Kelfour Edition volume IV number I

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 / \                                                                     \
|   |                                   First Issue of KE's Fourth Year!  |
 |                                                                     |
 |                                                                     |
 |    GemStone III(tm)                                      June 1993  |
 |                    _   _           _    ___            Vol 4, No.1  |
 |                   / ) / )         / )  / __)                        |
 |                  / /_/ /  ____   / / _/ (   ____   __  __  ____     |
 |                 /   __/  / __ ) / / (  __) / _  ) / / / / / ___)    |
 |                / /\ \   / ___/ / /  / /   / (/ / / (_/ / / /        |
 |               (_/  \_) (____) (_(  (_(   (____/ (_____( (_(         |
 |             ____                                                    |
 |    ____    ( __ )         _____      _    _    _    _               |
 |   ( __ O\__|\__/|__      / ____)    / )  (/  _/ )  (/               |
 |    \__/ (          )    / (__   ___/ /  _   (  _) _   ____   ____   |
 |   --  \/|  )./\.(  |   /  ___) / _  /  / )  / /  / ) / _  ) /    )  |
 |  /   ) ) (____\___)   /  (_   / (/ /  / /  / /  / / / (/ / / /) /   |
 | (  \  /    \    /    (_____) (____(  (_(  (_(  (_( (____/ (_((_(    |
 |   O/  \    /    |                                                   |
 |   (  \ | /   /  |                                                   |
 |     \ )|(  \  ( )                    The Kronicles of Kulthea       |
 |    / //   \ \   |                                                   |
 |   /  _    /_/   |                                                   |
 |                                                                     |
 |                                                                     |
 |  Kelfour's Landing Local News ................................   1  |
 |  Practical Aspects of RR Spells, Pt II   Lord Trachten Hickapod  2  |
 |  Custom Materials .................................. Kenner Boh  4  |
 |  A Dream Come True ................................... Darkseed  5  |
 |  Another Look at the Mine Road ............. Palance Buckhannah  7  |
 |  Wilderness Report ....................... D. Forrest Hobgoblin  8  |
 |  A Matter of Honor: Part II ....................... Sean2 Lladd  9  |
 |  The Town Square ............................ Alyssya Sandorala 15  |
 |  Visit to Ye Oddity Workshop ................ Lady Phaedra Bleu 16  |
 |  Song of Power's Calling ......................... Erion Kulsen 18  |
 |  First Innocence ................................ Shiloh Strong 24  |
 |  Gladiatorial Games Winners ...................... Kree Morlain 23  |
 |  Bugg's Newsbites ............................ Bugg Hornwort 25,28  |
 |  The Looking Glass War, Conclusion .... Lord Gallenod Varynesti 26  |
 |  Lletters to Lloyd ........................... Lloyd Llowd, PhD 29  |
 |                                                                     |
 |           --*  Plus more limericks by Bugg Hornwort  *--            |
 |                                                                     |
 | Kelfour Edition of the Kronicles of Kulthea is devoted to the multi |
 | player role-playing game GemStone III on GEnie Information Network. |
 | Submissions  may  be  edited for space,  accuracy  and readability. |
 | Contact Editor Rasputin Santare;  Assist. Editors Kalagay Hallatil, |
 | or  Jarran  Terraxx;  or  Publisher Lady Phaedra Bleu by GE Mail to |
 | P.HERRINGTON, for details.                                          |
 |    _________________________________________________________________|___
 |   /                                                                    /
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                                                \ ===|
  Double Newcomer's Nights In June     cooperation,  house  activities  and
  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~     community  relations.  This  meeting
There will be two Newcomer's Welcome   could mark the beginning of some new
and  Orientation  Nights this month:   new and exciting developments in our
House Aspis  will host the  first on   community.  KE will  keep you posted
Tuesday, June 15th; and House Arcane   as things happen.
will host the second on  June  29th.
Both will start at 6 p.m. EDT. These      ________________________________
two   nights   of   orientation  and     /                                \
training will conducted by  some  of    |   Gladiatorial Games are coming! |
Kelfour's  finest citizens, and will    |   ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ |
give  newcomers to GemStone a double    |  June 26th starting at 12PM EDT  |
opportunity  at learning the secrets    |   House Aspis will be holding    |
of success and survival in  Kulthea.    |     the Gladiatorial Games!      |
Pass the word.                          |                                  |
                                        |               Prizes!            |
   First Grand Meeting Of Houses        |               ~~~~~~~            |
   ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~        |    Winners will receive money,   |
Speaking of  Houses, the  first for-    | experience, trophies and special |
mal Inter-house Gathering will  take    |   prizes. Included amongst the   |
place  Saturday,  June 12th, at 6 PM    |  prizes are permabless weapons!  |
Eastern times. Officers of all   the    |                                  |
Chartered  Houses  and their members    | Come out and fight, or just bet  |
have been invited to  attend to dis-    |   on your favorite combatants!   |
cuss,  among  other  things,  mutual     \________________________________/
                             Upcoming Town Forums
         Date    Topic                                      Chair-GM
      9 June     The Anything Goes Topic                         Kygar
     16 June     This Old House (and how to make it better)   Elvanion
     23 June     To Be Announced
     30 June     Closed Essence Spells You Never Knew About   Marvelin
          Town Forums are conducted each Wednesday Night in the Moot
                 Hall Assembly Room at 10:00 PM Eastern time.
                                   \ | /
                               -- --(*)-- --
                                   / | \
 ____________        Practical Aspects of RR Spells, Part II
/ \      __  \       ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
\@|     / "|  |            by Lord Trachten Hickapod
  |    //|"|  |          (Cont'd from KE Vol.3, No.10)
 _|   //=|"|  |
/@|  //  |"|  |n  important  fact  I   more  likely  the  BAR roll  will be
\_/ ~~   ~~~ / did not discuss in my   adjusted to 95.  To get a higher BAR
  ~~~~~~~~~~~ first article,  is the   roll, ie. 96-100, that exact  number
level bonus that  pure spell casters   must be rolled.  There is only a  5%
get  to their  BAR  roll.  For  pure   chance of  this, no matter  what the
spell  casters their  level is added   level of the caster.  Obviously, the
to the BAR roll, UP TO A MAX. OF 95.   95  roll is the  one you really need
The higher level the  caster is, the   to guard against.
