|Associates:||Parnore, Shartug, Darkensi, Asharvik, Prayk, Callava, Munira|
Lord Sorrow (was born Sura Ravenblades)
Sorrow was a Moon Mage of immense power who attacked Zoluren and other provinces. The resulting war was, in many respects, on the scale of the previous Gorbesh War or the subsequent Outcast War. He later died during a ritual at the Standing Stones near Riverhaven.
Was a member of the Crystal Hand, possibly prior to the establishment of the Moon Mage guild). He had been offered a seat on the Moon Mage Council at one point, but turned it down. Also helped Dzree destroy a city during time of the Dragon Priests. Son of one of the last Emperors of the empire. Human Lord of Mir'Kazeril, which is to the east of Sicle Grove. Knows Sithsia, but thinks that she is "quite mad". His moongates need two moons? According to Prayk, he wanted to destroy the Moon Mage tower in Zoluren.
You see Lord Sorrow Ravenblades, a Human Mage.
His intense blue eyes bore into your soul. They gleam with the vast knowledge of the ages, sharply contrasting with a virile body in its prime.
His lithe frame and pale skin are reminiscent of one who spends his time hunched over books, yet a sense of underlying strength emanates powerfully from him.
A predatory gaze and feral smile bely his bored countenance as he observes,.
evaluates, then ultimately dismisses you with the twitch of a raven-winged brow.
His age is indiscernible.
He is in good shape.
A radiant black shield fully surrounds him, pulsing steadily to an unknown
He is wearing an ancient Imperial ring imbedded with seven small red diamonds, a gold-riveted black leather sheath, a pair of crisply pleated black trousers with red satin piping, a pair of polished steel-toed black boots, a tapered front-laced shirt of pristine white silk secured at the wrists with hammered gold bracers and a kyanite gwethdesuan.
Painting sold in Terald's tent at the first Theren festival depicting the fall of Mir'Kazeril.
a somber oil painting
On a muddy plain, a ragtag mass of bloodied pikemen makes a stand against a charging wedge of armored knights on great warhorses. Behind the pikemen lies a huge city, battered by magics of a powerful sort, as lightning bolts flash out of the sky and large gaping holes are torn through many buildings. The citizens of this city attempt to flee, many are struck down from above as they run, and the inevitable end seems near. The Sacking of Mir'Kazeril
-- Image of Sorrow from the vision surrounding Marstan's demise.
A dark hooded figure stood over him, the exposed skin of its arms showing rotting flesh.
Visions regarding Sorrow, (December 11, 1999)
For a brief moment, all goes still about you. Not a breath of a breeze is felt or a chirp of a bird can be heard. After a moment's hesitation, the world around you comes back to life.
An uneasy hush falls around you as birds cease their singing and animals grow still. The world seems to hesitate, as though straining to catch some imperceptible sound. The moment is somehow urgent, but the urgency's source is unclear.
The gentle rustling of wind through tree leaves slowly dies down to complete and utter stillness, leaving the boughs in seeming anticipation.
The rushing sound of fluttering wings bursts around you as hundreds of birds take wing, as if to escape an unseen force.
An unearthly cry of sheer rage suddenly echoes across the land, reverberating and intensifying until it screeches painfully through your head. You clap your hands over your ears instinctively, but the sheer unadulterated anger of it assaults your very soul.
The world suddenly shifts, colors become muted, and motion becomes bizarrely sluggish. A strained voice echoes in your mind, "Something... is wrong... stop... before you... destroy everything."
Your eyes begin to water and the air before you wavers and distorts. A beautiful grassy meadow in the full bloom of spring fills your vision. A young boy rides upon a sleek brown pony, next to an older man on a large black war-horse. Looking weary from a long trip, they both trot slowly towards a large city looming on the horizon. The man quietly says, "What do you want to do with your life? You have so much opportunity." The boy, without hesitation, replies, "I will be an emperor, father." The man chuckles softly, before noticing his son glaring at him. He says seriously, "Your opportunity might come, but beware the treachery along that path. Times are changing; the Empire is not what it once was. Now let us return to the palace, Sura." With the whisper of a gentle wind, the vision dissipates and you are left staring into the distance.
The air crackles with electricity that sets your skin tingling.
Your eyes water and the air before you wavers and distorts. A vision of a battered and sacked city overwhelms your senses. Smoke drifts lazily in the air, buildings have been smashed and looted, and piles of the dead are scattered upon the streets, all casting an eerie ambience upon the city. Through the carnage, a young man strides purposely down a ruined roadway, until he comes upon a company of soldiers resting on the ground. A captain brightens at the newcomer, exclaiming, "Sura! Run along and find your father. He is needed." Sura replies flatly, "He is dead. I am in command. Move your soldiers to the eastern gate, now." The captain blinks once and hesitates, then looks into Sura's war-hardened eyes for a long moment. He nods to himself and barks orders to his men, causing them to spring into motion. With the whisper of a gentle wind, the vision dissipates and you are left staring into the distance.
The world flickers sporadically in and out, the colors around you becoming blackness, then just as quickly transforming to brilliant unreal shades. With a final last gut-wrenching tug of reality, normalcy returns.
Your eyes water and the air before you wavers and distorts. Images of a city on the brink of disaster assail your mind, each leaving you with just a vague fragment of an imprint. The elderly slowly dying, exposed to the harsh environment of winter with no hope of finding shelter. Young emasculated children slowly starving to death. The scarce caravans upon the once busy Imperial trade route ambushed, the traders executed for their goods. Terror and thievery on the streets. Lawlessness. Plague. But soon the tide begins to change. Images of public hangings, the reconstruction of great and majestic buildings by the military, trade reestablished, and shipments of food being brought in. With the whisper of a gentle wind, the visions dissipate and you are left staring into the distance.
