Written By: Courtney of Napa Valley
(First, I gotta say that this story can't be applied to all the shards. Some shards have communities and rulers in Nujel'm This story is written for Napa Valley)
The sun peeked out from behind the clouds, sending its dreadful rays down onto the desert island, Nujel’m. Tavern keepers cleaned up their empty bars with brooms, the waiters and cook just sitting about. For what reason should they look busy? There have been no customers in months.
Bards wandered the streets outside of their theater, strumming a note or two from their lutes every now and then. Creative urges fizzled and died within them as the painful realization that there would be no crowd to cheer for them resurfaces.
Outside the grand walls, peasants tilled and enjoyed the overcast day, as their slums offered little shade to hide them from the sun on a normal, hot day. The few who strived to sell their wares in such a barren place found themselves grow tired and weak. The only business they would receive was that of a stray child, who would take up an attractive, shiny object, and walk off without paying.
And in the center of it all, an empty palace grows old and dirty without maintenance. There had once been servants working to clean the walls and dust the furnishings. ‘Where had they all gone?’ A traveler might ask. That is the truly sad thing about this isle. Nobody knows about its true past.
Sophitia sighed as she strolled through the garden. At least, it seems, the gardeners will not let their hard work wilt away in this palace. What had become of this city? It had been so thriving when she were but a child, so many years ago. Now look at it. Ever since the death of her ruler, Nujel’m has laid waste.
The young woman moved through the empty palace and began to trek through the streets, moving North.
Does anybody even remember that man? Is there anyone on this world that hears the name and recalls what he had done? It’s doubtful. In fact, it’s not surprising that the man’s name is unknown.
Lord Lucius. That was the man’s name. Lord Lucius Alexi, a king who’s father had purchased this isle from Lord British ages ago. It was just a desert island, worth nothing at the time. With the right touch and the right temptations, however, Lord Lucius’ father started a community which thrived off of the passionate flames of pleasure. And, thus, Nujel’m was born.
As the times went on, so did the kingdom. Lucius had inherited this palace and kingdom from his father when the old man’s life escaped from him. The new Lord knew just what to do to make this city better than ever. He implemented the public executions, which frightened anyone with criminal minds to flee to another city to do their evils.
The Lord had fallen in love with a woman of noble stature, from the merchant city of Vesper, named Terese. Terese longed to give rise to a marvelous princess of Nujel’m. Nothing was more important to her than bringing to life a lovely pair of daughters.
Sophitia looked up from her thoughts and saw where she was headed. She had passed into the city slums and followed the pathway… towards the cemetery… And, solemnly, she returned to her memories.
It had never been known at the time, but now we understand that the woman Terese was infertile. Try as they might, they never produced any children. Lord Lucius was the only descendant of his father, and it seemed he would be the last to rule. So, he and his wife devised a plan, to ease both of their desires. They would send a servant into the slums and collect a female orphan. This infant would be raised as if she were delivered from Terese herself, and as long as nobody found out, the girl could continue the rule over Nujel’m.
Their plans were brought to a crashing halt when Terese caught a disease from drinking soiled water. It wasn’t long until the Lady Terese had died. After days of weeping, Lucius decided to dedicate his life to fulfilling her dream. He put his foot down and concluded that he would seek to raise two beautiful daughters, fit for the crown.
As if fate were on his side, a pair of such girls were brought in the same weekend. A traveling fur trader had come across two newly orphaned girls in the woods outside of Trinsic. Their mother’s body was found not too far away. Distraught by this story, Lord Lucius took in the two girls, whom were identified by their names written into their clothing. The fur trader swore to secrecy.
Lord Lucius had spread lies, that Queen Terese gave birth to two daughters but refused to tell about them. He said that they feared assassination attempts, thus they kept their infants secret. The public believed the story, and the island raised up two marvelous, beautiful princesses…
Things had been going great, until, sixteen years later, the world came under attack…
Sophitia stopped at the cemetery gates, looking over at the tombs. A staunch smell hit her nose as she smelled the potent fumes of decaying flesh. Here in Nujel’m, the dead were not buried, as tradition by other societies. Instead, the corpses were merely piled atop each other in the tombs. A memorial was held in the palace, to give closure to the deceased one’s family.
Above her, the sun hid behind a thick, black cloud. Darkness befell the cemetery, and a cool sea wind blew against her skin.
A cold hand felt the sharp, pointed gates, and pushed it open.
…the cities of Britannia were being attacked by legions of undead. One such catastrophe was remarkable enough for Lord Lucius to give attention: The attack on Trinsic. This city stuck out in his mind, for that was the city from which his adopted daughters were born. Their father might still be in that city, and that thought bothered him.
There are no armies for Nujel’m. Merely the King and his royal guard knew how to properly wield a sword. Lord Lucius left port one evening with his guards and his daughters. It was intended to be a search and rescue mission, with his daughters staying with the ship off of the shoreline.
But, as we all know… things rarely go as planned.
As Lucius and his guards moved about through the city, the girls watched from a boat as undead minions slaughtered the citizens of Trinsic. A few lost souls were those of warriors and paladins that wished to save the city of honor.
In a sudden flash, there was an explosion on the shoreline, and a white ball of light raced towards the boat. "Hang on!!" The tiller man screamed at the girls, and they all acted on instinct.
The explosion caught Lucius’ attention, and he turned just in time to see his ship go up in flames… and down into the ocean. With a shrill cry of despair, Lord Lucius dropped to his knees and screamed out the names of his lost daughters.
In that moment of weakness, a stray arrow from an archer found its target in Lucius’ back.
The guards all fled to their ships, taking Lucius’ body with them, and returned to Nujel’m with their sad tales. Nobody ever conducted a search party for the daughters. They assumed them dead, and a memorial was set up for them in Lord Lucius’ tomb.
Due to the loss of the royal family, Lord British reclaimed the island as his own. The laws and customs changed to conform to Lord British’s rule.
Perhaps a search party should have been called. For, if there was one, they would have found the girls on the sandy beach of barrier isle…
The gates squeaked closed behind Sophitia as the young magician entered a decorated tomb. A sarcophagus lay in the center of the room, in which Lord Lucius’ remains laid. On either side of the coffin, against the wall, were two statues of knights, with the names of the presumed lost daughters engraved in their armor.
The girl knelt next to the Western statue and read the engraved marking aloud. "With deepest gratitude, we remember thee, our loved daughter, our adored princess, Sophitia."
Then she stood up and looked at her Father’s sarcophagus. Silently, she wondered if anybody has even set foot in this tomb since the funeral. Does anybody even know he lays there?
All signs point to "No."
But that’s about to change.
Sophitia straightened herself and made the decision.
It doesn’t matter to her that the island has returned to the control of Lord British.
What does matter to her is that the island is now a ghost town. This will not do.
She cannot rule the island; that’s fine. But she will not allow Nujel’m to remain barren. She stared across the dusty buildings and made a stern decision... Nujel'm will return to its glory days, at any cost to her.