 / \                                                                     \
 |                                                                      |
 |                             Bar      Bonus                           |
 |                             Result   Needed                          |
 |                              for      to be                          |
 |              Armor          95 Roll  95% Safe(!)                     |
 |              -------------  -------  -----------                     |
 | Both Realms: Normal/Inert     -55     +105                           |
 |                                                                      |
 | Channeling:  Metal Shield     -40      +90                           |
 |              Metal Armor      -35      +85                           |
 |                                                                      |
 | Essence:     Leather Armor    -45      +95  (+)                      |
 |              Metal Armor      -50     +100                           |
 |                                                                      |
 |                                      (!) Versus creatures your level |
 |                                                                      |
 | (+) Yes, this is correct.  In fact, leather is better than metal vs. |
 |     essence for BAR rolls of 73 or better.  In other words, vs. high |
 |     level casters (level 29 or higher), leather resists  better than |
 |     metal.                                                           |
 |                                                                      |
 | _____________________________________________________________________|
 |@\                                                                     \
          Racial Mods                    ________________________________
          -----------                   /                                \
                                       |            Channeling Essence    |
RR protection  provided by spells is   | Race       Resistance Resistance |
easy  to find from  the spells lists   | ---------- ---------- ---------- |
in the tomes.  Racial protection  is   | Common Man      0         0      |
not  listed outside  the RM manuals,   | High Man       +5        -5      |
however.  Here  is a chart  of  race   | High Elf       -5        -5      |
resistance mods vs. the different RR   | Fair Elf       -5        -5      |
spell types.  One thing worth noting   | Wood Elf        5         5      |
is  the much vaunted  +50 resistance   | Half Elf       -5        -5      |
of halflings, is only versus Essence   | Halfling        0       +50      |
RR spells.                             | Dwarf           0       +40      |
                                    -2-                             More...
                             Armor and Shield Types
Here  are  two  charts  showing  the   expensive shields, so you  will know
various armors and  shields and what   how fragile your 60000 silver shaalk
type of material they are made of as   shield  actually is.  Note  that the
far as RR spells are concerned.  All   popular laen shield is NOT metal.
of these armors may be  purchased at
the armory in town. I have noted the   I have personally tested or observed
ST/BR (better known as the Strength/   all of these armors  and shields  in
Breakage factors),  for some of  the   action vs. RR spells.
                                        \     |     /
                                          \   |   /
                     //@                    \ | /
               @====[*]======================-* - - - - -
                     \\@                    / | \
                                          /   |   \
                                        /     |     \
  / \                                                                     \
  |                                                                      |
  |  Armor Desc            AT  Type     Shield Material  Type   ST/BR    |
  |  -------------------   --  ----     ---------------  -----  ------   |
  |  Naked                  1  Inert    Regular          Inert           |
  |  Robe                   2  Inert    Wood             Inert           |
  |  Light Hide             3  Inert    Hide             Inert           |
  |  Heavy Hide             4  Inert    Leather          Inert           |
  |  Light Leather          5  Leather  Iron             Metal           |
  |  Full Leather           6  Leather  Bronze           Metal           |
  |  Reinforced Leather     7  Leather  Mithril          Metal  65/195   |
  |  Double Leather         8  Leather  Eog              Metal  60/185   |
  |  Leather Breastplate    9  Leather  Ithloss          Metal  65/195   |
  |  Cuirbouilli Leather   10  Leather  Laen             Inert  70/220   |
  |  Ring Mail        (*)  11  Metal    Shaalk           Metal  60/185   |
  |  Studded Leather  (*)  12  Metal                                     |
  |  Scale Mail       (*)  12  Metal    Reinforced       Metal  45/165   |
  |  Brigandine Armor (*)  12  Metal                                     |
  |  Chain Mail            13  Metal                                     |
  |  Double Chain          14  Metal                                     |
  |  Augmented Chain       15  Metal                                     |
  |  Chain Hauberk         16  Metal                                     |
  |  Metal Breastplate     17  Metal                                     |
  |  Augmented Breastplate 18  Metal                                     |
  |  Half Plate Armor      19  Metal                                     |
  |  Full Plate Armor      20  Metal                                     |
  |                                                                      |
  |  (*) Note the quirkiness of AT 11 and 12.  Although leather armors   |
  |  with good THT against things like shockbolt,  they are classified   |
  |  as metal armors in GS vs. RR rolls.                                 |
  |                                                                      |
  |  Also note that AT 10, a rigid leather armor, can be special ordered |
  |  from the armory out of iron, bronze, mithril, etc. which  are Metal |
  |  vs. RR rolls.                                                       |
/@|                                                                      |
/ \ _________ \             Custom Materials
\@| ||=|=|=|| |             ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  | ~~ |_| ~~ |              by Kenner Boh
 _|    |_|    |
/@|   _|_|_   | he following chart describes the  properties of the custom-
\_/__________/  order materials found in the weapons shop and the armory:
|  Material  | Type | $/ft | St/Bf |  OB  | DB  |Dye|   Item   | Base| Ft |
|Alexandrite| Weapon|  200 |  20/30 | -19 | N/A | N |Axe       |  60 |  8 |
|Bronze     | Both  |   15 |  45/80 |  -5 |  -5 | N |Broadsword| 120 | 10 |
|Hide       | Armor |   10 |  50/80 | N/A | -10 | Y |Cudgel    |   5 |  4 |
|Iron       | Both  |   20 | 55/120 |   0 |   0 | Y |Dagger    |   3 |  2 |
|Leather    | Armor |   15 | 50/ 80 | N/A |  -5 | Y |Greatsword| 200 |  8 |
|Metal      | Weapon|   20 | 55/120 |   0 | N/A | Y |Halberd   | 140 |  8 |
|Obsidian   | Weapon|   40 |  45/80 |  -5 | N/A | N |Hammer    | 150 |  9 |
|Ruby       | Weapon| 1000 |  20/30 | -10 | N/A | N |Mace      |  70 |  9 |
|Steel      | Weapon|   20 | 55/120 |   0 | N/A | Y |Rapier    | 220 |  8 |
|Windak     | Weapon|    5 |  50/50 | -10 | N/A | Y |Scimitar  | 110 |  8 |
|Wood       | Both  |    5 |  50/50 | -20 |   0 | Y |Staff     |  10 |  5 |
|Eog        | Both  | 2000 | +15/30 | +10 |  10 | N |Sword     |  70 |  8 |
|Eog (White)| Weapon| 2100 | +15/30 | +10 |  NA | N |Helm      |  10 |  5 |
|Ithloss    | Both  | 3000 | +20/40 | +12 | +12 | Y |Shield    |  10 | 10 |
|Laen       | Both  | 3300 | +24/65 | +15 | +15 | Y |AT10 Armor| 100 | 80 |
|Mithril    | Both  | 1000 | +20/40 |  +5 |  +5 | Y |AT15 Armor| 400 | 90 |
|Shaalk     | Both  | 6500 | +15/40 | +20 | +20 | Y |AT20 Armor|2000 |150 |
                      Explanation of Table Headings
MATERIAL: All materials available in   DB:  The bonus or penalty a material
the weapon and armor shops.            will add  to or  subtract from  your
                                       Defensive Bonus.
