The Archive
Legends of Glory Home
PDF Manuals
Facebook Page

The Legends of Glory
Quest for Glory
:: 1 ::


A Hero's Visit Home
:: 0 :: 1 :: 2 ::

Sweet Dreams
:: 1 :: 2 :: 3 :: 4 :: 5 ::

Image Gallery
Photo Edits
Sprites & Explanations
Short Stories
The Truth of Heroism

Older & Other Works
Almost Naked Adventures
Glory Quest
Almirena & Orion's Date Thread
A Hero's Visit Home :: v1.0
Sweet Dreams :: v1.0

Other Authors
:: Soulforge a.ka. Manegirl ::
Quest for Glory Journal
:: Spielburg :: Shapeir :: Tarna :: Mordavia :: Silmaria ::
QfG: The Three Heroes

Sierra Community Links
Sierra Forums Gateway
A one stop shop for forum needs!

The Coles' and QFG Links
Transolar Games
Buy QFG @

Sierra Fan Game Links
AGD Interactive (KQ & QFG)
Infamous Adventures (KQ & SQ)
The Silver Lining (KQ)

'Sierra Alumni' Links
Two Guys from Andromeda
Pinkerton Road (Jane Jensen)
Gabriel Knight 20th Anniversary
Sierra Gamers (Ken Williams)
Al Lowe's Humor Site
Christy Marx (.com)
Phoenix Online Studios

Quest for Glory Journal
Entries for Mordavia
by Soulforge (a.k.a. Manegirl)
A.K.A. "The Challenge" : Play one game day per day and journalize it

:: Return To Spielburg's Journal Entries ::
:: Return To Shapeir's Journal Entries ::
:: Return To Tarna's Journal Entries ::
:: Skip Ahead To Silmaria's Journal Entries ::


Day 67 (Part Two)

I remember I dreamt of flying and falling, but nothing much else.

I awoke, somehow still alive after… what just happened. I looked around and found myself what looked like a cave. Lit by lichen on the walls which gave everything an eerie green glow, I found myself in a place covered in thick, strange outcroppings of rock… or was it a skeleton? It certainly looked like one, but I couldn’t be sure for certain. Also, there are corpses stuck in the walls sort of. Lovely!

So. I had four, no FIVE burning questions. Where was I? Well, I know now which I’ll say later. How did I get here? I still don’t know! Who brought me here? I don’t know the answer to that either, but they must have malicious intent otherwise they wouldn’t have FORCED me to leave! How do I get out of here? I’ll get to that in a second. And WHERE’S ALL MY STUFF?! Yeah!! All that hard work I put in to receive Soulforge and my Magic Shield? All those Healing, Stamina and Mana Pills I bought? All my Dinosaur Horns I’d been collecting as trophies? My rope and oil? All my money? GONE!!! As you can imagine, I’m not very happy! All I have are the clothes and armor- when did I buy platemail!? –on my back.

Also in the room was an altar. I shuddered when I saw it. I knew from the stories I sometimes read in the library, that this ugly skull thing with torches on either side was an altar to…

The Dark One.

I’ll… get to this later. I promise, I’ll go over the legend when I find an appropriate time for it. I won’t DARE speak it’s name until then.

I searched the corpses and found several “Kopeks” and “Crowns”, apparently this country’s currency, a dagger –psh!- and a piece of flint. Taking the torch from the altar, I lit it with the flint and it sparked in green flame. It must be a magical torch, because it never seemed to burn out. How convenient!

As for how I got out, there was a sphincter or stone valve in the wall and opened when I stuck my dagger into it. Eugh!

I came to some sort of central chamber where I saw three more doors and the middle sat yet another altar to the Dark One. Except this one looked different. Instead of looking like a skull, this looked… more like some sort of inner organ and was made of stone. I saw darkened stains upon it and I cringed as I put my hand on it. It felt warm, but… I felt something cold deep down that chilled me to my bones when I pit my hand there. I turned away from it and saw what WOULD be a sight for sore eyes if it wasn’t in such a sad situation: a sword and shield lay next to a skeleton that clutched it still in what passed for a death grip. I pried it free with some effort, whispered an apology to it, and took a look at my loot. The shield was still in pretty good condition all things considered, but the sword…?

Not so much. It was battered, had dents and scratches on it, was rusted badly in places and when I reached out with my Will… I found no trace of a spark. This sword wasn’t blessed and thusly couldn’t hold a flame. It truly was a sorry excuse for a weapon. But… it was all I had at the moment.

I saw an exit to the south… and I got attacked by bats! Well, if I need to be specific, Badders. Luckily for me, in a bitter battle I was better than the Badders. I kicked some butt too!

I also got poisoned by them. Wonderful. Though not nearly as fatal as the venomous vines of Tarna, it still leaves me feeling drained regardless and it wore off.

The next room was a gigantic chasm. Immediately, my sense of danger went off as I detected something below me in the pit! I saw a convenient rope connected across it and went across hand over hand, careful not to look down and move quickly. My race raced as I detected something below me groan and heard a squishy sound as I crossed. I made it across just barely and didn’t look back to see what nearly ate me. I saw a light at the end of the tunnel and followed it.

Turns out this led to the mouth of the cave which, when I got out, was seconds from crushing my skull with its jaws! Think I’m kidding? No, I’m not! The cave really DID look like a mouth with fangs and everything!

I couldn’t relax though, not for a moment, for I felt that warning tingle all over again. I couldn’t tell the source though…

The fact that I was brought to someone’s attention, snapping me out of my tenseness, helped. That someone… was a woman. “You’re alive! Only one person has ever walked away from there before.”

I found myself… dare I say it, entranced by her voice. It was high, yet not grating, but moreso innocent and sweet. Smooth as melted chocolate. She spoke with an accent that sounded Surrian somewhat, but I couldn’t quite tell. Detecting accents isn’t exactly my forte, especially given that, as someone who grew up in a town that speaks mainly Common with Germanian coming second, I do not have one myself and Willowsby is kinda out of the way.

“Who are you? How did you get here?” she asked.

Snapping out of my dazed revere, I cleared my throat and replied, “I am Marcus Donnelly. I go by Marcus and I am a Hero of Three Lands and the Paladin Prince of Shapeir.”

She gasped softly and she looked at me shocked. “Oh!” she looked around anxiously, “Oh, there are so many questions I want to ask you, but I have to get home quickly. It’s so dangerous out at night in Mordavia.”

Mordavia… so that’s where I was. The nights here are dangerous, eh? They can’t be worse than Spielburg. I still recall that one night and shudder at how close I’d come to having it all end there…

The lady pointed behind her. “The town is due north of here. Be careful, there are many bad things wandering around. Good luck!”

“Danke, my lady! Though, I doubt I’ll need it.” I puffed out my chest and flexed.

She giggled a little at my boldness. I just melted! “Oh, by the way, my name is Katrina. I hope we meet again sometime. Farewell.”

And with that, she was gone. With her departure, I felt my head clear and shook it. Gods, really? Was I so starved for companionship that I felt smitten over the first woman I met in this new land? Did Johari choosing Yesufu over me tear me up that much inside that I was willing to fall for yet ANOTHER woman just from meeting her once?! Again, when I barely even KNOW her?! Ja, that worked GREAT with Johari, Marcus! Gah!!!

I took a look around at my surroundings and noticed there was lots and LOTS of goo everywhere. Black as pitch, thick as mud, and, as I stuck my hand in it, as revolting and grimy as the bowels of Nastrond. It is there, you see, where all the people who commit unforgivable crimes and their hearts as black as coal, go. It is a place near Helheim, and covered from floor to ceiling in snakes. Venomous ones that drip their agony from their fangs endlessly so, and the patrons wade in it and suffer the wrath of Nidhogg the dragon gnawing on their corpses. And considering they’re already dead, there is no escape from their suffering and they remain there. Forever.

There was a stone archway nearby and I saw several symbols carved into it. These were Magic symbols that I learned in school, seven of which I recognized, specifically from Arcania 101. Now, you’re probably wondering why I know what these symbols mean even though I am not a practitioner of Magic, hm? Well, as I’m sure you remember, Willowsby has a little problem with Magic and is thusly against it, Healing aside. So, because they’re so against it, they wanted to teach us some ways of looking out for certain symbols so we know that it’s Magic based and know not to touch it. In order, they were: Blood, Bone, Breath, Essence, Mouth and Senses. All things we need to receive and keep our lives. Hmmm…

There was one I didn’t recognize though. It was a symbol of what looked like a tintenfisch with only six tentacles. Something drew me towards it and I plucked it clean off the archway.

I’m scared.

Something is just… wrong with this thing. And yet, I feel that I need it so I took it with me.

Continuing on my way, I came across a ledge that spiraled down past a pool of even more greasy, grimy goo. There was goo on the top of it too, and I found that it was very, very slippery. The only things I felt noticeable were a stone pillar with a squid carved on the top that looked interesting. Touching the Dark One Sign to it, I felt a resonance between them but nothing else happens. The other thing I noticed was there appeared to be a bonsai bush stuck in the goo which I couldn’t reach. The poor thing must be miserable!

…Wow. I’m so out of my mind that I’m giving plants emotions and feelings. Either this land is affecting my head already or Salim is rubbing off on me.

Aside from that, I came across a dark, dreary swamp. I didn’t stay long, not when I swear I saw hands reaching up from the muck into the air to grab at my feet inevitably if I ever went in that direction.

Nope nope nope. Not going near it. Nope.

When I reached the forest proper, I was struck with awe! This place was GORGEOUS! The green grass looked soft, the colors of the trees had turned to Autumn reds and oranges and yellows, little clumps of wildflowers were everywhere and chattering, babbling brooks all added a sense of calm to me after all that had happened so far. I heard birds twittering and even the sharp cry of a hawk nearby as I passed.

I reached the town not too soon after. It was walled and gated like Spielburg is, though with more pumpkins and corn shucks than Spielburg was. Then again, I visited Spielburg in the Spring, not Autumn.

The first thing I felt was a sense of great calm. Of protection. Before me sat a stone surrounded by grass. Beautiful flowers bloomed all around this little spot. The thing that drew my eye the most however, was the Wizard Staff embedded in the rock. It was curved and organic, dare I say it, feminine. I placed a hand upon the monument and I felt, for just that moment, that all my worries were drifting away. Nothing can harm me here. The feeling is familiar to me now, but never unwelcome. In all my adventures, there was no greater comfort the feeling that you are warm and protected by Magic. And Love.

Er, forget I said that last bit! Heh. I’m… sorry about that. I’m just sensitive to things like that, I suppose.

After Johari, after fooling myself to thinking that we had something together and it turning out to just blind and dumb on my part, can you really blame me?

I touched the Staff. It felt warm and almost alive in my hand. Fascinating! I found myself letting go very quickly however, when I heard an eerie voice say in my mind, “This I must first do—the sacrifice of life for one of love.”

Moving on, I took in the sights. The buildings reminded me of Spielburg.

I seem to be saying that a lot.

I also learned something very quickly here: the people here are NOT friendly. Well, most of them aren’t. They are suspicious of strangers and me in particular.

The fact that I told the Burgomeister, their equivalent to the Sheriff in Spielburg with the Boyar I suppose being their Jarl, that I’d actually come here from that cave AND that I was a Prince of Shapeir didn’t help matters.

I learned that I’d make Dmitri Ivanov VERY angry if I caused trouble and that he didn’t want me here.

I learned that Olga Stovich is a gossip, but seems like a nice enough woman who owns several cats in her general store. I gave her a bit of business as I bought a few things I felt I needed- oil for my weapon, garlic for protection against “Werewolves” and other horrors I might find and excellent flavoring for food, a hand broom for cleaning things up since I wanted to not cause trouble and this might be good to help with that, rations which were garlic and avocado sandwiches which I bought to last me about a week or so, a pie pan in case I wanted to cook something like how mother taught me, some candy because why not?, and a shopping bag to carry it all in. Yes, yes, I realize that my pack seems to be bottomless anyway, but you can never be too careful.

I also set up a reservation at the Hotel Mordavia, run by Yuri and Bella Markarov. They were quite surprised to see a new face, but were certainly hospitable enough. Unlike the farmers named Ivan, Franz and Hans who did nothing but chatter on about how glum their lives are here.

I learned that they will be judging me based on my actions as a Hero, rather than my words. Fair enough, I can roll with that. Words are for Bards, not Paladins. They also do not like or trust Magic.

Again, I’m reminded of home… I hope that’s not a recurring thought in my head otherwise I’ll become very, very depressed.

The Hotel Mordavia is the one place that is safe at night from the terrors of the valley, and even they lock the doors when night falls alongside the gates to the town.

I shudder to think what would happen if I failed to return before sunset. Another repeat of Spielburg, I fear.

After that, I continued exploring and came across three things. The first was a massive stone building that looks and felt ominous that was apparently a monastery of some kind that had another one of those squid creatures carved at the top and loomed over the door.. The second was a boarded up wooden building that turned out to be the Adventurer’s Guild that Dmitri had given me a key for. The third and last thing was not a thing at all but a person named Igor. Seems like a nice hunched over fellow, great sense of humor that cheered me up a little, but seems just as cautious around me as everyone else. He also claims he knows no rumors, but he’s clearly lying.

Entering the Adventurer’s Guild had another wave of nostalgia hit me. Just from the smell, I was reminded of my own Guild. And seeing it so broken down and dilapidated was enough to break my heart! There was even a moose head on the wall and a logbook to further remind me of things I’d rather not focus on right now thank you brain.

On the wall hung two portraits, one being of an adventurer who’d soundly “defeated” a dragon named Dunstan who was in Silmaria, an island kingdom. The other was older and was faded quite a bit, with the plaque reading “Piotyr- Paladin.”

I smiled at that. Perhaps I would meet him someday, and he could become friends with me. Needless to say, I need it right now.

There was a bookshelf, and above that was a picture frame. It was oddly blank. Either the picture was stolen somehow, or the artist was an idiot and thought, “Hey! This wall is awesome! So awesome that I want to frame it on the wall!” and so he did. Though as I looked up at it, I swear to you that I heard something if I listened closely. Something skittering like a bug. A big one. It might just be my imagination though.

Now, the logbook. One prominent tale stuck out to me- the story of Piotyr, the Paladin in the portrait. As I turned the pages, I found myself transfixed by the story weaved on its pages.

Piotyr was fighting against the Dark One Cult, otherwise known as the Chernovy Cult. Leading his army, he battled against them outside the Dark One’s cave. Though the soldiers fought well, the Cult fought even better and were like madmen. Those who did not perish in the battle, fled in terror as the cult transformed themselves into hideous monsters, being led by their leader who had strong Magic on his side. The Dark One feasted on Magic and souls, you see, and it had been denied our fair Gloriana for too long. It hungered for the souls of the Paladin and the lady Wizard who was with him.

For yes, the Lady Erana had been there with him during the battle. Unfortunately, despite all of Piotyr’s power, it wasn’t enough. They were going to be devoured, mind, body and soul, and there was nothing more that could be done…

But then, it says that Piotyr heard the voice of Erana call out, “By all my Will, I banish you to--!” and was silenced. The Cultists that were left screamed and ran.

Piotyr ran inside the cave, searching desperately for any sign of life. He found nothing except the rags of the robes the Cultists wore, left behind after the Dark One devoured their souls, and… Erana’s Staff. With a heavy heart and mourning his lost friend, he brought the Staff back to the town of Mordavia where it still resides today.

Piotyr then notes that he’s going to find the Dark One Rituals and destroy them so this may never happen again. That was the last entry.

As I reached the end of the tale, I felt a great sadness come over me. Erana… Lady Erana, the person spoken of in the legends of my homeland and probably all of Gloriana, had sacrificed her life to save them all…

I signed the logbook with a flourish, then solemnly bowed my head and had a moment of silence for the woman I’d felt like I’d been touched by in nearly every land I visited, felt her warmth and protection even through the hardest nights and felt close to whenever I slept there. When I say being touched by her Magic feels like being embraced by a lover, I mean it sincerely. Throughout my travels, I’d always hoped to meet her someday, just to thank her for she’d done for me and all adventurers and travelers who sought her aid. Now, I can’t. Because she’s no longer with us.

If I ever find a haven here, I should remember to give my respects to this wonderful, divinely powerful, loving woman. I’m sure I’ll be able to find SOMETHING I can give as an offering SOMEWHERE.

Let’s see… what else was in the Guild Hall? Ah! Books! There were several- HERO Magazine issue 6 which I found interesting as it told me about Mordavia which I’ll share perhaps another day, a book titled Talk Fu which just confused me, a book on exercise which told me about the Bigfoot Stair-Stepper which I used to build up some Strength, a book on how to Climb which I think is useful as there just so HAPPENED to be a Rope and Grapnel there on the floor which I took and practiced with a little- Rico! You would LOVE this, I tell you! -, a book on castles, and lastly a book on casting Magic- something tells me Finn would get more use out of this than I, though it WAS a good read regardless –which makes me wonder… why DO they have a book on Magic in this town if nobody trusts Magic here? Then again, we have those at home too, so who knows?

Oh! And there’s one more thing I did before I left. Next to the bookshelf was a glass case containing a sword. And a rather nice one at that! Certainly better than this rusty hunk of metal that would make any blacksmith weep at the craftsmanship, anyway. There was a sign that said, “Break Glass in Emergency!” and, well, I kinda needed that sword! So I broke the glass and got this new sword I now carry. Unfortunately, while it is nice, I already attempted to reach out with my Will and have found nothing. Sigh.

I did two more things today after leaving the Adventurer’s Guild. I went over to another section of town, and met another resident. An old man named Nikolai.

Nikolai… just looking at him makes me feel sad. He told me that he was looking for his wife, Anna, and couldn’t find her anywhere. I told him that if I saw her that I’d let him know, which made him happier slightly. He obviously missed her and wanted her back. His sadness at losing the person he loved reminds me of mother when- DAMMIT! NO!!! I SAID I WASN’T GOING TO DWELL ON HOME ANYMORE TODAY! GODS!!

Ugh… anyway, the very last thing I did before heading back to the Hotel Mordavia- by the way, while it’s apparently pronounced “More-DAH-vee-uh” I keep hearing it sometimes in my mind as “More-DAY-vee-uh” for some reason, and I don’t know why. Damn my brain is weird sometimes! –was I went into a very… strange building. The sign said “Dr. Cranium.” I recognized the name, actually! On the bookshelf, the book on castles was actually an advertisement brochure that read, “I, Dr. Cranium, predict that someday one of my descendants will become the subject of a ‘major computer game’ called ‘The Castle of Dr. Brain’ from Sierra On-Line.” Despite how cheesy and attention begging that ad seemed, I can’t help but feel… something when I read the words “Sierra On-Line”. I don’t what I’m feeling, but it grabbed my attention, that’s for sure.

Anyway. The strange building. I entered a hallway, and got a very strange feeling of “vuja de”. Yes, you are reading this correctly. It’s a feeling of, “I have never been here before! But I might someday!” Three doors greeted me, alongside a bust of some fellow chewing bubble gum and a strange contraption called a T.R.A.P.

The T.R.A.P. stood for Transcendental Receiving Animal Processor. I attempted to get it to work and, after several sessions of trying different results, I discovered that Antwerps like avocado AND that the thing above the door of the Monastery is called a Hexapod and likes either Heroes and or garlic. I should remember this for later, I feel.

Speaking of Antwerps, I discovered that the door to my right contained a TON of baby Antwerps!

GODS DAMN IT!! CAN THERE JUST BE ONE THING IN THIS DAMN VALLEY THAT DOESN’T MAKE ME THINK OF SPIELBURG, PLEASE?! I really, REALLY cannot handle homesickness ON TOP of everything else I’ve been experiencing lately, okay?!

No, the attack wasn’t fatal.

I also discovered that the door in the back led to Dr. Cranium’s Private Laboratory. It is locked, and the only way to get in is to get the key. Where is that? Why through the door on my left, of course! It involves those baby Antwerps I freed and is quite the annoying puzzle that I really had no patience to solve right now, so I left it alone. I also have to apparently assemble the keyhole with a puzzle as well. Wonderful!

So I have left that alone for another day. I don’t really want to think anymore, really. My room in the Hotel Mordavia is nice and cozy, and I can hear my bed calling me, “Marcus… Marcus… come lie down, Marcus…”I think I’ll answer that call.

~Taken from the Journal of Marcus Donnelly of Willowsby.~




*the writing is scratchy, panicked and clearly written with a shaky hand*

Day 68

I've calmed down a bit from yesterday. I hope.

I woke up, had my breakfast of a Mordavian garlic souffle, and chatted with Yuri a bit. Sadly, due to the Swamp, the Inn doesn't get much business aside from me and the farmers. It seems that the Swamp is causing trouble for everyone here, as it has long since covered up the road and allows nothing in or out. Except me.

Talked to Dimitri a bit too. I told him about my adventures in Shapeir and how I became their Paladin Prince. I swear to you, he flinched when I said "Paladin" but when I asked him about it, he said to forget it.

I also spoke with Olga a bit. She spoke of her dearly departed husband named Boris. Gone three years now, apparently. She also doesn't like the good Dr. Cranium and fears that someday he'll blow them up with his nutso experiments. Dimitri doesn't like him either.

Heck, the only person I think who actually can tolerate Dr. Cranium is Igor. Igor is not only the gravedigger, but also Dr. Cranium's assistant, you see. Igor is BURY happy with his job as gravedigger, though. Hahaha, little graveyard humor there! One of Igor's not-rumors is that Olga's husband isn't dead, but ran away.Hmmm...

Did some more Climbing and Strength training at the Guild today. I also met poor old Nikolai again. Ever still, he searches for his lady Anna. I can barely stand even looking at those sad, confused eyes. If what I've been hearing is true, then Anna is somewhere very, very far away...

I next visited Dr. Cranium's again, after solving the bell puzzle again. And speaking of puzzles, I FINALLY managed to get the Antwerp Maze done and get the key after nearly an HOUR timing the little guy's bounces correctly. If I timed it wrong, then he'd sometimes go bouncing to the exact OPPOSITE direction I wanted him to go. With the key in hand, I able to unscramble the keyhole and entered the Laboratory easily.

It's... interesting to say the least. Flasks, vials, jars and tubing cover everything. There are bottles of chemicals on the selves, a hearth, a few books, some glass globes, a boiler, a beaker of eyes, a moonshine still, an experiment to make tea be perfect, an operating table and... some sort of metal cannon with a narrow end that I saw spark lightning occasionally.

I wasn't allowed to touch any of it, as the good Doktor reminded me. Ah, yes. Him. He's mad. There's NO doubt about that! A Mad Scientist if I ever saw one!

I said hello and he said, "Welcome to my laboratory. You must have more than the usual intelligence and perseverance to have made it in here."

I blinked and frowned. "I don't think most would appreciate being called stupid like that, Doktor."

I introduced myself and began to tell him of my adventures, but he stopped me and told me to wait another day when he had more time.

I sighed. "Alright, then. Y'know what I think, sir?"

"Hm? What?"

"Now, I may not be much an afficinado of Science, but I do know a bit about Magic. Isn't it interesting that they're so similar in how they work?"

"Nonsense!" Dr. Cranium exclaimed, "there is no such thing as Magic! There is only Science! What you called Magic is simply scientific phenomena that has not yet been properly investigated and catalogued."

I narrowed my eyes and harrumphed as I crossed my arms, "Explain then, how my friend Finn can make lightning sparks appear on his dagger and make it stronger. Explain The Change which gave us, even someone like YOU, the potential to gain and use Magic?"

"Feh. The Change is merely when people started gaining a larger appreciation for Science and got away from all those superstitions about 'Gods' and 'Spirits' and started becoming more logical and realizing they were only figments of their imaginations that merely formed due to fear of phenomena like storms and diseases, saying that the 'Gods' must have been angry wth them, when really it was just ordinary weather and because people back then didn't understand biology. As for the dagger, clearly he modified it using Science and allowed the 'lightning' to activate by his hand only, probably some sort of hidden switch in the handle."

...I've only talked to him for about five minutes and already I'm not too fond of this guy.

My frown deepened. "So what you're saying is my friend Finn is oppressed in our hometown over something that doesn't even exist?! It's alright if you don't LIKE Magic, believe me, I could understand that. But to say that there's no such thing is what *I* find preposterous! Especially your notion that the Gods are all 'figments of our imaginations' when I've been to Valhalla and back!"

