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Jul 28, 2015

Alfred Deleted Scene: The Crusade

My cousin and I have been working our tails off prepping Alfred Shortstaff and the Cavern of Time for publication after almost ten years of writing and editing and development hell. This was a scene that I wrote describing an event canonical to Argaenothruzil history, which was included in the original draft. However, we couldn't make it work with the way the story turned out, so we had to cut it. Still, I like the way the prose turned out, and it's been a while since I was able to explore the Argae universe since it died months ago. So, for your reading enjoyment, here is the cut prologue of Alfred Shortstaff.

* * *

King Donathan of Ae’brinthil raised his sweaty head from the cot. Immediately two healers rushed to his side. He winced as burning pain radiated from two cuts across his bandaged chest.
“Lie back down, your majesty,” said one of the healers, placing a wet cloth to the king’s forehead.
“Did we… are they gone?” Donathan mumbled, his curly brown hair matted with sweat and blood.
“We don’t know yet, Your Highness. You must rest.”
At that moment, Donathan heard the clinking of armor as a man ran to the door of the tent and slipped inside. “Your Majesty!” said the man. Donathan looked up blearily. He recognized the voice of his civil elf lieutenant.
“Are they gone, Gryar?”
“Yes, my liege! The fiends have been banished, every last one of them! Are you well enough to announce it to the troops?”
“No,” said one of the healers, stepping between the two men. “Can you do it in his place, sir? The king is still recovering. The demons’ fel blades have wounded him, and we need to get one of the priesthood here to—”
“I’m fine,” said Donathan, his heart taking courage. “Just help me up.”
“Your Highness, I must protest. Those wounds need to—”
“I said help me up. That’s a command by order of the king. Or a decree, or whatever pleases you,” said Donathan, looking the healer in the eyes. Whatever the healer saw made him yield. The two healers helped him to his feet, and Gryan placed the king’s crown on Donathan’s sweaty brow. The burning on his chest made him want to wince, but he focused his mind on the truth at hand. The fiends were gone. They had won. The crusade was over.
The men helped the king limp out of the tent into the open air. The smells of blood and sulfur hung heavy in the air. Though Orovion was in a tropical part of Argaenothruzil, the sky was dark, and the cold wind bit into Donathan’s sweaty face like icicles.
They made their way past dozens of other tents, the sounds of moaning coming from some of them. “Stop,” said Donathan. “I wish to announce it here first. To the wounded and dying.”
“As you wish, sire,” said Gryan. They were near the center of the camp, and all of the healing tents would likely be able to hear him from here. He helped the king up onto the back of a cart. It was as good a platform as any other for now.
The king stood proudly, though he was out of breath, and Gryan gave him a singed banner to prop himself up on. To his surprise, however, the king merely lifted the banner aloft and spoke in a booming voice that echoed across the camp.
“Hear me, my brave men. It is finished! The demons have been confirmed banished back to the Dungeon Realm from whence they came! The sacrifice of each one of you has brought this victory for us this day. Not one of you has fought without injury, and I count myself among you. The sting of the fiends’ blades burns hot across my breast, but just like the demons have faded from this realm’s reality, so too will all your pain.
“I say to each of you courageous warriors: live! Do not succumb to oblivion. Live on, and tell your children and grandchildren of this day! Let the victory sink into your hearts. The fight is over. The fiends have lost. The hopelessness and dread of the last year is nothing more than a memory now.”
Heads began poking out of tents, and healers in their white garb began leading the wounded from their tents to watch the spectacle in the middle of camp. Donathan stood in majesty in the midst of them, his silvery armor sliced in two places on his chest, his hair matted, his cape torn, but his crown bright.
“This is not a victory of Ae’brinthil, nor is it one of Orovion, nor yet of Argaenothruzil itself. This is a victory of light! The gods have made us a sword in their hands, and have severed the arms of the Other Three from the world. No longer will we fear the onslaught of demons! Together, we have banished them from this realm, and there they will stay! Let Third Generation, year one thousand twenty-eight, be a date remembered by future generations as the Year of the Final Crusade!”

