Adventure Books by Ricky Sides & Kathy Young

Adventures in reading.

Expanded t4c history.

  ã  Copyright 2006, by Raistlin and Kittie Justice

                        (text only)

 

                               The Fourth Coming

 

                                         Preface.

 

     In the celestial realm dwelled several gods. There was Artherk the god of light and goodness, Ogrimar the god of evil and chaos, Gluriurl the god of corruption and Lothar the Just who was the god of Justice. Other gods reside within the celestial realm but these four gods are the principal gods that influence the history of the world of Althea.

     Althea formed as a water world interspersed with islands. One of those islands is known throughout the recorded history of Althea. That island is Arakas. Other islands are known as well. The island of Raven’s Dust was discovered after Arakas. In the fullness of time the island of Raven’s Dust became the seat of power for the Human Kingdom of Goldmoon. Raven’s Dust was known as greater Goldmoon and Arakas became known as Lesser Goldmoon to the population. Still later Stoneheim was found and settled. Yet Stoneheim never became an integral part of the Kingdom of Goldmoon. Once there men learned of the higher calling of the gods Ogrimar and Artherk. They were called into the service of the gods by making the great sacrifice of being reborn as seraphs to help in the eternal battle between good and evil.

     Yet on all three isles the humans found evidence that they were not the first race to walk the land. Indeed there was substantial evidence that humans were the third race to dominate the isles. The first race to dominate Althea was the Elven race that had a thriving and advanced culture that was old while the other races were still in their infancies. The second race to ascend to cultural domination was the Dwarven race and the third was Humanity. This book will chronicle the events as they unfolded during the history of the three races of Althea. It will reflect upon the interaction between the gods of Althea and the races that followed those gods.

     The Elven city of Anwynn was the pinnacle of Elven architectural achievement on the isle of Arakas. The city was located on a small isle on the southeastern side of Arakas and was linked to the mainland by two graceful bridges. Anwynn sat in the same location as the present day city of Lighthaven.

     Anwynn was the center of the Elven kingdom which was ruled by a King. There were other lesser Elven cities on the three islands of Arakas, Raven’s Dust and Stoneheim, but none rivaled the intrinsic beauty of Anwynn. There were also several Elven villages that dotted the countryside on the three isles that made up the Elven Kingdom. Originally travel to these isles had taken place by the conventional means of utilizing ships for exploration.

     Later in the fullness of time the Elves had developed the means to use magic to travel between the isles making it possible to travel from one isle to another in moments. The magic of gateways and portals later rediscovered by humankind was first discovered and utilized by the Elves. To this day human scholars still pour over the Elven and Dwarven books in the Great Library on Raven’s Dust in an effort to rediscover the knowledge that disappeared with those two races.

     Evidence found in the Great Library does confirm that the Elves flourished for several millenniums perfecting their arts, literature, architecture and of course their weapons and warfare. The Elves are best noted for their prowess with the bow but they were also adept at many other means of conducting warfare.

     The Elven race was a long lived race. Their average lifespan was three times that of the Dwarves and six times that of the Humans.

     When the civilizations of the Dwarves and humans were still in their infancies the Elven race had advanced their society to domination by any standard that one could reasonably apply.

     The Dwarven race was a race of short but stout men and women. The males had long beards in which they took great pride. Such was the pride of the Dwarves in their beards that it was death to insult the beard of a Dwarf. It is believed by many that the Dwarven women also possessed the full magnificent beards of the race. The evidence would seem to indicate that this is untrue as the scholars of the Great Library have known for a long time now.

     Ancient books exist with the drawings of Dwarven families and only the males depicted in those drawings had the long and flowing beards that their race is most noted for. Of course in the interest of full disclosure I should report that several of the books found within the Great Library indicate that the Dwarven society was a male dominated society and the females could well have had the same full and flowing beards. It is a matter of some heated contention among the scholars of the Library. Some maintain that being female their beards were most likely much more beautiful than those of the males and as such in the male dominated society they were forced to cut them down to the short stubble represented in those drawings. Still others maintain that the Dwarven female’s beards were left intact but the artist was told to represent the male beards with great detail but to depict the women as near beardless.

     My personal opinion on the matter is irrelevant, but since many will no doubt ask me anyway I will reveal it to you. Since all scholars agree that it was death to insult the beard of a Dwarf then I consider it highly unlikely that the males could have done so by having the female’s beards depicted as insignificant stubble or forced them to cut them. After all the males have to sleep sometime and the females could exact a wicked revenge at that time of vulnerability.

     The Dwarven race is bested noted for their achievements in building cities and in crafting superb weapons with special rare metals that they located during their exploration of the subterranean areas that they had a passion for exploring.

     The Humans were present through the time of the domination of the Elves and later through the time of the Dwarves, but having the shortest lifespan of the three races it took them longer as a race to advance their society. Also there was little need for them to greatly advance their own society when they had the trade with the Elves and later the Dwarves to sustain their limited needs. It was only after the Elven and Dwarven races disappeared that our ancestors the Humans had a genuine need to begin to advance their own societies. Prior to that it was much easier to simply trade with the other societies who were always generous in their dealings with what they considered a disadvantaged race.

    

 

                                           Chapter 1.

 

     In the Elven city of Anwynn it was a time of great joy and celebration. The harvests were in for another year and the King had just brought the last independent Elven village into the ElvenKingdom through a series of negotiations. Now the Elven people had one ruler and that was the King.

     The King of the Elves had sent out word to the Dwarven and Human races to send representatives of their villages to speak with the King on issues concerning the relationship between the Elven race and the lesser races of Althea. The good Elven King was distressed to see that the lesser races still suffered many afflictions that the Elven race had long ago conquered in their ascension to domination on Althea. To celebrate the unification of the Elven Race under one standard the King had decided to share some of their knowledge with the other races.

     To facilitate this goal of assisting the lesser races the Elven King adopted a plan to have Dwarves and Humans apprenticed to some of the Elves that would teach them such things as healing skills, farming skills, architectural design, metal working and the use of some magic, though the attack magics of their best mages would not be revealed. Likewise the best of their battle techniques and strategies would not be taught to the other races. Such war making skills they reserved for their own race for a time might come when the relations between the races were not as good as they were at that time.

     Anwynn was crowded with Dwarves and Humans that had been sent to the Elven City to represent their various villages. Earlier that morning they had met with the King and agreed to his plan to help their races. Now they were seeking out the Elves that they had been told to contact to set up apprentices that would come to study under the Elves. They had been told to send only the young adults for some of the apprenticeships would require years of study.

     Only one Elf in the entire city was unhappy on that momentous day. He was an Elf that studied the sky by night. He had noted that the moons and the Centaur constellation were aligned. He had a premonition that this held a dreadful significance as it was an extremely rare conjunction. All of his studies indicated that this conjunction occurred only once per millennium. Surely such a rare conjunction must be accompanied by significant occurrences. Yet none of his studies confirmed any recorded significant events during those past conjunctions. Still a millennium was a long time even by Elven standards and he realized that it was quite possible that the knowledge had vanished during the interim. 

     As night descended upon the fair Elven city a stranger arrived. He walked across one of the bridges and immediately sought out the King. His appearance was nightmarish and foul. A foul odor accompanied him. The guards lead him to the central gathering place near a great fountain where the King was still attending a great feast. The crowd grew subdued when the newcomer was escorted amongst them by the guards. The King turned to address the newcomer but it was the stranger who spoke first. He greeted the Elven people and told them that he was the Harbinger and that he was there to warn them that they were now the Chosen people. He further told them that they now had a responsibility to the gods and further stated that their duty was to maintain the balance between good and evil.

     The King replied that the Elven nation had risen to prominence through their hard work and diligence and that the gods had not made them the great people that they were. He pointed out that the Elves preferred to remain detached from the dealings of the gods and not become involved for the Elves didn’t need the gods.

     Some few of the older Elves blanched at portions of the King’s statement to the Harbinger. The Harbinger simply reiterated his warning and stated that if they failed to heed his words then when he returned they would be punished as a race.

     Some few of those wise Elves met and conferred that night long after the Harbinger had departed.

 

                                           Chapter 2.

 

     King Oberon studied yet another list in the many that had been presented to him by his aides who were overseeing the planning of the great festival that would celebrate the one thousand years that the Elven Kingdom had been unified. The Human and Dwarven lists of people who wanted to attend were both too long. Also there were several names present of individuals that would be attempting to present requests to reinstate the apprentice program that he had suspended two hundred years before. The lesser races were already losing the knowledge that the Elves had given them through the use of the apprenticeships.

     Sighing King Oberon drew a line through the names of several Dwarves and Humans on their respective lists. He would not have the festival marred by the incessant nagging of the lesser races. He had cancelled the apprentice program because he had felt it not in the best interests of his people. He had no plans to reinstate it despite the pleas of the lesser races.

     Then an aide handed him another parchment to review. This time he pondered the parchment very carefully. It was a report that Artherk, the god of good and light, had fallen in love with an Elven maiden. He considered that matter gravely and decided that it was not of great importance to the Elven nation.

     An hour later he was interrupted when one of his advisors told him that he had a visitor that wished to see him. He claimed that he had a message for the King’s ears only and that it might well mean disaster for the Elven race if the King was not made aware of the contents of that message. The King almost dismissed that out of hand but at the last moment decided to take a break from reading reports and see what this man had to say.

     The King ordered the room cleared of all save the guards and had the Elf visitor admitted into his presence. The Elf looked pointedly at the guards but the King said, “They will stay. No one is admitted to my presence without my personal guard here.”

     Nodding his understanding the visitor replied, “Then I suggest you permit me to mind speak you, for what I have to tell you will cause you to wish to maintain secrecy.”

     Oberon agreed to this and the man explained himself. He was Gluriurl. He had come to warn Oberon that the Harbinger would be returning soon. Indeed that return would occur on the night of the Great Festival that the Elves were planning. He further stated that Artherk’s love for the Elven Maiden would be perceived as unbalanced in the favor of good. He pointed out that the Elves were the favored people of Artherk who had gone so far as to create the Elvenweave, a great tapestry that depicted the Elves and celebrated their greatness.

     Gluriurl, in Elven form, then stated with assurance that this relationship was dooming the Elves. Without warning he then gave Oberon the gift of sight and let him see the return of the Harbinger and the annihilation of the Elven race.

     Aghast at what he had seen Oberon ordered the guards from the room at that time so that he could speak candidly with Gluriurl who had come to befriend the Elves. “Is there a way to avoid what I have seen?” he asked in the hopes that the god would assist his people.

     “Yes there is a way. If there was no way to avoid this I would not have approached you. You must help to set a trap for Artherk. If you kill his physical form here you will banish him to the celestial realm.”

     “You suggest I kill a god!?!” Oberon exclaimed.

     “Only the physical form he uses here will be destroyed, yet will he exist in the celestial realm. And the death of the physical body will be perceived by the Harbinger as a restoration of the balance.”

     “But even the physical body of the god Artherk is much stronger than mere mortals. I doubt that I could kill him even if I were willing.”

