Previous: The First Vampire of Cimmeria Part 7
Well armed, the Gish Trio and Tracy waited for the right time to strike. Tracy’s network of informants watched for when the Lich-queen was weakest. Their chance came after a battle between the Githyanki and the blue dragons. The Lich-queen personally took part in the battle, expending a portion of her magical energy to secure victory. Tracy learned of the Githyanki leader’s anemic state. The Halfling hero and the Gish Trio immediately began their planned assault on the Lich-queen’s fortress outside Phoenix.
Even with her strength depleted the Lich-queen was a formidable foe surrounded by dozens of guards. Galandir and Blendegad occupied the guards while Tracy and Tereman confronted the Lich-queen with their banishment spell. The ancient Githyanki matriarch fought without reservation, but in the end her will was denied. Tracy and Tereman banished her back to the Astral Plane. Their victory came at a cost though. As the Lich-queen departed she ripped Tracy’s soul from her body and consumed it. The Lich-queen would never return to Earth, but neither would Tracy.
The Gish Trio mourned Tracy’s death, but would not let her sacrifice be in vain. They rooted out every powerful Githyanki in Cimmeria, forcing them to retreat to the Astral Plane or die. As they worked the Trio gathered more silver swords and alchemical components to further enhance their weapons and armor.
Blendegad’s tremendous guilt over the death of Tracy motivated him to prevent any such deaths in the future. Tracy was a hero of legend and to Blendegad her only true weakness had been her mortality. With Shratalanda’s notes and his gathered knowledge of the Githyanki, Blendegad began work on a new project. He altered the shield of the combined panoply he’d made with Galandir and Tereman. Now wearing Tereman’s armor while wielding Galandir’s sword and Blendegad’s shield would transform the bearer into an immortal being. Blendegad completed his work and donned the gear. He changed into a new breed of immortal, a vampire.
Blendegad noticed the drawbacks of his new nature quickly and hid the effects from Galandir and Tereman. Sunlight was lethal and he had to sustain himself with living blood. He drank from the Githyanki they killed when his allies’ backs were turned. Drawbacks there were, but Blendegad’s new form came with advantages as well. He was granted phenomenal strength and speed, immunity to conventional weapons, and the ability to transform into a bat or wolf.
Blendegad became intoxicated by his new power and sought to increase it through the consumption of additional blood. He purchased slaves and fed upon them. A new problem arose, literally, as Blendegad’s victims returned to life as vampires. Blendegad had deposited slave bodies across the whole of Cimmeria before he realized, but by then it was too late. The vampires would remain a plague upon Cimmeria for centuries.
It wasn’t long before the other two members of the Gish Trio noticed Blendegad’s changes. They discovered the dark path he had gone down and were horrified. Tereman wished to slay the vampire, but Galandir could not bring himself to kill his old friend. The pair compromised and resolved to bind Blendegad using magic similar to the spell that had banished the Lich-queen. They led Blendegad to a prepared location and then ambushed him. The duo overpowered their companion and captured him. Galandir and Tereman magically bound Blendegad beneath an unmarked hill. With their friend secretly contained the public reputation of the Gish Trio remained untarnished.
Only one problem remained, the sword, armor, and shield that Blendegad had corrupted. The panoply was too powerful to destroy by any simple means. Exhausted, Galandir and Tereman resolved to hide and guard the pieces of the panoply. They built three elaborate vaults to hold each of the items. These dungeons were filled with elemental guardians and traps to protect the evil magic contained within. Now old men, Galandir and Tereman could not continue adventuring to defeat the blue dragons as they had originally hoped. Instead, they trained the next generation of gish knights to protect Cimmeria. The panoply and Blendegad were left lying for centuries until eventually the wizard Terroc unearthed them, releasing Blendegad upon the Earth once again.