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GhoulRising

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The bard gracefully bows in acceptance of the stage and smiles widely at the audience. For just a moment she bends her head to the side to listen to the man approaching her. She winks as she hears his tips.
"Tonight, you shall hear a tale like none other! A tale that will plunge you from the depths of sorrow to the heights of glorious ecstasy, from the valleys of hopelessness to the mountaintops of victory! And on that mountain top our story begins..." Tasha launches into a sprawling yarn concerning a new priest, named Edwin, who had joined the faith to leave his noble background behind and serve the people. She tells of his struggle with his faith, which forbids the pleasures of the flesh and wishes for one to stay pure for their god. But a young woman catches the priests eye, with her voluptuous figure and glowing complexion. He struggles against his urges, and eventually resorts to taking a trip as a missionary to leave her behind, and his sinning with her. However, the trade ship is capsized in a violent storm, taking all down but Edwin. He desperately strives against the current, and makes it back to land exhausted and half dead. However, while he was gone his family was declared traitors to the crown, with him being included for sharing their name despite his innocence. He protests this injustice, pleading to his fellow priests to testify in his stead. However, none are willing to help as it could mean a danger to themselves, regardless of the innocence of their brother. And so the young man is sentenced to life in prison.

In shock Edwin is lead away in chains to the notorious prison the Mountain of the Gods, so named because it would take a deity to escape it's horrid confines. In there he met a hermit that had been imprisoned as well, for preaching against the church and for self fulfillment rather than focusing only on assisting others and denying one's basic nature. Edwin listened to the prophet, and found that he agreed more and more with the man's teaching as time went on. And then, a curious event occurred. One night after his daily beating a small bat flew into Edwin's cell, and landed on his chest. He gazed into it's eyes, seeing in there power beyond imagining. Listening to his instincts he held out his wrist to the small beast. It bowed its head in gratitude, and bit in, drinking his blood. A wave of fatigue swept over the young man as he passed out on the floor. He awoke the next day feeling more vigorous than every before, his limbs surging with strength, his ears able to hear the slightest sound yards away. With a grin that exposed his fangs, he realized what he had become. A magnificent vampire! In joy he attempted to speak with the preacher, but he received no answer. With concern welling up in his breast he pounded on the walls, creating a crack in the mortar that he could see through. In the cell next to his he saw the preacher slumped on the floor-dead from one too many beatings. Sorrow almost consumed Edwin as he realized the loss of his friend. But in that moment he vowed to escape the fulfill the preacher's vision- of people living according to their desires, as they wished!

As the guards came and found the body Edwin raced to enact his plan. When the graveskeepers sewed the preacher up in a shroud and left for the guards Edwin reacted with lighting speed. He dug through the wall in a far away corner, just enough to fit through, then raced into the other cell and opened the shroud. With little effort he pushed the body through the hole in the wall and using his newfound claws and intelligence, disguised the body as an approximation of him. The brutish guards did not care enough to look at the prisoners, so the ruse would be perfect. With only a short time left he made his way back to the opposite cell, shored up the hole in the wall, and took his place in the shroud, sewing it up from the inside. The guards arrive shortly after and bring the 'corpse' out onto the cliff and throw it off, landing in the lake far below the Mountain. When nightfall came Edwin tore his way out of the shroud and swam up from the bottom of the lake, glorying in his escape. Using his newfound powers he shifted into a bat and flew swiftly away. As he flew he recalled the secret temple that the preacher had told him of, on one of those long nights. Turning in his flight he made his way north and quickly found it after following the instructions he had been told. Inside the magnificent temple he found a vast hoard of wealth, enough to last him centuries if not millennia. With the final piece of his plan coming together Edwin smiled, and began his revenge.

Under the guise of the Count of Mount Pious, Edwin made a new name for himself among the noble ranks. From where he came from, only he knew, and that mystery only made him all the more attractive to the noble ladies. He easily seduced them and set in motion his scheme, that would take years in the making. He slowly bought each of the nobles lands and property that supported the church, bankrupting them and taking their wives and daughters as slaves. Not openly of course, but through many secretive channels. As the influence and power of the church waned, Edwin grew stronger. As one of the few remaining nobles he caught the King's ear, and charmed him into taxing the church for funds, to help the people of the land of course. The taxes grew higher, and more and more priests were thrown in jail or fled the country as they tried to avoid the towering payments. But that was not enough. Edwin personally visited each of his former brothers, who were about to be executed for treason against the crown, and revealed himself to them. In their final moments they got to see his smiling face as the heads rolled. But the people revolted against such a crackdown on the church, and rebelled against the king. In the ensuing civil war Edwin played both sides masterfully, sending secrets here, weapons there, endearing himself to both sides. And when the final battle came he personally struck down the king, for the people, and was crowned king as the masses cheered his efforts to set them free of tyranny.

On the throne, Edwin grinned. He had taken back his name, ruined his enemies, and become enormously powerful. Life was good. ETERNAL life was even better.

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Comments

  1. Isada's Avatar
    That's a really cool bard's tale!
  2. Alcazar QZR's Avatar
    Agreed.