Foreword: This story introduces my second character, Lance, and gives some backstory on both him, and Disc Lorde. It is also the first time these characters meet. It's a pretty significant story. I'd like to thank Lord Barrius for writing the Knight quest that this is based on. The entirety of the quest dialogue is included in this story, with a few minor changes to make it fit.
The Maeshalanadae Chronicles: Good Knight and Good Luck
Previous: Golem! Golem!
Next: Injurious Wasters
A Brotherhood Begins
Disc Lorde was reading the notice board in the Battleon town square. There was an notice announcing that the kingdoms of Lore were accepting new knights, and that Sir Tathlin was offering basic training.
"Hmm. So the secrets of knighthood are finally being revealed. I may as well check it out. I don't usually use my strength and this is far below my level anyway, but it could be useful to learn more about knighthood."
After a brief talk with Blackhawke to get the location of the Knight training, Disc Lorde set off. As he went down the stairs, another patron finished his moglinberry juice and left the inn. He headed in the same direction Disc Lorde was heading.
"Hello," said Disc Lorde. "Going to Knight training?"
"Yep," said the man, grinning, turning to face him. He had an accent that Disc Lorde recognized as Derenian. He held out a hand. "Name's Lance. What's yours?"
Disc Lorde shook the profferred hand. "Disc Lorde. Are you from Deren?"
"Accent give it away? I sure am. Most of my family have been Frogzard Knights, including my mom and dad."
"Well then, you should do well."
"I hope so. What about you? You have any family in a Knight order?"
"Nah. My dad's a retired adventurer and my mom is a merchant. Personally I'm a mage and I'm too high-leveled to use knight training anyway, but I'd like to learn more about knighthood."
"Oh," Lance said, mildly surprised. "Okay."
At that moment the training field came into view and the short remainder of the trip was spent in silence.
"Greetings Disc Lorde, Lance! I hope you are ready for some serious training!", Sir Tathlin greeted them. "That is why you both are here, right? To train as Knights?"
They responded in the affirmative.
Disc Lorde was just about to ask how Tathlin and Lance knew each other when Lance spoke up. "How do you know my name?"
"Your parents sent me a letter," Tathlin said. "They gave me your description and said that you might be interested in training as a Knight yourself."
"Oh. So how do you know Disc Lorde?"
"We've worked together a couple of times. There was the drakel attack on Stonerule, and we hunted down a powerful dire wolf together."
"Sir Tathlin," said Disc Lorde. "Before we start I have a question. What is a Knight?"
"Knights of Lore typically serve a kingdom and, by extension, their king, with complete loyalty. For example, I am the head knight of Rennd, which means I vow to serve Rennd and its king. Knights of a higher caliber often join organizations like the Paladin Order, serving all of Lore. But there is much more to being a Knight than wearing heavy armor. Train with me, and you'll learn that firsthand!"
"I see," said Disc Lorde, impressed.
"Now, on to your training. There was once a time in which only those of noble birth could become knights, but there is a greater need these days. Perhaps once you're properly trained, you can make your case to the kingdom of your choice. But this training will be difficult and will test your resolve. Knowing this, do you both still wish to become Knights?"
"I'm ready!" Disc Lorde and Lance said in unison.
"Excellent! Go get some spare armor from the tent behind you and put it on. You won't be allowed to train in anything else."
They complied, buying some Squire's Training Armor from the tent and equipping it.
"Knights are capable fighters with virtually every sort of melee weapon," Tathlin continued. "But it is with shield and sword that they are truly in their element. Knights train so extensively with their swords and shields that they become an extension of the knight's arms. They encompass the ideal of knighthood: a shield to defend the helpless, and a sword to strike back at evil. Every order has their own armor, shield and sword. Together, they are a symbol of pride in your order."
Disc Lorde nodded and asked a question. "I carry quite a few weapons and shields with me. What if I do not have room to carry the shield and sword of my order with me?"
"Many adventurers have that problem. We knights developed a solution, born of simple magic. Nowadays, our shields and swords are physical constructs, maintained by our life force and fighting spirit, and summoned at will."
Tathlin demonstrated the technique.
