Knight of ZantarniZantarni NPC
Thu Oct 16, 2008 7:27 am
And after a long and amazingly difficult voting, the winning stories, from 3rd place to 1st. Thou all art true wielders of your quills and parchments!ENJOY!
The Pumpkin King & The Wise Knight by Ayashino
A Zantarni Fairytale
“Come closer, for during these dark times it’s important that such tales be whispered into the ears rather then shouted to the skies…”
Once upon a time; for even in the realm of Zantarni there are such beginnings, in the Town of Edingtol a dark fear ate at the hearts of its people. For 9 years they continued to live in fear of one particular night, a day that only 20 years earlier their people had not known about. This day, though it may be common to you, was known as All Hallows Eve, a day in which spirits were said to roam free into the world of the living but also a day of costumes and other festivities. This holiday was brought to the towns people by a man of unknown origin, many people insisted that celebrating such a day would go against their own spiritual beliefs and customs but these voices went unheard, as many reasonable voices tend to be in such times.
So, the people of Edingtol took up this holiday and for 10 years celebrated it blissfully and without care, until the day of the 11 year when all Hallows Eve rolled around and people began to celebrate. It was this year that Little Bo Horselop was found in the pumpkin patch, the sight of such a young boy dead and in such a terrible manner; one that I can not describe to such sensitive ears, had the whole town torn. However many unexpected and terrible things can happen and be nothing but misfortune or so the people of Edingtol thought. For several years more they continued with their celebration of the holiday and each year another body was found in the pumpkin patch, sometimes several where found. Even after these happenings, (finally the people who had cried harm before the taking up of such a holiday was taken seriously) the killings on All Hallows Eve did not stop. Years have gone by and still on that night some unfortunate soul is found within the patch, this terrible event has come to be known as The Orange death.
It had come to past however that a Knight of The World had heard the tales of The Orange Death and fearful townspeople of Edingtol and so on stead and with sword in hand he braved dragons and trolls to make his way to the town. He was greeted with reserve for no one wanted a Knight to do more harm to their town by going against something they now believed they right fully deserved [having gone against their spirits and traditions]. This knight however was wise and gentle, though fierce if such a time would call for it. He knew that such events could not take place without darkness ready to fuel it. So on the night of The Orange Death the Knight stood watch and waited. It was with a calm mind and a steady hand that he moved through the town, stopping now and again when an angry wind would rip at this clothing and dark shadows would try to engulf him. On through the night he searched the town until finally he stopped outside the pumpkin patch, it had grown wild with years of neglect. The Knight pressed past the broken wooded fence and made his way deep into the patch, making sure to mind his feet so he did not step of pumpkins that hide from his sight under leaves and vines. It was there in the overgrown patch that his eye caught the glimmer of an object and he steadily made his way today it, the moon guiding his way. It became clear however that has he got closer the patch became much more dense, pumpkins that were once hidden shifted in his path with a life of their own and soon he was forced to stop. All around him pumpkins began to shift on their vines, rising up and around him, their orange bodies twisting until faces became etched in their hides. Angry wails and moans came from the patch and The Knight moved a hand to rest it against his sword,
“Why do you wail so?” He called out to the pumpkins and they shifted forcible against him perhaps hoping to squish the life out of him. The knight however held firm and even though gripping his sword, he did not draw on the angry souls in the patch. Soon a voice came to him out of the darkness.
“Do you not wish to such a weapon to crave us up? To give us ridiculous faces?”
The Knight, while having asked a question had not expected to receive an answer but being a wise knight he was aware that not all living things must bleed to live.
“I do not wish harm on a patch such as this.”
“Have we become to wild for you to have?” The voice whispered back, anger rising up as the wind ripped at the knight and the pumpkin crushed into his harder still.
“A wild patch breeds as well as any farmed patch. I ask again, why are you so angry?”
The wind calmed and slowly the pumpkins withdrew from the knight, laying before him a path and at the end of this path a large pumpkin rested, its vines long and twisted, an ugly grin etched within its tough skin,
“Why would I not be angry? Long ago we were respected as a worthy crop, we were used for food, drinks and so much more and after the unknown man we became nothing by hunks of material to crave idiotic faces into, our very essence thrown into the streets and used without a care. So we did onto them what they did unto us. They silenced my wife and daughter forever with their charms and tricky. Their foolishness…” The pumpkins voiced echoed through the patch.
