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Visions of Death
It had been some time since the daemon Nostur’yl had been turned to stone in center of the small town of Rivendell, and things had been calm in the interim – at least in comparison with how things had been when the daemon lord was flesh. The stone form of the beast sat quietly in the courtyard, causing little trouble beyond the agitation it produced in those that stared into its horrific stone eyes for too long. Things had returned to such a “normal” state that hardly anyone noticed the first time it happened – the first time they appeared. 

Many citizens and visitors had gathered in the courtyard that day, engaged in their everyday activities, when a loud crash emanated from the surrounding forest. All eyes turned toward the woods as the clash of metal on metal soon followed, accompanied by the uncanny, yet unmistakable, creaking noise of bone grinding against bone. Before any of the citizens gathered at the courtyard had time to react, the entire town was overwhelmed by these noises as a horde of skeletons stepped from the forest, rusted blades in hand. 

An attack by undead, on its own, was not something all too out of the ordinary for the small village of Rivendell. It seemed as if the area was a constant hunting ground for evil of all sorts, undead included. No, it was what happened during and after the battle that was odd, something many had dismissed or forgotten about altogether. While skeletons of all type converged upon the village, something very strange occurred close to the statue of Nostur’yl. 

As a bone knight crumbled to the ground near the hoofed feet of the statue, the bones seemed to glow slightly for just an instant. A moment later, those very same bones rose up from the soil anew, coming to stand erect in the air as if the force controlling them had never been disrupted. Only this time flesh grew about the bones, covering them entirely. Lastly, armor formed out of thin air to enclose the pale-skinned body as it stood shivering in the light breeze. 

Any who witnessed this event probably would have rubbed their eyes and believed they were seeing things, were it not to have happened a second and a third time. For each bone knight that fell in battle near the statue of Nostur’yl, a new figure arose from the pile of bones. Only these forms did not attack, as did the other undead, instead they stood still, seemingly disoriented. 

Those close enough to witness what had occurred attempted to speak with these newly formed creatures of the dead, but were met with confused responses. The conversation, if one could call it that, lasted only a short while, as the trio of undead quickly departed the area muttering the words “Battle” and “Horses.” 

It all seemed so strange and bizarre that it was easy for most to put it out of their mind, to forget what they had witnessed, until the skeletons came again. Another horde of bones rose from the soil to converge on the courtyard of Rivendell. 

The citizens called to alarm quickly and met the onslaught, fighting back wave after wave of the skeletal creatures. The warriors seemed to work on instinct as they led the bone knights away from the statue prior to striking each down. It was almost as if a voice whispered in their ear, warning them of some danger should they allow another creature to rise before the daemon’s statue, and they responded without knowing. 

There were too many, however, even for the whispered voice to sight and keep away, as finally a bone knight crashed to the ground with the all too familiar rattling sound of the vanquished undead. Again, as in the previous battle, these bones rose up from the soil and formed the solid undead creature. The warriors and mages had little time to stop and stare as another wave of undead entered the area. 

 As soon as the fighting died off, the warriors turned back to the confused creature, only to witness another’s arrival. This one came not from the ground, however, but instead he galloped into the courtyard atop a large steed. The mounted creature held none of the disorientation of the other – he guided the steed confidently, alert and seemingly ready for action. 

 She, if any gender could readily be applied to such an undead creature, pulled up her steed just shy of the newly formed being and pointed to the horse that came to a stop next to her, tied off to her saddle. A hasty welcome was offered to the group of townsfolk as the disoriented undead climbed atop the offered horse. Questions were asked of the pair but were ignored as they turned on their steeds and rode from the town.

Published: November 2000
Please Note: Some dates are estimates as exact dates were unavailable.
Ultima Online ESRB Rating
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