Cheers erupted from all around the camps. Gryan was astonished at the vigor that came from dying men, elves, dwarves and halflings from all sides. Donathan raised the banner higher. Its image was that of a half-circle of six white stars on a yellow field. Gryan joined his cheers with those of everyone else. He wouldn’t have to worry about the world ending for quite a while. It was a good feeling.

Jul 24, 2015

The Wonder of Magic

I thought that this document had "gone down with the ship" when the Argaenothruzil site vanished, but I luckily saved a copy on my computer! Thank you, past self! It's a description of how magic works in Argaenothruzil, which was something that I wrote with a lot of thought put into it.

The Wonder of Magic 

Magic has been a part of the universe, as well as the world itself, since time began. The gods used magic to craft the world, and magic flows through every living thing and place. It was when the first mages discovered that this energy could be manipulated that great use was put to it. Objects could be moved without being touched, powerful elemental forces could be handled with ease, and even the weather could be changed. In time, other magics could be put to use, to perform such events as summon creatures from alternate realms and heal the injured. There are three main types of magic in use by various magic users to this day, a fourth is classified as well, though it is unlike the other forms and more like a dominating power instead.

Chaotic Magic 

Though discovered late in Argaenothruzil’s history, the first type of magic that existed was Chaotic, also sometimes called Demonic, Magic. It flowed through the Void with no path and no hope of ever amounting to anything organized. After being replaced mostly by Arcane Magic when the universe was organized, the Great Division sparked the newly-christened demons to put the energy to use. They learned to somewhat control its unpredictability into evil corrupting influence. It was this very magic that the Corrupter, D’nethrokash, used to taint the continent of Elidethnar into the vile Eredathios. Little Chaotic Magic now flows on Argaenothruzil. It is mostly contained in the Dungeon Realm, a demonic dimension alternate of the world, where fiends are confined. Nowadays, chaos mages use Chaotic Magic in their practices by drawing it from this Dungeon Realm and unleashing it into the world. It is by doing this that chaos mages weaken the barrier between worlds, and in some cases unwittingly creating a portal wide enough for demonic creatures to escape into the world. Chaotic energy is also very taxing on the users, draining youth from their body with every use. Despite these risks, many mages cannot escape the lust for power and the potential damage Chaos can cause, using it to cause great tide-turning catastrophes upon enemies. Many organizations seek to put this evil form of magic down forever, and almost every city on Argaenothruzil outlaws or imposes limits on its use. It is likely, however, that there are many secret sects of chaos mages in hiding, mad from the demonic corruption that has or will inevitably consume their hearts.

Power Source: Energy drawn out of the Dungeon Realm
Cost: Age, risk of summoning hostile demons, unpredictable spells, possibility of losing one's soul to a demonic struggle

Chaos Magic Subcategories 

The main sect of Chaos Magic users is that of the warlocks. Warlocks are devil-worshipers who depend on the influence of Khlamul or even D'nethrokash to learn their forbidden chaotic arts. Warlocks meet in brotherhoods in secret, summoning and enslaving demons, making pacts in blood to receive the favor of the Other Three, and ritualistically learning forbidden knowledge from them. Being as warlocks are so deeply engrossed in Chaos Magic, their presence is forbidden on Argae and many organizations seek to snuff out their dark orders forever. They utilize rods made of black iron to channel chaotic energy and control it to some degree.

Witches are chaos mages who use the power of Chaos to bastardize nature. Rather than embracing it fully as the warlocks do, witches prefer to use subtle amounts of Chaos Magic to modify the composition of certain herbs or plants, and use them to make unnatural potions and brews. They also use Chaotic Magic to modify their own appearance, to cloak their identity and live lives of disguise. It is unknown how many witches are truly strewn across Argaenothruzil and how many are mere stories meant to frighten children. But it is sure that when one comes upon a landscape corrupted by demonic influence, it is the work of subtle amounts of Chaos Magic leaking into the world, most likely the work of witches.