TYPE: Kind of item that can be made.
                                       DYE:  If the material can be dyed.
$/FT: Cost per foot of material.
                                       ITEM:  All  the  customizable  items
ST/BF:  Strength/Breakage factors.     found in the weapon and armor shops.
OB:  The bonus or penalty a material   BASE:  Initial cost to make an item.
will add  to or  subtract from  your
Offensive Bonus.                       FT: Amount of material to be used.
                              Further Notes
Item COST =  BASE + ( FT * $ / FT ).   weapon is +24/65, while the St/Bf of
Dyeing costs one extra silver / ft.    a laen shield  is +25/65.  Data  for
                                       white  eog  weapons is  unclear; the
Non-magical materials replace origi-   St/Bf of white eog may be +20/35.
nal item St/Bf values with  the ones
given. Magical materials add to ori-   DB modifiers do not affect helms.
ginal St/Bfs.
                                       Weapons of white eog can be  used by
Helms  and suits  of  armor  are not   clerics to fight Unlife.
breakable.  Weapon breakage is  dis-
cussed in back issues of the Kelfour   First level characters  cannot order
Edition. Oddly, the  St/Bf of a laen   custom-made items.
 ____________                A Dream Come True
/ \ _____    \               ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
\@| ~|_|~    |                  by Darkseed
  |  |~|     |
 _|  |~|  __ | ife   in    Kelfour's   clothing, as  well as  shelter.  She
/@|  |~|__|| | Landing  ain't  easy.   made him  happy, or  rather, pleased
\_/  ~~~~~~~ / I've  lived  here all   him. Though my mother was not happy,
  ~~~~~~~~~~~  my life, and if there   she wasn't starving either.
is one  thing I've  learned  on  the
streets, it's that life  ain't easy.   Larton soon grew tired of my mother.
Let me explain.                        She became more and  more demanding.
                                       It seemed she actually wanted atten-
My name is Gub, and I've been on the   tion, she wanted  to be listened to,
streets of  Kelfour's Landing all my   actually to be treated with respect!
life, an orphan with no one to watch   All this, plus the thought of having
over me.  I spent all my time either   to deal with a child  had ill effect
begging for money or lifting it from   on Larton.  He'd had it.  One night,
the  purses of  all  those  fighting   in a drunken rage, he sent my mother
types around town.                     bruised  and running, back into  the
                                       streets for safety.
Where do  they all come from anyway?
Every  day  more  and  more of those   My  mother lived  on scraps  and the
fighters  and  mages show up, bewil-   occasional  silver  from  a mage  or
dered and lost. Seems like they make   ranger.  I was  born in  an alleyway
up the whole population of our town.   with no one else to care for me. For
town. Why  is it there's  no one who   the  first three  years of  my life,
was born here?  Everyone has a  past   she begged, stole, and  even killed,
in a far-off spot. Not me, though. I   to see that I was never hungry.
was born right here.
                                       Then one dark day, amidst a fight in
My mother  was a  beggar  in  Shanty   the town square  between a mad  mage
Town,  scrounging for  food to  stay   and several  adversaries, my  mother
alive. One day she came across a man   was  caught  in  a  stun  cloud  and
named Larton  closing  up  his  lock   killed.  It was  on that day  that I
shop.  She  timidly  approached  the   truly became alone.
rough-looking  man and  asked  if he
had a few spare silvers.               After living  on my  own for  a  few
                                       years, I  began to grow stronger and
Larton let go a low, guttural growl,   slowly came to see that maybe  I had
"Begone,  beggar  girl!"  My  mother   potential to  be more  than a common
turned in fright and  began to hurry   street urchin. I had  a bit of  cash
off down Reann Street. As he watched   saved up  from begging and such, and
the poor yet  appealing girl flee, a   one  day I  decided  to enroll  in a
glint in  Larton's  eye  showed  the   school of fighting to learn to use a
locksmith's head was full of ideas.    blade. For  the next  four years,  I
                                       learned about  weapons, armor, first
In a quick  flash, Larton  caught up   aid, and  other skills  that allowed
with the girl and grabbed her by the   me to  become a  competent  fighter.
arm. "Wait," he said. "Come with me,   I learned lockpicking too, a skill I
and  we'll  see  about  some  food."   took naturally to.
Larton  flashed a crooked smile that
made my mother uneasy.  But she  was   Finally  my  instructors  deemed  me
very hungry and a meal was something   ready to leave  the school and begin
she couldn't resist. "So what's your   my  life  as a true adventurer, just
name?" asked Larton, as they  disap-   like  those  I saw  around  me. They
peared into the night.                 loaned  me some silvers  and told me
                                       to  make something  of myself. Alone
My  mother  stayed  with Larton  for   once more, I decided to purchase for
several months. He gave her food and   myself equipment  that I knew how to
use. I got some heavy hide  armor, a   I loved  my life as a fighter. I had
broadsword,  and other things that I   such  freedom  to  fight  any  way I
was most proficient in using. Soon I   wanted to.  There was  always a mage
looked just  like  the  other adven-   or  ranger around  to give  me  some
turers in town, and so began my life   protective spells, so I didn't worry
as a fighter.                          about learning  the arts  of  magic.
I quickly made  friends among people   Soon, there was little left to learn
with interests like mine. Weeks  ran   about swinging  a blade.  I was able
into  months as  I ventured  outside   to  focus  on  other  talents,  like
the walls to fight the denizens sur-   becoming a better lock picker or be-
rounding my home.  As time sped  by,   ing  able to climb anything I found.
I grew stronger,  able  to  swing my   Anything  physical  was easily over-
broadsword with more and more force.   come by  my  strength and my skills.
In  addition, I became used to wear-   I  knew that this  was what I wanted
ing various types of armor that pro-   to  be. I loved what I had,  because
tected me from an enemies' blows. As   I  knew  it  was  special.  Being  a
a fighter using only my brute force,   fighter  made  me special,  and that
it was easy to become stronger  with   was all I could ever ask for.
more  vigor.  I  also  started using
other  weapons.  It seemed  I  could   Looking back  now, it  seems strange
have  my  pick of any weapon,  while   to me that I became one of the kinds
my  ranger, thief,  mage,  and other   of people  I grew  up around.  Never
friends  were  more  limited to one-   in my  wildest dreams as a boy did I
handed  edged  weapons. Rarely did I   think I'd  wind  up like the  adven-
see a sorcerer carrying anything but   turers who make up this town.
a  falchion  or broadsword. Me?  I'd
pull out my mace,  my large,  heavy,   Now I know  why so many of them come
powerful claidmore, or even a rapier   here. I finally see  what draws them
on  occasion.  I  felt I truly  knew   to  this  frontier  town. This love,
weapons and  what they  were  about.   this passion for adventure, is truly
I also learned first aid, and fight-   a  remarkable  thing.  And  to  this
ing with my bare hands. Once I best-   day, I can't help but smile as I buy
ed a fellow mage barehanded.           lockpicks from Larton now and then.
