Atlantic:Dragon Quest

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Dragon Quest I

Curing Wyrmbane

This would be the first meeting between some of the older Dragons in the Sosarian world. Prince Daedric Dragon had invited Gargish Dragon, Heroic Dragon, Sumerian Dragon, Xena Dragon and Zym Dragon. It had already been more than a week since the Dragons received the invitation to come and discuss several topics. As usual Daedric had been a little vague describing the purpose of the meeting, but he had made it very clear that all those invited needed to be present.

Xena arrived 5 minutes before the meeting would start and she met Heroic in front of the UDIC meeting hall in the town of Rivendell. 'Hail' she said and she received a 'Well met' in reply. There came Zym walking around the corner, his forehead still sweaty. Undoubtedly he had been smithing at his forge again. He greeted the two Dragons, said 'I'll be back soon, I have some things to do' and walked further. Xena and Heroic looked at each other and smiled. Zym was always so busy, it almost became funny.

And look, there came the young Lacy Dragon walking towards the two. Xena did not remember seeing her name on the invitation. She smiled at Lacy. But something was wrong, Lacy had a strange facial expression, it looked as if she was crying. Xena asked her 'What is the matter dear' but Lacy could barely answer her. 'I'm so worried' she said, 'What shall I do'. 'Please help, PLEASE'. Xena put her hands on Lacy's shoulders and tried to calm her. Lacy continued 'He's so sick, he's dieing, DIEING!'. 'Who is' asked Heroic. 'For two days now he is delerious, I don't know what to do' sobbed Lacy. 'He spoke of you, so I came for help, PLEASE HELP'. Suddenly Gargish Dragon recalled right next to the three Dragons. Xena told Gargish 'Please listen to Lacy, she needs our help desperately'. 'Noooooo' cried Lacy, 'It is not me, it is the Prince, he is dieing'. 'Where is he' asked Gargish, 'Take us to him please'. 'He needs you all, he is so weak, he has not eaten in days, and the healers keep BLEEDING HIM' Lacy continued. Xena looked Lacy straight in her eyes and said in a calm voice 'Lacy, we need to know where he is if we are to help him. If you know where he is then just tell us'. Lacy calmed down a little and said 'Skara, he is in Skara Brae'. Without hesitation Heroic pulled a rune out of his backpack and started to cast a Magic Gate on it. Seconds later the 4 Dragons stepped out of the moongate into Skara Brae.

'He needed you *all* he said' spoke Lacy, 'but we must make haste, there is no time, he is so weak, sooo weak'. She started running towards the healer shop and the other Dragons followed. As Lacy entered the building her face became a whiter shade of pale. 'The blood, there is soo much BLOOD' she shouted in tears. The others Dragons saw Daedric sitting naked on a stool. One of the healers was applying leeches to his skin. It was obvious they had done that to Daedric over and over again. His body was covered with leech marks. It seemed he was coughing almost every second. He looked up with a facial expression of someone who had just seen a ghost. Suddenly he jumped up and pushed the healer away. 'GET THAT GIANT SERPENT OFF ME' he shouted as he started to hit himself on the head and the shoulders. Lacy carefully walked towards him and tried to calm him down. 'Sire, everything will be fine now' she said with a soft voice as she gently touched his forehead, 'I have found your friends'. Gargish and Heroic tried to help Lacy by holding Daedric but Lacy made it very clear that Daedric would only allow her to touch him.

Xena walked towards Xavier the healer and asked if the healer knew what was the matter with Daedric. Xavier said 'There is nothing that a few leeches cannot solve, your friend is in very good hands with us here'. At that exact moment Daedric fell to the floor writhing and wretched in pain. 'SNAARRLL! ROOAAR!' he yelled. Heroic and Gargish tried to magically heal and magically negate any poison but Lacy told them that that had already been tried several times to no avail. Once again she managed to calm Daedric and it seemed she was able to lull him into sleep. The healers lifted Daedric back in his bed. Lacy then told all she had learned from an ancient book she found at the healers two days ago. According to the book Daedric might be suffering from an ancient disease called Wyrmbane. This disease was not uncommon amongst ancient Dragons. If it was not cured then a human Dragon would slowly revert back to his previous form, a fire breathing dragon. One of the healers found more information about Wyrmbane in the book. To cure Wyrmbane the patient needed to drink a potion created of freshly grinded Madragora Officinarium. But none of the healers knew where to get that herb.

Quickly a plan was made. Xena would run to the alchemist to buy some empty bottles while Heroic and Gargish would try to find out more about the disease. As fast as her feet would carry her she ran across town, purchased all the bottles the alchemist had in store and rushed back. Only upon arrival at the healers she realized that she should have bought a mortar and pestle also. Almost out of breath she asked Gargish to purchase it. Heroic was asking Lacy about the whereabouts of Daedric the days before he became ill. 'We have been hunting on Valor isle' Lacy told him, 'We must have been there for 2 whole days, but he kept getting weaker by the hour so we decided to return to Skara Brae'. 'I already took him to the Shrine of Valor, but that did not seem to improve his situation'. There was Gargish again with the mortar and pestle. Only then the Dragons realized that none of them knew how to grind herbs into a potion. Xena asked Xavier to help with the grinding but all he asked in return was 'Have you found the Mandragorum Officinarium. If not, then I think applying a few more leeches will have more effect'.

Heroic Dragon then said 'We shall visit the isle of Valor and see if we can find what caused our Prince to become this ill and mayhap we shall find that ancient herb there as well'. Gargish and Xena agreed and the three of them rushed to the bank to equip for a search. Once equipped a gate was opened to the isle and seconds later the 3 Dragons were standing in front of the Shrine of Valor. They quickly decided to each search a different part of the Island. Xena went south. She searched and looked for anything unusual but all she discovered was a funny looking Gorilla and a locked crate. She tried to unlock the crate with magic, but she failed. After 15 minutes she returned to the center of the isle. There she saw that Sumerian Dragon had joined the search. Lacy must have found him and told him what was going on. Xena greeted him as all his friends did. 'Hail Pazuzu' she said. She told him of the strangely locked crate and together with Gargish and Heroic they ran south again to the mysterious crate. The Dragons tried all they could to open it, but they did not succeed. Desperately the Dragons looked at each other, for the first time in their lives they could see fear in each others eyes. Fear that their Prince Daedric would not survive because no one had been able to save him. They would have to go back empty handed. And so they did.

Arriving at the healer in Skara Brae again they could see that Lacy also managed to find Zym Dragon. Zym had brought with him the finest collection of foods from all corners of the globe. He hoped that one of the pieces of food might help Daedric feel a little better. But Daedric had no appetite for food at all. He was delirious one moment and the next he would cry like a baby and then suddenly he would jump up and down trying to attack an imaginary Orc Mage. Once again the Dragons asked Lacy to tell exactly what had happened on Valor Isle. She started telling that upon arrival everything was fine with Daedric but that suddenly he started to act very strange. The few hours before that they had spent hunting real close to the Shrine. Once again Gargish, Heroic, Pazuzu and Xena decided to go to Valor isle. They were more determined than ever to not come back empty handed.

Yet another gate to Valor isle was opened and the four friends stepped into it. They started to search the area around the shrine inch by inch. Xena moved a large fern aside to notice a large dark brown spot on the floor. 'Oh my' she thought, 'this looks like a dried pool of blood.' In the middle of the pool she could see a sharp piece of root sticking up. It then all became clear to her. Daedric must have hurt himself on the sharp root and he must have been infected with something. She started to dig out the root and when she pulled it out she could see it looked a bit like a small puppet. It was mandrake root in its purest form. This must be what the alchemists in town use to make the mandrake root reagent from. "I FOUND IT' she yelled as she runned back to the Shrine, 'COME QUICKLY'. The others came running out of the forest and Xena showed them what she found. A feeling of joy and hope came over them.

