Prologue: The Zealan Empire
Chieftain Khumash-Gor I of the Zealan Empire laid down his scimitar. The new empire was already fading, and Khumash was extremely pissed. He thought that Remvatos must be getting a big laugh out of this. He unites the Zealan tribes, and when he forges an empire, they start to break away. "Ah, well," muttered Khumash. "Old traditions die hard."
"What didst thou say, milord?"
Fragh-Kar was a young man, barely past being a Disciple. He had shown great promise, however, and soon passed the final test of Mageship after a few years. After a few years wandering the four corners of Pagan searching for adventure, he arrived at the city of Darh, where Khumash was rallying an army to destroy the last rebel tribe- the Scharkhs - and Fragh "coincidentally" bumped into him on the street. Khumash soon took a liking to the boy, and Fragh soon rose to the respected position of Court Mage.
"Nothing, Fragh-Kar. I am just distressed with the recent dissent in the empire."
"Oh, that. Well, it is quite a problem, sir. I am afraid I still have no solution."
"It will never end, Fragh. We will be assassinated by one chief or another someday."
"I know, milord. I, myself, wonder about the wisdom of keeping this empire together. Maybe we should just let…"
"LET? LET??? I will never surrender to these spoiled, crying babies! If they don't like me, that's their problem! If they want to be separated, I must stop them for the good of all the Zealans!"
And it was then that the elderly Khumash-Gor died of heart failure.
He got too mad at the aristocrats of the empire and eventually died.
tried to hold the empire together, but failed. Eventually, the Zealans
again split up, although Khumash's original tribe became the strongest
and claimed the city of Tenebrae for themselves, Pagan was still, yet
Some time in the '50s, the era when everyone wanted to be James Dean and futuristic was "in", two youths were born on Earth in the area known as Texas, although one was truly born on the British Isles. Their names were Richard and Robert Garriott, and Richard was born in Britain. As they grew, they came to befriend a few people, some of their names being David Watson and Gregory Dykes. This group of ten didn't know what they would become one day. Seven would become world-renowned - but not in this world, one would rule a world, and two more would become gods.
But I am getting ahead of myself. One day, this party of friends became nine.
One day in 1979, Richard Garriott was walking in the woods when he saw a clearing. When he came closer, he found a circle of stones with a necklace in the middle. The necklace with blue ribbon with a silver serpent attached. Richard wore it and left this world.
Richard arrived in a similar woods. After walking for a few hours, he came to a lodge where he met a woodcutter named Shamino. Shamino asked Richard where he was from, and Richard replied the British Isles. Thus Richard came to be known as British in the land of Sosaria.
However, at the same time on Sosaria, a young wizard named Mondain
growing up. He was a violent sort, he would go out into the woods with
his pocketknife and kill animals, with a rich and renowned father. His
father had created a largish gem one day, which he bestowed with the
and purity of the sun. Mondain despised his father for it, and killed
one day. He then took the gem and corrupted it into the godforsaken Gem
of Immortality, which has since caused the world - and many other
- innumerable pains.
British paced the width of the two-story lodge he shared with Shamino. He saw the problems with Sosaria, and wished to fix them, but how? Could he and Shamino raid the rest of Sosaria and conquer it? He doubted it. He decided to pick a more political way, similar to the way officials were chosen on Earth.
And thus, Richard "British" Garriott started a campaign.
However, British also had other problems. How to return home? What to do when he is home? He could certainly do more good for the universe on Sosaria than on Earth. But he banished that from his mind when matters were about his campaign.
The greatest position a Sosarian could hold was Lord, and British, being an ambitious young boy, went for it head-first. After a long campaign, the Sosarians got sick of the splits amongst the people and held a vote. The results were surprising.
One of British's first acts was to rename his continent the Lands of Lord British, and name Shamino Lord of the Lands of Danger and Despair. Eventually, Lord British's realm became known as Britannia, and Lord Shamino's realm became known as the Serpent Isle.
But I am getting ahead of myself again.
After this, Lord British gave up the search for a way home, and it was then that the way came.
One day, Lord British was walking around the countryside near the castle, when he heard a deafening "Boom!" near him. He went to investigate and found a small stone in a crater. He picked up the stone, and a red, swirling portal appeared in front of him. He entered…
And he returned.
Richard was back on Earth. The first thing he did was finding his old friends and telling them of what happened. All of them wanted to return with him, except Robert, because he was in the hospital and could not see Richard. Richard returned with his friends, and they took new names.
David Watson called himself Iolo Fitzowen, Gregory Dykes called
Dupre, and Lord British's other friends - whose Earthly names were the
same - called themselves Geoffrey, Jaana, Julia, Katrina, and Mariah.
At this time, Mondain started to think up plans of ruling the world, for immortality was not good enough for him. He took a young apprentice by the name of Minax, and he started to conquer. His magicks were not like most other magicks of the time, for his were evil, and centered around dark symbols and summoning daemons. Daemons are evil things, large horned devil-like creatures with red scales and leathery legs. They also usually have gigantic hands with long talons, and mastery over fire. Not to be messed with without proper equipment.
