A VILLAGE CLOSE TO EVERMOORE
The Village Elder gathered the children around him and began to speak in a low whisper that made the children tremble with fright.
“October is when the veil between the living and the dead . . . the past and the present . . . is at its thinnest. It is a time of haunting . . . and a time of horror. . . . Only the brave come to Evermoore near the end of October. Evermoore, children, is the haunted heart of this world . . .”
“Why?” asked the Children, even though many of them knew the reason, for their village elder told these stories every year.
“The Crystal City of Evermoore was sacked by the Orcs, Klactons, and Pythians during the bloody month of October,” whispered the old man. “The world remembers the Fall of Evermoore as a festering wound of evil that has never healed. We live in the Valley of Rainbows . . . close to the Inn at Evermoore. More blood has soaked into that ground than any other place within this realm.”
“Tell us the stories,” cried the Children.
The old man’s voice was low. “There was a Warder who blasphemed the teaching of Natallis by joining his soul with the primal essence of a wolf.” The children shrunk away in terror as he continued. “It was during the dark days following the Fall of Evermoore that the Warder, grieving for the destruction of the Five and the end of the Dream of Peace, began his own war against the Orcs, Klactons and Pythians.”
“In a bloody rite so foul and evil, this wayward warder merged himself with a wolf and became a demon of vengeance. He would rage through the countryside surrounded by packs of snarling wolves and kill all who did not worship the Five. He was eventually hunted down and killed, but as he died he swore to return on the anniversary of the Fall of Evermoore to kill all those not following the Way of the Five.”
“And every fall, when the leaves turn golden-red and the chill winds begin to blow, his spirit reforms into the cursed demonic essence that terrorizes the lands around Evemoore until it is killed by Guildsmen.”
“Some say you can survive the encounter by holding up the symbol of the five and speaking their names in reverence and faith. Others tell that the Wolf-Warder can see into your heart and knows if you truly follow the Way of the Five. The Wolf-Warder knows if you follow the tenants of balance, harmony, freedom, law, and love.”
“What happened if you don’t live that way?”
“Then,” said the old man with a bit of melodrama, “Then, the Wolf-Warder eats you alive.”
The children cried in mock terror and then demanded, “Tell us another story.”
“Do you want to hear the story about why the goblins hang pumpkins in the trees? Or the story about why so many scarecrows come to life around Evermoore?”
“Both!” cried the children. “Please, please. Tell us both stories.”