I was charged with visiting the Prince of the Elves, his lordship Prince Hylas Aelfwar. During the civil war of the Mathosians, he'd been firm about the elves staying out of the skirmish...and I agreed with him. But as the fighting in Mathosia went on, I learned of the horrors that had befallen what would later be known as Scarwood Reach. Those beautiful granitewood trees...all cut down for that man's war machines. Not a trace of the glorious trees remained, just pitiful roots. I changed my stance on the elven involvement after that. The other races were not going to protect the wilderness of Telara; that was our job and we were neglecting it to fight goblins? In any case, I had left the castle after working for years as a member of the Prince's druid division. Now I was returning in a way as an Ascended, and the only green I could see more of was that of envy.
"Welcome to Overwatch Keep," the man bowed politely, which was more than could be said for the others wandering around looking at me and my undead follower with cold eyes. "I am Vigoth Phar. His Excellency is expecting you, however, there was an urgent matter than occurred just before your arrival. If you could wait here a moment.â€
I kept my smile up but I knew better than to buy that line. I'd sent a messenger to relay my visit well ahead of time today. I was being stalled, but for what reason? â€œDo you mind if I wander some? For nostalgia's sake? It's been sometime since I've been here and my last memory of this castle was after the goblins of Maelforge incinerated it...â€ Said with a hint of sadness for good measure. Vigoth gulped, but gave a short nod. â€œPlease, but don't stray too far from this location. His Majesty is not patient, and should the escort come by and you are missing...let's just say you will not have the escort's protection.â€
â€œSo I've heard.â€ I mumbled, walking down the side of the stairwell to a path of curious roots in the ground. They were pulsing. Such dark primal energy. The more I concentrated, the easier it became to feel out this profane sensation. What was this energy, and why did it feel like it was coming from under the very earth itself? Turning back to Vigoth a moment, I continued my stroll until I came upon a cave. While the castle hade many underground tunnels for various use, I knew for a fact this was not one of them. It was far from the eyes of the Alefwar mystics and treants wandering around as well. This wasn't one of thiers. Did they even know it existed?
â€œCome along, Mason. We will see what's down there for ourselves.â€ I ordered my undead knight to follow along. Of course he didn't say anything back, vocal chords being long since rotten away. He's lasted longer than most of my minions after I pulled his remains from the waters of a nearby marsh. Lucky for me to find such a sturdy knight. Commanding him to enter the cave first, I soon heard a growl as several goblins stormed to attack the undead intruder. Mason took the assualt well, keeping their attention on himself while I just picked a few off for their lifeforce. Sadly the goblins weren't stupid, as a few them stopped attacking Mason to hurl knives at my back. My endurance as an Ascended scares me at times, but that doesn't mean I like being hurt in the first place.
As I ran down the ramp and past a few long dead Aelfwar bodies, something large and swift suddenly struck me hard in the chest and threw me into a stone wall. The blow was strong enough to cause a crack in the wall along with breaking a few of my ribs. Mason was still busy with the front guards so I was on my own against whatever hit me. Looking up, I saw under the faint light of torches a vast goblin, smelling foul of dirt and muck with a sly grin. â€œWell, well, it's not everyday we run into an Ascended down here...the Gedlo will be very pleased when I arrive wearing your lovely head as a new ornament.â€
I immediately found my bearings to stand and cloud the area in darkness, placing a circle upon the ground to drain the beast of his energy. Even with that, he swung his club out again to launch me head first into a pile of bones. So the goblins had infiltrated the castle and the proud Aelfwar had no idea. Somehow I wasn't surprised by the notion, but that didn't explain the surge of profane life magic I still felt. It was getting stronger now that I was down in the cave. Quickly I looked around as the huge goblin charged towards me.
Where was it coming from?
I was calmly debating these things as the goblin's howls began to annoy me. Resting my hand down amongst the bed of bones Iâ€™d been thrown in, I just smiled at the foolish monster.
â€œNow you die!â€ he bellowed. "For Maelforge!" The club came down but fell short of striking me. I smirked, amused by the look of surprise on the large creature's soiled face. It would seem he was not expecting those piles of bones to turn up and attack him right in the stomach. A pity really. I wanted to question him further, but I get the sinking feeling he's not the reason for the energy Iâ€™m sensing. Picking myself up as the now dead goblin fell to the ground, I pulled some energy from my new swordsman to repair my bruised back and broken ribs.
â€œNow then...Mason's served his purpose.â€ Its crumbled remains and tattered shield laid in a pile up the ramp where it had been fighting. It did take care of the front guards for me though. â€œWhat should I call you?â€ I asked of the summoned swordsman. Again, there was no answer.