Owain Stormbringer and I will never see eye to eye. His order puts on tawdry theatrics in halls of luxury to impress smaller minds. Foolishness. True strength comes from discipline, and real power can only be understood through the context of loss. After the “accident” that befell the wife of a priest in his order, I think old Owain may come to understand this truth for himself.
Still there was no denying his own capability, despite the softness of his order. As we approached the lair of the vampire, I found my mind was clearer in his presence. In less dire circumstances I would relish the chance to test my will against the dreadful aura that surrounded the crypt, but for now I was content to have a steady heartbeat and a mind clear with intent.
After entering the crypt, the Stormbringer advised caution in a tone not entirely devoid of mistrust. I nodded assent as I had a thousand times before to many different masters and clerics, but my fists are always my own. When the stakes are high, my own intuition is the only guide I will follow. To hesitate even a second is to undo years of training, and besides what does a priest know of the dark?
And so in those decaying depths I did confront the thrall of the vampire. She leered out of the void without so much sound as the whisper of silk. I swung a quick strike with Broken Bond, but the blade only connected only with air. I was keen to continue this test, but my companions were far less eager. It would have been foolhardy to continue on without the Stormbringers aura, even to one as determined as I. There is afterall a distinction between a mortal trial and a fatal one, and I had no doubt that I would not be able to fight these creatures without full clarity of mind and spirit.
As we made a hasty retreat, the Stormbringer called a halt so he could consecrate the ground and ensure we were not followed. A narrow hallway joined the exit to the stairs leading down to the lower crypt, and it was just inside the doorway to the outside that the stormbringer began his chant. It was not long into his incantations that we heard footsteps echoing from the stairs we had just climbed. The tension mounted as the steps got louder, and I prepared my mind for a second encounter with the monsters. After an agonising wait the Thrall apparated from the veil-like darkness, but she did not give chase. Instead she extended one pale arm and pointed. I couldn’t be sure, but it looked like she was pointing solely at me, perhaps in rebuke of my earlier attack.
After what seemed like an eternity the Stormbringer finished his spell, and with relief we felt his power surge into the ground at our feet. However, before we could turn to leave, a voice as grave as the dead and full of pure malice spoke a warning. Disturbingly, it sounded as if the speaker was inches from my ear as he uttered his curse:
“You have been marked”