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Order of The Pawn: Chapter One

A New Fantasy Adventure Set in the Realm of D'veen

By Bradley RamseyPublished 4 months ago Updated 4 months ago 11 min read
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Image: Michelle Rumney via Unsplash

Greetings, weary traveler! Welcome to my humble abode. My name is Finton Merrybrook, the greatest storyteller in all of D’veen! I don’t recognize you, and I’m pretty good with faces. I know you are eager to learn more about the story of the Order of the Pawn and their role in changing the course of D’veen’s history, but context is important, dear friend.

Before we begin, are you familiar with the story of Giant’s Bane? It’s quite the tale. How about the legend of the last dragon? Are you familiar with them? What about the fate of the ​​Anima-Parthax?

Well then, it seems you know your D’veen history. It will help you better understand this strange realm where magic and technology collide. Very good, then. Make yourself comfortable, grab a drink, and let us begin…

Chapter One: “Old Friends”

It was a night like any other. Yeldarb Ramshed was once again doing his part to contribute to the economy of Winter’s Peak by spending his hard-earned coin at Baneswolf, the local tavern. With every pint of ale, he drifted deeper into the warm recesses of his memories.

It was enough to numb the pain and the shame of his downfall. This was rock bottom, and Yeldarb had indeed fallen far. Once the head of the renowned Order of the Pawn, the group’s name is now uttered only in whispers and spat with contempt from the mouths of kings.

The tavern was alive with conversation as stories floated around him, but Yeldarb was only concerned with reliving the glory days.

“Barkeep, another one!” he shouted, shaking his empty mug.

The bartender’s emerald eyes regarded him with uncertainty.

“I have a name, you know. Also, I think it’s about time I cut you off. Much as I enjoy taking your money, I enjoy the thought of carrying you home a lot less,” she said.

Yeldarb could not for the life of him recall her name.

“Oh, come now, Sylvie, that’s no way to treat one of your finest customers,” Yeldarb slurred.

The bartender rubbed her temples in frustration.

“My name is not Sylvie; it’s Kat. Three letters, Yeldarb, how is that so hard to remember? You’re here every night!”

“Well, to be fair, I usually wake up the next morning unable to remember anything,” Yeldarb replied.

Kat walked over and picked up the wooden mug. She refilled it with ale and set it back down with a loud crack, pointing her finger in Yeldarb’s face.

“Last one. I’m serious.”

Yeldarb grinned as he took a sip of the cold beverage.

“We shall see about that,” he whispered.

***

Elsewhere in Winter’s Peak, an elven warrior contemplated a troubling vision that had come to her the night before. Widely regarded as the last living elf in all of D’veen, Melissari Laganion was one of the few members of the Order who still took contracts from the peoples of the realm.

Where the others returned to their old ways after the Order was disbanded, Melissari’s zeal for what the Order stood for never wavered. Given her vision, however, she knew she could not handle this threat alone.

“Why are you silent now, World Tree, when I need your council the most?” she asked.

Despite the extinction of her people at the hands of the Rot, Melissari’s connection to the World Tree remained strong. A part of her wanted to seek it out in the center of Avondale, the forest the elves once called home, but setting foot anywhere the Rot resided would invite a fate worse than death.

Despite this, being so far away from the World Tree was also its own kind of hell. It meant that when the visions came, they were incredibly taxing on her body and mind.

Melissari stood outside the entrance of the Baneswolf tavern, considering how she would start the conversation to come. She hadn’t spoken to Yeldarb in nearly five years.

As she reached out to open the door in front of her, a searing streak of pain shot across her forehead. She clutched her skull as a rush of sensations assaulted her vision. As ever, her visions were stuttered and fragmented. Reduced to mere concepts by the distance that stood between her and the World Tree.

Blinding blue light.

A cry for help.

Death raining from the skies.

A spell uttered in secret.

A prophecy fulfilled.

The fabric of space and time…

Torn asunder.

As if thrown forcibly back into her body, Melissari stumbled backward as her vision slowly returned, and the world spun around her. She braced herself on the tavern door, taking a deep breath.

