THE SAGA of ASTRAL DOORS
In a time when darkness ruled the world, two men decided to join their strength; uniting their forces into one to become stronger in the battle against the unholy spirits, eating our world.
One of them was the mighty axeman, Joachim; blessed with the power of wisdom. The other was Johan. A man with a burning heart; prepared to fight for justice with his golden sticks.
Together they started sowing the seed of this new kingdom. The foundation of the Astral empire.

Rumours flew to places hidden behind clouds and under oceans. Soon evildoers got together and started their vicious war against the kingdom of Astral.
An invitation was sent to the warrior from Midway, Sir Patrik. Armoured in steel and eager to prove his courage; Sir Patrik became allied with the Astral Kings, forming a fortress in metal; forged in fire.

Tales and songs around the world, foretold the legend of Astral and many tried to find it. Seekers from near and far searched for the golden doors to the kingdom, but no one found it.

So it happened one day, that the two knights, Martin and Jocke, on their way home from the battlefield, stopped at the river of the valley to drink some water.
Reflected by the clear water, a light so bright and beautiful, gave them the doors; the doors from the tales; golden and divine. The Astral Doors.

The story says that only one more, of the thousand who tried, managed to reach that land with the golden doors to keep trespassers out: The winged assassin from the east; Mika the brave.

Things have been said and things have been done. For the tears now dried and for the faded words; listen to the tales and sing along with the singers and their songs. The gospels shall never die.
In the name of the son and the father and the Holy Ghost we invite you to follow us behind the Astral Doors.

Criar Thrakenwill, 2003.
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The saga of Astral Doors, part two:
The battle of the golden kingdom.

After the celebrations of finding the Astral doors, our force was destined to create there a new kingdom. Rangers, holy men, soldiers of fortune: in thousands they came; all to be a part of the building of an empire without greed and malice, ruled by six kings: Johan with his golden sticks; Joachim blessed with wisdom; Mika the brave; King Martin the giant; Jocke the wizard and Sir Patrik.

This could have been the end of the story, but forces of darkness waited in their holes for the right moment to break through the doors of peace. Banned and cursed from their own lands, they gathered in the valley of Mukrur, preparing to conquer The Kingdom of Astral and to slay all resistance.

The sky cracked and moon cried, the night when evil arrived to Astral. Our six kings once again had to join their strength and wisdom to protect their world. With swords, forged in the fire of Hgardylie, they fought the intruders. For seven days and seven nights the Astral men defended the walls of hope, but when victory seemed to be within reach; a figure started to rise back in the distance.

A battle between men is one thing, but now, by the exploding volcanos of madness, they all realized that they now were up to something that they never could defeat: they were at war with Satan.
In the shape of a gigantic tiger, he roared his battle roar. Pandemonium; death and destruction flashed through the minds of the rulers. Hope was no more.

Now the warriors of Astral believed it was all too late. The spirits had left them and their minds didn't want their bodies to fight anymore.
In that moment, Johan started to drum. The rhythm seemed to hypnotize Satan and his disciples. Soon, Mika the brave started following the rhythm with his bass; and the army's of death backed off a bit.
Joachim and Martin made guitars of their axes and delivered riffs so heavy that the devil squad retreated even more. Jocke ran into the church and found the holy organ. Playing heavenly tunes, he joined the band of the kings.
Satan was almost defeated now and when Sir Patrik sang along with the mighty music, hails and brimstones crushed the soldiers of evil and the humiliated Lord of Darkness, crawled back to his stinking world deep under ground.

The tale of the kings who defeated the Devil is a story that will live forever in the kingdom of Astral. Evil is forever you say? Well, so are the Astral Doors!

Criar Thrakenwill, 2005.
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The saga of Astral Doors, part three:
The legend of the Astral Friar.

Prologue.
The war of the Golden Kingdom had been won. It was glory days in the pearl of sweetness. Years went by and new times took over the world. The kingdom of Astral soon fell into the well of oblivion and the modern people soon forgot about the miracles in the ultimate war of existence and the heroes from the mines of humanity.


I.

The boy with the long black hair could not run anymore. The hunting crowd surrounded him and he knew that the only way out was to fight.
With strength he didn't know he had and with the cunning of the fox, he defeated his opponents and swore upon the heart of his father to spend the rest of his life as a nomad and a friar, protected by the mountain walls of Nirtal.

