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!"

Explore Worlds in Clicks

FireHeart Highlights!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

FireHeart Manga Sketch Arc2 Chapter1 Pg1-3

FireHeart - Legend of the Paladins
Book One: The Bounty Hunters

The Manga (Rough Sketch Version)

Arc-II: the alternative plot, starring cristophe as the (reluctant) main hero - the webcomic version only.

Chapter I: The Fool's Journey Begins

Page 1

FireHeart arc2 ch1 pg1 by ~vadis on deviantART

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FireHeart arc2 ch1 pg2 by ~vadis on deviantART

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FireHeart arc2 ch1 pg3 by ~vadis on deviantART

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Friday, September 17, 2010


What is ALTIMA?

An epic innovate amazing RPG make in RPG Maker VX! You control the heroes who are on a quest to fight EVIL! Your goal: Search the world for The Holy Grail and The Sacred Water to seal The Source of Evil to save the world from Evil!

It was made in 24 hours from inception to final release for the Action 52 Community Event. After I managed to egg Tonfa into making a review for it I made a separate gameprofile just for it so Tonfa could submit a review. I also updated the game to fix some errors and improve some minor aspects now that I have no time limit. I have no intention of doing a complete overhaul like I did with Demon's Gate 1.6 though.

Dungeons have been cunningly replaced by nothing but a series of encounters! This means I could create the score of dungeons in this game in almost no time at all!

Twelve unique characters which you can build YOUR party with! No party member is resistant to the boot of making room for your favorite class!

Exploration based gameplay! You have to find the secret locations of The Holy Grail, The Sacred Water, and The Source of Evil! Complete dungeons to receive hints of where to look!

A minimap (by Wortana) lets the player know where to look! Find dungeons and know their difficulty with color-coded indicators on the minimap! Know what towns have recruitable characters based on their color on the minimap!

The YEZ battle script (and a few others) by Yanfly makes battles look a bit different than the default RMVX script! Also has scanning! Yay!

One of the most useless Old Men in video games!

Download the full version here!
Source Article:

Eternal Paradise


Eons ago, the world and all of its splendours were created by the magnificent and all-powerful being simply known as the “Creator.” It wove the threads of life, and upon creating the planet Earth, spotted it with its most cherished life-form: man.

Having gifted mankind with all of its blessing and necessities, the Creator simply watched as man forged his own path in life, and over the decades crafted himself in to a race of truly wondrous individuals numbering in the millions.

The Creator, however, grew tired of this creation, and thus gave life to four heavenly Kings to watch over and monitor the world in his stead. One of these Kings, Celes, wanted more than the Creator could ever possibly give her: she wanted its power—the divine power of creation. Upon being rejected of her request, the mighty guardian revolted against her creator and all of his creations, and was tossed from her perch atop the heavens in to a realm of purgatory; an island resting between Earth and the Heavens, but far enough away from either that they'd taunt her position for all of eternity.

Countless years have passed since that fated day, and now that island prison hanging in purgatory between Heaven and Earth will become the destination for four youths seeking revenge against a murderous man. Their journey, however, may lead them on an adventure that could reshape the very foundation of all that was, and all that could ever be...

Source Info:

Sunday, September 12, 2010 Lumien Fire - Part 2

Three hours later, the Arcadian Army marches in the woods, along the river that runs from the heights of Vaudevale Hills to Lumien Forest and the sea.

The Loreans have known about Chris’ maneuver, so the Arcadians must keep on moving as fast as they can. All their faces look tense, except Emperor Sage the Fifth who hides his emotions behind his helmet. Yet, his attitude shows calmness and tenacity, giving a boost of morale for his troops to move on.

Step by step they take, and the trees look denser and the river gets narrower into a creek. Now Chris begins to feel familiar about this place. The creek in Lumien Forest, where he hunted with Robert for the first time. The place where he fought a troll three times more powerful than him and won. The place that holds a fond memory for him and... wait. That traitor. That Heir of Vordac who killed his brother and made his father gone mad. Now it’s his most desperate wish to meet up with Robert here and crush that traitor into pulp.

