Authors: Joe Dever
Tags: #Fiction, #Fantasy, #Lone Wolf, #Magnamund
You are Lone Wolf — Kai Grand Master of Sommerlund. Far away to the west lies the peninsula of Ixia. It is an icy, desolate wasteland that for 10,000 years has been the domain of Lord Ixiataaga — Masterlord of the Dead. Here he reigns supreme over a horde of lost souls, an undead populace condemned to an eternity in his service.
The Deathlord of Ixia
, you must journey to the forbidden city of Xaagon — the seat of Lord Ixiataaga's dark power — and confront him in a life-or-death battle which will test your Grand Master abilities to the limit. Will you overcome and defeat this terrifying entity? Or will you fall victim to his undead legions and the terrible new power they wield?
, the creator of the bestselling Lone Wolf adventure books and novels, has achieved world-wide recognition in three creative fields — as an award-winning author of international renown, as an acclaimed musician and composer, and as a games designer specialising in role-playing games.
On graduating from college in 1974, Joe Dever became a professional musician, and for several years, he worked in the music industry in Europe and the United States.
While working in Los Angeles in 1977 he discovered a then little-known game called ‘Dungeons & Dragons’. Although the game was in its infancy, Joe at once realised its huge potential and began designing his own role-playing games along similar conceptual lines. These first games were to form the basis of a fantasy world called Magnamund, which later became the setting for the Lone Wolf books.
Five years later, in 1982 at the Origins Game Fair, Joe won the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons World Championships in Baltimore, an event held before 16,000 people. Inspired and encouraged by his success at Origins, Joe decided to quit the music business and devote his time to writing and games design.
In 1983, after a brief spell at Games Workshop in London, he wrote
Flight from the Dark
— the first Lone Wolf interactive gamebook. His manuscript immediately attracted a frenzy of interest from three major London publishing companies, all of whom bid for world rights. Joe accepted an offer of publication from Hutchinson's (later to become Century Hutchinson Ltd; now Random House UK) and
Flight from the Dark
was first published in 1984.
This first book sold more than 100,000 copies within its first month of publication, and overseas rights were snapped up by twelve countries (including the United States, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, and Sweden). The success of Joe's first book laid the foundations for the future of the Lone Wolf series, which has sold millions of copies around the world.
The Lone Wolf series ended after 28 books and 14 years. Joe has continued to work in the games industry as script writer and games design consultant.
was first noticed by Joe Dever for his work in
magazine (circa issue 50) and the
Real Life Gamebooks
series by Jon Sutherland and Simon Farrell. Brian Williams was Joe's first choice of illustrators to replace Gary Chalk. Jon, being an old friend of Joe's, introduced the two. Brian was excited to work with Joe on the
series. He illustrated
The Cauldron of Fear
and almost every book about Magnamund since that time.
Publication Date: 28 October 2012
Text copyright © 1991 Joe Dever.
Illustrations copyright © 1991 Brian Williams.
Distribution of this Internet Edition is restricted under the terms of the
Project Aon License
For Chris Smith
‘I would be especially pleased if my granting of the rights to distribute my books in this way was seen as my “millennium gift” to all those devoted readers who have kept the Kai flag flying high, through all the good times, and the not-so-good. It would make me very proud indeed if this enterprise laid the foundations of a lasting legacy, securing the longevity of Lone Wolf by making my creation freely and readily accessible to current and future online generations. For them, for us, for Sommerlund and the Kai. … ’
Project Aon would first like to thank Joe Dever for making this generous offering of the books that we have all loved from the beginning. We are also grateful for the generosity of Rob Adams, Paul Bonner, Gary Chalk, Melvyn Grant, Richard Hook, Peter Andrew Jones, Cyril Julien, Peter Lyon, Ian Page, Graham Round, and Brian Williams for contributing their portions of the world of Magnamund to Project Aon. We would also like to acknowledge the following members of Project Aon for their diligent work:
You are Grand Master Lone Wolf, last of the Kai Lords of Sommerlund and sole survivor of a massacre that wiped out the First Order of your élite warrior caste.
It is the year MS 5077, twenty-seven years since your brave kinsmen perished at the hands of the Darklords of Helgedad. These champions of evil, who were sent forth by Naar, the King of the Darkness, to destroy the fertile world of Magnamund, have themselves since been destroyed. You vowed to avenge the murder of the Kai and you kept your pledge, for it was you who brought about their downfall when alone you infiltrated their foul domain — the Darklands — and caused the destruction of their leader and the seat of his power that was the infernal city of Helgedad.
In the wake of their destruction, chaos befell the Darkland armies who, until then, had been poised to conquer all of Magnamund. Some factions which were part of this huge army, most notably the barbaric Drakkarim, began to fight with the others for control. This disorder quickly escalated into an all-out civil war which allowed the Freeland armies of Magnamund time in which to recover and launch a counter-offensive. Their commanders exploited the chaos skilfully and secured a swift and total victory over an enemy far superior in numbers.
