No one moved. Every eye in the place was locked on the old man in the chair. The servers and barkeep no longer served drinks and food. Instead, they sat or stood where they were and directed all of their attention toward the old man.
“Near the end of the war, the Beard That Walks had rallied the dark armies—” Okama had begun, but was interrupted by a small voice to his left.
“What’s the Beard That Walks?” It was a little girl. She was sitting at a table by the bar with her family. They each had a bowl of stew in front of them on the table.
“I’ll tell you what, darlin’,” Okama stood once again to address them all. “I’ll just start at the beginning. Everybody gonna be okay with that?”
There was a collective nod from the entire room.
“Okay then,” Okama said. “As you all know, in the beginning, there was only the one world …”
IN THE BEGINNING, THERE was only the one world and this world was filled with magic.
The race of Man walked the earth with Elves, Trolls, and other creatures of faerie lore; living together in a time of peace and understanding through magic. Magic was a power that came from the earth, a power that left unchecked was wild and unpredictable, but when harnessed by the many various races was used to create countless wonders.
For a time, this was the way the way of the world until Man, who had always been a curious race, constantly learning and discovering new skills in a way to better themselves, began to practice a new art called ‘Science’ and for a while, magic and science co-existed in balance, often times working together for the betterment of the world. But there were many among the humans who abandoned magic altogether in favor of science and forgot the use of magic entirely, thus the balance could not be maintained, and magic’s time upon the earth began to dwindle.
A human wizard, whose true name has since been lost to the ages, could not accept the inevitable, and strove to find a way to save the magic of the world. He delved deep into the mystic arts, finding a more powerful, yet darker, unnatural side. The wizard embraced this dark magic and felt that only with this new learning was magic to be saved. He presented himself to the great Council of Magic, showing his fellow wizards and witches what he had discovered. The Council however, did not like what they saw and denounced the young wizard, telling him that he was lost and commanded him to abandon his dark path.
The young wizard was angry at the Council, calling them fools for clinging to their old ways. He pleaded with them to join him, but they only laughed at his foolishness. His pleading soon turned to threats, and the wizard vowed to one day return and reap upon all his most terrible vengeance. The Council ignored him, dismissing his dark words as nothing more than the ramblings of a madman.
And so the young wizard fled from the Council and hid away from the world, finding sanctuary deep within the bowels of the earth where he spent all of his waking moments practicing his new dark skill, growing in power with each passing day. Soon he had discovered a way to extend the length of his life well beyond the years of his kin, and so he remained in self-imposed exile, away from the world and soon forgotten as those who dismissed and ignored him died of old age.
The wizard spent decades studying and building his power, creating for himself a horde of dark creatures to do his bidding and worship at his feet. His followers called him by many names; the Great Lord of the Dark, the Nowhere Man, the King of the Night Time World, and the Black Wizard, for his was an evil that the world had never before been witness.
During this time, the Black Wizard’s hatred for the races, human and non-human alike, consumed him; these were the people who had turned their backs upon magic and let science into the world. These were the people who denounced him and called him ‘madman’. No longer was he content with his campaign to save the magic of the world; his thirst for domination and the enslavement of all replaced these once ‘good’ intentions.
Over a century after he was laughed out of the Council of Wizards, the Nowhere Man and his vast army of dark creatures came forth from the earth and did war upon the good people of the land, enslaving the races, and imposing the rule of the Great Lord of the Dark.
The races were united in opposition of the Black Wizard and fought against him and his dark horde. For years, war was fought, covering the four corners of the Earth. A war which was waged for so long, that there were many who were born under the it’s banner, and knew no other way of life.
To be continued . . .