The Order of the Fallen was the guild that I was creating as Ashen Temper prior to me joining Wolfpack Studios. It was comprised mainly of members of my old Ultima Online guild ‘Spirits of Vengeance’, to include Vosx (which stand for X-SoV), and some members who followed me from another guild called ‘Council of the Apocalypse’. The guild never existed aside from being on the web since the game had never come out but was reincarnated later under different rulership as Vengeance Agenda.
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A young man walks before the entrance to a tavern. Inside are the sounds of warriors rehashing (and exaggerating) tales of their adventures. His name is M’kael and he is new to their numbers. Not long ago, he was running for his life… a group of bandits hot on his trail. He had been running for hours and his energy was almost gone when he ran into a boxed canyon.
No sooner did he realize that he was trapped did he turn around to see eight bandits come into view. He was too late to turn and run. Instead of cowering and begging for his life, though, he withdrew a short sword and awaited his fate.
“So the pup has fangs, does he?” One of the bandits say, a gleam in his eye and daggers in his hands.
M’kael says nothing, he just holds his sword before him waiting for the first bandit to come forward so he could strike. But the bandits knew what they were doing. They came at him slowly, moving as one. And as they came for him, M’kael would step backwards… until his back reached the wall of the boxed canyon.
“No where left to go, little pup. What say you hand over your weapon… and your goods.”
“And what say you that you just leave with your life?”
The bandits looked about as four horsemen walk up behind them.
“This is no concern of yours, Ashen,” the leader of the bandits says.
“Ahhh, but that is where you are wrong,” the man called Ashen says as he dismounts, his three companions doing the same. “These are my lands and you are trespassing. Therefore, I am making it my business.”
“Ha! These lands have not belonged to the Temper family for generations, you brash fool!”
“Hold your tongue!” the man next to Ashen commands.
“And so we here from the other Temper brat,” the bandit says. “I spit upon your househo…”
With blinding speed, Ashen unsheathes his sword and rushes at the bandit. Thought and movement are as one, catching the bandits off-guard. Before one of them can draw a weapon, the bandit leader’s head falls from his body and to the ground.
Ashen turns to the remaining seven, a snarl on his lips. “Leave now in peace… or later in pieces.”
Without uttering a word, the remain bandits ease out of the boxed canyon and leave.
Ashen turns towards him, his blade already sheathed and his hand outstretched. “Welcome to the lands of Temper. You look as if you need a place to rest and food to eat. What say you follow us to the heart of Temper?”
M’kael grasp Ashen’s outstretched hand, trying to make his grip as firm as possible so he does not see how tired he is. “I would like that very much, m’lord.”
That was a week ago. Since then, M’kael has come to call the kingdom of Temper his home. He had been running for months, his family destroyed in a battle between good and evil. He had nothing left to call his own except a short sword his father had given him and the clothes on his back. But since that night, the citizens of this land have treated him as one of them. He was offered a position in the Border Legion, Temper’s standing army, which he gladly accepted.
M’kael slowly opens the door to the tavern and walks in. The moment he stepped through, the smell of ale permeates the air. He looks around, seeing a mass of warriors around the bar, mugs of ale in everyone’s hands (and some holding two).
“If it isn’t our young wolf,” one of the warriors say. M’kael instantly recognizes the voice as that of Ashen Temper, the man who saved his life and rules the lands of Temper. “And how was your first week with the Border Legion?”
“It was quite good, m’lord.”
“I’ll have none of that “m’lord” stuff… pick a spot and grab a mug of ale. In this place, we are all the same. We are warriors.”
M’kael stands in the crowd of men and is handed a mug. He takes a sip of it and shakes his head.
“Packs quite a kick, does it not?” M’kael says nothing as he shakes his head in agreement. “So, do you have any questions after having a chance to settle in?”
“Actually, I did m’l… ” but before he finished the word, he catches Ashen’s grin. “Yes I do. How is this place here? The kingdom of Temper has not been seen in generations… many say it was just a myth in the first place. But as I live and breathe, it is here… not just here, but thriving.”
“So, you wish to hear the tale of Temper, eh?” But before Ashen can say any more, the warriors around begin heckling…
“Oh lad, you do not know what you are asking!” one of the large warriors say. “Once Ashen has had a few sips of ale, it is near impossible to get him to stop talking!” And with that, the rest of the crowd bursts into laughter.
Ashen just takes another sip from his mug until the laughter dies down. “Pay them no attention,” he says with a smirk, “they are just jealous. Now, about the lands of Temper…
“It is true, these lands have not been held by the Temper’s for about five full generations. In fact, the last Temper to hold the lands was Ulric Temper, who lived during the Age of Kings. But, before the fall of Temper, ahhhh, the lands were something to behold. All around you was green and full of life.”
“You speak as if you were there,” M’kael states. “You weren’t… were you?”
“No, I wasn’t. You must understand, the House of Temper has always had a bit of the magic in us. My mother, may the All-Father bless her soul, had the unique power of making images with her thoughts. As did her mother… and her mother. Unfortunately, I fear that bit of magic was only in the women of Temper and that died with my mother.
