There is panic in the King’s voice.
The once mighty ruler of the Kingdom of Purple & Gold has fallen into despair. An insatiable evil has descended upon his capital city, consuming all in its path. An evil that has already devoured most of his kingdom.
He fights hard to keep his fear hidden, but it drips from every word he speaks.
“Where has that sneaky sack of crap run off to?!” shouts the King as he pushes his way through the crowded castle hallways, desperately searching for their salvation.
“Move damn it! Your King commands it!”
The King is a massive man, who stands head and shoulders above his subjects. His tall frame supporting a muscular build, broad shoulders, and a thick, luxurious beard. With such a rugged and dominating presence he is occasionally misidentified as a troll when traveling outside his kingdom.
The King is quick to anger but compassionate to those loyal to him. When faced with danger he takes every challenge head on, leading the charge and claiming victory by force. But this time is different. This is an evil that has shook him to his core, reducing him to a frightened little mouse scurrying around the castle.
“Please listen to me…” the King quietly says to himself as his bottom lip quivers.
Hysteria dominates the castle, and the King is very much part of it.
To combat the approaching evil, and to settle his nerves, the King has called upon every available knight, warrior, and mage loyal to the Purple & Gold. In response a sizeable army of over a thousand has assembled behind the castle walls.
With the castle now filled with the kingdom’s strongest fighters, the King was able to enjoy a slight reprieve from the overwhelming fear that had gripped his heart. Not wanting to lose this sense of safety, the King forbade his army from leaving the castle.
This left the citizens of his city abandoned and unable to fend off the approaching evil. Fearing for their lives, a large mob of terrified citizens amassed outside the castle gate. They pounded on the gate until their skin split and blood spilled onto the ground. Their screams of terror growing soft as their throats become raw.
The citizens’ pleas for mercy were silenced by the King’s orders.
Inside the castle, hundreds of knights outfitted in heavy plate armor rush to receive their final blessings. Their thunderous footsteps shaking the castle to its foundation as they keep up their hurried pace.
Mages of every order and type push themselves to the brink of death, casting countless spells and seals throughout the castle. They continuously force their magics upon the King’s army in an attempt to fend off their impending doom.
Archers and spearmen in thick leather and chainmail race to the towers and walkways. Their bows and spears grow heavy with every step they climb. An uneasiness filling their minds, worried their weapons will be ineffective against such a formidable foe.
Servants, cooks, and lesser lords try their best to stay out of the way, but they keep getting caught up in the frenzy and end up trampled to death.
Flanked by his royal guards, the King continues to fight his way through the castle. His wide build hinders his movements as he navigates the cramped conditions.
“Get me out of this mess, this instant!” the King yells as he tries to mask a tremble in his voice.
“Have you all grown feeble and dumb?! Do I need to do everything myself?!”
The King’s royal guard are using all their might to force open a pathway large enough for the King to fit, but they find themselves surrounded and unable to move.
“Sire! Sire! I have found him! I have found the one you are looking for!” yells Douglas, excited to have solved the King’s dilemma.
Squeezing and shifting through the congested hallway, Douglas’s young body is more malleable than the bulk the King had put on over the decades.
Douglas stands atop all knights in the land of Purple and Gold. As a child he impressed the King with his speed and exceptional sword skills. This prompted the King to train Douglas personally, turning him into the most lethal member of his royal guard. In return Douglas is doing his best to grow facial hair worthy of a person of his rank. Only a few small clumps of blonde hair dot his cheeks.
“Fantastic job Sir Douglas!” the King yells back.
“Now that is what true determination looks like, you shabby lot!”
The faces of the royal guard are red and covered in sweat as they continue to maintain an open space around the King. The flow of bodies pushing against them like a raging river.
When Douglas gets within reach, the King stretches out his massive right arm and grabs ahold of his collar. Using his monstrous strength, the King violently pulls Douglas towards him through the crowd, knocking over everyone in his path.
“Take me to him this instant!” the King screams in Douglas’s face.
Douglas is startled by the King’s actions. Face to face with the King, he can fully see the terror in his eyes.
“Y-yes my lord, right this way!”
Douglas quickly leads the King down the main staircase towards the front gate. An avalanche of bodies preceding them as they force their way down the steps.
Many of the King’s knights have gathered near the front gate, preparing to defend it with their lives. Their shields and broadswords fill the space between them, creating an imposing wall of living metal. The King’s royal colors of purple and gold painted on their armor, creating a sea of loyalty to the kingdom.
In the middle of the crowd gathered a small group of warriors whose appearance did not fit. This group was not outfitted with heavy armor, and they did not adorn themselves with the colors of the King.
Instead, this group wore light armor consisting of chainmail layered with the hides of various magical beasts. On top of it all they wore capes, cloaks, or surcoats dyed dark blue. Cast against the dark blue was a ring of flowers sown in silver thread. This was the symbol of Gregory, one of the nine great Magicians.
Within this group stood a stout, balding man wearing a half dozen necklaces of braided flowers. He looked unimposing and frail with a large belly and soft chubby cheeks. This is Gregory, and as he spoke, his group of followers watched and listened intently to his every word.