He looked at me shocked. I clapped my mouth shut after I released what I'd just said! I'd NEVER told anyone about that! "Valhalla? What is that?"

I realized I might as well explain it. "Valhalla is the place where the people in my country go when they die an honorable death in battle. It is run by our God known as Odin, who welcomes us to battle and train for Ragnarok by day and feast in his hall by night. It resides in Asgard, one of two lands of the Gods my people follow, across a great rushing river and a rainbow bridge guarded by Heimdall, the ever awake watchman of the Gods. I said that I'd been there and back, because I have legitimatedly died and have been revived by... some sort of force pulling me back. Several times. Dr. Cranium, I think I might be immortal."

He rolled his eyes at me. "Marcus, my boy, everyone claims to see SOMETHING while being rescuscitated. It's an illusion, my boy! Nothing more! There is no such thing as Magic! Your 'Gods' are no more real than dreams!"

I clenched my fists and glared. "So if I attempted to demonstrate what I meant by falling on my sword in front of you and being revived, since that is an honorable death, what would you do?"

"You'd be of use to me regardless of what you do."

I stopped. "What."

"Let me just say that Science can do miraculous things, like reanimate the dead." He didn't seem perturbed by my look of disgust. "Regardless of your beliefs, you'd be amazed at how gullible people can be. Just the other day, someone gave me this scroll and told me it was a 'magical spell'! Can you believe that?"

"I can. Let me see that." He handed it to me and I began to read.

...Remember how I said that The Change gave us all the potential to learn Magic?

As I read the scroll, my eyes widened and darted quickly across the page as I absorbed the words into my mind. I knew this! I recognized these letters! They were runes!

They read (translated mentally)-

Med inn Ginnregin staddr i sasi skosveinn,
Undr yfir inn mattr vid fljota yfir vatn!
Ek veita inn gipt vid kunna Skrida!

With the Powers placed in this page,
Marvel over the ability to float over water!
I give the gift to know Glide!

The incantation was just to mentally speak (in whatever language you actually spoke)-
Powers of Water,
Powers of Air,
Bid the first to not touch me,
And the second to hold me fair.

The gesture of the hands was to point down at your feet and make a sliding motion towards the water you wanted to float upon.

Glide! Wow!

In all my years of life, I'd... never really thought to learn Magic!

Just the feeling of that... that marvelous POWER rushing into me and the spell ingraving itself into my memory... it just felt WONDERFUL!

Finn... if you ever read this someday, know now that just for awhile, I knew what it felt to have such power in my hands and mind and that it felt simply wonderful!

The scroll, of course, poofed into dust as soon as I finished reading it. "There, you see, it was not even a very good piece of parchment. Fell right apart!"

I just glared at him and said nothing. He rambled on and on about how "Science is great! Science is all we need! Here let me educate you on how Science works! I'll tell you all about how I consider everyone in this town complete fools because they don't believe in SCIENCE! Damn it, Jim, I'm a Scientist, not a Doctor! but have my patented Healing Drink and Universal Poison Antidote anyway! Help me remember the formulae for both so I can make more! WITH SCIENCE!" and so on. I was only half listening anymore. I barked a goodbye and he barked back, "Please be careful not to break the beakers or crack the flasks on your way out."

I just gave him a rude gesture with my finger and walked out.

Let's see... what else did I do?

Well, I explored more of the valley today!

I saw the graveyard and chuckled at the headstone epitaphs. What? No, I'm not being disrespectful! It's kinda hard to NOT laugh a little when they get stuff like THIS written on their graves:

"Mikhail Mehd
Bumped his Head
In another Man's Bed
Now he's Dead. RIP."

"On a dare, Pasha Sperry,
Spent the night in the Cementary.
Something gave him such a fright,
That now he sleeps here EVERY night!"

"Arken Tenna
Walked at night.
Arken saw his final sight.
Now the question seems to be--
What in the world did Tenna see?"

"Here lies the body of Kari Naishon,
Who answered a Vampire's invitation.
Now there's cause for lamentation,
It was a fatal recreation."

"Here lies the spirit of Barnie Blue,
To his lover was untrue.
So she knew just what to do,
Fixed herself a Barnie Stew."

The Borgov family crypt is also here. It is, naturally, locked. Same with the tomb of Ligeia Poe. I wonder if she has a relative named Edgar?

I explored more of the forest today and came across a... very strange bush. It had eyes! it's berries were blood red! It was covered in tentacle like vines!

And it whipped me so hard and fast and so many times, that it felt like being stung by a ten foot wasp! It did it so many times and I couldn't seem to get away from it... that it actually KILLED me!

Gee, I've SURELY missed this! this being stuck in a land where EVERYTHING is out to kill me! I was Restored to earlier in the day, back near the graveyard.

Think I'm joking when i say EVERYTHING wants me dead? Well, that might be a mild exaggeration since rocks and trees aren't out to get me, but quite a few creatures DO want to gnaw on my bones!

A prime example? The Necrotaur! Looking like a cross between a bear and a vicious dog, it attacked me mercilously, bowling me over and slashing at me over and over! Injuring it with my sword proved only to make it angrier, and I soon collapsed onto the grass and I bled out.

Part of me wanted to just try to resist going back, to not be Restored. All I want is to rest! I just want to feast in Odin's Hall with father!

But part of me knew that wasn't possible. I'd be waking up again soon.

And sure enough, I was Restored once more.

You want to know the worst part? I was Restored right before the Necrotaur attacked. So therefore, I had to fight this beast twice!

Nevertheless, I managed to do so, but still...

I also reached the gates of Borgov Castle today. I met the Gatekeeper, a rather scrawny and pale man named Boris Stovich. I perked up when I heard his name, and have made a mental note to mention this to Olga another day. He told me that the Castle of the the Boyars was once owned by the Borgov family. However, the last Borgov died several years back and is now owned by someone simply known as the Master. Boris doesn't know who the Master is, nor does he really care. He's paid and thusly he's happy. He did tell me that the Master has a daughter that they're quite proud of, and that they're accompanied by a strange foreigner. He is quite rude and wears a funny hat, and has a creept habit of staring at someone and licking his lips. The master also came with some strange guards that Boris thinks aren't quite human, but he thinks that doesn't matter if they do their job well.

I also came across the lake in Mordavia and met a very... well, lovely lady who... well, lets just say I know she is very pretty just by looking at her. All over her body, I can see curves. Wet, dripping slender curves in all the right places. All she wanted to do was get warmed up, since the lake was so cold and all...

I couldn't resist, okay?! Like I said, I'm... very lonely!

So very lonely...

It all turned out to be a trap, of course! I held her in my arms and she held onto me tight and kissed me, and just wouldn't let go! She pulled me down into the lake where I quickly drowned. I can doggy paddle, but swimming isn't my thing, despite growing up near water.

I was Restored back to before I stepped in, and she remained very mysterious about her profession when I asked her. I eventually left and she called after me, telling me not to leave her alone when it was so cold and that she needed me. I feel kinda bad, but... I gotta stay alive.

I came across two more monsters today. The first was, believe it or not, a rabbit.

Yeah, remember when I said that everything was out to get me? Even the BUNNIES want to kill me and rip my throat out! Not necessarily in that order. Luckily, the Vorpal Bunny isn't much of a threat to me. Three or four slashes of my sword will do to kill it.

The second was... hoo boy! I also came across a Wyvern! I decided to run away from this one. why? Because they are long distance attackers! They blow fire! That hurts! so I took no chances and just ran away! also, they have venomous tails.

However, the end of my day has been, to put it mildly, pleasant. Why? Because I have found my haven.

Yes, I found Erana's Garden!

It's every bit as beautiful as I'd imagined. That sense of peace and tranquility, that feeling of protection, resonates even stronger here than in the town. Flowers bloom here in patches, smelling of all types. A shallow stream flows gently here, creating an island in the middle of her Garden. Oriental lanterns softly glow and I managed to find a bag of 30 Crowns in one of them. Accepting them as a gift from the Lady Erana, I whispered a thank you in appreciation. I tasted the stream, and it tastes like wild strawberries.

There is a tree here on the island, but the fruit vanishes whenever I try to touch it. If only I knew Fetch or something.

There is but one small thing that keeps this from being absolutely perfect. SOMEONE decided to dig a hole and dig up something and just left it like that! Hmph! If you have a green thumb, use it properly, thank you!

Regardless, this place helps me relax. I feel warm. Happy. I feel like I'm...

No. I shall not even say it. I can't get my hopes up. Not now. It'll take time for my heart to heal.

I lie on my back here, resting in my soft grass of the island, and I've been watching the sunset for awhile now. Here, it looks more beautiful than i have ever seen in my life.

~Taken from the Journal of Marcus Donnelly of Willowsby.~




Day 69

How do I even describe this?

Well, I had an interesting day, I'll say that much.

But still... I woke up not feeling too jolly. I had a nightmare last night! At least I'm pretty sure it was a nightmare.

I... I dreamt was floating in a swirling cloud of Magic. I found myself warm, safe and at peace. I'd been able to recall every fond memory I had, taste every wonderful sensation, and finally achieved something that every Paladin I believe should strive for: I was truly in tune with the Universe!

Thus, I was happy.


...Then the Darkness came for me. It swallowed me whole and tore at me! I couldn't breathe, couldn't see! I felt everything being sheared away, my Magic, my warmth, my very life, and I remember pain! Cold!

So... very... cold...!

I finally could stand it no longer and my dying breath sounded hollow within my prison...

I awoke, shaking in a cold sweat after that. I was still in Erana's Garden. I... I'm supposed to be safe here! Right?

I still felt her Magic warming me as I slept, yes, but... it feels fainter than I'd expect. Like, something is holding it back. Or it could just be my nerves after that dream.

Yeah. That must be it.

So what did I do today?

Well, I visited the lake again. Are you an idiot?! I hear you asking. Well... maybe, but this time I stayed on the shoreline. What can I say, she seemed like a nice enough girl.

She was a Resulka. It's her job to drown any man who goes into her lake, including me. I asked her name, but she doesn't remember. she doesn't remember much of her life before she died. Poor thing! she also told me a bit about the Swamp. There are the Grasping arms which I already saw, of course. But there are the Will-O-Wisps as well. She says they're the souls of lost children who died in the Swamp. How sad! There are several legends associated with them, some say they are Fae, others say they're hiding treasure, still others say they are spirits of the dead, child or no, who died in the bogs. Brrrr...!

After that, I went back to town. I talked with Olga, and she mentioned a few interesting things. Mainly that Yuri and bella haven't been the same since their little girl was taken from them. Oh Gods...! Is nobody safe here?! Olga thinks the Gypsies took her and says they're Werewolves! I also learned a little about Vampires too, mainly that they hate garlic and... the people at the castle aren't ever seen by day... huh. I also told her about Boris and she told me to tell him he's "a rotten no-goodnick!" I'm not sure what that means, but okay.

I talked to Igor again. More of his totally-not-rumors were that a mad monk built the Monastery and that bad things will get people who try the door. With that carving above it, I wouldn't be too surprised if that suddenly came to life and tried to eat me too.

Did more training in Strength and Climbing at the Guild Hall.

I visited Dr. Cranium again as well. He gave me my daily Healing Potion and Poison Cure Potion- screw calling it Healing Drink and Universal Poison Antidote! It's MAGIC, damn you! -and told me he had been able to harness lightning at his beck and call!

Oh, I HAD to see this!

Thor called down da THUNDAH on him! HAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Sorry, but seeing him shocked like that was HILARIOUS to me!

He blabbed more and more about Science. Though he did notice me cringe when he mentioned Pizza though. When he asked me why I reacted like that, all I said was, "I had a... bad experience with Pizza back in Shapeir. I'd rather not discuss it."

I started to tell him about myself- again -when he interrupted me- again -to tell me that there was no better adventurous career than Science. Well, while I don't agree, I can see that the realm of Science can be... invigorating. If you don't mind robbing GRAVES and using the corpses for experiments when you SHOULD let the dead rest in peace, that is! GAH! No, I'm STILL not over that!

I told him about my first adventure back in Spielburg, and while he seemed vaguely interested in my quest to save Elsa and Barnard and the prophecy associated with me, he perked up when I mentioned the Antwerp AND how I made an Antwerp POPulation EXPLOSION! Apparently last Spring, he went to Spielburg and- wait. How in the world did he get out of Mordavia?! The swamp has cut off the valley for YEARS now! Anyway, he got the baby Antwerps from there. The people of Spielburg are still talking about about me! Wow!

Was it really just last Spring I was there? it feels like so long ago now...

He made me mad again, by the way. He just knows how to piss me off, doesn't he? No, it wasn't his insistence on "Magic isn't real!" I'd heard that before. No, what ticked me off THIS time was he mentioned Nikolai's wife had been gone for fifteen years now and that Nikolai wasn't as old as he looked, just that the years of grief had been hard on him.

What, that doesn't sound so bad, you tell me? He told me then, "I can understand his disappointment. She never brought back the berries I needed for an experiment."

He doesn't care. He doesn't care that Anna being gone has Nikolai so miserable that it prematurely aged him. He doesn't care about Nikolai. He doesn't care that Anna is most likely dead thanks to him. All he cares about is his WORK! All he cares about is, "Oh, she never finished her damn JOB!"

I suppose though, knowing she's dead would be bad for Anna though, since he'd probably find the body somewhere, resurrect her corpse and MAKE her finish her task UNWILLINGLY!

Just... fuck you, Dr. Cranium! Just fuck you, man! Have some EMPATHY for people for once!

I said goodbye and he said it was always a pleasure to see me. He also muttered something about possibly resuming his "Frankie" experiment.

I shudder to think what that is.

I went to the Castle Gate again, and told Boris what Olga said. He told me to tell her that he was tired of listening to her complain all the time and have her be so opinionated. I also asked him if he knew if anybody named Katrina lived at the Castle. He didn't know.

I fought yet ANOTHER Necrotaur today! AND another Wyvern! The Necrotaur is still vicious and can quite easily disembowel me. Luckily, I was able to beat both it AND the Wyvern. For the Wyvern, I just had to take on that fire blasts and back it into a corner. No treasure on it, or the Necrotaur and the Vorpal Bunnies I fought today.

Seriously? BUNNIES?!

Why do even the BUNNIES hate me?!

I also went back to the Goo Pond by the Dark One cave and attempted to rescue that bonsai bush. Keyword: TRIED. I'm just not good enough with that Hook and Grapnel yet. Sigh. Don't worry, little guy, I'll get you out, I promise! Gods, Salim IS rubbing off on me! Now I'm giving a bonsai bush a gender!

I went to the North and came across the Gypsy camp. They weren't happy to see me at all and the man kept threatening to sic his wolves on me if I didn't leave immediately.

Nobody likes me!! It just makes me feel sad...

I also met another denizen of the forest. The Leshy! Mischievous and crafty, so say the tales I have read, but not evil. He just likes to lead travelers astray, is all. He can change his size at will- right now he was no bigger than my palm -and is considered the Forest Lord and it's protector. He loved riddles, and told me to come back another day to solve more of them.

On my way back to town, I came across a familiar face. Katrina stood by the town gate waiting for me! I sensed no danger, just curiosity.

"It is good to see you again. I hope you are enjoying your visit to Mordavia."

I was able to resist her charming tone a little better here. "The land is beautiful, but it's very..."

She nodded in understanding. "You need to take better care of yourself, you know. It is very dangerous out at night."

I nodded back. I bowed before her, "I promise, for your sake, that I'll be- ACH!" I accidentally touched the spot where that Wyvern stung me earlier and it still hurt a bit.

"Why, you've been injured! Here, take this. Drink it, it should help." She handed me a Healing Potion. How nice! "I would be most displeased... I mean sorry, if something happened to you."

I cocked an eyebrow. "What do you mean, 'displeased'? Don't act like I didn't hear that little slip up."

She just scowled at me and gestured with her finger. "Come to me. I have something to show you."

I walked forward and she snapped, "I warned you it is dangerous here at night, and you didn't listen. I intend to teach you a lesson."

I gulped and tried to back aay, but she grabbed my wrist and held on so tightly it hurt! 'AGH! What are you-!?" I cut myself off as a heavy chill ran through me and I was suddenly aware of something new... and powerful!

I became aware of a new Magic spell!

The incantation went as follows:

"The bitter cold,
The creep of slow death.
This I carry,
To steal your last breath.
Let the jaws of ice,
Trap you in it's maw.
Upon your heart,
This spell shan't thaw.

The gesture was to point at my target and make a pair of jaws with my hands.

Again, I say the feeling of learning things like this, whether I use it or not, is exhillarating!

"Perhaps that will keep you alive, when I am not around."

"Thank you, Katrina! I'm Marcus, by the way! You want to hear about some of my adventures?" I tried not to sound too desperate to just talk someone's ear off, but I think my voice cracked regardless.

She obliged. She was actually quite intrigued by my Heroism! fINALLY! Someone who appreciates me here!

She told me to be more careful in the future especially at night, and to trust nothing. Funny. Dimitri told me the exact same thing. Unfortunately, before I could ask anything more of her, she'd said her goodbyes and disappeared back into the forest.

I stood alone with the Jack O'Lanterns aglow at my feet. I took out my H&G and caught it at the top of the town wall and climbed back into town.

i intended to sleep by Erana's Staff tonight, but before I laid down, I felt a presence...

I shivered coldly, yet I sensed no danger, just... fear.

An apparition came before my eyes! It's face seemed familiar and when it spoke, I felt humbled.

"i am what once was the Paladin Piotyr."

I kept my eyes low in reverence. "What do you wish of me, kinsman?"

The spirit sighed sadly, 'The sorrows of this land are my sorrows, and I cannot rest. thou art a Paladin, and so shall share my fate."

My heart became like a lead weight and I grew cold again. With all my troubles, a restless spirit was the last thing I wanted to be when I died!

"Unless ye ease the sorrows of this land, and heal the pain."

"Wait! How must I do so?! Piotyr?!"

Too late. The ghostly apparition faded away and I was alone.

So... was this my goal then? To help heal this land's sorrows? It... certainly makes sense. After all... that's what I did in Spielburg...

Damn it... I said I wasn't going to mention it anymore... it just makes my heart ache even more...

~Taken from the Journal of Marcus Donnelly of Willowsby.~




Day 70

Well, I had a not so interesting day today. Nighttime however... I'll get to that later.

I had another dream as I slept by Erana's Staff.

Again, I find myself at the heart of the Universe. I danced and spun in the cosmos and I felt like I was truly alive!

The Darkness came for me again. It called to me. I couldn't quite tell what it was saying, but really, I didn't want to. Fear gripped me in its grasp and I felt helpless! The voice was pain! The voice was death!

I turned, and I ran in terror!

I awoke and shook myself awake. That was slightly better, but not by much.

Nobody had any news for me today. I passed Boris's comment over to Olga and her retort was that he was lazy and spent all his time carousing at the inn and not helping with the shop instead.

Aside from that, I practiced my Strength training and managed to reach the ring with my Climbing skills in the Guild! Woohoo! I may not have exactly mastered Climbing, but I'm getting there!

I also visited Dr. Cranium again. Why do I keep visiting him when all he does is make me stomp out angry when I leave? I don't know.

He's gotten a big Science-y breakthrough! Woohoo.

Something called Rehydration Solution, apparently. It came to him in a dream, but he unfortunately has forgotten the formula since waking up. I HATE when that happens! You dream up an idea, then it goes 'Poof!' out of your head when you try to actually explain it while awake. It puts the Element of Water in a highly compressed form and can be used to restore fluidity to something that's prematurely dry.

He thinks if he can make enough Solution, then he can rehydrate the Shapeirian desert. As her Prince, I objected! If the desert is rehydrated, that would make the Oasis and the Fountains of the twin cities pointless. AND! Is he aware of how deserts are formed? A lack of rain. You can't just force rain out of the sky with Science and because of this, your experiment can't work because it'll just dry up again. Plus, as he actually mentioned, he'd need to drain most of Gloriana's oceans to do so.

"You? a Prince of Shapeir?" he asked, astonished, when I told of my objection.

"Aye. Funny story that one... see, my next adventure after Spielburg happened after I went to Shapeir, for it needed Heroes too, you see..."

And so I told him of my adventures in Shapeir, about Ad Avis, my battle with each of the Elementals, about Khaveen, my induction into the EOF, my becoming the Hero of Shapeir, becoming a Paladin and a Prince... I told him everything I could remember that was even remotely interesting, even my Pizza Elemental nightmare.

"Ah, NOW you're talking Science! the Elements are the building blocks of nature." While he had never heard of someone making a creature out of a single Element before, it certainly made "scientific sense".

I coughed, "Magic, dammit!"

He ignored that. "You say this Ad Avis called out to a Dark Master before he died?"

I nodded.

"Well, I don't know anyone who goes by that here. Although..." he raised his eyebrows, "There are some rumors going on of strange goings-on in the castle," Eyebrows went down and he frowned. "But as a Scientist, I do not believe it as there's no scientific observation to back up these rumors."

"Hmph. Of course you don't, Doktor."

Dr. Cranium also told me, "The Scientist never fails to observe nature. Why, if I hadn't gone on an observation trip in the forest, I would never have found that garden with all the rare and exotic flora."

"...What?" I stared at him. Was he the one who...?

"There is a beautiful garden to the southeast of town. It contains several variaties of plants and trees that cannot be found anywhere else in this region."

I blinked then asked, "Was it you who dug that hole?"

He nodded. "I dug up a bush that grew seven different types of blossoms there. It had fascinating experimental results, but I wasn't able to keep it alive in captivity. There's a tree there that provides fruit in a very peculiar cycle, as well."

I crossed my arms. "In my country, we respect nature. We take what we need, but we also give back every Autumn and Yule. If you MUST be disturbing Erana's Garden like that, then PLEASE, next time clean up after yourself and plant something else in it's place. Erana worked hard on maing that Garden, and neither her nor I want you sullying her work like that!"

"Ah, so that's who planted it then? This 'Erana'?" I nodded. "Well, if you see her, tell her that she doesn't understand basic ecology, will you? Luckily, most of the spores haven't travelled far into the forest."

I stood silent for moment. Then I facepalmed and clutched at my hair in aggravation. "Urrrrgh! You don't GET it, do you?! You don't understand the purpose of Erana's Garden, do you?! It's NOT for Science! It's NOT some place you can just mess around in! It's NOT a sandbox! It's meant to serve as a place to rest and relax and HEAL! That Garden is sacred! Tell me, Doctor, when you went there... did you feel anything? Judging from your stance on Magic, I doubt you did. For you see, Erana was a very, VERY powerful Archmage and she had the powers to create little havens like that, to give someone a chance to breathe. When you're an adventurer like me, you get hurt badly sometimes, you get frightened. You feel like the whole world's out to get you and that you'll never escape. But then, you find Erana's Garden. And you feel safe, warm. Here is a place you can sleep peacefully, with no fear that monsters will come eat you in the night. And you don't even realise that at all, because to you, Magic isn't real. So you probably felt nothing at all while you were there, or you felt it but took it to mean the place was infected with something that made you feel sick or weird. I cannot tell you how many times her little places of protection saved my life, in Spielburg especially, yet you don't seem to care about anything or anyone unless it involves your work. Well, if Science is so important to you, then I'll leave you to it."

I turned on my heel and walked out, not wanting to talk to him anymore for today.

I didn't do much else during the day. I passed Olga's message to Boris, who told me and I quote, "Lazy? What was there to do in a in a shop with no customers? Once the swamp cut off trade, we had nothing to sell. All she did was give me orders. What was the point of dusting if there was nobody to notice the dust?"

I asked him about the castle and he told me he had no fear of the people who lived there, no matter the time of day. He wears no garlic and fears no Vampires. Boris, you know how badass that makes you sound?! I respect that!

Aside from that, I fought and killed some Vorpal Bunnies and a Wyvern or two. i also discovered another strange bush- thankfully NOT with eyes or tentacle-like vines -that appeared to be stuck in it's place by Magic. In the distance, I swear I can see a house up on a cliff... and it looks very, VERY familiar!

I spoke with the Resulka as well. She told me that she visited the Swamp once, and she's not going back ever! There's this tomb or monument in the middle of the Swamp that's guarded by... some THINGS that looked to be human once but aren't anymore. Creepy.

I visited the Gypsies again. They still don't like me.

