Category Archives: Fiction

[FICTION] Memories Once Lost III

It began only as a vague awareness, fluttering between a primitive thought and the drowsy slumber of eternal darkness. The world was but a voice, or the distant echo of one coming and going for no discernible reason. Then it became the blurry sensations of touch and feeling, each too indistinct, too ran together to make any sense. At last, the world took the form of light, and then: shapes, colors… a wall. A surface strolling by at a leisurely pace. Only it was not a wall, but a ceiling. And the shadows that stood at either side were priests in black robes.

There was another voice: his own. “What… this…”, it said, fragmented and disoriented. The ceiling stopped moving, and the priests began to do their work. Then, there was pain. Blinding, horrifying, unending pain. Searing hot pain as metal plates were fused with the skin. This tortuous agony persisted, accompanied by the constant clamor of blacksmith hammers clanging against metal and the fumes of the forges tormenting tongue and nose and strange flashes of light blinding him. Every sense was under assault for hours seemingly without end, until at last silence ensued and only the echos of pain remained. When consciousness returned, and time began to have meaning again, his eyes opened once more and he stepped off the platform to which he had before been bound. When he looked to his left, a solitary man stood watching him.

“Lord… Mondain..?”

The man shook his head, and removed his hood. He was not Mondain. “No, my lord. I am but a servant. Our master is preoccupied with other matters. Prithee, accompany me.”

“I thought I was dead.”

“Thou hadst nearly died,” said the Priest of Mondain, “But our lord knows all, sees all. He would not let thee perish so easily.”

“Who am I?”

“Thou wast once a knight in the service of the traitor, Lord British. Thy name was Alastair. Now, thou art without name.”

“Who is that?” The two men came before another suit of armor, similar to the one the man formerly known as Alastair was wearing.

The Priest of Mondain regarded the unconscious, armored person. “He was once a notorious murderer. He terrorized the roads of near Britain challenging all. He gained such notoriety among the locals as a dreaded lord. He was born in the fires of our wars, verily, and he died by his code which was a code of chaos. Now, he will serve our master.”

They continued walking, coming upon another person resting in a suit of armor. “And who is this?” said the man formerly known as Alastair.

“Ah.” The Priest of Mondain inspected the armor closely for a moment, before speaking further. “A vagabond, little more. He was a wanderer, traveling alone across Sosaria somehow surviving against the incredible odds that stack against those without companions or armies. As such, he became particularly dangerous to all he came across, and gained the reputation of a monstrous man. Indeed, it was Lord British who burned down an entire forest just to find him. Now, it is Lord Mondain that summons him from those very flames to fight another day.”

As he finished they walked further, coming across yet another person in a suit of armor, but behind the visor was a blackened skull. Before the armored man could even ask, the Priest of Mondain began, “Thou art wondering about this one, yes? A baron. Former baron, I should say. He was given his title by the old king Wolfgang, and resented the traitorous British for presuming to rule over him. He plotted to assassinate the false king but when his plans were exposed, he and his entire family were burned at the stake for their righteous loyalties to Lord Mondain. We recovered his bones after the instability he left behind left his fiefdom exposed to invasion. He will serve again.”

Now they came across a smaller suit of armor. The man formerly known as Alastair was surprised to see such a smaller form, and even more surprised when he realized it took the form of a woman. “Many noble ladies of the realm have striven for the affection of our master. But Lord Mondain has spurned them all. This one, however…” said the Priest, tapping the armor softly, “..this one would not accept the rejection. So enamored was she with our master that she betrayed her own noble father by opening the gates of his castle in secret, that our master may conquer it. He allowed her to remain in his presence for her service, but before long he became irritated by her pleas for attention and eventually…. relieved her of her madness. Yet, recognizing the value of desperate love, he saved her bones for a greater cause.”

Finally, they encountered the final suit of armor. There seemed to be no one within it, and the man formerly known as Alastair was more inclined to ask what this was, rather than who it was, until the Priest preempted him.

