Kelfour Edition volume II number VI
The official GemStone IV encyclopedia.
_______________________________________________________________________ / \ \ | | Monster Concussion Points (P.4) & Claw Law (P.15) | @_/_____________________________________________________________________/ | | | | | GemStone III'S November 1991 | | Vol.2, No.6 | | _ _ _ ___ | | _____________ / ) / ) / ) / __) | | --------------- / /_/ / ____ / / _/ ( ____ __ __ ____ | | \*.:.*:.*.:*/ / _/ / __ ) / / ( __) / _ ) / / / / / ___) | | //\.*.:*.:*./\\ /\ \ / ___/ / / / / / (/ / / (_/ / / / | | ll (// // /) ll \_) (____) (_( (_( (____/ (_____( (_( | | \\ (/ // //) // _____ _ _ _ _ | | \/^^^^^^^^^\/ / ____) / ) (/ _/ ) (/ | | /<><><>[\ / (__ ___/ / _ ( _) _ ____ ____ | | /__ __ __ __ _\ ____) / _ / / ) / / / ) / _ ) / ) | | l|@/|@/|@/|@/|@/l__ / (/ / / / / / / / / (/ / / /) / | | l|__|__|__|__|__l__) (____( (_( (_( (_( (____/ (_((_( | | ll l | | \ // / The Kronicles of Kulthea | P.14 \___________/ | |_____ ---------______________________________________________________| |_____________________________________________________________________| | | | Local News................................................. 1 | | To Absent Friends .......... Editorial by Lady Rune Arundel 2 | | Land of the Rich and Famous ............... Elzbeth Collins 3 | | Not Quite Dead Yet ......................... Dec Carfa'shon 4 | | Galauriel ............................... Mustafa Pillsbury 5 | | Confessions of an Ex-Con ............ Elminester Silvanisty 6 | | Ethics in Kulthea ......................... Flint Thalassar 7 | | Winter Waiting .............................. Dane Redlance 9 | | The Cobra ................ Inyigo Montoya/Amelda Heronheart 10 | | Everlong ................................. Atremis Al~Anhir 11 | | CSS Unravelled: Claw & Reverse Claw Law ....... |<enner Boh 15 | | The Armor of the Keep, Part I ...... Lord Whilder Planrathe 16 | | Gwaelin in Hand ........................... Kalagay Halatil 21 | | Of Mice and Half-Elves, Part III ....... Gallenod Varynesti 22 | | Evil Owdown ........................................ Raksha 25 | | Song for the Sky Dragon ................. Amelda Heronheart 26 | | Erys' Saga .................................... The Watcher 27 | | Brothers .................................. Damiano Faustas 28 | | Letters to Louvella ................ Miss Louvella Parsnips 29 | |_____________________________________________________________________| | | | Kelfour Edition of the Kronicles of Kulthea is devoted to the multi-| | player roleplaying game GemStone III on GEnie Information Network. | | Submissions may be edited for space, accuracy and readability. | | Contact Editor Lady Wisraith Winterwind, Assist. Editor Lady Rune | | Arundel or Publisher Lady Phaedra Bleu by GE Mail to P.HERRINGTON | | for details on submissions. Banner letters by Yonah | | __________________________________________________________________|___ | / / \_/_____________________________________________________________________/ Unique Items Discovered ____________ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ _( Kelfour's )_ Art Museum Opens The next time you search a dead (____________) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ monster take VERY good care of that | | A gala celebration chest it dropped. Reports of fabu- | Local | was held this month lous finds in treasure chests have | | at the grand opening been verified. Inside could be | News | of Kelfour's Museum, anything from a flask of chicken | | located one block soup to a shaalk falchion! Ecstatic | Edition | east of the Temple. hunters have returned to the Landing | | A dazzling collection with all manner of wonderful prizes. | /\ | of new and historic Lockpickers should note, however, | / \ | sculptures, drawings that chests are now frequently trap- |/ \| paintings and tapes- ped with deadly explosives. Dis- tries were unveiled and are now on arming before trying to pick the permanent display in several differ- lock is a must. ent wings of this impressive build- ing. KE regularly publishes like- It has also been observed that these nesses of these priceless treasures, unique items are only found inside but be sure to visit the museum soon chests from monsters for which you to enjoy the originals. would earn experience hunting. Kelfour's Vaudeville & Variety Spells, Spells and More Spells ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ It is becoming apparent to ye old Don't worry should you encounter a editors that our frontier town is gruesome eye-ball or sleek grey wolf entering a new stage in its evolu- as you hike the wilds of Kulthea. tion. Not only is Kelfour's Museum Sorcerers and mages alike were an indication that residents hunger pleased to discover that a recent for culture, but the formation of shift in the essence was apparently Kelfour's Vaudeville & Variety group reponsible for the functionality of leads us to the same conclusion. their Eye Spy and Call Familiar spells respectively, permitting them Although specific entertainment has to do such things as peer and even yet to be announced, Rhea Sibex, speak in areas at a great distances manager of KVVV has issued a call from their personal locations. for talent. Props and backdrops are available and interested theatrical- Also working properly now are Air types are encouraged to contact her Wall and Major Pain spells, although for details and to arrange times for an alteration in the Duplication rehearsals. spell almost produced altercations on the MPGRT bulletin board. Steel Golems Return ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Bulletin Board Action Takes Off Back from a brief but obviously ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ rejuvenating vacation reportedly in Confused about how the position of the Bahamas, although we were unable Orhan affects your mood, or to confirm that, the steel golems of influences the siren songs of the the ruins of Blototh Mountain are Sea Nymphs along the cliffs north- sporting new skills. west of town? Well, wonder no longer. Information about these and Most noticeable of these changes is other, more practical subjects is that they are considerably faster yours at no cost now on the moving. Daring sword-slingers who Multi-Player RoundTable Bulletin brave the climb up Blototh are Board because it is available on hereby warned that hunting them may GEnie*Basic Services. Check out the be hazardous to your health, moreso GemStone CATegories 17 through 20 than previously. In particular, note tonight! elapsed time between their attacks. -1- To Absent Friends ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Editorial by Lady Rune Arundel _______________ / \ ____ ____\ \@| +|~| __ |~|+| ith Kulthea being were written about those brave | |~|/~~\|~| | the harsh world it adventurers. Some are tales of valor _| |~/~/\~\~| | is, there are many and bravery, some will bring tears /@| _|__/ \__|_| who have been for- to even the driest eye. But all are \_/_____________/ ced to leave their representations of real people, your homes for distant parts. Some will companions and comrades, the adven- return to delight our hearts again, turers who forged their way in a others will journey to Eissa's com- brutal world and helped make things fort forever. And some will vanish easier for those who would follow in one day, and never be seen again. their footsteps. It is those last that fade into I was indeed saddened (and prompted obscurity as the months and years go to write this) when, during a con- by. It is always painful to lose a versation with a young ranger, over dear companion and friend, but it is an ale in Helga's back room, I men- that much worse when one's friend tioned the name Vesitsa Talchild. My disappears into the dark void with companion replied, "Who is that?" nary a word. Though Vesitsa still occasionally For many years, I, and others, have visits the Landing on her travels, tried to keep the memory of those she has been gone many years, lost departed ones alive. It is not easy, in the study of things arcane. Her because there are many new deeds are well known to some of us, travellers to Kulthea to whom these but when those who keep her memory names mean nothing. The bards try to are also gone, who will remember? keep the memories burning in songs and tales of long ago valor, but There is no greater honor a friend like the tapestries once woven to can do a friend than to record the commemorate great deeds, these too deeds and tales in a medium such as fade into obscurity. this one. Whether by word, by song, in tapestries, paintings or mime, we When I arrived in Kelfour's Landing must, all of us, keep the image of long ago, I learned my lessons (the our departed ones alive. hard way) from Skullcrusher Hamilton and his brother Tasslehoff, Kyliri It is up to all of us, bard and non- Avendar, and from Shalzarr Mulena, bard, to pass on the tales of these my first love. And Enist d'Eleni, forgotten heros and to keep their who taught me the ways of the names alive in the hearts of all who ranger. All are gone now, and only walk these ravaged lands, and of all their memory remains, in my heart. who are destined to follow after. Ishmael Dellamar, beloved sorcerer, And, in the silence of Helga's back vanished one day, taken, some say, room, I raise my flagon to those who by an uprising of the Unlife, and it have gone and those yet to leave, to is his memory that has prompted my those who's great deeds have brought words. For how many still remember me many hours of learning, under- Ishmael? Is it only I? standing and great respect. Join me here some time and drink a toast, if And then there were those who played you please, to absent friends. with powers they did not understand and were driven from Kulthea into Fare you well, dear ones, and know the soulless darkness. Great tales you are not forgotten. -2- LANDS OF THE RICH AND FAMOUS A level-oriented exploration of the Island of Quellbourne ____________ by Elzbeth Collins / \ ________ \ \@| ~|~|~~\~\ |right moon In ages past, during the great | |~|__/~/ | over calm water Wars of Dominion, when evil was upon | |~ __ < | rising our world, a group of the faithful _| |~| \~\ | Silvery Specter fled north and west across the /@| |~|__/~/ | on a dark sea continent of Jaimen. Pursued by the \_/ ~~~~~~~~ / shimmering servants of the Unlife. It was to ~~~~~~~~~~~ the Claedesbrim Bay that they came, Orhan rises. at the mouth of the Colewaether River. There they made a final stand, Golden waves against that dread enemy. On the High from a bright source Plateau they gathered their strength, flowing the prayers of their Clerics brought Powerful fingers them to a hidden cavern, and while through a curtain the people lie hidden within, the reaching Clerics and spell casters sent their power against the evil forces. Orhan rises. Through power and ruse they were victorious, and on that spot was (From "The Song of Orhan") founded the ancient city of Quellbourne. ( )-( )-( ) :::::::::::::::::::::::::: climb| \ :: MAP TWO: :: tree|climb ( )-( )-( ) ::The Old Mine Road Area:: |pine |down :::::::::::::::::::::::::: ( ) rock ( ) / slide \hole ( ) ( )-----( ) ( ) | | / \chute ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) \ / | \ / The Kobolds, Goblins and ( ) ( ) | \ ( ) Lesser Orcs throughout \ | | \ | this area are very poor, ( ) ( )------\------( ) and for the most part are | | \ \ / unable to afford any sort ( ) | \ ( ) of armor or weapons. / | \ / | This is an excellent area ( ) | X | for low level adventurers / | / \ | to hunt. While there are ( ) ( )--|---/--( )-( ) not a great deal riches | door| | / and treasures to be ( ) into| ( ) found, the creatures are / mine| easy marks, and brave men ( )-----( ) and women will discover | | an abundance of good | | experience. | | Be wary of wandering down ( ) ( ) the path leading to the \ / evil temple of the spider ( )-----Trail to Temple of Hraassk worshipers, and avoid / entering the mines for now. -----( ) Climb bank back to map one. -3- Not Quite Dead Yet ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ___________ by Dec Carfa'shon / \ ______ \ \@| /~/~~\~\ |ne day while getting problem," I thought, slinging my ||~| |~|| experience for a sev- shield over my shoulder and un- _||~| |~|| enth incarnation. I sheathing my manly two-handed sword. /@| \~\__/~/ | passed the lean-to in Whack! 