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Lands of Darkness

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  • Lands of Darkness

    Lands of Darkness
    1467 AD (These dates has nothing to do with real world dates or history…its an alternate history with alternate dates, and alternate universe.

    The meeting

    “This is the place.” Philip Brancus looked over to a two-story cabin. Somehow they ran into it, so well hidden it was, deep in the abyss of the forest. A well tended most beautiful garden laid before the house. A white picket fence bordered it. Clean, trimmed, gallant green grass layered the clearing all the way to the trees of the woods. Birds sang the most heavenly of songs, and the chipmunks and squirrels roamed the garden without fear. Even a deer or two would enter the clearing with a sense of security. A small stable was in the back, where a royal and angelic white stallion stood tall and upright, eating its supper. The mythological beauty of this place seemed so contrast with the outside world. It seemed so close to paradise and for the inhabitants…it was.

    “Are you sure Philip? I sure don’t want to get killed for stumbling upon a Russian man’s home.” Pavil Famidan, Philip’s trusted friend and sidekick. Never did he let Philip walk into peril alone, so here he was, loyal, brave, and scared to death…right next to his best friend…his best brother.

    “Well, there is only one way to find out, my friend,” Philip turned to Pavil and laid out his hand towards the heavenly home, “shall we?”

    Pavil looked uneasily towards Philip. “We shall,” he said, “You first though. If this man is angry, he’ll kill you first, giving me time to run.”

    “Don’t be foolish, my brother. My father told tales to me many a day about the heroics of this man. A true Persian he is. An authentic, original…Immortal.” They stood just inside the forest, not quite in the clearing.

    “An Immortal you say? So these Immortals, do they truly live eternal life?” Pavil asked ignorantly but sincerely.

    “Haha. No my friend. They die like the rest of us. But some do believe they live twice a normal man’s life, and they don’t even succumb to old age and weakness till their very final years.” Philip began staring blankly into oblivion. Enraptured and in awe of the great warriors of what once was.

    “And what of this man? What makes him so special, surely he is old now. Couldn’t we have found another without having to march through such unyielding wilderness?” Pavil said as he sat on a rock and began rubbing his ankles.

    “No. This man is one of the greatest of the Immortals. He was the youngest Persian General to ever walk the earth, the fourth and youngest son of King Elias, and the most gallant of all warriors. Never did he lose a battle. It is said that once he stepped onto the field all hope for the enemy was lost. With each strike from his blade a man fell, as though he himself was death. He killed many enemies of Persia. He saved Persia during the Greek wars and Roman wars. Always outnumbered he was, and always he galloped out of battle victorious. There! Look! That is his trusty steed. Never did I think it would still breath today, surely it must be decades old. It is also said that this man is the war-god sent down to our world as a man in flesh, to protect the Persians from the evil outsiders. But I’m sure it is only a tale from the lips of a bored old man with a wild imagination. I spent many a day searching for him, and now we are here.” He rambled on about his idol, his hero. And maybe his words were greater than they should, but they still held truth.

    “Well surely he mustn’t be undefeated, nor a god. For he did not defeat the Russians when they came. So surely if this man did not fight, then why are we here trying to fight whom we can not defeat? The Cossacks are too powerful, they’ve conquered many, who are we to fight them? We are no Immortals. And if this man decided we should not fight when the demons first arrived, then maybe we should heed his actions, and go home. Besides, I miss my mother, Philip.” Pavil again began rubbing his ankles, with quite the frown upon his face.

    “We must fight, Pavil. If not for us, then for our children. I will not live a life without freedom any longer, I’d rather not live at all. My children will have freedom, Pavil. I will not allow otherwise. They must be raised as Persians, not Russian lapdogs. Persia was a magnificent kingdom once, it shall be again. And the heir to the throne shall help us…he must.” He clenched his fist, not willing to doubt his dream.

    “Very well then, enough with your never-ending tales. Let us get this over with, shall we.” Pavil stood up and began walking into the clearing with Philip at his side. Then he halted.

    “Oh, one more thing, Philip.”


