SOME MONTHS BEFORE
SKOTHAR, THE EASTERN CONTINENT – SAGARMATHA MOUNTAINS
UNDIR UKIR URIZ
In the moment he had deliberately turned away from the legendary city of Sanctuary, Undir was aware that he had decreed his death sentence. Yet, despite the risk, he also knew that the escape was his only chance of salvation and the only chance left to save Mystara’s humankind! Yes, because he, Undir Ukir Uriz, had seen the future of Mystara, the end of its civilization and had to prevent what he foresaw in his vision.
Undir, only just fifty, belonged to the last generation of tryclops [LINK]: he was raised, educated, hardened in body and mind, for the sole purpose of carrying out the mission, that their spiritual father Sanshijama had begun centuries before, after the explosion that had threatened to destroy the southeastern part of the Brun continent. Only luck and fate, according to Sanshijama, had prevented that the worst occurred and the explosion of Blackmoor’s ancient artifact had been confined to the nowadays Broken Lands, between the Magocracy of Glantri and the Republic of Darokin. For Sanshijama, the first of their race, this mission was his reason of living: to eradicate from the world the threat posed by Blackmoor relics, the ancient civilization that had sired him but that he hated more than anything else, for its guilt of killing the man he considered his father. After the escape from Blackmoor, helped by his father, Sanshijama went in a self-imposed exile in the external plane of Aratsym where, thanks to his immense powers, he soon became the supreme lord. After a while he had returned to Mystara to exact revenge, along with his offspring and the four Exalted Weapons, powerful constructs created in the likeness of the ancient dragons of Aratsym but, with no small surprise, he had found a completely changed planet. The survivors to the catastrophe called it The Great Rain of Fire: it had annihilated and erased any trace, or nearly so, of the Blackmoor civilization and had nearly destroyed the entire world.
At this point the revenge desire of the first tryclop had melted away like snow in the sun. Moved by love and compassion, Sanshijama decided that it was no longer the time for hatred and war but the time for peace and to settle back in his world of origin. The tryclop took to heart the fate of the primitive people of the continent of Skothar to which he taught to love and to live in harmony with nature, a legacy of the Fairy Folk he still felt a part of. All his energy was devoted to the construction of the city of Sanctuary, in the Sagarmatha mountains, in the north east of the Skothar continent and, then, to his most important work: the Temple of the Lost Knowledge and the Humanization Statue. The purpose for which Undir had been raised and educated was to protect the people of Mystara from hidden, but still existing, artifacts with their looming threat of destruction and death. At least until the day when his third eye opened up to the Truth and the true knowledge and then he had seen the lies that until then had surrounded him and clouded his mind.
The falling snow swirled with violence around the slender figure of the tryclop, slowly advancing in the infinite and deserted arctic expanse. Undir left Sanctuary weeks ago and many miles behind. Feverish, unsteady, he was swept in one direction or another by the icy wind and storm, sustained only by the inner strength of his nature, of his training and, above all, by the luring force that was guiding him. Step by step. Finally he saw it, standing at the center of a huge circular depression, just like in his dreams of the previous months. He began to descend to the center of the crater, dug in the ice and rock, through the snow and icy shards that lashed his eyes. When he arrived a few steps from the monolith, he was finally able to observe it in all details. The obelisk, a little less than 10 feet, was perfectly smooth, without marks or writings and deeply black. It was as if it was able to capture the light around it and imprison it. Undir had the sensation of looking into the black heart of the infinite space or into a bottomless abyss.
“Who are you?” Undir felt the sound of his own words fill his mind. Instinctively that form of communication had seemed the most natural and suitable for the occasion.
“I AM THE ANCIENT. I AM THE LAND. MY ORIGINS ARE LOST IN THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING. I AM WHAT I’VE ALWAYS BEEN. FREE ME OR MYSTARA WILL BE LOST, LOST BECAUSE OF THE BLINDNESS OF SANSHJIAMA AND THE MADNESS OF BENARES.”
“Sanshjiama is my father … Benares is his Wu and his will on earth. How can I be sure that what you say is true?” The uncertainty in his words betrayed the inner conflict that gnawed at the mind of the young tryclop.
“TOUCH ME!” the entity had ordered him. And he did, any control over himself lost … It was then that a wave of energy had invested and overwhelmed him. He had felt his soul, his essence, torn apart, dismembered. He had the feeling of an absolute pain and his body falling apart, every single parcel of him crumbling and dissolving, until there was nothing left of his conscience neither, lost to the infinity of the Multiverse. Then slowly he regained consciousness of himself, of his thought and of his body, a piece at a time, slowly and painfully. His third eye was wide open upon the future of Mystara and there he saw Benares, the wu of his father, standing on the top of the world. He had broken the bond that tied him to Sanshjiama and he was there, on the Peak of Wisdom. The Exalted Weapons were at his feet, awakened by their millennial sleep and subjected to his will. Everything on fire … Sanctuary reduced to smoldering rubble … Sanshjiama laying dead on the ground … his sons with him. “FIND ME AND FREE ME … AND WE WILL AVOID ALL THIS TOGETHER!”
The following months Undir travelled with no rest. He knew that if his peers caught him, Benares in all probability would have found a way to extort the information he had. His time in Sanctuary was done, he could never go back. The “humanization” would be the only option for him and that was in some ways even worse than death itself. He had then to put many miles between him and the temple where he was born. After crossing Skothar he reached Alphatia but he hadn’t felt safe neither there. For this reason he had continued onwards to the Isle of Dawn before, to the Empire of Thyatis after. He arrived in the capital of the Empire and heard again, after several months, the voice that had guided him to the monolith. “FIND ME AND FREE ME … FIND ME!”
“How can I find you?” asked Undir.
“FIND THE EYES OF TRALDAR. THEY ARE THE KEY. “
 these are the words used by Strahd Von Zarovich, Prince of Barovia and lord of Ravenloft to introduce himself to his interlocutors and, of course, they are a personal homage to one of my preferite D&D’s characters and setting. My memories here.