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A Nightmare of a Therathan Keep
For some, the lure of a dungeon is that of wealth. Treasure chests lie unopened, magical items abound, and fortune waits beneath the surface of Britannia. For others, however, the gold and gems of a treasure trove are not the treasured goal. In our spotlight today, Reddevil learns that sometimes the greatest treasure is that earned with our own hands.

 “It was a chilling day as the fall winds rolled in across the plains of the new lands. I thought to myself about years gone past taming small cats and dogs as a youngster. Then, after time, I was taming black bears making a living outside different towns. I remembered snorting bulls with an attitude that I spent countless hours trying to tame. I remember the sight of my first dragon listening to my commands and actually performing them! I am now in my middle age years with memories of forests and swamps that had become my home.
“I took in a deep breath as I set my eyes upon the world. I glanced across the lands and listened to the sounds of the forest. I felt a slight chill slide from the top of my spine down to my quivering toes as I moved my mount forward. I had come to the new lands to search out and tame the best, most beautiful animal known. Its name was given by its evil disposition - "A Nightmare.” I wanted to feel the surge of taming a beast like this. Most of all I wanted to give this stallion to the one person who stole my cold heart throughout the years. Her name is Kaelyn. She had put manners in a person who only sought enough food for the day and gold for a night’s sleep. She took in a lonely man from tedious every day life and warmed my bones many a night by the fire as we talked of my days in the woods. I never had much use for people till I met her. Well I have changed in that way now. She showed me there is love and friends in the world. She listened and smiled, and I listened back. Soon we fell in love but that’s another story…

“I was determined to place her atop one of these stallions to know that when I was gone she would be protected from danger. I was set in my quest and moved on down the beaten path, noting the rocky hills in the distance. Soon I came near the Terathan Keep that so many told me about. I heard hisses fill the woods and the sounds of many feet clanking against stones and large sticks being broken. As I looked around me I saw fallen men wrapped in spider silk, with only one bloodstain showing where their life was sucked away. I also saw the large shed skin of some sort of snake.

“Then out from the shadows I saw a battle commencing between a large human-like snake and a very large spider. I quickly checked my reagents and felt a nice hefty bag. I sighed with relief and began to chant the spell of invisibility. I soon was not seen nor heard but merely a shadow moving from battle to battle.

“I came to the ruins of the keep and made my way to the entrance. It was a ladder; and I could not see anything below, but slowly my eyes adjusted. I slowly descended into the depths, always cautious of what was near. Then I heard it, Screams of the spider type people in unison and the one sound I was searching for. The snort of the nightmare...

“I made my way from dark corner to dark corner, always looking over my shoulder - feeling tall slender legs touching my neck, but when I looked back there was nothing. I had never feared as I did that day. Thoughts of Kaelyn soothed my nerves as I searched for my taming tools in my backpack.

“I peered around the corner in the large open swamp area and saw the black mare for the first time. She was beyond beauty and strength and vigor. I had to have her. Only problem was there were enough legs there to stop an army of men.

“I readied my feet for a long sprint. I darted out into the middle of the swamp, moving as fast as I could. Before the nightmare knew I was even there I had poked her with a dagger that I carried. She reeled around in pure anger, her red eyes blazing. I made it to the tunnel and ran in, the nightmare in pursuit. I readied a paralyze scroll. Then nightmare came into view and I cast. She froze, buckling against my magic. I quickly grabbed my taming tools and began to tame her. Fire shot out at me, burning my arms. I quickly cast a minor heal spell and continued to tame. I finished my attempts to tame her to my will, but to no avail.

“At that moment I heard the sounds of legs sliding against each other. Oh no! I thought they caught my scent. I turned back towards the mare and began once again to speak words of taming. I heard the sounds of feet coming. Sweat poured down my face as I worked the mare. Then I saw her! By the valley of my dead brethren! She was huge. The biggest spider I had seen, with the face of a woman of evil and poison. Before I knew it I was frozen in place. The nightmare’s red fiery eyes looked down at me at the moment and faded to eyes of a normal horse and she walked up to me nuzzling her chin at me.

“I had tamed her!

 “The feeling of happiness soon changed as I felt the first pain of a razor sharp leg cut me across the middle of my back. I winced with agony and looked at the mare and told her to guard me. In an instant mare shot round. Fire returned to her eyes as her anger burst out on my enemy. Fire engulfed the female spider and shot her against the wall, screaming in pain, but she got up and engaged the mare. Frozen and helpless I looked on. I heard harsh words of magic and saw green lines cross over and under the mare’s back. Poison was running through her veins. The mare faltered some to the left and cast a spell. The poison faded. The nightmare advanced on the Terathan, and with every step I saw her hooves begin to glow as hot embers. She reeled, striking out at the spider beast. Blood began to splatter everywhere as the nightmare drove in for the kill. It was over within seconds.

“I could feel myself begin to have feeling and then I could move. I ran to the mare and jumped upon her blood streaked back. I then looked back to see an army of legs coming. I quickly cast the spell of travel and was soon safe by a small stream. I dismounted the mare and cleansed her wounds. I turned to clean mine, but they were already gone. I looked back at the nightmare and saw eyes of peace.

 “I slowly made my way back to Britannia. For all the fear, I did make it out alive, and with a new companion. A companion that would keep my love safe forever. A smile crossed my face as I neared the museum and saw Kaelyn waving from atop. Her eyes widened as she saw me. I think she likes you already ole’ girl.”

Great Lakes

Next week, we continue our spotlights of the tales and stories that you create in Britannia. Keep an eye on FYI for future spotlight topics and send in your tales!

Published: October 2000
Please Note: Some dates are estimates as exact dates were unavailable.
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