Ultima Online Event Arc

By Lady Flame

Kingdom Rebord is the start of a long epic event and continues with Warriors of Destiny

Warriors of Destiny 2008-2009

This is a very brief index of events since Inu appeared in order of taking place The numbers are chapters in book at my house with full quotes and information of the events, and yes I now realise I jumped a few numbers I will correct this once I have corrected the books ingame. (My house can be found at Malas 128o 4‘N 15o 53‘W).

1. Inu appears at Brit Bank

2. Inu moves to Tokuno Tea House.

3. Inu returns to home in Zento

4. Rat cave found/cleared, Lorgash Boss. Shatterings book discovered

6. BNN from Odda, help with rune translation.

7. Inu says more. Odda appears in Nujelm. Kurai (rune beetle) arrives at Inu’s. Discovers red wisp in Wisp Dungeon (password is “manifestationsofwisdom“).

8. Enslaved Demon discovered at bottom of Dojo, learned of his mistress. (BNN “Inu Chapter 2”) Killed Enslaved Deamon.

Ghost of Enslaved Demon found at bottom of Hythloth. (BNN “Excerpt from “The Care and Feeding of Demons”)

Inu returns to Britannia wondering the streets.

9. Aileen heckles Inu at Brit bank, then goes to Castle British. Speak to Nakano (Inu’s daughter-in-law), Maya (Nakano’s daughter),Yatsue (architect), Daiichi (Yatsue’s son), Tomoe (Maya’s friend), Ken/Kentarou (Mays friend),

10. Spoke to Wisps, Unshackled Demon, and Yrigor whom we collected items for. (BNN “Inu Chapter 2”)

11. Could hear things in Brit sewers.

12. Inu kidnapped, Kurai poisoned. Entered secured area in sewers (password “charvory”) discover collapsed moongate. (BNN Moongates)

Spoke with Selcius (Astronomer at telescope), Fahrin (Alchemist in Vesper), Vindelblunt (Trinsic), Pixie (in tree near Blood Dungeon Ishena, Heysbert (Monk in Empath Abby Yew), Ghost (Britain Moongate), Barry (Luna Moongate), Horus (Hidden Vale west of Trinsic), All lead to Reg Volum Ishena, (password “masteropenthydoor” spoken on sword tip of floor tiles. Found locked Door.

13. Found books in bars (lock pickers apprentice), Spoke to Oliver (Pirates Plunder, Bucks Den, Fel), Tim (North Nujel’m), Nicholas (Jhelom, house behind theatre), Ebenezer the Mayor (Minoc, Commander Jurrels Office). Fagen say “night watch” (Pirates Plunder, Bucs Den, Fel)

Went to rescue Ricardo in Terathan keep, (double click torch on wall in Belron room), Ricardo had escaped.

Orphidian’s attack NW Serpent’s hold, NW Papua, E Skara Brea and Vesper graveyard. Found a thief’s body at each with name starting with R. (BNN Orphadians Attack“)

Thiefs bodies replaced with notes for Artified Scion.

4 new tents appear near Ophadian stronghold. (BNN “Alone”)

Ophadians drop Power, Vanquish & Mystics weapons + Ophidian Bardich.

Ambassador in Brit Castle.

Joachim at top of Tokuno Volcano, Collect items to make new ratified scion.

(BNN “A Calm Before A Storm”).

Defeated Ophidian’s in Skara Brea and Serpents Hold. Then in Vesper.

(BNN “A Favour Returned”). (Ricardo opened locked door).

Defeated Ophidians in Papua, Ophidian Temple and Terathan Keep. Found impassable flames in Terathan Keep.

Killed Yrigor and freed Inu from imprisonment in Reg Volum. (Deadly and need a GM lock picker).

Inu mumbling “Kingdom Reborn”

14. (BNN “Success on the Front Line” Ambassador delivered Zenith Scion to Ophidians).

(BNN “Extra! Extra! Rouge Elements Threaten Peace”).

(BNN “Mages Discover Source of Ophidian Secrete”).

Discovered “An Sanct Flam” cast at flames in Terathan Keep extinguished them.

Destroyed Gate on Blackrock base in Terathan Keep (named ???). (Piece of Blackrock).

15. (BNN “Excerpt from Jordan’s Tale”). (Small Piece Of Blackrock spawn all over Sosaria).

Inu returns to Zento.

16. (BNN “Strange Rifts Appear Across Sosaria”).

Selcius at Telescope. Found 9 rifts. New entrance in Ishena password “Roclasmpy”.

Void Shadow, Devoures and Timelord along with new rift.

17. (BNN “Wanted! Ricardo, Alive and for Questioning”.

Sheriff in Trinsic jail, Jay in Buccaneers Den. Found Ricardo’s lair (passwoed “bhulpwer”).

18. (BNN “Eleven Prosecutor Assigned to Ricardo’s Trial!”).

Ricardo in Trinsic jail, Casca in Court of Truth.

Went Terathen keep found items returned to Casca then investigated Nujel’m Palace for clues.

Reported back to Casca, then searched Ophidian Fortress.

Killed Void Shadow.

19. Time lord said he will listen to information at future time and vanished.

(BNN “Castle British Under Siege!”).

Castle British full of rats (coins looted), Cherry the mouse, Commander Jurrel and Clanin there.

(BNN “A Heroine’s Welcome Home”). Discusion with Cherry.

20. (BNN “Britannia Rejoices”).

Ricardo’s transport to Yew Prison attacked.

21. (BNN “Preparations Begin For Landmark Trial”).

Interview Ricardo, then Jamos in Yew Prison.

22. (BNN “Mother Load of Mages”).

Blackrock crystals and elemental etc found in the far east of Lost Lands, and north of Ophidians Fortress.

(Dug up Large Piece Of Blackrock, also accelerated training within area).

3rd area found on Wyvern Island.

Mages casting Armageddon spell and hearing voices.

23. (BNN “Into the Mother Load”).

24. Ricardo’s trial.

26. (BNN “Guilty”). Found message “A Call to protest the most Heinous Wrong done the Britannian citizen Ricardo”.

27. Two books released one from Britannian royal council and another underground, noth books with different views of justice.

28. (BNN “The Mage’s Apprentice”).

Wexton Lyceum in Moonglow.

29. Book of Truth stolen, 4 seekers of truth at Lyceum (Verities (music box), Maxim (sword redeemer), Menzzobaanea (gorget of honesty), Books of Truth collected in Despise, Covetous, Deceit, Hythloth, Shame and Wrong.

30. (BNN “A Quest for the Truth”).

31. (BNN “The Pen is Mighty”).

32. (BNN “Dark Wisps Reemerge as Threat”).

33. (BNN “Construction Begins on World’s First Blackrock Detector”).

34. (BNN “The Truth Shell Be Revealed”).

35. (BNN “Inu the Crone is Free”).

Inu returns to Zento.

36. (BNN “Lyceum Besieged!”).

Dark Wisps attack Lyceum (using new shield) scattering Books of Truth everywhere in search of the real book.

37. Book of Truth Found

38. Hooded Robes in Haven

39. Haven Destroyed

40. Followers in Blood Dungeon

41. Daemon Sighted, (Candle of Love)

42. Firework Festival

43. Of Mice and Woman

1 Predicted Destruction for Britain and Luna

1 Predicted Destruction for Britain and Luna

The following disturbing report was handed to the guards.

Mysterious, Batty Old Woman Terrorizes Bank

By Saax Pannae
BNN Associate Reporter
Apr 4 2006 8:18PM

 

mumbling, incoherent, perhaps drunk, old woman, Inu “The Crone,” wandered near the banks of Luna and Britain, reported several concerned citizens. She stared down startled pedestrians, and scared young children by rattling scorpion tails at them.

The crone refused to speak to BNN twice, using simple charms to convince your humble reporter to believe that she was a chicken and a goat, respectively.

“I was on my daily run around the city walls, and suddenly there she was in front of me with this really scary look on her face,” Jaydon McVerchu said. McVerchu, 19, is training to be a Keeper of Chivalry for the city of Luna. “It was like she was looking inside of me for something,”

Jeanette the Minter, a minter at the West Britain Bank, said the crone had been scaring away customers all day long.

“Usually we get hundreds of people coming through the doors night and day, but since she showed up a few hours ago, we’ve only had three dozen,” Ms. Minter, 26, said. “Well, sometimes they recall or gate right into the vault, but still, she’s scaring people away to the Cove bank. I mean, who goes there on their own?”

The Magister’s Office of Britain (MOB) claimed no knowledge of Inu “The Crone,” though a super secret source inside the office confirmed her identity as a native of the Tokuno Islands. She is known for spending a lot of time alone in the desert, translating strange texts and scaring children for fun and amusement.

The source had no information on how or why the Crone had travelled so far to do so little, but assured BNN that the MOB was busy getting to the bottom of this mystery.

Is this denial of knowledge true? Or is there an actual lack of knowledge, a by-product of incompetence? We’ll know soon.


As soon as the guard finished reading the report they immediately went in search of Inu. It did not take them long to locate her at Britain dock yard. The guards said “Hi “ as soon as they found her but was just greeted with a *Grumble*. So taken back they took a moment to study her. She look the same but she was definitely acting strange, not staying in one place for more than a few minutes then wondering off visiting a few premises near the docks as if looking for something. So a guard stepped up to her and said “Inu” to which he got the rebuff “Quiet! I can’t hear it! Its not clear”, she then wondered on further away. No matter what was said to her she would not respond to the guards concerns, so reluctantly they decided that all they could do was observe her for now.

A few days past with no changed then early one morning a report was sent out to all the guards that she had gone. A search party was mustard and quickly underway. Despite all cities, towns, Dungeon endurances just to mention a few of the locations the guards hunted for her, Inu’s where abouts eluded them. Finally after a long disturbing time a message was received that she had been found at a tea house on Isamu-Jima Island in Tokuno. With great relief the guards hurried to her, hoping that perhaps she consumed some of the tea and it might of helped her mood.

 

When they arrived Inu was sitting on a bench looking most concerned. The guards approached cautiously not wanting to upset her more than necessary as once again they tried talking to her.

Hi

*grumbles*

Inu?

Quiet! I can’t hear it! Its not clear

Can’t hear what?

It’s ringing in my head!

Whats ringing?

Why?

Why?

What?

I can see this is going to take time, we got a report that a Crone

If looks could kill *stares*

Was perhaps drunk

How dare ye!

Well were you or not scaring children?

*rattle*

The reporter Saax

Begone pest

After your strange behaviour asked about you at the MOB (Magister’s Office of Britain).

A wretched hive of ineptness and incompetence.

Seeing as they had no record of you and they were concerned you had gone crazy.

Am I?

So a report was put out in the BNN

Fair and balanced. Eh?

That’s good at last we agree on something.

Whats good about it? *grumbles*

Lets try and get on common ground, how is Tokuno?

Know it? Well?

Your home is there if I remember right?

There is no time. I cannot see.

Your being a bit incoherent.

Whats that you say? Speak up! Come on!

You chose not to visit your home city of Zento.

Peace of mind. There is non there! Or here!

You think these are restless times, do you seek Lord British?

Gone he is, no help to us now.

So why did you visit Luna?

Stone upon stone shell crumble to dust!

How?

How now brown cow? I have not time for thine games.

Inu what about Britain you visited there too.

The rivers shell boil and walls melt.

You predict this future?

An air of ignorance doth surround thee…

How can we help stop this?

You want help? Seek knowledge.

How do we get this knowledge?

Gain knowledge through succeeding or failing at tests.

What tests?

You can better yourself through tests of all types.

How can we better ourselves?

In the near future I will guide you to the test that will teach you what you need to know.

When do we start these tests?

Where?

OK where are these tests?

When?

Stop mumbling Inu and tell us more.

Leave me be!

The guards although visiting Inu daily have been unable to get any more information out of her. So they must wait tensely with one eye on the kingdom and another on Inu for further developments as they prepare for anything to happen.

The guards returned early one morning to find Inu had once again vanished. The word was sent out and search parts were sent out to find her.


It did not take long for the guards to find Inu, as she had returned to her house in the desert north of Zento. The guards has also received the latest copy of the Britannian News Network which had an article on Inu within it.


Britannian News Network

Who is Inu the Crone?Apr 14 2006 10:28PM

NUJEL'M – Inu the Crone continues to plague the citizens of Britannia with her soapbox preaching. She travels from town to town, spouting incoherent tripe. Is she a visionary, or merely a deluded crackpot? No one is certain, for none have yet managed to decipher her ramblings. As yet, she has offered no coherent information, only word games. One thing is certain: she is either some kind of prophet, or the biggest waste of column inches in BNN history.


Taking the paper with them they went to once again question Inu.

Inu have you been Plaguing the towns

Oh, so I'm a disease now?
On no I was referring to your Preaching

Heed the wyrd
Some think you are talking allot of Tripe

Might make you vomit. Tastes okay if polymorphed
Inu are you a Visionary?

Keep yer flattery *blushes*
Some called you a Crackpot

I'll crack YOU with a pot
We think you can Decipher things

Eh?
We are trying to understand your Ramblings

Mighty hot today, don't you think?
I hope your not playing Games with us?

Waste of time, if you ask me.
Are you really a Prophet?

Oh, yes.
Lets not Waste time then

Aye, ye're wasting this space alright.
Can you be more Coherent?

Hmm.
Do you hold a key to our Future?

An air of Ignorance doth surround thee...
What is the point of your Travels?

Now your getting my gist.

 

Inu was once again not making allot of sense but the guards knew she had important information and kept up there questioning of her daily.

top

2 Inu Returns Home 

It did not take long for the guards to find Inu, as she had returned to her house in the desert north of Zento. The guards has also received the latest copy of the Britannian News Network which had an article on Inu within it.


Britannian News Network

Who is Inu the Crone?
Apr 14 2006 10:28PM

NUJEL'M – Inu the Crone continues to plague the citizens of Britannia with her soapbox preaching. She travels from town to town, spouting incoherent tripe. Is she a visionary, or merely a deluded crackpot? No one is certain, for none have yet managed to decipher her ramblings. As yet, she has offered no coherent information, only word games. One thing is certain: she is either some kind of prophet, or the biggest waste of column inches in BNN history.


Taking the paper with them they went to once again question Inu.

Inu have you been Plaguing the towns

Oh, so I'm a disease now?
On no I was referring to your Preaching

Heed the wyrd
Some think you are talking allot of Tripe

Might make you vomit. Tastes okay if polymorphed
Inu are you a Visionary?

Keep yer flattery *blushes*
Some called you a Crackpot

I'll crack YOU with a pot
We think you can Decipher things

Eh?
We are trying to understand your Ramblings

Mighty hot today, don't you think?
I hope your not playing Games with us?

Waste of time, if you ask me.
Are you really a Prophet?

Oh, yes.
Lets not Waste time then

Aye, ye're wasting this space alright.
Can you be more Coherent?

Hmm.
Do you hold a key to our Future?

An air of Ignorance doth surround thee...
What is the point of your Travels?

Now your getting my gist.

 

Inu was once again not making allot of sense but the guards knew she had important information and kept up there questioning of her daily.

top

 

3 Lorgash Ratman Genral

Whilst some guards questioned Inu others took the hint that they should search the lands.

It was a few days later when a guard come rushing into the Guards Rest Tavern gasping for breath after racing some distance as fast as he could. After only taking a moment to catch his breath he said that he had found a new dungeon that was full of ratmen and had a very nasty Ratmen General Lorgash on a second level down.

Lorgash was able to play a flute to make you dance on the spot, deal stunning blows, summon more rats to aid him and polymorph guards and pets alike into rats. He also dealt explosive area attacks and ported to attack unwary guards. Many guards meet at West Britain Bank and went to investigate and deal with this menace. It was soon realised that this was to be no ordinary battle but one that would take great courage and determination. After clearing the first level to the dungeon a healing post was set up near the top of a rope ladder. Whilst only a few stayed at the healing point many surged down to fight this General Lorgash and his minions. But time and again the guard threw all they had at him and he fought them off. The healing post was kept continuously busy. A call went out for more to help and indeed more came, many with tamed beasts. Still they battled on with human, elf’s and beasts quickly being polymorph into rats by Lorgash. But despite the pain they kept on at Lorgash till finally he showed signs of weakening. Being invigorated by this the they made a harder push forward, it still was not easy but they were winning the battle. Finally cheers came from the guards Lorgash was dead. Searching Lorgash nothing of any importance was found. But further in the lair a book of great value was discovered called Studies: The Shattering, By Nystul.

Row 1, meet up at WBB, rez point set up on lev 1, a guard morphed into a rat.

Row 2, Some stats along with some of the threats he threw at us. 100% Physical attack.

Row 3, The slaughter, the general swamped in fighters warriors and pets all morphed into rats by the ratmen general, finally a victory pic.

Row 4, A tamer followed by her morphed WW, Some finally getting a look at the book, we finally get to see what such a small rat was carrying.

The book was read out to all.

Studies: The Shattering
By Nystul

Long has the shattering of the gem of immortality weighed upon my thoughts. A lifetime I have spent studying the mystic arts and yet it is only lately that I have begun to uncover even the least of the Gem's secrets. Two things have become clear to me. While both warrant further investigation I know not how much I alone will find, but I keep this notebook as a way to record my discoveries. I hope it will be saved up against the day I must depart this world, to be of use to those who must succeed me.

First I have discovered proof that no hand but that of the Stranger, who defeated Mondain, could have shattered the Gem. A stranger not only to our people, but to our entire reality, the laws and harmonies binding the Stranger were somehow different than those that act upon us. It was this differing set of qualities that allowed the Stranger to interact with the Gem on a plane closer to its own abstract reality, ultimately shattering it*

That those of differing planes can have influence and effect upon our world brings to mind a most disturbing line of thought, best left for another day… Yet I feel I must note it now. There was a once madman who attempted to cast a most terrible spell, one which would bring about the cessation of all life upon our world. That he and his followers failed, thankfully, even though they had the requisite knowledge and resources…** it seems as though the spell itself was designed by those not of our world***


I leave this, then, and will concentrate upon my second realization. Within each shard of the Gem of Immortality lies a perfect likeness of the world as it was at the very moment the Gem was shattered. My liege has confessed many things to me, many disturbing things, about the influence the Gem's power still holds upon these worlds****

It is possible that within each of these shards lie copies of the shattered remains of the Gem of Immortality. I had thought this impossible, that the Gem transcended our reality and was no longer a part of our world. Yet, I gaze upon the shining facets of a shard, looking at the world slowly spinning within, and it seems clear to me. The stone's sinister power was not destroyed when the Stranger shattered the stone, but instead spread throughout the shards themselves.

Thus the question begs: does this recursion go on forever? Are there worlds within worlds, scattered like dandelions on the wind, lying in my trembling hand? And what influence does the Gem yet have upon them?

Slowly nursing many wounds the guards returned to there homes.

top

4 Manifestaionsofwisdom

With many still nursing wounds, a message was received that new runes had been discovered. These runes when translated said “Words good and bad upon Nujel’m”. Many scholars stopped to ponder over them for days to come. Then came yet another rune message that translated to say, “Beastlike and odd heroes thrive”. The scholars turned there attention to the new rune message and soon came up with an anagram to read “ Evil near Destard hides the book”. This fitted quiet well with the fact that Nystals book was found in the Rats Lair south of dungeon Destard. You had to check under a fur rug in one of the savages hunts there to enter.

Content for the moment the scholars returned the previous rune message, “Words good and bad upon Nujel’m”, what could it mean?

A few days later a report was made that a new Red Wisp was discovered in Wisp Dungeon in Ishena. The guards set out to investigate and sure enough in what looked like a room of worship stood a lone Red wisp silently as if waiting for something. No matter what they did they gained no further information so a few set out to ask Inu about it.

On arriving at Inu’s they explained all about the red wisp but were given no response.

The scholars in the mean time still had not solved the hidden message behind the runes. Then perhaps a break through at last in the form of a letter printed to the editor was seen written in the latest Britannian News Network.


Letter to the Editor

Apr 21 2006 8:44PM

Dear BNN,

Troubles in Tokuno, which you recently published, made me realize that you have been sending secret messages! If you take the number of letters in Inu the Crone, you get eleven which of course means nothing by itself. Now, if you count the long paragraphs in that story, you get twelve. Furthermore, eleven on top of twelve is twenty three! Only they know what twenty three really means, but it's very obvious to myself that it does indeed mean something. In addition, adding the two short paragraphs of that story to twenty three gives us twenty five.

Lately, I've been a bit lost trying to figure out what all these numbers mean, but I know that you know what they know! How do I know? Adding stuff together is what mother (who is now retired in Nujel'm) said I'm best at, and I know you're up to something with these Inu the Crone stories! Thank you for listening to me, but please stop sending them messages and just tell us regular stories from now on.

Sincerely,

Odda


Thinking this would lead to another break through many studied its contents and started cross referencing it. Days passed and still no answers came, despite the best brains in the lands putting in many long hours.

Days later though the faces of some scholars gave the guards heart, many were now smiling brightly and skittering about comparing notes. It was not long after that a few returned with a triumphant looks and said "kwybce” . The guards looked at each other puzzled then back at the scholars who were positively beaming with delight. A guard then said “OK but what does it mean”, the scholars faces dropped a bit as they said “I have no idea, but perhaps if we ask Inu“. They went to visit Inu who now had a pet companion, a large rune beetle standing beside her. Not to be stopped though a scholar stepped forward and said:

Kwybce

Your heart's in the right place, it's your head that's a little soft.


The scholars faces dropped, but at least they wee a step closer and they went to huddle in a corner chatting over there notes. A guard after reading the rune beetles name off a tag took up talking to Inu about him.

Inu is this your Rune

He's so caked and filthy from all this dust, you can't see his markings.
You like Beetle?

Oh he's been with me forever. The one beetle I'd never fry and eat.
I see his names Kurai

He's older than I am, I got him from my mother.

Inu went back to contemplation and nothing more was gathered from her, feeling a little uncomfortable at being so close to the Kurai. Especially as he kept making notices and buzzing his wing, one guard mentioned food and was stared at intently by the beetle so much so that they all left rather quickly and returned to the Guards Rest.

Whilst at the Guards Rest a message was received that Odda had been sighted at the docks in Nujel’m, so everyone set off to have a chat.

Ah Addo

That's quite backwards

Oh sorry Hello

Need help with something? I'm kind of busy.
Are you Odda by any chance?

Need help with something? I'm kind of busy.
I’m sorry to desturb you when you are Busy

I'm counting the number of letters contained in words, written in this book.
Oh your counting Letters?

Yes, count the ones that are correct!
Has this anything to do with Inu?

She knows!
Do you still live in Nujel'm?

Yes, I know! Its the start, but what do we add to it?
Ah so you are counting the numbers of the letters in Nujel’m, it was you that sent the letter to the Editor.

I'm close to discovering the truth.

How Close?

Very, very close. I think I just need to count the letters and add them to something
Truth?

It is out there.
Can you Talk to us more?

Yes, talk. Speaking of which, I need to talk to Inu about modulus.
You know Modulus?

No, I don't know what it means either. Why don't you look it up?
Have you heard about the Red Wisps

Whvt?

Yet again there was a buzz of activity from the scholars, some uttering “how silly of me add it to Nujel’m”. Then one triumphantly stated “yrigor”. They set off once again to speak to Inu.

At Inu’s a scholar stepped forward and said “yrigor” Inu stared at him and said in return “ManifestationsOfWisdom”. When they asked Inu further about she had no more information, they also asked Odda about Manifestationsofwisdom but he too had nothing to add. Could this be what the red wisp was waiting for?

top

5 Wisp Dungeon

There was one last place to try out there new clue. So they set off to speak to the Red Wisp in Wisp Dungeon once again. Coming close to the wisp they one by one spoke the word "manifestationsofwisdom". One by one they vanished into a blackness, then slowly a light came closer to them and they realised they were standing on a marble platform in a void. A bit startled by this they stared closely at there new surroundings. The platform had blue braziers, a sparkling mist and 2 elegant statues standing over them. On looking closely at one statue a plaque read “Through the mist, Answers to the questions you seek”. Before entering the sparkling mist however they check the plaque on the second statue, which stated “Do not listen to your eyes, Follow your heart to the answers you seek”. Stepping forward they once again travelled to another area in the void. Finding themselves standing on a platform with pure green crystals on pedestals in each of the 4 corners, with a Moongate to one side. Off into the distance they could see other marble platform floating. What now? A brave guard commented saying the statue said trust your heart, and he took a step into the void. Most gasped and watched as he walked on pure air further away from them, but slowly getting closer to a new platform. Slowly as they realised there was no danger here they divided up and searched this wondrous place. They found many platform with some having strange items on them. The scholars made a list of all they saw.

Dirt Encrusted Books,

Magical Crystal,

Pedestal With Crystal

Potted Cactus

Brazier (small with no stand)

Brazier (tall)

2 stone chairs with small statues on pedestals either side, also 10 braziers

Podium

Blue Brazier (small with no stand)

Elven Bow Stringer, Elven Forge and Anvil

4 Lampposts

Contribution Statue

After careful studies were made of each, a few started to touch the items. Some did nothing whilst others moved them away from it to another floating platform. But on trying this with the Tall Brazier each in turn on touching it were once again moved to a new location. Yet again they found themselves standing on a marble platform. But much bigger than the others, with 4 crystals on pedestals and a Moongate. But here also was 2 very grand statues towering above them and between them a lone Wisp. Many a scholar had dreamt of talking to a wisp and was hoping that there dream was about to come true. Eagerly they stepped forward and one of the said

Hello

Gryytyngs myrtyl (Greetings Mortal)
Mortal

X wyll trydy ynfyrmytyyn (I will trade information)
We would like Information

Yn Dyym, whyt ys thy nymy yf Vyctyryy s byyk (In Doom, what is the name of Victoria's book)
Grimoire

Gyyd, byt X dysyry myry knywlydgy. (Good, but I desire more knowledge)
We shell try to fill your Desire

Whyt dyys thy dryyd syrryynd hyrsylt wyth? (What does the dryad surround herself with?)
Oak

X lyyrn, so myny qyystyyns yry lyft. Gythyr myry knywlydgy (I learn, so many questions are left. Gather more knowledge)
What knowledge shell we Gather

Yn thy tyly Byrds yf Brytynnyy, whyt ys thy lyst byrd? (In the tale Birds of Britannia, what is the last bird?)
A Swan

Yntyrystyng, ynd thy mynystyr yf trydy, yn hys hyyd hy hys? (Interesting, and the minister of trade, on his head he has?)
A Jingasa

Yny ty pyndyr. Yn thy myzy whych ys lynd whym shyyld yyy bywyry? (One to ponder. In the maze which is land, whom should you beware?)
Relvinian

Yndyrstyndybly, yyt thy hyly wyrryyr thyt hys lyst hys syght. Whyt nymy gyys by hy? (Understandably, yet the holy warrior that has lost his sight. What name goes by he?)
Horus

Yh X syy. Ynd thy qyyyyn by spyryt whyt ys hyr nymy? (Ah I see. And the queen by spirit what is her name?)
Silvani

X hyvy lyyrnyd myny y thing tydyy. X ysk nyw thyt yyy spyyk yn thy nytyvy tyngyy (I have learned many a thing today. I ask now that you speak in the native tongue)

Tyngy

Thy byyk thy ryt styly. X knyw whym thy gym shyttyrd. (The book the rat stole. X know when the gem shattered).
Shyttyryd

Yt wys yftyr thy tryvyyl spyll wys shyryd wyth Brytynnyy. (It was after the trivial spell was shared with Britannia.)
Spyll

Yys, yt nyw hys y fyllywyng. Hywyvyr thyry yry ythyr pywyrs yt hynd. (Yes, it now has a following. However there are other powers at hand.)
Pywyrs

Hyw dy yyy nyt knyw yf thym? Symy fynd thym yndysyrybly. (How do you not know of them? Some find them undesirable.)
Yndysyrybly

Yyy hyvy bryyght my mych knywlydgy. X yffyr yyy thys yn rytyrn. (You have brought me much knowledge. I offer you this in return.)
Rytyrn

Thyry yry myny wyrlds, yyy shyyld fynd ynythyr. (There are many worlds, you should find another.)

Although it was obvious to many scholars that the wisps had made an attempt to speak there language it was having problems with the letters a, e, i, o, u and was replacing all of them with a y. They explained this and translated everything for all to understand. Feelling exhilarated at being in such a place many spent hours visiting such wonders.

Town criers have started announcing many thing, these include “Mysterious crone returns to desert!
Code broken in Nujel'm!” and “Wisp hive uncovered!”

The latest Britannian News Network was delivered to the Guards Rest:

6  Inu Camps with Grandchild

Inu

May 5 2006 11:03PM
Chapter 1

“Papa?” The little girl’s father looked down at his daughter, who was leaning over the bridge’s wooden rail and staring at the cascades of spring water a few feet away. A landmark of the city of Zento, the springs flowed from an outcropping of worn granite into a small pond under the bridge. A park had been built around it, between the inner and outer city walls, and it was alive with blossoming trees and flowers. Townspeople were passing by the girl and her father on the bridge as they headed towards different parts of the city.

“Yes, Maya?”

“Um,” she leaned over a little more, scrunching up her face in concentration, “Where does all the spring water come from?”

Her father leaned over the rail with her, getting a little closer incase she slipped, and thought about it for a little bit, watching the water tumble over itself as it worked its way down into the pool.

After a long pause he answered, “I think it’s the same as a well’s, it’s from deep underground.”

This seemed to satisfy Maya for a moment or two, but then she looked around at the small pond the water was pouring into.

“Papa?”

“Yes?”

“Where does it all go?”

He hadn’t thought about that. There wasn’t an outlet, and the pond always looked full; yet torrents of water kept pouring into it from the springs. Luckily, he remembered something his mother had told him, and managed to improvise in the parental fashion.

“It’s magic.”

“Oh!” An excited look beamed on her face, “Can you do magic, papa?” A young woman passing by giggled, overhearing the enthusiastic child.

“Well, I can’t make water come up from the…” he began, but never finished. A voice suddenly rang out: “Behold!”

All over the park heads turned towards the source of the unexpected outburst. In the stunned silence, he could hear roofing tiles crunch as a figure walked forward atop the tall inner city wall, only a stones throw from the bridge. Outlined by the bright sun, it took a second for a few to register that the voice belonged to a bony, middle-aged woman. Now she had stopped, and was looking down at them all with her finger pointing.

The day comes! It comes I say, when none shall pass! Or all shall pass away!

Maya’s father pulled his daughter in towards him by her shoulders, ready to steer her away. A sharply dressed young man, whom he recognized as Yatsue the architect’s son, had already opened his mouth and was calling back up to the woman on the wall.

“Hey! Grandma! What’re you doing up there? Come down before you hurt yourself!”

The figure whirled to her right upon the ceramic tiles, sending a few stone chips sliding down the side, eliciting a few gasps from the crowd.

“Speak not, son of the simple! A message I have, and a message I shall deliver!

In the meantime, Maya had just barely managed to ask, “Papa, who’s that lady?” but her father was already leading her off the bridge. “Come along Maya,” he said quickly.

Behind him he could hear the young man’s tone of concern turn to contempt as he yelled back, “You old hag! Hey! Come down from there or we’ll bring you down!”

Someone else in the crowd yelled agreement, but the woman just ignored them and went on.

“And strange and unfamiliar things shall fill the skies,”

“Shut up!” someone farther away roared.

You will wake, and know not where you are…”

The hag’s words grew less distinct as Maya and her father made their way past the edge of the crowd. Soon they were outside the park, and he answered her burgeoning question before she could get it all out again.

“She’s someone your mother and I know. Now you run back to Koku’s, okay? I’ll be along shortly.”

“But, I want to see…” Maya began, but her father put a firm grip on her shoulder: “Maya, do as you’re told.” Knowing she couldn’t argue, she headed off towards the west end of town. He watched her carefully for a while until he saw her veer past the provisioner’s shop, then sighed to himself.

Turning, he stared back at the distant wall where the lone figure was still gesturing madly at a crowd below, and started striding back to see what could be done.

“Batty old woman,” he muttered.

“Maya!”

A couple of heads in the park turned to look at the young man jogging across the bridge – then towards the two young women he was headed towards.

“Hey Maya!”

Startled, she had already begun to look over her shoulder, and saw that Tomoe, her friend she’d been walking with, was barely managing to stifle a giggle. Maya gave her a scathing look which melted into a model of niceness as Ken came down off the last step.

“Hey, Ken…” she greeted him, slightly embarrassed.

“Hey! Sorry, sorry, I didn’t mean to yell like that, I’ve just been looking for you for the last hour!”

Tomoe couldn’t help it and giggled at the awkward pair, but quickly stifled it and turned slightly away from Ken.

“Wha…” Ken looked over at Tomoe with a slightly confused expression, then back at Maya, “No! No, I mean, your mom, she sent me to find you - she said she needed you back at the kitchen.”

Maya’s mother was one of the cooks at Koku Kitchens, a sort of communal building where several chefs came and prepared a variety of dishes, each according to their own tastes and styles. Maya wasn’t really interested in cooking, unlike her mother, and hadn’t figured out yet what she wanted to do with herself. This was something of a rarity for someone from Zento, where many young adults apprenticed themselves to a craft in their early teens.

“Like Ken”, she thought, smiling ruefully, which possibly explained how her mother had managed to snag him into going out and finding Maya for her. He’d probably just been lazing around and gotten unlucky.

Maya gave it a moment before replying. Then, in a bid to avoid further embarrassment, pushed Ken forward and urged, “Let’s go then!” She gave Tomoe a look as she passed and said, “Sorry!” but Tomoe just giggled again and waved them away.

A few minutes later they were in front of Koku Kitchens, the smell of something baking wafting out from the southern entrance.

Maya’s mother was pulling a large loaf of bread out of a stone oven as they entered. She turned around and slid it onto a table to cool, and saw the two.

“Kentarou! Thank you for finding her,” she said, dusting flour off her hands. “Could you two do me a favor?”

“Of course, mother!” Maya replied enthusiastically. She was sure her mother had sent Ken on purpose, instead of one of her apprentices, but wasn’t about to give her the satisfaction of knowing she’d embarrassed her.

“Wonderful!” her mother smiled, and shook off her apron while beckoning them to the table.

“Could you take this,” she was pointing at the cooling bread, “out to Inu? I’d like you to check up on her since she hasn’t been around for while.”

Ken spoke up, “Wait, Inu the Crone?” He got two unusual stares from the women, and hastily rephrased it: “I mean, the old lady who lives out in the Waste?”

“That’s the one!” Maya’s mother said cheerfully, “now off you go.”

An hour later Maya and Ken were walking through the desert, with a blazing sun beating down on them. Ken had brought along the family daisho - the blades strapped to his back. Maya had a simple wakizashi at her side, but they weren’t really expecting any trouble. The Waste was populated mostly by deathwatch beetle hatchlings, and they were harmless unless provoked. Its other denizens, like the orcs, were usually found deeper in the desert.

It was a boring trip, so they ended up spending most of the time bantering and complaining about the heat. After a while, Inu’s home finally came into view. It was midday and the air was shimmering in the distance, but the old plaster building, standing alone on top of the rough sands, would’ve been hard to miss.

“That’s funny,” she said, walking up to the opening in front of the house.

“That she doesn’t have a door?” Ken quipped.

She gave him a cross look. “No, I don’t see Kurai, her rune beetle. He’s always around here.”

“Well, I don’t see any tracks, so he must not have been here for a while,” he observed, walking around the side of the house to check.

“Inu!” she yelled into the house suddenly, “Are you home? We’re coming in!”

But the house was completely empty. They ended up sitting upstairs on the floor, since the upstairs room lacked windows and was much cooler than the bottom floor. After resting for a bit their conversation turned towards what they should do next.

“I don’t think we can just wait for her,” Ken pointed out.

“True, but it’s strange not to see Kurai here. He always guards this place.”

“Well, for now, maybe we should go back?”

“Sure, but let’s stay here a minute, it’s nice and I want to rest just a little more.”

Ken nodded and picked up a bone lying on the floor next to him. “You don’t think she eats, well, you know? Do you?”

Maya gave him a dirty look: “No! She’s just an old woman!”

He looked over the piles of bones spread throughout the room and shot back a mocking glance: “Right.”

Maya was about to retort when they heard a noise downstairs. Ken leaned over and looked down the stairway, and then whispered, “Maya, I don’t believe it, it’s a skeleton. Must’ve wandered here from deeper in the desert.”

“Just ignore it!” she replied in a tight whisper, “It’ll probably just wander off back into the desert!”

“Yeah…” he leaned over to get a better view.

“And don’t lean over like that! You might slip!” she admonished him.

He looked back at her in a disparaging way: “Oh come on, you know I’m more…”

A look of complete surprise froze on his face as he went rigid, and then tumbled over the edge.

“Ken!” Maya yelled, jumping up and running downstairs, right into the path of the bone mage that was bringing down its staff on the paralyzed Ken. Instead, the undead collection of bones swung around and caught her squarely in the stomach, throwing her into the far wall. It’d changed its arc mid-swing, slowing it and doing her less harm, but she was still momentarily stunned.

Drawing her weapon, she tried to scramble up against the wall to gain her balance, but she could already see the bone mage casting a spell. She rushed forward, desperate to disrupt the magical attack, when two blades appeared below the skeletal head and cleanly decapitated it.

Ken staggered back, blades in unsteady hands, still recovering from the spell. Maya whirled on the simpler skeleton that was shuffling back towards the door. It didn’t even have time to bring up its sword to parry her move, and she cut through the neck and part of the ribcage, lodging her wakizashi in its side. It was dead, at least, so she wrenched the blade free and hurried over to Ken.

“Are you alright?”

“Yeah, it just surprised me. And its paralysis didn’t last long. Landed on my arm though.”

Maya looked at the giant bruise and tried to concentrate. Focusing on the arm, she softly said, “In Mani.” A soft glow surrounded his arm and then faded away.

“Hey! Maya, it’s feeling better,” Ken said, flexing, his right elbow, “What did you do?”

“It’s something my father showed me, I’m not very good at it. It’s just healing.”

“Without bandages, even,” Ken added.

Maya nodded and pulled him up. He could tell she wasn’t really excited about it, so changed the subject: “Heh, I guess we know why all the bones are around now, huh?”

She gave him an incredulous look, and walked outside.

Later that evening they arrived back in town. Maya went to tell her mother what had happened, and Ken went off to have a healer look him over. As Maya came through the doorway she found her mother waiting for her expectantly.

“Maya, I’m so sorry! She wasn’t there, was she?”

Maya, surprised, replied, “No! But how did you know?”

