Hi all E&P players,
First of all I would like to introduce myself since this is my first post on this forum. I’ve been playing this game from February this year and I’ve been hooked from day one. I’ve been following this forum for quite some time, silently from dark and I know that Small Giants has really dedicated and good followers. I label myself as heavy geek, love to read and couple of years ago I wrote some short stories myself. It’s been some time since I wrote anything, I was trying to iron my skills by moderating some review blogs and whatnot in the past but due to everyday obligation I stopped writing in general. Since I’m playing this game 24/7 and, let’s be honest, it has such good high fantasy setting (with great characters, map with provinces, creatures and lore) I though why not do some fan fiction and practice my writing skills?
So, I bring to you Prologue and Chapter 1 of E&P Chronicles I would love to hear your thoughts, opinions and critics. I would just like to point out that this is the first time I’m writing something in English (which is not my native language) so if you see any grammar or spelling mistakes feel free to point them out, no hard feelings, criticism is what makes great writers!
This is only a sample of things to come – I’ve made story arcs for almost all (yes, all) characters in game but I can not guarantee how fast will I be able to write so have patience. But if inspiration does not die on me, with so many characters and possible arcs this could turn out to be somewhat of a full novel I would like to point out that I do not mind anyone sharing this further but please respect me and my time and at least let me know, give me credit and post direct link to this tread when sharing outside of this forum. So, without further ado…
EDIT 20th November - Chapter 2 added
“They will all burn in the flames of Zalthu and this kingdom will finally be mine,” said the mysterious voice shrouded in darkness.
“Yes, Dark Lord, they will. And I offer you full support of my R’lyeh followers,” whispered other creature.
“Good, I expected nothing less from you. How is our prisoner? Did you make any progress with your new ‘methods’, as you call them,” asked Dark Lord.
“We are getting there – the process is slow and delicate, but we do see some improvement,” responded the creature.
“Improvement,” asked Dark Lord peacefully. With each new word his voice became louder and louder. “I do not want to see improvement. I want obedience. I demand fidelity!”
“Yes, Dark Lord. Sorry, Dark Lord,” said other creature measly as it dropped on his knees and bowed it’s head down to the ground. Its face tentacles made slimy sound as they touched cold stone floor.
“Well,” yelled Dark Lord. “What are you waiting there for? To the dungeon you worthless creature, I want to see our prisoner meek as a puppy in a fortnight. If not… Well no need to make any treats, you can only imagine what I can do to you, right,” finished Dark Lord with a grin on his face.
“Yes, yes, sorry Lord, sorry,” responded creature as it stood up and ran through opened door and further down the corridor.
Dark Lord stood up from his throne and approached a pedestal with large book at the center of the circular room. Floor around it was covered in mysterious symbols written in dark red blood.
“Hmmm… Let’s see,” whispered Dark Lord to himself. “What kind of evil can we bestow on Thorne and his little crew this time,” he said while turning the pages of large book with pictures of monstrosities from worst nightmares and incantations in runes long forgotten. “Ah yes,” he whispered with a smile. The book was opened on a page with picture of large green dragon. “This will keep them occupied for some time,” he smirked and started chanting the runes in strange language.
Elena’s day could not start any better, sun was shining high and bright over the castle grounds, she had some good breakfast and afterwards she had to attend to her duties.
Since the day was so beautiful, she decided to first visit Watchtower, so she could enjoy watching Rathwood from the distance. It’s thick woods and crystal-clear rivers were always a sight that takes breath away and snowy peaks above this region only made this sight even more fascinating.
When reaching the top of Watchtower, she rested for a moment to catch her breath and she realized that running up the circular stairs was probably not a smart move on a full stomach. Olaf was there to greet her, smiling as always although his tired eyes hinted that he probably did not sleep entire night.
“Good Morning Olaf, what a wonderful day, right? Are you alright, you look tired?”
