Shining Shadows

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Vyros - We hardly go to know ye

Today we say farewell to Vyros, descendant of the Markelhay line, protector of Lords and commoners, bane of orcs. He selflessly defended his allies in battle time and time again.

His heroic end came in a maelstrom of fire, lightning and ice as a series of arcane eruptions claimed Vyros’ life, but also that of two enemies.

His presence will be missed by the Shining Shadows who called him friend, and posthumously called him brother.

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Here’s how it happened.

The Death of Vyros

The Shining Shadows had arrived at the farm of Toram Kleyburn, (Lord Padraig’s lifelong friend and squire) to question him about a murder that occurred at a ball the night before. Kleyburn was on his way out the gates with 7 of his finest trained soldiers in pursuit of a lead on the kobolds that have been attacking Winterhaven of late, and would only agree to answering the party’s questions after returning. He suggested that pursuit would go much faster and have a better chance of success if the Shining Shadows worked with them, taking a northern route in the forest while they took the southern. Because the Shining Shadows were sent here to question Kleyburn, they were extra suspicious and wanted to take no chances of an ambush or flight, so they agreed to help only if the parties were divided – the Kleyburn plus 3 of his men with Vyros, Gall, and Anabeth in one group, and Kleyburn’s 4 other men with Ash, Kale, and Dara.

A little while after the split, Vyros’s group came upon scores of kobolds. In smaller numbers the kobolds wouldn’t have been much of a problem, but in this quantity they were a tangible threat. A challenge of skill ensued, in which Vyros’s first contribution was to intimidate the kobolds with a vulgar display of martial mastery, to which a good number of kobolds backed off long enough to easily fall under the blades of the soldiers. Vyros heard a loud screech above him as a shadow entered his vision, and saw what he recognized as a skin-winged behemoth swoop down, pick up Kleyburn, and fly off with him screaming. Powerless to do anything about that at the moment, all Vyros could do was to continue fighting the immediate danger, and hope to the Raven Queen that Padraig’s squire would live long enough to answer the questions.

So the melee went on. The sheer number of hacks and slashes, however, were very strenuous, and although few if any actual enemy hits landed, Vyros experienced a bit of exhaustion which affected his reserves. Taking his immediate focus off the kobolds in front of him, he could see that scores more had joined, and despite the bodies of kobolds littering the forest floor like so many leaves in autumn, there were actually more living kobolds than before. It was at this recognition of the futility of their current fight that Vyros heard the blaring trumpet of the other party – they were under attack as well.

Another shadow came in from above and swooped up one of the Kleyburns’s men. The two remaining soldiers insisted that they join their comrades immediately after realizing that their divided ranks were inhibiting their effectiveness, and staying the current fight was clearly suicide. A tactical retreat was necessary. Vyros saw that the Kelyburns’s soldiers morale was dangerously low, and fearing that flight before meeting up with the other party was imminent, attempted to pull out a story of victory from his history lessons, but none that were pertinent to their current situation came to mind, so he resorted to a poor attempt at bolstering them with clichés, which had no effect. During the retreat another instance of endurance was required, which Vyros was not able to exhibit, taking more of his physical reserves. A few kobolds were able to spear one of Kleyburn’s men in the neck, immediately followed by the sounds of several repeated punctures of the thin breastplate inflicted on the fallen man by no less than 5 kobolds – they were showing no mercy.

Ahead, Vyros saw a grouping of fallen trees and logs that if were able to jump over, would pose a significant obstacle to the pursuing kobolds. His superior athletic skills were in peak performance, and the jump succeeded in widening the gap between him and his pursuers. However, it was during this time that unbeknownst to him the last member of the Kleyburn’s soldiers in this party fell to the kobolds.

Not long afterwards, Vyros broke out of the thick trees and undergrowth to the road, and what he could only guess was the origin of the sound of the horn. Indeed, there were Kale, Dara, and Ash along with 2 of the squire’s soldiers in combat with unseen kobolds taking advantage of the undergrowth. The other two soldiers were lying on the road motionless. A 20 foot wide stream crossed the road 30 feet ahead, and beyond that was the only visible enemy – a kobold wearing robes. Clearly this lone kobold was picking off the party members unchallenged, and Vyros would have none of that! Immediately breaking into a run, Vyros cleared the stream with an astounding leap, clearing it by over 10 feet (natural 20 on the athletics check!). Reaching deep inside himself for the moxy to attain what was needed (spending an action point), he raised his sword and charged the kobold which was a mere 10 feet away. However, after his second stride, he was flung into the air by a hidden snare, left dangling and restrained barely within reach of the kobold once his initial spring deadened. The kobold sent a spell of ice at Vyros, which in addition to causing significant damage, left a coat of ice that immobilized him. Vyros was immediately able to swing his sword at the kobold during the casting of the spell, however, and dealt a good blow before the kobold shifted away. A second spell originating in a bush just behind where the kobold moved to sent lightning at Vryos, dealing a shocking amount of damage and leaving him dazed. A third spell originating 15 feet away from a bush on the opposite side of the road sent fire flying at Vyros, which he took full force.

Bloodied, but not beaten, Vyros immediately shook the daze that was upon him with his superior will, and was able to ignore weakness to leave himself mobilized, which he followed up with a slash to the rope that dropped himself to the ground. Although he wasn’t able to succeed in landing on his feet, he immediately jumped to them from prone. Across the stream, Kale saw that he wouldn’t be able to join Vyros’s melee in time, so he deftly sheathed his fullblade and drew his longbow in a single motion, and sent an arrow flying directly toward the kobold in front of Vyros. Kale’s aim was true, a testament to his renown as a slayer, and the arrow sunk into the kobold’s temple. At the moment of death, however, the kobold unexpectedly exploded in a devastating 25 foot diameter sphere of arcane fire, lightning, and ice. With the damage already sustained, this was too much for Vyros to take, and he immediately fell to the ground, unconscious and bleeding from grave wounds. The hidden kobold in the bush a mere 5 feet away was not immune to this blast, and succumbed to it, setting off another 25 foot sphere of arcane elements. Vyros was well within the area of this second blast, which proved too much for his already critical state.

Vyros left the world to join his mother under the watchful wing of our Lady of Fate, the Raven Queen. He is survived only by his half-brother, of whom he had no knowledge. It was decreed in his Last Will and Testament that all his earthly possessions shall be left to the Markelhay Estate in Fallcrest, with the exception of his coinage, which shall go to the training of the guard in Fallcrest.

So goes the tale of Vyros, although in circles where his name is not widely known, bards relate this as “The Time When Kale the Slayer Killed Three People With One Arrow.”

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