45 concussion points of \_/ ~~~~~~ / Hobland and ran into damage. Whack! 50 concussion points ~~~~~~~~~~~ a forest troll. "No of damage. "Wow, I must be really ________________________________________________________________ // \ || Barrow Wight: 210 Basilisk: 120 Black Stalker 205 | || | || Bone Golem: 110 Bounder: 45 Brown Bear: 180 | || | || Carrion Worm: 40 Cave troll: 285 Cave Worm: 150 | || | || Cockatrice: 70 Cold Guardian: 200 Crystal Golem: 150 | || | || Dark Apparit.: 65 Dark Orc: 130 Deathwode: *** | || | || Death Dirge: 80 Fire Guardian: 200 Fire Phantom: 75 | || | || Frost Giant: 255 Forest Troll: 250 Greater Ghoul: 65 | || | || Greater Orc: 85 Grey Orc: 130 Goblin: 50 | || | || Hill Troll: 205 Hobgoblin: 60 Ice Skeleton: 60 | || | || Karnelin: 65 Kobold: 30 Large Ogre: *** | || | || Lesser Ghoul: 25 Lesser Orc: 60 Lesser Spider: 80 | || | || Major Spider: 280 Mamm. Arach.: *** Manticore: 150 | || | || Marmot: 105 Moray Eel: 65 Mountain Ogre: 200 | || | || Otter: 75 Phantom: 40 Ranger Gnoll: 55 | || | || Red Centaur: 320 Revenant: 115 Sea Nymph : 45 | || | || Sea Witch 75 Shad. Assass.: *** Skeleton: 30 | || | || Spect. Fishrmn: 80 Steel Golem: 300 Storm Giant: *** | || | || Tatzelwurm: 135 Threk: 110 Titan: *** | || | || Torkaan: 35 Tree Spirit: *** Troglodyte: 55 | || | || War Troll: 180 Wight Lord: *** WereBear: 90 | || | || Wolverine: 50 Wraith: 110 Zephyr Hound: 1000 | || | ||-----------------------------------------------------------------| || *** Hard to fight, no one who can get experience for them can | || kill them, or killable by clerics who disintegrate them. | \\________________________________________________________________/ -4- More... good. Not only am I going to kill I know there are several monsters him, but I'm going to kill him I have accidentally left out. I before he even gets an attack off," apologize to them. If you are one, I thought. Whack, 35 concussion or know of one, and know the number points of damage. "Wait a minute, of concussion points, please tell me its not dead yet?!?" Then... and I'll update my list. Plink! "3 concussion points of This list is more helpful than it damage. Brutal puncture through both seems. If you have two people hunt- kidneys. An agonizing way to die." ing a monster, then experience is "Not only did the troll kill me," given out to those who do half the I thought on my short journey down necessary damage to kill it. If you to the quickly rising ground. "He are in a hunting group of seven did it with a weapon at least 5 feet people, full experience is given to shorter than mine!" Not very manly. those who do one/seventh the total I couldn't believe it. There I concussion points of damage. No was, a troll kicking my dead body, need for everyone to go crazy and spitting on me, and looking through forget to parry, just stop after you my backpack for some loot, and I had do enough damage to get your share broken most of his limbs before he of experience, and let everyone else even got around to me! hack away. I have seen this system At this point I had two options: used consistently, and with success switch from a two-handed sword to a for all types of monsters. dagger, or regain my manliness and figure out what went wrong. I went back to the lean-to to find a few Galauriel relatives of that forest troll to ~~~~~~~~~ tell them exactly what I thought by Mustafa Pillsbury about their ex-brother. I found one. This time I did the unmanly thing, Beyond the gate the trees raising my parry before it attacked, which lift their leafy branches then lowering it after it swung. To high in long forgotten song my surprise, I found that forest of soil and rain and urgency trolls have over 200 concussion to grow, upward, into light points! and warmth and free borne air I knew my system of not parrying wouldn't work in say stalkers, but I South felt confident that for sheep, The wild perfumes of flowers hobgoblins, and forest trolls, I softly floating on dawning breezes could take care of them before they while Torkaans dance in peace knew what had sliced them in two. and nibble the green goodness This was not the case. of grasses damp with morning dew For those of you who've won- dered, "How many licks does it take North to get to the end of a (fill in the The clouds asail, whipped by winds blank)," I hope this chart will above the Kelfour sky which help. Here are my guesses (I either lash as well the shore beneath attacked all these monsters to find with salty, frothy waves out, asked a reliable source, or the sand cool between my toes watched others attack them) as to how many concussion points each To these my mind doth turn monster has. I find that they tend when in the gentle darkness to be within plus or minus 5 of the the cleric calls; Enwrapped number I have given, and may in fact in blessed, eternal blankness always BE the number I have given. I consider the beautiful, the good Remember, some of these figures are but most of all Galauriel hear-say, and therefore may be off and come by fifteen or twenty. -5- Confessions of an Ex-con ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ _____________ by Elminester Silvanisty / \ _________ \ \@| ||=|=|=|| |here you are, Elmin- silvers. I did not have any money so | ~~ |_| ~~ | ester," the voice of they sold almost all of my belong- _| |_| | the constable rum- ings. They told me that I could get /@| _|_|_ | bled. Flashing a whatever was left in the constable's \_/__________/ piece of parchment office. before my eyes he said, "This is a warrant for your arrest." Entering the jail, I asked the constable where my things were. He I'd been dreading this, and now that ignored me and kept doing his job. the moment was upon me, I tried to Looking on the desk, I saw a carton escape. I didn't think he'd have the labeled "Elminester's box." I broke audacity to take me from Eissa's the seal and opened it to reveal my Temple, but the deputies standing heavy hide, my sack with a dis- behind him proved me wrong. As I charged wand, and a chest that I lunged for the exit, the deputies took from a steel golem and which wrestled me to the ground and nobody could open. They had taken manacled my hands behind my back. and sold my gold ring, three metal The constable wisely checked the wands and two golden wands. Appar- security of the bonds to ensure I ently, they felt this was equal to could prepare no spells. As I was my 5000 silver fine. dragged to the city jail, I pondered how I had arrived in such straits. My experience taught me something. If you ever get a warrant for your My life as a fugitive began the day arrest, get a friend to hold your I learned the spell tremors. Anx- valuables. Next collect as many ious to test it after so much time oaken wands and agates as you can spent in study and combat, I grabbed and then turn yourself in. This way, a friend and asked him if I could they feel your debt to society is try it on him. Because it is an area paid but you lose none of your effect spell I had never witnessed VALUABLE possessions. Better still any mage cast it. Choosing the is not to get in trouble: don't cleric's office in the temple for attack anything in town. NOTHING at our experiment, I cast the spell. all. Not with spell, wand or sword. The entire office seemed to shake Many of the residents in town are so and my friend, predictably, fell to fearful of magic that you can cast a the floor. Before either of us could protective spell on them and still move, a town busybody stuck his head they cry in terror that you have in the door, looked me right in the attacked them. The exception seems eye then ran to get the constable. to be spells which the target has a chance to resist. I had been running from the law ever since: always looking over my shoul- Now I'm a man marked for life by a der and having a spell stored in small mistake taken the wrong way by memory to blast any who came after a meddlesome citizen. If you're me. When I entered town I'd run for going to break the law in town, be the safety and sanctuary of the of careful and try to minimize your the temple. Well, so much for the losses. protection of Eissa. _________________________________ // \ I was taken to a dirty, smelly cell. || It's True! | The deputies took all my possessions || ~~~~~~~~~~ | and left me naked in the cold cell || Kelfour Edition contributors earn | to keep company with some rats. || FREE WEEKENDS in GemStone! Send | After a while they took me to see || GE Mail to P.HERRINGTON for info. | the magistrate who fined me 5000 \\_________________________________/ -6- Ethics in Kulthea ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ _________ by Flint Thalassar / \ _____ \ \@| ~|_|~ |n order to discuss ethics Sample ethical statement: It is | |~| | in Kulthea we must rec- wrong to kill other people (in _| |~| | ognize that there are real life). /@| _|~|_ | different levels for the \_/ ~~~~~ / consideration of ethical Level: Earth, Author (EA) ~~~~~~~~ questions. I propose a Perspective: this perspective is model which has six perspectives on fairly rare in American culture, reality and an abbreviated notation because most of us think that we for each. are our 'characters' and that what happens on Earth is real. I Level: Kulthea, Character (KC) include it for the sake of comp- Perspective: the character believes leteness. The best example of this that what happens on Kulthea is perspective I can think of comes entirely real. from Buddhism. Sample factual statement: Yesterday Sample factual statement: What we I killed a torkaan. experience on Earth is illusory Sample ethical statement: It is the 'veil of Maya'. wrong to kill other Kulthean citi- Sample ethical statement: Though zens (because it is murder). what takes place on Earth is illu- sory, still certain actions may Level: Kulthea, Author (KA) result in the accumulation of neg- Perspective: the author realizes ative karma, slowing our progress that what happens on Kulthea is a toward escaping the cycle of death work of fiction that s/he is help- and rebirth. ing to create, according to the 'rules' that govern this universe. Level: Earth, Designer (ED) Sample factual statement: My charac- Perspective: this perspective is ter's OB is 115. concerned with changing (or want- Sample ethical statement: It is ing to change) the rules by which wrong to have one's character kill the universe operates. It is some- the character of another player what surprising how often ED ethi- (not because it is murder, but be- cal statements are heard in daily cause it inconveniences other real life. people and may cost them money). Sample factual statement: The force of gravity is inversely propor- Level: Kulthea, Designer (KD) tional to the square of the dis- Perspective: the designer is con- tance. cerned with changing or wanting to Sample ethical statement: People who change the rules which govern the cheat at cards should be struck universe of Kulthea. down by lightning. Sample factual statement: There is a bug in mage spell 903. Since we are mainly concerned with Sample ethical statement: It is ethical statements, the notation KC wrong for the game to work in such will be used to indicate an ethical a way that it is possible for one statement at the KC level. Where player character to kill another used, factual statements will be (perhaps because it sets a bad shown as, for example, KCF. example). Confusion of levels, when it occurs, Level: Earth, Character (EC) can cause disastrous misunder- Perspective: this is the perspective standings. Perhaps the best example of 'ordinary daily life.' is when a statement such as "I hate Sample factual statement: I had eggs you (KCf)" is interpreted as "I hate for breakfast this morning. you (KAF, ECF)." -7- More... Talking about ethics in Kulthea can e.g. Trolls do not exist on Earth also be very confusing because