MH Knights Original Works Page 2

The Maze (Alpha Version)
(This is how the story was originally before my teacher got a hold of it) Communications 1996

Once, a very long time ago, there was a great and prosperous kingdom named Delenta that was being taken over by a great and terrible evil called the "Blackness". It was ruled by a kind king named Brian of Titan. Unfortunately King Brian was old and sick and getting worse. His wife Marina had died two years ago at the start the start of the "Blackness" along with two of his sons. He only had his son Richard, who wasn't the smartest, honest or kindest of people, left to take over the throne when he dies. This disturbed the king and many others because the Blackness was spreading and the king's health was fading fast. Most of the great warriors the king had were either dead or missing and the kingdom's people were greatly afraid and panic was spreading.

You're probably wondering what this great Blackness is, well four years ago strange things started happening at Giovanne castle. Giovanne castle was located on a beautiful hillside with a river running through it. It had a huge garden and tall towers overlooking the land. There was also a maze built into the mountain that the Giovanne ancestors are said to have built themselves. It also contained great ball rooms and dining halls where huge feasts were held. The castle was a place of happiness until thirty years ago when it was suddenly abandoned after the owner, Ashta Giovanne, died. Nobody knows how exactly she died, but some say that it was the Blackness that finally destroyed her. Over the years the castle became run-down and forgotten. Eventually trolls, orcs, goblins and other foul creatures moved in and turned the castle into a dark place. The real trouble started four years ago when nearby villagers started disappearing and then came back to loot their former homes as flesh-eating zombies. Other things happened like rivers, streams, ponds and even lakes becoming black as night and poisonous. Forests became dark and evil, plagues were spreading like wild fire. The weather would sometimes go out of control and devastate the crops and cause famine. Hordes of goblins and orcs raided villages and towns. The reason why Blackness got it's name is because the land was held in eternal darkness.

King Brian sent many of his best soldiers to the castle to stop the evil that resided there. To his dismay, none of them returned. Some did return, but as zombies on the side of darkness and to kill the king. With all the famine and disease happening in the kingdom, King Brian fell ill and three months later died and was cremated. He was cremated instead of being buried because almost every dead corpse sooner or later became a zombie. This caused many problems because all the dead bodies had to be dug up and destroyed or it would become a zombie. The only bodies that were spared were those of the clergy and the bodies buried in the Church of The "Whiteness" graveyard. Some fires were started because of the cremations. Even though most of the corpses were destroyed, zombies still rose out of the ground and devoured the living.

The very day after his father perished, Richard was crowned king in the great hall in the castle. The great hall was a thousand feet long and four-fifty feet tall and five -hundred feet wide. It could hold a thousand people and still had room for more. Only the finest silks and clothes were used to decorate it. The best lumber in all the kingdom was used to build the furniture. Normal peasants were never allowed in, but on a few special occasions they were let in and were able to mingle with anybody, no matter what their social stature. The Great Hall was only used for only the most important matters, like diplomatic meetings, coronations, the king's or other royal family birthdays, and many other royal matters.

Many people disapproved of Richard being crowned king. Richard was a lonely boy and no matter how hard everybody tried. One of the mane reasons for this was that Richard did once have true friends, but were killed by a band of org raiders coming to his sixth birthday party. This caused Richard much pain because even to this day he stillhas nightmares about seeing his friend's bodies laying on the ground in pools of their own blood. The raiders were never caught and nobody could figure why they were killed. A memorial was put up in honor of their loyal duty to the prince. Every time Richard passes it he remembers the hole incident like it happened a hour ago.

It was a beautiful day out, the birds were singing, there wasn't a cloud in the sky, the sun was nice and warm, it was one of those days where a person could think nothing could go wrong. Richard's four friends were being brought in by coach from the eastern baronies where they were getting gifts and party favors. Servants were decorating the royal lawn by day brake. Normally he got got up well after sunrise, but this was a special occasion and one of the few times Richard got up early. Richard got up, dressed, and ate a light breakfast, seeing as how he would fill up on sweets the rest of the day. He took a small walk out to the gate to meet his friends when he heard the sound of thundering hoof beats. The coach came racing towards them with maybe two or three orgs on it. The orgs jumped off just as the coach went off the bridge. Richard's two personal guards went over to investigate the coach when two orgs jumped out at them and killed them. One of them went towards Richard who was only twenty feet away and then ran off. Richard quickly ran over to the coach. When he got to the coach, he looked in and saw his friends' mangled and twisted bodies laying in pools of their own blood. Richard stood there just staring at the horrific scene until guards came and pulled him away. He was in shock for a week. All he did for that whole week was just mumble and stare at the walls. He had terrible dreams for years until Andrew, the court mage, gave him a potion that helped him sleep. After that terrible day Richard would never again have any true friends.

