First Land Herald Archives
- 1 426-09-10 - Maelshyve Raid a Stunning Success
- 2 426-05-34 - Raid Planned for Maelshyve's Fortress
- 3 425-06-34 - Provincial Leaders Discuss Necromancy Menace
- 4 425-06-34 - Trader Guild Negotiates with the Arbiter
- 5 425-03-10 - Mother Whiteburn's Ritual Closes the Stable Rift
- 6 425-02-34 - Researcher Tozu Speaks on Planar Events
- 7 425-02-30 - Stable Rift Appears Near Rossman's Landing
- 8 425-01-38 - Interplanar Beings Crash Through Kermoria
- 9 423-05-39 - Stunning Victory Against the Elpalzi Keep
- 10 423-05-36 - Explosion at Sorrow's Reach!
- 11 423-05-13 - Geva Dead! Zoluren to Battle Elpalzi
- 12 423-02-37 - Elpalzi Linked to Visions of Maelshyve
- 13 421-08-04 - Arachnoid Transformations: Interviews with Captain Kurmin
- 14 421-06-25 - A Meeting with Council Herald Strembin
- 15 421-06-20 - New Visions of a Mysterious Stone
- 16 421-06-16 - Lady Lilena Defends Dirge Solo
- 17 421-06-13 - Elpalzi Lieutenant Fails at Crashing Curtain Call!
- 18 421-06-08 - Estate Holders Interrupted
- 19 421-06-06 - Opportunistic Raids by Pirates and Elpalzi
- 20 421-06-05 - Father Soraent Gathers All for Group Vision
- 21 421-06-04 - Therenborough Swims with Sharks!
- 22 421-05-36 - Vomit From the Gods
- 23 421-05-28 - Dergati's Nightmare Moths
- 24 421-05-21 - The North Wind Blows Through Hibarnhvidar
- 25 421-05-21 - Brief Faenrae Invasion of the Crossing
- 26 421-05-09 - Drogor's Spawn Attack Ratha
- 27 421-05-05 - Murder Dolls Descent on Riverhaven
- 28 421-05-05 - High Temple Investigator Speaks of Shadow in Visions
- 29 421-05-02 - The Curse of the Icebound Heart Continues
- 30 421-4-26 - The Curse of the Icebound Heart
- 31 421-04-14 - Chrysalis Spawn Sighted in Shard and Hibarnhvidar
- 32 421-04-02 - The Fae Attack, Heron and Wren Spotted
- 33 419-02-09 - Ipirhka Lakwi to Observe Guildleader Silvyrfrost
- 34 419-01-10 - World Jousting Tournament: Zoluren Qualifier Results
- 35 419-01-10 - Drathrok's Duskruin Arena Appears and Departs
- 36 418-09-21 - Visions of the Future: Heralds and Elemental Sorcery
- 37 418-07-29 - Crossing War Report: Recent Elpalzi Assaults
- 38 418-05-29 - 'Twas the Night Before Chris' Mass
- 39 418-01-08 - Butcher Beezell Harvests Festival-Goers
- 40 416-02-32 - A Brief Guide to Current Events in Zoluren
- 41 416-01-13 - Plans for Prince's New Residence
- 42 415-10-29 - Xala'Shar Hideout Discovered
- 43 415-06-14 - Elpalzi Lieutenant Geva - Sunfall Hub to Open - Pie-Maker Wanted
- 44 414-03-21 - Drogorian Dreams: Visions of a Moon Mage
- 45 414-02-08 - Drogor's Minions Descend
- 46 414-01-17 - Royal Family Returns - Ice Eels Attack Travelers - Guardians Continue Attack on Zoluren
- 47 413-08-23 - Dreadful Drogorian Drama - Goblins at Northeast Gate
- 48 413-07-10 - 'Kitchen Sink' Invader Strikes
- 49 411-09-09 - Elpalzi Attacks Continue Against Crossing
- 50 411-04-29 - Wyverns Attack the Crossing, Shard, and Therengia
- 51 411-04-05 - Elpalzi Attack Again After Long Hiatus
- 52 410-09-37 - Dressmaker Fritha Walks, Poison Suspected
- 53 410-07-28 - The First Defeated, Sky Clears - Spider Festival Arrives
- 54 410-07-17 - A Light of Hope is Found - Music to Bring Sunlight to Peri'el
- 55 410-07-09 - Sister Tasrhhsu Sacrificed, Recovering - Fists Continue to Erupt - Vigil for Peri'el Brings Visions
- 56 410-06-37 - Both Fists Erupt - Sister Tasrhhsu Says Peri'el Not Dead
- 57 410-06-29 - The First Claims Peri'el Slain
- 58 410-06-09 - Dergatian Chrysalis Awakens - The 'First' Attacks Crossing and Ru'atin Sister
- 59 410-05-01 - Turmar Miners Lost, Return Insane - Survivor Vathbiirk Speaks of Escaping the Keep
- 60 410-04-17 - Elpalzi Destroy Ulf'Hara Keep - Numerous Nobles Walk
- 61 410-03-37 - Assassin Zhnai Walks - New Assassin Zayerg - Prydaen Faire Success
- 62 410-03-16 - Assassin Tengh Continues Bloody Work
- 63 410-03-01 - Elpalzi Assassin Strikes Again - Mysterious Journal Unearthed - Strange Sounds in Turmar Mines
- 64 410-02-09 - Champion Elpalzi Storm for Hours
- 65 410-01-20 - Princess Arilana Sails - Elpalzi Stronger - Asketi's Ride
- 66 409-03-30 - Festival of Guilds: Final Days
- 67 409-01-34 - Elpalzi Assassin Strikes
- 68 409-01-30 - Elpalzi Bombs
- 69 409-01-17 - Introducing the First Land Herald - The Elpalzi Threat
426-09-10 - Maelshyve Raid a Stunning Success
Against slim odds, a large group of intrepid adventurers recently raided the Fortress of Maelshyve, intent upon attacking the Demon herself in her own lair. I am proud to report here their near complete success. The Demon's presence was weakened, her avatar prevented entirely from manifesting in our Plane! Hodierna's own Unicorn was a constant companion during our battle, and when the fighting was finished, we felt upon us the blessing of the Immortal Herself as we prayed to consecrate that Unholy place. The only mystery that remains is the location of the corpse of Ciriasa, the unfortunate woman whose body was nearly overtaken by the Demon.
To begin, I must first confess, dear reader, my sheer inadequacy in telling this tale. I expect I will only be able to barely scratch the surface. There were too many parts, too many roles played, for a single Bard such as myself to know them all, even with my own extensive observation and interviewing practices. Thus I hope you will read with understanding, and feel yourself free to publish your own additional details or request addenda.
In the beginning, a small, Zoluren-based group called the Anduwen Watch made the decision to perform the raid. Their name comes from the anlas of Anduwen, the first anlas of the new day and also a dark, midnight anlas. Their stated desire is to fight for the breath of civilization across Elanthia, to herald the new day even among the darkest of times. They chose this raid in order to strike back against a festering Demon presence which has long situated itself in the Zaulfung swamp: Maelshyve, the green-eyed beast, symbolized by the triple-tined claw.
For the uninitiated, Demons are not simple nor small monsters, nor even mortal enough to be called something like "monsters". They do not live and breathe as we do, but instead are more akin to gods, their presence and power expansive, although extraplanar. We are only protected from them by their difficulty in manifesting in our Plane of Abiding, though their lust for all things Divinely created means that they will forever scrabble against our figurative door. Maelshyve's corruption of the Zaulfung, though a terrible blight to us, is but the tip of her little finger.
During the planning phase, the Watch became aware that the Demon was stirring. For how long this had been occurring, no one can be certain. It came to them that she would soon attempt to materialize herself into one of many human women, their bodies gruesomely transformed into the Demon's image. The group intended to utilize vials of liquid inimical to Maelshyve, which would expel her from her potential vessels.
When the day of the raid came, the Watch was joined at the Riverhaven Temple by a horde of capable adventurers, with the official support of the Order of the Black Fox. Several individuals from the Theren Guard and Tavern Troupe were also spotted. The Order of the Dragon Shield pronounced to me afterward that they were against the raid and asked to be quoted: "We protect Theren, particularly Haven and the surrounding, and of course anything else the Baron directs. We DEFEND, we don't seek out additional trouble for the area, there is enough with Viggu as is." However, as part of their aim of protecting Therengia, they sent a force to guard the Standing Stones and Riverhaven during the event.
Mother Whiteburn exclaimed to us all, "This is a night of power. A night of glory. Today, I espied a red buzzard flying over the swamps of the Zaulfung. The early morning sun haloed the holy bird in a corona of blood." She then led the group in a battle prayer to Hodierna before we would begin the work of the raid.
Those supporting the raid split into three groups: a forward team, a main force, and a prayer group intending to remain at the Riverhaven Temple to provide spiritual support.
The forward team was sent into the Fortress well in advance in order to stymy the plans of any cultists. This team consisted of Mazrian, Qiyan, Saragos, and Seldaren, who traversed ahead to the main chokepoint within the Fortress: the rope bridge. There they worked tirelessly to prevent entry of known Necromancers. Saragos reported that the team engaged several such Necromancers and was able to successfully destroy them without incurring losses. Team members also threw themselves upon the unstable rope in order to knock down any interlopers who made it to the bridge, risking their own lives and falling in the process. Maltris arrived and was particularly adept at such acrobatics, eagerly leaping toward the enemy. Qiyan also reported that an occasional great wind would pick up and blow people clear across the area.
The main force, of which I was a member, gathered under the leadership of Perune, then moongated to the Fortress's entrance within the Zaulfung. There we were greeted by none other than a unicorn, surrounded by motes of Divine light, which could be none other than a servant of the great Mother Hodierna, Protector of Life. Although bolstered by this appearance, our group quickly encountered its first obstacle: the slow entry into the Fortress itself. Fighters could enter only at a trickle of two at a time, every minute or so. The patience shown by those present was nothing less than astonishing as the group slowly reformed inside. Some pressed forward while others remained to be led.
My own role was to sound the horn and provide Sanctuary as we traversed the murky caverns below. Thanks to such dampening magics, we made it to the charred caves without much incident. However, there we encountered the first more serious minions of Maelshyve: shylvics, blood wraiths, and lesser vessels, which appeared amidst the cinder beasts that usually prowl there. The lesser vessels in particular were disturbing, their Humanity clearly encroached upon by unhealthy patches of scales. It was there that I first saw the brilliance of the unicorn's horn bringing Holy retribution to our foes — yes, the creature actually fought at our side! Ethereal shield was enough to protect us from the explosive flames of the dying cinder beasts, and the unicorn and warriors made short work of the other enemies.
As if these attacks were not enough, we also tasted the first of many Incursions of the Demon into our own persons. Not only did many of us report hearing her voice whispering to us, but beginning at that point, we felt her true weight upon us as invisible talons crushed our heads, cracking skulls. Such attacks would continue periodically throughout the raid, and so from that point forward, the Empaths would be taxed by taking so many similar wounds. I said a silent prayer of thanks to Hodierna for remembering to bring a full remedy kit. Furthermore, the vessels emitted dusky blue fumes which could penetrate into party members. I now believe these fumes caused necromantic corruption, which was occasionally abated by the love of our favored gods.
Once we reached the bridge, although it was a point of safety, we were again slowed severely by the need to cross one at a time. During this time, much loud discussion was had in my mind over whom to send next. Empaths were called back and forth as our heads continued to be crushed. In particular, I recognized Aislynn, Kaelie, Karthor, Qiyan, Szrael, and Zymi providing enormous support in triage in general. I switched to Hodierna's Lilt — particularly appropriate given our ally — in the hopes of sustaining everyone while they worked. At times things felt desperate as we were repeatedly assaulted by the invisible talons.
Eventually I made it across and discovered that we had managed to set up a banner and field hospital near the obelisk, south of the Halls. However, I learned via gweth that the forward group had pressed north into the Inner Sanctum, past the Hall of Malice, where the true threat lay. I was tasked with setting up a new, forward field hospital in the Sanctum. For that I knew I needed a skilled Paladin, so I took Sir Samsaren and we headed north. This area is fraught with deadly puzzles and traps, a rushing river, and teleportation circles that require time to activate, but we managed to make it to the heart of the Demon's lair.
There we encountered Ciriasa. Unlike the lesser vessels we had seen before, who were merely patched with scales, Ciriasa was clearly in the full throes of metamorphosis. She was covered in thick, midnight-blue scales from head to toe and bore daggerlike talons on her fingertips and menacing fangs dripping with venom. Plated wings allowed her to take flight, and she often attacked by flicking them outward, sending ichor-coated barbs into her opponent.
When she saw Sir Samsaren, she roared out, "FINALLY! SOME SPORT!"
We were forced to engage, the warrior holding her back while I tried to maneuver us into a position to banner. I saw her attack him again and again, barbs building in the cracks of his armor, claws rending through his breastplate. At one point she swooped down from above, landing on him with terrible force and pinning him to the ground as she tore him apart. To my amazement, he managed to whisper the final words of the Banner of Truce spell just before he fell unconscious, dying in my arms. The area was safe!
I traversed back south through the traps and led the rear group to the new safe area, where the triage party immediately got to work on the wounded and fallen. Throughout our fighting, I spotted the unicorn moving to support different warriors, attacking Maelshyvean foes and Necromancers alike, and Seldaren reported it even once stopped to resurrect him directly.
The final battle unfolded before me. An enormous number of warriors engaged Ciriasa or participated in triage at our field hospital. Among those I was able to identify were Agadir, Atanamir, Aurayn, Binu, Charlize, Collain, Elec, Etherian, Everics, Hanryu, Dame Isharon, Mother Khaelyn, Father Liurilias, Maltris, Maxwelinski, Mazrian, Miskton, Perune, Ruea, Sir Samsaren, Saragos, Sir Sebestyen, Seldaren, Father Sereze, Sir Sturm, Talmoon, Tirost, Toreakas, and Mother Whiteburn, along with the stalwart Empaths I mentioned above. The best throwers were given vials to target the prime vessel. I also witnessed a dark-skinned Elothean and a hooded Prydaen, both Necromancers, fighting against her, each with his own concoction. It appears that even among the Necromancers, there are those who would battle demons.
Sir Samsaren said that fighting Ciriasa was like facing a “very powerful Barbarian” in terms of the barriers she possessed. The projectiles often missed their mark, spilling across the floor, or were knocked away by her wings. However, when they did connect, the spray of liquid caused her to reel back in shock, black energy erupting from the droplets and causing a massive concussive blast that blew everyone backwards. The battle was harried and brutal, as hierophants and blood wraiths swarmed, and three or four foul Necromancers brought forth deadly glass constructs at the same time. Despite these trials, our warriors prevailed.
Finally, Sir Samsaren held Ciriasa’s gaze with unwavering strength, then bowed his head and called forth the resounding magic only a Paladin can muster. She was stunned, and in that moment of weakness, Seldaren made the final connection, his mastery clear as the vial struck perfectly her frozen form. She collapsed to her knees then, reality itself warping violently in the area as waves of distortion rippled outward from her. The green glow in her eyes dimmed, and she shouted in a desperate plea, "Help me, warriors, please, while her grasp is weakened!" Then the fierce glow returned, although she appeared severely weakened, and she cried out, "What's this? Master, do not abandon me, I will destroy these fools here and now!" But it was too late for her. We heard an unnatural hissing as she fell over in a heap, convulsing. The scent of filth reached my nostrils as her scales and wings began to dissolve, melting off her form in a sickly blue ichor. When it was done, she was left in Human form.
Included here is a detailed painting showing an energetic battle scene. Just off center looms the feminine monstrosity Ciriasa, bat-like wings captured mid-flight in a turbulent extension, with one scaled arm outstretched and a single, wicked talon pointing across the field toward a determined Human Paladin, his shield upraised and bearing numerous barbs sunk into its frame. The Paladin is poised with axe preparing to strike, its head flaring white-hot, the man's lined face stark in the contrasting light. A swirl of action is portrayed around the two figures, unbalanced poses and restless composition lending a sense of feverish urgency to the fight. Alight in one corner is a blonde Elothean man surrounded by a maelstrom of fire and ice, his figure leaping to the side as one arm is outstretched in release, a tiny glowing vial soaring toward Ciriasa.
According to Mazrian, in the heat of battle, with the surge of bloodlust all around and the press of warriors, some were not able to comprehend the transformation and pushed toward the now Human Ciriasa with attacks, wounding the woman. Mazrian dragged her away to be healed, but she bled out before the work could be done. There were some tense moments of discussion over the body, but then Osven, a man I earlier identified as a Necromancer, dragged away the corpse.
Frustrated at the loss of the corpse and unable to find her, eventually we decided to move on to our final task: consecrating the corrupted altar. This place was once dedicated to Urrem'tier, but Maelshyve defiled His holy altar and made it her own. Mother Whiteburn led us in prayer once more, calling upon those present to raise their voices to Urrem'tier, which we did in force. Although we heard naught of Him, the Divine Unicorn spoke to us thusly:
"The fate of she who was the demon's prime vessel lies with Urrem'tier now. Seek her if you wish, save her if you can. The gods are pleased with your deeds this day, and I, the servant of Hodierna, ask no more of you."
Its form then dissolved into mist before my eyes, showers of sparks raining down upon the area, leaving a glittering gold dust behind. A sense of peace settled upon us, and I felt distinctly as if Hodierna had blessed our place.
Suddenly, the corpse of Ciriasa appeared before us, as if out of nowhere. I noticed that where before it was healed, it was now mutilated, missing parts from the abdomen and back, and the right eye was gone entirely. We learned as well that she was bereft of favor with the gods, and so we beseeched the Immortals to raise her again, many of us offering up our own favor so that it could be so. Alas, our prayers were not answered, and the corpse was suddenly dragged off again. Although our Rangers and Moon Mages searched for Ciriasa, Osven, and other Necromancers to whom they might have retreated, they could find no trace of them. Exhausted, we decided to retire, accepting that at least we were victorious over the Demon.
Oscearo reported to me that those who remained at the Temple during the fight were Annais, Janora, Rafano, Rze, and herself. Janora was insightful enough to send her familiar in to follow the fighting and gave regular reports. Oscearo called out Rafano in particular for his devotion to the prayers, which he gave steadfastly "in the face of much horror and distraction." At one point, a unicorn visited them. She said, "It suddenly revealed itself to us in the room with the altar, and stood there bathed with moonlight as if from the inside out. It did not speak, only bolstered our resolve with its presence, and let us know we were heard." Just before the end of the ritual in the Fortress, it then spoke into their minds, wishing blessings everlasting upon them, before it dissolved into motes of brilliant, heavenly light.
The Standing Stones remained largely free of conflict, though the Order of the Dragon Shield reported that one Necromancer did attempt an attack there. They drove him off and killed him. Riverhaven was peaceful during the event.
Overall, I am stunned by the success that was wrought on that day. If the Demon had manifested fully, we would have been faced with a cataclysmic event that could well have cost untold lives. Recall that even Prince Vorclaf, infused with the power of Meraud, was defeated by Lyras as the Hunger manifested within her. Despite the difficulties of the entrance and bridge, the traps and enclosed places, the desperate need to Banner in unaccommodating areas, and the sheer, raw strength of Ciriasa herself, we rallied and removed the demonic presence from her. Every person who participated has contributed to the peace we may now enjoy once again.
My only moments of unquiet come when I consider Ciriasa, once prime vessel, removed and lost to us, fate unknown. Mother Whiteburn also confessed to me her unease that Urrem'tier's voice was not heard at the altar, and we wonder if it is truly consecrated. Even still, the work that we did that day was done well, and I personally commend all who took part.
In peace and solidarity,
426-05-34 - Raid Planned for Maelshyve's Fortress
The demon Maelshyve has for too long lain uncontested in her fortress beneath the Zaulfung! So says the Anduwen Watch, a Zoluren-based group dedicated to the preservation of civilization and the Plane of Abiding. This group of intrepid adventurers plans a RAID upon the demon's very home and heart, an event to which they invite all able-bodied guilded individuals.
The main aims of the raid will be:
- To KILL as many supporters of the demon as is possible, particularly her hierophants. However, shadow beasts, cinder beasts, and basilisks may also be encountered in her most dangerous Lair. To defeat hierophants, it is recommended one be able to match a storm bull in combat at the least. For the others, I recommend skill at defeating warklins. Note that these are rough estimates only.
- To CONSECRATE the altar Maelshyve has defiled by her tainted Will. This altar once belonged to the great god Urrem'tier, and the Watch hopes to beseech Him to intervene and resume His ownership of this once-holy place. It is advised to bring offerings and words pleasing to Urrem'tier, god of Death.
NOTE that the Watch wishes to provide aid to ALL those who dare to brave the demon's fury, regardless of ability. They especially welcome those with healing or resurrecting abilities, and those with a special connection to Urrem'tier. A guide will be present to usher noncombatants to the altar's location and peace-making abilities will be in use to attempt safe prayer, however no guarantees can be made. The Lair is mazelike and full of dark horrors, so plan accordingly.
Meet the Watch at the Riverhaven Temple on the appropriate day and time. [OOC: March 31st, 9pm EST.] Come prepared for death, and let us hope Death is prepared for us.
425-06-34 - Provincial Leaders Discuss Necromancy Menace
Yesterday large retinues from each of the five provinces converged on DiSilveron Manor in the Crossing. An anonymous source from within one of the retinues reported to me that leaders from all provinces were in attendance, including Prince Belirendrick of Zoluren, Ferdahl Aemmin of Ilithi, Baron Gyfford of Therengia, Councilor Ilanthesh of Qi'Reshalia, and King Tongrid of Forfedhdar.
The source claimed that the meeting's topic was Necromancy and how best to deal with it. According to the source, Baron Gyfford takes a hardline stance, claiming Necromancers are "evil" and "they deserve no mercy." Prince Belirendrick agrees that they are evil but stated that "jailing them for five roisaen" was not an effective solution. He also brought up concerns over false accusations. Ferdahl Aemmin was said to eloquently argue that "killing them doesn't work" and could in fact lead them down a darker path. She believes they deserve a chance at redemption.
King Tongrid and Councilor Ilanthesh, according to the source, were not as vocal about their specific stances. The king acknowledged that Necromancy is one of many evils that he deals with, and the councilor only said that each individual island is responsible for its own denizens. All were said to be in agreement that Necromancy is "terrible."
At one point, I heard yelling come from within the manor, though what was said was not discernible.
At another point, couriers dressed in the colors of each province were dispatched on horseback.
Finally, my source revealed that sorcery was also a topic up for discussion. According to the source, Baron Gyfford called it "blasphemous" while Prince Belirendrick said it was bad but noted the lack of organization behind it. The prince is concerned that shopkeepers are currently alarmed and may sometimes believe Necromancy is being practiced when in reality it is not.
Discussions may continue for several days. More will be reported on this topic if further information is discovered.
425-06-34 - Trader Guild Negotiates with the Arbiter
I apologize that, given my recent vacation, I was unable to report on this news earlier. Guildleader Cialen, leader of the Shard Trader guild, has confirmed that Lord Veahmic Turmar, and the Trader guild in general, are communicating with the extraplanar entity known to us as the Arbiter in Darkness.
My source within the Trader guild told me that Researcher Tozu of the Moon Mage guild was spotted at Brickwell Tower in Shard, where the Trader guild is located. He exited a rather heated meeting with Cialen, though no words between them were gleaned through the door. The leader requested an escort to Dirge, where he would meet with the Turmar family, and during the journey he revealed the guild's new discussions with the unusual being.
The Arbiter in Darkness, for the reader who does not know, is entirely different from a creature from our own Plane of Abiding. The Arbiter is what is known as a Greater Concept from the Plane of Probability; it is the embodiment of starlight. As Cialen put it, "…[asking what is the Arbiter] would be akin to asking what is a feeling. What is a thought. What is a concept." Visionist Miskton described it as powerful, along the lines of one of the Immortals, and said that "people who tried to deal with it… were given what they asked for… which was generally not what they wanted." For those interested in further study, I recommend you seek the story titled only "Arbiter in Darkness."
As a side note, the Plane of Probability is the same one from whence came the recent starcrashers, zenzics, and the like. My Trader contact informed me that these creatures, too, were willing to negotiate with members of the Trader guild, providing a short term of "service" in exchange for metals of any type. Service in this case appeared to consist of following the Trader and attacking all others nearby, regardless of allegiance.
Cialen noted that individually the Trader guild leaders would generally dominate a given deal. He added, "But for this one [with the Arbiter], it's been determined that collective experience is in order. Not to mention considerable outside research." The terms of the deal have not yet been reached, and negotiations may continue for some time. Cialen was not forthcoming about what each side is expected to gain or lose, but he did say, "These may be some of the most profound negotiations in our guild's history."
425-03-10 - Mother Whiteburn's Ritual Closes the Stable Rift
Today Mother Whiteburn, Chosen of Drogor, a prominent priestess of the Cleric Guild, called for the consecration of the stable rift discovered near Rossman's Landing. She gathered both members of the clergy and the public to aid her in entreating the Thirteen for aid in ending the anomaly, whose presence promises the continued corruption of our dear Plane of Abiding.
At the appointed time we met at the rift. I am told that before I arrived, the group was beset by a small array of zombies, led by a Necromancer that those present identified as one Talinel -- may the gods smite him down forever. The one that I witnessed when I arrived was a zombie shark, somehow compelled through foul forces to attack brutally even when on land. I also spotted at least one other known Necromancer flitting through the area. Mother Whiteburn told me that one of them recited a prayer to Hav'roth in the S'Kra Mur language, only instead invoked the name "Antrayelsis". Whether this represents open demon worship will be up to scholars; we shall only know once we discover to whom this name refers.
Around this same time, the rift acted upon the area, releasing a fetid mist which immediately diseased all those present. Thankfully, Web Healer Sarkranis, Zoluren's Shadow Aislynn, and Rairken were able to handle the crisis with precision and alacrity, purging everyone of the illness.
Mother Whiteburn began the moment the last zombie fell, commanding the clergy to hold hands in a ring, and the rest present to kneel and press their hands unto the dirt. She explained to me afterward that this was to create a conduit for divine energy to enter the area and cleanse it. Holy trident raised high, she began chanting, beseeching the gods to purge the corruption and end the rift. Everyone began to pray, calling out to personal gods and the pantheon alike. Father Liurilias joined in with Mother Whiteburn's chanting. The air became palpable, and I could feel the gods' presence in my bones, as if held in the thrall of Their greatness.
As the praying continued, I saw a cluster of large spiders in all manner of hues appear and enter the rift. One witness, Malykai, made the unfortunate choice to follow them, returning as a body, though his soul suffered no undue harm as he was resurrected.