For seven years now peace has reigned in Sommerlund. Under your direction the once-ruined Monastery of the Kai has been thoroughly rebuilt and restored to its former glory, and the task of teaching a Second Order of Kai warriors the skills and proud traditions of your ancestors is also well established. The new generation of Kai recruits, all of whom were born during the era of war against the Darklords, possess latent Kai skills and show exceptional promise. These skills will be nurtured and honed to perfection during their time at the monastery so that they may teach and inspire future generations, thereby ensuring the continued security of your homeland in future years.
Your attainment of the rank of Kai Grand Master brought with it great rewards. Some, such as the restoration of the Kai and the undying gratitude of your fellow Sommlending, could have been anticipated. Yet there have also been rewards which you could not possibly have foreseen. The discovery that within you lay the potential to develop Kai Disciplines beyond those of the Magnakai, which, until now, were thought to be the ultimate that a Kai Master could aspire to, was truly a revelation. Your discovery has inspired you to set out upon a new and previously unknown path in search of the wisdom and power that no Kai Lord before you has ever possessed. In the name of your creator, the God Kai, and for the greater glory of Sommerlund and the Goddess Ishir, you have vowed to reach the very pinnacle of Kai perfection — to attain all of the Grand Master Disciplines and become the first Kai Supreme Master.
With diligence and determination you set about the restoration of the Kai Monastery and the training of the Second Order recruits. Your efforts were soon rewarded for within the space of two short years, the first raw recruits had graduated to become a cadre of gifted Kai Masters who, in turn, were able to commence the teaching of their skills to subsequent intakes of Kai novices. The Kai Masters rose to their newfound responsibilities readily, leaving you free to devote more of your time to the pursuit and perfection of the Grand Master Disciplines. During this period you also received expert tutelage in the ways of magic from two of your most trusted friends and advisors: Guildmaster Banedon, leader of the Brotherhood of the Crystal Star, and Lord Rimoah, speaker for the High Council of the Elder Magi.
In the deepest subterranean level of the monastery, a hundred feet below the Tower of the Sun, you ordered the excavation and construction of a special vault. In this magnificent chamber wrought of granite and gold, you placed the seven Lorestones of Nyxator, the gems of Kai power which you had recovered during your quest for the Magnakai. It was here, bathed in the golden light of those radiant gems, that you spent countless hours in pursuit of perfection. Sometimes alone, sometimes in the company of your two able advisors — Banedon and Rimoah — you worked hard to develop your innate Grand Master Disciplines and grasp the fundamental secrets of Left-handed and Old Kingdom magic. During this time you noticed many remarkable changes taking place within your body: you became physically and mentally stronger, your five primary senses sharpened beyond all that you had experienced before, and, perhaps most remarkably, your body began to age at a much slower rate. Now, for every five years that elapse you age but one year.
At this time many changes were occurring beyond the borders of Sommerlund. In the regions to the northeast of Magador and the Maakengorge, the Elder Magi of Dessi and the Herbwardens of Bautar were working together in an effort to restore the dusty volcanic wasteland to its former fertile state. It was the first tentative step towards the reclamation of all the Darklands. However, their progress was painfully slow, and both parties were resigned to the fact that their efforts to undo the damage caused by the Darklords would take centuries to complete.
Elsewhere, throughout Northern Magnamund, peace reigns victorious and the peoples of the Free Kingdoms rejoice in the knowledge that the age of the Darklords has finally come to an end. Readily men have exchanged their swords for hoes and their shields for ploughs, and now the only marching they do is along the ruts of their freshly furrowed fields. Few are the watchful eyes that scan the distant horizon in fear of what may appear, although there are still those who maintain their vigilance, for the agents of Naar come in many guises and there are those upon Magnamund who wait quietly in the shadows for the chance to do his evil bidding.
Already your newfound skills have been tested against Naar's agents and you have, on each occasion, acquitted yourself admirably. But your continuing victories against his minions have enraged the Dark God and inflamed his lust for vengeance. Earlier this year you thwarted Naar's plans to revive Vashna, the greatest of all the Darklords, whose spirit is trapped deep within the fathomless reaches of the Maakengorge — the Chasm of Doom. Vashna's spirit has remained there in uneasy entombment ever since the day, long ago, when he and his army were defeated in battle by King Ulnar I of Sommerlund. Your brave and courageous actions prevented Naar's agents from summoning to Magnamund a Demoness named Shamath from the Plane of Darkness. This supernatural creature possessed the Deathstaff — an artefact of great evil forged by Naar himself — with which she could have resurrected Vashna and his army from the Maakengorge. Yet your timely intervention destroyed the Shadow Gate through which she was travelling, and by so doing, you imprisoned the Demoness Shamath in the limbo which exists between your world and the Plane of Darkness.
