The Tale of the Unwanted
The story begins in the town of Fellgloom at the northwestern edges of Myrthala. A boy is found one cold night outside the gates of the local lords keep, covered in strange runes and blemishes. The lord, considerate as he is, decides to take the boy in and raise him amongst his own. The boy spends his first years being prodded and poked by the various healers and herbalists the lord employs as they try to find a cure for his ailments, and so learns that he is different. Growing up, he is met with frightened stares and giggles from the other children in the keep, reinforcing his belief. They are frightened by his markings and the strange things that follow in his wake, which only serves to make the boy feel more lonely. As he moves to adolescence, the boy begins to wonder. Why is he different, and what are the strange markings that cover his body? He asks and asks, but no answers are given, causing him to withdraw further. The questions become a fire within him, a burning desire to understand the nature of himself. He is drawn towards darkness, as darkness follows in his wake. The flowers wilt where he walks, and the shadows grow deeper at the places he visits. He becomes obsessed with learning the truth of his being, so that he may change it. As the boy matures, now used to the hushed whispers that follow him through the town, the lord dies. The eldest son of the lord, now a lord himself, decides in a fit of anger to disregard the last wishes of his father, and send the boy away. “Begun from this town, ye child of darkness” he utters, tears streaming down his face as the coffin of the lord is lowered into the earth. And so the boy left.
The boy, who is now a man, spends the coming years wandering the land, slowly forgetting himself. Rumour spreads quickly in his wake, of villages burning to the ground and towns infected with strange diseases that cause the crops to wilt and the children to die. He asks himself again and again: “Why am i like this?”, “Who am i?”, and for each question asked, the answer becomes more elusive, and his memory less clear. More villages burn.
The rumours of death that follow the man eventually reach the keep of Fellgloom, where the Lord is deep in thought. His land is torn by famine and disease, and his people whisper of a darkness that walks the roads. “Have i not done my duty to my people?” he asks bewildered, as he walks the ramparts with his sibling the Scholar, once again forgetting about the young boy. Together they formulate a plan. They must seek out their sister in the depths of the old forest, where she had gone to learn the ancient ways.
The man shrouded in darkness has forgotten himself. He is now a husk of his former personality, ever followed by the echoing screams of the villagers who die in his wake. He finds himself in a wooded clearing, rambling in incoherence. But this time, something answers. It is the voice of an ancient and long-forgotten thing, brought out of its slumber by the man’s careless wanderings, and it beckons to him. Through its words, spoken in an ancient tongue, it offers compassion and relief which the man clings desperately to. He understands now that it is not his own fault that nobody accepts him, but the fault of the world and its inhabitants.
Days pass as the man sits in the wooded clearing, listening to the whispers of this now awoken being. Slowly he begins to accept himself and his inner darkness, channeling it into a cloak he wears. The once clouded and frightened mind of the man is now clear and full of purpose. Revenge and anger take the place of fright and rejection, as the being stokes the flames of the dark man’s soul. For the first time in his memory, he now has a goal. He must cleanse the world of all sentient beings, and by doing so, save those whose fates would be like his.
The Lord and the Scholar spend the coming days journeying through the forest intent on finding their sister Tempest. She has taken residence amongst the ancient elves who live therein, and retells an old legend they spoke of to her siblings upon meeting them. The legend tells of a young woman beset by memories of despair and helplessness, who sought out the spirits of the forest in order to rid herself of the child growing within her. The woman claimed that horrifying nightmares plagued her mind each night, assaulting her and convincing her the child was cursed. The spirits did not listen to her, but her mind was set and so she commited her own life at the clearing where the spirits lived. The legends tell of a boy birthed from the corpse of the woman, one whose face was marked by scars and blemishes, one born of unwant. And so the siblings stand, reunited by this burden they now bear. The burden of knowing they helped continue the pattern from mother to child, and in doing so cement the ever-cyclic nature of fate. The man of darkness now watches with eyes open the destruction he brings upon the villages he passes. He revels in the deaths of the innocents, for they are payment for what was done to him. By destroying them, he prevents any further injustice and this comforts him. As he passes through the land, brining reckoning to all in his path, the words of the ancient being echo throughout his mind. It told him of a time when it was still slumbering, when it heard the sounds of children's tears in a long forgotten forest dwelling, and of creatures speaking the elven tongue cursing that same child as they carried it from their forest. The man of darkness has a goal now, and feeds the lust of his revenge on the souls of those fateful villagers he passes.
And so our story ends, for the siblings eventually found the man, or he found them. And as all stories end, so does this one, in heartbreak and despair. Tempest gave her soul to save the elves who had taught her all she loved, and so became the wilderness. The Lord, so full of remorse for his actions, gave his soul to bind the man of darkness. And the Scholar did his duty and watched, staying hidden at the place of the fated battle so that he could retell this story to those that should come after.
The one shrouded in darkness became as he had always been, the ancient being of unwant, once again trapped in eternal slumber until the cycle should repeat itself and the story begin anew.