Estess Vorund is a high-ranking agent of the shadowy organization known as The Creed. He is also, currently, a spider. As of the Red Moon of 452, he is now at large, having escaped from the infamous Dungeons of Marali, where he was kept as a high-profile prisoner for just three short years. Before this dramatic turn of events, however, Estess Vorund had a long and shady connection to the history of Marali.
Advisor to the Majors and Rivolus’ enemy[edit | edit source]
First seen in 436, Vorund presented himself as the Special Advisor to the Majors Andon and Tesdor from Marali. He claimed to be in charge of the maintenance of the city when duty forced the Majors to leave for extended periods of times. It is important to notice that his appearance took place in a time of a strong void of power and communication within the Vanguard. Commander Vaup and her Majors were missing or hardly ever seen, Captains Boric and Valerquez were absent as well, and the rest of the Vanguard was in great need of directions from the higher links of the chain of command. Shortly after introducing himself to society (and despite his flagrant lack of diplomatic manners, as the Mirith Vanguard will claim), Vorund coordinated the attack against an havoc-wrecking mage called Rivolus. To lead the troops leaving from Marali, he promoted the ranger Fang to First Scout. It was a time of intense conspiracy theories around Oberin, mostly thanks to the discovery that the Twins had in their power a cloak that could disguise their appearance. Consequently, pretty much everyone, from Lord Rengal to Bunny was at one point or another suspected to be part of the infernal pair. Estess Vorund, too, was regarded by some as a potential candidate. However, the successful outcome of the fight against Rivolus made many forget their apprehension and start to believe Vorund’s claims. Especially since Vorund followed the good old Marali tradition of being no where to be seen for long periods of time, as he did, shortly after the victory.
Murder of Sule Tesdor and the Adventure of the Lost Tomes[edit | edit source]
In the Sleeping Moon of 438, coincidentally or not, members of the Marali Vanguard came across two mysterious tomes. One, taken from the belly of a dragon, is, to this day, as far as the public knows, in possession of Brigobaen, where they left both books to be deciphered. The second, taken from a brigand shelter near Aborek, was revealed to be late Commander’s Kang diary and, for some reason, the cause of many grief. The brigands carrying the tome (and maybe looking for the other one as well), were under the orders of the mage Jeremiah Jalux, at the time relatively unknown. But one other person seemed to be very interested in the diary: none other than Estess Vorund. As it happens, the book, also left for restoration in Brigobaen, was picked up by the then Armsman Octar, to be brought to the Northern fort, already in 439. Upon his arrival, Octar was met by a reckless Vorund, who threatened the fighter to give the volume to him. Octar had the intuition to suspect Vorund from his altered behaviour and insistence. Much to the Advisor’s anger, the fighter decided to deliver Kang’s diary to Major Sule Tesdor, with higher authority. The exact details of what happened next are unknown to this day. What is certain is, that after a routinely patrol around the forest, the Maralian troops found that Sule Tesdor had been murdered at the docks. Estess Vorund was no where to be seen, neither was Kang’s diary. Known to be a loyal ally of Marali, the rogue Laricen accepted the task given to him by Mother Rees and Captain Quin, now the remaining authority in Marali, to go to Andris in search for the missing Vorund.
The reasons why would Vorund be so interested in the diary were still far from being fathomed. However, cross information obtained from the diary, Altaira Mei’s recollections, and Istra Falvo’s investigations brought up to light the existence of an organisation that might have been responsible for the death of the former commanders: the Creed. People such as the wizard Siegal were between the first ones suspecting a connection between the murdering of the Commanders and the death of Tesdor, but these theories remained undeveloped for the years to come.
The Farce of Jula/Janelee[edit | edit source]
Vorund’s excuse to go to Andris was a visit to his younger sister, presumably gravely ill. Once there, he wrote back to Marali, begging Mother Rees to guarantee his safety against an insubordinate Octar, and telling a different version of the events. Meanwhile, Laricen had given a false name at the inn, in order to confirm that Vorund had been there. According to the keeper, though the Advisor had already left at the time of Laricen’s arrival, he had indeed an ill sister, called Jula, staying in one of their rooms. A brief conversation with the girl made the rogue believe, for a moment, that, though suspicious, Vorund’s intentions were not criminal. Since all indications pointed at the fact that Vorund had taken the portal back to the North, the rogue decided to do the same thing.
