Time passes, even for heroes. You are on the road, your stolen horse trudging south. Desolation stretches out behind you, all the way to the mountains. The road is empty, as it has been for days. The horse shudders, a froth dripping from its mouth, and dies. Another dead companion, you think. Another dead while you yet live.
You unload the corpse and tighten your tattered traveling cloak against the wind. In your hand is your weapon, a standard issue warhammer. The weight feels wrong, too light. And it doesn’t gleam like the great Mordenkrad you wielded in days long past, the one you still wield in the stories they tell about you. The one that stands as the only grave marker for the King you let die. The one that marks the spot where you decided to run, to save yourself.
There is a town in the distance. You don’t know if it’s the one you’ve been searching for. You rummage through your pack and pull out an amulet. Dwarf-made. The collapse of your people has made such things all too common. Still, it should fetch enough for you to drink away the dreams that haunt you, for a few days at least.
The wind picks up, and the Hero of Titan’s Fall shambles forward.
The wind insists on its howling intrusion. Ancient parchments and your own papers blow about the room. You instinctively lunge to grab them before they are scattered. In the process, you knock over a candle and instantly your desk is ablaze. The fire spreads to the books piled high around you. Faint screams erupt from one of the volumes. You collect yourself and incant a simple spell to stop the blaze.
You have lost months, if not years, of work. Many of the documents you lost were irreplaceable. Many you had not yet read. The wind was never this bad. And the window! You never kept the window open! Curious.
Your mind turns to the puzzle of the wind and the window as your limbs move automatically to shut it. You see something moving on the northern road. Two vagrants approaching the outskirts of the city. You pay them no heed.
You’ve tried hard over the years to shut out the outside world, to concentrate on your work. You are vaguely aware of the great upheavals occurring in the world outside your windows. You didn’t concern yourself even as the civilized world went up in flames. How ironic that your own world should do the same.
The wind continues to puzzle you, as you hastily write down all you can remember from what you lost. You feel feverish. You’ll need new books, new scrolls. You hunger for them.
The wind carries the stench of corruption. This is the place, you’re sure of it. You sent your men out to determine the source of the recent troubles, and one group failed to report. They were headed in this direction.
From a distance it looks like any other large town aspiring to be a city. It sits atop a slight bulge in the earth. You ascend. The guard, obviously a drunkard, blocks your path and gestures for a bribe. You look into his eyes. There is pain there, yes, a family to take care of perhaps. But there is also weakness. You curl your lip in disgust and push past him, correctly judging that the man has no spine.
Looking around, you see all manner of defilement. Men overwhelmed by drink lie catatonic in the gutter among the rats and waste. Beggars halfheartedly lift their bowls and thieves lurk in the shadows. Someone is forcibly ejected from a brothel. A man wearing the gaudiest of laces. It has been many months since you saw for yourself the vermin that man and elf had become. And what’s this? The degenerate races freely walking about the streets, running shops and serving liquor. Truly the corruption here runs deep.
You say a familiar prayer to Bahamut. The time for forgiveness is long past. You resolve once more to purge the weak, the licentious, the degenerate by the flame of Bahamut. Many have joined your cause, and the bloodletting has proceeded apace. But there is much left to do. Only the pure can stand against the darkness.
You smell smoke and your thoughts return to the present. An old church lies ahead. It seems unoccupied, but smoke billows from a high tower. Perhaps the purging has already begun.
A chill draft wakes you from your slumber. It must be windy out there. Floorboards creak as heavy feet come up the stairs. They are coming for you again. You extricate yourself from the sheet and woman on top of you and get out of bed. The smell of hashish and spilled liquor and…something else…is strong in the air. You don’t remember what exactly you did last night, but you know, for a brief moment, you were sated.
You gather your belongings and the belongings of the woman, some weapons, some tools, money and hashish. You’re surprised that her pimp woke up so quickly. She was supposed to drug him and tie him up. She must have done something right since she got away with all his loot. Despite what you promised in the throes of ecstasy, you leave your loving whore to her fate. They always trust you, and they really never should.
The men enter the room and begin to get physical. Fools. The madam of the whorehouse won’t allow this kind of ruckus. You make sure the fight gets very loud, and soon her very large and very stupid manservants arrive to throw everyone out. The last thing you see before being pulled from the room is heartbreak on the face of your whore. You flash her a smile.
You’re thrust outside. Your thin clothes are not made for this cold, and you amble off looking for another high. Killing usually works, that might be one way to go. It’s a big town, and you’ve only just begun to milk it.