“Morning m’ Lady,” he replied. “Indeed, a wonderful day but alas my only desire now is my comfy pillow. I am at my guard post from midnight and I’m waiting for day shift to come and replace me. Don’t know what’s keeping them. Probably has something to do with the incident from last night,” he replied but did not continue as he was waiting for Elena to ask him for full report. Elena was still bent with her hands on her knees trying to catch her breath. “Why Olaf, what happened? Nobody mentioned anything over breakfast in the common room.”
“Oh, not much m ’Lady, nothing you should concern yourself with. It’s that ■■■■ Fletcher again – he climbed the wall last night and some guards found him sneaking around food storage, he probably wanted to steal some food for Brogan, that mercenary thug he usually hangs around with,” he said with disgust as he spit next to Elena’s feet. “Did you hear that he set up camp somewhere in Windemer? Quite alarming that they dare to set base so close near our castle if you ask me.”
“Indeed”, agreed Elena, “concerning news. And what about Fletcher? I’m tired of chasing his thieving ■■■ around the castle and if he started stealing food for Brogan, I will have Thorne banish him from the castle for good, I swear!”
“No need for that m’ Lady, he is still good fella just hangs around wrong people. Guards threw him in dungeon for couple o’ days, that will give him time to think about all the bads he did,” finished Olaf with kind smile on his face – he always was fatherly figure to all that lived in castle.
“Fine Olaf, if you think that will help, I will trust your judgment. But you are easy on forgiving people,” she said. And you have kind heart and you only see good in people but that’s not how the world works she thought for herself. “Anything else to report?”
“No, m’ Lady. Once you get down, I would just kindly ask you to check where my replacement is, I would like to get to bed more than anything else now. These old bones are not taking these night shifts as easy as before” he said sadly but still smiling.
“Will do Olaf, no worries”, replied Elena as she climbed down the Watchtower. Somewhere half-way through she passed over another guard that climbed Watchtower. At least Olaf’s replacement is coming up, he will be able to catch some sleep now.
News about Brogan and Fletcher made her worry and she did not notice nice weather outside anymore but lost in her thoughts she drifted forward to training camp. She wanted to speak with Sonya about this, she will know what to do. Fletcher was petty thief that roamed the castle from time to time, sometimes he shared sleeping houses when he did not have anywhere else to go. He would usually try to steel something and then they would chase him out of the castle, but he always found a way to return. If he conspired with Brogan this time, that meant he was in some deep trouble. Elena made a mental note that she will visit dungeons later that day to see what’s going on.
Soon she arrived at the training camp and she saw Sonya standing on the small wall above training grounds watching two recruits fighting below. She climbed the box at the base of the wall and joined Sonya without uttering a word. Sonya just nodded to her and continued watching recruits fight. She was tall and serious looking, her face looked like it was made from stone. Elena knew this is only a facade, so she can look though in front of new cadets and she did not want to break that charade, so she just stood there quietly watching the fight.
On the ground young girl Aife fought boy that was around her age – Derric. Aife was handling her sword pretty well but Derric had heavy axe in his hand and so far, he managed to avoid all attacks from his opponent. Aife attacked from the left but Derric easily repelled her attack and almost in an instant counterattacked with his heavy hatchet but Aife, easy on her feet, easily dodged the attack. She than took a stance to perform hacking attack but Derric jumped back and threw his axe back at her. She tried to dodge this attack as well but not in time. She screamed as axe scratched her arm. Derric ran towards her, visibly concerned.
“Enough!” Sonya’s voice thundered over training camp. Both Aife and Derric froze where they were and even Elena jumped a little, caught off guard.
“Good fight Derric,” she nodded to him. “Aife I’m disappointed, that move was easily foreseen, and you should have handled it better. We will continue training at midday, Derric escort Aife to medical wing so Vivica can heal that wound. Do not be late!”
She remained still until both went off grounds and only when they were out of sight her stance eased up little.
“Hey Elena, wonderful day, isn’t it? What do you think about our young recruits,” Sonya asked while outline of smile crossed her lips.
“I think you will train them to death. If they do not die out of fear from you beforehand,” she replied with a grin. “Why are you not using training swords but real steel?”
