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CHALLENGE IV: Category A: The Enlightened

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Book 3 Challenge 4 A

 

A build for the queen.

Fair warning: This is a long, picture heavy thread.  By the request of @Exetrius, I have made the nominal picture size smaller for those of you who don't have automatically resizing browsers, so I hope this helps.  Click on each of the pictures to see it full sized.  This is particularly useful with the panoramic shots.

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Late one night, Queen Ylspeth stood on the balcony of the tallest tower of her keep, looking out over Cedrica.  The reports she had received were troubling.  The rumors that had been circulating for months appeared to have some merit, and even worse, they were connected.  Historica was going to be torn apart and would descend again into chaos unless she acted, but who could she trust?  She had pored over the lists of guild representatives and thought back to those that helped her win a united victory over Lord Raavage and the Black Spire.  She had written messages, carefully selecting the most trustworthy representatives she knew from each guild (with the exception of Varlyrio, where she had invited Rego Amancio by default, not having much diplomatic relations with any of the leaders there), requesting their presence for a secret meeting in her private council chambers in a fortnight.  Now she waited, hoping she had placed her trust in the right people.

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A fortnight later, the guild representatives had arrived, conveyed secretly through Cedrica and into the castle by covered carriages, covert paths and back doors.  They met in the queen's private council chambers, a secluded room beneath the keep reserved for the most sensitive of conversations.  The queen stood near the table as the representatives took their seats, and a solitary figure in a black hooded cloak sat next to her.  Queen Ylspeth surveyed the representatives: Rego Amancio for Varlyrio, King DeGothia from Avalonia, Sir Glorfindel of Mitgardia, Lord Gideon of Kaliphlin (the first to arrive), and finally Lord Vladivus of Nocturnus.

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"What is the meaning of this summons, and why have we been smuggled in here like common thieves?" demanded Rego Amancio, banging his fist on the table.  The other representatives looked at one another and the Rego, perhaps a little surprised at his boldness with the queen.

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Queen Ylspeth took the question in stride, not betraying her thoughts on her face.  "You would be wise to remember your place, my good Rego," she began.  "I am not one of your family's adversaries.  I am your queen, and I do not summon my subjects lightly or without reason."  She took a few strides, letting her gilded chainmail jingle and show under her robes, positioning herself between the Rego and the door, subtly letting him know that she was not afraid of his threats.  He visibly calmed, gaining a bit of respect for a queen he realized he might have underestimated.

The queen balled her hands into fists and leaned on the table, looking at each of the guild representatives in turn.

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"Thank you all for coming here tonight at my summons.  As you are aware, I value the freedom of the guilds and allow each guild a great deal of latitude when it comes to their own affairs.  Particularly during this time of rebuilding after all of the civil wars, I found it most important to allow the guilds to police themselves.  There is much left to do in each of our guilds, but I would not have called you together in such secrecy without great need."

Queen Ylspeth stood up straight, removing her hands from the table.  "We have in our realms a shadowed enemy who works even now against each of us, trying to turn us against one another."

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She paused to let this sink in.  "We have all heard the recent rumors about demons, secret alliances, spies, lizard people disguising themselves in human skin, enormous animals tainted by magic, our ancient enemies of the drow and even Revolword himself returning.  I was skeptical of these rumors until reports began piling up.  Before calling everyone here tonight, I had to find the truth of these rumors, and have had to spend considerable time and resources gathering evidence.  I have learned that these rumors have some basis in fact at their core, and we must band together or Historica will be torn apart and we shall perish.  The utmost secrecy was required because this enemy is like a spider with its web everywhere, and I could only count on my most trusted allies."

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"What is this enemy you speak of, your majesty?" asked King DeGothia.

"There is a band of renegade elves working to take over Historica and enslave its inhabitants," she replied.  Queen Ylspeth held up her hand to stymie the murmur of disbelief spreading through her audience.  "I understand it seems far-fetched.  I had a hard time believing it myself, but these are no ordinary elves.  Magic has wrenched apart their souls and has consumed and emaciated their bodies.  They know no pleasure except in accumulating more power.  Gathering this information has taken longer than I would have liked and claimed the lives of several good patriots, but here is the history as I understand it."

"Almost a thousand years ago, a small group of young elves broke away from their clan in the Isles of Avalonia.  These adolescents had known nothing but prosperity, and their parents had afforded them everything they could wish for.  They had grown weary of their lives of luxury and sought something more, something exciting.  Their leader, the wily Dion, had studied the arcane arts, and led her friends deep into the Enchanted Forest.  Not before stealing many of the most advanced and dangerous spell tomes from the elven library where she studied, however."

