Parent Pages: Campaign / History : Crusaders of Light

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Crusaders of Light

The Crusaders of Light were a group of adventurers from about a thousand years ago, with seven members. The group was composed of Sheyla, Melthus, Cyril, Thaddeus, Katrina, Peter and Sora.

They fought a long, hard crusade against a massive horde of undead. This is likely connected to the rumors about the Black Kingdom.

Little more of their story is known, as it has been lost in the mists of time.

However, they've been immortalized in song, sculpture and occasionally fresco.

They're most commonly depicted as boldly pressing foreword in the face of incredible odds, but Sora is always added in the background, almost like an afterthought. She always stands alone and aloof.

The Truth

The following story is known only to the Black Hand and Black Crown (of the Black Kingdom) as well as several intelligent magical items referred to below.

Sheyla of Brightmoon was their Paladin, healer and leader. She was quite charismatic, but utterly obsessed with destroying undead. Few knew this fact, but she was also a witch.

Melthus the Black-Heart was their supposedly-reformed necromancer. He used his skills to aid them in combating undead. He also served a secondary role as a healer, having spent more recent library time devoted to researching the lighter side of necromantic magic. Sheyla and Melthus were close friends; no one knows how close, making his eventual betrayal very painful.

Cyril the Sure-Foot was a criminal investigator with the skills required for counter-thieving. He had underworld connections that often brought the group some of their best leads. He was an expert at retrieving information from unwilling subjects. The others often chastised him for his techniques, but also saw the value in what he could accomplish.

Thaddeus the Arcane was a powerful wizard, an expert with elemental magic. He also dabbled in enchanting, having constructed magical weapons and armor for his companions.

Katrina of the Forest was a ranger, having trained in diverse environments, ranging from desert to arctic conditions and everything in between. She was also secretly a witch.

Peter the Glib was a bard, specializing in story telling. He could wrap a crowd around his finger with a single story. He deferred to Sheyla's leadership, often using his talents to support her decisions. He was fairly handy with a bow, should the situation call for it.

Finally, Sora was a witch, through and through, but this was a secret. She was the oldest sister of Sheyla and Katrina. The three of them together were a coven of witches. In matters involving witchcraft, Sora was in charge, but deferred to Sheyla in all other situations. She was skilled at stealthy matters, but not nearly so skilled as Cyril. Sora was a shadowy figure always portrayed as standing in the background, always aloof. Little more is publicly known about her.

They fought a valiant crusade to right wrongs and destroy evil. Ultimately, they failed. They defeated the Lich that they thought was the Black Crown, only to discover too late he was only a puppet of the true master. They were caught unaware and unprepared when the true Black Crown attacked.

They were further surprised by the fact that Melthus turned on them. Working with them may only have been a pretense to get close to the Black Crown so he could join him. He is the current Black Hand of the Black Kingdom.

The Crusaders barely escaped with their lives from their encounter with the true Black Crown, only to become hunted like animals. Melthus knew their usual haunts and was ready for them at each one, having used magic to travel ahead of them.

Eventually, they tired and Melthus caught them in camp, completely unaware. They'd been sleeping in shifts, just in case, but on this one occasion it was Peter's turn and he nodded off. They all awoke in chains, in some kind of necromantic laboratory. The stench of blood was thick in the air.

Over the course of three days, he tortured each of them to death, as part of the process of becoming a Lich. Methus moved through his former companions one by one, starting with Thaddeus, whom he considered the most dangerous. Next came Cyril, due to multiple threats of death he'd breathed out against him after the death of Thaddeus. Third was Sheyla, because he wanted her to stop giving him hateful looks. Fourth was Peter because he'd been trying to convince him to stop.

Then came Katrina, because he felt she was the next greatest threat, leaving only Sora, whom he had never viewed as a threat. Strangely enough, she died of her own accord mere minutes after Katrina. Melthus thought little of it, assuming all was taken care of. With the job done and the ingredients he required gathered, he completed the process of becoming a Lich, using his magic sword, the Black Flame as his phylactery. He then abandoned his secret laboratory, never to return.

Unknown to him, the three sister-witches silently worked together, carefully saving their friends by placing their souls into the magical items Thaddeus constructed for them, just at the moment of death. It was fortunate Melthus was unaware of their ability to use magic simply by concentrating. They'd always been careful to hide this, even from their companions.

After Katrina died, Sora was alone, but unable to do the same for herself. She silently swore an oath to destroy the Black Crown and then cast a spell she'd hoped never to use. It was a heavily modified version of a more common spell designed to cause the caster to return as some form of undead until an important task was completed. Her modified version was instead designed to bring her back with each generation until her task was done, but it wasn't quite complete. It had one major flaw; her memories would be lost each time she was reborn. The spell immediately tore her from her body to begin the process; another unintended effect.

Here's the list of items and who ended up in them:

Magic Item Item Type Who's Inside Element
White Flame Thrusting Bastard Sword Sheyla Positive Material
Shadow Stalker Knife No One
(Was owned by Sora)
Shadow
Black Flame Two-Handed Sword Melthus Negative Material
Ash-Walker Boots Cyril Fire
Aerial Bracers Bracers Thaddeus Air
Aquatic Breastplate Plate Torso Armor Peter Water
Earthen Greaves Plate Leg Armor Katrina Earth

The Crusader

The ancient artifacts once worn and wielded by the good crusaders have become capable of combining their powers to summon a powerful entity known as The Crusader. This is unknown even to Thaddeus, who originally constructed them. It's a side effect of the artifacts having been touched by legend and a powerful combined desire for vengeance. If all of these items are brought together, their owners are at risk of falling to the Black Crown or his minions and Sora is present, then this final power will be manifested.

The situation will summon The Crusader. Each item will fly away from it's bearer and come together on Sora's body. Each item will glow and/or release it's element in some fashion. The White Flame will produce a powerful healing effect, raising any of the owners from the dead and then healing their wounds. Shadow Stalker will look as though it's bleeding shadows, which will flit around the room, continuously damaging any form of insubstantial/shadowy undead present. The Aerial Bracers will produce a powerful wind that is both refreshing to allies and follows through on any attack with incredible force. The aquatic breastplate will produce a constant flow of water that will pour straight into the Earthen Greaves, which will in turn begin sprouting plants. Ash-Walker will burst into flames at first, but will combine with the lower portion of the Earthen Greaves to produce a constant flow of lava wherever The Crusader steps.

If she hasn't already, Sora will remember everything at this point. She'll turn to her companions and wink. With a wave of her hand, she will temporarily absorb their essence into herself, gaining their powers and abilities as well. This will not be a one sided relationship. Half the point was to give them the ability to help her complete her mission. PCs will find themselves part of a multi-threaded gestalt mind similar to Slayer, with the opportunity to wreak some major havoc using the full powers of an ancient witch (witch magic requires nothing more than concentration).

Sora will inform them that this is temporary and will come at a high price. The artifacts will be destroyed in the process and it will likely kill her as well, possibly permanently. Her main focus at this point will be to quickly dispatch the Black Hand, destroy his phylactery (The Black Flame) and take her companions to the Black Crown himself for a (hopefully) final confrontation. Destroying the Black Flame will likely come at the price of the destruction of the White Flame.

This battle will take them through and below Necropolis.

Eventually, this form will take it's toll on Sora, probably half-way through the battle with the Black Crown, releasing her companions to finish the fight.

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