The Freeblood

Each year, the citizens of Norrath celebrate an event known as Nights of the Dead.  Originated in the city of Maj'Dul, this festival honors the story of one frightful night when the dead walked the streets of the desert city, only to vanish by the morning's light.  Now revelers will trade candies, don frightening masks, and tell ghostly stories all across Norrath in celebration of the event.

Recently, adventurers were given an invitation to travel to the village of Somborn in the Loping Plains.  Many thought the invitation to be in the spirit of the holiday - the Loping Pains was, after all, a frightening place in and of itself, and not somewhere to be traveled lightly.  Others, however, found the invitation intriguing, and left to pay the mysterious host a visit.

In the days that followed, rumors began to surface.  There were rumors of memory loss, of strange disappearances, and most frightening of all, of otherwise strong adventurers turning up dead, slain by an unknown assailant.  For a holiday that had always been largely benign, Nights of the Dead had taken a grisly and frightening turn, and all signs pointed to the mysterious invitation from Somborn.  Those lost were mourned when they never came home, and those that were found dead were buried.  Some tried to look further into the strange host from Somborn, although few traces could be found.

If the story had stopped here, it would have been strange enough by itself.  However, it took an even more ominous twist in the weeks that followed the last days of the Nights of the Dead.  The graves of the dead, left to their final rest, were disturbed.  The sites were dug up, and the bodies exhumed.  None could account for the macabre disappearances, and no culprits could be found.  Whispers began to point at cults of the dead, using the bodies in terrible rituals, or opportunistic necromancers looking for strong, fresh bodies for their magics.  Other rumors, however, said these graves were opened from the inside... and that the dead walked away from their own tombs.

For a while, nothing more happened.  Some forgot about the events, simply chalking the stories up to a collective hysteria following the Nights of the Dead.  The calm, however, was short lived.  Reports soon surfaced of lone travelers being attacked and found with their blood drained, of cattle slaughtered, and of shadowy figures moving in the darkness.  Nowhere appeared safe - both the cities of Freeport and Qeynos heard the whispers, and slowly anxiety grew with the citizens.  Then as suddenly as they started, the reports stopped.

However, the rumors continued.  Vampires were in the cities, or so the stories were told.  The stories grew into theories that the governments knew about the vampires, and that they had not only allowed them to roam freely, but had facilitated their integration.  Requests for information were denied by the courts, and a collective anger began to stir among the citizens - those in charge knew something, and they weren't talking.  The simmer would become a rolling boil...

The Freeblood vampire race will be available through the Velious Winter Rewards promotion for qualifying EQII subscribers and EQ2X Gold and Platinum members as part of the February reward. (See link for details.) For those who don't want to wait that long, the race will be available on the Marketplace in late December. Stay tuned for more details!