Characters in this post
View character profile for: Artimis
View character profile for: Glenn Grayston The Inquisitor
View character profile for: Vader
Is that a decapitated human head in your pocket? Or are you just happy to see me?
As the Fellowship settled in for their first night since Vader's return, they all gathered around the fire for warmth and conversation. Such things were... unappealing to the ancient Dread Knight. He generally preferred the cold, damp, darkness of a crypt. Invicta's new afinity for conversation made his friendship somewhat less desirable as well. So, while they drew together, he stepped away and headed into the nearby woods in search of solitude.
"Lady De'Lyons... the one human I can stand and the only one I can't find. Where have you gotten to?" he said to himself.
He leaned on a nearby tree for support. Though the power of Greyskull sustained him, he had much depleted it in his battle to return to the living world. It would be some time before he could once more call on its full potential.
"Child of despair...," a familiar voice called out to him from the darkest reaches of the forest.
Vader instantly knew who it was. Long had he been enslaved by that voice, killing and maiming at its beck and call. He went stiff. His hand wrapped around the handle of his Power Sword.
"Corruptus... what is it you want?" he replied in a low voice.
"There was a time once... when you called me master," the sickening voice said.
"That time has passed," Vader said.
A slow, muted laugh echoed through the trees. If a living being had been there to hear it, they would have instantly died as their heart seized up within their chest. In Vader's case, he actually felt his begin to beat for a few seconds. It was... unpleasant.
"Child of despair, I know of that which you seek. Forcing a soul back into that decaying husk has made you weak. Swear yours allegiance to the army of corruption once more... and I will relieve you of it... and I will tell you where to find your wife and child," Corruptus whispered to him.
"And return to them as a slave of the Dark Side? I think not!" Vader said, drawing his Power Sword.
An electrical current ran up the blade, briefly dispelling some of the unnatural darkness. Before him stood a shadowy figure, clad in blood red armor. Its visage was such that Vader's very soul recoiled at the sight, causing him to step back defensively.
There was a low, gurgling laugh. A moment later, Vader could feel that he was alone once more.
Teeth clenched, he swung his Power Sword and chopped down a tall oak tree in frustration.
The next morning, the group continued on toward North Gate City.
As the Fellowship neared the city, they could see a line of NPCs making their way in through the main gate. As they approached, one of the NPC guardsmen saw the party. Eyes wide at the sight of Vader, he gripped his halberd so tightly that his knuckles turned white. Others took note and began to approach, aggressively.
“My Lord, Ah… Lord Inquisitor you have returned to North Gate,” the guardsman said and bowed slightly, never taking his eyes off Vader. “Follow me, my Lords and Ladies.”
NPC townsfolk gave them a wide berth as they passed into the city.
"Go for it," Vader sneered at a particularly nervous looking guard as he walked past.
He flinched, nearly taking the bate before backing back off. Vader snickered and continued on.
Artimis seemed to be enjoying himself as the commoners all bowed to him as he passed. The thief seemed to have no idea that Glenn was the only one they were really bowing to. Minus the group, he'd probably be arrested on the spot and tossed into a pit.
“Lord Inquisitor," a paladin said, riding out to meet the Fellowship. "...And party, follow us. We will lead you to the Inquisitor's Citadel.”
Two lines of paladins stood at attention with shields in one hand and swords at their sides. And every one of them appeared offended by Vader's presence. He could sense the impotent rage boiling within their veins. But so long as he remained a member of Glenn's party, they could not attack him.
As for the citadel, it was huge. Machicolated battlements glared down on them from above, followed by murder holes as they passed through the gatehouse.
“I am not sure what to expect. This was not normal before the awaking. Who knows what protocol is here now? I do know we are safe and you are my guests,” Glenn said, dismounting his horse once they were inside.
Several NPCs come out and greeted the party. An older, robed man began speaking with Glenn. Meanwhile, a young servant woman approached Vader.
"My lord, your armor looks positively dreadful. You must be traveling from the fiercest of battlefields," she said with a meek curtsey that caused a lock of her red hair to fall in front of her face.
"Indeed I have, milady," was the only response the old Dread Knight could think of.
Amidst a sea of fear and hatred, it was almost... unsettling to be approached by a friendly stranger.
"I'm sure I could have the blacksmith work on it for you," she offered.
"I doubt that a good-aligned blacksmith would be willing to do such a thing," he replied.
"Oh my lord, so long as money passes into his hand I'm quite certain it won't be an issue," she said, covering her mouth as she giggled.
"I... Very well, then. I shall require the services of a seamstress as well, then. My cape is in similar disrepair," Vader relented.
When he finally did track down Lady De'Lyons, he did not wish to do so in such a ragged state.
"Once you've settled in, I'll be along to retrieve it," she said.
"You may wish to send someone in your place. Someone of greater... fortitude. I am an undead knight, after all," he replied.
"My lord, you do me an injustice. I've fortitude enough," she said biting her lip and winking at him.
Vader's eyes went wide. ...Where in the nine hells do people like this keep coming from?!?
"What is your name, girl?" he asked.
But before she could answer, the robed man declared, “As you wish, Inquisitor.”
In short order, the group was ushered into the main keep and to a spacious dining hall.
"Food, drink, for the Inquisitor and his companions” the robed man ordered. Then, “I am getting your rooms ready for you. We can wait here until they are ready. Then if you wish we will have baths ready and then we would be honored if you would join the Inquisitor at the main dining hall. Now relax sit and let us serve you.”
But Glenn didn't seem the least bit relaxed. Instead, he walked over to a large chair and sat down as if brooding.
"What troubles you Inquisitor? You usually take great comfort in luxuries such as these?" Vader said, gesturing to the abundant and varied foods being brought in and the soft cushioned furniture about the room.
After listening to Glenn's explanation and finding it wholly uninteresting, "I must find my daughter and Lady De'Lyons. You are familiar with this city. Is there a scry whome I could enlist the services of?"