"Amazing!" said Disc Lorde. "But isn't magic anathema to warriors?"
"Only the "flashy" sort which mages wield. We have been distrustful of magic ever since it turned the lands to the West into such a barren waste. Even our own magi are kept under careful observation. We can never be too sure who is a demon sympathizer in these dark times. But try as we might to avoid it, magical energies are ingrained into the very fabric of Lore. It flows through the places we visit, and is built into the equipment we use. It is, quite simply, everywhere. Magic cannot be avoided entirely, nor should it. It can be used for good. So instead, we knights use our fighting spirits to fuel magic of a different sort. Magics which strengthen our defenses, or sharpen our blades. These magics enhance us, rather than battle for us."
"I see," said Disc Lorde.
"Because of your inexperience and lack of training, the best way for you to unlock your potential is to go on a great quest."
"So, going to rescue a princess or something?"
"That would certainly qualify, but I have another, more useful task in mind."
"What is it?"
"There is a certain magical artifact that the demons of Stormfallen are looking for... the Eye of the Unholy. The Eye is known to enhance the powers of its wielders, so it will be especially dangerous if the Demon Knights obtain it. We have been keeping it hidden from them, but soon we will be able to purify it and turn it against them. The demons know only how to use magic to destroy, so we shall show them how to wield it for the good of humanity... by destroying THEM with it! For now, I need you to retrieve the Eye and find somewhere safe to hide it until our purification technique is perfected. Take this map, it should lead you to the Eye. Then it's up to you to find a good hiding place. I'm counting on you two!"
As they walked, Disc Lorde examined the map. "Well, I don't think the Knights of Rennd could have found a less obvious place to hide the Eye if they tried. Anyway, we still have a ways to go."
"Uh, Disc Lorde," Lance said. "Don't look now, but we've got company."
Disc Lorde looked up, and sure enough, there were a couple of fire monsters headed their way. "Wouldn't be a quest without some," he said, raising his Torrential Pen and readying a spell.
After a while, they reached the building entrance. "That must be the Eye," said Lance. "Whew. This has been a difficult journey, but it's almost over." He took the Eye of the Unholy.
Suddenly Demon Lord Urgoth stepped out from behind a corner. "I'll be taking the eye if you don't mind," he said. "My queen demands it."
"Not a chance!" Disc Lorde and Lance responded in unison.
"Well then," said Urgoth, unsheathing his sword, "I guess we'll have to do this the hard way."
Disc Lorde prepared to cast. "Wait," said Lance, "I'd like to do this myself."
"Alright. Give me the orb. I'll be standing by in case things go sour."
Lance and Urgoth clashed. After a long, hard battle, Lance emerged victorious.
"You are talented, for such a young knight," Urgoth said. "Your talent is wasted serving Rennd. What possible use do you have for the Eye anyway, hm?"
"I intend to keep it out of your hands!" Lance replied.
"A pity that you are so dedicated to the light that you would blind yourself," Urgoth said, and left.
"What do you suppose he meant by that?" Lance asked.
"Uh, hmm. Well I've noticed that Tathlin is rather...fanatical."
"Yes, I've noticed that too."
"Still, we can't trust whatever Urgoth says."
"True. However, I'd like to learn more about both the Pria Knights and the Demon Knights."
"I think that's a good idea."
When they returned Sir Tathlin greeted them. "Excellent work, you two! It's good to know that the Eye is somewhere safe. And I suspect that your fighting spirit has grown strong indeed! You should now be able to summon your shield and sword. Now we can really get started with training! Now that you can manifest a shield and sword, we should begin your shield training. Remember: a shield to defend the helpless, and a sword to strike back at evil. Once you have experience with defending those who cannot defend themselves, we can begin to learn offense."
"I'm ready," said Disc Lorde.
"As am I," said Lance.
"Tathlin, before we start, I wanted to ask you about the Demon Knights," said Lance.
"...What about those murderous scum?"
"I... was just hoping you could explain them a bit better. I know so little about them. "
"What prompted this curiosity?"
"I had to defeat one that was trying to steal the Eye. Fortunately, I defeated him."
