Truth be told, I didn’t think we stood much chance at finding the Earth Crystal.
After hearing the accounts of Lord Owain’s encounter with Victor Revolword at Grim Hollow, the Crystal could have been anywhere. Where would we even begin to look?
It was my father, Orthus who first suggest the old hermit, Corra, that lives at the edge of the lands of Circardia.
Most think of her as a senile old woman, but no one really knows where she comes from or how long she has lived at the edge of civilization. Only that she has been there long before Circardia was settled decades ago. Even the elves of the Oak Heart Clan say she has lived in her tiny hut countless harvests.
My father and I journeyed to her home as he suggested, with the intentions of seeking her council. Father had visited her before, years ago when he was much younger. Even though most thought of her as a crazy old croon, he said her eyes were wise and her mind sharp, even though she sometimes spoke in riddles. Perhaps she did have some sort of knowledge of the whereabouts of the Earth Crystal.
When we arrived at her ramshackle hut, she was sitting outside, her skin wrinkled and but like Father said, her eyes looked young.
“I wondered when you would come seeking me Orthus” Corra said. “And your son has grown to a fine young man.”
“Greetings Corra. It’s been many years” said Orthus. “May I present my son, Arlindus. He now rules Circardia and I am but a mere advisor to do as he bides, but how did you know we were coming?”
“Even if you don’t speak their language, you should know that birds talk” she answered, laughing with a slow cackle. “You come to ask if I know of the Earth Crystal.”
Again I could see she surprised Father.
“You know much, Corra. Can you help?”
“Not as much as you hope, but more than you could hope for,” was her answer.
“The stories are many and not even I know the whole truth.” “But there was an ancient druid who was so filled with greed that if anyone would have knowledge or possessed the Crystal, he would have had to have it for himself.”
“Tell me what you know Corra.”
“I have always liked you Orthus, you have let me live in peace and have been a friend to this land. And for that I will share my knowledge.”
Corra told of a druid named Arcemus. He was once very benevolent and had a way with successfully taking the best charactistics of plants and creating the most wondrous flowers and varieties of fruits and vegetables.
But as he delved further into his studies and experiments he began follow a dark path and began to graft living creatures together. His experiments produced some grotesque mutilations of creatures. Others questioned his methods but they often went missing. Over time his greed for power lead him to collect all types of oddities and items of power.
‘Where do we find this Arcemus?” asked Orthus.
“He passed some time ago, so you will be looking for his bones!" she laughed. "Some say at the hands of one of his own creations but I believe he simply died of old age. His creatures always had unquestionable loyalty.”
“He held a tower along the coast on one of the Mystic Isles. It is now a ruin and nothing remains but stones and rotten timbers. But I have a manuscript that that might hint to where his treasure is hidden”
She went into her shack and returned shortly with and old scroll, penned by druids sometime ago.
“Along the coast and through the tears of Drudin lies the tomb of the evil one. No one dares enter for it is protected by unnatural creatures and Death himself is said to live there.”
“Who is this Drudin?” I interjected.
“Eager aren’t we young Arlindus?” Corra scolded.
“Few today remember the old names of rivers and islands. Drudin was the small river that ran beside Arcemus’ tower.” “The tears are where the river flows over the cliffs and into the sea. Pass through the water and you will have found what I believe is Arcemus’ tomb where he kept his creatures.”
“Thank you Corra, if your information helps us find the Earth Crystal, you will be greatly rewarded,” said Orthus.
Corra cackled again, “What more could I want” as looked around at her aging hut and the surrounding forest.
Father and I then said our farewells and departed for the journey back to the Hamlet. We discussed much along the path home.
“Do you think her tale is true Father?” I asked
“It is the only lead we have and Corra is wise and knowledgeable.”
“Well then we must find Arcemus’ tower and I think I know who we should ask to help us”
“Roltic the Hunter?” asked Father.
“Correct, he has the most knowledge of the lands plus his knowledge of animals might come in handy if we encounter one of Arcemus’ unnatural creations”
“We will Council at my house as soon as we return.”