Sonya than burst into laugh as she could not hide it anymore. “Oh, come on, they will never learn otherwise. Only a strong hand and steady grip will help them survive and you know this very well my friend. You trained me at this same spot, seems like a century ago.”
“True,” replied Elena, “and what times those were. You actually gave me quite a beating there.”
“Well yeah, when I’m almost twice of your size. But these two? They are so small and tiny. I mean Derric handles his axe so well that I believe he will soon be better than Little John. But they are still too green to start dueling with Valen, we will see… So, what brings you here? Haven’t seen you in training camp for quite some time.”
“Just came from Watchtower, Olaf caught Fletcher stealing last night, again. But this time we have reports that Brogan set up his mercenary camp nearby and that Fletcher might be working with him. Did you hear anything about that?”
“No, I’m afraid not,” replied Sonya. “I woke up before first sunlight and chased those two out of their beds first thing and we were here training since. I have some spare time before midday, I will go and send out scouts to investigate. Do we know where Brogan’s camp is?” She jumped down the wall and continued to Stronghold.
“Yes, somewhere in Windemer so you will have to organize at least three scout parties – one for Shores, one for Western parts and one for Deadlands,” she yelled at Sonya as she continued walking down the field.
“I know Windemer quite well Elena, thank you,” she replied sarcastically. “I will lead party to Deadlands personally, been sometime since I’ve killed some spiders and gargoyles.”
“Finally, time for some action and blood spilling,” she said for herself.
Elena watched her leave and once she was out of sight, she jumped down the wall and continued to archery range. Perhaps Lianna will have some news for me. And I need to ask her about Gregorion as well, it’s been a month since he went out to Skyfheim to investigate reports about Ice Giants and he still did not return.
And indeed, she found Lianna shooting at the target from her bow with a young Berden at her side. His arrows were the ones with blue feathers and were scattered all around the target, none in the center and Lianna’s arrows, with green feathers, where next to each and every blue arrow, some green even split the blue ones in half.
“And… this… is… how… you… aim… to… shoot… and… kill…” Lianna pulled one arrow from her quiver between each word and released her at the target so fast Elena was not able to see arrows flying at all. Each shot hit blue arrows Berden shot previously. “Do not think about where the arrow will hit, you need to tell her where to hit. Your targets will not be steady as that circle on the field, have that in mind. Go on, try it – but this time, do not aim for the center of the circle, aim to hit my arrows instead as I did yours.” Berden just stood there looking at her like she asked him to shoot a wing off a fly.
“Well? Are you waiting for the arrow to magically appear in that target? Shoot, go, go, now!”
Berden almost dropped his bow when she yelled at him and the first arrow he shot, too fast and without aiming at all, went high above the target and the wall. He looked at her with guilty expression as he was just caught stealing ham from Friar Tuck, and that is something you are never to do, ever.
Lianna just sighted and waved her head. “You see this Elena, and he came here with childish dreams of being new Hero of the Might, but he does not know how to shoot an arrow straight. With that aim,” she continued turning back to him, “you will never be Gregorion, boy! With that aim I can only chase you out of this castle, you hear?” He nodded franticly.
“Good, now continue practicing, if by the end of the day at least one of your arrows hasn’t split mine, the next arrow will go up your ■■■■!” Another frantic nod, another arrow that flew over the wall. Berden started sweating abundantly.
Lianna then turned back to Elena: “What’s up? Did you hear about Fletcher?”
“Yes, I did,” she replied, “I plan on speaking with him latter today to see what is going on and Sonya is gathering scouts to go searching for Brogans mercenary camp. I came by to check if you have any news about Gregorion actually. He’s been away for quite some time, it’s concerning.”
“I agree, but worry not, he is a big boy, he can handle himself. Especially against some Ice Giants, if he found any.”
“Yes, that is true but nevertheless I would have to ask you to assist me here, just so I can rest easy at night,” replied Elena slightly concerned.
“Sure, what did you have in mind?”