I visited the Leshy again too, and he told me, "Two and two and twoo make six, a little bush is in a fix. If you save a plant from goo, I can help you with a clue!"

Yay! I have even more incentive to save my little bonsai bush buddy now!

I headed back to town after that, and... that's when the fun times began.

The people at the Hotel Mordavia, myself included, were treated to a... very 'special' performance. I say 'special' because I don't wish to be rude.

The performance was done by a Gnome. A Gnome Jester. A Gnome Jester who was named Punny Bones. A Gnome Jester named Punny Bones who wasn't all that funny.

He wouldn't stop talking! I attempted to shake hands and be friendly, and I got zapped by a joy buzzer! What's so interesting about that? Well... it went off BEFORE our hands touched! Yeah...

Here's his comedy routine. IN FULL.

"Good Evening, ladies and germs. A funny thing happened on the way to Mordavia- I got here.

I walked up ta the innkeeper here and says to the guy, 'Do you know how lucky you are ta have such a funny guy as myself staying here?'

The innkeeper said, 'No, but if you hum a few bars, I can fake it.'

You may as well laugh now. This act doesn't get any funnier.

I sit down for a meal and order some soup. When the waiter brings it, I says, 'Waiter, there's a fly in my soup.'

The waiter says, 'Of course. that's the soup de jour.'

Am I going deaf in here, or how can so many people sleep with these lights on?

Seriously, folks, I went to the doctor the other day and he said he had some good news and some bad news. 'What's the good news?' I asked.

'You only have three months to live.' said the Doc.

'That's terrible. What's the bad news?' I asked.

The doc replied, 'I'm getting married.'

I know I had an audience when I came in here. Anyway, show me a man with a million kopeks, and I'll show you a guy who's rich.

Hey, you only had to listen to this material-- I'm the one who had to stand here and take it. Anyway, thank you, thank you. You've been a swell bunch of seats."

...By Bragi's quil, that was TERRIBLE!

HOWEVER! Believe it or not, there IS an explanation as to why it's so bad...


See, when I became Hero of Spielburg and ousted Baba Yaga by turning her into a frog, everyone got a kick out of that. Punny Bones cracked a joke about some Hero making Baba Yaga "hopping mad and fit to be toad" and, well, she just so happened to be in the audence and still is sore about that sorta thing. So, she cursed him so now his puns and jokes go flat. The reason he's here in Mordavia is because she is, and he hopes to reach her and get his humor back.

Maybe if I can get past that Magic Bush...

He cracked one more 'joke' before I left. "What do you call a dinosaur crashing into a wall?"

I smirked. I knew this one already! Tyranno-!

"Late for supper, of course! Ha ha ha! Catch you later, crocodile!"

...I gotta help this guy. Fast! I think even Rico would cringe at this! And he LOVES puns and jokes, even bad ones!

I visited Erana's Staff again, and encountered Piotyr once more.

"Kinsman Piotyr," I asked. "Tell me. Tell me of the sorrows of this land. What must I do to heal them?"

He looked straight into my eyes and said, "There is one for whom I weep. She lies in her watery grave, her heart broken by a lover untrue. Speak with the gypsies on how to free her spirit. Free the Resulka, and heal her sorrow."

"Gypsies?! But Piotyr! They want nothing to do with me! How am I to-?! Wait!!"

Piotyr disappeared once more and I was, again, alone.

I headed back to the Hotel Mordavia. For some reason, I couldn't get comfortable and stayed up until midnight. Too much on my mind, I suppose.

I went downstairs, thinking maybe I could take a walk, but saw that the door was heavily locked. I didn't go back to bed right away, though, as I felt someone watching me.

Up on the mantle, sat a small, hairy figure. He looked a bit like a little old man. He reminded me of a similar creature we have back home, usually seen on farms (so therefore we do not have one in our house as we're not farmers), called a Tomtenisse. They're little men who appear in farmlands, for weal or for woe, and at Yule, they help assist Odin and Sleipnir in delivering gifts to the children.

This fellow was usually friendlier, though, from what I knew about Mordavia. This must have been the inn's Domovoi.

I got closer, looked up at the mantle and tried to be as polite as I could to the house guardian. "Good evening, master." Using the term, "master" around a Domovoi and addressing it as such was seen as a compliment.

The Domovoi looked down at me with sad, but curious eyes. "Not many big people see Domovoi. Most not look. You something special, maybe so?"

"I wouldn't be suprised if I was. I am a Hero, you see. Or at least I try."

The Domovoi raised his eyebrows. "You Hero? Mordavia big Hero need. Plenty powerful Hero, maybe you be soon. Learn much, practice much, soon plenty big Hero."

I smiled a little. "I thank you for the encouragement, master. Most don't say that about me here. Most tell me to stay out of their business and don't want me around. So, what exactly are you, master?"

"Domovoi I am. Domovoi I be. Over places, Domovoi watch. protect the inn, I do."

"You protect the inn?"

The Domovoi nodded. "Inn where I am living. Inn Domovoi am I. Luck I bring. Way things go now, think most luck bad."

I sighed. "Yeah, I know the feeling. I've had some not so good days lately. This land is beautiful, master, but it is vicious and dangerous too."

Domovoi looked at me sympatheticly and nodded. "Things at inn not good. No people come. Innkeeper and wife very unhappy. Mordavia very sad place. Even Domovoi cannot help here. Too much Dark Magic."

I felt a chill at his last, forboding sentence. I remember that was what Rakeesh called my situation before calling my name and I ended up here. "Dark Magic, master? Please, tell me more."

The Domovoi shushed me and tsked, "Too much we speak. Too much I talk. Sometime else we speak. Sometime else I talk."

"Alright. As you wish, master."

"By big people, Domovoi not seen. You stranger are, maybe Hero, maybe not. Show myself to you I do. Speak to you I will. Maybe good things for people will you do. Maybe good thing for Domovoi you do."

I raised my eyebrows and asked, "Is there something I may assist you with, master?"

"Some night soon, talk we will again. Domovoi good luck bring. Maybe Domovoi help you, you Domovoi help. Bad place here anymore. Good many years ago, but going very bad now. Many bad things here, you find out."

"Thank you for speaking with me, master. I shall retire to bed now," I replied, stretching.

The Domovoi ended with this. "Maybe talk again, you come down other night. Maybe have much to say."

"Perhaps I shall, master. Perhaps I shall."

After speaking with the house spirit, I went to bed.

~Taken from the Journal of Marcus Donnelly of Willowsby.~




Day 71

I awoke to a major disturbance in town this morning!

The farmers from the inn were frantic and chattering about something to Dmitri.

What about, exactly? Well, it turns out that a certain someone from town was missing!


I talked to Dmitri about it and he said that a gypsy was found by the town gates, and everyone thinks he ate Igor! after all, if I may quote Olga, "Gypsies are Werewolves!"

Well, speaking to the gypsy- he certainly looked very familiar... -proved fruitless as he wouldn't speak to me at all. I'm sadly reminded of Johari in that aspect, a prisoner stuck in a cage, be it metal or wood, and refusing to talk when I most need it.

Unfortunately, while I did offer to help find out what happened, I hadn't much time. Everyone in town was yelling to burn the gypsy at the stake for his "crime"!

I wrinkled my nose at that. Some people claim the people in my country torture our prisoners by, well, doing certain unpleasant things with their ribcages, called the "Blood Eagle". But I've never really heard of that in the history I've researched at the library and school as a boy. Perhaps it might have been taken out or is just a tall tale, but still... it's not like burning at the stake is any better! The screams of pain, the look in their eyes, the sight of seeing flesh rot off their bones so quickly from the heat, the stench...

The townspeople WERE going to head to the graveyard, since that's where he'd logically be, if not with Dr.Cranium, but they found the gypsy there at the gates and, since gypsies are all thieves and monsters to them, they caught him and brought him here for questioning.

Speaking of Dr. Cranium, I visited him today as usual during my rounds and picked up my Healing and Poison Cure Potions. He's working on the finishing touches on his M.E.S.S -the cannon of lightning that I still say Thor made go haywire because screw Science!- and thusly has been able to, somewhat, reanimate dead tissue. Or at least, that he calls, "Frankie" can wiggle his or her hand. He says it's a nice little companion on those lonely Frigg's Day nights.

...Nope! Not even gonna think about that! Ugh! He disgusts me so just by that implication! Even the most powerful Wizard wouldn't take it that far with his creations, I think. And he seems to not even notice Igor is gone, either! Again, no empathy.

Setting out with that goal of finding Igor in mind, I headed straight for the graveyard.

As soon as I entered, I heard a distant moan from one of the graves. I asked, "Hello?" I got a moan in reply.

I stepped closer.

"Listen... I'm not going to hurt you, alright? But I need you to speak up."

Another moan, slightly louder. I got closer, almost on top of the grave now. I noticed that one of the headstones had fallen over. "Can you hear me?!" I yelled, "Okay, I think I've found the problem here!" With a grunt and a heave, I lifted the headstone with all the strength I had!

That weightlifting at the Guild really paid off!

Sure enough, Igor had been trapped in there! He thanked me graciously and sauntered off back to town, safe and sound.

I headed back as well and the gypsy was free to go. Igor now considered me his friend, and as a favor to me, gave me a key to the Borgov Family Crypt. I have the feeling that'll be handy one of these days...

I didn't do much the rest of today, though. Except, I passed Boris's message to Olga as per usual, and she retorted that she DOES still get customers- not for supplies, but for her garlic and avocado sandwiches.

Oh yes, I also attempted to visit the gypsies in the hope that they'd become more friendly to me as well. No such luck. The wolves still growl and snarl, sadly. Sigh.

There is one little... nasty thing that happened to me, however...

I was wandering around the forest...

...and night fell in Mordavia. As soon as i saw those stars come out, I felt a sense of dread come over me! It was like my senses were heightened tenfold! Every little sound made me jump, every shadow passing my way made me pause, every step I took was cautious and careful.

Until I came to a corner of the forest and it all became worse! A mound of stones, which I NEVER have seen before this, lay before me. Tiny red lights glowed around it, and I felt like I just wanted to run away from... whatever it was! A chill was in the air, and I felt myself steadily start to weaken. 'Run,' my mind told me. 'Run! RUN!' it begged. Yet for all my mind pleading, I couldn't seem to move...

That's when I saw it! From out of the mound, came a wispy fog... this smoke became more corporeal and I tried to urge my legs to move before it saw me!

Too late! It did!

The thing clasped it's ethereal hands and suddenly started shooting out Magic at me! And by FREYJA, did it hurt! Over and over, I was blasted repeatedly, and I kept hearing my brain scream at me, "MOVE!" and finally was in control of my legs again and dashed away!

I heard sizzling as I ran, and pain racked my sides. I was nowhere near the town, that much I knew.

I screwed up my courage and just ran. I HAD to the Garden! I knew this forest very by now!

Just when I thought I'd never find it, I saw the soft glow of the lanterns. Erana's Garden, let me tell you, looks beautiful at any time of day. I even heard what sounded like music wafting from the lanterns, and I finally gave myself time to breathe and relax.

I wonder if I'll dream tonight?

~Taken from the Journal of Marcus Donnelly of Willowsby.~




Day 72

Rather short and simple day today.

It's rather fun to fly in your dreams! Like, REALLY fun!

I can feel the source of all Magic all around me. I can create flowers at a whim! Trees bloom with fruit at my touch! The very ground itself radiates harmony!

...It's not me doing this, is it?

It's her, isn't it? It MUST be! The only time I dream is here and at the Staff!

But... how can I see through her eyes?

How can I feel her pain?! OHGODSWHY?! LEAVE ME ALONE!!! NOOOOOOOOO!!

I woke up, sweating like a pig. Damn it, why does this keep happening?! Erana's Garden is supposed to give me sweet dreams nor nightmares! I'm gonna go mad one of these days from these! Just once. Just ONCE! Let me have a good dream just ONCE while I'm here!


Well, I went back to town today. I saw Dr. Cranium again and he's completed his Frankie experiment at last! And the implications of what he plans to do with her, since according to him she's perfectly functional in every way possible, are... sickening to say the least. I plan on visiting him at least one more time. I think I'll get that Rehydration Solution from him tomorrow. Should be useful. Then I'll never have to visit him and his "assistant" ever again.

I also took one of my rations, a garlic and avocado sandwich, over to Boris. He didn't take it, as much as he wanted to, as it made him feel homesick.

"Y'know," I said, "Olga's still making these sandwiches for people!"

Boris smiled nostalgically. "I used to love her sandwiches. We had them on our wedding night... you should have seen the flowers decorating the cake! She baked it herself!" he chuckled to himself quietly. Then, his smile faded and he looked a little saddened. "I miss my wife. I think I'll go and visit her when I have the time."

I went back to the Goo Pool today, for two reasons. One, I was bound and determined to rescue my bonsai! and two, Dr. Cranium needs some goo for his experiments and I plan on delivering it tomorrow. It turns out I didn't even need to use my Grapnel. I feel like an idiot! I just needed to throw some rocks at it!

The dam burst, and the little tiny bonsair floated down and rested by my feet.

I picked it up gently and wiped the excess goo off of it.

The poor little plant certainly didn't like being in there, I'd imagine. That probably did wonders to its health and growth. Well, luckily, I knew exactly where to put it.

The Garden.

Journeying there, I got into one battle against a Wyvern but otherwise, the forest is quite peaceful today.

I looked down at the hole that Dr. Cranium had left and hmphed. Well, after this, it won't be such an eyesore anymore.

Taking the bonsai out, I planted it in the hole. Then, something amazing happened! It grew! The bonsai sapling grew larger and sank it's roots deep into the soil!

I smiled at my success and whispered, "There, Lady Erana. Consider this an offering of respect. A sign of my appreciation for all you have done. Please, accept it and may it bring you peace."

I sat there in silence for awhile by the sapling, and watched the sunset go down in her Garden.

~Taken from the Journal of Marcus Donnelly of Willowsby.~




Day 73


What a day I've had!

Being that I slept in the Garden, I, of course, dreamed.

I dreamed I was in an ocean, though not one of water and salt, but of harmony and warmth. I still felt the same happiness I did before, as I felt the life force of everything all around me growing, sustaining and thriving in this world. This realm softly glowed in ethereal light and pulsed like a heartbeat, practically in tune with mine. The trees reached their branches taller than I could see; the grass by the shore was softer than any bed I’d lay in, the sky glittered with stars and constellations I didn’t recognize, but I found them all so beautiful none the less. I felt Magic flow through the air and through me and I smiled.

Yet I smiled ever wider as I felt something new!

Why, there was a presence near me! Not a threatening one either, but one that I recognized quite well!

Her. Lady Erana.

She offered me a place to sit down with a gentle, sweet smile. I couldn’t help smiling back and took up the offer. I told her about everything I’d been doing lately, about my adventures, my past, just everything happy I could think of! She just sat and listened, occasionally asking questions about certain things, but I think she just enjoyed hearing me talk and let everything out and share it with someone like her.

“Thank you so much for this, my friend,” she told me. She sighed, “it is… very lonely here, you know. It’s nice to have a little company here.”

“You’re welcome!” I looked around once more at this beautiful place, taking my eyes off her for just a second. I found myself reaching out to take her hand in mine as I looked up at the stars again… but only grabbed a handful of grass.

I whipped my head around to look at where Erana was sitting just a moment before.

But I was alone.

I called, “Erana?” but there was no reply. I called again, louder, “Erana!!!” but again, no reply. Finally, on the third time, I screamed, “ERANA!!!!!!!!” but for the third time, there was no reply.

I was truly alone!

I woke, sweating cold and curled up in a ball. I sniffled and shook my head. I felt like I didn’t want to do anything today after a dream like that. But… I had to continue on.

Going back to town, I came across a familiar face: the Gypsy I’d helped free was there to greet me by the gate! All he said was that he thanked me for saving his life and that I was welcome at the camp anytime. Then he did something extraordinary, for without warning, his form changed and morphed into that of a grey furred wolf! He wagged his tail at me and trotted away. According to him also, the Gypsies weren’t Werewolves at all! They were shapechangers.

I have good news! To start, Dmitri now greets me not with annoyance, but actually seems to like me now that I saved Igor the other day. The town is now quieting down after the whole Gypsy incident and he hopes nothing else exciting happens for awhile. Knowing my luck with being a Hero, I doubt that.

I also briefly visited Olga and she told me that Boris visited her recently, just like he said he would. They’ve become a couple once more and he plans on visiting her when he gets off work.

I also visited Dr. Cranium one last time. Or so I thought I was. I’ll explain that in a bit. He talked about how he was writing up a research report to tell the world about his discoveries and, uh, experiments with Frankie. I sighed exasperated and didn’t even respond to that. “Give me my Potions and I’ll leave you alone, okay?” he did so and I walked out, hoping I’d never have to darken the doorstep of such a sickening madman such as he. I didn’t even grumble when he claimed that there was no thing as ‘living Undead’ such as Vampires, Resulka, Draugrs, Wraiths and so on.

At the Guild, though I was still too tired to practice the Stair Stepper today, I DID manage to do one thing of note: I have FINALLY mastered Climbing! I wonder how Rico would fair against me now? I have left my Grapnel on the ring in the Guild.

I wandered around the forest some more, looking for anything interesting and fought a few Wyverns and Vorpal Bunnies. I then came across that bush with eyes I’d found earlier this week! I was sick and tired of it looking at me, so I hit it in the ‘face’ with a rock. A sprig containing some berries came off the bush and I ran over and picked it up.

BIG mistake!

WHAP!! The bush struck me hard with it’s vines again! I grunted and picked up the branch and put it away, but the bush continued to slap me! WHAP!! I cried out in pain and tried to move away but… I didn’t feel so well… WHAP!! WHAP!! WHAP!! I summoned up my strength and managed to dash out of the bush’s reach. Still, I REALLY didn’t feel well! In fact, I… felt very, very woozy. Tired. I dropped to all fours and my breathing became ragged as the poison I’d been given to by that last Wyvern I fought worked it’s way through me, infecting everything in my system. Sweat dropped off my forehead and I clutched at my chest and wheezed desperately as I searched through my pack… where were they? Where were they?! Things were getting darker around here, quieter… colder…

Finally, just when I was about to collapse and let everything fade, I found my Poison Cure Potions! I gulped it down quickly, and felt a tingling sensation. For good measure, I gulped a few Healing Potions too. Ah! I felt SO much better!

I nearly DIED all to get some fricking berries! My GODS!

Speaking of bushes, I discovered how to get past the Magic Bush that blocked my way. The Leshy, after telling him about the bonsai, told me the Magic phrase was, “Bushes hear, disappear!” Sure enough, it worked perfectly! Behind the bushes, I was led to…

A very grim scene. The first thing that caught my eyes was an old oak tree, specifically the branches. There was a hanged corpse in the tree! The macabre scene was further made worse, when I noticed what was around the area- skulls! Lots of them! All stuck on sticks and the sun glinted off of what looked like tiny mirrors in their eyes. One in particular however, met mine. His eye shined blue and he looked at me with a grim grin. Up ahead on the path, I saw a familiar hut. Why, this MUST be where Baba Yaga flew off to after Spielburg! And the skull with the frost flame eye? That must be Bonehead! And indeed it was!

He wasn’t too happy to see me. He was standing guard and told me that Baba Yaga, naturally, was still holding a grudge and wouldn’t let me see her unless I did something for him.

He wants a hat. The sun can really get in his eye sometimes, you know? If I would get him a hat, then I’d be able to meet with the crone and find out how to break Punny’s curse.

Before I knew it, night had fallen once more! And this? Was arguably one of the worst nights I’ve had since Spielburg!

I was running through the forest, and I was frightened out of my wits! I faced off and killed some Badders, and gotten completely lost! Or, not necessarily lost per se, but I certainly didn’t have my wits about me all the same1 I knew where I was going, I just had a little… trouble getting there, is all.



I have learned that I HATE Wraiths tonight!!

Their blasts of Magic bring me so much pain!! So much so, that I actually felt them draining my life force straight from me when I tried to run! Very quickly, as soon as they appeared from their barrows, they would start blasting me immediately!

Soon, it all because too much… I collapsed to the ground, and I heard an eerie sigh from my lungs as the last thing I heard. I saw myself as I looked down, and I shuddered at my expression. Eyes wide open, glazed and with no light in them anymore. I attempted to respectfully close them, but I was not corporeal anymore.

I then heard the voice shout in my ears, “RESTORE!” and felt myself being pulled back. For once, I was relieved.

And this happened to me TWICE!

Luckily, when I got away from my second attack, I managed to heal myself up a bit with my Healing potions. Sadly however, I am now completely out of them. This means I’ll have to stop by Dr. Cranium’s AGAIN even though I don’t want to. I can never be too careful, you know. Sigh.

I let out a ‘phew!’ when I saw the brightly colored wagons in the distance this night. I was safe!

The rescued Gypsy man welcomed me to their camp. I am now considered a Gypsy Friend to them! The Gypsy urged me to come into the camp and visit their fortuneteller.

The wagon that the fortuneteller was in was cramped but cozy. The candles gave everything a mysterious feeling to it, and I managed to warm up a little and calmed down after my harrowing night. The fortuneteller was a lovely, nice old woman named Magda. The Gypsy I’d freed was her son, named Davy. Or at least that’s his name he gives to outsiders, gorgio, and the same applies to Magda. I told them my name and they were honored. Davy told me it was a good, strong name that suits me well. I beamed with pride!

I told about how I got here and Magda said that I was VERY lucky to escape from the Dark One’s Cave alive. She thinks,,, because of all the Dark Magic abound, that it must have been a summoning spell gone wrong. The Darkness interferes with all Magic here, screws it up something bad.

Speaking of which, Magda offered to teach me a useful spell, should I ever find myself in such dire straits in the dark again.

Touching my head briefly, I became aware of the incantation:

“Powers of Protection,
Powers of Light,
Let all Undead,
Give me no fright!

The gesture was to raise my arms and sweep them down over myself. I smiled and felt like hugging Magda, but I held back on that and just thanked her graciously.

I also asked her about the Resulka, as Piotyr asked me to. Though I cannot bring her back to life, I CAN heal her spirit. I must remind her of who she was when she died, avenge her death, and lastly give her what she most desires. Why have I got the feeling that this is gonna be harder than I thought?

Magda told me that she is gifted with True Sight and Foreknowledge. I’m reminded of Frigg, wife of Odin. She has the same power and it is said that she tells nobody what she knows. Nevertheless, as good as it makes her business, it is a doubled edged sword- she has seen her own death and the deaths of all she loves, and I’m imagining that makes her feel grim at times. It would for me. Contrary to what Olga told me, silver doesn’t harm them and I saw garlic in the wagon as well, so that’s also debunked. The myths told about them aren’t true- they change at Will, not with the moons and keep their minds when in wolf form. The feeling of rushing after prey over the hills, howling at the moon and running on four legs… it truly makes them feel alive!

Seeing as she a fortuneteller, I might as well repay her kindness with coin for her services.

I drew the first Tarot card. This would be the Significator- the subject of the reading, placed in the middle.

The Knight of Swords.

Symbolizes someone courageous and skilled. Their ideals are Chivalry and Goodness overall. Willing to face Death if that means upholding what’s Right and true.

It definitely is me, but I feel this could also be used for just about anybody in my family line. The blood of a Paladin runs deep.

I drew another card, placing it to my left. Each card that goes around me is my influences.

The inverted High Priestess.

A woman in my past, selfish, powerful and also passionate. Knowledge is limited for her, however.

I drew another card to see what else we could learn.

The Four of Coins.

She has power, aye, but is selfish with it. She only cares about what SHE wants, with naught the consideration of others. Willing to aid me, provided there’s no effort on her side and that I satisfy her. I cannot act against her though, lest I incur her wrath. She is not to be ignored.

I have a faint, nagging idea that I know this person already. But I cannot be sure yet. I have no proof.

I drew another card, placing it below.

The inverted King of Coins.

This is an old, vicious man. Willing to do ANYTHING to get what he wants, he is NOT to be trusted in the slightest nor underestimated.

I drew another card to see what else we could learn.

The Devil.

Oh my! This is BAD indeed! Though I may not be all that familiar with the Christian religion from elsewhere in our world, even I know this is a bad sign! The man is a user of Dark Magic, it seems, and yet… he also seems bound to something in servitude and has suffered failure in the past. He wishes revenge upon me, but cannot carry it out. Yet. Oh dear… I have a bad feeling about this…

I drew another card, placing it at my right.

