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From the Journal of Ethryion:

Foreword:

Ethyrion presented a bit of a shock to the Nerath Empire when he presented himself flatly to aid their cause. His Eladrin features prompted many stares whose owners quickly looked away when Ethyrion turned his pupil-less green eyes towards them. His gaze appears almost unnerving to those unaccustomed to his presence. He has taken to keeping his hood low over his eyes to keep the stares to a minimum. Those that know him can attest to his leadership abilities and an air of authority surround him, as if he is some Eladrin Lord of Winter. Those closest have heard him speak of being the Eladrin Prince of the Emerald Spire and a member of the Winter Court.

Soft-spoken with an air of detachment describe his traits almost completely. He appears to regret or meekly endure his presence in the realm. Why he enlisted, why now, no one knows but him, and he definitely is not stating anything. Oten others have tried to engage him in conversation and his response is usually to stare away or piercingly right through the person. What he thinks, what he relishes, or dislikes all seem to be the same. For about a month no one even realized he spoke common until in combat he shouted a warning to a comrade about to fall victim to a surprise strike.

He drew his longsword rarely if ever, mostly it hung as a decoration at his waist seemingly denoting some royal or noble lineage. When fighting hand to hand many remarked that he wielded but a pair of daggers, of which he carries many. His longbow received about as much use as did his sword, again exquisite in appearance many think of it as purely ceremonial.

Assigned to a special skirmishing unit, the others in the group have come to know him as fiercely loyal and protective of his comrades. He seems to be all over the battle field at once and when someone is in dire need he aids them and whisks away to help another or else strike down the enemy. They have seen his green unfocusing eyes and elven features. He often sits as if admiring nature and looking through the tree, watching the sap flow. He takes meticulous care of his longswords and longbow; applying tallow or other berry wax to the bow and string, keeping his arrow fletchings groomed, and even oiling the blade of the longswords that he never uses. His daggers on the other hand receive a quick whisk against a whetstone, methodically, then returned to their position on his gear. Perhaps the fell creatures of this plane are not worth the strikes of his breathtakingly beautiful longswords and longbow. He is rather general is his worship of deities, stricly loyal to the Fey deities and often nodding his head paying silent respects when passing shrines or symbols to Corellon, Sehanine, Labelas and Bahamut, the gods of the long-lived.

He has spoken briefly to his friends about his goals, mostly that his lot is that of a warden of the spiral tower. Being one gifted to use magic he seems to use it very rarely as if he is on some test to not use a bow, sword or magic unless absolutely necessary. Over the years he fired maybe two arrows and cast some spell which flung a silvery bolt. Both instances occurred during a dire battle which lasted all of but a moment.

His gear and clothing seem to be pristine at all times. Typically wearing white robes with silver embroidery along the the hem, sleeve cuffs, collar, down the center and heavily on his white linen belt. The robe seems to have a shimmering green tint to it in various shades as if trying to blend with trees, grasses, leaves and even shadows. His longswords are in scabbards and the handgrips covered in a dark green felt like material with silver sigils embroidered onto the cloth.

Chapter One:

Ethyrion remembered the meeting as if it happened just the other day. The clarity however, was due to it technically being just a day ago. The group had awoken amid snow banks and fallen tree limbs, though they had left surrounded by the struggling heat of a late autumn day and a chilling night yet to come.

The town of Fallcrest was a fairly well defended fort. A narrow road snaked up the mountain, the valley below mostly plains of ripened wheat with plenty of grazing land for animals. A breathtaking variety of glossy red and golden leaves framed the plains valley floor and provided a foothill border to most of the mountains off in the distance. Perched atop a mountainous, craggy knoll any passerby could easily spot the town, and the town could see any travelers as well. So it was the group trekked up the dusty road for much needed supplies and information.

Nervous guards watched the group, seeing their emblems of Nerath Empire the guards relaxed. It was evident they were a hastily assembled militia. An elder and presumably a man of importance strode towards them slowly.

"Greetings, I pray are you here to assist Sir Kegan?" the portly man asked. A merchant with a wagonload of supplies, foods and tools was preparing to depart the town as the heroes entered. "Good merchant Kalarel, on the morrow depart pray thee. For these fine warriors may need a guide to Sir Kegan's keep."

The man referred to as Kalarel paused and with a wry smirk nodded, "Aye m'lord." Though his tone did not sound so grateful, his trip would be longer in making apparently. He circled his wagon back to the stable area and prepared to secure his wares and oxen for the night.

"I am, Thom, the magistrate of Fallcrest, and it is my honor to entrust you to aid Sir Kegan. I shall even allow for provisions on our behalf for your journey and aid to him. But let us talk indoors."

Chatting with humans was always boring to Ethyrion, they too often huffed and puffed on their station and self-importance. That they could change over and again, back and forth what the land would have done anyways but without so much destruction. The non-fey rarely allowed forests to recover and in general they bored him. Ethyrion broke out of his thoughts with practiced anticipation, smiling faintly at how he would break out of his reverie precisely when the fluff was over and stray words of import were spoke.

