Azharadian's Tomb and the Ship of Fools



The Tomb of Azharadian
Of the generals who led the armies of Aerdy to conquer three-fourths of the Flanaess the name of Azharadian is exalted above all. From his first command as a mere subaltern at the Battle of a Fortnight’s Length, to his death in Onnwal over sixty years later, he never knew defeat.

After his passing, his loyal war captains bore his body to his home city of Rel Astra, where an enormous mausoleum was erected some leagues south of the city to house his remains. Towering above the surrounding countryside, the tomb quickly became a place of pilgrimage for many Aerdi warriors, especially those devoted to Heironeous, to whom the great general prayed it is said. However, as the Great Kingdom fell into decadence and depravity, the tomb was neglected and forgotten, falling quickly into ruin – another faded symbol of a more glorious past.

In the wake of the Greyhawk Wars, Rel Astra emerged from the collapse of the Great Kingdom as a Free City. To forestall the aggressive posturing of his neighbors Rel Astra’s ruler, the animus Prince Drax of Garasteth, moved quickly to secure his borders. The huge, partially overgrown Tomb of Azharadian seemed to be the perfect foundation for a fortification to ward the southern approaches to Rel Astra against the chaos of Medegia.

A small tower keep is currently under construction atop the tomb, while a ditch and curtain wall were built around the structure. However, the building work was plagued with problems. Late in 592 CY, a number of masons went missing while scavenging stone from the flanks of the Tomb. In the wake of this, rumors of passages leading into the mausoleum’s depths subsequently surfaced.

A number of the men at arms garrisoning the keep have also vanished, apparently after deserting their posts to loot the ancient vaults of their treasures. The garrison commander, Sir Dergann Velaster (LE male human Ftr7), an Iron Nation Knight, has forbidden exploration of the tomb, on pain of death. Recently however, fearful tales of a ghostly warrior, clad in archaic armour and pacing the battlements of the keep have begun to circulate among the jittery soldiers. These sightings are said to have attracted the attentions of the Fiend-Sage, who has paid Dergann several nocturnal visits in recent months.

The Ship of Fools
This schooner, constructed at the behest of the enigmatic mage Zagig Yragerne, is said to have been lost in 420 CY, a week before the archmage’s own mysterious disappearance. It was en route to Dyvers to bring back a supply of Furyondian garden weeds for the eccentric fellow’s arboretum, but never arrived.

Three years later the ship was sighted on the Woolly Bay, south of Safeton. A band of pirates boarded the vessel, looking for easy prey; their grinning corpses were washed ashore the next morning. Since then there have numerous sightings of the three-masted sailboat. Distinctively bearing the sigils of the gods Zagyg and Boccob upon its sails, the vessel can seemingly defy the very winds themselves and has been encountered on every major body of water in the Flanaess.

Encountered three or four times each decade there is no discernable pattern to its appearances. Tales say that one who brings violence to the ship meets a sticky end, where as those who without evil or bloodlust are tested by a man known as the Archfool (some believe it is Zagig himself). The purposes of these trials are to humiliate and frustrate the candidate, and see how they react. Those who endure are rewarded, growing stronger physically or spiritually with the knowledge the Archfool imparts, while those who do not pass are harshly penalized. The most popular (and whimsical) of these is the tale of the self-righteous Palish warcompany known as the Fighters of the Light. Each and every one of them was found in the River Quarter of Greyhawk City, naked and stripped of all their possessions (and for a time their pride).



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