Unveiled: Camelot Unchained Newsletter #15 - City State Entertainment
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Team Tidings

-by Max Porter

Happy Halloween, and an amazing fall season to you all! It’s been a really great month for us here at City State Entertainment™, as work continues on Camelot Unchained™ at a strong, steady pace. 

We’ve all been enjoying the class reveals, and the reactions of the Community have been great overall! It’s an incredible feeling, showing these and hearing what you folks think. Everyone in the studio gets excited when the votes start pouring in for the next reveal. It’s kind of like a contest where there are never any losers, only more interesting things to look at and discuss. :)

In the office, our new hires have settled in really well! George actually joins us for morning meetings in the office via laptop and webcam, so we can have his friendly face beaming out at us. In fact, as I write this, he’s having a meeting with Andrew and Dave that way right now! Meanwhile, Marc and Brian are conferring over some mysterious things (probably metrics, which are kind of an anti-mystery now that I think about it), and Scott and JB are working on getting some cool things in the build. Mark and Ben are discussing the latest trio reveal, and most other folks are heads-down working at their own stations, making excellent progress on all fronts. 

There’s lots of neat stuff to look at and tell you all about, so let’s get to it. Read on for insightful articles, updates, art, news, lore, and tons of goodness in this, the somewhat spooky fifteenth issue of Unveiled. 


Breaking news! Another adorable baby girl has joined the team, just this week! Congratulations to George Davison and his wife Leanne on this little gamer. Time to start training up! 
Such awesome updates for you this month! We can officially confirm stealth in Camelot Unchained, as the Stealth Unchained Stretch Goal has been reached, passed, and left in the dust! You folks are awesome! We’re looking forward to having you sneak around and do other sneaky things in the game. As always, thank you all so much!

Our next Stretch Goal is “Send More Programmers”! It’s a really great one, and very exciting for the studio, because as it says in the Stretch Goal, these folks would be hired to “help us deliver Camelot Unchained on its current schedule, or faster (depending on when we can hire them), without sacrificing quality or features.” It’s all part of our commitment to delivering this game to you folks with the promised feature set, and not ballooning outward with bright and shiny things that would delay launch. 
The latest class reveal was Shapeshifters, meaning that four of the trios have been revealed so far! We hope you’re having as much fun reading about these classes as we are having doing these reveals.


-by Jenesee Grey

This is where we talk directly to you, the Community!

We meet again, lovely Backers! It seems like these months are flying by; they sneak up on me so quickly and so much is happening! We had some great livestreams, with many of you visiting us in chat. It’s great to see how much fun and mischief everyone can get up to all together in one giant chat stream. Most recently, you saw JB wield his skills to design a KOS (Kill On Sight) module, as he walked everyone with basic web development knowledge through the process of making a UI module using our provided libraries. Don't miss that tutorialI loved seeing you spend an afternoon in Jon’s art stream for the Fir Bog female, as her strong physique interested everyone! We also had fun with Andrew’s livestream, where we were all awed to see the creation of a new system, and gasped at how the terrain now changes based on the Realm that takes a capture point. 

It is so great to have collective experiences like these, and I have certainly seen this reflected in the class trio livestreams, of which there are six more remaining! Hopefully you can join us again this week on Friday, and if not, you can still see the presentation on our YouTube channel with all the reveal discussions that have come out so far, such as The Devout, Archers, Heavy Fighters, and Shapeshifters. Thanks for being tons of fun to spend time with! 

We have had some special visitors this month, as Anhrez stopped by to do an interview with some team members and happened to witness one of our team meetings, where we decided on the final name for “The Devout.” We also had another very special visitor, David, who is a really big fan. He stopped by with his mother even though he is quite ill, and in a wheelchair. It is truly amazing to see the passion and inspiration that he draws from playing games, and how that can be a family bonding experience and generate the energy needed to keep being positive. 
The point of this article is to let you know about our gratitude for having a Community that participates, votes, debates, tests the game, and is generally working together to have great experiences with Camelot Unchained.

Community Question!

