Hello Everyone! This is Lord Baldrith with Echoes from the Caverns. I have included some new background music from Matthew Pablo called Beyond the Clouds (theme for modern broadcast). His website is matthewpablo.com. Special Thanks to Gabriel Nightshadow for the idea and the source website. It’s a small newsday again, but hopefully you enjoy! One of these days I need to get the Updates from Friday into the podcast, but thus far I’m too early to record 🙂 Sorry about that!
Hi All, Here is a story written by me about my character Baldrith. Also, I have added some great background music called Magical theme by remaxim from the Opengameart.org website.
Here is the text:
BALDRITH was outside smoking his pipe, when a droplet of water blurred his glasses and doused his long bamboo pipe. He cursed stood up from the rickety rocking chair he was seated at. The thunder rumbled as the rain intensified. It wasn’t but a few seconds that the water had completely wetted his robe and shoes. “Dammit, this blasted rain will be the end of me!” Baldrith cried as he tried to swiftly enter his cottage. The door had a habit of sticking, so when he pulled on the door, the brunt force of his weight yanked him backward, into a mud puddle.
Inside the cottage, a sopping wet Baldrith was sitting by the warm fire drying his long beard and hair. The pure white of his beard and hair glowed with intensity. As a pure mage, of advanced age, his hair had become as white as the winter snows of Brittany. The dank, wet chill was starting to subside in his bones. He picked up the candle and walked over to his shabby, but comfy bed. He placed the candle on a small table and sank into bed. He blew out the candle and fell quickly to sleep with dreams of adventure and toils of days gone.
The morning sun was bright, and Baldrith was awakened with a start as a red robin pecked on his nose. “Ack, pesky bird!” He jumped up and the bird quickly flew out the slightly ajar window above his bed.
The room was small, and sparsely furnished. There was a small round table near the door, and a little fireplace at the back end of the wall. A square rug in the middle of the room with a faded picture of a large oak tree littered with green and yellow leaves. An outline of a particularly luminous staff can be seen finishing the base of one of the larger branches. Baldrith smiled as he stared at the rug. “Ah, my old staff, blast that pesky imp!”
A few months ago, Baldrith was visited by a thief. The staff sitting against the wall mysteriously disappeared. He knew it was stolen by the imp Devondre and even saw him running out the door with it. By the time he had run out of the cottage to catch him, he had disappeared. It has been his daily grind, to wonder about Wizards Rest searching for clues as to the whereabouts of the thief. It seems that Devondre had completely vanished. No one in the village had seen him since that day!
Today, he had decided he would journey to the north to see if he could find that blasted imp. He packed a few rations for the road, and carried his small regent pouch on a small string attached to his cloth belt. He was without his staff, but he was proficient enough with his hands and spells to dispose of this despicable creature.
The path from his cottage was speckled with puddles of muddy water from the previous night’s rain. He had to watch his step closely to avoid tripping into a wet fall. He was nearly 128, but he didn’t feel a day over 70! He had only just begun to flourish in his knowledge of the arcane. Aw, but a mere minute in the life of a genuine mage’s life. He was like a child in the vast world of knowledge still available to him. He would keep his mind ever filled with new and exciting knowledge of ways to manipulate flame and ice!
He stopped suddenly, to look at a small pond on the side of the road. It was strangely blue. In a clearing filled with trees, the sky wasn’t open enough to make the water so colorful. Yet this pond was as deep blue as he had ever seen. The blue of a sapphire stone! He bent down to have a closer look at the water, and noticed it had a vapor misting from the surface, that was cold. It was almost as if it was iced over. He picked up a small stick and poked it into the water. He pulled the stick out and saw that the tip was completely frozen. “Odd, what kind of place have I discovered here! I have never seen water so blue and so cold.”
Completely entranced in the mysteries of the pond, he didn’t notice the small reddish beast that had appeared right behind him. The beast was grasping his long curvy staff! On one end of it was a red gem. The beast had a wide toothy smile on his face. He had pointy ears, and two small horns adorned his head. Devondre swung the staff at Baldrith’s head. The blow knocked Baldrith into the pond!
Every part of his body was freezing quick! He only had seconds to react before he was a giant man-sized ice cube. He chanted some words holding the rune pouch in his hand and a shield of fire erupted around his body. The mixture in the pond of fire and cold created an explosion that launched Baldrith up in the air. The pond water rained down on Devondre blasting him down to the ground. He dropped the staff and tried in vain to shield his body from the freezing water droplets that pierced his body.
Baldrith, still holding the regent pouch, chanted a quick spell while he was soaring down to the earth, and glided safely to the ground next to Devondre the nasty imp! The imp was now just a frozen body on the ground. Baldrith smiled. “That’ll teach you to mess with my stuff!”
He reached down, and picked up his beloved staff. He whistled a happy tune as we walked home.
Echoes from the Caverns as you know is a podcast service I started and run jointly with Lord Baldrith. It started out with some news, then we tossed on a dash of poetry, followed by a pinch of fan-fiction, and even a sprinkle of song! Lord Baldrith has been growing in skills and polish and things are expanding!
Lord Baldrith is awesome and each new piece he produces shows how awesome!
The New Britannia Theater Troupe has been formed with the help of The Time Lord doing a lot of recruiting with a little help from Amber Raine via Radio. It is a group of people helping out doing voice acting for a larger piece we have in production written by Gabriel Nightshadow. This Theater Troupe can be just a single appearance on a fiction piece or you can participate in more voices in the future! I will be adding a “cast” list on the Echoes from the Caverns website which will have all cast included in it. Please note cast members will be added after a piece they participated in is published (in short, it has to be published before its official that your cast!).
No commitments required other then when your working on a piece, to finish that piece. In the future you can do more or not, up to you. Once a cast member though you will stay on the cast list (I.E. once your in the Actors Guild, your in the actors Guild)! Who knows.. Maybe this cast will grow into doing actual plays in game in the future?