This time Heroic did not come with the other Dragons. He would go and find an alchemist who could make a potion of the root that was found. Only moments after Gargish, Pazuzu and Xena entered the healer in Skara Brae the alchemist came running in. 'Greetings, my name is Runefaust' he introduced himself, 'I have heard my help is needed here'. Quickly Xena told him that they needed a potion made out of the mandrake root she found. She gave him the herb and Runefaust immediately started grinding the potion. He gave it to Xena when he was finished. Xena stepped towards Daedric and tried to place the bottle against his lips. Daedric jumped up and took a swing at the bottle Xena was holding. If Lacy would not have pulled Xena back a second before Daedric tried to hit her the potion would have been hit by Daedric and all would have been lost. 'Do not approach him Lady Xena' she explained, 'Right now he trusts only me'. Xena gave the bottle to Lacy and with soothing words Lacy slowly walked towards Daedric and sat next to him on his bed. She gently put her hand on his shoulder and placed the bottle at his lips, slowly tilting it. Daedric took a sip, and another. Lacy tilted the bottle some more and the fluid poured into Daedrics mouth. He drank it like he was drinking nectar. With every swallow his body relaxed more. It was amazing to see the effect of it. Then Daedric spoke. 'Friends, what are you all doing here ? What am I doing here ? Where am I'. Total confusion would best describe his feelings. He saw all the food that Zym had brought and started to eat like a person that had not eaten for days. 'Tell me please friends, what is going on'. Lacy then told all that had happened the past few days, but Daedric did not remember anything after their trip to the isle of Valor. When he realized his life was saved by his friends Daedric tried to thank them all for their help, but words could not describe his feelings. The tears in his eyes were thanks enough for all of them. The Dragons had worked as a team to aid a fellow Dragon who was in need of their help. It once again made them realize that they all belonged to a truly remarkable family.

Dragon Quest II

The Ancient Wyrm

Almost 4 weeks had past since the last Dragon meeting. Xena Dragon was having trouble getting in contact with Daedric Dragon. Everywhere she asked she got the same reply, not a soul knew the current whereabouts of the Prince. This was not very unusual for Daedric often travelled to far away islands on his boat, but this time Xena had a premonition that something might be wrong. The last week she even started to hear rumors that Daedric would be dead. But nobody could really confirm that. Hopefully Daedric would show up at the next Dragon meeting which was scheduled to start in an hour. He did send out a whole bunch of invitations to newly discovered fellow Dragons. This might become the biggest Dragon meeting in Sosaria ever.

Xena travelled to the UDIC meeting hall in Rivendell where she met Octal Dragon of the Sunset Knights, Roland Dragon and Soulblade Dragon. Soon thereafter they were joined by Zarf Dragon. Zarf said 'Rumors are flying that Daedric is dead!'. A feeling of sadness entered Xena's mind. Roland asked 'What? What happened?'. Soulblade was also suprised to hear this but Octal apparantly had heard the rumors also. Then Black Wind Dragon (Orlion Xeep to his friends) and Huma Knight, both of the Sunset Knights, arrived. Huma was all dressed in black and was here because he wanted to attend the ceremony. Xena could no longer hold her tears. 'It must be true then' she cried, 'our Prince is no longer among us'. Huma tried to wipe her tears as the other Dragons were shocked by the news and stared at each other in disbelief. What should have been a feast of friendship and bonding was turning into a memorial for the late Daedric.

Just a few minutes before the meeting would officially start Edge Dragon, Furor Dragon and Zym Dragon (all of Rivendell) entered the scene. Edge polymorphed into a chicken and started laying eggs. Obviously he had not heard the sad news yet. Xena told him that Daedric probably was dead and that this would be a day of mourning. Edge was shocked. He asked what had happened. Xena started to tell how Daedric had been afflicted with wyrmbane several weeks earlier and that she feared that he died because of that. Even though Daedrics friends saved his life then the wyrmbane must still have been active when everybody thought Daedric was cured. At that moment Gargish Dragon appeared. He also had heard the rumor that Daedric was dead and he brought with him a backpack full of black clothing so that all those invited would have the possibility to dress for the sad occasion.

Some of the Dragons went inside the meeting hall. Xena decided to wait outside, together with Gargish, Orlion and Edge, so she could welcome the rest and tell them the sad news. As she was waiting there a woman came walking towards her. She started talking. 'Milady? I found something. I think possibly it is ment for your kind.' Xena was a bit confused. The woman continued. 'I was visiting my husbands grave this morning, laying flowers in it as I always do, and I found a letter. I had heard of you Dragons so I came here in hopes of finding someone'. Now all Dragons listened to this mysterious woman. The woman then asked 'Who shall I give this letter to? I feel very sad about your loss...'. Xena took the letter out of the womans hand and started reading. 'no, nooo, OH NO!' she cried, 'It is all true, he is dead, our Prince is dead'. With tears in her eyes she thanked the woman who slowly walked away. Quickly she read the entire contents of the letter.

Fellow Dragons, my brothers and sisters,

By the time thou readest this I will have been dead and long gone. A second and more powerful attack of wyrmbane brought an end to my mortal existance. Pray do not grieve, for it is the will of the gods. My usefulness in this land hath outlived itself, so the gods deemed it wise that I be used elsewhere, to right the wrongs, help the weak, relieve the suffering. We mayest meet again in other worlds, my comrades. Pray always remember the Code by which thou saw me live my life, and the same by which I tried to teach thee:

1. Loveth those who doth treat thee good.

2. Welcome those thou doth not know.

3. Honor the land, the sky and the sea.

4. Taketh pleasure in that which is pure.

5. Avoid that which is corrupt and sinful.

6. Harm no inocent, for those who do so harm themselves.

7. Place thy lord's life even above thine own, so long as he remaineth just.

8. Let thy vengeance be swift, and taketh no pleasure in it.

9. Speak with respect to friend and foe alike.

10. Use thy mind before thy sword.

11. Let thy death have meaning.

12. Seekest friendship before wealth, for friendship lasts longer.

Farewell, then, my friends. My spirit be with thee always, and let the wisdom of Ancients guide thee. Signed: Prince Daedric Dragon

P.S. My mortal remains lie buried somewhere in the fields, where I fell. Some of the locals have placed flowers over mine grave. If thou doth go there, thou mayest see a wraith wondering the area. Beware ! Provoke him not ! To friends he will be gentle, but will strike foes with a thousand torments.

Xena went inside the building, together with the other Dragons that were still standing outside. Lacy Dragon walked in right behind them. Xena walked to the front of the hall, turned around and faced the crowd who could do nothing more than wait in anticipation to hear what was in the letter. Xena started talking. 'Friends, please come a bit closer for my sore throat cannot shout anymore. I still cannot believe it, but I am afraid it must be true. Oh, the horror! For days I have prayed, hoping that it was not true but this letter gives me the final proof. Only a few moments ago a woman gave me a letter that was written by our poor Prince. As some of you may know he suffered from Wyrmbane. I thought we had cured him when we created the special potion for him. But it seems we were all wrong.' Everybody was shocked about the confirmation of the rumors. Some of the people turned white while others quietly sobbed. 'Read us the letter please' some Dragons asked. Xena did as was asked.

While she tried to keep her voice steady Xena started to read the letter to her fellow Dragons. When she had read about one third of the letter there was someone screaming in the back of the hall. It was Lacy. Everybody turned his head towards her and it became clear why Lacy had screamed. Standing there was a ghostly appearance which looked very much like Daedric. They were witnessing the manifestation of Daedrics wraith! 'oOoOoOOOOoO' he went in a ghostly voice. Huma apparantly was a good medium, he could understand what the wraith was saying. 'Foolish mortals. What hast thou to do with me ? Why hast thou interrupted mine sleep ? Begone foolish mortals.' But the Dragons did not listen to his rants. They asked the wraith why he was here and what had happened to Daedric. 'The gods have laid his mortal being to rest. He was taken now to Enroth to fight more evil there.' the wraith replied. Xena could listen no longer to this wraith. She wanted Daedric to come back to the land of the living. She positioned herself in front of the wraith and started the preparation for resurrection. 'An Corp' she spoke, concentrating deeply. A magical glow surrounded the wraith and the resurrection succeeded. Succeeded ? Oh no! It did not. Surely the ghostly form had been switched for one of flesh and blood. But this was not Daedric standing in front of her. It was still the wraith. He started to moan soft and then shrieked in despair. 'What have you done ?' I told you that Daedric has been put to rest. His remains are buried under a large cross. 'where. Where? WHERE??' everybody asked. 'You want to see the Princes grave ? Fine' was all the wraith replied. He quickly moved outside, threw a rune on the floor and recalled away.

