Final entry in the journal of Aegis, the Chronomancer:
Arianne and I should not have studied the nature of time so closely. Some things, perhaps, are meant to remain beyond the range of mortal minds. We had intended to gain dominion over the expanse of time itself. Instead, we brought forth a horde of creatures so foul that the imagination reels at their conception.
We had completed work on the Timegate, the massive structure that would allow us to travel to arbitrary points in time, past and future. It was a complicated structure based on portal magic, and the secret of its creation will lie forever buried in the ruin of our mountain fortress. This loss pains me, but it is for the best. I would not wish any other wizard to do what we have done.
Arianne stood at the mouth of the Timegate as I activated its key. The outer rim began to ripple and undulate, as though it were made of water and not of solid stone. The portal opened slowly, like a flower unfolding. Beyond it, we could see the violent flow of the timestream -- the stuff from which all temporal matter derives.
Then, far too late, we sensed something wrong. I moved to close the gate, but the first of the undead creatures were already pouring through. Some of them wore the tattered remnants of clothing from the far distant past. Others wore strange, half-decayed things that I surmise came from the distant future. Their pallid skin and hateful glowing eyes marked them as wights. But not mere wights.
Before Arianne could unleash a spell to contain them, they overwhelmed her -- moving more quickly than any undead creature should. In my panic, I did not realize that they were using temporal spell-like effects to hasten themselves, and so gain the advantage over poor Arianne and me. They overwhelmed her, and as I stood helpless, my wife fell lifeless to the ground.
Somehow (I do not remember how), I shut the Timegate. Then I turned my anger against the undead, searing them with the most powerful magic at my command -- until I saw the corpse of my Arianne rise and join their number. At this moment my spirit broke. I was finished.
Escaping to this distant refuge via teleportation, I used my magic to collapse our mountain fortress behind us -- burying our home of many years beneath tons of dust and rock. But I fear this sacrifice was not enough to contain the undead creatures, who seem to possess their own mastery over time. I have taken to calling them "time wights" because of their similarity to the more familiar undead.
I believe Arianne and I punctured the wall of a temporal prison in which these creatures were held, perhaps by some powerful being intent on protecting the mortal world from such a terrible evil. But now that they are free, I do not believe there is any limitation on where -- or when -- they will next appear. I do believe that they will come for me, in due time....
||5d12 (32 hp)
||15 (+2 Dex, +3 natural), touch 12, flat-footed 13
||Slam +6 melee
||1d6+6 slam plus 1d4 Constitution drain
||5 ft. by 5 ft./5 ft
||Constitution drain, create spawn, spell-like abilities, summon time wight
||+2 turn resistance, darkvision 60 ft., undead traits, unnatural aura
||Fort +1, Ref+3, Will +5
||Str 18, Dex 14, Con --, Int 11, Wis 13, Cha 16
||Hide +10, Jump +5, Listen +9, Move Silently +10, Search +8, Spot +9
||Blind-Fight, Improved Initiative
||Any land and underground
||Solitary, pair, gang (3-6), or pack (7-12)
||Always lawful evil
||Medium-size 6-10 HD
The time wight is a terrible undead creature with power over the fabric of time. Time wights appear much as the humanoid creatures they were in life, but with pale skin and glowing eyes. They wear tattered clothing from the era in which they lived, which may include the distant future.
A time wight hates all living things, especially those with long or magically extended lifespans. It uses its spell-like abilities to its best advantage, trying to gain multiple attacks against a single target in order to maximize the effect of its Constitution drain attack.
Constitution Drain (Su): Any creature hit by the time wight's slam attack must succeed on a Fortitude save (DC 15) or take 1d4 points of Constitution drain.
Create Spawn (Su): Any humanoid reduced to 0 Constitution by a time wight becomes a time wight in 1d4 rounds. Spawn are under the command of the time wight that created them and remain enslaved until its death. They do not possess any of the abilities they had in life.
Spell-Like Abilities (Su): 3/day -- haste, slow.Caster level 5th; save DC 13 + spell level.
Summon Time Wight (Su): Once per day, a time wight can attempt to summon another of its kind with a 35% chance of success. This new time wight is plucked from somewhere else in the timestream; it may, in fact, be a temporal copy of the summoning time wight itself. The summoned time wight returns to its place in the timestream after 1 hour. A time wight that has just been summoned may not use its own summon ability for 1 hour.
Turn Resistance A time wight is treated as a 7-HD undead for the purpose of resolving turn, rebuke, command, or bolster attempts.
Undead Traits (Ex): A time wight is immune to poison, sleep, paralysis, stunning, disease, death, effects, necromantic effects, mind-influencing effects, and any effect requiring a Fortitude save unless it also works on objects. It is not subject to critical hits, subdual damage, ability damage, ability drain, or energy drain. Negative energy heals it, and it is not at risk of death from massive damage, though it is destroyed at 0 hit points or below. A time wight cannot be raised, and resurrection works only if it is willing.
Unnatural Aura (Sp): The temporal disturbance created by the time wight unsettles wild and domesticated animals. The aura is a 30-foot radius emanation centered on the time wight. Any animal with fewer Hit Dice than the time wight will not willingly enter the aura, and it panics if forced to do so. The panic effect lasts as long as the animal remains in the aura and for 1d4 rounds afterward. Panic from the aura is a mind-affecting feat effect.
About the Author
Ramon Arjona is a software developer with Wizards of the Coast. His poetry has appeared in the Absinthe Literary Review and the Hawaii Review. His short stories have appeared in Strange Horizons.