Survivors of Charn
If your nerves are fragile, or if you possess an exceptionally tender and sentimental soul, I urge you to read no more, for these next pages are written in tears. I almost thought to spare you, my faithful readers, this chronicle of misery. But I swore an oath upon my sacred honor to keep a faithful record of my adventures and to omit no detail, however piteous.
After the battle I was subjected to the most horrific torment. I was entombed with the other survivors, sealed in a vessel shaped by foul sorcery. No one can say how many hours or days we were trapped in hideous silence, bereft of drink, of song, of cheer, with nothing to eat but cucumber sandwiches, without butter and without cucumbers.
At last we were released from our unjust captivity. No one greeted our return, except the desiccated remains of our commanding general. No drum, no bugle, no parade to celebrate our valor, just a cold dead wind, stirring the dust of a blasted plain.
All that remained of the army was our last command: return to the capital. Several of our company deserted on the spot and I took down their names for the writ of execution. Those of us who held true to Queen and country made for Charn.
Nothing grew or crawled upon the earth, but the vale teemed with the unhallowed dead. Many times we were abused by marauding wraiths. Once I found myself locked in single combat with the wraith Queen! I drew her away from the wounded. She clawed at me and I felt her cold breath on my trembling shoulder. I struck her with my sword, again and again until her unholy shape collapsed in a fountain of dust.
After days of raids and skirmishes we came at last to Charn, and there I felt the cruelest cut of all. The Golden Turban was closed! Also, vaporized.
It was the only place I was ever really happy. No one cares. No one understands. I combed the rubble and grit and all I found was a spoon.