As the Vampire Lucard escaped into the bowels of the labyrinthine crypt, Erik Kilraven overheard the high priest in the opposite chamber call for his acolytes to bring forth the ritual sacrifice — the very vampire the Bordermen had just battled.
With a host of hooded undead heading their way, the Bordermen retreated, with the exotic cask in hand, back to the secret tunnel that led to the tomb of the half-demon Corr Awn Zahm.
Edmund attempted to pick the lock on the cask, but with little luck. Byron, on the other hand, having paid close attention to Stewart’s attempt, was able to work past its defenses. Inside, they were all stunned to find a human heart, still beating in horrific rhythm.
Was this the heart of Dalv Lucard? Could they somehow use it, either to free Awn Zahm or control the vampire and use it against their enemies?
Meanwhile, Arthur, having been revived by Kilraven and Gray, had pressed ahead, and using his battle honed senses was able to detect a host of undead in the crypt ahead. Kilraven attempted to turn them, but only one of the shambling creatures fled the words of his god.
Steeling themselves, Byron, Edmund, and Gray took the fight to them, while Kilraven, Denwar, and Arthur stayed in the tunnel. All three were injured and chose to prepare defensive attacks against the throng.
This proved to be their undoing.
While most of the undead descended on the combatants, two found their way into the tunnel. Kilraven and Denwar quickly fell to their advance and Arthur narrowly escaped. He fled to Awn Zahm’s prison, hoping to find aid there, but to no avail.
Gray fell next, and now three of their companions were turned, rising as the undead.
Byron and Edmund were cornered, swarmed by the ravenous fiends, and then, in the far chamber, Arthur succumbed to the undead advance. Feeling the change coming over him, the infection burning in his veins, he stepped into Awn Zahm’s embrace within the confines of the enchanted circle that bound him…
They vanished together in a flash of eldritch light.
Meanwhile, overwhelmed, Byron and Edmund fled the tomb, intent on tracking down Lucard, hoping they could somehow use the vampire against these relentless combatants.
They caught sight of one of the undead acolytes back in the main hall and followed it northward into a vast subterranean crypt, arriving just in time to see the Vampire Lucard decapitating the creature.
Byron came forward seeking parley. Lucard explained that he had been captured from his small castle in the mountains between Nordhrim and Mortainne and delivered to Algernon Hightower, to be sacrificed as part of some dark rite.
Edmund and Byron offered the vampire the chance for revenge, requesting his aid in uncovering what Hightower’s devilish plan was and crushing their dark ambitions.
Lucard agreed, in exchange for the heart.
Byron looked to Edmund… then handed the vampire his heart.
to be continued