Chronicles of the Loremaster The sky above the ancient stone fortress was covered by thick, heavy dark clouds. The plain before it was scared by crevasses. Poisonous smoke coloured in red or green poured out of them. Here and there, in places empty of this dangerous gas, were groups of tents and small huts. They were all very crudely built. Once in a while, a figure from one of the groups would make its way through the labyrinth of smoke and deep holes in the earth to the great gate of the fortress. They would be met by its guardians, and if they were deemed worthy they would pass through the gates. If not they would be torn apart in most gruesome ways and suffer a slow, horrible death both mentally and physically. The few figures that would get through the gates would be led by the dark, empty halls of the old stone fortress. The halls were filled with the agonising howls of terrible monsters and the painful screams of tortured subjects. They would be led through ranks of vicious soldiers, beasts, men and combinations of the two. Hags would gaze upon them from the shadows, and winged daemons drooling over them from the ceiling. They would be taken all the way into the hall of the beast lord. The great lord Razhk, off-spring of Mork, 8 feet tall when he was standing but still looking still as formidable and still as frightful when he was on his chair. He was surrounded by his servants and slaves. In his own evil mind none of them was his equal. He was the greatest beast lord ever to have sat upon that stone throne. He was far greater than his father Mork who failed at the gates to the White City in the south. He knew that, and he knew that he would accomplish what his father never had managed. Then, as the great beast lord once again thought about his great future triumph, three cloaked men walked through his assembled minions in his throne hall. They were accompanied by one of his ogre guards wielding a giant morningstar. The three men all stopped twenty feet in front of the stone throne and bowed respectfully. The beast lord smiled with his huge fangs showing as he saw who they were. “How a pleasant surprise, my friends,” he said in a bestial, sarcastic manner. “Great Razhk,” one of the cloaked persons said. His figure was tall, his shoulders broad, and his voice was deep and dry. “We are to tell you that almost all of our part of this deal has been accomplished. We have located the staff you ordered us to find. We are just worried that it might be to difficult to capture.” The great beastlord started to smile, then he quickly roared furiously, “You pathetic insects. I have known where it was for a long time, and I already have my ways to get it in my hands. You have wasted your time, mainly because you have not responded to me before.” Two of the men winced at Razhk’s angry tone but quickly took themselves together. “We are sorry, great Razhk,” one of them said. This figure almost looked a bit hunch-backed and his voice was thin and sharp. “Shut up!” roared Razhk once again, “What about Ortin Port? This contact you had who would give you the maps and the ancient book.” “We are to meet him in a week. Sorry for being direct, great Razhk, but who is this individual who is able to give you this staff.” “Someone far beyond your intellect,” snarled the beastlord. “Are your agents completely ready for action?” “As soon as we give them the orders they will act as planned,” the tall man spoke again. He almost seemed angry, something which was an a brave act in itself in the front of the beastlord. “Good, good. Soon the staff will be mine, and we will all have our revenge upon the White Realm!” Razhk lifted his arm, and all the assembled beasts, monsters and other minions in the hall responded with their howls, cries, roars and screams. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- It was morning in the Forest of Rachmaninov. Almirith sat on the riverbank and watched the river salmon which was swimming against the stream. He turned his face to the direction of the White Realm. Behind the Forest of Rachmaninov was the Great Plains of Aridness. Beyond that lay the Forest of Truth and the White Realm. He was far from home, but still he felt that every place was like a home to him. That was the way of the ranger, he thought. To have the ability of making a living everywhere, no matter how hard that would be. Suddenly Almirith heard a sound, a sound that came from far, far away. The sound came in his direction and at a great speed. “Cavalry… light cavalry,” he whispered for himself. He bent his head to the ground, and he heard what he thought he would hear. Between fifty and sixty horsemen were heading his way. Almirith picked up his axe, his bow and his quiver, ran up to the road fifty meters up from the riverbank and climbed a large and strong oak on the other side of the road. Only a few minutes later a small company, between fifty and sixty horsemen, arrived around the bend of the road some seventy meters away. None of them were dressed in uniform nor did they have any familiar signs on them. They were dressed in leather armour, and all of them carried short bows on their back, and swords on their sides. Some of them had short, throwing spears too, and a few had wolf pelts hanging over their shoulders. Almirith did not recognise the outfitting of the horsemen since they did not have any type of signs or emblems. But he had no need for that, for in the front of the formation rode two men he knew. Sir Fubarbundy and Sir HuggyFrog. Almirith dropped from the tree. “A long time has passed since you walked your footsteps in the White Realm, Sir Fubarbundy and Sir HuggyFrog,” Almirith called out to them. The horsemen stopped in front of him and HuggyFrog reached and grabbed Almirith’s welcoming hand. “We’re still not there, Almirith,” HuggyFrog said, “but I understand we’re close, by the sight of a familiar face like yours.” Almirith shook his hand, and turned to shake hands with Fubarbundy, but the knight had already dismounted. He gave Almirith a big hug. “Thanks for that,” Almirith said with a smile on his lips, “try to not to crush me next time.” Fubarbundy just smiled back at him, before he turned to his horse again. “Will you ride with us to the rest of the way Almirith?” asked HuggyFrog, “unless you were busy with something. Well, at least to the borders of the White Realm. I want to pay a visit to the Overlord before we go to the White City.” “Not at all, just let me go and get my horse and equipment,” Almirith said, and ran into the forest to find his hiding place. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The following night they made camp in the Great Plains of Aridness. Not many people lived there, except the large human settlement to the south which was ruled over by Lord Rudder. The horsemen, who were all warriors chosen from the Wolf Company and Branalbinn’s Guard, put up around 20 tents beneath some large hills on the plains. After that they created camp fires and celebrated that they were now finally not far from their homeland. HuggyFrog, Fubarbundy and Almirith sat around a camp fire for themselves. HuggyFrog and Fubarbundy told Almirith about the journey to the Jungles of Mu, about the lizard-people living there and how the negotiations for peace had proceeded. “I’m still irritated there was no fighting”, murmured Fubarbundy. “That’s a good thing actually,” HuggyFrog responded, “they seemed to be quite skilled in travelling through the jungle quickly. And they also use quite deadly poison, one of the jungle masters showed that too me. I would not have liked fighting a war against them in the jungle.” Fubarbundy nodded in agreement and took another sip from his ale. “But tell me Almirith, how has thing been here in the White Realm while we were away. Trouble on the borders?” said HuggyFrog. “We have not had a single skirmish with the beasts in a long time. Some of us actually believe that they are having trouble on their own, fighting against themselves. Others again are pessimistic, believing that it is only quiet before the evitable storm. Still we have had no troubles at the borders, or with other nations or rulers like Maga Khan. But we have had some trouble internal unfortunately.” HuggyFrog bent forward curiously but with a frown in his face. “What kind of trouble,” he asked. “Well, there have been stirrings in some of the counties. Apparently some people have launched verbal attacks at the White Counsil saying that we really have no clue at what is going on in the White Realm. They have called us power-hungry fools who earn our positions on previous wars. My friend James Rudder is one of them, and Loter Arthious share some of their opinions. Also Sebastian demands complete independence.” “What?” Fubarbundy dropped his mug on the ground. “But they are in fact already independent,” HuggyFrog protested rashly, “They don’t pay tax the same way as the other counties. They have complete control of their own soldiers with no need whatsoever to respond to any calls of help from the White Counsil nor any of the other leaders of the other counties or towns. They even have their own fleet for goodness sake.” “They are independent in every sense except formally,” Almirith said, “Sebastian wants the Empire of the East to be recognized as a realm on its own.” “But why,” HuggyFrog asked. “Who knows?” Fubarbundy answered, “I have never understood those weird eastern men. At least Sebastian himself is a fairly reasonable guy, but his advisors and court?” Fubarbundy spat on the ground. “Who knows this”? HuggyFrog turned too “Actually not many people do yet. The ambassadors have been sent to the White City to tell the lord and the council itself, and they will be there within a few days. But myself and High Marshal Andy of the Warriors of Mjolnir managed to learn it quite early thanks too Master Adam. Andy have already ridden to the White City and he intends too bring it up before the council before the ambassadors have made audience with Lord Sunnycool themselves. It’s important that we discuss this before that happens.” “When will the next council meeting be?” Fubarbundy asked. “In five days.” “I intend to pay the Overlord a visit before that time. He already knows we’re on our way, but in that case we will be late I think,” HuggyFrog informed the others. “That’s alright. I will leave you in the morning since I want to pay a visit to a friend of mine. After that I will ride straight to the White City.” Almirith stood up and nodded to Fubarbundy, then he turned and disappeared into the darkness -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Overlord Ubiquitous sat in his library in his castle and studied some ancient writings. The writings told about some ancient creatures living in the Forest of Rachmaninov, now unfortunately almost extinct. Ubiquitous had ordered scouts to the place to verify the information. If they were true, he thought… if they were true he would have to travel there and search for the creatures himself. No matter how dangerous that would be. If the scouts did not return he would have to send someone else, someone better… maybe one of the other knights would help him. The Overlord rose from his desk and walked out of the library. He crossed his great hallway, passed all the ancient suits of armour belonging to long-dead knights that stood there and entered the Room of the World. The room was empty, except for two things, one giant magical light-globe that hang in the roof, given it to him by Princess Louise. The other thing was on the floor, a giant map that was painted on the stones. It was enormous, and it existed nothing like it in the whole realm. He walked towards the Great Plains of Aridness and looked at it. Almirith was there, he knew that. But now he was returning to the realm together with someone else. Someone familiar. His eyes moved to the White Realm, over the Great Plains, over the Trees of the Truthseeker, past the Tower of Trust, over the River of Right, through the Spider Forest to the Great White City. “Rabble is leaving,” he whispered, “he has entered the domain of Maga Khan far to the east. But another one is still here.” Suddenly he looked upon Ortin Port, the Castle of Mjolnir and the Bay of Valour that bordered the Sea of Strength. “Campbell…” ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- In the dark alleys of Ortin Port a shadow was moving. It was moving quickly, and with intention, cuttings each corner without showing any sign of hesitation. It also avoided any light from the light posts that were placed here and there and, oddly enough, seemed to never meet any of the night watch patrolling the streets. It only stopped once and that was when it had met its destination. It stopped in front of a huge warehouse which looked quite abandoned. Then it simple pushed the door open, and as it went in the shadow disappeared as it was absorbed by the darkness of the warehouse. Then it went out a few moments before another shadow followed suit. This one was larger, and therefore it tried to avoid being noticed even more by bending down. It opened the door, went inside and shut the door close behind it. Beside a lamp post around thirty meters away from the warehouse a third figure stood and stroke his fingers over his check. “Interesting,” Master Adam muttered to himself. Then he moved slowly towards the warehouse. Inside the darkness of the warehouse it was entirely silent, except for a small sign of the sound of breathing. Then the light went on, revealing two men staring at each others. “You?” one of them said, “What are you doing here? I thought I was the only one supposed to go.” “Not everyone trusts you Rayrn. I’m one of them. I’m not going to risk you messing this up.” “You suck at lying Baranor,” Rayrn responded with a grin on his face, “it’s pretty clear that you’re only seeking to improve your own position.” Baranor smiled back, “Our organizations position you mean. I still believe you could mess this up. I believe Grobtak would have liked to go too just in case, but that he did not dare too.” Rayrn looked angry at Baranor, and opened his mouth to answer but was quickly interrupted by a voice from above. “How embarrassing,” the voice said mockingly, “Important staff meeting just before a critical meeting which could decide the survival of our guilds if not for this whole realm. And that right before the eyes of a representative from a rival organization.” “Cut out that nonsense Elegost and get down her at once.” Barnor’s smile had quickly disappeared. Elegost balanced elegantly around on a beam while resting his arms on his back. Then he neatly jumped down on the floor. “So, what is it that really makes the Dark Council so desperate as to risk their skin in Ortin Port again.” Elegost asked. “We could ask the same thing about you,” Baranor said with an angry voice. “You know why I am here Baranor,” Elegost responded “I’m here mostly out of curiosity and that I have nothing to risk. But you can’t say the same thing. You have far too many enemies too risk coming back here just because of curiosity. That only means you must have gotten more information from Adam than we did.” “They got more information from me because more was needed too get them here Elegost”, Adam said and stepped forth from behind a corner. “So we we’re not the only ones,” Rayrn said, his voice furious. “Who more are coming here then?” “Sven should be here soon, but he already knows a lot about this matter. So let’s not hesitate anymore and get to business immediately.” Adam moved forward to the three men, and picked up a small case from a pocket in his vest. