House of the Rising Phoenix - The Arkati Volumes

The Griffin Sword

Dark, Omnious clouds began to drift over all of Elanthia and evil tidings were approaching. Lorminstra's Temple located in Wehnimers Landing was to be the target of one of the largest attacks ever to be witnessed and fought. The warning signs had already begun to show and it would become clearer and far worse with the arrival of the Prophet of Lorminstra..

The Prophet arrived at Hearthstone one late evening and lead the citizens of the Landing to the roof of the Manor. Instructing everyone to sit down the Prophet removed a staff and suddenly was surrounded by a light and it was as though Lorminstra herself used him as a beacon and the Prophet began to speak to us.

"A time of troubles is approaching and to explain the time of troubles, I need to speak of the past. Thus it was many years ago that there were crafted a few great swords. Great even by today's standards."

"The story I wish to tell you today is of the Griffin sword."

"Many blacksmiths came from lands far and near. They labored for months over its design, materials, and finally construction. The sword cost more to make than many possess even to this day."

"The Pommel of this sword was crafted from the finest sapphire in the lands in those days. The sapphire was set in a platinum shaped hilt and sculptured into Griffon claws which grasped it. The setting was gilded with tiny sapphires, diamonds, and chips of Golvern, and then polished to gleam like the dawn. The hilt was constructed from red veined alabaster, carved and polished to perfection. Copper, platinum, and gold braids were inlaid upon the grips and ruby encrusted platinum rings were crowned and booted to the hilt. It is said that the hilt never grows hot or cold and the grip seems to shift so that any hand can wield it comfortably."

"Much information on the Blade itself is lost to antiquity. I shall endeavor to tell you what is still known. Remember this is from ages past though and information is only as accurate as was written at the time."

"The Blade was crafted using a folding style known only on the Isle of Teras. In any event the blade was said to glow like a flame in the sunlight, a moonbeam at night, and a beacon on dark stormy days. Lastly were constructed the Quillons. A quillon is the part that angles out to the side of the sword and protects the hand from damage. It was crafted from fine gold and gilded with platinum, rubies, and diamonds. The quillons were carved into the shape of Griffin wings that spread elegantly from the hilt and blade. The connecting ring that sits upon the hilt and tang was carved into a Griffin head on both sides of the blade and the eyes were made of small emeralds."

"Now you know what the weapon looks like. Here the story darkens."

"Once the blade was completed, the magicians were called together to enchant the blade. It was enhanced beyond what normally was done, but wizards are a secretive lot and what they did exactly is also lost to Antiquity. Remember also that magic then is not what it is today. It is still a very powerful weapon, but not what some are used to in this day and age. Finally when all the work was completed the sword was brought to the temple of Lorminstra. There it was consecrated and given to a great warrior-priest of Lorminstra, known as Lord Morfell Destrieder."

"The ceremony to consecrate the sword took many days and Lorminstra was pleased by the effort once completed. It is said that Lord Morfell spoke with Lorminstra that day and that Lorminstra personally blessed the sword. For a time Morfell worshiped her, but like some do when they get power, he became corrupt. He made a dark pact with V'Tull, Mularos, Sheru, and Luukos. He consecrated the sword to his new dark gods in a secret dark ritual. That night there was lightning, thunder, and howling winds the like of which has not been seen since. The next day.. the sun failed to rise. The sword was split asunder and its 4 pieces scattered about the realms. The four pieces are Pommel, Blade, Hilt, and Quillons."

"Here ends the past, and that is all I shall say about the time of troubles."

"Lorminstra in her infinite wisdom decided that after all these Eons the sword should finally be reforged and put to some good use. Alas, the four Dark Gods, (V'Tull, Luukos, Mularos, and Sheru) had other plans. Each god sought out one piece, and was successful in their quest. Each god now holds a part of Lorminstra's power. As evil gods often do they plotted against Lorminstra. Just having the parts of the sword was not enough. Their evil plot is to desecrate Lorminstra's temple, forever! Lorminstra has cast many divinations herself and ascertained that they come to her temple, each with a piece of the sword. If they can desecrate the temple while using part of her power (the pieces of the sword), then it will forever be desecrated with no chance of redemption."

"All will be lost if this happens."

"Nine days prior to one ride from today after dark, the Warhost of V'Tull comes to try to complete their mission. V'Tull being the least powerful, if you stop them, prepare for the next god to try some time after. And expect it to get worse. V'Tull is a god of warriors, so you may expect many great warriors to attack. A ride is ten days. So one day hence expect this to come to pass. The leader calls himself the Mouth of V'Tull."

