Kelfour Edition volume II number VIII

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|   |                            Win a Magnificent Blue Topaz! See Page 4 |
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 |    GemStone III's                                    January 1992   |
 |                                                       Vol.2, No.8   |
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 |  Start YOUR           The Kronicles of Kulthea                      |
 |Collection Now!                                                      |
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 |  Local News ...................................................   1 |
 |  Authentic GemStone III Trading Card: Skeleton .. Szandor LaVey   1 |
 |  Editorial: Quest Etiquette ...................................   2 |
 |  A Certain Taste to Remember ............. Lord Certain Justice   3 |
 |  A Winter's Tale, Preamble ...... by the Scribes of Quellbourne   4 |
 |  Between Good and Evil ........................ Flint Thalassar   9 |
 |  The Odds of Enchantment .. An Interview with Lord Odds Bodkins  12 |
 |  Re-roll of the Dice ............................ Feckly Fecund  13 |
 |  History o' the World, Part II .................. Szandor LaVey  15 |
 |  Of Mice and Half-Elves, Conclusion ........ Gallenod Varynesti  16 |
 |  Authentic GemStone III Trading Card: Goblin .... Szandor LaVey  19 |
 |  The Dark One .................................. Inyigo Montoya  20 |
 |  A Secret from the Keep, Part I ........ Lord Whilder Planrathe  23 |
 |  Of Greed and Thieves .................. Miss Louvella Parsnips  28 |
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 | 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 Wiswraith Winterwind,  Assistant Editor  Rune |
 | Arundel, or Publisher Phaedra Bleu by  GE Mail  to P.HERRINGTON for |
 | details.                                    Banner letters by Yonah |
 |   __________________________________________________________________|___
 |  /                                                                     /

              From KE's City Desk: Local Kelfour's Landing News!
  Enchantment True Seen in Kulthea!         Authentic GS3 Trading Cards
  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~        ____________________________
Lord  Odds Bodkins is the first mage      / \                          \
to  acquire  the enchant true spell.      \@|       GemStone III       |
Although  not  without  quirks, (and        | ________________________ |
some  say  it  is  tied  in with the        ||                        ||
Duplicate   Spell)   Lord  Odds  has        ||         __ __          ||
managed  to  enchant  many items for        ||        /  V  \         ||
grateful adventurers.                       ||        > . . <         ||
                                            ||        \O v O/         ||
It  seems, however, that weapons may        ||         /...\          ||
be  the  only  enchantable items for        ||         \___/          ||
Lord Odds and armor, shields and the        ||     //=--/|\--=\\      ||
like  are  not  as simple.  See KE's        ||    //\___/|\___/\\     ||
exclusive  Interview with Lords Odds        ||   // \___/|\___/ \\    ||
in THIS issue on Page 12.                   ||  //  \___/|\___/  \\   ||
      Gladitorial Games Return!             |                          |
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~             | Skeleton: Lvl 1  CP - 30 |
The   Gladitorial  Games  are  again        |           OB 25          |
making  their  appearance in Kulthea      /@| [  5 ]    DB  0          |
with some changes announced.  Please      \ /                          /
see   the  bulletin  board  or  Vlad       ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dracula   for  more  information  on   Starting in THIS issue of KE you can
these  changes.  We believe they are   begin   collecting   AUTHENTIC   GS3
something  along  the  lines  of the   Trading  Cards.   Watch  for  others
batch  level  adjustments,  but more   among   these  pages  and  don't  be
information   will   be  forthcoming   fooled  by imitations.  Collect them
before the games begin.                all to trade with your friends!
The  Engraver  has  begun  to  engrave  shields  with  the  Coats of Arms of
recognized  Houses of Kulthea!  First to be so honored?  House of the Rising
Phoenix. Their Coat of Arms:

          ___________________ \
            _________________ \ \             ___        /\
              _______________ \ \ \      ____/_  %)    / / /\
                _____________ \ \ \ \   /___  ^  %|  / / / / /\
         ,        ___________ \ \ \ \ \      /% % |/ / / / / / /\
          }        ________  ==========|   /% % %'/ / / / / / / /\
           } }       ______ | ++++++++ |  /% % %,)\ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \
             }        _____ \~*~*~*~*~ /% % % % ),\ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \
        ,      }          ___| +++++' / % % % %,), | | | | | | | | |
         } }     } } '     %  *~*~* /% % % %,),), / / / / / / / / /
        }   } }   ' } } % % % +++'/ % % %,),),), / / / / / / / /
               } } } } ' } } * % % % %,),),),), / / / / / / /
        } }       } ' } } } } % % % ),),),),)  / / / / / /
           }   } ' } } ' } } ),),),),),),),   / / / / /
            } ' } } ' } } '   ),),) ),),)    / / / /
                       } }      %%    %     / / /
                } }   } }        %   /\\\  / /
               }   } }          /\\\      /
             ,}                             Art by Lady Wisraith Winterwind
                             Quest Etiquette
 _______________                Editorial
/ \ ____    ____\
\@| +|~| __ |~|+|ith addition of new   That's  what Feedback and the Bulle-
  |  |~|/~~\|~| | staff  members  to   tin Board are for.  Airing  frustra-
 _|  |~/~/\~\~| | Simutronics, there   tions  in  an  appropriate manner is
/@| _|__/  \__|_| has been a welcome   called  consideration,  in  inappro-
\_/_____________/ increase in quests   priate fashion it is rudeness.
roleplaying events. This is new ter-      I  think  most of us can identify
ritory  for  both  players and Game-   with  the character who is robbed of
Masters.   It appears we have gotten   a  newly  discovered item -- it is a
off  to  a rocky start, however, and   loss  of  opportunity for fun due to
now  seems a good time to point some   the  greed  and self-centeredness of
things out.                            another.  Perhaps more subtle but to
   Just as every character's person-   some, maybe many, as frustrating, is
ality  differs  and all players have   theft of the moment or mood.  To one
different   aspirations   for  their   who  values  tangibles, the theft of
characters,  so  too  do we all have   an item or money is inexcusable.  To
different  notions  of  what consti-   one   who  values  intangibles,  the
tutes a "good" quest or event.  Some   theft  of  a roleplaying opportunity
of  us  quest  for  treasure  (items   or  a  time  of cameraderie is every
and/or   silver),  some  for  tricky   bit as intolerable.
problems  to  solve, some for unique      I  know  we've  all waited a long
roleplaying  opportunities, and some   time  for  quests  to be routine and
for  the  ultimate combat challenge.   have built great expectations.  From
For  each and every player, there is   past  quests,  we know that no quest
a different "perfect" quest.           pleases   everyone.   But  since  we
   Some  quests  are  large in scope   can't  please  everybody,  does that
and   incorporate   many   different   mean we should stop having them?  Of
aspects.  However, these are few and   course  not.   It  means  is that we
far  between  due  to the incredible   must  accept  that each quest, while
work  required.  Smaller quests must   not  OUR  favorite,  may  be someone
be  less  ambitious  and only incor-   else's   "perfect"  quest.   If  you
porate one or two different aspects.   spoil  it  for them they will resent
Their  primary  drawback is a limit-   you  as  much  as if you stole some-
ation in scope; they are less likely   thing  because,  in  fact, you have.
to  please  everyone  but since they   Be  patient;  your  "perfect"  quest
are  easier to run, they become more   will come along, too.
frequent.   As a result, everybody's      Different  people  like different
favorite  kind  of  quest eventually   kinds   of  quests;  if  you  aren't
turns  up.   While  waiting  for our   enjoying  yourself that doesn't mean
"perfect"  quest,  however,  we must   that  no one else is.  If you cannot
keep   in  mind  that  not  everyone   wait  long enough to post a message,
expects the same things and while we   at  least remain respectful; you may
may  be  disappointed, some one else   may  not  realize  your  demands are
may be having the time of her life.    upsetting  other  players,  but they
   Having the time of her life, that   probably   are,   not   to   mention
is,  until  someone breaks character   discouraging  the  GameMasters  from
to criticize the GameMasters because   running  quests  if  they  think all
it  isn't  what  she  expected,  and   that happens is people chew them out
demanding they immediately tailor it   without regard for the work they put
to  her  personal preferences.  That   in.  Finally, there is not one of us
is  not  to  say that if one is dis-   who is more important than any other
appointed   she   shouldn't  express   one;  by  heckling and insulting the
herself,  but  there are appropriate   GameMasters   in  public  during  an
and  inappropriate  ways  to  do so.   event,   you  demonstrate  that  you
                                       think you are.
                        A Certain Taste to Remember
                          by Lord Certain Justice
/ \ ______  \
\@| ~|_|~\\ |onuts  with your  tea or   manticore chips  with asfarnass  dip,
  |  |~|  ||| a little  barbecued leg   and  end  the  evening  with  pickled
 _|  |~|  ||| of  threk with a flagon   cockatrice  eggs in  mint jelly.  The
/@|  |~|_// | of ale are all well and   entire  repast  I wash  down  with no
\_/ ~~~~~~  / good,  but  some of  us   less than a full  decanter of ancient
  ~~~~~~~~~~  require more than troll   mariner  port,  a  vintage  recovered
jerky  to make  it through  the  long   from a  long  dead  raiding  party  I
evenings between  adventures.  When I   happened upon --but that story is for
get  back from a particularly arduous   another time.  Just on the off chance
quest, nothing  rests  better  in  my   that  you  might  want  to try one of
tummy, or preys more on my mind, than   these  treats on  your  mate the next
a little dragon chicken or tea-smoked   time she asks why you never do any of
ogre.                                   the  cooking, I  present  one  of  my
   I usually begin  with crispy fried   favorite recipes.  Bon appetit!
                        / \                           \
In logistics lay the    |@/___________________________/  Sprinkle  the spices
true  challenge   of    |_      Dragon Chicken       |   through the grate of
preparing this dish.     /---------------------------|   the full helm on the
Presentation     and    | 1 14 lb chicken  (if  you  |   bird's armor.
accoutrements  aside,   |         have trouble loc-  |
I have  always found    |         ating  one,  sub-  |   Now comes the tricky
that  bringing  each    |         titute  a   small  |   part.  You will have
ingredient  together    |         threk)  alive  or  |   to  sneak  up on the
effectively  is   be    |         freshly killed.    |   dragon.   With   the
the  mark of a truly    |                            |   chicken panicked and
wondrous chef.          | 1 small dragon, just  old  |   unable  to  see   or
                        |         enough to breathe  |   smell   the  dragon,
First, fit the chic-    |         (fire that is).    |   chase it towards the
ken (or threk as you    |                            |   fell drake!   A note
prefer)   into   the    | 1 full set of fake armor.  |   of  warning at  this
armor.   Next,  fill    |                            |   point:  Timing   and
the  gauntlets   and    | 1 gallon of molasses       |   skill  at  arms  are
boots  with vegetab-    |                            |   crucial    at   this
les  (these   remote    | A generous assortment  of  |   juncture.   You must
areas  tend  to   be    |         spices  and fresh  |   kill  the dragon (or
subjected   to  less  /@|         vegetables.        |   otherwise    recover
severe   heat)   and  \_/___________________________/    the roasted carcass)
collect the juices.                                      after   the   dragon
                                                         breathes, but before
Now, pour the molasses into the neck    he eats your supper  without becoming
of the breastplate;  this  tends  to    an unexpected appetizer yourself.  It
hold  the  entire   affair  together    is prudent  NOT to  use  area  effect
better  and to  restrain  the  bird,    magic  due to  the  collateral damage
if you were lucky  enough  to  get a    likely to be done to your supper.
a live one.
                        A Winter's Tale, Preamble
 _____________       by the Scribes of Quellbourne
/ \ _________ \
\@| ||=|=|=|| | hey had  chased  him   A clash of swords and the booming of
  | ~~ |_| ~~ | across miles of snow   a  battering  ram  thudding into the
 _|    |_|    | covered  wilderness.   heavy gates spurred him on.  He knew
/@|   _|_|_   | He   lurched  along,   the  sorcerer  had tracked him here,
\_/__________/  his  breath  visible   even  now they were breaking through
in the cold, his boots  making  soft   the gates.  Innocent people would be
crunching sounds in the thick  snow,   destroyed,  the entire town could be
the jagged shaft of an arrow protru-   ruined and all because of him.
ding  from   his right shoulder.  He
could hear the   baying  dogs in the   "I have to get out of here, track me
distance, the harsh  barking growing   elsewhere," he cried, running down a
clearer with every stumbling step he   darkened  alley.  Resting against an
took.   He  knew they were following   ivy-covered    stone    wall,   Irya
his   trail.   Blood  spattered  the   carefully  unwrapped the bundle he'd
pristine  snow  behind  him, shining   carried  for  so long.  A last look,
blackly in Orhan's pale light.         he  thought,  gazing into the beauty
                                       of  the  magnificent blue topaz.  It
He  clutched  a bundle to his chest.   was  huge,  bigger than any gem ever
Wrapped  in tattered layers of cloth   discovered and flickers of blue fire
was his prize, the greatest treasure   danced  in its depths.  He stroked a
in  all  Kulthea,  marking  him  the   finger  carefully  across  the  gem,
greatest thief of all time.            then rewrapped it.