"At first, the young elves laughed and played.  Dion used her summoning spells to produce food and drink, and conjured servants to attend them.  Her original intent was not clear; it may have been that she only wanted freedom from authority, but we will never know.  What we do know is that Dion began to summon more and more dangerous creatures, and some of the young elves became afraid.  They returned home to their shame, which is how we know any of this story at all.  The elven elders became concerned that Dion was not just having fun, but rather up to something sinister.  They sent a small envoy to meet with her and surreptitiously inspect the keep in which she had set up residence."

"When they arrived, they found that she had summoned demons and had been experimenting with powerful evil sorcery.  They reported back to the elders who decided to put an end to this work.  They sent a group of powerful mages and soldiers to stop the evil magic and arrest Dion and her followers. When they arrived, they found Dion had forseen their approach and a disastrous magical battle ensued.  The old keep that Dion and her followers had been using was destroyed.  No trace of Dion or her followers could be found, and, after cleaning up the remaining summoned demons, the elven force returned to the elders, declaring them dead."

"Exactly what happened in the intervening centuries is unknown, but Dion and her followers had survived.  However they had survived the blast, they had regrouped and rebuilt in the catacombs under the ruins of the elven keep where the battle took place.  It appears that they have been plotting, patiently and slowly working to enslave all Historica under their control."

"Your Majesty, may I ask how you have come by this information?" Lord Vladivus asked quietly.

The queen nodded.  "Unusually large creatures, called dire animals, were found in Avalonia.  These were investigated by a local wizard and traced to their source, a ruins deep in the Enchanted Forest.  The wizard, from a concealed position, observed unusual looking elves dumping magical waste into the local streams.  This magical pollution led to the creation of the dire animals who drank from the contaminated water supply."

"So you've been selling us food that has been tainted with contaminants?!" the Rego asked King deGothia, who glared back at him.

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"Unless you've been eating giant fowl or enormous ears of corn, no," the Queen cut in.  "There will be time to discuss the effects and what is to be done later."  The Rego settled down again and the queen continued.

"The wizard realized he was in a dangerous situation and wisely returned to the local lord, who hired a skilled operative to discover more information."  Queen Ylspeth turned to the short individual clad in black standing to her side.

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"Our infiltrator Silas scouted the ruins, inside and out.  I will let him explain."

The spy stepped forward to address the assembled lords, bowing slightly to the queen as he went. "I am here to witness to you what I observed while scouting the ruins."

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Sir Glorfindel held a hand to briefly stay the man and ask a question.  "Are these the ruins of the original tower that the elves inhabited hundreds of years ago?"

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Queen Ylspeth nodded.  "We believe so, yes."

"Please, continue," Sir Glorfindel admonished the spy.

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"Wait," Queen Ylspeth commanded.  She turned to Lord Gideon.  "Did you bring the potion I asked for?"

 


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Lord Gideon rose and produced a bright yellow-green potion in a glass flask.  "Yes, your majesty.  I have brought the truth potion you have requested."  He handed it to her.

The queen turned and handed the potion to Silas.  He took it from her and looked rather upset.  "This was not part of the agreement, your majesty!" he said quietly.

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The queen looked at him sternly, and addressed him openly for the whole room to hear.  "I do not like such magical coercement, but the situation requires that this story be told in full and without question of its authenticity.  No one in this room is to ask you of any of your prior activities or secrets while under the influence of this potion.  Is that clear?" she asked the room.

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The lords gave their assent.  Seeing he had little choice, the spy sighed and drank the potion. 

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A moment later, he looked at the queen, who nodded.

Silas began: "I scouted the ruins around the outside at first.  I approached the ruins early in the morning and carefully picked my way around, wary of traps.  Moss and vines covered the ruins, and had I not seen occasional comings and goings of these elves, I would have thought the place abandoned."

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"However, the few elves I had seen had emerged from the chasm near the back of the structure.  After observing from a hidden position, I found that there was a concealed entrance behind some ivy leading to the catacombs beneath the ruins.  This chasm has a small stream that runs at the base, concealing footprints and movement of people in and out.  I waited until all was clear, then snuck in.  There is a magical trap near the doorway, and it requires a command word that I overheard the elves repeating.  Beyond the doorway, the catacombs are immense under the structure, containing many winding corridors and many rooms.  Some have been caved in from above or ravaged by fire, but the farther in you go, the less the rooms are damaged."

"There are a number of magical workshops and libraries where they are conducting experiments on animals, humans, dwarves, elves, and a host of other creatures I didn't recognize.  I don't understand much in the way of magical writings, but the mundane writing next to the magical texts spoke of experiments meant to bring about a race of super warriors, longevity, and construction of magical items.  I helped myself to a few gems and precious stones for my troubles."  He clenched his fist and grimaced at the effects of the truth potion.  The queen raised her eyebrows and smirked, but otherwise remained silent.