The same thing happened to Marina, Richard's mother. It was fifteen years after Richard's friends were killed and it was an evil night. The Blackness had already begun to terrorize the land. Prince John and Peter were coming back from a hunt in the northern baronies. They had been in the north woods for over two weeks. They were supposed to come back a week earlier, but torrential rains had kept them at the lodge. The weather had calmed down a little and it was decided that then might be the only chance they would have in weeks to get to the main road before any of the small bridges that lined the path were washed away. The gear was quickly packed up and the coaches were loaded. The roads had already begun to wash away and the rivers were starting to overflow. There were three coaches, one carrying the princes and Marina, a second with servants and one carrying gear. A couple of the smaller bridges had almost fallen under the weight of the coaches but held. after they got out of the twists and turns of the woods it was almost a straight line to the main road so the drivers started making the horses go faster. The rain was washing away the road so that small rocks were pointing out of the road and made traveling at that speed very difficult and dangerous. In some places the road was completely covered in water. A blood red lighting bolt struck a bridge that the party was heading for and startled the horses causing them to run off the road into a flooded creek. Immediately the head driver got every body under a piece of the bridge because a red lighting bolt meant only one thing, evil sorcery.

Everybody got their bow ready for an oncoming attack. Soon three org raiding parties lunged out of the woods, weapons swinging. The first four or five orgs were immediately killed, and the others used their bodies as shields. The other orgs hid behind trees and bushes, quickly ducking out of the way of the onslaught of arrows. Normal orgs are usually slow and stupid, but today this band was a little on the quick side. Out of the fifteen or twenty orgs that originally attacked, only two or three remained. Only a couple of the party were killed, but every body was low on ammo. Another thing was also wrong, these orgs were fast and where did the red lighting bolt come from. Also, this attack seemed to be some sort of diversion for a larger attack. Then, the final moments of their lives came upon them.

One of the sentries was about to say something when another red lighting bolt came crashing out of the woods. Standing at the top of a small hill were three Org Champions and Dathar, an evil minotar, leader of a small monster army and owner of the Monster Bash Hotel, located at the base of Giovanne castle. Dathar held in his hand a wand of lighting and a magic sphere, a device that allows non-magical beings to have some magic powers. The group quickly found hiding spaces and gathered what ammunition they could. Dathar raised the wand to fire it again when it fizzled out and crumbled. He unsheathed his sword and said, "Magic is for wimps anyway, charge! ". The three Champions came charging, running fast despite the onslaught of arrows. Orgs aren't normally tough but these were champions, some of the strongest orgs alive, they were as big as a great south bear and as strong as one to. They all came running weapons swinging, tearing at anything that got in their way. With one giant swing, Dathar took out four men out of the fifteen that were left. The orgs killed eight altogether, four each, leaving only princes John and Peter and Marina left alive. Peter thrust his spear at Dathar, but Dathar grabbed it and laughed at his attempt. Next John shot an arrow at Dathar and the same happened to him. As a last attempt, Marina picked up a near by sword and swung once, twice and on the third try she slashed Dathar where the leg bends, sending him down on one knee. She was getting ready to swing at him again when he back handed her ten feet cracking her skull. Peter went to revenge his mother when Dathar threw the spear and impaled him. Just as John was about to strike the three orgs jumped him. As Peter was slowly dying, the last thing he saw was his brother screaming, as he was being torn limb from limb by the orgs and just as he closed his eyes for the last time, Peter of Delenta saw Dathar smash Marina's head against a rock.

The next two years had been the same, disasters, plagues and other horrible things had become daily events. Brian's health had been failing very rapidly and became more dependent on his personal servants. His death was not violent, it was slow and somewhat painful. King Brian was working on some land papers when it started, his chest had begun to hurt and also became very sweaty. Brandon, the royal butler, had realized what it was, Brian's heart was dying. A priest was called in for prayer and final rights. It was no surprise that the king had started to die, in fact it was expected that he would die soon because his bowels had become runny and his hole body just seemed to be shutting down. Richard was summoned so he could receive his father's blessing because in about twenty hours, Richard would be crowned king. The priest gave Brian his death rights and talked about joyous times before the evil had come to the land. Brian gave Richard hints about how to be a good king and gave thanks to other people and then just as the sun rose, Brian of Titan gave one final gasp and then died.