     Nodding his head Gluriurl said, “You are wise, even for an Elf who are the wisest of the races. What you say is true. But you will have the help of a god. Two gods in fact. Ogrimar has agreed to gift you with a weapon that will slay the god Artherk’s physical form if you agree to help restore the balance and I will help you by enhancing your skills and powers if you but open yourself to my mind the moment of the attack.”

     Oberon considered all of this very deliberately. “Such an important issue should not be decided in haste. There is still plenty of time to decide. The festival is a moon away. Please return in one week. You’ll have my decision then.”

     Outwardly Gluriurl seemed pleased by this response. He said, “As you wish Oberon but you should know that if you delay beyond that week to make the decision it will be moot. It will require time for Ogrimar to produce the gifts that he will bestow.”

     “You shall have the answer in one week.” replied Oberon.

    

                                                 ***

 

     And so Oberon gave the matter serious consideration. And the gift of sight that Gluriurl had bestowed returned many times to haunt his dreams and his days of work. Many times he saw the Harbinger enter the city and begin to slay the Elven race. Several times he saw the city and all of the Elven cities destroyed by the Harbinger.

     On the fateful day that Gluriurl was to return King Oberon had the audience room cleared and told his advisors to admit the strange visitor as soon as he returned. It was a far different Oberon who greeted Gluriurl, the god of corruption, when he returned. Oberon was exhausted from lack of peaceful sleep and the nightmarish images that the gift of sight had been visiting upon him. It was this weakened King that asked Gluriurl, “What do I need to do to accept your proposal?”

     Smiling pleasantly Gluriurl replied, “Accept the pact. Take the gifts Ogrimar will offer. That is the first step. The next step is to help me capture the essence of Artherk on Althea where he is vulnerable. Then and only then I will be able to banish him to the Celestial realm forever. You must open your mind to me shortly before the attack so that I can aide you. Without my aide you cannot possibly defeat Artherk’s physical form even with the gifts that Ogrimar will bestow upon you.”

     Rubbing his sleep deprived eyes Oberon said, “It shall be as you say then for I cannot bear to see the visions come to reality.”

     Smiling pleasantly at Oberon the god of corruption replied, “Having made these decisions I doubt that you will see the visions of the annihilation of the Elven nation again. You have altered the future already.” Gluriurl removed the gift of sight with which he had burdened Oberon. Oberon took their banishment as a sign that the annihilation of his people had been averted.

     “Now good King Oberon you must prepare yourself mentally to embrace the limitless power that will come to you once you have slain Artherk’s physical form for what power that form has will be transferred to you.”

     Oberon’s eyes widened at the thought of this power being transferred to him and the faintest of smiles touched his lips. Being rewarded for what he must do hadn’t occurred to him. This made the events to come much more interesting to him.

     Gluriurl, god of corruption had lived up to his title. He had corrupted the Elven King.

     With a solemn expression on his face Gluriurl said, “I have informed Ogrimar of your willingness to participate in the plan. He will see you with the gifts the day before the festival. Arrange a free hour both before and after high sun. He will see you here in these chambers within that time frame. Be alone.”

     Nodding his head Oberon said, “It shall be even as you say.” There was no way that he would ever permit his men to see him plotting a murder with the god of evil and chaos. It would stain his honor.

     Gluriurl, seeing what was in the heart of Oberon sealed the fate of the Elven King when he said, “Think not of this as murder. Think instead that you are sending Artherk back to his realm and saving your people from certain annihilation at the hands of the Harbinger. What honor is there in failing a people and in that failure insuring their extinction? No good King Oberon. Your actions are not dishonorable. On the contrary they are noble and quite honorable.”

     Oberon’s smile was warm and genial then when he replied, “Why thank you my friend. That does put things into a better light. I’m glad that we had this conversation.”

     “So am I Oberon. So am I.” replied Gluriurl.

     Leaving the King, Gluriurl returned to a secret place on Althea where he dwelled. Assuming his preferred form while on Althea he took on the foul appearance of a giant red demon with massive wings. Calling on Ogrimar he said, “Oberon is ours. Still I will make certain that he stays ours. I will follow the plan that we contrived together. You make sure you do your part in all this.”

     “With great pleasure.” replied Ogrimar who found the prospect of Artherk’s favored race being the instrument of his destruction exceedingly pleasing.

 

                                                 Chapter 3.

      

     The day before the festival King Oberon was very busy. A myriad of details screamed for his attention. He spent most of the morning pouring over those details and making last minute decisions. He was so pressed by the issues at hand that he almost forgot about his appointment to await Ogrimar, but an aide reminded him of the two hours he had scheduled for solitude and tranquility.

     As the appointed hour approached the aides began the process of clearing the hall then they left the King to his solitude. Oberon contemplated what was going to happen at the festival as he awaited Ogrimar. At precisely three minutes past the appointed hour his vigil was to begin Ogrimar appeared before him in the form of an aged but healthy Elf.

     “Greetings to thee Oberon, King of the Elven people.” Ogrimar greeted him formally.

     “Greetings to thee Ogrimar, god of evil and chaos.” the King responded just as formally.

     “You are still committed to this course of action?” Ogrimar asked.

     “I am.” replied the King. “I wish that it was not needed but I have a duty to my people.”

     “Indeed it is necessary. The Elven people are fortunate in that you are their King. A lesser King might not rise to the occasion at this moment of dire need for direct action.”

     Smiling faintly Oberon said, “Gluriurl said that you had gifts that would aide me in the coming confrontation.”

     “Indeed I do Oberon. Hand me your crown if you please.”

     “My crown?” asked Oberon in some confusion.

     “Yes I have a gem that I will embed in the crown. That gem will enable you to call upon certain powers when you are battling Artherk.” Ogrimar replied.

     Removing his crown Oberon then handed it to Ogrimar who took a blue gem from his pocket and touched it to the center of the golden crown. Handing the crown back to the monarch Ogrimar said, “There that is finished. The gem will work automatically when you are attacked. There is nothing that you need to learn to utilize its power.”

     Next Ogrimar held forth both hands palm up and summoned a staff. When Oberon’s eyes fell on the staff he drew in his breath in surprise at the beauty of the weapon. “This staff is one of a kind. It has a name but you should not reveal the name to others. The staff is named God Slayer. It is thus named because it is the only staff ever crafted that has the potential to slay a god in the physical form. Naturally your people might not appreciate such a staff being carried by their King.”

     “The people do not need to know the name of the staff. There is wisdom in your words.” Oberon stated, his eyes riveted to the beautiful staff.

     Ogrimar smiled and handed the King the staff then once more he held his hands before him palm up and summoned a robe. It was a beautiful robe of blue with padded shoulders and gilded with golden trim and golden belt.

     “The robe, staff and gem all work together to make the man equipped with them the most formidable of spell casters. Your spells will devastate Artherk.” Ogrimar stated as he handed the robe to Oberon. Then he cautioned, “Let no other wear or handle these items lest they discover their true value and covet them for themselves.”

     Oberon’s eyes narrowed at the thought of someone taking these things from him and he replied, “They will not leave my sight Ogrimar. I thank you for the gifts.”

     “You are most welcome Oberon. Now I bid you good day. Perhaps I will see you after the festival tomorrow night to congratulate you on averting the Harbinger’s wraith upon your people.”

    

                                           Chapter 4.

 

     A few days earlier in a remote Elven village the people found an odd mist obscuring the countryside around them. The men of the village gathered to speculate as to what this portended. Soon they were joined by the women and children of the village who being curious went to see what had caused the men to gather.

     From out of that mist strode a dark robed and hooded figure. A foul odor hung upon the morning air as he approached. Stopping before the villagers he said, “I am the Harbinger and I have come to judge your race. If you have maintained the balance between good and evil all is well. If you have not maintained that balance, then I will punish you.”

     A moment later the stranger disappeared leaving many unanswered questions hanging in the morning air. The village chief then sent messengers to other villages asking the chiefs to come to the village to discuss the stranger and his warning.

     After much discussion they decided that a group of the chiefs and several villagers that had seen the Harbinger would go to Anwynn to speak to King Oberon and report what had transpired. They set out for the city on the day of the festival but were stopped just outside the city by the guards who had orders to admit no one after a set hour.

 

                                           Chapter 5.

 

     The day of the festival Oberon was so busy that he had little time to feel any anxiety at what was to come. He was seeing to the details of the festival when an aide told him that his strange Elven visitor that had twice before sought private audience with the King had returned to the castle and waited to speak with him. Since the King had left orders to always admit the Elf and treat him with the utmost respect the Elf had been admitted.

     The King immediately went to speak to Gluriurl. The moment that he walked into the chamber he dismissed his guards and greeted the god of corruption. Gluriurl said, “I see that Ogrimar has indeed given you the gifts.”

     Smiling Oberon replied, “Yes he arrived yesterday just as you said he would.”

     “Would you mind setting that staff down beside your thrown?” Gluriurl requested. “It makes me nervous. You understand I’m sure.” he added with a wry grin.

     Thinking of the implications of holding the staff in the god’s presence Oberon blanched slightly and set it down beside the thrown as requested. “I’m sorry my friend. I assure you I meant you no harm.”

     “The god slayer is a very dangerous item your majesty.” Gluriurl stated smoothly thus building Oberon’s confidence that he would be able to fulfill his mission.

     Nodding his head in understanding Oberon replied, “I am ready to do as you have bid me. Tonight I will use these items to avert the Harbinger’s wraith upon my people.”

     “That is why I am here today. If the items are to succeed in this endeavor Artherk must be very close to you. Therefore you will need to contrive a reason for his close proximity at the desired time. I have pondered the matter diligently. Only one event will cause this to happen. You must begin a ritual that requires Artherk to be very close to you. This can be accomplished by declaring that on behalf of the Elven people you have decided that the Elves will officially become the followers of Artherk. He will have to step near you then to accept this noble gesture of the Elven nation. As he steps near you to accept you must clear your mind and open it to me if I am to augment your powers and abilities. If you do these things and have Ogrimar’s gifts equipped you cannot fail.”

     Looking at Oberon with keen interest Gluriurl in Elven form then asked, “Do you understand all of this?”

     Oberon was pleased. He had been pondering the problem of getting Artherk close enough that he could attack him and not endanger his own people. This plan would be perfect and would also work to cause Artherk to drop his guard. Smiling he said, “I do understand. It is an excellent plan. It solves several problems. I shall do as you have advised.”

     “Good. Then you cannot fail. If he is reluctant to come near of his own accord then ask him privately to come stand beside you as you make an official announcement to your people, and then tell him what the announcement entails. He will come then. Any god would for such a momentous occasion. At that point command your people to kneel in honor of Artherk. This will put them lower to the ground and out of harms way if a stray spell flashes out from the fight that will soon ensue.”

     “Brilliant!” Oberon exclaimed. “You have thought of everything that concerned me for in truth it had occurred to me that some Elves might be harmed in the battle and that is unacceptable.”

     “Unacceptable? Oberon you forget what is at stake here. If you fail the entire Elven nation is doomed to extinction at the hands of the Harbinger.”

     With no outward sign that anything was amiss Gluriurl exerted his will and Oberon saw the Harbinger attacking the Elven people slaying them in the hundreds and then thousands. A moment later Gluriurl banished the vision and Oberon staggered momentarily. Reaching out a hand Gluriurl feigned concern. “Oberon are you alright?” he asked solicitously.