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Silas continued.  "Most of the way through the ruins is a vast cavernous room with an opening in the ceiling to let in light.  A pool sits in the center of the floor and beyond it a raised dais.  The room just beyond this dais is the main workshop.  It contained all manner of magical experiments, a small library of tomes, and on a large desk a collection of journals, each labeled with one of the guilds: Mitgardia, Avalonia, Varlyrio, Nocturnus, and Kaliphlin.  Each one contains detailed notes on progress of their schemes meant to undermine the authority of the crown: uprisings in Mitgardia, support for Lord Raavage and the Black Spire years ago in Nocturnus, the disappearance of Artorious Rex of Avalonia, unusual undead activity in Kaliphlin, the appearance of demons from a nether realm in Varlyrio... the web of deceit and plans was complex and vast.  I was shocked, and I have seen quite a bit of treachery in my line of work."  He quickly shut his mouth, about to say more, but choosing silence over blurting out more truths he did not want to speak.

 

"Most disturbing was that in all, there were notes on a magical superweapon designed to wipe out entire castles at once.  This was mentioned in all of the guilds' journals, tied in to the elemental powers that Revolword had tapped into.  Despite the elemental helm being lost to another dimension, the elemental forces remain, and this group of elves was constructing a new device to harness these powers into a weapon.  The details of the weapon seem to have been written in a magical language in another tome, but the mundane writing described that each use requires a soul, and that each of the guilds houses an elemental power necessary to construct it.  It also seems that the weapon is nearly finished, if not already so."

"The last pages of the journal implied that an army was being raised by these elves to attack all of the guilds, with the aid of the super weapon, while each of us was fighting amongst ourselves due to the rumors, lies, and hostilities that these elves had been sowing for years. "

"The more I read, the more dangerous I realized the situation was, and I had to return with this intelligence.  I retraced my steps back out, but was held up about halfway back: an interdimensional portal opened and a large group of evil creatures came through.  I ducked into a room and pulled the door to.  Through the small crack at the edge of the door, I watched as a whole host of skeletons and demons paraded by.  They were followed by strange, emaciated elves.  Their leader is an elf with black hair who has magically modified herself, or maybe mutated, having given herself antennae.  They seem to have some sensory power, as they looked at me when she passed.  I remained frozen and she passed by without incident, but it was unnerving to say the least.  I estimated around a dozen of the elves, maybe 20 undead skeletons, and another dozen or so demon creatures of various types, including some with the capacity for flight.  After that, I high tailed it out of there, and reported my findings."

When Silas finished, the guild representatives gave one another worried looks.  King deGothia was the first to speak.  "This news comes as a surprise to us all I think," he glanced around the table to affirming looks, "but it also comes at a bad time when we are all rebuilding.  How are we to raise an army to fight this foe?"

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Sir Glorfindel agreed. "Mitgardia is dealing with its own rebellion internally right now.  We cannot commit large numbers of troops to a battle against this enemy."

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"Raising an army from Nocturnus will prove almost impossible," Lord Vladivus chimed in.  "The destruction there is worse than the other guilds, and loyalties are still fractured."

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"Kaliphlin is still dealing with the Desert King and the undead apparently raised by these elves," Lord Gideon added.

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"Varlyrio is starting to see these demons," Rego Amancio stated.  "Has anyone reached out to these elves and tried to bargain with them?  They may be interested in reaching a deal."

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The queen shook her head.  "We have not discussed anything with the elves.  Indeed, they do not even know that we are aware of their existence.  I thought that it was wise to retain the element of surprise, and besides, a small group of individuals raising an army against the state, sowing the seeds of rebellion, and developing a super weapon capable of destroying an entire castle... that is quite clearly treason, is it not?  Those are not the actions of a group interested in bargaining."

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"What do you propose we do, your majesty?" asked Lord Vladivus in his calm, quiet manner.

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"It is clear that the Guilds of Historica are not at full capacity and to face a foe of this magnitude on an open battlefield would likely end in defeat," the queen began.  "The only way that I can see for us to prevail is to strike with the element of surprise.  We will need a small force of diverse talents to enter the ruins and eliminate these elves and their minions before they are able to gate an entire army into our world, or worse, use their superweapon."

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"The force would need to be stealthy," Lord Vladivus began.

"And have formidable warriors to combat demons," Sir Glorfindel added.

"These elves are magic users.  We will require some mages as well," Lord Gideon spoke up.

The lords at the table continued their discussion of the force amongst themselves for a few minutes. 

