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         Copyright © Randy Bowers. All rights reserved.


How Brome Got His Soul Back

    Well now, what kind of a tale can I tell to a mage such as yourself? I'm not of a particular magical bent ya see, so my insights into those affairs are mostly just repeated from other people. Ya seem to dislike the undead fiercely lass so perhaps I'll tell ya the story of how my best friend, a mage of considerable power by the name of Brome, was seduced as it were by the promise of necromantic magics for a time, and nearly became a slave to the powers of Eldin or was it Balbros?
    Well that detail matters little, for wherever that place was the events are long over now and of little matter. So then I'll start by sayin' that I don't know quite when or where it happened, but Brome at some point unlocked the secrets of an ancient and unholy tome, describing the secrets of the dark. He is a good man at heart, a dark elf by birth, but an outcast from the start. For you see he wields magics unlike any I have ever seen. He pulls his strength not from books or even through personal force of will but through a sense of the magic around him and a practiced hand in manipulating it. The results are similar to what I believe you do lass but the methods are far different I am told. Never feeling quite at home with his own kind he journeyed long and hard to the surface from the depths of the earth, nearly killing himself in the process. There he adapted himself to the light and follows a path of self-discovery and gain of knowledge which he follows to this day.
    So it was then several years back now that he came across a black book, divulging the secrets of the damned. Though I know not how, he opened and read that horrible book, and through it gained unholy power. He became as a living dead, his soul sucked from his body and imprisoned in exchange for this power. All that remained was a shard, a memory, of his self, and that for a time was enough.
    Without knowing it we traveled with him for some time, thinking all was well. Months passed this way, perhaps even years. And then a peculiar thing happened. For reasons I'll never understand he completely let his guard down one day at the breakfast table.
    Imagine if you will as I do now, a strong wooden table in a working kitchen with a dozen men around it. The men all come from different regions and different ways of life, but all have come together under a single banner and have fought time and again at the risk of death or worse to make the world a slightly better place. The sun is a bit into the sky now, and the troubles of the men are behind them. They have pushed their foes back for good and a peace now resides in their camp. Bowls of hot gruel are placed before them and they eat joyfully as they tell each other jokes, and stories of times now gone.
    In the middle of this meal the small pale elf, who has earned the respect of his peers the hard way, and is now a known defender of all that is good and right turns to his friend and says (for I will not easily forget the words), "Oh by the way, you should not cast healing magic upon me any more."
    All conversation in the room abruptly stops and in the back of the room a ladle clangs against the stone floor.
    "Why not?" asks the friend in reply.
    "Actually," comes the response, "You should avoid casting any positive energy on me."
    Now you must be understanding that this is really strange. I can see that a person might not be accepting of the healing energy of a particular deity for religious reasons but in my experience there are only two types of creatures that actually suffer when holy energy is focused in their direction and neither one is good.
    It came out in such a queer way then that the man that I had come to love like a brother had been corrupted almost beyond recognition. I'll spare you as well as myself the description of what he had become, but it was decided there that we would quest to bring back his soul.
    We ventured far and I no longer remember for certain who we saw, but we came into possession of a magical arrow; a device that would point toward the soul of my friend. There too was two liquids in the device, one of black, and one clear. When the black devoured the clear, we had failed and his soul was gone.
    For certain though we traveled through the winter mountain snows (for we always traveled to the mountains in winter) to a place deep within, for there lives an ogre great in strength, but greater in knowledge of the arcane. Valadin is his name, and he is the greatest ogre I will ever know. We talked to him of this problem and he offered us advice on where Brome's being would be kept and how to retrieve it.
    For months we prepared. We assembled a team of experts, all heroes of renowned to the last, to help us get close to a portal to the land we sought, and for greater reasons that I must not go into if I am to finish this story tonight. And into the depths of the earth we traveled, for gates to the infernal realms are rare indeed. We suffered much hardship and did much good along the way, and all were changed by the time we reached the gates.
    We were naught but through the portal when we entered into a furious hell storm of sand and glass. Within seconds we were up to our wastes in the stuff and suffered from numerous cuts. Brome thought quickly and teleported us to the safety of a nearby cave and there we scryed upon our target.
    Brome related to us a throne room with a mighty demon prince upon it. He it seemed was not our target however. Attending this great unholy entity was another demon, a mage, and it was he we needed to slay to retrieve Brome's soul. The devil climbed a great tower and when he was alone at the top we sprung into action.
    Though it took us two attempts, we made it to our place of battle. The fighting was fierce, for only Therod, Brome, and myself were there to fight this creature. I remember clearly his face as he assaulted us at that time. His twisted black face, with the features of my dear friend mixed with those of a demon's. He fought with the strength of several men he did, reigning fire and other magics down upon us. He called forth minions to protect him, and it was all that Therod and Brome could do combined to hold them off.
    He tried every trick a mage knows to protect himself. He became invisible, he transported himself around, and he weaved in and out of reality. We were at a total loss to contain him for near on a minute, as he whittled our defenses away. Therod almost fell into unconsciousness more than once and only my near immunity to fire saved me. With a mighty blast meteors fell from the sky and struck me full force in the chest as he worked his magics upon us.
    Finally after the fight seemed like it would never end Brome was able to contain him in a sphere of ice. Now contained and with most of his magic drained we were finally able to slay the creature and rescue Brome's soul.
    I hope that this story has translated for you well and that you don't find my blunt descriptions of the arcane matters here too off from reality. If you really wanted a good description of the matters I suppose you could just ask the man himself. He checks up on things from time to time but mostly these days he stays in a safe haven in one plane or another. I'd be thinking it would be the astral plane but I don't really know for sure. There's a friend of ours that we owe, a man trapped in a magical spell where no being can reach him, and he works among other things to learn the secret of his release. That of course being a story for another time.