The signs have been there for a while. Some have seen it and don't understand, some have seen and chosen to ignore it. Others... others still are blissfully clueless. The end of the year is approaching. The days grow shorter, the temperatures colder. And with the darkness of the longer nights, comes a different darkness altogether. Long ago, when the first Tribes were founded, a dark force was banished to the Netherrealm by the Guardians, ever watchful spirits and aspects of gods looking after the tribe. It was thought to be destroyed, torn into one thousand pieces before being banished. Everything to ensure the Evil One would never return and try to claim a place in the upper realms, ruling over mortals. Now, it seems, this dark force is slowly seeping into the world of men, corrupting the minds of several tribes, causing chaos. War is spreading, and it's one of the last things the Tribes can use when resources are scarce.
Until now, the Pale Wolf Tribe has been untouched by the approaching darkness. All they know are the tales of Anwald, a Trader and one of the right hand men of their Tribe's Chief Valis. But this is soon to change. For other than the darkness from the woods, the approaching winter, and the thread of war, something else is coming their way too. Soon, those who are left behind will have to make a stand and embark on a quest into the unknown. Facing against forces they don't know the extend of, ready to protect everything they care about. For if they fail, many souls will be devoured by the Evil One, destroying the souls of the departed and leaving the living Hollow, creatures with no soul, only capable of mindlessly serving their masters.
Hollow follows three storylines as they might intertwine and depart. They might have a common goal, but the characters couldn't be more different.
It is Fall, Winter is approaching fast. Leaves are falling, the temperature's chilling. But there's more in the air than just the chill of the late year. Tension, a sense of dread. You can sense it. It's a gift nobody knows you possess. To feel things. Souls are restless, raiders could be lurking everywhere in the woods, and an old enemy of the Tribes is preparing for its comeback that might well tear apart the world. You have seen the signs, but don't quite understand all of them. A fellow Tribe from far away calls for help, but can they truly be trusted? Perhaps it is them who will bring doom from across the sea to your lands. You are Keldian, a scout from the Pale Wolf tribe, one of the first to spot the signs that times are changing. Will you realize what is happening before it is too late?
Something is amiss. You've been feeling that for a while, but have simply refused to recognize it. Fairytales are nothing to be worried about. No, all that matters is your direct family and the people of your Tribe. With the winter approaching, people are bound to get sick. And a Last Hunt never takes place without someone getting hurt. For the past years, since you were old enough to work, you have done what you could to keep your people healthy and happy. It is all that matters to you. That, and that nobody ever learns of your secret. You are Sianni, a Healer from the Pale Wolf tribe. Can you save those you old dear from being harmed by ancient dangers?
You have faced an unspeakable danger, taking on shapes worse than your worst nightmare. You have lost most of your people, you have lost your home. But you haven't yet lost your hope and your honor. Setting out on a journey, you hope to find different lands, where the Evil cannot reach. Perhaps you can warn others of what is to come. Maybe you can even fight so that nobody else will have to suffer the fate of your people. But these are foreign lands with foreign people. Will they understand the warnings? Will they even be willing to listen to a stranger? Can they even be trusted, or do they work with the evil, and is their only plan to trap you and whatever people you have left, to make you suffer forever? You are Arkhaan, a warrior from the Ember Heart tribe. Will you find safety, or will danger follow you?
You don't particularly like scouting at night. As a matter of fact, you hate it. Especially in the later months of the year. In Summer it's not your favorite pastime, but you can tolerate it. But now, when the sun sets early, the nights get colder, and the leaves change color, you just want it to be over. You're not afraid of the dark, that's definitely not it. You just don't like the cold and dreary weather.
A soft rain has been falling for hours. It has completely drenched your fur coat. There's still an hour or two left in your shift, though. You could try and sneak back early, but that would mean leaving Yrsa, another scout and your senior, waiting at the meeting point. From there on you can head back to the village together and enjoy a flagon of honey-wine near the fire.
You pause for a moment, glancing up at the silver disk swimming between the clouds and watching your breath form small clouds in the air. It's chilly this night, and something is off. There's something in the air tonight. Now that you think of it you've felt it since your shift started. Your gut-feeling is telling you something is going to happen tonight. And your gut-feeling... is scarcely wrong.
What do you do?
> Head back to the village (and leave Yrsa on her own)
> Head to the meeting point to discuss your gut-feeling with Yrsa
> Stray from your route and investigate the feeling on your own
You continue grumbling to yourself as you press on. If you stay away for too long Yrsa would start to ask questions. You move towards the Overlook, a cliff nearby the sea and meeting point. As you come closer, you see the silhouette, huddled beneath the large willow bending over the cliff. You whistle. Three notes to alert her of your presence and more so to let her know it's a kinsman approaching and not a potential enemy lurking the woods at night. Yrsa hardly stirred, merely raising a hand in a quick sign of acknowledgement. She doesn't turn around to face you.
Odd. Normally she would have gotten to her feet by now, grinning at him, greeting him and/or jokingly scolding you for being late. But instead she's nearly motionless and keeps her back turned to you. This worries you. Already you had that gut-feeling that something was off, that something was going to happen tonight. And now the person you know as serious when needed but otherwise cheerful... Is serious. The last time you saw her like that was when...
That was when the stories started. Stories of omens and fire, stories of a darkness blacker than the night, of shadows moving on their own. Evil of old, fairytales from times long past. Your heart starts beating faster and silently you rush closer.
"Yrsa..." you begin, but again she silences you with a quick and simple gesture. Silently she points towards the sea. You follow your hand and see what she's ben looking at all this time.
There, moving lightly on the waves, where tiny specks of light. No reflections of the stars, but little yellow flickers. Flames of torches or lanterns. Something was approaching their shore from across the horizon.
What do you do?
> Urge Yrsa to head back to the village together, and quickly.
> Head to the beach to see the lights from up closer
> Stay on the Overlook and watch the lights for a while longer