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Quest for Glory Journal
Entries for Silmaria
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 ::
:: Return To Mordavia's Journal Entries ::

(Now with clickable images!)


Day 92

My name is Marcus Donnelly, Hero of Four Lands and Paladin Prince of Shapeir.

It feels like ages since I left Willowsby, my hometown, and yet never until now has it felt so far away. Two weeks have passed since the… incident at the Cave of the Dark One, where I finally managed to defeat my worst enemy, Ad Avis. Two weeks and I have lost two people I cared dearly about, one being a friend and the other…

The other was a lady who graced my darker dreams with her presence, and filled them with joy and light. Knowing she was there, waiting to be freed, it filled me with a sense of confidence that everything would be alright once I drove back the Shadows of Darkness. Despite my earlier vow, that I wouldn’t fall in love again for a very, very long time, after Johari broke my heart, I found that Erana had managed to mend it and I found myself falling in love with her. I thought that if I drove away Avoozl, the one who’d trapped her and made her experience such pain and torment and unable to find rest, that we’d be together at last.

I was wrong.

She was freed, yes, but she was nothing more than a shadow of what she once was, a spirit. Thus, she faded away with her last words being that she’d love me forever, and so my heart has been broken and shattered into fragments. Several times has she appeared in my dreams, but now she’s far away and never answers whenever I call out to her. I try to run after her, but just before I can get to her, she fades away. Always. Several times before writing this, I have awoken to a wet pillow.

I don’t want to feel. It hurts too much otherwise. Still however, I feel drained. Just… tired. I haven’t truly wept since that night.

Two weeks, and my friends in Mordavia have been celebrating my heroism with a party in Castle Borgov. Dmitri has now been appointed by the King to be Mordavia’s new Boyar, and everyone is happy and well. Then I found myself engulfed in a bright light and a familiar pair of voices spoke to me.

So, I have been summoned once more to new adventures against my will. This time by Erasmus, my old Wizard friend from Spielburg. According to him, I was in the kingdom of Silmaria. As a Hero, I needed to go where I was most needed, and that was here at this moment. The reason? Their King had been assassinated recently, and they wish for me to find out who did it and why. Because the kingdom is without a ruler, the Rites of Rulership are going to begin soon and he wishes me to enter, as it's the best way to find out the villain behind this. He told me to speak to Logos, the Centaur, who was in charge of Silmaria right now in a place called the Hall of Kings, and also has arranged for me to stay at the most “amusing” inn in Silmaria. I just nodded, and when he asked me if I wished to go there now or send me straight into danger, I just said bluntly, “Send me to the kingdom, and let’s get this over with.”

With a nod and flick of his wrist, I was Teleported away to my destination. When my vision cleared, I took everything in. The air was warm and fresh, the sky was blue, and I detected powerful Magic near me. Palm trees swayed in the gentle breeze, a bridge crossed over a quiet stream and ahead I saw several majestic buildings including an arena, a couple mansions, and of course, the Hall of Kings itself. The building was guarded and was up on the hill, where I assumed the King could look down upon his subjects. The guard told me that I was to enter the Hall of Kings now and I did so.

Coming in from the hallway, I entered into a large amphitheater that was big enough to hold most if not all of the King’s subjects to hear his words. Colorful banners were near me bearing the colors and symbols of cooperation and competition- the virtues of sportsmanship. Of subtlety and grandiloquence- the skills of the diplomat. Multiple banners for other virtues alongside these, all bringing some color into the Hall of Kings. The symbol of Wisdom, an owl here instead of two ravens like back home, was above the entrance.

In front of me was a raised platform, and standing on it were two figures. One was a Centaur and the other was a Liontaur. It turned out that Rakeesh had aged quite a bit since I last saw him in Tarna. I saw him briefly smile at me as I came up, and I gave him a curt nod. “Greetings, Prince of Shapeir,” The Centaur spoke. “I am Logos, counselor of rulers and Speaker of Silmaria. Welcome to the kingdom of Silmaria.” I bowed my head briefly and greeted him quietly. “I have heard much about you from your friends Erasmus and Rakeesh.”

Rakeesh said to me, “It is good to know that you are here, Marcus. This land needs a Hero of your abilities.”

“I trust you understand why you were summoned here,” Logos continued. I nodded. “Good. The Rites of Rulership need one more entrant before it can begin. All the competitors are worthy individuals. However, I suspect that these Rites will be more dangerous than they were intended.”

“We believe that the one or ones who assassinated the King of Silmaria will attempt to make certain the contestant they support will win.”

‘Assassination or not, this IS a competition. I figure that we’re all wishing to win the throne at any cost. ‘Tis a great honor, I’m sure.’ I thought to myself.

Logos spoke again, “You must understand that your life will be in grave danger from the moment you enter the Rites of Rulership. We will be doing everything we can to stop the assassin, but you need to be wary.” I nodded once more and patted Lightstar’s hilt to signify that I would be careful. “Hero of the lands of Spielburg, Shapeir, Tarna and Mordavia, will you enter the Rites of Rulership?”

I replied seriously with a nod, “I shall, Logos. I swear by my Honor as a Paladin and by both my Gods and yours, I shall find this murderer and bring him to Justice.” I drew Lightstar and swung it briefly, the blade blazing in blue fire. “You have my word, Logos. A man of the North never breaks his word, lest he suffer eternal torment in Nastrond.” I placed Lightstar back in it’s sheath.

Logos smiled. “We will be pleased and proud to have such a worthy Hero contesting to become our leader.”

As I spoke further on various matters with Logos, I noticed Rakeesh looking at me with considerable concern. He drew my attention briefly and told me to meet him later outside after I was done speaking to Logos. I obliged.

The kingdom of Silmaria is on the island of Marete, which rests in the center of the Med Sea. It is a large, volcanic island, mostly uninhabited save for fishing villages along the coast and the kingdom itself. The city was built upon the main port of this island, and is a thriving center of trade for the world. Marete is said to have risen when Atlantis fell. The kingdom is at the base of Mount Draconis, and at the center lays Lake Morae, which rises and falls with the tides. Few have seen it, however, except for Magic, due to the volcano being unclimbable. Atlantis was a kingdom that sank beneath the sea eons ago, due to some great disaster. Most of the inhabitants were transformed into Tritons, half-fish and half-human, according to Logos.

The city is built on various levels and was designed as a fortress in days when wars were more common, most likely in the days where my ancestors raided the seas in their dragon prowed ships. However, for many generations, the city has been a place of peace and prosperity and thus has no need for an army. Unfortunately, as of late, the nearby fishing villages have been invaded by Hesperian Mercenaries and they do not have the force to drive them away. Silmaria itself is well fortified, however, and has never in it’s history fallen to invasion. The invasion happened two days after the King was assassinated, and Logos does not consider this to be a coincidence.

There are several small islands around Marete, and most are uninhabited save for animals and monsters and a few of the larger ones are owned by the people who live there. Travel to the outer islands has become dangerous as well, since the boats are being attacked by Tritons and sea monsters. The latter isn’t too surprising, but the former is since Silmaria has been at peace with them for ages and Logos doesn’t know why they’re attacking their fishermen.

The Rites of Rulership were a series of quests, seven in all with five competitors, to aid Silmaria in whatever she needs. The one accomplishes the most shall become King. Some of the Rites can only be completed by one person, while others will completed when all the competitors accomplish their task. There is an entry fee of 1000 Drachmas, the currency of Helena, to enter.

“Your father, the Sultan of Shapeir, was informed of this by myself and my wife, and has contributed 300 Drachmas toward your entrance into the Rites. Erasmus and I have each deposited another 100 Drachmas,” Rakeesh told me. I nodded in thanks.

“The Sultan Harun al-Rashid has sent a letter of recommendation about you. He says you would make a most splendid King, to use his words. He also sends you his blessing, and trusts you will choose the future you wish to fufill,” said Logos.

I nodded and then asked, “And what of my mother, Sarah Donnelly?”

Logos replied, “I have sent her an official letter as well, telling of your whereabouts and of the Rites. She has deposited 200 Drachmas and gives you her blessing and love.”

“Thank you, Logos. Though if I may be personal here, I wish to send a letter to her myself, as it has been a rather long time since I have done so, and I don’t wish to have her worry.”

“Very well, Prince. I understand perfectly.”

“Now then… about this assassin. What weapon did he use exactly?” I asked, folding my arms in thought.

“The assassin used a poisoned dagger to kill our King.” Logos answered. “The poison is very deadly, and unknown to our Healers. Unless an antidote is administered immediately, the victim is dead within a minute.” I kept my face stoic, but my mind sensed that this seemed… familiar somehow, and I hoped that it was just a coincidence. “Even with an antidote, unless the victim has a very hardy constitution, he will remain unconscious for weeks. We are trying to learn the exact nature of the poison in order to cure this.”

“I shall do whatever I can to help.” Logos thanked me for my bravery. I then told him a little about my adventures and about myself, then turned on my heel and left.

I met Rakeesh outside, like I said I would. He was sunning himself on a giant, flat rock. When he saw me, he smiled a little. I was tempted to smile back, but, no, I couldn’t. Emotions are my bane for now. If I felt, then I’d hurt. If I hurt, then I’d be utterly miserable.

Still though, he was my friend. More than that, he was family to me. I couldn’t hide anything from him. My face was blank, but my mind was still whirling about, fighting back my emotions desperately so as my heart would be protected.

And he cut all that away and left me vulnerable when he spoke to me. He spoke slowly and carefully, as if he knew what I’d been going through, and his eyebrows dipped further and further down as he looked at me in worry. “Greetings, Marcus. I sense that your adventures in Mordavia have altered you. You seem more mature and wise, but… I see there is some sorrow in your soul as well. The price of being a Hero is sometimes costly.”

I squeezed my eyes shut, as they suddenly started feeling warm. I opened my eyes and my vision was blurred as I nodded. I tried to push away the memories of Mordavia, but found that I couldn’t. I swallowed and replied, “You have no idea, Rakeesh. You have NO idea what I have been through this past month!” I hung my head and shook it, trying to breathe normally. “I’m not sure if it’s worth it, baba. If this is what it means to be a Paladin, having your heart stomped on and your dreams just out of reach and crushed before your eyes…” I looked up again, “I just don’t know if I can take it!”

Rakeesh offered his hand and told me, “Come up here, Marcus. Climb up here, and tell me everything.”

So I did. I climbed upon the rock and before Rakeesh could settle himself down beside me, I was recounting all that had transpired back in the shadowy helhole called Mordavia. “I don’t know where to start, Rakeesh! I mean, she was there, right there in front of me and I couldn’t touch her. Erana was the only light in my darkness, in the whole darkness that was Mordavia…” I started with Erana, of course, but as I continued to speak, I told him of everything else. Of helping Dmitri, and the ghost of Piotyr. Of the Rusulka, Elyssa. Of helping the Gypsies.

I could see the pride on his face as I spoke, and not once did he interrupt me. When I finally took time to take a deep breath, all he did was smile. “I never once doubted it, my friend, but your words do me a great service in confirming that you are indeed the best man I could have ever found to have become a Paladin. My heart weighs heavy with yours, that Erana is truly dead. She was a Paladin in all but name, and the world has lost a great goodness. We should rejoice though, that her soul is free, thanks to you.”

I sniffled and rubbed my eyes. “I loved her with all my heart and soul. I don’t think I’ll ever truly get over this. I’ll probably always mourn. That’s why I’ve been acting this way, because I’ve been afraid to feel anything since that night.” He put a hand on my shoulder and I hugged him. “Asante, baba. Thank you for listening to me.”

Though I did feel a bit better after talking about Mordavia to someone I trusted, I eventually ran out of things to speak of about that adventure and I’d decided to not dwell on it. So we moved onto other matters to discuss.

Rakeesh and Logos have been friends for many years. They first met in Thebes, when Logos sought the riddles of the Sphinx, mistaking a young warrior Liontaur named Rakeesh for one. He’s been to Silmaria before, in better times. Father met Logos and Rakeesh not long after, for he had journeyed to Thebes as well to seek knowledge, always good for a young Paladin. Rakeesh actually told me that Logos almost mistuck me for my father when he first got a good look at me and heard of my exploits, but never said anything and of course, remembered that my father had died years ago and even if he hadn’t, he’d certainly not look as young as I am.

When the King was assassinated, Logos contacted both him and Erasmus for their wise council. Logos has guided two Kings thus far, and after the Rites are over, he shall guide a third. Rakeesh considers the Rites to be an honorable way to choose a ruler, as each of them deals with what troubles the kingdom and how to solve it.

Rakeesh is well, though I did express concern as I noticed that his mane had gotten white since the last time I’d seen him. He shrugged and said, “I’m just getting old, Marcus. Don’t worry about me, my friend, I’ve still got a few good years in me left.” I found myself believing him, as I still detected that aura of strength and nobility about him, which made me a bit happier. I would be exceedingly happy if he survived to meet and get to possibly know his grandchildren, provided I have any, but I cannot guarantee that, of course.

We spoke of my godfamily as well. Kreesha is currently training a new student in the art of Magic, otherwise she would have joined us there. And speaking of Magic, Rakeesh’s son, Shakra, is the local Magic Shop owner on this island. He moved over here several years ago, and has made this island his home and that is where Rakeesh is staying. According to Kreesha, this is a land rich with Magic. Something tells me that Finn would like it here, if the weather didn’t do it for him. As for Tarna itself, the land is enjoying the peace I brought there, Johari and Yesufu are now wed and Simba’s growing strong. I am missed there, however. Judging from the poisoned daggers and his wielding of the art of stealth, Rakeesh surmises that the assassin was a skilled Thief, as he’d scaled walls and evaded the guards. Shakra said that Magic was used as well, but doesn’t believe the assassin was a spellcaster. Interesting.

