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  1. The Crowning of Wilfred Sigurd Final Entry for the Game of Thrones: Avalonia Mini-challenge Wilfred Sigurd began to walk slowly down the center of the throneroom, the scepter feeling odd in his hands, the crown, newly placed upon his head, uncomfortably heavy. Perhaps someday he would grow accustomed to these things, the trappings of his new office, but he did not think so. There was much to do; the vow he had made to his dying wife, all those years ago, to forswear war and violence and to dedicate himself to peace, came to his mind. He would have to work hard to maintain the peace that the realm needed so badly. He had alliances to forge, taxes to collect, verdicts to decide...but all that could wait. He straightened his back, made eye contact with his son, Robert, and then began to smile warmly at the gathered lords and ladies of the realm; all of the inhabitants of Avalonia, it seemed, had come out to see him crowned king. He would not disappoint them. ____________________________________________ ........................................................................................ My entry, on behalf of @Servertijd. The architectural details are pretty cool, in my opinion, even if the tiles on the columns were nearly impossible to keep straight; I need more light bley jumper plates, apparently. The lighting, on the other hand, was unpleasant. It took multiple sessions and different configurations before finally getting something that at least was halfway decent. It looks a bit like the dim light of an old castle, I guess. The red window, commissioned to honor the blood spilled by the fallen Avalonians during the wars with Revolword and Raavage, shines particularly bright. Every member of Avalonia had his or her sigfig placed in the build somewhere, though unfortunately not all are visible. Some are up above in the balconies, some down below. All are fleshie, regardless of how they are otherwise presented, and the closest approximation I could get from the parts I had on hand. So some don't look that close, unfortunately, especially if three other sigfigs used the same hair or torso...
  2. kahir88

    The Lone Wolf

    Conrad met many interesting people in his life so far. Most of them become his allies, few of them his enemies. But there is only a handful of them, who has remarkable stories, how they joined, to the Wolf Brigade. This is their stories: This is the story of Boris, the Houndmaster. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Conrad was happy like a child. After many years of only hearing about the most famous bounty hunter on this side of the Rakath Mountains, he finally meets him. Boris acquired quite a fame during his long working years. It says if you want to get rid of someone, the hardest part, to find Boris. After that, you can rest assure, cause Boris always finds his target. - I told you, boy! - grumbled the old bounty hunter to Conrad. - I'm not interested in your boy scouts team. Sod off! Conrad didn't intend to give up that easy. If he could recruit the old man, his mercenary army can be more reliable. A famous person in their ranks, he needs to break his stubbornness. - But Boris. Your name is known for decades. But let's face it, you grew old. There will be a day when you won't be able to complete your task, and your fame will pass away. - Conrad grabbed his cape and pulled it. cause a tree branch was stuck on it. - If you join us, you don't have to hunt alone anymore. We can provide you intel, gear, manpower. Whatever you need. - I'm never hunting alone! - said Boris, and pointed to his two hounds. - They always at my side. They are loyal, never whining for a share. - he stopped and looked back to Conrad's escort. - Like most of the humans. - But... - Conrad wasn't able to continue, Boris raised his finger to his mouth signaling to be quiet. Then pointed to one of his hounds. The dog was motionless, her ears were raised, sniffing in the air. The other dog did the same. They were listening to a bush, a very suspicious bush. And then at the same time. The dogs charged to the bush and a shadowy figure jumped out and started running away from the pursuers. - Hah! I knew it! - Boris followed his hounds. - No one escapes from me. I don't need any help, especially from you boy! - We shall see it... - said Conrad in a lower voice, while smiled. Then ordered his men, to follow Boris. The pursuit didn't last for long. The wanted person quickly climbed up to a tree, with cats agility. The hounds followed and started barking at the tree. Soon, the others arrived. - Alright, come down. You can't escape. - shouted up Boris to the top of the tree. - We will see about that! - said the runaway in a female voice. Woah, the old man didn't see that coming. With that said, the woman continued her escape, by jumping to a tree to tree. - As you wish! - Boris puts a bolt in his crossbow and lifts it. - You will be good as dead. - and he aimed. But he was old, as Conrad mentioned earlier. He tried to focus on the women, but she was faster. He scratched his eyes and lifted his crossbow again to shoot, but it didn't help. The woman was a blurred point now. The old man put down his weapon and looked to the smiling Conrad. He was angry. - Alright, alright! - shouted to him. - Don't just smile there, and help me get her down here! - Aaaand? - asked Conrad with a bigger smile. Conrad was victorious once more: - Alright Scarlet, we got him! - shouted to the woman. For Boris surprise, the women stopped and started jumping back. She arrived at the tree, where she started and jumped down. - What the hell? What is the meaning of this, answer me! - he was completely lost. - Calm down, darling. - the women asked nicely, while she removed the hood. She has a scar across her face. Then she turned to Conrad: - Did it worked? Is he with us? - Not yet. But he said, if I get you down here, he will reconsider my offer. - Oh, you son of a ... - a loud bird tweeted not far away. - You tricked me! It was all your plan, isn't it? - Your mind is sharp as ever. - said Conrad, and reached for a pouch of coin, to pay Boris. - She is Scarlet. She works for us too. - the women bowed. - This was the only way to meet with you. I still ask you to come and be part of our army. Now you admit it too, you need some help, and we also need you. Boris looked at Conrad. If you could kill someone by looking... He took the money and grumbled something, then whistled to his hounds and left the mercenaries. - Is this is a yes? - Asked Conrad with hope in his voice. - As I said. - Boris didn't turn back, to answer him. - I will reconsider it. - You know where to find us! - shouted Conrad. Boris stopped and turned back. He also smiled: - I always find who I'm looking for...
  3. As @Grover gave the idea, before I continue the next backstory, I should tell more about my trees with red leaves. Avalonia is full of mystery and secrets, and there are so many myths and legends about this region, there are many theories, about this type of trees. Let's stick to this one: The story of Redhgar, the Red Druid. Like the other druids, Redhgar helped shape Avalonia. In this era, most of the plants get their look, thanks to the druids. But at old age, Redhgar had a stroke. He recovered, and he was able to help the orhers furthermore. But. He didn't recovered fully. Now he had partial colorblindness, he mixed some of the colors, but mostly ghe red and green. He didn't understand, why the otheres coloring the leaves to red, and he tired to correct it. The others first, tired to warn him, about his wrongdoing, but he was also a stubborn old man. Later, they try to correct it, but they become tired of this, and leave it. "No one will ever comply about why have some trees reddish leaves..." This is how they encourage each other. Many centuries later, looks like only the trees are still here, the other plants lost this gene. They become rare, but in every tree's genes, there is a chance, to have red leaves. Imagine this like the blond hair gene.
  4. Servertijd

    Smugglers path

    Hi all, I had some spare time so I made a small moc. "Oxenfurt is full of dense forests and small dangerous paths. Those small paths are perfect for smugglers. the taxes on wine are pretty expensive, those two young smugglers are getting rich." Smugglers path Oxenfurt by jesse van den Oetelaar, on Flickr Thanks!
  5. Conrad met many interesting people in his life so far. Most of them become his allies, few of them his enemies. But there is only a handful of them, who has remarkable stories, how they joined, to the Wolf Brigade. This is their stories: This is the story of Zan, the Black Arrow. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- It was almost autumn, in the same year after meeting with Lok. Conrad was traveling with some soldiers, to find a new recruit. This time, a psychopath. His name was Zanzarah, he is an expert archer, many claims, he is better than most of the elves. A wanted person, for murdering, poaching and stealing... but mostly for murdering. Conrad was hoping, he would join them, or at least take the huge price for his head. His small party was approaching Zanzarahs last known location, a ruined tower inside the forest known as Deep Grove. The watchtower was built to keep away poachers and keep the forest safe. Ironic, now it is a hideout of a wanted murderer. The tower was in sight, stood in the middle of a grove. When they arrived at the border of the grove unusual sight welcomed them. The place was littered with skeletons, all of them died in the same range. None of them was nearer to the tower. The last victim was a young boy he was picking mushrooms. Looks like he ventured too close to the tower, poor soul. Conrad checked the boy. He was already cold and pale, maybe he was killed in the morning. He wasn't older than Conrad when he roamed the forests. - We will bury him, but first, we have business here. - gave the order Conrad, and slowly started to approach the tower. Suddenly, an arrow landed next to him. It came from the tower, as a warning. And if this wasn't enough, another warning came from the same direction. - That's close enough! - came the shout from the tower. - I already killed today. You should feel your self lucky, Go now, or the next arrow won't be a warning. - Zanzarah! I am Conrad, leader of a mercenary group. I'm here to talk to you! - shouted back to the tower, while he took two steps back. - I have an offer for you! - I don't wanna talk. Go and talk to your man, and leave me like the rest of the world. I'm not afraid of wolves...- shouted back the tower. A tough talker. This taught ran through Conrad's mind. Negotiation won't help this situation, maybe threatening... - You can't hide forever! Sooner or later someone will hire Boris... - Conrad took a pause in his speech, to give a weight it. - He will come for you, and there will be no mercy... Silence, no reply. - Alright! - came the answer finally. - If you can reach me in the tower, I will hear your offer. Before Conrad was able to react, one of his soldier step forward, and offered his service: - Boss, let me help you! - he raised his thick shield. - Stay behind me. - with that said, he started advancing to the tower. He didn't reach the border of the grove. A loud crack and he fell backward. The arrow penetrated the shield and killed the soldier with one shoot. This would be a remarkable feature if this act didn't cost one of Conrad's men's live... - I said, only you alone must come! - shouted the tower again. Conrad had to choose which is deadlier, the arrows, or the threats. - Or leave! To show you how generous can I be, I let you bury the deads. Conrad ordered his man, while he started removing his armor. - Boss, shouldn't you wear any protection against him? - Armor won't help in this situation. - he removed his shirt too. - I must rely on speed, to reach him. He took a deep breath, planned his path and start running. He quickly changed direction and rolled two, to reach a trunk. He was right, the next two arrows landed behind him. Behind the trunk, he panted: "Damn, he is fast..." thoughted Conrad. But before he could continue with his thoughts, he heard a crack above his head. "Damn!" And he jumped away from the trunk before the next arrow penetrated it. He remained out of sight. - Hey Conrad! If you still draw breath, wave out from the tree! Haha! - again, the shout came from the tower. Conrad was trapped. He was sure his next move will be his last. He saw the trunk with two arrows, the path in the leaves from the jump.... Leaves. Got it! He quickly signaled his men and told them his new plan. ... Meanwhile, in the tower, Zanzarah was waiting for Conrad's next move. - Which way will you jump away from behind that trunk? - smiled the archer. - I bet you will go right... They always go right. But something wasn't right. No movement from the leader. And then he saw it. Fiery arrows. Came from the forest, but only reached the bottom of the tower. Not reaching the tower itself. - Amateurs... - thought Zanzarah. - You must come closer to smoke me out of this tower. Sadly, if you came closer, you will die. But this time he was wrong. The dry leaves catch on fire and the dense smoke covered the entire tower. The archer damned their luck, he quickly tore his clothes and covered his face. He tired to look outside, but the smoke covered the place. - Clever move... *cough* - smiled the archer behind his mask. But before he could say another word, down there, the door smashed open, and footsteps can be heard on the stairs. - Damn! -turned Zanzarah around and aimed to the hatch, while counted the steps. The tower has fifty stairs, and a ladder to the top. He knew it, cause he had to climb it every day. - Forty-four.... forty-five... - continue the counting. - Come on thee more! Forty-eight.. forty-nine... And silence... only the crackle of the fire can be heard. He was beneath the archer, only the hatch separated them from each other. Zanzarah was ready to fire his arrow. He held his breath, the next breath would end in coughing. He was wondering, how Conrad wants to reach him, in caution open the hatch with something. Or will he charge in? No one will ever know how the mercenary leader wanted to reach the top of the tower. Zanzarah couldn't hold back his breath any longer, he took his last breath. He was right, and he hated when he was right. He coughed... His location was revealed. But it was too late for him. A loud crack could be heard from beneath his feet, and before he could react, another followed it, and the whole floor collapsed, and both he and the furniture fall down to the next level of the tower. When he freed himself from the debris, Conrad was already there, stand next to him, with his axe. Zanzarah looked around, his bow was far away, and his arrows were scattered. This was truly a defeat. He was escorted down, during that time, the mercenaries take out the fires, and waited for their leader. - So, what's next? To the authorities? - asked Zanzarah. - Maybe. - replied Conrad, while he re-equipped his armor. - Or you can hear my offer. Join us! You won't be a wanted person any longer. Don't have to hide in the forest, and fight for survive. - he paused. - And thanks to you, there is a job opportunity in our ranks. There won't be a next time If you won't take it now... - Then, mercenary life, or the gallows? You gave my tough choice. - scratched his neck the archer. - But sounds good to me this new life. Today, Zanzarah died in the tower. Call me Zan. My friends called me that if I had one...