“After you left, Kurai Kabuto, Inu’s rune beetle, someone saw it wandering west of town!” she said breathlessly. “I couldn’t believe it, so while I was asking about it, Daiichi, you know, Yatsue’s son, the handsome one, he told me he had seen Inu in town just earlier today!”

“What?” was all Maya could manage.

“But no dear, you see, he was making fun of her,” she went on, “because she was preaching near the market again.”

“Right, he always does.”

“Well then he told me that she was crazier than ever, and led them all to the moongate in the park! And she went through!”

Maya considered it: “But that’s not too strange is it? Maybe she went to Homare-jima.”

“No, right before she left, she told them she was going to Britain!”

Maya was stunned. It’d never crossed her mind that Inu would actually take her ranting anywhere beyond their little city.

“But, she doesn’t know anyone there! It could be dangerous!”

“Yes I know, dear. I don’t like to ask, but…” she trailed off, looking at her daughter imploringly.

“But?”

“Tomorrow, could you and Ken go try and find her? I’m worried about her. Your father would never have let her go, I’m sure.”

Maya nodded, afraid, excited, and concerned about having to visit the capital city of Britannia. She’d never been anywhere in that entire kingdom, let alone its busiest city. Then again, neither had anyone else she knew, although she had met the occasional foreign merchant visiting Zento.

“Alright, I’ll ask Ken then.”

Her mother smiled weakly, “I’ll make you a good lunch. Just bring her back with you, promise?”

“Yes mother, I promise.”

The next morning she approached Ken about it, and he was more than willing – always eager to get away from the city for a while. Soon they were standing in front of the moongate as Maya’s mother wished them off with some friends.

“Just remember! You want to go to the Trammel facet, not Felucca.”

“We know,” they replied together.

“She thinks I’m ten,” Maya murmured to Ken.

Ken leaned to the side, “If she thought you were ten, she wouldn’t send you out to do this sort of thing, you know.”

She blushed but quickly composed herself. They said their goodbyes and her mother handed over a knapsack containing some food, and Ken hefted the bedrolls and his backpack.

They turned, and stepped through the moongate one after another. Trammel, Britain she thought. For a moment, everything was dark, and then a rushing sound filled her mind. Then she was elsewhere.

The woman standing next to her mother spoke up, looking into the moongate, “Nanako, is it really alright to send them after her?”

Nanako waited a moment, then replied. “Who else? Inu knows her, and something is happening that I don’t understand.”

“But that’s why! Isn’t it dangerous?”

Nanako laughed and started walking away, “That’s what Ken’s for!”

The West Britain Bank was an old building on the edge of town, just across the moat from Castle British. It was a purely functional building, lacking much of the adornment and elegance found throughout the rest of the city. Its walls were made of grey bricks and the roof with stone pavers. This short, squat structure belied the fact that it was easily one of the most defensible buildings in the city, save the castle itself.

More impressive, though, were the people bustling about the yard in front of the bank, heading to and fro on their various businesses. In stark contrast to the bank’s boring demeanor, Maya could barely keep up with the shifting crowd and mish-mash of color all around them as they walked further into the city.

A lady, surely of some nobility, walked by in a shifting gown of delicate white. A man riding an armored horse drew up near the corner of the bank and quickly tied it to a lamp post, hopped down, and made his way inside the bank.

Left and right people were calling out their wares and proffering various services. Maya had never seen so many odd outfits in her entire life. Ken had never seen so many people riding strange animals in his.

“Maya, I think that fellow’s riding a beetle.”

She turned around where he was pointing, and sure enough, there was a man dressed in terribly clashing colors: bright yellow and pink, and some sort of green apron, riding on top of a giant blue beetle.

“At least it’s not as big as Kurai,” she gulped.

A shadow fell over them and they turned together and looked up into the maw of a giant, pale dragon. Ken was already bracing her before she knew it, and a man stepped from behind one of its massive wings.

“Hail friends! Art thou interested in a fine beast of burden? Only three hundred thousand!”

Ken looked the spry old man over – he had hair just as white as the dragon’s scales, and, oddly enough, was wearing a jester’s cap. Before he could think of a response Maya was already explaining themselves away, “Oh, no thank you sir. We’re just looking for a friend!” She nearly had to yell for all the noise.

He didn’t really look disappointed as he bowed, cap in hand, and said loudly, “Then I wish thee the best!” He was already to his dragon when he tossed back his head and offered, “Just look for Jess, shouldest thou e’er have need of a beast!”

Maya waved weakly and the crowd swallowed the fellow. The large dragon made a soft growling sound as it seemed to float over a parting in the stream of people, slowly moving further away.

“Hey, let’s go over here,” Ken suggested while pulling her over to the side. He was motioning to a small hill across from the bank’s entrance, where a few people were idly sitting. “Good idea!”

A few moments later they were striding up the side of the hill and came to a stop near an old pine tree. They both sat down, exhausted, and considered their luck so far.

“How are we going to find her in all this,” a frustrated Maya began, gesturing down at the crowd, “I mean, this is only a tiny part of the city too!”

Ken nodded, “Yes, but, maybe the rest of the city isn’t this busy?”

“Maybe, I guess this is like the market square in Zento – look at them all!”

Suddenly a voice spoke up, “First time in Britain, then?”

They didn’t even have to turn around because suddenly there was a girl sitting down between them, leaning back on her hands. She didn’t seem to be aware of just how much she had startled the two by her sudden appearance, but quickly realized it.

“Oh! I did not mean to scare you!”

She was wearing a simple pink dress, and seemed completely normal, except for the fact that she hadn’t been there just a moment before.

“How…” Maya began.

“…did you do that?” Ken finished.

The girl seemed a bit flustered: “Do forgive me! ‘Twas just a spell, I was practicing it here when you sat down.” She leaned over and looked closely at Maya.

“’Tis true! Thy friend and thee are not from ‘round here! I can tell!”

Ken’s curiosity had already helped him recover, and he said simply, “No, we’re from Zento.”

The young mage scampered forward a bit and turned to face the two.

“Zento! Wow! I have ne’er met anyone from so far away before! ‘Tis a pleasure to make thine acquaintance. My name is Harmony.” Then she curtsied, which Maya thought was just a tad odd, since she was sitting down, but it had been an altogether strange day.

“Uh, ‘tis a pleasure to make thine acquaintance, Harmony. I’m Maya, and this is Ken,” Maya said, doing her best to accommodate the Britannian dialect.

Ken stuck out his hand, obviously impressed, and said “Call me Ken!”

Harmony shook his hand, but said curiously, “But, she did call you Ken.”

Ken looked slightly embarrassed but said, “Oh, right! Right! It’s just my full name is Kentarou, sorry.”

“Oh, shouldest I call thee that then?”

Maya was laughing now, and Ken managed to explain, “No, uh, Ken’s fine. Sorry.”

“I’m sorry Harmony, but you said you were practicing a spell?” asked Maya, saving Ken from himself.

Now she had Harmony’s full attention, “Aye! ‘Tis invisibility, which is almost beyond my level, but I think I almost have it!” She seemed so completely full of energy that she made her and Ken look utterly dull in comparison. “When I spoke to thee, it broke my concentration,” she smiled merrily.

Ken and Maya were impressed. They’d heard about Britannian magic, but invisibility had always seemed the domain of the ninja.

“So, what bringeth ye all the way to Britain?” asked Harmony.

Maya had completely forgotten about their goal by now, so she paused before responding, “We’re looking for a family friend. We heard she came to Britain, so we’re trying to find her.”

“I see! Well, those from the Tokuno Isles are few here, what is her name?”

“Inu, she’s a rather elderly woman named Inu, “ Ken replied, trying to be polite.

Harmony thought for a second, “No, I can not recall any such name, but to be honest, I have only been here for a few days myself.”

Ah, my turn, thought Maya, “Where are you from Harmony?”

“Magincia! Dost thou know it?”

“Um, I’m afraid not.”

It didn’t seem to matter since Harmony had twisted around and was already pointing off in a seemingly random way towards the east. “’Tis an island far from here, lying to the north of Haven. My family has lived there for generations,” she said warmly. Turning back to them she continued, “Of course, with moongates, I suppose ‘tis not as far away as one would think.” A strange look passed across her face but was quickly replaced by her usual smile.

“That’s how I feel,” Maya replied, “I’ve never been to Britain, but it really wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. We just had to walk a while once we made it through the gate.”

Harmony laughed, “Yes! Well, had thou chosen the wrong destination, ‘twould have been a bit more difficult I wouldest imagine!”

Ken almost followed up on that, but wanted to get back on track. “Harmony, do you know any place we could ask around for information? We really need to find our friend Inu.”

Harmony thought about it for a moment, and tugged on a braid of her red hair. “Maybe the Cat’s Lair? ‘Tis the tavern right behind you, and sure to have a rumormonger or two amongst the drunkards.”

Ken turned to follow her gesturing finger, but suddenly Maya spoke up, “Um, I think we won’t have to go anywhere.” She was looking past them at the bank with a shocked look. Ken let out a surprised gasp and Harmony moved forward to sit between them again so she could get a better look.

On top of the bank, sure enough, there was an old woman standing on the edge looking down at the crowd below. Someone in the crowd had just noticed her and people began to mill around below trying to see if something interesting was happening.

All of a sudden Inu yelled down, “Quiet! I can’t hear! It’s not clear!” A stunned few came to a halt and looked up, listening to her. Maya was overwhelmed by a great sense of deja vu.

The entire crowd had, unexpectedly, done just as Inu had asked, and become nearly silent except for excited whispering back and forth. Harmony looked over at Maya and asked, “Is that…” but Inu was already yelling again.

Behold!” the word rang out with astonishing authority.

The time comes! The plain words will be confused and the confused words made plain!

Stone upon stone shall crumble to dust!

The rivers shall boil and the walls melt!

There is no time, I cannot see!

She said all this without pause in her delivery. Then a voice from below cried out, “What madness is this? Who is this old fool upon the wall?”

Another joined in, “Someone! Bring here down from there! ‘Tis insane, that one!”

The crowd was bustling now, but Inu seemed unconcerned. She looked up into the sky straight up at the sun, as though she were listening.

A man on a dark mare rode by and dismissed the happenings loudly, “Just an old woman, pay her no need!”

“Is she alright?” Harmony finally asked, after a minute, as the crowd below swelled to stare at the eccentric woman.

Maya didn’t know what to say, “It’s just like before.”

Ken was concerned, “This doesn’t look good, Maya.”

Then Inu was speaking again, but now she seemed openly angry. “Mock! Mock me! Do you?!”

A woman below called up, “What is thy name, old woman! That ye would speak to us with such derision! Who art thou?”

“I am Inu! The Crone! And you are a fool!”

The woman pushed forward into view, “How dare ye!” Turning, she challenged the crowd, “Call the guards! A madwoman is what we have here.”

The crowd was murmuring agreement, yet a few people were still paying close attention to Inu. Maya got up and Ken quickly followed suit, as did Harmony. They could see better into the crowd, which was still getting larger as more merchants drifted away from their business to watch the commotion.

“Call me what you will! If you don’t listen I can’t tell you!”

Maya could see the look of righteous indignation flash over the woman’s face as she whirled, hands clenched at her side: “Tell us what!? Thou art gibbering naught but senseless words!”

With a look of unnatural calm Inu replied so softly they couldn’t make out what she said, but the woman seemed completely enraged, and the crowd surged forward, fists pumping in the air, decrying the old woman.

“Fool!”

“Madness!”

“Get her down already! ‘Tis dangerous!”

Maya was already moving down the hill and rushed to the side of the crowd, near the bank’s doors. Harmony and Ken were right behind her, and Maya desperately turned to Harmony and asked, “You’re a mage, right? Can you get us on top of the roof?”

Harmony nodded, realizing how charged the situation was becoming, and said, “Yes! Just a moment,” she looked down, “let me find my reagents.” With that she dug into her small knapsack and withdrew a few herbs Maya hadn’t seen before.

“Alright, Ken, Maya, hold my hands please.”

They came in closer and she intoned, “Kal Ort Por!

A moment of disorientation enveloped Maya and suddenly they were on the roof looking down at the chanting crowd, whom Inu had engaged in a nasty sort of way. Insults were flying back and forth, even as a few people here and there tried to rationalize with the members of what was rapidly becoming a mob.

Maya rushed forward to Inu’s side, who looked quite surprised to see her, and broke off mid-cry.

“Maya?”

“Grandmother! What are you doing here?”

Ken and Harmony rushed up alongside her, and Inu didn’t answer her question.

“Oh, is that Ken?” an amused cackle in her voice.

“Hello, grandmother,” he said awkwardly, not wanting to say her name directly and having no other term of address for her.

“I don’t know this one,” she eyed Harmony curiously, oblivious to the cries below, “She’s with you then?”

Harmony piped in, “Hello! A pleasure to meet thee! I’m Harmony.”

Maya was beside herself with the absurdity of the situation.

“Grandmother! What did you say to these people?”

Inu was about to respond, when she suddenly gripped her head and pitched forward; Maya ended up catching her while Ken and Harmony steadied her.

“Grandmother!” yelled Maya, shaking the unconscious Inu.

The woman below called up, “Good thinking, mage! Paralysis! Here come the guards, just wait there!”

Harmony looked completely shocked, “But I didst not…” and Ken quickly supported her, “No, no, I think she’s sick.”

Maya had Inu on the ground now, cradling the suddenly frail woman in her lap. She was pale and clammy, and Maya was trying to bring her around.

Without warning two town guards appeared in front of them and quickly took stock of the scene.

“Come with us,” said the one on the left, and suddenly they were in a stark room made of hewn stone, standing in front of a very official looking man sitting behind his desk. He looked less than pleased.

An hour later had seen Inu in bed at the healers’ and a stern dressing down by Britain’s sheriff. The three had finally been released with a written warning to depart the city with Inu, once she recovered, for at least three days.

“So, your grandmother insulted one of the visiting nobility?” Harmony inquired, as they approached the healers’ building.

“Looks like it,” sighed Maya. This wasn’t quite what she’d been expecting when she told her mother she’d go find Inu.

“At least she committed no crime,” offered Ken, “They’re just worried that that noblewoman will work up another crowd like last time.”

A loud crash came from inside the wooden building as they drew up near the door, and suddenly Inu appeared in the doorway, backing warily away from the robed healers who were trying to calm her down.

“Hold! We meanest thee no harm!” cried one, but leapt back as a sandaled foot shot out towards his shin.

Inu saw the trio and ran over, “Quickly now! These heathens want to keep me in bed!”

Maya apologized to the healers while Inu stretched outside, talking to Ken and Harmony. “Please forgive her, she’s just been ill lately,” she said, offering the healers a few gold pieces.

A man in a light brown robe took the money as a matter of course, and replied, “’Tis alright, we were merely concerned after her health. She seemeth fine, however.”

“Maya!” called Ken from outside.

“Thank you very much then, sirs,” she said quickly and ducked out of the building.

She was surprised to see an empty street in front of her, but then she heard Ken call again from down the way. Running up to them, she finally caught hold of Inu’s kimono: “Grandma! Where are we going?”

Inu didn’t break stride, and replied simply, “It’s getting dark, and I’m tired.”

After the commotion in town, no inn would take them, and with the sheriff’s fresh warning on their minds Ken and Maya tried convincing Inu to follow them back to Zento. She wouldn’t hear any of it, and soon they’d crossed the river splitting Britain, then begun following it towards the sea.

The sky was reddening when Harmony drew up alongside Maya.

“Maya?”

No one had spoken for a little while, so she was a bit surprised: “Um, yes Harmony?”

“’Tis just a question, and do feel free to say no, but wouldest thou mind if I accompanied you beyond Britain?” Maya stopped and Harmony continued, “’Tis just that I feel compelled somehow, and I can certainly help ye travel around.”

Ken had overheard, but Inu didn’t react and was still walking along the embankment.

Maya didn’t even think about it, she was tired of making decisions, and warmly replied, “Yes of course! But aren’t we keeping you from anything?”

Harmony laughed, “No! Not at all!” Then with an uncharacteristically serious tone explained, “Besides, I know some healing, and can be of assistance should you need it.”

“Oh just bring her along!” called Inu from up the road, “You think I can’t hear you?” Harmony smiled and ran ahead to catch up, Maya followed.

Soon enough they reached the ocean and were following the shoreline further east along the edge of town. The sky was deepening its red tones and they’d passed a ways beyond the last house before Ken went forward a little and surveyed the area.

“This looks alright,” he suggested. It was a small dip in the land between the forest and a rise of cliffs, which looked like a decent shelter for the evening.

“It looks okay,” Maya responded, “If we make camp on the sloped side I think we won’t have the wind on top of us, at least.”

“Besides, I can still see houses – if we need them, the city guards are close.”

Ken nodded, “I’ll go get some kindling, could you take care of… ah.”

Inu had an eye fixed on him: “Take care of? Fuss! Must!”

For the last hour or two, whenever she talked, sometimes she’d interject a strange word of two into the conversation. Maya had asked her once what she’d meant, and Inu didn’t even know she’d said anything. They’d gotten used to it, but it was disconcerting.

Inu was still staring at him, but Harmony broke the odd exchange by coming forward. “I shall go too, then we can return quicker.” Maya just gave them an exasperated nod and they headed off towards the woods while she started to sit Inu down on the grassy hillside.

“Ah, dearie?”

Maya had been facing away as she started laying out the bedrolls and turned around, still kneeling. “Yes?”

“You’re a good girl, you know that.” Before a surprised Maya could respond Inu laid back and closed her eyes, ending the conversation, and driving the point home with a snore only moments later.

Later, after the other two returned and they’d made camp, she sat with them and talked.

“What do you think it all means? Is she just sick?”

“I think so, I mean, she’s always been a little… well you know what they say about her, Maya,” Ken began, “But all this nonsense. It doesn’t make any sense.”

Harmony was poking a stick into the fire but looked up at Maya and asked, “Is she a mage? Your grandmother, I mean.”

“I don’t think she does magic, like you, I guess,” she replied, “But she sees things, she says. Feels them.” Her words dropped off and Harmony pushed the stick the rest of the way in.

“I feel it from her, “ Harmony went on, “’Tis why I ask.”

Maya hugged her knees as she looked into the campfire’s embers: “I don’t know. I just think we should get her back to Zento – mother is going to be pretty worried by now.” She looked over to the other side of the fire where she’d half helped, half dragged the sleeping Inu into a makeshift bed and made her as comfortable as she could. “Not that she’ll notice”, she thought, but she felt obligated.

After they’d talked over their situation for a while, Ken leaned back onto his bedroll and stared into the night sky. “You’re right. First thing tomorrow we can pass back through town and towards the moongate. I’m sure the guards will let us at least pass, with the mob gone and all.”

Harmony seemed excited as she said, “’Twill be wonderful! I wouldest like to see thine homeland.”

“We just have to convince her,” Ken reminded her, pointing at Inu.

Maya nodded and settled into her own blankets, exhausted. “We’ll deal with it tomorrow.”

Trammel slowly climbed higher into the night sky, a bright Felucca in tow. Inu rose quietly from her place and began folding the bedroll up. She tied it onto her bundle and walked outside the dying fire’s flickering halo. She considered the three forms sleeping on the ground for a moment, and then disappeared into the forest.

top

  7 Enslaved Daemon

Within the guards rested a buzz started amongst the scholars, could it hold more clues? After they had finished there careful examination of it they proclaimed that they were off to speak to Inu.

We hear you have a Son

Which one?

Hmm do you have a daughter Nanako

*looks at you oddly* What do you want with her? Food? Eh?

Ok what can you tell us of these people, firstly Maya?

*gives you an odd look* What want you with her?
Ken?

*gives you a strange look* Do you know him?
Harmony:?

*looks at you oddly* What do you want with that one?
Kabuto?

Soft on the inside, tough on the outside.
Kentarou?

*gives you an odd look* What want you with him?
Koku?

Don t ask what s in the meat pies.
Yatsu?

Hrm.
Careful of the Skeleton coming in.

Where?

We have read about Maya and your son talking about the Zento Springs.

Are they hot? or cold?

Well they are not Cold

Is that so?

You cannot exactly call them Tepid or Lukewarm

Now you're beginning to see between them lies the key.

Your son told Maya that where the water went was Magic.
There s no such thing as magic.

Lets see what other thing is mentioned here, ah yes Daiichi.

Hmm?
Ok it says you left the Desert.

Lot of sand, not much else.
It talks of the Day you went preaching.
It ll come soon enough.
You spoke of a Castle.

Not that special, from all I could see. Bunch of stones on stones.

It did not go down too well with the Noble people of Britain.

Ignoble nobles bother me.

They called you a Hag I believe.

*curses*

You came up against a blank Wall.

Meh. No one ever listens anyway.

But at least Maya came to help her Grandma, I mean Grandmother.

Who re you calling an old lady!

The scholars once again gathered together to talk, then one called over to a guard. He explained how it probably did not mean much but seeing as Inu was insistent on talking about tepid and lukewarm that they wanted to investigate it further. To this end they needed the guard to search out Tokuno between the Volcano and the Winter Spur to see if they could see anything unusual. Mean while the scholars would return to the guards rest.

Once at the guards rest they discovered a note saying new runes had been found, which translated to say "Death Dealing Fanciers". Perhaps another anagram, so they set about the puzzle. Thankfully it did not take too long for someone to proclaim “Fear the dancing ladies”. Could it mean the fan dancers in the Dojo. First they decided to ask Inu as she had said she would help.

Inu we got a new rune message we think it refers to the Dojo and Fandancer.

Like a hole in your head

Immediately they sent a message off for the guards to meet them at the Dojo. Once there they carefully made there way through checking everywhere. There were many a skirmish with the inhabitants whilst they searched the Dojo but at last they found what they were looking for, a hole. After entering the hole ,the guards moved forward and fought there way down a newly discovered passage full of minions and headless. Soon the party had reached a room that lead nowhere. The scholars searched the room, then whilst one of them was investigating some blood spilled on the floor behind a screen he vanished. Others too followed as it had to lead somewhere. They reappeared one by one in another room, sadly yet another dead end. But as a guard leaned against a hanging tapestry he fell backwards. Eagerly they pulled the tapestry aside to see a very dark passage. Slowly they stumbled around in the dark of the passage, along many a false trail until they finally reached a stone wall. Whilst examining it there was a sharp “click” heard and it swung open. They then entered another room. Upon careful examination of this room another secrete door was discovered that lead into yet more dark passages. Finally they found themselves in a long corridor with 2 doors at the far end. Unable to open either door someone noticed a single smoke bomb dropped onto the floor. He stooped down to take it then instantly vanished, dropping the smoke bomb silently to the floor. Suddenly a scream was heard behind the end door. The guards rushed forward and quickly vanished as they to grabbed the smoke bomb. The scholars not wanting to miss out on discovering something new quickly followed suit. Once in they found themselves crushed within a small room with a Deamon attacking them. But he was also talking whilst he rained destruction on them. So as the guards fought the scholars questioned quickly to get as much information as possible whilst dodging his attacks.

 

 

Hello

How long has it been? I have not heard a voice in ages.

Inu sent us.

I have heard that name before. But I can not remember.

She has been visiting the Wisps.

What of them? They seem to know more than they should.

Can someone Heal me?

You must heal yourselves or I will unwillingly destroy you all.
Your being made to Destroy us?

I will only hurt you if I must. But I must be released.
How can you be Released?

Stop this talk, must I destroy you to get my release.

You have a Master?

She has forgotten me, please release me. I wish death

Could he mean Minax?

How dare you speak the name.

We thought she was after a Gem!

My master, she collected them. Those fragments. I do know nothing more.
What Orders has she given you?

My master wished me to find an ancient blade.

An Ancient blade?

It was found by another, yet I was never released. So until I have found it I am stuck on this plane.
You are stuck on our Plane.

My master has left this reality. I don't know if she will ever return.

Will she return?

No, my master will not. She searches another reality at this time. I am left here abandoned.
Abandoned?

I have been abandoned on this plane.

Who’s was the last voice you heard?

The last voice was hers. Her orders but I have been abandoned.
What did she Talk to you about?

I heard her talk of a ritual, that ws so long ago. She never returns

You are bound as if by Chains here.

I am bound by my masters orders.

It must be hard trapped here.

Trapped for all of time. I only seek to be released.

All we ask is you stop attacking.

You must forgive me. I cannot control all of my actions. The rage takes hold.

But how can we help you?

You must help me. I can suffer these chains no longer. Destroy me!

You want us to Kill you.

Yes, release me from this place, kill me.

You wish your own Death.

Death is but a blessing. You are no longer trapped by the chains that bind you.

During all this time a fierce battle raged round the room till finally the guards were able to grant the Enslaved Daemon its wish, death.

With nothing more to do here the guards once again returned home to rest and heal, whilst the scholars returned to the guards rest to converse once more.

top

8 Talking to Others Who Knew Inu.

A new Rune message was sent to the Guards rest translating to Cure Hidden Pain. At the same time the town criers only just getting wind of the Enslaved Demons death started to call out "Demonic presence in Tokuno cleansed." It was at this time also that the Britannian News Network released a new article called:

"Excerpt from "The Care and Feeding of Demons"".

So many were called to search the most dangerous of places that Demons dwelt to see if they could find what happened to the Enslaved Demon once set free. It took some time and many heroic battles before his ghost was found in the depths of Hythloth, deep within much danger. Whilst many kept the continuous battle with the residents of this monstrous place some began to question the ghostly Demon.

 

Hail

Ahh its you. I have been waiting for you.
Waiting?

I want to thank you. I'm sorry if I caused you harm.
Thank us!

Thank you for releasing me. I have returned to my kind now.
We did not wish you Harm.

If I had not been bound in that room I would have destroyed you without a second thought.
Glad you gave it a second Thought.

Since you helped me, I feel inclined to help you. Consider this a favor.
A Favor?

Do not take a demon's favor lightly. It is rarely given.
We take no favours Lightly.

My kind will continue to seek your life.
Our Life.

I am but a ghost now.
A Ghost.

I missed my kind, I wished to be near them. So here I have returned.
Was you master Minax?

Do not speak that name! She is gone beyond the veil, and will not return.
She was not the one that gave you Orders?

They could never be fufilled, they were completed by another.
You mentioned a Blade.

It was the ancient one. As best I can remember.
An Ancient blade?

It matters not. The orders have become foggy since my release.
Do you know Maya?

That name is unknown to me.
How about Ken?

I do not know of whom you speak.
What do you know of the Wisps?

They know more than they let on. Remember, what one wisp knows, all know.

Also Inu?

With the master's chains loosed, my mind has cleared. I do know of whom you speak
Cleared?

The old one, she is in great danger.
In Danger!

Guard her, for you are not the only ones watching.
We are Watching her.

She is more important than you know.
You know she’s Important.

Those who see are the most imperiled.
You know how Old she is?

She is quite long in years for her kind. With age comes wisdom.
She certainly has Wisdom.

She is not the only one with great wisdom. However, she is the only one that is in danger, for now.
You have been most Kind.

I'm with the other demons now. Though I can no longer truly be among them, I feel at peace.
We are glad that you have found Peace.

I am at peace now. I wish I could say the same for your people.
We will take this information back to our People thank you.

The old one, you spoke of her before.

Yes to her too, bye.

So it was decided that it would be a good time to seek Inu’s wisdom, but arriving at her home it was discovered to be empty. Thankfully though she was quickly found as she had moved to the West Britannian bank along with Kurai Kabuto her now ever present rune beetle.

Hi

Low?
Hello

Hello, what do you want?

Your name is Inu?

Inu!

Hail

Hail, o' Britannian

Britannian?

Did you know that Britannia backwards is Ainnatirb?
So what you think of Buccaneer's?

Why would I want to go near a buck's den?
Cove?

Who would build a city next to an orc fort?
Serpent's Hold?

I wonder what they hold, these serpents.
Jhelom?

Is that like Nujel'm but flipped around? How unoriginal!
Nujel'm

Is that like Jhelom but flipped around? How unoriginal!
Moonglow?

Oh, the know-it-alls.
Magincia?

I would stay away from there were I you.
Trinsic?

I'm told they think highly of honor. I think not

Perhaps you got something to say about a Shrine?

I have no time to visit your shrine.

They are to reflect the Virtue.

What's so virtuous about flaunting virtue?

We need to be united again under one Ruler.

I haven't met a ruler I couldn't measure up.
Is summing up other people or places your Job?

I am a teacher.
You’re a Teacher.

Or a preacher

Oh a Preacher.

I hear things and pass them on.

What can you reveal to us?

When I foretell all, you will wish again for ignorance.

Please foretell.

Ahead, a dark time. Behind, a dark time. Here? A dim light.
Ahead?

A clenched fist. An open hand. Neither hold much sand.
Perhaps Ether?

Ether? Made up stuff, worth less than fluff if you ask me.
Have you seen Ken?

Do not concern yourself, I know he follows me.
What about Maya.

Do not concern yourself, I know she follows me.
Also Harmony?

Do not concern yourself, I know why she follows along.
And Kentarou?

*gives you an odd look* What want you with him?

Hm what should we be feeding Kabuto?

Note sure what a demon eats. People mostly. I'm would suppose.

Oh, we released the enslaved pouty Demon.

Cry, cry. cry... Demons cry more than babies.
He was in a trapped Curse of a situation.

Is it a curse? Or a blesssing?
A Blessing?

Perhaps in her hands it will become one.
We killed the enslavd Demon.

All over they are, but they do tend to gather in groups

He is set Free now.

Ain't there other things in this desert you could be bothering?

He was told to find Ancient item.

Are ya calling me old again? *grumbles*

A Blade.

What's this now? No no, couldn't be.

Tell us the Truth.

You cannot handle it! I cannot tell you the truth!
Give more answers.

Ain't there other things in this desert you could be bothering?
Have you foreseen the Armageddon spells use?

Flood? Famine? Fire? Earthquake? Would I bother?

Are we faceing our Doom?

Flood? Famine? Fire? Earthquake? Would I bother?
The demon said you were in Danger.

You fear for me?
Some have thought it might be Minax returning.

Hrmph. Lets not talk of that one.
What can we do to Help?

Yes, help me give a message to Nanako.

Nanako?

Do you wish to help an old hag?

Yes we do, where do we take the Message?

Giver her a diamond, and she will understand my message.

Isnt that a little Crazy?

You've never looked so sane.

Inu your beetles looks hungry is there any Food we can get it?

A little bit of scorpion blood spices everything up.
That will make him Eat?

A little bit of scorpion blood spices everything up.
We will set a Guard here to protect you.

Thats what Kurai Kabuto is for. Keep those pesky desert critters away.
Hes certainly not Soft.

On the inside. That damn beetle thinks he's a puppy dog.
A Dog!

He's loyal as a dog alright. Always following me around and sticking by my side.
Its good to have something so Loyal.

Loyal throughout the ages. He's not just some fluffy thing that does tricks.
He does Tricks?

He's been known to fetch things, but will knock down tables in the process.
He plays Fetch!

I used to play with him as a child, as have my children, as have their children.
We need to take our leave now Inu, Bye.

*nods quickly*
Goodbye

If you say so.
Farewell

I probably won't.


News reached the guards that Inu had moved to a more central position at the bank and was preaching. Going along the guards did indeed find this to be true, but also that quiet a commotion was going on as crowds were encouraged to heckle Inu by a very grand looking Lady. Once the Lady had got the crowds going she left the seen and went to her rooms at Britain Castle. The guards followed her to find out what she knew about Inu.

Name - My name is Aileen daughter of Veritas.

Aileen - Yes?

Family Aye, my house is led by my father, Veritas.

Noble/Nobler - As thou canst plainly see, I am of noble descent.

House - Aye my house is led by my father Veritas, and he will not be pleased with my report.

Report - Of that fool, that so-called “Prophet” Inu the Crone.

Fool - *nods angrily*

Prophet - Ha! If she is a prophet, then I am a shepherd.

Shepherd - Does this look like a shepherds robe to yee!?

Verities - Hast thou heard of him? Surely his deeds have reached even the ears of Britain’s… inhabitants.

Inu the Crone - That vile woman! How dare she! I shell ner’er forgive the likes of her.

Deeds - Thou knowest not? I have not time to recount them all to thee, excuse me.

Britain - I find the capitol… quaint.

Inhabitants - Oh, I ment no disrespect.

Forgive - Never, she has insulted not only myself but my house.

Recount - *Hesitates* No I have not the time.

Disrespect - Tis just that.

Castle - Castle British is, for the lack of a better term tolerable at best.

Tolerable - It is an old building “tis all”. Trinsic has a much higher standard of course.

Building - You can see cracks in the mortar and I here odd sounds at night.

Trinsic - I do miss it! Britain offers nothing our honrable city can not.

Higher standard - Why, much of the city is made from the finest sandstone known to man.

Cracks - Yes, and I thought I saw… *shudders*

Sounds - Yes, and theres… Well I thought I saw *shudders*

Honourable - Tis the city of Honour, of course.

Sandstone - (Nods* our quarries are renowned the kingdom over.

Tought I saw - A rat!

Kingdom - Aye, Britan is yet a strong nation.

Rat - Vile discusting things.

Job/Work - I do not work as such. I am but a simple emissary of the City of Trinsic, visiting Britain.

Emissary - *sighs* Yes, my family have sent me to represent the interests of Trinsic

Interests - Trinsic seeketh information regarding disturbing disturbing trends seen throughout the kingdom, as of late.

Information - I await further word from the Royal Council.

Disturning - *looks at you carefully* If thou dust not know, I shouldest not speak of it.

So-Called Prophet - She is nothing more than a dangerous witch.

Council - They lead Britannia, and thus I am here as there humble servant.

Dangerous - She lies! And lies are dangerous.

Lies/Untrue - I will speak of it no further.

Commander - We hath not met yet.

Heard of him - *Smiles* I thought thou mightest have.

Heard of foolish - Inu, Inu the crone.

Daughter - As a daughter of one of Trinsic nobler families I come representing out interests.

Families - Knowest thou the tradition of the paladins of Trinsic.

Traditions - Tis something handed down from generation to generation.

Paladins - Aye, tis the noblest of all callings.

Noblest - *nods*

Bank - I wish not to think about what was wrought there but a while ago.

A while ago wrought - Indeed! Thanks be to the crowd who heeded my pleas for help.

Crowd - It serves that wretch right, I called for action and the people heeded me.

Wretch - That foolish woman, surley thou hast heard of her by now.

Action - Had it only been Trinsic, she would still be sitting in a cell somewhere contemplating her audacity.

People - Aye, the may be of lesser stock here, but they are of use at least.

Audacity - To murmur such untrue things! Tis unheard of.

Lesser stock - Ah, I mean no offence.

 

After chatting to Aileen the guards decided to see what Inu had to say.

Inu the Crone :-

Noble - Ignoble nobles bother me.
Job - I'm a teacher.
Teacher - Or a preacher.
Preacher - I hear things and pass them on.
Prophet - So I've been promoted from "Crone!"

Promoted - Do I look like I care what you think of me?
Prophesy - Oh. Of course! For they shall rise up and say, "Prophesy! Witch! Prove

Prove thyself - You want proof?
Truth - You cannot handle it! I cannot tell you the truth!

Reveal - When I fortell all, you will wish again for ignorance.

Fortell - Ahead, a dark time. Behind, a dark time. Here? A dim light.

Pass them - To you people, of course! It's best to tell the truth to those who don't listen!
Answer - Think you got it all figured out eh?
Ahead - A clenched fist. An open hand. Neither hold much sand.

Armageddon - Flood? Famine? Fire? Earthquake? Would I bother?

Avatar -an avatar? Of what? Good? Evil? Something else? Speak more clearly!
Ancient - Are ya calling me old again? *grumbles*

Wisdom - Comes with time. There are many creatures that have been around far longer

Creatures - Well not just creatures, I should really say beings.
Beings - You might be one someday, you have to live through a lot and grow from those things.
Ether - Ether? Made up stuff, worth less than fluff if you ask me.
Ghost - All creatures can be ghosts. If something's left undone before their final release.

Release - Eh, that comes when they feel their time here is no longer needed.
Crazy - You've never looked so sane.
Wisps - ManifestationsOfWisdom
Yrigor - ManifestationsOfWisdom

Minax - Hrmph. Lets not talk of that one.

Blackthorn - I think every rose has one

Koku - Don t ask what s in the meat pies.
Yatsue - Hrm.

Daiichi - Hmm?

Kentarou - *gives you an odd look* What want you with him?

Harmony - Do not concern yourself, I know why she follows along.

Ken - Do not concern yourself, I know he follows me.

Maya - Do not concern yourself, I know she follows me.

Maya's father - To him also my curse was passed.
Curse - Is it a curse? Or a blessing?
Blessing - Perhaps in her hands it will become one.
Her Hands - In mine, it will consume me.
Consume - I have seen it, so shall it be.

Nanako - Do you wish to help an old hag?

Help - Yes, help me give a message to Nanako.

Message - Giver her a diamond, and she will understand my message.

 

In line with Inus instructions the guards travelled to Zento carrying diamons and started to looks for Inus daughter-in-law Nakano. The first person they saw was a young lady near the hot springs.

Hello - Hi!

Name - I'm Tomoe!

Inu - She's nice when she's not being crazy!

Crazy - Oh! I didn't mean it like that!

Maya - Maya? She's my best friend!

Best Friend - Unless Ken is involved, then all bets are off.

Ken/Kentarou - *giggles* I don't know what he sees in Maya!

Britain: I'd like to visit - I bet I could buy all sorts of things!

Job - Huh? I don't really have one.

Nanako - Maya's mon? She's really nice. Sometimes I even sneak a cookie or two.

Cookie - They're great! But some of the stuff she makes... *blanches*

Stuff - Ergh, like the meat pies.

Pies - *whimpers*

Yatsue - That poor old man, everyone says he's going senile.

Senile - I don't know, he just acts a strange all the time.

Architect - Yes! The best Zento has!

Daiichi - Yatsue's son? He's not so bad once you get to know him.

Lets his dad - He’s sensitive deep down… I think.

Not so bad - Yes, he's nice! He's just *so* busy taking care of his father's business.

Busy/Business - He still lets his dad sell things, but Daiichi is the real architect.

Hair - Don't you love it? I met an elf passing through town once, and he taught me how to do this style!

Elf - He was cute, but a little too short for my tastes.

Style - Yep! And the feather just really sets it off *brushes a lock of hair to the side*

Get to know - Yes, he's nice! He's just *so* busy taking care of his father's business.

Taking there leave the guards wandered round town chatting to whom every had a time to stop. The next person that was free to talk was quiet old.