The Queen of Cups.

Another lady influences me! I’m popular with the ladies these days! She is kind, virtuous, and is full of wisdom and loving.

I drew another card to see what else we could learn.

The Star.

She is a symbol of hope and of a spiritual influence. Gentle, loving, in touch with her magical nature. Yet, despite all this, she is strong as well and just likes to help people. I smiled as I heard that, as I recognized who it was immediately, and it makes me feel warm and cozy just to think of it.

Now came the overriding influence over all of this. Next card!

The Queen of Swords.

A lady of wit and skill, yet has suffered greatly. She faces her sorrows bravely, but with a certain loneliness as well.

I drew another card to see what else we could learn.

The Moon.

She is either a deceiver, or is being deceived. Her Magic sustains her and keeps her strong. I don’t know if she’s meant to be the victim of false friends or the villainess who’ll stab me in the back.

The last card would reveal what holds the most influence over me.

The Void.

Neither I nor Magda shall not speak of The Void. I shall not, most especially. Not yet.

That was all the cards had to say on this day and our session ended.

After saying farewell, Davy sought to cheer me up by inviting me to dance, drink, eat and carouse with the Gypsies on this night! I think it worked because I actually feel much better. Though I know I shall have to face my fears someday, tonight isn’t that time.

The fact that the food had no garlic in it whatsoever was a nice change too!

~Taken from the Journal of Marcus Donnelly of Willowsby.~




Day 74

Today is... bittersweet.

Let me explain, shall I?

Now that I know Aura, the Wraiths cannot harm me nearly as badly! I tested this tonight, you see, because I went out in the nighttime on purpose!

With this spell, I have no fear anymore! Hopefully. I still have a problem with Necrotaurs, though. Damn mongrels rip out my jugular so easily it's not even funny, I tell you!

Anyway, how were things bittersweet today, you ask?

Well, remember how Magda told me how to free the Resulka and heal her sorrow? I did so on this night.

I went to the graveyard first thing this morning and took notice of two graves side by side:

“No effort could Elyssa save;
She passed into a wat’ry grave.
Her body was lost; only her
memory remains.”

“Here lies Janos. Faithful
Forever to his Lost True Love,
laid beside her empty grave.”

I clenched my fist and growled. “Faithful Forever” huh?! No man should EVER hurt, nay MURDER the lady he “loves” and then claim he “loved her forever” like that! Such a claim isn’t honorable nor right in the slightest! People like him disgust me!

At the lake, I recall sensing a certain feeling while there. ‘Twas sorrow, longing, and unfulfilled desires all rolled into one. When I first came here, I hadn’t understood why I felt it every time it came up. Now, knowing what happened to Elyssa, I do.

Just makes me feel sad…

Elyssa appeared out of the water as per usual, happy to see me once more. “I have learned something new.” Her eyes lit up and she smiled. “I know your true name. Your name in life was Elyssa.”

I saw her jaw drop in shock. She blinked twice. Then, she smiled again and began to laugh a little. “Elyssa! Yes, that was my name! I’m starting to remember now!” her little laughter stopped, “My fiancé. We went for an evening swim, skinny dipping to exact. Then he wanted to… well, ‘yknow. But I didn’t. He always had a short fuse, and he lost it. So he drowned me here in this lake, and that’s how I became a Resulka. I don’t remember his name though.”

“Well…” I said with a smile, “I have a way to give you peace. But I need you to help me.”

“How? I can’t leave my lake, you know that.”

“It’s simple. May I have a lock of your hair please?”

“Oh, is that all? Sure.” She forcefully pulled out a handful of strands by the roots, not even wincing in pain like I was at the sound it made as it came loose, and handed it to me. She smirked, “How do you think I’d look with short hair, Hero?”

I could help my eyes travelling down again, my thoughts going wild at the idea. I blushed and tried to distract myself. I gotta stop doing this! Focus!

She frowned. “I’m… a little frightened, to be honest. I’ve been undead for so long, I don’t know what it’s like to truly die.”

I sighed and rubbed my neck. “I’m not sure I know what it’s like either, to be honest. No matter how many times I fall, I always get back up. Even when I don’t really want to.”

“Isn’t that a good thing, though? You’re a Hero. It’s kind of expected that, when you fall down, that you always get back up, right? That shows how strong you are.”

I smiled at that. No, that wasn’t exactly what I meant by saying that. I was talking about my supposed ‘immortality’, but that gave me a little confidence regardless. She believed in me. She trusted me to do what I had to do. I took out the hand broom I bought earlier and weaved the hair carefully into the straw. I explained why and she looked at me, worried, “You’re really gonna do this, aren’t you?” I nodded. “Please, be careful. I’d hate for you to get killed on my behalf.”

I gave her a confident grin. “Don’t worry,” I said, “I think I’ll be fine! I’m a Paladin. Heroism practically runs in my blood.”

She didn’t look so sure.

It was unfortunately still daytime when I was doing this, so I went back to town to wait until nightfall. I said hello to Dmitri, and visited Dr. Cranium to pick up my Potions. He was a very happy Scientist today- GEE I WONDER WHY?! –and mentioned something interesting. On the isle of Marete, as I’m sure you know, lies a kingdom called Silmaria. And in that kingdom exists an Academy, known as the Academy of Science. For some reason, this intrigued me. Perhaps I was holding out hope that Dr. Cranium’s colleagues would be a bit more likable? Well, I’ll get to that later. Much later.

So after that, I sat down by Erana’s Staff and waited. And waited. And waited. For several hours until night had finally fallen. I never thought seeing it grow dark in this valley would make me feel happiness instead of dread, not after what happened last night.

But now, I had the power to stand up against them. Now I need fear no undead creature of the night so long as I had this spell in my mind!

The sun set at last. I whispered a goodbye to the Staff, perhaps in the hopes that she could hear me, and climbed over the gate and wall. Who needs a Hook and Grapnel? Certainly not I!

With a confident stride, I headed for the graveyard. Along the way, I conveniently came across a Wraith barrow! I casted the Aura spell for the first time, and I felt warm and a glow appeared around me. ‘Excellent!’ I thought as I drew my sword and coaxed the ghost out with my fingers. ‘This’ll be good practice!’

Though the Magic still stung a little, as Magic is want to do, it certainly wasn’t nearly as bad as last night! Surprisingly, my ordinary sword was able to actually hit and damage it! You’d think I’d either need a magical weapon, like Soulforge, or I’d need to cast my own offensive Magic to combat it. Then again, undead are typically immune to cold, so I doubt that’d work either way.

The Wraith soon fell to my onslaught and dissipated into nothingness. The chill in the air started to go away as I checked the barrow. A jewel studded tiara, some coins, and a few bones. I took all of it, naturally. I figured I’d give the tiara as a gift to a certain lady, provided I’d ever meet her corporally. Whether or not items in my pack transferred between the dreamworld and ours, I wasn’t too sure, but it was worth a shot.


I’d never seen the graveyard at night before, and it still gives me chills. I sensed danger underneath me, and treaded cautiously. There was only one ghost I hoped to disturb tonight.

I took out the broom and beat it against Janos’s grave. “Janos!” I called out, “Awaken! Rise! You, murderer, must pay for your transgressions! Face me, Marcus Donnelly, and receive a Paladin’s judgment!”

I knew that shouting at the murderer wasn’t required, but what can I say? I have a flair for the dramatic.

Janos moaned and the familiar smoke appeared from the grave.

I drew my sword, rushing forward with a mighty yell! There was fire in my eyes as I hacked and slashed away at the ectoplasm that made up the spirit! He howled in agony and blasted me back several paces. I rolled and got back on my feet almost immediately, however, and charged again. I wasn’t gonna give up THAT easily! I was a Paladin! This is what I do!

I jumped and slashed down, going right through Janos’s wispy head. He didn’t seem to really care as it just reformed and he blasted me down again. And again. And again!

I stumbled but got back up.

I wouldn’t ever give up! For Elyssa’s sake, I would always get back up again!

My sword flashed bright in the moonlight, making it appear to be made of silver as I swung.

I hacked and cut through him, the Wraith just trying to block my blows now, not even trying to attack me anymore as I just shrugged it off.

Finally, after what felt like hours, it was over. Janos dissipated with a final groan and things went very quiet. I found myself smiling happily as I walked back to the lake. Elyssa was free!

However, before I get back to Elyssa, I came across something else.

Another ghost appeared before my eyes!

However… she didn’t appear to be dangerous. In fact, she looked at me a little confused and concerned.

“Hello. Can you help me? I seem to be lost,” she asked me.

“Of course, ma’am. I’ll show the way.”

“Thank you. I’m just trying to find my way home. Can you show me to town?”

I pointed to my left. “Head that way, then go North. You should be able to find it easily!”

She nodded and smiled. “By the way… do you know your name?”

“I’m… I’m…” she pondered and hesitated, “Everything is so strange. I keep getting lost! Please, lead me home!”

I never got the chance to. She vanished and I was alone. What’s with me and meeting dead people in this valley?

I fought more than just a couple Wraiths tonight.

A rumble sounded beneath me and I cried out in fright as the ground erupted before me! And out of it… came a flipping Draugr!

“Nopenopenope!” I said to myself as I engaged it, “Goawaygoawaygoaway! Leavemealoneplease!!” The Draugr died quickly to my blade, just like the Ghouls in Shapeir, but still… seeing the dead rise again like that RIGHT UNDER ME just gives me the creeps! They… they shouldn’t DO THAT, OKAY?!

And I fought TWO of them!!

Anyway… the lake. Think back to the lake, Marcus.

I found it again, and, well… I certainly wasn’t expecting this!

The once lovely naked woman I had befriended had now changed drastically. She looked… like a corpse! Her flesh had rotted away, maggots everywhere crawled, and when she spoke, instead of sultry and sweet, it sounded like a rasping croak. I cringed just listening to it. “You did it, didn’t you? I felt you getting rid of him.”

I could only nod and try to not tear my eyes away or cover my nose at the smell. ‘Be polite and look her in the eye!’ my thoughts commanded. “Hi. Sorry I didn’t comb my hair before you got. I tried, but it kept falling out.”

“It-it’s alright, Elyssa. Really, it is!”

“I don’t look so good, do I?”

I shook my head and winced. “H-how do you f-feel, Elyssa?” I asked

“I feel… can I be honest?”

“Of course, I’d prefer that.”

“I’m scared, alright? I don’t want to keep drowning people, but… I’m not sure I wanna die either… does it hurt?”

I looked at her, shaking my head. “No, no. Of course not, Elyssa. It’s like… falling asleep.”

I knew what I had to do. She trusted me. “Elyssa…” I stepped forward into the lake water, taking deep breaths through my nose to stay calm. “May I ask you one more question?” She nodded. I stepped closer. “In life, what was your wish? What did you want the most in life?”

She smiled a bit. “I have you as a friend. I’ll never forget you, I promise. But, I think you already might know, given how close you are to me,” I held her in my arms and looked her deep in the eye. “I guess this is it, then?” I nodded. “I’m glad to have met you, even if it was only for a short while. It’s nice to know you cared about me, y’know?” I smiled. She smiled back.

I closed my eyes and kissed her deeply on the lips. She told me one last thing. “You’re sweet, you know that? Not many guys would do this for me. I’ve always wanted to be kissed by a great guy like you. Thanks.”

“You’re welcome, Elyssa. If we ever meet again in the afterlife, tell me what it’s like, okay?”

“See you later, Lover Boy,” she said with a laugh.

Then, she crumbled and faded away in my arms. I stood there for awhile, letting it all sink in. She really was gone.

Before I left, I tossed the flowers she so loved into the lake.

I arrived home at Erana’s Staff and Piotyr appeared once more, telling me of a foul spirit haunting the land. Another Wraith rests in it’s barrow, South of the graveyard. However, there is one thing interesting he told me, there is something there that will both summon the Darkness, and yet also banish it forever.

Hmm. Wrap your head around that.

~Taken from the Journal of Marcus Donnelly of Willowsby.~




Day 75

I had another dream last night.

I remember.

I walked through the beautiful dreamworld where I last saw my lady, now I am alone once more. And I remember.

I remember everything.

Fear grips me as I walk through this realm again. I cannot escape, can I? Not really! Because I can hear it! Can you? Can you hear the voice?

Darkness over takes everything here! I remember death lashing out swift and cold! I want to run! I want to scream, but I can’t breathe!

I feel helpless! Alone in this world!

The voice is near enough that I can almost touch it…

I awoke, shaking off the dream. ‘Try to forget it,’ I told myself. Must not give in.

I visited the Gypsy Camp once more to get another reading from Magda. But before that, I asked her about what she knew of the Castle Borgov. They’ve ruled this land for many years, thought the last Boyar was a very… strange man. Whatever it was he did, it made his son leave in horror and shame. Five years ago, the Gypsies came to Mordavia, hearing news that the castle was occupied once again. Unfortunately, they were disappointed when it was told that the Borgov family were dead and gone, however, and it was instead occupied by a “distant cousin” that swore to protect this valley like a true Boyar. They haven’t seen this “cousin” at all since coming here. Then the rains came, and the Swamp trapped them here.

I also asked about Vampires, since I remember the townspeople being very suspicious of the people living there. After all, they weren’t ever seen by day, despised garlic, and then there was the description of the “strange foreigner” from Boris. According to her, this Undead is known as a Nosferatu. Feeding on the blood of the living, if you’re drained completely, then you shall rise again as something called a Revenant that hungers for human flesh. Ah, so that’s the Mordavian word for Draugr, then. However! If the Vampire DOESN’T drain you completely, and instead makes you share it’s blood with you. Then you STILL rise from your grave, but you’ll be a Vampire’s Thrall instead. Therefore, you are serviced to the Vampire who killed you, and cannot attack your master directly. When you’re not completely drained, you receive a “gift”- you shall continue to live until you are killed somehow, then you shall rise again as a Vampire.

Something about this made me uneasy. The reading didn’t help.

The subject this time was the ill-omened man. The inverted King of Coins. His influences were the Queen of Swords- he was either betrayed by her or he betrayed her. She is also a lady of Magic, it seems. Though is she the master or the apprentice, I wonder? Magda thinks that it’s the former.

The next influence was the Knight of Swords. Aye, me. I influenced him as much as he did me. We are important to our history together. I… caused this man’s Death. This card represents transformation. I altered his life irrevocably… and was the subject of his failure and loss. I grew pale at her next words, “Even if you destroyed him, he still influences the present. That the cards chose to reveal this information about him shows that he is again a player in the game of your life.”

I felt sick. Dizzy. I felt sweat come down my forehead and saw my hands shake. I remember, as I processed this information, that I put my head in my hands as I felt chills run down my spine and whispered to myself, “No… no…! It can’t be him… it can’t… nien! Nien!”

“Marcus, it’s alright,” Magda spoke to me, touching my shoulder.

“C-continue… let’s… get this over with.”

The Eight of Swords. Conflict. Domination. He is either a prisoner or an unwilling accomplishment. Five of Clubs. Conflict. Struggle. He wishes to escape his bondage. The Chariot. The inverted Devil. Escape from his bondage isn’t enough, he seeks revenge. Whoever holds him back cannot do so forever. I must be wary, and I shall face him in a struggle to the death!

Oh Gods…!!

I put my head down on the table, and felt myself continue to tremble as I closed my eyes. I breathed hard and shook my head several times, muttering to myself. I finally looked up again, despite my fear, and I croaked, “The last card. W-what’s the last card, Magda?”

The Void overcomes us all.

I put my head back down and a whimper came from my lips. “Marcus, my friend, things will be alright. If what the cards say is true, then I know you’ll be able to defeat this man for good. You are a Hero, after all,” Davy told me.

“You’re saying to make me feel better. Please, stop.” I rose from my chair, “Thank you for the Reading, Magda. May Frigg bless you, and Odin give you good hunting. I shall see myself out.”

“May the wind be in your face, and the hunting good,” said Magda. I nodded a goodbye and slammed the door shut.

These last few hours have been a bit of a blur…

I remember only a few things. For one, I remember Wraiths. LOTS of fighting Wraiths tonight! In short, I killed- how can I kill something that’s already dead?! –three of them tonight. After dying against them, Aura spell or not, several times. I considered going down South of the Graveyard, but… after all this I decided to listen to my survival instincts and not chance it. Yet.

Forgive me, Piotyr.

For another, I came across the ghost I met the night before. She wondered why I didn’t lead her to town like I said I would. I started to speak to her about ghosts, but she shushed me and told me it was bad luck to speak of the dead. After all, they might hear me. I asked her name once more, hoping to trigger her memory. She still didn’t know, sadly. I asked her about the forest, what she was doing here and she replied, “I am looking for berries. The wild blackberries should be ripe now. I want to bake my husband a pie.”

I stared at her and my blood ran cold. “What? Why do you stare at me so? Is something wrong, sir?”

I gulped and looked at her nervous. How exactly could I say this? “You- ma’am… oh, how can I put this? You…” I pursed my lips, “You do realize… you do realize that you’re a ghost, right?”

Her eyes looked frightened. Then she frowned, “W-what? Why do you say such things? Why are you trying to hurt me?”

“Look, ma’am, I’m-“ Too late. She’d disappeared. I growled in frustration. I encountered twice more, after backtracking from the two nearby Wraith barrows. She was still baffled by my accusation, wondering why she couldn’t follow me. I asked her, for a third time, “Do you remember your name?”

“I… I… I can’t remember! What’s wrong with me? Why am I so lost? Everything is so hazy.”

“Anna… you’re dead.”

She gasped as it finally broke through. “No! No! It can’t be! NOOOOO!!” And with a loud sob of anguish, she vanished once more.

I blinked away tears. Sometimes, I really hate this job.

I encountered her again, and she’d appeared to calm down. “I’m… sorry, Anna. Really, I am.” I said quietly.

“It’s alright, sir. I’m beginning to remember things now, thanks to you. I was walking home in the evening. Something began to chase me, I tried to run and whatever it was, it knocked me over! Then I woke up here.” She looked me in the eyes, “I’m really dead, aren’t I?” I solemnly nodded. "I’m sorry for my manners, sir; I’m just not used to the idea that I’m dead.”

“It’s alright. So you remember things now?”

She nodded and scratched her head. “I do, but… everything is faded, like a dream. I look around here, and I see neither day nor night, just… shadows. It’s very strange to think of myself as a ghost. I can remember my house, it’s by the big oak tree in town,” she paused and said softly, “Oh, my poor Nikolai! How is my Nikolai?”

I winced. “Not good. He misses you deeply. He keeps looking for you every day I’ve seen him. I even told him that I’d help him find you… I guess I did, then.” She gasped and held back a sob. I wish I could touch her and give her comfort, but I know I’ll go right through her.

I wished her farewell as it was getting late for me. She nodded, waved and said farewell.

I climbed back into the town and the Hotel Mordavia and met the Domovoi once more. According to him, the inn is quite sad what with the innkeepers, Yuri and Bella, having lost their daughter, Tanya. However… he mentioned something interesting in the castle. There’s nobody alive there but monsters! Many are dead or undead in the castle. And! He knows where Tanya is! She’s at the castle, you see! Though how to help her, he knows not. Though he DID tell me to talk to the Gypsies about the Staff in town. Domovoi asked a favor of me as well: in the “bad place” in town, there is another Domovoi. He is neither alive nor dead, but is very dry instead. If I can get in there without getting killed by the hexapod over the door, I can help him. Thusly, the Domovoi shall help me. However, to do these tasks, I must be strong, smart powerful and very, very brave.

Right now, as I lay on my back and write this, I feel none of this.

~Taken from the Journal of Marcus Donnelly of Willowsby.~




*this entry is written a bit askew, but is still attempting to look neat as best they can despite shaking hands*

Day 76

Today was… grim!

I awoke in the Hotel Mordavia, shaking heavily, for I’d had a horrible nightmare!

I was in the forest, but it was much darker than usual. I called out, but nothing answered. I took a few cautious steps, looking around, but nothing attacked me.

I heard a rush of wind! Then, a shadow passed over me!

I froze. I listened, reaching for my sword. But, to my horror, it wasn’t there!

I heard a noise, a sound like distant, rolling thunder and a faint cry of some sort of beast…

That’s when I saw it!

A pair of eyes peered at me from the darkness, burning a golden glow. Then, I saw the thing attached to those eyes. I gasped in horror! There before me stood… what looked like a horse, but… it looked like some sort of thing that’d eat my soul if it wanted to! And it towered and loomed over me, just… staring down at me!

I saw a mass of tendons and rotting flesh that revealed bones in certain places, and there came this horrible stench from it’s hide! It was almost like a necrotaur and a horse had a baby and this was the result! There came the sound of sparks and suddenly, the scraggly mane and tail of the monster had burst into white hot flames! The smell of rot now mixed with the smell of sulfur and it’s eyes glowed ever brighter to light up the night! It’s nostrils flared and breathed out choking smoke as it reared and gave a great whinny, pounding it’s hooves down on the forest floor, making a loud quake in the ground that made even the rocks and sturdiest trees tremble! With a swish of it’s burning tail, it turned where it stood to ashes and all around everything decayed and died around us!

I backed away and started to run. This… thing was a Nightmare! An omen of Death in Mordavia! It is said, that like the black dog in Albion, that whoever laid eyes on this creature would soon die!

I fled in terror as the call of the steed became more shrill and screeching in my ears. I swear to you, before I awoke, I heard distant screaming.

My hands shook as I awoke and went downstairs, barely able to hold my fork and my plate rattled on the table.

“Are you alright?’ Yuri asked.

“Y-yeah, Yuri, I’m f-f-fine. Just had a REALLY bad nightmare last night, is all…”

He looked at me sympathetically and patted my shoulder. He apparently knew how I felt apparently. Dark Magic affects us all.

I left for town to do my rounds- say hello to everyone, get my Potions from Dr. Cranium, train at the Guild, and so on –and came across the one man I really wanted to see.


“Hey, Nikolai!” I called to the old man. He looked at me with those sad, forlorn eyes and I put my hand on his shoulder to comfort him. “Hey, I have good news, buddy. I found someone you’ve been missing dearly out in the forest.”

His eyes lit up and he actually smiled at me. “Anna? You’ve found Anna?”

“Ja, I found her in the forest.”

His eyebrows raised and he stood a little straighter as he asked me where exactly. “Near the Graveyard, but Nikolai, she’s-!”

“Thank you! Thank you ever so much for finding my Anna! I’ll go get her and bring her home right away! Thank you so much, young man!” He vigorously shook my hand with a surprisingly strong grip then dashed off out of town as fast as his little old man legs could carry him.

I only hoped that he’d find Erana’s Garden out there so he could rest between searches.

Going to the Gypsy Camp to receive my next fortune, Magda actually looked a little relieved to see me. She told me that I was like one her own children, that I haunt her dreams and that it worries her. She retold one of her visions- I walked towards a building of great Darkness. Some… thing reached out to grab me, but I used… something in my hand to open the door and slip through. The place inside practically oozed danger. I took notice of a cabinet and pulled something from my pocket to pour over… something small. Whatever it was made a warm and fuzzy good feeling come over her. Then she awoke. Huh!

Davy also told me that, when he was hunting the other night, he went by the castle and saw that strange foreigner in a funny hat outside in the moonlight, near the parapets. Suddenly, he raised his arms and shapeshifted into the form of a bat! Davy suspected I knew this man. I squeezed my eyes shut and nodded but said nothing.

I asked Magda about Erana’s Staff. She said that it’s Magic protects the town from Undead, though it’s not like the townspeople notice it. She also told me that she had a vision one night, about the Staff speaking in a dream.

“Wait! Stop right there! The Staff SPOKE to you?!” I exclaimed, leaning forward in my chair.

She nodded. She told me that it spoke of it’s Destiny spell. That day, someone would bring a dead loved one to the staff, and would trade his own life for theirs. The one who was dead would rise again, alive and well, though the one who traded their life would never know. That, my friends, would be a true sacrifice.

Hel, if it came down to it, I’d be willing to do so myself. A Paladin must always be willing to make sacrifices, after all, if that means others will be safe, even if it kills you. Just look at my father, retired early from being a Paladin even if he did love it, just to protect mother and I. The Staff’s words echoed in my head, ‘This I must first do: the Sacrifice of Life for one of Love.’

