Chronicles of Heroes of Might and Magic
Extracts from the History of the Barbarian Hero Tarnum
by Bluewind the Genie
May 9, 2002
The Barbarians lived in the cold wasted lands under the rule of the wizards of Tower who considered them as the illiterate and uncivilised slaves not worthy of any attention or care. The tyrannical spellcasting masters oppressed the Barbarians for generations. They left them some independence and the Barbarians have even their own king but no more, They were not the free people.
The young barbarian Tarnum learnt about the true history of his people and found the hero to follow the barbarian king of the long past. The legendary barbarian king has defeated once the spellcasters who are now the masters of the Barbarians.
However the present ruler of the Barbarians Rabak didn't consider any revolt against the wizards as a wise move and forbade Tarnum to do anything for freedom of his people. The young hero Tarnum couldn't endure such oppression anymore. He longed for the power and glory and dared to challenge the king himself.
The youth was victorious and proclaimed himself the new king of the Barbarians. Promptly the wizards have named Tarnum the criminal and declared an open hunt for him.
However, it wasn't that easy to do. Tarnum was far from an easy prey. Moreover, Tarnum collected enough forces to call it the significant army. To force Tarnum to surrender the evil wizard Kurl has captured the last four bards who always were one of the most honourable people and threatened to execute them unless King Tarnum doesn't stop his revolt and surrender. The ultimatum stipulated the term of three months, after expiration of which the bards would be executed.
Fortunately, the execution wasn't held and not because Tarnum surrendered. On the contrary, he strengthened his position even more by conquering the neighbouring mudlands and using the civil war between local Lizardmen and Gnolls for his own advantage, namely adding to his present crown one more of the mudlands.
Meantime, Tarnum's enemies were not idle too. They have prepared the trap for him and forced him to walk right into it. With the great losses, that diminished most of his Horde, Tarnum limped to the valley where lived the descendants of the long passed hero Jarg, whom he convinced to become his new allies. With the new forces, Tarnum pushed Wizard Kings all the way back to the Ocean. His victory was complete. Tarnum defeated the former masters and got the long awaited freedom for his people.
However, it was only the first page in the long life of the hero. Strange and dangerous adventures waited for him in the future. Among the most famous was the weird visit to the endless cursed grounds of Underworld where only souls of the dead, undead and devils lived.
Tarnum went there not just for the sake of curiosity. There was the case of kidnapping. Kidnapping of the soul that belonged to the Paradise but was snatched from there and hidden somewhere among the twisted horrible tunnels and corridors of the Underworld. And it was the soul of the father of the queen Allison who charged Tarnum with the quest of freeing the poor soul from hell.
Tarnum passed all the levels of hell, beginning from the ill-famed Boatman, and then proceeding through the devils and the necromancers who could be always found near the dead. But have no fear, the brave hero did it all and succeed with his mission.
The next heroic action of Tarnum was ascribed to the business with the Elemental Lords who after ten thousands years of peace suddenly all got mad, probably due to their unstable nature. To deal with the problem Tarnum had to became the spell caster himself. This was the great sacrifice for him because he hated everything connected with magic, not forgetting that the Wizard Kings have been the oppressors of his people for so many generations. However, he had no choice. He travelled through all the planes of the Elementals and even was one of the first mortals who visited the strange beautiful town of Conflux, the home of the Elementals, where he got the necessary knowledge how to defeat the Elemental Lords one by one. Unfortunately, the Lords united and at the end, Tarnum had to meet them all together. Nevertheless, he proved to be a match for them.
Interesting fact was that during his adventuring heroic life Tarnum got immortality as a gift from the gods, though they have insisted that it was the penalty for his sins committed during all the previous years. Probably they have meant all those fights and wars and a lot of corpses he has left behind him. Well, they surely have had their point here, though it was pretty usual life for the successful barbarian warlord and king, otherwise he wouldn't be a king and moreover, he wouldn't be alive. Anyway, immortal or not, but Tarnum surely lived for a very long time and got himself involved in a lot of quests.
Another heroic adventure of Tarnum was connected with the World Tree, which according to the common belief was spreading its vitality to all living things. More primitive races like the Barbarians imagined the World Tree as a real tree with leaves and branches, though more sophisticated inhabitants of Antagarich knew that it was the living soil, the planet itself.
During the uncountable passed centuries the guardians of the World Tree were the Ancestors, the god-like entities protecting the planet from harm.
