Lore:Crypt of the Heart - Draft

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Crypt of the Heart
by Ariana Dumas
A tale of a spell-knight's haunting

When it comes to tales of bravery and valor, few have a greater claim than the Knightly Orders of High Rock. Like the Knights of the Rose in Wayrest, many serve as royal guardians and protectors of the realm. It is through their defense of king and country that their fame resounds.

Yet others swear an oath of a different kind. Not bound by the walls of their kingdom, they scour the hills in search of Reachmen, witches, and Forsworn, pledging to deliver justice where savagery and chaos rule.

One such group refers to themselves as the Order of the Crypt. At first glance, the name might seem ironic, but the Crypt of Hearts they swore to protect went beyond the underground chamber in Shornhelm. The knights pledged to protect the hearts entombed in all of us, lest they be replaced with the briars of the unholy.

Yet despite the air of nobility they carried, in the Reach these knights were known by a different name; The War Mages of Shornhelm. For they gave no mercy to the wicked, and the land they tread was riven with scars made of fire and sword.

Why the knights chose to extend beyond the kingdom is a matter of debate. Much of it can be traced to a blood feud, and the death of a knight named Simon Rodayne. Tricked by the witch Daenalla, a Sister of the Beldama Coven, his heart was stolen and replaced with a briarheart. In retaliation, his acolytes drove the coven further and further east, killing any Reachmen who would dare give them quarter.

Yet in huts small and muddy with smoke, the oral histories tell a different story. They say Simon gave his heart willingly to the witch, and together they fled the wrath of both their clans, knowing they would receive neither understanding nor forgiveness.

When Simon died, Daenalla returned his heart to him, and buried him at the altar where they wed. Such was the pain of her loss that she wept from the Morning to the Evening Star, until her tears flooded the canyon below and became one with the river Karth.

To this day, Simon's ghost is said to haunt the pass below his grave, watching over the river which bears his beloved's tears.

Whether any of that is true or simply the embellishments of history, none can say with certainty. However, it is worth noting that the grave itself exists. Whether the heart inside belongs to Simon or another, is a question for its keeper.