         __\  ____\                                         \
        /    / \__|           ART'S DEMISE                   |
       |    |     |         ________________________________/
       |__   \___/_________/ by Bugg Hornwort             \
        /                                                  |
        \                                                 _|
          \        The bailiff, a cold-blooded fiend,     \
           |         Concocted a brilliant scheme.         |
           |             He'd off that old snob            |
           |             Who was after his job,            |
           |          And walk away totally clean.         |
           |                                               |
           |     He chose a dumb blonde for the part,      |
           |  Then had her trained in the assassin's art.  |
           |           The best part of his plan          _|
           |            Was, she was a torkaan,           \
           |     And that's how he bush-wacked ol' Art.    |
           |                                               |
          /_________________                               |
         ||\                \_______________________________
         ||_|                                                \
         |  |                                                 |
          \/________________________________________________ /
                       Another Look at the Mine Road
 ___________           ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
/ \  ______ \               Palance Buckhannah
\@| /~/~~\_\ |
  | \~\____~ |
 _| _~~~~\~\ |ome new characters are   All the monsters  in the area  carry
/@| \~\__/~/ |so  anxious   to  "get   chests  around  with  them  (now and
\_/  ~~~~~~ / into   the  thick   of   then) and  all have skins  or  hides
  ~~~~~~~~~~  things" that they lose   that  can be sold in  town for a few
sight  of one of  the best  areas to   quick silvers.  If you've never been
get  experience  and  treasure.  The   on the  mine road, take  a side trip
Mine Road has been a blessing for me   over the bridge and  up the  bank to
in my 8 years' training as a Healer.   see  what  you're  missing. You  may
It is half way between town and Hob-   find that it's  a place  you want to
goblins,  which  makes  for a  quick   spend some time in.
journey if someone  needs healing at
either place.                          I realize  that a  map of  the  mine
                                       road  is  easily  found  in Zepath's
It is  also an  area where  you  can   master  maps and in  back  issues of
work on your combat skills. With the   the  Kelfour Edition, but here  is a
presence of  the Kobold, Lesser Orc,   quick one  for  those  who  want  to
and the Goblin, you have a wonderful   "take a peek."

mix of beasties to either hunt alone
(Goblins  and Kobolds  for new play-      _____________________________
ers)  or with a  group (Lesser  Orcs    /~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~\\
for  the  more  experienced  or  for   |          [T] <- climb pine     |:
larger parties of new players).        :         /         (to goblins) |:
                                       :      [ ]   [C] <-,             |:
Since the area attracts new players,   :       |     |    |             |:
a Healer's  presence  is invaluable.   |      [ ]   [ ]   |             |:
Too  many times  I have bumped  into   |        \   /     |             |:
people who did not even realize they   |    [ ]  [ ]     climb rock     |:
were injured.  Still others  did not   |       \  |      (to Mines)     |:
know they were bleeding  to death on   |         [ ]                    |:
the road. The benefits to new  char-   :          |                     |:
acters  and  to  a  Healer  both are   |         [ ]                    |:
quite impressive.                      :        /                       |:
                                       :     [ ]                        |:
  ____________________________________ |    /                           |:
/~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  [ ]                            |:
:                                         |                N            |:
:         go                             [ ]               }            |:
:  [ ] - path - [P]                     /                  O            |:
|   |         go gate                [ ] - [ ]           (/ \)          |:
|  [ ]    [ ] - [G]                   |     |     W <- (   *   ) -> E   |:
|   |      |                         [ ]    |            (\ /)          |:
|  [ ]    [ ]    G = Town Gates       |     |              O            |:
|   |      |     P = Path out of     [ ]   [ ]             {            |:
:  [ ]    [ ]          town            \   /               S            |:
|   |        \                          [ ]                             |:
:  [ ]       [S] = Town Square         /                                |:
:   |                               [ ]          MAP of ROUTE           |:
|  [ ]                        climb /                from               |:
:    \                          / bank            TOWN SQUARE           |:
:     [ ] - [ ] - [ ] - go -  [ ]                   to the              |:
|                                                                       |:
                               Wilderness Report
 ____________                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
/ \ _____    \              by D. Forrest Hobgoblin
\@| ~|_|~    |
  |  |~|     |
 _|  |~|  __ |
/@|  |~|__|| |o there all!  This  is   into  a small snuff box.  I couldn't
\_/  ~~~~~~~ /  yer  field  reporter   even defend  meself  in this  thing.
  ~~~~~~~~~~~  D.Forrest   Hobgoblin   All that metal an' all I could do is
commin to you from the wild side....   become a one hob sardine can. Great.
                                       Another adventure  prematurely ended
Well,  let's get right to the story.   by you lousy smellies.
I  was minden' my own  business,  as
usual, an'  I runs  across  this BIG   So the  next week  when I  wanderin'
tin can. I couldn't believe it. Well   around  collectin'  up  more of  the
actually it was this  weirdo dressed   trash you  all  leave about  (What a
in  this metal suit but _boy_ did it   dirty place you've made the forrest,
look neat!  All new  an' shiny... He   it used  to be so  clean an' tidy...
was decked out  in it  from  head to   Why even the Goblins are startin' to
toe.  I wanted to  mosey on over an'   complain an they're _really_ dirty!)
talk to him when allofasudden one of   Anyway,  I was walkin  about playin'
my nieghbors,  Rocky T. Orc,  rushes   "trash hob" an' I  happen upon Rocky
this  guy  an' forces  him  to climb   again complainin' about  his stomach
this really steep  cliff.  Rocky's a   ache.  Sos I  ask him whats  he been
mean  bugger  an' I thought it would   eatin an' he says, "I've been <burp>
be best to hide in the  bushes while   scroungen  around  the  walls of the
he beat on  this smellie for  a bit.   <oof>   smellies  an'  thier  dumped
So  this  poor  smellie  gets  about   food's there fer the picken.." Well,
halfway  up  an'  realizes  that  he   I tells him that he  oughta stick to
never  had any  formal  trainin'  in   torkan stew an' marmot  cuttlets but
climbin', falls, an' smashes himself   he says  that he's  eatin it to have
on the rocks.                          one up on you  smellies.  He told me
                                       that you all think that certain orcs
Dead.  Just like that.  How fragile,   have some amazin magical power! BAH!
