To Everna and Beyond!

An exploration of Fantasy and Science Fiction Worlds in literature and multimedia entertainment
The official blog and novelblog for Evernade Saga and FireHeart Saga by Andry Chang

"Come forth, Paladins! Fulfill your destiny!"

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FireHeart Highlights!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Longbow vs Crossbow

The purpose of this video was to demonstrate the comparative speed of shot between the English longbow, and the hand-spanned crossbow.

As you can see in the video, the crossbow wasn't as slow to shoot as many people make out, but please keep in mind that the hand-spanned crossbow is a very quick weapon to span and shoot, much quicker that the other types of crossbow in use during the middle ages.

Due to the heavy construction of the crossbow's steel prod, or bow, and the short draw length along the crossbow's tiller, the crossbow was a very inefficient weapon. Although the crossbow in the video has a draw weight of around 130 lb, compared to the longbow's 110 lb, our crossbow could only manage a maximum range of some 90 yards, compared to the longbow's 250 yards. To compensate, medieval crossbows were often many times the draw weight of the bow used here, and thus required the use of a belt and hook, Goats Foot or Windlass to draw. This made them much slower than the longbow. Due to this slow re-loading crossbowmen often sheltered behind Pavises, or large shields, while re-loading on an open battlefield. These shortcomings were not an issue, however, when the crossbow was used to defend walled towns or castles, a situation where the crossbow excelled.

If you wish to see the longbow compared with the more powerful, but slower, windlass crossbow, then watch the new series of Warriors on the History Channel. In episode 5, on the English Knight, you can see Martin and I going head to head, pitting a 110 lb yew longbow against an 850lb windlass crossbow, while Terry Schappert counts the amount of arrows and bolts we manage to loose in 1 minute. It makes for a very interesting comparison with this video! (The episode was screened in the US on April 2nd, and comes to the UK in the Autumn, but it is available to watch on the History Channel website too).


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Great picks for your gift card!

No images? Click HERE.

strangelands header log

Great picks for your gift card!

Got a gift card over the holidays?
Here are some must-have sci-fi &
fantasy titles!


Torment cover

buy now

The Fallen Novels
by Lauren Kate

What if the person you were meant to be with could never be yours? Follow Luce and Daniel in Fallen and Torment, the dark and romantic titles in the Fallen Novels series.

Begin reading the series with Fallen

Follow the series on Facebook

Visit The Fallen Novels website

The Scorch Trials cover

buy now

The Maze Runner Trilogy
by James Dashner

Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end. No more puzzles. No more variables. And no more running. You'll soon learn that the Maze was just the beginning. The Scorch Trials begins just four hours after the first book ended.

Begin reading the series with
The Maze Runner

Follow the series on Facebook

Visit The Maze Runner website

Revolution cover

buy now

by Jennifer Donnelly

Jennifer Donnelly, author of the award-winning novel, A Northern Light, artfully weaves two girls' stories into one unforgettable account of life, loss, and enduring love.Revolution spans centuries and vividly depicts the eternal struggles of the human heart.

Watch the Trailer and a Video Interview with Jennifer Donnelly

Visit Jennifer Donnelly's website

Brain Jack

buy now

Brain Jack
by Brian Falkner

Brian Falkner, author of The Tomorrow Code, has created an action-packed and thought-provoking science fiction adventure in which a brilliant young computer hacker fights to prevent the human race from being deleted.

Begin reading the first chapter

Dark Water cover

buy now

Dark Water
by Laura McNeal

In her solo debut, Laura McNeal writes about fifteen-year-old Pearl DeWitt and how she falls into a forbidden romance with one of the migrant workers her uncle has hired to work in his avocado groves.

Visit Laura McNeal's website, to see the trailer

scroll top

Additional Must-Haves:

The Inheritance Cycle
by Christopher Paolini

The Inheritance Cycle cover

buy now

The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel
by Michael Scott

Brain Jack cover

buy now

The Dead-Tossed Waves
by Carrie Ryan

The                Dead-Tossed Waves cover

buy now

The Forest of Hands and Teeth
by Carrie Ryan

The Forest of Hands and Teeth cover

buy now

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry MonsterBane Christmas 2010!

