Hearken well, for we travel now to a time long past, before the rise of the
great cities.  It was a time of great lawlessness, of mighty lords who held
sway by terror and force of arms.  It was a time of chaos, of ancient gods and
powerful magics, a time of endless striving.

   Into this seething world a child was born unto the house of a great warlord.
Arendael he was called, and in his crib he was charged with the task of
conquering the known world, and a sword was placed in his infant hands.  His
life would be one of discipline, of tactics, of strategy and swordplay.

   By the age of sixteen, Arendael was without peer.  Master of a dozen
weapons, skilled in the planning of great battles, and muscled like a maiden's
fancy, stories of his prowess spread to the farthest holds.  Thousands of
warriors flocked to his banner, eager to win some smirch of glory beneath the
young lord who showed such tremendous promise.

   In the spring of his seventeenth year, he embarked on a vast campaign
against a rival who held sway over an adjoining territory.  Well did he lay his
plans, and won a great victory in a titanic clash of arms at the gates of his
foe's stronghold.  His banner was raised over the lands of his enemy, and his
legend grew.

   In his eighteenth year he conquered sufficient land to double his holdings.
By the end of his nineteenth, he held more than a man could ride across in a
week.  In his twentieth year, the few foemen who remained to oppose him yielded
en masse and swore fealty to their new liege.  And thus the first king was

   Arendael was not a kindly man, but he was not given to cruelty or injustice.
He was a lettered man, and understood the importance of law and order to tame
the populace.  From his throne all power flowed, and he established a caste of
nobility, which he charged with ruling his diverse lands.  His banner men were
released to rejoin the peasantry as farmers and merchants, and for the first
time the lands of men were at peace.

   The years ground on, and a lassitude settled over the kingdom as the battles
of old faded from memory.  Some few rebellions had to be put down, and many
young lords lead warlike expeditions into the savage lands of the North, but
these had little effect on the lives of the people, and Arendael's sword soon
grew dusty in the armory.  Sadly, as the king's vigilance waned, evil began to
take hold in the West.

   Reports began to trickle in of a blight settling over the western lands.
The trees grew gray and twisted, and the soil produced less and less each
season.  For a few years, advisors dismissed the reports as exaggerations, and
deemed them not worthy of the king's valuable time.  Then an outlying village
was burned to the ground, with all of its inhabitants carried off or killed,
and word finally reached Arendael.  When he learned that earlier warnings had
been concealed from him, he flew into a rage and slew several of his advisors
barehanded.  Seething at the attack on his kingdom, he called upon his lords to
begin raising men-at-arms to form a great army, and demanded that a volunteer
step forward to lead an advance party into the West, to discover the source of
the problem.

   Dozens answered Arendael's call, each clamoring for the honor of leading the
scouting expedition.  He gathered them in the great hall of his castle, and
bade each one to present their claim in turn.  During the second day of the
selection, the doors to the hall suddenly burst asunder, scattering the guards
posted within.  An enormous man strode in through the wreckage, clad entirely
in black plate and the furs of the savage northlands, with the midnight hilt of
a longsword protruding over one shoulder, appearing almost comically small on
his monstrous frame.  Lord Kaladryn, veteran of a hundred campaigns against the
barbarian hordes, had decided to lead the foray.  None dared oppose his claim.
He gathered a force of sixty picked men, and departed the next day.

   For a year the king would wait for word, forging weapons and massing his
army, gathering his strength for the war he was sure would come.  When the
first report from the West finally arrived, it did not come in the form that he
expected.  A messenger arrived to report that his holds were under siege by an
army that stretched across the horizon, and Kaladryn rode at its head.

   Arendael led his army westward, and there he met his foe in battle.  The war
would last for eight years, and hundreds of thousands would perish.  In the
early battles, word spread that no arrow could pierce Kaladryn's plate, nor
could any blade dent its finish.  The king's magicians constructed artifacts by
the score, infusing them with spells of reckless potency, but all failed to
cause harm to the great lord; some force far mightier than the powers of man
safeguarded the dark champion.  The morale of Arendael's forces quailed in the
face of the invincible juggernaut, and the king was driven back year after
year, despite his tactical genius.

   Finally, in the eighth year, Arendael was forced to make a last stand at the
seat of his power.  His army was but a shadow of its former strength, his
people were crushed and broken, and flames rose from the city around the walls
of his castle.  Standing on the battlements, he watched the enemy forces gather
at the gates in the deepening night, almost welcoming the release of death.
And then, for the first time, he saw his true opponent.

   A cloaked figure stood on a raised platform just behind the vanguard, his
hood thrown back to reveal a brooding face of inhuman beauty.  Horror wracked
the great king as he comprehended the nature of his foe, and he screamed in
terror at the realization of his fate.  He would find no relief in death, only


   Recommended levels: 16-20
   Group Size: 3+

   Seek the entrance in the swamps southwest of Oldgate.

   The Catacombs are filled with countless horrors, many of which will eagerly
   visit death upon unprepared parties.  Travel there only in strength, and be
   aware that conquering the zone completely will require a formidable party
   indeed, though the rewards shall be spectacular.

   A rich history surrounds the tomb, and unraveling the story will aid you in
   completing the quests within.