Speaking of old times, Rakeesh has given me back my old Katta Pin from Shapeir, so long ago. And, for good measure, has brought back the sword of my oath, Soulforge. However, he decided to keep it since I told him of Lightstar and the ghost of Piotyr. Still though, was nice to see the old blade again. I looked down at both my sword and his, and was silent for a moment. I sighed, “It’s amazing how far we’ve come, hasn’t it? Before setting out on my adventures, I thought Paladins were the stuff of legends. Yet here I am, fulfilling that legend. And, well, you were right, Rakeesh.”

“About what?”

“Back in Shapeir, you told me that the road that a Paladin walks upon is long and difficult. You told me that there would be times where I’d regret my choice.” He only nodded. “I can certainly attest to that, my friend. Erana’s death had brought me down to my lowest point. If I hadn’t become a Paladin, a Hero among Heroes, then I probably wouldn’t ever experience such heartbreak. I’d probably still be working odd jobs back in my hometown, perhaps becoming a mercenary, or take over the Adventurer’s Guild from our Gildemeister, or even become a town guard like my father and serve under our Jarl someday. I didn’t have to follow the call to adventure that I saw upon that poster for Spielburg, I could have just tossed it into the fire. Yet, I didn’t. Something told me that I was destined for something greater and I chose to find out what exactly that was. And when times got dark, clearly something kept me going. Maybe it was the strength of my Will, maybe it was that people cared about me and I didn’t want to let them down, maybe it was the Gods themselves intervening and telling me, “Get up! Fight back!” or something else entirely. Whatever the case, I’m trying my damn hardest to remain strong, even when it hurts.”

Rakeesh put his arm around my shoulders. “All I ask is for you to hold in your heart the truths for which we stand, Marcus. Bring peace where there is war. Show mercy to the ones we defeat. Fight for Justice, not Revenge, understand?” I nodded. “Good. Allow your sword to be guided by wisdom, not bloodlust, and your actions guided by your heart, not muscle, and you shall never truly fall. I know the life of a Paladin is harsh and cruel, but you’re a ‘man of the north’ as you have put it, and if you can withstand a biting cold winter and still survive, then you can get through this as well. I ask of you for one more task.”

I straightened up. “What?”

“Did you not notice the coincidences? The assassination of Justinian, then the invasion, and then the sea folk declaring war on Silmaria. I sense there is a greater evil tying all this together.” I nodded and stroked my chin in thought, feeling stubble with my fingertips- I’d apparently started growing a beard in Mordavia and just didn’t notice until now- and it did seem rather… convenient overall that the city was being attacked from all sides so that, if anybody wanted to infiltrate from the inside, nobody would notice until it was too late. I expressed my thoughts to my mentor, and he agreed. “And so, we must uncover the lies that hide here. And that’s where you come in.”

My first thought was, ‘He wants me to be a spy? That sounds moreso like a job that Rico could do. I’m as stealthy as the average Goon.’ But instead, Rakeesh told me of a magical item known as the Ring of Truth.

According to Rakeesh, when a lie is spoken in its presence, the Ring will glow. They are rare, and can only be made by a Paladin, or so he knew anyway. Rakeesh has never made one himself, and only knows it thanks to his mentor. To make it, I will need the ring of a true King, reforged in Dragon’s blood, and hallowed by my own. Lastly, like in a blacksmith’s forge, it must be tempered. This must be done with the ‘Waters of Binding’. Where exactly that is, I don’t exactly know.

We went back into the Hall of Kings to Logos of our quest to forge the Ring of Truth. He thought it was only a folk tale, and thought it sounded like an impossible task. I snorted and thought to myself, ‘”Impossible” tasks are always in legends and stories, and they’re always solved one way or another. This should be no different, I think.’

At the persuation of my mentor, who assured him that it would help the kingdom, Logos bestowed the King’s Ring that Justinian once wore to me. I thanked him and apologized for my coldness earlier, explaining that I’d been going through hard times lately and wished to not show emotion as of right now and, regardless, wished to remain professional in Logos presence. After all, emotions or not, there were people watching me from those stands in the Hall. I wouldn’t want a repeat of my outburst to Rajah in Tarna. That’s probably something I’ll never live down.

While walking to the inn, I noticed something very… odd about Silmaria. Does nobody seem to notice that time goes exceedingly fast here? There’s no possible way Rakeesh and I could have been talking for so long that the sunset was here and gone already… right? And yes, I have noticed that the look of the world has gotten a bit weightier, and we look like we were puffed up like balloons and squeezed in our joints a little too much. But that’s not what concerns me- that’s probably another work of Sloree and Scoree done by them and their friends –what concerns me is the time. At least in Tarna it made sense- that was a big open area and as I walked miles and miles, time passed because I walked so long. If time is moving this quickly, then won’t I feel anxious to get things done? No, no, I mustn’t stress over this. I have time. Plenty of it. Rakeesh told me before I left that I should take some time to relax and enjoy the city. The Rites won’t begin until all participants have paid the fee, leaving me plenty of time to explore, earn Drachmas, and get to know the residents, something I cannot do today as everyone is asleep for now. This break will also give me a chance to heal my heart, if I can. The pain I felt at losing my love won’t ever truly go away, I feel, but perhaps in time, it will lessen and I can bear it easier.

Right. So… the inn I’m staying at. When Erasmus told me he’d booked me at the most “amusing” inn in Silmaria, he wasn’t kidding. The name of the place is literally called Gnome Ann’s Inn, and yes, it IS run by a Gnome named Ann. A Gnome who loves puns, clearly. Nice gal. Came all the way from Zurich, Gaul, to build it here in this winterless wonderland. Sadly, due to the war, there’s been no tourists and thusly no customers. She got a good deal from the other innkeeper in town, who according to her is a little chubby. Hmmm… again, this sounds familiar. Bah, probably just a coincidence.

Still, though, as I write this, I feel something welling up in me that I haven’t felt in ages. Excitement. This is a new adventure, after all. I’ve noticed that every quest I’ve gone on, the stakes keep rising and the dangers as well. What awaits me on this island? What will the Rites entail? I know not, yet I am anticipating something for the first time since that night in Mordavia. Hel, it might even distract me from thinking about Erana as well. That would be good, very good. If I drive her from my mind, then I shall no longer hurt.

The Rites are forthcoming soon, whenever I feel I am ready. I now have a reason to get up in the morning.

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




Day 93

I’m feeling a little better today.

Kinda hard not to be after the day I’ve had.

After waking up and having a… very unusual breakfast of anchovy pancakes and baked fruit- don’t ask, just don’t even bother –I chatted with Ann a little. She’s really Inn to this. Inn fact, she was considering naming this place the D Hotel. Welcome to D Hotel Kallimehra! But she decided to be more Inn-teresting. Also, I think she likes me. I mean, REALLY likes me! She calls me honey and she’s got this sting for me. Okay, I’ll stop with the puns.

First thing I did was head on over to the Guild, which I passed on my trek to the Inn last night but it was closed. Now it was open, and I stepped in. I glanced about at the trophies on the walls, from a boar’s head, to a turtle to even a unicorn- why am I able to see that?! - and a moosefish. This land must have some fascinating wildlife.

Heading over to by the fireplace, I came across another familiar person. Toro the Minotaur! His eyes lit up when he saw me.

“Good see Hero Man!” he greeted me with a smile.

I smiled back a little, just from that. He held no ill will for me since Spielburg, it seemed, which makes me glad. And it made me even more glad to think back upon memories of somewhere other than Mordavia for once. I can remember that Toro was very much a worthy opponent when we last met in the Brigand fortress. Toro came here with Elsa, and likes Silmaria quite a lot. He has the job of Gildemeister now, given to him by literally just walking in the door, being approached by the old Guildmaster and told that, since he was an adventurer, that he has the job now and left. Man, I wish I could get jobs that easy!

Elsa, sadly, isn’t here at the moment. She’s with some man that’s got money, a big house, a big boat and Toro doesn’t like him one bit because, well, how would you like it if you went adventuring with a friend and suddenly she was being forced to not see you as often as either of you like?

I wonder how she’s doing these days? She, like me, is apparently wishing to become King of Silmaria by competing in the Rites as well. So, she’s competition, then. If her skills with a blade are still as sharp as they were back in Spielburg, then I’ll consider her a worthy opponent as well. Signing the logbook with a flourish like always, I took a glance at the message board. Someone named Sarra had lost a basket, the apothecary wants some Pegasus feathers, and there was a reward of 2000 Drachmas for the arrest of the assassin.

Leaving the Guild, I went down to the docks and my nose was filled with the lovely aroma of dead fish in the sunshine. How nice! Met a friendly fisherman named Andre who told me that he would take me out on a boat ride in the morning if I asked. I also met the weaponsmith, Pholus, another centaur. He reminds me a little of if Issur mated with a mare and Pholus was their baby. I got to know of two other competitors from him.

The first was a big, strong man known as Magnum Opus. He knows how to use REAL weapons like a man does. Then there this big ugly guy who hangs around the Scientists who has no real weapons, save his fists.

Then there’s Elsa. He’s rooting against her just because she’s a woman! Says that Kings are men, not dames. “She’ll learn her lesson soon enough,” he told me. I glared and was tempted to reach behind the counter and punch him, even clenching my fist as I felt my temper begin to flare, but I held myself back and just walked away. I’m better than that. I’ve come a long way since Spielburg, ja?

I next came across a tall, two story building and my heart skipped a beat as I saw the address. “12345 Aerris Way, Silmaria. Famous Adventurer’s Correspondence School for Heroes.” Despite my earlier statement of emotions being my bane for now, my face broke into the biggest smile I’d had since Mordavia when I saw that!

Here! Here is where it all started for me! This place, this school, was what motivated me to become a Hero! If it wasn’t for this school, I wouldn’t even be here!

Have I ever told this story? I don’t believe I have. Well, when I was a boy I always wanted to emulate my father as I have established. I remember when I was younger, I would stick a bucket on my head and march along with the guards he led on patrol around town, a dull old sword strapped to my side, imitating their movements. It was also good practice for my weapons skills when they did their training. But, at the end of the day after dinner, father would always tell me stories and while every child I knew loved to hear the tales and exploits of Thor, Odin, Sigurd and Heime, what I loved most was father’s stories of his own adventures. He told me of the time he received his second sword, the first being the sword Shamgar that was wielded by our ancestors, whilst battling an assassin in an island kingdom much like Silmaria, named Arinyr to save the life of their Queen Consort named Danella. He was dubbed as both a Hero and a Templar by her and the King. Picking up the sabre that the assassin used to fight him, he decided to keep it for his own as it was a fine blade and vowed to cleanse the blood-soaked steel by using it as a force for good. And so, he named it Skyfire. And that’s just one of the adventures he told me!

Years later, after he died, I was reading the newspaper when I spied an advertisement for a place called the Famous Adventurer’s Correspondence School for Heroes. Since growing up hearing father’s adventures, I’d always wanted to become an adventurer myself, and this would teach me how. Now, you might be saying, “You already knew how to be a Fighter thanks to your training! Isn’t this rather redundant?” well, here’s the thing. I’d never left town before leaving for Spielburg. I knew how to fight, yes, but I had no outside experience in the world, you know? I knew I was a nice guy, but never really tried being a Hero before, making a living of this.

And just think of how far I’ve come since then. And now I’ve come to the heart of the matter, where it all began for me. With a rush of excitement, I flung open the door and went inside the main office.

I was greeted by books. Piles and stacks of them. Mountains of old dusty volumes cluttered the room, so much so that there was barely any room to walk at all. The smell of musty parchment mixed in with the dust I kicked up from my boots reminds me a little of the Willowsby Library, only this place clearly was dirtier and a mess. The door creaked loudly as it swung and shut, and it was clear nobody had used that entrance for a very long time.

Taking a glance at some of the books I could reach, I learned several things. For one, I learned a bit of Helena’s mythology about Heracles defeating the Hydra with help from his nephew Iolaus, how he later went down into the Underworld of Hades to rescue a friend’s wife, how Perseus slew Medusa and Pegasus emerged from her severed neck, and of Icarus’s doomed escape from here when his wings of wax melted in the sun.

For another, I read about an experiment to make and fly a hot air balloon. While it technically worked, it flew with the wind currents and he couldn’t control where to go. He thinks if it had wings then it would fly better.

Yet another book told a sadder tale of a man who came home from the tavern only to find his entire family murdered in his village. He died of grief and is said to haunt the tavern now. I set my jaw after reading that, and vowed myself to remain tough in my own grief lest I suffer the same fate.

There were other books as well. A book of limericks, a book on local legends which told that it was good luck to toss a coin into a fountain, and various “How to be a Hero” manuals including the rare issue 1 of HERO Magazine, and a book on “How to Swim”.

But, going around in a circle led me to a desk. In a chair sat an old man. A very, very weary looking old man who sat slumped over his desk, scribbling something down in a book. I walked up to him and cleared my throat. “Excuse me?”

He finally looked up at me with tired eyes and I heard him reply softly, “What? Oh, what are you doing here? Can’t you see I’m busy?”

I wasn’t going to leave without knowing who he was. “What’s your name?”

He croaked, “Name? What’s a name, boy? I’ve been called a lot of things in my time. You can call me Famous Adventurer. That’s mostly what I’m known as now.”

