The Perils Of Felucca

s I held the moonstone in my bloodied hands, I contemplated all that I had heard about the strange land that was said to be as dangerous as it was full of riches. Felucca, a land of murderers and nearly instantaneous death? Or was it Felucca, a land where piles of gold could be had for those with the skill to take them? Perhaps it was time to find out.

Burying the strange-colored stone into the ground, I examined the dead orc who had ambushed me. Already growing cold, the orc had put up a good fight, but as was the case lately, the outcome of the battle was never in dispute. Neither was my dissatisfaction at what I found upon rummaging through the orc’s corpse – except for this strange stone. Perhaps it would lead me to more worthwhile hunting grounds.

Just as the moongate arose from the ground, I had an amusing thought of the days gone by when a simple mongbat would have proved a challenge to my skills. Now, mongbats were hardly worth the time it took to loot the meager treasure they carried with them.

Laughing to myself, I stepped through the moongate…

…And found myself standing in the exact same place. This couldn’t be right! Perhaps the moongate had failed. Turning around, I quickly discovered that while the moongate was still there, I could no longer walk through it by the power of some strange magical field. “Well, cursed be those who created these foul orcs,” I exclaimed to no one in particular, “for even the moonstones they carry are worthless!”

As I started to march back up the road towards Britain, I noticed that something was very wrong with the land around me. The trees were quite lifeless, and there were bones and tombstones littering the ground in every direction! Could it be? I had heard the rumors that Felucca was similar, but even the trees – dead as they were – appeared to be in the same place! Before I could contemplate matters further, I was struck heavily from behind and knocked to the ground. Going with the fall, I rolled onto my feet and pulled my long sword from its sheath, only to take a step back in surprise. Was it a lizard… or was it a man? Whatever the hideous creature was, it advanced on me steadily while it made sounds that brought to mind the leaking bellows back at the Brit smithy.

“To battle, for the glory of Lord British,” I screamed as I charged the half lizard, half man abomination.

The battle was fierce, but swift, and very much like my previous fight with the orc, the outcome was decided in the opening moments. The lizardman, as I have come to learn that they are called, may be even uglier than an orc, but his skills in battle were about the same and thus no match for my own. Before I could re-sheath my sword, I heard more of that awful hissing coming from the forest on both sides of the road, and suddenly, a half-dozen more of the lizardman’s brethren charged from the shadows. Finally! A fight worthy of my skill, I thought.

Turning to face the nearest lizardman, I brought my sword up to parry his initial blow. Rolling back over my shoulder, I pointed my blade at his chest. His blind rush into battle worked against him as my sword ran through his scaled body, narrowly missing the lizardman behind him. The second lizardman hurled himself backward and hissed at me in surprise, giving me time to examine my surroundings. There was a large yew tree to my right, two lizardmen advancing directly in front of me, and the other three were moving to my left. Ugly as they may be, lizardmen did not appear to be exceptionally fleet of foot, which allowed me to run to the tree and use it to protect my back.

Holding my long sword in a low guard, I was forced to drop to the ground as a blow narrowly missed my head, striking the tree behind me in an eruption of splinters. In a flurry of attacks and parries, I dropped one lizardman, and then a second, only to feel cold steel slicing through my right shoulder from the thrust of another. Again rolling back over my shoulder out of immediate danger, my weapon dropped from my weakened right hand. Losing blood rapidly, blackness began to close in on me, and I thought that perhaps I shouldn’t have been so willing to step through that moongate earlier.

As I stumbled in my attempt to back away from the three remaining lizardmen, I vaguely heard the sound of a galloping horse and the twang of hard steel rapidly being withdrawn from a sheath. I thought I was dreaming as a hazy figure armored in full plate, mounted on a horse so black that it conjured up thoughts of the darkest midnight, swooped into the battle, slicing the heads off of my foes in three lightning quick slashes.

As I lay there with darkness closing in, with the armored figure looking down at my wounds, I thought how ironic it was that I would fall prey to one of Felucca’s murderers after all. But instead of finishing me off, the armored figure dismounted, knelt over my limp body and began to heal me. As if that was not surprise enough, the armored figure took off its helm, revealing a head full of long blonde hair, and a face as fair as any maiden in all of Britannia.

“My name is Jayden, of the Circle of Steel. You have nothing to fear, for it is my duty to help those in need,” she said with a touch of amusement in her voice. “Welcome to Felucca, young warrior.”

She smiled.

I passed out.

Thus ended my first day in the old lands known as Felucca.

- Jockles the Warrior