Offended by the brutal and bloody turn the war had taken, his captains banded together and demanded to go home. But Tarnum couldn't accept their defiance any more than he could make them continue the fight. So at the next feast they unwittingly drank from poisoned cups.
Tarnum has pushed the Wizard-Kings all the way back to the ocean. Now he must conquer the last of their defenses, including the impenetrable Castle Steelhorn.
|(8, 15, 0) Stronghold: Day 1 - A After the Posioning|
|You expected some of your soldiers to desert or rebel when they heard of the murders of Hardac and the other captains, but you experience just the opposite. Your men love you. They especially love the victories you have been able to bring them. Now, you promise that you'll finally break the back of the evil Wizards.|
"Castle Steelhorn, that which can not be broken, will fall before us! For all eternity, the glory of what we do here will be remembered. Your grandchildren and your grandchildren's grandchildren will say your name with pride. What we do here is our immortality - assuring us all a place among the Ancestors!"
|(8, 15, 0) Stronghold: Day 4 - The Castles of the Enemy|
|Your spies report that there are at least two Castles and three Towers between you and Castle Steelhorn, but you've caught the enemy unaware. Your Horde arrived here so quickly that Bracaduun hasn't been able to man them all. Now is not the time to relax though. Attack quickly and you'll forever have an advantage over them.|
|(8, 15, 0) Stronghold: Day 8 - Statue of Legion|
|You consult your Seer as you do every morning. She throws the bones, stares at them for a long time, and says, "Assemble the broken man - the Statue of Legion. With it will come strength and glory."|
|(8, 15, 0) Whirlpools: Day 10 - Deserter|
|One of your scouts returns from the ocean where he had been spying on a Bracaduun Tower to the east. He tells you a story that makes you suspect this scout visits the bottle too often.|
"I saw this great swirling hole in the water, my King, and one of the Bracaduun ships sailed right for it. I thought to myself, 'they are dead' when the hole swallowed them. But to my surprise, ship and crew returned the next day - although I think there were fewer soldiers aboard than they started with."
|(8, 15, 0) Stronghold: Day 14 - Baby Names|
|At least fifty of your soldiers have come up to you over the past few months to tell you they've had a child and named it after you. Apparently, back in the Wastelands the same is true. Having your people honoring you in this way makes all the pain fade for a moment, but more importantly it pleases you to know that everyone believes you're on the right path as well.|
|(8, 15, 0) Stronghold: Day 21 - Nightmares, again|
|You have the dream again.|
The Dream - that's what you call it now. Always the same. Always everyone you know is bloodied, torn, dead. And you know it was your hand that killed them.
But it's just a dream, isn't it? You never would've hurt Yalla, nor your parents, nor...well, killing your sister was a mistake. If the Wizards hadn't stolen her from your home it never would've happened, right?
And Hardac, well, you had to kill him and the other captains. You regret it, but Hardac's death was for the good of your people. Hardac and the others didn't understand that the Wizard-Kings had to be completely destroyed, like an injured limb that has become infected must be chopped off to save the body.
|(8, 15, 0) Stronghold: Day 27 - Magical Plains|
|There is talk among the men about the ground itself being magical in these parts. The Wizards have lived here for centuries, and their spells and experiments have seeped into the ground like water into a dry lakebed. Now, it is rumored that the ground itself sparkles from these enchantments, and the magical strength of any who stand on it is greatly increased.|
|(8, 15, 0) Stronghold: Day 34 - Angels|
|Because your Horde has diminished over the past months, you might want to consider recruiting troops from a Bracaduun town or two. It's not difficult to force them to switch sides once you have their families under your control.|
Quick and powerful troops such as the Archangel would be powerful allies - and you know that the enemy will certainly have the same. As your people say, "Never enter a sword fight with only a spoon!"
|(8, 15, 0) Stronghold: Day 41 - Senile Goblin|
|You're riding when from the trees ahead of you steps a familiar old Goblin - the nameless one that made himself one of your advisors. You had thought he was missing.|
"My King! My King!" he shouts and waves his arms in the air. "Someone has poisoned all your advisors! Oh, me! I can't believe it myself, all those great men cut off in their prime. The culprit must be found!"
Your hand snakes to your sword even as you wonder how you possibly missed this Goblin, but before you can draw your steel the crazy advisor disappears into the woods again.
|(8, 15, 0) Stronghold: Day 50 - Homeland honors|
|You learn that the place where you grew up has grown considerably since you left, becoming a hub of trade and culture back in the Wastelands. And the people of that community have renamed the town after you - Tarnia.|
In fact, artisans have begun construction of a vast statue in your honor. Never in your wildest dreams had you believed you would be this successful. These recent honors spur you forward, determined to end your campaign soon. Perhaps one day you will be able to return home.
|(8, 15, 0) Stronghold: Day 54 - Offer of Peace|
|A messenger from the Wizard-Kings arrives today. You have the skinny man brought before you, but not too closely. The fop reeks of perfume.|
"I bring you an offer, King Tarnum!" the messenger says.
