The Kingdom of Eire
In a time long past forgotten, in a world that was always warring for control between good and evil, in a place where Kings, Dragons, Magic and Wizards played a major roll, we find the peaceful Kingdom of Eire.
King Galyard and his Wife, Abathiss the Queen, were caring and benevolent Monarchs that were loved by all! With the exception of Wizard Blackthorn and his minions of bandits and rouge warriors, however they were really only loyal to Blackthorn’s purse! The only loyal followers that the Wizard had were his Castle Servants and his three bloodthirsty Dragons that he used to reek havoc on his enemies, and he had many!
It was thought by many in the Kingdom that the evil Wizard was at least three hundred years old, but no one knew for sure. Although several previous Kings in Galyard’s Family Line had had serious problems with Blackthorn over the many years! The last major episode was just over sixty years earlier.
King Eston, Galyard’s Father, had fought a long and bloody war with Blackthorn over the control of the two Reality Gems, the Jewel of Light and the Jewel of Hope! Whoever controlled these two Jewels of great power would also control the Kingdom!
If they were used wisely, then the Kingdom would prosper and live in peace. If they were used for evil purposes, then the whole world would be cast into dire despair!
During this grave war, the Wizard Blackthorn had in his possession the Jewel of Light, and was using all of his Black Magic, as well as his evil Army to capture the Jewel of Hope at all costs from its owner King Eston.
It finally came down to two things that changed the course of the War. King Eston was offered the services of the powerful Dragon Basstone who believed in justice and the King’s cause. Secondly because of the personal greed of one of the Wizard’s Lieutenants!
Dragon Basstone was the most fierce and intelligent Dragon of them all. Fortunately he had known several Kings in Eston’s Family Line and liked and agreed with their form of Truth and Justice.
Through one of King Eston’s Agents, Blackthorn’s Lieutenant Borac was offered a generous amount of Gold and a nice piece of land if he would betray the Wizard by stealing the Jewel of Light from Blackthorn at the planned moment. Greed won out over his loyalty and fear of Blackthorn.
The King and his Knights along with Dragon Basstone made their final plans. First, several bands of the King’s Soldiers were sent out over two cycles of the Moon. Their job was to disrupt the Wizard’s supply and trading routes and also burn his fields and capture the Peasants working his lands! The plans were very effective and caused a great deal of anger and discomfort to the Wizard and his despots!
The King put into action his next move by attacking Blackthorn’s Castle for three days with a large force and then challenging Blackthorn to meet their Army with his on the Battlefield. The Wizard was so upset and angry at this action that he sent out not only his full force to meet the King’s Army, but also sent out his three Dragons to help them. Fortunately he was unaware of the Dragon Basstone’s alliance with King Eston!
Once the Battle was underway, Basstone attacked the Wizard’s Castle causing so much destruction and commotion that it was all the Wizard could do dealing with the Dragon to save his own life! During the major diversion the traitor Borac, who had hidden out until the Wizard was fully occupied, quietly broke into Blackthorn’s Chambers and stole the Jew of light! Once he had the Gem in hand, he ran to the northwest Tower and gave the Jewel to Basstone who in turn carried it back to the King at his Castle!
Once the King’s Knights saw Dragon Basstone leave the Wizard’s Fortress, they ordered in their reserve force they had standing in the wings and destroyed the Wizard’s Army. Seeing they were fighting a losing battle, Blackthorn’s Dragons returned to the Wizard only to find him running around and screaming like a mad man!
Once again there would be peace in the Kingdom, for the balance of power had dramatically changed that day as goodness had finally won out over evil!
The beginning of King Galyard’s Trouble!
They road along slowly, in fact when they saw the Castle, their home, their safe haven, they even road along slower. It was almost night and a terrible storm was almost upon them, yet they road slowly! Tired and battered from their long ride and hard fought battle. One would think they would ride faster being almost home. However, their thoughts were of sadness, of sorrow, of anger and of great loss!
Two hours earlier they were a detachment of five strong and hardy Soldiers, escorting a Coach, the King’s Coach. Their cargo was precious, worth all their lives to defend but yet, now just the two of them road on, road home! There was no Coach and three of their comrades had fought valiantly by their side but had died in vain, because their precious cargo, the Princess was gone along with her Handmaiden!
