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Thread: Extracts from Ptolemy's "Chronicles of the Red Prince"

  1. #1
    Community Manager Cleomedes's Avatar
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    Extracts from Ptolemy's "Chronicles of the Red Prince"

    Ptolemy, Chronicles of the Red Prince

    Book 2, Chapter 1

    For two decades the kingdom of West Kruna had paid tribute to King Vorticar of East Kruna. Each year a fortune of gold, jewels, iron, and grain was delivered to the eastern king in accordance with the oppressive treaty he had imposed upon King Cuthbert. It was the price of peace, a crippling tax paid to forestall Vorticar’s armies from marching on West Kruna and utterly subjugating its people.

    By King Vorticar’s command, a ceremony accompanied the payment of this tribute. His emissaries would travel to West Kruna on the appointed day, and appear before King Cuthbert. The king would hand a golden scepter to these emissaries as a symbol of his submission, a humiliating recognition of Vorticar’s might. Then the emissaries would return to East Kruna, taking the rest of the tribute with them.

    Prince Edmund had long despised this indignity Vorticar had imposed on his father and his kingdom. He thought it an abomination that the once proud land of West Kruna, which had spawned such legendary heroes as Lord Tyranthius and Terracles, should tremble before a foreign king. The prince had urged his father and the leading nobles to resist Vorticar, and end the tribute. But they feared Vorticar’s legions, and had always refused to heed his counsel. Now, in his eighteenth year, he renewed his entreaties. For by the terms of the treaty, Cuthbert’s sons were obliged to participate in the ceremony once they came of age, and hand over scepters of their own to Vorticar’s emissaries. The very thought of doing so filled Prince Edmund with rage. Yet once more his arguments, recriminations, and exhortations were to no avail. His father was as unyielding as a stone statue. The tribute would be paid.

    The appointed day came, and Vorticar’s emissaries were ushered into the royal hall of West Kruna. With arrogant sneers on their faces they approached Edmund, and one of them held out his hand to receive his scepter. But instead of passing him the heavy gold scepter, Edmund swung it through the air and smashed his skull.

    King Cuthbert and the older nobles looked on aghast, their limbs frozen in shock at what they had witnessed. But the younger nobles, Prince Edmund’s friends, were quick to act. As the other emissaries drew their weapons, these young nobles and their retainers drew their own. Greatly outnumbered, King Vorticar’s emissaries were slaughtered.

    When he recovered his wits, King Cuthbert cursed Edmund for his actions. He screamed that he would have him executed, and deliver his body to Vorticar along with the tribute. But the prince merely laughed, and declared that Vorticar would never be appeased by such a paltry offering. To avenge this insult he would surely march on West Kruna to slay Cuthbert and take the kingdom for his own. The nobles murmured that he was right. Edmund had forced their hand, as he had intended. War was inevitable, and there was no choice but to prepare their forces and give battle.



    Book 2, Chapter 3

    As the two armies formed their ranks, the difference between them was there for all to see. The West Krunan forces were silent, their hearts and minds calm as they prepared to fight to defend their land and their kin. Prince Edmund rode before their formation, his steel panoply gleaming in the morning light, and they all drew strength from his martial figure. But from the East Krunan lines came shrieks and howls, the war-cries of dozens of savage tribes. In their midst King Vorticar sat atop a huge shield carried on the shoulders of his bearers, like a fat spider lurking in the center of his web.

    Vorticar’s father had been a great leader of men, and a famed battlemaster. Under his rule the men and women of East Kruna had been united and fashioned into a potent engine of war. He had instilled discipline into the barbarians, and thus made them unstoppable. Yet Vorticar himself was not such a man. In the decade since he ascended to the throne, he had done little but wallow in the wealth his father had won. Complacent in his position, he had permitted his armies to be idle, and taken no interest in maintaining the training regime the late king had established. Nor had he studied the art and science of war, for he believed that brute force alone would allow him to conquer.

    Eager to destroy his enemies and march upon their capital, Vorticar signaled to his heralds, and gave the order for his cavalry to charge. He scoffed at the idea of sending out skirmishers to test his adversaries’ mettle. Instead he desired a swift and brutal victory, to utterly crush the kingdom’s spirit and prevent any others from daring to oppose him. And he remembered watching the battle his father had waged twenty years earlier, in which the dreaded horsemen of East Kruna had routed the warriors of West Kruna. Thus the cavalry rode, and the earth trembled beneath their hooves.

    But Edmund had anticipated this. For all King Cuthbert’s weakness, his son had been given the true upbringing of a West Krunan prince. He knew the works of the Anonymous General by heart, had learned every stratagem contained within the writings of Xenoph and Frontinios. Centuries of martial knowledge and military cunning swam within his mind, and would bring about Vorticar’s destruction.

    The cavalry made it halfway across the battlefield. Then they fell. For Prince Edmund’s men had sown the field with caltrops, each one painted green so that they would blend into the grass and not glint in the sunlight. The horses collapsed in great piles, sending their riders crashing to the ground. And those behind them fell in turn, either striking the caltrops themselves or else tumbling over their fallen comrades.

    Edmund gave a signal, and the bowmen of West Kruna let fly their shafts. Mounts and riders died by the dozen as they thrashed on the ground and struggled to reach their feet.



    Book 2, Chapter 6

    The fighters of West Kruna made their final push, Edmund standing in the middle of their battle-line. The young prince seemed tireless, continuing to yell exhortations and swing his sword long after those around him were forced to pull back and allow their places to be taken by others. It is said that in battle a man can only fight for but a third or fourth part of an hour, before fatigue will claim him and force him to rest. But Prince Edmund had fought for the entire length of the battle, as if he were a clay golem rather than a man of mere bone and muscle. His armor had long since ceased to gleam, covered as it was with the blood of slain friend and foe. Three swords had broken in his hands, forcing him to accept replacements from his allies or else snatch them from the grasp of dying enemies. And still he fought on.