We are looking for a few more male roles at this time so sign up if your interested!
There are several people involved at this point and I do not want to miss anyone on haphazard shout-outs at the moment, but thanks to all! As to those who have helped produce pieces in the past please be patient until I get the cast listing up. On the to-do list but may be a little while. Neck deep in a couple of projects right now.
The forum thread to read details and how to sign up:
Hi all! Lord Baldrith here with the Third and final part to the wonderful story written by Gabriel Nightshadow and Time Lord. Narrated and produced by Lord Baldrith. Amber Raine voices the character Cheriya.
Here is the text version:
The Imperial Throne Room
The Jinrazi Home World of Sukidayo Prime
Ten years later…
Emperor Kuzai sat on his throne, a look of disbelief on his face. How could one man, a gaijin – no less!, single-handedly destroy the mighty Jinrazi Empire, he thought to himself. The Jinrazi were a proud people, descended from Japanese samurai who had taken to the stars. The Emperor vowed revenge against the man responsible for all this – the man known as Nystal!
Suddenly, he heard the sounds of guards shouting and two figures, a male and a female, rushed into the room. The male pulled a device out of his pocket and short circuited the door’s controls. The couple turned around and the Emperor immediately recognized the male.
“YOU!”, shouted the Emperor, pointing his finger at the male, “You are the one responsible for destroying my empire! You are Nystal!”
“Indeed, I am.”, replied Time Lord, “But you brought this all upon yourself, Emperor. I knew your grandfather. He was a good and honorable man and a very wise ruler. He never would have approved of any of this!”
“Grandfather was a weak and pathetic fool!”, said the Emperor, a crazed look in his eyes, “It is our destiny to conquer the universe!”
“You’ve enslaved hundreds of worlds in your bid for ultimate power.”, said Time Lord, “Countless trillions have suffered under your reign!”
“And so you took it upon yourself to stop me?”, asked Emperor, “How are you any better? You’ve slaughtered millions of people in your quest to restore “peace”. My capital is in flames and the once mighty Jinrazi battle fleet lies in pieces high above this world!”
“That may be true, but your civilian population is safe and sound.”, replied Time Lord, “I’ve seen to it that they have been teleported to a nice, fertile planet far away from here where they will have a chance to start over again as farmers, free from your evil influence! Once I was merely an observer, but my wife has taught me that sometimes it is necessary to take action in order to do what is right!”
“You, this is all your fault!”, shouted Emperor Kuzai, pointing at Chariya.
The Emperor suddenly pulled out a concealed energy pistol and shot Chariya in the chest!
Chariya’s heavily armored, high-tech vest was no match for the Emperor’s high-powered energy pistol, and Time Lord instantly saw the burn marks and huge gaping wound. He smelled the odor of burnt flesh as Chariya crumpled to the ground, a stunned look on her face.
“NO!”, screamed Time Lord.
The Emperor immediately dropped his energy pistol and charged at Time Lord with his katana!
“DIE, NYSTAL!”, shouted Emperor Kuzai.
Time Lord reached for the katana lying on the floor next to the body of a fallen guard.
The Emperor was a skilled combatant, having been trained by the finest sword masters in the empire.
He swung his katana right at Time Lord’s neck in an attempt to decapitate him!
Unfortunately for the Emperor, Time Lord had studied under the legendary Japanese swordsman, Miyamoto Musashi. He was easily able to parry the Emperor’s blow and cut him down with one swift stroke!
Time Lord dropped the katana and rushed to his beloved Chariya’s side. He pulled a medical scanner out of one of his pouches and took a scan.
Time Lord began crying as he said, “My love, you’ve been fatally wounded. There’s nothing I can do to save you!”
“Don’t cry, my love.”, said Chariya, as she reached up with her right hand and stroked his cheek, “I was well aware of the dangers I would be facing on my journey with you. These past ten years have been the happiest in my life. I’ve seen so many exotic places and met so many important historical figures thanks to you. I…”
Chariya’s hand fell to the ground as she lost consciousness.
“No, don’t leave me!”, cried Time Lord, tears streaming down his cheeks, “There must be something I can do!”
Time Lord suddenly remembered something, and pulled the Radozan mind cube out of his pouch.
“Of course, the Radozan mind cube!, ” he shouted excitedly, “This is why Mingo gave me this to me on our wedding day. Thank you, cousin!”
“Hang on, honey!”, Time Lord said, as he placed the mind cube on top of Chariya’s forehead.
The cube began glowing bright white as Chariya’s consciousness was transferred to it. It returned to its normal blue color when the transfer was complete. Time Lord picked up the cube and spoke to it.
“Are you OK, dear?”, asked Time Lord.
“I feel OK, honey.”, replied Chariya, “Although it feels kind of strange not having a physical body.”
“Oh my, is that my dead body down there?”, asked Chariya.
“I’m afraid so, dear.”, replied Time Lord, as he reached down and removed Chariya’s wedding wing from her finger, “I promise I will give this back to you the day you receive a new body.”
He placed the ring in his belt pouch.
Suddenly, Time Lord and Chariya heard shouting from outside the sealed door.
‘Emperor Kuzai, are you all right?”, yelled a soldier, “Don’t worry, we’ll be in there shortly!”
Blaster fire could be heard outside and the door started turning red hot!
“Honey, I think we better leave before they get through.”, said Chariya, “Is there another exit to this room?”
“Not an obvious one, but I suspect the Emperor has a hidden escape route somewhere in this chamber.”, replied Time Lord.
Time Lord quickly looked around the room.
“Hmm…,” said Time Lord, as he sat on the Emperor’s throne, “I wonder if there’s a hidden switch somewhere down here…”
Time Lord felt under the right armrest. There was an audible click and the throne moved to the left, revealing a hidden passageway underneath the throne.
“Let’s go!”, he said, placing the mind cube in his other belt pouch.
Time Lord ran down the staircase.
A few minutes later, the door melted away and five guards came rushing in.
