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A Hero Arose
A brave Paladin finds herself caught in the middle of a life-threatening situation after sacrificing her own safety for the safety of her friends.

"It was the closest of close calls. Outside the old cave, the blood-red sun was less than a finger's span above the western horizon, and we had but minutes to do what was necessary. I held my blade and shield as we approached the ornately-carved stone entrance of the cave, which must have been the resting place of many fiends. My companions entered the dark cavern without second thought, only to walk themselves straight into the hands of death.

"That was when the hissing laughter began, filling our ears from every direction. The Necromancer, Mackael, cast Night Sight upon the party only to reveal, to our horror, a horde of liches! With the sheathing of my blade, the spell I brought forth from my fingers was highly effective in paralyzing the minions that advanced toward us. In our naiveté, we thought we were safe as we attacked the 'helpless' undead. However, our troubles had only begun.

"Other creatures began to appear without warning, seeming to rise from the ground like a foul exhalation of breath. At first, we paid the zombies little mind, but then we noticed how many began to appear at once. What could we do? How could three people fight a horde of liches and zombies at the same time?

"It was then that my spell of paralysis ended, and one of the liches wrapped its arms around Patch, our Warrior. Poor Patch screamed, screamed as though his soul was being torn from his mortal body. And then he collapsed lifeless into the mire. I thought I would never see Patch again, but with a subtle flash of light, Mackael had managed to resurrect him before getting attacked himself. It was obvious that we were outnumbered.

"Although the thought caused my stomach to turn, I suddenly realized that the only way we might escape the fiends that pursued us was to do something drastic. I only had enough reagents for one single spell. I was nervous; if I botched the spell, it would mean death for us all. In desperation, I unsheathed my blade and began to swing the sword in an effort to slay some of the zombies which clawed furiously at us. I could hear the unnaturally fast footsteps of a lich creeping from behind as I tried to clear out a path through the increasing number of undead.

"Oh, how I prayed to my God that night to give me strength. Darting away from the enemy, I quickly sheathed my blade again, and chanted in hopes that the Gate spell would take effect. To my disappointment, the spell fizzled and I had no more reagents to spare. Worried for the safety of my companions, I quickly begin to rummage through my belongings in search for my runebook. The flashes of bright light from Mackael's spells made it hard for me to focus, but I managed to pull the book from my pack. As I opened the book, I realized that I only had two charges left. As a Paladin, I was willing to sacrifice myself for my comrades.

"'Take the book and use it!' I yelled franticly toward my party as I tossed it upon the ground between them both. 'Get out of here and save yourselves!' Of course, they refused to leave me alone within this dark, dismal abyss to fight against the growing horde. The stench from the creatures almost choked me as I continued to strike at them with my sword.

"'Leave now!' I demanded, as the sheer number of undead forced me back against the side of the Cave. 'I'll be there -- trust me!' I continued to speak loudly, so that they could hear my voice above all the clanging of steel and the scraping of claws. Only then did they decide to make their escape with the remaining two charges in the runebook, leaving me to battle the unholy mob alone. I knew that I would probably die when I told Mackael and Patch to depart this wretched place, but I was willing to accept my fate in order to help others and to rid this land of the undead which plagued the world like a disease.

"Suddenly, a lich paralyzed me with a spell. I felt the claws of the liches and zombies protrude through my armor and into my flesh like needles. I screamed in agonizing pain with each hit, as the spell of paralysis rendered me helpless against the attacks of my enemy. However, with a flash of light, a blaze of flame suddenly arose from the ground, blinding me briefly with its brightness. Sounds of steel against bone and flesh whispered within my ears, and I turned towards the direction of the sounds. A figure, adorned in full plate armor and a closed helm, began to battle the evil creatures around me. The spell that kept me rooted in place finally faded from my body. I could feel myself weaken from the wounds that the creatures had inflicted upon me.

"'Get out!' The voice called out to me as the stranger quickly cast a spell that opened a gate in the middle of the cave. 'Hurry!' I took a deep breath, hesitating only briefly, before hastily moving toward the gate. I tossed a glance toward the brave figure that fought so valiantly against the undead, risking their life for my own, before entering the gate. And then there I was, standing within the mists of Yew. The silence of the forest seemed almost deafening.

"I was relieved to be out of the cave; however, the image of the individual that had saved my life bore harshly upon my mind. I hoped, with all my being, that they would make it out alive as well. I learned a lesson that day. Even if the odds are against you, there's always someone out there to lend a helping hand. Some things cannot be done alone. And to also think about what could happen ahead of time, before you even act. It's better to be prepared for any situation, than unprepared for the one situation that could cost you your life.

"I will find the person who saved my life someday, and shall return the favor."

Valeria
Lady Paladin

Join us next week, as we present another exciting tale from the world of Ultima Online. And be certain to keep an eye on FYI for future spotlight topics. We look forward to hearing more of your stories of adventure in Britannia!

Published: October 2002
Please Note: Some dates are estimates as exact dates were unavailable.
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