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 5 days later: Hewer ran through the crowd, crying like madman “GET OUT OF THE WAY!” He ran right through the Vast Market, knocking over an old woman carrying a basket of apples and he only managed to shout out “Sorry!” as he hurried down the street. He just made it down to the Southern Gate in time. Around twenty workers were hard at work pulling and pushing the great winches that controlled the Southern Gate… made purely out of iron and ore from the Mountains of Glory. Slowly the gates were opening outwards. Right in front of the gates on the inside stood Captain Locky together with Sir Apollo, High Marshal Andy, Sims, Pezza and Sir Alexander. Hewer ran towards them. He tried to behave a little bit angry and irritated as he spoke to Locky: “Once again you walked to the gates without me.” “Oh,” said Locky with a sarcastic smile on his lips, “I totally forgot about that, sorry, my bad.” “You did it on purpose right?” muttered Hewer. “Of course,” Locky was about to laugh hysterically, “what did you think?” “If I am to protect you I need to know where you are. Is not that logic?” “Not to my ears,” answered Locky. Hewer gave out a sigh. In from the gates came a small group of black-cloaked, stubborn warriors. Around thirty and only four of them on horses. One of the horsemen, however, was not dressed in black like the rest. “Warriors of Mjolnir,” muttered Sims to himself. When they all were through the Great Gate Sir Apollo gave the the sign to Sergeant Fords to close the Gates again. Locky raised his arm to welcome the Commander of Mjolnir. Loremaster Ariakas, the one who were not dressed in black, stepped down from his horse and shook hands with the Captain of the City Defences. “When is the Council meeting?” Ariakas asked when he turned to Alexander. “In a few hours,” answered the herald of the Lord of the White Realm. Locky smiled and said, “Hewer! Why can’t you take Warriors of Mjolnir to a sleeping lodge or one of our more comfortable barrack so they can get some rest? Also, make sure someone else take their horses to a stable.” Hewer looked shocked, “But Captain… I have to…” “That’s an order.” Locky smiled even more. “But…” “Blah blah blah… can’t hear you.” Locky walked away, followed by Apollo. Pezza laughed too, while Sims was just shaking his head. They both walked away. Hewer sighed and asked the warriors to follow him. Ariakas was about to mount his own horse again when High Marshal Andy said to him: “Ariakas? I think I really need to talk with you. We could be having some problems at the council today or maybe later through the next days. Serious problems.” “What do you mean” asked Ariakas worried. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- In the great Council Room in the White Tower, the leaders, generals, lords and most of the knights were together. Together they formed the White Council. They now sat around the Round Table of Valour. At one end of the Round Table sat the great Lord Sunnycool himself, the creator of both the White Council and the White Realm. On his right side sat Branalbinn, leader of the Border Forces to the North. Beside him again sat his lady Louise, Princess of Punk, and Babygirl, the second Lady of the Court. To the right of her sat her good friend Sims, the master of music and also relative to Sebastian, the Emperor of the East. And beside him sat the king of art and painting himself, Pezza. Beside Pezza sat Ironfist and Dylan, the banned but returned ones. And beside Dylan sat Lord Videous, Lord of the Castle of Cruelty and former member of the Warriors of Mjolnir. Beside him sat Eomer, a warrior of Mjolnir who had never been defeated in melee combat his whole life. To the right of Eomer sat Hewer, always one hundred percent awake. To the right of Hewer sat Locky, the High Captain of the White City, always with a smile on his face. Beside Locky sat the wise Sir Apollo, in deep conversation with Ariakas, Commander of the Mjolnir and the High Marshal Andy, another member of the Warriors of Mjolnir. To the right of Andy sat Re-maxi, Master of the Web, and to the right of him again sat Almirith, with his eyes closed like in deep meditation. And to the right of Almirith sat Alexander, the herald of Lord Sunnycool. And to the right of Alexander again sat Lord Sunnycool. This was the White Council. There was four empty chairs. These belonged to Fubarbundy, HuggyFrog, Hound and Overlord Ubiquitous. The Overlord has told everyone that he would be late and Fubarbundy and HuggyFrog were still on their way home, according to what Almirith had told everyone else. No one knew for sure why Hound was not at the council, but most believed that he was busy with some work on his own. The whole meeting was really only a formality. Plans were made for celebrations and awards to be given out, and the report about Rabble really leaving the White Realm was confirmed. Almirith brought forward a report about the expedition lead by Fubarbundy and HuggyFrog, telling everyone that peace have been made with the lizard-people living in the Jungles of Mu. Still, even if it was a lot of happiness some members of the council looked a little bit at unease. Except when he brought forward his report Almirith was quiet, he did not take part in the happiness the same way other people did. Andy changed worried looks with Ariakas. Finally Ariakas rose from his chair, with a serious look in his face. He had only opened his mouth when the door suddenly crashed open. Every council member turned in unison. Hewer had already drawn his sword and jumped up from the chair. The swords of most of the other council members were halfway out of the scabbards. Through the door stumbled Fubarbundy and an exhausted Overlord Ubiquitous. The eyes of the Overlord searched through the shocked faces of the council members to find the face of the Lord of the Realms. He staggered uneasy all the way around the table, to finally fall at his knees in front of Lord Sunnycool, whispering “They are going to take the staff. You must stop them” before fainting and falling over. Most of the council members clearly did not understood what was going on according to their faces. Lord Sunnycool bent down to help the Overlord. Suddenly, he stopped in the middle of the action, blinking, and then he realised what the Overlord just had said. He turn around with the speed of lightning itself, and ran out of the doors, past the council. He was closely followed by Branalbinn, Lord Videous and Ariakas. Locky made a sign to Apollo to follow him, and they and Hewer ran out of the opposite door in the room. The rest of the council members stood motionless behind. Alexander and Sims bent down to check on the Overlord. “Could someone please tell me what is going on?” asked Ironfist with a confused voice. “Whatever it is, I’m sure it’s not good at all.”, said Pezza worried. “Trust me”, Fubarbundy said,”this is anything but good.” His face was ghost-white. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- As Lord Sunnycool, Lord Videous, Branalbinn and Ariakas ran down the stairs leading down to the dungeon of the White Tower wild thought were happening in their mind. They all knew the story behind the Staff of Sanity, and no matter whether Overlord Ubiquitous’s words had been referring to the accursed item or not they would not take the risk of ignoring it. The risk of danger were far to big. “Someone should order the closing of the city gates”, Branalbinn told Lord Sunnycool while they sprinted down the last stairs. “I’m sure Locky is already handling that” Lord Sunnycool answered him. Finally they reached the bottom of the stairs and the beginning of the dungeons. And there Lord Sunnycool let out a cry to see a dozen warriors of the White City lying in heaps on the dungeon floor, killed in gruesome ways. “So it’s true then at least”, muttered Lord Videous. Suddenly they heard the sound of screaming further down in the dungeon. The four men drew their swords and ran down in the dungeon. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Locky ran through the gates of the White Tower. “Sir Apollo, you have to ride down to the River-gate and stop all traffic of ships there. Close the gate itself and make sure that no man has his feet on deck. Send out scout to check the closes area and bring back any people of any kind that is close to the city.” Sir Apollo did not ask any questions, though he raised his eye-brow, and he turned around and ran towards the stable. “Hewer. For this time only, you have to leave me. You have to get to the south-gate and close them immediately. No one must pass. And get people off the walls to. Arrest people that makes protests.” “Alright then, but only this time. And make sure you don’t get yourself into any problem without me by your side”. Then Hewer turned around, put his sword in his scabbard and ran towards the main street leading south through the city. “I don’t know if I can do that”, Locky muttered to himself before turning towards the stable, taking the nearest horse and rode towards the north-gate. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- As Branalbinn, Lord Sunnycool, Ariakas and Lord Videous all ran down to the Hidden Chamber of Rakton they did all think the same thought. They all knew, and remembered the great evil that has threatened the White Realms five years back. They knew they had never truly defeated that great evil, only banished it from the White Realm. But still the great Beastlord Razhk, the offspring of the great Beastlord killed by Ariakas before the gates of the White City itself, threatened the White Realm in numerous ways. They knew what the reast of the council except a few did not, that the magical powers that upheld the glory of the White Realm could be broken and that a catastrophe would erupt if it did. This was what had happened when General Kais the Staff of Sanity in the first years of the White Realm. And the wounds of those troubles back then still scared the White Realm to this day, even though few of the members of the council had been there that year. Branalbinn, Lord Sunnycool, Ariakas and Lord Videous knew that something like that could not be allowed to happen again. As they proceeded further and further down the ancient dungeons they suddenly heard a scream, a scream of terror and great pain. And as they finally entered the huge chamber, containing the tomb of Rakton the Great, they finally saw what awaited them. Lifeless, on the stone floor laid the body of HuggyFrog. And the tomb of Rakton was broken up and empty. “The Staff has been taken”, Lord Videous whispered. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Branalbinn felt completely and utterly broken when he saw the body of HuggyFrog. He did now know of a person in the White Realm apart from Louise and Lord Sunnycool he knew better or cared more about. He could not believe what his eyes actually saw now. As he ran forward, uncaring for Lord Sunnycool’s cry of “Wait”, a huge, dark creature dropped down from the ceiling in front of him and landed elegantly on the stone floor. Branalbinn was struck with awe how the creature looked. It was a true monster. It was a very muscular humanoid with dark skin. It lumbered forward like a troll, and had the strong arms of an ogre while the hands had large, wickedly sharp claws. It rose to full height, looked down at the High Councillor and made a powerful, yet still somehow greeting, roar. Branalbinn acted on instincts. He slashed upwards with his sword towards the looming behemoth. But somehow, despite its great lumbering body, it stepped to the right in an eye blink, knocked Branalbinn in the back and jumped through the air towards the Ariakas, Lord Videous and Lord Sunnycool in the doorway. The beast was fast, faster than any normal human. And before Ariakas, Lord Videous and Lord Sunnycool even had got time to brace themselves it crashed into them. Ariakas and Lord Videous was tossed aside, while the beast kicked Lord Sunnycool backwards and knocked him down with a blow to head. Lord Videous got back up, drew his sword and cut at the beast’s back. The beast turned, ducked under the blow and thundered into Lord Videous who fell on the ground, his sword sliding into the shadows. The fangs of the beast, dripping with spit, were only inches from his face, but with one hand he grabbed the throat of the beast and managed to hold it away while his other hand frantically searched for his dagger. Then the beast rolled to the right, escaping the sharp edge of the blade of the Commander of Mjolnir. As Ariakas carried on forwards, trying to make his opponent back up towards the wall, the beast struck forwards with his hand and caught the sword between it’s long claws and easily wrenched it from the hand of Ariakas and tossed it aside. It then quickly slashed its other hand across the Loremaster face. Ariakas fell on the ground, blood running from his face. At the same time the dagger belonging to Lord Videous sank deep into the chest of the beast. The beast roared again, and then rushed towards the Lord Videous again who made himself ready to defend himself with nothing but his bare hands. The beast crashed into him, picked him up with its muscular arms, and tossed him backwards. Lord Videous’ body hit the wall, and then collapsed on the stone floor. Then the beast turned around, and walked towards Lord Sunnycool. It placed his foot upon his chest and drove his arm backwards, ready for the kill. “So this is how it ends”, Lord Sunnycool thought as he went unconscious, “by the tomb of the one who preceded me.” Then suddenly the creature halted in his move, looked towards the tomb and then it was almost like it whimpered in fear of something. Then a dark figure stepped out from the dark shadows of the chamber. It raised a hand and suddenly a magical portal appeared in front of the ruined tomb. It pointed towards the portal, and the huge behemoth that had defeated four of the greatest warriors of the White Realm in a few seconds obeyed and went through it. Then the dark figure, looked towards the lords of the White Realm that slowly started too conscious. “You don’t defeat me a second time”, invisible lips spoke. Then the dark figure walked through the portal which closed. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- When Locky arrived at the northern gate he quickly ordered sergeant Fords there to close the Gates and clear the street of people. The Gates had only just started to close, when the earth suddenly started to tremble. A huge hole appeared in the ground, and from that hole appeared a huge creature. It was a massive crab-like monster with four large claws and six segmented legs. It’s brown and black shell was covered in glittering runes. It was almost 20 feet in diameter and around 15 feet tall. The soldiers around it raised their spears, but as the behemoth lumbered forward they staggered and stumbled backwards in fear and terror. Nearly every soldier of the White City felt themselves doomed there and then. Until captain Locky came to their rescues and his strong voice boomed out: “Stand fast Soldiers of the White City. Hold your ground.” And just as the huge crab-monster was closing in to slaughter the pathetic human defender, the guard of the White City around it lifted their spears and pikes, moved forward and stabbed. Most of the weapons broke off when they hit the hard shell of monster, but a few of the weapons hit the vulnerable areas directly under the body and around the six legs. Some of the weapons even got stuck there so the soldiers could work together and turn the spear-tip around in the wound. The monster screamed in pain and lumbered forward. It swung it’s four claws around in great arcs. Most of the men in front of it did not get out of the way and was tossed away a dozen feet or so. It caught young recruits between its claws and cut them up like paper. Aging veterans were crushed like flies. The guard wavered and staggered. But then Locky was among them. With his sword raised and his horn to his mouth, blowing a sound of hope and courage, he ran directly under the huge body of the beast and cut at one of its legs. He caused a grievous wound, and black blood erupted. The monster screamed and tried to reach Locky with one of its dangerous claws. Locky hit the leg again, cutting right through it and just managed to jump away from the gargantuan scissor of a claw coming his way. At the same time a squad of Crossbowmen of the Realm had came from the barracks, moved into position and started to fire at the monster. But the hard shell cheated them for anything critical, and to hit vulnerable areas was almost impossible. The beast, angry from the wounds it had suffered, moved towards the gates. Ignoring the desperate soldiers making panicking hit-and-run attacks at it, it raised its claws upwards and grabbed the huge hinges holding the gates. Then it pinched. At first nothing happened, but slowly the massive, powerful claws began to rip through the strong, iron hinges. “Get a ballista down here at once. Or more than one,” Locky cried out. Then, suddenly with a huge clang, both the upper hinges and the lower hinges cracked at the same time. For a short while nothing happened, as the defenders of the White City just realised what had happened. Then the monster pushed forward, and right part of the Northern Gate of the White City fell down. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Hewer was standing at the southern gate looking out from the White City. A tall knight of the White City walked up to him and saluted. “Everything is in order Sir”. “Well done Edgar”, Hewer answered him, “send a few soldiers out to calm down those ambassadors from the Eastern Empire that got so scared by all this sudden activity”. “Of course Sir”, Edgar saluted again, turned on his heel and walked away. Hewer hated this. He hated giving orders to people. Especially to Edgar since they had been in the same company under Sir Apollo before. Then Hewer had been given the “honour” of guarding the High Captain of the White City. It did not really put him above anyone in the White City, but that was just formally. Most captains and other officers of the White City put honour before anything else, and to them Hewer’s position was a very honourable one. So therefore Edgar had put aside all their former relationship and behaved to Hewer like he would have behaved to Lord Sunnycool himself. Hewer cursed under his breath. He did not care as much about honour as he once did. Times have changed, he thought. So had the people he knew. He turned around and looked at the city, the inner walls and the White Tower. He looked towards the northern gate and wondered what Locky had been so worried about. Nothing had happened at all. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- The huge gate crashed to the ground, and the huge crab turned its attention towards the irritating defenders shooting at it. It rumbled towards the crossbowmen who quickly broke formation and spread out. In the meanwhile, some men had brought up two ballistas which they placed in the main street. The huge crab, noticing this new prey, charged towards them. Locky realised that they had to give the crew of the ballista time. So he picked up a huge pike which had broken at the middle and run directly towards the huge crab. The monster halted in confusion, and then it attacked. Locky skipped first to the right, then to the left, avoiding the huge claws of the giant crab. He then stopped moving and struck towards the eyes of the monster. He missed, the tip of the pike harmlessly hitting the hard, compact shell of the giant crab. Then the huge claw hit him with the force of a running horse. Locky got tossed into the air and crashed through the window of the barracks on the other site of the street. Then the huge bolt of the ballista struck the shell of the crab. It crushed though the compact defence of the monster easily as a hot knife through butter. The crab staggered forward towards the ballista, and then it tumbled forward and crashed to the ground. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- “What do you think?” asked Alexander. He and Almirith sat on one side of the bed where they had laid Ubiquitous in a room in the White Tower. Fubarbundy and Pezza stood at the door. “He will pull through,” answered Almirith, “he just need some rest.” “Should we maybe not try and wake him up so he could answer our questions”, Fubarbundy said. “Not in his current state,” answered Almirith again, not turning away from the Overlord, “He would be able to, but it would not be good for him.” “Not good for him? Clearly something bad is going on, and if he could answer our questions about what it is that is going on then it would be worth it”, Alexander said. He sounded irritated. “He will not answer any questions now. Get out if you can’t keep quiet. He needs to rest,” Almirith said. Then he continued, “If you want somebody to answer your questions, why can’t you ask Fubarbundy. Clearly he must know more about this.” Alexander rose, turned around and then walked out of the room. Fubarbundy hesitated for a moment then he followed. Pezza walked to the bedside and looked at the Overlord. “The Staff?” he asked, both himself and Almirith “What did he mean with the Staff”. Almirith did not answer. He could not. ---------------------------------------------------------- Alexander and Fubarbundy walked side by side through the halls of the White Tower. The walls were decorated with huge paintings of the heroes of the White Council and the White Realm, many of them painted by Pezza. On the floor were beautiful carpets from the Land of Weissland to the south-east. Slender statues from old days stood here and there. Fubarbundy felt from time to time hugely out of place when he was in the White Tower. He looked at Alexander, dressed in colourful cloths and wearing decorations on his chest. Fubarbundy never used it. He did not care for it. He wondered why. “So Fubarbundy,” Alexander began, “What do you really know about this”. “I’m not sure. Almirith left our company when we entered the borders of the White Realm after travelling through the White Realm. He said he needed to pay a visit to his friend Lord Rudder before he proceeded to the White City. So me and HuggyFrog continued our journey and reached the House of the Overlord by nightfall, but when we got there we only met Calaros, Commander of the Western Border Forces. He told us that the Overlord had left his own home at some point in the day and that none of his servants had actually noticed. We figured he had gone out to the Forest of Truth to be alone for a while, as he often does. So we travelled on. Then we reached the Pointy Ridges…” “And…” “We found them. We found the Overlord and Campbell.” “Campbell?” “Yes.” “But he is dead”, Alexander said in confusion “It did not seem like it back then. But the Overlord was close to death. He seemed mad or something, mad and desperate. We did not know what to say, but Campbell told us that the Overlord needed to get to Lord Sunnycool immediately. It seemed like if he did not hell would break loose or something. Then he got on his horse and rode southwards before we managed to ask any questions. Then we had no choice other than to get Overlord Ubiquitous on to the White City since we really did not have any clue to what was going on.” “Nothing else that Campbell said.” “No”, Fubarbundy said, “or wait, there was something else.” “Yes?” “He asked us to forgive him.” Silence took command in the hallway. Suddenly they heard a sound, and as they turned they saw a large bookshelf moving away from the wall. Forth from the bookshelf stepped Lord Sunnycool and Lord Videous, bouth supporting each others. Sunnycool bled from his mouth, and he seemed sick in his face like as if he had had his soul broken. Lord Videous had his eyes closed, and his face seemed to be distorted by pain. Fubarbundy and Alexander both rushed forward to help their friends. As Fubarbundy took the body of Lord Videous from the shoulder of Lord Sunnycool, a groan of discomfort came from the mouth of Lord Videous. As Fubarbundy helped Videous too a comfortable sofa, he felt the body of Videous shuddering of pain. A lot of bones had been somehow broken in his body. Lord Sunnycool managed to stand on his feet by himself. Then another figure appeared out behind the bookshelf, Branalbinn carrying the lifeless body of HuggyFrog. The faces of Fubarbundy and Alexander was marked with horror, confusion and disbelief. “What has happened,” Alexander managed to speak at last. Lord Sunnycool saw into the eyes of his herald and he understood that he could not give up against the feelings that seeked to tear him up from inside. He needed to do his duty. “Fubarbundy, carry Videous too Almirith or if you can’t do it without causing him too much pain make Almirith come to him instead. Branalbinn, I don’t know if there is anything more we can do about HuggyFrog but just… do something. I am sorry my old friend.” Branalbinn managed to nod back. Then Lord Sunnycool proceeded. “Alexander, will you follow me. No matter what else happens, the White Council need to speak about this immediately. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- At the same time Almirith was soaking some herbs in a bowl with hot water. Pezza stood nearby and watched with curiosity. Almirith had many qualities. He could be a deadly fighter and he knew the secrets of half-magical powers unknown to most others in the White Realm. He was quite a good horseman, and had led forces of the White Realm in previous conflicts. But the only area where he thought himself a master was that of medicines and of healing. The ability to save a life. Almirith turned around, and gave the wet herbs too Pezza. “Place this at his forehead”, he said and nodded towards the Overlord. Then he stood up and walked towards the door. “I need some fresh air. Watch after him will you?” Then he was gone. Pezza took the herbs and gently placed them on the brow of Overlord Ubiquitous. Then he was about to sit down on the chair, but fell on the floor in surprise and fright when Ubiquitous rose up in the bed and gasped for air with a terrified look in his face. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- As Almirith was about to walk towards one of the balconies overlooking the White City a door suddenly went up in front of him in the hallway. Out from the door Ariakas stumbled out, blood in his hands and face with a deep gash in his face. For a moment they just stood there and looked at each others then, Almirith tried to put up a smile as he said “You look terrible.” -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- “So what it is that is really going on here”, Dylan demanded. “It definitely is something critical the way all of you acted.” “All your questions will be answered”, Lord Sunnycool responded raising his arms to calm the people in the room down. As soon as he and Alexander had returned around a dozens questions had arrived immediately from nearly every single Council-member in the room. Sunnycool noticed that Locky and Apollo was not in the room. This was both good and bad, depending on how you looked at it. “How is Overlord Ubiquitous at the moment,” he asked Fubarbundy, as he and Pezza came through the door. “He is unconscious. Almirith is taking care of him,” the captain of the Wolf Company answered. Lord Sunnycool looked at the White Council arrayed around the Table of Valour. They were confused and some were also even scared. What he had to tell them would not improve their status, but it was important and necessary. “When the Overlord first arrived here you all heard him mention a staff,” Lord Sunnycool began. “This staff is a both dangerous and powerful artefact which bears the name the Staff of Sanity. It is the single most dangerous magical object that the world has ever seen, capable of creating catastrophes that could kill thousands and performing disasters that ruin and destroy cities if not realms.” “Why did you not destroy such an item, and why have we not heard about this before?” Re-maxi cried out. “There are two reasons for your first question. The first one is that we could not destroy it. The second was that we did not dare to, cause we we’re told that it would ruin the very foundations of the White Realm, and that the magical energies which upheld our land would break. But believe me, some of us tried to destroy but as I said we we’re not capable of doing such a task. It would not be destroyed by the elementals, not crushed, not break, not burn, not be consumed by acid nor be destroyed my magical means.” “Still, who know about this Staff,” Ironfist asked. “Myself, Lady Caitlin, Lady Louise, Ariakas, Lord Videous, Branalbinn, HuggyFrog, Overlord Ubiquitous, High Captain Locky as well as Archmage Lathaon of Weissland. No one else,” answered Lord Sunnycool. “But where did such an artefact come from? Who created it and on what purpose?” asked Pezza beside Lord Sunnycool. “Its history goes back too when the White Realm was founded and created. After the First Great War against the Beasts, Lord Rakton was dead and the realm that existed decades before our realm was devastated. A new order needed to be created, a new leadership to rise and it could not be governed the way it had been governed before. No one decided to step up and take command, so I did. I founded the White Realm and the White City. I also needed advisors and knights who could help me create and control this realm. Some of them are still with me to this day. Some died for a noble cause for the realm and for me. Some turned traitors. One of these was a man who called himself Angel.” Then Lord Sunnycool told the White Council a tale from the first years of the White Realm. He told about how Branalbinn had brought many knights too the White City, and how he had formed the military organisation called Branalbinn’s Guard. He told them how many brave men had joined Branalbinn’s Guard, amongst them Angel and Campbell. He spoke of how Kais, a commander serving under Lord Rakton of the Realm of Purity, had arrived at the White Realm bringing with him a mysterious, old staff that he said was an item from the First War against the Beasts. He had shown Lord Sunnycool that with this Staff, named for unknown reasons the Staff of Sanity, they could create great wonders of the world. The staff could even create life, but some had argued against using the Staff. Overlord Ubiquitous and Louise had told Lord Sunnycool that the Staff was a tool of evil. Not like the evil of the beasts of the north, but an unknown evil of the south. But Lord Sunnycool did not believe this, until the Staff showed its powers as a weapon. An unknown man, some say elf, came to the White City, and offered a lot of gold and silver to buy the Staff. But no one, neither those who wanted to use it nor those who would not, would sell it to him. The man had gotten angry, and revealed great sorcerous powers, which no one saw coming. He took the Staff with the help of his powers, while he killed two knights of the White City. Then he had started bringing havoc around him. Lord Sunnycool told the White Council how he himself had been close to death that day, how the Staff had wrought wounds that never could heal. Then the Staff had started to live on its own. It had seemed to consume the man who used it, sucking the life out of him. And still it slaughtered men, and smashed apart stone walls. First when the unknown sorcerer had vanished, the Staff of Sanity lay still on the ground. No one had dared too pick it up at first. But there was no doubt about what was needed to be done. The Staff was dangerous; everyone had understood then when havoc and slaughter had broken loose. It needed to be destroyed. Lord Sunnycool carried on with his tale, telling how he had given Branalbinn’s Guard a mission too take the Staff of Sanity with them into the Realm of UROD and somehow find a way to destroy it. Branalbinn’s Guard travelled deep into the unknown realm and was gone from the White Realm for half a year. Then the survivors, four of them, returned with the Staff. They said the staff could not be destroyed by anything in the Realm of UROD. Ubiquitous told Lord Sunnycool that, somehow, the Staff was bound too the White Realm. Lord Sunnycool had asked Branalbinn how all the members of Branalbinn’s Guard had died. Branalbinn had told Lord Sunnycool that they were murdered by one of their own. Lord Sunnycool shook his head. “We were blind back then. The traitor could have been anyone, and still it could have been no one except him. We just did not see it.” Lord Sunnycool continued, telling how the following night the traitor had crept throught the halls of the White