Background, by Allen Billings

The following section describes non-canon material that may be disputed by canon.

Story name: Background
Author: Allen Billings
Publication date: November 24, 1997


A now-deprecated account of the Battle of the Three Gates.


Nasoj's siege is in progress. Sarah asks a mage how the battle is going; he replies that only a tenth of the enemy forces are down. Sarah tells Magus to recall everyone to the Keep.

Alain, suffering a nasty arrow wound, receives the recall spell. A healer tells him not to move, and to get into a wagon with the other wounded. Alain insists that he have a weapon nearby, in case a lutin tries to jump him.

By the end of the second day, every defender is at the Keep. The enemy outnumbers them three to one. They hope to hold out for a week or two for the king's forces to arrive.

Nasoj orders a lutin to take the keep within four days, or he'll give his guts to the priests of Gludom, and his soul to his pet demon in hell. Nasoj's familiar approaches, saying he was unable to get inside, for Magus's protection spell was too strong. But the powerful artifact Nasoj is looking for is indeed hidden under the great tower, though the Keepers don't even know about it.

Two days later, Sarah changes tactics; the forces at the main gates will be light, and will retreat when the enemy advances, boxing the enemy from all sides. Magus wonders why Nasoj continues to fight after burning his second cargo wagon train the week before. Brian asks to keep scouters along the outer walls to spot any possible early attacks; there won't be enough to spread out, but he'll keep a rotating watch. Sarah apologizes to the elderly head priest for not evacuating the priests in time, but he quiets her. Despite their dedication to healing, they will always be ready to defend.

The next day, clouds build up overhead. In the afternoon, a wave of Lutins presses the Keepers inside. Nasoj gloats to his imp about finding the artifact by the evening, becoming the strongest mage in the Giantlands, and wiping out the humans in the lowerlands within a year. His imp dreams about all the souls his masters will devour, and more ways to wreck havoc on the world.

The fighters retreat into the inner keep, and after an hour, the last of the magical spells have gone from the courtyard. Tired of the fighting, Nasoj summons a major demon to end the siege with its magic. While lutins batter down two of the inner gates, the demon destroys the middle gate and barrels through the soldiers. The eldest cleric summons a circle of power to send the demon away. He collapses from the effort, but he is dragged away as the soldiers meet the lutins.

Nasoj orders his mages to bring chaos upon the keepers. Linking their powers, they cast their most powerful spell of chaos. Alain watches the battle from the top of the wall, when suddenly the spell hits. He and several other mages cast prevention spells, but they end up merging with the chaos spell. Alain and the other morphs charge the lutin in rage.

With this new rage, every last lutin and several giants are dead by nightfall. The animal morphs who had become enraged would not recover for several days.

A few days later, Sarah and the council assess the damage. Sarah has now become a man, and Pascal is now a female porcupine, much to her distress. A page named Phil assures her that Sarah is not the only one to have suffered. Sarah decides that she needs a clean start, and asks that from now on, she be called Thomas.


Main Characters: Sarah, Alain, Nasoj

Supporting: Magus, Elric

Cameo: Brian, Pascal, Phil

Points of Interest

  • This was the first story written about the Battle of the Three Gates, written 2 days after the first Metamor Keep story. It would eventually be superseded by Malvoisin written 6 days later.
  • Elric is the name given to the demon-fighting cleric in the author's notes to Lightbringer; Raven is the daughter of Elric. Whether or not this is still canon is unclear.
  • There are a few things in this story that have been explicitly made non-canon:
    • Pascal is distressed by her change here, while in other stories she is said to be quite pleased with it.
    • Phil does not suffer or lose his humanity the way he did in Playing With Fire.
    • Duke Thomas Hassan, a horse morph, is not the same Thomas in this story, who is a gender morph. Sarah has since been declared non-canon.
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