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ZCerberus

Challenge 3: The Keeper's Tomb

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Wolfpack Tower

Lord Rex,

Boatman Charon told my newt ally and me about the “Keeper’s Tomb”, an old crypt said to be the final resting place of the great lords of Historica and the location of the Elemental Crystal. Charon opened his mouth exactly once to demand my shield, the "Drake’s Scale" for passage to Vile’s island, but he could hardly keep quiet on the journey to the "Keeper’s Island". I know Charon was aware we sought the location of the Elemental Crystal when we traveled to Vile’s lair, so I could not help but feel betrayed he kept the true location of the crystal hidden from us when he accepted payment to ferry us to battle the wizard of the Mystic Isles. Charon said I should consider myself lucky, not only did I learn the location of the Elemental Crystal and recover the Centurion’s Shield, but he jests Barton Stormclaw is far more agreeable in his transformed newt form. Charon reinforced his “lucky” claim by boasting that he may be the only Water Folk boatman who even knows the location of the Keeper’s Tomb, especially impressive because legends of the tomb are told to all Water Folk children.

Charon tells me the tomb’s island once held a great keep where the Elemental Gods met to decide the fate of Historica’s mortal beings through natural disasters and the acts of their minions. Though Charon was more than cryptic about the fate of these Gods, he lead me to believe the crystals were some form of weapon and that the Druids scattered the crystals across all of Historica leaving guardians or “keepers” to watch over them to ensure the crystals were never united again. Though the story seemed far fetched, if Charon’s people’s legend is true, finding these crystals may not be the treasure we believe them to be.

After we finally made landfall on the Keeper’s Island, I stepped off Charon’s boat with Barton perched upon my shoulder. As soon as my foot hit the ground, I felt a chill run up my spine. Charon said I should travel north a half day until I reach a bridge, from there another day’s travel northeast and I should find the Keeper’s Tomb.

I reached the bridge by midday and was harshly greeted by a pack of rogues flying the banner of the wolf.

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They would not allow me passage unless I was able to defeat their champion, Fenris in battle. Though swift and strong, the Wolfpack champion was no match for my axe. As soon as Fenris yielded, the pack master, Lucian, granted me an audience. He told me his pack was enslaved by the Keepers of the crystal and they had been forced to bring the Keepers drink and food, including the bodies of those defeated in battle at the bridge. Lucian told me no one had defeated Fenris in battle for many years, and those who did manage to slip past the Wolfpack’s tower where never seen again. With a glimmer of hope in his eye, Lucian told me if I could defeat the crystal’s guardians and free the Wolfpack from the yolk of the Keepers, his pack would pledge fidelity to Avalonia. I asked if any member of his pack would join me in my quest, but he quickly refused stating that if the Keeper’s knew about his betrayal his entire village would perish under the swift justice of the Keepers’ fists. Lucian also told me his people were not blessed with magic and had no shaman capable of transforming Barton back to his human self. He did, however, agree to send this letter to you in case the Keeper’s Tomb claims my life as well.

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Your humble servant,

Trian Burress

Click the thumbs for bigger pics.

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Keeper's Tomb

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Lord Rex,

I have recovered the Elemental Crystal!

After defeating the Wolfpack champion, I traveled another day northeast until I reached my destination. I looked to the burning sun just after midday wondering if I was lost, then suddenly, coming seemingly out of nowhere, the crypt stood directly before me, in ruin and smelling of death. The tomb was overrun with vines and weeds. Nearly all of the right side of the crypt had disintegrated in time and the two towers which once guarded the tomb crypt appeared to be on the verge of collapse. An old well to me left stank of stale water I noticed bits of bone and forgotten weapons peaking through the tall grass.

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As soon as they spotted me, two vultures took up perch to await their next meal, or at least whatever scraps the Keepers chose not to devour. The tomb was so old the trees and earth were beginning to reclaim it. A sapling was sprouting through one of the dirty, stained glass windows and I could see a mature tree growing inside the tomb itself. The whole scene screamed, “Trap!” cautioning me of the dangers within.

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I cautiously approached the door and firmly, but quietly press my hand against the door. The door was surprisingly sturdy, especially considering its decrepit surroundings. I pressed my ear against the door, but heard nothing. Needing eyes inside the tomb, I carefully placed my ally, still in newt form, near the base of a thin sapling and watched him scurry through an opening in the broken stained glass window. After a few very tense minutes, Barton slipped back through the opening and darted along the side of the crypt beckoning me to follow him to the much sturdier tree on the right side of the tomb. I decided I would need to lighten my load to climb the tree for a look so I placed the Centurion’s Shield and Barton’s staff on the ground. I slowly climbed the tree remembering some of the climbing techniques the Stag Clan taught me in my youth. When I was higher in the tree, I could see two enormous men, more than ten feet tall, guarding a small green crystal sitting atop an old altar. I had to grit my teeth to stop my self from yelling, “The Keepers do exist!”

