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         Copyright © Randy Bowers. All rights reserved.


Legend of the Wayward Priest

In the time after the Black Scourge, when the world was in chaos, there arose Prince Xavier La'Kithsoon. He reigned for over 100 years as the prince of a grand nation of elves. He was a gentleman of the highest moral order with no intentions of harm. When he returned to his homeland of Elestinlor to find his father slain and his kingdom in ruins, he had no thought of anything, but vengeance. So unlike him was his change of attitude that he became haunted by doubts of his ability to help his people.
    The First Vanishing winked out the lights of the gods just after Prince La'Kithsoon's doubts had surfaced. In the best interests of his people, Xavier decided to take a dangerous pilgrimage into the heart of the forest of GreenTree. His family's noble house split away from the main body of the elves of GreenTree twelve millennia before. The other noble families gave the La'Kithsoon House one final ultimatum: "if you leave, your house will never be welcome within these Groves again".
    His only companion was a the young daughter of a man who had once saved him from certain death at the hands of a drunken mountain dwarf. On the man's death-bed he made the young Prince vow to always protect his daughter.
    Marion had been a faithful and stalwart friend for nearly twenty years. She had followed the same belief in Arden as had Xavier and her faith in the Prince's ability to find salvation was strong. She contented herself by being a good friend to the young Prince and nothing more.
    For two years, the companions traveled the face of Irendi. They crossed the great deserts of the world and the ravaged lands that the Dark Lord's forces had plundered. Eventually, their travels brought them to the edge of his ancestors' home-country. For one week the Prince sat at the edge of the forest pondering whether or not to enter. At last, he made his decision. Xavier La'Kithsoon winked out of existence and Xavier Leonidas appeared.
    On the day the Wayward Priest entered the wilderness, his search was ended. As he held his head high into the face of this hostile wood, the One, Daer-Koch smiled upon him. The One appeared before Xavier as a tall, powerfully built human male, wrapped in fine silken robes trimmed in gold. His head was covered by a thick mat of curly hair the color of ebony. His black beard made him seem all the more regal for it was well-kept and brought to a stub by a ring of silver. Daer-Koch held no weapon or form of guard, but held his chest out as if the gold and silver sword over shield was all he needed as proof against harm. Into uncertain lands do you travel, yet tall do you walk and without fear do you think. For this, I grant unto you a position of grave import in my service. You, like a select few others, will hold my highest honor as Teacher. You are appointed to spread my word across the land and call others to my banner. You, I deem Lord of the Northern realm and your companion as your First aide. Go forth now and see to it that I am not dishonored or displeased.
    With that, the avatar blinked out of existence and Xavier's mind flooded with the knowledge he would need to be able to pass to his disciples.
    For another week the pair traveled, but this time in silence, each keeping his or her own counsel on the happenings of that First Day. Finally, on the seventh day, the companions came across a small keep held by a minor lord of the elven lands. A festival seemed to be in full swing and the two were quickly absorbed into the throng. Not many paid the pair much attention. They were just two more high elves in fine clothes, but they did have an edge of ruggedness to them.
    Eventually, one man did let his curiosity lead his feet. Lord Garben Gilthanis made his way over to the two companions and mentioned that he had never seem them before. He also commented on the condition of their clothing and the signs of fatigue. Xavier replied that they had just finished a long pilgrimage that had nearly spanned the length of the world. So intrigued by these wanderings was Lord Gilthanis that he inquired as to why one would take such a challenge.
    I am a high priest of our Lord, Daer-Koch. He rules over valorous deeds and honorable battle. Garben, who was never very impressed by titles of mortals or gods commented 'Oh he is the god of war. I have use for a battle priest in my troupe of elites. What say you in this duty?'
    Xavier was pleased with the way Fate had taken him. 'I say yea with but one condition. Grant me lands and funds to start a church. For if one 'priest of war' is good then, surely, an entire church would be excellent.'
    Garben thought on this for a time and agreed. He offered means of transport more convenient than walking and said that he would expect to see Xavier and his companion within his walls in one week's time. Xavier and Marion arrived at the Citadel of Light atop two new stallions and were ready to find out just how important this Garben Gilthanis was.
