The Historical Account Of
The Battle For The Sword of the First Paladin
The Battle For The Sword of the First Paladin
A History of the Land of Eld
This evil force was small, yet so long had Eld been at peace that it was ill prepared for the menagerie of dark sorcerers, orcs, ogres, goblins, werewolves and various undead which now threatened the land. The current king, Arthur Duschenes, was a good and wise man, but unfortunately over-protective of his home town of Gilead to the detriment of the rest of his kingdom. This dark force emanated from the center of the spireplane known as Midworld, towards the North, whereas Gilead and the center of Arthur’s power base remained in the South. The Northerners felt abandoned, and Arthur was accuse of being stingy with the forces and powers at his disposal. The North, claiming only a better position from which to defend itself and the rest of Midworld, seceded from the rest of Eld, under the Auspices of Henry the Red, Duke of Shale, who now calls himself Lord of the Northland and leader of its peoples.
Arthur, fearing both the break up of his kingdom and the expanding darkness which threatens both lands, has given control of his armies over to his highest general, Jim Farson, known in many circles as ‘the Good Man’. So far, fighting between the North and South has been sporadic, though both sides claim the authority and blessings of ‘the Man Jesus His self’, and God’s own Holy Will as their guide. The skirmishes have neither lead the lands closer to reunification (which is Arthur’s goal) nor has it weakened the darkness (Henry’s only concern). Indeed it seems the Good Man’s main goal is to use Henry’s new quasi-kingdom as a buffer between Gilead and the darkness that grows beyond the North lands. Yet this, too, seems a failed effort, as the evil horde has started to create outposts in the forests of the south as well.
Realizing that some of these southerly forays have been an attempt to quarantine a particular area, Farson has used his mages to divine the plans of those who lead the enemies of all that is good. They seek a weapon, an ancient sword said to be once wielded by the first Paladin in Eld, a weapon they seek to keep out of the hands of Henry and Arthur. Farson led a small contingent of men onto the edge of the darkness to search for this weapon, while Henry has also discovered its existence. Thus did two small armies encamp at the edge of the Dark Forest, in a disputed area between the lands ruled by Arthur Duschenes and those ruled by Henry the Red. Both armies fought each other and the forces of darkness that resided in the forest. They fought for honor, they fought for control of the area, and they fought for the lands and time they needed to search out the Sword of the First Paladin, a weapon that could end the conflict between the north and the south, unite a divided people, and finally push back the terrible darkness that threatened the land. Thus began the Battle for the Sword of the First Paladin.
The Battle For The Sword
It is all but impossible to lay down an account of all the great deeds and happenings of a battle as wide-ranging, long and bloody as the struggle for the Sword of the Last Paladin, which took place in the depths of the Dark Forest in the land of Eld on the Spireplane known as Midworld. And so I begin by begging forgiveness to any soul who braved those fields and forests and who managed to leave them alive. The blood, sweat and tears you gave to your kings and countries deserved better, yet the memory of the scribe is a limited one, as it is for all men and women. Today I try only to give an account, a general picture of some of the deeds and happenings of those fateful days. Some stories must be told as well as they can be told, even if the result be incomplete.
The battle began at night, which made judicious use of rogues and mages very difficult. Indeed, those first few hours were defined by what is known as ‘the fog of war’. Friendly fire was common, as was a general confusion as to where one was and what was expected of one. Yet in spite of these terrible odds, the two sides fought on. The armies of Arthur Deschanes were heavy with rogues, expecting to fight a more subtle and skillful war. Yes, a night battle is just the time one would expect such an army to dominate. Yet it was not to be. The woods were thick and full of dark mages and beasts of all kind. People fell under the evils of confusion spells and the camp was threatened by a werewolf. No, in the end it was the fighters who defined that terrible night. And Henry’s men were more prepared, at least at first. Voleteras, who from now on shall be known in every land as ‘the magnificent’ was the primary line of defense, followed by his trusty mate Hepeterous. Once Hepeterous was called from the battlefield due to an ailing wife, Voleteras was the lone fighter.
