BALDR: A STORY OF WONDER & PROGRESS
Massive, obsidian walls surround a shrine. From within come wails of the dying and groans of the dead. Armed and prayerful, a small army of the living approach to bring ruin to the damned.
Too soon and too many, a shambling horde spews through a gap in the shrine’s walls. The living, however, do not retreat. Forming a phalanx of shields and setting their staves, they cry out their hope, “BALDRLUX! BALDRLUX! BALDRLUX!” And so, she comes.
A thunderous roar announces an immense, golden dragon. She swoops over the living and lands before them. Her breath brings a bright, burning fire which cleanses the field of undead. The living cheer.
A figure flies from the shrine and lands before the dragon. Though bearing robes and staff of a wizard, spectral tentacles wafting from its head herald a god. Without ado, this divinity of death raises its staff and strikes the dragon with a dark bolt of magic. Thus dies Baldrlux, ancient avatar of the elder god of wonder and progress.
A sneer on the dragon slayer’s face quickly turns to terror as infernal heat and blinding light explodes from Baldrlux’s corpse. When the living see again, only scorched earth remains. Stunned silence prevails.
Another figure descends from the clouds to the newly barren ground. He seems a man, a wizard, and a god. He faces the living and says, “I am Baldr.” The living fall to one knee.
Baldr commands, “Rise. Do not kneel to any god, including me.” Some express confusion.
Baldr explains, “I walked the Old World before men built their first cities. Under many different names, I ruled tribes, kingdoms, and then empires. Millennia of peoples worshiped at my shrines. Legions prayed for my justice. But I was a horrible magistrate, for no mere man could gainsay my will when... not if... I acted unjustly.”
Baldr holds the gaze of those who look. “Mortals are the best judges of other mortals. For death ends all of you eventually. Yes, men will make fools of themselves. But mortality tempers their judgments. There is no such temperance for the tyranny of immortal gods.”
“Baldrlux sacrificed herself to help you destroy the stronghold of an immortal who sought to rule you. Do not let her death be in vain. Honor her purpose. Master the arts of magic and steel that will empower you to forge new worlds. Humanity is capable of so much wonder and progress.” The clouds above part and reveal the Vortex. Baldr briefly glances up. “I have seen it.”
“I rose from a long sleep to find that fool gods and their chattels broke the Old World. Now, only you can right this wrong. I may teach. I may suggest. I shall not rule. Rule yourselves. And if you will it, help me destroy the gods who would replace your futures with their own.”