“The Emperor has been slain by Nystal!”, shouted Major Ozai, “Captain Shobu, take your men down that passageway and capture the war criminal! He is to be taken alive, so he may stand trial for his crimes. Is that clear? I will notify General Ruko of the Emperor’s murder.”
“Yes, sir!”, replied Captain Shobu, “Follow me men!”
The guards charged down the staircase.
Major Ozai activated his wrist communicator and said, “Imperial flagship Doragon (Japanese word for “dragon”), this is Major Ozai. Priority one message for General Ruko!”
On board the Imperial flagship, Doragon, one of the seven remaining Jinrazi battlecruisers in space orbiting Suidayo Prime, General Ruko, the highest ranking surviving member of the Imperial Army, entered the bridge with a somber look on his face.
“Lieutenant Nakimora, fleet-wide intercom, please. I have an announcement to make.”, said the General.
“Aye, sir!”, replied the Lieutenant, “Lines are open.”
“This is General Ruko addressing the Jinrazi battle fleet. It is with great sadness that I must report that our beloved Emperor has been murdered by the notorious war criminal, Nystal.”, said the General.
Everyone on the bridge gasped.
“General Ruko, I am detecting a small unidentified spacecraft leaving the planet. Ship recognition database indicates that it matches the profile of the war criminal Nystal’s ship!”, said Lt. Fuksa.
“Is the ship within tractor beam range?” commanded General Ruko.
“No, sir!”, replied Lt. Fuksa.
“Launch all fighters!”, said General Ruko, “Instruct them to disable Nystal’s vessel and surround it until we are within tractor beam range. Plot a pursuit vector. Is that clear?”
“Aye, sir!”, replied Lt. Nakimora.
Shortly thereafter, two dozen Imperial Dragon fighter ships were in pursuit of Nystal’s ship, followed by the Doragon. The other six battlecruisers remained in orbit around Sukidayo Prime.
On board his ship, Time Lord spoke to Max, the ship’s AI (artificial intelligence).
“Max, what is the status of ship systems?”, asked Time Lord.
“Camouflage field damaged beyond repair.”, said Max, “Shield strength holding steady at 98%. I’m tracking two dozen hostiles pursuing us. Would you like me to activate ship’s laser cannon turrets and energy torpedo launchers?”
“Laser cannon turrets only, Max, and please increase speed to .6 light speed.”, said Time Lord, “If only we had enough time to reach light speed and engage the quantum temporal drive…”
“Sure thing, boss!”, replied Max.
“Honey, I’m worried. Will we be able to outrun them?”, asked Chariya.
“Not for long, but I’m sure I’ll think of something…”, replied Time Lord, “It would really help if I could see you, darling. Concentrate real hard. You can project a holographic image of yourself.”
“Is this better?”, asked Chariya, as her holographic form appeared in the co-pilot’s seat.
“Much better!”, said Time Lord with a smile on his face.
“General Ruko, I’m detected a massive energy buildup on Sukidayo Prime!”, shouted the ship’s science officer, Lt. Cmdr. Yoshi.
“Lt. Nakimora, have the fleet move away from the planet immediately!”, ordered General Ruko.
“Aye, sir.”, replied Lt. Nakimora, but before she had a chance to transmit a message, the entire planet exploded, wiping out the rest of the Jinrazi battle fleet!
The Doragon was far enough away from the planet to avoid any damage. The entire bridge crew gasped in astonishment, for they realized that they were all that remained of the once mighty Jinrazi Empire.
“Curse you, Nystal!”, shouted General Ruko, pounding his right fist down on his armrest.
Meanwhile, the Tanken-ka was being taking heavy fire from the Dragon fighters.
“Shields down to 50% strength, boss!”, said Max, “Gun turrets One and Three have been rendered inoperative. Eight hostiles have been destroyed, sixteen hostiles remaining. We will be within tractor range of the Doragon in ten minutes…”
“What do we do?”, asked Chariya.
“Max, is there a nebula close by?”, asked Time Lord.
“Yes, the Quarox Nebula is within range…”, replied Max.
“Do you have a plan?”, asked Chariya.
“I’m going to use a trick employed by an old friend of mine, a noted starship captain.”, replied Time Lord, “But first we have to get rid of these pesky fighters. Max, I want you to simulate a sudden engine failure and standby to activate the EMP generator. Once the fighters are disabled, head for the nebula at full speed.”
“Sure thing, boss!”, replied Max.
The Tanken-ka’s engines soon began venting gas and came to a dead stop. The Dragon fighters soon surrounded the vessel.
“Enemy vessel, this is Captain Jiro.”, said the fighter squadron leader, “You are surrounded! Prepare to be tractored aboard the Imperial flagship Doragon shortly!”
“Now!”, shouted Time Lord.
Time Lord’s ship suddenly emitted an electromagnetic pulse in a five mile radius around the vessel. Long ago, Time Lord had developed a unique compound, which when bonded with the metal in the Taken-ka’s hull, would shield it from the effects of electromagnetic pulses. The Dragon fighters weren’t so lucky, and were rendered inoperative. They were soon adrift in space.
Within the Quarox Nebula, the Tanken-ka was being buffeted by fierce electromagnetic storms.
“Status of weapons systems, Max?” asked Time Lord.
“Forward gun turret one and rear gun turret three are inoperative, as are rear energy torpedo launchers three and four.”, replied Max.
“How many energy torpedoes do we have remaining?”, asked Time Lord.
“Four, boss. Two each for the forward energy torpedo launchers.”, said Max.
“Hmm…”, said Time Lord, with a serious look on his face.
“Honey, is it wise to be hiding here in the nebula?”, asked Chariya, “It’s only a matter of time before the Doragon finds us.”
“It’s part of my plan, darling.”, replied Time Lord, “They will have to enter the nebula itself in order to find us. We have an advantage over them in that our shields and sensors continue to function here, thanks to my ingenuity. The plan is to sneak up behind them and disable their main engines, thereby allowing us time to escape the nebula and engage the quantum temporal drive.”