Soon, a voice echoes from afar, answering that wish.

‘I’ve been expecting you here, Chris... No, Emperor Sage of Arcadia.’

Chris snaps out from his thoughts at once, and shouts, ‘Oh, you’re here, Robert? YOU TRAITOR! Get out and show yourself!’

‘Very well, I don’t have anything to hide, though.’

The white-haired Knight shows up from behind the trees, riding his faithful steed Paeldagrin. With the Dragon Saber Grimlock in hand, his shining elf-made armor and Mythril Greaves Eil’thanath sparkling under the sun, Robert Chandler looks absolutely impressive. He talks on.

‘Wish I’m glad to see you here, Your Majesty, in the place where we hunted together for the first time, in a different situation. Unfortunately, I see you come and meet me with your helmet on. And you came by force, waging war upon Lore and putting soldiers’ lives at stake just to capture me!

Are you out of your mind, Emperor? You left your Empire open with Vordac’s Heir on the loose?’

‘No, I’m not, because YOU are Vordac’s Heir! It’s useless denying it, Robert. I know what you did to my brother!’

‘... And your father too, I head. But you see, I didn’t do it. I was framed. Someone stole my sword in Melchior Safehouse and used it to kill Alexis. I was lured into his room, and I found him already dead...’

‘Save your words for the trial!’ Chris snaps.

‘Well, I intended to surrender myself to save the troops from senseless bloodshed. However, seeing you and the manner of your coming, I doubt I can get a fair trial. So, I can only rely in Rael’charon again to clear my name.
Our King said that he would bring me to Arcadia to face trial after we get enough evidence, but no, you were impatient. You didn’t believe him, even accusing him conspiring to kill the Crown Prince and create chaos in Arcadia, making it easy to conquer. Think! His daughter is in your protection! And worse, you made that an excuse to wage war against Lore!
Now tell me! Isn’t that a conduct more fitting for Vordac’s Heir!?’

That sets the Emperor to boiling point.


‘Don’t involve your men in this! Humph, guess I must use ‘it’ after all. Catch me if you can!’

Robert turns around and darts away with Paeldagrin as the Arcadians loom quickly closer. Chris soars up with Acavela the griffin, monitoring Robert’s movements from above like an eagle watching its prey.

Father Andreas shouts, ‘Your Majesty! Don’t chase him! He’s luring you into a trap!’ But Chris doesn’t hear him. He also tries to stop the soldiers, but with no avail.

Soon, the forest is full of men, scaring all the monsters away. The soldiers move on in full pursuit, but they lose sight of Robert. Realizing the situation, Chris dives down and shouts,

‘Follow me! I saw him!’

Adler rides in front and follows the Emperor. He soon sees Robert’s back in a distance. Looks like he’s slowing down. Is Paeldagrin tired? It’s quite old for a horse. Or maybe...?

Before anyone can suggest anything, Robert stops abruptly in an open area near the creek. Adler and the soldiers are surprised. Is that another challenge? Or worse...? All hell breaks loose when suddenly, a group of archers comes from behind Robert. The next moment, Robert lifts his sword high and waves it forward, shouting, ‘FIRE!’

A rain of fire arrows pours from the sky. The Arcadians realize it at once, but it’s too late. This is obviously a trap with no exit. Fire spreads quickly throughout the forest area. The trapped troops are in chaos. Panicked, they fight their way out. Many are trampled or burnt to death. Most of them go out from the fire successfully, but strange, no enemy troop intercepts them. Well, it doesn’t matter. They just use any opportunity they can get to survive this fiery mess. Scattering to all directions.

Surveying from above, realizing the situation, Chris is in dismay.

No... That traitor ruined my army! Humph. He said he wanted to avoid senseless bloodshed, but he annihilated my troops anyway! Traitorous hypocrite! That’s it, you’re dead meat, Rob!