     Rubbing his forehead Oberon replied, “Yes I just saw the vision of the Harbinger attacking my people again.”

     “Then you must steel your resolve. You are King. It is your duty to protect the people. If you are weak and fail them…” Gluriurl left the rest unsaid. He didn’t need to finish the statement. Oberon had seen all that he needed to see to remind him of the consequences of failure.

     Before he left Gluriurl laid a false image on the mind of Oberon. If Artherk decided to check Oberon’s mind he would see a King that was a devote follower and wished to honor him. If he probed deeper he would discover the truth. But by then it would be too late. He informed Oberon of this settling the last concern in the mind of the Elven King. He was ready now to be Gluriurl’s avatar.

     Gluriurl wasn’t concerned about Artherk identifying the staff as a god slaying weapon. No such weapon existed. If it did the gods would never hand it to a mortal. That was just a lie told to Oberon to give him the courage to follow through with the plan. It was however a powerful focus of magical power as were the gem embedded in the crown and the robe. Those three items combined would give a mage incredible power and turn him into a formidable opponent.

 

                                           Chapter 6.

 

     Oberon had a last minute meeting with the Commander of the city guards. He told the Commander that Artherk would be honored during a ceremony that night and further stated that once that ritual ceremony had begun no one was to be admitted into the city for he did not want the ritual disrupted by new arrivals who would not be participating. The Commander assured the King that the order would be carried out and requested clarification if that order was to be enforced no matter who the visitor happened to be.

     The King was adamant that there were to be no exceptions. He planned to be in total control of the situation at the critical moment just prior to his attack. The last thing that he wanted was the unexpected arrival of people who might not be fully under the sway of the emotions of the moment for he fully intended to mesmerize the people present with the ritual just before the moment of the attack. In that way the danger of outside interference was minimized. The King was leaving nothing to chance.

    

                                                ***

 

      That afternoon the festival began right on schedule with the King opening the festivities with the traditional blessing upon the people present. As he completed that ritual blessing he spotted Artherk in his Elven form standing beside the Elven maiden that he had come to Love. She was a beautiful Elf from an old Elven family whose ties to the monarchs went back one thousand years to the very first Elven King. As such she would be seated at a table near the King’s own and Artherk would be beside her.

     As for Artherk, he had chosen an Elven mage form and even in that physical form he would be an incredibly strong adversary. He had brought with him a tapestry that he had created to celebrate the Elven people whom he favored of all the races. That tapestry he called the Elvenweave. The tapestry depicted the beautiful Elven city of Anwynn.

     For hours the people feasted and socialized. There were booths set up where great works of Elven art were displayed. Venders displayed fine Elven armors and the latest in Elven weapons and bows. Elven Poets and Bards circulated among the people entertaining small crowds that would gather to hear them ply their craft. Several of the Dwarves entertained a crowd as they threw their battle axes at various targets. The Humans present took it all in with wide eyed wonder and paid well for the weapons and bows that took their fancy. They also had an almost insatiable desire for the minor magical items and scrolls that the Elven mages crafted and sold as a means to finance their magical experimentation. A trait that they held in common with the Dwarves and often bidding wars erupted between the Humans and the Dwarves.

     King Oberon took a final sip of the excellent Elven wine that was being served and stood to make an announcement. At a nod from the King trumpeters blew the notes that called the attention of the crowd to the King’s table. The noise of the crowd diminished as the idle chatter stopped and every eye present turned toward the King.

     Facing the crowd the King announced, “People of the Elven Kingdom I have an announcement to make. One that will surprise some of you.”

      Pausing for a moment the King bespoke Artherk’s mind and asked him to join him at the table for he was about to announce that the Elven people would follow Artherk. Artherk arose from his chair and bent to kiss the cheek of the Elven maiden. He whispered an explanation in her ear and then made his way to the King’s table.

     When Artherk had joined him he went on, “As you all know the Elven race has traditionally stayed away from following the gods. Yet I have decided to change this. Having reached this decision I have pondered the matter seriously and decided that we should follow Artherk as a race for his philosophy most closely matches our own.”

     The stunned crowd remained silent and the King went on, “As King I cannot command this of you but I do ask you to consider it. Now let every Elf present knell and declare your fealty to Artherk. If you’d rather not make that commitment at this time then at least knell to show your respect to the god of good and light.”

     The Elven people knelt then as commanded by their King. Many did give their oath of fealty as he requested. Many more did not do so at that time. Those preferred to wait and ponder the matter before committing themselves.

     Turning to Artherk he saw the warmth and gratitude in the eyes of the god. Foe a moment he wavered and then Gluriurl’s voice spoke inside his mind saying, “Do not falter now. The moment is at hand. Clear your mind and prepare to accept the power I will give you.”

     This message sealed the fate of the King for it served to steel his resolve. The King cleared his mind and a moment later the mind of Gluriurl burst through his few barriers and possessed Oberon. Smiling malevolently at Artherk he raised the staff and struck with the full might of his magical power.

     Artherk reeled under the magical assault of the traitorous King. So vast was the power of the spells being hurled at him that hundreds of Elves nearby were instantly slain where they knelt. Gasps of astonishment went up from all over the crowded area as the spells lanced into Artherk’s Elven form and continued to wash over the Elves in attendance.

     Soon thousands were dead and only then did Artherk begin to fight back. He had withheld his own spells at first for fear of harming the innocent Elves in attendance. But so vast was the assault upon him that it had washed over the table of his beloved Elven maiden and she had died horribly burned. Artherk had seen her die and in that moment he retaliated with his own devastating attack spells.

     The gods fought on inflicting damage upon one another. Yet Artherk confined his attacks to Oberon only refusing to use more powerful spells that would also kill hundreds of innocents.

 

                                                      Chapter 7.

 

     On the outskirts of the city just across the bridge the guards that had stopped the group of village chiefs and citizens of the village that had been visited by the Harbinger heard the sounds of the battle. They heard the screams of the Elves as thousands were being slain. Turning back to the city they raced away to join in the fighting to defend the citizens from what they felt must surly be a mass attack from some unknown enemy.

     Shortly after those guards left the village chiefs saw a dragon fly past them and head into the city roaring a challenge. It was Crimson Scales.

     Thinking to enter the city themselves the villagers were shocked when the dark shape of the Harbinger stepped past them and turned to address them. “The Elves have failed in their appointed task. They were to maintain the balance between good and evil. Yet your King has conspired with evil and corruption to slay Artherk. I go now to punish the Elves. Yet you were wise and did not participate nor did your villagers that are not present. You I will spare. You will be placed inside the Elvenweave to preserve your wisdom. Perhaps one day you will again walk the lands of Althea.”

     The moment he completed his statement the Elves there disappeared as did the villagers that had remained in all of the villages represented by the leaders. They were placed inside the Elvenweave just as the Harbinger had said.

 

                                                ***

 

     Artherk was losing the battle with Gluriurl. He had waited too long to begin to fight back against Oberon for fear of killing innocents and when he had begun to fight back he held his most powerful spells lest he slay most of the Elves that remained. Finally he fell and Oberon drew in energy for the final blow that would slay Artherk releasing his essence which Gluriurl intended to trap.

     It was at that precise moment that Lothar the Just, god of justice in the form of the great dragon Crimson Scales attacked Gluriurl. Landing beside the King he attacked the possessed monarch in a withering attack. Gluriurl, weakened by the fight with Artherk, was defeated by Lothar who sacrificed himself by imprisoning the essence of Gluriurl inside his own heart, releasing Oberon from its hold in the process. Artherk, weakened by the conflict, perished but his darkstone that contained his heart was never found and his essence returned to the celestial realm.

     The Harbinger arrived on the scene a moment after the death of Artherk. Oberon now free of the possession of Gluriurl stared in horror at the carnage that he had wrought. The bodies of thousands of Elves gave mute testimony to his treachery.

     The Harbinger pointed his finger at the Elven King and said, “You have sought to destroy the balance between good and evil. You have betrayed your people and their trust in you. I rename you Makrsh P'Tangh and curse you with unlife.” In that moment the monarch was transformed into an animated skeleton eternally dressed in the traitorous robe, gem encrusted crown and carrying the staff that had been given him by Ogrimar. The army of Oberon was taken by death then as were all the remaining Elves in Anwynn save a few of their wisest whom the Harbinger imprisoned in the Elvenweave.

     Then the Harbinger poured his wraith upon the other Elven cities.  As the Curse fell upon their race, the Elves stood defenseless. Despite their arcane lore and magical skills, they could not resist the godly powers that crushed them and when he left their lands not a single building remained standing.

     Once he had completed his punishment of the Elven race the Harbinger turned his attention to the Dwarves. He went among them and told them that the Dwarves were now the chosen race. He also informed them of their new responsibilities and duties towards the gods, and the consequences of his next visit, should they fail in the task before them.

     The Dwarves had plenty of reason to believe the Harbinger. Many Dwarves had seen what had happened in Anwynn and had lived to tell that tale. Those were the lucky ones for even though many survived many more had not. The Dwarves wisely decided that they would heed the warning and work to maintain the balance between good and evil.

  

                                                        Chapter 8.

 

     After the second coming of the Harbinger the Dwarven race built great cities and flourished as a society of craftsmen and artisans. But the main love of the Dwarven race was the mountains and the subterranean tunnels that they found and often expanded.

     So great was the love of the Dwarven race for such subterranean places that everywhere they settled they created miles of tunnels with chambers intricately designed in some cases as a maze. This was necessary as they sought precious ores for their famed metal working projects. When a vein of ore was located they followed it until the ore played out which explains many of the dead end tunnels one sees in many caves.

     The capital city of the Dwarves was built on Arakas as was the case with the Elves. Unlike Anwynn, the name of the capital city of the Dwarves is unknown. The scholars of the great library find no reference to the name or even the location of the city beyond references that refer to visitors going to visit the Dwarven King on Arakas. However it is thought by some scholars that the Dwarven capital city is the lost city found on Arakas when one travels through the labyrinth. There may be some merit in that theory as the Dwarves did love the subterranean world and mountains. That city is surrounded by mountains and can only be approached after having found your way through the labyrinth.

     It is also believed that the thieves hideout on Arakas was once a Dwarven village and the old Hermit’s house was the home of a Dwarven recluse.

     It is thought that the Dwarves kept the knowledge of the Elven magic as best they could but it was in metalworking and tunneling that they surpassed the Elves. Their knowledge of the underworld of Althea stands unsurpassed to this day.

     The Dwarves flourished and worshiped their god. Which god they worshiped is unknown. This can be explained by the lack of Dwarven literary effort. The Elves held a great love for writing and wrote many volumes of books which were eventually added to the Great Library on Raven’s Dust as they were discovered. Still it is thought that only about one percent of Elven literature has been preserved in that effort. The rest was lost in the destruction of Elven society by the Harbinger. By comparison the Dwarven society wrote next to nothing and pitifully few examples of Dwarven literature exist in the Great Library.

     The Humans found the Dwarves to be not nearly as gregarious and extroverted as the Elves. Though still friendly toward the Humans the Dwarves felt little need to interact with humanity beyond trade. They did buy and sell with humanity but most humans found their penchant for the subterranean lifestyle disquieting. Also the Dwarves were a more introverted race when compared to the Elves.