“Do we have enough firepower in order to disable their engines?”, asked Chariya.
“This ship’s lasers are not powerful enough to penetrate the Doragon’s hull.”, replied Time Lord, “We will have to rely on the energy torpedoes. With only four torpedoes remaining, the best we can hope to do is disable one of the two engines, but that should be enough.”
“Hey, boss, the Doragon has just entered the nebula!”, said Max.
Suddenly, the Doragon was rocked by massive explosions and the ship began to rock back and forth! Everybody on the bridge quickly tried to grab hold of the railings. Those who didn’t respond fast enough were thrown about.
“Report!”, yelled General Ruko.
“The left engine nacelle has been partially destroyed by torpedo fire, sir.”, said Lt. Cmdr. Yoshi, “We are venting quantum energy! Inertial dampers are offline!”
Mingo exited the tavern and lit his pipe. Taking a puff, he suddenly heard a dull roar. He looked up into the dark night sky and saw the flaming trail left by the Tanken-ka as it streaked across the sky and crashed into Mount Krendor.
“So at last, he has come!”, remarked Mingo.
“I wonder how many more of our people will return here to live amongst their children.”, pondered Mingo, “Only time will tell…”
“Yeah, I seem to be in one piece.”, replied Time Lord, “Thank heavens for my regenerative abilities! Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t be a very pretty sight right now. Max, what kind of shape is the Tanken-ka in?
“Luckily, the shields stayed up long enough to prevent any serious damage to the ship’s hull, but unfortunately both the main engines and quantum temporal generator are completely shot!,” said Max, “All weapons systems are down as well. I have managed to get the camouflage field working properly now.”
“I see. Are suitable replacement parts available on this planet?”, asked Time Lord.
“Negative, boss.”, replied Max, “At this society’s current rate of technological development, suitable replacement parts will not be available for approximately 2,000 years.”
“2,000 years!”, exclaimed Chariya, ” Do we have enough power to keep the ship running that long?”
“I believe that if I shut down everything except the camouflage field and anti-intruder system and put Max in sleep mode, we should have just enough energy to power up all systems in 2,000 years.”, replied Time Lord, “Am I right, Max?”
“As always, boss!”, replied Max.
“By the way, Max, where exactly are we right now?”, asked Time Lord.
“We’re on Mount Krendor in New Britannia, 200 years after The Great Cataclysm.”, replied Max.
“New Britannia? Hmm…I haven’t been back here in a long time.”, said Time Lord, “Better pack up some supplies before we head out!”
Time Lord grabbed a backpack and began filling it with supplies from the cabinets. Once he was done, he put on a hooded robe and grabbed a wooden staff.
He turned to Chariya’s holographic form.
“Honey, you better switch to audio mode now in order to conserve power. Without a means to recharge it, the mind cube will run out of power in about 500 years.”, said Time Lord.
“500 years?”, said Chariya, with a worried look on her face, “Will that be enough time for you to find a way to get me a new body?”
“Science alone is not enough to accomplish that.”, replied Time Lord, “I hope that by combining both science and magic, I will be able to create a new, immortal body for you. 500 years should be a sufficient amount of time for me to master all of New Britannia’s schools of magic.”
“I believe in you, my love!”, said Chariya, as she vanished.
“Initiate shutdown process. Pleasant dreams, Max. I’ll see you in 2,000 years!”, said Time Lord.
“Looking forward to it, boss!”, replied Max, “You and Chariya be careful out there!”
“We will, Max.”, said Time Lord, as he exited the Tanken-ka.
Once outside, the door sealed shut and anti-intruder system came online. The Tanken-ka now appeared to the untrained eye as a row of trees. Inside, Max dreamt he was a handsome, young high roller at The Bellagio in Las Vegas. He had a gorgeous blonde on one arm and an equally stunning redhead on the other.
“Time to party!”, yelled Max, as everything faded to black…
Hi There Everybody! Lord Baldrith here with a very awesome and unique story by Tekkamansoul called The Warrior and the Flower. Couldn’t help but get a chill down my spine when reading this story.
Here is the text:
The Warrior and the Flower
The warrior opened his eyes.
Cold, hard ground. A far-off glow. The sound of a river.
He tried to move, but his body wouldn’t listen. His eyes refused to focus; his brain, to recall where he was or what he was doing.
With a forceful grunt and an exertion of muscles strained beyond their limits, he managed to prop an arm beneath him and roll over onto his back.
Thud. The pain was unbearable.
He screamed. Once he reclaimed his breath and the red in his vision cleared, he could dimly make out the arched rock ceiling far above him, dripping with stalactites. He couldn’t help but feel as if the cavern itself was preparing to pierce his chest and finish him. The reverberations of his scream came echoing back, solidifying in his mind the size of the expanse he was lost in. How undignified.
A cavern. Of course. The Catacombs.
A drop of water fell onto his forehead from the menacing spikes above, rolled down his cheek, and touched his lips. The salty, mineral-ridden water was anything but refreshing.
The warrior noticed the hand resting on his chest was sticky and warm. He brought it with some effort before his face and saw what he dreaded.
Blood. A lot of it. Looking down, he could see the outline of his fractured armor, exposing an open wound in his gut. He put his head back and closed his eyes, grimacing as he attempted what he already knew was a futile effort.
Just as he was afraid of. He couldn’t feel his legs, much less move them. His situation was becoming clear. Now is not my time, he thought desperately. Vainly.
The warrior strained his ears to hear anything he could over his own labored breaths. There was the quiet rushing of the underground river nearby, the occasional plop of water into one of the Catacomb’s many eroded pools, and the faint far-away scratching of some tiny creature.
He was alone. Alone and dying in this cold, wet hell with no escape.
It was starting to come back. The last thing he remembered was accepting the job. A weasely-looking man covered in pockmarks had offered him a none-too-generous sum to escort him and his goods to the other side of the mountain range that separates the continent. Going through one of the shallower levels of the Catacombs was a common enough shortcut, and one that the warrior had taken before, though it wasn’t his preferred route. Somehow the dirty merchant made it sound like it was his idea from the beginning.
