told innumerable times around the campfire at Dreitill. This is the version related by Hrymja, as put down in Brynhild’s personal journal.
There once was a village far in the north, high up in a wide mountain valley. No one lives there these days, for now it is a forsaken place where nothing grows apart from tall tales and dark dreams. But it used to be bountiful and beautiful, a small sanctuary for living things, surrounded by steep slopes on all sides and accessible only through a narrow canyon. A secret place for a forgotten people.
For this village stood in the shadow of a great beast.
From time to time the villagers would see it moving within the surrounding cliffs. An arm here, a tentacle there. An eye in the rock. Some fur in the moss. They grew fearful, for they did not understand these strange occurrences, and decided to set guards by their fields and raise walls around their village. Alas, the beast kept creeping closer and before long its presence was felt throughout the valley. The guards became active hunters, set to monitor the cliffs and slopes with the intent to drive out whatever horrors might lurk there. In time, their hunt was successful. They cut off an arm there, a tentacle here. Gouged out an eye in the rock. Ripped out some fur in the moss.
And by doing so, they incurred their own doom. For had they only understood the ways of this world, the fine balance that lies between survival and desolation, they would have seen the monster for what it truly was – a creature calling for help.
And now that village is no more. The valley reduced to a jumble of rocks – silent and lifeless – as is the way of those who do not heed the call of balance.