Yet Voleteras was by no means alone. His commander Nightshade The Subtle, and her second in command Short Stack The Brave both showed great valor and skill, even when they were attacked in what was supposed to be neutral territory between the two kingdoms. And the great priest Thornberry was the key to Arthur’s ability to hold off the attacks of the Red Rebellion. Yes, great Gilead would’ve fallen that very night, if not for her gifts as a healer, gifts that could only have come from the man Jesus His self. Lady Destiny and Sir Wyatt of Griffis got lost in the woods in the pitch of night, contributing to a few kills once they found their way to a nearby clearing.
Then, reinforcements arrived. Jarebare the Wise was every bit the battle-savvy mage Sheckler was, and this buoyed not only the firepower but the morale of Arthur’s army. Then, more good news for the Gileadites, as a kindly druid and his sister, seeking nothing more than the glory of battle under the moonlit sky, joined the band and further swelled their ranks. Under the direct leadership of John Farson’ “The Good Man”, they outsmarted Henry’s commander “Tyrone the Impish”. Their rogues used a rearguard action to successfully dispel a series of magical walls set up by Sheckler and the wizard Kaxin the Diminutive (but not before Tyrone himself took down one of their swiftest rogues, Sir Wyatt) and Nightshade’s crew stole the flag of the Red’s army, demoralizing the men, and bringing forth fears that perhaps this victory would not be so simple after all.
Yet Sheckler The Detail-Oriented was not without his own supporters. A longtime ally, Zomp the Feared, battle hardened and skilled in all ways of contending, brought renewed vigor to the war effort. In the dead of night, a raid was launched against the Arthurian Camp, only to meet heavier than expected resistance. At this moment, the evil denizens of the Dark Forrest once again interjected their own brand of chaos, with several Fighter-Mages descending from the forest, mercilessly killing men and women on both sides. These mages wielded the same magic bolts as the armies themselves, along with all manner of foul weapon. Their leader, however questionable his loyalties, was a wizard and fighter most fearful, almost immediately landing an incredible shot with his magic bolts, nearly killing Nightshade who was saved by the blessed magic of Thornburry. Peebler rushed the same mage with a mighty roar, and two weapons skillfully held, yet a near point-blank magic bolt sent him to the ground. Zomp the Feared used a tactical retreat and the battle mage’s temporary distraction by another fighter to bring about the dark mage’s doom. Thus ended the terrible night of the Dark Forest, yet it was a truly glorious future lying in store for the heroes the next day.
It was a day heralded by the dawn. For the dawn was beautiful, and stunning. And as terrible as war can be, it can also sometimes be beautiful. Whereas the night was determined primarily by strength and chaos, it was strategy and the poetry of the motion of combat that was the mark of that day which will from now on be known as The Day of the Sword.
With every path, every nook and every cranny of that forest and those fields now illuminated by a light that could only have been sent by the man Jesus his self, the mages and rogues of each team had more freedom of movement to rain terror upon even the most skilled of fighters. Shrek the Massive began the day with a long trek behind enemy lines, planning a flanking maneuver the likes of which neither side had seemed capable of bringing about the night before. He snuck quietly to the rear of the armies of Arthur. And then, a sudden jolt of fear as the gaze of an enemy, the fair Andrea the Swift Footed landed upon him. Shrek’s judicious use of a magical wall exemplified the skillful use of magic in the midst of battle, and disaster for the Red Rebellion was averted.
And so Sir Shrek rushed upon Arthur’s team, catching them unawares, and he removed with a single magical bolt that most important piece of the Arthurian army’s cadre, Thornburry the Blessed Priest. Meanwhile the warriors Peebler The Impervious, Burrr and Sheckler The Detail-Oriented led a full frontal assault to capture none other than Volaterras, the strongest front guardsman on the Arthurian side. The gambit succeeded, and now the Magnificent was a captive of Henry the Red.
