Short chapter today. Enjoy the first of the “Break” chapters; this one goes into detail about Kruseid, the leader of the Seven Heroes.
Break 1 – Kruseid the Just
Kruseid’s father was renowned throughout the lands of Rym: Galheid the Untouchable, King of Astoria. His ancestors conquered the lands that became the Astorian Kingdom; Galheid did not expand his territory during his time, but defended it well. He was a tactical genius, and a powerful warrior. He never had any reason to lead his forces to battle; by maintaining his army and making a show of its strength at the right times, he avoided conflict with rival kingdoms. His spies were the best, and often times Galheid himself would lead his own personal guard to stand in front of a marching army to halt their advance. The legend was passed on throughout Rym: Astoria could never be taken by surprise.
Although armies may cower in fear at the Astorian machine, many bandit clans have historically lived in the forests surrounding the capital. Galheid’s heir, Prince Kruseid, led a small force to put down one such clan and prove his own might. At the same time, two mercenaries were slaughtering other bandit clans nearer to the castle. By the time Kruseid caught sight of the capital’s walls, it lay in ruins. Balken, a sorcerer from the land of Aria, wielded immense magical power, but it alone couldn’t destroy an entire kingdom. He had recruited Caden, a necromancer from Lorath, to turn slain bandit clans, villagers, and nearby wildlife into an army of the undead powered by Balken’s dark magics. Even Astoria was surprised by the sudden attack, and there was no defense against an army that grew with every soldier slain.
In time, Kruseid grew stronger. He gained allies and challenged Balken in his own home, and won.
Of the hailed heroes that he befriended, he was closest to his first ally. She was Meuri, a prodigal Cleric from the Sakarlands. The two grew to depend on one another, forming a bond that greatly exceeded kinship. However, the amazing healing power of the Clerics relies on their chastity, and the two had no choice but to restrain themselves as long as their task remained unfinished.
Soon after the fall of Balken, Kruseid and Meuri returned to their respective kingdoms to lead reconstruction. Meuri dreamed of rebuilding her monastery, and vowed to Kruseid that once it was finished, they would be wed there.
Meuri’s project took years; during that time, many rebel groups appeared to challenge their saviors. Some of them took on the banner of Balken, and were in fact remnants of his army that created imposters as figureheads to their cause. Some were rogue groups looking for valor and fame, or sought the power to rule the kingdoms themselves. They were easily put down every time they appeared. However, one such army chose to attack the peaceful Sakarlands. The attack happened swiftly, without warning. By chance, Kruseid was on his way to meet with Meuri when he saw the flames coming from Sakar Castle. Without hesitation, he rode into the heart of the conflict, slaying whoever pointed a blade his way.
Kruseid’s heart sank at the end of his charge. Just beyond the iron gates of the castle lay the fallen heroine, her heart skewered by a spear, and body surrounded by flames. His ally Roegen arrived as soon as he heard of the sudden attack, routing the rebels as they fled from the Sakarlands. Chelsea, the newly-crowned Queen of Rhea, flew in on the back of her loyal phoenix, Susan, and had her beasts feast on what remained of their forces. The two allies cleared the way for Kruseid to retrieve Meuri’s body and give her a proper burial.
Soon after removing the spear from her chest, Meuri’s body shook and gradually warmed. Her eyes opened and caught glimpse of three of her closest friends, each of them in shock at her revival. In order to survive, Meuri instinctively called forth all the holy power she could summon and absorbed it into her body. A sudden epiphany from the gods is how she explained it… that she would suddenly learn the forgotten prayer she needed to live. But now, it is only her own holy powers that keep her alive… at all costs. Without the need to pray, all of her illnesses are purged, her wounds healed, and her youth renewed. Without her power, she would die – but not without first experiencing all the pain of all the deaths she escaped. The two could now never be together, or else damn Meuri to a torture that Kruseid felt was best reserved for the unjust.
After twice experiencing the shame of not being able to protect those closest to him, Kruseid learned that the only way for the world to return to the one he remembered – one of justice and prosperity – he would need to return the Astorian army to its former glory. Or rather, ascend to a level of even greater than even his father imagined.
Thus began Astoria’s revival. Every resource possible was used to make his army great. Only the best was tolerated. Social rank meant nothing anymore; if a noble didn’t have physical strength or a mind for tactics, they were made a peasant. Even being a squire paid better than most small-time merchants.
Kruseid himself would often leave Astoria to go on expeditions that few know the reasons of. He trusts that, like an automated machine, the word of the law would be applied in its absence, and if not, certain death awaits both those who broke the law and those who failed to enforce it.
Title: The Just
1. Shield of Truth – A mighty shield that brilliantly shines when wielded. It grows dark when a person reflected on it tells a lie.
2. Sword of Justice – A short, slim magical sword that, on command, absorbs the Shield of Truth to grow in size.
In the next episode of Bardass! Brier lands in the wilderness of Rhea and flees Kruseid’s soldiers. As he does so, he takes refuge in a hidden cave filled with ancient relics from a time long forgotten. Learn what he uncovers in Quest 6 – The Old Gods. It promises to be edutaining!