Improbable angles began to jut out from the rift before contracting again. The Elemental, Lunar, and Holy magics being released into the area became visible to all as entwined streams of fiery, cold white, and golden light poured themselves into the shimmering rift! The energies assaulted the planar distortion, crackling violently. The rift started to break apart, then, quite suddenly, it completely collapsed! The ritual was a success! Mother Whiteburn, pleased but obviously drained, still implored us to continue to close the other, unstable rifts breaking through into our Plane. Our work is not quite done yet, though we have experienced victory today. We give thanks to our Immortals and to our talented clergy.
425-02-34 - Researcher Tozu Speaks on Planar Events
Today Visionist Miskton hosted one of his infamous Visions meetings at the Great Tower of Shard. We convened to discuss in particular those visions lately relating to the planar incursions we have suffered. However, this would be no ordinary meeting.
First, we were met by an unfamiliar face flashing briefly in the sky (depicted below), indicating that we were being watched via a Shadewatch Mirror. Miskton was concerned and requested that I ward the area from clairvoyance, which I did with a reasonably powerful manifestation of the Sanctuary spell. However, my success was short lived, as a blinding purple explosion of shadows appeared momentarily, revealing once again the interloper's face. A basic sketch reveals a vague male face, enough detail present for an approximate identification. Below the face is written: Tressoth?
Considering we had little means of stopping the individual from observing as he chose, we decided to continue the meeting. Shortly thereafter, Researcher Tozu of the Moon Mage guild arrived. He suggested our observer might be none other than Tressoth, one of the Children of Kalestraum, a cabal of rogue Moon Mages known for both their magical terrorism and their research into forbidden Teleologic sorcery. He claims Tressoth has been following his movements, although given Tressoth's earlier arrival, he may have had an interest in the meeting for its own right.
We discussed a number of visions, most with clear ties to current events. Crystalline latticeworks descending from the sky, waves of frigid heat washing from tears in reality. For details I encourage readers to seek out Miskton. We all agreed that they only emphasize the need to heed the High Temple's word and work to heal or purify the rifts, and eliminate the creatures.
Fortunately, Researcher Tozu was able to speak further on these planar events. He began by talking about the stable rift leading to the area of planar distortion: "The issue is that we see it here... I mean it's not a portal to some other plane. It's literally a part of the Plane of Abiding being changed... [It is] the merging of two disparate Planes. It wouldn't just be a meld or one takes over the other. Entirely new laws of nature or physical manifestations could be created... This kind of incursion and merging, it can result in something entirely foreign to either Plane involved... Which means bad things for all the things that currently exist on either." When asked about the dangers of exposure, he said, "We need to be worried about mass exposure, because if this keeps growing..." and at this point he trailed off and declined to finish.
Furthermore, Tozu was able to enlighten us on the nature of the interplanar beings' interaction with sorcery. He said, "I've confirmed some of the high sorcery spells can break the protection [the planar beings] have in their maddened state." He added that this included Teleologic sorcery, "among others." However, the researcher cautioned, "Not that anyone should be deploying the [sorcery] tactic." He also confirmed that Uncurse is the safest way to end the maddened state, and that Psychic Shield provides protection against the limb-severing spell of the zenzics (though not the rogue gates of the harbingers). When I asked him if he would make a statement on the use of sorcery and its relation to the corruption of the Web, he responded, "I think anyone with sense can see it's part of the problem here."
He spoke a little too on anathema, the substance retrieved from the rifts. He said, "The anathema demonstrates curious structural properties, both physically and magically, when subjected to proper scrutiny." I myself have confirmed through magical focus the sense of sorcerous corruption latent within the material. Tozu went on, "It is the essence of the rifts, and represents the literal boundaries of the planar void weakening as physical laws are violated first. After that come the psychic energies, among other things. Many guilds have experience visions and psychic assaults as these energies begin to flow across the void."
About the loimic, he said, "Compared to the anathema, the evidence of corruption here is weaker, but still present. As expected, these physical manifestations are the most resilient but nonetheless ultimately susceptible." Visionist Miskton mentioned that there was an odd occurrence with a moongate at the start of the meeting. As he put it, a wave of semi-solid shadow burst forth from the gate, an effect similar to that seen near the rift by Rossman's Landing. Tozu replied, "It's not unexpected that the properties of mana could begin to be disturbed."
Finally, Tozu revealed that Traders appear capable of dealing with the interplanar beings once they are forced out of their maddened state. He said, "They can make a sort of deal with the creatures in exchange for some metal. It actually settles them briefly." However, he admitted his knowledge in this area was lacking and could not speak on it further.
Once again, I emphasize the words of the priestesses of our High Temple. We must deal with these rifts, or risk Harawep's wrath. Speak to your local priestesses about how you can help.
425-02-30 - Stable Rift Appears Near Rossman's Landing
Today, what appears to be a stable, possibly permanent, planar rift was discovered near Rossman's Landing, in the Mistwood Forest where three paths come together by a hawthorn tree. The rift leads to what is clearly a planar distortion, quite possibly some sort of physical manifestation of the Plane of Probability. It is populated by some of the most deadly of the interplanar beings I wrote of in my last article: huge zenzics and starcrashers. All attempts to break apart the rift, as we are able to do with the others, failed utterly.
A detailed drawing shows the rift yawning open, lightning streaks of light and shadow deeply inked across the edges.
Shortly after the rift appeared, I witnessed several strange effects near the opening, on our side in the Plane of Abiding. Webbing appeared from nowhere and covered those of us in the area. Brutal cold suddenly buffeted us. We were also at different times stunned and taken to our knees. The rift itself dripped liquid fire, burning the grass beneath it. Crystalline bubbles floated out from within it, rising to the sky above. Finally, the surface of the rift buckled and warped before snapping back into place, looking somehow more solid than before.
I was only able to brave the interior for a short time, but within it my eyes were filled with the wonders of an alien world. Strands of manifest darkness and light roped around each other, pulsing like the heartbeat of a great web in the sky. Light and shadow grew like moss upon boulders. I saw songbirds singing droplets of liquid crystal. Yet, among all this strange beauty, there was also corruption: pitted ground, noxious gas, and sickly green and red veins connecting twin masses of shadows. Unfortunately, due to the danger present I was not able to take the time to connect to the area and search for visions of the past. If you should choose to brave this distorted world, exercise great caution. These creatures are deadly in the extreme. I remind us all to continue our work to remove the other rifts, purify the tainted material, or purge the interlopers, as desired by our goddesses. Our link to this foreign plane is growing stronger.
425-01-38 - Interplanar Beings Crash Through Kermoria
Beginning about 5 andaen ago, several beings from the Plane of Probability made numerous, violent appearances within Kermoria, appearing at different times in Riverhaven, Shard, and the Crossing. Just last andu, they created havoc in the Crossing as they wandered through, snipping limbs from citizens and summoning monoliths of crystal to hurl at those they encountered.
Several sketches show the appearance of the various creatures. The zenzic resembles a tufted caterpillar, innumerable glass filaments rippling across it, with a note indicating that they can appear in a variety of sizes, from tiny to huge. The zenzizenzic appears identical except that it is two zenzics occupying the same space. The starcrasher and starlight harbinger are drawn as a cross between a starfish and a ten-legged spider, the jumble of limbs positioned to display its unusual movement. A note explains that the starcrasher is translucent and opalescent, while the starlight harbinger shines with blinding white light.
The creatures known as the zenzic and the zenzizenzic are considered lesser incarnations of mathematics, while the starcrashers and starlight harbingers are lesser incarnations of physics. For those not educated in the matters of Lunar magic and the Plane of Probability, this means that these creatures are a physical manifestation of some of the unknowable rules that govern that plane. Natural inhabitants are typically beings made of shadow, light, or, as in this case, pure concept.
Practically speaking, their nature as denizens of the Plane of Probability makes these creatures unpredictable. In fact, initial attempts to wound them were totally unsuccessful, as they would blink away from the aimed location of the strike. Spell patterns targeted at the creatures were stripped of their meaning by localized anomalies around the beings.
Thus, at first, the beings had free reign of their respective cities. The zen-types cast a spell that suggests the intersection of improbabilities, scissoring off whatever limbs happen to be caught within them. The star-types created storms of objects whirling around them via telekinetic force, and they hurled chunks of ice-cold crystal at defenders. Most brutal of all, the starlight harbingers would occasionally summon sky-high rogue moongates, which would invariably tear apart anyone in the near vicinity. Run immediately if you see such a being calling forth a gate.
Fortunately, defenders soon discovered a method to weaken the creatures, stripping them of their ability to avoid attacks: A Cleric must Uncurse them. Mother Whiteburn, Chosen of Drogor, said that she could feel Harawep's influence within a curse upon them, and this allowed her to break it. Rumors of sorcerous spells affecting the creatures are unconfirmed. I did glimpse an apparent moon mage cast upon one of the creatures, at which point it strangely turned and followed him. I was unable to detain him for comment. He was a green-scaled S'Kra Mur dressed in a dapper suit and bowtie, if a reader should spot such a person.
Renowned Visionist Miskton, Court Mage of Ilithi, was kind enough to share several visions with me that he feels pertain to the current events. They are too numerous to list here, and thus I encourage readers to confer with him at his next Visions meeting, whereupon they will be discussed in detail.
Father Padhg also told me he experienced a strange vision, one not shared by any others that I spoke to. Just before the first attack, as he was resting after combat, he suddenly felt as if he were drowning and could not breathe. His vision went dark, and he dreamed of shadows, which swam through the dark water in front of him. Later, he awakened to find himself face to face with a dolphin and one of the shadows, and, as he put it, "Eluned chased the shadow away."
Father Soraent's Advice
To our great fortune, we in Zoluren were lately visited by Father Soraent, an investigator of the High Temple known for his ability to commune quite physically with the gods. At the start of his visit, he experienced such communion as a stream of spiders, doves, and tabby cats poured forth from his mouth. He spoke to us: "Sorcery, Necromancy, perversions of Fate, disruptions of the Web, all of this adds up. In haste, in greed, in lust for power, in ignorance, in hubris, the non-pious poison Her Work." He means, of course, that Harawep's Web of Fate is corrupted, poisoned, allowing these extraplanar beings into our own Plane of Abiding.
He went on to explain that the Immortals are of three minds as to how to combat this corruption, of which the creatures are a symptom. Tamsine wishes to purify the corrupted pieces so that threads can be spun anew. Albreda thinks to dismantle the rifts through which these creatures seem to come. Harawep feels that we must burn out the poison and all touched by it. She grows impatient and will slaughter all life on this plane before she allows the Web to die. At the end of Father Soraent's speech, he was overcome by the voices of the goddesses themselves, each urgently plying Her own solution.
Father Soraent implores all to seek out the priestesses of Tamsine, Albreda, and Harawep, who have been sent out by the High Temple. Some are located within our very own Crossing Town Green, though I have been assured they are in other cities as well. The priestesses have tasks for us that will aid in their particular attempts to deal with the corruption of the Web. I join him in urging all to participate. Further, I would like to reiterate Father Soraent's belief that Sorcery and Necromancy are causes of this terrible plague. Choose wisely the spells that you use. Remember, within our hands rests the fate of Fate itself.
423-05-39 - Stunning Victory Against the Elpalzi Keep
The rush of victory surges through our veins once again, as Zoluren has delivered a death blow to the Elpalzi stronghold! Sorrow's Keep was breached and ELPALZI COMMANDER ALRET IS DEAD, COMPLETELY CONSUMED BY MAELSHYVE! His assassins lie dead as well, their souls on the Starry Road! We may finally rest easily knowing that the rebel Elpalzi, who have plagued us since the beginning of 409, are broken, leaderless and without a Keep.
Lord Grigoire called everyone to action with few formalities at DiSilveron manor. Our beloved Prince Belirendrick led the charge into battle, while many stayed behind with the sage Trethom in order to enact the necessary entry ritual.
As the prince's unit moved up the Northern Trade Route and into Sorrow's Reach, Trethom led all those willing into the manor, disbursing crystal amulets. As Ovorion told me, "The Sage invoked the Moonlight; we all rubbed our amulets at his command. When he beseeched the starlight, we tapped at his command." Marcul added, "The amount of Lunar mana flowing through that place was enormous." Ovorion went on to explain that he felt a mental intrusion during the ritual, an "awful sensation" that he attributed to Elpalzi mind-probing. When that happened, those present pushed the amulet to effect a kind of pushing from their minds. At the end, Ovorion felt a "tugging sensation" and then blacked out briefly, awakening to hear Trethom declaring the ritual a success. Trethom was clearly taxed from the event, as shortly after he was led away by guardsmen, leaning heavily on them.
When the fighting force arrived at the portal in Sorrow's Reach, Prince Belirendrick raised a sphere toward the blockade. A silent but palpable wave of energy rushed through the area, washing away the blockade completely and revealing a cavern mouth. At this point the prince urged us to split into separate fighting groups, which we did, led by Mazrian, Sir Kenamer, Councillor Aislynn, Prince Belirendrick, and possibly others I was not able to discern. We entered the Keep in our groups and immediately encountered the enemy. Faced with numerous Elpalzi in tight quarters, at times it was almost impossible to hide or retreat. The difficulty of the fight was evident as bodies piled up, brave Empaths and Clerics like Alephisa and Bryanny huddled just outside to create a field hospital. Healers such as Karthor and Qiyan braved the field to relieve battered combatants. Noble Paladins such as Sir Sebestyen and Dame Isharon acted as a bulwark against the brunt of the attacks, while fighters such as Rmel and Rizitel hammered the enemy with blows. There are too many brave friends of Zoluren to list fully here.
Others I found scouted the Keep individually, such as Elec and Hanryu. I found Elec resting calmly in the Interrogation room, and Hanryu later shared with me the documents and map he was able to procure from the Elpalzi stronghold.
The Prisoner Rescue
While the other group leaders led in fighting the Elpalzi, the group led by Councillor Aislynn, which I saw to be formed of the Councillor, Klines, Perune, Heartsfyre, Fariden, and possibly others, made their way to the prison cells. Klines told me that Iazen was waiting for them there, having already readied the other prisoners to move. Aislynn's group escorted them all out, defending them as they went, until they reached a point of safety where Klines could gate them back to DiSilveron manor. Klines said, "As we all arrived, Lord Grigoire was there to greet us. Shortly thereafter medics emerged from the Manor and took charge of the prisoners and saw them through the gate." Perune added that there were only a small handful of prisoners remaining. He claimed that Iazen reported all other prisoners had perished before the assault.
The Battle with Alret
Finally, the fighting force pushed through the Keep toward Alret's war room. There we found a barricaded door, which Lord Grigoire bid us break down. Many took weapons to the door, shredding it until we were allowed passage. Inside we found Alret in front of a crumbling sacrificial altar. We struck him down easily in a brutal attack en masse. Twice, however, he rose again. The three killing blows were struck by Somniumvisum, Mazrian, and Hammerfist.
Alret wore an amulet shaped like eye around his neck, which emitted a sickly green glow, and during the fighting it began to glow even brighter. He grasped it and began calling out to Maelshyve to destroy his enemies. In his mix of Elpalzi and Common, I was able to make out promises of fealty from the entire Elpalzi race, and of bloody offerings to the demon, interspersed with boasts of how his power and prowess could aid her. However, as he fell for the third time, I heard a booming voice: "I seek no servants, I need no worshipers, I am that I am -- behold my children as they lay waste to all!" Soon after, inky black tentacles shot out of the amulet and entwined Alret's body in a barbed embrace. Mere seconds later, they wrenched away violently, pulling with them tattered pieces of ethereal matter as they retracted into the artifact. His corpse decayed then with alarming efficiency, leaving no trace of him behind, and we all felt that his soul was consumed by Maelshyve! However, just then, we were attacked by Maelshyvean hierophants and cinder beasts, and to my dismay I saw a shadowy, amorphous creature — which we would later come to call a maeldryth — snatch up the amulet in one of its many inky black tentacles.
The Sealing, and the Battle with Demonspawn
We fought for a short time until Lord Grigoire gave the order to fall back so that the Clerical troops could seal in the demonspawn. I noticed after exiting that the portal now crackled with Holy energy, so I can only presume that they finished their job. At this point, Prince Belirendrick ordered us back to the Crossing, as it was overrun with more of the demon's minions. Of particular note, the maeldryths we found there would immobilize and curse our fighters, and the only way we found to dispel them was with the Uncurse spell. Once this was known, our fighters cleared the streets with alacrity, until the city was safe once more.
Well fought, Zoluren. Today we have vanquished our enemy! We look forward to peace talks with those Elpalzi friendly to us, and to uncovering the location of the foul amulet so it may be destroyed. But for now, rest and relax. It is a time to celebrate our accomplishment!
By my hand,
423-05-36 - Explosion at Sorrow's Reach!
With the death of Geva, hope that the conflict with the Elpalzi is finally coming to an end has never been higher. Lord Grigoire soon plans to make an announcement that many speculate will finally see Zoluren on the offensive against Alret and his forces. In advance of Lord Grigoire’s announcement, operations by the Zoluren military have begun at Sorrow’s Reach.
Early on the 35th day of the 5th month of Uthmor the Giant, 423 years since Lanival, a significant explosion was heard from the direction of Sorrow’s Keep. “It was about as loud as the explosions during an invasion. But I think I caught more of an echo of it seeing as I was standing outside the [Moon Mage guild] tower, behind the wall. The flash was pretty bright though,” stated Willower, a member of the Moon Mage guild. “I felt the ground shake and I heard a huge explosion that seemed to come from the direction of Sorrow’s Keep,” stated Meantermel, a member of the Barbarian guild.
Many immediately rushed for the Reach to try to determine what had occurred. Upon arrival at the cavern mouth, they were greeted by a full company of Zoluren soldiers. A member of the company indicated that, acting upon Lord Grigoire’s orders, an Explosives detachment set charges and detonated them in order to clear a way to a magical portal within the cavern. The detachment removed the debris and then returned home. “They exploded the rubble that was blocking the cavern mouth, so the wards can be access when the key is ready,” stated Masterson, a member of the company. He went on to say, “Lord Denesal wanted it done early so it could be assessed for threats.”
The newly exposed portal is hazy and glows with magics that swirl in hues of green, red, blue, and black. While red, blue, and black are associated with the moons that move in the skies above Elanthia, green does not correspond to any known moon. Green does, however, correspond with the demon Maelshyve which many have speculated is somehow linked to the Alret and Geva. It is also the color of the moongates and teleportational magics used by the Elpalzi. The area around the portal portal is surrounded by scorched stone. It is possible that the scorch marks are from the explosions, however that is uncertain.
The company of Zoluren soldiers indicated that no entities have attempted to emerge from the portal, despite it being stable. Masterson said, “We’re a Holy unit, trained in conjunction with the temple. We came in after the explosive company left, after the mages who were watching declared the portal stable. We are here to ensure that [nothing comes through the portal].”
It is clear that these soldiers intend to carry out their charge, to prevent access to the portal until the key is ready. Will Lord Grigoire’s imminent announcement reveal more about the ritual? Will the attack on Sorrow’s Keep begin at the conclusion of the announcement? All of Elanthia holds its breath as we wait for whatever the future may bring, to arrive.
423-05-13 - Geva Dead! Zoluren to Battle Elpalzi
Her downfall began on Truffandu, the 13th day of Uthmor in this year 423. She was heard on the public gwethdesuan network taunting the people of Zoluren. Self-described Weasel Professor Nakori warned me, "Do not think any thoughts to people about anything! Geva can hear all the thoughts and she will come snip your hair and make a doll and torture you!" Perune confirmed that Geva "used [a doll] on Qiyan and a number of others. It allowed her to probe their minds, Geva claimed, and also almost kill them." Nakori continued, "Geva snipped my fur and made a doll of me and tried to torture me, but I was strong and she wasn't very good at making it hurt for a long time, so I didn't tell her anything that I didn't know I knew."
Geva spoke openly of stealing into guilds and plaza shops, doing gods-know-what foul work, mocking our province and its people as she did so. Her timely end came about due to the quick thinking of well-known Zoluren pair, Kaelie and Mazrian. According to Mazrian, Kaelie spotted the Elpalzi witch at the Crossing Empath guild, and he set up ambush just outside. Kaelie then enlisted the help of Constanze to oust Geva from the guild with Empathic magics. Mazrian made his move and Geva went down! Even those of us distant from the event sensed then that her soul was taken, not to the Starry Road or even the Red Spiral, but into the bowels of that most evil of demons, Maelshyve.
HOWEVER, do not rest, Zoluren. Alret yet lives, and he commands the Elpalzi stronghold, which still teems with our enemies. But in heartening news, the Zoluren Council is finally ready to act. SOON WE STORM SORROW'S KEEP!
One andu ago, Perune called a Town Hall meeting to share the news brought to him by Lord Grigoire: Zoluren will march against the Elpalzi. We have finally discovered a way to breach their stronghold and will take the attack to them. Our most seasoned warriors are asked to join the front lines, breaking into Sorrow's Keep itself to purge it. All others are asked to join together in an undisclosed location and perform a ritual to aid in the battle in an undisclosed way. To those who would storm the castle, Perune warned NOT TO TOUCH anything inside, for fear of demonic influence. To those participating in the ritual, be prepared to use your magical attunement, should you have any — though all will be needed. Keep an ear to the gweth in the coming days for further announcements from the Zoluren military.
It is important to note at this point that not all Elpalzi are against Zoluren. Councilor Aislynn of the Order of the Apostles spoke to me of her experience with just one such Elpalzi. About 12 andu ago, she and Fariden encountered an Elpalzi woman, Kenla, on the Northern Trade Route. Kenla revealed that many Elpalzi were forced to fight under threat of death to themselves and their families, confessing that her four daughters were made to fight that day, all of whom were slain by Zoluren fighters. Aislynn said of it, "The sadness of a mother grieving for the loss of all of her children on the same day is... not something one can mistake." Kenla went on to tell that Geva has some means of sensing insurrection or disloyalty and expected her time would not be long. At the end of the conversation, Kenla was "torn apart by green fire," and her spirit was felt to walk the Starry Road.
Aislynn further told me that, through the work of Lady Lilena, Zoluren was able to obtain the key to Sorrow's Keep, whose magical wards have for so long kept us from attacking the Elpalzi directly. One friendly Elpalzi snuck into Commander Alret's war room and stole the key from him, delivering it unto us. And so, thanks to an Elpalzi, we shall finally be able to put an end to this conflict. Aislynn said that she believed that diplomacy, trust, and the desire to save the Elpalzi as a race were instrumental in us obtaining the key.
Now, Zoluren, prepare yourselves for battle!
423-02-37 - Elpalzi Linked to Visions of Maelshyve
For over a decade, the Elpalzi have launched raids on Zoluren. These raids have been sporadic and seemingly random in nature. However, over the past two days, the rate at which the Elpalzi are attacking has increased dramatically.
Since early on the 75th day of the 423rd year since Lanival, the Elpalzi have been launching constant attacks on The Crossing, Dirge, the Journalai Route, and the Northern Trade Road. While these attacks have varied in size, they stand out due to the consistent tempo. For the past couple of days, hardly an hour has gone by without warning calls being heard through the gwethdesuan network.
Furthermore, a small group of Guilded adventurers encountered a member of House Turmar, Lady Lilena Turmar, in The Crossing Empath Guild. Lady Lilena indicated that it was important she return to Dirge to speak with her great uncle and was offered an escort by this reporter, Liurilias, Aislynn, and Kaelie.
Near the start of the journey to Dirge, I volunteered to lead the group to its destination. While moving along the Northern Trade Road, our contingent came upon several Elpalzi who seemed to be in a state of retreat. Our group was able to handle these stragglers, however, the tide turned as we approached the road into Dirge. A few of us noticed what appeared to be a flash of shadow, which gave us pause. Before being able to assess what we had seen, many green portals began opening with organized groups of Elpalzi pouring from them.
We were almost immediately radically outnumbered and, with the benefit of surprise on their side, the Elpalzi managed to mortally wound Kaelie. Aislynn and myself began a tactical withdrawal with Lady Lilena, while Liurilias stayed behind to buy time for us. We withdrew in a harried rush that required me to fight off numerous pursuers as we fled. Finally, we managed to lose our enemies by retreating to the Abandoned Clan Great Hall near Sunfall Hub.
While we felt safe for the moment, it became apparent that a great danger was lurking in our future. Lady Lilena, a Moon Mage who studied under the Monks of the Crystal Hand, was suddenly overcome by a vision. From my perspective, the vision clearly overwhelmed her mind, and we worried about the lasting effects it might have. 0 Shortly after the vision ended, Liurilias and Kaelie managed to rejoin us without being followed. Using his considerable experience and training as a Cleric, Liurilias was able to link the spirits of all present: me, Aislynn, Kaelie, Lady Lilena, and himself. As a result of this link, Aislynn, Liurilias, and I were able to share Lady Lilena’s vision. Kaelie did not see it, and we hypothesize the link simply was not strong enough to share with all. The vision itself was truly overwhelming and felt different in its intensity from normal Moon Mage visions, of which I have had many. Throughout the entire vision, I experienced intense pain and mental rending, and I began to feel encompassed by a profoundly unnatural force. Oddly, this force was perceived in the same way I perceive the color green. As the vision continued, the pain remained intense, however I saw brief glimpses of an Elpalzi woman’s face, flickering in front of a dark, winged shape. The feeling of green continued to be prevalent in my mind as well. Finally, the vision flashed away, however just as it did so I distinctly saw a triple-tined claw.
This final image left all of us deeply unsettled. Our immediate thoughts turned to the one who uses the triple-tined claw as a standard: Maelshyve. It is widely accepted that the Zaulfung Stones are in place to repair the tear created by the Voidspell. Furthermore, it is known that Maelshyve has attempted to exploit the weakened state of the barrier between planes there, her influence apparent in the corruption of the swamp. Shortly after the shared vision, Lady Lilena managed to make it home safely via a family artifact. Lady Lilena said, “Well, if it salves your concerns, you'll know it is Auntie and the guards by the ruby glow." Shortly thereafter a ruby red glow surrounded Lady Lilena and both she and the glow disappeared moments later.
In addition to this vision, two other visions, which may be related, have been seen by several Moon Mages recently. In the first vision, a crowned figure stood in a room surrounded by rich tapestries and fine furnishings. Nearby, a human used a quill to write steadily, taking notes as the crowned figure spoke. During a lull in the speech, the writer reached toward an intricate insignia at his shoulder and brushed something away from one of its curves while smiling. In the second vision, Moon Mages found themselves in a dimly lit cell, overcome by a feeling of utter hopelessness. The cell door creaked open and light broke through it, but the feeling of hopelessness was so great that we could not move at all our shackled hand. These two visions may refer to the Moon Mage Iazen, who served as scribe for the Zoluren court. Iazen was taken prisoner by the Elpalzi years ago and has not been heard from since. The first vision may be a view into his past, while the second could be a glimpse into his present or future.
These vision leads to several questions: Is Iazen still alive? Does the triple-tined claw vision mean the Elpalzi are attempting to align with Maelshyve? Is Maelshyve using the Elpalzi as puppets? Does this somehow relate to the Necromancer Guild? As always, we must remain vigilant against the threats at our doorstep!
