Far away in the northeast, past the Stonefather Mountains, there is a peak that looms above all others. Rather than appearing majestic or unconquerable, it appears bleak and ghastly, missing large chunks and cutting an irregular jagged rip out of the horizon. This is Mount Barr, named for an ancient Golemmac king.
In a cave within walking distance of an untouchable peak, isolated behind violent winds and driving snow, a woman from Jolecretia sat and meditated. Her name was Esther Fonseca, and she was a very kind, very thoughtful person. Her lichen-hair was curled conservatively, in a classical sort of style thought of very fondly by her family back home. Her eyes were bright and expressive, and she was always smiling.
Truly, she was a lot of things. Before the Warlock, Tanner Mandel, tore her life apart in a single night. With a knife and a bloodied palm, he crept into her family home while she was only a teenager, and with flashes of Red magic and silvery metal, one by one they were all snuffed out. Everyone but her. Her mother, father, three sisters, and ailing grandmother. All so that one Warlock could have his way with magic that was forbidden for a very good reason. Fearing for her life, she only escaped by slipping through a door in the washroom that led to her parents’ bedroom, then pushing a bookcase over to trap him. By the time the warlock heaved off the sturdy wood and burned away the books, she was halfway across town and still rushing, making her way out of the Vasquez province and out of Jolecretia’s domes entirely.
When she reached the border of Golemacia, she was no longer running out of fear. The loss of her family settled quickly and horribly in her stomach, in much the same way a swallowed handful of coarse gravel would. Every action made her sick, but the realization that she would feel sick until she did something about it made her determined, and furious.
Unsure of what to do, she fell back on the story of St. Xavier, who led the Jolecretians into salvation in the wild tundras of antiquity. If he could wield the radiance of Yellow magic with his hands because of his compassion and faith, then perhaps she could as well. And so, just like St. Xavier, she sought out a mountain. After weeks living on the hospitality of a local Golemmac village, she departed with a meager pack of supplies and hope in her heart. It is unfortunate that she chose the first mountain she encountered, because there was none more treacherous and unusual in all of the Stonefather mountain range.
Little did Esther know that in the coming months, she would find counsel in ghosts, and learn from the strange hermits who populated the depths and heights of Mount Barr. The mountain was broken for a reason, and learning why changed everything for her.