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The Expedition is the first episode of The Age Before series. It involves the adventure of Sir Samuel and his exploration team as they cross the wastelands of the Cactus Desert to see what is beyond it. This story is set 1,500 years after the events of the Prologue.

THE EXPEDITION

Chapter 1

In the throne room of the Royal Palace in Craftsburg...

A guard normally stationed outside the throne room hurriedly opened the chamber doors before closing them behind him. He then announced, "Your Majesty, Sir Samuel, the great Explorer and Knight of the Order of the Diamond Block, humbly requests the honour of having an audience with you."

"Show him in!" came the answer.

King August CXI waited in his throne while the guard reopened the doors to allow Sir Samuel to pass, before exiting and shutting the door again.

"Your Majesty," said Sir Samuel upon reaching the steps leading to the throne. He kneeled before the mighty King.

"Rise, Sir Samuel," said August. "Wherefore hast thou come hither to request and audience with me?"

"Please don't talk in Shakespearean, Sire. It hasn't been invented yet," replied Sir Samuel.

The King stared at Sir Samuel. Unmoved, the explorer continued.

"Anyway, our people have forgotten their heritage of exploration and discovery. Our ancestors have travelled far and wide and brought us back wonderful reports of the world around us. And so we expanded our territories, built new cities. Colonised the unknown. Now, for five hundred years we have stayed peacefully in our homes, not lifting a finger to even consider what might be beyond the Great Forest, Cactus Desert, even the Frosterlands!" ranted Sir Samuel.

"And your point is...?" the King replied.

Sighing, Sir Samuel explained, "My point is that, though I have explored the vast depths of the caves located within the Deserts, that is not enough. I want to explore more. Unknown lands. Perhaps even other people or civilisations! I want to see, in particular, what is beyond the Cactus Desert."

An immediate veto followed.

"Why not, Your Majesty?" asked Sir Samuel.

"It has been decreed by our ancestors, generations ago, that we were not to set foot beyond the Cactus Desert, nor the Frosterlands. We are only permitted to exploit the allocated land that our forefathers have given us within the Great Forest," said the King.

"But, Sire! Those words were written over 500 years ago! Surely we can move beyond the boundaries set by people who lived centuries before us!"

A long, awkward silence.

"I...shall consider it," said King August finally.

"Thank you, Your Majesty," replied Sir Samuel, bowing. He then rose and left the throne room.

Chapter 2

The next day...

In the town square of the Craftian capital, Craftsburg, a royal speaker stepped onto the pedestal in the centre of the square.

"Attention, all citizens of the mighty City of Craftsburg!" the speaker announced loudly. "His distinguished, illustrious Majesty, King August CXI, Monarch of the Glorious Kingdom of Craftia and Lord and Archduke of the Resplendent City of Craftsburg; hereby summons Sir Samuel, great Explorer and Knight of the Order of the Diamond Block, to the Royal Palace! The said subject of the Craftian Crown is to be present for an audience with His Majesty by the moment the Sun reaches the top of the Ether!"

more to come...

EPISODES

To Prologue

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