The Age of Storms

This is a short account of the events that happened in Britannia during the times that would come to be known as The Age of the Storms. During those years unnaturally strong storms hit the land over and over again, drowning small towns in mud and making the roads between them treacherous.

Food was hard to come up with as farms were washed away by rain and even pasture for cattle was scarce, drowned in emerging swamplands. Disease spread as grasslands became marshes,  and people retreated into their houses in fear of being struck by lightning.

The only way people could survive on these tough times was through cooperation with each other. The group we now know as the Hospitallers was created back then to foster compassion and love in the hearts of the population… but even with their great efforts and those of many other virtuous people such as the so-called Knight of Compassion, who encouraged and rewarded those who were compassionate, the roughness of life made it hard to live a life of virtue.

Aided by this general feeling of despair, the philosophy of Chaos rose in popularity with Lord Blackthorn from Terfin acting as its champion. It found a nurturing home at Buccaneer’s Den, from where it spread to Paws, Britain, and then to all the land as the vessels of pirates and thieves sailed the seas of Britannia.

In the towns, shady individuals preached about a world were people wasn’t enforced to a set of virtues and laws but instead could follow their own instincts, living by their own set of rules and trusting on each other’s choices. The eight virtues were not the only way of living and the laws of Lord British, built around them, were deprecated and rigid.

This prompted Lord British to tour around the cities, trying to convince people of how the virtues, and the law, are what kept society working as a whole… it was too late, Lord Blackthorn had already done his work. While British gave inspired public speeches in town squares and theaters, the agents of Blackthorn infiltrated the taverns, the docks, the places where the common people lived their lives. And they did this to spread a simple message: Lord British had imposed the tyranny of his virtues for far too long, banishing and murdering anyone who proposed a different way of living, and he had to be stopped.

The Clash of Virtue and Chaos

It took only months for a civil war to build up, and the realm was now divided. With Lord British still having a loyal following including most of the legendary Dragons and many other people willing to die for the virtues, and Lord Blackthorn who was backed by countless pirates and anarchists.

Being severely outnumbered, since Blackthorn had enlisted many common folk on his ranks, it was crucial that every man in the royal army was much more skilled than their counterparts. Sir Edward Vitralis, an experienced fencer, set on the task of polishing the martial skills of all the army units. He was joined by Vanzilar, a warrior from another world, who imparted discipline on the troops making them wake up early in the morning and training them in a foreign combat technique known as the Asaren.

Shamus Runeville, the finest siege engineer from Minoc, trained the troops for the inevitable: long running sieges which could be made shorter by breaching the castle walls on the keeps. Blackthorn’s castle, located on Terfin, was a massive stronghold and a lot of skill would be needed to overcome it.

The realm was at war. There were battles near Jhelom, Trinsic, Britain and south of Minoc, as well as sea battles near the shores of Moonglow and Paws as well as many, many other smaller skirmishes.

The Battle of Buccaneer’s Den

After several more months of war its resolution came down to a final battle. The royal fleet sailed north from its headquarters on Serpent’s Hold, set to destroy the stronghold of Chaos that had been build on the northern tip of the Buccaneer’s Den Isle. 

It was not easy to breach the defensive lines of pirate ships that Blackthorn had set all around the isle, but the ancients mages of the council of virtues managed to burn many ships with flame winds, and the experienced archers from the deep forest of Yew rained arrows over the pirate seamen.

The royal fleet managed to make landfall east of the Stronghold of Chaos, the flag of the pirates hoisted atop of it striking fear on anyone daring come close, then they proceeded to assault the garrison meeting with the horde of pirates, rogues and madmen. The battle went for hours with losses from both sides, but then the unthinkable happened: Lord British was hit by a purple ray of magic and disappeared leaving no trace.

Jouston Dragon assumed the command of the troops, and battle continued raging until a great storm hit the battlefield quenching the flame wind spells that the royal army was relying on to keep pushing forward to the fortress. Still they continued fighting hard in the muddy field, and the battle went on until Jouston was badly wounded and had to be taken off the field. Weary from the storm and overwhelmed by their enemies, the remaining royal troops surrendered, only to be imprisoned in dungeons all around the land.

Lord British’s daughter, princess Kinga British, had to flee to the deep forests of Yew, the only place safe from forces of Chaos. She was guarded by Sir Edward Vitralis, his personal bodyguard and bard, Marcus Skywing, whose knowledge of the land was exceptional and critical to explore the forests without stranding, and a small band of ancient rangers who claimed to come from the original Devil’s Guard, led by the Voyager Dragon. The fairies of the forest, being safe from the stone creatures who threatened them, provided protection to the princess by misleading all the parties sent to seek them.

Blackthorn had seized the throne of Britannia, with no one up to challenge him, and within months, the situation for the people didn’t become any better.

The Bane of Britannia

With the storms still ravaging the land and food becoming even harder to find, people would constantly deceive each other seeking their own good and ignoring what was becoming of their townsfolk in need. They cowardly retreated into their houses while bands of rogues roamed the lands with no one to stop them.

