Rise of the Thrall Lord
The Thrall Wars - A Fractured History
“Well then," the bard began, “One hundred and fifty years ago, four Thrall Masters rose to power. They had great powers of mind and used them to enthrall their minions, thus how they earned the title Thrall Masters. Of that order there was the Golem Thrall Master, the Undead Thrall Master, the Dragon Thrall Master, and the Thrall Lord himself, who was said to be a master of demons.”
“These Thrall Masters had veritable armies at their command. The Golem Master, who we know today as Larketh, manufactured his army. He created constructs that were more powerful than any ever known, even by today’s standards. The Undead Thrall Master, otherwise known as Vanalor, commanded an army of undead creatures including vampires, zombies, skeletons and the like; and that necromancers flocked to his/her side. The Dragon Thrall Master’s identity has been lost in antiquity. He had the power to bend dragons to his will, however, and his army was powerful and terrible. No dragon could resist him with the exception of one, but I will get to that later. Finally, the Demon Thrall Master, the Thrall Lord himself, was a black mage whose name is uncertain: some say it was Vangar, others Valgar, while yet others name him as Valkilmar. Either way, he ruled over all the others and had a vast army of demons at his command. He opened portals to the Abyss, the demon planes, and called these armies forth to do his bidding.”
The bard paused and gazed over at Elistra. “Am I correct so far good lady?”
“Mostly”, she replied pursing her lips.
“And where, pray tell, do I err?” Elladan asked skeptically.
Elistra gave the bard that same knowing smile that she had used on Glolindir before. “The classical concept of thrall mastery involves the powers of the mind to enthrall followers. And, indeed that is how the lesser thrall masters do it. The true Thrall Masters, however, employ a greater magic. If you think about it, we know this to be true because most golems don’t have minds, undead are immune to mental influence, and dragons are notoriously resistant to mind control.”
“That has always bothered me” Glolindir admitted.
“So,” Aksel mused, “If not via mental control, then how do they have absolute control over creatures under their dominion? I know a little about necromantic control of undead, which is a divinely granted power; so then perhaps it is a spiritual magic and not a mental power?”
“That may well be,” Glo agreed, “but don’t you find it odd that although there are many accounts of the Thrall Masters, it is never explained, or even really speculated on, at least in any of the histories or tales that I have yet encountered, what the basis of their power really is? One would almost suspect that the knowledge was suppressed for some reason."
“Don’t you just love conspiracy theories?” Seth noted. Glo cast a glance at the halfling who was sitting back in his seat watching the others with an amused look on his face.
“Well I have heard my fair share over the years,” Elistra replied, “but if such information were indeed suppressed, there may be a few places where such knowledge might still be held.”
“Such as?” Glolindir asked curiously. As she turned to meet his gaze, he felt himself losing his concentration once again. Those eyes were positively mesmerizing!
“Perhaps in the Council Libraries of Lymerdia, or in the Royal Annex of the Halls of Knowledge at Greystone, or even in the personal library or notes of certain powerful and independent wizards."
“Interesting,” Glo said struggling to maintain his concentration. “My father is such a wizard and has a fairly extensive library. I’ve been through his entire collection, which has a number of volumes on the Thrall Wars. However, there was no mention of any greater magic they may have utilized.”
“Who is your father?” Elistra asked curiously.
“Amrod Eodin,” Glolindir told her. “though I doubt you have ever heard the name considering the Galinthral elves have been cut off from the rest of the world for the last half millennium.”
“So you are a Galinthral elf?” Elistra said seeming surprised.
It was his turn to smile. “You sound surprised. I thought you knew all milady,” he said jokingly.
“Not all,” she said with a chuckle. “Not all by far; but I can divine my fair share.”
“Well then, you will have to enlighten me further."
“Perhaps I will,” she smiled, “when we are done here.”
“I hate to interrupt this mutual admiration society," Elladan said, “but may I continue on now?”
Glolindir and Elistra both turned to look at the bard. Elladan had a wry smile on his face and he winked at him. Glo flushed a bit, but Elistra replied loftily, “By all means.”
Elladan nodded his head to her and then continued with his narrative. “Well then, where was I? Oh yes. So the Thrall Lord and the Thrall Masters sent their armies of minions spilling out of the area around the Silver Lakes, where their fortresses resided. Those armies quickly spread around Thac, taking over a good portion of the continent over the next few years. Everything north of Lymeridia, south of Kai-Arborous, west to the great Thertassel mountain range, and east to the shores of the Merchant Sea fell under their control. The individual races rallied against them too late and were driven back by the terrible strength of the Thrall Masters and their minions."