Quickly the Dragons rushed outside. They bumped into Xxy-Sylvr Dragon of the Seekers of the Wisps who was late for the meeting. Lacy and Edge pulled him with them as they stepped into one of the gates that had been summoned by Gargish, Huma and Xena. The gate took them to the Shrine of Sacrifice. The wraith stood a bit to the side and watched how all the Dragons paid their respect at the Ankh. Xena looked up and yelled 'My Prince ! Can you hear me ?'. Xxy Sylvr kept repeating there had to be a way to get Daedric back, he had witnessed so many ghosts resurrect that he could not believe this death was permanent. Octal joined Xena and shouted 'Daedric, come back to us !' Octal then joined Huma who was chanting the mantra of Sacrifice over and over trying to get Daedric back. The wraith said 'He cannot hear thee foolish mortals'. This made Furor mad, he approached the wraith and threatened to summon a Necromancer to extract more information from the taunting wraith. This made Xena think. Necromancy, maybe that was the key to all of this. The wraith kept taunting the Dragons. One by one they all turned towards the wraith and kept asking for a bit of help, a shred of information, anything that would help them get their Prince back alive. The wraith replied 'It is forbidden. It shall not be done'. A gulf of hope overwhelmed the Dragons. So there was a way after all. 'Tell us wraith, what do we need to do. We will sacrifice anything and everything'. 'Very well' the wraith continued, 'take this then. An Corp Ylem Sah'. A book appeared in his hands. He gave it to Xena and said 'Be well or be accursed, foolish mortals!'. Xena opened the book and started to read it outloud to the crowd.

Summoning beyond the Ethereal Plane by Malakach.

To summon a ghostly form back from the Ethereal Plane a Necromantic spell has to be cast.

The words of power are Kal Vas Xen An Corp.

Because of the Necromantic nature of this spell some special ingredients are needed.

1) A handmade clock to make sure the Planes join at the right time.

2) A handmade sextant to make sure the Planes join at the right place.

3) Bones from a skeleton for structure

4) Flesh from a humanoid for substance

5) Hides from a giant serpent to keep all things together like a skin

6) Black and white hairs to give the body its appearance

After reading it everybody started talking at once. The clock and sextant would be no trouble, nor would the bones. But the black and white hairs confused the Dragons. Some thought this could be dyed wool or yarn. Much discussion was going on and all the time the wraith kept taunting 'I knew it, scared mortals. Bah! I warned thee, now be accursed for life!'. Quickly teams were made. Furor would get a handmade clock, Edge offered to slay a giant serpent for its hides. Zym kept asking the wraith if there was a way to communicate with Daedric, but the wraith kept replying that Daedric was doing his sworn duty of fighting evil in Enroth now. Lacy thought that the flesh of a humanoid might be the carved body of a Headless, she offered to find one and kill it. Zym was getting worried that Daedric might not *want* to come back but the wraith did not confirm or deny that. Octal and Gargish offered to go together with Edge to slay a giant serpent. Zym gave up questioning the wraith and offered to make a clock and sextant back in Rivendell. Maybe he could even find bones in one of the Rivendell storage rooms. One by one the Dragons recalled away leaving only Xena, Xxy Sylvr and the wraith. The wraith laughed maniacally and shouted 'Fare thee well and good riddance !' as he quickly ran away. Xxy Sylvr gave pursuit to the wraith. He was determined to get more information out of him. After a few minutes he came back telling Xena that he saw the wraith simply vanish into thin air.

Edge Dragon, Octal Dragon and Gargish Dragon went to dress up in battle gear and met at the Marketplace in Rivendell. The Rune Library there provides safe travel to nearly every place in Britannia. The adventurers chose to go into the depth of the dungeon Hythloth on the Isle of Fire. A rune from the Library brought them directly into a maze of passages in the heart of Hythloth. They were greeted by a pack of hellish hounds. 'Corp Por!'. The words of power mixed with the howls of the animals as the glowing rods of pure energy struck the beasts of hell. Soon the bodies littered the floor. The few wounds were quickly healed magically and the party began their search for serpents. They encountered some other travellers. 'Hail! Have you seen any giant Serpents?' Edge Dragon asked the travellers. 'Lots of them', 'Four of them up the corridor' were the replies. The three set forth along the dungeon corridor. 'Ukkghorim gukbaz. Quil!'. Words that sounded more like gurgling were uttered from a room they just wanted to enter. A band of orcs seemed to inhabit that dungeon area. 'Corp Por!'. Once again the bolts flew across the room to tell the orcs who was the master of Hythloth. The Dragons closed in on the orcs and raised their halberds and swords. 'Sssszzt' The noise of snakes mixed with the cries of agony from the dying orcs. Gargish felt the pain as a giant snake closed in on him and bite him into the leg, crushing the heavy plate armour. 'An Nox' - Octal Dragon succeeded in curing the snake venom and soon three dead snakes lied on the dungeon floor. 'Grab some hide, and let's leave!' Edge ordered the comrades. Quickly the corpses were skinned and the hides collected and the load distributed amongst the three. Then all of them recalled back to safety.

Meanwhile, at the Shrine, Lightheart appeared. Furor ordered him to make a clock from scratch and then deliver it at the Shrine of Sacrifice. Xxy Sylvr was getting worried that maybe Daedric did not want to come back to Sosaria at all, and that all this was a very foolish and dangerous attempt. 'Who are we to do this ?' he asked. 'We are not being rational now, we are being emotional'. Unfortunately none of the Dragons really knew what was good and what was wrong in this situation. Then a gate opened and Lacy appeared. She had travelled to the valley of the orcs between Yew and Britain. She was attacked by a band of orcs and ratmen while she was there. With a lot of skill and cunning she managed to kill them all. In a hidden corner of the valley she found a Headless who was attacking a sheep. Swiftly she laid the cursed monster to its rest and took away some flesh from its corpse. Then in the corner of her eye she saw something black moving. It was a cougar with a fur as black as the darkest dungeon. Using her bow and a skinning knife she managed to kill and skin the beast. This would do very nice as the black hair that was mentioned in the book. She recalled back to the Shrine and handed the items to Xena. Lacy told Xxy Sylvr about the black fur. They discussed the possibility of finding a white fur on the island of dungeon Deceit. Xxy Sylvr and Lacy decided to travel to there together to find a Polar bear and bring back a white haired fur. Minutes after they disappeared Octal, Edge and Gargish returned bringing a large stack of hides with them. Another gate opened and out came Zym. He brought a clock, a sextant and bones. Zym did not know that Lightheart also had brought a clock. Shortly thereafter Lacy and Xxy Sylvr returned with a white fur. A white fur from a white wolf who happened to cross their path. It seemed all the needed ingredients were there.

Xena asked all Dragons to form a large circle around her and hold hands. She noticed that Aesculapis the Monk was standing at a short distance. He was looking at the ceremony and started to meditate. The Dragons clasped each others hands and looked at Xena who was preparing to cast the spell. 'Kal Vas Xen An Corp' she chanted. Magic filled the air. If all went well Daedric would respond to this summoning and return to the land of the living. Then a moongate started to appear. Xena could see something moving in it, a humanoid form. Her hart started to beat faster. It seemed the spell had worked. But wait, the figure she saw was not Daedric. Oh no! The Dragons had summoned the Ancient Wyrm. Out of the moongate stepped a very old manlike figure. His eyes were like burning coal, red-hot. His breath smelled like sulphur and ash, and his voice was booming. 'Mortals! Why hast thou disturbed me?' There was panic amongst the Dragons, this was not what they had expected. The Ancient Wyrm attacked Xena, who was standing closest to him, with a magic spell. Xxy Sylvr immediately rushed to Xena's rescue but Lacy pulled him back. 'NO! Do not hurt him!' she shouted, 'He may be the only one who is able to tell us what went wrong'. Luckily Xena resisted the magic attack and quickly she moved away from the Ancient Wyrm while at the same time making sure none of the other Dragons would get too close to him. Lacy asked 'Why did you come here ancient one?'. The Wyrm replied 'I was summoned here, so I came.'. Some of the Dragons feared that this was all a trick of the wraith, he must have deceived them all. Xena did not understand. She carefully checked each of the ingredients that the Dragons had gathered. They were all there, just as it was written in the book. Edge started to question the Ancient Wyrm. He said 'We wanted to summon Daedric, not you. What could possibly be wrong ?. Xena started to read the book once again and suddenly her eyes widened 'oh no. Oh no. OH NO! What have I done. Oh my goodness. I fear I made a terrible mistake!'. The Ancient Wyrm started to laugh and laugh. 'You foolish mortals, now you have set me free instead. HAHAHAHA!' The Dragons turned to Xena and asked what was wrong. She explained that it looked as if a page was missing from the book. Right after the page where the 6th ingredient was described. The spell probably needed at least one more ingredient.