Q: I have an unusual question. It's about one member of the team so I'm not sure if it's a good idea to ask it here. I saw Anna maybe 2 times in my whole time interested in this game. So where did you hide her ? She's not at the office with you or maybe I never saw her during livestreams etc. -Adri

A: Adri, This question is hilarious! No, we have not hidden her somewhere in the office (although she has a very small stature, so she would be very good at hide and seek. ;) Anna, among other things, is our Lead Recruiter. You might have seen her during the Kickstarter videos put out oh-so-long ago, and she used to work with some of the team at Mythic as well, before City State Entertainment. Anna works remotely now, scouring the web for good candidates to interview. She found the majority of the current team, including me!

Perhaps you have been curious who you talk to when you have account issues or questions and write us at support@citystateentertainment.com? It is Anna, as she also helps out with support, in addition to recruiting and HR! She answers a lot of basic questions, makes sure that your issues or concerns get forwarded to the right people, helps with refunds, and keeps tabs on tracking that things are resolved in a timely manner. Mark, Tim, myself, and sometimes Tyler also field these support tickets, as resolving these types of account issues/errors are very important to us and to the success of the game, and we certainly want your experience to be as pleasant as possible.

Anna’s organization keeps things running smoothly, to make sure that you get the answers you seek, and that we have the necessary information to help you. While you might not see her face that often, many of our Backers have met her and never knew it! Between all this and being a brand-new mom, she is quite the busy lady!

Hot Topics

The Shapeshifter class reveals and group mechanics are the hot topics of the month.

Join us on the forums on our website to bring your thoughts and ideas to the discussion table!

Look What You Did

Awesome stuff, you guys! We really enjoyed looking at your funny and scary creations! And the winner is...Jagp, with this Mjölnir-themed entry! We thought the combination with the hammer image on the rear wall was a really nice touch. Well done, Jagp!
 For our next contest, it’s time to get in the Thanksgiving spirit with a bit of imagination. If there were a holiday for the giving of thanks in your favorite Realm, what would that look like? Think about the time of year and what kind of festival or celebration your favorite Realm might have, and the unique ways your chosen people might give thanks, or what they might be thankful for. Write us up a description, keeping it under 250 words, describing such an event! Post your entries in the thread you’ll see pop up in the Fan Fiction section of the forums, accessible through our website

Thank You

Many thanks are due to Foggye, who has gotten a lot of organization and planning happening for the Camelot Unchained wiki! It’s been great to see so much useful information get laid out for all interested parties. There is just so much content on there! If you're interested in joining the group and helping out, send Jenesee an email at jgrey@citystateentertainment.com to coordinate. 
Let the halls of the Thank You section ring once again with Failboat’s name! This time he sent us a giant tin full of delicious popcorn! Apparently, the pumpkin-flavored popcorn is a special fall-only treat, and we enjoyed all the flavors very much. Thanks, Failboat! 

