October 13 2017

Echoes From the Caverns 10-13-17

Hi Everyone! Asclepius is still on Vacation so I will doing this alone, oh my oh my. Here is the news of the week!

  • More Make a Difference, R45 Telethon, Halloween, and SeedInvest Item Screenshots
  • R46 Postmortem Telethon Results
  • SotA Con Austin 2017 This Weekend
  • Nightmares of New Britannia – A Spooky Halloween Contest
  • Cyber Monday Crown Bonus Continues
  • Community Livestream: North Quel Way First Looks
  • Upcoming Events Calendar
  • Event: Think Pink – Organized Chaos Grand Capture Fair
  • Resources: Players Helping Players
  • Recommended Project to Support: Underworld Ascendant

October 6 2017

Echoes From the Caverns 10-06-17

Hi Everyone! Asclepius is on Vacation so I will doing this alone, oh my oh my. Here is the news of the week!

  • Making of North Midmaer Way and North Quel Way
  • Updates to New Content Threads: More SeedInvest Items, Bierkrugs and New Fall Items
  • R46 Postmortem Telethon Next Week
  • Nightmares of New Britannia – A Spooky Halloween Contest
  • Cyber Monday Crown Bonus Continues
  • Weekend Flash Sale: Weapons
  • SotA Con Austin 2017 Next Week
  • Richard Garriott’s Interview and Panel at IgroMir Expo
  • Livestream: Celebrating Release 46
  • Upcoming Events Calendar
  • Spotlight: Veritas Sanctuary Player Owned Town
  • Event: R46 Welcome Quest in FinDupre
  • Resources: Players Helping Players
  • Recommended Project to Support: Brightlocker CrowdEquity Campaign

September 30 2017

Hungry Eyes in the Darkness

(Insert music track # 1 – “Horror Game Menu” by Eric Matyas)

Due to mature subject matter, parental discretion is advised…

The New Britannia Theater Troupe
Presents
Hungry Eyes in the Darkness

Directed and produced by Asclepius
Written by Gabriel Nightshadow with additional writing by Amber Raine and Jakdaw Foxlauden
Director of Public Relations and Music Supervisor: Amber Raine
Sound Effects Supervisors: Asclepius and Gabriel Nightshadow
Technical Consultant: Stile Teckel

VOICE CAST
Amber Raine as Lady Constance Dane
Lady Addy as Miranda Zul and Darla
Asclepius as Parsniferous Dar, Malakir, Captain Klump, and Himself
Apollox Evanheart as Colonel Jeremiah Dane
Dinsoo as Prince Tomar Ren and Kaitoth # 1
Stryker Sparhawk as Lieutenant William Long and Thurlo Mak
Jakdaw Foxlauden as King Targon Ren and Okimaru
Elgarion De’Kahli as General Elias Thorne, Joran Tyrell, and Fight Announcer

Margaritte McLean as Anna, Peri, and Adria
Solstar as Boson Trelor, Lieutenant Burke, and Kaitoth Guard
Cordelayne Valkyris as Councilor Dar, Major Kincaid, and Time Traveler
Selene Noctua as Lily and Councilor Hurad
Audacity as Marla and Kaitoth # 2
Brazzen as Amara and Chariya
Womby as Councilor Angelus Corvus
Woftam as Ser Dragonwolf and General Ruko
Brian Manown as Council Leader Tremaine and Nystal Timelord
With
Lord Baldrith as the Narrator, Captain Cantrell, Max, and Himself
Gabriel Nightshadow as Bearcub
And
SPECIAL GUEST
Richard Garriott as the Prisoner

***********************************************************************************
(Insert music track # 2 – “Death Is Just Another Path” by Otto Halmen)

NARRATOR
“As the shards rained down from the skies and decimated the land, the people quickly grabbed what few precious belongings they could and fled into the underground caverns. With both Lord British and the Avatar missing and presumed dead, it was up to the remaining members of the Great Council to lead the survivors through this dark time.
Three months into their underground exile, the situation had grown desperate, as the survivors had nearly exhausted their small supply of food and fresh water. The Great Council sent several hunting expeditions deeper into the caverns to replenish their depleted stock, but none of them returned. All that was heard were distant screams…and then silence…”
The great historian Theodric, from The History of New Britannia, Vol. 1
**************************************************************************************

NARRATOR
PART I: DESPERATE TIMES
It is evening in the sprawling, underground tent city of Brittany. Most families are sitting down to dinner, but not so for the less fortunate…

MARLA (pleading)
Please, Duke Corvus, all I ask for is a bit of bread and water for my starving children…

NARRATOR
The young woman stands before the rather corpulent, middle aged, gray haired noble who was reclining on some red velvet pillows in his opulent tent. On a nearby table is a wide assortment of freshly prepared meats, cheeses, breads, fruits and wines. A young, buxom, scantily clad blond woman is feeding the Duke pieces of smoked bacon. The young mother’s gaunt young son and daughter cling to her with what little strength they still have.
Duke Corvus looks at the pleading, young woman with disdain.

ANGELUS CORVUS
You should have been better prepared for these hard times… I only have enough food and water to provide for myself and my servants. I have nothing to give you!

(Insert music track # 3 – “Knowing Tree” by Dinsoo)

CONSTANCE DANE
Surely, a kind and generous person such as yourself can afford to spare a bit of food and water…for this unfortunate young woman and her children, Angelus…

NARRATOR
Duke Corvus turns towards a beautiful, raven haired young noblewoman who has walked over with her manservant.

ANGELUS CORVUS
Ah…Lady Constance!

NARRATOR
Duke Corvus quickly stands up and bows to her.

ANGELUS CORVUS
How good to see you today! Er…perhaps I could spare a bit…in this particular instance. Darla, please prepare a sack of food and a wineskin of water for this young woman.

DARLA
Yes, master…

NARRATOR
Duke Corvus nods to the voluptuous servant girl, who proceeds to put a generous amount of meat, cheese, fruit, and bread in a sack and filled a wineskin full of water. She hands the items to the young mother, who slings the wineskin across her shoulder.

MARLA
Thank you, Duke Corvus, and to you as well, Lady Constance!

ANNA
Momma, I don’t feel so well…

NARRATOR
The woman’s daughter faints.

MARLA
Anna!

NARRATOR
Marla drops the sack and manages to catch her daughter before she hits the ground.
Lady Constance immediately rushes over and feels Anna’s forehead.

CONSTANCE DANE
This poor girl is feverish! Marcus, please bring her to my tent immediately!

NARRATOR
Her manservant, Marcus, picks up the girl and cradles her in his muscular arms.

CONSTANCE DANE
What is your name?

MARLA
My name is Marla…
Will my beloved Anna be OK?

CONSTANCE DANE
I will know better once I have had a chance to examine her more closely. My knowledge of healing herbs and potions passed on to me by my late mother should prove useful here… Follow me…

NARRATOR
Marla picks up the sack of food. She and her young son, Thomas, follow Lady Dane and Marcus towards her tent, as a curious Duke Corvus looks on. Once they are out of hearing range, he mutters to himself.

ANGELUS CORVUS (whispering to himself)
I don’t know why Lady Constance bothers helping these commoners, but I dare not oppose her. Even though I sit on the Great Council, I don’t want her husband, Colonel Jeremiah Dane, as a foe…

(loudly)

More wine, woman!

DARLA
At once, master…

NARRATOR
Darla leans over and quickly pours some red wine into the raised golden goblet, which Angelus quickly consumes. Eyeing her curvaceous figure, he suddenly has a devilish grin on his face as he becomes visibly aroused!

DARLA (nervous)
Master, why are you looking at me like that?

ANGELUS CORVUS (whispering)
I hunger for something more than bacon right now…

(DARLA sighs.)

NARRATOR
Darla barely manages a half-hearted smile as Angelus suddenly grabs her by the waist, pulls her close to him and licks her right cheek.

ANGELUS CORVUS (whispering)
Ooh…baby…

NARRATOR
Angelus proceeds to shut the entrance to the tent…
A short distance above and behind them, a hulking figure watches, hidden behind a tall stalagmite. Gazing lustfully at Lady Constance as she departs, he breathes heavily before silently disappearing into the shadows…
***************************************************************************************
(Insert music track # 4 – “Hall of the Ancients” by Eliot Corley)

NARRATOR
The Great Council Chamber – one hour later…
Council Leader Tremaine, an elderly, white bearded fellow, addresses his fellow council members.

COUNCIL LEADER TREMAINE
My fellow Council members, the situation is very grave indeed… The Quartermaster has informed me that even with the strict rationing we have imposed, there is only enough food and water to sustain our people for another two or three weeks at most…

NARRATOR
Councilor Hurad, a silver haired woman who wore eyeglasses, chimes in.

COUNCILOR HURAD (worried)
What are we to do? None of our previous three hunting expeditions have returned. The distant screams that have been heard by some of our citizens living on the outermost edge of our encampment suggest that they may have fallen victim to ferocious beasts inhabiting these underground caverns…

NARRATOR
Councilor Corvus suddenly stands up and pounds his fist down on the granite table!

COUNCILOR ANGELUS CORVUS (shouting)
Desperate times call for decisive action! I will personally lead a military expedition into the depths of the caverns to rid ourselves of these foul beasts!

NARRATOR
Councilor Dar, a ginger haired middle-aged fellow, interrupts.

COUNCILOR DAR
Um…no disrespect, General, but it is been many years since you have been in the field. Perhaps it would be wiser for General Thorne to lead this expedition. He is our military commander, after all…

ANGELUS CORVUS
I will have both General Thorne and Col. Dane accompany me. I believe a small force of foot soldiers, archers, mages, and healers should provide sufficient cover for the gatherers. I call for a vote!

COUNCILOR HURAD
I second the motion.

COUNCIL LEADER TREMAINE
Very well then. All those in favor of Councilor Corvus’ proposal, raise your hands!

NARRATOR
Five of the Council members raise their hands.

COUNCIL LEADER TREMAINE
Opposed?

NARRATOR
Four Council members raise their hands.

COUNCIL LEADER TREMAINE
By a vote of five to four, the motion passes! Begin making your preparations, Councilor Corvus. Your party will depart in the morning. This session is adjoined.

NARRATOR
The Council Leader pounds his gavel on the granite table.

(Insert “Judge’s Gavel” sound effect.)

As the Councilors rise and depart the chamber, Angelus Corvus smiles. He knows that returning with food and water for the desperate populace will assure his victory over Councilor Dar and that old fool Tremaine in next month’s Council election…
**************************************************************************************
(Insert music track # 5 – “Soliloquy” – by Matthew Pablo)

NARRATOR
As Colonel Jeremiah Dane is making his way back to his tent, he decides to stop by the Cave of Knowledge to see how his good friend, the noted scholar Joran Tyrell, is doing.

JEREMIAH DANE
Joran, I see you have gathered quite a bit of written material for the Cave of Knowledge in the past month!

JORAN TYRELL
Yes, and I was very busy this week transcribing all of the oral material I gathered from the city elders! A most exhausting task for one person, to be sure.

JEREMIAH DANE
Indeed…Sadly, most of the scribes perished when the Temple was destroyed during the first wave of the shardfall. This is important work you are doing on behalf of the Great Council…

NARRATOR
The balding man pauses to stroke his long, white beard.

JORAN TYRELL
Aye… We must preserve our past if we hope to lay the foundation for a better future. I think I am going to have to ask young Henry Congreve to build me some more bookcases. These unsorted stacks of books are getting pretty high…

JEREMIAH DANE
Yes, they are! We wouldn’t want you to be accidentally crushed by them…

JORAN TYRELL (chuckling)
That would be… most unfortunate! How is Constance doing these days?

JEREMIAH DANE
She’s been very busy tending to the sick. I was actually on my way home. Today is our third wedding anniversary!

JORAN TYRELL
Congratulations! Do you have anything special planned for tonight?

JEREMIAH DANE
Perhaps…

JORAN TYRELL (admonishing)
Then quit wasting time talking to an old man and get back to you lovely, young wife! That was the problem with your late father, General Marcus Dane. He spent way too much time on the battlefield and not enough time with his family!

JEREMIAH DANE
I really wish I had known him better…Good thing I can always turn to you for stories about his military exploits! Good evening to you, Joran!

JORAN TYRELL
May your evening prove to be…fruitful!

NARRATOR
Jeremiah bows, then turns and exits the cave.
**************************************************************************************
(Insert music track # 6 – “A New Thing” by Dinsoo)

CONSTANCE DANE
Now, remember to give Anna this medicine twice a day – once at breakfast and again at dinner. She should fully recover from this illness in about four or five days.

NARRATOR
Anna runs over and gives Constance Dane a big hug. Lady Constance smiles.

MARLA
I will do as you have instructed. Thank you so much, Lady Constance! Come along now, children!

NARRATOR
As Lady Constance glances over at her husband’s suit of fluted plate armor in the corner of their tent, she receives another visitor, her best friend, the beautiful, ginger-haired mage, Miranda Zul.

CONSTANCE DAR
Miranda, how are feeling today? Any signs of morning sickness yet?

MIRANDA ZUL
No, Constance. I find that rather surprising considering I am about five months along…although I feel the baby kicking in there every now and then.

NARRATOR
Miranda suddenly has a sad and distant look in her eyes as she sighs.

MIRANDA ZUL
How I wish that Xander was around to share in this…

NARRATOR
Constance pats Miranda’s shoulder.

CONSTANCE DANE
Yes, I know how much it still hurts after these past three months…Xander died a hero – saving all those citizens by pushing them aside during that rock cave-in…

NARRATOR
Miranda smiles.

CONSTANCE DANE
Have you given any thought to the baby’s name?

MIRANDA ZUL
Well, if it is a boy, I am torn between Mathias and Amin…

CONSTANCE DANE
Both are lovely names! I would go with Mathias. You can always name your grandson, Amin…

MIRANDA ZUL
That is an excellent idea, Constance!

NARRATOR
Miranda hands Constance a bright blue robe.

MIRANDA ZUL
A little something I made for you in my spare time. Happy anniversary!

CONSTANCE DANE
It’s lovely, Miranda! Thank you very much!

(CONSTANCE sighs.)

CONSTANCE DANE
At this point, I wonder if Jeremiah and I will ever have children…We’ve been trying for three years now without success, and with all our respective duties…

MIRANDA ZUL
I know…But I am sure it will happen…when the time is right.

CONSTANCE DANE
I hope so…I’ve already been thinking of possible names for a son – Gideon, Christopher, Michael, Gabriel…

(Insert music track # 7 – “Wind of Stories” by HorrorPen)

PARS DAR
Hello, ladies!

NARRATOR
A short, prematurely balding, rotund, raven haired young man with a beak-like nose, enters the tent. His jet black mage robe instantly sets him apart from his brethren, who tend to favor bright colors.

CONSTANCE DANE AND MIRANDA ZUL (less than enthusiastic, in unison)
Hello…Pars…

NARRATOR
Parsniferous Dar flashes a toothy grin, as he gazes lustfully at Constance.
Both Constance and Miranda had known Parsniferous (who insisted that everyone call him “Pars”, which sounded slightly better…) since they were children and had always disliked him, for he had always been an arrogant fellow, relying on his family’s great wealth and power to bully others into submission. Even as a child, Parsniferous had been obsessed with Constance, threatening any other boys who showed any interest in her. Needless to say, he was more than a little upset the day that she chose to marry the dashing Jeremiah Dane. Still, Parsniferous seemed to get over his disappointment and had been cordial to the couple since their wedding day…

PARS DAR
Will you two be accompanying the rest of us on our little hunting expedition tomorrow?

MIRANDA ZUL
I will!

CONSTANCE (worried)
Are you sure that is wise, Miranda, in your condition?

MIRANDA ZUL
The fact is we don’t have many highly skilled mages left. Most perished when the magic school was destroyed during the Shardfall. Pars and I are probably the two most powerful mages remaining, and Gen. Thorne expects to encounter heavy resistance from whatever vicious creatures wiped out the previous expeditions. Clearly, conventional weapons did them little good…

CONSTANCE DAR
Maia, Lexie, Bronwyn, and I should accompany the expedition as well. Very few clerics survived the destruction of the church. Our herbs and potions may not be as effective as healing spells, but they should prove quite useful in tending to the wounded.

JEREMIAH DANE (concerned)
No, I think you should remain here, my darling…

NARRATOR
The incredibly handsome, blond haired, blue eyed Col. Jeremiah Dane enters the tent. Pars frowns for a moment, but quickly fakes a smile before anyone notices.

JEREMIAH DANE
Gen. Thorne is only leaving a few clerics behind, clearly not a sufficient number to tend to all of the sick people here…

CONSTANCE DANE
I have been busy training Marcus, Sarah, and Jason in the healing arts. They will be able to act in my stead until I return. I know how important this hunting expedition is. With each day, I have seen more of our people fall prey to illness as their bodies become weak due to dehydration and starvation. We certainly don’t want to suffer the same fate as Duke Nakamura’s “Grand Experiment” – the first underground city ever built. The metropolis known as Zimbala…

JEREMIAH DANE (somber)
No…we don’t. After their connection to the surface world was severed due to that massive cave-in, the city ran low on food and water. Eventually most of their citizens contracted that deadly plague carried by the rats and died. I was part of the rescue team assigned to remove the rubble. We only found 500 survivors out of a total population of 25,000. I was there the day Lord British gave his tearful eulogy as the cave entrance was permanently sealed and returned to the site one year later for the dedication ceremony of the engraved bronze plaque honoring them. I believe the survivors moved east and settled somewhere along the southern coast…

MIRANDA ZUL (somber)
Yes, that was a very sad chapter in our history…

PARS DAR (somber)
Indeed…

JEREMIAH DANE
Ok, my darling Constance, you and your healers may accompany the hunting expedition. But you must promise me that you will stick close to Miranda…

PARS DAR
Don’t worry, Jeremiah! I’ll make sure that no harm comes to either of these lovely ladies. You have my word!