The moment the King saw Gregory he went berserk. All the fear and despair that controlled his mind was gone in an instant. Replaced by the overwhelming desire to kill Gregory for making him feel so small.
“Gregory you slimy fool! How dare you hide from me at a time like this!” screamed the King, his face turning red.
“You continue to play your little games while my kingdom is on the brink of death! Do you not see the horrors going on outside these walls?! Have you not heard their screams?!”
The King’s voice roared through the crowd, collecting the attention of everyone who was within earshot. From his words, doubt began to form in the iron hearts of the knights. They begin to talk amongst themselves.
“Did he say, “brink of death”?” one knight asks those around him.
“What’s going on out there?” says another.
“Is my family, ok?!” asks a third.
The King scrambles down the last few steps and runs into the densely packed crowd. The knights surrounding Gregory unintentionally saving him from the King’s wrath.
“Your inaction has doomed us! Erasing every bit of hope that remained! Is that why you have stayed hidden?! Was this your plan all along?! Do you wish us dead?!” the King shouts.
Gregory looks towards the King, unphased by the intensity or weight of his words. Watching as the King forces his way through the crowd, becoming almost feral in his movements.
“Hide? As you can see, I am not hiding. In fact, I have been here the entire time since arriving earlier this morning. Surely you must have seen me, my lord.” Gregory says politely with a lazily forced smile on his face.
“Horse crap! I have searched the castle twice over to find you! But only now have you decided to show your face!” the King yells as he starts to toss knights out of his way to get to Gregory faster. Their bodies slamming to the ground behind him.
“I am going to smash in that soft, bald head of yours!”
“Sire, please refrain from making such threats!” Douglas says, trying to keep up with the King as he scrambles over the knights strewn about the floor.
“As you can see Gregory is standing right in front of us! He did not abandon us, but you must not make him wish he did, for that will seal our fate!”
“A keen mind as always Sir Douglas.” Gregory says with a chuckle.
As the King gets within steps of Gregory, he throws a punch with the intent of it landing square in his face. In a flash a tall muscular woman from Gregory’s group deflects the King’s attack with a punch of her own. Her left fist hitting the back of the King’s hand, forcing it off course and away from Gregory.
The impact sends a loud BOOM! through the crowd, followed by a deafening silence.
The King is stunned as he looks at a small dent in the back of his hand, unable to fully comprehend what just happened.
“W-what?” the King stammers.
The tall woman stands ready to attack the King again if he keeps up his assault. Her left hand broken and dripping blood. The chainmail sleeve covering her left arm torn to shreds as a result from the impact. Her eyes fixed on the King and full of rage.
The rest of Gregory’s followers have assembled behind the tall woman, making a human shield to separate the King from Gregory. Their swords drawn and bows ready, eager to protect Gregory with their lives.
Watching their King get assaulted enrages the knights. They close in around Gregory’s group, wanting to expunge the shame they had caused the King.
With the threat of death surrounding them, Gregory’s followers are calm and collected. They do not fear the knights, but instead are determined to make the King suffer for his failed attack on their leader.
Gregory on the other hand is enjoying himself. Seeing the King riled up and made a fool has given him the giggles.
“My lord, I apologize for my actions. I was unaware you would act so childish when facing such a difficult situation. I should have spoken to you more tenderly and held your hand tighter.” Gregory says with a smirk.
Seeing Gregory tucked safely behind his followers makes the King snap.
“You are no Magician! You are a monster!” The King screams as he charges toward Gregory. Foam frothing from his mouth.
But with all his might the King remains motionless.
Looking back, the King sees Douglas and the rest of his royal guard grabbing ahold of him. They are latched on tight and using all their strength to stop him from moving forward.
“My lord please stop this!” Douglas yells as he is holding onto the King’s right arm.
“Without Gregory your kingdom will fall! And you will be the cause by killing him now!”
“My kingdom is already lost! My last action as King will be to rip his head from his body!” The King grunts as he slowly shuffles forward, dragging his men behind him.
“No! It is not too late! We will defeat this evil, but we will need Gregory’s help!” Douglas says, still clinging onto the King.
“Sir Douglas speaks the truth my lord. I have not been sitting idly by, waiting for death to arrive. But in fact, have been devising a way to save your kingdom.” Gregory says arrogantly.
“You lie! You have used your words to deceive me and grow fat off my kingdom for years! I will not let your crimes go unpunished!” the King yells, his hands struggling to reach out towards Gregory.
“Crimes?! I am free of any crime! After all these years, I have only ever served you to the best of my abilities! I do not scheme or deceive. There are no ulterior motives to my actions. If anything, the only thing I am guilty of is remaining loyal to a King who thinks so little of me!” Gregory shouts.
“Put your trust in me to end this evil. I will show you how deep my loyalty runs to not only your kingdom, but to you, my lord!”
The King is standing face to face with the tall woman from Gregory’s party. He is huffing and grunting while thinking what to do. His push forward has lessened but not stopped.
Douglas has used the momentary pause to get in front of the King and is pushing on his chest with both hands.
“Please, my lord! Listen to him! Do not betray your kingdom!” Douglas says.
The King is looking over the tall woman’s head and directly at Gregory.
“I will not disappoint you.” Gregory says with a devious smile.