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Misty Mountain Top . Rise of the Mage - Chapter 3 . In the West of the Kingdom of Leon, rises a mighty Mage’s Tower; the Tower of the Arcane. It is the home of Kaloyan the Mage who, after taking over the surrounding villages by magic, and venturing into the underworld, has made up his mind to take over the entire Kingdom of Leon. Kaloyan believes fortune has favored him on his last journey; a descent into the Kingdom of the dead where he was met by spirit of Vlad the Vampire. Vlad’s instructions called for Kaloyan to find a sword and rally allies against Leon, and Kaloyan has been busy deciphering, reading and planning for the takeover with the help of the Black Grimoier. It is early morning at dawn at the tower… Kaloyan: “Roger, you’re heading on down to the village; I have a task for you.” Roger: “I’m listening ser.” Kaloyan: “It seems that we’re going to go on a little journey; I need you to go down to the town and find me the three toughest, strongest, greediest men you can. Make sure they can carry a sword or a spear, and promise a reward. We will meet at the entrance in two hours. That is all. “ Roger: “At once milord” (Roger slowly descends the tower and heads for the village of Pliska. He returns with three men, all armed and with sparkling eyes full of hope of reward) Kaloyan: “There you are Roger, about time. Ah, my loyal subjects answer their master’s call. Tell me Roger, who have you brought to join us on or noble cause?” Roger: “Milord, these are the three toughest men in the city, John the woodsman, Atos the town Guard, and Eric the baker.” Kaloyan: “The baker? Why a baker? What qualifications can you possibly have to make you fit for fighting?” Eric: “A man gets plenty tough milord, wrestling with dough all day, chasing the beggars away and lifting sacks of flour…what exactly does milord want with us?” Kaloyan: “I suppose you can handle that sword? It won’t be dough you’ll be slashing at, that much I can promise. As to why you’re here, rejoice! You have been chosen as the worthy escorts of the Senior Mage of the West on his journey. I expect it will be riddled with hazards, highwaymen, vile creatures and possibly soldiers sent to stop us.” Eric: “Ah… that’s a bit of a different idea than I had milord…and what of this reward we heard about?” Kaloyan: “Your reward is being the first guards in my soon –to-be mighty army. You will risk your lives for the honor and glory of the Mage of the West; a greater reward there is none.” The three men look around nervously. Atos: (Gulps) “I suppose it’s not too late to say no thank you milord?” Kaloyan: “Ah, such a pity to see the loyalty of my subjects falter. I could easily unleash the golem again, would that be more appropriate?” John: “No milord! We serve you without hesitation!!” Kaloyan: “Good, good. Now just so that you see how generous and good your lord is; Roger open the chest.” Eric: “By god! It’s beautiful! Eric the baker at your service milord!” John: “I’ve never seen this much gold!! I will follow you to Erebus and back milord!” Atos: “Those are emeralds! Real emeralds, you have my loyalty Lord Kaloyan!” Kaloyan: “The wondrous effects of positive reinforcement! Listen carefully now, our journey will take us to the Frosty Mountain in the north provinces. I warn you, I will not be stopping, so get geared up and prepare to leave by high noon. We will be crossing the Forest of Orin, woodsman, you will be our guide.” John: “But milord, the depths of the forest are crawling with creatures, surely there is a safer route!” Kloyan: “This is where you three come in. I don’t foresee a calm journey and if you do I suggest you forget about gold and emeralds. Now go prepare.” The party of travelers enters the Orin Forest. Roger: “Milord, how do you know the artifact is where we’re going?” Kaloyan: “Very simple my servant; it was described in the Grimoier. One of three people who knew the sword’s location died after it was hidden and his spirit told my imprisoned friend everything in the Underworld.” Roger: “So there is no such thing as taking a secret to the grave then milord?” Kaloyan: “Not at all, eventually it all comes to light, no matter how careful you are. Thus, you might as well do what you like and not worry about it, don’t you agree?” Roger: “Yes, but why all of this commotion over a sword ser? Kaloyan: “It is a rallying symbol; lost