Prologue

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In the lands of men swords clashed and kingdoms were sundered and built anew as men struggled for dominance, waging war through the ages. The greatest conflict was in the east where the clans of men slew each other for years without pause, until the men of Mor began conquering the eastern territories with strange powers none had seen before. Mor sent its armies into every neighboring kingdom, absorbing these lands, and no weapon that men have forged could stay their course. The black and gold armored soldiers of Mor swept like a shadow across the land and word spread of the dark lords who led them, men who possessed terrible powers and commanded hordes of unnatural creatures. In the west, tales of Mor's lords and invincible armies caused some to worry that Mor might seek to conquer the western kingdoms, but when Mor's armies stopped marching, the kings of the west did not trouble themselves with the men of Mor, believing the distant eastern empire posed no threat to them across the sea.
........Mor's armies were not seen marching for years afterward and there were many who wondered what schemes the men of Mor plotted. Some thought they gathered their forces and prepared to conquer all the east, while others guessed they would seek to conquer the world. There was still talk of Mor's lords and their fearsome powers, but none could say what strange forces lurked beyond the mists that hung over the territories of Mor like a sorcerous fog.
........Then a time came when five kings were called to a meeting in the realm of Mor. The three kings of Khazinth, King Modrus, and King Nuor were assembled to meet with Mor's lords to discuss the future of the east, or so they were told. The five kings were taken to a dark tower that stood high over the earth and there they were shown many strange and terrible things. The king of Mor revealed the cataclysms that would sunder the earth and tried to persuade the five kings to become allies of Mor, but the five kings refused to side with Mor. Then the king of Mor said he would reveal a dire secret the men of Mor have hidden for ages, but only after the five kings swore an oath that they would not reveal this secret to others. The oath was taken and the kings were shown the Runes, the dreaded signs from which all sorceries are derived, carved long ages ago by terrible powers that once marred the earth. The kings looked with horror at the dire Runes and surrendered their lands, fearing their kingdoms would be destroyed if they did not relent to the king of Mor.
........The kings returned to their lands and only one of them, King Modrus, broke the oath he had taken. Knowing that Mor would sunder the world, he tried to warn his people, hoping to gather his army and destroy the Runes, but before he could tell where the Runes were hidden, before he could utter one word, he choked and died. A rumor said he choked while he was eating, but there are some who swear they saw a shadowy apparition grasp the king's throat and take the life out of him.
........The other kings were dismayed by Modrus' death and none of them would speak of the Runes, afraid to break the oath and be cursed with death, but one of the three kings of Khazinth, King Gahn, found that he had spies among his guards. The inhumans revealed themselves, assuming their true forms one night as he stood on his balcony. He had heard tales of the elves, but had never seen the strange beings, and he stood in wonder of their beauty and grace. The elves told him they knew about the Runes and had for centuries tried to destroy them, but could not locate the dreaded signs. They knew he had a sorcerous oath upon him so they did not ask him to reveal the secret of the Runes, but instead asked him for clues that might guide them. The elves were not sorcerers as many still believed, but they were a mystic and wise folk who knew of many ways to escape the perils of sorcery. The king agreed to help them, knowing the Runes must be destroyed, and what he told the elves that night has changed the course of all things:
........"The Runes are hidden deep in the earth, but not in any cave. They are carved in stone by a hand of fire and filled with death."
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The Sylvan Horn

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