The Fallen King
Curse your ancestors.
If they had chosen some other lord then everything would be different. Let me quickly tell you the story one more time. Centuries ago, our ancestors fought under the banner of King Cerald the Just. They fought with the King against the evil one, Emperor Denskel. They held the title of King and Emperor, but demi-god would have been more appropriate with the level of magical power they wielded. It was called the Ageless War because it was believed it would go on without end.
Nothing is ageless. Every war must have a winner and a loser. Your ancestors’ lord, our lord, lost.
He lost slowly and he fought to the end. Eventually he, and his most loyal and powerful servants, retreated to a small valley hidden away in the mountains. That was centuries ago, and we still live here. The Leryn Valley and its fifty square miles is the only home we have ever known. We can farm this land, we can hunt the wildlife that comes and goes freely, we can even build cities within it, but we can never leave.
Emperor Denskel, if the legends are to be believed, was a vengeful and evil man. If he was a man at all. He was at least a necromancer, perhaps a vampire, maybe a lich. It is said that he spared no mercy for his foes. Even with Cerald defeated he hunted down any who had followed him. He cast a dark spell that killed all those who had followed Cerald, and all of their descendants. With their lord vanquished, there was nothing to protect the people from this dark magic.
Except in this valley. Leryn is the only place that is safe. The King’s last act was to lay down powerful rites that prevented any foreign magics from entering this place. Denskel cannot find us. His magic, that kills all who followed Cerald, cannot harm us. No one who is not the blood of a follower of Cerald may enter our home.
The King’s magic protects us, but it also binds us. None may leave the valley. The few who have tried have met with instant death. That was your fate: to live out your lives here, never stepping beyond the border, and for that fate to be repeated generation after generation.
Like the Ageless War, nothing is without end.
King Cerald came to me in a vision. His body still slumbers beneath our temple. Even in his greatly weakened state his presence was almost overwhelming. His instructions were simple. The Gem of Vatesia has arrived on our world. He says that it was forged on the astral plane and only appears on a plane of existence for a few years. It has the power to wake our lord from his slumber and free us from the curse of our ancestors.
The king commanded me to gather our six greatest warriors and train them; to prepare them for an outside world that we know nothing about. Once they were appropriately prepared, he would give them power to journey outside Leryn and be protected from Denskel’s magic.
I did as he asked, even though I know no more about the Gem of Vatesia than I have just told you. I found the most talented warriors and wizards that lived amongst us. I spent a long time carefully considering each person who lived in the Valley of Leryn and wasn’t happy until I had the absolute best.
That is not you. I found the best and we spent a year training them. We equipped them with all of the powerful relics we had. When they left I was confident they couldn’t be any more prepared.
That was two months ago. I am able to track their progress by following the protection Cerald gave them. Three have already died. I know not which three, only that our lord’s protection is no longer needed for them.
Cerald’s power though remains and we must send three more. We do not have the time to train you, and we can only offer you the most meager equipment, but we have no other options. You are each talented, and it is my hope that you can forge that talent once you leave the valley.
I know what I ask of you. Those who were better prepared than you have already died. I don’t ask this lightly, only that we don’t have any other choice. You must find the Gem of Vatesia. It will remain on this world for a few more years, but we cannot be certain of when it will vanish. It is the only way we can wake our King.
I ask you not to do this for Cerald. He is a long forgotten power who few, even in this valley, hold in reverence. I ask you to do it for those who live in this valley. Your family and your friends. If you do not succeed they will be trapped in this valley for the rest of their lives.
As will you. Unless you are outside when Cerald’s protection fades. Then a much more grim fate awaits you.
Find the Gem of Vatesia and return it to this valley. How you acquire it I leave in your hands. While you have years ahead of you, time is of the essence. We are ignorant of the world and do not know if Emperor Denskel is still a power. If he is, he will certainly seek to prevent Cerald from gaining it. With how much time has passed, there may be other powerful forces interested in it.
There is much you will need to do. You’ll need information, allies, and equipment. Seek out those who went before you; they may have what you need. If not, you’ll have to find them on your own. The exact path, and our fates, we leave in your hands.
High Priest of King Cerald the Just, Alexander Perce