Vadis and the entire crew of MonsterBane, Rosta Masta and Morfs wish you a

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thank you for the fun-filled experience, and see you again in the next strips to come!

RoSta MaSta & morfs -
Monsterbane -

Crew List:

RoStaMaSta: Vadis' Avatar, RoStaMan.
Morfs: Bob, Shinee, Dennis, Steve & Phyto
Monsterbane: Chris, Carol, A'bong, Dar'gum & Monstah.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Holidays from Christopher Paolini

Click here to see images.

brisingr header
alagaesia news header

Kvetha Fricäya!
paolini author photo

Greetings Friends!

As the year comes to an end, I would like to thank you all for being such amazing and supportive fans.

To everyone who entered the Super Fan contest, thank you for participating. I am excited to review the entries over the holidays! Stay tuned for the announcement of the winner early in the New Year.

Christopher Paolini

Visit the official fan site for the Inheritance cycle:

Join the discussion on Facebook!

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The Eragon e-mail newsletter is owned and operated by Random House, Inc. 1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019. Members' e-mail addresses and information collected via this newsletter will only be used by Random House, Inc. internally and will not be sold or distributed. For the complete Privacy Policy of Random House, Inc., please visit:


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Merry FireHeart Christmas 2010!

Well, I know it's still a bit early, but I just found this unique e-card and thought maybe I can share it with you all along with the joyous Season's Greetings.

So, for (maybe) the second time around, this is Andry Chang and crew's greeting for all: Merry Christmas 2010 and Happy New Year 2011!

Keep on fantasizing, come forth and fulfill your destiny!

MonsterBane 4: Monster Conference!

the dark lord has left the building! well, at least he had the geeky green alien thingy to replace him...

correction: oops, i forgot to replace the dark lord in the third frame - argh, there's no undo or last-minute editing!
well, at least i made my point: corruption is a silent killer, as deadly as AIDS. it crumbles the nation's foundation bit by bit. by vadis

Source: (yeah, it's my stripgenerator site).

Monday, December 13, 2010

Silent Hero by Christine E Schulze

Silent Hero
by Christine E Schulze

Publisher : Self-Publish
Released : 15th Nov, 2010
Pages : 170
Category : Novel
SubCategory : Epic
Language : English


Before time was set in motion by man—for time is merely an illusion, a way for those not born of the supernatural realm to measure the feeble passing of their days—chaos reigned in the universe. A war of matter, darkness, wind, power. Until three goddesses, Din, Nayru, and Farore, took all these in their hands and fashioned them into something far more glorious, beautiful, and most of all, peaceful.

Din—her flaming limbs unparalleled in power—crafted the red earth, taming the chaos into something formed, subdued.

Nayru, in her vast wisdom, gave the spirit of law to the earth, building upon its still quiet by setting up order.

Farore, with her vibrant soul, took all these wonders a step further, so that through calm and order, life could be born and thrive, free to explore, discover, and just revel in the happiness of its new world.

Their work completed, the goddesses ascended to the heavens, leaving in their wake the Triforce, a small glimmer of their power meant to keep the new land safe, and to uphold the balance of the elements which formed Hyrule: Power, Wisdom, Courage. The Triforce was represented by the people of Hyrule in three triangles touching points so as to form a greater triangle; should any piece—Power, Wisdom ,or Courage—be removed, a perfect triangle would no longer exist; this truth held firm beyond mere symbolism.

But as ever, with the creation of life comes free will. With free will comes such a one who would desire to disrupt that perfect balance by gaining a part of it to control all him or herself.

And with the presence of such a dangerous threat comes the need for a wise counselor and—most of all—the need for...

A hero.

Gulliver's Travel by Jonathan Swift

Gulliver's Travel
by Jonathan Swift

Publisher : Evolitera (Public Domain)
Released : 23rd Feb, 2010
Pages : 284
Category : Novel
SubCategory : Adventure
Language : English


Gulliver’s Travel is a novel by the famous satirist Jonathan Swift. It tells the story of Lemuel Gulliver, a ship surgeon that got stranded repeatedly and always ends up in various mythical lands. The novel is holds a distinction for being able to be clearly classified into many genres. It can be considered a satire, since that is what it was written as. However, it can also be considered a children’s book for its fantasy lands, as well as proto-science fiction. In addition to that, because of the way it was written, it can be considered a precursor to modern novel. For many years now, The book is one of the required reading for many high school students, including high school Literature Advanced Placement students in the United States.

