When the Firstmen stepped off their longboats and set foot on the rocky shores of Morgon, savage as the beasts of the lands and rugged like the barren mountains that lay before them, they destroyed their ships and from the timbers of the ships and stones of the ground built an alter to the god Eld, who ruled sovereign over the Daystar, life, fire, and the will that Firstmen all felt to survive. Upon this alter they built the Eternal Flame which the oldest and wisest of the shamans said would burn for a thousand years and then the world would die. In honor of their survival across the Dead Waters, the Firstmen erected a camp known as Firstflame. Over a generation the camp became a settlement, the settlement a city, the city a great kingdom, Eldenmark. A thousand years and some months later later, several miles to the south and west of the Dead Water Bay that lay at the foot of the Eastwatch Mountains where the Firstmen landed, several figures lay limp and scattered against exposed black rock, sharp and jagged and without life upon its surface, becoming more and more covered in what might at first look like snow, light and pale as it is, though a closer inspection would quickly reveal the fallen white to be but ash, the stinging odor of smoke is heavy in the air. Of the figures, one lay covered from covered in tattered remains of ragged and tattered strips of tan, hide or leather like materials, and takes but the shallowest breaths only recognizable by the rhythmic increments of clouds of breath from beneath the strips of fabric that cover his face. Around him grows an increasingly larger pool of dark blood, a shard of the volcanic rock sticking up at a ninety degree angle from his thigh. A distance away lay a second, larger body covered in plates of metal covered in similarly ragged strips of crimson cloth, the entity's head, pale and shaven along the sides so that only a small strip of short, dark hair along his scalp, lay face down against the sharp earth. Beside the seemingly once mighty, now fallen figure lay an object so large it could be mistaken for an anvil with a handle, engraved all about it are runes. "You dead yet?" A weak and raspy voice, coming from the painfully raw throat of the first figure that lay slouched by upright against the rocks. A grunt of pain as he sit more upright, appearing to look out across the highly contrasted ebony volcanic rock and pale ashen remains. After a moment with no response the man chuckled horsely, his voice was full of bass, deep like distant thunder over the ocean, "Guess that's a yes, huh?" He moved one hand shakily to the shard protruding from his bleeding leg and, with another sharp grunt, pulled the thing from deep within his flesh and tossed it aside, panting heavily from pain and exhaustion bordering on agony. With one hand planted firmly against the jagged edged boulder behind him, the figure seemed to will himself to his feet with a groan coming from deep within him. Before him, a growl like that of a wounded animal came from the facedown giant upon the ground, "The Keeper of the Morning will not let his priest fall so easily," His voice, too, was deep but was more guttural and severe than the ocean thunder voice of the former, smaller man of the two. The two mighty hands of the armored one pushed, palms down, against the bloody, ashen black slab that was the earth beneath him and lifted himself to his knees, drawing the beginnings of a great breath before coughing and sputtering, blood and saliva spraying from his beneath his face which was covered in a dark, braided beard, "Oh, Sovereign of the Daystar, Keeper of Morning, and Deliverer of Firstmen unto Morgon, hear your Oathkeeper now and give unto me the power to rend the darkness that remains a festering sore upon your sovereign ground!" He lifted his hands above his head towards the sky which was cloaked in a thick white cloud of choking smoke and ash, making it impossible to know what time of day it might have been as no light from the sun seemed to breach the seemingly impregnable fortress of smoke and ash. "And I'll have a brothel full of experienced harlots, but you can keep your 'fire' from all my places," The man in tattered brown mocked the warrior-priest, removing his head covering to reveal himself a dark-skinned individual with a shaved head and a smirking grin, "Your Papa ain't with us now, priest. Big Daddy packed up his things a long time ago to move somewhere nice and tropical with lots of girls in tiny skirts... Like Jalal or something," The man rolled his shoulders, bones popping as joints went back into place, as the larger man took hold of the anvil-sized hammer and plucked it from the ground with little effort, gravel falling from the head. "I tolerate you, Emile, because it is the mission given unto me by Grand Master Bastion, but I grow weary of your insistence on heresy. Know that, once the Eternal Flame is restored and the Great Ashen King is felled, your head shall be cracked under my boot, your body pulverized by my hammer," The bald man mouthed along to what came next, as if he had heard it some many times before, "For I am Gideon of the Oathkeepers of Eastwatch, and I shall remove the heresy from this land..." Gideon, the warrior-priest 'Oathkeeper', trailed off and peered across the horizon, through the near blizzard of ash and smoke stinging his eyes. "More?" Emile asked, his hands disappearing beneath his cloak of rags, the sound of blades unsheathing as the man exposed a pair of kukri knives. "Always," Gideon said, the word hardly leaving the back of his throat, his harsh voice might be mistaken as showing signs of weary and bleakness were it not for the look of resoluteness in his eyes as he peered out across the desolate, empty landscape at what seemed a brigade of slow-moving, wanderers. They were black. Not as if they had come from the tropical isles or jungle mainlands of Jalal, but as black as the land they moved upon. Swaying, contorting their bodies, black smoke rose from their empty sockets and mouths left agape to show the jagged, rock-like fangs that filled their open maws. A sound reminiscent of a weak but constant exhale accompanying the exhaust from their jaws. Beyond the horizon of the blackened earth, horned with angry spikes and razor-rocks, roam westward countless of the creatures. All staggering and steaming, lost but not aimless, adrift but not directionless. They were the Cinder, and they were many.