Scary Tales of the Druadach, Book 2

Author (in-game): Cassia Volcatia

The next tale I wish to share deals with illness and treachery in the shadows of the Druadach Mountains. Enjoy the scare!

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The Seeping Sickness of Karthwasten

While the beleaguered town of Karthwasten in the northern Reach has stood for generations, it has changed hands between the hardy Nords and deceptive Reachfolk more often than a gold coin in a Senchal gambling den. Yet though troubling tales of treachery from this town are as common as grains of sand in Alik’r, one tale of woe and death eclipses them all—the Seeping Sickness of Karthwasten!

Twenty or so years ago, it is said, the Reachfolk had once again pushed out the Nord inhabitants of Karthwasten, burned their homes, and seized Karthwasten as their own. This Reach clan was particularly vicious, and those brave Nords who attempted to breach Karthwasten faced an army of both Reachfolk and beast. These Reachfolk, it is said, had made common cause with ravenous werewolves!

The town remained in Reach hands for almost a year until Ulgar Stonebeard, a decorated Nord reaver, met a powerful Reach-witch known only as the Raven’s Hand. It is said that Ulgar and the Raven’s Hand first met on the battlefield, yet neither could best the other. After a two-day conflict, they ceased their combat and broke bread. Ulgar then learned the Raven’s Hand was no friend of the clan of reckless werewolf warriors in Karthwasten, and Ulgar, his warriors say, made a dark deal with this diabolical diva.

The Raven’s Hand took the field before Karthwasten, protected by Ulgar’s warriors, and made many unclean sacrifices. Chanting words both fair and foul, she summoned a rain as black as pitch, a sorcerous storm that covered Karthwasten and its buildings in filth. Soon after, the screaming began.

The gates opened and Reach warriors stumbled out, shrieking as the very flesh on their bodies was seared away by the pitch-black rain! Even the Reach’s mighty werewolves were afflicted, and their tortured howls were like those of wounded animals. Ulgar, his warriors reported, was delighted by the carnage, and ordered his soldiers to charge into the town and dispatch the Reach survivors.

Yet even a host of hardy Nord warriors balked at stepping into a town covered in sorcerous pitch. The Raven’s Hand assured Ulgar the pitch would only harm the Reachfolk and werewolves, yet the Nords dared not trust the words of a witch of the Reach. The screams in the town chilled their bones. Seeing his warriors thus cowed, Ulgar cursed them all as cowards and strode into the town, hacking down those few stumbling Reachfolk who tried to challenge him. And as he stood in the center of the town, shouting for the survivors to face his axe, a single drop of pitch landed on his brow.

The drop of pitch grew upon Ulgar’s helmet like a living thing, blossoming and covering his head like a shroud. Soon Ulgar’s whole body was coated in pitch, and he turned, the Nords said, to present a smile as black as death itself.

Seeing treachery, the other Nords attacked the Raven’s Hand, hoping to fell the ravenous witch who had taken their commander. Yet the Reach-witch only laughed as their axes struck air and a swarm of ravens took to the skies, sounding their raucous caws. And the Nords, as their now pitch-covered commander advanced on them with sickness dripping off his seeping axe, fled the battlefield.

To this day, we hear tales of those who have seen a massive pitch-covered warrior prowling the shadows cast by the Druadach Mountains, wielding a dripping axe that melts both flesh and steel, as the laughter of the Raven’s Hand follows in his wake. He is death grinning from ear to ear, hacking apart all who cross his path—the Seeping Sickness of Karthwasten!

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