    “What is this great man’s name?” Pavil asked.

    “Haha, my friend. If I were to walk alone on my journeys I would never smile, for you would not be there to bring such joy. He has a few names, brother. His name, Pavil, is Fornalin Varha. But as the General, everybody called him Magnata Krigo, which means King of War in common Persian. My father said his fellow Immortals called him Et Overvinna Nago… the Unconquered one. Still holds true today, apparently. For even the Russians leave his home alone, as you can see.” He said as they got closer to the picket fence gate.

    “Or maybe the Russos aren’t willing to hike through such hideous toils.” His friend wittily remarked. Philip just ignored it.

    They walked through the gate and over the marble stone steps through the garden. And finally they arrived at the doorstep.

    They stood there for a moment. Hesitant to wake the warrior. In the depths of their minds they pictured him ripping the door off the hinges and standing ten feet tall with a mighty sword at his side and then begin slashing them into oblivion as they screamed in terror.

    “Well?” Pavil hinted, “you know, we can still turn back, go home to our nice families…”

    “No.” Philip was determined to do what needs be done. “We must stay the course, my friend. If anyone is to help us, he is the one.”

    He knocked two quiet knocks.


    He knocked harder this time, three nice easily-heard knocks.


    This time he pounded the door five times. Startling Pavil.

    “Are you mad! Now he’ll kill us both for disturbing him with such harsh racket! How can we fight Russians when a fellow Persian ends both our lives!” Scared Pavil whispered loudly and excitedly.

    Philip just shrugged.

    Then the door slowly opened…

    And out of the shadows came the inhabitant…

    To be continued if there’s interest…


    OOC: I’m starting another story, don’t worry, I’m going to finish the other too. So what do you think? Worth continueing?
    Last edited by Easthaven I; December 27, 2002, 02:33.

  • #2
    Lands of Darkness

    The unexpected hostess

    “Yes?” The voice of an angel. Philip and Pavil were caught off guard. They expected a giant, god of war and what they got was an angel. She was beautiful to the very core of the word. Dark silky radiant hair ran down over her bare shoulders. Her skin was soft and tan, no other word could describe her…just…angel. Her smile is what made her so heavenly, her teeth were perfect pearls. Her eyes a colorful brown, bright, and nurturing. She was the epitome of beauty, innocence, and all that was good in the world. Dressed in white, she was. She even stood in a perfect posture. And when one was near her, they felt warm and safe.

    The two young men stood there with their mouths gaping in awe and wonderment. They just stared at the goddess, appeased enough to just look. Afraid to move to disrupt the perfection.

    “I’m assuming you did not come to my home just to stand and stare…” She said as she smiled, “Well? Do you speak? Or do your capabilities end at pounding down my door and waking my child?”

    Finally Philip was the one to snap out of the trance that the angel so subtly and accidentally placed him in.

    “Umm…uhhh…I’m terribly sorry my lady…umm..see…we came…to uhhh…well see this man we heard of…ummm…Immortal…uhhh…indeed…” He ran on speaking gibberish for quite sometime. Amusing the woman every second of it. She listened with a smile and nodded her head as if she understood the broken words.

    Philip went on and started to not even speak any words, just a sort of garbled grunts. Finally the angelic woman raised her delicate hand, and Philip’s ramblings stopped.

    She laughed.

    “Out of all that came from your mouth, I only understood ‘Immortal’. So let me assume you are here to speak to my husband. Since you made it through such a hideous forest I am sure my husband would agree that you are worthy enough to speak to him. He very much wants to be left alone from the world, so you see why we live in such a secluded place. Anyways, he is not home at the present. He usually goes into the wilderness for a short while to either be alone or hunt. Or even check the area to be sure its clear of dangerous foes. I am sure he knows you are here, and should be home soon. I pray you, come in and be our guests. Dinner is near ready and I shall make two more plates for our visitors this evening. You must be tired, please come in.” She stood aside to allow the visitors in. They enjoyed her little talk, for it was like song to their ears.