"Oh, now it's King Tarnum," you say. "I remember when I used to be addressed as a criminal."
"Uh, well, uh, that was an error on our part. We admit our mistakes, and propose a peace between our two great nations. Please, let us end this senseless killing?"
You laugh. This was the sign of weakness you've been looking for. The Wizard-Kings have finally broken.
"This killing makes perfect sense to me," you say. "Your kind have tormented my people for generations. You almost succeeded in wiping my kind from all memory. Well, the wind blows in a different direction now, and this wind is a storm that will not end until every Wizard and Wizard-lover is dead and buried!"
|(8, 15, 0) Stronghold: Day 59 - Father's Arrival|
|Today, some of your scouts ride in with an old man between them. Even as they approach, you recognize the slumped elder as your father. You help your father down from his mount and find him too weak to walk.|
"We found him on the road, my King. He said he was trying to find you," says one of the scouts.
Immediately, you call for a Witch to tend to your ill father.
|(8, 15, 0) Stronghold: Day 64 - Father's Last Words|
|Your father has been bedridden for five days and there is no sign of improvement. This morning, your healer declares that he is near death, so you go to him. He wakes as you sit next to him, but it takes some time for him to recognize you.|
"What happened?" you ask. "Why are you here?"
"I hear things...whispers...about you, my son," he says.
"What kind of things? Certainly nothing worth coming all this way!"
"Things that frighten me...I was afraid of the path you are on. I had to..."
Your father passes out and never wakes. Those were his last words and you tell yourself that you don't know what he was talking about. Not for sure, anyway. Even before you go to sleep tonight, you know that you're going to have The Dream again.
|(8, 15, 0) Stronghold: Day 67 - A Letter from the Goblin|
|One of your servants delivers a message scrawled in crude letters on the inside of a Wizard's robe. It reads:|
"Kyng. Me lookit for poysoner. Not find among Wizards. Me wonder who???"
There is only an 'X' where the name should be, but this is certainly from that crazy old Goblin. Who would've guessed the runt could write?
|(8, 15, 0) Stronghold: Day 70 - Night Visit|
|A soft noise wakes you and you find you're staring at the fine point of a dagger. On the other end of the dagger is the senile Goblin who's been a thorn in your side for quite a while. He's got the jump on you, so you pretend to relax while reaching for the knife hidden beneath your bedroll.|
"I found the one who murdered the advisors!" says the Goblin.
|(8, 15, 0) Stronghold: Day 70 - Night visit 2|
|Thinking the Goblin has discovered that it was you who poisoned the cups of your captains, your hand snaps forward burying your blade to the hilt in the Goblin's chest. He collapses to the ground with a shocked expression.|
"What'd you go an' do that for? I was going to confess...it was me...that elk we ate, well I didn't kill it. Found it on the road two days dead...musta been rotten...poisoned them all. You musta known all along, didn't you?"
"Yes," you lie. Poor old fool.
"I guess I get what I deserve," the Goblin mumbles as blood dribbles from its mouth. "One day, we all get what we deserve."
And he dies.
|(8, 15, 0) Stronghold: Day 72 - A new dream|
|The nightmare begins like The Dream - your family, Yalla, Hardac and your captains, everyone you've ever known lying dead at your feet. Your bloody blade in your hands.|
Then you enter a great hall, a glorious place with a pair of doors before you larger than any you've seen before. And somehow your parents, your sisters, Yalla, Hardac, and all the others stand before this door.
They frown down at you, never saying a word. Then they turn their backs to you. And the dream ends, leaving you with the knowledge that you'll never have it again.
|4, 66, 0||A Treasure Chest sits on the ground before you, obviously forgotten by your fleeing enemy. So, you order one of your servants to open it. Unfortunately, the box explodes, the servant disappears, and from the steaming cloud billowing from the chest fly an ambushing group of Genies.|
|5, 16, 0||A lone Knight leads a filthy group of Peasants.|
"Put away your swords," the Knight orders you, "I am the protector of these people."
With your cowardly captains holding you back no longer, you see no reason not to continue.
"No one tells me what to do," you say and order the attack.
|7, 54, 0||You don't believe your eyes, but then this magical land has been filled with many wonders that don't seem real. But there by the side of the trail is a tree ripe with fruit - fruit that turns out to be precious Gems. You quickly order some of your troops to pick the tree clean, aware that not all of the Gems are making it into your coffer, but who cares?|
|16, 3, 0||You find a weak-looking band of miners camped at the side of the road. Even as your army approaches, they make no move to flee. They're too tired. Apparently, these men are escaped slaves who fled Bracaduun control to join the Horde. It amuses you when you realize they don't know who you are, so you tell them to visit the rear of the column for food.|
"Tell them King Tarnum says so!" you say to them as they hike away. The men are so impressed, they offer to join your forces.
|21, 62, 0||Before your eyes, your army turns to stone. Nothing but cold, lifeless statues.|
You wander among them, your sword drawn. What manner of magic is at work here? Then a shadow moves at the corner of your eye.
