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The sun rises on Rosethorn’s parents, summoned not to retrieve the child they wished for but instead a purse heavy with coin and regrets. Days come and days go as their bloom grows and makes friends. They speak their first words and stretch their wings, learning not from their family but from Terryn and Nouvel.
One day, Rosethorn pensively announces that they’d like to be a she, like Nouvel. The three celebrate, all smiles as yet another milestone passes by in the garden. They play, day after day, unaware of the heavy choices that have been made for them.
It wasn’t always fun and games. As they grew older, classes on state and etiquette pulled them further from the warm light of the garden. They still made time to laugh and play, though things would never be quite the same as they had been that one blissful summer.
The King was far too busy to spend much time on them, and truthfully that was for the best. Even Terryn seemed to fear his father, back straight and legs struggling not to tremble when the imposing royal would deign that enough time had passed between inspections.
The King never struck him, nor Nouvel, but his words cut as readily as his horn. Stand straighter. You represent this family. Ensure that your friends do not reflect poorly on you.
Rosethorn always took the brunt of it.
Keep your commoner pet in line, Terryn.
“I don’t think of you like that,” Terryn whispered vehemently to a weeping Rosethorn that evening, Nouvel leaning warmly against her other side. “You’re my friend, Rose… you’re both my friends! You always will be.”
That night, like children often do, the three promised to never part from each other. They joined their souls with their sweet, earnest words. We’ll always be friends.
Days come and days go. They’re different from before. The days are shorter, darker. Summer gives way to autumn, autumn surrenders ground to winter. Time and their promise are the only constants.
All things must eventually end, but never this. They promised.
They all promised.
“My family is going on a procession,” Terryn announces excitedly one day. “Everyone, with all the royal guards! They’ve never invited me along,” his brows furrow before he continues breathlessly, “But this time I can go! And they said you can both come with me. You’ll both come, won’t you?”
“Yeah,” Rosethorn snorts, on her side with her hooves pressed against Nouvel. “Of course we’ll go. Where are we going?”
From east to west.
“Velo…Velcro…” Terryn frowns, muzzle scrunching up as he tries to form the word.
“Velourose?” Nouvel offers, ears wiggling as she tries to hide a smile.
From winter til spring.
“Yes!” Terryn cries, rushing to butt heads with Nouvel affectionately. “You’ll both come with me?”
“We’re with you,” Nouvel laughs, hooking the prince with a leg and pulling him into their pile.
We’ll always be friends.
It’s amazing how readily threads can be cut. As Rosethorn was parted from her parents, as promises innocently made are broken, so too do we depart from divergent paths. A choice as simple as giving a parched prisoner a drink of water makes all the difference.
You bet on compassion once. Do you still think it was the right choice? Would you do it again? Could you do it again now?
The fog has lifted for you.
The war happened. It left Bellacoste in pieces. But why the fog? Why were you made to forget? Why were you all chained, like Terryn, to this spell?
It’s time to wake up. Wipe the years of sleep from your eyes. No more dreaming.
The enthusiasm in Terryn as he once again surged into the lead wanes as evening dawns. Despite knowing where he was, the road was so much longer on foot. The fields this far east were ill-tended, an unexpected boon. Hopefully nobody would be looking for you here. Not yet.
The prince chooses your shelter himself, an abandoned inn with the sign hanging precariously by a single rusted chain: The Tin Soldier. The locked door swings open when he asks it kindly– the muttered spell was simply to ease the hinges, or so he claims.
Soot stirs around you as you sweep through the inn, checking the nooks and crannies. Despite years’ worth of dust, it felt almost as if it had been abandoned yesterday. The hearth was stocked with wood, a faded grocery list behind the counter. Whoever was once here left in a hurry.
“I’ve stayed here before,” Terryn admits that night as you share the warmth of a fire. With the chimney as a foundation, you were able to spell the smoke away. It was safe. Comforting. “It was a long time ago,” he says quietly, smiling as he watches the logs pop. “A lifetime, really.”
He’d opened up over the weeks in Goldfair. As his health returned, a certain joy did as well. You often caught him simply looking at the sky, at flowers, at trees. When asked, he might scoff or act as if there was nothing out of the ordinary, but one day, with surprisingly earnestness, he quietly admitted it was so he would always remember how beautiful everything was.
