Prelude to Challenge 4: Elemental Magic
And so it was that through all the efforts and and hard work of it's citizens, Historica recovered the lost Elemental Crystals. Upon hearing that all four crystals had been found, the Historican Victor Revolword sent the following letter to each of the four Mighty Guilds of Historica.
"Dearest Guild Leaders,
I believe I have found the answer to where the lost Shrine of the Druids may be located. As it is our High King's Command that the shrine be discovered, I humbly request that you send forth your four adventurers; Lord Owain Of Avalonia, Ragnar'The Fearless' Nibelung of Mitgardia, Kathyrin Flagg of Kaliphlin,
and Kahzoul 'The Reaper', of Nocturnus to meet me in five days time at high noon on the outskirts of Cerdica. Each adventurer should bring their guild's crystal so that we together may locate and open the shrine. I must insist that those four be sent, as I trust no one else with a task as important as this. I cannot say more as I fear this letter may be intercepted.
And so it is five days later, and the sun is high in the sky as the four adventurers meet on the hill overlooking the capital.
Owain: "Hello friends, it has been too long!You stil alive Kahzoul? I wasnt sure if you'd make it given how unsafe Nocturnus is these days."
Kahzoul: "Nocturnus? I wouldn't talk, considering the mess the drow have created in your lush homeland! Those little buggers pop out of every hole; they're like vermin I tell you! Soon they'll be all over!"
Ragnar: "Ha...I'd like to see them things try and burrow under Mitgardia's frozen tundra and solid granite mountains! The Drow will never make it in Mitgardia, I can assure you... Kathyrin, how are things in Kaliphlin?"
Kathyrin: "I can't complain. It's been a tough few months; overturning every stone in the desert in search for a water crystal sure wears down on you. I'm eager to see what Victor has found out!"
Ragnar: "Here he comes now!"
Victor: "Ah, there you are, the four great heroes from the four great guilds! Forgive the sudden and mysterious circumstances of my summons, but I have made a discovery that no one is aware of! The exact location of the shrine was made clear to me, and the crystals woill likely confirm it!"
Owain: "Victor,all of Historica was out and about looking for secret shrines and burial sites; how have they not found it? I'm starting to think it may not be in Historica at all!"
Victor: "Ah, and therein lies the exciting part of the discovery! It is in Historica! It's been under our noses our entire time! Tell me, what have you heard about the Knights of Cadarn?"
Kathyrin: "They were an ancient order of knights, in the days before the Guilds. They were hailed as brave warriors and ruthless fighters."
Victor: "Correct, but do you know what their specialty was?"
Owain: "If they were anything like modern knight's I'd put my money on drinking and/or brawling."
Victor: "No, they were expert Mage hunters! They believed in the Chivalry and words of spiritual leaders and sought to root out magic from the world. They did not succeed, but they recorded their exploits and projects very thoroughly!I stumbled upon a History of the Knights of Cadarn, and after a few chapters found an interesting description of a shrine, very much like the one we're looking for! It was taken over by the Knights, who drove away the Druids and sealed the entrance. To make sure no one would ever find it they built a fortress on top of the it! The Fortress of Mizia!"
Ragnar: "So all we need to do is find the fortress ruins?"
Victor: "I looked for its location, and after countless hours of research realized that it was still standing! After nearly one thousand years, the fortress was still very much intact!It is not called Mizia anymore, it's an occupied ruin; in the on the West border of Nocturnus!"
Kahzoul: "Occupied? Occupied by who?"
Victor: "A blood-thirsty Orc tribe, no less! Travelers won't come near it, and that is why I need you. These Orcs are man-eaters, not the civilized Orcs you're used to in your cities. They will attack us if we approach, so we must be ready for a fight. I am just an old man, but with your four's skill, I believe we can make our way through the fortress and into the shrine! But I must confirm it, please take out the crystals."
The adventurers do; as the crystals approach each other they start to glow.
Victor: "Quickly now... Yes yes, let us see... Aha it is exactly as I thought! The crystals point East! We are headed towards the fortress then!"
Owain: "Do you know what we'll find in the Shrine Victor?"
Vicrtor: "If I knew I wouldn't be going along on this journey with you! I'm sure the King will be very pleased with whatever treasures we find. Now let us depart..."
The adventurers and Victor travel for 3 days and 3 nights and arrive at an impressive sight; a run-down archaic fortress that oozes a chilly magical tingling. There are human bones and head about the grounds, and the adventurers cautiously approach the gate.
Orc Guard: "Human! Meat!! Let's get them brothers and sisters!"
Victor: "Now now, there's no need for anyone to get hurt! We simply want to move inside. These four are excellent warriors, let us pass and there won't be any trouble!"
Orc Guard: "Humans talk too much! Warggghh!Kill them!"
Owain: "I guess we're doing this the hard way then?"
Ragnar: "It's more fun this way! Yarghh!"
Kahzoul: "I've got the high positions! Jumping is my thing!" (he jumps onto the battlements)
The adventurers engage the horrific Orcs....
Ragnar: "Take that, Yearghh, and that! You want some too? Yargh! Keep coming at me, I'll take you all on you worthless vermin!Kahzoul, you jumping monkey, get off your perch and join the fight!"
Owain: "I guess that's how they teach you to fight in Nocturnus! AAAH!... By jumping around until the enemy gets dizzy and falls on his sword!"
