The Sheriff’s Tale
by Todd R. Falk
"I will tell you a story, young ones. A tale of our world in struggle and disharmony. Of times of Chaos and the man who gave us our First and Second Dawns."
"Dane was a land of divided peoples. The Lords protected the lands from conflicts and famine. The Freemen devoted themselves to crafting tools and to the arts. They traded among themselves peacefully, but were very vulnerable to the Savage. The Savage were those who warred and raided because they knew no other way. The Druids and the Evokers lived far from the others deep in the wildernesses."
"Chaos smiled when he first saw Dane. He schemed wickedly to destroy whatever order and peace existed. He introduced hatred, aggression, and disease to all the peoples. Chaos created creatures to terrorize the lands. The Lords locked themselves inside their borders. The Freemen changed their artistry to weapons and armor. The Savage tribes united and raided the plains and forests. They destroyed all the Evokers. Chaos's plans were yielding more power for him to use. Dane was headed for an age of darkness without end."
"Then a man unlike any other came to Dane. He had many names and his ways were strange. He had magic, but unlike that of the Evokers or Druids. His powers were of will and spirit and hope. He met all the Zaxes: those men whose magic was of direct control over the forces of nature. The Foreigner challenged a zax and won both the fight and his magic. The stranger attracted the zax power and quickly gained the control of all the forms of zax magic."
"Chaos quickly noticed the man. Chaos fashioned himself into a man to tempt the Foreigner. The stranger discovered Chaos's purpose and confronted both him and his minions. The Foreigner attacked Chaos with a weapon of magic, destroying Chaos's human guise. During the battle the zax powers were distorted and lost to the Foreigner, never again to be so strongly used."
"As he could not attack Chaos directly, the Foreigner focused on crippling Chaos's resources. He taught the Freemen how to fight and defend their homes. He convinced the Lords to regain their roles as protectors and providers. He taught the Savage other ways besides war. His efforts inspired the Druids to participate in the world. The Foreigner opened his soul to the people of Dane, and it gave them the courage to hope and dream."
"His influence quickly fading, Chaos again attempted to corrupt the Foreigner and use him to send Dane back into strife. But Chaos, underestimating the Foreigner's will, failed. Chaos was able, however, to steal flesh from the man, and with it grew an offspring through which he could channel his power. Chaos spat this offspring, the man-beast, into Dane to mature."
"Three men heard of the Foreigner's deeds and went to him as acolytes. They were proud and invincible; skilled and creative; wise and disciplined. They were of different lives and cultures. Their diversity enhanced the power of the Foreigner, and all four of their lives changed through the union."
"The Foreigner and his Band traveled across Dane to Chaos's haven. Darkness's minions were too strong and barred the way against the Band. The Foreigner chose to attack alone, using his might to pass through the minions and confront Chaos himself."
"Chaos was very weak and no match for the Foreigner. Chaos summoned the remainder of his power for a single attack. The drain severed Chaos's ties to Dane and he disappeared from this land. The attack had the same effect on the Foreignerhe did not return to Dane and his Band."
"The legacy of the Foreigner lived inside the band. They returned to their own cultures and continued the dreams of their leader. The people of Dane recognized a unity of men and lived as equals. Thus was the First Dawn."
"As Dane was once again growing, so too was Chaos's offspring, the Death Lord. It gathered together Chaos's scattered minions and released them upon the land. The Death Lord harnessed the powers of the darkest minion and created a fortress on the site of a once holy citadel. Its armies decimated the peoples until the farmlands were poisoned by the blood of fallen men."
"Then the Foreigner returned from wherever Chaos had banished him. The man was differenta wilder temper and stronger powers. The people of Dane first believed that darkness had finally seduced the Foreigner, but the druids knew that the man who reshaped the lives of Dane's peoples had returned, to destroy the last of Chaos's monsters. The Foreigner and the Death Lord battled many times. Its minions fell but final victory eluded the Foreigner. It was then that the Druids lent aid to Dane's champion. Their power was enough to destroy the Death Lord and his reign over Dane. Thus was the Second Dawn."
"The Foreigner disappeared with the Druids into the wilderness. His return has not been foretold, but he will always be recognized by his ancient and legendary name: Jinzaggin."