NARRATOR
Jeremiah can’t help but notice the smirk on Pars’ face as he says that. Pars quickly changes to a concerned look before either Constance or Miranda can notice. Jeremiah forces himself to smile.

JEREMIAH DANE
I’m sure you will. That makes me feel so much better…

MIRANDA ZUL
Pars and I should be going now…

NARRATOR
Miranda give Pars a stern look. Pars takes the hint.

PARS DAR
Yes…See you both in the morning!

NARRATOR
Pars bows to Constance before turning around and exiting the tent with Miranda.

(Insert music track # 8 – “You’ll Be Here” by Dinsoo )

JEREMIAH DANE
I know that this is not exactly the way we were planning on celebrating our anniversary, my darling…

(JEREMIAH sighs.)

CONSTANCE DANE
I know, dear…but given the circumstances…

JEREMIAH DANE
I made this for you, my darling. I’m not a master craftsman, so it took me a bit longer than I expected.

NARRATOR
Jeremiah hands Constance a small black lacquered box. She opens it.

(CONSTANCE DANE gasps.)

NARRATOR
Inside is an exquisitely crafted, silver brooch in the shape of a dragon. The tiny red rubies in his eyes sparkle. The dragon’s heart is composed of half an emerald fused to half a sapphire in a gold setting.

CONSTANCE DANE
Oh, it’s lovely! I will wear it proudly on the new robe which Miranda made me.

NARRATOR
Constance hugs Jeremiah.

JEREMIAH DANE
I’m glad that you like it.

NARRATOR
Jeremiah gives Constance an amorous glance.

JEREMIAH DANE
Now, why don’t we get started on that family of ours?

CONSTANCE DANE
You just read my mind…

NARRATOR
Jeremiah and Constance begin passionately kissing and remove each other’s clothes as they slowly make their way back towards their bed…
**************************************************************************************
(Insert music track # 9 – “Conquerors” by Alexandr Zhelanov )

NARRATOR

PART II: HUNGRY EYES

Early the next morning, as the large, heavily armed group proceeds through a dimly lit passageway…

(Insert “Soldiers Marching” sound effect)

JEREMIAH DANE
General Thorne, are you sure we should be making so much noise as we make our way through these tunnels? Perhaps stealth would be a better option…

ELIAS THORNE
Nonsense, Col. Dane! I wholeheartedly agree with Councilor Corvus’ suggestion that we make as much noise as possible to frighten off any would be predators!

NARRATOR
Jeremiah thought that General Thorne was a brilliant tactician, but he also knew that his blind loyalty to Councilor Corvus sometimes clouded his judgment. As a younger man, then Col. Thorne had served under Gen. Corvus for fifteen years.
Twenty five years ago, they had led the legendary campaign to drive off the nomadic Kaitoth who had suddenly returned to reclaim their ancestral homeland (subsequently occupied by the metropolis of PaxLair) after abandoning it 100 years before.
After hearing Gen. Thorne’s response, Jeremiah thinks it is best not to pursue the matter any further…

JEREMIAH DANE
Aye, General…

(Insert music track # 10 – “Heroes Theme” by Alexandr Zhelanov )

NARRATOR
Suddenly, everyone can hear loud shouting and shrieks of pain coming from up ahead!

ANGELUS CORVUS (shouting)
The advance scouting party must be under attack!

NARRATOR
Col. Jeremiah Dane draws his flaming two-handed sword.

JEREMIAH DANE
I’ll lead a team to investigate! Black Bear, Red Dragon, and White Phoenix Platoons, follow me!

NARRATOR
Jeremiah and his men charge forward in the direction of the screams and eventually find themselves in a gigantic cave facing a horrific sight. Hundreds of large spider eggs are bathed in the light of the strange, pink algae growing on the cave walls. Dozens of giant, pink fluorescent ferocious spiders are tearing the advance scouting party to shreds!

(Insert “Termites and ants” sound effect)

Several men are already encased in spider webbing and are screaming as they are being devoured alive. A few are swinging their swords around blindly, as they try to wipe the deadly spider venom from their faces. The soldiers’ leather armor provides very little protection from the spiders’ razor sharp pincers and many are coughing up blood as they are gored to death.

JEREMIAH DANE
Men, you know what to do! Light them up!

(Insert “Large Fireball” and “Flame Arrow” sound effects. Repeat 3x each)

NARRATOR
Pars, Miranda, and the other mages immediately start casting Fireball and Ring of Fire at both the eggs and the attacking spiders. The archers then let loose with Fire Arrows and finally, Jeremiah and the foot soldiers wade in with their flaming swords.

(Insert “Squirting” sound effect. Repeat 5x)

After a short, but fierce battle, all of the spiders and the eggs are destroyed. Constance and the other healers and clerics rush to attend to the wounded. As the rest of the party finally catches up to them, Councilor Corvus, Gen. Thorne, and Major Jurgensen approach Jeremiah.

ANGELUS CORVUS
So I guess we now know what happened to the three previous hunting expeditions…

ELIAS THORNE
Indeed! Now that we have dealt with these ferocious spiders, the hunters and gatherers should be able to carry on their work without fear of being attacked.

JEREMIAH DANE
I am not so sure about that, General. There may be other predators lurking in these caves that we are unaware of…

NARRATOR
To Jeremiah’s astonishment, for once, Councilor Corvus actually agrees with him!

ANGELUS CORVUS
Col. Dane has a point…Perhaps we should remain on our guard as we proceed further down…

ELIAS THORNE
Aye, Councilor…

NARRATOR
A short time later, Constance, who was wearing her new blue robe and dragon brooch, approached them with a grim look on her face.

ANGELUS CORVUS
Lady Constance, what do you have to report?

CONSTANCE DANE
Fifty casualties consisting mostly of members from the advance scouting party, and forty seriously injured, Councilor. Due to the limited number of clerics at our disposal, Maia, Lexie, Bronwyn, and I had to rely on our healing skills to stabilize sixteen of the most seriously injured. I recommend that all of the injured be transported back to our city immediately for further treatment.

ANGELUS CORVUS
Agreed…See to it, General…

NARRATOR
Gen. Thorne turns to Major Jurgensen and orders his men bring to the stretchers forward to carry the wounded back to Brittany. He also directs the Silver Fox platoon to provide protection as well! The Major salutes, then turns around and heads off to get his men.
As soon as he departs, Boson Trelor, leader of the hunters and gathers approach the group.

ANGELUS CORVUS
Ah…Boson! Any luck finding edible plants, creatures or fresh water in this cavern?

BOSON TRELOR
I’m afraid not, Councilor Corvus. The plants growing here are highly poisonous. However, my men did find quite a few veins that could be mined for iron, copper, and silver…

ANGELUS CORVUS
I see…Our ore supplies are running low. Have your mining teams remain behind while we continue on.

BOSON TRELOR
By your command, Councilor!

ELIAS THORNE
I’ll have Jade Tiger platoon remain behind to provide protection.

NARRATOR
Boson turns to the nearby miners and nods his head.
The miners immediately begin swinging their pickaxes at the ore nodes on the cave walls.

(Insert “Pickaxe” sound effect.)

**************************************************************************************
(Insert music track #11 – “Seeking Loot” by Aaron Spencer)

NARRATOR
A couple of hours later, the weary group continue their trek through the cavern tunnels…

ELIAS THORNE
Councilor, it is nearly midday…The men seem pretty exhausted. Perhaps we should break now for lunch.

ANGELUS CORVUS
Hmm…perhaps in a short while, General…

JEREMIAH DANE
This is the furthest down in the caverns that any of our people have been. We have been rather fortunate that, other than those nasty slimes and some bats we encountered a short while ago, we have not run into any other hostile creatures…

ANGELUS CORVUS
Yes, quite fortunate indeed, Colonel. We can ill forward to lose many more of our men…right, General?

ELIAS THORNE
No, we can’t, sir. We have already lost one quarter of our expedition force due to death and injury. If we don’t find any food or water soon, we will have to turn back. We don’t enough rations to supply the men with dinner…

ANGELUS CORVUS
Don’t worry, General! I have a feeling that we will come across something soon…

NARRATOR
As if on cue, the group hear some excited shouting coming from up ahead. They rush forward and soon find themselves in a very large cavern. Blue, green, and orange crystals jut out from the walls and provide illumination. An immense, underground lake fills up most of the area. The water is surprisingly clear and several types of previously unknown fluorescent fishes of various colors can be seen swimming about.

(Insert “Fish splashing” sound effect.)

Many bamboo reeds jut out from the water. Boson Trelor and his men are scattered across the many stalagmite bridges which crisscross the lake, examining the water, fish, and surrounding vegetation.
It looks so tranquil, and yet Col. Dane can’t shake this sudden feeling that there is something seriously wrong about this place…
Boson suddenly turns in their direction, smiles, and gives them two thumbs up!

BOSON TRELOR (yelling)
The fish, water, and vegetation is all suitable for human consumption and in plentiful supply!

ELIAS THORNE
This is the answer to our prayers! Our people are saved!

ANGELUS CORVUS
See, General Thorne, I told you there was nothing to worry about…

BOSON TRELOR
Hmm…I could have sworn I just saw something move underneath the sand…URK!

(Insert “Fall” sound effect)

(Insert music track # 12 – “Battle Theme A” by The Cynic Project)

NARRATOR
Suddenly Boson and all his men are pulled into the water by mysterious figures which leap up from the lake bottom! The strangers immediately slit the throats of Boson and his men with their knives, flinging their dead bodies aside, and jump ashore. As soon as Councilor Corvus and General Thorne see the burly, bald warriors with tattooed faces and fur trimmed black leather armor, they immediately know who their foes are…

ELIAS THORNE (shouting)
Kaitoth warriors! It’s a trap!

NARRATOR
As General Throne draws his lightning sword, fifteen Kaitoth warriors suddenly drop down from the ceiling on bungee cords, grab a very surprised Councilor Corvus and several of their mages, clerics, and healers and then rebound back up into the darkness above! They hear some screaming and then the dead bodies of the male mages rain down on the expedition force.

(Insert “Fall” sound effect. Repeat 6x)

ELIAS THORNE (yelling)
I can’t see a bloody thing up there! Somebody cast a light spell! They still have Councilor Corvus and some of our clerics and healers! Archers, ready your weapons!

NARRATOR
“On it, sir!”, yells a young mage, as he begins to cast to a Light spell.

(Insert “Fire Bow Sound” sound effect)

The mage falls back on the ground, dead, a poison tipped arrow lodged in his heart!

(Insert “Fall” sound effect)

NARRATOR
“That came from over there!”, yells a soldier, pointing to one of the other passageways to their upper left.
Col. Dane draws his flaming two-handed sword.

JEREMIAH DANE (yelling)
Shield wall!

NARRATOR
The men quickly raise their shields just before they are hit a barrage of poison tipped arrows from the various passageways to their upper left, forward, and to the right.

(Insert “Arrows Flying” sound effect.)

ELIAS THORNE (yelling)
Archers, use fire arrows!

(Insert “Flame Arrow” sound effect. Repeat 6X)

NARRATOR
The archers cast fire arrows in the direction of the attacks. Screams can be heard as several Kaitoth archers erupt into flames and fall into the lake below.

(Insert music track # 13 – “Blackmoor Colossus” by Matthew Pablo)

KING TARGON (yelling)
Thorne!

NARRATOR
General Thorne turns to see their gray haired, one eyed, battle scarred king, Targon, standing there on the other side of the largest stalagmite bridge with a large army of men behind him. Targon points his massive red battleaxe at General Thorne.

KING TARGON (yelling)
Aboveground, we were known as the finest hunters in all the land! But down here there is no prey to hunt…except for all of you. Once we slay you and your men, we will march on your tent city and burn it to the ground! We will mate with your women and feast on your children! At last we shall have our revenge for being driven from our homeland!

ELIAS THORNE (yelling)]
That will never happen, Targon Ren! Men, engage the enemy!

NARRATOR
Both armies surge forward across the various stalagmite bridges and begin engaging in melee combat.

(Insert “Swords Clashing” sound effect. Repeat 3X)

(Insert music track # 14 – “The Dark Amulet” by Matthew Pablo)

NARRATOR
Col. Dane soon finds himself facing the Kaitoth’s strongest warrior, a massive brute by the name of Thurlo Mak. Despite his size, the Kaitoth is very quick on his feet, and Jeremiah is forced to try and get in a few strikes with this flaming, two handed sword while dodging Thurlo’s twin short swords, which are forged from some sort of black meteoric ore. Jeremiah’s bulky full plate armor seriously hampers his movement.

THURLO MAK (growling)
I look forward to feasting on your meaty flesh tonight!

JEREMIAH DANE (defiant)
I wouldn’t count on that! I’m a lot tougher than I look!

NARRATOR
Jeremiah suddenly disarms Thurlo Mak, much to his foe’s surprise!

(Insert “Drop Sword” sound effect)

THURLO MAK
A most worthy foe! The mighty Thurlo Mak has never been disarmed in combat! I will add your skull to my collection and consume your heart to make me even stronger!

JEREMIAH DANE
I think not!

NARRATOR
Jeremiah succeeds in slicing through Thurlo’s left side with his flaming sword!

THURLO MAK (in pain)
Argh! You will pay for that…

NARRATOR
The fire immediately cauterizes the wound, but the pain is excruciating. A normal man would have passed out immediately, but Thurlo is no ordinary man. The pain only seems to enrage him!
Thurlo growls, then immediately headbutts Jeremiah, causing him to stagger back. Thurlo then barrels straight into Jeremiah, sending the both of them into the lake!

(Insert music track #15 – “Olympos” by Jens Kiilstofte )

Meanwhile, on the edge of the battlefield, Lady Constance is tending to a seriously injured, unconscious soldier while her friend Miranda provides cover fire.

MIRANDA ZUL
How much longer before Willie regains consciousness? There are just too many Kaitoth cannibals in this area and I am running low on reagents for my fireball and ring of fire spells!

NARRATOR
Constance finishes wrapping the bandage over the ointment covered wound in the soldier’s left side.

CONSTANCE DANE
Shouldn’t be much longer!

WILLIAM LONG (groggy)
Mmm…Miranda…

NARRATOR
A few feet away, two hulking Kaitoth cannibals decapitate two of Gen. Thorne’s men with their doubled bladed sabers.

(Insert ”Decapitation Head Fall Off” sound effect twice)

They spot Constance and Miranda and turn to each and grin. Sheathing their weapons, they start walking over towards Constance and Miranda.

MIRANDA ZUL (muttering under her breath)
Oh darn, I’m out!

NARRATOR
Miranda points her wooden staff at the two Kaitoth.

MIRANDA ZUL (shouting)
Stay away you two!

BEARCUB
Heh…heh…now why would we do that? You two are so…beautiful…

NARRATOR
Both Constance and Miranda can see the lustful look in their eyes. Suddenly, Pars appears behind the two women and the prone soldier!

MIRANDA ZUL (relieved)
Great timing, Pars! You know what to do!

PARS DAR
Yes, indeed I do…

(Quick, evil laugh from Pars)

(Insert “Discharge Spell” sound effect)

NARRATOR
Pars suddenly casts Discharge, rendering Constance, Miranda, and Lt. William Long unconscious!
The short, chubby Kaitoth picks up Miranda and cradles her in arms. He gazes at her face and then at her bulging tummy.

BEAR CUB
Mmm…this one is so beautiful and yet looks so yummy. I can’t decide if I should eat her or mate with her …

NARRATOR
The larger of the two Kaitoth picks up Constance and slings her over his right shoulder.

PRINCE TOMAR
Excellent work, Pars!

PARS DAR
Always glad to be of service, Prince Tomar! I have honored my part of the agreement…

PRINCE TOMAR
Indeed you have…By informing us of this attack and helping us plan this ambush, you have earned your place among my people! I look forward to my wedding night with my beautiful new bride! She will make a fine addition to my harem…

PARS DAR (surprised)
New bride? Um…I was hoping to take Lady Constance as my own…

PRINCE TOMAR (angry)
You dare to defy me?! Long have I lusted for this female and I will not be denied!

NARRATOR
Prince Tomar reaches out with his left hand, grabs Pars by the throat, and lifts him several feet into the air. He begins choking Pars. Pars’ face starts to turn blue as he struggles to breathe.

PARS DAR (choking)
No…Prince Tomar…I meant no disrespect. Please forgive me! You will find me to be a valuable ally in the days to come…

NARRATOR
Prince Tomar sets Pars down and releases his hold on his neck.

PRINCE TOMAR
Perhaps…you have proven yourself to be a most clever fellow…
Do not worry about the woman! We have many other attractive female captives from which you can choose to mate with. Let us be off!

NARRATOR
The three figures disappear down one of the nearby passageways.

(Insert music track # 16 – “Heroic Demise” by Matthew Pablo)

NARRATOR
Meanwhile, Jeremiah and Thurlo Mak continue to wrestle each other in the water, where Thurlo’s greater strength and lighter armor give him a significant advantage. Thurlo suddenly performs a bodyslam on poor Jeremiah! Momentarily stunned, Jeremiah tries to get up from the lake floor, but Thurlo has him pinned down. He begins choking Jeremiah with both hands. Jeremiah struggles to breathe underwater and starts to lose consciousness…
Nearby, on the largest stalagmite bridge, King Targon and General Thorne continue to trade blows.