“Can you find Melendor and ask him for help? I’m pretty sure he has some means of contacting Gregorion and I would like to cover all options we have.”
“Sure, will get right on it. As soon as I finish with this boy here…” she continued turning to Berden. He shot almost all arrows from his quiver but only two or three hit the target, none of those was even close to any green arrows.
“Oh, for the love of Ares, I will stay here entire day, will I,” sighted Lianna.
She was interrupted by a strange metal scraping sound coming from other end of training camp.
Both Elena and Lianna turned towards the source of the sound, Berden did not allow this to disrupt his concentration so he kept shooting at the target. The source of the sound was none else but Gunnar, in full armor, running across the field.
Some time passed before he managed to reach them, and he was bathing in sweat by that time.
I can imagine how hot it must be under all that metal on such sunny day Elena thought.
“m’ Ladies”, Gunnar greeted them with a slight bow, still heavily breathing. “Lady Elena, can you please come with me, I’m to escort you to Stronghold. Sir Thorne wants to see you urgently.
Both Lianna and Elena shared concerned looks at each other. “Sure, Gunnar don’t want to keep him waiting. Do you know what’s this about,” she asked as they walked towards Stronghold. They left Lianna behind, whom immediately started yelling at Berden.
“Yes, but the news are not good and it’s not my place to share them m’ Lady. It’s best if Thorne briefs you on this,” Gunnar replied shortly, picked up the pace and silently escorted Elena to large wooden door where Thorne resided.
Once they were in front of the door, Gunnar slightly bowed to Elena, turned his back to the wall and resumed his guard position. As a Protector Knight his role was somewhat like a bodyguard to current Stronghold Commander.
Elena pushed one side of the wooden door and entered large chamber. It was covered in colorful tapestry where five colors dominated all others: red, blue, green, yellow and purple. Large circular table was in center of the room with twelve chairs around it. Room was circular as well, gray marble and stone combined, cold and unfriendly but that was only to frighten visitors if they find themselves in Commander’s chambers. Left and right of the entrance door there were two display cases, one had really rare and legendary Farsight Telescope in it and the other one was empty, for now, waiting for some valuable loot from the times to come.
And there he was – Commander Thorne, sitting on one of the chairs closest to the fireplace and small open passage to his sleeping chambers. Next to the lit fireplace, leaning on the wall, was legendary Sword of Frostmorrow, its blade made of steel and ice forever cold and creaking as it’s alive. Next to Thorne was a young girl, with plump and red cheeks, wearing red tunic. Elena noticed that her outfit was torn and dirty as if she just came from a long long ride.
“Elena,” said Thorne standing up to greet her, “allow me to introduce young Lady Jill who rode here with first light brining some dark news.”
Elena walked towards these two and shaken hands with both before sitting next to Thorne.
He continued, “Jill is traveler and she just came from Howling Bay, she rode entire way without rest, she had to replace two horses that almost died of exhaustion. I will let her tell you what she’s seen.” He nodded to Jill, who cleared her throat and started telling her story.
“Nice to meet you Lady Elena, mu name is Jill and I’m traveler merchant. Me and some of my friends were camping in the woods in Howling Bay when, in the middle of the night, we were all woken by some disturbing sounds coming from woods not far from where we camped. We’ve sent out two scouts to the woods only to hear screams and sounds of battle short time after. We were scared, and we did not want to risk and investigate the woods, so we’ve started packing rapidly so we can flee. We are not warriors m’ Lady but only merchants. Monstrous growls came nearer and nearer when two hounds of war and a Runic bear came out of the woods charging at us. Ohhh it was so scary,” Jill stuttered, shivering, “their eyes where bright yellow as if there was fire in them, they were snarling and charging at us and soon chaos broke all around.” She stopped, started crying, trying to catch breath to continue speaking.