Richard was crowned king fifteen hours after his father died. It wasn't the grandest of ceremonies since it had to be done quickly before anyone could cause trouble. There were only about a hundred or so people there and most of them were royal servants, soldiers, priests, and some other people that could come. The ceremony itself was only about two hours rather than the normal five because many people disapproved of Richard being crowned king and some might even try to stop the coronation. Everything went well and a small crowd had formed to welcome the new king and a couple dared to boo King Richard, but he just smiled and waved to his adoring public. The first thing a new king was supposed to do was to give a speech, so Richard pulled out a speech one of his scribes had wrote for him. He mainly talked about how he was going to rid the land of evil bring peace and order back to the kingdom. There was a tremendous roar as people screamed and cheered because the people were desperate for an end to the Blackness and Richard's plan sounded good. The next thing a king was to do was to meet all his servants and workers and then finally get to work. The first couple of mouths were troublesome, but he managed. He raised taxes saying that he was using the money to found his plan to get rid of the Blackness when he was really embezzling the money to build him self a new court yard and other selfish things.this went on for a while until some people started getting suspicious, but being a little sly, King Richard sent troops to Castle Giovanne and when they didn't return he started sending his best warriors and when they didn't Richard put bulletins in taverns all over the kingdom saying, "500 gold gilders and other treasures to the person who stops the Blackness."

When Mark came walking into Raven, the local tavern and the place he currently lived, he saw the normal sights, a couple of fights, drunks gabbing in the corner, gamblers placing bets and the other usual stuff. As he went to sit down, Avla, one of the bar maids, came over with Lar and Grunt, two of the big bouncers, came to talk to him about some late rent money. Mark was usually good at paying his rent but he had been fighting off some raiders beyond the Blue Mountains and had gotten side tracked a couple of times helping some farmers. Mark was tall, dark haired, strong and had a good spirit. Unfortunately Lar and Grunt were really strong and could easily call on their big friends to help if there was any trouble. Another problem was that Mark only had a few coins left and had to spend those on supplies. Avla approached Mark slowly and sat down, Lar and Grunt stood on opposite sides of him. Avla was about five feet tall and was skinny. Lar and Grunt on the other hand were big ogre look a likes and weren't to intelligent, but they weren't complete idiots either. Avla said that if Mark didn't have the money within three days Lar and Grunt would have a new punching bag. Grunt and Lar stepped closer and grinned while they popped their knuckles. Mark had thirty gold pieces in a account but figured she had already taken it. That meant he only owed a hundred- fifty more gold pieces and some back taxes. When Avla inquired as how he was going to get the money, Mark grabbed the nearest for hire notice he could not looking at it. Lar grabbed him by the neck and when Mark asked why, Avla told him that it was King Richard's notice about the Giovanne job, she also told him that everybody that took up the job never returned and that if he ever considered taking it up, Grunt and Lar would save the Blackness the trouble of killing him. That led to another problem, none of the other jobs paid enough, so later that night Mark went to the castle to sign up for it. There was a party going on down stairs so he wouldn't be noticed leaving. He had to walk to the castle since he had sold his hoarse to help pay for supplies and rent. It was a fairly long walk, taking him a couple of hours and when Mark finally got to the castle the guards questioned him a lot before he was let in. A man, one of the royal butlers, ushered him into a room where there was another person standing. Mark could tell it was a mage and after a couple of minutes some guards walked in with a prisoner in tow. The prisoner was a female thief and wasn't happy about it. She looked like she had been in the dungeon for some days and was chained fairly well. The mage just sat and meditated while Mark laid down and tried to go to sleep. The room they were in was blank and dull, there were some paintings on the walls and some bulletins, it was a normal waiting room. After about half an hour later, another usher came and led them down a long hallway to the king's courtroom and told them to sit down and be quiet. The thief was handed over to another pair of guards and the others two left. King Richard was finishing his dinner and raising some taxes while they waited. When he was done, he summoned the three over to his table and commenced asking them questions. Richard asked in his deep voice," State your name, class and any next of kin you will want informed. ". He pointed at Mark first. Mark sat up quickly and said in a steady voice," Mark McDowson, warrior, a grandmother in Mentin.". Next Richard pointed at the mage. In a calm voice he said," Nick Skyler, mage, no one.". Finally the king pointed at the thief. In a dry voice she said," Sasha Brig, thief, none."

