Six thousand years ago, the dark armies of the demon lord Sin'Vraal ravaged the countryside for his vast amusement, destroying much in their wake, and killing uncounted numbers. One victim was Elysia, betrothed of the paladin Penroll. Penroll, set afire with the need for vengeance, placed his beloved's body in temporal stasis with clerical magics and set out to slay the Demon Lord.
Perhaps three thousand years or so later, a powerful Necromancer named Gorefiend sought to usurp the Demon Lord's throne and claim Sin'Vraal's power for his own.
He also failed.
Wearied by the many challenges he had faced over the millennia, Sin'Vraal determined that it was time for him to sleep and renew himself. In order to forestall attacks upon himself during his rest, the Demon Lord took up the blasted skeletal form of Penroll and into it placed the writhing soul of Gorefiend.
And thus, to be the Guardian of the creature who had destroyed him twice over, was Teron Gorefiend born.
For another three millennia Gorefiend kept watch while his Master slept; for three thousands of years Gorefiend brooded upon revenge and freedom. Having been given life for a third time, Teron did not relish the idea that he would be destroyed after Vraal awakened, yet he knew this would come to pass, for Vraal knew well how powerful was the monstrosity he had created in Gorefiend. Therefore as the centuries passed, Gorefiend gathered information, and planned, and schemed. The opportunity came when, as portents rumbled of Vraal's reawakening to be, Lady Bliss Noir commissioned Gorefiend to destroy the Demoness Galacia Talin-Talus - a former lover of Vraal.
Teron set up a meeting between his Master and Galacia, telling her that Sin'Vraal wished to apologize to her for past wrongs. Vraal, upon awakening, went to find Galacia in his temple and there, unable to forgive her for having once left him, he opened a chasm to the Pit of Eternal Flame and cast her into it to be destroyed. But as Vraal watched his one-time love's form vanish into the dark fires, Gorefiend crept up behind him and plunged a silver dagger into his back. "Greetings, Master," he rumbled. While the wounded Demon Lord reeled, Teron's hand stole from the lone pouch upon Vraal's belt an unseen object, and then he spoke once more: "And farewell." He swung his Master toward the Pit and released him. Sin'Vraal plummeted down and down, to be claimed by his own evil. As his death shriek reverberated through the Temple, Gorefiend turned upon the aged heel of a worn black boot and strode away from the Throne of Sin.
Thus was released upon an unsuspecting world Lord Teron Gorefiend, a monstrous hybrid of life and death who radiates the chill of the grave to all who stand near him. In his presence, plant life wilts and dies, as do lesser animals, and few can escape the clutch of fear that accompanies the biting caress of his aura. His mere touch causes frostbite if it is prolonged, and his hands can smash through wood and leather as if they were nothing. Those who stumble into him find him unyielding as a mountain, nor can he feel pain, since his nerve endings long ago crumbled away into dust and ashes. He knows neither fear nor pity, but moves forward always, remorseless and relentless, to complete any task he has chosen.
He wears always a black, tattered cloak whose hem is laced with interwoven threads of gold, and beneath it, an ancient black burial shroud. A dark grey, moth-eaten scarf is wrapped about his visage, hiding it from view, and a hood casts his face into shadows. From these shadows flare brilliant, burning red eyes, aglow with unholy fire.
The harsh reality behind these garments is fearsome indeed. His face, so carefully masked, is a blackened, fleshless skull. Visible through the torn remnants of aged black gloves are his blackened, blasted, skeletal hands, seeped in the blood spilled through an age and an age and an age of acts of sin too vile to place into words. Cold, hard, merciless, Teron manipulates all to serve him, pitting rival against rival, then moving in to sweep up the pieces. He is a mage of almost unrivalled power; his nature brings him closest to the dark arts of Necromancy, for he walks in the shadow of Death, though he himself is not truly alive. Clerical magics of a darker nature are known to him as well, from his days as Penroll, though these have been twisted from healing arts to exactly the opposite.
As his reward for the destruction of Galacia Talus, Teron was granted a small plot of land between Vescule and Delium. On this land was constructed Gorefiend's bastion of darkness, Caer Gardraark, and within its cold walls he set to work upon his greatest task of all.
Since the moment of his creation, Teron felt the essence of Penroll within him demanding that he revive his betrothed, the slain Elysia. Through the years he gathered information that would aid him in this quest, but not until after the death of Sin'Vraal did he find the answer. Then he learned of the existence of a gem that would restore Elysia to live. But this gem was no easy
thing to obtain. He would need a powerful army to accomplish this, and to this end, he required the Black Crochan, a hulking black cauldron.
Gorefiend created five lich Kaisharga, the Defilers, and sent them out to ransack the land in search of the map to the Black Crochan. Great was the havoc they unleashed, but it was instead a spy who located the map for Gorefiend. Then the Kaisharga and another agent of Teron's, Lord Corlagon by name, successfully stole the Crochan from a dragon's lair.
Harnessing the dark powers of the Crochan, Teron was able to create an army of Cauldron-Born, mindless warriors formed from the bodies of slain enemies. Unlike other Undead, these cannot be Turned, and they will eventually regenerate if maimed or burned, making them truly Deathless Warriors. With the Cauldron-Born, the Kaisharga attacked and overwhelmed the fortress wherein the Gem was kept safe from dark powers. This fortress then became an outpost of Caer Gardraark, under the control of one of the Kaisharga.
At last Teron Gorefiend was able to use the hard-won Gem to bring Elysia out of stasis and heal her wounds. When the terrified woman saw the hideous apparition before her, she refused to believe he could be her betrothed, Penroll. Shrieking, she tried to escape him, and he, in frustration, gripped her ever more tightly until his fingertips pierced into her flesh. Then, while he shouted at her that he was indeed Penroll, his touch corrupted her life's blood, and she died by his own hands. In his private study Gorefiend keeps the urn containing all that remains of Elysia: her ashes.
And so a quest that had its beginnings six thousand years ago came down to naught. The death of Penroll's betrothed left the Deathlord seemingly adrift and purposeless, and those who live within the shadow of Caer Gardraark can only wonder what dark goals he will set for himself in the future. Perhaps some hint can be gleaned from the words he used to describe himself when asked ... or perhaps not. Read them, and decide:
I am wrapped up tight, I cannot move nor break free ... as the Hand of Doom has a tight grip on me.
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