|When I was but a young lad, a story was told to me once...bye a wise priest. This story is one which I remember, and have written here for thine own eyes...|
Silvermoon and the Axe
As Told by Alcor
The sun shines warmly through the boughs, casting waving shadows over the scene in the Oakvael temple as the trees sway slowly to and fro. Near the entrance, a group of children are gathered around a small chair, which is occupied by a stocky, middle-aged priest of Muian descent.
As the children's voices die down, the thaumaturge begins to speak. "Ah well, all right then. A story you want, a story you shall have. Now, this is an old story.. A history begun before the adventurers from Kesmai ever found their way to Oakvael, it begins not long before the Islandfolk activated the portal which led to the winter land known as Axe Glacier. A good story, yes it is.. Full of champions and dragons and heroic deaths, and of course, a victory.
When the Glacier was young, the town at its base was thriving. The folk who lived there were content with their lives, despite the cold, and went about their daily business without concern. This was before the Dragon came."
Several gasps and excited exclamations greet this statement, as the children are suddenly more interested; the old priest smiles and gives a soft chuckle.
"Yes, yes, a dragon. A mean old creature she was, and huge; wings longer than that tree is high and a maw near the size of this room. No one knew where she came from, just one day there she was.. Made her home atop the glacier, making away with mounds of wealth from the nearby town; she slept on it, as dragons have a habit of doing. Well, every now and then she'd swoop down on the town and make off with a few more valuables and usually a few townsfolk stuck in her teeth. It got to be a way of life for them, waiting for the dragon to appear and make off with a wife, a son, a daughter.. But one day she got mad."
The old priest raises an onyx ankh which hangs around his neck, and traces a strange symbol in the air.
"Ghods know why, and damn her for it, but she took it out on the town. She came winging down the glacier and started murdering folks left and right. It didn't take long for the folk to realize this was no normal visit; she hadn't come for a meal and a trinket then to leave again. Watching their homes burned and families savaged, some of the men raised the courage to fight back against the beast. A valiant effort was made, but alas, it was all for naught. No weapon known could pierce her hide; rocks were thrown, bows fired and countless blades swung, but the Dragon continued her rampage. As time passed, she became bored with her sport and returned up the glacier to sleep off her bloody meal. Through the night, many lives were taken, swallowed up by the Dragon's fury. Of the few who fought, fewer still survived. Among them was a simple blacksmith known in the village as Silvermoon. His wife and two daughters had both been killed in the attack; blind with anger, Silvermoon swore his revenge, to rid the world of the beast."
"The first task he undertook was to find a weapon which would harm the great beast.. Smith that he was, he took to his forge and began experimenting with various metals both magic and mundane. After many sleepless nights, Silvermoon forged a crude greataxe made of silver mixed with several unknown metals of a magical nature."
"Confident that he had achieved his goal, more axes were forged to equip many of the remaining townsfolk. To avenge the deaths, Silvermoon walked in the lead as the force marched up the glacier."
"As they reached her lair, the beast was asleep. But not for long. She smelt the group's fear as they approached, and awakened. As they moved towards her prone form, she gave a mighty roar and leapt towards the startled would-be dragon hunters. A vicious battle ensued, with screams of fear and of pain as one by one the attackers were slain by the beast. In the end, only one man stood alive facing the Dragon; fed by his cold anger, he fought on and on into the night as the beast tried vainly to strike down the lone fighter."
"Silvermoon stood firm throughout the night and through another day, until night fell again. In darkness, Silvermoon began to falter. Sleepless night after sleepless night took it's toll on the warrior and his attacks were stumbling, his defending dangerously slow. With a final effort he swung his own axe in a savage blow, the blade crushing the Dragon's eye and penetrating through to the brain. As she fell to the ground, Silvermoon fell alongside her, exhausted but victorious. His quest was completed, his wife and children avenged, and his town safe once more."
"The following day, as he trudged down the glacier bearing the best of the Dragon's hoard on his back and in his arms, was the last time the blacksmith Silvermoon would see the light of day. Through his efforts, he had come to understand some of the curse of the great mother of all Dragons, and knew in his heart that one day the fell beast would return to torment the land. The hero of the tale retired to his forge, underground in the town of Axe Glacier. There, he will forge the Silver Greataxe for any adventurers who come to him; for he knows that there will always be a need, as the Dragon returns again and again, for brave souls to slay her for the good of all the lands."
As the priest begins to stand, the children begin to clamor for another story. As they tug at his robe as he walks past, the priest gives a smile for the carefree joys of youth.
"Another time, young friends.. I have duties to attend to now. Another time.. I have more tales to spin."