The Eternal Winter
By Matthew Knight
and Gordon Burchell
Edited by Daniel Siceloff
Journey Through Unknown Lands
The night is so black, the moon is so
The wiseman and I
have taken flight.
The sword in the snow is a sign to me.
It points the way to my destiny.
-The Chronicles of Valorous light
To Green Lands of
VARINOR approached an iron door, sensing what must be something powerful
radiating within the next room.
Upon entering, he found himself in a long and luminous
corridor. Light shone from the
ceiling and shimmered off marble walls.
A beautiful carpet of red and white extended down the hall. The knight had yet to encounter a room
so bright within all of the Shadowgate.
proceeded down the hall, finally approaching an opening. The sound of rushing water emanated from
a torch-lit path that broke off from the large, dim clearing ahead. Following the path, Varinor
arrived at a great river. A small,
cloaked figure resembling a Shadowmage appeared to be
standing by a boat docked against the shore.
the knight advanced, the figure spoke: “I will take you there.”
are you?” Gallius
answered the figure.
they boarded the boat, it passively proceeded to float down the river seemingly
guided by some magical force. The
river widened as they drifted, and all sight of land was lost. Red and black waters swirled all
about. A clear sky and beaming moon
lay above. Was it possible they had
sailed into another dimension?
Varinor broke the silent voyage. “Where is it that you are taking
response from the figure. Time
appeared frozen. Then, finally, the
stranger spoke. “I am leading
you to your destiny.”
what seemed like hours of quiet drifting, the sun breached the horizon and the
waters turned crystal clear. The
surrounding air warmed, and the first sight of land appeared in the
distance. Anticipation arose within
the knight as he watched a shore that crept ever closer.
Finally stepping off the boat and onto land, Varinor
glanced back to discover that both boat and cloaked figure had magically
vanished. A vast forest stood
before the knight. A strange
feeling commenced from the outlandish country in front of him. An extremely warm and sunny climate
without trace of snow or ice bestowed an experience unfamiliar to Gallius Varinor. His amazement only grew as he entered
the forest. Beautiful flowers flourished
in green meadows. All trees
possessed lush leaves on their branches and grass grew everywhere. Butterflies and insects fluttered
through a summer breeze, and chirps of birds rang down from treetops. All this bewildered the knight. These creatures did not exist in his
native land! It presented quite a
spectacular sight in all its grandeur; to not feel the blistering cold winds
blowing across his face rejuvenated both body and spirit.
it be that he escaped the evil of Eternal Winter? Indeed, the splendor of this world was
overwhelming. Even in the distance
above and beyond, a prismatic rainbow arced across the sky. As Varinor pressed
deeper into the forest, he wondered why the cloaked figure had led him
here. Was he some savior in
disguise or just another evil mage steering him further into the Shadowgate?
he continued onward, the sound of voices developed in the distance. The knight stopped and listened,
attempting to distinguish what sounded like two voices in conversation. Despite the certainty that he must be
near them, Varinor failed to locate the origin of the
voices anywhere in the vicinity.
The knight kept walking, a bit confused whether he was actually alone.
Varinor spotted two large rocks and immediately
realized that they were the source of the sounds he heard. The knight watched on in amazement as the
rocks actually spoke to one another…socializing. They appeared to be gossiping about some
Great Falcon Wiseman, who apparently they thought was a fool. This was quite a shocking sight to Gallius Varinor, reminding him of
the townsfolk of Edlundiver at the Starlight Inn
conversing over wine and fruit about traveling tales and hunting stories. The knight chose not to disturb them.
down the path, Varinor sensed a presence in the tree
tops high above. Alert as always, he
peered through the branches.
warning, an arrow sped towards him from the dense treetops. Pain spread throughout his body as a
single wooden arrow punctured his chain mail with ease. The knight instantly felt light-headed,
gasping for air through troubled breaths.
Varinor awoke to find himself being dragged by rabbit-like creatures that seemed
almost human in many ways. Covered in silvery fur, they had gigantic ears and
large brown eyes. They wielded swords and shields, and wore an abundance of
amulets and jewelry.
foreign dialect escaped their lips as they spoke of what plans lay in store for
Gallius Varinor. A mumble issued from the knight’s
mouth in an unsuccessful attempt to speak, but toxins remained throughout his
inner core and had stricken him with paralysis. To Varinor, it
seemed that hours or even days must have passed before the party finally
stopped at a village deep in the forest.
