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The Salvation of Lord Kyre
My shock could hardly have been greater if I had opened the door and met Minax herself. Yet there he was, sitting at table in his home, fully restored to mental tranquility... my friend Beechel Kire! How had this evolution taken place I wondered. Questions spilled from my lips as I seated myself, by invitation, at his table and joined him in a hearty meal. 

"Tis a long and glorious tale my friend," he began. "One that I scarcely understand entirely myself! Much of it is told me by those who helped save me, and my great-grandfather, Stanton." 

He then undertook a most fantastic tale recalling how the soul of Stanton Kire, condemned to torment for brutally murdering the family of six which previously owned and lived at this very place, had been transported from the netherworld and made to inhabit his own body. His own soul was displaced, forced into submission by the powerful will of Stanton who called himself Lord Kyre. The transition was not without drawbacks, the greatest of which was Stanton's almost complete inability to realize where he was. He had thought himself in his own body and living during his own time, but a time preceding the murders of the innocents. 

Bit by bit, his friends helping to guide his thinking, memories were awakened within Stanton, ala Lord Kyre, until he came to understand the truth... that being invoked by Anton Wyrgant, a disciple of Justice, and by Beechel's blasphemous indiscretion of striking the Shrine's icon, an unusual but ultimately merciful judgment had befallen him. His tortured soul had been ripped from its torments in the netherworld and given one last chance to recant while dwelling in the body of his great-grandson Beechel, whom he never knew. 

In the painfully long process, Stanton had gained several loyal friends, even a following. Their patience and devotion to him and to restoring Beechel has been remarkable. Weathering all storms, from massive orc assaults to confronting a daemon who had owned Stanton's soul in the netherworld, now bent on revenge for losing that soul, they have displayed the essence of the Virtues in glorious fashion. Beechel could not praise them enough it seemed. 

The ending of the curse came suddenly. The aforementioned daemon, Tishba'al, had ambushed and captured Lord Kyre, taking him to the lowest level of Covetous and chaining him to a cell therein. Restrained from physically destroying Lord Kyre himself, and invoking upon himself some kind of protection against physical harm, the daemon sought to torment Kyre by slaying his friends, whom he knew would be keen to rescue him. The daemon was aided by an assassin, Spyte the Knife, who had initially been in the employ of Lord Kyre to kill Anton Wyrgant, but had been relieved of that task. 

Unhappy with his former master and his friends, and apparently needing little persuasion from the daemon to join him, Spyte appeared at the Brazen Monkey Tavern with a riddle to the whereabouts of Lord Kyre. Upon answering the riddle correctly, many bold warriors journeyed to Covetous dungeon where, at the entrance, they were met by the Ghost of Eric, who led them to the cell. They freed Lord Kyre and urged him to make good his escape through a magical gate while they, once again, faced off against the daemon and his skeletal hordes. Fighting their way clear, they all returned home safely, leaving the daemon alone to roar with displeasure his vow to destroy them all. 

At the tavern the friends mentioned the names of Beechel's parents, grandparents, and children to Stanton, having gotten the information from Beechel's wife, Nyssa, who had come seeking help from them earlier that evening. The names struck a chord within Stanton and all the pieces of the puzzle came together. Having suffered nightmares of slaying innocents, visualizing blood on his hands, remembering the words of his friends urging him to realize what was taking place as well as words of an official nature, and Eric's own testament, Stanton awoke from his dream-like state and faced the truth. Anton had said that the way to his salvation was by repenting, willingly, of his crimes at the Shrine of Justice. Saying his farewells to his loyal companions, Stanton departed, vowing to fulfill the deed. 

"At the Shrine, as my great-grandfather prayed, I felt as if I had awakened from a long and restful sleep. I saw his spirit leave my body. In my pack were my own clothes which he had taken from the house and two objects which puzzled me greatly at first... a bottle of hair dye and a bottle of wine. I understood the use of the first, for when viewing a mirror I noticed my hair had gone white and was cut quite short. I remedied that by donning a wig so as not to frighten my family, lest when they look at me they think I am Stanton." 

"And the wine?" I asked him. 

Beechel smiled. "Although he did not speak to me before he vanished, I understood it was meant as a gift to his friends, those who had saved him... who had saved us both." 

We enjoyed the meal together and shared another bottle of wine. Beechel spoke of plans to revive his fortunes. Nyssa was busy baking bread and pies, her specialty. Their two boys wrestled together on the floor. Yet, in the back of my mind, I knew it was not all over. There was Spyte, who would no doubt come calling at the behest of a dark master. Once, while looking into Beechel's face, aglow from the flickering firelight, I could have sworn I saw a shadow rise up on the wall behind him, engulfing the entire room. I closed my eyes and looked again, but it was gone. It must have been the wine, I mused. 

Published: September 2000
Please Note: Some dates are estimates as exact dates were unavailable.
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