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Heroes Community > Heroes 5 - Temple of Ashan > Thread: HoMM5 Novelization
Thread: HoMM5 Novelization
Rimgrabber
Rimgrabber


Adventuring Hero
It's a fixer-upper
posted December 13, 2017 12:43 PM

HoMM5 Novelization

Hey everybody. I'm not really sure where to put this so I'm just gonna thrown it here. As we all know, the story in HoMM V was not, to put it lightly, the greatest. However, it was one of the first games I ever played and is still my favorite Heroes to this day, and I've always felt that it was kinda like the Star Wars prequels in the sense that it wasn't really that the overall story was bad per say as much as the execution and dialogue being pretty garbage.Maybe that's just the nostalgia talking, but since I've been pretty bored lately I've started to make a novelization of the game, taking heavy liberties with the order of events and character development because it's of course pretty hard to justify making a book out of a bunch of mediocre cutscenes. Some of the biggest changes I'm planning on making to the story include making the Spider Cult a fringe group of radicals in Heresh and not actually representative of the nation, replacing Freyda's uncle Caldwell with Aidan (Him becoming a dragon knight was obviously just so they didn't need to elaborate on why he supposedly stops existing. Same with Raelag actually.) as well as giving him a much larger arc, making Findan less god-awful, including many "generic" heroes as semi-important or even sometimes almost main characters, and possibly killing off some extra characters/sparring some/changing when/how they die. Anyway I'd like to know everyone's thoughts on this and I may or may not post some of the chapters here, although I'll warn you I'm still in high school so it's not like it's going to be ASoIF quality-writing, though I have been told I have a bit of a knack for it.

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MattII
MattII


Legendary Hero
posted December 14, 2017 03:40 AM

There's still only so much you can do with the story. I mean, compare it to the story in H3, which features (from the PoV of Erathia), five sets of opponents, and two allies including themselves. But the villains are far from united, with only the Inferno and Dungeon factions even speaking to each other. Besides those two, you have Necropolis following their own agenda (which just happens to help out Inferno/Dungeon a few times), and Fortress and Stronghold, barbarian kingdoms constantly raiding their neighbours and each other. And then the Necropolis splits because the Necropolis realises they pulled a really stupid move. And the bonus campaign follows a group of rebels seeking to make a unified nation separate from the main Castle and Rampart ones.

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Rimgrabber
Rimgrabber


Adventuring Hero
It's a fixer-upper
posted December 14, 2017 04:16 AM
Edited by Rimgrabber at 04:24, 14 Dec 2017.

I'd never claim it's some kind of masterpiece, and the H3 expansions definitely have better stories, although I'd argue the base game is pretty meh in that department. I'd like to make one for the first three heroes games as well but I'm much more familiar with Ashan than I am with the original universe, sadly. Plus I'd like to correct a lot of the stuff that's made Ashan so hated. I also think the story has a lot more untapped potential than you give it credit for if some of the garbage "Ashany" parts are taken out (everything being a cult, everyone is good deep down except Inferno and arguably Academy, Spideropolis being the entire faction rather than a semi-interesting fringe group of radicals, the Dark Elves having a pretty dumb origin story). Haven is having a civil war even before Isabel is kidnapped because there is a faction that wants Nicolai's cousin on the throne. With Aidan being an important POV character, I'm going to expand greatly on that arc, and make it less obvious, at least to the characters, that the Red Church is in the wrong. You could see how Aidan, a man who has had well-documented dealings with demons, would be suspicious.  In my version of the story Heresh isn't in a civil war per say but the Order of the Void (Sandro's wing, I don't remember if that's their canon name) and the Spider Cult are definitely doing a lot of shady things to get more power over each other, and Markal is trying to independently stage his coup in the Empire for reasons I think I'll make more complex than "Mwahaha I'm the generic antagonist!" Maybe something to do with Fiona. Another change I'm making is Demons being inherently and invariably evil. Of course, most of them still will be evil, but I feel like Ubi missed a cool opportunity to add a little bit of moral ambiguity since Kha-Beleth's ultimate goal seems to be to release the demons from their prison and give them a home in Ashan with the other races. By making demons' evilness just a generalization (albeit a usually accurate one) rather than an uncontrollable part of their nature makes you wonder if there isn't a better solution than trapping them all in Sheogh forever. The dwarves are also having a lot of internal strife and the Dark Elves and Orcs both have a lot of untapped potential for moral ambiguity that was pretty stifled by the bland and unoriginal backstories surrounding them.    

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kiryu133
kiryu133

Hero of Order
Highly illogical
posted December 14, 2017 01:50 PM

Moved to the temple of Ashan
____________
It is with a heavy heart that I must announce that the cis are at it again.

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dredknight
dredknight


Responsible
Supreme Hero
disrupting the moding industry
posted December 14, 2017 06:23 PM

Rimgrabber,

Thanks for the effort ! It is a fresh breath to have a story teller here because most of the peeps are mostly users or modders (technical side).

Also do you consider to turn those stories into in-game campaign?


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Rimgrabber
Rimgrabber


Adventuring Hero
It's a fixer-upper
posted December 15, 2017 04:44 AM
Edited by Rimgrabber at 07:49, 11 Apr 2018.

I hadn't, mostly because I'm not a very good mapmaker and what I had in mind was a more fleshed out and complex version of the campaigns already in the game, but if somebody wanted to makes maps based on this I'd be honored!


While I'm here posting, I have finished the prologue and most of chapter one so I'm just going to put the prologue here so people can read it if they want. I'm not really happy with how it turned out but I'm not sure if that's because it's actually bad or if I'm just a bit uncomfortable with my own writing. Either way, I really only made it was a warm-up and so far the next chapter has come out much better imo.



Prologue - Kha-Beleth’s POV


The Demon Sovereign sat in his throne room in Ur-Hekal. From here, he could watch over all of Sheogh; the realm of the Demons. Right now, however, his attention was turned towards a Ravager named Grok, savage and mindlessly brutal even for his class of Demon. Grok was around average size for a Ravager Demon, but despite this never seemed to tire. He wore little armor, save for a pair of red pauldrons on his shoulders, with the cracked and deformed skulls of his victims of the day chained to them. He was the Kha-Beleth’s errand boy, and jester, in a sense.

   “Grok.” Kha-Beleth looked down from this throne towards his servant, whose crazed and bloodthirsty yellow eyes lit up hearing upon his master call his name. “I’m in need of some… entertainment. Fetch me a human from the mines. And find Grawl. I’ll require a hellhound as well.” Grok snarled in excitement and bolted out of the throne room, his long, greasy, mane of navy-blue hair flowing behind him as he ran. Kha-Beleth always knew Grok was very fast for his size.

  “Go, Grok. A nice massacre will be just the thing to ease my mind.”, thought Kha-Beleth. He stood up and started to pace around the room. He wore a full suit of armor at all times; you could never be too careful, he reasoned, when running a nation of creatures whose sole purpose in life is to cause destruction. Demons were the children of Urgash, the dragon-god of chaos, and Kha-Beleth was the first in the history of Ashan to unite them under one ruler. His armor shone brilliantly as it reflected images of the hellfire in the torches that dotted the walls. He wore a scarlet cape made of cerberus fur, and his helmet covered his face entirely. Not a soul in Sheogh, or anywhere, knew what he truly looked like. He was so ancient himself it’s possible even he didn’t remember. His pacing gradually became faster as his irritation grew.