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Then the queen spoke.  "I ask that each of you return home, choose five of your best, plus one commander, and send them in a fortnight to the Golden Goblet tavern in Belynia, Avalonia, on the eastern edge of the Enchanted Forest.  Silas will meet them there and lead them to the ruins."

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The lords discussed the proposal briefly and assented.  The queen then spoke again.

"Before we leave, there is the utmost need of secrecy.  You cannot tell even your champions why they are going into battle.  I have here a bottle of water that has been enspelled to prevent anyone who drinks from it of speaking of the subject that is uttered before it is complete.  I propose a toast," she said, pouring water into everyone's goblet.

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After everyone had their goblets filled, she lifted her glass.  The lords did the same, even Rego Amancio.  "May we not speak of the conversations that we have had here tonight with anyone else until after the task is completed."  She drank from her goblet, as did all the lords and Silas.

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"Thanks to you all, and may Historica prevail!" the queen entoned.

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The lords, now finished with dinner, took their leave, and the queen and Silas stood for a moment in silence. 

Then the large panel with the sigil of Historica on the far wall opened, and out came a dark skinned, blue-haired elf from the under regions of Varlyrio.

"My queen," the elf curtsied.  "The Kolgari are in support of the crown, your majesty.  I appreciate your allowing me to remain hidden in front of the Rego."

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Queen Ylspeth shook her head.  "It is against my better judgment to keep secrets from my subjects, but if some of the rumors of the Rego's ambitions are true, then we should be wary.  With any luck, the Rego will send troops and then we shall have two contingents from Varlyrio."

"We shall send our champions, your majesty," the elf replied. 

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The queen then poured her water from the same bottle and made another toast.  "May we not speak of the subjects spoken of tonight until the task is complete."  The Kolgari drank with the queen.

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Two weeks later, the troops began filtering into the Golden Goblet.  Silas gathered them in the private banquet room to keep them out of sight.

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The Avalonians, Kaliphlinians, and Nocturnians had already arrived, but only quiet conversations and a few drinks were had.  As the hour grew late, everyone began to wonder where the Varlyrians and Mitgardians were.  But then, several hooded, cloaked figures entered the room. 

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Throwing back their cloaks and hoods, they revealed themselves to be Kolgari elves, from beneath the surface of Varlyrio.

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"I see our Varlyrian friends the Kolgari have sent us support," Silas said.

Murmuring broke out amongst the other troops.  Many had heard of the Kolgari but few had ever seen them.  They were stunning to behold in their golden armor.

The Kolgari commander held a fist to his chest and bowed.  "The Kolgari are at the service of the crown," he said.

A moment of silence followed, then the Avalonian commander stepped forward and extended his hand.   The Kolgari commander took it, and a cheer went up. 

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The troops then began to greet one another and were soon talking like old friends.  A round of drinks later, however, it became clear that the Kolgari would be the last to arrive.  Mitgardia and the above ground inhabitants of Varlyrio had not sent troops.

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With this realization, Silas rounded up the troops, paid the bar tab, and led them off into the darkness of the night.  The darkness grew even deeper as they entered the enchanted forest. 

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Two days journey in, the pace became slower as they drew closer.  The troops were on high alert and traveled quietly as they stole their way around brambles and loose rocks.  Finally, on the evening of the third day, they arrived at the ruins, crawling slowly in the underbrush on the nearby hill to gain a vantage.  Silas pointed out the location of the secret door.  They waited until nightfall, and saw no activity. Quietly, Silas led the group down into the chasm, said the magic password, and led the group into the catacombs.

The group went room to room, seeing little activity, but seeing exactly what Silas had told the guild leaders about: laboratories and animal experiments.  Silas continued down the hallway, motioning the others to follow, stopping just before the large room with the pool that Silas had described to the guild representatives.  The group peered through the doorway and saw a long, high ceilinged room with light filtering in from a hole above, shining down onto what might have been an ancient elven room of worship. 

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Some of the decorations had fallen and the raised dais on the far side of the pool was broken, but much of the original stonework remained.  The light reflected off the water of the pool onto the walls, which were overgrown with ivy and moss in one corner.  Unlike the ruined rooms and hallways of the catacombs they had seen, this large room had a strange, unearthly quality to it, and might have been a beautiful place to visit in better times. 

Silas paused at this room to listen and observe.  The other three entrances to this room, one on the dais itself, and the other two on opposite walls, were dark and evidenced no movement.  Only the quiet splash of water from the fountain located along one edge of the pool could be heard.  "Let us make our way along the wall to the door on the northern side," Silas whispered.  He led the troops along the wall to the left, picking his way carefully uneven and broken stone floor.  As he peered around the doorway, a demoness stepped out from the darkness into the light.