You turn. Nothing.
Soon, you're spinning in slow circles knowing that an attack will come. When it does, you almost react too slowly. The shapeless shadow spills onto you like a giant wave - you're blind, slashing even as you feel your muscles hardening, solidifying.
Then your sword luckily strikes something and you hear a scream. You open you eyes to the blinding light of day and find yourself on the ground, your soldiers gathered around you. If not for your efforts, you would all be stone now.
|22, 25, 0||The attack comes out of the low clouds, completely surprising you and your soldiers. But you can be thankful that this ambush is simply meant to soften you, not defeat you. The greater danger certainly lies ahead.|
|27, 42, 0||Something odd is going on up ahead. You see a lone man taking a shovel to the road. He's working furiously, ripping up the stones and tossing them into the nearby bushes.|
He keeps mumbling the same thing, "I say, who needs roads?"
Then you see him lift a large box from the hole and toss it aside with as much care as he shows the rocks. Secretly, you snatch up the box and ride on, discovering something nice hidden inside.
|33, 3, 0||A fire caused by a careless cook roars through your mid-day camp. Your soldiers escape injury, but your supply wagons are destroyed. Although you can cut the wood, you must pay an experienced craftsman to help you build new wagons.|
|46, 7, 0||Camped by the side of the road, as if waiting for you, is a band of rugged mercenaries. Their leader approaches with a cocky grin on his dirty face.|
"The Wizard-Kings paid us to ambush you, but we've been talking. We'd rather wait and see who wins this war before we take sides. Move along in peace."
The mercenaries step aside.
|53, 13, 0||A fog suddenly surrounds you. You can barely see your hand before your face, yet you ride slowly on. You're bound to come out sooner or later. But when the mist clears, you find a small army in front of you prepared to attack.|
|55, 1, 0||Perched on top a guano-splotched spire of stone jutting from the water is what appears to be the head of a statue. Just when you're beginning to wonder how it got there (and perhaps how you can retrieve it), a flock of angry Griffins swoop down from their cliff side nests.|
Contents: Head of Legion
|56, 7, 0||The ocean lies before you, but remember that the Wizard-Kings have dominated the seas as well as the land and may attack you at any moment, so watch your back.|
|59, 28, 0||Unfortunately, while riding along this path your horse steps on a discarded nail and bucks, throwing you into a pool of mud. It's jarring to the morale of the troops to witness you in such an embarrassing position, but there is nothing you can do about it except change horses.|
|8, 15, 0||Stronghold|
|13, 59, 0||Tower|
|27, 26, 0||Castle|
|30, 11, 0||Castle|
|53, 36, 0||Tower|
|61, 63, 0||Castle||Steelhorn|
|64, 16, 0||Tower|
|16, 24, 1||Genie|
|33, 12, 0||Peasant||Nearly every Peasant in the surrounding area must have gathered to stand against you and your army. A massive legion of these raggedy Wizard-lovers stands in your way calling you "Tarnum the Murderer!"|
|8, 16, 0||Tarnum the Barbarian|
|43, 69, 0||Josephine the Alchemist|
|61, 65, 0||Kurl the Wizard|
|22, 53, 0||Ring of the Wayfarer||The Ogre Magi blocking your way turns out to be strikingly charming and nearly has you convinced that you should be friends, but then you notice the magical Ring of the Wayfarer around his finger. You want that ring, but are you willing to fight him for it?|
|40, 4, 0||Endless Sack of Gold||You see the soldiers resting after a long march, but as you approach they brandish their weapons and rush into formation. You see they are transporting an artifact called the Endless Bag of Gold and aren't about to give it up without a fight. Do you attack?|
|Seer's Hut (28, 40, 0)|
|I seem to have lost something that is dear to me, a Badge of Courage that was given to me in my youth. Now, if you could possibly locate it, I promise to teach you all that I know - all that allowed me to earn this badge in the first place. That should be a fair exchange.|
|Back without the Badge of Courage? Oh, maybe it's lost forever then!|
|That's it! Oh, thank you so much! You've done an old man a tremendous favor. And now, let me show you all that I have learned over these many years.|
|47, 69, 0||No Trespassing!!!|
Guards will attack!
|52, 43, 0||Castle Steelhorn|
|35, 44, 0||Beware of Naga Island|
With the defeat of Castle Steelhorn, Tarnum shattered the power of the Wizard-Kings, but his tyrannical rule was short. Out of the ruins of the Empire of Bracaduun climbed the upstart nation of Erathia, and one day its king would defeat Tarnum, sending him before the Ancestors to be judged. But that is another story.