The Knight listened with a heavy heart to the pumpkin and being a wise knight he understood the lost and hurt of the being, even though it was unlike himself. He also knew however that such pain lessens with time and this Great Pumpkin’s had not. Moving closer he searched the patch for the mysterious glimmer he had seen earlier,
“Great Pumpkin your pain is not lessened by time nor by the actions of the people who fear your will on this dark night. Tell me of this unknown man who roamed your patches? Who pulled your conscious from natures soil…”
The pumpkins smiled twisted on its orange hide as it’s vines pulled and moved him along the ground and he spoke with a great booming voice,
“He came and twisted the mind of the people and he walked through our patch, he laid hands upon my wife and daughter but left me untouched. Afterwards he left and they spelt and I wakened from the earth…”
The knight paused in his actions and regarded the Pumpkin, “You are a great and wise pumpkin. Please, I ask that you let me help you so that you may return to the earth womb and that peace may be with you and those of the people here, that they may learn once again the respect they had for your kind.”
The Pumpkin held no trust in his being for The Knights kind however, anger had held him so long and he longed for the earth and to be once again reunited with his family. So The Great Pumpkin agreed and The Knight moved to stand in front of two pumpkins that rested near the Great one. Once there he laid his hands upon their crowns and gently let his fingers glide along their ridges and along their stocks. It was there that he paused, for wedged into the base of the stock almost underneath it a small object glimmered, barely noticeable to a human eye but not disregarded by the wise knight. With great care he removed small black pins from both mother and daughter pumpkins and held them up to The Great Pumpkin and proclaimed,
“Here, within your garden a man of unknown origins came and with these pins he forced your family deep into the earth so that they could not rise to speak to you and confront you in these dark times. His intentions were evil but those of the townsfolk were not. Take comfort in that Great King of Pumpkins and sleep well with your family. The townsfolk respect for your kind has not been long lost, it will be restored hence.”
Already the Great Pumpkin was sinking into the ground, vines wrapping around his wife and daughter as he heard their soft calls from deep within the earth.
“A wise and trusted Knight. Your word I will take on such matters, with no one to sooth my anger I brought pain and suffering to the people as they had done to me. As I lay to rest let us lay the rest the past but not forget it….”
The Knight held onto those words with great care as he slowly made his way from the patch, there outside the garden people slowly came out of their homes and the Knight retold the tale of The Great Pumpkin King. Remorse filled the people of the town and that very night they began to renew the earth in their pumpkin patch. The Knight’s spirit was high with joy and relief that the two would once again be able to respect and live in peace with one another.
Upon leaving the small town that night the Knight walked his stead down the long path out of town, upon entering the woods he paused. There before him dressed in a flowing gown and white hair twisted down into a coil was a beautiful young maiden, willingly she smiled at him and held out her hand, “From the depths of the earth I heard your wise words and with each sound my very being filled with love. With the blessing of my father I have come to you wise knight, a bride from the earth…”
“It is said that The Wise Knight, took the daughter of the Pumpkin King for his bride and that both of them are equally as knightly in their quests and deeds. Edingtol’s people have come one again to respect the chops and their customs but the fear the Pumpkin King instilled deep in the hearts have never disappeared and it is said that some All Hallows Eve as a reminder to the people and their promise a body of a dead animal will be found in the patch…So go, whisper quietly to yourself about your doubts and beliefs of this tale but if the wind should grow angry and rip at your clothes run for your home for the Pumpkin King may be coming to set an example of you next…”
The Day of the Dead by Paganbeer
Dante Sparda, Prince of Demons, stood on the balcony outside the bedroom suite of his impressive manor home on the outskirts of Edingtol and watched the sun rise on another Day of the Dead. A discreet tapping at the door of his suite signalled that his orders had been fulfilled. Dante turned and left the balcony, grabbed his cloak from a nearby chair, and readied himself to spend this special day with one who had become an unlikely friend. As he fastened the clasp at his throat and opened the door to find a servant holding the now traditional basket of wine and food, he remembered their first meeting...25 years ago, to the day.
Bernadette lit the final candle,knelt on the floor, and started chanting. She closed her eyes and let her mind flow with the rhythm until she felt a shift. She opened her eyes and there he was, looking around her little cottage with a bored expression on his face, his anger betrayed only by the red glow of his eyes. She took a deep breath and stood, drawing his full attention, though he remained silent.
"Dante Sparda, I bind you to my will at this time through the power of the summons and the circle," she stated clearly, determined not to show fear before this demon who looked for all the world like any bored young nobleman - except for his eyes, which flashed red in fury at her words. But furious though he was - she could feel his anger humming in the air between them - he retained his poise, and merely inclined his head in her direction.
