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Markshire Storyteller - The Mad Red Titan (Part One)

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A mixed group of people sit around a long table situated in a knoll in Verden Park. They talk quietly among themselves awaiting the arrival of Lord Allox Mark. Criers had proclaimed that the Lord of Markshire himself would tell this week's tale in the Park.

He arrives relatively unnoticed and stands on the knoll above the height of the table. He listens a moment before interjecting a simple word into the pause that always occurs. "Good," he says, "Excellent." He scans the assembled a moment and holds out his arms, "Welcome, one and all!"

"I am Lord Allox Mark and it is my pleasure to regale you with the story of the bastion city, Gastlinyk Gate." He sketches a quick bow and steps a bit back from the edge of the hill.

"But I must warn you that I am only fair at telling tales, but I have wizards hiding in the park to help me. So if anything it will be entertaining as they scare me to death."

Taking a deep breath and settling his features into a neutral mask, Lord Mark begins, "Many years ago, my father, Lord Hanse Mark, had just attained the Lordship of Markshire. Unlike today, he ruled Markshire from Arik."

Gesturing grandly, Lord Mark indicates the air above him with a sweeping gesture. "A city of wonder I am told. High towers and large temples cast shadows across the large city. All of the gods were represented but then as is now, Odin's Temple watched over all. Set on the peak of a hill that formed the center of their city." Above him shadowy shapes appeared showing the vague outlines of a city. Lights from the stars above seemed to light most homes.

"The times were tough one year. The Giants from the north had free access to the outskirts of the city if they wished it. Arik was in the middle of a huge plain. Thrym would send his minions from the north. Arik would defend itself and the cycle would renew." Giant silhouettes loomed over the rooftops of the phantom city above him.

It was then that the shadowy city grew more solid and the park around them began to fade. The scene slowly grew as if the buildings were getting larger then was lost in the shadows of the buildings. A deeper darkness settled in and a whooshing noise drowned out the park's night birds. A deep reddish glow erupted from the ground and a bubble of rock formed over the table. The glow of lava reflected off the ceiling and a throne of flowing magma held a monstrous figure.

Lord Mark's voice drifted from the shadows, "But below us, deep within the earth, sat Surtur, Lord of the Fire Giants. He sat and watched, as his brother, Thrym repeatedly failed against the might of Arik and Markshire.

"Surtur, unlike Thrym, had little to spare in his giants. So he bided. It was during the latest attack by his brother that Surtur had a visitor."

A dark cloaked figure approaches the monstrous king of fire. "A stranger came to a place where no one but giants had been for centuries. This stranger brought Surtur a book." The figure standing at the end of the table in front of Vruruk Krain handed over a tome to the giant who sat at the end of the table opposite Graulm.

The lord of fire opened the tome as the stranger retreats into darkness and his eyes glowed even brighter at what he read. "No one knows what the stranger got or why he came. But from the book, Surtur learned a secret."

The scene shifts and Surtur is standing on a precipice overlooking his measly host. "Surtur called his giants together." Lord Mark's voice picks up a resonant echo from the illusory cavern, "'FIVE SHALL BECOME ONE!' Surtur thundered through his hall."

Red light flares up to reflect brightly from the cavern ceiling. "FROM THE HOST SHALL SPRING A TITAN!" This last word echoes uncomfortably across the park.

"Then Surtur flings out his hand and beams struck five of his warriors." The illusory Surtur matches suit.


The central point that used to hold the biggest of Surtur's giants clears of smoke and a massive bright red skinned giant of giants stands from his kneeling position on the floor of the cavern. "Standing amidst the host was a giant of giants. Gastlinyk stood three times the size of any standing around him. His head was a mesh of faces from the warrior giants melded into him. He roared a triumphant call."

The illusory Gastlinyk threw back his head and a tremendous roar, "AAROOOAAAARRRRRR!" echoed not only through the park but out into the city beyond.


"Surtur, obviously pleased at what he had wrought bade the giant, 'Go forth,' but the Red Titan paused.

"Looking back at his 'creator' he laughed, a horrible, horrible laugh that erupted from his many mouths." The illusionary Gastlinyk opened the twisted maws of his faces and laughed, at first in unison and then in a cacophony. "Aaaah-hehehe-hahah-heh-heh-heh-hehehehe!"

"Looking Surtur straight in the eyes and said, 'MY WILL DONE!' With that the Titan slew a handful of the host as he turned a mighty blade appeared in his hand. The Titan's eyes gleamed and within a wink of one he was gone.

"Surtur was enraged! The stranger's book had been a trick to get Surtur to infuse some of his own power as well as sacrifice many of his host, all for naught." The illusory Surtur rages toward the heavens and the golden-red cavern recedes into the ground.

"The scene shifts," says Lord Mark's disembodied voice as Arik comes once again into view. Beyond the city is grass as far as the eye can see though most of it is trod into a lifeless brown by the many feet of giants.

"Frost Giants besieged the city while the forces of Markshire held the walls, but Thrym was sending his will through the clouds. An ever deepening chill fell over Arik.

"Standing upon a tower balcony, Lord Hanse Mark turns to his trusted advisor and marshal, Luke Thymes and asks, 'What is your father up to?'

"Thymes could only shrug and look down at his friend and lord, 'I'm just a soldier. The Lord of Winter is cunning and has many tricks yet.'

Arik Aflame"Unaffected by his friend's ambiguous remark, Hanse turns back to the scene before him. As the two continue to look out upon the mass of Frost Giants, both are startled when the center of the Frost Giant horde erupts into flames.

The scene before the assembled listeners erupts as well to match Allox's words. A red nightmare stands amid the blue-skinned giants and begins to cut swathes among the assembled combatants. Irregardless of side the Titan's sword claims many lives. The mad titan's appetite for their destruction of all assembled seems to be insatiable.

The carnage is displayed in detail; the controlling wizards maintaining an image of quality for their lord.

"Thymes points across the fray, where a knight appears on horseback, 'My son approaches.'

to be continued ...

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