• A scholar who cherishes the love of comfort is not fit to be deemed a scholar.

Confucius (trans. James Legge) The Analects, ch. 14. [1].

What is yet to come…


A phantom had just emerged from a denied underworld (…) We always knew doom was coming?… Why deny?

  • Audacity isn’t unshakable as fierceness, but the audacious usually dies smiling. Trust me, I knew many audacious men.

The Annals of the Thousand Years Blood War, a rare manuscript originally believed to have been written by Gedric Farseer. He had been the first companion of Izrim Stagheart, the first and only Dragonlord of his dynasty and founder of the Artorian Empire. However, the author and the titular war of his codex still remain unknown. Thank you for your time.

It was only very long ago since the Titans left the world, having left lesser colossus, their bastard offsprings, bear their dreaded name. These titans were hunted across the steps, the mountains, the deserts and the forests. Titanslayers made fortune out of the bones harvested from their rotting corpses.

Only old religions chronicled the original Titan presence which was said to have spanned millenniums before the Creations Wars. This was an age older than the days were Illyrian dragonlords had triumphed over the demonkings of Shyrpal and the world had witnessed Kel, the Last Dragon of House valenKel, sealing the fate of mankind by conquering the Black Temple.

Some theoreticians believed the older Titans might have been part of these speculated elder races which increasingly vanished while humanity’s prosperity devoured their lands and ressources. However, this theories weren’t acknowledged by imperial standards, for it meant mankind was destroying this world.

Actually, the High Cliff upon which Hearthstone was later built didn’t exist. Its Earth had not been shattered by the Creation Wars and seas were a mere legend to their original human habitants. At this time of wonder, Sirens queens and Mermen guarded a powerful well of vial, a rare energy which vitally powered the Ancient World and from which all other energies came from later on. Below this one, Keshians and draedars believed their older gods had concealed a malevolent universe ruled by enormous fiends, such as the Hecatonkire. In their magical theory, Keshians had estimated that a portal could leak the presence of these fiends upon the physical, and very much mortal, world.

Therefore, the rumour of an Ark being hiding near Hearthstone was still widely believed by the Church of Eternal Fire and by trading leviathans such as Flintshire’s and the Eastern Kingdoms Company. This belief led Norman Daegoln, the most celebrated of career heroes, to investigate particular employment he had once been offered by the King of Aeirn, a mighty monarch waging wars in the Northern Kingdoms, chiefly invading Temeros. Otto’s death at the trial by combat still haunts Conrad, and not only as a vengeful son but as the Fulgam king. After the disaster of the Summer Gathering, he had been forced by the Empire to go explore that pound beneath the High Cliff, and find the so-called ancient magic.


The most celebrated career hero of his time…

Kneeling and addressing a prayer to Khyron, patron of heroes in The Ballad of Kel, Norman had almost doubted of the survival of his foolish squire when the muttered complaint echoed from below. All to himself, he acknowledged his care for the boy. Actually, he’s exactly like Richard used to be… That fool, I miss him dearly. Remembering well his harsh training, Norman had learned to be tough with the more talented. It is only when men placed other men above equality that vileness can be born. Right, Richard? Norman vainly asked, knowing he hadn’t practice his internal powers well enough for his prayer to be heard.

Standing down in this natural breach, Norman jumped down, wondering how Richard was doing being far too melancholic of a thought. Enhancing his knees with the flow of his vial, Norman reached the earth below by gracefully landing. Since he had meditated enough in his runic cell, Norman had gathered enough endurance for a couple of weeks, at least. Even though he wouldn’t face any troublesome trial, Norman believed in safety before eventuality. I need to be careful with my use. For everything taken, something is given. Norman had learned through hardships the immanence of the said law.

Finally reaching Borothar, Norman recalled his decision. If not for his friend Dantena, and former rival himself, who had found him at the tavern, Norman would have probably never bothered with Borothar in any other circumstance. Indeed, Borothar was a good-looking lad with certain talent and despite his obsessive inclination to thievery was lovable. However, he came from the Forestlands, or at least claimed to be. Of that, the most accomplished battle mage in the Imperial Order had literally no proof.

Actually, Norman was a Prime Knight, the elite of the orders who practiced the Old Way, and an Order’s Thane, which essentially made him amongst the most prized humans of the entire continent. Considering his worth on the battlefield, his good looks, his successful trade as an innkeeper and his magical prowess, he had risen as a folk hero in his lifetime. And damn, Norman sure enjoyed it! A heard a dozen minstrels call me the Dragon and the Phoenix Ascending! Aware like every member of his caste, Norman had achieved a skill in introspection and meditation, and he was aware of his flaws and occasional greed. The greedy is easy to pin, Dantena used to say. However, he had been a kingsman and bad habits were hard to abandon.

Gazing at his surroundings with a tranquil and mastered nonchalance, Norman Daegoln wondered how long had it been since a human had reached this forgotten submarine cave. Soon, they would need to swim down a difficult passage, if Dantena said the truth concerning what Norman seeked. If truly located in this cave, the dark-haired hero would finally access the alchemic ingredient of the last millenium. Fortune smiles to the audacious, Norman forced himself to believe, aware than repetition didn’t transform a lie into a reality.

Offering his hand to the boy, Norman smiled when he read the fear in Borothar’s eyes. In the past, himself had learned through suffering, never finding better teacher than his own mistakes.

As the squire accepted the hand, Norman applied some vial in his hands, hence offering the lad a fair amount of his own life force. Surprisingly, the boy took notice of the alteration of his senses as he managed to stand relatively unarmed despite the cuts on his back. He’s sharp, he will become something. Dantena had always been the best to spot the talents he envied. 

Amused, Norman said with a pronounced disdain:

” – I have brought you in a dangerous place, maggot! May I recommand that you keep your senses in alert, we never know what lives down there…”

Insisting particularly on these last words, Norman accelerated inside while Borothar asked, paler than ever:

“Master? What do you mean ‘lives down there…’

– Who knows Borothar-lad, who knows?’ Norman lied. “Maybe a sea worm, perhaps an aged murloc, most likely white murlocs and possibly a fiend. Caves are filled with these things, you better get used to them if you seek to remain my apprentice. Now, use what I have taught you if you want to see in the abyss.”

Confident in his student and also trusting of his own rescuing skills, Norman Daegoln let Borothar behind, hoping his squire remembered how to cast fire. After all, they were on the verge of venturing into ancient darkness and if Borothar truly seeked to be a hero, he would need to learn how to survive.

Read the next chapter here


One thought on “The Innkeeper’s Apprentice, part.2

  1. Grrrrrr… Que vont réellement trouver Daegoln et Borothar au fond de cette grotte ?

    Plus qu’a prendre son mal en patience ;0)

    Liked by 2 people

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