Old Friends, New Enemies

Author EM Drosselmeyer

The King frowned from his seat, staring at the chess table as Sir Dupre spoke to him. He idly moved a single piece back and forth. The table was clearly set mid match, and he always moved the piece between the same two spots…a legal move, but with no opponent to make the next one.

“It would seem that the Council of Mages has dissolved…after Anon’s vanishing, those few who remained quickly fell to infighting. A few of them have sought entrance into the True Britannians, but I am unsure if they are disciplined enough to fight alongside my troops in a way that will…”

“Sir Dupre, what do you make of the rumors that Anon has defected?”

Sir Dupre shook his head. “The man may have been mad, but he fought for Britannia all this time. I make it the ravings of a madman.” Dupre’s words were strong…but his voice lacked conviction.

“Perhaps we have lost one of the strongest mages remaining in this land to a well-orchestrated attack…or maybe our greatest enemy has converted him to her cause. I am not sure which I would rather believe; Minax being powerful enough to have outright destroyed him, or Anon being bitter enough to have gone over to the other side.”

Sir Dupre stood in silence for a long moment, fingering the pommel of the black longsword at his waist, searching for the words to reassure his regent or even himself. They were nowhere to be found.

“I have been called many things by those who I am doing my best to serve rightfully as their King, Sir Dupre. I have been called a tyrant…usurper…traitor…and many state openly that they believe me to be evil. And yet…” He sighed at length, standing from the table and moving out to the balcony, leaving it behind him. He did not finish the thought, and Sir Dupre was too prudent to pry further.

Dim moonlight peeked through the clouds upon the beleaguered king as he stared out over the moat, and Dupre’s voice broke the silence once more. “My liege, even I doubted you at first…but in time they will see. And even if they do not, Honor is its own reward. We have done our best to do what is right, and we know that even if no others do.”

“Dupre…we will need to have a call to arms. I know that your soldiers are strong, well trained, and a capable unit…but if Minax is powerful enough to defeat Anon herself, or worse if he has joined her…I do not believe even you and they can fight them and win. We will have to…find another way.”

Dupre nodded and bowed his head slightly. “Then I shall inform them at once.” Dupre left through the doors of the castle and King Blackthorn stood in the light for a long moment, the full moon revealing itself as the clouds passed by. The gentle moonlight illuminated him fully, his cloak rustling ever so slightly in the soft breeze. The light gleamed off of his crown and armor, and the obsidian chest that lay just inside the balcony’s opening. He was not quite sure how long he had been there before he heard footsteps, ignoring Heckles’ approach.

It was the soft clack of a chess piece being moved on a board that drew him from his thoughts with a bit of irritation. “Heckles, I am not in the mood for your taunts and jests…and you know that I want nobody to touch that board, not until…”

Softly and with a chuckle a rich voice echoed inside as Blackthorn’s words faltered, staring at the seeming apparition before him. “Before a friend could return to take their move on the board that was still waiting for your own when you appeared?”

Blackthorn stood motionless for a long time, staring at the broad smile along the other man’s face, before they both stepped towards each other and embraced tightly, pulling apart a moment later with identically broad grins. “I suppose it was only fair that when I returned after you had thought me lost that I should be under the impression you would never return to these lands…Cantabrigian.”

Lord British’s grin burst into a chuckle. “You should know it best yourself…in Sosaria, an infinite number of things are possible.”


Read the exciting conclusion and join us for a live, in-game event on TC1 September 25th 2014 at 7pm ET! Meet Richard “Lord British” Garriot and Starr “King Blackthorn” Long at Castle Blackthorn to celebrate Ultima Online’s 17th Anniversary!