The Nentir Vale is Doomed
Warning! Konrad likes to embellish his stories a little bit when telling them so some details may not necessarily be true.Chapter 1
Konrad occasionally likes to tell stories about his past. This is one such story he shares with you guys one night in the guild hall. “This is the story of the events leading up to and after I met my wife gods bless her soul. The story starts one of the lower layers of the nine hells.”
Aliana stood before Konrad. She was in her natural form here in the nine hells, she looked like a tall human female with blonde hair, green eyes, very busty beautiful body; oh and huge leather wings sprouting out of her back. Konrad’s soul was bound to her by contract. “You have done well so far in your previous contracts. I knew it would only be a matter of time before you would stop struggling against my will. Now that you have I’m sure we can both enjoy your time back here in the hells between jobs.” She walked beside him and slid her hand across his back. Konrad shuddered at her touch. He had not lost his will; he had just decided life would be easier if he just went along with what Aliana wanted. He didn’t have to like it though.
“What I enjoy is far different from your tastes.” Konrad replied. If he wasn’t shapeshifter he would have many scars and scratch marks to prove it. Aliana turned around to face him sharply. “But….unfortunately you have a new job so our enjoyment will have to wait. The job is in a little barony called Darkwater. Your objective is to kill the Baron discreetly. He is rarely seen without his mage adviser. This will be your first time dealing with powerful magic users and they are able to dispel your disguise and make you change back to your natural form. This may be your hardest assignment yet….if you fail me by dying I will torture your soul for centuries before consuming it. And your precious Traveler you worship will be one less of a follower in his domain.”
Konrad was packing in his quarters. Having his own room was one of the small kindnesses Aliana had shown him. He was still under watchful eye though. He couldn’t see him but he could hear him. “I’m leaving out for another job Druzil care to wish me goodbye Imp?” Konrad asked the invisible Imp in his room. “You’re lucky you’re useful to the bitch. If you were anything but a dirty shapeshifter she would have had me sting you in your sleep. I wish you good riddance and hope you die in some god forsaken land.” Druzil remarked. By the time Konrad had stopped packing he had figured out where Druzil’s voice was coming from. As a parting gift for the Imp he kicked him into the wall before slamming the door shut and heading for the meeting point for the portal into Darkwater. Konrad skips the the ending of his job in Darkwater saying that is a tale for another time.
The cloaked figure was bleeding from multiple wounds as he makes his way into the woods. Konrad had failed to kill the baron. The adviser had placed magic dispelling wards around the baron’s mansion. When he had walked up to the barons chambers disguised as a guard he had killed the wards activated and his disguise melted away as his true form was shown. He had fought for his life after that. Barely remembering how he escaped. He had finally lost the guards as he struggled down into the woods. He knew he wouldn’t last long unless he found a healer in the next town.
He was almost out of the woods when his strength left him and the ground rushed up to meet him. His last thoughts before darkness took him were ‘Well looks like she will be getting her enjoyment after all. Torturous bitch.’
It was night and he was walking in the street. Konrad did not know his destination. He felt if he stopped something bad would happen. He heard a voice up ahead. As he looked ahead there was a single spot of light from the sky. In the middle of that spot standing on the street ahead of him was one of the most beautiful being he had ever seen. She had long dark auburn hair, blue eyes and a medium but frail looking frame. “If you wish…” She held out her hand. “Would you like me to take you? To a place in the world of the living…where you can be whole again?” Konrad looked behind him. His shadow behind him lengthened and took on a different shape.
“Did you think I wouldn’t come for you Konrad? You’ve been putting this off for long enough. If you come without a fuss I can make your end very enjoyable.” The shadow had taken the form of Aliana. Dark tendrils reached out lazily to grasp him, to drag him to the oblivion that awaited him. Konrad moved towards the light and the beautiful elven female. All of a sudden one of the tendrils struck out and latched onto his leg. He felt deathly cold as the tendril pulsed with a blue essence. Aliana had started feeding. Seeking the aid of his oldest friend he dragged his dagger out.
With a sudden flash of his blade he severed the tendril. Konrad burst into a sprint toward the elf. He never looked back but he knew she was right behind him. He made it to the light and stood there for a moment looking back at Aliana. He could tell she was seething in rage though her face would never show it. She smiled. “Don’t think for a moment that this is the end of us Konrad. Living or dead your soul is mine. And I mean to claim it.” With a sudden flash of darkness she disappeared. With the threat of Aliana gone Konrad turned toward the elf.
“You have a kindness in your heart Konrad which is why I have chosen to save your life. I hope that with time the scars upon your heart and mind will heal as well as your body. Now come with me.” She smiled and took his hand as they ascended towards the light. That was when Konrad woke up to a new day.
