Steem Monsters Common Card Fantasy Story Contest! // Week 14
Steem Monsters Common Card Fantasy Story Contest!
This is my entry for the Steem Monsters Common Card Fantasy Story Contest! // Week 14 // 10 Booster Pack Prize!, hosted by @steemmonsters.
By the Name of the Silver Shield by @simgirl
That day the wind just didn’t blow right. This dreadful awareness was often felt when I spent time in the rotting tunnels below the catacombs, or even in the dim lit alleys of Shimmerwatch, but never in the Monastery. Crystal Peak had always been a city of peace, light and reflection. Not filled with the unwelcoming energies I felt surrounding me as they placed our leader’s body to rest.
Warrenus the Humble lived a long and honorable life. He gained the respect of all the Silvershield knights and had been my mentor for over twenty years. I was sent to live at the Colosseum as a young man of fourteen. I could barely lift a sword or throw a punch back then. I remember fondly how Warrenus encouraged me to be brave. I would never forget his kindness or his persistence to brand me into the courageous knight I am today.
The sadness and grief I felt over my mentor’s passing was faint compared to the malevolence I sensed among my colleagues. I observed no grief in their seedy eyes and I soon believed Warrenus may have been a victim of a sinister plot. I become uneasy by the thought. One of the foundations of the Silvershield knighthood was the loyalty to the Silver Shield, the most valuable of the gifts bestowed on them. Without trust, the enchanted shield could fall into the wrong hands, as it had centuries before.
The thought of going back to the dark ages plagued my mind and I sought the help of my new leader, Ivone the Vigilant. Unlike his predecessor Warrenus, Ivone was less gracious. There was no warm smile on his face, only a serious scowl on his brow and an overaggressive stare. I approached him carefully as I had been warned to speak bluntly and without much detail.
“Sir, I am concerned over the death of Warrenus the Humble, and I would like permission to investigate his murder.” I said, straight to the point.
Ivone sneered. “His murder you say? Colyne you are a prudent knight, but there was no murder. Warrenus was killed protecting the priests. This was how he was always meant to die. It was a noble death, and you would be wise to allow him to rest knowing he died for the Silver Shield.”
“I don’t feel the same.” I said.
Ivone thought for a few moments and I knew he could see I was serious about the matter. “Do not tell any of the other knights. If you come up empty handed, you never speak of this again.” Ivone said.
“Thank you, Sir.”
I walked the streets of Shimmerwatch to find an indentured servant by the name of Gilow the Loner. He was pretending to tend to the local herb garden when I walked by him slowly. “Follow me.” I said.
Gilow looked around him and then followed me around to the back of the buildings. The shade of the trellises hid us from onlookers and I tried my best not to draw any attention.
“I need your help. I’m investigating a murder, I need to know the gossip.”
Gilow checked again to be sure no one was paying them any attention before whispering. “I have to say there has been some activity in the tunnels. The Branders are talking about a revolt… taking over the city of Shimmerwatch. From what I hear, the paladins are having a hard time keeping up with the crimes. That’s all I know.”
“I need to go into the tunnels. Do you know them well?” I asked.
“I do but, you can’t go in the tunnels looking like that Colyne. No one will give you the time of day.” He said and then motioned for me this time to follow him.
Gilow led me into a tailor’s shop where he introduced me to his sister Ancilla. After a few hours I was made to look like a typical commoner which also gave the impression I was a successful criminal. “This is what all the mid-level tunnelers are wearing” Ancilla said and then smiled.
I felt ridiculous in the shabby cloth get-up, but I had no choice but to play the part. My sturdy metal armor, shield and sword were replaced with a meek grey robe and a meager pair of daggers. Somehow, I felt underprepared. I knew this was to be a dangerous mission, but one I was determined to complete no matter the circumstances. If I had to die in the tunnels to find my mentor’s murders, I would do just that.
Gilow adorned his own costume and asked if I was ready to go on an adventure. I questioned his motives, but his only reply was, “When we need to pick a side, we should always pick the side of truth.”
I couldn’t argue.
I thought I knew the underground passages from the few times I was escorting the priests, but that was years before and the place had grown since my last visit. The tunnels which ran under the Khymian catacombs had been overrun with Khymians who had been banished from the cities and had no family or friends. These outsiders were not permitted to work the gardens and were given little if any pity from society.
It was only natural for them to band together and build their own community. The problem being that the tunnels could only house so many of them, and a clear majority of tunnelers lived in the wilderness and traveled to the tunnels to find food or trade goods. I could see with my own eyes, that by the number of tunnelers, the takeover of Shimmerwatch by the Branders could happen soon and without much warning.
