Soldiers were headed towards our outpost, that’s all we knew. Why the castle had sent a priest was what we asked ourself. It was pitch-black that night, nocturnal animals were headed our way. Their eyes giving of an animalistic shine when they looked in the direction of our torches. The priest was grim, his eyes focused on the darkness, his hands tight around his holy symbol. Then I heard noise, the sound of metal and what I thought was moaning. Then I realized it was chanting, not moaning. Something stepped into the light- It was about five foot ten, slumped, narrow shoulders with a puffy, wagging belly. It wasn’t wearing any clothes or armor and its mottled gray flesh was all torn and pockmarked. It smelled like the beach, like rotten kelp and salt-water. I pierced it’s head with my spear, like the priest had told me to. Then lightning struck and I saw them, all of them. Thousands marching, crawling, stumbling towards us. When the creature I had killed got up again the matter was pretty much settled. I ran, I didn’t even realize that I had soiled myself. The last thing I heard were the horrid screams of the priest.
Almar Trand- Soldier
We are Legion
They march forward in serried ranks, carrying tattered banners and other unholy marks of their devotion. And as they march, there can be heard a ghastly chanting, a litany of words that some claim are evil enchantments, while other swear they are the names of their fallen comrades. Some are little more than a writhing mound of pulsating flesh, gaping maws and vicious spines, while others are nearly human except for the blankness in their eyes. Their means of locomotion will vary from creature to creature, some may walk upright, others on all four as horses or dogs. Those whose limbs have atrophied beyond all usefulness may drag themselves forward by their vestigal arms or bunch and ripple along the ground as worms or slugs or snakes.
Forever onward in pale, cold moonlight.
The Oldu march, an oath to keep.
They bring destruction and death to all-
Behold the legion- Death they reap.
Long ago, ages past- They were promised life to last.
If only they would rally- Protect the City of Life.
If victory was theirs, entry they would gain-
Entry to the City of Life.
The promise was broken, cursed from above they were.
Now they march forever, until they find the city of Life.
And somewhere in the army of the Oldu-
marches a blackened corpse that bears a golden ring.
~~Excerpt from the Saga of Oldu~~
A brief History
Long ago, centuries some say, ages past others argue, something terrible happened. A scar in time, that echoes trough history. A gruesome unjustice took place, a promise was broken and an oath took place. The oath became a curse and it wanders the world forever.
Once it was a great city called Nuamlev- The City of Life, it is now lost in a cataclysm of mystery. It was nestled in the mountains, protected from the world. Great to behold with it’s many towers, walls and castles. The people living here had all they needed and they were happy. Hot springs in the valley extended their life-spans. The City of Life was their utopia- Kingdom of Heaven. Natural shelter was provided by the mountains and they knew naught of war or violence.
This did not last. The rumours of a city where all could live in peace and harmony forever reached the outside world. And on day an army of ruthless mercenaries gathered at their gates and demanded to be let in. The citizens did not wish to share their wonderful life with these filthy outsiders and considered their options.
They sent out scouts to the north to hire another army that could protect them. The hired army was promised eternal life inside the walls if they liberated the City of Life from the siege. The battle outside the walls lasted for days, mountain vultures gathered in thousand, eating the corpses that littered the battlefield.
The army representing the City of Life won. They’re numbers had gone from thousands to a few hundred. Tired, injured and relieved they saw that the grand city gate to the city opened. But once inside the tired and unprepared mercenaries were ambushed and slaughtered. In the center of the carnage one soldier cursed the citizens and swore revenge. As he spoke the curse his arm was lifted towards the sky and legend has it that he was hit by lightning and flash blinded the citizens. After that, the bodies of their mercenary army was gone.
If the city of life exists or has ever existed no-one knows. Legend has it that it was located somewhere in the great mountains of the world. To this day, the army of Oldu is looking for the City of Life, Nuamlev. Looking for what they were promised; eternal life in something resembling paradise. Scholars claim that the army flickers in and out of our existence. Wandering forever the roads of two worlds. Some claim to have seen the army during blizzards, marching trough mountains. Sometimes large amounts of people in one region dream about the army for weeks. The army is a part of the folklore all across the lands.
But there is more than that, there are many recorded attacks. Cities burnt to the ground troughout history. Scholars and priests agree that the army attacks great cities, mistaking them for the City of Life. The City of Lanterns is the last of the recorded attacks. It happened thirty years ago.
~~Excerpt from a moldy diary from a ruin city.~~
The earth trembles, nay- The World trembles as the Oldu Corpses approach our fair city. They cannot be reasoned with, bribed, or coerced. They know neither fear nor mercy. They need no sleep or warmth, neither drink nor wholesome sustenance and, as they march onwards, their ranks are swelled by the corpses and trapped souls of their former opponents. The legions of the living dead are terrible to behold hordes of corpses walking resolutely forward, dry flesh creaking, decaying innards exposed, and corroded wargear scraping and clanking. The nauseating stench of death hangs over the army like a cloud of contagion, the air is full of grave dust and glowing witch-lights. Long-dead warriors ride to battle mounted on the rotting carcasses of warhorses. The earth trembles beneath the tread of Oldu, and their chanting fill mortals with dread. Where the they walk, the night follows. I fear that we shall not last for long.
Emmanuel Satras- Holy Scribe in City of Lanterns
The Oldu corpses actually have memories of when they were alive, but their live their undead lifes in a dream-like state. What appears to be reality to them might be a dream they have been dreaming for hundreds of years. Oldu is the name given to the Will of the army as a whole. Oldu is what drives them on in their undead existence. Oldu is in many ways the black curse.
It would be very unhealthy to somehow spend time amongst the Oldu as it would drain your life force and incorporate you in the collective mind of Oldu.
The Oldu Corpses are extremely hard to kill. That’s why some of them are little more than writhing mound of pulsating flesh, gaping maws and vicious spines, while others are nearly human except for the blankness in their eyes. They get up again no matter how many times they injured. Even after severing arms, legs and head- an Oldu Corpse might find away to function.
There are even tales of Ash beasts among them, Oldu corpses that at some point have been completely incinerated-
But now form a vague humanoid shape of ash. If this is simply a rumour or not has yet to be proved.
The Golden Ring
Among the hordes of Oldu walks a charred corpse with a golden ring. The corpse is no different than any other Oldu corpse, except the ring. This ring is is where the power of the curse is centered. It is where the power of Oldu, their collective mind is. The soldier that spoke to the gods during the ambush is the black corpse. If the ring is destroyed or removed far away from the army of Oldu the army will crumble to dust and the curse will be lifted. The only hint to this is in the Saga of Oldu where the ring is mentioned.
The world saving- The PC’s find an ancient book containing the history of how the Oldu came to be. After investigating they unfold this sad and horrible tale. Can the ring really be the key to ending this scourge from the lands?
Last stand- The PC’s are trapped within a city that is besieged by the army of Oldu Corpses. In the darkest hour, can heroes rise to meet the challenge?
Caged- Somehow a single Oldu Corpse has been captured and caged by some mercenaries, or at least they claim it’s an Oldu Corpse. Then scouts report an army slowly marching towards the city…