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Virtuous Folly
Follow Erolan and Falcon through the wilds of Delucia, as a simple rescue turns in to a rather perilous adventure.

"The ragged snort of a ridgeback alerted Erolan to the presence of a mounted Savage guard. Peering through the foliage that fringed the small plateau he was crouched upon, he spied the warrior. The savage's attention was focused elsewhere, and even when Erolan's companion, Falcon, crunched a twig beneath his worn boot, the savage's eyes remained fixated on the road ahead of him. Erolan's narrowed gaze shot towards his companion and then down at his foot as he slowly slid his sword out from its sheath in a silent threat. The blade looked black beneath the shadows cast by the trees, almost dull, but Falcon was well aware of its deadly nature. Biting his lower lip, the younger man shrugged apologetically and refrained from making any further sounds.

"Erolan's intent gaze suddenly darted back to the savage as the hunkering beast that served as his mount gave another snort. With a subtle kick to the beast's sides, the warrior urged the creature forward, and the pair moved off down the road. Falcon released a shallow breath the moment the savage was out of sight, but before he could say anything, Erolan stood up and crept towards the eastern wall of the fort.

"Falcon understood their mission, but he was still inexperienced in the way of the sword, so was not as confident as Erolan and certainly not as bloodthirsty. As the older swordsman waved him over, Falcon left the cover of the bushes and joined his mentor at the fort's wall.

"'Remember now - strike fast and strike hard. Keep your wits about you,' Erolan said in hushed tones as he peered around the corner of the wall. Oh, how he loved a good fight, but he was concerned for his young companion. 'Go, now!'

* * * * *

"Earlier that day the pair had rescued the Delucian peasant woman, Avella, from a band of orcs, and had vowed compassionately to see her safely back to town.

"Then things had gone disastrously wrong. Had they headed straight for Delucia, there likely wouldn't have been any problem more difficult to deal with than a vagabond band of orcs. Most likely they would have merely encountered a deer and had the opportunity to shoot supper. But, Erolan decided to make a side trip and explore the old crypts a few leagues north of town.

"'This won't take long,' he'd assured his party. 'There is a lich haunting those tombs, and I wish to save its soul.'

"Falcon had a few choice words about those on the path of the Virtues, but he bit his tongue. If Fame and Glory and Wealth were virtues, Falcon would for sure be on their path. But this business of releasing the undead from their own evil and rescuing idiot townsfolk who insist on traipsing about the countryside and setting themselves up to be dinner for bands of ratmen, lizardmen, and orcs…! It was sheer madness.

"But Falcon chose to venture in with his friend. Avella, smitten with her
True Hero, Erolan, refused to hide and wait for his return-so, the three of them ventured into the crypts in search of the lich. Only two of them made it out alive.

"With surprising vehemence, they were set upon almost immediately by a horde of undead creatures. Most of them were skeletal and armed with wicked blades, though a few ghostly creatures joined the fray by raining fire and lightning at the pair of warriors. Somehow, Erolan was stricken with poison and, realizing his situation to be dire, broke away to the north to avoid attack while he worked to cure and heal himself. And of course, Avella blindly followed. Some of the undead followed, but others turned their ghastly attentions on Falcon. All alone, Falcon could do nothing but beat a more organized retreat.

"It turns out Erolan ran in exactly the wrong direction is his haste, and wound up in the middle of the Savage Fort north of the crypts before he realized his folly. A ridgeback-riding savage impaled the hapless Erolan on his spear, finishing him off. Avella, now alone, was stuck inside the fort.

"Erolan, no stranger to being dead, knew that all he could do is withdraw, return to life, and return to fight later. He searched a bit in ghostly form until he found Falcon. Drawing upon strength given to him by his Sacrifice, he willed himself a new body, to return to life without anyone's aid. The magic also summoned to him all the belongings from his corpse a little way up the road. Of course his life force was weak and he'd need to rest up and heal before moving on.

"'See, following the Virtues does have its benefits,' he'd told Falcon.

"'That's great,' Falcon retorted, 'if you can't keep yourself alive.' They grinned, and then Falcon continued. 'I suppose we're going to go rescue her again?'

"'Of course!'

* * * * *

"Falcon dashed through the front entrance with Erolan right on his heels. Fierce cries broke out through the camp as the savages spotted the intruders and alerted the others. Warriors, armed with sharp spears, converged upon the two men and attacked with all the ferocity and fervor that's typical of their kind. Erolan was surprised by such resolve, but was able to hold his own against the mob that quickly surrounded him. Falcon stumbled along the way but, with the help of his mentor, was able to survive through the worst of the ordeal, though not without an injury or two. And what of the fair Avella? Well, as soon as she spied her hero, Erolan, she ran to join him, despite the clash of steel and the cries of pain that filled the small fort.

"When it was all said and done, Erolan clasped the younger man on the shoulder, and then loosened his grip the moment he spied the wince his touch had caused. 'You fought well today, Falcon. We have what we came for. Let us head home.'

"Falcon could only nod. Avella swooned. And then the three of them left the fort and headed back towards Delucia-without any side trips this time. The lich would have to wait until another day."

Join us next week as we Spotlight more of your adventures and travels in the far reaches of Britannia. As always, keep an eye on FYI for future spotlight topics!

Published: March 2003
Please Note: Some dates are estimates as exact dates were unavailable.
Ultima Online ESRB Rating
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