  6. Who sits on the Dragon Throne in the keep of high Albion? Who rules over the greenest and greatest of the Guilds? Who thunders into battle at the fore of the mighty Flight of Dragons? Is it you? For many years now, the Guild of Avalonia has been missing its king. Artorious Rex - long may his legend live on - vanished, leaving the guild without a definite ruler. Regents have maintained order as best as possible, and High Lords have done their best to keep things running smoothly, but the time has come for the Dragon Throne to be occupied once more. AVALONIANS, THIS IS YOUR MOMENT! Your task is to create a 16x16 vignette depicting your claimant to the Dragon Throne. Not only should you show the man or woman you wish to see seated on the throne, but you should make it abundantly clear from the vignette why your claimant belongs on the throne. Is he able to slay countless enemies? Is she richer than the combined kingdoms of the dwarves? Is he the most handsome gentleman anyone has yet seen? Is she a skilled diplomat? Whatever sets your claimant apart, show him or her doing just that. Then this is where the Game of Thrones comes in. EVERY builder who is registered with Avalonia as of Friday February 8th, Anno Domini MMXIX, will automatically be entered into a tournament bracket. You will be competing against other builder's vignettes through several rounds until a winner is crowned King (or Queen) of Avalonia. If your opponent fails to build anything, you win that round by forfeit. Winners will be determined by popular vote of your Avalonian brethren, so make sure that you impress! The final round will require a new build, of 32x32 or less, from each of the two finalists, to make a final push for the Dragon Throne. What are you willing to sacrifice to get there? Details/fine print: - Open to official members of Avalonia only; you must have a sigfig posted to the Avalonian thread by February 8th, 2019 to qualify. No sigfig, no entry! - One 16x16 (or 256-stud equivalent, with proportions no further skewed than 32x8) build per builder will be used for all of the first rounds of the tournament. You won't need to build something new each round, unless you win through to the final round. Minimal overhang is allowed. Borders do not factor into the stud limit. - Official LEGO only - no 3rd party stuff (Brickarms, Brick Warriors, etc.) or clones (Kreo, Megablocks, Lepin, etc.). Also, no custom decals or painting or carving or cutting or gluing or any other altering of official LEGO products. The King or Queen of Avalonia should be able to be depicted by anyone who has the right LEGO parts. Yellow or fleshie faces are permitted. - The initial 16x16 build must be completed and posted in its own topic, with a link in this thread, before March 1st, 2019. If it is still February somewhere in the world, you can still post your build. - While you can try to put your own sigfig on the Dragon Throne, keep in mind that he/she becomes part of the public domain at that point. Your own personal story line will be essentially finished by doing so. It is the recommendation of the administration (HQ) that you create a brand new character for the contest, or else elevate a minor character from your story line, but not your own sigfig. - Regardless of the outcome of the tournament, Henjin_Quilones and ZCerberus will still be the in-real-life leaders of Avalonia. The winning character will be the leader for in-game story purposes only. - Builds entered into this contest count as freebuilds for scoring purposes. - While you are limited to 256 studs for the tournament itself, no one is saying you can't build more and bigger scenes to depict his/her exploits as regular freebuilds and add to the legend that way. Officially only the vignette counts, but it's not like we can make people forget or ignore other cool builds... - Voting in the tournament will begin on March 1st. If first-round byes are needed in the bracket due to the numbers, they will be granted to those with the longest time in Avalonia first, and so on down the line. If you joined in Book I, chances are you will get a 1st round bye; if you just joined this week, you won't. But everyone still needs to get their builds done before March. Only Avalonians will vote for their ruler - those from the other guilds can do their own lobbying for their preferred candidates, but they cannot vote. Any sign of Varlyrian tampering with the election, via targeted ads or skewed search algorithms, will be...expected. - We should have a King or Queen of Avalonia by April. - The winner will not receive anything except prestige, glory, and honor, and maybe a fancy title like "Kingmaker"; but no bricks are on the line here. [Credit for the throne design goes to @Derfel Cadarn who built it in Book I]
  7. A mercenary's story: Part V If you missed, here is the previous parts: A mercenary's story: Part I A mercenary's story: Part II A mercenary's story: Part III A mercenary's story: Part IV Days passed since Conrad had blood on his hands. After that day, he becomes an official member, of the army. The leader employed him, as his squire. He kept his armor clean, and his weapons sharp. He allowed the boy, to sleep in his tent, so the others can't bother him. After the first month, he received his first payment. Conrad never saw that many coins. Actually, he never saw any... In return, later he taught him. First, reading and writing, after that, strategies, tactics, and the arts of war. The boy was happy, after many years, he found his place in the world. After a few months, he was allowed, to train with the other soldiers. Conrad was trained in every type of weapons. From swords to archery, he tried to master them all. He even was able, to learn some use of exotic weapons too. The others started to like the boy. His spirit was inspiring to others too, to everyone become better. Many days had passed, they become weeks, and weeks become months. The months become years, and finally, a decade has passed. The boy was not a boy anymore, but a young man. Trained in the arts of war. Conrad becomes the leaders most favorited soldier. Later he was tasked, to go on recruit missions. During that time, he earned his title: Conrad the Sly. He earned it, with the methods, he used, to persuade the new recruits, to join. Again, another few years have passed. Conrad becomes more experienced and becomes more valuable to the army. The leader even chose him, to become one of his generals. He ordered his own recruited soldiers in battles. In fact, his men were trained not to face the enemies face to face. He preferred a more subtle approach, to deal with his enemies. But every good has to end somehow. A soldiers life is always full of wars and conflicts. It was the time when Revolword rebelled, and he released the elemental monsters to conquer Historica. The mercenaries were hired too, by the lords of Historica to help defeat this threat. For them, it was easier to send former criminals to die, then their own men. A battle against the elemental monsters and their masters was the mercenaries last battle. During their last battle, the leader was killed, and many of the soldiers used this, to abandon the fight in the chaos. After the disaster, the remaining generals of the army wasn't able to choose a new leader among them, so they decided to disband the remnants of the army. Many of Conrad's recruits wanted to follow him. He planned to go home, show his parents what he has become after many years. And after that, he could start adventuring. The story will end here.
  8. kahir88

    Taming the Wild One

    Conrad met many interesting people in his life so far. Most of them become his allies, few of them his enemies. But there is only a handful of them, who has remarkable stories, how they joined, to the Wolf Brigade. This is their stories: This is the story of Lok, the Wild One. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A few years ago, Conrad was traveling through Avalonia, with some of his soldiers, and two new potential recruits. They had to venture through a small forest, known as the Thin Forest. The forest got its name, by growing along next to a small river centuries ago. The only way to cross the river, on a small bridge. And Conrad was sure, the bridge wasn't occupied, when they crossed it from the other side. A young boy, wearing leather armor customized to fit for his size, stood on the middle of the bridge. -What's the matter, boy? - started Conrad. - Are you lost? - All who wishes, to cross this bridge must pay its toll! - the boy didn't show any fear against the armed men. -When I crossed this bridge not long ago, there wasn't any toll for crossing it. - Conrad tried to resolve this small conflict with peace. He admired the boy for his courage. He reminds him when he was that young. - And what's the toll? - Five golden coins! - came the answer. - Hah, that's not much for... - ...Per person for the crossing! - the boy interrupted Conrad with his sentence. Conrad was amazed. He wasn't prepared for that answer. His pouch wasn't empty, but he could spend that much gold for other things, more important. He turned around and start counting his soldiers, and captives. At halfway he stopped. He felt he was fooled. He turned back to the boy: - Alright boy, here is the deal: let us cross your bridge and we won't slap you, while we crossing it. - Conrad allowed himself a smug smile. - Can you count how many slaps will you get, if you being so stubborn? - Non! - replied the boy with such bravery. - Cause the others will beat the gold out of you! - He whistled, and the Thin Forest filled up with bandits. Conrad was sure, there were more human in this small section of the forest, then trees. For last, a large brute arrived at the scene, wielding a staff. He leads them, Conrad made the conclusion. - Alright... - his voice was calm and powerful. - The toll raised. Handle over all of your weapons, and equipment, and be gone! Conrad was in bigger trouble than this, but he had to think fast. He had to come out from this situation as a winner. He looked around a bunch of lowlifes, dwelling in the forest. Living day by day, with no future. He remembered how harsh was for him. That's it! - And what if I offer you something instead... - the brute raised his eyebrow, above his intact eye. - I'm offering you, and your man a chance. Work for me, I can give you a home, food, and payment. No longer have to live in the forest, rob others to survive another day! I know how hard the forest can be, be reasonable, think for your people! The bandits looked at each other with questions on their faces. Their leader saw them too it was tempting to accept it, but he didn't want to lose their freedom. He also had to think fast: - You say you know how hard to live in the forest. - he took the staff from the boy. - Then you know it rules. We follow only the strongest. Beat me! - and he threw the staff to Conrad. - And we will follow you. - And if you win? - asked Conrad while he put down his weapons and armor. - I guess you still take our wealth and equipment, right? - I heard they give good money for slaves in Varlyrio... - smiled the brute. This gave Conrad the creeps. If the duel was about smiling, Conrad was surely lost it. They stepped on the bridge railing and looked to each other. For the spectators, it felt like an eternity. Then, the brute grabbed the staff with both hands and started swinging wildly. Conrad considers to not parry them, only to dodge them, and find his opponents weak point. After a few unsuccessful strikes, the bandit decided, to change his tactics, he started swinging more rapidly, more wildly. Conrad used this as an advantage and after a dodge, he hit the brutes knee. He roared in anger and pain, then he raised the staff above his head to strike down. Again, Conrad was faster and hit his chin. He lost his balance and to regain it, he had to step back. But Conrad was counting on this, he struck the staff behind his opponent, and pushed him. His own weight does the rest. Birds flew away when the quiet of the forest was disturbed with a loud splash. And another. Everyone was watching the water, under the waterfall. -Bruaaahhh! - surfaced the brute. The temperature of the water surely helped him, not to blown up, from his anger. He swam to the shore, where one of his men helped him out, he looked up. Conrad stood on the conquered bridge. The rest of the spectators, both bandits and mercenaries were looking at him and waiting for his answer. He blow some water out of his nose, he felt the bruise on his chin, but the cold water eased his pain. The others still waited for his answer. - Let it be. - came the answer at last. - If you lead, we will follow you. Both sides started to cheer. Conrad not only recruited new members for his army but found someone who will be his loyal friend. There was one more formality... - We not yet introduced our self. I am Conrad the Sly. The leader of the Wolf Brigade mercenary group. - You can call me Lok. Lok the Wild One...