“There was blood and severed limbs everywhere, screams mixed with animal growls. We’ve had a mage in our company, so he started shouting some spells and throwing dark magic at the creatures and I’ve seen that he managed to kill one hound before Runic bear came from behind and devoured his head in one bite. Another one from my company managed to kill other hound with a spear but the bear was unstoppable. I ran towards woods and hid in a bush – far from camp but still near enough to bear witness to horrors still happening there. Runic bear was unstoppable, he slaughtered entire camp, it was wounded and hurt, blood was dripping from several wounds our swords and spears made, but it was like the beast did not feel any of it.” She stopped here. It looked like her tale was over, her head was bound, tears rolling down her cheeks. Elena wanted to jump in, to ask why this news were so urgent, she fought Dark Lords hounds and bears for, what it looked like, her entire life now, they were spawning all across the lands ravaging and killing. She was sad about Jill and her company, but these things happened all around, and this was not first nor last similar case.
“And then it happened,” Jill suddenly continued, voice cold as ice, “a scream that shook the earth and mountains near, a shriek that froze me in my spot. I could not move or scream, I was just sitting there able only to watch as treetops moved as if tornado came upon them. Sound of flapping wings… Another shriek… And them the entire field burst into flames, but not just flames – green, emerald flames, fire that swallowed everything on its path.” Another pause.
“I’ve seen it. It was a Dragon swooping from the sky down on us, his wings were at least 300ft wide, so wide that he was able to cover the entire field with them. Dragon than came down shooting flames from its mouth all around as it wanted to make sure nobody escaped that place. His scales though… His scales were not normal – I do not know how else to describe it – but they were glittering like precious stones bathing in green flames… It was like its scales were emerald as the flames coming from its mouth. I ran… I ran for entire day it seems until I came upon small village where I bought a horse with little money I had on me, and then I rode here only stopping to change the horses if traders were willing. It was frightening m’ Lady. I’ve seen dragons before, some small and some large, biggest one I’ve seen was Volcanic Dragon on slopes of Brooding Mountains but this… Nothing like this, it’s scales and breath…” She stopped there, shivering and moaning.
“Thank you, Jill, thank you so much for gathering strength and telling the story again. I know it’s been hard – please, Gunnar will escort you to the kitchen where you will have a decent meal and he will show you to your room afterwards. Rest and take as much time as you need. If you would like a bath just tell him, he will arrange everything.” Thorne escorted Jill to the door where Gunnar took her over. He then closed the door and turned to Elena that still sat there speechless.
“So, what you think of this,” asked Thorne.
“Can we trust her,” replied Elena.
“To be honest, I do not see any valid reason for her to fabricate this story. She was petrified and exhausted when she arrived this morning, and I do not believe that she would made up the story about Emerald Dragon on our doorstep.”
“But where did it come from? And a dragon that large? Weren’t Emerald Dragons only a legend? And why were they attacked by Dark Lord’s minions first?”
“Questions, questions… I’ve asked myself the same. Since news came from battlefront that Commander Gray disappeared everything started falling apart and it looks like new foes are spawning all around the country like mushrooms after rain. But Emerald Dragon? Don’t even know what to expect.”
“Yes, regarding the other foes you’ve mentioned… What about Fletcher and Brogan? And with this news I’m now really concerned about Gregorion as well. He might have ran into this Dragon as well, he had to pass Howling Bay on his way back here.”
“Alarming but not something we should concern ourselves with. I’ve already taken steps regarding these issues. Sonya already came by and told me that she is going to Windemer – I approved three scout parties: Little John will lead the one for the Shores, Sonya and Ulmer will lead the one for Deadlands and I planned on sending Melendor to Western Windemer to visit the elves.”
“Oh, I’ve just told Lianna to look for him to ask if he could help contacting Gregorion somehow.”
“That’s great actually. I will send both Lianna and Melendor to the elves, they will know what to do and we will see if they heard about Brogan’s camp in their area as well – two birds with one stone.
“Good, glad that is settled. And…” she paused for a second, not sure if she even wants to ask the question. “…what about the Dragon?”
“Pack your bags and gather the armies,” replied Thorne with his hand on her shoulder looking her like she was his daughter, “you are going off to kill that Emerald Dragon.”