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Found 113 results

  1. [HSS] Master Jeweler's shop In the middle of Rockwail stands one of the very few jeweler shops that exist in Nocturnus. Jewelry is not all that popular in the Darklands, at least not the fancy kind. Decorated armour and weaponry, on the other hand, is valued a lot more by Nocty's populace. However, even in the land of monsters and barbarians there are individuals with taste — and Rockwail's Master Jeweler is there to cater to that clientele! One such individual with exquisite taste happened to be paying Rockwail a visit: Lady Sithanna of Shadowmere. Fortunately for her, it was an informal visit. It had been while since she last crossed Rockwail... 15 years, perhaps 55 years? Vampire naps can really mess with one's memory and perception of time! Obviously some things had changed in the city, but she was relieved to find 'her' jewelry shop still around. She paused in front of the shop window. It was almost exactly as she remembered it, but the window was now modernized with large glass panes. She looked at the elegant golden necklace was on display. "That glass wouldn't stop me from taking it, if I wanted to.", she thought. Perhaps the shop had a new owner, since the jeweler she knew was very protective over his wares. Or perhaps security in the city had gotten tighter? Whichever was the case, she was eager to have a look inside. Inside was Heinrigh, the Master Jeweler, tending to a customer. Heinrigh "I think this one suits you particularly well, Madam. The colour of the stone complements your dress very nicely. I also have a broche you could try on, I think that would — Hello, yes come in! Oh my... Lady Sithanna!" Lady Sithanna "Heinrigh! It brings me joy to see you! How have you been?" Yeah... that must have been at least 30 years! One more nap and she might not have spoken Heinrigh ever again... --- A little later than planned, but I enjoyed working on this build and I rather like how this turned out. I'm particulary happy with the 55-piece display cabinet, and the shop window which I've had as a tablescrap for close to two years. I tried to find out what kind of equipment a medieval jewelry maker would have on hand, but couldn't find much all that much online, so I greebled a bit. Let me know what you think, I appreciate your comments and criticism!
  2. Rockwail School of Orphans Rockwail has seen the passing of many kings and rulers, each leaving their own mark in history and on the city. Not all that long ago, relatively speaking at least, the iron fist rule of king Zoroaster took a particularly heavy toll on the residents of Rockwail. Many lives were lost due to his warmongering and exploitation of miners and labor slaves. As a consequence, the amount of orphans peaked during this period. When Theophraster I, Zoroaster's half-brother, claimed the throne, he sought to repair some of the damage Zoroaster had done. He believed orphans were a key to turn the ravaged economy around, so he built an orphanage and established an education program. His efforts bore fruit, for him and the city. His apparent philanthropy earned him the respect and support from the scarred people of Rockwail, and the word also spread beyond the city. In rough and tough Nocturnus, these 'soft' policies were looked down on by some of the greater Lords, but merchants and craftsmen flocked to the city! Later, despite dwindling numbers of orphans because of peaceful times, Theophraster II continued to invest in the future of the disadvantaged, by founding the Rockwail School of Orphans. The School of Orphans is not as big as it used to be at some point, but one of its most prominent and remarkable buildings is still in use today, and is maintained with funds from the royal treasury. And somehow, it's the place Exetrius Centario of Zotharith found himself in... He looked up from his reading material and gazed at the window. He put his book away for a moment and stood up to overlook the square of the Four Virtues. It appeared peaceful, a little quieter during daytime than Zotharith. The sudden thought of home, so far away, made his mind wander between the turns his life had taken ever since the Civil War, the places he visited and the people he met. Before the war, he was just a mage trying to climb the ranks. Okay, maybe not your average mage, but the second son of the wizard ruler, Onicius. Sometimes, he was sent out for a task by the Order of Zotharith, but generally he was around his home city a lot. Once, he traveled to Kyrrath to visit his aunt. That was the furthest he had ever been. His elder brother, on the other hand... Anyway, during the Nocturnus Civil War he joined the 1st Corps of Zotharith, which was hunting down Raavage through the Rakath mountains, and he eventually ended up defeating him. But if that wasn't hard to believe enough, he also got to attend the victory party in Cedrica, with Queen Ylspeth! As well as the legendary Warlords, with some of whom he discussed the future of Nocturnus, in Merodaquinas. No big deal, right? It was hard to fathom. After the storm of events, he returned to Zotharith. Luckily, he found his father, mother and sister (who served in the 2nd Corps) in good health. Furthermore, the city seemed to be completely unharmed by the war. It seemed like he would be easing into his old and familiar life again, until a letter from Rockwail came. It was a personal request from King Yurdtroth, the city's new ruler (since Raavage's occupation ended), adressed to Onicius Centario. He was looking for someone to fill the position of Wizard of Rockwail, as well as an ambassador for Zotharith, and had heard of Exetrius' hand in the victory against the Black Spire. Exetrius and his farther agreed that this could be a fantastic opportunity, thus they accepted the request. And so, within a month or two of being home again, he left for Rockwail indefinitely. From the letter, it was not fully clear what the position would entail, but that was a risk he was willing to take. Upon arrival, he met with King Yurdtroth. He was not as intimidating as he imagined, on the contrary actually. He soon learned that one of his tasks would be to teach magic at the Rockwail School of Orphans. Of all things, teaching children was somewhat daunting to him, and something he hadn't anticipated. On his first day, the stairs he had to climb to get to the oddly placed school building seemed to never end. An old wizard dressed in blue, which turned out to be the retiring Wizard of Rockwail, welcomed him. "Don't worry, it'll be fun", he said with a smirk. With the old fart's perception was nothing wrong, that much was clear... The earth sciences teacher, named Ruppert, asked him to come into the class. Still nervous, Exetrius climbed out of the study room. A little awkwardly, he introduced himself to the three kids in class. But soon, he found himself wondering why he had been worrying at all. The kids were very interested and asked him lots of questions. This wasn't so bad at all! ---- Later than planned, but here is the full build! Mine entrance part here. Figuring out the layout of this build, with the mine entrance, school and blacksmith was a fun puzzle, and I enjoyed putting my limited number of purple, magenta and pink bricks to good use. I'm also glad to be able to give an update about Exetrius. While writing the recap it became clear just how few and far between his backstory is. I don't blame you for never getting into the Exetrius Saga if you haven't. It's a mess, though it has good parts that still hold up, imo. Anway, if you read the recap, click the links and look at the images, that should give you a decent idea of Exetrius. Hope you enjoy!
  3. You can find a not-so-small trading post, not far from the village, known as Owhur. The residents visit the post almost every week once or twice, to sell, buy, or just browse the goods. You can find more pictures, in the Album.
  4. [HSS] The Silver Bull inn Standing proudly in front of the Palace, and overlooking Rockwail's main plaza, is The Silver Bull inn. It's neither the largest, nor the most infamous inn in town, but it does enjoy a good reputation. To the more wealthy traveler, it offers peace and quiet at the heart of the city, tidy rooms and good meals, including soups, meat and hot drinks. The inn accommodates seven guests across four rooms, and furthermore houses the city's post office. Messenger Fiona, of Avalonia, is delivering a message from Albion to the post office of The Silver Bull. At the door she's greeted by an unusual visitor who is making his depart. In a mix of thrill and unsettlement, a shiver went down Fiona's spine. She had gotten acquainted with the non-human population of Nocturnus before on a number of occasions, but never had she seen an undead skeleton before! At second glance, he seemed quite the gentleman, though. Look at that jaw line! Haha, kidding! Little did the Avalonian messenger know that she had just met the famed Resistance warlord Anfauglir! And Anfauglir wasn't the only Nocturnian lord at the inn at that moment... --- Additional pictures: I'm happy to be sharing posting another HSS build for Rockwail, at the very end of 2023. Indeed, HSS. Not sure if that was clear before, but it is now! I've worked on other buildings too, but those are for the coming year. As usual, I learned a lot while building. More than with any previous MOC, I struggled with figuring out the layout of the interior and how to break it open for access to the interior. For example, I shuffled around the beds several times to get a three-bedroom floor that made sense. It's my biggest fully enclosed MOC building to date, and yet the interior space turned out to be very tight. That was one of the reasons I choose to not have any actual doors inside the building*, only brickbuilt 3-wide, 6-high door frames. So a bit of a schematic rendition. *save for the door to the toilet, which is a detail that was lost in a section that doesn't detach for access (for structural integrity and my sanity). I hope you enjoy. C&C welcome!
  5. Long ago, one of the first dwarven Kings of Rockwail ordered the construction of a sacred mine entrance, right in the heart of the city. For decades, even centuries, miners receive the blessing of Mòhria (represented by the statue on the altar) before descending into the perilous deep. Rockwail has one of the most diverse populations in Nocturnus in terms of races as well as ancestry, so there are a number of religions within in the city due to the many different backgrounds. However, be it through belief or through superstition, the vast majority of miners always descend to the mine and tunnel complex of the city in the morning, via "Chapel Gate". They may take a different route to the surface, as there are multiples entrances annex exits in Rockwail, but the ritual of entering through Chapel Gate is one that persists across miners from all kinds of backgrounds and beliefs. Today again, two miners are venturing into the deep with the hope of bringing riches to the surface, but above all hoping to return safely. Perhaps empty-handed as they did yesterday, but there's always that sliver of a chance to find something truly extraordinary. Something that will have all of Rockwail looking and talking about them. And since they are 'free miners', they get to keep everything they find, unlike those employed by a mining company. It has its disadvantages, but if they find "The Big One", as they call it, they may not have to work for the rest of their lives! Fame, fortune and comfort... a miner can dream! Unfortunately, today was just another day at the mine. No fame and glory, just bits of ore and barely a grain of crystal. Tomorrow, maybe... Meanwhile, behind Chapel Gate, a blacksmith has just started working on some iron ornamentation. It is for a very important commission, which was made to the guild of smiths. It's too large of a task for a single smith's shoulders to bear, especially in the given timeframe, but his experience and craftsmanship will be invaluable to give the end result it's desired flair. --- Hi, happy to share (part of) a new build with y'all today! I felt that it was necessary to divide this build over two posts, because the writing would otherwise become a bit long and messy. And it's also more practical for the HSS. Hope you enjoy!
  6. The square of Rundolf Longspear. He was a hero a very long time ago. Now the only memory about him, he was a dragon slayer, and now he has a statue in this small square in Cedrica. The traffic isn't that big, but, it's good for the residents who live here. Maybe the most noteworthy stores are the Silver Scissors and the Basket O'Goods. A tailor shop and a bakery. A smaller watchtower erects next to an old, crumbing district wall. The next district is a boring place, like this one. The fish seller maybe the most recent change in the past three-four years. No one knows what was there before that time. Maybe someone: "- Yeehaa! Take that you filthy bandit!" - screamed the little boy, on a hobby-horse, while he swung wildly, with a stick. "- Slow down little buddy, that bandit is already trembling in fear." - smiled the old man, while turning the page. Yirroc corrected his grandfathers' helmet. He enjoyed staying with him, he had so many great stuff, and stories from the time, while he served in the army. "- Grandpa-Grandpa! Can you tell the story, of how you fight alongside Draconius?" "- Again, but you already heard it a thousand times." - he bends the corner of the page, and puts down the book. - "Okey, where should I start?" "- But!" - interrupted the tale Yirroc. " -can I have your mace while you tell the story?" "- Sure, but be careful, not like last time." The rattle wouldn't be heard, cause a lute started to play a melody, and a voice joined in. "- It's him!" - the young girl jumped up from the stool, and run out onto the balcony. Her makeup wasn't finished, and her hair was messy. "- It's him..." smiled the woman on her way to the fish vendor, and remembered what happened last night. It's him... The elf woman remembered the tune from last week. She turned her blushing head away, pretending like she is observing the tailor shop's window. "- It's him! Baldween! Give me the..." "- Here sire..." - the servant handled the crossbow to his master without a flinch. "- Thank you Baldween. You are a loyal servant. Now! - the nobleman cocked the crossbow. "- Go and tell the Citys Watch, do not worry, this is just a family matter." Both strings strummed at the same time. The last verse perfectly matched with the noble's "Die Bastard" warcry. The bard quickly throw away everything and made his escape before another crossbow bolt would hit him. On his run, he stumbled into a boy and a girl, coming from the baker with fresh pretzels. "- Oh no, my coin!" -screamed the boy, and dropped his wealth on the ground, while he tried to find his balance. The golden coin smoothly landed on stones, and with tinkling sounds, quickly approached the nearby sewers. The boy's effort was futile, to catch it. The sound of the rolling coin suddenly stopped and with a last golden shine, the darkness swallowed the coin. "- Oh darn! There goes my whole fortune!" - sobbed the boy. "- Can't we go after it?" - asked the girl, and gripped her coin more tightly "- No silly, there are alligators in the sewers!" And the boy wasn't wrong. And our little story would be ended here if he didn't drop his coin. So let us continue. Follow the money. Like thunder! The small coin, with a gleaming flash, impacted the planks. Next to a couple of dark elves. None of the flinched, they have some serious business to talk about. Maybe another plot? What people can tolerate this kind of scum in this city? The answer is the city's scum, like them. Welcome to The Shadow Tunnels. A city under a city. A connection of tunnels, sewers, pits, and coves, filled with filth, garbage, mud, debris, and gods knows what other things. The weak won't last here even for a minute. And those who choose this life, under a shining city of the realm. Both terrifying and miraculous. Let's meet them, but... keep a safe distance, and first only listen to them: "- HEY! How could you cheat and beat me, when first I cheated!" "- Ow.. sho! Sorry, Starry-eyed... I wasn't able to catch you a little friend..." - the boy threw back the old boot into the filth. The fish blinked with its three eyes, one after another. "- Here-here! Two amputations for the price of one! Just for now!" Can you smell it? Yes, that came from the Golden Ox. A well-known establishment from a kinder era. Maybe, Rundolf Longspear also had one or two meals here. "- What's that smell? Smells delicious!" "- Bat-stew!" - replied the cook. "- Wanna tasting?" "- Bat-stew? Never heard of it. Is it good?" "- This stew will be so famous, everybody will talk about it!" "- What're this ... Documents forgery?" "- I can fabricate you any kind of paper! Need to prove something, which you don't have? Find me! Need a diploma, so you can open a small surgery? Here I am! Want to deceive others and make a profit? Should we start now?" - rubbed the shady figure his hands together. "- Excuse me, but I didn't understand the second sentence. Someone screamed downstairs like a charlatan butchering his legs... And how good are you? Where did you learn this trade?" - asked shyly, and tired to not look down between the gaps. "- Here is my official document about it!" - and pulled out a dirty paper, with a wax seal. "- But... But.. You created your own document? But this is a crime!" "- Really?" "- What do you sell?" "- Mushrooms. Wanna try one?" - asked the vendor, and pulled out his cleaver, to take a slice. "- Whoa, not so fast!" - protested the man. "- Is it safe? Aren't those poisonous?" "- Nah... it just smacks you in the head a little." - nodded with his head, to the nearby guy, who sats near the counter. "- Here's my last customer. Let's ask him. HEY buddy! How do you feel?" The man was somewhere between this reality, and the next one. His mind slowly crawled back to his body. He looked around, trying to find the source of the questions. His pupils were wide, saliva ran down his chin in thick streaks. He opened his mouth to say something. "- Funny fish people! You can't talk!" - and with that, his mind was already lightyears away... "- See!" - smiled the vendor " - I told you, he is experiencing weird things! So... wanna find out?" And here is the full build: Both Closed and Opened: More pictures here:Beneath the shadow of the capital
  7. Somewhere in the eastern Siccus Badlands, in a village called Amrakect, was once the home the Centario family. A cozy little dwelling just behind the village defence wall, and next to Horse's Gate, was the house where white-haired boy Onicius and his sister Alicia lived, with their father and mother. In general it was a rather quiet and peaceful town, apart from the bustling market places. Alicia was often playing around town with the other village kids, while Oncius loved to watch the activity around Horse's Gate from the terrace, sometimes talking to the guards (his father was a guard as well), and lazying in the afternoon heat. But those peaceful and carefree days would not last... Carpe diem, Centario family! There's full interior in the house, which consists (top to bottom) of an adult bedroom, kitchen, terrace and children's bedroom. Really challenging to squeeze everything in! The portcullis inside the gate tower can be raised, locked at various heights, and dropped with the release of the lock (in grey). When fully lowered, the gap through which the portcullis rises is closed with a hatch. The hatch is pushed open when the portcullis is raised and closes when it is dropped. I really enjoy this fun feature, so I think I'm going to integrate functionality more often. A video of the mechanism in action (hope you can view it): --- Overall, I'm really pleased with build and I enjoyed the premise of the category! I chose my first very first Guilds of Historica build to make a modern version of. I never thought of it as a bad build, but it stands so far from how I nowadays think a build should be, that I was excited to improve and expand it in several ways. I wanted it to pale in comparison, in all departments! Including: full and accessible interior as opposed to none, viewable 360°, a full colour palette, and even functionality with a video as proof! But without a seed, a sapling, you'll never have a tree. So, I still look up to my first build, and other historic GoH builds, and I'm very grateful for being part of this wonderful community I've been enjoying for so many years! Cheers!
  8. The creaking of the wheelchairs could be heard from miles away. "- Slow down apprentice! You will shake the little life out of me!" - scolded the old man his much younger companion. "- Bah, I don't remember these cobblestones on this road! Indeed. Deep Garden, the small town now has a pretty solid stone wall, to protect it. And not only the wall but now the roads are now covered with cobblestone. Some would call this, civilization. The old royal cartographer visited the place when the wall was erected. And he remembers it was built, from wood and planks. Much has changed. The town is now able to get quality stones from other lands, And they were able to improve their fortification. "- I remember when I was here, to re-design the area map, after the town built that wall, and now... I must come once again, to redraw it again. pointing out, the new stone wall!" His apprentice was a little disappointed. He joined the royal cartographer's guild, to see the world, meet interesting people, learn their stories, and their culture, and draw maps, about new places. And now, here is he, pushing an old man, in his last days, and only heard stories, about how the world was a better place, decades ago. "- We finally arrived. Now let's check what improvements have we here... Stone wall, gates, yes, the tower is also made out of stone. Armory, messenger birds..." - the old man stopped for a second, to smell something. "- Can you smell it? They are making stew. I wonder what stew they are making..." The apprentice's visage stopped on one of the soldiers, who was picking mushrooms. None of them were experts in mushroom picking, but the apprentice was sure If they stay for dinner, then this will be his master's last supper... Here is the original build: Also, you can find more pictures from the newer version, of Cat. B: here
  9. Exetrius