     Curiously the Dwarves felt uncomfortable in forming friendships with the human race because they had a much longer lifespan. It is believed by some scholars that the Dwarven race felt it unwise to form friendships with the race of mankind because it pained them to see their Human friends age before their eyes while they remained comparatively unchanged.

     Of course this conclusion must lead us to ask ourselves if this didn’t also disturb the Elves. Yet Scholars seem to think that the Elves had a different viewpoint on the aging process. A viewpoint somewhat darker and more arrogant. It is thought by some scholars that the Elves as a whole considered themselves to be the superior race and therefore found it entirely appropriate that they had the longest lifespan. That they were selected to be the chosen race just served to confirm that in their minds.

 

                                                Chapter 9.

 

     A millennia after the judgment of the Elven race by the Harbinger the skies repeated their fateful alignment of moons and stars. The Harbinger returned to Althea to judge the Dwarven race.

     The Harbinger found that the Dwarves were doing well and had been maintaining the balance between good and evil. He was much impressed with the Dwarven race and set out to visit their seat of power to address their King.

     At this point it is necessary to introduce a document that is a matter of some contention among scholars. Some claim it to be a fake and swear that the matters related in this document are purely fictitious in nature. Others swear that it matches so much of known history that it should be given credence and some degree of validity.

     The document appears to be a letter written by a Human visitor to the Dwarven capital. It seems that the poor man was tormented by the horrors of what he had reportedly seen and sought to put them down in a letter in the hopes that doing so would cause them to plague him to a lesser degree. That was a common belief held during that time period. Indeed there are many people who still believe this sort of outpouring of the emotions by transcribing them to parchment can have healing effects on a person afflicted with terrible memories.

     At any rate here is the man’s letter.

 

Greetings,

 

     My name is John the scribe. I traveled this past year to the city of Dwarves in the hopes of selling my services in the Dwarven Kingdom for they pay much more than my own kind and they seem averse to scribe work. Woe unto me that my greed took me there for I and I alone of mankind was present when the great calamity struck the Dwarven race that exists no more.

     I had been in the city some few days when the terrible night came that a stranger did enter that city. I assume that he walked through the labyrinth just as I had come to that city for he came toward the city from the east as do most new arrivals that exit the labyrinth.

     When the Dwarves saw him approaching there was a great outcry and many did draw their swords and axes and rush to do battle with the dark robbed and hooded figure. His visage was terrible to behold and there was an odor most foul upon the breeze as it reached my nostrils after first having washed over the stranger’s body.

     The stranger stood there before the armed host of Dwarves and said, “I am the Harbinger. I am here to judge the Dwarves for you are the chosen race. Have you maintained the balance between good and evil?”

     The Dwarves began to murmur amongst themselves that this was Gluriurl resurrected and come to trick the Dwarves just as he had tricked the Elves. Boldly the Dwarves then fell upon the stranger with sword and axe. With mighty blows they struck him down. When the stranger fell the Dwarves backed away from his body. Quite a few contrived to burn that body and tossed torches upon it. To their great surprise the body refused to burn nor were his garments even singed by the great heat of so many torches and then the man stirred and got to his feet.

     Walking with slow deliberation the stranger stepped from the growing flames of the many torches and pointed his finger at the newly arrived Dwarven King. “Your people could have passed their judgment but they struck me down because of my appearance. Very well then, let the punishment of the Dwarves fit their crime. Since they struck me down because of my appearance I curse you all to be loathsome atrocities eternally doomed to roam the land shunned and loathed by all.”

     In that fearful moment the Dwarves all began to scream in agony as their bodies began to alter. They cast down their weapons and stripped off their clothing and armor as their bodies contorted. Arms and legs elongated and joints were rearranged. There was an accompanying horrible sound as I could hear their bodies altering in both shape and size. In stunned horror I watched as all about me the Dwarves became mindless things. I awaited my turn at this torturous punishment but my turn did not come. The stranger ignored me as if I did not matter in the slightest. Rather he stood there watching the Dwarves a few more moments and then turned to leave.

     As he was leaving he turned and looked at my horrified face and uttered words I shall never forget. “Leave the land of the Dwarves now. Soon they will adjust to their new forms and when they do so they will attack all that they encounter.” Saying no more he turned, took one step and then he disappeared.

     I fled the city and not a moment too soon. I almost took the time to return to my room to gather my belongings but at the last moment I decided to flee immediately instead. It is good that I did so. I barely escaped as the transformations ended and the atrocities looked about for anything to attack. As I darted past the last of the guards that then guarded the entrance to the labyrinth their attention was riveted on me and they did give chase through the labyrinth. I emerged into the night air just ahead of them and fled as fast as possible to the nearest human village.

     In the days that followed I learned that the Harbinger must have visited that curse upon all of the Dwarves that night for the Dwarven race is no more.

     Having suffered many a nightmare at the memory of these events I have recently sought out a priest of Artherk to learn what I must do to preserve my mind. The good priest recommended that I set the experience in print in the hopes that I can then forget the terrible things that I saw on that night or at the least suffer lesser torment from the dreams.

     I swear before the gods that the narrative contained in this letter is entirely true. If I have lied even once may Ogrimar steal my soul from Artherk.

 

A tormented soul,

John the scribe

    

     When he was finished with the Dwarven race the Harbinger turned to the Human race. He appeared in the largest of the Human settlements in what is present day Lighthaven, built upon the site of fabled Anwynn. The Harbinger told our ancestors that they were now the chosen race. He told them about the proud Elves and the Dwarves and warned them about his next coming. Their task was to maintain the balance between good and evil and to remain steadfast in faith. 

                                           Chapter 10.

    

     The Human race was now alone for the first time in recorded history. Their dependence upon the other two races for trade and knowledge had been mitigated to some degree by the Elven apprentice program. But Oberon had ended that program two hundred years before the second coming of the Harbinger.

     The Dwarves as previously mentioned were not as gregarious a people as the Elves and didn’t share their knowledge as readily. This left the Human race in the position that during the supremacy of the Dwarven race they were forced to do much more for themselves.

     So it was that by the time of the third coming of the Harbinger the Human culture had advanced along several fronts. Their scribes and bards had reached an advanced state of development but to be sure they could not rival the Elves. Their builders and metal workers lacked the skill of the Dwarves who surpassed the Elves in those fields but they were learning well. In truth they fell far shy of the skill level of the Elves as well. In magic they were still a young race. They had some magic but in comparison to the Dwarves that was very little and the Dwarves never approached the magical abilities of the Elves.

     All these things being taken into consideration it should come as no surprise that the ability to use magical means to travel between the islands of Arakas, Raven’s Dust and Stoneheim had died with the Elves. It is not known if travel was widespread between the isles during the reign of the Dwarves for the Dwarves kept precious little records of such things.

     The Humans having the shortest lifespan of the three races had lost the scribe abilities rather quickly when the apprenticeship programs were cancelled by Oberon and most were unlettered by the time of the second coming of the Harbinger. After the third Coming the priests and mages decided that since they alone could read the responsibility to begin to teach others fell on their shoulders. Even so the teaching was difficult and took time.

     All of this explains a general lack of Human contributions to the Great Library until about two hundred years after the third coming of the Harbinger. Some of the first examples of the Human contributions are old records of trading ships cargos and destinations. Sufficient such books and ledgers exist to prove that as little as two hundred years after the third coming of the Harbinger, or 200 A.H.3 as some scholars say, there was a steady amount of shipping between the three isles of Arakas, Raven’s Dust and Stoneheim.

   

                                              Chapter 11.

 

     Mankind’s first great city was Lighthaven. They built it upon the ruins of Anwynn the ancient Elven capital city. It was a natural place to build a city for it was easily guarded against the ever present goblin menace that plagues Arakas. Orcs, giant snakes and other monsters also plague the isle to a lesser degree but the goblin threat is the dominant threat on that isle. Then of course there are the undead which seem to be universally present on all three isles. Some scholars believe that these undead are the remnants of Oberon’s armies slain millennium ago by the Harbinger and that they are doomed to fight against the living eternally or until they are slain by the chosen people.

     Soon mankind began to multiply as their survival skills improved and they learned to better take care of themselves alone. The population outgrew Lighthaven and settlers went out to build another great city on western Arakas called Windhowl.

     For generations mankind steadily improved in their knowledge and skills. Mage towers were established to see to it that the magic that the mages were reacquiring was never again lost to humanity. The mages in those mage towers would teach any man or woman that had the desire and the skill to learn. For a price of course. Eventually the human mages rediscovered the ability to send people to other islands instantly by magical means and the dangerous sea travel fell into disuse as it became possible for even the unlettered men and women to use a scroll to go to another island or be sent there the first time by mages. By 400 A.H.3 all mention of trading ships in the library stops because it was no longer needed.

      The human settlements became the great cities of Lighthaven, Windhowl. On Raven’s Dust the city of Silversky was built and maintained. The Kingdom of Goldmoon was born under the leadership of a Human King who united the populations of Raven’s Dust and Arakas under one banner. Raven’s Dust became known as Greater Goldmoon and Arakas became known as Lesser Goldmoon.

     Raven’s Dust also had its share of monster problems. There the demon trees seemed most pervasive but there were also rogue human elements on the isle such as rogue mages and blackguards.

     Contact was made with other races of some intelligence on Stoneheim. Most were hostile to humanity. The Skraugs of Stoneheim seem the worst of the semi intelligent races. They hate mankind as a rule but one of their merchants and a trainer and also a mage teacher do assist mankind for a price. Some of the Centaurs will do business with mankind but most seem at best semi hostile toward mankind while still others make it clear that they hate mankind by attacking man on sight.

     Though important to the Kingdom of Goldmoon the island of Stoneheim never became a part of the Kingdom. Another adventure awaited the people if they went there. An adventure of far greater importance than the Kingdom of Goldmoon for on Stoneheim mankind learned of the higher calling to serve to defend their world against the forces of Makrsh P’Tangh, the traitorous one, and his minions.

     In the cause against Makrsh P’Tangh the followers of good and the followers of evil found a common foe. Both alignments pursued complex quests far different from their opposites toward attaining the right to become reborn as a Seraph with enhanced powers, strengths and skills. They would use these advantages to do battle with this ultimate foe that was amassing an army to attack all of the inhabitants of Althea if that was what it took to resurrect Gluriurl.

     To make matters worse Makrsh P’Tangh had the recruited the Obsidian Conclave. The Obsidian Conclave was formed from amongst the most powerful arch mages of the time. The members of the Conclave answered to Makrsh P’Tangh. He was their master.

     The doomed Elven King turned lich was preparing to wage all out war upon mankind in an effort to resurrect the fallen god Gluriurl. Mankind in turn was being organized to resist and combat this growing menace by the gods and the followers of the gods.

     At first glance Ogrimar was an enigma. Having failed in the conspiracy to destroy Artherk he had turned on Gluriurl and now he worked to ensure that the god of corruption was not resurrected. It was in his own interests because the army that Makrsh P’Tangh was raising to wage war didn’t care which alignment they annihilated in the effort to resurrect Gluriurl. They planned to slay all in their path to achieve that goal.

