Category Archives: Fiction

[FICTON] Memories Once Lost V

The hardened eyes of a thousand beaten Britannians, weary from battle and ready for death, watched the tortuous and agonizing process of their commander, Sir Nathaniel Hightower, being clad with the golden armor forged by Mondain’s hand. Nathaniel’s cries of pain echoed across the silent battlefield as all the soldiers, man and beast alike looked on with some small sense of fear ringing in every heart for the horror they now witnessed. When it was done, Nathaniel rose to his feet, the smoke still rising from his smoldering body and a renewed fury against the Pallid Knight swelling into a perfect rage.

“Now, I will end thee,” said Nathaniel, through clenched teeth.

The Pallid’s Knight was cold and hollow. “We shall see.”

The two knights, infused with Mondain’s black magic clashed in an unholy and brutal duel. With each strike given and blow received, Nathaniel could feel the unmistakable satisfaction of battle, each strike feeding the armor’s bloodlust which the armor itself had created in him. Yet, with every strike and every drop of rage accumulating in his heart he could feel his strength and vigor grow. Before long, the Pallid Knight was pushed from an offensive into a defensive position, as the brutal blows of Nathaniel took on a hateful character. Combined with his unsurpassed skill and technique, Nathaniel soon struck down the Pallid Knight.

But something in him had changed. Nathaniel looked back to the Sosarian Knights when they cheered for him, but he could not see them any longer as he once did. The comradery he normally felt was missing, replaced by a hollow indifference and behind that, a hunger for violence. He knew then that he would no longer be able to lead these men. He would have to fight his internal battle alone.

“Knights!” he bellowed, “Retreat! Return to Britain at once! I have defeated this traitor!”

“No!” the Pallid Knight growled, getting back on his feet, “Kill them! Kill them all!”

What followed was what may have been the most grisly battle in recorded history, as Mondain’s Legion, anxious for war, eagerly charged against the Sosarian Knights while the Pallid Knight, backed by his five fellow fiends, descended upon Nathaniel. The Sosarians fought a desperate battle against a massive army of monsters lost in the frenzy of their bloodlust while Nathaniel fended off the Knights of Mondain, each one proving a fearsome foe even for his strength and skill. Yet, as the melee erupted and Nathaniel engaged in the most strenuous and desperate battle of his entire life, all of the fear, anxiety, hatred and rage was fed into Mondain’s cursed armor, extending its vile grip on Nathaniel’s soul inch by inch. With every furious swing he could feel the armor taking over, but he knew he could not stop lest his knights be annihilated completely.

Many men died that day, but the remnants of the Sosarian army escaped total destruction. What would remain of Nathaniel as the dust of war settled was a withered man too exhausted to fight another battle, either outside… or inside. As Mondain’s legion began marching for camp, the six knights of Mondain gathered around the kneeling form of Nathaniel.

“Sir Nathaniel,” uttered the Pallid Knight, “Thy steed.”

As the Pallid Knight spoke, the Dread Lord led by the reigns a heavily armored horse, marked with Mondain’s royal crest.

The Pallid Knight continued, “The war is not over.”


Several months later…

Nathaniel stood in a dark, torch-lit room filled with corpses of the noblest knights he had ever led. Somewhere in the darkness the form of Xaerhaonohr, the vile demon he had consented to release, shifted in the shadows and then emerged into the light. A wretched smile marked its hideous visage as it licked the blood of the Mysterium Fidei from its claws.

“Ah, my wayward knight,” the demon crooned. “What a price, what a price…”

Of all the massacres Nathaniel had seen or dealt, this one struck home. The knights of the Mysterium Fidei, after swearing their souls to the wily demon, were given the weapons needed to put down the Knights of Mondain, but when the demon returned to collect what was owed they fought him to the death; every one. Even Nathaniel lended his fearful power, but nothing could prevent the demonic pact from completing itself – not even the might of Nathaniel clad in the armor of Mondain. Every single friend, companion and comrade of the knight had been slain. Now, he was all alone. Except for the unwanted, present company, that is.

“Is it not beautiful, my wayward knight? Canst thou not appreciate this beautiful agony, this malevolent masterpiece?”

Nathaniel sneered. “No. I cannot appreciate the morbid machinations of a creature as lowly as thee.”

Xaerhaonohr tilted his head, “My machinations? But this is what is best! They’re not all MY machinations, dost thou not see? Thou givest unto me far too much credit…”

The demon tread across several corpses, picking up one in particular and ripping open the dead man’s chest. From within he took the man’s heart, and ate it, seeming to savor it. “Mmmm,” the demon said, chewing, “What is best, my wayward knight, is that this terrible tragedy was written not by me, but by the unequaled cruelty of nature herself.”

“Explain thyself,” the knight demanded curtly.