Dose of Design

-by Ben Pielstick

Archetype Evolution

The last time we talked extensively about archetypes was back in February, so a lot has happened since then in the land of Camelot Unchained design. Now that we're finally starting to release details about the unique classes we have planned, I thought I would take this opportunity to sum up how we got where we are today, and how we've gone about improving on our concept of the basic class template upon which all our classes are built.
As you may recall, Camelot Unchained started with the traditional MMORPG "Holy Trinity" concept, which has evolved over time into the current widely-used roles of Tank, Healer, and DPS. Over the course of early development, we expanded upon this concept to branch out into archetypes of Mage, Archer, Warrior, Healer, and Support. This worked in conjunction with what we termed our "Path System," where each class of a given archetype had several strongly themed and unique progression options, composed of multiple tiers of horizontal unlocks for each different path. As you can see from our original Drengr class document, this added up to each path having a vastly different style and identity, while leaving a lot of potential to go off the rails and decide not to follow any one specific path, but to take parts from any or all of the many available options for a given class.
This approach gave our classes a lot of flexibility, but was not without its difficulties. As we progressed further into the details of class design, as well as reaching some of our additional stretch goals, such as Spirit Classes and Stealth Classes, fitting all of our concepts into the Path System and our existing set of archetypes became harder and harder.
At first, we tried applying different numbers of paths to each class. However, this ran into issues with our "Rock-Paper-Scissors" balance philosophy. We would have had to create very strict exclusionary rules to prevent problematic combinations of choices for classes like the HelBound, with its highly divergent path roles. Eventually, after many discussions and revisions, based around the core concepts of strong role-based classes and class balance, we decided that a significant change to the underlying character class structure was needed.
As a result, we have narrowed down the scope of classes from their previous definition, and they now primarily each follow what would have previously been a path. This is not at all to say that there is no longer a broad range of specialization choices involved in character progression: You will still need to consider how you want to focus your character, and what kinds of strengths you want to emphasize or weaknesses you want to compensate for. This means both the characters you play yourself and the other characters you encounter will have customizable advantages and disadvantages that drive them, while sharing a common thematic style for their class.
Another benefit of this change is that it allows us to deliver the game with more classes than we had planned before. Instead of delivering one class per archetype, we can take what is essentially the same amount of development time and spread it out over a larger number of more focused classes. This makes classes easier to create, and more importantly, easier to balance, because we can maintain an emphasis on the strong defining role of each class and how it interacts with the other classes, and also because each one will have a more tightly defined role to play with and against.
The exact number of classes for launch is still yet to be determined, and probably won’t be finalized until much later on. For some approximate idea, there are 30 classes on our current class reveal page with a new trio of classes (one class per Realm) being revealed each week. There are even more still in the concept stage, which aren’t ready to be displayed on the website yet. Not all of these will be present for the first day of launch, but we’ve committed to nine combat classes for the start of beta, and will be adding several more thereafter. We will continue to add new classes even well after launch. This shift in design enables us to do so much more frequently, so that over time the class list for each Realm will be quite extensive, covering a wide range of thematic backgrounds and playstyles.
So where does this leave the idea of archetypes? Currently, we are presenting our class reveals as trios, under an archetype name such as The Devout. These new archetypes are much more thematic than gameplay defining. While all three classes in a trio do share some major things in common, they also diverge in important ways. These differences are more broadly defined, now that we don’t need the previous archetype definitions to maintain consistency.
The classes share a primary focus within a particular trio, as far as things like magic versus physical damage, range versus melee abilities, and offense, defense, or utility capabilities. Secondary focus tends to have a lot more variance, however, so that a class for one Realm might get some strengths and weaknesses that greatly differ from a class from the same trio for another Realm. This allows us to create classes for each trio that are substantially different from one another in ways that will enable great diversity between Realms. The end result of this should lead to more interesting and diverse combat encounters when these classes meet each other on the battlefield!

We hope you’ve all been enjoying our class reveals so far. We also hope you’re looking forward to seeing some of them in action (along with a lot of new combat features) as we work toward our goals for beta. To keep an eye on some of these, be sure to watch our user story page,where we will be updating as each task reaches completion. You can catch up on any of the previous reveal info you’ve missed on our YouTube channel. As always, you can join in on the discussion on our forums, which you can access through our website to find out more, and let us know what you think about your favorite class.

Developer Quote

  Camelot Unchained's classes will be one of the game's most defining features.”
-- Mark Jacobs


-by Scott Trolan

 This month, in CU art development…

Each week, based on the results of Backer voting on silhouettes, three new class reveal images have been unveiled. Michelle has been hard at work rendering these. When we have internal reviews on these amazing images, the team is gets so inspired by her art. Everyone here is excited to contribute their talents and translate these illustrations into the game. 

Sandra is hard at work concepting Realm armor. She has been breaking down existing armor designs into a matrix of interchangeable parts. This will allow us to optimize our efforts, and will define where we can reuse geometry but apply an assortment of new texture maps for a unique result. We are just about ready to take a selection of these designs into production.

Requirements from engineering caused us to change our characters' UV texture map layout. These changes will allow for faster and aesthetically pleasing LOD (level of detail) iterations of characters when viewed at a distance. This is ultimately key to allowing a large number of players to play at once on screen. 

