Kiss of Death?

These sinister followers of Krypta, goddess of death, give aid to fledgling kingdoms in their own effective, though somewhat disturbing manner. Well versed in all forms of necromancy, a priestess commands powerful death spells and with time may raise a retinue of skeletons to serve as her personal guards. Though they wield fearful magic they have only a limited ability to fight physically and are quickly defeated if engaged in melee. Low level priestesses will require some aid as they begin their service to your kingdom. Later, as her power increases, a priestess with skeletal retinue holds considerable power to influence any conflict.

As sovereign you may recruit priestesses from the Temple of Krypta. As you upgrade the temple it will be able to cast powerful spells in aid to your kingdom, even raising a fallen hero from the dead.

Why does a follower of Death protect the people in your kingdom? Read the following story to find out.


The Temple to Kryptafpriestess-walk.gif


The Priestess' Tale

The gruesome creaking of wooden muscles flexing beneath living bark was barely audible above the sound of rustling leaves. If the subtle sound of a Daemonwood on the move were not so unnatural or so evil, the lone Paladin might have been taken completely by surprise. The woods through which she traveled were tainted by evil, and ominous, gnarled trees were plentiful. Even the most experienced adventurer could have failed to notice the monster hidden among them until it opened its wicked glowing, glaring eyes and its arms descended from its foliage, claw-like fingers curling in rage.

Dar-Karyn's innate sensitivity to evil alerted her a split-second before she was attacked. While young and unproven in combat, it was clear that her training had served her well. Narrowly dodging the monster's wild swing, she landed a powerful chop with her sword, its honed edge cleaving into the Daemonwood's wooden body. But without the strength and fine weaponry that experience provides, Karyn's blow only seemed to enrage the monster. The creature's second swing crashed heavily against the young Paladin's armored body and sent her sprawling. Vicious scratches glistened from within deep dents in her armor.

Suddenly, wisps of shadow encircled the tree-creature, and it recoiled as if in pain. Karyn glanced to see a ribbon of darkness arcing away from the monster, streaming into the end of a staff held aloft by a figure at the edge of the clearing. This new ally, cloaked in crimson and black, had apparently approached from behind the Daemonwood, unseen by both combatants.

Karyn took the opportunity to strike swiftly. Raising her greatsword high, she delivered a slaying blow to the Daemonwood's twisted face. With the sound of splintering wood, the monster fell, crashing stiffly against the ground. The evil enchantment that had animated it had been dispersed.

The mysterious figure approached, inspecting the withering wooden remains of the creature. Karyn recognized her cloak and cowl as the trappings of a Priestess of Krypta and labored to suppress a frown. Krypta and the Paladin's own deity – Dauros, the god of Law – were rivals, steeped in philosophical opposition. In addition to the conflict between their gods, Karyn bore her own contempt for the goddess of death and the sinister practices of her devotees.

"That was… enjoyable," the priestess said, an unsettling cheer in her voice. Her voice was ageless, and her hood and heavy facepaint hid the age of her features. She looked up at Karyn. "I am Sister Everdark."

Karyn bowed shallowly but politely. "Dar-Karyn of the Righteous Blade. What brings you into these woods, far from your town and temple?"

"The same as you, I suppose," Everdark replied, "To find the goblins that have been murdering your townsfolk and destroy their camp."

"We should travel together for our mutual safety," Karyn suggested, "And combine our strength when we reach the encampment."

Everdark nodded silent approval, and the two set off together.

"I assume you are after the reward that my Sovereign has offered," Karyn said after they had been travelling in silence for a short while, "I would think you, a follower of Krypta, would be in favor of the death the goblins bring."

The Priestess scowled. "The reward certainly influenced me," she said, "But the destruction of the goblins is a task that needs to be done. Death is the providence of Krypta. An avoidable, ignoble death without purpose or meaning is a grievous offense to her. This is the goblins' crime, and for it they must pay."

"But if you worship death itself, which is inevitable," said Karyn, frowning, "What should it matter to you or your goddess how it arrives?"

"You worship the god of law," the priestess supposed, "An evil ruler could create an evil law, mandating slavery or the murder of innocents. Would you, by your faith, be bound to defend such a law, only because it was a law?"

The Paladin paused for a moment, considering what Sister Everdark had said. "It is not an issue that has ever arisen, nor do I think it shall," she replied, "But… no. There are laws above those set by man to which I am accountable. I would have to fight for what was fair and just."

Everdark's black-painted lips curled into a smile. "In a sense," she said before continuing to walk, "So do I."

"The laws I serve may or may not be enforced, but you serve death itself," Karyn said, her voice still characteristically calm and even but flavored by contempt. "Death is utterly inescapable -- there can be no fairness nor justice in it."

The priestess stopped in her tracks, frowning. "It is just the opposite! Life is inherently unfair and unjust, wrought with inequity. From the moment each of us is born, we each have different fates and fortunes. But death comes to us all, and in death we are all the same. Kings and peasants, you and I. Can you not see the beauty in that? In the final, ultimate equality that death brings?"

A thin sound distracted Karyn before she could speak her reply. Everdark had heard it as well, and the two listened carefully. It came again: the distant sound of a rowdy argument and rough, inhuman laughter. The sound was too weak to make out what words were said, but the rough tones of the language made clear its origin. The goblin camp was near.

"So," smiled Sister Everdark, "Be it by law or by death, it seems we shall each have the opportunity to serve our gods sooner than we imagined."

The two adventurers strode forth, ready to bring the wrath of two gods to bear upon the goblins.


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