|The Crimson Legion|
|Binding||Mass Market Paperback|
|Preceded by||The Verdant Passage|
|Followed by||The Amber Enchantress|
|“||A dream born from tyranny... Tyr: The Free City. After a millennium of sorrow, it has cast off the yoke of the brutal sorcerer-king. The new ruler, Tithian of Mericles, has liberated the slaves- and plunged the city into chaos. Tyr's triumph may be its death knell. Only RIkus, the man-dwarf gladiator who sparked the rebellion, can save the city from the armies of Urik's sorcerer-king. With a ragtag militia of nobles, templars, and former slaves, he must stand against Urik's might. But strength of arm does not necessarily make a good general, as Rikus will learn before the conflict is over.||”|
Summary[edit | edit source]
With a militia of nobles, templars, and ex-slaves, Rikus, the man-dwarf gladiator who sparked rebellion in Tyr and plunged the now Free City into chaos, must save the city from the armies of Urik’s sorcerer-king, Hamanu.
Plot[edit | edit source]
As Tithian is learning Dragon magic from Sacha & Wyan, the severed heads that were Kalak’s tortured advisors, he learns of Urik's plan to attack Tyr. Urik has long coveted Tyr’s iron mines and now sees its opportunity to take control of them. Realizing Tithian can get rid himself of Rikus, Neeva, Sadira, and Agis by putting them in harms way of Urik's forces he orders them to take the newly formed ex-slave army to stop Urik deadly approach.
After attacking one of Urik's argosy, Rikus finds out that the Urik noble family, Lubar, which raised him into slavery, is in charge of the Urik offensive. Inside Agis is able to free a mind controlled Thri-Kreen named K'kriq.
Tithian announces, using Dragon Magic, that the gladiator army will be rewarded for stopping the Urik siege before it begins. Rikus, Neeva, Sadira, and Agis realize that Tithian must be looking to become a Sorcerer King just like the late, Kalak. In order to stop Tithian from fully learning Dragon magic Sadira and Agis go back to Tyr. Rikus realizes that one of the templars, Styan, is to blame for Tithian knowing their movements, and quickly confiscates the Templar’s communication stone.
For revenge, Rikus plans his attack on his old master, Maetan. Maetan is a master of the way and later takes over the village of Kled. After rescuing the dwarves by pretending to surrender, Rikus is lead by Lyanius to the underground city of Kemalok. The Dwarven stronghold has many relics of the bygone eras, one of which being the Book of the Kemalok Kings. After Rikus is knighted as the Last Knight of Kemalok by Lyanius and gifted the magical steel sword Scourge of Rkard and Belt of Rank the book is stolen by Maetan. Lyanius's son Caelum, a sun cleric, joins the group along with several other dwarves who have turned their focus to finding the Book of Kemalok Kings.
Maetan at this point summons Umbra, a Shadow Giant from the Black. At the same time he sends a homunculus to find someone within Rikus's forces to betray the Tyrian Legion.
On the road K'kriq is captured along with several other scouts by a slave tribe that hides in the side of a ridge. Their leader uses a telekinetic ring to travel up and down from the hiding spot. Rikus almost convinces the Slave Tribe by allowing Tithian to barter for their help. Unknown to Rikus either the Slave Tribe's leader lies about what Tithian says to him or Tithian bought the Slave Tribe to assassinate Rikus. Either way the Slave Tribe's leader is killed by Rikus. Instead of following Rikus's legion the slave tribe stays and lets them pass.
In the middle of the night Urikite Halfling Scouts manage to sneak up on Rikus. Every arrow hit however misses lands into the Belt of Rank, showing the belt's power at redirecting ranged attacks.
In an attack on the Urikite Legion Rikus comes face to face with Umbra. Rikus manages to be the only one who can wound the creature with his Scourge of Rkard. Caelum manages to kill many of the retreating forces of Urikites with a wall of flame. Umbra manages to create a hole in the wall and nearly kills Caelum, K'kriq, and another of Rikus's generals. In a bid to save their lives Caelum teleports the three of them away, leaving the rest of their part of the legion to die at Umbra's hand.
Umbra retreats to Maetan who has found an ancient moving Citadel. Maetan orders Umbra to keep the Tyrians busy while he retreats to Urik with the Book of the Kemalok Kings. Umbra realizes Wraiths reside within the Citadel. They largely ignore Umbra because anything from the Black is impossible for spirits to comprehend. The Urikite Legion however is soon slaughtered by the Citadel's guardians and the encroaching Tyrian Legion.
Rikus enters the Citadel, being allowed to enter due to his ownership of the Scourge of Rkard. Upon defeating Umbra the wraiths seal Rikus into a tomb. They are convinced he is Borys of Ebe, when they realize he is in fact a Knight of Kemalok they almost kill him. Promising that the Book of the Kemalok Kings describes what happened to Borys the Wraiths let one of their own, Tamar, embed herself into Rikus's chest via a ruby.
Released to the wastes, Rikus finds out he is more than five days behind his legion. After being assaulted by desert beasts K'kriq finds him. Rikus doesn't let anyone know about Tamar, but when Caelum tries to destroy the ruby both he and Rikus are injured. In his own mind Rikus is berated by Tamar who tries to train him in using the Scourg of Rkard to kill Maeton, but when Rikus refuses her help she makes him attack Neeva in reality. When he wakes from his trance he finds his legion once again gone.