I regaled them of my adventures in Tarna and my first true outing as a Paladin. Magda was shocked to find out that I managed to dispel the demon Wizard all by myself! “Then perhaps you can drive off the D… no! No! I shall not speak of it!” I nodded respectfully. I shudder to speak of it as well. I know the tale, and know it’s name, but I shall not speak it until later.

I also told them about my meeting with Katrina. Magda didn’t trust her and told me to be wary.

Getting another Reading, this time it was the Queen of Swords, my “mystery woman” as Magda described her.

Some cruel event shaped her life in the past, she was dominated and defeated somewhere. Yet still, she has courage and the will to break through her bonds and get back up again. These are the cards of Eight of Swords and Strength.

She is a powerful Magician, you see with great power and confidence, but… she is also stagnated in life. A Magician locked in Death, unable to grow from her past. However, she also is working towards some sort of goal, heedless of the thoughts of others. So says the Ten of Clubs. Despite this though, there’s a hitch in her plan. She’s falling in love with someone! So says the Two of Clubs. No matter, she says, she’ll just add it to my current plans. What does she seek? The World. Eternal life, the admiration of others and a reward for reaching the goal she made. However, the next card shows that this goal is but an illusion. What she wants and what she’ll get are two different things, and all will end in failure for her. So says Seven of Cups.

The Dark One, the Void, covers all in it’s Shadows of Darkness. Wonderful.

I came across a sad sight as I left for the forest after nightfall.

I came across Nikolai.

He was dead. A ghost.

There is a bright side to this, however! For in the clearing, I saw another familiar face! Anna. Nikolai floated over to her and, despite the circumstances, I felt rather warm and fuzzy inside as I watched them embrace, finally reunited once more. Perhaps I’d do that with Erana someday…

Wait… where’d THAT come from?! I’m not… no, I refuse to have it happen to me again! Not now! Still… maybe there is some hope- NO! Bad me! Bad brain! STOPPIT!

Nikolai came to me and both of them thanked me vigorously. It’s not so bad to be dead when you have someone you love by your side. Mmmm… ain’t it the truth! Nikolai gave me a bit of information, however, so he was not only sweet but helpful. According to him, there is a secret passage that leads to the castle that the Boyars would use while in danger! It’s in the Borgov Family Crypt! Of course! No wonder Igor only gave it to people he trusted- imagine if a Thief stole the key, then robbed the castle of it’s riches! Good thing I’m trustworthy, right? I shall use this passage only in good. I also asked if I could have his hat, and he obliged since he had no need of it anymore where he was going.

Before fading away, Anna said to me, “Farewell. May you never be lost.”

“Farewell,” said Nikolai, “may you never be lonely.”

I smiled and waved goodbye to them as they left this mortal coil. When the Valkyries or Hela come to claim me, I hope I go out happily like that, with the one I love by my side. Though I would miss her, I’d ask her to move on, to live for me, when I can no longer be there for her and must take my leave of this plane, whether I ascend to Asgard or descend to Helheim, and hope in my heart that we’d be reunited again someday.

…Gods, I’m sappy today, aren’t I?

As I got near the town gate, I sensed a familiar feeling from nearby. One of curiosity, not malice. Katrina. I’d actually gotten a note about meeting her but I’d completely forgotten it until now.

She offered me a Healing Potion after noticing I was hurt, and I accepted it gratefully as usual. After that, I told her all about my adventures! She hung onto every word, it seemed. I also mentioned my nightmare and, surprisingly, she looked… a little appalled and offended that had happened to me. “Look, ‘Trina, it was just a bad dream. No need to get all uptight over it.” I tried giving her a brave smile. It didn’t really work. She scowled and muttered something under her breath that I didn’t catch. I asked her why she didn’t appear during the daytime, and her reasoning was that she worked there during the day. Someone would notice otherwise. Unfortunately, I can’t exactly meet her in the castle unless I was invited. She hoped I was someday, and she had this sort of twinkle in her eye.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to speak for long as she had to go. We wouldn’t meet here again, but at the castle gate, it was closer and safer. She made me promise to not tell the gatekeeper about her though, as she’d get into big trouble if someone found out she was sneaking out at night like this.

Fair enough. Deal.

I climbed back into town and breathed in the sweet scent of Erana’s flowers, smiling. The smell still reminds me of laughter to this day. I feel safe and protected as I lay on the soft grass, her Magic warming me.

My eyelids grow heavy now. Ironic, isn’t it? The one place I can find peace is when I dream and it’sthe brightest part of my day. Especially when I dream of Erana. Something about her draws me closer to her than anyone I’ve ever met before, and my heart beats rapidly whenever I picture her making her Gardens, Peaces, Pools and Havens because I know that is through her hard work and wonderful Magic that she makes our world a better place for all of us, myself included. Heck, it does so when I’ve been thinking of her in general today. My heart leaps at the sound of her name! My mind fills with her beauty and grace whenever I picture her in my mind, dancing with the wind and sprays of flowers bloom from her delicate fingertips! She’s honestly one of the most wonderful people I’ve ever had the chance to meet, even if it is only a dream…

I hope I dream of her again…

~Taken from the Journal of Marcus Donnelly of Willowsby.~




Day 77

If I never have another happy moment, if in the end, I am destined to fail, then I shall hold this dream, this spellbinding moment in time and memory forevermore in my heart so that I shall always cherish it even when things look their bleakest…

She is the light of my life. She is like a candle that burns strong, bright and steady, driving away the Darkness from all corners. She is like a star in the sky, that no matter how dark things seem, she always will brighten the night with her beauty. I look at her, and all others pale in comparison.

She is gentle like the flowers she plants, yet her roots run deep. She is strong in the face of despair.

She is kind to all who grace her presence, even someone like me, a boorish, fiery headed brute who carries the scars of many battles upon his hide without a care. I am nothing worthwhile, compared to her. I don’t deserve her love, nor her friendship, nor her comfort.

And yet… she takes my hand and looks deep into my eyes and neither of us can’t help but smile. As we embrace, I feel tears welling up in my eyes as I hold her close to me. I stroke her hair gently, listening to her heartbeat. I always told myself that I’d need time. Time to heal a broken heart and get close to others again.

That’s exactly what she’s done for me. I cannot thank her enough for everything she’s ever done.

We sit down by that ocean of harmony, just like before. We talk for hours about everything we could think of, we laugh in the joy of friendship and happiness, and her smile warms me like no one else’s has. Yes. I am truly happy here! Moreso than I’ve ever been in my entire life. Becoming a Hero? Being declared a Prince? Receiving Soulforge? Not one of those compare to this!

The warmth and tingle of Magic fills the air, and as it swirls around us, it gains a beautiful shine. I hardly notice, though. I’m paying too much attention to her. She embraces me once more and she whispers something in my ear. I look at her in disbelief and ask her to repeat it, she does so, and I break out into a huge smile. I laugh happily and hold her close, happy tears trailing down my cheeks.

I couldn’t help myself. In all my foolish, overjoyed enthusiasm, I kissed her deeply and passionately on her lips. She kissed back and ran her delicate fingers through my hair.

We are no longer strangers, nor just friends. Now, in this land of dreams, we are more than just that. And I couldn’t be happier than I am now because of it!

I didn’t want to open my eyes when dawn came. I didn’t want to wake up! But, sadly, I had to eventually.

I would keep going, for her sake. She’s the bright spot in all of this, after all.

I didn’t stay in town long, however, it was just too depressing. With Nikolai now gone, everyone is in mourning. I did my final workout at the Guild, then left them to mourn their friend. Dmitri was especially taking it hard, since Nikolai was like an older brother to him and he’d charged himself to take care of the old man. And now he was gone. Dmitri only hopes him and Anna will find peace in the afterlife. I hope so too.

Since I had Nikolai’s hat, I knew exactly where it’d be of some use. The Hangman’s Tree was my destination. Couldn’t exactly just pluck Dmitri’s hat, no, he’d look so strange without it.

Speaking to old Bonehead once again, he told me a few interesting things. For one, Baba Yaga hails from near here, a place called Surria. She always had a soft spot for Mordavia, though. Enough Dark Magic to make life interesting, since it twists and mutates everything it touches, yet no trouble with an actual Dark One. For another, when she’d found out I’d stopped by, she wasn’t too happy and threw a tantrum. But then, when she stopped, she got that smile on her face, and Bonehead told me to expect a warm greeting from her.

I gave him his hat, and I would say he looked happy, but he IS a talking skull and is always smiling anyway. Anyway, that made him call off the guards’ beam eyes and I ran up the familiar chicken legged hut…

…Only for it to move out of my reach! “Hut of brown, now sit down!” I barked. Nothing happened.

“That’s not gonna work anymore, buddy. Think like a bird!”

So, with a heavy sigh, I went back to town and returned a bit later with some corn. This appeased the house enough for it to squat down and let me inside.

As soon as I entered however, I immediately wished to leave! There was this sense of doom looming over everything, and the interior- filled with spices, herbs, poisons, lit by candles and a hearth fire with a cooking pot over it, a bottle of blood and Scarlet’s webs were in every corner. Bones littered the shelves and there was even a skeleton nearby! Next to a Hand of Glory was a dusty crystal ball, showing some sort of talkie far sight program labeled “Bewitched”- didn’t help much!

Speaking of little Scarlet the spider… above me was a skull of some sort of monster or Demon, and above that…?

A bucket! Filled with water that splashed all over me, making me sopping wet! I shivered and sneezed, then a loud POOF sounded! There she stood by the fire: Baba Yaga. As ugly and nasty as ever, so I saw! Her scratchy voice intoned,

“Spirits of the frigid North,
Spin the water , draw it forth.
Frosty Spirits, summoned twice.
Turn the water into ice!”

Indeed, I found my vision go distorted like looking through glass! My heart rate quickened as I was unable to move at all, save my head! Baba Yaga gave a harsh laugh and asked me, “Here to visit, are we? Here to chat? Here to see what you can turn me into this time, hm?”

I shook my head and tried to explain, but she kept talking. She discussed with Bats and Scarlet about how exactly they wanted me- Eye Scream with Whipped Scream and Nuts? Green Legs and Man? Hero Sandwiches? Hero on a Half Shell? –with every suggestion, I shook more and more in my frozen prison, until finally they decided to skip the main course and go straight to dessert! “Any last words, oh Soon-To-Be-Supper?” she asked.

“L-listen, I need your help! A friend of mine, Punny Bones the Gnome, has been cursed to lose his humor and wants it back! Please, I’ll do ANYTHING to earn your favor, just don’t eat me PLEASE!” I exclaimed, shaking in both fear and cold.

Bats started squeaking and the ogress understood it as, “I want pie, mama!!”

“You’d rather have pie? What, Eye Pie?” The ogress asked. I shut my eyes and whimpered. Bats shook her head and squeaked some more. “Oh! Elderbury Pie! Yes, we haven’t had that in a long time, have we? Oh, pooh! I don’t have any of the ingredients! Now that you mention it, I *would* like some Elderbury Pie…” she looked at me and leered evilly, “with or without Eye Scream.”

Bats squeaked and flapped again. I heard Scarlet nearby, making little clicking sounds. They were apparently vouching for me, since after all, I HAD gotten them some Mandrake in Spielburg. I shivered at the memory- one of the worst nights of my life! –and Baba Yaga fixed her gaze on me again. She decided, due to her ravenous sweet tooth, that she’d give me another chance. If I came back with an Elderbury Pie, then I wouldn’t be eaten! Simple, really.

The ingredients? Well, according to Bonehead, Elderbury berries which I just so HAPPENED to have on me already! Some Grue Goo for flavoring, some Bonemeal for a crust and placed into a pie pan. I’d gotten some Goo earlier for Dr. Cranium and still had some left, which worked fine. As for the Bonemeal, it turns out the Wraith barrows hold them often.

There was a mortar and pestle nearby, which I used to grind the bones into Bonemeal. It took awhile, but eventually it was done. Bonemeal looks kinda like flour to me.

I then squeezed the disgusting, horrible oozing Goo from my flask, and it slowly, VERY slowly dripped into the pan. Berries were in next, then the Bonemeal around it.

“Lookin’ good!” Bonehead said. He then ordered his fellow skulls to cook it, which didn’t take long and it turned into a nice golden brown. If I didn’t know what went into it, I’d want to take a bite myself.

I hurried back inside the hut, and got out from under the trap just in time! I was being watched, I could feel it! I heard Baba Yaga speak again, “Not very trusting is he, kids? Good. It’s not like I trust him either. Floor Quick, make him Stick!”

Suddenly, I found myself unable to move! In fact, my boots had been stuck to the floor. The vile ogress licked her lips hungrily and recited,

“Spirits of the swamp
and mire,
Aid me in what I desire!
Creatures of mist,
Beings of Fog,
Turn this human into
a cute hedgehog.”

I found myself shrinking, smaller and smaller, more warped until I felt sharp spines jut from my back! My nose stuck out more and blackened at the end, my hands turned into paws and I was forced to be on all fours as fur covered my skin! I tried to scream for help, but all that came out was a squeal. Baba Yaga cackled and stared down at me, telling me had a sudden craving for a tiddywiggle. I squeaked in protest- we had a deal!

Bats and Scarlet, however, came to the rescue again and reminded her of our deal. She quickly turned me back into a person again with the counterspell,

“Spirits of the Mist
and Moor,
Restore this man as he was before.”

I sighed in relief. That was something I never hoped to experience again! I told her quickly, before she changed her mind about this, “Ihavethepiewithmetakeitpl ease!” She smiled and flicked her finger, and it appeared on the table.

She smiled at me happily, and I relaxed a little. “Let me think, how should I reward you for this lovely pie?”

I cleared my throat and repeated what I’d said last time. I wanted the Gnome’s humor back. She sighed and gave me… “An ice cream bar?”

“It’s a Good Humor Bar. Take it to your friend, and it should give him his humor back.”

I said thank you and was teleported out of the house again. I ran away from the Hangman’s Tree as quickly as possible so I could help Punny Bones.

I did visit Katrina, as she said I could, at the castle gate. We chatted for a bit, and it was clear she dearly had missed me. Like, a LOT! I make her feel safe, it seems, and she loves to hear stories of my adventures. She worries for me, because it’s so dangerous out in Mordavia at night.

I gotta say, her outfit… mmm… my, my… it’s apparently a little warm tonight. She’s let her hair down, letting it flow over her bare shoulders. Her dress had a bodice that was ruffed white at the top and, well, let’s just say I had a difficult time keeping my eyes from looking down.

She was a very attractive woman, I must say!

I felt compelled to touch her for just a moment, though why I knew not, but she backed away from me, and our hands touched only very briefly. The feel of her hand is as chilling as the night air. “Please, not just yet. I find you attractive, but I don’t want to get too close to you. I don’t want to lose control.”

“You’re right,” I rubbed the back of my neck, “I’m sorry I did that. I don’t know what came over me!”

Back at the inn, I chatted a little with Bella, Yuri’s wife and the cook for awhile. She’d heard about the incident with the Gypsy, and she says that she cares not if they really ARE Werewolves or not, but told me to let them know that they’re always welcome at their inn, to Yuri’s astonishment. She also had become a little fond of Igor and thinks he’s a good person, if a little frightening looking.

I went to Punny’s room after that, and when I gave him the Good Humor Bar, he thought it was a trick at first. The hot pepper bar trick, apparently. Still, he chomped down on it regardless.

“How do you feel?”

“Say, I feel funny. Like, REALLY funny! What was that thing?” I explained all about Baba Yaga, the Pie, and the Good Humor Bar. As a reward, he offered to tell me a secret that only Gnomes know.

The Ultimate Joke.

According to him, it’ll only work once on an enemy and is a last resort, but it makes them laugh. I mean REALLY laugh! Like, can’t help it can’t stop it kinda laugh!

What’s the joke? Well… let’s just say it involves a Wizard and a farmer’s daughter. I’m not going to spoil the fun for you!

Well, with his humor happily returned, he rushed downstairs to give one last show.

And, he was actually FUNNY this time!

He cracked jokes about everything in Mordavia, from the terrible room service at the inn- there wasn’t any –to the doctor needing three pairs of glasses- one for nearsightedness, one for farsightedness and one for to look for the other two –to the shopkeeper- suffering from acute indiscretion, but when you get gossip, what can you do but spread it? –to Revenants and Necrotaurs- he’d take very specific steps to avoid the former… large ones! To just hoping that if he ever saw the latter, that it’d not seen him –and, in the end, he said that if it wasn’t for someone like me, he couldn’t make a hyena laugh! It reminded him very little of the joke about the gravedigger who got buried in his work!

As the show ended, he told me that he was heading out once the pass opened again, to Silmaria. Beautiful, scenic Silmaria! He hoped to see me there, and before I closed my door, he cracked a few sheepishly good puns for the road.

~Taken from the Journal of Marcus Donnelly of Willowsby.~




Day 78

A relatively uneventful day today.

Yuri and Bella are friendly, at least. Though, Yuri is a little distraught.

See, he had a dream about Tanya and couldn’t get back to sleep after that. She’d been stolen from them two years ago, though what happened to her, he doesn’t know. It was rumored that the Gypsies took her, but he saw no trace of her. However… Igor mentioned that, several times, he saw some sort of monster near her window at night. Hmmm…

Bella had a dream about little Tanya too, after sleeping at the Staff. She saw her playing by the Staff, picking flowers. Bell held her in her arms, happy to have her daughter back, even if it was only a dream. Little Tanya told her mother that… it was I who brought her here. She told me to come by the Staff at night…

I have a sneaking suspicion why… but I don’t want to jump to conclusions without proof…

No… not yet…

Still, though, Bella feels Tanya is alive somewhere. She has hope, unlike her husband.

I felt my encouraging smile fall to a frown as I felt a feeling come over me. Something I haven’t felt in what feels like ages…

When she spoke of Tanya like that… I was reminded of my own mother. She’s probably worried sick about me! She probably doesn’t even know I’m alive! Yet… I know Sarah Donnelly, my mother, she’s strong like that. She remained steadfast through father’s death, and though it hurt when she got the news, she didn’t grieve for long. She let father go.

Unlike me…

Look at me. My doppelganger was right! I DO act like my father too much! I know I need to let him go, become my own man, craft my own dreams instead of living in father’s shadow, but… I can’t. I don’t know how!

Ja. I’m homesick. I admit it.

I just wish I could write a letter to my mother, my friends, Rakeesh, the Guildmaster… just to let them know I’m… okay, you know? But, of course, I can’t since the pass cuts us off from the outside world. Dammit!

Am I okay, though? I don’t know. I think I’m just… tired. I want out! I want to leave this place! But that’s not happening anytime soon, I can tell. Erana is the one real comfort I have here.

I thanked Bella for the lovely breakfast she cooked then left for the day.

I headed over to the Gypsy Camp to take this off my mind. This is, what? My fourth fortune? I’ve noticed something: all the fortunes I’ve gotten past the first one have all been about the influences around me. So there’s been the mystery woman, whom I suspect is Katrina, there’s the ill-omened man, whom is… I don’t wanna think of it, and I’m convinced it’s Erana as well. Just think it’s interesting.

The Queen of Cups. Erana! She has powerful Magic, you see, and it has influenced her strongly, even stronger than the mystery woman. Unlike her, however, she uses it for kindness and joy, rather than power and getting what she wants. After all, all she wants is people to be happy and safe, and thus, she gives from the heart. So say the Magician and Ace of Cups. I smiled happily at hearing that. Sounds like my kind of lady!

However, sadly, she has been bound by something too and has been overwhelmed by that something. They’re locked in a stalemate and cannot be free from it as neither is willing to truly give up and give in. Eight and Two Swords respectfully.

The Hanged Man. Symbol of sacrifice. She had to give up something whilst locked in this conflict, to initiate the stalemate. Alas, so says the tales and the Four of Swords, it twas her very life. Yet, it appears that even still, she influences me regardless. Was her sacrifice not in vain?

The Dark One is active here! It’s strong, and my lady has been bound by it! She sacrificed everything, her own life and being, just to save us all from it. No matter how many times I hear the story, I can’t help but feel a pang in my heart, now even moreso. Yet, we noticed that there was still one card…

The Knight of Swords!!

It shall be I who faces off against The Dark One! And it is I shall decide on her fate!

“Can I… change things? Is it possible I can free her, Magda?” I asked. She thought about it and nodded, though she didn’t know how.

The Void was the final card. Magda hoped I wouldn’t be influenced by it, but I have no choice in the matter. Now that I know there’s a chance I can free Erana, I have no fear! I’m a Hero! I’m a Paladin! It’s my job to protect others from the things they fear, and the people of Mordavia need one. Badly! For her sake, and for the sake of being a Hero, it shall be done!

Still, though, I cannot take down The Dark One now. I’m not trained enough, plus I have no way to fight it. Yet.

I went to Her Garden after that, and I’m just sitting here watching the sunset. Mordavian sunsets are so beautiful! Something about the Magic here makes them look even more beautiful to me…

~Taken from the Journal of Marcus Donnelly of Willowsby.~




Day 79

I dreamt I was in that battle last night.

The sounds of clashing blades with the blasts and sizzles of Magic… the screams of the dying and absorbed… blood flows around my feet and I hide my tears as many a good man falls near me and is taken by the Darkness…

The Darkness, like before, reaches for me, wanting to devour my soul like it has so many others. I clasp my Staff firmly in my hands and stare the Darkness straight in the eye without fear!

Then, my Staff is forcefully pulled from my grasp! Though it swallows me, I still do not give in! I will not! I refuse! Too much at stake for fear!

I have little power, except one. It’s a risk and I know it’ll be the death of me, yet… it shall be done! I breathe deep and summon all I can handle and cast one more spell!

The Dark One doesn’t like it all! The sound of my incantation echoes on the walls and those who still stand, hear it loud and clear.

Then, all is dark. Silent. Cold. I am alone.

I awoke from the nightmare, breathing hard. She truly DID give up everything. If I do my part though, she won’t suffer much longer. I promise, my dear, I’ll find a way to free you!

I didn’t do much after that. Did my rounds as usual, gave flowers to Bella and Olga just because I wanted to be nice, then trained my Throwing.

I did that last thing a LOT today. I was exhausted by the end of throwing all those rocks, but I feel it was worth it. I’m getting tougher, I can feel it! And may I just say, I felt a sense of pride come over me yesterday: I was able to kill a Necrotaur without much problem! Sure, I still got hurt, but dang it, it feels so GOOD to know that meeting one in the forest DOESN’T mean instant death!

~Taken from the Journal of Marcus Donnelly of Willowsby.~




Day 80

She WILL be freed by my hand, I swear it!

I… I can’t stand seeing her like this! I found her in the Dreamworld with it’s shimmering, beautiful landscape and…

She rushed into my arms and sobbed. “Shhh…” I spoke gently. “I promise you, Erana, I’ll free you if it kills me!”

Her eyes still shined with tears and she shook her head. “Don’t say that,” she told me, “I’ve already lost so much… I don’t want to lose you, my only friend! Please, don’t-!”

The Darkness torn her from my arms! I cried out and reached out for her! “ERANA!! HOLD ON!” I yelled into the blackness. I took off running, not caring if I couldn’t see a damn thing. I reached out, not with my hands anymore or searching with my eyes, but I tried to find her with my Will, detecting hers.

I found it easily, but… it was quickly fading! “Erana! Don’t do it! Please! Don’t cast that spell! We can-!”

‘No!’ my thoughts shouted firmly in my head. ‘She NEEDS to do this! It HAS to be done, otherwise the world will be destroyed! Let-her-go!’

The Darkness fades and all is quiet. Erana’s presence has faded away...

When I awoke, I saw the objects I hit with my rocks all as hexapods and the symbol of The Dark One in my anger! “You will pay! You will face a Paladin’s wrath, Dark One! I’m coming for you!”

~Taken from the Journal of Marcus Donnelly of Willowsby.~




Day 81

Dreams weave into nightmares now. They’re always nightmares now, never again have I seen her in my dreams since she was forcefully torn from my arms. Devouring and swallowing her, her screams cut off suddenly.

I walk it’s halls, touching the bones. Mine crack as it’s begin to harden. I walk it’s halls, touching it’s blood. Mine is being sucked dry as it’s begin to flow.

I can feel it sapping my energy… yet still I press on. I must, even though I feel like giving in, but I must. For everyone’s sake, I must.

There is a pulsing beat, louder than my own, nearby. I look up. I see it- The Heart of Darkness.

I press onward. I start to climb…

Then I awake.