Chris dives swiftly to the spot where Robert stood, but finds no one there. Robert and his troops are withdrawing.

Damn that Robert. He still plays kind and merciful. He just wants to demoralize my troops with minimum casualty, but I’m telling you, I won’t pull my troops back! I won’t lick the spit I’ve spat, and the next time I see you, I’ll kill you for sure!

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Read also: Medieval Battle Records Lumien Fire - Part 1

courtesy of medieval total war

The moon hangs above the sky, giving light into the starry night. On the coast below, torch lights glow in neat rows. The lights come from the tents of same shapes and sizes, in an almost symmetrical formation. Anyone seeing it will be impressed by the display of great discipline and prowess of the Arcadian Army.

Look closer in the camp, and you see weary faces sitting by the campfire. A bunch of soldiers, some with bandages all over. They drink, sing war songs and even do a bit of dance, but their faces show restlessness and worry.

‘’Tis surely a beautiful night, eh, Guy?’ a soldier with bandages on his head breaks the ice.

Guy answers with a sigh, ‘Yes, but I can only enjoy it with my wife and daughter back home.’

Another cuts in, ‘You got a point there, mate. Something is really creepy about this war. An invasion to Lore with Vordac’s Heir on the loose? Hey, I’m ready and willing to fight and die anytime, anywhere, but this is the only thing I feel: creepy. And the creepiest feeling of all is when I saw our Emperor wearing his helmet all the time, anywhere, even in his sleep – that’s if he really sleeps – ‘

The head-bandaged soldier nods, ‘And that makes our nights here very creepy indeed. Maybe we shouldn’t be here at all.’

Guy nods and talks to the third soldier, ‘Hey, are you a new recruit? Never see you around. What’s your name, lad?’

‘Ursa la Rue, Sir. Yes, I’m a new recruit, a conscript from Eltehr.’

‘Hmm... You look and talk a bit smarter for a conscript. Keep at that and you’ll make a fine officer one day.’

‘Well, thank you, Sir. I’ll leep your words in mind. Ah, I think maybe a stroll around the camp can diminish my creepiness a bit. See you around.’

Saying that, Ursa gets up and walks away from the fireplace, leaving the soldiers to talk among themselves with faces gloomier than before.

Ursa walks on to the tents in the center of the camp. He looks left and right, and finds a tent that looks just like any other, except that there’s a commander’s banner standing in front of it. There is no guard outside, in order to keep things conspicuous.

The soldier observes around, looks back to the tent and around again. And then, he comes closer to the doorway. He peeps into the tent and here he is, the Commander-in-Chief, garbed in shining, full white armor and still wearing his helmet, sitting with his right knuckle supporting his forehead. Looks like, he’s doing nothing and most likely, sleeping.

Just as Ursa turns back to leave, a voice calls.

‘What’s your business this late, soldier?’

Ursa responds almost hastily, ‘I’m in patrol duty, Your Majesty. I just passed by your tent, so I thought I would check if you are all right.’

Chris pauses for a while, then talks calmly. ‘No need to check on me, soldier. I’m always alert. But thank you anyway. What’s your name?’

‘Ursa la Rue, Your Majesty.’

‘Very well, Ursa. You may go about your duty.’

‘By your leave, Your Majesty,’ says Ursa, taking his leave. Emperor Sage then sits, back in his thoughts, only this time his eyes as though sparkle behind the visor.


A Medieval Knight

‘MOVE OUT! MOVE OUT! Pack your tents! We’re moving out now! Order from the Emperor! Pack up and march!’

Ursa is shocked on hearing that. What? I just visited the Emperor’s tent last night, and it’s still an hour before dawn. Did he... suspect something?

He knows what to do at once. He quickly packs his things and sneaks out from his tent. One of his tent-mates sees him and shouts, ‘Hey, lad! Put your things outside and help us with the tent!’

