Artefact – The Staff, Part One

This post is based upon my playthrough of Jack Harrison’s Artefact. It is a story game designed for one player. If you like would like to purchase and download a copy, you can find it here. A quick note on a couple things. One, you are supposed to draw the Artefact you choose to play as, and I did, but I did not save or take pictures of my drawings until it was too late, so I will not be sharing those in these posts. Two, in between experiences, it is suggested you take a moment and reflect upon the time that passes for your item. Close your eyes, set a timer, but I recommend using the music prompts the game suggests. Written by Christopher Michael Roberts, they are a perfect accompaniment to the experience and can be found here, when playing through your own story. I understand most won’t be able to listen to the embedded music in between each part of the tale, but I included them nonetheless. They are beautiful and add such a wonderful immersion to you and the Artefact you have chosen to play as. Thanks again, I hope you enjoy.

Gallus Blacklung was a powerful conjurer that made a deal with a lesser demon of the Underworld. Knowing his days were numbered from old age and a lifetime of pipe smoking, Gallus agreed to help the demon escape while also ensuring everlasting life. Or, so he thought. Gallus had made many enemies amongst the monsters and imps for pulling their spirits into his world to perform his bidding. When the ritual was finished, Gallus’ essence had been infused into a tall elegant white staff with a golden cap at the base and a gnarled and twisted top. It radiated anger, while conjuring minor illusions even at rest with no one holding it.

Fredrick Faller is a young prince whose home Gallus resides as a court wizard. His father, King Harold, rules the land in a time of peace and prosperity. Frederick, a pompous brat whose short lifetime has been spent being spoiled by his parents, wandered into the Wizard’s chamber after hearing strange noises and whispers. Against a far wall, Frederick spotted a tall staff that seemed to radiate energy. Flashing lights sparkled, the ocean could be heard from it’s base, and it seemed birds the size of flies landed atop it only to shortly disappear. When Fredrick’s fingers clutched the staff, the gnarled top unwove and sprouted outwards in a dozen sharpened points. The staff responded to Fredrick with whispers of power and usurping the fool upon the throne. When Fredrick brought the staff before his father, already emboldened to overthrow the King, it fell silent. Frederick shrieked and shouted at the man who usually bowed to his wishes. He told him he would cut off his head and mount it on the highest tower. When he brought the staff forth to smite the now enraged King, it did not respond. It fell mute, and silently chuckled as it and Fredrick were taken away. The deceptive staff was tossed into a storeroom and Fredrick was thrown into the dungeon. The staff, now collecting dust in a forgotten room of the castle, had been referred to as Fredrick’s Folly.

Calvin Troyer, a soldier in King Harold’s army, deserted once they began to slaughter the people of the land as alleged conspirators. The act of executing his son drove Harold mad and he now blamed all around him as schemers. The Queen, his own wife, was put to the block, as her mourning for their son showed her true alignment. Calvin and others formed a rebellion and stormed the castle to finally put an end to the King’s madness. When searching for the hiding ruler, Calvin stumbled across the staff in a storeroom. Lights twinkled around it, flames licked the barbed top, and an ethereal voice called to him and promised victory. As Calvin lifted the staff, the top creaked and groaned as spiky limbs came together and formed an eagle with wings spread outwards. He took it as a sign, as the eagle was a symbol of virtue and kinship. With the help of the staff, they found the King and publicly executed him as he had done to so many others. The mischievous staff, feeling that these wielders of its power were merely tools, began to corrupt Calvin almost immediately. Crowned the new ruler, he was nearly identical to King Harold. With whispers in his dreams and from its mount atop the throne room, the staff twisted King Troyer. It was poison that finally killed him, Frederick’s Folly again chuckled inwardly as events continued to take shape around it. At least I’m out of that storeroom, it laughed.

Kahgosh, chieftain of a local tribe, has restless dreams of a dying city and a white staff that will help him rule the world. His people had been chased from their lands, and soon this brought the wandering clans together. With the kingdom internally collapsing and the news of the King dying, he rose to power within the combined might of the tribes and razed the weakened land. Kahgosh found the staff in the throne room and pulled it down without needing whispers of power or promises of wealth. He knew it to be true, and he watched in awe as the eagle atop the staff collapsed and formed the head of a bear. This now mighty artefact would be Kahgosh’s weapon against the interlopers who stole this land from its people. One by one, armies fell to his mighty horde and the powerful staff he held at his side. Merely pointing it at a fortified structure caused the bricks and mortar to explode and allow his soldiers to enter and kill all within. There was only one inhospitable stronghold that did not fall to his wish. Atop the center of a dormant volcano a crooked and charred castle stood. Something within called to Kahgoash’s weapon. The staff chose not to help destroy this stronghold and misfortune fell upon those who would try to attack it. Kahgosh abandoned the location, but did not leave behind the staff as it had wished he would. As the armies marched across a treacherous mountain pass, Kahgosh’s horse lost its footing and he and the staff tumbled into a dark chasm. Death claimed the ruler almost immediately, but the staff slid downwards and would soon stop deep in a cave system partially buried in rocks and gravel.

Part Two

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