A tale told by Mrs Nogg to her family.
Gather around little ones and let me tell you a story of long ago.
Long ago, in the days before ‘The Arrival’, there existed a sect of healers who were simply called The Drummers. Why The Drummers you ask? They worshipped one of the Old Gods, one known only as Drum. Yes, a simple name, for a much simpler time.
The Drummers were peaceful and great healers. Many from all over our world sought them out for their wisdom and healing. Ships of all sizes made their way to the continent of Shalydr. Yes, Shalydr, the land you know of as full of horrors, where the dead arise, and nightmares stalk the land. It was, as now, a land of great natural riches. People would pick gold nuggets the size of an egg from rivers, veins of silver were visible in rockfaces, and motherloads of diamonds were easily found.
Yes, little ones, that is why people still live there. The draw of these great riches drive people to live and mine there, in what I would call insanity.
Now Drum was an ally of, in fact I would go as far as to say a friend of, the majority of the Old Gods. And he bent a large amount of his divine will to aiding passage for all to travel to Shalydr to be healed and comforted. As such, as ‘The Arrival’ occurred, Drum knew before most of the other Old Gods. It is said he willed himself to what is now known as Gallia and encountered some of the Gods of the Izon. What occurred between Drum and the Izon Gods is unknown, but the tales of his wounded and weakened return to Shalydr, speak of combat between him and the Izon Gods. This leads credence to the great power he must have wielded as many of the Old Gods did not survive similar encounters.
The tales of his return to Shalydr also tell of him being half crazed with fear, which is not a condition I would normally attribute to a divine being. He gathered his people to him and commanded them to assist in weaving magics to protect their homeland. The surviving writings of this time note that he wanted to ensure his people could carry on with their healing work, even if his divine essence was destroyed. Joined with his people in a sort of magical linking his people wrought powerful magics and started to change the very fabric of reality around Shaldyr.
Their magics may have worked as planned, however the stories say that at the height of their casting something else joined their link. Some stories say it was the Gods of the Izon. Other stories say it was something dark and terrifying. Whatever the truth may be, the magic was corrupted. Drums’ divine power was ripped from him and absorbed into the very land of Shalydr, leaving his people forever changed. Shalydr was covered in a perpetual haze, never fully night nor day, the plants and trees grew into a twisted mockery of themselves. And his people, oh his people. Vast numbers of his people were killed outright in the twisting of the magic and numerous others driven insane.
This was not the end of the horror. Slowly the dead began to rise and attack the living. Terrified, his people fled and those that survived barricaded themselves in towns and castles. To this day, the dead in Shalydr do not stay dead and the people only venture forth in armed groups to mine and farm. Many great casters of magic have attempted to reverse or cancel the corrupted magics in Shalydr, but to no avail. Some are struck dead instantly as they try, others simply vanish. While this may be a land of riches, it is also land of dread.
Many adventurers and heroes journey to Shalydr and only a few return. My little ones, no amount of riches are worth the risk, and I ask you to not tax my old heart with any foolish attempts.