Your eyes water and the air before you wavers and distorts. A vision of a celebration fills your eyes, people all over a city walking about and being merry. Thousands are gathered in a square before a large palace, repeatedly chanting, "Sura!" Atop a large podium, Sura raises one hand, and the crowd is silenced. He begins to speak. "It has been seven years since the war, and still we stand, alive, despite what everyone else might have said. Mir'Kazeril is well on the road to recovery. No one will ever defeat the courage and determination so evident in our populace. Nor will we ever again depend on the Empire to defend us, for we will do it ourselves!" The crowd lets loose a spontaneous cheer, and Sura pauses before continuing. "Now that the crisis is past us, I will be leaving for a time. I travel to study with those known as the Crystal Hand, but I will return." With the whisper of a gentle wind, the visions dissipate and you are left staring into the distance.
In the distance, a faint rumbling begins. As it draws slowly nearer and builds in intensity, you first feel it in the pit of your stomach, then all around, then inside your head. At last it drifts on, leaving only a disturbing silence in its wake.
Your eyes water and the air before you wavers and distorts. A sparkling chandelier casts its light upon a large group of Moon Mages, all dressed in formal attire. Sura strides down the room, accompanied by an elder Mage on each side, before coming to stop before a red-robed Mage. The mage looks upon Sura, then says, "You have shown yourself worthy, in such a short time, to be given a seat upon the high council. Do you accept?" Sura opens his mouth, no words coming out, and a confused look upon his face. He gags once, then falls over to his side, blood trickling down his mouth. With the whisper of a gentle wind, the visions dissipate and you are left staring into the distance.
The air grows thick and sluggish, reminding you of a lake just beginning to freeze in the briskness of early winter--only the chill is somehow angry. A tendril of the cold snakes toward your heart and you feel a wrenching at your spirit, as if it were in danger of being pulled from your body. Suddenly, a reassuring warmth spreads through your limbs and you feel a second presence wrap itself around you. The malevolent force, thwarted for now, withdraws from you with a soundless snarl, leaving you exhausted but unharmed.
Your eyes water and the air before you wavers and distorts. The vision of Sura and several elder Moon Mages sitting before an aged oak table appears before you. Holding a wide sheath of papers in his hands, Sura says, "What I hold in my hands is the secret of everlasting life! With this knowledge, we can live forever, doing what needs to be done to better the world. The possibilities are endless!" The Mages sit quietly, their eyes widening slightly in horror as they read the paper, before one exclaims, "This borders on Sorcery! You cannot do this Sura!" With the whisper of a gentle wind, the vision dissipates and you are left staring into the distance.
The ground below trembles and you sense that the soil itself somehow feels...somehow FEARS. A chill wind swirls about and claws at you, like a desperate beast searching for a way to flee.
Your eyes begin to water and the air before you wavers and distorts. An image of elder Moon Mages blossoms in your eyes. They sit around a table; their eyes taut and hands unsteady. One mage exclaims, "It must be done. If the populace thinks we are supporting Sorcery, it could start a whole new witch-hunt against all magic. It could take us years to recover!" To his left, another Mage says, "But he isn't technically a Sorcerer. He is... something else. He could destroy us if we make an enemy of him, but we could temper his ways if he stays. He is young." The first Mage replies, "It does not matter what he is, it matters what the half-witted common people think he is." There is a long moment of silence, before the oldest of them all, at the head of the table, slowly stands up. He says, "Then it is decided. We will denounce him to the Empire as a rogue Sorcerer." With the whisper of a gentle wind, the vision dissipates and you are left staring into the distance.
Your eyes begin to water and the air before you wavers and distorts. The image of a majestic city, high in the mountains, manifests before your eyes. Tall buildings, crafted of smooth stone, rise toward the clouds and cast looming shadows upon the neat cobblestone roadways. Citizens, clad in antiquated clothing, wander the streets, going about daily routines. The vision turns and whirls sickeningly in a blur of motion, before returning to focus upon several figures on the marble steps of an immense palace. An ancient Imperial magistrate, surrounded by a company of elite soldiers, stands before a lone man leaning upon an oak staff. With the whisper of a gentle wind, the vision dissipates and you are left staring into the distance.
Your eyes begin to water and the air before you wavers and distorts. An image manifests before your eyes of a man in formal robes, droning in a monotone voice, "Sura, you are hereby ordered to submit to the will of the emperor and stand trial on the charge of sorcery." Sura pauses a moment, then laughs harshly -- a menacing sound that echoes in the air. The soldiers around the magistrate tense and poise to draw weapons. Sura sneers, "I am accused of Sorcery? You fools know nothing! Your minds cannot comprehend the scope of my abilities." His eyes narrow and he softly begins a murmured chant, as the mages quickly reinforce the ethereal shields protecting the entire company. At that moment, a deep rumbling begins. You begin to feel disoriented and it is unclear if you are watching or participating in the quake. With the whisper of a gentle wind, the vision dissipates and you are left staring into the distance.
All of your senses are suddenly thrown into confusion, but the distortion passes so quickly that for a moment you wonder whether it has occurred at all. You see as you did before; your nose picks out scents... All is apparently normal, until you feel your ears pop. Somehow your world of sound has shrunk to only a few feet in each direction--the slightest nearby noise roars in your head, but you hear nothing at all from any distance. The disparity is merely odd at first, then increasingly unnerving. You lurch off balance, as some part of nature folds into itself, put to rout by some unseen, ungodly menace.