     And so the people of Stoneheim struggled to complete the trials of the quests in preparation for becoming a Seraph. Slowly the first few Seraphs were reborn and then in a rapidly growing numbers more and more succeeded in that vaunting task.

     Makrsh P’Tangh was aware that mankind was preparing to face him and he led his forces which he called the Harvesters of Life on the attack.

         

                                           Chapter 12.

 

     Makrsh P’Tangh led his armies on an attack on Stoneheim. At the forefront of that army was the Obsidian Conclave. They attacked the island of Stoneheim in an effort to destroy the growing resistance to their forces. Thousands of Humans attempting to complete their Seraph quests were set upon by the forces of Makrsh P’Tangh as the Harvesters of Life set about to live up to their name. The death screams of their victims reached such a crescendo that they woke the sleeping Dragons who had remained apart from the gods and the other races as they had slumbered for thousands of years.

     The word was spread that the forces of Makrsh P’Tangh were on the attack. A great army of seraphs marched out into the lands of Stoneheim to do battle with them. As the seraphs converged on the army of the lich so did the dragons that were lead by the great dragon Crimsonscale. The battle raged on for many days as the dragons and their Seraph allies waged all out war upon the Harvesters of Life and the Obsidian Conclave.

     Olin Haad was one of the dragons that flew with Crimsonscale. He did so well in battle that Crimsonscale gave him Gluriurl’s skull to guard and watch over. Unknown to Crimsonscale, Olin Haad had also found the darkstone of Gluriurl and soon he came under its influence as the soothing voice spoke to him and granted him powers very near those of a god. Olin Haad began to change and become belligerent when things did not go his way so the dragons excluded him from their meetings as they planned their battle strategies.

     At the height of the battle; a battle that became known as the Battle of Emanations, Olin Haad changed sides. The battle raged on and the Dragons allied with the seraphs finally managed to destroy the majority of the Harvesters of life and the Obsidian Conclave.

     Olin Haad retreated with his new master Makrsh P’Tangh and the surviving Harvesters of Life and Obsidian Conclave members.

     The Dragons, now sickened from the slaughter of their own kind by Makrsh P’Tangh’s forces made a vow never to slay another dragon so they did not pursue Olin Haad. They left Olin Haad to the Seraphs and Humanity to deal with and returned to their own secret places.

 

                                               Chapter 13.

 

     In the aftermath of the defeat of Makrsh P’Tangh and his allies the Seraphs and Humanity returned to their preparations for a final conflict with the Lich and his forces. Many mortals having seen the power of the Seraphs decided to join their ranks and make the sacrifice to become reborn into Seraphs so that they might be strong enough to fight in that final Conflict should it occur within their lifetime.

     In the wake of the defeat of P’Tangh’s forces in the Battle of Emanations a fanatical cult was formed. They were known as the cult of Corrupters and their one goal is the resurrection of Gluriurl, god of Corruption. At first small in number that cult grew as the years went by and eventually became a force to be reckoned with. To this day there are members of that cult pervading society. If they succeed in their mission and return Gluriurl to the land of Althea then it is quite possible that mankind will go the way of the Elves and Dwarven races before them and fail the responsibility assigned to them by the Harbinger. It should also be noted that many of these cult members have also become seraphs in an effort to use the additional powers and skills of the Seraphs to advance their ignoble agenda.

     Periodically groups of Seraphs mount expeditions to go and seek Makrsh P’Tangh and his minions. Sometimes they even manage to defeat the lich and his minions. More often than not Makrsh P’Tangh escapes to another area of his vast fortress on the dead isle where he resides. But some do manage to slay him. When this happens he is always reanimated by the curse of the Harbinger and doomed to exist eternally as the ruler of an undead army bent on the resurrection of Gluriurl.

     But think not that these valiant Seraphs are wasting their time. For as long as the lich is fighting desperate battles with these Seraphs he has little time to plot another war against Humanity as he did in the Battle of Emanations. It is this relentless hunting of Makrsh P’Tangh by the Seraphs of Althea that guarantee the average citizen another day free from the attack of Makrsh P’Tangh and his hosts.

     Even those Seraphs too weak to slay the lich can help just by disrupting things on his isle and causing him to spend his time in dealing with the influx of Seraphs. So you see even a lone Seraph can and indeed has in the past stopped the plotting of Makrsh P’Tangh and hindered his ability to mount a major attack on the isles of Althea. This is why every Seraph should do their duty and seek out the lich occasionally and harry him to no end. Every moment he has to spend dealing with a Seraph is a moment that he cannot spend plotting against the decent citizens of the isles of Althea.

     This hunting of P’Tangh and his minions on their isle also provides the time needed for more Seraphs to be reborn and grow in their powers. Eventually the Seraph population will reach a point of numbers so large that Makrsh P’Tangh and his minions will no longer be a viable threat. But this can only come to pass if the few brave souls continue to enter his isle where he is strongest and has all of the advantages. Once there they must harry his forces and cause the most disruption possible on the isle thus rendering the lich incapable of mounting a major attack upon Humanity and the younger Seraphs.

     All Seraphs of the lands should make that pilgrimage to P’Tangh’s isle at least once during their lifetime. It is the sacred duty of all Seraphs to do so. Remember even if you never slay the lich you are still contributing to the overall safety of the citizens of Althea and your fellow Seraphs.

    

            
 Slideshow link: Slideshow

 

  

 

 

This set of quests was written by me in a collaborative effort with Sir Andrew, the owner of the4thwebsite. Thank you Andrew for your very professional input. Here is a link to his site:

 

 http://www.the4thwebsite.com/

 

 

 

 

 

       Neutral Alignment Quest

                     Arakas

 

 

The key to the quests is simple. The NPCs involved are bold as are the player responses. The text that follows is their dialog. Words or phrases in quotation marks are keywords and should be highlighted ingame. You will note that I do not put periods inside the quotation marks. That’s because I don’t want the quest bugging because people don’t include a period which they might not notice beside the last word and most t4cers aren’t careful about using punctuation.

 

The path of Neutrality begins at the Druid settlement on Arakas. Go to the house on the west side and see the new NPC named Geraint. He is dressed in plate armor and wears an amber cape if possible. Red cape if not.

 

Player clicks NPC Geraint.

 

NPC Geraint: Greetings adventurer. I sense that you have come seeking knowledge of the “neutral path”. I am a Paladin of Damia, and it is my pleasure to welcome newcomers to our path.

 

Player: Neutral Path

 

NPC Geraint: Ah, you seek knowledge of the Path of Neutrality?

 

Player: No

 

NPC Geraint: Then I bid you good day. (NPC breaks conversation.)

 

Player: Yes

 

NPC Geraint: That my friend is a long story. Are you sure you have the time and patience to hear it all?

 

Player: yes

 

NPC Geraint: Very well then I shall give you the short version. Thousands of years ago the Harbinger came to Althea and sought out the Elves. He warned them that they were the chosen race and then charged them with the duty to “maintain the balance” between good and evil.

 

Player: maintain the balance

 

NPC Geraint: Alas, no they didn’t maintain the balance. The King of the Elves failed miserably and thus doomed the race of Elves to be severely punished by the Harbinger. After that punishment was concluded the Harbinger sought out the Dwarves and warned them that they were now the chosen race. They were also instructed to “maintain the balance between good and evil”.

 

Player: maintain the balance between good and evil

 

NPC Geraint: Alas, no they didn’t maintain the balance either. Like the Elves before them, they failed. Though the Dwarves showed promise and did a better job maintaining the balance, they attacked the Harbinger when he came to pass judgment upon them and as a result of this the Harbinger transformed the Dwarven race into mindless Atrocities. It was then that the Harbinger turned to the human race and “charged us with maintaining the balance” between good and evil.

 

Player: charged us with maintaining the balance

 

NPC Geraint: Yes I know that seems a difficult task. Both the Elves and the Dwarves before us failed in that task and we humans were the youngest race. The wisest among our race met and they discussed the problem for several weeks. Finally they reached the conclusion that to fulfill the mandate of the Harbinger we needed to “try something new”. Something that neither the Elves with all their wisdom, nor the Dwarves with all of their strength at arms had thought to try.

 

Player: try something new

 

NPC Geraint: The wise men and women of the time realized that both the Elves and the Dwarves had failed to maintain the balance between good and evil because they had tried in vain to work within the alignments of good and evil to maintain that balance. They concluded that this approach wouldn’t work any better for the human race than it had for the other races. They further concluded that if we were to succeed where the other races had failed we needed to form a third alignment dedicated to the base “philosophy of maintaining the balance”.

 

Player: philosophy of maintaining the balance

 

NPC Geraint: For the balance to be maintained we needed to remain neutral. This means we favor neither good nor evil It also means that we work actively to see to it that the other “two alignments remain balanced”. Sometimes this requires us to work actively in a seemingly good or evil manner, but always these actions are to maintain the balance.

 

Player: two alignments remain balanced

 

NPC Geraint: In those days of the first generation of neutrals we had no deity. The founders of the path struggled daily along the path, always doing what they could to maintain the balance. But their “struggles did not go unnoticed”.

 

Player: struggles did not go unnoticed

 

NPC Geraint: The celestial realm, which is the birthplace of all gods, exists in another dimension. The goddess of the sea and neutrality took notice of the struggle of this first generation of neutrals. That Goddess is named “Shinobi”. Seeing the plight of these men and women who struggled so valiantly to maintain the balance, she decided to come to Althea and assist them along that path.

 

Player: Shinobi

 

NPC Geraint: Yes the goddess Shinobi was the first goddess of neutrality. She was also a goddess of the sea. But now “Damia” has taken Shinobi’s place as goddess of neutrality and Shinobi is primarily the goddess of the sea.

 

Player: Damia

 

NPC Geraint: Damia is the daughter of the goddess Shinobi and Ogrimar the god of evil. Both Shinobi and Ogrimar had visions that warned them that unless they had a daughter a great calamity would befall Althea. This seemed impossible because Shinobi loathes Ogrimar and will not suffer his touch. Yet the gods “found a way” to accomplish this seemingly impossible task without ever touching one another.

 

Player: found a way

 

NPC Geraint: Yes they did, but a gentleman doesn’t ask questions about such things, therefore I have no idea how they accomplished this seemingly impossible feat. Shinobi raised Damia until she was six years old and then she turned her daughter over to Ogrimar as agreed. It broke her heart to do this, but it was the only way that Ogrimar would agree to the plan for he yearned in his heart for the daughter of his visions. This might seem a cruel fate for the young goddess but Ogrimar doted on his daughter and she led a happy life. Later when Damia came of age her mother Shinobi turned over the responsibility for the neutral path to her daughter. Shinobi is now primarily the goddess of the sea though she is still neutral, and Damia is the “goddess of neutrality”.

 

Player: goddess of neutrality

 

NPC Geraint: Yes, Damia is our goddess. Since she became our goddess many people who have flocked to our path. She inspires people to “join” our ranks as well as her mother did. Some say she is even more inspirational.

 

Player: join

 

NPC Geraint: Ahh yes many wish to join us. But the path of neutrality is a very difficult path. First you must “prove” that you have what it takes to be a follower of the neutral path.