(Insert “Swords Clashing” sound effect. Repeat 3x)

Both are badly wounded and blood flows from the numerous cuts on their armored bodies…

KING TARGON (growling)
Last time we fought, you cost me my right eye! Today I will take great pleasure in ripping your beating heart from your chest and consuming it!

ELIAS THORNE
I wouldn’t count on that!

NARRATOR
General Thorne’s two handed lightning sword slices deep into Targon’s right thigh.
Targon grunts in pain as he drops his massive red battleaxe and falls to his knees. Targon looks up at General Thorne and utters a Kaitoth curse. Suddenly, Targon has a very strange expression on his face, as if his attention is focused elsewhere…

ELIAS THORNE (puzzled)
Why are you smiling?

KING TARGON (happy)
I just had a vision…Sometime in the distant future, one of my descendants, a great bard and warrior known as Dinsoo, shall lead my people into battle and reclaim our ancestral land from those who have dared to settle there! In the end, the Kaitoth shall be victorious!

ELIAS THORNE
That will never happen! I will wipe out all the Kaitoth today – starting with you!

NARRATOR
General Thorne raises his sword…
Meanwhile, Thurlo Mak feels Jeremiah’s body go limp, so he releases his hold on Jeremiah’s throat and stands up. This proves to be costly mistake on Thurlo’s part, for Jeremiah was only pretending to be dead.
Jeremiah immediately gets up, kicks Thurlo in the groin, and then hits Thurlo in the jaw with a powerful uppercut!

(Insert “Uppercut” sound effect)

A very surprised Thurlo is sent flying backwards and knocked unconscious after crashing into the far cavern wall.

(Insert “Hitting Wall” sound effect)

Jeremiah turns to see General Thorne bring down his sword in an arc in an attempt to decapitate the prone King Targon. At the last moment, Targon rolls out of the way, grabs his battleaxe and swings.

(Insert “Battle Axe Swing” sound effect)

General Thorne turns in Targon’s direction and is immediately decapitated!

(Insert “Decapitation Head Fall Off” sound effect)

JEREMIAH DANE (screaming)
No!

NARRATOR
King Targon struggles to his feet and holds General Thorne’s decapitated head up high for all to see!

KING TARGON (shouting)
Behold the severed head of our hated foe, General Thorne! Fight on men! Victory is within our grasp!

NARRATOR
King Targon’s men cheer and attack with renewed ferocity! Col. Dane can see the disheartened look on his men’s faces as they fall before the onslaught. They needed to regroup and come up with a new attack strategy. He raises his flaming sword.

JEREMIAH DANE
Retreat! Fall back to base camp!

NARRATOR
The soldiers follow Jeremiah back out the cavern entrance. Their first battle with the Kaitoth cannibals had ended in utter defeat…
***************************************************************************************
(Insert music track # 17 – “Oh Honey” by Dinsoo)

NARRATOR

PART III: PLEASURE AND PAIN
Prince Tomar leads Pars Dar down a dimly lit tunnel to the fur covered entrance of a cave.

PRINCE TOMAR
I think you will enjoy your new accommodations…I left you a welcome gift I am sure you will enjoy! I will see you at the victory feast this evening…

PARS DAR
Yes, Prince Tomar…

NARRATOR
Prince Tomar smiles as he turns and walks back down the passageway.
A puzzled Pars pushes aside the fur door and enters the cave.
The crystals lining the walls and circular braziers on the floor provide ample illumination in the relatively well-furnished cave. Pars’ attention is immediately drawn to the Wheel of Pain at the far end of the chamber. A blindfolded, raven haired, naked woman who bears a striking resemblance to Constance is bound to the standing manacle station on the Wheel of Pain. Pars begins breathing heavily as he approaches the woman from behind.

PERI (frightened)
Who’s there?

PARS DAR (demanding)
What is your name?

PERI (stammering)
My…name is Peri…

PARS DAR (barking)
From now on, your name is Constance!

NARRATOR
Peri’s body begins to quiver as Pars runs his right hand down her bare back and buttocks.

PARS DAR
Such soft, tender, flesh…

PERI (frightened)
You’re not going to hurt me…are you?

NARRATOR
Pars quickly removes his robe. He picks up the wooden spanking paddle on the nearby shelf.

PARS DAR (whispering)
There can be no pleasure without pain…
You have been a very bad girl, Constance, and must be punished!

(Insert “Wood Whack” sound effect)

(Peri cries out in pain!)

(Repeat “Wood Whack” sound effect followed by Peri crying out in pain 3X.)

NARRATOR
With each stroke, Pars becomes more aroused and begins breathing heavily! After several minutes, Pars suddenly pauses, looks down at the growing bulge in his underwear and smiles. Just a little bit longer…he thinks to himself.

PARS DAR (whispering)
In time, you will learn to enjoy this and to call me…master!

(Pars laughs evilly.)

(Peri whimpers.)

(Insert “Wood Whack” sound effect followed by Peri crying out in pain.)
**************************************************************************************
(Insert music track # 18 – “Rifts End featuring Sharm” by Dinsoo)

NARRATOR
Constance slowly regains consciousness and opens her eyes. She finds herself lying on some straw in some sort of cell. Her dear friend, Miranda, is cradling her head in her lap.

CONSTANCE DANE
Ow…my head is throbbing! What happened?

MIRANDA ZUL (angry)
Pars betrayed us, and now we and our fellow female clerics and healers are prisoners of the Kaitoth cannibals! Apparently they have dire need of our talents…and wish to mate with us as well…

NARRATOR
As Constance’s eyes adjust to the dimly lit cell, she can see the other five frightened women huddled together in the far corner.

CONSTANCE DANE (shocked)
Why would Pars do such a thing? It makes no sense…

MIRANDA ZUL
You are too kind-hearted, Constance – always looking for the best in people. Pars betrayed all of us in order to save his worthless hide! Apparently, he helped the Kaitoth cannibals set up the whole ambush…

NARRATOR
Constance looks around to see if there are any guards present.

CONSTANCE DANE (whispering)
We must come up with an escape plan! We can’t rely on General Thorne to send a rescue party for us…

MIRANDA ZUL
General Thorne was killed by the king of the Kaitoth, Targon. Councilor Corvus was also taken prisoner and is being interrogated right now. I do hope that Willie is ok…

CONSTANCE DANE
Ah yes, you, Xander, and Willie were always very close, if I recall…

MIRANDA ZUL
Indeed…All during our teenage years, we were inseparable. That’s why Willie was Xander’s best man at our wedding…

NARRATOR
Constance pats Miranda on the left shoulder.

CONSTANCE DANE
I am sure Willie is fine…I don’t think the Kaitoth would bother with an unconscious soldier…

MIRANDA ZUL
You don’t know how much Willie has been a comfort to me ever since Xander died! Why, just the other day, he dropped off a crib which had made for the baby…

CONSTANCE DANE
That was very sweet of him…Now about that escape plan…

MIRANDA ZUL
That may prove to be difficult!

NARRATOR
Miranda raises her handcuffed wrists.

MIRANDA ZUL
There’s something about this black meteoric metal which prevents the use of magic…

CONSTANCE DANE
Oh dear…
***************************************************************************************

(Insert music track # 19 – “Cloister of Redemption” by Jens Kiilstofte )

(Insert “Whip” sound effect, followed by Angelus Corvus grunting. Repeat 4x)

NARRATOR
In another chamber on the other side of the Kaitoth’s camp, Councilor Corvus is bound by restraints to a Wheel of Pain. He is clad only in his underwear and his arms and torso are covered with numerous lacerations and bruises inflicted by a cat o’ nine tails. The burly Kaitoth interrogator drops his whip and begins punching Angelus Corvus in the face.

(Insert “Strong punch” sound effect, followed by Angelus Corvus grunting. Repeat 4x)

NARRATOR
Ser Dragonwolf pauses for a moment to shake his sore right hand.

SER DRAGONWOLF (demanding)
Give us the information we seek!

NARRATOR
The badly bruised and cut Councilor Corvus spits blood in his interrogator’s face.

ANGELUS CORVUS (defiant)
Never, you filthy cannibal!

SER DRAGONWOLF (sneering)
We’ll see about that!

NARRATOR
The interrogator puts on a protective glove and picks up the red hot Kaitoth symbol brand out of the fire pit and presses it against Corvus’ exposed chest.

(Insert “Hot sizzling” sound effect)

SER DRAGONWOLF (mocking)
Heh…heh… Feel the burn…

NARRATOR
The stench of burning flesh fills the room. The Councilor grimaces in pain, but refuses to cry out. The interrogator waits fifteen seconds before removing the brand and placing it back in the fire.
King Targon enters the chamber.

KING TARGON
How goes the interrogation?

SER DRAGONWOLF
Not as well as I would like, King Targon. It has never taken me this long to break a prisoner…

KING TARGON
I am not surprised. Councilor Corvus is a most stubborn fellow. Leave us now. I will deal with him personally…

SER DRAGONWOLF
By your command, King Targon!

NARRATOR
Ser Dragonwolf bows, turns and exits the chamber.
Councilor Corvus glares at King Targon.

ANGELUS CORVUS (defiant)
I have nothing to say to you!

KING TARGON
I did not expect that you would…

NARRATOR
King Targon draws a dagger from its sheath and shows it to Councilor Corvus.

KING TARGON
Do you recognize this?

NARRATOR
Corvus gazes at the ruby embedded in the intricately carved ivory handle and the serrated ebony blade and recognizes it immediately.

ANGELUS CORVUS (surprised)
That’s one of the twelve Blood Daggers…

KING TARGON
That’s right…One was given to each of the twelve tribe leaders when all of the Kaitoth were united under my ancestor, the great King Dinsaru, long ago…

ANGELUS CORVUS
I thought they were considered sacred and kept under lock and key. They are only brought out for special occasions…

KING TARGON
Indeed…and today is one of them!

(Insert “Whistle Get Attention” sound effect)

NARRATOR
Eleven other Kaitoth enter the chamber with their Blood Daggers drawn. Councilor Corvus instantly realizes that his time has come to an end and gives them a contemptuous look.

KIING TARGON (shouting)
Today, we shall have our revenge!

(Insert “Stab” sound effect)

NARRATOR
King Targon suddenly stabs Councilor Corvus in the chest! The Councilor spits blood in King Targon’s face. King Targon wipes it away with his left hand, glares at the Councilor, and then steps back.
The other eleven Kaitoth immediately rush forward and begin stabbing Councilor Corvus’ torso as well. There is much blood splattered everywhere.

(Insert “Stab” sound effect another 11x)

The Councilor remains defiant to the end and refuses to cry out in pain.
When the Councilor’s body finally goes limp, the eleven other Kaitoth immediately leave the chamber and a guard enters. King Targon wipes his bloody dagger on Corvus’ loincloth and places it back in its sheath.

KING TARGON
Take down the body and bring it to Okimaru! Our dead foe will be served at tonight’s feast! Make sure he sets aside the heart and testicles for me…

NARRATOR
King Targon licks his lips in anticipation.

KAITOTH GUARD
By your command, King Targon!

NARRATOR
The guard begins unfastening the restraints as a smiling King Targon turns and leaves the chamber…
***************************************************************************************
(Insert music track # 20 – “Omens” by Eliot Corley)

NARRATOR
A short time later…

MIRANDA ZUL
I hear someone coming…

(Insert “footsteps” sound effect)

NARRATOR
Bearcub enters the holding area, accompanied by two Kaitoth guards.

BEARCUB
Lady Constance Dane, Prince Tomar wishes to see you…
Guard, open the cell door…

KAITOTH GUARD
Yes, sir!

NARRATOR
As soon as the guard unlocks the cell door, one of the female clerics huddled in the far corner suddenly stands up, yells, and lunges at the guard.

MIRANDA ZUL
Delilah, no!

NARRATOR
Delilah tries to claw at the guard’s eyes, but he simply places both his hands around her head and twists it 180 degrees!

(Insert “Neck Breaking” sound effect)

(Insert “Fall” sound effect)

The others gasp in horror at the sight of Delilah’s lifeless body on the ground.

BEARCUB
That was a very foolish move on her part! I trust no one else will make the same mistake…

NARRATOR
The other women huddled in the corner lower their heads and stare at the ground.

BEARCUB
Guard, remove the body and bring it to Okimaru! It seems we will have more tender meat for tonight’s victory feast!

KAITOTH GUARD
By your command!

NARRATOR
The guard picks up Delilah’s body and slings it over his right shoulder. He departs while the other guard remains vigilant.

BEARCUB
Lady Constance Dane, please exit the cell.

NARRATOR
Constance Dane does as she is instructed. The guard locks the cell door behind her.

BEARCUB
Guard, stand watch here until you are relieved of duty! I will personally escort the prisoner to Prince Tomar’s quarters.

KAITOTH GUARD
Yes, mighty Bearcub!

NARRATOR
Bearcub leers at Miranda Zul.

BEARCUB
As for you, Miranda Zul, I do so look forward to dining on your child after it is born and then making you part of my harem…

NARRATOR
Miranda Zul suddenly has a horrified look on her face.

MIRANDA ZUL (shocked)
What?!

BEARCUB
My other two wives are getting too old. You are young, beautiful…and oh…so fertile. You will bear me many sons…

MIRANDA ZUL (defiant)
That will never happen!

BEARCUB
My…you are a feisty one! I shall enjoy breaking you…

(Bearcub laughs.)

BEARCUB
Now, if you will follow me this way, Lady Dane…

NARRATOR
Bearcub leads Lady Constance Dane out of the holding area. The Kaitoth guard leers at the frightened women huddled together in the corner of the cell.

KAITOTH GUARD
After King Targon , Thurlo Mak, and Ser Dragonwolf have made their selections, I will be able to claim one of you as my first wife, as a reward for the number of kills I achieved during the battle. I am so looking forward to that! Heh…heh…

NARRATOR
The guard licks his lips in anticipation.

***************************************************************************************
(Insert music track # 21 – “The Way I Feel” by Dinsoo)

NARRATOR
Bear Cub leads Lady Constance Dane to Prince Tomar’s quarters.

BEARCUB
Please make yourself comfortable and help yourself to the refreshments. The Prince will be in to see you shortly.

NARRATOR
Bearcub departs. Constance cannot help but notice that the rather large cave is decorated very lavishly. Most of the space is taken up by a massive, intricately carved oak bed which could easily hold three people at the far end of the chamber. It is covered with red silk sheets, something a Kaitoth would not normally use.
A giant bearskin rug lies in front of the great hearth which is located to the right of the bed, and a Wheel of Pain lies to the left. On the shelves to the left of the Wheel of Pain are various whips, chains, blindfolds, and scented candles. Of particular note is a single black leather collar with several metal D-rings attached to it. A name is engraved on the collar in runic: CONSTANCE. Constance shudders…
Near the far right wall is a long, oval shaped trophy case which holds several dozen skulls, each of which has a small bronze plate in front of it bearing the details of the defeated foe. A well-crafted, rectangular maple dining table in the center of the chamber has seating for six people. Several plates of exotic looking fruits and vegetables, as well as several varieties of unidentified smoked meats, are laid out on the table.
Suddenly, Constance hears a seductive song playing on the ornate metal phonograph behind her and hears someone breathing heavily on her neck…

(Insert music track # 22 – “Baby” by Dinsoo)

She turns around and sees a smiling Prince Tomar standing there. He is clad in a black leather doublet and tight leather pants, definitely not an outfit that a Kaitoth would normally wear!

PRINCE TOMAR
At last we meet in person, Lady Constance Dane….

CONSTANCE DANE
Excuse me, but do I know you?

PRINCE TOMAR
I am Prince Tomar, and I have admired you from afar for a very long time…

CONSTANCE DANE (shocked)
You’ve been spying on me?!

PRINCE TOMAR (breathing heavily)
I…couldn’t help myself. You are so beautiful… You have haunted my dreams since the first time I laid eyes on you three months ago. . I composed this poem to better express my feelings for you…

(Love poem composed by Amber Raine)

When darkness descends upon your skin
Don’t let it fill you, don’t let it in
Don’t turn to look or let it know
That you’re willing to let the light go
When the light is gone, darkness will embrace
Those who wish it to take light’s place
When you find a passion in the dark of night
Be watchful of a love that blinds your sight
For darkness has a beauty that hides all lies
Tricks you to think love is before your eyes
There is something that lurks in the dark
Longing to drink in your spark
Be careful of what you see or feel
For you may be its very next meal

CONSTANCE DANE (very flustered)
Um…that was a lovely poem, Prince Tomar, but I am a happily married woman…

PRINCE TOMAR
…whose husband has abandoned her! I have so much more to offer you…I can make you first among my four wives and treat you like a queen…

NARRATOR
Prince Tomar suddenly pulls Constance Dar into a tight embrace and it is immediately apparent …just how aroused the prince is!

PRINCE TOMAR (whispering)
…and teach you the pleasures of the flesh…
Ooh…baby…baby…

NARRATOR
Prince Tomar licks her left cheek.

CONSTANCE DANE
NO! I love my husband! I know he will come for me…

PRINCE TOMAR (whispering)
….then he will die and I will take great delight in feasting on his remains! I must have you…now!

NARRATOR
Prince Tomar pulls off Constance Dane’s robe and gazes at her curvaceous figure. He quickly rips off her blouse and skirt.

CONSTANCE DANE
NO!

