1. The pact shall solely encompass the lands currently known as Fortune’s Bend (subsequently referred to as Pact land),
2. Within the lands of the Pact, no one nation or church shall hold sovereignty.
3. Anyone who comes in peace and does not intend harm shall be permitted to seek the wisdom contained within the lands of the Pact.
4. Individuals who are acceptable to Death and members of the current Pact may join the Pact, but are not required to do so to live in Pact lands.
5. Individuals who wish to leave the Pact shall be permitted to do so.
6. Individuals who are no longer acceptable to Death or members of the current Pact shall be able to be removed.
7. Death does not require exclusive loyalty and outside allegiances are encouraged, as is diversity of purpose.
8. The members of the Pact shall protect the Pact lands and Death’s gate in return for Death’s protection.
9. The messenger of Death shall be Salvatore Faire.
If I do not do this, if I do not sacrifice, I can still see. The future is clear. It is short and sharp. Magic’s world will break and take the mortals with it. In his absence we will persist in a wasteland of gods and ghosts. We will remain, but without purpose. There must be purpose.
It is no longer my calling to design that purpose and place our children like sentries to see it carried out. It is my calling now to do the most beautiful and fearsome thing of all, and let it go. Spread across the whole of the world, sacrosanct inside their fragile forms, it will be enough to hold the world together if they choose. I can not see this future and what they will choose to do, if they will choose to pull you from the claws of madness. All I can say is that they can. They are my final gift to you.
You will always be my beloved. Before you know anything else,
before you believe anything else, you must believe that.
For all of my existence I have known everything, the outcome of all of our choices. I don’t know if that is the right thing for me to do, to keep loving you. How is it that this oe thing, this one most important thing, I don’t know? It would have given me a last moment of peace before I live you, but it appears I am not to have that. I look ahead now and all I see are choices, millions of choices layered on each other, tangled up together, wildly and passionately decided in that beautiful way the mortals have.
It is up to you, alone, to take on the part of my mantle that mortals
can not, to listen to our children and to care for the races as I do.
Open your heart and see how they love each other without limit,
how they create beauty for no reason, how they give and things they
value most to their children. See how they can look at a simple
valley and see a community, or stand at the bottom of the deepest
abyss and still focus on the tiny point of light above.
Injustice; Oppression;Evil: These are not just ideas. These may be challenged and fought by a true bladesman.
The Bone Witch knew a secret way into the Hall of Bones,
A twisting trail that wandered deep into the catacombs,
Where laid in jumbled piles the ivory remains,
Of emperors and heros grand, and also farmers plain.
She took from there a bushel of bones,
And from them built herself a throne,
As fell a construction as ever seen,
And sitting upon it, the most evil of queens.
From atop her morbid perch,
She drained the river and parched the earth,
The cattle went down on their knees to die,
Starvation, the bane of Severrin’s eye.
She needed no army but a vast empty land,
An expanse of nothing no life could withstand.
The Bone Witch sat in dominion undisputed,
Her great power to the throne imputed.
The former king she kept beneath her feet,
Fed him stones in place of meat,
The good man lasted until his body burst
And his bones where placed among the cursed.
His daughter had little hope of survival,
And had given up waiting for the arrival,
Of succor from some remote quarter,
Of Rues or even beyond its borders,
So enters Nemin Zahory of Anbara,
Trained well in the Dueling ways of Shiara,
Who traveled for weeks to reach the throne
Without food or water or shelter, alone.
The evil queen laughed to see such a sight,
A starving hero, a skin and bone knight.
“What a treat! A Visitor!” said she.
“Who dares to come and meet with me?”
Zahory replied “I come not to meet,
But to challenge!” and he climbed to his feet.
His good blade he pointed at the witch’s throat,
And intoned the words he knew by rote.
“I challenge you, Bone Witch, to prove your right,
To rule this land. I pitch my might
Against your powers, strong as they are,
Those who fight against you are stronger by far.”
She screeched in mirth, a terrible sound,
“But knight, you are the only one around!”
He answered “That is how it appeared,
Because I was the one who volunteered.”
“I bring the purpose of hundred to bear,
To save this land, and this maiden fair,
To destroy your throne after you fall,
And return the bones to their rightful Hall.”
An awful smile crept onto her face,
While she moved toward the knight apace,
“I know your name,” she said at last.
