Updated: Jul 31, 2022
The small fiefdom of Nocona has always been renowned for its instability. Rebel cells, devious courtesans, and bastard heirs to the throne had caused no less than seven coups d'état in the last couple decades. Little wonder then, that when Ikir, the first son of Baron Gunnar Noya assumed the throne upon his father’s untimely death due to strange illness, he immediately reallocated incalculable resources into the research of magic that could protect him from all the would-be usurpers who surrounded him. Though the wizards of his court tried earnestly, they found only temporary charms, none of which could protect him from everything. A glyph might protect him from hexes, but it short circuited the bracers of stone skin that he wore to prevent him being stabbed. He took herbal remedies for poison resistance, but they interacted with his daily regimen of potions of insight he used to weed out the viziers who wished him harm, and the side effects caused him sweaty spells and his hair to fall out.
When he was just about ready to consign himself to his inevitable doom, he was approached by a reclusive and ancient magic wielder who introduced himself as Mance the Wise. Mance was from a remote corner of his lands who had heard rumors of his Baron’s struggle and brought him an answer. The strange old wizard could offer him immortality with a ritual that had been passed down to him by his father. Ikir considered the man’s offer, and given the fact that Mance claimed and appeared to be well over a century old, his offer of immortality had a glimmer of plausibility. Plus, Ikir was getting desperate; he saw attempts on his life in every flutter of a curtain and minor change in schedule. He accepted, and the ritual was initiated forthwith. Unfortunately, as anyone on the outside looking in would have suspected, there was a fair amount of fine print. The ritual was designed to turn Baron Noya into a Lich. He would indeed be safe from spells and poisons and daggers, but it came at the cost of his life and humanity. Oh, and his freedom. The old necromancer, Mance, was devious, and had transferred Ikir’s soul into a phylactery. While it held Ikir’s soul, he was immortal as promised, but if it were destroyed, he would succumb instantly to death. Which is really a heck of a blackmail technique. Mance literally held Ikir’s life in his hands, by way of the locket he wore at all times, Baron Noya’s phylactery. Ikir was forced to appoint Mance the Wise as a vizier. He gave him land, wealth, status, and whatever else Mance demanded, for Ikir feared death even if he was already technically undead. That fear of death, however, turned out to be well founded.
The Devourers descended in Baron Noya’s cities just as they did everywhere else. Like so many others, Ikir was consumed by the hungry maws of those gluttonous aliens, but unlike them, he was immortal, and he awoke the next day on a farm several miles from the ruins of his court, much to his confusion. He returned to the ruins of his castle, and while he found much carnage and the bodies of many of his courtesans, neither Mance the Wise nor his locket were anywhere to be found. Surely the locket and maybe even Mance had survived as well since he still existed, but where they were he could not tell. But one thing was certain, while Lich Baron Noya didn’t hold that locket, his fate was uncertain. He would find it and wreak vengeance upon Mance if he still drew breath, even if he had to travel the whole world over to find them.