The Fallen Paladin of Fort Forlorn

A short story

12-10-2021 - 1 minute, 48 seconds -
creativity inspiration story writing

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The illustration that inspired this text is provided by Finn Lloyd of Into the Weird Blue Yonder.

There once was a splendid fort in a deep valley in the most distant mountain range. It was said that it was built to protect the lands from a cave containing an evil so great that would it ever be allowed to stretch its dark tendrils to the surface, the sky would turn crimson and all the life in its path would rot and die. This cave was also said to contain riches beyond the wildest dreams. So, the fort was under constant assault by warlords from near and far.

The only thing keeping it from falling into foul and greedy hands was a group of paladins called the Order of the Opal Sun. Wielding immense power, both physical and divine, they were the stalwart defenders of the fort. No matter how large the force, how cunning the aggressor, how relentless the attack, the paladins would always stand their ground and keep them at bay.

Until one day. A paladin from the order had given in to the temptation and entered the dark dungeon whose gate he was sworn to defend. While exploring the depths, the powers within corrupted him and turned him away from his deity and order.

After many days, the paladin emerged from the dungeon, forever changed. Consumed by hatred and empowered with the dark magic of his new rulers, he slaughtered every single one of his brethren.

A last desperate prayer by one of the paladins was answered, and the valley was shrouded with a mist, hiding it from the view of the world, fulfilling the order's purpose and keeping it safe from the outside world.

Many ages passed. For some inexplicable reason the mist has been lifted and once again revealed the valley. And the fallen paladin is still there patrolling the grounds. Waiting.

Meanwhile, a monk uncovers something in the archives of an ancient monastery. It's a rolled up map of vellum, frail and worn out by the tooth of time. Marked on the map is the path to a forgotten burg in the mountains: Fort Forlorn.