by Jason Guel
Just a few hours ago on a planet closer than you think...
In the year Thirteen and Eighty Six of the Kingdom of Baelan, His Highness Tuadin IV occupied the throne. Tuadin, like many others before him, was neither a bad king nor a good one. He ruled to the best of his judgement, dealt with the social problems of his time as best he could, and like anybody else, he had his good days and his bad days.
Most of the subjects were rather indifferent to him and got on with their lives as best they could, while there were those, as always, who had strong opinions either for or against him. These were the ones who usually would get thrown out of the local pub and end up spending the night with the constable at the jail which was always conveniently located right next to the aforementioned drinking establishment.
In this year in the kingdom of Baelan, things were about to change dramatically. There was news from the neighboring kindom from the north the Ilysian Empire, that a very powerful wizard was walking the land in search of Tuadin and any of his kin. In response to the social pressures, wild gossip, and rumor going around, Tuadin increased the military fund, repaired the ailing garrisons bordering his land and built new ones. He also created a special elite military troupe to guard the homeland as well as to protect himself and his family.
During this time many innocent people were questioned and many people became suspicious of their own neighbors, especially those who had settled there from other kingdoms. After several months, news came from one of the outlying garrisons that a traveling peddler had come in contact with this wizard. Thus follows his report:
Is a good lad, I is, and I was just minding my own busness tryin to sell me wares when all o a sudden here come this ol chap dressed all in blue with hair so red at first methought it was afire. I says, good day, to the ol gov and asked him if he was interested in buyin a nice hat or perhaps a widget or two. This odd lookin fella stares at me real intent like and I noticed in his hand he was carryin a small ball that sparkled and glowed like nothin I aint ever seen.
I startd to get just a bit on edge, so I thought Id best be on my way. An all o a sudden me whole body wouldnt move nary a hair. An this chap never opened his mouth but I could hear his voice as plain as day askin me all sorts of questions. An no matter what I tried to think or do, I would answer him as if me tongue belonged to someone else, if ya can believe that.
Then Is can move again an when I looked up, he was gone and the sun had moved half a days oer the sky. Was the strangest thingd ever happen to me.
King Tuadin, becoming ever more fearful, sent out scouts with his fastest horses to scour the land for any wizards who might be looking for employment. He gave instructions that he would meet any price the wizard demanded, as long as he could prove his worth and merit.
It wasnt long before the court was filled with wizards, magicians, witches, illusionists, and all kinds of people claiming to hold powers over all things natural or otherwise. Most of them were imposters and were summarily thrown out. A few did have some merit, but were woefully inept. Eventually, all failed to impress King Tuadin and he knew there wasn't much time. The next day his fears manifested themselves.
Two knights from one of the garrisons came to court with a tale of how this wizard came up asking for where the King was, and when they didnt answer, he became enraged. Within minutes he had destroyed the garrison along with almost all who were inside. The survivors, doing their duty to protect the land, charged the wizard. All but the two who had escaped died fighting the wizard. They were allowed to live only to bring a message to their king that Ulnolm the Righteous has come to lay low the land of Baelan and her king.
It so happened that a fortune brought Tuadin a bit of luck. When news spread of the name of Tuadins enemy spread throughout the land, a farmer in a village not far from the castle, who was known for having the best crops in the kingdom and often supplied the castle kitchen itself, came seeking an audience with the king, saying he knew of this Ulnolm.
Tuadin had now become desperate as more and more of his people and villages were being destroyed in a path leading to the castle. He decided to hear out this farmer, especially since he himself ate mostly from the produce this farmer reaped and sowed himself.
The farmer, known as Julan, came to the court the next day and told a long tale of how many years ago he had showed great promise in becoming a powerful wizard himself. He eventually traveled to Lii, a city which mostly exists in fable and lore. This city is where grand Wizards teach those who can find it the arts of magic and wizardry, for only those who can find it are the ones who have the skill and gift to become great wizards themselves.
Several years later Ulnolm also came to Lii searching instruction. He had great skill and talent and would constantly study and practice all the masters taught him. None there could ever remember a student so obsessed with learning and developing his skills as a wizard. Ulnolm advanced quickly and became the top student at the school within three years of study.