Tower. He entered the Council Hall, where the Staff lay. He had surpassed the magical defences that Louise and Ubiquitous had wrought upon the Chamber. Then he took the Staff, and as the traitor was about to leave the room he was suddenly surprised by Ariakas and Kais entering the room. According too Ariakas, the man with the Staff, had used it to kill Kais, hero of the Realm of Purity and escape from Ariakas. Then the man ran out into the night, but he could not escape. He was followed and ran to the top of the White Tower. Then he was caught up with by Branalbinn. Lord Sunnycool carried on… with the tale about what happened there on the tower… Many years back… ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thunder rolled against the sky as Angel lifted the Staff into the Sky. “Can’t you see it Branalbinn, this Staff is the most powerful item the world has seen. To destroy it is a grievous mistake.” “Have you not seen what it had wrought upon the world,” Branalbinn cried back as lighting flashed around and rain whipped around them. “You are a fool who even think this way. The staff is evil, and so are your actions.” “You are the fool. You and all the others. Evil does not exist in the way you think. This is a tool of power, not of the “evil” that you talk about. You are ignorant. You think the only enemy in the world is the mischievous, pathetic beasts and mutant-creatures of the north? Then you are pathetic, because there exists a greater power in the world. And we should serve it. We are not their direct enemies, others are. But if we destroy this staff, or keep it to ourselves we will become their enemies. You can count on that.” “Listen to yourself, you’re just rambling about. You’re mad,” Branalbinn almost fell over because of the strong wind. Angel just laughed in response. “Give me the Staff Angel.” “No.” Branalbinn placed his hand on his sword. “You may try,” Angel said with a quiet voice that somehow was possible to hear and pointed the Staff towards Branalbinn. “I will.” “Don’t do it Branalbinn. You know you will not make it. I swear I will use the Staff. I’m not afraid. I killed them all. I killed Harkan, Gregor and Maargar. I killed Campbell”. It seemed like Branalbinn shook where he stood, and he slowly took his right arm of the sword hilt. Then suddenly he sprinted forward and grabbed the staff with his left arm. As he tried to wrench it from the grip of Angel, Angel screamed with fury and swung around. Suddenly Branalbinn found himself falling over the edge of the tower, only saved by his safe grip on the staff which Angel still let on to. “Let go you bastard. You shall pay.” Angel screamed with murder in his eyes. Then it was like the staff shone with unnatural light, and a white fire erupted from the staff and splashed over the face of Angel. He screamed with such anger and pain Branalbinn felt a need to let go of the staff and just cover his ears. But still Angel held on to the staff. The fire burned away his hair, his skin, his eyes, his ears, his gum and tongue until his head was a charred, black stump. But still he held on. And he did more than that. Somehow his enormous pain and anguish gave him immense strength. He pulled Branalbinn up and tossed both him and the staff backwards. Branalbinn flew through the air and hit the other side of the tower while the staff smashed on the stone floor between him and Angel. Branalbinn looked at Angel and he was disgusted with what he saw. How could the man still be alive? Angel walked forward towards the staff slowly, like he was certain of victory. Then Branalbinn pulled his dagger and threw himself forward clashing with Angel, and falling on top of him on the stone floor. He smashed Angels head into the rock, and stabbed him with the dagger. Angel bled from a multitude of deep wounds, and his head was falling apart but still he went on. Angel used his feet to kick Branalbinn of him. Then as Branalbinn got to his feet again, Angel kicked him with straight hit from his right hand. Branalbinn was knocked right of his feet and laid there. Angel looked at him, or at least it seemed like he looked at him. Since he was missing his whole face now it was not easy to tell. Branalbinn slowly got up, and backed towards the edge of the tower. “What were you talking about back then,” he said, “what kind of evil is this?” He was not expecting an answer, but he still got one. Angel spoke, but it seemed like the voice came from both his head and from everywhere else at the same time. “This is a power older than the White Realm. It is older than the Realm of Purity. It is even older than this land. But it has slept. It has slept for over a thousand years now. But with this staff we can awaken it.” “Why would you want to do something like that,” Branalbinn cried in confusion. “Because I want to serve it. I don’t want to serve Lord Sunnycool,” Angel said and made a move like he spat on the ground, “and I did not want to serve Lord Rakton. I will not serve the lord of the Beasts in the North, neither will I serve the Lord of Weissland. I want to serve the most powerful lord that has ever existed.” “Why? So he could defend you from harm?” Angel screamed and launched himself towards Branalbinn. Branalbinn did not move until Angel was almost at him, then he suddenly bent over and rose up again in a move that pushed Angel screaming over him and over the edge of the tower. Angel screamed with anger, fear and fury, but as he fell down towards the ground hundreds of meters below he somehow seemed to laugh. Branalbinn turned around and looked at the staff which lay on the ground. He swallowed. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- “And since then we kept the Staff hidden in the Tomb of Lord Rakton,” Lord Sunnycool ended his tale. “We could not destroy it, and it was all too dangerous too keep official.” “And now it’s gone,” Andy murmured. “It’s not gone,” Louise spoke for the first time, “It is still is in the White Realm. Though, it won’t be here for long.” “Are you sure,” Ironfist asked with doubt in his voice. “I am,” Louise responded calmly, “I can feel it.” “Then we need to find it.” Re-maxi cried out. “If it’s still here, we still have the chance to stop it.” “Unless it’s already in use,” Eomer murmured again. “What do you mean,” asked Dylan. “What if the ones who took are not trying to get it out from the White Realm? Think about it,” Eomer answered, “who would want to steal such a powerful item from the White Realm? And summon a creature that Lord Sunnycool tells us he met down in the dungeons? Who is the enemy of the White Realm? We all know that. And we all know that this enemy does not only use the methods we have seen in motion here.” “You can’t be saying that…,” Caitlin gasped. “Eomer is right. The White Realm might soon be under attack from our old friends, the beasts from the north,” Alexander whispered. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- As Locky slowly came his senses again he tried to get up from the floor he was lying on. He was covered in pieces of glass and masonry. His body ached as he slowly got up on his feet, but as far as he could tell nothing was broken. He thanked his never-ending portion of luck in such cases. Slowly Locky stumbled out from the barracks the crab creature had tossed him through. In the middle of the street the huge crab lay, and all around it were chaos. There were civilians everywhere around. They were afraid, Locky could see that. They were as frightened as they could be without fainting out of fear. Soldiers ran here and there trying to get the people away from the street. Locky noticed Sergeant Fords and Marshall Angus trying to calm down a group of ambassadors from the Eastern Empire who stood together along with a group of their bodyguards, dressed in golden armour and wearing long, curved swords. Locky wondered why they were so many, but the thought quickly vanished when he saw Akatosh, second in command of the Honour Guard, running towards him. “It’s great to see that you are alright my lord,” Akatosh said and bowed before Locky. “Your eyes may fool you a bit there,” Locky answered, but quickly continued when he saw the worry in the eyes of Akatosh, “Don’t worry about it. Do you know of how the situation is elsewhere.” “Nothing like what happened here at least. The main gate too the south was not attacked, and it seems like no one got through either.” “What about the river-gate?” “A small river ship tried to get through the gate as we closed it. It was quite foolish. Sir Apollo arrested all who were on the barge. They are brought to the White Tower at this moment.” “How many were they, “ Locky asked. “Eight men, a woman and a dwarf,” Akatosh responed quickly. “Well, I don’t think it matters much anyway since we can’t know if anyone left the city through this gate while it was such a chaos,” Locky said. He sighed, but then he looked towards Fords and Angus who had just been finished with the problems with the ambassadors and he made a gesture too them. They both walked to him and nodded. Locky quickly carried on, “Angus, I want you get as many fast riders as you can. I give you ten minutes on that, and then I want you to ride out and scout the land. If anyone has escaped mounted on horses there is no way we can catch them. If they has escaped on foot however, we still have a good possibility. “But sir, it’s not certain that actually anyone left,” Angus said. “You’re right Sergeant, but we can’t risk anything. Ride out and search the land as you would search for a needle in a haystack. They might be trying to hide until nightfall.” Angus nodded and then ran off. “Fords,” Locky said and Fords bent forward, “What is up with all those eastlanders.” “I’m not sure my lord,” Fords answered him and frowned, “It’s all quite weird. Some of the ambassadors are actually direct advisors too Sebastian himself. Augustin is one of them.” “Augustin is here? Bah, I never liked that man,” Locky looked away. “They are critizising how we are handling this situation my lord. A lot actually, it seems like that is what they are trying to do. Find mistakes, and putting it up. They were asking a lot of questions too, behaving like arrogant bulls if I may use such a word,” Fords sounded irritated. “You may,” Locky said with a small smile in his face. Then he nodded towards the giant crab. “What do you think of this?” “I wondered when you would bring that up,” Akatosh said. “Personally, I think that is the most confusing thing that has happened so far. It killed eighteen men. Terrifying it must have been indeed. Is it true that it just came up fromt the ground. Where’s the hole?” “It fell together,” Fords said. “I’m more wondering about why now? Why did it attack us now?” “Someone tried to escape the city,” Locky answered Fords rhetorical question. Locky looked at Akatosh and held his trust in Akatosh that if the man knew something he would not reveal it too Fords unless necessary. “Maybe they tried to help those then,” Fords said. “But someone who had the power to summon something like this? Would they just waste it on this? Bloody hell! It took down the gates. They were not trying to help someone escape. This was a direct attack aimed at weaking us. The entire right part of the gate is destroyed. It may take a month to fix this.” Locky hesitated a bit, then he nodded and said “You must be right Akatosh. This was an attack. But it was poorly coordinated and it came at the wrong time for the attacker.” “But who sent it,” Aktatosh murmured. “It must be the beasts. There can be no doubt.” Fords sounded quite sure. “Akatosh, get up too the White Tower and report this immidiatly. Fords, clean the streets, estimate a number of wounded and bring them help,” Locky waved at them, “Now!” As they moved, Locky bent down beside the huge crab and looked at it. He was not sure if Fords were correct in his last sentence. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- There was a lot of activity in the White Tower at the moment. In the Council-hall a silence had erupted as the members of the White Council finally saw the danger that could threaten the White Realm. Through the halls of the White Tower Almirith and Ariakas went to see if they could repair some of the damage that had already been done to the White Realm. On a small room Branalbinn had managed to get Lord Videous into a bed, after he had laid the body of HuggyFrog in another. On a second room Pezza realised that he finally would get some answers to what was going on. “The Staff of Sanity?” Ubiquitous gasped, “they have it already? Don’t they?” “I am very sorry my friend, “ Pezza shook his head slowly, “but I do not know what you are talking about. I have never heard of this Staff of Sanity.” “Well, I believe there is no reasons too keep secrets from anyone anymore now,” Ubiquitous said and then he told Pezza the story of the Staff of Sanity. The same story that was told by Lord Sunnycool only moments ago. Slowly Pezza slid back in his chair and stroke his cheek in a nervous gesture. “This was a lot of information,” he murmured, “is it really so terrible.” “It is, and it will get darker”, Ariakas said as he erupted from the doorway. “But it might not be as dark as long as we keep doing our duty. Ubiquitous, come with me. An old friend needs you.” Ariakas led Overlord Ubiquitous and Pezza through the hallways of the White Tower into another room. On a soft bed lay Lord Videous. Almirith was carefully checking his body. “He will be fine, though he will recover much quicker if we get the help from Louise,” he told Ariakas. On another bed lay the lifeless body of HuggyFrog. Branalbinn sat beside the bed, with his open eyes just as lifeless. Ariakas walked to the bedside, and got the Overlord to move closer. “What… what happened with him,” Ubiquitous whispered. “Does it matter anyway. He is gone now, “ Branalbinn said. “Actually I think it really matters,” Ariakas answered. “What are you talking about?” Branalbinn head rose in confusion. “He… he is not entirely gone I think,” Ubiquitous said. Slowly, Overlord Ubiquitous went to the upper part of the bed and laid his hands on the head of his old friend. He closed his eyes. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Even slower, he pulled energies from his own power and searched for the soul of his friend. Eventually he found him, but the place where the souls of dead people go. It seemed like the soul of HuggyFrog still was in this world. Or no, maybe he was not. It seemed like it was in a dream or some kind of magically created place. but that it was lost or trapped behind magical barriers. Carefully Ubiquitous searched for a hole in these barriers, letting his mind travel along the magical walls created in this strange place. When he finally found it, he also found the soul of HuggyFrog struggling against the sorcerous powers that held it in place. Ubiquitous then gathered most of his remaining powers and charged in with tremendous force. The magical bindings that was holding HuggyFrog was cut down by this unexpected attack. But as the Overlord pushed the soul of HuggyFrog back through the hole in the barriers he had found he felt a huge magical stirring around him. The creator of this place had been prepared for an attack, though maybe not of the type the Overlord had used. But the Overlord also realised that he could not stay here for much longer with his powers. The creator of this place had ented himself, realising that someone had managed to break his bindings. Frightfully, the Overlord sent the soul of HuggyFrog back into the material plane. But as he himself tried to escape he felt the tendrils of his foe wrap around him. He felt a voice in his head, laughing at him and taunting him. He felt like a hurt rabbit in the jaws of a lion. Then the tendrils suddenly let him loose. Panicking, he jumped back. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- As Overlord Ubiquitous fell together on the floor both Pezza and Branalbinn quickly reached down and got him. “I’m alright, I just need to rest now,” the Overlord said. Then he nodded at HuggyFrog who seemed to be sleeping. “So does he.” Branalbinn and Pezza, as well as Almirith who had joined them could not speak out of astonishment. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Three hours later, towards the evening of the day the White Council was once again seated in the Council Hall. Lord Videous had been magically tended by Louise, assisted by Almirith. He felt weak in his body still, but his broken bones had been fixed and he managed to sit upright in his chair. HuggyFrog and Overlord Ubiquitous had both managed to get some rest, and sat together with Branalbinn and Louise. Hound had also joined the Council now, pulled away from his experiments by the call from Lord Sunnycool. Also, Akatosh from the Honour Guard had joined the White Council after giving Lord Sunnycool the report of what had happened at the gates. Locky, Hewer and Apollo had also all arrived. Lord Sunnycool stood up and raised his arms to silence the gathered men and women. First when silence filled the room he spoke up. “My dear friends. This day, many blows have hit the White City and the White Realm. All of you are now fully aware of the Staff of Sanity. Why it was here, why we never destroyed it, what it is capable of and that it is now stolen. I was down in the dungeons myself. According to Ariakas, the beast who attacked us down there was a Death Stalker. It took us by surprise, but even if it had not it would had been a challenge for anyone down here.” Ariakas rose from his chair. “The Death Stalker is a creature from the Defiled Kingdom. It is strong, swift, and has the intelligence of the best hunter at the height of his power. A Death Stalker does not serve anyone, but down there it showed fear for the person who controlled it. I want you all to now that if you ever confront a Death Stalker you will never do it on the battlefield you choose. The Death Stalker will not seek action unless the factors benefit it. Still, I have never seen on apart from in the Defiled Kingdom.” “You’re telling us something else was down in the dungeons apart from this monster” Eomer asked. “Yes. There was someone. But he only came out from the shadows when the fight was over, and we did not get a good look at him. He was clad in black, and he was a user of magic. That is the only thing I can say.” “Is it a possibility that someone from the Defiled Kingdom may be involved in this then, instead of the Beasts of the North?” Alexander asked. “We don’t know,” Ariakas said and then he sat down again. “I don’t think we should take any actions before everyone knows the full situation.” Lord Sunnycool nodded towards Locky while he spoke. “At the same time as the Staff was stolen from the Tomb of Rakton Locky, High Captain of the Army of the White City, ordered that the gates should be closed. It did not happen without problems.” “That’s right,” Locky said as he rose. “While someone tried to escape the River Gates even though Apollo had already ordered it to close the Northern Gate was attacked. Akatosh have already given a report on how a giant crab appeared from under the ground and destroyed half the gate. It killed many of our men and wounded even more before we killed it.” “It appeared from under the ground?” Hound raised an eyebrow. “That the way it it,” Locky responded. “It must have been magically teleported,” Louise spoke up. “I agree, at least I can see no other logically reason. Crabs, no matter the size, are not famous for their advanced burrowing capability.” HuggyFrog said. His voice was steady, though tired. “If it was magically teleported or summoned or whatever you would say” Dylan said, “is there a possibility that it was summoned by the sorcerer in the dungeons? And that this is another creature from the Defiled Kingdom? It would be logically.” “I’m not sure.” Locky responded once again. “The only thing I can say is that this is not a creature from the Defiled Kingdom. I have seen it before when I served on the galleys of Prince Alfonso of Vichy among the Islands in the Far East. It is a water creature, so the idea of magical teleportation I agree with.” “What about the people who tried to escape through the River Gates,” Lord Sunnycool asked and turned to Apollo. “There were ten of them my lord. Eight men, a woman and a dwarf. Three men and the woman fell before the rest of them gave up I’m afraid. The dwarf seemed to be a prisoner of the humans. They are all held captive in the Central Barracks now. One of the men, who got wounded and seemed very afraid slipped out that they were all members of the Dark Council.” “What?” many voices cried out in unison. “We have sources that confirm this,” Akatosh added. “No more information on what they want?” Andy asked. “The interrogations have just started. No more information yet I’m afraid”, Apollo said before he sat down again. “So, what should we do now?” Ironfist asked out. “I’m still not sure on what we are actually facing here,” Caitlin said. “Well said,” Ariakas said, “though I believe we can’t risk waiting for more stuff to be revealed for us now. We must take actions immidiatly. We are loosing time in this moment. Do you think the Staff is still in the White Realm Louise?” “Yes” Louise nodded. “Hold on, there is something we have not though of yet,” Pezza called out. “What about Campbell? If there is one story to be told that could give us more clues that it must be Campbell story.” “You are right Pezza, we must consider that.” Lord Sunnycool rose up and walked towards the center. He picked up a map and stretched it out over the Table of Valour. It was a map of the White Realm. A long time Lord Sunnycool stood there and considered the situation, the challenges and the options to him. Then he spoke out. “No matter whether they are involved or not, we may be facing an invasion from the beast armies here. If they are behind there is no doubt that they are already marching upon our realm. If they are not behind this, they may hear news about all these troubles and think us weak. They will be tempted to attack us.” Lord Sunnycool turned around and spoke on. “Lord Videous, Almirith, Hound and Ironfist. Calaros and Loter Arthious must be warned of the threat. You shall travel north-west. Lord Videous shall travel to his own realm and ready the Guards of Grief. Hound shall help preparing the defence of the Gates of Glory, while Ironfist and Almirith must assist Calaros.” Then Lord Sunnycool turned to the Branalbinn, HuggyFrog and Overlord Ubiquitous. “Branalbinn’s Guard,” he said, “to you I give you the mission to find Campbell, you’re old friend. He may have valuable information to us all. Still, I ask you to let some of Branalbinn’s Guard travel northwest to aid against the threat of the beasts.” Then Lord Sunnycool once again looked at the map, turned to more members of the White Council and said “Apollo, Louise, Fubarbundy and Pezza. If there is one person who can give us answers about this Dark Sorceror and the Death Stalker then there must be Archmage Lathaon of Weissland. You must travel to the Tower of Weissland and seek audience with him. He can give answers to our questions. He will to, he will understand our desperate need.” Then he turned to Ariakas, Eomer and Andy. “Warriors of Mjolnir,” he said, “according to Locky this crab monster must have been teleported from water. You must travel to Ortin Port and try to find some answer to this. Also, you must try and find more members of the Dark Council since that is the place most likely that we find them. Thirdly, I want the soldiers of Mjolnir County to be able to march north within days.” Lastly, Lord Sunnycool turned to Locky “The rest of us needs to stay at the White Council and prepare the defences of both the White City and the White Realm. We must prepare for an immediate invasion no matter what. I also want the security around here to be raised drastically. No one must leave or enter the city without us knowing who they are and why they are leaving. Council dismissed. May you all make haste, because our enemies seem to be more than one step before us.” With that they all went away to prepare for their tasks and quests. All except from three who stayed in the chamber. This was the High Councillor, the Loremaster and the Lord of the Ream himself. At first they just sat there, contemplating the situation. Then Branalbinn opened his mouth, “Do you really think Lathaon will give us all the information we want? I always believed that they considered the Defiled Kingdom something that was not our business.” “That’s right Branalbinn. I have considered this. Therefore I will send one more of my servants to the Weissland Tower. Mardat, you may come forth now.” Then, from behind a wall carpet came a sound of moving brickwork, and out stepped Mardat dressed in a dark clothes and with a short sword hanging by his side. “Did you hear it all Mardat,” asked Lord Sunnycool. “Yes, my lord.” “Then I want you to disguise yourself as a member of either the Wolf Company or the Honour Guard and travel with them to the Tower of Weissland. You know what you will have to do when you get there?” Then Ariakas rose with a surprised look in his face. “Do you really think that Weissland could be really involved directly in this?” Lord Sunnycool turned to his friend and advisor. “The possibility is that either Weissland is involved, or someone in Weissland is involved. No matter what, we are facing sorcery here. And in that area Weissland have some of the best and most dangerous.” ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Ironfist entered the workshop where Hound worked on his “experiments” as he liked to call them. On a large sheet of paper that was stretched along the wall was a sketch of the newly created trebuchet which Hound had built. Tables here and there were filled with piles of paper, and sketch books. Hound was bent over the workbench, fiddling with some kind of crossbow which seemed to have a hollow box attached to it. The box was filled with additional bolts. “What is that?” Ironfist asked. “This, my friend, is a repeating crossbow,” answered Hound. “Instead of loading a single bolt, you instead attach a magazine filled with bolts to it. Faster shooting, but so far the power of the hit is not even half the power of a normal crossbow I’m afraid.” “Very well, Lord Videous is wondering how much more time you need before you are ready to go.” “Well, Morbius and Peter is filling up two wagons now of what I will need at the Gates of Glory. Give me half an hour, then I will be ready. “Sounds good,” Ironfist said as he left the room. In the Barracks close to the Southern Gate the Warriors of Mjolnir were making themselves ready to travel once again. Andy was talking to his men, while Eomer sharpened his own sword. This sword had not always belonged to him. A few years ago Eomer had killed the previous owner, Hector. Hector had been a bandit, and one of those responsible for raiding Eomer’s home village. Eomer had sworn to revenge the death of his family and those who had been his friends, and when he had found Hector he had thought that his oath would finally be fulfilled but it was not to be. Now his revenge just had another target, a man named Turok. One day Eomer would find out who this man was and then he would get his revenge. Finally. Ariakas entered the room, and watched the Warriors of Mjolnir getting ready for a split second. Then he waved Andy and Eomer to him. “Andy, I want you to pick your fastest riders and send them out. We need as many Warriors of Mjolnir to amass in Thunderton as soon as possible.” “Aye Ariakas. That would be Tristan and Duna.” “Good. And Eomer. I want you to travel to Mjolnir Castle itself, and prepare for our arrival. Ride as fast as you can. We don’t have much time.” “I understand Ariakas. I will go now.” “Give the rest of the men and women an hour to finish their business in the city Andy. Then we’ll ride.” Then Ariakas turned, and left the room. He mounted his horse and rode north into the Inner City again. In the gardens outside the White Tower he found Almirith, sitting on the banks of a small pond. “What is it that you want Ariakas?” “I want to give you a question, as well as a warning.” Ariakas responded and dismounted his horse. “Very well, questions first then I think.” “You will return to the Gates of Glory now at last. I’m wondering if, considering this threat of invasion, you will give Loter Arthious his birthright.” For many hearthbeats Almirith let his eyes gaze upon the calm water before he answered. “I am not sure. I believe I will now if he is ready or not only when I see him.” Ariakas only nodded. “And the warning?” “Yes, I will warn you. The Warriors of Mjolnir have many talents my friend. One, who I trust with my life, has told me certain things that may happen in the future.” “May happen?” “May happen. Therefore I will only warn you. The Death Stalker, Almirith, is a potent foe for anyone. Do not sleep lightly. If you really trust this Force, as you call it, as much as you do then you should trust it more then any time before. Do not ignore your feelings.” Then Ariakas rose, mounted his horse and rode into the darkness. Almirith was alone once again. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ The next morning the last of four large groups moved out of the White City. In the front rode Apollo, Pezza and Edgar. Fubarbundy rode with his men while Louise rode further behind in the convoy and talked with someone in the Honour Guard she was friends with. Right there and then Pezza felt like a happy man. The sun was shining, it had been a beautiful morning and he felt like he could sing. For every time he ventured out in the Capital County he was more and more surprised of how beautiful it actually was. The sun was a perfect contrast to the clear, blue sky. The sunlight reflected in the glimmering stonework of the White City which was surrounded by flat grassland and fields were the people of the White Realms worked to bring in the riches of nature. The dark and grim things that had been said the day and evening before felt like it had been said in another world. Why could not this just not last Pezza wondered. Of all the four groups that had startened on their journey theirs would be the one that would reach their destination the soonest. They would reach the Tower of Weissland already around the middle of the day. There they would seek audience with Lord Lathaon of Weissland, or if he was not available his close cousin Mordain. No matter what their questions would soon be answered. Soon the group consisting of the Wolf Company and members chosen from the Honour Guard rode through the town of Towerton. This town were the meeting place for everyone who were not from the White Realm itself. It had one of the largest markets in the whole of the White Realm were traders and merchants from all over the known world met. Many people from Weissland lived here, and there were visitors all from the Desert Sands here. The Golden Council also had an important position in the town, considering their close base in the Golden Tower. After a while the men and women from the White Realm had passed through the town, and began closing on the rising shadow of the immense Tower of Weissland. As they reached the large iron doors in the tower two door guards stepped forth. One of them was a man dressed in black, with a huge pole in his arm. Attached to the pole was a small banner which flowed in the wind. The other guard was an elf, dressed in brown clothes and clad in chain mail. The elf bowed to the riders as he spoke: “Welcome Lords and Lady of the White Realm. Welcome Sir Apollo Galerick of the White City. Welcome Fubarbundy of the Wolf Company. Welcome Lady Louise and welcome Master Pezza. You are expected. Will you please follow me?” With that the iron door slowly turned outwards. The riders stepped down, and servants arrived from a nearby stable to lead their horses away. Fubarbundy and Apollo ordered around half of their men to wait outside while the rest followed inside. The elven door guard led the group through short hallways and many long stairs before they reached the audience chamber. Before they entered the chamber Apollo ordered