The Fiery Moon (campaign scenario)
Tarnum must defeat Xyron, the Jailer, to free the Ancestors from their magical prison. All Heroes are limited to level 24, and two of Tarnum's best Captains will carry over to the next map.
|Day 1 - day 1|
|I step off the Sparkling Bridge into the choking heat of a blackened landscape. The sky above is the color of charcoal; a churning, chaotic storm glowing with an occasional purple spark of lightning.|
Somewhere out there, the Ancestors are waiting for me.
"I know how you feel!" I say as my horse snorts with distaste for the smoky air.
And inside I sense that this is a lonely, sorrowful place. I shake my head, wondering why anyone would dwell in this blistering land.
|Day 2 - day 2|
|"Ah, I remember it well. This is where I lived before I died," Skizzik said this morning after he climbed up on a jagged black rock and stared at the horizon. The Familiar wiped a tear from his eye.|
"This used to be home."
"Doesn't look like much!" Grumba, the Ogre, said.
Suddenly, Skizzik jumped down from the rock and stood in front of the Ogre with his hands on his hips. Grumba was easily five times his size.
"You take that back, ugly! What? You think your home is any better - nothin' but dirt and rocks and cow dung! Call that a home?"
I stepped forward, afraid Grumba might squash Skizzik, but the Ogre just seemed startled and amused that the little guy would actually dare stand up to him.
"Fair enough," Grumba said. "But tell us, guide, where would Vorr keep the Ancestors?"
Skizzik took a few deep breaths to calm down, then pounced back up on the rock again. He stared at the horizon, picked something from his teeth, and scratched himself.
"Only one Demon can hold our Ancestors - Xyron, the Jailer!"
"Or Vorr himself," I add.
|Day 5 - day 5|
|I usually practice with my sword for an hour each morning before the camp wakes, but this morning my arms grew tired after only half that time. I barely made it back to my tent where I collapsed for several hours. Grumba actually had to wake me.|
"Are you feeling well?" the Ogre asked.
"Yes, fine," I said, and ordered everyone to mount up. But I wasn't fine. My joints ached for the first time in my life. What was happening to me?
|Day 9 - day 9|
|Today, while collecting some much-needed firewood for the cooking fires, Skizzik turned up missing. I mounted a search party that soon heard his distant screams. We approached to find him stuck down a hole.|
"It's a tomb!" he shouted fearfully. "Ugly bucket-kickers down here!"
I dropped down into the darkness with a torch in hand. Indeed, it was an old burial spot filled with half a dozen stone tables supporting the skeletal remains of what appeared to be warriors.
"Not like Demons to bury their dead like this," I said.
"Oh, no they not Demons! Those the ones who lived here before," Skizzik said.
"Before we Demons got here, there were others," Skizzik said. He seemed to want to leave, as if he were afraid of ghosts or something.
"What happened to the others?" I asked.
"They deep under - bucket-kickers like these guys. We kill them all! Well, not me. That before Skizzik's time. Me, all I see is the black and hot land like this - no green trees left for me to see."
I looked sadly at these dead warriors who probably died fighting the Demons. What had they been like? Did they know they were destined to lose and still fought? I clenched my fists in anger. Such brave souls shouldn't end up forgotten in a hole in a dead world!
These Demons believed in nothing but destruction. Honor meant nothing to them. Wherever they went, I imagined Skizzik's kind turning every world into a copy of this Fiery Moon.
And my world was certainly next. Vorr's appetite for destruction was incredible - perhaps greater even than a Demon's - and now he has attracted these Demons to my world.
I raised my sword above these forgotten warriors and swore, "As long as blood pumps through my body, I swear my world will not become like this one!"
|Day 11 - day 11|
|"Guard the Stronghold well," Grumba suggests.|
The Ogre was nearly killed when the enemy suddenly appeared in a nearby Monolith Exit. Grumba managed to escape, but if my troops are ever too far away to protect the Stronghold, the enemy will be able to conquer it easily.
|Day 16 - day 16|
|Skizzik has been telling stories of his 'former life' so I can get to know my enemy better. These Demons are perfect allies for the Mad Ancestor, Vorr. Both are thrilled by destruction. And now as I march across this bleak world, I wonder what it used to look like. What beauty has been crumbled beneath the hooves of these Demons?|
|Day 20 - day 20|
|I could barely get out of bed this morning as another sickness came over me. My strength wanes with each passing day.|
It was Skizzik, however, who pointed out that I had a far greater problem to worry about.
