orenthal

Orenthal the Great

            His name was Orenthal, and he was great. Since the day he was born, the world had known. Under a starry sky he took his first breath, and as he did, a new star shone in the darkest corner of the sky, brighter than any other. An incredible birth to be sure, and even more so because of who his parents were.

            Orenthal’s mother was Eiyana, the beautiful daughter of Lave, Regent of the West, while his father was Remus, next in line to be Regent of the East, after his older brother. Orenthal was the noble child of two rival houses, and the marriage that came soon after his birth had saved the country of Pathia from certain civil war. All of Pathia celebrated the wedding, and they called Orenthal himself the Child of Peace, which led to his name. His birth had come at the perfect time, and the Empire prospered for years in peace.

            Of course, Orenthal didn’t remember any of that. But his uncle had told him lots of stories about his  past, and not just noble politics. When he was just two years old, Orenthal proved his greatness again. Orenthal’s parents came home from a long journey one day to find young Orenthal in the kitchen, his hands glowing, pots and pans flying through the air, the nursemaid cowering in the pantry, terrified of the “witch-child”. His parents were ecstatic, and Orenthal’s magical talents grew greater with age.

            His uncle said that Orenthal’s outbursts grew more frequent as he grew, and that he almost destroyed the house several times with fire or other destructive magics. Orenthal didn’t remember any of it, his first magic or his first home. His earliest memory was from when he was around 6 years old, and it still haunted him. 

            It was winter, he remembered, and a blizzard raged in the dark night outside. His parents had shut the house against the cold, and were playing games with him inside, showering him with attention. Young Orenthal couldn’t be happier. But long into the night, after Orenthal was in bed, he remembered hearing a loud, frantic knock at the door. His parents went to answer it ,and a men, bedraggled and thin, came in. Orenthal had crept out of his room to watch, and he saw the young man get led to the kitchen. His parents fed him, gave him a warm blanket and a place by their fire, and a warm bed to sleep in until the blizzard died down. Orenthal went back to bed, and so did his parents and their guest.

            A few hours later, he awoke to a scream in the night. He ran to his parents’ room, terrified, hoping to find some comfort from his fears, but instead he ran in to watch the stranger stabbing his parents in their bed. Terrified and outraged, Orenthal unleashed the same flames that had almost destroyed his house so many times, and the same terrible forces that had broken free from him before. His nurse ran through the flames and carried him to safety deep in the stone cellar, where they were trapped for days. When Orenthal asked his uncle why it had happened, he found out that the man was an assassin sent by some revolutionary group to kill his parents and “the child of peace” and spark a war between the Regencies. Orenthal’s survival, and the discovery of the assassin’s burnt body, were all that had stopped the civil war.

            After that tragedy, Orenthal  went to live with his Uncle Ruthus, Regent of the East. Ruthus was good to Orenthal, treating him like his own and protecting him at all costs. He had no children of his own, having lost his wife and child in childbirth, and had long been a stern, sometimes even callous, regent. But Orenthal changed him. Having the child around warmed his heart, making him generous and wise with his power, and soon he became a favorite of Kespath, Lord of Pathia and king of the known world. 

            At the age of 8, Orenthal became the youngest apprentice mage in Pathian history, leaving home to travel with his master and learn the secretive ways of magic. At age 13, he defeated his master in a duel, becoming the youngest master mage in Pathian history as well. Kespath himself attended his induction into the Mage Circle in the North, and gave him an ebon wand, an exotic and powerful gift.

            For the next few years, when he wasn’t studying the magics or trying to invent his own, Orenthal was studying under his uncle to succeed him as Regent in the East. He went to ceremonies, gave speeches and took on many duties of management and state from his uncle. While he wanted to please his uncle, Orenthal found his work as Regent-heir uneventful and boring, and relished any time he had to himself for his private study or wandering the plains he called home. At a knighting in Pathia his uncle forced him to attend, Orenthal was dozing off in his seat when a young man from the West sat down next to him. He looked about fifteen, the same age as Orenthal, and his charming smile put Orenthal at ease.