"Very fortunate indeed. Not many young knights survive their first encounter with a Demon Knight."
"But he made me wonder about their order. I know that they threaten Rennd..."
"Not just Rennd, but all of Lore. Those creatures aren't worthy of the title of 'Knight'. They don't believe in honorable combat, or defending those who need help. They seek only to destroy, and will use underhanded tactics and their demonic magic to win if they must. For the sake of all of Lore, they must be completely wiped out and made to suffer as they have made Rennd suffer."
"... I didn't realize you felt so strongly about them. I'm sorry for offending you."
"...No, no, forgive me. I should mind my tongue better than that. At any rate, now you know of Stormfallen. When facing them in battle, you must expect them not to fight honorably. That is why today's lesson is so critical: it may well save your life when facing them.
"I'm ready to learn, Tathlin. I want to help you in this fight."
"If they are the threat to Lore you say they are, then I do as well," said Disc Lorde.
"That is reassuring to hear Lance, Disc Lorde! Now, you may have run into situations in your travels in which your foe's ferocity was greater than yours. In such situations, it is often best to raise your defenses rather than charging in. Knights... TRUE knights... are never the aggressor. And so, today, you will learn how to assume a defensive stance. You will face off against some fellow knights. Your goal will be to defeat them while taking as little damage as possible. I will monitor your progress every few fights and award you a point if you have managed to defend yourself adequately. Once you have achieved enough points, you can take the final test to complete this training exercise. Let's begin!"
Disc Lorde and Lance completed the challenge with little trouble. When they had succeeded Sir Talthin spoke. "Excellent work! That's good! You're ready for the final test. It's time to test your defensive prowess against me. If you can defeat me, today's training will be over." They both managed to defeat him. "Good work today. You've earned a rest."
The two adventurers, tired from their training, rested in the shade of a nearby tree.
"Ooh, I'm exhausted," said Lance.
"I'm not, but that's probably my high endurance" said Disc Lorde.
"Endurance, huh? Maybe I should train some of that myself."
"Save it for last. It's useful, but you don't really need it as long as you have decent healing, which you should."
"Well, I feel better now anyway. Let's go."
They walked back to Sir Tathlin to continue their training.
Sir Tathlin greeted them and proceeded on to the next stage of training. "You have your shield and sword, and have learned how to use the shield to defend yourself. But a shield can also be used as an offensive tool to strike down enemies with a brutal blow. This will be your first lesson in offense: the Shield Bash!"
"I'm ready!" said Lance.
"I as well," said Disc Lorde.
"Excellent!" said Sir Tathlin. "I hope you remembered to bring your training armor. You won't be allowed to train in anything else."
Before they begun, Lance spoke. "Tathlin... about earlier..."
"I am sorry if my... strong convictions have startled you."
"Not at all. I was just wondering if you might explain what sparked such hatred between Rennd and Stormfallen. But if the memory is too painful, then..."
"No. You deserve to know so that you can understand my hatred. Rennd was once the greatest, most powerful kingdom in all of Lore. Even the greatest cities of the modern world could not compare to Rennd's splendor. But that all changed that day... Some say she was ejected from Heck by Stragath because he feared her might. Others claim she was too strong to be bound by Heck. All that is known for certain is that Tyranna escaped one day, and on that day, everything changed. She built Stormfallen, the demon palace, and declared herself its Demon Queen. She raised an army of demons and also corrupted weak men with promises of power, convincing them to become her Demon Knights. And when her army was built up large enough... she attacked. Many kingdoms fell to her, or fell in line behind her as her army marched on. Rennd was the only army able to stand up to her, and for that, she poured her wrath upon us. She would take no captives from us. She destroyed our farms and crops. She killed peasants who swore loyalty to us.
Tathlin: Morale plummeted and families, such as mine, were torn apart. Even the land itself died.
Tathlin: Since then, we have fought back with a fierce intensity, with the burning desire to avenge our fallen. But as knights, we know that such desires would force us to forsake our virtues. So it is a difficult balance. We must keep our anger in check as we beat the demons back. But sometimes, it is hard to ignore their crimes."
