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History & Legends

The End of the Great Houses

The families Elentari and Hartendale ruled for many centuries side by side in peace. All the land of Rydbiyan was prosperous and flourished greatly. No one wanted for anything. But in the year 29 of Maustflish (now simply known as The Early Years) a son was born to the family Hartendale.
Thadalin and Corfenia Hartendale were thrilled with this new addition to their family. No one could have even fathomed what would happen next.

As a second son to the family Bardiban knew his chances of ever gaining power were slim, but he was not to be deterred by this little detail. In 49 of Maustflish when he was 20 years old Bardiban poisoned his older brother Hess. He placed a few drops of the nectar of the Alchardian flower into Hess's drink one night after dinner. Hess began to feel ill as the evening progressed but shook it off thinking he may have just caught a slight chill earlier in the day during the war games practice. As he got up to retire for the evening though, Hess collapsed to the floor vomiting profusely everywhere, in between he had short gasps of air with piercing screams of pain. His body contorted into a rigid statue of a grotesque nature.

The healer rushed in, but it was too late. The Alchardian nectar works too fast to be stopped and is easily undetectable except by a very skilled, well trained eye. At 2:15am the healer pronounced Hess Hartendale dead from poisoning. The healer was never able to figure out what kind of poison had been used, but he knew the symptoms of death by a highly toxic, fast working poison.

Immediately suspicion turned to Hess's squire Urdin Yarweg. Urdin Yarweg had been squire to Hess now for some 5 years. Though their beginnings were good, in the last few months Udrin's demeanor towards his master had changed dramatically. Hess always said that Urdin was just going through a "push and shove" phase. Hess figured all young men, when they thought they were ready for things, could act inappropriately. All that really did was just prove to Hess that his squire was not yet ready to become a man or a knight yet.

But others said they had over heard Urdin talking to people about how he would be better off if his master would just drop dead and leave him be to do his own thing. Others still began to say that they thought they had seen Udrin hanging around his master's food earlier that night with a strange vial.

Even without solid proof at hand Udrin Yarweg was condemned to death for the cold blooded murder of Hess Hartendale. He was hung in the city square at the exact time of Hess's death 2:15am in the year 49 of Maustflish. Many felt that justice had been served, but in others a growing suspicion was forming inside that there was a darker, more sinister ending to Hess's life than just a temper tantrum that got out of hand by a young squire.

Now no one stood in Bardiban's way of the throne. He was pleased with the sight of the death of his brother. He had tried desperately that night to disguise a grin of pleasure that threatened to break his lips. After a short while though, Bardiban grew tired of only being "the next in line" his parents still stood in the way of him achieving his great plans.

At first Bardiban tried befriending and impressing his father Thadalin. He became the champion swordsmen and lancer of Rydbiyan and had signed up for duty in the Hartendale general army. He attended meetings with his father and debated with him over more minor affairs. Thadalin though had his own ideas of how things should work. He was a good, kind man, though he had never been a close father figure to his sons. Something he had always regretted but he did the best he knew how with what little time he was given.

After several years of trying to weasel his way into his father's life and influence, Bardiban grew tired of how his father ran things. As where Thadalin thought that one should rule with a velvet glove and out stretched arms to his subjects, Bardiban felt that ruling by instilling fear and using force was a much more interesting and fun way of ruling over a land. He realized that things were taking too long and he wanted to wait no longer. He knew his father would never see things the way he did and after very little thought, he decided that his parents had to go as well.

Over the years Thadalin and Corfenia had grown rather suspicious of their remaining son's activities. They noticed an increase in violent behavior that he exhibited toward others, especially his little sister Nartissa who was only 9. Thadalin recruited one of his most trusted men and spies to follow Bardiban and see what he was up to.

They never got the chance to find out though. One night in the year 58 of Maustflish while his parents slept at a tournament event Bardiban crept into their tents. First he quickly murdered the guards, slitting their throats, and then he approached his sleeping parents. They never knew what hit them. He violently stabbed them to death and left behind two badly mutilated corpses that were once his parents. The next morning the bodies were found by friends of Thadalin who had gotten up early to see if he wanted to join them in a good day of hunting wild game. No one ever proved who murdered the Hartendale couple but some began to suspect their son Bardiban.

Now Bardiban took the throne of Hartendale and thus took over half the power of Rydbiyan. He tired of all the good deeds that his family and the Elentari's did for others. What of him? What of his wants and needs? He needed more than those silly peasants. He wanted more power; he wanted things run the way he saw fit. He wanted his pocket to get fatter with coin, jewels, and precious artifacts. Most of all though he wanted to instill fear, spread hatred, and rule over all the lands.