    CDC2 CMF: Homecoming

    Guilds of Historica Collectible Minfigures: Homecoming Yes, I remember now... I don't know why, or if this is common, but I tend to forget where it all started. How I ended up doing what I do. But as I set out to write this topic, it came back to me. I think it was around 2014 that Guilds of Historica caught my eye. I'm sure it must have been one of the many awesome castle builds that guided me to this forum. I went over the New Member Guide, the Guild topics one by one, and saw the maps. And then I saw minifigures, unlike any I had seen before. Custom factions, armies, fantasy races, built from official lego pieces! Up to that point, my (teenage) creations were based on official LEGO themes, built to be populated by official LEGO minifigs. With Guilds of Historica, it all started to change. A new world opened up for me, a journey, and a place to belong. I started building custom figures myself, eventually a sigfig and his family, friends and foes, and joined the Guilds a year later. So looking back at it, the figures have always been there, sparking new builds and stories. Perhaps that's why I have this feeling of homecoming. Introduction by Exetrius Welcome to Historica, fellow adventurer! On my travels through this land, this mighty continent, I have seen many wonderful people, creatures and other beings. Of course I can't tell you about all of them, that would take days, weeks, months probably! But, don't worry: I have made a selection. Let me introduce you to some of those I have met, or heard about. From the cold North to the hot South, from the tumultuous East to the calm West, from the world above to the world below, and from places within to places outside the continent. Let's start with the four guilds on the continent, and Varlyrio. Mitgardia Magnus, Lord of Spróggefjell Keep "Staring at my armour isn't going to help you get through the winter, get to work!" Yffreya, wilderness hunter "A mercenary job? Sorry, but I don't hate humans that much. Do I look like I do?" Kaliphlin Madame Quarrat, mine owner "This deep pink sapphire came from the latest expansion. Work for me, and you might find one too..." Norri, badlands nomad "This is Bërtah, my favourite of the herd. She's a little shy around strangers, though." Avalonia Fiona, Mystic Isles messenger "It's mostly good news from Albion this time around, so I can afford to take the scenic route. You can join me for a while, if you like." Jerome, salvager-carpenter "You are leaving your old wagon in good hands, sir. And, on behalf of the trees in our forests, I thank you!" Nocturnus Pandemonium, 6th wizard of Zotharith "Yes I burned the town, got a problem with that? There wasn't a good soul in the whole rotten place anyway..." Umdurin, Vacunani scholar "If I'm not mistaken Volume 467 of the Recorin Orbi makes mention of such a tunnel exit. I'll check with the archives." Varlyrio Don Giullio, art dealer "100% genuine, for certain. This is a one-time offer: 13 silvers and it's yours." Rebecca, maid and assistant-chef "I'd love to chat, but the market will be closing soon. Later!" Outside of the Guilds, there is also plenty of interesting folk. Some of them I never met in person, for better or for worse... Ghost Islands of Yureishima Yoshintamaru Sasekageojima, Master swordsman "I see your spirit is fierce, but you lack technique. And away with those runes, they ruin the flow between you and the blade!" Miyuko of the Dawn, folk legend It is said that those who meet Miyuko die on the spot, and depending on her judgement either get sent straight to the realm of the dead, or are reborn from their former bodies. The Underworld Zugal defector and Demorian informant "The war really changed the Clan, you know. I tell you: flying up and down the Underworld is better than serving Raavage." K'sirtllhisqr, Drow mage "Where do you think you're going, surface critter? Trespassing this area is strictly forbidden, even for Drow..." Cedrica Sabrina, spoiled brat "Say hi to Marco, I got him for my half-year birthday! Hey, I'm not spoiled, you're just too poor to understand!" Lunarius the Formidable, archmage "A City of Magic, you say? Sounds like something I need to keep my eye on..." ---- And there you have it: 16 figures! I wasn't feeling very inspired from the beginning, but I had said I'd participate so I didn't go back on my word. I found a way to produce solid figures nonetheless. There are a number of little hints to previous builds or other references baked into the figs and their bios, tell which ones you like! I could do a breakdown later. Thanks for looking! Criticism welcome, hit me with all you got. @Henjin_Quilones I'm not going to keep this from you: Fiona with nougat skin and white elven hair looked glorious. For example as a Hesperian dragon rider. However, it just looked wrong next to the carpenter... Maybe a fleshie figbarf isn't all that unlikely anymore.
  10. socalbricks

    [MOC] Ayra

    Back in 2017, I built a Centaur MOC and put it on Flickr. Looking back on it, it was pretty basic, so I decided to revamp it and make it part of the "Guilds of Historica" universe. After a lot of trial and error, this is what I wound up with. The character's name is Ayra, and she is from Avalonia. I don't have a light box at the moment, so I decided to get some outdoor shots instead. Hopefully I can get some clearer shots and come up with a backstory in the future. Enjoy! Ayra (4) by socalbricks, on Flickr The figure comes complete with a bendable waist, which I achieved using backwards minifigure legs. Ayra (2) by socalbricks, on Flickr Some more shots... Ayra (3) by socalbricks, on Flickr Ayra (1) by socalbricks, on Flickr
  11. kahir88

