My father is called Sakarig the Silent, a Greuthung Goth, a hunter from the borderless Steppe. Once a lessor cousin of the royal clan of Amal, he trained as a forger—a metal worker—like his father before him, along with his brothers, those that lived. But the Iudex—Reiks Dagmar the Elder—died. Reiks Dagmar’s only son was three, too young to lead, and the Eldermen of the Goth clans gathered, argued, then called on the Angel of Death to read the runes.
Now my father, Sakarig the Silent—though not a reiks—leads the Amal. With this position comes the leadership of all the military age men of the Southland clans—Greuthungi and Tervingi alike. Twelve hundred eighty three men between the ages of 17 and 45, at last count. These clansmen followed Dagmar the Elder into battle, then, upon Dagmar's death, followed my father to the banks of the Danau River and to the edge of the Roman Empire. My father spoke for the Greuthungi and the many clans who had sworn allegiance to the dead Reiks. In their name, my father pledged service to Rome so that these Gothmen, now refugees, might have lands within the Empire.
One day, the Eldermen will call on the Angel, and she will cast the runes. If it is Tiews’ will, the Eldermen will elect Prince Dagmar the Younger, raise him to reiks, maybe to Iudex. Then my father will step down, and Prince Dagmar will lead the fighting men and be the voice of the Southland Goths within the Roman boundaries.
I once believed this to be the destiny of the prince. I once believed I would fight by Dagmar's side. Fate laughed at my arrogance.
I, as eldest son, was given the name of Sakarig, after my father. I was Sakarig the Younger. The name of a forger’s son. Called Karig by all who knew me.
At the time of my birth, the Angel of Death recited the words and read the runes and shed the sacraficial blood.
The runes spoke of a son of Sakarig carving a warrior’s path. This son would lead without title, be a great defender of the old ways, a light when the Greuthungi lost their way. It was read that a son of Sakarig would guide the Greuthungi back to their homelands, back to their gods and their honor.
When the Angel finished her reading, she commanded the symbols written down--etched into the stones of the Steppe near my birthplace, the rough and wild home we were about to lose.
Once written, a prophecy holds weight. It cannot be wrong.
Even after the birth of my stubborn, fire-headed little brother, the Southland clans believed the Angel of Death—the runes, Tiews—had spoken of me. I, Sakarig the Younger, would be a warrior-leader without a title. I believed in the will of Tiews, had accepted it without argument or doubt—until the moment the thin blade slid across my throat, and I broke through the serene surface of the swollen Danau, her violent undertow drawing me to an unmarked grave.
Now you know the end of this tale.
But as the world of the Goth breaks into pieces—and black forces swirl about my misguided brother’s head—let me tell you the beginning of the story.
My brother will seek his answers to what really happened to me. Whether Tiews grants him answers—justice—or more questions, the mystery, and my memory, will guide him down dark tunnels and inside the gray hearts of men.
But my brother might never know the full truth.
Here, in this other-world, I’ll share with you all I know about the secrets of the Goths, the Angel of Death, the garrison, the friends I thought I could trust and the enemy on whom I should have never turned my back. I’ll tell you the beginning, so that you might understand the end.
Come. Let us begin my story.