 

Player: prove

 

NPC Geraint: To prove your ability to follow the neutral path you must perform a service for the Druids here. Then I will know that you have what it takes to be a follower of our path. I will give you a chance to prove yourself. Help the Druids recover the “stone of life”.

 

Player: stone of life

 

NPC Geraint: Ask the Druid leader Yrian Earthsong about the “stone of life”, but once you have recovered the stone of life you must come to see me before giving it back to Yrian in order to prove to me that you have completed your mission. (NPC breaks conversation.

 

Player clicks NPC Yrian Earthsong. He then does the Stone of life quest and returns to the Paladin Geraint with it in his pack. The NPC sees the stone of life

 

Player: stone of life

 

NPC Geraint: Well done follower of Damia and the Path of Neutrality. (NPC sets a flag cementing the player along the neutral path.) You must take the stone of life to Yrian now, but you have proven yourself worthy of entrance into our order. Welcome to the path of neutrality. When you are ready to go to Raven’s Dust, then come to see me for “further instructions”.

 

Player: further instructions

 

If the player is level 25 and has unaligned Karma (-99 to 99) then Geraint says:

 

NPC Geraint: You have done well. I will help you go to Raven’s Dust where you are needed by one of our order named Celestina Waterbreeze. But first you must go to the city of Windhowl and seek out a man of the sea. Tell him I sent you. (NPC sets quest flag for sailor to see.)

 

If the player is not level 25 or has Karma issues (must be -99 to 99) then Geraint says:

 

NPC Geraint: You have done well but you have yet to accomplish everything you are to do on Arakas. Come back to see me when you have completed your tasks. (NPC breaks conversation.)

 

(If at any point the player says bye to Geraint,)

 

Player: bye

 

NPC Geraint: May the goddess be with you. (NPC breaks conversation.)

 

If the player has the levels and quest flag and then he speaks to Captain Harock Harr:

 

NPC Captain Harock Harr:  Hardy Har har! What do you want with this old sailor?

 

Player: Geraint

 

NPC Captain Harock Harr:  (NPC checks for quest flag. If the player doesn’t have it he breaks conversation. If he does have the flag the NPC says,) Oh you need passage to Raven’s Dust? Yes I will take you there since my good friend Geraint told you that I would help. I often took young initiates on our path to the island back when Shinobi was still our goddess and can do no less now that her daughter Damia has taken over. Are you ready to begin your journey?

 

Player: no (if player says no then the NPC breaks conversation.)

 

Player: Yes

 

At this point I guess the NPC would teleport the player to RD? I don’t know how this would work because we can’t have the player board a physical ship to simulate the journey. Would be nice if we could. Maybe the scene could shift to a world map showing Arakas and Raven’s Dust with a small ship icon traveling from Arakas to Raven’s Dust and when that scene fades the player arrives at the little beach area where the fishing pole is located near the house in SS?

 

 

 

 

 

          Neutral Alignment Quest

                  Raven’s Dust

 

 

 

         

 

     Neutral Path player landing in Raven’s Dust.

 

 

 

 

The neutral quest on Raven’s Dust leads the player to Celestina Waterbreeze whom Geraint mentions at the end of the Arakas quest.

 

 

Player clicks the NPC Celestina Waterbreeze.

 

NPC Celestina Waterbreeze: What can I do to help you adventurer?

 

Player: Geraint

 

NPC Celestina Waterbreeze: Oh yes, Geraint mentioned that you would be coming to see me. He said that I am to put you to work helping me. But since you last spoke with him, some events have transpired that change things, so now you must return to Silversky. Another of our alignment is waiting to see you in the house behind the temple of Artherk in the city. (NPC breaks conversation.)

 

Player returns to Silversky and walks to the house behind the temple where he finds the new NPC. Her name is Rose the Pathfinder. Player clicks the NPC. NPC checks for neutral quest flag and won’t speak to players without it.

 

         

     Neutral Player seeks out Rose the Pathfinder.

 

 

NPC Rose the Pathfinder: Greetings to you adventurer. I’m glad that Celestina sent you to me. My task for our alignment is to ensure that the forces of evil do not slaughter the Priests of Artherk who reside within this city. I wander the countryside seeking out the assassins that we know have been sent by Mordenthal to murder the Priests. I recently found a party of the assassins outside the city and did battle with the party. There were originally seven of them. I managed to slay “all but three”.

 

Player: all but three

 

NPC Rose the Pathfinder: Yes three still live and are a deadly threat to the Priests of Artherk here in the city. If they succeed in killing the Priests here, then there will surely be a war between the forces of good and evil, which is what Mordenthal wants. Such a war would destroy the balance, therefore it is imperative that we “prevent that war”.

 

Player: prevent that war

 

NPC Rose the Pathfinder: Yes the war must be prevented. However, I was wounded and I cannot do battle with the surviving assassins until I recover from my wounds. That means we need you to undertake this mission to prevent the assassins from “murdering” the Priests of Artherk, thus threatening the balance of power between good and evil.

 

Player: murdering

 

NPC Rose the Pathfinder: The assassins are lurking somewhere outside the city, no doubt still near the city wall awaiting their opportunity to attack the Priests. Please exit the city and seek them out. Kill them before they can complete their foul mission. When you have accomplished this then “report” back to me. (NPC breaks conversation.)

 

The three Assassins should have the typical assassin graphic. It would be nice if their capes were black or an Olive Drab green instead of blue but I realize that graphics could hold up the project for a long time and that’s too much work for this quest so blue will do. I would make two of them about as strong as the SH Assassins in melee but one would be a boss type with much more hit points and a much higher damage rate. (Maybe half the power of the NPC Hel?) Just bear in mind a level 26 – 50 will have to be able to kill them. That all three look alike is great. In this way the player will never know which is which until the battle is well underway. For the sake of simplicity I’d suggest the kill flag come from the boss type and not his two underlings. I would have them ID as Mordenthal’s assassins. If they give XP at all it should only be for the first kill. Otherwise some players will seek to kill them repeatedly for the XP and this might create a quest bottleneck for the neutral player.

 

 

         

Assassins spawn here outside northeastern corner of the city.

 

Player clicks the NPC Rose the Pathfinder before killing the assassins.

 

Player: report

 

NPC Rose the Pathfinder: (NPC checks for the assassin kill flag, finds it missing and then responds accordingly.” You have not yet completed your mission. Please report to me when you have killed the assassins.

 

If for some reason the assassins have been slain but the player didn’t get the kill then let her respawn them as the NPC Hel is respawned by the WH gate guard.

 

Player: report

 

NPC Rose the Pathfinder: (NPC checks for the kill flag, sees it and responds.) You have done a splendid job. Thanks to you, the threat of imminent war between good and evil has been averted. Now you need to return to Celestina for she still needs your help with her “work”. When your work with her is completed then please return to see me. The assassin’s poison has left me weak, and though I am healing, I fear my recovery will be a slow process, so I have “further need” of your help. (NPC sets quest flag for completing that portion of the quest.)

 

Player: work

 

NPC Rose the Pathfinder: Ask Celestina about her work.

 

Player: further need  (Player didn’t leave or say bye.)

 

NPC Rose the Pathfinder: You have to help Celestina with her “work” first. (NPC breaks conversation.)

 

 

 

Player goes to Celestina and clicks her.

 

Player: work

 

NPC Celestina Waterbreeze: I do everything that has to be done. Since we are a small community, we have to stick together and share the chores if we want to survive. Currently, I am trying to save this little "tree". As a druid, I feel that it is my duty to protect nature no matter what.

 

Player: tree (but the player doesn’t have the ingredients.)

 

NPC Celestina Waterbreeze: (Player name), this small tree will perish if you don't find me at least 2 flasks of crystal water.

 

Player: tree (the player does have the ingredients.)

 

NPC Celestina Waterbreeze: You've found two flasks of crystal water for my dying tree? You have done well, (Player name). Do you agree to give these to me?

 

Player: yes

 

NPC Celestina Waterbreeze: Thank you, (player name). See? The little tree is already feeling better. Take this little pouch of Willow bark. You will see, it will prove useful to you someday. {You} {have} {been} {awarded} {8000} {experience} {points.}

 

I understand that repeatable quests do not get quest accomplished flags, but if the NPC could use a modifier and check Karma and then give neutrals only a flag this would be great. Otherwise this save the little tree quest can be bypassed by the players.

 

Player returns to Rose the Pathfinder and clicks her.

 

Player: further need

 

NPC Rose the Pathfinder: I am glad that you have returned. I fear that what I am about to ask you to do may seem quite odd to you, but I assure you that there is a good reason for this request. I need you to gather wasps wax and have Samuel, King Theodore’s assistant, make you two “wax apples”.

 

Player: wax apples

 

NPC Rose the Pathfinder: Yes wax apples. I knew you’d find that passing strange, so permit me to explain. We have it on good authority that soon a very evil woman will attempt to poison Bishop Crowbanner with poison apples. We further know that she just had two poison apples made. This woman is rapidly rising in power and status within the ranks of evil and is a threat to the balance. Damia has decided that we need to discredit this woman in Mordenthal’s eyes. We know that Mordenthal is watching her closely to see if she succeeds in this foul deed. If she does, then he will bring her into his “inner circle”.

 

Player: inner circle

 

NPC Rose the Pathfinder: This woman is simply too competent and would aide the inner circle dramatically making our work of maintaining the balance much more difficult than it is now. Therefore you will have two wax apples made. When you have them, then bring them to me. One of our highly skilled “thieves” will attempt to replace the woman’s poisoned apples with the fake wax apples thus causing her to fail and consequently Mordenthal will turn his attention elsewhere.

 

Player: thieves

 

NPC Rose the Pathfinder: Does that surprise you? We have assassins as well. But our thieves and assassins do not ply their trades indiscriminately. They utilize their skills only to preserve the balance between good and evil. In point-of-fact some of our assassins and thieves are among the most noble of Damia’s followers. But I digress, sorry. Bring the apples to me soon. We aren’t certain when she will strike but we are certain that it will be soon, therefore we need those “wax apples” very soon. (NPC breaks conversation.)

 

Player clicks the NPC Rose the Pathfinder.

 

Player: wax apples. (Player doesn’t have them in pack.)

 

NPC Rose the Pathfinder: (NPC checks for two wax apples, finds that they are not present and says) Yes we need two wax apples. Please return when you have them. (NPC breaks conversation.)

 

Player: wax apples. (Player has them in pack.)

 

NPC Rose the Pathfinder: (NPC checks for two wax apples, finds that they are present, takes apples, sets completion flag and says) Thank you for the apples. With luck our master thief will do the rest. Now you are ready to proceed to the “last work” that we need from you before you travel to Stoneheim.

 

Player: last work

 

NPC Rose the Pathfinder: You have one last task to accomplish for our alignment on Raven’s Dust. It is a task most similar to the one that you have just completed. It has come to our attention that there is a follower of the good path who is just a bit too competent at recruiting new followers for the god of good. The high Priest is considering “promoting” this man to a position of considerable power and influence within the inner circle of the Priests of Artherk.

 

Player: promoting

 

NPC Rose the Pathfinder: If this man is promoted then it is very likely that the followers of Artherk will surge in number within the next year. This will upset the balance of power between good and evil, for the god’s gain a portion of their power from the reverence of their followers. Therefore in the interest of the balance the High Priest must become “disenchanted” with this man.