When Mondain had considerable influence, he and Minax had a child. But this child was not an ordinary child. He was evil incarnate. They created him with their combined magical powers, and him they named Exodus. Exodus was truly a living machine, and he soon grew and headed them, and the three became known amongst themselves now and to the populace later as the Triad of Evil.
Eventually, Mondain became too powerful. Many powerful mages of the time tried to kill him, but they did naught but disrupt the magical balance of the world, making magic extremely unreliable. Lord British and Lord Shamino sent out legions, but all failed. Mondain was too powerful now. And so, Lord British, in concurrence with most mages, banned magic. It was a desperate hope, so that at least no one could follow in Mondain's footsteps, but Mondain took no heed.
And so, Lord Richard "British" Garriott called for a champion.
Robert was bored. Extremely bored. He was sick and tired of trying to puzzle out where Richard and the others had gone while he was in the hospital. So he did what he always did when he was bored: he channel surfed.
The year was 1980. Richard had been gone for a year (which was ten years Sosarian time). Robert watched the screen connected to an antennae repaired with bubble gum about twenty times, and was bored. Just the same old usual stuff - Brady Bunch reruns, Batman reruns, The Cosby Show, etc. He put in the Pink Floyd tape that he had heard a million times before, and knew every aspect of it.
There was a knock at the door. Robert awakened from his music-induced revelry and opened the door. He saw red.
Yes, red. The entire expanse of the doorway was a swirling red. Robert then knew this is where Richard went, and entered the "moongate". Robert then fell asleep.
He awoke naked on a large plain. He looked at his surroundings - forest in every direction except west, where there was a castle and sea. Robert thought he must be dreaming. However, he went along anyway.
The grass stung his bare feet as he walked towards the castle. When he got closer, he noticed a town was at the outskirts at the castle. Robert flushed at the thought of having to streak through a town, but knew he must do it anyway.
When he entered the town, everyone seemed scandalized, except for a young bard who looked to be in his thirties - older than Robert, but young nevertheless - who bowed to him. He introduced himself as Iolo Fitzowen, Court Bard to Lord British the magnificent. Robert then noticed that Iolo looked familiar, and Iolo nodded to him. "You read my mind," Robert said. "Maybe I do, maybe I don't. But I, like you, come from another world." replied Iolo.
"Oh, and what 'world' might that be?"
"Why, Earth, of course."
Robert was shocked. Another Earthling, here, in the middle of nowhere? And acting like one of these natives?
"Yes, I do look familiar, don't I? I went by David Watson in that world."
Robert grinned. "So you, too, are in the same boat as I? Where am I, anyway, old friend?"
"You are in Britain, capitol of the Lands of Lord British. Lord British is an Earthling, too, and I have been sent by him to greet and travel with you in your quest, Bobby."
"Please, I always hated it when you called me Bobby. And, by all means, make me presentable to this 'Lord British' when I see him - in case you haven't noticed my problem of a lack of clothing."
"Ah, that. Don't worry." Iolo went up to a shopkeeper and got Robert
a cloth tunic and a dagger. "These will do for now. Let's go." And so,
Iolo and Robert went up to the castle that lies at the heart of Lord
Lord British sat on his golden throne in his golden hall. It had been an hour since he sent Iolo in search of whoever answered his call. He sat, twiddling his thumbs, more impatient than he had ever been before in his entire life.
The golden doors to the golden hall slammed open, and short, lithe Chuckles the Jester entered. Lord British grinned, for he had brought another Earthly friend named Chuck Bueche to this realm, and named him court jester. Surprisingly, Chuckles took well to the role.
"Milord, Iolo has returned from his search. The Stranger you've been waiting for is someone you might be very interested in seeing, other than the fact that this man is, most likely, going to kill that bastard Mondain."
Lord British almost had a heart attack with increased anticipation. "Why did I have to make this bloody castle so bloody large?" he thought. "Ah, well, that fact has left me alive for years. I'll just ignore that now… but I can't!!"
And it was then that Lord British's anticipation ended. Two men entered the room, and Chuckles introduced them as Iolo the Bard and Robert the Stranger. Lord British was so joyful he jumped off his throne and hugged Robert. Chuckles, being Chuckles, immediately sat on the throne and played Lord.
Robert looked at the throne and magically put a needle under Chuckles' ass. Chuckles immediately ran away in pain. Lord British grinned and resumed his sit on the chair, Chuckles in a corner with his pants down picking at his ass.
"Even though I am your brother," Lord British started, "I must carry this on as I planned earlier. I didn't expect the Stranger to be you, so I had a plan of making you strong enough to finish your quest that was quite cold and heartless. However, first I must explain what has happened."
"This land, Sosaria, is under attack by a powerful and evil mage by the name of Mondain. My Sosarian friend Shamino and I have tried to repel the attacks for years, but it isn't working. And so, I have decided to send for a champion, and then send him and Iolo out to kill Mondain.
"However, you can't just go and kill Mondain, for he is immortal. And if you could simply just go back in time using the Time Machine I have constructed and try to kill him, both of you would be dead in a matter of seconds. So I thought up a plan.
