This week we had our UK Competition winners, Chris Atkinson and Peter Copping visit Lionhead Studios and play the game for 3 whole hours, 2 weeks before its release! The competition involved writing a short story based on the world of Albion, so here they are!
We had heard stories about ‘The Court’. A Knight, a Queen and a Jack. The rumors were that they wanted the world to bow down to them, so we laughed, they were stories. Then the mail came. People with family near the coast said they demanded to be worshipped, that they were real. Others with family there heard nothing. So we assumed it was a joke. Now we know why they didn’t write.
The stories had changed, they were not stories of worship now. They were stories of fire. We started to notice the effects. Ash fell from the sky, and clear days were not so clear. The smoke was travelling.
Then it was water. Towns were lost. Lives were lost. Families were lost. We were told that if we bowed down it would end. There would be peace. We bowed. But only the dead are at peace. We were told we were insane. I still don’t know if we were.
I knew we had to overthrow The Court. There were only three of them, I was determined to find a way. I began to read. Book after book after book. In the house of an elderly man we found it. A dusty tome with more power than anything we could have hoped for. It took me to the void and I met the Jack. I escaped, not just with my life, but with his sword, and the sword spoke to me. Maybe I was insane.
The sword gave me the power to defeat The Court, in return for my Soul. An easy trade to make. And so we fought.
I climbed the mountain Ruon and met the Knight. Against my sword he had no chance. Next was the Jack. He was my equal and our fight was legendary. It lasted days, scorching the Earth as we moved. I broke him and his body fell. But his spirit returned to the Void.
My last fight was with The Queen. She was better than I could ever hope to be. Our fight lasted weeks, and forged the landscape of Albion you know today. But eventually she fell, as the sword promised she would. But the sword had not delivered its full promise. The Court was gone, but not all destroyed. The Jack still lived. But he has not yet returned.
I am standing now where The Queen fell to my Blade all those years ago. The fire has gone, and trees are in its place. I shall call it Oakvale. It is here I have been told to leave this letter.
The sword has told me to write this letter, so that you will know why you must fight Jack. He will rise again, and a Hero must rise to fight him. You are our hope, a hope that gives us joy. A joy even Jack can’t destroy.
His name is Jack of Blades. My name is William Black. I do not know your name. Hero.
There he sat, The Hero, or so he once was. When they had needed him, when the darkness had threatened the land they had clamoured for him, begged of him, pleaded for his help; but look at him now, dressed in rags, his sword and armour long since bartered for coin or food, his body unwashed and his belly unfilled. Now that he wasn’t needed the blood of heroes in his veins counted for nothing. He had given his all for Albion, nearly given his life and at first the people had thanked him and honoured him, his name and his deeds the stuff of song and legend, but as peace returned and memory faded the songs were unsung and the legend untold. The ever-fickle people of Albion started to whisper and rumour began to spread, What had the hero really done? was there ever really a threat? was the world in danger at all? And quickly the land of Albion turned against the hero, branding him a liar and a fraud, casting him from taverns and refusing him work to make a living. Cast out and destitute the hero travelled the land, taking on what work would now befit him as a bodyguard or a watchman, but as rumours spread and minds closed to his once selfless acts, even those ignoble callings were lost to him.
There he sits, The Hero, or so he once was; the rain falls in sheets, washing the thick dirt from his skin, the hero’s blood boiling in his veins. His breathing is shallow, his eyes are closed, for years he fought the darkness; not that which had threatened Albion but that which gnawed at his soul, that he had fought back at every turn to help the people of Alibion, every temptation, every vice he had foresworn in his mission all to no end. The hero stands slowly, his breathing still shallow but his eyes open now, no longer the angelic blue of his former self but the glowing dark red of who he has become. He smiles wickedly in the pouring rain under the stormy sky. “So, Albion forgot why they needed the hero?” The Fallen Hero growls “Perhaps they should be reminded.”