The Ancient Wyrm

The Ancient Wyrm started to speak 'You foolish Lady Dragon whelp. Ye delve in arts not for thee. If thou has used 6 ingredients in the summoning then thou hast forgotten one.'. Xena fell to her knees 'Oh ancient one, I beg foregiveness. It was my heart I followed and not my head. We all wanted so much to see our Prince walking amongst us. Please tell us what we did wrong.' The Ancient Wyrm studied all the ingredients and asked 'Hast thou used water from a grave?'. Xena replied 'No, we did not...'. 'Then go and fetch some if you want to summon your friend. And ye best hope the Gods looks favorable upon thee, for if ye fail Daedric will be condemned to eternal oblivion!' the Ancient Wyrm spoke, 'And one more thing before I leave. Thy foolish experiments have let loose a scourge in this land, thou wilt hear from this dragon ancient once more! I guarantee thee!' The Ancient Wyrm disappeared in a cloud of smoke, stinking like sulphur and ash.

Water from a grave they needed now. Xxy Sylvr, Edge and Gargish all remembered that they had once seen graves in the dungeon of Shame and not far from there was a lake. Perhaps they could try to use that. But both Xena and Lacy were not really confirmed that the Ancient Wyrm was talking about that. He cleary said 'water from a grave' and not 'water near a grave'. Surely there had to be a place in Sosaria where one could get water from a grave. Xena said 'I remember I once visited a very spooky place with graves. All the time I was there I could hear water dripping, just like you hear in damp and wet caves'. Xxy Sylvr then said 'Ofcourse, he must have meant the underground crypts near Yew. There is water flowing next to the graves in there.' The Dragons decided that the crypts would be the best place to get the 'water from the grave'. Just before they opened a gate to Yew another gate opened and out stepped Phoenix Dragon. He had heard in Rivendell that the Dragons were at the Shrine of Sacrifice visiting Daedrics grave. He was greeted by all and invited to come with them to search for the water. Xena and Zym decided to wait at the shrine.

Water from a graveThe Dragons travelled to Empath Abbey in Yew and headed north-east into the forest. None of them knew exactly where the crypts were located but with hope in their harts they headed in the general direction where they thought them to be. The trip was long and ardous but they finally came in sight of the crypts. The first thing that hit them as they entered the dwelling was the awful stench. Lacy was so over come with it she almost had to leave, only the thought of Daedric being returned to them kept her going. They split up and began searching the halls for the "coffin water" that was needed. They explored long dank corridors and climbed into the depths of hell with only one thought in our minds, 'we must find the water for Daedric's sake'. The stench was overwhelming the deeper into the crypts they went. Finally a new smell came to them and the sound of dripping water could be heard eachoing in the underground chambers. They were close but still they could not see it. Then, around a corner and one more flight down they came into a room with coffins, some locked shut, others broken open by looters. None of them contained the water they needed but they could still smell it stronger and hear it louder. Off to one side in the corner they finally found it. A large cistern full of fresh running water, so cold it hurt to touch it. The only sweet smell in an otherwise dead world. Quickly they scooped up pitchers full and hurried back to Xena.

Summoning DaedricOne after another the Dragons returned to the Shrine. Now that they found the 7th ingredient they were ready to try the summoning again. As before they formed a circle around Xena and held hands. Everybody started to prey. Xena concentrated and chanted the words of power again 'Kal Vas Xen An Corp'. This time it was not a moongate that appeared. It seemed as if the Ankh was emitting a blue glow. And behold, right in front of it the body of Daedric became visible. He was seemed to be fighting an invisible opponent. He must have been summoned from the heat of battle. 'AAAHHH! What? Where the ....? Lacy! Xena! Zym! My friends!' he cried out. The Dragons were thrilled to see their Prince again. Lacy almost fainted but Edge made sure she kept standing on her feet. Everybody was shouting and yelling outbursts of joy! Daedric put down his sword and shield and started to greet all his friends. There were so many of them, he did not know where to start. He asked what had happened and Lacy told him the entire story. About the rumours, the memorial, the wraith and the summoning of his Nemesis the Ancient Wyrm. Daedric got very upset when he heard that. Summoning an Ancient Wyrm is never a good thing to do. They usually are an omen of a great disaster. This scared the Dragons a bit, but they agreed that this was not the time to worry about that. The most important thing was that their Prince had returned. Then Deadric told the Dragons the story of his death. He was once again infected with wyrmbane. His blood thickened at an alarming rate, and before he could get help he lost conciousness and died. The Gods took him to Enroth where he could continue his eternal battle against evil. Daedric also told the rest of the Dragons that the Ancient Wyrm had to be befriended. Anyone who dared to go against him would surely die by his hands. The Dragons that would listen to him would be able to learn a great deal and become better Dragons in the end. Right now they would all go back to Rivendell to celebrate. For in a few hours the midsummer festival would start there and all the people at the festival would be able to hear the fantastic adventure the Dragons had that day.

Dragon Quest III

The Blind God

The Dragons were listless. Ever since their beloved Prince Daedric Dragon was brought back from the Outer World, he had suddenly and mysteriously disappeared. Confusion started reigning among his friends. What had happened to Daedric? Where was he? Some had heard some confusing stories. "Daedric is not available". "Daedric is away training in a monastery under the guidance of the Ancients." "Daedric is in the Ethereal Void, preparing his physical and spiritual self." What did all this mean?

As the Dragons gathered together, more confusion reigned. Daedric had been sporadically sighted in town running errands, but his answers to any questions were the same as above, vague, to say the least. Weeks had past, and some started to blame each other for the great Dragon's disappearance. "Tis thy fault", yelled Gargish bitterly to Xena Dragon. "Daedric loved thee, and ye refused him!" "Nay", retorted Xena, "tis not so. We were and are close, true, but our Prince lovest another, I think." Xena wept. "Tis my fault. He asketh me long ago for some scrolls, but I was not able to comply. I feel I may have failed our Prince" retorted Furor Dragon. Octal Dragon angrily spat: "Tis all thy fault, all of thee. While I was away visiting my relatives, ye all agreed to help Daedric with the new guild plans! What were ye thinking of anyhow?". To all this bickering, Edge Dragon sought to bring about some order. "Please, please, my friends, stop! Tis none of our fault. I heard from our Lady Lacy Dragon, the only one who hast since been allowed to see Daedric, that the Ancient Wyrm was displeased at Daedric's poor training in combat skills and magery, and it seems he blameth us, for taking up too much of our friend's time. We selfishly thought only of ourselves, and gave no heed to Daedric's needs."

As the arguing continued, behold! Who should wander into the meeting Hall but the Ancient Wyrm himself, looking for an escaped mongbat for lunch. The Dragons gasped and shivered in fear. The 10,000 year old Dragon was again in their midst, and again, a cold chill swept over them. As they all hurried to pay their respects to the Ancient, his gaze swept over them in disdain. "By hell's fire! Tis the pesky dragonlings again! Foolish mortals", his voice boomed, "Begone with thee, elst I assume ye mayhap have chased away my lunch." Octal Dragon rushed to the front, and bowing low, respectfully asked the Wyrm for news of Daedric. "What do ye want with him?" asked the Wyrm in a careless tone. "He is fine, and wanteth nothing to do with thee. Be off!" "Please, Great Ancient", Edge Dragon tried to sound calm lest the great Dragon become angered, "We would really like to see him. We miss him so very much. He is more than just a dear friend to us." Lacy Dragon, clasping and unclasping her hands in fear, fell to her knees before the mighty Wyrm. "Great Wyrm, if it pleaseth thee, I know that Daedric loves us all very much. I visited him lately in the Ancient's Water world battlegrounds, and I know he thinketh of us constantly." Others insisted also, quickly taking up the queue . "Ah, I have heard of thee", boomed the Wyrm, pointing an accusing finger at her. "Thy influence has been specially harmful to Daedric. Ye will not be allowed to see him again." Lacy wept bitterly. Upon looking at Lacy's sobbing, and the others worried faces, the Wyrm continued. "Foolish dragonlings, ye are a discredit to thy calling. Dost thou think thy eternal quest for blood has escaped the attention of the Ancients? Thy mock wars? Thy craving for killing of thy equals? Dost thou?" The Wyrm's voice shook the ground. "Very well, ye think ye are good enough for Daedric, prove it then." "How can we prove that, Mighty Wyrm?" asked Caramon Majere, all the time shaking in his boots. "Bringeth me Azura's Bear Mask," retorted the Wyrm. "If ye CAN get THAT from the Daedra Goddess, then mayhap I will reconsider", grinned the Wyrm evilly. Caramon Majere turned white. "Good god!", he screamed. "Ye want us to deal with a Daedra Goddess? Tis our death! To say the least!". "Where can we find her?" someone asked. "Find her Priestess, young one. She may be collecting souls in the Warrior's battleground. She is my great great great grandchild. So watch thy step." The Wyrm then let out the most bloodcurling laugh anyone has ever heard. It chilled all to the very bone. It certainly seemed he was deliberately sending all of those present to certain death, and he knew it. But they were determined to show they were better than the Wyrm thought they were, and good enough friends of Daedric's.