421-08-04 - Arachnoid Transformations: Interviews with Captain Kurmin
This year's Hollow Eve festival is steeped in mysteries related both to the Divine and to Fate. In previous issues, the Herald discussed the numerous godly invasions that preceded the festival, in addition to the words of the Divine spoken to those who gathered with Father Soraent: "Seek out That which hides in Our Forms. The years connect, the machines begin to breathe, and the Widowmaker claims that which was always Hers. The stone brings all into focus through its many distortions."
The Temple concluded that Harawep is the actor behind the invasions, and it reported that Captain Kurmin's mechanical spider is now ALIVE. The Temple also said that Captain Kurmin and his crew were completely out of contact for some weeks prior to their scheduled arrival.
Just before the aforementioned arrival time, some adventurers banded together at the altar to Harawep in order to pray. After some time, Skaen was visited by a vision: I saw a golden haired Elothean woman. Wide eyed and disheveled, standing before an elegant archway, blocked by a stocky Dwarven woman. The Elothean pointed beyond the egress and exclaimed, 'The Dove calls! We must answer she who is the Mother of lasting peace - move aside!' The Dwarven woman said, 'Child, I've had enough,' and with brief invocation and a light touch, she rendered the Elothean unconscious. We hypothesized that this pair may well be Inyasa, handmaiden to Ferdahl Aemmin, and her Dwarven companion, the Empath Zoitrece. The mention of Albreda caused some to wish to visit Her altar and so we moved to it. Once again, we were then guided by a vision, this time reported by Mistanna over the gweth. She urged us to make our way to Hibarnhvidar, and so we did.
After some searching, we managed to find the path leading to Captain Kurmin's spider, and in short order, the beaming captain appeared, standing before a large tomiek altar clearly dedicated to Harawep. He welcomed us and gestured to his massive spider — which turned in a fluid, living movement. It was surrounded by what can only be described as a Dark glow. He then began a long and exalting prayer to Harawep, and some of those present raised their stura atulave as he did so. The Dark glow began to falter and eventually extinguished in a crackle of lightning!
Captain Kurmin exclaimed, "Yes! It is complete! You brought them! You brought them!" And he disappeared into the spider.
This next section contains graphic descriptions. The Herald warns readers suffering from fainting spells or weak stomachs not to read on.
I had some trepidation about entering what was clearly an enormous living beast, but in order to report to you, good readers, I knew I must press on. I can confirm for you all with the evidence of my own eyes that the creature is biomechanical. Chitinous walls bristle with fur, and viscous fluids ooze behind translucent membranes, some releasing unknown gasses. In some locations, organs are visible, pulsating within the liquids, and in others, muscular twitches vibrate the entire chamber. Metal fuses with flesh, though not perfectly. Erosion damage is clear in many places, and others suffer from overwhelming heat or cramped quarters. The accompanying "baby spider" remains entirely mechanical, as before.
I soon encountered those known as the "greeters", a troupe of Humans who appear in costumes of the Immortals and greet newcomers to the festival. Several expressed surprise at the state of the spider; one called Sverrin even asked for a tour to view the changes. He later said, "I've been so used to walking through here that I didn't really look around and notice it till now." He could therefore not confirm when these changes officially took place. The greeters also mentioned that they have an "important" boss separate from Kurmin to whom they answer, though she prefers to remain anonymous.
After some time I was able to find Captain Kurmin and obtain an interview, such as it was. The first and most notable point I must make is that he did not walk into the room as a typical Gnome. He appeared out of a valve in the ceiling and quickly climbed — nay, scurried — down the wall. Aislynn and Marssi, noted Empaths, both later confirmed that his very physiology is changed. According to Aislynn, "He has more organs. Organs he shouldn't have. His circulatory system is no longer closed. It's becoming open... Like an arthropod. Like a spider." She hypothesizes that the partially open circulatory system is a biological compromise to allow a more arthropod-like nutrient allocation system, while maintaining all of the connections and pathways necessary for a vertebrate's standard physiology and musculature.
I must warn you, the captain's speech is affected and quite different from normal. I was able to glean a few bits of sensible information from him, recorded below, along with several responses that readers may find unintelligible. Note that this is not a full transcript, which would be far too lengthy to include.
FLH: Captain, would you care to give a statement on the ritual you just performed?
K: The state of things is most certainly intentional. It was you [who did it]! And Her. Mostly Her. You helped Her with the completion of Her Work, this glorious creature! This creation is Her Avatar! To reside upon this Plane as She desires!
FLH: This place. Is it a danger to its visitors?
K: Arguably less so than before, really.
Vinicius (greeter): I heartily endorse this spider and let me tell you, it is not only probably the safest spider in Elanthia but it's a great place for the whole family.
FLH: Captain, has Harawep granted you any particular powers?
K: Well, I've always been spry, but I do think that since She showed me the Truth I have been in much improved form.
FLH: When did you begin to worship the Widowmaker?
K: When She brought me the Truth, I guess. My place, your place, what we all are, Her Glorious Plan. The Truth of all things. Do you not see it?
FLH: I see a mechanical spider turned flesh. Is that the sum total of Her plan?
K: Yes, no, yes. All are as one, the layers, the strands, so many, always gentle, always pulled.
FLH: Tell us about the stones.
K: I named the stone. It needed a name. She let me name it for you all… It is stura atulave when it is a color other than grey. It is atulave when grey. All are sacred to Her, but the other colors... they fetter more fully. They are more Web than stone. And that is how you all helped to solidify this Avatar upon this Plane. You brought them together, you raised them unto Her. The strands of the Web. And upon them She did walk.
FLH: Where has the spider been in recent weeks?
K: We were in the Web, Upon the strands. Walking, walking. Everywhere, everywhen. Did the Mages not feel us?
FLH: This thing's pretty big. You have firm control over it now that it's flesh?
K: Why would I want to control anything? How could I even pretend to control a Goddess? …Am I speaking Gorbesh again? I do that sometimes now. She likes it, I think. The language is pleasing to Her. Aislynn: Do the mechanics still live here?
K: Oh, yes, they still live here. Aislynn: So… All of the workers survived the transformation, right?
K: Of course they did. They were not a part of the Body. Though I think some might have gotten lost on the Web. They got scared when we were there. I tried to calm them. But not everyone listens. They tried to flee, and it was not safe. That man of red came to them… [He was] angry with those who had fled outwards, those who left the Web to wander.
Perune: Can the spider, being a living avatar now, hatch more spiders?
K: Probably. Certainly if She wishes it.
Aislynn: You said this Avatar feeds on faith. How so? Is your faith enough?
K: The Faith of the world, I think. Certainly not just mine. I'm not enough for a Goddess by myself. I no longer need to fill such an ego as would say that!
Aislynn: One hopes this Avatar has no need to molt.
K: I suppose we'll see! If She wishes it so, then it will manifest.
Aislynn: Have any of the usual merchants refused to return, given the... changes?
K: Well, we scourged the halls when upon the Web. To prevent infestation once and for all. Never again.
At this point, the Captain, who is given to moving about suddenly, took his leave. Several days passed without note, when I discovered that the "baby spider" was infested with murder dolls! These were of the same type that we saw in previous invasions, and they were heartily conquered by adventurers, despite the lack of magical access in that area.
Some time later, I was able to secure a second interview with the Captain.
FLH: Do you have any comment to make about the so-called 'murder dolls' attacking?
K: This Spider is perfectly safe as She wills it. The Baby had an issue, though. And the crew fought them off. We got the wards back up.
FLH: Do you have any idea how the murder dolls entered the baby spider?
K: Oh. I thought I answered that. Was that not out loud? Sorry. Sometimes I mix them up. She says her Brother was bored.
Aislynn: Which one, Huldah?
Kurmin nodded to Aislynn.
K: He liked the little dolls. Thought they were funny. So many thought it was something else making them. This was pleasing to Him.
K: Bodies must move. Thoughts must move. Always moving. Always.
Aislynn: What happens if they don't?
K: Eaten forgotten broken lost sad no-more death in the face of the future they will crumble and stagnate and.
Kurmin at one point muttered something in Gorbesh. I asked him to repeat himself.
K: I was responding to the Web stating the Many Things again.
FLH: What are the 'Many Things'?
K: I was telling It that I am trying to talk to people, and that people do not understand the Many Things, because they are blind like I used to be. So I can't explain the Many Things to the people, because it hurts and the blindness begins to stop that. Even though the Web does not understand, it said it will not press you to know the Many Things. Because She says it is not time. People can not See the Many Things and still be just people.
Aislynn: Are there more like you? Knowing, but not Her?
K: Yes. No. In part. Elsewhere. Elsewhen.
Aislynn: Do you eat as often, now?
K: It is very hard for me to keep track of that. I sometimes can not tell when I am. Or where. Or how. And sometimes when I'm on the Web, I do not need to eat.
FLH: Do you know what it is that Harawep wants?
K: Yes and no and safety and destruction and in and out and here and then and future and this and you and we all much be what we are and She will make this so and it is ever so and never so and the Web is to be preserved so carefully and some do not do this but we shall in thiswhen to make the otherwhen correct and safe and stop the Them who look to eat everything and it is to be and not and shall and never again.
FLH: Do the rest of Her Brothers and Sisters agree with Her plan?
K: Yes and no and sometimes but the Web must be safe always it does not matter. She brings what Must Be. All of Them do. They just... somewhens are harder to understand than others. They are not us. Or you. They are what They are. They do things in whens and hows that may not make sense. They hurt, they .... I don't... Our languages are very bad at describing the Immortals.
Aislynn: Is there a when that we have encountered them? That we have identified them? How did we identify them?
K: Oh, you mean the other Them? The eating ones?
Aislynn: Those ones.
K: Yeah, of course we have. There are always times They try to get in. To eat us. To hurt the Web. They make the Web sick. I... She says. Hunger? Demons. The things from beyond the Immortals, Planes far away. The Immortals protect this Plane. They like us as we are. As we can be, as we will. All reasons for this, no reasons for this. They just do.
Faedryl: Is there a way for us to help?
K: Heal the sick webs. Save who can be saved. What is done is done. But there is redemption of a sort. Stop the sickness. Accept their lot. Choose to stop what they began. So much blindness. Save what can be saved. They rest must be purged to preserve the Web. The Spiral cleans. The Spiral cleans forever.
FLH: So, do you speak of Necromancers?
K: The ones of the illness of their webs. They are not so easily categorized by your words as you would like. You want easy. I can't can't give you easy. The Web is not easy.
K: Be known that you are but a cog upon the flarmencrank. Be known that you feel you are big but are small. Be known that you feel small but are big. You must know. You must try. Find the sick webs. Try for them. Help them heal. What is done can not be undone, not in anywhen, but it can stop happening more.
FLH: So why did She make this spider alive? How does that help with the Web?
K: Why does anything live? Walking walking, always in motion, feeling, eating, surviving, making more, to be Known. To walk the Web, to have all within, to bring This to us all. To show, to know to be. To be here. Really here. More than a little. It is... The Immortals are not from here. They are not here-here even though they are here with us. It is hard to stay here. To be here-here and not just Them-here. Even though this is less so for our Immortals. As we are Connected. Anything not of-here must find a way to be-here to be here. We are within Her avatar made flesh. This is She. Moreso than most will ever know.
FLH: So, why would She bring the creatures of other Immortals? We had several attacks before the spider arrived.
K: Oh. Yeah. I heard about that. I... She... There are so many layers. I am but a cog upon the flarmencrank. I can say the what, but the why is... beyond us. I can not make you See. It would hurt. I do not want to hurt you. Maybe if you pray more She will show you?
FLH: Were those invasions Her doing entirely? Or did She [ask for aid or] manipulate other Immortals?
K: Oh. She... She doesn't really ask. She's not an asker. She moves. Then others move. And Others.
If I may summarize: The mechanical spider is now biomechanical, with clearly living parts, while the baby remains as it was. Captain Kurmin appears to indicate that his prayer, in addition to those raising the stura atulave, brought about this transformation. Harawep is now present on this plane in Her Avatar to bring knowledge to us (perhaps?), and to stop those who are "eating" the Web of Fate. These eaters may be associating with Demons, though they are not necessarily Necromancers, and the Spiral will cleanse them. Huldah continues to wreak His usual havoc.
We face confusing times. I will leave you with a quotation from Mother Jaibriel, Priestess of Harawep: "I find that Harawep is behind most of the events flowing through my life and others, so I am glad that her delicate spiderweb is becoming known to all. Doubtless, we will experience great beauty in the days to come."
421-06-25 - A Meeting with Council Herald Strembin
This evening, a proclamation was presented to the Rathan populace by Council Herald Strembin Redthorne, Speaker of the Council of Advisors of Ratha. The Council Herald began by addressing a large crowd of common folk assembled in Monument Square, just outside the entrance to Sshoi-sson Palace.
“People of Ratha! Be it known that on the twenty-first day of this sixth month of Arhat the Fire Lion, in the year of the Bronze Wyvern, four-hundred and twenty-one years since the victory of Lanival the Redeemer, it was ratified by the Council of Advisors for the city of Ratha and island of Reshalia, to establish a temporary Home Guard of the Commons. To that end, all able-bodied citizens who are not members of any Guild, between the ages of sixteen and thirty, shall raise unto themselves such arms as they may afford, and enlist themselves within said Home Guard until such time as these immediate crises have been shown to abate.”
His words had a noticeable effect on the crowd, and sensing the agitation Strembin directed several Malk’smo constables into motion to silence the murmuring.
“The populace shall stand assured that with the passing of such dangers, said proclamation shall be lifted forthwith.”
His message delivered, the Council Herald waited for the crowd of commoners to disperse then invited the Guilded adventurers in attendance to join him within the palace for further discussion.
After leading the group to the west portico, Strembin first spoke of the recent attacks by Drogor’s minions and how the city was caught unprepared for them. He said that the invasions had prompted the Council’s decision to establish a list of heroes willing to bear arms in defense of Ratha should the need arise. And while this divine danger may be passing, the Council Herald noted that it was not the only threat Ratha faces.
“We have recent and ongoing reports of particularly vicious pirate attacks plying the sea lanes between Ratha and the mainland, as well as here and Surlaenis...More than simple pirates, if our reports so far are to be believed, though some of them are rather...hard to substantiate. The general ramblings are of a great flotilla, larger than most have ever seen. Which would seem to be considerable, given the fleets which call Ratha home.
“Several have babbled on about green-skinned pirates, which makes little to no sense. I can hardly believe there is a populace of Togs large enough to construct an entire flotilla.”
Strembin remarked that despite expanded patrols by both Redthorne and Odalva vessels, an increasing number of merchant ships are turning up lost or destroyed. Normally this would not be a great cause for concern, he said, but the attacks have been growing bolder and occurring closer to Reshalia shores.
Since the city has received no ransom demands with regard to hostages taken from captured ships, the Council is working under the assumption that the pirates may be in league with slavers. Strembin declared that Ratha has no intention of negotiating with any pirates, however, and that they should be eradicated whenever the opportunity presents itself.
“That name hasn't been heard in quite some time, no. Though it does bring me to my next point of concern.
“Some of our informants among the more...dubiously legal crews who call the city home port, have filtered in some information that gives me greater pause. They say, apparently, that a new Baron Var'Quel has recently come to power on Hara'jaal. And unlike his more recent predecessors, it appears this man is a bit less shall we coin the phrase again, ‘Hands-off.’”
The adventurers discussed what this turn of events might mean for Qi'Reshalia. Council Herald Strembin explained that while the province has enjoyed many decades of non-interference from the barons, there is concern that this new leader may seek to bring back the “old ways.” When asked by Leucius Delarrazio what the old ways were, he responded: “A particularly vicious and well organized sort of piracy that the Reshal Sea hasn't seen in generations.”
The discussion then returned briefly to the topic of Drogor and reverence to the Immortals in general. True to form, Sea Priestess Whiteburn defended the god of the oceans, stating that He would not command His minions to attack without cause and that He must always be honored and remembered irrespective of Harawep’s alleged involvement in the most recent invasions.
Nazaruss Stormfall suggested that he and some of the other regulars at the Rissan Forging Society could aid the cause by crafting weapons for the new citizen militia. Strembin replied that although conscripts are usually required to provide their own arms and armor, the Council would not be averse to accepting such donations.
“I knew that we'd find good and generous folk among our Guilded brethren and sistren.”
As dawn was approaching, the Council Herald thanked everyone for their attendance and adjourned the meeting.
421-06-20 - New Visions of a Mysterious Stone
Sea Priestess Whiteburn has reported experiencing some new visions.
“The first instance, a burst of marine-hued light suddenly overtook my vision, accompanied with the strong smells of seawater and blood. As my senses began to clear, I heard a single word echo in my mind, ‘atulave.’”
“Later, a violent surge of oceanic hues overtook my vision, churning as if in the midst of a storm, and I heard the screeching of hurricane-force winds. As I regained my senses, I felt compelled to search out a strange, reflective stone. I felt certain that its surface distorts all images seen within it, and that it contains many pale filaments across its form, like the threads of a spider's web. The words ‘stura atulave’ echoed over and over in my mind, slowly trailing away as if carried upon an ocean breeze.”
Both of these visions were accompanied by the expunging of bloody seawater. Whiteburn noted that while there were no clues to the stone’s whereabouts, she did have the feeling that it was something she should seek out.
Another adventurer named Gabellia reported via gwethdesuan that she too had seen a vision related to this unknown object. Mottled grey and brown hues suddenly overtook her vision, as if she had been pushed face-first into the pelt of some mangy creature. As her senses began to clear, she heard a single word echo in her mind, ‘atulave.’
Word of these visions traveled quickly, and soon several intrepid individuals were on the hunt for this stura atulave. Doctor Dianelle recommended that someone scout the Healerie; Navesi also happened upon Voyle Oracelya in the abandoned mine near Stone Clan as he scoured the area for the ominous object.
Finally, the stone was found in an unexpected way. War Healer Kerenelle picked up a Harawep favor orb and was headed to the temple when her pet jumping spider dropped a small stone into her hand. A description follows:
The opaque stone is highly reflective, but distorts images seen upon it like a funhouse mirror - even on places where it is completely smooth. Thin, pale, filament-like markings streak the surface, like the silken threads of a spider's web.
Kerenelle and her husband are of the belief that this is only a piece of the stone. Perhaps others are awaiting our discovery.
421-06-16 - Lady Lilena Defends Dirge Solo
I recently had a visit from local Warrior Mage Perune Nocarrain. He informed me that Lady Lilena Turmar had just defended Dirge single-handedly. As he put it, "She had been gwething for assistance to fight off a rebel gang... She said she received no assistance at all." He further told me that, in addition to no response on the gweth, numerous adventurers passed her by as she fought. He says she plans to speak to the Zoluren Council about the incident.
Nakori Dozypaws was also present at the meeting with the lady. She said, "She was alone, I think... oh! The shaman helped a bit... and she was upset that no one else helped."
Zoluren adventurers, I implore you to wield the powers of your guild in defense of our province. Listen to your gweths, and know your nobility. For a refresher, you might visit the Herald archives and look at Saragos's Guide to Current Events in Zoluren. When our people are in danger, we must respond!
421-06-13 - Elpalzi Lieutenant Fails at Crashing Curtain Call!
On the evening of 421/5/29, Arthe Dale found itself bustling with activity. Thespians from multiple provinces worked together to put on a performance of “Behind the Lines”, a play written by Sir Leucius Delarrazio. Under the direction of Marssi Darssi, the play was entertaining and provided much needed relief to many of the defenders of the provinces.
Actors and actresses in the play included Sendithu Shima’ionare-Remlane, Samsaren Remlane-Shima’ionare, Maltris Remlane, Morlen Ishbel, and Mistanna Redivas. Their talents weaved a tale of comedy and intrigue, poking fun at the Elpalzi and some of its leadership.*
Based on the volume of the applause during curtain call, the story that played out on stage seemed to delight most of the audience. Although, it would seem not all in attendance appreciated the talents of the troupe. Moments after the final curtain call, a voice was heard throughout the Yulugri Wala. The voice would turn out to belong to Geva Stavonark, a Lieutenant with the Elpalzi rebellion. The voice stated, “And playing the lovely Geva...oh. That’s right, I wasn’t deemed worthy enough to be in this yeehar-drivel of a play. Do I not entertain you? Clearly not, no clearly not.”
Apparently, the Lieutenant felt slighted by the content of the play and shortly thereafter a full Elpalzi attack on Arthe Dale and The Crossing commenced. Initially reported outside The Crossing’s Empath Guild, the Elpalzi forces quickly spread to the Rangers' Guild as well. Saphryna Silverwaters, a member of the Empath guild, stated “I was just outside the Empath guild, preparing to walk inside and passed a group of Elpalzi just outside the doors.” Many audience members, perhaps galvanized by the momentary respite provided by the play, rushed out to aid in the defenses.
Elpalzi instigators, bowyer, mages, deadeyes, rebels, dissidents, fomenters, toxophilites, incendiaries, hunters, sharpshooters and champions flooded the streets of the both towns, rapidly overwhelming garrison forces. Bolstering the Elpalzi attack was their liberal use of naphtha, throwing it at defenders in an attempt to cause severe burns. After a protracted battle, defenders managed to drive the Elpalzi back.
With Arthe Dale and The Crossing safe from rebel forces once again, questions remain. Despite this large attack, there were no reported sightings or encounters with Alret. We have had no reported sightings of Alret in many months, nor heard from him on the gweth Could this mean that the Elpalzi are under new leadership? Time will tell. For now, as always, we must remain vigilant in the defense of our homes.
- All portrayals of Elpalzi in “Behind the Lines” were, I assume, purely fictional and are not known to be based on actual events.
Assistant Reporter, The First Land Herald
421-06-08 - Estate Holders Interrupted
The Estate Holders were treated to a social gathering in Fang Cove with several Estate Holder Councilors. The mostly social event was to introduce several of the members, with Councilor Tarsben Irintel of Qi'Reshalia leading the discussion. Also in attendance were Estate Holder Councilor Orethiir Dakshilo of Ilithi and Estate Holder Councilor Guhnard Hvar'Almi of Forfedhdar. Specifics were not to be found in great detail as the bureaucratic notions of council life are anything but reportable.
The meeting turned a dark corner and with it, a host of assorted mass visions were reported by the attendees. One such vision, experienced personally by this author:
For a moment, my vision dimmed, and I am certain I could hear a faint "Tick. Tick. Tick.". As my vision began to clear, I could see an ominous image of a shadowed street with small, malevolent figures scampering in and out of the light, little as there was. Abruptly, my sight and hearing returned to normal.
Moments later the area filled with animated dolls wielding tiny scythes. The defense mounted quickly, with most Estate Holders escaping the battle unharmed. Those that stayed battled with the foul creations until no more could be hunted. Unfortunately, due to their tenacity, I was only able to gaze with any studious intent at a single one of the life-like but dangerous playthings. I provide a description below.
Although once a child's well-loved toy, the knee-high little doll was covered with ugly rust-colored streaks all over its face and hands, drips of which could be seen on its once-fine clothing. It stalked about, searching out prey, and a simple little smile graced its face, an augmentation that did little to counter the madness in its eyes.
Of some note, a blessed weapon is effective against these creations, as is Protection from Evil. As for their difficulty, I estimate that the smaller, more rough-hewn dolls were the easiest, perhaps similar in ability to a young gryphon. There was a more menacing rough-hewn doll that was more difficult, perhaps akin to a warklin. Finally, the most difficult opponents were those dolls that were finely carved and had brightly glowing eyes. These I estimated to be similar to a storm bull. For more details on the dolls, see our previous article, Murder Dolls Descend on Riverhaven. Unlike a report from this past invasion, I heard no cries for bones.
Again, we see visions, perhaps an attempted warning from the divine. And yet again, we see ravenous synthetic creations streaming across a city, blade wielding and a true terror to behold. Stay safe, dear readers. The future, at least for the moment, lies dark.
421-06-06 - Opportunistic Raids by Pirates and Elpalzi
During all of this turmoil with the Dark Gods, old foes have taken advantage of our fatigue to strike back at our beleaguered forces.
Mistanna kindly provided transporation for at least one person to assist, and defenders converged on the city as the battle ensued. A motley assembly of sailors, bosuns, longbowmen, mariners, mercenaries, lieutenants, and crossbowmen put up a stiff battle before being defeated. In general, the invaders “looked as if they had been at sea way too long and were someone you probably wouldn't like to meet in a dark alley.”
Despite their defeat, during their retreat Pfanston reported spotting several sailors carrying chests marked with the seal of the Bank of Riverhaven and I myself spotted a golden box bearing the seal of the Mayor of Riverhaven in the arms of a bosun running past me.
The chests went unrecovered, and no confirmed sighting of an escape vessel was made. Questions were raised as to whether these were the Red Sash Pirates, but no one reported spotting their distinctive garb.
In the aftermath, several horn blasts resonated in warning from the distance near the Riverhaven East Gate signaling the appearance of attacking rebels. There was a brief skirmish in which the rebels failed to penetrate the town defenses, and the notorious Cleric of Drogor, Whiteburn was identified defending His shrine.
No sooner had this thread been dealt with but Elpalzi descended from the Reach for a quick raid on Kaerna, this time called out by Janaetta on the gweth. After a brief skirmish they were driven back as well. I arrived to find the last of the stragglers being cleaned up, and this attack did not last long.
The enemies of civilization have not failed to take notice of our preoccupation with matters of Divine significance. Keep your defenses at the ready, for they are watching us as well.
421-06-05 - Father Soraent Gathers All for Group Vision
Today, Father Soraent sent out a call to invite all interested parties to the High Temple in the Crossing to discuss the recent god-related events. He was particularly interested in those he called Touched, who recently experienced visions and Divine Expungements (see our previous article, Vomit from the Gods). He expressed that he wished to perform a ritual and that it would work best if many of the Touched were present.
Once we had all gathered with him in the garden of the Monks' quarters at the Temple, he asked for the Touched to step forward and share their stories. Based on the accounts given there and those given in private to the Herald, we have gathered the following information:
- Father Soraent expelled, at two different points, 1) bloody seawater and 2) a wren, dove, and a raven.
- Syaski vomited an eyeball.
- Kythera, devoted to Meraud, vomited a mole-like creature, and experienced a vision of monsters attacking innocents.
- Badarin expelled a viper.
- Kloegar vomited a stoat.
- Azante, devoted to Eluned, vomited saltwater, and experienced a vision of monsters attacking innocents.
- Sendithu, devoted to Damaris, expunged a shrike.
- Whiteburn, Chosen of Drogor, expelled blood and seawater, and experienced a vision of destruction.
- Tenike vomited a weasel-like creature, perhaps a stoat, and experienced a similar vision to others (presumably the monsters).
- Inyasa vomited an adder.
After sharing information in this way, Father Soraent proposed to begin his ritual, bidding us all to safely remove pets, then to sit down and steel ourselves. He said, "Perhaps with enough of us with the Divine Sight in one place, and the faith of the rest of you, the shadow can be pierced."