“Then, when it seemed that all hope was lost, a group of heroes arose from seemingly nowhere, gathering an alliance of the races and leading the combined armies of good against the Thrall Masters.”
“In the version of the story I heard,” Seth said abruptly, “there was more questing and sneaking around battles then there was actual leading of armies and such by the heroes of the Thrall Wars."
Elladan turned and glared at the halfling.
Seth just sat that there with an innocent look on his face.
“Their legendary names and deeds were originally recorded in a number of ballads by the renowned bard, Dreamweaver, a member of that renown group. And although these were later transferred into history books, I was fortunate enough to read Dreamweaver’s original works as they were kept on record in Kai-Arborous. So what I tell you now are direct quotes from the bard himself and not hearsay from some third party,” he finished staring directly at Seth.
“What?” the halfling replied as Elladan glared at him. He shrugged his small shoulders. “I’m just saying.”
The bard looked around the room, but no one else dared contradict him. He began once again.
“These heroes of legend included Sir Kirk Blackwood, noble Knight of the Rose and Paladin renown.”
Elladan nodded to Alana as he recited the name. Alana nodded in deference to the legendary paladin.
“The great samurai warrior Tyran Ichiban, wielder of Murasama’s blade and slayer of demons.”
Glo noted the wistful look on Lloyd’s face at the mention of the famous blade, lost somewhere in the annals of antiquity.
“The great wizards Sandown and Shalida Rohan, the mighty cleric of Alaric, Alscar Blackdemon, the ranger/tracker Shaide Nightstalker, the Druid Stormbringer, and finally the bard himself, Dreamweaver.”
Elladan paused a moment gazing around the room. These were names they had all heard before. They were childhood heroes, the story of their epic struggle against the Thrall Masters the stuff of legends.
“These eight heroes led the forces of good against three of the Thrall Masters who resided in the area of the Silver Lakes, including the Thrall Lord himself. The war raged on for years and the battles were bloody. Many lives were lost, but in the end, while army faced army, these legendary heroes dispatched three of the four Thrall Masters, each in turn."
“It was Sir Kirk that slew the Undead Thrall Master. They breached his lair in a bloody battle that raged for days until Sir Kirk, with most of the heroes, and the Knights of the Rose, broke through the walls of the Thrall Master’s fortress. The battle raged through the courtyard and halls of the stronghold as the Undead Master threw wave upon wave of zombies, necromancers and vampires at the brave heroes. In the end, the forces of good broke through. Sir Kirk met the Undead Master in his throne room at the top of the keep and smote him with his hold sword. The Undead Thrall Master crumbled to pieces before his very eyes. All his minions either were killed, or fled into the darkness from whence they came.”
Elladan was on a roll now. His eyes were filled with fire and his voice rose and fell as he recited the tale to his rapt audience.
“The Golem Thrall Master was the next to fall. He was taken by stealth. As the armies drew up to his castle, Larketh waited on the battlements, his legions of golems lined up outside ready to crush their opponents. However, a small group, including the rogue wizard Sandown, found their way into the fortress and snuck up on the Golem Master. Before he could utter a command to his minions, Sandown caught him in the throat with a well placed knife. Larketh could no longer command his armies and the battle was over with nary a loss on the side of good.”
“Now that’s my kind of wizard,” Seth declared. “Glo, you should take notes,” he added dryly.
Glolindir shot the halfling a withering look.
“Anyway,” Elladan continued, "the last of the three, the Thrall Lord himself, was the final opponent the heroes faced. They marched their armies up to his citadel and called him out. In response the Thrall Lord sent out a horde of demons to face them. The heroes, led by Tyran and his demon slaying blade, cut a swath through the demon hordes, straight through to the main gate of the citadel. Once inside the fortress, Tyran slew the Thrall Lord. However, the battle was far from over. As cheers rang up through the allied armies, a huge figure stepped through the portal from the Abyss. Eighteen feet tall, with two huge serpentine heads each on a long neck, writhing above a massive scaled body; the creature stepped forward into our world and the very earth shook beneath his feet. It was Demogorgon, the Prince of Demons. The giant demon roared, cursing the heroes for killing his minion, the Thrall Lord. Many drew back from the dreadful sight of the Prince of Demons in full aspect; but not Tyran Ichiban. He rushed forward, Murasama in hand, and engaged Demogorgon in one on one combat. The rest of the heroes watched on from the sidelines; this was Tyran’s fight and they knew better than to interfere.”