Richard talked with three of his advisers and as he was about to say something when there was some screaming in the hallway just outside the door. The guards got up and rushed towards the door. Suddenly five zombies burst through the door. Just after the first five came in five more appeared. The king being a coward didn't stay for long. Quickly he told them that if they fought these zombies and lived they would get some supplies before leaving and he pulled a leaver and his thrown went into a secret passage away from the fight. The two guards unshackled Sasha, gave her a knife and went at the zombies. Three guards were killed instantly but the remaining seven put up a fight. Mark took one of the downed guards' swords and chopped a zombie in half and then ducked another zombie's attack. Next Nick cast a fire spell and burned a zombie apart. Sasha grabbed her knife slashed at a zombie and then stole it"s sword and destroyed it. The remaining guards were protecting some of the king's advisers who were hiding behind on of the tables in a corner. Mark saw that the guards needed some help so he ran over and distracted the zombies while the guards got them from behind. Sasha jumped up on a table to avoid the swings of two zombies and took a torch of a wall and speared them with it. Nick was using a wind spell and blew the three zombies into the fireplace. When all ten zombies were destroyed, there were bodies laying all over and a couple zombies were still wiggling around on the ground. Suddenly the king came out of the wall sitting on his thrown, looked around and told them that they had the job. A guard named Brendon, told them to follow him to the stables. Along the way Brendon told them that the zombies they had fought were the last two groups sent to Giovanne castle and that these attacks on the king were regular events. He also told them that if or when they defeat the evil in Giovanne castle, they'll get an extra bonus if they clear out all the monsters because the king want to turn Giovanne castle into a summer home and didn't have time to clear out monsters. " Speaking of time, the faster you get this job done, the sooner peace and harmony will return to the land."Brendon told them as they were gathering supplies. Sasha was getting her stuff back from the prison warden and Nick was packing food, clothes, healing potions and other items that were necessary to their journey. Mark was with Brendon on what is none about Giovanne castle like how big it is, what lurks inside and other useful information that the group could use. Giovanne castle was twelve miles to the southeast and on a good night but it looked like it was going to storm tonight so they decided to leave as soon as possible. There was another problem, the woods on the way to the castle are under an evil spell and move around to confuse any unfortunate travelers that went in to it. Sasha and Nick were just about finished getting things packed and Mark was getting the last of the directions to the castle when an arrow that emitted a terrible high pitched whistle came out of nowhere and nearly killed Brendon and Mark. Nick took the note that was attached while Mark and Brendon looked to see if any more arrows were coming. The note read,"BEWARE TRAVELERS FOR ANY THAT ENTER MY CASTLE TO DESTROY ME ALWAYS DIE, SO TURN BACK NOW WHILE YOU STILL CAN.". When Sasha asked Brendon how often he got these notes he told her that this was the first time he had ever gotten a note like this. This worrie d the group much, but Mark told every body that they were still going to Giovanne castle no matter how many threats they got.

Everybody saddled up on their horses that Brendon had managed to scrounge up even though he might get in trouble for it. They had loaded up all the supplies and were ready to leave. Their supplies were limited because the king had embezzled most of the money and all they could take is what they had with them or what they could buy in a hurry. Brendon wished them good luck and they rode off into the unforgiving night, starting their quest.

Since the Blackness made it night all the time, plus the fact that the woods that they were riding through were enchanted by an evil spell, it was a hard journey. The path kept changing in many directions and a couple times they went in circles and didn't take any notice. There was also an eerie mist that covered almost everything. The horses got scared a lot and that held the group back awhile. The trees were bare and dead looking. Strange sounds came from the woods and some noises sounded like someone was being tortured. After awhile something strange happened, a group of ghostly looking figures came out of the mist moaning and groaning. Nick noticed something, they looked like ghosts because they were lost souls doomed to roam the woods forever. The horses stopped quickly, almost throwing their riders off. Once the souls came closer the horses finally bucked everybody off and sent the supplies flying. Sasha nearly got dragged away with her horse off into the woods. The souls came closer and everyone drew their weapons. One of the souls stepped forward when the rest stopped. In an eerie inhuman voice it said, "YOU ARE DOOMED! YOU DID NOT HEAD THE WARNINGS AND YOU HAVE PAST THE POINT OF NO RETURN! DEATH AWAITS FOR YOU POOR THREE! DEATH! DEATH! DEATH!". Nick said a spell and the souls disappeared. Everybody gathered what they could but most off the gear had been tied to the horses and who knows where they were. As they were about to discuss what to do, the mist cleared and there it was, Giovanne castle.