Your eyes begin to water and the air before you wavers and distorts. Suddenly you are assaulted with the vision of the fiery red glow of sunset glaring on a dying Imperial city. The ground is being torn asunder, great roads are veined with gaping crevices, and masses of innocent citizens tumble wildly into the jagged flaws. Small buildings collapse upon themselves, while those that grace the sky fall in surreal arcs and smash to the ground, crushing any unlucky souls caught below. The sky is full of dust and the glare of the sun makes it look as if the heavens themselves are on fire. A heart-rending, thunderously grinding *BOOM* explodes in your ears, as the city proceeds to slide down the mountainside. Boulders and giant slabs of stone tumble after it in a massive cloud of gritty dust, turning the once glorious city into a stony mass grave at the base of the mountain. As the dust begins to settle, the vision fades away.
Your eyes begin to water and the air before you wavers and distorts. The tattered and dirty remains of once-fine clothing clad a group of Humans. They are lean, pale, and malnourished, but they carry on -- helping one another over the mountainous and rugged terrain. A weary young boy asks in a quiet, strained voice, "But why? Why did Lord Sura do this?" A weathered man, possessing the ambience so clear of one who leads, gives the boy a long, hard stare. He replies flatly, "Lord Sura died long ago, consumed by his ambition. Now Now he is the Lord of Sorrow." With the whisper of a gentle wind, the vision dissipates and you are left staring into the distance.
Your eyes begin to water and the air before you wavers and distorts. A rush of visions flies past you at increasing velocity, too quickly to fully comprehend. Fragments of images bespeaking death, destruction, chaos, disorder, and anarchy each last a scant second, before being replaced with an even more horrifying impression. The brutal demise of the Empire. Entire cities lost in civil war. Families torn apart. Lanival. Teiro. Magic. War. Dragons. And then, in the midst of the carnage, one image burns in your mind, staying there: a kindly old S'Kra priest, leaning upon a staff. Masses of S'Kra surround him, looking upon him with awe, murmuring, "Sh'kial!" With the whisper of a gentle wind, the vision dissipates and you are left staring into the distance.
A feeling of nausea assaults you, as if energy is being leeched from your body.
Your eyes begin to water and the air before you wavers and distorts. The stark image of Riverhaven preparing for war overflows your mind. Tall wooden archer's towers have been strategically placed along the riverfront, and a massive stone wall is being hastily reinforced. Behind the fortifications, a vast army wearing the livery of the Baron of Therengia's house stands in formation in front of one steel-clad noble knight, currently pacing in front of a complex battle plan. His face is weary but hard, his crystal green eyes cold ice. He stops suddenly, faces the assembled army, and says loudly, "Dzree's followers have begun their march from the Crossing. We are the last resistance. We must stop them here, or all is lost." With the whisper of a gentle wind, the vision dissipates and you are left staring into the distance.
Flashes of unnatural light dance in the distant sky.
Your eyes begin to water and the air before you wavers and distorts. A contingent of Deathwatch S'Kra Dragon Priest guards surround a S'Kra women and one Human man. The woman says, "I understand you have several talents that could be of use." The Human simply stares at her, waiting. After an uncomfortable pause, the woman continues, "The Baron of Theren has had too much time to reinforce the city of Riverhaven. I can't take it without your help, Sura." Sorrow nods, leaning back against his chair, before saying. "And why should I help Dragon Priests?" Dzree replies, "Because you will be richly rewarded." With the whisper of a gentle wind, the vision dissipates and you are left staring into the distance.
A multitude of bright spots of light swirl and speckle your vision, building into a blinding white light before dimming and slowly blinking away, leaving nothing but solid black. Slowly then the darkness fades to shades of light grey and colors return, leaving your vision as it was before.
Your eyes begin to water and the air before you wavers and distorts. Vivid red, green, and purple lightning bolts stream out of the skies, smashing into the city of Riverhaven, tearing apart buildings and sending groups of defenders flying into the air. Wooden towers burst into flames, the burning archers within leap out, screaming the whole way down before mercifully dying upon impact with the ground. Greyish-green Moon Gates pop into existence behind the fortifications, Dragon Priests streaming out and butchering the bewildered soldiers of Therengia. The vision flickers out, but not before the battle standard of the Dragon Priests is raised above the city.
Your eyes begin to water and the air before you wavers and distorts. An unfinished, towering, and well-fortified black Keep looms over you. Multitudes of Dwarven slaves, hampered by the chains on their ankles, struggle to drag large obsidian blocks up the mountainous terrain. Dragon Priests, eager to ensure that they do their job well, severely beat one Dwarf who lags behind. Surrounded by guards, Dzree and Lord Sorrow oversee the whole operation. Dzree says, "I will see that the Elpalzi are given to you in the coming morning, and that will complete our deal. Are you sure you will not stay with us?" Sorrow nods his head, saying, "We are done; your ideals disgust me. I have what I need, and you will soon have what you desire, without my further help." With the whisper of a gentle wind, the vision dissipates and you are left staring into the distance.
The world wavers and teeters, blurring the images around you. They fade slowly in and out, their hues mixed together in water-colored fluidity before finally solidifying as your vision returns completely.