            “Hey, I’m Sayre. I’m from the West. My older brother’s getting knighted. Who’re you?”

            “I’m Orenthal, and I don’t even know why I’m here. Which one’s your brother?”

            For the rest of the ceremony, they mocked the nobles, talked of home, and how boring they found affairs of state. They stayed in contact afterward, and would talk at every event they went to. They’d pull pranks on elder statesmen, trade stories with the servants, run off into the wilderness hunting turkeys or boars, or just go riding in the beautiful fields of Havanan in the East, or along the great forests of Iscine in the West. When Sayre was knighted, Orenthal lit the sky with magical fireworks and lights, and made illusory bears and lions dance at the celebrations. Orenthal would give sayre advice, sometimes using magic to divine the answer to a problem, and soon Sayre was a captain in the Order of the West, and had the freedom to ride out and visit whenever he pleased. They both had duties, but made time for their friendship, and soon most of their family’s considered them brothers.

            When Orenthal was sixteen, he and Sayre were at a royal ball. Sayre was a charming, handsome young man, with the blonde hair common in the West and a strong frame, dressed in a Knight’s finery, he was dancing almost the whole night. Orenthal hated dancing, and sat bitterly by himself, watching Sayre move from partner to partner. That’s when he met here. A girl about his age sat at his table. He had never seen her before. She had the pale skin of a Northerner, and her long raven hair and dark eyes gave her face an intensity to it that made him say hello. They introduced themselves. Her name was Aria, and she was the daughter of the Regent in the North. She hated all the ridiculous pomp and circumstance of nobility and was a mage just like him. The more they talked, the more they had in common, and they talked long into the night, going out on a balcony to look out over the plains, silver in the moonlight, and talk about whatever they pleased without being heard. By the end of the evening, Orenthal had fallen for her, and when she returned home, they started writing to each other as often as they could, sending letters pages long.

            When Ruthus learned of the two, he approved, as did Aria’s father, and the public. They loved hearing stories of Orenthal, and Aria was just more gossip to spread. As time passed, he and Aria would run and dance and talk, spending as much time as they could together. They’d go for long walks in the wilderness near their homes, learn new spells together, and laugh together. They’d ride out to some hilltop and watch the sunset, or go swimming by a waterfall in the foothills of the Shadowing Peaks, learning about life and love together.   Soon, people began talking about their wedding, though Orenthal hadn’t proposed. It was obvious how in love the two were just by watching them together for a moment. Everyone knew it was coming.

            Orenthal had heard all of these stories from Ruthus,and though he tried not to let tales of his fame and accomplishments go to his head, he couldn’t help feeling special. He sat at his desk, looking into the glass that Kespath had sent him as a birthday gift. He looked at the room behind him. It was full of memories, gifts, souvenirs from times passed.  But the memories he cherished most couldn’t be kept. The kisses, the laughter, the moments of bliss were all ephemeral. The only way to remember Aria was to reread her letters.

            That’s what he had been doing when all of these memories had flooded his mind. He just didn’t understand how, if he was as great as they all said he was, why? He just didn’t understand.

            On fall afternoon, after a lesson in Court with Ruthus, Orenthal got a letter from Aria. The savage Orcs of Cor’Otol were raiding the Eastern border of the Northern Regency. They had already passed through the forests of Nixine and were getting ever closer to Oriel, the seat of the Northern Regency and her home. Normally her father’s soldiers would put an end to the Orcish brutes, but a strange illness had taken hold of the land, a plague that spread throughout their Regency leaving most too weak to fight. The Pathian army was on its way, but it would be over a week before they reached Oriel, and she was scared. The note ended with her  telling him how much she loved him, and that she always would,no matter what happened.