  “Biara is late!” he exclaimed under his breath. “She should be back with the reports from the Griffin Empire by now! She has never failed me before...but there is always a first time for everything. Now may be the time to start looking for a new informant… Orlando perhaps…”. Grok suddenly burst back into the throne room, a passed out human slung over one shoulder. To Grok’s left was the Demon Lord Grawl, kennelmaster of Sheogh, with a particularly brutal looking hellhound on a chain. He was shirtless, with several iron nails protruding from his body. He wore a steel kilt, spiked gauntlets, and a black iron helmet to hide his face. Two shortswords were sheathed at his sides. To Grok’s right….

  “My lord, forgive me. A certain imbecile managed to mistake me for one of the slaves. ‘I’m going to have some fun with you before bringing you back to the Sovereign's throne room.’ were the words he used, I believe.” Biara was a succubus, and like all succubus, she was a shapeshifter. While many of her kind choose to appear as beautiful as possible at all times, Biara prefered to be in her true form when she wasn’t impersonating anyone. She relied more on terror than seduction to get what she wanted, one of the many reasons Kha-Beleth had grown so fond of her. While having the general shape of a humanoid woman, she had hooves and horns like most demons, as well as a spiked tail. Her skin was ash-grey except for her head and neck, which were the same glowing orange as embers in a dying campfire. But her most terrifying feature was her wings, which resembled those of a decaying bat.  “Needless to say, it took some time to…. properly discipline the fool.” Her voice was thick with contempt as she glared at Grok, who upon closer inspection, was noticeably more burned and bruised than he was when he left only a few moments ago. He looked down at the ground, clearly embarrassed to be scolded in front of his master.

  “M-master…. Sh-She was still in her human form… She looked-”

  “Silence Grok. Biara has clearly already had her fun with you. There’s no need for you to suffer more today. Now go, before I change my mind. And leave the human!” Grok hastily bowed and exited the throne room. Kha-Beleth sighed. “Sometimes I wonder if that brainless imp is worth the trouble.” He let out a menacing chuckle. “Then I remember how mindlessly loyal he is. Let’s not let his obedience go to waste. Grawl, release the hellhound. The screaming helps me think.”

  “Of course, master.” Grawl walked over to the nearest wall, put the chain up against it, and smashed the hilt of one of his swords into it with a force so great the chain broke, releasing the hellhound. The sound of the impact was enough to wake the poor human just before the hellhound was upon him. There was a long, blood-curdling scream as the beast savaged it’s prey.

  Biara cackled at the sound. “Perhaps I was too hard on Grok. He always picks out the looovliest screamers…” The succubus then proceeded to give her report: “Agrael has established several key points where we can set up gates to bring more troops into battle.” she began, “And it seems the time has finally come for our dear Lady Kirin to be married to King Nicolai. The Bloodmoon Eclipse is nigh my lord. All the pieces are falling together and our freedom is upon us at last!.” Biara’s eyes flashed with a ravenous hunger. “Please, my lord… Give me command of a small unit. I’ve never wanted anything so badly as to ravage an unsuspecting village, slaughtering every man, woman, and child…. I can almost smell the blood!” She cackled again.

  “No, Biara. I need you to continue watching Agrael. Be sure to keep an eye on him… It would be a shame to execute one of my most useful soldiers without knowing for certain they were treasonous…. But if what you’ve been telling me is true, you had better make sure.” Kha-Beleth sighed. A shame indeed.

End


Chapter 1 - Godric's POV

It was a very important day in the Holy Griffin Empire. Church bells were ringing and bards from every corner of Ashan were singing in their native tongues. Children were laughing and playing and eating sweets while their parents tended to their stalls in the bustling marketplaces of Talonguard. Yet still, as he rode his horse through these happy streets, Sir Godric Unicorn could not shake a strong sense of melancholy. He was one of the most beloved and respected knights in the Empire, his record of service longer and more impressive than most could hope to achieve in a lifetime. Indeed, Godric was old, nearing his 67th birthday. His hair had long since turned as grey as his eyes, and his olive skin was far more wrinkled than it had been in his prime. But the birthday of an old paladin was not the cause of celebration in the city. King Nicolai Griffin; Godric’s nephew, was getting married today.

“Perhaps that is it”, thought the old knight as he tossed a silver coin to a child staring longingly at a pie being sold at one of the stalls. His sister Fiona, Nicolai’s mother, had died of a fever a few years ago in the very bed she had given birth to her son in. Her friend and advisor, Markal, had tried everything he could to save her. Everything. Markal was discovered to have been part of the Order of the Void, one of two powers vying for control of Heresh, the land of the necromancers. The betrayal had shocked Nicolai, who had grown up admiring Markal, viewing him as a grandfatherly figure. As Markal was greatly beloved by the people of the Empire, Godric and Nicolai had exiled him quietly, sparing him from execution only to honor Fiona’s memory.

Godric found himself wondering if his sister would approve of the bride her son had chosen. Her name was Isabel Kirin, and while she was certainly beautiful, she did not grow up in court like Nicolai did, and as such had very little experience in running a duchy, let alone an Empire.

“She will learn”, he told himself as he absentmindedly stroked his thinning beard. He had met the young queen-to-be many times before, and there was no doubt that she meant well and was enthusiastic about helping to lead the Griffin Empire to an even brighter future. “Yes, all will be well, and when my time comes I can rest easy.”

“Father? Father, are you alright?” Godric’s daughter Freyda rode up beside him, clad in her freshly-forged armor. She had recently been given a knighthood, and was to join her cousin’s Honor Guard after he had been married. She looked little like Godric, rather, she was the spitting image of her mother; fair-skinned, long dark curls, and a gaunt but beautiful face. She did have the same grey-blue eyes as Godric, however, and they shone with the same fiery determination his had in his youth. She was a bit taller than most women, at about a height with her father, and had always loved horseback riding and fighting with sticks as a child. When she turned 13, she left the Unicorn Duchy to train with Sir Laszlo here in Talonguard, the capital of the Griffin Empire. Laszlo was the finest swordsman in the Empire, possibly the world, and the notoriously strict warrior had immediately taken a liking to Freyda, training her as his star pupil. She quickly gained fame as a skilled fighter in her own right and was assigned to be Laszlo’s squire. Now 22, she is the youngest knight to ever be appointed to the royal Honor Guard.

“Hm? Oh, yes, of course.” he lied. There was no reason to worry Freyda with the troubles of an old man on this joyous day. “Just trying to make sure I remember the names of all the guests at Nicolai’s wedding.” He cleared his throat. “I’m not as sharp as I used to be.”

“Oh, father, you’ve known these people all your life! If anyone should be worried it’s me!” Her tone gave away that she knew there was more going on in Godric’s head than he was letting on, but she didn’t press him on it. “Let’s go over them together. We can see who remembers more. It will be fun! Now let’s see… There’s Lady Isabel, of course, Sir Tomas, Duke Duncan, Lady Elaine, Lady Irina… Oh! Laszlo will be there! He can regale you with the tales of my adventures as his squire! Now who else….”