See also: 

Arcane Magic 

The Intelligences brought with the creation of the world Arcane Magic, the magic of Order. It is from Arcane Magic that is derived the power of the elements, Fire, Water, Air, Earth, and Quintessence, as well as their manipulation. Arcane Magic, for those who are gifted enough to use it, is very reliable and useful for a variety of tasks. By mentally reaching out into the cosmos the world for a fragment of arcane essence, an arcane mage or collective group of mages can dominate weather patterns or natural disasters. Arcane Magic requires a sort of inner energy called “mana” to be used, and if used profusely can seriously exhaust the caster. Usually arcane mages are not solitary, but combine their power with other mages to produce magnificently organized effects of their utilization. One important use of Arcane Magic is teleportation. By creating two focuses, mages can connect parts of arcane space into “ley-lines,” allowing the recall of their body, as well as a reasonable amount of possessions. In any case, Arcane Magic is arguably the most powerful magic on Argae, mostly because of its dependable and focusable nature.

The basic arts of Arcane Magic use are as follows:

Binding - The connecting and locking of an arcane essence to a something else. Enchanters often utilize this magic art to create powerful artifacts, but there is also a wealth of other uses that Binding is used in. An arcane mage can bind a person to a gust of wind for a time, or bind fire to wood to make it unquenchable. The science of creating ley-lines also comes into play with this art.

Organization - The wonder of Arcane Magic comes from the fact that it seems to have a mind of its own—a logical mind full of foresight and order. The art of Organization can be used to restore things back to their original state, including wounds, if one is skilled. It is also used to simulate sentient life in objects, allowing the creation of golem sentinels made of natural materials, or enchanted, floating guard-weapons.

Power Source: Primal elemental essences
Cost: Mana (physical energy)

Arcane Magic Subcategories 

Wizards are of the ancient and original order of mages taught Arcane Magic by Henaeros himself. They are a conservative group, preferring to cast magic in its purest, unaltered manner, channeled through their hands. Because of wizards' rich history, many spells have been recorded in tomes and codexes throughout the ages, making wizardry the easiest, most balanced method of magic to master. Though their spells are more utility-based than offensive, wizardry is by nature a form of magic that can be amplified with group effort. Thus, the wizards of the countless Mage Guilds of Argae are always willing to take on apprentices and spread their age-old wisdom abroad.

Enchanters make up the most secretive branch of Arcane Magic, hailing from an uncharted location somewhere in the North. Unlike the social wizards of the Guilds, enchanters are largely freelance mages who congregate only rarely to share their knowledge. Enchanters use staves to amplify and focus their magic, which is strongly based on the arcane discipline of Binding. Enchanting is the least taxing form of magic, which is why enchanters prefer to live largely solitary magic lives.

The sorcerer sect of Arcane Magic is considered a profane one by the Wizard Guilds, mainly because sorcerers are fond of stretching the limits of Arcane Magic to obtain more powerful results. They use catalystic accessories such as bangles, bracers and rings to amplify their magical output and reduce mana consumption, at the cost of making the arcane energies released more unpredictable. Sorcerers meet together in covens across Argae, and choose leaders based completely on power. It is for this reason that Sorcery is considered, at least by other wizards, as being a barbaric use of magic. Sorcerers are also known to dabble in Chaotic Magic, but only to further increase the power of their arcane spells. They are an arrogant lot, and it is considered bad form to risk unleashing demons into Argae to ruin their fun.

Conjurers are a sub-category of wizards who are adept at ley-lines and teleportation, as well as a specialized form of Binding. Rather than focusing elemental energy into offensive projectiles, conjurers excel at Binding the elements to sentient energy to create elementals and golems to fight for them. Many are also adept at memorizing a specific matrix of portal and charm spells to summon savage beasts from ley-locations in Argae.