As the haze inside his head began to clear, he stretched his neck around
and discovered that a multitude of these furry creatures peered upon him as if
he were some sort of novelty. Was
this the first time they had ever laid eyes upon a human being?
him to the Prince,” commanded a voice that Varinor
was finally able to comprehend.
again the knight found himself hauled off to some small hut in the village. Inside, the Prince rested upon his
throne. Aside from his grand robe
and golden crown, the Prince’s colossal physique clearly distinguished
him from his followers, the rabbit-like creatures kneeling before him.
rabbit that had commanded the group in to the Prince now spoke. “My lord, we found this strange
creature wandering thought the forest.
What shall be done with him?”
Prince slowly rose from his throne and approached the knight. In a fluid motion he unsheathed his
sword and cut the knight’s bindings, freeing him. Then spoke the Prince, “My name is
Prince Habnar, ruler of the Rabbit-folk…I have
seen your kind before. You come
from the frozen world of torment.
What is your business here in the village of Singora?”
came through the Shadowgate,” responded Gallius,
“my mission being to destroy the Nightmare Phantasm. How shall I find this evil being?”
deep gasp resonated from the Prince, and then only a continued silence as
deemed necessary for one at a loss for words. Recovering from what must have been
unexpected news, the Prince once again addressed Varinor. “If the Shadowgate has been
reopened, then you truly must be a savior from the other world. Thus, I will tell you the way. Traveling north from here you will
discover the edge of the forest, whereupon a most desert land awaits. Venture
forth until you reach the Electric Fields in the north-eastern mountain
range. It is there where the
fortress lies…but be wary!
Your life will end in absolute havoc by the electric rays of that
country should you not bear the ears of the rabbit-folk.”
the rabbit Prince advanced upon one of his own warriors, drew his mighty blade,
and with the flash of steel, killed him instantly. He then scalped the creature, pulling
the ears from its head. Turning to
the knight, he produced a large sewing needle. Running was useless, Varinor
quickly discovered, as the creatures around him forcefully grasped every aspect
of his body. As Prince Habnar began sewing the rabbit’s scalp to the
knight’s own head, blood crept down his forehead, and Gallius
screamed out in pain.
commanded the Prince. “It is
the only way.”
final stitch was sewn, and the knight released. Giant rabbit ears now extended from Gallius Varinor’s own head.
ears you now bear will protect you in the Electric Field,” proclaimed the
Prince. “However, upon
entering the fortress, they will no longer remain a part of you. Go now, dear knight, as the fate of both
worlds rests in your hands! Free us
from the Nightmare Phantasm!”
The Great Falcon Tree,
A New Quest Begins
THE KNIGHT left the Rabbit Village of Singora and
traveled deeper into the woods, the forest began opening onto a barren
land. A long outstretch of sand and
stone bared semblance to the desert of which Prince Habnar
spoke. But it was still far away
where a dark, snow-covered mountain range loomed on the horizon; this was Varinor’s destination, if he truly planned to enter
the red sun blazing down upon him and sandy winds pelting his face, weariness
spread through every muscle in the knight’s body as he travelled on
through the desert. Evidence of all
who ventured before him became apparent as he passed a yard with skeletons
scattered around the ground. Their
bones were bleached from the sun, and some still wore clothes, a sign that
there may have been some kind of mishap here in the past. A leather bag was still strapped to one
of the skeletons, which Varinor cut loose to peer
inside. He found what appeared to
be some kind of scroll, quickly opened it, and revealed a very large and
detailed map showing all lands of this region.
the map, the knight noticed something strange—some kind of landmark in
the middle of the desert resembling a tree. Also, beyond the mountains was drawn a
snow-covered land that looked of importance. Gallius
wondered what these extraordinary landmarks could mean, but the blistering heat
forced him to refold the map and venture onward.
deep in the desert and without a single sign of life, the heat was almost
unbearable, and the knight extremely thirsty. He journeyed for hours under the burning
sun. As he walked Varinor noticed how the land led up to a giant hill; and
the closer he become, he realized there was no way around it. The entire desert grew into a gigantic
slope reaching up to the clouds.
