The Eternal Winter
By Matthew Knight
and Gordon Burchell
Edited by Daniel Siceloff
The Realm Of Ereyth
Winter and Chaos shall rule the land.
The Gods now torn by Voraxia’s
But to issue the call of evil’s
With honor and steel, a True Knight shall
-The Chronicles of
The Great Kingdoms, A True Knight’s Quest begins
IN THE far regions of the west was the kingdom of Edlundiver,
built by humans in the days of old. Ruled by King Leofoxin,
this ancient kingdom
of Humans persisted as
one of the strongest forces in The Realm of Ereyth. Together with the Valghar,
many epic battles were won and their homeland defended against Voraxia’s minions.
Willowthorn, the Valghar Kingdom, resided to the east but was separated by the
Great Sea. The Valghar
were an ancient race of Elven forest dwellers, whom remained extremely honorable and helpful to the humans,
together comprising a strong alliance necessary for survival in these times of
There came a time when the people of Edlundiver
received word from the Valghar that the red demons of
the underworld had been released into Zoratherax, a
region just west of Willowthorn. It was said that these creatures were
using their powers to summon the Leviathan up from the depths of the darkened
seas. The Leviathan, a gigantic sea
serpent-like creature, possessed one sole purpose—to destroy in the name
The Valghar and Men agreed to send an alliance of
troops to Zoratherax in attempt to defend Willowthorn and slay the Leviathan. The Valghar
would send their finest and fiercest archers and fighters; Edlundiver,
a fleet of ships to assault the shores of Zoratherax
with an army of swordsmen storming the frosty beaches to bring down the evil
To lead the troops into battle, a strong and powerful knight
was chosen by King Leofoxin. Gallius
Varinor, the strongest and most powerful nobleman perpetually showing much
honor to the king in past years, had helped save the fate of the kingdom
numerous times. This knight had a
very mysterious and magical quality about him. A warrior of valor and strength, he
lived by divine morals and the True Knight’s Code Of
Honor. His amazing and graceful
fighting skills accounted for his incredible strength and accuracy; none had
witnessed Varinor’s defeat in battle.
One evening, Gallius Varinor was
summoned by King Leofoxin. The knight entered the
great court and knelt before the king.
Varinor was a tall warrior with mysterious features and long
dark hair. He was known for wearing
his traditional light chain-mail, a long black cloak, and armed with an ancient
sword handed down to him from his forefathers.
“Your honor” he said, “How may I be of
“Gallius” replied the
king, “The time has come to send our men to Zoratherax
to fight alongside the Valghar once again. We have
received news from King Val`tiar that the Leviathan
will soon be returning to the Elven lands. If this
creature destroys the legions of Willowthorn, our
alliance will be broken and Edlundiver will be in
great danger. As you know, we can not face the evil of this world alone.”
“Aye, my lord.” replied Varinor gravely. The
young knight knew what the king had in mind.
“I have chosen you lad, to lead our troops into
battle.” continued Leofoxin. “You have
done many great deeds for our kingdom, and I trust you have the power and
knowledge to accomplish such a task.”
Reluctantly, Varinor nodded, “I will not fail you my
king. In the bloody flames of hell The Leviathan will die by the icy steel of Edlundiver!”
At this, Leofoxin smiled. He had
always admired Varinor for his enthusiasm and poetic way of speaking, which had
been apparent since he was a boy. “Indeed...” He replied, quite
amused. “Well my son, I know in my heart that I have chosen a True Knight
to lead us to victory. Now listen,
after the battle is won, you must go to Willowthorn. There you will be supplied with all you
will need to return home. Now
go…there are preparations to be made.”
“Thank you my lord.” Flattered and excited by the
king’s words, yet burdened by a great sense of responsibility, Varinor
bowed and left the court.
…Now, the fate of the Valghar
and the future of Edlundiver would be decided by the
alliance and their greatest knight.
INTO THE SUNSET they sailed, destined for the coast of Zoratherax. On the third day land still escaped
sight, with the crew wondering if in fact they were even heading in the
Standing on the deck of the great ship, Varinor approached
the captain who was eyeing his map and looking out through his spyglass. “Any sight of land captain?”
asked the knight. “I’m afraid not sir,” replied the old
seaman. “Somehow we must have gotten off course. We should have reached
the coast of Zoratherax
over a day ago.”
