ENOCH AND THE CHOSEN ONES
The days have been getting shorter, and the nights are growing longer. At night, the stars are slowly disappearing. They wink out, never to been sighted again. Even the moon seems dull, too far away, and fading. During the day, the sky is gray and clouds block out the light of the sun. Wise men wander the countryside shouting about the End of Times. Sages point to dusty tomes, discussing lengends and myths of a coming darkness that will blot out the sun and herald an Age of Evil. The darkness is gathering, slowly, like a spider spinning its web.
Drow activity is increasing. Trade routes are being attacked by orcs, goblins, hobgoblins, and gnolls. They pour out of their lairs with bloodythirty abandon. And each time at least one Drow is sighted, leading and directly the battles. Small villages are attacked not only at night but in broad daylight. Striketeams of Drow pour out seemingly from thin air, heedless of the light of day. They loot only magical or religious artifacts, leaving supplies behind to be later gathered by their goblinoid minions. The strong who fight back are killed, and the remaining villagers are captured and taken as hostages. No buildings are burned, and no livestock is destroyed. But in the end, whole villages are left empty like ghost towns in the wake of the Drow raids.
In Falstaff, the annual Fair is in full swing. The small village that usually boasts about 200 souls is packed and swollen with at least twice that many. More people arrive every day. Some simply want to attend the Fair, but most are pilgrims seeking out the man named Enoch. They want to know more about his sermons. They want to know how they can be saved from the gathering darkness.
Enoch preaches every evening. He shouts of the coming darkness, and the blotting out of the sun. He waggles his finger as he tells of the True Gods, and the chance that every person has to repent and join the Chosen Few. Those who are Chosen will be saved, and delievered to the True Masters. Those who refuse the opportunity for salvation will suffer when the land grows dark and judgement begins. Enoch ends each sermon with an invitation. People are chosen based on their willingness to give gifts to the True Gods. Anyone offering magic items or religious artifacts are chosen first, and allowed to enter the Tower … never to be seen again. Enoch explains that these few are caught up in a rapture of the gods, and taken to the home of the True Masters. After that, groups of people are chosen seemingly at random, allowed to enter the Tower as a second wave. In time, the doors of the Tower are closed, and the crowd is left chanting Enoch’s name as the priest retreats into his Tower, closing the doors on his balcony behind him.