Konrad was sore when he woke up. He was amazed that he was alive. He looked around and saw that he was in some kind of hut. There were various healing unguents, salves and bandages on a shelf next to him. He looked down at his own body. There were several bandages wrapped around him. Also for some reason he had taken on the form of an elf. “How convenient.” He muttered. Konrad struggled but finally was able to stand up. Knowing a little bit about healing himself he redressed his bandages and got some clothes on that were folded neatly next to his bed.
He opened up the door and was greeted by the full light of the sun. It took a moment for his eyes to adjust but when it did he saw a familiar figure walking towards him. It was the same elf from the dream. She looked like she was deep in thought and was staring at the ground. She finally noticed him when he called out to her. “Excuse me milady. I guess I have you to thank for still being in the land of the living.” He smiled at her. She nodded and returned the smile. “Your wounds weren’t as bad as they seemed. It didn’t take too much to pull you back from the darkness.” She winked at him.
Konrad stared at her hard. ‘Maybe it wasn’t a dream after all.’ He thought. “Let us speak no more of this.” She turned and they both walked back to his hut. “I guess we can start with introductions. My name is Meriele Silverharp.” Said the elven female. “My name is Konrad…just Konrad.” He replied. Meriele frowned. “No, that won’t do at all. This is a small town and there already is some rumors going on about you. You will be known as Adran Stormfield. I’m sure a person of your talents will be able to fit into that name.”
No one had ever really shown kindness to Konrad before. So he had to ask “Why did you save me? Surely the world would be better off without one of my kind.” She turned around and looked him deep in the eyes. “You know nothing Adran Stormfield. All I see is an elf….with a kind heart.” She smiled at him playfully. “Until you have fully healed you will help me around town aiding the sick and injured. Afterwards you are free to leave if you wish. If you don’t I’m sure you can find yourself a job here that suits your abilities.”
Over the next couple of weeks Konrad helped Meriele tending to the sick and wounded. Meriele told him many things about the town of Starhaven. She even helped him get to know some if it’s residents. Her mother and father owned the local bakery shop. They seemed like a nice couple. Mostly everyone seemed warm and kind to him in the town. After his wounds healed he decided to stay in Starhaven with Meriele whom he had grown fond of. He had found a job as a town guard but quickly worked his way up the ranks due to his knack of finding and stopping trouble before it happened.
After 2 years he finally confessed his love for Meriele and asked for her hand in marriage. She accepted and the next day they were wed by the town’s priest. It was the happiest Konrad had been in his life. But his happiness couldn’t last forever.
After getting married Konrad and Meriele soon had a child on the way. With her having such a frail body there was a great risk of her dying during childbirth. Still she strong willed and insisted on having the child at home rather than at the nearest city where there would be a better chance of her living while under the care of expert healers. Konrad remembered the day as if it was yesterday. It was winter and the streets were packed with snow. It would happen any day now. Konrad was worried. Meriele had come down with a fever and with the child coming soon it could prove fatal to her…and the baby.
He was on patrol in the town when Meriele’s father came for him. Meriele was in labor and it didn’t look good. Konrad sprinted to his house as if he was being chased by demons; discarding his arms and armor as he went to run even faster. When he got there she was still in labor. He leapt down to her side and grabbed her hand. One of the towns’ midwives was seeing to Meriele and getting ready for the child. She looked over to him. “I knew you would make it.” She whispered. “Of course I would” She gripped his hand like a vice when the waves of pain rolled over her.
An hour felt like a day to him. Meriele passed out many times during the childbirth and woke up to the pain. Eventually Konrad heard the sound of his child crying. The midwife cut the cord, took the child and bathed it. “It’s a girl” she announced. The midwife handed the child back to Konrad after wrapping her up in some clothe. “Meriele?” He turned around to show his wife their baby girl. It looked like she had passed out again but Konrad feared the worst. “Meriele! Meriele!” He grabbed her hand and squeezed it. “Meriele!” He saw her eyes slowly open. “Adran?” she whispered. Her body was wracked with sweat and the fever had taken its toll on her. Inside he knew she was fading fast.