“The answer is simply that I do not know. Verily, nobody knows, for Lord Mondain has never said who inhabits this armor. It is an old spirit, and someone we suspect to had been very close to our lord; someone for whom our master had a deep affection. But know this: whatever arises in this suit – it too shall serve.”

Having seen them all, the man formerly known as Alastair said, “Six suits of armor. Six knights of Mondain. What shall–“

“Seven,” the Priest interrupted him. “There are seven.”

“Where is the last suit of armor?”

“It is still unfinished. And our master has yet to find a suitable soul to wield it. Not just anyone can bear the plates. It must be one containing strong convictions. A warrior of great spiritual fortitude. It is the only way the powers of the armor can be withstood, and harnessed.”

The man formerly known as Alastair listened quietly, and then considered the Priest’s words for a moment before speaking.

“I know just the man.”

[FICTION] Memories Once Lost II

The field had once been lush and vibrant, covered from hill to hill, horizon to horizon with a rich array of wildlife, wild flowers, soft, emerald-hued grass and the cooling shade of old trees. Only a desolate battlefield now remained, charred from the fires of battle and littered with the bones of the dead. A few fragments of arms and armor remained; everything else having been scavenged. A lone knight on horseback charged across the scarred landscape searching in desperation as black clouds loomed in the distance, his armor gleaming with blood from the previous melee. Soon, the knight arrived at a hill, upon which a solitary tree stood, having survived the chaos, as well as another knight.

“Sir Alastair!” he growled, throwing down a letter. “What is the meaning of this?”

“Brother Nathaniel. Were my words not plain enough?” asked Alastair.

“This is treason! What art thou thinking old friend?!”

Alastair watched the dark clouds as they drifted on eastward. “I think this was coming for a long, long time.. ‘old friend’.”

Nathaniel cried out, “Thou hast sworn an oath to thy liege! Where is thy honor? Thou wouldst abandon thy king in his hour of need?!”

“He is NO KING, Nathaniel,” Alastair said sharply. “He does NOT BELONG here. His ways are outlandish, his method of ruling abnormal. He is NO true Sosarian King. Lord Mondain is the rightful heir to Akalabeth, regardless of his crimes.”

“‘Regardless of his crimes’, he says! Brother, listen to thyself! Mondain is a cold, cruel, evil man. He desires only POWER! Just look at the evil he has unleashed! See plainly the monstrosities he fills his legions with!”

Alastair growled impatiently, “Because he HAS to, fool! Because all of ye have been swindled by the fraud, British! Thou sayest well thy king’s propaganda, and surely many more shall say the same should a victorious Lord British be permitted to write the tomes of history, but I know it, thou knowest it, the truth is far more complex than what the bards of days to come shall be able to fit in rhyme and verse. Mondain is not the villain that Lord British has made him out to be. Thy king has lied.”

Nathaniel could only shake his head in disbelief. “Mondain has lied! Dost thou not see? Even now he fills thy mind with dark thoughts. I will not allow thee to fall into his hands!”

Alastair pulled on his helm. “Thou shalt have to vanquish me, brother, to see that done.”

The knight of Lord British pulled on his own helm and couched his lance. “I had hoped it would not come to this, brother. This is foolish! Thou art no match for me.”

Alastair replied coolly, “We shall see.”

Each knight charged the other, lances couched and shields held forth. Despite riding uphill Sir Nathaniel was a force to be reckoned with, one of the most accomplished knights in Akalabeth, whereas Alastair, despite his downhill advantage, was considered by many a lesser knight in strength and constitution. The two knights clashed, each lance striking the other. Alastair’s lance exploded against the force of Nathaniel’s shield; the impact sent him falling from his steed.

“Yield, Sir Alastair!” called out Nathaniel.

Sir Alastair stood, drew his sword and called back, “I do not yield!”

