Fryyd, Cragmire, and the Question

crag

I found Fryyd while running through Cragmire with a motely collection of fighters, healers, rogues. Fryyd was kneeling in the shadows of a ruined library,  a library ignored by the hoard I ran with. Fryyd shivered in fear.

“What is this fear,” I ask in my sweet voice, a voice I reserved only for a few, else it’s haughty tavern tart through and through. You can’t be a sweet tart all the time.

“The dead,” he said, nodding to the dark corners of the library, “they walk.”

“But the dead live in Cragmire, silly,” I whispered, “or didn’t you know?”

“We were looking for books to sell is all. Me, Toabs, and Emmy. We had what we wanted, and then Emmy screamed. I looked. She had an ax blade growing from her head.”

“Come,” I said, gently pulling Fryyd up from the dust and blood. He stood easily enough, so no breaks. His skull, while powdered in dust, was unharmed. And because I did not smell burnt flesh, I knew no spell touched him. “I assure you, you will live as long as you do exactly as I say when I say it. Ok?”

“Yes,” Fryyd agreed.

Though I was still attuning to Neverwinter’s ether, I could lay down some major hurt on a moldy pile of bones. Fryyd had nothing to worry about as long as he obeyed. Funny, right? Seems as though a vampire finds ways to stay in power even in the dark ruins of a place like Cragmire.

Speaking of vampire, that dreaded word, my powers (infernal though they be) were sharpening down here in the murk, and so was my hunger for blood. Such memories that spring up, memories back when I was a beast in a coffin dug in somewhere in Eberron. Simpler times, indeed; however, I caused more trouble than I needed to be in back then, back before I grew the practice of personal reflection.

“Your group left you behind?” Fryyd asked.

“Yes. I think so. They were not too disciplined. I wouldn’t be surprised if one or maybe two of them lay dying right now somewhere ahead.”

“Barbarians,” he said, peering into the shadows as if looking for them.

We turned around, pointing our boots towards the entrance somewhere behind, and did a mad trek through the shadows with nothing more than my vampire sight to lead us. Cragmire is a ridiculously large site. Too many doorways, ramps, stairs, perfect places to find oneself waylaid in the dark.

“I think I see a room we raided up to the right,” Fryyd said, not conscious of the sound of crunching masonry, and clacking bones. A rictus grin rushed from the dark, its notched sword hacking effortlessly into Fryyd’s neck.

“I’m bleeding,” he coughed, sinking to the floor out of shock. And there was nothing I could do about this, for the skeleton’s sword had reset, went high, and was now chopping down onto Fryyd’s neck again. The clunk of his head hitting the floor beat me to the punch, but my ice spell did land from my hands, freezing the moldering set of old bones with a definitive crack as soft bone fractured under frost.

I whirled and hit the target with the metal butt of my staff, happy to hear the foe shatter into a pile of ice covered bone. But all of that triumph did not bring Fryd back. I agree, I d didn’t really know  him at all. He could have been a murderer. He could have been a thief. It didn’t really matter because what he represented was the grisly fate of us all. True, we may not be beheaded by the undead exactly, but Death itself stalked all of us.

I pulled Fryyd into a nearby cellar and shut the door.

Shutting the door on death as immortal, or on the man who was?

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