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Be warned! This is a long story. Maybe read it in chunks, or during a particularly boring work meeting. If you aren't familiar with my past stories, it might help to read some back story on my main character Wyndor, a supporting character Charlemagne, their connection, and Charlemagne's start. Less important is reading up on Budd-apest. If you're not scared away yet, here's my story: With the death of Pjeter, many things had changed in Dalig Ulv. Wyndor had taken over civic responsibilities and his brothers, Mattimeo in particular, had stepped up to help in any way they could. Mattimeo’s specially trained troops had been particularly helpful in defending against the Algus’ constant attacks against the towns of Mitgardia. When Wyndor received a message from the Sultan of Budd-apest asking for aid, he first thought of some of Mattimeo’s men… or woman as the case was. “Thank you for being willing to go Constance.” “Of course, I know we wouldn’t have stopped the Algus if it weren’t for the dragon Charlemagne helped you get. He deserves our help.” “Yes, and you know I would go myself if I could. But I can’t leave Dalig Ulv undefended right now. The Algus have grown bolder since that blue beam appeared in the sky and I need to be here in case they try to break through the wall. But there’s more that I need to ask you to do. In addition to trying to find Charlemagne, I want you to see if you can find the King’s son.” “So the rumors are true?” “They certainly seem to be. The King went missing after the defeat of Revolword, but now his son has returned to claim the throne! Many leaders across Historica have left their homes and the only reason I can think of is that the true Heir has actually returned. But at the same time, the Spire has grown bolder with their ranging parties. You’ll have to travel with just a few men to sneak past them.” “Don’t worry, we’re good at stealth. If there are any Spire forces we will avoid them.” “Try to find and save Charlemagne, but also lend aid to the Prince if you can. And take this blade. I had the dwarves line it’s edges with dragon steel. It’s not as effective as a pure dragon forged blade, but if you meet any Algus on your journeys, it should be enough for you to stop them.” “Thank you Wyndor, I will represent Mitgardia well.” ___________________________________________________________________________ Constance traveled across Mitgardia to the East before heading South towards Budd-apest, on the northern edge of Kaliplin. She arrived and asked for an audience with the Sultan who had sent the original message to Wyndor. “Thank you for coming.” “Of course, the relationship between our two cities is something we value. If someone has acted against one of your top citizens, then they have acted against Dalig Ulv! Do you know where he was last seen?” “Unfortunately I do. Some of the Spires enforcers were trying to win him over to their cause right before his disappearance. We’ve done some reconnaissance and now know that their base of operations is in Nocturnus, just on the other side of the Kelra Labyrinths” “I’ve heard some nasty things about the Labyrinths, but I’ll do whatever I need to. Now, I also needed to ask a favor of you. Wyndor has heard that the Prince has been found. Do you know anything about his possible whereabouts?” “Ah, fortune may be smiling on your after all. We have had many travelers pass through Budd-apest these days, and all of them have been heading to the Labyrinths. It seems that the Prince has worked out some way through the Labyrinths and is preparing to strike against the Spire. Perhaps you’ll find both Charlemagne and the Prince there. Though I must let you know that my loyalties are to the true King, the Desert King.” “I’m sure the Desert King will welcome Cedric’s heir. The Desert King has done the land a great favor in driving out those Ulandian usurpers and will be a welcome leader to the faction of Kaliphlin. It’s not as if the Desert King would want to rule the other factions as well, right?” “Let us hope that all is as you say, I don’t think any of us would welcome another war any time soon.” _________________________________________________________________________________ Constance set out from Budd-apest and made her way north through the Rakath Mountains towards the Kelra Labyrinths. As she and her men descended from the mountain pass through a forest of bone trees, a rabbit hopped onto the path. “Are you A.L.I.C.E.?” “Wait, did that rabbit just talk?” “I’m not just a rabbit, I’m the appointed spokesperson and I need to know, are you A.L.I.C.E.?” “You’ll have to forgive my friend here. He wants to know if you are part of the Allies Looking to Impede Creatures of Evil. A.L.I.C.E. for short.” “Does that mean you are against Raavage?” she asked while readying her sword. “Yes, we have long resisted his