Thousand Years of Sleep

Part II - The fall and rise of a man

Desert by tincek marincekThe Vale of the Accursed lies at the heart of the Burning Lands, the most inhospitable area in all of Khur. No man or beast that had set foot in that valley ever came out. Even blue dragons, otherwise unchallenged masters of deserts avoided it. So rumors started spreading that the area was cursed and that great evil lurked within. Some spoke of the ghost of the Kingpriest, others of a fragment of the Graygem, others of even worse, unimaginable stuff.
And yet, a knight, armor shining in the midday sun was heading straight to the entry of the valley. He didn’t seem eager, nor afraid; not in a hurry but not hesitant. He simply walked because he needed to. High up on a cliff face, unseen, a small desert lizard was watching, its faceted eyes devoid of any feeling. As soon as the knight set foot in the valley, the air around him filled up with magic: sand rose up to swallow him, molten rocks came rolling over him, and strange creatures popped out seemingly out nowhere. But the knight had magic of his own, protecting him. He walked through the quicksand unhindered, the molten lava seemed to run over him, harmless, and his sword made short work of the creatures. He then looked up, straight at the lizard and began walking up the cliff at the same measured pace. He stopped with his boot inches away from the small reptile, and made a single gesture. In a flash of white light the lizard changed, becoming something that might have very well been a living, breathing humanoid once, now a dry withered shell, eaten away by time and the desert.
The shell spoke with great difficulty ‘Stronger than me….at last…death?…at peace after so long…’
The knight stretched his hands forward, one holding his sword, the other holding a platinum scale ‘I bring you a choice’.

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