Way of the Wicked
48 - Cardinal Thrune
Chapter Forty-Seven: Cardinal Thrune
After pausing to examine the corpses of the Frost Giants we continued further into the magnificent Agatharium. I could not help but be awed by what at the time I thought the creation of our former benefactor, Cardinal Thrune. I later learned it was actually the headquarters of the Nameless Tyrant all those years ago. Still, it was magnificent.
Pillars glorifying the various types of devils lined the great hall and we slowly walked through the place examining each one. We found stairs in small vestries in the wings but continued on forward to the Nave. There we found a great altar to Asmodeus and also Lady Ellisif. She proved more than willing to negotiate and Tylus agreed that should we come to power in Cheliax all the northern realms of the Frost Giants would be declared off limits to settlers and adventurers. That her people would be left to their own devices.
After Tylus swore this oath she agreed to lead us into the lower levels and serve as our guide. We then headed down and immediately ran into some Grave Knights but they proved little able to counter our power.
We then entered a chamber which housed Lord Barca who was the general that led the forces of Cheliax to destruction at the hands of The Fireaxe. He seemed eager to display both his arrogance and foolishness and I suspect he was only an insult or two away from meeting Dunn’s sword before Tylus stepped in to smooth things over. Tylus managed to convince the erstwhile king that we would speak with Thrune and get things sorted out for him. I would rather see a monkey on the throne than that buffoon.
We then continued down the hallways and arrived at what Lady Ellisif said was the room of Marcel Wolfram. She warned us the anti-paladin was fanatically devoted to Thrune and would never negotiate. With this in mind we dashed into the room and attacked without warning. Even then the powerful anti-paladin managed to severely wound Dunn and take a pound of flesh from Grumblejack. His armor and shield proved potent defensive items and Dunn took them while I liberated his mace Engelhammer for my own.
From there we continued north to what Ellisif thought was the throne room. Thank goodness that Tylus spotted a diabolical trap on the door to the room and when we entered we did not set it off. Who can say what terrors awaited us but it was good that we avoided them. From there Ellisif suggested finding the mad necromancer Grigori Sherkov and getting him to tell us where the Cardinal was hiding.
On the way to the necromancer we found another group of the Grave Knights and easily dispatched them.
From there we found the necromancer easily enough and he proved at least as crazy as the Linnorm Nythoggr. While he might have been insane he was also rather shrewd. He exchanged information about Cardinal Thrune for a sworn vow of a comfortable laboratory and title in the new regime. Tylus agreed and he told us where the secret door to Thrune was located. He also mentioned Thrune’s onset of paranoia which Ellisif had spoken of earlier.
We found the secret door without too much trouble and Tylus disabled another trap. We proceeded forward finding a room filled with clay tablets of the kind we had used several times and a torture chamber of some sort. Then it was into the throne room to face our former benefactor.
Thrune seemed rational when we met him. The furthest thing from mad paranoia. He claimed to have never betrayed but not in order to stay a fight. He knew we were there to kill him and seemed to not just accept his fate but be at complete peace with it. It was only later that all became clear to me. Was there ever a greater man than Cardinal Thrune? I have made many questionable decision in my life over the years but the choice to kill Thrune remains both the best and the worst of them all.
Thrune seemed to content to wait as he let each of us throw our best at him but he somehow survived and sent Dunn to the floor blood spewing from his ears with a wave of the hand. One look at me and I felt my guts ripping in the most intense pain I have ever experienced. He had some sort of spell shield but Grumblejack rushed forward while Tylus and Raiju peppered him with arrows and he collapsed upon his throne. His final words to us were that we would continue to serve his plan even though he was no longer here to guide us.
I managed to stagger over to Dunn and heal him but then we collapsed. We had won. We were masters of the Agatherium and with The Fireaxe advancing on Westcrown we were soon to be rulers of Cheliax. Or so I imagined.