When we returned to the Hamlet of Circardia, we sent for Roltic the Hunter to meet us at Father’s house.
“Hail, Lord Arlindus, how may I be of service?” Roltic’s voice was quiet, like one would use when stalking a deer.
“We need your assistance,” I said. “We hope your knowledge may help us recover an item of importance for Avalon.”
I then told him the story of the Earth Crystal and our meeting with Corra the hermit.
“I believe I know the place, it isn’t too far of journey. We could make it in a day or two at most,” whispered Roltic.
“Count me in too,” exclaimed Orthus, “My legs have been aching for a long journey.”
We studied the map and sat long into the evening planning our quest. It was decided we would leave by the end of the week. We would gather our provisions and select a few members of the Phoenix Guard to accompany us in our journey to find the Earth Crystal.
We travelled by foot down south along the Isca River to the Orthus’ Bay, named for where Father came to Circardia years ago. The cliffs at the Orthus’ Bay are too high and the coast too rough for a true harbor but we hired a small boat for our journey from a fisherman that lives in the small fishing community that thrives there.
The journey into the Mystic Isles and to the coast where the remains of Arcemus’ tower was uneventful as Roltic navigated as though he had been there a thousand times.
“Those must be the Tears of Drudin,” Orthus said, as we saw a waterfall that seem to flow out of the eyes of a skull on the side of a cliff.
“The tomb must be behind the waterfall,” he continued.
“There is only one way to be sure” I said, “Let us prepare to enter Arcemus’ Tomb!”
As soon as we passed through the waterfall and enter the cavern, we could tell we weren’t alone. The smell of death was heavy in the air. Even though it was poorly lit and the sound of the falls was quite loud, we could hear movement. We lit some torches and immediately saw a grotesque creature.
His howls and snarls combined with his stench made him quite imposing. It appeared to have traits of a gigantic wolf but it had horns coming from the side of its head and it stood upright. Its arms looked unnatural with the tusk from a huge creature grafted into its forearms. These created a deadly weapon for which it could use to pierce or batter its opponents.
Behind the creature was a mound of huge treasure surrounding a throne of sorts with what must be the skeleton remains of Arcemus. In his hands was clutched what could only be the Earth Crystal!
The creature lunged at us with a speed that was remarkable. Luckily we were ready as Roltic, Father, Samlin, one of the Phoenix Guard and I let lose a volley of arrows that slowed the creature just enough to keep it from pouncing upon us.
This gave the other Guard members, Cras, Orlim, and Euroch, a chance to attack with their pikes.
The creature was fast and parried two of the pikes but the third found its mark in the gut of the creature.
It howled in anger and thrashed about in pain. Quickly, Father and I leapt forward with our swords as Roltic and Samlin unleased another volley of arrows which found their marks in the beast neck.
Father’s blow cut off one of the arms and my strike found the creature’s skull. With a single stroke, it cracked open and the creature fell silent and still.
“Good work lads!” said Orthus
“From the bones scattered around, I would imagine that creature hunted down and ate whatever else was in here,” said Roltic, ““but keep on your toes.”
“Roltic, Samlin, Cras, and Orlim, set up a perimeter as the rest of us survey what we have here!” I said as I looked over at the pile of treasure.
I climbed up to the throne in which could only seat Arcemus’ remains, I could see that his greed lead him to surround himself with his gold and precious items as he passed into the afterlife.
I reached down and pulled the crystal from his skeletal hand and sighed a breath of relief that our quest was nearly complete.
We spent the rest of the afternoon loading the loot into chest and transporting it to our waiting boats. The Earth Crystal would soon be on its way to the Lord Owain and the treasure would be brought back to for all of Circardia.
Notes: Sorry it is so long. I just keep writing and writing, but i hope you all enjoy.
More photos are available at the following link
Thanks for the comments that were up on Chapter 1 and 2 Please let me know what you think of Chapter 3!
Edited by MikeyB, 15 May 2012 - 03:52 AM.