"...Tathlin, I had no idea. I'm so sorry."
Disc Lorde nodded solemnly.
"Never mind it. We should continue with your training."
"Right... you were saying about the Shield Bash?"
"Yes... ahem, the shield is quite a formidable defense, but it can also be used as a mighty tool of attack. One such attack involves imbuing your shield with your own strength and fighting spirit... And then smashing into the foe like a human battering ram. When executed properly, the attack will stagger even the most rigid defenders and knock them off-guard.
"That sounds quite impressive. How can I learn such a technique?"
"In order to master the Shield Bash, you must learn how to wield your shield properly. If you use your shield incorrectly when bashing a foe, you might seriously hurt yourself. That is why you must have incredible arm strength to endure such an attack. As such, I must ask you to wear this shield. It is made of very heavy rock that will be cumbersome to wield. However, it will definitely build your arm strength as you continue to use it. When you are ready, I will have you test out your Shield Bash. Let's begin!"
Disc Lorde and Lance practiced with their Rock Shields then attempted their Shield Bash. However, they both failed on their first try.
"Not good enough," Sir Tathlin said. "You need to try harder. "
On the second attempt they both succeeded, Disc Lorde by a tremendous effort of will.
"Excellent work!" Sir Tathlin said. "You're ready for the final test. It's time to test your arm strength. Show me your Shield Bash!"
They both demonstrated it to Sir Tathlin, who seemed quite impressed. "Good work today. You've earned a rest."
After another short rest in the shade, they continued their training.
Sit Tathlin spoke. "Your training is progressing well. You both have the makings of good Knights. Recall the second part of our motto: a sword to strike back at evil. It's time to discuss some swordplay. Listen well, and you will learn how to wield the Blade of Retaliation."
"I'm ready!" said Lance.
Disc Lorde nodded.
"Excellent!" said Sir Tathlin. "I hope you remembered to bring your training armor. You won't be allowed to train in anything else."
This time it was Disc Lorde who asked a question. "Tathlin, has Rennd been fighting this war against Stormfallen alone all this time?"
Tathlin answered. "For some time, it was. Few kingdoms are powerful enough to aid us against the Demon Knights. However, today, there are two which provide us with direct aid."
"Which kingdoms are those?"
"We'll discuss one today, and leave the other for another training day. Let me tell you about Deren... Or perhaps you would like to explain, Lance?"
"No thanks," said Lance, smiling. "I would be interested to hear you perspective, Sir Tathlin."
"Alright then. Deren is a mighty kingdom, currently headed by King Tralin. Their order, the Frogzard Knights, have been mocked for their unorthodox techniques and their strange mounts. But they embrace the Frogzard as a symbol of their order's unpredictable tactics. No order of knights is able to adapt to changing battle conditions like they can. And their forces have been a great asset in the continuing battle against the Demon Knights."
Lance smiled proudly.
"In fact," continued Sir Tathlin, "it was the forces of Deren that perfected the craft of the technique we are focusing on today. You have been taught to use your blade only in the act of striking back against the forces of evil. This technique allows you to wait for a foe to waste its energy trying to harm you, and once it has grown tired...you swiftly strike it down with your blade. The foe's fatigue and your patience in waiting for an opening will make your strike powerful.
"All right," said Disc Lorde. "I'm ready to learn the technique."
Tathlin continued. "Using this skill means that you will have to weather your enemy's attacks, so you will need endurance. You must defeat your opponents despite your armor's poor state, or you won't be able to use this skill."
Disc Lorde succeeded on the first try, but Lance didn't quite make it.
"Not good enough," said Sir Tathlin. "You need to try harder."
Lance succeeded on the second try.
"Excellent work!" said Sir Tathlin. "You're ready for the final test. It's time to see how much you have learned. Defeat me with the Blade of Retaliation to finish today's training."
They both demonstrated the Blade of Retaliation, and Sir Tathlin seemed quite pleased. "Good work today. You've earned a rest."
After another brief rest in the shade, they returned to finish their training.