"There are eight Lords of this world. Some will raise your powers, others will give you gems. The gems will activate a magical time machine that has been recently created and hidden. And so, I will send you out in search of these lords, who will ask quests for what they will give you. Complete them, and you will have the power to kill Mondain. I am afraid I will not send you back home until Mondain is vanquished.
"Is this understood, Robert?"
"Yes," Robert replied. "Clear as a bell, sir."
"Good. You leave tomorrow with a small stash of gold. If you don't get caught by the guards, I will allow stealing from the shops. Goodbye, and good luck, Robert.
"Oh, and one last thing. Your power will be raised if you find the Western Signpost. That is my quest."
Robert left the hall breathless.
All Sosarians had classes. And thus Robert was given the class of "Stranger". Iolo's class was "Bard", for that was his profession. A class was a profession, a focus, a goal. And that was a class. Or something like that.
Robert woke up from his extremely uncomfortable bed with a foot that refused to wake up. A courier entered the room immediately and gave a note from Lord British demanding his presence in the dining hall for breakfast. Robert limped behind the courier through the confusing maze of Castle British to the his destination. He was extremely glad to be in a chair when he got there.
"Well, this will be your final civilized meal for quite a while," said Lord British. "The quest will be long and hard, but I am confident in your survival. After all, I sent the Siege Perilous to find one worthy, and they found you. You are the Stranger, our hero-in-training, one might say. Eat, and do not think about the quest. Then I will send you away. I wish you good luck, Robert the Stranger. You will need it."
"Aye, sir, milord." Robert saluted. Lord British grinned. "Do away
the formalities, Robert. They are not needed with me." Robert flushed.
"Uh… okay." Lord British grinned. "How has Earth fared in the ten years
it's been since I've left?"
"Ten years?" asked Robert. "It's only been one. I guess time must pass differently between Earth and Sosaria… maybe ten Sosarian years equals one Earth year.."
"Yes, maybe so, Robert. Even still, how is Earth?"
"It fares well."
"Do not worry, the greenhouse effect has not happened… yet."
Lord British thought about his plans for Sosaria then. He decided to lead it and show it science, but not in such a way that will harm the environment. He was planning a world that Earth should have been…
"Excuse me, sir…" Iolo interrupted. "I think we'd better go about now."
"Alright, Robert, Iolo." Lord British replied. "You will leave now. I am afraid my funds are depleted by keeping Mondain's influences where they are, so I am afraid I cannot send you out with adequate equipment. I recommend buying some… or, if in extreme need, stealing some if you can…"
"Do not worry, milord," Iolo said as he crossed his fingers behind his back. "I will follow the laws of your kingdom as best as I can."
"Well, we are just wasting time," interrupted Robert. "I'm getting impatient. Let's get the hell out of here."
Iolo nodded and they again traveled through the twisting halls of Lord British's castle. In a few minutes, they again stood at the entrance, walking down to Britain. The first thing Iolo did when they arrived was walk over to the blacksmith's and call Robert.
"Here we go," whispered Iolo. "We are going to camp outside the shop right now. When we wake, it will be midnight, and we will steal adequate equipment. And before you protest, Lord British meant me to do this. The no-stealing rule was just something said before the rest of the court to keep his integrity intact… he even gave me some tools." Iolo brandished some picklocks from a pouch. "These will do. Let's sleep."
Iolo cast a sleep spell upon Robert and then himself outside the shop. They woke at midnight, as Iolo had planned. "We enter now and steal from his armory. Magical technology, or Magitech, has created wonderful things in this world. We are going to steal Reflect Armor and Phasors for us both. Let's go."
Robert was quite frightened for a hero as he and Iolo entered the shop. They went upstairs, passed the sleeping blacksmith, and Iolo quickly and deftly picked the lock to the armory door. Robert's eyes widened at the things that were inside. Phasors, Greatswords, armor that shined like the sun (which Robert assumed to be Reflect Armor), and other fantastic goodies. Iolo quickly took two suits of the shiny armor, which was Reflect Armor, and two Phasors, which were small guns that looked futuristically aerodynamic in design. Iolo closed the door, locked the door, and the two safely exited the shop.
Robert breathed a sigh of relief. Iolo handed him a suit of the armor, which was surprisingly light, and a Phasor. He put on the armor and holstered the gun, and Robert followed suit. They soon looked like two space-age warriors from '40s drive-in movies. Not what Robert thought warriors looked like in such a medieval realm as Sosaria. Robert told this to Iolo, and Iolo laughed.
"This is Magitech, as I said," said Iolo. "These are basically
of ordinary metal enchanted upon with magical powers. The idea was
by Lord British, and now that magic is banned, these things are very
and expensive. We would have no hope in hell of killing Mondain if we
to pay for these. Let's go… we will need to visit a dungeon. I know a
one to the south. We can get gold there and buy a ship, for ships have
crews, and you cannot steal a crew with picklocks and a deft hand.
Robert stood in front of the foreboding arch with a skull nailed to the top. The arch held large iron doors without handles, a faint blue glow emanating from them. Iolo was digging his dagger into the rock wall near it, muttering curses about "pulling switches".