NARRATOR
Prince Tomar starts French kissing Constance Dane as he slowly advances towards the bed. Constance struggles to break free of his grasp, but he is far too strong for her. He forces her down on the bed, and then straddles her prone form as he binds her wrists and ankles to the bedposts with padded leather restraints.
He places a black silk blindfold over her eyes and lights a red beeswax candle. Prince Tomar slowly begins dripping the molten candle wax on Constance’s breasts and belly. Constance‘s body quivers with each drop.

(Constance begins moaning.)

PRINCE TOMAR (breathing heavily)
Yes…I can see how much pleasure this brings you!

(Dinsoo’s music track abruptly ends mid-sentence!)

BEARCUB
Sorry to interrupt, Prince Tomar…

PRINCE TOMAR (angry)
Can’t you see that I am busy right now, Bearcub!

BEARCUB
I’m sorry, sir, but this can’t wait! Your father demands your immediate presence in the throne room! Someone has challenged your claim to this woman…

NARRATOR
Prince Tomar puts the candle down on the side table and turns to face Bearcub.

PRINCE TOMAR (angry)
Who has brought this challenge?

BEARCUB
It’s Thurlo Mak…sir.

PRINCE TOMAR (angry)
Thurlo Mak has trying to gain favor with the King ever since he and I were young! I know that his deceased parents were good friends of my father, but he treats Thurlo Mak like a second son! I have long suspected that he covets the Bone Throne. It’s about time I deal with him…once and for all!
Please untie Lady Constance, provide her with suitable clothing, and escort her back to the holding area, Bearcub…

BEARCUB
By your command, Prince Tomar!

NARRATOR
Prince Tomar storms out of the chamber.
***************************************************************************************

NARRATOR
Prince Tomar enters the throne room to find his father sitting on the Bone Throne and Thurlo Mak standing before him. A Kaitoth guard stands off to the side. Thurlo Mak snickers upon seeing Tomar’s outfit. King Targon raises an eyebrow.

KING TARGON
Thank for coming so promptly, my son. As I am sure that Bearcub explained to you, Thurlo Mak has challenged your claim to the woman, Constance Dane…

PRINCE TOMAR
On what grounds, sire?

KING TARGON
Thurlo claims that he is entitled to first pick based on the fact that he scored more kills during the battle than you…Unfortunately, it seems that our most accurate count suggests a tie. Tomar, are you willing to give up your claim to the woman and select another instead?

PRINCE TOMAR
No, I am not, sire! I assert my right for the claim to be settled by Mo Kai!

KING TARGON (surprised)
Are you sure about that, son? Mo Kai is normally reserved for disputes of the highest nature. Is this woman really worth dying for?

PRINCE TOMAR
Yes, she is, sire…

KING TARGON
Thurlo Mak, do you accept Tomar’s challenge or do you wish to withdraw your claim?

THURLO MAK
I accept Prince Tomar’s challenge, sire!

KING TARGON
Very well, then! We will all assemble in the arena in one hour for the Mo Kai. Guard, inform the others…

KAITOTH GUARD
Yes, my liege!

NARRATOR
The Kaitoth guard bows and then turns around and walks towards the rear exit. After bowing before their king, Prince Tomar and Thurlo Mak turn and glare at each other.

***************************************************************************************
(Insert music track # 23 – “Exigence” by Aaron Spencer)

NARRATOR
One hour later, the Kaitoth are all assembled in the granite bleachers overlooking the giant circular pit known as the Arena. All of the recently captured female prisoners are forced to attend as well. The fight announcer stands in the center of the arena.

FIGHT ANNOUNCER
Welcome one and all to the Arena! Today, two brave combatants will face off in Mo Kai – a deadly duel to the death – with this beautiful woman, Lady Constance Dane, as the prize! Now entering the arena from the far tunnel is the challenger, Prince Tomar!

(Insert “Crowd Cheer” sound effect.)

Now entering from the near tunnel is our undefeated champion, with a 12-0 record! Let’s have a round of applause for our greatest warrior – the mighty THURLO MAK!

(The crowd starts chanting “Thurlo Mak! Thurlo Mak!” loudly.)

NARRATOR
Thurlo Mak waves to the crowd and then blows a kiss to his first wife, Galindris. He loves his wife dearly, but she is unable to bear him any children as a result of internal injuries suffered during an “accidental” fall from a second story balcony at King Tomar’s home during a party two years ago. Thurlo Mak has long suspected that Prince Tomar arranged for someone (most likely his loyal henchman, Bearcub) to push Galindris off the balcony in order to end the Mak bloodline. (Galindris was about five months pregnant at the time of the “accident”. Had the baby survived, it would have been a boy…) Taking this woman that Prince Tomar is interested in would be the perfect revenge – and allow Thurlo Mak to give his beloved Galindris a son to raise as her own flesh and blood.
Prince Tomar is extremely jealous about how much the crowd adores Thurlo Mak, but does his best to hide his true feelings by faking a smile.

FIGHT ANNOUNCER
Combatants, turn and bow before your King!

Now turn and bow to each other!

THURLO MAK (whispering)
I am so looking forward to this…

PRINCE TOMAR (whispering)
As am I, “brother”! You will find that my combat skills have improved considerably since the last time we sparred against each other…

THURLO MAK (taunting)
I certainly hope so! I would hate to disappoint the crowd with a quick kill…

PRINCE TOMAR (hissing)
It is you who will die a quick death!

FIGHT ANNOUNCER
Combatants, go to your respective corners and await my signal!

NARRATOR
Prince Tomar goes to the far end of the arena and stands underneath the red banner bearing his personal crest (a black wolf spider). Thurlo Mak goes to the opposite end of the arena and stands underneath the blue banner bearing his personal crest (a brown wild dog – i.e., what we would refer to on earth as a dingo).

FIGHT ANNOUNCER
Combatants, ready?

NARRATOR
Both combatants nod their heads and draw their weapons. Prince Tomar wields his doubled bladed saber, which is secretly coated with a clear version of spider venom! Thurlo Mak wields twin long swords rather than his usual short swords in order to negate the reach advantage of the double-bladed saber.

(Insert music track # 24 – “Mortal Combat” by Zach Sheppard)

FIGHT ANNOUNCER
3…2…1…FIGHT!

NARRATOR
The fight announcer retreats to his position near the edge of the arena as Prince Tomar and Thurlo Mak charge at one another!

(Insert “Swords Clashing” sound effect. Repeat 3x.)

FIGHT ANNOUNCER
Both combatants are trading blows in the middle of the arena! Neither one seems to be able to penetrate the other’s defense.

(Insert “Spin Kick” sound effect.)

Ow! Prince Tomar has managed to land a spin kick to Thurlo Mak’s face! Thurlo Mak staggers back, but recovers quickly. Prince Tomar tries to slash him with his double-bladed saber but Thurlo Mak dodges the attack with his lightning reflexes!
Prince Tomar legsweeps Thurlo Mak! Thurlo Mak is down! Prince Tomar tries to strike the prone Thurlo Mak, but he manages to block the blow with this twin long swords! Prince Tomar continues to press his attack, but Thurlo Mak blocks all of the attacks as he continues to slide across the arena floor on his back! A most amazing sight!
Oh my! Thurlo Mak manages to kick Prince Tomar in the groin! That had to hurt! While Prince Tomar is doubled over in pain, Thurlo Mak is able to get back up!
Thurlo Mak does a backflip, catching Prince Tomar in the jaw! Prince Tomar is momentarily stunned! Thurlo Mak follows up with a spinning blades attack!

(Insert “Rage of Blades” sound effect.)

PRINCE TOMAR
Argh…

NARRATOR
Prince Tomar looks down at the two deep cuts to his belly. Blood drips onto the sand covered floor.

THURLO MAK (gloating)
Ha! I draw first blood! Clearly you have not yet reached grandmaster level in your sword skill! You should have spent more time focused on your sword training instead of hatching nefarious schemes with your toady, Bearcub!

PRINCE TOMAR (whispering)
You got lucky!
Oh, I suppose Galindris never told you what happened to her when you were away leading that hunting party in search of that great white dragon one year ago…

THURLO MAK
What are you talking about?

PRINCE TOMAR (whispering)
Bearcub and I took great delight in having our way with her for many hours on both your bed and on the Wheel of Pain! She put up a pretty good struggle the entire time. I am surprised that she didn’t become catatonic like she did when she lost the baby the year before. Ha! She never did see Bearcub come up behind her when she was gazing up at the stars that evening…

THURLO MAK (enraged)
What?! You have caused my beloved Galindris so much pain and sorrow! I am going to kill both you and Bearcub!

PRINCE TOMAR (taunting)
Yes…give in to your anger…for it will make you strong! Try and strike me down…

(Insert music track # 25 – “Fire Within” by Jens Kiilstofte)

THURLO MAK (yelling)
DIE!

FIGHT ANNOUNCER
I am not sure what has happened to Thurlo Mak! He suddenly seems unfocused and seems to be slashing wildly at Prince Tomar! It’s as if he has forgotten all of years of training he received from the old blind sword master, Zenir.
Despite his serious injury, the Prince seems to be holding his own, easily blocking and dodging Thurlo Mak’s attacks.
Ah, Prince Tomar has managed to knock the long sword out of Thurlo Mak’s offhand! Can the mighty Thurlo Mak defeat Prince Tomar with only a single long sword?
Oh my! Thurlo Mak has managed to slice into Prince Tomar’s right thigh! The Prince is limping a bit now.
There’s another deep cut to Prince Tomar’s right shoulder! The Prince seems to be having trouble wielding his double-bladed saber effectively now. Thurlo Mak is pressing his attack…

(Insert “Drop Sword” sound effect.)

Thurlo Mak has managed to disarm the Prince! Prince Tomar has fallen to his knees. I think that this might be the end…

THURLO MAK
Prepare to die, “brother”!

PRINCE TOMAR
I think not…”brother”!

NARRATOR
Prince Tomar throws a handful of sand in Thurlo Mak’s face, momentarily blinding him! He rolls away to avoid the incoming decapitation blow and grabs the fallen doubled bladed saber, which he proceeds to shove into Thurlo Mak’s chest!

(Insert ”Gutting Someone” sound effect.)

The deadly spider venom’s effect is immediate.

(Insert music track # 26 – “You Were My Brother” by Matthew Pablo)

Thurlo Mak coughs up blood as Prince Tomar withdraws the blade.

THURLO MAK (disgusted)
You fight without honor!

PRINCE TOMAR (snarling)
I fight to win!

(Insert “Fall” sound effect.)

NARRATOR
Thurlo Mak falls on his back and looks up into the stands. He manages to turns his head in the direction of his horrified wife, who is now standing up.

THURLO MAK (whispering)
Galindris…

NARRATOR
Thurlo Mak breathes his last and dies. A hush falls over the stunned crowd.

FIGHT ANNOUNCER
I don’t believe what just happened! Prince Tomar cheated and killed Thurlo Mak!

NARRATOR
The crowd begins to murmur as they glare at Prince Tomar. Then, one by one, they turn their backs on him.

PRINCE TOMAR
What is this?! I just defeated the mighty Thurlo Mak! You should all be cheering for me!

KING TARGON
You may have won the duel, Tomar, but in doing so, you broke the rules of Mo Kai! You have brought great dishonor to our house! At tonight’s victory feast, we will pay tribute to our fallen warrior, Thurlo Mak, and I will name a new heir to the throne!

PRINCE TOMAR (stunned)
What?! No… father…

KING TARGON
You brought this upon yourself, Tomar! I hereby strip you of your title! However, since you are my only surviving son, I will not expel you from our house. In time, I hope you will able to atone for this…

NARRATOR
The crowd turns around as two guards enter the arena and place Thurlo Mak’s body on a stretcher.

(The crowd starts chanting “Thurlo Mak! Thurlo Mak!” loudly.)

Tomar bows his head down low. Even in death, Thurlo Mak had managed to defeat him…

No one notices the hooded figure clad in black studded leather armor lurking in the shadows of the tunnel which Thurlo Mak had originally entered from.

WILLIAM LONG
A most unexpected turn of events…I must report this to Col. Dane at once!

NARRATOR
Lt. William Long casts Silent Movement and vanishes!

**************************************************************************************
(Insert music track # 27 – “Dream Raid” – Matthew Pablo)

NARRATOR
PART IV: BLOOD FEAST
A short while later…Col. Dane and his council of war are sitting around a large round table in his tent at base camp.

JEREMIAH DANE
Lt. Long should be returning shortly from his reconnaissance mission with the information we need to plan our attack strategy. Ah, I see he has just arrived…

MAJOR KINCAID
Eh? I don’t see him…

JEREMIAH DANE
He’s sitting to your right, Major…

CAPTAIN CANTRELL
Um…are you sure about that, Colonel? I don’t see anybody sitting next to Major Kincaid either…

LIEUTENANT BURKE
Neither do I…

JEREMIAH DANE
Ah…I see. Lieutenant Long, please reveal yourself!

NARRATOR
Lt. William Long shimmers into view, much to the surprise of the other officers!

MAJOR KINCAID (surprised)
How did you do that?!

JEREMIAH DANE
Lt. Long and I both possess a particular set of skills which we acquired during a very long career. Skills which should prove quite useful in this situation…

NARRATOR
Jeremiah Dane rolls up his left sleeve to reveal a tattoo on his inner wrist….

CAPTAIN CANTRELL (shocked)
You two were members of the Shadowguard? I have heard rumors of its existence, but…

LIEUTENANT BURKE (confused)
What is this Shadowguard you speak of?

MAJOR KINCAID
Lord British’s covert operations team, I believe….

JEREMIAH DANE
That is correct, Major. I commanded the unit until I got married….

LIEUTENANT BURKE (skeptical)
A covert operations team doesn’t sound very virtuous…

JEREMIAH DANE
Lord British may extol the virtues, but he is also a very practical person, Lieutenant…

LIEUTENANT BURKE
Yes sir. Hmm…you sound like you expect our liege to return someday?

JEREMIAH DANE
Of course I do, Lieutenant. You have to have faith! So what information do you have for us, Lt. Long?

NARRATOR
Lt. William Long gets up and unfurls a hand drawn map on the table.

WILLIAM LONG
This is the layout of the Kaitoth camp. As you can see, they have sentries posted at these locations. The prisoners are being held in this area…

JEREMIAH DANE
Hmm…It seems that stealth would be best approach in this situation. A direct assault would be suicidal, as they could easily surround us here at the main entrance to the camp…

WILLIAM LONG
I uncovered a series of tunnels underneath the camp which should allow us to sneak into the camp undetected. The tunnels lead up to three areas: the kitchen adjacent to the main banquet hall, the armory next to the main barracks, and a storage cave near the holding area.
Tonight, King Targon is having a celebratory feast in the main banquet hall at which they will pay tribute to their greatest warrior, Thurlo Mak. He was slain by Prince Tomar in a duel to determine who would lay claim to your wife, Colonel…

JEREMIAH DANE
I see… Were you able to ascertain the condition of the female captives?

WILLIAM LONG
Yes, sir. All of them were required to attend the duel and appeared to be unharmed.

JEREMIAH DANE
Well, that is a relief!
OK, based on the intelligence which Lt. Long has provided us, I believe that we should launch our attack during their celebratory feast. We will have the element of surprise and the combination of food and alcohol will slow down the Kaitoths’ response time.
We will divide up our troops into three groups. Major Kincaid and I will lead the main force, which will attack those gathered in the main banquet hall. Captain Cantrell and Lieutenant Burke will lead the second group and eliminate any opposition in the barracks area. Captain Cantrell, have Lt. Logan take point. He’s another one of my former operatives and will be able to clear any traps or sentries in your path. Lieutenant Long will lead the rescue team which will take the holding area.
Everyone is to be outfitted with studded leather armor in order to maximize mobility and stealth, including all officers. We will coordinate our attacks using the communication globes. Do any of you have questions?

MAJOR KINCAID
Sounds like a sound battle plan, sir, even if it is not the type of strategy that the men are used to…

JEREMIAH DANE
Trust me, Major, this type of attack can be highly effective! Isn’t that right, Lt. Long?

WILLIAM LONG
Yes, sir. We’ve used this approach in the past to take down enemy forces which outnumbered us 5 to 1…

CAPTAIN CANTRELL
Those are mighty impressive results…

JEREMIAH DANE
If there are no additional questions, begin making your preparations. We will depart in two hours!

MAJOR KINCAID, CAPTAIN CANTRELL, LT. BURKE, and WILLIAM LONG
Aye, aye, sir!

NARRATOR
The other officers salute and leave the tent.

**************************************************************************************
(Insert music track # 28 – “Takeover” by Horrorpen)

NARRATOR
Meanwhile, in Prince Tomar’s quarters at the Kaitoth camp…

PRINCE TOMAR
I must seize the Bone Throne before my father names a new successor at the victory feast!

BEARCUB
Yes, Prince Tomar! You know what that entails…

(whispers)
You must kill your father…

PRINCE TOMAR (regretful)
It is not something I relish…

BEARCUB
I know, my prince, but it is a matter of survival! Whoever King Targon names as his successor will seek to have you eliminated in order to prevent a future challenge to the Bone Throne.

(whispers)
Furthermore, you know that Thurlo Mak was always your father’s favorite…

PRINCE TOMAR (bitter)
Yes…how many times did I hear father boast about Thurlo Mak’s prowess in battle and how he wished I were more like him!

(thankful)
You are right, of course. I have no choice. Father must die! I don’t know what I would do without your wise counsel, old friend…

BEARCUB
Thank you, Prince Tomar. Rest assured, I am always looking out for your best interests…

PRINCE TOMAR
So how can I kill my father without arousing any suspicion?

PARS DAR
I believe I may able to help you with that, Prince Tomar…

NARRATOR
Pars Dar hands the Prince a small vial of a clear, odorless liquid.

