The Darkness Found Underground
“Do you have somewhere we can speak privately?” I asked.
“Yes, we should move before the others return. There is much you must tell me. I need to know what is happening.” Mullenkedheim confessed. I followed him through the hallway down into a courtyard and through various other areas of the Castle until we arrived at a cable lift. We entered the wrought-iron cage and after he pulled a break from the cable we slowly cranked the pulls system that allowed us to descend. “This is the only way down, if anyone wishes to overhear us they will have to shimmy their way down the cables without the cage.” At the bottom of the lift we came to a ravine and a small spring that ran through it. The peaceful trickle of water was the only sound there was once the cables settled.
“I don’t know where to begin.” I said sheepishly.
“Then start with how you got the commander of the East Garrison to personally escort you to the castle.” He said bluntly.
“Well, the General is not who he seems.” I admitted. “And they wanted to help me get as close to the Queen as possible.”
“Are you suggesting that a General of the Queen’s Army is an impostor?” Mullenkedheim questioned.
“Not suggesting, I know. But not just in one way.” I told “They are not of this world, They are one of The Murder, four supernatural crows that signal The End of Days. War, Famine, Pestilence, and Death are their names and they are the agents of Negan, God-Dragon of Darkness and Evil.”
“Crows? God-Dragons? What in Sovereign’s sake are you talking about?” Mullenkedheim queried.
“We will get to that in due time, but you asked about the General. The Crow that is pretending to be the General is none other than the embodiment of Death. Each of The Murder have a role that they have been assigned. Death is responsible for running The Queen’s Military outside of the capital. Pestilence was in charge of running the Crypts.” I explained.
“What do you mean by Crypts?” He interrupted.
“Well after The Queen ordered the attack on Celeste her forces swept through the ruins to look for any remaining Elves. Morgul had enchanted his Owl Pendant to resurrect him if he died and when they found him he offered his necromancer powers in service of The Queen. The Crypts are where they were creating the undead army.”
“You mean to tell me that The Queen has an army of undead soldiers.” Stated Mullenkedheim in disbelief.
“Yes, though most of them have been dealt with or repourposed by Morgul. The dead that are still bound to The Queen lay siege to the Dwarven city of Thurnbadir. They have not been able to create more undead since Morgul escaped and destroyed the Crypts.”
“Well, at least they can’t make more. What of the living troops that have been deployed to Thurnbadir?” He asked.
“I can not speak to that as I have not been there myself. If I were a commanding officer I would have them inside the city to keep a close eye on the Dwarven people.” I responded. “Thurnbadir is under the control of War and Akor. And the last Crow is here in the city. Famine. They must be in charge of keeping the loading contained for the eclipse.”
“Wait, Akor? That’s the ancient God that Nilissa follows.” Mullenkedheim mused.
“Yes, and I think she is on to me. There is more though.” I said.
We continued to talk about what I knew and how it contradicted with what those that lived in direct contact with The Queen. Each realization weighed heavily on the Paladin and by the end of our conversation he stood in front of me and knelt down. He dug his sword into the earth in front of him and looked me in the eye.
“I, Mullenkedheim, hereby solemnly swear that I can no longer in good consciousness continue to serve The Queen of Sovereign. I swear that I will act as an agent of change to see the wrongs that have been dealt against the people of this world undone. I swear that I will work to protect the true good in this world, and whatever light still resides in it.” The older Paladin stood tall as if the weight of his ignorance was no longer a burden to him. I could feel the light as it radiated from him. “I think that even though there is still much for you to learn here. You should be with your allies. I will work here in your absence to prepare for the Eclipse and your return. I will keep the Lordling safe so that Negan may not return.”
Distant clapping came from deeper down in the cavern. It grew louder as it approached. “Wonderfully spoken Paladin Mullenkedheim. Truly one as verbose as you knows the secret to a good oath. Swearing fealty to the light that still resides” mocked the figure. A foul chill ran up my spine as it drew near.
“And which Crow are you? Are you here to get vengeance for Pestilence?” I asked.
“Tsk, Tsk, Tsk, That sounds like gloating young Paladin. ” It spoke. “It is I, right hand of Akor, War is my name and causing strife and seeding woes is my game.” He drew a black metal sword. “Today is truly a great day, do you want to know why?”
“You finally get to see the light of Uther shine?” I said reaching for my ring.
“No, because after I kill you I get to fly back to Thurnbadir and kill your friends!” It laughed.