"This will take place in the landing, they will start outside town and try to get to the Temple. I suggest you stop them if you can from even reaching town. Expect warriors from V'Tull, who knows what form of monster or man from the other gods? I would expect a small measure of time between the gods coming. Time for them to plan anew if you stop V'Tull's minions. This is a quest from Lorminstra, if someone is good and just, someone will get the Griffin sword. But it is for you to choose if you wish to help or not."

With this we had been warned, we were blessed by this warning for without it we would have been decimated. Thus like never before the people of Wehnimers Landing banded together and formed a volunteer militia. Wehnimers Landing, being mostly a trading post, had never had a need for a standard army and thus this was an unprecedented event. A force as formiable as this had never been arrayed to defeat an evil, but the enemy had never been so dangerous. The enemy was the Gods themselves..

These four dark Lords of Lornon would soon be upon us, the first to lead his minions against us was V'tull, the lord of warfare, domination and carnage, "The Slayer". Nine days since the Prophet had warned us, that night lightning and thunder streaked across the skies, dark clouds covered the land, and the minions of V'tull struck!

The forces of darkness hoped to weaken our defenses first by sending plaque carrying Rats, Worms and Feral Cats. These were not able to open the whole that V'tulls minions had sought to create, but it was widely only a diversion. Slowly making their way through the Lyserian Hills from the east through the Krolvin Villages V'tullian Scouts, Soldiers and War Hounds traveled swiftly through the meager defenses we had set up to that direction.

The war drums began to beat at a fervored pace. The heat of the battle spread across the lands, courageous warriors screamed their battlecries and charged into the oncoming forces. The tide of the battle swayed back and forth, but the V'tullians were unable to break our barricades, but the worse was yet to come. V'tulls leader sent in his second wave of attackers, V'tull sent in waves of mercenaries, berserking barbarians and V'tullian Maruaders riding upon gigantic Myrmidons. Yet we stood against them, but it was to be only for a short time.

The pounding war drums faded a bit, but in the shadows we could hear the rhythmic footfalls of hundreds of invaders seeming to come from everywhere and nowhere all at once. The war drums then beat a thunderous staccato crash and all about us the battle was everywhere and above us we could see a glow, illuminating a scene playing out in the heavens above, dark shapes locked in combat with luminous beings, mirroring the battle on the ground below.

Then the Generals of V'tulls army were upon us, the V'tullian Elders came leading more of their forces against us. They cut into our numers and were threatening to break through, but all was not yet lost. Ragni and Gillaume, The Pope, had outflanked the invading army and had come upon the Mouth of V'tull, the leader of V'tull's forces, a horrific battle ensued and Gillaume and Ragni were heavily injured, but by summoning his courage, Ragni delt one final blow to the opposing forces commander, thus slaying the monstrous beast.

Word of their leaders defeat spread rapidly, the drums wavered and receaded to nothing, and the V'tullian forces withdrew with no one to lead them. The day was won, but we had worse yet to come.

In the wake of the invasion, we had a brief time to shore up our defenses, but during that time the dark gods were not idle. A black stone had been secretly placed in front of Lorminstra's temple, and it was interfering with the prophet's ability to communicate with the goddess. Some said it was a beacon to the enemy.

Thus came the forces of Sheru, the bringer of night and nightmares, Ronan's great nemesis. His tactics were widely known and highly feared. The night would be plaqued with death, blood and suffering.

It was a brisk fall evening, and as the fading sun set and our breath turned to frost on the wind, the drums of war could be heard again. Gradually they built up in intensity, filling the cold air until Sheru's minions arrived by the hundreds. Much the same as V'Tull, Sheru sent forth feral dogs, cats, and poisonous worms, but he wasted little time inflicting more horror upon us as his attack grew more fierce by the moment." As the drums of war beat into a furious frenzy Sheru sent in his Harbingers riding upon their nightmare steeds. These minions weilded magics that bound and silenced us and hacked us to shreds, then came the Tormentors and other vile creatures. The casulties were mounting. Thus the Sheruvian Nightmaster appeared, laying waste to our forces, but again we prevailed and the hilt of the sword was recovered by Challen from the leader of Sheru's forces.

