Fantasy & Sci-Fi
Albinor Chronicles Chapter 29
"Return to the
By Marcus Pan
May 11, 007
He raced on his steed over the steppelands. Swiftly he rode,
beasts of the Wilde scattering from his path. Beads of sweat rolled into his
eyes, pushed by the force of the wind that whistled shrilly by. He rode
fiercely, with a single, driving thought are the rumors true? Ishnar, his
steadfast steed, worthy of any paladin, trampled the grasses and shuddered with
fatigue at each step. But still he kept on, bearing Lobanna on his back proudly
and mightily. For two weeks, no less than twelve hours per day, they headed out
from Lobania, that which is in Karameikos, to the Orcanian Steppes where
Johannesonne's first holding lies. On their last leg of travel now, the rumors
throughout Albinor pounded inside his skull with feverish intensity. Those that
listened to the whispering of the people of Albinor heard a bottom line:
"Lobania of the steppes has been befallen by great ill!"
Trying to ignore the rumors, as Paladin Johannesonne Lobanna
does to all unbacked statements, he prepared his holding of Lobania in
Karameikos to receive those in the steppes and abandon the land. Trying to
build a country so many miles from civilization was a great trial. He also
missed his betrothed love, Carmelita. As he came closer and closer to the area,
the rumors came alive in his head. Shouting and rueful, they sped fear to his
heart which sped the same to his mount. Soon, twelve hours a day became
thirteen. Then fourteen and on until this day. The sun was just setting,
sixteen hours had passed since the ride began and Lobania lie just out of
sight. Soon, black dots of stone rose on the horizon. But something was
Torches should be ablaze as men headed to Lobaka after a
day's work. Pillars of smoke should be visible in the day's last light as
mothers prepared supper. Movement and reflected flashes of light should be seen
as his mail-clad knights on horseback directed the last of the day's
construction. A line of black stone should be noticed where the walls stood,
but only two pillars of stone were seen. Something was terribly wrong.
"Faster, Ishnar. Faster." he urged his mount. The horse,
sixteen hours of unrested labor sweating from it's flanks, pushed ever onward
and strained to keep pace with the paladin's panting voice. The scene slowly
came into perspective. No people walked the walls. Not a single knight rode.
There was no sign of life about, save the waving grasses growing where they
once were cleared away.
The ride halted as they came between the two stonework
pillars one painted with a great eye and saying, "He Who Watches," the other
gearing a pentagram and the message, "For so long as I reign, you will not..."
Bodies, the process of time and decay had torn much off of them, littered the
ground. Some wore the tattered remains of worker's garments, others in snapped
and no longer shining mail. A split Lobanian shield lie by his feet. Paladin
Johannesonne Lobanna stood horrorstruck. He stared at one spire, then the
other. Looking around he saw, scattered among the human remains, a number of
slain orcs. The stench on the decaying battlefield was awful, but went
unnoticed in Johannesonne's grief.
He thought of the village, Lobaka, and threw himself onto
Ishnar's back. He rode to the village and was met with the same, gruesome
sight. He jumped off of Ishnar, ran wildly around and searched frantically for
some signs of life. He found none.
"Carmelita!" he screamed as he fell to his knees. "Answer
me, my love! Carmelita! Come back to me!" His anguished voice reached into the
steppes and faded into the twilight.