill of battle was sufficient to clear my mind of foul thoughts and allow me to put intent towards dispatching enemies of the Light. The dark magic of this place had conspired to form unholy shadow creatures that mimicked our own abilities, and we were forced to conquer our own inner demons before we could continue our journey.
Illusionary phantoms whispered promises of untold wealth to me at every turn, and I am unsure whether or not the rest of the party was also subjected to their temptations. When I reached out to examine a most exotic looking scimitar, I was immediately transported to an underground cavern and magically stripped of all of my belongings. It was a most dishonorable device to be sure, the mark of a truly ignoble and unworthy foe. Bereft of all my weapons, I was forced to meet the undead threat that soon assailed us in that underground cavern with nothing but my bare hands. A prayer and Amaunator’s grace alone would provide for my protection. Fortunately, I was able to scavenge a rusted long sword after a few minutes and bring the true death to the undead creatures.
After the first wave of undead had been cut down, we spotted the necromancer responsible for raising the undead creatures, and immediately sought to bring our arms to bear against him. It was soon apparent that he intended to imbue himself with the soul and power of Skoulos, and needed only a few undisturbed minutes to complete the ritual. I knew at that moment that this was the man responsible for my family’s misfortune, and Orcus himself would not stop me from sending this man to the Maker. He was an elusive foe, but our monk managed to steal the key component of the dark ritual, preventing him from completing the task. Without his legion of undead to protect him, he was quickly dispatched.
The battle over, I took a moment to examine the artifact the monk had procured for us- a clay phylactery containing the blood of the one called Skoulos. Destroying it, we surmised, would dispel the magic trapping us in the stronghold, but could also have unintended consequences. Left with little choice, I smashed the phylactery into the ground, and immediately felt an immense discharge of magical energy, as well as a release from the bloodlust and transformation that had taken hold of me. Have I finally rid myself and my family of the curse? I cannot say, but the effects of seem to have finally subsided. Perhaps now I can finally find redemption, even if I am the only one left of my family to experience it. Nonetheless, I am left with lingering doubts as to whether or not this evil has truly been vanquished, and will remain ever-vigilant in the future.
I am unsure of my family’s role in the scheme of all of this dark magic, but I intend to find the answers. Was this a promise made by one of my ancestors? An ancient oath that demanded fulfillment? By the will of the Gods, perhaps my family’s continued suffering was the only means of keeping this evil at bay- a debt paid by a few to serve the needs of the many. If that is the case, than by breaking the curse I fear that I may have inadvertently unleashed this threat upon the world.
I cannot change what has happened here, but if this is true, then I shall declare myself the unyielding instrument of Amaunator’s divine justice, and ensure that this evil is never allowed to resurface again. I will travel the length of Faerun and to the planes and beyond if required of me, forsaking all other obligations and material pursuits in pursuit of this goal. This I vow, until the last breath has left my body, and I have not a drop of blood left to spill in His name. I, Sir Keldon, last surviving member of House Manthar, Knight-Errant of the Brotherhood of the Glorious Sun, do solemnly swear it.