Blog, The Fantasy Realm

A Fantasy Realm Tale: The Final Quest

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*The following is a transcript of a WHUS Radio FM broadcast aired on Wednesday, May 8, 2019 from 1-2 PM along with the music used to accompany the story*

THE FINAL QUEST


{Legends of Azeroth (Main Title) – Tracy Bush – World of Warcraft}

Good afternoon, traveler. For the past few months, you and I have shared many adventures through the portal of The Fantasy Realm. I have taken you to magical lands, to ferocious seas, to the past of humankind, and to the future of possibilities. We have shared laughter and tears, triumph and failure. It has been an honor.

The Council of the Sage Ones granted me the power to open this portal for you, so that you may learn not only about yourself but about others. However, the council has informed me that this generosity can continue no more. I am afraid this is the last time the portal will be opened for you, traveler.

I hope you don’t mind me being a bit selfish for our last time together, but my realm, The Fantasy Realm, is in danger. In my realm, chimeras are shadowed nightmares, and they are ravaging the magic of my land. The Sage Ones believe we can save our realm if the portal remains closed, but I do not think that will be enough. Even with the portal closed, they will continue to consume the realm before it is no more.

I have seen you do the most heroic acts, traveler. I believe you can save us from the chimeras and the sorcerer that reigns over them: Nocna Mora.

The elves and the dwarves of The Fantasy Realm have the largest armies. They are our best chance of defeating the chimeras, but the elves and the dwarves are not allies. You will have to convince them to set aside their differences in order to save the realm.

I know you can do it, traveler. I know it.

{Lily’s Theme – Alexandre Desplat – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)}

My home is a land of mystifying magic, daring adventures, and alluring tales. In our language, Draío, my home is named after the goddess of reverie, Fanntasia. In your language, it is known as The Fantasy Realm. The realm is home to many creatures and beings of different imaginings as well as beautiful rolling hills, spellbinding deserts, homely forests, and enchanting oceans.

As with any land, where there is great beauty, there must also be grim horrors.

A few months ago, The Council of the Sage Ones, including myself, gathered to find a light in a darkness that began to cloud our realm. A vile sorcerer by the name of Nocna Mora has spread darkness in the most cruel way. Ghastly smoky shadows made of nightmares are devastating the people of the realm. These shadows are called chimeras, and they have been slithering through the realm, draining the magic and energy of our lands.

It is because of this threat that we, The Sage Ones, opened this portal. We were in search of a source of magic we do not possess: the magic of human imagination. It is why I have guided you through so many adventures, traveler. You were helping us suppress the powers of Nocna Mora.

Regrettably, we underestimated the sorcerer. The chimeras are getting stronger, for as I said, all lands have both great beauty and grim horrors. The human realm, though powerful with its imagination, also has its own horrors that drain the energy of even the humans themselves. It seems those horrors are fueling the chimeras, and now our best hope is to close the portal before it is too late, but I am certain you can save us before the time comes for this portal to be closed.

I will guide you to Nocna Mora’s tower, but to get there, you need an army, a very large army. The elves and the dwarves of my realm have the largest and the most powerful armies, but they also have a history of quarrels, lies, and bitterness. If anyone can convince them to work together for the protection of The Fantasy Realm, it is you, traveler. You are a hero in every possible way. It is now I who begs for your heroism for the sake of my realm.

{Moonfall – Tracy Bush – World of Warcraft}

I ask for your discretion, traveler. I have not told the council of my intentions. In setting up a meeting with the elves and the dwarves, I’ve chosen a city The Sage Ones never visit: The City of Aaucan.

This ancient seaside city once belonged to a wealthy and greedy king, until he lost all that he owned, and so he burned the city in anger and despair. From the ashes, a city of wild, winsome flora was born. It is now so gorgeous, none dare claim it, and so it became the home of wanderers and rolling stones. No one particular person lives in this city. It is merely a waypoint for those who travel.

We will meet with the elven queen and the dwarven king in The Noble Hall of Aaucan. It is a magnificent hall with pillars made entirely of vines and the dining table made out of a fallen white-bark tree. The entrance has an elongated pond with stepping stones that lead to the soft moss that makes up the rest of the hall floor.