His  name  was Irya, and his thiefly   Irya had finally reached a decision.
reputation  had  earned him the last   He would hide the gem and leave this
name  Lighthand.  He was a master at   part of the world.  Perhaps in a few
his  trade,  the  only one brave (or   years  the  sorcerer  would forget -
foolish)  and  adept enough to break   and  he  could return for it.  Under
into  the  old  tower  and steal the   no  circumstances  must it fall back
sorcerer's most precious object.  He   into  the  hands of the sorcerer for
had almost gotten away with it, too.   if  it did, all Kulthea would be but
                                       ashes.   Resolving  to seek a hiding
Curse  them for spotting me so soon,   place  for  the  gem,  Irya left the
he  thought,  staggering  along  the   shadows   and  found  himself  on  a
winding  path  that led to the gates   bustling main road.
of  a  town up ahead.  I must find a
healer,  I  cannot  die and let them   The  town was bright with flickering
take the treasure from my corpse.  I   torchlight as many citizens and mil-
must  not let it fall into the hands   itia  had hurried to the gates.  The
of that evil again!  Curse you, Mor-   sorcerer  and  his  minions had been
dred,  curse you and your foul plan.   turned back, but not without cost to
"You  will  not use this treasure to   the  people  of  Kelfour's  Landing.
open Quellbourne to the unlife while   Many   of  its  soldiers  and  brave
-I- live!" Irya said aloud.            citizens lay dead at the foot of the
                                       gates.   One  solitary mage stood on
Orhan's  light  was  dimmed by thick   the ramparts, casting ward spells to
clouds  as  Irya slipped through the   insure the evil would not return.
town gates unnoticed.  Not many were
about  at  this  time  of  night.  A   "At least I am safe for the momemt,"
couple of militia, a night watchman,   Irya said to himself, almost weeping
some  late  revelers  returning from   at  thought of damage he had caused.
the  tavern.  None took note of Irya   He  knew the sorcerer would not give
as  he  crept  along, keeping to the   up easily.
shadows.                            -4-            #     #    #
"2,000   silvers,  if  you  please."   another  section.  It seemed quieter
Slaktey Akrash, gold teeth gleaming,   and  less  bright  so  Irya  stepped
smiled  at  Irya and held out a damp   through.   There  were a few couples
palm.  Irya scowled, already itching   drinking   and  whispering  to  each
inside the coarse cotton bandage the   other in the dimness.  Irya sat down
healer  had strapped his wound with.   at  a  small table, brushed a strand
"Robbery!" he cried.                   of  lank  black  hair from his green
                                       eyes  and  sipped his ale.  His fin-
"You're  alive, aren't you?" Slaktey   gers,  idle  always, twisted a small
said.  "What price your life, sire?"   bud vase that held a drooping daisy.
                                       "Hmmm,"  he  mused to himself, "just
"All  right,  all right," Irya grum-   about  the  right size." He measured
bled,  dropping the silvers into the   (with his eyes) a small crack in one
eager  palm.   At  least he wouldn't   of  the  table legs.  But that could
die now, and he felt almost well.      wait.  He yawned.  First some rest.

While the healer had been tending to   The inn was shabby but suited to his
him,  Irya  had  taken  a quick look   purposes,  so  Irya paid the silvers
around  the  tent.   The only hiding   and  followed  the  Innkeeper  to  a
place  was  beneath  one of the sick   tiny, almost bare room.  Once alone,
beds.   Judging  from  the amount of   he  shoved  a  small dresser against
dust and dirt there, Irya could tell   the  door,  made  sure the latch was
no  one  ever  cleaned  under there.   tight,  then  tore  a strip from the
Perhaps, he thought.  Perhaps.         bottom  of  the  sheet  and tied the
                                       bundle   to   his  calf,  under  his
"Now for a drink," he muttered as he   breeches.   He  lay  down, dagger in
left the healer's tent.  The excite-   hand, and closed his eyes.
ment  over,  Kelfour's  Landing  was
almost  quiet  again.   Irya noticed   He  woke  with  the  dawn and immed-
two  half-elves, dressed in the deep   iately   checked  to  see  that  the
green   of  the  ranger  profession,   bundle was still there.  Finding all
staggering down the cobbled streets,   as  he  had  left  it, he pushed the
singing  at the top of their voices.   dresser  out  of the way and stepped
He  decided  to follow them, knowing   into the narrow hall.
they  would  lead  him, unknowingly,
where he wished to go.                 A small staircase beckoned Irya from
                                       the  far  end of the hallway, and he
Irya  thumped  up  the rickety steps   climbed it curiously.  It led to the
and  pushed open the door to Helga's   attic  of  the  inn,  with plenty of
Tavern.   A  whiff  of stale air hit   hiding  places around.  Another lad-
him like a rock as he pushed his way   der  went  through  a  trap door and
past  the  horde of unruly but jolly   onto  the  rooftop.  He peered over,
adventurers.   "Ale,"  he cried over   noticing  that  the  building across
the  din,  shoving  a half-conscious   the  way  had a broken window.  "May
dwarf  out  of  the way as he leaned   as well explore there, too," he said
against the counter.                   as he maneuvered across the roof and
                                       swung his legs through the window.
Irya didn't like the place.  He wor-
ried  that  one  of  these drunkards                                More...
would  glimpse  his gem and it would     ________________________________
be  all  over.  Still, he'd paid the    /                                \
huge,   aproned   woman  behind  the   |  Read carefully.  Uncover the    |
counter, and he supposed he might as   |  clues, puzzle it out, discover  |
well  drink  his ale.  There has got   |  where Irya Lighthand hid the    |
to  be  a quieter place, he thought,   |                                  |
struggling through the crowd.          |      Magnificent Blue Topaz!     |
                                       |       You WON'T be sorry! :)     |
He   spied  an  archway  leading  to    \________________________________/
He  landed  on  a  some  old crates,   undisturbed.    A   gnollish   glass
precariously stacked, almost falling   twinkled  from  the  mantle and Irya
as they swayed.  "Curses," he cried,   counted  at least six hiding places.
trying  to  get his balance.  What a   The  armchair  was  deep  and  plush
perfect  hiding place, he thought as   enough   that  the  gem  could  rest
he secured himself.  The undisturbed   comfortably beneath its cushions for
dust  looked  years old.  Carefully,   some  time.   "Hmmm," Irya pondered,
he climbed down to level ground.       smiling  at  the  boy. "Show me your
                                       other secret places."
The  storeroom led out into a gaming
hall.   Never one to resist the call   The boy led him through the twisting
of  dice,  Iyra  spent a pleasurable   streets of the town, darting into so
hour  at  the  gaming tables, almost   many places Irya couldn't keep track
losing  his  last  silver  before he   of  them  all.  Some kind of hall or
tore himself away.                     guild, a stable by the smell, a shop
                                       with  an  empty  back  room, under a
As  he stood on the red cobblestones   small  bridge, through several aban-
outside the gambling house, Irya saw   doned   warehouses,  a  cottage,  an
a  small  tow-headed  boy staring at   abandoned  store,  and  finally to a
him.   He  stared  back, noting that   guard tower.
the  boy's  clothes were ragged, his
face  unwashed  with  dirty  pointed   It  was  while  climbing the winding
ears marking him as half-elven.        staircase  of  the  tower  that Irya
                                       felt  the  first  pains.   Harsh and
"Got  a  silver for some bread, good   agonizing,  he  felt  as  though his
sir?"  the  boy asked, holding out a   whole  body  was being sliced by the
grubby hand.                           sharpest    knives.    He   groaned,
                                       sinking  to  his knees on the stair,
"Perhaps."  Irya  fingered  the last   "Boy...  boy, help me!" he muttered.
silver coin inside his tunic pocket.
"I need some help."                    "Whassamatter?"   the   boy   asked,
                                       peering anxiously at him.
"At your  service."   The boy bowed.
                                       "I've  been  poisoned.   I  mean,  a
"I  trust  you can keep silent about   poisoned  arrow hit me yesterday and
this,  boy," Irya said in his stern-   I haven't much time left.  I need to
est  voice.   "It's very important."   hide a .... an object."
The boy nodded and he continued.  "I
need to hide something.  It's a game   "Give  it  me  then and I'll hide it
I'm playing with a friend and I need   where  they won't never know about,"
to  hide something where no one will   the boy babbled, holding onto Irya's
ever find it."                         leg  to  keep him from tumbling down
                                       the staircase.
The  boy  grinned.   "I know lots of
those places," he said, grabbing the   "Nay,  I must do it myself."
edge of Irya's cloak.  "C'mon."
                                       The boy  held out his hand.  "First,
Irya  smiled  inwardly  at his bril-   the silver."
liant  idea.   Who would know a town
as  well as a street boy?  "Lead on,   Irya   handed   over  the  coin  and
boy,"  he  said,  following  the lad   groaned  again as the boy helped him
down the street.                       to his feet.  He breathed deeply and
                                       concentrated,  finally  managing  to
Now   this   is   interesting,  Irya   control   the   pain  as  his  long-
thought,  as  he  squeezed through a   departed mother had taught him.
hidden  space  behind the fireplace.
He  had no idea where they were, but   "Let us continue."
this place was dusty and practically                                More...
"As you wish," replied the boy.        floor  of  the cell and shackled his
                                       arms  and  legs  to great iron rings
Irya  blinked  and focused his eyes.   embedded in the rock.
His  vision  was  blurry and he knew
his reactions were slowing.  When he   "I  will  ask  again.   Where is the
raised a trembling hand and wiped it   topaz?"  the  sorcerer said, staring
across his eyes, the boy gasped.       down at Irya's shaking form.  "I can
                                       stop  the  poison  that ravages your
"What?" Irya snapped.                  body even now, Lighthand.  Just give
                                       me the jewel."
"Your  mark." The boy pointed to the
brand  on Irya's forearm.  "You're a   "I  do  not  have  it,"  Irya  said,
master thief!"                         trying  to  smile  confidently.   "I
                                       said you have the wrong elf."
Irya smiled as best he could. "Aye."
                                       "We  shall  see  about that!  Search
"That's  what I want to be," the boy   him!"  the  sorcerer screamed at his
said, smiling wickedly.  "I practice   guards.
as much as I can. Got any pointers?"
                                       The  trolls  almost  shredded Irya's
Irya  smiled  down  at  him.   "Just   clothing  with  their  sharp talons.
listen to your teachers."              They wrenched off his boots, finding
                                       only parchment stuffed into the toes
The boy  scowled.  "That's  no good.   to keep the fit.  He screamed as the
I've heard that before."               jagged  claws  ripped his skin.  One
                                       troll  cowered  before the sorcerer.
"That's  all  I  can tell you," Irya   "We cannot find it, master."
grunted, staggering along behind the
boy.  "Now find me a hiding place or   "Where  did you hide it, Lighthand?"
I'll have your ears as trophies."      the  sorcerer  demanded in a brittle
                                       voice.  Irya just shook his head.
            #    #    #
                                       "If you will permit me, master," one
They caught him as he staggered over   wight  lord  stepped  forward.   The
the  drawbridge  to the castle.  His   sorcerer  nodded.  "One of the raven
clothes  were wet with sea spray and   scouts has reported back."
slimy, as though he had slid through
mud  or  slime,  and his eyes burned   "And?" the sorcerer demanded, pacing
like  black  coals.  Wight lords and   the length of the small cell.
litches  and a smattering of vicious
trolls  jumped  out at Irya and held   "Lighthand   had  a  boy  with  him.
him fast.                              Perhaps  he  gave  the jewel to this
The  sorcerer, cruel and powerful in       Write for          __
his  gold-etched scarlet robe, step-         Kelfour        //  )
ped  forward and gripped Irya's chin         Edition, and  // \/
between  two  talon-tipped  fingers.         you too can  // \/
"It   seems   you  have  been  busy,         earn a FREE // \/
Lighthand.  Where is the jewel?"             WEEKEND in // \/
                                             GemStone  // \/
"Jewel?"  Irya  said.  "You have the         III.     // \/
wrong   elf,  Mordred.   I  have  no                 // \/
jewel."                                             //__/
                                                   ///\       Contact
"Liar!" the sorcerer screamed. "Take            __//__      a GM or a
him to the dungeon!"                           |      |    newsletter
                                               |      |  Staff Member
They  threw  him  to  the cold stone          /________\ for details.

youngster."                            The  sorcerer  nodded  and  the  boy
                                       sighed deeply.