“Try to get us back on course comrade.” commanded
Varinor. “I just hope we are not too late. The Valghar
won’t hold out long without us. Inform me at once if there is any sight
“Aye sir.” replied the captain.
Varinor sighed and began pacing the deck. He was trying to
formulate a plan in his mind, although it seemed hopeless…
Suddenly there was a great, thunderous crashing sound from
above. Varinor looked to the sky.
To his amazement a shiny, silver ribbon burst through the clouds and
spanned across the horizon: the Rainbow of Steel!
There were many legends that told of a magic silver rainbow
created by Ereyth that guided lost ships to their
destination. The Rainbow of Steel
would only appear if the ship’s cause was just in the eyes of the great
It must be an omen sent
from the heavens, thought the knight.
He gazed at this sign with amazement, knowing it was sent from Ereyth to guide the fleet to their destined Zoratherax.
“Follow the rainbow of steel! Onward to victory!”
Upon this outcry, the ships immediately changed their
direction and headed toward it.
After such a prolonged journey across open seas and following the
transcendent rainbow, land was finally sighted to the far east. The waters now turned black as they
sailed closer, and smoke rose from the beach.
With the ships anchored, the troops embarked for the
shore. As the great knight
approached the shore, he gazed at the land in ruins. The Leviathan resembled a gigantic scaled
worm with a dragon’s head.
Its scales glimmered in the salty foam as it slithered through waves of
flames. The beach now blazed an
inferno. Everywhere the Leviathan
moved and everything it touched caught fire. Bodies lay scattered about. On the charred sand, small groups of
demon-like creatures gathered before the Leviathan chanting: “All hail
the serpent king!”
As the troops stormed the shore, these haggard creatures were
quickly disposed. Flames touched
the sky, as the Leviathan completely engulfed all around with fire.
Nevertheless, the troops of Edlundiver
forged ahead through flames to attack the beast. In the core of this gigantic inferno
they battled the Leviathan. Swords
slashed, and then Valgharian arrows flew as the
archers of Willowthorn approached the desecrated
beach. But the creature still
devoured soldiers one by one as they attacked.
As the battle progressed, the Valghar
grew in numbers and showered the creature with a hail of arrows. The Leviathan weakened and the flames
began to die. The Elves continued
firing endlessly with blood spraying from the serpent king and dripping down
its sparkling scales.
Then, out of nowhere, the Leviathan let out a mighty scream
and the earth began to shake. An immense
wave of epic proportions arose from the sea as if summoned by some form of
sorcery. It crashed into the shore,
decimating the Elven archers. The Leviathan shrieked once more and
dove into the sea.
The knight remained there furious. Every last soldier of Edlundiver
rested in the stomach of the creature; every Valgharian
archer of the alliance, slain by the diabolic tidal wave. With anger in his heart, he gripped the
The earth shook again, the sky turned black, and all water in
the ocean transformed into fire.
Suddenly, the beast rose before him dripping wet from the sea, and yet surrounded
by monstrous flames. The Leviathan
screamed at the sky, and it too burst out into flames. As the serpent coiled around Gallius Varinor and pulled him close, it stared at the
knight through red eyes and grinned with a thousand teeth.
Then the Leviathan spoke the words: “Awake red demons
of the underworld. Just one more
call to make the serpent rise.
Receive them now into the fire realm. The smoke will clear to reveal the death
From beneath his armor, the knight pulled out a silver
talisman given to him by ancient ice-druids he once encountered in the great forest of Edlundiver. As he held the talisman before the
Leviathan, Varinor spoke in a bygone tongue. It was then that he threw it
into the creature’s mouth, graciously being accepted. The knight
then plunged his sword deep into the great monster. Suddenly, great spikes of ice shot out
from inside the creature and blood sprayed all around. The Leviathan
screamed in pain as the freezing spikes tore through its shiny scales like icy
Varinor smirked as this was exactly his plan. The talisman, which he threw inside the
Leviathan, was an enchanted relic, handed down for centuries with extreme spellbinding
powers. Although uncertain of the
reason it was given to him, it had saved the knight with its conclusive use.
As the final spike burst through the giant worm’s head,
it screamed one last time. The
surrounding flames now turned back into water as the great monster sank into
the sea. The Leviathan was dead.