The Branders were a group of tunnelers who had formed a common interest and had taken control of the underground economy. The paladins did their best to keep their banished activities out of the sight of the Khymians, but the Branders were recruiting more of the tunnelers to their cause. They would brand their mark on the recruits with a hot iron and make them pledge loyalty to their leader Henrik Cross, a fallen priest who has been cast out of the city years before for blasphemy.
As we walked the tunnels, Gilow and I could see the spirits of the tunnelers were high. Many of them were smiling and laughing. I saw an old man pouring out coins into a young woman’s hands, who was ecstatic by the reward. This was not the same atmosphere I remembered from my previous visits. From what I could see, the economy here was booming and that only meant the crime was in high demand.
Gilow left me at the back of the tunnels to talk to someone. When he returned, he was also smiling. “I got us in to see Cross. He needs men for a major heist. They are all meeting in an hour… unless we get to him first.”
For the first time in the tunnels, I smiled too. But I didn’t only want to stop the dishonesty in the tunnels, I also wanted to find out if Warrenus the Humble died for their advantage. I needed to know if the Silvershield knights were also corrupted. There was no telling how far the Branders had infiltrated the Order of the Silvershield.
“You are early Gilow.” Henrik said. “I haven’t seen you in ages. I’m guessing you’re here for the coins. Who is your friend?”
“This is Colyne. He heard there was a big job, so he’s here for the coins too. I couldn’t cut him out, he’s marrying my sister.” Gilow said.
“I’m sorry to hear that.”
As Gilow talked small talk with Cross I scoped out the area. The room we were in was not very big, but there were three entrances. Each opening attended by guards. These sentinels were not deprived of armor or weapons. It would not have been smart for me to break character, and so I plotted my next move.
“Did you hear that Colyne? This job is for the big coins.” Gilow said, breaking my deep thoughts.
“What is the job?” I asked.
“The first tunneler who brings me the Silver Shield, gains the reward.” Cross said. “We have infiltrated the Silvershield Knighthood and the knights will not stop you from retrieving the valued item. Now that Warrenus the Humble is dead it is only a matter of time before we take over the Monastery as well.” He said and laughed menacingly.
With those words I had all the proof I needed. I knew now Cross had killed my mentor Warrenus the Humble. And, not only was he responsible for the death of the Silvershield Knighthood commander but he also corrupted the knights and planned on stealing the Silver Shield. His laughter echoed in the tunnels and I was filled with righteous indignation.
I reached to my waist and pulled out my hidden daggers and postured my stance to strike my enemy.
Henrik Cross laughed again. “What in Khymias do you plan on doing with those puny blades?” He asked mocking me.
“By the name of the Silver Shield I will strike you down where you stand, and this day justice will be served!” I shouted, knowing all too well my death would follow my strike.
Before I could attack the daggers in my hands began to radiate. A bright light emanated from my fingers. Everyone in the room stood frozen and watched while the tiny blades grew, and the daggers were transformed. First in my right hand, the dagger changed into a translucent crystal sword, and then in my left hand the dagger became the enchanted Silver Shield. I looked down in awe, and the power of light ignited my hunger for righteousness.
Without hesitation I drew the sword and drove it through the heart of Henrik Cross, branding the look in his eyes to my memory as the life escaped his body. As I had known, the guards began to attack us. I motioned Gilow to hide behind me as I protected us with the shield. I sliced each of them with little effort, thanks to the sharpened crystal sword.
When I returned to Ivone the Vigilant and told him of the trickery of the Branders and of Cross’s confession. He ordered me to silence. That evening the knights who volunteered to guard the Silver Shield were taken in for questioning. Not long after the tunnels were raided, and most of the stolen items were returned to their original owners.
The Branders were warned before the raid, which gave them time to vacate the tunnels, but those who surrendered were brought before the courts for sentencing. Many of the tunnelers accepted becoming indentured servants, working in the gardens to repent of their crimes. Some chose yet another banishment. The paladins cleared the tunnels to discourage tunnelers from going back there to live.
Gilow the Loner was pardoned for his crimes and became a permanent citizen again. He applied at the Colosseum and declared he wants to become a knight like me when he finishes his classes. I wish him all the best in his endeavors and visit him from time to time to encourage him the same way Warrenus the Humble had done for me.
I have been promoted in the ranks of the Silver Shield Knighthood and set in charge of the knights of the Monastery. With the title, Colyne the Trusted I use my authority to ensure that no one plots to steal the Silver Shield that is housed in the Monastery. I take my duties seriously and the other knights know better than to test my resolve.
By the name of the Silver Shield I was entrusted with its enchanted supremacies and call forth its powers at will. The Khymians are once again protected from inside enemies, and I have faith that the banished of the land will think twice about disrespecting the authority of the Silver Shield Knighthood after seeing the fate of Henrik Cross.
Thanks for Reading!
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