eh?  Well Rocky  laughs an'  wanders   It  ain't no  power  of magic,  I'll
off mumblin'  somethin' about havin'   tell you  that  much!  Its  yer food
gas an'  sos I, bein' as smart  as I   that's given these orcs gas! BAD gas
am, run over  to this  heap of metal   at that!  (Boy  the last  time I saw
an'  quickly put it on.   WOW....was   lightnin' clouds like  that was when
it heavy!  By the  time I got it on,   Elvanian came over for supper..well,
I could hardly' the heat!   nevermind) I never could cook a good
Sheesh,  this  smellie really needed   smElf*burger.  <sigh>  I  hope  this
some Edram deoderant! PeeeeYewwww!     clears  up some minor misconceptions
                                       up  about  magic  an' the  great tin
Sos there I was in this tin can, all   cans.  Oh, no...  Where  are my  ear
shiny an' clinky, an' I realize that   plugs!  I think I hear the soprannos
it really is  hard to move around in   again...EEEEKK!
this  thing.  Then I  heard singin'.   ------------------------------------
Horrible  noises  comin' from around              HILGAVOLKAS
the bend!  It was them!  The dreaded              ~~~~~~~~~~~
singin' freaks...The ones you call..           by Bugg Hornwort
BARDS! I tried to run, but the sound
reverberated  in the tin can so much     Hilgavolkas, a cleric impressive,
it  almost  rattled my  brain loose!   Of Caretaker is fond and possessive.
There I was, tryin' to slowly waddle         But the job is so tough,
away in  this giant tin  can an' the        Cleaning cobwebs and stuff
valkaries are desendin' upon me like            From Care's beard,
flies on...well you get the picture.     that there's no time for rezzes.
Within no time, they  had reduced me  ------------------------------------
 ____________             A Matter of Honor: Part II
/ \ _________\            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
\@| ||=|=|=|| |                 by Sean2 Lladd
  | ~~ |_| ~~ |         (Cont'd from KE Volume 3, #10)
 _|    |_|    |
/@|   _|_|_   |he story thus far:  Our hero,  a half-elven mercenary, filed
\_/__________/ a complaint  against his captain with  the local Mercenary's
Guild chapter.  While attempting to give his true name to Mikel, the  Guild
Receptionist, he was struck by an  elvish  Name Curse that  had been placed
upon him by his grandfather. Oskar, a Guild Mage, removed most of the curse
and Sean was taken to the guild infirmary for further examination.
Sean passed  out from  the strain  of the curse  and is  currently sleeping
in the infirmary.  Theo, the guild's Master Healer, and Oskar are preparing
to trance-read Sean's  memories so  as to use them as impartial evidence in
the case against Sean's ex-CO. The trance-read memories will be placed in a
specially prepared crystal that may be used later by anyone who has had the
proper spell cast upon them.  The crystal could be thus used in court.
/ \                                                                      \
\@| Cast of Characters:                                                   |
  |            Sean - Fighter, Mercenary (Junior Journeyman Class), Our   |
  |                   Hero.                                               |
  |           Mikel - Guild Receptionist, Fighter, Mercenary (Master      |
  |                   Class)                                              |
  |           Oskar - Guild Mage, Mercenary (Master Class)                |
  |      Theophilus - Guild Healer, Mercenary (Master Class)              |
  |         Torvaal - Captain "Torvaal's Weasels", Mercenary              |
  |          Miktok - Mage, Mercenary (Senior Journeyman Class)           |
  |    T'Maerionnal - Sean's Maternal Grandfather, Elf Lord, Mage/Sorceror|
  |                   (Master Class)                                      |
  |         Lyrinda - Guild Healer, Mercenary (Senior Apprentice Class)   |
  | ______________________________________________________________________|
  |@\                                                                      \
                           The story continues:
I was floating  in the air, drifting   will be just fine.  I know what I am
like a wind-blown leaf with no past,   doing."
no  future and nothing to  remember.
Memories. Memories of memories, they   The  healer,  a small  mountain of a
were so vague and insubstantial, yet   man, turned back towards the bed and
so real, and harsh.  Some  pleasant,   began to  examine the  prone  figure
most were painful and full of shame.   more closely.
Voices in the distance; strange, yet
familiar and  somehow  comforting in   The clothing  is typical of  a young
that familiarity. Touch. A cool hand   mercenary.  Not too  flashy, as that
on  my forehead and  my old  nurse's   could  bring thieves and other kinds
voice telling me that I am safe  and   of trouble  in towns and cities, but
I should rest. I try to turn towards   serviceable and obviously well made.
the familiar voice, but the darkness   The  leather baldric  and sword belt
comes again...                         are clean  and  supple, as  are  the
                                       lightly  polished boots now standing
"Theo, are  you sure he is alright?"   next to the bed.  The  total bespeak
the  one-armed man  asked,  somewhat   an attention to detail and a certain
anxiously.                             amount of conscientiousness.
"Mikel,"  the  healer  replied.  "He   The face is that of a young man with
                                     -9-                            More...
perhaps a  slightly  exotic cast  to   as he started to pick up the gear on
it.  Something  about  the shape and   the floor.  "Tell me later.  The boy
slant of  the eyes perhaps, or maybe   is the important thing right now."
the  lobes of  his  ears.  The  hair
seems somehow out of  place with the   The one-armed man  paused and looked
face, being  black and  straight, as   down  at  the figure on the  bed.  A
well as  cut short  in order  to fit   strange look  crossing  his face but
under a helmet.  Yet, it was still a   was quickly gone again.
young  face, that  when caught in an
unguarded  moment, such  as  now, an   "You are not a boy anymore," he said
innocent face.                         very softly.  "My brother  would  be
                                       proud of you."
The one-armed  man stood impatiently
at the foot of the bed, his distress   The one-armed  man finished  picking
obvious by the distracted way he was   up the  scattered gear  and left the
rubbing at the place where his  left   room, strangely silent.
forearm used  to be.  He  started to
speak,  but caught  himself  with an   The healer, having  already returned
obvious effort.                        to his  patient,  appearing to  have
                                       heard none of this. He began passing
"Mikel," the healer snapped over his   his  hands over the boys  head  in a
shoulder.  "You are as  nervous as a   gesture  similar to the one the mage
rat  in a ferretry!  If you  can not   had used earlier. The blue glow that
make yourself  be still,  then  make   emanated from  his hands  was deeper
yourself be useful. Take his gear to   in  color as well as  much  brighter
a guest cell, then have Oskar  bring   than the mage's previous attempt had
me a Class III Jer'myin crystal."      been. A faint red glow emanated from
                                       the prone figure's head.
"Class III!?" Mikel asked surprised.
                                       "There  is still  something  there,"
"Yes, you know as well as I do, that   the healer muttered to  himself.  "I
Torvaal and the grandfather will try   just wish I knew what it was and why
to alter his testimony. That bastard   it is still there."