Rather short day today, though I do remember it was a nice one.

As soon as I did my rounds, I immediately headed to the Monastery. Yes, the Monastery that EVERYONE told me to avoid. Yes, the one started by, according to Igor, The Mad Monk. Yes, the one that all those Cultists of the Dark One at one time.

I’m an adventurer, dammit! Going into places I’m not allowed into is kinda part of my job! The repeating cries of, “DON’T GO IN THERE!” is just begging me to investigate it!

I looked down at the Dark One Sign in my hand. This vile object, I have the feeling, is the key to all this. I looked up at the Hexapod made of stone over the Monastery door, and showed the Sign to it. It visibly relaxed and seemed to indicate that it wanted me to do something with it. I stepped forward and Igor jumped to his feet and, since he must have thought I was crazy, flailed his arms and said, “Bad place! Very bad place! Stay away! You be very sorry!”

I reassured him, “I’ll be fine! I know what I’m doing,” and pressed it into the door. It stuck there and the door opened.

Stepping through, I took it in. Everything was in bad shape! The furniture was crumbling, the rug and curtains were threadbare and… dare I say it, flammable, and even the walls of stone with it’s various carvings of the Dark One symbols and carvings of bugs were looking a little worn.

There was one thing that caught my eye in particular though. Near a cabinet of glass was a small figure, curled up. Looking closer, it looked like a cross between a baby Troll and a dervish- this must be the Domovoi! He looked a little… small. Dry. A lifeless husk drained to nothingness.

I knew what I must do. I pulled out the Rehydration Solution and poured it over the little Domovoi. Within an instant, he grew as large and healthy as the one at the inn, and very, VERY happy! So happy in fact, that he gave me a little advice before he left.

There was more to this Monastery than was originally thought. I turned around and saw, not only scratched under the fireplace, but also another Hexapod, smaller this one, which I’d need to either feed or kill to get past it, otherwise I’d become Hexapod Chow.

Rushing out of the Monastery, I grabbed the Sign and got out from under the door just in time!

I then, after having nothing better to do, rested in my room until Midnight.

I went outside my room, and there was the Domovoi. “Good evening, master.”

The Domovoi smiled at me and laughed heartily at my success of rescuing his friend. He now hangs around at Dmitri’s office, in the hopes of giving him good luck.

However, then he got serious. He then told me the tale about Tanya.

Tanya was a sweet, happy child. Always laughing, always playing. But then, Bella had a dream. One where her daughter was taken away from her. Frightened for her child, she and Yuri made it so she couldn’t go outside anymore, couldn’t make any friends. They’d make her stay at the back of the inn at night, and she’d lie there in the darkness without a candle to comfort and guide her. Then, she gained a friend. A monster, just like Igor said, would appear at her window at night! Big fella, but nice. One night, Tanya became very unhappy, and so, the monster decided to take her away- to Castle Borgov to be exact! –in order so she’ll be happy again. Domovoi tried to stop her, tried to call out to her, but he couldn’t. It was too late and she was soon gone.

Why was she unhappy? All because of a doll.

Her monster friend brought her a pretty doll, something Tanya had never had before! And she absolutely loved it! But then, her parents saw her playing with it… and they grew scared. Who gave it to her? Where did the doll come from? So, they took the doll and hid it away in the cabinet. I was told to take it, and give it to Tanya. I wasn’t to show it to Bella or Yuri, OR tell them that I knew where Tanya was. Little Tanya needed a Hero, not dead parents, after all.

I understood.

There’s too much death and darkness here. I need to be its light, its flame and spark in the gloom! Paladin Sword or no, I need to do this! I will not let another tragedy befall this land, not if I can help it!

Tomorrow. I shall do so tomorrow.

~Taken from the Journal of Marcus Donnelly of Willowsby.~




*This entry is shakily written and a couple teardrops stain the pages*

Day 82

The nightmares continue. They just never end!

Erana… she’s supposed to make me feel safe and warm wherever she lays her gift of a Haven somewhere, and yet… because she’s trapped, it only torments me to sleep there now.

I walk those dark halls, and I feel the Darkness encroaching me, sapping my life away like it did hers! There is no escape for either of us here! What am I looking for again? I can’t remember! Gods, why can’t I remember?!

Just then, I saw a bright ember just ahead! There! That’s what I was looking for! That was my way out-

But… I tripped and stumbled. The light went out. I scrabbled in the Darkness, trying to reach it, to find it again. But there was nothing there…

I awoke. I got up and headed straight to where I knew I wanted to be. The Graveyard.

Getting to the crypt, I sat there by it for awhile to gather my thoughts. Why did I not just go right in? Well, something in my gut told me that it would be wise to wait until the sun began to set before going in.

I thought long and hard about all I had learned. So, according to Boris, “The Master” had a daughter that they were very proud of, and, sure enough, Tanya had been confirmed by the Domovoi that she was residing at the castle. The Domovoi also told me that there were none alive living there. This can only mean one thing…

Oh Gods…!

Actually, now that I think of it… if there was “no one alive” in that castle, then what did that say for Katrina? She said she worked and had lived there for many years now. Is THAT why she only appeared at night?! Because she’s…?

Don’t get me started on the “strange foreigner” with the funny hat! As much as I wanted to deny it, the fortune didn’t lie, and I couldn’t help but see the connection. It matched perfectly to what happened before, and I’ll have to face him again someday. Soon, I felt. The fact that he could turn into a bat made me all the more worried, if not for the fact that, even after death, still he haunted me.

Before I knew it, the land had turned a soft pink with the sunset. It was time to go. I unlocked the crypt and there was a sound, not unlike the moan of a Wraith that sent shivers down my spine, as the door yawned wide open and showed only darkness. Still, I screwed up my courage and went down.

I stiffened up and stopped when I came down the stairs as the door slammed shut and locked behind me. My Sense Danger ability was tingling slightly. Can you really blame it?! It was dark, dank and the fact that there were statues of the Grim Reaper and statues of long dead knights- one of which revealed it’s skeleton when pushed and crumbled away at my touch! –and one of them was hiding an AXE TRAP didn’t help!

There was also another statue that had a keyhole in it. The Borgov Family Crest was there on the floor and it contained the key. Color puzzle. Simple as that.

Now, as for the castle itself…

This was arguably the biggest building I’d ever explored yet! At least, that’s what I think anyway. So many doors and rooms it’s not even funny! This truly used to be a marvelous place until the last Boyar left. There was a dining room, a sitting room, at least three libraries, a few bedrooms, the great hall, a room with valuables, a dungeon…

Yeah, it’s definitely a castle alright if it has a dungeon. Those “strange guards” that Boris mentioned way back when were here. Goons, to be precise. What they said I will get to slightly later.

Allow me to backtrack ever so slightly before I found the dungeon. There were two doors in the room that led to the crypt passage. The one to the West took me to various other rooms; however, the one to the North only led me to a stairwell going up. Now, I’d been very cautious while going through the castle before this point, always making sure to oil the hinges everywhere on door I came across, listening at every door and looking through every keyhole. The first time I got to this stairwell, I attempted to open it ever so slightly, as I heard something behind this door. An argument, to be exact.

Unfortunately, I had mistakenly revealed my presence by accident by making the door squeak! The last thing I saw was a Flame Dart headed right towards me, thrown by…


I was Restored and caught my breath again. What?! How could it be her?! But, it was true! I recognized her face, and I heard her voice through the door! And… that man in the robes… that was him. It had to be.

I listened again, carefully this time, remembering to oil the hinges…

“Everything is going according to plan – my plan. I have no interest in your petty revenge scheme,” said Katrina

“You cannot trust him. He will attempt to destroy you the moment he finds out what you truly are,” replied the man gruffly. My heart skipped a beat- yes that was definitely a voice I knew! No longer soft and low, no, but rough and filled with malice. I knew both sides of that voice from Shapeir and hearing it again, so close to me, made ice seize my spine!

“No!” Katrina insisted, “He is already attracted to me. I want him to act from his own free will, and not be some puppet whose string I hold. After all, if I only wanted a puppet, I could have used you.” Me?! A puppet?! For WHAT?! And what makes her think I’ll agree now that I KNOW she’s been onto me this whole time?! Also, frankly Katrina, while I DO find you lovely to look at as well as listening to your voice… my heart belongs to another lady, one with far better morals and loving selflessly through her Magic rather than using it to gain more and more power, THANK YOU!

“There will come the day, Katrina, when I will be the Dark Master, and you will be only a memory,” Ad Avis growled. I clenched my fist and thought to myself, ‘We’ll see about that!’

“You would love to destroy me, wouldn’t you? You hated from the moment we met, but you thought you could use me, couldn’t you? You were blinded by your own ego. I have always been your Master, and you my mere apprentice.” Well, perhaps that’s why Ad Avis hated women so much? Because he was dominated by one? Huh.

“I will have my revenge!” Ad Avis growled.

“On whom? The Hero or myself?” Katrina asked.

“Both of you!” he snapped.

Katrina laughed. “It is so easy to make you lose your temper. That’s why you will never be the Dark Master – you let your overwhelming pride override your thinking.”

So that was that, then. Katrina was the Dark Master that Ad Avis spoke of, Ad Avis was somehow still alive after being blasted off a tower, and I was being played for a fool this entire time. Sometimes I wonder, you know? Why me? Why is it always me? Why am I always the one who gets chosen by prophecies and played for a pawn on theses adventures of mine? In Shapeir, I led Ad Avis straight to Iblis’s chamber. In Tarna, everything I did to bring peace just brought the Demon Wizard’s plan further and further to fruition. And now here, once again, I’m being manipulated like it’s a game of skáktafl! I cannot escape, no matter what I do, because they’ll always catch me.

The argument ended there, but even if it didn’t I wouldn’t stood to listen any longer. The Goons at the dungeon? They spoke of “de Master”, addressing it as a she and the one even likes “de kid”, which is obviously Tanya. Neither of them like “Adda Bees” though, he gives them the creeps. He looks at them like they were food. Brrrr! They do wonder why they’re guarding this dungeon, however, since there’s nobody and nothing to guard.

I explored the castle more and came across yet another stairwell. There was a closed door at the top, and listening closely, I heard what sounded like a hibernating bear. I politely knocked, but there was no response.

I opened the door and almost immediately I sensed that something was wrong. Not dangerous, per se, just… off. The first thing I noticed was, by the door, was a gigantic furry creature of some sort. He looked at me with beady eyes and massive jaws with fangs and… instead of leaping up to attack me like I was expecting, he slammed the door in my face!

The door swung back open, and I noticed something else. Leaning into my field of vision was a child. A girl to be precise! “Who is it, Toby?” she asked. I shivered, not just from cold but a bit of fear as well. Looking at this little girl, I could tell she wasn’t… normal. And I felt my heart sink as I looked at her. Her skin was chalk white, her eyes gleamed gold with no pupils or sclera, tiny fangs poked out from her mouth, and as she spoke to me, I saw she never blinked or saw her chest move. Vampire. She scolded the monster, saying that it was rather rude to slam doors in people’s face, and then asked me what I was doing here.

I said, “Hello. I’m Marcus Donnelly!”

She flashed a toothy smile and I held back a shiver at her sharpened incisors. “Hello. Do you live here in the castle now too?”

I shook my head. “No. I’m visiting is all. See, I’m a Hero and I’m-!”

Toby snarled at me. The girl scolded him again, as it was rude to interrupt. “I’m a Hero and I’m a Paladin.”

Her eyes widened. “Oooh! I’ve never met a real Hero before! My name is Tanya, this is Toby. He’s my best friend and protects me good.”

“Tanya, eh? So, are you the little girl from the town?”

Her smile faded. She dipped her head down and nodded sadly. “I can’t go back there anymore. Mommy and daddy don’t like me anymore. I did something bad, and now they don’t want to see me ever again. Sometimes I miss them…” My heart sank. Toby growled again, softer. “I know, Toby, you and Aunt Trina take good care of me. I wouldn’t want to leave you ever. I know you love me very much. But I still miss my mommy.”

“Why did you run away from home?” I asked.

“How did you know that?”

“A friend told me you did.”

She pointed her thumb at Toby. “Toby used to visit me at the inn. Mommy and daddy wouldn’t like it if they saw Toby. He brought me a beautiful doll, and mommy saw it. She yelled at me and tried to get me to tell her about Toby, but I didn’t. Mommy took Vana away from me, and because I didn’t that to happen to Toby, I ran away with him.”

I frowned. “I’m not afraid of you, Tanya. I think you’re a sweet girl.” She smiled again. I smiled back this time. “So tell me about Aunt Trina. Is she treating you well?”

She nodded. She told me all about how she was Aunt Trina’s little girl, how they sometimes go down to the great hall and dance around and around up in the air, and that she gave her this room all to herself and gave her Toby to protect her.

I then brought out something from my backpack. Tanya perked up and asked, “What’s that?”

“I have a gift for you, Tanya!” I replied with a smile. Toby let me pass as I was previously being blocked by Toby.

I handed her the doll.

She gasped and took the doll, staring at it like it was made of gold! She smiled and cried happily, “Vana! You found her! Thank you!”

“Tanya,” I said quietly, “The inn is sad without you. Your mommy and daddy really miss you, you know.”

She looked at me sadly and shook her head. “I’m a Bad Thing now. Aunt Trina says I can’t ever go back to them. I’d scare them and the people in the town would try to hurt me real bad. I want to cry sometimes, but I can’t. Not anymore.”

I frowned and looked at Toby for a moment. I took a deep breath. Tanya looked at me, concerned. “What’s the matter, Marcus? Why do you look so sad?”

I knelt down and looked at her seriously, speaking slow. “Tanya… do you know about Erana’s Staff?” She nodded. “Well, what if I told you that if I took you to the Staff, it could make you a real little girl again?”

Really?!” her eyes lit up in excitement. “It’ll make me all better? I can see mommy and daddy again?!”

I nodded. Now came the hard part. “There… is a catch, though. The Staff cannot create life, really.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean that there is a catch. A price must be paid for you to come back to life, Tanya. There is a sacrifice, you see, of one life for another that must be done. Willingly.”

Toby growled. Tanya translated, “Toby understands. He says you should take us to the Staff now. I want to see my mommy and daddy again!”

We snuck out of the castle carefully, Toby protecting us from the Necrotaurs by the castle gate, and rushed to town as quickly as possible.

It was still dark when we got to the Staff. There was a certain feeling of strong Magic in the air…

“It feels weird here,” said Tanya. “Kinda happy and icky. I’m scared.” She clung to Vana like her unlife depended on it. Toby wrapped an arm around her briefly and growled.

“I know you’ll protect me, Toby. But who’ll protect you?” Toby growled again and shrugged, “I’ll protect you, Toby. You’ll be okay, I promise!”

Toby looked at me then back at her. He didn’t look so sure about that.

Suddenly, it was like my body was moving on it’s own! I stepped into a stance as if I were tossing a Frostbite spell, and found myself casting a spell I don’t recall ever learning at all on this adventure.

The Ritual of Release.

Suddenly, the Staff spoke to the three of us with an eerie tone of voice. The Staff glowed faintly and lifted itself out of it’s pedestal. “The Sacrifice of Life for Love.”

It floated above Tanya’s head and said to Toby. “Your love for the child is great.”

Toby nodded.

It asked, “Will you trade your Life to give Life to the child?”

Toby nodded again.

“Will you die willingly for the one you love?”

Without a second thought, Toby nodded again. I wouldn’t have done anything different.

Tanya gasped and cried out, “No! Toby, no!”

The Staff turned on it’s side and crackled with lightning. “So shall the Sacrifice be done!”

Then, with the sound of a powerful bolt of lightning and a bright blue flash, Toby stiffened and then fell dead within a moment. Yet, there stood a little girl in a red dress, alive and well once more. And for the first time in what must have been years, little Tanya Markarov cried. “I loved you too, Toby,” I heard her say in between sobs.

I held her close and tried to not to cry myself. “There, there… shhh… it’s alright, Tanya...” I said softly, trying to comfort her. “We’ll give him a Hero’s burial tomorrow. How’s that?” She sniffled and her shoulders trembled.

The Staff spoke one more time, “So is the Sacrifice complete! I am again the Staff of Erana.” It dropped to the ground, and I stuck it into my pack. Then, I picked up Tanya in my arms and carried her to the Hotel Mordavia. I awoke Yuri and Bella and I managed to smile just a little after seeing how overjoyed they were at having their little girl back.

Nevertheless, this was a very long night I’ve had and I can’t wait to go to sleep.

When it comes to being a Hero, sometimes I regret taking it. Most lives are made for the better… but sometimes you get things like what happened tonight, one life for a life, and it makes you wonder if it was worth it at all.

~Taken from the Journal of Marcus Donnelly of Willowsby.~




Day 83

Sometimes, I look back on what I write, whether it be only a day or years later, and I think to myself, ‘What was I thinking?!’

I truly must have been exhausted last night if I still think being a Hero isn’t worth it. Not after the day I’ve had. It was short, mind you, but really rather nice.

A moment of calm before the storm hit.

I awoke this morning and Yuri immediately told me that Bella and he were in my debt for saving Tanya last night. I can remember that when I brought her home, that Yuri, despite his claim that Mordavian men aren’t supposed to show their emotions, cried freely at seeing his little girl safe and sound. Part of him also wanted to go to the castle himself and rid Mordavia of the Vampire who did this to her, but he knew he shouldn’t.

I don’t blame him! If anything like this ever happened to any of my children, I’d want to do the same! Storm the castle or weep in happiness, I mean. I’m protective like that, sue me.

Yuri told me that they would do their best to make Tanya feel loved in their home again. Bella is, of course, overjoyed to have her little girl back and now, thanks to her, wishes to teach the women to read and write like Katrina taught Tanya. Good for her! As for Tanya herself, she’s happy to be back with her real family again, even if she does miss Toby a ton. I gave her some flowers to be nice, and she was amazed! Nobody had ever given her flowers before!

Going over to Dmitri’s, he told me that when Tanya was taken, it was like all the laughter and joy had been sucked right out of the town. Now that she was back home, happiness has returned to this little burg. Dmitri, and everyone else, considers me a real Hero!

Let me just say that, the fact that everyone looks up to me now, nobody sneers at me or whispers nasty rumors behind my back, the fact that I was greeted with cheers at the inn even from the farmers who leered at me several days ago…

The fact all these people are cheering me on and think me so brave…

Well, I certainly feel a bit more confident, knowing that all these people got my back.

What did I mean about the calm before the storm though, you ask?

You’ll see. In a day or two, you’ll see.

~Taken from the Journal of Marcus Donnelly of Willowsby.~




*There is no page for days 84 and 85. There is a very good reason as to why…*

Day 86

Well, I can certainly say that THIS was a simply WONDERFUL past couple of days!!

Let me tell you all about it, why don’t I?!

Well, it all started this morning. I got myself another note from Katrina. It said, “Meet me at the castle gate tonight. We have much to talk about.”

‘Good!’ I thought to myself. ‘Finally, I can confront her about all this.’

So, I waited.

Before heading for the castle, I did my rounds in town, and then I went to Erana’s Garden.

I stopped at the entrance and took it all in, breathing the scent of the flowers. I felt a pang as I felt that this might be the last time I would ever visit here and so, I sat down and watched the sunset there one last time.

Even though I knew she couldn’t hear me except in the realm of dreams, I just… started talking to her like she was right there. “Well, Erana, it looks like this is it. I’m visiting you here for the last time, just to say goodbye. Why, you ask? Because… something inside me tells me that my journey here is soon at an end. Just a gut feeling, you know? I’m going to confront Katrina on what she is, and what she plans to do, and I plan to set you free, no matter what.” I smiled. “Maybe breaking the Dark One’s hold on you will give you your body back. Maybe I can finally hold you in my arms for real after all this is over. Hey, I can dream, sue me! After all, if the Dark One is driven back to it’s home dimension, then the Dark Magic around here should all go away- bet Baba Yaga’s gonna hate that! –and everything should turn back to normal. No more Draugr rising from the grave, no more Wraiths at night, no more Necrotaurs. Dmitri told me that the only danger here at first was the occasional Wyvern, and… if I save you, then everything should be okay, right? For both of us.”

And it just continued on like that for several hours, me basically talking to something that wasn’t there. I was reminded of my conversation with Julanar back in Shapeir. I’m doing the same thing, in a way. No, I’m not crazy! I think. Talking to myself isn’t normally a sign of madness, so I hear. When I start answering myself however, THEN I’ll seek professional help.

It seemed all too soon that the sunset happened. As I rose and left the Garden I said, “Don’t worry, Erana. You’ll be home soon, I promise!”

The orange tint of the land soon gave way to a deep grayish blue as night fell. The stars came out, shining faintly above me and I felt the chill of the night come over me. Yet, I wasn’t afraid. I told myself that I’d be strong for Erana’s sake, for all of Mordavia’s sake, and that I’d face danger with courage.

Which, of COURSE, all that was all washed away when I found myself faced with the feeling of peril! I stopped dead in my tracks and my heart raced as I came across a very, VERY familiar face…

Ad Avis!

He still looked relatively the same from when I last saw him, but, he was paler. His hands gnarled like claws, teeth sharpened into fangs jutted from his mouth, and he looked at me… hungrily.

That was the worst part. His eyes.

They gleamed and swirled in an all too familiar way, though now they, like Tanya’s were, golden and glowed menacingly. I closed my own and turned away; avoiding looking into them as much as I could; even if I was always told as a child, “Look at me when I’m talking to you!” I think this would be an exception to that courtesy. “How nice of you to come,” he said smoothly, “I’m afraid I accidentally signed the wrong name to your note.” He smiled toothily and crooked his finger at me, “It’s been ages since we last met. Come here and let me look at you…”

I shook my head and just tried to give him a friendly smile. “G-Good evening, Ad Avis! How are you this fine Moradavian night, hm?”

He scowled at me and barked, “I HATE cheerful people! I eliminated them in Rasier and shall do the same here!”

I crossed my arms. “My, my, what a tyrant you were. I suppose it wouldn’t do much if I apologized about throwing you off that tower to your presumed ‘death’ by fire?”

He bared his fangs and snarled at me, making me jump briefly. “You destroyed my plans of world domination and ended my life, turning me into a mere Vampire Slave for Katrina. I will have my vengeance on you both!”

“So I have heard from the other night. I eavesdropped on you arguing with Katrina, and thusly I know exactly what you both are. But know this, I killed you once and I’ll just have to kill you again!”

He laughed briefly. “Good luck, monkey boy! You see, I’m already dead. Your attacks won’t even scratch me. Besides…” he looked down at the sword at my hip, “I know that sword you carry has no power. And it’s tormented you, hasn’t it? You feel weakened and worthless without your precious Paladin Sword at your side, don’t you?”

“I get by without it, thank you.”

“But I bet you’d love to destroy me with it, wouldn’t you? Feel that sense of Justice flow through you. Of course you would!” He smiled, wider. “Now, Hero, shall we play a game? Perhaps a little bit of Fox and Hound?”

He then raised his arms and I heard a chilling howl! I tensed as I saw shadows come from the darkness of the trees and heard snarling… “I have summoned the Hounds of Death. Now we’ll see if you’ve kept up with your running lessons!”

Then, like a pair of battering rams, two hungry, slavering Necrotaurs came barreling after me!

I tried to run, but I was soon caught. I felt sharp teeth dig into my ankles, and claws pressing down on my back as I fell. Then I knew nothing more.

I awoke, hours later, in Castle Borgov. Specifically, the dungeon. Wonderful! Ad Avis stood by the stairs near me, and I saw that not only was I chained up, but there also was a stake and hammer nearby. And just out of my reach, too!

Ad Avis told me I was a fool to try and escape from him. He told me he planned to make me pay for his death, after all, it made him be in service to Katrina just when he finally was able to escape. “Wait,” I interrupted, “if you hate your Master, Katrina, so damn much… then why were your final words ‘Dark Master, help me!’ when you fell?”

He didn’t answer my question. According to him, Katrina is actually the one who brought me here! The Teleportation spell was SUPPOSED to bring me to the castle, but it unfortunately backfired because of the Dark One’s Magic. Apparently, Katrina wishes to make me her Thrall as well, but Ad Avis is against that. I don’t blame him! I’d rather not be any closer to those teeth than I have to be, thank you! He and Katrina mean to bring about eternal darkness across the land, raising an army of Undead!