This is a public domain book. No copyright reserved, no rights reserved


The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood

The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood
by Howard Pyle

Publisher : Evolitera (Public Domain)
Released : 12th May, 2010
Pages : 391
Category : Novel
SubCategory : Adventure
Language : English


The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood is a novel by Howard Pyle and is the first modern adaptation of the folklore hero. It tells the adventures of Robin Hood from how he became an outlaw until he was redeemed by King Richard. The book has inspire further Robin Hood novels such as Louis Rhead's Bold Robin Hood and His Outlaw Band (1912) and Paul Creswick's Robin Hood (1917), which in turn inspire numerous Robin Hood movies. The most recent of which was released in 2010 starring Russel Crowe and Cate Blanchett.

This is a public domain book. No copyright reserved, no rights reserved.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Have you read more than six of these books?

Have you read more than six of these books?

The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books on this list.

Instructions: copy this into your notes. Bold those books you have read in their entirety. Italicize those you started but didn't finish or read only an excerpt. Tag other book nerds. Tag me as well so I can read your responses.

1. Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkein

2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman

4. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams

5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling

6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne

8. Nineteen-Eighty-Four, George Orwell

9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis

10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte

11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller

12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte

13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks

14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier

15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger

16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Graham

17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens

18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott

19. Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres

20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell

22. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, JK Rowling

23. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, JK Rowling

24. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, JK Rowling

25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien

26. Tess of the Durbervilles, Thomas Hardy

27. Middlemarch, George Eliot

28. A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irwin

29. The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck

30. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

31. The Story of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson

32. One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

33. The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett

34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens

35. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl

36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson

37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute

38. Persuasion, Jane Austen

39. Dune, Frank Herbert

40. Emma, Jane Austen

41. Anne of Green Gables, LM Montgomery

42. Watership Down, Richard Adams

43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald

44. The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas

45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh

46. Animal Farm, George Orwell

47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

48. Far From the Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy

49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian

50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher

51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett

52. Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck

53. The Stand, Stephen King

54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

55. A Suitable Boy, Vikrem Seth

56. The BFG, Roald Dahl

57. Swallows and Amazons, Arthur Ransome

58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell

59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer

60. Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky

61. Noughts and Crosses, Malorie Balckman

62. Memoirs of a Geisha, Arthur Golden

63. A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens

64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough

65. Mort, Terry Pratchett

66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton

67. The Magus, John Fowles

68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett

70. Lord of the Flies, William Golding

71. Perfume, Patrick Suskind

72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell

73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett

74. Matilda, Roald Dahl

75. Bridget Jones' Diary, Helen Fielding

76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt

77. The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins

78. Ulysses, James Joyce

79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens

80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson

81. The Twits, Roald Dahl

82. I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith

83. Holes, Louis Sachar

84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake

85. The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy

86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson

87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley

88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibson

89. Magician, Raymond E Feist

90. On the Road, Jack Kerouac

91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo

92. The Clan of the Cave Bear, Jean M Auel

93. The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett

94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho

95. Katherine, Anna Seton

96. Kane and Abel, Jeffrey Archer

97. Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

98. Girls in Love, Jacqueline Wilson

99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot

100. Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

BJ Vadis: Okay, so I read 18:
1, 3, 5, 7, 17, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 30, 34, 35, 36, 44, 47, 62, 63

Source: Truly Rudiono's Facebook Note!/notes/truly-rudiono/have-you-read-more-than-six-of-these-books/10150099958937279

Sunday, December 05, 2010

The Chronicles Of Narnia : Voyage of the Dawn Treader - Official Trailer...

Release Date: 10 December 2010
Genre: Adventure | Family
Cast: Ben Barnes, Skandar Keynes, Simon Pegg, Shane Rangi
Director: Michael Apted
Writers: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Studio: 20th Century Fox

Lucy and Edmund Pevensie return to Narnia with their cousin Eustace where they meet up with Prince Caspian for a trip across the sea aboard the royal ship The Dawn Treader. Along the way they encounter dragons, dwarves, merfolk, and a band of lost warriors before reaching the edge of the world.

