The Tome Unburnt, First Entry

I slaughtered the innocent and cheated the meek, in the service of a tattered banner and my own pride.

I was not a good boy. I was not a good man. I had fallen away from the light of Al’Gul’s flame.

In the great war of 1066, when the Hohhren Knights needed recruits, I was of that young impressionable age. Their heady tales of valour quickly turned to a reality of mud, muck and death for a foot solider like myself.

As they pressed against the Empire of Lan Xu, my brigade came to a small town. Quan Ma. The soldiers had retreated, leaving only the weak and wretched. They clustered around a temple with a strange sigil. Our skull-faced captain gave the order – burn it to the ground.

I was only a boy. But even a boy should have known better.

Their screams still haunt me. The fire danced from the stockades into the centre of town. They died in their hundreds. By my hand; by my flame.

After the war I settled down to run a small store on the outskirts of Hohhra. My salves could fix any wound but my own. I could run a world away, but I could never escape those haunting screams.

The town of Quan Ma didn’t appear on any Hohhren map. Little but charred ruins remained. Nothing grew, not even weeds. The blackened remains of the temple were all that remained of a once thriving town.

In search of absolution from whatever god could provide it, I entered that husk. The charred bones of the decade-long dead littered the pews, clutching at whatever solace their god could provide. Nobody had even given them a proper burial. Yet amidst this desolation, a leather-bound book stood shining and unburnt upon the pulpit.

This book.

I reached out to grab it, and felt a violent tug in my chest as my eyes swam.

This was not the church. There was far too much fire. The air smelled strongly of sulphur. This was another plane of existence. Yet within this frightful scene was a presence at once terrible, monstrous and beautiful. Al’Gul himself. He stood taller than three men, stronger than ten and beseeched me to change my ways. To repent my sins and follow his divine example.

I was not a good man. But Al’Gul saw the potential in me.

I was weak and feeble minded. Al’Gul made me strong.

I was lost in a world of decadence. Al’Gul gave me purpose.

I was just one man among many. Al’Gul made me Zaphos, acolyte to the Lord’s Fire.

His first order was to return and shine the Lord’s Fire on the Rat King. I will return now to the Abersyth tavern, where I hope to find a few righteous souls who walk in his light. Together, we shall deliver divine vengeance to the Rat King, and to all who displease Al’Gul.

– Zaphos, acolyte to the Lord’s Fire