            Then, Orenthal did something no mage had done before, or has ever since. He waved his ebon wand through the air, and with all of his tremendous power and rage in his heart at the thought of losing his beloved, he summoned a blue column of light which surrounded him and shot up,throughthe ceiling and into the sky. Then he was gone, vanished from his bedchamber, andi n an instant stood in the courtyard at Oriel, the light vanished as fast as it had come. Aria ran out and they embraced, kissing like they had never kissed before, and then her father ran out. Orenthal rode the fastest horse to the nearby barracks, and the next,and the next, and soon realized the illness was a powerful curse. Orenthal used his mighty magic to lift the curse from the land, and led the northern army to push the savages back to COr’Otol, where they lived in fear of the “witch-man”. The shaman responsible for the curse was brought to Pathia and hanged, and Kespath honored Orenthal with the title “Great”.

            That was how it had happened.  Orenthal had saved the North and become Orenthal the Great. There were parades. Bards sung his tale. And he and Aria tried to unravel the mystery of his teleportation. Only they knew what had happened, and they worked hard, to no avail, to discover how he had done it. Aria became more and more interested in Orenthal’s talents, and soon whole letters were focused on his magic. Then, the letters stopped.

            He looked into the dark mirror again. He looked at his sharp,tan face. His light brown hair. His eyes, green with flecks of purple in them, signs of his long use of magic. What was wrong with him? He didn’t understand. If he was so great, why didn’t she love him?

            Orenthal, the great and powerful mage, hero of the North, bane of Cor’Otol, couldn’t think of an answer, and the boy in the mage’s robes cried himself to sleep.

            The next day, he walked down to the kitchen, eyes red and puffy from crying all night. He took a roll and some butter from the cook and was sitting down to eat by the front window when he saw someone riding up the trail in the distance. The horse was at full gallop, the tall grasses swaying as it passed them. Orenthal walked out onto the front steps to see who it was. The rider was wearing a helmet and the light riding armor of the Knight-Captains of Pathia. And as he got closer, Orenthal saw the livery of the West on the horse’s saddle.

            The rider reached the house, and dismounted, letting a stable boy take his horse, he pulled off his helmet, and his long blonde hair came down to his shoulders. Despite his hair and a few scas, Orenthal would’ve recognized his smile anywhere, and he pulled Sayre into a tight hug, then pulled away to look at him, holding him by the shoulders. He couldn’t help getting excited to see his closest friend ,and the night before was forgotten.

            “Sayre! I’m so glad to see you!” Orenthal said with a smile.

            “I’m glad to see you too, Orenthal. Or should I say Orenthal the Great? Orry, so full of yourself, giving yourself all these fancy titles.” Sayre said laghing.

            Sayre was wearing the dull red tunic of the Pathian Knight-Captains over his riding armor, with the symbol of the west, a falcon with an eel in its talons, on his chest. His hair was long because the Order did not allow its knights to cut it.

            “Well, at least I don’t look like a witch.” Orenthal said running his hand through his own, shorter hair.

            “Hey, I’m your guest. That’s no way to speak to a guest. Now show me in and get me some breakfast, I’m starving.” And they walked inside. They went to the itchen and the cook, a portly older woman from the south with a thick accent gave Sayre a big hug.

            “My favreet knight back to veezeet. I’ll make sometheeng special.” And she pulled out eggs from the lader and set to work, shooing them out of her kitchen.

            Orenthal and Sayre went to the dining room to sit and catch up while they waited for breakfast, and found Ruthus, reading one of the books from his large collection.

            “Uncle, we have a guest.” Orenthal said. Ruthus looked up and, seeing Sayre, smiled big and stood. He shook the young man’s hand and they all sat around the table.

            “So how has the knighthood been treating you Sayre?” Ruthus asked.

            “It’s been great. Since I became a captain, I’ve had a lot more to do, that’s why I have’t visited these past few months. We had to go and quell some uprisings by the barbarians in Latun and hunt down Elvish bandits near Tochine. Being a servant of Pathia really takes up your time. But you get to travel and see the kingdom. I’ve been to the Fretal Mountains, seen the Dwarves at their works on Fortress Peak. After seeing that, it’s no surprise they’re still free. I even got to see the Stones of Oujoun.”

            Orenthal perked up when he heard that.