The hospices, full of wounded and sick people, decayed and disappeared, as people would not yield anything on their possession for the sake of the ill. Being bound to serve no one, they step over each other trying to impose their ideals, and the struggle to survive day to day made them forget about their own spiritual facet.

Even then, those who had championed for chaos took pride of their achievements, and tried to convince themselves and all the others that given some time, the new society promised by Blackthorn was going to be established. They organised tournaments of many games such as Petanque from town to town, as well as dancing events and beer feasts emptying the funds from the royal treasury.

In a further effort to control the population, their alchemists experimented and created drinks that would make people forget their problems and be at mercy of their new rules, such as the so-called “Nectar of the Citrus Gods”, the “Corpion Queen”, and many others substances labeled as “beverages of fortitude” and given for free in taverns through all the land.

Having also seized control of The Daily Britannian, they used it as a tool to further confuse people, manipulating them with rumours and gossip from their newly created settlement at Buttons Bay, a place that made Buccaneer’s Den be as virtuous as Yew in comparison.

To make things worse, unknown to most of people in the land, there were bigger events being unfolded while the conflict of virtues versus chaos raged. Britannia was truly in peril.

The Guardian’s Invasion

While the armies of Lord British and Blackthorn clashed their swords, a small party of adventurers was striving stop the inter-dimensional entity known as the Guardian from invading Britannia.

After his last unsuccessful efforts of invasion, the Guardian managed to infuse his essence in a blackrock jewel; this jewel was lost for some time until it gathered enough power to reach people’s minds and then got hold of Danden the Pendragon, an outcast warrior who once tried to murder Lord British for unknown reasons. The gem managed to be found by Darden and commanded him to assemble back the Wyrmguard to find the three shards of antivirtue, which would allow the Guardian to recover his physical body and full power and continue his rampage of invasion.

The Time Lord noticed the growing power of the Guardian in Britannia, and summoned a group of virtuous adventurers. The Wyrmguard had the gem already, but only now realized the power in the sigils of virtue, so there was still hope for Britannia if the adventurers could find the sigils before the Guardian forces did, and keep the blackrock shards away from them.

The adventurers traveled through all Britannia with the help of the Time Lord, and managed to recover all of the sigils of virtue as well as two out of three of the shards. Now it was time to confront the WyrmGuard and stop their efforts of invoking the Guardian, but there was another problem: As people fell into Chaos, the power of the Guardian increased and this allowed him to protect his fortress on Doom with an indestructible magic field.

Two artifacts were needed to dispel this field of energy: the first one was the pendant of the virtues, of which only the gipsies Talzhemir and Auora knew about. Exercising the principles of Passion, Control and Diligence, the adventurers found the parts of the Golden Spindle and managed to recreate the Talisman of the Codex.

The other artifact was found by a mage known as Scroda on his expeditions to the ruined shrine of pride. He had been hired by Tachys, Buccaneer’s Den blacksmith, to look for the parts of a mysterious ship that had crashed on the island years ago. Then he found, by completely random chance, a magical box inscribed with a runic spell all around it. The box also bore an inscription on its bottom: Rustic.

Scroda’s many journeys had led him to know about Rustic Dragon, an archer who had retired to become a baker at Heather’s Hearth on Cove. Curious, he found his way to Cove and showed him the box. Rustic was filled with awe when he saw the ruined artefact; he had crafted it and given it to Lord British for safekeeping, but it had been taken away from the royal vault and lost for years. This artifact, the Lunar Box, could draw massive energy from Trammel and Felucca. The Time Lord noticed it had been activated again, and guided the party of adventurers to it.

Using the Lunar Box and the Pendant of Virtues, the force field surrounding the fortress of Doom was shattered, and the group of adventurers, led by Shamino himself, raided the keep. In a last desperate effort, Danden performed a ritual to allow the Guardian to possess another one of the Wyrmguard captains, his beloved wife Vega Lightfinder, as well as summon powerful daemons into the battlefield.

The adventurers engaged in combat with Vega and her powerful monsters. She then tried to invoke the powers of falsehood, cowardice, and hatred, but only falsehood worked, because the adventurers held the other two shards.

At various points in the fight, the powers of the virtues, through the acquired sigils, healed and bolstered the adventurers, allowing them to have a chance against the powerful interdimensional daemons and the Wyrmguard. Finally, after a battle were many valorous and virtuous people died, the Guardian was defeated for good

Right after their battle, the last of the great storms hit the land. Then the storms gradually disappeared and the land started to recover, clearly the dark influence from the Guardian was the cause behind them.

Lord British, who had been teleported by the Guardian to his stronghold and was being kept prisoner in a sphere of pure energy, was freed and started a journey through all the towns, where most people was worn out of the ways of Chaos and joined him massively in his rally to Britain.

