The cruel and avaricious Lord Gorbakh was eager to conquer new lands. Standing at the open window of his royal bedchamber, he cast a cold eye across his dominions. If it was possible to penetrate with a single look all the territory located far from his palace, beyond the dense forest and the bottomless ocean, then he would already have been there, establishing his power and dispatching those who refused to submit to his authority. His hands, usually encased in heavy metal gauntlets, were now bare and gripping the window frame tightly. His knuckles were white and the pliant wood of the frame cracked, sticking splinters into the thick skin, but the ruler did not feel any pain: he was completely lost in thoughts of his grim ambition - to conquer the entire world and have it fall at his feet like a tamed beast. Nothing short of this would be acceptable!
Gorbakh’s empire grew with every tribe that he enslaved, and with every conquered territory, but that was not enough… He needed new victories. The army of the fierce lord left rivers of blood, scorched earth and charred remains, and the screams and moans of its victims in its wake. Nobody had the strength to check the unquenchable thirst of Gorbakh. Nevertheless, to be totally sure of the invincibility of his empire, he needed an invincible army. But this army should not just consist of well trained soldiers! It should be an invincible force of a special type of warrior, both invincible and invulnerable. His ideal warrior was one who knew no fear, did not feel pain and was ignorant of defeat, and who courageously attacked the enemy without thinking about his opponent’s strength and superiority in number. Gorbakh summoned scholars from every corner of his empire and ordered them to experiment in an attempt to produce an ideal warrior. He ordered them to forget all their other work and devote their attention to developing this secret weapon – his invincible soldier. The court magicians and alchemists pored over their magical books in an attempt to please their master. The ten best warriors were taken from every land in the empire. These included warriors who came voluntarily, cold-blooded and well trained killers that were eager to serve their dark lord loyally. But there were also those who were forced to come so as to save their families and native villages from death and destruction. Everybody knew about Gorbakh’s temper and how he treated those that dared to cross him.
The warriors did not know what fate had in store for them, only that they were being gathered for some special mission, because they were the best of the best. The palace square was turned into a laboratory, with work continuing around the clock. Thick billowing steam belched from huge metal pots in which various substances bubbled away. Strange iron instruments swung on massive supports, resembling gallows, which were erected one night. Hundreds of various lengths of wire hung from gigantic beams, and the clang of metal, the terrible thunderous roar and the plumes of smoke struck fear into the hearts of those living in the surrounding villages. But this was nothing compared to what they were about to face. One evening a heart-rending scream of unbearable pain shattered the silence of the night. This scream was followed by a second, and then a third…. The anguished scrams and mindless roars did not belong to a crazed Human or Magmar. The uproar continued until morning, and the terrified residents tried to block out the awful screams by hiding in their cellars, but to no avail. Rigid with fear they waited in silence for Mirrow to rise up and bring them solace. But these were false hopes.
This continued for several weeks in succession. The monstrous machinery and hellish spells tormented the warriors, changing their appearance forever: brittle bones were broken, skin melted. Iron and flesh fused together and bodies underwent a hellish metamorphosis. Some of the warriors were unable to endure the terrible torture and they died, while those that survived prayed for death, which would have been a release. And from his balcony, with a frown on his brow and his arms folded across his powerful chest, Gorbakh surveyed the bloody enterprise with icy calm and a fixed expression of superiority on his stony face. He could see that the experiment had failed and that his dream of an ideal, invincible army was drifting farther away. In impotent anger, he ordered that everybody that took part in the insane experiment be put to death, to prevent news of his failure from spreading and to keep the entire affair a secret.
But Gorbakh was unable to brush it all under the carpet. Several of the disfigured warriors, who had been almost driven out of their minds, survived and managed to escape the vengeful hand of their lord. But the experiment had changed their life forever. They were destined to wander eternally and were unable to show themselves to anybody. But there were also some warriors to which the cruel lord showed mercy, he decided to use them for another purpose. But it is difficult to say what would have been more merciful – keeping them alive or putting them to death. Some of them hid forever in his dark palace, some others had an even sadder fate: they became the silent guards of his soul destroying secrets. Having become monstrous custodians, they were forced to make peace with their fates and were doomed to hide away like beasts and live in complete seclusion to the end of their days. The cruel lord ordered one of the tormented warriors to guard an especially precious artifact: a sarcophagus containing the ashes of his mother, innocently killed by him in his adolescence – yet another victim of his boundless thirst for power. Jordan, as the unfortunate warrior was called, became a follower of a special cult, a secret society of priests, and was doomed to eternally guard his secret artifact in a Cuckoo Flower meadow on the Isles of Fay-Go. Immortality was his curse.
As time passed, the memory of the events at Gorbakh’s palace was wiped from the minds of the locals and the horror that occurred in the palace of the cruel lord sank into oblivion, and only at times in the quiet whisper of the trees and the whine of a creaking door could the heart-rending screams of the unfortunate victims still be heard.