A battle against the forces of Those That Stand in Shadow brings an end to an old hero and a beginning for a new one. Together with a half-orcne thief named Glaive, a young warrior named Qualtan must battle through undead hordes, evil druids, shape-shifting maugs, hungry trolls and more on his journey to become a knight, learning in the process that good and evil are not always what they seem, and that friendship can sometimes go hand in hand with treachery.
And now, an excerpt from Forging of a Knight…
Aurelus scrutinized the etched writings but briefly. “The doors are locked. Only by my magic can we open them. Stand back.” As Aurelus raised his hands, preparing to push back the doors, a groan issued forth. Lowering his hands, Aurelus watched with cautious alarm as the doors slowly opened inward of their own volition. A noxious stench assailed them, causing some of the soldiers to gag and wretch. Pure darkness enveloped them. A booming voice welcomed them. Two words only were said: “ENTER … NIGHT!” The invitation was followed by a cacophony of frenzied screams.
“Stand fast with your courage. As you had stated days ago, Lord Thrombeard, our task shall be done!” Aurelus said as he led the men into the pitch blackness. The darkness was like a living thing absorbing everything inside of it. Barely a few paces past the entryway, Aurelus raised his hands defiantly.
“The light shall always clear away the shadow,” he said.
As he spoke, the dark retreated, an outlined mass of winged, horned, tentacled beasts melting back over the walls and ceiling, withdrawing safely behind the unmoving figure that squatted with its back towards them. With light came clarity. The painted symbol of Those That Stand in Shadow—six leering skulls entwined by a circlet of snakes within a black ring of fire—decorated the marbled floor. Oil lamps of grotesque quality dangled limply from chains fixed to the domed ceiling.
“You are trapped, foul beast! Surrender!” yelled Thrombeard.
The Dark One’s massive shoulders shook in deep laughter. “I am trapped,” he said sardonically. Frigid winds of intense force burst from his caped body. Aurelus stood firm, gritting his teeth at the icy blast. His companions were thrown back through the chamber’s entrance, save for two warriors that hit hard against the walls on either side. Immediately, the massive doors slammed shut, locking tight. “I think not,” crooned Thorngagg.
The two soldiers regained their composure, lifting their swords with shaking hands. Aurelus warned them to stay behind him. Hissing, the Dark One rose from his haunches and faced them.
Thorngagg stood an intimidating height, well over seven feet. He was armored in unearthly metals of black and emerald. Golden-scaled skin glistened in the gloomy light. His slit-pupiled eyes glowed a fluorescent green. Eight fluted horns, four to each side of his melon-shaped head, protruded like fingers from an outstretched hand. His legs bent back like those of a dog. His great-taloned feet were plated in massive metal guards that clanked as he walked. Cocking his head to one side, his long tongue licking his saber-like teeth, Thorngagg spoke again.
“You think you have won victory over us. You think your cattle have prevented our reap,” he said, pointing to the two quaking soldiers behind the wizard. “You can never defeat us.”