    CDC2 CMF Kahir88

    This new challenge gave me an opportunity, to came up with two ideas, but after it was restricted, for only lego parts, I had to release the second idea, and go full with the first one. This time too, I want to show you, another dark part of Historica. The... Crime and Punishment Collectible Mini Figures. As I saw other entries earlier, It was mostly, about simple residents, trades, professions, and sometimes heroes. I want to show you what crimes can be committed in Historica, and how justice will be served! Every Guild has its own ways, to inflict pain, so, let's get started: ---------------------------------Avalonia-------------------------------- - Mask of Shame Punishment for various small crimes. Not every punishment requires blood to flow. Sometimes a little humiliating is good enough. It could be any, smaller disruption, like swearing, brawl, deception, etc. The person must wear a metal mask, with a little bell on the top of it. It will remind the nearby locals, who is coming, so they could greet with a nice word or some rotten food. The victim also has a sign, what was his or her crime. The time also differs, how long must they endure all of this. - Poachers Fate Punishment for poaching. The elves could be cruel too. Especially, when they caught you, poaching and desecrating their forest. First, they catch you. Then, they tie your hands back. And the fun part here starts. They put a bee or wasp hive on your head. Then they release you. They will laugh at you, but you wouldn't hear anything both from your screaming and from the buzzing insects. It could end up in different scenarios: You could blindly run in the forest till you die, from the stings, or smash into a tree, hoping the hive cracked, and not your skull. If you are unlucky, a big brown mammal will join in the pursuit, of the honey. - Witch Burning Execution method. Not everyone likes magic. The simple folks, sometimes couldn't handle it. They see magic as an evil tool, which must be eradicated. The villagers gather in big riots, dragging the suspect in front of the village elder. And he must consider, to save the girl and face the angry crowd, or just simply kill her, so the residents could calm down. Nothing extra, they gather up logs and sticks, tied the girl to a pole, and light the fire. In rare cases, they actually kill a witch, but in many cases, the trials are against girls, who are weird or someone who is envious of her, and this is the best way, to remove her. --------------------------------Kaliphlin-------------------------------- - Hot Situation Punishment for peculation. In Kaliphlin there is a lot of ways, to punish the wicked. For example, for peculation, the accused is dragged outside the desert, tied to a cactus, or buried to the neck. But they gave them hope. A flask of water is placed next to him. So, it will be ironic, die by dehydration, why the water was in arms reach. - Boiling Point Punishment for recidivism. Get punished for a crime, is one thing. But if you keep committing crimes, and you won't learn anything from the punishment, is an error, which needs to be solved. The kind leaders of Kaliphlin came up with this method. With a hammer and chisel, they carve a little hole in your skull. The next step is to boil some water, when it's ready, they simply pour it into your skull. You will never have a sinful thought. Or any other thoughts. - Artifact Compression Punishment, most commonly, for cheating. Magic using isn't a common sight in the art of torturing. It's mostly causing pain, but sometimes there are business gaps. The target audience is the cheated wifes and women, thirst for revenge! The man is lured into a trap, and the paid sorcerer casts the spell on them. Removing moisture from their body, and Turning them into small statues. They won't die, but they not lose consciousness. They remember these times, like a never-ending dream. Oh, and don't forget the thirst. If you want them, to turn back, just simply toss the little statue into water. They will suck it up, like a sponge. Soon a dried and wrinkled raisin-like figure appears. He won't cheat you again. --------------------------------Varlyrio-------------------------------- - Sleep With the Fishes Execution for piracy. Sometimes the executions don't need to be so fancy and expensive. Just grab a chain, some weight, and toss them out in the open sea. While sinking into the depths, with your last breath you can think about, "being a pirate is alright with me"... - The Last Laugh Interrogating method. This time you will have the last laugh. Everyone has their weakness, which the torturer will gladly exploit. They will take off your pants, and put you in the stocks. Then the torturer brings in various equipment, to tickle you. Most commonly, they use feathers, but it could be a plant with irritating touch, long animal fur... even they dip the victim's feet into salted water, and brought in a goat, to lick it. Tickles can be really harmful, if they do it, for long, like vomiting, incontinence, losing consciousness, or die. - Belt of Virtue Punishment for fornication. Not everyone is able to close their legs at the right time. Fortunately for them, this device will not let any intruder in and will remind you all the time during your punishment. It's important, to be clean it unless you want to wear a rusty iron belt around your private parts or stink like a sewer. Don't worry ladies of Historica, there are male compatible models too! --------------------------------Mitgardia-------------------------------- - Freeze to Death Execution method for desertion. No one likes deserters, this is a fact. And there are many ways, to punish them, for abandoning their duty. In Mitgardia, they knock them out, brought them into the northeast point of the country, and left them there. If they wake up, they could try to get back to the civilization, before they freeze to death. Not many could achieve this, and the many frozen statue in his region is a bad sign for them. But, if they still manage to return, they are branded for life. The frostbites on their body will remind them for the rest of their life, what they have done. - Breaking Wheel Execution method. One of the gruesomest ways, to end someone's life. With this public execution, the viewers will think twice, before committing any crime. The victim was tied to a large wheel, and with a large hammer, the executioner started breaking the limbs. One by one. Why the wheel? It says, it was invented by a lazy executioner, who was too lazy, to go around the victim, to break all their limbs. He simply just turned the wheel, to strike down. When all of the limbs were broken, they killed the criminal, and erected the wheel, with the broken body, as a warning to all criminals. - Punishment Shaves Dwarven humiliating method. This method is most commonly used on dwarfs, but there are cases, when it was used, on other races. Dwarves' prestige is measured in their beards. It's a shame if a dwarf must shave it off. And bigger shame, if someone shaves it, for them. So the dwarf has to start growing their beard back again and earn his respect and prestige back again. And to endure the humiliation of others. --------------------------------Nocturnus-------------------------------- - Rat Torture Interrogation method. The torturers are very keen-eyed persons. The best of them don't need expensive devices, just look around, grab a bucket, a torch, and a rat, like... the usual stuff in a dungeon. Put the animal in the bucket, then squeeze the bucket into the victim's stomach, and start heating it. The rat has only one way out, and if you won't start talking, you will be in the way, for the rat's freedom... - Slow Slicing Interrogation method. Every living creature can endure pain. And the torturer's job is to find out, what are their limits. This method is simple, you will need a really sharp knife. Steady hands aren't required. And you start slicing your victim, like a juicy ham, until they stop screaming in agony, and start telling the information, what you need. - Ravaage's Stool Interrogation method. Thanks to Lord Ravaage, many exotic torturing devices were used, during his reign. This four-legged stool, with a wooden pyramid on the top. They started lowering the nacked accused on the pointy edge of the pyramid, ensuring it, to cause pain... "Where the sun doesn't shine". The time for this torture differs, minutes, hours, days, some they hang weight on the accused's feet, to maximize the effectiveness. Torturer And there weren't be any torturing without the specialist. No one knows, what twisted thoughts are in their minds, and what history they had, to drive them in trade. Without pity or remorse, they do their jobs, inflict as much pain as they could, and make sure, the accused cough up the information that they needed. It's a thankless job, but somebody got to do it, or else they would find themself on the wrong end of their devices. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I hope everyone liked my Minifigs. C&C welcome, as always. And tell me down the comments, which one is your favorite? (So I would know how sick you are )
  12. Si-MOCs