“Truly, I wish I could claim to be the ultimate mastermind. But verily, thou art living proof that goodness and virtue is little more than a convenient past-time for mortals such as thyself. All of man has striven to embrace this failed method of living – burdening themselves with these needless rules of morality which do one thing, and one thing only: weaken him against those who do not share his morals, and make him vulnerable to those not burdened by weak, emotional impulses that command him and every soft-souled mortal like him to cow themselves before a guilt that haunts, and plagues them – a disease on their soul. Forsooth, in submitting to this pathetic, internal weakness all of ye mortals deserve to die like the hollow cattle which thou art. Yet, for thee, my wayward knight,” the demon said, as a severe, crooked grin stretched across his malformed countenance, “thou art fighting a noble war indeed. Thou seest it as what good is left in thee fighting to survive against encroaching evil. Instead, behold it as so: what thou thinketh is good in thee is only attempting to infect thy soul and rob thee of thy noble savagery. Taketh mine advice: stop fighting for the sake of this unnatural morality. Stop embracing this philosophy of weakness. Nature has made it impossible for thee to achieve this foolish notion of ‘good’, dost thou not see? If thou had not taken this armor, Sosaria would have fallen to Mondain. Thou hadst to embrace the darkness if thou truly wish to earn a victory. When thou finally embraceth evil to fight evil, thou wilt finally understand: there is no evil – only a disease that thou calleth virtue, and a warped, malformed perspective of nature that comes with it. Goodness is ultimately impossible. Every man will abandon it when it is no longer convenient. This is why it will always be a hollow, and hypocritical dream.”

In a puff of black smoke, the demon vanished, and all that remained was a cruel and cold silence. Had it all been worth it? The seemingly unstoppable onslaught of the Knights of Mondain had indeed been stopped, but thanks to the demon’s trickery, only delayed for a time. Mondain himself was still fighting to control Sosaria – the war was still on. Only now, his comrades, the knights of the Mysterium Fidei, had all been vanquished and their souls owned by a demon most foul.

Was Xaerhaonohr right? Was this whole quest to uphold virtue simply a hollow theatre to quench man’s guilt and feeble conscience? Was it only a momentary distraction, an amusing sideshow adopted by man between his fateful returns to his truly ordained nature of bloody, wanton destruction? Or had the Wayward Knight succumbed to a limit predetermined in every man and woman living, a point at which virtue is no longer possible? If there is a point where virtue is no longer possible, what are we fighting for?

The Wayward Knight retired to his tomb beneath a plot of land that would one day be the city of Trinsic. It was too late for him. Redemption would no longer be possible. Nevertheless he would enter into a timeless slumber and rest, awaiting the day of the return of the Knights of Mondain. If the highest ideals of virtue were no longer within his reach he could, at the very least, uphold those not yet sullied by the cruelty of fate and pray not to be taken again by the armor’s beckoning bloodlust. With one hand, he dragged the lid of the sarcophagus over him, encompassing himself completely in the serene silence and comforting darkness of the tomb.

~The End~

[FICTON] Memories Once Lost IV

The battle had been brutal. Perhaps one of the most brutal to occur in a chain of defeats beginning with what the armies of British believed would be their heaviest blow yet against the Dark Lord, until six infernal knights rose amidst the madness of war and began their unholy campaign; slashing through every knight that would challenge them, and every tactic or magic their enemies could conceive, and pushing Lord British’s armies back across a warpath once made wet with the Legion’s blood – now being drenched with the blood of Sosarian Knights. The Knights of Mondain, they had been dubbed. Six armored monsters of immeasurable strength, that even if struck down would rise to fight again. They violently reversed the tides of war and now it was the Sosarians who were forced into retreat in battle after battle until only a fraction of their once glorious army remained in a final, desperate fight.

There had been no finer force in the history of Sosaria that so effectively battled against the kind of unnatural abominations that filled Mondain’s Legions, yet all their skill and wisdom could not match the incomprehensible power of the arcane mysteries Mondain unlocked in the course of the war with the help of his extraordinary gem. The battle had not been long; the Sosarians were permitted to wreak a momentary havoc upon the Legion until the wretched Knights determined to step in. After so much loss and devastation, what remained of Sir Nathaniel’s army stood together as silence fell over the field and the Legion and the Knights surrounding them stepped back from fighting. The two armies rested.

It did not take long before one of the Six Knights approached the wary Sosarians. In his unholy armor he stood towering above most of the soldiers on the field, marching with heavy steps as his once-white platemail, paled from faded stains of blood, clanked and rustled noisily and stopped midway between the two armies. Seeing now that the mysterious warrior wished to speak, Sir Nathaniel approached alone.

The Sosarian commander spoke grimly. “If thou wishest to speaketh of the terms of our surrender, then permit me to say this: we will not submit ourselves to the tyranny of Mondain. Not now. Not ever.”

The pale knight spoke, his voice lightly echoing behind his helm. “Thou wouldst fight to the death. I would expect no less.”

“Then what dost thou want?” Nathaniel remarked calmly, but bitterly.

“A second duel to compliment our previous spar,” uttered the pale knight.

Nathaniel was silent for a moment, attempting to understand what was meant. He gestured dismissively. “Speaketh plainly, fiend, or kill me! I will not guess at thy riddles.”