Warrior's Battleground? After some deliberation, they figured it must be the Warrior's Arena in Jhelom. So off they went, all of them, not any wanting to be left behind to face the wrath of Azura or even the Wyrm alone. After looking for a time around the Arena in Jhelom, they finally spotted her, the Priestess of the Goddess, Azura's Star. The acolytes of the Priestess promptly barred their passage to her, but upon hearing the group's being sent by the Ancient Wyrm, the priestess dispatched her acolytes with the vases full of souls to the temple. She then inquired what they wanted. Edge Dragon and the others answered: " Milady, we are sent by the Ancient Wyrm himself to inquire of thee how to get for him Azura's Magic Bear mask". The priestess turned to look at them annoyed, and her face showed deep anger. " Ye want WHAT? Blasphemers, thou shalt pay for thy disrespect! But if thou wert sent by my Great Ancestor himself, alright then. Here is the key. Follow me then to thy deaths." As the Priestess recalled out, she dropped the "key", a special rune that lead to somewhere.

Quickly a gate was cast upon the rune and all stepped through. Balancer, a woman that had witnessed all that happened there, followed them in search for adventure. They all found themselves, where else but in a remote place, and in a temple! The temple of the goddess Azura! "Welcome to the temple of Azura, Daedra Prince of Moonshadow in Oblivion, and Goddess of Dawn and Dusk. The Goddess wishes and deals only in one thing, souls. Nothing else is of her interest. Art thou prepared?" asked Azura's Star. Shaking in fear, Gargish Dragon asserted , "Aye, we are!" Others asserted the same. Azura's Star continued: "No one cometh here and leaveth alive. Less even to ask of the Goddess an article of her belonging. So, thy souls are forfeit! Unless thou art prepared to offer her a substitute. " "Aye, a substitute!" they all answered. "Very well then", she said, "each of thee bring a soul of a humanoid to offer the Goddess in place of thine. As guarantee that thou wilt comply, I will keep one of thee with me here, and hold her soul as bond. Go now quickly". Almost at once, they saw as the powerful priestess pulled a screaming Lacy Dragon towards her, and held her in bondage till the group's return.

"If it pleaseth thee, " asked Octal Dragon, "how do we trap souls for Azura?" "Just bring whatever is left of the dead, once the corpse falls." answered the Priestess. "Now be off." All of those present, still shaking with fear, quickly marked runes to the temple area and donned their armor and weapons. It was decided that it would be best to search in the woods between Yew and Britain for Orcs and other humanoid monsters. It did not take the party long to collect the souls of at least 20 of those smelly creatures. When they returned, the Priestess commanded them to stand in line in front of the altar area, and one at a time, offered the Goddess the souls of their dead, as she chanted the rites. Once done, however, none were prepared for what was next. For as they stared in amazement, the Priestess, with eyes turned white as in a trance, spoke in tones of doom: "All is not done yet, foolish mortals. I will not release the souls I have under my power, till thou bringest me one more thing I crave. I want thee to bring me The Blind God's Heavy Crossbow."

Everybody stood petrified. No wonder the Wyrm laughed so disdainfully when he sent them on this suicidial quest. The Magic Heavy Crossbow of the Blind God? What on Sosaria was that? Again, it was Xena Dragon that mustered the strength to ask. The Priestess answered: " I cannot help thee there. I had a tome, that spoke of this ancient and powerful artifact. Alas, it was stolen many years ago by an evil mage called Phyklar the Lost. He was last seen in the City of Honesty, or was it of Spirituality? I don't recall.. But I would like to have it back as well. That is but all I can tell thee."

The party then made plans. They had to move fast if they wanted to wrest the Goddess's control over the two girls. Skara Brae? or Moonglow? So, two groups were formed. One would search in Skara Brae, the other in Moonglow, till they found this mage. The group that went to Moonglow decided to search all magic shops for surely that was where one could expect a mage. Xena bumped into Jet Dragon who without hesitation offered to help searching. But it was all for nothing, Phyklar was not in Moonglow after all. As the others searched and searched, lo! there in the tavern of Skara Brae they found Phyklar the Lost, drunk and singing to the top of his lungs, and otherwise making a complete nuisance of himself, being rude to all, even to the ladies. Quickly everyone was called to come to the tavern. As they tried to ask him for the tome he stole, the drunken mage refused to comply. He professed not to know what they were talking about. How to get him to cooperate? "Mage, tell us, or we will cut out thy soul and give it to the goddess Azura!" Xena threatened. The others followed suit. That did it! The mage turned white, and between his fits of stupor, remembered he had lost the tome in a card game to a woodcutter in Vesper. What woodcutter? "What is his name?" Xena asked. "I don't remember ", sobbed Phyklar. "I do recall he was as strong as a bull." Well then, obviously their answer lies now in Vesper. As the one group communicated with the other to meet it Vesper, they were going to look for a woodcutter "as strong as a bull". Not very much to go on, there must be a hundred woodcutters in that place alone!

As they all searched, asking any woodcutters they met, they spotted one, who was quietly chopping trees. His name struck everyone, Lone Bull. He was, by far, the strongest lumberjack anyone had ever seen. Dozens of trees fell with just a few swings of this woodcutter's mighty axe. No one was faster or stronger than he. As they approached, he eyed them suspiciously while they asked, " If it pleaseth thee good lumberjack, dost thou recall a tome ye won in a card game from a mage some time ago? It speaketh of an ancient artifact from The Blind God." The lumberjack answered suspiciously, " What if I do? What is it to thee?" Xena answered, "If it pleaseth thee, we would like to have it, purchase it from thee. What will ye take in exchange?" Lone Bull raised his mighty axe above his head and said, "Ye want my book? Nay, I read it on lonely nights. Ye cannot have it, by no price. Go away." The frightened lumberjack turned to run, but as Sargon of the Sunset Knights, Octal Dragon, Balancer, and the others tried to surround him, he then added in despair, "Ah, I understand now! Thou wert sent by the mage to kill me and get back his book, aye?" Almost at once, the terrified woodcutter ran way screaming for the guards. The group followed him, trying to dissuade the poor man's fears. It was Lady Samantha, with her beautious form and kind ways that finally managed to get close to him. "Come now good man, we can reward thee handsomely for it. Fear us not. We are not hear to kill anyone," she said sweetly. "What can we offer thee in exchange of the book?" "Milady", said the lumberjack, bowing low to the lovely Samantha. "Look at me. I have naught! Look at my axe! It is old and corroded. I have nothing, being too poor to purchase even my basic needs." How about a very good axe? Better than the one ye have now." So off they went. They purchased the lumberjack new axes, some clothes, even Lady Lilliana Rune of the Serpent's Cross tavern gave him some gold, and pleaded with him to accept her gift. His eyes lighted up for joy as he looked at his new treasures, and released to them an ancient tome. The pages were falling off, twas rotten and decayed. Carefully turning each page Xena read the book out loud for everyone to hear:

Ancient Artifacts Tome 1

By The Ageless One

The Blind God's Heavy Crossbow

The Blind God is one of the Ancients of the Ethereal World , but no one knows why they call him "God". But blind he is, and mute. Almost everyone passeth by him and taketh no notice. He stands as Protector of the fortified grounds belonging to a sovereign ruler. Also, he is the creator and guardian of a Magic Heavy Crossbow named The Blind God's Heavy Crossbow. This artifact, appears as a modest Magic Heavy Crossbow, but it is one of the mightiest ever to exist in the history of Britannia. Allegedly used by the Blind God, the heavy crossbow can turn any bolt into a missile of death and destruction. Without the Blind God's power behind it, however, the heavy crossbow uses its own store of energy for power. Once exhausted of this energy, the heavy crossbow will vanish and reappear back into the God's possession. It's most recent appearance has been the subject of gossip for hundreds of years.

