Behn Raghim, “Bane Slayer”

The events below were translated and recorded by Eihydia’s Grand Historian, Larian Desiam. They pertain specifically to a single account of Vanyelar’s great battle during the 11th Age.

 

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I, the Grand Historian, take great pleasure in relaying this tale of bravery. Our hero is the Captain of the Vanyelar guard who leads his men to victory against the dark forces gathering at Vanyelar’s gates.

During my work on this project, I discovered my own relationship to our titular Captain as the last of his bloodline; the only other survivor, one Betonim Raghim, is noted as deceased by misadventure after a night of heavy boozing and cow tipping. It is therefore my sacred duty to uphold the family name and see to it that our bloodline is passed on through the ages.

  • Grand Historian, Larian Desiam

An Account of Vanyelar’s History

The severed form of Nocural hid the sun, and moons and stars from view. It was the ninth day of night when the creatures came upon the gates. The prophets knew of this day and gave much warning to King Solran II, but he was not prepared for the horrors outside the city’s walls.

Only weeks before had news arrived, from beyond the bridge, that Ema was losing the war and would be unable to send assistance to Vanyelar, should the need arise. Hope seemed lost among the people as stories of nightmarish horrors pervaded the once peaceful, quiet nation.

The King called upon 200 of his mounted Calvary and nearly 9,000 men-at-arms to defend the line; they were led by my great ancestor, Captain Behn Raghim. His orders: hold the line and restore hope to their despairing city.

He wrestled with the bottle.

Not everyone agreed with Solran’s decision to leave their fate in the hands of Captain Raghim. The Captain was recently reinstated to his position after a bout with his own personal demons. He wrestled with the bottle, on and off, for many days, weeks, months and even years before this day. Though no longer under the influence of the god’s nectar, he would often speak of hearing the siren’s call, along with a deep desire to answer and embrace the darkness within.

On the tenth day, Raghim led his men and women to the gates. One creature, in particular, struck fear into the hearts of even the most courageous and battle-worn soldiers. It was a hulking beast, with horns like a bull, leading the scourge. I remember its face well, mutilated and pig-like. Its eyes and gruff were those of a goat. A certain dark vapor rolled off its slick leathery skin. Its stench was nauseating; its howl… oh that horrible scream… it would render even the most fearless of men to nothing more than whimpering babes. This creature’s name was known to no one, not even itself; we referred to it only as the Bane.

He encountered the Bane years prior.

Raghim was no stranger to the Bane. Unknown to his troops, he encountered the Bane years prior to the beginning of the war. The first encounter concluded in the creature’s favor, and Raghim was barely able to escape with his life. Our hero relayed this tale to no one; it was far too horrifying for him to recall. For many weeks he experienced restless nights as he saw the creature tearing and ripping at his flesh; he could only find solace at the bottom of a mug or bottle.

Condensation poured from the creature’s flared nostrils as it moved to the frontline and rattled the city’s gate. Sensing the weakness of an old enemy, he boasted his victory over Raghim and dared him to step forward and offer himself as the first to suffer and the last to die.

The air grew still and both sides fell silent as Raghim approached the gate and peered into the mob of madness. The Bane snorted and raked his hoofs across the stone street; there would be no reasoning or negotiations made this day. In his dark heart, the creature desired absolute pain and suffering followed by the obliteration of his victims; there is nothing that could be offered or exchanged that would shift his mindset to anything other than engaging in acts of extreme cruelty, carnage and terror.

The gate opened; both sides prepared and tense for the eruption of battle. The creature put its hand in the air and howled; his army parted and allowed Raghim to approach the Bane. The demon towered over his human enemy.

“Captain, you’ll not face this darkness alone…” said a voice from the crowd.

A Knight Templar came to Raghim’s side. His name was Denethen Tavalor. As of late, Denethen was outspoken in regards to Raghim’s battle with alcohol; he specifically wished to see Behn stripped of his title and removed from the King’s service. Today, Denethen would show his loyalty to the crown and Raghim’s leadership by standing at his side.

“We’ll face the darkness, together.”

Raghim stared deep into the Bane’s darkened soul and nodded in affirmation. The creature bellowed and howled with laughter. He turned and mocked Denethen’s attempt of heroism and loudly proclaimed that he would desecrate both of their corpses in the manner that a scoundrel might defile a harlot after drinking too much wine.

With the demon’s attention turned elsewhere, Raghim, seeing the obvious advantage, pulled his blade and thrust it through the creature’s back. The creature turned and growled; his eyes flaring with hatred. At once, both men and demon smashed into one another and the night erupted into screams and screeching metal. The Bane reached for Raghim, seizing his face with his claws. Between his muffled shouts and puny struggle, Raghim was helpless against the creature.

Denethen wasted no time at seeing his Captain in dire need, and he and leapt into the fray. He stabbed the creature over and over, hacking and slashing at its grotesque features in a vain attempt to save his leader. Distracted, the Bane released Raghim, who crawled between two crates.

With a rage that would cower the Entity itself, Raghim leapt onto the Bane and drove his sword deep through the creature’s eye.

Around him, he watched his troops fight with a ferocity that instilled fear in their godless enemies, which in turn caused many of the creatures to flee into the night. Raghim turned his gaze back to battle just in time to see the Bane rip Denethen’s head from his body. With a rage that would cower the Entity itself, Raghim leapt onto the Bane and drove his sword deep through the creature’s eye.

The blow proved fatal for the demon and Raghim crumpled to the ground. He was weak and had suffered substantial blood loss from his wounds. His vision grew fuzzy as he felt himself slip in and out of consciousness.

When Behn awoke, he found himself in the soldier’s barracks; his wounds had been treated by the local Clerics. Reports from cheerful soldiers quickly found their way to his bedside; the battle was over, and Vanyelar’s forces suffered only minimal casualties. Behn knew the result of battle shifted with the defeat of the Bane; he knew the King would bestow him with riches and praise. He knew the people would sing songs in his honor and call him the bane slayer. He knew the battle was won with the help of Denethen whose valiant efforts would be forgotten this day.

For months, the Captain lived believing himself a heroic imposter. The physical threat was gone, but the demon remained within him. Each night, he found himself struggling with his alcohol addiction. One morning, he was not found in his usual haunts, and the people grew concerned for his safety. They called on him at his cottage, but found that on the previous night, he’d quietly slipped away, deep into the wilderness, with only a growler of wine and a sword at his side.