    CDC1 Tower: Rook

    ... We found him lost in the Siccus Badlands, disoriented and dehydrated... But even after he recovered he couldn't remember his own name, let alone how he even got there. He was good with his hands, but it was his mind that surprised us. We had to explain the rules, but he was a chess prodigy, and won his second game. I still remember how excited he got after his Rook moved in for Checkmate. So... we thought "Rook" would be a good enough name for him. And Rook took his new name to heart! Bless him, he decided to build a Rook shaped watch tower on the edge of the Siccus Badlands, a Flagg for other lost souls and travelers to find help if they too were lost. Even all this time we still play chess once in a while, and he still beats me every time. I even tried to be sneaky and use a move I never taught him! When he was, again, getting close to the kill, I swapped the King and the Rook. I told him I 'forgot' to teach him this special rule, where if the two pieces haven't moved and there's nothing in between the King and the Rook switch places. He thought this through, almost an odd moment of clarity in my friend's usual fogginess... "So the King is replaced with a Rook" he asked. Yup... It's called "Castling" --- I really don't know what's crazier - that' it's been 10 years since the start of Guilds of Historica on Eurobricks... or that some crazy people though it was a good idea to let a Spacer help shape the most incredible LEGO world I've ever seen.... Dextrus Flagg might have had a short reign, but he still lives on in my heart... Cheers on the anniversary, and my humblest gratitude for the builders that have kept GoH going all these years... Y'all are so incredibly talented and awesome.
  13. So, when I said that I possibly didn't have time to make an entry for this contest, because of Nocturnus Civil War (NCW) stuff I'm doing, someone suggested I could combine the two. And so I did. Side note: I'm starting to see that I'm way more involved in building architecture, and much less in building scenes where lore actually happens, so I still have two large creations from last year that I haven't posted yet. I do have a plan though, trust me™. Anyway, I'll put the entry first and then the NCW lore part. Royal Nocturnian Outpost (Ssilyrrlith's Residence) Before the days of the Nocty Civil War, Lord Ssilyrrlith, ruler of Nocturnus, would once and so often leave Abyssian and swamp that he calls home behind, and move to his summer residence (quite literally). It is situated in the Siccus Badlands, specifically on the northern banks of the Fallen Angel, where skies are often clear, the air is dry and temperatures are high. This small military outpost was initially built to gain more control over the disputed Badlands region, and as such it serves as the southwesternmost cornerstone of the Nocturnian Empire. The little stronghold residence is a place where Ssilyrrlith comes to gain some peace of mind - up in his tiny tower room, and do a bit of voluntary studying. Nevertheless, sometimes his duties catch up to him, in the form of his trusted feathered messenger! The tower opens up in multiple sections to reveal staircases, ladders, and Ssilyrrlith's detailed tower room, featuring furniture (cabinet, desk, bed, chair, sadly not all in the picture...), luxury items, writing and reading material, and a functional toilet which exits at the back of the tower! Feathers of Fate [Nocturnus Civil War] Ambush in the Rakath [Nocturnus Civil War] Onwards, to the Moruth Highlands! [Nocturnus Civil War] Turmoil in Camp Carakath [Nocturnus Civil War] Zotharians in the Underworld [Nocturnus Civil War] Rockwail's Catacombs: Rise of the Undead It had been quiet at the residence outpost for months - no, seasons on end. This far out in the Siccus Badlands region, major events of the Nocturnian Civil War; of the Algus invasion; the conflict in Kaliphlin; or even the rise of the true Heir to the Historican Throne, were little more than clouds on the horizon, or rumbles in the distance. With two exceptions. The first was eight months ago, when an elven messenger on their way to Avalonia passed by and reported that Abyssian Castle, with Lord Ssilyrrlith in it, was under heavy siege, and for some time already. The military staff present was shocked by this news, brought to their ears by a stranger, and initially didn't want to believe it. For all they knew, the "Hesperian", as that messenger had claimed to be, could be anyone. So, in a higher state of alertness and preparedness, they waited for orders. Those never came. Three months later - this was the second instance, the Hesperian returned, with a army of warriors seemingly drawn from all corners of Historica, and they were heading towards the battlefields at the Moruth Highlands. Now realizing the gravity of the situation, the full military unit, save for a couple of caretakers of the residence, joined the army and left for the blood-drenched heart of Nocturnus. And since then, it had been quiet... Mael, on of the caretakers, gazed out over the Fallen Angel stretching out before the stronghold, mostly shrouded in mist and fumes. Another empty day? Probably. But then he heard a familiar squeak, coming from the sky. He look around and was both delighted yet nervous at the sight of Aras, Lord Ssilyrrlith's loyal messenger bird, which was making a rapid circular descend. He hurried to the platform in front of the gate, while notifying the other guard. Aras greeted him quickly with a nod, but the look its eyes was insistent. Mael pulled a letter from behind its broad white-feather collar. He passed it on to his colleague, who was more literate. "Mael, I can't believe it..." he stumbled, as he went over the letter again and again. "It says... it says Abyssian.. has fallen." --- So that concludes both the entry and the story continuation, I hope you enjoyed!
  14. Near the borders of the continent, where the Mystic Isles starts. There is a floating rock. Thanks to the strange nature of this place, it is a very common sight. The lighthouse, erected on the rock, serves as a guide, for those, who lost in the dense mist. Or more likely as a warning, to turn back...
  15. - I'm ready Daddy! Draconius look back from his shoulder. He needed to look turn more further, cause the quiver blocked his sight. He saw his little daughter, running down the stairs, her nanny couldn't keep up with her. - Daddy! Daddy, I'm ready to go hunting with you! Look! - and she started waving her makeshift bow, made out of a stick and colorful ribbons. - Look what did I make! Can I come with you, pleeease! - Excuse me, your highness. - the woman finally arrived. - I couldn't keep the princess in her room. She wanted to show you, her bow before you leave. - It's okay. - smiled the king, and pat Ysphet's head. - She will be a great ruler. - he looked down at the girl and kneeled next to her. - I'm sorry darling, but you can't come with us. Hunting is a dangerous pastime. Maybe, if you will a bit older. - But daaad! If it's dangerous, why are you going? "Good question" ran through the thought in Draconius mind, but he couldn't answer it, cause Ysphet continued her arguments: - I already made a bow to myself! The string is made out of unicorn hair, and only a pretty princess can fully draw it. Watch! - with that, she started pulling the "string". It wasn't a surprise to everyone in the large hall when the stick snapped quietly. But, It was everybody's duty, to pretend that, it was unexpected... - Nooo, my bow! It's broken! - cried out loud the little princes, and tears started appearing in her eyes. Draconius was fighting with his emotions. He wanted to smile about what happened now, but a father can't do that right now. He remained calm and tried to cheer her little daughter up. - Perhaps you are too pretty for this bow. - smiled. - Don't worry darling we will find you a bow, that can handle your beauty. Know what? Go to the kitchen and ask the cook... in second thought. order the cook to bake something for you. And after I came back, I will tell you how was the hunting. - Okay daddy. *sob* - then she turned around and start walking towards the kitchen. Pulling her broken bow behind her. ----------------------- On the next birthday of the princess, she was escorted into the palace's garden. It was already decorated for her tea party with colorful ribbons. - But daddy! I'm ain't ready now! I only combed my hair 88 times! And the other girls aren't here! - Don't worry darling. - smiled the king. - You will enjoy this. As they arrived in the center of the garden, where the princess's tea party would begin much later. The place was filled with adult men. Many of them were familiar to Ysphet. As Draconius arrived, all of them stood up and greeted the king and the princess. She recognized some of them. There was Batlin, the old advisor, Marrik, the treasurer. The guy, who always accompanies his dad on hunts. In uniform, Admiral Gasgor, and one of the castle's criers, Olmil. The two other men were unfamiliar. - Ysphet. - started Draconius. - You know most of the gentlemen, who appeared here. Let me introduce you Waldrat, ambassador from Mitgardia, and Hagmund, who came here to make business about... About what exactly? - Your Majesty. - bowed down the two men. Hagmund continued: - I'm here to make contracts about bath oils and other luxury products, from Kaliphlin. The king nodded. However, Ysphet wasn't sure, what will happen now. She must have a long and boring conversation about bath oils, and how his father will buy and ship them? As the king looked down at her daughter, he also saw the confusion in her eyes. No more delay! - Dear Yslphet. - and kneeled down next to her. - Today is your birthday, and these gentlemen volunteered to make this day memorable. - he signaled with your his hand, and the hunter appeared behind him, with a wrapped present. - This is your first present today. Don't worry, there will be more. Ysphet quickly grabbed her present and started tearing down the ribbon and the wrappings. She was amazed at what she found. - This trainee bow was crafted only for you princess Ylsphet. - bowed the hunter. The bow was very light. Its hilt was silver plated. She quickly grabbed and pulled out. This time it didn't broke, nor tore apart. -This means... - she asked with sparkling eyes. - I can go with you hunting? - No sweetheart. - laughed Draconius. - Not yet. First, you must practice. - But how do I practice, if we don't have any animal around here? - We can fix this problem. - looked up the king to the standing man with a commanding look. All of the guests reached behind their back and pulled out the next surprise. It was hard for Ysphet to determine what were those. They look like animal furs and animal parts sewed together. But when every man put them on, she started realizing, what's going to happen. They looked hilarious. - These fine gentleman agreed to help you practice hunting. - said Draconius, while tired to not laugh. - But I will need them later. So instead of using real arrows, I ordered the royal Fletcher to make practice arrows. - and handled some of them, to her daughter. The end of the arrow was covered with a small sack, and it felt soft, thanks to the fabric inside. - Indeed Your Majesty. - stepped forward Batlin, the advisor. - Should I remind you about today's programs? Draconius let out a sigh. Then he looked down at her daughter, and winkled: - Sweety, would you be that kind, and start your little "hunt" with that pig over there? - and pointed on the advisor. - Sure daddy! - and with that, she placed the arrow on the bow pulled out, and started chasing the old man. Everyone enjoyed that noon. The adults tried everything, to hide and avoid the little girl's arrows, while she does her best, to hunt them down. - No Ylsphet, no! The gardener isn't playing with us!
  16. - This is robbery! - shouted the pig herder, to the guard. - I won't pay one and a half pig for safe passing on the road! This is madness! It was a lazy day in the middle of autumn. The small outpost was filled with pigs. Their loud grunting could be heard from miles. The gentle wind started moving the stench around. In this situation, everyone could lose their patience... - Madness or not, this is the toll, to keep you safe from the brigands in the woods. - reply calmly the officer. He was a bit tired, almost every fourth traveler or merchant argued about the high taxes. This year wasn't too so pleasant in the country, so Conrad raised the toll, for using the roads crossing Deep Garden. - If you wish, you can try to use the wilderness, to travel, but for your own risk. - Fair enough! - and the herder started driving away his pigs. - I bet the brigands won't be that harsh! "Fool" ran through the thought in the officer's mind. "He will learn it the hard way, hehe". He watched as the herder navigated his pigs away from the post. The next two travelers tried to avoid them as they approached. Not much happened with them, they simply paid the toll, and they were on their way, to the market. But the next one. An ox pulled wagon, with a huge slab of marble. With each turn of the wheels made, the whole wagon squeaked painfully. The owner was a merry fellow, he whistled an unknown tune, while he arrived at the barrier, and made the wagon stop. - What's your business here? And what's your shipment? - asked the officer, but he already knows it. only formalities. - By the grace of the Traveler, I came from Mitgardia, to deliver this huge marble block, to the local sculptor. - He stopped for a brief moment, just to pull ut a paper from his pocket, to check something. - To Markol's Stonecuts. - Marble you say. - smiled the officer. - Fair enough, just let me check this week's charts, how is your toll will be calculated. What is the weight of your shipment? - Actually. - the man interrupted the officer and handed over the previous paper. - This document provides us safe passage on every road and free of taxes. - What? - took the paper, and started to read it half aloud: -"... the owner of this document...", "... free passage in Avalonia..." ... Hm.. hm.. hm... By the Pick-a-Stone stonecutters? - wondered the officer. - And for what reason? - Markol ordered eight huge white marble blocks, from the stonecutters. But one of them was damaged in the unloading. The dwarves quickly dispatched this block, and gave this document to me, so no one will bother me with taxes. - I see. - scratched the back of his head the officer. - Why does the sculptor need that much marble? Not curious, I just need to write in the... In the daily report, yeah! The officer looked to the other soldiers, maybe one of them heard about this Eight Patrons or at least one of them. He looked back to the man and shook his head: - Never heard of them. Who are they? - They are our gods! Each of the guards a profession, and help those who belong to that profession. Like: I'm a traveler, so, my god is The Wanderer. He is the god of exploration, curiosity, adventure, and so on. And every god has a counter god. For example, The Wanderd's counter god is The Wife. She is the guardian of the house and family, patron of women, and so on. - Alright... - said the officer, and ordered his man to lift the barrier. - I bet you are in hurry, so we won't keep you here any longer. - and he stood aside, so the wagon can go on its way. - Boss... - a guard walked next to the officer after the wagon was far. - What was this blatter all about? Have you heard anything about these eight pardons? - Patrons... - corrected his man the officer. - And no, never heard about them. But I'm sure Conrad didn't hear about this too. - he sucked his nose. - Get me a pigeon... A few moments later the bird was on her way. The officer followed it as far as he can, with his sight. Daylight turned to dusk and followed by night. The traffic slowly decreased, but life in the small guard post didn't stop. The soldiers outside just finished dinner, the officer inside filled the charts, about the income. - Boss! - shouted the lookout. Brem has signaled to us, is it safe for them, to come? "Finally" Now we can see the day's real tax. - Yes, tell them, the coast is clear! - shouted back. The lookout grabbed the lamp next to him, and wave it, in the air. A few minutes later, three black-cloaked figures emerge from the darkness, with some cattle. The officer came out from the post - Good evening. - greeted them. - I see, you meet with the pig herder. - pointed towards the pigs. - Aye! What a fool! - laughed the one who was called Brem and the others. - What else is did you get? - wandered the officer's look from the pigs to the sacks. - Not much. - shrugged Brem. - Spice, some coins, and other small valuables... - Boss! - interrupted the conversation one of the alleged robbers. - When will our shift end? Those berries killing my tummy, and we got only big leaves in the forest, which feels like sandpaper... -Don't worry about that. Conrad will send the next shift, to replace us. - he looked around at his man and smiled. - Maybe, they won't be little princesses like you. The outpost filled with laughter. And grunting. And pig stench. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- HSS entry. Also, wanted to start my HSS too, with this build. Military - Tower The small tower of Oldfell was recently raised next to an abandoned house, to monitor those who visit Deep Garden. To ensure road safety the guards take a small toll, on the passengers. There are still dangers in the wilderness. *wink*
  17. kahir88

    Mortal Wombat!