            “Really, the Stones of Oujun? I’ve always wanted to see those. The huge floating stones in that forest, north of Pathia? I want to go there someday. They may hold the key to making men fly.” Orenthal spoke with wonder in his voice. He’d only read of them. The Stones of Oujun were something he’d wanted to see since he was young.

            Sayre nodded. But then his usual smile disappeared and his tone got more serious.

            “Like I said, I have many duties to perform, and although I wish I could say this was a friendly visit, it’s not. I’m here to ask for your help.” Then servants brought in breakfast and his smile broke back onto his face like a wave over a wall of sand. “Nevermind, this smells so good, it can wait.” And Sayre tore into his food.

            After lunch was done, Sayre and Orenthal walked the grounds. Orenthal’s curiosity about what Sayre needed help with had been growing and growing, and for a good ten minutes, they walked in silence. Orenthal felt like he was going to burst, but then finally, Sayre cleared his throat and spoke.

            “The king sent me here, because he trusts both of us, and has the highest faith in our abilities. He told me that I had proven myself as a loyal knight and a brave swordsman, and that you had shown a talent and skill for magic that makes you peerless. Together he said we could handle anything. So he sent me to find you, and ask you to help me. You see Orenthal, I’ve never been to the Stones of Oujoun. Or, I’ve been to where they are supposed to be, floating in the air, great chains holding them to the ground, rubble around them, leftovers from a civilization long gone. But the stones did not float when I was there. The lay on the ground in deep craters they must have made when they fell, just common boulders. The royal mages investigated, but found nothing. The Court Seers, the Throne Alchemist, they all investigated. But none could make sense of it. Their magic was gone, and none of them could tell Kespath where it went. Alone, this would have been troubling. But we ignored it, the bandits in the West demanding our attention. Until a few weeks ago, when the Underlings began fighting the Dwarves in the Fretal mountains. They had been dormant for years, hiding deep in the dark caves they call home, but now they were attacking, organized under some new leader. They poured out of Colchoth-no-Hal, and attacked villages in the Scarlet Valley. I was sent with knights to put an end to them, and w drove them back easily.”

            “But that’s not all. Soon after, the Mage Circle sent word several mages had just disappeared. Some had been practicing forbidden magics and had been banished, only to vanish before soldiers could escort them to the Rime-Waste. Others just disappeared. We fear that all of these events are connected, Orenthal. And on behalf of King Kespath, I’m asking you to come with me, to find out if there really is a connection. Will you help me?” Sayre looked at his friend, waiting for an answer.

            “Of course I’ll help you Sayre. But how can I help? It sounds to me like you have a string of events that span half the world. They don’t sound connected or like anything I can help you with.”

            “Thank you, old friend. I knew you’d say yes. We managed to capture just one of the mages who was banished. He’s in a jail cell in the Throne City. If we head out at noon, we can be there in a week. We need you to use magic to force him to tell us what he and his accomplices were planning. I hate to ask this of you, but we know you can do it.” Sayre said, looking away from his friend.

            Orenthal was horrified. The magic of the mind could have damaging effects on a willing target, let alone someone who would resist. He didn’t want to agree to it. But he knew he had to. If something had drained the magic of the Stones of Oujoun, then it would be very dangerous. He agreed, they bid farewell to Ruthus, and rode out for the Throne City.

            Kespath was staying in the South at the time, so Sayre and Orenthal spoke to the Throne Alchemist, a thin old man named Ekkel, who brought them to the prisoner. He was chained to the wall, his hands in locked gauntlets, special manacles that covered the whole hand and trapped it in a fist of steel, preventing mages from using their hands to cast spells. He spit at them when they walked in. The room stunk, and Orenthal found himself thinking how strange it was that there were such dank, dark dungeons beneath the beautiful marble and silver palace of Pathia.

            Orenthal and the others sat in chairs provided by a guard, and looked up at the prisoner. Ekkel was the first to speak.

            “I hope you’ve been enjoying your stay, Matheus.” He said sarcastically.

            “Oh I’ve been loving it Ekkel. Gruel twice a day fed to me with a cup on a pole. Water three times a day the same way. It’s amazing. You treat me like a king.” Matheus said with a sneer.

