Artefact – The Staff, Part Two

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.

Malcolm Waddleston, a fighter for an adventuring guild, was deep below the surface hunting a cave troll. The party had started as five, but now only Malcolm remained. The troll was completely invisible, and it’s massive bulk could be heard crawling along the cavernous ceiling above. The staff, not wishing to be found by the monstrous creature, willed Malcolm to hide amongst some boulders. He listened to the ethereal whispers and took refuge in the rocky shelter. His foot caught the stave and he nearly broke his neck tripping into a jagged wall. When he freed it, his eyes glistened as the visage of a bear twisted and became that of his guild’s sigil. The staff hummed a blessed tune and with a whisper the surrounding boulders and rocks exploded outward throughout the cavern. Malcolm could feel the troll’s presence as it dropped from it’s high perch and creeped towards him. Vicious fangs and claws would have glistened in the wavering torchlight, if not for the troll’s ability to be unseen. Malcolm, thanks to an enchantment by the staff, dodged and parried the incoming blows, and soon took the offensive. With each hit of the now gleaming weapon, a burst of light exploded and sapped the troll’s life little by little. Malcolm finally brought the newly formed sigil down upon the creature’s head and ended it. As the years passed, and the story retold, Malcolm would embellish little by little until one day it was told he kneeled within a faint ray of sunlight and prayed. The Gods spoke to him and within that thin shaft of light dropped the staff that now lay encased in a glass chest for all the guild to see. Pride and blind faith was not enough to protect the guild or the kingdom as a mighty dragon razed the land, killed nearly all the people, and claimed the ruins of the castle as it’s new home.

Mallow Barbosa, a leader and prophet to the religious group The Worms of Visyer, had found the staff deep in the castle’s foundation. Age and the elements stripped away much of the lair of Visyer, the dragon who had made this his home for centuries, but there was enough to work with. It called to Mallow, as it had to so many before, and the unfamiliar symbol atop the white stave creaked and groaned as it slowly changed into the head of a dragon. Something was different now, though, and the staff was uneasy as the robed figure inspected the mysterious item. Whether through time or Visyer’s constant rages that sent sections of the castle tumbling or coins to be melted to molten pools, it could no longer create illusions. Mallow did not need the temptation. Only seeing the dragon’s head, he knew that this magical artifact would be the key in bringing the dead dragon back to this world and began preparing the ritual at once. It was a fortnight before the staff was brought into a clearing. A dozen figures circled around Mallow as he began chanting an ancient spell. As the muffled cries of a pale woman rang out with the piercing of an obsidian blade, the staff knew something was wrong. It pictured a hairline crack inside itself and it knew it wasn’t strong enough for this ceremony. It became fearful as the whispers quickened. Before it could send out a warning to the cult leader, a shockwave that could be seen nearly across the entire world flashed and decimated everything within a hundred miles. The staff was shattered and the dragon head was sent soaring away and landing in a swamp a continent away. It sank to the bottom of a bog where it lay alone and scared.

Desmond Talwyrn turned the wooden dragon head over in his hands and handed it back to the squirmy and sweaty individual. The man frowned and jerked it back demanding to be paid. Desmond sighed, giving in to the man with eyes drifting to every passing figure with unease. Placing the object into a satchel, he headed back to his home. The dragon was silent. It listened to the merchants and shoppers in darkness but unable to call out and connect to anyone including this man who was now in his possession. The dragon saw light again as it was lifted from the bag. Desmond stared intently at it. He cocked his head from side to side and continued to study. The dragon desperately tried to bend him to it’s will but could not. It’s new owner sighed and carefully set it on a soft purple pillow and then placed a glass covering over it. The dragon could sense others like it. If there was one thing that it actually could feel was the power in this room. Remnants of ancient and powerful artifacts. A sword hilt that screamed in rage, a pendant with a golden eye that tried to sing a song no one on this realm had ever heard, and even a cracked glass slipper that yearned to turn scullery maids into princesses. The dragon could hear the man talking to himself. Flipping through thick and dusty tombs and saying familiar names the dragon had heard before. A King from an almost forgotten civilization, a barbarian who would conquer the known world, and a dangerous group of cultists who would bring back an ancient evil to bring about the end of time with scales and fire. Desmond cast a sideway glance at the dragon and smiled. He put the pieces together and let out a chuckle. Stifling a yawn, the man stood from his desk and said goodnight to the silent room. Silent to him, but deafeningly loud to the items within it.

The End

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