The Slumbering Tsar
In the final days of St. Harul’s Hold the last high priest to be a cleric of both Thyr and Muir, an aged patriarch named Mordecai, descended these stairs alone to the small shrine that served as his personal sanctum, in order to observe a private midnight vigil for an ancient holy day sacred to both Thyr and Muir. Unbeknownst to Mordecai, Orcus had not forgotten this little-known sacred night and had sent a powerful servant to await the patriarch and ambush him while alone. The powerful devourer appeared on the steps before Mordecai and attacked. At its feet lay the bloodied corpses of some of the Hold’s faithful parishioners that the beast and stolen from their beds and dismembered while awaiting the priest’s arrival.
Mordecai could have used his magic to retreat back into the safety of the Hold to rally its clerics and Justicar guardians, but he knew in the precious moments lost, more of his faithful flock dwelling in scattered cottages on the terraces nearby would likely be slaughtered. Instead he drew forth his enchanted weapon, the Hammer of the Three Gods, passed down as the symbol of office to each patriarch of the Hold since its founding a millennium earlier, and bravely faced the beast.
The battle raged for some time, and by its end warriors and priests had descended from the Hold and reached the top of the stair. From there they saw their beloved patriarch, bloodied and exhausted standing triumphantly over the creature, one hammer stroke away from victory. But as the hammer stroke fell, powerful vile magic was unleashed which obliterated Mordecai’s divine protections. The devourer was restored to its full strength and Mordecai was struck down by the unholy backlash. The minions of St. Harul’s Hold watched in horror as the renewed undead monstrosity took their helpless patriarch and devoured him alive before their eyes.
With the surge of strength brought on by the absorption of the high priest’s soul, the devourer faced down the paladins and clerics that charged toward it. Divine protection mattered little to the devourer that was Mordecai’s Doom–for even wards against death melted away beneath its wicked attacks. The battle lasted a full day and spent the main strength of the Hold’s garrison. Ultimately they evacuated the surrounding dwellings and withdrew. A blockade was created at the top of the stair while the surviving priests summoned more help.
Mordecai’s Doom continued to haunt the stair and slew every group of heroes that was sent down to destroy it but, strangely, seemed content to remain upon the stair and not threaten the surrounding settlement. A guard was placed on the stair, which over the years became an embarrassing canker on the face of St. Harul’s, but the evil presence could never be rooted out. The hammer was left where it had fallen, for none could reclaim it beneath the watch of Mordecai’s Doom.