The Great Library of Palanthas

An Aesthetic shows you to a small reading room.

Stories of Ansalon from the view of Glenn.

A little gully dwarf runs by and says 'Wordwrap Off 65 80.'
The gully continues 'Eyes hurt? Turn Color OFF!! (regular story dates)

Astinus says 'Enter the main library here to view only the author list.'
Astinus gently places a well written novel on the table in front of you.
You note the spine bears the word 'Glenn' scribed in deep brown ink.


Author:    Glenn          
Date:      Thu Jul 11 15:42:58 2013
Subject     A History of the Kar'Tess Family, Chapter 1

Great-Grandfather, Hadrian Kar'Tess, an elder Knight of the Sword, left the Knighthood almost 200 years after the cataclysm when he realized the ideology of the Knighthood would never be as it was. The meaning of the Oath was lost and the Measure was becoming nothing more than a political tool. He sold his nobility, land, and titles to move his family from the rich lands of Coastlund to an area south of the city of Dalevil in Southern Ergoth. Here they struggled to bring unity to a broken village suffering from constant bandit raids and outlawish behavior. After many years of effort they began construction of a new castle and with the support of the village the Kar'Tess family gained a reputation as being honest and just during those dark years. Grandfather, Elias Kar'Tess, followed in the footsteps of his father, Hadrian. He had been a squire in the Knighthood at the time of their departure and while no longer eligible to become a Knight he continued to uphold the ideals of a Knight in Training. During his lifetime he oversaw completion of the castle-estate and raised his own children to act as guardians of the estate and protectors of the village. Father, Gregory Kar'Tess, had no firsthand knowledge of the Knighthood but aged to be a noble man none the less under the guidance of his father, Elias. During a lengthy period of illness, Elias abdicated his authority to Gregory who declared himself sole guardian of the castle-estate and protector of the villagers. This lasted until his unfortunate death at the hands of soldiers who were acting on behalf of Stormogre, the Dictator of Daltigoth. Taxes had been demanded from all the inhabitants of Southern Ergoth. Finding this unacceptable, Gregory refused on the terms that his own people would starve by winter's end. A battle ensued and while the soldiers of Daltigoth were beaten, Gregory sustained a life ending injury and died upon the fields of the estate. Grandfather Elias was left to raise his grandchildren after the passing of his son Gregory. Though his illness left him weak and mostly bedridden, he raised the children to follow in his footsteps by telling them tales of the Knighthood and its former glory. The children were awed by the stories and swore at a young age to always uphold and honor the Oath. ----------To Be Continued----------

Author: Glenn Date: Thu Jul 11 15:45:05 2013 Subject A History of the Kar'Tess Family, Chapter 2

(Continued...) As the years passed and the children aged, attacks from Daltigoth were becoming more and more frequent. Demands of money, grain, resources and even slaves were not uncommon. The small castle-estate and the villagers were able to fend off the attacks but each one seemed to leave more casualties and more damage than could be repaired. The eldest son of the family continually sought support from the nearby city of Dalevil and as far as Zhea Harbor and Eastport but it seemed that each had their own troubles and could not afford to lend assistance. Finally, against the advice of Grandfather Elias, the eldest son, Cedric, decided to take on a perilous journey that would lead him to Northern Ergoth and then back down south through Coastlund. He would seek to reconcile with the Knighthood for his family's past departure and to request aid in defending the village and its innocent inhabitants. Soon after his departure, Grandfather Elias succumbed once again to illness and it was up to Glenn to oversee the operation and defense of the castle-estate. Glenn could have been considered too young at the age of 17 for the task at hand, but he possessed a level of wisdom that was rare for many adolescents. Growing up he was a dedicated pupil, to the delight of his teachers, and quickly gained a reputation among the villagers for his adeptness and his willingness to work and help others. His grandfather saw this shining quality and, knowing that his life was coming to an end, focused on tutoring Glenn in all that he could remember from his time with Knighthood. Glenn was not considered to be an outgoing individual. While he thoroughly enjoyed assisting others he tended to be quiet and spent time alone in meditation when he could. This often led him to wander outside the walls of the castle-estate to a nearby hill where he could look upon the bastion of The Blade, a tower fortification to the west built long ago by the Empire of Ergoth as an outpost for the Ergothian Cavaliers. Though it had fallen into disrepair since the days of the Cataclysm, it still stood tall, strong and silent a visual depiction of how Glenn saw himself. He would stare at the structure and dream of riding into battle against evil, fighting side by side with the great Knight, Huma, and celebrating afterwards in the presence of the Triumvirate: Paladine, Kiri-Jolith and Habbakuk. ----------To Be Continued----------

Author: Glenn Date: Thu Jul 11 15:47:13 2013 Subject A History of the Kar'Tess Family, Chapter 3

