The Coming Dark
FOR IN THE REALM OF NIGHTMARE, THE DREAMER IS KING
The ruin of a blackened sun,
in the barrow of the Elder One.
Amidst the stone the Sleeper lies,
Until, his children bid him rise.
-Passage taken from the wall of the tomb of Akatrias the Ebonhand, 3.15 A.R.
The hamlet of Blackwater lies nestled in the heartlands of Coriland Dale; a sleepy little town of thatched roof hovels and simple folk. Years ago, the Dale was nothing more than a crossing of caravan routes, and Blackwater little more than a single dilapidated inn offering some shelter from the unforgiving climes of the Northland winters. Now, however, the Dale is expanding, unfurling itself into a patchwork of merchant communities, and Blackwater is no exception.
The inn still stands, of course, its crumbling, half-rotted signboard serving as constant reminder of the old ways, but set amidst the bustling jostle of the new. It sits in silent vigil atop Widow’s Pass, overlooking the dark waters of the lake for which it was named, and its doors have seen hundreds of weary travelers pass through them, seeking succor or a place to fill their growling gullets.
There are few in the town clawing its way from the rocks around Blackwater that remember the inn as it stood those long years ago, but those that do speak of it in whispers and are careful to never stray too close. They speak in hushed tones of a cult that sought to raise something from the placid waters of Lake Blackwater; something ancient and malevolent that has not been seen by man, yet haunts the very recesses of his darkest dreams.
They speak of how the cult was defeated by some long forgotten band of heroes, lost to time and memory. They speak of how the ritual to awaken this slumbering god was interrupted on the very eve of its fruition. They speak, in huddled vigil while deep in their cups, of The Sleeper, At’thoth’aket, and The Watching One. And though none would dare admit it, they speak of how the portents tell that He Who Dreams will indeed rise from his torpor beneath the silent surface of Lake Blackwater, and how the hour of his dominion is nigh…