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"What have we here?" the demoness asked in a loud voice.

Silas sprang forward to attack and silence her as quickly as possible, but she moved with supernatural speed and knocked him to the ground.  The troops quickly spread out to surround her, and as they did so, more demons appeared behind them from the hallway they had just exited.  They moved to back to the other doorways, but elves and demons poured forth from these as well. 

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The troops kept backing up until they found themselves standing in the pool, surrounded. 

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A tall, emaciated elf dressed in black trimmed in light green, with black hair and strange antennae protruding from her head, stepped forward onto the dais, flanked by two hooded acolytes.  She carried a wooden staff from the top of which glowed a magical all-seeing eye that darted this way and that at the troops.

"Welcome to our home, feeble guild members," the black-clad elf said.  "I am Dion, the leader of the Enlightened."  She paused, then smiled a crooked smile and laughed as she looked at them.  "Did you think that you would surprise me?  My all-seeing eye detected you leagues away from here."  She basked in the disappointment written on the troops' faces as they realized they had walked into a trap.

"We are not unkind, even to those that would assault us in our home.  If you lay down your arms now, we will show you mercy and you may live out your days as our servants.  If, however, you choose to fight, you will be killed without mercy, and those of you who survive will have your souls removed to power our elemental weapon."

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As she spoke, human troops filed in, followed by skeletons, trolls, and orcs, some riding wargs.  Worse still, ghosts appeared, and even three powerful trolls.  The guild troops looked to one another, knowing that they were doomed; they were outnumbered and overmatched.

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The leader of the Avalonian troops stood up tall and rallied the courage of all the allied guild troops.  "Are you going to fight or try to bore us to death with talk?" he asked in a loud voice before dropping his visor with a loud *clank* and raising his sword.  The guild troops cheered, raising their weapons and preparing for battle.  Dion frowned and raised her staff.  A loud cry went up from the evil forces, and they charged.  Battle had been joined.

The mindless skeleton forces marched in first, doing little damage against the seasoned veterans, but distracting them while the evil elves rained down magical fire, ice, and lightning on the allied troops.  Not to be outdone, the allied mages fired back with magic of their own, though most of their efforts were absorbed by the ground troops that the elves were using as fodder. 

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With several allied troops now down, the next wave of the evil army hit, this time real troops supported by orcs and wargs.  Flying demons dive bombed the allied troops all the while.  More allied troops fell, and fewer of the evil army this time.  The ranks of the allied guilds shrunk and the group in the pool became smaller.

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The next wave hit, this time consisting of the demons, the ghosts and the powerful trolls.  The troops from Nocturnus, mostly intact to this point due to their undead nature, took heavy damage now from these magical attackers.  The Enlightened began to draw nearer.  The last few allied guild troops tightened their circle once more and were surrounded by the evil army.

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"Goodbye, worthless guilds," Dion said, before raising her staff and firing a lightning bolt at the group, striking down the Kaliphlini mage.  The evil army began to advance for the final onslaught as the allied troops braced to receive the charge.

As the monstrous army advanced and all seemed lost, a horn sounded, loud and low, echoing off the stone hallways.  

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The demons and elves facing the dais turned around just in time to see a ferocious sight coming from the tunnel: a charge of bear cavalry.  The Mitgardians had arrived.

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The legendary dwarven bear cavalry of Mitgardia plowed into the lines of the evil army.  Their charge had not been resisted in over four hundred years, and today was no exception.  The massive bears with berserker dwarves flowed over the demons and elves like hot lava on a meadow, tearing apart their ranks as they came.

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"Sorry we're late!" yelled one of the dwarves as they followed their screaming leader, Jarl Thimolir on the back of his massive polar bear into the fray.  The allied guild troops, rallied by the late support, cheered and pressed hard against the enemy line.

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"First one to her head has a free keg!" yelled Jarl Thimolir as the bears plowed around the pool and up onto the dais.  Dion, seeing that her lines were broken and thrown into chaos, desperately threw fire at an advancing bear only to have her head cleaved from her shoulders by the axe of another.

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The lines of both sides were now mixed, and chaos reigned.

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The allied troops, bolstered by the insane charge of the dwarven bear cavalry, began to cut down the evil army one by one. 

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Multiple magic users ganged up on the trolls as the dwarves pounded them with their hammers.

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The ghosts were cut with magical blades of the Kolgari and dissipated into nothing.  As the evil army began to be outnumbered, the troops began to flee, and were chased down by the bears.  Finally, the last of the demons and Enlightened were vanquished, and the remaining allied guild troops gathered together, congratulating one another and cheering on the Mitgardian bear cavalry.

