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When Foolhardy Warriors Attack
The most rewarding action is one that helps your fellow citizens. Or one that doesn’t leave you as a smudge on a Britannian road. Or at least one that leaves you as a smudge on a road, but with a healer nearby. All right, so perhaps two out of three isn’t so bad…
“Thasteon Mox sat astride his horse in the steady drizzle of rain while he waited for his friend to mount. Toby settled on his horse quickly and looked at Mox. ‘This day is already starting off badly,’ he observed.

“Mox just nodded his head and nudged his horse around to head for the southern bridge leading out of Britain. The rain had already began to soak their clothing and rivulets ran off both young warriors' hats. The soft slosh of the horses' feet was the only other sound besides the splatter of rain in the early morning light.

“They approached the stone bridge at a slow walk; the horses picked their way across the slick stones carefully to the other side. Once across, the young companions picked up the pace and headed down the road westwards to the mountains.

“Mox and Toby rode with their heads slightly bowed, to keep the rain out of their faces. Both looked up quickly when a scream pierced through the rain. A man, being pursued by a dreaded creature that both Mox and Toby knew well, ran down the road at them full charge. The lich's cackle was nerve-shattering, and it cast a fireball as the man fled past them. The heat was intense as it passed their heads and slammed into the fellow's back, sending him sprawling face down in the mud. Mox looked at Toby, who returned the look with the same wide-eyed fear. It had only been days since another of those vile creatures had felled both of them. It was an experience they did not wish to relive for a long time. The lich moved between them, unconcerned and intent on its current victim. Both the young warriors shivered, frozen with fear as it passed within arms reach.

“The horses stirred and brought them out of their stupor, spurring Mox to draw his sword. Toby unslung his bow. ‘You know these aren't silver weapons, right? Hell, they aren't even magical!’ Toby exclaimed.

“’I know, but we can't let that man suffer the same fate we did,’ Mox returned, then glanced down the road where the man had regained his feet and was limping toward the bridge and safety.

"’Aye, may the gods watch over us,’ Toby intoned in his best priestly imitation.

“Both warriors kicked their horses into a gallop. Mox leaned low behind his horse's head and hung his sword down low along its side in a death grip. Racing alongside Mox, Toby retrieved an arrow from his quiver and let it fly.

“The arrow found its mark, but was low and ineffective. The living undead never even flinched and stayed focused on its victim. The fleeing man had crossed the stone bridge into town with the lich hard on his heels. Mox and Toby both flew across the dangerously wet bridge and cut into a hard left turn in the slick mud. Mox's horse stumbled, and he went down in the mud near the lich's feet. The creature’s intended victim had made it to the guard shack and banged on the door to wake the watch. Covered in mud, Mox crabbed back away from the lich that now took an interest in him. Again the lich cackled and swung its staff in a downward arc at the stunned warrior. Mox tried to dodge the blow, but it drove him over onto his side. Toby stayed mounted and began to attract the lich's attention as arrow after arrow sunk into the undead's flesh. Mox scrambled to his feet in the slippery street and struck from behind. In return, the lich cast a spell and struck the young warrior again with his staff, which knocked him flat on his back. Feeling nauseous and light headed; Mox lay in the muddy road and groaned. The lich moved slightly and cast spells at Toby, who was now sorry he had gotten its attention. Toby reeled from the spell blast, but maintained his seat on the horse. Mox stood shakily and noticed Toby's predicament. He lumbered into the beast's back again. He swung his well-crafted blade with all his might. The lich received the blow and howled in frenzy, then whipped around on the warrior.

“Mox stood his ground and faced the lich toe to toe. With a battle cry born of fury, and determined not to die again, Mox swung his sword again in a vicious arc. The lich deftly blocked the attack with its staff and delivered a blow to Mox's head. Stunned, Mox was driven backwards. The undead lord struck again with his staff across the human’s armored chest. Mox's arm twitched spasmodically and his sword slipped from numb fingers. Toby tried in earnest to attract the lich, his arrows striking hard and vital.

“The lich would not be deterred and would have blood this day. With a quick swing, its staff struck Mox again on the skull, which drove him to his knees. ‘OoOOooOo,’ Mox's lifeless body moaned as it slumped onto its back in the muddy street. Within moments, the guards showed up and drove the wounded lich to the ground under a fury of silver poleaxes and swords.

“With the lich dead, the crowd gathered around the bodies. Toby made it to his friend’s bloodied body, knelt beside him and checked for signs of life. A healer from the town appeared out of the crowd and began chanting. Within a few moments, Mox choked back to life.

“The fellow that had been chased addressed all present. ‘These young and valiant warriors saved me from a ill fate today and should be hailed as heroes.’ He then leaned over the two and shook their hands, continuing, ‘I will be ever indebted to you.’

“Toby grinned at Mox. ‘That was stupid.’

“’I know, next time I will wear a helmet. But then again, at least he didn't experience death. That is reserved for us foolhardy warriors,’ Mox replied from the wet and muddy road with a swollen eye.

Thasteon Mox, Atlantic

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Published: May 2001
Please Note: Some dates are estimates as exact dates were unavailable.
Ultima Online ESRB Rating
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