it (EDF), therefore they should is often unclear which level of ref- not exist in Kulthea (KD). erence is intended. Indeed, the same statement can take on many different Arguments of the type _D -> _C may meanings depending on the intended be characterized as "amoral," level. For example, consider the statement: "People should not kill e.g. The game allows the killing otters." At KC, this means my char- of other player characters acter thinks other characters should (KDF), therefore it must be not kill otters in the game. At KA, right (KC). Another example it means I as a player feel that it is possible to kill people other players should not 'script' in real life (EDf), therefore their characters in such a way that it is right (EC). they kill otters in the game. At KD, it means I feel that the game should not allow the killing of game otters e.g. The game does not allow me to as a possible action. At EC, it carry more than twenty items means I don't think people should (KDf), therefore carrying kill otters in real life. At EA, it more than twenty items must means I think it is harmful to a be evil (KC). person's long-term spiritual devel- opment to kill otters on Earth. And Arguments of the type _C -> _D may at ED, it means I think it should be be characterized as (for lack of a physically impossible for people to better word) "totalitarian." kill otters on Earth. e.g. My character feels that it is Ethical argument makes the most wrong to kill people (KC), sense when it is confined to one therefore the game should not level. Somehow it can seem "ungram- allow it (KD), or, it is matical" to mix levels within an wrong to tell lies (EC), argument. Arguments which mismatch therefore it should not be levels can range from sounding physically possible: let's fairly reasonable to sounding wildly surgically remove people's insane. Keep in mind that it is not tongues (ED). necessarily the conclusions of these arguments that are incorrect: rather Now that we have established a it is the process of arriving at notational system, let us proceed to that conclusion that is flawed. Here examine a particular ethical prob- are some amusing generalizations lem. A few people I have talked to about mixed- level arguments: feel that it is wrong to kill sea nymphs. The majority of players feel Arguments of the type K_ -> E_ may that there is nothing wrong with it. be characterized as "insane," or Suppose, for the sake of argument, resulting from a "delusionary" that the game awarded points for thought process. raping sea nymphs. I suspect that most readers will react with revul- e.g. The game allows the killing sion to this idea -- even those who of other humans (KDf), there- thought that it was fine to kill fore it is OK to do this in nymphs. Why is this? Isn't murder real life (EC). "worse" than rape? (Our culture seems to think it is, at least in Arguments of the type E_ -> K_ may the sense that it usually results in be characterized as being "overly longer jail terms.) Isn't murder at literal," or resulting from a least "as bad as" rape? thought process which lacks imagination. What if you witnessed another char- -8- More... acter raping a sea nymph? How would depth and realism to the imaginary your character feel about that world of Kulthea. 2) In real life character (KC)? How would you feel people commit murder/rape. It only about that player (KA)? How would stands to reason that such people you feel about the fact that the would exist in Kulthea, too. 3) game allowed such an action to take You get points for murdering/ place (KD)? raping nymphs. I am interested in advancing my character. 4) It is I will now present, for each of the only a game. Writing about evil first three levels defined above, acts is not itself an evil act. some questions and possible justifi- Was Shakespeare "wrong" to have cations concerning the murder/rape some of his characters die at the of sea nymphs. Ask yourself the hands of other characters? questions. Examine the justifica- tions. Do you think the justifi- KD level questions: Is it wrong for cations are valid for the murder of the game to allow murder/rape of nymphs? For rape? If for one and nymphs and encourage it by award- not the other, why? ing points? What about allowing, but not encouraging it (no points KC level question: does your char- would be awarded)? acter think that it is wrong to KD level justifications: 1) It is murder/rape nymphs? only a game. None of this is KC level justifications: 1) They are really happening anyway. 2) Mur- not sentient. 2) They commonly at- der/rape happens in real life. By tack adventurers so they must be allowing it in the game, the game evil.3) The experience gained from becomes more realistic. 3) Free- murdering/raping nymphs will help dom of choice is important. This me in other ways, such as allow- includes the freedom to choose ing me to learn new spells which evil actions. If one cannot choose I can then use to help people. evil, then the fact that one does good is meaningless. KA level question: is it wrong for a player to have his character mur- This notational system will not, and der/rape nymphs? cannot, solve the ethical problems KA level justifications: 1) I am that exist in Kulthea. However it role-playing an evil character. may help to at least clarify what we What could be more typically evil are talking about when we talk about than murder/rape? This will add these issues. Winter Waiting by Dane Redlance ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I silently ponder this Winter night Signal of an end to this Summer's yield A merchant returning with a lighter load The fallow field awaiting the plow Older and Wiser to the ways of our Landing Places explored and smelled and seen Becoming like the familiar woods of my old home Every trail rising up to spur me on I worked on strength, and quickness, and skill But found something more valuable during my travel Learning secrets of survival from experienced friends Delighting in old ways seen through new eyes In this reflection, I offer my thanks The help and friendships have spun these months And now I wait for the Spring to come again I have breathed you, Quellbourne, and I have enjoyed. -9- _____ ___ ___ ._. ._ ._ ^ Artwork: | | | | | | | | \ | \ / \ Poetry: Inyigo | |==| |== | | | |_/ |=/ /===\ Amelda Montoya | | | |__ |__ |_| | \ | \ / \ Heronheart ;_/ ' ********************************************************************* ********************************************************************* ***************************.::::::\../::::.************************** ***********************/.:::' * \ \ '::::.*********************** *********************/.::::. ___ --__ '::::.********************* ********************/.:::::: ( \ . o o':::.******************** *******************/.:::::::. \ \(_________::::.******************* ******************|:::::::::: | ))\ \)):::::******************* ******************|::::::::::: ( // \\ //::::::******************* *******************\`:::::::::: \ ' \\ '\:::::'******************* ********************\`:::::::::: \_____\\__|::::'******************** *********************\`::::::::::.. ____\\.::::'********************* **********************\`:::::::::::::::::))::'*********************** ***********************\`:::::::::::::::/:|'** *** *** *** *** *** ************************\`:::::::::::::/::|*** *** ** **** **** ***** *************************)`:::::::::::::::)*** *** *** *** *** ************************/ =========== /**** *** ***** **** **** ** ***********************/ =========== /***** *** ** **** **** ** **********************( =========== /***************************** *******[===========================================]***************** ******(XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX)**************** *****)X( )XX( )XXXX( )XXXXXX( )XXXXXX( )XXXX( )XX( )X(*************** ****(XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX)************** ****(( )X( )XXX( )XXXXX( )XXXXXXX( )XXXXX( )XXX( )X( ))************** ****(XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX)************** *****)X( )XX( )XXXX( )XXXXXX( )XXXXXX( )XXXX( )XX( )X(*************** ******(XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX)**************** *******(X( )XXX( )XXXXX( )XXXXXXX( )XXXXX( )XXX( )X)***************** ********(XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX)****************** *********[=======================================]******************* """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" * He basks amid shadows, forsaking the light * * Does the shiny brown cobra of Kelfour's * * "Sliced neatly in two" with a sword edged true * * Is the fate of most cobras in Kelfour's * * * * I wanted to take one alive from the fight * * For I'd killed enough cobras in Kelfour's * * So through the dense forest we entered the night * * Of the gloom of the graveyard of Kelfour's * * * * We pushed through the gate, Inyigo and I * * Past the crypt to the dolmens of Kelfour's * * A revenant wailed; I noticed a tail * * Slip under some logs outside Kelfour's * * * * "Take him alive!" I cried with delight * * And produced a fine basket from Kelfour's * * Woven of windak and smooth upon sight * * 'Twas the pride of a weaver of Kelfour's * * * * Inyigo cast "Calm," to the serpent's dismay * * As it hissed one last time outside Kelfour's * * We retrieved its limp body and tucked it away * * In our basket and brought it to Kelfour's * Everlong ~~~~~~~~ _____________ by Artemis Al~Anhir / \ _________ \ \@| ||=|=|=|| |he candles burned low made no move toward me and in fact | ~~ |_| ~~ | t our table, casting did not even seem to notice my _| |_| | a sputtering light presence. It was then that I saw /@| _|_|_ | on four battle-weary that she carried not a dagger in her \_/__________/ adventurers recuper- right hand, but rather a rose ating with some of Helga's best ale. crafted from shimmering crystal. It Merle, Jarel and I were sipping from also seemed from my vantage point, our flagons and watching Dec finish that she was whispering to herself his story with a flourish. for her lips moved but I could hear "So there I was... two of three no sound. Intrigued, I move closer. Steel Golems dead, but with my I was not more than five feet from Shaalk Greatsword and Shield broken. her when I realized that she was Golem number three was advancing calling out a name. yet so faintly towards me confidently... evily. as to be barely audible even at such Endowed with incredible intelligence close proximity. as well as godlike strength, I "Eron, Eron," she called sorrow- quickly realized what I had to do!" fully. Suddenly, as if noticing me Dec paused dramatically and reaching for the first time, she looked me across the table he savagely ripped straight in the eye and began to the drumstick off a roasted cocka- sing that dreaded melody which has trice. doomed many an unwary adventurer. "I rolled away as the Golem's Cursing my carelessness, I attempted pounding fist missed me by a hair. to retreat but it was too late: I Then I tore the leg off of the fal- was completely paralyzed. Much to len monster and used it as a club to my surprise however, this Nymph made pound the Golem's brain into a no move to finish me off. Instead gelatinous pulp!" Dec punctuated his she spoke to me. "Halfling... tis narrative by bringing his drumstick not your life I desire but rather down on the table with a force that your ear. Listen to my story and sent cutlery and ale flying. learn well by it. "Well that's certainly one way to "Long ago before Quellbourne fell get a leg up in the world!" Merle to Zenon's treachery, there was born snorted and elicited a collective a girl. Her father, the founder and groan from the rest of us. head of one of the most powerful "A truly remarkable tale, Dec. trading houses on the continent, But methinks I have one even more named her Mathilde, meaning Promised astounding," I said, wetting my One. And promised she was, for on throat with another draught of ale. the very day of her birth she was "You see my friends, my quest for a betrothed to the heir of the most grappling