Miktok is powerful  enough to effect
anything lesser, as for  that elvish   "You know,"  came a high  voice from
misbegotten p`oktarn the boy calls a   behind the healer.  "If you continue
grandfather ...Well,  at  any  rate,   talking to yourself like  that, then
Oskar will have to ward the thing so   people  are going  to start thinking
that even  the gods  could not touch   that you are mentally unsound.  As I
it, a  Class III  is the  only thing   have been  saying  for the past year
that will take that kind of power."    and a half, I would  not be  of much
                                       use as  a character witness at  your
The healer stopped  and straightened   trial, now would I?"
himself, drawing in a deep breath as
if to calm himself. He turned to the   "Oskar," the  healer replied,  a bit
man at  the foot  of the  bed with a   startled.  "I did not  hear you come
somewhat sheepish grin.                in. I did not expect you for another
                                       half a candle mark."
"Oye," he said.  "I got a bit worked
up there."                             "Theo, I knew what you were going to
                                       need as soon as  his uncle called me
"You  too, eh?"  the  one-armed  man   into the reception area,"  the  mage
asked, with a slight grin.  "Well, I   retorted,  pointing to the figure on
know why  I am  here.  As for Oskar,   the bed.
he is here because I am here.  Now I
think I  have  an idea  why you  are   "While I am  thinking about it, when
here."                                 are you going to  start referring to
                                       civilized time referents?" the  mage
"No, not now," the healer continued,   continued, with a  mischievous glint
                                    -10-                            More...
in his eye.  "The ancients  invented   You got the  most obvious part,  the
clocks  about 20,000  years ago  (if   part that was on the surface.  There
you believe  the  elves), so  why do   is  still something  in  there, some
your  people still  insist  on using   linkage  with  the old man probably,
candlemarks?"                          and that part is going  to take both
                                       of us to remove."
The healer  glanced up quickly, just
catching the  grin of  amusement  on   "This  boy.. err.. man," the  healer
the mage's face.                       corrected himself.  "His un, I mean,
                                       Mikel.  Mikel was right,  he  is  no
"Never mind  about the candles," the   longer a  boy.  From  the glimpses I
healer replied  with his  own  grin.   got initially, I doubt that  he ever
"His uncle, eh? That explains a lot.   really  had a boyhood.  At any rate,
But how did you know I  would want a   young Sean is in  as near  perfect a
Class III crystal?  How did you find   pre-trance state as any I have  ever
one in the first place?"               seen."
"Well,"  the mage responded  tartly.   "What!"  the mage  exclaimed loudly.
"What else  did  you  think I  would   "You know we are not  ready to  read
use?  As for where I got  it, I have   him yet!  If you maintain the trance
had this  particular  crystal  since   until we are ready,  you will be too
the day they  had carried Mikel back   weak to properly deep-read him.  You
without his arm.  This is one of the   know that I can not do it!"
best crystals I have ever seen. Cost
me...well, it cost me. But I have it   "Relax," the healer  replied calmly.
and that is all that counts."          "It  appears to be natural.  He  had
                                       started  to come  to,  but then just
"As  for  the  relationship  between   slipped into  a nice even, deep pre-
Mikel and this young man," the  mage   trance state.  If it is not natural,
continued quickly. "No-one must ever   then  I will take it as a gift  from
know.  Including the young man lying   the gods. Either way, he is sleeping
there.  The guild allowed us to come   peacefully and  looks to  remain  so
here for a reason; actually, for two   for quite awhile."
reasons.  But both of  those reasons
hinge on the young man's testimony."   The healer turned  and gazed down at
                                       the figure  laying upon the cot.  He
"So," he continued.  "If anyone were   stood  there for  a minute, absently
to suspect  there was  any  hint  of   rubbing his chin with his left hand.
bias from the adjudication team..."    The mage  waited patiently,  a small
                                       grin on his face.
"Headed by me," the mage interjected
with a sly grin.                       "Well," the healer shook himself and
                                       straightened  up.  "Talking  wins no
"As well  as Mikel  and myself," the   battles.  Whatever the  reason, Sean
healer continued, matching  the grin   is  resting and it will only  take a
on the mage's face. "Then the guilds   nudge  to put  him  into  the proper
honor, and  the  evidence,  will  go   state for a deep-read."
right into the midden heap."
                                       The healer  glanced at  the sleeping
"Not only the  guilds honor," stated   figure with a  puzzled look upon his
the mage flatly.  "But  yours, mine,   face, then turned to face the mage.
Mikel's and this young man's.  So we
had  better  get this  force on  the   "We might  as well  start with  you,
move!  Oh, by the way, what was that   seeing as how someone or some thing,
about something  still there?  I got   has so conveniently solved our power
that curse  did I get that   problem for us.  I will read you now
curse out.  Didn't I?"                 to  get the part about the curse and
                                       what happened in the reception area;
"No, I  do not  think that  you did.   then we  will get a  deposition from
                                    -11-                            More...
Mikel tomorrow  and seal  it  in the   source of the laughter.
crystal then.  You ready?"
                                       "Not *ALL* the gods, you wicked  old
"Aye," answered the mage grimly.  "I   man.  Not all..."
have been ready ever since my shield
brother  had lost  his arm  and that   The old man loses his concentration,
pox-ridden  son-of-a-desert-flea had   his eyes  widening in surprise.  The
thrown him out of the company."        power he had  started  to  carefully
                                       gather  releases  itself prematurely
"Oskar!" snapped the healer.  "Get a   in  a brilliant flash  of blue-white
grip.  If that  comes through in the   light.  The  unmistakable stench  of
crystal..."                            lightning lingers in the air,  along
                                       with  the smell  of burnt  wine  and
"You are right," the mage said quite   charred carpeting.
simply. "I am sorry. It is just that
I have...we have, waited for  a long   Sitting in a charred  circle  in the
time.  Give me  a moment and I  will   tower  room, the old man curses, his
focus and shield myself properly."     powers scattered  and useless  to be
           ____________                of  any use.  He hears the  laughter
                                       once again.