If one wishest to obtain this powerful artifact, legend has it one must stand in front of the God, and in a penitent position, chant the mantra three times. The Magic Heavy Crossbow wilt then appear on the ground next to the God. No one has yet been able to prove this accurate, however.

People who were passing by stopped and listened in awe. A passer by called Caelin II was very interested in the book and scribed the words in an empty book as they were spoken. When Xena closed the book everybody was wondering, where would they go to find the Blind God? He "protects the fortified grounds", belonging to a sovereign. After some deliberation, they decided to try Lord British's Castle, and see if they could find any clues there. As they were getting closer to the castle, they met with Daedric Dragon's daughter, Nymph Dragon. "Hail friends! What art thou doing here?" said Nymph, "We are looking for the Blind God" said Xena. Nymph became curious. "Really, why?" asked Nymph Dragon. "Well, we need to obtain from him his Magic Heavy Crossbow, for the Priestess of Azura." Nymph gasped, " Thou met my cousin??!! And thou'rt still alive??!! By Julianos! Thou'rt truly lucky and brave! Ah well, I just came from speaking with the Blind God. Being one of the Ancients, he sometimes giveth me news of my father, who is in the Etheral Void at the moment. Come, I will take thee." A short walk took them to a statue in one of Lord British's gardens. They stood in the presence of the statue. Nymph, assuming a penitent stance, then cleared her throat, and in a sullen voice, she chanted the mantra 3 times. Like magic, the most magnificent heavy crossbow appeared at the statue's feet! Everyone stared in awe at the powerful aura of magic the crossbow emitted as it lay on the ground. Very carefully, Xena picked it up and placed it in a backpack. Now they were ready to go and claim their prizes.

As they recalled back to Azura's temple, the Priestess was waiting. Very respectfully they returned to her the tome, and the Magic Heavy Crossbow she wanted. Seeing that both the tome and the bow were returned Azura's Star threw the Magic Bear Mask on the floor. Xena could not resist the temptation and picked up the mask and put it on. A strange sensation overcame her, but she could not determine the effect the mask had on her. "What about Lacy ? We want her back." said Xena to Azura's Star. The priestess then issued a small chant, and with sparks flying, she released her hold on the soul of Lacy Dragon. "Not for long though," she cackled. "Thou wilt be mine soon enough. Enjoy thy life while ye hast it."

When they returned to The Wyrm, the mighty Ancient was visibly impressed. He did not expect that the Dragons would be able to retrieve his precious Magical Bear Mask. Unfortunately he did not take into account the many friends that were willing to help in this quest. Not only did the Sunset Knights do an excellent job, also along the way Balancer, Jet Dragon, Caelin II and Lilliana Rune offered their help. Xena handed the bear mask to the Wyrm and asked if the Wyrm would now be willing to help them find Daedric. The Wyrm responded "Well well, ye are better than I thought ye were. Good. I am pleased to see my young protégé Daedric has such good friends after all. Very well, go to the Hall of Virtues and await him there. I will send word for him to be sent there." And so they left.

The joy was boundless among all as, after a short wait in the Hall of Virtues, the Dragon Prince appeared! The men howled for joy, the women wept with happiness. Daedric had returned! Ten times more powerful due to his training with the Ancients, ten times wiser as well! However, terrible danger was about to fall on the land. "My friends," said the Dragon Prince, " I see thou hast had dealings with a Daedra Goddess. Ye were lucky, she is a cruel one, but not unduly so. However, there is one Daedra that hateth all Britannians. He is known as The Guardian. Beware of him if he ever shouldst visit this land. However, my return obeys another matter of import. Someone is in grave distress, and hath called on The Ancients for aid. I was sent by them to help. Wilt thou help me, my friends, in this mission ?" "Aye!. We all will indeed!" they exclaimed eagerly. But Daedric knew this new task would tax their very mettle to the limit.

Dragon Quest IV

The Orcish Emancipation

(The Return of Daedric Dragon)

"Rodgha objekflu fupdagh!" cried out Prince Daedric Dragon, much to the amazement of the healers in Jhelom. "Aawaagh! Jjadrugug gurtloghag. Ouch!". The healers were, by now, becoming terrified. What on earth was going on? What strange sight was this? A human that could speak that hated language, orcish, well and fluently? Especially a human like the one before them, none other than the great Dragon Prince and Ancient! It was well known and documented that Daedric had the blood of Dragon Ancients flowing through his veins, and hence, was known to revert once in a while to his true form afflicted by wyrmbane. But not this! Daedric had fallen to the floor and was cringing in pain, all the while yelling unintelligible things in orcish, writhing and squirming back and forth as a white broth spewed from his mouth. It was obvious he was trying to fight back the malady, or whatever it was, but why? How was this possible? Was it a curse? Some kind of "blood poisoning"? And more importantly, why him?

Very gently the healers raised him from the floor and placed him on a bed. They removed his armor and gently wiped his sweating brow with a soft cloth dipped in rose essence, and also washed his body. They bled him over and over. The Prince seemed to grow quiet for a while, muttering and groaning. But it seemed that anything they did was to no avail. Daedric only grew worse as time elapsed. Even the healer guildmaster, was deeply worried. It seemed they did not know the remedy for this malady, and nothing they did helped. What to do?

Meanwhile, on another plane, the gods and Ancients were angered. Daedric Dragon was returned on purpose to Sosaria to restore the balance of the world, and to right an old wrong done in the past. But due to an unexpected eclipse of the moons, the phases of the gate that returned him went awry, and Daedric's mortal self was placed in grave danger among a marauding band of orcs. His old enemies wasted no time in torturing him, and the orc mage placed a curse on him that would be so difficult to break no one would humanly be able to. A plea was sent to Daedric's friends, the Dragons, but none answered or even bothered to investigate. A spirit of indifference and uncaring had set in during the long years the Prince had been absent. Selfishness had set in, causing even his Dragon friends to abandon him in this hour of need. It was even rumored some had turned to the black arts and sorcery. But it also seemed that most did not believe that he had really returned to Sosaria. He had been gone for about 5 years already.

It was his Lady friend of old times, Lady Samantha of the Sunset Knights, that heard of the problem in Jhelom and, very much alarmed, quickly transported herself there. But alas! , By the time she arrived, Daedric was much worse. He no longer recognized anyone, not even his beautiful friend. After some deliberation with the healers, Samantha took over the task of nursing her dear friend, soothing him and with her ever-gentle ways and powerful magery, trying to keep him quiet and help him rest. But even that was not enough. The Ancient would awake from his stupor, and fly into one of his orcish rages: " Aawagh! Tk. Kdder. Nughigga!". He would then jump outside and run, eyes bloodshot, seeking to attack someone! Poor Samantha would run after him in distress and quiet him down again, and gently but firmly bring him back to his bed. It was on one of these episodes that the guildmistress of the S.K. decided to seek help, as she feared the situation getting out of hand. So she decided to summon the Knights of her order.

One by one, the friends came. Powerful knights and heroes showed up, legends of ancient battles and quests, such as Don Thomas, Ar-Kane, Wildboy, Xena Dragon, Xeep Dragon, Octal Dragon, Naomn, Iron Skull, Billbo, Agronan, Kevlar and Undomiel. All paid their respects to their sweet friend and proceeded to remark on their happiness at seeing the great Dragon back in the world, but not in these circumstances! What was happening? Was it a curse? A new ailment sent by the gods to punish Sosaria? Why was the Prince in such suffering? And above all, how would they go about finding the cure? "Has he said anything intelligible?" some of them asked. "Nay," wept Samantha, "nothing at all. Just orcish." Xeep Dragon comented that maybe finding a book in Orcish might help. After much deliberation, it was decided to look for aid. Maybe the most powerful mages of the land would have a clue. Or some ancient tome might be found that might shed light on the engrossing problem. At any rate, something had to be done, and nothing would be accomplished in Jhelom. They would have to look elsewhere.