Your eyes begin to water and the air before you wavers and distorts. The image of Dzree, cold, pale, and dead atop the body of a guard fills your senses. Above her carcass, two commanders argue vehemently over who is in charge of the situation. One solves the problem by swiftly pulling out his sword and killing the other. He takes one look at Dzree, smirks, and then walks away, before he is backstabbed by another S'Kra. The visage suddenly shifts to a large mountainous region. The twinkling campfires of a vast army dot the night sky. As the view zooms in, the distinct shapes of the S'lai and Elpalzi become visible. With the whisper of a gentle wind, the vision dissipates and you are left staring into the distance.
Your eyes begin to water and the air before you wavers and distorts. A fierce battle in front of Stone Clan takes place before your eyes. Tens of thousands of S'lai and Elpalzi warriors press mercilessly against the defending Dwarven and Human soldiers, pushing them slowly back to the gate. Yet this mundane battle is insignificant when compared to the gigantic magical one in the background. Sorrow stands alone before twelve elder Moon Mages, and a mysterious dark robed figure. Fierce magics are traded between the two sides, crackling and sizzling through the air, before exploding harmlessly onto their respective shields. Sorrow leans heavily upon his staff. With the whisper of a gentle wind, the vision dissipates and you are left staring into the distance.
Your eyes begin to water and the air before you wavers and distorts. Sorrow sits in the shadows of a library, alone save for one Elpalzi commander. The Elpalzi says, "We managed to retreat in an orderly fashion, without excess casualties. Shall I plan another attack?" Sorrow is quiet for a long moment before he replies, "No, the window of opportunity is past. Let the short-lived ones forget about me. Let them forget while we prepare for the eventual victory. Seal the tunnel and demolish the road." With the whisper of a gentle wind, the vision dissipates and you are left staring into the distance.
Long, descriptive article from Waerd Aev, Jan 2000
"For Times Truly Doth Not Assuage Sorrow" by Nesbit Plainsinger
Horrible visions of death, necromancy, and disaster have plagued Zoluren night upon night. These phantasms give way to the realities of evictions, invasion, and theft. Why have Zoluren and Therengia suffered so? Who is the craftsman who has made Elanthia his canvas and destruction his art? 'Tis none other than Lord Sorrow and his crew of cutthroats, mages, and thieves. From an impervious keep in Sorrow's Reach, they work endlessly to carry out the goal of their leader: forming the empire once more. Yet, there are those who would seek to stop Sorrow from attaining this aim. With so many involved in the intrigue, it is a wonder that anyone can keep these events straight that all know what both the present and past history of Sorrow and the fight against him. For that reason, I set my hand to write; to make sense of these men, their motives and their goals and, in essence, to make sense of these events to myself. Even I do not know all and I fear that there exist large gaps in the story that I shall lay down. Take these words for what they are and I hope that, in some small way, they will help someone to understand.
Now, let us start from the very beginning, the first time we heard of Sorrow or any of his intentions, during...
As revelers and collectors alike celebrated the Baron's Midsummer Festival in Therenborough, one tent in particular seemed to stand out as a curiosity: Terald's Antiques, selling artifacts discovered on archaeological digs from all about the Elanthia. Not only did it attract the inquisitive eyes of many festivalgoers, but also the shifty eyes of a pack of thieves. Stealing several artifacts from the tent and making a dash for it, the group was soon detected by Terald, who posted the following notice in his tent soon after the heist:
"Receive an award upon the return of the stolen items several ruffians took! The names of the ruffians are: Terak, Sorjon, Darkensi and Munira. One ruffian's name I have yet to discover. Stolen items are: an antique silver ring, an Imperial bastard sword, some black onyx cufflinks, a black leather armband, an elegant animite locket, a scuffed platinum ring, a monstrous dragon helm, a large canvas mural, a small oak dragon clasp, a lock of golden hair, a white gold pendant and a steel Imperial longsword."
In order to determine their motives and the cause for such a theft, it would behoove us to look at some of the burglars in turn.
Some might recognize the name Terak as that of the Pirate Captain of the Red Sash, a group perhaps most notorious for their siege of Mer'Kresh. After the city fell, however, he and his men seemingly disappeared. So how did he come to be implicated in this theft? Who is to say. Several people spotted him fleeing the festival with Darkensi after the theft was made public. The masses tried to stop the pair, but they were rather unsuccessful. Ruffian attacks spread all over the province threatening the profits of the merchants and the greater security of Therengia itself. When asked to intervene in the situation, Paladin Guild Leader Darius, who was traveling through Therengia on guild business, immediately joined a force making their way toward El'Bain's, where it was believed that Terak was hiding. After finally breaking through the lines, the party arrived at the wayside stop and discovered him hiding within.
Darius issued a challenge to the pirate and was the eventual victor, slaying Terak. While dead, Terak was quick to strike a deal with Darius on the terms that for his guaranteed resurrection and a twenty-five-platinum fee, he would reveal to the group the location of the hidden artifacts. Feeling limited in other opportunities, Darius agreed to the deal. Unfortunately, many of those assembled did not.
An unknown man quickly made off with Terak's body refusing to let the deal be honored. Although a largely unsuccessful chase ensued, the corpse was finally recovered by Lady Atheina, one of the special envoys to the Baron, who managed to drag him through a Moon Gate which presumably leading to the dungeons of the Baron's Keep, where Terak was eventually located. The next word that we heard from the lady was that she had successfully forced, by methods still mysterious, the pirate to reveal that the group had hidden the relics in Langenfirth.
A party was quickly dispatched to search the city, and Karlich eventually found the stolen items. While the artifacts were quickly returned to Terald, calm had not yet returned to Therengia. Several bands of S'lai Hunters and Screamers surrounded the Therenborough under the leadership of Darkensi and Sorjon. Some claim that this attack was merely a distraction, as handful of witnesses report seeing Munira, one of the fellow thieves, entering the cell of the pirate captain with a none too happy look upon her face. Others go far as to say they actually overheard her saying that Terak would pay for his failure before the two escaped from the cell.
