Governor Ceannard was sitting quietly at his desk. He was alone in the Study Chamber, the Great Library of the Fortress. It is here where all the ancient and new documents and books were kept safe so that no one would ever forget the past and its suffering.
He poured himself another glass of Darach cognac, the finest one could find in all the Kingdom of Rioghachad. Bhaile was renowned for its master-distillers and for its people’s passion for quality liqueurs.
Not many could afford the precious beverages, though. Most of the people of Bhaile would have to be satisfied with the lesser quality drinks found at the brothel in the peasant’s corner of the town.
This was one of the very few luxuries that his position offered that Governor Ceannard would accept and enjoy. And even that, only on very special occasions, or when he was deeply troubled by something. Tonight, it was because of the second reason.
On his desk, he had an immense pile of old documents and books. The Governor was looking for clues regarding the recent murders that took place in town. He remembered the stories that his grandfather used to tell him as a child. He always thought of them as simply children’s stories, even if his grandfather always told him that they were true.
How could they be true? Ancient creatures that could change their appearance at will and who would kill any child they would find outside after dark? These stories were surely invented by adults to make children scared and such, listen more to their parents.
The only thing that made Ceannard look into these tales was that the monsters in them were said to take the form of children and cut open the necks of their victims. It was a crazy theory to take into consideration, but he was becoming desperate. There were eighteen deaths unsolved now and the King’s Guards were no closer to catching the murderer than they were after the first crime.
The townsfolk were becoming restless and started rioting in protest. He couldn’t even blame them. The King’s Guards were collecting taxes, but they also swore to protect the people and bring to justice anyone who would harm them. So far, they were only efficient in gathering the tax money and that made the people furious.
He finally found what he was looking for. An old, dusty book, called History and Creatures of the Dark Times, by Leabhar Spordail. It was a giant encyclopedia of all the known tales of the past. It contained details of supernatural creatures, how they were born and what was their purpose, as well as historical events, and their roles in them.
Governor Ceannard found an interesting entry. A brief description of some creatures called Kelpies. It said that these creatures were born out of hate and that they would be bound to serve Evil for eternity. They were used in the past wars mainly as assassins or infiltrators into the ranks of men because of their ability to shapeshift into human form. Usually, they would appear as children so they would seem to pose no threat to anyone. But when they would find the right moment, they would attack their target merciless and cut their throats with their claws. Kelpies had much longer lifespans than men, some of them being as old as three hundred years old. Some say that they could even fly, but that is a piece of unconfirmed information.
Even so, none were seen since the Great Battle of Kings, when King Darras ended Thromach Dol Fodha’s reign of despair at the price of his own life. After that event, all of Thromach’s foul servants retreated to the South, never to be seen again by the eyes of men. They are thought to be waiting for the next Dorcha Aon to return and wreak havoc upon the Kingdom of Rioghachad once again.
-Kelpies, yes, that is what grandpa’ called them too! But these things cannot be real. It has been more than eight hundred years since the days of King Darras. And ever since, scholars tried to prove the existence of these mythical creatures but found no evidence. Men even set sail South to find them, but none that came back have seen anything like that. It seems that the people of those times just exaggerated the powers of their enemies. Most likely, those creatures were simple, yet brutal and evil men. Come on, Ceannard, you’re wasting your time with these children’s stories. – the Governor said to himself.
-Sir, are you alone? – said a voice coming from the door of the Study Chamber.