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Old 11-27-2005, 02:37 PM   #1

Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 40

Chapter Three: The Predator

It took the two men three more days to reach the temple. They had no problems reaching their destination. Apart from the run-in with a group of gnolls nothing major happened.

The Temple itself was set in the middle of a large grassy hill. The building stood by itself, there were no markings to indicate what it had once been. No statues or other adornments were on the building.

"So this is it?", Geo asked a little disappointed.

"It appears so", Knighthawk replied.

He was studying the doorway, who large door had long ago crumbled to dust. Suddenly he caught movement out of the corner of his eye inside. He stepped back closer to Geo.

"What's wrong?", the rogue asked. Daggers flew to his hand from the concealment of his sleeves.

"If your looking for treasure, good luck. I couldn't find a thing." A half-elf said brushing dust and dirt from his green leather armor.

"How dare you defile a temple to the gods", Knighthawk accused.

"I don't think they are gonna mind, considering none have been seen in five hundred years."

Knighthawk sheathed his sword and pushed his way into the building. Inside a singe hole in the roof let a shaft of light in. The building was nothing more than four walls and a ceiling. In the far back stood an altar.

"See what I mean, nothing here", the half-elf declared.

"Nothing", Knighthawk muttered to himself.

"What are you looking for", Geo asked making his way into the building. He began running his hand over the walls.

"Answers", was the paladin's reply.

"Hey guys check this out", Geo stood by the altar. A panel had been opened up revealing a large panel with several buttons.

"What's that?", the half-elf predator asked.

"It appears to be some sort of device for opening a secret door. If you look closely at the altar, It doesn't sit quite right on it's foundation."

"Well done", Knighthawk congratulated the rogue. "Now lets see what it does."

Knighthawk reached to push one of the buttons but Geo grabbed his wrist.

"Wait", he exclaimed. "It's booby trapped."

Geo drew a knife and carefully depressed one of the buttons. As the button was recessed a needle was revealed.

"Probably laced with poison", he said "And that's not the worst of the traps either. Each button has a different trap. Give me a few minutes and I can disarm them."

"The name's Lonewolfbane", the predator said extending his hand.

*A flash of light*

"Hurry up Knighthawk, I want to get this stuff back to the bazaar in time to sell."

Lonewolfbane, Tanene, Wolfweaver, and Iindaria were all in the lead, the paladin was trailing behind.

"If I had Spirit of the Wolf cast on me I would be fast too", he called out.

The two couples reached the druid stones several minutes before Knighthawk. Wolfweaver and Iindaria were talking with the druid scion.

"Sorry folks", the scion said. "The stones are out of order. I am sure that they are doing everything in their power in the nexus to get things straightened out.

"Strange", Tanene said. "I have never seen the stones not work before."

"Use your Gate spell to get us close and we will hoof it the rest of the way", Lonewolfbane suggested.

Tanene began to cast the spell. She could tell instantly that something was wrong. For a second it felt like their bodies were being stretched like a rubber band. Then the rubber band snapped. Knighthawk Lonewolfbane and Tanene were dripped out of the sky several feet above the ground. Wolfweaver and Iindaria where nowhere to be found.

"Where are we?", Knighthawk asked.

"Looks like the commonlands", Tanene replied. "But we are a long way from where the gate spell should have sent us. The spell has never reacted like that before either."

"Something strange is going on. Lets get to the portal boon and find out if anyone in the Plane of Knowledge knows what's going on", Lonewolfbane suggested.

The three adventurers took off towards the town of Freeport.

Suddenly the earth began to shake. The ground split apart in front of the ranger and druid. The two could not stop themselves in time. Knighthawk dove forward grabbing each one's hand as they fell. He landed hard on his stomach but had managed to catch his brother and sister-in-law.

"One of you do something. I can't hold you much longer", the paladin called.

"I can't", Tanene cried "I need both my hands for a spell."

"Save Tanene", Lonewolfbane called valiantly as he let go of Knighthawk. Plummeting into the rift.

"NOOOOO", Tanene screamed.