We would have little rest or time to recover for the Prophet had appeared again in a much weakened state. Many years later we would learn that Lorminstra had been using much of her powers to aid us and the defenses had taken their tole on her and her worshipers, but we would have no time to worry for Mularos and his minions would soon be upon us.

Mularos, the Lord of pain, masochistic acts, and the delighter in ones suffering. Like their evil master, the minions of Mularos would delight in our wails and screams of pain and suffering.

Then came the beating of the drums again to tell us of the Gods minions as if to tell us "Dare to stand against us". Shouts filled with blood-lust came from all around us, as the servants of Mularos followed the pounding of the drums. Black pumas, Slime Worms and Mularosian Scouts and Soldiers followed, and the battle was intense. Where we had previously fought off the invaders without horrid losses, the Mularosians were a force to be dealt with and inflicted as the had sought out to do, inflict pain and suffering on the defenders.

The frantic shouts of the servants of Mularos screamed for our blood as they battled fanatically onward to the relentless pounding of the drums. Mularos Dissipators, Slave-warriors, Punishers, and Dominators to their ranks. All fearsome beasts each with their own way of striking terror in the hearts of their foes. Again we managed to hold, but they were overunning our barriers and assaulting the town directly in some places.

Mularosian flayers, Dissipators and more minions continued to attack, but Thalior, largely on his own was holding them back, mulling them down as they came in waves against him including their leader, the Master of Pain, bent on defeating him and him alone, but in the end he was the one who delighted in their pain and suffering for Thalior had defeated their leader and recovered the third piece of the sword, the Quillions.

Thus would come the final battle, against Luukos, the most powerful of the invaders, The Lord of Death, "The Soul-Taker", fear was his ground, death was his blood, souls were his nourrishment.

This time Luukos would test our patience. The skies turned blood red and the drum beats began, thumping, thumping, from a distance. Slowly becoming clearer and clearer as they approached. Many of the young defenders shook with fear and deserted their posts on the oncoming marauders. Just as Luukos grined in the skies above and his snakelike tongue flicked. He smiled thinking this battle would be his.

We would be blessed for Spike, The war rat, had joined our side. Coming from the far lands of Breganda he would be our strongest ally in the battle that was to come. Snakes, Luukosian Scouts, Dissipators, Walocks, vile vortces and Luukosian Dark Wraiths attacked in droves. Intent on crushing us.

Then Luukos sent the creations of our nightmares and his delightful children, the Lizard-Warriors and Reptilian Soldiers, they were covered in bone like spikes and rock-hard scaly flesh. Our weapons couldnt penetrate their tough hides and our hearts sank. We retreated in droves, many were felled just trying to flee. The battle was horrific and the Luukosians screamed in pure delight, shouting taughts and vile words as we faced them.

Luukos was winning and he laughed in delight, sending his Luukosian Shamans, Arch-Mages and Soul-Takers ahead of Luukos' emissary, The Keeper of Lies. The final battle took place with the eldest heroes in the lands banding together to defeat his minions. The Luukosians were stopped and held then we began to push them back! Again the heroes who had recovered the other three pieces battled the Luukosians and in the end, again we had won and the four pieces had been recovered, but few were left standing on that day.

A month later the Prophet returned. In much better health and requested that the four pieces of the blade be brought forth. The pieces were then reforged by Eonak himself and placed the Griffin Sword in a solid glowing white stone at the base of Lorminstra's Temple to be a reminder of the great battles that had been fought.

The monument was made from a slab of pure white marble. Intricately carved into the borders are figures representing each race of Elanthia, kneeling over fallen comrades on a great battlefield. The center of the wall is smooth and polished, marred only by carefully engraved letters. A small gold plaque sits on the bottom of the monument.

"Know ye that these brave adventurers gave selflessly of their lives to guard our town, and all the world, from the forces of Darkness."

In honor of the many who died in the battle a memorial was built to them in Lorminstra's Temple and to this day serves to remind those of the triumphant stand that the citizens of Wehnimers had against the strongest array of forces assembled to defeat us, that of the Gods themselves.

With the end of this great battle the sword became a holy item and was used many times for blessing magical weaponry to face the Undead, but there were those who were leary of the Swords power and its believed to this day that the true intention of the four Dark Arkati was to place the blade close to Lorminstra's temple and slowly over many years drain the power from her temple until one day a dark hero will arise from one of the Dark Arkati's followers and draw the blade from its stone and destroy Lorminstra once and for warned.

As told by Ulstram, the Prophet of Lorminstra