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January 6, 2001

�Na-Krul's Remains - Stolen!�

The day had been a long one and was going to be even longer, Opal thought as she shouldered her pack and flipped through the pages of her rune book.

Running a finger down along the list of runes, she came across the one she sought � The Dark Tower. Sighing, she recited the words of power that would bring her to that desolate spot.

In a swish of ether she was standing before the dark, massive structure of the Dark Tower. Even after all this time, after all the time the Tower had been 'hibernating', there was still something about this place that made her shrink back with a small feeling of fear in the pit of her stomach.

I am here for a purpose, she reminded herself, and looked around, taking in her surroundings. A female mage, named Danica, on an ostard stood outside with her, she smiled a malevolent smile at Opal.

Quickly making her way inside, Opal took notice of who was here to assist the Dark Tower on their venture to recover the scholar Na-Krul's remains from the tomb that was Khaldun. Former members of the Dark Tower, and of Scythe, a few faces she did not recognize, but two she did. Bub'ger of the Golden Knights, and Wraith - he wore his new Dawn pin proudly. Ignoring sneers from those who recognized her, she made her way to sit beside Wraith.

She had not been sitting there long when the door to the back room opened, and Arwyn stepped out. It was time.

Danica opened the gate outside and all stepped through. Before them was what Opal referred to as the 'back door' to Khaldun. Not the grand entrance that was at the other side of the tomb, but a hole in the side of the rock-face. One by one, each of this group climbed down into the hole.

After a chaotic trek through the first room, where cursed ones tried to halt their advance, Opal spoke.

"I know these tunnels." Perhaps that had been her first mistake.

Arwyn reigned in his horse. "Do you? Then lead us Quest Knight, for the glory of Na-Krul."

Making a slight face, Opal turned and headed off towards an area where she knew there to be tombs. And they followed. It was a bloody night none of them would soon forget. Many had not traveled this excavated site before and knew not what to expect. Zealots attacked from all sides, as well as the Cursed explorers who discovered this condemned place.

Never had Opal seen so many Zealots free roaming in this place. The entity that controlled this place must have known of her, or their, plan and sought to stop their sucess.

Finally the group came to a large room. Across the room was a large sarcophagus, and a decrepit form stood next to it. It's eyes, when it saw the mortals approaching flared with an unholy light and sounds unlike any heard on the earthly realm issued forth from it's decayed mouth.

Fire reigned down about them, lightning flashed, and poisonous claws raked at them. Opal stood forward, she did not come along to let people die on this foolish task, she was here to be sure they made it out of this pit of death alive. Willing all she could, she sought to bring the ancient lich's attention upon herself. He had felled perhaps two or three others, including Arwyn. She could not let him kill any others.

The ancient lich turned his unhallowed gaze upon her. Resisting the sudden urge to flee, she stood her ground, praying to all that was good that she could hold against this powerful and aged evil. Magical wave after magical wave washed over her, burning her and freezing her at the same time. Opening wounds that bled profusely. And just as the world started to dim, her swings becoming unsteady, she felt healing hands on her. Glancing only for a moment over her shoulder, she saw it was Wraith. And then there were others healing her as well.

She renewed her attacks against this blaphemous creature, as did others, and it did eventually fall into a pile of dust at their feet.

They regrouped, standing near the sarcophagus. There was something wrong. While others milled about, lost in the chaos of the moment, having lost comrades in that battle, Opal looked to the large stone coffin. There was an evil fog about it, swirling black in the air. As she looked around at the others, it appeared the could not see it. She stepped a bit closer and the scar upon her right hand, made so long ago by touching the Spear of Hatred, began to throb. She stepped back and tried to reorganize the group.

Once reorganized, she was once again set to lead, so she lead them away from the maleific sepulcher. After much exploration of the tunnelways they had finally been all over the upper level of this dreaded place. Arwyn had returned to their ranks and now lead them.

In time they returned to the place where she had felt that dark presence. Once more she said nothing. Arwyn stepped up to the sarcophagus and tried with all his might to open its lid. The lid did not move, it was almost as if there were no lid - as if it were simply a solid carved piece of stone. He sighed and stepped down from it, turning to the others he announced "This is not it." and they continued on.

Opal shook her head. Bub'ger and Wraith by her side, she decided she had had enough of this, and that if they sought death in this place there was nothing she could do to save them. You cannot save those who wish not to be saved. Bub'ger was going to stay. She and Wraith made their way back to the surface. Allowing Wraith to use her rune to get back to the safety of a town, Opal turned and faced the archway that returned to the tunnels of the tomb.

Na-Krul's remains were in there, and she must not let them find him. She stepped back inside and quickly made her way back to the sarcophagus. Stepping up the couple stairs to stand beside it, she felt a wave of hate wash over her. She nearly stumbled back, so great was it's force. Her hand throbbed. She pulled off her glove, and the black scar that ran across her palm was swollen and angry looking.

Considering her next action, she put her scarred hand on the lid of the sepulcher. Immediately, she knew what it was to feel Death's touch. All the warmth left her body as the aura of death surrounding the tomb burned her with it's cold. Setting her jaw against the pain she felt both in her hand and from the icy cold of Death seeking to take her life, she pushed against the lid. Pain flared hot along the scar on her hand and the darkness she could see around the coffin flared for a moment and flashed as it's seal broke. The lid slid away as if a dozen men were moving it.

The cold receded and the darkness seemed to loom away from her as she looked down into the coffin. There inside laid the skeleton of what was left of a once tattered man, a blood red sash, and a perfect skull. They were what was left of the once powerful sage and scholar Na-Krul, the prize those of the Dark Tower sought this eve, somewhere else in these very tunnels. They would not have them.

Opal took an empty bag out of her pack and carefully, but quickly, placed all of Na-Krul's remains inside of it, and put the bag in her pack. Looking around to be sure no one was watching, she hurriedly made her way back to the surface.

Posted by Keith at January 6, 2001 2:25 PM

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