Bones, Blood, and Blades
The history of Rorros
Little knowledge remains from the early days of the wide world of Rorros, also called Irathor by the elves. From ancient tomes, the wisest historians have been able to piece together the horrific early battles for power across the land. Before the arrival of the elves, when Dwarves were the dominant race, all beings lived in fear of the great Tower of Dwarrowdell in the southern marshlands. Humans were a young species, and they dwelled primarily in the south, preferring the warmer climate. The lord of Dwarrowdell, Duke Malcroft, was known for practicing dark arts and rumors circulated that he was attempting to raise an army of the undead, practicing the art of necromancy. The rumors most likely began from a combination of Malcroft’s reputation for the arcane and a string of grave robbings, though instead of gold or jewels, the bodies were all that went missing.
Sir Rojer of Kalton, whose manor still stands northwest of the marshlands, gathered together a band of warriors and clerics to confront Malcroft. Together they marched on Dwarrowdell Tower intending to arrest Lord Malcroft for the grave robbings. When they arrived, they quickly found that they were ill prepared to take the Tower. Arcane lightning obliterated most of the company while they were still half a league from the door. Those who survived the lightning attack broke through the door and climbed the stairs to the keep. The doors were bolted shut. Sir Rojer slammed his warhammer against the door while his remaining allies knocked arrows to their bows, ready to loose a volley into the dark lord of Dwarrowdell. Sir Rojer gave a mighty shout as he splintered the oak door beneath the crushing blow of his warhammer. Arrows flew through the air toward Lord Malcroft. He raised his hand and whispered in the ancient language. The arrows stopped in mid air and fell immediately to the ground.
Malcroft’s eyes glowed a pale yellow as he gazed at his attackers. Sir Rojer rushed forward swinging his warhammer, rage for the loss of his companions coursing through his veins. His blows rang against an arcane circle of shadow. He swung with all his might, but time after time, his hammer crashed against the darkness that surrounded Lord Malcroft. The dark lord smiled at Sir Rojer and vanished in the circle of dark vapor.
For many years after, there was peace across the Nentir Vale. The Kalton family ruled the marshlands in harmony and peace. Monsters were rarely seen even in the wild, and never anywhere near civilization. Twelve years after the battle of Dwarrowdell, darkness began to creep across the land again. Shadows grew in the north. Stories came with travelers of an evil in the Winterbole forest. Sir Rojer again took up his warhammer and rode north to Fastormel along the shores of Lake Nen. As he traveled he heard more stories, each confirming his worst fears.
Lord Malcroft had established himself again, and rumors that he had successfully raised the dead were growing more and more common. Sir Rojer continued north and headed into the forest alone. The fog was thick, and in the darkness of the wood, he was certain he could hear the howling of dire wolves, and the grotesque whisperings of goblins and trolls. Still, he rode on, refusing to let his courage fail him. At last he entered an island int he middle of the forest. The cleared land was dim and grey, completely covered by storm clouds overhead, and rolling mist along the ground. A dark tower, much like that of Dwarrowdell, rose like a black spike in the middle of the clearing. Sir Rojer dismounted and his horse sprinted away in fear. There was no grass in the clearing, only loose dirt as though the ground had recently been tilled. He stepped forward toward the tower.
The ground began to undulate. A grey arm shot up from the dirt and gripped Sir Rojer around the ankle. He quickly severed the hand with a swipe of his dagger. The hand continued to squeeze and the rest of the figure emerged from the ground. Sir Rojer pried the hand off his leg and sprinted to the door. Hands shot up all around as he ran across the dirt. With a swing of his hammer, he burst through the door and headed up the stairs as before. This time, the door to the keep stood wide open. Lord Malcroft stood in the center of the room, in jagged black armor, weilding a sword made of shadow and flame. Against the far wall stood a small pillar. A dark orb hovered slightly above the pillar. On a nearby table rested an open tome. The ritual book Lord Malcroft devised for his dark purposes.
Sir Rojer looked to the floor and saw arcane symbols burned into the floor boards. He Looked up at Lord Malcroft. Groans and footsteps could be heard ascending the stairs. The undead were coming. Sir Rojer rushed Malcroft. Sword and hammer clashed together in a blast of flame and smoke. They fought like demons in the keep. Malcroft parried Rojer’s blows. The groans were closing in. With no time left, Sir Rojer feinted with his hammer and used the opportunity to slash with his dagger. He hadn’t expected it to work, but the blood flowed freely from Malcroft’s throat. The groans grew silent. Fearing Malcroft might rise, Sir Rojer picked up the sword and cut off the necromancer’s head.
Sir Rojer told no one of his adventure, but wrote it in a journal which he entrusted to the monks. To ensure that no one ever followed in Malcroft’s paths, Sir Rojer also gave the monks the items which he recovered from the tower before burning it to the ground: the tome of the dead, the black orb, the smoking sword called Reaper, and the head and armor of Lord Malcroft himself.
The monks did everything they could to destroy the items, but were unsuccessful. The magic imbued in them was far too strong. Since they could not be destroyed, the monks sent the items abroad throughout Rorros, many of them they sent beyond the Nentir Vale in an effort to separate them to such a degree as to make them nearly impossible to reunite. It has been over a thousand years since Sir Rojer first defeated Lord Malcroft. Dark forces are gathering. The dead are rising, and some of the artifacts from Dwarrowdell Tower are in danger of being found. Some have already been recovered. If someone does no act soon, all of Rorros may soon be overrun by the undead.