|Did this area always look so sinister, or has it only felt that way because he’s been marching alongside a whole army of fanatics? A true Hero of the Empire, the dwarf could not shake the feeling of uneasiness on the way to his destination. At last, after several days of journeying, he came upon a view of the castle. It must have been years if not centuries, he thought, since its walls had been pummeled by siege weapons, with time having taken its toll as well. All the more alarming was the sepulchre erected amidst the dismal ruins. Seemingly untouched by time or marauders' meat-hooks, it tempted an unwary onlooker to want to be buried in such a stately spot. Our Hero quickly banished such thoughts from his mind, remembering his mission – to sneak inside and locate Abu-Bakir’s crystal beacon.|
Many days of waiting and a dozen sieges later, finally he had his chance. After yet another siege interrupted the evening prayer, the dwarf used the commotion to slip past the guards right inside the sepulchre. Following a downward-sloping passage, he suddenly froze, amazed at the enormity of the crypt compared to the structure’s modest outward size. Countless stone sarcophagi were all around, with the fallen warriors’ weapons placed on top. They must have given their lives defending this place from interlopers, but for what? Much time could be spent pondering this question in the meditative silence of the place, but our Hero had none to spare. The thing he sought was surely to be found in the central sarcophagus surrounded by flames from the four biggest hearths.
The closer the dwarf approached, the stronger he shivered. The quiver that enveloped him upon entering the crypt was strong, but his heroic spirit was stronger still. He pressed on. Finally, when the last step was behind him, his strong hands touched the cold stone. "Please don’t let it be scarabs… not scarabs..." he muttered as he shifted the stone slab, wincing at the screech it made.
A nice bluish glow filtering from the bottom of the empty sarcophagus illuminated the dwarf’s face. His search was over. Carefully taking the crystal in his hands, he stepped back to study his find – when a cold hand gripped his right shoulder. A shiver running down his spine, he shot a quick glance to the right to spot some bandaged fingers. Faking a slow turnaround, the dwarf abruptly drove his shoulder into the mummy behind him. Falling back on the hearth, the wretched creature howled in agony. All around them, the sarcophagi began to open with screeching sounds, followed by terrible growls. "Time to get out of here!" thought the dwarf. He fiddled with the crystal, but nothing happened. "How do you work this thing!?" he exclaimed, noticing the dozens of undead closing in on him. "Come on! Hokus-Pokus! Open, Sesame!" the dwarf shouted, knocking over the hearth in front of him and jumping on top of the central sarcophagus. "Do it!" he shrieked, shaking the beacon feverishly. No sooner had he uttered "Abracada..." than the torrents of time took him away from the undead arms ready to snatch him into the underworld.
A few chaotic flares later, the court wizard could see his laboratory clearly again.
"There are you, my friend!" Abu-Bakir said joyfully, taking the crystal beacon out of the Hero’s hands. "I knew you would figure out how this thing works."
"Piece of cake," replied the dwarf, holding back the adrenaline as well he could and gathering his best composure.
"I take it there were no major glitches along the way," inquired the wizard as he carefully fixed the crystal into one of his magic devices.
"I guess so…" replied the Hero, scratching his head. "Unless you count the fact they caught on to our tricks."
"That can’t be good," said Abu-Bakir calmly, but not without a shadow of agita. "In fact, that’s very bad. Driven by revenge and thus much less affected by the curse, they will come for us! We must act fast!" Having made this conclusion, he went on to manipulate the adjusted device. “Three and a half units to the North, half a point to the East. No, no, wait: Three units to the North and one and a half to…"
Having come to his senses, the dwarf considered offering his help to the court wizard but wisely decided against it. Instead, he quietly left the laboratory to take an account of his well-earned loot.
Lords and Ladies, the Ancient Ritual is completed and our connection to the past is interrupted once again. Aba-Bukir thanks all those who mustered their courage to challenge the unknown and promises the Empire will not forget your acts of valour! If you were able to overcome a level 12 enemy, you will see a special artifact (whose duration depends on your maximum enemy level conquered) in your inventory and an achievement icon on your profile page.
Moreover, the 40 bravest lords and ladies who conquered level 50 with no repeat victories have been granted the Cat Figurine and a corresponding achievement.
The top 50 military clans have also received their well-deserved recognition, and so have their worthy members who earned at least 15 points for their military clan:
|Clan seat||An award||Glory|| |
|5 - 7||900 |
|8 - 10||800 |
|11 - 15||600 |
|16 - 20||500 |
|21 - 30||400 |
|28.||#7490||European Foreign Legion||2,485|
|30.||#2303||III legion of Elfius||2,270|
|31 - 40||250 |
|33.||#8026||< Три Богатыря >||2,017|
|35.||#1488||Тёмная лига Некромантов||1,876|
|36.||#4260||Легион Ордена Тамплиеров||1,822|
|37.||#7705||† Angels & Demons Ψ||1,803|
|41 - 50||100 |
|42.||#644||Гвардия Grail Keepers||1,523|
|48.||#825||Matrix of Worlds||1,243|
|49.||#9426||Орден Рыцарей - меченосцев||1,155|
|50.||#6006||Lords Of Battle||1,090|