See also:


Sacrum is in a way similar to the way Chaotic Magic is now, but it is much younger. Instead of drawing magic from the Dungeon Realm, Sacrum is a divine power wrought from the merciful hands of the gods. In most cases, it involves “reversing” natural effects, such as injuries. Most Sacrum in fact is used for healing, though it can be used for almost anything the gods will. Divine protection from harm is characteristic of Sacrum, and it is rare but possible to return a soul to its body before it has joined itself with the Realm of the Dead. It has even apparently been possible for a user of Sacrum to travel through time itself, be it the will of the gods. In a sense, it can be described as an energy that the gods put to use through their devout priests and clerics on the world. It is a great delight in many cases for these subjects to able to act as a tool in the hands of the gods by bringing out their works in physical form. The gods are limited in their power on the world, and need these pious servants to administer in their Sacric acts. The element Quintessence is often associated with Sacrum, but is of course nonexistent anywhere on the world itself, except in the heavens. The problem with Sacrum is that it is limited to the gods' will, though more versatility and authority comes from more divine confidence in the cleric who uses it.

The three aspects of Sacrum are as follows:

Restoration - The power to restore that which has been changed or destroyed. This includes healing wounds, curing diseases, and the possibility of resurrection of the dead. It, however, can also include more practical restorative acts, such as mending broken items or erasing unpleasant memories. In rare cases, Time itself can be altered or revealed.

Protection - The principle of Sacrum necessitates a healthy relationship with the deities, for the more worthy and devout a user of Sacrum is, the more likely the gods will desire to protect him or her. The gods can alter dangerous situations in many ways, from dulling the senses of enemies or making their servant invisible to causing actual momentary shields to block incoming blows or veer projectiles off course. Though this is the passive side of Sacrum, part of guaranteeing the gods' protection is an attitude of thanksgiving and meekness toward them.

Retribution/Exorcism - In some cases, the gods' wrath may be channeled through an individual in the form of Retribution. This is similar to Protection, but in an offensive manner rather than defensive. Demonic creatures may be subdued and banished back to the Dungeon Dimension, or even destroyed utterly; weapons may be imbued with the power of Quintessence for a few choice strikes; and beams of holy energy may be directed at desecraters of the gods' names.

Power Source: The power and influence of the gods; Quintessence
Cost: None, though devoutness, piety and humility are necessary for the gods to entrust the Sacrum user with their power

Sacrum Subcategories 

Priests and priestesses are the primary servants of the gods who desire nothing more than to spread their worship across Argaenothruzil. They are pious and humble men and women, often dedicating themselves to a life of meditation and ritual in monasteries, abbeys and temples. They keep to themselves and their clergy most of the time, using it as a job and calling to care for the poor and bring solice to weary souls; however, they have also been known to carry out the gods' mysterious wishes by going on long journeys and pilgramages to faraway lands, or wandering to lend their services to anyone who will listen.

Monks are zealous users of Sacrum who are completely willing to give their lives in combat in the name of the gods. It is this conviction that entrusts them with great physical strength and Retribution power when fighting evil foes. Many monks are content with guarding religious locations or artifacts for the entirety of their lives. Others spend their time in constant martial training to overcome their physical desires so that should a crusade begin, their ranks are prepared for immediate dispatch. When monks die, it is with immense honor and submission, and only after many miraculous escapes from danger by the hand of the gods.

Shamans are a unique branch of magi who use a primitive form of Arcane Magic as well as Sacrum to accomplish their crude purposes. Originally a sect of fanatic nature-worshipers, shamans have since learned of the source of all nature and direct their worship to Phroella Nature-Mother. Though conservative magic-users, shamans have perfected many aspects of both Sacrum and Arcane Magic that have been largely forgotten in Argae, due to more offensive and ambitious pursuits by the other magical orders. These arts include prophecy, mind-reading, and herblore, as well as weather control. Even the lowest order of shaman knows how to easily bring rain to provide for his village's crops.