Sunday, November 28, 2010 Battle of Vaudevale Hills - Part 2

Does this result mean Chris’ technique is superior than Robert’s? The answer is: Depends on the user. A more experienced user can adjust his energy to make more variations that suit the situation, and that’s what Robert is doing. He actually conserves his energy, lets some blows hit him and accumulates some more to unleash his next move: Gold Dragon Supremacy.

Chris is shocked to see the second strongest combo of Dragon Slayer Sword series executed so quickly. Cold sweat runs down his face as he only use a second to boost his aura and leaps up with the single-blow Singular Voice of Truth.

The two swords collide with a deafening CLANG! that resonates through the two armies. All (especially Kyflynn) cover their ears. However, their eyes remain wide open because the result may be decisive. Whoever wins or loses, the soldiers hope that they won’t have to risk their lives and the war will be over.

The next second, the result is present before their eyes.

The Emperor of Arcadia gets beaten, smashing into the ground. Robert is also thrown back, but he does a back flip and lands smoothly. He stands up and silent for a moment, but then falls on his bended knees, vomiting blood. He too suffers internal injury from that impact.

Chris then gets up with much more difficulty. Half-standing, he leans on Kraal’shazar that serves as a walking stick now. Seems like Chris loses his body balance for a while.

The result is not decisive – yet.

Shaking and staggering, Robert shouts to Chris, ‘You’ve lost, Your Majesty. Are you ready to give up and withdraw?’

Hearing that, Chris thrusts the great sword into the ground. He takes his helmet off, showing his battered face with lots of blood on his mouth. Fury and hatred blaze like hellfire in his eyes.

Chris shouts back, ‘Look into my eyes! Read my lips! I will never give up! I will never take back my word! This duel is not over yet! It’s over if one of us kills the other!’

‘Even if I spare your life?’

‘Even if you spare my life, I won’t spare yours! I’ll kill you!’

‘Tsk, tsk... That doesn’t sound honorable, Your Majesty. Are you going to do it no matter what?’

‘Yes. I’m only satisfied if you die by the sword in my hands.’

‘In that case,’ says Robert, waving his saber forward, emitting a bigger flame on its blade. ‘You are beyond help. I must use my last resort, Regrets of the Dragon on you. I hope you are quite familiar with this move, because you might survive it.’

‘Tchah! You want to insult me? Well, I have news for you. I also have my own ultimate combo, the Divine Resolution, and you know what? You have the honor of being the first to taste it,’ says Chris, accumulating his holy aura to the maximum – the last drops of his power.

Robert also accumulates his aura to the max. He extend his arm, moves his four fingers as a gesture of challenge, saying, ‘Bring it on.’

So, the duelists strike a stance. They stay that way for a long time, as though waiting for a signal, a perfect moment to strike. They need to calculate their timing. Predicting their opponents’ moves, possibilities of variations and how to tackle them and make a hit with their own variations. As always, one single mistake can cost them their lives – or worse – the fate of a nation and the entire Everna.

No one among the troops, officers, Knights and even Paladins dare to interrupt them.

Robert, theoretically, is at disadvantage. Chris has seen his combo before in the battle with Arachus the Archdevil. He has used this move on Zal’fira the Necromancess too, but at that time Chris was under the Sleep spell.

And now he is wide awake. Chris’ eyes stare straight to Robert’s. He stays in full concentration until a leaf, burnt, probably flying all the way from Lumien Forest with tidings of destruction – flies right in the middle of the duelists.

Their eyes see the leaf.

It falls all the way down, and the eyes follow it.

And, the leaf touches the ground.

FWOOSH! The duelists dart towards each other! And BAMM! Comes the first impact. Then CRASH! – second, SWISH! – third, probably misses. CRACK! – fourth, a hit! CRASH-CRASH! – fifth, double hit! SCREECH! – sixth, grinding each other’s blade. CRASH!! – seventh, a bigger hit, CLANK! – eighth, double parry, SCREECH-CRACK! – ninth, a scrach and a hit! CRASH-CRASH! – tenth, another double hit!