PRINCE TOMAR
What is this?

PARS DAR
It is a very deadly poison. A few drops of this in the King’s food or drink will induce a fatal heart attack in about 10 minutes. It is odorless, colorless and tasteless, thus making it completely untraceable.

PRINCE TOMAR
I see…How is it that you are so familiar with poisons?

PARS DAR
My mother was descended from a long line of powerful witches who were well-versed in the dark arts. She used her extensive knowledge of poisons to help my father gain great wealth and power by eliminating all his foes. My mother passed her knowledge onto me before she died.

BEARCUB
Very interesting…I recall hearing fairy tales about powerful witches who worshipped a powerful dark god they referred to as “Shadowreign” when I was but a child. Supposedly this dark god and his followers tried conquering Britannia in ancient times during the great Barbarian Tribe Wars, but were destroyed by a mysterious stranger from another time and place.

PARS DAR
Yes, I also remember my mother telling me such fairy tales when I was a child. She said that this dark god “Shadowreign” was not destroyed by the stranger, but merely defeated. She told me that this “Shadowreign” will return someday and succeed in his second attempt to conquer Britannia, ushering in “The Age of Shadows”. I don’t believe that prophecy, of course…

BEARCUB
Yes, I am sure those were simply fairy tales designed to frighten young children. But it makes you wonder. All fairy tales tend to have some element of truth to them…
Prince Tomar, it would be relatively easy to have the King’s favorite serving wench, Adria, slip some of this poison on Councilor Corvus’ heart and testicles. Since King Tomar will be the only one consuming them, there will be no risk of others accidentally being poisoned…

PRINCE TOMAR
Yes….that would work. Make it so, Bearcub!

BEARCUB
Yes, Prince Tomar!

NARRATOR
Prince Tomar gives the vial to Bearcub, who bows and then leaves the room.

*********************************************************************************
NARRATOR
Two hours later…
Chef Okimaru is busy preparing the last of the dishes of the banquet in the kitchen.

(Insert “Bubbling caldron” sound effect)

(Insert “Frying chicken” sound effect)

(Insert music track # 29 – “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” by Todd Reed Music)

OKIMARU (singing merrily)
It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood
A beautiful meal of a neighbor
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
It’s a neighborly day in this beautywood
A neighborly day for a beauty
Would you be mine?
This cut is so fine
I have always wanted to carve up a neighbor just like you
I’ve always wanted to cook in a neighborhood with you
So, let’s make the most of this beautiful day
Since we’re together, I might as well say
Would you be mine?
For me to dine?
Won’t you be my neighbor?
Won’t you please
Cease your pleas
Please won’t you be my neighbor?
Mmm…nom…nom…nom…

ADRIA
Are the last couple of dishes almost done, Okimaru?

OKIMARU
I just sent out General Thorne’s fried liver and onions. Let me check on the dishes for King Targon…

NARRATOR
Okimaru removes the entrees from the wood-fired clay oven and places them on a large plate on a serving tray.

ADRIA
Both of the entrees smell so delicious, Okimaru! What’s your secret?

OKIMARU
I simply boiled them to a slight undercook and then popped them in the oven to finish baking them in a candy coat made of sugar glaze. I hope the King likes them…

ADRIA
I am sure that he will…
I know you have been working so hard preparing this feast today, my darling, but do save a bit of energy for later on tonight…

NARRATOR
Adria kisses Okimaru on the left cheek.

OKIMARU
You know I always have plenty of energy for you, dear…

NARRATOR
Okimaru leers at Adria’s voluptuous form as she picks up the tray and turns to leave. Okimaru starts preparing the dessert and fails to notice Adria pour the vial of poison on both the heart and testicles.

(Insert music track # 30 – “Enchanted Festival” by Matthew Pablo)

In the banquet hall, the Kaitoth are busy devouring the well-prepared remains of the soldiers who they had slain earlier that day.

(Kaitoth # 1 makes eating sounds)

KAITOTH # 1
Mmm…this thigh is so tender and juicy! Chef Okimaru’s special blend of herbs and spices add a bit of kick to it. Tastes like fried chicken…

(Kaitoth # 2 makes eating sounds)

KAITOTH # 2
This shoulder roast is heavenly! It’s a nice thick cut. Love this wonderful mushroom gravy…
I’m really looking forward to the chilled brains for dessert!

ADRIA
King Targon, here is that special dish which you requested…

KING TARGON
Ah…Councilor Corvus’ heart and testicles! This will enhance my strength and virility!

(King Targon makes eating sounds)

NARRATOR
King Targon eagerly begins devouring the testicles and heart with his bare hands, as Tomar and Bearcub, who are seated at the far end of the long, rectangular main dining table look on with interest…
About thirteen minutes later…

(Insert music track # 31 – “Viracocha’s Demise” by Eliot Corley)

KING TARGON
Chef Okimaru has really outdone himself this time!
Everyone raise your goblet of blood wine to toast our fallen comrade, our greatest warrior, Thurlo Mak!

KAITOTH # 1, # 2, PRINCE TOMAR, AND BEARCUB
To Thurlo Mak!

KING TARGON
I….unh….

NARRATOR
King Targon suddenly clutches his chest and drops his goblet of blood wine on the table. He falls back in his chair…

PRINCE TOMAR
FATHER!

NARRATOR
Prince Tomar rushes to his father’s side.

PRINCE TOMAR
Someone fetch one of the clerics right away! The King seems to be having a heart attack!

KAITOTH GUARD
Yes sir!

NARRATOR
The Kaitoth guard exits the banquet hall and returns shortly with the female cleric known as Lily.

PRINCE TOMAR
Do what you must to save the King!

LILY
I will try my best…

(Insert “Healing Ray” sound effect)

LILY
This healing spell does not appear to be having any effect! Let me try a Purify spell…

(Insert “Purify” sound effect)

It’s not helping either!

NARRATOR
King Targon’s breathing becomes shallow. With the last of his strength, he grabs Tomar’s tunic with his right hand and pulls him close to him. He looks at Tomar with accusatory eyes.

KING TARGON (whispering)
Tomar…I know I have been poisoned by…unh…

NARRATOR
King Targon breathes his last and dies before he can finish the sentence.

LILY
I am sorry for your loss, Prince Tomar…

PRINCE TOMAR
Guard, escort the cleric back to the holding cell!

KAITOTH GUARD
Yes sir!

NARRATOR
After the guard and Lily exit the banquet hall…

PRINCE TOMAR
The King is dead, most likely poisoned by someone here at this very table!

(KAITOTH # 1, # 2, AND BEARCUB gasp.)

BEARCUB
Who would do such a thing?

PRINCE TOMAR
Clearly someone who did not want the King to name his new successor!

MALAKIR (accusatory)
Well, Tomar, that would make you the prime suspect! By our laws, you are still first in the line of succession until a new prince is actually crowned…Of course, if the King were to die by your hands, you would be executed for treason instead!

NARRATOR
Those assembled in the main banquet hall begin to murmur.

PRINCE TOMAR (accusatory)
Hmm…I think it is more likely that you are trying to frame me for this heinous crime, Malakir, so you can seize the throne for yourself!

MALAKIR (shocked)
I would never do such a thing!

TOMAR
Oh really? Guard, search him!

KAITOTH GUARD
There appears to be a half empty vial of some clear liquid here in his left pocket…

TOMAR (accusatory)
No doubt the poison he used on my father!

MALAKIR (stammering)
I have no idea how that got in my pocket…

NARRATOR
No one notices Bearcub quickly glance over at Adria and smile. Everything was proceeding exactly as he had planned…

TOMAR
You still refuse to admit to your crime?!

MALAKIR
Of course I do!

TOMAR
Guard, pour the vial of liquid into Malakir’s wine goblet!

KAITOTH GUARD
Yes sir!

TOMAR
If you are innocent, then you won’t mind drinking your blood wine right now, Malakir…

NARRATOR
Malakir turns white as he stares at the wine goblet.

MALAKIR
Of course not!

NARRATOR
Malakir quickly gulps down the remaining blood wine in his goblet. Fifteen minutes later, he suffers the same fate as King Targon.

TOMAR
Now that the traitor has been revealed, I lay claim to all of his assets as well as the Bone Throne. Does anyone else here challenge my claim?

NARRATOR
The banquet hall falls silent. Bearcub suddenly stands up and offers a toast.

BEARCUB
Long live King Tomar!

NARRATOR
Others in the banquet hall follow Bearcub’s lead and begin chanting it as well.

KAITOTH # 1
Long live…urk…

(Insert “Thrown Shuriken” sound effect)

(Insert music track # 32 – “Battle of Kings” by Per Kiilstofte )

NARRATOR
The Kaitoth suddenly keels over, a poison-tipped shuriken thrown by Col. Jeremiah Dane lodged in his back. Jeremiah casts Blink. The second Kaitoth turns around and is slashed in the chest by a katana wielding Jeremiah, who looks rather impressive in his black studded leather Shadowguard armor.

(Insert “Ninja Samurai Sword” sound effect)

KAITOTH # 2
Argh…

(Insert “Fall” sound effect)

JEREMIAH DANE (yelling)
Death to the Kaitoth!

KING TOMAR
We’re under attack! Everyone defend yourselves!

(Insert “Swords Clashing” sound effect. Repeat 3x)

NARRATOR
Tomar immediately starts slashing away at his foes with his doubled-bladed saber, but many of the Kaitoth are sluggish from all of the food and alcohol they have consumed and are slain by Col. Dane’s men before they even have a chance to react!

KING TOMAR
Bearcub, take some men and check on the prisoners!

BEARCUB
Yes, King Tomar! You two come with me!

NARRATOR
Bearcub and the two guards slash a path through Col. Dane’s men and exit the banquet hall.
Meanwhile, Adria rushes to the kitchen, where Col. Dane and his men emerged from. She finds her husband, Okimaru, regaining consciousness on the kitchen floor near an open sewer grate, and rubbing the back of his head.

OKIMARU (groggy)
What happened? I was putting the finishing touches on the chilled brain platters when someone hit me over the head with something heavy…

ADRIA
We’re under attack by Col. Dane and his men! We must escape to the secondary camp site…

CAPTAIN KLUMP
You two aren’t going anywhere, Kaitoth scum!

NARRATOR
Adria turns around and sees one of Col. Dane’s men standing there with his sword drawn. He leers at Adria’s voluptuous form.

CAPTAIN KLUMP
My… you’re pretty attractive for a Kaitoth! Nothing at all like the scrawny, malnourished women we have back in Brittany. Maybe I should have my way with you before I kill you…

(CAPTAIN KLUMP laughs evilly.)

NARRATOR
The Captain fails to notice Adria reaching behind her back for the meat cleaver on the counter. Captain Klump sheathes his sword and slowly advances toward Adria…

CAPTAIN KLUMP
Come on baby, give me some sugar…

ADRIA (yelling)
Die, you lecherous scum!

NARRATOR
Adria hurls the meat cleaver at a startled Captain Klump!

(Insert “Thrown Shuriken” sound effect)

It imbeds itself in the middle of his exposed face!

CAPTAIN KLUMP
Urk…

(Insert “Fall” sound effect)

NARRATOR
Adria helps Okimaru to his feet.

OKIMARU
Nice bit of throwing there, dear…

ADRIA
I learned from the best!

NARRATOR
Adria provides support for Okimaru as they head over to the bookcase on the opposite wall. She pulls on a giant leather bound tome entitled “Amber’s Big Book of Recipes for Cannibals”. This causes the bookcase to slide to the right, revealing a hidden staircase leading to a dimly lit tunnel below. The bookcase slides back into position behind them…

Meanwhile, back in the banquet hall…

KING TOMAR
So, at least we meet in person, Col. Jeremiah Dane…

JEREMIAH DANE
Who are you?

KING TOMAR (taunting)
I am King Tomar, the one who abducted your beautiful wife, Constance. Once I kill you and show her your severed head, she will finally give up hope and submit to me willingly…

JEREMIAH DANE (ANGRY)
Like hell that is going to happen! I am going to kill you!

KING TOMAR (amused)
You plan on killing me with that katana? I think not…

NARRATOR
Tomar starts twirling his doubled bladed saber.

JEREMIAH DANE
Perhaps you’re right. A different weapon might prove more useful in this particular situation…

NARRATOR
Col. Dane sheathes his katana and presses concealed palm buttons on both of his long black metal gauntlets, causing three one foot long, razor sharp, steel claws to pop out of each one. Jeremiah assumes a battle stance.

KING TOMAR (impressed)
Hmm…now this is much more interesting!

JEREMIAH DANE
Yes, a little something from my days as a member of Lord British’s Shadowguard…
I may be a bit older now, but I’m still the best at what I do!

NARRATOR
Jeremiah lunges at King Tomar and takes a swipe at him with his claws!
***************************************************************************************
(Insert music track # 33 – “Assassin’s Assault” by HorrorPen )

NARRATOR
In the holding cell area, one Kaitoth guard is standing guard in the hallway and the other is standing directly in front of the cell observing the prisoners.

(Insert “Swords Clashing” sound effect. Repeat 3x)

MIRANDA ZUL
That sounds really close… I guess your husband is launching an attack on the camp.

CONSTANCE DANE
I knew he would come for us…

NARRATOR
The guard in the hallway suddenly looks around.

KAITOTH GUARD
I thought I heard something…

(Insert “Thrown Shuriken” sound effect)

(Insert “Fall” sound effect)

KAITOTH GUARD
Borgoth!

NARRATOR
The second guard draws his sword and looks around.

KAITOTH GUARD
Whoever you are, show yourself!

NARRATOR
Suddenly, a masked figure clad in black studded leather armor materializes behind the guard as his Silent Movement spells wears off. The figure slits the guard’s throat with a knife! Blood sprays out of his carotid artery…

KAITOTH GUARD
Urk…

(Insert “Fall” sound effect)

(Insert music track # 34 – “Final Epic Battle” by Telaron)

NARRATOR
The figure removes both the jail cell key and handcuff key from the guard’s body. As he unlocks the cell door, he speaks.

WILLIAM LONG
We don’t have long! My men are busy engaging the other Kaitoth guards nearby…

MIRANDA ZUL
Who are you?

NARRATOR
The figure removes his mask…

MIRANDA ZUL
Willie?!

WILLIAM LONG
Jeremiah had me lead the rescue squad while he and his men engage King Targon and his men in the banquet hall…

NARRATOR
Willie proceeds to unlock all of the prisoner’s handcuffs. As the prisoners exit the cell, Constance runs over to a cabinet at the far end of the holding area.

CONSTANCE DANE
I saw the guard put all the reagents in here….

NARRATOR
Constance hands out the pouches of the reagents to everyone.

WILLIAM LONG
We must hurry before…urk!

NARRATOR
Willie glances down and sees Bearcub’s double-bladed saber protruding out of his chest!

MIRANDA ZUL (screaming)
WILLIE!

NARRATOR
Bearcub withdraws the blade and Willie falls to the ground…dead.

BEARCUB (snarling)
No one steals my woman!

MIRANDA ZUL (yelling)
I AM NOT YOUR WOMAN!

(Insert “Large Fireball” sound effect)

NARRATOR
Bearcub screams in pain as he bursts into flames and drops his double-bladed saber.

(Insert “Fall” sound effect)

(Insert music track # 35 – “Rise of Spirit” by Alexandr Zhelanov)

CONSTANCE DANE
Hurry, Lily, cast Resurrection on Willie!

LILY
I am not very proficient in that skill, but I will try…

(Insert “Resurrection spell” sound effect)

It’s not working! I am so sorry, Miranda, but Willie is dead…

MIRANDA ZUL (sobbing)
Don’t leave me, Willie! I need you now more than ever…

NARRATOR
A single teardrop falls on Willie’s right cheek.

(Willie suddenly gasps for air!)

NARRATOR
Miranda hugs Willie.

MIRANDA ZUL
Oh Willie, I thought that I had lost you!

WILLIAM LONG
You can’t get rid of me that easily…
Miranda, there is something I have to tell you…

MIRANDA ZUL
Oh…what?

WILLIAM LONG
I’ve been in love with you from the first moment we met 15 years ago…

MIRANDA ZUL (shocked)
Why didn’t you say something sooner?

WILLIAM LONG
Because Xander was my best friend, and you were always Xander’s girl…

MIRANDA ZUL
I love you too…Willie!

NARRATOR
Miranda and Willie kiss.

(Insert music track # 36 – “Escape from the Temple” by Per Kiilstofte.)

CONSTANCE DANE
I hate to interrupt this tender moment, but I think we really should get out of here before more Kaitoth reinforcements arrive…

WILLIAM LONG
Quite right, Constance…
Agh…something’s grabbed my ankle!

NARRATOR
Willie looks down and sees that Bearcub’s flaming skeleton has a tight grip on his left ankle. All of the flesh has already been burnt off and only bits of muscle and sinew remain.

BEARCUB
You…aren’t…going…anywhere!

NARRATOR
Miranda uses her enchanted staff to shatter Bearcub’s skeletal hand!
Bearcub turns his flaming skull and looks up at her.

BEARCUB
I’ll…be…back!

MIRANDA ZUL (yelling)
NO, YOU WON’T!

(Insert “Smashing” sound effect)

NARRATOR
Miranda smashes Bearcub’s flaming skull into tiny fragments with a mighty blow from her staff!

MIRANDA ZUL
Now we can go!

