Saturday, October 24, 2009

Art of Another Sort...

Greenvale was once the furthest flung province of the vast Duchene Kingdom. Concerned with the security of this distant region, King Duchene dispatched his son, Prince Tarvis, to establish an outpost there. But Tarvis' distance from his father's watchful eye only served to fuel his desire of establishing his own kingdom.

So, in the distant forests of Greenvale, Tarvis set his ambitions in motion. He began to raise his own army and launched raids into nearby villages, bringing one after another under his control. As his power grew and his coffers filled with gold, he placed the first stones of the castle he would call Forestkeep.

Meanwhile, the king, upon hearing of his son's activities, sent a party of scouts to investigate. When the scouts returned to report to the king, they had a strange story to tell. When the entered Greenvale, they found themselves at the edge of a great swamp that did not appear on any of their maps. As they explored the edge of the swamp, they encountered a hermit picking berries. When they asked the hermit about Forestkeep, the hermit told them of a day not long ago when a wizard arrived at the gates of the castle. The wizard was greatly angered by Tarvis' raids on the countryside, and demanded that they stop. When Tarvis merely laughed at the wizard's request, the wizard raised his hands to the sky, and with a single gesture, caused the earth to give way, swallowing Forestkeep and all within.

The scouts thought the hermit mad and pressed onward into the fetid swamp, determined to locate the prince and his castle. They had scarcely set foot into the bog when they found sections of a great stone wall, half sunken into the muck. Beyond that, they could see what remained of a great castle gate and other ruined buildings. This, then, was all that remained of Forestkeep. And though they searched the swamp and the ruins for days, they found no trace of Prince Tarvis or his army.

After hearing the scouts' story, the king was silent for some time. When he finally spoke, he decreed that the Greenvale outpost would not be rebuilt, and anyone heard speaking of Forestkeep would be thrown in the dungeon.

So, Greenvale faded from the minds of the people. Forestkeep became known as "Tarvis' Folly" as time went by. And, on the rare occasions that anyone spoke of either place, it was in hushed tones as they talked of all the dark and twisted creatures that now called it home.

But now, scouts are reporting armed forces massing in Greenvale with unknown intent. The king has dispatched his army, intent on keeping the border secure. The only question left is who will remain to declare victory after the battle in the swampy ruins of Tarvis' Folly?

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