I was taken aback at what I’d heard and stunned briefly into silence. This guy was THE Famous Adventurer?! The one that I’d wanted to meet ever since I started this adventure?! I could hardly believe this weary old man was the one to set me down the path of becoming a Hero. There was no spark in those eyes of his, and he just looked like he didn’t care anymore about anything. I asked him what he knew about Silmaria and I got the answer, “New in town, huh? I was going to write a travel book about Silmaria sometime. Maybe I did—just can’t remember. Anyway, go see for yourself. Only way to learn.” Okay I admit that is good advice, but still, I wanted to see some sort of enthusiasm.

I smiled and held out my hand. “Guten tag, Beruhmt Abenteurer! Ich heisse Marcus Donnelly! Ich bin eine absolvent auf dies schule, und Ich bin glucklich sie kennenzulernen!” and I just started gushing to him all about how much his books helped me become the man I am today until I ran out of stuff to talk about. I have no idea why, thinking back on this, I decided to suddenly babble in my muttersprache instead of Common, but I was very excited.

He didn’t shake my hand, but he apparently understood what I said anyway. “So you’re a graduate of this school? I didn’t think anyone ever read the crap I write.”

“Well, I did. And I became a better man for it.” I glanced toward the pile of Swimming books and grabbed one. “If it’s not too much to ask, may I please have your autograph?” He signed it and gave it back to me. Seeing as I was on an island, I studied it as best I could and now have a new skill in my arsenal!

I thanked him and he told me one more thing before setting back down to write his book. “Got some advice for you, kid. Don’t grow old. It ain’t worth it.”

I took one last look at him from the entrance, pity crossing my face. There must be SOMETHING I can do for him!

Heading back outside, I headed up to the plaza I went through last night, now it was bustling and full of life. The sound of a soft panflute from a young Katta nearby graced my ears. The smell of freshly cooked foods mingled with the faint tinge of the sea and the scent of flowers. The sight of the merchants selling their wares, looking happy to be out in the fresh air despite all that troubled this land. It gave me a little hope.

I chit chatted a little with the merchants. There was Marrak, the food seller. He was a Katta and the father of the flute player and the lifemate of the jewelry seller across the plaza. He had left Rasier for the same reason most of his people fled to Shapeir, and hopes to return there someday, now that he knows the land is safe. I told him about my adventures in Shapeir and he felt honored to meet Shapeir’s Prince, telling me that I was already a part of their stories and history. I scuffed my feet and grinned a little. After Mordavia bringing me down, this day seemed to be all about bringing me up again. I thanked him and surveyed his wares. He mostly sold fruit, gyros, chocolates and I tried my best not to wrinkle my nose and back away from the last thing he sold, as it would be rude.


Horrible flashes of that dream back in Shapeir sprang to my mind, the taunting words of the Elemental, the savage beating he gave me, the feeling of complete helpless as he lifted me up and snapped my spine like a twig… just from the smell! I politely excused myself and moved on, shivering a little.

I next visited the nearby Apothecary, and who should I immediately be greeted by than my pal Salim! And the lovely brunette in Shapeirian garb next to him made my spirits soar even higher, for this was the true form of Julanar! Salim couldn’t thank me enough for telling me about her, because he took the first boat to Shapeir after the war, found her, took good care of her and then one night he awoke and there she was, human again. They’ve been together ever since. It warmed my heart to hear that.

Business is good for them. The plants love this weather and Julanar is mastering the art of Healing Magic to help with the body and the soul. Though business is good, the only reason they’re getting so many customers is because there’s a war going on. The smell of the spices and herbs reminded me of Salim’s apothecary back in Tarna and I felt the same warm atmosphere here. Some things never should change. Julanar told me that if I was ever hurt that she’d be honored to heal me, and I thanked her. After chatting and catching up on old times, I turned to go, but not before Salim told to come back sometime and, “Mellow out a little more. Put some flowers in your hair, that sort of thing.”

“Perhaps I shall, my friend. Perhaps I shall.”

I talked to another two merchants after that. Sarra was the jewelry merchant, lifemate to Marrak and mother of Salla. She addressed me firstly as “Wanderer from Afar” which really took me back! I haven’t been called that since my Spielburg days! She had the beautiful expressive eyes and sweet smile that I knew so well from her people and she was a very friendly kitty. She sold necklaces, Good Luck Charms, jewelry and a lovely gold ring with a glittering diamond set in it called a Hera’s Ring. It caught my eye almost immediately with it’s beauty… until I saw the price. 500 Drachmas?! I’d break the bank!

Then there was Wolfie, a Canine from the land of Punjabi, Inja. He was an artist of clay and paint, and also sells maps and amphorae. Useful! He certainly seemed rather… jolly despite the troubles in Silmaria. “I think you will be very happy in Silmaria. It is a very good place to be, even if the city is soon to be overrun with foreign soldiers and destroyed economically by war with the sea people. Oh, you must be very careful of the monsters, thieves, and the assassins here, too.” He also talked about the Docks where I could take a lovely sea voyage, as long as I don’t drown or get attacked by Tritons. He talked about the town square, filled with many things to buy and people to meet, some of which will be so kind as to not pickpocket me. He’s been to the Guild Hall as well, and is quite impressed with Toro, since his kind is sacred in his country. According to him, Silmaria was once a very fine place for Thieves. Not a day went by when Wolfie didn’t admire how they could take something from right under his nose. However, most are gone by now, searching for an “ebony raven”, which Wolfie finds odd since he’s seen one flying about right above their heads, if only they’d look up.

I visited the Magic Shop next. The shop looked like it was carved straight from the rock by Magic, and I smiled a little as I saw it was decorated like what I’d see in Tarna. Tribal masks hung on the entryway, a drum made of wood and stretched animal hide was in the middle of the room, a library of arcane tomes and mystical manuscripts was on a platform and out of my reach, and a creepy statue that gave me a cold, eerie feeling. A crystal ball sat on a desk, used for scrying and filled with coruscating lights was next to a book that was filled with magical runes. I sighed sadly as I paged through it, as I remember when only recently I could receive immense power just be reading these and letting it be absorbed into my mind. Thinking back on it, I believe that Avoozl’s Dark Magic messed up something within me and that was the reason I could perform Magic as if I trained in the arcane arts, when I’ve never even thought about learning it before. It was probably why I felt so weakened while Avoozl was still there in Mordavia, and why I felt like my Powers were being held back as it were. Now that I’m out of Mordavia, I have been feeling my Powers seeping back and it feels like I could learn something new here. Just, clearly, not from this book.

The owner of the shop, Shakra, my godbrother, came out of the alcove and greeted me. We chatted for a bit and he told me that he was the only male Liontaur to become a Wizard and study Magic, in particular enchanting objects. Though he didn’t detect the essence of Magic within my soul, he did sell other items that could be useful. One was called a Mystic Magnet, which is a pair of objects where you place one in a place of safety- such as a bedroom –and the other you carry on your person. You just have to manually use it in order to teleport yourself back to safety, which is useful in case you’re overwhelmed and that could save your life. I bought them, and Shakra told me that if I was as much as a Hero as Rakeesh says I was, then he’d be very happy to see me rule Silmaria.

My last stop for the day was the Dead Parrot Inn. Unfortunately, by the time I got out of Shakra’s shop, the Bank was closed, so I’ll have to go there hopefully tomorrow morning. Damn clock! Argh!

The inside of the inn was rather elegant for a bar. The main bar area was huge enough to fit a few dozen patrons. The tables made up of barrels certainly reminded me of a sailor’s hangout. The smell of ale from the casks reached my nose and again, reminded me of home. Despite the size, it was nearly empty, just like most of the city, as most of the people have fled like rats from a ship. There was a cozy nook which sat two men, both of them caught my eye as I walked over there to say hello. One was chubby, wore a blue fez, and looked suspiciously familiar. The other was small and scrawny, and looked not only familiar but shifty as well. I crossed my arms and looked at the chubby man whom Ann had spoken of and said, “Greetings, Senor Ferrari.”

Ferrari grinned. “It is always a pleasure to meet old friends in new places, is it not?” I asked him why he was here and he replied, “I was forced to leave Rasier not long after you did. When the Sultan of Shapeir took the city over, he did not approve of the way I did business.” He looked at me seriously and continued, “Silmaria reminds of Rasier when Ad Avis first took over it. The warning signs are there that things will get worse before they get better. How fortunate for Silmaria that you are here,” he ended with a chuckle and a gleam in his eye.

I snorted as I didn’t like the look he was giving me. I felt it wouldn’t do if I tarried here for too long, otherwise I felt like there would be a repeat of Rasier, with him trying to poke and prod me with questions that I didn’t want to answer.

The small, shifty man? It turned out that Ugarte survived his ordeal in Rasier as well. He “got lucky” to use his words, which I’m assuming that the Emir or my adoptive father managed to get him out. He is well and is enjoying Silmaria, as he knows she hides little secrets and rumors within her walls. He even offered to give me information for a price whenever I wished. Though I don’t wish for any right now, I might consider him useful later on, I think.

Going to where the actual bar was, under the stairs, there were two ladies nearby. I didn’t recognize them, but they apparently knew me somehow, addressing me as “Hider-In-Harems”! The barmaid is Budar, a very… sturdy woman whom is engaged to Senor Ferrari. She’s likes what she sees, though!

The other lady is named Nawar and I have to admit, she is… most attractive. Her voice is smooth, soft and rather friendly. She likes me too! I’ll admit, if I may be vain briefly, I can’t blame her. I mean, I’m a Hero of Four Lands, a Prince, an honorable Paladin, and all around nice guy. What’s not to like, hm? Speaking to them both as I sat down to have some decent ale, I learned they came from Rasier as well. They were part of the harem at the Palace of Rasier, coming here with Ferrari.

Nawar was always happy to have me around, and she’d never forget my… face. I admit, I was tempted to take her up on her offer to warm her up on this cold Silmarian night, but I pushed it out of my mind quickly. If I fell for another girl so soon after losing Erana… wouldn’t that be wrong? I think it would cheapen my love I had for her, like as if she were just another girl I could toss aside like a doll. I’m not saying I can’t or won’t fall in love again ever, but I certainly don’t wish to just rush into the arms of another lady so soon. Because it’s worked SO well in the past! Still, wouldn’t mind being friends and getting to know her.

I also talked a little with the sailor sitting nearby. He only had one arm, but wouldn’t tell me why. He was a retired seaman and didn’t want to talk about any sorts of rumors or anything. I bought him some ale as well, hoping to loosen his lips, but all he did was thank me graciously.

Heading upstairs I saw two things of note.

The first was that I found a ghost in the tavern! Looking at his face, so buried in sorrow, I knew it could only be the man I read about in the school. Then, suddenly the spirit turned to look at me. I sucked in a breath and considered what I wanted to say to him. After all, I knew how it felt to lose someone you love. Yet, though I mourn, I know I shall have to move on, lest I linger in death like him. The specter looked deep into my eyes, perhaps even deeper than that, and I think he knew. And just like that, before I could even say a word, I found myself enveloped in light so bright it dimmed the room to darkness and all I heard was a loud hum. When my vision cleared, the ghost was gone. Though I know not where he ended up when he passed on, I can only hope that he is at peace at last.

The second was a man sitting all alone. A shiver went through me as my Sense Danger pricked at the back of my neck. Though he was dressed in a short, black cloak that covered his face, I could feel his eyes glaring at me. I briefly greeted him and all he did was smile at me. A grim smile with no trace of humor. I walked away quickly, and just went straight home, not wanting to think about that man anymore. I’ve placed my Mystic Magnet into my storage chest, and now can use it to teleport back here at any time. Something tells me that’ll be useful!

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




Day 94

I had goulash for breakfast! You don’t wanna know. That is all.

To be nice and appreciative of her work, I gave Ann some flowers this morning before leaving.

After that I went to the Adventurer’s Guild and who should I meet there but Elsa von Spielburg? And my my, she certainly has changed since we last met! Gone is the dress, now she wears an outfit more suited for battle. A Magic Sword strapped to her side, her eyes catch mine and I know that I’ve met my match in the Rites. We chatted for a bit.

“It is good to see you again, Marcus. I assume you are here to be my rival in the Rites of Rulership. We seem to have the bad habit of working against one another each time we meet. I look forward to competing against you for the rulership of Silmaria. You will be a formidable opponent and I shall have to strive fully to win.” I nodded and shook her hand firmly as a good sport.

“So, what have you been doing since I left?”

“I drove the Brigands out of the valley after you left. I was called a Hero by everyone, except my brother Barnard.” I frowned at the memory of that haughty unbearable bastard and shook my head. “He considered my actions to be unladylike and unsuitable for his little sister. He wished for me to wear dresses and marry a nearby nobleman. He also didn’t approve of my choice of Toro as a friend.”

I snorted, “And where does he get off telling you what you can and can’t do? You’re a grown woman, a fine shieldmaiden as I ever saw! Of all the nerve!”

She nodded. “Exactly. I told him bluntly how little I cared for his suggestions upon my life and future.” I smiled and gave her a thumbs up. “My brother is now the Baron of Spielburg after my father retired. I sought any chance to get away from him and my homeland, and thusly I came here.”

“You couldn’t have picked a finer place. This place is lovely.”

“And it needs a strong ruler right now. I am precisely the leader the island needs.” I nodded in agreement. “Minos believes it as well.”

I stopped nodding. “Who’s Minos?”

“I was invited here by Minos, one of the councilors to the assassinated King. He heard of my reputation as Hero, and wished for me to enter the Rites.” I raised my eyebrows and I briefly glanced at Toro as she continued. “He is a wealthy man, and his ancestors once ruled this island. He says he is content to advise the ruler of Silmaria. I am staying at his palace on an island some miles from here.”

