A Turn for the Better:
A feast being held by the new "queen". Andared scoffed at the very thought of it, as he cut his way through the forest. Was the mere presentation of an ancient and decrepit ring enough to gain sovereignty? Andared had no desire to go to any feast this queen was having. Everything surrounding it was shrouded with suspicious events.
She hailed from the magic isles, meaning she was already an exile and enemy of the crown. Somehow her very presence and the presentation of a ring that could easily have been stolen was enough to bedazzle the three leaders into supporting her. And now she has called all of Roawia's mightiest heroes to a feast in her honor.
No, Andared did not want to go to this feast at all. Nevertheless, he had to see for himself just who this queen really was. As he considered these things, he heard a sudden cry from several yards away.
When a second cry came, Andared immediately ran toward its origin. When he arrived, he saw a Loreesi soldier sinking into a bog. The Wandering Woods had dozens of these bogs, seemingly harmless, other than their foul odor. But the beds of these marshes were equivalent to quicksand. A single step was enough to ensure a slow and tantalizing death.
"Help me!" The soldier cried, gasping for breath as he slowly sank.
Andared paused. Just a few weeks ago, this man was his sworn enemy. Both of them would have put a blade through the other without a second thought. Even now, this man might have the blood of innocent Lenfels on his hands. But he was sinking fast. If Andared was going to save him it had to be now.
In one decisive moment, Andared threw away all his hatred, guilt, and doubts. He reached down and picked up a fallen vine.
"Grab on, quickly!" He said, holding it out as far as he dared.
The soldier lunged for it and barely grasped it at the tip. With a mighty pull, Andared drew the Loreesi from his watery grave and onto the muddy bank. Coughing and spluttering, the Loreesi looked up into Andared's eyes, his question clear, yet unspoken.
"You are no longer my enemy. Return to your family, and do not harm mine." Andared said, gesturing to the forest.
Tears welled up in the eyes of the soldier as he slowly stood up. Unable to speak, he mouthed the words "thank you" before embracing Andared.
Roawia truly was at peace...
This was sort of a kickstarter build for me, trying to get the castle juices flowing again after my extended absence. More pics can be seen on flickr, and the link is embedded in the photo. Thanks for viewing!