"Did  the  raven see this?  Where is
this boy?"                             "I took him to the gambling hall, to
                                       all  the  fireplaces,  the  merchant
"The  raven did not see the transfer   hall..."  the boy furrowed his brow,
of  the jewel.  The boy lives yet in   "the guard towers, I remember naught
Shanty Town, in the southeast of the   else, Lord."
                                       "There must be others," the sorcerer
"Very  well,"  the sorcerer said, "I   said.   "50,000 silver pieces to you
shall  deal  with  this  boy myself.   if I find my treasure, boy."
Meanwhile,  and  see  if  you cannot
convince  Lighthand  to  reveal  the   "He...  he wanted to see  the  crypt
whereabouts  of my treasure.  I must   in  the  abandoned  temple.  I could
have that jewel!"                      not  leave  the  town, so I directed
It  took the wight lords and litches   him there."
only  a short time to reduce Irya to
an  empty  shell.   His  eyes stared   "Where else?"
vacantly  at the ceiling as his life
ebbed  slowly  from  his  body  in a   "I  remember naught else, Lord," the
great   red   pool.   "Enough,"  the   boy  said,  fighting  back  tears of
leader  of  the lords demanded.  "We   fear.   "Only  the  thief  knows for
must  save  some  life force for the   sure where the treasure is."
                                       "Perhaps   you   yourself  took  the
Irya's   eyes   flickered   at   the   treasure  while he suffered from the
retreating  backs  of the sorcerer's   poison,"  the  sorcerer said slowly.
minions.    The   great  stone  door   "Perhaps  it  is  even now hidden in
slammed   and   he  heard  the  bolt   that shack you call your home."
wrenched  into  place.   Curse  you,
Mordred,  he thought, and curse your   "Nay  Lord!" the boy wailed.  "I did
topaz, too. It has cost me my life.    not take the topaz."
With   his   last  strength,  Irya's   The   sorcerer  smiled  mirthlessly.
fingers  curled around a small sharp   "Then  how  do  you  know  it  is  a
stone.   He  gritted  his  teeth and   topaz?"
began  to  scratch  the  stone floor
with  it.   Let  me get it right, he   The boy said nothing, just stared at
thought desperately, just let me get   the  sorcerer  with  terrified eyes.
it right.                              "Torture him!" the sorcerer screamed
                                       at  the  guards.   "I  must  have my
They  threw  the  boy  into the cell   treasure!"
next  to  where Irya lay drawing his
last  ragged breaths.  "Did you take   Kill me if you must, the boy thought
the   jewel  from  the  thief?"  the   desperately  as  the  claws began to
sorcerer asked the boy.                rend his skin, your evil will get no
                                       aid from me!
"Nay!" the boy cried. "I only showed     _________________________________
him the town.  He paid me a silver."    /                                 \
                                       |  So endeth the first part of the  |
"Hmmm,"  the sorcerer frowned.  "You   |  tale of Irya Lighthand and the   |
will  tell me every place you showed   |      Magnificent Blue Topaz.      |
Lighthand."                            |                                   |
                                       |    Will you be the first to find  |
The  boy  stared open mouthed at the   |        this valuable prize?       |
magestic sorcerer.  "I will tell you   |     Final details next month.     |
all I can remember, Lord."              \_________________________________/
                             Between Good and Evil
 ____________                 by Flint Thalassar
/ \      __  \
\@|     / "| |gwin   looked  around.   Agwin wondered at this little drama,
  |    //|"| | The  old    warehouse   then  understood what was happening.
 _|   //=|"| | smelled of high  des-   The  taller  man  did  not  want his
/@|  //  |"| | ert  before a  storm.   henchman   to  give  away  too  many
\_/ ~~   ~~~ / He explored the mesas   secrets  too soon.  Agwin would have
  ~~~~~~~~~~~~ and valleys of stack-   to  earn such revelations.  The com-
ed crates.  Could this be the place?   manding  voice  of Kaspar marked him
Self consciousness overcame him, but   as  the  leader, probably a powerful
still  he  called  out  "Tree?" Then   sorcerer   who   was  accustomed  to
again,  "Treeeeee!" No response.  He   conversing with demons.
tried  twittering  the  sound like a
bird:  "Treetreetree?  Treetreetree-   In  truth,  Kaspar  had assumed that
tree?"  Agwin  listened for a reply,   anyone  who  could  so  utterly mis-
but heard only the reverberations of   understand  directions  to the bath-
his own voice.  Turning to leave, he   house  must  be hard of hearing, and
gave  a  startled cry when he caught   had   started   speaking  louder  to
sight  of  two  men  who had somehow   compensate.  Agwin asked him if this
snuck up on him.                       was,  then,  "the group" of which he
                                       had  heard so much.  "There are many
The  first  was  large  and bearish,   groups," Kaspar began.
with  a  rounded  brown  beard.  The
fact that his grey suit had gone out   "Collect them all," said Titus, then
of  style  some forty years ago only   smiled meekly as Kaspar's hand fast-
made  him  look  more  menacing.   A   ened on the back of his neck.
hook- nosed fellow, slight of build,
stood  at  his  side,  brushing back   Kaspar  looked back at Agwin.  "Many
flowing  red  hair.   Agwin  decided   paths  lead  to the top of the moun-
these must be his contacts.            tain.   Some are straight and steep,
                                       others  wander  and weave.  Yet only
"I am Kaspar," said the bearded one,   one is open on weekends."
"and this is Titus."
                                       Agwin pursed his lips.  Here he was,
Agwin  retreated  to a more comfort-   face  to  face  with those who could
able distance, then found his voice.   teach  him  so  much, and already he
"Hi. Well. Agwin," he  said, inclin-   felt confused.  "I'm afraid ..."
ing  a finger toward himself.  "See,
I  heard,  well, was told really, to   "Of  course  you  are  afraid," said
seek  my  fortune  in the warehouse,   Titus.   "Fear will be your constant
and  that  the password was 'tree.'"   companion in these coming months, as
He searched the men for some sign of   you  learn  to harness the powers of
comprehension.                         the AON."

The  one  called  Titus made a face.   "Yes,  the  AON,"  said Kaspar, nod-
"You  sure, now, they didn't say the   ding.    "Welcome,   Agwin,  to  the
b..."  He  halted  with  a groan and   Assortment of Nights."
looked   down,   where   Kaspar  had
planted a large foot decisively upon   "Assortment?"
his own.
                                       "Pah! Nomenclature such as 'Council'
"Welcome,    young   friend,"   said   or  'Society'  rings  of bureaucracy
Kaspar.   "You are one of the few to   and   authoritarianism,   don't  you
have  divined the correct interpret-   agree?   'Assortment'  describes  us
ation."                                quite well."
"Um.  Indeed.  That's 'Knights' with   Titus  and  Kaspar held in whispers,
a 'K' was it?"                         they  looked  back  at  Agwin with a
                                       smile.   "Yes,"  said  Kaspar.  "You
Kaspar  thought  for  a moment.  "It   will return with the skins of four -
was  with a 'K' at one time, but the   -  no,  five  ...  Ha ha!  did I say
K  was  removed when our female com-   five? I meant seven."
rades  complained of sexism.  Now it
is with an 'N.'"                       Agwin waited.  "Seven?"
"With  an  'N'  and  no  'K,'"  said   "Seven persimmons," announced Titus.
Titus.                                 Kaspar  let out his breath in a slow
                                       hiss.    Titus  glanced  up  at  his
"'N'  -- a nice androgynous letter,"   friend, then continued, "plus twenty
said Kaspar.  "Delicately rounded in   thousand  silver  coins  for postage
lower  case,  straight  and  firm in   and  handling."  He  spread his arms
caps,  a perfect combination of male   wide  and  shrugged.  "After all, we
and female essences."                  must  ship  them to AON headquarters
                                       for transmogrification."
"But  as for 'K'..." Titus dismissed
the letter with a sneer.               "Persimmons?"
"All yang."                            "I  know, Agwin, how you must feel,"
                                       said  Kaspar.   "The quest seems too
"Spiny,"  said  Kaspar.  "Obtrusive.   difficult.    Hopeless,   even."  He
Overly assertive, large or small."     spoke  with  the  weary voice of one
                                       dredging  up  a  familiar  argument.
Agwin  raised  a  hand  to his brow.   "But  you  don't  get  something for
Was  it  his  imagination, or was he   nothing.     I've   never   seen   a
becoming  feverish?  "Well, 'Assort-   persimmon  give  up without a fight,
ment  of Nights,' though, that does-   and I expect no less of you!"
n't  make  a  lot of sense, does it?
Vague at best, one would think."       It  then  occurred  to Agwin that he
                                       might  be  dreaming.   But  glancing
The  big man leaned forward, pushing   around,  he  found  the  colors  too
Agwin  back  with  his gaze.  "There   vivid.  No, he thought, I only dream
are  more  important issues at stake   in  pastels.  Persimmon must be some
here  than making sense!  And as for   code  word  or  metaphor.  "When you
vagueness,  remember the saying, 'in   say  'persimmon,' you don't mean the
vagueness lies nebulosity.'"           actual, that is the, er ..."
Seeing  no  glimmer of understanding   Kaspar  sat  down  on  a  crate, and
in   Agwin,  Titus  added,  "or  put   motioned  for  Agwin  to find a seat
another way, 'seek tautology and you   near  him.   "I see.  You worry that
seek tautology.' Does that help?"      your path is not the same as that of
                                       your  friends.   Let  me  tell you a
By now Agwin felt his head spinning,   story, a parable.  This may help."
a sensation to which, as a patron of
Helga's  tavern, he was not altoget-   "At  the edge of a cliff," he began,
her  a  stranger.  They must think I   "sat two men, contemplating the view
am  a  complete  idiot,  he thought.   of  the jungle many hundreds of feet
This   lore  is  too  subtle  for  a   beneath  them.   A  rustle  of wings
beginner  like  me.  If only I could   heralded  the  arrival  of  a  large
somehow  appear  'in the know.' What   avian,  which  swooped  past the men
was it I overheard at Helga's?  "Um,   and  rose  on  the updraft formed by
well put.  Of course.  Now what will   the  cliff.   Clutched in the bird's
be my first quest?  Skins, is it?"     claws   was   a  brilliant  diamond,
                                       larger  than a man's fist.  The bird
After  a  short  conversation  which   grew  tired  of  its heavy prize and
                                    -10-                            More...
released its grip, letting the jewel   man," said Titus.
descend in a graceful arc toward the
foliage below."                        "He said there were only two."
"Each fellow  cast a sidelong glance   "Ah, there appeared to be only two,"
at his  companion,  hoping  to  have   said Kaspar,  "because the third man
been  the   sole  witness   to  this   was hiding behind a rock."
marvel;  each was disappointed.  The
first man, without hesitation, flung   "Why was that?"
himself from  his perch  and hurtled
into space  after the treasure.  The   "Pah!   It is his subsequent actions
second waited  only long  enough  to   which  concern  us here.  He watched
watch  the   other  plummet  out  of   the  other  men  while  consuming  a
sight, then  decided  to  reach  the   tomato  sandwich.   Soon he returned
jungle floor via a winding trail."     home,  slipped  into  bed beside his
                                       wife,  and  enjoyed  a delightful...
"Now  the  first  man exulted in his   night's  sleep."  Kaspar gave a smug
decision.   His  thoughts  ran thus:   nod, signaling the end of the story.
'How  swiftly I approach my destina-
tion!  Oh, how effortless my travel!   "Could you elaborate?" asked Agwin.
While  that poor fool struggles over
uneven  ground, I have harnessed the   "Very  well," said Titus.  "You see,
very  forces  of  nature  to my aid.   he lay down in the bedchamber beside
Surely  I  will  reach  the  diamond   his   perfumed   companion.    Then,
first, and claim it as my own.'"       placing his..."
"The  second  had meanwhile begun to   "I have  some grasp  of that  part,"
despair.  'My efforts will prove fu-   said Agwin.    "Rather,  it  is  the
tile,' he thought.  'The path I have   meaning of  the story that I fail to
chosen  alternately  approaches  and   understand."
turns  from  the  diamond; who knows
where it may lead me?  My journey is   Titus   smiled.    "It  means,  sure
difficult  and slow.  He races ahead   enough, that no worldly treasure can
of me -- this is unfair.'"             compare with a nice..."
Kaspar  hesitated, letting Agwin ab-   "What  my esteemed comrade is trying
sorb  the  story.  "Well, just as he   to say," Kaspar broke in, "is that a
had   predicted,  the  man  who  had   story  like  this yields up its sec-
jumped  reached  the  diamond first.   rets   only   after  many  weeks  of
However, the force of the  fall squ-   sincere meditation."
ashed  him  into a thick paste, much
like  cookie dough, but lacking such   Agwin  brightened.   He had heard of
appealing   features   as  chocolate   this sort of thing.  The Secret Mas-
chips.   Some time later, the second   ters preferred to conceal their lore
man reached the jungle floor.  Tired   within  cryptic parables, lest their
and  saddened,  he  wandered at last   powers  fall  into  the hands of the
within  sight of the treasure, where   unworthy. He stood back up.  "I see.
he was promptly devoured by tigers."   I  go,  then,  to  complete my first
Kaspar folded his arms. Agwin squin-
ted,  seeing  the  story in his mind   "Seven persimmon skins, and the mon-
and  wondering  what  he had missed.   ey," said Kaspar.  "Do not fail us."