With the Red Rebellion mastering the back country, and neutralizing the strongest member of the Arthurian force, all seemed lost for the contingent from Gilead. And so the fair Nightshade along with Jarebare the Wise hatched an ingenious plan. Expecting the Red’s army to press their advantage, and to seek back their flag, a dishonor that had continued to pain them from the battles the night before, she had her own army pull as far back on the field as she could, giving the illusion of a retreat. The ruse was successful, and it was Nightshade herself who used her rogue’s cunning to sneak behind the lines of the Red Rebellion, and free Volaterras from prison. Peebler was a hair’s breath from claiming the maiden’s life, but her mighty sword Swiftsheath proved too much, and Volaterras was once again free to rain down terror upon the battlefield. Feeling exposed, The Red’s army retreated back to their secure positions. However, unbeknownst to anyone, a forest brownie had removed the flag of the Red from the hands of the enemy, in the very midst of battle. Playing with it in the woods, it was discovered by the Red’s army, and the indignity of the night before was erased, though not for long.
Sick of playing defensive, Nightshade decided to mimic a strategy her opponents had used successfully the night before, and use the might of the returned Austin the Druid, Volaterras, and the battle mage Jarebare front and center in a full-on assault. Volaterras, remembering the indignity of his temporary imprisonment, threw a mighty weapon right into the midst of the opposing team with a terrible battle cry, a cry so massive it sent the Red’s army into a temporary panic.
Yet their courage swiftly found them, and they engaged in a battle most brutal. Yet blood and sweat can be the fertilizer from which the tree of glory grows, and indeed such was the case this time as well. The mighty Andrea the Swift Footed, light of foot and possessed of the best skills a thief can have, had captured the flag of the other team, and was almost back in the bosom of sweet safety on the Arthurian side of the field, when a mighty blow felled her, and removed from her the advantage such a reclamation of the flag would’ve brought, but not the honor and glory of the effort.
Henry the Red’s men pressed their advantage, and made a full-court press to finally push out the Arthurian army. Yet it was not to be, for just as the battle became pitched, a company of orcs emerged from the cursed corners of the Dark Forest and tried to take advantage of the chaos and destroy all the warriors that sought the sword which could, possibly, seal the fate of all the forces of darkness. Many died at orcish hands, but a temporary truce was made right there on that field, and the combined forces of Henry and Arthur took down the beasts. It was the mages and druids, with their magical bolts that really determined the fate of the orcs, who learned that day that the light is not without its own mystic resources.
The truce was indeed only temporary, and both teams tried short-range flanking actions, and judicious use of magical walls to break the power of the other. Jarebare snuck in behind enemy lines, but both he and Zomp the fearful seemed struck by confusion spell, and no clear success was found. An interesting turn of events took place, with both teams claiming the flag of the other. The exact details were something of a blur, due to the magic involved.
Battle turned to more battle quickly, with both forces equally divided. No quarter asked, and nothing gained, as each team matched the other blow by blow. Kaxin the Diminutive and Creepy the Invisible both distinguished themselves in this combat, cutting a path directly back to their own flag on the other side. Kaxin, the flag nearly in her capable and wise hands, was cut down in the last moment by Adelaide the Resplendent, who also started to rise to the top in these final battles.
There was a long pause as both teams regrouped. Adelaide the Resplendent defended the Arthurian side of the field of battle, while Volaterras and the swifter of foot and magically gifted led another assault on the Red’s holdings in the forest. Jarebare had put a magical wall around the fair Thornberry, ensuring her safety to restore any wounded warriors to health. Volaterras was injured early in battle only to be quickly restored by Thornberry who unfortunately was yet again removed from the field of battle, her actions removing the spell of protection around her. Volaterras and the others were pushed farther back into their own territory by Peebler The Impervious, Burrr the Determined, and Sheckler The Detail-Oriented. A stray magical bolt defeated both Volaterras and Adelaide. Andrea the Swift Footed, so quick on her feet reclaimed her team’s honor and their flag, despite a terrible injury that all but immobilized her. Dejected and over-run, with neither the flag of their opponents nor their own, the Red’s men all but gave up, when out of the forest came none other than Kaxin the Diminutive, holding the team’s very own colors. It was her magic that had felled the two warriors in the Arthurian contingent, and it was she who reclaimed the honor, and final victoryfor the Red. They sang her praises, as I’m sure they will for centuries to come.