The spectators (except maybe, Kyflynn) can only hear the impacts. Their moves are too fast to follow with bare eyes. The only thing they see is, after the eighteenth impact, Robert is thrown away like loose cannonball, hits the ground real hard and doesn’t move at all.

Chris is only pushed back a few paces with the energy from Rob’s eighteenth blow (a powerful, ultimate diagonal upward slash) still sizzling and sparkling on his armor. He vomits blood and got major internal injuries all over his body, but at least he’s still moving. He gets up and observes his opponent’s condition, and then laughs.

‘HA HA! I survived your combo after all, Robert, and you lose! Just admit it: The student has surpassed his master! And now, you will succumb to my vengeance!’

He drags Kraal’shazar on the ground and walks towards his foe, saying, ‘Let justice be done upon you!’

Just as he is close to Rob, Chris raises his sword overhead to stab Robert to death, saying, ‘Farewell, Robert Chandler!’

The Deathblade darts, to claim yet another soul.


The sword stops! However, it’s not the shout that stops it. It is another sword, Grimlock, the tip of its blade is less than a centimeter away from Chris’ throat.

‘‘The student surpassed the master’, eh? Think again. You are so full of yourself, so I played dead on you. Know something, Chris, I too has survived your technique. Your skill may be equal to mine, but my experience far exceeds you.

Nevertheless, we’ve been interrupted.’

Rob and Chris turn and see the one who disrupted their duel. He looks like a ten-year old boy, yet he is older than the duelists here. That’s because he is a halfling, an Animorpher named Dejan Pavlovic.

Dejan pants feverishly. His blue hair is in a total mess. His face shows extreme fatigue. Marks of bruise and bleeding spread all over his body, yet his life is not in danger. As an eagle, he must’ve flown all the way from Regia or anywhere in the mainland to the Island Kingdom of Lore, to here. So, he must be bearing extremely important news.

Robert gasps with surprise, then asks, ‘Dejan! What brings you all the way here?’

The halfling pants, mustering the last drops of his strength to talk, and answers, ‘The Dark Forces attacked! Soon after Emperor Sage sailed to Lore, Arachus and his army set out from Kraal’thragon and stormed Castoria! And then, like thunderstorm they conquered Castoria and Merida! The angels of Yvais attacked them, but the wyverns, winged demons and a portion of the Dark Forces’ army attacked Yvais instead! I think the angels are pretty occupied now.

And worse, the Gremion orcs joined the Dark Forces and recaptured Bresconnor! Then, the orcs and undead regrouped in Merida as one when I left, and so far we have lost two heroes!’

After saying that, Dejan collapses. Chris shouts at him, ‘Dejan! Who were those two fallen heroes? Tell me, Dejan!’

Barely conscious, Dejan answers with a feeble voice, ‘The... the Water Elf Queen... Res’marth... and... and... the morbit priest... Fa-Father... Bernides. The Dark... is going... to... Borgia... Please...’ Dejan faints before he can finish his words.

Res’marth... and Bernides. Flashes of the memories of their encounter pass Chris’ and Robert’s mind.

‘Ah...,’ Robert sighs. ‘That means now we have lost three great healers already...’

Chris is shocked to hear that, and protests, ‘Three? I thought Dejan said two heroes, Res’marth and Bernides. Ah... Rob, you mean...?’

‘Yes, Chris. Our beloved friend and teacher, Father Andreas Marvellini. He was killed by an Arcadian soldier, a traitor who wanted to switch sides. We have executed that traitor and buried Padre properly here, in Vaudevale Hill.’

Chris’ heart shatters in pieces. His face is pale with dread, guilt and grief. No... What have I done? So many good men, even heroes have fallen because of my folly, my misunderstanding. This is the biggest regret of my life. Robert is not Vordac’s Heir after all. The real Heir must be in Kraal’thragon, in a safe place where he broke all hell loose. Res’marth, the Paladin of old, Father Bernides my mentor, Father Andreas my friend... And all the good men we’ve lost in this wrong campaign – the widows, the orphans they left – I can never repay this sin even if I spend ten times of eternity in hell. And I can never forgive myself for this... redeem myself from this...