    The truth came out that Garben was the second most powerful lord in all of GreenTree. Xavier found himself organizing the construction of his church and doing small work for his new liege. For months, things worked within the status quo of the House of Gilthanis.
    One day, Garben offered Xavier a unique opportunity to travel. Lord Gilthanis was readying for his fourth trip into the Hall of Kings. He said that Xavier's abilities would be greatly beneficial to his party. The high priest agreed and was allowed to take Marion along with him. The group aged two years while they stayed for a few hours in the Hall. Rumors have said that they brought out mythical items and powerful spells that could keep a man's family in wealth for generations. Even the elves.
    Xavier changed during his stay in the Hall of Kings. He had seen and even wielded some of the awesome magics used in the Unholy Wars. That power surging through him gave him a sense of inadequacy when he left the tomb. When he could no longer manipulate the Weave the way that he did when he was in there he began to lust for more and more power.
    Again, the One, Daer-Koch smiled upon his Lord of the North in a dream. Daer-Koch appeared much the same as he had in their last meeting. Xavier was shown the location of the Red Book of War, a potent relic of the religion. Xavier was to take the Book forth and do all he could to bring honor to his church.
    The high priest had no idea how to use the book to show the honor of his church until the Brother-Blood War of the elves of GreenTree arose. Lord Gilthanis had battled with a Dragon Lord of Murmandamus and had managed to slay the Lord's enormous dragon. Garben approached Xavier and asked him for a great favor. Xavier agreed and, together, the two Lords of the North--one in his faith and one in his power--raised and bound that red dragon to Lord Gilthanis' will.
    Shortly thereafter, on a mission for Garben, Marion was slain and turmoil filled Xavier's heart. Again he used the Red Book to resurrect his ward. He then sent her to the High Church of Daer-Koch so that she would be safe during the war. Through subsequent months, Xavier earned a small holding of his own and became a lord of GreenTree through his merits in the Brother-Blood War.
    All the power he channeled in that war tainted his blood with a lust for power. Alone, Xavier would travel to areas of the world to cast his vengeance for the slaughter of his homeland upon unwitting orcs. Xavier's hatred grew from a spark to a blaze and with it the number of orcs he would kill at one time. It became a game to him. He would boast about how many he had "cleaned with the flames of faith." He became known as Xavier Leonidas-Orc-Slayer.
    It was then that the Second Vanishing ripped all of Xavier's power from him and a great darkness arose in the north. A being known as Shai-Tan, one who was sealed behind eight seals by his eight brothers during the Age of Chaos. He preached to Xavier about how if he was not released, two ages would collide and cause a great apocalypse ending with the destruction of all civilization. He promised power and glory to those who would help him. Xavier said that he only wanted to gain glory for his church. Shai-Tan agreed and gave him an artifact to seal their deal. "Place this beneath your church and know that your following will grow with it. Also know that if you betray me, those followers gained will destroy everything of your church that you have gained until now."
    Over the next few months, Lord Leonidas became a major component of the Breaking of the Seals. His only condition with Shai-Tan was that he would not do anything to harm his former liege and friend Lord Gilthanis. Through great deception Shai-Tan tricked Xavier into helping in an attempt on Garben's life.
    Garben captured his friend-turned-foe and threatened to execute him if he did not give all the information on Shai-Tan he possessed. Xavier made a deal and turned on his dark liege. He used powers called on from a relic he had created to transport him to the door of his church and was greeted by the sight of his Palace of Daer-Koch burning to the ground. He ran into the flames to save his priests and found them crucified to the rafters.
    Xavier then felt the true consequences of his treacherous actions. He attempted to find help from one-time friends, but was imprisoned and cast out to live his life on his small holding in GreenTree.
    Rumor has it, that he died in the agony of his guilt. Others say that he claimed Marion as his wife and heir so that his lands would not be re-absorbed by GreenTree. Still others say that he still lives high in the lands of Elestinlor, building a monument to his people and to those that his treachery took down in his path of deceit. Yet still others say that the former priest has begun construction on a monastery to Daer-Koch so that priests may come hear his story and learn the secrets of keeping the fever of power from consuming them.