House of the Rising Phoenix - Great Library - Lore

The Legend of the Necropolis of Kestral Etrevion

from the Kelfour's Edition Volume 3, Issue 11

The Legend of the Necropolis of Etrevion is numbered among the tales that emerged from the devastating Wars of Dominion that ended the Second Era of Elanthia. This area makes up present day Wehnimers Landing, or some parts of it.

Two brothers from the eastern region of Jaiman had set off to join in the struggle and to seek their fame and fortune in the earlier days of the Wars. Of undistinguished lineage, the brothers soon realized that the quickest means to power and wealth was to cast their lot in with the forces of the Unlife. The elder of the two, Bandur Etrevion, was very obsessed with pursuit of esoteric lore and forbidden knowledge. The younger, Kestrel Etrevion, was more practical and a carefree sort, a man of action. While Bandur, a gaunt, intense and frail figure, often felt envy of Kestrel's exceeding beauty, his charisma and courage in battle, their bond of brotherly love was fierce. Bandur used his black arts and his warped intelligence to take advantage of the chaos that the Wars of Dominion caused and had devoted himself to masterminding the rapid rise of Kestrel in the ranks of the warriors of the Unlife. While Bandur remained a shadowy presence in the background, and gathering dangerous knowledge, subjecting himself more and more totally to the foul aims of the Unlife.

Kestrel came to be rewarded for his famous service after a particularly hard fought campaign (which was actually pulled from the very jaws of certain defeat by Bandur's black sorcerous intervention) with a small territory carved out along the west coast of Jaiman, along the craggy shored of the Darkstone Bay. This is the part of the land that forms the windward edge of the High Plateau in the region now called Elanith. Lord Kestrel reluctantly left the camaraderie of the battlefield and the exhilaration of combat to rule this small fiefdom. Although a fair and evenhanded ruler, his heart had yearned for still more adventurous undertakings. Kestrel organized the group of elite warriors chosen from among the best in the land, and had formed a naval fleet whose very purpose was to conduct long-ranging and lucerative raids, plundering the islands, the coastal settlements and shipping routs of Darkstone Bay. He ordered fast streamlined warships fully built and equipped and began a series of protracted sea journeys that kept him away from the kingdom for many months on end.

Lord Kestrel's raids had filled the lands royal coffers with much booty, precious artifacts, legendary holy relics, and many fabled and enchanted treasures. yet the kingdom was in total disarray die to his very long absences. Although Bandur, who was left, in de facto, charge of this territory, had built a large and very loyal network of shadowy spies, along with well placed throughout the entire land, he was so totally immersed in his studies and writings that he did not notice the chaos developing in the land until it reached the breaking point. Bandur's obscure quests, hobbies and whims filled his days and nights, giving him neither rest nor peace of mind. He wrote several widely read volumes on the varied ways of the Unlife, including the most famous work, "Servants of the Shadow: Power through Thralldom." For this he was recognized by the College at Karilon and was permitted unlimited access to the library at Nomikos to continue his research.

But, to his everlasting bitterness, his library privileges were revoked when he had tripped an enchanted alarm system and was apprehended trying to leave with one of the Library's vaults with a rare speaking crystal concealed in the bolds of hid robe. After that, he occupied himself with eccentric pursuits and vainglorious projects, all seeking to appease the ever more voracious demands of the Unlife upon him. He commissioned daring thefts of many rare manuscripts, relics, and scrolls from private collections as well as seats of learning from all the far-flung corners of Elanthia. He had depleted the royal treasury with this undertaking, as well as with the construction of various demented edifices, and terrifying monuments around the countryside in homage to the Unlife.

Kestrel's maritime forays took him yet farther and farther afield from his unquiet kingdom, while Bandur's depraved obsessions and extravagances caused the citizens to resent and rebel against the restrictions of civilized, orderly society. The very spirit of the Unlife was strong; it pervaded and corrupted the land and its influence was felt everywhere. Bands of armed Brigands and rogues were free, kidnappings and ritual slaughter became commonplace, wild creatures roamed the towns in search of prey, while enemies raided the borderlands at frequent intervals. Many fragmented, sinister cults had risen up to full the vacuum left by the deterioration of law and morale in the land.