He learned the way of the wilderness and to respect the power of the nature. Now no longer a boy, but a man and a hunter, he lived as one with the mountain. Trespassers had to pay with their lives if they intruded his domains with bad intentions and without his permission. All the species living in his land of stone, he banished if they broke the vow of peace.

Soon people started to tell stories and tales about the man on the mountain. The legend foretold that he was half a God and half a man. They called him Dragonstone. Many were the children who fell asleep at night after they've been listening to another lullaby, or bed side story about the mystical warrior.


II.

Tdetsdnil Nahoj, the evil Emperor of The Darkland, was ready to leave. His soldiers were ready to escort him to the Outland. The emperor had a macabre vision to find and conquer the hidden land of Astral; to collect its golden treasures and return to The Darkland in triumph.

The treasures of the Astral Kingdom would be used as payment for the rebuilding of the armed forces of The Darkland. A war machine destined to spread death and terror. All the advisers who told him that the Astral Kingdom was nothing but a myth were immediately executed. The Evil Nahoj always took what he wanted and nothing could stop him.

The map his father had given to him just before his last breath in life could not be misread: The Astral Kingdom was to be found in the valley of Nellab near the great mountain of Nirtal. It was a dark and rainy morning when Tdetsdnil Nahoj and his one thousand men army left The Darkland to meet their destiny.


III.
Joachim, Mika and the rest of glorious kings, sat around the king's table in the hall of freedom. They had now lived in peace, hidden from the outside world for a hundreds of years. Their victory in the battle of the golden kingdom had given them immortality, but the way the world progressed worried them.

Information said that an army led by Tdetsdnil Nahoj marched against The Astral Kingdom to destroy the world of goodness once and forever. The kings had no intend to let this stone hearted emperor reach the Astral Doors, and they realized what had to be done.

The mighty Martin ordered one of his servants:
-Go find the watcher of Nirtal; but hurry, the time is short.


IV.
The legendary Dragonstone knew exactly what he had to do. The words echoed inside his head:
-Don't let anyone near the Astral Kingdom. Protect the mountain and the valley from the forces of The Darkland. Your trophy and prize is immortality.

For the first time since he was a kid, Dragonstone had revealed his real name. When the kings around the table demanded him to tell them his name, he had spoken. The Astral kings fell to their knees, when they realized that the man in front of them was the son of the former leader of the free forces, Lhadnetlob Sirhc.
-I have lived the life of a nomad in the shadows of Nirtal too long, he said.
The way of the friar seemed to be my destiny in life, but now the day has come when it's time for me to face the future and to settle peace with my past. I will defend the Astral Kingdom. The final battle is mine.


V.
The evil emperor of the Darkland didn't even see that the end was near. Like out of nowhere the sky turned black and a thunderous sound roared. As the emperor and his army were about to enter the Valley of Glory through the only passage, the mountain started to tremble and quake and within a few seconds; the forces of evil had met their grave under the stones of Nirtal.

The man formerly known as Dragonstone, stood safe on the highest top of the mountain and watched the massacre of evil as the only beholder. To fight fire with fire is sometimes the only solution; but in his heart he felt sadness. Why do people become evil? Why are people so hungry for power? Is this the end of dictatorship? Will Brage ever return to highest league?
Lhadnetlob Sirhc turned around and started his long climb down the mountain. It was time for him to return to his own people. As a king.


Epilogue.
Years went by and the memories of the Astral Kingdom once again turned into tales and songs. One of the most foretold stories in the Astral saga was about the battle of Nitral and how one man alone defeated the army's of The Darkland. Later on, this story would be foretold as The legend of The Astral Friar.

Criar Thrakenwill, 2006.
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The saga of Astral Doors, part four:
The Awakening


Prologue:
Darkness; now embracing the world that some people know as the Earth.

The future we never believed would come has now disappeared and the time that no one, even in their wildest moments, could ever imagine would ever exist, is here.

After the devastating nuclear and lazer war in the year of 2212, humanity stopped to exist and the globe was imbedded in a dark mist. Life is no longer a factor.

The ice that once, about 200 years ago, was melting is taking its revenge and spreads over the world. Covered in black nuclear dust, it is conquering land and sea. The black ice is now God, but it hears no prayers.