(Continued...) It was a quiet day, almost a full year after his brother's departure, that he sat upon the hill dreaming the same dream. But this day was different. As Glenn sat staring at the structure in the distance, pretending to scan the battlefield for imaginary foes, something was causing a cloud of dust to rise. As the cloud drew closer, figures could be seen and they too were coming nearer at a quick pace. Suddenly Glenn knew what was approaching and fear clutched at him Daltigoth had sent soldiers again! But this time the number of men was two, perhaps three times the number sent before! Glenn scrambled to his feet. He had to get back to the castle-estate and warn everyone. Somewhere in his mind though, he knew he would be too late. These soldiers were on horseback while he was on foot. Curse his daydreaming! Taking every shortcut he could think of and creating some along the way, Glenn raced back to his home. Cresting a small rise south of the main gate, Glenn looked on in horror as the regiment of soldiers arrived from the west. There, standing in front of the gate between them and the castle-estate, was Grandfather Elias in full plate armor passed down from Great Grandfather Hadrian. How he even managed to stand supporting the weight, given his ill condition, was unfathomable. A figure on horseback sauntered up to the elder man. Words were exchanged but Glenn was too far away to hear them. What did not escape him though was his grandfather pulling a sword from the ancient scabbard at his side. He held it defensively in front of him causing a round of jeers to rise from the soldiers. The mounted figure said something more and then gestured broadly to the walls of the estate, clenching his fist as if crumbling them. Whatever was said, the implication was clear. Grandfather Elias deftly maneuvered his sword into an attack position and lunged forward. The blade hummed as it cut through the air towards the unguarded soldier. Before the man could defend himself, the blade struck its mark, intended or not, slicing cleanly through the leather saddle belt. The horse bucked in fear and the soldier was unceremoniously dumped onto the ground. The air was suddenly filled with violent curses as the soldier struggled to right himself however, as he turned to stand he found a sword at this throat. Glenn, smiling at his grandfather's victory, began trotting towards the gate. He heard Grandfather Elias declare in a loud voice that if the soldiers valued their lives they would leave immediately. The figure on the ground raised his hands in defeat and Grandfather Elias lifted the blade. As Glenn continued forward, everything suddenly appeared to happen in slow motion. His grandfather lifted the point of the sword away from the soldier. The soldier began to stand and feigned stumbling forward all the while drawing a long hidden blade from his boot. Using his forward momentum he charged into Grandfather Elias. He was then well within personal range which was too close for the elder man to defend himself with his sword. He plunged the blade of the weapon deep into Grandfather Elias' waist and upward into his rib cage. The elder man dropped his sword and stumbled backward into the gate. Reaching down he pulled the blade free and blood began to run freely down his shining armor. The smile that had been on Glenn's face faded and he suddenly came to a stop just out of the soldier's line of sight, but not out of his grandfather's. Grandfather Elias' eyes met Glenn's. He saw the anguish clear as day on his grandson's face but he smiled warmly as the last glimmer of life left his eyes. ----------To Be Continued----------

Author: Glenn Date: Thu Jul 11 15:50:31 2013 Subject A History of the Kar'Tess Family, Chapter 4

(Continued...) That brief moment of valor, of courage, and of bravery would be forever cemented into Glenn's mind. Without thinking, Glenn suddenly dashed the rest of the distance to his grandfather's side. The soldier had already begun walking back to the rest of his group when he saw the young man approaching. Seeing no weapon he disregarded the threat and began issuing orders to attack. Glenn reached the body of Grandfather Elias and fell to his knees beside it with tears streaming down his face. Somewhere in the distance, through the fog in his mind, he heard the soldier giving the order to attack. Overwhelmed with grief, all rationale was forgotten. Glenn stood and picked up his grandfather's fallen sword. Turning himself about he locked eyes with the lead soldier. The tears flowing freely down Glenn's face caused a roar of laughter to emanate from the man. "Do you wish to suffer the same fate as this old sod, boy?" Seeing no response from Glenn, the soldier shrugged his shoulders. "So be it." With that, he removed a bow from another soldier's saddle and drew forth an arrow. Glenn continued to stand between the man and the gate, sword held in a defensive position. The soldier nocked the arrow, drew back and released. Without wearing any form of armor, Glenn was defenseless. The arrow lodged itself in his right shoulder. The pain was horrible, but Glenn remained standing between the man and the gate. His right hand dropped from the hilt and he swayed a bit while trying to balance the weight with his left hand. The soldier smirked. "Sure you want to keep this up, boy?" Glenn refused to respond. It was taking every bit of effort to remain standing, holding the sword. The cloth of his shirt was beginning to leak blood around the lodged arrow. He knew he would likely end up lying in the dirt alongside his grandfather, but he refused to flee. His mind began to wander as it sought freedom from the pain. He suddenly saw himself facing the soldier upon a battlefield. Huma was at this back, the two of them surrounded by the enemy. Glenn knew it was a figment of his imagination, but the thought alone gave him strength. "Paladine, protect them." Even facing death, his last prayer was for the villagers inside. He watched the soldier begin to nock a second arrow but this time it was pointed directly at Glenn's head. This was it. He would be with his grandfather soon and if the stories were true, he would be standing in the presence of Paladine. Glenn closed his eyes. ----------To Be Continued----------

Author: Glenn Date: Thu Jul 11 15:52:13 2013 Subject A History of the Kar'Tess Family, Chapter 5

(Continued...) A sense of peace suddenly flowed over him along with the sound of a horn blaring in the distance. Glenn wasn't sure why a horn would sound so loud and rackety in the presence of the gods. Surely the instruments of the gods were more harmonious. The horn sounded again and this time it was followed by shouts and screams from the soldiers who should have been finishing him off. Glenn's eyes snapped open and to his surprise, there wasn't a second arrow protruding from his face. Instead, the body of the soldier lay on the ground with an arrow protruding from HIS head! Confusion set in but Glenn didn't have time to make sense of it. The soldiers of Daltigoth had turned about and were embattled with a new enemy. As they turned, a mass of arrows released from the wall and struck down many in the rear ranks. The villagers had been arming themselves from behind the walls and finally had an opportunity to attack! Glenn fell to a knee but continued to hold the sword in front of him as he guarded the gate. What seemed like hours passed and finally the last soldier of Daltigoth fell to the ground. A large group of rugged looking men in mismatched armor milled around the dead bodies while stripping them of their weapons and armor. Some of them even rifled through bags and personal belongings. Glenn was unsure of what he was seeing, but a figure was approaching him. With the thought that one enemy had simply been replaced by another, Glenn tried to stand and fell back into the gate. The sword proved too heavy for his one hand and it clattered onto the cobblestone. Whatever was approaching, he would show no fear. With grim determination, Glenn forced himself to stand upright and looked right into the face... of his eldest brother Cedric! His face was grim and smeared with blood. He looked much older than he should, more pale and somewhat gaunt with lines of stress marring his features. "Looks like I returned home just in time." He turned and his eyes fell upon the body of his grandfather, dressed in the armor of the Knighthood. Glenn couldn't help but notice the sneer on his brother's face as he kneeled down and traced the ancient symbol. "At least we know he wouldn't have wanted to die any other way. Come Glenn, help me carry his body inside." Glenn cast a glance at the men behind them still rummaging through the corpses. Cedric followed his gaze. "They're mercenaries that I hired on my trip home. The Knighthood was no help. It's a long story. Let them take what they want, it should help lower their fee." And with that, the two young men carried the body of their elder inside the gate to prepare and provide him with a proper burial. ----------To Be Continued----------