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The crystal was small, definitely small enough to hold in my hand. If only I had brought Barton’s staff, I might be able to cast a levitation spell to retrieve the prize. Before I knew what was happening, the tree shook violently and tossed me onto the floor of the tomb at the base of the altar. It almost appeared as if the crystal knew I had come for it and made the tree eject me from my hiding place.

The Keeper nearest me swung his enormous blade intending to cleave me in two. Fortunately for me, the enormous blade slammed into the edge of the altar, sending a layer of dust and the Elemental Crystal flying into the air.

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With his blade momentarily stick in the stone altar, I scrambled to my feet. I swung my axe as hard as I could, hoping to separate the hulking man’s head from his shoulders. My axe connected and though the giant fell to the ground dead, my only weapon remained firmly lodged in his throat. The second Keeper sprung into action leaping over the altar with his blade over his head.

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I dodged his attack, grabbed the crystal, now laying on the edge of the altar, and sprinted for the back door. Seconds after I crashed through the rotting exit, I heard the archway collapse atop my pursuer. The weight of the stone was too much, even for the hulking Keeper, and I instantly knew he was dead. I had done it. The crystal is ours!

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I now travel back to the Enchanted Forest to seek the counsel of Priestess Miress of the Elfland Realm. She was a great ally in your father’s victory over Baine’s armies, and though her people suffered near extinction at the hands of the fallen House, I hope her people know more about the Elemental Crystals and the rise of the fallen House of Baine. I believe the Elves even have a sorcerer capable of turning Barton back into a human. I can not help but feel the return of Baine is somehow tied to the evil that we have felt lurking in this land or the recent developments regarding the crystals. This is an errand I must not ignore. Even with the crystal recovered, I fear Baine’s return is but a sign of the horrors yet to come.

Your friend,

Trian Burress

Click the thumbs for bigger pics.

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Avalonian Heroes: Trian Burress and Barton Stormclaw

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Enemies Defeated: Keepers of the Elemental Crystal

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Allies Acquired: Wolfpack Renegades

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Items Acquired: Earth Elemental Crystal

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--Perhaps you are wondering, "Who is Barton Stormclaw? Why is he a newt? How did they know where the Elemental Crystal was?" All that will be revealed in Chapter 2: The Wizard's Tower when I get around to it. For the first part of the story, check out

Chapter 1: The Forgotten House

Chapter 2: The Wizad's Tower (not posted)

Chapter 3: The Keeper's Tomb

Chapter 4: Altar of Hardool

--Special thanks to my guildmates who offered advice, especially DC, dG and BB.

--Special Thanks to Taz for the background on the Keeper's Tomb photo.

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This is wonderful! Lovely techniques and you dominated the "ruined" look! Also, I realize that you live in Minnesota; Are you apart of TwinLUG? I was considering joining. Maybe you could give a young builder such as myself some advice. I love your Style, Builds, keep up the fantastic work!

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Also, I realize that you live in Minnesota; Are you apart of TwinLUG? I was considering joining. Maybe you could give a young builder such as myself some advice.

I am on the mailing list and attended a few meetings when the group first started but the Sunday time slot just never really worked for me. I would recommend joining if the timing works for you!

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Excellent build, have been waiting for this ever since you posted WIP pictures.

good luck with challenge 3!

=Dangerous Dave=

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Been eager to see this one since you posted those WIP pics. The Keeper's Tomb is fantastic -- you really nailed the ruined detailing! So much to like there, especially the stained glass and the exterior detailing. Nice vulture too. And the Wolfpack Tower looks beautiful; the red and black really look nice together. Great entry.

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Looking good mate!

I've been planning to use the dragons bottom jaw for quite some time (even for this challenge as a guardian) and it looks great as a gargoyle head. The whole Wolf pack tower looks great! :thumbup:

Best of luck in the voting.

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Your building skills are just amazing! There are so many wonderful details, that I will have to look at the pictures for few more hours to get it all in my head. I especially love the floor you made there. Just wonderful!

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This is outstanding Z!

First of all the story is great! The wolfpack tower is so beautiful! The color combo is really eye pleasing and the roof technique is great!

The tomb with it´s guardians is also so nice! The floor as said before and those guardians are very unique and so "alive" with here ability to pose!

Great job on this one Z!

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Amazing entry *huh* The wolfpack outpost is beautiful, especially the tudor sections.

The tomb itself is amazing, the decoration over the doors are great, and the jumpers under the eaves are brilliant.

Excellent work all around :thumbup:

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good story and presentation

For some reason, I love the color of that golden hero :) But crystal armor would be even better, I think it is about time that lego manufacture something transparent for us :)

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Wow Z, I love those wolfpack guys :wub: It's like you've brought them back to life! :sweet: The figs and the design off the bridge is great! Especially the dark red works very well.

The tomb is filled with details as showed in the wip, but what I like most is the vulture and those bad megablocks guardians! :wink:

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Amazing! I really like the dark red arms on those wolfpack torso's! And that vulture is genius, the droid head and the hairpart are very original (or atleast, I haven't seen it anywhere else). Very cool entry, its is going to be a tough cookie to crack. :thumbup:

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Fabulous build! I was happily surprised to see your tower! Certainly wasn't expecting another great build like that in you story!

And what else can be said about the build that hasn't already been said?

Great job and good luck.

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Awesome! I really like the spider web in the tower! Nice surprise with the Wolf Pack! The guardians have a funny anime' style that really add a lot of character to the scene. :thumbup:

Great job on the foliage. Have you run out of grey brick's yet? :laugh:

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Well I am most impressed by the two amazing builds, not to mention the rip-roaring tale you have spun! Great job and brilliantly photographed. I encourage other guild members who want to improve their photography to contact Z and some of the other builders here if they are after tips and hints on improving. :thumbup:

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This is truely a fantastic entry and I'm not just being biased towards a fellow Avalonian here. Both mocs are very well built with a host of great details. The floor patterns, windows and design of the Keeper's tomb are perfect and you have really shown the 'overgrown ruin' effect well. To top it off you have written an excellent background story that flows so well with the great pictures.

My fav castle mocs of yours so far :thumbup:

Makes me wonder if that 'Keeper' who was crushed is still alive in there, walking around scratching his head extremely angry that someone managed to take the crystal and run off :laugh: Will we see him again I wonder?

Great Entry Z!

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Awesome! I really like the spider web in the tower! Nice surprise with the Wolf Pack! The guardians have a funny anime' style that really add a lot of character to the scene. :thumbup:

Great job on the foliage. Have you run out of grey brick's yet? :laugh:

I love the spiderweb in the upper tower. It looks great. The story is fantastic as well.

Oh yeah, I wedged that spider web in there at the behest of Beerbeard.

Thanks every for your comments and for checking it out. Both builds were a lot of fun!

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Great job and brilliantly photographed. I encourage other guild members who want to improve their photography to contact Z and some of the other builders here if they are after tips and hints on improving.

I have three tips.

LIGHTING, LIGHTING, LIGHTING!!! I take the photos outside so the lighting is very "natural" and I take the photos in a shaded area so there are no, or very limited shadows. The other big hint is to turn your flash off. The flash adds glare and makes the photos look totally unnatural.

Maybe not the most EXTREME example, but the only real difference between these two photos is one is inside with "unnatural" lighting and the other is outside with the natural lighting. The colors, shadows and sharpness are just better with the better lighting!

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Certainly this is one of the best entrances so far.

It has that aura of adventure and mysticism, found when you imagine fantasy books.

Great job. :thumbup:

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Dang! We have a Avalonian champion. If this entry doesn't come out best of the Avalonian entries, i don't know what to say.

You almost made me stop building for challenge 3 with this thing and i thank you for encouraging me to keep building. But when you posted the final thing i thought about quitting for the 2nd time. Which is my way to say: Awesome! (And as you have seen, i didn't stop.. :) )

Finally someone is using a large amount of dark red in a house (and it's roof). I have this planned for months and a large amount of dark red cheese slopes is eager to take it's place. ;) Furthermore: Wolfpack! Wooho! But: I dislike the placement of the guards with the wolfs on the right of the tower. They are too.. normal there.

And then, your church. In short: It's great. In long version: It's awesome ;) Great landscaping and a great building!

So, critique, as we are on a very high level here: The doors in the church in my opinion tend to destroy the great look as they look a bit rushed. And: Your story is too simple. You have great guardians, i want more fighting! This nocturnian Drow might be on my side with this! :wink:

Best regards, ZC. You did excellent!

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Wow, great builds! The Wolfpack tower is great and I'm speechless about the church :oh:

The vulture is great :wub:

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Thanks everyone!

Finally someone is using a large amount of dark red in a house (and it's roof). I have this planned for months and a large amount of dark red cheese slopes is eager to take it's place. ;) Furthermore: Wolfpack! Wooho! But: I dislike the placement of the guards with the wolfs on the right of the tower. They are too.. normal there.

Well I guess I just had nowhere else to put them. As you can see from the "renegades" shot I built a bunch of the Wolfpack figures to make a mini-faction (I didn't even get all the guys I made in the final shot of the renegades picture) so I wanted a few on there to represent the guys I made for the faction. Maybe I could have left one of the figures off, but I figured if they were there, they would want to check out the action. What about the guy hiding behind the tree?

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Strait up fabulous. I've always had a fondness for those kind of mech-warrior type knights, and you did them very well! Nice touch with the oriental hat. The building pulled off perfectly that 'Tifa Final Fantasy' church ruins look. Great job! :D

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