(Insert music track # 37 – “Waltz of the Undertaker” by Aaron Spencer)

NARRATOR
After everyone departs, a small, talking brown mouse named George approaches Bearcub’s remains. George was an adventurous child who was always getting into trouble because of his curiosity. His parents said that he was very much like his ancestor Sherry, who served Lord British long ago.
Thick black smoke suddenly rises up from Bearcub’s remains and enters the startled mouse’s mouth and nostrils. The mouse’s eyes turn pitch black for a moment. George smiles and then laughs evilly before scurrying off into the shadows…
***************************************************************************************

(Repeat music track # 36 – “Escape from the Temple” by Per Kiilstofte.)

NARRATOR
As Willie and the freed prisoners make their way down the hallway, Constance hears someone crying out…

PERI
Someone, please help me!

CONSTANCE DANE
In here!

NARRATOR
Everyone enters Pars Dar’s chambers to find a blindfolded, raven haired, naked woman bound to the standing manacle station on the Wheel of Pain.

PERI
Who’s there?

MIRANDA ZUL
I recognize that voice! Peri, is that you?

PERI
Yes, it’s me, Miranda!

NARRATOR
Miranda rushes over to the manacle station and removes Peri’s blindfold.

PERI
Thank heavens you found me! I’ve been a prisoner here ever since our hunting party was ambushed by the Kaitoth! How long has it been?

MIRANDA ZUL
About a month…

WILLIAM LONG
I found the key to unlock the manacle station!

CONSTANCE DANE
…and I found a robe and shoes for Peri to wear!

NARRATOR
Peri winces in pain as she puts on the robe and shoes.

MIRANDA ZUL
You poor thing…
Who tortured you?

PERI
It was Pars Dar! I was given to him as a reward by Prince Tomar for helping the Kaitoth plan some sort of ambush. He kept calling me Constance and said that I would learn to enjoy serving him. I was afraid he was going to rape me…

CONSTANCE DANE (regretful)
I am so sorry for what he put you through, Peri…
I never realized what a sick and twisted person Pars truly is…

PERI
None of us knew, Constance. I was very fortunate that he got overexcited a bit…prematurely…

MIRANDA ZUL and CONSTANCE DANE
Oh…

WILLIAM LONG
Are you able to walk? We must leave now! It’s not safe here…

PERI
Yes, but with great difficulty…

CONSTANCE DANE
Don’t worry, Peri! Miranda and I will provide support for you.

NARRATOR
Peri puts her arms on Constance and Miranda’s shoulders as she slowly limps forward.
*********************************************************************************
(Insert music track # 38 – “Wasteland Showdown” by Matthew Pablo )

(Insert “Swords Clashing” sound effect)

KING TOMAR
No one has ever lasted this long against me…You truly are a formidable opponent!

JEREMIAH DANE
Yeah… you’ll find I am full of surprises!

NARRATOR
Jeremiah manages to slash Tomar’s right check with his left claw. Tomar roars in pain!

KING TOMAR (angry)
You are going to play for ruining my handsome face!

NARRATOR
Tomar slashes at Jeremiah with his doubled-bladed saber. Jeremiah blocks the attack with his left claw and plunges the right one deep into Tomar’s belly. A startled Tomar coughs up blood and drops his doubled-bladed saber, so Jeremiah plunges his left claw into Tomar’s belly as well.

(Insert “Gutting Someone” sound effect.)

Jeremiah pulls both of them out, and Tomar staggers back. Blood gushes out of Tomar’s stomach wounds! Jeremiah then proceeds to slash Tomar’s chest with both of his claws! Tomar staggers back several paces and then falls to his knees.

JEREMIAH
Prepare to die!

NARRATOR
Pars Dar suddenly materializes in front of King Tomar!

PARS DAR
I afraid that I can’t allow that to happen, Jeremiah…

(Insert “Thunder Sound FX “sound effect. Repeat 4x)

NARRATOR
Jeremiah falls to his knees after being struck by the five powerful lightning bolts cast by Pars.

PARS DAR (sneering)
I’ve wanted to do that for so long…

JEREMIAH DANE (cursing)
Pars, you traitorous scum…

NARRATOR
Jeremiah loses consciousness. Pars helps Tomar to his feet.

MAJOR KINCAID
Look! Col. Dane is in trouble! Follow me men!

NARRATOR
Pars Dar turns to see Major Kincaid and four other soldiers charging towards him with their swords drawn! Despite his serious injuries, King Tomar still insists on fighting…

KING TOMAR (defiant)
It is a good day to die!
Hand me my double-bladed saber!

PARS DAR
No, my liege, we must flee!
Think of your people!

KING TOMAR
Yes, my people…

(Insert “Teleport” sound effect)

MAJOR KINCAID
Where did they go? It must sorcery of some sort! You two, get a stretcher over here for the Colonel!

NARRATOR
Two of the soldiers turn around and run off to get a stretcher, while the others stand guard with Major Kincaid over Jeremiah’s unconscious form.
***************************************************************************************
(Insert music track # 39 – “Changes” by Dinsoo)

NARRATOR
Several hours later at base camp…

JEREMIAH DANE
Uh…I have a splitting headache…

CONSTANCE DANE
I am not surprised, my darling. Those were pretty powerful lightning bolts which Pars hit you with…

JEREMIAH DANE
Oh, Constance, am I relieved to see that you are unharmed! What about Miranda and the others?

MIRANDA ZUL
We lost one cleric, but everyone else is safe and sound thanks to Willie…

WILLIAM LONG
Just doing my job…

NARRATOR
As Jeremiah sits up in his bed, he notices that Miranda and Willie are holding hands.

JEREMIAH DANE
Well, it’s about time! I had a feeling about you two…

MIRANDA ZUL
Yes, there’s nothing like being in love with your best friend…right, honey?

WILLIAM LONG
Yes, dear. I shouldn’t have waited all these years to say something…

NARRATOR
Miranda and Willie stare deep into each other’s eyes as they embrace each other.
Miranda and Willie kiss.

NARRATOR
Constance winks at Jeremiah.

CONSTANCE DANE
Ah…young love!

MAJOR KINCAID
Sorry to interrupt, Colonel…

JEREMIAH DANE
What do you have to report, Major Kincaid?

MAJOR KINCAID
We suffered minimal casualties due to the element of surprise. We slew most of the Kaitoth but King Tomar, Pars Dar, and about three dozen others managed to escape. I wasn’t sure if you wanted me to organize search teams…

JEREMIAH DANE
No…our number one priority right now is to gather as much fish, water, and edible vegetation from the underground lake area as possible and bring it back to Brittany. Organize the men into gathering teams. Our people are depending on us!

MAJOR KINCAID
Yes sir!

NARRATOR
Major Kincaid salutes the Colonel, then turns around and exits the tent.
*************************************************************************************
(Insert music track # 40 – “Salvation” by Trevor Lentz)

NARRATOR
As our heroes approach the tent city of Brittany, they see black clouds of smoke from the Cave of Knowledge and the odor of burnt paper. The members of the Great Council approach the group.

COUNCIL LEADER TREMAINE
At last you have returned! Where are Councilor Corvus and General Thorne?

JEREMIAH DANE
I regret to inform you that both of them are dead, Council Leader Tremaine. The mage Parsniferous Dar betrayed us to the Kaitoth, who have apparently resorted to cannibalism. They were the ones responsible for the demise of our previous hunting expeditions. Parsniferous Dar helped the Kaitoth plan an ambush that cost us many lives and resulted in the capture of most of our clerics and healers. We were able to mount a successful rescue mission and neutralize the threat…

COUNCILOR DAR (enraged)
I don’t believe any of this nonsense! My son would never betray us like that!

JEREMIAH DANE
There are numerous eyewitnesses to his betrayal, Councilor Dar. Furthermore, just as I was about to slay the Kaitoth king, your son attacked me and teleported Tomar away to safety! I recommend to the Great Council that Councilor Dar be held for questioning in this matter…

COUNCIL LEADER TREMAINE
Agreed, Colonel. Guards, take Councilor Dar to the holding area for questioning!

COUNCILOR DAR
No, you can’t do this to me! I had no knowledge of my son’s plans…

NARRATOR
The two Council guards lead Councilor Dar away.

COUNCILOR HURAD
So, this expedition was a total failure, Colonel?

JEREMIAH DANE
On the contrary, Councilor Hurad. It turned out to be a great success! Near the Kaitoth camp, we discovered an underground lake teeming with fish, fresh water, and edible vegetation. I had my men gather as much as they could for the return trip!

COUNCIL LEADER TREMAINE
Col. Dane, you and your men have saved our people! Tonight we will have a great feast in your honor!

JEREMIAH DANE
A feast would certainly lift the people’s spirits, but we were merely doing our jobs, Council Leader Tremaine…

COUNCIL LEADER TREMAINE
I admire your humility, Col. Dane, but now more than ever, the people need heroes like you that they can look up to – to remind them of the Eight Virtues by which we live our lives…

JEREMIAH DANE
Thank you, Council Leader Tremaine. What transpired here while we were gone?

(Insert music track # 41 – “Karelia’s Song” by David R. Watson)

NARRATOR
A bruised and bloodied Joran Tyrell approaches the group.

JORAN TYRELL
I can answer that question, Jeremiah. A group of starving citizens heard rumors that food was being hidden in the cave by the wealthy for their own personal consumption. They ransacked the place and upon discovering the rumors to be false, set fire to the books and manuscripts. I tried to stop them, but I am just one frail old man… I was only able to save a handful of the books. Most of our knowledge is now lost to us…forever.

COUNCILOR HURAD
You must not be so hard on yourself, Joran…

JORAN TYRELL
Despite this terrible loss of knowledge, all is not lost! I have a very special treat for everyone after the feast tonight…

JEREMIAH DANE
Hmm…you have piqued my interest, my old friend. Care to give us a little hint?

JORAN TYRELL
All of you will just have to wait.

NARRATOR
Joran Tyrell smiles, then turns around and walks towards the Cave of Knowledge.
***************************************************************************************
(Insert “Fireplace” sound effect)

(Insert music track # 42 – “The King’s Crowning” by Telaron)

NARRATOR
Later that evening, after everyone in Brittany has filled their empty bellies, they sit in a circle around the Great Hearth in the city center. Joran Tyrell sits down next to Jeremiah Dane. He is holding a massive leather bound tome with intertwined white and black dragons embossed on the cover. Jeremiah gasps.

JEREMIAH DANE (whispering)
Joran, how did you come into possession of the Great Book?

JORAN TYRELL (whispering)
The last great Storyweaver was mortally wounded during the shardfall and entrusted it to me with his dying breath. He told me that I would know the right time to use it. Now, more than ever, our people need to be reminded of our past to give them hope for a brighter future…

JORAN TYRELL
Thank you for coming everyone! Tonight, I am presenting what I hope to be the first of many weekly story hours.

NARRATOR
Everyone listens with rapt attention as Joran opens the massive tome.

(Insert “Page Turn” sound effect)

JORAN TYRELL
Tonight, I will begin the tale of a young Outlander who came to Britannia long, long ago through a lunar rift from a distant planet known as Earth. When he first stepped foot in our land, no one knew his true name, but in time he became known as …LORD BRITISH…

NARRATOR
…AND SO IT BEGINS!

**************************************************************************************
(Insert music track # 43 – “The End of Mankind” by Per Kiilstofte)

NARRATOR

EPILOGUE
Deep within the bowels of the underground caves at the Kaitoth cannibals’ secondary camp, lies a certain chamber which only a handful of people within the tribe are aware of and have access to. Behind the heavy wooden door, red crystals on the cave walls illuminate the lone, unconscious figure within. Forced to stand upright with his arms raised above his head by the black meteoric metal manacles and chains which dangle down from the cave ceiling, the unkempt figure has long, stringy, shoulder length hair and a full beard. The prisoner is clad only in leather armor leggings and boots.
A tall, redheaded, female Kaitoth peers through the window slot, and then opens the door and enters.
She lifts the prisoner’s head up.

AMARA (yelling)
Wake up! Time for your morning workout!

(The Prisoner moans.)

NARRATOR
An evil grin spreads across her face as the prisoner’s eyes flutter open. He glares at her and spits blood in her face! Amara wipes the blood away with her left hand.

AMARA (hissing)
You will pay for that!

(INSERT “Slap” SOUND EFFECT.)

NARRATOR
As the Kaitoth woman slaps him, the prisoner can clearly see the Chaos symbol tattooed on her inner left wrist. Walking behind the prisoner, the woman glances at the many scars on his back, as she draws her cat o’ nine tails.

(Insert “Whip Crack” sound effect.)

(Insert “Whip” sound effect.)

(The Prisoner grunts.)

(Repeat “Whip” and grunt sequence 3x.)

AMARA (whispering)
You still refuse to cry out in pain, even after all these months? I will not let up until I break you…

THE PRISONER (defiant)
That will never happen, Chaos witch!

AMARA
We shall see…

(Insert “Whip” sound effect, followed by Prisoner grunting. Repeat 4X.)

NARRATOR
The woman continues whipping the prisoner for another fifteen minutes. When that does not produce the desired result, she begins using a green crystal powered cattle prod on various locations on his exposed chest and abdomen.

(Insert “Electric Shock Zap” sound effect, followed by Prisoner grunting. Repeat 4X.)

The repeated electric shocks causes the prisoner’s body to tense up, but he still refuses to cry out.

(The Prisoner moans.)

After another ten minutes, the prisoner finally passes out from the pain.

TOMAR
Good morning, Amara!

NARRATOR
The woman turns and bows.

AMARA
King Tomar! What brings you down here at this hour?

TOMAR
I just wanted to see how our guest is doing. Wake him!

NARRATOR
Amara picks up a nearby bucket of cold water and splashes it in the prisoner’s face.
The prisoner moans and coughes up some of the water. He glares at Tomar, who is wearing a very familiar crown…

TOMAR
Still defiant? A futile gesture, I assure you. One day you will bow before me and call me your king!

THE PRISONER
Never! One day I will make sure that your entire tribe of cannibals is wiped from existence!

TOMAR (snarling)
You already tried out before, but we survived…and became even stronger!

(taunting)
I am sure that you are VERY hungry. How fortunate for you that it is feeding time…

NARRATOR
King Tomar nods to the male servant to his right, who places a mug of human blood and a bowl of boiled baby flesh in front of the prisoner. Amara uses a crank to lower the chains enough so that the prisoner can sit on the floor.
The prisoner looks at the meal and hesitates, but then his stomach begins to growl. Since his capture three months ago, the prisoner had been fed only bread and water. Now he desperately craved meat.

(The prisoner makes eating noises.)

The prisoner quickly devours the tender, baby flesh with his bare hands and then washes it all down with the mug of human blood. Afterwards, he bows his head down in despair as he stares at his blood drenched hands…

THE PRISONER (wailing)
What have I done?! I have forsaken the virtues and succumbed to…the hunger!

TOMAR (gleefully)
Yes…human flesh tastes SO good, doesn’t it? Once you have the hunger, it never goes away! You have become one of us, LORD BRITISH! I can think of no better revenge!

(TOMAR laughs evilly.)
**************************************************************************************

(Insert music track # 46 – “The Last Encounter” by Matthew Pablo)

MUSIC CREDITS
All music used in this production are licensed under either Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 or 4.0 Unported

(https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

Music track # 1 – “Horror Game Menu” by Eric Matyas

Music track # 2 – “Death Is Just Another Path” by Otto Halmen

Music track # 3 – “Knowing Tree” by Dinsoo

Music track # 4 – “Hall of the Ancients” by Eliot Corley

Music track # 5 – “Soliloquy” – by Matthew Pablo

Music track # 6 – “A New Thing” by Dinsoo

Music track # 7 – “Wind of Stories” by HorrorPen

Music track # 8 – “You’ll Be Here” by Dinsoo

Music track # 9 – “Conquerors” by Alexandr Zhelanov

Music track # 10 – “Heroes Theme” by Alexandr Zhelanov

Music track # 11 – “Seeking Loot” by Aaron Spencer

Music track # 12 – “Battle Theme A” by The Cynic Project

Music track # 13 – “Blackmoor Colossus” by Matthew Pablo

Music track # 14– “The Dark Amulet” by Matthew Pablo

Music track # 15 – “Olympos” by Jens Kiilstofte

Music track # 16 – “Heroic Demise” by Matthew Pablo

Music track # 17 – “Oh Honey” by Dinsoo

Music track # 18 – “Rifts End featuring Sharm” by Dinsoo

Music track # 19 – “Cloister of Redemption” by Jens Kiilstofte

Music track # 20 – “Omens” by Eliot Corley

Music track # 21 – “The Way I Feel” by Dinsoo

Music track # 22 – “Baby” by Dinsoo

Music track # 23 – “Exigence” by Aaron Spencer

Music track # 24 – “Mortal Combat” by Zach Sheppard

Music track # 25 – “Fire Within” by Jens Kiilstofte

Music track # 26 – “You Were My Brother” by Matthew Pablo

Music track # 27 – “Dream Raid” by Matthew Pablo

Music track # 28 – “Takeover” by Horrorpen

Music track # 29 – “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” by Todd Reed Music

Music track # 30 – “Enchanted Festival” by Matthew Pablo

Music track # 31 – “Viracocha’s Demise” by Eliot Corley

Music track # 32 – “Battle of Kings” by Per Kiilstofte

Music track # 33 – “Assassin’s Assault” by HorrorPen

Music track # 34 – “Final Epic Battle” by Telaron

Music track # 35 – “Rise of Spirit” by Alexandr Zhelanov

Music track # 36 – “Escape from the Temple” by Per Kiilstofte

Music track # 37 – “Waltz of the Undertaker” by Aaron Spencer

Music track # 38 – “Wasteland Showdown” by Matthew Pablo

Music track # 39 – “Changes” by Dinsoo

Music track # 40 – “Salvation” by Trevor Lentz

Music track # 41 – “Karelia’s Song” by David R. Watson

Music track # 42– “King’s Crowning” by Telaron

Music track # 43- “The End of Mankind” by Per Kiilstofte

Music track # 44 – “Engulfing Shadows” by Jens Kiilstofte

Music track # 45 – “Wizards Rest – featuring Sharm” by Dinsoo

Music track # 46 – “The Last Encounter” by Matthew Pablo

Music Track # 47 – “Beyond the Clouds” by Matthew Pablo

***************************************************************************************

(Insert music track # 44 – “Engulfing Shadows” by Jens Kiilstofte)

NARRATOR

MID CREDITS SCENE
Ser Dragonwolf is fast asleep in his massive oak bed with his two beautiful wives – a buxom blonde and a petite redhead – on either side of him. Suddenly, he wakes up and is startled to see a small brown mouse sitting on his stomach. The mouse stares at him and smiles wickedly. Its eyes turn pitch black for a moment and Ser Dragonwolf finds himself momentarily paralyzed with his mouth wide open. The mouse opens its mouth and thick black smoke emanates from it as the mouse’s body quickly turns to ash. The black smoke enters Ser Dragonwolf’s mouth and nostrils. Ser Dragonwolf hears a voice in his mind as it is engulfed in darkness…

(Insert “I See You” sound effect)

A few seconds later, Ser Dragonwolf’s eyes turn pitch black for a moment. He gets up and gazes at his handsome, muscular, naked form in the nearby oval mirror.