This went on for quite some time, until at last they arrived at the cathedral where the wedding was to take place. It was a beautiful building. It was the tallest in the city, second only to the griffin conservatory where the beasts would come to lay their eggs. It sat atop a long staircase, masterfully carved out of marble, with starsilver engravings telling tales of the valiant deeds of such legendary figures as Archangel Michael, Empress Maeve Falcon, and Ivan Griffin; first king of the Griffin Empire. The pair dismounted from their horses and handed their reins to two praetorians standing guard at the bottom.

“Freyda, have you ever had the chance to meet Lady Isabel?” Godric asked his daughter as they climbed.

“I think I saw her once.” She answered. “Although it was only very briefly when Nicolai first introduced her to his court. Unfortunately I never had the chance to speak to her, as I was sent to break up a fight that had broken out outside shortly after they arrived. Apparently our young queen is a controversial figure among the common folk.”

That hardly surprised Godric. “She’s certainly passionate, but inexperienced. Her father was lowborn, but was elevated to the rank of Duke after the last eclipse for his service. Many people, commoners and nobles alike, are uncertain how they feel about someone from such a new Duchy becoming queen.”

“What about you, father? How do you feel about her?”

Godric closed his eyes and thought for a moment. How did he feel? Between his ruminating over Fiona’s death and his worrying how the marriage might affect the stability of the Empire, he had hardly stopped to consider his personal feelings toward his nephew’s fiance.

“Lady Isabel has the potential to be a great queen.” He reflected, “But it will take her time to learn to use her passion constructively. While she does have good intentions, I have known her to have a hard time controlling her frustrations when others don’t share her vision. She is young and headstrong, but as long as she receives good counsel she will gain wisdom.” Much like our king, he silently added.

 At last they reached the top of the staircase and paused to admire the courtyard. There were breathtaking gardens containing apple trees, koi ponds, and every type of flower imaginable. It radiated serenity.  Birds singing mixed with the sweet smell of apple blossoms and the sound of the wind rustling in the trees made one want nothing more than to take a nap in the shade. A large, majestic griffin had decided to do just that. He must belong to Lady Irina, Godric surmised. Towards the center of the courtyard was a gold fountain, with carvings of every duchy’s animal spraying a stream of water from their mouths. They must have arrived early because there were very few people present. The tables where the wedding feast was to be had were empty, save for Lady Irina and Sir Tomas making idle conversation. Sitting on the edge of the fountain, away from Irina and Tomas was Nicolai. He was gazing up at the sky and clutching something in his hand, reciting a prayer to Elrath, the Dragon-God of Light.

“Uncle!” His face lit up when he saw them walking towards him. The young king got to his feet. “You're early! I won’t lie, I half expected you to not bother showing up!” He laughed and have his uncle a hug. Nicolai was a handsome young man, with long blonde hair and sharp blue eyes, everything about him shone with charisma and kingliness.

“My king.” Freyda drew her sword and kneeled before Nicolai. He put a hand on her shoulder and smiled.

“Stand, cousin. You aren’t my guard yet. It’s good to see you again.” He turned to Godric. “I have something I need to talk about with you, uncle. Freyda, could you give us a moment? We’ll speak later.” Once Freyda had left to speak to Irina and Tomas, Nicolai held out his hand to show Godric what he was holding. It was a small gemstone attached to a platinum chain. It was a shade of red so deep it almost seemed to glow. A powerful energy was emanating from it.

“The Heart of the Griffin. Mother gave it to me just before she died. She told me I’d have need of it someday soon. I had Murazel tell me the history behind it, and she said it’s used to battle demons! The Blind Brothers said that there wouldn’t be an eclipse for at least another century…. What could she have meant?” Nicolai’s eyes were filled with emotion, but what emotion Godric could not say. Was it fear or….excitement?

“I don’t know, my king. But I can tell you Fiona was losing her mind in her final weeks.” The thought of his sister in that state caused his eyes to water slightly in spite of himself. “She said many preposterous things. A blood moon eclipse, the return of a king erased from history…. There was speculation that the Faceless had somehow gotten to her, but I’m sure I’m not alone in suspecting Markal.”

Nicolai’s eyes changed quickly. “I’m sorry Godric. I didn’t mean to drag back-”

Freyda was running towards them. It was hard to tell what exactly the look on her face was, but it certainly carried a great sense of urgency.

“Father, Nicolai, there’s someone here you should see!”

End


Chapter 2 - Aidan's POV

He was back in Sheogh. He couldn’t say how. All he could see for miles on end was brimstone and lava. His right arm was tingling in pain where the Blade of Binding had fused with it 40 years ago. He spun around frantically, trying to figure out where exactly he was. He fought his way through hell once, he could do it again. His left hand gripped the pommel of his sword tightly.

“Aidan…”

He could sense a familiar presence, but he couldn’t tell where the voice was coming from.

“Who are you?! What do you want?!” Aidan Unicorn was not easily scared, he had gone through what most would consider to be a nightmare among nightmares, and not only lived, but came out of it with more powerful magic than any priest of Elrath could ever dream of.

“Reveal yourself, demon! I will not play your games!” Aidan tried to pull his sword out of its scabbard, but his fingers now only clutched empty air.

“My dear Aidan….” The voice began again, closer now. A sharp pain shot up his arm. “Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten me?” Suddenly, a familiar shape started to materialize in front of him. She looked just like he remembered. The succubus had the appearance of a teenage girl, with a column of fire rising from her head. Her red face bore a cocky smirk.

“Jezebeth!” He should have known. “How did I get here? What do you want from me?”


“Oh, hush.” she spoke in a flirty tone as she pinched his cheek. “I just wanted to check up on my faaaavorite human!” She put her hands on his right arm. It was screaming in pain by now. “It’s a part of you now....” Her voice suddenly grew much deeper and her tone more sinister. More demonic. “It must have taken quite some time, learning to control it all….” Jezebeth was starting to look more distorted and Aidan was growing dizzy. “I hope you didn’t forget me….” Her face slowly started to change into another form Aidan never thought he’d see again.


“NO! No….” The volcanic wasteland started to twist and fade much like Jezebeth herself, until he was no longer in Sheogh but a small bedroom in Talonguard castle. Jezebeth was still holding his arm, but she had turned into someone else. She had turned into Fiona, laying in bed, dying. The sound of crackling flames had been replaced with a mix of children laughing off in the distance. They sounded strangely familiar, as if they were memories from another life.

“You forgot me, Aidan.” Fiona croaked weakly. “You left us. Me, Godric, your niece and nephew. Naadia died in childbirth! You didn’t care about us. You only cared about the damn Blade!” she was crying now.

“Fiona! I’m sorry I…. I only wanted….” The room was starting to change again when suddenly he heard another voice. It was soothing, motherly even.

“Aidan…. Aidan…. Wake up Aidan….”

He awoke with a start. His bed was soaked in sweat and blood from his arm. On one side of his bed stood Archbishop Randall, a short, bald man wearing the blue-gold robes of an Elrathian priest. In his hand he clutched a pendant designed to repel demons and undead. To the other stood Archangel Murazel, tall, with a commanding, yet soothing, presence. A white cowl was pulled over her long, blonde hair, partially covering her face. One hand held Aidan’s, while the other was behind his head, gently lowering him back down onto his pillow.

“Fear not, my lord, it was only a dream.” She whispered as she channeled light magic from her hands to Aidan’s body. It was calming, and made the pain in his arm bearable. He closed his eyes tightly and let out a sound that was something in between a groan and a sigh.

