This is the ongoing story of our hero Tibicus.
The memories of that day had burnt deep into Fridolin's soul. Many years had passed until he found out that it had been Ferumbras who ravaged Thais that day and that it were his demons who pillaged and burnt the whole countryside. Ferumbras was the one responsible for the massacre at his parents' farm.
After he had fled from the yard, Fridolin lived a miserable life on the streets of one of the bigger Tibian cities. Always trying to stay under the radar to keep himself out of trouble, he had spent the following years fighting a daily feud between life and death. Being in constant fear of falling asleep since sleep meant that nightmares and memories of that night would catch up with him again, the little boy was barely able to sustain in this rough and unforgiving environment.
He was spit on, beaten, battered, kicked and blackmailed by the elder kids who made sure that he knew his place at the bottom of their food chain. Most of the days, he was begging from door to door or committed minor crimes and thefts in order to save himself from starvation while he spent his nights deep down in the sewers between rubbish and rats.
He had already come to terms with his miserable, worthless life when one day, he had been approached by a well-fed man named Beefo. The words that came out of his mouth were sweet and tempting but Fridolin had learnt the hard way to be sceptical all the time.
Still, the offer the man had made was too tempting to refuse. While Beefo was offering him a way out of this hellhole, Fridolin saw a possibility to fulfil his greatest desire: He finally wanted to forget what had happened that night. To repress the painful thoughts and to erase his past from his memory. Beefo knew nothing about his ghosts, but the training he was proposing was perfectly suited to fade the mental scars little by little.
Now, however, all those depressing memories of that tragic event came back to haunt him again. Over and over, they flashed through his mind. Like a constantly recurring nightmare, they penetrated his thoughts, reigning down on him, retaking their long-lost place in his memory and manifesting in his mind.
Sweating and shivering at the same time, Fridolin woke up in an unknown place. His hands fixated on heavy chains hanging from the walls, he was on his knees unable to move his body. Confused and disoriented, Fridolin tried to clear his head. The last thing he remembered was him fighting against those demons.
When they fled back into their abyss, he jumped with them, rammed his knife mid-air right into the leathery skin of one of the demons and climbed onto his back while they were falling down into the bottomless gorge. Afterwards, there was nothing. He could not remember what happened then or how he got here.
He tried to raise his head. His vision was still blurred and he could only recognise indistinct outlines and nebulous movements.
Mighty walls surrounded a huge hall with high ceilings. In the flickering light of the torches, he could make out gleaming eyes in the dark greedily gazing at him and baring fangs baying for blood. Bulky shadows swung from one protrusion to the next, rearing up, belching smoke and flames and emitting heart-piercing, braying screams of laughter.
"Welcome young man! I must say I am impressed. Only few have ever made it into this realm." a voice resounded through the hall.
"Who... Who's talking?" Fridolin rasped. His throat felt dry-as-dust and his vocal cords were raucous like sandpaper.
"Don't worry about me, you'll find out soon enough. Until then, I'm the one who is asking the questions! Tell me, what is it you desire?"
Fridolin tried to free himself from the manacles but every single chain link was bigger than his fist. There was no way he could escape.
"I... I don't know..." he answered. "Set me free and I'll show you."
A blazing lightning crushed down on Fridolin, charging up the chains sending high doses of bundled energy waves through his body.
"Wrong answer, try again!"
Fridolin felt his heart skipping beats.
Fridolin did not say a word and his punishment followed swiftly.
Wave after wave, the energy rushed through his body causing fast-twitching muscle contractions and crippling his inner organs. Drained of his strength, he felt unconscious countless times only to be woken up by the next energy shock until he was no longer able to bear the pain.
"The hat, those demons took a hat, and I want to get it back." he said with clenched teeth. While he was looking bashfully at the ground, disgusted by his own weakness, a pair of pointed boots made of dark red buckskin stepped into his field of vision. Using the last of his strength, Fridolin lifted his head.
"IT'S YOU!!!" Fridolin stared in wide-eyed horror at the man in front of him. So far, only Tibicus had told him about the appearance and looks of this evil mastermind. However, the second he saw the white, tangled beard and the twirly moustache, he knew that the man standing in front of him was indeed Ferumbras.
"You know what's interesting? It took quite a while to get this precious back onto my head." Ferumbras began to talk while tapping against the brim of his hat. "Every living soul wants to get their dirty hands on my hat. Yet, I can sense that you didn't come here for my headgear." Ferumbras lifted Fridolin's chin with his fingers. Looking him straight into the eyes, he said: "I will ask again: What is your true desire?"
Fridolin was horrified by the wizard's glaze. He felt the cold, evil energy running through his fingers, entering his body and crawling through his veins, spreading like a pesterous virus. He lost control over his body and finally over his mind. Ferumbras was taking over, searching through his brain looking for his true desire. The second Ferumbras took his finger from his chin, the invasive sensation was gone.
"I see, so you have met my servants before." Ferumbras began to speak after a while. "Your parents... Well, it's tragic what happened to them. But you know, my little puppies can get quite excited once they are let loose which results in some unfortunate casualties every now and then, I am afraid."
"YOU KILLED THEM!!" Fridolin shouted at him.
"One can say that I was indeed responsible for their demise in one way or another. Yet, there is no use to cry over spilled milk. Please tell me, what is it you desire?"
Fridolin found no words to say.
"Sigh, you don't seem to be the brightest candle on the cake..." Ferumbras continued his mocking while he created another bulb of blue energy in his hand.
"I.. I.. I wanted to forget everything. To ring down the curtain on the darkest and most horrofying chapter of my life to finally leave for fresh fields." Fridolin stumbled.
"Now we're talking!" Ferumbras said with a condescending smile. "but let me guess... Your great plan was to come down here, find me, kill me, take my hat, return to Tibia and live happily ever after? Because revenge will cure your soul and will in a magical way let you forget about your past, right?"
Fridolin felt busted. He did not have much time to think about the consequences when he had jumped into the abyss but hearing his plan simplified and reduced to those few words was quite embarrassing.
"The good thing is..." Ferumbras proceeded. "... neither forgetting your past nor killing me is your greatest desire either."
"What do you mean?" Fridolin was confused.
"I've seen your greatest desire, Fridolin. You're not after revenge, wealth or peace. You desire love! The kind of love only your parents can provide! And you know what? With your help, I can make that happen."