On the middle tier of the Doomcrag, Montclair has imprisoned the vampire Gwendis within a ‘blood ward’. It is only a matter of time before she breaks free her bonds and succumbs to the boundless hunger to feed upon Tamrith and Dorell.
Whilst Verandis uses his mind to attempt to overcome the wards, I set my vigour to vanquishing the oncoming undead. Sometimes however, even strength and intellect must bow to common practicality, for it is only through resourcefulness that we might save the lives of the nobles, and the spirit of Gwendis.
We enter the Doomcrag, ready to end the mortal threat to Rivenspire of both the Baron and the Lightless Remnant. However, Verandis’s worst fears are realised when Montclair’s bloody-projection appears and channels the power of the cursed relic into the house soldiers of Tamrith and Dorrell, turning them to bloodfiends.
We were forced to slay our own soldiers.
Verandis knew this might happen, in fact, I am sure now that he foresaw it. And yet I cannot judge him, for I could have, should have, done more to overcome the blind pride of both Tamrith and Dorell.
We are taught that sacrifice is noble, that it is not something to regret, it is something to celebrate, and to aspire to. But these men and women did not sacrifice themselves for the greater good, they were sacrificed… and there is nothing noble in that.
One thing I should have learnt from my journey through troubled High Rock is that the means by which we achieve, is often just as important as the achievement itself.
Our soldiers slain by our own hand, and Gwendis, Tamrith and Dorell, have been taken from us by the Remnant’s insidious light. The fate of all Rivenspire now lies upon the shoulders of a vampire and a soldier without a soul. I’d like to hear the tavern bards attempts to turn this into a doughty ballad.
As we near the top of the Shrouded Pass, out of the strange, still darkness spirits of the Erokii Ayleids appear and beg us to turn back, hoping their pleas would succeed where their traps and puzzles failed. I have no reason to doubt the pure intentions and the truth in their warnings about the relic, for I sense a pestilence rides upon the night air above, and it smells of blood and rot.
But there can be no turning back, for to do so would condemn the people of Rivenspire to the deadly blood-curse, and that cannot be… that must not be.
The Shrouded Pass is a modern epithet given to the ruins of the once great city of Erokii, because of the heavy fogs that now dress the valley like a cerement. The leaders of Rivenspire had planned to climb the pass to the very summit of the Doomcrag, and there finally put to an end the threat of both Baron Montclair and the Lightless Remnant.
The Baron however has somehow managed to activate ancient Ayleid defences to block the troops advance. The bones of Erokii’s long buried guardians have risen to his call. A colossal construct of flaming bones, and a giant gargoyle of living stone, guard Ayleid puzzles that hold shut solid doors sealed by ancient magics. All must be overcome before we can reach the portal rooms above and summon the Nobles and their house troops for the final confrontation.
Amidst the ruins of the once great Ayleid city of Erokii in Western Boralis, the combined forces of Rivenspire are camped waiting upon their bickering leaders to agree a plan to take them beyond the ancient defences of the Shrouded Pass, up the very summit of the Doomcrag, and into a final confrontation with Baron Montclair.
Once more it is Count Verandis Ravenwatch who takes command of the situation, as he has done so throughout, driven it seems by his own guilt. I wonder what history will eventually say about this curious circumstance that sees a vampire leading the great houses of Rivenspire into a battle that could decide the future of all High Rock.
In the camp, I meet with the Breton Darien Gaultier who once more has rushed to the defence of High Rock and her people. And the Orsimer Skordo, whose heroic exploits proved vital to the liberation of Northpoint. If we are to face an entire legion of the undead, I would ask for non-others to stand beside me then Darien and Skordo, perhaps the last true Knights of High Rock.