"And what would you have of me?" he asked in a low tone that made the simple question sound like a threat.
"Edingtol is in great danger, and time," she paused and gave a short bark of laughter, "is running out." Dante gave a derisive laugh of his own.
"Mistress, Edingtol is never in danger. For centuries there has been a spell surrounding the town that keeps enemies..." Dante's voice trailed off and he inhaled deeply, as though detecting and attempting to identify a scent. He looked at his captor with new interest.
"Now how is it that the centuries old magic protecting this town bears your signature?" he asked quietly.
"Because it's my spell," the young woman answered just as quietly. "I've always known that...I could feel it. I've spent most of my life figuring out how to do it. But I don't know how to travel back through time, and now it's running out!" Her voice raised in frustration, and she ran her hands through her thick, wavy brown hair.
"Running out?" he prompted. "How so?"
"I've been scrying, consulting the cards, talking with spirits, and everything has been telling me thatthis is the age at which I cast the spell...and as you already know, this is also the day." He nodded.
"So you summoned me to..."
"Take me back to the day of the pirate attack and when I am finished, bring me to my own time again," she said. "I've heard that demons, the more powerful ones, can travel through time like mortals travel through rooms in a house."
"It's not quite as easy as that," he smiled wryly, "but it can be done. I wish that you had just asked for my assistance...I do have a certain fondness for this town."
"I considered it, but I couldn't take the chance that you might refuse."
"I see. But there is a small problem. If I had given my assistance of my own volition, I could have given it freely. But since you have involved this," he paused and gestured distastefully at the circle that still held him, "The magic itself will demand you pay a price. And the sort of magic you have begun here will demand a high price, indeed."
There was a flicker of fear in her eyes, but she straightened her shoulders and lifted her chin as she replied.
"I know. I've considered that, as well, but it all came down to one thing. This is my home, and I have to protect it, no matter the cost."
He looked at her a moment, standing before him young, tall, and beautiful...but it was her courage that made him begin to like her. He held out his hand.
"Well, since I can't leave, you will have to join me. Are you ready?"
She darted to a nearby cupboard and grabbed a small sack he assumed contained any ingredients she needed for her spell. She came back, and after a small hesitation, placed her hand in his and stepped into the circle with him.
"This will take just a moment, Mistress," he said as he drew in and focussed his energy.
"Bernadette," she replied, making him like her a little more. Then, with a ripple of air, they were gone.
Dante Sparda watched Bernadette that night with growing respect. He watched her run to the outskirts of a much smaller Edingtol and raise the alarm by pretending to be from a neighboring town already under attack. He watched her help with the evacuation to the caves, and watched her cast a complex and powerful spell of protection on the fledgling town, finishing just as the pirates began their doomed invasion. And he watched as, exhausted, she returned to him, took his hand, and asked in a small voice,
"Can we go home now, please?" Without a word, Dante took them home.
They appeared back in Bernadette's little cottage, but outside the circle, which was already beginning to fade. Bernadette staggered to a chair and fell into it, letting her head roll back and closing her eyes.
"It's finally over," she muttered. "I've been working toward this all my life, because I knew I had to, but now I can finally choose what I want..." Dante stopped listening as the magic began to compel him. Slowly, he walked over to Bernadette and placed a hand on her cheek. Startled, her eyes flew open and she went silent.
"I am sorry, Bernadette," he managed to get out before he leaned down and kissed her on the forehead. Power shot through him into Bernadette, who gave a short cry and lost consciousness. Then Dante was pulled back to his home, just as he had been pulled away by Bernadette's summons.
Dante took a personal interest in Bernadette's well being that first year. The magic had shattered her mind, leaving her confused and often incoherent. He set several servants to stay near and ensure she came to no physical harm. His servants gave him regular reports that differed only in daily details - Bernadette's condition remained unchanged.
Then, on the anniversary of the day they met, a servant came racing in and breathlessly imparted momentous news - the witch's mind seemed to have healed! The rest of the news was not as pleasant. Everyone Bernadette approached shied away from her and hurried off, unaware that her madness was gone.
Dante set out and found her in the town square, slumped on a bench near the public well, her head hanging low. He walked up to her and placed a hand on her shoulder. She slowly lifted her head and looked at Dante with wounded eyes. Dante removed his hand from her shoulder and offered it to her. Bernadette took his hand and slowly stood. They walked to her cottage together in silence. Once inside, they sat and talked. Dante answered Bernadette's questions and caught her up on the year's town news. They talked until late into the night, listening to the distant Day of the Dead celebrations going on in town. Just before she drifted off to sleep in her chair, Bernadette murmurred,
"I didn't know it would be so high."
