The Swallowed Sun
On a stormswept coast, far to the north, lies the village of Keflavik. The villagers are a stoic lot, enduring brutal winters and plucking sustenance from the rolling dark of the sea. To their west, a primeval forest so deep that only the hardiest of the villagers dare set foot in it, and only then by desperate necessity for food and timber. To the north, the jagged snow-capped peaks of a mountain range impassable for all but a few months out of the year.
There are other villages, to the south along the coast — most nearly identical to Keflavik in their way of life. When the weather is good, these few dozen families will meet in one of the villages to exchange goods and stories. Once, according to the elders that resolve Keflavik’s disputes, there was a man who would come through once a year to collect tribute for a distant king. No one has seen that man in dozens of winters, nor does anyone know what that might mean. The affairs of the wider world are of little concern to most of Keflavik’s villagers…it is more than enough to make sure there is enough food to last through the snows.
From the mountains, in the late summer, a small band of dwarves will come down to the village, bringing with them tools and metal to trade for dried fish and the few vegetables and grains hardy enough to grow here. In the forest, the village’s long hunters will occasionally spy the movement of elves, but few have ever had any direct contact with the fey folk. The long-lived elves keep themselves apart from men, finding little of interest in the humans’ transient affairs.
For the most part, the villagers have toiled and carved out a quiet existence up here at the fringe of the world. Generations upon generations of the same few dozen families have been born, lived, and died in the scattered villages of the coast. But the winters seem to be getting longer and colder. The forest seems a little darker and more menacing. The dwarves bring more and more tales of battling goblins in their twisting caverns, and speak in hushed tones of even stranger things creeping up from the depths of the earth. Even the elves, when rarely encountered, seem apprehensive about…something, but they do not say what.
The world is changing.
It does not seem to be for the better.
What are you going to do about it?