‘Well, Sergeant,’ says Ursa. ‘I-I think I left an important thing of mine somewhere in the camp, and I planned to search for it again in the morning. So, please excuse me, and I’ll get back to you in ten minutes.’

‘Oh, very well, then,’ says the Sergeant. ‘Since it’s so important for you. But remember! Ten minutes, and you get back here!’

‘Yes, Sir!’

Saying that, Ursa dashes out from the tent and walks out from the camp. Everybody is busy packing, even the guards just let him move out when he tells them that he’s going out on a scouting duty.

Ursa walks into the woods near the beach. In a shaded, well-hidden spot under the tree, he rummages into his backpack and takes out a small, pearly white crystal orb. Ursa looks right, left and behind to make sure no one is near him, and then he chants,

‘An Maraj Visalar‘me Aschi!’

That’s a strange summoning spell, but it has an effect on the orb. The orb glows and blinks for a few seconds, and then a holographic image is displayed next to it. It’s an image of Rael’charon the elf. The holograph talks,

‘Any news for me, Ursa?’

‘Yes, Counselor, an urgent one. The Arcadians are packing up and moving out now. They’ll resume their march.’

‘Hmm... Really?’ The elf answers, his face looks thoughtful. ‘Tell me, Ursa. Did you by chance meet Emperor Sage face-to-face?’

‘Well, yes, Counselor. When I was observing the camp last night, I spotted the Commander’s tent, and when I moved closer to verify that it’s really the Emperor’s, he spotted me. I gave him an excuse, and he just let me go.’

Rael’charon’s face turns worried, ‘Oh, no, Ursa! Quick, bail out from there! Run back to Alceste as fast as you can! You have blown your cover! Run now, or you’ll lose your life!’

‘Yes, Counselor! Right away!’

‘And Ursa, good luck.’

Saying that, Rael’s holograph dissolves. Ursa shoves the orb back into his backpack. He is about to make a run for it when suddenly, an old man in wizard robe appears before him. It’s Eidos Crydias, the Chronomage! Ursa stops dead in his track. A Paladin who teleported and apparated instantly means certain death for him.

Eidos then talks like an angel of death, ‘By orders from the Emperor, spy from Lore, I’ve witnessed everything, and I sentence you to death!’

Ursa turns pale. He quickly turns away to run for his life. Alas, before he can take another step, before he can even scream, he feels an extreme pain from his feet going up to his head – and nothing anymore. His body has been split in two, a victim of Eidos’ Chrono Chakram.

To complete his job, Eidos rummages into Ursa’s backpack and takes out the proof of crime: the Crystal Orb of Telecommunication, mainly used by elves and in this case, anyone working for Rael’charon.

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

FireHeart Game - Morning Light - Ending Scene of Book One

I am just wondering, how many people have reached this scene?
Feedbacks are welcome, here, in the website or in the RPG Maker forum.

Note: the credit list is in the ending, or it can be seen in the website under details/overview.

FireHeart - Legend of the Paladins the Game
by Andry Chang - Vadis Productions 2009

Monday, September 06, 2010

A Tale of Two Kingdoms and a Gauntlet

An epic fairy tale adventure game, in the style of the Sierra classics.

The kingdom of Theylinn is under assault by a horde of fierce goblins, while within the castle walls nobles vie for power. Take the role of Maeldun Whiteblade as you try to defend the kingdom, clear your name from a murder accusation, and seek aid from the fairies in Thierna na Oge.

Download from here:

A Tale of Two K...
Added: 10 October 2008
By: Crystal Shard

Gauntlet Revisited

Gauntlet Revisited
Added: 07 September 2008
By: Mark13673

This is my version of the classic TDS Gauntlet...

New Version!! All bugs (including the surface error) have now been fixed!!!

You play as a Warrior, a Valkyrie, a Wizard or a Ranger through 30 levels of monster mayhem! There are hidden treasure vaults, traps, and reliquaries, as well as a basic stats system to personalise your avatar. Completing the game opens up Champion mode, and for every five levels that you pass there are more entries in the bestiary... Over a year in the making, I hope you enjoy it!