So Minos was the ‘bad man’ that Toro spoke of… was it just because he was keeping Elsa on his island and farther from the kingdom? Or was there something more to this? Hmmm.

Going down to the Town Square, I stopped by Wolfie’s shop and decided to buy some amphorae. Business has been slow as of late, so I figure I’ll give him some today. Besides, empty bottles are ALWAYS useful! However, my stomach plummeted as I opened up my coin purse when I saw the state of my cash.

“What’s wrong?” Wolfie asked me, his ears flopping down.

“Look!!” I exclaimed, showing him the inside of my wallet. “How do I only have 80 Drachmas?!” This made no sense! I specifically remember that I had 580 with me yesterday!

Without even a goodbye I bought four amphorae and rushed over to the Bank to see what exactly was going on, fearing the worst had happened! And it had.

Sure enough, the Banker was upset because someone had broken into the Bank early at dawn, and broke right into the safe! Even when it was specially made with a guarantee that it COULDN’T be cracked by Thieves as there’s a trap on it! Yet apparently the guy just waltzed in here past the guards, who naturally didn’t see a damn thing, cracked the safe and took everything! Including the guarantee paper! And to make matters worse, the Thief was a slob because he spilled some coins about and left things a mess.

And… something else. There was an interesting toolkit on the floor. Evidence! Taking it with me, I went to the only person I could think of that could help. Erasmus.

Going back to the Spinning Hat gazebo, I swiftly kicked it and heard the familiar hum of Magic in my ears. When my head stopped spinning from the force of the Teleport, I realized I wasn’t exactly in Silmaria anymore.

Instead, I was up in the clouds! And one talked! Why am I not surprised?

“He that wishes to pass through me, first must answer questions three. What is your name?”

I sighed as the memory of the gargoyle in Spielburg went through my mind. And, without even thinking, this slipped out. “Oh no, not again.”

“Wrong.” Said the cloud.


POOF! Back down to Silmaria again. Wonderful. Kick. Swish swoosh. Let’s do this again.

“What is your name?”

“Marcus Donnelly.”

“What is your quest?”

I was tempted to say something idiotic, but decided against it as I’d just be Teleported away again and I wanted to get this done. “To save Silmaria,” said I.

“What is the meaning of life?”

I raised an eyebrow. “This is a dumb question. NOWAIT!”

“Wrong.” Poof. Damn my tongue not being wired to my brain! Perhaps I should cut it off with my sword? Kick. Teleport. Once more!

I made little “come on, come on” motions with my fingers as I went through the questions again. “What is the meaning of life?”

“42. My age times 2.” How did I know that? I read it in a book once, “Traveler’s Lodestar to the World” by Adam Douglas. Good story, good series in general. It takes place in a future where a man named Artur Chip is the only survivor of our destroyed world and goes on adventures with his friend Wade Dean. There’s a talking Golem named Mervin in it! And the last book? Deals with them going off to confront Thor in one part! It’s AWESOME!

Ahem. Where was I?

Right. Erasmus.

Stepping through the talking cloud’s mouth, I was astounded at what I saw! Now, I’ve seen castles, magical or not, and needless to say, I’ve never seen one that floats in midair! Not with this… interesting and whimsical design of twisting towers and upside down rooms with a posh red carpet leading up to the door being held shut by two dragons made of metal. Good thing I’m braver than most, since I didn’t mind the dizzying height nor the two draconic ‘guards’ at the door. Knocking politely, I stepped into the awaiting void behind the entrance, and found myself back in the house I woke up in a couple days ago.

I found myself dazzled by everything, from the ceiling made of glittering starlight to the arcane symbols on the walls. So much so that I would have jumped in shock at hearing Erasmus and Fenris interrupt me if I already wasn’t floating. The powerful Wizard was sitting in his chair, practicing spells and behind him was a curtain. I was tempted to peek behind it, but restrained my curiosity. For all I knew, there was nothing there.

Erasmus asked me if there was something on my mind, and I showed him the toolkit I found at the bank and explained what happened. Luckily, Erasmus was already on it and incanted with a wave of his arms, “Trissle, Trassle, Trussle, Tree… show us what we learn from thee!”

And speaking of arms… that’s exactly what popped out of the curtain! Oddly, it was just one. Hmmm…

Going back down to Silmaria, I thought about this. Whoever the Thief was, I’d probably have to wait until dark for them to show up. I may not be a nightstalker myself, but I know that the shadow of night makes for a good shroud for someone of a more dubious profession. That’s just common sense.

Speaking of theft, Erasmus mentioned that he had something stolen from him recently himself. He was in possession of something called the Prophecy Stone and was studying it. He thinks it might have something to do with the destruction of Atlantis. Somehow, somebody with magical aid was able to sneak past the talking cloud without being seen, and when Erasmus returned here, it was gone. Needless to say, he was NOT happy. I’ve seen angry Wizards in my time, and I never want to see someone so powerful blow their top.

So, to pass the time, I did my rounds around the town square. Marrak misses the days back when there were sailors and fishermen by the docks, as well as the fish. Salim needs some Pegasus feathers as he needs them for his Stamina Pills as he sold the last one to a Fighter yesterday. Speaking of that, a lot of their customers are buying Healing and Poison Cure Pills lately. Business is well, but that’s only due to the war. Julanar tells me that she wishes they would have fewer, but happier patrons someday. Also, according to Salim, Stamina Pills can be used for dates, if you know what I mean. I’ll remember that! I also noticed that they were selling something called Fire Proofing Oil, but I have no idea what it is because it’s out of stock. Salim needs the scales of a dragon to make them. Now where am I supposed to get those?!

I also visited the Famous Adventurer again, just to see if he was alright.

“Good day, sir. How do you feel?” He put down his quill and looked at me. I glanced at the parchment he was writing on but I never was the best at reading things that were upside down.

“Didn’t notice you coming in. Trying to get the phrasing just right in my new book, “How to be a Writer in Ten Easy Lessons.” ‘Course, lesson one is to be inspired – like taking a drink from the Hippocrene.” He sighed and gave me a sad look. “There was a time when I was a lot like you… young, adventurous, good looking, bound to see the world. Running around became such a hassle, though. I’ve been there and I’ve done that and there’s not much else left to do.” He shrugged. “I started this school awhile ago. Just got tired of doing things one day, and decided to settle down for a while. Picked up a pen and started to write about some of the things I’d done. Guess I’ve been here for a long time now.” He glanced down at his manuscript and ran his fingers across the dried ink. “Used to love books as a kid. They taught me things, made me want to go places and do things. Now all I do is write them.”

I was silent as he spoke. A nagging thought crept up in my mind as I listened to him, ‘This might be you someday, Marcus. One day, you’re just gonna get tired of adventuring, and you’ll just curl up in a corner and waste away like he is! Someday, the world won’t need you anymore. And it’s inevitable, since it happens to everyone eventually no matter how strong you think you are. In fact, you probably already feel this way, don’t you?’

‘Shut up! I have my duty to perform!’ I mentally snapped.

‘And what happens after that is done. hm? Where will you go after this?’

‘I… I don’t know, alright? But, I don’t want to dwell on that. Not now. People need me.’

“Are you alright, kid? You look troubled.” He suddenly said, breaking my thoughts.

“Huh? Oh. I’m fine, sir. Just got lost in my thoughts for a moment there,” I replied, avoiding his eyes.

“Tell you what.” I looked at him again. “You being an adventurer and all, you’ll probably want to explore this island.” I nodded. “Well, somewhere to the North is the genuine Pegasus, that winged horse of legend. Tried to ride him one, but he threw me right into the sea. Took me awhile to get back to shore. If you ever see where Pegasus rests, look for a stream nearby. That’s the Hippocrene stream, boy. Pegasus stomped it’s hoof one day and the water came pouring out. Bring me some of that water, kid. It’s been so long since I last tasted its sweet inspiration. I’ll make sure it’s worth your while.”

I nodded again. “You have my word, sir. I need all the help I can get for the Rites of Rulership.”

He looked at me surprised for a moment then went back to being serious. “So, the old King is dead. Just goes to show how much I’ve been paying attention around here. The Rites of Rulership are a good way to pick a King. Better than most, anyway.”

I wished him farewell and was about to leave, when I heard him sigh. “There’s nothing here, kid, just dust and dry ink. That’s all I am anymore—dried up like a prune and about as much fun.”

I looked at him over my shoulder. “Prunes are plants. Plants need water. So do we. Don’t worry, you have my word— something a Northerner never breaks.”

Since it still wasn’t dark enough, I then headed off to the gate to the East out of pure curiosity. And I beheld a very strange island nearby! It looked to be all one big building made up of towers and mechanical devices, and even from the shoreline, I saw naught a single tree or patch of grass. Why there wasn’t even a beach or dock for boats, just a cable car running to and from the island. Off in the distance, I noticed what looked like a gondola sitting in the water. And it had wings! Hmm…

Sadly, I wasn’t able to reach the fabled Science Island, for that is what it was, today. Why? Because I don’t know my own strength apparently. See, the only way to reach the island is to bring over the cable car. This requires the lever for the brake to be pulled, and, well… I accidentally snapped it clean off when I attempted to adjust it. Again, I either don’t know my own strength, or it was rusted badly. Knowing me, it was most likely the former. Wonderful.

Heading back to town, the sun was rapidly setting. Seriously, how is it doing that?! I headed down to the Dead Parrot Inn. There, I bumped into the one armed sailor I’d met yesterday. I greeted him, but I got no response. Wondering what was wrong, I started to follow him outside. I saw he was headed towards West Gate. I don’t recall seeing houses over there…

Keeping my distance, I watched him go past the Guild, cross the bridge and then, oddly, he went underneath it. Why? There was a cleverly concealed door under there!

There is only one place I know that can be so secretive about it’s location… a Thieves Guild. Rushing over to where the door was after the sailor went in, the hair on the nape of my neck raised up and a chill went down my spine. Danger was here! A trap! I knocked on the door politely and got a face full of the blast! Good thing I can Heal.

But, despite that which might deter a lesser man, I knew I had to get in there no matter what! So, since knocking set off the trap, what did I do instead? I used my brute Strength skills to bash down the door, of course! Ja, because if knocking makes the trap go off, SURELY purposely throwing myself at the door won’t set it off as well, right?!

So I summoned my strength and pushed against the door as hard as I could. It wouldn’t budge. I tried again, still nothing. Perhaps I need to eat more spinach? “No matter! Keep trying!” I told myself. And I pushed and shoved again. Nothing. I kicked the wall! Nothing. I punched at the concrete, making my knuckles bleed! Nothing. I pushed harder, grunting and sweating like a boar! Same result.

I screamed in rage and shook my fist at the heavens! I then continued my efforts.


Finally… FINALLY the door slid open at last! I was panting heavily, my knuckles were red, sweat dripping off my forehead and needless to say I was exhausted, and not to mention PISSED!!

I stomped into the Thieves Guild, ignoring the wariness I felt and confronted the sailor. “Hey, what are you doing here? This place isn’t for the likes of you! Get out!” he yelled.

“You!” I jabbed my finger at him. “What is your name? Speak!” He told me his name was Arestes. “You’re the one who robbed the bank, aren’t you?”

He looked at me flabbergasted. “What?! Nobody saw me near there!”

“Nevertheless, you’re under arrest as you are our prime suspect. After all, if you WEREN’T at the bank, then why are you hiding down here, hm? Why is this place so difficult to get into if you’re not doing anything shady?”

“That’s none of your business! You’re no guard, what makes you think you can arrest me?”

I crossed my arms and I glared, speaking coldly. “Do you know who I am? I am a Prince of Shapeir, a Hero of Four Lands, and a Paladin. I seek out evildoers wherever they may hide, including the likes of you. I have a sword, and I shall use it if I must. Now then, come quietly, and perhaps I’ll stay my sword hand. Do I make myself clear?”

That seemed to sway him. He knew he couldn’t match me in a fight, not with his handicap and so he gave me no trouble. I admit that I probably was too harsh to be threatening him like that, but, I was so frustrated with that dang door and exhausted in general that I really didn’t care at the time. Forgive me.

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




Day 95

Today was short and relatively simple.

Arestes didn’t spend a single Drachma so everything was returned to the bank a-okay. I was rewarded handsomely- 2000 Drachmas! Yippee! That’s more than enough to pay for the Rites!

However… not yet. I feel I need to explore this island. Get to know where everything lies. Where all the important landmarks are. I need to find Pegasus, for one. I will keep my promise, I swear.

I didn’t do that today, though.

What I did do however was that I visited Arestes in jail, to see how he was doing. I said hello and I saw him look up at me. “Come to gloat? Ye gots me fair and square.”

“No, I just wanted to ask how you’re doing.”

He shrugged. “Ain’t as bad as it could be. Ain’t starvin’. They gots all the money back so they let me off, cheap. I’m in here for twenty. Might even live that long if I’m lucky.”

“So, I have to ask you something. Everyone has some sort of motive for what they do. I fight for justice and honor because SOMEONE has to keep evil at bay. What about you?”

He frowned. “It’s a living. Better’n starving. Didn’t want ta be a Thief, but there’s no work for a one-armed sailor, ya know?” I asked how he lost it and he explained. “Lost it when some rigging on the sails got tangled up in a storm. I was getting it loose when the wind shifted. I was knocked aft and my arm was smashed. Like to die, I was. Trying ta get money ta get a new arm. Reckon I’ll never get one now…” I looked at him sadly. “Don’t look at me like that! I don’t need your pity!”

