North American Fantasy Deck
The images for the Fantasy deck were placed online for download on August 28, 2009.
Wizard Fantasy Deck: The Legend
Long, long ago before the beginning of time there existed four equally powerful Kingdoms. Each Kingdom divided its members into 13 castes. The Kingdoms offered their services as mercenaries on a daily basis to any of the 6 Emperors that existed at the time. The Emperors were constantly at strife with one another and eager to accept the assistance of the Kingdoms whose powers they needed to be victorious. At times as few as 3 of the Emperors were at war but at other times 4, 5, or even all six were in conflict. The mercenaries only visited the Emperors who were in conflict and offered their services but always in equal numbers so that no one Emperor had more mercenaries than another at any one time. In fact the Kingdoms always began by offering a single mercenary and then increased the number by one each day. Only 1 member of each of the 13 castes was made available at any one time by each Kingdom. This meant that on the last day of battle each of the 4 Kingdoms offered a maximum of 13 mercenaries, one from each level of society.
However each day the gods did randomly declare one of the 4 Kingdoms to be dominant over the other 3. This did provide Emperors with more mercenaries from the dominant Kingdom a powerful advantage.
However the gods did not favor power as much as truth. Truth was the measure by which each Emperor was judged. Each day after the mercenaries had arrived each Emperor would evaluate his strength and declare how many battles he would win that day. The number of battles to be fought always equaled the number of mercenaries available that day. The Emperors who correctly named the number of battles in which they would be victorious were greatly rewarded by the gods who granted them merits based on the number of battles won. Conversely any Emperor who failed to correctly identify the exact number of battles won was punished by a system of demerits.
In addition to the mercenaries made available by the 4 Kingdoms there existed 4 equally powerful wizards and 4 equally impotent jesters who would randomly offer their services to the Emperors. Because both the Wizards and Jesters were found to be very effective in helping to win battles their services were preferred over even the most powerful mercenary from any of the 4 Kingdoms. Any Emperor was delighted to find his quota of warriors included one or more Wizards and Jesters.
If only 3 champions were in conflict a victor was declared after 20 days of battle, if 4 champions after 15 days, if 5 champions after 12 days and if all 6 champions were in conflict after 10 days of battle.
People Represented on the Cards
The Wizard Fantasy deck maintains the 4 normal suits: Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds and Spades. The deck consists of 13 color-coded characters. The characters depicted on the cards are:
The Wizard and Jester cards are naturally depicted by Wizards and Jesters.
Each card features a full body depiction of the character.
Merlin, was an inspired seer and mystic mage, a wise councilor and faithful friend to three kings. In Arthurian legend he is famous as a magician and as the counselor of King Arthur But for all his wisdom, Merlin was bewitched by the Lady of The Lake who turned his love to her own ends. She sapped his power and plundered his store of secrete knowledge, and when done, she bound him in stone by his own spells.
Sometime in the 8th Century, a Wizard called Malagigi was appointed Court Wizard and Advisor to the legendary Charlemagne, Carolus Magnus, the King of the Franks. Malagigi was one of the most powerful wizards of his time and could also perform non magical feats with his superior knowledge of powders and chemicals.
The enchanter Archelaus was a cunning and truly magnificent villain who was the mortal enemy of Amadis of Gaul and his kindred. He gained power through an alliance with griffons but was eventually slain by Amadis in the Fire Castle where he held the Princess Oriana prisoner.
Clinschor was an evil sorcerer who held good will toward no one. He knew the art of necromancy so that he could bind men and women with his spells. Clinschor built the “Castle of Wonders” in which he imprisoned many beautiful ladies. The knight Gawan eventually freed the maidens from Clinschor’s power.
Sir Dagonet was King Arthur's well-beloved jester. He saw himself as a courageous warrior and would present himself as such. Yet, in reality, he would flee at the slightest provocation. He often battered his own shield so that it appeared that he had been in a fight - telling all that he emerged victorious of course.
Hop Frog, a dwarf, was the unofficial advisor to the King. Due to his deformed legs he relied largely on his prodigious arm strength for locomotion. His movement was achieved by sequential hops, hence his name. It is not known from what country Hop-Frog originally came but it was from some barbarous region, that no person ever heard of--a vast distance from the court of the king. Hop-Frog was so inventive in the way of getting up pageants, suggesting novel characters, and arranging costumes, for masked balls, that nothing could be done, it seems, without his assistance.
Touchstone in Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” performed the classic jester role. A touchstone was a stone used to test the purity of gold and silver. In the same way, Touchstone the jester tested the wits of his aristocratic masters.
“The fool doth think himself wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.”
Taillefer was William the Conqueror's jester, and the first man to be killed in the Battle of Hastings in 1066, when the Normans conquered England. A jongleur, he rode out in front of the line, tossing his sword in the air and juggling it until an Englishman was provoked and killed him. When William the Conqueror learned of the death of Taillefer he cried: "Drink to Taillefer all; his heirs shall have a whole country fee, simple deeded and a motto: “Consequitur Quodcumque Petit.” (He accomplishes what he undertakes)
Dragons (The Ace Cards)
Caoranach was a female dragon that lived in Donegal during the time of St. Patrick. Aside from the usual terrorizing of the inhabitants, Caoránach's young were thought to be devils. St. Patrick sent her to the bottom of Lough Derg until Judgement Day.
The Tarasque was a huge blue water dragon that lived in a lake in the south of France. The local population was terrorized by the presence of the monster, which would emerge from the lake from time to time to devour a virgin. The beautiful St. Martha happened to pass by one day and the villagers begged her to help them. In return for her help she only asked them to pray to God for three days. Even though he was ferocious Tarasque was a music lover and when St. Martha began to sing he emerged from the lake and lay down at her feet, completely docile. She then put a belt around his neck and led him into town where he was easily killed. The region where the Tarasque lived was then called Tarascon, in memory of the feat.