 

Hello: Hello friend!

Name: My name is Yatsue, my boy

Job: I'm an architect! My designs have even been seen by the Empress herself.

Architect: Yes, if you ever need a home, just talk to my son Daiichi. I'm so busy he handles that sort of thing now.

Empress: But I don't have time for her. I have more important things to work on after all.

Daiichi/Son: Thats my number one son! He does the boring stuff and leaves the fun to me.

Busy: With my toys, of course!

Important: Like my toys of course!

Boring: Architecture is the height of boredom, but with these new toys, ha! I'm never bored.

Toys: Have you seen them? They're magic!

Magic: Let me show you! Do you see that painting on the wall?

Painting: Now watch carefully! *Yatsue pulls out a small instrument*

Watch: *You see the painting move up and down on the wall by itself* It's called an Interior Decorator!

Interior Decorator: Would you like one? I sell them!

Maya: I've told my son he should think about marrying her!

Nanako: I've told my son he should think about marrying her!

Inu: *looks confused* I don't... no, sorry.

Cookies: Do you have any?

The guards decided to have a quick chat to Yatsue’s son and soon located him upstairs.

 

 

 

Hello/Hi: Hello, may I help you?

Name: I'm Daiichi, is there something I can do for you?

Job: I'm the chief architect of our business, do you require our services?

Architect: Yes, I currently manage our affairs while my father is incapacitated.

Business: We are dedicated to the finest traditions, while still innovating new designs.

Innovation: Lately, more Britannian styles of architecture are finding their way into our designs.

Father/Incapacitated: Sadly, he has become senile, and can no longer even do the simplest drawing.

Traditions: Indeed, the use of post and beams, networks of hallways, and variable spaces.

Networks: Zento lacks much of a demonstration of this style, it is found more on the other islands.

Senile: *looks annoyed* At least he has his toys.

Variable: Sliding doors and room dividers allow infinite variation on a simple theme.

Britain/Britannian: *sighs* I wish to study there, but I cannot leave my father's side.

Architecture - *Brightens* Do you know much about architecture? I enjoy discussing it.

Toys: No practical use, of course, he only likes them because they're magical.

Discussing - Architecture is best thought of as a study of space, volume texture, light and shadow.

Magical: A curse on mankind, if you ask me.

Space - Space is fundemental, if you understand it, you can mold it to your whim.

Volume - Volume denotes how much space exists, creating volume in a room is an art.

Light - Light allows us to discern color, a key to making things unique.

Shadw - gives depth and highlights fine craftsmanship.

Colour - My father was a genius with color.

Tomoe: *looks aside* She has poor taste in friends.

Nanako: Excuse me, I do not bother myself with that cook's family.

Inu: As a guest, I ask you not to speak of her to me.

Nanako: Excuse me, I do not bother myself with that cook's family.

Maya: Excuse me, I do not bother myself with that cook's family.

Magical: A curse on mankind, if you ask me.

Ken: Who?

Kentarou: Who?

Tomoe: *looks aside* She has poor taste in friends.

 

The guards continued to speak to people around Zento till they finally meet Nanako.

Hello: Hello there!

Pleasure to meet you: *smiles* What can I do for you?

Name: I'm Nanako! Pleasure to meet you!

Nanako: Hmm?

Job: Oh, I'm a cook -- I do a lot of baking for Koku Kitchens

Koku: I love it here. *smiles* Sometimes though, they ask me to bake strange things.

Cook: *nods* Is there anything you need? Just say the word!

Strange: Ha! Maybe I shouldn't talk about it!

About it: Well, it's the pies...

Pies: They're not normal pies... they're filled with meat! We call them 'meat pies'

Baking: If you need bread, I'm your girl!

Bread: Well, it's not *just* bread! I also make cookies from a secret family recipe.

Recipe: It's a secret!

Secret: It's a secret!

Cookie: Mhmm, Maya loves them!

Maya: Oh? Do you know my daughter?

Daughter: She's a little feisty, but that's just because she has so much energy!

Energy: Like her mother!

Feisty: Like her mother!

Tomoe: She's a sweet little thing.

Yatsue: Now there's a man who loves cookies!

Daiichi: Isn't he handsome? Nothing like Maya's father of course.

Handsome: Mhmm, little too old for my daughter though, little too young for me.

Father: *nods* He's been gone for many years now...

Ken/Kentarou: *smiles cheerfully* He's a nice boy.

Britain: *looks past you* I sent Maya and Ken out looking for Inu... but I haven't heard from them since.

Heard from: I'm sure they're fine though. Unless they eloped.

Eloped: I'll kill her! *smiles sweetly*

Inu/Crone: Inu? Has she caused you any trouble?

Trouble: As her daughter-in-law, I take full responsibility for anything she may have done to you, and beg your forgiveness.

Handing Nanako a diamond makes her say: Wha... a gem? Is it time already? You must go! You must back and find the

truth!

top

 

9 (BNN) Inu Chapter 2, (Dojo).

9 Inu Chapter 2 (Dojo)

Inu, Chapter 2
Draconi May 27 2006 12:31AM

The Sheriff of Britain’s quill scratched at the page as the ink ran dry mid-sentence. Annoyed, he dipped it back into the inkwell and stood up to stretch a bit, walking over to the window set in the thick stone walls. It was overcast this morning; only a dim halo around Felucca made it obvious the moons were still in the sky. Yet, the city outside stirred - businesses were making their morning preparations and lights were flickering into existence all along the street.

A soft rippling sound came from behind him, but he didn’t bother to turn around - enjoying the draft of cool morning air.

"Good morning, sir."

"Good morning, Henry," replied the Sheriff, recognizing the guard’s voice, "How was your trip?"

"’Twas as expected, sir."

The Sheriff clasped his hands behind his back and leaned forward, peering intently down the street.

"And how are our guests? I trust they remained unmolested throughout the evening?"

"Indeed, sir. We stayed at a distance throughout the night but watched carefully."

"And they are now...?"

"The younger ones are still camping, the woman has disappeared. Our tracker lost her on the northern road."

The Sheriff sighed. It was times like this, he reflected, that he wished he could arch an eyebrow on demand. Instead, he turned a bit and regarded Henry out of the corner of one eye, doing his best to only seem benignly curious.

"Oh?"

Henry’s abrupt discomfort was obvious.

"Aye, sir," Henry began, "She left their camp late in the evening and began heading north. We lost her beyond the old lookout post."

The Sheriff had turned around completely now and started walking back to his desk. He enjoyed the occasional stab at theatricality, and gave it a try. Sitting, he retrieved the quill from the inkwell, and resumed the sentence he’d left off at.

"Henry?" He said some time later, closing the final paragraph with a sharp stroke.

"Sir?"

"Give me a moment. I’d like you to take this up to the castle."

"Yes sir."

The Sheriff folded the letter and sealed it with some red wax. He bent forward to hand it over, but held on to it when Henry grasped the other end.

The Sheriff looked up at Henry’s passive face.

"You’re not a very curious man, are you Henry?"

"’Tis not my job, sir."

"I suppose not," he said, letting go, "Well then, have it delivered to the Commander’s office."

"Understood, sir," Henry said, and disappeared.

The Sheriff sat back and smiled to himself.

 

 

"Ken! Wake up!"

Ken rolled over and curled farther into his blanket.

"Ken! Wake! Up!"

A pair of hands hit his side and he tumbled away from his sleeping mat into the wet grass. His eyes flew open and he found himself lying facedown on the ground, still foggy despite Maya’s obvious efforts. He managed to get on all fours and look to the side at Maya, who was kneeling beside the bedroll she’d just pushed him out of.

"Wha?"

"She’s gone!" Maya scrambled forward and grabbed an arm, pulling him up.

"Inu?" He asked, their surroundings starting to hit home.

"Yes! She’s just, gone! We woke up and her bedroll and everything was gone!"

"We? Oh..." He’d already remembered it the second he asked, and looked behind her at Harmony, who was skirting the edge of camp looking closely at the ground.

"Don’t tell me - she just took off while we were asleep?"

Maya nodded quickly: "And I have no idea which way she went! Harmony’s looking around but it’s all grassy here. I couldn’t find any footprints."

He surveyed the area. Just a little ways south of camp the ocean was breaking against the cliffs, to the north Harmony was walking along the edge of the forest, engaged in the search as well.

"Hold on," he was trying to gather his thoughts, and began walking past the campfire towards the sound of lapping waves.

She turned to follow. "Wait, where are you -"

He walked up along the side of the tallest cliff and looked down and around the coastline.

"Looks like she didn’t slip off the edge in the middle of the night, or something," he said, relieved.

"Don’t say things like that!"

He looked back at her, annoyed, "What do you mean ‘Don’t say things like that?’ She’s old. And she’s crazy! It could’ve happened -- might’ve gotten up at night and just put her foot right off the..." The words trailed off as Maya’s face went rigid, and he backpedaled as best he could.

"Look, I mean, sorry, it’s...early and I -"

Next to him Harmony suddenly asked, "Find something?"

Not having been there a moment before, Harmony’s sudden appearance sent him reeling back a bit, just enough to misjudge a step on the craggy rocks, but she was quick to catch his arm and steady him against her.

"Careful now!" she admonished him playfully, while Maya swallowed a scream.

"Er, thanks," Ken said lamely.

"You’ve got to stop doing that!" Maya scolded.

"Ye both seemed most excited about something, so I teleported over to hear what ye’d found," Harmony apologized as she walked away from the edge towards Maya. She was still smiling, and Maya couldn’t help but break into a grin as well.

"At least you scared Ken. That’ll teach him."

"Hey."

It took them another half hour before they finally found something. Harmony had gone deeper into the forest and come across the road cutting through and into East Britain. Just on the southern edge of the trail there were sandaled footprints leading straight into the road, moisture still gathered in the soft impression. Once the footprints merged into the well traveled path though, it was impossible to tell in which direction they’d been headed. They’d returned to their makeshift camp to eat breakfast and mull over their situation.

In the end, they decided to head back into Britain and seek out some information. Harmony was sure that the guards wouldn’t bother them since Inu wasn’t actually with them, and Maya was anxious to try the rumormongers. If anything, they could at least find out what Inu had been up to before they’d run into her.

 

Later that morning they found themselves across the way from the bank, standing in front of the Cat’s Lair. The entrance to the tavern was well away from the bank itself, but the noise from down the street was still very distracting.

"Okay everyone, look sharp!" Maya said, "We’ll go in, we’ll find a table, and we’ll look like we know what we’re doing."

Ken shrugged, "Alright."

Harmony looked a bit perplexed: "But, I do not believe thou needest..."

Maya cut her off with a dismissive wave of her hand.

"Don’t worry, I’m used to this sort of thing. Zento has a place just like this!"

With that, Maya gathered herself up, grabbed the door handle, and with a strong pull opened it wide and strode inside, the other two in tow. It would’ve been a very impressive entrance for the trio, if anyone had actually been around to see it. Instead, Maya found herself facing a row of empty tables.

"May I help thee?" someone asked politely to the side. She looked over to see an older blonde man behind the bar, polishing a mug and looking quite amused at her brash entrance. Ken and Harmony were stepping around her, Harmony heading straight towards the bar.

"Elston!" Harmony cried happily, running up to the bar and leaning over for a hug.

"Harmony, ‘tis good to see thee, good to see thee. And who are these fine visitors?"

She sat down on a stool and rotated around, one arm on the counter, and motioned with the other.

"These are my new friends and traveling companions: Maya and Ken," she responded.

Ken walked over and sat next to Harmony, shaking Elston’s hand over the counter.

"Nice to meet you, sir."

"Aye, a friend of Harmony’s is a friend indeed."

"Um, nice to meet you too, Elston," Maya offered, having made her way over as well.

"Ah, always a pleasure, always a pleasure."

Harmony smiled and turned back towards the bar: "Could we have three mugs of mead, please?" She winked, "The good stuff."

Elston’s face broke into a wide grin.

"I knew ye’d ask the moment I saw ye. Just a moment now," he had them wait while he walked over to the far wall and began filling three mugs.

Maya leaned in past Ken and got Harmony’s attention: "Hey, why didn’t you tell me you knew the owner?"

Harmony winked and replied, "It seemed more fun this way!"

Ken let out a short laugh, "She did try to warn you, you know."

"Sure! At the last second!" She was about to say something else but the barkeep was already returning.

"There we are!" Elston said, setting down three pewter mugs filled with a golden liquid, "I see ye’ve already found out how infectious she is, eh?"

"Elston!" Harmony griped.

While they bantered for a bit Maya considered her drink. It smelled sweetly of honey, but she’d never seen a drink like it before. She tentatively took a sip and was pleasantly surprised to find it also tasted of strawberries. Elston must have noticed because he was quick to turn the conversation over to her.

"Ah, first time for Abbey Mead is it lass?"

Harmony pressed teasingly, "First time for mead at all, is it?"

Ken, in the meanwhile, had finished half his mug and had a pleased look on his face.

"It’d be nice if we had this in Zento, wouldn’t it?" he said out loud.

"Oh? Ye canna find mead in Zento?" Elston queried. He hadn’t even blinked when Ken had mentioned their hometown, which struck Maya as odd.

Ken explained, "Well, we’ve got it, now, but it’s not like this!" He took another gulp.

"’Tis good to hear ye like it lad, good to hear. Abbey Mead is rather rare though, Harmony is one of the few around who canst afford it."

Maya and Ken turned towards Harmony in unison.

"Exactly how much is this?" Maya asked Elston, eyes wide on the redheaded mage.

Elston was already replacing Harmony’s empty mug with a fresh drink and started to answer when Harmony quickly interrupted, "Oh, ‘tis not that much at all, right Elston?"

He chuckled and replied, "Aye, ‘tis not much at all for thee!"

She gave him a poisonous look, which, for Harmony, was more comical than anything, making Maya laugh unexpectedly. Her laugh turned into a short bout of giggles, and she was surprised at how warm and comfortable their surroundings had become. Ken had his arms crossed on the bar and was resting his head, watching them idly.

"*hic*", Maya hiccupped.

"Oh dear," Harmony laughed, scooting her seat closer to Maya to support her.

"Wha... *hic*," Maya hiccupped again.

"Thinking about it..." Ken said slowly, "It’s a bit early in the morning to be drinking, isn’t it?"

Maya had a scathing reply on the tip of her tongue, but another hiccup broke it off.

 

They spent the rest of the day walking throughout Britain buying supplies and making arrangements for their stay in the city. Harmony had produced some sort of strange potion at the tavern which had immediately sobered them up, but Maya still couldn’t believe how strong the mead had been. She made it a point to remember two things: Abbey Mead had a real kick to it, and keep an eye out for anything made by someone called Grizelda. It was a horrid potion, no matter how well it worked.

Maya had reserved a room at the Sweet Dreams inn, while the other two had gone to visit a mages’ shop on the north side of town. They’d agreed they’d meet back at their room that evening, and then head back out to the tavern, which by then would be full of patrons.

The night was uneventful. They sat at a table in the corner, and asked Elston to point out anyone he thought might be able to help them out. Unfortunately no one had anything useful to tell them besides the occasional gossip. Once in a while someone would mention the crazy old woman who’d been seen near the bank recently. Apparently she hadn’t been seen again, and they resolved to sleep on the problem and come up with a fresh plan in the morning.

The morning led them to no better conclusion, and, having no other leads, they ended up spending the next few days repeating their pattern of talking with people in the city and visiting taverns at night. Maya was a bit frustrated, but there was no way they could visit every city the world over, no matter how easy the moongates made it. Britain was the capitol of the kingdom, and sooner or later they’d find someone who’d bring news they could act on.

They were walking back to the inn one morning when a town crier suddenly got their attention.

"Attention!" he cried.

They paused with a few other people to listen to his speech.

Apparently, a group of adventurers had stumbled upon a cavern in which they’d faced down a horde of ratmen and other monsters. Maya didn’t think it was special at all until the town crier explained that the group had come across the entrance to the cavern almost immediately after speaking with Inu the Crone.

"And Lorgash, having been defeated, was found to be hiding up a certain lost book!" he continued. "Today, the Royal Press is proud to present the people of Britannia a tome of knowledge from one of our greatest mages: Nystul!"

Harmony had been listening attentively up to that point, but then her head shot up and eyes locked on the crier. He bowed to some scattered, polite applause, and then held up a small leather bound book.

"Ye may ask, but what was this book they found, and what meaning doth it have for we simple folk?"

It was obvious he had their full attention, and he kept going.

"’Tis called ‘The Shattering’, my friends, and journals the very innermost thoughts of Britannia’s own Court Mage: Nystul. Ye may say, ‘I am but a baker, or a merchant, what canst I learn from such a tome?’"

Harmony addressed him in a firm tone, breaking his concentration, "Dost it speak of Mondain, then?"

Maya and Ken were surprised to hear her talk directly to the man, but apparently the crowd was even more surprised. There were gasps all around, and they wondered what she had said that had evoked such a response.

The crier faced her, holding the book up in his hand, and spoke again, voice suddenly edged, "Aye. It speaketh of Mondain. Verily, it speaketh of the Gem and more."

For a moment they thought the crowd was upset, but a smile broke across one man’s face.

"Well, the Royal Press, eh? Certainly know how to get a man’s interest!" he said loudly, swaggering forward.

A woman called out, "How much is it then? ‘Twill be wanted at home for bedtime stories, for sure!" She was laughing gaily.

The crier looked nonplussed and raised his hands up, book held high.

"My esteemed countrymen, the Royal Press asks not even one gold piece! ‘Tis free!"

"Where!?" "Where is this now?" "How do I get one?" Their amusement had given way to interest.

"Simply visit the local bank and ask the teller for a copy. Thou needest only have a bank box to be eligible!" he said, bowing.

A few people broke off immediately towards the bank, but one fellow muttered over his shoulder as he passed by them going the other way, "Bah, ‘tis ‘free’ for ye, hafta ‘ave an account and whatnot."

The town crier placed the leather book into his bag and waved at the dwindling crowd, "On behalf of the Royal Press, in conjunction with the Royal Mint, we wish to thank thee for thy time today!" With that, he moved on down the road and they were left standing at the intersection.

"Let’s go!" Harmony said excitedly, grabbing each of their hands and starting to walk quickly. "Did she just say ‘Let’s’," Maya thought. Ken had been quiet throughout the spectacle but wanted to know what was going on.

"Wait, where are we going?"

"Back to the bank, of course!" Harmony said.

He pulled his hand free and matched her pace.

"So what, we’re going to grab a free book?" he asked with disbelief.

Harmony nodded, "Yes!"

"But we don’t have time!"

Maya spoke up, striding alongside, "Don’t have time? Ken, we’ve been sitting in town for days now! This is a godsend!"

Harmony nodded again and kept going. They were rounding the bend past the jeweler’s shop, and they merged into the local traffic of merchants and businessman milling around the bank.

"Besides!" Maya panted, keeping up with Harmony, "Besides, he said they found this after talking to Inu, remember?"

He kept looking straight ahead.

"Right."

She hadn’t expected such a lackluster response from him, and was suddenly uncomfortable. Harmony had already walked into the bank, however, so she decided not to say anything until they got back to their room.

 

She never had a chance to talk to Ken privately though. The night was spent poring over the book with Harmony and getting a short history lesson about some ancient war she hadn’t heard about before. Apparently most of the world had nearly been conquered by one man, and somehow someone else managed to stop him. It reminded her a little of a story her father had told her once though, and it stuck in the back of her mind.

After they were done, Ken went out on his own to the Cat’s Lair, saying he wanted to see if anyone had heard anything recently. Maya laid on the bed thinking about it, trying to remember details from the little fantasy her father had told her, and was soon asleep.

 

Ken grew more sullen as another fruitless day went by, and Maya was no less displeased. Harmony remained cheerfully oblivious to the souring feelings in their little group, but made a point the next day of going out for reagents on her own. This left Ken and Maya to prepare for their information gathering on there own.

"What’s your problem?"

Ken had just tossed her a small pouch of gold they were planning to spend. Maya caught it, but he had thrown it a little harder than she’d expected.

"My problem?" he started.

"Yes! Your problem!" she snapped, "You’ve been like this for days!"

He stepped forward, not raising his voice, "Days, huh? Makes sense, right?"

"What?" She was uncertain.

"This!" he said pointedly, waving a hand around the room, "Why are we doing this?"

She stalked up to him, "To find Inu! Remember? You said you’d come and help!"

He looked down at her.

"What for, Maya?"

She looked up at him, surprised, a little angry.

"What do you mean?!" She hadn’t meant to be that loud, but he wasn’t fazed.

"We already found her, she’s fine." He waited for her to say something, but her eyes had clouded over.

"It’s not your fault Maya, she didn’t want to stay with us."

She turned her back to him and crossed her arms.

"I know that!" she whispered angrily.

"Then why are you?" he tried to ask, but she whirled around and grabbed his shoulders.

"Then why are you still here!?" she shouted up at him.

They stared at each other like that, a weeks worth of pent up emotions finally pouring out, but Ken couldn’t answer. Maya let go of his shoulders, taking a step back. Her anger was being overcome by something else, and she didn’t notice the slight sound of rushing air beside her.

"I’m sorry..." he tried.

"Art thou alright Maya?" Harmony asked, leaning between them for a better look at her.

Maya screamed and Ken tripped over backwards.

"Wow! Ye both have the worst luck with my recall spots!" she laughed.

That night found them all at the Cat’s Lair, but this time with a purpose. Harmony had returned so suddenly because Elston had asked them to be at the tavern that evening. Apparently he’d made contact with a mercenary group who had news about Inu, and were especially interested in sharing the information.

No one had come over to talk to them yet, so Harmony was teaching Maya how to play "High/Low" with a cup of dice at their usual corner table as they listened in on the conversations nearby.

"So wait, if I roll seven, and I chose ‘High,’ I lose?"

"Right," replied Harmony, handing her the dice, "So what is it now? High or Low or Seven?"

"Mmm, Low!"

Maya dropped the dice in the cup and shook it up.

The dice went flying across the table. The first ended up rebounding off a mug and coming to a halt near the end, but the second flipped right off the table and across the floor, coming to a stop right on the tip of someone’s boot.

A tall man wearing leather armor was standing between the bar and the table, and had just begun walking towards the neighboring table, mugs in hand, where his friends were sitting. Harmony cried out, "Stop!"

Half the eyes in the tavern were immediately on the redheaded girl as she ran up to the man, dropped down near his feet, and gently nudged the dice off his boot tip so that it didn’t change its position.

"Two!" she looked over at Ken.

Flustered, Ken looked down and replied, a little too loudly now that it had quieted down some, "Three!"

Harmony scooped up the dice and ran over to Maya, grabbing her hand, "You win!" Ken watched the man while Maya and Harmony celebrated. The fellow turned his head back towards the bar and nodded in Elston’s direction. Elston nodded back. Suddenly he was heading their way.

"Excuse me," he said simply, setting down the mugs. "I hear ye seek a word or two concerning a certain old woman?"

 

One small pouch of gold later, they’d learned why they hadn’t heard anything about Inu lately. Maya had managed to thank the mercenaries politely, but the moment they were outside she began storming back to the inn.

"Maya! Wait up!" Ken called, walking quickly to catch up.

"Ye couldst not have known!" Harmony rejoined.

Maya kept moving on, but said loudly, "Home! She’s been back home in the desert this whole time!"

"Hey, it’s not like that!" Ken said, coming up alongside her with Harmony.

She slowed down a bit, gaining back some composure.

"Okay, not the whole time, but most of it!"

"But we knowest she is in Luna now, at the least," Harmony said, trying to make her feel better.

Maya kept her eyes straight forward as she said, "Yes, and first thing tomorrow, that’s where we’ll be."

 

---

 

"It’s huge," Maya said, staring up the height of the massive sandstone walls. They’d appeared in a small courtyard-like area between the city walls and a large central building. Much like Britain there were people everywhere, but most were streaming up and into the building.

As they walked along the hallway Maya asked about the edifice.

"No one truly knows much," Harmony admitted, "When the moongates began linking to Malas, we found Luna as you see it now."

Ken sidled up from behind.

"You mean this building was already here?"

Harmony nodded, "This, the walls, a few abandoned structures, Umbra..."

Now they were in the center of the building and it was getting harder to talk.

Ken and Maya followed along as Harmony led them around to the side of the main concourse and in a circle around the through the building.

Maya was about to yell to Harmony that she didn’t see Inu anywhere, when suddenly the crowd grew quiet. She realized that a voice had been shouting at the crowd from the heart of the building, but it was male. Now the crowd seemed to have calmed down a bit to hear what he had to say.

"My good friends!" the man was addressed the crowd warmly, "Thank you! I have an announcement!"

Before anyone could say anything he had continued.

"Per inquiries concerning one Inu the Crone, of whom many of you have come to know of late, I, Bernard de’Lur, am forming an expedition to ascertain the veracity of this woman’s so-called prophecies." He took a breath and continued in an excited manner, the crowd actually letting him, with only a wave of murmurs starting to sweep through them.

"As many of ye may know, this strange woman has been spouting strange things none could understand! However!" and with this he turned towards a young man standing next to him.

"However! Vincent here claimeth to have understood her message! Vincent! If you please."

Vincent took a step forward and ran a hand through his unkempt hair. For a moment he looked like he wouldn’t make eye-contact with the crowd, but then he straightened up and kept his eyes level with them.

"Now, firstly, I wish it not said that I believeth any of this!"

Bernard nodded firmly, and one or two people in the crowd cheered out in support.

"That understood, before she disappeared, she spoke quite distinctly the following words: Death Dealing Fanciers."

"Fancy what now?" called out a man in front.

"Now now sir, ‘tis just that what we wondered!" Vincent explained.

"Go on then!" someone else urged.

"Well, we all know the woman seemeth addled - something is just not right with her - so I set her words to page and began pondering them, trying to make some sense of it."

Bernard slapped him on the back, "And sense he did indeed make of it!"

Vincent chuckled a bit to hide an involuntary wince.

"Aye, or at least we thinketh so. Now, looking at the words on the page I was reminded of that article that was circulating in the news recently about word puzzles. Some of ye may remember that this Inu woman was also involved in that as well?"

There were some scattered affirmations amidst the crowd and Vincent smiled and continued.

"By that line of thinking, I was led to rearrange certain letters within the message, until I was left with something most startling!"

The man who had earlier spoken up did so again, "Well now! What is it?"

Vincent locked gazes with him, took a breath for effect, and replied at last, "Fear the dancing ladies!"

Vincent’s face had lit up in excitement, but the crowd had gone pitifully silent, and with a sinking feeling he knew what was coming next.

"The fan dancer dojo!" blurted Maya. She had said it without thinking, caught up in Vincent’s explanation, even as some of the crowd had started to laugh at what seemed to be a rather foolish "revelation."

Bernard couldn’t have been more pleased: "Yes! Exactly, my dear girl!" He abruptly dove through the crowd and caught her arm, pulling her to the front and spinning her about.

"Now see, at least one of ye hath understood as well! So there may be something to this after all!"

Ken and Harmony pushed through the crowd to get to Maya, and Bernard immediately mistook their advance.

"Aha! Two more noble adventurers! ‘Tis five of us now, who else will join our party?"

Ken started to object but Maya shook her head. Harmony seemed completely at ease with what was happening, and was idly rummaging through her knapsack as they stood to Bernard’s side.

Sure enough, Bernard’s enthusiasm and charisma netted their group another dozen people interested in exploring the dojo. The crowd had resumed its normal pace and he had led them all upstairs where they were sitting on some marble benches introducing themselves.

Bernard was just in the middle of a explaining their plan of attack, when Maya finally spoke up.

"Excuse me sir, do you know anything about where Inu the Crone went to?"

He didn’t seem to mind being interrupted, and turned directly to her.

"Why young lady, I fear I do not. ‘Tis why we wish to follow her last words!"

Vincent cut in from the side, "This Inu person, we knowest not where to seek her, so we wish to follow the trail laid before us, as it were."

She thanked them and Bernard resumed explaining his plan while she conferred with Ken and Harmony. Lacking other leads, they all agreed it’d be best to follow along and at least see what was going on. No sooner had they all come to this conclusion than Bernard called over, "Well then, shall we go?"

---

The gate opened onto the edge of a grove of trees, and the group began spilling out onto the sandy courtyard in front of the dojo. Maya hadn’t ever seen it before, but it was everything her parents’ nighttime horror stories had said it would be.

"Maya, move!" Ken yelled as he grabbed her arm and jerked her into the center of their party. They were already surrounded by at least a dozen fan dancers and more were slipping out from the dojo’s entrance. At the edge of her vision leather-clad warriors were flitting in and out of sight; no doubt closing the circle around them.

She glanced back at the others and found their calmness disconcerting. Even Harmony was flipping serenely through her spellbook, as though this was something she did every day.

"It could be, for all I know," she thought grimly. Ken worked his way to her side and pulled his blades out, squaring them defensively.

"If anything happens, we can just jump back through the gate," he said.

"Yeah..." she was pulling out her wakizashi when Harmony suddenly piped up, "Oh, ‘tis no reason to worry, a few of these fellows are tamers! And at least half of us are mages, after all." She was smiling as her finger landed on whatever spell she’d been deciding on.

"This shall do!" she said, and, true to form, began digging around in her knapsack for reagents.

Maya and Ken shared a nod and let her be. The fan dancers and ninja were still circling around them, establishing a firm pincer position between the forest and the dojo. A soft noise began to fill the air as several mages began their incantations. Harmony was still calm but seemed deeply focused as she began chanting as well.

"In..."

Maya tipped her sword forward, keeping an eye on the sand in front of her, trying to detect anything hidden that might try to approach their position.

"Jux..."

Ken was focused on two fan dancers who, while still weaving around near the forest’s edge, seemed to be targeting their part of the group.

"Hur..."

Harmony had her eyes closed now, a soft glow was moving up her arms away from the spellbook.

"Ylem!"

The glow enveloping Harmony gathered itself suddenly and rushed forward ahead of them beyond the courtyard. The light coalesced with a flash and was replaced by a strange metal object. Sunlight streamed off its edges and it slowly began to whirl, gradually picking up speed.

"What is that?" Maya asked Harmony, who was flipping pages through her spellbook again.

"Blade Spirits," she said simply, not looking up.

Maya stared at the strange contraption. It was spinning faster now, and began emitting an unnatural clicking sound as sharp metal blades began unfolding from the center.

She couldn’t believe it, like a soulless blademaster it moved of its own accord towards a group of fan dancers who were sizing it up. Blades clashed and before she knew it the magical machine had torn a path through at least three of them. She wrenched her eyes back to Harmony, who appeared to have just found another spell.

"Well done, fifth circle!" another mage yelled over at Harmony, "Let us give you a hand!"

With that, the field suddenly filled with a half dozen masses of purple energy, which, just like the Blade Spirits, began whirling faster as they bore down on their targets. Unseen magical energy lashed out at their prey.

Harmony paused, blinking, and looked up, "Oh! Energy Vortexes!"

Maya was quick to ask, "Which means?"

"’Tis over for now, I think," she said, absently placing her spellbook back in her pack.

 

It was true. In a matter of minutes a successive wave of Energy Vortexes  and summoned pets had decimated the landscape. Maya and Ken were incredulous, never having seen such a raw display of power before. A couple of mages were drinking potions or casting simple beneficial spells on each other. The tamers still had their pets waiting with them, and Maya could barely keep from shivering every time a giant wyrm locked eyes with her.

Bernard was standing on the steps leading into the dojo and beckoned everyone to listen.

"’Twould be good if each and every one of us kept careful watch for anything out of the ordinary," he advised, "Something is here that the fan dancers wish to hide, and we shall find it!"

A cheer passed through the group, but Maya and Ken were quiet. In the back of their minds they both couldn’t help but think about how unprepared they’d been to see just how powerful this single handful of Britannians had been. She’d heard legends about how a group of samurai or ninja, training for a lifetime in the far reaches of the isles, could do things like this, but she’d never expected to see it from anyone else.

Bernard ducked through the entrance and soon they were all deep within the catacombs of the dojo. Harmony was gamely chatting with Maya as they worked their way deeper through the mazelike corridors, and while one minute would be casting a spell, the next would be spent explaining to Maya what it was and how it worked.

Hours passed as they moved along through the twisting corridors; she couldn’t help but be impressed how their ragtag expedition was managing to deal so effectively with what her people considered a constant threat. She almost wished they could just destroy the entire place and be done with it, but she had the feeling that the party members were more like hunters than heroes, and it wouldn’t even cross their minds.

At one point they’d been ambushed by summoned daemons. No one had seemed particularly concerned at first, but when they’d done quite a bit of damage to one, it suddenly attacked one of the tamer’s mares.

The monster had torn it apart and feasted on it right in front of them, even while the other daemons were kept at bay by a myriad of spells. To their horror, the daemon roared and stood up, towering above them with renewed strength. They couldn’t see a scratch on it.

The moment had ended dramatically as a mage ran forward desperately, casting what Harmony later told her was Mass Dispel. The daemon’s hideous face contorted as he and his fellows dissolved in a burst of magic.

They’d been lucky then, and Maya was almost relieved to see a change come over the group as they trespassed deeper into the dungeon. Bernard had lost his smile, and they were letting the tamers’ animals blaze a path ahead of them. Harmony pulled out a few Greater Heal scrolls and stashed them in on her belt, so she could get to them quickly. Ken and Maya both kept their weapons out and at the ready, but except for the occasional straggling monster they dealt with, simply followed along behind the rest.

"Shall we take a breather then?" Bernard suggested some time later, after they’d run into a dead end and managed to clear the room of its normal inhabitants. A dragon was guarding the narrow hallway leading into the room for them, and the group took stock of their options.

An argument had developed between Bernard, Vincent, and a few discontented adventurers who were questioning their relative lack of success. Maya couldn’t imagine what they were complaining about - she’d seen the gold and gems they’d been collecting from their foes.

Then she saw the tamer who had lost her mare to the daemon onslaught earlier, and better understood the group’s frustration. She wanted to walk up and say something, but then Ken shouted to her.

"Maya! Come look at this!" He was pointing at a giant horned skull sitting on the floor in the corner. Bernard had heard him as well, and, glad to have a distraction, hurriedly walked over saying, "Ah! ‘Tis a daemon skull! How rare!"

Everyone had turned to follow Bernard’s line of sight just in time to see Ken walk around the other side of the gigantic skull, and suddenly disappear.

"Ken!" Maya shouted.

Bernard broke into a run and looked over the side of the skull as the rest of them pressed around him, Maya and Harmony elbowing their way through the group. Where Ken had just been standing there was now a large hole - he had found a trap door the hard way.

"Young man!" Bernard called down the hole. They heard a groan in response, and without thinking Maya jumped down after him.

 

A few minutes later most of the group had assembled down the passageway Ken had found. The tamer from before had stayed upstairs with the dragon’s owner, to guard their back, and they’d just seen to Ken’s well being.

"Could someone?" Vincent began, peering down the tunnel in the dim light. Maya heard a few of the mages say In Lor almost in unison, and suddenly the way was lit in front of her. She spent a moment curiously trying to find the light source, but everyone started moving down the tunnel and she moved to keep alongside Harmony. There was a low rumbling sound off in the distance.

They found themselves in a twisting set of tight passages that occasionally fed into small rooms. Each room looked like it had been used by someone or other, but they hadn’t seen any sign of the dungeon’s inhabitants for quite a while.

Coming around a corner, they found themselves in a somewhat larger room, with a tall ceiling and widely spaced walls. What held their attention though was the large daemon crouched in the corner. Harmony had instinctually reached for her spellbook, Ken was silently withdrawing his blades. A few mages were already whispering incantations when the daemon’s eyes shot open, the rumbling noise cut off as it opened its maw.

 

"Get away!" it cried.

top

10 Chatting to Wisps, Released Daemon and Yrigors Help

After this latest release the guards once again went seeking more information. The first place they visited was was the Wisps in Ishena.

Yrigor - I know of that one he is considered small.

Smyll - You may speak your own tongue mortal.

Small - Many are greater than he.

Greater - Do you seek those that are greater than he?

Seek - I have much knowledge of them.

Knowledge - You wish knowledge again mortal.

Again The demon who was captured he speaks of his friend of youth.

Realising that a trade was needed the guards once again returned to dungon Hythloth to speak to the unshackled Demon.

Aileen - Now that’s my kind of girl.

Girl - I’ll keep that kind of talk among demons. This is no place for that story.

Story - You want me to tell you a story, do you?

Tell - Hmm. Since when did I become your source of entertainment?

Entertainment - Very well, what harm could it do. Many moons ago, when I was but a wee demon spawn.

Spawn - There were a few of us that played together.

Played - We would sneak around the human lands and hide in the peoples houses.

Houses - Sometimes we would steal things from them too.

Steal - I remember one named Sergutty loved taking peoples boots.

Boots - I’m not sure why. He just collected them for fun.

Fun - There was once a time Surgattthy killed a gaman and draped the dead carcass over him.

Carcass - He went around scaring the daylights out of people as a talking gaman.

Daylights - That’s the sort of thing demons do for fun, though the story seems to have bothered you.

Bothered - Maybe I’ll save the rest for another time.

Time - It goes on forever, yet seems so very short.

Forever - Do you think you could last through it all? I’m sure I will.

Yrigor - I am curious why you would ask about that one.

Curious - Some curious people wandered down here the other day.

People - I scared them quiet badly. I rather enjoyed it.

Scared - Perhaps I’m even more frightening as a ghost.

Frightening - I still get a thrill out of being evil you know.

Evil - I’ve had a chance to enjoy it with my knid down here.

Enjoy it - We have been talking about all the chaotic things happening in the world lately.

Chaotic - You know how us demons can be. Always bragging about things they know and do.

Bragging - I’ve heard a lot of it lately

Lately - You know, I don’t mind gazers, but those larva are sure annoying.

Larva - They reek of nightshade.

Unable to get any more information from the Demon, the guards returned to speak to the Wisp.

Surgutty - A common name amoung their kind.

Comman - Common things repeated. History repeats itself.

History - As stated, yet the recent happennings are of more interest.

Happenings - The preacher, what wears she?

Obi - The key to the future is closer than you think.

Key - That is all I will offer at this point.

The guards then travelled round to speak to everyone but it seemed they would find nothing new, that was until they chatted to Yrigor.

Yrigor/Good day - Thanks to a few adventures efforts, the situation here has relaxed some.

Relaxed - Aye, we should never let our guard down. That is when the enemy can do the most damage.

Adventures - Aye, the stuff of stories and future legends.

Legends - Well, future legends. We cannot all be legends.

Situation - I do feel we need to take further precautions. We cannot let our guard down.