"I grow more and more impressed with you each day, Disc Lorde and Lance. I feel I can trust you with a difficult task: an 'Emoran Knight has gone missing, and we fear that...well, that the Demon Knights may be involved. Here is your last lesson: the importance of Brotherhood!"
"I'm ready!" said Disc Lorde and Lance in unison.
"Excellent! I hope you remembered to bring your training armor. You won't be allowed to train in anything else."
"You say that one of Granemor's knights has gone missing? Why do you suspect the Demon Knights are involved?" Lance asked.
"That knight was part of a small scout force, sent to check on the advance of Stormfallen's troops. We received no reports back from them for some time. Later, another of our parties stumbled upon their camp. It was horribly damaged, with all of the knights slain... except for the missing one. We fear they may have taken him as a prisoner, to be tortured for more information.
"How horrible..." Lance said. Disc Lorde nodded solemnly.
"You needn't fear," Sir Tathlin said. "Granemor's knights are quite durable. Come to think of it, I haven't told you of them, have I?"
Disc Lorde and Lance shook their heads.
"This will have to be a short introduction, I'm afraid, as time is of the essence. Granemor's status as a kingdom is fairly new, but they are a welcome addition to our ranks. Their order, the 'Emoran Knights, are veterans with years of service defending Granemor from all manner of creatures. Experience in facing the forces of darkness have helped them learn how to wield darkness for their own purposes. And years of having to defend their city from endless hordes has taught them the value of defense and teamwork. It is through teamwork... defending one another back to back as true comrades... that they triumph. Unfortunately, even the mightiest defense can be overwhelmed through sheer numbers. There were many slain Demon Knights found in the camp, but there were just too many to defeat. We three kingdoms... Rennd, Deren, and Granemor... we have sworn an oath of brotherhood. We cannot leave a fellow knight to torture or death by those vile demons."
"We will bring him back alive, Tathlin," Disc Lorde said. "Have no doubt."
"Be careful. I do not want to see three of our knights held captive to those foul beings."
They went to the area where the Knight was said to have gone missing.
"Hm," said Disc Lorde. "Assuming that the Demon Knights' losses were as bad as Tathlin said... they likely would have taken him into their territory to try and meet up with reinforcements."
"Good thinking. They can't have gotten far. If we hurry, we might still locate the remains of their war party!"
They immediately set off. After a while they came upon the Demon Knights. They noticed the two heroes. "...! We've been discovered!", one of them yelled, pointing to the two heroes. They charged.
"How about this," Lance said. "You take the four on the left, and I'll take the four on the right."
"Sounds like a plan," said Disc Lorde.
The Demon Knights fell before them.
"You monsters can't stand against our combined might," Lance said. "So just give up your prisoner!"
A Demon Knight who looked like the commander spoke. "Fools... you wasted your time coming here. He is beyond rescue now. Just as the knights have been developing purification techniques..."
The Demon Knights stepped aside to reveal a figure, unmistakably an 'Emoran Knight, but corrupted by demonic power.
"...so has our Demon Queen been developing methods to corrupt. This test subject has begun the dawn of a new era. Those who resist shall be converted into loyal subjects who serve Queen Tyranna. Well, we are done with him now, anyway. Feel free to dispose of him..."
The corrupted 'Emoran Knight attacked. It was a quick and easy battle, but it left Disc Lorde shaken.
"How horrible..." said Disc Lorde.
"It happens in war," said Lance solemnly. "In the war against the Devourer a cousin of mine fell to a virulent form of necromancy known as the Cold. It's an occupational hazard. But we take the risk so that more will not have to suffer."
"You are wise."
"I am proud to have you fighting alongside me."
"And I you."
Tathlin was understandably distraught when they brought him the news. "How awful! So our brother was beyond saving... corrupted by those demons...No... no. I must maintain my composure. He shall be avenged, but later. We have other matters to discuss. I'm pleased to inform you that we believe that the purification rite is prepared! We can now purify the Eye of the Unholy! Once we have done so, you will have earned the right to join any kingdom you wish. Knowing that we may be parting ways soon is hard, but I am proud to call you my friends and comrades."
< Message edited by Disc Lorde -- 9/27/2013 1:03:44 >