“Look Meriele! It’s a healthy baby girl! You can hear it, right? She has a strong set of lungs like her mother.” Tears were streaming down his face. “I can hear her. She’s beautiful. Beautiful Caelynn. I was glad I could have her in our home.” Konrad could barely hear her now. Her voice was getting weaker. “Don’t talk anymore you’ve already done a great job at giving birth to her.” He said. “I’m a little tired now. May I rest for a while?” Her eyes started to close. “Hold on Meriele….let talk for a little bit longer. You can just listen to me. All three of us will be a family together.” He was grasping onto any hope he could find. “Look Caelynn it’s your mother. One day you will grow up and be strong like her.” But it did no good. Meriele’s eyes had shut for the last time. Konrad didn’t remember much after that. They told him it took three of the guardsmen to drag him away from Meriele’s body.Chapter 4 Part 2
It had been five years since his wife had died. His daughter Caelynn was being taken care of by Meriele’s parents. He never saw Caelynn after the day Meriele died. He was afraid that seeing her would rend his heart. Konrad was spent his time drinking and working now. He would take the most dangerous jobs and patrols often overworking his self to the extreme. ‘I hate this town….it’s full of memories I want to forget about. Day in day out, it’s the same thing. I go on patrol and keep the peace. Then I come back to the home I don’t want to come back to.’ In all the years of keeping patrols all foes that crossed his blade had met justice. ‘No one is fit to end my life apparently.’
After coming back from one of the patrols Konrad received a letter. “Your in-laws dropped this off earlier today apparently.” The dwarf handed him the letter. His name was Thorgrim. He had joined the guards a few years back and they had become friends. He was a cleric of Moradin and had saved him more than a few times. Konrad opened the letter and read it. “We are taking a trip to the city of Duntir. They have beautiful fields of flowers in bloom this time of year. We would like for you to meet us here with Caelynn. We left her there at our house.” Konrad folded the letter back up. “Are they fucking insane! What if I hadn’t of come back today?” he yelled out.
“I think ye should go lad. Ye never take any time off and you bury yourself in work. I think it’s time to face yer problems. Now get out of here before me and the fellows throw you out!” Konrad was pushed out the door by Thorgrim. “Now don’t ye come back till ye’ve seen to that child of yers!” With a sigh he trudged away to face his fears. Konrad opened up the door to their house and walked in. Konrad heard a rustling sound and saw a small figure dart away into the back room.
Konrad moved into the room and sat down. He could wait a little bit longer till the child was ready to approach him. He didn’t have to wait too long though. He saw her head pop out from the side of doorway to peep at him. “You don’t have to be afraid. I’m not gonna hurt you. You do know who I am right?” he questioned the child. The child moved out from behind the doorway and slowly approached him. She looked almost exactly like her mother. Her auburn hair was cut short though. He guessed one of the side effects of having a child with him being a doppelganger was that the child took on the traits of the non-shapeshifting side.
Caelynn nodded her head. “Uh-huh. Gran said my daddy would come here today. She said that he would take me on a trip to see them somewhere else.” Konrad smiled. It didn’t hurt as much as he thought it would. “Are you hungry Caelynn?” he asked. She nodded her head. “Good I’ll fix us both something to eat and then we’ll head out to Duntir.” He said. ‘Maybe this isn’t so bad after all. I guess I finally have something to live for.’
Konrad and Caelynn were inseparable after that trip. His scars were healing again. It was as if he were back with Meriele. Tragedy would strike again though. Later that year winter had struck again. It was a winter as bad as the one that caused Meriele’s sickness. Unfortunately for Caelynn she suffered from the same frailty that her mother had. Caelynn was bedridden as Konrad tried to take care of her. Konrad was feverish as well. As he dabbed her forehead with a clothe she spoke to him. “I wanna go on a trip.” She had asked this many times every night since she had taken ill. “I told you Caelynn. When you get better.” “No…it has to be now.” Konrad gave in. “Very well I can’t deny my child her only wish. Just tell me if you start to feel worse.” She nodded.
Konrad bundled her up and stepped outside with her. The sky was dark and it looked like it was about to snow. Konrad didn’t remember walking past the gate but somehow he was standing outside on the road heading towards Duntir. It had started to snow with some flakes slowly falling down on their heads. He suddenly felt very tired. He looked down at Caelynn who was holding onto his hand. He felt her hand slip from his grasp as she fell down.
Konrad picked her up and held her in his arms. She opened her eyes slowly. “Daddy….” “What is it Caelynn?” “Where are we? Are we in the carriage yet?” He knew now that winter was going to claim another person he loved. “Yes…we are on the carriage on the way to see the flower fields you liked so much. “It’s dark, is it night?” “Yes…it’s midnight.” Konrad ran his hands through her hair. “Daddy?” “Yes?” “I love you.” Tears trickled out of Konrad’s eyes. “Yeah I love you too Caelynn.” Suddenly he felt her body go limp. He called out her name but she couldn’t answer. “Meriele…save her. Someone! Save her!” He couldn’t feel anything anymore, his fever must gotten worse. His vision was fading and suddenly he was falling into darkness again.
Konrad stood up from his chair in the guild hall. “That’s all there is for my story for now….one day I may tell you what happened after.” He walked out of the guild hall in deep thought.