Dragons of Gossamer Wings
Tarnum must acquire twelve Faerie Dragons in order to help him fight the Dungeon Overlords. All Heroes will be limited to level 32, but Tarnum and his two best Captains will transfer to the next scenario.
|Day 1 - Comp stuff (every 7 days)|
|Resources for Computer - DO NOT TRANSLATE|
|Day 1 - day 1|
|The Elf King has realized, as have I, that the Dragon Queen is growing in power too quickly. Even with Erathia on our side, how can we possibly stand up to the combined power of her Dragons?|
So, the Elf King has asked me to abandon the front line and try to enlist the help of the powerful but elusive Faerie Dragons. The Elf King has encountered these Dragons before, and despite their need for solitude, Faerie Dragons are very close to each other. Convincing even a small number of these creatures to join my forces might bring them all to my side.
I hope he's right. Each day I spend away from the border allows Mutare to advance further into AvLee and Erathia.
|Day 5 - day 5|
|Aspen has learned that there are six Faerie Dragon dwellings located somewhere to the south, but no one knows exactly where. Several of his scouts have disappeared attempting to find them.|
Unfortunately, Mutare's forces are in the area as well. Either she's attempting to gain control over the Faerie Dragons herself, or she's trying to stop me from recruiting them.
|Day 11 - day 11|
|After a strategy session with my captains, Valita lagged behind until everyone else had left my tent. I poured some wine for us both because I could tell she wanted to talk.|
"I want to thank you, Tarnum," she said. Finally, she had learned to use my name.
"You words the other day," she said softly. "I can't say I don't blame myself - perhaps I could've held out longer - but I think you truly do understand how I feel."
"More than you know," I said. "Everybody makes mistakes, but it's how you deal with them, how you make up for them that counts."
"Yes, I think you're right," Valita said.
We finished our wine without another word. Valita stood to leave, but she paused at the door.
"I've watched some of your chess games with Aspen," she said. "He's been playing for hundreds of years. In fact, he's considered a genius at the game."
"And I'm sure he's the first to admit it," I said. We shared a laugh at that.
"Yes, but I've noticed you're too aggressive. You're concentrating on beating your opponent when you should be thinking about beating yourself - how are you going to lose!"
Then she left, and I pondered her words for a long time.
|Day 17 - day 17|
|I challenged Aspen to a chess match last night, and I came closer to winning than ever before. I thought about Valita's words the entire time, but then my impatience got the better of me. I attacked when I thought I could win, and found Aspen ready for me.|
"Checkmate," Aspen said, leaning back in his chair. "That was some game, Tarnum! You almost had me there."
"Next time," I said, standing. I had to go thank Valita for her advice.
|Day 24 - day 24|
|Instead of playing chess with Aspen again, I summoned Valita to my tent. I pointed to the board and said, "Care for a game?"|
"Sure," she said, sitting.
Later, when there were far fewer pieces on the board, she looked up from her most recent move and asked, "What did you do, Tarnum? What are you ashamed about?"
I had promised to tell her, but could I really explain where I came from and why I, a human, was immortal?
"To put it simply, I killed many, many people. I believed I was right, and that anything I did in the name of my goal was right as well."
"Innocents died?" she asked hesitantly.
"More than I care to think about," I said, "including one of my own sisters."
"Your sister? How do you live with yourself?"
I don't think Valita meant for her question to sound so harsh, but her words still bit deep into my soul.
"I have hope that some day I can make things right again," I said.
Valita sat in silence for some time, and then she stood and placed a comforting hand on my shoulder. I realized that not only do I understand her pain, but now there was someone who understood mine. It felt good, and I didn't want her to take that hand away.
But she did. She dropped it slowly to her side and left the tent without another word. I looked down at the chessboard. Only then did I notice Valita had me in checkmate.
|Day 28 - day 28|
|Aspen entered camp this morning with a battered Harpy held by a pair of his scouts.|
"You wanted proof!" Aspen said. "Here it is!"