Precautions - To aid Inu, I feel we should increase our vigilance.We must make sure she can share our vision.

Let our guard down - We must avoid that scenario, by proactive not reactive. It is imperative.

Avoid - All signs point to danger, something is brewing. We must be ready for it.

Proactive - I have a plan, but I will require your aid. We must act swiftly if we are to succeed.

Plan - I don’t have time to explain, but I think we can help Inu realise her vision, and lead us beyond.

Swiftly - Excellent. First, we will need the basics.

First/Basics - Seek out a flask of glass. One larger volume than ever day empty bottles.

The guards sort out a glass blower and had some glass flasks made to give to Yrigor.

Small Flask (offered) - This flask is too small.

Medium Flask (offered) - The flask needs to be larger.

A Large Flask (offered) - Good. This will serve well. Now we natural filter of sorts. A toxin extractor.

A natural filter - It will be unpleasant to obtain, but you should have little trouble.

Liver - Livers can be employed, through various means to filter toxins out of other substances.

Toxin - Aye, we want to remove te toxins from our ingredients.

A guard mentioned the shadow wisps often carried body organs. So many of the guards were sent out to retrieve a liver. From time to time someone returned with an organ and they were each offered to Yrigor.

Brain (offered) - I think you are better off keeping this.

Heart (offered) - You wish to give me your heart?

Entrails (offered) - That’s a tasty treat.

Liver (offered) - Hmm… A bit beaten, for lack of a better word. But I believe this will serve adequately.

Beaten - Aye, looks either partially digested, or a if the owner, was not prepared to donate.

Donate - Ahh, A good point. I have nothing to pay for all of this effort.

Serve adequately - You’ve done well, I should have said that. I don’t mean to be picky. A superb specimen.

Effort - If it’s a reward you seek, we best part ways here. I work for the benefit of Inu.

Benefit - Indeed, let us continue. I need another regent. One of mystical calibar.

Regent - Once we have them all, I can begin work. We will all play a part in this.

Mystical calibar - A golden skull, from the depths of doom. If Chyloth will not part with one, seek elsewhere.

The guards formed up and went to battle that bone demon to gain a gold skull. Once they had there prize the guards handed it to Yrigor.

Gold skull (offered) - Good. Good, this will suffice. The other components will be more readily available.

Readily available - Indeed savage berries, from the tribal lands are the next component.

Next component - Once we have them all, I can begin work. We will all play a part in this.

The guards collected a tribal berry from the savages in Ishena and handed it to Yrigor.

Tribal berry (offered) - Ugh, pungent things. I don’t know how some can wear these on there skins.

Pungent things - Well, fortunately the next ingredient is neither pungent or expensive.Just a simple gord.

A guard was sent off and swiftly returned with a gourd from a nearby farm.

Gourd (offered) - Good. This will be our vessel. Now we just need some heating equipment.

A guard was sent hurrying to the nearby alchemists and returned with a heater stand.

Heater stand (offered) - You’ve done well. Inu will appreciate this favour. We will all be rewarded lavishly.

Rewarded lavishly - When the vision is experienced at the auspicious time, all of us will be enlightened.

Auspicious time - I do not know the exact time or date, but it is soon. Soon our prophet foretells.

Yrigor then set straight to work with the items that the guards had collected for him.

top

11 Things Not Right In Britain Sewers

A message reached the guards that things were not right within the sewers in Britain. So some guards were sent to check it out and discovered some disturbing things. In the north a wall echoed as if a passage was concealed behind it. Whilst in the south a mystical barrier stopped access across a bridge. Further south they could hear elementals. If this was not bad enough in the east of the sewer you could see through a barrier a hord of orcs. As yet they had not broken through into the sewer but with Inu prediction of problems for Britain the guard are watching closely all that happening.

The guards were urgently called to Britain bank as things had taken a turn for the worse. A loyal guard who had been protecting Inu had been murdered and Inu had gone. Checking round they found Inus Obi next to the dead guard and 3 people standing by explained how everything happened so quick and were not able to give any more information. Yrigor was also missing, this was very disturbing news indeed. Inus rune beetle was very ill and had obviously been poisoned but that’s to the expertise of the vets he was slowly recovering. With great relief it was noticed that Kurai was trying to communicate by flashing runes on his back. The scholars were called to investigate what Kurai was saying, whilst many guards scoured the lands looking for any clue to Inus whereabouts.

Thanks to the skill of the scholars it was discovered what Kuria was trying to say. He had followed the kidnappers past the Old Britain Library then up north past the flow of the stream to Britain sewers, or as Kuria called it fragrant waters. The guards had the location to go to but they now needed a way into where ever Inu was taken. Soon the answer came, Kuria had said "the filer of many windows took our feeder with an utterance". So could they have said some kind of password, used within the sewers.

The only thing Kurai said that made no sence was "Charvory", could this be what the guards needed to rescue Inu? So rushing to Britain and Trinsic a call was put out for people to gather quickly, as many would be needed to hurry to Inu's rescue.

Once ready the guards were whisked away to the dungeon entarence and were told the password "charvory" to enter under the sign in the northern wall. They came out on a step with acid swamp laid out ahead of them. To make things worse there was invisable boulders under the acid surface causing the guards to dodge there way past, whilst desperatly trying to reach the other side in time. Leaving the acid behind they healed up and then decended down another ladder. This took them down into a room with more invisable boulders and acid elementals. But much to everyones relief the sludge beneth there feet did not harm them. Fighting there way through the elementals they ascended yat another ladder. This time they came out into a room full of Oecs and narrow walk ways.Constantly falling off the walk ways the guards fought there way to a narrow bridge and past across it, getting closer to there goal. Descending many steps on the other side they followed the path to yet another ladder, looking back the bridge fell with a crash. But undettered at there divided force they hurryed down the ladder. Here the guards were set upon by quagmires and crystal elementals, but sadly they did not see Inu. The only possible clue was that of a moongate remains. With this information the guards sought a way out and discovered a boulder in the corner. Passing behind the boulder they were taken to an area with some kind of barrier preventing the hordes from attacking them. They went through a gate in the sewer which lead them back up to the upper level of the sewer and onto Britain.

top

 

11 Moongates (BNN)

A new BNN artical was released called Moongates.

Moongates: Divine, Magical or Merely a Machine?
Selsius the Astronomer Jun 16 2006 6:41PM

(Excerpt from the Britannian Journal of the Starry Sciences)

...Moongates, despite their beauty and mysterious qualities, are explainable through science. One need not rely on magicians and monks and others who place faith in, well, merely faith.

If you study moongates closely, you’ll find they behave in a predictable fashion, follow specific laws of nature, have no special resistance to scientific experimentation, and can be manipulated as desired by one with the proper knowledge.

Moongates, like any everything else in nature, can even be broken, which is perhaps the perfect evidence that they are not the product of the divine. If you ask a certain monk, who happens to be a close friend of mine, what his opinion of Moongates are, he’ll tell you they are a gift from above, created by powers mankind cannot comprehend.

I say if I have the power to break a moongate, and to fix a moongate, and to tell it what to do, and where to send people, then either I am a power mankind cannot comprehend or Moongates are just another fancy kind of machine...

After reading the new BNN artical the Guards started to search the lands for more information.

Name - I am Selcius, Royal Astronomer and...
And - Oh. And you are?
Job - I am the kingdom's Royal Astronomer, of course. Why else would I be standing next to a telescope...
Telescope - The celestial harmony even tempered with the inverse square law, still bodes for universal peace.
Peace - Sulfuric hydragyrum... sanguine humor... stochastic harmony... curious.
Mercury - celestial orbs... cinnabar accultation ... causation origin... hmmm.
Moongate - Moongates? I can elucidate upon their mechanisms...if you so desire...
Mechanisms - Mechanisms are a means to an end...sometimes, we do not know what begins with action..but only see it happening.
End - I have a rather bad feeling about that sort of thing... hmmm.
Action - You can find the gateways in many places...Once they were governed solely by the two moons
Two Moons - Do not be fooled! You may cover them with your thumbnail, but they are larger then you can imagine!
Larger - Yes, it is their size that has some effect upon our world. The tides...and the ether...
Ether - I cannot tell you more plainly then that-magic is not something of my domain
Domain - Perhaps.. if you seek knowledge of magic and moongates, you should speak with someone more interested in those things.
Magic - distastefull...really
Someone more interested  - I know an alchemist who has a keen interest in them... he uses them often at least to escape his, oh. Or perhaps a friendly monk?
Alchemist: - Fahrin is his name... I believe he wanders about Vesper. Tell him I sent you, and perhaps he will be cooperative... hmmm.
Monk - Ah yes, Heysbert. A good man. Pity he didn’t follow along the higher courses of knowledge...Look where he could be now!
Heysbert - I'm Sure the Empath Abbey treats him well... *nods*
Heavens - Wonderful! Hold there, let me peer into the telescope and tell you what I see.
What do you see - Hmm... yes... yes! Compassion is in the third... cusp, yes, of Spirituality!
Spirituality - The planets are named after the virtues, you see.
Compassion - The planets are named after the virtues, you see.
Third cusp - *nods eagerly* By my reckoning... oh, oh my! And look there! Justice is juxtaposed with Valor!
Justice - The planets are named after the virtues, you see.
Valor - The planets are named after the virtues, you see.
Stars - A mechanical fluxion... a mercurial firmament... a mortal crucible... yes.

Some Guards went to speak to Fahrin in Vepser whilst others Guards went to talk to Heysbert in Empath Abby in Yew.

Name - Fahrin's the name, alchemy's my game!
Job - Are you looking for something... in particular?
Particular - *looks around slyly* The... "particular" things cost a little more.
Selcius - Ah, the geezer! *eyes narrow* He didn't send you out to collect a debt, now did he?
Yes - Back off! I have an explosion potion and I know how to use it!
No - Ah! Didn't think I owed him anything. Good. Then... he sent you for... what? Research?
Research - Well, if its moongates, I use a lot in my travels, that's for sure.
Debt - Bah! They're always after me! Good thing for the moongates or I'd never be able to get away.
Moongates -  ye, useful things, those.
Get away - *nods* I use them extensively in my travels.
Travels - I don't know much about the mechanisms, I just know how to use 'em.
How to use - For escaping of course! I'm in a dangerous line of work!
Dangerous - Don't believe me, eh? Think alchemy's all pestles and mortars, do ya?
Pestles and mortars - Well it's not! I sell my wares discreetly, but sometimes things get ugly, and when things get ugly, Fahrin get's gone.
Get's gone - Take for instance, a time I was run out of Trinsic for passing on that deadly poison, with my parner Vindlebunt.
Trinsic - *nods* Bah, the drunken oaf. Probably still there.
Vindlebunt - Nice guy - not too bright. Had to leave him behind that time... pity. *shrugs*
Leave him behind - Where was that? Ah, Trinsic, I said that. A shame, after all he's seen some strange moongates in his time. Had a knack for 'em.

With this information the Guards travelled onto Trinsic to find Vindelbunt.

Hi/Hey - Huh?
Price - You figger out mar price and I'll do whar I can ter help yall.
Vindlebunt - Gar thar be I, hic! Whossended ya?
Whossended - Aye by gar, what's yer bidness!
(give him a bottle of ale, a pitcher of ale, or a jug of cider) - By gar, this drink just got yers the best advice yers alls can get
Best adivce - Thar be hunnerd percent truth. Narbody knows like I do. Narbody.
Narbody - Narbody I says! You sayin differ'n?
Found - Hmmm.Thar be a problem. Findin a finished moongate. Lucky fer y'all yer looking at an expert.
Finished moongate - Yar I herd ya the firs time. Remains ya say? Anythin else? Describe it to me.
Describe - Yar. Thins yart ter be knowin bout gates n'maps. They gart thar own setta rules yeh see?
Rules - This here be a differ'n gate thar usual, but it'll still foller most o thar rules.
Foller - Yar. The easiern rules are thins like no water, no mountarns, no sky. Nice evernly ground.
Evernly ground - Yar. Nice ern flat. Look fer flat placers. Rule out placers thatn arn flat. Unnerstood?
Unnerstood - Gar. My guess werd be yer moongate went ter some othr land. Someplace thar don take gatin.
Don take gatin - Don yers quesshen me! I done near scoured ther land from Mistas to Montor in me days.
Mistas - Tarrabal place. Nar good atall.
Montor - Tarrabal place. Nar good neither.
Othr land - Come ter think of it. I got me a rend from the oldern days yers could all talk ter.
Oldern days - A lil thin. Ar pixie. Livers ins a big tree of em. Teller I's sent yers all.
Maps - I can read em in my sleep. Nar a pattern thar escapes me when it comes ter maps. Nossir.
Pattern - All maps got patterns. All patterns gots maps. Mebbes they ain drawn yet, but it's thar.
Drawn - Think of har you'd drawn yourself a picture of yer lady er man friend? Wherein you'd start ferm?
Picture - Yar a picture, paint'n, wharever.
Fahrin - I hadn't heard thar name in a forever'n more. Says he sended ya does ye?
He sent us - By gar what fer! I got nartin to says to him. Not anymer.
Anymer - Ponce used ter back my opperashuns, but then he upped and abandurned me couple yers back.
Opperashuns - I'm a treasure hunner by gar. Don yer fergets it none neither. Best thar ever be.
Treasure hunner - Yar, a noble professhun. I could foller a map better tharn most folks cer speak.
Noble - Dern right. Whya savagern me with aller these quesshuns anyher?
Abandurned - Pulled me funding right out frem unner me. Left me broke and dessurtute.
Funding - I ain lookin fer nar handouts. 'Sides I'm good and retired bout pyah.
Pyah Thars right pyah, same as me. Cept I'm drinkin yer hasslin.

The Guards then travelled to Ishena to seek the Pixie in the tree near Blood Dungeon.

 

Pixie - Yes indeed!! That's what I most wonderfully am!
Hi / Hello / Hail - tehehe well hello there.
Tehehe - Oh you're funny!! I like you!
Funny - Tell me a story! Oooooorrr how about we play!
Play - hehe We can play hide and seek! You go hide!
Hide - Oh! Were you hiding? I had forgotten. There was a cute bird that just flew by!
Bird - They fly too! Oh I love being able to fly!
Fly - It's a shame you can't. It sure is fun!
Fun - hehe I always have fun!
Passing through - I think right now he's trying not to move. Now I'm quite sure. hehe.
Vindlebunt - Oh he's weird!
Weird - Very! You know he was looking for pretty glowie things though!!
Glowie things - You know like pixie sparkles and pretty gold, and magical things
Pixie sparkles - Yes indeed!! That's what I most wonderfully am!
Magical things - Hmm...like spells and pretty gates!
Pretty gates - Oh they glow!
They glow - Oh how I love things that glow! Pretty reds and blues.
Love things - Theres lots of things that glow, some creatures even glow!
Creatures - Oh! Runebeetles, I know they can glow too!!
Glow too - Personally I shimmer! Isn't it pretty!?
Shimmer - tehehe you noticed!
Red - Oh oh! Look but don't touch, they can be quite scary on the other side.
Blue - They are so pretty! Only the shrines keep them here though.
Pretty - *blushes*
Shrines - People can only leave from this land, the can't come in. Except from the shrines.
Leave - Aww but you're so much fun! Stay longer! hehe
Stay - We can have tea and honey!
Honey - Oh I just love honey!
(Give her honey) - Ooooo!! How wonderfully sweet of you!!
Wonderfully sweet - You know I wish more people who passed by here were as nice
Passed by - Most ride by on ponies. Some fly by, but they talk down to us. Pretty feathers though!
Were as nice - Well, I was trying to ask this one man how he made a glowie blue into here

The group of Guards returned to the Guards Rest . Meanwhile the other group of Guards arrived at Empath Abby in Yew.

Heysbert - Hello. Good day to you.
Selcius - Ahh an old acquintance. I haven't heard that name in years. Sent you to me did he?
Sent - We've traded knowledge several times over the years, but our positions are opposed.
Opposed - I do not believe that Moongates relate to the heavens at all. They are simply windows.
Moongate(s) - Ahh facinating, but dangerous creations. Do you know something of them?
Heavens - The sun, stars, planets, and moons above.
Windows - Brutal portals if you will. They are rifts torn though the Astral plane.
Brutal - A strong word I know, but that's what Moongates really are. Consider a sword...
Sword - The tip of a sword, is stabbed forcefully through an enemy.
Forcefully - A moongate essentially does the same to the Astral plane, only we cannot see the blood.
Astral - My favorite subject. The Astral plane encompasses, parallels and surrounds everything.
Blood - Merely a metaphor, do not fret.
Metaphor - I do believe we cause the Astral plane great harm, each and everytime a moongate appears.
Harm - While the damage is not readily apparent, it is there. We ignore it, because we cannot see it.
Ignore - Think of the known lands. Now which of those contain verdant life?
Verdant - Now which of those lands suffers least from moongates?
Ilshenar - Yes exactly,. You see my point. Though.. I must ask.. What is your purpose here?
Purpose - Hmm.. Grave Tidings. I think I was better off remaining ignorant of these happenings.
Ignorant - So you say, you have found remains of a moongate. Usually they leave no trace.
Trace - Strange that this one would not completely disolve. They are not corporeal.
Corporeal - Something additional must have been used to create this particular Astral knife.
Additional - I am afraid I will be of little help. I do have some positive information though.
Positive - If this moongate left a residue, then it is possible to track it's destination.
Track - Probably not precisely, but you should be able to narrow down possible locations.
Narrow down - Use process of elimination on the date to collect, to determine your search locations.
Possible locations - My hypothesis is that the moongate was summoned differently, as to reach an abnormal locale.
Abnormal - Most likely this would be a location that a moongate cannot normally tear asunder.
Asunder - I think we should look at this problem from an unusual point of view
Unusual point of view - A former colleague of mine, if he is still about, and has not dissipated, he may have insight.
Insight - He sees things differently given his condition, perhaps that will help you find what you seek
Ghost - Completely harmless I assure you. Search around for him, tell him Heysbert sent you.
Empath Abbey - I've spent my whole life here in study and quite reflection. 

 

Going back to the Guards rest, all the information gathered was descussed and search parties were sent out looking for a ghost. It was not long before they found what they seeked at the Britain Moongate.

 

Pixie - Oh, wow, yeah. I talked to this little pixie while I was trying to find a shrine in Ilshenar.
Honey - Umm, why do you mention that? Who have you been talking to?
Name - OoOoo OOoOo OOooooooOO OOo oOOOO
Job - OooOOOooOOO
Hi - Oo
oo / ooooo - You're fake! I know you!!
Know me - You're just like them, always out to get me.
Get - Guards!!
Fake - You're not even dead. Nice try bucko. I'm not falling for that one.
Inu - Oh god, not you too..GUARDS!
you too - People keep asking about her. Guards!!
Guards - what the heck are we paying them for, I call but they never come
Paying - maybe they're in on it too, corrupt guards! Oh god!
Never come - Do you even know how long I've been standing here as a ghost? Gesh.
Ghost - Gee how observant of you.
Heysbert - Oh did he sent you here? I think I last saw him at a shrine.
Shrine - I was going through all sorts of moongates
Moongates - Yeah but im freaked out by them now, GUARDS
Freaked Out - Did you know that you know they talk? I'm not even kidding
Not Even Kidding - I've hung around here enough to know, I see all the people that pass by
Pass by - This wasn't one of them, the gate was actually talking. GUARDS!!
Actually talking - I thought I knew everything there was to know about moongates with all the time I've spent here.
One of them - Yeah he, the moongate, was yelling at some guy for doing the impossible.
impossible/some guy - Guards! I heard him, he was yelling this guy gated into some room with a throne
Throne - Who knows I don't even really care. He was rambling on about Inu all last night too. Guards!
Dont care - Just go talk to him yourself gesh. Guards! Last I heard him he was in Luna.
Luna - He changes, so if he's not there, he may be at another.
rambling on - I donno, lots of people seem to be looking for her lately. Is she gone or something?
Looking for her - Maybe you should ask that crazy gate then, tell him you're looking for the crone.
Dead- Don't even bother resing me, they'll get me again.
Res - Stop it. Are you snooping me? Guards!!!!
Snooping - Thief!! Rogue!!! GUARDS!!
Thief - Ack!! Where? Guards!!!


With this new information the Guards hurryed to Luna Moongate.

 

Name - Barry. Barry... the Moongate.
Job - I live only to serve thine transportation needs, master.
Master - Bah.
Transportation - You know, moving people, pack animals, big stinking dragons and whatever else you might want to move to somewhere else, far, far away.
Dragons - They do smell, but at least they tip.
Inu - Eee-knew? What's that? Is that a name?
Looking for the crone - Looking for someone special, are we?
Someone special - Well, not to me, but no doubt to you, since you're here talking to a shimmering moongate.
Shimmering - How I long to see the world again.
I long to see that world again - Very much so. Yet, there is hope. Horus is working on a fix for this... problem... that I have.
Horus - He's a splendid chap. If you want to talk to him, he's a bit hard to find, and unfortunately I can't quite tell you where he is.
Find - I'm afraid you'll have to do that on your own, seeing as how I'm stuck here. Well, maybe "heres" is a better word or it. If it was a word, that is.
Heres - Are you making fun of my grammar?
Grammar - A lost art, to be sure. Ok, now you're just annoying me. Go find Horus, tell him Barry sent you, and leave me be.
Find Horus - I don't know where he is, but he does talk about building a rancch when he retires. Maybe look for a ranch?
Ranch - Something about a hidden vale... or was it a lost vale? What would I know? I'm always listening to a dozen conversations at once.
Lost vale - Lost Vale, Holy Grail, How you wish you could find the trail!
Dozen conversations - All at once.
All at once - You have no idea what it's like.
Incident - Ah, I see you managed to find Horus. So, as you know I can see out every open moongate at the same time, all the time.
Open Moongate - I can hear what is being said outside of them too, but this is the only one that I can talk out of.
Outside - Tis a bit shimmery and sounds a bit like I am underwater. Quite annoying actually. Shall we continue or do you just want to ask silly questions
Continue - So, there I was, watching yet another duel between the newbs out of Yew Gate in Felucca when I felt this strange tingling sensation
Newbs - They're all green as a green bean, and none of them stray too far from the moongate.
Strange tingling sensation - Not like the normal ones I feel whenever someone squeezes 5 packhorses through a public moongate all at once. No this was quite different
Quite different - It began to hurt! It hurt a lot..... it was if I had been flayed and thrown into the sea.
Thrown into the sea - The worst part was it happened more than once
More than once - Several times actually but I wasn't exactly counting. I saw things too but I really wanted to stop.
Saw things - I can tell you that the were violent, and one was not there voluntarily.
Not voluntarily - Kidnapped, if you ask me. From what Horus tells e, the forced moongates involved Ilshenar, which of course shouldn't have moongates.
Forced moongates - Whatever or whoever it was that did this was not natural.
Not natural - That's why it hurt so much, those moongates are not meant to be. Powerful dark magic was harnessed, though I do not understand much about it.
Dark magic - I know it was dark because the one who used it was... unnatural. Just as the final gate began to collapse, I did hear something quite clearly.
Hear something quite clearly - Yes, but I don't know what it means. Horus doesn't either, but he doesn't think it'll help get me out of here.
Help get me out of here - No, it won't help. Whoever was forcing these moongates open said, "Znfgre bcra gul qbbe." Only faster.
Yrigor - Hmm... sounds familiar.
Familiar - Not familiar enough to remember more.
Soon - Horus's "soon" is as accurate as a one gold piece fortune foretold in the alley behind the bank.
All follow me - Sir? Ma'am? Whatever you are? Allow me to let you in on a little secret... your pet has a name. Show some respect.
Guards - OH NO! Someone stole 3 of my precious bandages! Big strong guards, please come protect me from the naked man who ran off with them!

The Guards decided it was time to search for Horus and it did take them a long time to find him, as he was in the hidden vale west of Trinsic.

 

Name - Horus.

Inu - The Crone? You know her? She may seem a bit off, but she sees things that others can't.

Job - I study the arcane arts.

Arcane arts - Yes, you know, magic and such. I'm quite busy with this, can you come back later?

Barry sent me - Barry? I'm very close to freeing him from that moongate.

Freeing - Yes, he's stuck inside.

Stuck - Quite.

Stuck inside - Barry is stuck inside the moongate. You didn't actually think he was a talking moongate, did you? You did, didn't you? *laughs at you*

Laughs - Oh, please forgive me, it's just that you must be a virtue short of a full codex if you believe in talking moongates.

Codex - I don't mean to be insulting, I apologize. Say, how did you get in here, anyhow?

Cave - The cave? I'm so used to recalling in and out, I had forgotten about it. I suppose I'll have to block that off when I get around to my plan.

Block - Just a matter of using telekinesis in a few spots.

Plan - Just look at this place. A few spells and those trees will be gone, and I can gate in some cows and horses, and have a proper ranch.

Ranch - I grew up on one, and a ranch is where I want to spend my waning years.

Waning Years - Isn't it perfect? I have the mage retreat close by, land for grazing. Life in this hidden valley, on my ranch, would be quite delicious indeed.

Recalling in and out - Yes, so much easier than casting gate. If you want to hop around quickly, it's really the only spell to use.

Hop around quickly - If you rush through too many gates in too short of a time... well, you might end up like Barry.

Too many gates - He went much too fast, but this is the first time I've seen someone actually get stuck in a moongate. Usually they just vaporize.

Vaporize - Poof! Makes it a bit harder to recover your belongings after you're resurrected.

End up like Barry - You better hope you don't, because I'm about at wits end. If it wasn't for the incident, I wouldn't know what do do next.

Incident - I'm not quite sure what happened, but I'm hopeful I can use the remains to discover how one can create a gate to Ilshenar.

Ilshenar - Crazy isn't it? A gate to Ilshenar...

create a gate to Ilshenar - If I can master that, perhaps I can open a new gate that will free Barry.

Free Barry - Well, we'll see, won't we? If you're going to ask Barry about the incident, tell him I'll be along to see him soon.

 

With all this information to hand the scholars got to work on cracking what "znfgre bcra gul qbbe" ment. After alot of notes being crnched, they finally smiled and stated that they had it. In unisome they proclaimed "master open thy door".  Knowing that this must be spoken faster it was decided that "Masteropenthydoor" must be a password.

The leads they had made everyone think of Reg Volum in Ishena and a party was quickly formed to investigate it. Once there a thorough search was made with great results. By standing on the tip of a sword marked on the floor tiles, in the crypy below Reg Volum the Guards were instantly taken to a small crypt room with a door leading off North. Sadly though no one had the skill to open such a door and a search was now under way for a legendary lockpicker in order to continue further.

 

top

12 A Legendary Thief

New runes were discovered and a sholars translated them to read "nonbelieving and ensnared grace". They soon had worked out an anogram from it to say "Crone reveals a begining and an end".

A new BNN srtical was also released advertising to teach someone legendary lockpicking skills.

Legendary Thief Offers Get Rich Quick Scheme

Ricardo Jun 23 2006 6:27PM

(From a flier posted at The Pirate’s Plunder, a tavern in Buccaneer’s Den, Felucca, posted two weeks ago)

Easy money? Learn the hard way, with Ricardo, legendary thief.

As I gaze upon my storehouse of gold, jewels and valuables, I sometimes think to myself: "Ricardo, you are getting too old to be climbing towers, sneaking into windows and running from angry husbands who think I wanted more from their wives than jewelry."

I think the time has come to pass along my knowledge to one of the younger cutpurses, the ones who hang around the alleys of Britannia with hungry eyes and sticky fingers. Show up here tomorrow at twilight, and I’ll pick a worthy successor to the throne of the King of Thieves. Make sure the law isn’t already on your tail. Those with a look of innocence and a charming smile will get extra consideration.

There isn't a door, chest or armoire in the world I can't unlock. If you want to learn my secrets, be here and be ready to work.

Tcould be the break the Guards needed and they traveled to the Pirates Punder tavern in Buc's Den Felucca. There they found Oliver in a back room.

 

Hello/Hi - Hello Sir.
Thief - None of those types around here sir. No sir. None.
Ricardo - Ahh! I know of him! Masterful. Simply masterful. Brilliant man.
Brilliant man - Has no peers sir. Simply has no peers at all.
Masterful - You asking where you might find him?
Man - Has no peer sir. Simply has no peer at all.
Oliver - Hello sir, you looking for someone?
Where is Ricardo? - I do know a bit that could help, but sadly 'm just too hungry to remember.
Hungry - I'm sorry sir. Just too hungry to think straight is all. Maybe a vegetable bowl will help?
(Give any Bowl of vegetables) - Ahh much appreciate sir. Some pie for dessert would go down nicely. *winks*
(Give Baked Pie) - Got milk?
(Give Pitcher of Milk) - *drinks* That was mighty kind of you sir. Thank you very much.
Kind - Well, now I'll do my part. You seek Tim. He can help. Lives in Nujel'm.

The Guards set off to Nujel'm to find Tim. A shart search of the town and Tim's location was soon discovered as he resided in a house on the Northern tip of Town.

Hi/Hello : *coughs* Hello. Tim : Oh hello. I do feel a bit under the weather. Is this important?
Important : Well, I am afraid I am too out of it to be of any assistance. Sorry.
Oliver : Oliver told you that? Well I would be glad to listen then!
Listen : That sounds adventurous. I wish I could adventure.
Adventure : My leg is no good, my eyes less so. Maybe you could help remedy that?
Remedy : You will! Superb! Some bandages would be excellent to start with.
(give bandages) : Ahh, dressing is all changed. Now if only I could stand up. Might you have a crook?
(give crook) : Ahh! This will do nicely. I shall rest a bit more before standing.
Standing : Now now, don't rush. This will take time. What business do you have with Ricardo?
Business : You helped me, I'll help you. You should seek out Nicholas.
Nicholas: Nicholas will know more of what you want. He lives in Jhelom, by the theator.

With this latest information the Guards travelled to Jholom and found the flamboyant Nicholas in a house behind the theater.

Hi/Hello : Hmm?
Nicholas : Yes, that is me. Who sent you?
Tim : Wretched li... I mean poor little sot. Well why did he send you?
Oliver : This bores me.
Ricardo : Ahh, famous Ricardo. No one ever comes just to talk to me.
Talk to you/Thief : Well, you've already ruined it. You'll have you cheer me up now.
Cheer : I would think some ravishing boots would look very cheery.
Ravishing : Oh yes definately. They are spectacular. Find me some.
(give fur boots) : Hmmm... How do you think they look? Brings out my eyes I think.
Eyes : Blue as sapphires I say. A star sapphire would really do wonders.
(give Star Sapphire) : Oh this is fabalous! Now what should you buy me to wear with it?
Wear : A Kimono! Yes that is what I want. You can bribe me with a kimono!
(Give Kimono) : Well you've been a sport. Ebenezer of Minoc will know what you want.
Ebenezer : Sorry old lump. But he knows the comings and goings of everyone.
Comings and goings : Now be a goings!

Realising they would get no more information here the Guards travelled to Minoc. After a brief search they found Ebenezer the Mayor in Commander Jurrels Office.

Hi/Hello : WHAT?
Tim/Oliver : WHO!
Yelling : WHO'S YELLING?
Ebenezer : AYE! WHAT'S YOUR PURPOSE HERE?
Nicholas : THAT SLACKABOUT! WHAT FOR HE SENT YA? WHAT'S YOUR PURPOSE!
Legendary/Lockpick/Ricardo : THAT INFORMATION HAS A PRICE YOUNGLINGS!
Purpose : WELL ISN'T THAT GOOD FORTUNE FOR ME! MATCH MY PRICE AND WE'LL TALK!
Price : EVERYONE HAS A PRICE! I GOT MINE! YOU SERIOUS ABOUT THIS?
Serious: GOOD CAUSE I DON'T LIKE WASTING MY TIME FOR NOTHING!
Wasting time : PILE OF GOLD INGOTS! NO I AM NOT JOKING!
Joking : I JUST TOLD YOU I AM NOT JOKING AND I DON'T LIKE WASTING TIME!
Gold : AHH IS THERE ANYTHING MORE BEAUTIFUL?
Gold ingots : I JUST TOLD YOU I AM NOT JOKING AND I DON'T LIKE WASTING TIME!
(give gold ingots) : GOOD NOW I KNOW YOU CAME TO PLAY! LET'S GET DOWN TO BARGAINING!
Bargaining : THE DEAL IS YOU BRING ME A DELICIOUS ROASTED BOAR!
Boar : THOSE ARE MY TERMS!
Roast boar - THAT’S THE DEAL IF YOU WANT MY HELP.
(give roast pig) : Excellent. I would be glad to help my gracious benefactor.
Benefactor : Your generosity has humbled this old man. Come close, I will whisper a name.
Whisper : Fagen. Fagen at the Pirate's Plunder. Speak "nightwatch" to him.
Nightwatch : He will know you are spoken for when you utter that phrase.

Very much disturbed at how corrupt the Mayor of Minoc was they had to leave him behind and travel to the Pirates Punder in Felucca once more. There in another room they came across a very shifty looking charecter.

Nightwatch : Shh, not so loud. What concerns you initiate? Ricardo : Ricardo you say.
Concerns - Ricardo you say, interesting. Well, I know his whereabouts
Intersting. Well, I know his whereabouts.
Whereabouts : You'll have to do a favor for us, then we'll do a favor for you.
Favor : To show us your commitment, we have a steep fee. Are you committed?
Committed : Good. Bring me one million gold pieces. I will accept a bank note.
(give any valued check) : You are committed it seems. Now you must help the brotherhood of thieves.
Brotherhood of Thieves : They require a mythical scroll of stealing. Do this, and Ricardo's service is yours.
Mythical : This is no joke. I know it is steep, but so is the favor you ask.
(give any powerscroll) : Well done. I shall make this brief. Tell me when you are settled.
Settled : Ricardo has not returned from his last job. But I know where he traveled.
Travelled : Deep into the Terathan Keep. He was determined to find their hoard.
Hoard : If wealth were a lantern, Ricardo would be a moth.
Terathan Keep : You will find him there, or be able to find where he's gone since. Good luck.

The Guards had no choice but to form up and fight there way into the depths of Terathern Keep. But undetered they fought bravely to the bottom searching hard to find Ricardo. Sadly Ricardo was nowhere to be found, then whilst in the Belrons chamber on the very bottom floor of the Keep,a Guard noticed that the sole light in the Northern wall flickered strangly, as if blown by a draft. He pointed this out to everyone, then going over they tried twisting and pulling it, then suddenly he vanished. The Guards rushed over to copy what he did and they soon found themselves in a passage with 6 prison cell doors leading off it. They also discovered that they were not allown, as Terathens constantly formed up to attack. Whilst continuing to fight they searched each cell one by one finding nothing important, till they entered the very last cell. In there standing on a pole was a straw dummy wearing a hat. The Guards were taken back when it started to talk.

- I feel awful, it is probably contagious.

-You should stay out of here.

-Nothing to see in here.

You sure got me.

-No need to come in here. I am not hungry today.

Then a Guard pointed out a hastily writen scroll on the floor beside the Dummy which said :

"Thanks For The Diversion! I Will Return The Favour Soon - Ricardo".

Feeling a bit despondant that after all there hard work they were still no closer to opening the door within Etheral Keep, they returned to the Guards Rest to ready themselves for when next called.

top

13 The Ophidians Attack

 It was not long before a new rune message was found which translated to read "One seventh grieve". Whilst the scholars pondered over these new words a new BNN artical was delivered to te Guards Rest, entitled "Ophidian Attack".

Ophidians Attack!

Saax Pannae Jul 7 2006 7:41PM

Sneaking around and slinking up behind unsuspecting victims, Ophidians have invaded several areas of Britannia and seem to be attacking citizens at random. No pattern has yet been established for who they are attacking or why. According to eye witness reports, the Ophidians seem to be searching for someone in particular, but refuse to say who. Knowledge on why these overgrown snakes are roaming around on the outskirts of our fair towns and villages is scarce, though there may be a connection to the recent rash of missing persons reports originating from the cutpurse community.

Even the well fortified source of most of Britannia’s fighting population isn’t immune from these forays. Serpent’s Hold has reported Ophidians roughing up sketchy looking characters outside of the castle gates, though the snakes have yet to make any attempt to attack the Hold itself. Ophidian behavior is exceedingly difficult to predict, but there is hope that these minor incursions are not an omen of something much worse to come.

Notoriously reclusive, Ophidians are not known for traveling much farther than the mountain pass that leads to their home. Almost all contact with the Ophidians in recent years has been met with violence, as if they are protecting something of great value.

Papua, being the closest human settlement to Ophidian territory, has for years been wary of having the ferocious looking snakes only a short horseback ride away. Lost Lands experts who are native to Papua believe that the Ophidians are not likely to be a major threat unless first provoked, however this recent activity calls that assumption into question. An Ophidian invasion does not yet seem imminent, though the pickpockets of Britannia may not necessarily agree with that assessment.

In any case, BNN will be sure to stay on top of this developing story. Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow, or even a bunch of overgrown marauding snakes shall keep us from delivering the latest news directly to you.

After reading this some Guards set out in search of these Ophidaian attacks, and in deed found invading Ophidians outside 4 Towns. Namley

NW Serpents Hold.

NW Papua.

E Skara Brae.

Vesper Gravyard.

The Guards after alot of fighting managed to escourt as many as they could in those areas to safty. After returning to these sites which are still guarded by Ophidians it has been discovered that 4 members of the Underground (thieves guild) had been murdered. On further investigation the dead had one thing in common, all there names started with R.

The Guards fought many times trying to remove the Ophidians but were unable to totally rout them. After many such battles 3 of the thieves bodies were removed and replaced by notes saying "Give Over Us Rhe Artificed Scion". So a decision was made to investigate the Ophidian Stronghold in the sands of the Lost Lands. After great fighting aided by many that Commander Jurrel had called in to help the Guards finally reached the ruined house. Investigating it no one could see anything special, then a shout came to quickly look outside. Beside the ruined house 4 tents had been erected, with 2 of them containing forgers and anvils, it was obviouse they were preparing for war. With this information at hand the Guards fought there way out and back to safty.

A new BNN artical was released called "Alone".

Alone
Draconi Jul 28 2006 8:08PM

Liane shivered.

Tucking her knees in closer to her chest, she desperately tried to make herself smaller in the crawlspace beneath the building she’d been hiding under. Hours had passed - but every time she tried to adjust her position, needles of pain shot through her cramped limbs. She was tucked behind a few barrels in the dark cellar, desperate to avoid the slaughter above, unable to escape into the jungles.

