The Legend of Sul'gar Minh is an ancient folktale about the downfall of Sul'gar Minh which was the oldest known human nation in the Land of the Living. It has become obscure as millennia have passed and is now regarded as a mere cautionary tale predating first known ghost stories.
Thousands of years ago, a kingdom by the name of Sul'gar Minh prospered. In the final days of Wise King Beaumont, however, the people grew more and more wary and discontented. You see, it was becoming more and more widely believed that the gods of the land had abandoned them.
Morality eroded, and more and more the unscrupulous seized power and wealth by means which, but a generation prior, would have been considered unthinkable. In the early days of Queen Maleah, such was becoming the norm. Her First Knight and sometime lover, Sir Roderick, discovered a plot by a consortium of power-hungry traders to usurp the throne and burst into the Great Hall just in time to save the Queen, slaying with a prodigous blow the crossbowman disguised as a musician who was to loose the fatal quarrel. The would-be assassin, however, had been a childhood friend of the Queen, twisted by greed into forsaking her. The Queen could not believe that such a dear comrade would turn against her, and grew wrathful.
In her private chambers, Roderick tried to console the Queen, displaying proof and more proof of the authenticity of the plot, but the Queen would not hear of it. In a fit of spite, she exclaimed, "Damn you, Roderick! I wish you were dead!" Again and again, Roderick tried to calm his Queen down, but she was too shorn by grief, and screamed over and over, "I wish you were dead, I wish you were dead, I wish you were dead!" Finally, an eerie quiet stole over Roderick's soul, and he looked deep into his beloved Maleah's eyes, and softly said, "You really mean that, don't you?"
It was a vehemence born of grief, and one that would surely pass with time, but seeing his Queen so distraught tore at Roderick, and he suffered along with her. In that one moment, he truly believed her words were heartfelt, and he stepped back, releasing her from his embrace. "It shall be," he said with a quiver in his voice, "as you command."
Roderick left his grief-stricken Queen in her chambers and went at once to the Captain of the Guard and announced, not without trepidation, "My Queen commands that I am to be executed at once."
The Captain tried to dissuade Roderick, assuring him that in time the grief would pass, and the Queen would come to her senses, and want him once more at his side, but Roderick would not hear of it. "There is a change coming over her," he said, "And I would sooner die at the command of the Queen I yet love, then watch her become a person I do not."
With great reluctance, the Captain of the Guard led Sir Roderick, bound and hooded, to the gallows. Up to the very last minute, in the furthest recesses of his mind, Sir Roderick thought that surely, Maleah would come to her senses, that she would come rushing down and put a halt to the execution. The Queen, however, shorn by grief, refused to believe that any of this was truly happening. As the executioner threw the switch that cut the ground out from beneath Sir Roderick, the Queen had fallen into a tormented and unrestful sleep.
For some, the lucky few, hanging is a brief death, caused by the rope breaking their neck when the trapdoor first falls. Not so for Sir Roderick, as the life slowly choked out of him. The only blessing he had in those final hours was that his head was hooded, and the people that he had known and loved could not see his face as his eyeballs bulged out of his head.
When the Queen finally realized what had happened, that her lover as well as her friend were gone forever, she was not seen for months. The Kingdom was run by her councillors, the influence of the corrupt only barely countered by that of the few loyal officials remaining. Day by day, however, the sound of the Queen's tormented weeping lessened and lessened, and finally stilled. When Queen Maleah returned to face the light of day, there was a madness in her eyes, and from that day on, Sul'gar Minh was never the same.
The Queen saw treason and sedition everywhere she looked. For everyone found innocent of a crime, ten turned up who could be proven guilty. The law grew harsher and harsher as the mad Queen sought to stamp out the corruption that plagued her reign, but such was the blindness wrought by her madness that for every criminal she justly punished, ten innocent men were hanged. Once hard sought-after, government positions grew difficult to fill, as the people of the land whispered that to be appointed to the government was a death sentence. Eventually, the loyal councillors were no more, all fled to neighboring lands or unjustly executed, and all positions of power were filled by the unscrupulous.
In the years that followed, as people must, people grew weary of the injustices forced upon them by Maleah's reign, and a mighty champion, named Gunther, rose up to challenge her. He gathered armies of the righteous, established strongholds at the right places and the right times, and took control of city after city who hailed him as a hero and saviour, and proclaimed him to be the true King of Sul'gar Minh.
Eventually, those who stood by the queen were limited to the ones who did so purely out of greed, and they held only the city of Sul'gar Minh itself. At a time when Gunther's armies were so massive that they believed victory to be sure, they finally invaded the capital, and burned it to the ground, all save for the Royal Palace.
The Royal Palace, through all of this, remained silent. Not a soldier sallied from its gates, not a flag was raised, not a soul was seen. Amidst the cacophony of the city's sack, it was an island of eerie silence. The army became uneasy, feeling that surely this must be some foul trick of the mad Queen, until finally Gunther himself, astride a mighty destrier, rode through the broken gates of the palace. Heartened by his example, one by one at first and then in mighty droves, the army followed. They never returned, nor were the heard from.
Years passed, and finally the people gave up all hope of seeing noble Gunther or his armies again. The palace was said to be cursed, and entry onto its grounds was forbidden, and a new government was elected by a popular vote.
In the ensuing years, many have set forth in spite of the hushed tales, to investigate the palace that swallowed Lord Gunther, and determine what became of him. Others have gone in search of treasure, and others to prove their bravery. But in all of the years that have come and gone since then, not a man, nor a woman, nor a child who has ever set foot in the Palace of Sul'gar Minh has ever been heard from again.