They were at a mountain, a large mountain. The mountain had an arch into it, which Robert assumed was the entrance to the dungeon Iolo led him here to enter. Unfortunately, the doors to it were magically locked, and Iolo was searching for the switch to open it with.
It was a clear and sunny day, the birds were tweeting, the sun was shining, and yet, Robert felt more gloomy than he ever had in his entire life. Was it because of the horned and demonic skull nailed to the top of the arch, or because of what he knew he was going to have to face inside the doors? Robert did not know, and frankly, he did not want to know.
He went over to Iolo and asked what was happening. Iolo stopped, bone-weary from digging, and sighed. "A few months back, a cave-in covered the switch to the dungeon. No one has tried to dig through it since, and since the rock covering the switch is only about a few inches thick, I am attempting to do it myself. I've destroyed half of the covering with magical means, but that has depleted my mana, and while it returns, I am trying to do this myself. The Phasor would just destroy the switch, so I have to do this with my dagger. I am getting very tired of it."
"Uh… let me try," replied Robert. He took the dagger out of Iolo's hands and stabbed the rock as hard as he could.
Click… creak… boom.
The door opened. It hit the rock wall about two inches away from Robert. With a sigh of relief, the new hero and his trickster friend entered a dungeon. And the dungeon reeked. God, did it reek. The moment they entered the dungeon, Iolo cast a spell to negate the smells, but they still plagued the two during the rest of the trip.
After Iolo cast the spell, they walked down the hall and climbed down a ladder. They found themselves facing a Gelatinous Cube at the bottom, but their Phasors dispatched of the malevolent jelly in short time.
They then went south down that hall until they reached a door at the end. Iolo hid at the side of the door, shot the lock with his Phasor, and kicked open the door into an arena.
Daemons fought Balrons and Dragons with whips of hellfire. Gargantuan rats bit mice with noxious poisons. The remains of other unfortunate travelers lay shattered on the floor, being picked at by giant maggots larger than an arm.
"Welcome to the famed Monster Battlefield," said Iolo. "This is where monsters gather for bloodlust. We are going to clean out this room for practice."
Robert stood, amazed that he was going to have to kill all these creatures that looked as if they could kill him with a snap of their fingers. Grasping the handle of his Phasor, he steeled himself and shot at a Balron. The leathery creature screamed out in horror as he disintegrated into energy. Soon, there was nothing left but fiery ashes of the evil creature.
This process was repeated several times by Robert and Iolo, and Robert's targeting prowess rapidly increased. They soon cleaned out the entire room, and Robert felt proud with himself afterwards that he had rid Sosaria of some of mankind's more powerful and evil enemies.
It was then that he noticed the largish piece of Magitech in the middle of the room. Iolo grinned at Robert's amazement at it. "It is an aircar," Iolo explained. "This can take us anywhere we wish right now except for over mountains. This is one of the reasons we came here. Enter it as I do.
Iolo went over to the car and pressed a button on the side. A hatch at the top opened, and Iolo entered it. Robert followed suit.
Inside the car, Robert felt like he was inside the Starship Enterprise. Buttons in an odd language spelled something like this: press decorated most of the buttons. Iolo explained that the language was the Sosarian native language - Runic - and that press meant "Press". Iolo pressed a few buttons and a joystick appeared in the cockpit. He pressed a few more buttons and they were off.
Iolo steered toward the ceiling and pressed a trigger on the
A large laser blast shot out of a gun on the side of the ship, hit the
ceiling, and blew it to pieces. Iolo pressed a few more buttons and
went speeding out of the newly created hole.
Robert was impressed by the view of most of Sosaria, but was eluded by the shape of the planet. It seemed to be a flat world with four continents on each fourth and a large starry space outside, but it was very stormy at the edges.
"The storm is known as the Maelstrom," explained Iolo. "It gives an illusion of a sphere, or something close to it. If you reach the border, the Maelstrom teleports you to the other side of the world. Simple, really. Lord British hired many mages to do it before the time of Mondain."
"Magic was a wonderful thing before it was banned. See that space in the water where everything looks warped, right in the middle of the four continents?"
"Yes?" replied Robert.
"Well, there used to be a largish mountain there. At the top of the mountain there was a black obelisk that looked almost like a spearpoint, and if you tried to "enter" it, it would take you to a place called the Scintillus Academy. This is a building in the middle of the Ethereal Void, a place that young mage-wannabes go to learn the ways of magic. The Academy serves all the worlds - there are more than Sosaria and Earth - and is a place determined to set a universal standard for mages. It is succeeding so far, except for the fact that Sosaria has banned magic and the gateway to the Academy from here had to be closed. A sad thing, really.
Robert really didn't care about the history of Sosarian magic, as told by Iolo. His eyes were focused on the aforementioned wonderful view of Sosaria from the aircar. His adrenaline was pumping so hard he didn't really hear Iolo, for that matter. Pretty soon, he saw the continent known as the Lands of Danger and Despair come into view. Iolo pulled back on the joystick, and a bit of a rough landing was accomplished - the aircar landed right on top of Lord Shamino's castle.