    Vorticar’s warriors were utterly spent. The most violent storms die the quickest, and their savage way of battle had drained their stamina. Their spirits were heavy too, for the enemies they had sought to annihilate were proving to be their equals at arms, and by far their superiors in discipline and tactics. So it was that those around the King of East Kruna, his own companions, called for him to intervene. He had remained atop his shield for the entire battle, looking out over the field and yelling futile commands, and now his troops were being forced back in disarray.

    For all his weaknesses, for all his failures as a ruler and a general, Vorticar was no coward. He had hoped to witness the victory of his men from his bearers’ shoulders, as if the West Krunans were not even worthy to taste his steel. But now he saw that he had to act, lest his army be defeated. He took up his axe, and commanded his bearers to take him close to the thick of the fighting, where Edmund was leading his men. His one hope was to strike the prince down by his own hand, and thus inspire his men whilst breaking the will of his enemies.

    Vorticar leapt down from his shield, and pushed his way towards Prince Edmund. Edmund in turn made for Vorticar, demanding that the king be left to him alone. For all his discipline, for all his mastery of tactics and strategy, glory was still the sweetest of wines to the warrior prince. He wished to slay his adversary in single-combat, like the great heroes of old. Thus at the behest of both commanders, their troops moved aside, creating an island of bare ground in a sea of armed men.

    King Vorticar struck first. His muscles remained strong despite the layer of soft flesh which had grown over them, and they were rested. The blow was good, and well aimed. Edmund, now beginning to feel the weight of his exertions upon him, had no chance to move aside. He could only make a hasty parry, and watch his sword break as it met the heavy steel.

    An anxious cry went up from the prince’s fighters as they saw him standing weaponless before the king, answered by a triumphant roar from East Krunan throats. A vicious grin split Vorticar’s face, and he swung his axe again.

    But Edmund was a West Krunan, raised on tales of Terracles. Like that mighty legend of the kingdom’s past, who had strangled bears and torn the heads from gorgons, the prince was no stranger to the grappler’s arts. He lunged at Vorticar, robbing him of the space his axe required to deal death, and hooked the king’s leg with his own. Both men crashed to the ground, with Edmund’s armored body landing atop Vorticar’s.

    The king struggled beneath him, but blows rained down from Edmund’s plated fists like boulders flung from catapults. Finally, when Vorticar’s strength had been sapped, and his limbs grew weak, Edmund got to his feet and took up his enemy’s axe. The great axe rose and fell, hacking through both Vorticar’s upraised arm and his neck with a single stroke.



    Book 2, Chapter 7

    As soon as Vorticar’s head left his body, the East Krunan army began to rout. They fled back towards the ships which had brought them on their ill-fated campaign, many of them dying in droves to the spears and swords of pursuing West Krunans. Those who reached the boats and returned to their homeland took with them the tale of an invincible army, and of the blood-covered prince who had slain their king.

    Prince Edmund dispatched messengers to each village, town, and city, carrying news of the victory. Another messenger was sent to King Cuthbert, bearing both the news and Vorticar’s head.

    As they rested in camp that night, feasting and reveling in celebration of their great triumph, the troops hailed Edmund as the Red Prince. For when he left the battlefield his armor had been bloody from helm to sabaton. And the following morning, Edmund awoke from his slumber to find that the soldiers had painted his armor red. Thus that title was made to live on, and he would be known as the Red Prince for the remainder of his days.
    Last edited by Cleomedes; 13th June 2010 at 10:09.

  2. #2
    Golden Garden Monk Lawrence's Avatar
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    Cool. So the game really has basis on factual scriptures and literary works. Awesome.

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    Sister of Radiance The Gnome's Avatar
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    There is a GAME?

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    That was a nice read. = ]

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  5. #5
    Community Manager Cleomedes's Avatar
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    Another extract has been added to the opening post.

  6. #6
    that was cool, thanks for the read

  7. #7
    Golden Garden Monk
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    Ooh, captivating. Jumping from Chapter one to Chapter three is great....it's like watching an episode of Lost!!

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Stewie Doo View Post
    Ooh, captivating. Jumping from Chapter one to Chapter three is great....it's like watching an episode of Lost!!
    haha <3

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    Golden Garden Monk Laurentis's Avatar
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    Thank you - very nice !!!

  10. #10
    Community Manager Cleomedes's Avatar
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    Another extract has been added (Book 2, Chapters 6 & 7).

  11. #11
    Thank you for taking the time to post. Enjoyed reading it.

  12. #12
    Town Guard STAFFTOY's Avatar
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    wow thank you its interesting.

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  13. #13
    Sister of Radiance Bailey Boy's Avatar
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    Is there a Book 1?

  14. #14
    Community Manager Cleomedes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bailey Boy View Post
    Is there a Book 1?
    I figured that Book 1 of Ptolemy's work would cover Edmund's childhood, and wanted to start the forum extracts at a point when he was a young man ready to fight.

  15. #15
    Sister of Radiance Bailey Boy's Avatar
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    Makes sense. Good choice

  16. #16
    i liked when edmund smashed the guy's head in

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by greed View Post
    i liked when edmund smashed the guy's head in
    i liked it too lol

  18. #18
    Farmhand
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    Edmund not only did he cut off the Vorticar's head with one slice but an arm also? the power of West Kruna is truly amazing. Great read I cant wait for more stories to come out like this.

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    Farmhand
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    Captivating read. I love the depth this adds to the game!

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    Wah.i like it
    This is good

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