An Unlikely Hero

Khaal Wraath was pouring over the tomes in his library when his studies were disturbed by a messenger imp.

“The Master demands your presence, stripling.”

The young warlock glared at the tiny devil, his eyes inscrutable behind his mask but the menace was unmistakable.

“Do not think for a moment that I have not memorized the ritual to bring you under my power, little baatezu,” whispered Khaal Wraath. “Things will not always be as they are, and while devils may be immortal, warlocks are also long-lived and our memories are just as long.”

The imp sneered at Khaal Wraath as it glided by, but it also cowed away from him… it knew the warlock was right.

Khaal Wraath was annoyed that his master had summoned him now. He felt he was on the verge of a new discovery, one that would free him from his current pact… and then the inner conflict began anew:

Did he not have great power as a result of his Infernal Pact? Did he not have the power to crush his enemies?

As chief lieutenant to Karoolck and one of the commanders of the Battle-Mages of Rauxes his influence reached beyond that of most mortals.

And yet, he was not free… he was not free to be the man he wanted to be! Perhaps he would end up completely evil and corrupt, but if that would be his fate he was determined that it would be by choice, his choice, not Karoolck‘s not Baalzebul‘s… no one’s but his.

“Ah, attend to me, my young apprentice,” croaked Karoolck as Khaal Wraath entered the room. The young magic-user had been so lost in thought that he had arrived at his master’s quarters before he even realized it. His foul mood was worsened by Karoolck obviously detecting his presence; Khaal Wraath always tried to practice arriving and leaving undetected wherever he went yet his master was never fooled.

But one day he would be… and Khaal Wraath felt a fleeting yet powerful moment of joy at the thought.

“I have a mission for you, Khaal Wraath,” began Karoolck, using Khaal Wraath‘s Infernal name, a name Khaal Wraath hated and which Karoolck knew he hated. “The Overking’s Fomorian allies find themselves under siege by their Fey-born foes. We are to come to their assistance; the Overking plans to use them as shock troops when he crushes Nyrond once and for all at autumn’s end.” Khaal Wraath nodded mutely at the statement. He knew that the Overking’s madness would come up with a different scheme in a matter of weeks and he would forget all about the Fomorians, just as he knew that Karoolck must have his own plans for the evil Fey giants.

“It would seem that the Fomorians have raided an Eladrin city in the Feywild and kidnapped several of their elders. The Eladrin plan to wage war with them to revenge themselves for the affront. This will be in vain; our Fomorian allies are not responsible. I have been in communion with the dark powers serving our infernal lord; they assure me it is one of the eladrin’s own responsible for the crime. The culprit hides deep in the Underdark of the Feywild, hatching schemes that may one day interfere with our own.”

Our Plans? thought Khaal Wraath. Your own, you mean, you old buzzard.

“You will journey to the Feywild and annihilate those responsible and bring proof back to the eladrin who were wronged. This will put the Fomorians further in our debt… one I shall call due soon,” whispered Karoolck.

“It shall be as you command, Master,” replied Khaal Wraath, a plan of his own already forming in his mind.

“One more thing, Khaal Wraath,” added Karoolck before the young warlock could leave. “The portal to the Underdark in the Feywild is found within the Lenore Isles, a longtime bastion of Eladrin culture and lore.” Khaal Wraath‘s eyes widened beneath his mask. “Understandably, they may have reservations allowing one such as yourself access to their community… unless you were in more… respectable… company.” He turned away from Khaal Wraath, disappearing into the shadows, leaving only his sneering voice offering one last piece of advice “Perhaps some connections to your… former life… will prove useful here, should you construct the proper lies.”

Standing alone in the darkness of his Master’s quarters, Khaal Wraath was seized by an idea. The Feywild! The Fey have been known to create magical pacts with mortals… perhaps they will be receptive to one who wishes to defect…? It would certainly be a first step in ridding myself of Karoolck‘s yoke… there must be something in the Feywild to facilitate this! All right then, ‘Master’ I will do as you ask… and you will regret it. But first, I need to look up some old ‘friends’…

For the second time in one day, Khaal Wraath smiled, a rare occasion indeed…

Author: Turnerbuds