Kelfour Edition volume II number VIII
The official GemStone IV encyclopedia.
_______________________________________________________________________ / \ \ | | Win a Magnificent Blue Topaz! See Page 4 | @_/_____________________________________________________________________/ | | | | | GemStone III's January 1992 | | Vol.2, No.8 | | _ _ _ ___ | | / ) / ) / ) / __) | | E/ / /_/ / ____ / / _/ ( ____ __ __ ____ | | D/ / __/ / __ ) / / ( __) / _ ) / / / / / ___) | | I/ / /\ \ / ___/ / / / / / (/ / / (_/ / / / | | S/ (_/ \_) (____) (_( (_( (____/ (_____( (_( | | N/ Two _____ _ _ _ _ | |I/ AUTHENTIC / ____) / ) (/ _/ ) (/ | | GemStone III / (__ ___/ / _ ( _) _ ____ ____ | **************** / ____) / _ / / ) / / / ) / _ ) / ) | * Trading Cards* / (__ / (/ / / / / / / / / (/ / / /) / | **************** (_____) (____( (_( (_( (_( (____/ (_((_( | | | | Start YOUR The Kronicles of Kulthea | |Collection Now! | |_____________________________________________________________________| |_____________________________________________________________________| | | | | | | | 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 | | | | | |_____________________________________________________________________| | | | 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 -1- 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. -2- 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. -3- 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- # # # More.. "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 \________________________________/ -5- 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... -6- "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 More... 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. -7- 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." Landing." "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." master." "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." \_________________________________/ -8- 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." More... -9- "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 quest." 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. -11- 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 |____/ \____| -14- 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 idea). "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). -16- 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 -19- 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 -20- 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. this. 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. eternity. 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." possible. 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! ~~~``~~~~~''~ -27- 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 [end]