  9. Lady Majastina has shortly become one of the most respected in politics and science in Albion and the whole of Avalonia. Here she is in her room at Updale's embassy in Albion. She began her studies at Updale University. Where she showed early that she got unusually talent. Besides being intelligent, she was also spiritual and a good diplomat. Her career continued to the city of Albion, where she quickly got a reputation of being one of the most influential among the scholars. An unexpected but perfect candidate for the Dragon throne.
  10. Soon after Artorious Rex had ascended the throne of Avalonia, something strange happened. Late one night, as he sat in his private study writing the charter and laws of the fledgling guild by candlelight, his study door swung open and a stooped over, wizened old elf with a cane entered. Artorious looked up, not with fear but curiosity. “Who are you and how did you come to be here, old one?” asked Artorious, wondering how this ancient elf had circumvented his guards. The old elf stood before Artorious’ desk. “Who I am is unimportant, but I am a seer, and what I have foreseen concerns you. This peace for which you have fought so hard shall not last. Dark forces are gathering in the realms of men and the realms below that will usurp all of this land and only the heir to the throne can save it.” Artorious took in this information. “I appreciate you bringing this to me, old one, but I have no intention of dying or letting my family be harmed in any way, regardless of the enemy.” The old elf shook his head. “You sit on the throne, but neither you nor your kin are the heirs I speak of. The next to sit on the throne shall be the heir of the ancient druids.” Artorious laughed. “Everyone knows that fairy tale: the fabled heir of the druids will possess the bluestone of the elements and the seal of the druids. The problem is that no one knows what this seal looks like or what the ‘bluestone’ is, and the druids have been gone for thousands of years.” The old elf moved to the desk and set down an ancient scroll, carefully unrolling it before Artorious. He moved the candle nearer for better light and Artorious studied it. “I have found an ancient scroll depicting the seal,” the old elf began, pointing to a circular seal drawn in charcoal on the parchment. “The form of the bluestone is still unknown, but it resides in the Enchanted Forest and is a source of magical power.” Artorious looked at the parchment, then the old elf, and shook his head. “Even if this document is authentic, what would you have me do? Search every inch of the Enchanted Forest for this ‘bluestone’? And what is this seal? Is it a stone carving? On some golden headdress? How could anyone ever find it?” The old elf held up a hand and stood up straighter. “I am only the messenger,” he replied, and turned for the door. He stopped and faced Artorious as he exited. “Good night,” he said simply, and walked out the door. Artorious got up and walked to the door, sticking his head out, thinking to talk to the stranger, but the elf was gone. Artorious walked out into the long hallway, looking up and down, but he was nowhere to be seen. Closing the door and returning to his study, he looked again at the parchment before rolling it up and storing it. Could any of this be true? It didn’t matter: there was nothing he could do about any of it, and right now he had a new country to hold together. He made a mental note to tell his advisors of the parchment and this encounter the following day, then returned to his writing. The old tower was buried in the tall forest trees, but could still be seen some distance off. Penelope stopped some 200 yards from the tower and hunkered down in some brush, waiting until nightfall to disguise her approach. As she waited, she reflected on her life that had brought her to this point. As an infant, Penelope had been found by an elven ranger in the Enchanted Forest, wrapped in a simple linen and stashed on a bed of moss in the crook of an old oak tree. Her crying had caught his attention, and, after making sure that this strange find was not a trap, picked Penelope up and comforted her, finding a bronze medallion wrapped in her linens. It was strange to find a human this far into the Enchanted Forest, let alone an abandoned babe. He searched for tracks from whomever dropped her off, but found none. Without any other options, he brought her home with him, where his wife and children helped feed and nurture her. For a week, the elves of the forest searched high and low for Penelope’s parents, but there were no humans in the forest that could have left her, so the ranger adopted her, and she grew up with elven siblings. Penelope and her brothers and sisters would play in the forest, and though she was never as quiet as her elven siblings, she learned to be quite stealthy for a human. Her adoptive father taught her about the animals of the forest and how to use a longbow, and she came to understand the environment around her, careful to respect nature’s gifts. Although the ranger and his wife were very kind to Penelope, many of the other elves of the community treated her differently, and she felt like an outsider growing up, playing mostly with her siblings and few of the other children. In large part it was this isolation that led her to study magic. She had grown into a young woman, with strange golden hair and fine features, when she began her studies with the elven mages. Her elven teachers were practiced in the magical arts and she learned quickly, but they were wary to teach her all the magic of the elves, so she eventually had to leave her home and travel to Albion. In Albion, she was appalled at the way food was wasted, animals treated, and the awful practices of the lumberjacks. She had thought she would fit in better here, but her unusual golden hair and her mannerisms from the elven society she grew up in left her again alone. She did, however, make a few friends. In particular, she fancied one of the soldiers who guarded the house of her wizard mentor, Halad. It took her a few tries to pluck up the courage, but she finally talked to him and they went out for a few drinks. Their relationship grew, and as it did, they spent more time together, sharing stories about the elves and about his time in the war against Raavage. Penelope learned how to handle a sword, and she taught him a few things about magic. As is often the case with young love, their relationship ended with heartache, when Penelope caught Halad in bed with another young woman. Mercifully, she had reached the end of her apprenticeship, so she bid her mentor farewell and set off for home, heartbroken and angry. Penelope had been gone several years, but the elves tend to take life slowly, so she had not expected very much to have changed. She had felt she didn’t belong with her adopted elven community, but after living in Albion, she realized she loved the forests and needed to return to see her family. All, however, was not the same when she returned. She walked the paths back home that should have been familiar, but were not. Where there were once well-tended yet neatly camouflaged paths, there were disused trails overgrown with thorns. She hurried quickly home, and found her community in ruins. Much of the village was gone—destroyed by powerful magic. The few townsfolk who remained told a terrible tale of woe, how elves, corrupted by evil magics, had taken many of the town prisoner and slaughtered the rest. Her father had fought back, but was slaughtered, along with the rest of her family. The magic had taken its toll on the forest, too—choking vines, weeds, and poisonous plants were taking over the once vibrant understory of the village, and some of the amazing ancient oaks and weirwoods were dying from blight. Distraught by the loss of her family, and still angry from her recent heartache, Penelope vowed to track down the evil elves who had done this. For months, she had searched. She learned that these elves had once been a clan of mages, but their thirst for more powerful magic had led them to seek out a wellspring of magic. This font of magic had been too much, and had corrupted the elves’ being, sustaining them without food or water, twisting their features and leaving only husks of their former selves. They had allied with whomever would help further their power-hungry ends, and were led by the evil enchantress of the wood. This enchantress had taken up residence at an old tower deep in the Enchanted Forest, and it was there Penelope now went. She knew that she would likely never return from her self-imposed mission to rid the forest of the evil spell, as the enchantress was powerful and her minions many, but it did not matter. Her family gone, her lover treasonous, she had only her love of the forest, yet that, too, was being taken away. Little else mattered to her but the thought of ending the rule of the enchantress or dying in the attempt. The sun now finally down, Penelope shook her head to clear it of the memories, and stretched her limbs, focusing on her task at hand. The tower itself was an old, stone, square tower. Despite its age, it had been well maintained and looked to be quite solid. Some of the older elves of the forest had been in the tower centuries before, and had told Penelope that there were two levels to the tower, aside from the roof, plus a basement, and that all the levels were joined by staircases. Penelope had reconnoitered the tower and had planned to approach this evening during a party to cover her movements. Penelope stole through the thorny undergrowth that had become thick in this part of the Enchanted Forest since she was last here. She used her understanding of how to move through the forest to be as quiet as she could, even if she was not as silent as her adoptive elven family. Her stealth was unnecessary, since her intelligence was correct: the party was in full swing by the time she arrived and there was enough noise coming from the ground floor to have covered any mistakes she could have made. Because she had no invitation, she couldn’t use a disguise to come in the front door. She had thought about a number of methods, but finally had discovered a small rodent den near the base of the tower. Shrinking herself to the size of a mouse with her magic, she crawled through the mouse den and into the basement of the tower. Carefully making her way down toward the floor, she popped back to her full size, startling the dog wrapped in chains. The poor animal, obviously abused, barked fearfully and backed away from Penelope in the darkness. She lit a torch on the wall and then fed the dog some bits of meat, talking gently to him in the way that her ranger father had taught her. Wary at first, the dog warmed up to Penelope, and then calmed down. She looked around the basement and found a baby dragon caged against the far wall, and an elf, near the point of consciousness, badly beaten and caged as well. A table sat in the middle of the floor, stained with blood, and containing implements of torture. On a hook on the edge of the table was a key. Taking the key, Penelope moved to the imprisoned elf, and whispered to him. He stirred and looked at her with disbelief. “My friend,” she began in the elven tongue. “I am here to destroy the enchantress, and you shall be free.” She unlocked the door and helped the weakened elf out of the prison cell. She offered him some water and food, helping him to eat and drink. “Who are you?” the elf asked in disbelief. “You are human, yet you speak elven as if it were native to you. Are you another magical illusion created to torture me?” he asked. Penelope smiled sadly at him. “No, I am no illusion.” She pressed his hand with hers, showing that she was quite real. “I am called Penelope, and I am of the Brightleaf clan a few days’ ride from here. I was raised by an elven ranger and his family, though I am not an elf.” The elf seemed puzzled, then an expression of knowing came across his face. “I recall hearing of such an adoptive family and know of your kin,” he said, sipping water as his strength returned to him. “I am glad to meet you, Penelope. I am Methir of the Willowstream clan. Blessed greetings to you, and praises be that you have found me. How did you get in here, and how are we to leave?” he asked. “I used magic to enter,” Penelope explained as she crouched beside the elf. “I cannot bring you out the same way, as my magic will not let me take anyone much larger than that dog there,”shesaid, pointing to the dog. “However, I can arm you, and you can make your way out the front door.” “I have no strength left in me,” Methir said. “How am I to fight my way to the front door? There are guards, the enchantress, and her disciples. I am no match for them, even