    Have you ever wondered, how the people in the fields spend their days? Just like the ones, in the city. They work hard, and after that, they gather up to spend their time with their friends or families. Sometimes they gamble, but not with cards and dices. They leave them to the man of the city. Sometimes the fields are infested with a medium-sized rodent, Wombats. They eat almost every kind of vegetables, causing big troubles to the local farmers. If they manage to capture at least two, the fun begins there. The males could be very aggressive if another male enters their territory. The fight is fierce between these two little animals, some farmers claim: If you never saw two wombats fighting to the death, you don't know what bloodshed is. During the fight, te viewers can place bets, which one will win, and stay alive. The price of the winner is a quick and clean death, from the judge's cudgel. This seems cruel to most folks, but, after all... they are vermins. They gave many names to this amusement. The two most common are Mortal Wombat and Wombat Combat.
  18. A gang of thieves chases Nikou upon discovering her theft of an emerald gem. She leads them into a busy market square where she finds herself trapped between the gang on one side and the town guard on the other. Scaling a statue at the center of the square gives her brief reprieve from her would-be captors. As the walls close in around her, Nikou makes an acrobatic leap over the head of one of the guards leaving the gang and the guards to sort themselves out. This was going to be the second of three scenes for the Just Another "Normal" Day category of the Summer Joust competition, but my partner was unable to complete their portions. Though not mentioned in the story, it takes place in Petraea. I am also submitting this for the Doctorate of Historica for the following two qualifications: General Building → minifig posing Anthropology → life in Kaliphlin
  19. Louis of Nutwood

    Rise of the Baiamontes (Full Story)

