Morwindl - Darkness Falls
Lindy - Sharon
Once life was good. Once I was happy. I lived among my people deep in the northern forest. I was respected for my fighting skills, and for possessing the heart of a demon. My demon is a quiet one, content to use me only in times of my greatest need, and so I was not feared among my people, as many demon-hearted are. As the only current demon-hearted, I had no daily responsibilities in my village, no trade or craft. I simply trained the hunters and the warriors. I am skilled with many weapons, and everyone came to me for teaching.
I didn’t travel, staying to protect my village as I did, and so I was able to marry a fine man. He was a woodsman. They care for the trees of the forest, they tell us when trees are ripe for harvesting, they keep the land healthy. Nature smiles on them, and gives them power to do so. Gentle people, they are, and the land trusts them with its children. My husband was just such a man. We had children. My oldest, Kennor, he had a deft hand with an axe. He was my finest pupil, and earned every accolade twice over. He would be eight now. My daughter was Tellia. She was a gentle soul, like her father. She was trusted by every creature in the forest, and she always stood on her toes, like she was ready to fly away. I always see her like that; ready to fly, smiling on some small animal she’s coaxed into her hand.
Idyllic, my life was. Three winters ago, word came to us over the snow. The very trees spoke of savages roaming our lands, laying waste to our towns, and murdering our people. They left a single survivor from every village, one person to tell the story. These monsters look like humans, but they rip grown men apart with their hands, and consume their blood. Tales follow them like flies, some say they are monsters of old, descendents of the long-dormant wampyr. Some say that they are blood-cultists of some dark new religion, collecting souls for service to their dark lord. I don’t know the truth. I know that they came to my village late that winter.
There had been a partial thaw, and then the ground had frozen in the night, leaving the town covered in a thick sheet of ice. Many couldn’t open their doors, so I and my son, having forced our way out, were clearing doors and windows of ice. It was early, yet, the hunters hadn’t left, and we wanted to clear the way before they missed the morning hares. We hadn’t been at work long when they struck, sprinting through the trees, covered from top to bottom in caked gore, screaming like devils. They must have waited until they were almost upon us before they started screaming, for I didn’t have time to react before one reached my son, and pulled his head from his shoulders before he could raise his mallet.
I don’t remember anything after that. My demon took over my heart, and it needed my eyes.
When I reclaimed my body, the fighting was done. I was heavily injured, and exhausted to my very bones. The sun was high, and I was far from my village, standing on a narrow deer trail, looking at two drops of blood in the dirt. The forest was quiet, but I could hear birds in the trees and small animals in the brush, so I knew whoever I was chasing was long gone. I turned back towards my village, hoping against hope that I had defended my beloved home, that no one else had had to die.
When I arrived the silence told me I was wrong to hope. In every house there were corpses. Dismembered, desecrated. Some of them I recognized my their clothes, or tattoos, their faces were so destroyed, or their heads I found in the street. I put them together as best I could, matching parts as I found them, and laid them in a long row in the street. My husband and daughter were not spared. I found them in the cellar. Hyndin had breathed life back into the very wood of our home and had grown a thorny barricade all around the house. It did him no good; there was a clear path ripped through his defenses, and he and Tellia were at the end. Her body was in the corner, and her head was perched next to her, facing her father. They had made her watch as they killed him. Even in death, my gentle daughter received no peace.
I harvested the bodies. I took the hearts of my family, the front brains of the elders, the livers of our strongest warriors. They give me purpose, wisdom and strength now as I hunt their killers. Before I left my village for the last time, I called upon my demon, and buried each and every body. I am no shaman, so I can’t put their souls to rest. All I can do is avenge their slaughter. I took all the weapons I could carry, and I left my town to be haunted until I can find someone to appease its angry spirit. I left at moonrise. It was a dark moon, befitting the start of a righteous journey.
This time those murdering savages left the wrong survivor.
First found our party in the outskirts of Ornthalas.