Knighthawk grabbed her with both hands and began to pull her up. He heard a crack from above him. He turned and the last thing he saw was a tree coming at him.

*A flash of light*

"You okay?", Lonewolfbane asked waving a hand in front of the paladin.

"I'm fine", Knighthawk replied.

A grating sound brought both men's attention back to the altar. The stone altar was slowly opening to reveal a staircase descending into the darkness.

"Just call me the button man", Geo announced triumphantly.

Knighthawk stepped up to where the staircase was and peered into the darkness. Lonewolfbane grabbed his shoulder and spun him around.

"I was here first. I'm happy to share any treasure we find but I've got to know what your deal is. What are you looking for?"

Knighthawk was going to argue, but decided against it.

"There are gaps missing in my memory", he began. "I remember bits and pieces here and there, but my only true memories start two years ago."

"I am sorry I thought you were another adventurer seeking to fill his coffers. If there is anything I can do to help, you have but only to ask."

"I appreciate it."

"Hey guys you coming or not", Geo called up the stairs.

"I don't have your guy's elven sight", Knighthawk said.

He began casting a spell and a halo of light appeared above his head casting an eerie glow.

"Nice", Lonewolfbane commented.

Both men began following the rogue down the steps. They reached the bottom and were faced with a long corridor. Many doors led off to the right and left. Most led to sleeping quarters or common rooms. A set of ornate double doors impeded their progress forward.

Geo ran forward and began picking the lock on the door while Knighthawk and Lonewolfbane examined the carvings on the door.

"This workmanship is exquisite. I have never seen anything so beautiful in all my life. I have a friend who would love this, she is a carpenter." The predator was busy studying the door.

Knighthawk could only nod his head.

The carving was of a large battle. Humans, elves, dwarves, gnomes, and halflings were fighting all manner of evil creatures from orcs to dragons. At the head of the good army was a figure dressed in full plate armor. His helm was adorned with wings. On the evil army's side stood a creature of unspeakable evil. It's giant maw open and evil spirits were spewing forth.

"I've got it Knighthawk", the rogue called as the doors slowly swung inward.

Lonewolfbane realized that this was the first time he had heard the humans name. The name sparked something in his memory but he could not recall what.

"Hey Knighthawk have we met before?", the predator asked.

"Not that I can remember."

They entered the cavernous chamber. The room was sunken twenty feet into the floor in tiers. The top tier had statues to each of the gods. The bottom tier was home to a stone podium.

Geo happily ran around the room searching for items of value. In some of the plates gold and silver coins were still there. While in others all that remained were the stains and seeds of decayed fruit. Lonewolfbane was walking around the room admiring the workmanship of the statues. Knighthawk was drawn to a statue in particular, that of Mithaniel Marr.

The artist had depicted the god with broad muscular arms and legs. He was not wearing his customary winged helm. The face was that of a man in his forties with a goatee around the mouth. He was in a heroic stance with a look of intenseness.

Behind the statue hung a tapestry depicting the halls of valor. Knighthawk reached out to touch it and his hand disappeared. The tapestry was an illusion concealing a hidden room.

Knighthawk stepped forward into the hidden chamber. The room was a mausoleum. The room had alcoves on three of the walls where ornate tombs were held. Skeletons littered the floor. In the center of the room was an ornate stone tomb. Knighthawk was making his way towards the tomb when he noticed movement. The skeletons had begun piecing themselves together.

Knighthawk cast a spell on the first skeleton that had pieced itself together. The bones shattered into a million pieces. He was able to cast the spell one more time to dispatch a second skeleton. He then drew his sword and cast a spell on the blade making it more powerful against undead.

By this time the rogue and predator had heard the commotion and come running to his aid. Geo was able to discern the illusion easily and came bounding into the room knifes flying. His first two blades hit a couple of skeletons in the skull shattering them. The rest of the bones fell to the floor in a heap.

Lonewolfbane jumped through the doorway his twin sabers weaving a path of destruction for any skeleton unlucky enough to be in his path.

Knighthawk had just finished dispatching two more skeletons when he noticed a figure in the corner jerk up as if it were a puppet on strings. The undead knight drew it's sword and made it's way over to the paladin.

