"There is a name that had spread fear across the continent of Thaedal for two hundred years. Newborns are no longer named that name, and those unfortunate enough to already bear it were met with despise and surrounded by mistrust. For only dark omens were expected around them.

The Pelsh believe the name to be cursed. The very mentioning of it a summoning. For She was believed to be able to hear its mention wherever it was, and consider it thus.

Dear reader, I suspect you know the exact name I write of, what weight it carries in the hearts of common folk, and what infamy it carries in the history of the continent. Especially if you are of Pelish descent, a native, and not of Amerathian lineage such as myself.

I write of the name of The Mistress of slavery and murder. The Mother of The Marked Children.

But worry not, native reader, for I will be referring to The Mistress herein only by titles, never by true name, in consideration of your well mind.

But who is this Mistress? Why is she associated with slavery and murder? And who are these Marked Children? Our Imperial-born reader might ask one and any of these questions. But you too shall not worry, kinsman, for I will be providing you herein with a detailed account on The Mistress, both from legend and rumor.

According to the Pelish lore, The Mistress was once one of our own kind, a human, a lady of noble blood. She greatly loved human males, found them a subject of wonder, creatures worthy of admiration. Young and fair as she was, it was easy for her to satisfy her curiosities, for she gained the favor of many men.

But one thing she desired more than the favor of men, were male children of her own. Unfortunately, she could produce no offspring.

She courted men and left others, attempting as many times as she could throughout her life. Growing depressed but not despaired. She visited herbalists, healers, shamans, even witches to no avail. Until her glimmer finally faded away, her fairness roughened, and she was desirable no more.

At the end she became old, feeble, and afraid. For she expected death to be nearest and every breath to be her last. And when she had lost all hope and drowned to the depths of despair, she decided to try the very last thing that she thought may cure her, the thing that very few dared to approach. . .

Dark magic.

She was beyond worrying about consequences. And so she sought to learn from different witches and stray mages, who were convinced by the wealth she offered to provide her with tomes, scrolls, and instructions sufficient to teach herself.

And so she lived her late days learning in solitude in her mansion, but all was meaningless for she could not cure herself. Although she did learn some aspects of the dark arts in the process, such as curses.

Then, on one gloomy night, she spied a lovely male child who had wandered into her garden, indecisive to pluck a blue or velvet flower. She crossed him before the thought of picking both, and offered him a meal he never would have tasted with his farmer mother. The boy, knowing the pain of hunger all too well, accepted and followed her inside.

She had the pleasure of satisfying some curiosities while conversing with the child as he entertained himself with a taste from every plate present before him. Then she proposed to him a deal, to send a month's worth of every type on the table to his mother's shack, if he was to stay the night at her mansion and entertain her with conversation and company.

The taste in the child's mouth, and the warmth in his belly, forced him to accept this as well. He thought that, if his mother was to worry for him this night, she would be comforted by the sight of him next morning. And that if she was angry with him this night, she would be happy with him when he had returned with that much food next day.

And so he stayed with her, entertaining her as long as he was able to keep awake. And when he finally expressed weariness, she had him take a hot bath, presented him with clean clothing, and selected a room for him to retire.

The boy slept the most comfortable night of his life, she did not.

For she was awake in her quarters, conjuring a curse, one that allowed her to control those she laid it upon, and she laid it upon the child as he slept. That curse was her 'Mark', which she laid on the skins of the children she favored, forcing them to be her own, to call her 'Mother'. And thus she is The Mother of The marked children.

The child was unable to leave the mansion next day, for she was now able, not only to receive his thoughts and emotions, but also to implant her own in him.

But she did not stop there. She began marking more children, luring them by food and comfort into her mansion. Then painting her mark on their skins as they slept with black paint or ink and cursing them. forcing them to live the rest of their lives in her mansion and to do whatever she pleased. And thus she is The mistress of slavery.

Days went by and her powers grew, but the more she learnt of the dark arts, the more she lost of her humanity.

She then began to burn and cut her children to create permanent marks that they could not erase. and as her powers increased, she became able to see through their eyes, hear through their ears, speak through their mouths, and feel through their skins.

And in the end, the very children she marked out of love, turned to slaves, whom she used for murder.

Many have met their end at the hands of the marked children, king and beggar, noble and common, friend and foe. through blasphemous ritual, those who required the death of certain individuals offered her abducted children in return for their murder, and as long as the children were young and pure, she accepted them, sending her children to take the life agreed upon. And thus she is The Mistress of murder.

Many have been chanting her name across the continent in the past. Folk feared for their children from abduction, and their loved ones from murder. And so the Pelsh outlawed her mention, forbid her name to be used again, and directed those suspected of pleading to her and those with certain marks on their skin to the headsman's axe.

Over many years time. Abductions of children and the use of The Mistress' name have greatly decreased. and sightings of the marked have ceased all together. All that is left is rumor and telltale, between those who believe them and those who do not.

The Pelsh believe that she lives to this day. Tainted by her craft and coated in dark energies. She hid herself in her den, wherever it was, and lived through her children since then. Although the method of ritual required to summon her had been lost to the ages.

And now that you have read her account in It's entirety, dear reader, where do you stand? Do you believe the account of The mistress or have you no reason to? I for one never found any proof of the existence of The mistress or her children, as the Pelish folklore is full of similar accounts and superstitions, I believe that this legend was a product of the native war between the Pelish, and the Elikiir tribes living to the south of the wet lands who follow a tradition of painting marks on their skin with paint, wound, or burn.

Nevertheless, I would like to hear your opinion on this legend, or any of the other ones in this book. Send me your thoughts by mail to my box at the pen brother's mailing services. You can find my box's number at the last page of this book."

-- Caleb Gwent's Complete list of tainted creatures.