Author: Glenn Date: Thu Jul 11 15:54:33 2013 Subject A History of the Kar'Tess Family, Epilogue

As it turned out, Cedric's journey was fruitless. He arrived in Northern Ergoth to petition several families of the Knighthood and was immediately turned away. They had no interest in "crusading" into Southern Ergoth to assist with a problem which was prevalent everywhere else in the world. The journey into Coastlund fared no better. Each family he came to had its own problems. Some wouldn't even grant him an audience. Some were simply gone, their castles crumbling and their land overrun by bandits and outlaws. It wasn't until he reached Caergoth that he found the mercenaries looking for work and contracted them to come to Southern Ergoth during the harvest season. The hardship of the journey mixed with the realization that the Knighthood, which Cedric had grown up hearing about in glorified stories, was filled with spoiled self-centered cowards had left a wound upon him that would never heal. He despised the entire ideology and swore he would never trust in any gods who would call those men their champions. Cedric relieved Glenn of his responsibility as head of the castle-estate. The arrow wound which he had received defending the gate would require time to heal. Many of the villagers had witnessed or had been told of his heroism. They made frequent visits during the first few weeks but as harvest season approached the visits dwindled. While Glenn was grateful for the gratitude, he appreciated the quiet it gave him time to think. The image of his grandfather would not leave his dreams. Every time he allowed his mind to wander as he once did he would find Grandfather Elias, either fighting the soldiers of Daltigoth single handedly or laying upon the battlefield with a life ending injury. What Glenn found peculiar was that Grandfather Elias always had that same smile upon his face, as if he wouldn't have wanted anything else than to be living the life of a Knight. After a few weeks Glenn was able to leave the confines of his room. Though he wasn't of much use with his shoulder bandaged, he spent his mornings checking in on each of the villagers who had stopped by to see him. After these rounds he would grab a small sack of food and head out to his vista on the hill overlooking the Blade. Here he would spend the rest of the day as he once did, staring out over the open plains and daydreaming but now he had company in his dreams. Alongside Huma and he stood Grandfather Elias, shouting out commands, challenging foes and fighting the tides of evil as they threatened all of mankind. Deep down Glenn knew what he had to do. Cedric may have been left soured by the current state of the Knighthood, but there had to be good men out there yet who were fighting evil and corruption. Good men like Grandfather Elias, willing to fight for a just cause. Willing to challenge the status-quo. Willing to lay down their lives for the sake of others. Cedric wouldn't approve, but Glenn knew what he had to do. As soon as his wounds healed, he would depart the castle-estate on Southern Ergoth and he would make his own journey to seek those same good men he was certain must exist. He would take up the sword of Great Grandfather Hadrian and follow in the footsteps of Grandfather Elias. Even if he failed to find the good men he sought, he would become the light that others needed in the darkness of the world.

Author: Glenn Date: Tue Aug 20 14:23:04 2013 Subject The Journey to Vingaard Keep, I

Glenn stood atop the parapets of Solanthus, along the east wall, and quietly watched the sun creep over a dark bank of clouds. It had been raining no more than an hour earlier but that had not stopped the flow of merchants and farmers eager to enter the gates. Now that dawn's first light had appeared the city would come to life. It would be just another day for most. But for three young men in Elmwood, a small town to the east, their lives would change forever. He sighed and looked down at the paper in his hand. Inked upon it were the names of three young men who had requested entry into the Knighthood. It should have been a moment of pride, knowing these men would be joining the ranks of his own. But Glenn knew that these men, these... boys, were about to leave childhood behind. Everything that was innocent in their lives would become nothing more than a memory. From this day forward they would enter adulthood and begin a long and bitter struggle with life for to be recognized as a member of the Solamnic Knighthood did not always mean to be well met. Many in the lands were still wary of the knighthood. It seemed that no matter how many of his order died defending the weak, there would always be some form of resentment. A steady pace of footsteps could be heard echoing upon the flagstone behind him. Turning, Glenn saw the Captain of the Solanthus guard approaching. The man wore an engraved breastplate and carried an impressive sword at his side. Although not a knight, he carried a swagger that easily rallied the spirits of those around him. He was a large, barrel chested man in his 40's that grew up in this city and had fought his fair share of battles and while that would harden the spirit of some men, the Captain was all smiles. He was boisterous and playful but had knocked more than one armed opponent to the ground with just his fist and this gained him the respect of the men under his command. Glenn smiled as he approached. He would have made one hell of a Knight. Captain: "Good morning Sir Glenn. I hope you haven't been here on the wall all night. I pay my men good money to do that job! But I doubt I could afford to pay the coffers of the Knighthood!" Glenn chuckled at the jest and followed suit with his own. Glenn: "Well met Captain. But do not fear. You seem to forget that I have yet to earn my spurs. Therefore, the Knighthood loans me out for half the cost." The Captain laughed cheerfully. Captain: "Ha ha ha, well that's good to know. In that case, I have some stables that need cleaned." Glenn shook his head and rolled his eyes. Glenn: "Well Captain, while I appreciate the honor of wiping your horse's ass I will have to pass today. It seems I have official business to attend to." The Captain raised his eyebrows. Captain: "Official you say? Must be pretty important if they're sending you! On what fool's errand do you run off to today?" Glenn shook his head, a somewhat somber expression on his face. Glenn: "Tis no joke. Three young men in Elmwood have offered to make the pledge. I will be taking them north to Vingaard where they will begin the first day of the rest of their lives." The Captain snorted at the response. Captain: "Have they offered of their own accord? Or were they "offered" by their families?" Glenn studied the face of the Captain. Something about that comment made Glenn pause and rethink his answer. There was something buried there in the sands of emotion, but now was not the time to inquire. Glenn: "I do not believe the Knighthood inquires that far. If they made the offer themselves, it will show in their dedication and work ethic. If not, then they will find work suited to their skills. Either way will be beneficial." The Captain's eyebrows narrowed at this and for the first time Glenn saw there was more to this man's nature than his typical demeanor. Captain: "Beneficial indeed..." The Captain looked away and Glenn was thankful for the moment of silence. The discussion was heading a direction much different than Glenn had anticipated. One day he would have to find out the reason. Glenn looked out over the east wall to the surrounding land and its rolling green hills. Glenn: "What news comes from the east? Has there been any further conflict with Lemish?" The Captain turned his attention to the east with Glenn. His moodiness appeared to have lifted, thankfully, and he now appeared thoughtful. Captain: "None since that incident a few weeks back. I'd say we beat them readily enough that they'll think twice before coming anywhere near here and demanding taxes. No Glenn, your journey to Elmwood should be quiet. Hell, the entire trip north from there should be quiet. I've not heard any reports from our patrols into the plains. It should be clear riding." Glenn nodded. Breathing deeply, he held in the morning air before exhaling. Glenn: "Good. Then I should be off. The sooner I have these young men delivered, the sooner I can come back to test your sparring skills again. I think we need to adjust your footwork." The Captain laughed at this and muttered a curse regarding Glenn's mother. Captain: "My footwork isn't the problem. I think you tricked me into drinking one too many before that contest!" Glenn laughed as he turned to leave. Glenn: "Then perhaps the problem isn't so much below the belt as it is hanging over it!" Before the Captain could offer a response, Glenn disappeared down the stairwell, but even the stone walls weren't enough to dampen the sound of hearty laughter resounding from above. (To be continued)

