Firebird Software, 1987
Tranquil year after tranquil year, the Islands of the Western Sea slumbered. Then, on the wings of a winter storm, came ships from the north, tossed and broken by the icy seas. The Lord of the Isles smiled upon the Northlanders, harboured them and gave them shelter.
Then came the spring. The Lord of the Isles offered strong, oaken ships to the Northlanders, yet they chose not to leave, coveting the riches of the Western Isles. They drew their swords and demanded land to make homes upon.
The Lord of the Isles smiled no longer. The Northlanders were too many for even his enchanted sword of lightning and dragonsfire to chasten. In secret, fearing more treachery, he gathered the finest smiths he could muster and bade them forge him a magical sceptre of terrible power.
Five long years passed, during which the Northlanders grew in boldness and power. Then the Lord of the Isles summoned the Northlanders to attend his court. "By the Dark Powers", cried the Lord of the Isles, "Let the Hounds of Hell harry you to the end of time itself!"
Upon his words, lightning leapt outwards from the sceptre, touching each one of the Northlanders with fire. One of the Northlander warlords, maddened with pain, leapt upon the rostrum where the Lord of the Isles stood.
"Powers of Death, I call upon thee!", cried the Northlander. "Save us and we will serve you forever!". Now the darkness that had gathered around the sceptre twisted into long fingers that reached out to touch the burning, writhing Northlanders, soothing their pain yet at the same time causing their flesh to become shadowy and vague, glowing faintly like the embers of a fire.
The Lord of the Isles had made a terrible mistake. Seeking to destroy the Northlanders, instead he had given them a strange and evil power. The sceptre had touched the Northlanders with its dark force. No more were they mere men; now they were Lords of the Shadow, gripped by evil and ruled by the Dark Sceptre that had created them The Isles of the Western Sea would know no peace until the Sceptre was destroyed and with it, the evil of the Shadow Lords.