The mighty Wizard Blackthorn had sent one of his evil Dragons to attack them and steel their precious charge and the Jewel of Light that she was carrying!
Finally the Tower Guards saw them and shouted out their arrival, and the two Soldiers sped up as they approached the Castle Gate. Waiting in the Courtyard for them was King Galyard and Queen Abathiss. “Where is my Daughter?” The King shouted, almost running to their side!
Tamber, the Captain of the Guard, blood running down his left arm from a shoulder wound almost fell off his horse as he dismounted and said, “Sire we were attacked by one of Blackthorn’s Dragons! Three of my men were killed and the Princess and her Handmaiden were taken!” The Captain collapsed from his fatigue and great loss of blood!
The King shouted, “Guards take the Captain to my Doctors at once!” Then he had the remaining Soldier tell him the whole story. “And what of the Jewel of Light?” The King asked.
“Gone Sire, the Princess was wearing it in a pouch she wore around her neck.”
“My Daughter, the Gem, all is lost!” The King said, suddenly feeling very old and frail. Queen Abathiss took his arm to steady him and walked the visibly sickened King into their private Chambers.
The next morning the angry re-invigorated King Galyard called all his Knights to the Long Table to plan his strategy to rescue his Daughter and recover the Jewel of Light. “My Lords, darkness has fallen on our Kingdom, Blackthorn has captured my Daughter Princess Aliece and the Jewel of Light!” Shouts of anger and disbelief went up loudly from the Knights!
“Hear, hear,” the King shouted calming down the roar of his Knights. “I’m sorry to say that it is true, three of my best Guards were killed in the attack of Blackthorn’s Fowl Dragon and the Princess and her Handmaiden were carried off!” Again the Knights roared out their anger! “Gentlemen, Gentlemen Please, I want you to gather all your men and formulate a counter attack at once, time is of the essence!”
The Knights started talking loudly amongst themselves trying to formulate their plan. Suddenly a young Knight at the far end of the Long table stood up and shouted, “Sire, don’t you see, that’s what he wants you to do!” Silence fell over the hall!
The King stood up with an inquisitive look on his face and said, “What do you mean Sir Able?”
“Well Sire, Blackthorn certainly is no fool! He knows that you would send your Knights and Army out to attack him. The word is that he has been secretly gathering bandits and rouge warriors from all over the Kingdom Sire, building his own Army.”
“So?” the King queried.
“Well Highness, if you attack him with our full force, that would leave you Sire and the Castle protected only by the Palace Guard and you would be playing right into Blackthorn’s hands!”
“He could attack the Castle with his Dragons overpowering the Guard and kill you and the Queen, steel the Jewel of Hope all in one action! Once he had the Jewel of Light and the Jewel of Hope in his dastardly hands, he would control the entire Kingdom, plunging it into a Kingdom of darkness, Sire!”
King Galyard was silent for a moment in deep thought, and then said, “What would you have us do then Sir Able, what is your plan?”
“Deception my Lord, Deception! However we would need the help of Dragon Basstone to make the plan work!”
All of a sudden King Galyard’s interest waned and he said, “Basstone hasn’t been heard from or even seen in over sixty years, Sir Able!”
“Majesty, that’s not quite true. As you know my line has always been responsible for communications with Dragon Basstone. We have kept quiet about his continued existence at his request!”
“If that is the position that Basstone has taken, this must mean that he no longer cares to interact with our Kingdom, Sir Able!”
“No your Highness, that is not correct! You see Sire, Dragon Basstone feels that he has done what was required of him to secure the Kingdom’s freedom and security by providing the help he gave your Father, the King in forming the first united Kingdom of the Realm! He thought that further contact with our people might have an adverse affect on the Kingdom, Sire!”
“However, you now feel that Dragon Basstone would be interested in helping us in this matter?”
“Sire, Dragon Basstone has always remained loyal to the Kingdom, and I believe that if you Sire, send me with a request for his help, that his will rally to the cause!”
“Then make it so! Now what of your plan, Sir Able?”
Sir Able walking towards the King said, “Gather round Knights these walls may have ears!”