    “Thank you so very much, fair lady. Thank you…” Philip and Pavil bowed down several times as they eased their way into the home. Pavil still with his eyes open as to not miss a single movement the woman made.

    The inside of this home was just as beautiful as the outside, if not more so. It was smallish yet elegant and yet a family home. They entered a small hall with three open doorways. She led them through the doorway directly in front of them. There they entered a living room. Two sofas and a sofa chair was situated in a semi circle around a fireplace and in the middle was a table. And there was a boy, no older than 8 playing with wooden figures. He paid no heed to the visitors, very much into his pretend battles that he was conducting.

    “Please sit, I pray you. I shall bring you something to drink and eat.” There she left them as she walked into the next room.”

    “Thank you, fair woman. We greatly appreciate your kindness and hospitality.” Philip called back as he sat at the sofa with Pavil. He smiled at the boy when he looked up. After a few moments the woman came back in with a tray of cakes and cups of some sort of drink. She set them on the table next to the wooden figures the boy was playing with and sat down across the young visitors. Philip and Pavil helped themselves.

    “Now tell me. What brings you here? Deep into the forests where not many dare to enter?” She asked as she sipped her cup with the delicacy of a princess.

    “We come to seek your husband’s help, my lady. A long journey we’ve undertaken to get here. We hope we did not search in vain.” Philip answered as he took a bite from a cake.

    “Well, for the sake of a tale, pray share your journeys with me as we wait for Fornalin.” She sat, listening intently with undivided attention. So, Philip started the tale from the beginning, even the boy became interested in hearing of the strange lands he’s never seen. The woman too listened enjoyably.

    The tale carried on into the beginning of night, where footsteps were then heard on the doorstep. And the small creaking sound gave evidence to the opening of the door…

    To come…Et Overvinna Nago, “the Unconquered one”


    • #3
      Grreeeaaatt!! Most definitely want to see you continue this. Fantastic start, dont worry about low response most likely wont pick up untill after the holidays.

      Once again brilliant start
      A proud member of the "Apolyton Story Writers Guild".There are many great stories at the Civ 3 stories forum, do yourself a favour and visit the forum. Lose yourself in one of many epic tales and be inspired to write yourself, as I was.


      • #4
        Lands of Darkness

        Et Overvinna Nago

        The door slammed. Footsteps could be heard in the small hall, then a man entered the room. A tall man he was. No less then six feet and two inches. And well built he was, solid as a rock yet he did not illuminate bulging muscles, just rock solid he was. The hood from his grey cloak kept his face in shadow. A bow was in his grip, and a leather bag of arrows slung on his back. Such a posture he held. Not a movement did he commit. The visitors felt his eyes even though they were hidden.

        Pavil gulped.

        “Sir…Varha?” Questioned Philip the brave. Such darkness this man contained. And then the darkness was swept away as the boy ran to his father. Then the memory of such darkness vanished completely as the fair lady walked over to the man as well.

        “What took so long, Fornalin? We went through many tales by this young man, and then some.” Complained the wife as she grabbed the bow and arrows from the man. She walked to a table at the edge of the room and placed the bow ontop of it, and the leather bag below it. Then she walked into the kitchen to ready supper.

        The man picked up his son and held him with his arm. He then walked over and sat in the comfy sofa chair situated by the fire. His son sat contently on his lap as he played with one of his wooden figures. Then the man swiped away the hood, and his face was clear. Much younger then both Pavil and Philip expected. Young but hardened. The man…the warrior…had a mustache partnered with a goatee and a shadow of roughly shaven was where a beard would be. He had dark hair, much like his wife, yet it seemed a much darker dark, unlike the pleasant dark of the woman. His eyes were very much different from the lady as well, it were the same color yet different shade. Her eyes were bright and colorful. His eyes were dark, empty and hollow. One could be surrounded in darkness if they stared for too long into the abyss of this man’s eyes. Shadows hung under his eye sockets, evidence to age and experience…and wisdom. He stared with concentration into the fire, still not heeding the visitors. His skin was tan as well, but a rougher tan. The fire played with shadows across the man’s face. Philip saw no king, but a soldier, a worker, and a father. This man was tall, dark and handsome, but no god he was. But Philip knew there was more then what meets the eye.