Then, Father Soraent closed his eyes and intoned a prayer I could feel more than hear. A strange, almost transcendent sensation swept over me as he continued his chant, his form appearing bolstered by the brilliant golden glow that emanated from it. With a final, solemn phrase, Father Soraent concluded his prayer and opened his eyes once more. The Holy light surrounding him slowly sank back into his body as the sounds echoed around me, leaving him looking quite mundane -- and more than a little tired.
With a start, I became aware that my surroundings had shifted, my senses co-opted by something beyond my ordinary ken! A feeling of Divine presence suffused the area, driving me forward to discern that which was being presented. Many beings, converging and separating themselves again and again with haunting rhythm, stood before me, nearly imperceptible by vision yet still concrete in my perception. As they shone in their brilliantly shifting dark-light-grey representations, nearly overwhelming me by their presence, I begin to hear a voice -- many, yet one. The voice reverberated within me, saying, "Your faith weakens deceptions, righting the strands of the web its Mistress has altered. See this for what it truly is. Seek out That which hides in Our Forms."
It was shocking to feel truly touched by the Divine. Even after I felt Them leave me, Their voices echoed in the mouths of others present.
The first, a burbling voice coming from Whiteburn, said, "The years connect…"
Then, a dark, yet comforting voice from Dianelle, "The machines begin to breathe…"
Then, a joyous voice from Gabellia, "The stone brings all into focus through its many distortions…"
And finally, an aged voice, crackling like lightning roared from Anlise, "I am come!"
We were all left reeling, wondering at the meaning of these messages. Many speculations were made. I will not list them here, though I encourage my readers to discuss with one another. I will say what we know for certain:
- Harawep is known as the Widowmaker, and is depicted as a hag wielding lightning. Her symbol is the Spider and she is known for weaving intricate webs of deception.
- Soon we will be visited by a giant, mechanical spider.
421-06-04 - Therenborough Swims with Sharks!
Recently, the provinces have suffered a series of unusual and troubling invasions. This was continued on 421/5/30, when Therenborough found itself under attack by blue brine sharks, bull brine sharks, sharpnose brine sharks, dread great white sharks, and Stormriders. While Therenborough has been attacked by sharks in the past, this particular attack was unusual as it was not raining. Previous attacks involving Drogor’s creatures have been accompanied by some level of precipitation.
Priestess[Whiteburn, a Cleric well known for being devoted to Drogor, stated, “I have never known His Children to attack without rain to accompany them. When His Children attacked Ratha, I felt His presence. However, this time I saw and felt nothing of the Divine.” Whiteburn went on to speculate, “It is my belief that, though the Creatures were surely Divine, the Mighty Lord Drogor might not have bade them attack.”
The question of who or what sent the creatures aside, those that actively defended Therenborough indicated that the sharks and Stormriders were of the type seen previously. Etherian, one of the brave defenders, stated, “There were two Stormriders that I know of. One showed up in the first wave and one near the end. Other than that, I believe it was mostly blue brine and bull brine sharks.” Grand Inquisitor Liurilias added, “Stormriders are… the hardest [opponents]. They… resist my debilitations and are hardest to actually hit.”. Finally, Mistanna, a Moon Mage, added, “They had no weapons. They used their typical lightning attacks that harm everyone in proximity to them. Sometimes they dropped Drogor's Wrath sapphires.”
One such sapphire was provided for examination. The sapphire looks like the dark cobalt of the ocean on a moonless night, pale striations within the murky gem resembling whitecaps of a storm-wracked sea.
421-05-36 - Vomit From the Gods
Under normal circumstances, when one hears that someone has seen a vision, the only question tends to be, “What did the moon mages see?” However, the circumstances I report now were not normal. Recently, a variety of people from different guilds saw visions of monsters attacking innocent civilians. These visions were accompanied by the afflicted becoming ill, then vomiting animals such as vipers, stoats (weasels), and moles.
Kythera, an Elothean Moon Mage, stated, “I had a horrible vision. It was some type of rainbow hue that came over my eyes. Then I was being assaulted by images of half-seen monsters attacking innocent people. I tried to focus on them, but as soon as I did, they vanished. Then, all of a sudden I had a pain in my stomach. I bent over and vomited a mole-like creature.” Kythera reported that he primarily worships Meraud.
Similar to Kythera’s account, Azante, an Elven Cleric devoted to Eluned, stated, “I recently met with two other Clerics concerning visions we’ve had this morning. Each of us saw monsters attacking innocents and then vomited some aspect of our chosen God. I, saltwater, Badarin (another Cleric) a viper and Kloegar (a third Cleric) a stoat. The monsters appeared unclear and when the vision faded, I was left with the feeling that some important information was yet to come.”
Additionally, a Gnome Trader named Smavandree recounted that he saw, “lots of expunging of various animals and other such things from people. One guy even spit out some teeth!” Of some note, Smavandree himself was not afflicted, and he reports that he does not worship the Kermorian gods, preferring the Gnomish god Krigglin.
These visions and the sickness accompanying them bear a striking resemblance to the happenings reported recently by the Herald regarding High Temple Investigator Soraent. On 421-5-5, Father Soraent was witnessed to glow with a pale golden light and shortly thereafter a wren, dove, and raven flew from his mouth. Father Soraent also spoke of the High Priestess Tallis’s belief that the recent godly attacks are all connected. We remind our readers to reach out to the good Father when he makes himself known again, especially if you have been experiencing visions. He plans to host a gathering at the Temple sometime soon.
What are the Gods trying to tell us? Will more visions be seen in the coming days or weeks? The answer to both at this time seems to be that only the Immortals know. For now, it seems as though They are desperately trying to tell us something. As always, we must remain vigilant against the unknown danger that seems to be approaching our door.
421-05-28 - Dergati's Nightmare Moths
Overnight and through the morning, Zoluren was again the target of divine wrath. The invaders this time took the form of moths, undeniably the work of the dark God Dergati. There were no signs of the banshees and adders seen in past attacks, but their terrible icebound curse was replaced with a new experience. The moths were considerably strong, noted by one Cleric, Anlise LightShadow, a regular hunter, who was unable to affect the creatures with steel nor magic. Towards the end of the first wave, giant Dergatian spawn appeared near the Northeastern Gate of Crossings, returning in force with numerous moths. Town guards were seen escorting shaking citizens to their homes, as well as rallying to finally push the creatures from the city proper. Rough sketches of these creatures can be found below:
- Moths: The night-dark moth is a dark thing cloaked in flickering, baleful shadow, vaguely insectile in form. Its flesh seems nearly as mercurial as smoke, constantly evolving through irregular, chaotic shapes. The creature's bulbous compound eyes are utterly matte and unreflective, each crowned by an antenna which bears an uncanny resemblance to the soft, questing arm of an infant Human, complete with tiny growths resembling inquisitive, chubby fingers. A slick proboscis protrudes from the moth's mouth, dangling obscenely against its thorax. Most striking are the creature's massive wings, spreading fractally above and around its body like drops of dark ink shifting through water.
- Dergatian Spawn: Rivaling a mammoth in size, the Dergatian spawn resembles a hairless star-nosed mole which has crawled out of some deranged nightmare. Its disturbingly translucent skin, while offering glimpses to the workings of the massive internal organs, appears more than thick and resilient enough to protect the beast. Dirt-caked claws as long as javelins scratch restlessly at the ground, carving up great grooves wherever it goes.
No stranger to invasions and the dangers thereof, I chose to take shelter in the Empaths' guild. To my dismay, before I was able to arrive, a moth simply appeared before me. There was no time to avoid the attack. No time to retreat. I found myself within its shadowed embrace. Though I struggled to escape, the moth easily ensnared me, drew me close in perverse mockery of affection. A shadowy, hand-like appendage grasped my head almost tenderly and I felt the moth's slick proboscis plunge past my lips in a vicious kiss. Terror blossomed within, multiplying into vastness. The feeling grew and grew until there was nothing else. Just when I was certain my heart would burst in my chest my fear was simply...taken from me, leaving me hollow and shaken. I found that the creature had completely removed my tongue.
This onslaught lasted throughout the night and through the early morning. Even with my tongue absent I was still able to prepare spells, restricting my duty to corpse retrieval. As I make this report, I am recovering. Malkien, a defender who also shared the moth attack experience, noted the city itself was swarmed from triage to the ferry. He also noted the brilliant response at triage, indicating quick response to missing tongue, and he complimented Clerical blessing opportunities. Empaths, thankfully, were able to restore missing tongues. It should go without note that vigilance will be needed in the future, especially at triage, where victims of such an attack may be unable to acknowledge their need for assistance. Herald Navesi tells me, based on her previous experience with Dergatian attacks, that crystal rings are useful in communicating when one has no tongue. Furthermore, the moth attack can be resisted by a strong will, and she advises using spells that bolster it, such as Redeemer’s Pride.
Syaski, a vessel of Dergati, indicated the Dark Aspects seem to be attempting to remind the citizens of all the lands of the power the Immortals hold. In what was either a Divine experience or something otherwise too strange to contemplate, Syaski vomited out an eyeball during our conversation.
It is also to be noted that well into the morning hours, just before light, there was again the prevailing sense of fate being manipulated. This has been confirmed with another Moon Mage, Saaqib. Sadly, these feelings, intense as they are, have left us with no understanding of who nor how Fate has exactly been manipulated. It can only be hoped that this tinkering is for our benefit. My instinct screams otherwise, but without evidence, one can only speculate.
421-05-21 - The North Wind Blows Through Hibarnhvidar
The Forfedhdar capital of Hibarnhvidar was attacked this afternoon by creatures loyal to Asketi the Hag. This invasion was mostly confined to the outer area of the city, around the western gate and on the Market road that connects the gate to the Bank.
The initial wave of attackers was composed of several species of adder. The serpents were easily felled by the first adventurers who arrived in defense of the city. Shortly thereafter, some stealthy Asketian harbingers joined the fray. Although these shadowy adversaries were somewhat stronger than the adders, they too proved to be no real match for the combat prowess of the warriors assembled near the gate.
The true test came with the third and final wave — ragged wind hags, bony wind wretches, and lesser North Wind banshees. While the hags and wretches were noticeably more powerful than the previous enemies, the true danger lay in the banshees and their frightening ability to thrust an incorporeal hand into the chest of an unlucky defender and taint the heart with an icy curse, as was seen in the invasions of Crossing and Shard a short time ago. In addition, Seer Eyuve reported that each round of torturous wailing unleashed by the banshees reduced the spirit of everyone in the area by a substantial amount.
It was confirmed by this reporter that the curse can, in some cases, fade away on its own given enough time, though it has the potential to cause serious damage to the chest areas of some victims. If Clerical assistance in removing the curse is unavailable, seeking a healing touch is therefore highly recommended. But healers be warned: there are reports of the curse transferring from person to person via an Empathic link.
Wind wretches were also observed utilizing an interesting combat maneuver. After hurling his axe and lodging it in the arm of one of the foul creatures, Saragos Daerthon witnessed the following:
Flinching slightly, a bony wind wretch pulled out a curved haralun axe inlaid with twisting silversteel lines that was lodged in him. He hurled it at Tenike with a bone-rattling, maddened shriek!
Guided by a sudden current of frigid wind, the haralun axe lodged savagely into Tenike's left hand!
Quite the formidable foe! Luckily, Doctor Dianelle al'Bannin was quick to set up a triage center in the Bank to help wounded fighters return to the battle as fast as possible.
While this marks the third time in almost as many weeks that one of Kermoria’s major cities was assaulted by the minions of Asketi, perhaps an attack on Hibarnhvidar is the easiest to fathom. As Isharon Anloraes remarked during the battle, “It is little surprise that Asketi's handiwork would be seen here, not far from her mount.”
Still, one cannot help but feel a measure of trepidation regarding the notable increase in unprovoked attacks of late.
421-05-21 - Brief Faenrae Invasion of the Crossing
Just now wind hounds, faenrae reavers, and faenrae stalkers attacked the Crossing's Northeast gate area. I arrived in time to witness the wind hounds myself, and Janaetta reported the presence of the faenrae.
Hammerfist mentioned an additional oddity. He said that the stalkers were, "all around one minute and gone the next. They left." He does not believe it any kind of invisibility effect but rather that they simply retreated.
This invasion connects with the earlier invasion of the fae, which we noted consisted of creatures of Idon (spriggans and boggles) and Huldah (the faenrae), in addition to banshees of unknown origin. The current invasion, however, did not include the Idon-created or banshees and was our first sighting of the wind hound. Wind hounds are however known to consort with the faenrae.
421-05-09 - Drogor's Spawn Attack Ratha
On the 34th day of Shorka the Cobra, 421 years after Lanival’s victory, the dark god Drogor unleashed his wrath on the inhabitants of Ratha, a bustling seaport and economic center of Qi'Reshalia province. The assault consisted of cloud eels, brine sharks, and electrified Drogorian stormriders (roughly in that order of difficulty) and lasted for approximately two anlaen before finally subsiding.
Local resident Yanbelev Woodbury provided this eye-witness description of one of the sharks:
Looking exactly like a shark comprised of dark, brackish water, this strange construct seems to float effortlessly through the air, darting to and fro with thrusts of its angular tail. Vicious ivory teeth line its maw, and soulless cobalt eyes constantly scan the area for prey.
Yanbelev also noted that the sharks possessed the unsettling ability to move through the ground and into buildings. "Took an empath to the alchemy society buildin, she were tryina escape 'em. Thought we'd have a safe haven there. I turned to look outside, an one slipped in, an got her perished.” He went on to state that, in desperate need of a safe place to set up triage, the defenders moved the wounded and dead to Eluned’s Temple on the city’s third tier, perhaps hoping the neutrality of that aspect would somehow ward off the minions of the angry ocean god. There were no reports of enemies invading the temple, although the invasion was generally confined to the lower tiers.
According to Yanbelev, the eels were versed in the use of Elemental spells such as Thunderclap and Geyser, while the stormriders blanketed entire areas with Electrostatic Eddies. Although details are still sketchy, there have as yet been no confirmed reports of a single stormrider being defeated.
Repelling the invasion was made more difficult by the scarcity of fighters skilled enough to handle the tougher opponents. Tenike Sylofr, one of the adventurers who came to the aid of the island, remarked that while some of the lesser foes were dispatched with relative ease, the great white brine shark that took up residence in the bank on the first tier proved to be quite the challenge even for the combined might of himself, Klurn, and Jondong.
But not all of the adventurers within the city were distraught by the attack—at least one, in fact, seemed to revel in the chaos. Well known for her devotion to the dark aspects, the Cleric Whiteburn reported that she was cleaning the altar of Drogor on Kssintlee Way in preparation for some sort of sacrifice as the event unfolded. What effect this had on the invasion is unclear, though it is hard to imagine that Drogor did not take notice of His disciple’s efforts. Happening to pass by at the time, Kintalia Bloodspire-Silvermist very nearly became an unwilling participant in the proceedings but managed to escape with her life after the ceremony was interrupted by the arrival of a Drogorian stormrider.
Whiteburn said that while on Ratha she was also blinded by a flash of marine-hued light after which she experienced a “strange sensation of being pulled in many directions all at once.” This begs the question: was the invasion of Ratha an isolated event born from the ire of a god who, according to legend, has great disdain for the island of Reshalia? Or is this part of something bigger, connected in some unseen way to the recent attacks on Shard, Hibarnhvidar, and the Crossing? Only time will tell.
421-05-05 - Murder Dolls Descent on Riverhaven
Most cities and towns within the provinces are no stranger to invasions of various evil creatures. On the 6th day of the 4th month and 421 years since the Victory of Lanival, Riverhaven found itself the target of a rather unusual type of invasion, one not seen in many years. Those brave fighters who responded to calls for assistance from Riverhaven found themselves facing Murder Dolls.
While accounts of what the Murder Dolls look like vary dramatically, they appear to be small dolls wielding tiny daggers and toothpicks. Klurn, one of the brave defenders of Riverhaven, recalled, “They were made of clay, like pottery.” Hnot, another defender, stated, “Some of the dolls were wicker, some were balsa. Some had glowing eyes. Some were well crafted and these were the most dangerous! The less well crafted, the easier the dolls were.” These dolls appear similar to those crafted by Hobglup, the Dwarven tinker-turned-Necromancer who |unleashed such abominations in 396. However, there are differences. The dolls in 396 specifically targeted the limbs of defenders, while the dolls in the Riverhaven attack were more erratic, attacking seemingly without attempting to target specific body parts. Hobglup perished in 396 after attempting to claim the Greater Fist, and thus the origin of the current dolls is unknown.
Perhaps more troubling is what the dolls were saying as they attacked. Klurn stated, “They continually repeated ‘Bones, Bones, Bones’.” Of note, Hobglup was suspected of creating his dolls to harvest body parts, which may have been used to create the great bone amalgams that began attacking shortly after his arrival. Such creatures presumably require a lot of bones.
Furthermore, it appears the dolls possess no soul. Padhg, a reputable and skilled Cleric, stated, “I arrived late to the invasion; my participation was only to discover the Murder Dolls seemed to have no soul.” He went on to explain, “As a Cleric, we are trained to interact with the spirit of others. Be it through bearing down upon them with the weight of the Immortals or through forcing their soul out of the body the same way we put it back in during a resurrection. The dolls seemed to be animated and had no spirit I could manipulate.”
After a valiant defense of the city the Murder Dolls were turned back. It is not known where they came from and also unknown if they will return. Vigilance will be key in the coming weeks and months!
421-05-05 - High Temple Investigator Speaks of Shadow in Visions
Today I was visited by High Temple Investigator Soraent, an advisor whose job it is to commune with the gods and ascertain the meanings of Their portents. It became clear to me during our conversation just how close a connection he has with the gods, and he bore a message to the people about the recent godly invasions.
The Investigator first contacted Assistant Reporter Klines to request passage on his ship from Ratha to the Crossing. Klines tells me that, during this journey, Father Soraent experienced strong visions with very physical effects. When praying to Drogor, his mouth opened and released a shower of bloody seawater!
When they arrived in the Crossing, Klines summoned me to meet with them. Father Soraent told me that he has been visiting the sites of the recent invasions in an attempt to commune with the Immortals there. However, he is experiencing a most unusual occurrence: Every time he communes in such a way, there is a "block" or a "shadow", "something almost seen… just out of [his] perception." He further said, "Regardless of the Immortal that I commune with, regardless of the response, it is always not quite full. It is as if something is preventing me from getting the entire message." He says that in all his years, he has never experienced this phenomenon before, and that it occurs only when he attempts to commune specifically about the recent attacks.
According to the priest, High Priestess Tallis of the Temple believes this change in visions means the attacks are connected in some way. Father Soraent calls for the faithful to come together and meet with him in order to make a stronger connection to the Divine. He plans to call this meeting within the next few days, at the High Temple itself.
Finally, he warned us that he feels "close", with visions coming to him even without his rituals. He believes this means others may experience such visions, perhaps even those not of the clergy. He asks such people to speak to him so that he may show them how to reach out fully. The Herald urges you all, denizens of Kermoria, to do as he asks. As well, if such a vision takes you, the Herald wants to report on it! Contact myself or one of the staff.
At the end of our meeting, I witnessed a most unusual Divine event. Father Soraent suddenly began to glow with pale golden light. His mouth flew open, and from it flew a wren, a dove, and a raven! They quickly disappeared in a shower of multihued light. He also moved his arm, as if wiping something away. This experience was clearly very taxing for him, as he collapsed at the end of it.
Our gods are reaching out to us. It is time to listen.
421-05-02 - The Curse of the Icebound Heart Continues
The Asketian attack previously reported by the Herald has now been duplicated in Ilithi, centralized in the capital city of Shard. Once again adders and hags led the charge, supported from the shadows by harbingers. Banshees were seen in force near the end of the battle, bringing with them their deadly Icebound Heart curse. Thankfully good awareness of the curse kept its effects to a minimum, with most deaths occurring due to the banshees’ brutal spirit attack.
Triage took place in the city’s Triage Building, one block south of the east gate. Fortunately, defense of the city was rallied quickly, thanks to a warning from the Moon Mages’ Guild. Their shared vision is detailed below:
The world suddenly faded to shadow around the mage. A tiny mote of sickly green light emerged from the darkness, hovering eerily in a self-repeating, circular pattern. The mage’s perspective rapidly expanded, as if being shot into the air, and the image of a four-pointed crystal star surrounded by a ring of water was visible below, circumscribed by the ominous green nova. The light exploded into four snaking lines that streaked toward each tip of the star. A piercing wail echoed in the mage’s mind as vision returned to the here and now.
Discussion of the event still leads defenders to believe dark aspects of the divine are in some way displeased. At this time, the Herald is actively seeking interviews with Clerics who specialize in the darker side of divinity. If you or someone you know fits such a description, please get in touch with any Herald reporter for a brief interview: Navesi or Saragos Daerthon, Klines Silvermist, Marcul McRee-Rhyian, or Simera Asherah.
Perhaps most troublesome about these events is the preceding feeling that fate is being manipulated in some fashion. During both battles, I experienced a pervading sense of actions being taken directly against Fate. Could this feeling be a warning? A blessing? Might this feeling be a light aspect looking to aid the defenders? Or are we still beset with an impenetrable darkness, borne of a darker aspects disappointment? Unfortunately, we have only speculation to guide us at the moment.
421-4-26 - The Curse of the Icebound Heart
This afternoon the Crossing experienced a chilling onslaught from a host of assorted Asketian creatures. These beings beset the city from all sides and included wind hags, adders, wretches, banshees, and harbingers.
Crude pencil sketches of the aforementioned invasion force detail their specific physical makeup.
- Hags/Wretches: Clad in the holy vestments, ancient in appearance, frail and emaciated. Crystal beads clatter with every moment from a silver chain at the belt.
- Adders: Snakes nearly fifteen feet in length and the width of a fully grown human.
- Harbingers: Stealth combatants armed with bone-tipped arrows, incredibly agile, covered in black tattoos. Gleaming amber eyes. Will attack from range.
- Banshees: Spectres of the North Wind, disheveled ice-white hair, fading form. Require a Blessed weapon or Holy magic to harm. Two deadly attacks: a piercing wail that drains the spirit and a touch to the heart that delivers the Icebound Heart curse.
- Note that these creatures ranged in difficulty but those other than the adders were considered quite difficult. Herald Navesi reported that they were often more difficult than warklins, likely in the range of storm bulls or higher.
Brave adventures set to the task of city-wide defense, many falling to a strange form of icy curse. The Herald witnessed this curse appearing as the result of an attack by the North Wind banshee. She reaches one spectral hand into the chest of her victim and squeezes the heart. Those stricken with the curse exhibit signs of fear, fatigue, pain, and cold. Their eyes frequently dart about, they may have a weary expression, frosty blue mist may expel from their nostrils, and their eyes or chest may glow blue. Citizens Skaen and Xionara reported that the attack was physical in nature, causing harm to the heart until death, upon which time an icy statue would appear next to the body. Witness Sophrona also told tales of Empaths contracting the curse from healing patients, and Mistanna reported contracting it from touching one of the statues, though she also stated that she was able to move bodies without harm, regardless of the statue creation. Cleric Azante reported that Resurrection of those who died of the curse did not present any issue, and afterward they were no longer cursed.
As far as the Herald can tell, there is no way to prevent the curse. Protection from Evil did not protect Herald Navesi from contracting the curse, and no witnesses came forward claiming to have resisted it once touched. The only known method to cure it at this time is the Uncurse spell.
Furthermore, this curse should not be mistaken for the second deadly attack of the Banshee: her wail. This wail tears at the spirit and may cause significant damage. Take special care here, as those dying a spirit death have great difficulty with the resurrection process and are forced to depart. Soul Shield can provide some reprieve from this dangerous scream, as can retreat to the safety of triage, where gentle music may soothe the soul.
To say the response to the invasion was chaotic would be a touch of understatement. While the attack did finally subside, a few notable lessons could be gleaned from the experience. Most notably, it remains important for healers and warriors alike to keep an active awareness of their health. More than once, Empaths sadly fell victim to the curse after having transferred it from a patient. At this time, it is advised that adventures take stock of their favor counts and seek guidance of the divine when finding that count lacking. Bards are requested in triage for their spirit-healing Hodierna's Lilt and their gentle minuets. Clerics may find it wise to offer Blessing, Soul Shield, and Uncurse services near to main triage. During this invasion, triage was located in the Empath Guild courtyard, and the Herald recommends a Clerical station be situated in the infirmary nearby. Keep watch, dear readers. I leave you with the words of a dying wretch, "Fear...the Night of Glory."
421-04-14 - Chrysalis Spawn Sighted in Shard and Hibarnhvidar
For the first time since the defeat eleven years hence of the First of the Akul'tiz, Xitoccanemun, Umbral moths have darkened the skies rather than remaining hidden from the light within the bowels of the earth.
These creatures originally darkened our lands following the opening of the Chrysalis, and were known to serve the goddess Dergati in her plot to blot out the light of the sun, wake the World Dragon, and indeed even kill the goddess Peri'el. It was only through the combined efforts of people everywhere using music to bring sunlight to Peri’el that she was healed. A final brave confrontation in the Wicked Burrow Mine saw the First defeated and these plans fully thwarted.
The first of these recent attacks was in the fair city of Shard, where both the umbral moths and the humanoid Akul'tiz were spotted. In a separate incident, the moths alone were sighted in Hibarnhvidar. In both cases, the forces were defeated and dispersed by the cities’ defenders.
In this second encounter, several Moon Mages reported seeing visions. According to one source:
My vision blurred for a moment and the light of Xibar was diminished by countless fluttering wings. A gust of wind dispersed them and left my skin feeling frostbitten. A voice as bitter as the cold whispered, "Soon, Khal Gwaerd."
What can these incursions mean? Might Dergati be stirring again once more to wreak havoc upon the lands? Keep your eyes open and pray that we are spared Her wrath.
- Please see the Herald’s archives for previous coverage of these events.
421-04-02 - The Fae Attack, Heron and Wren Spotted
Today the northeast section of the Crossing was overrun by creatures of the Fae. Boggles, spriggans, banshees, and faenrae reavers and assassins were all present and wrought havoc upon the Ranger's guild, the Warrior Mage's guild, and many of the streets in between the two. Citizens Pfanston and Dulan claimed at the start, they heard a wind, followed by a chiming sound, like the laughter of children.
At the center of the page are detailed sketches of the creatures mentioned, light penstrokes revealing the monstrous creations in meticulous detail. Beneath each is a caption.
Boggle - Body composed of sticks and stones, with a round, bulbous head. Known for malicious mischief. Created by Idon.
Spriggan - Also called changelings. About the size of an Olvi with black eyes, gnarled limbs, and bark-like skin. Known for highly malicious mischief, affinity for manipulating wind. Created by Idon.
Banshee - A spectral female, torn and tattered, bearing sharp claws. She will moan and cry, calling out in chaos and despair as she attempts to eat her victims' very life and spirit. Requires a Blessed weapon or Holy magic to harm.