As he charged once more, Sir Nathaniel muttered under his breath, “Do not make me do this, my friend,” and aimed his lance for Sir Alastair. The ground trembled beneath the powerful hooves of Nathaniel’s horse as he came charging upon his once loyal friend and Sir Alastair, unmoved by the deadly odds against him, stubborn to all logic and reason and instinct, remained rooted to the ground only by the strange principles which now guided him. As the unstoppable juggernaut that was Sir Nathaniel came perilously near, Sir Alastair raised his shield and prepared to swing his sword…

When the dust had settled Sir Nathaniel, dismounted from his horse, approached the failing body of Sir Alastair. A large fragment of lance jutted from his chest as Sir Alastair struggled to breath. Streams of blood flowed from wound and mouth. Sir Nathaniel knelt beside the dying man and removed Sir Alastair’s helm, seeing his still fearless, vengeful expression.

“Brother, why did it have to come to this…”

Sir Alastair gave no reply, for the serious wounds with which he now struggled, but only looked upon Sir Nathaniel with anger and hatred. Tears welled up in the eyes of both knights and Sir Nathaniel wept.

“Farewell old friend. It is better this way.”

[FICTON] Memories Once Lost

“Nathaniel. Why do we fight?”

Two knights watched from a hill overlooking a battle. Crimson-hued clouds in the evening sky cast an ominous shade over the land. Shouts and the clash of steel rang from the battle raging in the distance as a kind of reflective silence seemed to separate them from that brutal chaos. They stood atop a mass of bodies from an earlier battle.

“For justice, brother Alastair. For the good. For the light.”

Suddenly a horn blared loudly somewhere in the battle, accompanying with it the stamping of horses and warcries of men as an entire battalion of mounted knights came crashing into the ranks of Mondain’s monstrous legion. The routed soldiers were slaughtered mercilessly as they attempted to flee from Lord British’s armies.

“Do we?” asked Alastair. “All of this bloodshed, for a man that is not even a Sosarian.”

“He is our King, brother,” replied Nathaniel.

“Lord Wolfgang was our king,” Alastair fired back.

“Lord Wolfgang is dead, murdered by the traitor. How many have perished for his crimes? And how many more will perish?”

Just as Nathaniel finished speaking, a loud crash resounded throughout the land as a massive projectile hurled from the dark legion’s camp landed midst the battling armies. It was followed by woeful wailing. As the madness seemed to subside to regular sounds of battle, Alastair spoke again.

“How many *must* perish, brother? I sense the world is changing, and not for the better. Conflict is what drives us; it is what dwells in our hearts. Conflict is the engine of our evolution. Without it, what are we? What am I? What art thou?” Alastair gestured widely to the battle playing out before them. “If Lord British has his way, all conflict will come to an end, and the kingdom will march limply to its annihilation.”

Nathaniel frowned. “Why worry, Alastair? Conflict is inevitable. It is peace that is the elusive and fleeting moment in time. Besides…” Nathaniel turned to Alastair, looking him up and down with a grin. “Were we to cross swords, thou wouldst surely be trounced. Without conflict, what art thou indeed!”

Alastair looked to his friend as Nathaniel returned his gaze to the battle in their moment of rest.

“Perhaps so, brother.”

[NEWS] Governor Zalan Assassinated!

We are sad to report that on November 15th during a dinner meeting hosted by Lord Blackthorn, Governor Zalan of Yew was assassinated by a wraith while attempting to give his report on Yew. The assailant seemed to come after an enigmatic box recovered from the crypts of Yew. Employing magic within Lord Blackthorn’s castle, the wraith swiftly struck down Governor Zalan before taking the box and fleeing. Zalan showed no signs of life after his fall but was immediately rushed to the local healers for examination. Lord Blackthorn has sworn to address this injustice.

[FICTION] Transdimensional Perception Through Sensory Interaction

The following is an excerpt from an obscure, old book titled “Transdimensional Perception Through Sensory Interaction: Thoughts and Theories” by an unnamed scholar; a footnote relegated to an unimportant chapter near the back of the book.