Cristophe feels a pat on his shoulder. He looks up and sees Robert Chandler, not smiling but is calm, pats him again to console him, saying, ‘It’s all right, my friend. If I were in your shoes, I would’ve done the same. Tell you what, I’ll help you avenge your father and brother by finding the real Heir of Vordac, the culprit. We’ll settle the scores with him once and for all.

As for now, we better head to Borgia with full force and full speed. We will fight the Dark Forces together, Armies of Lore and Arcadia, and we will end up victorious, by Vadis!’

End of Chapter 16

Previous Page
Next Page Battle of Vaudevale Hills - Part 1

Courtesy Picture: Eugene Delacroix - Two Knights Fighting in a Landscape

Back in Lumien Forest, in the unburnt area across the creek, the Arcadians are regrouping.

‘We must get out from this forest quickly! Enough waiting, let’s move out!’ says Adler von Bachmann, the aiding General from Borgia to Emperor Sage the Fifth. The latter still doesn’t remove his helmet from his head.

‘Lord Adler’s right, Your Majesty,’ Eidos adds, carefully positioning himself. ‘We only lost one tenth of our troops during that chaos. Moving on is a good idea. We’ll gather more troops along the way.’

The Emperor doesn’t answer. He just sits there in silence, thinking hard.

Impatience shows on Adler’s face. Just as he’s about to speak up his protest, Sage talks.

‘Our troops’ morale is totally shaken. It’ll be very dangerous to move out now, but it’s also dangerous to stay here, in case the Loreans want to burn this forest again. The minimum casualty on our side was because Robert played hypocrite by showing us mercy, yet shattering the troops morale completely.

Our spies have pinpointed the Loreans’ base on Vaudevale Hills, so we will go there, make camp, rally our troops and attack them head-on. This time I shall ride in front, not above. I shall stay with my troops until we punish that traitor and the Kingdom that supports him!’

Like adding oil in the fire, Adler says, ‘I’d like to see that traitor’s head on a stake, a fine souvenir indeed it’ll be.’


True to his words, Cristophe rides a horse in front of the troops. Acavela the griffin scouts from the air. Some more troops who were lost rejoin the march. Yet, seeing the Emperor in the front, they feel compelled to protect him and never desert the army. Only fifteen percent fell or deserted in Lumien.

No attack from Lore, not even a skirmish, even when the Arcadians move out safely from the forest. The troops feel relieved, but their morale is still low. This is too easy, they think. The crafty Rael’charon must have a tactic or two under his sleeves.

They make camp on the plains, eighteen miles away from Loreans’ camp on top of the hill. Knowing about the Loreans’ terrain advantage and the Griffin Riders’ absence, the Arcadians only hope from their archers and a few war machines that survived the fire.

Eighteen miles between the opposing camps is a distance well outside firing range of catapults and ballistae, so the two armies don’t attack right out. They choose to wait, studying the situation and condition thoroughly, thus act accordingly.

Four days later, the Arcadians try to prove that this is not a stalemate situation. With their superior numbers, they reject all challenges for personal duels. The invaders march in formations, and stop in a distance well outside firing range. The Loreans only sent a few thousand infantry outside the camp and no one can be seen on the parapet.

What the hell is he playing at? Chris’ mind rumbles. I know there must be archers behind that parapet. Humph. Tactic trap or not, I shall not take the bait! I must plan my moves carefully, and here’s what I’m going to do.

The Emperor of Arcadia’s voice echoes like thunder to the Lorean camp, ‘Robert Chandler and the Army of Lore! Surrender yourself into the mercy of our Grand Arcadian army! Our numbers are far superior than you; there’s no way you can win against us!’

Robert rides and places himself in front of his troops, holding his saber with a flaming blade. The Arcadian archers aim their bows at him, but Chris shouts, ‘HOLD YOUR FIRE!’ and moves in front of his own troops. Then, he shouts at Robert again.

‘Well, Robert. Are you ready to surrender now?’

Robert answers, ‘I shall not surrender to injustice. Instead, I ask you one more time to get back to your senses and stop this senseless bloodshed. I’ve told you time and time again that I’m not the Heir of Vordac. I’d rather kill myself than letting that Dark Spirit dwell in me. I have no ambition whatsoever to rule this word, being a King, Emperor or whatever.