Kathyrin: "He's killing more than both of you combined you loud-mouth! Yahh! Stay down Victor, there are more of them coming!"
Kahzoul: "That's the last of them! Yahhh!"
The adventures assemble in from of the fortress gate.
Victor: "Oh my, that was almost too much for my old bones... So, here we are, the fortress of the Knights of Cadarn! The shrine entrance will be somewhere below the altar. Be weary; I feel strong magical forces at work here..."
Kathyrin: "We're ready for whatever comes our way Victor! Let's head in!"
The group enters the fortress and quickly finds the abandoned altar. After several attempts to life the slab fail, Victor notices grooves in the stone in the shape of the Elemental crystals. Once the crystals are places, the slab sinks into the floor revealing a hidden stairwell.
The group heads down. In the darkness of the underground, the smells of moist rocks and and fresh vegetation give the party a whiff of freshness. As they walk along a dark corridor an doorway appears; as if cut into the rock. Light illuminates the landscape on the other side, and the party of travelers head in. They arrive at an impressive sight; the Temple of the Druids.
Victor: "Behold friends; the oldest shrine of its kind in existence! Look around! These floors and statues are thousands of years old! This place predates Historica!"
Ragnar: "What on earth kind of temple is this? I haven't seen anything like it!"
Victor: "It is a Shrine for the worship of Elemental magic! Look around; we are surrounded by the 4 elements; each has an altar on which the crystals should be placed."
Kahzoul: "The brifge is out, we could swim but the water is turbulent; we'll never make it!"
Victor: "Allow me." (he raises his staff and utters) "Mostikus!"
Victor: "A cheap trick compared to the magic we'll find here. Off we go now let us cross!"
Ragnar: "What are these eagle statues for?"
Owain: "They look like the altars Victor mentioned; but how do we know what crystal goes where?"
Victor: "You must think in terms of the elements; look here an Elder Wood tree; the symbol of the ancient earth. The earth Elemental crystal goes here!"
Kathyrin: "There are stepping stones into the water there; it must be for the water element! The fire pits signify the fire element and Ragnar, if I'm not mistaking, that misty cauldron rock there symbolizes the air element!"
Victor: "Excellent observations my dear! Can you reach the altars safely?"
Ragnar: "Yes, be careful Kathyrin; that water is treacherous!"
Victor: "Here we go, place the crystals on the altars and I will recite some ancient druid enchantments!"
Victor: "Wonderful! Get ready now!"
As Victor reads of ancient Druid chants, the floor of the cave trembles and an ancient trap door opens in the shrine revealing a glittering object.
Ragnar: "What is it Victor? Treasure??"
Victor picks it up, and walks to the edge of the water.
Victor: "Oh it's better than that my lad, better than that! It's the helm of the Druid Head priest! The enchantments herein are more potent than any magic we possess! I've been looking for it all my life!"
Owain: "Wait, you said you didn't know anything about what was kept in here!"
Victor: "Ah, yes, I may not have been entirely honest you see; my true purpose in coming was to obtain this lovely artifact that the Knights of Cadarn wisely hid away from mankind so many centuries ago! You see, this artifact makes me the most powerful magic user in the world, and it is high time I got my way. I should thank you all, without you I would never have been able to find the crystals and get inside the Shrine! Now Historica is mine for the taking!"
Ragnar: "Are you mad old man! We'll cut you down before tyou manage to raise an arm in defense!"
Victor: "Let's make sure that does not happen!" (He raises his staff and utters a chant. Suddenly the adventurers are held down by an invisible force)
Owain: "What on earth is going on! Stop it you old coot!"
Ragnar: "It's pulling me in! I can't move!"
Kahzoul: "Aaah the fire! He's pulling me into it! Stop him somebody do something!"
Kathyrin: "Help! I'm gonna drown! It's pulling me towards the deep!"
Victor: "Easy there my pretties, the more you struggle the worse it'll be! You're gonna be servants to my will!"
The adventurers are pulled into the elemental altars and disappear.
Victor: "Ah, my apologies, but I need your souls!" (He collects all 4 crystals) "I hope you're comfy in there! Now to test how powerful this Helm is; I should be able to materialize in another dimension. Let's try the realm of Elemental Spirits!" (He brings his staff down onto the floor; the room begins to spin, and he is transported into a place with no obvious dimensions or features)
Victor: "Spirits can be seeded into these vessels! I am sorry my friends but you ill be the host of these spirits! Each of you will become an elemental being under my command... The Drow are an annoyance, the real threats to Historica was right under your noses this whole time!And all I had to do was put on the guise of an old geezer! You High King is not safe, your Guilds are not safe! I will put events into action that will challenge Historica's very existence! Now, I summon you spirits of Elemental magic! Take on these souls and vessels! Serve me and destroy my enemies! I command you, OBEY!!!"
Brilliant lights shoot across the darkness and find their way to the Crystals that now house the unfortunate adventurers; each one erupts in a brilliant display of it's element's properties. From the seeds rise four giant Elemental Monsters...
Victor: "Rise! Rise and obey your master! By virtue of this Great Helm, I command you to do my bidding!"
Victor: "The hour of the Black Mage Victor has arrived! My elemental forces will reduce Historica to rubble! Doom is coming!!!
Soon to come: Challenge 4. Stay Tuned...