Alas, Vorund was still nowhere to be seen. Until one day, in the following moon, the Red Moon, another fighter had a strange encounter in the wilderness. Jedd, by then already in the Hidden Vale, but with loyalties from North to South, met the Advisor, who believed the fighter had been sent to kill him. According to his words, Octar would be the true murderer of Tesdor, and was now sending his men after him. He feared for his life, for the life of Commander Vaup, and even for the life of his sister in Andris. For those reasons, Vorund tried to hire Jedd’s services to kill Octar. The fighter refused, and the two parted ways without anything other to report.
Around the same time, however, Laricen returned to Andris to pursue his investigation. With some bribing with money and chocolate and some gentle reminders of his strength and skill in combat, the rogue managed to convince Jula to confess that her name was actually Janelee, and she was a homeless girl whom Vorund had hired to pose as his sister. But the ruse had brought Vorund enough time to prepare his escape. Other than Jedd’s encounter, no one has ever seen the Advisor again for a decade.
The Ant Chambers and the Atoll Beach[edit | edit source]
Marali is a quiet place in the countryside, where the breeze is fresh and the animals are gentle. Except when they’re not, of course. In the year of 448, the city suffered a series of invasions from ants, decided to make their nuptial chambers bellow the fort. Their tunnels, however, posed a security threat as well, as it was shown by the kidnapping of the new Commander, shortly after. As it was later revealed, the kidnapping was actually staged by McTyr and Istra Falvo, in order to lure the enemies of the Creed back to the surface. Three people fell in the trap, dragging McTyr to the Atoll small beach, for a stopover. Once there, they revealed the location of their headquarters, in the depths of Skull Island. In possession of the information they needed, Istra and McTyr proceeded with the rest of the plan: the wizard attacked the group, sedating them with a cloud of smoke from her pipe, the result of one of her “soups”. From those three kidnappers, the identities of two of them are known to the public. Adla Thera (now Thera-Varouf), and, of course, Estess Vorund. While a third unidentified element is still on the run, Adla Thera and Estess Vorund returned to civilisation. As it turns out, Falvo’s poison was not only a strong sedative, but also caused memory loss as side effect. Both Vorund and Thera seemed to believe they were still in 438. The Andrisian Senator Jan Varouf took pity of the cleric and decided to intervene, trying to take advantage of the memory loss to set Adla on a different path. But Vorund returned to Marali.
McTyr-Falvo’s plan was not over. The Commander decided that it would be wise to stay hidden for a while, and see the events unfold. Watching everything from afar, he was hosted, with some of his troops, in the guild hall of the Hidden Vale, with Istra acting as a messenger between him and the world outside.
The Amnesic Return and Transformation[edit | edit source]
Believing that it was still 438 and with no memory of recent events, Estess Vorund returned to Marali to coordinate an attack against Rivolus’ fort. The Vanguard and its closest guild, Citrinitas Aegis, decided not to break the illusion and play along the apparently deranged Advisor. During this time, he opened a search for old tomes, which he would then test out in the lower chambers of the fort, believing to be alone. For a number of moons, the citizens could witness Vorund’s experiments in what seemed to be summoning and necromancy, often resulting in a fort field with beasts. And that was when Istra’s final trap was set: in one of the pile of books delivered to the fort, she sent a book of her own, with one of her powerful spells, already used in the past with Csilith. Trying it out, Vorund turned himself into a giant spider, swiftly captured and locked by the guards.
The spider is still alive, in the Maralian catacombs. At the moment of writing, the Creed’s headquarters have been found, though their members are on the run and potentially allied to Jalux’s crew. The third person in the island has not been identified, but Adla Thera seems happy with her new career as a Miners’ Nurse. What happens next, is yet to be seen.
Red Moon 452[edit | edit source]
In the Red Moon of 452, an invasion of spiders in Marali led the adventurers to the realization that the wickedest spider of all was on the loose. Later, notes in the volcano, Nystral's Tower, and the Shrine suggested that Estess Vorund had managed to return to his former allies. The notes were written by brigands and mercenaries and concerned mostly matters of supplies for ongoing research, but often report the eating habits of their masters. It has been noted the recurrence of a request for "spider food", which suggests that, despite being free, Vorund has not yet recovered his old form.