Lord Nicolus Travels the Realm Bearing Gifts
Genn Wintord

UP: Britannia

    Lord British strolled over to the balcony overlooking the throne room. He paused momentarily, an unreadable expression on his face, but then smiled expansively when he noticed Lord Nicolus approaching from the stairs. He had asked Lord Nicolus to come speak with him about a special project for the end of the year. Lord British walked over to the stairs.

Lord Nicolus was an older man of indeterminate age. His dress bespoke a man of moderate means that dressed comfortably rather than well. Despite his partially advanced years, he carried himself well, standing tall and straight. His long grey beard hid his neck from view and matched his short hair in color.

"Thank thee for coming, Nicolus," Lord British greeted him, "I am looking forward to speaking with thee."

"My pleasure as always, my Liege," replied Lord Nicolus, "It has been a long while since last I visited thy castle."

"Indeed. I'm glad that this time 'tis a happier occasion," said Lord British, thinking back to the rash of house fires in the past when Lord Nicolus had demanded... er... strongly requested assistance to those who had lost everything they owned. Lord British had been happy to comply, but there had been problems with less than virtuous opportunists who tried to defraud their efforts. All in all, though, they had been able to help many people who deserved it. Lord British had been very impressed by Nicolus during this. Lord Nicolus had quickly and frequently offered anything he had to help those in need. It was his concern and compassion for others that bade Lord British to call on Nicolus again now.

Lord Nicolus"Let me explain to thee what I have in mind, Nicolus. 'Tis fairly well known that Britannia and even Sosaria are not the lands from which I originated. In this far away land of my origin, there is an interesting tradition that coincides with the holidays at year's end. The myth is that a man dressed all in red travels the world giving gifts to all people. This man would ask nothing in return. In truth, few ever even saw him and even fewer ever spoke with him."

"Iíve tried in the past to begin a similar tradition in Britannia, but only with mixed success. What I had hoped to do this year was actually have someone bring this mythical man to life and travel the realm bearing gifts. And the person I had in mind for this was thee," Lord British finished, smiling.

Lord Nicolus stood silently for a minute then nodded with a grin. "I would be honored, of course, my Liege."

"Excellent. The tradition from my original home had this man wearing red, which is the color of Valor here in Britannia. I think that yellow, the color of Compassion, would be more appropriate," said Lord British.

Lord Nicolus nodded agreement, "I agree, M'Lord. Yellow would be more fitting than red and valor."

"To aid thee in this role, I will supply you with anything you need for gifts. I also have this for you," and with that, Lord British pulled a golden lantern out of a chest at his feet. "This lantern will aid thee in this duty. Doyl Beita, who is as much an artist as he is the Royal Tinker, crafted the lantern. Nystul then enchanted it to aid thee in thy accepted duty. This lantern will allow instant travel to any part of the realm to which you wish to go. It will be an indispensable tool for thee." Lord British then handed Nicolus a beautiful lantern crafted completely of gold. It gave off a warm glow, but without heat. Lord Nicolus held the lantern up to eye level and marveled at it.

"Where should I begin, my liege?" asked Lord Nicolus eagerly...



So perhaps you'll see Lord Nicolus wandering the realm with his gifts from Lord British. Or perhaps you'll just feel someone nearby and movement in your backpack, but when you turn to look, whoever it was will be gone. Or maybe you'll just catch a flash of yellow from the corner of your eye. Regardless, wish him well as he helps us say farewell to the past year.



From the Town Cryer - The Journal of Ultima Online, December 20th, 1999.