{Evenstar – Howard Shore – The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) [Bonus Track Version]}

The elven queen is Arcaena Faewynn. She is a bright star walking among the fair folk. Her hair is rose gold, braided in the most delicate fashion with budding flowers between the knots. She has kind, gray eyes with small, pale lips to match. She wears a regal gown of midsummer green with a cloak that is said to be woven with a siren’s melody in the weaving. Along with her fair beauty, she is a gifted elf with her magic. She is an enchantress, a seer, and an alchemist with a speciality in natural remedies. Arcaena exudes the spirit of the first day of spring. She is the small hint of a smile when sighting a robin bird for the first time after a long winter.  Ah, here she is now.

“Your world suffers, as does ours, and yet the light inside does not dim. It may deceive you, but hear my words, the light inside you holds more vigor than you’ll ever believe. I am afraid I cannot say the same for my people since the arrival of the chimeras.

“I am Arcaena Faewynn, the elven queen of the Northern Wood where the trees sing with us, and the winds stop to listen if they’ve the time. We are a people of song, for it is through song that we remember the memories of our lands and the voices of those that are gone. We are also admirers of the natural world. Our connection to the lands is fierce, and so when the stars weep or when the leaves rage, we listen. In return, the natural world grants us a peek into the future or into the past. We do not take this privilege lightly. We honor it.

“As one of the oldest beings of Fanntasia, we elves were the first to feel the chimeras’ presence. We felt them as one feels the chill after the fire is put out. The fire has been put out for a while before one starts to feel the cold of the night. My people are growing weak along with our lands. It pains us to feel our lands drained of what is rightfully theirs, the magic that runs through our realm. With this pain grows my anger. Nocna Mora is an evil spirit that must be vanquished before there is no magic left. That is why I have come. The Northern Wood has whispered for many nights now the importance of our role in the battle that is to come, and we will not ignore the call. The elves will stand to protect our home.

“What will we not stand for is sharing the same side of the battlefield with the imps of the south. The dwarves have always been a thorn in our history. The dwarves were our closest allies since the first era of this realm, until The War of the Sarrora Scrolls. Our armies fought side by side against a common enemy for the sacred scrolls, but in the end, our kinship of ancient beings died at the hands of those foul creatures. Dwarves are betrayers of vow. They are not to be trusted.

“Still, I hear the husky voice of our lands weaken to a whisper. Soon, the lands will not have a voice at all, and I do not wish to see that happen. I will face the dwarven king in the name of Fanntasia.”

{Pride of the Dwarves – Jamie Christopherson – The Lord of the Rings: The Battle For Middle-Earth 2 OST}

“Have ya a pint of something strong?”

Traveler, this is the Dwarven King Vobrik Noblestone. He is strong, fearless, and stubborn, but most of all, he is a proud king of his dwarven clan of the southern caverns. He wears obsidian armor with wild boar pelts. On his person, he always carries his pickaxe, Onyxbane, forged with the lava of Mount Zyarne.

“Aye, Onyxbane will cut the bellies of all those shadow fiends. The jewels and minerals of our caverns are losing their light. Our caves are dark. Our pickaxes are dull with nothing but rock to pick. Our forges are cold, and our anvils are lonely. We dwarves are losing what we care for most in this realm, and it’s all because of those rotten beasts. It’s time we send them to the depths of the abyss.

“Do you know why we dwarves live in caverns? Huh? Well, most will tell ya it’s because of all the shiny things in the cave walls that cost a pretty coin. Know what else those folk will tell ya? That the prettiest sight you’ll see is a night sky full of stars. Pft! They’ve not seen anything. In the darkness, with the strength of the lands holding up the mountains and minerals around ya, you’ll see a sight that’ll make the strongest dwarf weep. In our caverns, we can touch the stars. We can feel them. We protect them, and we use them for good and to make room for more. The caverns are a realm of their own, and that is where we keep our beds, our armories, and our great halls. That is where we have been since the first era of this realm. We walk on the same stone, we touch the same ore, we smell the same air as our ancestors, and we honor them by staying true to our home.

“Those wretched beasts want to destroy our home? We will send them to the infernal fires to burn! The cave walls echo with the war drums, and we will not ignore them. We’ve been mining to make new weapons for the coming war: strong dwarven-made swords, axes, war hammers. Nocna Mora will rue the day he came to Fanntasia.

“None of these weapons will be handled by those delicate elves of the north, though . Since the War of the Sarrora Scrolls, the elves have been the bane of our existence. They’re lazy and worthless, even with the bows they make out of their sacred, little trees. The dwarven clan will fight this battle alone, or die honorably trying.”

