My husband and I have been playing a lot of Kingdom Death lately, both with our regular gaming group and just the two of us. I decided, sort of spur of the moment, to use what happens in our campaign as a sort of creative writing exercise, since I don't get many opportunities to do that anymore. For this campaign, we decided to start with the Sunstalker : People of the Sun.

So, without further ado...

People of the Sun : Lantern Year One

Swish. Scritch. Tap. 

With a flourish and a punctilious dot, four humans awoke among a sea of stone faces. Their eyes were caked and smeared with ink. They scrabbled and slipped among the sharp noses and smooth curving cheeks made of stone. They wiped and scrubbed at their burning eyes, but they could not discern the darkness around them from the blackness that clouded and seared their vision. 

Hidden among the stone faces at their feet lay a single lantern. Earnestly its light began to dance and flicker. The brightness of it, however meager, shuttered their eyes. Raising their arms and hands against it, they grew closer to one another. They tried to discern, without any sort of language, who they were and how they came to be there together in this dark world and sharing the light of a single lantern. With each passing moment, the lantern shone more brightly in the expansive darkness. 

Unfortunately, its welcome light would produce a most unwelcome visitor. With a ferocious roar, a monster emerged from the darkness. Its maw and unusual hands were caked with dried blood. Without words, the humans knew the face of hunger. Horrified, they staggered backward, slipping over the cold sharp stone beneath their feet. One human, a female, cowered and fell to her knees. A second, reaching down to pull her to her feet, noticed that a shard of one of the stone faces was loose amongst its neighbors. She grabbed it and the lantern, holding her stone dagger aloft and prepared to fight for her life. As quickly as they could, the others searched the faces for any pieces they could find. With these stones faces, they defended their lives against the gargantuan White Lion that ambushed them in the darkness, its gleaming fur illuminated by the single lantern. 

After they defeated the white lion and cut off its tail to keep as a trophy, the Survivors wandered through the darkness with their single lantern held aloft until they came to a pool of water. There, the cowardly female survivor fell once again to her knees. She dipped her hands into the cool water and brought it to her lips before the others could stop her. She felt raw and alive after surviving the crazed lion, and her courage empowered her to drink her fill of the strange water. The more she drank, the more she felt a sense of Purpose. As her purpose grew, ideas and images came to her. She ushered the others to drink, as well. As they did, they too were enlightened by what they could suddenly see and understand. Timidly at first and then ecstatically, they began to communicate with one another. They decided amongst themselves to call this new language of theirs the Sun Language. 

They drank and conversed until they grew full and tired. They laid down around the pool together and stared up into the growing light that basked the pool in a warm glow. They decided to call it the Sun. The woman, who had been courageous enough to drink from the pool first, named herself Aurora. The others, thinking that this was wise, named themselves Dawn, Apollo, and Sun. Aurora explained to the others the importance of the Sun and the Pool. From this day forward, it became known as the Sacred Pool. In honor of the Sacred Pool, they would erect a settlement around it and protect it. They named this settlement Solterra, and they built a Catarium so that they could make use of their bounty from their first kill. Their weapons and armor would make them strong and capable.   

As the days wore on, the more Aurora drank from the Sacred Pool. As she did, the more she was overcome with knowledge and power. Believing that she could summon more power from the water, she invited Apollo to consummate the christening of the Sacred Pool. She knew after it was done that her efforts had been successful and that she would be rewarded by the Sacred Pool and the Sun. She proclaimed from that day forward that only Water Births would be allowed in the settlement. Many months later, she gave birth to twins-Sol and Solaria-in the same waters that had summoned them into her womb. 

After Sol and Solaria were born, more survivors came upon the settlement. They were injured, frightened, and enraged. Solterra became a refuge and a sanctuary to many, offering them the protection that the darkness did not. As Solterra's population grew, its people decided that they would train their children and any other humans they encountered to protect the Sacred Pool and its magical waters, because they knew only the fittest would ever be victorious against monsters like the White Lion. Survival of the Fittest became their first philosophy, and they praised the Sun for imbuing the water with its power.  

As their settlement grew, they endeavored and built many things. They established a Bone Smith, Organ Grinder, and Skinnery. Everyone contributed, and the settlement grew stronger and more connected. They worshiped the Sun and honored the Sacred Pool. 

However, one day, a survivor appeared out of the edges of the darkness. She had been lulled into the darkness and returned, now tainted by it. Many of the survivors were enraged that this survivor would bring the darkness into their brilliant settlement. No one knew how to deal with this survivor so wracked with dread and fear. All the others had fled the darkness, yet she had sought it out!  

Though no one claims to know what happened to her in the end, rumors say that she was drowned in the Sacred Pool and her body deposited back into the shadows. After her disappearance was made known, the settlement voted that Collective Toil would unify Solterra and prevent others from seeking the darkness that would cloud the Sun. Never again would the tendrils of darkness find their way into Solterra.