Author: Glenn Date: Tue Aug 20 14:27:14 2013 Subject The Journey to Vingaard Keep, II

The trip to Elmwood was indeed quiet. Glenn had left his meeting with the Captain of the Solanthus Guard and headed straight to the stables. A young lad already had his horse saddled, fed and ready to ride. A caravan of seven wagons would be waiting in Elmwood with supplies from Solanthus and the local townships. It was with this caravan that Glenn and the recruits would travel as an escort to Vingaard Keep. It was mid-morning the next day by the time Glenn reached the simple wooden gates of Elmwood. There really wasn't much to it other than several rows of buildings. Most of these appeared to be homes but the smoke of a blacksmith shop and the smell of a tannery stuck out like a sore thumb. A few people milled about and several groups of children were running around playing a game, but a smaller group stood in what could be considered the center of the town. Glenn took a deep breath and nudged his horse forward. As Glenn arrived before the group, one of the young men stepped forward and gently grabbed the reigns so that Glenn could dismount. Easing off the horse, Glenn thanked the young man and offered his hand. Glenn: "I am Glenn Kar'Tess, of the Solamnic Knighthood." The boy freed his hand from the reigns and accepted Glenn's, shaking it firmly. Bryce: "Good day, Sir Glenn. My name is Bryce." Glenn nodded and stepped back, turning to address the others. Glenn: "I believe you are here to accompany me to Vingaard Keep?" Bryce nodded and motioned towards the others. Bryce: "Yes sir that is correct myself, as well as Robert and Quinn." The boy named Robert, who appeared slightly older than the others, stepped forward and sneered at Bryce. Robert: "Thank you Bryce but I am quite capable of introducing myself!" Robert turned to face Glenn and gave a slight bow. Robert: "Good day. I am Robert uth Dawntide, of Caergoth. My family sent me to Vingaard which I was quite capable of reaching on my own until I was brought here and told to wait for your arrival. It is a pleasure to finally make your acquaintance but all formalness aside, I believe we are ready to depart." Glenn had to hold back a smirk that was encroaching upon his face. This young man had a title, or so it seemed, and apparently he had an attitude to go with it. He sighed inwardly. Some children are raised meek. Others are raised brash. But the ones that always got to Glenn the most were the ones raised privileged, because they always thought of themselves first and others last. Glenn: "My apologies to you, Robert, that your trip was diverted. However, I believe it was the council's opinion that some time spent among your fellow recruits would inspire some camaraderie before your arrival at Vingaard Keep." Robert sniffed at this but nodded and stepped back, obviously in disdain that he should be required to make such acquaintances. Glenn turned his attention to the third boy who had stayed quiet this whole time. Glenn: "So then, I believe you are Quinn?" Quinn nodded quietly and was about to speak but quickly changed his mind. He gently offered his hand which Glenn accepted with a smile. It was a weak handshake, not nearly as firm as Bryce's, but it was offered in good spirit and for that Glenn was thankful. Glenn: "Well then, let's pack up and move out. The caravan should be waiting for us just outside the north gate. Is there anything you gentleman want to do or say before we go?" Bryce glanced towards the blacksmith shop. An older man appeared from the doorway but stayed there. He nodded and Bryce nodded back. Without further acknowledgements, Bryce picked up his bag and began heading for the gate. Robert seemed to be having a slightly more difficult time arranging his gear. Whereas the other boys had one bag each, Robert had three and he was having a fit of a time getting it all on his shoulders. As Bryce approached, he offered a hand which Robert quickly motioned away. Apparently Robert also had to do everything himself. Gods above, Glenn thought, this is going to be a long trip. Last but not least was Quinn. He quietly picked up his bag and appeared about to leave but stopped and looked over at the tannery. The doorway was dark and no one appeared but it seemed as if he were talking to someone. Glenn saw this and began to inquire. Glenn: "Quinn, is everything ok?" Quinn quickly stopped and looked back at Glenn, a somewhat embarrassed expression upon his face. He then shook his head and took one last look at the building before following Bryce and Robert. Glenn watched the boy leave and then gave a look towards the building. Nothing stirred inside. Exhaling loudly through his nose, he shook his head and grabbed the reigns of his horse. He followed the boys out the gate to the waiting caravan. For unknown reasons Glenn felt anxious as if something were nagging at his soul now was not the time to ponder. There would be plenty of time for that on the road. At the pace of the caravan, it would take the group nearly a week to reach Vingaard. (To be continued)

Author: Glenn Date: Tue Aug 20 14:34:11 2013 Subject The Journey to Vingaard Keep, III