“You think me stupid, but alas”
“For you and for those dreaming fools,
Who thought me ignorant of dueling rules!
A Battle of blades I would surely loose…
But behold the champion I choose!”
The sky grew dark as the witch reached within,
And pulled from underneath her skin,
Every ounce of power to form a brute,
Overpowering, malevolent, mute.
His strength was equal to her cruel deeds,
Her atrocities matched his speed,
His skin was tough as her soul was callous,
And his eyes burned with all of her malice.
“My champion fights,” the Bone Witch crowed,
“And when enough of your blood has flowed,
We will sup upon your dying moan,
And all of your strength will become our own.
“We will call out in your voice to the hundred that wait,
And tell them come, that the witch met her fate,
They will arrive to find your defeat,
And I will keep them, and break them, and gorge on their meat.
This is my answer to your pitiful cause,”
She said, and without even a pause,
Zahory accepted the terms she drew,
And offered his own, should his blade be true.
“This creature born of your black heart
Will be defeated, and then depart,
To leave you with nothing, no power, no throne,
And you will wander in your empty home.
“No food will you find, no water to swallow,
No shelter to hid you, no hovel or hollow.
And though you may live for hundreds of years,
Your screaming for death will fall on deaf ears.”
The Duelmaster appeared and looked at the foes,
And said “The challenge is made, may you reap what you sow.”
He opened the field, but before it could start,
The princess stepped forth, her hand on her heart.
“Nemin Zahory,” she whispered slowly,
My crown has been taken, my station now lowly,
But I wish to give you what I can, if i might
Bestow my favor to aid in your fight.”
Her feet fell with purpose as she stepped to his side,
Gently kissed him, and thereupon died.
And the the knight’s hunger faded away
His arduous journey seemed but a day.
The circle was opened, the warriors charged in,
Virtue on one side, on the other side sin.
They clashed in the middle, a sound that rung round
The mountains and hillsides and then shook the ground.
Zahory was strong, with feet that where fast,
And the kiss had gifted him endurance to last,
But the great shadow duelist was from darkness wrought,
Did not tire, or stumble, or feel pain as they fought.
When the battle wore on for blow after blow,
The strain on the knight began to show,
Blinded with blood, his armor stained,
He knew that just one chance remained.
His cry was hoarse but his spirit was fierce,
He leveled his blade and lunged to pierce,
Through armor and hide, then go between,
To the heart of the beast who fought for the queen.
Before his blade struck as intended,
He realized, and then amended,
For such a creature would have no heart
And so he aimed for the dearest part.
Its gut, the centerpoint of greed,
That vestibule of excessive need,
Became a sheath for Zahory’s sword,
When the black beast at last was gored.
When the Anbaran’s Blade was withdrawn,
There was a rip in the belly of the spawn,
From which poured forth blood and bile,
Mixed up with arcanum vile.
Without the mass of the witch’s sin,
The brute was naught but empty skin,
A man-shaped sack of untanned leather,
The last result of a malicious endeavor.
The Bone Witch screamed, her power curtailed
Because Nemin Zahory has prevailed,
“Witch!” called the Duelmaster “Your champion has lost,
But you will bear the greater cost,
For as the terms where clearly defined,
No drink will you have, no food will you find,
You will be prisoner of this desolation,
And may your suffering have no cessation.”
When Zahory emerged from the blight, he was lauded,
Crowned with flowers, feasted, applauded,
“Nemin!” they cried, “You are victorious!
Praise be to the gods! Merciful! Glorious!”
It is said that their hero did not partake of the laughter,
He thanked them, but departed soon after,
He traveled the land from the Krugs to Shiara,
Carrying with him the princess’ tiara.
If he loved her, it was never made clear,
Bur surely that one kiss he held dear,
That strengthened the heart of one tired knight,
And commended the hero to finish the fight.
Its my esteemed honor to invite one and all to Fortune’s Bend to enjoy
the hospitality of his Honor, Goveror Aurelio Sciatha. In just over one
weeks time there will be a grand meting of some of the most brilliant
and fascinating members of the churches of the exalted Genesori. His
Honor at that time, will be divulging to all information critical to the
success of our project and newest town. You are invited to enjoy and
partake of the hospitality of Pyredown and its newest treasure. It is the
hope of this simple herald that this shall be a grand occasion for all to
come and witness a once in a lifetime opportunity.