A large  tower room,  overlooking  a               ____________
large city.  It is almost nightfall,
the  sounds of  the city  seem muted   "Well, that  just about  covers your
and distant, as if  the city  itself   testimony.  Now  we have got  to get
was settling down to sleep. A gentle   somebody  to monitor  while we  read
breeze gently floated in through the   the lad."
west windows, bringing a hint of the
various flowers and herbs growing in   Theo  stood  up and  stretched.  The
the garden many stories below.         effort  required  to record  Oskar's
                                       testimony into the crystal had  been
An old  man sits  in a finely carved   minimal, as both men were Masters in
wooden chair, a mage's Minor Seat of   their respective professions and had
Power, a glass of wine laying on the   worked many  times  together in  the
floor next  to him, the spilled wine   past.  The problem was,  that  Theo,
staining the carpet a blood red. The   like most very  large men, tended to
old man is unaware of the  glass, or   stiffen up rather quickly if he held
the spilled wine. His eyes, cold and   one position for any length of time.
grey like  the winter sea,  they are
focused on something  far beyond the   "I know  just the  lass," the master
room,  something  that  only  he can   healer continued.
see.  His hand, which once  held the
magically chilled glass of wine, was   "Well, I certainly  hope this one is
clutching a  small  pendant  hanging   far better than  the last nincompoop
around his neck.                       you foisted off on me," grumbled the
                                       mage.  "Fool  could not even  cure a
"The fools would interfere," hissing   headache!"
softly to himself. "By all the gods,
they shall not."                       "Oskar,  I told you,  the  headaches
                                       caused by your over-exertions in the
The old  man starts  to draw himself   field of magery is  vastly different
up, to begin to reinforce his spell,   than  an every  day, run-of-the-mill
a spell cast long  ago and with much   headache.  IF you  had  bothered  to
care and hatred. His eyes go distant   tell me EXACTLY what the problem had
and flat, as if dead, or empty.        been, I would not  have assigned Mal
                                       to do the job in the first place!"
Suddenly,  his eyes  focus again.  A
small,  silvery  laugh floats on the   The mage  just stood  there grinning
edge of his  consciousness.  The old   from ear to ear,  much like a  child
man strains to hear, to identify the   that  has pulled off  a particularly
                                    -12-                            More...
clever trick.  The healer grabbed up   back door,  arms outstretched  for a
a  pillow  from the nearest  cot and   few minutes, then nodded to himself,
flung it at the mage, a grin forming   apparently  satisfied  with his  new
on his own face in response.           handiwork.

"Oskar,  you could  try the patience   "Theo, can  you check  your Healer's
of a god.  You are lucky that  there   Wards before we begin?"
was  not a full bedpan  near, or you
would have gotten that instead."       "Got a hunch?"  Theo asked  quietly,
                                       catching  the concern in  the mage's
"What makes  you think that your aim   voice.  "Or is something going on?"
with  a bedpan is  any  better?" the
mage quipped.  "No, just go get your   "Right now  it is  merely a  hunch,"
medical prodigy, whoever she is..."    Oskar explained.  "But  with who  we
                                       are dealing  with, better  safe than
The mage  stood up, cocking his head   sorry.  You check the  Wards, I will
to one side,  as  if  listening  for   finish setting things up here."
something  that only he  could hear.
He sniffed at  the air, and abruptly   Theo nodded  briefly  and  turned to
turned,  heading  towards the  front   the apprentice, who had been quietly
entrance to the infirmary. He opened   standing beside him for the past few
the door and yelled up the hall.       minutes.

"Mikel, I am  warding the infirmary.   "Alright, Lyrinda," he said quietly.
Try to keep the  emergencies down to   "I want you  to check ALL the Wards,
a minimum."                            just like we have done before.  Only
                                       this  time,  I am  merely  going  to
Not bothering to wait for a response   observe, not guide."
he closed the door and shot the bolt
on the inside.  He then paused for a   The girl quietly rubbed her hands on
second and started tracing sigils in   her blue-bordered  smock and  took a
the  air  in front of  the door.  He   deep breath.  She cast a nervous eye
then reached into a pouch hanging at   at the  mage and  reddened  when she
his side  and carefully took a small   saw Oskar watching her intently. She
pinch of glittering powder, which he   quickly lowered her eyes and drew in
threw at the door, at  the same time   another breath.
chanting a Word of power.  Suddenly,
a  scintillating  pattern formed  in   "Do not worry lass,  I will  be with
the doorway  and seemed to melt into   you.  Do it  like it was  a practice
the door and frame surrounding it.     session.  You  can  handle this,  we
                                       both know it."
"Pretty strong ward isn't it?" asked
Theo, who  had been standing by  the   She looked up at  the master healer,
cot holding Sean, watching.            nodding.  She stretched her arms out
                                       in an unconscious mimicry of Oskar's
Oskar just made  a "not now" gesture   earlier pose and immediately slipped
with one hand and walked over to the   into a light trance.  Theo stretched
other entrance to the room. Stopping   out one hand towards the  girl, palm
for a second and cocking  one eye at   outward, fingers splayed.
                                       Immediately, a pale blue glow formed
"Aye, we are  all here," the  healer   around her, followed by an answering
stated.                                glow around the  healer's hand.  The
                                       aura around the girl  was not nearly
As Theo  turned to  give some  quiet   as  bright as that of the one around
instructions  to the  apprentice now   the master healer  and it seemed  to
standing silently at his side, Oskar   pulse slightly.  The healer muttered
repeated his  earlier performance at   something  and the  aura  around the
the  second door.  He stood  at  the   girl firmed up, though  still not as
                                    -13-                            More...
bright as that of the master's.        briefly, then settled  into a steady
                                       glow.  As it steadied, it brightened
The healers, master  and apprentice,   perceptibly  and  then faded  slowly
stood  quietly for a couple minutes,   away.  Suddenly Sean  was surrounded
then the  master withdrew  his hand.   by the same glow which stretched out
As his  hand fell to  his side,  the   a tendril  towards  the  apprentice,
aura around  him faded  and the aura   then faded away. The light blue glow
around the girl seemed to be flowing   formed around the two other men, the
upwards and  downwards at  the  same   same tendrils forming briefly as the
time. The girl sighed and stood with   glow faded.
her eyes  closed,  relaxing  in  the
after-calm of the trance.              "Good, very  well done,"  Theo said.
                                       "I know that you can hear me Lyrinda
"Good," the healer said quietly.  "I   but  do not try  to answer.  You are
knew you were ready."                  not up to that level yet.  I will be
                                       going into the patient's memories to
"Now for the  tricky part," he said,   extract  what we need  for evidence,
turning to face the mage and the man   Oskar will  be the  active bridge to
laying on the cot. "You will need to   the crystal.  Your job  is to  watch
lightly monitor  both Oskar  and me,   our vital signs. If anything serious
actively  monitor Sean,  AND keep  a   starts  to happen, I  should be able
watch on the wards."                   to withdraw in time to help you."

"Do not  worry,"  he said,  catching   With a  brief nod  to the mage, Theo
the  quick  look of  apprehension in   entered into a trance-state. He then
the younger healer's eyes. "It would   leaned towards the young  man on the
take something on the order of a god   bed,  placing  both  hands on either
to get through now.  I just want you   side of his head.  There was a brief
to act as a possible witness in case   flash of red, followed by  a look of
something does try to breach them."    irritation on the healer's face.  He
                                       adjusted his hands  slightly, trying
Oskar lifted one eyebrow towards the   again  to  enter  Sean's mind.  This
master healer and smiled briefly.      time he  was apparently  successful,
                                       because he sighed softly, relaxing.
