Noble House: A D&D 4E Essentials Campaign
Aeron, clad in the all too human flesh of Quinn Casara, stood within the Shallows, a bloody dragon heart in his gold mail shod hands. The dragons dark blood ran down the armors bracers, defining the intricate weave of leaf and vine in dark, sooty black. The Shallows, not a true realm, but a space between, a world of living thought lying betwixt the Shadowfell, the gray land of the dead, the Mortal World and the realms beyond. Here even gods fear to tread.
His plate clad feet covered in slate colored water, Aeron looked to the shore. Behind him was an endless gray sea with a similar sky. Only the most minute of tint changes indicated sky from sea. Hard leather boots crunched on sand the color of long dead flesh as Aeron strode from the waters. In the distance lay a great cliff of black rock and on that cliff a castle in silhouette. Above the fortress the skies churned as if in a great whirlpool, lightning flashed from within the clouds dance. All a lie as Aeron knew. Created by his weak flesh to resolve this land of thought into something his pitiful mind could understand.
The ground shook.
“WHO COMES THIS WAY?IS THIS MORTAL FLESH?WE HAVE LONG MISSED MORTAL FLESH.”
The voice thundered from the air causing the very metal suit protecting Aeron’s new body to vibrate. “You remember me oh Lord of the Way Between, Aeron cried into the damp, cold air. Long ago we made a bargain… a deal!”
“I HAVE BARGAINED WITH MANY DURING MY TIME.WHY WOULD I REMEMBER SUCH A PALTRY THING AS YOU?”
Blood ran out of Aeron’s new ears. This body would not last long here in the Shallows. This was a place where thought was made real but flesh was grist for the mill. He had to conclude this quickly. “Oh lord, you remember me because I offered more than any other! I gave you the chance to open the way from here to the mortal realms beyond! It is I Aeron Maedros, Prince of the Twin Realms and I come to offer a new bargain!” Aeron’s voice nearly broke on the last word…dealing with mad gods could bring fear into the heart of even the boldest.
“HAVE NO FEAR LITTLE PRINCE.WE REMEMBER YOU WELL.OUR TIME IN THE MORTAL REALM WAS SO…DELICIOUS…BUT SO FLEETING.YOU ARE NOT AS WE REMEMBER.AH.YOU HAVE TAKEN A NEW FORM.WE DO APPRECIATE YOUR MORTAL FORMS SO…WHAT HAVE YOU COME TO BARGAIN FOR NOW?”
Aeron was silent. His thoughts raced. Not long ago he’d been a dead, a bodiless spirit doomed to wander the city he’d help tumble from the sky millenia ago. Then, for a time, a rider in the back of the mind of an arrogant human. Now he was free, free to finish what he’d started an age ago. "I want vengeance, he cried into the featureless sky. I want the kingdom that should have been mine! I want the world’s throat in my hands!
“AND WHAT DO YOU GIVE US LITTLE THING?WHAT CAN YOU POSSIBLY OFFER SUCH AS WE?”
He had them. Gods or no, they had a simple desire. Hard to bring to fruition, but posssible. “The ring still exists.”
There was the sound of many voices. And then…
“THEN OUR OLD BARGAIN STANDS OH PRINCE.OPEN THE GATES OF YOUR WORLD TO US AND WE SHALL DELIVER WHAT YOU SO SEEK.FOR NOW, FEEL THE POWER THAT WAS ONCE YOURS ONCE MORE.HOLD FORTH THE SWORD FORGED FROM YOUR RAGE.ONCE MORE IT HOLDS A FRACTION OF OUR BEING.BRING US TO YOUR WORLD.”
Aeron held Rage in his hands. Gripped tightly lest it fly free. Snapping like a viper in his clenched fist. The Blood Tear in its pommel glowing ever brighter, until its light blinded even him. And then the world broke and there was darkness.
Aeron found himself drowning in the sea between worlds, his plate armor dragging him down into shadow. He struggled, pulling on his own innate power and that of the sword. He broke free into the black and white world of the Shadowfell. Exploding from a small pond, gasping in the stale air of the dead. The pommel of Rage throbbed in his hands. It lived once more.
Aeron lay on his back, spitting fetid water from his mouth.
“Are you dead too?,” came a voice. Aeron rolled over to see what shade may have come to steal his life’s energy. At first he did not recognize the creature above him, but then his mind sorted through the memories of Quinn Casara and found a name.
“Kret Kettlebottom,” Aeron said as he stood up.
The figure was a horrid display. Body ravaged by bloated, yellow worms eating its flesh, limbs broken and torn.
“You’re dead too aren’t you Quinn?”
Aeron started laughing. So this would be the first soldier in his new army…
To be continued.