I looked at the Harpy, then back to Aspen. The Elf held up a rolled piece of parchment.
"We found this on the Harpy."
"What does it say?" I asked.
"I don't know, yet. It's in some kind of odd code, but codes are like puzzles to me - and I'm the best at solving puzzles in all of AvLee!"
Then Aspen turned to the Harpy and slapped her hard across the face.
"Tell him what you told me," the Elf demanded.
The Harpy said, "I pick up the note is all I do! I fly in at night, pick up the note from an arrow in the top of the tree, and take it back to my master. That's all I do - I carry things!"
"And the arrow - what did it look like?"
"An Elven arrow, with black and green feathers," the Harpy said immediately.
I clenched my fists because I immediately knew what those colors meant. Those were the colors Valita used on her arrows.
I glared at the scouts and said, "Take the Harpy to my tent. I will interrogate her myself."
Then to Aspen, I said, "Break the code. I want to know what's in the note."
|Day 30 - day 30|
|Perhaps talking to Kurbon wasn't the wisest move considering how close he was to Valita, but he was the only other person I knew who didn't believe that Valita was the spy.|
"Does anyone else use black and green fletching on their arrows?" I asked the Dwarf.
"No," he said. "All the bowmen use green upon orders of from the Elf King. Only commanders are allowed their own colors."
Then Kurbon realized what colors I was asking about.
"This is about Valita, isn't it? What's wrong?" he asked.
"Aspen thinks he's finally uncovered his spy," I said. I left, knowing already that I had said too much. If Valita was the spy, she would soon find out that Aspen was close to proving it.
But I didn't care.
When I got back to my tent, however, I noticed the chessboard sitting on my strategy table. I had scheduled a game with Aspen, but I didn't feel much like playing anymore. Then I got to thinking about the strategies I had been using, about the one Valita has been teaching me, and even about some of the ones I've learned from Aspen.
And then I realized that I hadn't been considering all the pieces in this spy game I have been dragged into.
|Day 38 - day 38|
|I was sitting alone in my tent when Valita entered.|
"You wanted to talk?" she said.
"Yes," I said, holding up two sheets of parchment, "do you know what these are?"
Valita shook her head.
"One is a note detailing the strengths and weaknesses of my army. It's coded - unreadable - and according to Aspen very difficult to break."
"And the other paper?" Valita asked.
"A translation, completed this morning by Aspen, although no one knows yet that he has broken the code."
I stood up and approached Valita, handing her the notes. She looked at them briefly, then back to me.
"Do you believe I am a spy?" she asked softly.
I could tell by her expression that she already knew suspicion had been cast her way.
But I leaned forward and placed my lips on hers, finding them thin but extremely soft and warm. She didn't pull away as the part of me that didn't want to be hurt had hoped. Instead, she kissed me back, and placed a hand on my hip.
She asked again, "Do you think I am the spy?"
"No, I wouldn't kiss a spy," I said. "I think I've been watching the queen while my enemy sneaks his bishop in for checkmate."
"What?" Valita asked, but I didn't want to explain right now.
I kissed her again.
|Day 42 - day 42|
|Aspen rode into camp with his hand held high - another note.|
As I came up next to him, the Elf said, "Here's proof you can't deny!"
I took the letter. It was in code, but Aspen had already made notes in the margin. I read them quickly.
"This isn't from the spy?" I said.
"No, it's TO the spy," Aspen said with a big, gloating grin. He looked directly at Valita, who was standing next to me. Many of the other soldiers were already gathering around us.
"You've translated it so quickly?" I said.
"Yes, I know the code by heart," Aspen said. "Mutare will have no more secrets!"
"And who's the spy?"
The arrow nicked my shoulder on its way into Aspen's chest. The Elf's face suddenly went as white as snow. His knees buckled, but Valita caught him before he hit the ground.
