Chapter 9

The barrister left the room at the Inn where he had been meeting with Nalynn. He inspected the documents she had signed and he had witnessed, noting the official seal of the realm was duly stamped on each. He tucked them into his satchel and quickly headed off to his family to celebrate Christmas Day...the papers would be filed with the official rulers of Neverwinter in the morning.

Nalynn packed her meager belongings and donned her cape. The Falcon hopped onto her arm from his perch and they prepared to leave. The annulment papers had been signed, yet she was still undecided what she would do when she met SK Torm that evening. She sighed deeply, "I must decide -- and soon, for I will be meeting him shortly." She closed the door behind her and headed down the stairs.

SK Torm entered the Southwall Arena. After some merrymaking, he noted Nalynn's entrance to the Realms. Filled with anticipation, he patiently waited for his beloved to come. A little while later, Torm learned Nalynn had consulted the barrister. She stated that the marriage to Braldt2 had been annulled and that she would be very happy to marry him! Bursting with happiness, Torm found that Solack had just taken Nalynn away! He wondered about the cause... "Tis must be the crack about him, his girlfriend, and my enlarge spell...hmm... or he's just jealous!" Torm raced off to find her, momentarily being slowed by attacks from a few orcs.

When Torm found her, he arrived just in time to hear Elexis pipe up, "Anyone want to go to sewers?" Jumping at the opportunity, they headed to the sewers. Torm and Nalynn got jumped several times by beholders, golems, and the like. Finally, after getting quite disgusted at seeing the sewer gate, they retired to the Neverwinter Gardens. They decided that it would be there that they would be joined in holy matrimony at 12:00 AM on the first of January. Solack and CyberOculs would officiate. A little later, Torm left. However, the next morning, he found Riklaun's challenge posted in the Keep. Remembering the relative ease that he, a ranger-mage had gated certain unnamed cleric-mages, he raised his voice to the heavens, saying, "Come, Riklaun, for nothing shall protect ye from my fury!"

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Riklaun stood at the forge admiring his new creation. He had successfully built a new magic dagger for the spirit's to reside in. His Body would not be able to house the spirits any longer. They had kept him alive this long. He placed the Dagger on the table. He took a step back from it and unbelted his swords. He dropped the weapons on the floor and undid his armor. He removed his tunic and breeches as well. Standing naked before the dagger he picked it up. The hilt shone in the dark light.

Carefully, he drew the dagger across his left palm, drawing blood. Lightning flashed outside illuminating the room. What a site was beheld. Riklaun held the dagger up high. Riklaun began to glow with an eerie light. The blood dripped onto the floor. Blue energy arced through the room. The curtains that were drawn across the window burst into flame. Rik's blood stained plate mail glowed brightly. Energy arced from his bleeding palm into the dagger's hilt. Riklaun screamed in pain. Lightning flashed again outside, seeming to want inside at the elf. Undead peered through the window of the cabin atop Berun's Hill.

Riklaun dropped to his knees as the energy ceased. The dagger glowed brightly with new found magic. "We are hungry," it said into Riklaun's mind. "Feed us." Riklaun dressed and proceeded out the door into the chill night air. The evil glint in his eyes betrayed his intentions.

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Belareth sniffed the wind, there was evil in the air. He couldn't see or smell it but be knew it was there. Then he heard a familiar whisper, Riklaun. The fire blazed in his eyes. Riklaun asked, "Are you looking for me?"

"Since my birth," Belareth cried. I am waiting for you in the hills if you are man enough. Riklaun cackled and said, "Yea", as he stepped out from behind a tree. They both drew their weapons. In his haste Belareth cast a hold spell on Riklaun only to find that it was only his image. Then he felt like he was falling down and had to struggle to keep his balance. Belareth's limbs locked, and he couldn't move. "Will anyone rid the world of this fiend?" were his last thoughts.

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It was a nice winter day and SK Zarn was leading a young dwarf by the name of GroggyJr through the passageways to the Vilnask Dracs. They had just fought a bunch of trees and orcs when Riklaun gave Zarn a little visit in his mind. Rik told him to go to the Lost Hills so Zarn abandoned GroggyJr and headed towards the hills. Zarn told him he was ready to make him see death, but Riklaun just laughed.

SK Zarn got to Crossergate and Riklaun was waiting for him in the inn. Zarn told him to run off to his little playground and he would be there soon. Zarn made to the hills rather quickly. Zarn got to the door and could hear Riklaun's little chants and yells he made, so he cast a few spells to protect himself. Zarn entered to find himself surrounded by dogs. Zarn had one fireball and took half of them out, but the other half was still close behind racing towards him. That is when a man named Satansfiend entered the battle. Zarn's heart was racing as the dogs got closer and Satansfiend slowly made his way towards me. All of a sudden Riklaun was in the battle closing in on Satansfiend. Zarn watched as Riklaun slaughtered Satansfiend but yet he left the ranger be. After destroying the dogs he turned to him and said, "You are next!"

Riklaun told Zarn to rest up at the inn then come back because he wanted a fair fight. Zarn ran to the inn and healed himself and memorized some spells and ran back. Rik was waiting by the door for him and said, "Shall we start?" SK Zarn managed to evade the dogs this time and get into a little corner where Riklaun cast tons of spells at him. SK Zarn thought he was going to die when a shard of light whipped through the room and swept him away. SK Zarn found himself hanging in a tree outside the hills. Zarn cast invisibility and went to the Crossergate inn. Zarn was mad that he couldn't kill Riklaun but was also happy that he was alive. "I will kill Riklaun if is by myself or not." Zarn said aloud.

Golfdsl tacked up a note in the Seekers hall for SK Torm. He felt it necessary to take it upon himself to rid them of the threat called Riklaun. He read over the note before leaving.

"Forgive me SK Torm, for I know that you wish to end the threat to your happiness with Nalynn by your own hand. Yours is the confidence of youth however and I cannot bear the thought of your future with Nalynn stolen by Riklaun's foul dagger and Nalynn's weeping over yet another loved one. Riklaun is cunning and fell, and while you can defeat him fate and chance may decree otherwise should you meet."

With this in mind, Golfdsl ventured in secret to the Lost Hills hoping to do away with Riklaun. His search ended at a decrepit cluster of ruins near the western border of the lost hills. Every shred of common sense he had told him to turn away for the sound of rustling and scraping punctuated by an occasional deep rumble emanated from the vast darkened interior. However, Riklaun's evil presence beckoned Golfdsl, causing the hairs on the back of his neck to stand on end. After a short pause to cast every protection spell he knew, Golfdsl took a deep breath and entered. Riklaun was waiting for him inside a vast chamber. A glimmer of moonlight provided just enough illumination for Golfdsl to see the insane twisted hatred on Rik's face as he rushed to attack him.

"Fool," Riklaun sneered. "You have disturbed the creatures of this place and now I shall have to vie with them for your soul!" As he spoke Golfdsl could see the twisted forms of giant scorpions issuing from the rubble and a huge, bloated bulk slowly moving up a large passageway. This distraction proved to be his undoing, for with inhuman speed Riklaun had closed the gap between them and Golfdsl was suddenly surrounded by choking, noxious fumes. As he tried to back into clearer air, Golfdsl felt the familiar tingle of a fumble spell coursing through his body. Many times before Golfdsl has shrugged off the full effect of this spell, but his concentration was broken by a fit of coughing and to his horror, he felt the tingling spread and deepen to a dreadful numbness. Golfdsl was helpless! He could only watch as Rik slowly drew his cursed dagger and smiled in anticipation of stealing his soul. Riklaun could have slain him then but he paused, closed his eyes, and shuddered as if reliving some painful memory. In that instant, Golfdsl felt himself grabbed and flung with monstrous force, sparks exploded in his mind and then he spiraled into blackness.

Golfdsl was awoken by a shaft of sunlight beaming on his face. His body was torn, bleeding, and wedged between two jagged spikes of rock far from the chamber floor. There was no sign of Riklaun, the scorpions, or the monstrous horror that had unwittingly been his savior. With his last strength Golfdsl managed to dig a precious scroll out of his pack and mumble the prayer to cure critical wounds scribed thereupon. A measure of strength returned to Golfdsl and he cast an invisibility spell upon himself.

After healing at Crossergate, Golfdsl made a small detour on his way back to the Lost Hills. By a familiar spring-fed pool in a stand of pines he found the nondescript little herb he was looking for. Gathering several small leaves Golfdsl crushed them between his fingers and was rewarded by an invigorating wholesome scent. Smiling, he rubbed some of the gummy, sweet smelling residue beneath his nose. This would give him some measure of protection against Riklaun's customary, noxious opening attack.

As Golfdsl crept up upon the ruins where they had so disastrously met before, he once again sensed Riklaun's evil presence. Once again Golfdsl cast his spells of protection and ventured inside for their fateful meeting. Rik was sitting on a natural rock seat to one side of the chamber looking sad, old, and tired. Golfdsl had not gotten very close before he looked up at him. A flicker of surprise crossed his face and then the evil twisted grin returned. "I thought the worm had stolen you!" Riklaun screamed "For all eternity, you will wish he had!"

Riklaun leaped up and closed the gap between us. In an instant, Golfdsl was once again surrounded by noxious fumes. This time however, the wholesome smell of the herb counteracted some of their effect and he was able to move away with his wits about him. Riklaun cast another spell which Golfdsl easily shrugged off and he replied with a fumble spell. To his surprise and joy, Golfdsl saw his limbs stiffen and then hang limply. Riklaun had fallen prey to the same spell he had so recently used on him!

Golfdsl moved closer and began the prayers necessary to slay him mercifully and quickly when something gave him pause. Under the effects of the spell, the evil had left his face and he once again looked tired, and sad. The thought came to Golfdsl unbidden that perhaps he had been ensnared by evil powers greater than himself for he had heard tales that Riklaun was once a good friend and trustworthy ally. Perhaps he is a fool, for Golfdsl faltered and the words of the prayer slipped from his mind. Confused, Golfdsl left him then. "I must investigate this further before I so hastily take a life." he thought to himself.


Continue to Chapter 10