Faenrae reaver - This 5-foot tall creature has glowing green eyes, tangled black hair, and withered grey flesh, with sharp fangs and claws. It floats a few inches above the ground. Created by Huldah.
Faenrae assassin - As the reaver, but moving with more swiftness and calculation. Stealthy. Created by Huldah.
Warrior Mage and Inspector Munchausen claims that, during the chaos, he spotted a Heron and Wren, "tumbling... conflicting, but not necessarily fighting... at odds somehow."
Pfanston also claimed that, at the conclusion of the invasion, he felt "the air become calmer, though not as calm as it should be, and yet he still felt the stare of thousands of tiny eyes on him." Saragos added, "The wind whistled one last time, a sharp, keening sound. As if sadness from its very soul had escaped."*
The Herald asked local Drogorian Priestess Whiteburn for her interpretation of the events, in particular the creatures summoned and the Holy Birds sighted. She theorized, "Lord Idon - perhaps in some sort of collaborative effort with Lord Huldah - sought to weave chaos amongst mortals. Perhaps for Their own amusement, perhaps for some other reason. They are the more... capricious of the Dark Gods when it comes to wanton destruction and death." Further, she said, "When death comes to mortals, it is wise not to discount Huldah's influence. He detests the creatures of Truffenyi and revels in chaos."
With regard to the birds: "...if they were fighting or quarrelling, then it is likely to be a sign that Faenella perhaps acted in some way to soften the blow against the children of Elanthia."
Vahrek added a second theory. He said, "Faenella and Idon [may have been] squabbling over whether or not to get involved in Huldah's song'n dance." In response, Priestess Whiteburn agreed it might be a good theory.
The Herald further asked the Priestess what the populace might do if indeed another Immortal (or two) are displeased. "Turn your eyes to the Heavens and keep your senses alert for other signs or portents. Pray to the Dark Ones that we may be spared Their anger." She also agreed that those inclined might pray to Faenella Herself for guidance and protection.
Take to your prayers once again, Zoluren.
- The First Land Herald does not attempt interpret the more poetic quotations of its witnesses.
419-02-09 - Ipirhka Lakwi to Observe Guildleader Silvyrfrost
During the Duskruin Arena event, I met a Gor’Tog Bard calling herself Ipirhka (see included sketch). When I asked her where she trains, she said, “My training as it were, is done… I’m now observing Silvyrfrost in her daily routines as on order from the Bard council.”
I asked why, and she replied, “They felt I was ready for another step.”
I asked if she was being considered for leadership. She said, “I don’t know how much I can say, actually. So we’ll leave it at that I am observing.”
A sketch at the bottom of the parchment depicts a Gor’Tog woman with a frank face, pale green skin, and very pale eyes. She is dressed neatly in dueling attire, a steel mambeli hanging from her hip, and her boots are fastened up the sides with tiny jet treble clef buttons.
419-01-10 - World Jousting Tournament: Zoluren Qualifier Results
Reality warped slightly as the Elf was thrown through the rift and landed mostly on his feet at the Stables. People were milling around, waiting for the festivities to begin and barely noticed the Ranger as he dusted himself off from the astral trip
“Ah, Moon Mages,” he spoke softly to himself with a grin before glancing around and stealthily making his way up to the podium where the crowd was waiting.
“I want to thank you all for coming today,” the Ranger began, “to the first qualifier of the world championship joust!”
The crowd began to wake up and cheer; the event they had been waiting for was finally beginning.
The Elf grinned as he watched the crowd and hoped for even more to arrive. He knew a lot of work had gone into preparing the Zoluren Mews for the event and he hoped that the jousters delivered today on that promise of entertaining matches.
He spotted a Paladin in her regal armaments entering the Mews and smiled as he motioned to her.
“The Divine Avenger Isharon herself will be taking the registration from all the jousters so we can arrange you in your proper tiers. We look forward to seeing the feats of arms today that will be boasted about tomorrow,” he finished with a grin as the Paladin looked at him, clearly expecting a pun or bad joke. He grinned, knowing that it wasn’t going to be a long wait.
The assembled jousters came and quickly spoke to Isharon, who thoughtfully nodded at each that spoke to her before writing down their details on some parchment. Quickly arranging those that had come up to her, she delivered the document and stood off to the side of the podium, serenely watching the crowd. She waved to the small children that scampered across the Mews, nodding and likely judging which ones she could mentor into being future Paladins.
The Elf grinned before stepping up and calling out to the first competitors.
“Can we get the Arcane Aerella and the Energetic Emzer up to the field!” he yelled out above the roar of the crowd.
The pair quickly mounted and saluted each other before thundering toward one another. Time after time they went back and forth, each run a lance breaking heavily onto the shields. Splinters of lances flew into the stands and barely missed the audience as Emzer struck the final blow to win the match.
The next few competitors all came up in quick succession: Aislynn the Accurate, Targhhryen the Triumphant, and Kurlay the Konqueror all came up for their first tier match. As the dust settled, Kurlay stood as champion with the sweat of victory in her eyes.
“The armorsmith wins!” the Elf yelled out after the final pass. Isharon yanked Kurlay off her horse and over to the victory pavilion.
“For the second tier of competition we have another great showing today of the provinces! We have Navesi the Newswoman, Chrysagon the Chevalier! Saragos the Slayer! Padhg the Pirate! Rhoslyn the Ready, Zhirrisk the Zany!” The crowd cheered them on as they lined up, and when they were called, they stepped up to the jousting line on their horses. Lances were broken upon shields, helmets, and bodies. Jousters were thrown from the saddle to violently land at the feet of the crowds who cheered them, helped them up, and attempted to steal their armor before they were beaten down (okay, this last part didn’t really happen). Finally, Saragos proved to be the champion with an unseating of his final opponent, his wife Navesi.
The Elf announced the tier two champion as Isharon snagged Saragos for the winner’s stand and the next round of contestants stood ready for their chance at glory.
“Kaelie the the Kindhearted, Mythorhad the Mighty, Netherlich the Nice and Ephic the Explorer, please prepare yourself for the crucible of the joust!”
All that were called grinned at each other and nodded as they saluted the crowd and each other before they tested their mettle against each other. Majestic falls from their horses met with groans of pain from the blows as one by one each competitor was knocked out. Finally, Ephic stood triumphant. Isharon kidnapped him as the two contestants for the final tier stood up to be announced.
“Mazrian versus Hebion! This is the heavyweight fight we have been waiting for all night!” The Elf cried out as the two took each other’s measure. They saluted briefly before spurring their mounts on at a dangerously high speed toward each other. There was the dust and crash of contact, and the crowd gasped as Mazrian rode out of the carnage.
The crowd cheered and Mazrian was quickly yanked out of his saddle to join the waving champions.
“We want to thank you all for coming and look forward to seeing these potential world champions jousters at the finals in the upcoming months!”
The crowd roared and cheered, throwing booze, chicken legs, and other items around as they enjoyed the final moments of the madness. Finally, they began to saunter off into the enfolding darkness of the night. The champions, laden with the spoils of their victory, said goodbye before retiring for the evening to rest and heal from the trauma of the event on their bodies.
The Elf snuck into the shadows and grinned. The next round of jousting was going to be fun he knew, and he looked forward to seeing who else would try this feat of arms.
Reporter, The First Land Herald
419-01-10 - Drathrok's Duskruin Arena Appears and Departs
In recent times, two visions were seen involving the Elpalzi and a hitherto unknown bear figure. They are transcribed below:
The seer made out the image of a giant bear supporting a field of valiant fighters training upon its massive back. Gladiolus blossoms sprouted from the pooling blood of their fallen enemies.
Emerging from a cave, a massive Gor’Tog warrior snarled as he raised his weapons, shaking blood from both them and the bear hide he was wearing. The man stomped and howled as the ground beneath his feet morphed into a pile of Elpalzi corpses! The vision dissolved into a sanguine mist and the once-deafening sounds of rage subsided, leaving the seer with only but a whispered phrase repeating - “Drathrok’s Duskruin.”
The Barbarian Drathrok, a Gor’Tog who wears a great bear hide and mask, was once teacher to the guild, offering two techniques: the Bear Dance and the War Stomp. After the visions, several adventurers, led by Mazrian, decided to visit Drathrok in his residence near Stone Clan to speak to him about them. Drathrok responded, “Now is not the time for this!” and refused to speak on it further. However, shortly thereafter the Barbarian appeared on the field of battle near Kaerna. Mistanna reported that he charged the Elpalzi, sending them reeling with great blows and yelling out words of encouragement to our fighters. He single-handedly wove his way through their ranks, disorganizing and even flanking them.
Thus it was that the visions would lead up to a confrontation with the Elpalzi. However, they also portended something else: the Duskruin arena. Drathrok introduced this arena, we believe in order to provide the training needed to help fight the Elpalzi (although he made no comment).
The Duskruin arena made quite an impact on Zoluren during the whirlwind weeks it was here. Many adventurers tried their hands at the arena and labyrinth provided, with many thoughts zipping and zooming over the gwethdesuan network regarding trading the rewards of their efforts .
In the arena, only those that were quick of feet and mind, with strong arms and knowledge of the mystic arts became the champions. Many tried but few succeeded. Known Champions of the Duskruin Arena (as gathered by Navesi based on who she could find at the arena): Anilore, Bavest, Binu, Blackro, Boriz, Broichan, Currahee, Enthien, Esmian, Everics, Evro, Ezmundiuz, Jessalyne, Keldyn, Kilan, Kiritan, Liurilias, Lovasus, Mazrian, Mhisra, Navesi, Penethol, Rajirui, Saragos, Seldaren, Telutci, Tenike, Treibor, Tyrun, Uritel, Vandergrift, Whiteburn, Worrclan, Xionara, Xixist, Zaxor, Zucco.
The labyrinth perplexed many, although many others were able to catch rats after a successful maze run. The rats themselves appear to be playful pets that battle against other rats to see who can be the latest ‘iron rat’. Adventurers can change up the look of their rats with the help of some chalk that was available from the Duskruin Assemblage shop.
The major prize was bloodscrip, which was awarded for valor in combat or through the strong noses of searching adventurers in the labyrinth. A bloodscrip auction was held near the end of the arena’s stay. Many great prizes were given to the victors of the bloodthirsty bidding process, but the major prizes such as ships and elemental flares were awarded to those who had shown the most valor - or the shrewdest trading tactics.
The Duskruin Arena may be back in the future if the need ever arises for special training in the arts of war and puzzles. Look forward to more adventures and mystical treasure from Duskruin in the upcoming months!
Reporter, The First Land Herald
418-09-21 - Visions of the Future: Heralds and Elemental Sorcery
There are times throughout history when the stars and planets are quiet and tell us little. These are not those times. In recent memory, the visions that the stars have seen fit to show moon mages have been pondered and pored over. Many of the most recent visions have been related to the Elpalzi and their machinations against Zoluren. The others have in large part remained a complete mystery to us. That is, until last andu.
An illustration is rendered in vivid color on the parchment. It displays the constellation of the Wolf, a cluster of fourteen stars in the shape of a seated, howling wolf. The stars smolder fitfully against a vast canvas of red and purple-brown.
In this case, the first revelation of something atypical was a minute detail, which appeared a decade ago, noticeable to those well-trained in the constellation of the Wolf. At least ten years ago, at the beginning of year 408, moon mages observing the Wolf may have noticed a small plume, not unlike smoke, forming within the stars that make up the constellation. According to Miskton Ramahk and Mistanna Redivas, while its exact rate of growth is unknown, over the course of ten years the plume has grown into something more akin to a large cloud that takes up, consumes even, a significant portion of the constellation. On its own, this surely warrants concern and has disquieted several moon mages, however when combined with the visions seen recently it may be a harbinger of something larger in scope than the Elpalzi.
While at first the stars seemed resolute in keeping their secrets, eventually I began to grasp at the strands of fate. In total, a series of four visions would reveal themselves that I have come to believe are linked. Before speculating over possible interpretations, let us recount each of the four visions.
VISION 1: THE CUPPED PALMS. This vision showed a pair of glowing blue hands with slender fingers and lacquered nails. As the vision progressed, water slowly pooled up into the cupped palms, tinted metallic blue by the glow. The water began acting oddly though, not behaving like water at all. It sporadically climbed into the air in little forked tendrils, passed through the flesh of the hands without dripping below, and frothed over with sparks. After several seconds, the hands began trembling and threw away the strange liquid, which crackled into nothingness.
VISION 2: TWELVE MARBLES. In this vision, solid shadows rolled before my eyes, becoming twelve glass marbles laid out on a swath of dark blue satin. From the edges of the fabric a purple smolder encroached inward ever so slowly. After a time, the smolder reached one of the marbles causing it to fall into a black, burnt hole, creating the feeling of a twist of grief in my heart.
VISION 3: THE DRAGON-HEADED MAN. Soot and smoke suddenly assaulted my senses of sight, smell, and taste. Through the oily blackness, I glimpsed a dragon-headed man striding confidently across a battlefield, spewing bright scarlet flames wherever he went and swinging orange-yellow fists at silhouetted enemies between breaths. Of interest, the gender of the dragon-headed individual changed, seemingly dependent on the gender of the moon mage having the vision. For male moon mages, the dragon-headed individual was a male. For female moon mages, the dragon-headed individual was a female.
VISION 4: THE CLIFF FACE. This vision was the most overtly terrifying. I found myself dangling over the edge of a sheer rockface, gripped at the scruff of the neck by a transparent hand. I struggled and clawed, but my flailings only met empty air. Then, instead of simply dropping me, my captor flung me with such force that the vision itself jarred violently, coming to an end even as I heard my own frightened yell trailing off in the distance. This caused some concern to those I had been conversing with just moments before.
With rapid contemplation, the visions seem to be isolated; separate and unrelated to each other. One could be forgiven for seeing or hearing about the visions and coming away with nothing more than anxiety over the unknown. However, are they so isolated? Are the visions as vague as they first seem? Is there more that can be gleaned from them then one might first realize?
Let us recall the first vision again. While many speculated that the being involved was an Elothean or Elf, I believe that is not the case. I believe that the key is the glowing blue hands, with slender fingers and lacquered nails. Thinking back to a book I had read long ago, I realized I was reminded of a passage regarding the Second Guardians of Magic. In particular, the Guardian Elide. In the passage, Elide is described as having “soft dusky skin [that] barely contains a faint luminosity,” “delicate fingers,” “long, graceful hands,” and “brightly lacquered nails in alternating stripes of blue and silver.” In fact, all three humanoid Heralds were described with luminous skin, long hands, and lacquered nails. For the sake of discussion, let us assume that the being in the first vision is indeed Elide, a Guardian of Magic, a Herald.
But what of the water not behaving like water? Why would a Guardian of Magic cast this substance aside? Perhaps the answer is Sorcery. I managed to find an old, tattered text whose title and author were, unfortunately, lost to history. However, in this text, the author stated that Elemental Sorcery would most likely appear as an “unreal amalgamation of elemental features, such as petrifying winds, ice that literally burns, or lightning with arbitrary conductive properties.” The water in the Cupped Palms vision did have properties normally seen in lightning, with the forked tendrils as well as the frothing sparks. Does this mean that Elemental Sorcery is soon to appear? And if so, will the Heralds take offense to this twisting of magic?
If we assume that these are both the case, does it affect the interpretation of the remaining three visions?
Consider that 50 years ago the Guardians took away from us Meraud’s Gift, magic, for a time. Meraud, whose symbol is the Wolf. Recall the second vision, with the twelve marbles on the swath of dark blue satin. It could be argued that there are 12 planets, if one were standing on the 13th while observing the others. Operating under this assumption a compelling theory presents itself. Each planet is commonly associated with an Immortal and the marble falling through the burnt hole may represent an Immortal being destroyed or lost. An Immortal being destroyed would absolutely account for the feelings of heart-wrenching grief that was felt. Such a loss is unimaginable though. What could possibly cause an Immortal to be lost or destroyed? The answer: A Herald. According to the mythology of the Heralds, Immortals bow to them. Some even posit that the Heralds are the creators of the gods, or that the gods created the Heralds to keep Themselves in check. As we saw clearly 50 years ago, the Heralds were able to nullify Meraud’s Gift, one might argue Meraud’s power itself.
One other theory that I believe has merit is that the purple smolder represents Sorcery or perhaps the use of Sorcery. Purple is a color often associated with Sorcery, and the Devourer Lyras herself was said to crackle with purple and white energy when struck. In that case, perhaps the very use of Sorcery is what threatens Meraud. What if the Cupped Hands vision is showing us Elide’s realization that the use of Sorcery is out of control? If the Guardians of Magic believe Meraud is losing control of magic again, that certainly could result in a loss of confidence in Meraud.
The Dragon-headed Man vision may also be related to the Cupped Hands and the Twelve Marbles visions. I believe that the dragon head of the being is a key point. It is known that the Guardians can take the form of dragons: Glacis, Eerayn, and Sildua took the form of full dragons. However, at other times Heralds have been described as closer to humanoid in appearance (somewhere between Elven and Human). I find it intriguing that the vision has revealed a being part dragon, part humanoid. Furthermore, it is of interest that the dragon-headed being seemed to be commanding Elemental magic. I am not prepared to posit that there is an absolute link between this vision and the other two, but I will say I believe it warrants more thought and investigation. It may also be related to the recent revelation of new abilities with the spell Dragon’s Breath.
I must confess that I am at a loss as to the meaning of the final vision, the Cliff Face. At this time, I believe it is safe to say that there is not enough information, even to speculate, on what this vision might mean.
Are the stars, both in their physical changes and the visions they show from the Plane of Probability, acting as harbingers of a Herald? Has a power struggle between the Immortals and the Heralds once again begun to spill over onto the Plane of Abiding? Only time will answer these questions definitively. Until then we must remain vigilant and keep in the forefront of our minds that threats exist beyond the Elpalzi.
Reporter, The First Land Herald
418-07-29 - Crossing War Report: Recent Elpalzi Assaults
The Elpalzi returned with a vengeance yesterday as their forces assaulted the Crossing for the sixth time in about as many andaen. Heavy casualties from the fighting were apparent in the triage stations during all engagements. Each assault was pushed back by the combined forces of the Orders and independent adventurers protecting the city proper.
The first assault began with a vision visited unto moon mages: A shadowy haze descended upon their surroundings as their vision shifted. As they adjusted, a decaying fort came into view, though it was little more than burned wood and mounds of mud and rubble. Ancient soldiers that no longer draw breath, each wearing uniforms of a forgotten time, rose up only to be blasted into oblivion by robed mages. As their surroundings returned, they heard a faint whisper, “Lord Alret will rule all, you know.”
Shortly thereafter, in the Middens outside the East gate of the Crossing, a company of Elpalzi and S’lai soldiers was discovered near the ruined Fort Motte, pouring through a massive, brilliant greyish-green moongate. Saragos Daerthon led a small group of adventurers against this company, regularly charging and cutting off soldiers from the group to engage. Navesi Daerthon reported overhearing an Elpalzi Major saying, “Alret will be pleased that Fort Motte can readily be claimed.” Midway through the attack reports came in of Elpalzi at the East gate, Saragos reporting that he heard an Elpalzi captain cry out, “The unit is nearing the gate. Return to the keep, our job is done!” The adventuring group fell back to defend the city, eventually defeating those at the East gate. However, the Daerthons reported hearing an Elpalzi lieutenant cry out, “We knew our mission, lads! Make ’em hurt while you stand!” and later another Elpalzi officer yelled, “We’ve done it, men. The rest are safe, and we’ve earned a warrior’s death!” Locals are still speculating as to what this mysterious mission was. Fort Motte currently remains empty except for its usual spiritual conscripts.
Later assaults took a different form, without the rigid formation of companies. Rather, the usual Elpalzi attackers swarmed through the Crossing and up the Northern Trade Route, in particular targeting the Northeast Gate area, along Magen Road and Clanthew Boulevard, and the West gate. In most assaults, the Elpalzi pushed down from Kaerna to the Northeast gate of the Crossing. During most fights, the Elpalzi were reported unleashing arrow volleys against the defenders,sometimes coated with highly toxic poisons which add to the lethality of their battle tactics. If you find yourself at the forefront of an assault and they are aiming down at you, it is highly recommended to counter by holding a heavy shield in front of you. Other typical Elpalzi tactics seen were the ability to moongate with an intriguing green tinged style around the gates. If you see any moongates forming with that particular color, you are urged to run and report the sightings. Do NOT attempt to enter the moongates, as they are protected by Elpalzi archers who fire through it at those who advance. Concussive bombs were used in some of the attacks, though not as frequently as in past assaults. Do NOT congregate in large masses, as these invite bombings. If you are hit with such a bomb, eghmok tonic and hulij elixir are recommended remedies for the internal head wounds.
During each assault, additional Elpalzi forces have been spotted in a number of different locations. In particular, they have been spotted at the Fortress of Sorrow’s Keep, as reported by the Field Medic Favre, and also at the ruined Fort Motte directly outside of the Crossing, as reported by Navesi Daerthon. Authorities have been silent on the reasons why these differing locations were targeted at the same time. In the most recent assault, Elpalzi General Alret and Lieutenant Geva taunted the Crossing over the gweth with the theft of the infamous Magen Road barrel, with Alret thinking, “Wits enough to help myself to some bank funds as well.” It is clear that the Elpalzi employ serious feinting maneuvers, attacking in several places at once so as to mask their true objective.
With the recent surge in Elpalzi activity, it is advised that most travelers and citizens prepare a defense in mind and body as well. The skill of the Elpalzi ranges near as much as the skill of the adventurers across the lands, with some being of a difficulty an average circle fighter could take on to those that are beyond the skill of even Legendary ranked fighters. When engaging the Elpalzi, be sure to do an appraisal of their skill. Remember that if it is very difficult or nearly impossible to engage, then it’s typically best to take a step back and find other ways to help in the battle instead of becoming a casualty yourself. One way to help before the battle is to take a scenic stroll on the walls to familiarize yourself with the defenses that ring the walls of the Crossing, which may be very handy for the next time the Elpalzi probe the walls.
In the meantime, there has been extensive study of the known Elpalzi by scribe and scholar Navesi Daerthon, as detailed in her story at this location.
Any sighting of Elpalzi in the future is a sure sign of danger and if spotted, travelers and citizens are urged to report over the Gwethdesan network.
Reporter, The First Land Herald
418-05-29 - 'Twas the Night Before Chris' Mass
‘Twas the night before Chris’ Mass, when all through the realm
An invasion was stirring, with Death at the helm;
The rivers were boiling by some unseen hand
And soon there’d be undead all swarming on land;
The children were huddled all under their beds
While visions of skeletons danced through their heads.
Saragos in his hauberk, and I in my mail
Had just run outside to join in the assail
When out on the street there arose such a clatter
We sprang to the gates to see what was the matter.
When what to our wondering eyes did appear
But a Prydaen man with a sinister leer;
His gibbering words grew a magical cancer
I knew in a moment - he’s a necromancer!
More rapid than eagles his bone-hounds they came
And he whistled, and shouted, and called out foul names.
So up to the front lines my love and I flew
And hordes of un-creatures we solemnly slew.
We fought to the storefronts, we fought to the wall
Crying, “drive away! drive away! drive away all!”
And after much toil, we brought them all down,
Their lifeless bones littered about through the town;
We searched for the leader, but to no avail,
Just barely caught sight of the end of his tail.
I heard him exclaim, ere he fled out of sight,
“To the Spiral with all, and to eternal night!”
Disclaimer: The above is an artistic and very loose interpretation of events that occurred recently in Therengia. No facts should be construed from this interpretation. Speak to Skaen or other witnesses for the true details of this event.
Editor, First Land Herald
418-01-08 - Butcher Beezell Harvests Festival-Goers
The usually Bright atmosphere of this year’s Hollow Eve Festival is tainted with pain and fear. A DARK DOCTOR operates here. The First Land Herald brings to you the stories of three of his victims: Skaen S’kursk, Lieutenant Jaibriel Laveau, and Whiteburn. We thank them for their bravery in coming forward.
Skaen told us that INSPECTOR REXT had found “a few bodies, horribly disfigured and bloody, so badly that they were unrecognizable.” The inspector was looking for what he called a SHADOWY ALCOVE, believed to be the base of operations for the MAD SURGEON BEEZELL. It is the inspector’s belief that the ALCOVE MOVES and this is why it has been so difficult for him to locate. Each of our three Victims managed to find the alcove and reported its Location.
Each victim was later Ambushed. They reported that a bag was thrown over their head, they felt the pinch of a needle, and when they awoke they were upon the surgeon’s table. They were drugged again and awakened later to discover some Mutilation had been visited upon their person. Skaen suffered the withering of his Tail, Jaibriel was stripped of the flesh beneath her skin (see SKETCH 1), and Whiteburn’s injury is too Sensitive to print.
SKETCH 1: The translucent paper bears the image of a gaunt, pale Human woman, her black hair tightly wound in dreadlocks against her head. The artist has highlighted the skeletal nature of her face and torso, her eyes underscored by dark circles. The simple clothes she wears hang off her frame unnaturally, embroidered spiders crawling across the front of her cloak.
Beneath the sketch reads: “Lieutenant Jaibriel Laveau, Atrophied by Beezell.”
We thank Hodierna that Empaths were able to heal Skaen and Whiteburn, but as Skaen says, he will always carry the scars in his Heart and Mind.
I will now describe to you the experience I had Myself which may be related. I was standing just outside the Spider when I heard a Voice, harsh and grating, echoing around me:
“The harvest is not about your death, it is about how you become of use.”
“We are many. We are who we are. Neither man nor woman.”
“Do you accept the harvest?”
There were those present who - for reasons unknown - chose to Accept. These people were invariably snatched from the crowd and returned sometime later, MISSING ALL OF THEIR LIMBS, EYES, AND SKIN. When we questioned the Voice, we received this response:
“Of course we want to harvest you. It is useful.”
Whiteburn confirmed in her interview that a similar experience was Visited unto her. She too heard the Voice as she discovered the Alcove again. This Voice again spoke of a harvest, asking if she wanted to be Useful.
Finally, I leave you with the following image (SKETCH 2). It is an Attempt at the likeness of the BUTCHER BEEZELL from the descriptions of the victims. Whiteburn also reported that she believes him to be Lean and reeking of Blood.
SKETCH 2: The image shows only a shadowed face, its details unclear save for two large black almond-shaped eyes.
Beneath the sketch reads: “Beezell.”
Remain wary, my reader! And above all, if you are Guilded, STAND UP AND FACE THIS MONSTER. He wishes to remain in the Shadows. We must shine the light upon him and BRING HIM TO JUSTICE. If you have any information, please bring it to myself, Navesi Daerthon, or to Inspector Rext.
