[USS Vanguard] Barbarians at the Gate

  • From: "Soman Drath" <karma_tsunami@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: ncv80221@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 27 Aug 2001 02:05:24 -0400

From Christopher Jackson

Sir Soman of Drathmore
The Plains of Astoria

The sword flew past, terrifyingly close to his face.  Soman managed to dodge 
the slash; and,  taking advantage of his opponent's error, thrust his own sword 
home, ending that short melee.  As soon as it finished, another ensued.  The 
battle moved in slow motion around him as Soman kicked his latest oncoming 
attacker, throwing him off balance.   In one swift motion, Soman yanked his 
sword from his last assailant and sliced his current foe in down the center.  
Soman looked at his weapon, the silver, four pronged hilt of Astoria glinted in 
the morning day light; his senses reeling from this latest dispatch.  The rush 
was so great that Soman nearly forgot the purpose of this fight.  The lapse in 
memory was only momentary, for when he looked up, he saw the prize he and his 
men sought: Regulas Tower.  

The tower had been in the possession of the Regent Crowl.  A year ago, it had 
been taken by force by barbarians from another land and used as their 
stronghold for pillaging the countryside.   The rulership of the lands had come 
together for the first time in recent history in their call for action.  As a 
free knight, Soman among many others had been tasked with retaking Astoria 
tower.  Soman served no particular sire but was acknowledged as a knight in all 
the lands and lived by the precepts of knighthood.  That includes following 
through on honorable crusade, such as this one.

Looking around, the field was littered with bodies.  Most of them were 
barbarians.  His men stood, winded and haggard, but alive and ready for more.  
Soman rushed the gates of the tower, Astoria  raised.  


The group cried out as Soman and his men made their final push.  Rushing past 
two guards, already in the middle of a fight, Soman made his way into the 
tower. Shortly followed by several other armored soldiers.  Soman reached to 
top and was greeted by two larger than normal brutes.  The leader and his 
second raised their axes and bore down on Soman who responded in kind.  
Pressing a button on the handle, Soman spun around and emerged with Astoria, 
now split in two halves.  The blades each found their mark.  Each barbarian's 
momentum impaled them on the waiting blades.  Letting the two fall to the 
floor, Soman pulled his blades and reattached them.  Moving to the top of the 
stair, Soman noticed that the fighting was dying down.  

Soman: VICTORY!!!!

His cry was greeted with the resounding response of his men.  Regulas had been 
taken back.  Later that evening, Soman sat in the private chambers of Regulas 
Tower, writing an account of the battle and the state of the tower for King 
Midra.  An aid knocked on the door.

Soman: Enter.  What is it

Aide: Sir, there's a woman outside who wishes to see you.

Soman: I have not time for such luxuries this night.  Send her away.

The aide blushed for a second.

Aide: Sir, she's . . .

Woman: I am most flattered, sir knight, but I am not here for that either.

A woman dressed in black robes made her way past the startled aide.

Woman: maybe later, hmm?
She smiled and Soman noticed a wink from under the hood.
Soman dismissed the aide and had the woman to sit down, sharing a cup of tea.

Soman: Forgive my hospitality.  We are soldiers.  Now that you are here, what 
do you want?

Woman: As you have completed your task of taking Regulas, I have come to 
formally task you with another crusade.  No rest for the weary, aye?

Soman: On who's authority do you come?

Woman: The keeper of castle Vaughn Guard sends me.  I am to give you this note.

Soman: I don't take the mention of that place lightly.  

Soman took the letter.  Spotting the gold wax seal of the Lady of Vaughn Guard, 
Soman knew it to be genuine.  To his dread, Soman broke the seal and removed 
the letter, remembering his last dealings with the lady.

Dear sir knight,
a grave situation has arisen that requires immediate attention.  A powerful 
talisman known as the Twilight Stone has turned up in our land.  It cannot be 
allowed to fall into the hands of those who would pervert it's power.  Should 
it fall into the wrong hands, it would mean almost certain doom for us all.  I 
have tasked you and others with it's retrieval.  I know we have had a bad 
history, sir knight, but I assure you that this is an honorable crusade and 
requires your immedaite attention.  Please come alone.

Soman laid the parchment on the table and sat quietly, finally giving in.  He 
knew as well as the Lady did, that his honor as a knight would not allow him to 
refuse; especially after the language of the letter.  

Soman: Very well.  I'll be leaving for Vaughn Guard tonight.

The woman, grabbed Soman's arm.  Her grip was stronger than Soman expected.

Woman: Your destination is not Vaughn Gaurd.  You must meet up with the others. 
 Take this.  It will guide your way and protect you.

Soman looked down at the strange amulet in his hand.  It seemed to glow even 
though it was not in direct light.

Woman: Go now! You must hurry!

Soman placed the amulet around his neck; collected Astoria and some supplies; 
and left camp.  He hated to leave his men, but as the battle was won, he was 
not worried for their well being. Atop Hurricane, his fastest steed, Soman made 
his way towards the unknown.   


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