“…and of course there are the old stories and jokes about the curious intelligence of many breeds of canine. Is it possible, perhaps, that a dog possesses a separate faculty altogether through which it perceives its surroundings, and other dogs? It is most unlikely, but this hypothesis would be consistent with recent research. For example, why does a dog chase its tail? Why does it bury bones? Why do dogs greet each other by sniffing each other’s posteriors? These are, of course, all questions which zoologists have answered, at least to their own satisfaction, yet this behavior may be better explained through transdimensional communication. A dog, of course, cannot speak. Thus any forms of communication must occur on a different plane.

The “K9″ dimension, as I have dubbed it, would accomplish precisely that. However, the implications of such a hypothesis extend well beyond such seemingly trivial matters as why dogs consume their own bodily waste. Indeed, if such a K9 dimension exists, it must follow that lifeforms native to it must also exist; that it must possess a form of some kind, and that Sosarian dogs, whether fully realized in the dimension or not, must at least be somehow connected to it in order to facilitate communication. Of course, being that this concerns dogs, this subject is of little importance, and it is highly doubtful that such a dimension truly exists precisely as described. Nevertheless, some form of transdimensional communication must be at play.”

Shouting in the Halls of Blackthorn

[Commander Forthwin and Magister Rainard shall be present in Castle Blackthorn in the days prior to the Council meeting. Use the keyword “hello” to start the conversation to learn more about the current situation.]

The King of Britannia walked through the halls of Castle Blackthorn, his steps swift with purpose, his arms held behind his back, and his head tilted downward in contemplation. Around him, the muffled shouts of two men echoed throughout the typically quiet corridors. As his two arms thrust open the double doors into the parlor, the shouting suddenly became clear and loud.

“..and I’m telling you, Forthwin, if you break the seal, we will all be DOOMED!”

“Am I to presume, mage, that you want this evil to continue existing in our realm?!”

“Better that than the Kingdom cease to exist!”

“Preposterous! You cannot seriously expect–“

“Commander! Magister!” The sudden, commanding voice of the King brought Arthur Forthwin and Magister Rainard to silence. “Is this about the tomb?”

Magister Rainard immediately forward. “Your Majesty, I humbly ask that we do not disturb that tomb. It is presents a danger to the Kingdom.” No sooner had the words passed Rainard’s lips, did Forthwin interject. “And allow this evil to continue its existence? Are you mad?! Save ourselves, and doom a future generation?!”

Rainard rolled his eyes, having already heard these very arguments from the Commander, seemingly a thousand times. “Once again, these objects CAN be stored safely in His Majesty’s vault! Why resort to violence when we do not even have to?”

Pinching the bridge of his nose and gritting his teeth, Forthwin had all the appearances of an impatient man about to burst into a fit of shouting. But just as he began, “Rainard, you snivelling..,” did the King interrupt. “Enough!” The two fell silent again. The King spoke again.

“Commander. Magister. Return to your chambers. I have heard both of your sides already. I shall bring this matter to the Council for further discussion. And if they cannot come to a conclusion, then I will make a decision myself.” With that, the three men parted ways, and silence returned to the dark halls of Castle Blackthorn.

A New Chapter

In the glow of candlelight, he sat in an old, creaky chair at a small desk of solid mahogany. Upon the desk he laid a heavy tome, freshly bound – its leather cover smooth to the touch; its pages crisp and carrying the enticing aroma of newness. Carefully, reverently, two fingers opened the cover, revealing the first page – blank.

A small smile.

Taking a quill in hand, he dabbed the tip in a jar of ink, and began to write:

The Legends of Ultima and the Dark Days of Sosaria.
A Story by Erebus

Chapter 1
One morning, in the city of Trinsic, a paladin rose to train…

And so the man wrote, long into the night.