Mark, Nick, Sasha all stood in awe of it. Giovanne castle stood on a high hill, there were lights in the towers, the water fall gleamed beautifully in the moon light, they could hear gargoyles and other creatures in the distance. The torches that stood by the bridge that led over a river and to the front entrance of the castle were lit. One of the main towers had been severely damaged. There were five towers in all, four small towers in a square and one big tower in the middle. A garden was built on one of the mountain ledges. Giovanne castle was truly a beautiful site, but it was home to much evil and might have to be destroyed. After they were done looking at it, they finally started over the bridge. It wasn't a big bridge, only about ten feet wide and twenty feet long, but it was in good repair and looked liked it was used a lot. Brendon had told Mark that Dathar had turned the lower building into a hotel for monsters. The lower building were at the bottom of the mountain and the main castle was at the top. Sasha said she could hear monsters laughing drunkly when she crossed the bridge. There weren't any guards posted at the bridge, so the group crossed without any trouble. When they got to the other side they had to be careful because something might see them and then their mission might be a lost cause. There were some bushes by the front doors and two side doors.

Nick saw two trolls guarding one door and the other was a heavy wood door. They were about to go for the side door when the two guards went inside and locked the door. That meant they had to go through the front door. For some reason there weren't any guards guarding the door. This seemed very suspicious to them, but they decided that it was the only way to get in. Sasha went first to see if the door was looked and it wasn't. Next Mark came and then Nick followed. They all had a gut felling that it was a trap, but none of them admitted it. Slowly Sasha opened the door and went in. Nick and Mark followed after her with their weapons drawn. The room they entered was old and musty. It had wooden walls and a door on each side and one in front. The two side doors were one way doors, presumably exits. Suddenly they heard giant foot steps coming from both doors, Mark quickly turned the front door handle and they heard a strange clicking sound just before the floor they were standing on opened up. It was a trap. The trap had sprang to quickly for any one of them to jump out of the way. The shaft they fell through was about thirty feet down with some ledges a long the sides. Mark managed to grab one of the ledges and grabbed Nick and he grabbed Sasha. They each got on to their own ledge. They were about half way down and Mark could easily climb down a little and then jump. Sasha had to climb down a little bit further to jump and Nick had to climb a lot to jump because mages aren't the most physical of people and when it comes to fighting they tend to stay as far from battle as they can so they can cast spells. Once everybody got down they found themselves in an unlit, dungeon like room. The room smelled musty and old. Nick pulled out a torch from his robe and lit it. The walls were made of stone and there were skeletons hanging on the walls. Broken pillars and statues littered the floor. An old wooden door was at the end of the room. Brendon had told Mark that the Giovanne ancestors had built two maze dungeons in the mountain side. The group decided the only place to go was out the door. Sasha checked it for traps. Mark slowly opened the door, it creaked on its hinges. Mark went first, sword ready. Sasha followed and then Nick. The hallway was the same as the room, dark, stone walls, smells musty. Since Nick only had a few torches so the group had to stick together. The group went right, took a left at an intersection and went down a long hall for a couple of minutes. The walls stayed the same stone and dead body parts were all over the floor. It looked as if a fight had gone on there. They came to a three way intersection when they saw a light come down the hallway. Two large gargoyles and a troll came down the hall. The troll had a stone key around it's neck. They came to a door and the troll put the key in a hole and opened a huge metal door. The two gargoyles went through the door and the troll went down a hallway. Mark quickly followed the troll and Sasha and Nick stayed and marked the door. Mark followed the sound of the trolls foot steps when it stopped and Mark could hear what sounded like a stone wall opening. Mark went ahead a little when he felt the wall next to him started to open. He quickly moved out of the way when the troll leaped out from the secret door, sword swinging. Mark quickly drew his sword and swung at the troll. It dodged his blow but the troll tripped over a rock. Mark used this to his advantage. He thrust his sword at the troll and killed it. The troll had the key and a torch on it. Mark lit the torch and went down the hall to Sasha and Nick. Nick wanted to investigate the secret passage that the troll had gone threw. The group went to where Mark had killed the troll.

The doors had closed themselves but Sasha checked the wall and found the switch that opened the door. When Sasha opened the door two zombies had entered the passage. The zombies turned around and attacked Sasha. She unsheathed her dagger. Sasha ducked the zombie's swings and tripped one of the them. The one that got tripped went into the hallway and Mark cut it's head off be fore it could get up. Nick kicked the head down the hallway as the body got up and walked blindly around until Mark punched the body and destroyed it. Sasha managed to duck the other zombie's attacks and stabbed it with a torch she was carrying and the zombie's clothes almost immediately started on fire and it went running down the hallway. There were two wooden doors in front of them, Mark was going to open the left and Sasha was going to open the right door when Nick told them to stop. "Think first then act you two, listen, can't you hear ?". Mark and Sasha put their ear's to the doors and heard what sounded like more zombies on the other side. Nick told them to open the doors really quick and he would through some fire potions that he had with him. Nick got out two fire potions and gave Mark and Sasha the signal to open the doors. Quickly Nick threw the two potions into the two rooms and went out in the other passage.

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