I stood at the mouth of the infamous "Murder Run." A road that led out of the Ranglong Mountains and into the land of the Gods. It served as a barrier against the Nightmare Fortress and its monopoly on all of Fabula. That and the impenitrible Gates of Turn built directly into the mountain pass standing defiantly against slavery and oppression
My home town of Bellshire, the last free domain of man and here I was about to leave my safe abode... For what? To fulfill some long forgotten oath my ancestors made when they fled the evil clutches of king Malus so long ago?
It wasn't my fualt that I was of the line of king Korinth. Why couldn't we just as easily ignore the oath and continue living out our lives in safety? Further more a single man, no matter how talented could never hope to stand against King Malus, so what hope could I possibly have? All of these questions were answered by the elders with the same response; "The oath must be fulfilled" they droned like a bunch of brain washed bafoons but alas here I stood like a lamb to the slaughter.
They called it the Murder Run because it was only safe to travel during the day and if you could not complete this road less traveled before the sun set the evil denizens of the Murder Run would capture you and devour your soul for eternity, or some such nonsense. It was a rumor that kept the citizens of Bellshire from entering the land of the Gods for their own safety for King Malus and his Nightmare Fortress were no fable.
I awaited dawn only to placate the Gnarit guards that waited behind me. I planned on running as fast as I could until they could not see me, and then taking my time until I reached the end of my route. I would camp for a few days in the Valley of the Gods and think of some elaborate story to tell upon my return and hopfully those foolish elders would buy it. I'm not going to commit suicide for some crazy story even if its written in prophecy.
The one good thing to come out of this whole mess was the Gun Sword known as Kuldane. A weapon only the Chief elder knew how to use. Passed down from generation to generation, it was a weapon of legend used by king Korinth himself to defeat Malus's champion and secure the survival of the Royal family to Bellshire. It was said the weapon is a combination of modern warfare fused with some ancient technology that Fabula utilized before the rebirth of the world, something called a flintlock.
I was tought to use it by the chief elder and for those few months I was looked upon with awe by the towns people. "Is that Kuldane?" they would ask marvaling at the site of my new weapon. "Yes" I would proudly proclaim whirling it about in expert manuevers much to the displeasure of chief elder Namb.
I felt the weight of Kuldane resting on my back, its cold presence reasuring me like a guardian angel as I looked upon the morning beams of sunlight illuminating the ominous road that lay before me like a backdrop to some torrid painting.
With a grunt I started my forlorn quest and sprinted forward, my leather armor creaked as I extended my limbs to quicken my pace. I had to spring over rocks and dodge obstacles almost imediately. It was clear to me now why I wasn't permitted a horse. My eyes were locked forward to traverse the rough terrain safely all the while using my perphirals to scan for the bend in the road that would deliver my rest. After an eternity it seemed I had finally rounded the corner and in an instant halted, caught my breath and strode forward confidently.
The remainder of the day was more of a blur I thought of the Bellshire winter festival, an endearing memory filled with laughter and fun it always brought a smile to my face. I honed my rock throwing skills by targeting pinecones with mock vengence and I even fought a few battles with enemies conjured from air and imagination, pretending the Murder Run demons were around every rock and tree. Before no time the sun was setting and I was running out of ways to amused myself so I turned around and witnessed the great orb sinking behind the lonely Ranglong mountains. This time acting as a backdrop to a beautiful sight; The Gnarit monostary. Standing proud and defiant againts this dark world. The sight filled me with a sense of honor... And regret, for persueing a psuedo quest born of foolish tradition and not some riveting adventure to save mankind. Finally the sun conceded it's enchanting presence and just as suddenly darkness sprang forth awaiting its turn to shroud the land in its errie embrace. It was then that they came...
It started with a single low gutteral growl as if a beast had been waiting in broad daylight in the form of some inanimate object only to come alive in the absence of the sun right at my side. I thought it was my head playing tricks so to combat the inauspicious noise I began whistling a winter festival toon hoping the happy memory might fend of the portentous clamor of the Murder Run.
Bad idea, for this cacophony of horror wasn't in my head it was very real and very close... I felt hot breath on the back of my neck and froze. But only for a second, in a flash I drove my elbow backwords not knowing what I might find and was pleased to hear