Please post with any bugs on the GMC (here)

Ancient Pixelry Battleground

Ancient Battlegrounds


Ancient Battleg...
Added: 02 February 2009
By: Commander Jaspo

Created by:
Commander Jaspo

Game description:

It's finally here! The long
unanticipated release of the
complete version of Ancient
Battlegrounds! It is a long
playing war game set in the
early years of human
existence, focusing on the fight
between the Cushites and
Caananites as they attempt to
conquer Mesopotamia. The
gameplay style is similar to the
galactic conquest mode in Star
Wars Battlefront II. Unfinished
upon it's submission for
competition02 more than a year
ago, it is now complete,
improved, and expanded upon.
It now includes, among other
things, a bonus system. This
game is not meant to be played
through in one sitting and
therefore has been equipped
with a nifty "save" button.

BJ Vadis' comment:
Now here's one addictive game with GameMaker.
Though I only played the Very Easy mode, I wouldn't mind playing it again, as Cushies or Canines (oops)


Pixelry 1
Added: 31 March 2010
By: EvelendGames

Created by: Evelend Games

This is really an incomplete version, because we needed more time to complete the game. There are a few known bugs
at the menu, at the forge and in the last battle of the game. We are going to upload a better version of it in the near future. Thanks!

"Come near, since I'm telling you a story that took place long ago. Listen carefully..."

"...'Who achieves to defeat my best knights, the 5 Champions, in the Royal Cavalry Chamionship, thou will be who marries my dear daughter, the princess Annabelle Hyacinthe Arianna di Grandigund.''

BJ Vadis' Comment: LOL, another Annabelle...!!! Just created a story with an "Annabelle" on it hehe.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

The Archer's Heart Serialized E-Book

The Archer's Heart Serialized E-Book Part III Available!

The Archer's Heart - Part 1, 2, and 3

In the ancient kingdom of Marhavad, noblemen dominate the lower castes, wielding mystic weapons, known as shartas, against any who oppose them. For generations the rule of Marhavad’s kings has been absolute. But now the line of succession is divided, and whispers of revolution are heard in even the royal palace.

Keshan Adaru, an outspoken man of unearthly charms, welcomes these changes. All his life he has foreseen an uprising that will shatter the castes and end the tyranny of the old laws. His visions have driven him but now, at the brink of their fulfillment, he finds himself obsessed with Prince Jandu Paran– a man whose entire family must be destroyed if the kingdom is to be freed.

Tarek Amia would gladly see Jandu Paran brought low. Born the son of a charioteer, Tarek has no love for the royal princes who have slighted and insulted him all his life. Only Keshan’s philosophies have elevated him from the brutal ranks of common soldiers. Tarek owes Keshan his devotion, but he is a pragmatic man and when he discovers Keshan’s reckless affair he realizes that Keshan may have to be sacrificed for the sake of his own revolution.

Young Prince Jandu Paran has never concerned himself with court intrigue. His life has been dedicated to the lordly art of archery and mastering the immense powers of the shartas. Handsome and arrogant, he is sure that no man can surpass him and yet Keshan Adaru’s mere touch brings Jandu to his knees. But his desire for Keshan is more than forbidden; it threatens to destroy Jandu’s pride, position and family. In the midst of this turmoil, an unspeakable event forces Jandu to redefine the meaning of honor and loyalty.

And now, as armies arise to war, each man must decide where his allegiance lies and what he will sacrifice in his heart and on the battlefield.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Dubloon and Assassin Blue - Games by Banov


Added: 02 June 2009
By: BanovG

A point-and-click pirate RPG adventure. Sweet interface, tense tactical battles, clever puzzles.

Recommended for users with a slow connection.