Soon a war arose between the Elentari's and Hartendale. Noser Elentari and his wife Fiona were not impressed with the way Bardiban was acting. They had watched for years at court as the younger son of the Hartendale's grew more and more vicious. Other children had told them about how he liked to kill animals and said he would rule the world one day. There were even whispers of Bardiban trying to harm the other children, though at the time parents took it as rough housing kids. The Elentari's refused to give into Bardiban. Noser swore he'd die before he ever sided with Bardiban or let Bardiban take his throne. Bardiban thought of the Elentari's as a nuisance that needed to be removed from his way. But he found himself lustful for their oldest daughter Mysterii who was just two years younger than he.

Mysterii Elentari quickly rejected Bardiban Hartendale. She was a rare bread that could read the hearts of man, and within Bardiban she saw an endless evil more inhuman than a demon. She feared him and shunned his advances. Bardiban became so enraged from her rejections, that one night while she was out for a walk he ambushed her with some of his men, killed her guards and rapped and tortured her. He burned her eyes out with red hot pokers. He left her in the field for dead but she managed to crawl up a hill towards her home and was spotted by some of her father's guards.

She slowly recovered from her wounds but her eyes were left forever white and misshapen. Surprising though her face was scarred little by the ordeal. She learned to cope with her blindness far better than anyone could have ever dreamed. It was almost as if being blind was as natural as having sight. She learned to maneuver around objects as if she sensed they were there. Rarely did she ever seem to suffer from the lack of sight. She was however constantly plagued with headaches after the horrid event.

Hartendale delved into the Blackest of Arts called Qafisdis after the God of Evil himself. Bardiban devoted his life to his dark God and Qafisdis blessed Bardiban with immortality. The Dark God taught Hatendale in the arts of torture, the blackest of magic's, and how to command an army of Nightmarish Horrors.

Hartendale's armies attacked the Elentari castle during the night in the year of 60 of Maustflish. His armies were overwhelming in numbers with unspeakable horrors that none had ever seen. The castle was burned almost to the ground and the entire Elentari family perished in the following battles that ensued in the ruined remains of their home. Or so Bardiban Hartendale thought. But one did survive, Mysterii. She escaped through an ancient passage in the bowels of the castle and fled into the night.

She was found the next morning by a friendly patrol. She told them of what had befallen her family and home. The soldiers already knew. Evil things had been spotted in nearby towns killing and looting, destroying everything in sight. They saw many of the evils moving towards the castles of Elentari and Hartendale and were on the move to investigate. She insisted on traveling with the soldiers. She had nowhere else to go. They were hesitant at first, but Mysterii was very persistent and insisted they needed a healer among them to tend to the wounded since theirs had been killed the night before.

They soon learned how valuable she was to them. Mysterii went around during battle finding wounded and helping them, either to assist them in caring for their wounds, or to help their souls pass more easily to the next world. She always cheered the spirits of the troops and never showed fear even in the fiercest battles.

During the battle of Ridderfed in the 61 of Maustflish Mysterii went to the aid of a dying soldier. His limbs had been ripped from his body. He was bleeding out fast, but his will was strong, and his fear of death even more so. He clung so tight to life, it broke her heart but she knew he was dead. She recognized him as a soldier she had come to know in the last few months on the battle fields. He had helped her care for the wounded men after battles and was learning healing skills quickly from her. He was just 16; Ridderfed was only his 3rd battle. He, like her, was an orphan and they had taken comfort in knowing that the other understood. Lydian Hep was his name, she would never forget. She sat their, tears welling in her eyes as she gently held him close to her, her clothes becoming soaked in his blood. She talked with him till he did finally pass. She sat for a moment holding him close when a loud blast erupted not far from her and she heard the screams of several men.

She traveled in the path of the screams and found three men who had been badly wounded trying to get away from the cannon fodder. She quickly helped the first two out of the way and was going back to help the third. He was far more injured and she was having trouble assisting him. Cannonballs were falling all around them and he urged her to just leave him behind and save herself. But Mysterii never left anyone behind if she thought there was half a chance of saving them.

There was an explosion; the air became thick with smoke. The two other men could not see Mysterii or the man she had been helping. They went searching for them but only found two bloodied bodies of what they thought had been Mysterii and their comrade. The troops were deeply sadden by the loss of Mysterii and gave her an honorable burial that fit the princess and gentle healer she had been.

Mysterii lay still in her grave, silent, but the goddess Anowar took pity on Mysterii Elentari and willed her to live once more. She told Mysterii that she was of more use here on Abinasia than in the afterlife. She had done many good deeds and learned to use her natural aptitude for magic and mind powers like no other ever had. She instructed her most beloved companion Delgarath to accompany Mysterii on her travels and keep her safe from harm. She also gave Mysterii a Phantom Ball to use in battle if she needed.

Ever since, the legend goes, that Mysterii has traveled the lands assisting those in need and trying to keep mankind safe from all the would be Hartendale's. Mysterii and Bardiban never actually met face to face again after the day that he had permanently scared her. But she helped countless numbers of soldiers in their battles with Hartendale's minions.

 

© Megan Noël Wilber, 2003

 

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