Although it seemed like an endless journey, the weary knight began
climbing the hill. The higher he
ascended, the steeper the land became until finally the summit appeared in
view. The last few feet felt as if
he were scaling a wall. Gallius grasped the top of the hill, managing to pull
himself up onto flat land, and could not believe his eyes.
massive tree of great proportion loomed before him. This was an amazing sight; this tree
like none other—gigantic with large golden doors and stained glass
windows. A moat of clear water
surrounded the tree and a drawbridge led to the other side. It appeared as if a whole kingdom
resided within the great tree. Standing
before the door stood two fully armored falcon guards. They quickly approached the knight with
have come from far to destroy the Nightmare Phantasm,” Gallius Varinor plainly related.
how did you find this place?” questioned one of the guards.
Varinor drew out the map and held it in the air. “I found this map on a fallen
traveler in the desert.”
of the falcon guards came forward and took the map from his hand. He immediately recognized it as the
scroll of Larastat, Apprentice of the Falcon
Wiseman. “You must see the wiseman at once.
guards led him through the doorway.
As they entered the great tree, Gallius became
mesmerized by the massive wooden halls.
The sound of music seemed to be coming from the far distance. Broad halls with majestic wall carvings
stretched before him. Through round
windows, sunlight glared through emerald statues lining the halls. These statues portrayed ancient falcon
warriors of the past. As they moved
further down the hall, they approached a large silver staircase. After walking up the stairs for what Gallius felt to be an excessive amount of time, they
finally reached the top and came to two large doors. The room ahead looked quite
important. The doors opened and one
of the guards entered the room. A
loud squawking sound proceeded to resonate from the room. Apparently, the birds spoke in their own
afterward, the guard returned and instructed Varinor
to come forth into the office. As
he entered the room, an old falcon sat before him, reading at a wooden desk.
falcon rose and addressed the knight, “Welcome, I have been expecting
you. I am the Falcon Wiseman Umaratus. My
guards informed me you found a map in the desert. This map once belonged to Larastat, my apprentice.” The falcon paused. “I am afraid to say, he did
not complete his journey to the plains of Candora. He was sent to retrieve a Vindimerin root, a rare herb needed to heal one of our best
warriors who was poisoned by the venomous fangs of the Imperial Basilisk of the
Phantasm’s Dark Brigade.”
“The Dark Brigade?" Varinor
the evil one’s sinister army,” Umaratus
answered. “They are not great
in numbers but possess great magic and strength. They remain a threat to us all. It puzzles me though to see your kind in
these lands. How did this come to
pass, may I ask?”
am Gallius Varinor from the
Realm of Ereyth,” began the knight. “I was lured into falling through
a portal that placed me inside the Castle Shadowgate. There, I learned from Majigormis, The Great Shadowmage,
that the only way to put an end to the evil spreading across my own world and
the safe passage for my return to it comes with the destruction of the Nightmare
Phantasm, as well as the reunion of the God Ereyth
and the Goddess Sarna.”
now I see,” responded Umaratus. “I also see that you have been a
victim of rabbit folklore.”
The Falcon Wiseman’s eyes peered at the top of Varinor’s
head. “Those senseless
creatures believe that by attaching rabbit ears to one’s head protection from
the Phantasm's evil can be gained.
This is completely false, a sick and pointless ritual. Please allow me to relieve you.” The falcon spread his wings and began
singing a beautiful melody in the falcon tongue. Suddenly, the rabbit ears vanished from Varinor’s head.
“Foolish rabbit prince,” uttered the Wiseman while
shaking his head. “I will yet
have my revenge on him one day…but that day is not today, my friend. Today, we must prepare you for your
journey. You see, the words Majigormis spoke are very true indeed. You must
destroy the Nightmare Phantasm to save the fate of both worlds.”