            “I see. Care to tell us why you were studying the forbidden arts?” Ekkel asked, pulling out a large black book and placing it on the table.

            “All I want is to study a little chaotic magic, Ekkel. I just want to see if the magics of things like flight or teleportation or necromancy are possible. Why that Circle of Mages feels it can shut off whole schools of magic from us is beyond me. I could find the key to immortality in that book!”

            “No, you know that’s not true. The forbidden schools of magic are forbidden because they are dangerous and bring only pain and death. You know that. Orenthal, he isn’t going to admit he was involved. Make him.”

            Orenthal nodded and stepped up to Matheus. Matheus looked down at him, fear in his eyes. Orenthal raise his wand to Matheus’ forehead and placed a hand on his chest, over his lungs. Orenthal chanted a few word, tapping his wand to his forehead and running his fingers in strange designs on Matheus’ chest. The wand’s tip glowed dark blue and his hands left a faint glowing trail on his chest, until an intricate rune glowed there, and then Orenthal stepped back. Matheus’ eyes and mouth glowed with blue light and he lstared past them,and the room, inot nothingness.

            “What were you trying to discover, Matheus, by researching the forbidden arts?” Ekkel asked again. Matheus spoke with a dull, monotone voice that was barely his own as he answered.

            “I was studying to understand the secrets of teleportation and summoning.”

            “And why was that?”

            “The others told me to”

            “Who are the others? The other banished mages?”

            “Yes. We each studied something. We wanted to know the key to creating a portal.”

            “Why was that?”

            “The master told us to.”

            “Where did the other mages go?”

            “ The Shadowing Peaks. The Crystal Comet by Havanan”

            “Why?”

            “That’s where master went.”

            “Did you take the power from the Oujoun Stones?”

            “No, they did.”

            “The other mages?”

            “No, the master and her servants.”

            “And who is the master?”

            Then, Orenthal’s control was broken, and the light faded, Matheus’ head hung low. Sayre felt his pulse.

            “He’s dead.  Who is this master? And what’s the ‘Crystal Comet’?”

            “I don’t know, Sayre. But he said it’s by Havanan. You and I have to head back. Ekkel, tell the king everything, were riding out. We can find out more later.”

            And they rode out, hoping to intercept the banished mages.

            When they reached Orenthal’s house, which was near the Western part of Havanan, they stayed the night, and told Ruthus everything they’d heard. Then, the next day, after stocking up on supplies, they rode towards the only part of the plains of Havanan that touched the foothills of the Shadowing Peaks.

            The ride was long but after two days and night in the tall grasses of Havanan they reached the foothills of the mountain. Sayr, having learned to track from the Elves of Iscine, who were master hunters, soon found hoofprints, and he and Orenthal followed their trail. It was another day’s journey before they found it. They reached the crest of a hill and there it was; a huge crater, probably half a mile across, with huge stones scattered throughout. They got bigger as they got closer to the center, and in the very center was one stone over 30 feet wide and 60 feet tall, a huge stone. In places the stone had chipped and a glint of red crystal could be seen. Orenthal and Sayre passed by the stones, descending into the crater, till they reached the huge boulder in the center. At the base facing them a huge hole, over 5 feet across and a good 8 feet tall was carved into the rock, and they went inside, leaving their horses.

            As soon as they stepped past the entrance, they could see a dull red glow coming from the rock, and it was unnaturally warm within. Orenthal took off his outer robes while Sayre removed his helmet and gauntlets, and they continued deeper inside, until they camto a large open chamber with a raised dais in the center. The bodies of dead mages were in a circle, their blood filling runes carved into the floor. At the center of the dais was an altar of the red crystal, really just another, smaller raised dais, and a cloaked figure stood at its center, chanting. At the back of the room two spire of crystal glowed, and Orenthal could feel great power, similar to how Ekkel described the power of the Stones of Oujoun, emanating from them. They formed an arch, and the air between them shimmered and warped as though it were a mirage.

            “What’s going on here?” Sayre shouted, drawing his sword.

