by F. Charles Murdock
Hail, traveler! Are we still well met? I hope to the gods we are because life has grown dark in Krytherion these last six moons. Aye, you heard me and my word is sound: nearly a half-cycle has passed since we last told tale. Much has happened in that time, true, but not to Beard Weirheowdth, no. Why, you ask? Did you not hear of the hell he caught when the warrior finally squared off against the Isenshrike? Beard’s only now recovering -- truth be told, though, he should be far-flung into the Great Beyond after such a gruesome battle.
But Beard’s a tenacious bastard, you see.
Let’s look elsewhere, then, as our lowly hero pulls himself together. See well how both the land and its people have changed and for the worse. Southron wasn’t the most peaceful region before Beard traversed it to do battle with the Isenshrike, but now? It’s the thing of nightmares: brother killing brother, friend betraying friend, whole towns abandoned or wiped away. And what of Thorgithe, you ask? Gods, have you not been listening, friend? The war, it rages on as though Hunerheim itself has surfaced to devour the Northlands.
Aye, and my ears be keen to what you must be thinking -- what vile creature has brought this ruin to the Inner World? Hear me well, traveler, and beware this knowledge I give you now lest you set a foolish foot upon a path to Krytherion: the Dark One has come! Now, to tell true, I know not whether he be man or monster or something in between, but the bastard is evil through-and-through... just ask Släfgeit (actually, that might be a deathwish on your part... you’d do better to stay away as the Overlord of Slumber is still a tad sour on the race of man after what Beard did to him and on his own plain, no less).
Speaking of Beard, it seems our hero is beginning to stir. See well the confusion on his face -- an expression that’ll be sticking around, if you gather me. Look upon the broken body of our hero and answer me this for even I don’t know how it’s possible: how in the nine hells is this bastard still going?
A part of him doesn’t want to, mind you, and I think ye know why.
Oh, and what is this? I think Beard has finally noticed he isn’t the only living thing on the Isle of the Isenshrike. Now that's a face we haven't seen before... Just who could that be?