Aftermath: The Battle to Defend Britannia's Heart By WarderDragon Written from the perspective of a Britannic Citizen. This should enlighten folks confused about the origin of the 'Mysterious Crystal.' The last fire has been quenched in the Capitol of New Britannia. Peace has again returned to Our Realm. But many long weeks shall pass before the stench of black smoke lifts and the mangled corpses of our fallen brothers and sisters can be dragged from the vultures claws. Such is war. It has been confirmed that the Crystal Shard of Duplicity - said to possess power greater than even Mondain's Dark Ruby - has been stolen from its poorly guarded display in Castle Britannia. The Shard - which our previous liege had spent so much of his own wealth to forever seal - possesses not only the power to shatter the Virtue Barrier that envelops the Continent of Trammel. It has the power to create - and perhaps even destroy - entire worlds. It has happened before in the hands of men we consider 'Virtuous.' He who possesses this eldritch heirloom possesses the power of a God. Perhaps our glorious Queen would do well to take her advice from men rather than rats. There is some speculation - rumors exchanged amongst commoner and nobleman alike - regarding who might be responsible for the theft. Who possesses the power to launch such an assault upon the Seat of Britannic Power? Exodus? The Bane Chosen? We do know that the faction has been gathering the dark mineral for some unnamed purpose. This has happened before. The Ophites? Supporters of the Chosen are quick to enumerate that the serpentine race has been mining the dangerous ore for some time in what some would suggest is preparation for their next assault upon the Human Kingdoms. Gargoyles, perhaps? The Golems were - not surprisingly - formed in much the same manner as the Colossus called upon by Gargish Sorcerers. It would seem that for every lip and listening ear there springs fourth another theory regarding the origin of our nameless foe. But even more disturbing is how our righteous sovereign came to know of this threat made against the Britannic Capitol. For weeks have the Defenders of Our Realm stood fast against these hellspawned fiends and sacrilegious abominations. For weeks have we hunted the Sons of Beelzebub and the Legion of the Qliphoth. Not one scrap of vellum has been produced to proclaim this 'inevitable assault.' No letter or scroll. No dying scream of an eviscerated Devil. Only the word of Her Majesty the Queen. What we do have is the liveried stablemen and palace servants to the Queen whispering tales of her nightmares and portents of evil. Visions of a nameless dark. It would seem - if these rumors prove to be fact and not fancy - that our reigning monarch foresaw the advance of this demonic host. That perhaps the proclamation of 'letters' and 'missives' is no more than a fabrication. We have a Queen who excavated the relic her predecessor sealed so she could 'display for all to see.' We have a Queen who led the defenders away from the throne room and allowed this priceless object to be stolen. She consorts with thieves and has allowed the castle to be plundered twice. That leaves us two conclusions. Our Queen is either mad. Or an unwitting pawn used by the dark powers she claims to oppose. Sound familiar?