net took me by the coastal wealthy mercantile family on the cliffs yesterday. As I rounded a Emerian continent. Mathilde's mar- bend on Merchant's Road, I encount- riage was to be the masterstroke in ered a Sea Nymph of great beauty." her father's carefully cultivated "Oh no! Not another Hobbit-Meets- plan for the consolidation and Nymph-Nymph-Falls-For-Hobbit Story!" extension of his financial empire Jarel groaned. across Kulthea. "No, this isn't one of those!" I "But Mathilde spent her early protested and began my tale: years unconcerned with such weighty matters. In the silent gloom of her You see this was no ordinary Sea father's estate, she was a burst of Nymph. Oh, of course I thought so light and air. Quick to smile and at first and had even unslung my quicker to laugh, she skipped from shield and readied a spell in room to room like a butterfly flit- preparation for an attack. But she ting from flower to flower, filling -11- More... each place with noise and color. to the foaling area of the stables. Her exuberance was rarely dampened. She even succeeded in getting him to Most found chiding and scolding only build her a makeshift altar carved served to increase the volume and from windak wood. Faithfully, day frequency of her smiles and giggles. after day, she knelt in the soft Only her father held any real sway straw of the dark stable, placed a over Mathilde; one disapproving single white rose on the altar, lit glance or stern word enough to send a candle to Oriana and offered up a her scurrying away in tears. prayer. Not one to be awestruck by Mathilde feared and adored her the rich and powerful, Eron was father. He in turn displayed a nonetheless affected by the beauty fierce devotion towards his only and grace of the visitor who came in child, a devotion that might have every afternoon breathless and been mistaken for love were it not smiling and smelling of roses. He for its coldness. It was a devotion would sit on top of the foaling a soldier might feel for his favor- stall wall and watch her pray, ite sword or a farmer his best plow, thinking it was nonsense yet unable a devotion present only as long as to take his eyes away. For the usefulness of the accoutrement. Mathilde, Eron was at first a "As Mathilde approached early distraction, sitting there a few womanhood, her beauty grew to match paces away staring at her as if she her sweetness and enthusiasm. Soon, had lost her mind. But eventually word of her breathtaking beauty as the weeks passed she found that spread throughout Quellbourne, at- his presence seemed as indispensable tracting all manner of suitor to her to her ritual as did the rose or the father's door. Yet each was re- candle. He had a handsome face and a buffed with the words, "Mathilde is cocksure manner and wry wit that promised." irked and delighted her in equal "The closer she came to woman- parts. Several years older than her, hood, the less her father allowed he would tease her, calling her her to venture out into public, 'Spoiled Brat' or 'Papa's Girl'. until by her sixteenth birthday she She in turn would laughingly tell was, like some rare and beautiful him he would be infinitely more bird, cloistered and caged in the attractive if he washed the dirt estate. It was at this time that from his face and the stable smell Mathilde began to understand what from his clothes. the future held in store for her. "As time passed, her ritual She had seen paintings of her became theirs. Eron would clear the betrothed -- an ugly man twenty altar and place the white rose upon years her senior -- and despaired at it. Mathilde would light the candle the prospect of a loveless marriage. and pray. She no longer closed her But never did the notion enter her eyes while doing so and instead mind to oppose her father's grand gazed at Eron as he knelt across design; such an action was unthink- from her. After the offering, the able. Instead she dreamed that she two would sit and talk for hours or might somehow be granted just a playfully chase each other through taste of the love that would surely the bins and stalls of the stable. be unattainable once her wedding Soon, her afternoon visits to the vows were spoken. Each day, she stables became Mathilde's favorite decided, she would light a candle part of the day. She was no longer and offer a rose to Oriana, Goddess sure if it was the ritual or Eron of Love, and pray; each day, until that drew her there. On the days her wish was granted. he was away running errands or doing "Knowing her father would not some chore, her ritual became half- allow such frivolous activity, hearted, somehow incomplete without Mathilde used her considerable charm him. It was not quite one year from to convince Eron, a stableboy in her the day she had lit her first candle father's employ, to allow her access to Oriana that Mathilde realized -12- More... with a start as she gazed across the stableboy. The flames of revenge flame at Eron that her prayers had burning hot in him, he demanded been answered. Mathilde reveal the location of her "Mathilde had not envisioned that lover. She refused. Having failed Oriana's gift would be granted so with wheedling and bullying words, subtley, imagining instead that Love he used his fists. Still Mathilde would come like some lightning bolt refused, yet not quite as surely. from heaven, during some chance "Never having defied her father encounter with a dashing and noble before, she slowly wore down under stranger. But her surprise did not the incessant attack. But it was diminish the transcendency of the only when her father vowed not to feeling and she embraced it with harm Eron did Mathilde disclose the abandon. Eron, who had fallen in whereabouts of the fishing village love with Mathilde the moment she Eron had fled to. walked into the stable, returned her "The very same night, Mathilde's love with the same sweet intensity. father had his revenge. Once in the "Alas, the fresh innocence of village it had been easy to ascer- their passion was matched only by tain Eron's exact location. A few their carelessness. So it was that bags of silver in the village coun- during one of their secret trysts, cil's hands saw to that. With cold they were discovered by one of her and deliberate fury, he and his father's retainers. Fearing the henchmen dragged Eron to the cliffs worst, Mathilde bade Eron flee from above the village, bound his feet the city and hide. He told her of a and hands, and threw him to his friend he had in a fishing village death. southwest of the city, a friend who "Mathilde knew the instant Eron might be willing to take him in. A died; it felt like her soul had been storm was brewing as they made the ripped from her body. Realizing hasty preparations for Eron's what she had done, she was driven departure. When they said goodbye, mad with grief. She stumbled into it rained in torrents, each drop a the fierce teeth of the storm, mirror of their own tears. unmindful of the wind and rain that Eron tried to comfort his love. painfully lashed at her. She knew "Fear not, Mathilde, for isn't our not where she was going, but she love a gift from the Gods?" He held felt drawn onwards nonetheless. her close. "We shall be reunited. Hours later, she found herself Until then, remember me by this; I standing on the very cliff where her was going to give it to you on the lover had been murdered. anniversary of our meeting, but I "Rain fell like tears from the this is as good a time as any." sky and lightning arced down like "With a wry grin, Eron then gave accusing fingers from heaven as Mathilde a rose fashioned from the Mathilde, holding her crystal rose, finest Jaimani crystal, the cost of hurled herself off the cliff to join which, Mathilde was certain, had Eron in death. completely depleted his hard-earned "But the gods, their gift of Love life's savings. One last kiss and squandered so brutally, had a re- he was gone. venge of their own to exact. Mat- "When Mathilde's father learned hilde's father lost that which he what had transpired it seemed that cared for the most, not his daughter his rage would shake down the very of course, but his wealth. Mis- walls of his estate. He railed at fortune after misfortune befell his Mathilde as if she were a carefully financial empire, and he died a hoarded treasure suddenly turned pauper. The fishing village that into trinkets made of fool's gold. had betrayed Eron for a few sacks of She was ruined in his eyes, and more silver also died. From the night of importantly in the eyes of her Eron's death, not a single fish was betrothed. His grand design had ever to be caught in the villagers' been unravelled, destroyed by a nets; all that remains today are -13- More... rotting ruins. As for Mathilde, hers splendored thing, was a punishment truly godlike in Though elusive and ne'er seen, its severity. Oriana decreed that Binds the heart of God and King. her form and soul be recast upon our world as a Sea Nymph, sentenced to That wondrous state so forever wander the cliffs of her flower fragile, death searching for, yet never find- Yet strong enough to cancel speech. ing, the lover she had betrayed. That wondrous state so was Her story was over. I realized I granted, then that I was able to move again. Till its unyielding contract In fact, the paralysis had left my did I breach. body many minutes before, yet I had been unaware, so transfixed had I Day upon day, dawn to dawn, been by her tale. Even then, as I Must I wonder hither yon. looked at her, I was unable to move, Half with madness, half in such pity did I feel for her. sorrow's grip With a smile that was all sorrow, Sweet Eron's name e'r on my lips. she said to me, "Go then, Halfling. But forget not my story...forget not "And that, my friends, is my a girl who was too young to receive story," I said, draining the last a gift from the gods." drop from my flagon. Looking about, I turned away, my heart heavy my companions were silent, staring with sadness. As I walked away, I at the candle flames or into their heard the Nymph begin to sing. It drinks. Was that a tear I saw in is a song that haunts me still. Dec's eye? Surely 'twas just a trick of the flickering light. Everlong, everlong, "Well, what do you think?" I Must I wander hither yon. demanded. Sweet Eron's name but ne'er As if a spell had been broken, his form, they regained their casual airs. Invoked by my siren song. "Nice story, Art," Jarel said. "But did I ever tell you of the time Great Oriana did I beseech, I was about to be cooked and eaten To grant hold of that by trolls?" ___________________ ______________________ / \ ------------------------ | Ceremonial Vase | \ *..*..*..*..*..*..*/ | (Threk design) | \ . : . : . : . :/ | Circa 4800 TE | // \.*.:.*.:.