"Forgive  me,  but  understanding of
this   parable  eludes  me.   Though   Agwin  had  just  reached the street
varying  in  their methods, both men   when  he  heard  the  voice of Titus
appear to have lost their lives."      calling  after him.  "And   a  half-
                                       gallon  of  milk!" He hoped this was
He  failed  to  mention  the  third    not another metaphor.
                          The Odds of Enchantment
                       An Interview with Odds Bodkins
 ____________              by Wisraith Winterwind
/ \  ______  \
\@| /~/~~\~\ |ver the  years it  has   think  proliferation   of  enchanted
  ||~|    |~|| has  been the goal of   items will make them commonplace?
 _||~|    |~|| many  mages  to grasp
/@| \~\__/~/ | that  Holy  Grail  of   OB: Not  really, at least, not right
\_/  ~~~~~~  / spells,   Enchantment   away. With  mundane weapons, which I
  ~~~~~~~~~~~ True.  Only since  the   seem to  be best with, I estimate my
discovery of  the Spider  Temple has   success rate  at one  in four casts.
achieving level 25 (the lowest level   With weapons  there seems  to be  an
at which the spell is castable) been   equal chance  of succssful  enchant-
possible for  mages.   However, pos-   ment and pyrotechnics.
sible in  no way  denotes  easy,  or
even likely,  and being the first to         My success  rate has been ter-
learn  Enchantment  True  puts  Odds   rible with  armor and  shields.  The
Bodkins in  a class  by himself,  at   items blow up at least half the time
least for  the time  being. Congrat-   and the  spell only  succeeds  about
ulations, Odds!                        once in  thirty  casts.  Maybe  some
                                       future mage  will surpass me in this
KE: What  exactly does  the Enchant-   area; there  is precedence  for that
ment True spell do, Odds?              with the Duplicate spell.
OB:  When  cast  successfully  on  a       To make rapid proliferation even
weapon, a  shield, or  armor, a  +25   less likely,  the  spell  cannot  be
bonus is imparted to that item.        cast at essence nodes and only seems
                                       to have  much success when I'm at my
KE: Does the spell work on any other   full power  points. As  a result,  I
items?                                 have to  wait at  least four to five
                                       minutes  between   casting.  With  a
OB:  Items  such  as  capes,  helms,   success rate  for armor and shields,
aventails, and  the like,  appear to   well,  you  can  see  how  the  time
be enchantable  but  no  discernable   involved becomes enormous.
bonus is evident when they are used.
Most other  items just glow slightly   KE: Will  you be  offering enchanted
and then fade.                         items free  of charge, or have you a
                                       fee structure already in place?
KE:  Do   there  appear  to  be  any
restrictions   on    what   weapons,   OB: I  plan on  charging  enough  to
shields and armor are enchantable?     make enchanted  items somewhat  val-
                                       uable but  still available  to most.
OB:  Items   made  of   any   exotic   My structure is based on their value
materials such as eog, laen, mithril   in relation  to other  items  avail-
or  shaalk,  "special  order"  items   able,  or,  at  least,  that  is  my
from the  shops, many "unique" items   intent. I'm  also offering  one free
and items  that have been blessed or   enchantment to  any healer or cleric
edged are  not enchantable  and  are   of at  least level  ten and to a few
lost immediately.                      people to whom I feel indebted.

KE: Lost? Lost how?                    KE: Are there any changes you'd like
                                       to  see   in  the   way  the   spell
OB: They  provide  everyone  present   operates?
with an unplanned fireworks display.
                                       OB: Weapons  specially ordered  from
KE: How  unfortunate.  With  you  in   the shops  seem to  be impossible to
business now,  as it  were,  do  you   enchant. I  agree with  this in  the
                                    -12-                Cont. On Page 27...
                            Re-roll of the Dice
                         Or When There's No Justice
 _______________             by Feckly Fecund
/ \ ____    ____\
\@| +|~| __ |~|+|hy on Kulthea would   first level  character gets  a  free
  |  |~|/~~\|~| | anyone  who  spent   ride on  the  wings  of  enlightened
 _|  |~/~/\~\~| | hundreds,  if  not   self interest.   After all, which of
/@| _|__/  \__|_| thousands of  dol-   us would  have stayed and played for
\_/_____________/ ars to get a char-   those next  arduous eighteen  levels
acter half way to Lord status decide   if our  most prized  possession  had
to re-roll?   This  question plagued   already  lost  all  his  bonuses  at
me for  weeks.   Plagued me  until I   second level?
took a close look at the playability
of Feckly,  dark knave.   The poten-   Don't get  me  wrong,  I  love  role
tials tend  to blind us to the roads   playing;   been a  MERPs and  AD&Der
which must be taken to achieve them.   for more  than a  decade,  but  lets
Not unlike the average Stone-head, I   face it:   You  can't hunt  kobolds,
got another  account  and  rolled  a   hobgoblins and  orcs forever.    The
little cousin  who soon  became more   vagaries  of  the  experience  algo-
than someone  to run  those trouble-   rithms fail  to obscure two critical
some  errands  to  summon  a  cleric   truths:  you have to earn the exper-
after making a fatal mistake.          ience before  you can absorb it, and
                                       it takes  time to absorb experience,
Certain blazed  past Feckly and made   whether  it's   productive  or  not.
eleventh level while Feckly only got   (And as  we all know, time is money,
from seventh  to eighth  in the same   unless you're a Sysop.) I answer two
period.  It was already too late for   simple questions to confirm that I'm
the foolish  knave;   too many times   having fun:  did  the  session  feel
it had been easier to depart.  After   more like  work or  play and  did  I
all, the expensive weapon and shield   average over  1000 experience points
were already  lost.   Besides, there   per hour.  Any of you out there with
were no clerics online, or they were   bottomless  checking   accounts  may
all busy with the existing backup of   find the  first measure  of signifi-
broken and lifeless bodies.            cantly greater  importance than  the
                                       second, but  even at  this  pace  it
Let's look  at what  the  rules  say   will  cost  well  over  $3000.00  to
happens to  the character who trusts   intimidate and  awe newbies  with my
in  the  gods  for  another  chance.   presence in  the same room with them
After all,  we know  that the  Scor-   as Lord Feckly.
pians have seldom given the rules an
interpretation or interpolation man-   Now,  once   you've   mastered   the
ifestly   over-favorable    to   the   mechanics:   full  keyboard  macros,
player.                                maps of  all the  `right' places  to
                                       go,  preprogrammed   cute   sayings,
Character Law  says that  the  char-   places to  go where  the killing  is
acter who dies will suffer a loss of
2d4 points  in each  potential  stat   easy and  the treasure is plentiful,
(ouch!) per  death.   This is kindly   why are you only getting 200 exp/hr?
deferred until the character reaches   Remember those potentials you sacri-
the next level, something that might   ficed for  play time  back when  you
never occur  after you  use up  that   were second  level?   Maybe you have
fourth or  fifth deed or if the pen-   exhibited  enough   skill  to   have
alty was imposed after each death.     reached your  potentials at an early
                                       age  and  are  still  only  able  to
The sudden and subtle sting of death   accumulate 500  exp/hr and your mind
is also  dulled by  the fact that no   is always  full?  Listen up and I'll
penalty is exacted from newbies, the   let you  in on  the  results  of  my
                                    -13-                            More...
experiment in  designer  characters:   really need  the extra  locker space
although the  hypothesis was proven,   and you  can  probably  recover  the
the patient  died.    As  many  have   costs in  under two hundred trips to
learned, and  few have  articulated,   store or  retrieve  items.    That's
you  need   a  character  for  every   really not  a lot, especially if you
function and two high speed modems!    consider the  times you  had  to log
                                       off with  chests in your disk and no
To  survive,  each  character  needs   one available to open them.
offensive   and    defensive   bonus
devices.   Beyond  laen  and  shaalk   Back to those special items.  I wish
weapons  and   armor,  bonuses  only   I could  find one.    My  next,  and
become harder  and more expensive to   probably last,  relative is going to
acquire.   What this really means is   be an  item finder.   Feckly  does a
that you need a silver mine.  If you   fine job of finding cash, in and out
can't  find  it  or  earn  it,  your   of chests,  but there  are never any
character will  have  to  become  as   items in  those chests.    Just  not
adept and  as frequent a pilferer as   enough bonuses  to fight,  and  sur-
one notorious  Lady, who in fact may   vive, those really tough and wealthy
be no  lady, whose  name will remain   monsters.
unmentioned.   It  was,  after  all,
having my  hard earned coin pilfered   I think a first level character that
from  my   very  pockets,   even  in   cannot be  hit by a cave troll, even
temple, that  persuaded me to become   if kneeling, is what is needed.  One
a thief  when I  did finally  reroll   that  can  ferret  out  those  pesky
Feckly.   Fear not,  it was  only in   chests they  guard so  jealously.  I
self defense.                          may even  hire him  out to  mid  and
                                       high level parties.
I have  never stolen  from anyone --
who didn't  deserve it.    Acquiring   If I  had it all to do over again, I
cash (for  your new  shaalk  breast-   would  never   never  never  play  a
plate)  is   a  two   part  process,   character incapable of absorbing two
assuming you  don't steal  it from a   thousand experience points and hour.
legion   of   soon-to-be-very-pissed   This obviously  implies the he could
adventurers;   finding   chests   of   easily earn more than that with just
silver and  magic  items,  and  then   a few  beasts of  a killable  level.
opening those chests.  Ask Lord Lose   Earning and absorbing at a peak rate
how frustrating  it  is  to  have  a   in  excess   of  eighty  points  per
locker full  of chests  that no  one   minute seems  right.   Alas, I  have
can pick.   Better yet, consider the   only gotten  up to  sixty/fifty with
pain of  Griffun as a mere level two   any character  to date.   We'll  see
chest eats his second xeno lock pick   next  time   through  the  character
in the same session!                   generator.
Now that  we  have  established  why   Good luck and good hunting.
greed is  a fundamental necessity in               /\       /\
the  continued  survivability  of  a              |/\\     //\|
character  (not   to  mention   cost               \ /~~~~~\ /       Art by
effective  level  advancement),  how                |(o) (o)|         Yonah
can we  enhance our gratification of              __|   @   |__
this healthy  lust?   A mage who can            /~  | >=-=< |  ~\
help   supplement   one's   carrying           |     \_____/     |
capacity is always nice.  If you can          /    |         |    \
never cast your own disk spell, make         |    / |       | \    |
some good friends or plan to pay for         |   |  |       |  |   |
the extra  eight item slots.  Join a         `vvv' |    |    | `vvv'
house as  soon as  possible.  By all               |    |    |
means, if you have aclique, join the              /    / \    \
house they belong to, but join.  You             |____/   \____|
                       History o' the World, Part II
 _________     by Szandor LaVey with d'Tarx M'Kryel Dou'orTan
/ \ _____ \
\@| ~|_|~ |t is interesting to  note   sexless  being,  but  does not imply
  |  |~|  | that, although the  Kob-   being  inanimate, such as our Common
 _|  |~|  | olds do hold [their bel-   language;  Thus,  'It' is the proper
/@| _|~|_ | ief  in  eventual  world   term  to  refer  to  the  Great One]
\_/ ~~~~~ / domination] in very high   created  the moons to help and serve
  ~~~~~~~~ regard,  it  is  not,  in   the heavens.  These moons were named
fact, the ONLY belief of the Kobold.   fLetg,  Grell,  Qikth,  rGalth,  and
                                       orKhan [Orhan].