“I waited a long time in that cell,” his smile fades as your dinner warms over the hearth. “I waited so long for somebody to see me.” An ache pulls at his voice, though he never tears his eyes from the flickering flames. “But…I think… it’s been even longer since I’ve felt like this.”
Should you ask or wait in stony silence, the prince’s tail coils inward on himself, and with a sheepish glance and smile, he admits, “It’s been so long since I felt like…” he clears his throat, “Like I had a friend.”
Terryn quickly turns away, tending your meal. “We should arrive in Brouzet tomorrow,” he clears his throat again. “We’ll find help there.”
The morning dawns quiet. You scrounge the inn for supplies, fashioning the sheets into knapsacks and filling up canteens with water. Brouzet would burn the unprepared, Terryn warns. The desert was an unforgiving place.
The path was rough, strewn with deep, old wagon ruts and unfilled holes. It’s slow going. The prince complains under his breath. “It wasn’t like this before,” he mutters. “They’ve really let it go, haven’t they?”
The sun was high overhead before the clay gave way to sand. Heat radiates, visible on the horizon. Terryn stops you, studying the horizon. He frowns as you follow his gaze. Though the sun burned above, dark clouds roiled on the skyline. Their bellies light up with untamed power as lightning courses through their depths. The rumble could be felt, even this far from the storm. The prince works his jaw, weighing your options. “Can you smell it?” he asks at last.
“...That’s not a normal storm,” he explains, scowling. “Not out here. It reeks of magic.” Irritation sparks in his voice, shaking out of his tail. “I shouldn’t be surprised. How many feats of magework did they do to keep me in that blasted cell? Never mind it,” he practically growls, “We’re not going to let a storm stop us, now are we?”
The prince leads by example, guiding you around thickets of sharp cacti. Darkness dances in your periphery, but every time you glance, there’s nothing there. Red rock cliffs soar, a chokepoint selfishly guarding Brouzet from the outside world. The storm looms ominously overhead, and the closer you get to the natural gate, the more you can feel its oppressive power. The sensation of eyes on your back wears heavily, even here. The wind whips up around you, sand stinging as it flies past. The arcane stench was overwhelming.
“Stay close!” the prince calls over the howling wind, “We’re being followed!”
Hackles prickled, you shift closer to Terryn as electricity crackles on high. The prince’s brows furrow as he surveys the sand flats. A muscle ticks in his jaw before he abruptly whips around, snapping his teeth at nothing.
The thin air at his haunch materializes into a screeching, inky creature, spindly legs flailing as it struggles to free itself. Electricity crackles through its fur, causing Terryn to abruptly drop the beast. “Foul little pesk–”
Terryn’s admonishment dies in his mouth as something surges past the both of you, sharp, serrated fangs snapping up the other creature whole. You stare for a stunned moment at the serpent before Terryn’s teeth nip you.
“Run!” the prince hisses urgently, turning tail and leaping into the unknown. You follow as more dark creatures appear around the serpent, swarming it. Its undulating shriek trails you as you flee into the storm, the wind buffeting you as it bellows and roars.
Lightning strikes just behind you, molten glass spiraling upwards. Terryn screams for you, but his words are stolen and swallowed by the tempest. You chase his light into the gale, eyes burning and watering as grit whirls around you. The storm would swallow you, should you let it. Keep going. Push onward. Your life depends on it!
Figures flicker, cascading afterimages as lightning strikes the dunes. Terryn’s voice echoes around you, urging you onward as you lose sight of him. Warm, golden magic encloses you, guiding you. A lifeline.
He’s waiting for you at the end of the runic trickle, blood dripping from his nose as he paces, distraught, against an embankment of rock. His face lights up as you come into view, the magic pulling harder to reel you in.
“I thought I lost you,” he croaks as the magic dissipates. “Come… there’s shelter, get inside.”
The embankment curves, strange embedded lights twinkling as you follow the prince. The storm rages outside, but here it was quieter. A place to rest, recuperate, and decide… what now?
“Rest,” Terryn instructs, tracing every inch of the shelter, a dim glow emanating from him. “We should be safe here, for now.”
It wasn’t long before the prince returns to you, a look of elation brightening his face. “All is not lost,” he promises. “I’ve found something that will help us… come see!”