Aidan Unicorn was not a young man. He was only 4 years younger than his brother, Godric, but he looked as though he couldn’t be older than 30. His long red hair was a matted, sweaty mess as he laid in his bed breathing heavily. His eyes had been steely-grey, but were now as red as his hair, tainted by the chaotic magics of the Blade of Binding. When it fused with his arm, it caused the flesh to become gnarled, rough, and demonic. Over time, it had started to spread to his shoulder, but Murazel and a host of Seraphim had been able to stop it from going any further.

“I don’t think so Murazel. The pain in my arm…. I haven’t felt anything like it in years.” He sat back up, slowly this time, and gazed at his ruined hand. Where the rest of his arm resembled a devil’s, through his hand protruded the Blade of Binding itself. Even with the spells that had placed on it, the evil of it was still palpable.

“Randall.” Murazel spoke in a soft, breathy voice. “Fetch Lord Aidan his cloak and formal attire. I’ll stay here, bandage him up a bit.”  Randall nodded and exited the room. Now that neither of them were hovering over him he could make out more of his surroundings. Aidan was the type of person to not remember where he was when he first wakes, especially after having his nightmares.

It was a small, yet comfortable bedroom. The wooden floors made him feel safe. If there was wood, he was far from the fires of Sheogh. Beside his bed on the left side was a nightstand with a large candle, and judging by how the light filled the room it was it had been lit with a Sunbeam spell, not fire. To his right were about 2 meters of free space, and then up against the wall, a dresser. Murazel had opened the top drawer and pulled out some clean bandages. As she walked back over Aidan admired the sunrise through the window directly above the dresser. He slowly swung his feet over the side of the bed, so that now he was sitting and facing Murazel. Her touch was gentle as she began wrapping the bandages around his deformed arm.

“I don’t understand why my return to the capital must be such a big secret if I’m going to my nephew’s wedding.” he said groggily and irritably. “Surely the common folk don’t know who I am, and anyone who would be concerned with my actions will see me when we arrive at Talonguard anyway.”

“There are those in the church who fear you, Aidan. You came back from Sheogh, but not unscathed. I’m not bandaging you up because you’re in danger of infection, I’m doing it because your arm might put you in danger if you run into the wrong person. Your brother will be at the wedding too, of course, and you are both uncles to the King. Once you get to the Cathedral, you will have their protection as well as mine.”

Almost as soon as Murazel finished talking, Randall re-entered the room with a dark green linen cloak, some traveling cloths, as well as a dark blue outfit traditionally worn by noble wedding guests in the Griffin Empire.

“Murazel, would you please fly to the capitol to let Nicolai know we’re on our way?” asked Randall. His jowls flapped slightly as he spoke, his voice deep and commanding. As Murazel left the room Aidan stood up and pulled the travel cloth over his undergarments and donned the cloak. It’s hood masked his face enough that nobody except for Randall, Murazel, and perhaps Godric would recognize
him.

Together Aidan and Randall walked out of the room and into the larger building. Aidan was starting to remember the events of the last few weeks now. He had been self-exiled with his friend Anwen in the outskirts of Irollan. She was training him in Elven Battle Dance so he could make use of the Blade along side a normal sword in combat. It had been a difficult enough adjustment to learn to use a sword with his left hand at all, but a whole other matter to use the Blade as well. He was just starting to get the hang of it, when Murazel had appeared before him informing him of Nicolai’s impending wedding and how important it was for him to attend. He had been hesitant at first, but Anwen had been so adamant about him going she refused to continue his lessons until he returned.

And so, he spent a week or so on the road with Archbishop Randall and Archangel Murazel. The trip had been rather uneventful, except for their encounter of a drunken old beggar yelling at nobody in particular about how he saw an elf with “terribly sharp, red ears.” They had progressed fairly well after that, until he started having nightmares. When they came across this Sanctuary they were currently residing in, they decided to stay a few
nights.

“I’m sorry we needed to leave so soon. I know you still need rest, but we don’t have any more time.” Randall said to him as they went through the front doors of the Sanctuary and out into the early morning rain. The smell of decaying leaves and dirt filled the air.He had already saddled up their horses; both strong-looking holsteiners. The area around them was as good an area as any for a Sanctuary to be built - to their right were rolling hills, slightly hidden in the fog of the rain, and to their left was a forest of oak trees with a trail running through it. That’s where they were going.

For the first time, Aidan realized he was nervous about seeing Godric for the first time in so long, and Freyda and Nicolai for the first time ever. I wonder what he’ll think of me now. Godric always was the “perfect” one. And here I am, poor broken, twisted baby brother. He thought about how the last time they saw each other Fiona had still been alive. He thought about how he was going to the wedding of his long dead sister’s son he had never met. Would Nicolai be angry with him? Would he be happy to finally meet him? Or perhaps he just wouldn’t care. The chill of the rain was starting to seep through his cloak.

“Father,” he turned to the priest riding beside him. “I…. I’d like to make a confession….”

Randall made a concerned frown. He didn’t seem to expect that. Nevertheless, he slowed his horse down to a stop. “What is it, my son?”

Aidan smiled slightly. “You look shocked. Don’t be. I’m not even entirely sure anything I have to say is directly frowned upon by Elrath.” He chuckled softly. “Perhaps confession isn’t the right word to use…. It’s more just something I need to talk about.”
Randall sighed. “Very well, of course I’ll listen. Compassion is one of Elrath’s chief virtues.”

“Thank you…. I think. It’s Godric. Ever since I came back from Sheogh, our relationship has never been the same. I always felt that he viewed me as… as some kind of monster. Even when we were children, father always seemed to be so proud of him… ‘You’ll be a fine Knight someday, Godric’, he’d say. It seems so childish and petty now, but my relationship with him was one of envy. I always felt as if father never loved me the way he loved him. We watched him die… together. It was the last time we saw each other,
before….”

Aidan began to unwrap the bandages from his arm. The raindrops sizzled away as he felt them fall on his demonic skin. Randall looked horrified.

“Lord Aidan!” He scolded Aidan with such indignation that his jowls flapped uncontrollably. “Murazel gave you strict orders! The bandages must remain on! What if someone sees you?!”
“Orders. Under whose authority? Elrath’s? What has he ever done for me?” was all Aidan could think. His bottled up emotion was starting to bubble up inside of him in the form of a rage almost otherworldly. “Sheogh take Murazel!” he shouted as he
unconsciously raised the Blade.

That was a mistake.

As he held the Blade high above his head, the demonic rage that filled him channeled directly into the horrible artifact. A huge column of fire burst from it, the blistering heat vaporizing all of the rain within a meter or so of it. The horses screeched in terror as they kicked wildly about, mud and dead leaves flying about through the air. Birds fled the trees, screaming in terror.
Neither he nor Randall said anything for several long minutes. The priest stared straight into Aidan’s blood-red eyes, shaking and terrified.

“Y-y-you’re a monster.” Randall stammered. “I-if it were up to me, you would be banished from the Empire!! Exiled with that heathen Elf of yours!”

Aidan continued to stare at him, full of disdain. It was bad enough that he had to worry about the Blade, now one of the only two people in the Griffin Empire he’d seen since he was nearly a child despised him.

“The compassion of Elrath.” he sneered.

The next few days were painfully slow. Aidan and Randall barely spoke to each other at all. The extent of their communications were a few nervous glances from the Archbishop, and the occasional gesture to point out when they were changing direction. On the bright side, the rain was finally letting up.

