To Save the Three Realms
After decades of strife caused by the accidental creation of unnatural creatures by the red-haired wizard Koko, the kingdom of Seltzardia split into three realms ruled not by mankind but the wizard’s own twisted fiends. As penance for what he wrought, Koko went into the deepest fires of the Inner Realm and poured all of his power into the creation of the Crown of Command—an artifact that can cause all to submit. Though it was not quite what he intended, Koko’s power was gone from him, which all but ensured that he would die before being able to correct his mistake. It is said that to even behold such an artifact of power can cause honest men to become base and cruel.
Having met in a tavern and speaking without truly thinking, Frodius the Minstrel, Paola the Prophetess, and Matthias the Warrior banded together to seek out this mysterious artifact in order to bring peace to the Three Realms. The best laid plans, however…
In spite of the creatures prowling the Outer Realm, this region remained relatively lush and green, as though a truce in fact existed between the various natives of Seltzardia. The plains and forests are stunning and despite the wear-and-tear from age and monster attacks, the human settlements remain large and bustling.
The quest for the Crown began uneventfully enough, the monsters roaming the land proving little trouble for the minstrel, warrior, and prophetess, with little blood shed against them. The Three took this as proof of their righteous cause. Thankfully for these adventurers three, the monsters provided a nice workout and helped them gain a nice set of muscles, which Frodius always took the time to flex. Matthias, however, would not allow himself to fall to such frivolity.
However, no one, it seemed, wanted to see a muscle-laden prophetess in skintight clothing, so they went their separate ways. This made Paola sad.
Unbeknownst to the warrior and prophetess, Frodius was quite a vicious person (which, in hindsight, was to be expected since he appeared to be a surly drunk); he loved nothing more than to strum on his lyre as loudly as possible and sing, repeatedly, nonsense phrases such as “Boats are the wave of the future,” “I am the Voice of Reason,” and “Did you see me do it?” In his drunken stupor, he often attacked Matthias and Paola on the road and several times he wooed followers away from Paola.
Understandably, Paola became quite happy when a poltergeist decided to follow Frodius around and caused him to only be able to move as fast as a turtle past his prime. Of course, the minstrel used this to his advantage by visiting an unguarded cave that normally he would have passed, which yielded him a great sum of gold. Although this infuriated the warrior and prophetess, they were busy with their own separate quests and were unable to put the minstrel in his place. Eventually, Frodius would be freed from this curse by a voluptuous, ugly hag. Go figure.
Slowly everyone grew stronger, but Matthias and Paola desired to also grow more crafty. Despite becoming known for their slaying of monsters (though it was actually Frodius who, by his own hands, slew two dragons), they did not neglect the uses and necessities of the psionic art. Matthias and Paola wanted to be known for more than just brute strength. The minstrel, however, loved the idea of becoming buff; Matthias and Paola hated having to meet Frodius in combat (who loved flaunting his muscles).
Despite Frodius’ muscular proficiency, it was Matthias who was the first to enter the Middle Realm, where he won many victories.
The Middle Realm—a vast wasteland—is home to the more treacherous and cunning men and beasts. These are the ones that take great pleasure in the utter humiliation and defeat of others. Only those of great skill and vigor could survive in a place such as this.
Much to her chagrin, Paola did not think the Guardian would accept the winning of a game of Tic-Tac-Toe to be an acceptable form of entrance into the Middle Realm, and since she never had much money (unlike the annoying and bothersome Minstrel) Paola had to bide her time to earn enough to buy a raft to cross into the Middle Realm since she was too afraid that she was not powerful enough to defeat the Guardian of that region. Only those that can best the Guardian are worthy of passing through. It was a lonely existence for this creature. However, that fear didn’t stop her from lashing out at brave Matthias, who had already given up armour to Paola under the threat of being turned into a frog (the only fear that gives him pause).
Upon using her Spell of Destruction, she utterly destroyed a wizened hermit who had planned to give the great warrior his prized possession, a Talisman—one of several keys that allow passage through the Hellfire surrounding the Crown in the Inner Realm. Many people suspect that there is truly only one Talisman, and that all others are merely magical constructs created solely for use by the worthy.
