Seidrik Galadorn, Lion of the North:

Dagger in the Dark



by Kenneth Chivers



Xinn had run his horse to death weeks ago, chasing his master's quarry,
and now he was worn down to nothing but the gear on his person, which
among other tools common to stalkers and assassins, included a deadly
artifact of his former life, a tool of his service to Lord

Mor'Dhal.  The Dagger of Unduen was forged by the dark arts
perfected by his master.  The blade had an evil will that thirst
for the hearts of good men.  The dark power in the blade could
stop a man's heart with a scratch or have the man put in a slumber that
only Lord Mor'Dhal could wake.  These weapons also had a habit of
exacting their creator's punishment for failure.  Reflecting on
the dagger and the hunt he had been on over the past months brought
back all too vivid images of the night that dragged him screaming out
of retirement.



Over the past few months of stalking Seidrik Galadorn, a Paladin from
the Northern Kingdom, Xinn had learned that his quarry had been an
orphan at the Church of the North Cathedral in Luxor Embra, city of the
embracing light, and capital of the Northern Kingdom.  The zealots
in the Church of the North had a prophecy of a child with jade eyes and
hair of burnished bronze, a child who would lead them on a Holy charge
against the vile tyrannical rule of Lord Mor'Dhal, the Witch
King. 



In Xinn's mind, all of that was horse dung dripping from the mouths of
the fanatical crusaders that the Church of the North had always
been.  One man's evil was another man's way of life, right? 
Why his master was so focused on finding and killing Seidrik was beyond
Xinn, but what mattered was his master's will to see this man
killed.  His target was well armored, and probably full of his
righteous fury, and desire to see the Glorious Witch King of the South
destroyed, so that the light of the Northern Sun would bring hope and
peace to the south.



Xinn now twirled this long yellow blade in his fingers as he sat on a
barrel at the front of a dark alley next to the Green Wall Inn of
Redbank.  Redbank was a small town that made its living off trade
from local farmers and the great river that wound its way from the
bright North to the swamps and marshes deep in the twisted South. 
A backwater trade town of no particular consequence to the great
Northern states or the power to the South, it had somehow held onto its
independence and took no care to the events outside its patrols. 
This was the perfect town to take down his pray and vanish into the
night with some gory proof for his master.  The emotions of alarm
and hunger coming from the dagger in his fingers told him his target
was getting closer.

    


***



Seidrik Galadorn lay slumped on his warhorse Amhir, a great beast
nearly 18 hands tall and nearly as wide as two men, barded in the armor
of the Northern crusader fashion of interlocking steel plates and
chain.  Seidrik's own plate mail armor had been forged and blessed
by the Crusader Priests of the Light, it's material gifted by the
Augermaidal Dwarves in the mountains bordering the great glacial plains
north of the Northern Kingdom.  The once burnished steel and
bright white and gold cloak were now dulled, torn and dented from his
harrowing journey South.



A shrill cry of Orcs howled out from the forest he had just
exited.  Scanning the forest with hard Jade eyes, Seidrik offered
a soft prayer for aid from the town of Redbank nearby.  Gripping
the black arrow shaft that pierced his side, Seidrik knew that the
arrow would pull him to his doom if he turned to fight the hunting
Orcs, and hoped they would stay to the trees and tend to their wounded,
and the light willing, feast on their dead to buy him some time to find
aid.  “A Crusade was a journey made by a few for the sake of many”
his adoptive father Oam had told him.  “It is wrought with glory
and ruin and fought with faith and will.”



Where was the light taking him that he should be forced to go
alone?  Few he had found on this journey had offered any
assistance, and those who had were dead long distances behind him, a
path of death is what he seemed to be leading.  He didn't know his
parents, only that they had died in a border raid and that he had been
found as a baby, swaddled and hidden in a barn.  What he did know
was what the Church of the North had filled into his head; training him
for the Crusades since the day he could walk.



Straightening in his saddle and shifting awkwardly to relieve pressure
off his wound, Seidrik looked toward the dark town of Redbank. 
Soaked by the continuing downpour and darkened long past sunset, the
town looked deserted, except for the lights and sounds coming from what
looked like a large Inn.  Seidrik urged his horse toward Redbank,
seeking the shelter of the Inn.



Amhir stopped in his tracks just a hundred yards from the border of the
town and a low grumbling erupted from his chest.  All thought of
his wounds and his morose thoughts vanished as Seidrik drew his sword
out of its scabbard.  The blue steel hummed in his hand, a warning
that a tainted soul was nearby.  The tainted were the hounds of
the Witch King, people and beasts who had sworn their souls to his dark
cause.



“Forward Amhir, one more battle tonight before we find our rest my
friend.”

Amhir approached the Inn again, this time with the alert walk of a
trained warhorse feeling the approach of battle.



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Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

About The Author

Karen 1
Karen is H.D.i.C. (Head Druid in Charge) at EQHammer. She likes chocolate chip pancakes, warm hugs, gaming so late that it's early, and rooting things and covering them with bees. Don't read her Ten Ton Hammer column every Tuesday. Or the EQHammer one every Thursday, either.

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