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"Not so easy to get a bunch of armed dwarves riding bears through elven lands in Avalonia when you can't explain what you're doing there," Jarl Thimolir said as the battle died down. 

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"Glad you made it," said the Kolgari leader, grasping his hand in a shake.  "How did you find us?"

"After we reached the tavern and everyone was gone, our bears picked up your scent and we tracked you here.  We came down, heard the commotion, and followed it to the battle, despite getting a little scorched by a magical fire trap on the way in."

"If you'd been any later, you might not have had anyone to save," the Kolgari said with a smile.  "Your timing couldn't have been better!"

"I'll drink to that!" the Jarl said, producing a skin of ale and sharing it with the elf.

The allies cleaned up the battlefield, laying their dead to rest in the forest around the ruins (including the spy, Silas), and standing guard as carts were brought in from a neighboring Avalonian community to haul off the magical and mundane books to be examined back in Cedrica.  The animals and other humanoid creatures held captive were freed, and the extra-world portals demolished and sealed.  The ground the demons died on was consecrated so they could not be raised again, and the other remains burned to avoid their return as undead.

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Queen Ylspeth met with the troops and the guild representatives at the Golden Goblet and congratulated them on a great victory, now able to tell them the entire story, which she did in detail.  They mourned their dead and raised their glasses in salute to the fallen. 

The queen then made an announcement.  "We shall erect a monument of the battle and for the fallen at the site of the ruins, memorializing a day when all of the guilds of Historica came together to defeat a dangerous foe.  We shall not soon forget your deeds, or our strength together."

"There is still work to be done.  The main threat is dispersed, but it is unknown if there are survivors of the Enlightened, parts of their summoned armies may yet exist, and their spies still run freely in each of our guilds.  I am assembling a group of scholars from each of the guilds to study the writings found in the ruins and we will try to discern as much detail of the plans of the Enlightened as we can.  Keep guard!  The battle has been won, but the war is not yet over."

Spoiler

Wow, glad this build is over!  I am not sure that I could have built more if I had tried.  I wound up losing a lot of sleep to try and make my vision happen, and still didn't finish all the builds I wanted despite making myself sick and exhausted.

I tried to pack as much detail into these shots as I could, and definitely had some fun with a few of the little easter eggs in there (see if you can spot them all!).  I tried to make sure to include all the guilds and leave the Varlyrian story open as much as possible to avoid messing with their politics while still leaving open the Kolgari story.  After all, there is no explanation why the Rego didn't send troops (or did he, and they were ambushed or waylaid by the other guilds?  I leave that up to the Varylrian guild masters to figure out).

I'm also not a fan of minidolls but have a bunch from sets that I bought for pieces, so tried to do something with them.  I figured a number of us have minidolls and could potentially use them as villains in future builds if we wanted.

I leave this up to all of you for C&C, as usual.  I hope the story wasn't too long.  I tried to make sure that I tied in all the great Challenge 3 stories and builds, so please forgive me if I have inadvertently left something out.

Here's a few bonus shots that I liked but didn't think fit in easily to the already picture heavy story.  Enjoy!

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Edited by Grover
Typos, fixed pic sizes on two pics

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A grand epos! I think you deserve much praise for your story telling which really builds up the tension, and equally much for your detailed builds that brings the story to life. I very much like the council room with the wonderful bookcases with large volumes and scrolls. 

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A superb, epic tale, sir Grover. 
*clap, clap, clap. While standing.

Your storytelling skills must be applauded. A bunch of twists - can the queen be trusted if she keeps hiding people in hidden rooms? Then the dwarves won't show up, but appear on the last minute to raise the stakes. Excellent action play. 

I really enjoyed the first room, filled with books and scrolls. And that feast it tasty!
Then, deep in the mines, I almost felt the cold and damp ambiance. The central pool is outstanding!

But seeing the Mitgardians riding their bears and pounding every elf in front of them payed the ticket. Can't have enough of northerners axing stuff. 
I wasn't expecting the blood and gore, but they came nicely and artistically. 

Finally, seeing everyone raise their glasses at the inn made my heart pound harder. It is good to see everyone bound together to fight against those damned elves. 
Also, I appreciate the idea of still having work to do with those scripts found in the mines. Those would be excellent future challenges for each of the guilds. Really well thought of. 

... still not sure about the queen, though.

Great entry, mate!

Skol!

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Great story and very nice builds.  I like the council room and the round table.  The book cases look great.  I love the big battle scene with the warriors coming out of the water.  I like the bear riders.  The scene with all the elves and other warriors in the hall eating and drinking is a neat scene.  I like the wooden floor in the dining hall.  Wonderfully done.  