Castle guards ran up the stairs to the roof of the castle. They sighed as if they had seen this before - considering Iolo, Robert was sure they had - and started to clean up the mess created by the landing. Iolo lead Robert south, down a stairwell, and north to a throne room not unlike Lord British's.
Lord Shamino sat on his golden throne in his golden hall with a frown on his face. Lord Shamino was a man not unlike Lord British - he had a younger, more mischievous look in his eyes, but that was about the only difference.
"So, Iolo," said Lord Shamino, "Thou dost drain more gold out of the treasury with another of thy damned landings with one of those damn aircars upon my roof. I may as well put a landing pad there."
"Milord, maybe that would not -" Iolo was cut off.
"'Tis naught time for jokes, old friend. I see thou hast brought this Stranger person of British's here to see me. Let me talk to him." Lord Shamino turned to face Robert.
"Thou dost bear a striking resemblance to British, friend Stranger. What be thy name and thy homeworld?"
"Robert Garriott, from Earth. I hope the name explains the resemblance." Robert grinned.
Lord Shamino looked shocked for a moment, but only for a moment. "That does explain it," the Lord started. "But still, I must not deter thee from thy quest. Kill the Liche at the bottom of the final level of the dungeon known as Doom, and I shalt give thee the four gems needed to operate a machine to travel time. Goodbye, and good luck." Lord Shamino waved them off, and they exited.
Iolo and Robert reentered their space-age ship, and flew off again. this time to finish Lord British's quest. The sign was found in short time, and they both became much more powerful with the aid of an orb at the bottom of the sign. After that, they set off again, this time to the deepest hell-pit known the Sosaria.
They went off to Dungeon Doom.
The aircar headed south and speeded up. Robert, not knowing where Doom was, but sure Iolo did, just followed along. "What do you even need me for?" asked Robert. "You seem to be doing all the work, Iolo. I'm really just a tagalong."
Iolo grinned at that. "There is a Sosarian prophecy, an ancient one. 'When the Mage who cannot be killed rises, and the Triad of Evil is raised, then the Earthlings shall come, and be held at bay. A Stranger shall be summoned, to kill the shadow, and the trickster shall lead, but only the Stranger shall matter.' It used to be on a stone slab, in a language with lines and dots that we cannot understand. The Mage Mariah recently found another, similar slab with a translation on it. That is what was said, and we called you immediately. That's the story."
Around then, a large mountain came into view. At the bottom was an entire skull, with a lever inside the hole where the nose was. Robert shuddered.
"You have right to be scared," said Iolo. "Doom is a scary place. Entire armies have been defeated down there by the Liche's armies." Iolo grinned. "But we have prophecy and the powers of the orb on our side. We should be able to go through it." Robert drooped his head and sighed.
The aircar landed near the skull. Iolo went up and flipped the lever.
Iolo, always knowing what he's doing, walked through the skull, revealing an invisible passageway. Robert followed suit into Doom.
At first, Doom is a homely place. They entered into Weyrmount, where the good dragons live and keep the Liche's forces from overtaking Sosaria.
The good dragons call themselves Dragons of UDIC, and have always
to tell what UDIC means. Usually, the Dragons are a bit unwelcome of
and usually let them go through and die or go back. However. when
and Iolo entered, one bowed.
"Hail, I am Kahn'uhkk of the Weyrmount. This is my friend, Aye'uhrn. But please, call us by our human names, Canuck and Iron." Canuck grinned at Robert. "You must be the Stranger, I see. Come with us, we have prepared for your coming. And, as they say in our language, 'Mpentimpor'kkhuare Arrkh'dhe Regmur.' 'Welcome to Weyrmount.'"
Canuck lead Robert down a series of passageways past wondrous underground towers and mighty Draconic churches and shrines to a tunnel entrance. The four went down the tunnel into a room with lavish furnishings. "This will be your living quarters during your stay," said Canuck. Iron then took Iolo down another tunnel, and Canuck and Robert were alone.
"Good. Now we are alone, and we can get down to business. I see you are already well equipped to kill the Liche. But even with the powers of the orb, you are not strong enough, fast enough, or smart enough to kill him. We can fix that. We would like you to stay with us for a few days and train until you go down and kill him."
"Why are we so hospitable to you? Good question. It is because our talented scholar Onto'melkkhlyr, or Monomolecular, or just Mono, has recently discovered another prophecy foretold by Rikkh'et the Gold Dragon. It has foretold of your coming, and we have prepared for you. Do you accept our offer of training?"
Robert sat down and sighed. "We will give you time," said Canuck. "Do not worry about that. We will give you twelve hours to decide." Canuck left Robert to himself.
Soon, Iron came up the tunnel where he lead Iolo and left the room. After that, Robert ran down to Iolo's quarters.
"Hello, Iolo," started Robert. "Did you get the same offer as I? To train here with these dragons?"
"Yes, Robert, I did, and I have decided already to stay here. The Dragons of UDIC are a fierce people, but they are also very kind to those they take in. I would suggest staying, Robert. It would do you a lot of good."