Assassin Blue

Assassin Blue
Added: 15 July 2008
By: BanovG

Get an Assassin Blue T-Shirt!*

HighQuality Music Download:

A swordfighting platformer with a unique visual style. 12 Levels, cool unlockables, crazy boss fights.

You can also download a higher-quality soundtrack for the game separately, and the


BanovG's blog:

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The Lady Or The Tiger?


Frank Richard Stockton (1834 – 1902)

In the very olden time there lived a semi-barbaric king, whose ideas, though somewhat polished and sharpened by the progressiveness of distant Latin neighbors, were still large, florid, and untrammeled, as became the half of him which was barbaric. He was a man of exuberant fancy, and, withal, of an authority so irresistible that, at his will, he turned his varied fancies into facts. He was greatly given to self-communing, and, when he and himself agreed upon anything, the thing was done. When every member of his domestic and political systems moved smoothly in its appointed course, his nature was bland and genial; but, whenever there was a little hitch, and some of his orbs got out of their orbits, he was blander and more genial still, for nothing pleased him so much as to make the crooked straight and crush down uneven places.

Among the borrowed notions by which his barbarism had become semified was that of the public arena, in which, by exhibitions of manly and beastly valor, the minds of his subjects were refined and cultured.

But even here the exuberant and barbaric fancy asserted itself. The arena of the king was built, not to give the people an opportunity of hearing the rhapsodies of dying gladiators, nor to enable them to view the inevitable conclusion of a conflict between religious opinions and hungry jaws, but for purposes far better adapted to widen and develop the mental energies of the people. This vast amphitheater, with its encircling galleries, its mysterious vaults, and its unseen passages, was an agent of poetic justice, in which crime was punished, or virtue rewarded, by the decrees of an impartial and incorruptible chance.

When a subject was accused of a crime of sufficient importance to interest the king, public notice was given that on an appointed day the fate of the accused person would be decided in the king's arena, a structure which well deserved its name, for, although its form and plan were borrowed from afar, its purpose emanated solely from the brain of this man, who, every barleycorn a king, knew no tradition to which he owed more allegiance than pleased his fancy, and who ingrafted on every adopted form of human thought and action the rich growth of his barbaric idealism.

< 2 >

When all the people had assembled in the galleries, and the king, surrounded by his court, sat high up on his throne of royal state on one side of the arena, he gave a signal, a door beneath him opened, and the accused subject stepped out into the amphitheater. Directly opposite him, on the other side of the enclosed space, were two doors, exactly alike and side by side. It was the duty and the privilege of the person on trial to walk directly to these doors and open one of them. He could open either door he pleased; he was subject to no guidance or influence but that of the aforementioned impartial and incorruptible chance. If he opened the one, there came out of it a hungry tiger, the fiercest and most cruel that could be procured, which immediately sprang upon him and tore him to pieces as a punishment for his guilt. The moment that the case of the criminal was thus decided, doleful iron bells were clanged, great wails went up from the hired mourners posted on the outer rim of the arena, and the vast audience, with bowed heads and downcast hearts, wended slowly their homeward way, mourning greatly that one so young and fair, or so old and respected, should have merited so dire a fate.

But, if the accused person opened the other door, there came forth from it a lady, the most suitable to his years and station that his majesty could select among his fair subjects, and to this lady he was immediately married, as a reward of his innocence. It mattered not that he might already possess a wife and family, or that his affections might be engaged upon an object of his own selection; the king allowed no such subordinate arrangements to interfere with his great scheme of retribution and reward. The exercises, as in the other instance, took place immediately, and in the arena. Another door opened beneath the king, and a priest, followed by a band of choristers, and dancing maidens blowing joyous airs on golden horns and treading an epithalamic measure, advanced to where the pair stood, side by side, and the wedding was promptly and cheerily solemnized. Then the gay brass bells rang forth their merry peals, the people shouted glad hurrahs, and the innocent man, preceded by children strewing flowers on his path, led his bride to his home.

