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A Battle Won, A City Threatened
As usual, Esther was ignoring my efforts to woo her; she loves to give me the silent treatment. However, totally out of character for my beloved, she suddenly burst out that the Commander was requesting that the Royal Guard and any volunteers make their way to Castle Britannia – post haste!
I wrinkled my nose in distaste. All announcements pertaining to the Royal Britannian Guard were supposed to go through me! Not that I begrudge my beloved the chance to deliver a message once in a while, but it’s the principle of the thing! Why contract me to the Guard, if they won’t allow me to do my job? But, ever loyal, I headed for the Castle…

Upon arriving therein, I discovered Clainin and our Commander, Ailis Faolain, deep in conversation. Oblivious to the Guard and Citizens standing nearby, they appeared to be discussing the defence of Britain. Excusing myself, I pushed through the crowd, moving to a position near the dais, so that I could hear more easily. I was just in time to hear Lady Ailis declaring the situation was becoming worse and worse.

“Yew and Cove are lost”, she exclaimed.

Clainin stroked his chin; “The preparations for the barricades are coming along…”

“I have a bone to pick with the Guard on that matter,” Ailis sighed.

“The magical barrier is up as well,” Clainin stated, “it should protect us from any invasion by magical means”.

Intrigued, I moved closer to the front of the crowd.

The Commander expressed her hope that it would be strong enough, that they could not afford to lose Britain in the same manner as Yew and Cove. Clainin assured her that it would be, as it was based upon some of Nystul’s strongest spells. Ailis pondered this a moment, then as if suddenly realising that they were not alone, she turned to the gathered crowd.

“The other barriers however… I am most displeased with you all!” the Commander said loudly. “The collection of resources to build the barricades needed to protect the City, failed, except in one location. I am ashamed that you think so little of the defence of our city!”

This statement brought outraged cries from the Guard. From claims that the ore had been stolen to they had been too busy defending Yew and Cove, they argued the point of their Commander’s displeasure. Seemingly disgusted, she turned back to Clainin.

“Anon mentioned spies…”

Eager to change the subject, Clainin exclaimed, “Yes, within the Council of Mages itself!”

Ailis sighed heavily. “I hope we have none within our own ranks”, she glanced up at the surrounding Guards. “I charge you all to keep an eye out for potential spies!”

Clainin reiterated her, by saying “Indeed... The people of Britannia must face this threat as one.” He then turned back to the Commander; “We must speak of the defense of Britain, Ailis.”

Once again, they became absorbed in their discussion about the worsening situation. The Guard summoning spells broke their concentration. Looking up, they saw, to their horror, that ravagers had appeared within the Castle grounds. Acting quickly, the Commander sprang to action, rallying the Guard to her.

Battle hardened though I am; I have little taste for blood. So, I waited until the Guard had beaten the creatures back a ways, and slipped outside, to where my faithful steed awaited me. Courier, too, has been in battles aplenty, but this new threat even had him nervous. Whispering softly to him, I clambered upon his back, and we made our way out into the streets.

These creatures had not entered the city by natural means. Looking rather flustered, Clainin left to find the reason for the failure of his magical barrier – the one meant to protect Britain from attacks by magical means!

Whilst the Guard were fighting these creatures off, they came upon Lady Iyona Kondo. Iyona is a member of the Royal Council, the same one that was rescued during the invasion of Yew. She was fighting bravely, right alongside the Guard. Obviously a Lady of the people!

Eventually, some members of the Guard reported to Commander Faolain that they had found a strange moongate. And, it was rather close to the crystal that powered Clainin’s magical barrier! Pressing forward, they came to where the moongate was. This was obviously the source of the invasion, as the numbers of creatures were intensified within this area!

Suddenly, an abysmal devourer appeared. What’s more, it appeared to be the same colour as the crystal, which powered the barrier! Immediately, the Guard sprang into action, but their efforts had no effect upon the foul creature. After some urgent discussion on the matter, some members of the Guard ventured that it might be the crystal that was preventing the creature from being harmed.

Having no other explanation, Lady Iyona suggested that the crystal must be destroyed.

Knowing how much work that Clainin and his mages had put into this defence, Ailis was reluctant to destroy it. However, eventually she gave into Iyona Kondo’s reasoning and ordered it destroyed. Iyona leapt onto the crystal and began hammering away at it with her sword. At length, the crystal cracked and crumbled into small fragments. Almost immediately, the creatures’ invulnerability fell away, and the Guard’ were able to fight fairly against it.

As the fight intensified, I moved Courier back a short distance, to a safer vantage point. It wouldn’t do for the Commander’s personal crier to perish in such a battle!

Eventually, they slew the beast and they began to take stock of the injured. Surprisingly, the casualties were low. Unfortunately, Ailis’ spirits were as well. She was concerned for Clainin’s feelings, regarding the failure of his magical barrier.

“The crystal was flawed” stated Lady Iyona, “however the Guard did immensely well in protecting our fair city”.

She then nobly volunteered to break the news to Clainin, promising the Commander that she would be gentle with him. Commander Ailis then thanked the Royal Guards for their assistance, and headed back to inform the Council.

I stayed for a few more moments, surveying the distribution of medical aid, before hurrying back to relate all that had happened to Esther. Surely she’d agree to go out with me now!

Damien
Apprentice Town Crier 

Published: October 2004
Please Note: Some dates are estimates as exact dates were unavailable.
Ultima Online ESRB Rating
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