The Fable of the Last Heroes
Fable of the Last Heroes
The children circled around the wizened old man. He was perched comfortably on a stool by the fire and wrapped in thick quilt. The wind whistled outside, but the inn common room was warm and snug from the weather.
“What story would you children like to hear tonight?” The old man asked, looking across the children circled around him.
“Tell us about Grognak!”
“Tell us the one about the wolf!”
The requests rained in and the chorus of children’s voices rose to a cacophonous symphony. At last a soft voice that carried the weight of a lifetime cut through the din.
“Tell them the Fable of the Last Heroes”. The voice belonged to an old woman wrapped in blankets, the matron of the inn. Her skin was so brown and wrinkled that it could barely be distinguished from the gnarled wooden chair in which she sat.
The old man stared off into the distance thoughtfully as the children quieted down. A few of the older patrons turned quietly in their stools. The fire seemed to burn low, almost conspiratorially, as the man began his story.
“Many, many, years before even I was born, four heroes appeared to bring justice back to a world of evil…”
“A great war was waged across the ancient kingdom of Medara. It was split in twain and two sides of the same family fought against eachother. It was rumored that a great evil had caused the death of the king and forced the twin brothers to fight one other. At the height of this war, during a long, drawn out stalemate four heroes appeared. Their names, as they would come to be known, were Yurt Threefoot, the Giant of Aenor; Gerlardreth, the High Wizard; Elias, First Warden of Aenor; Willon Diogenes, First Vicar of the Aenorim…."
At this the children audibly gasped, for they had heard of these heroes.
“But at this time they were simply a band of heroes embarking upon a great quest. They travelled across the Riven-Kingdom of Medara, slaying great beasts and facing against the forces of the great faceless evil. Their goal was to light the great towers and thwart the plans of evil. They travelled across the world, braving swamps and plains, and mountains, and deserts and lit the four towers…”
“It was two” the old woman whispered quietly. The old man glanced at her in irritation, shaking his head.
“The heroes lit the FOUR towers, and upon lighting the final tower a great beam of light streamed skyward from the ancient Capitol of Azhron.”
A young girl leapt up excitedly and asked brazenly, “Is that where Ark is?”
“Yes, child. Now sit down” the old man said good naturedly. “Now, both of the kings, who were at war with each other of course, were led to believe, by the agents of evil, that the other had unlocked some great power. Both amassed their armies and marched on Azhron, bent on the final destruction of the other. But the real enemy, Eshan, who was now known by the heroes, was moving his forces against the friends of the heroes, the Warders, the protectors of the world. The warders were weak from the years of war, so the battle was pitched. Eshan, in the middle of the battle, snuck deep into the catacombs of Fort Griffon, the first home of the warders, to find an item of great power. The item, the skull of the last Titan, he used to begin opening portals to the realms of all the evils. He channeled this power into himself, warping himself into a great Titan of evil, terrible to behold. Now, the heroes finally arrived at this crucial moment, backed by an army of dwarves, who joined the battle on the side of the beleaguered Warders. The heroes struck deep into the catacombs, under purple, darkened, skies, after Eshan. After fighting their way through throngs of Eshans minions, the heroes at last arrived at the threshold of Eshan’s summoning chamber. Here, it was, that the gods saw fit to give the heroes their power so that they could defeat Eshan. The heroes bravely attacked Eshan, now a hulking terrifying monster.”
At this the old man suddenly stood up and spread the quilt out, hooking his fingers, and grimacing fiercely. The children jumped and yelped, and a few of the older patrons gave nervous laughs.
“The heroes faced him boldly and they fought a valiant battle against him at the center of his power. The creature possessed of evil otherworldly power that they fought was hideous and its strength unknowable. The power of the portals began to tear away at the fabric of the world and earthquakes began to shake the world. As lightning and earthquakes shook around them, and black tendrils of evil reached out from the portals, the heroes, critically wounded and unsure of their victory rallied and made one last attempt to destroy Eshan and end the evil. The heroes managed to slip past his defenses and deal the final blow, but not before Yurt was inflicted with a fatal wound. The portals collapsed in on themselves and the heroes and tore through the very fabric of the world. The power split Aenor down the middle and the seas poured into the gap. The heroes were saved by Gelerdrath when he teleported them away. The rift created the great maelstrom of water and debris that we call the Maw. The armies of Valgard and Kallonia stopped fighting when the earthquakes started, and when the flood waters were seen and the earth opened up many were saved by taking refuge in the ruint city of Azhron. But not all. Many, many people passed that day, and the face of Aenor was forever changed. But the heroes had stopped the creation of the greatest evil the world would have seen. By doing so they ushered in a new Age of Aenor as well. We have not seen evil or war on that scale in our age, which has been one of peace, prosperity, and discovery.”
“But what happened to the heroes?” A young boy asked. “Did Yurt die?”
The old man chuckled and shook his head.
“No, the heroes survived. They are the reason that the world recovered as quickly as it did. Willon channelled the power of his gods and brought Yurt back from brink of death. Gelerdrath was the only wizard capable of planar travel as well, after the cataclysm. Other wizards suffered serious accidents whenever they tried to, and it became a dangerous and unused magic. So he and the companions travelled across Aenor helping to rebuild. Willon had already helped to build up his own town, and Willonsgate grew into a bustling city, and the Cathedral to the Aenorim, or the 8, was the largest in all of Medara, which is why they called him the High Cleric, his healing power and faith changed the lives of countless thousands. Yurt travelled widely as an ambassador and protector, gaining him the title of the Giant, as he was never bested in wrestling nor negotiation and his Greataxe was made for him by a giant whom he bested in a wrestling competition. Elias travelled and tracked down malcontents and evil before it could grow powerful again, and he was made First Warden of Ark, the great port and trade city that was built from the ruins of Azhron. Gelerdrath was the only wizard who could safely travel the complex planar paths and survive, and he used his power to amass knowledge and collect priceless artifacts from lost places. The great college of magic that was built in Ark made him the Archmage, but many simple called him The Great Wizard. Almost all of the most powerful and important tomes in the great library were gathered by him. The heroes together averted countless wars and saved untold number of lives through their influence.”