Papua wasn’t without its share of struggles in the harsh Lost Lands. The nearby Terathan Keep had been the center of conflict between that strange spider-like race and the Ophidians for as long as she could remember. Adventurers from the kingdom proper, Britannia, often ventured through Papua to stock up on rations and avail themselves of the healers before they set off to the distant fortress.

The recent attacks on the city hadn’t been anything new. The magical defenses provided by the Britannian mages so long ago, when they’d first established contact, had sheltered the city against the hostilities since before she’d been born. Always then, there were the guards, able to appear almost instantly at the sign of any trouble. The large, snake-like apparitions had always slithered home after pushing the boundaries a bit. Lately, a few self-styled heroes had arrived to deal with the "Ophidian menace," taking up lodging at her father’s inn.

They were screaming. She’d woken up to it. The cacophony of cries and screeches, the voices calling out for the missing, the weapons biting into earth, into wood, into flesh.

There’d been no time. They’d gotten into the street before her father was brutally slain in front of her. The monster’s face had been frenzied, its bardiche slowly rose up above her... then the whole serpent was lifted off the ground as a wave of energy smashed into its side.

I never said ‘Thank You.’ But she couldn’t have. The mage had barely gotten off another spell before he was swarmed from behind by three of them. She was running then, east, towards the sea, trying to break for the jungle beyond the weapon shop. She’d turned the corner of the Revenge Shoppe, when she froze, all hope lost, as shapes began emerging from the trees beyond the edge of the city.

A moment of panic had found Liane in the weapon shop. The display cases were already smashed apart, glass littering the floor and laying atop the few weapons left. Recovered from the city of Britain, during the Despise offensive. She didn’t read the tag, she just grabbed the hatchet and dashed back outside, across the street and into the shipwright’s. All she could think of was that cellar she’d been down into so many times before.

The screams and sounds of battle had been growing softer as the day progressed. Yet no welcoming human voice beckoned her out of that damp place. All she heard were the hisses of their strange speech, mixed with the sound of heavy bodies sliding across the earth. The best she’d managed was to pull herself farther behind some water barrels when the cries of battle seemed more distant.

Where are the guards? She clutched the hatchet harder to herself, wringing her hands around the rough wooden handle. Where are the kingdom’s soldiers? A splinter shot into her palm, but the pain barely registered on her numb hands. Thoughts tore madly through her mind. They promised...

The dying sunlight was cut off without warning, pitching her into the dark. Blood pounded in her ears, every sound outside evaporating - all she could hear was a slow creaking as something slid forward across the flooring above. She struggled further into a gap between the barrels, trying to keep every inch of herself hidden. A moment passed.

The light returned in slants as the Ophidian backed slowly away from the cellar’s entrance, slowly turning its body, satisfied that nothing lay below and not caring to negotiate the human stairs.

She couldn’t stop it. The horrible hours spent cramped up finally took their toll. A muscle in her left leg suddenly knotted up, her leg spasming, striking the side of a barrel softly.

The Ophidian paused, then turned back.

After the Guards finished reading the artical they formed up to see if they could help anyone in Papua. Sadly they wer too late to rescue Liane who ws mentioned in the BNN artical, and they soon discovered that Papua ws under attack too. The Ophidian troops included Shaman, healers, Genrals, Brood Queeds and Beserkers, just to name a few. The fighting was hard for many days as the Guards battled to reclaim there citys, but to no avail. After a while they started to discover Ophidian rations as well as Ophidian orders on the bodies of fallen foe. But more important was the ower, Vanquish and Mystic weapons discovered on the Ophidian bodies, which when used against the Ophidians proved the best weapons to aid the Guards. As well as these the Guards discovered Ophidian bardichs on the Genrals as well as Ophidian Super Slayers on the Beserkers. After many days fighting to reclaim both Papua and Vesper the Guards seemed no closer to an end to the Ophidian war.

A Message was received that an Ambassador was in Castle British, and so they went to discuss the precent situation with him.

 

Hello - Greetings to you!

Job - I am the Royal Ambassador of Britannia

Ophidian - It is a dark time for us all

Invasion - *begins to worry*

Help - Do you need help?

Invade - What do they want from us?

Ricardo - That scoundrel of a thief! What has he done?

Stolen - You say they are upset because something was stolen?

Return - I hope the Ophidians will leave.

Artifact - If we can only give them what they want!

Diplomacy - We need to stop this maddness!

News soon after came in that someone by the name of Joachim was at the top of the Tokuno volcano, so they travelled to speak with him.

Hi - What was that you say?
Hello - Oh, did you say something?
Job - Yes, I am busy!
Busy - You wish to know what I do?
Do - I create things.
Things - Ah, you wish to have something made?
Ophidian - *blinks*

Terathan - *Ponders*

Invasion - What! Where? Why should I care.
Scion - Hmmm... Terathan - *Ponders*

Zenith - The Scion’s Zenith! That is a powerful artifact.

Build - You wish me to create something?

Scion - Hmmm…

Stolen - The fool! How could he think that any sane person would buy it!

Buy - No one would dare buy such an item!

Item - If the crown was broken down to its components… Hmm…

Components - What is it you wish of me?

Build - You wish me to create something?

List - Just Bring me the things and I will let you know if they can be used.

Complete - When I am done the Scion's Zenith will be delivered to the Britannian Ambassador

The Guards collected many things and gave them to Joachim.

Gold Bricks - These gold bricks will work well to build the framework.

Gold Doom Skull - Just what I needed. I appreciate your offer.

Brilliant Amber - Special gems must be used. this one needs some modification

Fire Ruby - Special gems must be used. This one looks just right.

Turquois - Special gems must be used. This one has potential.

Dark saphire - Special gems must be used. This one will work for me.

Pearl - Special gems must be used. This one just may do it ...

Ecru citrine - This one may come in handy

Perfect emerald - Special gems must be used. This one is perfect...

Blue Diamonds - Special gems must be used. this one should fit nicely.

Complete - When I am done the Scion's Zenith will be delivered to the Britannian

Ambassador.
Are you done? - It is complete. The Ambassador shall have a delivery within the hour.

The Guards returned to speak to the Britannian Ambassador.

Scion’s zenith - Whats is that? The artifact of the Ophidians?

Delivery - Yes I received the Ophidian treasure. I hope this is enough to achieve a peace with their leaders.

Unable to do anymore the Guards had to return to fighting the Ophidians. With many small sorties sent into both Papua and Vesper, but sadly neither city was reclaimed. It was after days of such fighting that a new BNN article was release “A Calm Before The Storm”.

Calm Before the Storm

Aug 11 2006 10:08PM

The most recent page from Naka Gerou’s journal...

As I write this, I can hear the celebrations of some in the crowd outside my window. For what seems like countless weeks now, we’ve been ruthlessly attacked by Ophidian war parties. Many have fallen prey to the heavy Ophidian blades. They inflict indiscriminate, merciless slaughter upon us, with no quarter being shown to neither man, woman nor child. Native Papuan or Britannian, who bravely came to help defend our town; both fell equally before the onslaught.

Yet, I cannot help but to wonder if this jubilation is premature. The Ophidians, with their seemingly unending ability to send wave after wave against our defenses and with their total disregard for honorable warfare, were obviously on the verge of total victory. With the battle practically being fought on top of those who had already fallen, with our supplies running perilously low, and with total exhaustion setting in for those of us left standing, it was clear that Papua was soon to be lost.

Yet, the Ophidians have left, leaving behind carnage unlike any I have witnessed in my not inconsiderable lifespan, but leaving nonetheless.

I cannot fathom why they would choose to do this, unless others have had more success against them elsewhere, though there is no indication that will prove to be the case. The few reports that have managed to get through have described scenes much like the desperate situation that was Papua only an hour ago.

Auspicious or inauspicious, this sudden retreat? We will soon find out. Unfortunately for the poor souls gathered outside, I fear the latter to be the case.

The guards read this with some concern as both the towns were strongly reinforced by the Ophidians and both Serpents Hold and Skara Brae become infested with Ophidians. With the situation escalating a meeting was called of City leaders, where most (but not all) agreed to put an end to the internal struggles for territories and to concentrate there efforts as a united Sosarian Army against the Ophidians.

With so many united and a battle plan drawn they gathered within Castle British to march out together. A gate was opened to Skara Brae and they surged forward, unstoppable in there resolve to take back Skara Brae. The battle was hard, but with such a force now fielded by the inhabitants of Sosaria they soon liberated the City. With jubilant shouts they called for more, and thus a gate was opened to Serpents Hold and yet another battle spread out before them. The Ophidians were prepared and waiting, but even this did not prevent the Sosarian Army from liberating Serpents Hold.

With the sweet taste of victory the Army retired for the night with the resolve to gather once more the next day to free Vesper from the clutches of the Ophidians. But Ophidians now aware of the force they were about to face fought ever harder, with constant reinforcements rushing to there aid. It was with a determined effort that finally Vesper was liberated to great, yet exhausted cheers.

A new BNN article was released called “A Favour Returned”, and explained how Ricardo had finally open the door that help Inu captive. Unable to do any thing at that moment the Army prepared to take Skara Brae.

A Favor Returned
Ricardo Aug 17 2006 9:04PM

Note from Ricardo, legendary thief, discovered near the Britain Bank:

To The Gracious Citizens of Britannia,

I must sincerely apologize for the brutish reaction of the Ophidians to my relieving them of an item so small it hardly bears mentioning. Who knew how sensitive those silly snakes were?

I can’t promise to bring back the item, as, well, it doesn’t much exist anymore. However, my conscience, which rarely reminds me of its existence, tells me I should perform some small favor for you. I believe there is a door in some dank dungeon that some citizens requested be opened. I might just do that. Of course, if I do open that door, I lay claim to whatever trinkets might be inside, as a small payment for my services.

Yours Truly,
Ricardo

After the Army rested up they gathered once more this time to liberate Skara Brae, with some concern that this battle was going to be even harder and perhaps longer they once again surged forward to face the Ophidians. But with great relief all was well and there united battles recently had served them well as they worked through the Village. With great cheers the village too was liberated, and to every ones surprise Commander Jurrel appeared before the Army to urge them to continue there battle against the Ophidians.

So the Army marched on to the Ophidian temple from where they came, once there the Army soon killed every Ophidian they found. But the Army was not satisfied with this as yet another gate was opened this time to Terathan Keep. Once in the Keep they again killed every Ophidian they sighted and cleared the keep of there presence. It was whilst in the keep that the guards came upon some strange grey Flames that the could not pass. With them being unable to do any more here it was decided to go in search of Inu once more. So yet again a gate was set up to march the Army towards Reg Volum where they knew Inu had been taken.

The Army vast in size entered Ishena and made haste to Reg Volum, once in the chamber below they stood on the tip of the sword marked on the tiled floor and said the password, “masteropenthydoor”. They entered the chamber that had the locked door that they need Ricardo to open for them. With great excitement they discovered a note stating that he had opened the door and rushed forward. Within they found devastating room after devastating room full of firstly Undead, then Belron’s and Demons, finally Orcs. After battling there way through these they came to a chamber where some warriors waited. It was soon explained to the Army how Yrigor had been in the room guarding Inu, and how many had died before they were able to kill him. Looking further into the room everyone stared into a cell and saw a tiered but alive Inu on a chair mumbling “kingdom Reborn”.

Rough Queen and Blackrock

The Guards now fully rested were very interested to see a new BNN article entitled “Success on the Front Line”.

Success on the Front Lines!
Saax Pannae Aug 24 2006 8:04PM

News has reached the BNN that the Court Ambassador has successfully negotiated a reduction of forces with the Ophidian queens, after turning over the “Zenith Scion,” an artifact the Ophidians seemed desperate to gain back. Readers may remember that its theft from the Ophidians allegedly sparked what has now been one of the most prolonged wars Britannia has seen in modern times.

Other news indicates that a special gathering of mages from Wind has managed to restore teleportation and protection spells around the cities of Skara Brae, Serpent’s Hold, and Vesper. However, Papua remains isolated both magically and by the remnants of the withdrawing Ophidian army, and we hope for more information soon.

Truly, today marks an extraordinary day in what has been an extraordinary course of events. Many cities suffering under the invasion have been freed from their oppressors by the combined military might of the local militias and volunteers who’ve fought valiantly against the Ophidian horde.

An ambassador representing the Ophidians will meet soon with the Britannian government, and we hope to see a resolution of the situation still plaguing Papua, where the military has just begun focusing its efforts.

Yet another BNN article was released soon after this, with some disturbing news. It was called “Extra! Extra! Rouge Elements Threaten Peace”. 

Extra! Extra! Rogue Elements Threaten Peace
Saax Pannae Aug 25 2006 12:42PM

Yesterday we reported that the government had reached an agreement with the Ophidian leaders to step down their forces, in exchange for the “Zenith Scion.” The Britannian government was not, however, prepared for the information that the Ophidian ambassador needed to convey.

A rogue queen and her followers have broken off from the army and pushed back towards Britannian lands! The government has explained the alarming situation in full detail to the BNN, in the hopes that anyone capable will dedicate themselves to the cause.

The Ophidian army is powerless to stop the faction. This queen is the same that developed the method for producing the berserker rage in her followers. The army attempted to contain the situation, but their best units were slaughtered moments after engaging the Berserkers.

The army has pledged no further reinforcements will be allowed past the Terathan Keep, but Papua faces the full brunt of this last assault.

A scouting part was sent to investigate Papua in Trammel and it was discovered to every ones relief that the Rouge Queen and her forces were not there, but sadly Papua Felucca did not fair so well.

Soon after yet another BNN article was delivered this time entitled “Mages Discover Source of Ophidian Secret”.

Mages Discover Source of Ophidian Secret

Saax Pannae Aug 25 2006 12:48PM

The sudden and complete failure of teleportation spells near invaded cities, as well as the magical protection spells and various barriers, has confounded the finest minds from Britain to Moonglow these past weeks. Those adept with the mystic arts reported a sense of interference, as though the very ether itself had been twisted and bent.

A sudden breakthrough follows the combined efforts that restored these spells to Skara Brae, Serpent’s Hold, and Vesper. The mages responsible have reportedly isolated the interference to a location very close to Papua, explaining their inability to aid that city as well. There can be no doubt that deep within the Terathan Lair, the Ophidians have managed something previously unknown: a way to manipulate the ether itself.

As previously reported, walls of magical flame have enclosed the deepest part of the Terathan Lair, and assistance is being sought in penetrating the barrier. A call to all Grandmaster mages has gone out, as perhaps the joint efforts of our talented wizards can overcome the problem.

The spell used to create the flames is completely unknown, but there is a consensus that the proper invocation of certain Words of Power, combined with great magical ability, may be able to dispel the barrier. What lies beyond, however, is unknown.

With this news the Guards knew they would be once again needed and started to prepare for battle. But how were they to get past the magical grey flames in Terathen Keep. Thankfully they did not have to wait long as the Scholars had started to translate a new Rune Message.  Huddled together they explained how the message translated to say “Let Fate Greet Companions”. They soon got to jumbling the letters around and quickly came out with “Negate Protection Flames”. A mage called out that the spell for Negate was “An”, also the one for protection was “Sanct” and lastly the one for flames was “Flam”, could this be the answer they sort.
Gathering a force the Guard rushed to Terathen Keep where a mage stood before the magical flames and uttered the words “An Sanct Flam”, the flames instantly flicked and vanished for a few moments allowing the Guards to rush past.  With the magical flames flaring up once again behind them the Guards walked carefully forward. Once in the main area the Guards faced an alter constructed of what looked like Blackrock encased in magical flames.  On top of this alter stood a Moongate with a  magical vortex powering it or was it guarding it? Not sure which it was the Guards knew that the Alter had to be destroyed to return normality back to Papua. So the Mage stepped forward and uttered the words “An Sanct Flam”, the magical flames immediately dropping with the Guards rushing forward to destroy the vortex. They struggled to even scratch it whilst it in turn sent magical blows out that needed constant medical attention. Then the words “summoning Berserker” were heard from the vortex. No sooner had the words been said then a Berserker stood in front of the Guards and the Magical Flames once again flared up protecting the Alter. The Guards united defeated the Berserker and returned back to fighting the vortex. This battle raged for quiet some time with it being quiet balanced between then. But slowly it was noticed that the Vortex was staring to falter. Excited that they might defeat it and now invigorated the Guards rained down blow after blow upon it, whist taking out every Berserker as it summoned them. Finally the vortex exploded, blasting some around the room from its immense power. A great fire ball was sent out then a cloud of dust filled the room, when the dust cleared away all that seemed to be left was a broken foundation to the Alter fixed solidly into the ground. Then with amazement it was noticed that several pieces of Blackrock were scattered around the room. The Guards raced around to gather the Blackrock least it fell into the wrong hands and left Terathan Keep exhausted but also exhilarated at what they had done.
But now was not the time to rest as there was yet another Alter to destroy, but this time within Tarathen Keep Felucca, many gathered and set out to battle once more. The fight was hampered by the champion spawn that slowly started filling up the room as they fought, as well as over 40 Berserkers that the Vortex summoned during the fight, but ever determined the Guards finally succeeded in what they had set out to do, and the alter here too laid destroyed at there feet.  Once again the fragments of Blackrock were collected and the Guards returned home to rest victorious.

 

Blackrock Pieces Discovered

A new rune message was translated to say “Onset Sacred Test” which sent the scholars into a flurry of activity trying to understand its meaning. Very soon after the rune message arrived a new BNN article was released called “Excerpt from Jordan’s Tale”.

Excerpt from Jordan's Tale

As recorded by Lyra the Bard Sep 1 2006 10:32PM

"And then?" I pressed in, eager to hear.
"Aye lass, that’s when it happened, it did," Jordan replied. The crowd had hushed, some leaning in, as he took a swig of ale and then punctuated his last words with a hard thump as he set down the mug.
"It wailed, aye, like a banshee! Flames were rushing towards me and I knew I was a dead man."
He eyed us all for a moment, and leaned back. "’Twas though time herself stood still, that awful keening," he paused, "but low... low and dark."
"That’s when you were all blown back, eh?" called a fellow to the side, having already heard the first rendition of the tale.
Jordan jumped up, surprising a few. "Ha! Not I!" He thumped his chest and gazed over their heads. "But quite a few, yes. It was a fury I will never forget, ‘twas then that I saw it."
He set his hands down on the table and leaned forward a bit, staring intently at the throng. "Hundreds of them. Must’ve been hundreds. That pillar shattered like glass! That’s when I saw it, a chunk the size of my fist heading straight for me!"
A collective gasp broke out abruptly as he snatched suddenly at his tunic.
"Right here! It hit me right here, and nary a mark!"
The tense moment exploded into a flurry of questions, all asking the same thing.
"But how?"
Jordan took another drink from his mug, still standing, and continued.
"’Tis hard to believe, but I tell you true. Those rocks were like ghosts! Passed through me, my friends, our beasts, the walls, e’en the ceiling!"
"But ye picked some up, did ye not!" someone asked loudly.
He sat down and clasped his hands with a grin.
"Aye, we did indeed find some littered about on the ground. By then they’d become hard to the touch."
"Well," the tavernkeeper interjected, "how many were there?"
"A few dozen, I suppose..."
Some nodded slowly and I figured they wanted to see the small stones for themselves. Jordan was still grinning when he spoke again, challenging the crowd, "I say again, a few dozen we found there, yet that pillar was a man’s height and more!"
I saw the sudden realization dawning and more than one lip parted to ask the burgeoning question, but Jordan himself beat us to it.
"Where be the rest?" he wondered aloud.


After reading what the article said a scholar looked again at the runes, and soon after stated in amazement that he had deciphered the anagram. He looked at everyone and stated that it said “scattered stones”. There was an immediate flurry of activity as everyone was designated an area to search and it did not take long for a few pieces of Blackrock to be collected. It was also discovered that these pieces of Blackrock were on every facet within Sosaria.
Word then was sent to the Guards that Inu had been seen in Zento preaching words of warning, so many went to hear what she had to say.

"Strike the black rock from this existence! Tear the spot from your souls!

Given a short time, a grain of sand stops nothing. How much time are we spared?

A shattering! Can you shatter the sundered?

I’ve seen all that is to come, why are you blind! I’ve heard all that is to pass, why are you deaf!

I see stout bearded beings! Mining! Drinking! Coveting! Existing beneath us! A dream?

Six and one…. Are they but two pairs three…. And one yet without two?

Preparation only helps when there is time to spare! The time is upon us!

What happens when you stop feeding the animals in the zoo?

Dream of the answer.. What is the question? Useless.

Dark stones ripping through the spirit! Destroy them! For once do not covet!

Tear the black spot from your souls!

Three! Three fiends! Three tasks! Three questions! Three possibilities!

Buried in apathy… Covered in sloth… Entombed memories shell undo much!

Bleak portals rip our eyes apart! Firmament drains through them as if an hourglass!

The eternal soulless is coming! Beware his truths! Heed his lies"!

New Rifts Appear

A new rune message was delivered to the Guards Rest and was soon deciphered to read  “tear of Saintly demon,” the scholars formed there normal huddle over what it could mean and were ecstatic when the exclaimed that it meant “Many rifts lead to one”. No sooner had they said this then the latest BNN was delivered called “Strange Rifts Appear Across Sosaria.”

Strange Rifts Appear Across Sosaria
Saax Pannae Sep 8 2006 6:53PM

Moonglow (BNN) - According to eyewitness reports, strange rifts have appeared across Sosaria.

Witnesses describe them as looking similar to the rift that formed after the final battle with the rogue elements of the Ophidian invasion. There is speculation that the two events are related.

“These rifts have happened from time to time in the past, but even our greatest scholars have little knowledge of them,” said Selcius the Astronomer. “We have no idea what could be on the other side of a rift, and that’s what has us terrified.”

If any information on the location or composition of these rifts is discovered, Selcius the Astronomer has asked for that information to be brought to him immediately.

BNN has yet to confirm any of these sightings.

After reading the article everyone travelled to the Moonglow telescope to interview Selcius the Astronomer.

Hi - Hmm? Oh sorry. I wasn't paying attention. You were saying?
saying/rifts - Ahh you've seen it? The new rift? It is exciting and terrifying at the same time!
Terrifying - Truly terrifying. You have no idea what could be on the other side of that rift.
Exciting - These rifts have happened from time to time in the past. Most scholars do not know this.
Sholars - Yes, I believe, and can prove through my research, that these rifts are cyclical.
Cyclical - Similar to a comets orbit of a sun, yet.. that is not entirely an accurate description.
accurate description - Well the rifts aren't orbiting anything for one. Yet, like a comet, rarely there is alignment.
Alignment - A moment in time, where objects with varying cycles, appear in the same place at once.
Cycles - Yes. I believe that such a moment is fast approaching. We will see many of these rifts appear.
Moment - Your interest in this is gives heart. Would you mind helping me with my research?
Research - Excellent! We will be locating and cataloging these newly formed rifts.
locating/cataloguing - You will need a sextant. I'll need you to stand on a rift, and get it's coordinates.
coordinates/sextant - Yes the coordinates from the sextant. For example I am at 43o 57n 122o 4w

With things moving so fast the Guards started an organised search of Sosaria and whenever they found a rift they returned with its co-ordinates.

54o 51n 54o 25e - Ahh, an ancient rift. Appears once a century. I shall name it Sentinel and call it first.
23o 2n 59o 3e - Hmm this rift isn't in my books. Orc Fort? We'll call it Shiny, and put it second.
47o 2n 71o 9e - This rift isn't in my books. Lets call it Battle and place it third in our chain.
21o 37s 46o 24w - A very old and famous rift. Its name is Chasm, and it is fouth in our cycle.
Fourth - When you have all eight, say them in order to me.
23o 1'S 10o 24'W - This one has a long cycle. Its name is Gramps and it is fifth in the cycle.
60o 29n 3o 39e - Zento library has this as a frequent rift. It is called Honor and sixth.
133o 31n 27o 50w - Another shy one, appearing centuries apart. Called Slumber. I placed it seventh.
106o 42n 172o 42w - This is our final chain. Eighth. Its name is Ghost.
Sentinel shiny battle chasm gramps honor slumber ghost - That is all of them. Now let me study my charts a moment. This is invigorating!
Invigorating - Fascinating! I believe we have discovered an as of yet uncharted rift!
?
the void - It should still be cataloged. Let me find the way, so you can venture there.
venture there - Far South of Humility in Ilshenar, you will find a stand of trees, blackened.
blackened trees - Search the area, you will surely find an ancient stone. You will need a special cipher.
special cipher - Say the word Roclasmpy, and you should gain entry. Bring me the rift coordinates!

With this latest revelation the Guards and Scholars followed Selcius’s instruction and came upon a room full of horrors. Within was Devoures, and other Doom beasts as well as a thing named a Void Shadow which could duplicate itself like a ninja would. They fought these things and were beaten back time and time again, eventually they had to admit defeat. The Guards returned a second night to suffer defeat yet again. Could the Guards have meet there match, undeterred though they arranged a third assault into the dungeon. The room though not only proved undefeatable a third time but also a forth, will the Guards ever manage to destroy the Void Shadow? Although they Guards still had not defeated the Void Shadow they were able to get the co-ordinates of the 9th rift and went to tell Selcius.

6o 41n 66o 9e - That is it exactly! You have helped my research greatly! It exists! It exists!

Ricardo To Be Arrested

With a new BNN article coming out “ Wanted! Ricardo, Alive and for Questioning.”

Wanted! Ricardo, Alive and for QuestioningThe Sheriff of Trinsic Sep 15 2006 6:37PM

By order of the Royal Council, ruling pro tempore:

Ricardo, notorious thief and scoundrel, is hereby and forthwith declared an enemy of the state. As such, he is wanted for immediate detention and questioning concerning the events leading up to and culminating in the Ophidian War.

He is described as a flamboyant, charismatic man, of average height and build, brown eyes, and brown hair of average length. He should be considered extremely dangerous. Citizens are urged to report any and all information concerning his whereabouts to the Sheriff of Trinsic.

The scholars did not have to wait very much longer to receive a new rune message, “A grim ascendance or odd rumours.” The scholars read the BNN article and set to work on the rune message, which took only moments to discover that it meant “Armageddon is cast, Ricardo runs”. The Guards then set out to talk to the Sheriff of Trinsic to see how they could help to bring Ricardo to justice.

Ricardo - That scoundrel is still at large. We need help bringing him to justice.
Justice - Will you help?
I will help - Excellent! Search out his lair. Report to me once it is found, and we shall lay a trap.
Search/Towns - I've got no idea where to start other than that. That's why we put up the posters.
Lair - Ricardo has a hidden lair, if we can find it, we could lay an ambush.
Ambush - Find a landmark near the lair, and report the details to me.
Landmark - We'll also need the means to enter the lair. So, key, lever, something.
Key - I'll leave that to your wiles, but you will have to investigate to find his lair.
Investigate - If the whispers are true, Ricardo had a network of informants deeper than the Abyss.
Abyss - You don't know? Ah well, I just meant it as a metaphor anyway.
Informants - You'll have to search the towns for persons of questionable integrity, and get the facts.
Integrity - You know, folks of low moral character. Folks who might work for a thief.
Character - Folks who might work for a thief.
Facts - You might have the urge to get rough with them, but remember we are not barbarians.
Questionable - You might have the urge to get rough with them, but remember we are not barbarians.
Rough- you should stick to intimidation, rather than actual violence.
Intimidation - you know, to let them know what might happen if they don't talk.

The Guards soon set out to interview people about Ricardo. Although they found many that responded to the name Ricardo it was only one person who knew of his where abouts, and his name was

Ricardo - Whossat?
Thief - Don't know him
Rough - Aiiiyeeeee!
Intimidate - It's not particularly intimidating when you just say intimidate.
Scare - When you put it that way, it's really not that scary at all.
Kick - I'm not that easy to scare!
Punch - Hey! Oh Jeez! You guys mean business don't you!
Business - You won't get anything out of me. I'm no rat.
Rat - I'll never talk see. Never. See. See! Never!
See - Listen here roughnecks, you don't know who you're messing with.
Messing - I'm connected. I'm not some little punk. I got friends.
Connected - Yeah, so you'd better back-off if you know what's good for you.
Friends - These guys are the real deal. Beards. Big muscles. Stronglike.
Stronglike - They are miners or something, but they could work you over good!
Muscle - Yeah you get the idea. Now leave me be. Let go of me! Ruffian!
Ruffian - How dare you! Stop pushing me around! I have rights you know!
Pushing - Oh yeah just don't quit! Listen. Don't make me beg. Please.
Beg - *cries* I just wanted some nice things. I’m tired of being poor.
Nice things - Fine. What does it matter. You're looking for an old burned tree.
Old burned tree - Once you find the tree, you'll need to say the word "bhulpwer".
Bhulpwer - Just don't tell anyone it was me who told you. At least do that.

With this important information the Guards returned to the Sheriff in Trinsic

old burned tree - Excellent. Sounds like the place. now how do we get inside? is there a password?
Bhulpwer - The guard will set up an ambush and we'll catch him yet. Feel free to liberate his things.

The Guards went in search of Ricado’s lair and entered it using by saying the password by the burned tree, “bhulpwer”.

Within the lair 3 items belonging to Ricardo were recovered, a shoe, a hat and a painting. The Guards returned home in the knowledge that Ricardo would soon be called to justice.

Evidence Needed for Ricardos Trial

True to expectations a new rune message arrived and was soon deciphered to state “Indict Evaded By Secret”. The scholars now used to these anagrammed messages soon came up with “distracted by evidence”, but what could it mean. The Guards did not have to wait too long before the BNN article “Elven Prosecutor Assigned to Ricardo Trial! Arrived“.

Elven Prosecutor Assigned to Ricardo Trial!

Saax Pannae Sep 22 2006 7:45PM

The cities of Britannia were informed by dispatch this morning that Casca of Heartwood has been placed in charge of the trial of Ricardo. Readers may remember that Casca has recently made a name for himself in the courts system by being amongst the first elves to participate in our modern legal system.

The Court of Justice in Yew has declared that Casca was a natural choice per his previous service to the kingdom in lighter matters of state and political issues. His lack of criminal experience is balanced, they say, by his impartiality in the matter as Heartwood was left unaffected by the Ophidian attacks.

Casca has publicly asked those with information concerning the Ricardo’s crimes, or who wish to assist the kingdom in preparing its case, to step forward and speak with him in Yew.

Ricardo couldn’t be reached for comment on this development, as he is under heavy guard in Trinsic while awaiting extradition.

 It soon had them running off firstly to Trinsic Jail to finally meet Ricardo, but with him having nothing to say for himself they travelled onto Court of Truth in Yew, to meet Casca.

Ricardo - Ahh yes. Actually I am the prosecutor for his upcoming trial.
Prosecutor - As the trial is a ways off, we are in the process of building our case.
Trial - Yes. It is called Britannia vs. Ricardo. We are in the process of building the case.
Case - Gathering evidence, taking statements, screening witnesses, the usual faire.
Evidence - Ricardo has quiet a few charges levied against him, it is important to investigate them all.
Statements - We’ll be taking statements from eye witnesses, using those that support our case.
Screening witnesses - They are few and far between at the moment. However, I do remain confident.
Eye witnesses - Citizens and other beings who saw Ricardo’s crime first hand.
Few and far between - Either too timid, coerced not to, or wish to remain loyal to Ricardo
Coerced - I’m sure there are a drove of potentials out there who are too frightened to talk.
Frightened - Muscled I would guess. Strange armed by underworld to remain silent.
Strong armed - Maybe silenced by Ricardo’s henchmen.
Underworld - The criminal element that thrives beneath our society.
Henchmen - He seems to have contacts all over. One day we will catch them all.
Fortress - Indeed. During his escape, it seems he also managed to provoke the Terathans into a fury.
Escape - You should head to the fortress, and see if any clues within warrant our investigating.
Investigating - Report to me any clues you find, we’ll decide where to go from there.


With this information the Guards set out for the depths of Teratharn Keep and after a long search discovered some things they thought Casca would be interested in and went to tell him.


knife/fork/ceramic mug - By itself, not too important.
shattered chains - Obviously his discarded shackles. Did you see anything else there?
burnt egg sac - During his escape form Terathan Keep, he made camp and burned egg sacs? How horrific!
Escape - You should head to the fortress, and see if any clues within warrant our investigating.
fortress - Indeed. During his escape, it seems he also managed to provoke the Terathans into a fury.
Horrific - No wonder the Terathans are frenzying. He cooked their eggs, maybe even ate! What a monster!
Monster - I am not sure how to approach this evidence. Let us pursue another route.
Route - One of his more famous heists, was against the town of Nujel'm. Perhaps you could investigate?

Pleased with there investigative works so far the Guards set off to Nujel’m and continued there search for evidence. It was in a downstairs room of Nujel’m Palace that they discovered some lock picks and returned to Casca to report the news.

Ornate pair of lock picks - Did you see anything on them that might identify their former owner?
Monogrammed with the letter R - Obviously him. That seems almost too easy. Do not disturb the scene, we will need to sweep it.
Sweep it/scene - How would you classify this crime? What name would you give this type of crime?
Murder - No... I would not call it murder. Not from what you described.
Breaking and entering/burglary - Excellent. I am glad to see ignorance has not totally overtaken Sosaria.
Sosaria - Now for the crime that started all this recent trouble. You must be swift and stealthy.
Swift and stealthy - Find the scene where he stole the Ophidian's relic, the Scion's Zenith. Search it thoroughly.
Scion - An artefact, sacred to them. A centuries old secret revealed. I know not much more than that.

After considering Cascas words the Guards decided it would be good to check out the Ophidian Fortress and once again returned back to Casca to discuses there findings.

Dried blood - Ahh. We shall have to see if there is a way we can use this to identify him.
Purple cloth - Interesting, but by itself, it means little.
Pulley - What do you think this contraption was used for? Were there any other clues at the scene?
Window - So he lowered the relic out of the window, by a pulley? Then he left his tools behind?
Behind - Seems almost worthy to investigate. For such a famous rogue, he seems awfully amateur.
Amateur - All of the clues you relayed, add up to a scene worthy of further investigation.
Relayed - You have my deepest thanks. Hopefully we will continue our relationship over the coming months.
Relationship - If you continue to be as helpful, I shall have to make sure you are richly rewarded!
Rewarded - We shall see how the trial progresses. It should start as soon as we've readied our formal case.
Formal - Again my thanks. Now I must sort through everything you have revealed.

With Casca not having any more use for the Guards they returned for another united assault on the Void Shadow in Ishenar. It was with amazement that the Guards found the Void Shadows minions gone, it was a mistake for it to have sent them away that cost the Void Shadow its life. The triumphant Guards went home that evening exhilarated that they had finally removed this threat to Sosaria.


 Sherry The Mouse Returns

A Guard standing watch by the rift in the Void was surprised when the Hooded Figure finally spoke a few words, confirming he was the Time Lord he then said

It is for this reason I have come, to learn more of the ethereal tears forming here. I am knowledgeable, but not omniscient. If thou hast information, I shall listen at a later time, for now, I must go.

Within a blink he was gone. The Guard raced to the Guards Rest to report what had happened and arrived just in time to hear of a new rune message, which translated to read  “Honest debt needed this”. The Scholars were still mumbling about it when a BNN article was delivered entitled “Castle British Under Siege!” 

Castle British Under Siege!
Saax Pannae Oct 13 2006 5:52PM

What is it this time, you ask? Ophidians? Orcs? The twisted denizens of Despise or Despair? Perhaps some sort of political problems amongst the nobility?

No, the Britannian News Network is amused and slightly befuddled to report that Castle British has a pest problem! In all my years as a reporter I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it. Hundreds and hundreds of rats have invaded the castle grounds!

The guards are making a valiant effort to quell the tide of vermin but seem to be making little headway. There appear to be a number of cracks in the foundation from which the horde of rats continues to poor forth. To add insult to injury, it already looks like they’ve done serious damage to the interior walls of the castle - tearing away at the mortar between bricks to make themselves small passages.

Castle British would like to invite any and all concerned citizens to aid the castle staff in bringing an end to this pesky pest problem. A few of the nobles have managed to lock themselves away in their rooms, and may also need assistance.

With this terrible news they raced to Castle British and were greeted by a dreadful sight as rats swarmed through the Castle. Amongst  everything was a group of Guards along with Commander Jurrel and Clanin clearing all around them.

Clainin- Everyone, we must somehow push back this vermin menace!

Jordan Jurrel - Might be worthwhile having a look around the castle.
*nods*
Seeing if any holes have let the creatures in.

Chimera - they came from mouse holes.

Jordan Jurrel- Have you seen some mouse holes, Chimera?

Quick Brown Fox - I found lots of holes Jordan.

Ultima Online - i have squeezed through them

Deacon Blue - there is mouse holes all over.

Jordan Jurrel - Where are these mouse holes?
Show me...

Quick Brown Fox -  Lord British’s bedroom is one.

Jordan Jurrel - I'll follow you.

More rats filled the room to replace those killed.
 
Jordan Jurrel - Clainin!
What is it with these rats?

(A mouse crawled out from under the throne and pushed pass Jordan)

Jordan Jurrel - *jumps*

Sherry - What are you doing to my home!?

Jordan Jurrel - I...

Sherry - *SQUEEEEAAAKK!!!*

Whilst the Mouse sqeeked the room filled with flames, then all fell silent, and when the flames died down all the rats were gone.

Jordan Jurrel - Ah...
That is...
Who...
Who are you?

Sherry - Well, that seems to have done it at least

Sherry - Oh, Hi! I'm Sherry! I live here. Who're you?

Clainin - Sherry? Sherry! I am Clainin, but I thought thou had... How extraordinary!

Clainin - Wilt thou come with me? I must introduce you to the Royal Council.

Sherry - *squeak* Of course!

Clainin - Excuse us everyone, I will leave the remainder to ye.

With just a few mumbled word both Clanin and Sherry the Mouse vanished.

Jordan Jurrel - *blinks*
A... talking mouse...
Sherry seems to have scared off the rest of the rats.
If you search around and clean up the last stragglers...
I'm certain we've seen the last of them.
Seems that people have been finding a few odd coins here and there...
Those rats must have got into the old storage vaults.
Thank you for that impromptu bit of pest control, my friends.
We should look out for Sherry returning to speak with us, once Clainin has introduced her
to the Ruling Council. I'm certain she'll have much to say...

The Guards did all that |Commander Jurrel instructed them to do. With the rats now cleared away some of the Scholars returned back to the rune message whilst others waited within the Castle.

A short time later another BNN article was released entitled “A Heroine’s Welcome Home.” It was then noticed that Sherry the Mouse complete with pillow was once again in the Castle.