to the history books. After the battle of Zagora the sword was hidden away so that no clans could ever find it and challenge the might of Leon. With it, I can acquire valuable allies in my rise to power.” Roger: “I see, and where exactly is it hidden?” Kaloyan: “A watchtower in the North, an isolated mountain top frequented only by birds of prey. The perfect place to hide! I suspect that… WHAT IS THAT??” John: “It’s a Goblin Milord! This is bad; they move in hunting parties, the other can’t be far behind!” Kaloyan: “This little guy? Shall I set it on fire Roger?” Roger: “Milord, I respectfully point out that it’s armed and has a human bone in its arm, perhaps we should back away.” Kaloyan: “Nonsense! This is the only path, if it doesn’t move, I’ll move it! SCATTER VILE VERMIN!” Goblin emits a high pitch noise, an ambush is sprung! Roger: “Ahh! We’re going to die!!” Kaloyan: “Hold yourself together you old coward; GUARDS!! Chop these pests to bits! The party fights back, arrows fly and miss, blades clink off of blades. Kaloyan: “Enough of this!!! Mutare Gallus! A flash of purple flames overtakes the goblins, as their bodies seem to vanish into thin air. Their swords and armor fall to the ground and from these empty shells emerge… Roger: “Chickens milord?” Kaloyan: “Yes, a simple spell, if only temporary.” Roger: “By the time they change back we’ll be long-gone ser! Brilliant thought!” Kaloyan: “Not quite Roger, it’s been a long journey. Who’s hungry??” The party travels onwards for three days and nights. They finally reach the peak of the Frosty Mountain where a single watchtower guards the pass. The party hides behind rocks as they observe a group of Norsemen approaching the tower. Kaloyan: (from out of sight) “Two guards? That’s all they spared to guard the most dangerous artifact of our time? Figures…” Eric: “What do we do now milord? “ Kaloyan: “This is the part you were brought in for. We will calmly approach the tower, and attack when they least expect it.” Eric: “You mean kill them milord?” Kaloyan: “Yes. Take no prisoners; your life depends on it. Any one of you hesitates you’ll envy those goblins, I swear it. Now let’s move!” Tower guard: “Halt traveler! This is the dominion of Jarl Nibelung of Mitgardia!” Kaloyan: “Long live the Jarl! We are travelers in need of help! Please, let us come closer… Kaloyan: “Kill these men!” Guards: “Ahh!” The party quickly overtakes the guards. Kaloyan ransacks the tower and finds Vlad’s Sword in the exact place foretold by the Grimoier. Kaloyan: “AH! The sword of Vlad the Necromancer! It’s true, it’s all really true! Roger this is the key to the golden age of mages! This will make you rich beyond your wildest dreams men!” Eric: “Hurrah! All hail mighty Lord Kaloyan; Mage of the West!” Kaloyan: “Let us move on, this journey is only beginning…” At sunset the gate of the ransacked tower creaks open, a frightened guard emerges. “Oh dear lord, what madness! I must alert the Order!” The Guard runs to the nearest town, gets a horse and rides into Leon. Three weeks pass by… A small force of soldiers from Leon arrives at the scene, accompanied by the surviving Guard. Guard: “Sir it is an honor to meet you! I never dreamt that I would one day be speaking to Asparuh of Leon! You must help sir, these men were dressed as commoners, and they came out of nowhere! Asparuh: “Calm your nerves my good man, we need to figure out what happened! Are you sure it wasn’t goblins?” Guard: “Ay sir, they were men as you and I. They were no bandits either; they took no supplies, no weapons and no other treasure. What manner of soldiers do you bring sir; they don’t carry swords or spears?” Asparuh: ”Thunderers lad; men equipped with Dwarven technology. Now let’s focus; they knew exactly where it was? They took out your fellow guardsmen and found the sword in a matter of minutes? This is most disturbing… Only three men ever knew about its location and one of them perished before he could tell anyone.” Guard: “Who else knew sir?” Asparuh: “Myself and a powerful Mage by the name of Edrin. This was no random act….” Asparuh: “Send word to Western Leon; Edrin the mage is to be summoned to the capital. If what I think is happening is indeed so, then we are all in grave danger!” Guard: “What do you fear sir?” Asparuh: “The world on fire my dear lad, the world on fire.” To be continued…


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