were I in top condition.” Penelope shook her head. “My hope is that you will not have to fight anyone on the way out. There is a party upstairs right now, so there are many guests. Once I create my distraction, you will only have to simply slip in with the crowd to escape.” “A distraction?” Methir asked. “How do you know that the partygoers will want to leave?” Penelope smiled a wicked smile. “I am quite certain that once things start, not even the guards will want to stick around. I plan to kill the enchantress.” Methir raised his eyebrows. “Really? I suspect that will be more difficult than you have anticipated.” “Perhaps,” Penelope conceded. “Whether successful or not, I suspect that a battle with the enchantress of the tower will prove a worthy enough show to cause the partgoers to leave.” Methir nodded. “I would like to see that,” he smiled weakly. “I will do my best to escape. How will I know when the time has come?” “I would think when the screaming starts,” Penelope responded. “Tell me, what do you know of the enchantress and this tower?” “Upstairs is the receiving floor, where guests are entertained. At the back of the hall is a spiral staircase leading to a small hallway before the private chambers of the enchantress. Inside the private chambers are her laboratory and study where she corrupts the magic of the forest towards her evil purposes. You should know that there is some sort of blue gemstone that she uses as the source of her power. I think it is something ancient from the forest, but have only seen it once so I don’t know much about it. She keeps it on herself at all times, but with it, she is too powerful to defeat. Her disciples guard her private chambers, and the will fight to the death for her. She also keeps a dragon chained on the roof that does her bidding. If she can make it to the roof, expect to fight the dragon as well.” Penelope frowned at the thought of fighting a dragon. The enchantress seemed a tall order herself, but if she were able to take her by surprise, there might be a chance. With a dragon? This seemed impossible, but Penelope gritted her teeth and let her anger and hurt flow through her. If she could not defeat these evil creatures, she would injure them as severely as she could, hopefully buying a reprieve for the creatures of the surrounding forest. “I am going to free the dog and dragon,” Penelope said. “I will take them with me and free them when I can. My magical bag has an extra dimension of space and I can fit them inside,” she explained, pointing to her satchel. “You are too large, but take this dagger and my bow and arrows,” she said, handing him her weaponry. “Take this water and food as well, and rest near the door at the top of the stairs until you hear the excitement start. May Corellon guide your steps back to the freedom of the forest,” she said. “And may his blessing smile upon you this night,” he responded, taking the gifts offered him and slowly making his way up the stairs. Penelope unchained the dog first, scratching him behind the ears and feeding him some more bits of meat, before uncaging the dragon. That process was a bit more dangerous, but her father had taught her about magical creatures as well, and, with a few singed fingertips, she managed to feed the dragon some meat and water, starting to befriend her as well. She reached into her bag, pulling out her formal dress and stowing her ranger gear. She put on some makeup, changed into her dress, and made sure she looked proper. She then calmed both the dog and the baby dragon before stowing them in her extradimensional bag and walking up the stairs. She stopped on the landing before the door where Methir stood. He looked at her, now in a dress, with her golden hair let down. “I see you have come prepared. Good luck!” With that, Penelope opened the door, stepped into the hall, and quickly closed the door behind her. The light and sound from the party washed over her and she moved to the side of the room. Looking around, she noted the partygoers. There was a mixture of humans, elves, and elves twisted by magical power, easily noted by their malnourished, emaciated look. A servant moved around the room with drinks, and Penelope grabbed one from the tray. The food was obviously for the human and elven guests, as the evil mages derived all their sustenance from magic and had no need to eat. Occasionally they would enjoy a drink or some sweets, but these were purely for entertainment. The food looked good, though, and Penelope realized that the enchantress must be courting some of the local elves, trying to win them over or gain their support, making it easy to take over the forest. She recognized several representatives of local lords, including one lord himself. It disgusted her to see them entertaining the notion of selling out their own people, but she realized that the enchantress may have become too powerful and these politicians may be here trying to save what remained of their people. She could not see the enchantress after a few minutes of scanning the room, so she made a meandering path over to the staircase, setting her drink down along the way, and quickly ascending the stairs. She slowed as she made the top of the staircase where the second floor grew quieter. A shield hung on the end of the wall, and a set of windows overlooked the back of the tower grounds. To the right, there was a door. Penelope stole her way silently to the door and listened intently. She heard a discussion on the other side and recognized by the context that the enchantress must be there. Trying the door slowly, she found it locked. She pulled out her set of lockpicks, but it was to no avail—she was not nearly as good a thief as she would have liked, and this lock was expensive and high quality. As she toiled away, she heard the conversation abruptly end and she knew she was found out. She dropped her lockpicks, stepped back, and cast a spell of force with a shout, breaking the door down instantly. The door crashed to the ground in front of her, but the enchantress and one of her disciples were ready, and Penelope narrowly dodged a bolt of magic that soared past her. Penelope’s eyes glowed as she spoke the arcane words of power and hurled a flaming bolt at the enchantress. The enchantress’ eyes widened as she understood that this was no mere disgruntled elf that stood before her, but a determined attacker that would take some attention to deal with, so she barked an order for her disciple to kill the intruder as she climbed the ladder behind her to the roof. Penelope knew she was going to set herself up from her greatest position of power on the rooftop with her dragon, but there was another mage to defeat first. The disciple, clad in blue with a black hood and a black cloak, threw a lightning bolt at Penelope. Penelope countered with a jet of flame, deflecting the bolt, and then burning the evil mage to death. The crash of the door and the roar of flames had been heard below. The dragon on the roof began shrieking, and that was enough for the partygoers. Screaming and panic ensued below and Penelope heard the crowd flee out the door. She hoped Methir was with them. Penelope wiped some soot from her face and prepared for her last battle. She ripped the skirt off from around her waist, leaving her hardened olive green breeches beneath. She reached into her bag and grabbed her forest green armor, fastening it over the top portion of her dress. She pulled out her longsword and traveling cloak, donning these as well. She cradled the impossibly small dog and pulled him out, watching as he re-expanded from the magic. She scratched behind his ears and wished him luck as she shooed him out of the tower. He sat for a minute, then turned and slowly walked out of the room. The last item she pulled out of the bag was her bronze medallion that she had been found with as an infant. She held it, looking at the strange symbols on its surface, wondering what they meant, and would become of the medallion when she was dead. She clasped its long chain behind her neck, deciding to wear it proudly in her last moments. Her preparations done, she laid a hand on the baby dragon in her magical bag, determined to release it as soon as she was on the roof, then climbed the ladder to meet her fate. She popped open the hatch and was hit with a stinging magical stunning bolt. It was all she could do to roll herself out onto the roof to avoid falling back down the ladder. The enchantress stood across the roof from her in a long black dress, her black cape blowing in the strong wind, her white hair done up in a braid about the top of her head. To her left stood a green dragon, chained to the rooftop. “Who are you that dares to come here and attack me?” the enchantress asked. “I have command of the elements,” she began, holding up a large blue gemstone. “I have command of dragons,” she gestured to the dragon beside her. “I control this entire forest. Speak. Who has sent you here to try to destroy me?” Penelope struggled to catch her breath as the stinging magical shock slowly subsided from her body. Her one thought was to free the baby dragon before she was killed so it could fly away. “No one sent me,” she said as she grabbed the baby dragon and threw it out into the wind. “Lies!” The enchantress roared, and sent another stinging bolt at Penelope. The next events unfolded in the space of only a few seconds, but to Penelope everything seemed to move in slow motion. As the enchantress sent her bolt into Penelope, the baby dragon unfurled its wings and began to fly in the strong wind. The adult dragon saw it and roared, straining against its chains. The enchantress looked over at the baby dragon and then her eyes went wide as it circled toward the larger dragon and landed at its feet. Despite the pain coursing through her body, Penelope saw this scene and realized that the baby dragon she had freed was this dragon’s baby. The enchantress didn’t have some incredible power over dragons, and wasn’t controlling this one with a spell: she had been holding its offspring hostage to make it carry out her desires. Now that Penelope had unwittingly freed its child, the dragon turned on the enchantress and attacked. Penelope saw her opportunity and summoned her remaining strength. She pushed herself up from the ground and drew her sword. The first couple steps were painful, but she fought through, and walking became easier. The enchantress was throwing all her magic at the dragon to keep herself from being eaten, and Penelope moved in behind her, slicing her sword through her neck and beheading her. Penelope roared with pain and excitement as she held the enchantress’ head aloft. A moment later, she dropped the head and began searching the body. On it she found a few coins and random spell components, and in her hand was the large blue gem she had seen before. Penelope picked it up, feeling the magical power contained within, and pocketed it. She then moved to free the dragon from its chains. A bit of magic and some bashing with the hilt of her sword and the chains came loose. The dragon looked at Penelope gratefully as it flew off into the night with its daughter. Penelope climbed back down the ladder into the study to find the dog waiting for her, wagging its tail. She petted him, still shaking from the adrenaline, and looked around the room. She quickly went through the books, stowing the spellbooks and useful arcane tomes in her magical bag, then headed downstairs. As she had suspected, the place had cleared out, and the door to the basement was open. She hoped that meant that Methir had escaped. Grabbing an apple and and a bottle of wine on the way out the door, Penelope and her new canine companion walked briskly out the front door and into the night. That evening she camped in the woods. The next day she got up and began to boil some water for tea as she stoked the coals from the night before. As she sat drinking tea, wrapped in her cloak with a dog beside her, she wondered what she would do next. She hadn’t really considered what would happen if she managed to kill the enchantress. Her hand went to her pocket, finding the blue gem. She studied the large, cut stone that was about the size of an unshelled hickory nut. Assuming that it would likely fetch quite a price at market, she decided to sell it and use the proceeds to help rebuild her home community as best she knew how. To do that, she would need to go to the large Albion market, and to get there, she would need more supplies. She walked the trail to the nearest village, intent to buying supplies for her journey, and found it all abuzz with activity. The villagers were very excited about something. She walked up to the well in the center of town and asked one of the girls collecting water