*.:/ \\ | | // (// // // ) \\ | Original on display | ll (/ // // /) ll | in Kelfour's Museum | ll ( // // //) ll \___________________/ \\ /^^^^^^^^^^^^\ // \\/<><><><>\ // ____________________________ /__ __ __ __ __ // // \ / |@/ |@/ |@/ |@/ |@/ |@/\ || Don't let the cold Kulthean | l__|___|___|___|___|___|___l || nights get you down... | ll _, l || Heat things up at | ll /> ,_____/ l || | ll ||___| ; / l || FRITH'S INN | ll , ,/ ,--' l || ~~~~~~~~~~~ | ll |\_ /--/ |__,, l || * Pleasurable surroundings | ll \_'---' /-----' l || to suit every taste | l '-------, | l || * Ask about our group rates | \ <___/ / || and discounts for | \ __________________ / || frequent bookings | l__________________l \\___________________________/ -14- CCS Unravelled: Claw Law and Reverse Claw Law ______________ / \ ____ ____ \ by |<enner Boh \@| ~| | | |~ | | |~|--|~| |ere are tables derived from the Condensed Combat System _| |~|--|~| | (used by GSIII) showing the effectiveness of various /@| _|~| |~|_ | armor types versus "natural" (i.e. non-weapon, non- \_/ ~~~~ ~~~~ / magical) attacks. In order to reduce the size of this ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ article I left out those armor types which I felt were less effective. However, if you don't trust my judgement (and you probably shouldn't) the complete charts are available in the MPGRT Library. Claw Law ~~~~~~~~ Armor Type 4 6 10 12 13 17 Training 0 4 12 19 12 15 QU Penalty 0 0 5 15 5 10 Maneuver Mod 0 0 -5 -7.5 -5 -7.5 Beak/Pinch BHF 3.4 3.3 4.3 4.3 4.5 4.6 THT 83 62 84 95.5 35 -3.5 'A' Criticals 93 82 104 115.5 84 66.5 'B' Criticals 98 94 115 126.5 98 80.5 'C' Criticals 104 109 130 141.5 109 88.5 'D' Criticals 115 122 146 157.5 119 95.5 'E' Criticals 133 141 158 169.5 128 100.5 Bite BHF 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.7 3 3.2 THT 69 62 77 88.5 29 3.5 'A' Criticals 79 82 97 108.5 78 73.5 'B' Criticals 84 94 108 119.5 92 87.5 'C' Criticals 90 109 123 134.5 103 95.5 'D' Criticals 101 122 139 150.5 113 102.5 'E' Criticals 119 141 151 162.5 122 107.5 Claw/Talon BHF 4.7 5 5.3 5.3 5.4 5.9 THT 66 66 80 91.5 33 4.5 'A' Criticals 76 86 100 111.5 82 74.5 'B' Criticals 81 98 111 122.5 96 88.5 'C' Criticals 87 113 126 137.5 107 96.5 'D' Criticals 98 126 142 153.5 117 103.5 'E' Criticals 116 145 154 165.5 126 108.5 Horn/Tusk BHF 2.9 3.1 3.2 3.2 3.4 3.5 THT 67 65 74 85.5 31 4.5 'A' Criticals 77 85 94 105.5 80 74.5 'B' Criticals 82 97 105 116.5 94 88.5 'C' Criticals 88 112 120 131.5 105 96.5 'D' Criticals 99 125 136 147.5 115 103.5 'E' Criticals 117 144 148 159.5 124 108.5 Stinger BHF 9.3 10.4 9.7 9.7 10.8 11.5 THT 65 72 66 77.5 14 -18.5 'A' Criticals 75 92 86 97.5 63 51.5 'B' Criticals 80 104 97 108.5 77 65.5 'C' Criticals 86 119 112 123.5 88 73.5 'D' Criticals 97 132 128 139.5 98 80.5 'E' Criticals 115 151 140 151.5 107 85.5 -15- Tiny Animal BHF 8.3 9.6 10.4 10.4 10.9 10.3 THT 60 63 77 88.5 30 1.5 'A' Criticals 70 83 97 108.5 79 71.5 'B' Criticals 75 95 108 119.5 93 85.5 'C' Criticals 81 110 123 134.5 104 93.5 'D' Criticals 92 123 139 150.5 114 100.5 'E' Criticals 110 142 151 162.5 123 105.5 Trmple/Stmp BHF 3.1 3 4.2 4.2 4.7 4.6 THT 49 49 68 79.5 16 -7.5 'A' Criticals 59 69 88 99.5 65 62.5 'B' Criticals 64 81 99 110.5 79 76.5 'C' Criticals 70 96 114 125.5 90 84.5 'D' Criticals 81 109 130 141.5 100 91.5 'E' Criticals 99 128 142 153.5 109 96.5 Fall/Crush BHF 2.4 2.8 3.1 3.1 3 3.6 THT 41 32 54 65.5 -1 -16.5 'A' Criticals 51 52 74 85.5 48 53.5 'B' Criticals 56 64 85 96.5 62 67.5 'C' Criticals 62 79 100 111.5 73 75.5 'D' Criticals 73 92 116 127.5 83 82.5 'E' Criticals 91 111 128 139.5 92 87.5 Reverse Claw Law ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Armor Type 1 5 6 9 13 17 Training 0 0 4 9 12 15 QU Penalty 0 0 0 0 -5 -10 1/2 Maneuver Mod 0 0 0 -2.5 -5 -7.5 Gp/Gs/En/Sw BHF 5 6.4 6.4 9.2 8 12.4 THT 105 86 80 59.5 8 -36.5 'A' Criticals 115 106 100 79.5 57 33.5 'B' Criticals 120 118 112 90.5 71 47.5 'C' Criticals 126 133 127 105.5 82 55.5 'D' Criticals 137 146 140 121.5 92 62.5 'E' Criticals 155 165 159 133.5 101 67.5 Ram/Butt/Bash BHF 5.7 5.8 5.8 6.3 5.9 6.8 THT 103 89 83 63.5 13 -34.5 'A' Criticals 113 109 103 83.5 62 35.5 'B' Criticals 118 121 115 94.5 76 49.5 'C' Criticals 124 136 130 109.5 87 57.5 'D' Criticals 135 149 143 125.5 97 64.5 'E' Criticals 153 168 162 137.5 106 69.5 Key: Training: Number of ranks needed to receive the minimum maneuver mod penalty 1/2 man. mod: Half the maneuver mod penalty, which is already included in calculations. This represents the amount taken away from your DB and OB. Depending on what percentage of your OB you are using to parry, the penalty may increase. QU Penalty: This will reduce or negate your QU bonus; however, your QU bonus will never fall below zero. This is not included in the calculations. BHF: This determines the amount of damage the attack does. The lower the BHF, the more damage the attack will do. -16- The Armor of the Keep ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ _________ by Lord Whilder Planrathe, Part I / \ _____ \ \@| ~|_|~ | _| |~| | stand in what seems to round for us, something nagged at me /@| _|~|_ | be a Grand Hall, located that he was not what he seemed. \_/ ~~~~~ / in some ruins near the "Young mage," he said, sliding a ~~~~~~~~ peak of Blototh Mountain. fresh mug of ale across the table to Twenty niches are set along the wall me. "You seem distraught. Perhaps I I face. The door set into the niche can fix your trouble?" closest to me has collapsed some I managed a weak smile. "If only time ago, revealing a lifesized it were that easy. About a week ago steel statue. Though its face is I went with a friend to some ruins devoid of features it seems to stare in Blototh. Since then I have had at me, awaiting some word or action. dreams. I cannot remember them upon I hesitate and my mind drifts waking yet I know they hold terror back.... for I am drenched in sweat and as exhausted as when I lay down." I Helga's was almost deserted for drained my ale and reached for the once. Most of her patrons had left fresh mug. "Have you magic glue in for the night and I was expecting your pockets to repair dreams?" her to close at any moment. I sat "No, no magic glue, but one of back in the chair nursing my Ale, the stories I've heard of those afraid to sleep for fear of the ruins might help," he replied. "A dreams that had visited me previous traveler such as myself hears many nights, yet knowing that sooner or tales, and this one I remember quite later I would sleep. The few other well." patrons me seemed equally subdued as No use in being bored and tired, though they, too, shared my night- I thought, although I failed to see mares, my fear of sleep. I scanned how a story would help. "I'm not the room and took another sip of doing much else, so let's hear it," ale. When I looked up he was there, I said. "As long as it is enter- sitting across from me, yet I had taining I will buy the ale." I hoped not seen him just a moment ago. his tale would at least be better "Buy you a drink, young Master of than sitting around feeling sorry the Essence?" His tone held respect, for myself. He nodded and began. and his voice though quiet had a "I won't bore you with details of commanding quality. A Bard or poli- how the Keep was built, or the many tician, I thought. contradictory tales of who built it. "You flatter me," I said, "saying I'll call the Lord of the Keep master when I am among the weakest Anrelus to prevent confusion with of my peers." I quickly looked him other stories you may have heard." over, having recovered from his I sat back and relaxed. This was surprise appearance at my table. going to be good if he was making up Well-worn and many-times patched things from the start.... clothing with dozens of pockets on the vest alone, each bulging as Anrelus was a genius, a master of though to burst. A small sack which many abilities. Mage, sorcerer, he placed upon the table as though alchemist, metalurgist, etcetera. it held most delicate and valuable Many claimed he was a God walking treasures. Amazing, I thought; a the land as a mortal. Others said tinkerer has come to the Landing. A he was the Unlife in mortal form. man who could and would fix almost All were wrong. Anrelus was a rarity anything, often for only a place to that happened once a millinium sleep or a meal or material with despite, or perhaps because of, the which he could repair yet something meddling of those calling themselves else. However, as he ordered a Gods. His one love was experi- -17- More... mentation, discovering new powers, mused Anrelus. The guardsman did metals, combining things which by not mention it had been almost four their very nature should never meld. months since he had received his His one fear was that of being orders. interrupted in his work. To prevent "Very well," said Anrelus. this he hired 20 guardsmen, for that "Gather all guardsmen together for I was all he could fit into the Keep am about to make you the greatest and not have them getting in his armor that ever existed in the way. But Anrelus realized they were land." Puzzled, the guardsman ran just flesh. If he were to protect off to gather his compatriots for he his Keep he would need more than wished to find out what Anrelus flesh, for there were many who were would gift him with. jealous of his abilities and his Shortly thereafter the guards- discoveries. With typical deter- men were gathered in the Grand Hall. mination, he set about to correct Many had watched the work in this fault in his defense. progress for there was little to do And in his unique style, he dis- but practice their arms in the small covered the answer. area just outside the steel door "Guardsman" Anrelus spoke, "I which protected the entrance to the have a task for you. You see this?" Keep. And the wild tale of Anrelus He pointed to a solid steel block, making this one guardsman the as long as a man, waist high and as greatest armor in the lands had wide as it was tall. The guardsman piqued the curiosity of even the nodded, having learned long ago that most bored among them. Anrelus speaking was a waste of time since directed the guardsmen to the the Lord of the Keep acted as positions he needed them in. Then, thought he were deaf to those he in a rare moment, he addressed them. thought inferior. He would have "I have worried that there may be continued even if the guardsman had sorcerous and magical attacks on the told him no. Keep which even the enchantments I "You will, according to the plans have set will not defend against. I have here, fashion a statue. It After much work I have solved the will be EXACTLY as I have drawn up, problems. The first was that of and ONLY YOU will ever touch the sorcery and channeling. The best block." Anrelus turned and left, not defense is metal, the more metal and doubting for a moment that his purer the metal, the greater the instructions would be carried out. defense. In the heart of this very The guardsman had no doubts about it volcano, I purified steel to resist either, for he was not about to the channeling abilities of no less discover the price Anrelus would than the Gods themselves." Anrelus extract should he fail. Using the ignored the murmur and quick prayers tools he had provided and carefully of the guardsmen. "The second following the plans, the guardsman problem is one of magic attacks. set to work. It took many weeks, The spells I will weave and the but soon a crude statue was formed. alchemical additions I have made It stood as tall as a man, yet the will make this steel resistant to face was almost featureless, its all but the magic of the Gods arms and legs mere cylinders. It themselves." Again, stunned murmurs was jointed, albeit crudely, as and prayers from the guardsmen were though to be posed in different ignored. They were not oblivious positions. Yet it was formed from a that Anrelus was speaking as though solid block of the purest steel. he were reciting simple facts that And only that single guardsman had were known to the smallest child. ever touched it. They all expected to be struck down The guardsman approached Anrelus at any moment by one of the Gods. and asked where he was to move the Or perhaps all the Gods at once. statue. "Finished already? I was But fate would not be so kind to sure it would take you two months," them. -18- More... A thunking sound broke my trance. room, he dabbed the liquid first on The tinkerer was indicating that his the head of the statue, then on the mug was empty by tapping it lightly head of the seated guardsman. on the table top. I quickly Finishing his incantation, he opened finished mine and ordered another a third, and smallest vial. "Take round. "You spin quite a tale," I this," he told the seated guardsman said. "Are you a bard, perhaps?" "and drink it in one swallow when I He laughed. "No, I am but a tell you to." The guardsman looked traveler. A bard would surely tell at his fellows across the room. No this tale much better than I can." help would come from them. Mutely I smiled. For the first time in he nodded to Anrelus, though Anrelus a week I had forgotten my fears. would have found it impossible to Yet something in the back of my mind believe that the guardsman would not kept saying "politician" as I do as he said. glanced at him from over my mug. Anrelus began a third incan- "Tell me something. Of the few tation. It built to crescendo of obviously despondent people in here, pure noise, unintelligible to any why did you pick me?" I asked. within