Monday, July 11, 2016

The Lord of All Death Knights, Airik, Count of Westergoth, Part II

  This is the tale bards tell around the fire of the first, and mightiest, of all Death Knights.

  Airik was born long ago when Dawat sat upon the Ruby Throne. He resembled his older brother, Binamin, greatly and followed his brother wherever he went. Airik walked, ran, swam, and rode younger than his peers, all so he could remain close to his older brother.

  As the two grew up they seemed to strive to surpass the other in grace, courtesy, speed, strength, and skill.Binamin always gave aid to his younger brother until both were of age. As adults no man could match either of them on horse, on foot, or with arms. Elves marveled at their keen eyes, dwarves wondered at their fortitude, and women swooned at their courtly grace and handsome visage. Heir to the Duchy of the Western Marches Binamin could not become a paladin but Airik could. Airik became renowned as a paragon of virtue and perhaps the greatest warrior of his time.

  Sadly, their father died when both were but 21 and 19 Summers old. Binamin was elevated to Duke and his first act was to give his beloved brother the title of Count and half of his own duchy. Airik refused the land, except for a modest tower, but accepted his brother's honors and titles.

  The Lady Rochelle had been a friend of Airik's since they were both children. As they grew older, they grew in love, as well. After many years of travel and adventure Count Airik was given permission to marry and he was soon wed to the Lady Rochelle unmatched in beauty, grace, and virtue.

  While away fighting evil Lady Rochelle was taken ill. Her health declined rapidly and she died just hours before Airik returned. Heartbroken, Count Westergoth stayed in his tower, gripped in sadness, for more than a year. But as he dwelt on his loss, his heart hardened. He blamed himself for being away. he blamed his order for sending him away. he blamed his brother for not being able to save her. he blamed God for allowing her to die.
  Drowning in bitterness, he turned to ancient tomes he had captured from evil temples and delved into them. After a time he struck a pact with the most evil of forces; in return for his soul and his fighting prowess he would serve evil if they would return his beloved wife from death. He was transformed into the first of all Death Knights that very evening. His reward was an elixir to be placed into the mouth of his dead wife. He exhumed her corpse and discovered it miraculously incorrupt, reflecting her virtue in life. Realizing that the elixir, which would revive her as a vampire to live with him for eternity, would destroy the virtue and goodness he love, he poured the elixir onto the ground and departed.

  In the years since Lord Westergoth ha appeared seldom, but he is always accompanied by death and destruction. He corrupts or destroys paladins and overthrows kings. In all the centuries since his transformation he had been thwarted but once, and that by chance. When not reaving or subverting he sits in his vast fortress, brooding and bitter.

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