Three days had passed on the road to the north. The scenery hadn't changed much during that time. Rolling green hills and blue skies as far as the eye could see. These were the Plains of Solamnia. The location and lack of events provided an excellent learning opportunity for the recruits. As the caravan trudged along, Glenn began a history lesson. He explained to them that these plains hosted many battles in ancient days. One history claims that these were the plains where the Ogres and Silvanesti Elves waged their final battle during the First Dragon War. It was also said that during the Kinslayer Wars, General Giarna, the boy general, brutally suppressed a rebellion here that flared up against the Ergoth Empire. However, possibly the greatest event to occur here was the final battle between the Knights of Solamnia and the Dark Queen's armies. It was here that Takhisis was defeated. Bryce and Quinn maintained rapt attention to the subject matter. Bryce was especially inquisitive about the boy general and the history of the Ergoth Empire. Having been born in Southern Ergoth, and knowing much of the history there, Glenn was more than happy to oblige his fascination. Quinn stayed quiet, as was the norm, but his eyes gleamed with a similar fascination. Robert leaned back and stifled a yawn. He had his feet dangling over the side of the wagon and seemed to have little interest in the stories. Bryce: "So, ogres now control the former capitol city of the Empire?" Glenn: "Yes, unfortunately so. A Hill Giant, by the name of Stormogre, resides there now acting like a dictator to the surrounding areas." Bryce: "Have you fought him?" Glenn chuckled at the thought. Glenn: "No, I have not. Although I did engage in combat against his forces several times before I left home to join the Knighthood." Bryce: "Why hasn't the Knighthood confronted this Hill Giant and forced him to give control back to the people?" Glenn: "Well, that is a difficult question to answer. First of all, Stormogre has a large army under his control. His ogres alone would be difficult to defeat, but he has also deceitfully corrupted the human nobility. By giving them control of portions of the city, he has garnered their support. The entire city of Daltigoth seems to emanate evil of many sorts. And alas, the Knighthood does not have the manpower to wage such a war at this time. Not to mention that it is out of our jurisdiction. Too many would fear leaving Solamnia undefended during these dark days." Quinn: "Don't you fear for your family?" The question caught Glenn totally by surprise. Not only was it one of the few times Quinn had spoken since their meeting, but the focus of conversation had veered from war to family. Glenn started to smile as he replied. Glenn: "Why of course I do Quinn. The bond of family is strong. Even the years and distance can't hinder that. But I've also created a new family among my brothers-in-arms and I owe them my support as well. You will soon learn that family is not only dictated by blood shared, but also by blood spilt." Quinn became quiet again and seemed to be digesting that bit of knowledge. After a moment of silence, he appeared ready to ask another question. Quinn: "How exactly does blood spilt dicta..." Robert suddenly cut off Quinn's question with a question of his own. Robert: "Exactly how much longer will it take to reach Vingaard? It feels as if we've spent months traveling across this barren landscape." Gods... Glenn was ready to strangle this recruit. Not being fully inducted as a Knight himself, he could not think of a manner in which reprimanding this boy with a title would not in turn cause some form of reprimand upon himself from the council. He had to relax and take it in stride. Perhaps quietly counting to himself would help. One Vingaard River... Two Vingaard River... Three Vin... -=Ka-Boom=- -=Ka-Boom=- -=Ka-Boom=- Three explosions reverberated through the air. Dirt and rock flew in all directions. Men were shouting in confusion. The heat of an intense blaze almost scorched the exposed hair on Glenn's face. The wagon on which the three recruits had been riding was overturned. Before Glenn could account for their whereabouts, he had to maintain control of his own horse which kicked back and nearly flung him from the saddle. A haze of smoke blurred his vision of the immediate area. As he struggled to control his horse, he caught a glimpse of Bryce climbing out of the overturned wagon. Good. One found, two to go. A hacking cough caused Glenn to turn his head. Quinn had been thrown from the wagon. He appeared shaken and bruised a cut across his forehead was turning red but he was alive. Two found, one to go. But Glenn didn't have time to continue his search. Five goblins surged past the front wagons and were heading his direction, hacking and slashing at bodies as they passed. Glenn had just managed to calm his horse and draw his sword by the time the first goblin drew near. It screeched loudly and attempted to lunge at the animal, short sword in hand. With a quick downward thrust, Glenn parried the attack and with a twist of his blade he easily disarmed the creature. A backslash opened the goblin's throat and it fell to the ground gurgling as black blood sprayed from the wound. Meanwhile, three of the goblins had arrived and were circling the would-be Knight. Glenn's horse pranced nervously as he twisted in his saddle, eyeing up each of the creatures and keeping his sword even with his body. The goblins began yelling in their guttural language as if strategizing their attack. Their voices were harsh but one seemed to scream out in surprise. Glenn flicked his eyes to the right and saw Bryce with a wooden keg held over his head. He growled with strain as he swung the keg down on top of the goblin. The creature's eyes bulged out as the weight of the blow crushed its skull and sent shards of wood splintering about. What appeared to be lantern oil spilled out of the keg and sloshed about all over the ground. An idea popped into Glenn's head as he saw Quinn hiding behind a splintered wagon, the other half of it slowly burning nearby. While turning his attention to the remaining two goblins, Glenn shouted at the two recruits. Glenn: "Quinn! Tear a piece of burning wood from that wagon and toss it to Bryce! Bryce! Light that oil on fire and we can use it as a defensive barrier!" The two boys reacted quickly and soon enough they had a large area of ground on fire. Glenn kept the two goblins at bay and worked his horse back towards the fire. Once there, he maneuvered himself in such a way that the goblins would have to attack head on or find a way around the blaze. Instead they just stood there cursing and throwing anything they could find laying among the wreckage. This gave Glenn an opportunity to look around. Quinn and Bryce stood beside him. There was still no sign of Robert. Further up the road, more wagons were overturned. Several groups of men from the caravan could be seen using the wagons as defensive cover. They were fighting off a swarm of enemies but holding their ground. So that meant the opposing force couldn't be that large or they would have just swarmed the group. But what in the name of the gods created such havoc to begin with? (To be continued)

Author: Glenn Date: Tue Aug 20 14:40:15 2013 Subject The Journey to Vingaard Keep, IV