I
The boiling moon


I.
The surface seemed to glow. A light surrounded the moon, like some kind of Gloria.
“There's no chance in hell that we can land here”, said the man who seemed to be some kind of captain. “Damn; this was our last chance. The fuel and the food don't last much longer.” The man sitting beside him, a short, skinny guy with US-marine-kind haircut, replied: “There's only one thing to do. Whether we want it or not, we must return to Earth.”
The two men stared at each other. None of them spoke for several minutes. The moon before them, once so full of life, was now a boiling stone; an atomic ball, doomed to collapse and vanish into space.
After this moment of brutal silence, the one who seemed to be the captain, scratched his head, blessed with a strange Mohican haircut and said: “Little Big Man, I guess you're right. We have no other chance. But where the hell shall we land? Isn't the entire place exposed with nuclear shit?”
“Well”, the marine responded, “I have heard that the only area that seems to have been spared, strangely enough, is this place way up north in Scandinavia. I've been told that the only existing life on earth is at that spot. So, what do you say, shall we give it a go or shall we die here in space?”
“You know the answer,” the Mohican guy rapidly replied. He rubbed his bizarre beard and started to laugh, ”Mama, Mohican Joe is coming home.” 

II.
The cave was not so cold any more. After three weeks of hard work their new home was almost, well, “cosy.” Nymf and Axe had collected all kinds of items to make their miserable lives a bit easier, a job not so easy as the winter with its devastating blizzards held the country in an iron grip. It was impossible to stay outdoors for more than 30 minutes. However, the worst element and the big threat though was not the permanent winter. The real menace was the gigantic ice mutants. These creatures, or  Ice Giants as they were called, were made by scientists in laboratory's  century's before the the collapse of the human race. When the ice took over, threatening their existence, they fled from their dungeons to spread around the world like a deadly virus. The Ice Giants had no human feelings; they were produced to be a part of the army. Pure evil. Unstoppable Killing machines.

Nymf and Axe knew that they both were living on borrowed time. They could hear strange sounds every day from up the mountains. The gathering had begun. Hundreds and hundreds of Ice devils had already gathered and more were on their way.

The duo worked day in and day out to make their fortress stronger and even though they knew that it wouldn't stop the mutants, they never complained or gave up hope. Working hard was something they had been born to do, and they would continue to do so until death.

III.
The reindeer ran toward the trees. Nymf had missed the first shot with his longbow, but Axe was in a better position, closer to the woods, so he would for sure bring it down. As the reindeer approached,  Axe knew his target was an easy one. Food on the table tonight as well!

As Axe was about to make his move, a cracking sound knocked both him and his bow and arrows to the ground, and  the reindeer got away. A bolt of lightning set fire to the trees and the place was shaking like an earthquake. “Let's get the hell out of here”, Nymf screamed, “It's the fucking Ice fuckers attacking.”

Without thinking much about the consequences, Nymf ran toward his knocked down partner to help him, but as he reached his friend, another boost of sound roared through the air. Nymf took cover behind a rock while the horrifying sound level increased, and he feared that he had reached the last moment of his life. He crawled towards Axe, but his friend seemed to be lifeless.
“Fuck you God”, Nymf screamed in despair.
“What have we done to deserve this fucking shit?”

As both of them was awaiting death, two figures in white uniforms was slowly walking toward them. One of them was a short person, while the other one was rather tall and really fat.

Terrified from top to toe, they both were prepared to die. The uniforms came closer.
“But...”, Nymf said, “Isn't it...well..isn't it.”
“You're god damn right it is”, Axe shouted, recently awaken from his comatose state, “ It's Mohican Joe and Little Big Man.”

II
Wolves of Iron

IV.
The reunion of the four old friends developed into a feast of joy. In their “cosy” cave, they sang and danced while Axe played on an accordion he had made from old parts of a space craft. Nymf, having found an old skin flute, joined the jam of joy.
However the reunited old bunch was still one person short: the chosen one, or as they used to call him: Astragorn.

The story was: As the Ice came rolling over Astragorn's domains, he fled down to the tunnels of Corsodyl. Together with some other survivors he made tough resistance against the mutants, but after massive attacks, both Him and the resistance group eventually vanished into the state of legends. The rumors and tales claims that he was still alive, preparing for revenge, gathering survivors to join his force, but no one dared truly believe that such a lucky day would come.