Unfortunately, even the divine nature wasn't a proof against insanity and one of the Ancestors by the name of Vorr has gone insane and decided to destroy the World Tree. With all the determination of psychologically unstable person and all the power of a god, he strove to achieve his horrible goal. To speed the process he used the mortal and undead minions to do the menial tasks of killing and fighting, namely the necromancers and one backward Barbarian clan, which worshipped Vorr as a war god. Naturally, other Ancestors were very upset and wanted to prevent Vorr from making the terrible mistake, but as all divine entities usually are, they were very inept in doing any real things and they needed a real physical hero to do all the business for them. Upon some thinking they chose Tarnum as their champion and cried the mighty yell for help and, surely, Tarnum couldn't refuse the gods and so he was involved in new heroic deal. Such was the terrible fate of all heroes!
In the process of saving the world from the new menace Tarnum successfully accomplished quick educational program with the king Targor of the retrograde barbarian clan by showing him how he was very wrong in worshipping the cruel Vorr and enlisting the enlightened barbarians to his army. With the new forces Tarnum run down all the necromancers and saved the World Tree from being burned.
Unfortunately, although Tarnum managed to save the World Tree, the insane Ancestor Vorr followed the usual scenario of all horror movies and escaped in order to ensure the titres 'to be continued'
Therefore, Tarnum's quest was far from ending. He tried to contact his protégé Ancestors but they were suspiciously silent. To made the things even worse, Vorr got himself new army from the demons that were more powerful than the former barbarians or the necromancers.
Tarnum had to travel to the Fiery Moon, which was the domain of the demons to deal with them and Vorr. To the chagrin of our hero, he learnt that Vorr was very busy lately and treacherously imprisoned all the other good Ancestors, who were so either trusty or helpless to defend themselves, and now Tarnum had to free them too on top of all his other problems.
However, have no fear. The immortal or just long living barbarian hero did well. He defeated both the chaotic creatures of the Fiery Moon and the troubled Ancestor. He freed all the other Ancestors from their magical prison and gave them a chance to give Vorr a medicine made from the sap of the World Tree, which presumably should be enough to cure Vorr from whatever virus of insanity he has caught.
Finished with all the divine matters Tarnum turned his eyes on the mortal world and found that it was filled with the injustice and suffering. It must be noted that at the second half of his long life Tarnum became very enlightened and high-moral barbarian, though he didn't loose his fighting capabilities. It was just that he fought and killed now only from the point of view of high principles, not just for fun and personal glory as before.
At the beginning of his career, Tarnum conquered the neighbouring mudlands territories in an offhand manner, though the Lizardmen and Gnolls were never a terrific fighters anyway and they were in the process of a civil war discussing some internal problems, so they were a very easy deal for him. After this Tarnum forgot about the mudlands, the fate of which was actually pitiful. They became the vassals of Erathia and were used as free labour force at the heaviest works in mines and fields.
Now Tarnum decided that the time came to right the wrong and proclaimed himself the fighter for the Mudlanders freedom. He has sent a proclamation to the Erathian king Gryphonheart, who understandably wasn't very happy of this new little rebellion on his hands. Tarnum decided that the Mudlanders need their own land where they would be able to live free and pursue their mudland occupations whatever they are. He came to them in robes of one of their own and named himself a Beastmaster who would bring them freedom from the Erathian masters with the sword in hands.
Well, well it seems that freeing races from oppressive masters became the field of expertise for Tarnum. He freed his own barbarians when he was just a youth and now he was determined to repeat it with the Mudlanders. Tarnum got very good reception from them and they were soon organised in a small army, though not very well trained.
The rebellion was a nuisance for Erathia. The escaped slaves were hunted as beasts and if captured, killed at sight. The minions of the Erathian king weren't very good in eliminating the threat representing by Tarnum and his slave army. The king had to send his own son Niven to deal with the problem and it proved to be a fatal mistake. The naïve and romantic youth of barely 16 years old was easily swayed by Tarnum, who convinced him that the slavery is bad and the freedom is good and the father isn't always right. As the result, the prince instead of fighting rebellion joined it and added his significant tactician talent to the success. In response Erathia kidnapped all the wise women of the Mudlanders and threatened to execute them if the prince wouldn't be released. The long game of ransom hostage negotiations was going on while Tarnum tried some evasive secret manoeuvres, undoubtedly suggested by the prince himself.
The troubled times usually exposed heroes anew. Therefore, the talents of Tarnum were again in demand.
Somehow, Tarnum got time to be engaged in the conflict with Mutare, the queen of Dragons. It was when she was at the peak of her fame in Antagarich and just united the whole Nighon. After this, she attempted to occupy neighbouring countries, beginning from Erathia, which was in ruins and chaos anyway and the elven Avlee. There were a lot of strange rumours and contradicting facts about this time.
Some were saying that Mutare enslaved all 'good' Gold and Green Dragons that were allies of the Elves. And that Tarnum was freeing them. Others said that on contrary Mutare just tried to unite all the Dragons of all colours together, which wasn't such a bad idea at all, but the greedy Elves didn't want to loose their most powerful allies and asked Tarnum to help him defeat Mutare. Some said Tarnum killed Mutare, while others insisted that it was Mutare who lead Nighon population through the magical portals to the new world and therefore she could not be killed by Tarnum. Let's not dwell on these matters now.
