The Tale of the Lone Knight, as told by Mrs Nogg to her family.
Gather around, my children, and let me tell you a tale. A tale of duty, a tale of sacrifice, a tale of how one man keeps us all safe against the horrors of the night. Yes, little ones, this is the tale of the Lone Knight. Now you all know the poem, and, like good children, you all say it before bed. But this is the story of how the Lone Knight started his watch.
A long time ago, the world was in chaos. The Arrival had torn the fabric that had kept our world safe. Things, dark horrible things, from other places where children should never tread, even in their dreams, had made their way into our lands. Strange things lurked in the shadows, the Gods fought for their very survival, and magic was wielded, unchecked and uncontrolled, by mortal men.
Dark things embraced the night and wrought destruction on the innocent. People feared leaving their homes at night. If the lights in a home went dark, come morning the inhabitants were never to be seen again. They learned to fear those that lived in the embrace of the night and huddled together in the light to be safe.
From this chaos, one man rose and stood tall. His name was Heranous, and he was brother in arms to Sir Delamour. Yes children, Sir Delamour the Brave, the shining hope of the people! But hush, for this is not Delamour’s story.
Now Heranous was a tall man and solidly built, not a beautiful man, but striking, nonetheless. A serious man, who never shirked his duty or shied from hard work. A man who, was not one to win people over with his words, rather won them over with his steadfastness and humility. He was a man that the people respected, a true knight in those dark times.
He and Sir Delamour rode through the lands, driving back the dark things and giving succor and hope to the fearful people. Their stories are many and I could spend years re-telling them. But you’ve gathered to hear a tale about the great sacrifice that Heranous made to keep us all safe from the dark things in the night.
One dark and unpleasant evening, as the storms lashed the coast, Heranous found himself standing outside an ancient keep. What fateful powers had brought him to this place I cannot tell you, but they were great powers, taking a great gamble to save our world. As Heranous approached the gates to the keep he was attacked by many dark creatures. He fought his way steadfastly through them and reached the cold iron gates. Putting his shoulder to the gates, he mightily forced them open and entered the courtyard. More creatures ambushed him and Heranous again fought them off.
He advanced into the dark keep, ignoring the whispered offers of power and greatness that came to tempt him to surrender to the night. He faced horrors that I will not describe to you, or you will never sleep again! With sure steps, Heranous fought his way further and further into the depths of the ancient keep. It is said that at one point he nearly faltered, as the forces arrayed against him seemed never ending as he started to succumb to loneliness and exhaustion. The stories say that in his moment of need two figures appeared beside him. One was an old lady, and the other an ancient dragonborn. Yes children, the stories say these were the Earth Mother, and Vindr, He who watches. They each placed a hand on Heranous’ shoulders and, emboldened by their presence, the Lone Knight fought on.
Eventually Heranous’ battles brought him to the heart of the keep. Here he faced a creature of horror, a creature of tremendous power, a Lord of the Night. Dark energies lashed out from this creature and wracked Heranous in pain, but still he walked on. The creature tore at him and assailed him with foul magics from the shadow world, but still he walked on. The creature tried to bargain with him and promise him power, position, wealth, but to no avail. Heranous would not be swayed, and when he reached the creature it tried to flee. But Heranous’ sword was faster, and the creature fell.
Moonlight shone in the keep’s hall for the first time in this age of chaos, and the night was silent. Heranous gave thanks to all the gods for the light and bowed his weary head.
“Your task is not yet done, brave Heranous, ” the old dragonborn spoke. “Those that embrace the night will always try to enter our world and make it their own. What you have done this day has set them back greatly, but they will be back. And the terror they bring will fall once again upon this world.”
Heranous lifted his head, “How do I stop this?” he simply asked.
“Vigilance is the key ,” the old Dragonborn stated. “We must watch and guard against those that dwell in the night and hold fast this keep and the seals that it guards. Lest another Lord of the Night will find his way through, and then another and another, until our world has fallen.”
Heranous looked at the old Dragonborn, turned and started to leave the room, “I guess I better get myself a room sorted here then. No time to sit around and discuss it, what needs to be done, needs to be done. The night will not be victorious while I stand guard in this place.”
After Heranous left the room, Vintr, the old dragonborn, and the Earth Mother looked at each other. “How long will his duty be?” the Earth Mother asked.
“Until the towers fall, and the sun is darkened. His duty will never end until he does,” Vintr replied. “Let us hope that he is as strong as we believe him to be.”
Now, my children, if you look far into the night, you may see a light in the distance, glinting off a lone knight’s armor as he stands his watch. Think well of this knight as his devotion keeps you safe.