All deals are final. Valten Stormcrow’s story begins as a young boy. Valten was a lonely millers only son and grew up learning the trade, ahh yes life was good in the wide open grasslands of Brackenwood untill one unforutante day during the harvest celebrations, there was a slaver raiding party. They took only a select few and butchered the rest.
Valten was one of those few as he kneeled there staring at what the raiders had done to his life. He was struck in the back of the head and knocked unconscious. He awoke to a searing pain coming from his right shoulder. A branding iron pressed against his flesh. He had been branded with some sort of marking he could not make out, and as he looked around he could see his fellow townspeople caged like animals along with other people he could not recognise, then a voice spoke up “Valten do not let them hear your screams”, as young Valten looked around to see where the voice came from he instantly noticed it came from the local hermit of his old village who only came once a month to get supplies from his father, Leman Russ he remembered his name being. Valten noticed that Leman was bleeding from his abdomen and then he passed out from the pain.
He had a very strange dream of shadowy figures speaking to him but not understanding what they were saying then everything when white hot. Valten awoke in a cold sweat still on the slaver ship next to the old hermit Leman. “Boy take this book and hide it, I fear I’m not long for this plane” Leman growled while opening up his robe and uttering a phrase under his breath and a book appeared, and as Valten’s eyes widened, as he had not seen this trick before he noticed that it took the last of Lemans life to do. Valten being the good boy his father raised him to be took the book as his elder commanded and hid it under the straw mat he was lying on.
He was waiting until he could hear nothing and then slowly opened the book. Screaming emanated from the book and in a panic Valten looked around expecting the slavers to come rushing in at the noise. But, as Valten raised his head, he noticed he was in complete darkness. The only thing he could see was the book, and it began speaking to him.
A mysterious voiced groaned from inside the book: “Valten, do you want to escape this ship? Do you want to save … your father?”
Confused, and frightened, Valten muttered:“Y-yes I do s-s-sir”
“Good…. good.. I will offer you a bargain of sorts… I can grant you the power to do these things. BUT, in return the only thing I want is… Well, let us say your soul… What say you child?”
“How do you know about my father.. Book..?”
Enraged, the voice boomed back: “BOOK, I AM NO BOOK I AM OF THE FEY BOY, THAT OLD BASTARD LEMAN TRAPED ME IN THIS BOOK FOR ETERNITY”
“ I-Im s-s-sorry old one” Valten murmured “how will you save my father?”
“Well I can sense him in the abyss and if you releas—… I mean accept my offer, I will grant you him back and the power you humans always crave.”
It took Valten less than a minute to think it over before he replied: “Then yes, old one, I will accept your terms.. To save my father.”
“Good.. good. In order to seal the deal, all I need is a drop of your blood”
Pricking his finger on a splinter, Valten says:“Ok I will do what ever it takes…”
A single drop of blood fell onto the pages of the enchanted book.
”And the deed is done” is all the book replies.
Valten awoke thinking that was a very strange dream and then something hit him. Like a bolt of lightning struck him and he began feeling like he was on fire. A throbbing pain pulses from his lower back. And he began to think the book had cursed him. Unbeknown to Valten, in a way it did, as he looked down to his hands he noticed his skin was turning red. A tail was growing from where the throbbing on his lower back was and thick horns were sprouting from his temples.
“What have I gotten myself into?”’ Valten thought to himself as a voice spoke to him from the beyond.
“Child use your new found power to free yourself and you will find your father waiting for you at home.”
And as the old one spoke it had awoken something in Valten. Unknown phrases came to Valten and he spoke them allowed and as he did so, huge shadowy figures began clawing at the ship, bringing it down into the depths.
Valten shouted at the top of his lungs “OLD ONE THIS WAS NOT PART OF OUR DEAL, I ONLY WANTED TO ESCAPE! I didn’t want everyone dead!” With that, he broke down crying.
“Too late boy all deals are final…” hissed the voice.
As Valten looked up he noticed he was in his hometown with the bodies still strewn about the place. Looking up, the boy noticed smoke rising from the chimney of his house. Over come with emotion, Valten rushed up to the door, too see his father there making dinner as he usually does, but, as he turned around the room turned pitch black. The door slamming shut behind Valten.
The old one’s voice came from Valten’s father’s mouth: ”HAHAHA! Foolish child! Did no one ever tell you not take a deal so blindly? Now, I shall have my powers back…”
“DEMON WHERE IS MY FATHER” Valten thundered.
“He’s in the pits, fool.. HAHAHAHA! Now, give me back my powers.”
”I refuse!” Valten screamed.
“Then so be it Valten. Know that my hounds have your scent and will drag you into the pits to meet your father, and then we shall see if you are so obliging.” With a lingering chuckle, the figure that had once been Valten’s father fell in a heap to the floor.
3 days had passed and Valten had lost his will to live. He was just waiting for the hounds of hell to make him pay for his mistake when he heard heavy steps outside. Thinking his time had come Valten screamed “I’m in here beasts! Take me! All I want is to see father one last time!”
The door crashed open, and there stood a stocky human with the sun gleaming off the top of his baldhead. From underneath a great bushy beard a voice announced “Holy shit boys we got a live one in here! Looks like one of those demon folk, HA!”
Valten was afraid to speak up again because of what happened on the boat.
“How ya’ going demon? The names Sigmar, Captain of the finest ship in the empire. I call her the Pilgrim.“ Valten just turned his head and nodded at Sigmar as the rest of his crew lifted up the teen.
“Don’t worry demon HA HA, I’m going to take care of ya’ till ya’ feel better”
Sigmar stayed true to his word. And, after many months recovering on the ship, Valten learned how to control his new powers. Noticing Valtan practicing one day Sigmar remarked: “as soon as those god damn pirates notice we have a demon on board they’ll stay well away HA HA HA!”
Fully expecting to have been dragged down to hell by now. Valten thought to himself that maybe, just maybe, the hell hounds couldn’t track him over the seas. Else he surely would have been gone by now? And so he stayed on board the The Pilgrim. Afraid of what awaits him as soon as his feet hit land those. Will the hounds of hell be waiting for Valten? Waiting to drag him to the pits?
But surely, the demon had waited years inside the book… A little while longer would not matter. Perhaps now all the old one was doing was simply toying with the boy…