The Order of the White Raven

Truth of the Keep

“My books and scrolls tell me that the ruined keep was
built by the old empire, Nerath, as I suspected. The Nerath
Empire was attacked by hordes of undead and demons at
the time, over three hundred years ago, released onto the
earth by the mighty wizard Karavakos from a rift to the
Shadowfell. Finally, in a great battle, the empire of
Nerath’s legionnaires managed to eliminate the threat of
the rift to the Shadowfell. The empire’s soldiers destroyed
the remaining undead, sealed the opening, and built a keep
to watch over the location and contain the threat. This is
the site known as the Keep on the Shadowfell.”
“The Shadowfell is a place of darkness and shadows,
but not all of it is evil, but this rift apparently connects to an
unholy sanctuary of Orcus, the demon lord of the undead.
Skeletons, ghouls, and stranger, fouler creatures once
crawled through the opening into the light of day. By
destroying the undead and sealing the rift, the Nerath
Empire thought that was the end of the story. Now, I’m not
so sure.”
“Take a look at this poem I found in the ‘Collection of
Lyrics from Melgold – The Mad Poet of Almhurst’

In shadowed keep of tumbled stone,
A peril lurks, for years unknown,
The Kinslayer’s spirit guards it yet,
’Gainst a newfound vile threat.
The Kinslayer once was proud and strong,
Until the Blood Lord came along.
The thing of evil sent dark dreams,
Nightmares wrought of tortured screams,
The vowed defender’s mind did bend,
And with his blade he did rend.
Awakened to the awful truth,
Shattered bones of men and youth,
His wife and children, pride and joy,
Mistaken for demons he was forced to destroy.
The Kinslayer fled to meet death alone,
For wicked deeds he must now atone,
And so the fallen paladin must wait,
For heroes to arrive and reverse his fate.
But twisted whispers echo through the halls,
And ghostly blood runs ’long the walls,
None can face those cursed remains,
Fear like water in their veins.
A Blood Lord follower from a cursed line,
Now threatens to awake the unholy shrine,
Dark power craves as men do thirst,
Confining spells to be reversed.
Storm clouds gather with the demon’s approach,
And the living dead will soon encroach,
The forces of good will never survive,
For the Prince of the Undeath will soon arrive.

This poem sent me digging deeper into the fall of this
Kinslayer and this is what I found: Within two short
decades after the collapse of the Nareth Empire, Shadowfell
Keep was abandoned and left to fall apart and decay. It
was on a grisly night about eighty years ago that the lord
and commander of the keep garrison, Sir Jerold Keegan,
put into motion the events that led to the keep’s downfall.”
“Perhaps the Shadow Rift’s malign influence is too
strong to resist. Maybe Sir Keegan was a crazed lunatic
driven by demons we may never understand. Whatever the
case, at the stroke of midnight on that fateful day, Sir
Keegan began to systematically slaughter every resident of
the keep, forever cursing the place. The author of the
historical treatises speculates that he suffered paranoiddelusions,
for Keegan went on a rampage through the keep.
His own wife and children were first to fall to his blade,
then his trusted advisors, and finally many of the soldiers
under his command. Sir Keegan was too skilled for any one
soldier to defeat, yet eventually the garrison managed to
respond with an organized defense. Although many brave
soldiers died, they managed to inflict him a grievous wound
that drove the mad knight to flee into the keep’s crypts were
they finally managed to dispatch him.”
“The keep became notorious for a time, as one of the
last bastions of the fallen empire. There was no one to order
it back into service. So it was abandoned, feared for a time,
and eventually, more or less forgotten. An earthquake a
few years later collapsed the upper towers and walls, and
turned the place into a ruin of tumbled stone.”
“Rumors persist of great treasures buried beneath the
keep, yet few have dared explore the passages over the year.
Sir Keegan’s ghost is said to roam the corridors beneath the
ruins, wailing in grief over the tragedy of his life. The
people of Winterhaven avoid the place, and the mere
mention of Shadowfell Keep is considered bad luck by
many of the farmers and villagers.”
“Whatever activity is occurring at the keep, it can only
mean ill for Winterhaven and those of nearby lands.
Please, will you do what you can to help?”

- Valthrun the Prescient


HexIron HexIron

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