THE NECROMANCER’S NEICE By Jericho Fel

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THE NECROMANCER’S NEICE By Jericho Fel

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THE NECROMANCER’S NEICE

By Jericho Fel

Travelers in Caraigh, when traversing the Coast Road moving North towards Finnag’s Pass will find themselves strangely transfixed and unable to move forward. They often report feelings of confusion and fear, and an unsettling feeling of being watched and even mocked by an unseen presence. Many a traveler has been caught here and fallen prey to ravening wolves or marauding goblins, unable to flee. Only turning widdershins back towards the coastal village breaks the spell and allows them to move forwards. Local residents of Caraigh call this portion of road the Turnaround Trail.

The legend of the Turnaround Trail begins with a precocious halfing girl named Briar. Briar grew up in the Dale and loved to climb and play in the apple tree orchards just outside of town. Her parents had been killed by trolls and she lived with her Uncle Thorne, a wealthy and respected Elder of the Dale whose philanthropy was well known. Briar was a notorious prankster and was much beloved by the folk of the Dale. As she grew to adulthood, she began picking apples and eventually fermenting them into a sweet and potent hard cider. Briar’s cider was so tasty that soon there became a demand for it, and she began to peddle it across the island of Amia, from Cordor to Barak Runedar to Ridgewood. Eventually, as the fame of her cider spread, she began transporting it aboard ships to the outer islands.

Unfortunately for Briar, this drew the ire of a certain band of pirates who made their home in Carraigh. They made much of their money peddling cheap rum, and found Briar’s success cutting into their business. Late one night, as she was delivering a shipment of Cider along the Coast Road, the pirate band caught up to Briar. They taunted and viciously beat the poor halfing girl, before finally drowning her with her own cider. They left her besotted corpse there in the road as a lesson to any prospective rivals of would seek to cut into their rum trade.

When news reached her uncle, he became infuriated. Unbeknownst to Briar, or any of his neighbors, the well respected halfing businessman and Dale Elder had once been a powerful necromancer, long retired and reformed. Now, once again, he donned his blackest attire and called upon the darkest powers of undeath to aid in his vengeance. In blackest night, in the heart of a dire storm, he travelled to Caraigh and laid his trap for the doomed pirates.

As the pirate band returned to their hideout from a night of carousing in the small fishing village to the south, Filo set a pack of spectres upon them, draining them of life one by one as they fled. Filo caught the leader of the pirate band himself, and wrested the life from him using his own skeletal arm, which he had long kept hidden beneath fine gloves and tailored shirts. The last of the pirates fled for their lives towards Finnag’s Pass, but Filo, still raw with grief and unwilling to let them escape, summoned up the spectre of Briar herself. Briar’s spectre unleashed a primal scream of grief and retribution, forever cursing the road, and the pirates found themselves unable to travel further North. The last of the pirates were drained of life as they attempted to flee, and the pack of specters feasted on their black souls before dragging them screaming into the underworld to suffer whatever torment they had earned in their miserable lives.

Thorne quietly left the Dale and the island of Amia in disgrace and was never heard from in these parts again. It is the sincere hope of this author that he eventually found peace and respite. It is rumored that a small remnant of pirates who had stayed behind to guard their treasure still lurk in underground sea caves near Finnag’s Pass, but are too terrified of the specter of Briar to set foot above ground. However, the curse of the Turnaround Trail has lingered, befuddling many a traveler heading North into Finnag’s Pass. The famed Gnomish parapsychologist Pookenhaegen has himself investigated the site, and believes that the spirit of Briar, a prankster in life, and now a benign example of the unquiet dead, forever haunts that portion of the road, laughing at those who find themselves fooled by its curse.
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