Gazrael, The Demonslayer
THE KNIGHT stood wounded on the charred beach. There was no ship for him to return
home, for all had burnt in the ocean of fire and the soldiers of Edlundiver had perished by the wrath of Leviathan. Varinor knew his only hope lay in
seeking out the kingdom
After traveling for a short time, Gallius
Varinor came to a long stretch of barren, snow-covered plains surrounded by a
forest. For a moment he
stopped. In the distance he saw
what looked like the figure of a maiden standing on a hill. The figure beckoned him closer. Anxious, the knight hurried towards
her. Looming ever closer, he
realized that she was a beautiful Valgharian maiden,
clad in leather and furs…and armed with two large swords.
As Varinor approached he felt entranced by her overwhelming
beauty. The afternoon sun glimmered on her long, flowing, golden hair and
reflected off the Elven steel around her waist.
“Hello there,” said the knight. “Do you know the way to Willowthorn?” he asked.
“But of course”, she replied, “and I will
see to it that you get there. I am Gazrael, Demonslayer of Willowthorn. I roam these lands destroying all evil
that may threaten the kingdom. Our
people are very grateful for your arrival and the slaying of the
Leviathan. I can see you are in
need of rest, and the path to Willowthorn is best not
traveled at night, which will be falling soon. If you come with me, I will take you to
my home just outside the forest of willows. There we may rest together, as you will
be my companion for the evening.”
Varinor gazed into her cold, gray eyes that burned with lust.
He felt so entranced by her beauty, as he took the maiden’s hand and
together they began the trek eastward.
The two walked for some time, admiring one another in
“So you agreed to lead the troops into battle against
the Leviathan...You must be quite a brave knight to take on such a perilous
task.” said Gazrael,
“Well my lady, as a True Knight of Edlundiver,
it is my duty to serve my king and my homeland. If this means facing grave danger in a
far away land, then so be it.” replied Varinor. “Besides, King Leofoxin
has been like a father to me my whole life. I could never refuse him.”
“I see.” said the warrior maiden.
Varinor felt his eyes being drawn towards her. Watching her
swaying hips and her long hair blowing in the wind, he felt a great hunger
burning in his loins, as he studied the curves of her voluptuous body and
large, round breasts.
He leaned closer to her. “Why does such a fair maiden
wander the land slaying demons, may I ask?”
Gazrael smiled and gave him a
seductive look of desire. “In
recent months, there have been a large number of demons roaming the Elven lands.
These are the same evil beings that summoned the Leviathan. King Val`tiar
appointed a select few to help protect the kingdom by hunting and slaying these
creatures. I am one of the most
qualified of these selected warriors.” She said proudly.
Varinor laughed. “Ha! most
qualified eh? Well demonslayer…” He stopped and turned, facing
her. “I think you are very…very beautiful.” He said, gazing
into her hypnotic eyes once more.
She pulled him close and they began kissing passionately.
stopped as something was heard far in the distance. The noise grew louder and materialized
into a pack of demon creatures charging right at them.
“We must destroy them,” warned Gazrael. “Prepare
to execute the evil demons of Eternal Winter!” she yelled in anger.
Together they charged at the pack and collided with great
force. Varinor was quite accustomed to fighting demons, striking them down fast
as few could harm him. His cunning
sword slashed with honor through this mass of creatures. Gazrael was a
fierce warrior as well. She slew
demons faster than anyone the knight had ever seen. Her double-bladed attack
was merciless, instantly killing every demon she encountered. Blood sprayed her snow-white face as she
tore through them, so vigilant and true.
In the icy sunlight the two guardians of justice raged with
now charged at the chief demon, incredibly superior to the rest in its immense
stature. She leaped in the air and
with one quick strike, decapitated it.
Grabbing the head of the creature, Gazrael
quickly drew a large circle of red around them with its dripping blood, along
with some strange Elven runes that the knight failed
to recognize. Then, she stood in
the middle of the circle, held the demon’s head up to the sky, and roared
a victorious battle cry heard throughout the lands.
Gazrael turned to the knight who
had just slain the last of the demon horde. Embracing him in crimson snow and ice,
she said, “Let us go my dear.
My home is not far.”
Together they walked to Gazrael’s
small house in the forest where they spent the night together as promised. There was much wine and conversation,
which led to passionate love making, and it was on this memorable evening that Gallius Varinor swore his love to Gazrael.
When the knight departed to go
onward to Willowthorn the following morning, he
promised to return to Gazrael after he had spoken to
the king upon the end of his journey.
The Kingdom of Willowthorn, Breath of Ice
TOWARD WILLOWTHORN he traveled for seemingly days, finally
coming to the road of which Gazrael spake. All around him gigantic willow trees
majestically towered, some appearing to exhibit faces within their bark.