The sun was soon to rise, and we both rested. My enemy, willingly. Myself, forced into sleep by a spell.

So, the next morning came…

I awoke, horror coming over me. I thought at first, while my mind was still foggy with sleep that I was trapped in a nightmare. I wasn’t.

I looked around the dungeon, and I shuddered at the things I felt here. Echoes of pain and misery, the executioner’s axe still caked in dried blood. Chained helplessly to the walls, were skeletons who’d obviously been stuck in the same situation I was in. The saw and knives on the wall glinted, still sharp, and I can only imagine what they’d been used for. A rack hung from the ceiling, and there was a well-used mace on the wall covered in rust, just as everything else was.

Except one thing.

Behind me laid something, not exactly out of place, but still sticking out like a sore thumb because it looked so new. An iron maiden. Filled to the brim with sharp iron spikes, the sounds of puncturing organs and tearing skin that came to my mind was almost enough to make me lose my lunch.

Then I noticed my chains were rather, shall we say, flimsy. Rusted. It was like Ad Avis did it on purpose… I broke them relatively easy and they broke apart with a snap. I picked up the hammer and stake and surveyed them. The hammer was made of iron, and was quite heavy. It was no Mjolnir, mind you, but it looked like it could do some decent damage. As for the stake, it was made of fine, hardy oak wood and sharpened at the end. There was only way to use one of these.

I frowned as I looked at it, a terrible thought coming to my mind, but then I heard a commotion by the door. The Goons I mentioned earlier were talking about me, wondering why Ad Avis sent me down here when Katrina didn’t give him any orders to. He’s trying to pull a fast one on her, it seems. They also wondered why he left the stake and hammer down there where I could easily fight back against him. Not that I think Ad Avis would let me do so, of course. The guards did mention that there was a secret passage out of here, though. I turned and looked curious at the iron maiden.

It certainly would make sense, wouldn’t it? It’s clearly new as I said, no rust on it at all. I took a deep breath, tried to keep my hands from trembling and opened the doors of the torture device. Instead of seeing a solid back to the iron maiden, I saw a door. Naturally curious, I opened it and stepped through...

…Into a bedroom. Specifically, a lady’s bedroom. Very finely furnished with torches giving off ample, not to mention dramatic, lighting. A great sweep of danger came over me. I wasn’t supposed to be here, and there was risk to both my body and soul. A curving staircase, flanked by statues of strange beasts at the bottom, led me to where a bed was supposed to be, with curtains around it. Instead, there was a coffin, the cover made of glass.

Inside, slept Katrina.

So THIS was why I’d been purposely left the stake and hammer. It was all too clear what I was supposed to do. Ad Avis was bound to Katrina, and according to Magda, a Vampire Thrall couldn’t directly kill their Master. He couldn’t take her down himself, so he’d used me instead.

I opened the coffin and it creaked. I winced, but she didn’t wake up from the noise. I grasped the stake firmly in one hand, the hammer in the other, and pressed it to where her heart would be.

Then I stopped. ‘No!’ my head screamed to me, ‘you shouldn’t do this! Think back to Rasier, didn’t you beat yourself down because you were so enthralled by Ad Avis that you couldn’t resist no matter how much you wanted to? He wanted to keep you in his control and play you for a fool… and seeks to do so again. He wants revenge on you both, and you know that! Why are you giving in again when it’s so obvious about what he wants to do to you? Think, you big, stupid lug!’ Listening to my head seemed like a good idea. I reached over and shook her shoulder gently. “Psst! Katrina! Wake up!” I whispered, “I need to talk to you!”

Suddenly, as she opened her eyes and sat up, I found myself unable to move. “You! What are you… how DARE you!? Try to kill me, did you?!” she shouted at me. She jumped up from her coffin, grabbed my wrist with enough strength in her grip to make me want to scream in pain, and dragged me forcefully up the stairs to the dungeon again!

She threw me down onto the stone platform I was on before, and I found chains clasped around my wrists, and I cringed as I was hung from the ceiling by them. With a snap of her fingers and a scowl on her face, Katrina changed her dress to a tight, form fitting piece made of black leather. A bullwhip appeared in her hand, and she made it -CRACK!- too close for comfort to me! I shied away as she yelled, “How dare you!! You break into my home, steal away my child, kill my servant Toby, and then return to kill me! Some Hero you are! And after all I did to befriend you!”

I tried my best to scowl back as she continued, “I should leave you here to rot! Let the rats gnaw on your bones while you hang there! Give me one reason, one excuse why I shouldn’t just let you die!”

I took a deep breath. “Katrina. I wasn’t intentionally searching for you, I was trying to escape the dungeon. Ad Avis set me up to kill you, he’s the one behind all this, not me. He caught me and brought me here, locking me up against your wishes or foreknowledge, having tricked me into thinking you’d left me another note to meet by the castle gates.”

“Ad Avis? Yes, that does sound like something he’d do. When he was younger, he sought the Dark Master to gain power. He found me instead. He wasn’t too happy to find out that the Dark Master was a woman. We dueled and I won, taking him as my slave as a Vampire. He’s always hated me, and using you to get back at me is very much his style,” she cracked her whip again and her voice sharpened once more, “But it was not him who took Tanya away from me!!”

She was silent for a moment, then she smiled and flashed her teeth. My eyes widened and I stiffened. “I have decided I have a use for you… alive. If you help me, you may still manage to leave Mordavia without my Mark on you.”

It was just then that I remembered what Piotyr said about the Wraith far South of the Graveyard. It contained something that could bring forth the Darkness, but also drive it away forever. “What is it you need?”

“There are five Rituals of the Dark One here in Mordavia, seven in total. I have the Mouth Ritual with me, while the other is somewhere in the caves. You must seek them out and return here.”

With a heavy sigh, I nodded in agreement. “It shall be done,” I said.

She nodded. “Good. But, considering I still do not trust you…” her eyes suddenly flashed, and with both hands she made me look deeply into them as she spoke in a slow, lilting commanding tone as she cast her spell on me and my eyes glazed over.

“By my Will… I Geas thee!

Thou shalt seek the Heart Ritual of the Dark One.

Thou shalt seek the Blood Ritual of the Dark One.

Thou shalt seek the Breath Ritual of the Dark One.

Thou shalt seek the Bone Ritual of the Dark One.

Thou shalt seek the Sense Ritual of the Dark One.

Return with these Rituals ere three nights pass, lest ye suffer!

Thus is your Geas!”

Next thing I knew, as my head cleared, I was outside the castle again by the gate. It’s nighttime, late, so I headed back to the inn to get a little sleep…

Something drew me to the Monastery of the Dark One this morning, though I don’t know what exactly. Perhaps it was Dmitri’s Domovoi’s words telling me about “feed the guard or destroy it” and that there was apparently more to the Monastery than just that first floor. Perhaps it was intuition. Perhaps the warnings of “DON’T GO IN THERE!” still lingered in my mind enough, that, aside from the Hexapod guard above the door, the place didn’t seem all that dangerous on the inside.

However, as I slipped back into the “Bad Place” once more, getting past the Hexapod guard by feeding him some tasty garlic from my pants, I soon found out why people considered it so heinous.

The first thing I noticed as I entered the basement was the chill. Not like the chill of Autumn or Winter’s blade, but… deeper. More… slimy and unsettling, if that makes any sense. I sensed something immediately just WRONG with this place as it chilled me to the bone and make the hair on my neck stand on end!

The second thing I noticed was the smell. This place had been abandoned for a very, very long time. The scent of mold and dust, mixed with the acrid smoke of the torches, the faint tinge of dripping alcohol from the nearby cask of wine by the stairs -a familiar smell to me since mother helps run the Silver Griffin Inn with my Uncle Jasper- and all of it mingled with the sickeningly sweet odor of rotting flesh and rusted stench of dried blood just to cap things off and make me wrinkle my nose in disgust.

The third thing I noticed was the look of the basement itself. The walls, like the building itself, were stone, and I tried not to look at the carved busts of fiendish fanged monsters in some corners as I felt that if I did, that they’d look back at me and attempt to come to life and bite my nose off. If I looked closely, I could see some sort of liquid glistening on the walls and between the cracks. Blood from sacrifices, no doubt. Either that or someone got really drunk with the wine and splattered it on the walls so much that it stained them permanently. There was a dark alcove near me -empty- and a few barrels –also empty-. There was a weird glowing statue that looked like a cross between a slug or octopus and something else that I didn’t want to go near.

And, in the very back of the room was an altar. There, sat a large opened tome, the binding made of what looked like stretched human skin and muscle. It was titled with red ink… “Necrophilicon.”

Now, my Silmarian is rather rusty admittedly, but I know what that translates to at least, because I learned it around the same time I learned about the name spelled above the book. The title translated to, “Of the love of death.”

But that wasn’t the worst part. The worst part was seeing that name carved into the wall behind the book. The letters carved around the Symbol of the Dark One spelled out…


I knew that name, yet to speak it is to go mad and bring Darkness to the world. To summon it, brings death to all around it. That name, that thing has been here since before even the Gods made our world, living beyond the stars and out of our reach. Hungry, hunting, seeking souls to devour, yet here I see it and know that this is our darkest hour. Will I bring Justice and bring back the light? I don’t know if I can, and that gives me fright. It cannot be controlled, it can only consume. It cannot be fought, for it only will destroy and regenerate, so says the tale. There was one, long ago, who saw the face of Avoozl spring forth from it’s dimension and attempt to enter our world, but it was driven back by the prow of their ship smashing into it. However, it was never truly gone, and the cult that worshipped it still stood and thusly their efforts were in vain, up until Erana drove them away.

In the desk, there was spoken of the Mad Monk called Amon Tillado. The maddened ramblings were barely comprehensible at times, most of them written in a language I didn’t recognize. There were only a few things that I could read, and they were about the Dark One Rituals themselves. One is placed in the Mad Monk’s Tomb, guarded by it’s followers. Another is hidden in the Stone of Squids, and can only be lit by a dead child’s soul. Yet another rests in the hollow of the Hangman’s Tree. Another is in the Monastery itself, and the last is given to someone named Gregor, who is missing and probably dead.

The cask was the answer.

I took a long drink from the wine… and passed out for the second time over the course of two days.

I saw Mount Malign above, a beautiful day shining around me. Yet, still, I felt a sense of dread. Darkness crept across the land, and the sky turned red. With a great sound of exploding and cracking stone, the mountain split in two!

And out from it, came a gigantic… thing made of smoke and shadows! It was so twisted and vile that I couldn’t even describe it if I could, but I heard it. I heard it moan which then heightened to a roar as it rose from the mountain and took it’s first real breath of our home! The Shadows of Darkness cover the land and all goes dark, silent, and cold. Is this what true death is like?

I came to, and stood up, heart pounding in my chest. Not to mention a pounding headache.

The wine continued dripping and staining the floor red. But then, I noticed something interesting forming from the drops.

A piece of paper!

A scroll to be precise. Picking it up, I unrolled it and saw the words Ritual of Blood at the top. I tried reading the inscription below, but couldn’t make it out. I had the feeling that it would become clear once I had done my duty in bringing them back to Katrina.

That was one down. Four to go.

Now, remember how I said the upstairs curtains and carpet looked very… flammable?

This building was dangerous, a blight upon the town and the valley. It’s where it all began, where they all gathered and spoke in whispers about summoning the Dark One. I figured, if what Piotyr said was true and these Rituals can both summon the Dark One and banish it… that I might as well get a headstart at getting rid of the source!

I took out my Magic Torch, twirled it like a baton, and set the Necrophilicon on fire! Glorious, beautiful dazzling fire that spread from the pages and ignited it everything around it! And, when it hit the cask, it spread the fire even further as I rushed up the stairs, spreading it to the upper room which was mostly made of wood, clay, cloth and glass! All of it burned and melted as I ran past it, and I felt pride in myself as I ran outside and watched it be scoured from the inside out!

Igor laughed and asked, “If Igor get big Hero job, can he be pyromaniac too?”

I laughed happily, one could almost say maddeningly as I stared into the flames!

‘Yes!’ I thought to myself, ‘I shall destroy all vestiges of Avoozl if it’s the last thing I do! One by one! And then… I’ll get to the heart of the matter!’

~Taken from the Journal of Marcus Donnelly of Willowsby.~




Day 87

Today was a short day.

Two down, three to go.

I went to the Hangman’s Tree today, but sadly, the Ritual wasn’t there in the knothole.

So I walked over to the hut, and it sat down. It seemed to trust me now.

Stepping out from under the trap again, I felt a little wary. Get in, get the Ritual, get out. That was my goal.

I heard Baba Yaga speak,

“Hut so true,
Glue his shoes!”

I just sighed and crossed my arms. The ogress smiled at me and licked her lips. I just rolled my eyes. “Back so soon, cookie face? I hope for your sake you brought something. There’s always room for Hero, after all,” she said with a laugh.

I frowned but otherwise wasn’t fazed. I just wanted to get this done. I reached into my pocket and tossed her the extra garlic clove I had.

She gave me a toothy grin and seemed happy enough. Garlic goes with everything. Frankly, I’m just glad to get that smell out of my pants. If I never have to eat anything with garlic again, for the rest of my life, I can die a happy man. Mordavia has made me hate it. She asked me what I wanted for this, and I went right to the point. If I could move my legs, I’d probably be pacing the floor as I talked, “I seek a Dark One Ritual. Now, according to the notes of Amon Tillado, one of them, the Breath Ritual, is supposed to be in the Hangman’s Tree hollow. When I looked, it wasn’t there, so I naturally assumed that you had it. Why do I seek them, you wonder? Because I know that, yes, I can summon the Dark One with it, BUT I also know that with a lot of Magic that it also can be sent back.”

She crossed her arms. “You don’t look like a competent Wizard to me.”

“No, I’m not. But I know a lady who is. So, may I please have that paper?”

“You want it, you got it,” she replied. I stuck the parchment into my pack with the other one.

“Thank you. This should be the last time we ever purposely cross paths. You don’t like me, I don’t like you. But, regardless, I thank you for being civil about this and I swear on my Honor to never darken your doorstep again. Have a good day, Baba Yaga.”

The ogress hmphed and teleported me out with a,

“Hero near,
Out of here!”

And that was that.

~Taken from the Journal of Marcus Donnelly of Willowsby.~




Day 88

I decided to wait until nightfall for this one. Well, I actually had to as those were my instructions.

According to Elyssa the Wisps were the souls of children. The Ritual of Sense was apparently hidden in the Squid Stone I saw by where my Bonsai buddy was and where I first came from the Dark One’s Cave.

Bonsai buddy…? Damn you, Salim!

Well, all children like candy, ja? They were instantly attracted to it and managed to… somehow eat it even though they were just coruscating balls of light. Did they absorb it somehow? I don’t really know.

Scooping them up into a flask, I watched them glint and float about, trying to break the glass as they tapped it. “Shhh… calm down, little ones,” I said softly, “I know, I know, you don’t like being in there, but I need your help. Once I am done, as this shouldn’t take long at all, I’ll let go free, alright?” They didn’t answer me. I don’t think they could hear me.

I brought them to the Squid Stone and it lit up. When the light faded, I saw the Symbols all in a column, and there was an indentation in the middle of them all. The Dark One Sign. I knew what I needing to do, but I was still a little curious about something. I touched the symbol, and immediately wished I hadn’t. It felt sticky and slimy and squishy and alive and ugh! And it actually reminded me of the goo by the Cave and it just made feel dirty. Remind me never to do that again!

Honestly, the toughest part of this day was actually doing what I was supposed to do. There were letters around the Dark One Sign that appeared when I stuck it in there, and I was supposed to spell “AVOOZL” and as I turned the Dark One Sign like a dial, the letters lit up in red and I pressed them to spell it. The problem? Well, sometimes the dial would get stuck on the wrong letter, and for some strange reason whenever it DID land on the letter that I needed, it seemed to not register it. I kept pressing it, yet I never heard a sound giving me an indication that it was registered like a click or ding. So really, after several times pressing the letters, it FINALLY opened.

No idea what exactly I was doing right or wrong there, but, whatever works I guess.

I kept my promise and set the Wisps free into the Swamp again. They happily flew out of the flask as I uncorked it and I smiled a little at the gesture. I wasn’t heartless, you know. Couldn’t just leave them in there to fade away with the dawn, you know. That just wouldn’t be noble.

Three down, two to go.

And the next two are arguably much more exciting, in my opinion.

~Taken from the Journal of Marcus Donnelly of Willowsby.~




*this entry looks rather damp, but is thankfully still legible*

Day 89

Well, I certainly had a FUN day today!

If you consider trudging through Swamp water and being soaked to your knees fun.

If you consider trudging through Swamp water and being soaked to your knees, AND feeling anxious as you walked as you knew what was down there- the remnants of the battle of Avoozl I’m assuming –fun.

If you consider trudging through Swamp water and being soaked to your knees, AND feeling anxious as you walked as you knew what was down there- the remnants of the battle of Avoozl I’m assuming –, AND feeling generally sickened by everything around you from the smell of rotted flesh, to the sight of the miasma and mist of the gloomy dank mire fun.

If you consider trudging through Swamp water and being soaked to your knees, AND feeling anxious as you walked as you knew what was down there- the remnants of the battle of Avoozl I’m assuming –, AND feeling generally sickened by everything around you from the smell of rotted flesh, to the sight of the miasma and mist of the gloomy dank mire, AND having Grasping Arms end up surrounding you on all sides, clawing and pulling at your legs and eventually grabbing your arms and the rest of your body when you try to escape their grasp and draggingyouunderthemuckmak ingyouscreamonlyyoucan’tbe causeyou’redrowningandOHGO DSMAKEITSTOP!!! fun.

If you consider trudging through Swamp water and being soaked to your knees, AND feeling anxious as you walked as you knew what was down there- the remnants of the battle of Avoozl I’m assuming –, AND feeling generally sickened by everything around you from the smell of rotted flesh, to the sight of the miasma and mist of the gloomy dank mire, AND having Grasping Arms end up surrounding you on all sides, clawing and pulling at your legs and eventually grabbing your arms and the rest of your body when you try to escape their grasp and draggingyouunderthemuckmak ingyouscreamonlyyoucan’tbe causeyou’redrowningandOHGO DSMAKEITSTOP!!! AND eventually finding the Tomb of the Mad Monk being, as Amon Tillado’s notes said, guarded by his followers known as the Chernovy Wizards that immediately wanted to kill me as soon as they saw me fun.

If you consider trudging through Swamp water and being soaked to your knees, AND feeling anxious as you walked as you knew what was down there- the remnants of the battle of Avoozl I’m assuming –, AND feeling generally sickened by everything around you from the smell of rotted flesh, to the sight of the miasma and mist of the gloomy dank mire, AND having Grasping Arms end up surrounding you on all sides, clawing and pulling at your legs and eventually grabbing your arms and the rest of your body when you try to escape their grasp and draggingyouunderthemuckmak ingyouscreamonlyyoucan’tbe causeyou’redrowningandOHGO DSMAKEITSTOP!!!, AND eventually finding the Tomb of the Mad Monk being, as Amon Tillado’s notes said, guarded by his followers known as the Chernovy Wizards that immediately wanted to kill me as soon as they saw me, AND the fact that one actually DID end up killing me and made me sink into the Swamp and that plus the Grasping Arms is why this page is wet fun.

Fun. Fun fun fun all around.

The Tomb itself however was just another dial thing and thankfully, a lot less frustrating than yesterday and the Bone Ritual is now mine at last. I also learned that if I just kept moving my feet then the Grasping Arms couldn’t grab me nearly as easily, as I originally was thinking that if I just timed my steps that I’d be fine as I thought they only came up in certain areas. They don’t. I was wrong.

Nevertheless, the Ritual is now mine and I never have to go down there ever again. THANK FRIGG! Excuse me, Wife of Odin and great Goddess of Prophecy and Wisdom, but I’d rather NOT visit your home of Fensalir anytime soon!

Four down, one more to go.

~Taken from the Journal of Marcus Donnelly of Willowsby.~




*teardrops and a little blood stain this page*

Day 90

Today was a great day! Er, night.

I awoke this morning, feeling daring. I felt confident! Felt like I could do anything!

It was time. Piotyr’s request would be fulfilled tonight!

So, I now have four Rituals in hand. There’s only one left. The Heart Ritual.

“Defeat the Wraith, and claim thy destiny,” so spoke Piotyr.

I shall, I promise!

As I passed the monument when the Staff once was, I made it a point, as I tended to do, to touch the stone. “Soon, my dear, soon.” I said quietly. A familiar feeling of warmth and protection flowed over me and I smiled as I took in the scent of the flowers I’d so grown to love as much as I did the lady who planted them. My time of wandering through adventures here was coming to a brisk close, I felt. Tonight, I would get the final Ritual I needed and, come dawn, would leave this town for the final time.

I knew where I had to go, but I knew I needed to wait. The Wraiths don’t appear until nightfall, so I sat down by the river outside town to wait until the sun set.

I wonder how mother is doing? Does she worry for me? Does she think me dead? Oh, how I wished I could write her a letter, telling her I’m alright, but I cannot as there’s no way to send anything as I’m cut off from everything thanks to that damn Swamp.

What about Finn? Did he ever take my advice? Become more powerful in his skill of Magic and gain bravery? What has he found on the subject of immortality that I so sought back in Shapeir? What about Rico? Did he ever meet Elsa? Did he ever cross that “fine line” or was he smart enough to walk steadily on it?

What about me? What am I to do after this adventure is over? I can’t retire, I’m too young, but at the same time, I can’t exactly rest easy, can I? I can’t just ignore the call for help whenever I feel that imbalance in the Essential Rightness of the Universe, that’s just not what a Paladin does. They go out, save people and places, and then they go on their merry ways. Paladins are wanderers, we are knight errants, we are the ones who stand up for Justice when others are afraid to do so. We are Heroes through and through, and it said that the Gods bless us. I wonder how the first Paladin came to be? Who first who was divinely blessed to carry that sky blue fire upon their weapon? Were they a man or woman? Were they even human? How long have we Paladins been around? What blessings did the Gods give them? How did they fall? In battle, I hope. Though, that could just be me and my culture, being that of warriors who live in Honor always. If I were born into a culture that wasn’t like that, I’d of course, think differently. If I had been raised in a world where warriors weren’t so revered, then I’d be happy in the end, to die peacefully in my bed at an old age, with the one I love by my side. But I do not, so I shall seek battles until I can fight no more. Because to die in battle, is to die with Honor.

The sun soon set, and I rose and walked to my goal.

As soon as I entered the clearing, I felt that sudden but familiar chill in the air yet I wasn’t afraid. I casted the Aura spell for that last time I ever would, drew my sword and charged with a mighty yell at the Wraith coming out of it’s mound!

As my sword swung and clashed with the spirit, I smiled as I sensed something! Something powerful was in this mound, more than just the Heart Ritual. Something… familiar. Something I desired almost as much as my love for Erana.

The Master Wraith. Hah!

Adrenaline ran through me and I felt like I could take on Thor himself with one hand behind my back! I swung again and again and AGAIN! The Wraith blasted me with ice, sending me back a few steps, but I just rushed him, bounding high and landing in a crouch as I attacked.

An ice spell struck me square in the chest, and sent me rolling backwards and I stumbled. I was struck with two more before I managed to get up again, one blasting me in the gut and another right at my face! Still, as I stumbled again and got back up, I didn’t falter!

In spite of the pain I felt, I laughed. I slid and dodged another ice attack, rolling until I was front and center again at my enemy. I laughed, I smiled, I cut, slashed, stabbed, bashed him with my shield as I’d been taught, dodging and leaping over and under spells of Frostbite.

“I know what you hide, Wraith!” I exclaimed with a maniacal grin, blood partially obscuring my vision though I cared not, “And it shall be MINE!!!”

The Master Wraith wailed and screeched in my face, trying to frighten me and shake my resolve, so I might perhaps back off. But I wasn’t afraid anymore! I did not fear Nott, nor her creatures of terror and malice! Instead, I laughed and gave a raucous battle cry of my own in reply and I jumped into the air like the finest of hares and came down, my blade as sharp and honed as a hawk’s talons upon the so-called Master Wraith for that final blow! The Wraith gave one last long howl of fury and agony, then, it vanished into nothingness.

The air became warm again, slowly, like always whenever I defeated a Wraith. I dropped to my knees as my adrenaline faded, and caught my breath steadily. Placing my hand on my chest, I felt my heart beating rapidly and tried my best to calm down as I crawled toward the barrow.