{Stormwind – Tracy Bush – World of Warcraft}

Before you all, I have laid out the battlegrounds on which we will meet the forces of Nocna Mora. The sorcerer is based at Goren’s field not far from here. Nocna Mora is no fool; the sorcerer knows we are coming. They will be ready for us, and we must be ready for them.  

“Noblestone…”

“Hmph…”

“Don’t be childish, Noblestone. We are here for the good of the realm.”

“Oh, is that right? I thought we were here to sniff our toes over a goblet of ale.”

“You are insufferable.”

“And you’re pathetic.”

“Do you think you can keep quiet while the traveler speaks?”

“Want to talk to the palm trees outside to find out?”

Arcaena rolls her eyes as Vobrik leans back into his chair made of thick vines and driftwood. This is your time now, traveler.

How do you think we should assemble our forces? More importantly, how will you convince these foes to be allies again?

{Far Horizons – Jeremy Soule – The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Original Game Soundtrack)}

The conversation has taken us into the night. The sounds of the ocean waves blend with the rustling of the jungle leaves outside the Noble Hall. Goblets sit empty on the table with a subtle scent of metal and wine. A fire burns at the other end of the hall, warming the place. Wooden markers of the enemy forces lay scattered on the map of the battlegrounds, while our own lay organized at the southern end of the field.

“My archers will take the far hills. We will light our arrows with Tiarne fire. The embers are enchanted and should dispel the shadows,” Arcaena says.

“We will take them head on. The elves can take the right and left flanks,” Vobrik says.

“These lands will give us an advantage. Goren’s field is finicky. It does not like to be disturbed. We can use that against them when the time comes.”

“We will build a path straight to Nocna Mora for you, traveler.”

“Very well. We shall strike at dawn.”

“Will that be tomorrow or a thousand years from now?”

Arcaena sighs, “This is not the time.”

“A thousand years it is…”

“Hold your tongue.”

“No, no, probably best for us to know now that we’ll be left alone on the battlefield, again!”

“Time has misconstrued your memory, Noblestone. We did not abandon you.”

“No, just decided naptime in the treetops was more important.”

“We never agreed to join that battle–”

Vobrik slams his hand on the desk. “My ancestors did not forge for the sake of a good laugh, not when it came to the Sarrora Scrolls. Your people signed the accord, Arcaena, your noble name is there in golden ink.”

“Do not speak of my noble name, you lily-livered scum! The Faewynn name is sacred, and your tongue will dare not tar it.”

“You agreed to fight by our side, but when the morning sun came, where were you? Nowhere to be seen. Useless and lazy, you are, showing up for a pretty poetic speech only to leave the mess for the miners. You’re all tepid fools. Don’t realize how high on your horse you are.”

“We agreed to protect the scrolls when attacked. They did not attack. Vain creatures, you decided to wield your weapons at their door, and it is because of you the scrolls had to be destroyed for the sake of the realm. It is because of your betrayal we are no longer allies! You cannot be trusted. I see it now, your goatish legs waddling up to the sorcerer thinking yourself a knight and hoping to chop the sorcerer’s head off, when you know very well you cannot. It is not your place, and it is not in your ability to do so.”

“You son of a motherless goat! How dare you lie in my face. I know our history. If there’s a betrayer, you win the gold.”

“The only reason I let your reeking moldwarp face spit at mine the way you do is because I care for Fanntasia. I do not wish to feel the cold energy of our draining magic any longer.”

“You think I don’t care for Fanntasia? So like an elf, thinking yourself higher than the rest. Our songs are as old as yours, Arcaena. The dwarves have a reason to fight, same as you.”

“I did so ever wonder when we’d be forced to face each other again. I did think it’d be war. A war that would threaten us so deeply, the ancient beings would be called forth again. I now wonder if there will be peace after this war should we defeat Nocna Mora, now that old wounds have been resurfaced.”

“With Nocna Mora gone, our caverns will be blazing with light again. I won’t have to see you ever again. To me, that doesn’t sound too bad.”

“Do you truly hate us so?”

Vobrik hesitates. “Course I do. My ancestors did, and I’ll honor them and their choices.”

“Yes… yes, as will I.”

Traveler, I fear with this hostility, we will be at a disadvantage on the field. Allies work best together. If there are walls between us, we cannot expect to tear the walls of the enemy down. I fear there will be three opponents at war rather than two.

