Chapter 2: History.. Page 11

Posted: April 19, 2007 in Good Reads

Chapter 1: Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4, Page 5, Page 6, Page 7, Page 8, Page 9
Chapter 2: Page10

‘The Ice Queen?’ said Paplo, furrowing his brows, ‘Emmm… According to legend, she ruled the world a millennia ago. Her domain stretched from the islands of Kandania to the steamy jungles of Doranis.’

‘Never heard of those places,’ declared Wykka.

‘Let’s just say that it covered a region greater than the mighty Imperium that came after.’

‘The Imperium?’

‘I’ll come to that,’ Paplo said, no longer surprised by his friend’s ignorance. ‘For three hundred and sixty years, Ishar’s reign of terror lasted. During this time, it was said that the polar ice extended as far as the River Hix. Countless were lost to the ravages of the elements, as well as the horrific sacrifices required by the dread Queen.’

‘I take it that it wasn’t a good time to be a farmer?’

‘My friend, it’s never a good time to be a farmer,’ Paplo stated.

‘Without the drought, it’s not so bad,’ defended Wykka.

‘How is that going to stop bandits and greedy lords from killing your family and stealing your produce?’ Paplo asked.

Wykka had no ready answer for that.

Paplo assumed a lecturing tone, ‘History is stuffed with natural diasters, war and unrest. And every time, it’s the faming peasantry that gets the brunt of the misfortune.’

‘You seem pretty informed for a thief,’ Max commented from the fore.

Paplo shrugged, ‘I used to steal near a school. It was impossible to lock out the drones of the teacher.’

‘And what did this “teacher” of yours tell you about the Ice Queen?’ Max asked, as if testing a pupil.

‘Nothing,’ replied the former thief, ‘I learned my legends from a book that I palmed from that insufferable windbag, just before Larris transferred me to the Merchant’s Quarer.’

‘You can read?’ Wykka gasped, impressed.

‘Just something I picked up,’ Paplo said, without modesty.

‘What did the book say, then?’ Wykka asked.

‘Apparently, Ishar was such a powerful wytch that she was impervious to all ordinary weapons, and even to aging. At the time, she seemed destined to rule forever…’

‘What happened, then?’

‘As popular legend had it, Redayne and his friends came along. Blessed by Alerius, the chief god of the Kyradian pantheon, they assailed the Citadel of Ice. There, Redayne confronted the Ice Queen in single combat. Of that titanic battle, a hundred songs had been wrought, all with their own insight of the event. In most, Ishar was ultimately slain with Mordanus, the greatsword gifted to Redayne by Alerius.’

Wykka frowned, ‘So why are we going to the Citadel of Ice? Ishar’s dead right? The last I heard, dead people don’t come back to bother the living.’

Paplo was not finished, ‘There are other legends, less popular, that tell a different tale. Some said that Ishar was not killed. So great were Her powers, that even the implements of a god could only confine Her for a time. She would return one day, to exact revenge on the heirs of Radayne, and reclaim the Earth once more.’

‘Was that all your book had to say?’ Max asked.

‘Actually, no,’ Paplo said, ‘It’s also had legends that state that the Ice Queen was never defeated at all. That she merely went away. The underground Iceleni cults are centred on the prospect of Her eventual return.’

‘The Iceleni are one bunch of crazy cultists,’ Eladred remarked from the rear, ‘They mutilate themselves with ice daggers shipped from the mountains, and howl all night long. We took out a cell some three years  back, didn’t we, Max?’

‘Ah, yes,’ the dwarft confirmed, ‘The job for Lord Gilead. His spies had discoverd that the Iceleni had started a small following in his city. Turned out there were more than two hundred screaming fanatics, when we assaulted their hideout.’

‘You and Eladred took out two hundred people on your own?!’  Paplo said, in disbelief.

‘Not exactly,’ Eladred said, ‘There were two dozen church knights with us.’

‘That’s still pretty amazing,’ said Paplo.

‘Well, the church knights were Paladins,’ Eladred said, as if that explained everything.

‘What’s a Paladin?’ Wykka asked.


                                                                to be continued…

  1. […]                                                                 to be continued… […]


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