And so, in twelve hours, when Canuck went to Robert's room, Robert
"Yes" without Canuck saying a thing. Canuck smiled, and the training
Canuck cupped his hands, and a bright blue orb started to come into existence. He threw the orb at Robert, and a stone slab appeared. Written on it was "Strength: 15/30. Dexterity: 15/30. Intelligence: 15/30. Max Health: 15/30. Health: 15/15. Max Mana: 15/30. Mana: 15/15."
"Robert," started Canuck, "This is your status. Status is a bunch of numbers that tell someone how powerful they are. You are halfway to reaching your full potential, Robert. We just need to take you the other half of the way. Here, you will learn more than the orb gave you. You will learn the magic of the Fifth Circle and upward, how to shoot your Phasor more efficiently, and how to move faster. I think you will find this worthwhile."
Canuck then gave Robert a book. "This is a spellbook, Robert. It
64 spells, with the spells increasing in difficulty as you go farther
the book. See that buckle there? Place that over a spell when you want
to cast it. Make sure you have the correct reagents - we will supply
with enough for a lifetime, intone the syllables - we will teach you
- and just watch the fun."
"Now we are going to try to-" He was interrupted by a sudden magical bolt to the back.
When Robert could see again after the smoke cleared (the smoke was caused by the magical bolt), he saw Canuck lying on the ground with a rather large third-degree burn on his back. Then he looked up...
Dragons were fighting numerous skeletons, orcs, mad mages, and the Liche himself. The battle itself was too chaotic for Robert to understand... Dragons clawed at the orcs (blood and limbs were flying around the place because of this), Orcs threw enchanted spears into dragons' bellies and eyes, some combatants would sometimes suddenly surrounded by a wall of flames or encased in a block of ice (at which point a foolish comrade would cast a strong heat spell at the frozen person, causing them to burn to death), and the Liche stood on top of a pile of dead bodies, throwing magical bolts at the many dragons.
The Liche himself was an ugly abomination. He was a skeleton, but with a crown and a red robe. Robert then remembered what Iolo had told him about Liches - wizards who thought they had found the secret of immortality, but were quite wrong. When they died, all their skin would fall off, and an evil spirit - a Lich - would bond with the body and they would, together, become a Liche.
At that thought, Robert scanned the battle for Iolo. He couldn't find him. At that, he unhooked his Phasor and ran out into the fray. The next words he said were not a victory cry, but "Oh, shit."
The Liche saw him, and recognized him for what he was. At that, He found himself in front of a magical bolt the size of an airplane (this feat was possible inside the massive space of Weyrmount). At that, he did something he saw Iolo do in the room they found the aircar in. He took a rock from the floor, yelled "VAS HUR POR!", and he floated above the bolt. The problem was, the bolt chased him.
"Damn! The goddamn thing has goddamn homing!" Thought Robert in fear. And then he tried something else.
Robert flew right to the roof. Right when the bolt was about to hit him. Robert went the other direction. 'The shit hit the fan', and Weyrmount's walls blew into itty-bitty little pieces. Fearing the dragons' fury, Robert ran (flew?) like hell in the general direction of Lord Shamino's castle.
But what happened to Iolo?
So, what did happen to Iolo? Before the battle started, he was pleasantly chatting with Iron in Iron's weyr. It was so deep down, they didn't notice the fight until the walls blew. They heard a large explosion, and ran up the tunnel to the main chamber - or what used to be main chamber.
They went onto a large rock platform that was outside. The mountain was gone, except for the floor. What used to be the walls of the main chamber of Weyrmount - and some of the weyrs - were gone. And the sun seemed to be alive.
Now that it was all outside, magic was in full fury. The grass tightened itself around combatants. The trees moved and killed each other - and combatants. It seemed even the sun itself was throwing firestorms onto the remains of Weyrmount. And all this happened only on the remains of Weyrmount.
Iolo looked beyond the ruins and saw everything just like normal. He looked at the ruins and saw chaos itself in manifest. And, oddly enough, he saw a large red serpent overlooking the fight with a large silver serpent that seemed similar to the one represented in much of Sosarian artwork and a large blue serpent with an icy and orderly look overlooking the red serpent.
The red serpent had a wild look in his eyes, and his red scales were fiery. He also resembled Dupre, the man that was called Greg Dykes on Earth. Iolo couldn't really see the resemblance - he could more feel it.
At that point, a severed arm flew and smacked Iolo in the face and brought Iolo to action.
He unhooked his Phasor and ran right to the Liche's hill of death. Remembering some logic, he stopped some distance from it and started shooting. The bodies, one by one, burned and fell to ashes. This really seemed to piss off the Liche.
Iolo started to get a bit scared - and so he shot kamikaze, hoping
hit something. He succeeded - by shooting all over the place and the
teleporting from shots, he burned the head right off the thing. The
evaporated, and the robe and crown fell to the ground, Iolo picked them
up as evidence, ran to the aircar, and got the hell out of there.
Robert was flying peacefully when he saw a large metal object flying behind him. A bit disconcerted, Robert continued, but when he looked back, it was closer. It was faster than him. However, when he turned around for a better look, he flew right into a large tubular object with a hole inside it. It seemed that wherever you face, you fly.