there what was going on. “Haven’t you heard?” the young elf maiden began. “The enchantress is dead! The news has been going around all morning. There was a great ruckus at the tower last night, and this morning all her disciples were fled and her body found atop the great tower!” Penelope thanked the girl and began to fill her waterskins from the well while looking for a farmer willing to part with some food for her journey. As she finished filling her skins, and the townsfolk bustled excitedly about, an old elf stopped in his tracks and stared at her. She looked at him, seeing that he was not just old, but positively ancient. He had almost no hair left, and was hobbled over, holding himself up with a staff, and wore simple brown robes with a hood that was down. He raised a crooked finger at Penelope and said: “You!” Penelope straightened up, fastening her waterskins to her belt to make a quick getaway, thinking maybe this old elf was some friend of the enchantress and was upset that Penelope had killed her. She started to turn to flee, but the townsfolk had already gathered around her. Her new dog companion tensed at her side. Seeing that she was trapped, Penelope faced the old elf. “I don’t know you and have no quarrel with you, friend,” she said in elven. The old elf smiled and hobbled closer. “No, you do not know us, and we do not know you, but we have been waiting many years for you.” Penelope was stunned. “Ummm…. How are you waiting for me if you don’t know me?” she asked, confused. “An ancient prophecy tells of one who will arise to cleanse the forest of a great darkness. This champion will be the heir of the druids of old and rule the land.” Penelope looked around. “And you think that’s me?” She laughed. “Do I look like a ruler to you?” The old man pointed to her medallion. “You wear the seal of the ancient druids. That medallion is older than this forest, my dear. I forsaw this event decades ago and am pleased that I have lived long enough to witness it. Tell me, do you also possess a large, magical blue gemstone?” At this, Penelope was a little taken aback. How did this old elf know she had stolen the blue gem from the enchantress? She wondered if this was some sort of scam to steal the gem from her, but then realized it would be difficult to have the whole village in on it, and the whole village was watching now by the looks of it. She slowly reached into her pocket and produced the blue gem, holding it in her outstretched hand for the old elf to see. He took a long, slow breath. “I see I am not mistaken.” He turned to the crowd. “This is the heir of the ancient druids, bearing their seal, and the bluestone of the elements. She has defeated the evil enchantress and returned the forest to its people. She is the rightful queen of this forest, and this land.” The old elf turned and bowed as low as he was still able. The villagers kneeled before her. Penelope did not know what to do. A moment later, she recovered and reached forward to the old elf and helped him stand upright. “Please, don’t kneel,” she said to the villagers. “I was raised in a village not far from here, just like you.” The villagers looked at each other and seemed unsure of what to do. The old elf spoke again. “It may well be that you were raised in a village near here, but you are not just another one of us. You are descended from the ancient druids and it Is your responsibility to lead us all now.” Penelope looked around at the villagers in stunned silence, unsure of what to do. “Come, we shall ride together to Albion.” The old elf bid one of the others to bring two horses, and he led Penelope on horseback down some trails while her new (as of yet unnamed) dog followed alongside. Penelope found herself wondering why she was following this old elf, not believing for a second that she was the heir to anything but bad luck. She thought about bolting on the horse, but the horse wasn’t hers, and she had a feeling the elf or some villagers would come looking for her after the big scene at the well, so she resigned herself to travel with him to Albion. She smiled, thinking of the politics and chaos of Albion, the big city that she had lived in for so many years. This old elf was crazy if he thought that he was going to ride into the capital from some small village with a freshly minted mage and have her crowned. They’d be laughed out of the city. She sighed as she listened to the old elf ramble on about druids, the enchantress, his home village and a host of other things. It took several days to get to Albion, so she had plenty of time to listen. Finally they arrived at the gates of the city and rode through. This old elf was determined, and rode straight into town, through the inner sanctum and straight up to the great keep. Penelope had never been there and was more than a little intimidated, now under the scrutiny of the guards. “OK, I rode all the way here with you, listened to your stories, tried to humor you… but I don’t think we should bother the regent. I’d rather go home than go to prison.” The old elf dismounted his horse and waved his hand. “Nonsense. These are honorable men and we have committed no crimes.” He helped Penelope off her horse and then grabbed her arm and gently pulled her into the great keep with him. Penelope’s new dog followed them both. Entering the great keep, they found that they had arrived on a grievance day, where any Avalonian could wait in line to beseech the king, or in this case the regent (due to Artorious’ absence), for a remedy to their problems. The regent looked bored, sitting on his throne, listening to locals’ disputes over water rights, chickens, and other mundane issues. Finally, their turn in line came, and the herald greeted them. “Who comes before the king regent?” the herald asked. “I am Aoer Darkmoss, and this is Penelope Brightleaf,” the old elf replied, and the scribed copied down their names into the ledger. “And what grievance have you brought before the king regent?” the herald asked. The regent, slumped to the side in his chair and holding his head up with his hand, yawned. “We have no grievance for the king regent.” Aoer began. “I present to you the heir to the throne, Penelope Brightleaf.” The scribe quit writing for a second, and the regent looked up in surprise. The rest of the hall went silent as the townsfolk present waited to hear what came next. “His majesty King Artorious Rex has not been shown dead,” the herald began, “and as the rightful king of Avalonia, cannot be replaced at this time. Thank you,” the herald said dismissively, and waved the next petitioner forward. “I am not speaking of King Artorious or his line,” Aoer replied, stopping the advancement of the line. “This is the last descendant of the druids that stands before you, and as such, is the rightful heir to the throne.” The herald looked to the regent, who was now fully engaged. “What proof do you have of such an outlandish claim?” the regent asked. “Penelope has killed the evil enchantress of the Enchanted Forest,” Aoer stated, resulting in a gasp from the audience. “And she possesses both the bluestone of the elements and the seal of the druids,” he finished, pointing to the medallion on Penelope’s chest. “Show them the bluestone,” he whispered to Penelope. Feeling all eyes on her, Penelope slowly and reluctantly pulled the bluestone from her pocket and heard another collective gasp. “Come here, my dear,” the regent said to Penelope, and she obeyed. He examined the bluestone first, and then the medallion. It seemed that a glimmer of recognition passed over his face, and he called a page over to him, whispering in his ear. “Where did you come by this medallion and this stone?” he asked Penelope. “I was found with the medallion as an infant, abandoned in the Enchanted Forest,” Penelope replied. “The stone I retrieved from the enchantress after I defeated her.” “If what you say is true, we owe you a debt of gratitude for ridding the forest of the evil enchantress at the least,” he said. The scribe returned with a scroll, and the regent unfurled it, looking at the design. He held the scroll next to the medallion and stared in disbelief. Penelope peeked over the edge of the ancient scroll and saw a drawing of her medallion on it. She was confused and not a little scared. The regent called his advisors over, and they all discussed the medallion and the scroll. The regent then called the court wizard over, talked for a moment in a low voice, and the wizard then retreated to a side room. A minute later, he came back and nodded to the regent. “I am pleased to announce to everyone that the evil enchantress of the forest is dead. It has been confirmed that she is slain by a woman matching Penelope’s description. For that, we are grateful. I must adjourn the rest of the grievances today for a council meeting.” He turned to the herald. “Summon the entire council, at once.” He moved with his advisors and attendants to the council chambers. The guards moved to usher the townsfolk out of the hall, but the herald held Aoer and Penelope back. Within a few minutes, they were left alone in the hall with the guards. “So, what just happened?” Penelope asked Aoer. “They are starting to believe,” Aoer smiled. “They have seen the ancient prophecy that predicts the return of the line of the druids, just as I have, and with confirmation of the enchantress’ death, they now must decide the fate of the country. Shall we remain leaderless with an absent ruler, or shall we embrace the prophecy and restore the line of the druids?” Penelope swallowed hard and looked around the great keep. Was this really happening? Could she really be crowned? It seemed too much to take in. And now, it is up to you, the reader, to decide: is Penelope Brightleaf the rightful heir to the druids and the Avalonian throne? Or is this just a fanciful dream of a young Avalonian child?
  11. Cinnatus An entry to the Game of Thrones: Avalonia minichallenge When Artorious Rex arrived in Avalonia nearly 10 years ago, brave men rode by his side in a thundering wall, known as the Flight of Dragons. They drove away the forces of darkness from the realm and restored peace and order that had not been seen for centuries. Those mounted warriors became Lords of Avalonia, friends of the king, and guardians of peace and justice across the land. One of those men, by the name of Cinnatus, shied away from the prestige and the glory; he humbly accepted his lordship and his grant of land, since they were the will of the king, and then went to his new territory and began to work it as a simple farmer. He placed his armor and sword in his attic, and hitched his mighty warhorse to a heavy plow to break the soil. And then the elemental monsters came, and the sword of Cinnatus was needed once more. He heeded the call of Artorious Rex and came to the defense of the realm, leading an army of men to victory in engagement after engagement. The elementals were defeated, and Cinnatus returned home to finish plowing his fields. But the Drow soon rose up, posing a threat to the surface-dwellers; the High Lords called upon him in the absence of King Artorious, and once again Cinnatus answered the summons. The Drow were defeated by Cinnatus and his army, and Cinnatus returned home to harvest his crops. But then Lord Raavage attempted to spread his darkness over all the lands, and the heroes of Avalonia were needed to repel the blackness; at the Battle of Green Leaf Pass, the Drow forces were once again defeated by the Flight of Dragons galloping up the green slopes. And then again on the plains of Nocturnus, Cinnatus proved a pivotal role in driving back the Black Spire and raising Queen Ylspeth to the throne to once again unite the four guilds. Finally Cinnatus returned to his humble estate and hitched Badius, his brown stallion, back to the plow, his duty to the land once more discharged. The tenants tending his other fields were glad to see him return, as they knew they would always be listened to and respected, as no other landlord ever had treated them better, like real people. Cinnatus worked alongside them daily, never seeking to seem better than they. He judged fairly when asked, intervened when needed, and was always just in his decisions. Then word came that the Council of Lords wished to anoint a new king to take the place of the vanished Artorious, and the people of Cinnatus' lands begged him to consider taking on the role. Cinnatus refused. But then other lords, like Henjin Quilones of Druidham, visited and begged the same thing, asking him to do it as a duty to the people of Avalonia. And so finally, moved by a sense of duty, of obligation to the land and people, Cinnatus decided to venture to Albion to be considered for the vacant throne. But first he finished plowing his field.