He swore, his voice a thin rasp. Thieving bastard. He pieced together what had happened. He should have been more careful, but he was too sure of himself, too proud. In a blind grasp at a few extra coins and, with luck, a bit of glory, he was led right into a trap.
The spearhead of the merchant’s goon was probably still lodged in his belly.
Not my time, he thought again. Though what difference does it make? What mark have I even left on this world?
The warrior had lived a lonely life. Not necessarily by choice; that was simply the way things were. He traveled whenever he could, fought in his share of violent battles (with both humans and daemons at the other end of his blade), and had seen more adventure in his few short years than many did in entire lifetimes. In the end, however, his nights were spent alone.
Had he caught the eye of the odd barmaid? Of course. He had even spent many a quiet hour poring over the great sonnets of bards past as reference for his own amateur love poems, always clumsy but full of emotion, to give to his sweetheart of the season. But, as they say, ’twas not meant to be.
The smiling faces of his past brief romances floated to the front of his mind in what he now knew were his final hours. They were of no comfort, but he smiled back anyway.
Most of their names escaped him. Not that they mattered anymore. They had almost certainly moved on, found new lovers, and started families as the warrior wandered on.
He thought of one, still, often enough. He used to see her face in the clouds, on the surface of a serene lake, in paintings of royalty. He heard her voice from time to time in love ballads and sad songs. He smelled her hair on the breeze of spring mornings and felt her touch on the finest of linens. He was painfully mindful of all the feelings he was never eloquent enough to put to words.
He was brave enough, or perhaps stupid enough, to take up a life of adventuring, but never brave enough to go back to her and confess his feelings. And it was too late. It was too late a long time ago. How many years had it been? He dimly recalled a time when the future had been filled with a million unexplored possibilities and his youthful heart ached not with love but wanderlust.
What was her name? the warrior asked himself. Strange. He had always remembered. The other women in his life eventually faded from his heart, but her, he had always remembered. Her eyes, at least, he would never forget: they were an icy blue that reflected the quiet sadness within.
Yes, he couldn’t forget those eyes. She was a poor girl growing up and had faced more hardship than most. The warrior felt both hatred and love whenever he looked into those sad eyes. Hated the pain within, but loved that he could break that ice with a smile when he tried. Her laugh was the most beautiful sound in the world to him – a veritable reason for living.
But rather than staying in his hometown, he chose instead a life of danger and excitement. He would come back to visit of course, from time to time, but things were never the same. Eventually, after his parents died, he never returned.
What was her name? he wondered again. The pain was less now, and the warrior found himself lost in his memories. He strained to remember. She was blond, he knew. Her hair was dazzling in the sunlight, and her skin was fair. They had spent many nights together on the knoll, gazing at the stars and talking until sunrise.
They never kissed, regrettably. Her lips, they were –
The warrior was getting tired. He let his head roll over and his cheek touched the wet rock. That’s when he saw something he was surprised to see there.
A flower. A single yellow flower, blossoming somehow from a stale patch of dirt nearby. It was young yet, but healthy. How did it get here? Why choose such a desolate, depressing place to bloom? The warrior stretched out his arm, but the flower was just out of reach.
He struggled, tried to think back to the day he left home, but a fog was settling in. Had he gone to see her? Did he even say goodbye? Her name, perhaps it was the name of a flower….
The flower was so close. The warrior strained himself one last time and pulled himself nearer to the small miracle. He touched it as his last thought entered his mind once again –
What was her name?
“Lookit this poor sod. Probably met the same fate as the other two we saw a ways back.” The gruff adventurer kicked at the dead man’s boots.
“Wallet’s gone, too. What a waste.”
His companion, a bard with long, flowing dark hair, knelt down next to the warrior and studied his face as he brushed a stray strand behind his ear.
“Wonder what his story was,” he mused quietly.
“Who cares. Let’s get outta here in case those bandits are still around,” his partner sniffed, glancing around with a trained eye.
The bard stood and stepped over the warrior as he followed the other, careful to avoid disturbing the outstretched arm gently grasping the stem of a lone, unplucked weed.
Hello All, Lord Baldrith here with an excellent song written by Avatar Acid called Palor Sagittae, which is a song directly written for the story Stray Arrows-An Untold Tale of the Underworld. This song is also inside the main story. Here is the uncut and enhanced version with some background vocals by myself as well. My first attempt at a song here, so hopefully not too amature 🙂
Chorus line Mira-oh tay-o is from word miratio; to be astonished.
begin chorus) Mira-oh tay-o We-e-e travelled down Mira-oh tay-o Climb on out Mira-oh tay-o Darkness is coming, the way is lost Stray arrows screamin’ on out, out, out Stray arrows screamin’ on out (end chorus)Me and Harky, Av, and Savi Were headed down into the ground Weapons, Spells, Bows n Arrows rattlin’ around We pulled the Triple to the ready Fired it towards the shadows Stray arrows screamin’ on out, out, out
(begin chorus) Mira-oh tay-o We-e-e travelled down Mira-oh tay-o Climb on out Mira-oh tay-o Darkness is coming, the way is lost Stray arrows screamin’ on out, out, out Stray arrows screamin’ on out (end chorus)
Quick to the flank he ran alone The shadows dark, the wind did blow As he dealt his undead foe a mortal stroke From the shadows he got wounded Shortly after he was grounded Stray arrows screamin’ on out
(begin chorus) Mira-oh tay-o We-e-e travelled down Mira-oh tay-o Climb on out Mira-oh tay-o Darkness is coming, the way is lost Stray arrows screamin’ on out, out, out Stray arrows screamin’ on out (end chorus)
Hours and hours walkin’ the dark We grabbed our friend had to head back Me and Savi we started climbin’ Lost breathing a dank dead smell, we’ll need some air Seemed forever ’til the sun was shinin’ But by then our hero wasn’t drawing breath
(begin chorus) Mira-oh tay-o We-e-e travelled down Mira-oh tay-o Mira-oh tay-o Climb on out Darkness is coming, the way is lost Stray arrows screamin’ on out, out, out Stray arrows screamin’ on out (end chorus) Alas now we’ve lost our good friend
To dark we’ll put an end Everybody grab your virtue Cause the Ether’s gonna blow Tell the darkness when we see it It’ll be the next to go Yeah, we’re goin’ to the darkness And then we’ll lay ’em low
(begin chorus) Mira-oh tay-o We-e-e travelled down Mira-oh tay-o Climb on out Mira-oh tay-o Darkness is coming, the way is lost Stray arrows screamin’ on out, out, out Stray arrows screamin’ on out (end chorus)
Hello Everyone Lord Baldrith here with a completely beautiful and sad story by Avatar Acid. This is definately one of my favorites I’ve read to date. This is from the Tales of the Underworld thread linked here:
Also, there is a little surprise in the midst of the story. I will credit it here: Palor Sagittae-Stray Arrows Ballad-Written by Avatar Acid-Sung by Lord Baldrith.