I  mention  this because to most Ko-
bold  Historians  (a  select  group,   "Then  the  Great  One  created  the
indeed)  it  has been held true that   First  Race  (the Goblins), and gave
Kobolds as a race only focus on "The   g'Thria  to  them to do with as they
Battle" as it is called (see Part I)   pleased,  and left.  It is not known
and nothing else including politics,   WHY or WHERE the Great One went, but
religion, and public relations.        It did leave. This was the First AGE
                                       which  lasted  for  untold millenia,
However,  it  has been recently dis-   and ended with the Second Coming.
covered   that   the   Kobolds  have
another  belief they focus upon, one   "In  this  Second  Coming, the Great
almost  as  strong  as  their  world   One returned (from wherever It went)
domination  belief.  This new belief   to  judge  the  progress of the Gob-
is  more  religious  than  not,  and   lins. It gave a favourable judgement
thus,   has  been  classified  under   of course.  I mean, the Goblins were
Religious Beliefs.  Of course.         the  First  Race, and perfect in all
                                       ways.    After   the  judgement  was
To  explain this, it is first neces-   given,  It granted the Goblins their
sary to explain its derivation. This   one  greatest  wish;  To  share  the
comes  from  a portion of the Goblin   world with another species.
belief   which   deals   with   with
Kobolds, among other races.            "However, once  creating  the  First
                                       Race (The  Perfect Race, as they are
I, myself, hold a great many Goblin-   sometimes  called),  the  Great  One
oid  beliefs, but I have deferred my   would  not  stoop to create anything
judgement to one more experienced in   lesser  than the great Goblins (down
such  matters, a good friend of mine   being the only way to go from there)
named   d'Tarx   M'Kryel   Dou'orTan   and  bestowed  upon  the  moons  the
(Called  Do'Urden).  I have ammended   ability to create new life, and left
portions  of  this  dissertation  to   (again, it is unclear as to where).
clarify specific discrepancies.
                                       "So the  moons pondered  and  argued
"...[Goblins]  are as interesting as   for seven  years over  what to make,
Kobolds  in  their  own special way.   and eventually  decided  thus:  Each
Goblins  do  not  believe,  like the   moon may  make one  race to  live on
Kobolds,  that they may one day rule   g'Thria.
Kulthea. Nay, they believe, instead,
that  they  already DO rule Kulthea,   "So,   fLetg  created  the  Kobolds,
but they keep it a big secret.         Grell  created the Hobgoblins, Qikth
                                       created the Orcs, rGalth created the
"The  Goblin  Religion  begins thus:   Trolls, and orKhan created Humans.
"In  the  beginning,  the  Great One
created  g'Thria  [Kulthea]  and the   "Unfortunatly, the moons did not ask
heavens  to  watch over it.  Then It   the Great One's permission to create
[Note:    In  the  Goblin  language,   five   races,  and  brought  on  Its
there is a pronoun which specifies a   unstoppable wrath.
                                    -15-                            More...
"The  Great  One  did  not decide to   Now, the  Kobolds do  NOT believe in
punish  the  moons,  but  chose,  in   this Goblin  Religion, BUT  they  do
stead,  to strike upon each of these   agree that  they were  created to be
new  races,  cursing  each  for its'   the slaves  of another race (and the
creators' folly.                       Goblins just happen to have the same
"The Kobolds were mostly eliminated,
and those  left were  rounded up and   The reason  for this  seems to  stem
given to  the Goblins as slaves. The   from a  great Kobold  parable.  This
Goblins did  not understand  such  a   parable  is   rather  difficult   to
base  concept,   however,  but  were   understand  (at   least,  for   non-
taught by  the  Great  One  in  Its'   Kobolds), but  deals  with  a  story
divine rage.                           about how the First Kobold irritated
                                       the race  which enslaved the Kobold,
"To   the   Hobgoblins   (which   It   and was punished for it.
particularly disliked,  they being a
blatant  imitation   of  the   First   And so,  being  as  he  was  just  a
Race), It  also  nearly  eliminated,   Kobold, the  First Kobold never EVER
save but  a few  who It  gave little   tried to  irritate this  race again,
capacity for any intelligence.         and spent  the rest  of his  life in
                                       humility.   Well,    Kobolds   being
"It split the Orcs apart, forming an   Kobolds, they think that humility is
entire race based on the main Orcish   a good  thing because  of this,  and
characteristics.  Thus  were  formed   happily claim to be a slave race.
the   grey    (the   embodiment   of
nastiness),   the    greater    (the   But (and  now  onto  the  previously
embodiment of  arrogance),  and  the   mentioned Kobold  Religious Belief),
lesser    (the     embodiment     of   they believe  that the  Last  Kobold
stupidity).                            will break  the rules  and  rise  up
                                       against  whatever   race  has   them
"The Trolls  were attacked similarly   enslaved at  that time  and free all
as well,  forming into the cave, the   Kobolds from  the  yoke  of  slavery
hill, the  war, and the forest. But,   forever, and  THEN they can march on
it  is   not  known  just  what  the   the world  to take  what  rightfully
differences   between these separate   belongs to them (ie, Kulthea).
trolls are.
                                       An interesting  side note,  however,
"And, lastly,  to  the  humans;  The   is that  the Kobolds, right NOW, are
Great One  particularly did  NOT  at   NOT enslaved by any race, and so are
all like  the   idea of  this Human,   ready to  march on any given day but
and so  split the  human  up  as  It   they are waiting for the Last Kobold
split the  trolls and  orcs.    This   to arrive  to give  The Word so that
time, however, It split the human up   they CAN march.
according to  its fears.  Thus,  the
elves  (the  fear  of  nature),  the   But, all Kobolds are very humble (as
dwarves (the  fear of emotions), and   well they  should; I  mean,  they're
the halflings  (the  fear  of  being   KOBOLDS), and none of them (not even
bullied).                              the most  experienced warrior) would
                                       claim to be the great Last Kobold.
"And thus  began the  Second Age  of
g'Thria, sometimes called the Age of   So the  Kobolds bide  their time and
orKhan, orKhan  being the  only moon   wait for  the Last Kobold to arrive,
actually punished  by the Great One.   spending   all   of   the   meantime
He was   punished  as only a god can   training day  after  day  to  be  in
punish..."                             shape when he comes.
And  thus  was  the  Kobold  created   Fat chance, I say.
(according to the Goblins, anyway).
                     Of Mice and Half-Elves, Conclusion
 _______________           by Gallenod Varynesti
/ \ ____    ____\
\@| +|~| __ |~|+| elcome   back,  my   trapped in a hunter's net, the Mouse
  |  |~|/~~\|~| | friends, to a  new   does  indeed  rescue  him by chewing
 _|  |~/~/\~\~| | year and new  adv-   through  the  ropes  of  the net.
/@| _|__/  \__|_| entures!  I  begin
\_/_____________/ this new year with   This  tale is of a Mouse who rescued
hope,  as I begin all new endeavors,   a  Lion,  figuratively speaking.  It
that  it  will  be  better  than the   is  also  a  love story.  Because of
last.   Indeed, it is  fitting  that   this  Mouse,  I now have Faith in my
this  Mouse  Tale should come at the   future.
start  of  a  new year, as it chron-
icles   the  start  of  my  life  in   After several months in the Landing,
Kelfour's Landing.                     I'd  begun  to  feel  my losses less
                                       keenly  as  I forged new friendships
Those  of you familiar with my prev-   and  had  new adventures.  I've made
ious  tales  will  remember that the   many  friends  here, but some are no
occasion  of my arrival here was not   longer  around.   In  particular,  a
exactly  a  high  point  in my life.   young   female   thief   I'd  become
Bereft of home, family, and friends,   acquainted  with early on decided to
I  found  myself  at the front gates   leave town for some reason or other.
with  little  but  the clothes on my   (One  can  never  tell with thieves,
back.   I wandered, lost and feeling   why  they may choose to leave town.)
very alone in a strange place; we've   Before  leaving,  however, she asked
all known that feeling.  Eventually,   me  to  meet  her  sister,  who  was
with  the help of too many people to   coming to town the next day.
mention   here,  I  learned  my  way
around  enough  to  fend for myself.   Her sister?  What would this girl be
After  a  while I found not peace or   like,  I  wondered,  who had a thief
contentment, but a feeling of shared   for a sister.  The meeting place was
purpose  with  the  other residents.   a  bit suspect too:  the shanty town
While  they  can  never  replace  my   by  the  docks.  My thief friend had
family  and home, they are as much a   never done me wrong, but nonetheless
part  of  my  life  now  as the Clan   I  went  armed to the meeting place.
Varyn was before.                      While   I   was  becoming  a  fairly
                                       competent fighter, I knew that I was
This  is not, however, a story about   still  comparatively  inexperienced.
my struggles to adapt to a new life;   I  arrived early enough to scout out
this is a Mouse Tale, and I must in-   the  area  ahead  of time, but found
troduce the Mouse.  (A strictly sym-   nothing  suspicious.  I settled down
bolic title, as you may have noticed   to wait, wondering why I'd agreed to
from  before.  My Mice, though, have   this in the first place.  There were
a habit of roaring.) I'm sure all of   many  things  that needed doing, and
you  are  familiar with the fable of   here  I  was honoring a promise to a
the  Lion  and  the Mouse.  The Lion   thief  I'd known less than two weeks
captures  the  Mouse,  and the Mouse   to  look  after  a  sister I'd never
makes  a deal with the Lion:  if the   met.   I guess I accepted the charge
Lion lets the Mouse go free, sparing   because  I  wanted  to repay some of
its  life,  the  Mouse will save the   the  kindness  people  had  shown me
Lion's   life  someday.   The  Lion,   when  I  first  arrived.  If not for
heartily   amused   by  the  Mouse's   that  help,  I'd have been wolverine
audacity,  lets  the  Mouse  go, not   food.   I heard someone approaching.
because he ever seriously thinks the   It  was a young half-elf in clerical
Mouse  will  ever  rescue  him,  but   robes!   A  cleric?  I could see the
because   he   admires   its  spunk.   family resemblance, but the two were
Later,  however,  when  the  Lion is   very different.  While the thief had
                                    -17-                            More...
been  flamboyant,  this girl was shy   warning.   I  was  in mid-swing when
and careful.  She hugged the edge of   the  cockatrice  thundered  into the
the road, and seemed a bit uncertain   clearing.   Startled,  I  missed the
about  where  she  was  going.   She   orc  and  turned  to  face  this new
reminded me a bit of a mouse explor-   menace.    I'd   fought  cockatrices
ing new territory.                     before,  and they were dangerous.  I
                                       was  about  to tell my friend to get
I stepped forward and introduced my-   behind  me,  when the thing gazed at
self.  She was hesitant at first but   me.   I  felt  my limbs stiffen, and
after  I had given her the armor and   knew I was in serious trouble.
weapons  her sister had left for her
and  we had talked a bit, she opened   Some  claim  that  when  people  are
up  a  little.   She was pretty, but   beheaded  that they feel no pain.  I
not  what  you  would consider glam-   think   they   do.   The  cockatrice
orous.   One of those girls who did-   nailed  me  with a perfect shot that
n't  need  makeup  to look good, be-   drove my jawbone into my brain.  The
cause her attractiveness was as much   exact  feeling is indescribable, but
spiritual  as it was physical.  Yes,   the  pain lasted at least 15 seconds
I  felt  some affection for her, but   until  my soul was free and floating
it  was  more  what  a teacher might   above   the  scene.   As  my  vision
feel  for  a  student  than anything   cleared,  I  saw  my  friend, alone,
else. We would be friends, I thought   surrounded  by the orc and the cock-
and   I  would  help  her  not  only   atrice, and feared she would be dead
because  of  my  pledge, but because   if she didn't leave immediately.
she was a genuinely nice person.
                                       "Go," my ghost said, "get out!"