 

Player: disenchanted

 

NPC Rose the Pathfinder: We have it on good authority that this man promised the High Priest that he would secure a Cloak of Renewal for him as a gift. The man has succeeded in obtaining the cloak and will present it to the High Priest soon. If we “act swiftly” then we will be able to switch another garment for this cloak, and then when the poor man gives the High Priest the substitute his stock with the High Priest will be severely diminished. He’ll be lucky to land a job cleaning the alter.

 

Player: act swiftly

 

NPC Rose the Pathfinder: Please seek out Darius Moonglow. He will trade you a Nature’s Garb for some “gems”. Please return when you have the “Nature’s Garb” in your possession.

 

Player: gems

 

NPC Rose the Pathfinder: Ask Darius about the “gems”. (NPC breaks conversation.)

 

Player: nature’s garb (not in pack.)

 

NPC Rose the Pathfinder: Yes we still need the Garb. You must hurry and get one and then return here at once. (NPC breaks conversation.)

 

 

The player now goes to see Darius Moonglow in the Druid village and clicks him.

 

 

NPC Darius Moonglow: It is you again, (Player name)! It is nice to see you again, my friend.

 

Player: gems

 

NPC Darius Moonglow: You look like someone who could help me. I need four rare colored gems. I need a red, a green, a yellow, and a blue gem. Retrieve them and bring them to me and you shall be rewarded.

 

Player: gems (player does not have the four gems)

 

NPC Darius Moonglow: You do not have the 4 gems I require! Remember, I need a red, a green, a yellow and a blue one.

 

Player: gems (Player has the gems and gets the reward of the Nature’s Garb.

 

 

Next the Player returns to Rose the Pathfinder and clicks her.

 

Player: nature’s garb (in pack.)

 

NPC Rose the Pathfinder: (NPC checks pack. Sees Garb and takes it.) You have done well. Our Goddess Damia is well pleased with you and has instructed me to give you this Silver Feather which you will need to get to Stoneheim. Please come back in an hour. If our plan succeeds there is a good chance that the garment will be thrown away by the disgusted and bitterly disappointed High Priest. Our master thief will recover it for you if this happens and I will return it. Just mention the “Nature’s Garb” when you return . (Start one hour timer.)

 

Player: Nature’s garb (Timer isn’t completed.)

 

NPC Rose the Pathfinder: (NPC checks timer and says.) I’m sorry, but our Master thief has not yet returned.

 

Player: Nature’s garb (Timer has completed.)

 

NPC Rose the Pathfinder: (NPC checks timer and says.) Our Master thief recovered your Garb. (or)  Our Master thief was unable to recover your Garb. (Depending upon the outcome.) You should know that your efforts for our alignment have worked out marvelously. The evil woman was discredited in Mordenthal’s eyes. He now believes her incompetent. And that promising recruiter for Artherk was also discredited in the High Priest’s eyes. The High Priest now believes that the promising fellow is little more than a fraud. You have done well and Damia is pleased.

 

(Give this possibility of recovering the Nature’s Garb the odds that you like but some chance of permanent loss would add a certain spice to the quest. Realistically though on a new server, the item has too much value to lose 100 % of the time since the quest isn’t repeatable. If it were up to me I’d give it a 70 / 30 chance in the player’s favor but you might prefer drastically different odds. You could even tie the odds to the player’s Karma with zero numerical value having the highest percentage chance of getting the item returned and every point to the plus or minus side being another point in favor of loss. Eventually Players would figure out the connection and begin to try to maintain neutral Karma numerically speaking.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

        Neutral Alignment Quest

                   Stoneheim

 

 

The Neutral alignment seraph quest will require the introduction of a few NPCs.

 

 

 

Eric Glenfield – Commander of the Gryphon Knights. (Located in the Mayor’s house in Stonecrest.)

 

Marc Trumaine – Captain of the Gryphon Knight Warrior Element. (Same room, same look with drawn sword.)

 

Aspen Longleaf – Captain of the Gryphon Knight Archer Element. (Same room, same look with bow.)

 

The Gryphon Knights wear amber capes, azure armor and white tabards with a Gryphon emblazoned on the front. I know creating the tabards is going to be out of the question though. Just mentioned it in passing. I do wish we could create them. This would be a sweet addition to the server someday. And one specifically for the Gryphon Knights would probably be wildly popular with the members of that order when they finally reach Sic Dalar and quest to become members of the order if they so choose. If we could create another slot for the tabard to be worn over the armor chest piece that would be wonderful. Or failing that, maybe someone can develop some means to incorporate the armor attributes into the tabard, though that would leave the arms bear and might look a bit odd.

 

Stoneheim is where the player first learns a lot about the Gryphon Knights. As they wander around town they will eventually discover the three new NPCs in the Mayor’s house. It won’t matter which man they speak to first. Once they’ve spoken to all three men they will know what to do next. These NPCs should be able to read Karma and unless the Karma is unaligned they should not speak to the player.

 

 

Player clicks on the NPC Eric Glenfield.

 

NPC Eric Glenfield: Greetings (Player name.) I’ve been expecting you. We are here in town recruiting Knights for our order. I’m really busy at the moment so I’ll leave you in the capable hands of my two Commanders. Heed well their advice for they are brilliant men and can help you to gain a “better understanding” of the Neutral Path and what it means to be a Gryphon Knight.

 

Player: better understanding

 

NPC Eric Glenfield: Ask Marc about that. (NPC breaks conversation.)

 

 

Player clicks NPC Marc Trumaine.

 

NPC Marc Trumaine: Greetings to you fellow follower of Damia, goddess of Neutrality. I am here to speak to potential recruits about what it means to be a Gryphon Knight. Are you ready to learn these things?

 

Player: No

 

NPC Marc Trumaine: I bid you good day and safe journey. (NPC breaks conversation.)

 

Player: Yes

 

NPC Marc Trumaine: I am a Gryphon Knight now, but that has not always been the case. Once I was a Commander in the army of Dalghard, the demented god of fertility, who sought to conquer Althea and reshape it to suit himself. At the end of my career in Dalghard’s army I was an officer in charge of the defenses of the western fortress of Dalghard. One day something happened that “changed everything”.

 

Player: changed everything

 

NPC Marc Trumaine: Brimstone, husband of Damia and a Demi-god of fire came to the fortress with a strong but small band of Companions. In the terrible battle that followed their arrival at the fortress our army of Dalghard suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of the relatively few Companions led by Brimstone. If not for the mercy of the Companions thousands more would have died. In a fit of rage my Commander had several men executed because of this defeat. He ordered my execution and that of my good friend Aspen Longleaf as well but some of our men “saw us” being escorted out and recognized us, though we had been hooded to mask our identity.

 

Player: saw us

 

NPC Marc Trumaine: Yes they saw us and followed the execution detail. They forced the executioners to release us and together with those loyal men we fled the tyranny of our despotic Commander in the hopes of finding a “new life” with the Gryphon Knights.

 

Player: new life

 

NPC Marc Trumaine: Damia was aware of our flight and our desire to become Gryphon Knights. She came to our camp and spoke to us all at great length. We were accepted into the Gryphon Knights and went to Harvest Moon where we first met Eric Glenfield our Commander and the First Knight of the Gryphons. There we served diligently to protect the citizens of Harvest Moon and preserve the peace of that city and the rest of the island of Sic Dalar. Aspen grew to become a devout follower of Damia but I followed her for other reasons. Then one day something happened to “change that too”.

 

Player: change that too

 

NPC Marc Trumaine: The arch mage Zadykiel attacked the city of Harvest Moon. During the attack twenty-three of our Knights were slain. Damia’s reaction to their deaths was so wondrous to me that it changed my heart and I grew to follow her not for her prowess as a military leader but instead for her great love and compassion for her followers. If you have the time I will tell you “the rest”.

 

Player: the rest

 

NPC Marc Trumaine: In her realm, where her emotions were no threat to Althea, Damia wept. When she had composed herself she went to the Gryphon Knight headquarters, where her dead Knights had been laid out beside the headquarters building. It was an emotional moment for the Knights when our “Goddess arrived”.

 

Player: goddess arrived

 

NPC Marc Trumaine: Aspen and I were both there. Aspen knelt in respect and devotion to the Goddess but I only bowed. Damia nodded to all of the Knights present and said, Well done my Knights. Tonight you have served well the precepts of your order and acted with valor. Looking pointedly then to the twenty three bodies on the ground she added, Some of you paid “the ultimate price” for that valor.

 

Player: the ultimate price

 

NPC Marc Trumaine: Moving quietly to the bodies she knelt beside the first. The cape of the Gryphon Knights had covered each Knight. Reaching out her hand she gently folded back the top portion of the cape revealing the face of the dead Knight. Her breath caught in her throat when she saw the horribly mutilated “face of her Knight”.

 

Player: face of her Knight

 

NPC Marc Trumaine: Reaching up she captured a tear with her index finger and gently touched the forehead of her dead Knight. Be whole, she whispered and her magic restored the body of her Knight. Staring in amazement we all felt the power radiating from Damia as she moved to the next Knight in that line of amber shrouded forms. One by one she examined their wounds and wept a single tear with which she “restored their bodies”.

 

Player: restored their bodies

 

NPC Marc Trumaine: All during this process I stared in amazement at the Goddess. More and more Knights arrived during this process. It seemed that every Knight within the city was drawn to the tableau unfolding. As they arrived many knelt in respect and devotion for their Goddess. Others, like me, only bowed and remained standing. Soon thousands of “Knights surrounded” the area.

 

Player: knights surrounded

 

NPC Marc Trumaine: The quietness was almost absolute as we listened to the Goddess when she whispered the two words, Be whole. Each time she said those words, more Knights joined those who knelt, for it stirred the soul to behold the compassion Damia evidenced for the Knights of her Order. She adored them and “they adored her” in return.

 

Player: they adored her

 

NPC Marc Trumaine: I wasn't sure what was about to happen, but I felt certain that something was about to happen. Something really big. Somehow I just knew that when it happened it would be wonderful.

     Damia arrived then at the last five bodies and I walked rapidly to her. She noted my approach and paused. I said to her, Goddess, with all due respect, I don't think you should examine the remaining men. They were burned horribly and there “isn't much left” to see.

 

Player: isn’t much left

 

NPC Marc Trumaine: Touched by my concern Damia asked me gently, If my followers can endure such a death for the precepts they fight for, can I not endure their sight? To do less is to dishonor their sacrifice. She then knelt beside the body of the first of the burn victims and gently pulled aside his make-shift shroud. Horrid were the burns that covered his body and as before, her breath caught in her lungs. Her eyes brimmed with tears as she gently whispered, My poor Knight. What have they done to you? Then she said, "Be whole," and touched his forehead as she had his fellow Knights.

 

Player: be whole

 

NPC Marc Trumaine: I stared in awe as the horribly burned and disfigured Knight's features returned to normal. I knelt then for the first time in devotion to the Goddess who cared so much for the Knights of her Order. Dalghard I had served because I had to. Damia I had served because it suited me to do so. But during the events there that night I came to serve the Goddess Damia not because of her military prowess, but because of her unshakable love and compassion for “every single Knight” of her Order.

