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PRELUDEEdit

In the shadowy mists of the half-light, in the heart of the Timeless Sands, a sword was forged. The light of its blade shone like the moon on steel towers, its handle was crimson as blood. The sword's powers were unmatched by any weapon on Haddashall, and the sound of it spellforging sent terror to the hearts of the Darkspawned. May the Rider return to wield the blade that cannot be sheathed until Korangad Ithil is fought. May the Rider return on the heart of a hurricane, to conqer our oppressors, and renew this savage world. - Daerin Redbow, last ruler of the Highborn.

"Arnald!" Where on Haddashall has that boy gotten to this time? Fastran Grimvale asked himself annoyedly. Fastran was standing out in a field of gently swaying longfire weed. He had been looking for the fourteen-year old lad for nearly two hours. He snorted impatiently. If that boy doesn't come out in four seconds, I'll switch him with a hickory cane. After some thought he decided that he would not do that, because, after all, the boy was in need of some solitude. Fastran's wife Elena had died a month earlier, and her son had not yet given up grieving.

Fastran turned to the sound of several footsteps behind him. There were three young men, wearing black leather jackets and hats that matched their coats perfectly. But Fastran saw only the body they were carrying in their arms.

"No, no, no!" He knelt down as the silent men softly laid the body on the ground. Fastran's hands trembled as he touched the still face of his son.

The tallest of the three men spoke. "We found him by the end of the waterfall, Lord Grimvale. He must have fallen in." Fastran's eyes dimmed with tears. "First my wife, and now my only son. Why? Why?!"

"It is not our business to question the will of the Father." said one of the other men. "Only to obey."

"Obey? Obey one who let my son die? Not in a thousand years, Gardeth!" cried Fastran angrily through his tears. "I will curse a Father who lets his children die needlessly! Curse him!" Fastran collapsed weeping over the body of his only child. "Death, death, death!! Death take us all!"

"So passes the last heir of the House Grimvale." intoned the dark-clad men. "May the hands of the All-father shelter us from the Haddakhor."

Five hundred miles away, in the Duilan Valley, a great battle raged. On one side were the Ragnar Knights of Aeliandar and against them were the armies of the Fastran, Lord of Westrandor. Unheard over the crashing of weapons and cries of the wounded, an infant wailed in a shallow cleft on the side of the valley. He was less than six months old. The battle swept past him, and whether he was guarded by some spell, or had the luck of the Father himself, he was unseen and unharmed.

Jaksön Adamān was not the kind of general who let his men into a battle that they could not win. As he stared out from his tent down into the valley his brow furrowed anxiously. He feared that he had done just that.Why did Lord Fastran send us here anyway? It seemed a futile effort now, what had been called the greatest fight for freedom Westrandor had ever seen. The General's thoughts were interrupted by the drumming of hoofbeats. A red cloaked messenger astride a grey stallion rode up to him, panting heavily. "Speak up, Laeron!" said Jaksön impatiently. "The Ragnars are upon us, General!" the messenger replied. Jaksön tugged on his grey-flecked beard furiously and cursed. "Send out the Stormwarriors, and be quick! The future of Westrandor depends on it." The messenger bowed and hurried off. The General stood for a moment in thought, and then he walked inside his tent and snatched up a crossbow. If his army died fighting, he would die with them. The Captain of the Stormwarriors raised his horn to his lips and blew wildly. The dark-blue haired gigantic Stormwarriors charged down into the valley, wielding greataxes and yelling battle-cries until the valley rang with the sound. Jaksön Adamān held his iron helmet in his hands firmly, hesitated, and raised his head to the sky. "I am sorry, Lord Fastran. Westrandor will fall." With that Jaksön stood tall and yanked on his helmet. Leaping on to his black warhorse, he cried, "For Westrandor!" and charged his steed down the slope.


Chapter One - Murmurings of FireEdit

The rain had begun to pour onto the village of Witherland three days earlier, and there had been no respite since. Everyone refused to leave their houses and stayed inside, reading old tomes of fabled lore. Even the roads were empty of the horse-drawn carriages that usually came riding through. There was not even a single traveller on the roads. Except Fyrthin Tarian, a travelling Knightwarden of the the First Rank, and a visitor to Witherland.

The inn door flew open with crash. Saradi Haran, the town gossip and maidservant of the town Mayor, stumbled in and hurried over to the tables. Several younger city residents were sitting there, as well as a hard-faced middle-aged man with dark brown hair and eyes like an eaglehawk's. Saradi ignored his piercing stare and began to speak exitedly. "There's a Knightwarden outside, and by the size of 'im, 'e's not the kind to be laughed at! Whilst I was sewing a scarf for master Haran," she chattered, "I hapt to look out of the window, and this great hulk of a man 'twas staring right back at me! I hadn't of known he was a 'Warden less'n I'd seen the crest on the saddle o' his horse." here her voice dropped to a whisper. "And 'e's comin' to this inn! 'E'll be here in minutes!" Everybody started speaking at once, and everyone tried to stand up and leave before the warrior arrived. But at the sound of the front door opening, all twenty-six people in he room froze. A massive figure appeared silhouetted in the doorway. In one of its hands it held a greatsword, and on its back was a flintlock rifle. Saradi made a sign to ward off evil, and everyone else did the same. The figure softly closed the door and bowed slightly to hide a smile. When he lifted his head, his eyes caught Saradi's face and he bit his tongue to stop from laughing. He walked over to the counter and adressed the terrified bartender. "Sir, if it is no disturbance, I would have a quart of ale." His voice was deep, and it showed a very Farlander accent. "Y-yes s-sir k-knightwarden. One aurt of qale! I mean one quart of ale, sir." the bartender stammered. The Knightwarden walked over to the nearest table, set his greatsword on it, and sat down. He looked around the room, and everyone hastily avoided his glance.

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