  12. Avalonia Mini-Challenge : Game Of Thrones The Warden of the Enchanted Forest It is well known by all the guilders that Avalonia is the country of the "tree huggers", a common nickname we can hear when travelling out of the Avalonian borders. But little is known from where this nickname took its roots... Some are thinking this nickname is deserved because of the very ancient Ceremony called the "Warden of the Enchanted Forest Ceremony". It is a very old tradition in the lands where the Enchanted Forest florishes to thank the trees for their protection. Lady Walaheria of Falahuas, is one of the designated Warden of the Enchanted Forest. By its origin, she has Elvish blood but also a High Nobility lineage that can link her to the kings of Avalonia. She is also known to be a great enchantress and a fierce fighter and has earned the title of "Defeater of the Algus" amongst the Elves during the war against Lor Raavage as she used her great powers to counter the ice flow the dreadful Algus summoned upon the Enchanted Forest. She could pretend a claim at the vacant Throne of Avalonia being Warden of the Enchanted Forest, because she is garantifying the country is always green and lush. And now it is time to perform this year Ceremony. The Sacred Tree of the Enchanted Forest is in blossoms and to thank him it is required to feed him at this period. Lady Walaheria performed the old time ritual at the perfection, just being escorted by her personal guard. She dropped a little bottle of an elvish magic fertilizer at the tree's feet and pronounced words of prayer before softly touching the golden trunk of the magic tree and left it absorb the offering. "Well, now." She thought. "It is time to save my husband and take claim of that abandoned throne..." Some bonus pictures :
  13. kahir88

    A new king will rise

    The queen ran down the corridor, to catch up with N'ri. He was called away for something, but the queen's curiosity drives her crazy, and she must know why the royal advisor was needed elsewhere. Finally, she finds him, but the clatter of her shoes betray her, and N'ri turned back, only to saw Ylspeth's approach. - Your Grace. - bowed down the advisor. - How can I be in yo... - Are the rumors are true? - she interrupted him, but before she could continue, she took a deep breath. - Tell me N'ri! - It depends what rumors are you interested your Grace? - N'ri continued his walk to his destination. Ylspeth followed him, but she wasn't very happy about the answer. - Don't play riddles with me! Tell me, is it true? Did someone find Artorious? - I'm not sure about that. In the gatekeeper's report, they let in two men. One is Lord Trian Burress, and the other is a knight-errant from Avalonia. He doesn't resemble Artorius. Moments later, they have arrived at the small councilor's chamber, where the two knights waited for them, actually, they waited only for N'ri. The door opened, first N'ri, then Ylsphet entered. The knights quickly kneeled down. - Your Grace! - they simultaneously welcomed the queen. It felt they were practicing this for days. Ylsphet smiled, she bowed to the two knights and take her seat. The two men stood up and waited to be introduced by the royal advisor. Protocols... - Queen Ylsphet, High-Queen of Historica. - started the introduction. Then he turned to the knights: - Lord Trian Burress from Mesodraconem, and Sir Ardo Ungar, a knight from Avalonia. The knights bowed again, and now all of them took their seats. Awkward silence started in the chamber, but Ylsphet broke it: - Lord Burress, rumors came to my ear, that you met with Artorius Rex, is it true? - Yes, my Grace - answered the old knight - And I can suggest your next question, but I must tell your Grace the bad news. He died not long ago. The awkward silence continued its reign. Ylsphet bit her lips, after hearing the bad news. She wasn't able, but N'ri continued the asking: - But, did he named someone, as a successor to Avalonian throne? - asked N'ri and raised his eyebrow. Trian and Alto looked at each other. The old knight nodded, and he started: - It's a long story, I will try to make it short. It started a few days ago. I was at my home in Mesodraconem. Tending the back garden, after the civil war it's relaxing. But a servant came to me, cause some guests, they said, they are good friends of mine. At first, I don't recognize them, a young knight and an old hermit. The old man smiled and greeted me like we knew each other for years. His grip was strong for an old man, and the fires of youth burned in his eyes. It took me a while to recognize him. Artorius... Trian Burress saw the surprise on Ylsphet's and N'ri's faces. - Yes, I looked like that too. - I quickly ordered some refreshments and offered them seats in my garden. Then Artorius started his tale: He told us, about the failed expedition. They were scattered on the Mystic Isles. All of his men went missing or died. He didn't meet anyone on that island, where he woked up. Then, he told us about the strange isle, where the time doesn't work, as it works on the continent. He counted two weeks on the isle when he finally finished his makeshift boat and left it. But when he arrived on the shores, he not only discovered, that three years already passed since his disappearances. But also he started aging very strangely. The aura of the isle done this to him. He knew he didn't have much time, and must reach Mesodraconem before it's too late. But it was fate, who brought together Artorius and Alto, and with his help, Artorius reached me in time. I wanted to help him, advised him, to bring here the best sages and sorcerers to cure him, and also inform the council, the return of our king. But he declines it. He felt his end, but he won't leave Avaolia without a rightful ruler. And he already finds someone. - May I ask who? We must reach him out, to fulfill Artorius last wish! - asked Ylsphet in haste. - We don't have to. - answered Trian. - He already passed the reign. - He took a deep breath, stood up from the chair: - Let me introduce you, Sir Ardo Ungar! King of Avalonia, first of his name. - then, he put a document on the table, signed by Artorius. Also signed and witnessed by Trian. It's a common habit, to name a room in the castles, after a historic event. Events, like signing peace contracts or after a famous person. In this case, they can name this chamber, the Chamber of Awkward Silence. Cause this happened a lot in the past few minutes. Again, N'ri broke the silence: - But, how? And why him?. - I will continue the story of Artorius. - came the answer from Ardo, before Trian were able to continue it. - I spend much more time with him in his final days, then everyone. Both of us was shocked when he declared me as his successor. But he started telling us the facts, about his choice: "He said I was the only one, ho helped him. And also not for any fame, or payment. A good king must act selflessly" "He thanked me when I gave him my food, in turn, It wasn't much for both of us. A good king must serve his people." "He mentioned the help, what I gave to a farmer, whos cattle stuck in the swamp. A king doesn't be afraid to be dirty, to help others. " "And for the last, he must possess good diplomatic skills. He told us that encounter, when I was able to resolve a conflict, without bloodshed. " - I tried to tell him, I'm not a ruler type. I know only one thing, to serve Avalonia with all my capabilities. I even don't know how to lead. He replied: when he took the throne, he was the same as me, a young knight, with the same fears: how to lead, what is good and what is wrong. "Listen to your heart, it will guide you to the right path." He said, and for everything else, there will be advisors too, to help your rule. - And you accepted, to become the new ruler? - Asked Ylsphet. - I said: If this is the way to serve Avalonia, then let it be. Click here to see, how the story ends, in the official challenge entry! ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A little freebuild/ prelude for the Avalonian Mini-challenge. Before the entry for the challenge, I wanted to show, what events lead to this. Enjoy.
  14. Avalonia Mini-Challenge - Game of Thrones An Elfin Claimant A travelling minstrel lightly touches the chords of his lyre, addressing the passers-by. Hear ya! Hear ya! Yes, my Ladies, my Lords! Please approach! Your favourite troubadour's daily story is about to begin! This evening, my Ladies, my Lords, we have a special one! I will tell you the story of a clan of half-elves! Aren't you curious? Please approach, my dear guests and take your seat! The story is about to begin... In the heart of Avalonia, in the fertile plains covered with lush forests, where scents of flowers fill up the nostrils while the fresh morning breeze competes with the warmth of the early sunbeams teasing the skin, lived once a clan of half-elves. Yes, you've heard it well, my Ladies, my Lords: a clan of half-elves! Unlike the majority of their kin – usually loners, indeed – this particular group was one of a kind! ... The history of the clan goes back for generations and fades into myth... The narration of the forefather's deeds... How did he meet his wife? How did they start the family? And where does that filosophy come from, my Ladies? They refused the idea of 'not-being-human-while-also-not-being-elves', my Lords! Yes! They made a point of having taken the best traits from both! Oh yes! An improvement! An enhancement! True half-elvish pride, it was! Even their architecture, an interesting mixture of both! ... Ha! I can hear your whispers, my Ladies! My Lords! Your incredulous look, I can spot! But believe! The story is true! And hear, there is much more to come! The family thrived, among pointy ears and beards. They stuck with one another and set up many businesses - they spread their belief, the friends they made! Yes, friends, and allies too, my Ladies! For they did not fall prey of the pride, of the arrogance, they did not, my Lords! They fed the needy and helped the poor, they fought the unfairness, they did it just so, the words were equality and justice for all! Yes, my Ladies, on your face I can see, my Lords, even you! You start to recall this story after all! You heard it before, I warned it was true! The family existed and now exists even more! They grew their numbers, their riches, the reputation they got! They made friends everywhere, did ya' know? The elves to the West, the orcs to the East, the dwarves in the North... they have ships full of southern oil setting sail to long-forgotten islands... ! ... They got themselves some enemies, oh sure they did, my Lord... That one at the bottom, yes, I can hear your voice... They got called promiscuous, mixed, heterogeneous... 'mixed-use' even! The elves of Hesperia, some high circles in Albion, in Cedrica...Yes, yes... That Lord there is right, many use the word with 'B', if you'll excuse your minstrel, my Ladies, my Lords! Yes... some even created the word 'half-dwarves'... A shocked chorus among the crowd. Let us not forget our story, my Ladies! My Lords! That is certainly true, that is how they advanced... and now a throne is empty and the land swarms with claimants! Everyone wants one of them on that throne! Yes, my Ladies, a King! And, my Lords, there's a Queen! They're elfin indeed, they're symbol of hope! Unity, warranty against racial wars! Let us be at peace and prosper and merge; cooperation is the future, let us welcome the exchange! You have to consider, they have lots of support – don't miss out, my guests, be part of the best! The story is now over, yet everyone knows, there's a claimant who's worth it for each of us all! Let us just unite and abandon the swords! For peace! For equality! My Ladies... my Lords! The crowd shouts its approval. In a sudden cloud of smoke, the minstrel disappears. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Right on time! I had this idea of 'half-elven' architecture and wanted to try it out. That bloody rounded roof with tiles requires a lot of attention, but I do like the look. This is the first time I go for a vignette - trying to get as much information as possible in a limited space was a nice challenge. I also wasn't too sure how to alternate it to the story, being only one pic. As for the story itself, I guess it might be a bit confusing not seeing any minstrel in the pic? I wanted to try that format though, just to add variety. I actually wanted the whole thing to rhyme and to have the same amount of syllables for every sentence (like the last part), but realised quickly that was a bit too much for my skills, so I left it kind of half-and-half C&C most welcome as usual, thanks for reading! A photography note @Basiliscus P.S. Not sure why, but I have my comments aligned right (in the preview as well), yet when I post/edit they get moved to the centre like the rest of the post. If anyone has an idea why and/or how to avoid this, it'd be cool
  15. We are in the back garden of Lord Trian Burress, in Mesodraconem. His guests are special, cause one of them is the king, and the other is his successor. They already told the lord of his beautiful garden, their journey together to here. And about Artorius' choice. - Then this is official! - said Artorius. - Let's not waste more time, Trian, my old friend. could you fetch a sword for me, during that time, I will write the document about his enthronement. Trian shorty arrived with an ornamental sword. The document was ready, his name was also on the paper, as the witness. - Beautiful sword, you chose well Trian. - took the sword from Trian, and take a look at it. - Now Ardo Ungar, son of... - Belarn Ungar... - completed the sentence Ardo. Artorius smiled and started again: - Ardo Ungar, son of Belarn, willing to take the Oath? - I am willing. - answered Ardo, and kneeled down. -Will you solemnly promise and swear to govern the Peoples of Avalonia? From the Enchanted Forest to the Green Plains of Albion? - asked Artorius. - I solemnly promise so to do. - came the answer from Ardo. - Will you to your power cause Law and Justice, in Mercy, to be executed in all your judgments? - I will. - Then, as ruler of Avalonia, I Artorius Rex resign from the Dragon Throne, so you can take up the mantle of the kings, Ardo Ungar, son of Belarn Ungar. To end the ceremony, Artorius raised the ornamental sword, or at least he tried, but he was too weak for this last action. - Let me help you, "old friend" - stood next to him Trian, and helped Artorius raise the sword. Then, they touched Ardo's shoulder with it, together, while Artorius ended the ceremony: - Rise Sir Ardo! Rise and take the name: King Ardo of Avalonia, first with this name! - lowered the sword Artorius, and took a deep sigh. - Long live for the King! - shouted Trian Burress too. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A close up from the ceremony, and a little extra picture. Also, click here, if you missed the story, how they find Artorius Rex!