However, I hear a bit of doubt in their voices. As if only now do they realize their grudges are of those who no longer walk among us. The grudges are of men that they have never even met. Perhaps you can say something to remind them of this. This is your last chance, traveler, to truly convince this pair to set aside these memories of the past for the sake of our future. What will you tell them?

(5:00) Arcaena and Vobrik have vowed they will be at Goren’s field tomorrow, and so they leave with their vow on the table. You leave as well and head for the sound of the local tavern in the distance. Outside the local tavern, you see the dwarven king with a full flask of ale sitting on a low cobblestone wall. Next to him stands Arcaena staring at the full moon.

{Salty Sailor – David Arkenstone – World of Warcraft: Taverns of Azeroth (Original Game Soundtrack)}

“High in Harrow’s Tower, sits a maiden with fair hair,” Vobrik says with a bit of a drunken tone.

Arcaena chuckles. “With elvish ears and elvish nose, she sits, and she stares.”

“The dwarf offers her a necklace of rubies so rare.”

“A pickaxe she gives him, enchanted with prayer.”

Vobrik chuckles and chugs some of his drink. “There’s a hall in our caverns with some ancient paintings on the walls. They’re of old battles and great achievements of the dwarven clan. There’s one, a favorite of mine, where we are at a feast with the elves of the Northern Wood, and crude as the painting may be, I can see our smiles.”

“There are legends that say the dwarves create the best ale one can drink in the realm.”

“Aye, this is true! The frothy foam’s enough to make you fall to your knees.”

“And I’ll never be able to try some, because of an ancient dispute I had no part in. How silly.”

“Don’t think the dwarves will like elf-stink around our caverns.”

“Oh, I’d beg to differ. Your natural malodor will cover it up before we even make it inside.”

The two laugh.

“Eh, I don’t think you’re too bad.”

“Likewise. In fact, I believe you are a good king. You care for your kind, and that cannot be said for all those who wear a crown.”

Vobrik is stunned for a moment. “The Sarrora Scrolls broke our chains of kinship. May The Battle of Shadows forge the pieces into one again.”

“Yes, may it be so.”

The two clink glasses and drink.

“Have you faith in the traveler?” Arcaena asks.

“Aye. If a Sage One has faith in the hero, then I lay down my axe to them.”

“Yes, but the forces of Nocna Mora are powerful. The chimeras have been draining the energy of our realm for quite some time, and I fear we will not have the strength to provide the path for the traveler. I even fear Nocna Mora will be too powerful for even the forces of the human imagination.”

“We dwarves say, ‘A war hammer can be stubborn, but your hands hold the smelting tools.’ We’ve let this gone on too long. It’s time we grab hold of our tools.”

“We elves have a similar saying. ‘The stars will guide only the willing. It is the brave-hearted one who will find the path beyond the stars’ gaze.’”

“I am proud to fight by your side, Arcaena Faewynn.”

“As am I, Vobrik Noblestone.”

“Besides,” Vobrik burps after his final chug of ale, “Can’t insult ya if we’re all dead, you dizzy-eyed flap-dragon.”

{To Aslan’s Camp – Harry Gregson-Williams – The Chronicles of Narnia – The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe OST}

You’ve done it, traveler! At first light, the armies arrived. With King Vobrik Noblestone  and Queen Arcaena Faewynn standing firmly side by side, the bitterness has been put to rest. We now have a united army of elven and dwarven warriors, all prepared to fight for our home.

We walk together through the battlecamp. Elves sharpen their daggers and string their bows by their elegantly embroidered tents of gold and green. Dwarves fight with dummies and drink out of tusks near their low huts made of animal pelt and tough leather.  The skies are clear, and the air is light.

You turn around to look at the other end of Goren’s field. A chill bites the back of your neck and crawls down your spine. The chimeras are at the other end, hopping like dust bunnies waiting for the fence to be opened, to be released into the fighting pit. You cannot see Nocna Mora, but you feel his raw, numbing presence.

Come, traveler. The king and queen awaits.

As we walk, you notice all the soldiers bow their head slightly toward us. It is tradition to bow one’s head to a Sage One. The Council of the Sage Ones is the wisest council of the realm. We know every tale that lives within our borders since the beginning of time. The beings of Fanntasia believe we control their stories, as if we are the writers of their lives, and so they show us the utmost respect in hopes of securing a happy ending or an honorable adventure. It is not in our nature, nor in our power. We are simply scribes, writing the realm’s stories with ink that cannot be seen with the naked eye.

We’ve arrived at the king and queen’s tent. It reigns supreme, taller than the rest. We enter to find the king and queen huddled over the battleground map from the night before. Queen Arcaena wears bronze armor that shapes her bodice, with scale-like chains reaching her elbows, a high neck collar necklace, and grape vine leaves embedded in the metal. King Vobrik wears platinum armor with bold shoulder pads that have boar head mounts on them, thick jeweled gauntlets, a large belt over fur, and an armor helmet with tusks.

Queen Arcaena approaches you with a glass box, inside of which is an azure amulet shaped like a raindrop. It has a tiny cork stopper on top, and inside, there is an azure pearl.

“Traveler, I thank you for traveling so far to save our realm. We ask much of you, but as a true hero, you’ve answered the call. I gift you this: The Amulet of Bainnko. This will protect you from evil shadows and curses.”

King Vobrik now approaches you. He has a dagger with a coal black sheath in hand. It has an inscription in our tongue, Draío, which reads: Victory lies in the palm of the hand, not in the steel of the blade.

“I gift you Nightborne, forged with my own bare hands in the great dwarven hall. It will serve you when you most need it.”

We all leave the tent. The army is in formation. Arcaena rides her horse with Vobrik walking by her side to the front, and as she raises her hand to speak, even the trees quiet down to listen.

{From Beneath the Rubble – Audiomachine – Life}

“The time has come again. This field will be covered in soot and blood by the end, but no one ever promised a pretty war. Our lives are being threatened, and it’s time we tell this enemy that we will not kneel. I know our clans have had a terrible history of deceit, and lies, and betrayal. Even the scrolls seem confused as to what happened during the War of the Sarrora Scrolls, but the battles of the past are not our battles. The battles of my ancestors need not my pickaxe. This battle does. The realm of today does. Will we risk the loss of our precious realm for a petty grudge? Will we? I will not. No. I, King Vobrik Noblestone of The Fantasy Realm, will not! Fight proudly with one another, for we all fight for the same cause, or we all die the same way.”

“Let it be heard here on the eve of the Battle of Shadows. Hear me now, the evergreen that surrounds us, and spread my word. In my name, Queen Arcaena Faewynn of The Fantasy Realm, I declare this the dawn of a new alliance between the elves of the Northern Wood and the dwarves of the southern caverns. A kinship reforged. Let this declaration not be in vain. Let it be the catalyst of our victory. These vermin will not overshadow what is ours! Fanntasia is not just a realm with history. These lands are our home with our stories. She shall not die here. She shall not die at the greedy claws of a sorcerer. We must protect her. Be courageous, my friends! Raise your weapons for The Fantasy Realm.”

The army roars with a battlecry.

Arcaena knocks her arrow, the tip blazing with emerald Tiarne fire, and it soars over the field. The soldiers charge past them toward the enemy forces. The cackling of the chimeras echo as they furiously hop our way.

The first swords clash, and the Battle of Shadows begins.

{Dragon Slayer – Yasuharu Takanashi – “Fairy Tail” Original Soundtrack Vol.1}

The chimeras are surged with Nocna Mora’s dark energy, their ghastly shadowy forms pulsing with electricity. They pounce and leap across the fields, using their magic to drain the energy out of the soldiers by sinking black teeth into their flesh, and with enough energy drained, the soldier dies. Their cackling sounds are disturbing to the ear, a sickly sound of enjoyment scratching the eardrums of all who hear it. They’re fast, like soot caught in a tornado swirling with the winds. Nocna Mora stays hidden.

Elven arrows continue to plummet onto the field, spreading fire that eats away at the protective shadow of the chimeras. They are left as naked beasts, crouched with stray hairs peeking out of strange places. They scurry as if lost until the blood boils, and they turn to scratch the eyes out of any opponent nearby.

Swords clash and clank between the soldiers facing those chimera tall enough to wield a weapon. These have more energy that the small soot-like beasts. They actually look like people, but all covered in soot, and these are the far more dangerous ones. They fight against the soldier as if well-trained, but it is nothing more than Nocna Mora’s black magic.

Still, the elven and dwarven warriors carry on. With sweat on their brow, they battle on. Their breathing is heavy on their chest as they move through the muddy patches of the field. Blades turn a crimson red as the blood of soldiers spurt out at the hand of the chimera. Axes are thrown across the field, landing on chimeras, pinning them to the ground.

The small beasts scurry around hecticly as they notice more and more of their kind go up in smoke. Anxiety builds up in their tiny bellies, and like rats avoiding death, they start to get restless.