The Wizard Blackthorn had given Princess Aliece the run of the Castle and this really surprised the Princess until she walked the Castle Walls. The Castle was located on the top of Mount Preston and there were sheer cliffs on all sides. There was no way to escape for the Princess and she knew that she was at the Wizard’s mercy!
Why did Blackthorn kidnap her in the first place, that was the question? Was he going to ransom her to her Father the King? Or did he know that she had the Jewel of Light with her? However, if he wanted the Gem, he would have taken it right away wouldn’t he? Princess Aliece looked to see if anyone was watching. Then took out the Jewel of Light and holding it up said, “Oh Jewel of Light give me wisdom!”
The Wizard Blackthorn watched with a wicked smile on his face from his Chamber window as the Princess held up the Jewel. “As long as I have you my dear I have the Jewel, and when I take the Jewel of Hope, I will come soon enough for yours my fair Princess! Once I have them both in my most worthy hands, I will be unstoppable; I will finally rule the World!”
After Sir Able had told the King and the Knights his scheme and they agreed to his plan of action, the young Knight quickly readied himself for his short journey to Dragon Basstone’s Lair on his Family’s Estate.
When Sir Able arrived at the Dragon’s Lair, he saw no sign of Basstone and called out to him. No answer came, so he called out again. Once again no answer came forth. Able stood there quietly for a moment hoping to hear something, anything. He was just about to give up and look elsewhere, when a low rumble came from the Cave’s entrance. In another moment the low rumble became a loud earth shaking roar and a smile came over young Able’s face!
As the mighty Dragon Basstone cleared the entrance, Able could see the pleasure on his face at the sight of him. With a low but powerful voice that sounded like two men saying the same words in unison, Dragon Basstone said, “Ah…. Sir Able, what a pleasant surprise seeing you here! I haven’t seen you in a few cycles of the moon. Is this a social call?”
“I wish it was old Friend. However, I have come on a mission, sent here by our King to discuss with you a grave matter that is of great importance to our King and the very future of our Kingdom’s freedom!”
“Then please Able by all means, lets walk in the Woods on this beautiful day while you give me the King’s message, but what could be so terrible Sir Able?”
“In one word old Friend, Blackthorn!”
As they walked through the peaceful large Woods, Able filled in Basstone on the whole story. Dragon Basstone without hesitation said, “You can certainly count on me Able, I am at the King’s command!”
Sir Able filled him in on their plan and Basstone agreed to meet Able at the King’s Castle in two days before sunrise to put their plan into action!
Upon Sir Able’s arrival at the King’s Castle, he informed him of Dragon Basstone’s enlistment into the King’s service. Galyard put the wheels of their plan into action. By sunrise the following morning one thousand mounted troops assembled on King Galyard’s parade ground and waited for their orders.
Captain of the Guard Tamber, strongly requested of the King to be allowed to take Command the thousand man Force as they engaged Blackthorn’s Army. Reluctantly, because of the Captain’s wound and only to allow the Captain to recover his Honor, the King agreed to let him take Command of the Troops. By midday they formed up and moved out on their critical mission!
As nightfall began to set in, Tamber’s Force arrived in the Woods near the open plain that fronted Blackthorn’s mountain Fortress, and made camp. He would wait until morning to make their challenge to the Wizard and his Army.
The Wizard, standing in his tower could see the campfires burning down below in the Woods and felt proud of himself, his plan, his trap was about to be sprung! In the morning the King’s Army would come out on the Field and demand Battle. His Army would be more than happy to oblige them.
In the meantime he with his three Dragons would fly to the King’s Castle and he would have his way, as well as the Jewel of Hope! Yes the Wizard Blackthorn was very pleased with his plan, very pleased indeed!
Two hours before sunrise, Basstone and Able left the King’s Castle, when they arrived the Dragon and Knight positioned themselves in a perfect location overlooking Blackthorn’s Castle and the Battlefield down below. Patiently they waited for the Wizard’s Army to come down to engage the King’s Forces and for the Wizard and Dragons to leave.
As the sun rose in the East, Captain Tamber waited until the Field was completely lit with sunlight. Then the Captain ordered his men to move out forming one solid line of a thousand horses and Men standing just in front of the Wood line facing the Field. There they waited for the upcoming Battle.