In  the weeks that followed, we were
almost  inseparable.   She  grew  in   "No,"  she exclaimed, "I'm not leav-
both confidence and ability, as much   ing  you." The three of them circled
from  her  own  tenacity  as from my   my  dead  body, the cockatrice crow-
teaching.  I used to tease her about   ing,  the orc leering and the cleric
her  "magnetic personality," as mon-   calling for help on her amulet.  She
sters  appeared three times as often   kept  them at bay with her mace, but
when  I  hunted with her.  I suppose   I still thought it was only a matter
that she was so "good" it was like a   of  time before her body joined mine
beacon for evil creatures.  Whatever   on  the  ground.   My  soul ached to
the reason, we made a great team.  I   depart,  but I held on to watch even
valued  her  friendship  and compan-   though  I  couldn't  do  anything to
ionship;  she was a gentle soul, but   help.   Still  keeping her guard up,
determined,  as  I was, to make some   she  cast  a spell to bind my spirit
meaning  of  her life and avenge the   to   my   body.   Seeing  the  light
death  of  her  father.   That was a   envelop  my  form,  the  orc  gave a
bond we had that we spoke of little.   grunting  laugh  and  leered.  "Dead
We  simply  understood, and that was   meat,"  it  growled  in  common,  an
all  we  needed.  I still thought of   amazingly  complex  sentence  for  a
her  as  my  student,  however, even   creature    only   marginally   more
when  she gained the ability to cast   intelligent  than  a rock.  Then, to
spells  I  could  only  dream of.  I   show  its  contempt,  it  spit on my
found  myself  dragging  her stunned   helpless body.
form  to  safety  from time to time,
reinforcing my illusion that I would   That's when things got really weird.
always be her protector.  Old habits   Seeing  the  orc  defile my body en-
are hard to break.                     raged  my  gentle  cleric.   She ad-
                                       vanced  on it, cursing in an obscure
One  day,  all that changed.  We had   elven  dialect  with  such  violence
chased a lesser orc into an area new   that  my  corpse  blushed.   I don't
to  both  of us.  I had just engaged   think  the orc understood the words,
the  orc,  when  I  heard her yell a   but  it  definitely  understood  the
                                    -18-                            More...
tone.   It  immediately ran from the   longer   feel   empty   and  without
clearing so fast it left skid marks.   family.   We  shall  be each other's
                                       family,   and   our  families  shall
While my friend was preoccupied with   eventually,  we  hope,  continute on
the  orc,  the  cockatrice  took the   through  us.  She has washed away my
opportunity  to  start  trampling my   bitterness  and despair, giving me a
body.   To  my  amazement,  I saw my   new  sense of joy and wonder.  There
friend   whirl   around   and  start   are  still  things  I  wish to teach
stalking  it!   It  made a stand and   her, but I now realize there is much
tried to stun her with its gaze; she   I  can  learn  from  her,  as  well.
met  the  stare measure for measure.   (Though  she does still blush when I
After    about   10   seconds,   the   ask  her  to  teach  me some of that
cockatrice  blinked,  whimpered, and   dialogue  she  used on the orc.  She
ran  out  of  the  clearing  in  the   claims  she doesn't remember exactly
opposite   direction   the  orc  had   what she said.)
taken.  In addition to being dead, I
was  now stunned, as well.  Not with   Thus ends the third Mouse Tale, with
the  shock of being dead, but with a   a   happy   ending.   Oh,  I  almost
new-found  respect  for  my  friend.   forgot.   I  never  did  mention her
Was  this  really  the same girl I'd   name, did I?  I gave you a clue near
shown  how  to  hold a weapon, who'd   the  beginning  of  the story, but I
been so squeamish about skinning her   think  I'll close with this:  If you
first   rat,   and  who  prayed  for   have Faith, you have everything, and
Eissa's forgiveness for killing even   I have Faith.
the  vilest  of  creatures?  It sud-
denly  dawned on me that I, like the   Peace  and  joy  to  you  in the new
Lion  in  the fable, was being saved   year, and may you find the happiness
by  a  Mouse  that  now roared.  She   that we have.
stayed   with   me  in  that  place,
keeping  my  spirit  attached  to my    \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
body   and  defending  me  from  all        ____________________________
comers until a senior cleric arrived       / \                          \
to  resurrect  me.  Then, she helped       \@|       GemStone III       |
carry me back to town to recover.            | ________________________ |
                                             ||   ___          ___     ||
We  had always been friends, and I'd         ||    \.\_......_/./      ||
never  thought  it would be any more         ||     \/ _    _ \/       ||
than  that because our original rel-         ||     /   \  /   \       ||
ationship  had  been that of teacher         ||_____\  O \/ O  /_____  ||
and student. I realized that she was         ||""""" \   ()   / """""\ ||
now   at  least  my  equal.   In  an         ||        \``''/          ||
instant I knew that I loved her, now         ||      /  |,,|  \        ||
that  I  had  discarded my silly and         ||    /    \~~/    \      ||
patronizing  attitude.   As  she sat         ||  /       ~~       \    ||
with me in the Temple as the healers         ||                        ||
worked  on putting me back together,         ||________________________||
I resolved to marry her.                     |                          |
                                             | Hob    : Lvl 3  CP - 60  |
I will not bore you with the details         |  Goblin  OB 50           |
of  the courtship, as we prefer some       /@| [  3 ]   DB 25           |
things  to remain private.  However,       \ /                          /
one  of my father's sayings applies.        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Son,"  he  told me, "a man chases a
woman  until  she  catches  him." My    Authentic GemStone III Trading Card
love  led me a long and merry chase,             by Szandor LaVey
but  relented in the end.  We are to
be  married this month, barring some       -ACCEPT NO CHEAP IMITATIONS!-
unforeseen  delay.   With  her, I no    Collect Originals & Impress Friends
                                The Dark One
                              by Inyigo Montoya
/ \                                                                         \
|                                                                          |
| [House Aspis, Lounge]                                                    |
|                                                                          |
| This room, though rather large, exudes an air of quiet comfort and  good |
| feelings. Several chairs and cushions sit near a stone fireplace waiting |
| for occupants and  across the  room stands  a well  stocked bar  for the |
| guests of the House.  A bay  window looks  out over  the town with a low |
| comfortable couch in  front of it  to enjoy  the view.   A huge, thickly |
| woven  rug covers  most of the  floor and  adds warmth  to the  room.  A |
| swinging  door on the  north side of the room leads to the kitchen.  You |
| also see a banner hanging over the fireplace.                            |
|                                                                          |
| Also here: Inyigo                                                        |
|                                                                          |
| Obvious exits: east.                                                     |
|                                                                          |
|  /-------------------------------------------------------------------------
/ \ _________ \
\@| ||=|=|=|| |the pain, the horror,   turbed me,  yet he had a charm and a
  | ~~ |_| ~~ | I faced  this as the   demure  that   was  endearing.    He
 _|    |_|    | countdown    began,"   smugly rebuffed  Taarna's goading as
/@|   _|_|_   | Inyigo writes as  he   a crowd  of my own friends converged
\_/__________/ leans   back  against   on the heated exchange.
the brick  wall behind him, recount-
ing that  horrid event  not too long   It was interesting to see a stranger
ago.  Sweat drips from his cheeks as   in these  parts, especially  one  of
he reexperiences  his anguish.   The   his appearance.    Interesting,  but
tongues of  flame from the fireplace   nonetheless I  had no  intention  of
illuminate the  parchment he  writes   meddling in the affairs of others so
on and  cast a  demonic shadow  over   I paced  behind them  merely wanting
half his face.                         to be on my way.
"What have I done, my beliefs I have   The  apparent   motivation  for  the
betrayed,  my  soul  once  again  is   rumpus was  due to  a youth  who was
tainted.  Mallenon,  the  dark  one,   warned  against   speaking  of   the
tested my  faith  and  I  have  fal-   Council.   I  abruptly  stopped  and
tered....what  have   I  done?",  he   turned to  him.  I made a gesture of
thinks  to   himself  as  he  stares   recognition that  obligated  all  my
morosely, his  eyes welling  up with   brethren to respond. Sure enough the
grief.   Here is the tale of woes he   stranger was  one of  us.   He know-
writes for none to remember.           ingly  smiled   and   directed   his
                                       attention to me as well.
It was  a silent  day, a silence too
eerie to  be normal, when I happened   Mallenon was  his name and he glared
upon  a   long  lost   friend,  Lady   down at  the youth  and something in
Taarna, by  the grasslands in Kalds-   me  snapped   like  a   twig  on   a
fang.   She seemed to be in a heated   midwinter's day.
debate with  an individual  clad  in
black, a  glowing mace  in hand, and   "Who are you?" I asked innocently.
an ugly  face.   As I walked towards
them,  his  appearance  indeed  dis-   "Who do  you think  I am?"  Mallenon
queried in return.                     spell was  cast upon  me by  my com-
                                       rades.   I rose  up, grabbed  for my
"Casting  judgements  on  others  is   sword and  lowered it  to  meet  his
reserved for  nobility, or  so  they   glowing eyes.
think, so again I ask, who are you?"
I replied, taunting to him to reveal   "If indeed  you are  the assassin of
his identity.                          assassins, if  you  are  indeed  the
                                       dark one,  prove it now!" I hollered
He turned his attention to the youth   pushing my way through the crowd.
once more  and warned,  "Speak of us
again and suffer the consequences."    Once  again  he  swayed  and  in  an
                                       instant I  found myself prone on the
He condescendingly  crooked his brow   ground  and   felt  a   pulse  blaze
at the boy.  At this point he seemed   through my  very heart.    Squirming
to take  the posture of one had been   for my life I succumbed to the pain.
banished from  the lands  many  ages
ago - one who was feared and one who   "Stop!" Taarna screamed.
was mighty  enough to  take down the
strongest  of   our  warriors.    We   She gestured  and uttered  a phrase.
called him  the Dark Assassin, but I   A white  sphere resolved  in the air
couldn't believe  this pompous being   and relishing some comfort, I felt a
could be Mallenon.                     tingling in my soul.
I  gripped   my  weapon  with  every   "What I take away, I can easily give
intention  of   striking  him   down   back."   Mallenon flicked  his wrist
before he  had  the  opportunity  to   and once  again I  was on  my  feet,
harm the youth.                        unharmed.
"Prove yourself!" I dared him.         "If indeed  you do  want a confront-
                                       ation, seek  me by  the barrow mound
I whispered  to Lord  Whilder,  "I'm   at the haunting place of the unlife,
taking him  and should  I happen  to   and there you shall see your maker."
fall, he  will be  on the offensive,   he said as he faded away.
so counter the best you can."
                                       Inyigo wipes  his face  now  as  the
 Whilder nodded, so at it I went.      memories of  seething pain  felt  in
                                       the encounter  once again  begin  to
"Who should  I prove I am?" Mallenon   surface.    He  swallows  down  some
once again  asked as I leapt from my   brandy  and   peers  out   into  the
position and  swung down  as quickly   midnight   moonlight,    his   veins
and as  ferociously as  my straining   coursing with grief.  He resumes the
muscles would  allow.   A sad  smile   task of continuing his journal....
revealed the  hate in his eyes as he
swerved with  the instant grace of a   I did  what I  could to  protect, to
cat.                                   believe.   This was  my destiny.   I
                                       swore  to   keep  my  faith  in  the
Belief suspended, I watched.  He was   Council, and  let me down they would
quick.  With an discreet gesture, he   not.   In my  mind I  was the best I
motioned to  my arm.   A  fiery pain   could be  as the Taskmaster foretold
shot up as I let my sword go, my arm   back when I was a mere acolyte.  The
toppling down behind it.               Council would  not have done this to
                                       me.   It would  have asked  for  its
Arborius,   Artemook   and   Whilder   dues  in  another  way  and  loyalty
stepped in  front of me as I fell to   would never  falter when  the  signs
the ground  screaming like  a  stuck   were obvious.
pig.  Luke and Taarna ran to my aid.
Luke knelt and transferred my wounds   Mallenon, powerful  as he  was,  was
to himself.   In an instant I felt a   just a  farce, or  so I  thought (or
rush of  intense rage as spell after   rather hoped).  Someone sent by them
would  have   been  preceded  by  an   calmly   sat   there,   mysteriously
oracle foretold  by a  high  priest,   speaking with Mallenon.
not like this.
                                       Taarna,   Redeye   and   Michealoos,
I thought  this as  we  headed  back   almost as  if it were choreographed,
into town,  the group  drooling with   began an  assault on  the creatures.
bloodlust.   I ran  to my locker and   If they  weren't  dispelled  on  the
retrieved treasured  magical items I   first cast  they were  to be  calmed
had saved  up for this day.  I would   and left harmless.
use them  to serve  the Council, and
such a  mockery of the Dark Assassin   "Stop!" Zinderin  exclaimed.   "Hear
was enough to justify this.            what he  has to  say before  you lay
                                       his minions to waste!"
As we  assembled in  the temple Lady
Taarna,  communing   with  her  god,   "Stop!"  Mallenon   yelled.    "They
Kuor, explained that the only way to   won't harm you if you stop!"
banish Mallenon  was to  recite  the
words,  "I  repudiate  the  unlife",   The  three   clerics,  drunken  with
whilst in a circle around him.         adrenaline,  and   sapped  of  their
                                       strength had  formed a  triad around
She  gave  warning  of  irredeemable   the rest  of us to prevent any harm.
repurcussions which would befall any   They had  heard this and stopped for
Council members  who  took  part  in   an instant.
                                       I was  in awe.   The  creatures  had
Absolute terror  struck the crowd as   indeed stoppped their assault on us.
they  realized  that  the  mightiest
ones amongst  them were indeed those   "By the  moons of  Orhan!  He IS the
aligned with the Council.              dark one!", I thought.
Still  convinced  that  this  was  a   I clenched  my teeth  and glanced at
farce, I  steadfastly held  on to my   him.   Looking at him for a blink of
beliefs and stayed by my friends.      an eye, I could see his smiling face
                                       - the smile that said it all.
We gathered  for one last prayer and
felt an  overwhelming confidence  in   "Inyigo..."
the  air  as  we  set  off  for  the
journey.   The trek  seemed  like  a   I turned  to see  what it  was  that
blink of  an eye  for the  merriment   whispered.   Nothing.  I scanned the
and hunger  within everyone  in  our   ranks observing  whether or not any-
party.                                 one else had heard it. They were too
                                       preoccupied with watching.
"If  only   he  had  proved  himself
successfully, I  would've given  him   Almost  the  instant  it  ceased,  a
my unfaltering  loyalty", I  thought   wraith leapt into the group and slew
to myself as we climbed the mound.     one of  the members  of  our  party.