Someone suggested that they try Lord British's library, or even his Seers. Others suggested the City of Honesty, center of magicka in Sosaria, which is Moonglow. So off they went then, not without first casting a protective wall of powerful magic around Daedric, to keep him safely at rest under the watchful eye of the healers while they were gone. "Ehm ehm ehm ehm ehm ehm" muttered the ill Prince, while tossing in his sleep.

Atlantic Mage Tower Nothing turned up in Lord British's headquarters that would help the Dragon Ancient. Nothing turned up either at the Mage Tower in Moonglow, seat of the most powerful mages in the land. As they started to lose hope, someone in desperation, suggested they try the Lycaeum, where all the great and most ancient tomes on just about every subject were carefully preserved. Samantha thought this a good idea, and went there quickly with the group. They searched and searched each of the library rooms, but just when they were about to give up hope, she noticed a very old book, its pages deeply yellowed with time, and the print nearly faded. The words immediately caught her attention, but also, made her lovely features pale. Mustering all the strength she could to find her voice, she could barely scream to call the rest towards her.

"Oh no, oh please the gods, no!" she cried. "My friends, this is terrible! Listen to this I found in this ancient book!" She went on then to read: "It is written in the scrolls of Julianos the prophet, that in the days of Lord British the orcs wouldst experience a new thirst for knowledge and power. Saith power deriveth from an ancient and godlike artifact known as the eye of the Oracle. It is also written that for saith power to become absolute, an Ancient one must be sacrificed. Then all Sosaria will be plunged into darkness, and the orcs would riseth to power and rule with the evil gods for a thousand years."

Everyone stood petrified when they heard these words. The tenseness in the air was so thick, one could slice it with a knife! What horrors did this prophecy contain? What did it mean? The orcs...a rise to power over Sosaria? Good god, please no! It was obvious now, that it had something to do with Daedric, he being the stricken "ancient one". But why him? Why were these words happening now? "Sacrificed"? Obviously, Daedric had escaped that somehow, unless... could it be... No one dared say it. The thought of it was too much to bear!

So now what to do? How to avoid or curb the outcome of this prophecy? Something obviously was going to happen, and they had to stop it. But how? Where to turn? And what was this about the eye of the Oracle? No one had ever heard of the Oracle, let alone seen it! In the mind of many, already, the idea that Sosaria was somehow cursed as well, now loomed. Once again, it was Samantha that suggested they try to look for information on the Oracle. Where or what was it? Sadly, the Lycaeum contained no clues as to what it was. So they decided to go into the major towns and conduct a thorough search for information. Something had to turn up. Others suggested they pray to the gods at the temples and shrines, asking for aid. That too, seemed a good idea in this dark hour.

"Alms! For sweet life's sake, I beg an alms!" cried the leper. Arkay the leper, pushed his way as unnoticeably as possible through the crowds in Moonglow, begging. Lepers were uncommon in Sosaria, but every now and then, one would show up, cursed with the dreaded disease, which caused one's skin to rot. A white fungus would spread over the area that was particularly afflicted, causing severe deformity and making the stricken individual particularly loathsome to many. It was also thought the disease to be contagious, causing the afflicted one to be even more rejected by the healthy. "Please help me! Are there no charitable souls left in Sosaria? We see our faces, but not our hearts." Few bothered to even look at the horrible apparition. It was the gruesome apparition that made many skins shrink and crawl underneath their armor or clothes. The vast majority failed to realize that underneath the foul and bent form of the poor leper, lay a human being like themselves, albeit buffeted and scorned by the world at large, and to whom life's wounds and hardships were constant. But even more, what no one could possibly know was that, underneath this horrible form, lay the power and true form of the god Arkay, God of birth and death. And his surprise visit to Sosaria was no coincidence, nor was it a welcome accident.

While the friends wandered around and looked for help to anyone they felt could have a clue, no one, of course, thought of looking in the direction of the leper. Most scorned beggars anyway, and even more so, lepers. Some of the friends saw the leper, but in their desperate need, at first, took no notice. "Alms! I beseech thee! Alms!" cried the leper, as he moved from place to place. Someone had pushed him aside. So he moved elsewhere, all the time keeping an eye open for any healers, to ask for Daedric. This was one of the god's main purposes, to find the stricken Ancient and remove him from Sosaria, before fulfilling his ultimate task. As he was about to take the teleport in Moonglow to another area, Octal Dragon noticed the hapless leper and felt pity for him, and rode over to him to press some gold into his withered hands. Nothing, however, could prepare her for what was next.

"Thank thee. May the light of the gods illuminate thy path in like manner." said the leper, bowing. Octal thought this unique, and decided to ask the question. "Good man, hast thou, perchance, any information on a mage that can cure a friend of ours?" asked Octal. "He is stricken with a rare disease like thine, except it is a reverting to orcish. We are seeking desperately a remedy." "Why dost thou asketh me that?" retorted the leper. "I am not a mage, just a leper, outcast and a reject." "I just thought ye may know, good man." "If I did, I would not tell thee for a measly sum of gold," answered the leper. Octal then hastily pressed some more gold into the leper's withered hands. But just as he did so, the leper disappeared into the nearby teleport! Octal now grew suspicious, and promptly called his comrades. All then, decided to quickly follow the leper through the same teleport, and they managed to surround him at the Lycaeum's gardens. "Let me be" cried the leper. " I warn thee." "This man may have some information about Daedric's malady," said Octal. "But he refuseth to tell us." Samantha and the rest followed suit: "Be not frightened, good man. Pray tell us. We will not harm thee." If they only knew! For even as they were talking, a strange light shone around the leper as his crouch disappeared, and he slowly stood before them glorified, tall, fair and straight. His voice deepened and boomed, the earth shook beneath their feet as the now gathered group witnessed the impressive sight. The leper had transformed himself into the god Arkay! "I am Arkay, god of birth and death!" said the god. "I witnessed each of thee's birth, and now the time has cometh to witness thy death! Prepare all to journey into Oblivion!" The women in the group screamed, the men were terrified! It took all the courage she could muster for Xena Dragon to bow low before the god and state her plea, in a voice that shook as a leaf: " Please Milord and Mighty god, alloweth thy humble servant girl to speak. How and why must we perish? Was it something we have done? If so, may we not be allowed to rectify? Why are we being punished so harshly?"

"Foolish mortals," he exclaimed. "Dost thou think ye can fool the gods? Dost thou think we have not noticed they selfishness, thy hypocrisy, thy bent on killing each other, thy careless ways in every day life? Ah, but we have. We had decided to let thee be, but not insomuch as it concerneth my envoy, Daedric Dragon. 'Tis thy fault he lies helpless, stricken with a curse. But I have come to take him away, as he is needed elsewhere. Now, where is he?" Samantha managed to find her voice: " Milord," she said in a sheepish voice," 'twas I that wast taking care of him. We came here looking for a cure for his malady, as he seemeth to be reverting to orcish. Nothing we do seems to help him, so we are worried for our dear friend. If it pleaseth thee, Sire, help us to help him. Is he under a curse?" "Ye have done enough, young one. Now where is he that I may end this and take him away?" replied the god. "Nay Milord, please, nay! Pray do not take our friend from us. We DO love him so...we did not know. "Twas an accident when we found him at the healers. He wast gone from us for so can ye take him away again ? Is there nothing...nay, I ask thee humbly - tell us what to do to help him please, and if ye sent him to accomplish any task left undone, we will gladly undertake it for him." Samantha pleaded and wept bitterly. The others stood speechless, some in shame, others to the point of giving way to tears as well. "Thou art worthless mortals. Why shouldst I believe thou wilt be able to undertake the dangerous task assigned to our Avatar?" retorted the god Arkay. "We will try our best," answered Xena. "And if we fail and die, well then, so be it. At least, let us try, Mighty god!" The others also followed, each offering himself/herself gladly to take Daedric's place. Arkay looked at them and pondered. "Very well then, mortals, pay careful heed to mine words.

I sent Daedric to stop the flow of an ancient prophecy, one that wilt surely spell doom for thee. The orcs, it seemeth, hath come into ownership of an ancient artifact belonging to the spokesman of the gods, known as the Oracle. Without it she is hampered. I sent Daedric to get it back, but the phases of the moons changed at the wrong moment, and the gate landed Daedric in the midst of an orc band. That and thy carelessness did nothing to save him. He was tortured by them and cursed. Miraculously I created a distraction to allow him to escape, but the curse is irreversible." "This is sad news Milord, " cried Xena Dragon. "But now how can we help? Where can we find the Oracle? We had no notion it even existed." Arkay the god dropped a rune before them, on the ground. "Mark ye hast given thy word. If ye fail, I shall without fail come for all of thee, and thy entire world will be destroyed." Without waiting any reply, he disappeared into thin air.