I sighed. “I feel kinda bad for arresting you now, but… you do understand I needed that money. I’m in the Rites of Rulership, and you stole the cash I was saving for my entry fee.” He just grinned a little and said there were no hard feelings. “I’m sorry if I was- no, I KNOW I was too harsh on you last night, and for that I am truly sorry. I’m not normally like this, but I think it was that damn door giving me so much trouble that I just lost my patience and temper.”

“I thought I heard someone screaming at the door last night!”

“Yeah, that was me. Your security is great, I’ll give you that! And I’m a very strong man, yet it took me nearly two hours just to get in there.” I laughed, then told him one more thing. “I promise you this, Arestes. I promise that I’ll do something to help you out.”

His eyebrows raised. “Really? Why?”

“Because, it’s my job to help people, as both a Paladin and a Hero. It’s what I do. You’re not the first Thief I’ve befriended, nor will you be the last and I hate to see anybody in misery.”

“Oh, I’m fine, matey!”

“Nevertheless, you could be better, couldn’t you?”

After that, I did my rounds and went to Pholus’s shop, buying a spear to fix the lever at Science Island. It worked perfectly! Oh, but there’s one more thing I want to mention before I talk about Science Island. I bought myself a Map from Wolfie, as I’d need it if I’m going to explore tomorrow.

I also bought a Hera’s Ring.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Aren’t I still mourning? Yes. I am. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. Erana was my first true love, but… someday I realize I’ll have to let her go. Hence the ring, to be given to the lady of my choosing should she appear to me. Erana may be gone, but her memory lives on in my heart. And even if I find that I love another, that won’t change. You never truly forget your first love, after all. Still, regardless, I doubt it’ll happen for a very long time. I have a mission! I don’t have time for love right now!

Anyway, Science Island.

It’s… how do I describe it? Interesting, I suppose. Now that I was closer, I saw that there was a platform with a pulley and crane attached to it, a ramp that arched downward that I’m sure with enough momentum would launch whatever went down in it into the sky, and several towers. It was all so different from the rustic and homey places I’d seen elsewhere. Everything all mechanical, it was almost frightening.

I couldn’t go in right away, mind you. Why? Because the door was locked. And why was it locked? Because I had to take a test on a viewscreen before I could go in, of course!

A test?! But I didn’t study!! Oh noes!!

It was multiple choice, thankfully. I spent the next hour or so, just for fun, answering the questions wrong just to see what it’d say.

For example: “What is the Goal of the True Scientist?”

I answered “To take over the world.”

“Wrong. That’s just what we do tonight.”

“What is a Quark?”

I answered, “A bartender on a Space Station.”

“Incorrect. You belong in Deep Space, nein?”

“What is the Essence of the Scientist?”

I answered, “Subtlety and a bad temper.”

“ Wrong. That’s Wizards, you nit!”

And so on and so forth. Eventually I buckled down and gave the correct answers, and that gear that served as the door opened for me at last.

The inside of the place was very dark and gloomy. I smelled smoke from the hearth, and faintly the scent of chemicals as well, making me wrinkle my nose. There was a telescope nearby, and another viewscreen which held yet ANOTHER test called the Science Aptitude Test. Deciding to be honest this time, I got questions about Anatomy, Geology, Geometry, Astronomy and lastly Chemistry. I got a password for this! LOGIC. Hmmm…

Also, there was a Pizza Pie Chart on the wall. I avoided looking at it.

There was also what looked like the skeletal structure of a bird’s wings hanging on the wall. The plaque read, “Flying Machine Prototype 1. Some assembly required.” I looked at it in astonishment. Could this be perhaps the fabled Wings of Icarus from the legend?! Or was this just another Science project? Probably the latter, since I’m sure that the one from ages ago would have been destroyed by the crash. Upstairs, there was a rather large man with strange proportions and who had an odd complexion. His eyes barely focused on me when I tried to introduce myself.

Sitting by a desk nearby sat one of the Scientists. However, unlike Dr. Cranium he seemed more pleasant and eccentric. I thought of him as almost a Science version of Erasmus. Until he started talking.

“Guten tag Herr. Wissenschaftler. I am Marcus Donnelly. Don’t mind me, I’m just looking around.”

“Wait…” he said. “You mean, you’re NOT here to become a famous Scientist?!”

I huffed and crossed my arms. “Nien. I don’t need to. I’m an adventurer, a Hero, and a Paladin. And the latter is already enough pressure and work on my shoulders, and I doubt becoming a Scientist will help me in that regard. I simply came here to explore and-!”

He attempted to ignore me. “I’m very sorry, but I am very busy right now and have no time salesmen, reporters, adventurers, or other riff raff.”

“You could at least be courteous and tell me who you are.”

“Very well. I am Dr. Pretorius. I am head Scientist at the Academy of Science here in Silmaria. Most of the others are on sabbatical right now. There was a little disagreement about one of the experiments… however, we are fully functional as an educational facility.”

“Oh really?” I looked around. “Seem rather small for a school. Where do you sleep? And surely you don’t all crowd around one microscope, do you? Because I only see one in here.” He frowned and didn’t answer, and went back to his research. However I grabbed his attention when I asked, “So, dare I ask, what’s with the Pizza Pie Chart on the wall there?”

He looked up, steepled his fingers and smiled. As soon as he started explaining it, I immediately regretted it. According to him, it was the essence of scientific principles. A well-designed pizza is like a well-designed experiment. Crust- crisp and to the point like seeking a hypothesis. Sauce- carefully distilled and combined substances like exploring a hypothesis. Cheese- binding, like the culmination of experimentation. Artichokes and anchovies- his favorite!

He lost me not long afterwards, and I soon started getting a headache when he started explaining about Science in general. He talked about flairs to the hypothesizes being to the sum of the glares on the opposite sides, and triangular reasoning and all the stuff that they could do at Science Island, except they couldn’t because they haven’t invented those things yet, and told me that Gort was the perfect “self made man” and I just started becoming uncomfortable and I left.

After that, I went to the Dead Parrot, chatted with Budar and Nawar, giving them both flowers to be nice to them and had a drink at the bar. Rum and Croak. I have really caught Nawar’s attention it seems, as she told me she’s always fine when I’m around. I smiled at her, but made no advances to her aside from the flowers.

Perhaps someday I’ll get closer, but not now. In fact, I haven’t flirted with her at all aside from the flowers. I hope I’m not being too cold with her.

Ugarte was alone tonight as Ferrari was out at the Arena, watching the battles. Ugarte however, is not interested in watching such brutality. He does hope that he and I can do business again sometime like back in Rasier. I’m a bit skeptical on that, considering the trouble he got into last time, but as Ferarri said, the little man has his uses.

However, as I finished up at the Dead Parrot, I felt something. A faint tingling came over me and I shivered a little. I tensed and focused to stop, and was almost overwhelmed by what I sensed! I suddenly felt sadness grip upon my heart once again as I sensed just that- drunkenness, despair, lost hopes, loneliness… all around I sensed it from the very wood and stone that made up the inn to the people walking about, I sensed an aura! I tried to focus my newfound Power on one person at a time, but found the overall aura to be too strong to get a proper reading.

I forgot to mention that I felt that same tingling sensation yesterday as well. It was like a wave of calm washed over me and for just a moment, I had forgetting my troubles. It was wonderful!

And something tells me that it’ll come in very useful tomorrow…

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




*blood is dripped onto this entry*

Day 96

Getting up early as I usually do, I set out to do one thing today. I wanted to travel the island of Marete as much as I could, going in a complete circle and just get to know the landscape in general.

First however, I kept my promise. I hoofed it on over to the Apothecary and told Julanar all about Arestes’s troubles. She told me that she would help him as best she could with her Healing arts.

Seeing as I was setting out in the wilderness, I needed to be prepared and bought a ton of Healing Pills for myself. Yes, I realize that I can use my Paladin abilities, but better safe than sorry. What if there’s a time when I’m exhausted and can’t use them? These would be good in a pinch.

Speaking of safety, I also bought some Poison Cure Pills. Even if there wasn’t an Assassin around, I don’t know what’s out there so it’s best to be prepared.

Going back to Arestes, it turns out that Julanar’s words rang true! His arm is completely healed and he’s doing great! He told me, “I made a deal with that Centaur that runs the city. Gonna start up a locksmith shop in my hometown. Pay off me debt to Silmaria with cash instead of wasting away in jail me whole life.”

I smiled. “I’m glad to hear that. Everyone deserves a second chance.”

“That Healer babe is a swell lass too. She told me ya helped her once too, and was just passing the good along. I’ve not met the likes a either a ya before. Guess it’s my turn to do someone else a good turn someday, as well.”

“I think that’s a great idea, my friend. You know, we need more people like us in the world. That’s basically my role as a Paladin: protect the world from the forces of darkness, and show mercy and kindness to the downtrodden. Trust me on this, when things are rough, sometimes all you need is knowing that there are people whose lives you’ve touched and they want you to succeed in your mission. Nobody wants to be called a failure, after all. And sometimes knowing that those people you helped have your back, gives you all the strength you need, even from ones you don’t expect. Like a Thief you were kind to saving your ass from a Demon who was your Doppelganger. Or the support of an entire town, whom, just a month ago hated you for being what you were, doubled with the love of a lady, giving you the strength to not only stay sane in a land of darkness but also combat it and drive it away forever. Kindness isn’t a disease, but it is a blessing that should be spread. And yet so few do in this world. But, I’m rambling now, sorry. That was probably rather redundant and boring.”

“Nah, it’s alright, matey. I’ll remember that.” He smiled at me, “Well, if I never see ya again, ya know I’ll never forget ya. Good day to ya, and good luck on them Rites. I’ll be rooting for ya!”

I told him thank you and then, I left the city for the first time.

Needless to say, it is a LOT of walking!

There are some interesting things that I must point out about the island.

For one, this place is simply GORGEOUS! Blue skies dotted with wispy clouds, palm trees by the shore sway in the gentle breeze, the grass is soft yet the soil is firm. The smell of the sea reaches my nose, untainted by dead fish now, and I smile. It reminds me of home, as my hometown lies south of the sea, and hears the sound of the waves crashing upon the sandy shore gives me a bit of comfort. The sun shines warmly upon this lovely day, yet not uncomfortably so, as there are myriads of rocks around me, forming canyons that give a traveler shade and shadows to rest in. If I crane my neck and look carefully, I can see the shape of Mount Draconis from wherever I stand, as it is the center of the island. Come to think of it… I don’t believe I’ve ever really gotten a good look at a volcano before on my travels. There are calderas in my country, yes, but nowhere where I live. Yet there are mountains in my area, scaling up to touch the sky, yet none I have seen in my lifetime have fire bursting from its peak like a Dragon’s breath. Yet, this one seems to be slumbering and the roar I’d expect to hear from it is instead a soft rumble. Hopefully, I shall be far, far away from here should it ever decide to blow.

For another interesting thing, there were the statues. Seven in all, carved from marble and shaped into a dragon, curled around a rock with leathery wings unfurled. Touching one of them not only gave me a feeling of such great power that it shook me to my core, but also gave me a sense of protection as well. And that was proven further when I read the inscriptions on each pillar that I discovered on my trek.

To the southwest so it decreed:

“By the placing of this Pillar, the binding of the Dragon of Doom begins.”

To the north it was inscribed:

“This is the second of the Pillars that bind the Dragon of Doom. As long as this stands, the Dragon shall not again fly.”

To the northeast it was written:

“By the raising of this Pillar, the Dragon of Doom is driven from the shores of Marete.”

To the northwest it is said:

“The first to rise; the last to fall. The Doom cannot triumph while I still stand.”

To the west was carved the words:

“By the Raising of this Stone, the Dragon now sleeps.”

To the southwest was etched into the stone:

“By the raising of this Pillar, the Dragon of Doom shall be driven into the cave of Dragon Blood.”

To the southeast was a Dragon Pillar as well, bringing me back to almost full circle, and where I am now, writing this up. Unfortunately, the inscription is too hard to make out and indecipherable to me

The Dragon of Doom, huh? Sounds ominous. I’ll have to find out more about this soon. Whenever something like these assumedly sacred pillars appear on my adventures, they’re usually important. There must be a legend associated with them, they must have a purpose. I know it.

Most of the Pillars are found near certain points around the island, usually surrounded by a part of the canyon or near the shoreline. However, three of them are at landmarks.

The first landmark I reached was a place that I sensed great danger almost immediately. At first, entering the obsidian cave, I wondered what was wrong here as at first I saw nothing. Then, my eyes adjusted to the darkness, and I saw an unnerving red glow ahead. Walking forward, with every step I took, I trembled. Danger called out to me, and I considered running, but I knew that I wasn’t a cowardly milk drinker who fled at the first sign of darkness and peril.

Have I mentioned that I HATE bats?! I think I mentioned this back in Mordavia already, but in case I have not, I just wish to let you know that I hate these little fanged rats with wings. That’s all I have to say on that.

The red glow was actually lava, a river of it, flowing through the cave like blood from a gaping wound.

They called this place the Dragon Blood Pool.

Fitting name, I think! It certainly was as hot and burning as a Dragon’s blood. I must have been deep inside the earth, for it is said that lava is it’s blood. A great Temple was carved out of the rock here, it’s massive, foreboding doors shut tightly. Flanked by marble pillars and two hideous, snarling gargoyles, the Dragon Blood Temple was enough to send chills down the spine of any man, despite the heat, for all can sense a great power locked away safely.

Yet, despite the danger I sensed here, it was simply perfect! For this was the first step in reforging the King’s Ring into a Ring of Truth. Dipping the Ring carefully into the lava, held in my fingertips, I felt a surge of power go through it and a brief shock! That seemed to do the trick.