When they finally arrived at Talonguard, Murazel was there to greet them.

“Ah, you made it. I was beginning to worry.” She eyed Aidan’s uncovered arm. Rather than demanding he bandage it up again, she simply gave a frown of disapproval.

The marketplace was bustling with activity. One man was selling fish (Freshly caught! The best in the city!), a woman was selling homemade pies (Made with fruit so ripe it would impress the king himself!). Children were playing tag and giggling, as a dwarf was spitting ale out of his nose in laughter at the joke the fish man had told him. And best of all, the day was clear, not a cloud in the sky, and there was a nice breeze to go with the warm air. Aidan couldn’t help but be disgusted by it all.

“It’s the Blade.”, he thought to himself. “I can’t let it control me anymore. I am the master, not it. I’ve just been on edge the past few days, that’s all. Chances are I’ll be able to set things right with Godric today… Chances are I’ll get to be a part of our family again...”

At last they reached the beautiful marble staircase engraved with the deeds of history’s greatest heroes, Aidan remembered all the times he had chased Fiona around the courtyard at the top. He smiled to himself. “She always did hate frogs. I doubt they would have gotten to her now, having been a ghost for weeks before she was brought back. What I wouldn’t give to have her back now…”

His train of thought was interrupted when Murazel had to catch him as he tripped. He had spaced out, and not noticed when he reached the top of the stairs. Several of the guests witnessing this spectacle started to laugh until his arm showed from under his cloak. Then, silence. It spread throughout the courtyard like a ripple in a pond.

He was starting to get very uncomfortable with all these eyes on him. He had never met most of these people, but the fact that most of them knew who he was now was very unsettling to him. Murazel was about to tell everyone that his arm was none of their concern, when a girl of roughly 20 approached him.

He  knew he had never met this girl before, yet he could not deny that there was something eerily familiar about her. She was donned in armor that appeared freshly forged, and her long, brown curls
gave off an aura of grace. It was her eyes that gave her away.

“Hello sir. I don’t believe we’ve met! My name is-”

“Freyda Unicorn.” Aidan’s eyes began to water. “I’m glad to meet you after all these years… Can you take me to my brother?”

End

Chapter 3-Godric's POV

"Father! Nicolai! There's someone you should see!" Freyda was running towards them, her face full of curiosity and excitement. Godric had rarely spoken to her about his brother. Most people were terrified of him, speaking of him as if he were some type of monster. Stories about how he could command demons, some even said he was a demon himself. There was a grain of truth to many of these stories, so he never knew what to say. When Aidan had saved his life from the cultist Azh Rafir, he had indeed been commanding an army of demons, although that power was the Blade of Binding's, not truly Aidan's. To be sure, the first thing you noticed when seeing him for the first time was the Blade of Binding protruding from his deformed hand, and the way the corruption had spread up his arm and into his shoulder. His viridian cloak flowing in the breeze behind him gave him an aura of power. But what struck Godric the most was how little he had seemed to age. He was a bit taller, and he had stubble adorning his face, but he showed no signs of frailty, his skin had naught a wrinkle, and his hair was just as bright as it had been when they were young. He recognized Archangel Murazel and Archbishop Randall to either side of him. They looked nervous, although the Angel hid it better.

"Godric... Is this...?" Nicolai beheld the disgraced lord with awe. The pendant he was wearing started to glow slightly, the intensity of the light increased as Aidan approached. Freyda looked as though she was trying to decide what question to ask first. It was just as well. He barely heard Nicolai, he wouldn't have heard Freyda either.

He just stood there, wide-eyed and speechless.

"I...Is it really you?"

"Do you know anyone else with a sword for an arm?" The ginger man gave a crooked smile. "I'd hug you, but it could be a tad hazardous."

Godric ignored him and embraced his brother. He could feel the awful power emanating from the Blade, and lurched back. Aidan looked like somebody had punched him in the stomach for a split second, and then laughed.

"What's the matter Godric? Has my arm frightened you? I apologize, your holiness!" He seemed to have relaxed a bit. Godric knew what was bothering him, but didn't think now was the time to address the elephant in the room. He was meeting his niece and nephew for the first time, and it was a historic day. There was no need to cause a scene by bringing up the circumstances of their last encounter.

"He should be frightened!" Randall was shaking with anger. "This abomination has no place anywhere near our king! The king of the HOLY Empire! I say he should-"

"RANDALL!". Murazel was typically so calm, it was strange to hear her raise her voice. "I believe you have a speech to be rehearsing? Don't forget that I am an Archangel! My word carries a lot of weight when naming Archbishop. It would be a shame if it were determined that the incumbent was reflecting poorly on the Church of Elrath."

"Reflecting poorly! Truth is one of the chief principals of Elrath, is it not? And the truth is that Aidan is a danger to the king and the rest of us! Just on the way here-"

"Enough, Archbishop! Aidan was instrumental in ending the last Eclipse before it started! I, for one, am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Now, I'll ask you to leave. Freyda and I would like to speak to our uncle." With a wave of his hand, Nicolai gestured for Murazel to remove Randall from the vicinity. Godric was relieved. The last thing Aidan needed was to have the head of the Church publically denounce him on his first day back. He wasn't surprised though, given the circumstances of his forced departure...

And so Aidan answered all the questions he could for Nicolai and Freyda, whose eyes shone with a wonder rarely seen in adults as he told them about his time spent in Irollan with Anwen, about the adventures he had in Sheogh with his succubus companion Jezebeth, about his pilgrimage throughout Ashan learning to control his powers, and about Fiona. Hours, it took, and as guests from all across the Empire, and all of Ashan, poured into the courtyard, heads turned when they saw Godric's brother, Blade and all, standing just outside the holiest building in the world. Not all the glances were hostile, however. Among the stream of admirers and critics was another face Godric hadn't seen in years, albeit a much less surprising one.

"King Nicolai, the Elves of Irollan wish you a most happy wedding day and a long, prosperous rule." The Elf was a bit older than he was, but due to the much longer lifespan Elves were blessed with, looked to be roughly 20. He had long, blonde braids trailing down either shoulder, and green tattoos on his face and arms signifying his status chief as chief ambassador to the Griffin Empire.

"The Empire welcomes you, Findan." Nicolai smiled at the Ranger.

"Is this the same Findan who rescued you from Demons, father?" Freyda asked, star-struck.

"It is. By Elrath, should I expect Anwen as well?" For a moment, Godric's melancholic longing to see his sister vanished as he was filled with nostalgia. With Aidan's sudden return to the capitol and Findan's presence, he felt 40 years younger.

'I'm afraid not, old friend. She exiled herself years ago. She seems to believe that since we solidified our alliance with the Empire we've been rather too lax on our border security." He then turned to Aidan. "You need no introduction, my lord." The Elf bowed. "I don't believe we've met. I am Findan. I have heard much about you in letters sent by my cousin. She told me you might be here. I am pleased to finally meet you."

Aidan smirked. "Ah, yes. I've heard much about you as well. Anwen often referred to you as "the stickler".Charmed. I'd shake your hand, but alas, I wouldn't want to cut you."

"The Stickler" didn't know how to respond to that.

"He takes some getting used to, but he is a good man." Godric assured his old friend.