“There can be no more doubt,” she whispered, her heart sinking.

Melissari put together the fragmented pieces of the visions in her mind. It was not a difficult path to trace. Nearly two decades ago, the kingdom of Giant’s Bane in western D’veen was attacked by invaders from another world.

A valiant knight managed to repurpose their technology to turn the tide in the kingdom's favor, but even in victory, thousands had perished. If her visions were to be believed, the invaders would soon return.

It was not the first time magic and technology had collided in D’veen’s storied history, but it remained a cautionary tale told across the land.

Known as the Verack Horde, fragments of their technology began to appear all over the continent in the wake of the invasion as opportunists raided the scorched battlefields and scavenged pieces of their strange machinery.

She pushed the tavern door open and stepped inside. The smell of ale and sweat poured over her as she made her way to the bar. The bartender regarded her with a tired but genuine smile.

“Hey there, Melissari, right?” she asked.

Melissari was often recognized, given her status as the last living elf, but the sensation always caught her off-guard.

“Yes. I am here seeking a man named Yeldarb. Have you seen him?”

The bartender let loose a deep sigh. “I wish I could see him less. He’s over there.”

She pointed to the end of the bar. Melissari felt anxious as she looked at him, hunched over, with his face buried in a cup of ale. This was the moment, but where to begin?

“Yeldarb Ramshed, getting drunk yet again, I see?” she asked.

Yeldarb lifted his head. His shoulder-length hair scattered across his face as he turned to face Melissari with all the urgency of a fully intoxicated individual.

“My ears must deceive me. The elves no longer grace the realm of D’veen. Haven’t in centuries,” he slurred.

“You are incorrect, old friend, for I still draw breath.”

Yeldarb brushed the hair from his face and returned to his drink.

“Old friend. Odd choice of words.”

Melissari sat on the bar stool beside him, laying a hand on his shoulder.

“It has been far too long, but I come to you with tidings of death and destruction. I need your help,” she said, her voice barely above a whisper.

“When doesn't the realm face imminent death and destruction? Oh, that's right, it was safe when the Order of the Pawn was still around to protect it!”

Melissari could tell the conversation wasn’t going well. She turned to the bartender and pointed to Yeldarb.

“Could we get another drink here?” she asked.

The bartender rolled her eyes.

“Fine, but he’s your responsibility.”

Melissari nodded. “Fair enough.”

The bartender brought another drink for Yeldarb, who eagerly took a sip.

“Thank you for the drink. You’ve bought yourself two minutes,” he said.

Melissari took a deep breath and gathered her thoughts. She debated bringing up the proverbial elephant in the room. The Order of the Pawn used to travel D’veen and offer their services to kings and peasants alike in exchange for a “Pawn.”

A Pawn could be anything of value. A piece of treasure, a family heirloom, a treasured possession, it did not matter. So long as it held value to the person or people in need, it could be used as collateral to pay for the Order’s services.

Should they complete their task, they keep the item and go on their way. If they fail, the item is returned, and the client owes nothing.

Alone, it was not enough to fund their adventures. Still, the Order was also known for its traveling shows that leveraged magic and technology to create captivating experiences for the audience. They, of course, would accept donations during these events.

Five years ago, the Order’s reputation was tarnished beyond repair. Hired by the Mad King Anerus, the group was framed and unknowingly killed innocent lives. Word spread fast, and while Yeldarb took swift revenge, the damage was done.

Word traveled fast on the winds across D’veen, and soon, all the members of the Order went their separate ways. Melisarri knew all those memories came rushing back when she arrived. Her heart ached for the broken warrior before her.

“King slayer, they called me. Did you know that?” Yeldarb asked.

“It was justified, Yeldarb. The people knew Anerus had gone mad. You saved them from his insanity.”

Yeldarb chuckled. “That’s how I saw it, but the realm at large threw me away like garbage.”

Melissari picked up Yeldarb’s drink and gulped the cool ale within. Yeldarb regarded her with a shocked expression.

“You just stole some of my drink,” he said.