    Beware! This is a heavy reading topic. A cup of hot beverage is advised. This story was written for Book III: Challenge V, Category B (Baiamonte Family, in Varlyrio). For each individual (concise) part, go to: Part I, Part II, Part III Happy reading. Rise of the Baiamontes By @Louis of Nutwood, @Gideon and @Henjin_Quilones A yellow orb of fire rose from under the blue mantel that divided water and sky to warm the face of land, wake the common folk, and put the isle in the middle of the sea to stand and meet the new season. From its study, The Rego snorted in satisfaction to hear the clatter of iron against wood as his guards, woken before the break of light, practicing the art of swordsmanship, as they did religiously every morning. This day, though, marked an anticipated time for both the Rego and the military force that supported and protected his kin, for on the first day of summer, when the sun was at its peak, the younglings, apprentices of the Varlyrian army, would be reckoned as men of the realm, called forth to swear their vows and win the honor of wearing the gold and white armor that made them protectors of the Isle. After 28 years in the military, Gen. Juan Rojas Baiamonte had attended the Ritual of Recognition on its every occasion since his youth. And for the past 16, upon being promoted as General after his late father Miguel Villaroya Baimonte, he was the one person that placed the golden blade of the Ancestors upon the shoulders the youngling soldiers, erasing their past and turning them into men devoted to a life of servitude in the army. In 28 years, Gen. Juan R. Baiamonte had faced the most difficult voyages, the most threatening battles, the most fearsome enemies. He had been to the Battle of the Seas, the Envoy to the Swollen Caves, even to the War of Famine, up in the continent, where soldiers have claimed to see winged beasts spitting fire from the sky. But none of these battles made Juan as uneasy as he was this day, for in the crowd of younglings that waited in a sea of anxiety to proclaim their loyalty, one boy with wavy brown hair and innocent eyes stood to him the most. As happened to Juan, it happened to Miguel, his father, and his grandfather before him, and after generations leading the Special Forces of the Army of the Isle, the Baiamonte family took the pages of history as the most cunning strategists and fearless warriors. At the age of 8, every child was to be separated from its family, stripped from all its possessions, deprived from all its comforts, and sent to live in a monastery amongst nature and other children. From youth, they would learn how to wield a sword and hold a spear, to raise a shield and perry a blow, to use hand-to-hand combat and to use nature on their favor, to trust and protect their brothers and to never give their backs to an enemy, to move, feel and think as a unit and to become a deadly weapon individually, just as much as in a group. To fear nothing but fear itself. Strength. Consistency. Trust. After years under observation and constant training, the younglings that showed capable of partaking military action, were gradually moved to battalions and frontlines to care, and learn from operative soldiers that fought for the realm and defended its sovereignty. This day, Gen. Juan Rojas Baiamonte would welcome the little younglings to their new life. This day, Juan, the little boy that was taken from his family and grew to become the most respected general in Varlyrio would welcome his only son to a new life filled with honor and responsibility. Juan could not be prouder, and he could not be more eager to once again, meet his only son Rufus. Banners flapped as the bright sun was at its peak. Lined in a trail were the younglings – some had not a strand of hair on their newborn faces – with puffed chests and clenched jaws. On their flanks, battalions of soldiers stood motionless with their spears stuck on the ground, rugged as a chain of trees. The Rego stood form his carved chair and raised his hands facing the young soldiers. General Juan Rojas Baiamonte was at his right and fell to one knee as the crown did the same. “All your past... is dust. Your family, your heritage, your mistakes, your achievements. Dust. All your future... is sand. Words in the wind. A blank page in the unknown. Sand. All there is... is now. This day, here. And this day... you are reborn! Raise, and face me in the eye. Look into my soul and pray. Who are you?” The line of younglings raised from their knees and punched their chests with fisted hands. “Ahooo! Ahooo! Ahooo!” General Juan Rojas Baiamonte left the Rego’s side and took the lead, unsheathing a golden blade from his scabbard and pointing it to the sky. Juan once again repeated the vows that bound him and every man to the Varlyrian Army together and brought his son closer than ever. … A great caravel of five masts had just docked over the harbor, following a hundred merchant ships from Avalonia, a thousand barges from Kaliphlin and countless fishing boats from Mitgardia. Over the past few years, the port area had become impassable, filled with people from all over Avalonia coming and going, trying to make a living. A welcoming place for thieves and robbers, as well as for those who envisioned a new start in a distant world. Recognizing the opportunity to develop political relations with the other guilds through trade and commerce, The Rego invested in the expansion of Varlyrian ports and established major trading routes with the continent. The recent alliance brought interest and curiosity to the Isle, as more and more people started to travel across the sea. The travel from the continent took several days and the investment in such endeavors were of great cost, so the regent Queen Ylspeth demanded the taxes on Varlyrian ports to be lowered, greatly impacting the Rego’s revenue. The Isle’s council settled, acknowledging the benefits of a larger circulation of foreign fleets, but consumed by greed, projects of exploitation were implemented to support commerce and dazzle the newcomers. Up in the Ridge Mountains, an interconnected chain of caves and tunnels opened and kept by the Island Dwarves gave way to an extraordinary route of rare gems, runes, and stones that overwhelmed the travelers with their beauty and stunned them with stories of their magical capabilities – some could heal, some could entice a loving person, and one other that was greatly searched for, they said was able to revive an old man’s vigor. Amongst all the riches in the Isle, these gems brought the wealthier lords known throughout the seas to spend their gold in the foreign lands. Exploitation in the mines had grown exponentially, from authorized groups as well as from prospectors from far beyond, and before long, the frozen Dwarven cities that were once calm and deserted, became packed with unwanted foreigners. It was called The Age of Exploration, and with it came robbery, depravation, smuggling and general chaos to the familiar streets carved on stone in the face of the mountains. Never have the Dwarves worked as much, pushed as hard and lived inside the rock for so long. Under the Rego’s order (pressured by countless lords and kings), new mines were opened daily, swept of all its riches and treasures, and left for the wolves to claim nests. The Varlyrian Guard was sent to rule the harbor and the supplies descending the mountains, and battalions took turns by the entrance of every human city in the Isle. But the army’s efforts of control were effective just to a point, until smugglers found a new way to do business and exploit both the Dwarves and the mountain. It was getting out of hand. General Juan knew it as much as the Rego. … It was common during summer for the days to be hot and dry, and as the sun started weakening, a damp breeze would swamp the streets, foretelling an expected summer rain to wash away the stickiness on people’s skins. That night, as water fell from dark skies, the Rego woke to the sound of horns being blown by the harbor, as an endless queue of ships and galleys had formed. At his chamber door, the Councilor stood soaking wet in his silken robes. “Your Highness, our ports operating way beyond capacity. The ships refuse to leave their ways as, apparently, their requests for precious gems and stones have not been fulfilled. There is a riot at the harbor and - “ “Unfulfilled? Well, can’t they leave with what they have?”, replied the Rego, grabbing a golden goblet and filling it with Kaliphlian wine. “Your Magnificence, their orders have been paid in advance. We collected their payment, but lack the product, and more ships are docking”, said the Councilor rubbing his hands together, each time more curved on his own belly. “Our supplies have been cut, your Greatness” The Rego peaked out his window and saw the flickering orange of the flames lighting the foot of the mountain, where the first Dwarven City was erected, and dwelt the Dwarven King. “Fetch me a horse, Councilor, and inform General Baiamonte I need his men ready” … The damp summer wind and the refreshing rain were long past, as in the foot of the mountain blew the of the glaciers that ran over stoned corridors before howling loose on the mountain’s scars. General Juan Rojas Baiamonte rode his brown stallion covered in crimson and gold, his scabbard kicking on the horse’s back. Behind him, other twenty men covered in boiled leather and plate, amongst which, rode Rufus, his son, weaving the white and golden banner of the guild. By the foot of the mountain, at the entrance of the first Dwarven City of Derem’tor, stood a gathering of shrunken men with thick beards that covered most of their faces, handling oddly large axes and hammers. “To what I owe the pleasure of meeting you in our town, Rego?! I was told you were not so fond of a little chill” said a bald Dwarf behind a red fuzzy beard covering his cheeks and chest. “You made quite the fuzz down at the docks, Rhloder. You know the docks? It is where those big turtles float over the water and bring the coin that buys the equipment and protection you are so affectionate about, but seem to have forgotten”, replied the Rego. “You are the one who seems to have forgotten, Rego, that unlike your garments and fancy pants, some things in this world have an end. Patience, for one. And your precious stones, Rego. I needed not have come to this. All we asked was for you to regulate the trade of gems, raise tax in the savagery you call your ports and keep those brutes off our mountain. But since you chose to ignore all my pleas, and since you do not listen to reason, I hereby declare that all the mining operations from this point on, are ceased”. “Ceased? On what grounds do you think – “ “You have been warned! Many a time. You cannot expect us to pick, drill and dig forever. There is a limit to where we can go, a limit to where our tools will reach. But we are past beyond that. To a point that we are losing lives and families to the mountain. The tunnels, they are treacherous and deceiving, collapsing each time we advance and take what is not ours. We cannot go further. Not like this. This is where we live. In here, carved under rock and stone are our homes. But the more we dig, more we are threatened. The mountain is turning against us, Rego” “This is nonsense, Dwarf. Mines collapse! Deal with it and move someplace else, but you must not, by your own will, terminate an established agree – “ “Agreement?” the dwarf smiled sympathetically, his hands over his belt. “You don’t understand, Rego. The mountain is alive. It has manifested. We can move, aye, but the mountain will stand against. Let it heal, Rego. Let it rest. Let us reestablish our connection to the Gods and nature, so we can all live another day. Or else, push through, and madness and death is all you will see” The Rego moved his horse across the snow, reaching closer to the line of dwarves. “Is this a threat, Dwarf?” “It is. But it is not coming from me”, Rhloder turned and looked up to the mountain before disappearing in the snow. … On the morning of the next day, General Juan Rojas Baiamonte left his barracks leading a group of twenty soldiers and thirty prospectors to the Ridge Mountains. The group found no resistance to enter the Dwarven City of Derem’tor, or when reaching the Mines of Rhangvar, a complex of interconnected tunnels with its wooden oaken doors, distributed on the face of the mountain like shut and blocked frames. Galloping towards the summit, the wooden doors to the mines became larger and longer, suggesting that the riches were broader on the mountaintops. But, in front of every door, from the bottom to the top of the mountain, dwarfs lay on the ground and over the white mantel of snow. Some wounded, some unconscious, some too tired and sick to even lift a pick or axe. Yet, they stood to prevent anyone from entering the mines. The last entrance, on the higher part of the mountain was marked by a stone sculpture of a dwarf holding a sword pointing to the ground, covered in a dabble of white flakes. Rhangvar – the dwarf god of prosperity. The stairs, carved in the face of the mountain led to a set of wooden doors engraved with iron spikes, so tall that reached the skies and disappeared on a frigid grey fog. On the foot of the stoned dwarf were the markings: Mines of Rhangvar. General Juan R. Baiamonte jumped aside of his horse and walked towards the set of stairs. He was met by a runt and stocky man, his nose thick and red from the cold, a brown beard covering his chest. “I would think again if I were you, brother”, said the short man, presenting himself. “I come in the name of the court and Your majesty, the Rego, with the order to reestablish all mining operations this instant and put an end to this folly of a strike. Shall you refuse, I am aloud to use force, seize you and your supporters for disobedience, revoke your right to housing and share of land in the Isle. Resist and I will put you to the sword. I am ready to substitute you and your kin with a more qualified manpower, if need be, in order to reestablish trade and commerce with our partners, and–“ The short man listened attentively, not giving a blink, and not showing a sign of resistance. “Well, go on...” “... Our partners, and don’t try to impede me, dwarf. I will use force against you and any pygmy that lay hand on my man”, snapped Gen. Baiamonte. “I see no need to do so, sir General. But I do sense you misinterpret the situation, sir. This is no strike. We wish to work, aye. We want no stress with the crown, no. Sire, we were kicked out of the mountain, you see. It is no safe to enter, no safe at all. Under no circumstance we are aloud to enter this mountain while that thing remains torturing our very heads. No, sir”, the dwarf explained as if sharing an ale with the general. “You mock me, dwarf?” “Mock, sire? You do not... I lost many a man to this mountain. This is no mocking subject” “Then get your gear, gather your men and start picking”, the General tossed a picking axe to the dwarf’s feet, that poured snow when landed. “I... I cannot, sire. I fear for me life. You all should. The creature inside does not joke. You can point your blade at me, take me head if you like. But if I enter these doors, I’m as good as dead” “Creature, you say?” “See for yourself, but I advise you not to wake the spirits of the mountain. Hear its roar, and you will shit your pants to death. It is not a pretty sight to die in loaded trousers, specially trousers as fine as yours, sire” “Leave my sight, dwarf”, said Juan, as the stocky man started his descent. At the base of the tall wooden doors, Gen. Juan and his men lifted the beams blocking the mine’s entrance. Thirty miners trembled in the cold of the Ridge Mountains, anticipating the intensity of a day’s labor, and questioning if the rumors of the mountain that lived would prove to be true. Rufus Baiamonte closed the envoy, as the last guard to lead the group into the mountain. Before entering, Juan put a hand in his son’s shoulder. “I need you to return to the Rego and report our triumph. His supply of gems will be reestablished. Alert the merchants and return with wagons. This folly ends today” “Father, -“ “I will not hear. Bring me those wagons and we will talk on the morrow. You are dismissed”, said the general bending his head. “Just be careful, sire”, whispered Rufus, but the General was too far away, heading to the tall wooden doors. ... The journey back to the bay took the whole morning and a large part of the afternoon. Rufus gathered a chain of forty wagons and needed over a dozen men to carry them through the frigid frost on the mountain’s backbones. After a day, the march reached the first Dwarven City, but Rufus fell out of place when he saw the city was deserted, and no man or dwarf lingered in the gates to welcome their arrival. Footprints deformed the snow uphill, showing the direction of a possible getaway. But then, he sensed the smell. A rotten and warm smell that pierced the throat and thickened the spit. Something burning. Rufus abandoned the empty carts and with a kick in his horse, bolted like and arrow through the trail of mines. The narrow paths, once vivid with merchants and miners was now dark and lifeless, as if a curse had swiped all souls from the face of the mountain. Closer to the summit, the stench of smoke turned harder and ticker. The horse’s gallop lifted brown snow into the air, his breath frosting on his nose. Up in the mountain, Rufus glimpsed the stoned sculpture of Rhangvar, the Dwarf God. Behind it, a wall of black smoke circled the mountaintop and embraced the set of stairs that led into the Mines of Rhangvar. The skies darkened and the ground shook. Fear lingered in the air, almost sensible to the touch. Rufus approached the entrance of the mine and finally, between deserted trails and pines covered in snow, he found his comrades. Some unconscious, others wounded, they lay on the snow, panting, and gasping for breath after being pushed out of what could have been their coffin. At least they are safe now, though Rufus. The boy meandered through bodies and trembling men, overwhelmed by the commotion. Between familiar and unfamiliar faces, Rufus saw the fear in his brothers’ eyes. All the years of training, all the quests in the forest, all those nights unslept with spear in hand, not even that was enough to keep them from shaking. Whatever they saw inside the mountain, Rufus did not want to share. But amongst all men, the boy searched for only one familiar face: his father’s, but that one was nowhere to be found. Up in the distance, fading in the freezing mist, the silhouette of a dozen men was drawn against the orange glow of the setting sun. Their bodies thick in width, but plain in height, were the last reminiscent of those who once populated these frigid settlements, now disappearing in the fog, as if leaving a prey to die, running away from judging eyes. “What happened here?”, asked Rufus, reaching a soldier that struggled to remain on his feet. “The mountain... the creature... We were massacred. We tried to run away, but these tunnels are so mischievous, they... I though it was my time. I saw my final moment in those flaming eyes...”, the soldier babbled and sunk his head on his hands, sobbing. The smell of smoke, burned meat, coal and ashes remained in the air, scraping Rufus’s throat, and painting the white mantel of snow with a soft veil of black dust. While the soldiers regained their feet, and assembled to leave this damned mountain, Rufus noticed that many of the miners and soldiers were still missing. “Where are the others, brother?”, asked Rufus to a red-haired officer whose clothes were torn and tainted with blood. “Some did not make it, comrade. The cave just... fell apart. When that thing... woke... Hell, I just ran. Some were fool enough to stay behind and buy us time to flee. But they couldn’t stand a chance” “What was it, brother?” “It was big, black. Like a giant snake, its eyes were flaming orbs. And its teeth... Hell, it was true, boy. It was just... all true”. The soldier looked away from Rufus and let out a long and lasting breath that covered his face in a freezing cloud. “The general... your father... he is a hero, you know. If it wasn’t for him...” Rufus did not want – or need – to hear any further. Despite his efforts to enter the mine, the doors were locked shut from the inside. The guards were too wounded, fragile, simply uncapable to even get near the mines, what could have been their final moments. Rufus glanced at the mountaintop, where midget silhouettes sketched the horizon, but there only remained the thin orange line of the final hours of the day. In silence, Rufus promised the gods he would have his revenge. … A flaming arrow crossed the night sky and landed on a pile of straw and sticks, lighting the dark path to heaven, where the souls of the fallen heroes would spend the rest of their days. The Rego closed the ceremony in respect to the deaths in the mines of Rhangvar naming Rufus his first lieutenant, and awarding him the star of honor, for the 28 years his father serviced the realm. A golden star the size of a cantaloupe with a striped fabric of crimson and white, to represent the blood and devotion of the ones who gave their lives to save their brothers. The following morning was grey and windy. The Rego remained on his chambers, while Rufus stood at his door for most of the day, expecting an opening for an audience. When he finally opened his door and called for the soldier, the Rego served two full glasses of red wine and sit by the balcony, where he could observe the canals and the Bay of Merchants, one of the finest districts in Varlyrio. “Your father was a brave man”, said the Rego. “One of the best”, Rufus bowed his head in a sign of respect. “Your Highness, I come to tend for different matters. I have reason to believe the Dwarves are plotting against your crown. I have reason to believe they are behind the events on the Mines of Rhangvar, where the lives of our men were taken” “This is a bold assumption, Lieutenant. Why should I-” “I saw it with my own eyes. Rhloder, the King of Dwarves is the responsible for my father’s death. His men flee the mines the moment I-“ “I will not accept it”, The Rego answered sharply. “Your Holiness, we did as you commanded and took the mines, but we were cowardly trapped and attacked under their-“ “Lieutenant, do you see these vessels trapped in the ports of our Island?”, Rufus did not answer. “I have promised to all of them an unimaginable amount of gold and jewels and stones and gems, capable of turning simple men into sons of gods. I relied on you, my most reliable men, to reestablish these supplies. Now tell me: where are my precious gems?” “Your Excellence, we were cravenly attacked!” “I asked for the completion of a simple task, and instead, you turned this into a bloody mess”, the Rego got up, filled another cup of wine, went to his desk, and searched for a parchment. “You have proven me that you chimps are uncapable of doing anything beyond waiving your swords and spears and looking strong. You are asking me to run against the only capable creatures of doing what we need, which is to explore our mines and regain our wealth”, the leader of the Isle opened the parchment and showed the signature at the bottom of the fabric. “The Dwarven King has just signed a treaty. Our stones will be restored in no time. More taxes, yes, but I do not expect you to understand any of my business” Rufus balanced the cup of wine in his hand, from which he did not take a sip, measuring his next words. The image of the dwarves fleeing from the flaming mines that trapped his father and took his life remained vividly in his mind. His promise faltered in his mouth with the known taste of blood. “At least let me fetch my father’s remains...”, the words felt unnatural in his throat, “... your Magnificence”. “To let you go back to the mountains and run the risk of you slicing the throat of my most recent commercial partner?”, The Rego snorted a suppressed laugh. “Don’t think me a fool, boy”, he looked outside once again, admiring the grey fog dancing over the canals. “Yet, the reports say the city has been abandoned, I see. And I am an understanding leader. You have your right to have your family, boy. And I respect that”, he swallowed the remaining half of his cup in large gulps. “Don’t make me regret this. Out.” The boy left the room glistering with golden ornaments without bowing to his superior. … The cold wind of the mountains felt less uncomfortable in Rufus’s back, he noticed. After days of expedition up and down the mountain, he could have been more accustomed, or it could be his blood was warmer with rage. The smell of smoke softened during the past week and there had been no more reports of attacks or suspicious activities in the mountains. How convenient. Slowly and carefully, miners