So, with a bit of effort and ingenuity, Jon and I have been making the changes to our existing characters and now have a great workflow established between us. Jon has a unified UV texture layout for all of our new and old characters. As of this writing, we have migrated our armored Human male and females onto the game, where they will be available for testing shortly. The remaining characters will soon follow! Note that these guys are still using our old, pre-existing, character shader. As we start focusing more on art we'll be taking a look at ways to really make the characters pop with some new shader work.

James K. recently showed the team his work on conveying character wounds through a user interface. We were all impressed with how he was able to display so much information using so little imagery. He knows design. Also, check out James' redesign of our game's patcher interface!

Mike C. is creating new vfx to represent positive and negative character status such as wounds, buffs, and debuffs. He is also appending these vfx to targeted body parts and weapons with success. Flaming arms add to an impressive battle stance!

Now, back to Art’n it Up!

Tech Central

 -byDavid Hancock

Optimizing Characters

As we continue moving forward on Camelot Unchained, we look at optimizing a lot of the segments of our engine that need some work to get them to a state where they will meet the requirements we have set for the project. One of our big goals from the beginning has been to have hundreds of characters on the screen at interactive frame rates, and to have environments and worlds that don’t feel empty. To reach this goal, we have employed a number of systems, and I’m going to talk about them a bit!

For our characters, we initially went through and made sure each character was compressed into a single texture atlas to reduce the number of texture loads and make rendering of characters faster. This worked well for a handful of characters, and when we had a limited number of pieces of gear, it met our goals at the time. However, we always knew that at some point we would need to improve further, as it would be far more likely we would have a couple hundred unique characters on screen. One of the ways we went about this was to move our character atlases into texture arrays. These are a data structure that allow us to bind a whole set of textures to graphics hardware, and then efficiently access it across all our characters, allowing us to render all of them in a single batch. Texture arrays are also used in a number of other areas within the game, such as in our imposters system that Andrew set up.

Another simple approach we took to batch characters, beyond texture arrays: We added a system of prioritization. This controls the quality of characters and dynamically scales the sizes of their textures based on a number of factors, as well as controlling LODs. Characters who take up a small part of your screen at a large distance will not only use smaller textures and a reduced-quality model, but they will save on overall memory usage by not even loading higher quality assets at that point. We reuse slots within the texture arrays and write directly into them as priorities change, to thrash the memory less and to speed up the process.

There is still further work we would like to do in this realm, but with these changes we see a good improvement in our rendering speed of characters. We can have many more unique characters on screen with these changes, which goes to further the goals of having some of the largest and most epic battles we can. Hundreds of characters on screen, having a battle--that is a pretty exciting thing!

State Of The Build

 -by Brian Green

This month, we've seen a mix of new features and bug fixes added to the game as we move toward preparing for the beta. As you may have seen, Andrew livestreamed code to let the terrain change based on who owns a control point. We also have a new feature I'm excited about: the ability to save keybinds to local storage and restore them. As someone who prefers ESDF for movement, this saves me a lot of frustration, personally. We've also been hard at work chasing down a few elusive bugs in the chat system.

Game development can look like a lot of fun from the outside, but it's a lot of hard work. Every programmer on the team brings a wealth of knowledge to their work that goes beyond the basic understanding of programming languages and tools. For example, our new client programmer George has been hard at work improving the rendering system. To do so, he has had to accumulate knowledge of how colors work on computers and in the human eye.

The human eye perceives color differently from how we represent color on a computer. Our eyes are generally more sensitive to differences between darker colors than bright colors. So, a system that has limited space to store color information will want to represent more darker colors than light colors. This is why rendering systems use "gamma", which represents an exponent that you use on the stored color value to get the "real color" value that the screen will display. This helps to avoid "banding" in dark colors, but it does make lighting calculations harder.

For example, say you have two lights at 25% intensity according to the way the computer stores the value. If they overlap on the same surface, the total intensity wouldn't be 50%, because of gamma calculations. Rather, the region where they overlap would appear to a human eye to be about 34% in terms of how the computer stores the intensity. In other words, you can't just add the values the computer stores; it takes some specific calculations in the client code to make things look right on the screen. An experienced graphics programmer will understand this and know how to work with these different values.