SPIDER FLOODING CAUSED BY DROGORIAN ORB
Those visiting the Hollow Eve festival may have noticed in recent days the serious FLOODING occurring in the BELOW DECKS region of the Spider. Water levels came to shin-high on a Human, with Sand Bags situated in front of every shop. Each day the Spider itself made louder and more worrisome creaks and groans, even dipping to touch the Ground on some occasions, as it held the great Weight of this Water.
We at the Herald were informed by Whiteburn and an Anonymous source that Captain Kurmin hired Drogorian Priest XAISH to investigate. This Priest examined the wall panelings below decks until one was Discovered that made a Hollow sound upon tapping. Behind the panel was an ORB MADE ENTIRELY OF FLUID WATER, which was in the process of DUMPING WATER IN GREAT QUANTITIES into the Spider.
Whiteburn reported that the entire congregation following the Priest prayed to Drogor, and He delivered a message unto them. To quote her: “He said that His wrath had been quelled, and that we would know peace once more.”
At this time, the Orb changed its coloring from a stormy Grey to a peaceful Blue, and the water ceased to flow.
One further minor Note: Upon investigating the damage of the Flooding, we discovered a Hatch that we had not noticed before in the Below Decks. Take caution! It leads to an unused area that is still flooded, and SEWER RATS and EELS have made their home there. A further oddity is that the use of Magic and Gwethdesuans, usually prohibited within the Spider, is allowed in this area.
We thank Drogor for Calming and hope that there is now one fewer Obstacle to enjoying the Festival.
Take care Spider-goers,
Editor, First Land Herald
416-02-32 - A Brief Guide to Current Events in Zoluren
The most populous of the Five Provinces, Zoluren, is the home to both The Crossing and a large number of Adventurers. Over the past several generations it has been beset by a series of armed conflicts which have sharpened the resolve of its citizens and shaped their lives.
This Special Edition of the Herald seeks to provide a starting point for understanding Who is Who and a brief overview of current events in Zoluren. If you examine the footnotes of this flyer you shall see references to other volumes where you may conduct further personal research.
359 AV – This year saw the start of The Sorrow War, in which Lord Sorrow waged war with his S'lai and Elpalzi warriors, while headquartered in a near-impregnable fortress on Sorrow's Reach, in the mountains near Kaerna. The war ended four years later, in 363 AV, when Sorrow was killed in a mad scheme to harness the power of the Zaulfung Standing Stones.
393 AV – In this year, the Dread Necromancer Lyras the Devourer crossed the Barrier between the West (the Prydaen and Rakash homeland) and East (our own continent, Kermoria). She began a devastating struggle which left great scars upon both the landscape and is people. She took the lives of roughly ONE THIRD of the population of Kermoria, including that of Prince Vorclaf of Zoluren in 394 AV, and raised most of the dead into a foul undead army. In 397 AV, she was finally defeated through massive effort and coordination by numerous Adventurers.
THE CURRENT CONFLICT
407 AV – More recently, the Legacy of the Sorrow War has returned to plague Zoluren anew, creating a conflict that continues to this day. A band of Elpalzi rebels, dissatisfied with the settlement their people reached with the Zoluren Crown after the war, have risen again to demand the rewards that Sorrow promised them. Led by Alret, who is thought to be a descendant of Sorrow's commander Shartug, they have engaged in a campaign of kidnapping, bombing, and assassination to achieve their ends. They stay ensconced in Sorrow's Keep, and thus far our mages and armies have determined no way of entering it.
410 AV – The Elpalzi set bombs that destroyed Ulf'Hara Keep, the home of the Zoluren royal family. The explosion took the lives of many in the Zoluren Court, but spared the royal family itself, who were on Andreshlew at the time.
416 AV – Today, Zoluren is rebuilding from this series of Tragedies through the efforts of the Crown and the resilience of its People, while seeking a way to end the rogue Elpalzi threat. There are plans to build a new Keep, as previously reported by The Herald, and a Coronation for Prince Belirendrick is expected eventually.
Princess Arilana – Wife of the late Prince Vorclaf Lasa'Sorvendig, youngest daughter of the Merelew King Galpelus, and mother of Belirendrick IV and Inavia. Currently ruling as Regent after Prince Vorclaf's death.
Prince Belirendrick IV – Son of Prince Vorclaf Lasa'Sorvendig and current Prince of Zoluren.
Princess Inavia – Princess of Zoluren, twin sister of Prince Belirendrick.
The Zoluren Court
Seneschal Maghana Gurvyre – Seneschal of Zoluren, Voice for House Sorvendig. She speaks for Zoluren and rules on those matters that do not require the Sovereign in person.
Lord Grigoire Denesal – Military Advisor of Zoluren and commander of its armies.
Chairman Myerin Chelochi – Chairman of the Zoluren High Council.
Lady Emmilyn Allvar – A royal cousin, owner of DiSilveron Manor, where the Court currently resides.
Court Scribe Iazen Siddu – Kidnapped by the Elpalzi and currently being held in Sorrow's Keep.
Lord Zukir Dyth – Former Provincial Guard, then General. Now retired. Famed for destroying the Crossing Thieves' Guild and capturing Kalag the Black in 388 AV.
Arandus Linlaig – Mayor of Leth Deriel.
Hunlynd Turmar – Mayor of Dirge.
Ulstaan Hamarhowr – Leader of Stone Clan.
Lord Wooly Tanglefoot – Head of House Tanglefoot and former Chairman of the Zoluren High Council. His whereabouts are currently unknown and his seat at the Council remains empty.
Darkali Swiftclaws – Also known as Rabbit. Leader of Sunfall Hub. Daughter of Darkensi, one of Sorrow's lieutenants.
Lord Liev Denesal
Lady Sini Magen
Rayureko Sablefang – Claw of Eu. Responsible for convincing Sunfall Hub to allow outsiders in.
Of the Clans, Wolfjaw Ironbeard leads Wolf Clan, Ortug Borthgar leads Tiger Clan, and Trog Donrag leads Knife Clan, though none have taken a visible role in events outside of their domains for a while.
Alret – Leader of a rogue faction of the Elpalzi. Thought to be descended from Shartug, one of Sorrow's lieutenants.
Geva – Alret's lieutenant. Thought to be granddaughter of Parnore, one of Sorrow's lieutenants, who helped to negotiate peace in the aftermath of the war.
Garhal – A chieftain among the rogue Elpalzi.
Elpalzi Assassins – Tengh, Zayerg, Zhnai (deceased).
Notable Houses and Groups of Zoluren
House Sorvendig, The Merelew, House Denesal, House Chelochi, House Turmar, House Tanglefoot, House Linlaig, House Magen, House Gurvye, Allvar family, House Alshaerd, House Tirof, House Verille, Si'drow family.
Other Legends and Threats
The Xala'Shar, Oshu'Erhhsk, Sithsia.
Arm yourself with knowledge, Zoluren, and go make a difference.
Warrior Mage and Reporter, First Land Herald
416-01-13 - Plans for Prince's New Residence
A brief interview with Lady MAGHANA Gurvyre, Seneschal to the royal family, revealed that they are planning a NEW RESIDENCE to replace the destroyed Ulf’Hara Keep. Currently they are guests of the Esteemed Emmilyn Allvar at the DiSilveron Manor.
Work will begin in Spring for the new home. The site is not confirmed, but she did mention it would not be in the General Locale of the old Keep, and it is slated to be “massive”. She believes there MAY be sections that will be open to the Public.
Plans for a Coronation MAY begin when the new residence is complete.
Stay safe Zoluren,
Editor, First Land Herald
415-10-29 - Xala'Shar Hideout Discovered
Today the Zoluren Guard KRYTHE discovered and captured a ROGUE XALA’SHAR attempting to steal from a barn in Wolf Clan. Intrepid adventurers killed the creature before he could reveal much, but he did mention that he went into the barn to gather supplies.
Shortly thereafter, Krythe tracked the Xala’shar to their Nest, an area in the Wilderness south of Knife Clan. Several died during the discovery, but thankfully all were returned by the gods to life. The Xala’shar were too many to subdue, so the Zoluren military sent a band of mages to erect a MAGICAL CONTAINMENT BARRIER. Local adventurers aided in this endeavor by raising mana. In a fascinating display of ritual magic, Elemental, Life, and Holy magicks were combined to create this magnificent - though invisible - barrier. Krythe explained that this barrier contains the cursed creatures but allows the passage of others.
Should any adventurer be FOOLHARDY enough to risk attacking the Xala’shar in their lair, he or she would find the way via a PATH near to the tree displaying a caught boot. The path is well hidden so search well. Attached is a map of the encampment.
BE WARNED - THEY ARE EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. The easiest of them, found near the path, have been likened to young wyverns by TENIKE. They become progressively more difficult as one proceeds into the area.
Note also that their equipment is FOUL and TAINTED, and possession of it will ALARM the local citizenry.
A PRIMER ON XALA’SHAR
We believe the Xala’shar to have once been people of the Eleven Races, but they are now CURSED and PERVERSE Necromancers who have altered their bodies in DRAMATIC ways. For example, the thralls are known to sew runestones into their arms, for unknown purposes. Furthermore, when they kill an innocent, they typically perform disturbing rituals upon the body, harvesting parts such as the innards.
Once prominent Necromancer VEYNE called himself their leader, but he has been missing for many years.
Stay safe Zoluren,
415-06-14 - Elpalzi Lieutenant Geva - Sunfall Hub to Open - Pie-Maker Wanted
ELPALZI LIEUTENANT SPURNS TALK OF PEACE
Several andaen ago, ELPALZI LIEUTENANT GEVA made her first known appearance during a vicious assault on the Crossing. Second to GENERAL ALRET, she possesses both a keen wit and a strong distaste for the non-Elpalzi occupants of Zoluren. She mocked citizens for “hiding” in the Healerie, where she could not attack personally, and sent instead many GIDII BOMBS to disrupt the triage. Local Moon Mage Ibakha Sartuul says that Geva is trained as a Lunar Mage, and a fighter professed her to be of significant skill, able to best at least mature gryphons, and likely even more skilled opponents.
Several good citizens and locals did attempt to speak to her, via the gwethdesuan, of PEACE between the Elpalzi and the Zoluren Principality. However, she thoroughly rebuffed all attempts, saying, “We were promised this land… I have no desire to discuss things peacefully. That time has passed… [You are] a people not worth this land, to be culled like vermin.” The promise she spoke of, naturally, came from Lord Sorrow, and not any member of Zoluren royalty.
She made several comments about her GRANDFATHER, saying, “My grandfather and Alret’s would have done well to raze this place when they had the chance,” and, “My grandfather didn’t lose. He betrayed… You lot seem to think he did some good, when all he did was lose us what we were promised.” These comments strongly suggest her grandfather was ELPALZI LIEUTENANT PARNORE, who served Lord Sorrow and later brokered the Elpalzi peace with Zoluren. At this time, we at the Herald believe that ELPALZI GENERAL SHARTUG was grandfather to Alret, owing to their likeness and the similarity between their ruby rings. Thus the two grandfathers served Lord Sorrow together, and now it appears their grandchildren desire again what he promised their ancestors.
Geva also made mention that only she and Alret are officers of the Elpalzi people. SUNFALL HUB TO OPEN TO VISITORS
RA’YUREKO paid a visit to a small gathering of Zoluren citizens a few andaen ago. He brought welcome news: DARKALI, also known as RABBIT and the leader of SUNFALL HUB, has consented to the opening of her Hub to visitors. She wishes to lead the first group in herself, and so she will likely appear in the near future to do so. Yureko stressed that this event would be historic, especially given that such access would allow the outsiders near the kits. Neither Yureko nor Darkali is concerned about the Elpalzi, with their home so close to Sunfall, given the Hub’s natural protection and the strength of the Prydaen warriors there. WANTED: BAKER WITH A PASSION FOR PIES
Local Warrior Mage MAZRIAN DAEMONDRED seeks a person of palate to produce a profusion of perfect pies. “Please,” he says, “Ply me with pies.”
The gentleman stresses that skill is secondary to passion. Enthusiasm and experimentation will be rewarded. Delicacy is appreciated. Payment will include no less than 10 platinum per month, in addition to room and board at one of Zoluren’s most serene and highly protected manors. Chances for advancement are good.
Enquire with Mazrian. WANTED: BODYGUARD
Seeking one bodyguard. Therengian based with plenty of opportunity for travel. A chance to be part of something bigger than yourself. Enquire with editor Navesi Osirit.
Stay safe Zoluren,
414-03-21 - Drogorian Dreams: Visions of a Moon Mage
Greetings, readers. In these dark times, as always, I feel that the spread of knowledge is a necessary step toward resolving the problems that face us. Forewarned is forearmed, as they say. I have spoken about these visions previously, but distributing my notes on recent visions, with the aid of the First Land Herald, can help bring this information to more people.
By now you are certainly all aware of the recent storms that have been plaguing the lands, as well as attacks by minions of Drogor. Moon mages have been seeing many visions of late related to this, which can be divided into a few general categories. Cloud and Thunder Eels
These unusual flying eels have recently been attacking from the skies, and visions I have seen would seem to indicate something other than Drogor himself calling them. Though almost certainly the messengers in question do serve Drogor.
A woodcut print is presented on the page, showing a drawing of a cloud eel: As long as an average Gnome’s height and as thick as one’s neck, the cloud eel moves about with an exceptional natural fluidity. It has benign, jewel-like silvery eyes that almost belie its predatory posture. The sleek body is covered in nacreous scales, patterned with pale cream-hued spots along its sides.
I was overwhelmed by foreign thoughts and sensations!
As my mind struggled to place it all into an understandable order and end the painful onslaught, I saw my kin surrounding me, their bodies floating, wrought beautiful with their illumination of the darkness which enveloped us always.
I felt the calling, and knew they did as well. In concert we moved - graceful, languid, but with unceasing purpose.
With a sharp jolt my surroundings fell away from me and my kin dissolved into nothingness! Briefly I felt a keen sense of loss as I reoriented to the here and now.
A blinding pain swelled in my head, disorienting me utterly. As the agony began to recede, I found that I was floating high above the world, looking down upon the tiny creatures below.
I twined with my brethren, squirming in slow, syncopated waves, though my gaze remained unwavering. So small, so far. The messengers spoke of the warm waters that flow freely from the tiny beings when their outer casings are split, and this thought pleased me immensely. Soon it would be my time. Soon I would split them all open and drink my fill!
A thunderous roar filled my ears and the vision faded, leaving me back in my own body once more.
I sensed that I was being called by the sanguine rush. The waves pulled at me, drawing me ever downward to where the messengers were born.
I am not sure that what is represented in this last vision are actually the eels, but it may perhaps represent the creation of the ‘messengers’ that put out the call being answered by the cloud eels.
A series of visions assaulted my senses, rending me numb to my actual surroundings for what seemed like an eternity!
First, three scales gleamed in the sun, wet and smooth and sinuous in their movements all the same, yet each differing in color - pearled white, placid green, and darkest grey. Next, I felt neglect leading to despair, leading to rage, leading to vengeance. A coldness unmoved by pain or reason. Finally, rivulets of blood intertwined then coalesced, massing themselves into a rough approximation of life! Just as I began to think I could make out the shape of what the new being had become, the visions left me.
I felt drained and utterly empty as I realized that but only the briefest moment had truly passed.
Looking into these creatures, I was able to find a reference to an Empath guild document written about them, though I’ve not yet been able to uncover the full document. From the reference about the aerial ecosystems of Elanthia:
“With the airborne flora and herbivores of Lemicus, and the carnivores of Drogor that prey on the latter, the denizens of these self-sustaining sky domains typically never come down to the surface during their lifetimes. The cloud eels and thunder eels are a notable exception, wont to ride their maker’s storms in marauding schools throughout Qi’Reshalia and beyond.”
Zoluren Royal Family
This vision, thankfully, seems to have had a happy ending, as I am informed that the royal family has safely returned to Zoluren. I present it here for the sake of completeness, and the relation it shows to the recent storms. Vision
A fit of unbridled sadness and concern overtook my mind, causing me to close my eyes to fight back the emotional onslaught!
As they reopened, I saw a pale Elven woman with long dark hair and sparkling green eyes standing with a bronze-scaled older Merelew man dressed in opulent finery, the pair looking out over a raging sea. She turned to him and said, “It is what is safest for us all.” The man looked at her protectively and seemed to be readying himself to speak, but stopped short, sighing heavily instead. He nodded his head then regained his regal bearing, saying, “It is. I’ve had your ship readied. You and the children will leave immediately, then I will attend to the rest.” As the pair embraced, the vision faded, and I reoriented to the world around me.
In addition to the eels, Drogor has other minions among willing worshippers, and perhaps those who are not so willing. There have been several visions of ominous changes taking place, mentally and physically amongst those he turns his sights on. Vision
A red haze clouded my vision, warping and distorting the world around me. As it began to clear somewhere, I felt overcome with a sense of indignant rage that was not my own, and yet guided my ever motion, pushing me ever forward.
Far now from my home waters, still I went on. I would not stop, I COULD not stop - not until every last one of them trembled in His name!
Regaining my own senses, the sanguine film dissolved from my sight, leaving me only with a profound hunger that lingered in its wake.
With a waft of briny air, my senses warped and shifted, leaving me consumed with fury, though I was not sure of the cause.
The Captain was arguing with me, telling me to change back to his original course, threatening me with the lash, telling the others that they would have my share of the platinum coins when he dumped my ungrateful corpse into the drink when he was through. He did all of this, and yet they didn’t cheer and holler for him to have at me, but simply gazed at us both with unblinking eyes.
The eyes of the deep.
I stopped talking, stopped trying to explain why the course must change. With a single thrust, the dagger found its mark. He lay bloody on the deck for only moments before the others rushed forward, drawn to the smell.
The vision receded from me, leaving me back in the here and now.
I feel it important to note that this next vision was seen from the perspective of some unfortunate soul, and any thoughts expressed are those that were felt through his mind, and are not meant to represent the feelings of the writer, or anyone involved with the First Land Herald.
I was struck by the twin sensations of something sharp tearing through my flesh and my lungs burning from lack of air! As the pain cleared, I found myself in another place, another mind.
I was dying. I could feel it, cold and familiar in its embrace.
Though the instinctual panic remained in my mind behind the whiskey that dulled its reality, it was nothing I’d not felt before and I was confident that I had the favor of the immortals with me. That’s why I gave up all of those orbs, after all. So many nights of drinking delayed, that had to count for something! That drunk old fool was wrong as usual. Special connection to the Divine? Yeah, maybe when he was younger and drank less than a barrel a day! So I spit on that old altar once - so what? Blasted fish-god liked the water, right? Ha!
Although … how did I end up in the bay this time, anyway?
As my salty tomb crushed the last of my life with its weight, the truth came to me with a final, horrifying clarity brought by the creature burrowing into what was once my body.
This last vision, of course, brings to mind the Drowned Ones, undead corpses animated by parasitic jellyfish. They are known to be found in the waters near Fang Cove, though I’m informed that some of them may have been seen elsewhere, as Drogor continues to make his wrath felt.
All in all, I would say that, though they present quite an impressive front, and can themselves be dangerous, I would say that the aerial eels may be a lesser threat than the other minions of Drogor, who may be able to execute plans more complex than simply trying to feast on us. I leave actual plans for defense to the provincial military forces, who are better suited to it, and the clerics who are better able to divine the will of the gods, but I hope the information presented may be of some use in those endeavors.
Miskton Ramahk, Court Mage of Ilithi
414-02-08 - Drogor's Minions Descend
Drogor has Awakened, sending masses of Flying Eels and celpeze to terrorize Shard, Riverhaven, and the Crossing in the past few days. The smaller eels, called Cloud and Thunder eels, were described as roughly three feet in length, while the larger and more dangerous Stormrider eels were a full five feet or longer. Both types could float effortlessly through the air, OUT OF RANGE of our smaller weapons - although certain Spears and pole-length weapons could reach them. The Stormriders were said to crackle with Electricity, and often pulsed an attack that would injure All Nearby. Below I list a rough description of their unique Abilities, followed by a Very approximate ordering of their Difficulty, from easiest to most difficult: ABILITIES
All eels: FLYING. Cannot be hit by short melee weapons. All eels(?): Idon’s Theft. This spell steals a mage’s currently prepared spell - although thankfully, they do not appear to then cast the spell themselves. Lieutenant Starlear of Ilithi suggests preparing a Benign spell for them to steal before casting important spells. Cloud eel. Casts Air Lash and Geyser. Thunder eel. Casts Lightning, Chain Lightning, Thunderclap. Stormrider. Pulsing area lightning attack. Also casts Lightning and Chain Lightning.
DIFFICULTY [easiest to hardest - VERY approximate]
Alabaster cloud eel and thunder eel. Turquoise/teal/cerulean cloud eel and thunder eel. Celpeze. Lapis-hued cloud eel and thunder eel. Onyx cloud eel ~~ similar to the lava drake. Stormrider ~~ similar to the umbral moth.
More information is still needed about the lesser eels. Anyone who can provide accurate Appraisals of such should contact me, Navesi Osirit of the First Land Herald. ALBATROSS EGGS
During the first eel Invasion of Shard, the Brave forces of the Crystal Vanguard militia discovered that, upon killing the eels, they would often find slime-covered Eggs. Court Mage Miskton Ramahk decided to investigate the eggs, and discovered that, with the use of Holy water, CLEANING them with the WATER made them identifiable as Albatross eggs. When these eggs were cleaned and taken to OPEN SKY and RAISED up, they would summon great LEMICAN ALBATROSSES, which would fight at our soldiers’ sides! These creatures were of magnificent strength and chose to fight with us, however, take great care - if attacked, including with Area spells, THEY WILL TURN on their attacker!
Thus, particularly for fighters of lesser skill, finding an egg and employing Clerical help to Bless some water should prove Most Useful.
Theological scholars can only contemplate what would cause such Division among a god’s aspects, such that Light avatars attack the Dark of the selfsame god. Regardless of the reasons, we give thanks to Lemicus for Her generous aid. STORM PREPARATION
Field Hospital. Defenders of Zoluren, recall that the location of the Field Hospital during invasion is in the Healerie. Go inside the Empath guild, down, and through the doors.
Emergency Supplies. Prepare an emergency kit ahead of the storm. Stockpile herbs, particularly Lujeakave for nerves. Triage Strategist Aislynn recommends lujeakave tonics over potions, as they will heal critical wounds. Set out armor useful against Electricity as well as pole and ranged weapons. Store enough food and drinking water to last several days, and consider a light source. In case of Flood, store valuable items on the second floor or higher of your home.
Evacuation Plan. Have a plan ready for leaving the city if necessary. Write ahead to relatives and plan to go to them if times become difficult. Follow Instructions from officials, and always leave immediately if ordered. Wait until the city is declared Safe before returning home.
Prayer. Appease the Lord of Storms with prayer, offerings of shark teeth and shark beads. Give thanks to Lemicus our Savior. Shelter Thyself under Lemicus‘ Wing.
In Drowning Dreams do Drogor’s Dragons Drift. Drenched and Dreary, we pray to Dry.
Navesi Osirit Editor, First Land Herald
414-01-17 - Royal Family Returns - Ice Eels Attack Travelers - Guardians Continue Attack on Zoluren
ROYAL FAMILY RETURNS
The Royal ship, the Jewel of Zoluren, along with her escort ships, has Returned to the Zoluren harbor. An official Zoluren guardsman at DiSilveron manor confirmed the arrival of all three Royals: Princess Arilana and her two Children, Belirendrick IV and Inavia. Aislynn reported that Seneschal Maghana mentioned that Andreshlew is having difficulties due to recent Storms, so that may be the reason for their Return from their island haven.
We at the Herald pray that Drogor’s Wrath is brief and that the Merelew people remain safe. ICE EELS ATTACK TRAVELERS, STORMS CONTINUE
On the ferry that travels between Ilaya Taipa and Ain Ghazal, a small group of Intrepid Adventurers was beset by an attack of the Strangest degree. Tankata, one of those present, reported that some slush gathered itself into the very Form of several ICE EELS, which each bit one of the party members before taking off INTO THE SKY. We note the similarity of this attack to the recent Shark attacks on several innocents, which also involved seemingly innocuous water (even small puddles) presenting sharks to unassuming victims.
An anonymous source reported to the Herald today that Hurricane force winds were present in Riverhaven. Added to the storms of Andreshlew and Mistanna Redivas’s report of such Terrible storms in Ilithi, and it appears that a Pattern is developing. GUARDIANS CONTINUE ATTACK ON ZOLUREN
Rock guardians of many different Types have lately been wont to Attack Zoluren, both at Dirge and at at least Three of the gates of the Crossing: the Northeast, the North, and the West. Each attack focused on a Single area. It is unknown yet why they have chosen to attack, but it is well known that rock guardians are protective of stones, so given their focus on Dirge they MAY be protesting the Mining that takes place there. However, no guardians have deigned to comment.
The guardian is a formidable opponent, being a Construct made of various kinds of stone that stands some TWENTY FEET in height. Those made of different stones appear to have differing abilities, in the following Order (from least to most difficult). They are also known to THROW SMALL BOULDERS.
sandstone andesite ~~ similar to the thicket viper breccia alabaster (?) rock guardian marble ~~ similar to the young gryphon obsidian ~~ similar to the scaly seordmaor quartzite diamondique
Earth and Water are both proving dangerous lately. Take care, Zoluren.
Navesi Osirit Editor, First Land Herald
413-08-23 - Dreadful Drogorian Drama - Goblins at Northeast Gate
DREADFUL DROGORIAN DRAMA
Several witnesses reported today spotting a Dark Flicker under the Water in various Unusual Locations. Sightings were reported at the Crossing’s Town Green Pond, the fountain on Willow Walk, the Faldesu, the stream in the Wicked Burrow mine, and even the slack tub at the Crossing Forge. The unfortunate witness who spotted a Shark in the Wicked Burrow stream was also Bitten, even unto Death! (Thankfully, she is in good health once again.)
Furthermore, a Moon Mage calling herself Eyuve reported that a Strong Vision of a Shark was visited upon her, accompanied by Water pouring out of her thigh bag. The mage had some difficulty in communicating, but it is my interpretation that the thigh bag actually Moved, jerking her off her feet, and continued to strain and shake even as Water sloshed out, as if some living Beast were trapped inside. It came to my attention that she keeps a Vial of Sea Water in the bag, although the Quantities involved appeared much greater.
Eventually, the movement of the Bag subsided, but she was then overtaken with a Vision.
To Quote her, “The blackness of its Maw pierced our Fabric, gaping wide from the emptiness, its teeth closing on me.”
Is this some Curse laid upon us by the Deep One himself? Gentle reader, only time will tell. GOBLINS AT NORTHEAST GATE
Organized Goblins attacked the Northeastern Gate of the Crossing today. Ranger Arandrowse and one Anonymous source reported to the Herald that there were Bandits, Scoundrels, Skirmishers, and at least one Warlord, and that they did not breach our fair city’s sturdy Gate. The goblins’ reasons for attacking are at this time Unknown. ELPALZI ACTIVITY ON THE NORTHERN TRADE ROUTE
Earlier this month, Kasto del’Fawkraste and Aislynn reported movement of the Terrible Elpalzi on the Northern Trade Route. Aislynn reported that they were first seen on the Road, near Kaerna. At a later event, Kasto reported that partisans were spotted on the Journalai Route, where the rock trolls make their home. Strangely, they were confined to that Area, a place they have not, to my knowledge, been spotted before. They gave no Indication as to why they were there.
