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World of Nevermore: Albrecht, Sword-of-Saviare

The Tale of Albrecht, Sword of Saviare

As told by Captain Lars Larson to the Bard Allan Payne

After the Battle of Saviare, we [the Army of Parth] remained in the swamp to clean up the last of the Ophidian armies. King Albrecht decided to explore the ruined Castle, for he intended to annex the Swamp. Long ago Saviare Swamp was part of Parth, you know, and the Treaty of Saviare allowed the reclaiming of former holdings by the reformed nations.

Ah, what do I know of treaties, anyway? King Albrecht called for his finest soldiers, and I was honored to be among them. There were six of us: Major Kavon, Captain Zane, Leftenants Bohl and Garvon, Sergeant Lowren, and myself. With King Albrecht we descended into the dungeons beneath Castle Saviare.

Someday when you need an epic, good Bard, I'll tell you the whole story of our descent; suffice to say that we fought many creatures, some I had seen before as well as many which defied description, and had reached the seventh level underground when we found her.

It was a torture chamber, and though it was ancient and decrepit it yet held many a metal implement of suffering. One whole wall was fitted with shackles, and at one end there was a woman. She was covered in dirt and wearing tattered garments, and yet she was the most beautiful woman any of us had seen.

With mighty blows of his warhammer Captain Zane shattered the chains which secured her, and we carried her out of that room of horrors to the suite we had cleared for our camp. Leftenant Garvon was a medic, and so he saw to our guest's health. She seemed to have no major wounds, but was pale and a bit emaciated. As he was wiping the dirt from her face she awoke.

Her eyes were large, clear, and blue, and captivated us all. She said her name was Gloria, and that she had been captured by a horrid vampire which meant to consume her as it had consumed her husband Thaddeus. King Albrecht offered her rations, but she said she was too sick to eat; but she did drink some water.

We should have seen the signs, my friend, but what man could have?

Late that night, or actually early the next morning if the truth be known, I awoke suddenly. I lay there confused, wondering what woke me in the silence of the dungeon darkness. I opened my eyes slowly, and looked around, and I saw her... biting Leftenant Bohl's throat, while he leaned against the wall in a daze. Beside them lay Captain Zane, pale as a sheet and not breathing.

A Vampire! What fools we were, I thought, as I cast about the room quietly, looking over my sleeping comrades for a suitable weapon. Then I saw it... the broken handle of an axe one of us had brought. I quietly leapt to my feet, grabbed the handle in one hand and Zane's warhammer in the other, and before she saw me coming I drove the stake between her shoulder blades. I stood there panting, from the stress more than the exertion, when I realized that Bohl was doomed also. I hammered again, and drove the axehandle through her and into his chest also.

My grisly work completed, I turned to my remaining comrades, who had awakened at this commotion. They all were apparently well, and I explained as best as I could; but the evidence spoke for itself. We were unsure whether Captain Zane would become a vampire also, so to be safe we crudely made another stake and drove it through his heart.

Safe, or so we thought. Did I mention that we camped in a suite of rooms? King Albrecht slept in the inner room, alone; by the time we remembered him and checked, it was too late. She had taken him first, and he had already made the change.

Garvon opened the door to the darkened room. I handed him a lit torch, and he stepped inside; a moment later he came flying out, knocking the rest of us down also. I was just getting up when I saw His Majesty's crazed red eyes. He hit me, and that's the last I knew for a time.

When I awoke, I was in a different room, a large room appointed as a throne room, ancient and dusty. A few candles burned in sconces across the back wall, and sitting on the throne was King Albrecht. I stood up slowly, sore and reeling still, and he spoke.

I'll always remember what he said to me.

"Captain Larson. I'm happy to see you are well, for I owe you a favor. If you had not slain Gloria, I would be her slave now. Bad enough that the King of Parth should become this dread thing, but worse yet if he were also slave to one who was once a common prostitute.

"She told me many things as she held me in her dark spell, sipping at my lifeblood between sentences; how she had come past the castle at night with Thaddeus, her procurer, and several other girls, on their way to Parth from a Gaultic colony where they were no longer welcome; how an ancient, blood-starved vampire had slain all but her, being sated before he reached her; how he made her his vampire slave; how at last he was slain by a questing paladin, from whom she hid. Meals for a vampire are few here in the midst of this swamp, for they... we... cannot cross open water; yet somehow she survived.

"Major Kavon was the last man I slew. By then my bloodlust came under my control, and as he breathed his last he plead for your life, telling me that you destroyed Gloria and thereby secured my freedom.

"I owe you, then, and I will grant you your life. Go from here quickly, and tell all who ask that I was slain by an ancient vampire, and all with me save you were likewise slain. Do not tell them that the King of Parth is now a vampire, for it is an unseemly end and I would not have it known. Say instead that my last living act was to tell you to flee, and give warning; none will think you weak."

So I left that place, as quickly as I could, in fear the whole time until I crossed the bridge east of the Castle.

Why have I told you the truth, and not what my King bade me tell? Because if I lie, all would believe a nameless vampire of some distant age haunts Castle Saviare, and warriors would hasten to slay it. If instead I tell the truth, all will know that one of the seven greatest warriors in all the world has become undead, and rightly fear him. Who indeed can destroy him now?

Warn all who hear or read my tale, go not to Castle Saviare, nor pass it by night, nor even risk the afternoon lest you become trapped there, and surely die.

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World of Nevermore: Albrecht, Sword-of-Saviare Last Updated 08/21/2006