A strong wind blew across the plains and shifted the haze of smoke. Glenn suddenly saw the entire lay of the battlefield. Several small groups of goblinoids were harassing the caravan's defenders. Farther back upon a hill stood a massive black horse with a rider draped in a midnight blue cloak. The rider's face was obscured by his hood but his armor gleamed darkly in the sunlight. It appeared to be etched with silver scrolling script along the edges and the perverse image of a skull and dragon was embossed upon his chest. This rider was most certainly the one in charge and there was no doubt that he was the source of the explosions earlier. Glenn shivered as he stared at the figure, feeling a sense of fear and dread wash over him. It was all he could do to keep his nerve but that didn't stop him from biting down on his lip. Blood began to run down his mouth and the taste of iron mixed with the inhalation of smoke made him feel nauseated. But now was not the time to be weak. Others needed him. Glenn spit blood from his mouth and bellowed out a roar, clearing the smoke from his lungs. This caused Bryce and Quinn to jump in alarm but Glenn quickly brought them to their senses. Glenn: "Bryce, take my other sword from the saddle sheath. Quinn, find something you feel comfortable defending yourself with. It won't be long before these gobo's get tired of throwing stuff and try to flank us. They may even bring some friends and we need to be ready." Glenn looked across the flames to where the two goblins had been standing. Sure enough, they were no longer there. Glenn: "Shit." Bryce had no more than pulled the sword free from Glenn's saddle when the goblins reappeared. This time however, they had their strategy figured out in advance. They both jumped at Glenn. One went high with its sword raised the other went low startling the horse. Glenn brought his blade up to meet the high attack but in doing so he left the horse defenseless. The goblin attacking low sliced into the horse's front leg causing the creature to flare its nostrils, kick back and throw its rider. Glenn fell to the ground hard, the wind rushing out of his lungs. Before he could gather his wits, one of the goblins was on top of him with its sword held high. This was it. It wasn't the way Glenn had envisioned himself dying. Not that many men of his youthful age give it much thought, but he always dreamed of something more glorious than this. He struggled to do something, anything to prevent the killing blow but it was as if the ground itself were sapping his strength. All could do was lay there and watch as the sword came down... and missed his head by an inch, the blade burying itself in the dirt. The weight of the goblin heaved forward and Glenn found the strength to throw the creature off of him. Looking down he saw an arrow protruding from his attacker's neck. Looking wildly about, Glenn saw Quinn standing a short distance away. He held a bow in hands and a look of shock on his face. Perhaps he was unsure if his arrow was going to kill the goblin, or accidentally hit Glenn. Before a word could be said, Quinn grabbed another arrow from the ground beside him and nocked it, drawing his aim to Glenn's left side. Looking that direction, Glenn saw Bryce battling the last goblin. He had a wicked gash across his bicep but appeared to be holding his ground. Quinn let loose his arrow and hit the goblin in the thigh. The creature squealed in pain and gave Bryce an opening. Stepping to the side he brought the blade of his sword down and cleaved into the goblin's shoulder, effectively hacking off its arm. The back swipe took off its head and the corpse slumped to the ground in a pool of black ichor. By the time the body hit the ground, Glenn was standing and surveying the battlefield. It seemed the caravan's defenders had defeated their own opposing force and the several goblins remained were scurrying back across the plains towards the hill where the mounted figure in black armor waited silently. Glenn was about to dismiss them as an enemy in retreat until he saw they were carrying something. No... not something... someONE! Glenn: "Gods almighty... They have Robert!" This remark drew the attention of the other two recruits and the three of them watched as the goblins ran away while awkwardly carrying Robert who was kicking and thrashing wildly about. One of them appeared fed up with his antics and cracked him across the head. Robert's body went limp and they continued making their retreat. Bryce: "We have to go after them!" Quinn nodded in agreement and was in the process of removing his arrows from the dead goblins. Glenn shook his head fiercely. Glenn: "No, I will go. You two will stay here and round up the others. Check for survivors and help the wounded. Whoever that dark figure on the horse is, he's no match for you and you would just get yourselves in trouble." Then again... Glenn doubted that HE was any match for the enemy who had utterly destroyed the caravan single handedly. But he had to do something. Perhaps this would be the glorious fight he envisioned himself dying in for the noble cause of rescuing... a selfish brat of a recruit. Sigh. Now was not the time for theatrics. Robert was innocent in this matter, regardless of his demeanor. Glenn looked over at his horse but the animal had collapsed onto the ground. It was alive but the wound it suffered would only hinder it. Besides, the last thing Glenn needed was to risk being thrown from the saddle once more during combat. Shaking his head, Glenn let out a roar of a battle cry and began running after the fleeing enemy. Under normal circumstances, attacking a retreating enemy would not be the honorable thing to do. But this was different. This enemy had forfeited their right to retreat by abducting an innocent. Glenn was both glad and disheartened that he was not wearing battle armor. If he had been, he would have stood no chance catching up to the goblins. At the same time, his tunic and leathers would do little to stop an attack if it managed to get through his defenses. Why did so many questions rattle around in his head at times like this? He should be focusing on strategy, on mental preparation, on... breathing! Yes, breathing would be a good thing to do at this time. His lungs were burning and his legs felt like lead weights. The adrenaline from his fight at the wagon had sapped most of his strength. He was definitely running on an empty tank and that would not bode well once he caught up to the enemy. Glenn: "Paladine... *breathe* ... Please... *breathe* ...Grant...Me... *breathe* ...Strength..." The goblins were not able to run at full speed while carrying their abducted prey. Glenn counted about 7 of them, four of which had already arrived at the top of the hill with the mounted figure who remained unmoving. The other three who were responsible for carrying Robert were noticeably slowing down. Glenn used this to his advantage and pressed on. The goblin in the rear holding onto Robert's feet risked a quick look back at the pursuing human. That was the last thing it would ever see again. Glenn had caught up within a swords reach and with a swing of the blade he severed the creatures head at the base of its neck. The other two were not able to account for the transfer of weight while running and Robert's body tumbled to the ground. The two goblins stopped and swung around to face their attacker. Before they could draw weapons Glenn swung his sword high and brought it down hacking deep into the one's rib cage, breaking bone and tearing flesh. (To be continued)

Author: Glenn Date: Tue Aug 20 14:44:50 2013 Subject The Journey to Vingaard Keep, V

