“It’s well kept for such an old ruin…” Klaus raised his torch to an old spiderweb blocking the door.
His sister scoffed. “Of course it is, haven’t you heard the stories about this place? They say th…”
“Stories about some manling nonsense to teach your kind about your greed and hate for the ten thousandth time blah blah blah…” Borinson twisted the ends of his beard as his short legs carried him across the cold stone floor, his sharp dwarven eyes peering into the dark. “Yer kind would do well to learn yer lessons once and just get over it…”
Klaus frowned stepping in torch first following his dwarven acquaintance. “It’s our history, you go on and on about your history, can’t you let us revel in ours?”
A calm stern hand rested upon Klaus’s shoulder, the fourth member of the party, a tall Drow woman who only referred to herself as Oracle smiled. “He’s a dwarf, let him be stubborn. We’re here for your Weeping King’s tears remember?”
Kadia smiled and poked past igniting her torch as well gesturing to her brother. “The Tears of the Weeping King… yes, legendary nondescript artifact supposedly able to preserve a life forever. Or so they say.”
“Just look out for the Weeping King” The Drow laughed as they continued down the hall.
“That’s not funny Oracle, dozens come here and never return. The Weeping King is real, unlike you, we grew up here, us humans may live shorter lives but our eyes and ears work just fine. I’ve heard him and seen him before.” Klaus followed closely but almost flinched when his sister turned around.
“Not this again, I told you we were playing a prank on you.” She grumbled and fiddled with the next door.
“I know that, but I’ve heard him more than just that night, I swear it, he’s real. Kadia.” He nearly pouted. He remembered the tale as it was popular among the youth, and many told it to their children to keep them well behaved. And it wasn’t like there wasn’t some truth to it, after all they were here for a reason. “The Weeping King was the last who ruled these lands, it used to be holy land, but trying desperately to keep his queen from dying he made deals and perverted the holy wells of energy beneath the castle and when the people rose up to stop him, he killed every last one of them. Every night he weeps for his queen and stands guard to keep the kingdom he burnt to ash.”
“Good! I haven’t smashed an evil king in a long while manling… my axe arm is getting flabby…” Borinson chuckled hefting the heavy axe, the look over his face made it seem like he really wanted to just destroy all the doors rather than allow Kadia to pick the locks.
“If this Weeping king is real… he won’t be that easy to destroy, Dwarf…” The Oracle chuckled slowly and gracefully moving through the dusty old room to the door just as it opened.
“Figures such a statement of cowardice and weakness would come from an Elf.” The word ‘Elf’ spat from the Dwarf’s lips as if it were a curse word. Borinson loved to fight, and from the moment he met the Oracle, he wanted a brawl with the graceful wizard, a brawl she likely wouldn’t willingly give him.
She just smiled and continued on as he grunted in disappointment. Together they crossed into the throne room and stood caught between awe and confusion.
“Is this yer Tears thing?” The Dwarf pointed with his axe.
“No… I have no idea what we are looking at.” Klaus squinted and looked closely before The Oracle pulled him back with a soft grasp.
The skeleton wore the most beautiful gown, clearly fit for a queen, and it danced gracefully and carefully. Each step was fluid and delicate. It just gracefully continued on as if they were not there, caught in a delicate eternal dance.
“Well, let’s clear it out…” The Dwarf raised his axe.
“NO! DON’T DISTURB TH..” The Oracle didn’t even finish her sentence as the darkness shifted, dozens of skeletons poured from the shadowy corners of the throne room plowing into the Dwarf and pinning him down.
Dozens more raised up and began a savage assault. Fire licked from The Oracle’s fingertips, Klaus’s longsword sang as it clashed through bones and Kadia’s daggers darted in and out at the joins of every skeleton that lunged for her.
They weren’t dead yet, but their chances of escape, much less with the mythical Tears was diminishing greatly with each passing second.
“Fall back!” The Oracle’s voice rang out but her voice cut to a sharp twinge of pain and fear as a Rapier pierced through her gut.
Blood dribbled down her soft purple lips as she stared into the blazing eyes of a skull, a sharp blue flame glowing within each otherwise empty socket. It’s jaw clattered open as the guttural hate filled words formed of pure spite. “Drow… filthy thing… you trespass…”
She flashed her magic to try and throw the skeleton off balance, but the blazing heat from her Hellish Rebuke did little to nothing to the skeleton which she only just now noted to be wearing a lavish extensively decorated flawless silk robe. The horror in her eyes redoubled as she realized what she was looking at.
“The Weeping King is a lich!?” Perhaps she was as much asking as she was simply noting how doomed they were. Her eyes widened as she grasped at the blade in her gut and the shoulder of the lich as she stammered reaching for words. “Please! It was a mistake, we didn’t know! What can we do to repay this transgression.”
The cold magical aura poured from the Skeletal mouth as it peered at her, livid rage burning within its eyes. “You can die…” It’s mouth opened wide and her soul tore from her body slithering into his open maw before he tossed her lifeless corpse to one side. Her soul glowed brightly, seeping from the creases of his robe and igniting his eyes brighter as he bellowed. “I AM THE KING OF THIS LAND OF ASHES… I AM THE RULER OF DEATH…” He leveled his eyes at the others, a rapier in one hand and a staff in the other.
It was mere seconds before the room went still. Klaus fell lifeless with but a single word from the Lich as he was charging across the room. The Dwarf did not emerge from the pile of writhing skeletons. Kadia’s body lay on the cold ground, blood trickling from her nose as a long since dead skeletal hand gently smoothed through her hair as an odd feeling hung in the air.
The dead eyes looked over the fading body of the young girl for the passing moments as if he was counting her heart beats, unmoving listening to the fading signs of life.
Finally, he stirred. Slowly reaching for her but he paused, brushing the hair from her face, his form visible winced and he paused again. Slowly he reached back and a box slid across the floor to his side. He took a simple scroll and whispered an incantation before standing and issuing commands to his skeletons.
It was the soft chittering and chirping of woodland animals that woke her. She jerked upright and coughed. Looking around in desperation. Klaus, the Oracle, Borinson, no one was there with her as the sun began to rise over the old fortress city turned ruin after a thousand years of neglect. She knew they were dead, but had not the slightest clue why she was alive. It ached inside of her, her brother and her new friends, dead and gone. But for some reason she was spared.
She took off slowly at first then into a full sprint to get away from the old fortress, fear, despair and pain guiding her every stride.
And from the great distance, from the tallest tower he watched her flee. His form shivering and shaking as a man who was weeping, but no tears came from the bare skull, even when he turned back to the dancing skeleton.
“They are gone my love… my precious Kayla… I will protect you, as always… my love, my everything… for all I have is mine, my pain, my regret, my failure… my kingdom of ashes… for I am the King of Noth… I am all that hate has lead me to be… damnation… and nothing more… for myself, and all those around me…”
He gently reached out and caressed the skull of the dancing skeleton almost hoping that the woman he spared would draw more to the old dead city and finally put him to rest.
Sadly, I never got to finish up Narlos's story in game, he's one of my favorite characters and there's so much to him. And I was overjoyed to see his story told, and so many people were asking tons of questions and making assumptions about him. So I figured I would release a sort of part two without outright explaining it. I wanted to keep a little mystery going on. Leave some things to the imagination, but at least give something that was a likely outcome. After all, I did intend on leading Narlos to full lichdom. granted all the campaigns I took part in that would last that long ended up sadly canceling due to the plague. I just didn't feel right without giving a proper send off to my favorite wizard.