The knight traveled further down the road until he reached
the gates of Willowthorn. When the guards learned of his Edlundiver heritage, he was immediately permitted entrance.
Willowthorn was a magical place,
known for its mossy-green roads leading through the town and crystal clear
streams running under stone bridges.
Beyond the village lay the enormous stone castle in which the Valghar king resided.
As Varinor walked though the village, he observed many of the houses laying in ruins and contemplated the cause of this
Extremely tired and in need of rest, Gallius
spotted an inn on the outskirts of town.
As he entered what he feared might be only an abandoned building, a female
servant stood facing him, apparently awaiting his arrival. Varinor wasted no time and asked,
“What is it that has left the buildings of Willowthorn
in absolute chaos?”
“It is due to severe attacks from Khazakathal,
the Ice Drake that flies through the night sky spreading terror across the
land,” she explained.
“If Khazakathal is not stopped, the fate
of Willowthorn shall be doomed.”
With that in mind, the knight took rest for the evening in
the haven of the inn.
Meanwhile, inside the castle of stone the honorable King Val`tiar sat upon the Willowthrone. Something had been troubling the
king’s mind for weeks now; in his possession rested three of the four
magical stones necessary for summoning the power of the ancient Elf-Lords. These were The Sacred Stones Of The Valghar; the Stones of
Darkness, Winter, and Fire. The
remaining component, the Stone of Ice, was confined deep inside the ice
mountain to the North. For ages the
stone remained guarded day and night by the Ice Drake. The sheer power of the conjured
Elf-Lords could restore the kingdom to its former glory and destroy all evil
capable of ever threatening the Valghar race.
“The stone must be retrieved,” commanded the Valghar king.
“A council shall be summoned.” And so it was done.
Days later the council of Valgharian
Clerics was brought forth and Varinor was summoned to the castle. The eldest of the council spoke, being
the authority to provide the ultimate decision of which the entire council had
settled. “The drake must be
destroyed, and the Stone of Ice reclaimed.
This deed shall be accomplished by a powerful knight from Edlundiver who has been staying at the inn of our town for
days now. His name is Gallius Varinor. He claims to be the one who slew the Leviathan
and has journeyed his whole life throughout the Eternal Winter wastelands. I believe he is the one destined to face
Khazakathal and retrieve the Stone Of
Ice. In return for this service, I shall send one our finest ships to escort
him safely home to Edlundiver. All of our fine archers perished by the
wrath of Leviathan…so, you see, he is our only hope.”
“Aye, Bring forth the knight!” spoke King Val`tiar.
Silently, Varinor stepped forward.
“You are the Valghar’s
last hope,” the king said, solely addressing Gallius
Varinor. “You are the only
one who we believe, has the strength to slay the drake and return the
stone. Tomorrow at day break you
shall leave the homelands and journey to the ice mountain in the North. There inside lies the all powerful Stone
of Ice, guarded by Khazakathal.” The king raised a mighty weapon from the
side of his throne. “Take
this sword, for it is the finest in the lands, forged by the mountain
dwarves in the East.”
Varinor took the fine sword and began admiring it, handling
it and testing its weight. It was
one of the finest weapons he had ever handled.
“Now, kneel and receive our blessing.” said the
Varinor knelt and
the cleric placed his hands upon him. He began chanting in an ancient tongue, and
the knight felt a magical presence embrace him. After a few moments the
will now be protected against Khazakathal’s
magic.” said the cleric. “May
the power of Willowthorn and Eternal Winter be with
you, my friend, for inside the mountain shall you face the Breath of Ice!”
The next day Varinor set off. His Journey to the ice mountain was
fairly short. He had to travel
through a forest, which opened up to more plains and finally, a vast mountain
While travelling, he reminisced of his memorable evening with
the beautiful maiden, Gazrael. He loved her deeply, and was anxious to
finish his quest and return to her.
Along the way he encountered a few more demon creatures, which were
slain with ease. Also, he met a Valgharian traveler, hunting in the woods who assured him
he was heading in the right direction.
When the range of mountains was finally in sight, it was not
difficult to tell which would be the lair of Khazakathal.
Amidst many snow-capped peaks, the
largest mountain was made entirely of shining, clear-blue ice, with the mouth
of a cave gaping at its base. Varinor finally approached it, and with a quick
prayer to Ereyth, he entered with sword in hand.