“Yes, and I will steal the rest if you don’t pull yourself out of this abyss of self-pity. You are Yeldarb Ramshed! Doombringer, Weaver of Tales, Insanity’s Poet! Where has he gone?” Melissari asked.

Yeldarb took back the mug. “He drowned in ale. May he forever live in infamy.”

Melissari wrenched the cup back from Yeldarb’s grasp and drank the last of the ale within before slamming it down on the bar top.

“You will pay dearly for that,” Yeldarb said.

“I don’t care! Yeldarb, I have seen visions from the World Tree. The Verack Horde’s return is imminent; they won’t just siege Giant’s Bane this time.”

Yeldarb’s eyes went wide. “Melissari. What are you saying?”

“I’m saying there’s an invasion coming, and the Order of the Pawn is the only thing that can stop it.”

Yeldarb threw back his head and let loose a hearty laugh. He slapped the bar top and shook his head, wiping a tear from his eye. Melissari was not amused.

“I don’t know what’s funnier: the idea that the Verack Horde will suddenly return after all these years or that you think we could ever bring the Order back from the dead. I will say this: you haven’t lost your sense of humor, Melissari.”

Melissari’s patience was at an end. She stood up, grabbed Yeldarb by the collar of his tunic, and dragged him off his bar stool. He struggled, but his movements were sluggish as she dragged him across the tavern floor.

A few patrons looked on in quiet amusement. Kat, the bartender, had a satisfied grin on her face.

“Give him a few whacks from me!” she shouted.

Melissari threw the drunken warrior out onto the muddy ground. His face landed square in a puddle, and he stood to his feet, spitting dirt from his mouth and wiping the dripping water from his eyes.

“Wonderful. You’re a fantastic negotiator,” he said.

“This is not a negotiation, Yeldarb! This is the fate of every living thing on D’veen, and you see fit to make jokes?”

“I see fit to drink myself to death in peace. Excuse me, I have a mug with my name on it.”

Melissari put out a hand and stopped him.

“What if I told you that Chrystalia will rejoin the cause?” she asked.

“I would tell you that you’re lying, and I take it back. Your sense of humor is terrible.”

Melissari lowered her hand and watched Yeldarb stumble back towards the tavern door.

“She and Katharon have offered the support of the Valkyries, Yeldarb. I received word from them by raven just before my arrival. I sent word to the other founding members as well.”

Yeldarb placed a hand on the door. “Doesn’t matter, we could never reach the Valkyrie's Celestial Peak, or have you forgotten about the mountain this fine kingdom is named after?”

“You’re correct; we could never reach the peak on foot,” Melissari said.

Yeldarb’s interest was once again piqued. He turned around as Melissari placed a hexagonal silver device on her chest. It lit up with an eerie blue light as it touched her skin. Metal snaked away from the device, curling up around her shoulders and down her back.

She lifted one of her hands, and a pair of indigo flames shot outward behind her. She quickly flew high into the air, hovering with her palms facing downward.

“Well, what do you think?” she asked.

“I think that looks like Verack tech,” Yeldarb replied.

“A necessary evil, wouldn’t you agree?”

Yeldarb watched her float gracefully back to the ground below. She tapped the device on her chest, and the metal retracted, returning it to its original form.

“I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’ll come with you on one condition.”

Melissari nodded. “Anything.”

“I want one of those.”

She handed him the device. It was cool and heavy in his hand.

“I also want you to pay my tab.”

“Don’t push your luck,” she replied.

Yeldarb smirked. “Alright, fine. Let’s get the band back together.”

To be continued...

More Stories Set in The Realm of D'veen

While you wait for chapter 2, why not read these other stories set in the realm of D'veen?

- The Tomb Where Marigolds Grow

- A Soul, Bound to Steel

- Fate's Witness

- The Flames of Redemption

AdventureSeriesSci FiFantasy
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About the Creator

Bradley Ramsey

Lover of dogs, gaming, and long walks on the beach. Content Marketing Manager by day, aspiring writer by night. Long time ghostwriter, finally stepping into the light. Alone, we cannot change this world, but we can create better ones.

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