He flew through a metal field that disabled his flight powers, and Robert crashed right to the tubular floor.
When Robert came to, he found himself inside a cylindrical room. It was well lit by a fire coming from the wall, and then Robert realized where he was. He was inside the engine of an aircar - but whose aircar?
Looking for clues, Robert tripped over a screw on the floor. Looking up to see where it came from, he saw a panel screwed into the ceiling. He took out the dagger he used to open the door into the cavern where he found his aircar and pried open the panel. He went through the panel, and almost fell off.
Robert was on top of the engine with a rather strong wind coming from the north. He was facing north, and on the south edge of the engine. Noticing an odd change of behavior in the flight pattern of the aircar, he remembered about the open panel. He ran over to reach it, tugging the wall of the fuselage, but there was a spinning (and secret) door in the wall of the fuselage. Robert fell through, and reached safety just as the aircar flew into the distorted part of the water in the middle of the continents.
The aircar dropped down a black mass and finally crashed at the bottom on a metal surface. The engines flew off the aircar, and a metal protrusion at the bottom that holds the pilot reversed direction, and the pilot flew off of it and landed right next to Robert.
Robert look off the reflect helmet of the pilot and saw the face. Iolo. Robert quickly took off a gauntlet and checked for a pulse. It was there. Robert then went to the front of the aircar and looked out the window. He saw a large metal chamber with four insets on the wall and a platform in the middle. Also, thankfully, another aircar at the other end. When he returned to Iolo, the bard was conscious.
"H'lo... R'bert..." said Iolo, not quite healed yet. "Iolo, I think
it's time to rest for a while. We're safe. I think." That was Robert's
reply. Iolo quickly fell asleep, and Robert did, too.
Robert woke to an electric light brightening in the room. "Fake sun," thought Robert. "Or real? God knows where the hell I am, I may as well be on another planet... maybe I am on another planet. May as well go out and explore." Robert woke Iolo, and they had some of the meat that was stashed in the cargo. After readying themselves for battle, they exited the aircar.
They were in a large metal room. It was much easier to see in the light, and Robert noticed that what he thought was an aircar last night was not, for it was wired into the floor. "Damn," muttered Robert. "There goes our way out of here."
"Did you say something?" Iolo suddenly started. "I thought I heard you-"
"I looked out the window of the aircar last night. See that thing that is wired to the floor, looks like an aircar?"
"I thought it was an aircar, and our ticket out of here."
"Maybe it is our way out of here. Let's go investigate." Robert and Iolo walked over to the odd ship.
It really did resemble an aircar. It really did. However, where the engines should be, there were transparent landing rails with wires inside that go into the floor. "Modified," said Iolo. "It is - or was - an aircar. Now it's been turned to another purpose, but I have absolutely no idea what that purpose is. Let's go in - there might be an inscription somewhere."
Robert had a bit of difficulty climbing up the landing rail, but he made it. Iolo, on the other hand, got up easily and pulled Robert up - or attempted to. Robert fell to the floor - and went through. Iolo quickly jumped off the rail and went through with him.
They landed in what seemed to be half a control room and half a library. One half of the room had levers and switches and all sorts of mechanical devices, and the other half had wooden shelves and books written in Runic, except for one, which was written in English. Robert picked that book up, and knowledge flowed into him. After he read the book, he knew Runic. And how to operate the machinery - and what it does.
"Iolo!" yelled Robert. Iolo walked over to Robert from reading the Runic written with the controls.
"Iolo, I know what this is. I read a book - I suspect it was magical - and now I know Runic, and I also know what the machinery does. I also know how to get out of here."
"Robert - if you're right, where the hell is this book?"
"It vanished to dust after I read it. But-"
"Tell me what it said."
"I was about to get to that. Remember the four insets in the wall, the platform, the aircar?"
"It's my brother's time machine. Lord Shamino's four gems fit into the insets. Once that is done, we step on the platform, and we travel through space-time to Mondain's castle just before he enchanted the Gem of Immortality. Then we break the gem - Mondain is easy pickings after that."
"But we don't have the four gems."
"I know. That thing we saw earlier was a working aircar, just without engines. It can teleport us
back to the surface - we are now near Sosaria's core - and we just get the gems from Lord Shamino. You still
have the robe and crown, right?"
"Good. Then let's go."
"But how do we get out of this room?"
Robert led Iolo to a platform in the middle of the room. It teleported them to near the platform at the
middle of the room. They got the robe and crown, and then they went into the new aircar. It took them right
to above the tunnel to the room, and then they flew it to Lord Shamino's castle.
Getting the gems and returning to the room was quick work, and not anything to really be
described here. However, traveling through Mondain's castle was
They landed safely inside the Time Machine room. After placing the four gems in the insets, they walked onto the platform and experienced an odd sensation.
Robert looked at Iolo, and saw that he had turned into a naked woman. He looked at himself, and he was an orc. Then, Iolo was Lord British, and Robert was Iolo. This went on for quite a while until they were themselves again, and on a platform, but the platform was on the edge of a small isle with a large castle in the middle.
