The fall of Yew, and the rescue of Iyona Konuo

It is with a heavy heart that I tell this tale. I almost keep this to myself, but I am a bard when I am not actively seeking treasure, and it therefore my duty to tell tales, though usually they have happy endings.

The ranger's gem went red last night, signalling a call to Britannia's heroes. While I'd never be so forward as to call myself a hero, I do like to think that I can help in small ways, if only to keep others informed.

When the gem is activated, Britannia's saviors know that their guide will be with them in a few hours. The ranger's hut was populated for a long while with anxious elves and humans, yet no one came. A growing sense of dread grew over everyone as time passed, for what could keep Britannia's leaders so occupied?

The last time I heeded the call, things took place in the large community center in Skara Brae, so I went to have a look there, but there was no one to be found.

Some passed the time in play, trying to make light of what it might mean for the gem's keepers to be so absent.

Even the best-informed citizenry were clueless as to what events might be transpiring.

After much hand-wringing, however, the gem finally vanished, and the town criers told the stalwart heroes where to meet. Kalis Sevren, an imposing and charismatic man, and Clainin, a slight but wise sage, appeared to tell those gathered the grim news.

Yew had been invaded by the same forces that have held Delucia for the last many months, and that have recently begun invading other towns throughout Britannia. Maps in hand, Clainin and Kalis Sevren spoke to the Royal Guard about Yew's invasion, and how Skara Brae and Britain were feared to be the next targets.

While Yew has been lost, we were told that the citizenry escaped beforehand, which was a relief to all gathered. Britain was the next concern, and we were shown on the maps the three vital passes through the Serpent's Spine Mountains that must be protected. Fortifications must be made there, we were told, and we were all ushered through a magical gate by Sevren to each of the passes, to view them firsthand.

Though difficult to see amongst our small army, we were told by Sevren that there were stockpiles of ore and wood nearby, and that these stockpiles must be increased to provide adequate resources to build defenses. I tarried briefly to see these stockpiles myself before following to the next pass.

The numbers of the Royal Guard that attended to Sevren's call were visually impressive, and I wondered if indeed we would need fortifications if such an army had been gathered to defend Britannia. Surely, no orc forces could make their way through all of us!

After visiting each pass, we all returned to the ranger's hut. Clainin was there, and had dire news -- Yew had not been completely evacuated! There were some citizens still within the city, being held in the worst of places -- the jails of the Court of Truth. Being the more immediate task, the defense of the passes was forgotten as everyone's thoughts went to the people of Yew. While I didn't admit it to anyone, I was secretly pleased that the prisoners were in the prison, for I finally saw a way I could help! Being an experienced treasure hunter, I have a way around locks, and knew that I could be of assistance.

A gate was immediately opened by Sevren to take us to Yew. Instead of appearing at Yew, however, we found ourselves in the northern deserts of the Lost Lands. Of course! The Lighthouse there has a secret entrance to the prison. I now see why Sevren leads us; I would have led us all to the front gates of the Court of Truth -- and to our deaths.

After traversing underground caverns, many of us found ourselves in a storeroom inside the Court. But there was no way out! I was told that a certain wall was known to be a secret door, but try as we might, we could not make it budge. We were trapped! Being outsmarted by orcs is not something that I enjoy, so I took it upon myself to leave the room and tackle the prison head-on.

It was worse than I had thought. Orcs, ratmen, trolls, ogres... and some enormous creatures that towered over them all, but still had the look of orcs. The ground was covered in bodies, making me fear for my steed's footing. Many times I tried to wend my way through the enemy to reach the prison itself, but every time, ratmen archers would rain missiles down on me.

I did not fall, however, for my horse was able to take me from danger each time. I would cast my curative magicks, healing myself and other fallen warriors, and try once more. But the Royal Guard were unable to make a dent far enough into the Court to provide safe passage to the prison proper. I did what I could to bolster our forces, but the enemy seemed to number infinite. After what seemed hours of battle I received a magical communication from Kalin BlackBlood, a companion of mine who, while known to be unsavory, seems to have Britannia's interest at heart. Always a slippery character, he had managed to reach the inside of the prison, and beckoned for me to come and help release the prisoners!

Bloodied and weary, I tried a few more times to storm through the front gate, each time barely retreating with my life. I was told by BlackBlood that the entrance from the Lighthouse had been forcefully opened, so I attempted that route. Of course, I had no easy way to reach the Lighthouse, so I had to run all the way from the Lost Lands city of Papua to get there.

It is here that I hang my head low. While I did finally make it to the prison, I was too late. No, not in the way you are thinking. The cells were opened when I arrived. I had failed to contribute anything to the liberation of Yew's citizens. And here I was certain that I could finally be a productive member of the Royal Guard. Luckily for all involved, another warrior also had the requisite skills, and he or she was able to successfully reach the prison before myself.

While I arrived too late to see the prisoners freed, I was able to follow the end of the group of liberators to a moongate, which I assume was created by Kalis Sevren. We appeared in Britannia, at the Castle of our departed Lord British, with but one prisoner in tow, an Iyona Konuo. I truly hope that there were other survivors of Yew, and that they were whisked off to safety elsewhere.

Clainin was expecting us in the throne room of our King, and there the survivors of the prison break gathered to ensure that Iyona Konuo was safe and sound, something which Kalis Sevren himself tended to. Clainin thanked those involved for her safe recovery, for Iyona told those in the hall that she had heard something about the plans of the invaders, and thus she might provide vital details to the Defenders of Britannia.

Sullen, I left the hall, not deserving the thanks of the powers of Britannia. On my way out, some of the heroes were showing the spoils they had gathered while in the prison, antique shackles or something to that effect. While I knew I didn't deserve any reward for the evening's events, the thought of treasure has a strong hold on me, and I dared to venture back, thinking that I could perhaps find some trinket left behind. Reality quickly sank back in as I returned to the prison, for now there was no Royal Guard to distract the orc army, and I was quickly reminded why I failed to begin with, again barely escaping with my life.

As I returned to my house, despondent, I realized that there was something I could do, however small. I took a pile of ore from my guildmate's stores, went to the pass from Britain to Skara Brae, and started the arduous task of building Britain's fortifications.

Crwth of Pacific