“And then the man had three of the magic rings at his command,” old Berimud leaned forward in his chair and the sparks of the fire popped past his beard. “And it … it changed him …“
His grandchildren all sat mesmerized, huddled together, not from the cold in this quite comfortable cottage, but from the chilling tales the storyteller was weaving.
“They made him a bad man,” Berimud continued slowly as he peered into the fire. “He no longer listened to his friends as he became convinced that if he could get just one more ring hung from his neck – he would have the power to destroy all their enemies.”
There were a few moments of silence. The only sounds being the crackle of wood in the fire, a slight howling of the wind outside, and the old man’s labored breaths.
“Then they came,” he continued, not looking up from the fire. “A hundred men … from different countries, but united in one cause …. to strip the rings from this madman.
“BOOM!” he shouted and the children all flinched and grabbed each other. “BOOM! BOOM! The attacking mages threw fire. Clank! Clank! Clank came a flood of warriors in plate armor, tearing his companions apart with their great swords. Whish! Whish! Whish! Arrows flew by his head.”
The children all settled back down as Berimud settled back into his chair.
“But he still had the rings – and they were still winning the fight. It was none of the attackers who could bring him down. As he stepped forward to end the battle, … he felt the steel enter his back. As he fell to his knees, he could see that now the attackers would be able to overrun his men. It was over – and the rings would be lost.”
“The bad man was killed?” little Obert asked, wide-eyed and amazed.
“Now, now, that is quite enough of that,” his wife Iruinea chided as she entered the room with a fresh tankard for the old man. “I put up with your fanciful tale long enough. It is time for the children to go to bed – and I will have no more of your filling their heads with magic and madmen.”
Berimud took the drink and looked back into the fire as Iruinea gathered the children up for bed.
And remembered what it was like to hold three magic rings …
THE RINGS GAME is this year’s Bellum Aeternus III Adventure, to take place Thursday night and all day Friday of BeAe III.