Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Scribe

The velvet robe of scarlet stood out starkly among the brown of the monks hard at work in the scriptorium, each of them hunched over their work, their quill pens scratching softly over parchment, and all chanting softly together. Young lord Saren watched their small precise movements as each worked on their individual pages for his mothers new prayer book. The sunlight streaming in through the glazed windows warmed the still air, and all worked with their hoods down, and sleeves tied up... all but the scarlet robed figure. From behind, it was impossible to see anything of the figure, but the chains locked to his wrists were plain enough.

"I hardly believed it to be true when I first heard the stories. The monks keeping an ancient monster chained up, forever drafting heretical texts..." Saren whispered to Prior Lemmy. "Is that truly the Undying Brother?"

"We call him The Scribe." The prior rubs his beard, then hitches his thumbs in his belt. "He was here when I was first brought here, and nothing has changed in all that time."

"And the chains?"

"For our protection, though they would do little in the long run. The monks around him are what truly protect us. As long as there are at least six of them here and chanting the canticle of binding, he will continue to write."

They stood in silence, contemplating the scarlet robe. "He's not working on my mother's gift, is he?"

The prior chuckled. "No. His works are all original. And contrary to children's tales, nothing he writes has anything to do with heresy, or even the gods. Mostly they're astrological treatises... sometimes histories... For 6 months back 200 or so years ago it was poetry! It's all very random, but it's all carefully reviewed for anything dangerous. and in the last 1200 years, nothing has been. Though the notes from the inquisitor who had to read the poetry weren't flattering."

"If he's so harmless, why the chains and the chanting?"

The prior sighs. "Because if he isn't allowed to write, constantly, he becomes very violent. If the chanting ends, he becomes very violent. And long ago, he was one of ours, cursed to this existence, so we must do all we can to allow him to work through his curse." 

After the sun had set, and oil lamps dimly lit the chamber only the Scribe still scribbled away, endlessly inking pages with his own blood while six monks chanted softly around him.

"Was it wise to tell the boy?" Brother Jaro, Keeper of Keys, asked the Prior.

"That 'boy' will soon be a man, and will then have dominion over these lands."

"Not ours."

"No, but our lands are within and completely surrounded. Better that he knows a little truth, and does not seek deeper."

The Scribe writes constantly, but produces grimoires, spell books, and arcane treatises, usually at a pace of about 1 or 2 a year. Each is carefully studied and bound before being locked away below the crypts of the monastery.  Should he be interrupted from his writings or the soothing chanting, he will fly into a berzerker rage, and attempt to kill anyone within sight.

Note to DMs - Use whatever nasty undead stats are appropriate, but it can never be killed in combat or destroyed by turning.

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