the room. "Well," he responded. "I was "NOW!" thinking of this very tale as I came Anrelus slapped his left hand in. And in a way you look like onto the statue, his right on the Anrelus was described." guardsman's shoulder. A pyrotechnic "He was of the Fair Elven race?" display engulfed all three and none Another laugh. "No, no. Anrelus present could look directly at the is supposed to have worn nothing but three figures. Then suddenly... grey colored clothes, and kept his Silence. head cloaked so none could see his The silence of the void. Not the face. Much like yourself." He indi- sound of their own breathing nor cated my grey cloak, its hood folded heartbeats were audible. Slowly back. "No one seems to know his everyone's eyes adjusted and the race or heritage. There is nothing small, everyday sounds taken for to indicate that he wasn't Dwarven granted returned, followed by the or Halfling, for that matter. Or low, quiet voice of Anrelus. even a combination of the two. In "Guardsman, move your right arm." fact," he mused, "there is nothing Slowly, the statue moved its arm. to say Anrelus wasn't female." "Guardsman, move your left arm." Interesting. "Pray continue," I More rapidly, the statue moved said, even as I ordered another its left arm. round. I did not believe this tale "Gods of Orhan preserve us," but wanted him to stay until I could muttered one of the guardsmen across puzzle out what it was about him the room. His eyes had adjusted that bothered me. more quickly than the others, and what he saw was enough to make him Anrelus looked at the guardsman weep. seated next to the steel statue. The guardsman sitting in the "Now guardsman, I will keep my chair next to the statue no longer promise to make you the greatest had a face! And the statue had armor ever seen in the lands." taken on the features of the Anrelus removed several vials from guardsman! the pouch he wore. He delicately "He can return to his body unstoppered one containing a yellow- anytime," said Anrelus. "Once the greenish substance and carefully link has been made he is the only poured it on the statue, all the one who can use this particular body while muttering an incantation. He and this one statue." He turned to then opened a second vial containing face the guardsmen at the far wall. a dark blue, almost black, liquid. "I will make blocks for each of you. Carefully, as he spoke a language Only the individual using that not recognized by any within the statue is to touch that steel -19- More... block." Anrelus turned back to the his body, taking up arms and a living statue. "Guardsman, return defensive position within the Keep." to your body." I was beginning to believe... "H-h-h--o-o-o-o-o-w-w d-d-o-o..." "POLITICIAN" screamed the back of the guardsman stammered. my mind. But I still did not hear. "Simply will it." instructed A story. A tale heard by a Anrelus. "Think of returning home." tinkerer in his travels. This time there was no sound, no I suddenly was wary. Why? "So, light. Just a slow melting of the Anrelus died, the guardsmen left, new face on the living statue, and the Keep fell into ruins. returning to its blank mask, while Right?" the face of the guardsman in the "Would be that it was that chair slowly developed back to its simple." he replied. "Anrelus didn't normal shape. seem to age as others do. Guardsmen "One last item I will tell you," grew old, or tired of being pent up spoke Anrelus. "There are two ways in the Keep. Anrelus would destroy to stop you from using this armor I their armor and hire new guards, have created. The first is the making new armor. The story goes death of your body, whether you are on, in brief, that one of the in it or not. The second is a guardsmen who left told of this special command, known only by me, wondrous armor. Naturally, the which will prevent you from entering Unlife heard of this and used agents the armor or force you back to your in an attempt to buy, bribe, then body should you be in it. And fear threaten the secret of its creation not; while in your armor your body from Anrelus. They failed at every is held in time. It will not attempt." require air, food or any attention "So what happened?" though it can be killed as easily as "Remember: Anrelus used the any normal being. Perhaps easier, guardsmen for every task. Though he since it will be unable to defend was able to pay well, some guardsmen itself." Anrelus walked to the door resented his treatment of them. If and stopped. "I will expect the new parts of the story are correct, he armor to be finished soon after I even used the guardsmen to make the have completed the rest of the steel alchemical mixtures and recite the blocks. I also have drawn up plans simple spells needed for several for storage space -- niches -- which routine tasks around the Keep. Even you will construct as quickly as without magical training they were possible. I will not have your able to accomplish these feats due armor underfoot." to Anrelus' power." "And that proved to be his I sat forward and stared at the downfall." tinkerer. "So, his guardsmen built, carved or however it was done, a His name was Ertrewior, though he statue for each of them?" was never addressed by Anrelus as "Of course," he replied. "They anything other than "guardsman." He trained in their new armor and in had been at the Keep for almost four time they could shift in and out of years although he had been fed up it as easily as you and I change before his first four days were boots." done. The few times Ertrewior was "Unbelieveable power there. Were able to go with a group for supplies they as good as Anrelus thought?" he thought about running off, but he "Oh yes," he said. "Maybe they was afraid the Mad One, as he called wouldn't have stopped the power of Anrelus, would hunt him down and the Gods, but they were more than a destroy him. Thus, in the few match for anything that attacked the outings he could manage, he consoled Keep -- they proved that several himself in local taverns. times. If one was severely damaged, And the agents of the Unlife made the guardsman would simply return to a friend. -20- Continued on Page 24 Gwaelin in Hand ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ____________ by Kalagay Halatil / \ __ \ \@| / "| | | //|"| |fter two weeks of of fostering communication. _| //=|"| | hand feeding a squir- One thing seemed obvious, how- /@| // |"| | ming, yelling, brown ever. The kitten was not going to \_/ ~~ ~~~ / spotted snow panther pine away and starve in captivity. ~~~~~~~~~~~ kit every 3 hours, There was nothing at all wrong with Kalagay was ready to acknowledge her appetite for rich torkaan milk that she may have erred in taking it sweetened with the boiled sap from from its mother. The kit was called pelma trees. Gwaelin -- Cloud-Shredder; she could "You're getting heavy, little easily have answered to Sleep- one," Kalagay told the finally sated Shredder instead, assuming that she kit. "Time you started using your learned to answer to anything. own feet to get around. Yes, no "Ohhhh, baby, please go back to point in getting fussy. Oh, all sleep," Kalagay groaned into her right, I'll carry you up the stairs pillow. But baby would not, so this time. Just a sucker for a Kalagay scooped her up and staggered pretty face." Gwaelin was solidly down the stairs to the kitchen. asleep by the time Kalagay reached The imprinting process which her room under the eaves and placed would link Gwaelin and Kalagay to her burden on the sleeping cot which each other depended on their being they shared. near each other all the time until Time for the next feeding the kit was weaned. That happy day arrived. With a screech, Gwaelin remained another month in the clambered pudgily from her spot at future, though soon she would not the small of Kalagay's back to need feeding so often. Until then, thrust nose and whiskers into her only Kalagay could feed her or face and pat at her mouth with a supervise her tiny blind rambles ludicrously oversized paw. However, outside Alais' greenhouse. this time when Kalagay propped up From the beginning Kalagay had her eyelids she looked straight into known exactly how Gwaelin was Gwaelin's newly opened eyes, into a feeling, if she was hungry or grey-green unfocused version of the frightened or angry, if she was mother's icy stare. To Kalagay it sleepy or wanted to play. Not only was like being hit with forty pounds eyes and ears informed her; she was of feather pillows. She smiled aware on an emotional level also, idiotically as the kit nosed her and exactly the way a mother snow bestowed a rasping purr. panther would have been. Kalagay hugged the wiggling kit. There was nothing going the other "How beautiful you are. And how way, however. So far there was no funny and how soft. And how hungry! indication that Gwaelin was aware of Again!" anything or anyone outside her own downy skin and small circle of per- Kalagay almost missed the next ception. However hard Kalagay development. She and her mother, worked and however many hours of Alais were walking in the garden, on sleep she lost, there was no one of the few occasions she had guarantee that she would be able to left Gwaelin sleeping by herself. A share a tie with Gwaelin, such as sudden uneasiness came over her and Elvanion Darkholt had with his war she looked around with rising panic panther. The two felines had sim- though there was nothing to be seen. ilar ancestry, but war panthers had "Mother!" she cried, "Something's many generations of cooperation with wrong with Gwaelin!" She flew into humans. A great deal was known the house with her heartbeats chok- about the art as well as the science ing her. Alais was right behind -21- Continued on page 24 Of Mice and Half-Elves, Part III ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ _________ by Gallenod Varynesti / \ _____ \ \@| ~|_|~ | | |~| | am a very inconspicuous Chief among them was Lord Azreal, _| |~| | person. Oh, not conscio- a high elf of great age and wisdom. /@| _|~|_ | usly. I just tend to He had been a great adventurer in \_/ ~~~~~ / naturally blend in, and his youth, over 1,500 years earlier, ~~~~~~~~ people don't really not- who had retired to this village be- ice me. It has its advantages, of cause he grew sick of the slaughter course. In team sports, opposing and carnage. His command of magic players sometimes forget entirely was incredible, but his power was that I'm there, and seem surprised beginning to wane with age. His when I appear out of nowhere to assistant was Father Andralon, a score. In combat, monsters tend to devout (bordering on the fanatical) attack other, more flamboyant tar- wood elf. Andralon was a was a gets; they seem to consider me less competent administrator, but almost of a threat because I'm not swinging completely without humor. He had a a huge sword or crackling with stare that could crack rock and a essence. More than one troll has personality to match. For some odd made that mistake and never lived to reason, though, we liked each other. regret it. I found he had a sense of honor as Being inconspicuous has saved my deep as the seas of Kulthea, and a life on more than one occasion. great love of obscure knowledge and However, there are times when every- trivia. I'm not sure what he saw in one must stand up and be counted, no me, except that I would talk with matter how much they wish to remain him for hours on obscure points of in the background. Herein lies the history, psychology, and music. heart of the Second Mouse Tale. Our other cleric was Fariel, a In my previous stories, I've told female wood elf who was the com- you a little of my background, my plete opposite of Andralon: rad- family, and my friend Mouse. This iant, sensitive, cheerful, and nur- tale begins a year after Mouse and I turing. She tended more towards the had decided on our courses in life. spiritual side of clericism, and I was just completing my first healed more souls with smiles than year as a teacher, and Mouse was now she did magic. Which is why I could "Father Mouse," rapidly earning a never understand what she saw in reputation