Karok awoke in a world of fire and death. He was on a stone bridge set in a heavy haze, upon which mounds of broken skeletons and rotting corpses were piled. Beneath him were roiling flames of molten rock, which cast the morbid scene in a vicious red hue. As the shock of dying faded, Karok found the strength and courage to look down at his own body. He had expected to find himself bloody and broken, and so was shocked when he discovered himself to be whole and dressed in clean white robes. What was this place? As his curiosity grew to replace his fear, Karok rose and began a slow stumbling walk down the bridge. It was narrow, maybe only three feet wide, and with no railing to save him from falling into the angry cauldron of fire below him. So intent was he on placing one foot in front of the other that he didn’t even notice the dark, skeletal figure at the other end until he was almost upon him.
A raspy voice cut through the oppressive silence of the room. “Hello Karok, come here.” Karok froze, slowly forcing his head to rise and meet the gaze of a strange and frightening creature. Its face was a polished ivory skull pierced by two furnaces for eyes. Its body was an empty skeleton with two skeletal bat-like wings perched evilly on its back. Instead of feet it had two cloven rams hooves, which lead to ram-like legs whose fur twisted and turned as if at the mercy of a wind that did not exist. Immediately Karok knew who had called to him. It was the Lord of Death, Aeleth, Chemos Jotun, The Black Ram…Chemosh.
Fear and excitement stirred in Karoks chest, eagerly he rushed forward and fell to his knees before the Lord of Bones. “What is it you wish of me my Lord.” His words sounded high pitched and weak even to his own ears. He could barely contain himself.
His answer came in another hoarse rasp. “You have a fascination with undeath. Why is this?”
Karok thought for a moment, rolling the question around in his mind. He wanted to be concise but he couldn’t keep such a being waiting on his own mortal uncertainty. “In death there is power,” he started out slowly, “there is control. The ultimate control. There are no emotions to cloud one’s judgment, no mortal wants or needs like hunger and thirst to distract one from their goals. In death there is only one purpose, one drive, one need, to grow and seek greater control, control through death.”
Chemosh responded with a harsh, rasping chuckle. “Rise Karok. I need someone to expand my “control” and to do so wisely. No longer do I want hordes of mindless undead clumsily striving to fulfill my demands. No, I need a greater force, one with intelligence, one with charisma, one which can take my church to greater heights among the stars. You will give me such a church.”
Karok swelled with pride. “My Lord I will do your bidding.” With that Chemosh’s skeletal hand shot forth into Karoks chest, plunging through flesh and bone, finding the heart. Karok felt as if ice was flooding his veins, a pain like he had never felt before brought him to the brink of consciousness. As the darkness closed in about him he heard Chemosh’s final words “Good. You will awake in Palanthas. Go then to my Temple, there you will find my priests. They will guide you.”
Karok awoke on the Palanthas docks. Drenched to the bone as if he had washed ashore. Quickly he gathered himself up and raced to the alleyways to avoid suspicion. He had a mission now, and none must interfere.