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

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