At this point, emerging as the group's apparent leader, Munira, a hired thief, was pursued by many of those present at the time. She was quickly cornered several times and slain for what she had taken. Apparently realizing that the game was up, she slinked back into the shadows for a period. One might think that after bumbling such a notorious heist she would remain in the shadows for some time until the controversy had died down. Aside from the mysterious murders of two of those that tried to stop her in her escape, it appears that she has done that. It is known that a very wealthy man has employed Munira, but we can only speculate that this man is Sorrow.
After the items were returned and security increased surrounding Terald's tent, a man named Sura began to make his voice heard over the gwethdesuans. His comments lead some to believe that perhaps he had been involved in the theft of Terald's artifacts. When questioned about his knowledge of this Sura, Terald revealed that he was, in fact, a powerful mage who had been kept alive for hundreds of years through some enigmatic form of magic. He was also commonly known as Lord Sorrow. Terald claims that this moniker was given to him after he destroyed the town of Mir'Kazeril where he was born. However, when addressed by this name, Sura became enraged and threatened death if the taunting did not cease. Soon after, he took his leave and mysteriously disappeared. After this bungled theft, nothing was heard from Sura or his thieves for some time. At least, not until one fateful night near Stone Clan.
For the past several months, Hegemonic Blessedbe and several others have sought to unite the Dwarven community by holding weekly meetings near Stone Clan. Their efforts have met with resounding success and perhaps a bit more as controversy does seem to breed popularity. All this due to the appearance of Lord Sorrow at one of these meetings. In order to disperse those assembled, he dispatched S'lai Screamers to attack the dwarves. Timel Haiyne, a young dwarf traveling through the area at the time, reported receiving multiple visions of S'lai and Dwarves embroiled in a fierce battle outside of the Stone Clan gates. When asked of the outcome of this battle he hesitantly informed us that the dwarves were not the victors. Timel was not the only one to see visions and odd portents that evening. Several of Zoluren's citizens also repeated seeing visions, hallucinating, or in some cases even being contacted by the Immortals themselves! Whether or not such reported visions and conversations were true, is unverifiable as they seem to be scattered at best.
Sorrow and his forces were defeated but attacks continued on the clan home of the dwarves night after night with little respite. The common theme seemed to be the appearance of the S'lai over and over again as well as three key figures: Darkensi SwiftClaws, the ArcaneMage Sadiaer, and Prayk Gantanlion.
Darkensi, one of the would-be burglars during the Terald heist, has, thus far, completely fulfilled the precedent of his title. If he can be described as anything, he is a "Predator." Showing strong bonds of loyalty to both Munira and Prayk, he has fought quite loyally for those that he trusts. Yet, his tactics might not be considered praiseworthy. Sneaking from the shadows, he has been known to attack people with poisoned arrows.
Sadiaer has revealed himself as a mercenary under the command of Lord Sorrow and seems to be the most aggressive of his three counterparts. Paladin Lyalon duTalair who witnessed one such event comments that, "The man is completely crazy. He uses Fire Rain as if it were Fire Ball. He seems completely unaware of the havoc that spell can cause. Well, perhaps unaware is not the right word. He seems aware, just completely uncaring." Sadiaer seems to hold a low opinion of his two companions, but is strong warrior, nevertheless.
Prayk seems to be more of a diplomatic nature and willingly talks freely among those that are quite opposed to Sorrow's work. He has revealed that he is in Lord Sorrow's service only after a deal struck between them and will soon meet his release. Nevertheless, he is quite quick to act when he feels that he is threatened or the situation demands and never fails to explain that his loyalties lie with Sorrow until their deal has met its completion.
As the battles continued night after night, the S'lai even ventured into Promado Village, a neighborhood within Sorrow's Reach. Those inhabiting the homes there were attacked and eventually evicted from their property. When questioned as to his feelings regarding the attacks on the village, one local bard and once inhabitant of the village replied, "Suppose I should be rather glad I moved."
An outcry went up amongst homeowners and warriors alike. Prayk appeared along the Northern Trade Routes and attempted to answer many of the questions that were fired at him as a result of the actions of Lord Sorrow. The lands within the Reach, he said, were the grounds of an old trade route under the Empire of the Seven-Pointed Star. He demanded that everyone remove themselves from the area due to the slaughter of the S'lai that inhabit the area that had been going on for years. Argument arose from those who had purchased property in the village and an agreement was eventually reached between the two parties to allow safe passage through the land for those people only. Yet, as one inhabitant Kazkrim Kil'Ean states, it is merely an "uneasy truce." Those who now attempt to violate this agreement by straying from the Northern Trade Route are met with fierce attacks by the S'lai warriors.
The Book & the Ring
After Prayk's decree regarding Sorrow's Reach, the attack soon shifted focus from Stone Clan and Sorrow's Reach toward the Crossing. Invasion forces hit near the paladin's guild and S'lai Assassins murdered the top twenty-five members of the Barbarian's Guild as listed upon their guild register which was stolen by a gnome named Callava. Notes were found by several warriors on the bodies of the S'lai they had slain. One such note read:
"Commander, I am losing patience. You either find the book of the Zaulfung Stones, or you will suffer most dire consequences. Lord Sorrow"
Soon after, Sorrow and his three henchmen arrived in the Crossing while their minions created a distraction within the town walls. Scouring the town for a book, presumably the one mentioned in the letters, Sorrow was overheard roaming the halls of the library at Asemath Academy. Hours later Darkensi and Sadiaer were reported in the town's other libraries. From later discussions with both Prayk and Darkensi, the search was unfruitful that evening and the invasions were called off for the time being.