BEARCUB
A most definite improvement…and with some definite fringe benefits!

NARRATOR
Ser Dragonwolf gazes lustfully at his two sleeping wives as he grows visibly aroused!

BEARCUB
That was a bit too close for comfort. I almost burned out that mouse’s body before I was able to acquire this new human host. Foolish woman, she thought she could destroy me! Evil is eternal! I was here when Britannia was born and I will be here when it dies. For now I must bide my time until the day my hated foe returns to Britannia – he who destroyed my original form and cursed me to this shadowy existence. One day, I shall have my revenge upon you – NYSTAL TIMELORD! So swears SHADOWREIGN!

(BEARCUB laughs maniacally.)

*************************************************************************************

(Insert music track # 47 – ‘’Beyond the Clouds” by Matthew Pablo)

SOUND EFFECTS CREDITS

All sound effects used in this production are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported
(https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)

The following sound effects can be found at:
http://soundbible.com

“Arrows Flying” – Recorded by Mike Koenig
“Arrow” – Recorded by Mike Koenig
“Backwards Souls” – Recorded by Mike Koenig
“Battle Axe Swing” – Recorded by Mike Koenig
“Bow Fire Arrow” – Recorded by Stephan Schutze
“Bubbling Cauldron” – Recorded by Mike Koenig
“Decapitation Head Fall Off” – Recorded by Mike Koenig
“Drop Sword” – Recorded by Caroline Ford
“Electric Shock Zap” – Recorded by Mike Koenig
“Fireplace” – Recorded by Ezwa
“Fish Splashing” – Recorded by BlastwaveFx.com
“Flame Arrow” – Recorded by Mike Koenig
“Frying Chicken” – Recorded by Mike Koenig
“Hot Sizzling Sound” – Recorded by Mike Koenig
“Intruder Alert” – Recorded by Mike Koenig
“Judges Gavel” – Recorded by Minuteman
“Large Fireball” – Recorded by Mike Koenig
“Neck Breaking” – Recorded by Mike Koenig
“Ninja Samurai Sword” – Recorded by Mike Koenig
“Page Turn” – Recorded by Mark DiAngelo
“Pickaxe” – Recorded by Benboncan
“Slap” – Recorded by SoundMaster 13
“Smashing” – Recorded by Yuri Santana
“Soldiers Marching” – Recorded by Mike Koenig
“Spin Kick” – Recorded by Mike Koenig
“Squishing” – Recorded by Mike Koenig
“Stab” – Recorded by Mike Koenig
“Strong Punch” – Recorded by Mike Koenig
“Swords Clashing” – Recorded by Mike Koenig
“Termites and Ants” – Recorded by Mike Koenig
“Thrown Shuriken” – Recorded by Cody Mahan
“Thunder Sound FX” – Recorded by Grant Evans
“Time Warp” – Recorded by Mike Koenig
“Upper Cut” – Recorded by Mike Koenig
“Whip Crack” – Recorded by Snottyboi
“Whip” – Recorded by Mike Koenig
“Whistle Get Attention” – Recorded by Mike Koenig
“Wood Whack” – Recorded by Mike Koenig
“Gutting Someone” – Recorded by Mike Koenig
“Rage of Blades” – Recorded by Blaga Saun

The following sound effects can be found at:
http://opengameart.org

“Cyborg Hurt” – Recorded by Vinrax
“Fall” – Recorded by remaxim
“Hitting Wall” – Recorded by spookymodem
“I See You Voice” – Recorded by Vinrax
“Teleport” – Recorded by OgreBane

***************************************************************************************
(Insert music track # 45 – “Wizards Rest – featuring Sharm” by Dinsoo)

NARRATOR

POST CREDITS SCENE

WIZARDS REST
ONE YEAR AGO…
NYSTAL TIMELORD’S HOME IN THE UNDERGROUND PLAYER OWNED TOWN KNOWN AS THE TIME TUNNEL…

Lord Baldrith and Asclepius descend the long staircase to the fifth level of the stone basement.

ASCLEPIUS
It’s a pity that Nystal’s time ship, the Tanken-ka, will never fly again…

LORD BALDRITH
Yes, but thankfully he was able to salvage the quantum temporal drive to create the time tunnel down here! Too bad it only allows for travel to the past and not to the future.

ASCLEPIUS
Hmm…I wonder why Nystal did not wait until suitable replacement parts were available to repair his time ship instead…

LORD BALDRITH
Well, it appears that Nystal has finally discovered the identity of his archenemy and has to accelerate his efforts to thwart his foe’s nefarious plan before it is too late…

NARRATOR
The two men find themselves in front of a mystically enchanted heavy obsidian door. They hear a disembodied voice speak to them.

MAX
Halt! Please identify yourselves….

ASCLEPIUS
Asclepius, Director of the New Britannia Theater Troupe…

LORD BALDRITH
Lord Baldrith, Assistant Director of Field Operations…

NARRATOR
A hologram of Max, the former A.I. for the Tanken-ka, suddenly appears!

MAX
Identities confirmed through voice analysis.
Welcome back, Lord Baldrith and Asclepius! Please enter!
Nystal TimeLord should be returning momentarily from his latest mission…

NARRATOR
The door suddenly swings open and the two men enter.
They witness the time tunnel portal hum to life.

(Insert “Backwards Souls” sound effect)

MAX
Incoming traveler!

NARRATOR
Suddenly, the time tunnel changes color and tone.

(Insert “Time Warp” sound effect)

Nystal TimeLord steps through. He smiles upon seeing his two friends.

ASCLEPIUS
Welcome back from your trip back to the distant past, Nystal! I assume the mission was a success?

NYSTAL TIMELORD
Indeed! I managed to save the very young Lord British from those brigands and made sure that he made contact with the right person…

NARRATOR
TimeLord’s holographic wife, Chariya, suddenly shimmers into existence next to him.

CHARIYA
Hmm…and it was very clever of you to disguise yourself as a bald, middle-aged Asian monk with incredible martial arts skills, although I am not sure if our good friend Theodric would appreciate you “borrowing” his name. You never know the possible ramifications….

NYSTAL TIMELORD
Well dear, that shouldn’t be much of a problem…After all, it was hundreds of years before Theodric was even born. I doubt our liege will even remember the name when he commissions Theodric to write “The History of New Britannia, Vol. 1” in the present…

NARRATOR
Nystal grins slyly.

NYSTAL TIMELORD
That reminds me…I need to “suggest” to young Theodric that he conduct his research on the Obsidians at Desolis. Otherwise, he will not end up meeting his one true love…

NYSTAL TIMELORD
So what do you have to report, my dear friends?

LORD BALDRITH
I made contact with Col. Jeremiah Dane’s descendant, Gabriel Dane…er…Nightshadow…in Greymark Forest and saved him from the Elves who attacked him upon his arrival from Earth. I properly outfitted him and led him to Owls Head…

NYSTAL TIMELORD
Excellent! I should hurry there for our “first” encounter…

NARRATOR
Nystal TimeLord rests his arms on Asclepius and Lord Baldrith’s shoulders.

NYSTAL TIMELORD
My friends, we must be more careful than ever now! My archenemy, Shadowreign, is secretly manipulating both the unsuspecting Oracle and the Obsidians to do his bidding. The fate of New Britannia lies in our hands! We must not let “The Age of Shadows” come to pass…

(Insert “Intruder Alert” sound effect)

MAX
Warning! Multiple unauthorized travelers incoming! Unable to shut down time tunnel…

NARRATOR
Nystal Timelord, Asclepius, and Lord Baldrith assume battle stances.

(Insert “Time Warp” sound effect)

Seven cybernetically enhanced figures clad in black armor step through and immediately draw their swords, bows, and bisentos. Four of them are ninja and three of them are samurai. Their leader, one of the samurai, steps forward.

GENERAL RUKO (angry)
After countless years of wandering this strange world, we have finally found you, Nystal Timelord! We may be all that remains of the mighty Jinrazi Empire, but we will make you pay for assassinating the Emperor and destroying our mighty battle fleet!

NYSTAL TIMELORD
Your empire enslaved thousands of worlds and slaughtered billions of innocent people who did not bend to your will! More importantly to me, the Emperor killed my beloved wife, Chariya! If it hadn’t been for the hologram mind cube my cousin Mingo gave me as a wedding gift, I would have no hope of restoring her! I have no regrets about my actions! Justice was served and I was able to restore the proper timeline of the 30th century in the Milky Way Galaxy. The United Empire of Earth (UEE) rules once more!

GENERAL RUKO (angry)
Kill the three of them!

(Insert “Laser Machine Gun“ sound effect twice)

NARRATOR
Suddenly, all seven of the intruders are struck from behind in quick succession by electromagnetic pulses!

(Insert “Cyborg Hurt” sound effect)

(Insert “Fall” sound effect seven times)

GENERAL RUKO
No! We were so close…uhhh…

NARRATOR
As General Ruko dies, a hooded figure clad in black and gold colored steampunk armor clearly inspired by the artwork of Denis Loubet emerges from the time tunnel carrying a massive EMP rifle!

MYSTERIOUS TIME TRAVELER
Well, that was a bit too close for comfort! I really need to make some adjustments to my chronotracker…

NARRATOR
The mysterious time traveler glances down at the computer-like device strapped to his right gauntlet. Hmm…this EMP rifle which Todd “Doc” Brown invented is even more effective than I thought…

NYSTAL TIMELORD
Thank you for the helping hand, stranger!

MYSTERIOUS TIME TRAVELER
My pleasure, Nystal! I’ve been looking forward to meeting you for quite some time…

NYSTAL TIMELORD (curious)
Oh? Do I know you?

MYSTERIOUS TIME TRAVELER
No, not yet…I’m from the future. I got stuck in the past when my time gauntlet was damaged by one of these Jinrazi survivors after tracking them to the battlecruiser crash site in the mountains of West Novia 200 years ago. I never expected them to stumble across your time tunnel…
Hmm…is Chariya around?

NARRATOR
Holographic Chariya suddenly materializes beside Nystal Timelord.

CHARIYA
Yes, I am here…

MYSTERIOUS TIME TRAVELER
Hmm…I see Nystal hasn’t gotten you a new body yet. Don’t worry – that will happen very soon…

CHARIYA (curious)
How could you know that?

NARRATOR
The stranger removes his hood. The dark-haired, young man, who appears to be in his mid-twenties, flashes a very familiar grin. Chariya gasps as both Asclepius and Lord Baldrith turn towards Nystal TimeLord with surprised looks on their faces.

MYSTERIOUS TIME TRAVELER
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Tahru. I’m…your son!

NYSTAL TIMELORD (shocked)
Oh my…!

NARRATOR
The story will continue in….
SHADOWLORE: THE ORIGIN OF WIZARDS REST AND THE NEW BRITTANIA THEATER TROUPE

THE END

September 30 2017

Echoes From the Caverns 09-29-17

Greetings Fellow Avatars! Here’s what we have for you in this week’s edition of Update of the Avatar:

Game Development 

  • Play Release 46 Now! 3:35
  • The Making of Blackblade Foothills, North Midmaer Way, & North Quel Way 18:45
  • News Announcements

  • Q4 2017 Schedule Update 25:50
  • R46 Postmortem Telethon 42:22
  • Cyber Monday Crown Bonus 46:50
  • R45 Raffle Winners Announced 50:57
  • SotA Con Austin 2017 Schedule 51:40
  • Community Updates
  • Upcoming Events Calendar 53:40
  • Play: Hungry Eyes in The Darkness 54:40
  • Event: Veritas Sanctuary R46 Welcome Events 58:14
  • Resources: Players Helping Players 1:01:40
  • Recommended Project to Support: Numenera 2: Discovery and Destiny 1:01:07

September 23 2017

Echoes From the Caverns 09-22-17

Hi Everyone! Here is the news of the week!

  • The Making of Blackblade Foothills (19:45)
  • Updates to New Content Threads: More Halloween and Oracle Items (29:14)
  • Top 10 Priorities for Launch (Sept 2017 Edition) (34:10)
  • Free Trial Test #6 (Sep 7-27) Continues! (48:34)
  • Testing Incentives Program Reinstated (as a Lottery) (49:18)
  • In The News: Dragon Con Interview Part 2 and More (58:06)
  • Weekend Flash Sale: Water Homes, Water Lots, and Ship Decos (59:57)
  • Upcoming Events Calendar (1:00:58)
  • Livestream: Northwest Blackblade Mountains (1:02:28)
  • Spotlight: Knight’s Watch Player Town (1:07:21)
  • Event: Trial of Chaos – Are You Brave Enough? (1:13:52)
  • Resources: Players Helping Players (01:14:45)
  • Recommended Project to Support: Nox Archaist (01:15:15)

September 21 2017

Virtue’s Forge – ch 9 – by Ulf Berht – narrated by Asclepius

Hello everyone, this is Asclepius, with a further instalment of this wonderful story by Ulf Berht, entitled

“Virtue’s Forge”
Background music by Smartsound

 

” Chapter 9, “Landfall”
“Land ho!” the watch cried out. “Three points off starboard.”
“The Isle of Wonders,” announced Kaia, as Merlin came on deck. “We will be up the Brisach River and docking at Lochbrier within the hour. Merlin, Cook, Mr. Abrams, Tuey, Chin-ho, and Scott, with me. Pack light. We can only go so far upriver before it’s overland.”
”Captain, having a map of this trek of ours would allay some fears I have of being stranded in some domain as yet unknown to me.”
“Merlin, Cook here is a native of The Grunvald and can guide us to Desolis. But a map you shall have. Cook! Would you be so kind as to make up a map for our fearful wizard.”
“Aye, Captain,” said Cook. “Although, if he finds himself in need of a such map, I fear what remains of his life will be short.”
“You may be right, Cook. Just oblige me.”
“Aye, Captain.”
Merlin had little to do save watch as Kaia and her crew docked their boat and transferred the few supplies and equipment their little band could carry. The bridge at Lochbrier blocked the course of all but small vessels, so at least a day of rowing upstream lay ahead. Just before embarking on this leg of the journey, some much appreciated kegs of beer appeared on the dock. “This will make rowing more palatable,” thought Merlin.
Rowing was expected of all onboard save the captain. Four rowed while two rested, drank beer, and watched the river go by. Tuey and Chin-ho even broke into song, easing the passage of time and weary muscles. “I have rowed more since arriving here than I have in my entire life,” thought Merlin. “Some good will come from this should I ever have to swing a sword.”
Cook signaled a stop just before the Brisach made a major turn to the northeast. “With your permission Captain, we camp here for the night and head inland at first light,” he said.
“That will no doubt be agreeable to all,” Captain Kaia said as the dory’s keel crunched on the gravel shoreline. “Cook, Mr. Abrams, stay with Merlin and me. Tuey, and Scott, return to the crew in the morning. Mr. Chin-Ho, accompany them but ensconce yourself in Lochbrier for a week or two, then rejoin the crew. See what a few tongues, loosened by gold, can bring forth.”
“Tomorrow night we will be in bandit country, so there will be no fires. Before we leave tomorrow, pack enough of the rations. Prepare for at least two days’ march.”
“Carry on, Cook,” said Kaia. “Abrams and Merlin, with me.” She unfolded a map. “This has more detail than yours, Merlin, but is essentially the same. The Pass through the Vauban Mountains, here, is north by northeast of our position. That will be where we might expect Ulf to be. The pass and the area around the Sequanna Colossus is firmly in bandit control and must be avoided. Even our rendezvous in the Barrens contains some risk, so be ever alert.”

