Caven Henderson's Memoirs

On the day of the Apocalypse

“Uncle, I don’t see why I can’t just remain back in Velton with you and everyone else. I’m happy there, I can do good there!” cried Alexis as she rode next to her uncle on the wretched cart that Uncle Caven had borrowed from her father.

“I know you can do good, Alexis, why else would I take you out with me into the world!” countered her Uncle Caven. Her Uncle was Dragonborn and had been so for longer than most of their clan had been alive. Some of her older relatives told stories of how he was proof that the blood of celestial beings ran in their veins as he as also Aasimar and how he had forsaken his divine heritage to become just another Dragonborn.

Alexis didn’t think that way. Dragonborn were rare, but so far as she knew, so were Aasimar. Aasimar who became Dragonborn had to be rarer still, so she knew that something had to be impressed by him. She certainly was.

Furthermore, he was a Purifier. Most of the warriors she’d met over the years had laughed whenever they heard this. “”/wikis/taint" class=“wiki-page-link”> Taint? Nothing but a story meant to scare children! I’m sure he’s a good man, and he’s certainly a competent fighter, if not a great one, but why devote yourself to fight something that isn’t real? That’s like standing at a child’s door and vowing to stand guard against the boogeyman."

Her uncle didn’t seem to mind, though. As long as they kept away from the dark heart of the woods and were careful to tell him about particularly unnatural creatures, he didn’t care what they did or spoke of. He didn’t seem to mind being the only member of his order, in the area either. He claimed that the less people knew, the better.

“Taint isn’t something to fool with, and if people knew it was real it would they would panic or flock to it, neither of which would end well for anyone,” is what he would say whenever she confronted him on the matter of gaining help.

Her uncle continued, interrupting her flow of memories.

“Besides, you can do more good out in the world than you ever could back in the village. You’re practically a Warblade, ”/characters/alexis-monroe" class=“wiki-content-link”>Alexis, and you’ve outstripped all of the warriors who’ve come through. The only thing you can do back in the village now is get married and have babies, thus wasting all of your potential."

“I could go and fight Tainted Beasts with you, Uncle! I’m a lot better at fighting it back now, honest!” she said. Alexis had found that whenever she followed her uncle on one of his treks into the wild, she ran a high risk of becoming corrupted with Taint. Her uncle would always heal her of it but she would get lectures from him for days afterward.

“No, I’ve said my piece and that’s that. We’re going out to get you some worldly experience. Maybe that’ll shake you of this obsession of yours to fight Taint with me,” he said.

“It’s your obsession to, you know. Why should you object if I want to help?” she asked him as she looked on at the massive metropolis ahead of them.

“Because not only have I had training that would drive you mad to complete, you do not have the … the …” he fumbled around for a bit, clearly biting back what he really thought. “You do not have the proper mental attitude. This is not a slight against you, but to fight Taint you must think the right way and that is something that cannot be taught.”

“But uncle,” she began.

“Enough! We’re there,” he said as they passed through the gates of Nigburg.

Nigburg was as massive a city as Velton was small. While their little town was dominated by her own family, with few outsiders ever passing though, Nigburg in contrast was so huge that she didn’t think she’d ever see the end of it. She could spend days exploring and never see the same place twice, she imagined.

“Now, the various traders I’ve spoken with said that The Drunken Scholar was a good inn, so we’ll head over there first before we go out and find a place for you,” said her uncle as he pulled out a little map he’d made of the city based on what he’d heard. “I think that we’re supposed to turn here,” he began, but Alexis wasn’t listening.

“Uncle, can’t we go to the market first? Everyone I’ve spoken to have told me about the Mad Prophet, and they all have said he’s fun, in a mad sort of way. Please? I’m sure that The Drunken Scholar will still have spots when we arrive,” Alexis asked.

Her uncle sighed. “Fine, but only for a little bit,” he said as he turned the cart into the Market.

The market was full of people of all sorts, as she assumed all markets were. She spied another pair of Dragonborn off in the distance and any number of elves, dwarfs and half-orcs mingling around her. It was a sight to behold.

“Bit busier than I thought it might be,” mused her uncle as he looked around. “Oh, there’s your prophet, and he seems to have brought something with him. Let’s go see what he has to say, eh?” he said as he urged the horses forward through the press of people around them.

The prophet was holding a massive scythe and had four large men standing around him. Beside him was a massive box stretching at least 30’ in the air and easily 15’ wide that was covered in sheets and chains.

The prophet, between bouts of hysterical laughter exclaimed “You see, a while back we locked it up. It was a weapon that the humans dared to threaten us with, and we took immediate action. We destroyed all traces of the civilization that produced it and separated the weapon into two halves, never to be found. The bad news is that with enough of us dead, he’s been gaining power and he is likely to kill everyone. The good news is that you won’t have to suffer then because you’re going to suffer now.”

“What in the world is he doing?” asked her uncle as he watched.

Alexis leaned forward, eager to see what he would do next. This was great fun, much more entertaining than the clan bards.

The Prophet used his scythe to split open the chains on the irregularly shaped obelisk and the exposed a large crystal that was deep purple in color with lines of black that seemed to move within it. Alexis wasn’t sure if it was beautiful or hideous, but it was a sight to behold nevertheless.

Her amazement did not last long, as the structure immediately began sending out pulses that began altering the area, twisting the air around them into something that felt all too familiar.

Her uncle’s eyes went wide. “By the might of Bahamut, that thing is filled with Taint! No, it’s emitting Taint!”

And so it was, as before her scores of people began to just fall away under its power. Alexis herself swayed for a moment, but her uncle’s touch and her own inner strength served to keep it at bay for the most part, though her mind began to wander and her skin was overcome with scabs.

One of the horses in their team died and to her horror she watched as it turned into a sort of black goo, flowing into a larger central mass and rising up as some sort of elemental, though one of a sort that might have sprung only from the worst of nightmares.

“Alexis, with me!” said her uncle pulled out his battered old crossbow and began to charge at the monstrous forms before them.

“But Uncle, what about the inn? What about my going out into the world?” asked Alexis as she leapt from the wagon and raced to join her uncle in combat.

“It seems that the world has come to us, Alexis. Now we must hold on for the ride or die.”

Caven Henderson's Memoirs

The Godsmen Apocalypse Hoebagger