“We must find him”, Little Big Man stated. “His domains aren't more than two weeks of marching away from here.”
Everyone agreed  but Nymf added: “Well, two weeks of walking out in the wilderness with killer mutants everywhere isn't really my cup of Tea, but if we could get the old wolves to help us out, it would be another thing.”

The two iron wolves were standing side by side in another cave, two stores below the head quarter.
“Ice Scooters”, Little Big Man laughed, “I thought you were talking about real wolves.” “But do you have any fuel?”

V.
Two hours later, the four horsemen were flying down the tundras of the North in search of Astragorn. Darkness had taken its toll and it was dead blackness around them. The night slowly turned to day and the magnificent four felt the mother of sleep begging them to stop and rest for a while.
After more than three quarters of a night on the werewolf machines, the party decided to finally take a break.
“Let's make this a short one”, Mohican Joe said; “We're on dangerous ground now, and we have no desire to fight against the low life breeds hanging out at this shitty place.”
A small fire was made and in shifts they had to sit there, one by one, to guard their shelter and to keep the fire alive.
Just before sun break, Nymf took over the fire guard from Mohican Joe. Everything seemed to be calm and Nymf roasted some really old beef jerky's on the fire. Just as he had finished his little barbeque  and was about to taste his work, a strange noise caught his attention.
Some kind of growling from somewhere really close, forced the Nymf to wake up the other three.
None of them had heard a sound like that before and they quickly went into fighting positions.
Before they knew it, the sky was ablaze. Fires chocked their eyes into sudden blindness and they all covered in their newly dug trenches.

III
The return of The Chosen One


VI.
Ice Giants rushed against them. Close behind them followed Killer Elks, Blood Bears, Metallium Foxes and Virtual Bigfoots.
It was a dead end for the four friends. With all the guts they had in their hearts and souls, they fought with everything they had. The fight was bloody and hard, but it was a suicide mission trying to stand up against this elite squad of evil murdering mutants.
“I guess this is it”, Little Big Man shouted. “It was a pleasure to meet you boys.”

The quartet fought with blood and flesh, but the battle was lost. The Astral warriors had finally met their doom.

In that very moment, the forces of morbid killer mutants and their allies suddenly stopped and the beasts began hesitating as a sound from above, like flaps from a bird,  came closer and closer.

Everyone looked up to the sky. The sight meeting them was something the survivors of the battle would remember for the rest of their lives: A White Master Falcon
came surfing through the clouds of smoke and on his back a tall man with long black hair was standing.
“Astragorn, it is Astragorn.” The friends couldn't believe their eyes.
In one hand he held a glowing sword and in the other a piece of paper. With loud , powerful voice he started reading.

The four Astral friends didn't understand a word of what Astragorn read, but the allied forces of mutants fell down to the ground, rolling around while howling
and growling. Their metal bodies were melting. Floods of boiling metal and black fuel was all over the place. Even though the mutants were out of action, they weren't on the safe side yet. Within seconds our quartet would be captured by the river of floating death.

VII.
Afterwards, the Astral friends could smile as they talked about what happened. How four falcons came from out of nowhere, fishing them up with their beaks and then flew away with them to the mountain where the  fifth member of their group awaited them.

Astragorn told them the story of how he, in the ruins of the laboratories, had found the secret voice codes of how to destroy the mutants.
The word that the Astral four was heading against his domains came to him fast, so he knew the time was right to put an end to the miserable, so called lives of the Ice Giants and their partners.

That night, the Astral Quintet partied like never before, but they all knew that the fight wasn't really over. This was perhaps the ending of the mutants, but the biggest and ultimate fight was waiting for them: The Final Battle of the Earth.

However, that was a fact that couldn't spoil the feast of this glorious victory or the fact that they were united once again after many decades.

Astragorn, Little Big Man, Nymf, Axe and Mohican Joe were happy. Happier than ever before.

Epilogue

Little Big Man went out for a little walk. In his mind the thoughts had a wrestling combat. Would he ever be able to understand what happened in the group that was the foundation of Staying Alive? Was it him or was it someone else? It was a question of power; that much he knew, but was it the boss in the band who fired the vice president because he tried to take over his place as the leading character in the group, or was it something else?
Little Big man thought about this for many hours. As the sun sank his mind was cleared. Suddenly he realized everything: Astral Doors is his squad now. The struggle of power in Staying Alive is no longer his matter.
With a smile on his face, Little Big Man fell asleep.

Criar Thrakenwill, 2012.
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