Hope you enjoy this one!
Here is the text:
Stray Arrows – An Untold Tale of the Underworld
This day was as unremarkable in every way as any other day with the sun above, there were no barbarians at the gate, nothing dead was walking the land, and not a storm cloud in the sky or a breeze to speak of.
?Savi!? a little voice cried. So why was it about to change its course? How could an ordinary day, suddenly, tangent into such a divergent path?
?Savi! Savi!? chirped a collective of equally enthusiastic voices.
Perhaps it was an event which occurred on a different day, one of the fifteen thousand nine hundred and seventy-nine days which have now passed during High Circlemaster Savonia?s long life. An event on that day where history transpired that would make it anything but mundane.
Parents were now trailing behind their young ones, who were now beside themselves after catching a glimpse of the Circlemaster walking through the marketplace. Savonia was very young for her famed accomplishments, most notably which is High Circlemaster, thus the knowledge and skill that is attributed to such a rank earns respect from all good citizens of the realm.
The rush of water in a fountain was coming into focus now as Savonia approached the square, she is also now aware of the growing herd she has become shepherd to while walking. Careful not to lead on that she was being pursued by likely thrill seekers, Savonia walked to the fountain and with the greatest nonchalance took a seat on its edge.
?Oh my,? she let a hint of a smile pass by her lips. ?What in the world do we have here,? asked the High Circlemaster wondering which of the children would step forward first, and it certainly did not take long.
An older boy of about thirteen, or so she had guessed, stepped forward and spoke with a commanding voice. ?I want to see some fire magic!? Almost immediately a younger girl stepped out from behind him as she pushed him aside.
?Don?t be such a pleb Davin, fire magic is so stupid,? she exclaimed. ?I want to see you summon a Unicorn!?
?A Unicorn,? he asked in a playful voice and then put his hand to his mouth to chough out a word; ?Stupid!?
The argument continued and others chimed in on their opinion of what they wished to see. Savonia surveyed the gathering quickly then she pointed to a young girl who was held close and quiet by her dismal looking father, everyone was then very quiet as she spoke. ?What is your name,? she asked with an inviting tone. The little girl was obviously shy and her father spoke in her turn.
?Circlemaster Savonia I,? Savonia held up her hand with her index finger directed towards the sky and interrupted the father promptly.
?High,? she said strongly with a slight pause then continued, ?Circlemaster Savonia.? It was clear that the man was not corrected often, by the unpleasant look on his face, as she did so. ?Come now little one, what would you like to see,? she asked again.
The little girl looked up slightly and softly spoke. ?High Circlemaster? I don?t want to see anything; I want to hear a story.?
?I think that is a very good idea,? Savonia said smiling at the young girl. ?There is nothing I like more than a good story. But tell me…? Looking over the crowd slowly, she continues. ?What kind of story should we tell?? Immediately a bustle of activity broke out in the crowd who were vigorously debating what kind of story they wanted to hear from her. ?I have an idea, why don?t we let the Virtues decide which story I should tell,? standing up to command attention from the onlookers, she draws out eight cards from her robe. ?I will select four cards at random, and I will then ask three questions of you which will then decide your story.?
Much to the surprise of everyone Savonia without pause flung the cards out over the top of them, four cards fell to the ground disappearing as they hit. The other four cards hovered above their heads as they all let out sounds of mutual agreement in the display of her minor magic abilities.
?There,? Savonia declared. ?The Virtues have been chosen, Valor, Sacrifice , Honor, and Honesty? We shall now have a small trial, let us all see which Virtue is chosen and which story you will be able to hear,? she said with a degree of mystery. ?Davin, step forward.?
Surprised, the boy stepped forward with no argument and with his demeanour being much more humble. ?High Circlemaster,? he asked inquisitively.
?We will begin with you young Master Davin,? she said as the boy now looked visibly unnerved. ?You are traveling a long road with your sister, in tow you have a wagon which is full with all your household goods being moved to a new home. You know that this road is known for thievery and criminal activity, and you can now hear someone approaching from behind you at a high pace. Sure enough as they catch up you glimpse a face easily recognizable from the bounty offices in the nearby villages and their Red Cloaks make a loud statement. Do you charge into battle early and bravely in an attempt try and limit the number of foes you face at any given time knowing that you could still very well fall in battle and leave your sister to the barbarians? Or, do you detach the Wagon knowing that you would have enough time to escape but that they would cease and loot all of your family?s possessions,? she cunningly asked the boy; knowing that there is no right answer, but that which the Virtues will summon in every individual.
?Well,? he said pausing briefly. ?I think,? pausing again, he thinks for a moment. ?I would leave the Wagon behind, and save my sister,? he chose to the surprise of some in the crowd, including his sister! ?Everyone knows of the Reds, they fight without honor and it would not be a true contest. I could end up losing both the Wagon and my sister, while if I leave the Wagon I know the dirty Red wretches will stop and I can save that which cannot be replaced, our lives,? he now said with great conviction.