I found the Ritual of course, as Piotyr said it would be there. I also found 150 Crowns, not that I really needed any money at the moment, but it was nice to have stable finances regardless.

But I couldn’t help but smile wide and gave out a cry of happiness at what I found next…

I’d been correct in thinking that I sensed something powerful in the barrow.

In that very moment, nothing else mattered except what I held in my hands. It was something familiar and beloved to me, that I have always treasured since finding it that night.

I found a Paladin Sword!

The sword I’d been using for this entire adventure, I threw away into the bushes, never to be used again. Now, I had something far greater to wield! I grasped it firmly, and reached out with my Will.

The blade instantly burst into brilliant bright sapphire flames.

Tears came to my eyes and I laughed happily and held the sword close to my chest. Finally, FINALLY I’d be able to have a fighting chance against the Darkness of the one called Avoozl! Shadows and darkness are merely the absence of light. Shine a light bright enough, and they will go away.

As I walked back to town, my flame flaring up again as I battled a Chernovy Wizard in the darkness, I thought about what to name my new weapon.

Mordavia is a land of darkness and gloom. Coming here might have been the best thing that might have happened to this valley for decades. We Paladins seek to drive out the darkness, the flames on our weapons blaze like the stars and bring forth light to every corner of Gloriana.


My sword, Piotyr’s Sword, shall be named Lightstar.

After all, that’s what we stand for. Though our numbers are few, our souls burn as bright as the stars and we, no matter how dark it gets, will always shine bright.

In brightest day, in blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight.
Let those who worship evil’s might,
Beware the power, of a Paladin’s light!

I’ve always wanted to say that!

Piotyr told me, as I neared the Staff, that I served two Dark Masters. Their goal being greater Darkness. But by walking this Dark path, I will bring light. He told me to free Erana, and release the Darkness, so that I might banish it forever.

I nodded in understanding. “It shall be done, comrade Piotyr, I swear by my Honor.” He nodded and smiled, seeming to trust me enough now that I carried his sword at my side and he vanished.


It shall be done tomorrow.

~Taken from the Journal of Marcus Donnelly of Willowsby.~




*teardrops and blood stain this entry as well*

Day 91

It’s over. It’s finally over.

So why does my heart ache so badly?

I should be glad, I should be celebrating! It has been done. Avoozl, it’s name I now can say without fear of going mad hopefully, is gone from our fair Gloriana forever.

But I’m not.

Let me explain and go back… it’ll calm me down perhaps and take my mind off the matter, I hope.

I did my rounds for the final time, and said goodbye to everyone I’d met in town- Yuri, Bella, Dmitri, Olga, Dr. Cranium, Igor… the farmers I said farewell last night and Tanya as well. I asked Dmitri if we could talk in his office, alone. He obliged.

I handed him Piotyr’s Sword, called Lightstar. This was his grandfather’s sword, he told me. When he took it, he had a small smile on his face and I swear to you, though he’ll never admit it to anyone, that he had tears in his eyes.

See, as I’d heard whispered about the town from Igor and Olga, Piotyr had fallen for Dmitri’s grandmother but had never married her AND had suddenly abandoned her and never came back. She had a son, Dmitri’s father, and was shunned by the town and their family was disgraced. Connecting the dots mentally, I knew that Piotyr had gone to search for the remaining Rituals and had died in the attempt to destroy the Heart Ritual judging from the sword being there and his ghost being nearby. Dmitri told me that he used to dream about his grandfather holding Lightstar aloft, the blade ablaze in blue, and his grandmother always wanted him to find it, but he never did until now.

His grandmother sometimes slept by the Staff in town, and everyone took her for crazy when she said she met Piotyr there. He hadn’t abandoned her like a coward would, but had died in Honor as a Hero. Dmitri told me to keep Lightstar, as I have earned it. He also gave me the Piotyr’s Shield that hung on the wall, pledged to his love before he left her.

I thanked him graciously, but he told me that it should be him to thank me. He never used to believe in Heroes or Paladins until I came along, and now sees that he was wrong to judge me so harshly when I first came here. I accepted his apology and then… he hugged me. Like, a big tight bear hug. I smiled happily for what was one of the last times today. He told me that, if I ever came back to visit, that I would always be welcome in Mordavia.

I said my final goodbye to my friend, then took one last look at the town I’d grown rather fond of, before heading for the castle and waiting for sunset. Before leaving, I placed a hand on Erana’s monument one last time. “Today’s the day, my love. You’re going home at last. Don’t worry, I’m coming!” I whispered.

Sunset couldn’t come soon enough. I walked to the castle gate and, for once, they were opened for visitors. Or rather, one visitor. I entered the great hall of Castle Borgov, and Katrina sat on the floor, stroking her Necrotaur named Cuddles. Unlike me, Cuddles wouldn’t do anything to hurt her! I breathed deep and handed her the Rituals as promised, Teleporting herself, Ad Avis and I to the Dark One Cave. To the Mouth of Darkness, she recited,

“Yah, Avoozl!

Hear me, Great Dark One.

Open thy mouth so that we may enter.

Open thy mouth that will swallow us all!

Open thy mouth of Darkness!

Yah, Avoozl!”

There was a great lurch and the Mouth opened wide as if in mid yawn. Katrina told me that was all she could do, and I had to do the rest of the Rituals myself. Ad Avis told me that they’d be watching me, so I shouldn’t get any ideas about betraying them. Quickly, I rushed into the Mouth and heard the sound of them Teleporting inside.

I found myself back in the chasm I had seen so long ago. It didn’t look all that much different, except there was a… thing, resting on the bottom floor with an old leather bound book near it. ’That must be the final Ritual!’ I thought to myself.

My eyes widened as I found myself recognizing the creature from my nightmare in Shapeir! So long ago now… It was a gigantic slug-like creature with tentacles, it’s flesh bloated and rippling all over as if were melting into the floor. It’s eyes looked at me alert and ready as I climbed down to meet it. Yet the most off putting thing about this grotesque monstrosity was that there was something… human about it.

The ensuing battle against the so-called Pit Horror was… stressful to say the least. He hit hard, and I’d rather not describe how as I feel queasy just thinking about it again. Let’s just say he blasted me with fluid repeatedly, leave it at that.

Looking at the book, I was horrified to learn that THIS was the last Borgov! After Amon Tillado’s death, he took over for the Monks as their High Priest, fleeing here during the battle against Erana, Avoozl reshaping him into this form as time passed. The final Ritual, Essence, was in here as well. I made sure to memorize it before the book crumbled away in my hands. Before I left the chamber, I looked at the corpse of the last Borgov and said, “Farewell, Barney. May you finally find peace in death.”

I reached the central chamber once more and notice that one of the sphincters was… twitching, to say the least. The other four weren’t moving. Obviously, since it was the only one reacting, that was the one I went into first.

I found myself in the room full of bones I was Teleported into back during the beginning of my adventure here. And so I had come full circle at last.

At the dreaded altar to the Dark One, I saw lines in the sand that I couldn’t quite make out, so I took out the Sign to maybe help it be clearer. They were and the Sign sunk into the altar head, it’s purpose fulfilled at long last. I lit the torches and recited the Bone Ritual thusly on the scroll,

“Yah, Avoozl, Dark One, come!

I stand among your massive bones.

Let your skeleton be once more filled your presence!

Yah, Avoozl!

Take shape once more in this place that is your home.

Stand again among us!

Yah, Avoozl, Dark One, come!”

As I spoke the Ritual, it crumbled to dust. The rocks and “bones” creaked and groaned as if they carried a heavy weight, and began to sway and move again like a skeleton should. Including the “rib cage” where the altar was! Ducking just in time, I punched the fragile ribs to escape and rushed out of the room to relative safety.

The next room was a bright red, as if lit by lava. Pits led to a very long drop and only the stone ledges were keeping me alive. Ahead, I saw the altar looking for all the world like the great stone head of some sort of bug. A dried pool was nearby, looking to be filled with something. There was a bowl, covered in viscous bloodstains underneath the altar. Unfurling the scroll when I got to the altar, I recited as I pricked my finger on purpose,

“Yah, Avoozl, Bringer of Blood!

I bring fresh blood to fill your veins.

Yah, Avoozl!

Let this this chamber be filled with your fiery blood once more.

Yah, Avoozl, Bringer of Blood!”

The parchment dropped from my hands and dissolved into the acidic “blood” that now flowed from every orifice, filling the pool below as it hissed and burbled all around me. I considered going back the way I came, but when I said the stuff was acidic, I meant it dammit! Feeling yourself just… dissolve isn’t the most pleasant thing, believe me. I managed to escape by plugging the flow briefly and got out safely.

The next room was made of stone bubbles and tinted a dark blue. The altar was some sort of tentacle stone… thing. Another valve like the one I entered was at the back of the room, and was closed tightly.

I approached the altar and spoke the Ritual,

“Yah, Avoozl of the Breath of Night!

I shall come to draw forth your breath in the song of shadows.

On the most right horn shall I begin thy song; the Shadows of Darkness gather.

Yah, Avoozl!

Then I shall play on the leftmost of three—the wind shall come forth from the Shadows.

I shall bring breath again onto thy center; the wind of Darkness blows all before it!

Yah, Avoozl of the Breath of Night!

I shall sound the final note on high.

The Shadows of Darkness will rise again!”

I wrinkled my nose in revulsion as I realized I’d actually have to put my mouth on these things, like I was playing a musical instrument or… ugh… I’d rather not think of the other thing that comes to mind. Unfortunately, my first attempt didn’t go well, and I got sucked into the tube on the right and compressed into paste! How appetizing!

Getting blown around the room and thrown into the walls by the deep breaths that Avoozl was taking when I actually do it right wasn’t too pleasant either.

The fourth room was… how do I even describe this? How does one describe… being totally senseless? Is this what Oblivion is like? I just felt, saw, heard… nothing. I mean, eventually, I got my senses back, including my sight. But… it was so weird…

Getting my sight back at last, revealed that this was the room of the Senses. I saw a nose, an ear canal, an eye and near the entrance, some spiky things that I assumed were nerves.

“Yah, Avoozl, Dark call onto Darkness!

Reach out thy tentacles to feel life again!

Let the scents of this world permeate thy smell.

Yah, Avoozl!

The sounds of our world are loud in thine ears to do what thou Will.

Let the light and shadow of this world enter thy sight.

Let thine own shadow of darkness cover the world without the need of light.

Yah, Avoozl, Dark calls onto Darkness!”

As the paper crumbled in my hands, I heard the sound of sparks behind me, smelling ozone in the air and whirled around to see the spiky nerves all were crackling with lightning! And it HURT! Yet, it was helpful too since it pushed me forward towards the exit. Huh.

There was only one room left, and that lay above the altar in the central chamber. That was my final destination, it seemed. I placed a hand on the altar briefly, and I gave a deep shiver. ‘What awaits me up there?’ I wondered, looking up. I unrolled the last scroll, the one that gave me such triumph, and cleared my throat.

“Yah, Avoozl, Master of Darkness!

Your servant stands now before your Heart of Darkness.

Let your Heart pulsate again with power and life.”

I felt a throbbing lurch in my chest and grunted in pain! Still, I had to continue.

“Yah, Avoozl!

Let the Heart of Darkness force the black blood through your veins.”

I tensed as I saw the Heart Altar begin to pulse with energy, and faintly heard thumping.

“Yah, Avoozl, Master of Darkness!”

The Ritual turned to dust in my hands. A rumble sounded above me and I craned my neck to see that the room above had opened at last.

I took a deep breath and exhaled. This was it! It was time to free her, my Erana. Swallowing my anxiety, I took out my Hook and Grapnel and clambered my way to the top.

This is where it all began to get bad.

I saw a bunch of nodes, strong enough to support my weight, and crawled up to the middle one. Near me, sat a beautiful crystal that glowed faintly. I sensed something near me, something pure, and briefly smiled. On both sides, stood Ad Avis to my right and Katrina to my left. Katrina nodded and smiled. “Very good,” she said, “You have succeeded where many have failed. Begin the final Ritual. Soon the Darkness will return to this land, and I will never lie helpless in my coffin again. Summon Avoozl, and free the Shadows of Darkness!” she ordered me.

Ad Avis cut in, “Enough talk. Let’s get this over with.” For once, I found myself agreed with him and nodded. I wanted out of here!

Katrina sniffed and pointed at me. “I do believe you are jealous. Is that because this Hero stopped you from summoning Iblis so long ago? You resent the fact that I triumph, while you failed, don’t you?”

Ad Avis only grinned as he replied. “I only wish to begin your moment of triumph, my dear Dark Master.” Katrina seemed satisfied with that answer and commanded me to begin the final Ritual of Essence.

I breathed deep and began to recite the final Ritual, raising my arms akin to a priest’s in worship…

“Yah, Avoozl! We summon thee!”

I shivered and felt like I was slowly being drained of life as if Avoozl wished to suck me into the Darkness alongside Erana. I squeezed my eyes shut, winced, and continued on…

“Oh, Great Dark One! Enter the world of light!”

I gritted my teeth and bit my tongue as not to cry out in agony as it felt as if my feet were slowly being dissolved into the floor as if I’d touched the Blood of Avoozl! I found myself able to continue somehow…

“Oh, Shadows of Darkness! Enter the world of the living!”

My arms and legs and everything feel frozen as if I were being quickly turned to stone or ice! Yet, I found I couldn’t stop speaking even though I desperately wished to…

“Oh, Master of the Forever Night, return to your own body and live again!”

I cringed and actually DID scream in agony this time as my head pounded like someone had smashed it repeatedly with a hammer! I saw spots behind my eyes, and I found it hard to concentrate as my words swirled around the room and I felt rumbling as Avoozl began to awaken. I felt so weakened that my knees nearly gave out on me at last. I managed to whisper the final words of the Ritual…

“Y-Yah, yah Avoozl…! W-We… s-summon thee!” I croaked, as I fell on my hands and knees, coughing and gasping for air. My heart hammered in my chest, I sweated, and my eyes flicked briefly to the crystal. ‘Come on, Erana… please… don’t fail me now! Hurry!’ I thought.

Katrina laughed and cheered triumphantly as the rumbling and shaking increased. “Yes! Yes! The spell is completed, and Avoozl awakens! Darkness will fill the land, and we will never fear the sunshine again!”

My eyes widened as a Flame Dart from Ad Avis headed towards me! I was too weakened by the strain of the reading the Ritual to dodge, and it blasted me backwards! I grabbed the tendril of the node I’d been standing on before at the last moment, just barely keeping myself from falling and breaking my neck. I let out a scream of fright as I looked down at the drop below me and my legs struggled to get a good grip and flailed in midair. “No!! How dare you?!” I heard Katrina shout in protest. In her anger, I saw her blast a spell at him. But, although he recoiled in pain, he looked at her not with fear, but joy.

“Ah, you have just shattered the bonds which bound me!” he said with a sly smile, “Now we shall see who is the true Dark Master!”

They exchanged blows and while Ad Avis was powerful with his spell of Flame Dart, Katrina was by far the better spellcaster, who barely flinched at his blows. “I am still a far greater Master of Magic than you. I am a far better Vampire than you. Do you really think your spells can harm me? Guess again.”

For just a moment, I saw Ad Avis frown as he conjured more fire in his hands, but then his eyes briefly looked at me and I found myself making even more of an effort to get back up to my place as I saw him wear that trickster smile again. “But my dear Katrina, I do not need to cast spells at you to destroy you…” he looked at me again and I kept struggling, but it was becoming harder as my fingers started becoming numb… “I intend only to destroy my enemy, the one you seem so fond of,” his smile widened and I could almost read his mind thinking ‘Go on! I DARE you to try it!’ as he said, “Care to watch him die?”

Katrina gasped and her eyes widened in horror. She suddenly yelled, “No!! I will not let him die!!” and she leaped towards me as if to shield me. I screamed in terror as Ad Avis summoned a gigantic flaming Dragon head, ready to chomp and strike!


But, just before it’s fiery fangs could incinerate my flesh, Katrina got in the way! I heard her shriek as it bit down, and, to my horror, I saw a black tendril coil itself tightly like a snake around her body! Katrina let out another wail and she briefly reached out to me in vain, with fear in her eyes, before Avoozl consumed her and vanished before my very eyes.

Ad Avis chuckled and grinned. “The fool! I knew Avoozl would be attracted by that spell. Now Katrina shall have all the Darkness she so desired, and much, much more.” He leered at me and I saw his fingers flex to prepare another spell, hoping to finish me off. “The first part of my vengeance is complete. Now I can enjoy watching you die slowly and painfully.” He laughed at me struggling to hang on and said, “There’s no place you can run to, and no place for you to hide.,” he blasted the node and made it crumble even further, “Soon there won’t even be a place to stand upon. Getting worried, great Hero?”

I can’t hold on much longer! My fingers began to slip from numbness and sweat! But, I knew I couldn’t give in! Not now! Not for anything or anyone! Ad Avis still lived, while Katrina had given her life to save mine! Erana was still struggling with Avoozl, I felt, and as I thought about everything I had done to get here, everyone who was counting on me, the sacrifice of Katrina and seeing that she truly had cared for me to do something so selfless when her soul was so dark despite that… I found a new strength, that fire of adrenaline and power I so desired! I had enough to get my bearings back and scramble up to a standing position on what was left of the node. I snarled but he wasn’t deterred and only laughed at my pathetic attempt to look threatening. I knew what I had to do, and it seemed the Staff knew as well, for when I reached into my pack, I enforced my Will over it to change into the most deadly weapon I could think of-

A Spear of Death!

I gripped it tightly in hand and held it in a throwing position, aiming and lining up my sights just right at my target, as if I were back at my Warrior Initiation in Tarna again.

Ad Avis looked at it and snorted, unimpressed. “Go ahead, throw it,” he said as he crossed his arms, “You’ll take your one shot, which I shall easily deflect, then I’ll finish you at my leisure.”

I scowled and told him, “I’ll have you know that before I came here, that I contacted every Wizard at the Wizard’s Institute of Technocery to come locate me when the time came. They all stand outside, ready to attack and destroy you on my command!” That obviously wasn’t true. I’d never even found WIT even though I knew it was in Shapeir, and knew none of the Wizards there. But, a bluff and threat would buy me time.

Ad Avis huffed, “I don’t believe you.”

“Do you believe me if I say that I also contacted my comrades and brethren of the Eternal Order of Fighters, who sincerely wish to beat you to a pulp?”

He hmphed and looked away snootily. “Of course not.”

“Well, would you believe then, if I told you that Dmitri Ivanov, the Burgomeister, awaits beyond this cave with a warrant for your arrest then?”

He looked at me and rolled his eyes. “Oh, yes, after threatening me with Wizards and Fighters, I’m CERTAINLY going to tremble in fear at the thought of being arrested! Oh, whatever shall I do?!” I could practically feel the sarcasm drip from his fangs. He growled, “Enough of this foolish waste of time! I am going to destroy you for good this time.”

I fell on my knees, attempting to look vulnerable. “Oh PLEASE, Dark Master Ad Avis, PLEASE spare me your wrath! I’ll do anything, ANYTHING! Just don’t kill me please!”

He smiled at me. “I love watching you grovel. You do it so well.”

‘You want to know what else I can do well? Look completely mad!’ I thought. I ended my crocodile tears and a soft chuckle arose from my throat as I started to smile. It grew louder and louder and as my smile widened enough to make a Cheshire Cat jealous, I was howling and guffawing and cackling maniacally like any madman or joker would! As I was bent over, still grinning like a fool, Ad Avis looked at me bewildered. “What are you laughing about? Are you mad?”

I finally stopped laughing, my sides heaving and aching now, and replied, “Oh nien, nien! It’s just… I just heard the most HILARIOUS joke recently and thought, why not let my worst enemy get in one more last laugh before he blasts me into oblivion?” And I thusly told the Ultimate Joke to my foe. I shall not recount it here, as it’s… rather dirty and some don’t really like bad puns.

Ad Avis sneered, “You think to delay your demise by telling stupid jokes? That wasn’t even funny!” And yet… he began to laugh! Uncontrollably, couldn’t stop it, maniacal, gleeful, sides bursting and bent over kind of laughter!

Now was my chance!

With all my strength, I gave a mighty war cry of, “FOR MORDAVIA!” as I threw my spear at Ad Avis! His laughter stopped abruptly, as it pierced him dead center. A perfect bullseye! Blood came coughing from his mouth for a moment, then he folded and disappeared from sight as I watched the Staff change forms again and float back to me.

It hovered in front of me, and I heard it intone in my mind, “It is time for you to fulfill my final destiny. You must use me to release my mistress from her imprisonment!”

I nodded. It was as Magda’s vision had foretold, that the crystal would shatter at the touch of Erana’s Staff. I lightly tapped it with a soft plink, and the crystal shone brightly and exploded in a flash of dazzling light!

I smiled as, when the crystal disappeared, a figure floated before me. She was clad in a flowing robe, her brunette hair had fresh flowers blooming in it, and her soft skin glowed like the light of autumn dusk. I sensed great power emanating from her, yet I saw a gentleness reflected in her beautiful deep brown eyes. I just about wept in joy at seeing the lady I’d grown to love here, right beside me and as real and whole and alive as I was. I collapsed on my knees, smiling happily. She smiled sweetly and my heart just melted as she spoke, “You walk in Honor and righteousness. This day you have freed the land of Mordavia from great evil. May you always hold high the Way of the Paladin, Marcus!”

I nodded vigorously. In all my years, now and since, I never felt so motivated to do good things if it would make her happy! I’d do ANYTHING for her!

“You have freed me from my imprisonment by the Dark One. I have driven Avoozl back to it’s own dimension forever.” Erana gave a great sigh of relief, “Your Magic is of great power to have overcome the evil in this place.” I blushed, flattered. She then looked me right in the eyes and smiled warmly once more. I returned the gesture. “It seems we shared a dream once. You gave me hope when I was trapped in the darkness. You held me in your arms, and showed me your love.”

I felt a little misty eyed and got to my feet. My voice choked up a little as I held out my hand, “Erana, my love, if you can just come to me and give me your hand then I’ll make sure you’ll never be alone in the darkness ever again!”

Her smile fell and… she shook her head at me, sadly. “I cannot hold you now, nor can we kiss. I am only a spirit, a ghost. It will take more Magic than I have ever known before we can be together again.”

For the first time since Tarna, my heart ached as it broke! Only this time, it hurt even more as it was shattered into tiny pieces and seemed to just stop pumping in that moment. I could only let out a speechless wailing sob as I collapsed again, despair taking over me at last. Holding my head in my hands, I wept deeply and sorrowfully. Only when I heard Erana speak once more, gently and softly as to comfort me, did my weeping cease and I looked at her. “I can only thank you for everything that you have done,” tears appeared in her eyes as she spoke her last words, “I shall love you forever. Farewell.”

She then began to fade away… I shook my head rapidly and muttered, “No… no! Not farewell! Not farewell!! Please don’t leave me alone again!!”

And in foolishness and despair rotting away at my very soul, I fervently reached out to hold her hand…

I passed right through her and she faded away completely. Only then, did I notice how far I had been precariously leaning over the ledge, but it was too late to do anything now as I fell forward and down!

My scream echoed as I fell back down to the central chamber, and I watched in awe as the twisted landscape around me began to change from sickening, horrifying grotesque sights to the look of an ordinary cave chamber as Avoozl’s influence slowly left it for good. I didn’t get to look at it for long though, as I found myself meeting up close and personal with the hard, cold cave floor. I turned as best I could so as to land on my side, and while I did survive the fall, I still howled in agony as I landed. My shoulder erupted into blinding pain and I heard a crack as my arm bent at a weird angle!

Gasping for breath and through my pain, I clutched my side as I staggered to my feet, gritting my teeth and tears coming down my cheeks, now for more than one reason. Without looking back, I exited the cave of the newly reformed Mount Malign and headed, through hazy vision, in a vague direction to town.

Eventually, I got there and as I reached the place where Erana’s Staff once was, I collapsed onto the grass and laid there. My headache and broken arm didn’t matter to me. All I cared about was my broken heart. To find everything you’d ever hoped for in an adventure, only for the one thing you desire most to be snatched from your grasp forever.

Sometimes, I wish I’d never left Willowsby…

~Taken from the Journal of Marcus Donnelly of Willowsby.~