As Varinor entered the cave, he was surrounded by freezing cold,
blue fires burning all around.
These flames felt frigid and yet lit the cave with an illumination of
blue light. A small path led the way deeper into the chasm. He could hear things scattering around in
the darkness ahead, as he moved through the caverns, dodging stalactites that
fell from the ceiling.
Eventually, there were many different pathways, and
travelling through the cave began to seem quite confusing. Varinor came to a point where there was
a split in the path. Trusting his instincts, he cautiously headed down the left
path. This road was wider, and had
torches lining the walls that burned with more intense blue fire. There were
bones and dead remains of some sort scattered around as well.
Varinor suddenly began to sense a presence behind him. As he turned around, a door of some kind
began to slowly open from the wall, revealing some kind of hidden tomb. Emerging from the crypt was an undead
vampire creature. It had pale, white
skin, and dead, black eyes. Hissing
and shrieking madly, it lunged at the knight; it’s protruding fangs only
inches from Varinor’s face. He instantly slashed the vile thing
across the throat. Blood stained
the icy floor, and the vampire collapsed, vanishing at his feet.
“What an unholy place this is.” Varinor thought,
as he continued on.
A little while further, the path began to open up. Then, far in the distance he could see
what looked like an icy globe shining as bright as the North Star on a pedestal: The Stone of Ice. The one item he was sent to retrieve. Then, two icy-blue eyes began glowing
before it. Fires suddenly blazed
around him, and the ice drake, Khazakathal appeared, guarding
the sacred stone.
“Greetings warrior… and what brave human soul
dares to enter the lair of Khazakathal?” said
the great beast.
“I am Gallius Varinor of Edlundiver. I have come to retrieve the Sacred Stone of the
Valghar which you have stolen. Give me the stone drake, or prepare to
think not. The stone of Ice is
mine. You will regret your
Suddenly, Khazakathal opened his
mighty jaws and unleashed his breath of ice upon Varinor. Blue fire engulfed the knight. This fire was an element new to him as it
burned bitter cold. He could feel
it, freezing his inner soul as arctic air ran through his veins. The drake’s breath stopped him
not. The cleric’s blessing
protected him and instead, it only served to strengthen him. Varinor inhaled the flames and felt a
new, unaccustomed, power and strength run throughout his inner being. Now, his sword began glowing.
The drake loomed into full view, its thick metallic-blue
scales and gigantic talons refracting the light from Varinor’s
sword. It only stood three times as
tall as the knight. The drake
looked as if it were made entirely of ice.
Khazakathal ferociously attacked,
slashing the knight with talons of ice.
Varinor was in fact wounded, but with every blast of icy flame he sensed
himself growing stronger. The drake
roared in bewilderment as Varinor refused to perish in its flames.
The battle continued on.
But as Khazakathal was weakening,
so did its breath of ice. Without
warning, the drake struck at Varinor with its mighty jaws and embraced him between
its impaling teeth. Varinor screamed
in pain as the drake attempted to feast on his blood.
Resorting to knightly reflexes Gallius
lifted his sword, which now radiated with bluish light, and drove it through
the skull of the creature. The drake
shrieked and threw him upon the ground.
Amazingly, Varinor emerged unharmed. He then jumped on top Khazakathal and buried his sword deep within the drake's
chest. Azure blood sprayed
everywhere, and an icy cold fog released from inside the drake. Without warning, Khazakathal
began melting right before his very eyes.
In a matter of seconds the drake completely dissolved into a pool of icy
the Ice Drake lay slain.
Gallius Varinor picked up the
stone, still glowing in the center of the cave. It was so beautiful, entrancing him as
he held it in his bare hands. His quest
was complete. He now possessed the Stone
of Ice, insuring the fate of the Valghar.
Since the effects from the drake’s breath had now worn
off, the knight remained wounded.
With the stone in hand he headed back to Willowthorn. Upon his arrival, the king received the
Stone of Ice and the Elf-Lords were summoned. Willowthorn
would forever be protected by them.