Fafnir began his life as a dwarf, but he slowly transformed into a dragon which guarded a great treasure of gold. Siegfried dug a deep pit beside the path to the river, where the dragon crawled each day to drink at dawn and hid in it. When Fafnir passed over the top of the hole, Siegfried stuck his sword, “Gram”, into Fafnir's belly, killing him. Siegfried ate the dragon's heart and became the wisest of men.
Ladon, a monstrous dragon with a hundred heads, guarded the “golden apples” which grew on a legendary tree on the slopes of Mount Atlas. One of the tasks of Hercules was to steal the golden apples from the tree which Gaia (Mother Earth) had given to Hera, Queen of the Heavens, at her wedding to Zeus. Hercules killed the dragon with arrows poisoned with the blood of the Hydra, and with the aid of Atlas, made off with the apples. After the loss of the apples, Hera placed the dragon into the sky as the constellation, Draco.
Arthur was the illegitimate son of Uther Pendragon, king of Britain, and Igraine, the wife of Gorlois of Cornwall. After the death of Uther, Arthur, who had been reared in secrecy, won acknowledgment as king of Britain by successfully withdrawing a sword from a stone. Merlin, the court magician, then revealed the new king's parentage. Arthur, reigning in his court at Camelot, proved to be a noble king and a mighty warrior. He was the possessor of the miraculous sword Excalibur, given to him by the mysterious Lady of the Lake.
Priam was the son of the king of Troy. He became king after his father Laomedon and all of his brothers were killed by Heracles in the first sack of Troy. Priam himself was the father, of fifty sons and many daughters, including Hector, Paris and Cassandra. Priam unsuccessfully defended his city during the Trojan War, at the end of which Troy was sacked a second time and was finally destroyed.
Minos was the legendary king of Crete. King Minos ordered Daedalus to construct a palace to hide the Minotaur, and Daedalus built the Labyrinth. Because of his meddling Minos imprisoned Daedalus and his son Icarus inside a tower. They escaped by making wings from wax and feathers, but Icarus was killed when he flew too close to the sun. After his death Priam was made the supreme judge of the lower world, before whom all the dead appeared to give an account and to receive the rewards of their deeds.
Charlemagne ruled over most of western Europe and was noted as a lawgiver, administrator, protector of the Church and promoter of education. We are told he was 8 feet tall and of enormous strength and could bend 3 horseshoes at once in his hands. He was buried at Aix-la-Chapelle but according to legend he waits, crowned and armed for the day when the Antichrist shall appear; he will then go forth to battle and rescue Christendom.
Guinevere was the wife of King Arthur. Unfortunately for him, she also loved Sir Lancelot, the king's best friend and most loyal knight. Accused of adultery, she would have been killed if Lancelot had not fought to prove her innocence. When Arthur discovered their love he banished Lancelot from the Table Round and Guinevere was sent to a convent.
Makeda, Queen of Sheba, was known to be beautiful, intelligent, understanding, resourceful, and adventurous. A gracious queen, she had a melodious voice and was an eloquent speaker. Excelling in public relations and international diplomacy, she was a also competent ruler. The historian Josephus said of her, “she was inquisitive into philosophy and on that and on other accounts also was to be admired.”(6)
Eleanor of Aquitaine
Queen of France and England. Her marriage to Louis VII of France was annulled in 1152, and shortly afterward she married Henry II of England. Her ten children included the monarchs Richard I (Richard the Lionheart) and John, whose accession she strove to secure. Eleanor's court at Poitiers was the scene of much artistic activity and was noted for its cultivation of courtly manners and the concept of courtly love. The patroness of many literary figures, she was an able and strong-minded woman.
Penthesilea, Queen of the Amazons, was known for her wisdom, bravery and skill in weapons. She and her army of warrior women fought many battles not just to protect their own cities, but as allies in defence of others and it was answering the loyal call of one such alliance that cost Queen Penthesilea her life. She fought for Troy and was slain by Achilles who speared Penthisilea and dragged her from her saddle by the hair.
Knights (The Jacks)
Sir Lancelot was the most famous of the Arthurian knights. He was an excellent swordsman and both fearless and invincible on the battlefield. He was a very charming and courteous knight, always aiding those in need. Lancelot was King Arthur's Champion and his most trusted knight. He served his King with undying loyalty and went on many quests but betrayed Arthur by having a secret affair with Queen Guinevere.
Lohengrin was Parzival’s son. He had to keep his identity and history a secret. His wife, the Princess of Brabant, insisted on questioning him and broke the spell and Lohengrin was borne away by a great swan. In Richard Wagner's opera, it is explained that the Grail gives its guardians magical powers that depend upon them maintaining their anonymity.
Orlando was the most celebrated of Charlemagne’s knights. Medoro, an African Prince, was wounded in battle. His wounds were healed by Angelica, Queen of Cathay, and the two fell in love. Angelica, however, was being courted by the knight Orlando. Orlando, on the loss of Angelica, laid aside his crest and arms, and arrayed himself in a suit of black armor, expressive of his despair. In this guise he carried such slaughter among the ranks of the infidels, that both armies were astonished at the achievements of the stranger knight.
Britomart, the daughter of King Ryence of Britain was the female knight of chastity. She fell in love with Artegall whose image she had seen in a magic mirror. Her quest for him involved many adventures which ended in their union. After Britomart slew Radigund and freed Artegall and the other knights, she brought order to the kingdom by restoring power to men's hands. Nevertheless Britomart remained her father's heir and was “destined to rule in her home country”. She remained a powerful woman.
Graphical Display of Cards
Some of the cards for the Fantasy Deck can be seen at: