A methodic gallop echoes through the forests,
it’s repetition a constant reminder of what rapidly approaches. What at a
glance appears to be a dancing shadow across the trees begins to take shape of
something far more elusive. From beneath the shadow a figure seems to appear, a
horse and rider galloping increasingly faster through the trees and brush. With
elegant ease and grace the horse and rider begin to slow as a tower becomes
visible through the clearing ahead. Clouded visions and conflicting intentions
cloud the consciousness of the dark rider. Occasionally he pauses clutching at
his head as if grasping at a recently severed wound. A noise from beyond draws
the attention of the rider and his gaze fixes upon movement in a patch of
brambles. A girl stumbles from behind the brambles and falls against the legs of
the rider’s mare. She gazes up at the rider and draws a sharpened kryss from
her backpack. She lunges upward with her kryss directed at the rider’s chest.
Without turning to observe, the rider raises his arm rapidly and grabs the kryss
from the air in mid-strike. He carefully removes the kryss from his attacker’s
hand and sets it upon the ground in front of her. She stares in astonishment and
turns to flee. The rider maneuvers his mare in front of her, blocking her from
escaping him. He looks down to address the girl as she looks for a means of
“The amulet.” The rider’s voice echoes throughout the surrounding forest.
“Nev’r! I found it fairly an’ is worth a fortune. Its mine.” Demands the
girl as she turns to escape.
The rider then turns and carefully takes the girl’s arm and removes a golden
amulet that has been fastened to her wrist. In doing so an overwhelming energy
seems to channel itself throughout the rider.
“No its mine!” The girl leaps forward in an attempt to salvage the lost
amulet, but only stumbles, her head crashing against a fallen log and rendering
The rider reaches down in an attempt to bring the girl to her feet, however he
is quickly distracted by the sounds of battle near the tower ahead. Again he
clutches his head as if in overwhelming pain and begins moving toward the tower
“I have little time left,” his echoing voice continues, “I will return for
The rider gallops forward at full pace and soon emerges from the forest,
arriving at a tower set in a clearing. Around him warriors, mages and commoners
battle against a gathering of liches, skeletal mages and other varied undead. As
a few turn and notice the rider the name “Xenthyl” can be heard faintly over
the vicious sounds of battle. Another utters “the Phantom” and then returns
to battle. Xenthyl clutches at his helmet yet again, while thoughts of
destruction conflict with those of honor and dignity.
“I have little time left, however I have found something I believe you to be
looking for,” the Phantom utters as he holds out the recently acquired golden
amulet, “I encountered the girl in the forests.”
Xenthyl turns to notice Thain Fallshorn, the decedent of the lost estate of
Stormguard. Thain seems to recognize the Phantom, but his recent memory loss has
yet to improve enough to allow him to make concrete associations with those he
may have known. Xenthyl rushes forward to approach him.
“Take this Thain, it is rightfully yours. I have little time left, I must
leave this place before it is too late,” utters Xenthyl as he places the
Amulet into the hands of the descendent of Stormguard.
In an instant all of Xenthyl’s energy and remaining strength seems ripped from
his being. He nearly collapses forward but quickly maneuvers his mare into the
forests. Pain rapidly overwhelms his entire essence as he seeks refuge away from
the tower. Thain himself had collapsed when the amulet had been passed to him,
but turns his head just as Xenthyl seems vanish instantly from sight, with no
evidence of his existence left behind. Thain wearily turns to the group of
warriors, mages, and commoners that stand triumphant over the slain undead,
seemingly waiting for an explanation of what had occurred. Thain turns away and
averts his eyes away from the gathering:
“I fear I do not know. However I fear this is great danger for Northwood.”
From the Town Cryer - The Journal of Ultima Online,