The Thorn and The Talon
Born atop the spine of the world, Stoneskin lived among the Thunderhewn. A nomadic goliath tribe who moved about the spine of the world praying to the spirits for protection and strength. At the age of 14 the children of the Thunderhewn must ascend to the top of the thunderpeaks, mountains deemed insurmountable by most. No pass threads between the peaks, no road climbs their dizzying heights. Inexplicable wind currents lash the peaks with lightning and rain, but still they climb. Stoneskin, large even by goliath standards made great leaps from handhold to handhold lightning crashing around him and thunder shaking the very mountains. The others soon grew to distant specks below him. As he reached the top of the peaks the mountains began to shake more and more violently, the wind gusted even harder than before and threatened to break his grip, but Stoneskin held on. He fought his way up higher and higher, the mountain seemed never ending. The storms grew stronger around him. Finally he reached the top, he could barely stand, exhausted from his climb. He was falling. Falling into the mountain, deeper and deeper into the darkness, the sounds of the storm and wind and falling rock quieted until there was nothing but silence. “I am Stormcrag, spirit of this place. You will be the vessel that carries my power.” In a flash of light he was once again on top of the mountain, the presence of the mountain spirit Stormcrag was all around him, the air felt heavy. For a moment the winds subsided the the mountain stood still the skies were silent. Stoneskin could barely breath. Everything seemed to pause for a moment, stones and pebbles lifted ever so slightly. Stoneskin felt at peace. Lightning raced from the heavens and pierced his flesh, blinding, assaulted by visions of things to come. A seven pointed star and a slashing claw bringing death and pestilence, mountains crumbled to dust and forest burned and withered. He violently sank into the earth below him the torrent of lightning thrusting him downwards. The earth grabbed up at him clutching at his hands and feet pulling him deeper into the stone. He screamed but no one could hear him. “We are now one, Stoneskin.” Stormcrag bellowed. The tribesmen of the Thunderhewn looked upon the peak in horror as huge chunks of stone and snow were wrenched off by massive streams of lightning as if the sky and earth were fighting to the death. An avalanche sweeped across the thunderpeaks, waves crashing down on the sides of the mountain. For Stoneskin there was only silence. He awoke several days later to the familiar face of the tribes shaman. He was alive and now much more than that, he was a force of nature, as tough as the mountains, as powerful as thunder and as deadly as lightning. From that day onward he acted on his visions searching for those that would bring ruin to his lands and his people. Stormcrag guided him and in time they grew to be friends. Now word has spread that bane and the bandits of the red star have begun their evil work and Stoneskin moves to change the future he has foreseen.