Rat - *glares*
hi, hail, hello - Hi!, Good afternoon!, Good afternoon, 'name'!
Sewer - 'Tis seperate from the city's, yet almost as complex!
Mouse - Aye! I am a mouse!
Cheese - I love cheese! Dost thou have any?
Talk - Some people think 'tis an odd thing, but I'm even trying to learn new languages!
Sovereign - Lord British has been Britannia's ruler since its inception
ruler/king - My liege, the sovereign ruler of Britannia, yet he hath gone...
Gone - I know not where, but I shall wait for him!
Where - Oh, for some time I hath been traveling, seeking answers
Answers - I canst not tell thee more, for I am sworn to secrecy
Secrecy - I... I canst not tell thee of that
throne room - 'Tis very spacious! It containeth the royal throne, a commemorative shield, and the Serpent Crest.
Throne - Many a day and eve my lord sat there upon... *teehee* Yet it hath an odd shape!
Shape - Oh yes, not like those from Magincia or Nujel'm 'tall!
Crest - The silver serpent stands boldly 'pon the red field, a symbol of strength for all!
silver serpent - A truly magical creature, rarely seen in these modern times
Serpent - I hath but seen one once, yet now know why my liege feeleth so strongly of their power and dignity
Shield - The red one over on yonder wall. It hath a wonderful inscription, but I do not know who Govannon Mac Lyr was
Inscription - May Truth By My Sword, Courage My Shield, And Love Guide Them Both. It speaketh well of the Three Principles
Principles - Thruth, Love and Courage - from which flow all the Eight Virtues
Virtues - Honesy, Compassion, Valor, Justice
dining hall - The nobles get odd looks upon their faces if I go there during meals... so I eat in the kitchen
Kitchen - I eat there every day, I highly recommend the brie!
meeting hall - 'Tis so big! I used to sit 'pon many a meeting between Lord British and his Council
Council - Aye, there is a council of Lords and Ladies that manage the kingdom in my lord's... absence
Library - 'Tis a wonderful library full of rare books and histories. A pity I am so small, or I would read more!
Studio - Many of the land's finest artists come here to paint portraits
Laboratory - Be veryyy careful in there! Nystul used to make things explode all the time! Clainin is no better!
rooms
Book - Hast thou read, 'My Story?' It recordeth many a strange thing about our world
Castle - Oh! Would you like to know about the castle? I can tell you about its history or even the layout!
Layout - Well, wouldst thou like to know more about the grounds or the inside?
History - This isn't the first castle, of course! 'Tis built upon the remains of older castles as the kingdom grew
Kingdom - Aye! Rule, Britannia!
Britannia - Our proud country's borders extend across the waves! E'en be it Trammel or Felucca, many call it home
Borders - The world which we know was once Sosaria, but now is one kingdom
Guard - They art quite kind, yet mostly stern in their duties
Slept - Uh-huh! And we would read stories before bedtime, 'twas wonderful! I sleep on a pillow near the bed
Pillow - The good Commander leant it to me, 'twas most kind!
Commander - The Commander gave me a fluffy pillow!
Bedroom - Lord British once slept in that very room! It also hath a secret!
Secret - If thou examineth the north wall most carefully, ye should find the entrance to milord's study!
Study - Oh, but please be careful therein, the castle staff oft forget to clean it methinks
Tower - Hmm, I wonder what 'twas built for...
Garden - Oh it's so pretty! I had forgotten how peaceful a place it could be

Ricardo Transported to Yew Prison

The Guards received another rune message which read “Paths cinder if knights tip”. The scholars set straight to work on it whilst others awaited the next BNN article. There wait was short as  the article called “Britannia Rejoices” was soon delivered.

Britannia Rejoices

Zilo the Scribe Oct 18 2006 5:12PM

The infamous Ricardo, recently captured and secured in the Trinsic jail, shall be brought to trial within a fortnight. Officials plan to move the villain, under heavy guard, to the Court of Truth. Citizens are to be assured, that while Ricardo is known as something of an escape artist, he will find himself outmatched against his new bindings.

Using a specially designed carriage, the Paladins of Trinsic will test their new transport to its limits on this maiden voyage. The mobile cell, crafted of thick oak, and plated with steel, bristles with weapons. The carriage can hold up to 15 occupants, but for its inaugural run, the only unwilling passenger on the manifest is Ricardo.

Seemingly clairvoyant, the good Sheriff of Trinsic, addressed our concerns about Ricardo's upcoming trip. The mobile prison that shall house him, is not only inescapable, but highly resistant to damage, and fireproof as well. Ricardo has earned a dubious reputation throughout the underworld for his uncanny ability to escape incarceration. The virtuous Paladins of Trinsic seemed inspired by this challenge, and rose valiantly to meet it.

While this reporter passes no judgment on the accused, I feel it is my obligation to express heartfelt gratitude towards our magnanimous legal system. A system championed with heroes like Casca. A system which eternally strives to keep us safe and secure from our lesser brethren.

Citizens make way for this titan of singular purpose. Clear the roads for this juggernaut of justice. Trust in our judicial champions to bring this scoundrel, and all those like him, down low.

As they read the news of Ricardo being transported to Yew Prison  it was decided that an armed guard would be a good idea and they set out to aid by escorting Ricardo to his next cell. Whilst travelling along the road the guards were set upon by brigands and thieves, as they fought there way through there was many who tried to stop them. Then battle was fierce as they slowly progressed toward the transporter holding Ricardo. Whilst still being runshed by many who had come to Ricardo’s aid the Guards were finally confronted with there leader  Murdok. He was a most formidable opponent and it was some time before the Guards were valiant. Ricardo wasted no time in trying to convince the Guards to release him.

Get Out - The key to this cell has to be on a guard or something! Find it!
Innocence - I'm innocent! This is simply a trumped up accusation!
Nobleman -This is the rich oppressing the poor!

They were soon after joined by Ricardo’s Defence Attorney Jamos.

Ricardo - I represent him.
Jamos - That's my name friend. I represent many innocent men.
Court of Truth - That's where we are headed. To prove his innocence.
Innocence - Exactly. My client is wrongfully imprisoned. Probably nothing more than a nobleman bribing judges for petty revenge.
Nobleman - If we were of noble blood this debacle would never have happened.

Jamos: This is the most grievous case of oppression that I can recall.
Ricardo: That is a good angle, lets[sic] use that.
Jamos: Patience my friend. Let us see how this current angle plays out.


 


 

 

 

Ricardo Arrives at Yew Courthouse

With a new rune message arriving saying “Or seek the vile corpse dust” it did not take the scholars long to solve it stating “Court keeps the evildoers”. It was just as they finished that a BNN article was delivered called Preparations Begin for Landmark Trial. As soon as they finished reading they travelled to Yew Court and soon came across Ricardo’s transport and then upon Ricardo himself imprisoned within a cage awaiting his trial.

Trial - A few months ago I would not have worried, but my luck lately...

Your Luck - I think I contracted a curse or something. Dasmn gypsies.

Curse - Don't worry. I am not sending anyone out on a quest.

Quest - Sorry, no adventure can save me this time. I must face this myself.

Adventure - I think this might be my last adventure. I never thought it would end.

Never Thought - Don't worry. I haven't completely lost hope. I have an angle.

An Angle - Of course I won't tell you.

Lost Hope - Depending on the defender they assign me, maybe even a real chance.

Defender - Yeah, my old defender Jamos did not work out so well.

Jamo - Well, not the defense I would have chosen, but he did his best. I guess.

Would Have Chosen - Now that old dog has himself locked up as well.

Locked up as well - Yes, and with quite a bit more privacy, sprinkled with less humiliation.

Humiliation - No need to rub it in.

Scion - Over such a small thing! Honestly if that is all it took...

That is all it took - They would have fought over anything. The Zenith was just a scapegoat.

Court - not too bad as far as courtrooms go, I can't complain.

Complain - You know you've messed up big time when you end up here.

Messed - Messed up because I got caught, or messed up because I did wrong?

Wrong - I'll leave that decision up to you.

Casca - We had a nice chat. Smart Guy. I hope a castle falls on him.

Castle - I jest of course. *smiles*

Judge - Can you put in a good word for me?

Good word - Anything will help.

After talking to Casca the Guards went to talk to Jamos held within a cell in Yew Prison.

Jamos - Help! Help me! This wasn't supposed to happen!

Ricardo - I was only trying to help. Nothing to deserve this!

Trial - I know. I know. I've been stripped of all my duties.

Stripped - This cell is cold, and the food inadequate. I want out!

Cold - I don't need a stupid blanket! I just want out of here!

Casca - Oh that one. He's got it out for me. Ever since that dinner party.

Dinner party - Oh I don't want to talk about it. Not now. Leave me!

With no more to be done the Guards returned to there normal duties awaiting future developments.

top

It came as a bit of a surprise that no new rune message was delivered only a new BNN article entitled Mother Load of Mages. Once the guards read this they first checked Moonglow then travelled to Lost Lands. To the Guards horror they discovered 2 areas within the Lost Lands which had crystal pushed up from the ground, both guarded by Blackrock Elementals, Toxic Ooze and Nether Vortex. The first area was found in the far east of the Lost Lands whilst the second was near to the Ophidian Fortress. Reports were also coming in that miners were digging up Blackrock and sometimes also Blackrock Elementals in caves throughout all lands. The situation continued to grow even more serious on the discovery of yet another area of crystals along with there defenders being found on Wyvern Island . The Guards rallied to fight and gather information on the defenders weakness and set out to attack the crystal area to the east in the Lost Lands. It did not take too long for them to defeat several Toxic Ooze as well as Nether Vortexes, but there assault on even a single Blackrock Elemental proved too much. Many times the Elemental sent out a powerful blast that knocked everyone within sight of it to the ground. The Guard fought the Elemental for some time gathering as much information as possible before retreating to tend to the many wounded and to discuss what could be done

A few days later Muldran Skully from the Shadow Court attempted a ritual to protect mages from what seems to be a madness befalling them. Worryingly many mages that had been experimenting on the Blackrock had started to hear voices. A record has been kept of what they have heard and it seems that they are all getting the same messages as noted below.

Hail friend!

Patience.

Ha! I knew you could handle it

Hmm, I am one. so art thou.

Hrmph. well maybe another time then.

Hahahahahaha! I knew it!

Good day

Good afternoon, [mages name]!

Kill them! Kill them all!

You lack the necessary life force.

Tear them to pieces!

Hello There

You're not quite done yet. Get back to work.

top

 

23 Mother Load

 

The Scholars awaited to see if they would be needed in solving a rune mystery, and much to there excitement they were soon rewarded with the runes that once translated said “Evil Rocks Shatter Time So Wove Ghouls”. Smiling they sat huddled together mumbling there ideas out aloud. Then one jumped up stating its “the evil rocks shatter time but not this weekend” and with a gleeful look on his face he took his seat once more. Whilst the Scholars chatted the latest BNN article was delivered entitled “Into the Mother Load”.

Into the Mother Lode
Anderson the Scribe Dec 1 2006 6:34PM

“That poncy mage was right… that’s a LOT of blackrock,” Vincent said, hefting his pick.

“And that’s a very LARGE elemental… I hope the mage is as rich as he is poncy,” Peter replied. He unslung his axe and rolled his shoulders. Turning to his companions, he said, “Marcel, thou hast the sharpest eyes – keep watch all around. Theo, Jaxon, flank the beast and wait to loose until we have its attention. Faustus, thou and I must make the kill.”

Faustus muttered something unintelligible. When Peter glared at him, he shrugged. “Come on, brother mine. ‘Tis as good a day to die as any.” With a roar, the fighters charged the blackrock elemental. The three archers waited until they were fully engaged, then sent arrows whistling over the fighters’ heads. Most of the missiles bounced off harmlessly, but some of them seemed to penetrate and bits of blackrock rolled from the creature’s head and shoulders.

Vincent circled wide, heading for the outcrop of blackrock. He was still several paces away when he saw something at his feet. “By the Virtues, it’s everywhere!” he muttered. He dug his pick in the sand, unearthing a large chuck of blackrock, as large as the one the mage Kronos had displayed. He glanced up. Peter and Faustus were circling the elemental warily, dodging its heavy blows. Peter’s axe seemed to be loosening the heavy stones that made up the creature’s torso, and Faustus’s war hammer blasted smaller bits off with every stroke. Vincent kept digging in the soft sand beneath his feet. He pulled up several more chunks before Marcel called to him.

“Vincent! To me! There are more creatures coming!”

Vincent didn’t hesitate a moment before fleeing behind the archers’ ranks. When he risked a look over his shoulder, he saw two hideous creatures, dark as the night – one a terrifying vortex of energy, one a misshapen blob that appeared to be the living essence of pollution. “Peter! Faustus! Hurry!”

Peter heard him and looked past his opponent at the approaching beasts. He turned and swung his axe at the elemental so fast he was able to sever its leg and sink the blade into its chest before it had time to react. Vincent watched wide-eyed as the creature slumped to the ground, separating into rubble as the energy that bound it together dissipated. He started to dash forward to gather some of the precious blackrock, but Peter grabbed his arm and pulled him into a headlong run.

--

“Oh, for a bottle of ale and a friendly barmaid…” Faustus sighed. The group had made it clear of the blackrock mother lode and was slogging through the desert on its way back to Papua.

“Amen, brother,” Peter said. “I will be happier by far when we’re safe in town.”

“Safely drunk, thou shoudst say,” Faustus retorted. “That was a fight I do not care to remember.” He paused and squinted at Peter. “It was a nice bit of axework, though. Didst thou use a Double Strike to kill the elemental?”

“I did,” Peter said, sounding slightly surprised. “I didn’t think I would be able to manage that technique for some time yet, but apparently fighting that creature was… instructive.”

Vincent frowned and peered at the chunk of blackrock he had been examining. “Perhaps not the creature… I felt a strange energy while I was digging – like every motion was slowed so I could understand it more deeply.” Vincent said. “Blackrock is said to have many strange effects... and the Mother Lode must be a very high concentration indeed.”

Faustus shrugged. “I for one prefer a slower training method, with less chance of a messy death.”

Peter laughed. “Come on, lads. To Moonglow!”

After reading it the Guards returned to discussing its tactics on defeating the Blackrock Elementals.

top

 

Ricardos Trial

The Scholars eagerly awaited the arrival of new runes and eagerly set about translating them as soon as they arrived. Soon translating it as “What is Justice”and with the latest BNN arriving they read the latest news.

Britannia v. Ricardo

Lilian the Clerk Dec 8 2006 5:15PM

Hear ye! Hear ye!

Posted herein is an announcement of the imminent trial of Ricardo, legendary thief, bane of Britannia, instigator of the Ophidian War!

Having conducted and concluded all pre-trial motions, the criminal trial of Ricardo is hereby set for Friday, the 8th of December.

This trial will take place in the Court of Truth in the city of Yew, and will be open to all who wish to attend.

The Plaintiff, representing the interests of the government of Britannia, shall be Casca of Heartwood. Having previously followed this trial through its earliest stages, the Royal Council feels confident that their instrument of Justice will be able to successfully prosecute their case.

The Defendant, Ricardo, shall be represented by Beauregard of Trinsic, replacing the erstwhile Jamos. “Beau” is well known throughout the southern judicial circuit, but attends the High Court for the first time in this landmark trial. We are required to note that Beauregard has been appointed by the government as an attorney of last resort.

General Attendance

In keeping with the General Courts Protection Act (a.k.a. Keeonean’s Law), special restrictions on magic, movement, and speech will be in force while court is in session. Attendees will be seated on a first come, first serve basis until room capacity has been reached. Leaving the court at any time may result in your seat being given to another.

With there attention drawn to Ricardo’s imminent trial they made there way to Yew Court house.

William: Sit down.
William: We'll 'ave our eyes on ye the whole time.

Kyle: Gentlemen.

William: Sir.

Thomas: Sir.

Kyle: Good morning, Mr. Ricardo

Ricardo: Mornin', Kyle.

Kyle: *smirks*

Beauregard: Have no worries, sirrah. I hath rarely lost a case!

Ricardo: *shrugs*
Ricardo: Meh, what's the worst they could do?

Beauregard: Ah, aha. Most brave! Well said.
Beauregard: *coughs*

Kyle: All rise! Hear ye, hear ye!
Kyle: This court is now open for the trial of criminal cases with and without jury.
Kyle: All those having anything to do before the Honorable Verina, Justice of the Court of Truth, draw near and attend.
Kyle: This court is now in session. Please be seated.

Lilian: Britannia versus Ricardo.

Justice Verina: Good afternoon. The clerk shall announce counsel.

Lilian: Casca of Heartwood as the Plaintiff, representing the government of Britannia.

Casca: Good afternoon, Your Honor.

Lilian: Beauregard of Trinsic, for the Defense.

Beauregard: Good afternoon, Your Honor. Might I say Her Ladyship looketh well today?

Justice Verina: The court shall disregard, and the Defense will keep observations of the Court to themselves.

Beauregard: Ah.

Justice Verina: The clerk shall read the charges against the Defendant and report his pleas.

Lilian: The Defendant, Ricardo, has pleaded Not Guilty to the following charges:
Lilian: Theft, namely of a foreign national treasure.
Lilian: Conspiracy, in the attempted assault upon a Kingdom prisoner transport unit.
Lilian: High Treason, for inciting the Ophidian War.

Justice Verina: Very well, and again, good afternoon to you all.
Justice Verina: Art thou prepared to open?

Casca: Indeed, Your Honor.

Justice Verina: Thou mayest do so.

Casca: Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, Id like to begin by telling you a story about a young girl named Liane.
Casca: Now this young lady was kind, generous, altogether virtuous, and quite beloved of the townspeople.
Casca: Her father was an innkeeper, and as such, she often had the opportunity to greet travelers and serve as a hostess for their visitors.
Casca: She lived with her family in a sleepy little village, and lived a humble yet blissful life.
Casca: All this was shattered one horrible morning... In a single instant everything she'd held dear was ripped away from her.
Casca: You see, ladies and gentlemen, Liane lived in Papua, a territory of Britannia in the Lost Lands, and the first city to suffer under the sudden onslaught of the Ophidian army.
Casca: An army that would soon overwhelm Papuas pitiful defenses, and march on towards our heartland.
Casca: Liane suffered that instant of agony alone, as she watched her father fall before her eyes, yet in all the carnage managed to escape meeting her familys fate.
Casca: Instead, the terrified child sought shelter in the depths of a dark cellar, hidden, as best she could, in the impossibly tight space between a few water barrels.
Casca: Here alone, in shock, drenched in tears and sweat and blood, the poor girl hid.
Casca: ...
Casca: Forgive me, my friends, for this graphic rendition.
Casca: I only wish to convey the horror this child must have endured in the darkness, while the screams of the dying echoed all around her.
Casca: I want to tell you that she remained hidden and safe in that cellar.
Casca: I want to tell you that the Ophidians withdrew and returned to their lairs, content with their mayhem.
Casca: But I cannot.
Casca: The Ophidians hunted down every man, woman, and child they could find in that city, and slaughtered them without mercy.
Casca: Liane was no exception.
Casca: Yet, you see my friends, Liane died under an Ophidian's blade, true! But it was a Man who sealed her fate.
Casca: A man who's arrogance, who's unmitigated gall, who's foolhardy quest for glory and riches so infuriated the Ophidians that they poured war down upon us.
Casca: A man who fled to safety, never warning those left behind of the horrors following after him.
Casca: That man, ladies and gentlemen, is seated before us.
Casca: That man is Ricardo, the so-called legendary thief.
Casca: The prosecution will show beyond any reasonable doubt that Ricardos theft of the Scions Zenith, an artifact of great importance to the Ophidians, was the direct cause of the war.



Casca: We will further show that Ricardo, in doing so, invoked a war upon our shores like none seen in recent memory.
Casca: We will prove that Ricardo has committed High Treason, and we will demonstrate the law to which he will be held.
Casca: We will justify our call for the maximum penalty. This was a crime committed against all Britannia.
Casca: Ricardo did not wield the bardiche that cut short Lianes life.
Casca: Nor the ones that destroyed the thousands of lives lost during the war.
Casca: But we cannot show mercy.
Casca: No, today, Justice cannot yield to mercy, even as Compassion was never shown to all those who paid the price for Ricardos crimes.
Casca: Our only wish is that the jury carefully hear all the evidence presented from this point forward.
Casca: That they decide only upon the facts of this case.
Casca: That their sole, and greatest duty, be that the Truth come forward, and upon that foundation a fate be determined.
Casca: A fate, I believe, that will be bound by Justice. Thank you.

Justice Verina: I feel this would be an appropriate time to take a short break.

Casca: Thank you, Your Honor.

Justice Verina: Members of the jury shall remain seated, all else are free to go.
Justice Verina: Court shall recess for one Britannian hour.

Beauregard: Hold tight!
Beauregard: I shall defend thee to the bitter end!

Justice Verina: Well spoken, Mr. Casca.

Lilian: That was most impressive, sir.

Ricardo: I'm sure you will.

Casca: Oh, please don't be impressed.
Casca: Just take it in your heart to remember those who've gone on ahead of us.

Lilian: Oh, ah, yes, yes of course.

Kyle: Be seated, please.

Justice Verina: The Prosecution hath concluded its opening statement.
Justice Verina: Is the Defense prepared?

Beauregard: Indeed, Your Honor, quite prepared!

Justice Verina: Proceed.

Beauregard: Friends, Britannians, Countrymen!
Beauregard: My client is innocent!
Beauregard: How, ye may ask, might a man, a thief, in fact, be innocent?
Beauregard: Well I shall tell thee!
Beauregard: The man you see sitting before thee is but a pitiful pawn in a game of chess.
Beauregard: A game played by politicians and liars (as though the two could be separate!)

Beauregard: The Defense shall refute the claims of the Prosecution, and prove, or at least provide some reasonable shred of doubt, that Ricardo is innocent of the crimes attributed him.
Beauregard: Ask thineselves, Is it reasonable that a man should be put to death for committing a crime he couldst not know would harm another?"
Beauregard: No!
Beauregard: Ask thineselves, Is it possible that an entire war could begin with the actions of just one man?
Beauregard: No!
Beauregard: And finally, ask thyself, If it were I in Ricardos place, how wouldst I wish to be treated?
Beauregard: No!
Beauregard: Oh.
Beauregard: I mean, please ask thyself that question, and consider this case most carefully.
Beauregard: For the ramifications could be dire.
Beauregard: Thank you.

Ricardo: Thats it?
Ricardo: *sighs*

Justice Verina: Is that all, Mr. Beauregard?

Beauregard: Er, yes, Your Honor.

Justice Verina: Very well, let the record show that we hath concluded opening statements.

Lilian: The record does so show.

Justice Verina: Mr. Casca, thou mayest begin.

Casca: Thank you, Your Honor.
Casca: The Prosecution wishes to submit the findings of Justice Edgar, juge dinstruction for this case, as Peoples Exhibit the First.

Justice Verina: Let the record show that Justice Edgar was the Investigating Magistrate for this trial.

Lilian: The record shows the findings as Peoples Exhibit the First, and that Justice Edgar was the Investigating Magistrate for this trial.

Casca: Could the clerk please read the summary of findings?

Lilian: The findings are:
Lilian: One, that Ricardo is the same Ricardo accused in the matter of this trial.
Lilian: Second, that Ricardo committed, and did in fact admit to, the theft of the Scions Zenith.

Beauregard: Objection, Your Honor!

Justice Verina: The findings of the Investigating Magistrate are not a matter for debate. Continue.

Lilian: Ahem.
Lilian: Third, that a band of brigands did assault the transport carriage of Ricardo during his relocation to Yew.
Lilian: Fourth, that the theft of the Scions Zenith was an instigating factor in the sudden uprising of the Ophidians.

Casca: Thank you.
Casca: The People calls Hudson of Papua to the stand.
Casca: Hudson, are you from the town of Papua?

Hudson: Yes sir, I am. Whats left of it at least.

Casca: Ah, and could you tell me a little about Papua? Before the invasion, I mean.

Hudson: Aye, tis a beautiful little town, sitting on the shore surrounded by jungle.
Hudson: Wed had our fair share of trouble with the neighbors, but itd been right calm since wed become a part of the Kingdom proper.

Casca: When you say neighbors, whom do you mean?

Hudson: Those snakes and spiders, ya know, the monsters.

Casca: The Ophidians and Terathans, you mean?

Beauregard: Objection! Leading the witness!

Justice Verina: Overruled. That was for clarification. The witness may answer.

Hudson: Aye, thats them.

Casca: Could you tell me about what happened when the Ophidian army invaded your town?

Hudson: It was fast, thats what it was.
Hudson: One moment it was quiet, the next the jungle was a full of em. They were everywhere.
Hudson: Soon enough the guards were down, and the barriers around the town, they just werent working.

Casca: When you say barriers

Hudson: The magic ones, you know, that protect cities. All of em have em.

Casca: Indeed. So the Ophidians had no opposition?

Hudson: Oh no! We fought em, we did. I had me trusty crossbow at me side.
Hudson: But they were too fast. And then the big uns, the ones with the blood-stained bardiches
Hudson: *shakes head*
Hudson: Soon we were all running for the shore figured we could swim if we couldnt get through the trees.

Casca: What happened then?

Hudson: They were all over the docks, so I climbed a tree. Turned out they never found me up there.

Casca: Did you see anything while you were up there?

Hudson: Aye. Aye Saw the innkeepers girl run into the old shipwrights. Shed been in the weaponsmiths - had something in her hand.
Hudson: I thought shed hid good, was sure of it, hoped so at least. But then I saw one of them snakes sniffing around the door.

Casca: What happened then?

Hudson: It went in. It was in there for a long time, and then I heard a scream. Itd gotten pretty quiet by then.

Casca: Thank you Hudson.

Hudson: *nods*

Casca: Your witness, sir.

Beauregard: So, it seemeth my friend Mr. Casca wisheth to establish a most sad tale of woe! Is that it, Hudson?

Casca: Your Honor! Speculation!

Justice Verina: Sustained.

Beauregard: Well, well well. So you saw this scared, little, child of a girl run into this building all by herself?

Hudson: Thats right.

Beauregard: And ye were up in some tree looking down, is that right?

Hudson: Yes.

Beauregard: Mmhm and you saw that snake heading towards her?

Hudson: I did.

Beauregard: And you just sat there?

Hudson: What?

Beauregard: You sat there, armed with a crossbow, and watched a girl get killed, doing nothing?!

Casca: YOUR HONOR! Please!

Justice Verina: Sustained. Mr. Beauregard, this man is not on trial. Change your line of questioning.

Beauregard: Im done with this man.
Beauregard: *hic*

Justice Verina: Excuse me?

Beauregard: Ah, hiccups, Your Honor, just a tad nervous.

Justice Verina: Mr. Casca, your next witness?

Casca: The People calls Nicholas to the stand
Casca: Sir, may I inquire as to your profession?

Nicholas: Sure. Im a fence.

Casca: Could you define the meaning?

Nicholas: I take stolen stuff and pass it on, or sell it to others.

Casca: Have you ever met this man, Ricardo?

Nicholas: Met em? Were good buddies! Hey Ricardo!

Ricardo: Hey, Nick.

Justice Verina: The Defendant will remain silent.

Casca: Are you familiar with the Scions Zenith?

Nicholas: The crown thing? Sure. Broke it up for for the rares: gold, jewels, you know.

Casca: I see. Who gave you that crown?

Nicholas: Ricardo.

Casca: Do you know where he got it?

Nicholas: *shrugs*
Nicholas: Heard it came from the snake people.

Beauregard: Objection! Hearsay!

Justice Verina: Sustained.

Casca: Er, did Ricardo tell you where he obtained the crown?

Nicholas: Like I said, he told me he got it from the snakes.

Beauregard: Your Hon

Justice Verina: That was acceptable.

Casca: Thank you, sir.

Nicholas: Always a pleasure.

Casca: Mr. Beauregard?

Beauregard: *hic*
Beauregard: Why art thou here, Nick?

Nicholas: Cause the court ordered me.

Beauregard: Oh? And why was that?

Nicholas: I got caught fencing some jewels. My testimony is part of the plea bargain.

Beauregard: Aha! Did you hear that everyone!?

Justice Verina: Order!
Justice Verina: I remind the court that testimony given as part of a plea bargain is perfectly admissible.

Beauregard: Oh, well then, thank you.


Ricardo: *groans*
Ricardo: Your Honor, I

Kyle: Stop! Stop I say!

Thomas: You there! Halt!

Justice Verina: Order!

William: *looks confused*

Inu: A trial by fire burns the beast!

Thomas: *blinks*

Kyle: Someone help me catch her!

Inu: Come! Stop! Go!
Inu: Hehehehe.
Inu: Hehehehe.

Inu: You cant stop fate! They come! Oh they come!

Kyle: Get down from there!

William: Gotcha!

Justice Verina: Guards!
Justice Verina: Get this fool woman out of here!

William: Yes, Your Honor!

Inu: Decide his fate! Dont be late! Kekeke.

Justice Verina: Court will recess for twenty Britannian minutes!

Kyle: Forgive me, Your Honor.

Justice Verina: *nods*

Beauregard: What the devil was that all about?

Ricardo: I've no idea.


Kyle: All rise! Hear ye, hear ye!
Kyle: All may be seated.

Justice Verina: What an interesting woman.
Justice Verina: *shakes head*
Justice Verina: A friend of the defendant?

Ricardo: Never met her in my life, Your Honor. Although

Justice Verina: Moving on. Mr. Casca?

Casca: Your Honor, the Prosecution would like to submit Peoples Exhibit the Second at this time.

Justice Verina: Proceed.

Casca: I am handing a copy of the Treason Act to the clerk at this time.

Lilian: I have received it.

Casca: Could the clerk please read the various conditions for which High Treason is defined?

Lilian: *coughs*
Lilian: One, Compass or imagine the death of our lord the Sovereign; or the Sovereigns companion; or their heir, or
Lilian: Two, Levy war against the Sovereign in their Realm; or adhere to the Sovereigns enemies in their Realm; giving them aid or comfort in their Realm or elsewhere, or
Lilian: ...
Lilian: Three, Counterfeit the Royal Seal; or any of the Sovereigns money, or
Lilian: Four, Kill any member of the Royal Court; or the Sovereigns Justices; or the Royal Council while in the pursuit of their duties

Beauregard: Your Honor! My client hath done none of these things!

Justice Verina: Be patient. Continue Mr. Casca.

Casca: Thank you. Is there any additional text concerning the definition of High Treason?

Lilian: Yes, there is a specific clause extending the definition.

Casca: Please read it.

Lilian: And because that many other like Cases of Treason may happen in Time to come, which a Man cannot think nor declare at this present Time;
Lilian: it is accorded, That if any other Case, supposed Treason, which is not above specified, doth happen before any Justices,
Lilian: the Justices shall tarry without any going to Judgement of the Treason till the Cause be shewed and declared before the Sovereign and his Council,
Lilian: whether it ought to be judged Treason or other Felony.

Casca: Thank you. Your Honor, I call my next witness to the stand.
Casca: Lord Francesco, please.
Casca: Lord Francesco, could you introduce yourself briefly?

Francesco: I am Francesco, Treasurer of the Royal Council. I am here representing their will today.

Casca: And we appreciate it. My lord, has the Royal Council considered the charges of treason against Ricardo?

Francesco: We have.

Casca: How do you find the defendant?

Francesco: We judge his crime Treason most High.
Francesco: His actions have resulted in the deaths of thousands, and extraordinary loss to the Kingdom.

Casca: By what authority do you judge this crime High Treason?

Francesco: By the authority vested in the Royal Council, ruling pro-tempore, and by the Treason Act.

Casca: How so?

Francesco: The Act allows the Council to define new and specific instances of Treason.

Casca: And how have you defined this instance of High Treason?

Francesco: We define this instance as: "A willful act that results in great loss of life and property."
Francesco: "The former to be no less than five-score peoples, the latter to be no less than the value of the smallest town in the realm."

Casca: Has Ricardos crime met these conditions?

Francesco: The conditions are not only met, but are exceeded.

Casca: I yield the witness to my friend, Mr. Beauregard.

Beauregard: Can you truly say all that Ricardo has wrought is ill?

Francesco: Im sorry?

Beauregard: Can you truly say that Ricardo has done nothing good for the Kingdom?

Francesco: *looks around*
Francesco: Is that at issue? I did not

Casca: Your Honor? Objection?

Justice Verina: Sustained.

Beauregard: Tell me, then, did Ricardo not aid an old woman locked in a dungeon? Surely the Council is aware of this incident?

Francesco: Which incident is that?

Beauregard: Why, the door behind which Inu the Crone lay prisoner!

Francesco: Inu the what? Who?

Justice Verina: Mr. Beauregard, does this line of inquiry have a point?

Beauregard: Yes, Your Honor, just a moment more.
Beauregard: Inu the Crone, kidnapped off the streets of Britain, held against her will, this man saved her!

Francesco: *coughs*

Casca: Ah, Your Honor, I believe he is referring to Ricardo picking a lock for some mercenaries.

Justice Verina: Wait, is this the same woman who just willfully obstructed the court?

Beauregard: Er, well, yes Your Honor.

Casca: Indeed.

Justice Verina: The jury will disregard testimony concerning Inu the Crone - irrelevance.

Lilian: So noted.

Beauregard: Ah, well, then. Carry on.

Casca: Thank you, Lord Francesco.
Casca: Finally, I would like to call Luiz the Guard to the stand, who will testify concerning the assault on Ricardos transport earlier this month.
Casca: Ah, excuse me

Beauregard: zz.. Zzz...
Beauregard: Zzz

Justice Verina: Mr. Casca?

Casca: Your Honor, my witness seems to be absent.

Beauregard: ...

Justice Verina: This is unfortunate, dost thou have any further witnesses?

Casca: No, Your Honor. Motion to delay?

Justice Verina: Does the Defense wish to accede?

Beauregard: ...

Casca: Mr. Beauregard?

Justice Verina: Mr. Beauregard?

Ricardo: Your Honor?

Justice Verina: Yes?

Ricardo: My defender seems to be asleep.

Justice Verina: MR. BEAUREGARD!

Beauregard: Ah, *hic*, ah, yes Your Honor, I am present.

Ricardo: If it pleases the court, my defender seems to be drunk, as well.

Justice Verina: Order!
Justice Verina: Bailiff! Escort this man from the building!

Ricardo: Your Honor?

Justice Verina: One moment Mr. Ricardo.

Beauregard: But wait, Im not Im f
Beauregard: *vomits*

Casca: Your Honor, the Prosecution is most distressed by the behavior of the Defense.

Justice Verina: As is the Court. Didst thou have any further witnesses?

Casca: No, Your Honor. The Prosecution rests.

Justice Verina: I see. Still, we must arrange the representation of the defendant, or reconvene when Mr. Beauregard is in a position to fulfill his capacities.

Casca: I agree, Your Honor and

Ricardo: I would like to put forward a motion of no confidence in my Defense, Your Honor.

Justice Verina: Mr. Ricardo? Thou understandeth that ye are in no position to dictate the course of this affair?

Ricardo: Yes, Your Honor, unless I were to represent myself before the court.

Justice Verina: Mr. Ricardo, I doubt you comprehend the ramifications of representing thyself.

Ricardo: Your Honor, from the moment I entered the custody of the courts I've had no chance of defending myself.
Ricardo: Both of my representatives have proven useless to me. Both were provided by the government, which also tries me.
Ricardo: Mr. Beauregard had not even arranged any witnesses to testify on my behalf.
Ricardo: The least I can be allowed is a chance to speak. Is this not fair?

Casca: Your Honor, surely you will not?

Justice Verina: Hmm Save for the serious nature of the charges I might have already ordered this case retried.
Justice Verina: Mr. Ricardo, dost thou feel that you canst more truly represent thyself than those who have been, or may be appointed in thine behalf?

Ricardo: I do, Your Honor.

Justice Verina: This is the Court of Truth, Mr. Ricardo, dost thou so swear?

Ricardo: Wholeheartedly.

Justice Verina: Then thou mayest proceed.

Casca: Your Honor, I object to this, and

Justice Verina: Objection noted. Please proceed.

Ricardo: Lacking any further witnesses, I call Mr. Casca to the stand.

Casca: Your Honor!

Justice Verina: Irregular, but I can allow it.

Ricardo: Mr. Casca, of the charges levied against me, which have you failed to demonstrate?

Casca: Your Honor! Calls for speculation on the part of the witness! On my part!

Ricardo: Your Honor, surely Mr. Casca is an expert in his field and capable of evaluating his own case?

Justice Verina: Proceed, but tread carefully Mr. Ricardo.

Ricardo: Mr. Casca?

Casca: The Prosecution has failed to establish a link between the assault on the prison transport and any conspiracy on the part of the defendant.

Ricardo: Thank you. Not bad for a thief, eh?

Casca: Your!

Justice Verina: Sustained!

Ricardo: Forgive me, Your Honor.
Ricardo: Mr. Casca, are the Ophidian lands under the control of the Britannian government?

Casca: Britannia lays claim to all of the Lost Lands.

Ricardo: Claim? Do our laws extend to the Ophidians?

Casca: That's immaterial - they're monsters.

Ricardo: Please answer.

Casca: They do not, for they cannot.

Ricardo: Thank you, Im finished.

Justice Verina: Nothing further, Mr. Ricardo?

Ricardo: No, Your Honor.

Justice Verina: Then we will proceed to closing statements. Mr. Casca?

Casca: Ahem.
Casca: Right, then.
Casca: The Prosecution has submitted its case to the court quite plainly.
Casca: It cannot be argued that Ricardo stole the Scions Zenith, as we have written testimony that he has admitted it.
Casca: This has also been corroborated by a witness who had personal dealings with Ricardo.
Casca: What the jury must decide, though, is the validity of the Kingdoms complaint.
Casca: Some may be confused by the elegant words you heard Lord Francesco speak. Please dont be.
Casca: The Royal Council has determined that the acts Ricardo committed amount to High Treason.
Casca: They submit to you, as do I, as does Britannia herself, that Ricardos actions resulted in the needless deaths of thousands.
Casca: He committed a crime, and, through his negligence, compounded the crime in an incalculable way.
Casca: My friends, I walk amongst you as a stranger to your culture, and to your ways.
Casca: My people, the Elves of Heartwood, were long separated from our brethren the Britannians.

Casca: Yet here I stand now, a citizen, yearning to do Justice by the laws and codes that have built our great society.
Casca: I have always respected the great Britannian legal system. I have placed my trust in it.
Casca: That trust tells me that you must act in accordance with those laws. I have laid them plainly before you.
Casca: It is my hope you will answer Justice this day with a resounding voice.
Casca: Thank you.