The Return of British

With many townsfolk following him, Lord British went to the gates of Britain where he demanded Blackthorn for a peaceful debate. Blackthorn knew it was not wise to physically assault a British which had no army but rather the people backing him, and reluctantly agreed.

The Dragon Unseen, known for his virtues and evenhandedness, was in charge of moderating this debate in the Royal Theater of Britannia, which was filled with the greater proponents of both Chaos and Virtue.

Lord British virtuously granted Blackthorn the right to speak first, to defend the philosophy of Chaos. After hours of debate, Lord British made a closing statement: Chaos is not the opposite of Virtue, Vice is the opposite of Virtue, Chaos and Virtue should not be confronted one against another, as there is virtue in most of the elements of Blackthorn’s speech of Chaos, and these elements are worth of being included as part of a life of virtue.

It was then that Lord British made the historic proposal: to declare the new virtue of Freedom, having Buccaneer’s Den as its stronghold and the sailors roaming the seas as its stewards. The people of the land would be  encouraged to act by the virtue of Freedom in their daily lives, entrusted with their own judgement as to where their acts affect the lives and welfare of others, but constantly exploring new ways of thinking, acting and living.

Freedom, the 9th virtue, would encompass all other virtues as a second circle in the outer rim of the Codex symbol, next to the white circle of Spirituality, with the particular feature of not having an specific color as the rest of virtues do, instead people having the freedom of depicting it in any color or combination of them.

Then people in the theater voted, and agreed universally on Lord British’s proposal. Blackthorn was granted a pardon, and destined to live a life of Freedom, roaming the oceans on his ship without ever building a castle or keep again.

The Cultural Festival

Some time after, a grand cultural festival was organised to celebrate order being reestablished, with bards from the outer space overflowing the royal theatre of Britannia with light and sound, bottles of brights drinks fillings the cups of the guests and Lord British dancing happily with their fellow subjects while a magnificent feast, a fruit of the renewed lands after the Age of the Storms, stuffed their bellies.

Back to safety, princess Kinga organised a tea party with other princesses of the realm and his personal bard, Sir Vitralis, catering for them. Eventually, the tea party would transform into an early exercise on fencing, with Vitralis and many other guards becoming training dummies for the princess.

Slydelle and his husband Siderious, artists from Minoc, gave out bright coloured sashes to all the attendees, and many other skilled craftsmen shared their art with whoever was willing to learn: heraldry, calligraphy, glass etching, dancing all sorts of music and much more.

Tastrick, a mage traveller, brought samples of some exotic foods and drinks from the far corners of Britannia, as well as his theories about the extinction of some of the ancient races of Sorsaria as a result of being hunted down as delicacies.

Dominus Dragon gathered everyone, promising to share the secret knowledge of the Exult sphere, a magical device containing a reflection of the past Britannia on it. Instead, he proposed marriage to Lady Pinski, bringing tears of joy to all who were there.

Having recovered the two parts artifact from the dark forces of the Guardian, Sir Cabirus celebrated his anniversary with Lady Ricarda, and Kazyn and Jenny Phoenixfyre of the newly born Phoenix Republic (which replaced the seat of Blackthorn in Terfin) renewed their vows, blessed by Lord British himself.

Finally, as a closing celebration, Lord Nimrod led the Dance of the virtue pole, using the colours of the virtues, and including rainbow coloured clothes for the new virtue of Freedom.

The Tournament of Freedom

One year after these decisive events of the Age of Storms, to commemorate the both the victory of Lord British over the forces of Blackthorn and the definitive destruction of the Guardian, a tournament was organised. Some of the people who had fought bravely on these battles was summoned from all around the land, including many dragons and famous fighters.

The tournament opened with an Archery competition, which was won by Sir Edward Vitralis and had exceptional participations from Kraygor Ironmug, Heather of Cove and the warrior known as Trauts. Farrier Dragon also went into the competition although he was not an expert archer, and yet managed to score some good shots.

Then the main event, the sword dueling competition,  and there were many displays of prowess: Slashing and Goldenflame Dragon had to fight earlier in the tournament, but Goldenflame’s defensive technique as well as his amazing reach were decisive on Slashing Dragon’s defeat. Goldenflame also dispatched the experienced Dragon known as the Unseen, a legend among the royal army, and the warrior known as Flair Minamoto, who proved her value more than once in the battles of the war.

Sir Jouten, captain of Lord British guard, had in turn to defeat many worthy opponents including the swashbuckling pirate Dravyn Darkmoor and some other pirates who incorporated to society under the virtue of Freedom. His amazing techniques, acquired from traveling to many places learning their style of combat, made for a great show.

The grand final fight pitted Goldenflame vs Sir Jouten. The fight went for almost an hour, having them stare to each other for minutes looking for the chance to launch an attack, which was most of times parried with great skill. In the end Goldenflame Dragon won, and was declared Champion and warden of the Golden Dilthor, the sigil representing the new virtue of Freedom.