The faint smell of desert herbs hung in the air in a manner that was identical to the way bricks typically didn’t. This scent brought Chip around, though not fully. What fully got his attention was the aged Ettin wearing a black robe, who was repeatedly slapping him across the face. Needless to say, Chip leapt half a mile into the air and recoiled, defensively.
“What in the name of virtual deity Steve Grand’s impossibly skilled coding was that for?!” he cried, gagging on the freshwater that hung in his throat from the shoreline.
“You. Awake.” replied the robed Ettin, curtly, “We bring you to village. You remain in village for now. Not safe with Borland roaming the seas.”
“Like Hell I am,” defied Chip, getting up to leave and almost immediately falling to the floor.
“You twist ankle something bad,” explained the Ettin, “I’m Elder Pharkas Sandstopper. This village, she is mine. I protect.”
Chip looked around to gather a vague memory of his surroundings. He was in a large sandstone building, with carvings on the walls. One prominent carving depicted the sea monster that had attacked them, surrounded by Ettins and fish. Some of the carved creatures were in a position of worship, and some were lying down in crates of sea life.
“Excuse me for my rudeness, Elder, but… Who is Borland?” asked Chip, anxious to learn and to study the monster. The Elder sat on the straw-stuffed bed and began to tell the story.
“Long ago, before Shee, before revolution… Borland was protector of Ettin society. We give fish, we offer dead to Borland, he eats, we do not get attacked. But one day, Borland… He does not want to protect any more. He now eats and hunts. Ettin fishermen die, Sandstopper Village begin to starve. Others try to ask why is Borland angry, but nobody knows. But now you come, and I feel strange power inside you. You help.”
Chip had little difficulty understanding the old Ettin’s broken English, but the last part confused him.
“What kind of power?” he asked, “and how can I help?”
Elder Pharkas let out a wheezing laugh, before hopping off the bed.
“Look.” the Elder said, showing off a tapestry that prominently featured a Shee statue. The statue was depicted with glowing eyes, and was surrounded by Ettins, Norns and Grendels with eyes of the same colour. “Legends say there is a fourth. A Shee-Touched. Legends say the Shee-Touched will be remembered for his actions. Legends foretell the downfall of an old and far-reaching evil.”
“So, you think I’m this Shee-Touched?” he queried, incredulously, “why?”
“Shee-Touched… Has great knowledge and scientific power. You help with Borland. Then we see…