“As you may know, the evil wizard Voraxia condemned the world from which you come centuries
ago,” Umaratus continued. “When the world was still warm and
peaceful, Voraxia was the most powerful wizard of the
lands. The world remained peaceful
until Voraxia grew insane and turned to the dark
magic. He then used his evil wizardry
to split the world into two realms, separating the God and Goddess who at that
time ruled. The first half he
condemned Ereyth to and cast the spell of Eternal
Winter upon. This realm, severely
affected by the harsh conditions of winter, would be the first to be tormented
by the evil creatures Voraxia unleashed upon it. The second half of the world he called The
Unknown Lands of Sarna. Here, he planned to rule along side the
beautiful Goddess which he so desired. These were glorious lands never to be
known by the mortals of Eternal Winter.
He then created the Castle Shadowgate, serving as a gateway between the
two worlds. To ensure that peace
would never reside in the two worlds, he created the ultimate evil. This he called the Nightmare Phantasm which
he sealed in a fortress in the Unknown Lands. What Voraxia failed
to realize was that his creation was so evil it would completely devour
him. So, Voraxia
is no more, but the evil Phantasm lives on and will eventually destroy the two
realms, beginning with Eternal Winter, if it is not stopped. Your only chance against the Phantasm
and his Dark Brigade is by possessing the Sword of Valorous Light.
is something you should know about, my friend. You see, after the fall of Voraxia, the ancient Valghar
Lords of Eternal Winter and the Falcon Mages of the Unknown Lands forged ahead
through the evil of the Castle Shadowgate to unite in the court of Majigormis, The Great Shadowmage. There they combined their holy magic to
forge this great weapon. It remains
the only sword in the lands capable of destroying the Nightmare Phantasm. Once forged, the sword was then brought
to the snowy plains lying beyond the dark mountain ranges. There it has stayed for centuries,
surrounded by a magical aura of holy light to protect it until the one would
venture forth into the Unknown Lands and retrieve it. No one can pass through this light until
the proper spell has been cast and the sacred words have been spoken. That is why I must take you there.
Tonight we shall fly across these Unknown Lands, all the way to the
snowy plains. There you will
retrieve the Sword of Valorous Light and continue on to the fortress. To accompany you on your journey, I
shall send Argus, my finest falcon warrior. He will be of great help on your
journey. Now, follow me down the
hall and drink from the emerald fountain.
You must be extremely parched with thirst after your journey through the
hottest of deserts."
Varinor followed Umaratus down
the hall to the eloquent fountain, where the Wiseman handed him a silver
goblet. "Drink and the water
will purify you.” Gallius Varinor placed his lips
to the goblet and drank the water, immediately feeling extraordinary magic rush
throughout his entire body. “Now
that you have been purified, allow me to show you to your room where you may
rest before our departure at dusk.”
The falcon escorted the knight to his quarters and then spoke once
more. “I must go tell Argus
of our plans for this evening. Rest
well, as our journey through these Unknown Lands begins tonight.”
so the knight took rest.
Fire in the Sky, Black
Dragons of the Night
HOURS had passed, he was soon awakened by a falcon warrior standing over
him. Adorned with purple feathers
and gold chain mail, he appeared much taller and stronger looking than the other
guards and the Wiseman.
my friend,” spoke the kind warrior.
“My name is Argus. I
will be accompanying you on your journey.
Come, as it is now time for our departure. The Wiseman is awaiting us at the treetop.” Gallius
followed Argus to the entrance of the tree. “Now I will take you to the
top. Climb upon my back.”
they flew to the peak of the enormous tree whereupon they met Umaratus. With
a setting sun behind him as dark approached, the Wiseman spoke, “It is
now time for our departure. Argus
and I will now fly you beyond the mountains to where the sword lies.”
we will reach great heights tonight, brave warrior,” proclaimed
Argus. “Climb on and hold
tight.” With the knight mounted
on his back, away they flew into a starry horizon.
they soared over the moonlit landscape for most of the night. Once the central plains came into view, they
could see gray smoke issuing forth from what must be large fires in the
distance. Moving closer, they observed
a village of rabbit folk, smoldering in flames. As they stopped to hover in the air
above, a dragon suddenly swooped down past them quickly making its way towards
must be the work of Rathlon. He is one of the fierce black dragons of
the evil Black Forest,” warranted Umaratus.
