Updated: Jun 11
By Jake Dardzinski
Stunned silence followed Sir Gawain as he moved through the manor, broken only by awed whispers. This town was small—a single manor of a minor house the only thing of note, and barely of note at that. The clink of his armor announced his presence, and servants stepped aside for his massive frame.
Sir Gawain was not normally a serious man, but his moods reflected his reason for coming to this place. A subtle evil had made its home here, amongst the good people he was sworn to protect, and he was here to root it out. He had found in the past the best way to combat insidious plans was direct confrontation, to leave the schemer with no way out aside from clashing blades.
A small congregation had formed behind him now as he approached the feasting hall. Servants of the house, but also other townsfolk who had followed him in to see justice done. Servants rushed ahead and opened the grand doors to the hall, and the silence washed inside, ending the few muttered conversations within.
At the end of the grand table sat Sir Gawain’s target. A decadently dressed woman with long, blonde hair tied in a loose bun. Her robes were more elaborate than those of a wizard, embroidered with golden thread. She was young, freshly an adult.
Sir Gawain knew her type, he had dealt with some before. Wizards whose ego had gone to their heads, and put towns under their spells.
“Your strings have been cut, girl,” Sir Gawain told the finely-dressed woman. “It would be best for you to come with me and see justice done.”
The woman laughed. It was a sharp laugh, and the servants flinched at the sound.
“There’s no justice that needs be done, saint, though I thank you for gracing us with your presence. If there is anything I can assist you with, please let me know.”
Sir Gawain could feel the magic at work, though he couldn’t see it. Some incantation trying to find its way into his brain. Gawain paid it no mind, it would take magic stronger than that to affect him.
“What’s your name, girl?”
“Stop your spell, Fiora. Otherwise, It will end poorly.”
Fiora laughed again. This time it made Sir Gawain twitch slightly, the spell was settling in faster than he had anticipated.
“You’ve already lost. Do you really think I would let a saint into my court without precautions?”
Sir Gawain put his hands on the table, and it tessellated and shattered. The fragments kaleidoscoped into several patterns as the illusion manifested. The room began to take on the appearance of stained glass.
The saint cracked his neck. Any moment now, it would be over.
“Is this your best, Fiora? I’ll give you one more chance.”
“You talk big, saint, but you’re in my world now.”
The tessellations twisted into spears, pointed at the saint. The stained glass shards of reality rushed forward towards his chest.
Sir Gawain raised his hand, and his weapon arrived in a flash of light. His Truthblade took the form of a greatsword made of brilliant blue light, and with a single swing he shattered the illusion. The magic scattered, its power dissipating into the air.
His Truthblade arrived only when he needed it most. The symbol of his status and his reward as an exemplar of the knightly virtues. Made of faith and power, nothing could stop it once it was swung, which was why it was swung only when necessary.
Fiora was in her true form. The ornate robes instead moth-eaten and tattered, the clothing of a runaway wizard. Her complexion was marred by acne scars and ruddy. Sir Gawain had shattered her spell so thoroughly even residual spells were affected. The woman stood there in awe as the saint slowly lowered his weapon.
“Now, girl. It’s time for us to go, and for you to repent.”
Fiora stood there, in loss as to what had happened. Her mouth hung in both dismay and defeat.
“No... no, this isn’t over. I’ll never go with you!”
The floor around her began to shimmer, and Sir Gawain sighed. He took no pleasure in this. To strike down someone so young and misguided when they could instead be saved. It was the ultimate failure.
The saint stepped forward and the floor raced up his leg, shards of wood warped to become piercing glass, but Sir Gawain dismissed the attack with a lazy swipe of his Truthblade. The weapon hummed as it arced through the air, leaving a faint trail of shimmering light.
One more step and the massive knight had his Truthblade at Fiora’s throat.
“The Lady grants you one final chance before you seal your fate. Please, take it.”
Fiora laughed, and Sir Gawain swung. The attack wasn’t directed at the wizard, but behind the saint.
He hit something and there was a scream, as Fiora’s invisible form rippled into visibility. The caster fell to her knees, clutching a deep wound in her side.
“You’ll live, girl, but the pain will stop you from focusing on any spells for long enough to return you to the Academy.”
Sir Gawain stooped low, and picked the woman up in his arms. She weighed nothing, not compared to the weight the saint would carry if he had struck him down. The Truthblade had dissipated, no longer needed.
“The pain is too great for you to walk, so I will carry you. As we walk, we will talk about your choices, and about how the Lady is still waiting for you to place your faith in her.”
He turned from the hall, and silence followed him out the manor.
Saints guide the realm away from darkness and towards The Lady.
They are granted her strength to smite those who would undo her blessed work.
Root out the liars, the thieves, and the deceivers as the Saint in Ivion, the Herocrafting Card Game, coming to Kickstarter September 1st, 2020!