"Very well Godric. I'd love to catch up, but I must speak to Lady Isabel. It was very nice meeting you Aidan. Freyda, we must get to know each other later. Your Highness." Findan bowed and went into the cathedral.

"Speaking of Lady Isabel," Godric wondered aloud, "Where is she? I haven't seen her all evening."

Nicolai laughed rather loudly at that. "Ah, yes, my bride-to-be! I'm afraid she was rather too entertained by a joke of Duke Duncan's, and she spilled wine over her dress. Abess Beatrice, bless the poor woman, had to dye the whole thing over to cover the stain! Perhaps I should have notified Findan. I'll see you at the ceremony, uncle!" And with that, the young king vanished indoors.

"Poor Beatrice." Freyda sighed. "I hope this sort of thing won't be a regular occurrence. I'd hate to be promoted to the Praetorian Guard only to be a glorified assistant to her. Let's hope Lady Kirin grows more accustomed to life in court."

"There's a Kirin Duchy? How long was I gone?" Aidan inquired. "And furthermore, I can't believe the Dukes would allow someone from a Duchy so young I wouldn't know it to be Queen! What qualifications could she possibly have?"

"All I know is that our King loves her, Aidan. I don't think he ever gave the courts much of a say. I can't say I don't agree with your concerns, but ultimately there's nothing we can do but hope she and Nicolai are up to the task." Godric did sympathize with his brother, truly, but he had faith everything would sort itself out. The Griffin Empire hadn't survived 2 Eclipses just to succumb to incompetent rulers, had it?

At last, the time had come for the ceremony to take place. As the guests poured into the grand, mahogany doors of the cathedral, the old knight lingered behind them for a moment, and stood at the top of the marble stairs to admire the way the sun set over the city. It painted the sky a brilliant golden shade of orange, and the way it shone through the apple trees of the gardens could only be described as breathtaking.

"Aidan is back, Fiona." Godric whispered to nobody but the memory of his sister. "We didn't speak of you. It felt like everything that could have been said didn't need words. Nicolai misses you. I know he would want you to be here. I promise you, that I will do everything in my power to ensure that he can be the great king you would have wanted him to be. I promise..." And with that, he turned to walk inside.

The cathedral was rather dark; the only lighting was the remaining sunlight creeping in through the brilliantly stained glass windows. They depicted King Ivan and his Shadow Council laying out the laws of the newly founded Griffin Empire. Among them were Tanis, the Silver Rose, one of the most powerful wizards of her day.Kente, Ivan's Master-of-Arms, and his ambassador to the Orcs of the Saharr Desert. Murazel looked exactly the same as she did today. Lasir, Anwen's father and Findan's uncle and predecessor as the chief ambassador to the Griffin Empire. Godric, Aidan, and Findan had all watched him die protecting them together. The Necromancer Anastasya Griffin, a distant aunt of Nicolai's and the Hierophant of the Spider Goddess. Finally, there was a sixth advisor whose face had been erased from the window by the Church, due to alleged treason. His (Godric thought it looked like a man, anyway) name and face had been long forgotten, but his deed immortal.

The tables were arranged in six columns, three to the left of the aisle and three to the right. Godric's place was standing in front of the right columns, across from Nicolai's half-brother Andrei standing in front of the left. The boy was only nine, but he wore a full suit of armor made specially for him, and he wore it well. He was a snow, and so he would never inherit any of the Griffin family's wealth or lands, but Godric could tell that he had a bright future ahead of him nonetheless. Perhaps Nicolai would even grant him his own Duchy someday.

As Godric walked down the aisle to get to his place, he saw the table Freyda and Aidan were sitting at to his left; with them were Sir Laszlo, Duke Duncan, and Sir Tomas. A few tables up he saw Findan and Abess Beatrice, along with Lady Irina, Murazel, the Cleric Alaric, and an empty seat. He found himself wondering who the seat was meant for, when rushing past him was an Elf.

"Strange..." He thought. "Did Irollan send two ambassadors?"

His question was answered when the Elf got to his seat. He had bright orange hair, and was dressed in long, lavender robes. He was much paler than Findan, looking as if he had never seen the sun in his life.

"Apologies!" He announced rather too loudly. "Elleshar, of the Shadowbrand Clan of Ygg-Chall! I'm afraid our decision to send a representative was last-minute, but I see a seat was ever so graciously saved for me nonetheless!" He was about to sit down next to Findan when he stood up.

"Who do you think you are, sir?" Findan was visibly angry. "A Dark Elf, a traitor to Irollan and Sylanna, simply decides to show up, and thinks he can sit wherever he pleases? That seat was left for my cousin Anwen, who unfortunately couldn't attend. I will not have her honor slighted by the presence of one of Tuidana's scoundrels!"

The Dark Elf stared Findan down for what felt like an eternity. "Such anger..." he finally hissed, "...it's so... unharmonious."

"How. Dare. You." Findan was struggling not to shout.

"Far be it from me to anger one of the Griffin's top allies!" Elleshar announced. "Just know that I will not forget this, stargazer." On his way out he passed Aidan, who let out a small, barely noticeable, gasp of pain.

Elleshar caught it.

"Ah... yes. You must be the one I've heard so much about. Aidan Unicorn, servant of Urgash. I love the double standard set here, it's really very charming." Without asking, he reached out and took Aidan by where his wrist was, before his fusing with the demonic weapon. Aidan was screaming in pain. "Not so powerful now, are you? Is this all the famed "Blade of Binding" is? It's a wonder you were able to defeat Azh Rafir." With that, he gently released Aidan and gracefully made his exit. There was a stunned silence that lingered throughout the room until Archbishop Randall finally entered, standing atop a platform at the end of the aisle.

Shortly after, the choir began to sing and it almost seemed as if the events of a few moments ago had been completely forgotten. Nicolai and Isabel entered the room holding hands, both donned in expertly crafted armor (apparently Beatrice hadn't gotten the stains out of Isabel's dress).

"Are you nervous?" Nicolai asked his betrothed.

"A little. Mostly I feel silly in this armor." She responded.

"Oh Isabel, we're here to celebrate, not to climb trees in a wardrobe. Besides, you look great." He assured her.

Archbishop Randall cleared his throat.

"We are gathered here today to witness the marriage of our beloved sovereign Nicolai, King of our Holy Empire, to our fair Lady, Isabel, the jewel of the Kirin Duchy. May-"

The next events happened so fast that they would all seem like a blur to Godric when he later tried to recall them. Aidan let out a horrible cry of agony and collapsed. Nicolai, Godric, and all the other warriors present drew their weapons almost in unison. Murazel began to cast light magic spells of all kinds as a horrible, monstrous Devil appeared out of nowhere behind Randall and flung him aside like a ragdoll.

"GODRIC! FREYDA! TAKE ISABEL TO SAFETY!"

End


Chapter 4 - Isabel's POV

"The city is under siege! We must retreat to the Summer Palace!"

Godric's voice was nearly drowned out by the ringing in her ears. It had all happened so suddenly. One second she was the happiest she had ever been, about to marry the love of her life and become Queen, and the next...