A good graphics programmer needs to understand how the human eye works, how colors are stored, how a monitor will display colors, and how to deal with all these different systems. CSE is fortunate to have some very good graphics programmers on the team!

And now, a selection of patch notes from this month:
  • Changed to a gamma correct rendering pipeline, so the colors on the client should look better.
  • Keybinds can be stored to, and loaded from, local storage.
  • Refactored the old UI system with a new system, and implemented a UI element using the new system as a test.
  • Fixed some problems with the tester bots where they couldn't move.
  • Added a bunch of metrics to the server. Players won't be able to see them, but they are pretty cool!
  • Added air resistance to players. This will affect all movement in the air by changing jump trajectories and making knockbacks not quite so powerful for targets in the air.
  • Changed to using a higher-quality normals format and updated texture format to DirectX 11.
  • Made it so that target dummies can die and have wounds for testing.
  • Fixed a problem with how the server saves characters, and staggered the saves to prevent lots of saves monopolizing resources.

Backer Spotlight

-Jenesee asks CloakingDonkey

In this month’s spotlight, we feature eLdritch (a.k.a. CloakingDonkey or “His Donkeyness”). You may have seen his awesome YouTube class reveal videos for Camelot Unchained, which are really well done, on the CloakingDonkey channel. We are excited to see the Community talking about the latest news and sharing thoughts in such creative ways, and eLdritch is a great example! Once the NDA lifts, I can only imagine what kinds of enjoyable videos might make their way to both YouTube and Twitch. We plan to continue to support our imaginative Community, and we love to see your podcasts, videos, and articles featuring Camelot Unchained. Keep it up!
Q: How did you find out about the game?
A: For years I've been periodically doing youtube and google searches for "daoc 2" and one day a youtube search came up positive with the original announcement video for Camelot Unchained. Yes, that makes me sound like a loony, I know. ^^

Q: Why did you become a Backer?
A: Well as the above obsessive google searching implies, I've been wanting a game like Dark Age of Camelot ever since I stopped playing in 2006. The Foundational Principles reflected a lot of things I had been upset with for a long time. I wanted to be part of making this game happen, somehow.
Q: What drew you to YouTube?
A: Making videos has always been quite fascinating to me. I wrote my first (awful) screenplay when I was 15. I just never thought my work was good. It's also not exactly the cheapest thing to get into. The initial cost kept me away from it for a long time. But since I started doing it seriously earlier this year, I've gotten completely hooked.
Q: Why pick the class reveals as a beginning place for Camelot Unchained video creation/streaming?

A:I knew right away that I wanted to make videos about Camelot Unchained but obviously there isn't all that much to show yet in terms of a game. Explaining game mechanics or design philosophies can be done more efficiently and quickly in written form. With the class reveals I had the opportunity to use some of my knowledge about mythologies and history and the basic nature of the reveal allowed for interpretation and speculation, which I very much like to partake in.
Q: Forgive me here, but you sound like you might speak another language (I could be wrong), if so, are you planning to do videos in other languages as well?

A: Yes I am in fact German, English being my second language. This could prove tricky as having different language videos on the same channel, unless they are translated versions of the same video, is sure to annoy the part of the audience that doesn't speak that language. It's not impossible though ;)
Q: Why the Donkey?

A: Many reasons. Firstly, donkeys are cute, Secondly, donkeys are loyal, good natured but protective, clever, stubborn and super annoying when they don't shut up - just like me. ^^ The actual name "CloakingDonkey" was a bit of an accident. I used it as a password on an old ventrilo server and it just resonated with me... and there are SO many puns!
Q: Which Realm do you like the most so far?

A: Definitely the Tuatha Dé Danann. I simply LOVE the design for the Luchorpán. Vikings are cool but I'm a viking in real life. Roleplaying Games exist so you can become someone you're not. ;)
Q: What are your video/streaming plans for the future?

A:I have some non-gameplay ideas regarding lore and mythological roots but I'm saving those for now. Once the NDA lifts I also plan to make gameplay and guide content on YouTube as well as streaming it on Twitch. I'm definitely excited for the future of this game and the content I can create for it.

