Rauko’draug, an Aelfborn Ranger, was one of my characters on the Mourning server where I played with a guild known as the Undead Lords.
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As the sun begins to set, a ranger walks out the gates of the throne of Myrkul’s power on the lands of Mourning. He quietly enters the shadows and begins to make his way to Voth’ss Swamp to continue his training.
As he enters the woods, he comes across a few Trolls that have turned a decaying ship into their home. Almost without a thought, the ranger backstabs the largest of them and slaughters the chaosbeast before its brethren can help. He then turns to the coming onslaught, his twin blades catching the last shreds of light, and gives a slight smirk.
Without saying a word, his blades move with blinding speed as he tears into the flesh of those surrounding him. Blood sprays and drips down his mask but his thoughts are elsewhere… and elsewhen.
Only a few weeks ago, the Aelfborn Ranger known as Rauko’draug was in another forest quite unlike the one he is in now. Its lands were decaying and death lingered in the air. The local inhabitants have dubbed the area the Barrowlands although thousands of years ago when the Gwendannen dwelt there, it had another name. The trees remember these old times and still sing their song to those who will listen… especially those who have dedicated their lives to protecting the lands.
Rauko walked up to one of the trees as he clung to the shadows, placing his hand on the bark. He could feel the pain and agony of the tree… pain it has been feeling for almost 100 years, since the Day of Woe. Rauko urged to find a way to help the trees, to help the children of Braialla… but in his heart, he knew the words of the Assassin rung true.
What was it, just a few months ago when the Herald of Death came through these very lands? Tarrant the Pale and his ilk came speaking of the Void, the power of the Black, and how the world must be served to the Null in a flash of death. At this point in his life, Rauko fought against death and strived to better his skills and fight alongside the Briar King and his kin. But his encounter with the Servants of the Shroud changed his life.
For the days to come, the events and words would play over and over in his head. And the more he thought of it, the more Rauko wondered if the Shade was right. Perhaps the only way to save this world from the blasphemous half-life it is in now is to destroy it. Is not Death but a natural part of the cycle of life?
The more he thought of it, the more he questioned himself, the more the old voices returned to his head. His parents told him they were just part of his affliction… part of his blood (“dirty blood” as the voices told him)… but the voices rang too true to just be that.
That is when he began visiting the Barrowlands… where he truly felt the pain of the world… and where the voices told him other things… How even the protectors of nature failed. The Druids devised the Trees of Life by tapping into the power of the injured World Tree and enchanting the petrified Acorns. These Trees became anchors for dead souls, drawing them back and miraculously crafting a new body for them. The voices told Rauko about the drawback in this – the rituals actually draw slightly on the power of the Black, and each time a soul respawns, a tiny amount of Dark Energy is introduced to the world. This “bleed through” of negative energy accounts for the Death Shroud effect, and also occasionally infects unborn Humans, transforming them into Shades. The Druids found a loophole and so now the Black has its potential conduit. The more people die and are respawned, the stronger the Dark becomes on Mourning.
And that is when Rauko knew he found the truth… and knew he must walk the path too many were scared to even look at. The only way to save Aerynth was to destroy it… let it be reborn. Perhaps that happened before… perhaps that is why the world was dead when the All-Father came here… perhaps it lived once and had to die to continue it’s circle of life.
“Yes,” Rauko thought, “that must be it!” And the voices in his head agreed in unison. With his mind made up, Rauko sought the lands for the fabled Brotherhood of the Shroud or any who served the Black so he could pledge his allegiance and join the cause in bringing an end to this blasphemy some called life.
Some time later, Rauko ran into his sister, another Aelfborn Ranger named Sabba. She told him how she had petitioned to join a great nation called the Undead Lords who served a god named Myrkul who is said to be the God of the Dead.
“The Undead Lords,” Rauko muttered over and over. He had heard the name before. And then it dawned on him. He had heard of them… whispers in his head spoke of the names Rayvan and Sachant… and with that, Rauko left the dead forest and made his way for Myrkuls Dominion.