Now came the second part, as I’d been wounded before coming here, otherwise this wouldn’t work. I stuck the ring onto my finger, and I bit my tongue as I felt a great stinging, sucking, burning feeling of pain! I tried to pry it off my finger as it drank hungrily of my blood, sapping it like a Vampire’s touch! Yet, as soon as it began, it ended. The pain faded to a dull throb then ceased completely. I let out the breath I’d been holding and looked down at the Ring. It briefly glowed, and then faded away a moment later. Phew!

My task done, I headed outside once more and continued my journey. However, as I reached the northern edge of the island, I walked right into an ambush!!

What were my opponents? Boarmen? Goons? Dragonlings? Shades?

Nay, worse! WEIRDLINGS!!

These… things! They were green skinned, horned like a bull, had piercing red eyes and jaws full of too many teeth, and they HIT LIKE A TRUCK! AND I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT THAT EVEN IS!! Those scythes cut through me like paper and they were many, all surrounding me, and when I briefly was able to sense their auras… I saw nothing but a desire for destruction! All they wished was to invade our world, crushing anyone who stands in their way!


The battle was difficult, blood flowed and I almost didn’t make it as I was tired from battling other monsters and, of course, lots of walking. But, I felt a sense of pride come over me as the first of these alien creatures finally fell to Lightstar’s flaming steel, and, thinking quickly, I searched the corpse and discovered a Vitality Potion! Downing it as quick as I could, new strength surged through me as I managed to heal my injuries just in time and I just barely was able to kill the others, but I managed! Somehow!

Well, that was interesting, wasn’t it?

The second landmark I reached the Pegasus Nest! At last! I looked up and saw a majestic winged steed flying about, and felt a sense of freedom all around me. Several plateaus rose above my head, but only one really caught my eye. The tallest one was spiraling up to reach the mountains and at the top, lay a tree. It looked like something was there at the base, I’m assuming feathers, but I couldn’t quite tell from down there. Perhaps I’ll come back to this later.

Past the Dragon Pillar, however, I discovered something else.

A stream.

I’d found it! This was the Hippocrene Stream!

I couldn’t help myself. I knelt down, cupped my hands and took a drink. As soon I did so, I felt a rush of exhilaration and joy flow through my body! The water was as cold as ice, but it seemed to strengthen me down to my very bones instead of hinder them. My heartrate quickened in my chest, and I suddenly felt more aware and alive than I’d ever felt! It was as if I was reborn! I clenched my fists and punched the air, breathing deep, and confidence rushed through me. With this strength I now had, I felt like I could take on ANY monster or challenge and be victorious!

I took out my amphora and filled it to the brim with the water, remembering my mission. And then, I watched my flask suddenly change! Suddenly, the middle widened and the pattern around it disappeared completely. As the water filled it, it went from a dark blue gradient to a reddish-purple as it got closer to the neck of the bottle. The top widened as well as the cork, and the handles shrunk and moved as well, further up along the amphora.

What sorcery is this?!

…I’ve always wanted to say that!

But in all seriousness, how did it DO that?!

Something in the water maybe?

Filled up another amphora with the mystical water, this time for myself. After all, I never knew when I’d need this energy again and sometimes I doubt I’ll be able to make it back here. Or! Perhaps I can give it to someone else who could use the little pick-me-up other than FA or myself?

I fought quite a few monsters on my trek around the island. Boarmen, for one. Goons, for another. The latter hits hard with their hammers, yet they don’t seem to be very bright and just enjoy smashing things up close, my face included. The former however, have a longer reach with their spears and were actually somewhat clever in that, say, for example I put up my shield to block their spear stabs, and they actually will hop around me to my sides and behind me so I can’t just stand there and hold my shield endlessly to train my blocking skills. Thusly, I have to keep on my toes. I do wonder if I can do this with Goons, though? Hmmm…

However, one foe I fought that kinda creeps me out is the Shade. Undead! Even after they breathe their last, they still haunt our world. As I faced them tonight, I felt my life force and strength just being near them! So cold…

And yet, during this fight, I discovered a new Power of mine! With the power of my Will, a bright light engulfed my ethereal foes and there was a loud crackling POOM sound as they EXPLODED before my eyes in blue flames! There wasn’t even a pile of bones left; they just faded away into oblivion. I only can focus this Power on an individual Shade, not all three at once, BUT! This is VERY useful, I think! If only I had this back in Mordavia, that would have made quick work of those blasted Wraiths! Oh well.

Another creature I fought was something called a Homunculous. A little Demon-esque creature with fur, fangs, horns and wings. I take back what I said about the bats. I think I just hate enemies that fly in general! They fly out of range of Lightstar’s swing and it’s generally just annoying! Sometimes I miss having the Magic I gained back in Mordavia, as Frostbite would hit from long range! Sure, I rarely if at all trained it to become powerful, but it still would have been better than this! I can’t even use a bow or something, as I don’t know how to use one!

The last place I reached was a large clearing, surrounded by smooth, curved cliff walls and a calm river running through it. There were large trees here, but something seemed… off about them. I couldn’t sense any auras here, but still, I sensed something here. Looking at the trees, I saw how twisted they were, almost as if they wanted to escape this place. Despite the calm and serenity I felt here, there was something ominous and foreboding in the late night air here.

I felt drawn to a certain section of the wall where the river ended. I pressed my hand against the granite and I immediately regretted it! It felt slimy, freezing to the touch, and just plain WRONG! A shiver went down my spine, and I knew that something DEFINITELY was here! And whatever was behind this wall wasn’t friendly.

Gods help me… and I have the inkling that I’ll need to come here again. And it won’t be fun, I’m sure.

Perhaps if I get some rest, I’ll be able to get this off my mind.

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




Day 97

I couldn’t sleep. This place just bugged me too much. So, I just kept walking.

Heading back to Silmaria, it was nearly 4 AM when I finally came across something interesting. I was wandering along the shoreline and came across a basket!

And MORE Homunculii! Seeing as I hadn’t had any sleep, I was grumpy and just decided, “Screw this!” and used Peace for the first time. Instantly, I saw the fiends relax and there was a sense of calm came over the area. Rubbing tiredness from my eyes, I snatched up the basket and hightailed it outta there, as I didn’t know how long this Power lasts on enemies.

Wandering back to the city, I admired the sunrise for a bit.

My first order of business was to do my rounds around town after going back to the inn to eat something. Goop soup with cabbage. I don’t want to talk about it. I’m just too tired.

In the Adventurer’s Guild I met somebody new! And he was the most arrogant, pompous, self-centered dick I’ve seen since Barnard Von Spielburg! The very first thing out of his mouth was, “Ah, you are highly fortunate to have entered into the presence of the epitome of the Heroic Prototype. I, Magnum Opus, have grace this Guild with my magnificent presence.”

“Good see Hero man,” Toro spoke up, “Hero man not talk too much.”

I saw Magnum give Toro a look that I wasn’t too fond of. Almost as if he was saying “You’re inferior to my greatness!” with his eyes.

Finding my voice, I greeted him gruffly.

“I, Magnum Opus, permit you to speak with me.”

Despite my tiredness, I attempted to be civil.

Keyword: attempted.

Result: failure.

I shot back, “Oh, please EXCUSE me, my lord!” I took a mocking bow before him and made my sarcasm clear, “I was not aware that I stood before such an illustrious specimen of pure manliness! Please, find it in your heart to forgive me if I have offended you.”

He didn’t seem to notice my words, never mind the tone, and kept talking. “I, Magnum Opus, supreme warrior of the city-state of Nova Roma, unrivalled as a spearman, unparalleled as a shieldsman, and unsurpassed as a strategist, shall now show Silmaria how great I am.”

“Oh really?”

He gave a definite nod and turned his nose up. “I, Magnum Opus, am here to win the Rites of Rulership and rule this little backwater city. They obviously need my indomitable leadership skills and matchless statesmanship.”

I crossed my arms and glared. ‘Then how come I haven’t seen you around here or seen evidence of your deeds? At least with me you can easily tell my reputation. Show me, don’t tell me! Still… I’ll have to keep an eye on this guy. He’s competition, after all.’ I thought.

He motioned to Toro and rolled his eyes. “The beast appears to be the guildmaster here. It seems that nobody else wanted the job.”

I clenched my first. How DARE he address Toro like that?! I looked away from him and focused my gaze on my Minotaur pal. Despite his limited speech, at least HE didn’t want to make punch a hole in the wall. Or several. Ignoring Magnum completely, I asked Toro, “How are you today, my friend?”

“Better day now Hero Man here. Toro okay until Magnum man show up.”

Magnum butted in. “I, Magnum Opus, have transformed the beast’s day from ‘okay’ to a memorable event.”

“True. Not easy forget Magnum man.”

I snarled at Magnum. He just LOVES the sound of his own voice, doesn’t he?!

Toro snorted. “Too much hot air here.”

Magnum nodded. “It is warm in here. Rigorous exercise tends to produce heat.” Thank you, Captain Obvious!

Toro sniffed the air and wrinkled his nose in disgust. “Smells like sweat.”

“Sweat is a manly odor, beast. Physical exercise cleans the body.”

As much as I’d hate to admit it, that was the ONE thing I agree on with him. Sweat IS manly! It shows you’re working hard and making effort! That’s something my Gildemeister hammered into my head: “If I don’t see you sweat, boy, then you aren’t really trying!”

However, Toro was right as well. “Water cleans body better.”

“Have you two met before, Toro?”

He nodded. “Work out here lots. Come into guild very early morning.”

“Mens sano in corpre sano, I, Magnum Opus, always say. You look as if you could use some exercise to build up some muscles. I am an excellent example of physical fitness.”

I just huffed and narrowed my eyes. I rolled up my sleeves to show off my biceps, Magnum wasn’t impressed, and I walked out. Magnum called out, “Leaving so soon? You’ve hardly worked out at all! You will never become the epitome of the perfect physique as I have come!” I didn’t answer.

Wanting to get it that off my mind, I headed to a destination that surely would make me feel better- Famous Adventurer’s place.

Stepping through the store, I took a brief look around. Still dusty. Still stuffed with books. Still had that air of lifelessness to it. There was the man himself, still pouring over his book and scribbling in it, as I am right now.

I was about to change that, I knew. I took out the jar of Hippocrene Water and unplugged the cork.

Hearing the ‘pop!’ sound, Famous Adventurer’s eyes immediately looked up at me and for once, I saw interest and excitement in his eyes! “That’s it! You’ve got it! I’d know it’s smell anywhere. It’s got the scent of the wild bull you’re riding, the chill of a starlit night on the top of a mountain peak, the perfume of a lover’s lips…” I placed it on the desk and he took a long whiff of it. “How could I ever forget this? It’s the drink that makes men becomes Gods. It’s adventure and glory and life. It’s what you’re here for, isn’t it? It’s why I was here for so long, I just didn’t realize it.”

“So,” I asked, “how do you feel?”

“Ask me that again when I’ve had my quaff of this stuff. I’ve been dead for so long here, and I didn’t even know it. This should bring me back to life again.”

I smiled at my success and got all warm and fuzzy inside. Sometimes, it feels good to be a Hero to somebody. I leaned forward and took a sniff myself, breathing deeply. “You tasted it, didn’t you?” he asked. I nodded and he smiled. “You couldn’t help but drink deep the waters of the Hippocrene. It’s the milk of mother nature, the liquor of inspiration, the very spirit of adventure.”

I nodded wistfully. “The smell is the feeling of excitement, like witnessing a sunny dawn after a harsh blizzard back home, when the world shines and glistens with icy diamonds.”

FA just said “Mmhmm…” then told me, “Come back after I’ve had a chance to enjoy this. I’ll try to find something you’d be interested in.”

I said thank you and I left to continue my journey. I returned Sarra’s Basket to it’s owner and she was so grateful and happy to see it again that she gave me a nice little gift of a shell necklace as a reward. What a sweet lady!

After that, I journeyed back to the Pegasus Nest to collect my feathers. Now, how was I to get up there? Well, on one of the plateaus sat a very precariously placed rock riiiight at the edge. Below that was a log which tied to physics and gravity and functioned as a seesaw, and behind me was the plateau where Pegasus’s Nest was. And I had some rocks in my pocket. Do you see my plan here?

With expert precision, I hit my target- the rock, and the momentum from it hitting the seesaw was enough to launch me straight into the air, with me even being able to do a couple flips in midair, before landing safely on the Pegasus’s plateau. I hurried up and grabbed as many feathers as I could carry- 100 in fact! –and then used my Mystic Magnet for the very first time!

With a whoosh and a pulling sensation, I found myself back in my room. I ran back down to the town square but, sadly, it was already dark by the time I got back and therefore all the shops were closed.

So instead I headed over to the Dead Parrot. And I beheld a sight I haven’t seen in a long time! Nawar was dancing! Memories of Shapeir and Shema’s lovely dance at the Katta’s Tail started to come back to me. I couldn’t tear my eyes away, and I suddenly found myself getting all hot and sweaty just looking at her passion. She smiled and winked at me when she stopped her performance, and I gave her some flowers- again –as an appreciation for her very lovely dance. Budar told me that, “Nawar knows that catching a man is like catching a fish. You have to wiggle the bait a bit.”

She does have a point.

I wanted to go to the Arena and give Magnum a piece of my mind. Thinks he’s so great, yet he just seems all talk. Unfortunately, the Arena was closed for the night. Perhaps another day I’ll face off against him, or, if I can’t do that, I can at least give him whatfor in the Rites whenever those start.

I feel I might be ALMOST ready…


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




Day 98

Short day today.

Had an interesting breakfast- smashed potatoes with pistachio cream. It was edible, but REALLY peculiar! Melted ice cream on top of mashed potatoes… wow.