The castle was surrounded by a forest, but not just any forest, despite what first looks are like. Robert looked closer, and saw that the trees were moving, the birds had spiked tails, and lizards walked like men and were man-size. Orcs had villages in the forest, and there was a great orc village surrounding the castle - or more like orc barracks. Robert and Iolo took out their spellbooks, picked up rocks, and said two words: "Vas Hur Por".
As they were flying to the castle, Iolo started up a conversation. "Robert," he started, "When we fight Mondain, we will need more than flight and Phasors. You can read Runic now. I suggest you study some of the spells to learn things such as invisibility, creating fireballs, and such."
Robert took out his spellbook and read it the entire flight, although he was constantly reminded of an airplane flight when he was twelve when he had to read Kipling's Captains Courageous. He hated reading that book, and he hated reading the spellbook.
A few minutes after Robert finished, they reached the castle. They both said "In Grav", and they landed. They mustered up just enough courage, and they opened the great double-doors to the castle into chaos.
Canuck and Iron were chained to the walls, but they looked younger than they were when Robert met them. Now he knew the real reason they wanted to help him. At least now he knew he would succeed. Behind them he saw ogres, giants, some other dragons (both UDIC and evil), humans, and other things. However, when the door opened, they were all set free.
The UDIC dragons (along with Robert, Iolo, and the other humans)
the evil creatures, and chaos ensued. When the battle was over, Robert
and Iolo were significantly weakened, although quite a few humans and
dragons survived. They all rested outside for the night, and entered
the next morning, an army against Mondain.
Robert ran in first, and shot the gem. Energy field. "An Grav," said Robert, and the field broke. Mondain got Robert's attention then, and there went Robert's plan. Gulping, Robert shot at the gem. It broke. Mondain's influence was then lost in the future, but he was still alive. Not immortal, but alive. Sensing something went wrong, Iolo and the rest of Robert's army went in. Mondain repelled most of the army, and they were once again chained to the hall. Only Iolo remained.
The duo shot at Mondain endlessly, but Mondain teleported from their shots. Robert then put his gun back and cast the Tremor spell. The room shook, and was destroyed. Robert could swear then that he saw a girl of about sixteen run out into the forest, but Robert would not realize the significance of that event until later.
One piece of the rubble hit Mondain's spellbook, and he was rendered helpless. Robert took a good shot, and his quest was finished. However, with Mondain's destruction, a safeguard came into play. The isle was rumbling, for it was about to be destroyed. Robert and Iolo ran like hell back to the platform, and went back to the time machine room, but that was no safety. It, too, was shaking. They took the aircar back to the surface, and were able to watch the destruction from an aerial level.
The four continents started drifting from one another and changing shape. They all turned from their original flatness to becoming spheres, and what was Sosaria's core became their sun. Robert and Iolo couldn't believe it themselves, but they were witnessing the birth of a solar system. Then they saw something odd.
Two of the worlds - British's and Shamino's - started to grow serpentine pillars in the same spots. Two for each world. And a bridge came into existence between them. Robert could swear he saw Shamino and many others run over the bridge, with a woman cursing him and trying to follow him.
He also saw Mondain's isle and another piece of debris orbiting British's planet, and noticed that they were now that world's moons. He also noticed two other pieces of debris orbiting each planet. "Moons," thought Robert. He looked at Iolo and noticed that he must be thinking the same thing. Robert also noticed that three of the worlds looked just like they had before, but British's got the brunt of Mondain's damage. Robert guessed Mondain hated Lord British the most out of all the lords.
Iolo piloted the aircar down to Lord British's planet, and they both
quickly entered the castle to talk to their liege lord and report
"Obviously, you did it," said Lord Richard "British" Garriott. "You really did it. I expected you to come back in two years - and in bodybags - thanks to a half-dead explorer. You really killed him. And, in return, Robert, you go home."
Robert shed his equipment and entered the moongate that had just been created in front of him. Experiencing that odd sensation of falling for infinity again, he woke up lying down in his doorway. He went in, closed the door, put on some Floyd - he was never happier to hear Dark Side of the Moon - ordered some Domino's, turned on the TV, and watched reruns for hours until he fell asleep in his chair.
Lord British's realm prospered for twenty years Sosarian time, and two years Earth time. However, peace never lasts, for chaos soon fell on the realm again.
But whatever happened to the girl Robert noticed running from the castle? What happened to Shamino? And where is Dupre that Robert has heard so much about?
That chronicle must wait for Revenge of the Enchantress, coming in an indeterminate amount of time for $0 on the WWW!
This story is © 1995 by Canuck Dragon. All Rights Reserved, or something professional-sounding like that. You can redistribute this story for free in individual chapters or full form if you want to, just don't edit it without my permission or unless it's in italic parentheses.
This can only be distributed on Usenet in individual chapters in the newsgroups alt.games.ultima.dragons or comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.rpg. If you want to do anything to this story not in the Fine Print, just ask for my permission. OK? Good. The End. Adios. Sayonara. Ciao. Goodbye.