        “Umm…sir?” Philip hesitantly spoke. The man did not move.

        “Sir, Magnata Krigo?…”Philip spoke once again. A little hesitant as to which name to choose.

        The man laughed.

        “It has been many a year before any man has ever called me by that name.” He said. His voice was stern and strong. Confident was an obvious trait. The man turned and looked at his visitors. There, Philip and Pavil felt his dominance as he gazed upon them.

        “We’ve come from afar, sir, we come from a village constantly pillaged by the Russian cossacks. They rape our women, and steal our children. All over Persia they are like this, they treat Persians like dogs. The taxes they impose, no man in all of Persia is rich any longer, every man is poorer than even the word ‘poor’ could describe. They steal our homes when they choose, everything that belongs to us belongs to them. And so, me and my friend here could stand no longer. And I’ve heard about you from my father, and I searched and searched, questioned and questioned and finally through much luck and guidance from the gods I found your location. You are the only one I believe could help us. We want Persia as it once was, a kingdom of its own, sir. Where every man would be proud to be Persian, and not curse the day they were born with this heritage.” Philip continued on with his well-practiced speech, trying to get every fact in and persuasive note in before Fornalin spoke. Finally he did.

        “My hunger keeps me from understanding your ramblings, please, let us eat first and discuss later.” He stood and guided the visitors into the dining room, where a long table for five was situated. They all sat. Philip was somewhat disappointed and disheartened at the lack of response from the Immortal. The woman then walked in and sat at the end of the table, while her husband sat at the other end. Food from heaven displayed across the table. They thanked the gods for the food then they began their feast. After a short while Natalya Varha spoke up.

        “Well? Aren’t you going to hear them out, my dear? They came all this way, it is the least you can do.” She commanded as she sipped her wine.

        “I did hear them out, Natalya.” Said he, as he took a bite from a biscuit, not even looking at his wife.

        “Yes, and all they got in return was, ‘oh dear I’m hungry’.” She mocked in a silly deep voice. “They deserve more than that, I am sure.”

        “Fine fine.” Fornalin turned to the visitors. “And so, you came to ask me to fight for you?”

        “No, “ Said Philip. “ Fight WITH us.”

        “Well then your journey was in vain. I stopped fighting long ago, and I will fight no more. I have my home and my family and that is all that I want. No more glory, no more fighting. The Russians do not disturb me here, and so I shall not walk out of my sanctuary to pick a fight with them.”

        “But Persia is being enslaved while you sit idle here. Others are not so lucky as you, you have my deepest respects, sir, but other families are being destroyed. Wives are being widowed and raped, children are being enslaved and corrupted. This is not for glory, it is for freedom.” Philip pleaded. Pavil just listened and ate…and drank.

        “Those families are not my own. And here, I have my freedom. And here, my family is safe. Why should I risk what I have for others?”

        “Because you are an Immortal, sworn to protect the people! The Persians! It is your duty as soldier…and king…”

        “I AM NO KING!” He pounded his fist on the table. He quickly cooled down. “And I am no longer a soldier. That ended long ago with the trust I had for my fellow man. Persians no longer have what is needed to fight for freedom. It is spirit and honor, they have neither. I’ve seen it. I fight no more! I wish to be left alone, I do not bother no one, and in return I simply ask not to be bothered, and yet you are here. I have bled my last drop and have fought my last fight. No longer shall I see the battlefield. This the choice I have made.”

        Philip was heartbroken, and angered. Pavil simply kept eating, glad to be going home after this, but deep down he felt disappointed. Philip was frustrated but felt defeated. He simply looked down and began his meal. He felt the eyes of pity on him, the eyes of Natalya Varha. But he would not meet her gaze.