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8 hours ago, Etzel said:

A grand epos! I think you deserve much praise for your story telling which really builds up the tension, and equally much for your detailed builds that brings the story to life. I very much like the council room with the wonderful bookcases with large volumes and scrolls. 

Thank you very much!  I wrote the story first, and then tried to make builds to suit.  I'm glad that you liked it!  I had a lot of fun with the bookcases.  I looked at the ones in my house and realized I had a lot of junk on there that was not books, so I tried to add things like that to the shelves.

4 hours ago, Louis of Nutwood said:

A superb, epic tale, sir Grover. 
*clap, clap, clap. While standing.

Your storytelling skills must be applauded. A bunch of twists - can the queen be trusted if she keeps hiding people in hidden rooms? Then the dwarves won't show up, but appear on the last minute to raise the stakes. Excellent action play. 

I really enjoyed the first room, filled with books and scrolls. And that feast it tasty!
Then, deep in the mines, I almost felt the cold and damp ambiance. The central pool is outstanding!

But seeing the Mitgardians riding their bears and pounding every elf in front of them payed the ticket. Can't have enough of northerners axing stuff. 
I wasn't expecting the blood and gore, but they came nicely and artistically. 

Finally, seeing everyone raise their glasses at the inn made my heart pound harder. It is good to see everyone bound together to fight against those damned elves. 
Also, I appreciate the idea of still having work to do with those scripts found in the mines. Those would be excellent future challenges for each of the guilds. Really well thought of. 

... still not sure about the queen, though.

Great entry, mate!

Skol!

Thank you!  I did a lot of editing with the story and tried to make sure that it filled holes and answered questions as to motivation.  I also tried to leave it open ended enough that there were different conclusions people could draw.

I've been wanting to do a build with bear cavalry for a while and could think of no better use than with dwarves from Mitgardia.  I bought a number of bears off of Bricks and Pieces while they were available a while back and haven't regretted it.

I'm kind of hoping the queen makes it, as I'm interested to see what a united Historica can do against a foe.  It would give me a great excuse to build in other guilds if everyone is working together.  One of the little easter eggs is that all the troops are segregated to their own units in the feast hall before battle, but afterword, all the units are mixed together.  I was hoping to sow some unity.

4 hours ago, zoth33 said:

Great story and very nice builds.  I like the council room and the round table.  The book cases look great.  I love the big battle scene with the warriors coming out of the water.  I like the bear riders.  The scene with all the elves and other warriors in the hall eating and drinking is a neat scene.  I like the wooden floor in the dining hall.  Wonderfully done.  

Thanks!  The battle scene was kind of interesting.  There's actually two layers of tiles to give some depth, and it was a real pain to try and place them all.  I wound having to place tiles individually with tweezers! 

I didn't mention it in the first post, but I really hate using minidolls.  Aside from thinking they're ugly, they have distinct disadvantages to building:

1. They don't hold capes on their heads.  They twist around freely all the time.
2. Their feet only fit on at 90° angles to studs, even if there's tiles around the studs.
3. You can't articulate wrists, so no bow shots or fighting poses look good.
4. No articulation of individual legs, so they can't be made to look like they're in motion.
5. The main torso joint is weak, so they flop around easily, which makes sticking them to plates irritating.
6. The clutch power of their feet is poor compared to minifigs.
7. Their heads get stuck in headgear.
8. Their main torso joint doesn't bend backward, so it's impossible to balance a mini without sticking them to a stud if they have their arms in front of them holding something.

Very irritating.  I hope Historica can use them as villains and exterminate the lot of them!

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Bear cavalry?!  Was not expecting that and it looked great!

Three very impressive builds here, the council scene was really neat with the Knights Kingdom sigil in the background and using the guild colors for the seat cushions was a great idea!  And cool technique for the lamps on the walls of the tavern.

Of course the ruined stone chamber is the star of the show, stunning scale and I really like the first panoramic shot!  The medley of warriors makes the battle scenes a bit visually confusing but I understand that the story kind of required that.  Speaking of the story, a lot of creativity to come up with such a well thought out threat and then deal with it!

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Impressive story as others have mentioned and some very nice builds to go with that. I like the first scene with all the small details like the queens chair and the sheild in the back. The most stunning shot (and build) is however definately the stone chamber. That first panorama-shot as @Kai NRG mentioned is just epic! Lovely work :excited:

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I can see you're dedication, this is a set of very impressive builds and a nice story to accompany it! There is no doubt about it, the shot with the solitary chamber is the money shot here, that one is a winner, with it's detail and atmosphere!  Altogether very well done! 

