The Storyteller (Teaser 3)
Flames from the campfire illuminate the small village courtyard. People gather around, ales in hand, children in tow and sit around the flames. The smell of smoking grass is in the air, puffs of smoke rising from behind the flames, the light of the fire dancing in the glass of the storyteller’s spectacles.
An old man, his skin aged, beard long and gray, stands up behind the fire looking out to all that have gathered. Parents hush their children to listen to what the storyteller may tell of this evening.
The old man packs more smoking grass into his pipe and lights it, the flames from his stick flashing in front of his face. Smoke slowly pours out of his mouth as he speaks…
“Tonight I tell you a story from the old days, over millennia ago, when all the people of the world were still alike.” He puffs on his pipe, looking up to the northern skies where a slight red hue can be seen on the horizon. “A time before the eternal darkness of the north and the rise of the Dark Lord.”
Murmurs are heard from the crowd and they quickly fall silent once again, anticipating the tale.
“In the time before The Sundering, when Fenorra was one unified continent, the grand city of Kalentenia was its crown sitting on the northern most point of Fenorra. Kalentenia was prosperous, King Tallion ruled all the land sternly but fair. The city bustled day in and day out with merchants, schools, labs and the like. It is said that their great prosperity was because the grand city was not plagued by the walking dead of the nights. This was thanks to what was called the Lumis stone which stood in the center of the city. It stood fifteen feet tall and four feet wide and it was made of polished white marble. As legend has it that is what warded the city from the scourge of the undead.”
He puffs on his pipe; the scent of smoking grass fills the air. “Kalentenia was unrivaled as the capital city of all of Fenorra. This is the way it had always been. Years went by and the King grew old, his son Prince Adain was expected to take over the throne in the coming years.”
“In the later years of the Kings life a strange sickness began to spread through the city. It started with fevers, aches and vomiting but before long people began to fall into deep sleeps that they could not be awakened from. It was not long after the this that deaths began to be reported. The plague that started with just a handful sick spread into a plague that was consuming the city.”
“The king ordered his greatest healers and alchemists to investigate and find a cure. But they could not. Healers and formalists from other cities came to assist, but they too could not find a cure or the cause. As more and more people of Kalentenia fell ill the King did not know what to do.”
The storyteller stands and walks closer to the fire; the beads in his hair can be heard clanking together as he walks in the silence of the crowd. “One foggy morning a lone healer came to town. He requested audience with the King, with the claim that he believed he could find a cure for the plague that gripped the city. Eager to hear his story the King granted him audience. The man introduced himself as Malik, a powerful healer and formalist. He explained to the King that he believed he could create a potion to possibly cure the epidemic.”
“The king desperate to save his people granted Malik access to the royal labs and forges and any assistance he may need. This dismayed his son, Prince Adain, who did not trust Malik. It was shortly after this that the Kings age began to get the better of him and he retired to his bed chambers for the remainder of his days, his son stepping up in his place.”
“The mysterious healer was not seen much until one day not too long after his arrival he came to the Prince with a potion. He explained that this potion would keep the plague from affecting those who were not already sick. Malik claimed to be still looking for the cause of the plague and would find a cure for those who already fell ill but it would take more time. Reluctantly, at the insistence of his beloved father, the Prince agreed to drink the potion.”
The fire cracked loudly, a burst of embers and smoke erupted into the sky above the crowd of people, many of them jumping startled, some children letting out a screech. The old storyteller sits back down, repacking his pipe and lighting it again with another flash of flame.
“As Malik had promised, the potion kept people healthy, the plague did not spread. But the people already sick did not get any better, and continued to die. The King met with Malik and praised him on his potion, thanking him for saving the healthy. The King fond of Malik granted him hospitality within the castle, again, much to Adain’s dismay.”
“Without warning, weeks later the Prince fell ill. It started with fever and aches just as the plague had started. The king stricken with sorrow felt helpless to help his son. Now weak and feeble the King attempted to rule once again, to be there for his people. He requested Malik to be his adviser, which he accepted graciously. Malik continued his studies to find the cause of the plague all the while advising the King in all his day to day decisions.”
“Eventually the Prince fell into a wake-less sleep just as many of the citizens had before him. The King was grief stricken. His advancing age coupled with a broken heart was too much for him and lay in his bed chamber. Sorrow welled in his mind, the only heir to the throne laid dying and he himself knew he would pass soon. It was shortly after this that Malik came to the king, he believed the cause of the sickness to be the Lumis stone. He believed the stone had been slowly poisoning the area as a side effect of its undead warding powers. He asked of the King to order it destroyed.”
The light of the fire seemed to grow and dance wildly, casting shadows all around the crowd and across the storytellers face. There was a long pause and the fire calmed, “King Tallion, willing to do anything to save his son and people, gave the order for the Lumis stone to be destroyed. And so it was. Broken into hundreds of pieces and carted far from the city to be disposed of. And that very night for the first time in known history the undead did come.”
“Within just days the sick began to regain consciousness, their fevers cooling and aches calming. All but the Prince, who lay in his chamber in a deep slumber, unchanging since the Lumis stone's destruction. The King was relieved for his people but saddened by his son's diminishing health; he turned once again to Malik for advisement.”
“After a short time Malik stated that he could save the Prince’s life. He warned the king that there would be some side effects from the treatment. The most severe being sensitivity to sunlight, however Malik had a solution for that as well. He could also produce a way for his son to be able to walk throughout the city and people day or night. They king withering from his age and grief pleaded with Malik to do anything he could. And with that Malik had the Prince brought into his chamber and locked the door behind him.”
The storyteller lights his pipe again, pausing in his story to look over the fire. The reflection of the flames dancing in the wide eyes of the crowd.
“It is said that the very next dawn a dark cloaked figure was seen standing on the tallest tower of the castle, hands raised to the sky, eyes glowing red, and the sky turned ever night.”