        “You have no weapon, nor money nor food. I will give you these if you wish to continue your journeys and fight. Tomorrow I will show you the safer routes to take out of this forest. That is all I shall give you. I wish you luck, my friend. Tonight you both shall sleep in the guest room, it is the third door upstairs.” With that they finished their meal and went to bed.


        Later that night, Natalya couldn’t sleep. Guilt kept her mercilessly awake.

        “Fornalin…Fornalin…” She whispered to her husband laying next to her. He did not stir.

        “Magnata Krigo!” She whispered louder and shook him.

        “Do not call me by that name, my love.” He whispered back, half asleep.

        “Why do you not go? Why do you not fight?” She asked him.

        Realizing he would not get sleep anytime soon, and knowing it was futile to ignore his wife, he turned over to face her.

        “My reasons are my own.” He said.

        “But why? People need you. Persia needs you. Never have you ignored the call for help when the kingdom called for it.” She whispered.

        “There is no more kingdom.” He whispered back.

        “There is! And it is your kingdom! Why shan’t you protect it? Defend it? When defense is needed?” She asked.

        “It is not my kingdom, it was my father’s and my brothers’.” He whispered so simply.

        “And all are dead! Do not play stupid and naïve with me, Fornalin. I know you are niether.” She whispered sharply.

        “Even if I did fight, I am but one man. The Persians have no heart anymore. What can I alone do, against such a mighty empire.” He said. Fully awake now as he sat up facing his wife in the dark.

        “You are but one man. But no normal man you are. You have a gift from the gods for rekindling fires within the hearts of men. You can fight at equal strength to a hundred regular men.”

        “And even a hundred regular men could not fight off the Russian Empire.”

        “Your fellow Immortals are still of this world. They will follow you if you lead them. And with their support you shall gain even more men under your army. You are a good leader, able to transform a small army into a magnificent beast. You have done it before, Fornalin, do it again now that Persia truly needs it.”

        “I was young then, and foolishly brave. No longer am I either. And both are needed for such the impossible.” Again he doubted and slashed down his wifes encouragements.

        “You are stronger! And wiser. And courageously brave you still are. And always have you been known for overcoming the impossible. Stop talking such rubbish, my husband. Why do you not fight? Have you truly lost the flame within you? The flame that kindled our love?” She was sincere, and warm.

        “I will not fight. And that is that. Why do you want me to fight? IT shall put you and young Elias in such dangers as no other. And you are the one who wanted me to stop my warmongering ways, and now you wish for me to go to war once more?”

        “Once more yes. For now it is necessity, now it is for freedom. It is selfish of me to keep you from being the hero of the people. Me and Elias will be fine. We are but two Persians, living a life of safety and liberty. While thousands more Persians live the life of the oppressed, hardly a life at all. Is it not right to risk our own lives for the lives of thousands? Is it not selfish to sit idly by while children are being killed, and women are being ravaged? It is not just the duty of soldier or king, it is the duty of a fellow Persian, of a fellow man.” She said so earnestly, so honestly. It sparkled a long lost flame within Magnata Krigo, the man once born to protect the people. But he quickly remembered a memory long lost as well, and the thoughts of fighting was once again quickly turned down.

        “No, my love. I will not risk such innocence, for the cruelty of the world. They will fight their own fight. I will fight no more.” And with that he turned and laid back down. And went to sleep.

        “But this is your fight…Et Overvinna Nago.” She whispered. But her last words went unheard to Fornalin Varha. He was in the lands of dreams.

        Natalya Varha went back to sleep, despaired to have not succeeded for the sake of Persia. Perhaps hope was not yet lost…

        To be continued…


        OOC: I know it seems probably slow. I’m usually the guy who jumps right into the blood and guts, but if you are patient such events shall arise. I’m just trying to create more story, more love of each character. Feedback wanted, please.
        Last edited by Easthaven I; December 28, 2002, 03:31.


        • #5
          This is excellent! I really admire your writing style.

          Continue ASAP.


          • #6
            No problem with the character build up East, its great and leaves me wanting more.
            A proud member of the "Apolyton Story Writers Guild".There are many great stories at the Civ 3 stories forum, do yourself a favour and visit the forum. Lose yourself in one of many epic tales and be inspired to write yourself, as I was.