“We must disrupt this atrocity or these Rabbit folk will perish.”
the villagers desperately prepared to defend their homeland, the dragon let
loose a proclamation of flame upon them.
must act now before it is too late!”
Argus exclaimed. The dragon continued
swooping down to attack the township.
Argus turned to Varinor. “Prepare to strike the creature!”
falcon warrior soared toward the beast; with a deep breath, the knight drew his
mighty blade. As they sailed past the
dragon, Gallius thrust his sword into its side and
black blood sprayed all over he and the falcon.
dragon bellowed in pain. “Foolish
birds, how dare you interfere! Now,
the Witch of the Black Forest will beckon my
Umaratus began searching all throughout the skies as he had
instantly felt a great evil approaching.
does this dragon speak of?” pleaded the knight.
“Narjukl, The Witch of the Black Forest…"
the Wiseman simply stated. “You
see, she once was the Princess of Astratonia…but
she betrayed her father, King Ulaniar. Afterwards, she was banished into the
unholy Black Forest where she continued to
strengthen her skills in dark magic until it devoured her. The being that once was is no more. Now, with the black dragons of that evil
forest under her command, she is a force to be reckoned with.”
out!” Argus yelled as Rathlon moved in with a
ferocious attack. Argus quickly
drew a single golden arrow from his leather quill and launched it from his
silver bow. An electrifying bolt of
lightning suddenly came crashing from above as it struck the dragon. Electric rays surged throughout its body,
and it soon fell to the earth engulfed in flames.
deafening shriek ripped through the air— the Witch of the Black Forest.
She came at them mounted on Orbidon, another
ancient black dragon. Wielding a
jeweled scepter that contained the most extreme black magic known, the witch
set forth toward the party, her black cape and long white hair blowing in the
wind, and her glowing green eyes glaring with the essence of evil. Her scepter raged with a green fire as
she struck the knight from behind, knocking him off Argus. Downward he fell through the night sky.
holy thunder from the gods, Argus quickly recovered him, but Varinor remained furious. “Argus, move in on them!” he
commanded as he reached for his sword.
“I'll take care of that cursed bitch.”
evil witch now circled the Falcon Wiseman, waving the flaming scepter. The glow from her green eyes radiated
through the night like some uncanny demon as Orbidon
flew her ever closer.
Orbidon, one of the many horrors of the black forest under
the witch’s control and a much more ferocious dragon than Rathlon, breathed a lethal green fire through the air. Argus valiantly charged towards them
with the speed brought on by rage.
The knight launched himself off of Argus and onto Orbidon's
back, drawing his sword and seizing the Black Witch from behind. Varinor felt
the heat of the dragon's breath burning through the metal of his own sword that
he held clutched to her throat.
witch shrieked and the dragon moved faster in a desperate attempt to shake the
knight off its back.
will send you to the flames of hell where you belong, forsaken bitch!!” exclaimed
fool," she replied, “no one can defeat Narjukl,
The Witch of the Black Forest. I will destroy you and everyone else who
stands in my way. Soon after the
rise of the Dark Empire, I will be the ruler of these lands and Eternal Winter.
she cackled as the knight proceeded to decapitate her.
Gallius gasped—to his amazement the witch was not
dead! He had completely beheaded
her, and yet her body still moved and her head still shrieked with
shoved her body off the dragon, her head now spinning through the air with green
fire spurting forth from the mouth.
Then, she blasted him. The force
knocked him from Orbidon, and once again he plunged
toward the ground.
was Umaratus who rescued him this time. “There is nothing you can
do,” issued the Wiseman. “Just
witch’s head flew straight at them.
Argus was blasting holy magic…but it was not enough to stop the heavy
pursuit of the black dragon, whose deadly flames remained a constant reminder
to Argus of the valuable stakes in this game of pursuit.