It wasn’t long before they saw action coming from the Castle and the Wizard’s large Army making their way down the mountain road leading to the Battlefield.
Just what Sir Able had suspected. When the Army descending from the Castle was about half way down to the Battlefield, they could see Blackthorn and his three Dragons leaving the Fortress, heading towards the King’s Castle!
“Are you up for this old Friend?” Sir Able asked Basstone.
“Do not worry young Sir, I’ll take care of the Castle Guard, you just make sure you find the Princess and her Handmaiden!” They waited until the Wizard was out of sight before they started flying towards the Castle. Down below Sir Able had another surprise in store for the Wizard’s Army!
As the Wizard’s Army formed up and started slowly moving towards the center of the Battlefield, Tamber ordered his men to move out also. Surprisingly they formed into ten rows of one hundred men each as they went. When they were almost halfway, they once again changed formations. The front 5 rows formed into a staggered V shape and stood fast with Lances at the ready position. While the rear 5 rows dismounted and unsheathed their Longbows and full quivers of Arrows!
When the enemy was within range, Tamber ordered the Archers to ready themselves and in another moment the Captain ordered them to fire. The sky went black with Arrows, as if watching migrating birds of death heading towards the enemy! Four quick volleys later and the rag tag rouge soldiers were decimated!
With a smile of hatred and sweet revenge on his face, the Captain ordered his lancers to charge. They made quick work of the Wizard’s remaining Army that hadn’t already fled. The Captain sent his second in command along with one third of their force to capture the Mountain Fortress. With the remaining force the Captain headed back to the King’s Castle in a rear guard action!
As Basstone and Able entered the Castle’s Courtyard, they could see that there were only about 25 Guards guarding the Castle. Basstone made a quick pass blowing flames on half of the Guards who in turn ran screaming! Then Basstone landed telling Able to hurry and he would take on the rest. As Sir Able ran towards the main entrance, Basstone went airborne again raising havoc with the unfortunate Guards that were left!
Sir Able crashed through the heavy door and went right for the steps leading to the tower where Blackthorn surely had the Princess and her Handmaiden locked up in his absence.
On his way up through three levels, he encountered a Guard on each level. Quickly and fearlessly the Knight dispatched the Guards and arrived at the locked Tower door. Looking inside through a small opening in the door, Able could see they were both there and by the looks of it, unharmed.
Sir Able grabbed the keys off the dead guard and freed the Damsels! “Your Highness, are you and your Handmaiden all right, have you been harmed in any way?”
“Oh Sir Able, we are fine, but we must hurry and return to the King and warm Him, this is all but a subterfuge to trap and kill the King and Queen and capture the Jewel of Hope! Blackthorn couldn’t help but boast about his plan before he left!”
“Yes Princess Aliece, the King your Father knows of the Wizard’s plan. Only it is he along with his Dragons that are flying into a trap! Now we must go, Highness and find the Dragon Basstone, for it is he that will take us to safety!” With that said, Sir Able grabbed the Princess’s hand and pushed through the Tower door leading out on the Castle’s rampart guard walk.
Just then a demon from hell cleared the Castle wall landing in front of them blocking their escape! The large cat like Creature was bigger than a man and was kettle black with large black wings, long fierce looking fangs and claws! It lunged at the Princess, but the Knight was able to push her out of the way and fended off the beast with his mighty sword!
This time the beast took to the air coming once again at the Princess! However, just before it could strike, Able once again slashed out with his sword and cut off the front left claw of the creature. A bloodcurdling cry came from the beast and it rose high above them. Just then like lightning Basstone bolted on the scene, grabbed the creature’s neck in his mighty jaws and fell the beast at once!
Basstone landed on the parapet saying, “Let us be gone before something else happens.”
Sir Able calmed the crying Princess and her maiden and loaded them on the mighty Dragon’s back. “Basstone, are you capable of carrying the three of us or shall I take a horse and ride back?”
Basstone snorted flame saying, “I might be 686 years old as you humans count, but believe me I’m still well within a Dragon’s Prime…Get on!” Young Able gave a sheepish smile and climbed on.