September 16 2017

Echoes from the Caverns 09-15-2017

Greetings Fellow Avatars! On my own this week as our schedules could not match up!
Here’s what we have for you in this week’s edition of Update of the Avatar:
Game Development

  • The Making of Northwest Blackblade Mountains     3:25
  • New Content Threads: SeedInvest, Telethon Rewards, Halloween     9:30

News Announcements

  • R45 Postmortem Missed Questions Answered     29:52
  • SeedInvest Next Steps – Awarding of Perks         31:11
  • Free Trial Test #6 (Sep 7-27) Now Live!                 34:08
  • In The News: Richard and Starr Dragon Con Interviews         35:40
  • Berek’s Panel at Austin Game Conference            44:10
  • Lord British and Blackthorn at UO 20th Anniversary    46:40
  • Portalarium is Hiring: Web Developer                   48:00
  • Weekend Flash Sale: Pets, Clocks, & Moondials    49:12
  • Make a Difference: Exodus by Helen Garriott        50:10

Community Updates

  • Upcoming Events Calendar                                  53:00
  • Spotlight: Serenite Crafting Museum                   54:13
  • Event: AERIE Fund – Community Cause – Think Pink    1:01:11
  • Resources: Players Helping Players                                1:02:40
  • Recommended Project to Support: BrightLocker CrowdEquity Campaign   1:02:40

September 9 2017

Echoes From the Caverns 09-08-17

Hi Everyone! Here is the news of the week!

  • The Making of South Longfall Wetland (21:25)
  • The Making of Crooked Shank (cont.) (29:03)
  • The Making of North Shattered Hills (cont.) (32:37)
  • New Title for Weekly Update (36:10)
  • Free Trial Test #6 (Sep 7-27) Now Live! (39:12)
  • R45 Postmortem Telethon Results (41:13)
  • Dragon Con 2017 Cosplay Contest Winners! (46:33)
  • In The News: Richard Garriott and Starr Long Interview at Dragon Con (50:20)
  • Portalarium is Hiring: Web Developer (51:30)
  • Weekend Flash Sale: Viking Items! (54:30)
  • Upcoming Events Calendar (55:27)
  • New Novia Map for Release 45 (01:02:35)
  • Giveaway: Grand Opening of Vyrin & Womby’s Bookwyrm Apartments (01:03:00)
  • Resources: Players Helping Players (01:06:07)
  • Recommended Project to Support: Unknown Realm (01:06:52)

September 7 2017

Virtue’s Forge – ch 7 & 8 – by Ulf Berht – narrated by Asclepius

Hello everyone, this is Asclepius, with another instalment of this wonderful story from Ulf Berht, entitled

“Virtue’s Forge”
Background music by Smartsound

Chapter 7, “Fire”
“Fire! Fire!”
When Merlin heard the shouting, he threw on his robe and boots and ran out into the pre-dawn twilight. Around the corner and up the street he could see the red and orange flames leaping high into the sky, showering sparks down upon the village. He ran to help and soon realized that Ulf’s forge was engulfed in flames. A bucket brigade had formed but clearly there was already no possibility of extinguishing the blaze. The fire fighters were now concentrating on putting out fires started by flying embers. Ulf was nowhere to be seen and no one could recall seeing him.
By noon, only smoking ruin was left. With no sign of Ulf, Merlin and others began poking through the blackened timbers. “Here! Over here! A body I think,” called out one of the searchers. “It must be the blacksmith.”
Merlin watched as guardsmen arrived and collected the body in a canvas sheet and took it to the mortuary. A few tattered scraps of cloth were stuck in the burnt and blackened flesh. There was nothing recognizable as Ulf’s, but the height and weight were a match. A sword lay by the body on the scorched floor. Other weapons and household item had also been scattered by the firefighting.
The Captain of the Guards approached Merlin.”You were acquainted with this man?” he asked.
“I am indeed. Ulf Berht is a particular friend of mine. I am not yet convinced that those remains are his.”
“Are you not, sir? Then whose might they be? I have not been informed of any other not being accounted for. Where were you prior to the blaze?”
“In my lodgings at the inn. I am sure the innkeeper can attest that I was there until wakened by the alarm. As to who this is, I have no idea.”
“I will, of course, verify your whereabouts with the innkeeper. I the meantime, I must ask you to remain in town.”
“Of course, Captain. May I search the site for things recoverable? I know much of what he owned.”
“You may, but one of my men will accompany you and catalogue what you find.”
“Good day to you then. We must be about our tasks,” said Merlin.
The Captain made no reply as he left to give some orders to his men. “Keep an eye on him,” Merlin overheard the officer say.
………..

The possibility that Ulf was gone increased with no sign yet of any resurrection. Merlin’s mood turned dark. “It is not my way to become attached to anyone,” he thought, as the warm water of the tub soothed his tired body. It had taken two tubs of water to be rid of the throat catching, nose stinging fumes of wet burned wood. Merlin’s searching had located Ulf’s tools, swords, and armor–all things a blacksmith would have taken with him had some business called him away. Most troubling was that the iron ingot containing the jewel could not be found.
Merlin’s dozing reverie was disturbed by a knock on his door. “More hot water sire. Can I bring it in?” a female voice asked.
“Certainly. But weren’t you just here?” The door opened and the maid stepped in with a large jug of steaming water.
“Not I sire. Mistress told me to bring more. Do you not want it?”
“Just pour it into the tub, girl, before it too gets cold.”
Merlin examined the girl as she emptied the jug. He noticed her attractiveness and was somewhat embarrassed by his nakedness. Darker skinned than any he had seen around Port Graff, small breasted, with her hair cut short. Lithe, and certainly strong, judging by the way she handled the large jug of hot water.
“I have not seen you before,” said Merlin. “Do you have a name?”
“Kaia, to you sir,” she said. In an instant she was behind Merlin with a dagger against his throat. “Assassin to others. But fear not. I am not here to kill you, unless you cry out.”
“That cold steel at my throat ensures my silence. If it is not my death you want, then what? You can have my manhood without the need of a blade.”
“I have found that a little steel in the bedchamber keeps a man more compliant to my will. Now listen, I know nothing about your friend’s fate nor was I party to the fire or any such mischief. I can tell you that the Sun Stone that was in his possession is on the move. In whose pocket I honestly know not. The guardsmen will soon be seeking me, as my enquires about you and him are well known. So I must be off. I must follow the stone which, I believe is destined for Desolis. If your friend is alive, he goes there too. Join me if you wish, but I must sail tonight. What is your answer?”
Merlin thought for a moment. “We will then seek out those who have the stone, determine Ulf’s fate, and exact the appropriate revenge?”
“Excellent. Be at the dock at midnight, attract no attention, and all will go well. If necessary, I will cast off and sail to a small bay at the north of Graff Island and wait for you no more than one day. Failing that, make your own way to Desolis and seek out Anya. She will know where I am.”
Merlin had barely enough time to nod before she was out the window and onto nearby rooftop.
…..
No moon lit the way as Merlin walked as silently as possible towards the docks. The few people about were easy to evade by slipping into darker shadows. “The Captain will not be pleased with me,” he thought. “I will probably be branded as a murderer.”
As if on cue with the thought, the Captain of the Guard stepped out of the shadows, sword drawn. “Out for an evening stroll are we?”
Before the Captain could summon other waiting guards, a darker shadow behind him pulled out a leather sap, easily laying the Captain out with a rap to his head. A lithe female form in head to toe black stepped out. “Quick! The boat’s on the beach. Get in and row for all your life’s worth. My crew is watching and will pick us up.”
Merlin needed no more encouragement than that to sprint alongside the dark form to the shoreline, find the boat, and ready the oars. As she removed her black facemask, Merlin could now confirm that his ally was Kaia. Without any further conversation, they bent to the oars and rowed off into the night.

Chapter 8 – “Kaia”
“Well, Mr. Wizard, your life is once again in my hands,” said Kaia. She had one hand on a ratline and one foot theatrically up on the gunwale. Her supple black leather armor hid none of her femininity. “If this wind holds, we will be at the mouth of the Brisach River late tomorrow, with perhaps enough light to make Lochbrier before dark. To get any further inland, we must switch to a vessel with less draft. From there it’s overland to Desolis.”
A hue and cry had arisen from Graff Harbor and several torches had illuminated the docks, but no pursuit had arisen. Once onboard the larger boat, Kaia issued a single command and her crew flew into motion, setting sail and getting underway.
Merlin looked hard at Kaia, unsure of when or even if he could charm her and access her motives. Light from the shattered moon lit her features well enough, but he would have to wait to find out if she possessed any resources that could counter his attempts to beguile her. “I am ever wary of fortunate happenstances,” he said. “That you happen to be at the dock with the appropriate weapon in hand, at exactly the right spot to allow you to render unconscious a conveniently alone Captain of the Guard, seems to be too fortunate.”
“It seems to me, Mr. Wizard, that if it were not for just such fortunate happenstances, you would be laying in your own piss in a dark and cold clink, waiting for the hangman to get sober enough to stretch your wizardly neck. I admit to spying upon you and the blacksmith. I also admit to seeing pale-skinned satyrs out at night engaged in similar pursuits. I also know that gold would aid said Captain in making quick and convenient decisions. If you continue to suspect my motives, you are free to disembark anytime. I may, however, forget to tie the boat to a wharf first.”
“Please, Kaia, do not misunderstand me. I am very grateful for your help in keeping me out of that draughty cell. Perhaps were you to use our names instead of references to wizards and blacksmiths, and if you were not so eager to draw your knife, we might yet be comrades. But for now I am eager for more information.”
“Very soon, Mr. Wi…Merlin. Have patience while I lay out a course for my crew.”
Ahoy, Mr. Talbot. Take our guest here below and find him a bunk. Ask Cook to conjure up a meal for us in my cabin.”
Merlin, I trust that once settled you will join me in my cabin and we will share a good meal and perhaps become comrades.”
Merlin nodded and turned to follow Talbot. The bunk was in a tiny cabin, barely large enough to turn around in. There was a small wash basin, dutifully filled with warm water. By the time he was summoned to the Captain’s cabin, the cooking aromas that filled the air had Merlin more than ready to eat. A mere foot or two separated his cabin from hers, yet a small neatly clad cabin boy was somehow required to conduct him in.
Elegant silverware embellished a carved wooden table large enough to seat six. A writing table, two trunks, and a draped four poster bed filled most of the room. Through the stern window, pale moonlight reflected off a foamy wake.
“Have a seat, Merlin. Brent will be along shortly with some grub. Wine? Port?”
“I am exceedingly hungry. Some wine would be most welcome,” said Merlin, taking the offered seat and wine.
“Let me get straight to the point,” said Kaia. “I am not an Outlander like you, but neither am I from Novia. For now that is all I am prepared to say. The events now taking place in Novia are causing a lot of concern throughout this unfortunate globe, and I need your help. I need help in preventing your friend, Ulf, from being turned into a monster and being used as a weapon.”
A single rap on the cabin door interrupted. “Enter,” she said. A smartly dressed young man came in carrying several serving dishes, elegantly balanced in his arms.
“Thank you, Brent. Just put them on the table. Give my compliments to Cook and you may call it a day.”
Conversation between Merlin and Kaia ceased as both attacked the meal: white meat, rice, and vegetables covered in a spicy, buttery sauce, served with some flat-bread.
“My compliments to the cook as well,” said Merlin. “Crab, or perhaps Lobster?” he asked.
Kaia laughed. “Corpion. Cook is from Grunveld, the very same area we must make our way through. Somewhat of a delicacy of that region, I am told. A deadly poison, unless properly prepared.”
“He must know his trade, for we are still breathing. Delicious, nonetheless. Have you a map of our journey so that I may become more oriented? I fear my lack of knowledge may interfere with the proper digestion of this so expertly prepared meal.”
“I do indeed,” said Kaia. “Several, in fact.” The meal finished, they made their way to her writing table. “The first is of Drachvald, from the northern tip of the peninsula south to the head of the Brisarch River and Vauban Pass. Port Graff is here,” she indicated, “and our current position here. Exile Island is off to starboard, here. The satyrs I watched in Port Graff were of the underdweller type, normally found only in The Epitaph at Desolis.”
Kaia unrolled a second map. “Here is Grunvald, south to Eastreach Gap. Desolis is almost dead center of the barrens. The Epitaph in Desolis is where your friend Ulf is destined to meet his fate, unless we intervene.”
“I have heard of The Epitaph, a 200 year old ruin from the Obsidian Wars. Why would Ulf’s abductors go there?”
“Obsidian Chards, rings of stone, secret rooms, elves, satyrs, and the undead, all in a bandit stronghold. A cornucopia of trouble. Without a doubt, a center for Obsidian Cabalists. Here they plot their re-conquest of Novia.”
“And their need for Ulf Berht is…?” asked Merlin.
“They hope the Sunstone that accompanied Ulf to Novia will allow them to resume the reshaping of living things to better suit their purposes. In particular, the creation of chimeric monsters, invisible to the Oracle—re-worked elves perhaps. You were to be a redundant victim should Ulf prove too delicate and expire.”
“Sunstone? The jewel I gave Ulf was a ruby.”
No it is not. It is a Sunstone masterfully disguised and exceedingly rare here since the Cataclysm. The Shardfalls, thought by many to be random strikes, were in fact carefully planned. The locations were specifically targeted so as to eliminate any local source of the gem. A source of sunstones would allow full control of all the Lunar Rifts in Novia and enable the return to the re-formation of living beings.”
“For someone not from Novia, you seem to be in possession of knowledge not known to others. Are you one of these Cabalists?” asked Merlin.
“In some ways I am, I must confess, but not of the current variety. Were I Novian, I would be called an Annaleman.
“Annaleman?” asked Merlin.
“Before the Cataclysm, many scholars studied the magic of Lunar Rifts—Moongates, they were known as then. Some of the scholars were investigating how to extend the range of the portals, even to the moons, Trammel and Felluca, themselves.
“These are the moons that collided?” asked Merlin.
“Yes. Following the collision, thousands of scholars and academics were rounded up and accused of causing this Cataclysm by dabbling in things belonging to the gods. Many were murdered or exiled. The Obsidian Cabalists offered some security, so many joined the cause, only to be aghast when Cabalists began re-forming the living into war machines. Any objection to this magic was met with a trip to the re-shapers’ laboratory.”
“A gruesome fate,” said Merlin.
“Indeed! That is why dissent went underground. A secret society formed, working against the Obsidians. They called themselves Annalemans. Some, like my ancestors, fled to other lands. Others remained and still maintain a network of informants who are keeping a close eye out for our interests.”
“How does all this result in Ulf being abducted and me being wanted for murder?” asked Merlin.
“Wait, Merlin. Let me continue.
“One way to re-shape creatures is to tune two Lunar Rifts so that they have the same destination, like a mirror reflecting itself. The simultaneous use of Rifts set this way can produce a chimera—a single creature with some combination of those transported. The result is usually a disgustingly messy blob of slimy wet flesh and bone that lives for but a moment.”
“Not a fate I would relish for Ulf, or anyone.”
Kaia continued. “Several texts have survived the centuries and explain how to tune the ring stones to reduce the risk of this happening. Viable creatures can be produced. However, it is more troubling that unfettered control of Lunar Rifts would allow for the production of multiple copies of such successful combinations.”
“A repeat of the Obsidian armies,” said Merlin.
“Just so, said Kaia. “Our information suggests that some Obsidian Cabalists have taken up residence in The Epitaph. They have their hands on the texts and are planning to produce warriors who are invisible to the Oracle. A resurgent Obsidian Empire would not be a good thing.”
“Do you have any evidence for all this?” asked Merlin. “My mind reels to think that Ulf and I are at the centre of such events. It defies reason.”
“Oh Merlin, your distrust wounds me yet again. You are well known for being at the centre of events. Having a wondrous sword crafted for a young king comes to mind.”
“Enough of this banter!” said Merlin. “I demand that you explain to me how you would come to know this. Do you have a magic that lays open a man’s mind?”
Unphased, Kaia slowly took a sip from her goblet. “Much as I wish I did, I do not. What I do have is access to some of the information that the Watchers gather. I will give you proof, as long as you acknowledge that any betrayal will mean your death, a permanent one. Do you agree to this?”
“If this is just another tactic to confuse things, you may have to kill me anyway,” said Merlin.
“Let me demonstrate.” Kaia walked over to one of the trunks in the cabin and opened it. She retrieved a dormant Watcher. “A Grand Master in water magic froze this flying Watcher so quickly that no one was alerted. He then replaced its sensing organ with one of our own design. This process creates a spy that we can use for our own purposes. Unfortunately, these substitute sensing organs do not preserve much of the information they gather. Nor can the organs send out the information they do retain. So each must be retrieved before we can access that information. Watch this.”
Kaia took out a small whistle that produced no audible sound when she blew into it. A semitransparent still image of Merlin and Ulf appeared in the air. They were sitting in chairs in front of a small house. She blew into the whistle again. The image animated and Merlin’s image spoke.
“Being unseen by your enemy is the essence of camouflage and stealth. Wars are won and lost by knowing things your adversary does not realize you know. Who then is this spy? An agent of the Oracle seeking to know us better, or a foe of the Oracle seeking some advantage over it?”
“I have resolved to delve deep into the mysteries of this land,” Merlin’s voice continued. “My hope is to find a way to return home. I must seek out Grand Masters and trainers in every school of magic and learn what I can.”
Kaia blew the whistle again. The mirage disappeared. “You do indeed seem to have the gift of prophecy,” she said.

September 2 2017

Echoes From the Caverns 09-01-17

Hi Everyone! Here is the news of the week! Hope you are enjoying Release 45!!

  • Play Release 45 Now! (12:25)
  • Making of The Crags (24:50)
  • North Shattered Hills (28:28)
  • R45 Postmortem Mini-Telethon – Sep. 6 (32:17)
  • Portalarium is Hiring: Web Developer (39:17)
  • Shroud at Dragon Con (41:50)
  • Dragon Con 2017 Cosplay Contest (44:45)
  • In The News: Conversations With Giants Ep. 39 – Richard Garriott (46:59)
  • New Pet Dance Emotes! (49:58)
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  • Recommended Project to Support: Wasteland 3 (01:08:32)