                                       Loud war  cries bellowed  forth  and
Then, there  it was.  We rose to the   the  sound   of  steel   upon  steel
peak as  the shadows  met our  eyes.   thundered across the field.
The top  of the  hill was  flattened
out  to   reveal  countless   unlife   "Inyigo..." I turned.  Silence....
creatures  swaying   side  to  side,
drooling with anticipation, watching   The masses were still fighting and I
us as  we  climbed  higher  to  meet   could  see  them  screaming,  but  I
them.   Mallenon sat  there, compla-   heard nothing,  dead still  silence.
cently smiling at us.                  Slowly  turning,  oblivious  of  the
                                       carnage, there Mallenon sat pointing
Zinderin  reached   the  peak   long   at me.
before  we  started  our  climb  and-21-                            More...
"Inyigo,   come   to   me...."    he   with confusion.  My friends who I've
whispered in my ear from his throne.   valued more  dearly than life itself
"This is  the  apocalypse  you  have   were slowly but surely falling.  The
been sworn  to, now  prove  who  you   circle was  broken where I knelt and
are!"                                  this kept Mallenon alive.
I smiled to myself and knew, deep in   I let the boy go, dropped my shield,
me, I knew.                            and let out what seemed like a howl.
Some of  the warriors had made their   "I REPRUDIATE  THE UNLIFE!"  escaped
way to the dark one now, and started   my larynx  as  I  held  my  face  in
to form a circle.                      shame.
I  saw  this  and  ran  towards  the   A wraith  had been  standing  behind
throne.  I ran through the ranks and   me, dagger  in hand, and let loose a
now aimed  my falchion  dead  on  to   most  vile  assault.    Thrust  upon
meet one of the infidels who doubted   thrust pierced my shoulder and neck.
the unlife's  powers, with  one goal   Too weak  to stand,  I crumbled  and
in mind, break the circle by slaying   gasped my final breaths.
the fools I travelled here with.
                                       The others  had uttered the words of
"I  repudiate  the  unlife,"  Taarna   banishment as Mallenon slowly burned
said.                                  away. My final memory before ceasing
                                       the struggle  to live  was  a  black
Mallenon shrieked and stood up.  The   vortex scooping  me up  and whisking
dark one  gestured at the individual   me away.
I was  charging for and a blast tore
through his hide.                      Once again, complete silence...
As I  was about  to land  the  final   "Inyigo there  is still good left in
blow  to   the  one   Mallenon   had   you...", I  heard emanating from the
gestured at,  I  saw  him  turn  and   shadows in the blackness.  The voice
writhe in  pain.   It was  the youth   I recognized as Kuor's.  Although it
who had been warned by the dark one.   was a  soft whisper I still heard it
Instead  of   pushing  my   falchion   as clearly  as had  it been  shouted
through him,  I let  go of  it,  and   into my ear. Then a series of images
instictively caught him as he fell.    flashed  before   me.    Flashes  of
                                       friends, the  ones loved, the memor-
His dying  face smiled  at me  as he   ies of my life.
said, "I repudiate the unlife."
                                       Eyes  opening   I  realized   I  was
Those were  the last  words to leave   sprawled on the temple stairs, Mich-
his lips  as he  expired on my arms.   ealoos looming above.  He slapped me
The tears  that formed  in  my  eyes   a  few   times,   bringing   me   to
flowed as  easily as  the blood from   consciousness.
his body.
                                       "What happened?" he asked.
"I repudiate  the unlife."  Zinderin
murmurred.                             That question  was  foremost  in  my
                                       mind, as  well, for  I did  not know
"I repudiate  the unlife."  could be   what had  transpired past Mallenon's
heard again  and again  as  Mallenon   banishment.
grew more  and more  desperate.   He
opened his  palm  to  slay  what  he   After the long explantion each of us
could reach,  and  one  by  one  our   had given the other, I worked my way
ranks diminished.                      back to  Aspis to  rest.  I couldn't
                                       sleep for I tossed and turned trying
"NO!" I  yelled, my  voice  cracking   to come  to grips  with what  I  had
                                    -22-            Continued on Page 27...
                         A Secret from the Keep
 _____________          by Lord Whilder Planrathe
/ \ _________ \
\@| ||=|=|=|| |ime is a strange phe-   and  back.  An attempt to avoid dir-
  | ~~ |_| ~~ | nomena.  Years   can   ect  contact, to roll with the force
 _|    |_|    | pass   quickly   and   that  does  connect.   Some reflexes
/@|   _|_|_   | quietly,   seemingly   are learned to the utmost possible.
\_/__________/  without   effort  or      Some  reflexes  are never as good
thought.   A  split second can be an   as they need to be.
   Or  the start of the trip through      Time  is a strange phenomena.  It
eternity...                            is  a  constant  that we cannot keep
   My  thoughts  are  racing wildly,   perceiving  as  a constant.  To some
yet  actual  movement  seems to have   it  drags  by  slowly,  almost at an
come  to a standstill.  I know three   intolerable   rate.   To  others  it
things.                                flashes by too fast, never enough of
   The golem has gotten too close.     it to do what we need.
   The  golem  is swinging its steel      Yet time always moves at the same
fist at me.                            rate...
   The golem is not going to miss my
skull.  My mind screams instructions      Desire  to  live versus desire to
to  my  muscles, trying to dodge the   kill.   An  attempt  by  reflexes to
death  it  sees coming.  But my mus-   avoid  unnaturally  driven flesh and
cles  are  in  another time.  A year   muscle  of  steel.  Time is too fast
will pass before they respond to the   for  the  reflexes, too slow for the
urgent pleas to move.                  driven steel fist.  I manage to roll
   A  year  in the next life, beyond   with  the  blow,  but I am now on my
Eissa's gate.                          back  and  the  force  was enough to
                                       severely stun me.  I see  everything
   Time   is  a  strange  phenomena.   through  a  red  haze and my muscles
Actions can occur in a split second,   are not responding.  The golem moves
seemingly without thought or effort.   over  me,  raising  its fist for the
Yet  thought precedes those actions,   death blow.  And death strikes.
whether  we  are  concious or not of      It strikes the golem.
those  thoughts.  Those actions that      I almost missed it.  A thin, fine
we do without seeming to think about   blade coming out of the golems chest
we call reflexes.  Some reflexes are   right where the heart would be.  The
learned  through experience, such as   golem  moans  loudly and falls over.
pulling  your  hand back from a fire   Or  rather is pushed sideways by the
before you are burnt.                  blade  wielder behind it so it won't
   Some reflexes are taught...         land on me.
                                          The  haze in my vision clears for
   The  steel  fist fills my vision,   a  moment,  yet I am still unable to
yet  memories run rampant in my sub-   move or speak.  The only thing I can
conciousness.   And one memory comes   do  is  lie  there while she quickly
forward.  I remember my father.        searches  the  remains for treasures
   His   dream   of  my  becoming  a   it  may  have  carried.   The  golem
warrior like himself.                  returns to the energies that created
   His disappointment in my becoming   it,  to  be brought forth again at a
a mage.                                later  time.   She  smiles at me and
   His  final  look  as  I freed him   says "You're welcome." And just as I
from  the control of the Unlife.  My   am  able  to  move,  to  speak,  she
subconcious  remembers  my  father's   disappears into the shadows.  Slowly
attempts  to train me and my muscles   I work my way to my feet and look at
respond as trained.  My back muscles   my dim reflection in the metal wall.
contract, pulling me back and to the   Blood  is  pouring from my scalp.  I
side, my leg muscles pulling me down   try  a  quick  enchantment, one that
                                    -23-                            More...
calls  forth  an image of myself.  I   there  I  would  have been killed in
botch  the attempt severely.  I dare   that hall. If the Navigators had not
not  stay  and  attempt  to  find my   decided  to  take back their ring at
benefactor.  Gathering my belongings   that  moment, I would not have ended
I  invoke  the power of the telepor-   up  at  the  gate  and been found by
tation  ring  I  wear  and  blink in   Rhys.   Instead I would have made it
surprise.                              to  the  temple  and  bled  to death
   I  am  not in the temple of Eissa   while  the  monks prayed to Eissa to
as  I  should  be.   As  fast  as  I   receive my soul.
realize  what  is  happening  it  is      I try to think about the stranger
over.  The Navigators, those strange   who  saved  me  from the golem and I
creators of the magic rings, grabbed   cannot   remember   much.    Female,
me as I was teleporting and relieved   certainly.   Soft,  low  voice.  She
me  of  the  ring and my hard earned   was  wearing  heavy  hide armor that
silvers.    And  then  they  uncere-   hid her figure.  A leather helm that
moniously  dumped  me at the gate to   hid  her hair.  I couldn't decide if
Kelfour's Landing.   Even  as I look   the  shade  of  her skin was a light
around  a  wave  of dizziness sweeps   tan  from  the  sun  or  merely  the
over  me and I realize I am going to   darkness of the ruins.
bleed  to  death before I reach aid.      And green eyes.  A green like the
I   rail  at  the  fates  for  their   morning  sun  softly  touching a dew
cruelty as I prepare for death.        covered leaf in spring.  The promise
   And  suddenly  through  the crowd   of  life  shown  in  those  eyes.  I
pushes  the  healer  Rhys Corwinson.   prayed to Eissa myself.  Prayed that
Without  a  word  he  calls upon his   the  light  would  not  leave  those
healing powers and the severe damage   eyes.
to  my  head slowly disappears, only
to  reappear  on Rhys himself.  With      Time  passed.   Days  into weeks,
but a gesture his wound closes, then   weeks  into  months.   I studied and
heals  to  leave a scar upon his own   soon  had  learned  to  turn  myself
brow.   Without  waiting  to hear my   invisible.    I  visited  the  ruins
heartfelt thanks he turns and speeds   often,  and  would sometimes meet my
through  the  gates,  on  his way to   strange savior.  Sometimes she would
help  others  in  trouble,  I think.   simply  spring  out  of the shadows,
Stumbling,  I  make  my  way  to the   her  rapier  bringing  death  to the
temple   to   rest  and  recover  my   golems.   Sometimes  just that soft,
strength.                              low  voice,  urging  me  to cast yet
   At the Temple of Eissa, I wearily   another  spell  at  our foe.  Always
take  a seat and look around.  And I   she  avoided  any long conversations
laugh.  The fates are indeed strange   and  would  fade into the shadows as
and mysterious.                        soon  as  our  foe  was  vanquished.
   "Why  do you disturb the sanctity   Once,  I  turned  myself  invisible,
of the Temple with such noise?" asks   hoping to follow her.  But still she
the Monk.                              evaded  me.   And  always  the  last
   "Tell  me, Holy One.  Have any of   thing  I would see of her were those
those  with  the powers to heal been   green eyes.
here lately?" I asked.                    More  time passed.  I learned the
   "Only  the  healer Rhys.  He left   ability  to  turn  the ground molten
but  scant  moments ago.  Yet you do   beneath a particular target, a spell
not  seem in need of such services."   that  required  much  control on the
The Monk watches me expectantly, but   part  of  the  caster.   I was cele-
soon realizes I have nothing more to   brating  my  achievement  at Helga's
say and returns to his prayers.        when HE walked into my life again.
   I  ponder the strange workings of      "I thought there wasn't much call
fate.   If  I had not been wandering   for  a  tinkerer  in the Landing," I
around  the  ruins by myself I would   slurred to the familiar figure as he
not  have  been  surprised  by  that   sat down on the stool next to me.
golem.  If the stranger had not been      "The  fortunes  of a traveler are
                                    -24-                            More...
many  and strange," he replied.  "As   halls  and  rooms, bits of the story
are   the  fortunes  of  those  that   coming  back  to  me with each step.
manipulate the Essence itself.  Have   Many  of  the bits incomplete, in no
you  moved  from  this establishment   logical order.
since our last meeting?"                  I stopped in the library, quietly
   I  drew  myself  up  to  my  full   closing the door and leaning against
height, and began to regale him with   it.   This room always fills me with
stories   of  my  many  battles  and   a  sense of dispair.  All this know-
successes.   And  wouldn't  you know   ledge,  lost,  perhaps  never  to be
it?                                    rediscovered.   I resist the urge to
   I bought the drinks all night.      reach out and caress a tome, knowing
                                       full  well  that  a  mere touch will
   It took nearly two days for me to   destroy  it, rendering it beyond any
recover  from my celebration.  I did   hope of reconstruction.  And another
not  see  the  tinkerer  around and,   fragment  from memory comes forward.
counting  my  3  remaining  coins, I   "...sealed the cover of the tome..."
hoped  I would not see him again for      Sealed?   Most  tomes  are  bound
some  time.   I  readied  myself and   together  between wood covers with a
began the long journey to the ruins.   thong  or  piece of rope.  The thong
Maybe  I would see Green Eyes there.   being  on  the left side to hold the
The  thought  cheered  me and I sped   pages  together  while reading.  But
quickly   through  the  countryside.   why  do  I  think  of  a  tome being
Soon  I reached Blototh Mountain and   sealed?
