The Forgotten Realm, by Jacob Fox

Story name: The Forgotten Realm
Author: Jacob Fox

Date: 706 CR (6 months total)
Location: Astarxia, the Dragon Mountains, Metamor Valley

Overview

David Guardian flees his dying homeland, and after months of travel finds a new home at Metamor Keep.

Summary

A plague has killed off most of the island of Astarxia. On his deathbed, Will, the last of Astarxia's great guardians, asks his pupil David Guardian to find a new home and defend it with his life. After he passes away, David takes his teacher's sword and the pendant, finds a ship in the harbor and sails east. In the middle of the night, a storm capsizes his boat and knocks him out. He awakes on the flotsam with land on the horizon, and he swims for shore.

For months he wanders through the mountains that border the shore. After one night of sharing a cave with a dragon, he takes its shedded skin for warmth. Months later, he spends the night in the hut of a hermit named Jacob. As he sets out the next day, he comes across a Lutin camp where a woman is being raped. He charges down and kills twelve of them, causing the Lutin general to retreat and the woman to flee. David passes out from a wound in his arm.

David spends the next four days in and out of consciousness, imagining the god Sakkan watching over him. He awakes in a bed, his wounds bandaged, in a tower overlooking the battlefield. He is startled when two half-animal women enter, a wolf and a multicolored porcupine, but when they don't attack, he puts down his sword as a show of trust. He gives his name, and the wolf gives hers: Raven Lightbringer. He follows her through the halls of the Keep to meet with the king; though he does not speak the language, he senses that the king does not want him here, despite Raven's protests.

As he travels south, he finds an Astarxian fighting off Lutins. After helping him chase off the Lutins, David introduces himself. Nathan, who had left several months ago, is devastated to hear that his homeland is gone. He agrees to teach David the local language, in exchange for learning combat. After two months together, Nathan tells him about Metamor Keep and the war against Nasoj. Remembering his promise to Will, David decides to return to Metamor Keep and defend it.

He comes across a camp of fifteen Lutins on the way back, who are openly plotting to kill Misha. David kills twelve of them, including their captain, and the other three flee north. David returns to the Keep and heads to the throne room, informing the king of the upcoming attack, and offering to lend his services. That night, as David patrols the walls, Raven reunites with him, and David offers to tell her a story about Astarxia.

Characters

Main characters:

  • David Guardian: A knight and one of the last surviving Astarxians. Like most Astarxians, he has red hair and gray eyes. He keeps his hair in a ponytail with a blue ribbon. Born David Kit, he spent his childhood years as his father's only farmhand, making him strong.
    • He carries three possessions: the sword Evermore, one of Astarxia's oldest and holiest relics. It is long for a sword, though shorter than a broadsword. Its handle is shaped like two gold serpents eating each other, their tails joined by a silver orb.
    • He also owns the Star Pendant, said to protect the wearer from danger.
    • He carries Nathan's father's shield, who was a former guardian, raised at the age of 19. On his shield, he added 3-inch spikes along the outside to use offensively. Nathan brought the shield with him to Galendor, and gives it to David.
    • At the story's end, he receives the animal curse, though the species is not given.
    • Of the three curses, he is most afraid of becoming a woman.

Supporting characters:

  • Raven: The Lightbringer of Metamor Keep. She rescues David, and becomes a close friend of his.
  • Nathan Cold: A former Astarxian, now living south of Metamor Valley. He is about 30 years old, has gray eyes, and has short red hair. He used to be a teacher, until he decided to sail around the world. He now works as a metals merchant. He teaches David how to speak the language, who in return taches him swordplay.

Minor characters:

  • Will: A knight of Astarxia. He was one of only five knights to survive a three-year war to unite the island of Astarxia. He taught David how to be a knight; his methods were strict but fair. After the king and queen of Astarxia died of the fever, he took over the throne, and became one of the last few people to die of the fever. He was the former owner of the Evermore and the Star Pendant.
  • Jacob: A druid who lives in the mountains. He is 84 years old and deaf. He lives in a hovel he built 50 years ago, and uses magic to hunt game. He restores David to health.
  • Pascal: The Keep alchemist. She accompanies Raven when David awakes and has his audience with Duke Thomas.
    • She wears a silver band around her finger — possibly her morph ring.
  • Thomas: The Duke of Metamor Keep.

Cameo:

  • Magus: A fox morph, seen with the Duke Thomas.

Important mention:

  • Othello: David's childhood friend, who taught him how to survive at sea. In return, David taught him combat and stealth. He was the first person to die of the fever.
  • King Melander: The last king of Astarxia, who raised David to knighthood.
  • Lia: Nathan Cold's late wife, who accompanied him on his trip, but was raped and killed by Nasoj's men.
  • Nasoj: The evil wizard of the north. Nathan explains how his wizards cursed the Keep.

Referenced:

  • Sakkan: A god worshipped in Astarxia. She is said to be beautiful, dressed in white, with long red hair and gray eyes.
  • Aturn: A legendary knight who supposedly killed the last of the dragons.
  • Misha: A Metamor fighter feared among the Lutins.
  • Brian Coe: The Keep physician.

Locations

  • Astarxia: An island in the oceans west of Galendor, once a prosperous nation, now ravaged by plague. Its people had red hair and gray eyes. Astarxians were reclusive from the world, for they had never sailed more than twenty miles from the coast, and no outsiders had ever set foot on their land. Years ago, the island was unified after a great war. Among the local wildlife are wolves and blue foxes. Its capital was Manchester. In the glorious Nashmir Castle, the king would appoint his knights to defend the realm. South of the capital were the Edgewater farmlands, now overgrown by forests.

Points of Interest

  • The Clear Horizon was the largest ship to still exist in Astarxia. It was previously owned by two sailors who wanted to travel around the world, one month after Nathan Cold disappeared trying to do the same.
  • Here, the Lutins have purple eyes.
  • Astarxians refer to Hell as the Underland.
  • The throne room of Metamor Keep is described as looking partly like a library.
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