Fragment of the Cursed

Tracking the King of Winter was, for a change, not the most difficult of tasks; one only had to follow the carnage and destruction left in his wake. lifeless carcasses of beasts and men alike, creatures frozen in place, encased in blocks of ice. Abandoned cottages, houses and villages. I for once was grateful for my lack of sight, for the enchanted helmet that I wore could only show me the basic outline of my surrounding, but not the horrible details engraved in the land. I couldn’t examine the faces of the dead, but it was for the better. Seeing all this macabre display around me, I was about to quicken my pace to reach the King before more blood was spilt, but one small shiny thing on the ground caught my attention. It was an engraved bone frozen in a crust of ice; under ordinary circumstances this wouldn’t be especially noteworthy, but in this place, during these events… This was no ordinary charm or fetish, this was a small piece of the prey I was hunting. And seeing this small unremarkable thing in this godforsaken place, gave me a small nudge of pride and hope. These were ordinary people: no magic, no gods, no prophecies, yet they defended their home valorously against an enemy of such power, and they managed to hurt him. It would seem my deal with the Harbingers did leave him vulnerable. I cut off a part of my breeches to gain a small string, and I decided to create this fragment into a lucky charm of sorts. If I were to lose to despair and fear during the fateful confrontation, this would remind me what I was fighting for: my father, my clan, all those countless people that died due to this damned curse. I didn’t think this bone fragment would have any magical properties, but I felt… different when I donned the handcrafted talisman; my mind and purpose felt clearer, my anger, thought not diminished, was less savage and wild, but more righteous and just. It was almost like the gods spoke to me through that fragment, perhaps since the King of Winter was created by the gods, his bones were a conduit to their influence. Be it as it may, my newfound clarity granted to me by the spirits conveying their wisdom through the bone led me to a revelation that changed my outlook about the gods; our northern gods might be harsh, they might be brutal, but they are not needlessly cruel. This curse wasn’t created for the purpose of punishing an arrogant ruler, but to find a new and better one. The old barbarian kingdom began collapsing from within, it started with the King of Winter and his pride, but it was destined to fall one way or another. If no action had been taken, the splintered clans would never again unite under a single banner, into a new and better kingdom. That is why the King was created, by giving all the clans an overwhelming menace to fear, by giving them a common fear, the one to defeat him would be hailed not only by his own clan, but by others as well. Was that my destiny? Was this cycle a series of trials to find the one that is to unite the clans once again and bring forth a new golden age to our people? But regardless of the importance of this revelation, it didn’t really matter to me, for my only purpose was to defeat the King and make sure no one will die because of this cycle again. Let the gods play their games and do their schemes, the destiny of our people is ours and ours only, and I will not be a pawn that the gods can control on their whim.

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