But, you don’t believe that. You chose to believe in deception and even made that an excuse to expand your Empire in time of crisis. I’m telling you, Your Majesty! The Dark Forces only lost a small portion of his army and the one he generated through necromancy in Myrcalia! They’re still strong and numerous! Myriads of them! Just think, Emperor! Alexis’ assassination was just a plan to frame me and to create strife between Arcadia and Lore, making us war between each other. When both great nations are weak, they will strike!

Please, Your Majesty, look deeper inside your heart and see the greater truth, greater than eyes can see. Let’s end this war and fight the Dark Forces together.’

‘Are you finished talking, Robert?’ says Chris.

‘Yes, for now.’

‘Then I’ll say that you’ve delivered a good excuse, Heir of Vordac. Your sweet talk about the Dark Forces’ scenario nearly convinced me, but my grudge towards you is too deep, too strong to be bent by some fairy tale. No matter what you say, the fact remains. YOU killed my brother with YOUR sword. YOU charmed your King and Rael’charon into believing in your lies. It’s YOU who put Lore in the road to ruin, and I’m simply the savior, bearing the mission as Vadis’ Heir to cleanse Lore from the Dark Scourge before we can coexist. And since you’re Vordac’s Heir, eliminating you will make the Dark Forces lose their leader, their purpose to go to war. So you better be prepared, because we will storm you with full force!’

Robert shakes his head on this answer, and sighs.

‘Looks like reason and common sense won’t work on you. Your grudge has blinded you from the real truth, just as I was. My grudge towards the orcs has blinded me from the fact that not all orcs are evil. So, I’ll use Dar’gum’s way, with which he has corrected me to make you see the light – through the way of single combat. Fight me, and you’ll see the real me, whether I prevail or perish. If I win, you and your entire Army must withdraw from Lore, back to defending your own Empire. If I die, it’ll be a worthy sacrifice and I hope you will spare my troops and country. Will you accept this challenge?’

Chris pauses for a while, then answers,

‘Humph. I don’t agree with that term. I’d say whether I win or lose, we attack.’

‘Do you think we will agree to such term, Your Majesty?’ says Robert, a bit irritated. ‘I won’t put my life at stake for such a small wager, being a gambler myself. You better put up a better term, accept the challenge or we’ll skip the duel and proceed with the battle.’

‘All right, I accept the challenge – on note that we will attack only if you lose.’

‘Great. Are we going to do this on foot or on horseback?’

‘On foot. I’d like you to taste the new moves I’ve learned in Yvais.’

‘Very well. Do you need time to prepare yourself?’

‘No need. We’ll do it here and now. Troops! You are the witnesses of this duel! Do not interfere or the penalty is death!’

Showing his rare smile, Rob kisses his mother’s ring and amplifies his fire aura. The flame on the blade of his sword flickers more wildly. He shouts at Chris, ‘On guard!’

Chris also amplifies his holy aura and raises his sword and shield, but alas! The Sword of Justice shudders most violently instead. Chris pumps his aura to a higher level, trying to suppress the sword, but to no avail.

Obey me, Excalibur! I’m your master, and we’re here to vanquish Vordac’s Heir! What the hell is wrong with you? You never stop shuddering whenever I hold your handle. No... I remember what happened to Alexis. You’re not trying to shake me loose, but to destroy me! Why? Dammit! Why!?

‘You must control your anger with wisdom, your hatred with love, or it’ll consume you. Look, even your sword knows that I’m not Vordac’s Heir! It refuses to fight just to prevent you from making the worst mistake of your life! Let’s end this! We’ll defend Aurelia together!’

‘NO!’ The Emperor snaps, his face blushes with anger and humiliation. ‘I must FIGHT you! Excalibur must obey me! I say Robert is Vordac’s Heir so I must defeat you to show my subjects that I’m right all along! Your lies and slithering words won’t work on me, EX-teacher! Talk to my sword!’

Chris tightens his grip on the sword, but Excalibur explodes its holy aura deposit! Shocked and hurt, Chris releases the handle and the sword falls on the ground. He is weaponless now, but Rob doesn’t attack him. Chris snorts,

‘Humph! You still play high and merciful.’