Ricardo: Ladies and gentlemen, I am not a smart man, and definitely not a noble one.

Silver DawRicardo: I do not understand the cunning ways of law, nor the subtleties of court.

Ricardo: But one thing I can tell you is the Truth.
Ricardo: I did, in fact, take the Scions Zenith from the Ophidians. Please notice I did not say stole.
Ricardo: How can I have stolen something, when the Ophidians do not recognize our own laws?
Ricardo: The Prosecution has failed, you see, to actually prove a crime was committed.
Ricardo: If a man slay a beast, even outside the Kingdoms borders, can he not take whatever he finds?
Ricardo: And yes, my friends, this was well beyond the Kingdoms borders.
Ricardo: What the government of Britannia wishes is for me to die, not to receive Justice.
Ricardo: I am a necessary sacrifice. I am the scapegoat: the man who suffers their sins.
Ricardo: Where, I ask, were the soldiers when Papua was attacked?
Ricardo: Where, I ask, were the mages to protect the barriers around our cities?
Ricardo: Where, I ask, was this vaunted Royal Council, that so easily passes judgment, in our time of need?
Ricardo: I cannot tell you. I doubt they will ever tell you.
Ricardo: Instead they left their nation defenseless, and now, in their haste to cover their cowardice, they lay the blame on me.
Ricardo: Did I murder a Brood Queen at the behest of some noble in Britain? No.
Ricardo: Did I send wave after wave of invading marauders into the Ophidians lair seeking treasure? No.
Ricardo: How could I, by myself, have incited a war when the "crime" I committed was so minor?

Ricardo: A thousand things contributed to this war - the Scions Zenith was just one of them.

Ricardo: How are we to know it was not all a lie? A mere excuse?
Ricardo: Did we not turn over a replicated copy, which they readily accepted, convinced of its realness?
Ricardo: Did we see the Ophidians withdraw after that peaceful move?
Ricardo: No! Instead, we found them building machines of horrible power deep within the earth.
Ricardo: What of this blackrock then? These strange magics and a rogue Ophidian queen?
Ricardo: Why arent questions being asked?
Ricardo: Because theyre afraid youll discover the truth. And the truth is this:
Ricardo: This government has given itself the power to destroy any one of us by simply rewriting laws.
Ricardo: Lord Francesco was kind to point out that strange and curious addition to the Treason Act.
Ricardo: Did you listen carefully? Thats right. They, the Royal Council, are allowed to define Treason however they wish.
Ricardo: At any time.
Ricardo: Even after the so-called crime has been committed, as they have done to me.
Ricardo: My friends, there is no body and there is, no, crime.
Ricardo: I plead for my life, but, oh my friends, I plead more for Justice.
Ricardo: May the mercy of our True Sovereign be upon us.

Justice Verina: Order!
Justice Verina: Order!

Casca: Your Honor!

Justice Verina: Yes?

Casca: The Prosecution wishes to dismiss the charges of Theft and Conspiracy against the defendant.

Justice Verina: Dost thou wish to explain?

Casca: The charge of Theft, at this point, may unduly influence the decision on the charge of Treason. Also, the charge of Conspiracy cannot be substantiated.

Justice Verina: Very well, the charges of Theft and Conspiracy are hereby dropped.
Justice Verina: The jury will now decide the facts of this case, and render a verdict of Guilty or Innocent for the charge of High Treason.
Justice Verina: Court will reconvene in one Britannian hour.

Kyle: Be seated.

Justice Verina: Would the jury foreman please stand.
Justice Verina: Have you reached a verdict on the charge?

Enrique: Yes, Your Honor.

Justice Verina: On the charge of High Treason, how does the jury find the defendant?

Enrique: Guilty.

Justice Verina: The court finds the defendant guilty of High Treason.
Justice Verina: Mr. Ricardo, you are hereby remanded to the State for execution.
Justice Verina: Bailiff, take this man away.
Justice Verina: Court dismissed.

Ricardo: *shakes head*

Lilian: I'm... I'm so sorry...

Ricardo: For what it's worth, thank you.

Kyle: *coughs*

Everyone left the court room in deep discussion as to what they verdict was and how it had come about.

26 A Verdict Reported

As the now usual routing the Guards received a new rune message stating “Or thou shalt be put to death”. On looking into it further the scholars were lead to this hidden message.

A Call to protest the most Heinous Wrong done the Britannian citizen Ricardo:

True friends of the Virtues, hear me!

The corrupt High Council hath perverted Justice! An innocent man waits for execution most Brutal! Even the Elves have joined them in the Council’s Foul Treachery - the prosecutor Casca even now sits in luxury as their honoured Guest, disgracing the home of our absent Lord with his Presence!

My Brothers and Sisters, this is an Outrage that cannot be Borne. Even as the sycophantic Britannian News Network heaps Praises on this manifestly Wrong Judgement, like a Dog cringing before a Terrible Master, the people of Britannia rise up! I beg you, join your fellow Lovers of Justice in protest both outside the Courthouse in Yew and in the city of Britain. Let the Voice of the People be heard! Let the True Spirit of Virtue inspire us! Let us gather our torches and our pitchforks and stand before our Foes, in Terrible and Righteous Rage, to demand that the Citizen Ricardo be freed!

-- a humble Preacher of Virtue

Very concerned by what they read they were deep in discussion when the latest BNN arrived.

GUILTY!
Reynard the Scribe Dec 15 2006 4:43PM

Britannians rejoice! For at last, Justice is done this day!

Ricardo the Thief – escape artist, assassin, and war criminal – has at last received the judgment he so richly deserved. For inciting the Ophidian War, and being held responsible for the deaths of untold thousands, this hated man has finally been condemned to death for his crimes.

It is with great pride that the BNN reflects upon our wise and fair legal system. Once again the balance tips and a man finds himself wanting upon its scales. Every man, woman, and child in the land can rest easy, knowing that should they ever go before the magistrates, they too shall know Justice firsthand. Walk in the Virtues, and none shall have need fear as Ricardo fears now.

The Royal Council has invited Casca of Heartwood, the famous attorney who won the kingdom’s victory in the courts, to Castle British for a state dinner later this week. Our readers may remember that Casca is one of the first elves to ever represent the citizenry in the courts, and the Royal Council wishes to officially commend his efforts.

Reactions throughout the kingdom have been overly positive, with citizens in Papua and Vesper openly celebrating in the streets. A small fraction of malcontents have voiced complaints over a few issues of no importance raised during the trial. They are but the fringe of popular opinion, however, and walking the streets it’s obvious what people truly think: “Justice for Ricardo! Death to Ricardo!”


Letters to the Editor:

‘Twould be a lie to say I have no doubts about this trial, but I feel, deep within my heart, that the truth has been revealed. ‘Tis hard for me to understand much about such a complex system, but I know what I know, and I know Ricardo is guilty!
- Valerie the Tailor, Britain

About time! Back in my day we’d a just taken him and hung him right there! That’s what I call Justice!
- Samuel the Tanner, Vesper

Upon Justice, we consider, that most noblest of Virtues, and Ricardo, of course, a nation could argue for, indeed, quite a long time. How much simpler, in fact, is our High Court, which deemeth him guilty, and so it must be!
- Edgar the Apprentice Scribe, Britain

We can never bring back those lost, but at least we can hold those responsible, responsible. May Ricardo meet the same fate the snakes gave my friends: the sharp end of a blade.
- Johnne the Jeweler, Papua

This is a travesty! Ricardo is so obviously innocent! Are our people blind?
- Sutek the Mage, Moonglow

The Guard were left to think carefully on both articles and to think hard on there future.


top

27 What is Justice

A new rune message was displayed stating “What is Justice?” and it was soon apparent what it was referring too. The High Council released a declaration stating “ "The High Council has decreed that the following essay demonstrates a true understanding of Justice, as delivered by the noble and educated of the land to the deserving poor. It will be copied by the finest scribes and made available for all true seekers of Virtue to peruse." -- Lord Veritas, Britannian High

Council. So the Scholars and Guards sort out the new book.

Contemplations on the Nature of Justice
by Berym Whiteblade

The instinctive definition is to claim that Justice is that which brings punishment onto a criminal, to take one who has harmed us or our laws, our society and see retribution brought upon them. This view on it, a visceral thing that comes from the hurt and dark parts of our psyche, is exactly that which the Virtue is designed to protect against. This is retribution, or revenge, not Justice.

The Virtue of Justice is the Principle of Truth, tempered by the Principle of Love. Justice, therefore, must be the judgement of a crime and a proper punishment given for it, but with it must come a conscience, ethicality, a heart of Compassion, which softens the hard hand of Truth and deals true Justice.

The Druidess Jaana teaches that in Justice, we must consider the total effect of both the crime and of what Justice we deal. We must consider not merely the crime, but the intent of the person who committed the crime.

I recall a circumstance I found myself in once, which may illuminate the matter;

I found myself travelling between Britain and Yew one year, when I came across an farmer, chasing a skinny lad towards me.

I turned my steed sideways, stopping them both, and greeted them with raised hand.

"Greetings! May I ask what transpires here?"

The farmer grabbed the youth by the collar and, seeing the symbols of Virtue about my armour, presented him to me with an expression of glee.

"Paladin! I caught this youth stealing my apples! I have no family, and I must spend hours collecting what I can from my farm and sell them to survive - I demand Justice!"

I looked intently at the farmer "You wish true Justice, sir? And will abide by my judgement in this?"

The farmer nodded grimly, and the boy seemed to pale, gripped solid still by the farmer as he was.

I considered the issue before me carefully, before delivering what I considered to be Justice.

"Boy - you have committed the crime of theft, and stolen food from this farmer." I looked at him grimly, noting his sunken and hungry features. "Your punishment is thus; you will work for the farmer for the next three seasons. He shall feed you and lodge you, but he shall not pay you for your labour." The boy, fearfully, nodded. "And do not think of running, else I shall seek you out."

I looked at the apparently shocked and angry farmer, "You have asked for Justice, good farmer; you have one who will work for you, and together you will harvest a greater load of fruit."

The farmer realised then that he had received aid which would help him greatly, and the boy realised - in due time - that he would be fed and had a place to live."

When I came on the farm some years hence, the boy still worked for the farmer, who considered him a son.

They had received true Justice - Truth, tempered by Love.


 

A while later they heard about another book with the news “What Knowledge does the foul High Council have of Virtue? What true Seeker would trust their corrupt Judgement on so critical a Topic? Believe you instead the words of Lord Erekose, a Just and Honest man, in this volume scribed without the knowledge of the corrupt Council, and passed Hand to Hand as all Truths must be." -- a preacher of Virtue


 

Justice
by Lord Erekose

It is said that Justice is the devotion to truth tempered by love. What does this really mean? Justice serves a law far greater than the Courts of Men and Elves. Justice serves Truth, and no man, not even a King nor his Council, can define Truth. Can honest people devoted to Truth stand by and watch its abrogation by the whim of imperfect rulers? Nay, they cannot if they have Love in their hearts for the pursuit of Truth and Justice. For Justice is indeed the eternal service to Truth at all costs, tempered by Love, the love of Truth and Righteousness itself. It is thus that the great Knights of Justice scour the realm of Minax for the foul murderers who prey upon the innocent, for this is a true and just cause. It is thus that Justice should be meted out for crimes committed.

What is a crime worthy of Justice? That is the heart of the question currently in the minds of Lords and Ladies throughout the Land. The recent events with the Thief Ricardo and his trial have caused much debate. There should be no debate, for Ricardo’s only crime was that of inconvenience. Did he not do what hundreds of others have done before him? Did he not seize treasure from creatures whose enmity towards both Man and Elf is well known? The High Council was not there to defend the lands from the Ophidians; nay this was left to us the Citizens of Sosaria. What crime did Ricardo commit? Exposing the Truth, that our own rulers, those entrusted with our safety by the Lord British, can not defend the innocent? In plain speech, the thief made the Lords and Ladies of the High Council look inept. The only crime he was convicted of was that of Treason. Treason, high crimes against the state, is this now defined by a law other than Truth and Justice? At the whim of disconcerted rulers who could not defend the lands as they are sworn to a man is now marked for death for committing no crime against Man or Elf or State. This does not serve either Love or Truth. This does not serve Justice.

Justice is the only law that is universal, the only law that is complete into and of itself. No matter how inconvenient or difficult the Truth may be, it must be meted out fairly and as deserved, with Love. Love for what is Right and Just and True, love for our fellow citizens. Ricardo did not slay the villagers and those who sought to stem the invasion. He is a thief, and perhaps there are many other crimes that he should be punished for, but he is not the Just target for Retribution. Nay, good people of Sosaria. Justice is not served by making a scapegoat of Ricardo. As with the parable of Jaana and the Goblin, only those who love what is right for its own sake can deliver Justice.

28 Wexton asks for help

A rune message was delivered translating into “the clock is ticking in Moonglow” everyone is reminded of the large piece of Blackrock Kronos put there. Then the BNN article arrived called The Mage's Apprentice.

The Mage's Apprentice
Anderson the Scribe Jan 12 2007 7:43PM

“Wexton!” Kronos yelled, his voice somewhat muffled as his head was almost entirely inside a huge box of parts.

“Yes, Master?”

“WEXTON!”

Wexton blinked, then leaned closer. “YES, MASTER?”

Muttering, Kronos extracted himself from the box.

“Oh, there you are, my boy. I need a few items to finish this off.” He rummaged around in his robes, produced a crumpled piece of paper, and swiftly jotted a few notes. He handed the paper to Wexton. “Be a good lad and run out and fetch these for me, will you? And be quick – we’re nearly done!”

Wexton read over the list, his eyes growing wide. Why, to get that he’d need to kill… and this was only found in… “Oh, by the Virtues! How am I going to get these things? I’m a researcher, not an adventurer with magic armor and a glowing sword…” he trailed off. “Hmm. Getting these things would certainly be an adventure. I’m sure I can find someone to help.” He brushed the dust off his apron, raked his fingers through his beard, and squared his shoulders. As he walked out the door, Kronos popped his head up again.

“Wexton! Where are you going? It’s not yet mealtime.”

Wexton turned, puzzled. “To get thy things, Master. Remember?” He held up the parchment.

Kronos frowned at him, then shook his head as if to clear it. “Oh. Hmm. Yes, very good. Run along, boy.”

Wexton frowned. Blackrock certainly seemed to have an odd effect on those around it. It was a good thing his master was only looking for it in the interests of pure science. He stepped outside, squinting in the bright sunshine, then turned to head to the Lycaeum to look for adventurers.

Once the Guards had read the BNN article the travelled with great hast to the Lyceum in Moonglow. There they discoved Wexton eager to speak of his masters orders.


Hi/Wexton - Good day to you. My name is Wexton, assistant to Kronos.

Assistant - I've only been in his employ for a few years now, but I have learned so much.

Learned - Oh, things like, clean up techniques, efficiency, and speaking when spoken to.

Clean up - You know, making sure that the working conditions are safe, clean, and organized.

Kronos - You have never heard of Kronos? Where have you been? He is a brilliant man.

Brilliant - A mage of legendary skill. I am helping him with his latest creation.

Legendary - There are few who could surpass him. Not even a handful.

Handful - Anon, Nystul, and oh, Sutek, could be counted among his peers in skill.

Anon - Lord of the Council of Mages. Unmatched really. Don't get on his bad side.

Sutek - He's about Moonglow and the Lyceum quite often. Very powerful. Very powerful.

Nystul - Phht, I shouldn't have to explain Nystul. His name is a near synonym for Magic.

Creation - Kronos has discovered a means to locate Blackrock with pinpoint accuracy.

Blackrock - Exotic and valuable stuff it is. Krono's invention should be able to find it all.

Find it - Well first it needs to be constructed. That's my job. I've got the specs, but not the parts.

Specs - Kronos has entrusted me with these blueprints in order to build his machine.

constructed - The design is finished, the prototype is done, just a bit small. Now for the full version.

Prototype - We tested out prototype extensively, it worked without a hitch. Just too small of a range.

Small - This full version will be able to scan across the entire land. Quite a feat.

Parts - Well you see that is where I need your assistance. I do not have time to gather them all.

Gather - Will you help me? Let me know if you can help.

Help - Excellent! This should be rather trivial; I just do not have time for the errands.

Errands - First I need materials for the frame. Valorite ingots to be exact.

Give any ingot - Thank you. Next, a cauldron. Find one so that I can inspect it.

Give a cauldron - This will do nicely. Many thanks. Now I need something to power the machine.

Power - Something that can absorb and hold a good charge of energy.

Give a golem power crystal - This should work well. Thanks. Only one more part and I can begin assembly.

Assembly - Now I just need something to help stabilize the arcane radiation that will emit from the device.

Radiation - Our prototype did have a small radiation leak, but nothing fatal I assure you.

Fatal - This larger version will be much more powerful, so something to absorb arcane energy is needed.

Give an arcane Gem - Most appreciated! You have saved me so much time. I can begin work at once.

Appreciated/begin work - I mean it, you have my sincere thanks. The machine should be up and running in the near future!

With no more to do here they set a Guard to watch over Wexton and returned to the Guards Rest.

 

29 Book of Truth Stolen

Everyone was surprised to see no new rune message, but there surprise soon turned into shock as they read the latest BNN article which had the Guards racing to Despise Dungeon and the Scholars to the Lyceaum.

Truth and High Treason
Leurocian Malnagrane, High Archmage and Traveling Bard Jan 19 2007 6:41PM

“The power is intoxicating, isn’t it?”


Goran Zarlov grins wickedly as the voices from the nether continue to taunt him. He’s gotten used to these voices, though. For many months, they’ve been guiding him, taunting him, tormenting him. Soon, he will possess the ultimate truth, the ultimate knowledge of the multiverse, and even the darkest forces that govern the dimensions from beyond will be bound to his will. There’s just one thing that stands in his way…

Goran pulls out a chunk of blackrock out of his pack and begins chanting ancient words of arcane power. The words cascade within a howling wind. Without warning, a blast of nether energy erupts, and lambastes the Britannian Vault door. A residual crackle of nether energy emits from the ancient magic and then suddenly dissipates. Goran cannot help but to laugh maniacally at his accomplishment as he enters the chamber beyond.

Several floors above the Britannian Vault, the guards and other patrons feel the earth rumble. Some of them lose their footing. Furniture and the like topple over, and chaos immediately ensues amongst the inhabitants of the castle.

“To Arms! To Arms! Someone has invaded the sacred Vault!” Sir Geoffrey, the Captain of the Britannian Royal Guard, commands, and the Britannian Royal Guards respond accordingly, racing down stairs seldom traveled. Only the Britannian Royal Archmages knew of the magical means to reveal these hidden stairs, and apparently one of their ranks has betrayed them.

Goran firmly holds his prize high over his head, taunting out loud the voices that continue to infest his mind.

“Bring the Book of Truth to dungeon Despise, and then you will be rewarded.”

Moments before the Royal Guards confront their intruder, only Goran’s words of recall remain, echoing through a now empty chamber.

“The Book of Truth.” Sir Geoffrey pauses momentarily, feeling overwhelmed with despair. “It’s been stolen.”

Goran materializes outside the entrance of dungeon Despise. As he assesses his surroundings, he continues to hear voices in his head. This time, the voices blur together, chanting over and over in ancient tongues long forgotten. They bring him to his knees. He screams aloud.

As in a dream, shadowy apparitions, each with a commanding presence impossible to ignore, hover inside the entrance of Despise. They continue to assault his sanity with their dark words.

“Give us the Book… Now!” the terrible figures command.

Goran crawls toward the apparitions, tightly clenching the Book and the blackrock in his hands. Just as he gets inside the dungeon entrance, the Britannian Royal Guards arrive via magical gates. Several of the Britannian Royal Guard Archmages begin reciting words of destruction. Bolts of slaying energy soar through the air and reach their target in unison. The energy bolts react violently with the blackrock and the book in Goran’s possession. Goran’s scream of agony is abruptly cut off as a sudden blast of nether energy disintegrates him. The Book of Truth falls out of his grasp and vanishes before it even touches the ground.

“We must inform the Lycaeum immediately,” Senior Royal Archmage Zorla declares. Perhaps they can divine what just happened here.”

 

At the Lycaeum the Scholars disscused matters with 4 seekers of truth all who offered rewards for the return of duplicated Books Of Truth.

Veracity - The Book of Truth has been stolen! ‘Tis said that the dark entities from beyond our world are behind this evil deed, and to keep us from finding it, They’ve made lots of copies. My twin sister and I have made a pledge to help return the book to safety, but I’m afraid that we wouldn’t be very successful in the dungeons. We’re going to help Mistress Menzzobaanea examine any copies that you can bring us, and I promise to give you a small reward for each one I will give you a Veracity’s Treasure Box.

Verities - Please help us find the real Book of Truth! Awful dark entities from beyond our world have stolen it, made fake copies and spread them all over the dungeons. Bring me 10 of these books, and I’ll give you a rare music box gear (Wanderer) that has been in my family for generations. Won’t you please help us find the real Book of Truth?

Maxim - Thank you for responding to our call for help. As you know, dark entities from beyond our world have stolen the Book of Truth. To keep us from finding the book, they have created thousands of false books, which are carried by the denizens of dungeons Covetous, Deceit, Despise, Hythloth, Shame, and Wrong. Return 25 of these copies to me and I shell reward you with a sword (Redeemer) unlike any other in the lands.

Menzzobaanea - The Book of Truth has been stolen, and we need your help recovering it. I must warn you . Dark entities from beyond our world have replicated it. Monsters in dungeons guard the books, and only one of these books is the real Book of Truth. If you can find 50 of these books, we can inspect each one and hopefully one of them will be the real Book of Truth. We must recover the Book of Truth so we can stop the dark entities from destroying this reality. For 50 Books of Truth you will receive the Gorget of Honesty (Virtue Armour Set).

 

30 The Quest for the Book of Truth Continues

For a second time the Guards received a new BNN article without a new Rune Message. After reading “A Quest for the Truth” the Guards increased there efforts to find the missing Book of Truth.

A Quest for the Truth
Menzzobaanea, Seeker of Truth Feb 2 2007 7:18PM

As I write this, evil times are before us, but I’m confident the hearts of our people shall persevere. Though the days grow darker, there are many who still seek the light of Truth, for it is Truth that lends our arts the power to overcome all evil, if we but trust in it.

But what is Truth, you might ask?

Truth is that which is inherent in all things. It is the truth that we discover when we are able to see clearly, free from other distractions. As Lord British once wrote in the book titled Virtue, “Truth alone becomes Honesty, for without honesty between our people, how can we build the trust that is needed to maximize our successes? Truth tempered by Love gives us Justice, for only in a loving search for the truth can one dispense fair Justice, rather than create a cold and callous people. Courage and Truth give us Honor, great knights know this well, that chivalric honor can be found by adhering to this code of conduct.”

It is thus more than a mere symbol that we have lost in the Book of Truth; it is a necessary constituent of the very fabric of our way of life. Though the task of retrieving it is monumental and the risk grave indeed, we must continue to bravely venture forth until that which has been taken from us all has been restored to its rightful place.

Finally, my fellow seekers, let it be known that the brave soul who recovers the actual Book of Truth will be forever known for that great deed, his or her name immortalized in stone for all to see. Though we certainly do not wish to foster pride, we would be foolish not to honor the true heroes in our midst as exemplars of the Virtues

The Guards have got used to not receiving a new rune message so it came as no surprise that non came today. They all awaited eagerly however for the arrival of the latest BNN article and all listened intently as a scholar read it out allowed, the article was entitled Dark Wisps Reemerge as Threat.

 

31 The Pen is Mighty

With no new rune messages, everyone awaited the arrival of the BNN. It was not too much of a wait though and the article “The Pen is Mighty” arriving.

The Pen Is Mighty
Reynard the Scribe Feb 9 2007 6:54PM

A surprising reception greeted a few of Britannia’s newest authors around the kingdom, and in very different ways! One of the authors, whose book is now on display in the Court of Truth, was flabbergasted by the sudden attentions of the usually insular nobility. Throughout the kingdom they’ve been greeted with warm reception – the ladies and the lords certainly seem pleased to have a new focus for their gossip.

Another essayist recently found that “the pen is mightier” in the local taverns, where they’ve been met with cheers and free drinks for their brazen exposition of the Yew court system. An extraordinary response for what many once considered an unremarkable profession.

After reading it everyone agreed that they must still concentrate there efforts on locating the Book of Truth.

 

32 Dark Wisp Warnings

The Guards have got used to not receiving a new rune message so it came as no surprise that non came today. They all awaited eagerly however for the arrival of the latest BNN article and all listened intently as a scholar read it out allowed, the article was entitled Dark Wisps Reemerge as Threat.

Dark Wisps Reemerge as Threat
Anderson the Scribe Feb 16 2007 6:06PM

Not to be mistaken for the more benign Wisps found throughout Britannia, this darker breed of extra-dimensional entities has taken stronger hold within the depths of our forests and dungeons. Numerous reports of sightings have pegged the “dark wisps” with previously unseen abilities and aggression.

Travelers should be advised that the dark wisps have been seen entering a special shielded state within which they can rapidly heal themselves. During this time weapons and spells seem to have no effect; however, it’s possible to flee the engagement entirely while the wisp is frozen. Our readers may note that this is the first resurgence of dark wisp activity since the days of the Followers of Armageddon. While no sightings beyond Siege Perilous and Mugen have been reported at this time, adventurers are advised to be on the lookout should the menace spread.

There was some discussion as what to do about this latest news but it was not too long before a decision was made. Everyone was to keep a look out for these Dark Wisps and those that could were to continue there search for the Book of Truth.

33 Construction Begins on World’s First Blackrock Detector

Thankfully no Dark Wisps had been discovered as yet, and the Book of Truth search was still being given high priority ,the Guards meet once again for the release of the latest BNN article. Yet again there was no new rune message and the article arrived on schedule. It was entitled “Construction Begins on World’s First Blackrock Detector”.

Construction Begins on World’s First Blackrock Detector
Vanessa the Scribe (Moonglow) Feb 23 2007 4:07PM

The sounds of hammers and bellows won’t be the only thing interrupting picnickers in the small field west of the Second Defense Armory much longer. The Mages’ Guild of Moonglow has just broken ground for their revolutionary blackrock detecting machine, to be assembled over the coming weeks.

Kronos, Director of Alchemical Studies and the driving force behind the experiment, was accompanied by a small group of fellow mages and curious onlookers for the simple ceremony. When asked by the BNN exactly how the machine would operate, the eccentric mage explained that the key was an ancient family heirloom, and a piece of blackrock itself.

When asked further about his family treasure, Kronos only vaguely replied that no one in the family had quite remembered what it was for until now, but he assured us it was the key to a centuries old secret, of some sort.

With this news a visit was made to Moonglow and the construction site of the Detector. Unable to do any more the Guards went back to keeping the lands safe searching for Dark Wisps and gathering Books of Truth.

 

34 Search for Book of Truth nears end

Once more there was no rune message, so the Guards awaited the arrival of the BNN. It arrived as normal and was entitled “The Truth Shell Be Revealed!”

The Truth Shall Be Revealed!
Madam Modavia, Legendary Bard Mar 2 2007 4:33PM

“Master Leurocian! “ Senior Royal Archmage Zorla looked in amazement as her former mentor walked into her evening chamber. “I wasn’t expecting to see you so soon,” Zorla coyly smiled.

“It’s good to see you again as well, Zorla.” Leurocian smiled. “You know I cannot stay away from Britannia for long with such foul plotting and dark sorcery afoot.”

“I take it you have heard about the recent events, what happened to Goran, and the Book of Truth?” Zorla asked.

Zorla’s gaze never left Leurocian’s chestnut brown eyes. He had a certain otherworldly appearance to him. While looking like a handsome blond-haired man in his middle years, his eyes depicted someone who had lived far longer. One day, she hoped to achieve such stature and prestige as an Archmage.

“Yes, I heard that he succumbed to dark forces, very powerful dark forces of which we must not speak, even in this private chamber.” Leurocian answered. “However, both you and I know that he isn’t gone, just metaphysically detained elsewhere.”

“I’m suspecting you are correct, master.” Zorla and Leurocian looked away from each other as they momentarily shared silence. Zorla’s iridescent eyes glistened in the moonlight that trickled in through a nearby window. She nervously began running her fingers through her long raven black hair while reflecting on the recent events.

“I spoke with Menzzobaanea earlier today.” Leurocian broke the silence.

Zorla listened intently, raising her gaze to once again meet his. Her nervousness quickly subsided.

“Menzzobaanea informed me that Books of Truth are being turned in by adventurers in fewer numbers now. The real Book of Truth should be discovered soon. I have shared with her ancient Words of Power from a most sacred source of knowledge that should aid in revealing the identity of the real Book of Truth.”

“This is indeed excellent news.” Zorla exclaimed. On behalf of the Britannian Royal Guard, I offer our sincerest thanks, master Leurocian.”

“Fear not, Lady Zorla,” Leurocian smiled as he took her hand. “In the end, things will change for the better. Britannia is about to enter a new Age of Enlightenment. You will see. We will all see.”

 

At least this was good news, it seems as though most of the duplicated Books of Truth were collected, with this the Guards pushed forth to gather every last copy they could.

35 Inu the Crone is set free

The Guards Wasted no time in reading the latest BNN article “Inu the Crone is Free.”

Inu “The Crone” Is Free
Jane of Yew Mar 9 2007 5:12PM

Much to the delight of the Yew Prison Guards, Inu “the Crone” was released on her own recognizance late last night.

For those who do not know, early this winter, during the infamous Ricardo Trial, Inu stormed proceedings and was arrested for contempt of court and placed in the Yew Prison for an untold period of time.

“See here, she’s harmless, she’s done her time and well, frankly, she’s difficult to listen to”, quipped Gavin Klink, a stout, grey bearded Guard with over 20 years tenure at the Yew Prison facility.

The necessity for Inu’s continued incarceration came under intense scrutiny this week, soon after she began shouting about ‘new visions’.

“She kept the strangest hours”, added Klink, “pacing in her cell late at night, ranting at the top of her lungs about the great candle and an onslaught of hate. We tried everything to quiet her down, but she wasn’t going to stop.”

The weary guard wiped his brow, let out a sigh of relief and a quiet chuckle, “We’re just glad that Justice Verina decided to let her go.”

In a rare quiet moment, Inu reportedly promised the guards and Justice Verina that she was headed back to Tokuno.

With this news they travelled to Zento to visit Inu.

"the great candle and an onslaught of hate"
"can you hear that?"
"The darkness when it comes?"
"search through the depths for illumination"
"the onslaught of hate is upon us"
"The prophecy must not be silenced"
"Brave the darkness when it comes"

Murmuring started arising amongst the Guards about the Candle of Love at Empeth Abby.

 

36 Lyceum comes under attack

For the first time in a while the report was made on a new rune message that translated to read “Shh walls do quote evil well”. The scholars set to work on it and considering Inus recent words came up with 2 possible conclusions. Standing with a frown on his face a scholar reported to the Guards, it could mean either “Love will quell the shadows” or “The shadows will quell the love”. Whilst theses words were still on his lips a Guard scurried in waving a new BNN article. The Guard stopped in the center of the room and taking a deep breath exclaimed the Lyceums under attack. The scholar hastily snatched the BNN article entitled Lyceum Besieged from the Guard he hastily read it out allowed.

Lycaeum Besieged!
Anderson the Scribe Mar 16 2007 10:22AM

A host of dark wisps has infiltrated the hallowed halls of Moonglow’s beloved library. Swarms of the vile creatures are fighting en masse, easily overcoming the city guards and rendering the building’s feeble defenses useless. Even now they tear through the thousands of books waiting examination by the scholars. These are unlike any dark wisps seen before; could this chaos be but a diversion to seek out the Book of Truth? All men and women of arms are called forward: defend the Lycaeum!

With the Lyceum indeed under attack the might of the Guard swung hastily into action and moved forward to the its aid. Once there they found many fighting through many Dark Wisps in an effort to secure the area and ensure the search for the Book of Truth could continue. The wisps fought hard with some new kind of magical sheild, as well as throwing many necromancy summonings at the Guards. Undetered the battle continued day and night both sides unrelenting.

37 Candel of Love Stolen

The Guards were waiting and ready when the latest BNN artical arrived entitled “Alleged Demon Sighted on Shores of Windemere!”

Alleged Demon Sighted on Shores of Windemere!
Saax Pannea Mar 27 2007 12:37PM

Vesper (BNN) - Over the span of the last week, merchant ships and fishing boats have reported a large demon roaming the western shores of the Windemere, a remote area known more for reapers, harpies and the occasional stray ogre.

"'Tis the most fearsome beast I ever seen with me own eyes," said Barnardo, a fisherman who has sailed the Windemere for the past 30 years. "It had orange skin and muscles twice the size of any man! Once I seen it was a watchin' me, I sailed off in the other direction."

The demon is alleged to be over 10 feet tall, with wings that span more than the breadth of a dragon ship at its widest point.

The city guard of both Vesper and Minoc are on alert in case this demon ranges close to either town, and all travelers going east from Minoc or north out of Vesper are being warned of the danger.

Without any hesitation they travelled to Windemere and searched for this Demon. After a short time they found a large Gargoyle named Sin Vraal who soon greeted them all with the words

“To greet you wholeheartedly. To feel thankful for your willingness to help.

To not be able to see? To think that if the shrines of Compassion, Justice and Sacrifice are involved that it is likely that Astaroth, the Shadowlord of Hatred, is behind the darkness. To know that such powerful magic can be countered, but to believe that only by seeking the innate power of the opposite can be done.

To recommend that you seek out more knowledge at Empath Abby. To know that the monks there study how Love can overcome Hatred. To want you to take this book to the Keeper of the Flame at Empath Abby. To suspect she will understand.

To wish you good fortune against such a terrible foe.”

Sin Vraal then handed the book of Ancient Gargish Prophecies to them and the Guards set off for Empath Abby. Anne listened to the Guards story. She then stated:

“Oh my! Astaroth you say? Well, Sin Vraal may very well be right. Let me take a look at the book.”

The Guards passed the book to Anne

“Just from looking at the first few pages, I think Sin Vraal was correct in sending you to me. I’ll need some time to read more to be sure.

I’m feeling really thirsty though, so can you do me a favour? Fetch me a bottle of ale from the Innkeeper downstairs, I’ll study this while your gone.”

The Guards did as requested and Anne soon had her Ale.

“Finally! I was getting thirsty. Thank you.

Ok, so I’ve read some more of this book, and it does appear that Sin Vraal’s thinking was on track. As I’m sure you know. Astaroth, the Shadowlord of hatred, is compelled to oppose the Principles of Love and everything related to it. What you may not know is that Love and Hatred are entwined at a very basic level, and one cannot exist without the other to put it in perspective, nor can one become too influential without the other diminishing an equal amount.The Candle of Love itself is kept in a cavern underneath the Abbey, far below where we’re standing now. The entrance to the cavern can be found in the back room of the winery next door. However, the tunnel leading to the cavern is dark, and it seems that no normal light can pierce this unnatural darkness.

From what I’ve read in this book, it’s clear that by corrupting the shrines and extinguishing the Candle of Love, Astaroth is attempting to spread the influence of Hatred in the world. The more Hatred that exists, the less Love’s presence is felt, and the more powerful Astroth becomes! Obviously, we cannot let the balance swing too far in Adtroth’s favour if we are to have any hope of thwarting his future plans.

From what we’ve been able to discern, in order to enter this impenetrable curtain of darkness that now enshrouds the cavern, many brave adventurers will need to purify the light from a regular candle and then touch the purified flame to the Candle of Love. However it all starts with one person… you.

Quickly, go to each of the three shrines and help cleanse them. Then meditate on each virtue, and the way forward will be shown to you. Only through doing this might you help oppose Astroth’s growing power.

As you finish walking the path shown to you, you will be given sigils for each of the three virtues.

Bring me the Heart of Compassion, the Quill of Justice and the Tear of Sacrifice, along with a regular candle. In return I will provide you with what you need to enter the cavern below.”

 

The Guards set out for Shrine of Justice, but there progression was soon brought to a sudden stop, as creatures from Despise where swarming through the areas around the Shrine. Composing themselves they charged into battle. But some faces paled as they realised these creatures were well trained in fighting and this was not going to be an easy task at all. Many battled for some time, finding strange scrolls of Alacrity as they fought, until a way clear was made to the shrine, but a shock was in store for these brave fighter. The shrine itself had black grim running down it and try as they might they could not meditate there. There was nothing more they could do until they had cleared the foul beasts away totally from the area and cleanse the shrine. The battle raged on for quiet a while as every beast was hunted down and killed. It was only then that the shrine was once again clean and meditation was possible. The Guards bowing there heads spoke the mantra for Justice “mu

As they meditated on the virtue of Justice, they found themselves envisioning a dusty skeleton’s existence, shackled to a wall. As they pondered the skeletons existence, a feeling of great injustice washed over them suddenly.

As they stepped back from the shrine and opened there eyes, the feeling subsided, leaving them with a strong desire to right this great wrong, whatever it may be.

They set forth and were soon searching through Dungeon Wrong till they found a skeleton shackled to a wall in a cell on the upper floor. They stopped to examine it more closely when they heard a voice.

“That skeleton you’re poking at has a history you know. T’is all that is left of a boy that went by the name of Thomas. He was convicted for murder! A great injustice the whole farce turned out to be. I wrote his true story down in a journal, but the executioner found it. Even though I only had a few years left to serve, he had me executed on the spot.

I bet if you found my journal, you could clear Thomas’s name! Unfortuunatly I don’t know where the executioner kept his things. Perhaps deeper in the prison?

The Guards serched hard throughout all of Dungeon Wrong till they came upon an executioners chest hidden away behind a wall, and within they found the Derek’s journal. They immediately returned to the skeleton with the news.

Is that it? Hold it up here so I can read it and make sure it’s my journal.

“Tis my journal! It’s strange to see it after all these years.

All that’s left to do is take it to someone that can change the official record. Perhaps someone at a court?

Maybe I can finally rest in peace!

The Guards set straight for the Court of Truth to see if anyone they could help. Once within the Court they found Andy the Keeper of Records and discussed things with him.

“What’s this? Why, yes, I do remember this case. It was quiet a few years ago, but something seemed fishy about it back then and I’ve thought about the boy and his betrothed off and on since then.”

After reading the journal the Guards had found Andy spoke once more.

“By the Virtues! I knew Thomas was innocent! Thank you so much for bringing this to me. I will make sure that official record is changed as soon as possible. It won’t undo the injustice done to Thomas, but it’s the least we can do. Perhaps there is more to be done…

The executioner still roams free in Dungeon Wrong after all these years. Go there, slay him, then return to me. By then I will have found the pen that he used to sign the writ of execution for Thomas. Be careful, for he surrounds himself with many terrible creatures!