?Very good Davin, your choice shows both maturity and logic,? Savonia said as she raised her hand, she motioned her hand forward and one of the cards fell to the ground disappearing. ?You have chosen Sacrifice.?
?Awww,? was delightfully sighed out by Davin?s sister who started to give him a sisterly hug, no sooner did he protest.
?Get off Mia,? he shot out as everyone let loose a laugh at the sibling public display of affection.
?Yes Mia,? Savonia chimed in. ?Now it is your turn to test the Virtues,? the little girl straightened up and stood tall, ready for her trial. ?Your mother has given you important information about your family, she has not told you whom it is about, only that you should tell no one. The next day she must leave and you are unsure why, your grandmother has come to look after you. Your grandmother asks where your mother has departed to, and what has she told you? Do you honor your mother?s request and tell your grandmother nothing, or do you tell her honestly everything your mother has informed you of??
Promptly and decisively Mia answered. ?I would honor my mother,? said the girl. ?You never know who, or what is listening. Besides, my grandmother tells everyone everything,? she exclaimed as everyone giggled.
Savonia smiled and replied back, ?Well, we don?t wish everyone to know our secrets now do we,? with the wave of her hand another card dropped to the ground then vanished. ?We now have two Virtues left, Sacrifice and Honor, and my next victim is?? she said as she squinted her eyes slightly and pointed at the girl who?s idea it was to have a story told in the first place. ?Step forward and tell me your name.?
?My name is Ashley High Circlemaster,? eagerly she said. ?What should I do,? she asked.
?Only let the Virtues guide you on your path Ashley, listen carefully,? Savonia said as she closed her eyes briefly. ?A very good friend of yours has been taken from you, taken from this world, from the vile forces of darkness of the Underworld. Do you sacrifice the memory of your friend and access into the Underworld by safely living above and sealing all entrances? Or instead, do you choose to honor the memory of your friend, and pursue the darkness knowing that few who enter into the Underworld, ever return,? Savonia asked with a grim tone.
Ashley looked down at her feet for a moment and thought about her choice. She was young, but knew of loss through the death of her mother. If there was any chance to avenge or make right the loss of her, she would take it. ?I would go into the Underworld, and I would make them pay,? the girl answered convincingly.
?Yes, I do believe you would,? Savonia said with a smile. With a wave of her hand the sacrifice card fell to the ground and was no more. ?Only honor remains, and my story to you will be based on that Virtue of Courage and Truth.?
Savonia then sat back down on the edge of the fountain, reached out towards the honor card and it sped into her hand, she tucked it back into her robe. ?How should we begin this story I wonder,? she asked aloud. ?How about,? she paused. ?With great power, comes great responsibility??
Suddenly all of the children smiled and yelled out at once in a long drawn out ?No!?
One of the children then added to that. ?We know that story, and I don?t like spiders!? Saviona was of course expecting such an outcry, so she tried again.
?Oh, ok. How about? There?s a hero, if you look inside your heart-?
?Ew? one of the boys yelled out. ?That isn?t a story, that is a song by a bard only my parents listen to,? he said frustratingly.
?Ohh, alright then, let me try one last time,? she said playfully. ?There was an ominous night sky above the heads of four young travellers, or maybe they simply thought it was menacing because they knew what was about to take place, where they were about to go,? said Savonia as her voice deepened. ?There was Karmin the bard, who was making notes in his journal on the markings strewn across a rocky face. Harcrow, a strong paladin is preparing himself for the upcoming ordeal. I was there too much as you see me now, consulting the moons and stars. Lastly, our leader? A fortified and very skilled warrior, yet at the same time reserved and tactful.? By now a hushed whisper of chatter had swept over the crowd at the mention of Savonia herself in this story, they wondered, was this a true story?
?The moons were both full circle in the correct position, you see, you just can?t stroll up to and into the Underworld. No you must speak to the Universe first, understand it, breath it,? she said with a sigh. ?Live it. ?It is time to speak the words,? I said, ready to open the way into the shadow. ?Everyone took a step back, and there was a great shaking of the earth as I spoke the words ?IN VAS ORT POR YLEM,? Savonia said with a deep voice. ?The dust cleared, the way was now open for us, and just as we started to collect ourselves and make our way in the most unexpected thing took place. ?Rain from the great Ring,? the High Circlemaster shouted with an astounded look on her face.
Again all seemingly at the same time the crowd huffed out sounds of amazement at news of the Ring Rain. Rain from the great Ring in the sky does not fall frequently, perhaps once a year, and is greatly celebrated when it does. For with the Ring Rain comes high fertility and long lasting regeneration to the lands for all.
?The Ring Rain brought a smile to our faces, but there was also a very surprising glow coming from deep within the opening into the Underworld shadows,? she said observing the look of wonder expressed by the group. ?You see for when the Ring Rain is falling on the earth, something causes her underbelly to become alive. Not alive like you or I but alive with action none the less, the wonderful glow seemed to pierce the shadow and drive it back.
We entered and drove deeper into the earth.
?What beauty,? said the bard Karmin with a half grin.
?I don?t know about that,? Harcrow grumbled. ?It still feels like we?re crawling into mother earth?s arse,? Savonia imitated with a thick northern accent and wide smile. Listeners in the town square seemed to grow every minute Savonia was there, and all were now laughing out loud at Harcrow?s commentary.
?The spaces got bigger, the glow from the Ring Rain got brighter, and we made our way through several large caverns before happening upon the most wonderful stream running through the rocks. The stream was glowing brighter than the other parts of the Underworld, a shade of blue and green almost magical in nature I had never seen before.
?Let?s follow this river, down over that small bluff,? our leader said with a sense of determination.