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Great story, and a huge build too!

I liked the small council, with so many food and drinks on the table. I really like this, catches really the feeling of good feasting. The battle is great too, I really like huge slaughters.:D And with the dwarven bear riders. Love it! I really huge fan of dwarfs too. Also like, the classic fantasy idea, to use a small army to infiltrate in the enemy stronghold, instead of a large army.

It is a good idea, to show many different figs, mini-dolls and regular minifigs alike, it shows, how many races inhabits Historica. Altho, you disliked the usage of mini-dolls. :D Feels like the idea came from the LEGO Movie when the Duplo aliens came to invade.

 

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On 11/4/2019 at 6:42 AM, Kai NRG said:

Bear cavalry?!  Was not expecting that and it looked great!

Three very impressive builds here, the council scene was really neat with the Knights Kingdom sigil in the background and using the guild colors for the seat cushions was a great idea!  And cool technique for the lamps on the walls of the tavern.

Of course the ruined stone chamber is the star of the show, stunning scale and I really like the first panoramic shot!  The medley of warriors makes the battle scenes a bit visually confusing but I understand that the story kind of required that.  Speaking of the story, a lot of creativity to come up with such a well thought out threat and then deal with it!

Thank you!  I had a lot of fun with the bear cavalry.  I saw those Knights Kingdom shields and thought that I should do something with them.  Turns out the one looks like the GoH sigil, even if it is not exactly the right colors.  I just assume that the Mitgardians made it and painted it green and gold.  I'm glad you noticed the seat colors went with the guilds!  It is one of the easter egg type details I threw in there.

The stone chamber was fun to build, if time consuming, and it used all of my 2x2 grey tiles.  I didn't realize how many I was going to need until I started in on the floor.

I played with the battle scene for a while.  I thought about having the allied forces wearing uniforms, but I think that uniforms would be more fitting of large armies and less so of small groups infiltrating, so I left it.  It is a bit chaotic and doesn't photograph as well, so I tried to get some local shots.  I had some of the larger panoramic shots of the battle, but it's hard to tell what's going on.  And thank you on the story compliment!  I had fun with it, although it did take quite a bit of time.

On 11/4/2019 at 3:26 PM, adde51 said:

Impressive story as others have mentioned and some very nice builds to go with that. I like the first scene with all the small details like the queens chair and the sheild in the back. The most stunning shot (and build) is however definately the stone chamber. That first panorama-shot as @Kai NRG mentioned is just epic! Lovely work :excited:

Thanks!  I try to encompass as much of everyone's stories as I can.  The builds were fun, although I don't know if I'll have that level of time and effort to put out again anytime soon.  The lighting on the stone chamber is done with an irregularly shaped hole cut in a piece of cardboard held over the build with the light shining through at an angle.

On 11/7/2019 at 6:37 AM, W Navarre said:

I can see you're dedication, this is a set of very impressive builds and a nice story to accompany it! There is no doubt about it, the shot with the solitary chamber is the money shot here, that one is a winner, with it's detail and atmosphere!  Altogether very well done! 

Thank you!  I was rather happy with the way the stone chamber turned out.  I played with the lighting a lot, but I think in the end it worked.

3 hours ago, kahir88 said:

Great story, and a huge build too!

I liked the small council, with so many food and drinks on the table. I really like this, catches really the feeling of good feasting. The battle is great too, I really like huge slaughters.:D And with the dwarven bear riders. Love it! I really huge fan of dwarfs too. Also like, the classic fantasy idea, to use a small army to infiltrate in the enemy stronghold, instead of a large army.

It is a good idea, to show many different figs, mini-dolls and regular minifigs alike, it shows, how many races inhabits Historica. Altho, you disliked the usage of mini-dolls. :D Feels like the idea came from the LEGO Movie when the Duplo aliens came to invade.

 

Thank you!  It's quite a compliment on the story coming from you, sir!  I had a lot of fun placing all the food on the table, especially using some of the new printed pieces from the Chinese sets (from B&P).  And yes, I'm not a fan of the mini dolls. For some reason, the Duplo doesn't bother me, but the minidolls are awful.  I had the idea before the Lego Movie came out, but didn't really do anything with it until the Avalonia challenge, then now again here.  I think for AFOLs, the separation between minidolls and figs is pretty distinct.  I don't really see anyone here using minidolls.  Thanks again!

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This is an impressive story, supported by impressive builds! The way the photos illustrate the story is very well done - for example, the amount of food on the table decreasing while the meeting is narrated. It really shows that you put a great amount of time, effort and thought into it.

And, of course, the Bear Cavalrymendwarves are my new heroes. :dhappy:

 

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