It was requested that before his departure, Varinor take rest in the Forest of Willows as his wounds would be magically
Faeries in the Willow Forest,
Rivers of Twilight
THAT EVENING, the knight returned to the forest and lay in a mossy
bed of willows. As he took
rest, Varinor felt strong magic in the air. As night would fall, his surroundings
passed and the sun began to fade. There
in the darkness, the majestic forest seemed to come to life. An aura of green light glistened all
around. The water that flowed in
crystal-clear streams turned florescent green and lit up as well. Images of ghostly-green shadows passed
by and the alluring fairies of the Elven-wood
fluttered overhead. The knight
experienced an intense feeling of enlightenment as he observed the glowing
As he gazed, he wondered of the fascinating fairies that
danced in the twilight. They seemed
to be calling him, beckoning him into the luminous fog. Although Varinor had been mortally
wounded from his battle with the Ice Dragon and scarcely able to walk, he arose
and followed them deep into the forest whereupon he arrived at a radiant pool
Suddenly, all the fairies vanished but one. The most beautiful fairy he had ever
laid eyes upon remained. “Follow
me,” she whispered to Varinor.
She then dove into the glowing pool of light with great speed, in which
As soon as the knight entered the illumination, he found
himself endlessly falling into a dark abyss…
A New Dimension, Within The
VARINOR AWOKE in a dark labyrinth with candles lining its stone
walls. Screams of
the undead came from every corner.
am I? What is this place?” beckoned the
Maniacal laughter answered his request: “HA HA HA HA
HA!!! YOU FOOL!!! I led you into the darkest of all
and the Leviathan were nothing compared to the horrors you will soon face
here… Your quest lies
within The Castle Shadowgate. So,
bravest knight of the land, journey through the Shadowgate and find that now a
new destiny awaits you. Then will
you truly understand the power of Voraxia and the
magic of Eternal Winter!”
Furious with rage, Varinor arose with the evil fairy’s voice
echoing in his mind as he traveled amongst the stone halls. Death cluttered the air with screams of
unknown voices in agony. Suddenly,
the candles went out and a thousand yellow eyes viciously glowed before him in
The creatures attacked!
Legions of creatures flew at him from overhead. The knight fought back with all his
might…but he was overwhelmed by the sheer numbers. After a grueling struggle he lay wounded
to the point of unconsciousness.
Upon his awakening, Varinor immediately realized that he was
trapped in some form of dungeon—a dark chamber filled with corpses and
walls lined with flames. The
creatures may have vanished, but the knight remained abandoned in the castle.
Light shined through a doorway, which appeared to lead out of
the dungeon. As Gallius
Varinor made his way toward the light, a gigantic skeleton-warrior emerged from
beneath the ground. Bones clanked
together as it extended itself to a height of nine feet and detached one of its
ribs which transformed into a giant broad sword. It attacked without hesitation. The knight dodged and fell to the
ground, barely missing the swing of the primordial weapon.
Varinor quickly jumped to his feet and struck the foe from
behind. The skeleton-warrior
collapsed, bones tumbling to the floor.
Then, it rebounded with another barrage. It appeared indestructible.
The knight continued assaulting the skeleton in an endless
battle throughout the dark chamber.
He beat at the undead warrior until managing to force it into the
fire. Igniting into an intense
display of flames, it burned until an agonizing shriek resonated from the
skeleton; its tortured soul was finally released and ascended to the sky in a
rage of fire. The remaining bones charred
to ashes in the simmering blaze.
Varinor departed the dungeon and entered what he thought was
an ancient tomb, adorned with scriptures carved into stone walls as well as
paintings of mountains and all too familiar snow-covered landscapes. Far in the distance the knight glimpsed
the outline of a throne and proceeded to move in that direction.
The throne was constructed of gold and steel with beautiful
gemstones imbedded all along its sides.
Beside the throne stood two gargoyle statues resembling the demon
creatures that had ambushed him upon his arrival here. A long red carpet spanned from the room’s
entrance to the foot of the throne.
Suddenly, a flash of light blinded Varinor. A cloaked figure now sat before him in
the throne—a man in a great black robe grasping an ancient staff. No face shone from the darkness under
the hood that returned the knight’s stare.
not, my friend,”
spoke the figure, “for
I am Magigormis, The Great Shadowmage. It is I who sent the fairy to the Valghar lands and lured you into the Shadowgate. I am one of hundreds of Shadowmages who dwell within this castle. BEHOLD!”
Another radiation of light commenced and the room now
overflowed with many shrouded forms.
An entire army of Shadowmages knelt before Gallius Varinor in a display of respect.