“After the fall of Temper, Ulric’s wife Katryna started the tradition of telling a tale of the kingdom weekly. This would entertain the surrounding families and keep the stories of Temper alive. But most importantly, it was to teach the stories and the images to her daughter so she could retell the tale to her children and continue down the line. My mother told us the stories so many times that sometimes I do feel as if I lived in those times. I look at the lands here and can invision how the looked in those days. That is why my passion is so strong in rebuilding the Kingdom of Temper. I know how wonderful the lands were.
“As I was saying before, though, Ulric, who had walked the halls of the Great Library of Aerynth, was the last to rule the Kingdom of Temper. When the All-Father turned his back from our realm, disease and starvation struck hard. The warlords rose up, dividing the lands. Chaos ensued.
“One of the first lands to be attacked were our lands. Ulric Temper sent a request to the surrounding kingdoms… lands he had helped defend. But no help was sent. In the end, there was nothing left to do but flee. Ulric was the last of the resistance left, and he died as a warrior should… his flaming sword in his hand and blood on his hands.
“For the generations that followed, the former lands of Temper changed hands many times… from good to evil, evil to good. But not once were the lands returned to the Tempers. Instead, my forefathers roamed the lands, fighting in one army or another.
“My father, Balder Temper, fought in the Movement, a branch of the armies of the Bane. For a few years, we lived as well as possible, my father rarely around as he was sent from camp to camp, battle to battle. My mother had died during a raid as we moved to another kingdom. While our father was gone, my brothers Vos’x and Squirrell and I enhanced our skills… both in the secrets of steel and of magic; for might and magic are spokes on the same wheel… in lacking one you lack both.
“Then three years ago, word was returned to my brothers and I our father had died in battle. He would never see his dream of seeing the lands of Temper returned to us. At first, we fought in the Movement.
“Then one night, I had a strange dream. And to this day, I recall it with such clarity that it is eerie. I was approached by a cloaked figure… and as he… it came closer, I realized it was not a person but a shade. The shade showed me visions of the lands of Temper… how it looked during the Age of Kings… and it showed me of how these lands would look if someone did not step up and reclaim them. And as I saw these visions, it spoke the following:
There shall come a righteous man, set right by his god… and before him shall be set a dark road of many paths. And the conflict will commence, and a fire in the sky and of the earth, all men shall bear it’s consequence: And the dark road shall call them one by one down down to the gate.
Upon the coming of a warrior… and his name shall be Temper… the gate shall open. And the holy and the unholy shall bow down as one… and blood will run as the river… infested with beasts. He will rend the flesh and make ready the fire for his master’s feast… wet with the cries of the innocent and the wicked together.
Look not unto him for mercy but for the long cold night. Yet shall he bring the coolness and the ease of the dark. And in that place the knowledge and the beginning of all things new.
And the wicked shall gather their rewards in blood, and he will walk over them a mutitude of death.
Yet another will call upon him and he too shall be called Temper… the teacher, a traveller and seeker, a wounded lion and king; and together shall they contend to know the darkness… and the light!
That next day, I told my dream to my brothers… and then they told me they had the exact same dream! That day, my brothers and I left the Movement along with some of our close comrades. We came back to these lands and slowly began rebuilding.
“But, no longer do we serve the ‘Bane or the surrounding kingdoms. We do not serve “good” or “evil”. No, instead our alignment is for Temper. We do what is the best for our lands. We live honorably and we live by the sword. We shall reclaim the former glory of Temper. And for all of those that attacked Temper… Vengeance shall be served!
“Many make the mistake of waiting for their fate to come to them. But let me pass on a few words of wisdom to you, young wolf: Destiny is not a matter of chance, but of choice. Not something to wish for, but to attain.”
“I have but one more question…,” M’kael says after he takes a drink of his ale. “Why is our order called the Order of the Fallen instead of the Kingdom of Temper?”
“I am glad you asked. Many mistake it for a name that just sounds good. But it actually has a meaning. We are the citizens of the Kingdom of Temper… but if you look around you, this is no longer a kingdom. No, the Kingdom of Temper fell long ago and we are trying to rebuild it. The kingdom if Fallen. Also, myself and my brothers… we are the heirs to the throne of my father’s right as King of Temper. But the kingdom was taken from us… we are but Fallen lords of a Fallen kingdom. And then there is our comrades in the Border Legion. During the Age of Kings, there was no force that could defeat them… but after the All-Father left… the Border Legion failed. Many of our members in the present day Border Legion had ancestors who fought in those last battles… they are trying to redeem the family name. They feel they too are Fallen.
“Do you now see where the name Order of the Fallen comes from?”
“Aye, I do. I do indeed.”
“Anything else you wish to know of?”
“Aye. Could you tell us the story of the flaming sword of Temper?”
“No, that is enough…”
“Bah!” said the crowd in unison. “Tell us the story, Ashen! Tis a good one, indeed!”
“Very well then,” Ashen says, taking a swig from his mug. “It was the day when Jerle Temper met the Sire of the House of Amar…”