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The Sundered Mountain

How the Sanderberg Clan began...

Once upon a time, perhaps in the early years of Bülvirk, shortly before the dark age began, there was a keep on the northern borders of that young land. It was a new keep, built by an ambitious group of people, who desired to push the boundaries of the land and make a name for themselves. Today it goes by the name of Coalhiem, although that was not its name then. That name is lost, as was the original keep to the darkness. Only the name of its hero remains.   Conradt Emilsonn was the oldest member of that community, but not the leader. He was soft spoken and thoughtful, prefering to listen to a mans statement before voicing his own opinion in a calm tentative manner. Though often overlooked, he was well liked in the community, often bringing home game whenever he went on a 'stroll' (which could last for a week). His wife, Esthar, was more fiery in personality, and had more presence in the community.   It was from one of these strolls that he one day returned, bearing grim news. "An army of raiders out of the mountains to the west, under the banner of the Grimm Fang, lord of exiles. They are moving towards us and will be here in seven days time." The folk of his clan were aghast. Raiders were rogue soldiers who had thrown off their honor, virtue and duty to the nation. Grimm Fang had once been Marshell Wolfrom Grimm von Stolberg, a decorated officer in the army. He had attempted to overthrow the Archon, but his plans had been exposed before they could be put into action, so he fled up the western coast, hiding with his followers, seeking out a place to claim as their own. Now he had turned his gaze inland and had scouted out the small keep on the edge of the nation. It would mean serfs to lord over and a defensive position for the taking.   Conradt's clan had no warriors. They were pioneers and farmers, but they were proud of their keep, and would rather die then let it fall into the raiders hands. It was soon decided that the children and a few of the willing mothers would hurry east to the river, while all the others would remain and hold the keep to the last, setting it ablaze if they must.   Conradt took his own council though. The next morning he set out with his son and daughter, against the wishes of his furious wife. They didn't flee east, but went west, in the path of the approaching hoard. Eventually they came to a hill overlooking a valley in the shadow of a tall mountain. They set up camp and the next morning Conradt began his magic.   Shortly after dawn he took a stand overlooking the valley and softly began to recite the secret names of the things that breathed in the valley; the squirrels, the birds, the elk, the snails, the martens, the moles. Every creeping thing that moved, as well as everything that swam or slimed or crept. Night fell and he whispered to the trees; elm and cedar, oak and willow. To the grasses and the moss, to the reeds in the lake and the weeds in the depths.   When dawn broke, he whispered to the sunlight on the flowers and the hanging arch of heaven in the sky, and finally the setting sun. On the second night he called the stars and planets by name and light, each according to their constellation and place in the heavens.   The third dawn came, and his children kept watch over him, as he began to speak in the hard tongue of the earth. He spoke of the hidden shape of the mountain, of the rocks and boulders that made up its consensus.   Late into the third afternoon the raiders approached. They decided to set up camp in the little valley. They did not see the man working his magic, for the lake was bewitching with beauty and refreshing to drink. In refreshed joy, they caroused late into the night, calling out to each other in merriment.   Up on the hill, Conradt heard their names and spoke them into his spell.   As dawn brought an end to the third night, Conradt began to chant in the old tongue, his voice rising from whisper to speach to shout to thunder. His voice was echoed off of the mountain, until a chorus of doom fell upon the ears of the raiders and they rose in fear and alarm.   Then, Conradt paused, so that the final word would be heard by all whom he had called out to. Then he pierced the silence with one last cry and slammed his fist into the world below him.   "Sanderberg!"   His children heard him and believed him. The animals heard him and believed him. The trees and plants heard him and believed him. The raiders looked up and believed him.   The rocks believed him and seperated, the ground beneath the valley shook, and in one swift moment the high mountain fell apart and was halved. One half stood and stands to this day, but the other half fell upon the valley where the raiders had camped. The lake was filled in with rubble and became a soup of rock and grit. No raider lived to tell the tale.   Conradt decided to sleep after that, while his children went looking for food. Later, when he had rested and they were eating some roast quail, some of his clansmen came up to see what had happened. When his children told them what had happened, they were disbelieving. When they returned to the keep, the disbelief remained.   Then, a week afterwards, an envoy of gnomes arrived and congratulated the community on their use of magic so powerful, it had been felt across the world by mages everywhere. They were shocked to find that one man had been responsible for the disturbance. When they heard the story, however, they understood and explained to the townsfolk that a careful and quiet approach could change things more effectively then with an aggressive stance and attitude.   And so, Conradt Emilsonn became Conradt Sanderberg, the last hero of the golden age. His family became a house of their own, contributing to Bülvirk in the ages that followed under the new name Hakon. You can find them west of Sweetwater, still practising a quiet, reserved disposition.

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