“The Prince of Demons thought no mere human could stand against him, but he quickly found out that there was nothing “mere” about Tyran. The samurai easily held his own against the demon prince, quickly proving an even match for the powerful creature. Both lesser demons and the allied armies of good drew back as the two titans locked in combat.”
“The battle swayed back and forth as their great powers came into play. The walls of the citadel crumbled around them and the two combatants now fought on the open plains in front of the broken fortress. Still the battle raged on; first one way, then the other. Tyran was knocked down by the huge creature. Then he was up and battling once again, cutting deep wounds into the demon prince with his great blade. It went on like this until Demogorgon bent down to swallow Tyran whole. With one great swing the mighty samurai lopped off one of Demogorgon’s heads. The monster roared in pain, its vast cries shaking the surrounding countryside. Tyran pressed his advantage, pushing Demogorgon back. Finally, against the portal, Tyran cut off Demogorgon’s other head. The huge creature collapsed to the ground, his huge form once again shaking the earth. Then the carcass vanished from sight, banished back to the Abyss from whence it came. With their prince slain, the demon hordes were vanquished as well, disappearing as if they had never been there. The giant portal closed in upon itself and the citadel went silent.”
“The allied forces had won. The Thrall Lord and his minions were no more."
As Elladan finished his story, everyone was silent. The bard’s skills were such that his story telling was positively mesmerizing. Glolindir felt as if he had almost been there at that last battle between Tyran and Demogorgon. Elladan’s descriptions were so vivid that he could picture the titanic struggle in his mind.
“That was quite some story Elladan,” Gryswold finally said. “What of the last Thrall Master though?”
“The Dragon Master, your lordship,” Elladan replied. “There is nothing in Dreamweaver’s stories about him. He was not located in the Silver Lakes like the other Thrall Masters and thus the heroes and the allied forces never encountered him. The only thing I had ever heard about his demise was that a great wizard and the one dragon that he could not control was his undoing.”
“That is a shame,” Gryswold replied. “I would have liked to know the rest.”
“It was Rodric Greymantle of whom you already spoke,” Elistra spoke out. “He was the wizard that took down the Dragon Thrall Master.”
“Really?” Elladan asked. “How do you know that?”
Elistra smiled mysteriously in response. “As I said before, I have ways of divining things. Although I don’t know all the details, I can tell you basically what happened.”
“Please do good lady,” Elladan said graciously.
“Very well then,” Elistra paused. “The Knights Argentum, or as you would call them The Order of the Silver Dragons, were incensed at the Dragon Thrall Master’s enthrallment of dragons. Their leader, the great dragon Silverwind, led his knights against the Dragon Master in his fortress in the mountains. Dragon battled dragon, but in the end most of the silver dragons were either killed or enslaved. Silverwind alone escaped and sought out help from the Wizard’s Council in Lymeridia. The council was beholden to the Knights Argentum for their part in the war against the Emperor Naradon some 600 years earlier. Thus they agreed and the entire council of wizards joined the great dragon in one last assault on the Dragon Master. Unbeknownst to them though, the Storm God, Alaric, had also seen this great tragedy. The creator of the Storm Riders, and a lover of dragons, Alaric sent the one dragon the Thrall Master could not control, the berserker storm dragon, Yatharia, after him.”
“Silverwind and the council arrived in time to see Yatharia nearly decimate the silver dragons under the Thrall Master’s control. Silverwind intervened leading to a great struggle between himself and the beserker storm dragon. Meanwhile, the Wizard’s Council took on the Thrall Master and the rest of his dragons. Many council members died that day, but Rodric Greymantle prevailed, finally banishing the Dragon Master himself. The remaining dragons were freed from his influence, including one or two remaining silver dragons.”
“Silverwind left with the few of his remaining brethren swearing enmity towards the storm dragon, Yatharia. And as for Yatharia, after thanking the wizards for their help, she disappeared from the annals of history. Rodric and the few remaining council members returned to Lymeridia, but soon after Rodric retired from the council. Rumor had it that he had found his true love and went to settle down with her.”