When he finds his legion again Styan has taken command, making the gladiators act as slaves. Rikus sets everything right and has one of his generals give Styan 25 lashes as punishment. Once the legion regroups Rikus sets his eyes on Maetan's legion in Makla, thinking it to be where they are rallying more troops. It becomes apparent that this is another of a series of traps Maetan has set, but during the fighting to take the village Rikus's shirt is torn and Tamar's ruby is revealed. In a ironic twist of fate the gladiator's superstitious nature makes them think Rikus is mad, but the templars think Rikus is gathering more power to aid in battle seeing the magical item as boon to the legion.
At this point the legion finds itself pushed towards the Crater of Bones by Urik's forces. With Caelum's help Rikus redirects a lava flow from the Smoking Crown to destroy the Urik Legion, in doing so he kills many of his own men. The souls of his men haunt him causing Tamar to raise a small undead force to save Rikus. His living legion seeing this many gladiators suspect that Rikus has turned into a necromancer. Rikus confronts Styan about being the traitor, Styan admits that Maetan's agent came to him but that he refused.
Maetan surrenders to Rikus and gives a message from Urik's Sorcerer King, Hamanu. If Tyr returns to trade iron with Urik and the gladiator legion is gifted to Urik as slaves then the war will be over. Rikus relays this to Tithian who agrees to the terms. Rikus however tells Maetan that Tithian refused them. Hamanu expected this and the message includes a warning that Urik's legions are patroling the roads to Tyr and will cut down Rikus's legion. Maetan knowning that execution faces him tells Rikus that Caelum is the traitor in the legion's ranks. Neeva defend's Caelum and Rikus relents even though Tamar is quick to suggest killing the dwarf. Tamar realizes that the followers of Borys are less likely to get the Book of the Kemalok Kings if the Sun Cleric is alive.
Expecting Urik to be less defended now that Hamanu has sent his legions to the roads, Rikus plans to infiltrate his army under the guise of Maeton's legion having captured them and retaken Makla. The plan nearly works, but Rikus soon realizes that the templars of Urik have set a trap in Urik's slave pits. The templars have surrounded the Tyrian Legion and slave pits and will let them live only if they allow themselves to be bound into slavery.
Believing Styan to be the traitor as the templars in the Tyrian legion are missing Rikus mounts a secret assault on Hamanu's palace. He soon finds out that Styan and the templars assaulted the palace before him revealing that his intentions were always with Tyr and not a traitor. When Rikus attacks Hamanu he is stopped by the sorcerer king's psionic powers. Rikus makes a deal on Neeva's life that he will give Tamar the Book of the Kamalok Kings instead of the dwarves in order to get her assistance in killing Hamanu. When Rikus escapes his psionic powers Hamanu reveals he was going to sacrifice the Tyrian Legion to the Dragon as tribute at the Crater of Bones. He transforms into a gigantic lion to do battle with Rikus. Hamanu leaves Rikus behind as the gladiator legion as well as Urikite slaves riot in the streets. Tamar frees Rikus with her wraith allies' help.
Neeva and Caelum manage to break into the noble district to locate the Book of the Kemalok Kings. Rikus tries to grab the book from Caelum. When Rikus reveals that Neeva will be killed if Caelum doesn't hand it over he relents. Tamar takes the book and Rikus is freed from her ruby's control. Caelum reveals that Maetan's house slave Er'Stali is a sorcerer and was tasked with translating the book. With his help they are able to leave Urik and return to Kemalok.
At Kemalok the sorcerer recites what he knows of the battle between King Rkard of Kemalok and Borys of Ebe. When he recites it King Rkard's wraith walks into the chamber, revealing that the writer of the book was an unreliable narrator. Borys didn't die at the same time Rkard did, instead he retreated. Years later Borys returned as the Dragon and sapped the lifeforce from every dwarf in Kemalok. After hearing this Rikus returns the Belt of Rank to Lyanius. Caelum convinced Lyanius that Rikus can keep the Scourge of Rkard.
Rikus goes to Neeva and asks her to come with him back to Tyr. She declines having decided to stay with Caelum. They let him leave telling him that he led an impossible campaign leading thousands to their deaths and will be the one to keep the dream of freedom alive.
Characters[edit | edit source]
Heroes[edit | edit source]
- Rikus - Mul Gladiator
- Neeva - Human Gladiator
- Agis - Human Psionicist
- Sadira - Half-Elf Preserver
- K'kriq (Killed) - Thri-Kreen Mantis Warrior
- Caelum - Dwarven Sun Cleric
- Lyanius - Dwarven Guardian of Kemalok
- Jaseela - Human Noble
- Gaanon (Killed) - Half-Giant Gladiator
- Styan (Killed) - Human Templar
- Er'Stali - Sorcerer and translator of the Book of the Kemalok Kings.
Villains[edit | edit source]
- Hamanu - Sorcerer King of Urik.
- Maetan (Killed) - Human Mind Bender of House Lubar.
- Sacha - Beheaded Champion of Rajaat.
- Tamar - Follower of Borys and undead wraith, she resides in a ruby that she embedded into Rikus's chest.
- Tithian - King of Tyr.
- Umbra (Killed) - Shadow Giant.
- Wyan - Beheaded Champion of Rajaat.
Locations[edit | edit source]
- Tyr - The Free City.
- Urik - The City of Lions.
- Kled - Dwarven Village.
- Kemalok - Lost City of the Dwarves.
- The Citadel of Ebe - The moving citadel meant for Borys of Ebe when he dies.
- Makla - Urik Village that mines obsidian.
- The Crater of Bones - A volcanic caldera that was filled with skeletons. This is where the Dragon claims Urik's levy of slaves.
- The Smoking Crown Mountains
- Lake of the Golden Dreams