Legends of Deliverance

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Once upon a
Since the beginning of t
Dear diary

Alright, you know what - I'm not a bard, and I refuse to pretend to be. I have no gift with words (or is that 'of words', I never could remember) and no patience for writing, so before I've broken every quill in camp, I'm just going to settle for recording events clearly and plainly. With any luck, Mr. Big and Mighty Hero will be smart enough to pick up a proper scribe somewhere along the way and leave me to do the job I do best.

This document, though lacking in style and flair and competent authors, is in fact volume the one-hundredth and fifty-seventh of the Legend of the Deliverer, he who is chosen, he who shall bring salvation all those other things. Think me not irreverent, dear reader, for I owe much to the Deliverer, and he is a great hero indeed, to have come this far. All I mean is that if you've have read this far, you should already know all you need about who he is. If you've have never read of the Deliverer's journeys before, I urge you to begin with volume one. By the time the Deliverer's quest is over and his story is available to the public, volume one should be available in the libraries of most larger cities.

- - - - - -

Autumn 78, 3012
The Deliverer and his troupe returned triumphant from their battle with the purple dragon Engrazhizzimalion. I was in the battle myself, of course, so I can vouch for the accuracy of its description in the last volume. Anyway, the troupe's bard was lost in the fight - split in two by the dragon's claws, we can only hope that his death was quick and painless. Many of the Deliverer's companions were wounded, a few mortally so, though our healers were able to stave off death yet again (other than the bard's, I guess) and so we were able to get out of that one with no casualties other than my predecessor (the dead bard wrote the other one-hundred and fifty-six volumes, in case that wasn't clear). The dragon's head was dragged out of its cave and mounted atop the entrance, and the entire body's worth of scales was claimed by the hero. I guess he's going to make it into a suit of armour, but I suppose that will be a tale for another day (and hopefully, another scribe). Right now, it's time to rest. Finally. Today was otherwise another day spent marching along the road, though the Deliverer looked particularly heroic in doing so (I guess? I've been ordered to include all the Deliverer's travails, no matter how insignificant, and specifically journeys like this... I suppose next time I shall have to compose an ode to his breakfast eating). The road to Dimlavir is long and boring, and as it seems not even the dark lord (why do they call him 'dark', anyway? The man has alabaster skin and dresses in gold. By the gods, dark is the last thing I'd call him) would send his assassins to wither away in this road's drudgery. Ah, well.

These are the words written on the crumpled piece of paper you took from the arrow-filled corpse outside Engrazhizzimalion's Lair. You stand among the wind-swept trenches of Engrazh's Canyon, outside the lair of the great wyrm herself. You came out here out of sheer curiosity, on a borrowed horse and with only a few days' worth of provisions, because you wanted to behold the scene of this legend yourself. Despite the warnings, the superstitious and fearful stories, and the very king's edict, you ventured out there because you had to see that place of death, to see how such a great hero could have fallen. The hero himself is nowhere to be found, of course - his body has long since been strung up, paraded in front of the royal palace - but the bones of his friends still lie here. They lie with their faces in their plates and bowls, murdered during supper much like any murder victim you've ever known - an arrow in the head kills a legend just as well as a commoner it would seem. Else, as many of the larger corpses testify, a dozen arrows in the head will do what one alone cannot. There is no trace of any mighty struggle.

There is barely time to contemplate the writing on the paper, however, before you notice something unusual. It was barely noon by the time you reached Engrazh's Canyon - you could've sworn it - but the shadows suddenly seem to grow longer. Stopping to listen, you hear the faint clack-clack-clack of claws on stone, and you suddenly come to think that maybe the stories of this place weren't all superstition after all. Frozen with sudden, unnatural fear, you can only stand in place, paralyzed as the clawed steps close in from behind. Right as the hot breath of... something much larger than you, sweeps down your neck, a voice in your head cries out, run!

With a speed you didn't think possible, you fly over the field of bones and into the cave of Engrazhizzimalion, since it was the only place to run too. A spurt brings you safely through beneath the head of the great purple dragon as you run toward certain death and entrapment in the cave, but through some unknown grace the skull that has hung safely on its mount for hundreds of years, crashes down behind you. The crash is deafening, and leaves only silence and darkness after it. Fumbling your way across the barely lit stone floor, there really is only one way to go. And the voice is still there - beckoning, calling.

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