            The figure ignored him, and so Orenthal and Sayre climbed up onto the larger dais, and Orenthal summoned powerful wind to blow the blood out of the runes. The shimmering stopped as soon as the rune was emptied, and the cloaked figure stopped her chant. She jumped down from the pedestal, and in two voices, one a woman’s and one something else’s, let out a terrifying scream. Horrible creatures, like tiny black men with bat wings and razor sharp claws, about a dozen of them, descended from the ceiling of the cave and attacked the two men. Orenthal shot bolts of fire at them and froze one or two easily with his wand, while Sayre swung wildly at them, slicing one or two in half.

            The res flew away, and Orenthal brought the power of the wind back on them, slamming them into the walls with a powerful gust, breaking their tiny bodies and knocking Sayre and the cloaked woman off their feet. They rose, and her hood fell as she stood.

            “Aria?” Orenthal stuttered out, confused. What was happening? “Aria? What are you doing? What is this?”

            Aria waved her hand and tendrils of greasy blackness ensnared Sayre and Orenthal, holding them in place.

            “Oh darling, I’m so glad you’re here to see it. I’m going to become the most powerful magiss in the world. Even more powerful than you, Orry.” She said with a smile. She still spoke with both voices, and when she said Orry she almost spit it off her tongue.

            “But…what is this place?”

            “What? Something I know that Great Orry doesn’t? I found out about it when I was studying, trying to find the key to your teleportation spell. This is the Crystal Comet. It fell here millennia ago. Before the dragons. Even before the Aven and their Skycities. This was here. This is the source of all magic, Orry. All of it. It came from a distant place in the stars. It was in one of the forbidden books the Circle won’t let us read. I guess they were afraid something like this would happen.”

            “I don’t understand… where did you get the book?”

            “ From them, Orry.” And two more of the tiny, flying men descended. They landed, one on each shoulder. They were about the size of vultures and glared at Sayre and Orenthal.

            “What are they?” Sayre asked, struggling at his bonds.

            “Silence!” She shouted, slapping him with pure magic. “I’m talking to Orry.”

            “Well…what are they?”

            “They’re imps. Some legends say they’re magical leftovers from when this place came. Who knows. But one was with the orcs in Cor’Otol when that war happened. And when their shaman was killed, they needed someone new to tutor. And they found me. I was already wondering how you cast that spell. And one night it came to me. Flew in my window. Told me it could give me knowledge and power. Told me it could make me even stronger than you Orry. I had to say yes. I’d always been jealous. But now who’s jealous Orenthal? Look at me!” She was almost screaming and she broke into laughter. She freed Orenthal, who had been completely ensnared in the dark tendrils.

            “Come now Orry. Let’s duel. Let’s prove who the master mage is.”

            “That’s insane! I won’t hurt you! This doesn’t make any sense! Why the Stones of Oujoun? Why the others?”

            “I needed sacrifices who each possessed the knowledge of summoning. Matheus was an idiot. We let him get captured as he was no use to us. And as for the Stones. They’re fragments of this one. We needed all of its power to make the portal. Then I could summon my new slaves and steal their power to have as my own.”

            “You’re a fool, Aria! You don’t know what you’re doing!” Sayre shouted as he continued to struggle against his bonds. She ignored him and raised her hands, waving them in a powerful spell than summoning a olt of lightning from her hands, arcing towards Orenthal.

            Orenthal raised a hand, chanted another spell and the lightning enveloped him, deflected by a powerful shielding spell. But he looked drained already.

            “I won’t fight you Aria! You’re not well! You need to come with us! Those things have corrupted you! They’re poison!”

            “If you won’t fight me then you’ll die, Orenthal!” And she shot more lightning, and summoned a fireball in the palm of her hand, throwing it towards him. Orenthal summoned a green light and the wall of light absorbed the spells, their magic replenishing him. But Orenthal could not deflect forever. Shielding spells were much harder to maintain then offensive ones.