It was only the minor incident with Mutare. The more important quest of Tarnum was linked to Gelu the Elf and the Sword of Frost. It was the last known quest in the history of the barbarian hero Tarnum. Gelu the Elf wanted to find the Sword of Frost, the powerful ancient weapon of mass destruction that was lost for many centuries. Gelu already possessed another ultimate weapon the Armageddon's Blade from the alien Kreegans and claimed that he want to save the world from the ancient prophecy.
The prophecy said that both weapons should not meet in battle. Otherwise the unavoidable and terrible cataclysm would happen and the world would be destroyed.
Tarnum knew about the prophecy and used all his powers of persuasion to stop Gelu whom he respected as a great warrior, but everything was in vain. The problem was very hard to solve also because of the high reputation of Gelu, who was the war hero of all Elves and well known and respected in Erathia as well. If Gelu said that it was right to find the Sword of Frost, then it was right thing to do and nobody wanted to contradict him, especially with all those elite elven forces standing behind him, the forces whose commander was Gelu himself. Everyone supported Gelu and no one liked Tarnum. Nevertheless, Tarnum had to at least try to save the world one more time.
The race after Gelu brought Tarnum to the famous secretive northern island of the Elves Vori, where naturally Gelu got more supporters, as he was half Vori. Tarnum found himself surrounded by the enemies. Everyone wanted the Sword of Frost to be his. Even the present king of the Barbarians Kilgore who just claimed the throne after the ended Festival of Life. The king had to stay at home to secure the throne but he sent instead his young third wife Kija to find the blade.
Tarnum was very worried because he knew all too well what this young barbarian king Kilgore was capable of. Tarnum was the same at his age. If the Sword of Frost would be brought to Kilgore, then with Gelu determined to get it, there wasn't necessary to be a seer to predict a major cataclysm.
Tarnum was desperate and tried nearly everything to prevent a coming disaster. He even captured the close friend of Gelu Ufretin and tried to convince him that his leader was terribly wrong to pursue the search for the Sword of Frost, which was better be lying whenever it was and never to be found or even better never to be forged.
Well, what can be said here? In his last and the most important mission of the whole life, Tarnum failed. When he finally captured the City of Volee and found the resting-place of the Sword of Frost, he found that someone had already chipped it from its icy sheath. Among the broken ice was a discarded Barbarian Axe. Kija, the loyal wife of the barbarian king was the first at the most dramatic race of the history.
There wasn't any mention of what have happened to Tarnum after this. No doubt, that he was a witness of the final cataclysm or at least it's consequences. Did he die with the world where he has lived many centuries of his very long life or managed to find a safety in the new world by passing through the magical portals along with other refugees from different races of Antagarich? We don't know this. The only thing remained from the heroic adventurous king Tarnum are the legends reverently kept in the oral lore of the Barbarians. This is one of the few attempts to put down on paper these legends for those to read who find researches of history pleasant for their hearts.
To make a long story short, the Mudlanders walked to the swamp territories where nobody wanted to live except the Hydras and the Basilisks and other lizardly things, and named it Tatalia, which means Community. The prince Niven became the new king of Erathia while the old so called 'mad king Gryphonheart' was this time seriously mad because of this but nobody listened to him anymore.
All ended well. Tatalia survived and lived more or less peacefully for centuries, though most other more civilised countries ignored it. The Gryphonheart royal line ruled in Erathia. The immortal barbarian hero Tarnum with the feeling of the duty fulfilled departed and lived quietly until the troubled time of the last age of the Antagarich history didn't come.
It looked that this accursed weapon was somewhere very far on the north in the land of glaciers. At least it was where Gelu was marching leading the barbarian clans of Kija and the forces of Tarnum in the tail. They all passed through the frozen tunnels in the glacier of the far north to the lost City of Volee. The city according to the ancient elven legends was the first city of Vori elves, but it disappeared more than a thousand years ago under the thick layer of ice shortly after the Sword of Frost was created. Some speculate that the Sword of Frost itself is responsible for the creation of the glaciers that buried the ancient city.
Tarnum released Ufretin and sent him to speak to Gelu but the Elf was behind all reasoning. Tarnum had the information directly from the Ancestors that the Sword of Frost can't be destroyed except by Armageddon's Blade. Unfortunately, Gelu knew this too, but he didn't realise that just bringing two weapons together wouldn't do any good. Weapons of such tremendous power require special approach and can not be undone by the usual methods. That's why, the Ancestors asked Tarnum to retrieve the Sword of Frost and brought it to them. Ancestors wanted then to cast it to some very distant place where no one would ever found it, probably to the other end of the known universe.