I did my rounds and visited FA. He had a reward for me! a Magic Helm! To quote him, “Got it from a guy named Perseus. Wanted to settle down with his girlfriend, Andromeda, so he gave it to me. Haven’t had much use of it lately, so you might as well take it.”

It was a beautiful morning and FA wanted to run outside and dive off the dock and swim to who knows where. It’s that kinda day! He’s got books to write and stories to tell, however, and then he’s off to make some new adventures! After all, life’s too short to not enjoy fully!

Ain’t it the truth!

I asked him, “I’ve been meaning to ask, sir, if it’s not too much an offence… what’s you real name?” He asked me which one I wanted to know. “So you are one with many names, then? Then let’s hear them all!”

He cleared his throat and told me thusly:

“My name is Davy Jones when I sail upon the sea,
I’ve chorused with the Sirens as they sang their songs to me.
I’ve supped on Circe’s island, though she thought I was a boar,
And she’s the one gal I hope to never see once more.”

Satisfied, I wished him farewell for the day. He wished me well too, and told me to enjoy every moment of my adventure. After all, even the worst is better than death. I’ll have to remember that.

Anyway, the Magic Helm! It’s always handy to have head protection ready when going into battle, and it’ll help me from getting splitting headaches, if you know what I mean. I like the blue color too!

After that, I went to the Apothecary to hand in my Pegasus feathers. As I’d been working out at the Guild earlier, I was exhausted, and I admit that it hurt my ribs to be running everywhere. Luckily, Julanar noticed what was wrong immediately and I saw myself immersed in lavender sparkling lights and I sighed happily as my pain faded. All patched up now, I felt much better! I sold my Pegasus feathers, save for one clump for a keepsake. They’re SO beautiful! They glow like Mani’s light, only even more dazzling than that!

I bought some Healing Pills and Potions, and also some Stamina Pills and Potions as well! Poison Cures too. Funny. I could have sworn I bought some Poison Cures the other day… me not having any Healing items makes more sense though, given what I was doing the other day.

The only item not available is, of course, the Fire Proofing Oil. Salim needs “scales of a dragon”. I STILL don’t know where I’ll find those however. Perhaps I’ll fight a scaly beast in the Rites?

Then, I did something I consider unusual. See, a few days ago I got some Anchovies from Andre, and some Jalapeno Peppers from the Apothecary. I also, despite my fear of it, I bought a couple pizzas, one of each kind. And gyros. Extra rations, I figured. Then, I got the strangest idea when I looked at my inventory and specifically at the pizzas. Well, now that I think of it, I suppose what I did to the first one makes some sort of sense. After all, I heard Dr. Pretorius in his ramblings about the greatness of pizza, mentioned that anchovies and artichokes were his favorite toppings. And, surprise surprise! I happened to have one of them! So, I took out the still flopping fishies and slapped them onto the flat, round crusted bread. Then, on a whim, I decided to slap the peppers onto the pizza- a pepperoni one. Spicy, but surely SOMEBODY would want it, right?

So, buying all that stuff at the Apothecary kinda depleted my money. 715 Drachmas to be exact. So, after that, I ventured out to the two closest Dragon Pillars to raise some money. Just a few Boarmen and Hesperian Mercenaries, nothing to write home about. I believe, after a couple trips back and forth between the Pillars, I have enough money again, if not from the coins I picked up from the corpses then certainly from the weapons and shields I picked up.

By the time I got back to the city it was close to sunset, and sadly I missed my shot to sell my loot to Pholus. So, I went to the Dead Parrot as I usually do. Chit chatting with Budar and Nawar, I did my habit of giving flowers to Nawar. She smiled and blushed at me and said I certainly was a romantic.

My last stop was actually NOT the inn, however. It was Science Island. The silhouette of the facility looked at lot more ominous in the night sky. Maybe it’s just me. Inside, it was no less gloomy. I saw something different. The Pizza Pie Chart had changed. Before it had been the flavors of artichokes and anchovies, but now it was jalapeno and pepperoni.

And, to my surprise, there sitting at the desk wasn’t Dr. Pretorius. It was someone different. An aged man, looked to be around Pretorius’s age, but clearly not the same demeanor. He was balding, and looked at me with a glaring expression. There was a certain madness to his eyes that made me uneasy.

He was rude! REALLY rude! He told me, when I greeted him, “I have no time for social noises. Save them for those with nothing better to do.”

His name was apparently Dr. Mobius, and he considered himself the greatest Scientist on the island. Which is apparently not much to sneeze at, since he’s apparently surrounded by dolts. Hmph! Could have fooled me. He believed pizza was the “ultimate fuel” and thinks that someday there’ll be machines like “cars, airplanes, even spaceships” whatever those are, all running on pizza as long as they have sufficient fire to achieve great potency. His favorite toppings are, ‘shockingly’, jalapeno and pepperoni.

I snorted when he told me that Science was the ultimate power, as it bends everything else to its needs. How is Magic, a power that ALSO has the chance to alter reality with illusions or not, not the same thing?! Ugh… I won’t rant again. I already did to Cranium and shan’t repeat that here. You’ve already read it, and I doubt you’d want to see it again. By applying a little heat, a person can warp glass by blowing on it. A Wizard can probably do the same thing, again, by warping reality and altering the glass with their Will and a flick of the fingers.

He spoke of Gort, of his “magnificent upper body development, the finely tuned coordination in his extremities, and the ability to keep his mouth shut, unlike some.” I’m assuming that, given Pholus’s description, Gort was also my competition in the Rites. Going to the upper level of the place, I looked closer at Gort. His eyes barely caught mine as I got his attention, glassy and listless. Almost… lifeless. I attempted to speak to him, but got no answer. Looking at him closely, I saw that Mobius was right about his proportions. His skin was a light green, almost deathly pale. I attempted to sense his aura… but I found nothing. Or, if there was something in the large, curved cranium, something was blocking my ability. But what, I know not.

I reached out to touch his arm, but I was quickly scolded by the doctor. “Don’t touch that! You could set off a chain reaction of cataclysmic proportions!” I jerked my hand back and rolled my eyes.

The last thing I did was deliver the pizza to him. His eyes lit up in excitement and he snatched it from my hands faster than I could blink, immediately chomping down on it. Through his bites and swallows, he expressed his joy and told me that they could rule the world if they could but harness this power, asking me if I wanted a piece. I respectfully declined.

I Magnetted myself back to Gnome Ann’s and I’ve decided to go to bed early tonight.

Now though, that feeling of excitement has again taken hold in my heart. Now, I feel I am ready. I feel strong and I feel like my Powers at their peak! Why, I feel like if I willed it, that if I ever faced a foe that my very presence would make them think that death was highly overrated and flee for their lives!

Tomorrow! The Rites shall begin tomorrow!

Gods bless me at dawn and give me strength! HYRRAAAH!!

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




Day 99

With great enthusiasm I leaped out of this morning! Today was the day!

On this day would be the one I’d officially enter the Rites!

Scarfing down my breakfast, not caring about the odd taste, I rushed out the door. I immediately went over to Pholus’s to sell all my loot and I smiled as I had more than enough to pay the fee.

After heading over to Science Island briefly to deliver the pizza to Dr.Pretorius, I went and did my rounds, and then visited FA for the day.

He actually looked up at hearing me open the door and smiled. We exchanged pleasantries and then asked me, “Got any stories you’d like folks to know about being a Hero? I’m writing a new book!” When I asked him why he wanted to know he responded, “Started a new chapter in my novel, ‘Quest for Glory Story.’ It’s about this correspondence school graduate who wants to become King. Purely fictional, of course.”

I chuckled and winked. “Well, I suppose I might as well start at the beginning. My first adventure was at a nearby place, not a month’s walk away, called Spielburg Valley…” and I started from there.

When I was done telling that story, he smiled. “You’ve got enough of these to fill a book. Maybe five!” He told me also that if I needed any help in the Rites, that he’ll let me know.

And once more, I asked, “What’s your name?”

“Gypsy Davy I am called by when a lady follows me, Black Jack Davy, Wraggle Taggle, as together we both flee. Though she leaves me for a husband when she tires of the game, still she blushes and looks wistful when she hears folks call my name.”

I left then, and he told me to keep on adventuring. I shall!

Then I went to the Bank. I paid my fee with a gleeful smile. The REAL fun begins!

I ran up the stairs to the Hall of Kings and I heard the horns play, symbolizing that the meeting had begun. On the platform stood Dr.Mobius, Rakeesh, Logos and I’m assuming that was Minos last in line. On my left was Elsa and Magnum, and on my right was Gort and a Silmarian guard I didn’t know. Logos spoke, his voice reaching and echoing around the Hall for all to hear. “The King of Silmaria is dead, and the kingdom mourns his loss. We are gathered here to determine the future of this land through Rites of ancient ritual and tradition. By the Rites of Rulership, Heroes will prove their worth. By the Rites of Rulership, Silmaria will rise from the ashes of mourning like the Phoenix rises to the sun. By the Rites of Rulership, a new King will ascend to the throne of this land!” He looks us over, “Who here is worthy to compete in the Rites of Rulership?”

Dr. Mobius spoke snootily, “Gort, a shining example of the triumph of Science over superstition, is more than worthy to lead Silmaria to a rational, logical future.” I rolled my eyes.

“Gort has been named as a contender. Who else is worthy to compete in the Rites of Rulership?”

Minos spoke next, his voice raspy. Something about it seemed… off. “Elsa von Spielburg has proven herself to be a leader and a Hero in the lands to the North. She is quite capable of becoming the first woman King of Silmaria as well. I, Minos, councilor to Silmaria, am proud to sponsor her.” Hmmm… perhaps I’m wrong? I mean, when I get angry, I can get pretty scary I’m sure, plus I’m not exactly the prettiest fella so maybe looks are deceiving. Just look at Toby.

“Elsa von Spielburg has been named as a contender. Who else is worthy to compete in the Rites of Rulership?”

Magnum Opus spoke next, his voice proud and more than a little haughty. “I, Magnum Opus of the homeland of Romulus and Remus, leader of armies, peerless in the weapons of war, fierce, fearless and fearsome in battle, shall win the Rites of Rulership and become King of this kingdom!” I snorted and glared daggers at him.

“Magnum Opus has been named as a contender. Who else is worthy to compete in the Rites of Rulership?”

The guard with a bronze helmet spoke up, sounding confident. “I am Kokeeno Pookameeso. I have been a guard in the protection of Silmaria for years. I am one of the people of this land, and I am proud to aid my kingdom and my homeland.” I smiled and nodded respectfully.

“Kokeeno Pookameeso has been named as a contender. Who else is worthy to compete in the Rites of Rulership?”

Rakeesh spoke last, his noble voice drawing all eyes to him. “The Prince of Shapeir, Hero of Four Lands, is worthy to compete in the Rites to become King of this land.” I smiled and bowed my head.

Logos concluded. “The Prince of Shapeir has been named as a contender. By the ancient traditions of this land, five Heroes shall compete in this challenge. Five Heroes shall make this land stronger. One Hero shall rise to the throne of Silmaria. The Rites of Rulership shall begin!”

We all stood a little taller, a little prouder and confident, ready to face any challenge head on!

“The first Rite is the Rite of Freedom. The fishing villages of our kingdom and the island of Marete have been invaded by Hesperian Mercenaries. Ios, Keros, Paros, Tinos and Naxos have been overwhelmed. The invaders need to be driven from this land.”

“I shall free Paros, for it was the village in which I was born,” said Kokeeno. Makes sense to me! If Willowsby were at stake, I’d want to stand and defend it as well.

“Gort shall choose Keros, for it is the closest to the Academy of Science.” Of COURSE it is! That way you can keep him tethered to you like a dog.

“Elsa shall choose Ios, for it is closest to my island.” …Maybe I SHOULD be suspicious of you. What are you planning, sir? No, no… I won’t judge. Remember Toby.

Elsa glared at him and snorted, “Thank you, Minos, for making my choice for me.” Oooh! Sarcasm! Good girl!

“Forgive me, Elsa, but I only wished to secure your success. Ios is still the best choice.” Oh really?

“It matters not which village I shall free from the yoke of oppression, but Tinos shall be freed by Magnum Opus!” I still hate your attitude, buddy, even if that was well said.

By process of elimination, I figured I was to go to Naxos.

“Five shall go forth from the gates of Silmaria. Five shall bring freedom to the fishing villages, and return to the gates of the Hall of Kings with the sigils of those villages. Five shall begin the Rite of Rulership. The first person who returns with the sigil of their freed village shall be deemed the winner. Let the Rite of Freedom begin!”

The meeting adjourned and our deed decided, I was escorted out the gate. I frowned a little, however, when I glanced upwards at the sky. Was it really getting that late? Regardless, I trotted to Rakeesh’s usual sunning rock to speak with him once more. I enjoy our talks!

I tensed up a little as I reached out with my Powers out of curiosity and sensed the aura around the area. Guarded, but with a lingering aura of danger. I didn’t want to tell Rakeesh this though, since I considered that he sensed it as well and I didn’t wish to worry him even further. Rakeesh greeted me with a friendly smile, but then turned serious again. “I see you are ready and eager to face this Rite. Do not let your courage override your cunning. Think before you fight.”

I gave him a nod. “I shall, Baba. Are you anxious as well?”

“I am. It is a difficult and dangerous quest. The five of you who pursue this Rite are worthy individuals, but I do not believe you will all succeed at your mission. I wish I could assist you more, and I would rather do this myself, but my fighting days are mostly over.” I nodded in understanding. “You’re going to be facing a small army for this Rite. Prepare for battle, but avoid it if you can. You are but one person.”

