Authors: Joe Dever
Tags: #Fiction, #Fantasy, #Lone Wolf, #Magnamund
You are Lone Wolf — Kai Grand Master of Sommerlund. The spirit of Vashna, greatest of all the Darklords, is imprisoned deep within the fathomless reaches of the Maakengorge. For centuries, servants of darkness have tried to summon him to do their bidding but always they have failed … until now!
The Legacy of Vashna
, you must locate and defeat the Darklord's minions before they can complete the resurrection of their master — the most powerful Lord of Evil your world has ever known. Will you succeed in your quest? Or will you and your fragile world perish in the wrath of Vashna?
, 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
To Margaret Foden
‘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, and twenty-seven years have passed 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, Archlord Gnaag, 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. Skilfully their commanders exploited the chaos 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 under way. 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 organized the training of the Second Order recruits. Your efforts were soon rewarded and, 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. Readily the Kai Masters rose to their newfound responsibilities, 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.
Following the destruction of the Darklords of Helgedad, the Giaks, the most numerous of all Gnaag's troops, fled into the Darklands and sought refuge in the gigantic city-fortresses of Nadgazad, Aarnak, Gournen, Akagazad, and Kaag. Within each of these hellish strongholds, fierce fighting broke out as remnants of the Xaghash (lesser Darklords) and the Nadziranim (evil practitioners of Right-handed magic who once aided individual Darklord masters) fought for control. It is widely believed that by the time the Elder Magi and the Herbwardens reach the walls of these strongholds they will encounter no resistance; the occupants will have long since brought about their own extinction.
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 in 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 such occasion, acquitted yourself admirably. But your continuing victories against his minions have enraged the Dark God, and rarely has his lust for vengeance been greater than it is at present. Recently, Lord Rimoah has counselled you to be extra vigilant, for he fears that Naar is getting ready to strike at Sommerlund anew. The Elder Magi have received warnings from President Kadharian of Magador that something strange is taking place in the north of his country, in the mountainous territory which borders upon the Maakengorge. Freak storms and unseasonal weather have swept this remote region, and the night skies over Lake Vorndarol have, for several weeks now, been illuminated by eerie, inexplicable lights.
Lord Rimoah fears that Naar is plotting to revive Vashna, the greatest of all the Darklords, whose spirit is trapped deep within the fathomless reaches of the Maakengorge. It has remained there, in uneasy entombment, ever since the day the Darklord was defeated in battle by King Ulnar I of Sommerlund. Vashna's body, along with those of his loathsome troops, was hurled into the abyss, hopefully never to be seen again. Legend has it that the Darklord's body was destroyed but his spirit still lives on. He is said to be awaiting the day when he shall be made to rise, at the head of a vast army of undead warriors, and set loose to wreak his revenge upon Sommerlund and the house of Ulnar.
‘If it is Naar's intention to resurrect Vashna and his army from the depths of the Maakengorge,’ said an anxious Lord Rimoah, as you and he discussed the situation in the secure privacy of your vault below the Kai Monastery, ‘then no free realm upon the face of Magnamund will be safe. It has always been Sommerlund's misfortune that Ulnar's victory over Vashna was never total. I have always feared that the legacy of the Maakengorge would one day awaken and confront us … and I fear, unless we act swiftly, that that day is about to dawn.’
For several hours, you and your learned advisor deliberated what could be done to prevent such a catastrophe. You decided that the exact nature of the threat had first to be determined if you were to combat it effectively. You were confident that your Grand Master Disciplines would enable you to unravel this mystery quickly, and so you volunteered to journey to northern Magador and investigate the strange incidents at first hand. After all, there could be a perfectly innocent explanation for them.
‘Let us hope it is so, Grand Master,’ said Lord Rimoah, earnestly, ‘but, nevertheless, do not forget what could confront you there. I shall pray to Kai and Ishir to watch over and guide you on the journey ahead, Lone Wolf, and bring you home, swiftly, safely, and victoriously.’