With Justice on there side it was not long before the Guards returned to Thomas with there task complete.

Well done! I hope that Executioner didn’t give you too much trouble.

As promised, here is the pen used to sign writs of death.

Taking the pen the Guards returned to the Shrine of Justice and chanted “mu”.

Once again, the image of the skeleton shackled to a wall leapt to the forefront of there minds

They placed the rusty pen on the shrine and began to meditate.

The injustice done to both Nina and Thomas stired a feeling of great sadness inside them. Though the record had finally been set straight after all these years, they couldn’t help but think that after all the executioner had done he deserved far worse punishment than death.

They vowed to meditate more on the virtue of Justice in thier future travels so that they might better understand how to temper their feelings with Love.

When they opened there eyes, they noticed that the pen had been transformed by Justice! Stepping up to the shrine they took the pen of justice, as there intuition tells them that they’d need it eventually on there quest to thwart Astraroth.

The Guards left the shrine of Justice with the Quill of justice in hand and travelled onto the shrine of  Sacrifice

Once again they had to cleanse the shrine by clearing away every Despise creature that had ventured there. As they meditated at the shrine chanting “cah,” they envisioned a dark watery cavern. As there mind wandered through the cave, they realised that there was treasure piled high against a wall. As they focused on the piles of gold and gems, a feeling of unbridled covetous washed over them with such force that there minds recoiled away from the treasure.

After a lot of searching within Dungeon Covetous they came across the watery cave and discovered a large orange hewed dragon there. The dragon stared at them as if waiting for them to do something. So the Guards started to meditate chanting the mantra for sacrifice “cah.” Without any words being spoken they knew that a price needed to be paid in order to gain the need tear from Sudiva the dragon. No matter what they price had to be paid and so they chanted a second time, “cah.” Instantly those that were great in strength felt significantly weaker, those of great wisdom felt a drop in there intelligence, and those great dexterity felt there bodies stiffen. With the price paid they received there reward of a tear and immediately took it to the Shrine of Sacrifice. Once again they chanted “cah”.

They placed Sudiva’s Tear on the shrine and began to meditate on the virtue of sacrifice. They found themselves sympathizing with Sudiva’s plight. Although the great dragon played no small role in bringing her own self to her current condition, they felt that no living being should be made to suffer so, regardless of how it happened.

There sacrifice had begun her healing process: With it done the Tear was cleansed and they took it up off the shrine.

The Guards then made there way to the Shrine of Compassion and after cleansing it chanted "mu". 

As they meditated on the virtue of Compassion, they started to feel utter despise towards the human race. The feeling burned intensely in there heart, filling them with blind rage and a compulsion to maim and torture any human that dared enter there home.

As the feeling began to fade, they saw a vision of a crystal ball resting upon a pedastal, and they somehow knew that there path lied in that direction.

The Guards set about searching Dungeon Despise, eventually they came to an area where Titans were. It was here that they saw a crystal ball on a pedastal and immediately recognised it from there meditations.

As they peered into the crystal ball, an image began to form. They saw a very young ogre hiding at the back of his cave. The ogre was watching a horrifying scene unfold before him. A party of rage driven humans were torturing his family. They were taking great pleasure in killing the ogre’s family…… as slowly and gruesomely as possible. Tears silently streamed down the young ogres face. They somehow heard him vow in his heart to grow up…… and become the biggest and strongest ogre of them all……. So that he might spend the rest of his days…… seeking revenge against all humanity. As the image dissolved. They saw a large heart…… blackened, twisted and utterly consumed by…… despise. They trembled at the horrible image before them. The image finally faded, but not before they caught a glimpse…… of Astaroth laughing, all too pleased with his handiwork.

The Guards went in search of the ogre visioned in the crystal ball. They hunted down many ogre lords until they “heard an angry roar echoing throughout the dungeon.” The Guards chased round till they came upon a large ogre lord and a battle soon ensued. After they had finally killed the ogre they found what they sought, a heart blackened by despise.

The Guards then returned to the Shrine of Compassion .

They placed the blackened heart on the shrine of Compassion and began to meditate. Sadness overcome them as they thought about the fate of the ogre. Astaroth’s influence in the ogre’s life corrupted his heart to the extent that he was consumed by despise of the human race that his capability to feel content with his life, much less to find true happiness, was completely taken away from him.

Looking down the heart before them had been cleansed they took it with them and made there way back to Anne The Keeper Of The Flame at Empath Abby.

Looking upon the Tear of Sacrifice, Quill of Justice and heart of Compassion, Anne gave them a purified candle.

You have but one task remaining…

Only one last task remains for you to help oppose Astaroth’s growing power. Take the purified candle I just gave you, enter the Candle of Love Cavern below us, and touch your flame to the Candle of Love.

This isn’t quite as simple as it sounds, as you’ll need to do two things. First, remember to hold the purified candle in your hand to cross the area of darkness. Once you’ve done that, you will…..

The Guards in there eagerness did not hear the rest of what Anne had to say and hurried off to the loose floorboard in the winery store room at the Abby. Foolishly they tried to enter but were meet by the words,

It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

Remembering Anne’s words they held up their candles and entered. Finding themselves in a cavern, they made their way deeper within with the fumes of sulpha billowing from the lava. Finally their goal was in sight, The Candle Of Love stood dark on a pedistal in the corner of a lava filled areana. Throughout this arena stones floated and sank, they could not believe that they could be so close and yet so far away. For along time they studied the paving stones till a path was finally worked out and took their place one by one awaiting the first paving slab to reappear. Carefully they stepped forward then sideways taking many, many turns until they finally reached their goal. They one by one leant forward with their purified candles towards the Candle Of Love.

As they touch their purified Candle to the Candle Of Love, they feel Astaroth’s hold on this cavern diminish slightly. They’ve done their part to uphold the principle of Love, now its up to their fellow Brittannians to do theirs.

With much relief the guards knew they had done their part and aided other to do the same, until the candle once again was totally free and burned brightly once more.

 

38. Book Of Truth Found

The battle for control of the Lyceum had started to subside, was it because the Wisps had found what they sought? Had the Book Of Truth been found? Slowly the Guards took control and only now were they able to see the chaos the Dark Wisps had wrought, with stack upon stack of Books strewn across the floor. Finally with the Lyceum under Britannian control once more the Guards returned to await the BNN. Whilst wounds were still being tended the article was finally released “The Truth Shell Set Us Free!”. The room erupted with joyous cheer and many a beverage was drunk that day in celebration, especially for Lady Mallory Rayne, who was the one who found the true Book Of Truth.

The Truth Shall Set Us Free!
Anderson the Scribe Apr 6 2007 6:31PM

Words fail to describe the abundant joy permeating the Lycaeum today; for mages, scholars and scribes at long last have found the lost Book of Truth. Having searched diligently through thousands upon thousands of tomes recovered by noble adventurers, it was announced earlier this morning that one of the many had tested true!

The Lycaeum, and surely Britannia herself, thank all those who braved the depths of dungeons and places most foul to bring the light of Truth back to the people. To honour the one who recovered the true tome, a special plaque has been dedicated to the hero at the shrine within the Lycaeum.

You can find this place by using the teleporter near the bookcases in the Lycaeum, which will take you into the library’s basement.

The heroes being honored for each shard are as follows:

Chesapeake: Uxmal
Atlantic: Lady Andrasta
Catskills: Lord Vallend
Siege Perilous: Yasuo Wakayama
Legends: Aleah
Great Lakes: Ayla
Lake Superior: Esmeralda
Lake Austin: Jasmine
Baja: Lord Maximus Bond
Napa Valley: Jayden
Sonoma: Lord Tanthalius
Pacific: Savara Darkstorm
Origin: Mother St Terese
Oceania: Lord Quintarias
Formosa: White
Arirang: Lord Boo
Balhae: Lord Cpuenter
Europa: Lady Mallory Rayne
Drachenfels: Lord Thenon Tomeshk
Yamato: Lady Cougar
Izumo: Haoumaru
Wakoku: Samia
Hokuto: White Wind
Asuka: Concerto
Mizuho: Lady Vanilla
Mugen: Kinme
Sakura: Lady Cindy

39 Hooded Strangers arrive in Haven

The celebrations continued for several days and only stopped when a new BNN was delivered entitled “Beware! Black Hooded Strangers Roaming Haven”.

Beware! Black Hooded Strangers Roaming Haven
Sir Geoffrey, the Captain of the Britannian Royal Guard Apr 20 2007 2:02PM

Be on notice that suspicious black-hooded strangers are roaming the isle of Haven, and their intent is unknown. We do not wish to cause undue alarm, but we do urge caution while on Haven. These strangers seem skittish and disappear with little warning when approached. There are reports of these suspicious visitors collecting pieces of Blackrock, and we are highly suspicious of any individual or group stockpiling this potentially dangerous substance.

For those who insist on collecting and experimenting with Blackrock, you should keep in mind that the leading Britannian mages have identified this dark mineral as potentially hazardous with a variety of unknown properties. We recommend disposing of it immediately.

Be aware and be safe.

The Guards decided to go and have a chat with these hooded strangers and it was not long before they were face to face with one. Despite whatever questions was put to them they got no reply other than they sought Blackrock. It was noticed that some were indeed trading there Blackrock and were being given runic crafting tools and even artefacts from the deepest dungeons. This was alarming and it was decided to keep a close watch on them as the wandered around the island.

A report had started to filter in of a meeting held regarding the strangers “Decision Over Dinner”.

 

Decisions over Dinner
Draconi Apr 27 2007 7:05PM

The roast pig was nearly gone. Gristle and bone were scattered wildly about the tabletop, but the figure seated before it all didn’t seem to care about the mess. The Unicorn’s Horn was all but deserted at this hour, with only a few of the day laborers drinking at the bar. Who but other nobles would dare question a nobleman’s table manners?

The door at the far end of the tavern opened with a snap and a guardsman quickly strode through. He gazed about the room until he found the sharply dressed, slightly overweight man sitting in the corner, and walked over.

“Milord Francesco.”

“Avery,” Francesco motioned at the seat across from him. The messenger nodded, but remained standing at attention.

“Sir, reports about the blackrock in Haven continue to come in. It’s the largest vein on record.”

“Mmhmm…,” he paused to chew on this, “And those traders? How did they get wind of it?”

“We don’t know, milord. The mine was sealed off well before they got there – even the townspeople don’t know about it. But they’re still buying up all the blackrock they can find. We sent out a general warning advising people to be wary of them, but it’s had little effect.”

“Oh?”

“The city’s packed, sir. Inn was full, ended up camping outside town.” He shrugged.

“I see, and we still don’t know who they are?”

“No sir, they won’t answer questions, and they’re not doing anything against the law. The guards can’t really do anything.”

Francesco leaned forward on the table and steepled his hands. As his gaze focused on the far side of the room.

“I don’t like it. We don’t meet in council until the week’s end…” The thought of bringing the council together before that, without real cause, bothered him. “Have you heard back from Clainin?”

“No sir, he broke off contact when he began following them.”

“I see. For now, I want an agent placed in Haven. Have him monitor the situation and take as many names as possible. I want connections.”

“Yes sir.”

“That’s all we can do for now. Carry on.”

Avery saluted and walked away from the table. Francesco stared down at the remains of his meal, then looked up and waved for the cook to clear off the table.

 

40 Followers in Blood Dungeon


Continuing to aid those they could in Haven and spending time visiting New Haven the Guards waited news from the Royal Council on the situation in Blood Dungeon. Avery had taken the situation in hand and a full report of what took place was sent to the Guards rest entitled “Into the Darkness”

Into the Darkness
Draconi May 18 2007 9:47PM

The darkness was washed with a sinuous red light. Two braziers at the bottom of the stairway were slowly flickering, their coals an unnatural hue. Avery had always felt the Blood Dungeon had been aptly named, but he could see the hesitation, no, he corrected himself, the revulsion in his mens’ eyes. They’d but barely trespassed into its depths and already the sounds and smells of death and decay were overpowering.

Something shifted in the air to his left and he turned to greet his scout.

“Sir,” the whisper came. Avery nodded. He had sent two of his best trackers ahead. Like everyone else, they went without light, and were to remain undetected. One had already returned, verifying reports of a small shaft extending deeper into the dungeon. It wasn’t large enough for a person, but it carried sounds and voices from below – the very cause of their presence now.

“Did you find anything?”

The man spoke quickly: “Yes, past the main corridor and around the bend, to the right, hidden door set in the wall. Trapped, I believe.”

Avery was evaluating his condition while listening; he needed every one of his people if they were really facing Followers.

“Excellent – what are we looking at?”

“Two imps, both near each other, and a balron beyond the target. No elementals.”

Avery noticed something strange about the scout’s feet and squinted, trying to catch the light. The cloth wrapped around the man’s boots were soaked in something dark and viscuous. A shudder was already racing down his frame before he consciously recognized it as blood.

Aptly named, indeed.


Avery didn’t believe in luck, but it had taken them less than an hour to remove the traps set around the hidden door. Their goal was reaching their target undetected, but the very nature of the place made it impossible to cover their tracks. Even the monsters wandering the depths left trails where they tread through the red pools covering the smooth pavers.

Such tracks they followed now, with four sets of distinct footprints leading through twisted passages. All along they had heard an indistinct chanting, a verse or poem that had grown louder as they silently approached.

The scouts froze before turning a bend. Avery moved quickly, hitting the ground softly, and his men followed. Hand signals were exchanged. Long corridor – lighted room – three people. He returned his own: Two columns – slide along the walls – wait for signal.

Now they moved without hesitation. Their dark clothes blended with the stone and they stared across at each other to avoid being blinded by the brightness from the room. Finally they were close enough that the voices carried meaning.

“We are Eored”

“We abitan Geweorc”



Avery motioned them to halt outside the doorway. He peered into the room, a sparse cavern with bricked walls and a table at the center. Three figures, each wearing a black robe of rough wool, were seated around the table chanting their mantra. None were directly facing the doorway, and they seemed intent on their ritual.

“Ac Agiefan Idel”

“Frith Naman Mid Lif”



He raised his hand; a dozen more tensed around hilts and cranks. The table held some object in the center he couldn’t make out. Avery thought he could see the makes of tinkers’ tools scattered around as well, but he’d know soon enough.

“To Sculan Na Ilca Eft”



His hand dropped. No one spoke - they rushed forward in double file and moved along the walls. The moment they were through the door flames were rushing from the robed ones’ hands, but the maelstrom of spellcasting was over as quickly as it had begun.

Avery leaned his own prisoner back, her legs pinned on the ground by his knee and a sword at the woman’s throat. Two crossbows were trained on her, and the scene was repeated for each of the others.

“Secure this room. Bind them and put them in the corner.” He pushed her forward and stood, wiping his hands on his doublet. They felt greasy, he knew they weren’t really, but he wiped them a few more times as discretely as possible while striding over to the table.

The tools turned out to be just that, finely made as they were. A jeweler’s kit was there as well, and a few scattered pieces of blackrock. Was it the book they’d been so intent on? He sat down and began paging through it. Whatever it was written in was foreign to him, but there were a few diagrams and a list of names at the end. He tapped one of the pictures, a wand, considering it.

“Sir!” a man shouted it so unexpectedly that he reflexively snapped the book shut.

“Sir! The prisoners!” Avery was already halfway across the room. He kneeled in front of the woman he’d captured only minutes earlier. Her mouth was open, her tongue rolled back, purple and black.

“Poison.” Curses filled the air, “They’re dead."

A soft voice intoned, “We are nothing, and to nothing we shall return.”

Crossbows swung around to bear on the young soldier standing on the far side of the room. Avery turned slowly, he suddenly felt tired, weighed down, dread and anger forming a cold fire deep in his stomach.

The soldier looked on serenely, watching Avery as he rose. Something was clutched in his hand. A wand? He tried to remember his name, one of the younger boys, came from Luna, or was it Trinsic? City of Paladins. Didn’t matter. Avery met his gaze.

“You can’t escape, Brian.” He tucked the book into his pocket.

“Neither can you.”

A moment passed. Another.

One of his men shifted uncertainly.

Brian’s lips parted and his eyes darted towards his hand. Sudden recognition shot through Avery’s eyes.

Fire!
” His command reverberated with a symphony of tightly wound springs being loosed in harmony. Crossbow bolts cut through the room in black streaks and Brian flew backwards, crashing into the far wall. Avery could already tell, incredibly, that he was still alive. The wand was rising, shaking, even as one of the swordsmen bore down on the traitor.

“Everyone, out!” Some of them instantly obeyed, rushing to the entrance, some hesitated, and one was too intent on his target to hear. A lash of energy leapt from the wand to the blackrock on the table, even as the sword came down. The room exploded in a flare of white light.

The shockwave blew Avery and some of the stragglers through the doorway and into the corridor. He instinctively surveyed their condition: a little more than half of them had made it. The room beyond was flames, gouts of it rushing from the walls. He saw the small book lying to the side, half of it burning, and quickly batted it out. A deep rumbling began filling the hallway, moving from left to right - then it was all around them.

Blackrock.

Flames erupted from the room but they were already running, following the trails and footprints they’d so painstakingly traced before. It took less than a minute to reach the hidden entrance and burst into the upper level of the dungeon. Molten fire spilled from fountains and flames shot through cracks in the floor as a rushing sound filled the brightened depths behind them.

The horror of the place was lost on Avery, his only goal was the stairway he knew was only a short while ahead. The stagnant air began moving against him, rushing into the inferno he knew was coming. He hit the stairs, the light above blinding him and he barely avoided a fatal misstep. He could feel the heat on his back and the coolness on his face as he broke into the daylight and dove to the side of the entrance.

A stream of flame poured out from the entrance and then, with a roaring crash, rolled back inwards. Most of them had, thankfully, made it through their last, mad sprint. Dutifully, one of the bowmen was standing guard already over the makeshift camp as they caught their breaths.

Avery sat against the rough stone of the mountainside and flipped open the badly damaged book, he returned to the last page and its partial list of names.

“Erik, Sara, Richard, and Brian,” He said the names slowly, deliberately on the latter. They were amongst the first. He shut the book and closed his eyes.

Names. At least I have names.

 

41 Demon Sighted on Shores of Windemere

The Guards were waiting and ready when the latest BNN artical arrived entitled “Alleged Demon Sighted on Shores of Windemere!”

Alleged Demon Sighted on Shores of Windemere!
Saax Pannea Jun 21 2007 3:13PM

Vesper (BNN) - Over the span of the last week, merchant ships and fishing boats have reported a large demon roaming the western shores of the Windemere, a remote area known more for reapers, harpies and the occasional stray ogre.

"'Tis the most fearsome beast I ever seen with me own eyes," said Barnardo, a fisherman who has sailed the Windemere for the past 30 years. "It had orange skin and muscles twice the size of any man! Once I seen it was a watchin' me, I sailed off in the other direction."

The demon is alleged to be over 10 feet tall, with wings that span more than the breadth of a dragon ship at its widest point.

The city guard of both Vesper and Minoc are on alert in case this demon ranges close to either town, and all travelers going east from Minoc or north out of Vesper are being warned of the danger.

Without any hesitation they travelled to Windemere and searched for this Demon. After a short time they found a large Gargoyle named Sin Vraal who soon greeted them all with the words

To greet you wholeheartedly. To feel thankful for your willingness to help.

To not be able to see? To think that if the shrines of Compassion, Justice and Sacrifice are involved that it is likely that Astaroth, the Shadowlord of Hatred, is behind the darkness. To know that such powerful magic can be countered, but to believe that only by seeking the innate power of the opposite can be done.

To recommend that you seek out more knowledge at Empath Abby. To know that the monks there study how Love can overcome Hatred. To want you to take this book to the Keeper of the Flame at Empath Abby. To suspect she will understand.

To wish you good fortune against such a terrible foe.”

 

Sin Vraal then handed the book of Ancient Gargish Prophecies to them and the Guards set off for Empath Abby.

 

Anne listened to the Guards story. She then stated:

 

Oh my! Astaroth you say? Well, Sin Vraal may very well be right. Let me take a look at the book.”

The Guards passed the book to Anne

“Just from looking at the first few pages, I think Sin Vraal was correct in sending you to me. I’ll need some time to read more to be sure.

I’m feeling really thirsty though, so can you do me a favour? Fetch me a bottle of ale from the Innkeeper downstairs, I’ll study this while your gone.”

The Guards did as requested and Anne soon had her Ale.

“Finally! I was getting thirsty. Thank you.

Ok, so I’ve read some more of this book, and it does appear that Sin Vraal’s thinking was on track. As I’m sure you know. Astaroth, the Shadowlord of hatred, is compelled to oppose the Principles of Love and everything related to it. What you may not know is that Love and Hatred are entwined at a very basic level, and one cannot exist without the other to put it in perspective, nor can one become too influential without the other diminishing an equal amount. The Candle of Love itself is kept in a cavern underneath the Abbey, far below where we’re standing now. The entrance to the cavern can be found in the back room of the winery next door. However, the tunnel leading to the cavern is dark, and it seems that no normal light can pierce this unnatural darkness.

 

From what I’ve read in this book, it’s clear that by corrupting the shrines and extinguishing the Candle of Love, Astaroth is attempting to spread the influence of Hatred in the world. The more Hatred that exists, the less Love’s presence is felt, and the more powerful Astroth becomes! Obviously, we cannot let the balance swing too far in Adtroth’s favour if we are to have any hope of thwarting his future plans.

 

From what we’ve been able to discern, in order to enter this impenetrable curtain of darkness that now enshrouds the cavern, many brave adventurers will need to purify the light from a regular candle and then touch the purified flame to the Candle of Love. However it all starts with one person… you.

Quickly, go to each of the three shrines and help cleanse them. Then meditate on each virtue, and the way forward will be shown to you. Only through doing this might you help oppose Astroth’s growing power.

As you finish walking the path shown to you, you will be given sigils for each of the three virtues.

Bring me the Heart of Compassion, the Quill of Justice and the Tear of Sacrifice, along with a regular candle. In return I will provide you with what you need to enter the cavern below.”

The Guards set out for Shrine of Justice, but there progression was soon brought to a sudden stop, as creatures from Despise where swarming through the areas around the Shrine. Composing themselves they charged into battle. But some faces paled as they realised these creatures were well trained in fighting and this was not going to be an easy task at all. Many battled for some time, finding strange scrolls of Alacrity as they fought, until a way clear was made to the shrine, but a shock was in store for these brave fighter. The shrine itself had black grim running down it and try as they might they could not meditate there. There was nothing more they could do until they had cleared the foul beasts away totally from the area and cleanse the shrine. The battle raged on for quiet a while as every beast was hunted down and killed. It was only then that the shrine was once again clean and meditation was possible. The Guards bowing there heads spoke the mantra for Justice “mu

As they meditated on the virtue of Justice, they found themselves envisioning a dusty skeleton’s existence, shackled to a wall. As they pondered the skeletons existence, a feeling of great injustice washed over them suddenly.

As they stepped back from the shrine and opened there eyes, the feeling subsided, leaving them with a strong desire to right this great wrong, whatever it may be.

They set forth and were soon searching through Dungeon Wrong till they found a skeleton shackled to a wall in a cell on the upper floor. They stopped to examine it more closely when they heard a voice.

“That skeleton you’re poking at has a history you know. T’is all that is left of a boy that went by the name of Thomas. He was convicted for murder! A great injustice the whole farce turned out to be. I wrote his true story down in a journal, but the executioner found it. Even though I only had a few years left to serve, he had me executed on the spot.

I bet if you found my journal, you could clear Thomas’s name! Unfortuunatly I don’t know where the executioner kept his things. Perhaps deeper in the prison?

The Guards serched hard throughout all of Dungeon Wrong till they came upon an executioners chest hidden away behind a wall, and within they found the Derek’s journal. They immediately returned to the skeleton with the news.

Is that it? Hold it up here so I can read it and make sure it’s my journal.

“Tis my journal! It’s strange to see it after all these years.

All that’s left to do is take it to someone that can change the official record. Perhaps someone at a court?

Maybe I can finally rest in peace!

The Guards set straight for the Court of Truth to see if anyone they could help. Once within the Court they found Andy the Keeper of Records and discussed things with him.

“What’s this? Why, yes, I do remember this case. It was quiet a few years ago, but something seemed fishy about it back then and I’ve thought about the boy and his betrothed off and on since then.”

After reading the journal the Guards had found Andy spoke once more.

“By the Virtues! I knew Thomas was innocent! Thank you so much for bringing this to me. I will make sure that official record is changed as soon as possible. It won’t undo the injustice done to Thomas, but it’s the least we can do. Perhaps there is more to be done…

The executioner still roams free in Dungeon Wrong after all these years. Go there, slay him, then return to me. By then I will have found the pen that he used to sign the writ of execution for Thomas. Be careful, for he surrounds himself with many terrible creatures!

With Justice on there side it was not long before the Guards returned to Thomas with there task complete.

Well done! I hope that Executioner didn’t give you too much trouble.

As promised, here is the pen used to sign writs of death.

Taking the pen the Guards returned to the Shrine of Justice and chanted “mu”.

Once again, the image of the skeleton shackled to a wall leapt to the forefront of there minds

They placed the rusty pen on the shrine and began to meditate.

The injustice done to both Nina and Thomas stired a feeling of great sadness inside them. Though the record had finally been set straight after all these years, they couldn’t help but think that after all the executioner had done he deserved far worse punishment than death.

You vow to meditate more on the virtue of Justice in your future travels so that you might better understand how to temper your feelings with Love.

When they opened there eyes, they noticed that the pen had been transformed by Justice! Stepping up to the shrine they took the pen of justice, as there intuition tells them that they’d need it eventually on there quest to thwart Astraroth.

The Guards left the shrine of Justice with the Quill of justice in hand and travelled onto the shrine of

Sacrifice.

Once again they had to cleanse the shrine by clearing away every Despise creature that had ventured there. As they meditated at the shrine chanting “cah,” they envisioned a dark watery cavern. As there mind wandered through the cave, they realised that there was treasure piled high against a wall. As they focused on the piles of gold and gems, a feeling of unbridled covetous washed over them with such force that there minds recoiled away from the treasure.

After a lot of searching within Dungeon Covetous they came across the watery cave and discovered a large orange hewed dragon there. The dragon stared at them as if waiting for them to do something. So the Guards started to meditate chanting the mantra for sacrifice “cah.” Without any words being spoken they knew that a price needed to be paid in order to gain the need tear from Sudiva the dragon. No matter what they price had to be paid and so they chanted a second time, “cah.” Instantly those that were great in strength felt significantly weaker, those of great wisdom felt a drop in there intelligence, and those great dexterity felt there bodies stiffen. With the price paid they received there reward of a tear and immediately took it to the Shrine of Sacrifice. Once again they chanted “cah”.

They placed Sudiva’s Tear on the shrine and began to meditate on the virtue of sacrifice. They found themselves sympathizing with Sudiva’s plight. Although the great dragon played no small role in bringing her own self to her current condition, they felt that no living being should be made to suffer so, regardless of how it happened.

There sacrifice had begun her healing process: With is done they Tear was cleansed and they took it up off the shrine.

 

The Guards then made there way to the Shrine of Compassion and after cleansing it chanted “mu.”

As they meditated on the virtue of Compassion, they started to feel utter despise towards the human race. The feeling burned intensely in there heart, filling them with blind rage and a compulsion to maim and torture any human that dared enter there home.

As the feeling began to fade, they saw a vision of a crystal ball resting upon a pedastal, and they somehow knew that there path lied in that direction.

The Guards set about searching Dungeon Despise, eventually they came to an area where Titans were. It was here that they saw a crystal ball on a pedastal and immediately recognised it from there meditations.

As they peered into the crystal ball, an image began to form. They saw a very young ogre hiding at the back of his cave. The ogre was watching a horrifying scene unfold before him. A party of rage driven humans were torturing his family. They were taking great pleasure in killing the ogre’s family…… as slowly and gruesomely as possible. Tears silently streamed down the young ogres face. They somehow heard him vow in his heart to grow up…… and become the biggest and strongest ogre of them all……. So that he might spend the rest of his days…… seeking revenge against all humanity. As the image dissolved. They saw a large heart…… blackened, twisted and utterly consumed by…… despise. They trembled at the horrible image before them. The image finally faded, but not before they caught a glimpse…… of Astaroth laughing, all too pleased with his handiwork.

The Guards went in search of the ogre visioned in the crystal ball. They hunted down many ogre lords until they “heard an angry roar echoing throughout the dungeon.” The Guards chased round till they came upon a large ogre lord and a battle soon ensued. After they had finally killed the ogre they found what they sought, a heart blackened by despise.

The Guards then returned to the Shrine of Compassion .

They placed the blackened heart on the shrine of Compassion and began to meditate. Sadness overcome them as they thought about the fate of the ogre. Astaroth’s influence in the ogre’s life corrupted his heart to the extent that he was consumed by despise of the human race that his capability to feel content with his life, much less to find true happiness, was completely taken away from him.

Looking down the heart before them had been cleansed they took it with them and made there way back to Anne The Keeper Of The Flame at Empath Abby.

Looking upon the Tear of Sacrifice, Quill of Justice and heart of Compassion, Anne gave them a purified candle.

You have but one task remaining…

Only one last task remains for you to help oppose Astaroth’s growing power. Take the purified candle I just gave you, enter the Candle of Love Cavern below us, and touch your flame to the Candle of Love.

This isn’t quite as simple as it sounds, as you’ll need to do two things. First, remember to hold the purified candle in your hand to cross the area of darkness. Once you’ve done that, you will…..

The Guards in there eagerness did not hear the rest of what Anne had to say and hurried off to the loose floorboard in the winery store room at the Abby. Foolishly they tried to enter but were meet by the words,

It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

Remembering Anne’s words they held up their candles and entered. Finding themselves in a cavern, they made their way deeper within with the fumes of sulpha billowing from the lava. Finally their goal was in sight, The Candle Of Love stood dark on a pedistal in the corner of a lava filled areana. Throughout this arena stones floated and sank, they could not believe that they could be so close and yet so far away. For along time they studied the paving stones till a path was finally worked out and took their place one by one awaiting the first paving slab to reappear. Carefully they stepped forward then sideways taking many, many turns until they finally reached their goal. They one by one leant forward with their purified candles towards the Candle Of Love.

As they touch their purified Candle to the Candle Of Love, they feel Astaroth’s hold on this cavern diminish slightly. They’ve done their part to uphold the principle of Love, now its up to their fellow Brittannians to do theirs.

With much relief the guards knew they had done their part and aided other to do the same, until the candle once again was totally free and burned brightly once more.

One mans story of his paying the ultimate price trying to lighting the candle is summed up in the article entitled “Love Shell Persevere”.

 

Love Shall Persevere
Jun 21 2007 3:13PM

Mortally wounded and leaving a gruesome trail of smeared, sticky blood on the winery floor, Grier pulled himself down into the darkness. Holding the candle out in front of him, he could only see a few feet into the perfect black surrounding him as he made his way ever deeper into the earth.

Grunting with every pull that ground more dirt into the wounds that the executioner had inflicted upon him during their long, drawn out battle, he moved at a pace that made time feel as if it had stopped. The two has fought a long, vicious battle in the depths of Dungeon Wrong, one that Grier had only won by opening himself up to a blow that would soon turn out to be his demise.

He couldn’t help but to wonder if it was worth it; though he was a firm believer in Lord British’s system of virtues, feeling one’s lifeblood drain away was shaking his resolve down to its core. With darkness closing in around him, Grier wasn’t sure if it was his candle growing dimmer or his vision finally beginning to give out, but he persevered and reached out to gain another finger hold to pull his nearly useless body another few inches.

Grier nearly succumbed to the noxious fumes pouring out of a roiling lava fall he passed close to the end of his quest, but he drew strength from the beautiful flame he held in front of him, knowing that the true Candle aflame must be quite a sight to behold.

Turning the last corner, he saw the Candle of Love before him! It was surrounded by a shroud of pure Hatred, its flame no longer shining forth, but Grier knew if he could just touch his flame to the Candle, he would diminish Astaroth’s hold. Perhaps it would roar to life once again!

When he pulled himself up to look over the rim of the magical lava maze, his heart sank. He knew with certainty then that he stood no chance of touching his flame to the true Candle, as his broken body would never allow him to negotiate the swift, ever changing maze. With a final sigh, he slid back down and laid his cheek upon the coarse stone. The candle fell from his bloody hand, its flame slowly extinguishing itself in the ancient dust that covered the cavern’s floor.

Before the darkness overcame him for the last time, Grier thought about the other brave adventurers that would follow behind him. He hoped that some must be strong enough to finish where he had failed. As he took his last breath, he saw the Candle of Love spark once in the darkness. Grier passed from this world believing that Astaroth was nearly beaten, and knowing that Love must surely overcome Hatred in the end.

The brave citizens of Britannia would see to it, or all they knew and loved would come to a sudden and final end.

top

42 Firework Festival

With so much that had befallen the lands the Guards became privy to a Royal Council meeting which was noted in an article entitled “Fireworks Festival”.

Fireworks Festival
Jun 29 2007 6:26PM

“Gentlemen! Ladies! Order!” Francesco was fairly yelling across the long table in the meeting hall. To his right a nervous looking elf was hastily pulling documents from a pouch and arranging them on the table in front of him. Everywhere else it was a cacophony of noise – politics at its finest.

He stood, and the noise level dropped as faces turned towards him.

“Now then, ahem, Lord Casca has prepared our notice to the masses concerning the celebration.” He motioned to his right. “M’lord.”

The lawyer turned politician stood quickly and spoke.

“As you all know, with the recent set of calamities besetting our land, we have cause for great concern.”

Muffled agreement met his statement.

“Therefore, in order to, shall we say, distract the population at large from the distresses of events outside of their control, we propose a celebration of sorts to commemorate the great successes of this Council.”

“Here here!” came the cry from further down. Casca continued.

“I shall now read the proposed announcement:”

“Citizens of Britannia!”

“In honor of the founding of the Royal Council, set forth by that great hand that united our peoples, we announce a festival of frivolity, a commemoration of friendship amongst the cities of Britannia! From the shores of New Haven, onto the walls of Trinsic, and even as far as the colonies of Malas shall the celebration pour forth!

These shall be days in which no work shall be performed except that which is needful. All are invited to attend the opening fireworks in Castle British, and transportation to further festivities will be provided at no expense to our guests!”

There was a guffaw and a clap, and Casca quickly rolled the parchment back together.

“That ought to keep them busy for a bit, eh?” one of the men said.

Casca smiled.

True to Councils words wondrous firework displays were seen, one of particular note was seen within Luna. At this time firecrackers were being discovered on creatures corpses, these were A Small Firecracker, A Medium Firecracker, A Large Firecracker, An Extra-Large Firecracker and One Of The Best Firecrackers Ever.

43  Of Mice and Women

Scouts sent a report to the Guards Rest of a conversation that they thought would interest them, the report was entitled “Of Mice and Woman”.

 

Of Mice and Women
Draconi Jul 11 2007 11:43AM

“But that’s horrible!” Aileen cried out, staring at her diminutive companion.
“I know, I know!” Sherry the Mouse squeaked out, “You can’t tell anyone!”

Time had passed quickly since Aileen had been sent to Castle British to represent the interests of Trinsic. Her upbringing had produced an arrogant, haughty young woman of noble ambitions, and she’d hated the old, dank castle from the moment she’d stepped across the drawbridge. “This is why Blackthorn had a Keep on the other side of the city!” she’d quipped to an embarrassed handmaid.

Within the first few days she’d alienated all but the most stalwart of servants, and they barely talked to her besides. The short visit had dragged on into a full week, then a month, and now nearly a year. A year is a long time to rethink one’s attitude to one’s hosts, and Aileen had learned a lot about Humility and how it applied to Honor, and at last, after many contrite apologies, had found herself with more than one friend in her new home.

One such was seated on a pillow in her room, nibbling on a piece of cheese.

“What about the raid on the Followers, did they all…?” she began.
Sherry waved quickly, “No, no, not all, but they lost a lot of men. The entire dungeon was nearly destroyed.”
Aileen fell back on the bed and looked up at the ceiling: “It sounds like they’re starting a war.”
“There’s been worse, but…”
“What about the Royal Council, what’re they doing?” she sat back up.
“Nothing!” Sherry nibbled angrily, “As usual! I think one or two of them are up to something, but the last thing they managed to do together was appoint that Casca fellow to some position or other.”
“Really? What’s he doing?”
“I think he’s the new Royal Ambassador now.”
“Have they announced it?”
“Nuh-uh.”
“Hmmm…” Aileen went through the roster of councilmen in her head, “What about Lord Francesco?”
“Ah! It was one of his men that led the group!”
“Really? Isn’t that something for the Royal Commander to do?”
“I don’t know, all I know is that the report says they almost captured the fiends, but one of their own was a traitor.”
“In the guard? A traitor?” her voice had gone soft.
Sherry put down the cheese and leaned forward: “Yes. I think it explains why there’re so many little factions now.”
“No one trusts each other,” Aileen finished, “What’ll we do?”
“I dunno. I’m worried! This isn’t how mi’lord intended the Council to act.”
“I won’t tell my people until the Council officially informs me.”
“I know, that’s why I’m glad we can talk.” Sherry wiggled her whiskers, “Well, I’ve got to be going! I want to go into town tonight and listen for more gossip.”

After reading the report the Guards decided to visit Lady Aileen in Britain Castle.

Sherry - Isn’t she a darling?

Royal Council - I have a chance, on occasion, to dine with them.

Dine - For some reason they never invite Sherry, so she eats in the kitchen.

Cheese - Oh, do you have any? Sherry loves cheese.

Francesco - Lord Francesco is a very… interesting individual.

Followers - Monsters, all of them - would that they trouble us no more.

War - *looks away* We can only hope the Kingdom comes to its sences.

Kingdom - Britannia is sailing uncharted waters I fear.

Uncharted - For too long we resigned soverign over the world, but now things have become more complex.

Complex - What with the other facets, and the Empress, and what not?

Empress - I’m afraid I know little of Tokuno Isles beyond trade routs.

Tokuno - I wonder if I’ll ever have a chance to visit.

Humility - Ah, someone taught me the mantra - “tis “Lum”

Lum - See, now you have it!

Honor - Do you know the mantra?

Summ - Very good! You must share a love of the virtues.

Casca - I can’t say I know much about him.

With Eileen having nothing more to say they returned to the Guards Rest to ponder on what she said.