            • #7
              Thank you both very much for your encouragement. I shall continue the story the way it is.


              • #8
                Lands of Darkness

                The Disappointed Parting

                Philip woke up before Pavil, not quite fully rested for his mind was troubled with doubt throughout the moon’s stay in the sky. He did not know where their path would now lead them. He did not know why hope still lingered.

                Pavil stirred.

                “Get up, Pavil, for the moon has given up its reigns and the sun is rising. It is time to carry on, on our course.” Philip said to his friend as he stood and straightened his clothing. He wrapped his cloak around himself and waited for Pavil.

                Pavil heard his friend and reluctantly got up from his luxurious bed. Unlike Philip, he looked very well rested.

                They then walked out and made their way towards the kitchen where they smelt an aroma of pleasure. Such a beautiful house it was, one wanted to stay there forever, but Philip had duty and quest to fulfill.

                They walked into the kitchen and there was the angel. She turned from her activities and smiled at her guests. She did not look at all like a recently awoken maiden, but a high-spirited Princess with the strength of a Queen.

                “Good morning Master Philip and Master Pavil!.” She said, “what dreams befell you in the night?” She placed two plates of food on the table and filled two cups of milk. She sat down invitingly for her guests to sit with her.

                “Not many dreams, lady Varha, only concerns on our next step for freedom. Only searching in vain for lingering hopes after so many were lost by the words spoken by your husband.” Philip said as he sat down at his place. Natalya’s smile slightly faded as she heard such disheartening words come from the young man whom was full of spirit on her doorstep.

                “I on the other hand dreamt of home, my lady.” Pavil carried a smile as he sat down in front the delicious food. He took a whiff of the aroma expelling out from the meal and then continued. “I dreamt of my little sister and my mother and father. Of our small carpenter shop and the amatuer garden growing in the back. And the rolling green fields of the lands…” He continued his joyous jabbering. Natalya regained her smile hearing such enthusiastic words from one whom lived oppressed and had not much to be happy for.

                When he was finished they began their enjoyable meals. She watched them eat and waited until they were deep within their breakfast, then she spoke.

                “Fornalin asked for you to go to the hut in the back when you have finished your breakfast.” She said as she stood and began her choirs around the kitchen. The visitors simply nodded, mouths too full to speak.


                They finally finished their meals and thanked Natalya countlessly. They then worked their way to the back of the home where the stable and the shack was located. Fornalin Varha was in the stable placing the saddle on the second brown horse. His son watched him and asked him questions like any 7-year old would ask, all the while chewing happily on a strand of straw. Two packs laid on the ground next to the boy.

                “So how were your meals?” He asked, not looking away from the horse as he strapped a pack onto it.

                “It was a meal from the gods, I tell you.” Said Pavil, reflecting on the past minutes trying to retaste the pleasure.

                Fornalin chuckled.

                “Yes my friend, my wife is gifted with many talents and cooking is but one of them.” He finished packing the last horse. His son simply leaned back on the corral and listened contentedly.

                “Well, you’re fully supplied and packed. These horses aren’t made for war but they are strong and endurable. They will take you to the ends of the world and back again.” He patted one of the horses on the cheek and turned towards the shack.

                “Follow me.” They followed him to the work shack, young Elias followed also with curiosity.

                The shack was just like any other work shack. Tools lay here and there, dust glided about and the smell of sweat hung in the air.

                Fornalin worked his way to the back and rummaged through objects indiscernible. Metal on metal clanking were the sole sounds in the air as Philip, Pavil, and young Elias waited.

                Fornalin returned, arms full of steel objects and leather. The others stepped aside as he walked out of the shack and onto the grass where he dropped his load.

                He brought up two sheathed shortswords and tossed each one to Philip and Pavil. They unsheathed them to inspect and were enveloped in awe of the two well maintained weapons. The lustrous blades reflected the morning sun making them seem emblazoned with white light. Philip touched the blade and felt the coolness of the steel in the moisture of the morning.