Finally, just after one particularly gruesome incident, (too hideous even to be repeated), Bandur's advisors pleaded with him to take some action to restore a semblance of order in the land. Bandur roused himself from his arcane pursuits and concluded that something needed to be done to suppress the wanton bloodshed, cruelty and disorder in the land, but not for the sake of peace and tranquillity, but more to allow him to continue to exploit and divert its resources to the efficient services of the Unlife. Bandur relentlessly eradicated pockets and strongholds of resistance in order to central rule with a dedicated force of well paid soldiers and an assembly of foul creatures of his own creation. Once all opposition in the land was crushed, he formed an official cult dedicated strictly to the worship of the Unlife, in which all were strongly urged to join if they wished to keep their heads connected to their necks for any period of time. The state cult filled the need of the people for leadership and direction, thus Bandur usurped the throne of Kestrel, transforming the land into an evil theocracy.

The history of the cult deserves some discussion here. Early in his servitude to the Unlife, Bandur had pledged to the Empress Gosaena, the first Lord of Liabo, to follow the ways of the Unlife. He turned his own bondage to her into the state cult, which he called The Dark Path. Followers of The Dark Path engaged in many heinous ritual practices beneath a genteel facade of prayer, meditations, contemplation, and the cultivation of physical perfection. they were ostentatious in their many devotions, carrying long rosaries of modwir beads and reciting out loud the Iylarian phrase "Gosaena Throk Farok." True followers of the cult of Gosaena who recited the phrase with great fervor and dedication were promised everlasting existence by Bandur, and after death were then transformed into various levels of undead creatures.

While all this was transpiring in the land, Kestrel returned from an extended sea voyage. Appalled at the condition of his kingdom and angered at the seizure of his throne, he exchanged many heated words with his elder brother. Before the dispute has been resolved, an outbreak of hostilities along the lands northern marches called Kestrel and his still loyal armies were away to defend the borders.

Demoralized, and anguished, Kestrel failed to vanquish the foes, and was beaten back to retreat with the few surviving weary and mutinous troops. In Desperation, Kestrel used the Amulet of Summoning which Bandur had enchanted for him when they were mere lads. Bandur, who was a formidable channel for the Unlife, sent minor Demonics to drive back the enemy. Once the outside threat was quelled, the two fell to arguing violently again in Kestrel's field tent. Bandur, now hopelessly under the control of the Unlife, slew his brother in a fit of possession and hatred with a Spell of Absolution Pure.

When he came to his senses, Bandur's first instinct was to conceal his terrible transgression. As the new day dawned, he appeared before the remaining troops and announced that Kestrel died during the night of his battle wounds. He dismissed the pitiful remnants of Kestrel's army, who gladly scattered them to their homes without question. There, in a quiet and remote corner of the land, Bandur created several golems to built a burial mound to hold the remains of his brother along with some of his few remaining cherished possessions. Bandur returned to the capital city, consumed with guilt and remorse at having slain his beloved younger brother. Troubled by evil dreams and ominous omens, he began concocting mind-warping spells as well as very powerful potions to drown his mental anguish. Nothing helped to ease his mind, and the Unlife fed on him with unbounded glee as his inner conflict tore his sole asunder. Finally he could contain himself no longer.

He returned to the site of his foul deed, and there planned and ordered a great graveyard and crypt to be built in the wilds. He oversaw the entire project himself, using magic powers and conjured hordes to finish the undertaking. He enclosed a large climbing area, the burial mound forming the northern perimeter, with the high rock walls and a huge gate. Inside the gate, he commanded a marvelous and perfect crypt to be built. Once that had been completed, and all of the enchantments and magical traps were placed around the graveyard, Bandur placed all his valued possessions, manuscripts and holy relics in rooms within the crypt.

Finally he was satisfied that the work was finished according to his grand design. Now totally mad and in failing health, he returned to the capital to appear before an assembly of the high-ranking priests of The Dark Path, who ran the day-to-day affairs of the land. Pronouncing the words, "Gosaena Throk Farok," told them, "There is a place that calls me, where I must go. For my brother awaits me there. Seek me not if you value your lives. Find me not if you value your souls!"

With that, he uttered a spell of Returning and transported himself to the crypt, within the gates of the necropolis he had built. Sealing himself up in a sarcophagus of his own devising, he muttered one last black spell under his breath and gave up his soul to the powers that it had been promised long ago.

The necropolis was used over the millennia the the-much-debased line of descendants of the family Etrevion, and by some unsavory local folk from time to time. It is also a haunt for intrepid adventurers and predatory beasts.