The hermit had hoped to see the chaos wrought by the unnatural creatures struck a fatal blow but was, alas, destroyed by Paola’s selfish dreams of her righteousness. After causing this anguish to Matthias, Paola teleported herself to the Wizard’s Cave, hoping to learn more about the Crown from him. However, the eccentric wizard living there wanted nothing more than to trade his own Talisman for a magical item that she already possessed, which was said to increase one’s strength and craft, to add to his own collection of artifacts. Paola should have questioned such an action instead of mistaking it for being merely a kindness.
Through shear force of will and perseverance, Matthias found his courage and eventually found a Talisman of his own. “I cannot fail in this thing,” he thought as he examined the glowing device.
Even though Frodius wasn’t crafty by others’ standards, despite claiming to be both witty and charming, he was able to best both warrior and prophetess with his brute force and with little effort managed to steal both of their Talismans! Paola chased after the minstrel and got hers back after a stunning display of… craft, but Frodius was too quick and elusive for Matthias to catch and entered the Inner Realm before he was able to reclaim his own from the disturbed minstrel. Paola followed Frodius soon after into the Inner Realm.
To reach the Crown one must trespass through the bowels hell—the Inner Realm. Here dwell mindless beasts and creatures that have active designs on those that enter. Men who have been lucky to escape, especially with their minds still intact, believe this madness to be from the Crown’s influence.
Frodius had no trouble making his way through this Realm. Paola, on the other hand, was not as lucky; a vampire nearly killed her, but her magical unicorn friend sacrificed himself so that she could live.
The unicorn Fandjango was a brave and fiercely loyal friend of Paola, coming into her life shortly after being abandoned by Matthias and Frodius. They even enjoyed long walks on the beach. Whenever she became engaged in combat he embraced it, loving the fact that he could help out his friend so. The only time Fandjango ever voiced disagreement with his mistress was over whether she should take Matthias’ mule captive. Paola listened to her friend and only took a piece of armour from him instead. She was devastated by Fandjango’s sacrifice.
Upon making his way to the Crown of Command, Frodius threw his lyre into the volcano below and let loose a wave of destruction. Paola’s quickly cast Counterspell saved her. By this time Matthias, though slightly injured by the Crown’s power, had finally found another Talisman and was on his way toward the Inner Realm.
Once more, the Crown sent out a wave of death. Again, Paola managed another Counterspell, and was spared from Frodius’ wrath. Despite being weak from her injuries, Paola was ready to face off against the diabolical minstrel. According to her, of the three of them she had the greatest claim to the Crown’s power, reasoning that only one of her status (prophetess) should be allowed to wield it. As she thought this, the force of the next destructive wave emanating from the dangerous artifact killed Paola just as she was about to use her Talisman to safely transport her through the Hellfire. It was sad.
Matthias, meanwhile, was incredibly fortunate as he made his way through the Inner Realm, shrugging off challenges from vampires, goblins, and The Reaper. His journey through the Inner Realm was made all the less hazardous since it appeared that Paola’s death weakened Frodius’ resolve and his belief in the justness of using such a power as the Crown. Frodius now seemed incapable of using its powers, and thus Matthias was able to pass through the Hellfire to the Crown without harm or incident.
“You will not take me!” sung the minstrel to the warrior.
“I have no interest in you, merely the Crown. Necessary, I know, for cleansing the land.” Matthias could see the Crown’s corruption twisting his former ally’s face, but he knew that he could not turn from this path. He readied his sword and axe.
Without so much as a yelp Frodius charged at the warrior, and though his sword was of fine Damascus, his shield weighed down his movements, giving Matthias plenty of time to evade. The minstrel proved too weak a man for the Crown, and deprived its wielder of its destructive power.
Frodius was truly alone in this moment.
Realizing his weapons could not penetrate the minstrel’s tower shield, Matthias called upon a different power to provide him with the fortitude to survive, and with a flurry Frodius did not expect, Matthias let loose his built-up psionic power—a power akin to the magic that created and unleashed so many unnatural creatures upon the Three Realms.
As expected, the tower shield lay in ruins and the minstrel laid a broken man.
With sudden clarity Frodius apologized for what happened to Paola. Determined not to let Matthias fall for the Crown’s trap Frodius attempted to throw it into the volcano below, only to be stopped by a slice from Matthias’ sword.
“I am sorry, friend, but I need that.”
Although Frodius was strong, Matthias proved to be the more skilled and disciplined fighter, killing the Minstrel, and claiming the Crown for himself.