                Fornalin brought out two chain mails as well, they too of shiny steel. He tossed them to the new masters.

                “Put those on under your clothing. And get your sheaths attached to your belts, and be sure to keep your swords well hidden under your cloaks. No need showing unknown strangers you are armed.” Fornalin commanded. He stood there and watched as they did what he ordered. He watched and tried to think if by chance a thought escaped his mind that would aid these young men on their journeys. None revealed themselves if they did so exist.

                Pavil had trouble strapping the sheath to his belt. Young Elias intervened and took command of the sheath and easily strapped it onto to the belt for Pavil. Pavil thanked him, feeling a little embarrassed.

                Fornalin looked at the young men, trying to scavenge some satisfaction that he was leaving these men well tended. But no such hope came. The more he looked at them the more he felt pity. The more he saw them getting their throats easily slit by annoyed Russian guardsmen. He picked up an old sword from the pile he dropped and then guided the horses to the front of the house. The others followed in his steps, trusting in whatever he would do.

                He then walked forward to an area in the green grass and turned. He held his sword in his right hand as he twirled it in circles with complete command.

                “Come forward, young Philip Brancus, show me your skills as a swordsman.” He said as he got acquainted with the old battered rusted sword. “I must give you heed though, I am rusty. Haven’t wielded a sword in ages.”

                Philip obediently walked forward as he unsheathed his sword. Pavil stood by, smiling. Young Elias climbed up on one of the horses and stood watch from there, also looking forward to the show.

                After a few moments of waiting, Philip charged forward swinging his sword. With a quick flick of the wrist, Fornalin swiped Philip’s sword from his hands then brought his blade to Philip’s chin.

                “Never strike out of restlessness, my friend. And never be the first to strike unless you have complete confidence.” Fornalin said as he backed away. “Again.”

                Philip picked up his sword and charged again, swinging strike after strike. The Immortal easily blocked and deflected each strike with the confidence of a champion.

                “Come help him, Pavil. If at any time a situation presents itself in which you may aid your friend against a foe, you must seize the moment while it exists.” He said as he deflected another swordstrike.

                Pavil obeyed, And came running at Fornalin, sword held high. He brought the sword down upon Fornalin while the man was blocking a blow from Philip. With another lightning strike, Fornalin struck Pavil’s sword and sent it gliding out of the young man’s hands. Fornalin quickly averted his attention back to Philip, blocking strike after strike with ease.

                Pavil ran off to pick up his sword. He came back and attacked Fornalin from behind. As Fornalin Deflected a blow of Philip he flipped his sword over his back without looking and deflected a strike from Pavil. He then spun and struck Pavil’s futile second strike with the energy of what once was. Pavil’s sword leapt from his hands once again. Fornalin quickly reversed his momentum and struck Philip’s weapon with the same might.

                Both defiant shortswords laid on the grass, while the rusted sword of old stayed loyally in its master’s hand.

                The two young men chased their fallen weapons. Fornalin looked upon them with despair and disappointment. He looked at his son… young Elias shook his head sadly. He turned around, feeling the eyes of the woman he loved, and saw her leaning on the doorway, arms crossed.

                He returned his glance at the two young men as they returned…swords in hand. Both were red in the face and excited by the pretend battle.

                “Well then. Good show.” Is all he could say. He went to the horses. He grabbed his son and placed him on the ground.

                “Go north, you shall come across a stream. Follow it. Do not be alarmed when it runs into a hill and runs under ground. Simply keep riding in the same direction, after no more then thirty furlongs it shall appear again and shall lead you out of the treacherous forest.” He said as they mounted their horses.

                “It shall take you five days. Good luck, young Persians. I shall pray you succeed in your endeavors, you will be in my thoughts.” He shook their hands and avoided their fear filled eyes.