Black Witch's head chased after Varinor and the Wiseman,
green laser beams shooting from her eyes.
the skies Umaratus called to Argus, “Argus, we
must move them to the ground.” Together they flew with great speed, down
towards the burning village…
Orbidon and Narjukl
followed. “You are mistaken
if you think those pathetic rabbits can help you!” screeched the witch while
still sending green bolts through the air.
they began their descent, a massive beam struck Argus and sent him plummeting
to the plains far below. There he
lay, unconscious and smoldering, amidst the havoc of burning huts and rabbit
folk dashing around in panic. Three
rabbit warriors quickly retrieved Argus before he faced further atrocities. Through a wall of fire blown right at the
villagers, more fierce rabbit warriors charged the black dragon.
memory of the shores of Zoratherax with soldiers from
Edlundiver charging the Leviathan only to face its
wrath crept into Gallius Varinor’s
mind. The rabbits brought out
gigantic wooden catapults and fired flaming boulders at the beast. And yet, the decapitated head of the
insane witch still spun through the air. She began cackling and blowing green fire
out of the way!” commanded Umaratus.
back!” shouted the rabbit commander.
“The Falcon Wiseman is going to cast a spell.”
area immediately cleared as Umaratus began speaking
in the falcon tongue. Suddenly, the
ground started to shake and giant storm clouds rolled into forms resembling
eerie faces. Extreme winds picked
up debris, slinging it all about, while crimson lightning crashed from the
sky. The Wiseman raised his right
wing towards the sky and issued a burst of red lightning into the clouds.
massive ball of fire began forming in the sky. All of a sudden the booming call of a
falcon resonated as a monstrous falcon of scarlet flames charged forth from the
heavens to intercept Orbidon. But the dragon managed to dodge the
attack. The fiery falcon swooped up
through the air and circled around for another assault on Orbidon. Midway through its circle, two raging
fire falcons emerged from the giant bird as it split in half. Flames trailed the birds as they
accelerated to an incredible speed.
In the blink of an eye, the firebirds ignited as they both crashed into
the black dragon, erupting in a blazing fireball. The fervor from the explosion reached
such intensity that the air around the beast soon became unbreathable.
screamed the Black Witch. “You foolish birds! What have you done?” The fire raged on until the last remains
of the great dragon burned into a pile of glowing embers. “NOOOO!! You've not seen the last of me, or the
terrible creatures of the Black Forest,”
claimed the witch as she flew away screaming into the night.
the ground rabbit folk began regrouping in an attempt to douse the violent
inferno that once was their village.
The Wiseman's spell continued in its grandeur as heavy rains poured from
the menacing clouds above. Another
falcon cry resounded through the skies as a falcon created entirely of water
gracefully flew towards the burning town.
Its wings extended as it splashed into the town and extinguished the flames.
Rabbit folk instantly began
cheering the heroes.
Umaratus slowly turned to Varinor,
looking up to the heavens all the while. “The Falcon Guardians of Fire and Water;
these elemental birds have protected our kind through the ages.”
in one of the last standing huts, Argus awoke to discover rabbit folk
surrounding him. “Where is
the Wiseman?” he asked.
of the many rabbits around him spoke up. “He's outside. He saved the village by summoning the
jumped to his feet. “And what
has become of the witch?”
again, she has retreated to the Black Forest,”
the rabbit replied.
exited the hut and found both Varinor and Umaratus outside in a conference with the leader of the
you for saving my troops and village,” the rabbit commander began. “I have received a message from
the rabbit prince and know of your journey ahead. He has asked that I speak to you of Avoryean. You
see, he is being held prisoner by his own king and father, Lord Norian Darsmir of the Dark Kingdom. Fearing the true power of Avoryean, Darsmir placed a spell
upon him long ago. This spell
forever prevented him from achieving his conquest of domination. In the castle dungeons of Bazrith he sits bound by the spell. You will need his help to enter the fortress
of the Nightmare Phantasm. Avoryean has stolen and hidden the one and only crystal key
capable of opening the gates of the Phantasm's fortress. Without this key, the stronghold is
impenetrable. Rumor has it that the
key lies to the northeast, outside of Rossindor. Many have searched the land, but none
have returned. There remains one thing I am sure
of—Avoryean is the only one who knows exactly
where the key lies. With him lies
your only hope.” He held out his
hand, slowing opening it. “Take
this; it is a dragon’s tooth, centuries old. It must be brought to the township of Rossindor. There you will find a reptilian
alchemist, a most powerful wizard named Alderan. He is the only one that can teach you
how to use it and how to find Avoryean.”
commander held out his hand again, this time handing over a scroll. “Here is a map with the route to Rossindor.”
