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Darkness

The Back Story

Countless centuries ago, this graveyard was merely a serene resting place for the honored dead of a quaint mountain village. In the event of an untimely death, the simple villagers would perform sacred rituals, which would bring good will to the souls of their departed loved ones. Of these rituals, one stood apart in both sadness and meaning; the 'Rites for Lost Children' was performed for any small child whose end had arrived prematurely.

On one horrible winter eve, when the time came to perform the ritual for a much-loved local boy, the townsfolk arrived at the cemetery to discover the child's grave hollow and vacant, and the boy's father, consumed with a disquieting impatience, pacing and ranting.

While most of the troubled villagers stood back, a beautiful young girl nervously approached the tormented man to inquire what had happened to the boy. When she grew close to the man, he jolted as if woken by a nightmare, snatched the girl from her feet, and disappeared into the night. The villagers stood stunned, as her screams echoed, faded, and were abruptly cut off.

The men, women and older children armed themselves with simple tools and torches. As the search party began to track the deranged man into the nearby forest, an unsettling silence, born of tension and deep concern, fell upon the few poor souls left abandoned in the empty town.

The hunt lasted hours.

When the ill-fated villagers finally found the man, he was perched menacingly over a stone altar, with the unconscious, bleeding girl clutched under one arm and his dead son under the other. The boy's father, half-mad with grief, believed that the blood of another child, from the sacrifice of an innocent soul, could be exchanged for his son's life. The villagers pleaded and begged for him to come to his senses, but he could not be reasoned with. In a vain attempt to spare the girl's life with as little violence as possible, the villagers convinced the dead boy's father to allow them to sacrifice their own blood to trade for the girl's life.

One by one, they stepped forward and let blood on the arcane symbols scrawled crudely on the pagan tablet. As the last drop of blood landed, their torches suddenly extinguished, surrounding them in a darkness no living person has ever known.

And thus, born of love, the townspeople were committed to a hellish fate beyond their darkest dreams. To the Angel of Death, the self-sacrifice of an entire village for the life of a mere boy was too good to pass on. The child's soul was returned to the realm of the living, but all those who spilled their blood that day, were damned to this very graveyard for all eternity... damned to Darkness.

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