|Restoration of Erathia|
|Shadow of Death|
|Horn of the Abyss|
Having witnessed the horrors of a slave's life firsthand, Prince Niven turned his back on his father and joined Tarnum's rebellion. Niven became Tarnum's one hope of making Erathia understand the terrible wrongs they have committed.
Tarnum must defeat Earl Rambert to save Adamina and the other wisewomen from execution. Tarnum and two of his best Captains will transfer to the next scenario, but will be limited to level 26.
|Day 1 - day 1|
|Earl Rambert abandoned most of his prisoners when he fled my army, but he knew enough about the Mudlanders to keep Adamina and the other wisewomen with him. The Mudlanders hold the learned women in a position of high respect and will not risk their lives.|
And as far as Rambert is concerned, I still hold Prince Niven hostage. So, we have a stalemate. I expect to hear from Rambert soon.
|Day 2 - Day 2|
|Earl Rambert hides in a hard to reach valley where he's sparing no expense to build an army that can repel any attack. Sooner or later, I'm going to have to face that army. My instincts tell me to attack now. A lightning attack will catch him by surprise, but I can't risk the lives of the wisewomen right now.|
Somehow, I have to find a way to free them.
|Day 4 - Day 4|
|Rambert's demands came today. He asked for a trade - the Prince for the wisewomen and my retreat from these lands.|
Unfortunately, I can do neither. Prince Niven is an ally, and he's even struck up a friendship with Droglo. Betraying the Prince would destroy everything, including Droglo's trust in me. And to retreat now would take my army back into Mad King Gryphonheart's forces. This time, they will be prepared for my arrival. So, what do I do?
"Brellick," I called for the Gnoll commander.
When he arrived, I said, "Bring me paper and pen. I'm going to write a counteroffer to Rambert's demands."
"You can write?"
"If you find me some paper, I can. Go!"
It's a delaying tactic, I know, but Rambert will expect a counteroffer and he will refuse. His next demand will be firm, even threatening. That's when I act.
|Day 7 - Day 7|
|I watch Droglo and Niven practice the sword each morning, and even with the threat of war around us they somehow manage to enjoy themselves. That's when I remember that they are just boys of 14 and 16 years. If I didn't know better, I would think they were brothers.|
Today, Droglo left early to tend to a minor cut on his shoulder, so I stepped in to give the Prince some lessons.
"You're almost as fast as Droglo and absolutely more skilled, but still you lose to him half the time. Do you know why?" I asked.
"He surprises me," Niven said between heavy breaths. "He's always doing things I don't expect, like pretending to fall."
"That's part of it, yes. Droglo fights by instinct, but years of training have made you stiff, predictable. I can almost hear you going over your drills while you fight. You need to relax and be more creative. Enjoy yourself!"
Niven lowered his sword, stared at me as if I had said something unreasonable.
"This is battle! How can I enjoy myself?"
"I don't mean enjoy the kill. I mean enjoy the dance," I said.
"You don't talk like a Mudlander," Niven said. "You don't look like one either. Sure, you dress like one, but your size, your obvious power, even your features - none of that is like any Mudlander I have seen. More Erathian, if you ask me."
Actually, my features were Barbarian, but Niven didn't know that his own people, the Erathians, had a significant amount of Barbarian blood running through their veins.
"I'm sure you've heard of Erathian nobles taking slaves as mistresses," I explained.
Niven seemed to accept this lie and we returned to the sword practice. This time, every time Niven fell into his usual stiff routine, I gave him a nick to remind him to relax. Soon he was covered in sores.
|Day 10 - Day 10|
|Niven spent most of his days tending to the slaves, helping the healers or bringing them food and drink. He was so unlike his father - compassionate, honourable. He would make a great King.|
I found him sulking this morning after we picked up some new escaped slaves, half of which weren't expected to survive the day. I approached and placed a hand on the young man's shoulder.
"I suspected," Niven said. "All these years, I suspected something was wrong but I was too afraid to find out what it was. I've known all along."
"That my father is insane. Everyone knows, but we're all too afraid of him to do anything about it. Do you know why I like Droglo so much?"
"No, why?" I asked.
"Because my own brother and I are enemies, and it is my father's fault. When I was six and my brother five, he brought us together and said, 'One of you is going to be King some day. You want to know which one? The one who kills the other first, that's who!' Then he laughed. He thought it was funny!"
"I'm sorry," I said. It was a miracle Niven turned out the way he was, considering the maniac he had for a father.
"Is my blood cursed?" Niven said, near tears.
I grabbed his shoulders firmly and forced him to stare into my eyes.
"Don't ever think that! Haven't you ever heard the name of Rion Gryphonheart, first of your line? Or how about his daughter, Allison? They were two of the fairest, greatest leaders I have ever...heard of!"
I almost said, 'met'.
"If anything," I continued, "your bloodline is blessed with heroes brave enough to do whatever it takes to protect their people. You could be that kind of king, Niven."
|Day 13 - Day 13|
|Earl Rambert's response to my offer came today. Basically, it was a flat refusal, and now he's threatening to kill the wisewomen if the Prince is not returned.|
I wish I had more time, but something has to be done.
|Day 16 - Day 16|
|I met with my commanders last night to discuss our options. Droglo and Prince Niven were present as well. They had the right.|
As I expected, my commanders were prepared to do anything to get the wisewomen back, even bind Niven hand and foot and deliver him to Rambert's front door if they had to. But I insisted that was not an option.
Then Niven said, "No. You must make the trade!"
"But Niven, you can't!" Droglo said. "You're on our side now."