The Keep.                                 I  begin  looking  over  the many
   The Keep?  Now why had I suddenly   volumes.  Nothing unusual catches my
thought  of  these  old ruins as The   eye.   None are "sealed" in any man-
Keep?   Fragments  of  memories came   ner  different  from  any  other.  I
back  to me.  A time of deep trouble   take  a  different approach, reading
that  seemed to have touched my soul   those titles that are still visible.
and a story told by someone. Ah yes.      And  after many hours, one volume
That  night in Helga's and the Tink-   looks  out  of  place from among the
erer  telling  some wild tale he had   others.  On a shelf with books about
heard  somewhere during his travels.   nature   and   plants  lies  a  tome
And  my  foolishness,  talking  to a   entitled   "Falicies   of  Godhood."
statue of all things.  Thank Orhan I   Rubbing  my eyes, I begin to examine
had  not  been  observed  by anyone!   it  without  touching  it.  Two feet
After  I  had  finally  gotten  some   wide,  two  feet  high,  and maybe a
sleep  I  had  gone  to  that  noted   foot  thick.  Nothing unusual there.
healer,   Surtey   Akrash.   He  had   Then I realize what is wrong.
pointed   out   the  problem  easily      The   wooden  cover  is  slightly
enough.    "Too   much  eating  from   thicker  than  that  of  the others.
Helga's  kitchen,  not enough nutri-   And  it is warped and cracked in the
tion."  That bit of information, and   middle, as though it were thinner in
some   vile   concoction   that  was   the middle than the edges.  I take a
supposed  to  aid  my  stomach,  had   deep breath, then another.  My hands
settled  all  my  problems  and only   are  trembling  too  much  to  trust
cost me 100 silvers.  Well worth the   them.  Slowly, carefully, I begin to
price,  I  thought, for my sleep had   lightly  rub  the  spot  that is the
not been troubled since that time.     worst.   The  wood  crumbles  to  my
   Just  a story.  Something to pass   touch,   revealing  a  hollow  area,
the time at a bar.  Still, I quickly   about  a  foot  square.  Blowing the
moved  through  the  entrance to The   dust  away, I spot something inside.
Keep.   A shiver going through me as   I slowly lever out what looks like a
I  walked  across the fallen door, a   sheet  of glass.  Examining it care-
fragment  of  memory telling me that   fully,  I  discover it is not glass,
there  was an ancient body under it,   but  a  glass-like substance.  Some-
crushed   by  the  entrance  of  the   what  flexible,  as thin as the cut-
Unlife.    I  wandered  through  the   ting  edge of a sword.  Clear like a
                                    -25-                            More...
fresh  water  stream  except for the   was  about  to  ask her why when she
runes that seem to be sealed inside.   spun around.
   Runes sealed inside!  I check the
compartment.  Four sheets total!  As      Time  is a strange phenomena.  In
my  mind  races, one thing I realize   an  instant  you can discover things
immediately  is  that  this is not a   you had been searching months for...
place  for study.  I put the strange
sheets away and open the door.            She spun toward me and discovered
   "Ho,  scribe.   And  what  was so   I  was  but inches from her.  As she
interesting  in  there?" giggles the   looked  up  at me I realized she was
soft  voice  of Green Eyes as I step   short,  the  top  of her head barely
into the hallway.                      reaching my chin.  A whisp of auburn
   "Ho, yourself, guardien angel," I   hair  dangled  from  under  the left
reply.   "Nothing  but  some strange   side  of  her  helm.   Her  skin was
glass  plates that would not turn to   lightly  tanned  from  the sun.  And
dust  with the books." Now why had I   those eyes...
told  her  that,  I wondered.  I had      Green.   The  green  of too-long-
meant  to  keep  it a secret until I   dead flesh!
had studied them myself.
   "Glass  plates?   Really?   May I      All  this in an instant under the
see them?"                             moons of Kulthea.  We were too close
   "Well..."  I  tapped  my  leather   to bring weapons into play.  I tried
sack.   "I  have  them secured.  How   to grapple her, knowing that she was
about  escorting me back to town and   going  to  kill  me  the instant she
we  can look them over?" I had found   could move far enough from me to get
something  to  interest her.  Now if   her  rapier.   Or at least I thought
she  would  only agree maybe I could   she  would move back from me to draw
get  a  conversation going and learn   it.    Instead  she  simply  twisted
something about her.                   slightly and I went flying over her.
   "Of  course,"  she  said.  "We'll      I   had   never  studied  unarmed
have  to  stop  somewhere on the way   combat,  a  fact became evident as I
back, as late as it is now.  But two   landed hard.  Landed with my leather
traveling  together  is safer in the   sack between me and the ground...
wilds."                                   Sounds.  Many and varied.  A loud
   I  could  not believe my luck.  A   thump  as  I  hit  the  ground.  The
discovery of unknown proportions AND   muffled clatter of statues and wands
the  lady finally traveling with me.   from  the  sack.   The  swish  as  a
I  began  to revise my estimation of   rapier  sliced through the air.  The
the   Gods  of  Orhan  and  fate  in   clink of three coins in my pocket.
general as we began the trek through      The  slight  crack  and crunch of
The  Keep.  And, of course, as I was   something glass being ground between
busy pondering these things I forgot   something hard by a heavy weight.
to  try to get a conversation going.
No wonder I'm a mage.                     Time   is  a  strange  phenomena.
   The  sun  had set as we traveled,   Life  or death can be decided in the
yet  still  we  continued moving.  I   blink of an eye...
did  not  recognize  the features of
the surrounding countryside.              I  see  the rapier, its point but
   "You've  been  in Helga's and not   an inch from my left eye.  I look up
recognized  it,"  said  the voice in   into  those green eyes, the green of
the back of my head.  I had to agree   too-long-dead flesh...
with that.  Course, that WAS after a      She blinks...
few ales.                                 And I am looking into those green
   Suddenly  she  stopped.  I almost   eyes.   The green of the morning sun
walked  right  into  her,  it was so   lightly  kissing the dew on a spring
sudden.   Or  maybe  my conversation   leaf.
with myself had something to do with      The   tip  of  the  rapier  never
not  realizing  she  had stopped.  I   wavers.   One moment it is poised to
                                    -26-                            More...
plunge  itself  into  my  brain, the   The Dark One :Continued from Page 22
next  it  is back in the sheath sewn   ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
onto  her  backpack.   She turns and   done.   I lit  a fire downstairs and
fades  into  the  night.   The  last   dipped a  quill, struggling  to con-
thing  I  hear  is  that sweat, soft   nect the fragments of my conscience.
voice  saying "I have the choice.  I   As  I  began  to  scratch  upon  the
choose   to   give  you  your  life.   parchment, my  mind recoiled: "I had
Goodbye."                              betrayed what  I thought  meant  the
   How sad, I think.  She serves the   most to  me.   I betrayed  those who
unlife  yet  believes  she  has full   have given  me the  powers to be one
control of her actions. If it hadn't   of strength."
been  for  the  breaking  glass  she
would   have   killed   me   without   "No regrets Inyigo, no regrets."  he
realizing  it.   Without  a  choice.   whispered to  himself as  he  folded
How  long  will  she and others fool   the parchment  he wrote  the journal
themselves?                            on.   Sighing, Inyigo  took the last
   Slowly  I make my way to my feet.   sip of brandy.
I  look  around  and  strike out for
Kelfours  Landing, hoping I'm not as   He leaned  back once again and gazed
lost  as  I  fear.   I  soon  find a   at the  fireplace used  to light the
familiar  landmark  and  make my way   darkened room. Crumpling the journal
back  to the town.  I'll be there by   he threw it into the fire and smiled
early morning.                         to himself.
    [Conclusion in the next KE]        "Inyigo..." whispered a voice.
                                       He jumped up to see Amelda holding a
 Odds of Enchantment (From Page 12)    candle by the entrance.
cases of  materials like  laen, that   "It's late  my friend,  go get  some
impart a bonus of their own, but for   rest. Mallenon  is but a memory now.
more  mundane   materials  such   as   Sleep  and   awake  to   a  new  day
steel, I think enchantment should be   tomorrow, leave this behind you."
                                       Inyigo let  out a  laugh that echoed
      Also, in my experience so far,   through the almost empty house as he
shields  and   armor   are   equally   bade  her   goodnight  and   wearily
difficult to  enchant. Since shields   climbed the stairs. Yet, in the back
are at risk of breakage and armor is   of his mind wondered the question --
not,  I'd   prefer  to  see  shields   was that the last of Mallenon?
easier to enchant.                       ________________________________
                                       //                                \
KE: Any  other  comments  or  obser-  ||    Visit the Kulthean Hot Spot   |
vations?                              ||                                  |
                                      ||          HELGA'S TAVERN          |
OB: Just  that if you try to talk to  ||          **************          |
me in  the Temple  or elsewhere  and  ||                                  |
get no  response,  please  don't  be  ||  Great Drinks!  Torkaani Stew!   |
offended. It's  really difficult  to  ||                                  |
whisper to  four or more people at a  ||       Regain your Strength       |
time, and I've been swamped with new  ||         THE FASTEST WAY!         |
friends.                              ||                                  |
                                      ||          Stop by TODAY!          |
KE: Again,  we want to heartily con-   \\________________________________/
gratulate Odds  on his  achievement;                   || |
it is truly a new era he is ushering                   || |
in. Great work!                                    ~~~``~~~~~''~
                            Of Greed and Thieves
                         by Miss Louvella Parsnips
 / \   ____   \
 \@| /~/~~\\  |reed seems to be  the   accept unique and valuable items and
   ||~|    ~~ | operative   word  in   judging from the jewels  and  cloaks
  _||~|  |==| | Kulthea of late, and   she  is adorned with, our  desperate
 /@| \~\__//  | we have learned that   (and rather blind) fellows are  pay-
 \_/  ~~~~~   / an entire  cell-full   ing the price. Of  course,  many  of
   ~~~~~~~~~~~  of thieves have esc-   them are also paying  Surtey  Akrash
aped their confines and  made  their   for treatment afterwards,  but  then
way into Kelfour's Landing.            we  never  said   any  of  them  had
                                       brains, did we?
We  have  learned  that  a   certain
scurrilous young thief, who we susp-   Speaking of desperation, fights have
ect is related to the  late, portly,   been erupting between long time com-
wine loving cleric, has been  offer-   panions  over certain unique  items.
ing his services to young and brain-   We overheard one young fellow state,
less adventurers whenever they  have   as  he  slunk away  after  taking  a
need for someone to open a chest.      nasty  beating,  "the strong and the
                                       rich always win."  How profound.
According  to  the many missives  we
have received from these unfortunate   Many of  Kulthea's   young  maidens,
adventurers, our sly thief opens the   especially  those who wear  clerical
chests and snatches any special item   robes, have been frequenting Frick's
he  might see in the chest and calls   Inn with  several  hardy adventurers
it a fee for services rendered.        in tow. Many silvers have been exch-
                                       anging hands and we find it disgust-
Despite  the   protests of the young   ing,  to  say   the least, that such
adventurers, the thief  has  hoarded   blatant decadent behavior is occuring
many unique items and deprived these   in the once quiet Kelfour's Landing,
new arrivals of what may be the only   and we wonder where this will end.
chance to acquire something  unique.
For shame!                             Speaking   of   decadence,  we  have
                                       learned that our noisome, red-haired
Speaking of greedy thieves, we  have   lady ranger has sent her  sister,  a
learned that a relative of  the  in-   red-haired thief to plague the land-
famous long-winded, lordly thief has   ing. Some say this young thief aided
once  again,   committed  a  henious   the  hussy   who stole the valuables
crime. It seems that this young hus-   from the quest and, in fact,  it  is
sy  used  her powers of invisibility   she who now glories over these items
while  accompanying many adventurers   secreted away in her locker. We,  of
on a rewarding and long quest.  Hid-   course, have no doubt that this red-
den from all eyes,  this  despicable   haired  thief   does  indeed know of
trollop  stole  two  priceless items   the  items,   as bloodlines do speak
from a chest, thereby denying  those   for  themselves and we will be keep-
who were once her friends the use of   ing  a jaded eye on this young trol-
these items and turning herself  and   lop.  We will indeed.
all the members of her family   into
outcasts and pariahs. Well done!       Until  next   month,  gentle reader,
                                       remember  to send your gossip,  news
Thieves are not the only ones  over-   and  bribes   to  MISS.SNOOP (via GE
come  with   greed.  We have learned   Mail) where it will reach our  eager
that our wraithlike  lady  mage  has   eyes at once.
increased the price on services ren-
dered. It seems she  will  now  only   Tra-la for now!
                                    -28-                              KE2N8

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