as a skilled, and caring Gilthorien, a brash, hot-headed cleric. Life in our village of fighter with a slightly crooked jaw. Glynvaryn, however, was complicated If you remember Part II of my tale, by the growing presence of evil in I was the one who had broken it for the surrounding area. Before, the him, as a boy. He never forgave me only threats we had to face were the for that and grew from a childhood relatively stupid orcs and trolls bully to an adult one. We ignored that plague much of our world. Over each other as much as possible, time though, newer, deadlier types though he would sometimes taunt me of creatures appeared. It was as by saying: "Real men are fighters, though some evil, maleficence entity not teachers, Mordleg." He spat out was working night and day on new my childhood nickname as though it ways to threaten our fragile hold on would cure his mutilated jaw if he life. expelled it violently enough. He Most dangerous were the new mani- was a fine warrior, though, and festations of the Unlife. A rela- appeared to love Fariel as much as tively small village, we only had she loved him. Village law forbade four clerics and my friend Mouse, that we should ever fight, which was whom you've heard about already, was good for me, as he could have slain one. me easily. Words, however, were -22- More... fair game, and I used to infuriate about accepting this human, the him by pointing out that for all his first he had seen in many years, as prowess at arms, he had never killed a battle-friend. Before they could anything more dangerous than a speak, though, the elves, ecstatic forest troll. I regret this, now, as over their victory, surrounded both it may have driven him to whatever of them and bore them back to the rash action led to his death. And village for a celebration. on the day he died, the fate of He introduced himself as the Glynvaryn was sealed. Master, a cleric who had devoted I remember when they brought his himself to learning about and body back. He'd been the advance fighting the Unlife. He did not scout for a party investigating a introduce his acolytes, explaining new manifestation of the Unlife in they had taken vows of silence. He our area. The party never saw what offered to teach us the magic of the got him. They heard his war cry, signs, which he said were parti- and then his scream. The body they cularly effective against the brought back bore little resemblance Unlife. Most jumped at the chance; to the proud elf we all knew. The only three objected. My father was front of his heavy hide had been the first. "Friend," he said, seem- ripped open, and his insides were ing unwilling to call this man shredded. A shaken Lord Azreal de- 'Master,' "I recognize those signs. clared that Gilthorien's life levels They are of the Unlife. Though you had been drained, as well, meaning have helped us this day, I am that a creature of the Unlife had reluctant to use the tools of the done this. While all of us were enemy." Andralon, upon hearing this, shocked, two were particularly immediately sided with my father, affected. Mouse was in shock, re- citing at great length the perils of cognizing this as the work of delving too deeply into the nature whatever had killed his parents. of the Unlife. My mother, also, Fariel was the hardest hit, however. voiced her doubts. To this, the The light of life faded from her Master replied: "I respect your eyes when she saw what was left of ethics, good people. But, you Gilthorien's body and she fainted. cannot defeat this menace with the She became withdrawn and listless, tools you have now. I offer you new rarely speaking to anyone. We sent weapons and new hope." fewer patrols out after that, and It was Fariel who swayed the worked on improving our defenses. village. Her impassioned plea for It was during this troubled time vengeance for the death of Gil- that the Master arrived. thorien brought many to tears. He appeared at our gates at dusk, "Oakhand," she finally said to my a portly human in a ramshackle wagon father, "my love was destroyed by with two grim assistants in tow. As the Unlife. None have been more he drew up to the gate, he cried, valiant than you in fighting the "Help me, help me! I am pursued!" Unlife, but even your great prowess Sure enough, zombies, ghouls, and has not abated this menace. We have other Unlife were streaming from the no choice but to grasp this new forest in pursuit. The clerics opportunity." Then she turned to the blessed weapons, and my father, Master. "I will follow you," she older now, but still the greatest pronounced with a gleam in her eye, warrior in the village, led a force "even to the Gates of the Dark Lords that drove the Unlife back. Seeing to seek vengeance for my love." The he had allies, the Master joined the Master rose and took the now crying fray, making mystic signs in the air Fariel in his arms. "There, there, and doing almost as much damage to child. You shall have the vengeance the Unlife as my father. When the you deserve." There was little more battle was over, my father and the debate. Master turned an regarded each other A majority of the village decided warily. My father seemed uneasy to allow the Master to teach his -23- More... arts to whomever was willing to Gwaelin in Hand: Cont. from Page 21 learn them. Victories over the ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Unlife were numerous. Our scouts her, and managed to grab her arm reclaimed vast areas of infested before she burst in on the kit. territory using the signs to bolster "Wait, ma chere, don't grab her, their abilities. Soon, almost all hush. Come back out here with me in the village had some training and calm down. Come now, good. Now with them, and half had 'graduated' you can look but _don't_ wake her. from the Master's school. He always That would be a mistake you would took great pride in staging ela- regret for a long time. Let her borate ceremonies for these events, sleep. She will let you know when and proclaimed it a great honor. she is hungry again. Fariel was the first, and most Kalagay looked down on the talented of his graduates. A few of quietly breathing kit. Slowly, her us didn't train though. My parents, pulse returned to normal. "But are of course, and Andralon. Mouse you sure she's all right? She didn't train either, mostly out of should be howling for her bottle by respect for my parents. I was too now," her voice trailed off busy at school, working with the dubiously. "I believe you can trust children, and I cared little for me on this, darling. It happens combat in any event. I was, as with half-elf babies too. One fine always, ignored by all the principal day they sleep through a feeding and players, until I made my discovery. life is a lot simpler after that." Kalagay hugged Alais as she Continued in the December KE looked at the kit, sleeping curled up with her tail over her nose. "I =========\\========== think I will have a nap myself. I've some catching up to do." Armor of the Keep: Cont from Page 20 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ It was simple, they told him. __________________________________ Anrelus had all his defenses |__________________________________| pointing out, stopping any attempts | | at looking in. But, if Ertrewior | MERCHANT MALL | would just read this parchment from |__________________________________| the inside it would become part of | | his defensive spells. Anrelus would | Helga proudly presents | never know that they could look into | Torkaan Mud Wrestling now at | the Keep. Even if he detected | | something, he would assume it had | HELGA'S TAVERN | come from outside the Keep. He | ************** | hired armsmen, not spell users. | | Ertrewior would never be suspect. | Plus the finest ales, meads | And all they wanted was to watch, to | and wines in all Kulthea!! | make sure Anrelus was not plotting | | against them. The thought of | Admission 50 silvers. Tunics | getting back at the Mad One was | and boots must be worn. | good, was it not? A revenge better | No pink orcs allowed! | than any Ertrewior could hope to | | accomplish by himself. And Anrelus |__________________________________| would never suspect. | | Ertrewior agreed. |/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\| |\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/| Continued in the December KE |__________________________________| -24- Evil Owdown ~~~~~~~~~~~ ____________ by Raksha / \ ______ \ \@| /~/~~\~\ | ||~| |~|| ne evening, as Raksha hunting cave trolls in the darkness. _||~| |~|| sat in Helga's Tavern They were in the midst of a fierce /@| \~\__/~/ | sipping honeyed tea battle against an enormous hairy \_/ ~~~~~~ / and contemplating new Troll when a sudden coldness closed ~~~~~~~~~~~ spells, she was inter- around Hilga's body, causing the rupted by someone entering the back hairs to raise along her arms, and room. at the back of her neck. She began Glancing up, Raksha spied a having great difficulty swinging her Dwarven lady, gold braids flung over sword, her movements stiff, her her back. "Hilga!" she cried, leap- reactions slow. Hilga felt an ing off her chair and flinging out electric presence, somehow knowing her arms to give Hilga a welcome it to be there. An itching crawled hug. Hilga smiled tiredly, as through her mind, and she heard a Raksha's bubbly gaiety was catching. spiritual cackle, and a snicker She sat down at the table and rubbed whispered by her ear. Hilga found her eyes, her face pale. it harder to concentrate on the Raksha stood on her chair and Troll looming above. Her mind cried waved her arm wildly at the barmaid, "why?" as she fell back behind calling for ale, and causing Hilga Zinderin and Westley at this point, to chuckle at her antics. knowing a terrible wrongness. Raksha grinned and plopped back Three voices spoke in her mind, down down in her chair. "What is ones she shuddered at hearing. it, Hilga?" she asked, noticing her "Syst," cackled the first, "Emsl," friend's exhaustion. Hilga's face sneered the second. A moment grew grim. She sighed and brushed passed, coldness touched her mind. whisps of hair from her eyes. The third and last spoke its name "Would you like to hear about it ?" harshly. Hilga backed away, fearing she asked (though she already knew "Owdown" the most. Unfortunately, the answer). Raksha nodded eagerly, it had chosen to "toy" with her this her curiosity mixed with concern. night. Hilga rested her arms on the As Hilga stepped back, the eyes table, and was just about to speak of the Troll glimmered redly. It when the barmaid came by and clunked lurched past Westley and Zinderin a foamy tankard of dark ale on the towards her, swinging its weapon low table, slopping froth over the and hard. Seeing the blow coming, sides. Hilga smiled gratefully at Hilga desperately tried to bring up Raksha, her eyes lighting up. She her shield and sword in parry. grabbed the tankard with both hands Gleeful laughter drummed through her and raised it to drink deeply. head. Invisible clawed hands Raksha waited patiently, perhaps all gripped her arms and legs tightly, of a minute which is a long time immobilizing her. for a Hobbit. The blow struck hard, glancing When she could wait no longer, off her thigh and she cried out as Raksha leaned forward, elbows on the the bone fractured. She leapt table, chin propped on her hands. sideways, away from the troll, still "Well? she blurted. "Tell me what on one good leg. Zinderin and happened!" Hilga laughed, color Westley battered it back from her, again in her cheeks. She put the as Hilga tore off her sash and ale on the table (keeping a firm wrapped her leg tightly, stopping grip on it) and raised one hand as the bleeding. She leaned dizzily she began telling her story. against the wall and watched as her She had been adventuring that companions cut down the troll, evening with Westley and Zinderin, wincing when it clawed Zinderin -25- More... deeply just before it fell. amulet and began walking towards the Hilga stood awkwardly, feeling pile, a gleam in her eye. useless, watching as her friends As Hilga brushed past Zinderin, searched