"What's that?" he asked, although he had already guessed.
"The price," she sighed, and fell asleep. Dante let himself out quietly.
In the morning, Bernadette's madness had returned.
The following years cemented the unlikely friendship between the witch and the Prince of Demons. Bernadette's mind cleared each Day of the Dead, and Dante spent that day with her. He grew to deeply respect Bernadette, who he considered remarkable, not only because she bore no resentment at the price she had paid to defend her hometown, but also because she had, on occasion, used her only day of clarity to work on strengthening the spell.
Dante found himself looking forward to this visit. He knew she would be amused (and quietly proud) when he told her of the townsfolks' panic when the orcs and then the frost giants had been spotted heading toward town, and their subsequent confusion each enemy had unexpectedly changed course and wandered off. He also wondered what she would make of the new Lord.
Dante took the basket from his servant and stepped forward, and with a ripple of displaced air, he was in Bernadette's cottage. She was already seated at her table with place settings for two neatly laid out. Bernadette greeted Dante Sparda with a warm smile.
"Hello, old friend. What news?"
Bernadette's story by Amersemt
Bernadette hummed softly to herself as she carved each turnip. She took care with each cut, for they had to be just right to serve their purpose. Unfortunately, she had been distracted in the recent week by the townsfolk and their frivolous preparations for the town Halloween celebration. As a result, she had quite a few turnips to carve before sundown and the light was failing fast as were her poor fingers. Glancing towards the window, she realized that she would never finish in time. She needed turnips, lots of turnips, and she needed them to have scary little faces carved into them already.
The laughter of a group of children interrupted her thoughts. Pulling herself to her feet, she shuffled to the door of her cottage and pulled the door open. There she discovered a large group of children wearing homemade masks of demons and witches and other things that terrified them only in their dreams.
“See!” One of the children shouted, pointing at her. “She not a witch, she's just a harmless old woman.”
The children trilled with laughter again. Bernadette leaned forward on her cane and was about to lay into them when a very small child pushed her way to the front of the group.
“Old Bernie, does you have some treats for us?” She whispered with her eyes as round as saucers. She slowly opened her sack, her hands trembling.
Bernadette straightened up a bit, she had an idea. These children could be useful for one night instead of gallivanting around, whooping and hollering.
“Of course, my child,” She gestured at the group with her gnarled finger. “Come inside and you all will get a wonderful treat!”
The children filed past the old woman, squealing at the many little carved turnips. Their faces filled with excitement as they saw each face was unique from the rest.
“Now, children,” Bernadette spat as she bolted the door, “I would like for you all to have a seat right there by the hearth.” She watched gleefully as the excitement in their faces turned to looks of terror. “And no screaming, else I can make this whole thing extremely painful and take your voices away.” She cackled and rubbed her hands together.
The small child looked up at her, her face drawn in fear. “Old Bernie, what you gonna do to us? Eat us? I won't taste so good, I'm very skinny you see. And....” She trailed off and began to sob quietly.
“Silly child! Witches don't really eat children. That is just a story your parents tell you to scare you and scared you should be because I do need you all for something very important. You see, tonight is Samhain and my lineage is coming to visit. I need more carved turnips to light the way for them from the other side. And I think you children will do the job quite nicely.”
One of the young men stood up to face her. “You crazy old bat, you want us to carve your stupid turnips? Forget it, I'm leaving!” He turned and ran towards the door. Reaching it, he fumbled with the bolt.
Bernadette cackled, “You're not going anywhere!” She reached into her pouch and withdrew a pinch of dried turnip. She closed her eyes and began the incantation.
“On this night there is a job to be done,
And all ye children shall obey one by one.
This pinch of turnip and the Spirits will see
The faces of these children will guide my family!”
Bernadette flung the pinch of turnip into the fire and it roared fiercely and then all was silent. She opened her eyes and surveyed her work. Where each child had been, there now was a small, intricately carved turnip head, each had it's own delightful look of horror. Once again humming to herself, Bernadette lined the ledges of each window with the lit turnips and settled into her chair near the fire to await the arrival of the spirits of her ancestors.
Alric Thelred al'Gysevin
Last edited by Alric al`Gysevin on Wed Nov 05, 2008 7:02 pm; edited 1 time in total