Is everyone here? Yes? The crowd is a little thin tonight, but it always is at the beginning of the story. You Fates at the back, come a little closer. Yes, yes, you . You’ll have a better view of our Subject here, at the front. Don’t be shy. Is everyone comfortable? Yes? Good. Let’s begin.
I am your Songmaster, your Tale Hunter and Story Spinner. Your most humble narrator. For those of you -- what was that? What did you mutter? Embellisher of Truths was it? I will have you know that I never embellish. I accentuate. Now. Where was I? Ah, yes.
For those new to this grave game of life and death, allow me to explain:
A promising mortal, handpicked by yours truly, is shipwrecked on the Forgotten Shores of the Old Kingdom of Ferax. Mortal men call that continent the Garden of Death. I assure you, it is going to be a lovely setting for our story.
Our particular mortal is now stranded in this dangerous land, lost, without friends or family, better yet — without memory! My dear Fates, this one’s a keeper.
This unwitting mortal’s story will be filled with the ingredients of a legend: tragedy, destruction, madness, and let’s not forget hope and adventure as our mortal encounters new friends to share his burdens with.
Now, I can see you are eager to get to business, so let us- ah, yes. I forgot. One more detail: At certain moments in our mortal Subject’s tale, I shall present you with a choice, oh Fates. You must choose what the mortal does next. Your vote shall be tallied, and the mortal compelled to follow the winning course.
Entertaining, no? Indeed, there’s nothing quite like it -- if I do say so myself. Now… turn your curious and benevolent eyes, oh Fates, to our lonely and forlorn mortal, the thread of his life as yet untangled.
The knight awakens on the shore, his massive armor sunk into wet sand. Above him stretches an ashen grey sky. The scent of salt fills the air and the wild ocean crashes nearby. No seabirds wheel over him. No sounds of human life reach his ears. Just the water. He has no memory of how he got there. Waves glide up the beach, stretch thin, lap against his greaves, and then retreat. He should be dead. Drowned in his armor. His mind is blank, until the pale sky gives way to a displaced memory: a ten-foot wave crashing over his head, hurtling him off his legs, dragging his heavy body underwater, pulling him into darkness.
Slowly, the knight sits up. The hollow sloshing of seawater inside his armor echoes in his ears. He watches, disbelieving as it empties through the gaps in the plate. It trickles into the sand, and then is washed away by the next wave. He struggles up - rising to one knee and then to his feet. He should be dead.
When the knight finally stands, he faces the blue-grey ocean. He takes a step back onto something soft. Not sand. He turns his helmed head down, to see a body. A young human, his black and gold uniform torn and sodden, face hidden in a tidal pool. Carefully, the knight takes in the shoreline. All around him, he realizes, are beached and battered planks, barrels, fabric, and more bodies littered across the beach like carelessly discarded clothes.
“How lucky! I never thought I’d have the pleasure to meet an Eternal Knight,” says a high, manic voice behind him.
The Knight turns around, as quickly as his armor allows. The beach runs up to the foot of a high, sheer cliff, the edge of which is so sharp it looks to have been shaped by a giant’s knife. Closer than the cliff, an old man, dressed in a sun-bleached robe, grins at the knight through a long, grey, thinning beard. The stranger stands on a rock, looking down, back bent under the weight of a dirty sack, leaning on a weathered staff. His most remarkable feature is his left eye — made of solid gold.
“Well? Are you a mute?” He cackles. “How disappointing. Here I was thinking I found someone sensible to talk with.”
Unnaturally agile, the old man hops down and begins searching a body, robbing the dead.
“Now I turn to you, esteemed Fates, and give you power over this mortal. Which action do you choose?”
Option 1: The Eternal Knight questions the stranger.
Option 2: The Eternal Knight attacks the old man.
Option 3: The Eternal Knight ignores the old man and removes his armor and clothes.
The chapter voting closes every Monday at 8:00 AM WEST (Lisbon, Portugal time).