rule and now that the true king has been found we have someone to rally behind. Now, are you A.L.I.C.E.?” “Well, my name is Constance, but yes. My men and I are here to find the Prince.” “Excellent, the main force has already gone ahead. My friend here insisted on one last sweep before going to join them. We must move quickly before the battle begins.” “Battle?” “Have you not heard? Prince Alexander has returned! He has gathered a force to be reckoned with and each day more flock to his banner. But we can talk more on the road. We must move with haste if we are to be of any help in this final battle.” ___________________________________________________________________________ Constance, her band, and the members of A.L.I.C.E. made their way toward the Kelra Labyrinths. “Let us pass, sir.” “Just because Prince Alexander has struck a deal with Lord Ssilyrrlith to allow him to rule Nocturnus after Raavage is defeated doesn’t mean you get to boss me around.” “Please Reptrian, we are in a great hurry. Let us pass.” “We labyrinth keepers gain nothing by allowing you to pass freely. It’s not fair that you Minotaurs keep leading them through the maze so quickly. We need prey! At least Kyran gave us fresh meat.” Recognizing that name after talking with the Sultan, Constance spoke up. “Wait, you said the vampire, Kyran, has sent people here?” “Maybe…” the Reptrian admitted reluctantly. “Have you seen a half-Leander by the name of Charlemagne?” “We don’t name our prey lady. No need to get attached to what you are about to eat right?” “Just answer the question!” “Alright, we did have a few Leanders running around the maze, but most managed to escape our clutches. I think one is still deep in the labyrinth, but I can’t make any promises. And if we catch him, we aren’t giving him back!” “You’ve done enough stalling Reptrian. Let us pass.” And so they entered the Labyrinth. _____________________________________________________________ Although Prince Alexander had worked out a deal to allow his forces to pass through without interference from the Reptrians, that didn’t stop the rest of the monsters that inhabited the labyrinth from trying to kill Constance and her companions. Thankfully, all in their group were skilled fighters and they were able ward off all attacks. Constance knew that meeting up with the Prince meant they had no time to spare, but she couldn’t help but look around corners and down alternate routes every chance she could. It was by doing this that she heard a groan coming from one of the dead ends that frequented the maze. She rushed to see what creature needed aid, much to the chagrin of the Minotaur leading them. Favor was on her side as she realized that against all odds, she had found Charlemagne! “Back you devils! I won’t let you take me!” “Charlemagne, it’s okay. We’re friends. I come on behalf of Wyndor and your Sultan.” “Oh thank goodness! I’ve been fighting off monsters for longer than I can remember. Can you help me get out of here?” “Yes, but we must hurry!” ______________________________________________________ On their way out of the labyrinth, Constance explained to Charlemagne about the Prince’s return. She also comforted him with the knowledge that the Reptrian knew that a number of Leanders had escaped the labyrinth and that his wife and friends were most likely safe. Soon after exiting the labyrinth they came upon the Prince’s camp. There was indeed an impressive host of people from all four guilds gathered there. There was a commotion happening on the far end of the camp, so Constance and her companions made their way over there. “As many of you have heard, my father the King, is dead.” It seemed the Prince was just getting underway in explaining what was happening. Constance listened closer. “After Revelword attacked the capital, my father was grievously wounded. We fled the Valyrian forces and made for the coast. My father had heard tell of a great healer who may be able to restore him. We sailed for many days before coming aground on an island. As fortune would have it, it was the very island where this healer lived. He worked for many days to save the King and was able to prolong his life. However, he never regained enough strength to make the return journey. He died three fortnights ago. Before he passed he made me promise to return to our home and re-take the throne.” At this there was much cheering from the crowd. “Now we have gathered to defeat Raavage and stop him from finding the Necromancers Helm. Rest up tonight, for tomorrow we attack!” ______________________________________________________________ The rest of the day was spent planning. Prince Alexander summoned many of the faction leaders to his tent to give them their orders. Constance was surprised when a courier asked her to join one of these meetings. “Thank you Constance, for joining us. Charlemagne and Glorfindel have spoken very