Eventually, Ulnolm started to show his darker side. He would become easily enraged and argumentative with those around him. He would even dare to argue with the teachers at the school. After a while, Ulnolm was expelled for his behavior. but before his instruction was complete. He said it didnt matter since he had already learned all that he could from the fools who thought they could teach him anything and that he had committed to memory those books in the library in which he had interest. He would teach himself and thusly become a grand wizard on his own.
Julan eventually graduated from the school and became a wandering wizard. One day, as fortune woud have it, he came across Ulnolm in a village in a kingdom far to the south. Ulnolm became angry and blamed Julan as one of those who had gotten him expelled from Lii. Julan tried to reason with him but Ulnolm wouldnt listen and started attacking him. Julan had no choice but to fight back, and a wizard's duel ensued.
Julan, while being a grand wizard in his own right, was only an average wizard when compared with the rest of his peers. He did, however, have one small specialty which made him stand out. He was highly gifted when it came to animals of all kinds, including those animals which exist mostly in childrens tales, yet which do exist in reality as well.
As the duel continued Julan knew he was losing, and losing badly. He needed help lest he be destroyed. Summoning all his remaining strength, Julan called upon the help of the most powerful creature known to him, that of a Unicorn who also has the wings of a Pegasus.
Now, Julan, with his special gift for animals and creatures of all sorts, was widely known amongst beasts, those common and uncommon, for his kindness toward them. He always used his powers to help them whenever he could. He often offered his services for free to those who couldnt pay. So when Julan called upon one of these exceedingly rare Unicorns, the one who answered his call and came to his aid was their leader.
The name of this Unicorn is unpronounceable in human language, but this beast was large, standing eight feet at the shoulder. The whiteness of the Unicorns coat glowed and sparkled and the mane waved in the wind. The eyes shone with the clarity of eternity, for these beasts live in a different time and are immortal.
Ulnolm, his mind still filled with rage, took on the Unicorn. The Unicorn fought Ulnolm with a righteous rage, with that of a pure heart and and a clear mind, for it was fight against an evil, and a fight to protect one who had shown his worth not only to his fellow man, but to all creatures.
Ulnolm, sensing his defeat, decided to make his escape. The unicorn would have given chase and finished the job were it not for the fact that Julan was near death and required aid. The unicorn then came and healed Julan, but some of the mental wounds that Ulnolm was able to inflict left deep cuts in his mind. After Julan recovered physically he found his magical prowess was greatly diminshed. He was no longer the wizard he had once been.
The unicorn, sensing his loss, gave Julan a blessing and a promise. The blessing was that whatever mortal task Julan set out to do from this day forth would be fruitful and that all he made or produced would be blessed. The promise was that should Julan ever need help again, he need only call and the unicorn would return to aid him.
Julan knew Ulnolm had to be stopped, so for many years he wandered in search of news of him. And although Julan never came across him again, and perhaps Ulnolm kept his distance lest he have to face the unicorn again, he was able to discover much of the history of Ulnolm.
It so happened that Ulnolm was the son of Ulian, the son of Ulain, the son of Uline, the son of Ulnam, the son of Ulnaen, the son of Ulnei, the son of Uliin, the son of Olin, the son of Olian, the son of Olain, the son of Olni, the son of Oni, the son of Onae, the son of Oni, the son of Onn.
It was in the time of Onn when King Tuadin I sat on the throne of Baelan. Shrouded in time and mystery, it was rumored that Tuadin I sought the help of Onn, who was a king in his own right, to help in a war with the Ilysian Empire. It was rumored that after the war Tuadin betrayed Onn. After they won the war against the Ilysians, Onns own kingdom was much weakened and Tuadin, who had promised to help Onn after the war, didnt keep his promise because his own kingdom, while not seemingly as bad off as that of Onns, was in financial ruin. As time went on, Tuadin and then his son, Duanor III, painstakingly rebuilt Baelan so that she was once again financially secure. During this time Onns own kingdom fell into ruin. Onn had died and did not leave an heir, to anyones knowlege.
Duanor III, then doing what he thought was the only just thing he could do to honor his fathers original promise, annexed Onns kingdom and brought it under his rule. The people then would have a ruler and be under his protection. The people at first rebelled, but as time went on they eventually succumbed and saw the wisdom of Duanors decision - for left to themselves they would have been preyed upon by neighboring kingdoms as well as roving bands of thieves and mauraders.
Ulnolm, it seemed, sought the destruction of Baelan, for he saw this as an act of betrayal.