With all of the controversy regarding Sorrow's interest in the Zaulfung Stones, many began to turn to Romeode Ligreth, an collector who purchased a ring from the auction tent at the Baron's Midsummer Festival which is rumored to show visions of the events surrounding the raising of the warding stones. Sorrow and his men equally redoubled this interest. Romeode was captured and several moon mages reported being able to locate him magically in a plotting room with Sorrow, Sidhlot, Sithsia, Velmix, Prayk, Darkensi, Munira, and Sadiaer. There the ring was stolen from him after an intense torture session and his corpse dumped at the foothills of Sorrow's Reach. When later questioned about the incident, Darkensi replied that "If the ring would of been given, all would of been well." [sic]
Some have gone so far as to wonder if perhaps the original intent of the raid on Terald's tent at the festival was to recover this ring in the first place. Not finding it there, since it had been stored in the Auction Tent, perhaps the thieves made off with whatever else they could find at the time. What secrets the ring may hold for Sorrow and his crew remain an enigma.
On discovery of Romeode's body, a mob began to form within the Crossing that, gathering strength in numbers as it marched along, made its way to Sorrow's Reach were it fought Sorrow's S'lai forces all the way into Promado Village where the battle ended with little else obtained but a present victory.
Yet larger questions remained on the mind of the general populace after word soon spread of the involvement of Sidhlot, one of the men implicated in the torture of Romeode, in Lord Sorrow's plottings. Many adventurers will remember this necromancer from his impersonation of ambassador Caitraith in the reopening of the trade routes to Ilithi. Lover of Morganae and the eventual murderer of her daughter, Sidhlot is an infamous name amongst many that defend the provinces. They were rightly concerned to wonder what hand he played in these events. Even Prayk has shown a large degree of distrust for Sidhlot. Fortunately or unfortunately as you may view it, several interested parties had the opportunity to raise these questions to both Sorrow and Sidhlot themselves as they showed up at a private gathering on the night of Romeode's abduction.
Throughout the evening the pair spoke almost jokingly about the death and torture of the ring's former owner and revealed Sorrow's true intentions. He spoke of bringing about a new golden age in Elanthia with the reformation of the Empire of the Seven-Pointed Star. When questioned about their partnership, Sidhlot appeared fairly confident that the two men were working towards complimentary goals. However, the encounter brought up many more questions than seemed resolved. Some were left to ponder if perhaps Sidhlot had somehow learned to manipulate Sorrow and use his power to reach his own ends. Of course, others believed Sorrow to be the one using Sidhlot and his powers of necromancy to combat opposition against him.
With the ring now in the control of Sorrow and his men, the search for the book became all the more important and it was taken up again in earnest. Once again, the Dwarven meetings where Sorrow's first made his presence known became the sight of another revelation. The village elders of Stone Clan approached the group of dwarves revealing to them that the book which Sorrow sought lie deep within the bowels of the clan home. The group was led through the convoluted tunnels of the mines into a dimly lit room. A triangular ward appeared etched deeply into the stone of the floor. At the center stood a steel pedestal holding the aged leather book that had been so sought after. At each edge of the triangle a mage stood, keeping the wavering ward of protection over the book strong. Dozens of Dwarven soldiers patrolled the small room to keep an eye on all passersby. The question arises that if the book had resided in this tunnel for all of this time why should the Clan's elders risk telling anyone of its presence? Most likely their openness has something to do with the fact that Prayk had mentioned to several people that he knew not only where the book was located but that Sorrow was making preparations for its recovery. Hegemonic and the rest of the dwarves quickly formed a Stone Clan Militia to protect the tunnel from the advances of Sorrow and his army. Will this force be enough? Why does Sorrow so vehemently pursue knowledge regarding the Zaulfung Stones? Most likely, we will not discover these answers until it is too late.
In order to understand better Sorrow's desire to unlock the secrets of the Zaulfung Stones, we must, in turn, examine what is known of their history, ourselves. The Zaulfung, or the "Devil Swamp" when translated literally from High Gamgweth, lies east of Riverhaven. Approximately four hundred years before the victory of Lanival the Redeemer, several standing stones were erected by Captain Farn Emdarson and his Company at the entrance to the swamp under the reign of Empress Merthamone.
Research conducted under High Mage Wosykaun Ervintralao, Professor of Interdisciplinary Arcana at the Gealeranendae College of Magical History, has discovered a great deal of interesting information about the stones and their origin. As a point of departure, the professor examined some documents uncovered during a renovation of Theren's Keep that appeared to have been written by a handmaiden or a lady-in-waiting for the Empress herself. They provide much information about Captain Farn and his company and how they came under the hire of the Empress.
Further information taken from the documents is sketchy, but from the professor's studies we might gather that the swamp was slowly expanding and would soon threaten the city of Riverhaven. However, this was not an entirely natural process as some demonic force was endangering those that would enter the marshy terrain. Captain Farn and his men were able to erect the stones, which contained the nebulous evil that inhabited the swamp. However, its influence, it appears, has not been completely subdued.