highly of you and they have recommended you for this mission.” “Thank you sire, I would be honored to serve you.” “Excellent, now as I was saying, if we are going to stop Raavage from getting the Necromancers Helm, we will need to get a small force over the river.” He indicated the river that stood between us and Raavage main host. “Our spies tell me that Raavage believes he has located the Helm and will retrieve it tomorrow. We will send out main forces against his army tomorrow at dawn. Meanwhile, a few of us sneak across the river tonight and prepare to ambush Raavage before he can get the Helm.” Just then, the Desert King himself walked into the tent. “Majesty.” “Sire, thank you for coming. I was surprised to hear that you came yourself when I asked for forces from you, but I am honored that you have chosen to fight beside me.” “You are the King, it is only right that I should fight by your side. And I can think of no greater responsibility than to help protect you as we strike Raavage personally.” “And I’m sure having a chance to avenge Kaliphlin by killing any Ulandians who might be there doesn’t hurt.” “Yes,” he said with a glint in his eye. “It was a blow to find out Ulandus had sided with the traitor Raavage. But revenge is not why I am here. Though I will not hesitate to strike down any of the usurpers if they stand in my way.” “Alright, let’s go over the plan one more time and then we must get across the river.” _________________________________________________________________________________ As morning dawned, the forces of Raavage lined up on one side of the river opposite the forces of Prince Alexander. There was much rustling as both sides waited to see who would strike first. Finally someone yelled “For Historica!” and the rush across the bridge began. The armies of Raavage hurried to annihilate the free peoples of the four guilds. The fight to decide who would rule had begun. _________________________________________________________________ Meanwhile, deeper into Nocturnus territory Prince Alexander and his small band were approaching a graveyard. It was there that Raavage had discovered the location of the Necromancer’s Helm. “Guard the yard. Now that I’ve broken the enchantments on the tomb, it shouldn’t be long before I return with the helm. Let no one enter!” Raavage’s minions, a leader of the Algus, the Drow, Ulandus, and the vampire forces allied with the Spire set about securing the perimeter. As Raavage entered the crypt Prince Alexander struck. The battle was swift. Although each of Raavage’s men were skilled fighters, they were surprised and outnumbered. In a matter of minutes they all lay dead, scattered across the graveyard. “Huzzah! We’ve struck a great blow against our enemy, but quickly, we must not let Raavage get the Helm!” Just then, Raavage exited with the Necromancer’s Helm. He was so blind with greed that he didn’t even look around the Helm to see who was there to greet him. Alexander leapt forward and with a decisive blow, ended the life of the tyrant Raavage. The Prince turned as all present cheered. The war was over! The Necromancer’s Helm had been kept from the clutches of those wishing to use it for evil! But then, the unthinkable happened. The Desert King turned on the Prince and stabbed him. Gasps of shock were heard all across the graveyard. “Now, I shall claim my rightful throne! My kingdom of old spanned from shore to shore, now it shall again!” He placed the Necromancer’s Helm on his head. “No!” cried Osric. “I fought for you, how could betray us like this?” “Sire!” cried Charlemagne, “You didn’t have to do this, Kaliplin would have forever been yours! Why did you kill the Prince?” “There is no other ruler except for I! I am immortal. Everyone else who claims a throne across Historica is only a usurper and a rebel. I am the rightful ruler. All shall bow to me!” “You will never convince the peoples to follow you!” "You will pay!" “Hasn’t this day proved to you that the free peoples will stop at nothing to remain so?” “No one will be able to stop me.” And with that the Desert King muttered under his breath and the fallen Prince rose again. But he was no longer a healthy human being. He has a mindless zombie, now under the control of the Desert King. “Grrrr!” “You see, I will turn everyone you’ve ever lost against you. I will raise an army that can never die! No one will be able to resist me. But take solace in this. After the rebels have been dealt with, the land will know my mercy. I am a sympathetic king when my people submit to my rule.” “Are we all to become your mindless puppets today?” “No. I will allow you all to live. Take this news back to your lands. Let them know that anyone who accepts my rule will be welcome by my side. All others should fear for their life or flee this land.” And from that day on, the four guilds were ruled by the Desert King, Ark’Mora Raa.