Enough about me! I want to thank CSE and the CU community for supporting the column. Every click helps show sites like MMORPG.com that CU is worth covering. Thanks for your support and contributions, I appreciate it!

Lore Corner

-by Max Porter

TRIGGER WARNING: In a world full of dark stories, the Becoming of the Valkyrie has always been one of the darkest. This tale touches on a number of adult themes that may be disturbing, such as rape, murder, torture, and mass killings. This Becoming tale was originally written by Mark Jacobs, and has now been expanded and developed by Loremaster Max Porter. Here is the second, and final, part of the tale.

 The Becoming  - Valkyrie Part 2

The madness had gone on for over a week when a fierce Malevolence descended upon the village. Undaunted, the invaders simply carried out their atrocities indoors, letting the storm rage outside.
One night, the leader of the warriors came into the pen where Brynhildr had been kept. He wore a satisfied smirk as he went from one captive to the next, looking them over as if they were animals for slaughter. When he came to Brynhildr, he lifted her chin roughly and licked his lips. With a grunt, his heavy hand tore the necklace from her throat.

His laugh was harsh and full of raucous glee. “Excellent! Tonight, we shall hold a glorious contest. And now we have a prize!”

For the first time, Brynhildr felt a sob welling up in her throat. Her vision dimmed with tears. Something about the sight of the necklace in his massive grip, or the stinging of her neck where the necklace had been, finally brought it home. That it had been her mother’s most prized possession, that it had been passed down through generations of her family, meant nothing to this monster. There was truly nothing any of them could do. The horror would continue until they were all broken in mind and body. The storm’s thunder shook through her bones. 

Seeing her eyes brimming, the warriors gathered around their leader, watching her and licking their lips, drawn like sharks to the scent of blood. The leader’s grin grew wider, and he shook his head with false concern. “Oh, don’t worry, you’ll have your chance to win it back.” 

They were dragged into a building out of the growling Malevolence. In the flickering torchlight, the warriors gathering in a circle, clearing an open space. Stripped and beaten with the butt end of a spear, Brynhildr was thrown in into the ring. A moment later, her opponent was tossed in, stumbling and already bloody. “Fight for your life! Last pig standing gets the necklace!” the leader growled. 

Brynhildr looked up. Staring back at her across the opening in the stamping, shouting crowd was her friend, the boy she had defended. His wounds had reopened, trickling red down his leg. He stared at her with a hopeless smile in his eyes. She knew he wouldn’t fight back; she could kill him easily. 

Her gaze roved over the circle of jeering warriors. Their faces were no more than the masks of depraved men and women who had burned their souls on a pyre. 

The storm shook the walls of the building as Brynhildr screamed and flew into a rage. Instead of her opponent, she charged the warriors standing in a ring. Howling her anger, she grasped a chair for a weapon, then laid about her with the splinters when that broke. 

For just a moment, the warriors hesitated. No one in this weak village had dared to defy them. But they were ruthless killers, armed and armored, and Brynhildr had endured much already. Though she fought their clutching hands with frenzied spirit, she was only human. Their blades plunged into her, their armored fists beat her to the ground. Fighting fiercely to her last breath, Brynhildr died cursing them in Odin’s name. 

The remaining villagers broke into helpless weeping. The tormentors were delighted at first, but soon grew annoyed. The survivors were sent back to a guarded hut where their mewling would be less audible. There was talk of burning it, to finish their revels with the blaze. 

The Malevolence continued to swirl around the island. Those few who looked up from their own misery saw the storm do something strange, something never witnessed before. The clouds gathered into a dark vortex just above the prison. Hearing the storm rage just outside their door, the survivors wept even louder, wailing for Brynhildr, the only one who had dared to fight back. 

Whether or not the gods heard their plaintive calls, something in the storm listened. A wisp of its roiling energy passed into the feasting room and brushed the blood and tears that marked the face of Brynhildr’s corpse. 

In any other time, she would have been swiftly forgotten, another toll in the unbalanced ledger of human cruelty. The memory of her name would be covered with the ashes of other dead innocents. But this is the Age of Becoming. 