  16. Fiat iustitia, et pereat mundus or in other words: Eye to Eye Ye old oaktree at the edge of accorn wood has been the back-cloth for jurisdiction for centuries. Here, within the shades of it‘s green leaves (at least those the storms of generations have left), generations of FitzAlans have spoken right, prosecuted the guilty, absolved the innocent. As his ancestors did, so does Sir Alan FitzAlan, Earl of Pomfries, Baron Huxstable, Grand Knight of the Order of St.Helens, Canon of Osprey Abby and Marcher Lord oft he Norteastern Borders of Avalonia. Every second Tuesday after the new moon Sir Alan hears the cases of his tributaries, and he exercises the Kings Law, written down in numerous codes and nourished by those who claim to be true fellows of Avalonia. Allover the realm Sir Alan is well known to be a fair and righteous referee, and there are more than just a few that wish Sir Alan would become the new King of Avalonia. Today is Tuesday, the second after the new moon. Sir Henry: This will be the last case for today M’Lord, a peasant caught when hunting down a red deer. Sir Alan: I see Henry, I see. he turns to the convened in front of him Who will declaim the suit? Huntsman: That’s me Mylord. Sir Alan: And You are? Huntsman: Walther Ingram Mylord, Master of Mylords pack of hounds and topmost hunter. We know each other quite well Mylord. Sir Alan: I know that we know each other well Walther, of course we do. But the law demands to ask this question. Huntsman: I understand Mylord. Please forgive me and my ignorance. Sir Alan: Nothing to forgive Walther. So what is your accusation? Huntsman: Mylord, this he points to a young man in rotten clothing just in front of the judges table this is Eofric of Barnsville, a peasant and free man from Mylords possessions. I caught him when he tried to kill wild game in the depth of Herborne Forest. Sir Henry: M‘Lord, Herborne Forest belongs to Osprey Abby, as do the shooting rights out there. Sir Alan: Thank You Henry. Walther, You are totally sure about your accuse? Huntsman: I am Mylord. I saw it with my own eyes, and my oldest son Jeremy who accompanied me saw it too. Here I have bow and quiver, those I have taken from Eofric in the very moment I saw what he tried to do. Sir Alan: I see Walther, I see. Huntsman: I have to admit Mylord, this bow is more a joke than a weapon, more frightening the archer himself than anybody elso. You see, it’s nearly broken. Even hunting a squirrel will be fruitless with this. Sir Alan: I see Walther, I see. turning to Sir Henry The case seems to be quite clear so far, doesn’t it? Sir Henry: It does M’Lord, without a question. Sir Alan: Well, this all does not sound good, not at all. Peasant: Please hear me Mylord, I am not gui… Sergeant: DONTT YOU DARE TTO TTALK TTO OUR LORD FARMER SCUMM Sir Alan: It’s allright Sergeant, let him speak freely. I give you my ear Eofric. Peasant: I beg for mercy Mylord. I am a poor man, and the harvest had been poor also the last years. Nevertheless Omery, the prior of Osprey Abby, persists on his tithe, and now we ow nothing to be ours anymore, me and my family. We live at the edge of starvation Mylord. I just wanted to feed my families hungry mouths. Sir Henry: He is not wrong M’Lord. Omery is well known for his greedyness and his disinterest of the commons needs. Sir Alan: Thank You Henry. I heared about before, and it is just a shame. Peasant: Mylord, the prior… Sergeant: DONTT SPEAK WITHOT PERMISSIONN WIGHTT Sir Alan: Sergeant, please! Peasant: Mylord, prior Omery is no friend of us farmers, nor is he a righteous landlord. His bailiffs are cruel, even more cruel than a hostile warband, and they squeeze out from us whatever they can. Mylord, all we wish is to live as free man under Your rulership. Sir Henry: M’Lord, Eofric and his kin have been loyal subjects for decades, so far as I know. Sir Alan: Thank You Henry. Sir Alan straightens up behind the judges table Eofric, this he points tot he big code on the desk this ist he Kings Law, written down in centuries, sublime and righteous. Do You know what it says about hunting the Kings deer without permission? Peasant: Mylord, I… Sergeant: SHUTT UP WEASEL CRAPP Sir Alan: Sergeant? Eofric, the punishment for doing so is death – and You know about it, don’t You? Peasant: Mylord, i did not… Sergeant: ONN YOUR KNEESS YOU SONN OF A DAWDLER Sir Alan: Sergeant! Death is what the Kings Law orders for such a misdeed, not more, not less! Peasant: Mylord, please… Sergeant: Sss… Sir Alan: It‘s allright Sergeant, it’s allright. We all are Avalonians. Lords and Servants, Knights and Farmers, Priests and Crafters. We all are free man, united under our King, ruled by the Law our ancestry left for us. Our Law is what distinguishes us from our barbaric enemies from the outside of our beloved Avalonia. The Law gives us shelter – and we have to give shelter to the Law! But – and that is most important – the Law is the guardian of the people, not their jail! Every Lord who speaks right has to respect the backdrops – and he has to respect the subjects. Obviously it is a crime to hunt down the Kings deer. But isn’t it a crime also to plunder those who work hard all day? Isn’t it a crime to run to fat whilst those who serve us live in distress? I TELL YOU IT IS! Stand up Eofric. Peasant: Mylord… Sergeant: SSTAND UPP DISSHONOURABLE Sir Alan: Sergeant… In the name of the King, hear my verdict. I, Alan FitzAlan, by the power invested in me, declare, that Eofric of Barnsville has been found guilty of trying to brake the law, killing the Kings deer in Herborne Forest. As the culprit has been a man without blame before, and as he has always been loyal to Lord, King and Country, I herewith forgive his deed and assure him of his Majestys grace. This will be written down, and it shall be acquainted to everybody within my territories. Eofric, You may leave as a free man. Oh, just wait a moment… he turns to Sir Henry Henry, dont’t You think this foul bag of a poacher has been looking envious upon his rightful Lord during this hearing, hasn’t he? Sir Henry: I’m not quite sure about it M’Lord, at least I can not swear to such behavior. If he did so, I think he did without evil will! Sir Alan: Thank You Henry. Believe me, he did, as well as he was talking unseemly about prior Omery. This behaviour we can not accept from mud eating subjects like him. A Lord is a Lord, and a Servant is a servant, isn’t it? Sir Henry: As You say it M’Lord. Sir Alan: Thank You Henry. Sergeant! Sergeant: YESSS MYLORD! Sir Alan: Take him an eye…
  17. Alright, I hope I'm doing this right. My tree is a bit overhanging, I hope that's ok, I read that a little bit wasn't a big problem, I don't know if this is. Wilfred Sigurds, Tree, right by jesse van den Oetelaar, on Flickr Wilfred Sigurd, Lord of Oxenfurt and father of 1 son(Robert Sigurd, my sigfig), wants to lay claim on the throne of Avalonia! This tree, planted by Wilfred and his wife, is the only thing that keeps Wilfreds mind peaceful. Wilfred´s wife died, years ago, when Robert was only a child. Wilfred was once like Robert, let the sword talk, politics are for boys and war is for men. Wilfred was always away from home. Conquering land in name of Avalonia. His way of fighting was frightening for most of his opponents. When Wilfred came home one day, on his horse, pride as he was, he saw many of his citizens and batallions were sick. He rode to his stronghold, and ran, he ran as fast as he could to the dining-room, his wife, his little boy, they weren’t there. He ran on the great stairs to the bedroom. There she was, laying sick on their bed. Surrounded by maids and a medicine man. Wilfred walked up to their bed, he kneeled and took his wifes hand. He couldn’t believe his eyes. She asked him, with her last breath : “ Please my dear husband, lay down the sword, find your peace here on our land and take care of our son.” Wilfred answered with trembling lips and tears in his eyes : “My dear, dear wife, if that is what you wish, consider it done. I will lay down my sword and I will find a peaceful life. I love you so much.” Wilfred had never shown so much emotions. His wife smiled and looked him in the eyes, she said to him : “It’s ok my dear husband, I love you too, and take care of our first planted tree.” She closed her eyes and the once so warm hands started to get cold. She was gone. Wilfred kept his word. He walked up to the little tree, took his sword and shield and layed them in front of it. The days, months, and years after this unknown desease he started to learn politics, he learned it can be useful in some cases. He did this as tribute to his wife. His beloved wife, who always told him that war isn’t always the right answer. Now, years later he still goes to that tree, as it keeps his mind calm and clear. His sword and shield still stands on the same spot where he put them that day. Loved by his men, by his inhabitans, he made Oxenfurt a sparkling place. Wilfred Sigurds tree, left by jesse van den Oetelaar, on Flickr Thanks :) Contest thread
  18. Lady Galaria, Mistress of Dragons, and Daeara the Earth Dragon A freebuild for Avalonia Lady Galaria, Mistress of Dragons, is the wife of Henjin Quilones and co-ruler, with her husband, of the Isle of Druidham in the Mystic Isles of Avalonia. She was exiled from the High Elvish kingdom of Hesperia by her father, King Fingolë the Golden, for joining with her fellow guildsmembers in defeating Raavage, rather than sitting back and doing nothing like her father wished. In her exile, she journeyed aboard the Nagra Luca, a swift Elvish ship, far to the west and south, to the city Bandari and the land of Mwamba. There, amongst the equatorial High Elves of that land, she learned much about elemental dragons and how to best raise and train them. In a gesture of unequaled generosity, King Mfalme allowed Galaria and a few of her companions to form soul-bonds with young Mwamban dragons, who then, after a few years of training under Kufunzi, returned all together to Avalonia, where they settled on the Isle of Druidham. Now Galaria and Daeara, her soul-bonded dragon, lead the other dragonriders of Druidham, teaching a new generation of dragonriders how to manage their companions, and protecting Avalonia from elemental threats. They fly here and there, meeting the people of the land and bringing messages, and sometimes passengers, from one corner of the land to the other. _____________________________________ .......................................................................... I had originally built this months ago for the Summer Joust, but never posted it since I wanted to build an all-LEGO scene in which to place Daeara, rather than the stand-alone display base here. I never got around to that all-LEGO scene, however, and decided instead to just post it now as-is. Ah well. Daeara is the same size (frame-wise) as Hewa and Moto, despite being female like Kijani and Maji, due to growing to full stature in earth-magic-rich Avalonia rather than Mwamba. C&C welcome.