< 3 >

This was the king's semi-barbaric method of administering justice. Its perfect fairness is obvious. The criminal could not know out of which door would come the lady; he opened either he pleased, without having the slightest idea whether, in the next instant, he was to be devoured or married. On some occasions the tiger came out of one door, and on some out of the other. The decisions of this tribunal were not only fair, they were positively determinate: the accused person was instantly punished if he found himself guilty, and, if innocent, he was rewarded on the spot, whether he liked it or not. There was no escape from the judgments of the king's arena.

The institution was a very popular one. When the people gathered together on one of the great trial days, they never knew whether they were to witness a bloody slaughter or a hilarious wedding. This element of uncertainty lent an interest to the occasion which it could not otherwise have attained. Thus, the masses were entertained and pleased, and the thinking part of the community could bring no charge of unfairness against this plan, for did not the accused person have the whole matter in his own hands?

This semi-barbaric king had a daughter as blooming as his most florid fancies, and with a soul as fervent and imperious as his own. As is usual in such cases, she was the apple of his eye, and was loved by him above all humanity. Among his courtiers was a young man of that fineness of blood and lowness of station common to the conventional heroes of romance who love royal maidens. This royal maiden was well satisfied with her lover, for he was handsome and brave to a degree unsurpassed in all this kingdom, and she loved him with an ardor that had enough of barbarism in it to make it exceedingly warm and strong. This love affair moved on happily for many months, until one day the king happened to discover its existence. He did not hesitate nor waver in regard to his duty in the premises. The youth was immediately cast into prison, and a day was appointed for his trial in the king's arena. This, of course, was an especially important occasion, and his majesty, as well as all the people, was greatly interested in the workings and development of this trial. Never before had such a case occurred; never before had a subject dared to love the daughter of the king. In after years such things became commonplace enough, but then they were in no slight degree novel and startling.

< 4 >

The tiger-cages of the kingdom were searched for the most savage and relentless beasts, from which the fiercest monster might be selected for the arena; and the ranks of maiden youth and beauty throughout the land were carefully surveyed by competent judges in order that the young man might have a fitting bride in case fate did not determine for him a different destiny. Of course, everybody knew that the deed with which the accused was charged had been done. He had loved the princess, and neither he, she, nor any one else, thought of denying the fact; but the king would not think of allowing any fact of this kind to interfere with the workings of the tribunal, in which he took such great delight and satisfaction. No matter how the affair turned out, the youth would be disposed of, and the king would take an aesthetic pleasure in watching the course of events, which would determine whether or not the young man had done wrong in allowing himself to love the princess.

The appointed day arrived. From far and near the people gathered, and thronged the great galleries of the arena, and crowds, unable to gain admittance, massed themselves against its outside walls. The king and his court were in their places, opposite the twin doors, those fateful portals, so terrible in their similarity.

All was ready. The signal was given. A door beneath the royal party opened, and the lover of the princess walked into the arena. Tall, beautiful, fair, his appearance was greeted with a low hum of admiration and anxiety. Half the audience had not known so grand a youth had lived among them. No wonder the princess loved him! What a terrible thing for him to be there!

As the youth advanced into the arena he turned, as the custom was, to bow to the king, but he did not think at all of that royal personage. His eyes were fixed upon the princess, who sat to the right of her father. Had it not been for the moiety of barbarism in her nature it is probable that lady would not have been there, but her intense and fervid soul would not allow her to be absent on an occasion in which she was so terribly interested. From the moment that the decree had gone forth that her lover should decide his fate in the king's arena, she had thought of nothing, night or day, but this great event and the various subjects connected with it. Possessed of more power, influence, and force of character than any one who had ever before been interested in such a case, she had done what no other person had done - she had possessed herself of the secret of the doors. She knew in which of the two rooms, that lay behind those doors, stood the cage of the tiger, with its open front, and in which waited the lady. Through these thick doors, heavily curtained with skins on the inside, it was impossible that any noise or suggestion should come from within to the person who should approach to raise the latch of one of them. But gold, and the power of a woman's will, had brought the secret to the princess.