“No riddles,” spoke the pale knight. “A battle between two champions. I shall represent my legion. Thou shalt represent thine. Whosoever wins shall be declared the victor of this battle. If thou art victorious, thy knights shall be permitted to leave.”

Nathaniel sneered. “How can I be victorious… thou hast proven impervious to death and in possession of an unholy power. Thine only desire is to make of me a mockery.”

“It is true, I cannot die. But overcoming me in battle shall be sufficient for victory. My strength may be unstoppable. However the choice now is to commit thyself and thy peers to a certain death, or to fight in single-handed combat for a chance at life. If thou art defeated the result will be the same. What sayest thou?”

“Thou leavest me no choice, thou cruel terror. I will consent to these terms.”

The pale knight lifted his sword. “A wise choice, ‘old friend’. It is better this way.”

Nathaniel stood stunned for a few seconds, before quietly stammering, “..Alastair?”

He only barely managed to regain his senses in time to evade the pale knight’s greatsword crashing downward towards his head. Striking the ground, the force of the sword caused an explosion of dirt into the air and sent Nathaniel tumbling. He quickly gathered to his feet and met the pallid knight’s second blow with equal ferocity, blocking the strike with one of his own. The force of the two strikes sent both swords reeling backwards and from there the two warriors of legend went to work.

Nathaniel could hardly believe that his old friend, whom he had witnessed dying on the battlefield by his sword, was now alive and the worst foe he had ever faced in his life wielding strength that took everything within him to withstand. Yet, as the two warriors crossed swords and scored hits against each other, there was no doubting the familiar style of Alastair’s fighting technique which Nathaniel had come to recognize after years of sparring. Alastair had always been a competent warrior, but not one of particular note.

But now… with the unreal power of Mondain behind him, he was an unstoppable force. Nathaniel landed strike after strike, but no matter how grievous the blow the Pallid Knight would push forward, never losing strength while fighting a slow battle of attrition against the accomplished knight, Sir Nathaniel. Weary from a seemingly endless duel, Nathaniel’s guard went down just long enough to earn a mind-shattering blow from his former friend. He attempted to stand at first, but then rested on his knees.

Through heavy breaths, Nathaniel spoke, “Thou traitor… fiend… art thou going to finish me? Thou hadst ample opportunity…”

The Pallid Knight looked down to his defeated foe. “Thou art experiencing first hand the fate of this kingdom. The unavoidable fate of a slow, painful defeat. For even if the Knights of British vanquish every soldier in my lord’s legion, we shall take every strike and every blow and we shall march into the court of British himself, and rid Sosaria of this usurper for all time. Thou wilt be known in the stories as the traitor, the villian, the enemy of justice and order and the children of future ages shall hate thee for generations to come. Call me not traitor, brother, for I bring the light of our lord’s justice down upon the lies and the crimes of the usurper, the false king, thy king, Lord British.”

Sir Nathaniel only shook his head, disoriented and in despair. “Thou art a monster, and thou shalt be sto-“

“We shall not be stopped!” the Pallid Knight interrupted. “I have seen every trick and strategy and magical concoction thou hast devised, and nothing thou hast attempted found success. If one of the most accomplished knights of Sosaria could not defeat the servants of Mondain, then who dost thou suppose shall?”

In a fit of rage Nathaniel screamed, thrusting himself to his feat and attempting a strike against his odious foe but this swing was parried with little effort and the enraged knight was sent hurdling to the ground.

The voice of the Pallid Knight was now low, and ominous. “There is only one way to defeat us, Sir Nathaniel.”

From where Mondain’s Legions were gathered, the soldiers parted way as a cart pulled by an ogre crawling across the ground lumbered towards the Pallid Knight. Upon it stood an armor stand bearing a set of gleaming, golden platemail armor similar in dimension to the armor of the other cursed knights. Nathaniel looked back from where he lay and then slowly stood.

“Sully mine own soul with the unholy magic of Mondain? Never.”

“Sir Nathaniel,” the Pallid Knight began, “Thou art the most gallant and noblest knight I have ever known. Yet is thy conviction a match for the will of Mondain? Perhaps not, and thou art right to be afraid.”

Nathaniel spit out some blood. “Deceiver. For what cause wouldst thou deliver unto me the weapon of thy bane, except to deceive me, and maketh me thine unwitting slave?”

The Pallid Knight stood silent for a moment, and then spoke. “It is true that I have betrayed thee. But in all of our time together, I have never deceived thee. We endure equal risk alike in this matter. Yet my purpose is not to beguile thee. It is to see, for once and for all, if thou art truly willing to do what it takes to defend thy liege, thy kingdom, and thy people. Show me of what honor thou art truly capable.”

A suspenseful silence fell upon the whole of the battlefield as Sir Nathaniel stood scowling at the Pallid Knight. Defeated and broken, he faced certain death in every conceivable scenario, save one. Die a glorious but empty death, or roll the dice for a chance to save his kingdom. He turned now to gaze upon the enchanted armor.

Hatred and angst alike burned brightly in Nathaniel’s eyes.

[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.