It took a while for the entire group to bring themselves together after this. The terror in the air could still be felt when Samantha then remarked : " Well my friends, this is the answer we had been seeking. It is the prophecy we had read we need to break, and thank the gods, we have found out where to turn. This rune marketh the place where we will find the Oracle, no doubt. I hope 'tis not a dangerous place."

The Oracle was blind, and very very old. However, she is the wisest of sages, knowing all the answers to the past, present, and future. But no one had seen her. Hence, no one knew what to expect. So, as they all checked their armor and weapons, several gates were opened, and one by one, the entire party left to find the old sage. Before they went, however, Samantha took partial leave of the group to check on her beloved friend back in Jhelom.

Upon arriving, Samantha thanked the gods! For by then, the protective magic surrounding Daedric had vanished, and he was once again in the throws of the curse. It was the sweet maiden Kara, of the ROC guild, that when passing by on her daily duties, saw the commotion and stopped to offer the healers her aid. So it was, that the strong warrior maiden gently helped to soothe Daedric, quiet him down with potions and some magic, and helped to hold him back when he flew into his "attacks". She also tried soothing him by softly humming songs into his ear. Kara noticed this seemed to quiet him somewhat, but only strong magery would help him now, and neither she nor the healers could help there. Daedric was getting out of hand again just when Samantha appeared. She lost no time in casting the most powerful magery on her friend, and thanked Kara for all her timely help, and invited her to join them in their search for the cure. The girl readily accepted the invitation, and donned her armor to join them.

The party found itself in a black forest, with little sunlight shining through the trees. A few animals could be seen here and there, and the chirping of birds could be heard in the distance, but nothing else seemed to stir. As the party searched and searched, they were befelled by bands or orcs, accompanied by their allies the ettins. One by one, all of them were dispatched by the great warriors. Then, suddenly, they were struck by the most nerve racking cackling one could ever hear! What on earth was that? As they came closer, trying to become accustomed to the dim light, look! an old woman, blind as a bat, with skin a translucent white, that contrasted against her robes! The Oracle! She was bent forward over a steaming cauldron, stirring something that looked like a thick soup. Before her, there was a rickety table, with some utensils, animal parts, some organs, and reagents known only to an old witch . "Who goest there?" cackled the witch. Xena Dragon went forward respectfully and peered at the old woman. She turned towards her friends and nodded, motioning to them to stay quiet and not startle her, as she was blind. She then said, " Old woman, if it pleaseth thee, we mean thee no harm. We came in search of thy wisdom and help." The Oracle cackled in glee: " Ah! After so many years, do I hear a human voice? Come closer that I may feel thee. I think I know thee too." Xena Dragon warily stepped a bit forward, motioning to the others not to worry. The sage cackled again. "Afraid, are ye? Fear not. I will not harm thee, although my friends the elementals might. What hast thee to fear from an old woman anyway?" Having said this, she raised a withered old hand and passed it over Xena's features. Xena flinched. "Ah, nay, ye are not the one I expected." The cackling rattled everyone. "Good sage, we have come in need of thy help.", said Xena. The old sage nodded, and said:" But if I cannot see, I cannot help thee, young one. " Xena tried to get more information from her, but all she said was: "If I cannot see, I cannot hear. Find my eye that wast stolen by the orcs and lost deep inside a dark cave near an accursed town of undead, and I will then tell thee what ye wish to know." So saying, she turned her back to the group and fell silent.

What could the sage have meant by those words : " deep inside a cave near an accursed town of undead"? There were at least two accursed towns full of undead in Sosaria, but a cave near one? A cave...ah, could she have meant a dungeon? The group returned to Samantha in Jhelom and related their findings. After some deliberation among themselves, it was suggested that they try the dungeon that lies near the City of the Dead. No one goes to that place, due to the proximity of the aformentioned undead that lived closeby, many of them quite powerful. So after having double checked their weapons, they all gated far off to Delucia, and from there, took the path leading to the town of the undead, and the nearby dungeon.

A nauseating feeling swept over them as they entered the accursed place. The journey, already beset with perils from monsters and undead of all sorts, had now led them to this, a pitch black cave that undoubtedly, had already claimed the lives of many. Huge disease infested rats fell on them from all sides; giant poisonous scorpions; enormous poisonous serpents; acid slimes that ate away their armor and weapons; and more, all were dispatched one by one by the noble band, as they searched under every rock and nook and cranny for anything resembling an "eye". Many days and nights were spent in that place, and already, a feeling of illness and tiredness was beginning to set in among them. But onwards they pressed, healing one another with powerful magics, searching. Then suddenly, just as they thought themselves lost, Samantha noticed something shiny partly buried under a pile of debris, almost at the end of a dark corridor with no exit, save the entrance. A horde of mongbats were around it, all of which she despatched with powerful magic. As she uncovered the object, look! a shiny glass crystal, opaque inside, but nonetheless, an artifact of sorts! This must be it, the long sought after "eye"!

It was with great relief that the party was able to see sunlight once more, and breathe the fresh air outside. Feeling worried again about Daedric's health, Samantha passed the "eye" to Xena Dragon, and bade her carefully guard it and take it to the Oracle. Xena acknowledged and promptly opened a gate for her and the party to the location of the Oracle. Imagine the happiness of a child when it has recovered its long lost toy! Such was the happiness of the old sage! The Oracle thanked them all and placed the eye on her forehead and said: " May he that looketh, Be the one to flee, The spell that curseth, Will now set free. Leavest me now, please, to my regained treasure. Be off with thee."

Aha! An answer in the form of a riddle! But what did it mean? As the re-united group now deliberated, the words, slowly, started to gain meaning. "He that looketh"..."the spell that curseth" seemed the words pointed in the same direction. The spell that cursed Daedric was obviously of orc origin, and the only one that could have cast it was an orc mage. Therefore, as he was the one to look and cast it, he must be the one to break it. But how ...that wasn't exactly understood. However, it seemed that somehow, they had to bring an orc mage and somehow, face him with Daedric. This was a dangerous prospect. An orc mage cannot be brought into town, and such ones were also extremely dangerous. It was well known that an orc mage could quickly disable and kill any able bodied warrior with flamestrike, a spell that required enormous power and magery. Besides, the orcs would surely put up a strong resistance. But there seemed to be no other way. So it was decided to take Daedric, under heavy guard, to one of the orc forts in Sosaria. A strong group would storm the fort, kidnap the mage, and bring him outside. They would then force the mage to face Daedric and break the spell that held him cursed. It was hoped that this is what the Oracle meant.

And so indeed it was. After a bloody battle, the orc mage at the fort near Minoc was brought outside, under force, all the while the rest of the group fought back the onslaught of his comrades. Orc after orc was horrible to see. But at last, the mage was brought face to face with Daedric. "Pagu stukhgho epghed!" cried Daedric as he faced the orc. The mage immediately attacked Daedric and sought to kill him, but his friends kept him healed as Daedric and the orc fought. Then, a thunderclap was heard, and a flash of lightning fell around them! The mage was paralyzed! Daedric dropped from exhaustion, and lay unconscious for a long time.

The party drew around the Prince and carefully administered restoration spells and potions, until he awoke. " friends..." he stammered, " where am I? What happened?" Cheers arose from everyone as they saw their loved friend slowly come back to life, and recognize them one by one! "My Prince", said Xena, "thou wert ill for a long time. But the curse has been broken now. May the gods be praised! Ye have come back to us!" Samantha kissed him gently and remarked: "Dearest Prince, thou art our light in this dark world. Ye have returned to us! May this be a glorious day indeed!" The rest of the group payed their respects to the Ancient Dragon, and with tears of happiness, expressed supreme joy at having their friend of old back in the realm. And although no one could see, the gods and ancients were appeased.

Thus Daedric Dragon returned to Sosaria. An ancient wrong had been rectified, and the world was once again set right. Evil had once more met its nemesis, and justice had been served. But what future tasks would be set for the Prince and his friends? What quests were yet to be accomplished? Time would tell, as we shall see.