“Look!” cries the prince, his eyes alight as he leads Nouvel along the winding lanes of the Dawn Garden. “They’ve only just bloomed, I was watching them all day before you got here!”
They sift through the reds, the pinks, the greens, the blues. Here, the peach bud freshly unfurled, its petals still soft and fragile. Terryn slows his step, glancing back at his companion, barely controlling an excited smile.
The bloom, so fresh, so new, lays still upon the petals, curling fur still dewy. The older children approach slowly, taking in this brand new miracle. Terryn’s excitement catches and they both hover expectantly as the bloom opens their eyes.
“They’re so pretty,” Terryn exhales. “Nouvel, what should we name them?”
The noble’s daughter frowns. “Shouldn’t their parents name them..?”
Terryn rolls his eyes. “Well, yes, of course! But we can call them something until they get here!”
Nouvel shuffles nervously. The bloom looks between the two of them before yawning wide and tucking their head between their legs.
“Their horns are pretty,” Nouvel starts, hesitating. “Like roses. We could name them Rose?”
Terryn quirks his mouth to the side, considering. “Yeah, but we don’t want the other blooms to pick on them when we aren’t around! So they need a tough name too. Like Thorn.”
Nouvel paws at the dirt, humming thoughtfully. “...Okay… Thorn is a good name.”
Terryn grins and dances a circle around the bud excitedly. “We’ll call them Rosethorn! We named them together!”
The noble blinks, a shy smile finally breaking through like the sun escaping the clouds. Yeah, they did, didn’t they? She stands a little straighter, and when Terryn invites her to prance around the sleeping bloom, she joins him.
The prancing becomes a game of tag, the raucous game becomes fervent wrestling, and by the end of it they both lay breathless and giggling on the grass, blissfully unaware of the growing shadows.
“I see that you’re fast friends already,” speaks the long penumbra cast over them. Terryn stands bolt upright, grass stains in his fur. He neatly kicks Nouvel to get her to her feet, bowing his head low.
“Yes, father.” he responds quietly. “Thank you.”
Nouvel glances up, the King wreathed by the setting sun. He smiles at her as she quickly lowers her eyes again, her legs trembling and threatening to dump her back on the ground.
“You’ve been gallivanting around this bloom all evening, do you like them too?” the King asks at length.
Terryn glances back at the bloom, now awake and blinking quizzically over all the commotion. He smiles hopefully. “...Yes, they just bloomed today…”
King Vieux studies the bloom, the sharp thorns hidden beneath those soft petals not beneath his notice. “Then they’re yours.”
Just like that, a thread snaps, cleanly sniped by a word. No one would ever arrive to pick up Rosethorn. So has the King decided.
The prince’s eyes light up and he beams at Nouvel. Two becomes three.
“You can play with your new friend later, Terryn.” The King had already turned away, sweeping his tail behind them to usher them along. “We’re having supper with Lady Nouvel’s father tonight, I’m sure she wants to see him before he journeys home.”
Nouvel’s head hangs as the sun sets on their first day together in the garden.
The garden is dark, and so far away. That was then, but what of now?
Once again we are faced with an aching possibility. The reflection in the looking glass shifts as we set the easy and familiar aside. The prince’s tale is compelling, his plight is one worth serving. The threads come together carefully, quietly, and in each is a story that brings a lifetime into the greater narrative.
As the city dances so high above, down below a desperate choice is made. It clicks together and the path less taken falls to darkness. Fate fastens a heavy padlock to our souls.
You made your choice. There’s no going back now.
The other choice sleeps cold and abandoned, like a heavy chain laid coil by coil on a dirty cell floor. Don’t mourn the stories we’ve left behind.
The road ahead is lit by stars.
By tooth, by claw, by painstakingly crafted spellwork, you unravel the runes tethering Terryn to this dark, terrible place. They are powerful but old, poorly maintained in the years of peace following the Fall.
The door swings open. The collar is more difficult, but through sheer force of will that too falls away, turning to rust as it hits the floor. The chain coils and rises like a snake, threatening to strike as the prince moves first, a blast of golden magic flooding the room with heat. The chain melts.
Terryn laughs, a reedy sound that wheezes in his chest. For a moment, you consider what you’ve unleashed. Was this a mistake? The moment passes. There’s no going back now.
You’ve freed Nouvel’s secret, now it’s time to get away.
Terryn turns to you, his eyes bright and full with a vibrant vigor that until that point had been missing. What a contradiction, poised so close to that ugly scar burned into his neck. “We’ll celebrate later… follow me, I know this palace as well as my runic’s power.”
The blood staining the fur around his mouth is more apparent up close. A fresh golden flow drips from his nose as he starts picking his way up the stairs. “You don’t want to be caught here without me,” he cautions. “I wouldn’t… stay, if I were you.”
The spiraling stairs wear on the prince. How many years must it have been since he’d walked them? You can’t help but notice his legs shaking, the steady drip of blood baptizing each step and marking his path, clear as day. You try your best to wipe them away as he labors, painting the bricks gold.
A doorway beckons, a yawning abyss that the prince slumps into. You chase his tail into the dark, quietly shutting the heavy wooden door behind you. “A moment,” Terryn breathes heavily, his outline glowing tremulously. He was too weak. How would you ever make it out of this place, much less out of the city?
The forgotten prince inhales deeply. Arcane stench fills every corner of the room. Before your eyes, those same drops of blood that you had smeared upon the stairs slip under the door, a molten stream of gold flowing back towards the source. Each becomes a spinning mote of light orbiting around their maker. Keep to the walls– when they come too close, they burn. A single singeing is enough to learn.