"Sir Kegan, a paladin, guarding a seal to hold back the Shadowfell. Go to aid him, Master Kalarel the merchant will guide you on the morrow."

After the Magistrate's talk the elder human spoke, again of the same things it seemed, trivial humans.

"A seal located inside the keep...its tenuous task of preventing the shadowfell's encroachment... Sir Kegan needed aid...go with the merchant heading to another local town of Winterhaven...pass by the keep...Kalarel was the merchant's name."

The next morn the adventurers gathered their offered supplies and departed with the merchant. Although talkative at first, Kalarel spoke directly to the group very little upon the journey. He spoke in seeming nonsense, always muttering under his breath and talking as if to people only he could see. His mutterings even persisted well into the night as he slept. So it was those thoughts were the last the small band of heroes remembered.

Upon waking, Ethyrion noted the snow then looked to the wood itself. He scanned the area noting the same deer paths and tree growth he had scouted the night before. It now appeared a bit odd. A tree branch, freshly fallen, lay sprawled across what somehow, long ago, apparently had been their campfire. Most of the land lay dormant under a blanket of snow. The lay of the land was similar but where old fallen trees had lain was naught but a shallow mound, or a mature oak stood defiantly. Looking about he soon deduced the inevitable. Years had gone by, decades for sure, a century more likely.

"The road survived so too have the towns and the Keep presumably," thought Ethyrion. The band realized Kalarel and his wagon were nowhere to be seen.

"This road still sees much travel," Ethyrion said softly as he stood from his crouched position. His companions brushed the last bits of snow off their bedrolls and peered about.

As the others rose from the age long slumber Ethyrion reflected on the prior events. They had been a band working for the Nerath Empire, battling against the shadow forces. Most of their company had been decimated. Their commander dead, the survivors agreed to aid a local lord, a paladin lord named Sir Kegan.

From the Journal of Sarl:

1 Day Past 100 Years

The first day awake in 100 years. I never thought I'd see 10 more years down the road; thought I'd die in some battle in defense of the people, or be consumed by the powers of nature during some conjure. Let alone spend another 100 asleep. But here I am with a new group of comrades, but no one else, trying to regain a grasp on this new existence, possibly a grasp on reality itself. After all, this doesn't even seem too real.

The day unfolded somewhat normally though, surprisingly enough. We began, after realizing that we had awoken in the same forest, simply decades past, to continue on our journey. We quickly arrived at the keep, only to find it mostly in rubble with age, a foreboding sign of what would be found inside. As we made out way into the keep, I couldn't help but to think that this could be my tomb, just as it appears to be for those who once stood guard over what the stone fortifications where meant to protect.

We found an entrance to the lower levels, and descended. Once we reached the bottom: ambush. We fought hard, and where able to make our way past some more dead bodies. But once again afterward, we found ourselves embattled, after making our way down another level of the keep.

The battle was not a success however. Our comrade whom I regret to say I never got his name, was injured in battle. We all had been cut or stabbed, or even burned in some cases by globules of fire thrown by the enemy, but alas, our warrior brethren took much of the damage, and shortly after, his life in this world ceased to be.

After mourning his passing, and giving him as much a burial as could be in such a place, we moved on. I however, could not join my fellows for a time. It seems our luck is even worse than it already appeared. I found myself shortly after taking stride toward the next doorway, back in the time from which our party originally came. And oddly enough, in the same place. Upon realization of the slip in time, I began to seek out Sir Keegan.

This however, proved difficult. The first corner I turned, proved to be my last. I was immediately waylaid by a set of the keeps guards on patrol. You see, they thought of me as an intruder. And rightly so, I thought of it afterwards, for even though it was my and my party's quest to get to this very place and speak with Sir Keegan, I was not invited this far. But before I was able to explain myself, I vanished in time again.

I found myself once more in the future, or the present, depending on the perspective I suppose. Or is it the past? Surely, I write this to read once again at some date past the current. But that is aside from the purpose of this writing. I must chronicle these events.

It was explained to me by the others when I began to share time with them, the events while I was gone, which was nothing abnormal for the keep. In this case, a tussle with a seemingly never ending series of the undead. None of my thoughts on this where good. Especially since the horde only ended, when out of a spat of desperation, prayed to Bahamut for help in this endeavor. Now, I know from experience that Bahamut is wise almost above reason, but this did not quite make sense. If Bahaumt so chose to save us, it would be through an endowment of wisdom which we might use to smite our foes.

This uneasiness proved to be warranted, as we entered the next room. Atop a raised area of the room we now stood in, against the far wall, we saw what could only be the resting place of some past person. But that of course is not the very thing which was ill, but what we found to be inside. For it was Sir Keegan himself, a once Paladin of Bahamut. But our charge was not yet dead, but undead. For he had broken his oath to the God, and in penance, locked himself alive in his grave, so that he may one day arise once again to protect that which he almost gave to the enemy: the portal.

And now I lay my pen down, for another day, for I must get some rest. If some foe comes this way, and discovers the crypt seal has been breached, the doors may fly open once more, only with us on the inside, and a sea of the enemy on the other. If we must fight for our lives once more on this day, I need some bit of rest to have any hope through.

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