?We came now to the edge of a small cliff; a waterfall flings itself over the ledge and batters the pool beneath. The Underworld seemed to open up right before our eyes,? she said as she made a big wide motion with her arms. ?So magical was the glow of the blue-green water now scattered across the banks of the stream as it runs into the distance. Across the smooth flowstone you could see mushrooms and outcroppings of crystal, the columns reached high into the cavern where you could even see the glow on the jagged stalactites. It was astonishing, the Ring Rain had made such a dark evil place where only shadows come to live, very beautiful. It also gave us the advantage of long sight in a place where it shouldn?t have been possible to see so far.
?There, I see them,? our leader pushed out in a disgusting tone. ?Savonia, reach out, tell me what you can see quickly,? he commanded.
I knelt down with haste, closed my eyes and concentrated. The distance was far, but I have been able to see further in my mind?s eye before. I put one hand now into the stream and one onto the ground, slowly it began to focus.? Which she reproduced for the onlookers, putting one hand in the fountain then the other hand on the edge, closing her eyes.
?There,? I said, lifting my hand out of the water pointing to an area slightly above the flat area that stretched out before us. ?archers, and a group of spearmen? They are waiting for us.? It seemed that our prey was expecting company. Then a shiver ran down my spine? ?He is here,? I softly whispered. ?There, with a small force? I pointed my finger to a group of blended figures in the distance.?
?Ok,? our leader said, as if a great weight had been lifted from his shoulders. Putting his hand on my shoulder softly, he brought me out of my concentration. I stood up and took a deep breath looking back out over the huge Underworld cavern. ?Harcrow, Savonia, Karmin, deal with the archers and spearmen. I will surprise him then deal with him alone; his minions are no match for me. Do not attack until I have their attention.?
?Yes, sir,? said Harcrow in his deep brutish voice.
?Aye, and don?t go easy on them now,? yelled Karmin as he collected his things and made ready his bow and arrows.
?Myself, I simply wished him luck and advised caution. It was no ordinary man he sought out after all? ?May the Virtues be with you friends,? he said to us before we turned to walk. Drawing his swords, he then made a fast pace towards the enemy he has relentlessly pursued across the lands and into the very depths of the earth.? She paused now and had a sip of the fresh mountain water from the fountain, noticeably; everyone was hanging on her every word at this point.
?It wasn?t long at all, though it seemed like it took the three of us ages to catch up to the enemy group. We hid from any chance of their sight catching us and waited.?
?We can see him from here,? shot Harcrow promptly.?
?Wait for his signal,? cautioned Karmin as he made ready two arrows on his bow.?
?Seconds after that, he began running towards the enemy?s encampment without an ounce of fear in him.? ?Well that must be it,? I said half in a laugh.
?Harcrow looked up at the enemy formation keeping watch,? ?Yeah, that?s it, wait till their attention draws? replied Harcrow with a sense of urgency now in his being. I looked back and I saw our leader bear down on his enemy, they had seen him now sprinting towards them and leapt up in surprise. He was quite correct, they were no match for his trained hand in battle as he cut through them very quickly,? she continued.
?He came to the first two men still in a dash, bending slightly he reached forward with his right arm and sword and took one of their legs off as he swept by. Keeping the forward motion he brought the same sword up to parry the second man?s strike, and then buried his second sword deep into the soldier?s chest. Kicking aside the third to expose his stance and finish him off he turned to face the fourth but as he did, he suffered a strike from behind. Yelling out in pain, he dodged yet another attack from the front turning with a quick slash fatally dealing with his foe behind followed by a thrust with the other hand into the chest of the enemy he just dodged. The fighting now drew the attention of the group close to us, Harcrow charged,? Savonia exclaimed.
?Karmin let loose his arrows, each finding a spearman as a target quickly, and no sooner did he have another arrow ready to fly. There was only a small group of archers, I summoned the power of the Ether and brought the cave down on top of them with a huge roar. The next roar came out of Harcrow as his hammer swung through the air lifting one of the spearmen up and sending him crashing down onto two others. The battle was over before it ever really began?.
?Now, turning back to see our leader, there were but three men left standing,? she yelled with excitement to the gathered group of listeners. ?They proved to be as equally unmatched as the rest; one man charged with a spear, our Leader crossed his swords and parried downwards,? she said as she crossed her arms and demonstrated. ?On the way back up, both swords parted quickly from opposite directions and found his foe?s neck. Then quickly he threw one of his swords into the solder now running towards him putting an end to him and leaving but two men left on the battlefield??
Savonia?s demeanour changed. ?However there was something that none of us could see. Hidden away, around the corner into the shadows was another small group of archers. Before any of us could react, a flurry of arrows spring into the air from their bowstrings and sailed towards our hero. I began to channel this to him very quickly. The archers were free firing now, our leader saw the arrows from my mind and rolled out of the way and back on his feet balancing himself with his arms out and then it happened. One stray arrow reached is wrist and he lost all control of his arm, his sword dropping to the ground with a clang, and he fell to his knees. Looking up grimly at the evil staring back at him and smiling, he felt another sharp pain?? she said visibly saddened.
?Another arrow had struck him through the back. Furious, I used every ounce of strength in me to summon onto them fiery hell, the flames burned them to ash in seconds. But it was too late, as our hero fell, the foe he sought to destroy simply turned and walked away knowing that he did not need to fight,? she stated cheerlessly as she sat down.
?Harcrow, Karmin, and I rushed to his side to dress his wounds. We did manage to get him out of the Underworld but he passed from this life shortly after, looking up at the twilight sky and twin moons, with the Ring Rain falling down onto his face,? she softly said and stopped talking.
?High Circlemaster Savonia, that wasn?t a very happy ending,? one of the children said gloomily.
?No it was not,? she answered back. ?Nor are most true stories about great heroism my young friends, take notice of this lesson.?
?Yes High Circlemaster,? said most of them, followed by a collective thanks as she stood up.
?May the Virtues take care of you all,? she said smiling as she turned and started to make her way back out of town to wherever it is she calls home.