Pale fire of snow had lit the dusk for me:
Astray with mind half-consciously intent
I had not thought the wood so imminent—
Pregnant with pine and sombre cypress-tree.
Darker than sleep, and mute with mystery
Like far-off death, where questing dreams are spent,
Their winding caverns deepened as I went
Therein, and paused in old expectancy.
Pale fire of snow had lit the dusk for me….
But the black stillness held where once the wind
Had parted boughs in music, that the gleam
Of stars might enter; all was strangely blind,
Like midnight thickening ‘neath the middle sea—
Filled with the silence of a time-slain dream. (CAS)
“In the centuries after the defeat of Danzig and the end of the Age of Winter’s Dark, the lands of men and dwarves and elves were happier and freer than they had been in 1000 years. The sun warmed the peoples’ faces as they tilled the soil and gave thanks to Paladine the Healer, and others who helped to restore light and sanity to the world. But in this newly thawed land all taint of Danzig was not gone. A warlord arose amongst the shattered orc tribes of the northern glaciers. Some say he was a lieutenant in the Winter Imperium, others say he was a half-breed who was raised amongst the elves of the Shining Lands. Whatever his story, it is well known that Drakus Coaltongue lead a furious horde out of the north and then forged it into a finely disciplined army. He carried a Torch that was said to make his armies invincible. Slowly, as the decades passed, Coaltongue fashioned himself a new empire of the north, and proved himself to be a cunning politician as well as general. It seems only a matter of time before the light of his torch extends across the continent of Neradia”.