The leafy canopy amidst sharply angled branches of the towering oak cast a cool shadow over the center of the town square. The tall and gaunt priest once again returns to give sermon.
“Come Family, gather and listen to a warning,” the Priest calls out to the crowd in the town square.
“I have seen with my own eyes something troublesome,” he points at his eyes to draw attention to his gaze and continues. “An army of lizardmen encroaching less than a day’s journey through the woods to the south.”
“It was there where my companion Duffy MacNeil, a fine and noble warrior, and I saw these lizardmen.”
— Cut to a room in the Cask & Wick Waywards Inn. The room is blanketed in shadow. A candle silhouettes the kneeling priest. —
The priest mutters a prayer, “My queen, I have found another killer that is eager to soil his axe and hammer in blood. You will not believe his first words to me were that he wished to swing his axe and hammer into something. He meant something of flesh and blood.”
He grins, waving a hand over the shadowy flame, “Ah, he is ripe to send you more souls, my queen. With your bidding, I will give this man aid to split and crush countless foes.”
— Cut back to the Town Square. —
The priest continues, “If you see this brave man, give him thanks for his duty to Nyrheim in keeping our Family safe.”
— Cut to the forest in a ring of burnt out trees. —
A large centipede leaps from a tree, mandibles clicking audibly as it lunges towards Duffy. The agile fighter lifts his axe and bisects the centipede right between its fangs. The centipede’s legs flail as it falls to the ground. The thing curls upon itself twitching lifelessly.
— Cut back to the Town Square. —
“Yes, give this man thanks for ridding the forest of blood-thirsty creatures that stalk in the night,” the priest gives emphasis to the word blood-thirsty. “He fought bravely against centipedes the size of men and later against a far more powerful foe.”
“We came upon this more powerful foe as we happened upon a small pond in the forest. There we discovered what we first thought were harmless beasts of burden, like the herds of rothe that aid the farmers in tilling the soil so they may grow their crops and in turn give our Family sustenance. But these were not these, but we did not know it yet.”
The priest holds out a welcoming hand, “We didn’t see the beasts’ handlers but figured they were nomads just as we were all once nomads in search of a brighter future and new home.”
“Just as we were nearly extending an open hand of welcome, a lizardman erupted out of the pond with spear in hand and began hissing and grunting in our direction. A second lizardman (what must have been a barbarous shaman) did not erupt from the water, but slinked out, licking his teeth in hunger. It wore a suit of bones upon its chest. I dare not imagine who its victims were, but I hope they were granted a quick death and now bask in the warm light of the Eternal Sun.”
— Cut to the forest. —
A path is swathed out, leading two directions. Telgaunt and Duffy stealthily follow the two lizardmen who drive their beasts through the path. The rear lizardman realizes it is being followed, turns to face the two, and and waves a bony shield in the air.
Telgaunt charges forward with his fingers gathering passing shadow. He places his hand upon the chest of the lizard man shouting, “Shadow envelop and steal you.”
Black wisps of shadow pour from Telgaunt’s hand onto the chest of the lizardman and spread throughout its body. His eyes fill with black and give it a vision of the Shadowrealm where it will live out an eternity in the service of the Dark Queen. A moment later, its chest bursts open to no blood pouring out, but instead tendrils of shadow cascading on the forest floor around its lifeless corpse.
The second lizardman wearing bone armor rushes forward, grasps its claws at Telgaunt’s neck but a shroud of shadow protects him. It then swings a powerful club at Telgaunt’s head but this time the shadow reaches out to shield the incoming blow. A tail from one of the beasts slashes through the path that would have easily killed a man, but passes right through the shadowy priest.
— Cut to the Town Square. —
The priest looks to the sky in reverence to those who might have been the lizardman’s victims and now make up its bone armor, “I am grateful that the gods have delivered to us a man so brave. I am grateful to have been accompanied by the brave Duffy. For if it weren’t for him, we would not have defeated the vile lizardmen and, what we thought were harmless beasts of burden, were actually vicious beasts themselves that when commanded charged, bit, and swiped their massive whiplike tails at us.”
“I will spare you the details of the gruesome sight that it was. I’m sure you can well imagine the lizardmen were ought to wreck the stuff of nightmares upon us.”
— Cut to the same forest path. —
Duffy sidesteps the shaman lizardman’s claw and parries it’s club effortlessly before bringing his axe and hammer upon its head crushing it instantly.
— Cut to the Town Square. —
The priests holds out a single finger to give warning, “Through courage and duty to Family, we defeated these vile lizardmen and their beasts. In our victory we delayed their plans to do the people of Nyrheim harm. We found that in their packs they had all manner of construction supplies. Supplies to build a tower less than a day’s journey from our home! I cannot fathom to think of what they might do if they were to gain a foothold so near to us.”
Townsolk mutter to each other, some calling out in fear or disbelief.
“But what can we do, you ask?”
“Let us continue to pray to the gods that they deliver us safely. And, if you are able, give whatever aid you can to the Nyrgärde so they may continue to protect our Family from harm that brews outside of these walls.”
The priest digs out of his pack an alms box and places it at his feet before lowering his head and whispering an inaudible prayer to his goddess.