The Free City of Arnoc suffered greatly from the Skinwalker Plague. Many innocents were slain in the streets as monsters ran rampant, but, as bad as that was, the worst evil would wait for years to emerge. For one victim – one among thousands – was vindictive enough to try and inflict his suffering upon the survivors. One little princeling nearly brought Arnoc to its knees.
It is said that it began when the prince saw a rat, and, in his cruelty, smashed it under his boot. Such a tortuous death cursed the rat’s dying spirit, and it attacked the princeling, infecting his soul with Skinwalker madness. He had lived as a rat, and so a rat he had become: bloated, hideous, and forever tormented by hunger he could not sate.
The wicked princeling fled his manor and disappeared into the sewers of Arnoc, his heart burning with hatred. But he did not perish there. He mastered his animal nature, summoning countless pests and vermin, and commanded them to dig. Soon the tunnels beneath Arnoc grew to a maze of endless passages, and he became their only master: a monster the people of Arnoc knew only as Gnishak Verminlord.
For thirteen years he gathered power and slaves, until at last the time was right. On the eve of the mid-winter Yuletide festival, he struck: a terrible pestilence, into which he poured his malice and his will, and which he spread with his countless scurrying servants. Many innocents perished, and no healer could stop the rot. All hope was lost, until a humble rat catcher came to the city council and proclaimed he knew the cause of the plague. He even knew of its lair. If they could kill the Verminlord, the plague could be cured by mortal means. But who could possibly enter the fetid sewers and hope to survive?
The answer was a deserter from the War of Kaerok – a Knight who had failed his homeland and fled rather than fight on in vain. Georgid, no longer Sir. He volunteered to kill Gnishak, knowing he, too, would die – perhaps even before he reached the Verminlord. The plague was so thick, and so quick to act…
Then, a light shone upon the council chamber, and a servant of Lumaya stepped out of myth to offer a gift. Sir Nicholas, called by the suffering on his Yuletide holiday, brought forth a suit of armor for Georgid – steel that would merge with the flesh, that would not rot or wither, that could withstand any poison. Georgid may never feel the same again, but he would have his chance.
Georgid donned his armor and marched down below, to the sound of all manner of pestilent horror. The tense townsfolk tried to track his progress into the depths, but it did not take long for even the sounds of battle to fade as he went deeper. What became of Georgid and Gnishak is unknown, and neither ever emerged from the darkness. But the plague ended, and Arnoc survived. To this day the city honors the name of Georgid the Breaker, and his tale lives on, beloved and oft-recalled on the Eve of Yule.