Towerday the 2nd of Redfall 890 TA - Midnight
I intercepted Sunulael as his retinue approached the city gates. I simply rode up on my horse, blocked his path, and demanded an audience. The tall man met my gaze and immediately I knew I was in grave danger. My spine turned to ice, bile churned in my guts, the repulsive influence of tainted Aerdra poured from those black eyes. I must confess I wanted to run, but this was a true servant of Izrador standing before me, a manifestation of everything I’ve sworn to fight!
I pretended not to notice anything awry and the Sahi and I engaged in some polite discourse about the state of his elven “guest”. He assured me she was in good health and not being kept against her will, but if I insisted on verifying this for myself he would gladly welcome me to his tent as a guest tonight. This was obviously a trap, if I entered this man's tent I would never return, but if I let him go then I might never have had another opportunity to get close to him. I accepted his invitation.
As we walked back towards the Sarcosan camp we talked of my history and how I found myself in the service of Queen Aradil. I left nothing out, placing particular emphasis on the part about Izrador rising and my mission to warn the kingdoms of man. I asked him how he came to serve his current master (not the emperor, his new master) and he put on a show of amused ignorance. I was trying to goad the Sahi into revealing his true nature, just to be sure, and when that didn’t work I directly accused him of being a traitor. I believe my exact words were “Are you the one that ordered Arik killed?”.
Sunulael responded to my accusation with patronizing mock offence, the smug bastard sounded more amused than offended. Of course he had nothing to do such events, he has so, so hurt by the accusation. In the story books I used to read as a child, this is exactly how a villain acts. At this point I did something very stupid. I reasoned that if we reached the Sarcosan camp it would be very difficult to take action against their holy man, if I was going to make a move it had to be now. Without wasting any more time on pleasantries I drew upon the Aerdra and conjured a storm of sorcerous fire, immolating Sunulael and his toadies.
Well, that was the idea anyway. I felt the magic pour from my fingertips, twist through the air and stream directly into Sunulael’s open palm. The Dark Sorcerer was ripping my spell from the ether and absorbing it! I tried to cease the flow of magic, but it was like trying to stop a river with your hands, the flow was just too strong. As my magic was sapped so was my strength, and soon I felt the comforting blackness of unconsciousness overwhelm me.
I’m not sure what happened after that. I vaguely remember distant, angry voices and then I awoke on a comfortable couch, my sword and boots missing. I was in a large Sarcosan tent with one of the Sahi’s attendant women forcing hot tea down my throat. I couldn’t feel the comforting presence of the Aerdra and feared I had been permanently robbed of my gift. Shortly, Sunulael arrived and had me dragged to a back room. Immediately I felt the corrupt influence of the Black Aerdra, emanating from an enormous, black… mirror, I suppose you’d call it, on the far side of the room. My limbs were bound and I was roughly tossed down next to an unconscious elven woman. I recognized Lensa’s delicate features immediately, and the intense hatred I felt towards the traitor Sahi began to burn away the stupor entrapping me.
Meanwhile, Sunulael was monologuing about something. He had important things planned, this was in everyone’s best interest… something like that, I don’t recall exactly. I was focusing entirely on planning my escape and his demise. Soon, I got my chance to act, we heard the sounds of massed troops marching outside and Sunulael left to assess the situation. Shortly, the clash of steel and general din of battle could be heard from my position. I didn’t know what was occurring outside, but it was a golden opportunity to act! I reached out for the Aerdra once again, attempting to burn my bonds away and free myself. Unfortunately I wasn’t quite strong enough yet, and one of the gargantuan eunuchs that the Sahi keeps as pets rewarded my efforts with a forceful punch to the head.
I came to my senses as the bastard sorcerer returned, a furious scowl upon his face. His sickening aura had grown to be almost unbearable now, and I had to fight the urge to physically wretch. Sunulael ordered his underlings to remove the mirror and then strode across the room towards Lensa, reaching for her. In that moment my rage burnt so fiercely it could have melted stone, I charged like a wild beast at the traitor Sahi and funnelled every last dreg of magic into radiating sorcerous flame. I burnt my own flesh to immolate the abomination within my embrace, but immolate him I did.
As Sunulael’s skin disintegrated beneath me, a dense swarm of black flies poured from his robes and streamed into the night air. The dark sorcerer was vanquished, for now, though I felt I hadn’t seen the last of him. The Sahi’s attendants were stunned, for a moment, and then one of the women in white began to weave a spell. I was too weak to defend myself, but before I had time to contemplate my impending death an arrow appeared in the witch’s chest. Arik stood at the entrance, bow in hand.
Arik made it clear we were now even, and we shared our stories of the events since we were last together. Apparently he witnessed Sunulael’s band dragging my limp body back to camp and demanded my release. When that didn’t work, Arik convinced the host to launch a full coup against their own Sahi which, if my understanding of Sarcosan culture is correct, is quite a feat. If his brother falls in tomorrow’s duel, I am confident that the warhost will be in safe hands.
We ordered the Black Mirror, and the other corrupt artefacts, buried and kept under guard. I will investigate them later, to ascertain whether they can be destroyed, but I need time and energy to do so. I caught up with Lensa, apparently she stowed away on the Grey Lady to warn me the Queen’s court had already been compromised, and was eventually discovered and ultimately betrayed by the ship’s captain.
After a long, eventful day, I finally took the opportunity to use the The Spirit of Erethor and contact my Queen. I warned her that the Sarcosan court had been infiltrated by the enemy, and to not trust any Man from those lands, or any Elf that had been in contact with them recently. She informed me that her own court had already been compromised, the servants of Izrador are already positioning themselves to undermine her power!
Kylar Dale, the new constable of the north, arrived demanding that Arik and myself to explain the evening’s strange occurrences of the night. I told Lord Dale the truth, most of it anyway, and he seemed to believe me. House Dale knows better than most the threat of the shadow from the north. Not seeming particularly enthusiastic about carrying out the Duke’s orders, Lord Dale bid me good night and took his leave. Thankful to finally have a chance to rest, I returned to the tent provided for and immediately passed into a deep and well earned slumber.