You are an inhabitant of the Principality of Shabak, a loose federation of
mercantile city-states in South-East Allansia. It is a warm, prosperous
land, subsisting on trade and agriculture, suffering only from the
occassional bandit raid or storm.
|Artwork © Hugh Eldred-Grigg|
Born in the sleepy market town of Kelbakna on the edge of the vast, rolling
Green March - the breadbasket of Shabak, you lived an unremarkable life.
Playing with your friends and helping your father, a local magistrate for
the Electors, tally the harvests, was enough to pass the days. That is,
until your eleventh birthday.
The death of your parents was a blameless crime - they were caught in a
field during a lightning storm and slain by a thunderbolt. Gone to join
Kulak, the Storm Father, the local priest told you, but your grief was inconsolable. The Electors were going to send you to an orphanage until an old man by the name of Tybald, claiming to be your father's friend, offered to adopt you.
Not eager to take an orphan into their hands, the Electors agreed. You went
to live with Tybald in his shack in the foothills of the Ulakbad mountains.
It was a hard life for you, but you adapted. Tybald did not just raise
you, he taught you - instructing you in the arts of swordsmanship,
bladecraft and weaponsmithing. When you asked Tybald why he was training
you, or where he learnt such skills, he would simply order more drills for
Sometimes you missed your friends from Kelbakna, but you became content
with Tybald. He was a father you had never known, and, while he was not
generous with affection, his approval when you successfuly completed a test
of swordsmanship was enough for you to subsist on.
You have lived with Tybald for ten summers now, and you will soon be ready
to go out into the world alone. Although Tybald has not addressed the
issue, you can tell that the purpose he has been grooming you for is
approaching. But such thoughts are far from your mind as you go out for
the morning to gather firewood. Tybald has taught you only to take wood
from the old trees, so you spend several hours finding the best wood before
returning. As you reach the valley in which the small cottage lies, you
see a column of smoke rising from over the trees. Wondering what could have
happened to your mentor, you drop the wood and race for the cottage...