Druidic Sacrum 
Druids (female form: dryads) are a tight-knit circle of worshipers of the destructive aspects of nature, and are thus only hesitantly trusted by the gods. Like shamans, their magical use comes from a blend of Arcane and Sacrum magicks, and are among the only known beings who have learned how to change their shape at will into creatures of the world. Though they do find beauty in thunderstorms, earthquakes and cyclones, they are also potent healers and avid wisdom-seekers, depending upon nature to supply them with the necessities of life. Civilization has thinned their numbers significantly and driven them into secluded forests and jungles of Argae, but they do still exist and meet at ancient ruins, which they believe are the sources of the ancient, purest form of magic, lost in the threads of time.


The most potentially abominable form of magic by far is the use of Hothmancy. Most hothmancers dominate their enemies by summoning and enslaving literal souls from the Realm of the Dead. They can use the souls to inhabit lifeless corpses and do their bidding, or simply “become” pure destructive energy and be hurled into enemies to damage them. The souls can never be truly destroyed themselves, but the mere practice of disturbing their peace from the rest of death is truly a heartless act. In many cases, the soul will plead with the hothmancer, telling him their name and begging them to let them go free. It is this tormenting plea that drives many hodhmancers to madness, or to abandon the dark arts. There are less heretical forms of Hothmancy involving mere communication with the deceased, or even recapturing lost knowledge from the souls that have passed on. For the most part, however, Hothmancy is forbidden by every major lawmaker in Argae and is exceptionally rare, though invariably existent.
It is interesting to note that the wampyre people of Nerolanth use a form of Hothmancy that is more akin to that of Sacrum, the source of power of which comes from their ancestors.

Power Source: The Realm of the Dead
Cost: Sanity

Hothmancy Subcategories:

Necromancers have not been seen in Argae for decades, but their existence is likely even today. These desecraters of life were known in the past to use souls in the worst ways possible: By forcing them to inhabit the bones of the dead and march on armies of the living. They have also used the souls as concentrated forms of shadowy energy to hurl at enemies in battle. Necromancy of any degree is hunted in Argaenothruzil, and is hence very rare.


There has only been a handful of liches since recorded history, but their existence has tainted the events of history forever. The process of becoming a lich is unknown as far as anyone knows, but it involves defying Death himself and binding own's own soul into a phylactery, granting him or her immortality as long as the item remains intact. The natural effects of age and decay continue their processes at an increased rate, but corruption never causes the lich to die. One of the ancient legends tells of a lich who had lived so long under his self-imposed curse that he was entirely skeletal, and yet very much alive and clear in mind.

Jul 9, 2015

AustinCraft 8.1!

The past couple of weeks, my three brothers and I have gotten back into Minecraft a bit. We decided to make our own server to play on for the first time, and have been wondering why we never tried it before. It's been a blast to have a dynamic world to log on to whenever we want and see the changes that the other players have made.

Anyway, I realized as we played that some of the icons weren't to my liking... potatoes looked stupid, you could barely tell when one was baked or not, and there were these two stupid new rocks called "diorite" and "andesite." Who came up with that anyway? I also realized that the previous AustinCraft! hadn't lived up to its full potential as a resource pack rather than just a texture pack. So I got to work!

Now on AustinCraft!, the items all have correct names—clubs are called clubs, spears are called spears, and so forth—a bunch of new icons have been added to just make the world more interesting and fun, the coloring on some existing icons has been enhanced, and diorite and andesite are now marble and basalt, respectively, adding a new look to the game and more possibilities for construction aesthetics. If you're a Minecraft player, try out my resource pack! It keeps the classic feel of Minecraft intact (which I love), while enhancing the existing graphics.

This will most likely be the last update to AustinCraft!. Though it's been fun playing Minecraft, Terraria 1.3 did just come out...