Brynhildr’s body began to glow with an undulating light, and a circle of blinding white fire surrounded her. As the flames grew and touched her still form, Brynhildr was reborn. She arose and assumed the aspect of a female warrior, clad in shining armor. A pair of glossy crimson-black wings sprouted from her back, and she lifted a fiery spear. Blood-red tears were etched into her skin. 

Her eyes burning with reawakened fury, Brynhildr strode into the sleeping chambers of the torturers. A few warriors rolled to their feet, but she pointed her spear at them, and they burst into flames. Others she simply hamstrung and left to writhe to agonizing death. 

Dripping with blood, Brynhildr freed the remaining captives and asked who would stand beside her to be cleansed by the storm. Eir, Hildr, Gondul, and others joined her. 

Exposing themselves to full violence of the storm, they began to hunt the rest of the invaders, who had strayed all over the island. Brynhildr’s followers were transformed as they drove their enemies screaming into the sea. Their open wounds vanished, and their eyes began to glow with a veiled hatred that burned like the sun through stormclouds. 

When the night was over, only one of the subhuman invaders was left alive: the leader, the one who had offered Brynhildr her own mother’s necklace. He was caught slinking back through the village in the grey light of dawn after the storm, clutching the piece of jewelry in one hand, his axe in the other. 

A blast of blue flame from Brynhildr’s spear dropped the sword from his hand, and he stumbled into the ruined feasting hall, his cruel face a mask of fear. 

Brynhildr followed and snatched the necklace from his hands. She would strangle him with it. But then a hand appeared on her arm, holding her back. One of the castrated young men had stepped forward. As if looking at the memory from far away, she knew it was the boy again, the one she’d saved twice now. Without a word, he freed the necklace from her clenched fist, shook his head and placed the necklace gently around her neck. He smiled helpfully, just as his young brother had when the leader had slain him on the shore. 

Over the boy’s shoulder, Brynhildr stared deeply into the vacant eyes of the defeated brute. Though her soul cried out for a final act of vengeance, she simply hissed “Never again.” The cost of each word burned in her eyes, white-hot stars of anger. The man stepped back. 

She pointed her spear toward the thatched ceiling. Another spout of flame flared from the tip, searing the roof to ash. Crimson-black wings glimmered and shone in the pure sunlight as Brynhildr and her followers flew out of the hall to search for any villagers who remained alive.

Left standing alone in the ruins of the feasting hall, the leader of the fallen marauders sat back down and marveled at his good luck. There were always other warriors to hire, other villages to have some fun with. His horrible, savage mind began turning, thinking of disgusting horrors he had yet to try. 

It took him several years, but eventually he arrived in an undisturbed village with a new band of warriors at his side. As the villagers grew alarmed and began to run, to try and hide from the laughing killers, a wolfish grin spread across his face. He mumbled to himself, “Never again, hah! That bitch will soon learn who the real master is.” He cinched up his belt and drew his sword, licking his lips. 

Then he heard the beating of wings overhead. He blinked into fiery sunlight to see a familiar female figure standing before him. Before the brute could react, he felt an acute stab of pain as her spear punctured his groin.

The elder Valkyrie finished her tale and looked around the group gathered in the courtyard. Deep red tears streamed down the cheeks of the various Valkyrie, old and young. Behind the tears were eyes of steel, purpose and determination burning in their souls. She cleared her throat. 

“Thus ends the Becoming story of the Valkyrie. It is said that of all the races in the Realm, our tale carries the most tragedy. We can only hope we continue to carry that terrible distinction, for no creature should suffer as we have. We are born of suffering and horror. We are born to defend the Realm. We are born to defend those too weak to defend themselves. The Valkyrie who came before me wrote the embodiment of our spirit in the Valkyric Code, though the creation of that great document is a tale for another day.” 

Bonus Images!

We couldn't let you go without showing you some work-in-progress pictures from one of our diligent builders in C.U.B.E. Nyanpire is working on a magnificent plateau city, overlooking the land round about. Take note that this has been done in an older version of the build that doesn't have our latest, up-to-date terrain! 
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