One beast springs up onto an elf’s shoulder and jerks her head around with its clammy hands. It screeches into her ears, and she joins it in screaming at the pain.

{Fairy Tail Main Theme – Yasuharu Takanashi – “Fairy Tail” Original Soundtrack Vol.1}

An arrow swoops in and burrows into the side of the beast’s head. The chimera goes up in smoke, and the elf now breathes heavily and falls to her knees.

Queen Arcaena pulls her up and gently mutters a quick healing spell. She then uses her hand to lift up the elf’s chin. In seeing the queen’s eye, the elf’s stamina pumps up. With a nod to her queen, she throws herself back into battle.

Arcaena jumps back onto her horse and rides toward the other end. Her magnificent bow rests in her hand as the arrows jolt inside her quiver. With speedy hands, she knocks another arrow, and it flies straight into the forehead of a tall chimera. More and more chimera fall as she releases her fury of arrows onto them. Her face is stern as she pulls back her bowstring and harder still when she realizes she has not made a dent in their forces.

From her horse, she sees the mass numbers that seem to stretch as far as the horizon itself. For a moment, she looks back and sees Vobrik. He howls as he lifts his battle axe and brings it down upon his chimera. His beard is caked in mud, and he now has a fresh scar down the right side of his face. It hurts her heart to see him so, but his determination does not falter. He runs, dives, punches, kicks, and shoves every chimera in his way. Fire burns in his belly, and with it, he pulverizes a crowd of chimeras within seconds.

She turns back around and looks farther out. In the distance, she sees Nocna Mora’s camp at last. He is still in hiding. She is about to knock another arrow when a chimera jumps onto her back and starts yanking her hair.

It reels its head, about to sink its teeth into her temple when a dagger goes straight through its mouth and even pierces a bit of Arcaena’s head. She coughs in the smoke, and as it dissipates, sees Vobrik casually walk up to her.

“I’ve about 22 kills under my belt,” he says proudly. “How many do you have, pointy-ears?”

Arcaena gives a sly smirk as she pulls another arrow from her quiver. “Twenty-three.”

“Twenty– Twenty-three?!”

“There’s too many of them, Noblestone, and Nocna Mora’s tent is too far out. The traveler will not make it. We need to lure the sorcerer out.”

“What’re you suggesting?”

“Cover me.”

Arcaena gingerly places one foot on her saddle, followed by the other. Standing on her horse in the middle of Goren’s field, she knocks her arrow. With a slow, deep breath, she closes her eyes, releases her fingers, and frees the arrow. Off the arrow goes over all the madness. It pierces through the cloth of Nocna Mora’s tent and lands on a pillar inside.

{Victory and Defeat – Ramin Djawadi – Warcraft (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)}

Nocna Mora’s barren tent bursts into a blazing fire. The violet flames burn the tent into nothing, and soon a ring of smoldering grass blades encircle Nocna Mora.

With hands lifted to the sides, the sorcerer mumbles nothing into the air as the battlefield watches in silence. A low rumble overtakes Goren’s field. The ground stirs awake, hills moving underneath the feet of Nocna Mora. Blue turns to dismal gray in the sky as clouds start to roll in. The rumbling gets louder as the fields begin to smell of an overwhelming burning scent. The rumbling turns to thunder as Nocna Mora’s hands shoot lightning into the sky. Nocna Mora’s lips move with no sound, but the army heard the command. The chimeras attack.

Some open their mouths to release a toxic gas that blinds a man with his worst nightmare, and so the screaming of blinded men shatters the skies. Others start to fly, like buzzing locusts diving from above to take down the archers. A few groups of chimera join together and morph themselves into giants that can stomp on anything. Elf bows are snapped in half by the beasts. Dwarves are pummeled by the creatures without the slightest opening for defense. The tides of war are turning.

Arcaena glances at Vobrik. His face has fallen, a thousand years aging him in a matter of seconds. She turns back to glance at Nocna Mora when her horse is struck by an arrow. She falls and breaks her longbow. Her horse gallops away, and she cannot find the strength to get back up.

Vobrik crouches down to help her to her feet, but she feels lifeless in his hands. The magic inside her is being drained faster than it ever has.

A hissing whisper echoes across the lands. “Surrender to the darkness, or suffer until you fall.”

Vobrik spits at the ground with outrage as the battle wages on around him. He looks to you. He beckons you to follow, and so you do. Arcaena follows with a slight limp, but her head is kept high.

