A middle aged traveler sits near the fire in a small cabin deep in the forests outside of Loth’i. His forest green cloak hangs on a hook by the door, still dripping from the torrential downpour outside. A frail looking boy with sandy blonde hair stirs a pot of stew that the traveler had provided most of the ingredients for with a longful look. He licks his lips ravenously.
“My lord, do you think you can tell me a story while we wait for the stew to finish?” The boy asks, hopeful of some distraction from the rumbling in his stomach.
“What manner of story would you have me tell you lad?” The man responds after a moment. His gaze descends upon a beautiful sleeping girl, snoring sweetly underneath a ratted blanket. “And besides, I might wake your sister if I speak too loudly.”
“Lydia? No she sleeps like the dead, or at least my mother always said she did, before she got taken by the orcs.” It was a subtle change in the boy’s posture that told the man that this young boy was alone in raising his small sister. He seemed to stand up straighter and then turned to the older man. “What of the history of our land Kolgaria?”
With this, Lydia’s eyes shot open. She was always interested in hearing stories, and it looks like her brother had brought a man who had seen the world. She quietly slipped from her corner tucked into her bed and ever so careful snuck to the kitchen table where she hid under her blanket hoping to hear some magical story of wizards, knights, and princes. Oh and princesses of course she thought. What kind of story doesn’t have a princess?
“The forging of Kolgaria, a long a bloody story my boy, perhaps you’d rather hear of the beautiful city of Von’gail and the Countess Marwick whose looks have started wars amongst the noble families?” The wizened man offered.
“No, I wanna know where we come from!” The boy eagerly replied. “I’m already …” The lad paused to count out eight fingers out and holds them up proudly. “This man, my da ain’t here anymore since the war with the orcs started back up and he went to find our mother, I think I have a right to know.”
The man in the chair by the fire let a hearty laugh escape, which he quickly stifled, and clapped the boy on his shoulders.
“Very well, my child, come sit closer so that I may better weave the take of Kolgaria’s humble beginnings to the might we command today.”
The small house shook as a loud thunderclap lit up the interior of the building.
Lydia was startled enough to let out a squeal of terror and bolted from her hiding place to the arms of her big brother. After a few seconds of surprise, he carefully peeled his sister’s quivering arms from around him and sat her gently in his lap.
“Lydia, this is a grown-up story, you have to go lay back down and got to sleep. You know scary stories give you nightmares.” The boy reprimanded.
“No Garth, If you’re old enough, sp am I,” The tiny child pouted and set her eyes in a defiant stare. “Besides, you always protect me from my nightmares.”
The man in the Traveler’s cloak swept the little girl up in his arms from Garth’s lap.
“Very well my dear, but it is a very long story and one that bores pretty girls like you at that.”
The man winked at Garth, mumbled something lightly under his breath, and pulled a few rose petals from a strange looking pouch on his side. He sprinkled the petals over the little girl’s head and a dim shimmer of light danced around her head. Lydia then stretched, yawned, and promptly went to sleep.
“Don not worry my boy, I just helped her go back to sleep. This truly is not a story for one so young.”
The traveler then stood up and set the sleeping child back on her bed and brushed a blonde ringlet from her face. He then helped himself to a bowl of stew that he had provided for the children and settled back into the chair in front of the fire. No signs of a mother’s love graced the small cabin. Nor the strict discipline a father would enforce on his children. Too many had met this fate since the orcs started coming back through the Valley of Swords.
The young boy waited patiently for the traveler to finish his bowl before clearing his throat with an expectant cough. “Sir, you promised.” Garth’s eyes still had that spark of youth in them and a force of will that the traveler had rarely seen. This was a boy destined for great things. He would save many lives one day if he could live to do so.
“Yes, I did my child… Excuse me… Garth.”
The traveler raised his arms to begin the tale and a fine wisp of smoke poured from his sleeves. With this, the man formed the layout of the Kingdom of Kolgaria, pulling the The Great Twins in the northeast with a twisting motion out of the floor of the map. He cut the Digrane river than ran from Alventra to the Cael’thian Sea with a fluid wave of his hand. After a few minutes of this Garth gasped as the world he knew he lived in was brought before him in great detail. Such that he had never seen before.
“Sir, who are you?” Garth asked, not with fear but as a man demanding an answer.
The traveler smiled his sly smile and replied, “I am Donovan Thaddius of the Mercurian Circle. A friend of this realm, and a friend of a man named Garth. Will you hear my story?”
The boy could only nod in amazment….