“Understood. What can you tell me about the invaders?”

“They are hired soldiers, trained all their lives for war. Disciplined, they take their time in battle, and are versed in sword and shield and archery. Don’t underestimate them.”

“Understood.” I also asked him where Naxos was, because I’m too lazy to look at the map I bought. It is to the Southwest.

Rakeesh told me one more thing before leaving. They have no leader, and thus no one to give the order to surrender. But, perhaps I could…

However, Rakeesh cannot see any real choice except battle. He wished me luck, told me to show mercy if I could, and then I left to continue my journey.

Went over to Shakra’s next, who told me “Good luck!” and that to keep an eye upon the others as they might be behind this catastrophe. Then over to Science Island, where Dr. Pretorius, who thinks the first Rite is preposterous. He also believes that he can defeat the mercenaries WITHOUT engaging them in physical combat. Personally, I think that a body like Gort’s would be perfect for physical combat as he looks pretty darn muscular! I’m not saying he CAN’T use his brain, but whatever. I asked him where Dr. Mobius was and he told him he was a colleague of his and that he worked nights. If that’s true, then why did I see HIM at the ceremony and not YOU, Dr. Pretorius? It was still daytime! Suspicious…

After that, night fell and I headed out to Naxos.

Or, so you would think.

See, I’m of the mindset, “If I get told something, I need to make a double effort on it!” so, therefore, I shall not rescue only Naxos.

I shall rescue ALL of them if I can!

To the North and East lies Keros! That’s my first stop for the night!

As soon as I stepped into the area, I felt a wave of fear and danger come over me. I reached out with my Powers, and sensed hostility. Great hostility. And indeed, even in the darkness of night, I saw their shadows. I looked around briefly and noticed that it seemed like it would have been a prospering little village at one time. Now it was silent save for the birds, the waves, and the occasional grunt or murmured order in a language I didn’t know from the mercenaries scattered about. They had no idea I was here!


I drew Lightstar. The ‘shing!’ sound alerted the guards nearby who turned at the sound. I stepped into the moonlight.

Immediately I was spotted! Yet, I smiled wickedly. I braced myself and held a tight grip on Lightstar’s hilt. I had this all planned out, you see, for as soon as my eyes met theirs, they turned suddenly from a look of rage to outright fear in barely a moment! Suddenly, it was like standing in the presence of a God for them, making them all tremble!

I spoke one word, which rumbled in the air as Thor himself was using me as his vessel… “Hlaupa!” In the ancient language of my people, that is one of the translations for “Run!”

It’s not exactly, “Raas Ru Marr!” kind of threatening. But that’s all I needed. Immediately, all those who were in my sights ran screaming for the exit to the village! Of course, that wasn’t all of them, but I just shooed them all away with the Power of Awe!

Fear me!

To be honest, I didn’t even really NEED to say anything, but you know me. I like to be overdramatic sometimes!

A small house just across the bridge was my destination. Forcing open the door, I glared at the mercenaries and with a sidestep, they all were tumbling over eachother as I enforced my Power over them and they ran out the door, leaving me in peace for now.

And there in the corner sat a chest. Inside it, contained the sigil of the village, Keros! And money! AND a Magic Axe!

As I slammed the chest shut, I could barely hear the sounds of rushing feet as the mercenaries all fled.

As I walked out, I felt a brief, faint sense of the horrors of war, making me shiver.

My job here done, I just had one question spring to my mind. Where was Gort? Wasn’t it supposed to be him here? Hmmm…

My next destination was Ios, to the North!

I could sense danger nearby in every building and every logical thing in my mind told me to be careful here. I shut down those thoughts immediately, and charging forward like a madman, using Awe once more as I ran! I briefly sensed the sorrow of the fisherfolk here and the arrogance of the mercenaries, but only felt a sense of terror after that as they fled! I was not a man to be trifled with!

The tiny shack by the docks was the correct one. Bashing down the door, I frightened off the mercenaries with a glare and they silently bolted away from me.

There was the chest in the corner. Inside it, contained what else, but the sigil of Ios! And MORE money! AND a special Amulet that raised one’s attacking skills!

I had no use for it, but it was a nice gift regardless.

Slamming the chest shut again, I heard my enemies flee the premises once more. And once again, that question came up. Where was Elsa? She was supposed to be here, wasn’t she? Hmmm…

So, that was two down and three to go!

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




*this entry is scribbled more and more as it goes on, due to shaking hands*

Day 100

I ran away from some Bearmen this morning! They wanted to eat me!

Getting back to the Rite. At around 3:30 AM, I reached Naxos at last. I tensed as I sensed that there were lot of mercenaries here, and I knew that I was vastly outnumbered. Fear and oppression blanketed the aura around here.

Nevertheless, this was my true assignment! I must prevail!

Now, with this newfound Power of mine, this would be simple! I rushed past the mercenaries quickly, thwarting them from attacking me by instilling the fear of a God within their minds just as I did the last two times, ignoring the fact that I had a few arrows shot at me as I passed by some braver ones.

I saw a long, large house with a red roof on the hill, and kicked down the door. Frightening off the mercenaries in a flash, I was again finally alone. And there was the chest in the corner, its contents beckoning me.

Opening the chest in excitement I found, of course, money. AND the sigil of Naxos! AND… an armband. It was golden, had symbols carved into it, and shined in the light of the very early morning peeking through the shutters of the lone window. There’s seemed to be a magical quality to it, as it was surprisingly light in my hand, despite the size of it. On the inside of it, I saw something written into the metal- the word or perhaps the name of the original bearer- “Atlas”. I decided to stick it onto my right arm, my sword arm, and instantly I felt incredible strength rush through me! I smiled to myself.

As I shut the chest, I heard the scurrying boots of the soldiers leaving the village at last. Now, for once, I didn’t have that nagging question come to my mind for very obvious reasons. Instead, I stood in that room for a little while longer and took deep breaths. The fact that this was the village I’d been assigned to, to know that I’d fulfilled my task according to Logos’s instructions and that now the village was safe, gave me a moment of peace, happiness, and dare I say it, pride. It felt good, you know? I wonder if this is how Kokeeno felt about his mission to save Paros, his hometown?

And speaking of that… Paros was my next destination! Built to be nestled within the rocks to shelter it from monsters and weather, it served no chance against the marauders, and I felt the still lingering sensations of fear and horror, the ruthlessness and bloodlust of the mercenaries. However, this time I sensed something else.

I sensed that I was outnumbered, yes, as always. I WAS facing a small army, after all. But… I also felt a sense of confidence come over me now. Perhaps it was the Atlas armband I wore, perhaps it was because of the knowledge of my Powers as a Paladin would drive them away easily, or perhaps it was just adrenaline running through me as I hadn’t had a wink of sleep last night. But regardless, I felt outnumbered but not outgunned. The mercenaries, strong as they looked in the early morning light, didn’t look nearly as experienced or well-equipped as I was.

Needless to say, I was a little surprised by the house that contained the loot. This was the only place I broke into that had multiple rooms! By that, I mean two. The room I entered wasn’t actually the room that contained the chest I wished to find. It was actually the room to my right. Forcing it down, I found myself surrounded by the mercenaries and quickly drove them away with Awe. There sat the chest in the corner. My stomach rumbled in the silence that followed and I took a few minutes to chomp down on one of the gyros I’d bought to serve as rations. The meat warmed me, with the onions and sauce giving a nice little shock to my system, and overall it was one of the most delicious things I’d ever tasted up to this point! Aside from Shema’s or mother’s cooking, of course.

Opening the chest, yielded some more money. By the end of this Rite, I figured that I’d have double the amount I’d raised to pay for the Rites! The sigil of Paros was there, of course, as well as another Amulet! This one, unlike the Amulet of Attack with its yellow color and a sword emblazoned on it, instead was grey and had a shield decorating it. I figured that this Amulet raised one’s defense.

Again as I closed the chest, I heard the far away footsteps of the legionnaires scurrying away from the area. And, again, I felt the question rise up in my mind. Where was Kokeeno? Was he alright? If so, why wasn’t he here? This is his hometown! Surely this place would be cleared out, they all should! There should be no reason for me to be here at all, despite my vow that I would rescue all the villages, since now that I think of it, I’d be stealing their spotlight if I suddenly showed up into the other’s assigned areas! And while I know that Elsa and possibly Kokeeno would appreciate the help, for no man or lady should fight alone, I doubt that Gort- if he cared or noticed me at all –or especially Magnum would. If fact, Magnum would probably mock me and attempt to one up me in any way possible, given his attitude.

And speaking of Magnum… my last destination was Tinos!

By now, the sun had risen. I smiled as I sensed the mercenaries’ auras nearby. I was outnumbered as I expected, but I wasn’t outclassed. Not now. Looking around, I noticed that Tinos was built upon the rocks, and is in an actually defensible position as it actually has a wall. Unfortunately, the mercenaries came from the sea, not the land.

I could still feel the sense impressions of the villagers being driven out of their homes, and the stronger ambiences of the legionnaires’s glee at their pain and suffering at their hands.

I broke down the door I needed to, scared off the soldiers and opened the last chest at last. Inside was, of course, the sigil of Tinos, even more Drachmas, and some Magic armor! Unfortunately, despite my joy at finding yet another Magic item as they’re always useful… this was LEATHER armor! Not nearly of a good armor compared to what I have now.

My first quest complete, I headed back to the city. And, I’d done as Rakeesh had suggested. I’d shown mercy to my enemies and not a drop of blood was shed, save for mine when they occasionally would attack me in the rush to the doors of the houses and I hadn’t scared them off.

But, on the way, I discovered a horrifying sight!

I was by one of the Dragon Pillars, the first one I found, surrounded by five mercenaries. But that’s not what shocked me. I scared them off so I could investigate this alone, and walked forward to look at what was on the ground.

A body.

Specifically, a Silmarian guard.

Kokeeno Pookameeso lay face down, unmoving, before me. A blackened, festering wound was in his back, between his shoulder blades. I turned him over, noticing that his corpse was still warm, and jumped back in horror! His eyes stared into mine, lifeless and looking still stunned at what had killed him! His expression, with his eyes and opened mouth, revealed his final moments had been nothing but shock and terror as he died...

He'd been struck from behind that much was certain. There was only one kind of weapon I knew that could pierce through armor this easily as if it were cloth. Poison. This was murder.

I felt a heavy shudder grip my spine as I looked at him, imagining what his final moments must have been like. Pain, then nothing but enveloping darkness quickly taking you, shearing and sucking out your final breath from your lungs as you become cold and still. That's how it felt, back in Mordavia, when I was overcome by Wraiths. If I never have to go through an experience like that again, I shall die a happy man.

I closed his eyes in respect and clamped his jaw shut, turning his head straight. I placed his spread arms and legs together, putting one hand on top of the other, sticking his spear in his fingers and his shield covering them. He almost looked to be asleep in this position. I took two Drachmas, and placed them on his eyelids, then stuck another in his mouth, as I couldn’t remember which tradition was actually correct so I went for both instead.

I stood there in silence, and bowed my head in prayer for the loss of whom I considered to be a good man with a noble cause. Though I did not know the words to speak to their God of Death, Hades isn’t it? Nor the proper rites to be performed, I still wished to attempt to send him to a good afterlife if I could, softly reciting a prayer to Odin and Freyja that, even if he would be shut out of their paradise for my wrongdoing, that I would be glad if they would receive his spirit into either of their Halls, so that he shall not drift in loneliness and sorrow because of me.

May he rest in peace.

And then I saw something else that made my heart drop even further.

The Dragon Pillar… it was shattered!

The base was crooked where it still stood, and the pedestal where the dragon sculpture sat upon had been snapped off and the dragon itself had been smashed to pieces! Whoever had done this must have had incredible strength to do this!

I looked at the inscription, seeing that blood had pooled and dried on it. I shuddered once again at what it said.

“By the breaking of this Pillar, so begins the unbinding of the Dragon of Doom.”

Rushing back to Silmaria after that, I tried to purge what I’d seen from my mind, distracting myself from it by doing my rounds around town. They mostly told me about what I knew already about the Rites, wishing me luck along the way once I mentioned that I was currently in the running, keeping a plastic smile on my face all the time with them unaware at what I’d found.

However, there are a few interesting things I heard. For one, Toro wants Elsa to win the Rites, otherwise she’ll leave Silmaria and he’ll follow and he’ll miss it greatly. For another, Andre told me that he would not like to be a King or, honestly, a fisherman. His dream is to be a Healer, where he can make everyone happy and well. He considers it to be a much better job that giving orders to people, to him at least. I spoke to Julanar about this soon after, and thusly she agreed to help him learn. Marrak has been hearing rumors that Magnum Opus is possibly a spy for the invaders, but he doesn’t believe this. Still, he thinks I should be wary of him nonetheless. I worked out at the Guild for a few hours, trying anything to take what happened off my mind. I visited Dr. Mobius after dark, he thinks that Dr. Pretorius is naïve, is working on an experiment on Gort and thinks the invaders can be driven off by Science instead of brute force, and thinks the Rites are a joke and just considers it an excuse for the politicians to have us do their work for them. Ugarte tells me that he’d be quite happy to tell me any information about the other competitors or what have you, and I gave him a Drachma just in case he had something to say one of these days.

I am lying in bed now. And I can’t stop thinking of it. Kokeeno’s lifeless gaze boring into mine, the smell of dried blood, the thought of who could have murdered him, the broken Pillar and who could have destroyed it so relentlessly, the inscription…

Oh shit… oh Gods help my soul… what have I gotten myself into?!

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