Tales from Elrond

Life and Death in the Burial Tombs of Cynidicea

Like the majority of the Cynidicean population, Severius Pollos had spent his entire life living in the once glorious underground city. After his parents were killed at a very young age by Zargon cultists, he was taken in through an act of kindness by a mid-ranking priest of the Brotherhood of Gorm (who would later become its second-ranking member) named Kanadius. Having no children of his own, Kanadius cared for Severius as if he were his own son and mentored him in the teachings of Gorm. Under Kanadius’ teaching, Severius became a strong and capable fighter and Gorm blessed him with the power to cast magic in his name. Severius was a star pupil, and fanatically loyal to the Brotherhood and their leadership. Owing his life to Kanadius and the institution that protected and cared for him, Severius’ loyalty has made him close-minded to any criticism of the Brotherhood, and its leadership, and he can see no fault with their teachings or their belief that only their faction, and no other in Cynidicea, could defeat the Cult of Zargon and return Cynidicea to its former glory.

When the five outsiders from the world above found themselves lost in the desert and sought refuge in the depths of the passageway in the exposed top of the Cynidicean pyramid, they stumbled across members of the Brotherhood. Most of the outsiders appeared to believe in the ideals of law, justice and good, and one of them, Takashi, even pledged himself to Gorm as a lesser member of the Brotherhood. The group’s dwarven cleric, Gorin, was a follower of a deity that Severius had never heard of, a goddess named Ulaa, but from what information Gorin told the Brotherhood about his goddess, she appeared to represent similar ideals to those of Gorm and Severius accepted that Gorin’s faith was honorable.

The visit from the outsiders, and their unfamiliar ways and the things they spoke about that were above ground intrigued Severius. Of course, he was dedicated to the Brotherhood of Gorm and the restoration of their city, but to see what lay above the ground and beyond the sand was something that Severius found exciting; and to be able to go forth into these new places and spread the faith of Gorm was something that Severius believed could satisfy his curiosity, as well as provide a path that might expand the following to his god and stop the slow death of his deity. Of course, Kanadius forbid Severius from leaving the city. The Brotherhood of Gorm was dwindling in numbers with each new generation as more and more Cynidiceans turned to escape in fantasy, drugs and liquor instead of rebuilding their society. Every member was valuable and would be needed in the struggles sure to come.

Despite his great respect for the wisdom of the Brotherhood’s leaders, Severius believed that Gorm would show him, and the Brotherhood, what needed to be done; the omens were present if one only took the time to look. This very belief would strengthen Severius’ resolve to leave Cynidicea for the outside when the five outsiders returned to the Brotherhood after a deadly foray into the pyramid’s burial tier. Apparently some vermin and foul undead had taken over parts of the tier and all of the group was severely wounded and two of their number, Gorin and Joreal, had been killed. Takashi pleaded the Brotherhood for aid, and as a lesser member, he was provided with healing for him and his comrades. Raising the dead was something that could not be done for mere charity and Grandmaster Kanadius sent a request to Supreme Grandmaster Efferzius for guidance.

Supreme Grandmaster Efferzius himself answered the request in person, traveling to the pyramid from the city with an entourage for protection. He spoke with Kanadius and the outsiders, and while he sympathized for the loss of their comrades, he could not bring their comrades back from the dead unless they pledged to do something to honor Gorm and his cause. With grief-filled eyes over the death of his comrades, particularly his fellow dwarf, Gorin, Dovak stepped up and pledged himself body and soul to Gorm to spread his faith and teachings to the outside. Both Kanadius and Efferzius studied Dovak with their Helms of Telepathy to see if the dwarf’s words were indeed truth and not just an opportunist attempt to say anything to bring his companions back. The Helms showed that Dovak’s convictions were true and after his acceptance as a full member of the Brotherhood, Supreme Grand Master Efferzius called the spirits of Jorael and Gorin back to the living.

The following day after rest and recuperation, the outsiders again went back into the burial tier to continue their travels to the tiers below, so they may find someone that could help them get back to their civilization. The Brotherhood had grown by two members from the outside and Efferzius and Kanadius saw this as a good omen; perhaps these two outsiders would be able to increase the following of Gorm if they were successful in leaving Cynidicea.

Alas, the burial tier, with no regular patrols to cleanse the undead, had become tainted with a considerable presence of undead- more than any of the Cynidiceans believed resided in the dark tombs and corridors. The outsiders found themselves besieged by a large group of zombies. They fought valiantly to destroy the abominations, but the zombies were quite resilient to damage and were unrelenting. Gorin met his end standing up to more than half of the group singing praise to Ulaa and smashing his foes with his Warhammer. When Gorin went down his will to live went with him. From what his comrades say, it was clear that the demons that haunted Gorin from the past had never let go, and perhaps he had finally found escape in death. Should this be true, Severius did not believe that Gorin was weak, but instead thought of the dwarf as selfless and courageous. To freely give up oneself to death when there was still work to be done must have been hard, but Severius saw the power of Gorm in even this incident. With Gorin’s passing, there was a need for a cleric in the outsiders’ group, and with two newly pledged followers of Gorm with barely an idea of what Gorm and his faith represented they would need spiritual guidance to properly worship and represent Gorm to the outside world should they be successful in leaving the city.

Severius proposed his idea to Kanadius and Efferzius, to join the group of outsiders and offer his services as a healer, and spiritual leader, and also to spread the faith of Gorm to the outside world; looking for followers on the outside might be what the Brotherhood needed since membership was not appealing to the Cynidiceans. Kanadius and Efferzius discussed Severius’ idea and saw merit in it. They warned Severius about his lack of knowledge about the outside world and its ways, he must learn from his new companions as they must learn from him. The Grandmasters agreed to Severius’ plan and informed the outsiders that Severius will be joining their group, but prior to continuing past the burial tier, they must check the status of the burial tombs and cleanse them of any vermin or abominations that remain. After two tragic forays into the burial tier, the group reluctantly agrees.

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