"No!" She screamed. "I can't leave him!" Nicolai was in there fighting off an archdevil, and probably even more lesser demons. All around her was the smell of sulfur and burning bodies. Most of the guests that had been closer to the door had fled outside, only to find it was just as bad. Several of the dead wore the faces of people she knew. Some distant cousins, a childhood friend or two. Were it not for the adrenaline and confusion filling her head, she would have broke down crying then and there. Not all of them had died, however. Alaric was launching small bolts of sunfire at a succubus, who shot back flames of her own. A young knight (she thought he was, anyway) was swatting at several imps with his warhammar as they took turns lunging at him. Laszlo was barking orders at the city guards who had arrived at the scene.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a hellound charge in her direction, only to be stopped by Freyda as she kicked the beast squarely in the muzzle and then stabbed it through it's spine.

"Lady Isabel, this is war!" Freyda had grabbed her by the shoulders and was trying to shake her back to reality. "And you are not a warrior!" It was true. She wasn't.

"But perhaps I should be.", she was about to say when a horrible screech is cut through the air. Across the courtyard, Irena's griffin was being surrounded by several small, brutish creatures with the horns and beard of a goat, but otherwise looked somewhat like orange hunchbacked orcs. They clawed and scratched at the poor creature with their massive paws as it tried in vain to shake them off. The beast fought valiantly and took a few demons down before finally succumbing to the relentless attacks.

By now Laszlo had gathered a dozen or so guards and had them form a shield wall at the top of the stairs leading out of the courtyard and into the city. With their spears pointed outward, they tried to advance and clear a path for Isabel and her guardians, but they were barely holding off the waves of attrition being thrown against them. From behind them, a broken, glowing sword swung at Isabel's head out of the smoke of a burning apple tree. She ducked underneath it in the nick of time as Laszlo spun around to meet their assailant.

She gaped in terror at the horrible form of the sword's wielder. A lizardlike demon with the arms of a man and the wings of a bone dragon let out a battle cry that sounded like nails on steel. The Pit Lord raised it's vorporal sword above it's head, readying a strike that would easily cut through the arms master's shield and armor. Laszlo raised his shield above his head as if to make a desperate attempt to block the attack.

The monster took the bait. With another evil scream, it swung it's weapon down, only to recoil in pain as Laszlo suddenly charged forward and rammed his shield into the beast's chest. Quick as one could blink, the knight took the opportunity to cleanly decapitate the demon in one fluid motion.

Isabel was finally able to process what was obviously going on. There was no eclipse in they sky allowing the demons to break free from Sheogh on their own. That could only mean a cultist or very powerful wizard had summoned them here.

She had not been paying attention to what Godric was doing, but now she saw. With Laszlo and his soldiers holding off the demons, the paladin had the chance to recite a benediction, revealing a trapdoor in the golden fountain's shadow. Freyda took the royal bride by the arm and lead her gently, but quickly towards the fountain when she hesitated. Isabel realized it would be hard to convince Freyda to leave Laszlo behind.

"Move!" Laszlo called to her as she looked over her shoulder back at him. More and more of the creatures that had killed the griffin were clawing their way from the streets below and up to the courtyard. "My men and I haven't earned our reputation for nothing! We'll clear this filth out, and if we need to we'll follow them through their damned gates!"

Freyda was still hesitant. "My lady-"

She was cut off by a man crying out it pain. Alaric seemed to have lost his battle with the succubus. He was clutching his shoulder in agony while writhing on the ground and calling for a healer. Just as the succubus was moving in on it's prey, the man with the warhammar flanked her from the left and crushed her skull with his hammer.

"Freyda, you are in my husband's Honor Guard, which means you answer to me! I order you to come with myself and your father to safety!" That was the first time Isabel had issued a direct command to someone other than a maid or a cook. She thought she saw a glimpse of defiance in the young woman's eyes, but it vanished as soon as it had appeared. She enjoyed the rush of power she felt. Almost without thinking she yelled over to the man with the hammer: "You there, come with us! We'll need your help if we run into another pit lord!"

Godric spoke up.

"Lady Isabel, this is Tomas. Many call him "Sir" but he is no knight. He is a drunken mercenary without a shred of honor!"

The man named Tomas ignored him and made his way to them. "As my lady commands." He slung his hammer over his right shoulder and pulled open the trap door. Then he turned his head towards Godric.

"After you, my lord", he said, making no attempt to hide the irritation in his voice.

Godric sighed. "We don't have time for this. Our sole priority is to get you out of the city safely, my lady". He took her by the arm much the same way Freyda had, and led her down the spiral staircase below the fountain.

The further down they went, the stronger the smells of damp wood and mold grew. Isabel couldn't help but wonder when the last time anyone had been down here was. Just as she and Godric had reached the bottom of the stairs, she heard Tomas grunt and the deep groan of iron as he closed the heavy trap door behind them. Judging by the sound of clanking armor, Freyda was about half way down.

The space between the walls of the tunnel they had entered was narrow, and they almost had to walk single file. It was dark, but thankfully there was a torch on the left wall at the foot of the staircase. Godric was reaching for it when Tomas cleared his throat in a rather obnoxious manner.

"We wouldn't want an important lord such as yourself getting injured, would we? Especially at your age. Better let someone more... expendable, lead the way."

Godric furrowed his brow, and with a "Hrumph!" he he turned around and passed the torch to the brute of a man.

Now that they were relatively safe, and he was well lit by the torchlight, Isabel finally got a good look at this "knight".

From afar he had seemed to be scarcely older than 20, but now that she could clearly see him, he appeared to be significantly younger than Godric, but still past his prime. His hair was short cut and jet black, and his beet-red face looked like it hadn't been washed in weeks. The smell wasn't much better. He was fairly short, yet stocky, giving him the appearance of a very tall dwarf, and his rather larger-than-necessary nose looked half broken. The bags around his watery eyes further contributed to the unpleasant look of him.

"What a wretched looking man!" Isabel thought to herself. Although she had to admit his prowess in battle was impressive, and he had responded to her command for him to follow rather well. Yes, he would do for a bodyguard. Rather nicely, in fact.

While nothing about the geography of the tunnel changed much as they proceeded, the air was starting to grow staler as they moved further underground. Godric was coughing more and more.

"Stop!" Isabel ordered. Godric was by all accounts a good man, and he was Nicolai's uncle besides. She had no desire to work him to death.

"Godric, we can stop now if we must. We're safe here, there's no need to push yourself any harder."

Freyda offered he father a flask of water.

"We'll take a short rest and catch up to you, m'lady." Freyda insisted. "We've been down here for a few hours without any sign on imminent attacks. You should be safe with Tomas."

Godric tried to protest but was interrupted by Tomas's laugh.

"That's a new one! Trust the honorless cutthroat with his majesty's bride? That's a new one. But you're right my dear, Lord Unicorn needs to take a break, Lady Kirin can't stop here and someone other than me needs to stay behind with his righteousness. Right this way, my lady."

And so they continued for another hour or so in relative silence until the air gradually started to smell fresher and fresher and finally there was an old wooden ladder leading up to an even older and slightly rotten wooden trapdoor with thin beams of sunlight shining through. Relief swept through Isabel. And yet there was still one topic that she couldn't shake her curiosity of.

"Tomas? They call you "Sir" but you are clearly no knight. How did that come to be?"

The man turned to face her, with a bitter smirk on his face.

"You have better things to worry about right now. Maybe someday I'll tell you."

End (I'm not that happy with this chapter tbh it doesn't feel natural to me. Thoughts?)

Constructive criticism is of course welcome, but just keep in mind that most of my writing experience comes from monologues and satire. I probably have some grammar problems here and there too.

