The Darkest Shadow

After what seemed like several weeks at sea, a few days’ voyage from New Magincia landed Ashleif at the docks in Moonglow. After disembarking the ship, he headed to the Scholar’s Inn to rent a room for a few nights, and gather his bearings. Once settled in, Ashleif made his way to the Lycaeum to inquire with the Mages Guild about their doings in the Lost Magincian Diamond Mine. Upon entering the complex, Ashleif headed towards the main building, and inquired with a scribe that was seated at a table:
“Excuse me, I was wondering if I could ask some questions in regards to the Mages Guild in Old Magincia?” Inquired Ashleif.
The scribe put her quill down, and rolled up the parchment she was writing on and replied:
“Of course, I always enjoy a conversation! My name is Ingrid, by the way.” Replied the scribe. Ashleif smiled and continued:
“My name is Ashleif. It is a pleasure to meet you, and thank you for your time. I come from New Magincia seeking some answers to questions that have been troubling me, and well… I don’t know how to approach this, but it may well be for the safety of the island.”
Ingrid nodded, and motioned for Ashleif to continue as she poured herself a mug of water from a pitcher that was on the table.
“You see, I am an archeologist by profession. I was originally contracted by the Miners Guild to excavate and explore the ruins of the re-discovered Magincian Diamond Mine. But what I have found down there so far is very puzzling, and troublesome. More recently after rubble was cleared to an abandoned section of the mine, all the hallmarks pointed to it being inhabited by the Mages Guild of Old Magincia. A ladder even leads up to the blocked off foundations of the old building. I was hoping to find out what the mages were doing down there?”
Ingrid sat back in her chair, and in silence for several moments as she pondered what Ashleif was saying. She then replied:
“Some things are best left forgotten to time. It seems this matter has not yet found its closure.”
Ashleif sat with a puzzled look on his face as Ingrid stood up, walked over to a bookshelf, and inspected some old tomes for a few minutes. She then selected a rather worn book, brought it over to the table and sat back down.
“This was a chapter in our Guild’s history that we are rather not proud of.” Stated Ingrid. She then thumbed through the book for a few moments until she found the page she was looking for. She then turned the book around for Ashleif to inspect. On that page was a crude image of the chamber that he had been in just a few days prior. Several unknown words and symbolism surrounded the page as well.
“That particular hall of the Guild was home to some very nefarious necromancers who kept their dark secret hidden from the other mages in that hall. They were aware of the diamond mine that was hidden below Magincia, and they practiced and worshiped down there in secret. When Old Magincia was destroyed, we hoped they were destroyed as well. But it seems they have chosen to resurface with the re-discovery of the mine.” Said Ingrid.
Ashleif sat in his chair in silence, and thought about the events that have transpired down in the mine since he had been sent there. He then inquired:
“There were several… undead mages down there. Istratic Morte, Vathik Bonecall, Herael Graeme, Cixor Sanguine… and they seemed to be led by a beast named Yughor Crow.”
The moment Ingrid heard the name Yughor Crow, she began to shudder in her chair. Ashleif took notice and raised an eyebrow. He was about to further inquire, but Ingrid quickly stood up, and hurriedly made her way to a different bookshelf. She frantically sifted through the books, tomes and parchments that were contained on the shelf, dropping several at her feet. After she found what she was looking for she returned to the table. She un-rolled the parchment she had taken, using extra care as the scroll was very old and began to crack as it was unfurled.
“You can never go back there again… You don’t want to go back there again!” Exclaimed Ingrid.
“What is going on? Who is this Yughor Crow?” Inquired Ashleif.
A terrified look was now on Ingrid’s face. She looked down at the scroll, and pointed to the crude and ancient symbolism it contained.
“He is… he is a sha… Shadowlord.” Replied Ingrid with a tremble in her voice. Ashleif sat in disbelief as Ingrid paged through the first book she had brought over and she continued:
“He is from… a mythical world. Well, it considered a myth… But it looks like that’s not the case. On this page, right here… This is Lacuna. It was at one time, just another fragment of the Gem of Immortality. However, the shard fell into… at first, political chaos. Two sides fought between each other; balance and harmony could not be reached between them. After years of fighting, murder and instability, the Shadowlords decided to attack the severely weakened shard. Yughor Crow was the Shadowlord that brought all life to an end on Lacuna, and filled it with darkness, and undead… The fact that you know his name, and have seen him… here, in the mines… is most troublesome. I can only begin to speculate on how he has traveled to our realm, and what sort of dark magics the corrupt mages were practicing…” Stated Ingrid.
Ashleif sat in confusion and disbelief. Ingrid then gathered the book and parchment that she had brought and said:
“You go and tell the Guard of this… this evil. Tell the King himself if you need to! That mine needs to be rid of this evil, and quickly! I will do some further research into the matter, and see if I can find anything useful.”
Ashleif nodded, and gave his thanks to Ingrid for granting him an audience. He then stood up, and began to make his way back to the inn. Two hooded mages that were seated at a table across the room that had been eavesdropping on the conversation turned their attention to a book they were studying.
“That’s him. There’s no mistake about it from what I saw the other night.” Whispered Jayce, as he pointed to the depiction of Yughor Crow in the book. He took the ring that he had stolen from the beast during the battle, and looked at the worn inscription.
“The Passage To Lacuna Is At Your Fingertips”