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The Statue of Sage McBain
Many a traveler has returned from the roads of Brittania, muttering "someday he'll get what's coming to him." In the wild lands where injustice reigns supreme, it happens too infrequently for the victims. That's why, when the bard Arcadian Del Sol tells us this tale, we smile and cheer. Is it a true story, or merely a tale to entertain us as the nights turn cool? In truth it doesn't matter either way. Sit back and listen as the bard begins.

 "He most definitely had it coming. That's what anyone who knows the story of Sage McBain would tell you. Listen for yourself and decideā€¦
"As spring passed to autumn, and bright leaves of orange-red gave way to fields of pure white snow, the citizens of the grand city of Britain had grown accustomed to three new sounds in the forests to the north.

"In Spring, Sage McBain had returned from his travels and settled into his warm tower to further his alchemistic research. Yes, McBain was an alchemist, but he spent little time grinding ginsengs and nightshades - McBain had been consumed by the ancient lust for gold, and had devoted his life to discovering it's secret properties, that he might one day recreate them as easily as casting a magic ham. As his experiments met with daily failures and set backs, the entire region shook with the force of explosions that echoed off the mountains and nearly toppled every building for miles. This was the first of the new sounds that Britains had learned to live with those months.

"In that same northern forest, the roads had become more dangerous to travel than the mouth of an active volcano. Riding his ghastly pale white steed, Erik Blutleiter had become as much a part of the landscape as the mighty Yew trees. Many an unwary traveler became food for "Glom", his one-eyed pet gargoyle. As the daily explosions rolled south from the mountains, so too did the desperate cries of fear and agony from those who fell to the blood soaked axe of Erik Blutleiter. This was the second of the new sounds that Britains had learned to accept during the harvest months.

"And the third sound, perhaps the most dreadful of all, was the seemingly endless drone of the funeral processions, weeping widows and strumming lyres that together played out a mournful dirge of despair and loss - all by the foul hands of Erik and his vile companion, "Glom".

"When the first snows came south from the icy peaks, too came the rumors spreading like wildfire from tavern to tavern - it had been days, perhaps even weeks, since the loud booming explosions from "McBain's Folly".

"A small party of seasoned heroes set out on expedition and returned with a most extraordinary tale. There at the foot of McBain's tower stood nearly four feet tall a leafy shrub with budding blooms - made entirely of gold! Well! I don't have to tell you what happened next. Offers came from every wealthy baron from here to Nu'Jel'm who sought to purchase what surely had been the greatest discovery since fire. But to the disappointment of anyone who dared the stomping grounds of Erik Blutleiter, there was no golden tree. All they found there was a hole in the ground on the very spot reported to hold the blooming bullion.

"Three days after, the Sage was seen in Britain, purchasing cloaks for cold vagrants, and even buying a deed to a very nice hall where they might find shelter from the icy winds of the new winter. He purchased new armor for the town guard, and a stable of horses to anyone who wished a fresh mount. And as the months turned colder and the year grew older, the Sage had become something of an icon; a hero to the downtrodden and needy. Curious folk braved the dangerous forest now claimed by the vile Erik Blutleiter, just to catch a glimpse of the old Sage as he walked past the windows of his nice, new mage tower.

"In the mid-winter, the patron of Britain, Lord British himself, had issued a proclamation. For service to the community, the Sage McBain was to be enshrined by statue at the castle gates.

"Across knee deep drifts and frozen rivers, a party of the king's best soldiers delivered the news to McBain. But the mission was not to be the festival it should have been.

"Littered in the snow were bits of furniture, and fragments of stone and mortar. Smoldering books and large trunks lay scattered like a battlefield. All that remained of "McBain's Folly" was the crumbling foundation, and all that remained of Sage McBain was the smoking knot of robe and cloak. On the marble steps lay the frozen corpse of a gargoyle, it's left eye gored out long ago. The fierce "Glom" was dead, Erik Blutleiter had struck again, and Britain had lost a beloved patron.

"As winter drew to a close, and the days began to grow longer, three things had quietly changed. No more were the forests shaken to the roots by the sounds of explosions, no more did the endless parade of funerals resound in the streets, and no more did the shrieks of death roll southward from the road. With the deaths of McBain and "Glom", Erik Blutleiter had not been seen again.

"It was two days before the new year that the sculptor arrived, and placed a large marble pedestal before the castle of Lord British. His long blue cape bound tight against the cold, and his tall pointed hat pulled low over his brow, the artist declared in a raspy voice that he had come to place the statue of Sage McBain, and that it would be his gift to the citizens of the noble city.

"For two days, he prepared the pedestal, polishing it, placing it just so. But when the eve of the new year came, and the statue was unveiled to the people, the anonymous artisan was nowhere to be seen. In fact, he was never seen again.

"And that, friend, is the story of the Statue of Sage McBain. Those who remember him often comment on how much the stranger resembled the old Sage, but it is in the dark corners of the taverns, when men trade rumor and saga over warm pints, do they comment on how much the solid gold statue outside the castle resembles the vile Erik Blutleiter.

Take comfort fellow travelers. Sometimes evil men do indeed get what they so richly deserve.

It is with pleasure that we present these tales of your communities and adventures in Ultima Online. Please join again next week as we share another of the many stories of Britannia that you have created. Join us next week as we continue our spotlight on tales of your adventures and accomplishments. Please keep an eye on FYI for new spotlight topics!

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