the rest of his men to wait outside, and the only ones who entered the Hall of Lathaon Thaendil was Apollo, Fubarbundy and Pezza. Slowly the richly, decorated doors went open and the four representatives of the White Realm walked forth to speak with the archmage of Weissland. The audience halls was surprisingly large. Even though Pezza knew he was just in a tower he felt like he was in an huge fortress. It was around 300 feet from one end of the hall to the other one. Along the walls of the hall stood many different men and women. It was both elves, men, dwarfs and even a few halflings here and there. But eventually the eyes of Pezza were drawn towards the throne at the end of the hall. It was not a large throne, or throne in gold or platinum or any other rich metal. But still there was something about the throne which made the person sitting there seem to be very wise and very powerful. It felt like a magical aura or something. But even without this aura (or whatever it was) the person who sat on that throne was still an impressive character. He was tall and slim, but not thin. His skin was pale, and his hair beautifully dark brown. He wore a long cape which had a richly colour of blue on the inside and powerfully black on the outside. In his right hand he wielded a long, smooth staff made of wood. On top of the staff a red gem was situated, and just beneath the gem a pair of feathers was positioned. This was Lathaon Thaendil, the Archmage of Ataya and the Lord of Weissland. On his left side there was another elf, dressed in a dark cloak covering the whole of his body. He was more muscular than what is what was typical for an elf. His wore a black staff and his hands were covered with black gloves. Mordain Thaendil was a sharp contrast to his cousin Lathaon. Beside the throne on the right side an elven woman sat on the floor. She was dressed in a suit of leather armour and had long white hair running from her head. From the look of her face one could be led to believe that she was related to Lathaon or Mordain. Lathaon Thaendil raised his staff in an honourable greeting. “Welcome Lords and Lady of the White Realm to the Tower of Weissland. Welcome Lady Louise, fair Princess of the Realm. Welcome Sir Apollo Galerick, Lord Captain of the Honour Guard. Welcome Fubarbundy, famed leader of the Wolf Company. Welcome Pezza, Master of Art and ambassador of Lord Sunnycool of the White Realm!” As the Lord of Weissland greeted them all with this honourable titles each of them bowed to the elven archmage. Lathaon turned to his servants and asked them to bring forward food and wine to his guests. He then turned to Apollo and Fubarbundy and asked them where their men was. “My Lord. We brought a large force of men here because of the situation the situation that the White Council find itself in. But I ordered half of the men to wait outside the gates and the rest of them is waiting outside this hall.” Apollo bowed once again. “What?” Lathaon seemed surprised. He looked over the assembled men and women in his hall as he spoke. “When the White Council finally sends ambassadors to our humble home they send their best. Not many men except a few of equal mortality, except a few, can challenge the skill of the courage of the Honour Guard or the ferocity of the Wolf Company. Two attributes that are greatly valued by people of Weissland. They should all be welcomed into this hall. Mordain, my friend, would you honour them all by leading them through our hallways.” Apollo and Pezza was both about to object when Lathaon carried on. “Sir Galerick? Should they drink our costly wine or eat our delicious pork or sweet bread in the stables or on the grass. I would be offended.” Pezza bowed and was about to apologize when he saw the faint glimmer of humour in the eyes of the Archmage. Then he smiled himself and bowed once again. “Mordain,” Lathaon kindly asked. Before Mordain Thaendil walked through hall and through the doors at the he looked into the eyes of the four ambassadors of the White Council. Apollo, Louise and Pezza all bowed. Fubarbundy did not bow nor smile. Neither did Mordain though few noticed. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Slowly and carefully, Mardat Serpentwine found his way through the corridors of the Tower of Weissland. He had no problems avoiding the few servants and guards that walked by. He smiled as he discovered how much he actually enjoyed the task he was doing. He climbed the stairs that led to the upper levels of the Towers. He was never caught off guard. Unsuspecting servants who suddenly came into the same hallway as him saw nothing as he hang from the ceiling like a cat. Finally he reached a hallway with a set of wooden doors on both sides, and another one at the far end. It was quite possibility that that was the door leading to the room belonging to Lathaon himself. But why were there not any guards here then? No, some important person lived here but not Lathaon. Even though he suspected no man to dare to break into his room like this he would have left some kind of visible guards. Mardat walked to one of the doors, bent forward and listened. Nothing, not a single sound. There was no light coming out beneath the door either. He carefully touched the handle on the door and found it to be locked. “Perfect,” he mumbled to himself and studied the lock. He found a suitable tool, a thin rod of iron and tried it on the lock. After a few seconds a soft click sounded and the master agent could open the door. It was a small chamber. In one side of the room there was a bed which lay in darkness since someone had pulled the curtains down. The bed was kind of short and awkward-looking. On the other side of the room there was a desk and a chair. There was no lights except for a burned out candle on the desk, and there was no sign of luxury. “Well, here’s one depressing guy without a girl,” Mardat murmured to himself. He walked to the desk and opened a drawer. There were a few notes there, as well as a letter and a small silver amulet. He picked up some of the notes. Luckily he had no need for any light-source since his eyes were so well-adapted for darkness. Some of the notes had runes on them. Dwarf-runes that was. Mardat did not understand that kind of language, but still he memorized some parts of it so that he could write a bit of it down later on for someone else to translate. He then picked up the letter and studied it. It was addressed to a Toulac Axehand. Now, where did he remember that name from he thought. The letter had already been opened, and Mardat skimmed through it. It was signed at the bottom by someone named Fizban Dantares who seemed to greet Toulac like a friend. He asked him how things were where Toulac lived and if the people of Toulac were happy. It also informed that a large amount of money would be waiting for Toulac in the city of Ordail. Mardat stopped. The City of Ordail? That was in Weissland. He skimmed quickly through the rest. The money seemed to be a gift for what Toulac had done in the Tower. “The Tower?” Mardat gasped. “Do they really mean..?” He then quickly shut his mouth, cursing himself for loosing his cool. Mardat moved to the window and carefully opened it. The sky was covered in dark clouds. He found paper, a tiny flute and a small pencil in his chestpocket. Then he wrote down a small message, and blew small tone into the flute. After around half a minute a falcon landed in the window. Mardat tied the message to the left foot of the falcon, and then whispered to it. “Fly to your master now, Wind. Fly as the wind itself.” Then the falcon flew away from the sky and disappeared in the darkness. Suddenly he heard the sound of soft feet walking on the stone floor outside. He quickly put the letter and notes in place and closed the drawer. Then, realizing he would actually not manage to get out he dove behind the bed. He held his breath while he waited for any sign of a person entering the room or disappearing again. No one did. Instead he suddenly felt that the room was gradually getting extremely cold. He could hear the glass in the window freezing behind him. He felt his fingers stick to the cold floor. His hearth was filled with terror as he felt a cold chill of air entering him, right into his brain. His head was filled with pain and he struggled to not shout out in pain. Suddenly, something tossed the bed aside and the pain increased incredibly. Quiet, but sharp words were spoken by someone and the room was filled with darkness. Mardat felt himself picked up by something he could not feel physically. It was some kind of magic. He was pressed against the wall. Then he felt a hand touching his face, and it felt like his head was going to explode. He screamed in agony at first, but then he found himself unable to scream. The pain was simply to strong, and still something kept him conscious. But still, no matter the horror and no matter the pain he could still hear the words through the darkness. “At ease Mardat. Your true purpose has just begun.” ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Approximately at the same time, miles to the north-east, chaos erupted. The small frontier garrison at the outlying parts of the Great Battleground was taken completely by surprise. No warnings or cries of death came from the sentries. As Calaros woke up in his tent, he heard screams of fright and immense pain, as well as the roars and shrieks of inhuman creatures. Quickly he pulled his sword from its scabbard and ran out of his tent. He was greeted by a scene of terror. Around him many tents were ablaze, and lit up the dark night. Men ran here and there, most of them were not dressed in their armour and had only gotten time to get their weapons and shields. Among the men, fighting with great ferocity ran the beasts of the north. A huge, fat creature with the head of an elk brandished a huge flail. It slung it around itself, ripping apart arms, legs and crushing everything with incredible force. Another beast had three arms which it used rip apart an aging soldier who had nothing to defend himself except the small stumps which were the remainders of his arms. No, thought Calaros, this can’t be happening. How did this happen? As a large minotaur caught sight of him and lifted his greataxe in a challenging greeting. Calaros quickly sprinted forward on his bare, naked feet. As the minotaur was about to swing his weapon in a deadly blow, Calaros jumped forward in a surprisingly swift movement. When the blade of the monster was falling, Calaros had already sliced apart its tendon. As the minotaur screamed and fell on the ground Calaros turned in a rapid movement, gripped his sword with his both hands and deliver a death strike in the neck of the beast. No matter how it looked now they would not go down without a fight. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The same night James Rudder, one of the knights living in the White City but not being part of the White Council, went to the White Tower to try and find out what was going on. The news of the strict security at all the gates around the city had stirred the citizens, and even frightened a few. Still, they trusted their Lord and the Council to control the situation. James Rudder, adoptive son of Almirith Damorath, still felt worried about what was going on. He had not been on the southern gate, but he had heard that there had been some kind of attack down there. People talked about a giant crab monster, but he believed it to be nothing more than wild rumours. No matter what, he believed he would get the answers to his questions as soon as he got to the White City. As he passed through the Inner Gates of the city he met Akatosh. James smiled and nodded to Akatosh, who returned the greeting but then hurried onwards. He seemed quite busy. Akatosh was a man James admired. They were around the same age, and often used to spar on the duelling grounds. James considered Akatosh a very good swordsman and a good man on tactics too. They had a lot in common to, both they came from the White City. Akatosh had been born there, but James was not sure if he could consider the White City his birthplace. His past was clouded and mysterious. All he could remember from his childhood before he met Almirith was walking the streets of the White City. So he considered it his home, even though it often did not feel like home. James Rudder walked straight to the gates of the White Tower itself. The White Tower was not really a tower of course. It was in fact a giant fortress within the Inner Gates surrounded by the Great Barracks. It was the largest fortress in the whole of the White Realm. James was recognized by the door guards, and he asked for Locky, Ariakas, Almirith or Andy.. He knew it had just been a Council meeting the day before so they should all be around somewhere. Or at least he thought so. “I’m sorry Lord Rudder,” the short and stocky doorguard answered him, “but Ariakas, Andy and Almirith is not in the city. And Locky is quite busy at the moment down in the city somewhere.” “Well, it does not really matter who I speak to actually. Is Branalbinn here then? Or maybe I could have an audience with Lord Sunnycool himself.” “I’m sorry my Lord. Lord Sunnycool has been quite busy as well. And Branbalbinn is also not in the Whity City either.” “Could you tell me what it is that is actually going on?” James asked with a frown in his face. “Suffice to say, I’m afraid. It is council-matters.” The door guard seemed like he wanted to get away from the conversation. “Why all this secrecy,” James asked again, slightly irritated. At that moment Alexander, the herald of the Lord, came down through the hallway to the gates. “Since when was it your policy to harass our door guards with questions that obviously can’t be answered by them anyway, Lord James Rudder?” he said, with a small effort in the name. “I’m sorry Alexander. I’m just trying to find out what it is that is going on around here.” Alexander hesitated for a moment, and then he turned away. “Follow me.” Alexander took James to his personal office chambers. Then he closed the door behind him, and nodded to a chair in front of the desk. The window behind the desk overlooked the south-eastern part of the City with the harbour and the River Gates. Alexander looked out of the window for a few split seconds then he turned to James again who now had sat down on the chair. “Your curiosity is understandable,” Alexander began. “Curiosity? That a quite awkward way to put this. Do you think the citizens of the White City are blind. Rumours are coming up from the southern gate talks of monsters attacking the city and I saw myself that a group of arrested people was led up from the area you just looked at. I did not come here simply because I was curious. I came here because I’m worried. I demand to know what is going on in our city.” Alexander hesitated. “Come on,” James kept talking, “I have the right to know this.” “Right? Do you think you have the right to know anything? What kind of right do you claim you have? You’re not part of the White Council.” Alexander’s words came sharply. The face of James Rudder began to get dark. “Do not think you can just walk up here like this and demand answers like you were someone completely different than you actually are. You are a knight of the White City, James Rudder. But you are nothing more, and it is simply through the adoption made by Almirith Damorath that your are a knight. Do you think you have noble blood running through your veins?” James Rudder rose so fast up from the chair that it banged backwards on the floor. But he was unable to get any replies to the words of Alexander. Those words were so true. He was a knight because he had been lucky, and out from the good will and nature of other people. It was a small twist of destiny, and that was it. Alexander waited for a second, then he bowed his head and complained. “I’m sorry Rudder. It is not my intentions to be so harsh all the time.” “You have nothing to apologize about. Just… just please give me some answers.” “I will. I will be honest. The White Realm might soon be under attack. So