Umaratus spoke up: “That will not be necessary. I have traveled to Rossindor
many times over the years. The
reptiles have been very helpful to us in the past.”
rabbit angrily replied to the Wiseman’s rejection. “That is fine, but the prince has ordered me to send Ermick
along with you on your journey.”
a rabbit warrior hopped forward and
knelt before them. “I am Ermick. I
pledge my life and my loyalty to protecting the One who shall banish the
phantasm and bring peace to these lands.”
knight inspected him carefully, wondering if this was another act of trickery from
the rabbit folk. This rabbit was quite
formidable compared to the size of the others and wore a leather vest and black
cape. Several leather pouches were tied
around his belt, and he was armed with a large sword.
well,” Umaratus responded. “He will be of
help should we encounter the Dark Brigade.”
the commander continued, “Ermick is a brave
warrior, full of magical surprises. In fact, he is....” The rabbit’s words trailed off as
he stared at the knight in shock. “Where
are the rabbit ears our gracious master bestowed upon you?!” His eyes enraged as he began
shaking. “What have you done to them?! You must
bear the ears of the rabbit-folk to enter the fortress!”
he held out a finger pointed at Gallius in disgust,
the falcon Wiseman suddenly struck the rabbit commander from behind, and he
fell to the ground.
“Silence, you foolish rodent! You have spoken enough!” Umaratus blared in a masterful tone. “Tell your Rabbit Prince that my
revenge shall come soon. We will be
leaving now. Come along, Ermick!”
party of four made their way to the North.
Rossindor, Rumble with the Tyrant
VARINOR now possessed the dragon’s tooth and all the turmoil that came
me more of this kingdom called Astratonia,”
said Varinor to Umaratus.
“Astratonia is a glorious kingdom that lies south of Bazrith. It is ruled by the honorable King Ulaniar and is at constant war with the Dark Kingdom.
The Falcons have allied with the people of Astratonia
many times in the past to fight the Dark Legions of Norian
Darsmir. King Ulaniar may
yet prove to be helpful to you in your quest…but that remains to be
commander is right however,” continued Umaratus. “We must go to the alchemist and learn
all there is to know about this tooth and Avoryean.”
then,” spoke Argus, “we had better travel on land if we want to
avoid the Dark Brigade.”
decision, my friend,” commended the Wiseman.
so, yet another journey had begun, through the vast plains, and onward to Rossindor. This
route to the village
however, would not be far compared to the knight’s odyssey thus far, or
so the Wiseman claimed. Within the
plains, they came upon a forest, much different than any Gallius
had ever seen: an extensive tropical environment filled with immense palm trees
and vivid plants in a sandy terrain.
A nearby brook provided a resting place for them to drink from a crystal
waterfall that led to a stony pond.
A generous supply of fish and other strange, exotic water creatures
filled the pool.
Ermick turned to the knight. “Listen,” he whispered.
quietly with only the sound of crashing water nearby, a beautiful melody descending
from the treetops touched their ears.
They looked all around for some sign of life but saw no one.
know that tune,” declared Umaratus. “It is the melody of Tarak.” He walked down a small path in the
direction of the music. In the
treetops high above, birds appeared to be enchanted by the tune as they flew in
circles, chirped the same song, and danced in the air. Another small pond lay at the end of the
path. But in the middle of this
pond sat a lone rock, and on it perched an ancient reptile dressed in rags and
playing a strange flute.
Wiseman was the first to speak. “Well,
if it isn't Tarak, the reptile wizard. I haven't encountered you since that
fateful day when our comrades perished on the plains of Candora.”
“Yessss,” replied the lizard. “I am yet to forget that day, my
friend, nor how you and the Falcon Mages assisted us in our time of need. What brings you out this way after so
you see,” Umaratus paused, looking over at Gallius before returning to face the reptile, “My
companion here is the One destined to wield the Sword of Valorous Light and
destroy the Phantasm.”
Tarak glanced at the knight. “Are you truly the One?” he
assure you he is the One,” persisted Umaratus.