< 5 >

And not only did she know in which room stood the lady ready to emerge, all blushing and radiant, should her door be opened, but she knew who the lady was. It was one of the fairest and loveliest of the damsels of the court who had been selected as the reward of the accused youth, should he be proved innocent of the crime of aspiring to one so far above him; and the princess hated her. Often had she seen, or imagined that she had seen, this fair creature throwing glances of admiration upon the person of her lover, and sometimes she thought these glances were perceived, and even returned. Now and then she had seen them talking together; it was but for a moment or two, but much can be said in a brief space; it may have been on most unimportant topics, but how could she know that? The girl was lovely, but she had dared to raise her eyes to the loved one of the princess; and, with all the intensity of the savage blood transmitted to her through long lines of wholly barbaric ancestors, she hated the woman who blushed and trembled behind that silent door.

When her lover turned and looked at her, and his eye met hers as she sat there, paler and whiter than any one in the vast ocean of anxious faces about her, he saw, by that power of quick perception which is given to those whose souls are one, that she knew behind which door crouched the tiger, and behind which stood the lady. He had expected her to know it. He understood her nature, and his soul was assured that she would never rest until she had made plain to herself this thing, hidden to all other lookers-on, even to the king. The only hope for the youth in which there was any element of certainty was based upon the success of the princess in discovering this mystery; and the moment he looked upon her, he saw she had succeeded, as in his soul he knew she would succeed.

Then it was that his quick and anxious glance asked the question: "Which?" It was as plain to her as if he shouted it from where he stood. There was not an instant to be lost. The question was asked in a flash; it must be answered in another.

< 6 >

Her right arm lay on the cushioned parapet before her. She raised her hand, and made a slight, quick movement toward the right. No one but her lover saw her. Every eye but his was fixed on the man in the arena.

He turned, and with a firm and rapid step he walked across the empty space. Every heart stopped beating, every breath was held, every eye was fixed immovably upon that man. Without the slightest hesitation, he went to the door on the right, and opened it.

Now, the point of the story is this: Did the tiger come out of that door, or did the lady ?

The more we reflect upon this question, the harder it is to answer. It involves a study of the human heart which leads us through devious mazes of passion, out of which it is difficult to find our way. Think of it, fair reader, not as if the decision of the question depended upon yourself, but upon that hot-blooded, semi-barbaric princess, her soul at a white heat beneath the combined fires of despair and jealousy. She had lost him, but who should have him?

How often, in her waking hours and in her dreams, had she started in wild horror, and covered her face with her hands as she thought of her lover opening the door on the other side of which waited the cruel fangs of the tiger!

But how much oftener had she seen him at the other door! How in her grievous reveries had she gnashed her teeth, and torn her hair, when she saw his start of rapturous delight as he opened the door of the lady! How her soul had burned in agony when she had seen him rush to meet that woman, with her flushing cheek and sparkling eye of triumph; when she had seen him lead her forth, his whole frame kindled with the joy of recovered life; when she had heard the glad shouts from the multitude, and the wild ringing of the happy bells; when she had seen the priest, with his joyous followers, advance to the couple, and make them man and wife before her very eyes; and when she had seen them walk away together upon their path of flowers, followed by the tremendous shouts of the hilarious multitude, in which her one despairing shriek was lost and drowned!

< 7 >

Would it not be better for him to die at once, and go to wait for her in the blessed regions of semi-barbaric futurity?

And yet, that awful tiger, those shrieks, that blood!

Her decision had been indicated in an instant, but it had been made after days and nights of anguished deliberation. She had known she would be asked, she had decided what she would answer, and, without the slightest hesitation, she had moved her hand to the right.

The question of her decision is one not to be lightly considered, and it is not for me to presume to set myself up as the one person able to answer it. And so I leave it with all of you: Which came out of the opened door - the lady, or the tiger?


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From a document by Ie Yunita

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