I turned, shouting orders for the assassin to be found.
Then I looked back to Valita - there were tears on her cheeks.
"I can't believe it's really him," she said. "You were right."
|Day 43 - day 43|
|I approached the dirty soldier, knowing immediately that he had bad news.|
"He got away, sir," the soldier said. "Slipped into a tunnel and we lost him."
Kurbon. I liked the Dwarf. A lot.
But as Master of Supplies he was privy to every move I made, as well as the movements of the Elf King's troops as well. Where the supplies went, so did the troops. Sometimes, he knew what was going on before I did. And Kurbon was the one who gave Valita the black and green feathers for her arrows. He was also, I later learned, the one who taught her how to shoot, so he was an expert marksman capable of firing a message arrow into any branch he wished.
Thanks to Valita, Kurbon learned what no one else in camp knew - that Aspen had broken Mutare's code. In the Elf's usual arrogance, he kept that secret to himself, so Kurbon had to kill Aspen before he fled camp in order to protect his master's secrets.
And now Kurbon was gone, and Aspen was near death.
|2, 10, 1||Computer supplies - DO NOT TRANSLATE|
|17, 29, 0||As you ride through the dark woods, you realize that no one has explored this land in centuries. Even the animals don't fear predators. For example, several deer step from the tree line and approach.|
They're close enough that you can see their sparkling yellow eyes.
Too late, you realize these aren't deer after all. They magically transform before your eyes - becoming Faerie Dragons!
|28, 13, 0||A sudden cloudburst sends you and your troops running for cover. The rain comes down in a torrent, and lightning strikes dangerously close. Normally, you wouldn't stand beneath a tree during such a storm but in this thick forest you don't have much choice.|
Then a huge purple bolt strikes an ancient oak, splitting it in a blast of fire and smoke. When you pick yourself up off the ground, you see eight Faerie Dragons springing forth from the broken tree.
|2, 5, 1||Dungeon|
|2, 8, 0||Castle|
|11, 4, 0||Rampart|
|22, 6, 1||Inferno|
|1, 18, 0||Battle Dwarf||Lots of Battle Dwarves step from the darkness of the Gold Mine ahead, immediately taking your hand in theirs.|
"We thank you for ridding us of those Medusa Queens! They've been stealing our Gold. Many of us have died fighting them," their leader says.
The Dwarves are so grateful, in fact, that they offer to join your fight against Mutare so they can assure that this sort of thing never happens again.
|7, 33, 0||Sharpshooter||The treetops shuffle as a pack of Sharpshooters draw their bows. They are sworn to protect the forests of the Faerie Dragons, and unfortunately they decide to shoot before they ask questions.|
|21, 16, 1||Black Dragon|
|33, 29, 0||Faerie Dragon||The trees part to reveal an open field in which flit thousands of monarch butterflies. You stop as the butterflies dance around excitedly, merging into a dark gold cloud that becomes...a Faerie Dragon!|
|3, 9, 0||Your most powerful hero from the Distrust scenario.|
|4, 7, 1||Damacon the Overlord|
|10, 14, 0||Your most powerful hero from the Distrust scenario.|
|12, 5, 0||Tarnum the Ranger|
|16, 5, 0||Garniture of Interference||While hunting, you spot a single black goose flying high above. Testing your skill with the bow, you draw back and arrow and release it skyward.|
Perfect! You bring down the goose, but it takes you some time to find the place where it fell. All you find, however, is a single black goose feather and the Garniture of Interference. You pick up the artifact, unable to shake the sense that someone is watching you.
|22, 14, 0||Sword of Hellfire||This must be the treasure the Demons died guarding.|
|23, 0, 0||Hellstorm Helmet||A pack of Cavaliers stand guard over the Hellstorm Helmet, stubbornly obeying their last order to protect this artifact with their lives. Do you want to fight the foolish horsemen for the Hellstorm Helmet?