Chapter One

October 2, 2010

            The old man hobbled onto the dais in the center of town.  Ten years ago, he had visited the town, and had seemed ancient even then.  His cold stare belied his voluntary blindness.  A gentle breeze stirred his long white hair and beard as he began his story.  “I will tell you a story that even the sages do not remember.  It begins thousands of decades ago, a time ruled by Ar.  It was a time of wonder and darkness, when the gods would make devils cringe and demons were repulsed in disgust.  The grey elves and the dwarves waged a great war against Ar.  He would have been defeated, but this war was not like the wars of today where servants battle one another and the gods remain distant.  One by one, the old gods fell.  The gods were not killed, they were dismembered and chained.  They could not be destroyed.  This war continued for several decades.  As the gods were put down, their creations became extinct or nearly so, but Mormo, the serpent mother was sneaky.  She survived a century more.  Finally, they cornered her.  Three gods fell in this battle.  One stood longer, but his name is forgotten.  His followers, too, lasted longer in the battle.  His greatest cleric, Cuthbert, offered his own life in exchange for his patron’s, and the god gave Cuthbert his divine spark.  Cuthbert fell.  His heart burned with vengeance.  He clutched a nearby log, and crushed Mormo, but did not kill her.  Other gods arrived and dismembered her, and many aberrations sprung up from the drops of her blood.  Each time there is a river of blood or an evil rain, it is a reminder that Mormo’s followers still live.  Now, near a millennium has passed, and ancient cults are rising to resurrect their fallen gods.  This night, here, in this town, new champions will be chosen to defend us in the coming war.”