returned to their duties, as the ships in the harbor departed one by one. Rufus trotted passed the Mines of Rhangvar. It was no use trying to enter – the doors were sealed and not even twenty men would suffice to force his way in. He would have to enter a different way. Rufus continued his journey across the mountain, up to the second Dwarven City, then the third. Mehlid’ravn was fortified with wooden watchtowers and stoned walls, barricaded with carefully sharpened logs, only a dwarf would be capable of carving. The houses, a mix of wood and stone, engraved with dwarven insignias and family sigils. Rufus reached the walls and was measured by two guards pointing crossbows to his chest. “Lieutenant Rufus Baiamonte, to speak with Rhloder, the King of Dwarfs” The doors opened with the clinging of chains. He expects me. In the main hall, the fire cracked in heath that ran all the way in the extension of the hall to an elevated wooden bridge with a centered oaken throne was covered in furs of fox, saber, and ox. A short man with a red beard covering his chest stared, as Rufus walked across the yellow-lit hall. “I should have your head, Dwarf” “You are grieving, so I will take no offense this time. You wished to see me. Now, spit” “Where is my father?” “Your father is a brave man. He remains inside the ruins of Rhangvar, sleeping with the beast” “Because you left him there, and all his men” “Believe what you will, but this is no true. The ones who left, they left because of him. There are living because the General sacrificed. But had he and your commander listened to our pleas, no one would have perished. I saw him stand against the beast. Leather wings spread, her fiery breath spitting... Yet he stood, sword in hand as his men and mine ran for their lives. We left that living hell and sealed the door behind us. I was the last one to leave, and no one else would have left. We took care of the most, treated their wounds as well as we could” “So, you are a hero, then? You care for the weak and give them supper, then flee to hide behind your walls... Ha... I do not believe you, Dwarf”, replied Rufus. “Your father is the true hero, boy. But I knew the moment he stood behind, that his stubborn men, with their tacky, inflexible, and revenging little minds would not be easily satisfied with the truth and would need to point fingers and search for a villain. When you fail to realize how the true villain is right under your noses, controlling each one of you”, he sighed. “Of course, we had to leave. But this act of bravery and stupidity showed that we have had enough death over those foolish riches. So, yes, I took the chance to make the Rego accept our terms, and now we can live in peace with the mountain and nature. Rufus stared blankly at the crackling fire reflecting on the round-shaped shields that covered the internal walls of the hall. “We should have never entered these damned mines”, said the boy, finally. “I... his body...” “Aye”, said Rhloder. “There is another way. We can take you there if that is what you wish”. Rufus spent the night. He ate pork and chicken, drank more mugs of ale than he could count, shared stories with the dwarves and sang their sad songs before passing out on the table. The next morning, Rhloder, Rufus and an expedition of two other dwarfs entered the broken tunnels of Derem’tor, in the search for the remains of General Juan Rojas Baiamonte. Gigantic halls that echoed infinitely gave way to tiny burrows in which Rufus found difficulty to course through. The walls looked fragile, leaning over the passageways, hanging still by the will of the gods, in the brink of collapsing over their fragile selves. They walked through cracks, hang from natural cliffs and in one passage, they even had to use ropes to traverse over a frozen lake inside the caves. Until they reached a point after a long corridor marked by two columns of ice, where the dwarfs stopped. “This is as far as we can go, boy”, said Rhloder, his voice echoing in damp walls, as he and the Dwarfs remained in the shadows of the cave. Rufus lurched through fallen rocks, reflecting pools and columns of stone. The farther he went, the warmer it got inside the cave, and it showed he was getting closer to where he was supposed to go. He cornered a long hall and found himself inside a hall fully lit by a deep crack in the ceiling of the cave, from which sunbeams passed and warmed the room’s interior in frigid grey and white stone. Rufus stepped on a chain of rocks, elevated from the ground. The rocks started as small pebbles, that turned larger and larger, poking out of the ground like stakes. The rocks twisted and turned, like roots trying to find their way through the earth. But those rocks were smooth and white as snow itself. Teeth and claws, solid as bones. He suddenly realized, he was not walking over a chain of stones, but over a skeleton of a fallen beast. Dead. He pondered how weak, yet still fearsome that gigantic creature was, even motionless and lifeless. Rufus realized the fear they all must have felt while gazing through the wholes that once held his eyes. Rufus felt a sudden relieve, thinking that the miners could return to their lives of picking, and thought of his father, General Juan Rojas Baiamonte, with proud. Bathing under the sunrays that flashed on the cave, Rufus noticed another set of bones, leaned against the tail of the fallen beast. On its side, a shiny steel sword that gleamed with the sun. On its handle was engraved the combination of three words: Strength. Consistency. Trust. The sayings of the Baiamonte family. Rufus reached for the fragile frozen and consumed hand of the skeleton lying in front of him and squeezed it tight against him chest, for a moment that would last the eternity in his mind. Rufus found his way out of the cave. Behind him, the tangling of the bag of bones reminded him that his mission had been successful, but far from complete. On the freezing wind, he saw the stream of water on the horizon, the main cities, the palace where the Rego passed his days, the monastery on the woods, where a proper burial should take place. But Rufus looked the other way, to the dry and yellow, to the deserted wastelands on the far west, where bandits, renegades, berserkers, and outcasts made their livings. Exactly where Rufus needed to go next. … Plok, plok, plok sang the bag of bones hanging on Rufus’s waist. Tuk, tuk, tuk, hummed the leathered sack on his back, starting to weigh and smell under the sun. His throat was dry, and sand ran over his face, scratching his skin and making his hair thick and parched. Invisible waves distorted the yellow horizon as the sun hit the sand and heat consumed the air. Scorpions and snakes were the living, who mocked the dried carcasses along the dirt road to the west. The wastelands. Land of the pariahs and social castaways, where men were thrown to be evaded and forgotten. In the deserts, holes, and caves, they found their ways trading favors, protection, and stolen goods. As social groups were formed, the wastelands deviated from the Rego’s established control, and while anarchy prevailed, so did the law of the strongest. During his youth in the convent, Rufus and his brothers learned about the different creatures that wandered across the Island and the best ways to fight them. Giants, for example, were extremely dependent on fire and light, being close to blind during the night. Take that, fight in the dark, and you would have the greatest advantage. Goblins, in the other hand, were creatures of the night, greedy and keen, always prone to negotiate terms and products. To have a shiny gem and convince them of its rareness was to have them on your side. But Rufus was not searching for giants or goblins. He searched for a witch. Old tales said that witches appeared in nights of full moon to perform rituals and sacrifices, in which they learned the words of the gods – chants and songs that, combined with different ingredients, had nefarious effects to entice, persuade, dissolve and control. His brothers told the tale of the three sisters. Three old ladies that roam between the realms of the living the dead were known to hide in the deep canyons of the wastelands, catching souls and condemned spirits that meandered between heaven and hell. If there was a way to speak to the dead, the three sisters would know how. Rufus counted days and nights, and not coincidentally, when the sun died on a red dried sea, the moon gleamed big and round, casting shadows over sandy tunnels. Leaning on a rock toppled over a wall of sand, Rufus waited, analyzing the holes punctured on the craggy facade. When the silver light of the moon penetrated the caves, a blue, unnatural glow illuminated the sand from within, and out of the caves, came three pale figures as thin as dried branches in the desert, in tattered rags, drifting over the sand. The boy followed the mystical figures until they stopped over the putrid carcass of a cow, consumed by the crows and vultures. They hovered in circles and chanted horrifying sounds of hissing and screaming, while the carcass gleamed in that bizarre blue light as if being evaporated in thin air. Rufus left his cover and approached the three sisters. One hand over the leathered sack hanging on his back, the other opened in his front as to calm the ghosts in front of him. Rufus carefully opened the leathered sack and took the head of a mountain wolf. Dried blood thickened his fur and maggots had found their way into his rotting meat. Rufus left the head on the ground and walked away, as the sisters circled their gift. His eyes glittered in blue, and soon, it all disappeared. The sisters turned to Rufus and floated in his direction. “A sound human, this is”, whispered the witch and a cold breeze swiped. “Would be a valuable sacrifice”, agreed the second. “Yes, the gods would gift us with splendor”, endorsed the third. “But, an act of goodwill must not come without a request... say, human, why the benevolence? What do you seek?” Rufus stared at each of them. “I seek guidance. I seek knowledge. I seek revenge”, he said kneeling on the ground and stretching the bag of bones in front of him. “Hmmm. The boy knows what he seeks and knows who to speak with” “Say, human, why should we give you what you seek instead of taking you whole back to our world” The boy bowed his head. “Grant me your guidance, sisters, and I shall forever live to fulfill your debt. Grant me your knowledge, sisters, and I shall forever live to serve your purpose. Grant me revenge, sisters, and I shall forever live to provide to you and your gods. Now and forever, my soul is yours to command, for I am your servant, follower of your rules, preacher of your will” A deafening scream echoed throughout the canyons and Rufus felt his breath fail him and his body stiffen, as if he had been tossed under a gelid waterfall that washed him from within. As the dark night turned darker still, his chest burst in pain, his heart struggling to push out of his throat, and he woke under the frying sun, laying on the sand, surrounded by a green pool of a thick and viscous liquid. Displayed on the sand were a set of white bones he found inside the tunnels of the cold mountains. “I’m sorry, father, for not being next to you when you time had come. Sorry for not being fast enough, brave enough. Sorry for being afraid. And I am sorry if I could not give you a proper burial. The day will come when I will reach you in that cave once again and hand you over to the gods. But first, I will have my revenge” Rufus tossed each part in the green water, and thought of his father, lying untouched inside the cave. The bones sank in the moss and a splash of green water lifted. The water began to bubble, and a white steam floated in the air. The skies turned from a vivid blue to a lifeless grey as the clouds closed in like a black curtain. A dark horn pierced out of the water and found its way to the sky. Behind it, a chain of scales, sharp as a Mitgardian axe erupted from the green vapor. Two arms black as leather and shiny as a blade stretched and covered the light, and a white set of teeth smiled back at Rufus, while a sounding roar tapped his ears. This black creature was released from the cold mountains of the north, and now floated untamed in warm Varlyrian skies. … Through cobblestone streets and flowing canals, through summer balconies with hanging flowers and greedy merchants, trough fish-smelling villas and wary stray cats, Rufus strolled on the city center, towards the Canal Square, where the court, the Rego, the council and every merchant in Varlyrio gathered to tend their businesses. This day, the fourth after the first full moon of the summer, the ruler, the councilor, and his followers gathered on the main square for a jaunt alongside the royal guard, to wave to the common folk, to flaunt their unending riches and unquestionable power. Seven days passed since his last audience with the Rego, when Rufus left to his mission on the Ridge Mountains, to recover his father’s remains, and since then, Rufus did not interact with his superiors. Leaving his post unattended and not communicating with your pairs was a punishable act – a fine, maybe a few days of suspension and cleaning latrines for a couple of days – but Rufus was surprised to see his face drawn all over the walls of Varlyrio under a sign that said “wanted for treason”. News ran fast on the canals of Varlyrio. But it did not matter. Rufus had expected to be pursued – collusion with obscure groups on the wastelands, plot with enemies of the crown in the mountains, use and traffic of illegal substances – one needed only choose which. Now that he thought, he was not surprised at all. Yet, he strutted. His chin pointing to the sky, and a crooked smile carved out on his face. Rufus reached the square and glanced at his brothers, all suited in full armor, surrounding a group of weak and outdated old men. The Rego on the center, waved to one side and the other, and when his eyes met Rufus’s, he stopped. “Bold of you to appear, boy. Now lay down your sword and surrender to me. You are convicted of treason against the realm for conspiring against the council, plotting against your king, and ravishing against the people” “Treason?” Rufus walked closer to the encirclement around the Rego. “I will not deny”, he extended his wrists to the guards. “But what you have been doing for the past decade, is far worse that whatever I have done in the past few days. For what I have done, I did for the people. And what you did, you did out of greed and thirst for power”, Rufus opened his arms and raised his fingers after each word. “Abuse. Diversion. Theft. Exploitation. Perjury. Assassination”. Rufus stopped. “Your days are over, your Magnificence”, and bent on one knee. A black shadow covered the square as if the sun had been a blown off flame in a dark room. A roar echoed through the canals and panic took the cobblestone streets. An obscure creature opened its leathery wings and lurched over the houses surrounding the main square. Its deafening roar was enough to break the encirclement of guards and leave the Rego exposed. The creature opened its mouth filled with infinite chains of teeth, as the ruler squeezed himself against the terracotta walls and beneath him, a yellow pool formed and ran to the flowing waters of the Varlyrian canals. The Rego’s councilor was shrunken on the ground, and noticing his ruler stripped from all his power, saw no alternative beside to acknowledge his new superior. “All hail the new king, the Mad Rufus Baiamonte!” Rufus laughed and his eyes gleamed gold as the sun, as he saw his future sitting on a new throne, under the chant of “Mad Rufus! Mad Rufus! Mad Rufus!”. THE END. ________ Phew! If you've reached this far, I truly hope you enjoyed the story an the builds. It was a very fun story to put together, especially alongside such amazing builders such as @Gideon and @Henjin_Quilones. Please, leave a comment and let us know what you think. Cheers! ________ Louis of Nutwood.
  20. Following the uprising in Mitgardia under Sir Uldain, Lord of Bleywood, the Northen Guild was is turmoil: To strengthen the popular support of his rebellion, Lord Bleywood sent out a group of men to seek out a shaman in the distant Clan Lands. Shaman Noiddi was considered mad by many, but during his episodes of trance he had vision of both past and future events. Rumors had spread of his vision of the old chieftain Krix the Cruel from many centuries ago that ruled almost all Mitgardian territory. Persuaded by Lord Bleywoods men, Noiddi seeked out the bog where the infamous chieftain had been buried the old-fashioned way in the dark, murky waters. With ancient rituals the shaman raised the bones of Krix the Cruel, and with them the last crown worn by something equal to a Mitgardian king. The antique artifacts were quickly transported the Lord Bleywood and presented to his son and heir, Sir Urdraigh. With the symbolic power of the chieftain of the olden times and the strength of the growing rebel forces, the Mitgardian people were ready to break free from the tyranny of the southern Queen… * * * It was finally time to face the battlefield for Lord Bleywood’s rebellion. So far they had succeeded in the political and tactical arena by gathering more and more lords and cities to their side, while at the same time the guild leaders in Valholl had been divided and undecisive in their actions. The support from the people had grown as well, and Lord Bleywood and his allies had increasingly became the true leaders of the lands of the Northern Guild. The threat to their success came now from the outside. Queen Ylspeth would not let a fourth of her kingdom slip away with out a fight. An army of loyal knights, mostly Avalonian nobles, and their levies marched north and set course towards Valholl to join up with the remaining royalist Mitgardians that were still holding out. The Bleywood forces made their stand at a bridge across the Whistling River in the southwest… The battle ended in a great victory for the rebellion. The Avalonian knights were lured out in the woods and picked of one and one, the footmen and archers tried to outflank the Mitgardians but got stuck in the mud, and the bridge was held by the elite troops of Theodore Bruin. The beaten royalists retreated to the south and the claim to the Northern lands by Lord Bleywood was now unquestioned. Sir Urdraigh took some noble prisoner to ransom and gave orders his soldiers: “Burn the bridges! We will have no use of them now that Mitgardia is once again a sovereign land. We want nothing from the southern lands anymore. The border is closed! Queen Ylspeth can try to salvage what little pride she has left, but one thing is certain: she is no longer Queen of Historica, because Historica as a unified kingdom is no more. The other guilds will soon follow us in their quest for independence.” More pictures can be found at my Bricksafe account:
  21. The Guilds of Historica Book III Challenge I: A Time to Rebuild Challenge II: Bread and Circuses Challenge III: What Will Tomorrow Bring? Challenge IV: The Turning Point Preludes: What Lies Beneath The Spring of Hope The Winter of Despair Even a Feather Can Tip the Scales Historica On the Edge The rumors have been pouring in from every corner of the land, of undead monsters, secret powers behind the scenes, rebellions against the guild leaders, demons from other realms, lizard people, giant chickens, and Drow invasions, to name a few. There is great unrest in the Guilds. It seems that Historicans find peacetime to be as difficult as war, perhaps because they had such high expectations for it after so many years of war. But work in peacetime is still work. Crops need planting and harvesting, bread needs baking, iron needs pounding. Life goes on, and so do the complaints. Is it Queen Ylspeth's fault? She is of the royal Cedrican bloodline, but is she the strong, unifying leader the Guilds need? Or is she weak, in need of a replacement? Category A: The Crown in Danger It is time. The uncertainty about the Queen must come to an end. Is she the queen or must we look elsewhere for leadership? Pick your side carefully. You must either: build a scene that depicts the end of the rule of Queen Ylspeth; or: build a scene that depicts the solidification of the rule of Queen Ylspeth. The scene could be anything: a decisive battle, a key assassination, banishment of enemies (or Ylspeth), or whatever else your imagination can create. It does not have to feature the queen in it, nor does it have to show the literal moment of the end (or the opposite) of her rule (though it could), but it should be a decisive moment that makes or breaks her reign, like Actium or Hastings. But again, choose carefully! This category will be scored by the judges in the same way as the quarterly freebuilds, taking both quantity and quality into consideration. If the side in favor of the queen has more points, Ylspeth stays in power; if the anti-queen faction wins, she topples. You, the people of Historica, are building the story of the Guilds. Size limit: your parts collection (a.k.a. unlimited base). But remember: bigger is not always better. Quality always wins over quantity in a LEGO build. You can build an entry for both sides if you so choose. However, in doing so, you are increasing the chances that the side you want to lose will win, unless you just don't care. Category B: The Crown in Daily Life While weighty events shape the course of history, most people are about their own ordinary lives. But even the ordinary folks are thinking occasionally about the events transpiring around Cedrica. So, build a scene of ordinary life in Historica, but with a catch: you must use at least one crown element in the build. Any of these will work: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, or 12. The creativity of crown integration will factor into scoring. You can build in any scale (i.e. macro, minifigure, or micro) and use as many crowns, and styles of crowns, as your imagination can conceive. Size limit: 12x12 (or equivalent stud area) with limited overhang. General Rules Scoring: Builds will be scored on build quality, presentation, and photography with bonus points to entries with original concepts or stories. For both Categories, a 1st and 2nd place will be selected. Each Guild can have up to 1 winner per category (so 2 guilds could have 2 winners, there can be 1 winner per guild, etc.) Rules: One entry per side for Cat. A, and only one entry total for Cat. B. Borders can exceed the maximum size restriction, within reason. Maximum sizes can be varied as long as the build does not exceed the footprint of the given size restriction (e.g.: 32x64 instead of 48x48 is permissible). No clone brands (Megablocks, KREO, etc) allowed, but 3rd party fig parts and accessories (Brickarms, Citizen Brick, etc.) are acceptable. All entries should be posted in their own topic, with the title of: "CHALLENGE IV: Category X: Name of your build". Please also post a link to your topic here. Deadline: Entries due the end of the day on Oct. 31st. November 3rd. The deadline was extended so builders can use entries for the CCC if they so wish. Prizes: The build with the highest score in Category A will win set 75946: Hungarian Horntail Triwizard Challenge.* The build with the highest score in Category A, from the opposite faction as the first prize, will win set 70671: Lloyd's Journey.* The highest scoring build from the winning faction will have its story enter the official canon of Historica. *We reserve the right to substitute a LEGO gift card of equal value to the set if shipping costs to your location prove to be financially ruinous.
  22. Here is my entry for Book III Challenge IV, Category B "The Crown in Daily Life". It was a bright, sunny autumn day in Horgaard, but Sigrid was worried. The rulers of the nearby villages had gathered to discuss the rumors that kept being relayed and amplified. Bards from the south sang the greatness of Queen Ylspeth, her wisdom, and how pleasant and prosperous life was in Avalonia under her rule. Scalds from the north sang her weakness, her ignorance, and how hard and barren life was in Mitgardia under her rule. Some of Horgaard's neighbours wanted Queen Ylspeth down, while others were ready to take up arms to defend her. The debates had been heated, to say the least. And Sigrid had no idea of what was the right thing to do. The information that reached the tiny, secluded village of Horgaard was so inconsistent and distorted that she felt unable to make an enlightened decision. After an endless, sleepless night, she needed to empty her mind. She had neglected her precious garden lately, and there were many things to do to prepare it for the winter. As with my previous MOCs, the hidden text gives more information about the featured flora.
  23. Louis of Nutwood

