• The moon rose to its climax, a large ball of luminescent white in the sky. This was the night rumored to bring out the lycanthropes, but travel had been remarkably easy. At least it was following the path of destruction left by a single creature. The castle walls and gardens of the courtyard in which the creature stood were littered with corpses. Many rotting, many shriveled, all had been torn apart or eaten off of. Upon closer inspection of the corpses one could tell they had been dead for a long time, but many had just been slain. They were in fact zombies and ghouls, man-eaters of the night, horrid undead that had plagued the nearby countryside in the recent months.

    The creature had already taken care of several of these things in the courtyard and in the dark tangled forest that enclosed this foreboding castle. As the creature pushed open the ornate oak doors it was met with the screams of more of these unliving nightmares.

    “Is there no end to your numbers?” The monstrous fiend said gnawing on the severed limb of a zombie it had just slain. In the candle light the creature could vaguely be seen. It stood roughly 7 feet tall and was well equipped for its mission. Its canine appearance wasn’t that of a werewolf, or any other were-animal for that matter. The brownish yellow of its matted fur was offset by dark spots, some natural, others were splatters of blood from its more recent foes. Here and there however a the light caught a silvery sheen in its fur.

    The creature crunched down hard on the zombie arm on which it had been munching and the sickening crackle of shattering bone filled the room drawing attention from the numerous other undead. With a quick toss of its head the creature spat the arm out onto the floor, the zombies blood dripping from it’s now visible dog-like fangs.

    “Is the master in?” the creature asked darkly, a tinge of sarcasm and enjoyment in his voice.

    A ghoul lurched forward out of the shadows behind the creature. It leapt quickly, shrieking with the intent of devouring the newcomer as it had so many others before.

    A flash of light which crossed the room, shimmering against the flames of the burning braziers and the wispy candles, and in that instant the ghoul dropped to the floor, cloven in half by the beast’s large, abnormally sharp axe.

    “How disgusting… What lord leaves monsters such as these to attack intruders? They’re barely worth my time.” The creature said disappointed as he was swallowed whole by the throng of incoming zombies. A fearsome roar and several rending slashed later the mob of undead hordelings lay at the beasts feet.

    “Pathetic.” The beast said licking the blood from his axe.

    A pale skinned man paced his room. He had seen from the window of his tower the monstrous form of someone killing his guards. But that should be no worry. Several other hunters had come in the past month. None had ever survived the tests he had placed throughout the castle. Indeed several had died in the courtyard. So why did he fear this hunter so. What was it that made this one so much more… unsettling?

    For a moment the man considered fleeing. But why should he. He had nothing to fear from this lowly worm who had dared tread into his domain. After all it was well known through the Vilhon Reach that none dared defy Count Agahar Velos. He could not flee. It would be a disgrace to his family name. No, he decided then that he would meet this hunter’s challenge. And make him a bloody reminder to everyone of what happens to those who disobey him.

    Just as the Count had mustered up his courage to face the intruder there came a heavy banging on the door of his chamber.

    “Impossbile…” the count thought. “How could he have dispatched my entire horde and managed to make it past all my traps and still manage to find me so fast?”

    Then came another bang, and another until there came the sound of splintering wood and the door to his elegant chambers fell inward.

    “Knock knock.” The creature said arrogantly as it stepped over the wreckage, completely ignoring the counts presence. In the light of the room the creature’s features could be more clearly seen. There stood a 7 foot tall muscular hyena that walked upon two legs. Many mortals feared these creatures in the Vilhon Reach and in other places. Savage, primitive, monsters were the…

    “Gnoll! They send a Gnoll to kill me. What a joke! I’ll have you know that many warriors have tried. Many far more skilled than you, beast! You don’t have a chance in the Abyss against me.” The count said readying a necromantic spell. Assured this battle would be both fierce and exhilarating. He knew all too well what the ferocity of a gnoll was like. He was sure he could kill this intruder single handedly.

    The Gnoll however still refused to acknowledge the counts presence, at least at first. Its nose down in a black leather bound book. The pages of which looked old, and worn, and it was obvious the book had been stuffed with other pages and papers.

    “Count Velos of the Blue Robes, is it? I knew I smelled a vampire in here. Unfortunately, you’re on my list.” The Gnoll said snapping the book closed and unlimbering its great axe. “Time for you to meet Yeenoghu.”

    Slightly daunted by the insolence of his opponent the count reacted.

    “What can a brutish creature like you do against my hundred years of magic? Die beast! Go to your Yeenoghu and leave my presence!” The count said arrogantly letting fly a bolt of black energy from his hands.

    The Gnoll however vanished as the beam met the spot it had been standing in, and in the blink of an eye it had closed the distance between the two. All 50 feet! The count cried out in pain as it felt the bite of the huge axe slash through his cold flesh. He leapt back to examine the wound and found it burning dangerously. Holy Water!

    Realizing quickly he was at a disadvantage in such a small room the count quickly transformed into a bat and flew out the window; quite assured his attacker could no longer strike his tiny mobile form.

    “Rake! Gnash!” the beast roared in a guttural language the count could barely understand.

    At that point, short beast-like monsters appeared from the shadows. One leapt from above the counts own window slicing through his wings with terrible hooked claws. As he began to fall a second one leapt from the wall of the tower tearing through him again as he tried to transform back.

    Crying out in agonizing pain the count crashed into the ground in the courtyard, bones and muscles severed and broken. The count stood up, angered by the ambush he had not foreseen. But as he stood up he found himself barely able to move.

    “What is this!?” The count gasped. He watched horridly as the two creatures circled him hungrily. Then he heard it, the sound of metal scraping against stone. He glanced up and saw his gnoll attacker slowly descending the sheer side of the tower, digging its claws into the stone to slow it’s fall. When it reached ground it kicked up a small cloud of dust, which was blown away quickly by a whirl from the beast’s axe. Slowly it made its way over to its prey.

    “The poison that coats their claws is a moderate paralytic. It will slow you down for a while. Just the time I need to finish the job.” The Gnoll said matter-of-factly.

    It was then that it dawned on the count why he was so frightened of this hunter.

    “A gnoll with a giant axe, accompanied by two feral monsters, silver streaks hidden in its fur… It can be no one else. You are Dagnyr the Immortal aren’t you?” The count pleaded.

    “And if I am?” the Gnoll said darkly.

    “Please, what is it that Yeenoghu wants with me!?” the count screamed.

    Dagnyr looked up at the full moon and spoke quietly.

    The counts eyes widened when he saw what came next. The beasts eyes rolled back up into its head. The silver in its fur grew more prominent. Its sharp claws grew longer and more vicious. But lastly and most terrifying of all, was when it’s already large canines, grew in length, like those of a…

    “NO, you can’t be a…” the count cried.

    “A dhampyr?” Dagnyr answered mockingly. Then he whipped his head back in a sadistic and gut wrenching laugh. “Oh, but I am Count. And I have been for the last 400 years.”

    The horror set into the count. This creature was born to kill. And it had done so effectively for nearly half a millennia. This creature was out of his league. He summoned all of his power to cast Sleep so he could flee, but as he twitched he found the two monsters bearing down on him.

    “Go to your rest now foul vampire.” Dagnyr said mockingly as his pets tore apart the sad vampire before him. But as they did the undead lord rose to his feet and finished mumbling his spell triumphantly.

    But has he reached out to cast the spell, the count felt a severing gash split him in two. Dagnyr had slain another, as he had slain dozens of vampires. Then with a wicked cackle signifying his savage victory, he tore off the counts head and bit down hard.