A physical study of the stones themselves show that they are not entirely natural in and of themselves and deep magic runs through them. In his book, _A Study of the Zaulfung Stones_, Professor Ervintralao states "alchemical analyses at the site...indicate an Ethereal presence within the substance of the stone, of the type used to contain semicoherent spirit plasma. Othersight reveals, within that structure of active Aether, a strong flow of Air from the grey stone, into Electricty between them, to Fire in the black stone. This raises many more questions than it answers, and challenges our very understanding of the elements." Research by the top clerics, moon mages, and empaths throughout Elanthia has shown that the magic running through the stones belongs not to their realms.
As the professor put it, this study raises almost more questions than it answers. If the magic of the stones is not lunar, life, or holy, does that mean that elemental magic holds the evil within the swamp? Or is this a manipulation of some magic realm that we cannot yet comprehend? The documents show some evidence of some force aiding Farn with unknown lore that was essential in raising the stones. Some believe that this force was Sithsia. The author of these documents accuses this same force of perhaps murdering Farn's Company to cover up some sort of treachery that had been done at her hands. If Sithsia did play an integral role in erecting the standing stones, might that explain Lord Sorrow's sudden interest in her and her presence at Sorrow's Keep?
Even more importantly, what is the nature of the evil that inhabits the Zaulfung? The documents refer to the swamp as the place where "the dragon fell." Historical scholars have had a field day interpreting the meaning of this obscure reference.
Lastly, what does Sorrow hope to gain by uncovering the mysteries of the swamp? Does he seek to disrupt the magic enacted by the stones and to release the evil that resides oppressed within? What would such action portend for the rest of Elanthia? Again, by the time we find out, I fear it will be too late.
Although there has been no lack of resistance to Lord Sorrow's plans from the men and women of the provinces, a somewhat more unorthodox sort of power was needed to combat the combined forces of the likes of Darkensi, Prayk, Sadiaer, Munira, Sithsia, Sidhlot, Velmix, and Sorrow. This power came in the form of a Necromancer who first made a stir in Zoluren in his attempts to chase from the cemetery directly outside of the Crossing those who incessantly hold tournaments within its gates. Marstan, and his undead companions, Lef and Vaxin, began their crusade to stop the bloodshed and desecration of graves. Through summoning undead creatures to attack those who do not heed their wishes, the trio had placed a rather large stigma on these bloody games.
How did this Necromancer, so seemingly unrelated to the intrigues of Sorrow and his men, become involved in helping those that in the past would have oppose him? Some believe that whatever magic Sorrow uses to prolong the lives of himself, Prayk, and others interferes with the beliefs held by the Necromancer.
Nevertheless, Marstan made it very clear that he was willing to lend his support in the fight when he met with many citizens of the Crossing to plan a raid on Sorrow's Reach. While plotting with members of the Apostles, Marstan laid out a plan in which those that were willing would cause a diversion within Sorrow's Reach to draw both forces and attention away from Marstan, who aided by Vaxin and Lef, would sneak into Sorrow's Keep in order to enact lore against Lord Sorrow that could break his spell of immortality and cause him to begin a rapid aging process.
Given time to prepare an army, the attack occurred eight days later. Everything worked according to plan. As lightning bolts danced their way across the sky striking down warriors in battle, Prayk, Sadiaer, and Darkensi, accompanied by and army of S'lai warriors, held back the force. Meanwhile, Marstan was able to sneak behind their lines and execute his lore upon Lord Sorrow. He was soon dragged from the Reach, with Sadiaer cursing his name over the gwethdesuan for the remainder of the evening.
As the invasion force pulled out of Sorrow's Reach, Marstan and Vaxin began to celebrate their victory as they made their escape to the islands, taunting Prayk and Sadiaer all the way. Seemingly in retaliation, a large group of S'lai attacked the Crossing in hopes of finding Marstan to kill him for what he had done.
Yet as all of this was going on something indeed had happened to Lord Sura. Almost all of the general populace can recall bearing witness to a mysterious vision that night. An apparition of...
As a result of Marstan's successful attack against Sorrow, the images of the lord's life seemed to play out in front of the eyes of all of Elanthia. The following account was pieced together from the visions that many saw that day:
Sura's ambitions towards power manifested themselves at a very young age. Even while in the company of his father, a war leader of some sort, he expressed a desire to become an emperor some day. Yet, during some point in his early years, his father was killed in the sacking and looting of some city. (Presumably Mir'Kazeril?) Sura immediately took command of his father's troops and took control of the city. What happened immediately after is vague, but we do know that the inhabitants of this city suffered a long period of starvation, lawlessness, and plague. However, the tide of this once dying city was slowly turned and successful reconstruction of the majestic city was embarked upon apparently with Sura at its helm. He became a celebrated figure to the citizens of the town who attributed much of its newfound prosperity to their new leader.
Seven years later, Sura announced that he would be leaving the city for a period in order to begin studies as a moon mage with those known as the Crystal Hand, but promising to eventually return. He adeptly learned the arts of lunar magic and was soon offered a seat on the Moon Mage Council. However, before he could accept, some odd form of attack seized him. Coughing up blood he mysteriously fell to the ground.
The next we saw of Sura, he stood once more, before the Moon Mage Council proclaiming that he had discovered the secrets to everlasting life. Shocked at his discoveries, which bordered on sorcery, a practice that had been outlawed for several years under the Empire, his fellow councilmen attempted to dissuade him from following through with his research into such areas. Yet, when he presumably refused, they council plotted against him. A dilemma arose from the fact that whether or not Sura's studies were sorcery or not, it was feared that the general populace would believe them to be. Fearing a witch-hunt, which might lead to the crippling of the guild, the councilmen decided to denounce Sura to the Empire as a rogue sorcerer.