He turns back and shouts to Adler, ‘Lord Adler! Lend me your sword!’

In normal situations, Adler will probably refuse and suggest another sword for Chris – perhaps the Wyrthal – but in this situation, he says, ‘With pleasure, Your Majesty.’

Adler hands Chris the Zweihänder Kraal’shazar and collects the Shield of Faith and Excalibur. Wielding the Deathblade, Chris’ negativity turns into dark aura and interacts well with the sword. Robert stays on his stance, and Chris attacks!

Robert unleashes his technique Green Dragon Assault Strike: the hidden hi-speed move, making it hard to predict and block. However, Chris blocks it anyway. The blow targeted the ankle.

‘You always said I had a weak ankle and my footwork was bad. But Avariel has improved it. I have no weak spot now. So, taste my skill! Way of Righteousness!’

Chris’ combo comes in hyper-speed from six different angles, and ends with a thrust. Robert is unfamiliar with that move, but he easily blocks all the blows. Rob pushes himself back, and pauses for a while to prepare another attack.

Suddenly, shards of light flicker on seven points of Rob’s body, and it hurts his insides! No wound is shown on his body – not even a scratch. He grimaces in pain and vomits a bit of blood.

‘Let’s make it a 14-hit combo,’ says Chris. ‘How do you like it?’

Robert replies, ‘Not bad. Not bad at all. Still, if you use that with your mind and heart in the right place, it’ll be twice as powerful.’

‘Humph. Stop provoking me, traitor. I’m in the right mind to kill you, here and now.’

‘So, enough talking. Just give me your best shot! Take this!’

Robert regains his strength and charges forward! Chris swings the Kraal’shazar to split him in two, but it slashes an empty space. Robert already leaps, and showers him with a multiple downward fire slashes - the reversed version of Red Dragon Hellriser. Chris is apparently quite ready and repels the rain of fire blades with the continuous, rotating sword-shield move: Whirlwind Slash. Nevertheless, seven of Robert’s slashes land on Chris’ armor.

That attack, no matter how powerful, doesn’t leave a single mark or scratch on that divine armor, yet Chris feels burning pain on seven spots on his body.

‘Looks like you’re also holding back,’ says Chris.

‘That’s because I never intend to kill you,’ Rob answers as he lands on a distance.

‘Keep at that and you’ll never defeat me. You must really mean it, Rob. This is not a training.’

‘Then let’s let our swords speak now! No holding back!’

And they clash! They exchange blows and parries in high speed. CLANG! CLANG! Sparks fly whenever their sword clash with sword, sword with shield, sword with armor and so on. The spectators may swear that they see fireworks going on. Impacts of fire against light send light shards everywhere like a sun, yet – without intentions of exaggerating it – the shards don’t hurt the spectators who are hit by it.

During that clash, the combatants also unleash some of their special moves. Rob strikes with his favorite move, Dances of Myriad Dragons, a combo of random slashes with a finishing Rising Dragon uppercut slash. Chris responds with an ultra-defensive combo, Blessings of Humility plus the counter-strike, Fruits of Diligence, sending series of rayblasts from his sword.

Both are hurt at the end, and again they go at each other! CLANG!! CLANG!!! The impacts become louder and louder, and they shout even louder, mustering more energy into their arms.

Robert delivers another blow on Chris’ Greaves of Diligence, inflicting damage to his ankle. However, it doesn’t slow Chris down. Chris bashes Rob’s face with his shield, making him groggy. Plus, Chris rotates and slashes! It’s an offensive variant of Sword-Shield Counterslash, and being the one who taught it to Chris, Rob parries it with his saber, pushing himself away to a safe distance.

So, Rob got a bruise on his face and Chris limps a bit.

‘Do you have anything else to show me?’ Chris taunts his opponent.

‘Just shut up and fight.’ Saying that, Rob powers up and leaps!

Chris’ heavy armor prevents him to leap, so he slashes upwards, sending bolts of crescent light towards the target: Guiding Lights of Faith. Robert knows at once that Chris has guessed his move correctly, but he continues anyway with the quick slashes of Green Dragon Assault Strike. One by one he deflects those lights, slashing rapidly here and there. Four bolts hit him. One grazes his left arm, one his right thigh and his armor absorbs the rest.


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