Knighthawk swung his sword, but the creature was easily able to block. The undead knight swung his blade high, but the paladin ducked the decapitating blow. Their swords met many times. The creature was unusually fast and strong. The undead swung his sword in a downward arc. Knighthawk brought his sword up horizontally at eye level to block the creatures blow. The creature shattered the paladin's sword. The tip of the undead knights sword caught him in the cheek slicing a nasty gash. Knighthawk jumped backward avoiding a killing blow.

He was now backed up against the tomb. The creature brought his sword down again but the paladin managed to jump over the stone tomb. The creature's blow landed on the lid of the tomb splitting it in two. Both halves landed on the floor with a crash.

Knighthawk was now defenseless. He looked to his compatriots. Geo had exhausted his supply of throwing knives and was now using a dagger to fend off a skeleton. Lonewolfbane was holding hi own against three other skeletons.

Knighthawk had to find a weapon and fast. He dodged several wild swings using the open tomb for cover. He had just avoided a particular nasty swing when he noticed that within the tomb lay a knight and clutched upon his breast was a sword.

Knighthawk waited for a swing to go wide then he dove forward and snatched the sword out of the tomb. He could have sworn that the dead knight was firmly holding the sword when he looked, but as he reached for it, it was like the knight was offering it to him. He drew the sword stopping an incoming strike from the undead knight. To his amazement the sword blade became engulfed in flame. Knighthawk deftly turned aside a deadly swing and brought his sword up in a left to right arc cleaving through the knight from his right hip to his left shoulder. The creature fell to the ground in two halves.

Knighthawk quickly turned to help his comrades to find they had vanquished their foes and were staring at him in awe.

"Neat sword", Geo commented.

Knighthawk sheathed the sword and slumped to the ground beside the tomb. The battle had taken quite a lot out of him. Lonewolfbane still held his swords and was using one to point at the tomb.

Knighthawk turned to see what the predator was pointing at. Rising out of the tomb was a ghostly apparition. The figure was a knight, his armor worn and dented from much use. A ghostly sheen surrounded the apparition. Knighthawk seeing the spirit jumped to his feet and once again drew the sword. This time the flame did not come to the blade.

"Hold fast brave knight", the spirit called. "Tis good to see you after all this time."

"I am sorry, do I know you?" Knighthawk asked.

"Look around you, do you not recognize the name of these dead."

Knighthawk scanned the names surrounding him on each tomb plate. He read each to himself. They each carried a spark of recognition.

"I am sorry, troubled spirit, but alas I do not. Something has left gaps in my memory."

"Then let me help you. These men and women are what was left of the Champions of Chivalry. They are good people you quested with, fought with, and even one you loved. Their good deeds have earned them a place of honor in the halls of valor."

"And what of you great spirit. How do I know you?", Knighthawk asked.

"Ah my tale is a sad one."

The spirit removed it's helm and Knighthawk saw a beautiful woman.

"Like yourself I was a paladin for the gods. I too dedicated my life to doing what was right. I was the sister to Tanene, your sister by marriage. I was traveling back to the Plane of Knowledge when the rendering occurred. I came upon a big rift in the ground. Beside it lay a body. To my surprise it was my sister, she was badly wounded but still alive. It seems a brave man had saved her life at the cost of his. I searched everywhere for his body but it was nowhere to be found. All I found was the sword you now hold. The Fiery Defender. I carried that sword the rest of my days hoping to find the owner and thank him for saving my sister. When I died I left a curse on the sword. Only the rightful owner could wield it once again."

"What of Tanene", Knighthawk asked hopeful.

"She died years later of a broken heart."

"What has happened to me", Knighthawk cried slumping to the ground.

"Listen, I know the gods have chosen you for a great purpose. An evil greater than anything Norrath has known has survived the rendering. You are key to the defeat of it. Hold fast your courage and all will be well."

With that the spirit disappeared and the paladin lost consciousness.

Message Edited by Lonewolfbane on 11-28-2005 08:44 AM

Wolfenbane Shadow
Swashbuckler of Befallen
The Mystic Alliance
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