far only the White Council knows, as well as a few captains and marshals. You will had been told sooner or later anyway since the White Realm and the White Council will soon be in great need of both your tactical and martial skill.” James Rudder was astonished. “What? How can this be? Is it the beasts once again?” “That is what we think.” Alexander avoided to look into the eyes of James. “You’re not sure.” “We can’t be entirely sure.” The voice of the Alexander had suddenly gotten very weak. “So it’s true that we we’re attacked at the Southern Gate then?” James’ worry was growing. “Yes it was. And in fact we we’re also attacked in the White Tower. Many men have died.” “They have hit us in the center of our Realm.” Rudder felt he had problems standing. “Have they attacked us anywhere else?” “Not that we know of. Why do you ask?” James Rudder suddenly rose up and looked frantically into the eyes of Alexander. “Tell me? Has any other place been attacked? Is it not obvious that they might try and cripple us, and take out our leaders?” “I’m not actually sure, but you might have a point.” Alexander swallowed, and he was sweating. “Parts of the White Council are returning to their own homes and other messengers have ridden elsewhere so we should know soon. The Castle of Cruelty, Castle of Mjolnir, House of the Overlord, Ortin Port, the Two Towers, the Empire of the East. We should know quite soon.” “What about the Fortress of the Force and the Damorath Estate?” James was breathing hard. “Is Almirith returning there?” “No, Almirith rode north towards the Gates of Glory last night.” “So have messengers or some kind of warning been sent to his home then?” Alexander hesitated again. “No.” Then James Rudder turned around and ran out of the room with a single thought in his mind. “Rebecca!” --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- It was closing on midnight when both the weisslanders and the messengers of the White Realm was still carrying on with their feast. Pezza leaned back in his chair as he smiled to himself. “What is it?” Louise next to him asked. She seemed a little bit on edge. “Look for yourself.” Pezza nodded down the table, and Louise put up a small smiled as he saw gracious and elegant elves dining together with grim and manner-lacking members of the Wolf Company. It was quite a contrasting sight. “So, what’s bothering you then,” Pezza asked quietly. “I just have… I feel that something is not right.” “Is it the Staff? Has it disappeared?” “No, I can actually feel it quite well.” Pezza was about to open his mouth again when Lathaon Thaendil did it opened his own. “Dear friends from the White City. You bring important questions about dangerous, and here I tormenting you all with a long dinner. If you would all come to me to a private meeting hall we’re we may discuss this in an appropriate manner.” Lathaon turned around, and Fubarbundy, Louise, Pezza and Apollor followed him. The rest of the visitors kept sitting, and after a while musicians were brought in by to entertain them. Lathaon led the four ambassadors out of the hall, and up a few stairs into a a small chamber with a large rectangular table in the middle. Bookcases lined the walls. Mordain Thaendil were already in the room, looking out from the window. A member of the Weissland Royal Guard stood guard beside the door, and a small, stocky dwarf sat at the table reading a small, old book. “Please let me introduce you to Toulac Axehand, advisor and councillor to the Master of Daulinen who is the lead of all the Dwarfs of Weissland,” Lathaon said while he nodded to Toulac. Toulac stood up and returned the greeting. “Now, please take a seat,” Lathaon continued doing so himself. “Now, please lay forward your business.” Pezza took a seat, together with the rest and then began to speak. He did not tell everything, because he felt that not everything was needed to be said. He told of the attack on the White City and the Council. He told of how someone had broken into the Tomb of Rakton. He hesitated before mentioning the Staff of Sanity, but did so nonetheless. He described the Death Salker and the other mysterious dark figure down in the tomb, and then told Lathaon that the White Realm was preparing for war now. “Ariakas told the council that this Death Stalker was a creature of the Defilied Kingdom. Lord Sunnycool believes that you, or someone else in Weissland learned in the art of magic, could help us find out who this thief was.” Lathaon waited for a long while before he spoke. “The Loremaster is almost always right. This time he is. The Death Stalker is a creature of the Defiled Kingdom. It is a magical beast, which means a learned magician may transport it more easily than other creatures. The Dark Lords of the Defiled Kingdom often make their use out of such creatures. The name fits very well. It’s intelligent and will hide in shadows until it had reached its target, and even then it will wait for the perfect opportunity. And then it will take its prey completely by surprise. I have been attacked by one myself. That is one of the deadlies opponents I have ever encountered, and I would had been dead if I had been alone back then.” His eyes seemed to look inwards, at something far back in the past. “And what about this sorcerer,” Louise broke the silence. “I’m afraid we don’t have enough information to find out his identity,” Lathaon shrugged. “What? But there can’t be that many magicians with those kind of skills in this part of the world,” Pezza spoke up. “Opening a magical portal and controlling such a beast. Is not that information enough?” “Maybe it is information enough just that you don’t want to reveal anything,” Fubarbundy grunted. Mordain turned furuiously around and pointed with his dark glove towards the Captain of the Wolf Company. “How dare you accuse the Lord of Weissland of something like this?” Lathaon waved with his hand to calm his cousin and friend, and then looked at Fubarbundy. “Mordain is right. Be careful at what you are saying in another man’s house. Also, what you’re saying only shows that you do not know much about these kinds of magic if you even know anything about magic at all. Wizards and sorcerors who know these kinds of spells and tricks rarely actually reveal that they know them. To summon such kind of dark creatures is dangerous magic. I know many who know similar spells, but I can’t go around guessing who could have done something like this. Unless you give me a better description I can’t help you.” “And I doubt that if neither Lathaon nor I can help you, then neither can any other person in Weissland help you. At least for all I know.” Mordain spoke calmly again. “We’re sorry for what was said my lord,” Apollor said and bowed before Lathaon. “But about the beasts in the north? Our realm may face a direct assault any time. Will you come to your aid?” “That is something we need to discuss for ourselves.” Lathaon answered shortly. Pezza stood up. “This is a real threat Lathaon. If you really need to have a meeting please make it short.” “We will act with speed” Lathaon answered again. “For now, you will be escorted to your room.” -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- It had passed midnight when James Rudder reached the gate northern gate on his horse. The northern gate was still being fixed and would not be completely finished in days. That was why Rudder had decided to ride there instead of the Southern Gate. There he met Fords, flanked by two mean wearing a crossbow each. “Sorry, my lord but I can’t let you through.” Fords actually seemed to be quite sorry. “You’ll have to let me through Fords. This is about life and death.” “It is orders from the High Captain himself Lord Rudder.” “Just stand aside Fords or I’ll cut both you and your men down.” As soon as Lord Rudder had said that the crossbowmen aimed there weapons at him, and a few soldiers around him drew their blades and formed a circle around him. “This is a bad night to be rash on Lord Rudder. I will have to put you under arrest.” “You may try,” Rudder said with a furious look in face. Every single second counted for him now. At that moment Akatosh stormed out from the barracks. “Sheath your weapons at once,” he barked out. Fords threw a short glance at him, but nothing more. “I said sheath your weapon.” A few of the soldiers did as he said, the rest of them castin worried looks at their sergeant. The Fords waved his hand and the rest of the soldiers followed suit. James did not. Akatosh walked up to Rudder and looked at him. “What is on your mind James? Threating to cut down your own contrymen?” “I have to go Akatosh. I have to get to the Damorath-estate.” Akatosh turned to Fords. “Remove you’re men sergeant.” Fords did as he was ordered to. Then Akatosh turned to James again. “I understand James. I understand. But you seem to do not. What you have said this night will not be forgotten.” James rode slowly past Akatosh. It had started to rain. “Don’t you see it James? You will be put to court for this!” Akatosh screamed at him. “How will you return to the White City after this?” “Who said I will ever return?” James Rudder murmured at his horse began to gallop. Akatosh stood between the ruined northern gates of the White City. Heavy rain fell down around him, he was alone. Timeline of events CWR – The years following the Creation of the White Realm. 0 After the First War against the Beasts many decades ago the ruined human settlements that compromised the Realm of Purity has just started too grow again. Lord Sunnycool, a man from the west seeking to make his own future and find a place where people can live in peace and unison, forms a new nation which is named The White Realm. Branalbinn, who also was a knight under Lord Rakton helps him with this. The people of the White Realm start building the White City in the same area as Lord Rakton was buried. 1 An armed man arrives at the site were the White City is being built. He calls himself Locky and offers his service as a tactician and warrior too Lord Sunnycool. 2 Branalbinn rides northwest together with two of his friends and followers, HuggyFrog and the wise Overlord Ubiquitous too the Gate of UROD which is one of the last remaining structures after the First War against the Beasts. Branalbinn realises that the Gates of UROD still needs to be guarded considering the danger that lie beyond and therefore he forms the Branalbinn’s Guard. 3 The people of the White Realm start building the White Tower in the White City. 4 A man named Dylan arrives at the gates of the White Realm. Dylan, Locky and a third man called Angel becomes the first Knights of the White Realm. 5 Travelling alone in the north-western part of the White Realm Branalbinn meets a man sitting on a rock looking into the sky. Branalbinn sits down with him and asks him what he’s doing. The man says he is counting leaves on the trees, and proceeds to say that there is no wonder that no one does something like that considering how boring it is. He then introduces himself as Ariakas. When Branalbinn asks him where he comes from he receives the answer “North”. Ariakas comes with Branalbinn to the court of the White Realm, and quickly becomes friends with Lord Sunnycool. Later this year another warrior arrives in the White Realm. He calls himself Lord Videous. 6 Kais, a veteran and survivour from the First Great War against the Beasts, arrives at the White City and offers his services as an advisor and tactican to Lord Sunnycool. He also brings with him an old staff which he claims too be an artefact from the old days before the Realm of Purity. 7 The White Tower is finished. 8 The Quest to destroy the Staff of Sanity. Kais and Campbell, and many other members of Branalbinn’s Guard are seemingly killed by Angel. Other members, like Isaac, vanish. Angel is killed by Branalbinn at the top of the White Tower. 9 The Warriors of Mjolnir is formed by Ariakas as a partly independent military group loyal to the White Realm. Lord Videous joins the Warriors of Mjolnir. The Mines of Glory are established by a guild called the Glorians led by the old man Bulefamous. 10 11 Crystal-ore is discovered in the Mountains of Glory by the Glorians. The Glorians are starting too become more powerful, and more and more people flock too the community in the Mountains of Glory. Loter Arthious, great-grand child of Bulefamous is born the same year. 12 The White Realm is divided into different counties. 13 Almirith Damorath, son of Paul Damorath, joins at the White Realm. 14 Bandits-groups are being formed in the eastern part of the White Realm. The villages to the east of the Mountains of Glory becomes victims too many raids and one village, Gullrik, is completely destroyed by an attack led by the bandit leader Hector with only one survivour. 15 Almirith Damorath marries Idryn 16 Following raids made by bandits on the Mines of Glory themselves, a large fortification is built in the Mountains of Glory. A military group, armed with great axes and bows, called the Axemen of Glory is also formed. The Glorians slowly become more and more isolated from the rest of the White Realm. 17 The Second War against the Beasts. This war is considered minor compared too the other wars that has been fought against the evil creatures from the north. When a large force of beasts suddenly attacked the inhabitants of the Mountains of Glory the rest of the White Realm is too slow to react. Many Glorians fall in battle. Among them are Bulefamous and his eldest son. A force consisting of Knights and Warriors of the White City led by Locky and Almirith rides too the Mountains of Glory and destroyes the army of beasts. The guild called the Glorians does now no longer exists, though the Gates still stands and the people still live there. Therefore, since the last relative of Bulefamous is too young, Almirith is declared leader of the Mines of Glory. 18 Dylan is banished from the White Realm for crimes against the White Council. 19 Andy joins the White Army. He quickly rises in ranks. 20 21 22 The Third War against the Beasts begins. Large forces of beasts cleave through the border defences of the White Realm. Many general and leaders get separated from the capital. 23 Calaros joins the White Army as a young recruit. Andy, Alexander and Lord Videous wins important battles at the borders of the White Realm against the beasts. The main force of the beasts, led by the beastlord Mork lays siege to the White City at the end of the year. 24 The Third War against the Beasts ends with the Battle for the White City. William Magror is killed by native tribes. Ariakas kills Mork, the lord of beasts and the beasts returns to the Wastes following this. 25 Andy joins the Warriors of Mjolnir. 26 Eomer joins the Warriors of Mjolnir. 27 Dylan returns to the White Realm, and thanks to Branalbinn and Lord Videous he is allowed to return to the White City. He later joins the White Council once again. 28 The Dark Council is banished from the White Realm. The Tower of Weissland is constructed. 29 Lord Videous leaves the Order of Mjolnir for unknown reasons. 30 31 The Golden Tower is constructed. Rabble is banned from the White Realm 32 33 Eomer hunts down and kills the bandit Hector who led the raid that destroyed the home village of Eomer so many years ago. Before Hector is killed he reveals too Eomer that someone else is the commander of Hector, a man named Turok. 