Barnom Slim/saved posts
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Special thanks to GM Marstreforn and GM Qortaz for all of their storyline help and NPC support! Below is the origin of Barnom Slim's transformation into the Lich King. The gnome Jankus revealed some of the details last night to players, so it's "known" in-game now, but here is the full version. Enjoy! --- He fell to the dirt, his face scraping on a rock. They had defeated his minions and once more chased him out of town. He should have known better. His powers were still new, his undead creatures too weak. He should have waited and bided his time, to grow both in strength and knowledge. But he had survived, and for that much he was thankful. Now he could start again. If only he could escape the darkness. Flesh chipped from his fingers as he fumbled along the ground, straining every muscle as he squirmed through a cavern hole more fitting for an animal. He could still hear the footfall of heavy boots behind him, and the shrill wailing of his servants. Men’s voices cried out in the distance, not out of pain, but out of victory. Steel upon steel, it echoed like a song through the cavernous walls. But it was no tune to be celebrated or remembered. He knew it meant he was losing. Soon the ghostly howling stopped and the muffled voices of men could be heard shouting in triumph. They would come looking for him next, he knew it. They would want their silvers back. More importantly, they would want to hang him as a final act of retribution. He cursed as he crawled across jagged rocks, slowly squeezing through the tiny stone opening. He had stolen a powerful artifact and been given powers in return. How was it he had been reduced to crawling through the dirt to escape? He would just need more time. More time to become powerful, more time to expand. More time to prepare. The ground beneath him gave away, his compact tunnel ending at a pit of darkness. He fell awkwardly, his pitchy voice rising as his body descended. Rocks and stone tattered his clothing as he plummeted deeper underground, pain erupting across his body. He landed with a crack of his left arm and his elbow shattering. He let out a cry. “The wailing of a newborn”, came a faint, cold voice from the shadows around him. “A creature not yet a babe, not yet a man.” The shadows spoke again, mockingly. The man shot to his feet, biting his tongue against the hot pain in his arm. He knew the voice all too well. He knew the warriors in pursuit were now the least of his worries. He rushed forward, trudging through darkness and thick sludge along the ground. No amount of pain or lack of light would stop him. “My dear friend Barnom, why do you run?” The shadows echoed all around him. “Your flesh is not yet cold, your soul is not yet mine.” The voice of the shadows felt like ice down his back, a freezing touch that almost slowed him to a stop. He knew what fate the shadows held for him. He struggled through the darkness, tearing up his clothes and skin as he bounced from wall to wall, clumsily running while cradling his broken arm. “Where are your powers, councilman?” The shadows followed, never behind, but always around him. “Where is your serpent’s gift? Where is your precious Arkati?” Barnom had no time to answer, as he stumbled forward and once more found himself falling in darkness. He tried to grasp desperately to the edge of the wall as he fell, flaying flesh from his arms and side. His plunge was quick, and once more followed by the cracking of bones and excruciating pain. His legs splintered beneath his weight, bones jutting out from the flesh as he collapsed in a heap. Pale lichen grew along the walls, a dim glow emanating from their surface. Barnom’s eyes squinted, cloudy with tears and blood. He lay broken and in pain, amidst the skeletal remnants of many before him. He waited, breathing slowly as his lungs burned with fire. His arm had all but gone numb now, overwhelmed by the new stinging agony in his legs. He rested his head against the wall, staring at the white lichen as he waited for the voice of the shadows. It never came. Instead, he saw the faintest shimmer of a viridian light off in the distance. He thrust his body forward, falling onto his chest and overcome with a wave of sharp pain. He bit his tongue in frustration, blood seeping through his teeth as he squirmed along the ground, pushing his broken body onward. With one arm useless, and two legs broken and wracked with pain, he continued his slow crawl, using his shoulders and chest to wiggle through the dim tunnel. Still, the voice of the shadows never came. But he remembered that it had, and so he pressed on. He could feel some of his power returning, he could sense the bones and still rotting corpses not far from where he crawled. But he dare not awaken them now, he dare not waste his power like before. Again, the viridian light flickered, beckoning him further. Dark, oily blood trailed behind him as he inched closer to the light. After many agonizing moments, he dragged himself into a wide chamber where jagged rock gave way to smooth obsidian walls. Along the obsidian ran strips of pulsating white energy, a strange hum resonating from within. Jutting up from the middle of the chamber was a towering black obelisk with three dark pillars stretching up like jagged claws. In the center of the claw-shaped pylons, the viridian light flickered once more. Barnom dragged his battered body towards the obelisk and with a hand covered in blood and flayed skin, touched the cold surface of the stone pylon. The viridian light burst within the obelisk, churning rapidly as emerald tendrils lashed about wildly. Barnom remained transfixed, his face and body bathed in the viridian glow of the energy before him. Ancient runes came to life along the obsidian walls, each aglow with brilliant light. The emerald tendrils arced out and struck Barnom in the chest, their green wisps of energy searing into his clothing and then flesh. He cried out in half pain, half ecstasy before his jaw exploded into a shower of blood and bone. The emerald tendrils released him and subsided, withdrawing back into the glowing viridian light above the obelisk. A weak rattle slipped from Barnom’s exposed throat and he fell to the ground. The chamber sat in near silence for many moments, save for the low humming sound of the white energy along the walls. The body of Barnom Slim rose slowly to its knees, then to its feet. His movements were jerky and awkward. He leaned forward, pressing his protruding bones back into his skin. Maggots fell from his wounds as the flesh slowly closed up. He raised his head, staring up at the viridian light of the obelisk. His eyes melted away, replaced by the fiery spark of red hot coals. He turned, the tattered rags of his cloak twisting with him. Down the hall, among the glowing lichen, stood a horde of skeletons and bodies that had risen up from the cavern floor. Barnom spoke, a pitchy voice through the folds of muscle and blood in his throat, “Bow to your King.”