Gaius watched in horror as the other monks fought bravely against the swarm of undead. The defenders died in agony, only to rise moments later to fight against their former brethren. The Cloak Tower was a place of learning and enlightenment, promoting the banishment of ignorance, not evil. None of the scholarly residents were prepared for the onslaught as the few visiting clerics and magic users were quickly overwhelmed by these menacing beings.
Gaius was a former soldier who found refuge in Trinity after the downfall of Cain. His efforts to provide assistance to the Heroes of Trinity before they faced the Dark One those few years ago left him in a weakened state, unable to continue on the mission. Ever since, he regretted his lack of faith and prayed for a chance at redemption.
After the War, the Heroes, in a show of appreciation to their former companion, saw to it that Gaius was given a position of respect and authority among the monks, Protector of the sacred Scrolls. These fabled artifacts are said to have the power to open portals into another world, but no one has ever dared break their seal. Gaius believed this is what the controller of the Undead was searching for.
He kept his vow as Protector, gathered up the Scrolls of Vinsic, and charged through the mass of bodies. Cold flesh and warm blood intermingled as the battle raged on. The undead were ruthless in their attacks, but suffered from the disadvantage of being slow. This created an opening that Gaius used to escape their clutches. He ran faster than he ever thought possible, struggling against the pain of his old wounds, then he finally prayed to the gods for a miracle.
Seconds passed, then minutes, but Gaius didn’t stop until he ran directly into a massive boulder, blocking the entrance to the third level of the Tower. Baffled, he turned and saw that another survivor reached this point. Thankful, Gaius approached the man with care and tried to catch his own breath.
The man was deathly pale and filled with fear, his hands shivered without pause. He locked the door behind him, surprising Gaius, and then spoke softly, “Brother Gaius, you cannot return through those passages. The way is filled with spawn of Death. You only have one chance,” the man reached into his robe and placed a small stone into Gaius’ hands.
“What is this, Brother,” Gaius spoke quickly, unsure of just what he was holding.
“It’s a Return Stone. This device has the power to teleport one person into Trinity’s Town Center. You must use it to save the Scrolls of Vinsic and to warn the Heroes of this unimaginable horror! Use it now, invoke its power!”
Gaius adamantly refused.
Nevertheless the Stone was already activating, the magic wrapped around him like a protective barrier, then he watched, helplessly, as the darkened walls of the Cloak Tower faded away, became as nothing, then reformed into the view from a city street.
“Why,” Gaius screamed into the night, “didn’t you use it to escape, dear Brother?”
Back in the tower, the man who saved the life of Gaius accepted his destiny and waited for the Scrolls to be read.
The general populace scattered when Gaius appeared, the magical force pushing them away to create a safe place for its charge to dissipate. Only Bigheadius, the Town Crier, stood his ground, seemingly immune to the wave of force that erupted from the sky.
“Fear not, for your Brother, Gaius, his sacrifice will not be in vain,” Bigheadius spoke softly, almost as if he were seeing a glimpse of the future. Gaius ignored him, as most people do, and began his search for Sir Brian.
That evening, the former warrior, the Last of the Tower, as Gaius became known as, met with Sir Brian and bore witness to the atrocities in the Cloak Tower. Knowingly, Sir Brian nodded and exhaled, understanding that an end to the peace that he had helped bring about was over.
Reading from the Scrolls of Vinsic, Sir Brian was able to send forth a Call that would reach the furthest ends of the Realms...a Call for new heroes that could help in this time of need.
As the rays of dawn broke through the darkness, the ‘Last of the Tower’ discarded his robes and donned a suit of armor and grasped a weapon of divine might, then prayed to his god for guidance…and was forever changed. He then stepped out into the sunlight, as a Paladin of Torm, prepared to seek out and eliminate the source of the Tower’s devastation.