Terryn exhales sharply. “Let’s go.”
Do you really have a choice?
As you escape into the bowels of the city, an attendant carefully descends the palace’s stairs, a flute of something sparkling and a warm meal balanced precariously on a tray. It seems that someone has taken notice of your sacrifice tonight, the deft flick of a wing and a few whispered words sent a quiet thank you your way. We appreciate your service. See me after your watch for a significant bonus. With commendations. Your fellow servant of Chrysanthos, Perth.
The platter clatters at the bottom of the stairs. The flute shatters into so many pieces of fizzing glass. The cell is open. The prisoner is gone. Where Terryn should be, a terrible scorch mark betrays his absence.
Heart pounding against their ribs, the attendant claws their way back up the staircase, scrambling breathlessly into the throne room. The alarm is sounded. Queen Nouvel pulls the princess close to her side as the news ripples through the room. Perth shouts for her armor, her sword.
By the time the queensguard arrived at the cell, it was far too late. Her quarry was long gone by now, the smoldering ruins of his chain growing colder by the minute.
Seconds pass in pounding hoofbeats and the clink of armor. They stretch and spiral on as fireworks paint the sky in brilliant color. The dire dispatch travels in airy whispers and startled shouts. Archers line the palace walls as armed guards patrol its halls. Like ants they swarm, all looking for you.
Be it by tunnel, by sewer, in disguise or on the backs of favors you have curried along the way, you and the prince flee as fast as your legs, your wings, the wheels of a wagon will carry you. The threads pull taut, the city is awake and alert. One mistake could ruin it all, this cascade of choices you’ve made.
Terryn is struggling. Chained to a stinking cell for time untold, his legs can only go so far. The scar stark against his throat is a reminder that he was so magically controlled he couldn’t even withdraw his wings. He will need time and space to find his health again, but time and space are in short supply.
In spite of it all, despite his jutting ribs and shortness of breath, the unchained prince vibrates with a lurking power. Glowing motes of blood flock to him like moths to the flame, a veritable field of stars burning all around him. He practically shines. Something fresh, something new, something no one has ever seen before.
Someone everyone is looking for. But no matter how you complain, you hiss, you beg, you plead, he only grows brighter the closer you draw to the outskirts.
A bell begins to toll. It cries not the hours, but the minutes since a prisoner of great import escaped. The city seethes and crawls. Don’t let them go. Don’t let them escape!
But you do. Be it in darkness or plain sight, the city relinquishes freedom by river, by gate, by air. It is hardly a choice, but still a choice, and its flavor is up to you. Follow your instinct, chase your freedom, get out of Chrysanthos.
Your thread joins the many, a tale woven a dozen times stronger by your contribution. Like so many embers of flickering light coming together into a burning inferno. This path is now a braided fuse alight with your desperation.
You can’t blow it out now.
The city’s cobbled streets are distant now, its lights eclipsed by the prince as he staggers further into the darkness. The heat billowing off of him is immeasurable, each hair on his body burning with brimming power. “Stay away,” he rasps, the stars pulling towards him. “Get away!” he roars before throwing his head back.
Terryn explodes into light, a beacon shooting straight into the sky and spreading out into the atmosphere. It blazes fervently, spilling from his eyes, his nose, his mouth. It burns the hottest around him, golden flames flickering in waves around his hooves.
The magic sizzles, pops, then goes out, the surge dissipating into the sky. Terryn’s legs buckle and he falls to the ground, golden ichor dripping from his nose and mouth.
“G o o d . . .” he mutters to himself.
If the watchers didn’t know where to look for you before, they did now.
In the wake of this dizzying descent, another choice lurks. You can no longer take back what you’ve done, for better or worse. Dare not to look behind.
We move ever forward now.
The community has chosen to Open the Door and let Prince Terryn out of his cell. After eons of wasting away, the prince isn't in the best shape-- so it's up to you to decide the best option in our next event quest, [ Starlit ]! This quest presents you with a choice on what direction your escape should take: Escape North or Escape South. Your choice matters and will directly impact the future of this storyline... and Bellacoste. Choose wisely.
Your choices have impacted the story irreversibly-- you are now locked into the "Key" route, or traveling with Terryn. There's no going back now... but your future choices will still make a difference! The new quest no longer grants a Lock or Key. If you check your inventory, you'll notice that your Locks and Keys are now interactive boxes. Give them a good shake, then open them up!
Moving forward, all related event quests-- yes, including our legacy quests, Deep Below and Sins of the Father-- will grant a single Crown Coin. These quests, including the legacy quests, may be completed once per character that you own.
These Crown Coins can be spent in our new event shop, the [ Starfall Shop ]! This shop is already stocked with some old favorites as well as three all new items, the title-granting Rusted Lock and Golden Key... as well as the long-awaited Starfall Horn Spell! Don't spend all of your Crown Coins right away, though... you never know what might show up in the event shop later this year! Running low on Crown Coins? The Starfall Wing, Tail and Horn Spells are all available in the [ Cash Shop ] for the duration of the event as well.
[ Starlit ] will run through July 19th at 11:59:59 PM EST. After that time it will join the roster of Starfall Legacy Quests and will no longer impact the direction of the story or grant bonus K/MXP.
One final, unrelated thing... our WEEBLY is now BACK IN BUSINESS! So sorry about the downtime! Our Weebly can now be reached at www.pouflons.info. The link from our navigation bar will not be updated immediately, so you may need to type the URL to access the site for about a week before that's fixed!
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