  19. Previously Book III - Challenge II Laesonar's Saga Episode 10 - Bread, Water and Drums The wheel squeaked loudly as Laesonar turned it to pull up the bucket. Armin was in awe looking at the plants all around the well. 'How does the vegetation grow back so quickly in this place, Mr. von Jeff?' 'It's the soil of great Avalonia, master Paladin, as you might've heard.' 'Well, I surely didn't expect such a quick growth! It hasn't been long that the water is back!' 'Speaking of which, my Lords, I don't think I've thanked you enough yet for bringing the water back to the lake.' Having quenched his thirst, Laesonar pulled his face out of the bucket and some water dripped on his neck as he replied to the old man. 'Actually, Mr. von Jeff, you have. Around a thousand times. And it wasn't even necessary, we're happy to help.' 'That's right. We're happy to see the natural balance restored. We should now look into the fish disappearance and...' 'My Lords!' A voice reached them suddenly. 'Sir Humborth, good day. Any news from Albion on this fine day?' 'I do bring news actually, my Lords. Through Albion, directly from Cedrica. The Queen wishes for every Lord in Historica to organise an occasion, with all kind of celebrations. She'll reduce taxes to all those who do while having Avalonian grain brought to all those in need. The costs for the latter covered by the royal treasure.' The unexpected news brought a moment of silence. Jeffrey was the first to break it. "Well, we don't have much to celebrate with. Nor that many people. We've barely just got the water back and Laelariel doesn't even have a lord at the moment!' Armin thought out loud. 'It sounds like a Bread and Circus strategy. It makes me wonder. What do you think, Laesonar?' The half-elf seemed dazed, his eyes closed. 'Laesonar, is everything all right?' 'Hhmmm... yes. I am... remembering something.' He paused. 'The Queen... the red haired, you mean?' Sir Humborth was taken aback by such question. 'Oh, er... yes. That would be her. How do you...' Laesonar lightened up. 'Right. I remember now. What charm! We definitely can't ignore the polite request of such charming lady! Let us get ready for the feast, Gentlemen!' Again, a moment of silence. Again, Jeffrey broke it first. 'Ahem... Master Half-elf, you met the Queen before?' 'I certainly did. Sir Humborth's words brought back memories. I cannot tell how I got there and why, but I definitely remember having a drink with her. She wasn't interested, unfortunately.' This time the moment of silence lasted longer, everyone speechlessly looking at Laesonar, while he plunged his face back into the bucket to drink more. An uncertain smile slowly appeared on Armin's face. 'Laesonar, you... chatted the Queen up?' 'As I said, my friend. But you know my memories aren't exactly.. well.. chronological. But let us not waste any more time, shall we? Mr. von Jeff, isn't a lake full of water a good enough reason to celebrate?' 'It certainly is, my Lord, but..' 'And Sir Humborth, when exactly is that grain to arrive?' 'Oh, er... a cargo from Albion with an escort from Cedrica should be here in two days, but..' Laesonar was walking fast towards the city centre. Everyone snapped out of their astonishment and followed him. 'Where are you going now, my Lord?' 'Back to the city hall. I'm pretty sure I spotted a drum there, the other day.' 'A drum, my Lord?' 'Yes, a drum. No drum, no party; am I not right? It'll be bread, water and drums.' TASK I – Bread 'Well it looks like we got this grain and bread into the right place at the right time, the city was really in need!' 'We did indeed. The Queen will be happy. But where's the captain? I haven't seen him for a while now...' TASK II – Water and Drums 'What's with the facial painting?!' 'I always do that when I drum. It gets me more into the rhythm, if you know what I mean.' 'Oh.. Sure, I guess.' TASK III – Plot? 'So, captain... Are you enjoying your new position?' 'Yes m'Lord. Thank you, m'Lord.' 'Now, let's see. You'll hand this one over to my man in Albion, while this one... This goes to you-know-who directly in Cedrica. Make no mistake.' 'No m'Lord, of course not.' 'You'll make sure not be seen.' 'm'Lord, I've never been, m'Lord.' ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Yesssss! First time ever I manage to meet a deadline here on GoH! I'm glad So there are a couple of things I'm not satisfied with, I'll start with those. I hadn't planned those roofs from the beginning, they turned out to be much bigger than I wanted and almost exactly squared I chose dark tan for the 'beach' as I thought it'd go well with Rb, but it gives the lake a very murky aspect, which wasn't my intention. The water effect can't really be seen in the pic (there are actually 3 types of blue under the trans tiles), I guess I need something bigger for that. Finally, Rb legs aren't a good choice on a Rb terrain... With the rest I'm relatively satisfied with. I was interesting in seeing how I could go from cobblestone to dirt, the result is decent, I reckon. As for the photography, I got myself a soft-light set, which enabled me to take nice shots with a low ISO. Unfortunately it also created quite a lot of shadows, which I didn't know how to avoid and which I had to eliminate manually when editing (it can be seen with a zoom in on the main pic ). Yet I reckon it's been an improvement. In case you're wondering what that link is, Laesonar actually met the Queen It's offcial lore, as you can check here, in particular 'Part VII: At the Grand Griffon Tavern', pages 192-194. Credits to @Henjin_Quilones for the story and @TitusV for the full recap, as you probably already know. C&C most welcome as usual, thanks for reading ^^ NOTE TO THE JUDGES: the build for Task I is on a 18x22 base. The one for Task III is a 16x30. Both are separable from the bigger one, which is 64x64 minus the base of Task III (see extra pic below).
  20. The Tales of Lady Gwenllian 0. Introduction 1. The arrival of Lady Gwenllian aboard the Cedar Serpent 2. Scouting a Site 3. Early Spring in Prenmôr 4. The Fishery and Shrine at Prenmôr 5. Opening of the Prenmôr Quarry While Lady Gwenllian was helping the villagers of Flewd move to Prenmôr, the last of the winter snows had thawed, freeing the earth for work. The first order of business for construction was to open a quarry for the massive amount of stone needed. The local limestone was ideal for building, and its proximity to the castle site eliminated the need to transport stone from great distances, facilitating construction of the main fortress and necessary outbuildings. Lady Gwenllian hired a number of laborers and a few stonecutters from the areas around Prenmôr. The limestone was hewn in the traditional manner by hand with pickaxes, roughed into blocks, and then shaped by a stonecutter before being broken out with a wedge and trimmed to final shape. The finished stones were loaded onto a horse drawn cart and taken to the building site, while loose gravel was hauled out in baskets on the backs of workers.
  21. Book III Challenge 2 - Category A : Bread Looking for another cart Now with Lord Faladrin to be saved from a wreckage in the south and an expedition to prepare, Lady Walaehria had to find horses and carts to charge the needed supplies Faladrin asked her. But it is time when Our Great Queen Ylspeth ordered to redistribute bread to those in need. Lady Walaehria was looking for a cart to rent when she assited to this scene in front of the baker shop in Falahuas : "Sorry ! This cart is full !" Yelled the coachman. - Do you have place for this cask ? Please, just one cask more ? Asked the baker apprentice behind the cart ready to departure. - No ! No ! Sorry ! You'll have to look for another cart !" And the last cart Lady Walaehria could expect to recruit left the city to deliver bread and apples to the needies. "Well, I'll just need to make me build new carts, then." She thought And she headed towards the wheelwright workshop. A little build I have planned for my story and I can use in this challenge. Hope you'll find it nice.
  22. narbilu

    Whispers [CH2 - C]

    Note: Didn't have much time, but I just wanted to start this storyline with the build for challenge 2C Bran was summoned by his dad, Narbilu lord of Avalonia, to meet him in the alley of the far east corner of Kashgar... nothing is known what the two talked about, but it will have consequences for the loosing party.
  23. A mysterious stranger nonchalantly sets down a sack laden with unknown contents. After a few minutes, he walks away, leaving the sack behind. Within moments, another figure appears and, after looking about to see if he is being watched, picks up the sack and moves quickly away. What exchange has just taken place? Historican politics are notoriously secretive…
  24. Lady Gwenllian gave some thought to the Queen’s decree that all municipalities should participate in some sort of revelry. Prenmôr was still a fledgling community, and practical considerations had to be made. There weren’t enough townsfolk to staff an elaborate fair, jousting tournaments required large prizes and housing for more guests than Prenmôr could accommodate, and there were no traveling circuses at the time on the western coast of Avalonia. Thus, Lady Gwenllian settled on a concert. The stage was relatively simple to build and was adorned with the flags of each Guild. No seats were needed as the grass field served as a suitable seating arrangement while a special raised platform was constructed for invited guests of Lady Gwenllian. There was plenty of room for the crowd to camp on the undeveloped surrounding land, while Lady Gwenllian hosted as many of her invited special guests as she could in homes of her household. Two bands from Nocturnus were hired for the event: a zombie band, the Grateful Undead, opened for the headliners: the famous, ever-touring, centuries-old Rolling Bones. The day of the concert, commonfolk swarmed in from the surrounding countryside in the morning. The crowd swelled with the monstrous horde that followed the Grateful Undead from show to show. As the day wore on, fans from farther away, including Mitgardia, Kaliphlin, Varlyrio, and Nocturnus, began arriving to hear the famous bands play. Many of the lords and ladies of Avalonia made an appearance, and even some from Kaliphlin and Mitgardia as well. A few were flown in via dragon (courtesy of Lady Galaria, the mistress of dragons). The night grew dark and the skeletal band from Nocturnus made their way onto stage to the backdrop of magical fireworks provided by the band’s roadcrew wizards. The crowd was surprisingly large, having drawn from across the land. Lady Gwenllian’s family fortune had been built on brewed drink, and although she was unable to brew her own beer owing to the fact that Prenmôr had not yet seen its first harvest, she picked out the finest local beers, meads, and ciders for the concert, with some special wine in reserve for her invited guests. Some of the ladies of the guilds, Lady Eleanor of Bluevale, Lady Gwenllian, and Lady Galaria mistress of dragons, toasted one another with some spiced wine. Lady Seren poured wine for Lord Faladrin while Conrad the Sly waited patiently in line behind him for more drink. The guard lets Count Julian Arfelan back into the private section with his food. Naill chatted up a member of the local stonecutter's guild for leads on skilled labor for his community. Not all the concert libations were about the drink... Card tricksters hawked their game near the concession stand. A few of the concertgoers got a little wild. Visitors appeared from all over the realms. As the band played on into the night, a good time was had by all! Note: this build is 41x49
  25. Northgrove is a small hamlet, near the north border of the region. The last destination for Conrad, to visits the hamlets storehouse. The Queen's lieutenant came to the mercenary leader, and took half of the winters stock, without permission. Altho, he left some hefty sacks of gold, as payment. "-And with what should i fed my soldiers? With coins" - Conrad's commentary still haunts his mind. The lieutenant didn't looked back with his answer: "- This is not my problem, you got plenty of storehouses across Deepgarden, solve it!" He still grumbled, while got of the cart,with the workers: - Moron, he thinks, i got time for this... Meanwhile, in the storehouse, the keeper just finished the charts. He heard a cart stoping nerby, then knocking on the window. He opened it, a man stood befor him, black hair and beard, wearing armor, with a wolf insignia. He never met with the defender of this region, but he had a guess who stands befor him. - Greetings good man, I would like to see the stocks in this storehouse. - Sure,amoment please. - answered the keeper, and picked up the keys, and went to the door. Conrad came in, signaling to the workers, to wait outside. The keeper ran back to his desk, took the charts and gave it to Conrad. - Is there a problem my Lord? - asked the keeper humbly. - Yes, there is... But a little reorganization could solve it. - and with that, he gave back the paper, and turned to the workers: - Alright boys, load the cart, with the followings...