 

Player: every single Knight

 

NPC Marc Trumaine: In Damia I found a goddess worthy of my love, respect, and devotion. We are interested in you. We see potential in you. I think you have what it takes to be a Gryphon Knight someday. But first you must become a seraph and you must begin this path by earning “Damia’s key”.

 

Player: Damia’s key

 

NPC Marc Trumaine: That is a key required to open the gate to the Oracle for people upon our path of Neutrality. To get this key you will need three artifacts crafted. These artifacts are the “love, respect, and devotion” of Damia.

 

Player: love, respect, and devotion

 

NPC Marc Trumaine: Aspen will tell you the rest. Ask him about the “love, respect, and devotion” of Damia. (NPC breaks conversation.)

 

Player clicks NPC Aspen Longleaf.

 

NPC Aspen Longleaf: Greetings fellow adventurer.

 

Player: love, respect, and devotion

 

NPC Aspen Longleaf: Ah yes I will tell you about that but first there is something else that you should know. My portion of teaching you takes up where “Marc’s left off”.

 

Player: Marc’s left off

 

NPC Aspen Longleaf: Damia turned then to her assembled Knights. Spreading her hands she said, My Beloved Knights of the order of the Gryphon. I salute you and your courage. I bless you all during these dark hours ahead. May you all find the courage of these twenty-three who were lost to us this night. Blessed be the Gryphon Knights, great and small. Blessed be you, “each and every one”.

 

Player: each and every one

 

NPC Aspen Longleaf: That said, she gathered the remnants of her tears and tossed them out with both hands toward her assembled Knights. The tears went high into the air and divided and divided again and again until when they fell, every man assembled there was touched by a tear of their goddess. But they didn't stop there. Just as she had said, she had blessed them all. No matter where they were upon Sic Dalar the Gryphon Knights felt a tear from their goddess that night and as they had once before, they heard her “Benediction”.

 

Player: benediction

 

NPC Aspen Longleaf: On the battlefield the Gryphon Knights heard the Benediction and felt the tears of their Goddess and were instantly refreshed. They knelt in devotion. In Paradise Cove the assembled Gryphon Knights heard that Benediction and knelt in devotion. They then used the scrolls to Harvest Moon that each Knight was required to carry. Their Paradise Cove Commander had decided that they should join their brothers and sisters in battle since it was now apparent that no attack would come to Paradise Cove in the “near future”.

 

Player: near future

 

NPC Aspen Longleaf: The one hundred men and women arrived in Harvest Moon and walked immediately to the Mausoleum. The contingent from Paradise Cove stared in awe at what they saw. Thank you for coming. Damia said. Tomorrow your brothers and sisters “will sorely need” you.

 

Player: will sorely need

 

 NPC Aspen Longleaf: The contingent from Paradise Cove visited the crypts of the heroes and paid their respects. Then they filed quietly out of the Mausoleum. These were the older Knights of the Order and not of Dalghard's former army as were the dead Knights. Yet to the amazement of the newer Knights they reacted as if they had known the fallen Knights quite well. Anger burned in the eyes of the men and women who filed out to march to the battlefield where they would “reinforce the Knights “on the line.

 

Player: reinforce the Knights

 

NPC Aspen Longleaf: Then it was that an odd thing happened. Several of the new Knights stepped forward asking their Commanders for permission to leave with the group of departing Knights. The Commanders turned to Damia and explained that many wanted to go, but she said, I cannot ask you to participate. I “gave my word” that you would not have to do so. Damia replied.

 

Player: gave my word

 

NPC Aspen Longleaf: You see the attacking army was composed of several elements, but one of those elements were our former comrades in arms from the western fortress, and this is why Damia promised we would not have to fight. But the arch mage Zadykiel’s attacks on the city had stirred our anger. That combined with our acceptance by the other Gryphons despite our backgrounds caused us to do what we “did next”.

 

Player: did next

 

NPC Aspen Longleaf: I asked them. I turned to face my archers and said. Men, our fellow Knights face the battle tomorrow. They are hopelessly outnumbered. They have excused us from the need to fight this war and none of us need do so. They understand our conflict of interest and in their compassion they excuse us from that duty. The Knights departing go to reinforce our Knights standing on the battle line there. I for one can not stand by and let others fight and die to protect me. I am going with them. Those of you that do not wish to go, stay in the city and protect the citizens should the need arise. Saying nothing more I then briefly knelt before my Goddess and then turned and strode away to catch up with the departing detachment. Seeing me leaving, the original band of archers who had freed both Marc and myself fell in behind me. Soon there was a great “exodus” of the archers.

 

Player: exodus

 

NPC Aspen Longleaf: Marc Trumaine then stepped to the forefront and said, Alright men, we cannot abandon the city. We have a duty to protect the citizens should the battle go badly or the enemy launch other attacks against the city. I need one thousand volunteers to stay behind in the city. That should be more than enough to accommodate those of you not wishing to fight our former friends in Dalghard's army. And so it came to pass that we the former soldiers of Dalghard came to be among the Gryphon Knights and faced our former brothers in arms upon the “field of battle” east of Harvest Moon the next day.

 

Player: field of battle

 

NPC Aspen Longleaf: A great victory was achieved but not without a heavy price. But the main thing you should learn from this is that the Goddess Damia is worthy of our “love, respect, and devotion”.

 

 

Player: love, respect, and devotion

 

NPC Aspen Longleaf: Those are the three artifacts needed to obtain Damia’s key which will open the portal to the Oracle who will speak with you of the wonders of the seraph. First you must obtain the love of Damia. Only after you have formed the “love of Damia” will I speak with you of the rest.

 

Player: love of Damia

 

NPC Aspen Longleaf: Bring me the following items and I will “construct the love of Damia” for you. Bring me one hundred gems of the sort found on Stoneheim, any gems will do, and bring me three red spell books, two blades of heroism and three flasks of crystal water. (NPC breaks conversation.)

 

Player clicks Aspen.

 

NPC Aspen Longleaf: Greetings fellow adventurer.

 

Player: construct the love of Damia (Player doesn’t have the ingredients.)

 

NPC Aspen Longleaf: (NPC checks for the ingredients, finds them not present, and responds) You do not have all of the ingredients required to craft that artifact. Return when you have one hundred gems of the sort found on Stoneheim, any gems will do, and bring me three red spell books, two blades of heroism and three flasks of crystal water.

 

Player clicks Aspen.

 

NPC Aspen Longleaf: Greetings fellow adventurer.

 

Player: construct the love of Damia (Player does have the ingredients.)

 

NPC Aspen Longleaf: (NPC checks for the ingredients, finds them present, and responds) You have done well. Next you will need to obtain the “respect of Damia”.(NPC takes all components required leaving any extras the player may have on him and crafts the artifact love of Damia. The graphic to be decided by graphics developer.)

 

Player: respect of Damia

 

NPC Aspen Longleaf: Ask Marc about that artifact. (NPC breaks conversation.)

 

Player clicks NPC Marc Trumaine.

 

NPC Marc Trumaine: Greetings to you fellow follower of Damia, goddess of Neutrality. I am here to speak to potential recruits about what it means to be a Gryphon Knight. Are you ready to learn these things?

 

Player: respect of Damia

 

NPC Marc Trumaine: Yes I can “construct the respect of Damia” for you. Bring me the following ingredients. Bring me two essence of bloodlusts, five spider venoms of the sort found on Stoneheim, one hundred gems of any quality, three blades of heroism, two red spell books, and four grails of purity. Once you have all of those items then return and I will construct the respect of Damia for you. (NPC breaks conversation.)

 

Player clicks NPC Marc Trumaine.

 

Player: construct the respect of Damia (Player doesn’t have the ingredients.)

 

NPC Marc Trumaine: (NPC checks for the ingredients, finds them not present, and responds) You do not have all of the ingredients required to craft that artifact. Bring me two essence of bloodlusts, five spider venoms of the sort found on Stoneheim, one hundred gems of any quality, three blades of heroism, two red spell books, and four grails of purity. Once you have all of those items then return and I will construct the respect of Damia for you. (NPC breaks conversation.)

 

 

Player clicks NPC Marc Trumaine.

 

Player: construct the respect of Damia (Player does have the ingredients.)

 

NPC Marc Trumaine: (NPC checks for the ingredients, finds them present, and responds) You have done well. I’ll take those ingredients and construct the artifact for you. Next you will need to obtain the “devotion of Damia”. (NPC removes the ingredients from inventory and makes the artifact respect of Damia for the player. Again I leave the graphics to the graphics man.)

 

 

Player: devotion of Damia

 

NPC Marc Trumaine: To “construct the devotion of Damia” you will need five scrolls of horse friendship, one assassin blade, one Cloak of the Archer and five gems of the immortal. Please return when you have those items and I will fashion the love of Damia for you.

 

Player: construct the devotion of Damia (Player doesn’t have the ingredients.)

 

NPC Marc Trumaine: (NPC checks for the ingredients, finds them not present, and responds) You do not have all of the ingredients required to craft that artifact. To construct that item you will need five scrolls of horse friendship, one assassin blade, one Cloak of the Archer and five gems of the immortal. Please return when you have those items and I will fashion the devotion of Damia for you. (NPC breaks conversation.)

 

 

Player: construct the devotion of Damia (Player does have the ingredients.)

 

NPC Marc Trumaine: (NPC checks for the ingredients, finds them present, and responds) You have done well. I’ll take those ingredients and construct the artifact for you. Next you will need to speak to our Commander Eric Glenfield. He will merge the three artifacts of Damia into the “Damia’s key” for you. (NPC breaks conversation.)

 

 

Player clicks on the NPC Eric Glenfield.

 

NPC Eric Glenfield: Greetings (Player name.) I’ve been expecting you. We are here in town recruiting Knights for our order. I’m really busy at the moment so I’ll leave you in the capable hands of my two Commanders. Heed well their advice for they are brilliant men and can help you to gain a “better understanding” of the Neutral Path and what it means to be a Gryphon Knight.

 

Player: Damia’s key

 

NPC Eric Glenfield: (NPC checks for the three components. If they are present he makes the key. If they are not present, then he breaks the conversation.) We the Order of the Gryphon Knights salute you. You are truly a worthy candidate. Come to see us on Sic Dalar if you ever decide to join our ranks. (NPC breaks conversation.)

 

There it is. It’s a bit long I know. I wanted a decent storyline to go with the quest and I think this one works pretty well. The ingredients are suggestions only of course. If you think they need tweaking by all means do so. I included the scrolls of horse friendship because Damia is a service oriented goddess who often calls upon her followers to provide some sort of service for the sake of the balance between good and evil. I thought that they were appropriate for this reason.

 

I think this quest is midway in difficulty between the good and evil quests. Don’t hesitate to ask for revisions if you hate it. Please do let me know what you think. I’m not sure my selected location for the NPCs is all that great, but there really aren’t a lot of places to put them. It seemed to me that as visiting men of station from another isle they might stay with the mayor. I considered the tavern but that room was sort of small. If you have a better idea on that please let me know. We can’t really put them at Mordenthal’s or Beltigan’s because that would be showing a preference for those alignments. Same for the lost temple of Vargus.

 

Anyway I hope you like it,

Raist