Broken and confused, both sides agreed to a truce. They soon realized that the attacks from the Dark Forest would’ve been impossible without traitors from both sides involved. The armies, once cohesive, broke up. New alliances formed, with smaller bands consisting of members of both teams. These smaller bands, still committed to the deeper goal of finding the Last Paladin’s Sword and fighting to remove the darkness from the forest, began fighting one another in the bloodiest of battles. Creeper the Invisible and Adelaide the Resplendent formed a hasty alliance, and lay in wait to see what would happen as the other bands roamed about, seeking the sword and occasionally engage in bloody battle. Austin the Druid, who saw the opportunity for even greater glory, sought an alliance with a wood elf of the forest, and they too took up defensive positions.
It was not long before bloodshed began again. Andrea, Peebles and Nightshade, now formed as a single Ka-Tet, sought to meet the equally dangerous combination of Zomp, Volaterras and Burrr. Quickly, they realized they would be more effective together and decided to face down the other marauding bands together, seeking out those lying in wait as it was believed now that one of those hiding in the dark forest must be allied with its denizens. Yet fortunes turn quickly in the heat of battle. All of a sudden, as Zomp and Burr began the search, Andrea and her companions turned on Volaterras, and the mighty warrior, so distinguished in battle these bloody days, fell. A hush covered the clearings and the forest.
Zomp and Burr could not let this stand, and they quickly turned back and rushed the one-time allied group with all of their might. Peebles broke ranks in an attempt to head them off, and while sliding at full speed to avoid one attack, he quickly met his fate at the end of another blade lying in wait. And then there were four. The battle became less pitched now. Both sides sought more defensive positions. Then in a stunning display Zomp and Burr took out the deadly Nightshade, leaving only Andrea to defend against the two. She fought valiantly, killing Zomp and severely injuring Burrr, but losing her life in the process. Thus Burrr stood victorious.
Yet the sweet taste of victory did not last long. For then out of the forest emerged Adelaide the Resplendent and Creeper The Invisible. Burr hastily drank a healing potion, left by the now-slain priest Thornberry on the field of battle. The ensuing fight was a pure donnybrook, with Burrr landing several stunning blows on both opponents, yet in the end it was Creeper and Adelaide that stood triumphant. Then, at the last moment, Austin the Druid too emerged from his place in the forest.
These three together, the only surviving members of the once mighty armies, searched the forests and the blood-stained battlefields, and discovered the temple that the darkness had fought so hard to keep from them.
In that temple Creeper was chosen to be the recipient of that most exalted of prizes, a holy sword known as the Sword of the First Paladin capable of perhaps turning the tide and ending the dark stain that had up to this time marked the fate, the ka, of Eld, and the Ka-tets, the men and women bound by fate, which had so far found only death along their paths. Adelaide the Resplendent and Austin found magical weapons of their own, and the three committed themselves to making sure the loss of so many would not be in vain. All of a sudden, out of the ground rose an illuminated spirit. It was none other than the heaven-based soul of the Last Paladin himself. He claimed to have been sent by the man Jesus his self and he with a wave of his hand brought all the warriors who had searched in vain for the sword their lives back.
He explained to them that both Tyrone and John Farson, the so-called “Good Man” (who it turned out was anything but), were allies of the darkness, and it was they who actually led the forces of darkness. It became clear to all involved that the fight to free this land had just begun, for the dark forces had a much deeper hold on all that was in the land of Eld than any realized. Now bound together by a desire for freedom, and an end to all the terrible bloodshed, both armies swore to break their ties with the leaders they had once served, and to now follow the holder of the Sword into combat against Farson, Tyrone, and the dark forces they represented. The glorious noonday, with its wonderful restoration of life ended with these words by Creeper, “Let’s go get John Farson.”
NOT The End.