The mace felt heavier in his hands this morning. Even sundered, the mace haft was a formidable weapon. What could have broken such a mighty tool of destruction, Frank did not know. He only knew that he had to join the two parts back together again. It was his purpose, it was what he spent his life training to do. It felt right, and St. Cuthbert had chosen him to carry the mace into battle against the evil which has filled this land.
His companions had just head off to Capitol City. A place crawling with the followers of Neral. Frank, half refusing to wear the brand of neral to “fit in” with the city folk, and half driven by the need to find the volcano which has plagued his dreams, split off from the rest of the party, heading North and West towards the coast.
Frank almost felt better off without them. Heading North felt right. He could do a few weeks without Deathreaver’s constant mocking of the importance of his mission. Poppy was a brilliant leader, but did not have the same commitment as he towards reforging the mace. Still, he wished Poppy was here to advise him. Eland had his own code, his own beliefs. He was a handy warrior to have around. Sorceron seemed to follow no code; he’d as soon throw a fireball at you as greet you.
His dreams had been becoming more frequent, they visited him every night now. The cave, the orb, the magma, the mace, the dragon. He knew it all fit together somehow, but it was just beyond his grasp. Randolph had given him directions to the island a few hundred miles off the northern coast. A volcano dominated the island, and Frank new that his destiny lie underground there. It would be there where he would reforge the mace in the stream of magma. His dreams told him so, and his dreams were from St. Cuthbert.
Frank grumbled to himself as he made his way through the forest. He pushed himself hard, knowing there were many miles to go before he would even get to the ocean, and then many more miles along the coast. He tried not to think of the distance, and tried to ignore the branches clawing at his armor, pulling at the shield strapped across his back. Frank never took his hand off the mace as he pushed through the undergrowth.
He hadn’t traveled many miles before it became too dark to move safely. After tripping more than a few times on unseen branches, he decided he would have to take a rest. He found a tightly nestled copse of trees where he thought could be defensible. Though he was still miles from the city now, he didn’t feel safe without first casting a protective ward around the area to avoid any nasty surprises.
That night he dreamed again. Not the same dreams as before, cold and in a cave. This time he was in a field. It was day time and the sun beat down on him to the point he almost could no longer bear it in his armor. Hundreds of soldiers were around him. Not all soldiers, some he could tell were farmers from the way they held their weapons and the way they slashed at their enemy with little skill. He was on a great battlefield. Death was all around him. His shield was raised and the mace, reforged and glinting in the sunlight, was in his hand.
A voice boomed overhead. “You will carry my mace to victory. You will be my warrior.” A wave of enemies rushed at Frank. His hands began bleeding, the blood glowing, dripping on his shield and mace. They began glowing faintly, powered by his own blood as he hacked is way through the lines of Neral’s followers. As the last one fell he drained the man’s life force, channeling it into his strength and health. He turned to face his next quarry.
Waves of skeletons came into view over the battle. The profane clerics of Neral summoning the dead from the fallen warriors. As Frank’s hands continued to bleed, he channeled the divine energy of St. Cuthbert, forming it into a cone of positive energy to vanquish the skeletons ahead of him.
“You will remove the blight from this land,” the voice rang in his ears. “You must lead this resistance to victory. You will reforge the mace and carry it into battle.” Skulls cracked around him as he swung his mace to and fro. Hundreds fell before him and his companions, and the warriors who made up the resistance.
“You must reforge the mace”
Frank woke with a start at the sound of some bird in the forest. It was almost morning and he needed to get moving. He was still a little shaken by the dream as he dropped the protective ward and started through the forest. He never had this dream before, and never imagined wielding the strange abilities he saw himself wield in his dream. He rubbed his hands absentmindedly as he thought of the dream, and how they bled in battle.
A scream startled him from his thoughts and he crouched down, loosening his shield from his back and fitting it in his hand. The scream came again from up ahead. About 40 or 50 feet through the forest. He couldn’t see anything through the trees, but it sounded like someone was in trouble. Almost without thinking, he rushed forward to help, the adrenaline from his dream battle still coursing through his blood.
When he finally came to a thinning of trees he could see what was up ahead. A young girl lay on the ground pleading with three men to spare her life. She was heavily beaten and her face and hands were covered in blood. The thugs, who wore the black robes adorned with symbols of Neral stood over her, “Stop resisting, we’ll not let our 200 gold coins get away that easily.” One of them said.
Frank paused in his charge only long enough to channel the divine energy to fill the air with electric charge, he rushed to the closest man swinging the mace haft while letting lightning bolts fall from the sky on the others. One of the men ran off screaming for help while his two friends dropped at Frank’s feet. Frank knelt down to urge the woman to run. The woman lay unconscious, but alive; she was in no condition to flee. Frank braced himself to defend her from what he heard coming through the forest.
Four more thugs appeared along with the first man. A fifth man, unarmored, hung back and began casting some arcane spell which Frank could not identify. He let down lightning on the unarmored man while he swung at the four now outflanking him. The dream seemed far off now, his adrenaline replaced with fear and uncertainty. The mage ran away from the barrage of electricity as the four men grabbed at Frank and pulled him to the ground. Lightning flashed at then, charring their flesh as Frank struggled to get free.
Once pinned on the ground, one of the men hit Frank over the head and darkness consumed him. “You will one day be my warrior,” the voice reassured him, “Reforge the mace”