“More to the point, I need you to lead us to Rossindor,
so that we may speak to Alderan the alchemist.”
am sorry, Falcon Wiseman,” Tarak replied, “but
the alchemist is finished with his session at the alchemy guild and will not be
returning until tomorrow morning. However,
you are more than welcome to stay at the inn of Rossindor
for the night. I would strongly advise
not being in the forest after dark.
Come with me, and I will lead you to the town.”
Tarak guided them through the exotic woodlands. After nightfall they arrived at the
gates of Rossindor, a large town with innumerable
stone huts and buildings. The
reptilians of the town, tall reptiles that walked on two legs, gave the
outlandish visitors strange looks as they traveled through the village. Some kind of celebration appeared to be
going on. With lit torches many of
them danced around a fire, singing and playing bizarre flutes and other
informed them that the townsfolk were celebrating a successful hunt. Gallius could
see that a gigantic boar roasted over the fire with several others close-by, already
cooked. Ermick’s mouth watered as he
gazed at the tender meat.
said Tarak. “The Dragonsong Inn is not far.”
continued walking further down the torchlit sandy
road until they arrived. When they entered, Townsfolk were inside celebrating,
drinking and dancing to cheerful music. “Let us have a seat” spoke Tarak.
party sat down at a nearby table and a server brought them a round of drinks.
They sat for quite some time conversing over wine and ale, making plans for
their journey ahead. Some time had
passed. The knight could see that
outside through the window five dark figures on horses were coming toward the
inn. The riders stopped and
dismounted. Looking extremely angry and fighting among each other, they entered
the inn. The room fell silent and
all eyes turned toward the riders. They were tall reptillians
wearing armor and holding swords. The
one in the middle of the group, looked much bigger
than the others and wore a long black cape. He seemed to be in charge. The riders looked very threatening as
they gazed and snarled at the crowd.
Knight grabbed one of the nearby female servants and asked her who these
is the Tyrant and his gang of bandits,” she said. “They are always
coming into town and causing trouble. We must give them what they want so they
were two reptillian guards in the inn that had their
eye on The Tyrant. The guards drew their swords and one spoke over the crowd of
people: “You have no business here, Tyrant! You will leave this town or
we will be forced to shed blood here tonight!”
Tyrant replied, “Put your swords away fools and maybe we won’t kill
guards charged at the tyrant and his warriors. With one hand, the Tyrant lifted a table
and sent it crashing into the guards. The bandits began attacking everyone in
the inn and a violent riot had now begun. Varinor lunged
at The Tyrant and stabbed him in the side with his mighty sword. The blade barley went in. The Tyrant roared and lifted him up off
the floor by his throat. Using his
magic powers, Argus began shooting magical blades of fire and ice at the evil
ones and Ermick was now spinning through the air
blasting them with surges of electric power. The Tyrant dropped the knight and cowered
for he and his bandits could not compete with such a force as was being brought
his panic, the Tyrant pulled out a giant boomerang of steel. He hurled it through the air and struck
Argus and the Rabbit warrior, delaying their magic. He then unleashed his mighty whip and
began lashing the Knight and Umaratus as Ermick and Argus fought back the bandits.
said the Wiseman. He began speaking
magic words in the falcon tongue. He
then shouted at The Tyrant, “Off to the sea with you!”
a great whirlwind conjured and quickly swept up the Tyrant and his bandits and
sent them crashing through the wall and out of the inn, eventually to be forced
into the depths of the vast ocean.
Tyrant and his evil followers had now been defeated and no one in the inn was
severely harmed thanks to the heroes. The party would now be treated with great
respect in the township
female servant came up to Varinor and spoke. “You and your brave comrades have
ended The Reign of The Tyrant. You
may stay at our inn for as long as you wish. Tomorrow morning we will send guards to
accompany you and Tarak to The Alchemy Guild.”
you,” said Varinor. “After that incident I believe we
are all in need of peaceful rest. Please lead us to our rooms.”
they began to leave the dining area, Ermick noticed
that the Tyrant’s mighty whip was lying in the corner of the room. “This may come in handy,” he
chuckled to himself as he confiscated the great
Book III coming soon!!