According to an old folk tale, every bat in the Mucklands used to be a piece of silver. Long ago, the King of the Grimly Wood, in his hubris, proclaimed himself the wealthiest man in the Middle Kingdoms, after having minted every shekel of silver within the Caverns of Shakkad. The King challenged anyone to refute his claim and spent fortunes upon jousts and circuses, feasts and festivals–all hosted within the walls of his mighty Castle in the Lake.
Stories have it, that before long a witch (of sorts) learned of the haughty king’s boasting and traveled far from the east to enjoy the wanton splendors of his table–for the witch was cursed with an insatiable appetite and needed to constantly eat to live.
Upon arriving to the Kingdom of the Grimly Wood, the witch was welcomed and promised relief from her terrible curse at the overflowing table of the king himself, where food and wine were infinitely replenished to serve his joyous subjects. And so the witch ate. And ate. Eating day and night, desperate to quiet a thundering belly. Within days there were no signs or geese or ducks, within weeks the granary was empty. And every subject revolted.
But the witch cared little. Gold was transformed into butter. Diamonds melted to mash and emeralds snapped into clams. Gems became morsels and silk became wine. Before long the king and his peoples were destitute, vying to escape their lands with what little they could. But the witch was still hungry and turned the silver of Shakkad to plump and fluttering bats.
There is no clear account as to the fate of the Grimly King, nor his subjects, or if the story is true at all. But if you follow the road through Grimly Wood, you will to this day pass an empty castle on a lake where there is no king at all.