    Svalg Keep: Mitgardia (Free-Build)

    To the very end of a treacherous dirt road, west of the Bay of Storms, lay a small fortress called Svalg Keep. The fortress was erected by the Old Men, where the winds were heavy, the temperature was low, and no man had reason to pass by. It was intentionally built away from any city or village, for it only kept functioning as a prison. As we advanced through the muddy road, small bits of the fortress appeared magnificently between the trees covered in snow. The dim light of the lanterns that kept Svalg keep alive looked blurred and weak from a distance. Its walls, built into the rock, were partially cracked and covered in snow. The more we approached, the more Svalg Keep looked old and forgotten. When we reached the walls, I jumped aside. - Open the gates! Open the gates! – I shouted. – The wagon has been taken! A grey-haired man with fuzzy whiskers appeared on the wall. He stretched a fiery lantern in front of him so he could better see us. - Who’s there? – He asked. His voice was deep and strong. - We’ve been attacked! They are coming this way! Let us in! For a moment, the man hesitated and gnarled. His lantern went away. The cold was harsh, but I could feel the drops of sweat trickling down my chest. Our horse was unquiet, jumping and crying. Please, please, open the gates. I was hoping to hear something coming from within the keep, but one could only hear the whispering wind and the falling leaves. - Hey! – I yelled again. – We need help! Nothing. I pulled the reins and approached the giant wooden doors of the keep until we were close enough. I punched the door again and again. If they find out that we are disguised... A crackling sound came from the inside. The door opened. We were received by the same bearded man. He was tall, strong, and although he seemed old, age did not appear to have taken his tenancy. Could be the cold or simply the genetics of the Lion clan, I could not say. He stood firmly as a war general and wielded his long-sword as if it didn’t weight a thing. - Get inside. How long before the attackers reach us? Got him. - A quarter of an hour, no more than that. But we must check his wounds – I pointed at Hob, helping him off the horse. - There are tools in the armory. Head there and see through his wounds as I gather our men to prepare for battle. The plan was working perfectly. We were let inside the keep and made our way to the armory. We entered a small room, packed with wooden cabinets, clipboards and mainly weapon racks, that made the room seem even smaller than it already was. The stony dark grey walls were cold and the feeling inside was humid, what made the cold even tougher. The room was poorly lit with candles casting shadows on the walls that seemed to twinkle like gold. - We did it! I whispered cheerfully. - Easy, Kid. There is plenty we still need to do. – said Hob calmly and analytical as always. He glanced into the room anticipating the other guard’s arrival – We need something to block them in here. Perhaps that cabinet might... His words vanished as he caught sight of three guards entering the room, leaded by the grey-haired general. - Christoff Hobard. – his deep voice echoed through the room. – We were waiting for you. __________ Greetings, fellow builders! This is the first time I'm posting on Eurobricks. Hope you all like it. The story follows a series of MOCs about Louis of Valnötsträd, my character. You can check all the chapters so far on my Flickr page ( This building will count as a Free-Build for Mitgardia, in Guilds of Historica. Let me know what you all think. Hope you like the result. Louis of Valnötsträd
  24. 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]
  25. Rogue Angel

    The Sunken Tavern

    The Sunken Tavern Sheltered off the coast of Tradesmeet, Halfway between Varlyrio and Avalonia, sits the Sunken Tavern. The Tavern is a favorite destination for many a sailor, captain or pirate. The Tavern provides a safe haven for all. The Tavern does not fall within the jurisdiction of Tradesmeet despite it's proximity, and this make's it especially alluring for those seeking to arrange illicit deals and contracts. While some assume the Tavern is under the control of the Scarlet Marauders, the owner is actually a Kolgari who has run the tavern for as long as anyone can remember. Despite it's illicit reputation, the Tavern is understood to be a safe location to travel to and from unmolested. Some say that the Scarlet Marauders have an arrangement with the Kolgari owner, while others say the Kolgari is a powerful magician with many wards and protections in place. It is even whispered by some that the Kolgari has a Kraken at her beck and call, if such a thing even exists. Regardless, the result is that visitors need not worry about Pirates, Maruaders or Customs agents. A Scarlet Maruader vessel is docked. This is a common sight at the Tavern, and many who wish to make contact with the Marauders will attempt to do so here. The Sunken Tavern has many visitors, and those from foreign ports are not uncommon. Currently an Avalonian ship is docked and the guards appear to be on alert, whether out of caution of fear of recognition, it is hard to tell. A Varlyrian Fisherman is bringing in a fresh load to sell to the larger vessels, and to the Taverns patrons as well. The tavern is well built and has weathered many a squall. It is open in calm or storm. The tavern is on the first floor, and can get quite rowdy, depending on the crowd. The Kolgari owner is Taleth Asari, and she is always accompanied by other Kolgari, said to be her bodyguards or sisters, depending on who you ask. There are two rooms for rent on the 2nd floor of the tavern, with access to the balcony on the third floor, and from there the great room. An Avalonian merchant nobleman has been staying in the great room for a couple of weeks, and is about to depart in the vessel awaiting outside. The balcony is quite popular during dry weather for drinking, socializing and negotiations. A heated discussion is currently going on between a Varlyrian lady and Malco Amancio, the notorious nephew of Supano Amancio, a forceful "negotiator" who is also called 'kneecap' by some behind his back. Malco is always suspicious and hot-headed, and has a particular dislike for his cousin Aldacio, who he thinks is trying to seduce his current consort. Aldacio was born and raised in Avalonia, and his relatives see him as soft and weak, and are embarrassed by his soft Avalonian tendencies. As always, the docks are busy, and populated by all sorts of characters from all over Historica. High rez and more pics on Flickr. Edit: Added exploded view to hidden area