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Know o Prince, that there was an age undreamed of, when great shining kingdoms spread across the world.  These great cities and their thrones were paid for through even greater bloodshed, mountains of gold and jewels and, sometimes, sorcery most foul.  It is in the lost age that we find this tale, at a time when all of the aforementioned have come together in a grand conjunction to oust King Conan the Usurper from his rightfully earned throne of Aquilonia.  Felled in his tent by an invisible stalker before two great hosts clashed in western Aquilonia, the king disappeared, and his great armies routed before the legionnaires of Nemedia.  They took Tarantia and Conan’s palace, the dragon standards of Nemedia flying from its spires.  It was truly the Hour of the Dragon.

But King Conan’s story was to continue for decades yet, and he defeated the risen Acheronian sorcerer Xaltotun.  With much to do to again free his nation, he came home to his people.  The return of King Conan was heralded in nations around Hyboria, and, whether driven by promise of coin, blood or glory, mercenaries from across the continent rallied to the Aquilonians’ cause.  They pushed the invading legions back to Nemedia. 

The armies are defeated, but pockets of Nemedian soldiers still hold positions throughout Aquilonia.  In the village of Tesso in eastern Aquilonia, our tale finds a motley crew finding respite from the fighting as they await word of the king’s next campaign.  Tesso, a small village of only two hundred or so, has swollen with refugees from nearby villages put to the axe and torch by Nemedian raiders.  The inn and tavern, usually empty except for a few village drunks, is now full.  The heroes of this tale sit at a table, enjoying good company, casks of wine and flagons of ale.

Meanwhile, another ancient evil has begun to stir nearby, having been roused from a deep, dreamless sleep.