                “I can not say I depart from your home a happy man. Such sadness engulfs me, but I do thank you with all my heart for your aid. Even this you were not at all obligated to do, and yet you did. And for that we are in debt to you. We will return to pay you, I promise, if we are still breathing after the dangerous toils our paths lead us into.” Philip said with a solemn tone. Fornalin merely nodded and backed way, his hand on his son’s shoulders. He waved them away as they galloped off. Then they disappeared as the wood swallowed them in.

                He turned away and walked to his door. His wife still stood blocking the path into the house. Her eyes were narrow and stern as she stared into Fornalin’s eyes as he came. He halted in front of her. She could tell he felt pain inside for letting those men go, knowing they would not survive their first encounter with any man with the conscious to kill. But she held her gaze.

                “I fight no longer, my love.” He said pleadingly. “I pray you…let it be.” His son stood in front of him as he rested his hands upon his shoulders. He looked pleadingly to his wife, but then looked away as he guided his son into the lovely home, past his lovely wife.

                Natalya Varha looked on, into the forests. In the past she always saw good hopes for the future. And now she still saw those good hopes, but for the immediate beyond she could only see darkness…

                To Be continued…next up…Together into Darkness
                Last edited by Easthaven I; December 30, 2002, 02:10.


                • #9
                  A proud member of the "Apolyton Story Writers Guild".There are many great stories at the Civ 3 stories forum, do yourself a favour and visit the forum. Lose yourself in one of many epic tales and be inspired to write yourself, as I was.


                  • #10
                    Is it just me, or does anyone else get loads of weird symbols in this? Should this worry me? It makes it a little distracting to read.
                    The genesis of the "evil Finn" concept- Evil, evil Finland


                    • #11
                      You're experiencing weird symbols because your browser isnt encoded correctly. With the default encoding, the browser cant make sense of symbols like quotation marks and apostrophes.

                      The problem is easily corrected. Right-click on the page and then click "Encoding" in the pop-up menu. Then, select "Unicode (UTF-8)." If this option doesnt show up, click "More" and then select "Unicode (UTF-8)."

                      Remember to change your encoding back to default after you're done viewing Apolyton stories, or your browser may become confused and spew weird symbols again.


                      • #12
                        Ah, much better. Thanks for that.
                        The genesis of the "evil Finn" concept- Evil, evil Finland


                        • #13
                          This is a very ambitious approach, both in terms of the scope of the project and for the manner in which it's told, for which credit is certainly due on both counts. It's highly dialogue-driven, and dialogue is one of the trickiest things to pull off convincingly.

                          It's very impressive as it stands. Would you like any constructive criticism on it?
                          The genesis of the "evil Finn" concept- Evil, evil Finland


                          • #14
                            Thanks folks.

                            By all means, Lazarus, criticize away...

                            Let me know both the strengths and weaknesses of my story, if you would...
                            Last edited by Easthaven I; December 30, 2002, 20:16.


                            • #15
                              "Weaknesses" certainly isn't the expression I would use in the face of what is an excellent story, but I can highlight what I think is the strengths of it.

                              Your style so far in the main is very ornate, an example being the recurring use of phrases such as "Dressed in white, she was". This has the effect of conjuring up regal/dreamlike imagery.

                              By carefully varying the tone in other sections, you can create a dynamic contrast that will emphasise the parts detailed above- an example could be if you were dealing with a fight or an argument, or some sort of unpleasant image- in such an event, by switching to a very blunt and direct descriptive style you vary the pace and manipulate the way in which reader visualises the scene. This helps create an immersive story and will make the most of the hard work you've already put in on the sections you've already written.

                              There's a great example of this in what you've already written-

                              "Fornalin looked at the young men, trying to scavenge some satisfaction that he was leaving these men well tended. But no such hope came. The more he looked at them the more he felt pity. The more he saw them getting their throats easily slit by annoyed Russian guardsmen. "

                              In it's context, that's a killer line. It comes like a kick in the teeth. More, please.

                              The same trick works with dialogue too, and helps develop the characters- mixing taciturn blunt-speakers with florid and poets creates a clear identity that helps drive the dialogues.

                              Hope that helps.
                              The genesis of the "evil Finn" concept- Evil, evil Finland