Stay safe, Zoluren, and avoid Open Water,
Navesi Osirit Editor, First Land Herald
413-07-10 - 'Kitchen Sink' Invader Strikes
MALICIOUS MALEFACTOR MARCHES MONSTROUS MENAGERIE
In the wee hours of the morning, citizens of the Crossing were Puzzled by the sudden Invasion of creatures of a dazzling array of Types. They were seen at Magen Road, just in front of the Crossing Empath Guild.
Puzzlement soon turned to the righteous Defense of our fair city against the Vicious and Varied attackers. After the fact, witnesses struggled to identify all the types of creatures due to the sheer number of them. I attempt here to list as many as possible, in the rough order they were reported to Appear. Due to the difficulty of the task, please allow for some Error. The Herald will also accept submissions of Corrections at any time.
skunks mammoths bone amalgams tenebraelings jackals grass eels inkhorne ghoul seagulls germish’din umbral colossi and black zephyrs cave trolls, zombie goblins, and rock trolls goblin archers, bowmen, chieftains, warlords, berserkers, and zombie goblins, with trollkin goblin shamans grey clay mages and soldiers juvenile desert armadillos drunken pirates, both Elves and Kaldar various rogues and gypsies, the group of which bore colors from all Five Provinces, including some ice-covered men and women that witnesses swore could be from Albaria elba Darvagers hulking black barghests adult desert armadillos wailing women and banshees various malformed citizens, many of which bore the crests of the known Guilds brocket deer cougars arthelun cabalists wir dinego snaer hafwa stark white skeletal kobolds wind wretches and wind hags dwarf-like creatures black apes hideous horned black steeds skorik nadhar sand spiders umbral colossi (a second time)
Due to the focused Precision of the attack, limited to the one block with very little roaming, a field hospital was easily maintained to the west of the fighting, and the Brave service of the Empaths there was duly noted. At the end of the brutal Onslaught, our town stood Victorious, as always.
Finally, a Voice was heard: “I’ll just have to return with better, stronger monsters. You may have won these battles, but the next shall be mine!”
Beware this Kitchen Sink Invader!
Navesi Osirit Editor, First Land Herald
411-09-09 - Elpalzi Attacks Continue Against Crossing
The Elpalzi continue their Attacks against the Crossing, with several coming in recent weeks. These Attacks were repelled successfully by The Crossing’s Valiant Defenders.
TODAY’S ATTACK Today’s most recent Assault was not as difficult to repel as others we have seen in the past from them, with their Champions absent and the most Elite of their Forces in short supply. The main threat, as usual, came in the form of the Elpalzi Infantry, which appeared within our Walls in their usual flash of greenish-grey Light. This Reporter neither experienced, nor heard Reports of their customary Bombs in this most recent Skirmish, but their use has been reported as well in other recent Invasions.
WEAKER ATTACKS TO THE WEST The strongest Attack came against the Eastern side of the Crossing, while weaker Troops assaulted the West side. Should this Pattern continue to hold, it is recommended that those with greater Prowess should defend the East while those with lesser Skills hold off the weaker Attacks to the West. The Eastern Assault consisted primarily of Fomenters, Dissidents, Incendiaries, Deadeyes, and Sharpshooters, while in the West, Hunters and Partisans were spotted.
A WARNING TO TRIAGE? It should be noted as well that there are reports of Elpalzi Soldiers seen entering our Triage location and Snickering! Though they refrained from any attempted Attack, it should be noted that they are well aware of the Location and we should be wary of future Disruptions to our attempts to heal our Wounded. The Herald thanks Dreamheart for this information.
Defenders of Zoluren are advised to be keep watch for New Threats or Suspicious Actions. The Elpalzi have used Subterfuge in the past, and are not a Foe to be taken lightly.
PREVIOUS ELPALZI COVERAGE For further information on the Elpalzi Threat, please see our previous Coverage, which will continue to be made available at your Local Newsstand for the duration of the Threat.
Saragos Daerthon Reporter, First Land Herald
411-04-29 - Wyverns Attack the Crossing, Shard, and Therengia
A New Threat has emerged! Fire-breathing Wyverns today attacked the Crossing, Shard, and Therengia! There was little advance notice of the Attack save for visions seen by Moon Mages of leathern Wings and Cities in Flames.
Creatures of all Ages were spotted during the assault, including Young, Juvenile, and Adult varieties, as well as an Undead variety of Bone Wyvern, ranging in size from that of a Horse to a House! Beware, for they are dangerous foes: the least of them were a bit more difficult than Asaren Celpeze, while the greatest were more fearsome even than Adult Desert Armadillos.
Young > celpeze Juvenile Adult Bone > adult armadillo
It is advised that one assess one’s foes before engaging, for there were reports that even Wyverns of the same Type had quite different Skill Levels.
They had many fearsome attacks, such as belching forth searing Streams of Flames and sting with their Poisonous Barbed Tails - both even at Range! And while the Young are incapable of flight, the Bone Wyverns at the least can swoop down to snatch the unwary in their Claws!
In addition, the undead Bone creatures were able to cast Necromancies Most Foul, including a Spray of burning Blood as well as Tendrils of reddish-black energy that would Siphon the Vitality of those they hit.
It is unclear what the source of this Wyvern attack was, or if it presages any further Invasions by any as yet unknown Malefactors. Remain watchful.
Saragos Daerthon Reporter, First Land Herald
411-04-05 - Elpalzi Attack Again After Long Hiatus
Be Advised, Zoluren! Our Dogged Enemy, the Elpalzi, resumes the attack, reappearing from their resting place in Sorrow’s Reach! On this night, Elpalzi warriors and champion warriors invaded the Crossing, using their signature BOMBS to attack crowded areas. A reminder that these bombs typically cause INTERNAL HEAD wounds and DEAFNESS. Mazrian said that TWO HITS from such bombs COULD be enough to kill, so seek healing quickly if you do not wish to Risk Death!
Barricade. Further, the Elpalzi saw fit to erect a BARRICADE just north of Kaerna Village. This barricade blocked travel to the north along the Trade road, and from behind its safety the Elpalzi fired volleys of arrows, emptied barrels of boiling oil and boiling water, and tossed rocks and boulders! The tactic to destroy the barricade is to first rid the area of Elpalzi fighters, then ADVANCE upon the barricade itself. Enough of our solid blows will bring down their shoddy craftsmanship!
Field Hospital. Healing and raising immediately commenced in the HEALERIE in the Crossing Empath Guild (once inside, go down, through the doors). Bravo to the skilled Empaths, Clerics, and Bards who assisted.
Elpalzi Levels. As a reminder to our veterans and a notice to any new fighters, we here re-publish our rough ESTIMATE of Elpalzi fighters’ ability. We note next to some an estimated creature of similar Ability. Note that most Ranged attackers appear to be more deadly when attacking than defending.
CHAMPIONs of these fighters are of course more difficult to kill!
Bowyer ~~ Viper Hunter Sharpshooter Deadeye Toxophilite ~~ Celpeze
Instigator ~~ Viper Partisan Dissident ~~ Rhoat Moda Fomentor Rebel Incendiary ~~ Celpeze Malcontent
Summary. You may also wish to review our earlier Summary of Elpalzi abilities.
The time for Festivities is, sadly, over. Prepare, good Zoluren, for a fight.
Navesi Osirit Editor, First Land Herald
410-09-37 - Dressmaker Fritha Walks, Poison Suspected
Hello everyone! This is Izimi! Daring flight-researcher, giving you your Eye from the Sky!
IT’S THE TALK OF ARACHNI-TOWN! Under mysterious circumstances, dressmakers Cereia and Fritha have DIED! While Cereia returned from her brush with the Void, death’s grip was more firm on Fritha! She will never more return to make a dress! A great tragedy has befallen the fashion world! Treasure your Fritha dresses! Cereia was intensely distraught, though was GLAD that she had the chance to MAKE UP with Fritha before her demise!
SOON enough, theories were being bandied about as to what could cause their demise, while Fritha’s shop was closed down! Fritha’s belongings were taken to be delivered to the Captain by Linett, a brave adventurer, on the suspicion that POISON could be found! Aislynn and Elriic accompanied her on the quest! Those possessions were left with TED, a gnome worker of the Arachnid, according to Linett and her witnesses!
CEREIA commented that they were having rosehips tea when Fritha collapsed! She also enjoyed a ginger and almond cookie served by FRITHA’S ASSISTANT, though Fritha ate MORE. Cereia was escorted to her store, and there rests, though she expressed a desire to see Fritha’s belongings RETURNED to her former mentor’s family. Cereia also commented that Fritha was VERY PIOUS, and was surprised that the Gods DID NOT FIND FAVOR in her.
NO WORD was heard directly from the CAPTAIN, who has been NOTIFIED but is reported to be beside himself by the antiquarian Aislynn. Intrepid gnomes of the spider soon sought out Fritha’s ASSISTANT for questioning, based on CEREIA’S DESCRIPTION – a tall, thin Elf woman with auburn hair! They were seen HAULING IN a woman matching that description, who PROTESTED INNOCENCE.
The gnomes attested that they found her halfway to RAVEN’S POINT, with TOAD GLANDS in her bags, and CEREIA’S COLOR-BOOK, reported stolen earlier during the festival, with its design ideas! OFFICIAL INQUIRY seems to have come to rest with that conclusion, but THE MYSTERY REMAINS! What kind of poison could kill one dressmaker FOREVER, yet spare another? Is that the real cause of death? Is the Elf who was caught guilty of poisoning, theft, being Fritha’s assistant, or HAVING NO FASHION SENSE?! We may never know!
As a consequence of these events, esteemed Dressmaker Cereia will be hosting a sale of items made by both Cereia and Fritha, working as a tailoring team! The last dresses from Fritha, ever, will be at this sale. Get these rare pieces of fashion art now, because there won’t be any more like them! Probably. Unless someone finds more Fritha dresses that she made.
OOC: FEST EVENT for details on Cereia’s sale!
410-07-28 - The First Defeated, Sky Clears - Spider Festival Arrives
THE FIRST DEFEATED, SKY CLEARS
The First of the Akul'tiz, Xitoccanemun, was STRUCK DOWN recently by a band of Brave Warriors.
When the glass Sun in the Temple was properly prepared, Sister Tasrhhsu gathered willing fighters, and Mazrian led them into the Wicked Burrow mine, where it was believed the Akul'tiz were making their Lair. There, they were set upon by the vile mole-people -- and again, the rogue Ogdaro -- and there was a valiant struggle. However, we have PREVAILED! The First was killed! Miskton reported that his corpse was drawn into the ground.
Shortly after his death, the roiling clouds above abruptly ceased their movement. They shrank into pinpricks and disappeared, revealing a starry sky once again!
Although we were unable to secure witnesses in the carnage, we at the Herald can only assume that the glass Sun was successfully deployed.
HOLLOW EVE FESTIVAL ARRIVES.
In a fortuitous Coincidence, the giant Spider -- what bears in its belly an astounding array of Shops and Games -- arrived on the very eve of our Triumph. Come celebrate in the largest Gnome-made spider-building known to exist!
Of note, the operating Gnomes have added a "baby" spider to the main contraption, which contains several new shops and at least one new game. Many new rare materials were seen amongst the wares there. Further, an Enchanter stands there waiting, offering to enchant one's weapons to produce Foods, Drinks, and such. Obviously it will be of great use to hungry hunters, and those who wish to distract their prey with delicious treats. It may be of less use to those hunters who would be distracted themselves by such delights.
The Witch Keishalae has already been spotted working, and Ritual Focus specialist Vatari agreed to attune items into foci (in addition to altering their appearance).
The Musiceum, in the baby spider, sells instruments of exquisite quality, including three of Limited quantity. Visit now, while they are still present.
Enjoy the sunlight, dear Zoluren.
410-07-17 - A Light of Hope is Found - Music to Bring Sunlight to Peri'el
At long last, the means of delivering both ourselves and the Goddess Peri’el from the Darkness brought on by Dergati and her Spawn may be at hand: a holy artifact – a Glass Sun – fed by the power of Song.
The news was brought by Priest Rardu, of Hav’roth, and, fittingly, was proven by Ur’Kapo Peri’el Renrosali with her Song during a public meeting with Sister Tasrhhsu.
Ur’Kapo Renrosali accepted Rardu’s Harp and, hanging a Glass Shard around her neck, began to play a lament. To the shock of all in attendance, including Sister Tasrhhsu, the Shard began to glow with the Purest Sunlight!
In the words of Rardu, “It has taken a whole coterie of Holy Enchanters since the time that Dergati hid our sun. But it is done. This glass, a gift from Hav’roth, surely - it transmutes music into sunlight.”
At least three large Suns of Glass, each about the size of a Gor’Tog by the Priest’s word, have been constructed. They sit just within the doors of the High Temple in the Crossing, just east of the Temple Gate in Riverhaven, and at the altar of Peri’el in the Shard Temple of Light, awaiting the charge of Sunlight from these Shards. There may be others in other cities, but these are outside the purview of the Herald.
Once these reservoirs are filled, it is thought that this Sunlight may be brought down below the Ground, into the lair of Dergati’s Spawn themselves, to give aid to the ailing Peri’el.
It is hoped that all will do their part to charge these Shards. They are available for a small fee of a few silver, and can be found beneath the Glass Sun. They are to be worn around the Neck, and as many can be worn – and charged! – as can be fit.
Playing an instrument or humming a Song well will infuse with Sunlight. You will know you have been successful when you see the glow increasing. The Song must be well-played – a halting or stumbling tune will not do! At any time, either when the Shard holds as much Sunlight as it can, or sooner, they can be returned to feed their energy into the Sun’s reservoir within the temple by tapping them against it.
Our Task is set before us. Once the Glass Sun is charged, the Lair must still be located, and then the Battle to maneuver this Holy Artifact beneath the earth where it may do its work must ensue. The Ru’atin Peri’el and the Priests have given us a tool. It us up to each of us to see it used.
Collect a shard from beneath one of the three locations of the suns. (Crossing Temple, Riverhaven Temple, Shard Temple of Light.) PLAY or HUM when the shard is around your neck. Up to three shards can be worn. When charged, return to one of the suns and TAP SUN WITH SHARD while holding it.
410-07-09 - Sister Tasrhhsu Sacrificed, Recovering - Fists Continue to Erupt - Vigil for Peri'el Brings Visions
Sister Tasrhhsu of the Ru’atin Peri’el called many people of the Crossing together to the High Temple today to discuss visions experienced by many Clerics.
However, the meeting was ambushed, first by an Apparition of a vibrant and healthy Kingsnake. It approached the Sister and suddenly Morphed into a shrike and struck her in the throat! She was physically unhurt but unable to speak. Then the First [Xitoccanemun] arrived, dragged her away, and a spawn of some sort dragged her underground. Her Death was felt, and it was later discovered that she was Sacrificed to Dergati Herself.
Tasrhhsu reappeared on the Temple altar, although she now suffers from a Terrible Scar to her head and the feeling that she has Forgotten something. She was further attacked by the rogue Ogdaro, but he was firmly rebuffed by those present. She rests and recovers now.
The Visions discussed have been recorded in local archives. Sister Tasrhhsu reported that the Ru’atin “currently believe that the visions are providing proof that Peri’el is not dead, but simply weakened, as if poisoned somehow. The eldest of the Ru’atin seem to believe that the cure is exactly what we do not have. Sunlight.”
“We’re not sure how to get the sunlight to her. We’re not even yet sure how to get sunlight at all… And as to where to bring the sunlight, we don’t know where exactly she is. She is a Goddess, after all. And as the visions suggest, being held somewhere.”
She also bore the following warning:
“I caution you all to be wary. Peri’el is not answering your prayers and songs according to the most devout of the Ru’atin. They feel the dark presence of Dergati intercepting and responding to mortals. Trickery.”
GREATER AND LESSER FISTS CONTINUE TO ERUPT, DERGATIAN INVASIONS CONTINUE.
The Greater and Lesser Fists again recently Erupted, sending twin fireballs into the sky. Debris rained from the sky once more. SEEK SHELTER if further eruptions occur! You are far safer indoors!
Local Authorities have erected a Ward to prevent entry to the Greater Fist.
Dergatian creatures continue to regularly flood the streets of Kermoria’s cities, in particular the Crossing, Riverhaven, Langenfirth, and Shard. Preceding such events are terrible, nightmarish visions. SONG VIGIL FOR PERI’EL BRINGS UNCLEAR VISIONS.
Bard Dreamheart recently organized a Song Vigil at the Peri’el altar, where many singers raised their voices in praise of the great Singing Goddess, who may be imprisoned in Silence and Darkness.
Those present experienced a heartening Vision of the goddess. Upon the altar appeared a faint, gossamer, coiled Kingsnake. The animal raised its head slightly, but, as if fatigued by the effort, the vision disappeared almost as quickly as it came into being. Additionally, Arandrowse reported a pale, gossamer kingsnake wending its way up his arm.
However, it is unclear whether the Goddess Herself responds, or, as Sister Tasrhhsu warned (see above), Dergati is answering in her stead.
My prayers are with you, readers, in these dark times.
410-06-37 - Both Fists Erupt - Sister Tasrhhsu Says Peri'el Not Dead
The Lesser Fist volcano, northwest of Dirge, has erupted, causing catastrophic damage and destroying the Fortress of the Crystal Hand. The Fortress was built into the very basin of the Volcano, a great translucent dome capping it - but now all that remains is shattered Debris. A number of Monks of the Crystal Hand were killed in this tragedy. The Greater Fist, to the east of the Lesser Fist, also erupted.
Moon Mage Miskton reported that Guildleader Tiv escaped alive, first speaking cryptic words and then entering a moongate. The guildleader reportedly collapsed, then stood and spoke in a different voice, his eyes white: “Today is a day of Gods and men, not of us. He overreaches himself. He cannot change those who came before you made that truth manifest. I will not undo what has been done. I will not ape his crimes. I give this vessel what is sought. I will not be thanked for it. The future is of your own making, for he sees only one. I will intervene no more.”
Miskton also reported that the Emalerje Grazhir shard is sealed off from the Astral Plane. This was confirmed by Mistanna.
One Toldorf claimed to see the smoke from Ratha. Burning cinders rained from the Sky, harming many, even as far south as Acenamacra. Cinders and wind gusts continued even many anlaen after the eruption, and there was at least one bolt of lightning in the Crossing. Inexplicably, salt crabs appeared at some locations in the Crossing.
The sky is covered with ash and smoke, and we are plunged into Darkness. SISTER TASRHHSU SAYS PERI’EL NOT DEAD.
When asked to comment on the First’s claim of Peri’el’s death, Sister Tasrhhsu said, “He lies. The Ru’atin would know.” However, she also said, “I fear that she is incapacitated in some way, and being held that way. She does not hear me when I pray at her altar. She does not hear me when I pray to her by name. It is as if she is being held in the very darkness The First has pulled many of us into before.” Explaining, she said that this darkness was, “The encompassing darkness that seems to inflict many of the warriors, leaving them with nothing but their thoughts.”
She now hopes to get word to the Ru’atin on Surlaenis. She believes they will know best what to do. She added, “I think it may become prudent for the Ru’atin to open the Song we carry so that more hands, more voices may aid.”
When asked to comment on the First, she said, “I am told he is susceptible to bards and to mental attacks. He runs when I have begun to get the better of him.” However, she confirmed that the Lilt aids him.
In the moments between fighting and fitful sleep, we pray. Good hunting to you all,
410-06-29 - The First Claims Peri'el Slain
The creature calling itself the First of the Akul’tiz [Xitoccanemun] appeared again in the Crossing this afternoon, along with its hordes of Nightmarish allies.
When asked what it had done to Peri’el, it replied, “Slain Her. She lies dead within the deep earth.”
Then: “Believe or not. She comes.”
VISIONS OF PERI’EL.
Dearest Reader, it is not often that we Mortals receive insight and Visions into the workings of the Gods. On this day I received two Profound Visions that affected me greatly:
Silence. In the first, I felt a silence creep - spanning the world and leaving it vulnerable and unprotected.
I cannot say why I felt so strongly that the silence affected the entirety of the world.
Peri’el. Catching streams of light, dust motes formed the figure of a S’Kra Mur woman. As the motes moved around, the detail of her face became clearer. Her one eye looked at me in mute and silent appeal. She reached a hand toward me, as if pleading, and the dust particles begin to swirl away, leaving me to wonder if the apparition was ever really there at all.
This, to me, can only be the face of Peri’el. I cannot know if what I saw was True, but, dear Reader, if it was then I pray for us all.
410-06-09 - Dergatian Chrysalis Awakens - The 'First' Attacks Crossing and Ru'atin Sister
THE 'FIRST' ATTACKS RU'ATIN SISTER.
A Strange and Repulsive creature appeared today in the Crossing, of a race we now call the Akul'tiz. It called itself the First [Xitoccanemun]. It has loose, hairless skin that has been tattooed to black, pointed Teeth, long, sharpened, emerald green nails, and gigantic violet Eyes. Prior to its arrival many people reported strange visions, the type appearing to vary based upon guild.
IT IMMEDIATELY ATTACKED Sister Tasrhhsu of the Ru'atin Peri'el, flourishing two fingers and causing her EYEBALLS TO EXPLODE. It cried out, "For the Mother!" and later claimed that the Mother would reward or spare people if they would give Tasrhhsu over. It said that, "She is for the Mother. For the darkness," and claimed that her eyes please the Mother, who hungers. It said it would have her soul, "a singer for the singer", and said, "She will have the singer, even if all must perish."
"Soon all is Hers. Eyes will all be dark. Hide in your magic, hide in your song. It matters not. She takes all. She is the mother of Darkness. She who consumes the eyes of the lessers."
After a long Battle fighting to get the Sister away from it and to safety, IT EVENTUALLY PREVAILED, STRIKING HER DOWN. Afterward it plunged its Nails into her eye sockets and said to her, "Soon."
DERGATIAN CHRYSALIS AWAKENED.
All evidence suggests that the First is in fact THE CREATURE THAT WAS WITHIN THE CHRYSALIS upon the Dergatian altar in Therengia. The altar there is now Vacant, with a fresh Hole behind it where something burrowed away. When the First was confronted with one man, it said to him, "I feel you still. You fed, yes. You helped me to grow. To learn." The man admitted to feeding the chrysalis with his spirit.
CROSSING INVADED BY DERGATIAN HORDE.
Upon the First's arrival, new, dangerous threats emerged to attack the Crossing and surrounds, for which special Caution is highly recommended.
The First's race is called the Akul'tiz, and they are short, plump humanoids with rattish faces, very wide jaws, and hairless grey skin that hangs flaccidly from their frame. They tend to go barefoot, have remarkable speed and agility, and have grub-like fingers with long, sharpened nails painted a bright malachite-green at the end. DO NOT underestimate them!
They are possessed of many nasty tricks, including spawning other threats upon death, striking the Spirit, and using attacks that Blind, Remove the Tongue, Stun, and Poison. It is highly advised to have Clerical protection and Blessing before engaging!
In roughly ascending order of difficulty they are:
1. BUTCHERBIRD and DINANLA SLUG. Slugs may detonate when killed!
2. AKUL'TIZ (zebra-striped, moth-tattooed, shrike-tattooed). Roughly as skilled as a Rock Guardian. May rise from the dead as an AKUL'TIZ GHOST (see below) after being slain, or spawn UMBRAL MOTHS (see below).
3. AKUL'TIZ GHOST – May drain Spirit.
4. AKUL'TIZ NIGHTBLADE - These Foul warriors attack from the Shadows, and have the ability to BLIND at range with their Claws! May also drain Spirit.
5. AKUL'TIZ LIGHTBANE - Also Stealthy, may spit POISON sprays and BLIND at range with their claws. May also become AKUL'TIZ GHOSTS when killed.
6. DERGATIAN SPAWN AND BEHEMOTH - These mole-like animals are as large as a mammoth, and often bear the Akul'tiz into battle. They are powerful and well-armored, and cause stuns with their Nasal Tentacles.
7. UMBRAL MOTH - These winged creatures will Ambush, and if able to grapple with an opponent will POISON with their probosci, RIP OUT TONGUES, and also drain one's Spirit! They RANGE in difficulty, perhaps naturally, or perhaps gaining strength from the Tongues they consume. They may become as difficult as Lava Drakes.
8. AKUL'TIZ SHADOW MATRIARCH - Extremely powerful and difficult to damage, they may attack with the spell Dinazen Olkar. They also drain Spirit! Be warned! They have been reported to be as difficult as the Champion Elpalzi Malcontents.
The First itself has been seen to EXPLODE THE EYEBALLS of many, and is protected in some way by a pair of Spectral Black Wings, which appear to block Scrying. It also has a Cloak of Feathery Shadows that leap about it, with unknown properties.
Further, it uses magicks to conjure a Black Halo, manifesting as a fog that blots out the world just as Dergati's hand clamps over the stars. This Halo has the capability to Stun, and to Toss one away from it. Engage it in an ENCLOSED area to avoid being tossed.
It was also witnessed to use Horn of the Black Unicorn and Dinazen Olkar. Mazrian of the Raven Guard said that it was even more deft in combat than the notorious Elpalzi Assassins.
STRANGE PRESENCE FELT IN THERENBOROUGH.
Several people reported feeling a "close presence" outside the gate of Therenborough, directly after visiting the vacant Dergati altar. The skilled Empath Mordibar could not sense the presence of anyone Hidden. The group also heard soft clicks, and odd noises that sounded very Close. Native Therengians told the Herald that such noises are not normal for Therenborough.
410-05-01 - Turmar Miners Lost, Return Insane - Survivor Vathbiirk Speaks of Escaping the Keep
TURMAR MINERS LOST FOR DAYS, RETURN INSANE
Seneschal Maghana told the Herald that TEN MINERS WENT MISSING for several days from a private Turmar mine, located Between the Lesser and Greater Fists.
When they were Recovered, they were EYELESS AND BABBLING. They cannot for the most part be understood, their words making no Sense. However, on occasion, they will PRAY IN UNISON. The Seneschal reported that they pray to the Thirteen - though not all did Worship the Thirteen previously - and primarily to Peri’el. She requested of Khalo rae Aev Halfrida that she pay a Visit to the Turmars in an attempt to heal these miners’ broken Minds.
Lady Maghana also reported that the miners in all the Turmar mines are hearing strange Sounds. An Anonymous Traveler told the Herald that these sounds were of Scratching, Humming, Creaking - sometimes almost Voices.
In related news, Sister Tasrhhsu of the Ru’atin Peri’el visited the Seneschal, and reported that there is something DIFFERENT IN THE SONG OF THE SISTERS. She wishes to visit the Turmar miners.