Once again, Magigormis spoke, “What you look
upon are ancient sorcerers damned for all eternity to roam this labyrinth. Voraxia condemned
us centuries ago to forever dwell in the Shadowgate—the deepest void of
death, destruction, and evil concealed within a castle between
dimensions—and in which you now stand. This place is the only gateway between
the Realms of Ereyth and Sarna. Our release from this endless servitude
rests with the destruction of the Nightmare Phantasm and the reunion of the
great God and Godess.”
is this Nightmare Phantasm you speak of?” asked Varinor.
Nightmare Phantasm, a hideous creature lurking in a fortress which
resides in The Unknown Lands of Sarna, prevails as the
master of the Shadowgate and lord of all things evil. It is the sole reason for the corruption
spreading throughout your world.
Magic alone cannot destroy the Phantasm; only the sorcery which we and other powerful mages of the
realms possess, combined with the power of a specific enchanted weapon, wielded
by a mortal hero will put an end to its domination.” The Great Shadowmage
paused, gazed upon the Shadowmages, and then back
towards Varinor. “Mortal,
none of us are. However, you, my dear friend, clearly exist as the supreme mortal of Eternal Winter. Surely, our concerted effort should
destroy the Phantasm, reunite the Gods and deliver providence to the
world. Together, I rest certain that
we can abolish this malevolence.
Join us, it is the only way.
Should you not, the Shadowmages will forever
suffer within these walls, and your world
will become one frozen in never-ending terror.”
The knight stepped forward, and Majigormis
addressed this acceptance of his role.
you will need this.” In his hands lay a dagger comprised of
pure crystal-blue ice, which seemed to illuminate in the dark labyrinth. “You see, this dagger was forged through a
magical winter spell long ago. It
now breathes with life and through its blade flows the spirit of Valorous
Light… It will soon be of help to you”
The Knight reached out to receive the Dagger of Ice.
Without warning, the walls began to shake. Debris plummeted all about. The Shadowmages
immediately began chanting an ancient dialect, with a crescendo of a thousand
voices coming together as one, and then disappeared into the darkness.
Then befell the sound of water rushing
throughout the halls. The
door burst open and a ferocious wave struck Gallius
like a raging river, sending him down the castle halls as he was unable to
grasp a foothold. Gasping for air,
he finally surfaced and saw that the liquid in which he swam was not water but
thick, dark blood. At the end of
the hall the surge flowed towards a hole, perhaps a giant drain.
A whirlpool encircling the drain sucked the knight down,
eventually washing him up into a large pool. Varinor splashed into a bloody lake
filled with corpses, bones, and vermin.
All around him walked the dead, feasting on the remainders of anything
Upon his appearance, they lunged at him. But the knight fought back, slashing
these demons with the magical Ice Dagger.
Once the dagger struck, they shrieked in agony. Then, a frost proceeded to cover their
rotted bodies before bursting into a million rays of light, freeing them from the
Castle Shadowgate’s evil hold.
In the midst of this darkness was some form of cell, or
cage. Varinor thought he could hear
breathing emanating from within it.
Then, the black iron doors slowly rose and a creature issued forth.
A gigantic Minotaur loomed forward, adorned with a bone
necklace and gripping an arcane relic: a massive war-hammer. Not until it had finished feasting upon
the dead remains and walking zombies did the Minotaur turn to face the
knight. A resonating voice erupted:
this that dwells in my feeding pit?
You are unlike the others.”
is I, the Great Knight of Edlundiver!”
exclaimed Gallius Varinor. “Where is the Nightmare Phantasm?”
“HA HA HA HA HA!! Fool!! Do
you really think you are a match to face such evil?” beckoned the
Minotaur. “Besides, you will
make it no further than me!”
The Minotaur launched at the knight with its mighty
war-hammer, knocking him to the ground.
Varinor managed to rise, striking back with the Ice Dagger and piercing
the creature’s eye.
Roaring in pain the Minotaur charged at him, bashing stone
pillars all around. The knight then
thrust his dagger into the beast, twisting the blade in its guts. In retaliation the Minotaur clutched Varinor
about the throat and forcefully threw him against the dungeon wall.
Yet Gallius Varinor regained
himself and stood again, firm in his determination. Out of the corner of his eye he saw an opening
in the wall, leading to a doorway out of this gory bog. He thrust himself through this small hole
and materialized over the lake of blood.
Kneeling, Varinor placed the magical Ice Dagger in the blood. The room violently shook and blue lightning
surged forth from the dagger into the blood, instantly freezing the lake and
encasing the Minotaur.
In solid ice the creature would remain forever frozen.