Imperial troops converged upon Mir'Kazeril in order to arrest Sura for his crimes so that he might be tried. Refusing to submit, he unleashed an earthquake of massive proportions upon the city in order to make his escape. The city was destroyed in the process. The ground was torn asunder, great roads were veined with gaping crevices, and masses of innocent citizens tumbled wildly into the jagged flaws. As the ground below it gave out, the city slowly slid into one of these large furrows becoming buried at last at the hands of perhaps its greatest hero. Those that survived the quake bestowed upon Sura the nickname of "Lord Sorrow" for his betrayal of his citizens.
Time passed, the empire fell, and the Resistance Wars ran their course. Soon, however, with the rise of another empire, that of the Dragon Priests, Lord Sorrow emerged once more into the public eye. This time, at the request of Priestess Dzree, he joined the efforts of the Dragon Priests to conquer Riverhaven. With his magic, the city was smashed and fell to the hands of Dzree and her ever-expanding sphere of influence. In exchange for his help, it appears that the Dragon Priests commissioned a large black keep for the lord. Also, Dzree arranged for a force of Elpalzi to be given into Sorrow's command. However, after the sacking of Riverhaven, the two parted company with Sorrow no longer willing to support the ideology of the Dragon Priests.
Once again, time passed and Dzree's empire collapsed upon her death in the year -1, just as Sithsia had predicted a year prior. Almost immediately afterward, Elpalzi and S'lai attempted to invade the Stone Clan. While this attack was occurring, Sorrow himself was embroiled in his own battle against twelve elder Moon Mages, presumably the Moon Mage High Council. Yet, the skirmish was eventually lost and the Stone Clan defended. With the retreat of the Elpalzi and S'lai forces, Sorrow ordered the sealing of the tunnel and the demolition of the road leading towards the keep. Thus, peace was secured for the moment.
As these visions of Sorrow's past ended and Marstan and Vaxin secretly made their way to Aesry Surlaenis'a, Lord Sorrow offered a 100 platinum reward for the necromancer's return. S'lai and Elpalzi forces, under the direction of the Pirate Terak, were immediately dispatched to the islands to capture Marstan, Lef, and Vaxin and bring them back to the keep in order to "fix" what they had done. Despite a hard battle put up by the inhabitants of the island, the three were easily captured and taken back to the Keep.
Who is to say what evils befell Marstan during his "stay" at Sorrow's Keep, yet during the period when he was held as captive, many reported seeing visions of his life, much as they had seen those from his nemesis. Again, I have pieced together what history on Marstan that I could from the visions of that night:
Marstan's story begins with his marriage to Ilyeanna, a wife with which he was very much in love. Sadly, though, their marriage was not fated to last long as she soon became tragically ill. In an attempt to save her, Marstan carried her body through the snow to a monastery where the monks living there took them in. Unfortunately, help came too late as Ilyeanna soon met her death.
Grief like no other struck Marstan and he plunged himself into the dark arts of necromancy in an effort to bring his wife back to him. Finally discovering an incantation with which he might succeed in this desire, he returned to her grave to work the magic. As his spell took its course and Ilyeanna's form began to coalesce above her grave, Marstan found that he was unable to help his wife's spirit solidify. The couple was only reunited for a few scant moments, as a band of hunters entered the cemetery. Upon seeing the spirit, they knocked Marstan aside, drew their blessed weapons and attacked the spirit. Unable to withstand their blows, she soon dissipated, leaving Marstan bereft and alone once again.
As frightening as these visions of Marstan's past might have been, they were no match for what was happening to him inside of Sorrow's Keep. From what could be discovered of the events of the next few evenings, Sidhlot, using magic much more powerful than those at Marstan's command, was able to recall Ilyeanna from the Void and use her to blackmail Marstan into undoing what had been done to cause Lord Sorrow's rapid decay. Moon mages were able to perceive Marstan's presence within the Keep lying prone while Sidhlot, Sorrow, and Sadiaer stood watching, using Ilyeanna as a pawn. Droves upon droves of warriors attacked Sorrow's Reach determined to reach the keep and free Marstan, but their efforts were all in vain. First Vaxin, then Ilyeanna, and finally Marstan all were slaughtered and meteors flew across the sky as their souls departed forever to walk the Starry Road. Sadly, even their deaths were in vain as Sadiaer soon reported that Sorrow had been saved and the aging process halted.
Now that perhaps our last hope in holding back the forces of Sorrow and his men has met his final end what can we expect to happen now? The inhabitants of the keep are already making their command of the upper hand well-known by freeing the S'lai guard who for so long has watched the Trader's Guild in the Crossing and threatening to destroy the Moon Mage Guild if the same is not done for the S'lai chained there as well. Will Sorrow and his men recover the book and unlock the secrets of the Zaulfung? Only through endeavoring to maintain the cause for which Marstan died will we have any hope of turning back the sorrow that seems so ominous on the horizon.
Sura Ravenblades was a Human of almost immeasurable power and ambition. Early in his life, he was counted as one of the most powerful mages of the Imperial Moon Guild, however after being offered a seat on the High Council and collapsing, he discovered a form of magic that would allow him to live forever and grant him almost limitless power. The Moon Mages attempted to stop him, but rather than be defeated, he destroyed his own home of Mir'Kazeril and earned himself the name "Sorrow" and became little more than a subject of myth and legend. Quite recently, he returned in an effort to conquer the known lands and restore himself as Emperor. After plunging the Five Provinces into a bloody war of conquest, he was thwarted by his supposed ally, Magus Prayk, when he attempted to harness the power of the Zaulfung Stones. In the ensuing discharge of raw magic, he and Prayk were lost, never to be seen again.