Seer Mistanna related a Vision involving Peri’el:
A sonorous, lulling song reverberated through her bones, accompanied by a sense of mountainous pressure. Sibilant melodies from an otherworldly throat melded with pristine notes plucked from a distant khurmary as they rose and fell sweetly. Shimmering, an inscribed stone stela wavered into view: “Honor be to blessed Peri’el, for Her lullabies quell not only the World Dragon, but lesser horrors of the subterranean depths as well.” SURVIVOR VATHBIIRK SPEAKS OF LAST MOMENTS IN THE KEEP
Guardswoman Vathbiirk of Ulf’Hara Keep spoke to the Herald about her final moments before the Keep was destroyed by Elpalzi. She says she was Awakened by a smell that reminded her of her Mining days, a smell of Naphtha and Black Powder - used to create Explosives. She ran from her bed and noted that, strangely, she saw no Others in the halls, nor heard any Alarm Bells.
Court Advisor Cyiarriah reported that the Elpalzi destroyed the Keep by making a frontal Assault and sending in Suicide Bombers.
410-04-17 - Elpalzi Destroy Ulf'Hara Keep - Numerous Nobles Walk
Ulf’Hara Keep, traditional home of the Royal Family of Zoluren, has been UTTERLY DESTROYED by what is believed to be bombs similar to those Concussive Bombs used by the Elpalzi in their Assaults. The Force of the Explosions was powerful enough to be felt throughout the Crossing, and as far as Riverhaven and Leth Deriel. Reclaiming Operations are underway to recover the Dead and their effects from the rubble of the Keep.
The Explosion and resulting Collapse SENT MANY TO THE STARRY ROAD or the Kaneija. Those who Walked included Lord Yallance Linlaig, General Kaovales Thinguard, Ambassador Lindryl Jinsaith and her husband Captain Keirnen Allvar, Herald Renshuel Talvoldien, Opreina Moracul Zoranyl Si’drow, and Sybina Darsas. It is thought that Most, if not All, off-duty soldiers and soldiers in the Barracks were killed. Also killed were Half the Kitchen staff, and several of their families, half the Cleaning staff and some of their family members, most of Seneschal Maghana’s personal staff, and many of the Princess’s staff who had remained at the Keep.
All prisoners in the dungeons were thought Walked, including: Molphant, Midjure, Raellia, and Grishnok.
One Survivor, guardswoman Vathbiirk, reported that Elpalzi assassins roamed the halls before the detonation, killing those inside. She also said that there was a smell of Sulphur, like that used in Bombs. Seneschal Maghana confirmed the Keep was destroyed by Bombs.
The Destruction took place during an Attack on the Crossing, which began with assassins Tengh and Zayerg Prowling our Streets. They were seen to Taunt and drew our fighters to the West end. However, Dark figures were noted heading toward the Keep, and many went there and engaged in a pitched battle. Noble in heart were the Brave guardsmen of Zoluren, who gave their lives in defense of Ulf’Hara Keep.
Seneschal Maghana sent patrols to the Reach under Commander Elriic and Mazrian, but nothing New was discovered.
THE ROYAL FAMILY REMAINS SAFE on Andreshlew. The word from the Crown is to remain Vigilant and Gird ourselves for Retaliation. Our Military Advisor, Lord Grigoire, reminds the citizens of Zoluren to act Honorably. The Seneschal reminds us that the majority of the Elpalzi want peace. These attacks are thanks to Alret and his Rebel group, those bearing the Silver Dragon emblem and occupying Sorrow’s Keep. The peaceful Elpalzi reside elsewhere in the Reach and have also been Terrorized by Alret.
Wibster, Sneeky, and Caraamon have offered to provide Free Weaponry to those fighting Elpalzi. The Herald commends these Skilled and Generous craftsmen.
Seneschal Maghana was heard to say of Alret’s Elpalzi:
“SLAUGHTER THEM. AVENGE OUR DEAD.”
410-03-37 - Assassin Zhnai Walks - New Assassin Zayerg - Prydaen Faire Success
ASSASSIN ZHNAI WALKS, New Assassin Zayerg
CANNY AND STEALTHY Elpalzi assassins Tengh and Zhnai were joined by a third assassin today, ZAYERG, who appears just as Hardy and Trained as the former.
New Victims are too Numerous to list. Some include: Ranger Arandrowse of Ilithi, Ariya Mor’Laer, Aevel Vakeho’leyiye, Klurn Odarien of the Theren Guard, Kaelie of the Vela’tohr Militia and the Raven Guard, and Mistanna Redivas of Ilithi. The Assassins also see fit to Rob our Noble Dwarves of their beards, via a Brutal scalping!
HOWEVER, the forces of the Crossing have risen up to fight back against our Despised Foe! Tengh was struck down twice, Zayerg thrice, and Zhnai HAS BEEN SENT TO THE STARRY ROAD! The killing blow belonged to Mazrian Daemondred. The Province rejoices! We are Able to kill them, AND WE SHALL!
After slaying those attacking the City, our fine fighters CHASED THEM INTO THE REACH!
Finally, Elpalzi General Alret was heard on the gweth trading insults with our City’s finest. Ominously, he claimed that he has a “gift” for us, and that we must Wait for it. GRAIMAIRO PRYDAEN CULTURE FAIRE A SUCCESS
The Graimairo family recently set up Camp near quaint Kaerna, offering Wares either produced by Prydaen or styled according to Prydaen culture. Stories of Prydaen ways were told, and traditional Live fare was offered. Merchants Choretalli, Yeyaru, and Turialo appeared to display their Talents. Despite a brief Interlude in which hordes of Undead attacked the peaceful camp, overall the Faire was deemed a success.
410-03-16 - Assassin Tengh Continues Bloody Work
ASSASSIN TENGH CONTINUES BLOODY WORK
The DEVIOUS AND SLY Elpalzi assassin Tengh went on a another MURDEROUS RAMPAGE this evening. Previously, his targets were Zoluren militia leaders, Advisors to the Court, and, more recently, Zoluren nobility - exemplified by his recent Attack on the Lady Sini Magen. HOWEVER! Tonight he has Proved he also Targets the Associates of militia leaders, militia leaders from other Provinces, and Newsletter Editors!
We at the Herald have had reports that he has Doubled his efforts: He killed many, and some multiple times. Among his newer targets were Dreamheart Delaevan-Forestwolf, wife of Commander Xixist of the Vela’tohr Militia, Linett, wife of Commander Elriic of the Vela’tohr, Kaelie of the Vela’tohr, Pormithius of the Raven Guard, Sir Kenamer of the Theren Guard, and the Herald’s own Navesi Osirit. We have also Learned that he arrived via a Dark Portal that caused the sky to Arc with Terrible Lightning.
Sir Kenamer reported that he heard of the invasion in the Crossing while convening an Order meeting, and the Order of the Theren Guard decided to send a Squad down to assist. Zoluren thanks these Brave warriors from the North!
A Final Note. With his Assassinations, as always Tengh delivered a Warning: to cease Meddling lest the Target and all His or Her associates be faced with Slaughter! His Calling Card was left with the Bodies, reading:
THE SILVER DRAGON IS COMING.
410-03-01 - Elpalzi Assassin Strikes Again - Mysterious Journal Unearthed - Strange Sounds in Turmar Mines
ELPALZI ASSASSIN STRIKES AT NEW MILITARY ADVISOR
Newly appointed Military Advisor to Zoluren, Lord Grigoire Denesal, was the focus of a STRIKE by the Elpalzi Assassin Tengh. The attack took place at the Meeting called by Lord Grigoire to discuss his new Appointment, in the Dining room of Taelbert’s Inn.
The Foul assassin leapt from behind the crowd to first ASSASSINATE the Lady Sini Magen, which he did by slicing with a Most Jagged hunk of Metal. He then turned and Attempted to do the same to Lord Grigoire, but, though he grievously Wounded his lordship, the attempt was Unsuccessful.
The Attempt was followed by a rush of Elpalzi Deadeyes, who flooded the Tavern even as their brethren attacked our fair City. Brave Behem was quick to see Lady Sini’s body to the Field Hospital. Once she was brought to Life and Health again by capable triage specialists, he also Escorted her safely into Ulf’Hara Keep.
Lord Grigoire recovered himself enough fight side by side with the Crossing’s warriors during the Conflict. Witnesses reported he is Most Skilled in battle, taking on their Champion dissidents!
After the enemy were cleared from our streets, the ARKARM CRIME FAMILY was seen to ATTACK AND KILL our Esteemed Military Advisor. He was Raised at the field hospital and is now well.
A NOTE ON FAVORS: Cleric Jaibriel recommends to adventurers one favor for every 4 circles for the Fastest Resurrection, although one favor for every 8 circles is Acceptable.
MYSTERIOUS JOURNAL UNEARTHED: “SECRETS OF THE REACH”
Dashing Treasure Hunting Duo Anjinson and Kasto have UNEARTHED a strange Prize in their quest to discover the many buried treasures of the provinces! Near the border of Zoluren and Forfedhdar, they have Found a buried Journal bearing the title “Secrets of the Reach”. Dear Reader, recall that our dire Enemy the Elpalzi make their home in the Mountains of Sorrow’s Reach!
They were UNABLE to read this Treasure due to some strange Wards placed upon it and have dutifully given it to Lady Maghana, Seneschal of Ulf’Hara Keep.
STRANGE NOISES HEARD IN TURMAR MINES
At the recent Snow Ball, Lord Liev Denesal and Lady Maghana Gurvyre were Overheard to discuss the STRANGE SOUNDS of House Turmar’s mines in the shadow of the Greater Fist. The source of the sounds is yet UNKNOWN.
RED SASH ATTACKS RIVERHAVEN
The SHARK CLAN, a.k.a. the RED SASH were spotted recently in Riverhaven! Longbowmen and other such Filthy Pirates attacked the town and were rebuffed.
410-02-09 - Champion Elpalzi Storm for Hours
Today, the Elpalzi Drove into our Fair City of the Crossing with Unrelenting fury. Their attack lasted at least four anlaen, and featured their Usual Tactics, including volleys of arrows. Mazrian wishes to commend Redeth for her Invaluable Scouting and ability in Battle.
THEIR EXPERIENCE IS STILL ELITE - THEY BOAST CHAMPION WARRIORS!
Many of their number were heard to Shout, “We will make Slaves of you All!” Their motivations are Clear! They wish our lands, our people, our wives and husbands, parents and children!
FIGHT FOR ZOLUREN! Navesi
Navesi Daerthon Newsletter editor for the First Land Herald, also a private investigator.
410-01-20 - Princess Arilana Sails - Elpalzi Stronger - Asketi's Ride
PRINCESS ARILANA SAILS FOR ANDRESHLEW
King Galpelus of Andreshlew has bestowed a Most Impressive Gift upon his daughter, Princess Arilana of Zoluren. He has sent the magnificent Jewel of Zoluren, a four-masted galleon of Merelew make. Admiral Azdar reports that it is swift, excellently balanced for its size, sails Straight and True despite the addition of cargo, and boasts 14 mangonels. Her Highness has set sail for Andreshlew, on this, the 20th day of Akroeg, Year 410, to be reunited with the Royal children. Lord Zukir Dyth escorts her.
Accompanying the arrival of the Magnificent Galleon were Admiral Azdar Nayero, Captain Darlsan Ghawar of the S’lai Treasure, Captain Klaeve Haraldson of the Selkie’s Secret, and the Suave and Charming Captain Jhaak Revindar of the Acacia Flower.
ELPALZI BECOME MORE DANGEROUS
Our Elpalzi Enemies remain Active and continue to Invade our fair city of the Crossing. The most recent Invasion saw reports of Advanced troops! THE ENEMY IS LEARNING! TAKE SPECIAL CARE AGAINST THOSE WHO APPEAR HULKING, VETERAN, OR OTHERWISE MORE EXPERIENCED!
ASKETI RIDES THROUGH KERMORIA
The Ride. With the coming of Shosandu, Asketi once again reigned her Unnatural Steeds toward Kermoria, seeking not simply one City that failed to venerate her, but at least Three. Sources told that her Horrific Minions rode through Langenfirth, Riverhaven, and the Crossing. The following were Spotted (listed in rough Order from least to most Deadly by Mazrian Daemondred):
Death Squirrels. Dark Spirits. Horned Black Steeds - said to have a particularly dangerous Kick, which could send brave Fighers flying. Ridden by Ragged Wind Hags. Plague Wraiths - said to have a terrible attack on the very vitality of those near them. Asketian Harbingers. Bone Mammoths - 30-foot walls of bone and fur. Mazrian recommends engaging with several stalwart melee Fighters whilst others Attack and Disable from Afar.
The Herald wishes to commend Mistanna Redivas, a visitor to fair Zoluren, for the role she played in escorting wounded from the Empath guild to our Field Hospital location. Again, this location is in the Temple. Go through the gates, north, through the door, and three turns widdershins. DO NOT GWETH THE LOCATION OF THE FIELD HOSPITAL DURING CONFLICTS!
The Earthquake. Ilithi did not go unmarked at the start of the Year, as an Earthquake struck, releasing a rockslide near the location of the grass Eels. This prompted many Eels to migrate to the City of Shard, until their presence was Quelled.
ASKETI JUDGES AND IS ALWAYS WATCHING! SHOW HER YOUR REVERENCE WITH PRAYER! APPEASE HER HUNGRY SPIRIT WITH OFFERINGS OF SACKS AND ADDER BEADS!
ESCAPED XALA’SHAR CONTAINED
Skirmish on the NTR. Skaen S’kursk reported that the horrible Xala’shar were spotted on the Northern Trade Road, near the caravansary, and summarily dispatched. He is to be Commended, along with Pfanston, Etherian, Walcar, and Commander Heartsfyre, for the role that they played in destroying the Abominations.
Escape and Containment. Fortunately, the brief battle represented only a Minor Breach in our Defenses and does not herald a full-scale Attack. Sources told the Herald that a young guard from Dirge became Enamored of one of the soldiers posted at the western Blockade, which was constructed to hold the Xala’shar at bay. Due to their shameless abuse of Alcohol, some few Xala’shar managed to escape and travel up the Road unnoticed. ALL ARE NOW REPORTEDLY CONTAINED ONCE MORE! REST EASIER KNOWING THAT THESE NECROMANTIC ANATHEMA DO NOT ADD TO OUR TROUBLES!
EMPATH MODIEN UNDECIDED OVER VACANT ZOLUREN POST; NO RESPONSE TO GUILD PETITION
Vacant Moda Position. Khalo rae Wen Salvur Siksa, esteemed Guildleader of the Crossing branch of the Empath Guild, has told the Herald that the Empath Modien have yet to decide upon a replacement for retired Khalo Eksharo. Martyr Mirrin continues to act as Moda of Zoluren in his stead.
Eksharo’s Illness. Khalo Salvur expressed Regret that Eksharo is presently so Ill, and fears his Death likely. The Guild believes his Illness due to his part in the Ritual used against Lyras the Devourer. Additionally, the retirement party for Khalo Mirinn will be delayed as she attends Eksharo.
Synamon’s Petition. Guild member Synamon recently presented a Petition to Khalo Salvur, signed by Empaths and non-Empaths, requesting that Empaths have the ability to vote for a new Zoluren Moda. The Khalo declined to comment on the Guild’s official position in relation to the Petition.
Disruption with Nissa’s Binding. Khalo Salvur asks that all Empaths be judicious in their use of Nissa’s techniques, by practicing them in an out-of-the-way location so as not to disturb those not in need of care. He suggested that there will be Consequences for those who fail to heed this Advice.
Yvei at Large. Yvei, Rogue Empath, is still at Large and is Wanted by the Modien for Questioning. Be warned, it is reported she can change the Appearance of others at Will! BE WARY of this Criminal lest you lose the form the Gods gave you! SHARK CLAN STILL ACTIVE
Admiral Azdar reported that a few of the Zoluren fleet engaged the Shark Clan within the past week. Zoluren fared well, but the Clan is still believed to be Active. WATCH THE WATERS for these Pirates of the Red Sash! LORD TANGLEFOOT STILL MISSING
Lord Woolly Tanglefoot of Arthe Dale is reportedly still Missing. Lady Maghana told the Herald that his son, Brandil, claims his father has taken to traveling. His seat on the Council remains empty at present, and House Tanglefoot searches for a Replacement. Lord Tanglefoot‘s pension is currently Diverted to the Zoluren Orphanage. A QUAINT SURPRISE FOR ANJINSON
The Tavern Troupe recently held a “Not a Secret” surprise party for its esteemed Treasurer, Anjinson Shilanthor. Guests arrived and he was revealed - to his surprise - as the Guest of Honor! The Troupe honored him for his service as a Knight of Zoluren, and, in his retirement, as a most Generous Philanthropist. BRAVO, ANJINSON! Navesi
Navesi Osirit Newsletter editor for the First Land Herald, also a private investigator.
409-03-30 - Festival of Guilds: Final Days
Festival of Guilds: Final Days
Near the borough of his Lord Theren, the city that is Apple of the North, the hillsides are swelling with the blooms of Spring and the meadows are still bustling with the final rush of the Festival.
People buzz with whispers of the Auction. Attend, and see the Riches of the lands thrown toward the Finest Rarities and items of Untold and Unique Power! [OOC: 9 PM EDT tonight!] RARE FESTIVAL FINDS: A GUIDE
For those Final purchases, those last Treasures yet undiscovered, we present this humble List of suggestions.
The Best Skinning Knives. It is well known that a good Knife worn upon the belt makes the process of dressing and Skinning a corpse go more quickly, for one does not need to waste time taking it from a pack. However, perhaps it is less well known that the knives of Slice and Dice are the Very Best for skinning.
[OOC: A knife possessing the “skinning” adjective provides the maximum bonus for skinning. Source.]
Quality Light Armor. Goods for Life possesses a surprising and delightful array of Light Armors, comparable in Quality even to our own Zoluren craftsmen. Many are also quite Suitable for Formal Occasions. The Masks of Nahja’s Knickknacks are also unusually Absorptive.
Rare Materials. Here and there one finds a Rarity, a material long sought and not often found, carved into a hilt or a hook for the hair. Dragonwood and Tyrium were spotted at Auntie Phanie’s, Damite at Slice and Dice, Kertig, Silversteel, Diamondique, and Orichalcum at Sound the Hunt, and Watersilk at both Arcayne Attyre and Hide and Seek (though the former was the less expensive). Mistsilk sacks were also spotted in the hands of some, but our Investigations proved fruitless to find the Source.
Holders of Many Things. The herbal pouches of the Foraging Emporium are excellent for sorting herbs, with such Natural placement that it is easy to keep like herbs together! (Note that the pouches will hold more Weight than the cases, though the aprons hold most of all.) There is a similar eye toward Organization with the Naphtha Holders of the Pyromaniacs’ Corner!
[OOC: These items are “stackable”, meaning that the items inside will act as “one” item. Herbs will automatically group into, e.g. “a packet of jadice flowers”. This can help with both item count and organization.]
Deeply Hooded Cloaks. The cloaks of the Bardic Journey are well suited to those who wish to protect and cover their Faces from the elements. Though of course one should keep one’s Features unhidden when traveling into town!
And finally, to highlight those things that Most know but a few may not!
Aevanstones. Gems from Visions in Crystal that will permanently align to a Color depending on one’s Person and Guild. Hair Flowers. Tildi’s Flowers are the best for entwining into one’s hair. Warhorns.Sound the Hunt has horns, and the Barbarian and Bard guilds have Secret methods for their use. Ashcloaks. Alighting with fiery light when touched by a Warrior Mage, these cloaks increase in price the more that are sold at Pyromaniacs’ Corner. Hiders. Invisibility magic of impressive power can hide up to two types of items at once. Hide your gwethdesuans, cambrinth, belt items, containers, and bundles with those items from Hide and Seek. Ask a Trader for access to some items that will hide three of these types at Once! Or purchase a Fine cloak, dress, or robe cut to Discreetly conceal!
The Conflict continues despite the Festivities to the North! The Wretched Enemy has attacked the Crossing yet again!
BE ALWAYS READY TO DEFEND ZOLUREN!
YULUGRI WALA Glayster Lane nº. 6, Arthe Dale
36 Lirisa 409 GRAND PLAY ~~ ROMERO AND JULIEL ~~
featuring CALESHIAR as Romero and BELLICIA as Juliel
OOC: Tomorrow - Sunday, June 16 - 9:30 PM EDT
Directions: From Arthe gate: n x4, e x3, ne x2, e, go door - go arch for performance.
409-01-34 - Elpalzi Assassin Strikes
ELPALZI ASSASSIN STRIKES
Reports are in of a Cunning and Stealthy Assassin of the Elpalzi race. It has been Discerned that his name is TENGH, he is Muscular, and he attacks his victims Unawares with a Twisted Hunk of metal.
His Targets appear to be the Military, Court, and Order leaders of our Fine Province. He leaves a Calling card with the message “The Silver Dragon is coming”. Recall that the Elpalzi warriors wear a Silver Dragon upon their armor.
REMAIN VIGILANT FOR THIS THREAT!
409-01-30 - Elpalzi Bombs
LOCATIONS. The WILY Elpalzi are known to send their Animals of Destruction to street locations where large crowds have gathered. A particular favorite is outside the Guild of Empaths, along with the Town Green.
PREVENTION. NO ONE has yet reported spotting the animals before the explosion. It may be that they are using some form of Invisibility, or simply that we have grown accustomed to Animals wandering our Streets, so they are not noticed! In either case, THE ONLY METHOD OF PREVENTION IS NOT TO GATHER.
ELRIIC of the Vela’tohr recommends that Empaths do NOT heal outside of their esteemed Guild, but use the Infirmary inside! This should, he claims, disperse those hangers-on who arrive for healing and linger for Socialization!
EFFECTS. Most are profoundly Stunned by the sudden explosion and many are blown clear, a block or more away! Injuries include Bleeding inside the Cranium, Deafness, Ringing of the Ears, and Death.
BE WARNED! DO NOT CHARGE IMMEDIATELY TO BATTLE! YOU WILL FIND THE RINGING DISTRACTING - YOU WILL BE SLOWED AT TIMES!
TREATMENT. Drink Eghmok potion, or if unavailable, Eat Eghmok Moss. Neither is available for sale in our Fair province, but it can be had from proprietors in Riverhaven and Shard, our neighbors to the North and the South.
It can also be found by those Proficient Aficionados of herbal lore [175 ranks Outdoorsman] near Leth Deriel. Consult KYTHRYN’s renowned Maps! (Although it is NOT found near Promado Village - the map there is outdated!)
If you are Ambitious, review the public notes on brewing Potions!
Try also the Cabinet within the Empath Guild Infirmary, as it contains our Herbal supplies!
An EMPATH is always best for full healing! Your good Doctor will be able to ameliorate the effects of Deafness in addition to any internal bleeding!
409-01-17 - Introducing the First Land Herald - The Elpalzi Threat
the Tavern Troupe wishes to make the following ANNOUNCEMENT on this, the 17th day of our Amber Phoenix, the year 409: of its own illuminating NEWSLETTER THE FIRST LAND HERALD
which will contain all the News and Advice pertinent to ZOLUREN in addition to announcement of Concerts, Plays, Entertainments of Dancing, and other such engagements of the Arts. SARAGOS (talk) the ELPALZI THREAT SARAGOS (talk)
THE ENEMY is very Tall, standing some 10 Feet in Height, and is covered with a short fur, with markings similar to that of a DOG. It comes from the mountains of Sorrow’s Reach, north of the Stone Clan, and bears the Silver Dragon emblem on its Armor.
BE ADVISED: THEY HAVE TAKEN SORROW’S KEEP.
They keep prisoner Court Scribe Iazen and others. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO APPROACH THEIR STRONGHOLD IN THE REACH. YOU RISK YOUR OWN LIFE AND THAT OF THE PRISONERS!
Their LATEST ATTACK was the 5th of Akroeg. Even during long periods of Blessed Peace, they are still believed to be Active and Planning.
TYPES. The various Types have been named in the order of their Experience (listed from Weakest to Deadly) by Lt. Cmdr. ESMIAN:
Bowyer Hunter Sharpshooter Deadeye Toxophilite
Instigator Partisan Dissident Fomentor Rebel Incendiary Malcontent
The Lt. Cmdr. likens the weakest to a Viper, the middle to a small Gryphon, and the Worst is deadlier than the Celpeze. Be wary of your engagements!
TACTICS. The following have been employed. The Elpalzi are very WILY and are known to change strategies often. They may use some, all, or None.
BOMBS. They are known for their most Cruel and Unusual use of small animals fitted with Deadly Explosive Devices. Be wary of CATS, KITTENS, BUNNIES, and the awkward and ugly GIDII. DO NOT PET SMALL ANIMALS! RUN IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!
AVOID CROWDS! AVOID LOITERING IN FRONT OF GUILDS! THIS IS WHERE THEY STRIKE FIRST! GO TO YOUR HOMES OR TO THE FIELD HOSPITAL!
ARROW VOLLEYS. They send great Volleys of arrows which may be Poisoned. Elriic of the Vela’tohr advises holding a Large Shield in front of you! Take refuge behind great sheets of Metal!
TELEPORTATION. These Canny Elpalzi are able to employ Strange Teleportational magicks, which allow them to appear in any location regardless of Moons! They have Confounded even the best of our Mages! Watch for Green flashes! Stay indoors while our Soldiers scour every corner!
FIELD HOSPITAL. The Primary Field Hospital is located within the High Temple, three turns widdershins from the Favor Altar. The Secondary Location is tentatively the Healerie––just inside the main Empath guild doors, go down and go through the doors. This location is to be used in Emergencies only, for example when the primary location is overrun.
REMEMBER NOT TO GWETH THE LOCATION DURING INVASIONS! THE ENEMY IS ALWAYS LISTENING! USE CRYSTAL RINGS OR WORD-OF-MOUTH! CONFOUND THEM BY KEEPING SILENT!
Seek you Cmdr. HEARTSFYRE of the Steel Gladiolus, Military Advisor VINJINCE, appointed by the Crown, or ELRIIC of the Vela’tohr militia for further advice on this grave threat.
TRADERS’ GUILD AUCTION HALL The Crossing, Bank Street nº. 1
Truffandu, 14 Akroeg 409
featuring GAMES with PRIZES also delicious FOODS and DRINK
to be put on the Auction Block: -a gleaming steel Grey Raven guard’s shield -an Imperial battle helm -a damite tower shield with a tempered face -an iron-riveted oiled-leather travel pack embroidered with the ominous image of a ruined keep sitting atop a dark snow-bound mountain pass -a tiny kertig tear -a battered leather battle cloak painted with the crest of the Barbarians’ Guild CONTAINING a cracked chakrel torque in the shape of a one-eyed skull
Delight your Mind and Senses, purchase the Rare and Unusual, and find a welcome distraction from the War!
[OOC: Tuesday, May 28, 8 PM EDT]