            “Come on Orenthal the Great, is this all you have to offer? You’re not even trying!”She shouted, raising her hand with another fireball, throwing it. Orenthal deflected spell after spell, but he couldn’t resist much more. He summoned gusts of wind to change her spell’s course, bursts of water to dispel her flames, and even c reated illusory copies of himself to distract her. But she dispelled them and kept fighting, powered by the mysterious energy of the comet.

            She launched another volley of pure flames and Orenthal, exhausted, jumped off the dais, his last illusory self burning up in the flames.  He ducked behind the rim of the dais, eyes closed tight. He knew any minute the next blast would come, and he chanted his last protective spell to be ready.

            The blast didn’t come, eventually, wary of a trick, he summoned an illusion to peer over the edge. It was safe and sound, so he climbed onto the dais and what he saw made his heart sink. Sayre knelt with the limp body of Aria in his arms, his sword bloody on the ground by his side. He must’ve broken free and attacked her whil she was fighting Orenthal.

            Orenthal fell to his knees, tears in his eyes, and yelled. Not any word in particular, just screaming out his loss. Sayre walked up to him, put a hand on his shoulder.

            “Orenthal, I’m so sorry. She was possessed and I hd to save you. She might’ve killed so many people. It was the only way. “

            Orenthal didn’t look up. He just grabbed the hand on his shoulder by the wrist.

            “You killed her.”

            “Orenthal, she was dead long before we got he-“

            “You Killed her.” Orenthal shouted it this time, still without looking up.

            “Get out of here. Go home before I kill you.” Orenthal growled out. Sayre looked down at his friend.

            “Orenthal I-“

            “ GET OUT” and as he yelled flames leapt and danced around them and the ground shook with Orenthal’s rage. Sayre left Orenthal to mourn alone.

 

            The world mourned the death of Aria, who had been killed by a cult of mad mages.  The story told by Sayre and Ekkel saved the reputation of Orenthal and the Northern Regency, and it was accepted by all. Hundreds attended Aria’s funeral.

            A drunken Orenthal, when asked to raise the eulogy, instead stood at the podium, and screamed out he could save Aria. He chanted some vile spell, and although Aria rose from her coffin, she was not alive. Orenthal was arrested for practicing the forbidden and lost art of necromancy, and Kespath pardoned him, only because of the great grief of a lover. But no one saw or heard much of Orenthal the Great anymore.

            The next year, Ruthus died of a horrible fever, while Orenthal was away. When he returned, he took over the regency. He proved to be an absentee regent, never leaving his manor in Havanan except to to visit the mausoleum in the southern part of the plains he had built for Aria.

            As the years went by, the East fell into disrepair. Bandits, famine, and chaos ruled, while Orenthal did nothing. Rumors of people disappearing from their beds at night near Havanan became common, and soon no one dared enter the cursed fields that had once been home to so many farmers. Eventually, the East fell in to such disorder that the Regent of the West and Knight-Lord of Pathia, Sayre, was asked by Kespath to oust Orenthal, and put a new Regent in power. Sayre agreed, and rode out to challenge Orenthal. He was never seen again.

            The civil war that had been long avoided by Orenthal’s actions raged across Pathia when the public found out about Sayre’s likely death, and the war raged on so long that soon Kespath disbanded the empire, leaving the regencies to fend for themselves while Pathia itself returned to its orginal, much smaller size.

            Then, one day, long after, an aged Orenthal thought he had found the key to immortality. Dedicated to resurrecting his beloved, he’d spent his life researching a way to do it, and now that he was dying, he sought a way to prolong his life so he could save his love. Eventually, he found one, and after completing the ritual, found out that one elixir of life that may resurrect Aria may exist. He gathered the ingredients, till only one remained. A dragon’s heart.

            Orenthal travelled to the Scarlet Valley, and found himself a dragon on Blasted Peak. He killed it, and was about to carve out its heart, when another dragon came, a much larger, older one, and killed him with it savage flames, flinging his body off the mountain top in its rage.

            No one saw Orenthal after that. And he has been forgotten by most. But even to this day, no one goes near the plains of Havanan if they can help it. Especially not at night.