However, we are in the center of a raging battle. Giants and wild chimeras are fighting ruthlessly with our armies. No clear path can be made to get you to Nocna Mora.

Nocna Mora sees the intention behind Vobrik’s actions. Once again, the sorcerer whispers nothing into the air.

Black smoke slithers from the sorcerer’s hands over to you, but the Amulet of Bainnko opens up and absorbs the black smoke. Feeling protected, you advance a bit.

The amulet shivers against your skin. It splinters, and the black smoke oozes out and begins to cover your body. The sorcerer’s magic is too powerful for even an elvish amulet.

Feeling faint, you collapse. A formidable force of nightmarish evil consumes your spirit. You feel the cold hands of darkness sweep away any light inside you. You feel so weak, you cannot remember the feeling of energy inside your body. Your eyes helplessly begin to shut without any intention of opening again, not even to witness the darkest of nights.

Arcaena rushes over and puts her hands on you, healing you with what little magic she has left, but desperate tears escape her eyes.

“Sage One, I ask for your wisdom.”

{Edge of Night (Pippin’s Song) – Celtic Angels – In the Arms of the Angel}

In the distance of your fading mind, you hear the singing of a fair maiden, an elf of the Northern Wood.

“The path need not be clear for you to follow it. You need only follow it for there to be a path.”

{Mother of Dragons – Ramin Djawadi – Game of Thrones: Season 2 (Music from the HBO Series)}

“Nechalig slova chuid le od vasho armur.” Her weak voice becomes paper thin and eventually nothing. She sacrifices her voice to save your life and to protect you in powerful armor of elvish enchantments.

With her voice gone, she places her hand on your shoulder and gives you a look that says, she believes in you. She wholeheartedly believes in you.

“Do not let this be in vain, traveler.” Vobrik’s eyes are wet. “Help us.”

He then turns to look at the army that is left standing after they retreated at the sight of your collapse.

“We will not be bested by nightmares! We will not let these ghostly dreams turn this realm into a graveyard of tales never told again. I don’t care about glory or fortune. I fight for what’s rightfully ours: our home. Aye, we’ve lost lives today, but we can’t let those lives be lost for nothin’. Fight with me, by my side. If we die, let it be standing with a weapon in our hands than in our beds drunk and pathetic… It’s time we ask ourselves, what is worth fighting for?”

Arcaena Faewynn puts her hand to her heart, then out to the lands. Vobrik nods his head. He raises his axe into the air.

“For Fanntasia!”

Reinvigorated by his words, the soldiers run to fight the chimeras once more, their hands wrapped just that much tighter around their weapons.

You’ve got to get Nocna Mora, traveler. They can only hold off the sorcerer’s army for so long. Remember, you need only follow the path for there to be one.

You look to the forest around us. With your gift of daydreaming, you imagine yourself a bridge made of the thick branches of the trees that will let you traverse over the battlegrounds, straight to Nocna Mora.

Soon enough, your daydream manifests itself into the realm. The trees branches from one end of the field and the other intertwine and build a bridge for you to cross.

And so, the hero crosses over the raging battle to face the ultimate enemy.

{Bastard – Ramin Djawadi – Game of Thrones: Season 6 (Music from the HBO Series)}

Traveler, the mightiest weapon you own is your human imagination. That is the only weapon that can defeat the sorcerer. So, how does this tale end, traveler? How do you defeat Nocna Mora?

(3:05) Light breaks through the clouds. It is a single strand of light of subtle rainbow colors blending together to create a pastel flurry. It is so soft and delicate, it can be easily ignored, or perhaps missed entirely, but it gleams against the moody glum of the field.

Enraged, the darkness becomes a wild beast itself. It battles with the light, using its power to suppress the brightness. Its hostile nature makes the ambience feel murky, opaque even. As if a hand can reach out and feel the intangible darkness, even absorb its power with a single touch. Breathing becomes difficult as the darkness tries to snuff out the light. The incensed darkness chokes the light, and for a moment, the single strand almost disappears, but the light has a vigorous spirit.

It emits pure energy that calms even the most riled up chimera on the field. The swords stop clashing. The battlecries hush. The feet stop stomping. The heavy breathing ceases. The trees stand still.

The light gets brighter, and soon, with its shine, it starts to spread. Like fingers spreading, it reaches the far edges of the battleground.