Julan decided to be a farmer because he still loved animals and loved to work with them. Thus he kept many dogs and cats, chickens for eggs, cows for milk, and oxen to help him plow and sow his fields. All of his animals trusted and knew him for they knew of his past deeds. Julan also knew that one day Ulnolm would come for the king of Baelan, so he settled down near the castle. With the infinite patience he learned in Lii, he settled into his new life awaiting the arrival of Ulnolm.
Julan informed the king that he would still hear occasional news of Ulnolm through the council at Lii and that it was now rumored that he is even now far, far more powerful than he was when he fought Julan and stripped him of almost all of his magical ability.
The only hope for Tuadin and the land of Baelan was the aid of the Unicorn who had once saved Julans life. This Unicorn is the only being powerful and pure enough to fight Ulnolm. Julan had even sent word to council at Lii seeking aid and they informed him of their constant decision of noninvolvement with the kingdoms and politics of ordinary men, even if it concerned one who had been their student.
Tuadin knew Julan was telling the truth, and knew that Julan was his only hope. He knew this as one who has ruled for over forty years and has had to judge the character of many who came through his court. He also sensed a growing ominousness around the castle as Julan finished his tale.
Just then a sparrow flew into on of the windows, chirped away, then left. Julan remarked that the sparrow had just informed him that Ulnolm was near and with the kings permission he would go out and meet him.
Tuadin IV, as a token of his respect and good wishes to Julan, gave him the dagger of Baelan as a symbol that he now fought for not just for the king, but for the entire kingdom of Baelan. For it was rumored in lore and history that the first king of Baelan was Baelan himself, who had won the land and was made king by its people when, with the help of his two sons, slew a dragon that was terrorizing the land. The dagger was supposedly made out of a tooth from that dragon by a master smith and imbued with the magic of the wizard who founded the city of Lii. The legend goes that whoever holds the dagger, carries with him the strength of the people of Baelan and should that person fall, Baelan will also fall.
Julan accepted Baelans dagger, and mounting a horse provided by the king's own stable, rode out to meet Ulnolm.
Julan and Ulnolm thus met for the second time as enemies on a plain just north of the castle. Ulnolm mocked Julan, and upon seeing that Julan carried the dagger of Baelan, remarked that this encounter, foretold since Baelan himself was marked, that thus Ulnolm was appointed even then the harbinger of this kingdom. Therefore, Ulnolm was overconfident and believed he could not lose.
Julan, calling upon the promise made to him many years before, called upon the Unicorn leader to help him defeat Ulnolm once and for all. The Unicorn came and Ulnolm, knowing that his power had grown since the last time he encountered this creature believed he would win.
Thus the Unicorn and Ulnolm started to fight, magical energies coruscated and swept all around them and so intense were they that none could approach within a hundred yards of either of them. The battle was long and hard fought on both sides. Julan did what he could with his minimal ability to distract Ulnolm so that the Unicorn could strike, but Ulnolm was not easily distracted and did not let his guard down easily.
After many hours of battle, it seemed that Ulnolm began to gain a slight upper hand. This caused the Unicorn to fight more ferociously. In a tumultous fury, both sides attacked. In a blaze of fury that lasted only moments, Ulnolm emerged the victor. He wanted to destroy the Unicorn and then move on to Julan and then Tuadin, but he was very very weak from the battle and it would take too much of his power to kill the Unicorn. He would be too weak to even take on Julan if he chose that route.
Thus he decided to banish the Unicorn instead, then even if the Unicorn was able to return it would be too late and it wouldnt matter. Julan and Tuadin would be dead and the Baelan kingdom would be doomed to fall.
Ulnolm searched for the nearest weak spot to an alternate dimension, which he found on a grain of sand in front of him on the ground. He concentrated some of his remaining energies, caused the weak spot to break down entirely, widened the hole that now existed and banished the Unicorn to this alternate dimension.
As the Unicorn entered the dimensional portal, all of the great power and magic possessed by the Unicorn was taken away. Unicorns, being incredibly powerful and immortal, and keeping with the laws of magic, have great powers that could not be destroyed, even in another dimension. Thus as the Unicorns powers were stripped, they were infused into magical items and spread throughout the dimension.
Now trapped in this alternate dimension, you must help this weakened Unicorn reclaim its lost power and abilities, find your way back the way you tumbled into this dimension to re-enter the portal before Ulnolm regains his power and defeat him before he kills Julan, Tuadin, and destroys the Kindom of Baelan.