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NimoStar
NimoStar


Promising
Famous Hero
Modding the Unmoddable
posted December 17, 2017 09:54 PM
Edited by NimoStar at 22:02, 17 Dec 2017.

I think for being on high-school your writing is quite fine, and I don't spot any errors at eagle's eye.

If you like the base story/game then go for, it, But I woudn'0t expect a huge following from remaking "better" a story considered bad.

Plus, with it being on Ashan, you won't get the old-school "hardcore" fans even if you try to correct it a bit.

Yet, the super-ashan fans will also take issue with you changing their beloved world :V

anyways... Ashan fans are not so hardcore as traditional fans, so maybe you get some support from them. Message Antalyan (you can find him around, mostly in H7 section), he's like the king of ashanites and can surely give you feedback and even ideas and follow your project :v

I am not an ashanite myself because of some factors:
1- The world background. Everything being god-based is not my style. Old M&M universe was ancient tech-based with planets, multiverse and other cool stuff. Monster races were mostly natural instead of every creature origins story being "Wizards did it and then gave it away" like in Ashan.
2- Story is too Haven-Centric with emphasis on white knights, angels and stuff. Sure, old Heroes games had haven-centricity problems to me too. But they also had other campaigns and stories which were not Haven(Castle)-centric at all. For example the Tarnum story which is actually more interesting, or the Sword of Frost and Armaggedon Blade... which was about a Barbarian hero (Kilgor) and a Rampart hero (Gelu). If this was in Ashan, it would have SURELY been a knight lord prince of Haven Vs. some red stereotypical muscle demon...

Anyways, despite this I still support your project of expanding into something you (sort of) like, or at least think it has potential.

____________
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Antalyan
Antalyan


Promising
Supreme Hero
H7 Forever
posted December 20, 2017 05:55 PM

A really cool idea and outstanding job I must admit!
I have always liked the lore any everything connected with it, so it was a very annoying issue for me that the H5 story setting did not fit the later defined world well.

While reading what you've written so far, I even felt a shiver running down my spine at one moment... I felt the atmosphere of that very moment as if it really happened.

I can feel you really know a lot about Ashan, it seems you played both H6 and H7, too (or you read enough about their stories at least). I like the references to the later (or previous in regards of chronology) games, it makes the world much more complex.

The only thing I did not unerstand much was this part:

Rimgrabber said:

That hardly surprised Godric. “She’s certainly passionate, but inexperienced. Her father was lowborn, but was elevated to the rank of Duke after the last eclipse for his service. Many people, commoners and nobles alike, are uncertain how they feel about someone from such a new Duchy becoming queen.



Which "new Duchy" are you speaking about? Greyhounds have always been the part of the Empire, unlike Ravens.

---

I'm looking forward to reading the next part, I just hope you won't lose your enthusiasm soon. If I can give you a small piece of advice, don't rush too much, not because of a (usually) poor result quality but because you would stop enjoying doing that soon

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Galaad
Galaad

Hero of Order
Li mort as morz, li vif as vis
posted December 21, 2017 09:52 AM

NimoStar said:
I woudn'0t expect a huge following from remaking "better" a story considered bad.


This.
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Elvin
Elvin


Admirable
Omnipresent Hero
What if Elvin was female?
posted December 21, 2017 01:07 PM

I am more into gameplay and immersion when it comes to heroes but it is always good to see it inspire someone to write Even if it involves Ashan hoho.
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Rimgrabber
Rimgrabber


Adventuring Hero
It's a fixer-upper
posted December 21, 2017 07:53 PM
Edited by Rimgrabber at 20:17, 21 Dec 2017.

Antalyan said:

The only thing I did not unerstand much was this part:

Rimgrabber said:

That hardly surprised Godric. she's certainly passionate, but inexperienced. Her father was lowborn, but was elevated to the rank of Duke after the last eclipse for his service. Many people, commoners and nobles alike, are uncertain how they feel about someone from such a new Duchy becoming queen.



Which "new Duchy" are you speaking about? Greyhounds have always been the part of the Empire, unlike Ravens.





Thanks so much for the kind feedback! As I said, I'm changing some parts of the lore here and there if I think it helps the story. I liked the idea of the Greyhound being a newer Duchy because I felt like it gave the civil war a better reason to happen. Along that theme, I'm probably also going to have Andrei be Nicolai's illegitimate brother instead of his cousin, giving Isabel a stronger, but more controversial claim to the throne.

NimoStar said:

If you like the base story/game then go for, it, But I woudn'0t expect a huge following from remaking "better" a story considered bad.

Plus, with it being on Ashan, you won't get the old-school "hardcore" fans even if you try to correct it a bit.

Yet, the super-ashan fans will also take issue with you changing their beloved world :V



Haha yeah don't worry I don't have any delusions of grandeur, this was just a project born of my nostalgia and boredom.

Elvin said:

I am more into gameplay and immersion when it comes to heroes but it is always good to see it inspire someone to write  Even if it involves Ashan hoho.



I'm usually more into gameplay too, but H5 was one of the first games I ever played, so growing up and realizing how badly written the story actually was made me want to try and fix it up the best I could.
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http://heroescommunity.com/viewthread.php3?TID=44170
^ my dead proposal thread. Maybe I'll update it again someday
http://heroescommunity.com/viewthread.php3?TID=44815
^ My novelization of HoMM 5

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Antalyan
Antalyan


Promising
Supreme Hero
H7 Forever
posted December 21, 2017 09:16 PM

Rimgrabber said:

Thanks so much for the kind feedback! As I said, I'm changing some parts of the lore here and there if I think it helps the story. I liked the idea of the Greyhound being a newer Duchy because I felt like it gave the civil war a better reason to happen. Along that theme, I'm probably also going to have Andrei be Nicolai's illegitimate brother instead of his cousin, giving Isabel a stronger, but more controversial claim to the throne.


Changing some parts of the lore makes sense, especially as the story itself doesn't even fit it in some its parts. Small changes like the relationships or so seem absolutely fine to me, or even necessary for a better story impression.
Nevertheless, it might be just my opinion but I wouldn't go for the ones which go against what's explained in H6 and H7. In this very special case, Greyhound Duchy has an important role in the 10 Years War already, so I don't think it can be easily changed to a new one without illogical consequences.


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Rimgrabber
Rimgrabber


Adventuring Hero
It's a fixer-upper
posted December 21, 2017 10:45 PM

Antalyan said:

Changing some parts of the lore makes sense, especially as the story itself doesn't even fit it in some its parts. Small changes like the relationships or so seem absolutely fine to me, or even necessary for a better story impression.
Nevertheless, it might be just my opinion but I wouldn't go for the ones which go against what's explained in H6 and H7. In this very special case, Greyhound Duchy has an important role in the 10 Years War already, so I don't think it can be easily changed to a new one without illogical consequences.



I might change some stuff that's already been explained, at least a little (the dark elves' origin story, for example) but I didn't remember how important the Greyhound were in the 10 Years War. Now that you point that out, I think I'll make Isabel a member of a non-canon Duchy, so as to not infringe on a part of the lore that I don't think anyone has a problem with.
____________
http://heroescommunity.com/viewthread.php3?TID=44170
^ my dead proposal thread. Maybe I'll update it again someday
http://heroescommunity.com/viewthread.php3?TID=44815
^ My novelization of HoMM 5

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