The Ashen Kingdom

What Lurks Below the Surface

Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder!
—Rallying cry during the 32nd war, after the death of King Garth

Excerpt from The Tale of Jeremias, a posthumous autobiography

Master Morrow was invaluable that day. He drove his body into the ground, though not literally as I had seen him do previously. The stone walls at first seemed sufficient. The rain was light and there was hope that the night would be without further horror.

Such hope was misguided, as it always is in the Forest. A hunting party of rath demons surrounded us. The trees moved to encircle our barricades. The significance of those trees was not understood for many days. Perhaps if something had been done in that moment, many more deaths could have been prevented.

At the time, a fire mage in our party carried Lux Bulla, which was used to drive the demons back and make repairs to the roof of our fort. The light barrier was assaulted by what appeared to be a demon shaman, but when struck with flame, the creature dissolved into water and steam. While trying to grasp the implications, we were caught unawares by a bolt of lighting. To this day I am not certain which of our many foes was responsible for the strike.

Once again in the relative safety of stone walls, my allies could only watch in horror as the fire mage was smothered by a tube of mud. This was yet another significant event that was not understood in time.

The remainder of the night and even the next day’s journey were uneventful. I know there was some terrible business in the early morning, but I was not privy to the goings on.

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