As Glenn ripped his sword free of the corpse, the second goblin pulled two daggers from its belt and hurled them at its foe. Glenn raised his sword and deflected the first, but the second dagger caught him in the shoulder. The dagger sunk into his flesh causing him to cry out in pain. His leather vest had kept the dagger from breaking bone, but blood began to run out of the wound as he pulled the blade out. The goblin pressed its advantage and charged into Glenn, knocking them both to the ground. They tumbled about, the goblin trying to claw at Glenn's face, but Glenn had a significant size advantage. Even with a wounded shoulder he flung himself on top of the creature and began using his fists to pummel its face. The goblin kicked and thrashed about until one sickening, bone crunching, punch ended the creature's life as Glenn's fist sunk down through the skull. Glenn's energy was fading. His breathing was rapid but no matter how quickly he sucked in the air it simply wasn't quenching the burning pain in his chest. A red haze had developed around his vision. The wound in his shoulder was still bleeding but the pain was absent. He could hear the other goblins shouting and running towards him. They would be on him in less than a minute. The steady beat of a horse's hooves told him that the goblins wouldn't be alone. The dark figure was approaching as well. Then this would be it. This was where he would make his stand. He didn't bother looking up. He felt around blindly for his sword. It was lying beside the goblin's corpse they must have rolled right over top of it during their fight. His fingers closed over the worn hilt and he began gathering whatever scrap of strength he could muster from his body. The goblins were getting closer. Time was passing slowly. Seconds felt like hours. Glenn attempted to stand, fell to one knee and then used his sword for leverage and shakily stood up. He stepped over to where Robert laid, still unmoving. Glenn wondered if the boy was even alive, but there wasn't time to check. He took a defensive stance in front of the boy's body and for the first time looked up to meet his enemy. He looked up right into the face of an enormous black warhorse. Its nostrils were flared and the heat of its breath upon Glenn's face nearly made him sick. The muscular front legs were sidestepping anxiously as if itching to be given the command to trample this pathetic excuse for a Solamnic, but the gauntlet covered hands of the rider upon the reigns kept a the creature in place. The face of the rider was still obscured by its hooded cloak but a sudden breeze lifted it enough for Glenn to catch traces of greying black hair, a black eye patch with silver runes and a beard that appeared unkempt. The rider still had not spoken a word and the goblins had enclosed Glenn within a circle. There was no escaping whatever was to come. Glenn held onto his sword and tried to appear menacing but he knew he must look the fool. The blade felt far too heavy in his hands and it was all he could do to keep it upright. The goblins saw these and jeered at him, brandishing their own weapons. However, they were immediately silenced as the rider raised a closed fist. Rider: "What is your name and from where do you travel?" Glenn was having a hard time focusing. He heard the words but his response came out somewhat slurred as even his mouth was too weak to function properly. The rider repeated himself, though this time there was an edge in his voice. Rider: "WHAT is your name and from WHERE do you travel?" Glenn: "I... am Glenn Kar'Tess... We travel... from Lemish." Sure, it was a lie sort of. The small village of Elmwood was technically stuck between the authority of Solanthus and Lemish who were at odds with one another. But the reaction of the rider would tell Glenn a little about his enemy. His life was forfeit already it seemed, so if the rider called him out on his fib and struck him down it would be no different than what he already expected. But, if there was no reaction, then that would mean the group here was not just a Lemish raiding party. And if that were true, then... The rider paused for a moment as if digesting the information and then continued. Rider: "Kar'Tess sounds like a Solamnic name. Are you a Knight?" Glenn: "It is but I am not." Another stretch of the truth. Technically he had not yet earned his spurs from the council, so no, he was not a Knight. And perhaps some vagueness would spare the lives of his comrades by casting them in a less appealing light. Simple merchants or traders if you will. Not a Solamnic caravan taking supplies and recruits to Vingaard Keep. Glenn knew by now this rider had a specific mission in mind. Otherwise he would have butchered them all. The next question however, caught Glenn by surprise. Rider: "Have you encountered any members of the Red Dragonarmy upon these plains or the surrounding territories?" Red Dragonarmies?!? Glenn was shocked. He was certain that his face was incapable of expressing the proper emotion due to fatigue, but his brain felt like it was moving a million miles a minute in every direction. Think, Glenn, think... what did it mean? Why would he ask? Could this man be lost? Perhaps he was separated from his unit? Could there be an invading army somewhere nearby? By the gods Glenn had to get his brain under control. Glenn: "I... uh..." Glenn stumbled on his response, the words still too scrambled in his head to properly escape his mouth. Too many questions were running circles in his mind. The rider, however, appeared to be losing some patience. He allowed his warhorse to take a step forward. The sudden impact knocked the sword from Glenn's hands and his arms went slack. He almost fell as he was forced to take a step backwards, nearly tripping over Robert in the process who somehow was now holding a small knife in his hand though he appeared to still be unconscious. Too much was happening to process. Rider: "I'm only going to ask you once more. Have you encountered any members of the Red Dragonarmies in this area?" Glenn took a deep breath, closed his eyes and focused. Glenn: "No. The Dragonarmies have not set foot on these plains or the surrounding area for quite some time." Finally, a bit of truth. The stretching of the truth was getting nerve racking because Glenn didn't know how long he could keep it up without stepping on his own toes somewhere. Perhaps the truth would earn him some points with karma. The rider nodded and seemed to accept the answer. Rider: "Very well. Do what you wish." With that, the rider turned his mount and departed East towards the lands of Nightlund. Fatigued or not, Glenn's face displayed utter shock. How could he even comprehend what had occurred. How could ANYONE comprehend that? There he stood, on Death's door, being interrogated with his demise as the only likely outcome and his enemy simply decided to leave? Well, perhaps he shouldn't be complaining. Karma had indeed given him a second chance... (To be continued)

Author: Glenn Date: Tue Aug 20 14:49:59 2013 Subject The Journey to Vingaard Keep VI

