The war ended two years ago, yet I still feel the war drums beating in my head. Every morning, the sun shines its bright halo within the confines of my dreadful shack, illuminating the small pieces of sanity left after over 20 years of civil war which only bore two losing nations being claimed by Runegard, the capital nation of humans. At times, I feel my grip with reality waning, as everyday drones by with no sense of purpose.
My daily routine now consists of hiking up the hills of Caliborn keeping my weary body within a state of use, proceeding to practise blade work until the hour of Sun’s Peak then hike back down to hunt small game which usually becomes the dinner for the night, and if you get lucky, you sometimes catch enough meat to last two days. And thus your days continue on, in these plains below the hills. There isn’t much rain here so the land can often be cracked, dry and even the winds shun the place as if it were nothing but a hindrance on its airy path.
Some nights you can hear the howling of the wild in the mountain ranges. Recently shadowy silhouettes had been shifting at the peaks, sometimes they emit a faint light which can only be seen when one stands still enough to wait on the flicker. Dawn breaks just as sudden as the night encroaches, and the daily routine begins once again.
On the 3rd day of each week, I make my way to the village beyond the plains. The village has a local blacksmith which tends to get my blade measurements wrong with each transaction. The local inn harbours along the market streets, there are street merchants bickering over small deals. The inn is a usual haunt that I relish, often helping me drown a sorrow or release anger, usually with the unwilling participant.
The inn is filled with waylaid travellers in search of a day’s respite, while many are locals trying to barter with foreigners hoping to get their hands on rarely seen trinkets, I, however, am looking for the travelling merchant named Sneed, a goblin merchant which tends to trade on a subtler currency.
"So, the depressed warrior finally graces us with his presence, my..my..my" snickered Sneed.
"Selling fake wares again Sneed, don't you have a better way to earn some coin".
"Oh, so the depressed one feels the need to lecture this Sneed on how to deal fairly when it was just not too long ago you cheated me of the Dagger of Uktmatow, do you remember that oh solemn one.." he sneered as he gets off his trading cart and prance around you.
"You and I both know the dagger was to be used in the correct hands, and most in this town would say that the dagger is wasted on your fickle palms."
"Ever so witty with words this human, well what brings you here anyway, have you lost your newest sword, gotten your shield cleaved or have you just come down to berate ol' Sneed". Sneed then proceeds to place a crate down and sits down with his arms folded, looking at you with a rather disgruntled look.
"The thing with me, Sneed, is that I have grown weary of my current existence, and I need to find something to do now that the war is done. Bandolia has gotten peaceful, but I am sure there is still excitement to be found. Regarding said excitement, I found a local source of such excitement exists in these parts, in the form of shadows within the valley that are rather strange, know anything about that Sneed?".
Sneed looks at you curiously as if you asked him a rather odd question.
"Is this some joke that you humans usually do, or is this a convoluted way of asking me to sell you gear for cheap. You know why those shadows are in the valley, and I am sure you know why they are acting up."
You are taken aback by his answer as you peruse your memories as to what the cause might be. And suddenly a thought hits you.
"It's the dagger isn't it Sneed, tell me, did you sell me a cursed dagger"
"HHAHAHHAHA, you morose fool, you cheated a Crovitus weapon off me without even knowing its purpose, you humans are really more foolish than my kind believes, this is a tale worth telling Groth, oh how he will love this" laughed Sneed as he fell off his crate in a fit of laughter.
"What do you mean?"
"The Dagger of Uktmatow is a weapon of darkness, and when the dark comes it hungers. Prolonged hunger causes its core to call forth shades from the Netherlands. This whole time I thought it was necromancers having a really good time at the valley, who knew there was a human stupid enough to just keep the Dagger as a relic for display". explained Sneed as he looks at you in jest.
You wonder if this is just one of Sneed's tall tales of magic or just one of his ways of getting back the dagger.
"The dagger requires blood, and once blood is drawn, it has to be owned by blood binding. If you let the dagger fester on any longer, we are going to have a really Daemonic time and when that happens, I guess you can say you will get all the excitement you need for this life and the next".
Sneed then begins to pack up, as the day begins to get darker. You are left with more questions than answers as you see the wily goblin head of the trodden path.
You walk back towards the inn lost in thought. You wonder whether it would be your fault if Daemons do appear. More importantly, you ask yourself, where is the dagger now?