At the dawn of the First Age, the gods gave power to men that they might slay the gods' Primordial enemies. Anointed by the gods, these beings were thereafter known as the Exalted. The greatest of the Exalted were the Solars, the Chosen of the Unconquered Sun, the mightiest of the gods. So great was their power that, when a Solar died, his power was quickly made manifest in a new individual - a reincarnation of sorts, but into a mature adult rather than a newborn. The Exalted triumphed over the enemies of the gods, and in reward, the gods gave the Exalted dominion over the Earth. For a timeless age, the Exalted ruled justly over Creation, and their kingdom was invincible.
But the enemies of the gods had pronounced a terrible curse against the Exalted. This dark magic ate away at the hearts of the Chosen. The benevolence of the Solars turned to tyranny, and peace turned to civil war. It was prophesied that the madness of the Solars would bring about the destruction of the world. Seeing no other alternative, the lowliest of Exalted, the Dragon-Blooded, murdered the decadent Solar Exalted and locked their souls away.
And so, a Second Age descended upon Creation...
The greatest of the gods' servants no longer walked the earth, and the Realm of the Dragon-Blooded was but a shadow of the lost old Realm. Solar Exalted whose power escaped to be reborn were slain by Dragon-Blooded inquisitors known as the Wyld Hunt, and the Realm claimed dominion over Creation. For more than a thousand years the Solar Exalted remained imprisoned and defeated - until now.
The Scarlet Empress, the Dragon-Blooded ruler of the Realm and controller of the Wyld Hunt, vanished five years ago. Without her might to enforce order in the Realm, the Great Houses of her Scarlet Dynasty have fallen to squabbling over the reins of power. And in this time of crisis, the Solar Exalted have returned...
Legends in Exile
Wherein Last Legs is destroyed,
The gaze of Winter turns toward the Sun,
And a Friendship from the First Age is renewed.
"You shouldn't move around too much. All things considered you shouldn't be up at all. Lucky you are still young, so you had the strength to fight it this long." Lou said as the young man before him rose out of bed and stretched a bit. The man, Nagi, had been ill with a fever for the last 2 weeks.
A strange sickness at the end of Spring, Lou had expected it to be allergy related, only to find the man was stricken with what could only be Tetanus. His face and muscles were so stiff and the man could barely move. Stranger still was the fact that there were no wounds anywhere on his body, and when asked had he come into contact with any rusted metal, the reply had been an honest no.
"Thank you Physician, if you hadn't arrived this morning I'm afraid what could have happened."
"No need to thank me. I was not expecting a patient when I came to your village this morning, but I was happy to be able to do some good work before departing." Lou said as he gathered his backpack and began to move toward the door. He and his companion had arrived in Last Leg's that morning. Hoping to barter some food from the Farming Village, they had been surprised to hear one of the farmhands had come down with such a drastic illness.
Fearing the plague, the ignorant villagers had quarantined him to a small hut outside the village. A 2 mile hike in the surprisingly hot late spring weather had caused Lou's guide to sweat profusely on the way here.
"You're him aren't you? The traveling doctor with that scary looking warrior? Even in our tiny village we've heard some stories about the Accomplished Perfect Physician." Nagi said as they both walked outside and into the humid heat of the midday.
The rolling fields around the Gray River were beautiful and tranquil this time of year. Animals were beginning to reappear, and the roar of the river could be heard even if it wasn't seen. Lou breathed in the scent of mild grass and recently tilled dirt. The sun rose to it's Zenith and not a single cloud in the sky marred it's glory.
The name "Accomplished Perfect Physician" was beginning to burn at him as much as the heat of the air. He had made sure not to give out his name anymore in fear that the Guild would discover his location. However simply being known as Physician, had begun to have drawbacks. As stories of his healing powers began to spread, everyone in every village began to hope that the traveling magical Physician would pay them a visit. When Lou answered their hopes and prayers, the stories got bigger, bolder, and he was beginning to worry that the Physician would be worth more trouble than Lou Feng had ever been.
"Just remember to take it easy these next few days. The stiffness may be gone, but you are still weak. I'll tell the Village Elder to send you some more supplies, and hopefully convince him that you are not contagious." Lou said after contemplating whether or not to deny being the Physician of Nagi's tales. With a formal bow, Lou began the journey back to the Village. He wondered how bored his friend was waiting for him.
While only having known each other for a few months, the stories of the Physician were already including a Warrior companion who was not only a master of arms, but also of magic. He smiled as he thought of the misunderstanding that had lead to a slowly budding friendship. As the only other person Lou had met like himself (although their were stories of more), the Physician had thought it more like destiny than fate that the two met up. Not wanting to take the Lonesome Road, Lou had asked the man to join him on his journeys. While still not close enough to divulge is true name to the man, he found that traveling together was far more enjoyable than going it alone.
The Physician looked to the East. Last Legs was actually surprisingly close to the place they had first met. A Manse that his friend was attuned to. It's location secret from all except the two of them, they had used it as a base of operations for the last few months. It was on a return trip from the Jungles of Chaya that the two had stopped at the small village of Last Legs. Nestled next to the Gray River, Lou was surprised at how established it was for never hearing of it before. The Elder revealed that it was only a few years old, as most of the farmers were refugees moving further away from the shadow of Thorns.
As Lou continued back toward the Village, he couldn't help but notice a cool tinge of air blow from the west. While the gust was a relief in the warm weather, Lou felt a shiver run through his body, as the scent of death prickled at his nose.
"Please! Take whatever you wa-!" The man's voice was cut short as his windpipe filled with blood. A surprised expression, mixed with terror and revulsion, appeared on his face as he looked down to see the rider's Yari jammed into his chest. Letting out a curdling scream that came out as a burst of choking blood, the man looked back up into the white pale eyes of the man who killed him. With the same cold expression he had held throughout the entire meeting, the Rider pulled his Yari from the man's chest. The force sent more blood into the air landing on the rider and the sinewy flesh of his skinless horse. The man fell to the ground, dead before hitting it in a sickening thud. The Rider turned his reigns and gathered with his group, who were similarly executing the people of this caravan.
They were minor tradesmen, profiteering in nothing but spices and fabrics. They had been on their way to Last Legs in hopes of bartering some good for food, knowing that the small village might not be wealthy in silver, but defiantly had some meat and dairy to trade.
Unfortunately for them, they were in the paths of these undead riders, who quickly encircled the wagon and killed the horses. The man who had just been stabbed in the chest had been the only one to make it that far away from the wagon when the group began to run. He had only made it a few dozen feet before the rider had cornered and murdered him.
The riders, who numbered a little more than a dozen had been riding for days on end, having been sent by their master to find the location of a powerful object that was rightfully in "his domain".
After gathering together once more, the riders lined up behind another figure. Her cloak was blood red, but underneath her outfit was a mixture between black fabric and metal. On her back was a hefty Soul Steel daiklaive that possessed the visage of wailing faces on it's flat edge. Unlike the other riders her horse was not skinless, and revealing sticky musculature and white bone. It was black and ethereal, it's red eyes burning with a seeming intelligence.
Ghost Fox Killer reared her horse forward, and without a word the undead riders followed her. Together they thundered toward the small village their master said was one of the closest things to the object. Another days travel at most, and they would be upon their prey.
Last Legs Theme
Ghost Fox Killer