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Heroes of Britannia: Maximillian
Be it sacrifice in the name of a higher goal, or defending the honor of the weaker and less able, heroes have always been defined by their actions. Our tale this week focuses on Thorin Oakshield, an afternoon walk in the woods, and a most timely meeting with the heroic Maximilian.

 "Dark clouds went over the sky this morning when I went out to clean myself a little. 'Brrr...you should have stayed in the bed', I mumbled into my beard. I looked up to the darkness above my head and got the first impression on how cold the water from the nearby brook was.
"Then I went back to my house to put on the rest of my clothes and the brand-new studded leather armor I got from my friend Kariss yesterday.

"Not the best day to take a little trip into the surrounding woods, but I hoped the weather wouldn't grow worse. So I took my backpack over my shoulder, the swordbelt around the waist, and went out directly to the Deep Forest Healers to get some bandages and maybe a healing potion.

"The lovely Cassandra lives there and we are friends since childhood days. I thought to myself, as I was leaving her hut with some more clean bandages in my possession, if I should ask her for a little picnic next to the beautiful and mighty Yew tree a bit to the Southwest.

"Strolling out of Yew, I made my way to the old abandoned orc fortress far south of my hut. Some days ago, I overheard a conversation between newly arrived adventurers about new orc camps in the area......maybe this was my chance to dispose some of the pigfaced orcs and therefore help the Yew Militia to protect and secure our little town.

"So I went quite a time through the trees when I heard an eerie scream from a clearing southwest. I grabbed my sword firmly and ran onto the opening where I saw a horror. A woman's body merged with an big rusty colored bird, a harpy, the moment I came out of the trees spotted me and screamed even louder. Blood dripped from her mouth as she looked up from the wandering healer she had just killed. This thing came up to me, her razor-sharp fangs bared, and I could barely dodge a blow of her mighty wings. I hacked with my sword into her belly and her screaming grew even worse. She hit me with her wings and all air was kicked out of my lungs. When I sunk my sword deep into her chest her response was to dig her fangs into my arm, cutting through my armor and nearly severing it from the torso. We both fell down bleeding and I was in agony, holding the rest of my arm together. Then the situation grew darker for me as five orcs, probably lured in from the sound of the battle, charged onto the clearing and I was barely able to stand or hold my sword. The harpy was dead and the same fate showed up for me just moments away. They surrounded me, laughing at that which looked an easy victory.

"'Stand back, pigface!', I uttered when one of them swung his mighty axe at me. In this very moment I heard the sound of a horse and a faint whispering of arcane phrases from behind the orcs. Suddenly I was surrounded by white light as my wounds closed and I felt a lot better.

"The second thing I saw was a man wearing no armor but only a golden robe and cloak holding a Serpent shield and riding on a big steed slashed his viking sword into the throat of the leader of my attackers dropping him to the ground instantly.

"The orcs where panicked and with my strength renewed I swung my sword at them too, attacking and killing the axe-wielding orc with a blow to his head. A moment later I heard some other persons coming, two murderers armed with heavy crossbows and clad in dark suits of platemail shooting at ... no this cant be...not at the orcs but at the rider who helped me .

"I saw the knight's horse go down, hit by several crossbow bolts, taking the knight with it while I was fighting the last orcs. The brigands stepped nearer and circled around the knight firing one bolt after the other. The knight rose and dropped his sword away making ancient gestures with his free hand, parrying the incoming bolts with his shield and shouted 'Kal Des Flam Ylem' pointing at the stronger looking attacker.

"Several glowing balls of fire materialized out of thin air striking the crossbowman into the chest and throwing him to the ground with burning and smoking armor and flesh. Without rest he chanted again now calling aid from a nearby plane of existence 'Kal Vas Xen Flam'.

"A wave of heat rolled over the clearing as a Fire Elemental rose between the knight and the last attacker. I tried to run to the knight to help him but the orcs cut my way. The knight ordered the Elemental to attack the standing crossbowmen as he took his sword and charged the other who was just coming up to his feet. As the Fire Elemental engulfed the man, he was screaming in agony as his flesh burned away and his crossbow went from wood to dust.

