Of Aglovale

“Septimus stared out at the sea. The view from the top of the battlements afforded him a great vantage overlooking Fortress Aglovale and the newly founded village of Helm. Little more than a couple of houses, but with the fortress nearby, Helm stood as good a chance as any of the foundling cities in Celador. The sun warmed the face of the Septimus Magnus, First Spear of Aglovale and it’s greatest champion. As he basked in it, he nearly missed the sails on the horizon.” the historian continued his story to the gathered children of Helm.

“The sails stood deep crimson, nearly black, against the azure sky. There were ships, a lot of ships, heading for the coast near Helm village, all dressed in the blood-stained cloth of the Red King.” The sage allowed a moment for the children to gasp in awe. “One ship, however was diverting slightly starboard, Northerly, from the rest, it’s sails were brighter crimson, its draw much deeper and it shimmered in and out of view, as if a mirage as it approached...heading directly toward the fortress of Aglovale.” Vhaethuin leaned back a moment and drew a savored taste of his wine, which was set nearby on a barrel top.

Suddenly leaning forward toward his youthful crowd, Vhaethuin continued, “Septimus ran, as hard as his Soldier’s legs would carry him. Through the battlements to the central keep, shouting for arms and to muster as he ran. Once he ascended the great stairs that led to the top of the Aglovale keep, he burst onto the rooftop and found his goal. There on an altar, covered in the blue silk flag of Aglovale was the Horn of Zephyr. This ancient artifact, was said to be given to King Garen by the God Zephyr himself. When the horn was sounded, it could be heard as far as the shores of Lake Tethys.”

Vhaethuin let the mention of the ancient names capture his audience just a moment before continuing, “Septimus raised the ancient artifact to his lips and with all that he had let out a blast of great, thunderous, sound. All the people of Helm and those in the wilds around the fledgling village heard the echoing blast.” “Some,” said the sage, “Ran to the village to defend the shores. Some ran to the Fortress that they might find cover. Still others, the smarter of the lot,” Vhaethuin quipped, “ran as far from the sound as they could manage.”

“The ships of the Red Fleet struck first upon the beaches of Helm, but were contested by a growing horde of villagers and woodsme, the pioneers and founders of Helm.” said Vhaethuin. “You see, even then the men and women of Helm were of sturdy stock and not easily overwhelmed. The children of both Zephyr and Tethys, they could hold their own against any foe. The corsairs that served the Red King were better organized and equipped for the battle which was already turning the seas to blood and thus were able to make a landing on the beaches. The battle was pitched and deadly for both sides. The skilled corsairs, supported by the foul magics of Council of Mages, against the hardened villagers and pioneers that had founded the city of Helm were locked in bloody combat.”

“What about Septimus?” a child asked from the crowd, clearly concerned, “He must save them! Right? Vhaethuin, right!”

Vhaethuin smiled and continued, “Even as the battle for Helm raged just beyond the ridge of the mines, the trireme of the Red King had come as close to the Fortress as the coast would allow. The elite of the Council of Mages and their minions, disembarked in waves of lightning, shattering of earthquakes and even meteors pulled from the heavens. The first wave of Knights, forever called the “Chosen of Aglovale” charged head first into the magical torrent. They gave their lives to a man in order to halt the advance long enough for the blue-clad army to clear their gates and form up. This prevented the Red King from capturing the fortress in one fell swoops as he had intended.”

“Septimus returned the way he had run, taking entire flights of stairs in bounds, but alas. Even as the Chosen of Aglovale gave their last to hold the tide, Septimus could see the Fortess would fall. Tear-filled eyes looked skyward, there on the battlements above him King Garen stood and looked out to the battle. Garen barked orders and messengers came and went in great haste.”

Vhaethuin took in a deep and shuddering breath as he continued the tale. “The tears of loss became those of rage as Septimus watched a rust colored smear form in the air adjacent to the great King Garen. From it stepped the Highest of the Red King’s Priests...The MeKuShu. King Garen did not even draw his sword as he waved his servants to scatter. The MeKuShu stepped from his portal and with an outstretched hand ended what had taken so long to build. The last King of Aglovale paled as his life forced drained from his body. Septimus below knew what must be done.”

“The battered lines of Aglovale still held the great Council of Mages at bay, though were weaker for it. Septimus upon his white charger, commanded the reserves to withdraw and take the fight to Helm. As the battered front were no longer reinforced the Council of Mages surged forward, emboldened by the flames that were already rising above the Fortress. Septimus waved the last of the forces toward helm, sending with once courier the Horn of Zephyr. The First Spear of Aglovale turned away from the front lines and strode back into the blood-red flames within the keep.”

Vhaethuin drew once more from his goblet, enjoying the taste of the wine and more so the anticipation from his gathered listeners. “What happened next is the subject of great study and of disagreement among the wisest of scholars. What is known is that the reinforcements from the Fortress turned the tide in Helm, lest we would not have this story to be told today. The Fires in Aglovale melted the keep and the meteors fell upon it in waves. It is said that the silhouettes of Septimus and The MeKuShu were seen fighting in the battlements. The attackers at the beach were defeated, the mighty trireme of the Council slowly drifted away from the shores and into a crimson mist.”

“Only the ruins remain,” finished Vhaethuin, “a haunted place where the dead armies of Aglovale and the Red King yet rise. Many of you call it a graveyard, but those who know what to seek can yet see the broken crenellations of the once great Fortress Aglovale...go now children, tell all who will listen. There winds of Zephyr and the waters of Tethys tell all who will listen, the Red King has returned and our earth shall never again be verdant...

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