Darkness is only the absence of light, so when light returns, it is inevitable that darkness will retreat, and so it does. Away the darkness goes.

Nocna Mora is defeated. All the chimera drop their weapons, and they burst into a fog that hangs in the air only for a moment before it dissipates entirely. In its place, a wash of heartening energy and abundant magic fills the air of Fanntasia, in its home once again.

You have done it, traveler. You have saved The Fantasy Realm.

{The Fellowship – Howard Shore – Music from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy}

Back in the Noble Hall of Aaucan, many beings across The Fantasy Realm have come in celebration of the defeat of Nocna Mora. Northern Wood elves and southern cavern dwarves mingle over a goblet of dwarvish ale. Visitors of the kingdom of Lionheart enjoy a feast at the great white-bark table, including a woman with a few kittens at her feet and a young couple swooning over each other. The jarl of the province of Lysa has come with his family all the way from the Lundar Mountain along with the elven empress of the woodice elves, Myrna. A few tailors and magic-learners browse the colors and magical properties of Aaucan’s flora, including the greatest tailor Hayxa has ever seen, Philip Fogg. Munderic Brutus Bilberry and a few friends sit outside the hall, enjoying the tropical air of Aaucan’s coast that mimics that of the island of Tilly-ann off the coast of Gialia. Pirates drink their full of all the rum they have as they sing their sea shanties by the fire. Bards from Havel of the Mayve Forest play their lyres and lutes along with the singing pirates. Fairies, sprites, and pixies fly all around the hall, admiring the flora so unfamiliar compared to the flora of the Woods of Whimsy. In their wandering, a few people of the Rhaude stopped by for a rest, as nomadic people do often. Vendors from The Great City of Esoria have joined the festivities and have tried selling a trinket or two. Cultivators of the island of Buxiu show off their incredible weapons to any ear willing to listen.

The realm sighs a breath of relief as magic slowly settles back into its rightful place after many years of suppression. Along with the festivities came the ceremony of the Aaucan Accord, the official scroll documenting the reforged alliance between the Northern Wood elves and the southern cavern dwarves. After signing the accord, with ink provided by yours truly, Queen Arcaena Faewynn and King Vobrik Noblestone personally thank you for your heroic acts.

“Ah, Adelaide Sage.”

We turn around to find five young women all with white hair in different styles, all with black eyes, all with thin brass circlets on their heads with a green stone in the center, and all with wise auras. Each wear a cloak with similar embroidery with tight brown trousers, an off-white blouse, and a golden cord as a belt, though each cloak is a different color. Mine is a humble forest green with beige embroidery.

Yes, traveler, these women before us are The Council of The Sage Ones. It is why they all look so similar, and I similar to them.

“Brielle!” I say.

“I should have known. The portal was meant to be closed for days now.”

“I know. I assume all responsibility, but… I had to seize this opportunity. I know the traveler well. I knew the traveler would help.”

“Yes, so you did. I do thank you, traveler, for saving the realm. We were truly at a loss, and we shall be eternally grateful. I’m afraid the portal will still have to be closed, but I am glad you did go through one last time… oh, and Adelaide, do not ever disobey the word of the council again.”

That went well! Don’t worry, traveler. I can handle Brielle and the rest of the council. I admit, this isn’t the first time I’ve done something against their wishes, but always with good intentions, knowing in my heart it was the best decision. Though Brielle doesn’t like to admit it, it always turns out well, as it did with you.

Songs will be written about you and sung in the most beautiful halls across the realm. Poetry will fill our libraries of your bravery. A statue will be made in your honor, traveler, here in the City of Aaucan, for this is the home of all travelers, and this is where your name will forever stay.

Tell me, traveler, how would you like your statue made? I personally would enjoy a studious stance, perhaps with a few books in my arms and my cloak lifted as if the winds are passing by. How about you?

From the deepest depths of my cavernous heart, I extend to you the most cordial gratitude. Thank you, traveler, for your company, for your bravery, and for your imagination. It has been my highest honor as a Sage to have traveled across the realm with you. Don’t worry. You can still return to The Fantasy Realm. In your dreams, of course. There is no better portal than that of your dreams and your imagination.

Waste it not, traveler, it is the most powerful weapon and gift you possess. Imagine with all your might.

I will surely miss you. I wish you great fortune. Perhaps we will meet again with the written word, but until then, for the final time, fairfarren, my dear traveler.

{May it Be – Enya – The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring – The Complete Recordings}

THE END

Fairfarren, Friends

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