"During this I disposed one more of the orcs, but I took a hard hit from one of their axes in my side. Blood was dripping from a head wound into my eyes hindering my sigh. My body grew weaker.

"The knight's sword rained down upon the brigand when he was hit by several more bolts, bleeding from many wounds. At the time the elemental had reduced its victim into a pile of ash...the knight dropped to the knees exhausted and near death.

"He looked at me, seeing me on the verge of death too, he began to cast another greater healing for me, so that I could survive.

"Then he dropped dead due to several bolts in his body with a last shout 'Elemental attack my murderer!'. The weakened bandit was not up to fighting the elemental and died horribly from a fireball.

"The next orc fell and shortly after this I cleansed the woods from the last of the group.

"Weakened, I dropped to the ground pumping air into my lungs... then stood up and ran to the knight to see if he had survived. But he was dead...this man had helped me out with healing me and not himself. I heard many stories about the virtue guards of our liege Lord British and those of Lord Blackthorn. Lately I heard much bad and sinister tales about virtue guards who where as bad as dread lords. But when I saw this man and his deeds, I can only say that those tales must be wrong.

"Putting these thoughts aside, I took all the belongings of the knight, which was named Maximilian, as I could see on his diary which he had stashed into his backpack. I dropped all into a bag, then I dug a grave for him and the others who died here... I hoped his ghost would find the way to a healer and the way back that I may thank him a lot for his selflessness.

"I made camp at the side of the clearing and lit a fire. I waited for some hours scribing this story into my journal until I heard a cracking sound of someone coming through the trees. I rose and held my sword in the hand. A warrior clad in a robe red as wine and a golden helmet strode out of woods and came directly to my fire.

"'A hearty hail to thee, sir, my name is Winfried' he said, 'I be looking for the belongings of a dear friend of mine who isn't able to come himself, because he cannot reunite his body and spirit yet. He lies in coma in ye deep wood healers hut in yew. His name is Maximilian. Doth ye know anything of his items whereabouts? '

"'I be very sorry to harken this grave news sir, I hope this fine Lord wouldst be fine soon! He had sacrificed his life to rescue mine, couldst thou pray thee take me to him that I may thank him for all when he awakes? Here are his belongings I took.', with this I gave him the bag of items from the knight's corpse.

"'Surely I can, sir!', he said taking the bag, 'But let us rest here first for the night...it is quite late and Maximilian needs rest too.'

"The two of us sat down at the fire and exchanged many a tale about perilous adventures as well as some wine too.

"The next day when we went back to Yew and directly into the healers hut, we saw Maximilian sitting in his bed and talking with Cassandra about me and the battle in which we met. We just came right in before Cassandra could dig out some embarrassing childhood stories about me.

"I thanked Maximilian for his help and sacrifice, but he refused to take any gifts from me but my vow to stay always on the good path and help anyone in need. He told me that he is a teacher to the young ones in this realm and was on his way to his guild in the valley of the eldar, southwest of Yew, to meet some of his friends when he heard the sound of a battle nearby and looked out to investigate.

"We parted then and he said to me if I want to find him again, for another adventure, I should look out for him in the Empath abbey or in the Bank in Moonglow where he does prepare most of his lessons for the new.

"His actions should not be forgotten, so I write this down to show all who strayed from the good path of the virtue guards to remember him and go back to the righteous way on which they belong.

- Thorin Oakshield

In trading his life for that of Thorin, Maximilian upheld the virtues and asked nothing in return for his trouble - a truly heroic sacrifice.

Next week, we continue our spotlight on the heroes of Britannia with a tale of a legendary hero whose influence shaped the course of the world. Keep an eye on FYI for future spotlight topics.

Published: October 1999
Please Note: Some dates are estimates as exact dates were unavailable.
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