the troll. Of course it he impatiently grabbed her by the had nothing. Westley came over to arm, eager to revenge himself on the her and gave her his arm, helping trolls. Zinderin dragged her out of her walk. Zinderin was also the Temple, Westley running after, wounded, so they left that dark all of them in full stride (that place, heading back to town and the mindless running pace first taught Temple, hoping to find aid there. by Macro Swift). The adventurers Westley helped Hilga through the were heading back to hunt "Cavers." Temple doors and she leaned heavily Towards Hilga's death. against the wall. Sighing pain- Hilga stopped her tale and fully, she slung her shield over her shivered, her face pale once more. shoulder, and slid her broadsword She stared sightlessly at her empty into its sheath. She looked around tankard, the flow of words halted. then, her gaze lighting on Strom and Raksha itched to know what happened, Caretaker, meditating over each and, knowing of no better solution, others wounds. she waved the surly Tavernkeeper Strom glanced up, whispered some- over. "A full bucket this time!" thing to Caretaker, and turned his she shouted. Helga held out her ham attention to Zinderin, examining his sized fist, "Pay up," she scowled. ragged chest wounds. Caretaker Raksha reluctantly dropped sil- looked up to see Hilga slumping vers into Helga's hand. She stomped against the wall, one leg bandaged off, sending a servant back with the and bloody. As she swayed from loss ale. When the bucket thumped on the of blood, he leaped up to catch her, table, Hilga 'woke up,' her nose hugging her to his chest. Hilga twitched and she eagerly turned her smiled bravely as Caretaker eased attention to a bit more brew. her gently to the floor, knelt in As Hilga slaked her thirst, front of her and unwound the bloody Raksha scowled and fidgeted, sash. She winced but kept quiet, drumming her fingers on the table. trying hard to be calm. Caretaker Hilga smiled crookedly at her small closed his eyes, and placed his friend, and, gulping her ale, palms close over her leg. He began started talking again before Raksha chanting, drawing her wound to bounced right out of her chair. himself. She watched in wonder when To Be Continued he chanted anew, healing his own leg, leaving it whole. Healer magic Song for the Sky Dragon always amazed her. Strom called for ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ him then and Hilga hugged Caretaker by Amelda Heronheart tightly, kissing him before letting go. He winked at her, murmured an This be the tale endearment in Dwarven, then motioned Of a dragon bold her to wait. Who flies the skies Hilga turned to look for the On wings of gold others. She saw Westley waiting, His brilliance shines arms crossed, by the door. Zinderin The planet round was tying his heavy hide around his And never does he shoulders, his chest wound fully Make a sound healed. She stood and tested her He'll grace the air leg, finding no pain. Then her eye From night to night was drawn to the altar, where And when he sleeps several people had left items for There is no light others in need. On the floor before I ponder often it was a pile of assorted things. On this beast She saw rough agates, used clothing, Who sleepeth West even food. Hilga thought she saw an And waketh East -26- Erys' Saga ~~~~~~~~~~ _________ by The Watcher / \ _____ \ \@| ~|_|~ | | |~| | view this time and times dle bags, he removed a packet of _| |~| | to come. I observe this iron rations. The meal did not /@| _|~|_ | reality and realities appear very appealing as he sat down \_/ ~~~~~ / far, far removed. Once I beneath a strong oak. He was prac- ~~~~~~~~ looked through the win- tically invisible between his elven dow I use to see what goes on and camouflage and his slow, careful happened upon one by the name of movements. Erys Belanger. His mind was open to me, as all minds are. His soul Erys was exhausted from his travels cried out to me, as all souls do. yet had many more miles to go. This man wanted refuge from reality, Thinking of his journey, the elf from himself, but I am the Watcher. began to doze. When he awoke, he I watch. I could do nothing for this once more looked over his surround- elf but observe and tell his tale. ings and noticed that his steed was gone. He looked for it but to no Erys resided in the wilderness town avail. Somehow it had slipped its of Kelfour's Landing. He found harness and disappeared. I was friends there, good friends, and surprised by the elf's next actions. more. Erys found love. Her name lies First came just a chuckle. Then a buried deep in his mind, closed off smile. Then he burst out laughing. in pain, unreachable by me. This 'Twas a sad thing to watch: a man woman he knew for only a few short completely break down. He laughed days but those days he remembers as this way for no less than two the best of his life. They didn't minutes. I caught myself smiling at last long for this woman was merely the cruel irony of it. an emissary and when her message was delivered, the only thing left of "Why?" he managed to chuckle out. her were Erys's dreams and memories. He got off the ground, shaking his head as he chuckled. "I do not I saw him riding down a path on a understand," he smiled as he brushed weary brown horse. He wore a camou- himself off. "Do you hear me?! I flage cloak with the hood pulled don't get it! What did I do?" Erys over his face. Erys wore the camou- erupted towards the sky, "Why don't flaging colors of his elven brothers you answer?!!?" He clenched his well, and his weathered boots also fists, becoming angrier by the boasted the elven trademark. A war- second. chipped drake falchion hung in the straps of the camouflage iron shield Tears began to flow down his cheeks tied to the saddle horn. In his as he looked up at the now starry right hand he held the reins. He sky. "ANSWER!!!!!" he cried out. "If rubbed the engagement ring, which he there is some god I offended...or wore on his left forefinger, demon...or wizard...or whatever... thoughtfully with his thumb. This I'm sorry!!! Do you hear me?!" he ring he had intended for his love. tried to yell, but his voice broke He looked up at the sky, checking with the last words. The once the time of day. I saw his pain, powerful figure of strength now fell his anguish and wondered what he was to the ground sobbing uncontrol- like before. lably. "I'm...sorry..." he mumbled. From the sun's position, Erys knew Erys cried a while before he sat up it was noon and he dismounted by a again. Dragging the saddle towards nearby tree. His movements were slow him, he began to unpack it. Taking and deliberate. Going into his sad- only what he needed, he placed his -27- More... gear in his camouflage backpack. He smiled: Then he paused, as if struck by Why? sudden inspiration. He fell to the why he ever worried ground, tracing these many lines in she wipes away his tears the muddy field: she holds him He sits he holds her staring he sits at the sky forever loved a glint staring or a tear at the sky sparkle in his eye He smiled again. Wiping his eyes, he thought about his friends in Here he paused, looking up at the Kelfour's Landing. He thought about sky before proceeding: his cousin Twyndle. He thought about Deep breath his homeland and if he would make it no taste there without a horse. He thought weakness of these things then he walked to fills his chest the beginning of his poem and wrote: the stars they taunt him Wish Upon a Star their communion by A Lonely Traveler cruelty at its best Picking up his backpack, he walked the pattern towards the Whilter Woods. His reminds him journey was a long one, a hard one. of the one The trials he faced tested him greatly but that is another story Then he paused again. His eyes for another time. became misty again as he stared ________________________________ dreamily into the distant woods. Then he fell with determination to Brothers his work: ~~~~~~~~ the one he loves by Damiano Faustas then she comes they sit My Brother was wroth with me together I said to my Brother a pair of nesting doves "What angers thee "Thy skin's color is wrong Another pause, followed by a tear He said to me and another sudden burst of inspir- ation: My Brother was wroth with me he cries I said to my Brother his head "What angers thee wedged gently in her arm "Thou dost worship the wrong god she He said to me understands hugs him My Brother was wroth with me consoles him I said to my Brother protects him "What angers thee from any ill feeling "Thou art Different and Evil or harm He said to me A last pause. Another tear fell gently upon his work. My Brother was wroth with me he smiles "I love you, my Brother and wonders I said to him Why? -28- Letters to Louvella ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ____________ by Miss Louvella Parsnips / \ __ \ \@| / "| | mysterious missive Approached by a certain lost ranger, | //|"| | made its way into our as well as our Spanish speaking ran- _| //=|"| | niche by the town ger fellow, he refused to part with /@| // |"| | gates this month. We the much-coveted banner. However, he \_/ ~~ ~~~ / are suspicious of the was recently accosted by a hussy of ~~~~~~~~~~~~ letter writer, who a mage wearing nothing at all under insists on remaining anonymous (but her familiar bleu robe. not for long), but have decided that his information is indeed in the Of course, this strumpet managed, interests of the public at large. after some seclusion behind the closed door of Frick's best room, to It seems that our favorite mad mage coax the banner out of our collector and his coyote faced wife have and smugly presented it to the house entered into a new business. Of in question. They, in turn, gifted course, we would not go as far as to her with a pair of ruby slippers in say they have been assassinating gratitude, which may or may not have others for pay, but to all intents been their way of telling her to go and purposes, they have been dabbl- back to wherever she came from. ing in the dark art of extortion, something we find disgusting, but We have also learned that the same typical, to say the least. lost ranger fled Kulthea after mak- ing the same proposition as our bleu The victims of this ignoble twosome robed mage and, not surprisingly, were some of Kelfour's newest being hastily turned down. adventurers, as yet innocent and untainted. They were accosted by the We find that art collecting has insane mage, who gave them an taken on new meaning, and wonder ultimatum between handing over their exactly what our bleu robed mage's silvers or their lives to his well ranger husband thinks of his wife's armed and foaming-at-the mouth wife. new bartering system. And especially what he thinks of the new tattoo she We also discovered a sinister plot is sporting in a quite unmentionable hatched by Kelfour's most famous place. What indeed. ranger fellow. It seems that he has been desperate for attention of late As an aside to our special reporters and has initiated a barter system. may we remind you that your contract His "barter" is rather costly and states that you are not to reveal magical items to which the sullied yourselves to anyone under penalty maidens of Kelfour's Landing have of becoming permanent stalker bait. been flocking with bells (and very The fact that you six, cat, mouse, little else) on. Among the most used bird, orc, hobgoblin and especially of these strumpets is a wraithlike otter, have revealed yourselves to lady mage who is completely without our naive and primitive citizenry is morals (and silver). enough to make us lose our temper. And one wouldn't want that to We are shocked at the disgusting happen, WOULD ONE? goings on in Kelfour's art world. It appears that a certain banner was in- Remember, dear reader, send your advertently sold at the last art auc- suppositions, tattles and hearsays tion to a prominent and rather blood- to MISS.SNOOP via GE Mail. thirsty art collecting sorcerer, causing an uproar among the members Until next time, happy prying and of the house which it addressed. tra la for now! -29- V2N6 [END]