"Nice look for you," Skizzik said, gesturing toward my hair, "Makes you look like a wise chief."
I snatched up the Familiar's well-polished axe.
"Hey! That's mine!" Skizzik said but I ignored him.
I stared at my slightly distorted reflection in the blade and frowned deeply. There were many lines around my eyes and the hair at my temples had gone completely gray.
I was aging, and fast! No wonder my joints ached endlessly and I barely had enough energy to climb out of my tent in the morning. Time was catching up with me. But was I still immortal? How much will I age before I, too, die?
|Day 25 - day 25|
|A scout reports that Xyron, the Jailer, lies beyond a Red Border Gate somewhere in the Fiery Fields.|
I've seen these Fiery Fields, a living fire created by the Elementals to increase their power. Although it goes against all reason, the fire doesn't burn your flesh - not even your clothes. The flames tickle your skin like a hot breeze, but they do not burn.
|Day 35 - day 35|
|I had to be helped onto my horse this morning. My muscles have gone weak and my hair is entirely shot through with gray. I look like a man of eighty now.|
Lately, I've been thinking about putting an end to it all. Oblivion has to be better than the shame of asking a couple Orcs to push you up on your own horse!
I think my shaman, Wern, saw the suicidal look in my eyes.
"You must go on, Tarnum," Wern said. "Without the Ancestors, none of our people can enter Paradise. All Barbarians will forever be cast into oblivion!"
Sighing, I knew he was right. Perhaps I could accept the nothingness of oblivion, but it's not fair to cast my punishment onto others. I must continue, although I do not know how I will be able to defeat the Jailer, Xyron.
|16, 20, 0||The glowing clouds billowing from the Sparkling Bridge end here. Beyond, the land is charred and cracked like an alien landscape. There is no sign of life anywhere.|
You ride forward, hoping that the Sparkling Bridge remains here long enough for you to return. You would hate to have to live in this forsaken land.
|22, 16, 0||In the distance you can see the scorched ruins of an ancient town. You don't know who used to live there, but right now it's occupied by some renegade Gogs and Familiars. If you're going to find a place to train your troops, this looks like your only choice.|
|2, 4, 0||Inferno|
|20, 15, 0||Stronghold|
|20, 27, 1||Inferno|
|31, 5, 0||Inferno|
|3, 10, 0||Olema the Heretic|
|12, 18, 0||Your most powerful hero from The Sparkling Bridge scenario.|
|13, 19, 0||Your most powerful hero from The Sparkling Bridge scenario.|
|14, 20, 0||Tarnum the Barbarian|
|27, 35, 0||Octavia the Demoniac|
|29, 35, 0||Xyron the Heretic|
|34, 6, 0||Axsis the Heretic|
|21, 21, 0||Hell Hound||Howling alerts you to the attack moments before the Hell Hounds spring from the charred trees.|
|Seer's Hut (10, 24, 0)|
|The air here reeks so much your horse refuses to step any closer. So, you dismount and approach and exotic home built into the trunk of a giant, long-dead tree. Hanging from its branches are dozens of corpses of Demons, Gogs, and other creatures.|
You draw your sword and take another step. Then the door swings open, revealing a black-clad old woman. Her face is mostly hidden behind her mass of white hair. All you see is her crooked smile.
"I don't get many visitors these days," she says.
"Perhaps it's the way you decorate you house," you say, gesturing toward the skeletons swinging slowly in the hot wind.
"Perhaps," she says with a wide grin. "I see you have horses. I sense you're looking for something, or someone. Well, I am looking for something too but I am unable to leave my home. Could you help me?"
"Yes, you'll be wanting compensation, no doubt. Well, I have nothing of real value except my knowledge. If you were to find and return with my Recanter's Cloak, I will teach you all that I know. Is that a deal?"
"Deal," you say.
|You approach the Seer's Hut, but there is no answer when you knock. Perhaps she already knows that you do not have the Recanter's Cloak. If you want to talk to her, you must find it first.|
|The Seer meets you at the door, immediately taking the Recanter's Cloak from you and draping it over her shoulders.|
"A Familiar took it from my home while I was killing that pair up there," she says, gesturing toward some Demons swinging from one of the highest branches.
"You said you could teach me what you know?"
"Yes, come in. We'll have some black tea, and we'll talk," she says.
You enter her home, hoping that the knowledge she can give you will be worth staying in this dark place.