"I know, and that won't change, but we can't let those women die. You have to turn me over to Rambert. I want you to!"
It would be risky, especially for Niven. His father was likely to execute him simply because he had spent so long in my hands. But the boy was right. Niven had made the decision I was afraid to make.
"We'll make the trade," I said, "but Rambert may not live to appreciate it."
What I had in mind would be risky for us as well, but great victories required great risk.
|Day 17 - Day 17|
|Small Droglo looked a little silly in my armour, but at a distance it was good enough to confuse. Brellick rode next to him with explicit orders to protect the boy from harm.|
Finally, I stepped up to the cage holding Prince Niven. Last night, I had to punch the boy a few times in the face to make it look like he's been the prisoner of savages. Niven's right eye was swollen shut and both lips were split down the middle.
"How's the eye?"
"Feels like you punched it out the back of my skull," Niven said. He smiled, winced as one of his lips began to bleed again.
"Are you sure you want to do this, Prince? We could find another way," I said.
"There is no other way."
I pushed my hand through the narrow bars and shook the boy's hand.
"If you were my son, I'd tell you that I am very proud of you," I said.
Niven fought back the tears building in his eyes.
"We'll send word soon as the wisewomen are safe," Niven said.
"We'll be ready. Good luck!"
|Day 21 - Day 21|
|The message came pinned to the tail of a Serpent Fly, written by Niven's flourishing hand because like most of the Mudlanders Droglo couldn't read or write.|
As you expected, Earl Rambert brought only a token force to the trade. I guess moving your army closer to his land scared him, or perhaps Rambert underestimated the determination of the Mudlanders. Still, Rambert tried to betray us. We Erathians have forgotten the honesty and honour that made us great!
But we broke the ambush, thanks mostly to Droglo's Wyverns. Sadly, I must report that brave Brellick fell to Earl Rambert's blade. At this sight, I escaped from my cage, picked up a weapon, and put an end to the treacherous noble. You would have been proud of me. For the first time in my life, I enjoyed the dance!
Now that the wisewomen are safe, you are free to attack the late Earl Rambert's forces. Droglo and the others will meet you at the arranged spot, but I will not be with them. I feel I can be of greater help by returning to Erathia to speak with those nobles who are dissatisfied with my father's rule. If I can turn them against my father, then not only will the Mudlanders finally be safe but Erathia will have a chance to return to its former greatness.
I cannot thank you enough for opening my eyes to the pain of the Mudlanders. I only hope that I have the courage to end that pain forever!
Prince Niven of Erathia"
I folded the letter and, as if Niven were right next to me, I said, "You have the courage of other Gryphonhearts I have known. That's all you will ever need!"
|5, 32, 0||It's a good thing you ran across those Zealots when you did, because you find dozens of Basilisk corpses scattered across the ground here, each fried to a crisp by magic. If the Zealots had any more time, they might have killed all the creatures from the nearby pit.|
|8, 28, 0||Several Gorgons can be heard bellowing to the south. Moving into the forest you see them strung up by their rear hooves and slaughtered like normal cattle. What the Earl's men can't take with them, they are destroying.|
|22, 16, 0||The ground here is littered with the bodies of Basilisks who were chained to the ground and shot to death for sport. You clench your fists at the sight and order burials for the poor creatures.|
|24, 32, 0||Some female Gnolls rush from the Gnoll Hut and gladly throw their arms around you.|
"Oh, you've arrived! What a day!" they shout.
Then they begin to remove their dresses, revealing that they are not women at all, but males in disguise.
"This was the only way we could hide from the soldiers," they explain.
|28, 35, 0||The miller's wife rushes out to greet you.|
"Glad to meet you, sir. We'd like to offer you a weekly tax in exchange for your protection. Come and see, you will notice we use no slaves. Only our own hands. We've always been against slavery!"
|30, 17, 0||You stop a band of Erathian soldiers dragging numerous cages of recently captured Serpent Flies. They drop the cages when they spot you and prepare to defend their prisoners.|
Contents: 38 Serpent Flies
|3, 5, 0||Castle|
|30, 29, 0||Fortress|
|12, 28, 0||Swordsman||Fresh blood stains the weapons of these Swordsmen. Even as you order the attack, you wonder what they have been up to.|
|20, 20, 1||Minotaur King||The tunnels ahead are blocked by a creature you haven't seen before - Minotaur Kings. You think that even your enemy hasn't been able to deal with these beasts and wonder what lies in the tunnels beyond.|
|20, 28, 0||Champion||"This passage is for the King's use only! Go back slaves and stop this futile rebellion!" The Champions shout and then charge.|
|3, 5, 0||Sylvia the Knight|
|22, 33, 0||Your most powerful hero from the The King's Son scenario.|
|25, 27, 0||Your most powerful hero from the The King's Son scenario.|
|30, 30, 0||Tarnum the Beastmaster|
|0, 35, 0||Endless Sack of Gold||Greedily you reach out and snatch the Endless Sack of Gold. Without any Gold Mines this artefact will come in handy.|
|25, 29, 0||Inexhaustible Cart of Lumber||There may not be any Sawmills in the vicinity, so the Inexhaustible Cart of Lumber will be just as useful.|
|Seer's Hut (31, 12, 1)|
|The old Wizard who lives here has been the prisoner of the Minotaur Kings for more years than he can remember. He claims that he will teach the one who frees him some of the secrets he has learned over the years.|
|"Come back when you have defeated the Minotaurs and I will teach you all that I know," says the Wizard.|
|"I see that you are ready for your training. Do you have time now?" asks the old Wizard.|