The tournament was a test of skills, not just those of Strength, Dexterity, and Mind, but also of physical prowess, communication, subterfuge, knowledge, and survival. The half-ling known as Amalis took the first prize in the tournament. She once again displayed her command of the arcane by incapacitating her final opponent in a spray of color which blinded and stunned the unfortunate combatant. The dwarf who called himself “Oinid” took third place, competently avoiding enemy blows while expertly landing his own with his massive warhammer.
After the competition had come to a close, the competitors were called to a meeting with the organizer. As they approached him, they all could see that this was the nameless face from the dream they had all shared. He introduced himself as Banithor and he explained that the reason for the tournament was to acquire skilled adventurers to complete a set of tasks. The first of which was to deliver a long wooden box to his brother Rae in New Cyre. Banithor was adamant that the box was to remain unopened by those who were willing to undertake this task. The dwarf, Oinid, the half-ling Amalis, the human cleric called Baeldan, and a half-elf called Etta all decided to take on the task and travel together to ensure the safety of this package. Once the party had formed, Banithor also described the two other requests for the party to undertake. The first was to visit his cabin on the shore of Lake Brey to retrieve a dragonshard he had been keeping there, and to visit Arythawn Keep to confirm whether or not it was still under siege by Mournland-kind.
The party took up lodging in one of the inns in town and once there, an argument broke out whether or not to open the box to see what was inside. No one trusted any of the others to remain with the box, and no one seemed trusting enough (with the exception of Baeldan) to sleep without the box being under their direct supervision. Thus the decision was made by all to open the box and discover it’s secret. Oinid elected himself to perform the task, being, in his own mind at least, the most resilient to any traps or magical consequences. Upon opening the box, a simple long-sword revealed itself, as the shape of the box might have suggested. Allowing his brashness to outweigh his caution, Oinid then proceeded to pick up the weapon with his bare hand. He was startled, however, when a piercing pain shot through his hand and up his arm. The grip of the weapon had sprouted thorns which seemed to be literally sucking the blood from his body.
It was at this moment that the true nature of the weapon became known—an unfamiliar voice seemed to emanate from the blade of the weapon. He called himself Thume the Bloodied, and he had been a long time trapped in the box without any ‘sustenance’.
It was quickly learned that Thume was to be a thorn in the side of the mission at hand as he was of the mind to kill the very person he was to be delivered to, Rae. Amalis at this point volunteered to return to Banithor to try to extract more information from him, anything that might help them solve their current predicament. She returned having learned the story of the genesis of Thum:
Thum the Bloodied
Thum they called him, rather than his long and awkward full name of Thumilthalin Bramblemime. Just as his name may suggest he was a tinkerer. He was a scrawny fellow. Not many objects stayed together more than a day around Thum, mere minutes after obtaining trinkets they were torn apart to find the one spring he needed for his newest contraption. Nothing made him happier than a new piece to his inventions. Unfortunately for Thum these contraptions never panned out to be what he had thought, often ending up dusty in a corner missing key pieces he used on another useless device.
After years of attempts and failed trials he had become isolated, stoic, and mercilessly hard on himself. Nothing seemed to make him the artificer he wished to be. Broken hearted and with a great deal of bad luck in finding those that made him feel encouraged he left his hometown of Gatherhold and set off for Kalazart. There had been rumors of magical gadgets beyond imagining. Thum had to know more of this lore. His journey was long as he was not an experienced traveler, begging for rations and basic needs along the way as he was constantly ill provisioned. This too made him feel weak, broken, and infinitely helpless.
Once his journey had ended, finally in Kalazart, he quickly learned the magical trinkets had long been gone. The city had been ravaged by war and there were too many shady folk around for his comfort. Thum was afraid for his well-being and decided it would be best to find a safe spot to lay low. Figures approaching him with black eyes starring as if he were dinner. Terrified he ran and crawled in the smallest hole he could find—he fell into darkness.
He woke some day in the future on a hard bed. Blue colored stone walls and arches were above him in the dank gothic room. The light from the few candles around him burned his eyes. Every blink was like sand paper scrapping across his eyes. His mouth was swollen and searing with pain in his gums. His tongue tasted bitter and was completely without moisture. He felt cold, dead, life-less in his heart. Confused he looked carefully around him, barely able to move his neck. “How could this be happening to me?” he said to himself in a murmur.
A strong and commanding voice said, “Surely you do not still feel the need to babble so negatively about yourself anymore Thum.” Confusion continued to radiate through him as if trying to change his very core. He couldn’t look to see who spoke, he answered back calmly “I feel .. different.” The voice said back, “Of course you do, we all do at the Time of Turning.” Thum felt a sudden confidence in himself, a sudden realization he may have been granted a gift. “Eternal life in return for the sacrifice of day and food… surely you must be famished after 30 years. I often wondered if you would ever wake in your undeath.” Another figure was spotted in the corner of the rooms shadows.
The dark figure came into view with an ageless face, piercing eyes, and dagger like fangs. “Sit up my child of the clan, feel the stretch of your legs, the outreach of your arms..” Thum followed the order without hesitation. He felt stronger than before, more agile than before… “You are a vampire now my child, I am Gamalu, leader of this sanctuary.” Thum welcomed this notion, his strength was intoxicating. He jumped to see how high he could— hit table … and hit his head on the ceiling 20 ft. above him. With great surprise he felt invigorated. He tried to run but felt the sudden shock of withdrawl knock him to the ground. Gamalu brought over a small goblet to him and offered him a drink. Thum reluctantly took it, sip by sip he felt re-energized and more fiendish.
“You must always remember to feed Thum, for that is what gives you strength. You will not do well without blood. You must always remember this.” Gamalu said. Before Thum could ask further questions the ground began to violently shake, the walls became unstable and the room become hot. Having no clue what was happening made Thum panic. He saw a sword against the wall and dove to grab it for defense against whatever would come his way. He raised the sword in his defense against debris falling from the ceiling. The sword burst into flames every time anything came into contact with it. The hilt of the sword dug into his hand and pierced his flesh. It was a curse of some kind— without a question in his mind. He cared not for his hand and continued to deflect objects away from him; each time causing flame to leap from the pristine blade.
Thum witnessed Gamalu get crushed by a huge chunk of wall. He began to run towards the opening into the corridors. His blade was constantly raised in defense. He charged out the door at the end of the uphill hallway and found it dark as midnight. Everything still shook violently—and then there was the white, the flash came toward him as fast as he could see it. The sword absorbed the light like a shield around him. Thum felt relieved and bonded to this protector. The magic fire in the sword became hotter and began to burst violently from the tip of the blade. In front of him it morphed into a breathing creature. Thum suddenly afraid tried to drop the weapon but realized he was being held captive. The living fire swallowed him whole and his ashes were consumed into the blade. The hot white light now gone, the blade lay idle and dormant on the ground.
Rae, a survivor that Day of Mourning- witnessed this event from a distance. He scurried to the site of the incident and carefully grabbed the sword. Rae would surely find a use for such a trinket—such a perfect magical contraption. Rae found a suitable sword box and placed his prize into it. Thum cannot forget his face as he lay helpless and devoid of strength. Thum knew that one day, someone would take hold of his hilt, someone would feed him, he shall then be known as Thum the Bloodied.
After much deliberation the party decided that, come morning, they would indeed set out to find Rae, but instead of delivering Thume to Rae, they would deliver Rae unto Thume.