For now we will build our world Mor Nadar together in this space.
We begin our journey by telling the tale of the Newcomers, a people who have turned the world upside down in two short years.
I remember the night that I should have died. The night I lost her and the night I lost my father. The night we lost Sacktun.
Autumn. The season was just turning and the world was ablaze with russet and golden leaves and a riot of colour. It was a beautiful day with clear skies and the warm sun on our backs as we finished gathering the harvest. That Autumn had been hard for we had been blessed with such an abundant crop but as we returned from the far fields, we did so with our voices raised loud in merriment and song and smiles on our lips. For me, the smile was entirely for you and your mother and I ached to be home with you.
The first thing that we knew of their trouble was a ruddy glow to the north of the town. Thinking it to be nothing more than a grain shed having caught alight, we ran. We ran so hard that the air burnt inside me like the fire that, unbeknown to us, breezed through Sacktun’s southern-most homesteads as they put the houses to torch. At the time, we were concerned that we would lose the year’s crops. None of us considered that the entire village would be burnt to the ground but I would burn ten villages if it would return your mother to me.
The first we knew of their coming was the gravel snort of those beasts that they ride as one bolted past us and we ran past Orson's forge. Riderless, it burst from behind the building, its snout covered in gore and its hide slick with what I can only assume was blood. It reared up before us, delivered a thundering blow to Rowan’s chest and ran past, away from the flames.
We have never seen anything like this beast, like a monster Aldred would tell stories of round the fire. But this was no story Rowan was gone, lost to us. Again we ran, but I must confess that I do not know whether I ran to see the flames or put distance between me and that spectre of dread.
As we rounded Wicket Hill, we saw the grain sheds aflame and clearly illuminated before them stood my father, a pitchfork in his hands and Orson stood beside him in that ridiculous hat he always wore. Before your time, I know that it is funny the things that stick with you.
I noticed that before I noticed the fallen.
Four men lay at their feet. They were already dead. Even as it was growing dark, the grain sheds burned brightly in the criss-cross of red blossoms covering their tunics and hose. There was no helping them now. I saw them for I saw their killer.
As tall as any of our warrirors wearing suits of maille. The tales and legends always said that they were slender creatures, fair and beautiful. No. No, this is not them. The legends are wrong. This creature was as cold as the heart of winter. There was a terrible beauty to it but not the beauty you would think. It was the beauty to inspire terror in the hearts of men, the grace of a predator a moment before its kill. Then it saw us. It turned its head and saw us. Four strong men in our prime, come to help our kin. It did not care. It simply turned back to your grandfather and lashed out.
I remember the spear most of all. A long and powerful thing of shining steel. I remember how Orson once showed me a sword he had forged for a noble, such things being well beyond the wealth of the fyrd. I remember thinking it was a wonderful piece of work and marvelling at the smith’s skills. Until now, it was the only sword I had seen but if Orson’s blade was a sword, the Newcomer wielded a terrifying and terrible work of art.
I wish I could tell you how bravely your grandfather fought and how he made the creature pay for those lives that it had taken. I wish I could tell you of the hatred and malice in the fiend’s eyes as it fell. I wish I could tell you of your grandfather's victory. I wish the pitchforks and farm tools and ridiculous hats in mortal hands could stand up to an armoured warrior and that good and right and courage and valour could win the day.
I wish I could tell you of the terrifying cries of rage that the creature let out as it killed. I wish I could tell you that it bested your grandfather in a tough struggle but barely emerged victorious. I wish I could say something that would stoke your hatred of these creatures and make you understand how terrible they truly are. I wish I could say I saw the hate in its eyes as it batted aside the pitchfork knocked him to the ground and raised that long spear.
They say that to lie about a death brings dishonour and recalls the shade fallen. For years I have told you your grandfather died on his feet. I owe it to his shade to tell you the truth.
There was no hatred in the creature’s eyes. There was no malice. Only that mask. There was not even any effort. In one quick blow, my father lay dead and it had already advanced on Orson. It moved methodically and simply, no more than a reaper collecting its harvest. No malice. No hatred. No mercy No passion. No interest. We were beneath such beings. They are a terrible people.
I ran. I don’t know what happened to my companions, whether they ran to Orson’s aid or fled in terror. By this time so much of Sackrtun was ablaze. I panicked. I had to be with you. We had heard the rumours they were coming but we ignored them all. We thought those problems to be far away. We had no warning that they approached but all around me, as flames devoured our village and while reapers rode amongst we mere shoots of corn, harvesting our lives, I knew I had to get to you.
You probably don't remember our home. I wish you had known any other home than the constant movement, the constant flight. Our home was beautiful. It was much but more importantly it had her. Your mother was a fine woman. She was my world, my light, my happiness. When I found her as she was, my heart died.
I would have stayed with her forever, till the end of our lives. I would have stayed with her until the reapers came to gather the harvest. But for you, child. As they walked amongst the village, her final words were simply take you and run. Run and never stop until you were safe.
That is how we met the Newcomers.