Confident in the belief that you had saved Magnamund from the Demoness and the Deathstaff, you returned triumphantly to Sommerlund. Several months later, however, as the year was drawing to a close, Lord Rimoah came unexpectedly to the Kai Monastery seeking an urgent audience. With growing dismay you listened as he relayed ill news — the Deathstaff had reappeared in Magnamund. The threat to the peace of your fragile world was greater now than ever before.
‘When you destroyed the Shadow Gate at Maakengorge, Grand Master,’ said Lord Rimoah, as the two of you discussed the matter in the secure privacy of your vault below the Kai Monastery, ‘you banished Shamath to the void, hopefully for all eternity. Yet, alas, the weapon she possessed did not go with her. Naar's accursed Deathstaff has since returned to this world through another Shadow Gate, one that lies far away to the west, on a remote and icy peninsula that is called Ixia.’
‘My lord, do you wish me to go to Ixia — to find and destroy the Deathstaff before another of Naar's agents can use it against us? Is this why you have come seeking my help?’ you replied, expecting Rimoah to affirm your assumption.
‘Partly so, my lord,’ he said, holding you with his steel-grey eyes, ‘but I fear that already it has fallen into the hands of an enemy — and one who is deadlier than even the Demoness Shamath. What do you know of the Deathlord of Ixia?’
You faintly remembered having heard this name before but were unable to recall any detail. Lord Rimoah, seeing that you were unable to give an answer, obliged with an impromptu history lesson:
‘The Deathlord of Ixia was once lieutenant to Agarash the Damned — the most powerful of all Naar's champions of evil,’ said Rimoah, his head bowed as he paced the granite floor of your vault. ‘During the Age of Eternal Night he conquered much of Northern Magnamund, including the realm of Ixia which was once a rich and very fertile land. He destroyed the native Ixians, transforming them into a legion of undead servants under his command. Many centuries later, when my ancestors defeated Agarash during the Age of War, they magically imprisoned the weakened Deathlord in a secret tomb within the dread city of Xaagon, near to the southern coast of Ixia. For thousands of years his tomb lay undisturbed until the first of the Drakkarim appeared on Magnamund. They entered Xaagon and found the Deathlord's tomb — yet legend has it that none of them escaped Ixia alive. Perhaps they, too, serve him now. During the Age of the Black Moon, the Darklords conquered all of the territories surrounding Ixia yet they chose to avoid setting foot in the Deathlord's realm. Mindful of his origins, they feared that if he were released from his sorcerous prison he would seek to dominate and destroy them.’
‘My lord, are you telling me that the Deathlord of Ixia is now free of this prison
in possession of the Deathstaff?’ you asked, fearing Lord Rimoah's reply.
‘Yes, Grand Master. I'm afraid that is exactly the situation which confronts us. Since the passing of the last moon, I and others of the High Council of the Elder Magi have detected a great imbalance between the forces of Good and Evil in our world. By ill chance or by Naar's design, the Deathstaff has fallen into the hands of Ixiataaga. Once again the Deathlord is free to indulge his unholy and insatiable appetite for living beings. Already we have heard reports from Lencian fishermen which tell of the destruction of remote Drakkarim settlements around the Gulf of Konkor, and there are even claims of a “death fleet” having been sighted in the waters of the Shakoz Bight. Yes, Grand Master, the Deathlord is free to roam the face of Magnamund once more, and I fear he will not stop until every living creature is enslaved to him in undeath.’
For hours, you and your trusted advisor deliberated over what could be done to prevent this unspeakable disaster from befalling Magnamund. You considered a muster of the Freeland armies and an immediate attack upon Ixia, but such a plan simply could not be executed. The peninsula of Ixia is far too remote and desolate a territory to be reached by any Freeland army on foot, and, with winter already so far advanced, any ship-borne invasion would be doomed to fail. Time was also against you. The Deathlord had to be stopped as quickly as possible before he could unleash an army of undead upon Magnamund, an unkillable army that would grow larger with every battle it fought against the living.
‘Only I can stop this,’ you said, voicing your thoughts.
‘Yes, Grand Master. Only you,’ replied Rimoah quietly.
After a few moments' silence, Rimoah continued, ‘In expectation of your decision, preparations have already been made for your journey, Grand Master. I trust this doesn't offend you?’
You smiled your consent.
‘Good. Then I shall call upon Guildmaster Banedon — he knows of the Deathlord's rise and he has offered his ship
to hasten your journey westwards. He will tell you more about Ixia and how you will be conveyed there. Godspeed, Grand Master. I shall pray to Kai and Ishir to watch over you on this fateful mission.’