2005-01-10: Enthralled

Global Edition


Author: Archimedes the Old, Commander of the Royal Guard Published: January 10, 2005

It was quite late at night as I was finalizing some paperwork for the Royal Court when one of the guards from Yew stormed into my office out of breath. He had the look of a man that was carrying news of great urgency, so I pushed my work aside knowing it most likely would not be finished till tomorrow. His name was Robert, and was someone I had personally met with weeks ago while coordinating the watch from the guard tower to the southwest of Yew. Without even asking, he took the glass of water from my desk, hastily drank it down, and then grabbed the pitcher and started drinking from it as well. I swear I could hear his heart pounding through his armor, and so began to get myself organized knowing sooner or later he would be informing me of some bad news.

That's when his stomach rebelled against the onslaught of cold water. Judging by his fashion of entering my office and drinking my water without asking, and then the futile attempt to grab his stomach through his platemail armor to deal with the ensuing stomach cramps, I assumed the news was even worse.

I grabbed my Bone Sliver and dusted my hat off, and then found myself looking down at Robert where he had fallen out of breath and still dealing with stomach cramps. I heard a knock on my door and in stepped Robert's assistant Maxwell. He was not phased whatsoever by his Captain rolling around on the floor in pain, and proceeded to inform me that a great number of Orcs, Trolls, Ogres, Ettins, Titans, and Cyclops were headed our of Yew and marching towards what seemed to be Britain.

This was grave news indeed; while we had expected an invasion of Britain sooner or later, I wasn't comfortable with it happening with our barricades not being in as good shape as they could have been. However, I was lucky to have many of the Royal Guard waiting in the throne room when I arrived, and I quickly informed them we would be defending this very city at two entry points.

We found the invading hoarde in the middle of the mountains at the western barricade, with many Ogre Lords and Orc Brutes in the lead. The Royal Guard found themselves quickly overwhelmed, but heroically did their best against the onslaught. Though the monster’s progress was slowed somewhat, the orcish screams that rang out through the valley told me that this fight would be lost if we didn't employ smarter defensive tactics.

Energy fields were cast at various strategic points, finally allowing the Royal Guard to gain the upper hand; they slowly began to turn the tide of the battle.

We pushed through little by little and soon found ourselves completely out of the mountain pass and reaching the forest beyond. It was then brought to my attention that the other group of attackers was close to the northern barricade, so I ordered the Royal Guard to split up and defend both areas. Just as victory seemed to be in-hand at the western barricade, three Orcish Taskmasters (very much like the ones spotted earlier in Cove) came charging out of the forest. In quick order, they managed to break through both the now much diminished force of Royal Guard as well as the energy fields we had set up, and proceeded to march towards Britain!

Charging ahead of their escort, and with the element of surprise no longer on their side, the Orcish Taskmasters found themselves overwhelmed by the Royal Guard. We defeated the invaders in under ten minutes, and I ordered the Royal Guard there to clean up whatever was left while I moved quickly to the northern pass to survey the situation there.

As I approached the northern pass, several of the Royal Guard told me that the Orcs were wandering aimlessly in the area lacking much direction, however as soon as they spotted me they yelled out orcish battle calls. The trees in the distance began shaking - and then several Orcish Brutes came out with Ogre Lords and Titans in tow! Everyone retreated behind the barricade and tried their best to block the doorway. I gave as much assistance as I could with blocking the narrow passage, while mages and archers attacked from behind.

We received reinforcements returning from the western pass and the fight was finally in our favor! Now having the upper hand, we moved out from behind the barricade to clean up the mess, and were now confidant that victory was ours once again. From the forest came several calls from the Royal Guard - I could not believe my ears when I heard them shouting 'Dupre!', but my eyes did not deceive me when I saw him for myself!

Dupre seemed to be in a daze, and he wasn't responding to the questions asked of him by the Royal Guard. His mouth was open, and his eyes stared to nothing in particular. Then several Royal Guards spotted Belo Ondariva, who was standing over several Orcish corpses without worry of his fate.

I commanded Dupre to take arms against Belo, but that’s when I noticed that he held no weapon. Belo began to laugh, and then put his arm on Dupre's shoulder. He asked everyone around him what they thought of his new 'pet', and barked orders at Dupre - whom obeyed! Belo laughed again, stating that our realms’ greatest defender was now nothing more than his puppet, of whom he no doubt would enjoy using against us. He claimed we all had no honor - that only the dead could have honor. He then proceeded to summon a great beast - a Waker of the Dead! The Royal Guard immediately set upon the beast, but were unable to focus on the creature, much less damage it, as it didn't seem to be completely there. While the Royal Guard’s attention was diverted, Belo and Dupre managed to sneak off back into the depths of the forest noticed only by myself. Please understand that while I am very worried about Dupre, duty demanded that I address the most immediate threat first.

Following the Waker of the Dead, we ended up in the Britain Cemetery where it began to dig up graves! It was quite obvious what this creature was attempting to do, yet we were powerless against it! Many deceased citizens of our land began to burst forth from their own graves, and the Waker of Dead continued around the graveyard unchecked. I noticed that its color began to change as it continued to raise the dead.

Apparently, its ghastly work at the graveyard somehow made it vulnerable, and after the Royal Guard had sent the inhabitants of the cemetery to yet another death, they set upon the Waker of the Dead. In its corporeal form it proved to be of little challenge for the experienced Royal Guard, and was hacked to pieces in short order. I summoned the Royal Guard back to the castle.

Everyone was quite proud of our efforts to protect Britain this night, but I could not help but recollect past events. Anon claimed that there were spies in our midst, and Clainin claimed our informant from Dupre's group had vital information, yet was slain by Belo. Tonight, we learned that Dupre was now under Belo's control, and Belo no doubt had access to all the sensitive information that Dupre protected with his life. Is Britain really safe anymore?

I doubt it.

We won the fight tonight, however I fear for our future.