Dungeons And/Or Dragons
Stockchurch Refuge - Apprentice's Journal
It has been five years now since Master Berenger left us. I admit, the old man’s life, and the stories he sometimes told, have weighed heavily on me these years. Tales of better days with old companions, wandering the world finding adventure, and of how he so readily sacrificed their lives to safeguard his own. He never spoke of specifics, but he did describe his companions quite well – Ssz’dirn Freghym, the Drow blademaster, and Beygrim Dolthak, a dwarf of such foul and twisted temperament that his own deity disowned him. He spoke as though they were the greatest men to ever walk among mortals, yet he would kill them a thousand times over if it meant he could maintain his ‘seal’ for all eternity. Granted, in doing so, every soul in our world was spared the worst of fates, by his telling, but still – the thought of draining away my best friend’s very essence to fuel a spell still strikes me as beyond foul. He himself said that, on that day, he almost became to be like what he was fighting to defeat. Part of me questions just how close he came to the precipice.
The greatest weight that Master Berenger’s stories exert on me is this – the times of their supposed occurrence are very much the same as when the incursions of the Elemental Chaos began. The two must be linked in some way, whether intentionally or not. Something that he did on that mad ‘quest’ of his must have served as a catalyst for the breakdown of the very walls of reality. Doors to the Elemental Chaos have opened before, but none on such a scale or in such a short time. My theories about this ‘Seal of the Elemental Eye’, and it’s link to the madness engulfing the mortal world, did not go unnoticed. My Master threatened me never to speak of them to anyone, on pain of death, on more than one occasion. Eventually, he stopped even speaking to me, and only communicated through his thrice-damned followers, who are xenophobic at best. Yes, since they banded together those years ago they have done innumerable deeds to stem the tide of Elemental threats, but there are things that set me at unease. I’ve heard tales of them cutting men down in the streets in the name of order, of razing whole villages due to ‘elemental contamination’, and of some among them that actually worship the law above their own deities. They may have started as brigands and militiamen, but for better or worse, these men who shield us from the Elemental Chaos seem to be making themselves into an institution.
In my research during my internment in this damnable archive, I have read stories and reports about Master Berenger and his companions. In all but the earliest of them, a recurring thread is that they possessed artifacts of great power, capable of incalculable feats. Artifacts which, in his life, Master Berenger denied any knowledge of, and in his death, I can find precious little information on. As great a boon as they would be in the fight to push back the Elemental Chaos from this world, it seems Master Berenger and his companions took the secrets of these artifacts to their graves.