34 35 Fubarbundy and HuggyFrog travels west to the Jungles of Mu. 36 Peace is settled with the lizard-people of Mu. 37 Fubarbundy and HuggyFrog returns to the White Realm. Glossary Akatosh: Knight of the White City, and second in command of the Honour Guard after Apollo. Akatasoh is a young man born in the White City itself, and he is fully loyal to the White City and Lord Sunnycool. Alastor: Chief-guardian of the Gates of UROD and an highly-ranked member of Branalbinn’s Guard. Alexander: Herold and standard bearer of the Lord of the White Realm. He is a veteran general of the Second and Third War against the Beasts, and is especially famous for his crushing victory in the Battle for the Pass of Milliath. Almirith Damorath: The only true Master of the Force still living in the White Realm. He is the son of Paul Damorath, husband of Idryn and father of Rebecca Damorath. Almirith is well learned in the use of herbs and plants as medicines. He often travels outside of the borders of the White Realm, often in the company of Master Adam. Althamus: Amaris: Andy: Captain of Mjolnir. Andy has so far never showed fear in the face of any mortal opponent. He is famous for leading the forces of The White Realm to victory in the Battle of the Gnarlog Plains during the Third War against the Beasts. In battle Andy wields a giant, enchanted two-handed sword with an ivory grip with a golden pommel and guard. He also uses the bow. Angus: A marshal in the White Army. He also fought under the command of Andy during the Third War against the Beasts. If a new High Marshal ever would been promoted after High Marshal Andy (who does not actually has the position, considering he now is a Warrior of Mjolnir) most people consider Angus the one who should be given the position. Apollo Galerick: Captain of the White City, and leader of the Honour Guard. Apollo is famous for putting honour and justice before anything else. Ara: Arthriel Arthious: The wife of Loteros Argalric and mother of Loter Arthious. Ataya: Capital of Weissland. It is one of the biggest and busiest cities in the whole known world, larger even than the White City. Over 100,000 citizens live there within the city walls. Baranor: Beast, beasts: The name given to the creatures of the wild lands in the north and north-east. They looks like a twisted blend of humanoid creatures and animals. The beasts of the north come in many variations, small and large, pathetic and dangerous. Brae: Branalbinn: Famed hero, general and leader of the White Realm, and the right hand of Lord Sunnycool. He is also the leader of Branalbinn’s Guard, and the one who killed Angel, the traitor. Bulefamos Argalric: The leader of the Glorians who established the Mines of Glory in the Mountains of Glory. He was killed in the opening of the Second War against the Beasts, and was the grand-father of Loter Arthious. Calaros Dorganath: Son of Halondir Dorganath and captain of the border forces of the west. Campbell: Former member of Branlbinn’s Guard. Campbell was the best marksman in the whole force. Castle of Mjolnir: The large fortress overlooking the large town of Thunderton. It is the headquarter of the Warriors of Mjolnir, and the strongest fortress in the whole White Realm next to the the White City itself. It is constructed at the top of a cliff in the middle of Thunderton. Two walls surrounds the central keep, the outer walls thinner and lower than the inner walls but still formidable. The outer walls is surrounded by tall, dangerous cliffs on all sides except for the southern side where the gate house is Cinnamon: An exotic spice from the Eastern Islands. Cirulienalysai: A region within Weissland. Cloudwulfe: Crystal Ore: A very powerful material mined in the Mountains of Glory. It is used in hardening certain types of armour made by the best weapon-smiths in the White Realm. The Axemen of Glory use it in their armour. Cyrush: Dagonet: Warrior of Mjolnir. Right hand man of Andy. He is an excellent horseman and jouster. Death Stalker: A terrible beast of both bestial and magical nature. It has the strength of a bear, intelligence of a true master hunter and savageness of a shark. Defiled Kingdom, the: A realm lying south of Weissland. The border between Weissland and the Defiled Kingdom is marked by the Great Wall, the Crevasse and the Cruel Mountains. Dominic Damorath: The heir and eldest son to Almirith Damorath. He is currently undergoing personal training in the Force. Draleth: A region within Weissland. Dylan: A knight of the White Realm and member of the White Council. Dylan was banned because crimes against the White Council many years ago, but with the help of Branalbinn and Lord Videous he was allowed to return to the White Realm nine years later. Eastern Islands: A group of islands in the far east. Most of them are city-states governing different islands. They fight between themselves, and have little contact with realms like the White Realm or Weissland. Edgar Morgientes: Knight of the White City serving in the Honour Guard led by Apollo. He was a great friend of Hewer before Hewer was “promoted”. Edgar’s father was Edmund, and he was a very good friend of Apollo. Elf, elves: One of the Elder Races. Elves are tall, elegant and long-lived. Many of them may be proud or even look down on other races, at least in the eyes of men. In the realm of Weissland elves lives side by side with men and the relationship between the two different races is for the most part much better there. Elvis Prestin: Innkeeper of the Black Hammer Inn in the White City. He calls himself the “King of Rock” and is thought to be mad or crazy by many people. Elandir: Elegost: A wealthy merchant who has made himself rich on trading with cheese. He is one of the most powerful men in all the city-states, and it is rumoured that his money actually comes from more than cheese. Eomer: Captain of Mjolnir. Eomer was the only survivor of the small village Gullrik which got ambushed by a band of bandits. He managed to get away thanks to a mysterious, old man. After the man died five years later Eomer survived on his own. When he travelled to the White Realm Ariakas was the first man he met. They found out that they shared the same enemy, and Eomer joined the newly formed faction called the Warriors of Mjolnir. Eomer is a true master of stealth, as well as a worthy marksman with the bow. Fizban Dantares: Fords: Sergeant in the Army of the White City. Fords hails from Port Village. Fremen: One of the many tribes of men in the Desert Sands. They are led by Maud’Dib. Fubarbundy: Leader of the Wolf Company . Fubarbundy dislikes magic. Garrick: A member of Branalbinn’s Guard. Gaud: The harbourmaster in Ortin Port. Golden Council, the: A powerful trading guild. They have bases of operation all over the known world, in Weissland, The Eastern Islands, The Empire of the East, The Desert Sands, the Empire of Maga Khan and the White Realm. Grarghr: A beast. He is one of the captains under Razhk. Grimgard: The half-beast/half-man shaman of Razhk. Grobtak: One of the leaders of the Dark Council. Haargan: A former lord of the Realm of Purity who ruled hundred of years ago. It was said he tried to exterminate all other races in his realm apart from humans. Halondir Dorganath: Father of Calaros Dorganath. Hector: A bandit killed by Eomer. Hewer: Former member of the Honour Guard. Killed a vicious Akhmantûl singe-handed in the opening days of the Third War against the Beasts, and was given the title “Captain of the Sword” and the honour of guarding the High Captain of the White City, Locky. HuggyFrog: High-ranking member of Branalbinn’s Guard. Huggyfrog is an excellent fencer and horseman, as well as a man of humour. He is famous for making peace with the aggressive lizard-people in the West. Ilisdor: Former captain in the White Army. He died in the Third War against the Beasts during the Battle of Gnarlog Plains. Isaac: Former member of Branalbinn’s Guard. He disappeared after the Quest to destroy the Staff. James Rudder: A knight of the White City. He was found and adopted by Almirith Damorath, and is one of the most well-respected knights of the White City. The adoption by Almirith is viewed in different ways by the members of the White Council, an council which James Rudder is not part of. Joshua Damorath: Third and youngest son of Almirith Damorath. Jungles of Mu: A realm covered with dense jungle in the west. Kais: General of the Armies of the Realm of Purity and one of the closest advisors to Lord Rakton. He brought the Staff of Sanity to Lord Sunnycool six years after the foundation of the White Realm. He was killed shortly after the Quest to destroy the Staff. Karon Cyreddlues: A Dark Elf. Kosias Mirdas: Member of Branalbinn’s guard. Kuren: Small town close to the Kuren Mountains in Weissland. Kuren Mountains: Mountain range in Weissland. Lathaon Thaendil: Elven lord of Weissland and archmage. He is over an hundred years old. Locky: High Captain of the White City. He is a true master tactician. Loter Arthious: The descendant of Bulefamous. He is second-in-command of the Gates of Glory, but since Almirith still likes to travel around instead of settling at the same place Loter is the one who stays in command most of a year. Loter Arthious has learned some secrets about the mystical powers used by Almirith (referred simply to as the “Force”), but he has far from mastered it as much as Almirith. Maud’Dib: The leader of the tribe of men called Fremen in the Desert Sands. He is famous amongst other tribe leaders for his wisdom and martial honour, as well as for openly opposing Maga Khan’s attempts too slowly gain control over the rich cities and the desert tribes of the Desert Sands. Mardat Serpentwine: The personal agent of Lord Sunnycool. Marr: Mjolnir County: One of the counties of the White Realm. It is often considered the most important county, next to the Capital County. This is mostly because of it’s grand military army, its large population, its strong fortresses like Mjolnir Castle and Ortin Castle and the important harbour of Ortin Port. Mordain Thaendil: The cousin and right-handed advisor of Lord Lathaon Thaendil of Weissland. Mordus: Morten: The lord of the Realm of Purity before Lord Rakton. It was during his reign that the beasts of the north first launched their attacks towards the south. Mork: The beastlord who led the united forces of various beast-creatures during the Third War against the Beasts. He was killed by Ariakas in a vicious duel in front of the Southern Gates of the White City. Mountains of Glory: The most beautiful and tallest mountaint range in the whole White Realm. It is located to the west of the capital, the White City. The Mountains of Glory are often referred to as the Glories and contains a large amount of gold and the valuable crystal-ore. Murazin: General of the Realm of Purity who was killed in the First Great War against the Beasts. His final heroic deeds are a typical theme in bard-tales. Ogre, ogres: One of the Younger Races. An ogre is something akin to an oversized human with a huge head and a strong, muscular body. Most ogres are not very intelligent, and some even eat human meat. Ordail: The largest port in Weissland. Ortin Port: A city located inside the Bay of Valour. Ortin Port contains the most important port in the whole White Realm, though it is not as big as the ports in Ordail or Triraso. Paul Damorath: Father of Almirith Damorath. Paul was also a Master of the Force before his death, as well as a good friend with Master Adam. Profyn: Lord-mayor of Thunderton. He is a good friend of Ariakas Rake Hajj: A legendary swordmaster of the Realm of Purity. Rakton: The last lord of the Realm of Purity. Ranorist Chrasto: Warrior of Mjolnir. Ranorist is a huge, bald and bulky man. He uses a combination of a hammer and an axe in battle. Many people foolishly consider Ranorist a slow-witted man, and some even believe that he got a small part of ogre blood in his veins. Rayrn: One of the leaders of the Dark Council. He is tall and strong, and carries a scar along his face. Rebecca Damorath: The daughter of Almirith Damorath. She has a relationship with James Rudder that borders on engagement. Almirith seems to have mixed opinions about this relationship. Richard Damorath: Second son of Almirith Damorath. He is serving as one of the captains of the army of Southern County. Richard Magror: Son of William Magror. After his father died in the Third War against the Beasts he decided to not follow in his fathers footsteps and refused the offer from Ariakas about joining the Warriors of Mjolnir. Instead he stayed in the army of the White City where he quickly rose in ranks. He is now a lieutenant in the Honour Guard led by Apollo. Sebastian: The current Emperor of the East. He is a good friend of Lord Sunnycool. Shaellana: A woman travelling in the White Realm. Shiverland: Northern region in the White Realm. Sirth: A region within Weissland. Sunnycool, Lord: The Lord of the White Realm. Lord Sunnycool is the creator of the White Counsil and founder of the White City. Thor:Member of the Wolf Company. Thorgrim: Prominent captain in the Wolf Company. He is second in command of Fubarbundy himself. Thunderton: The capital city of Mjolnir county, Mjolnir Castle is located on an hilltop in the centre of Thunderton. Trebuchet: This is a giant war machine invented by Hound used in the armies of the White Realm. It has so far still not been used in a conflict. Triraso: A large city and port in the Empire of the East. It thrives on the trade with the rich cities in the Empire of Maga Khan, Desert Sands and the Eastern Islands. Tristan Fargonar: Warrior of Mjolnir. He is skilled with the use of the curved swords utilized in the Empire of Maga Khan and the Desert Sands, as well as the short bow. Ubiquitous, Overlord: Another high-ranking member of Branalbinn’s Guard. He is giften with the ability to see the future, as well as easily see through people that is lying or hiding information. He lives in the House of the Overlord (often referred to as the Castle of the Truthseeker) in the north-western part of the White Realm. Valkar: Mighty daemon enslaved by Andy just after he became High Marshal. Videous, lord: The lord of the Castle of Cruelty and the leader of the Guards of Grief. Lord Videous have always played an important role in countering the invasions of beasts from the north and the north-east as well as making sure no uprising happens in Shiverland. Lord Videous is also a former member of the Warriors of Mjolnir, but he left the order for unknown reasons many years ago. Warriors of Mjolnir: A military order in the White Realm with Ariakas as it’s leader. Not every Warriors of Mjolnir is a warrior, some are also learned men and sages but they are still referred to as Warriors of Mjolnir. The Warriors of Mjolnir use various weapons and fighting techniques, believing that every man should practice and master in what they actually have a marked talent for. The numbers of excisting Warriors of Mjolnir is quite uncertain though most people say they number approximately one thousand members. Weissland: An ancient realm to the south-east of the White Realm. To travel to Weissland from the White Realm one must sail over the Sea of Strength. The population of Weissland is a mixture of elves, humans, dwarfs and halflings. The realm of Weissland is far more than one thousand years old. Weissland Royal Guard: The best warriors in Weissland. They numbers around 500 men, and are all chosen by Lord Lathaon himself. White City: The capital of the White Realm. White Realm, the: A great realm in the northern-western part of the known world. It is governed by a council known as the White Council, though the real leader with unlimited power is Lord Sunnycool since his judgement always overrules the will of the council. Still, Lord Sunnycool always takes important issues up with the council, while minor cases are handled by certain members of the council. William Magror: Former lieutenant of Mjolnir. He was killed during the Third War against the Beasts. He was the father of Richard who decided to not follow in his father footsteps. Wolf Company: A group of warriors and fighters led by Fubarbundy. They are loyal to the Lord of the White Realm. Most of them are recruited from the northern regions, in the same way and for the same reasons as the Guards of Grief. Many members of the wolf company wear the pelts of wolves they have slained in skirmishes along the northern border. Wyvern: A winged monster living in the some of the tallest mountains in the White Realm, as well as the Defiled Kingdom. The Wyvern has two clawed legs, large bat-like wings, a long, elegant but muscular body ending in a powerful tail and a large, scary head with a mouth filled with razor-sharp teeth. Some wyverns in the Defiled Kingdom also have poisonous stingers at the end of their tail.