Deeper still are you led, a strange unease prickling but without a name. Terryn takes you to a strange hunk of dark stone, partially buried in the sand. As your eyes adjust, the delicate features of a pouflon start to become more clear. The chiseled horns. The heart nose. But this was… something else. Its eyes were dark and hollow, its fur simple details on a canvas… not alive.
Terryn smiles, almost fondly, at the statue. “Have you ever seen one of these?” he asks quietly. “...No, I suppose you wouldn’t remember.”
The prince’s brows furrow as he studies the artifact. “I think… if I can wake it up, it can guide us through this storm.” He glances at you. “Trust me… and give me a little space.”
His tail sweeps behind him, indicating the space required. You step back, watching as the prince concentrates, lowering his head to touch the tip of his horn to the crown of the structured stone. A drop of blood baptizes the basalt as magic hums.
It starts small, a golden glow around his hooves, pulsing outwards in concentric circles. The air grows heavy as the spell spins and grows, sweeping outwards in an ever-widening arc. A burning golden light consumes the stone, almost too bright to look at for just a moment before the radiance begins to fade. The aftershock sweeps past you with a strange, chiming sound that rings in the wastes, slowly waning.
Life grips the once dead stone, a dim light steadily growing in those dark eyes. Terryn exhales before he laughs breathlessly. “It worked,” he whispers, stepping back as the stone pouflon twists its neck, staring up at him. The distant chime tolls, calling your attention as the amalgamation struggles to free itself, cracks spilling sand as it writhes.
Lights appear in the storm, two by two. They start dim, growing in strength. The spell rings through Brouzet, eventually pulling Terryn’s attention from the stone creature he’d woken up.
The lights were moving, a second stone creature already blocking the mouth of their shelter, peering down at you with burning eyes. Realization dawns in Terryn’s face.
“...I’ve bitten off a bit more than I can chew,” he whispers hurriedly as the stone clicks and shudders behind you. “Prepare yourself, we may need to fight out of this.”
More eyes appear, a brilliant array of color. Sand-worn stone moves as if alive, humming the song of Terryn’s spell as your path of escape begins to narrow.
It’s time for another difficult choice– your life could depend on it.
Your patience has been rewarded! Fog of War continues in our newest event quest, Tin Soldiers. You've made it to Brouzet-- were you prepared? Ready or not, it's time to make another choice! Act fast, before the dangers lurking in the desert overwhelm you!
Tin Soldiers is now active! How will you engage with the present threat? You have three choices this time: Fight, Fly or Free. Your choice matters and will impact the direction our story takes next. Choose wisely!
But wait, what's all this about "pesks", "serpents" and stone creatures? We've taken our first steps into Brouzet... allow me to introduce you to our all new endemic life, Fulgulisks and Peskitts!
Peskitts are small, cat-like creatures comprised of the same material as the ley storm currently plaguing most of Brouzet. These mischevious creatures are drawn towards strong sources of magic to feed from. Considered pests, Peskitts are hard to be rid of because they can dissapate at will and vanish into thin air!
Fulgulisks are serpents made of the very same sand as the dunes of Brouzet. The storm above Brouzet is uniquely magical-- sometimes it's lightning strikes create life out of nothing. All Fulgulisks have streaks of runic material in them-- some that have been struck by lightning multiple times may have several. Fulgulisks start small, but grow exponentially as they do not die from natural causes. Fulgulisks have been known to grow larger than any other known living creature on Bellacoste.
You can learn more about Peskitts and Fulgulisks on our Flora & Fauna page!
But... what of Brouzet's tin soldiers? After years of obscurity, [ Golems ] have once more been discovered on Bellacoste! Golems are a unique new subtype available to all three species!
Golems are created, not born. Who created them, and why? There's so many mysteries surrounding Golems, but I have a feeling we might find out more about them in the future.
Want to learn more about Golems now? You probably have a lot of questions. Why not check out our Golem FAQ?
We hope you enjoy this update! As always, Tin Soldiers will run for two months with full rewards-- be sure to complete the quest before November 14th at 11:59:59 PM EST to receive the XP reward and influence the direction of our event! After this time the quest will join the other legacy event quests and will no longer grant XP or sway the story.
Have fun out there, and good luck!
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