Karma had indeed given him a second chance... Or not. The rider may have departed but the goblins had not. They were almost drooling with anticipation. The order to do what you wish had not been intended for Glenn... it was intended for them! And of course, Glenn stood defenseless with his sword on the ground. It was all baffling. Somewhere in the heavens, Glenn was certain that the gods were having a good laugh over this circumstance. So, back to dying an inglorious death... The goblins didn't bother taking turns, they simply swarmed Glenn chaotically. All of them had weapons in hand and in the process of rushing Glenn they ended up doing more damage to themselves. One of them was immediately slain as it came between the human and its comrade's hatchet, cleaving into the creature's skull and splashing foul smelling blood all over Glenn. A second goblin fell to the ground clutching at a knife which was protruding from the back of its neck. In their hurry to get to Glenn, none of them had paid any attention to the body on the ground. Robert had come to his senses and had taken action as soon as the opportune time presented itself. Robert: "Foul creatures! You do not stand a chance against us!" As one of the goblins wrapped its sickly arms around Glenn and tackled him to the ground, the remaining one turned to face its unexpected opponent who had kindly declared his presence. Robert suddenly found himself facing an armed opponent and he no longer had a weapon. Robert's face contorted in a look of fear. Robert: "I am defenseless! Do not hurt me!" He cringed as the creature lunged forward, a crude sword held high and ready to strike. The whistle of an arrow through the air was the only noise to be heard though, as it hit the goblin right between the eyes and sunk deep into its skull. The fatal blow dropped the creature right in front of Robert's feet. Turning around with eyes as wide as the white moon, Robert saw Quinn and Bryce approaching on horseback. Quinn was in the process of re-nocking another arrow as Bryce leapt from the saddle and dove into the brawl between Glenn and his foe. Bryce pulled the creature back and threw him to the ground. A moment later there was a dagger protruding from the creature's chest and a gurgling surge of air escaped its lungs. Glenn lay on the ground staring up into the blue sky. The earth beneath him was rough and churned up from the struggle, yet he felt as if it were the most comfortable mattress he had ever laid upon. Far above him, the outline of a bird could be seen riding the thermal currents. Life seemed so much simpler from this vantage. He could hear Bryce calling his name and could even make out the face of Robert and Quinn in his peripheral vision but they seemed very far away and right now Glenn didn't mind. The last thought on his mind as he closed his eyes was his departing conversation with the Captain of the Solanthus Guard. Captain: "No Glenn, your journey to Elmwood should be quiet. Hell, the entire trip north from there should be quiet..." Quiet. How ironic... (To be continued)

Author: Glenn Date: Tue Aug 20 14:52:26 2013 Subject The Journey to Vingaard Keep, Epilogue

Glenn became fully alert about a day before their arrival at Vingaard Keep. The caravan had lost three of their seven wagons but was able to recover one wagon's supplies and split it up among the rest. The other two had burned in the attack. Quinn was sitting nearby when Glenn came to. A smile crept across his face and he spoke. Quinn: "Welcome back." He was truly a man of few words. And Glenn was serious about that. What a drastic change from the quiet boy he met a week ago in Elmwood. Sitting there was no longer that same boy, but a man in his own right. His bow lay propped up at his side and he was in the process of feathering several new arrow shafts. Glenn looked about the confines of the makeshift room within a wagon and slowly eased himself into a sitting position. Glenn: "Where are the others?" Bryce's head appeared through the canvas up front. Bryce: "Welcome back Sir Glenn!" He disappeared and Glenn could hear his voice shouting something incoherent through the wood and canvas of the wagon. A moment later, Robert appeared from the back. Robert: "It is truly a pleasure to have you among the living again! We weren't sure if you would ever wake up!" Glenn rubbed his face and immediately withdrew his hands, his face contorted as a wave of pain kicked him like a mule. Robert: "Ah yes, you should probably be more gentle with yourself. You took quite a beating the other day. You've got a real nasty gash on your forehead and shoulder. Without a cleric around, the best we could do was clean and cover them." Glenn winced as he twisted and bent all of his joints and appendages. Everything seemed to work albeit with some sluggishness and a fair amount of pain. He felt as if a dragon had dropped him from the top of the High Clerist Tower onto the flagstones below. He groaned, rolled his head and then began inspecting his surroundings. Quinn continued to work on his arrows but Robert was watching him with a peculiar amount of interest. Robert: "I am quite grateful that you came to save me. But I must ask..." Robert glanced at Quinn and then back to Glenn. Robert: "You didn't exactly tell the truth when you were questioned by the enemy. I am confused as to how that can be regarded as acting honorably..." Glenn stared at Robert open mouthed. He literally sacrificed his life and body to save this boy, and here he sat questioning Glenn's honor? By the gods he had some nerve... But, as Glenn closed his mouth and eyed he carefully gauged his response. Perhaps he was genuinely confused. Glenn: "I never actually lied. I may not have told the truth per say, but I framed each response to purposefully answer his questions with vagueness so as to protect the rest of you and so that our opponent could not glean any information which may hurt us strategically. It was a calculated risk that I was willing to take. It also provided me with information about him." Robert drew his brows together and appeared to think this over. Robert: "So, by purposefully being vague, you didn't necessarily lie and therefore were able to protect the rest of us. I suppose that makes sense, and it certainly seems to weigh favorably on our well being given the outcome. I am having a difficult time understanding how to apply what I've been taught growing up to everything that recently happened... I was instructed that it is better to die honorably than to live in disgrace." Glenn marveled. This boy was seriously having a breakdown over this. It wasn't that he was just some spoiled brat with a title. He was actually torn now between what he was raised to think and what he was "learning" to think. This would be a difficult time for him and unfortunately it would be something that only he could determine for himself. Glenn: "Let me just say this to you Robert. Everyone, even those in the Knighthood, has a different perspective on what it means to live with honor. That is something that every man must determine for himself. However it is my opinion that if my family, both in blood shared and in blood spilt, is in danger then I would much rather sacrifice my honor to save them and rectify my disgrace later rather than uphold my honor and allow them to perish." Robert sat back and appeared to be considering that bit of knowledge. After a moment, he nodded and excused himself. He obviously would have a lot of thinking to do. Glenn chuckled. And to be honest, that course of thinking would last his entire life. Come to think of it, Glenn had a lot of thinking to do himself. As the caravan made its way to Vingaard Keep he laid back and thought about the length of the report he would have to write to Sir Progane detailing everything that had happened. Even the council would need to be informed of the events that transpired. Good thing there was at least another day before they arrived. Glenn would need to save up the energy just to put that much ink to paper. As the wagon rocked along the ruts of the road, Glenn closed his eyes and fell asleep to the sound of Quinn whittling another arrow shaft. (End)

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