"Well Theo, if you and, er, Lyrinda,
are ready, we will begin."             The mage  watched for a minute to be
                                       sure that all was well, then started
"OK  Lyrinda,  again,  this  is just   chanting over a  glowing  blue-green
like we  have practiced,"  Theo said   crystal.  At once, the crystal began
to his apprentice,  with a quick nod   to pulse with the mage's  heartbeat.
to the mage.  "Focus  first on Sean,   Abruptly, an intense blue-green beam
then pick us up, then the wards."      of light flashed  from  the crystal,
                                       touching the mages forehead, another
She nodded,  sitting down on the cot   flashed from the mage to the healer.
next to  Sean and  began  stretching   Once done, the mage closed  his eyes
her arms out again.                    and settled himself.

"No lass,  that is  not  necessary,"   Unnoticed by  anyone in  the room, a
Theo  chided  softly.  "If you  hold   female  form appeared next  to them.
that position for too long, the pain   She observed them for a few seconds,
will overcome your concentration  in   then  gestured, a third  beam lanced
a short time.  Just sit in a relaxed   from the  crystal to the apprentice.
position,  enter  your  trance,  and   The woman nodded slightly and with a
monitor."                              fond look at Sean, faded out.  After
                                       she left, the three people linked to
She nodded, placing her hands in her   the crystal  sat as if  in a  frozen
lap. She carefully slipped back into   tableau;  the healer  linked to  the
the trance-state, the blue glow once   crystal via the mage, the apprentice
again forming around her.  It pulsed   linked directly to the crystal...
                                    -14-                [To Be Continued]
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    |   |    \__/ \_|_/ |  \|      ___/ \__/\ \___/  |   | |   \ |____  |
    |                                                                   |
                                                Art by Alyssya Sandorala
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            o0o0o0oo   oo0o0o0    /!!oo0o0 0@o0o0oo  |                ||__|_
         OO @o0o0   oo0o0! \ oo!!oo0 o0o0o    o0o0   |   MOOT HALL    ||__|_
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                                                 MM             MM
                         Visit to Ye Oddity Workshop
 ______________          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
/ \ ____  ____ \            by Lady Phaedra Bleu
\@| ~| |  | |~  |
  |  |~|--|~|   |
 _|  |~|--|~|   |alfling mage extra-   with   manuscripts  affixed  to  the
/@| _|~|  |~|_  |ordinaire, the Lord   earthern  walls.  A well-stocked bar
\_/ ~~~~  ~~~~ / Odds Bodkins,  cast   stood  near  a fireplace, and I soon
  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~  a spell  to  unlock   found  my  glance moving over a very
the  beautiful copper-clad door con-   low  desk  into  the  handsome brown
necting  the  antechamber  with  his   eyes  of  Lord Odds, who leaned back
consulting  chambers  in  the Oddity   in  a  comfy  little  chair just his
Workshop.   We  had travelled far to   size.   Not  for the first time that
reach this magical place, south from   day,  I  found  myself pondering the
the   gates  of  Kelfour's  Landing,   vagaries of mixed parentage.
through  grasslands and forests into
steeply  rugged foothills from which   "I feel like Alice," I observed with
we  glimpsed  the  grandeur  of  the   a  smile, dropping my gaze and keep-
eastern  stretch  of the Dragonsfang   ing my thoughts to myself.  "But you
Mountains.  As we neared our destin-   were saying...?"
ation,  the  soaring peak of Lyftoth
Mountain loomed to the south.          "Ah, yes. I am here.." he continued,
                                       indicating  with  a wave of his hand
My  throat was parched, not from the   the  workshop  in general, "by leave
long trip  or from squeezing through   of  the  Great  Gnoll,  who seems to
a crevice to reach the mountain path   have  a  bit  of  influence  in this
that  ultimately lead to a foot-high   area."  He smiled into my eyes as he
fissure  in  the  rough  stone  of a   stood,  and I couldn't help noticing
narrow ledge (for I am accustomed to   that  the  top  of  his  head was at
such things), but from the momentary   least  two feet beneath the ceiling.
terror  of  suddenly  finding myself   Maybe three.  "My dealings have been
diminished  -- without warning, mind   through  an  agent, a  fellow called
you  --  to a height of 6 inches!  A   Snibble," he explained, "who has ar-
humbling experience at best, which I   ranged things fairly much to my sat-
deem  to be intentional.  Or perhaps   isfaction. Would you care to see the
dryness  is  another  effect  of the   laBORatory?"  he asked,  pronouncing
bright  red  smastan  berries  I had   it with  the emphasis on the  second
plucked   and   impulsively  gobbled   syllable.
prior  to my transformation.  At any
rate, I was back to my tall, slender   "Indeed,  I  certainly would," I re-
elven self immediately upon clamber-   plied, rising to resume my carefully
ing  through  the  tiny  fissure,  a   hunched stance.
condition  made  apparent by my need
to  hunch over to avoid catching the   Taking  our  drinks  with us, he led
hood  of  my cloak on the ceiling of   the  way  back into the antechamber.
the low cave of this antechamber.      Just  as  he  began  another spell I
                                       glimpsed  a  faint  shimmering light
Ducking  through the doorway, I fol-   through  the  quartz  window  in the
lowed  Lord  Odds  into his chambers   door he faced, which was intricately
and  was soon resting comfortably on   inlaid with ayinyak.  I blinked.
a   plush   settee,   from  which  I
accepted  the May wine he graciously   "The  essence  is powerful in here,"
offered.  Sipping with satisfaction,   he  said,  opening  the  door.   "It
I  caught my breath by looking about   seems to help with my enchantments."
the elegant albeit small cave. I saw
that  scenes  from  the books of the   The  curved  earthen  walls  of  the
Loremasters  were  etched  upon  the   laboratory  housed  many niches, and
copper  door  through  which  we had   piles  of  rock  and soil around the
entered,  and  noted  shelves filled   room  indicated  a renovation was in
                                   -16-                             More...
progress.   A  long,  low table made   momentarily  and  I forgot to hunch.
from  a slab of granite was the only   "Thunk!"  went  my  head against the
thing in the room.                     ceiling.  I saw stars.
"There is still work to be done," he   A  pained  expression  crossed  Lord
noted, "but it is quite usable."       Odds' features  and  he rushed to my
                                       aid,   his  black  satin  magician's
"So   this  is  where  you  do  your   cloak  billowing  out behind him.  I
enchantments,"  I said, surprised by   leaned against him briefly, bothered
the awe in my voice.                   more  by my clumsiness than the dull
                                       throb of my temples.
He  glanced  up  at  me  and nodded.
"There are occasional manifestations   "My  lady,  are  you...  are you all
of  power  here...   lights, sounds,   right?"  he  stammered.   "I totally
odors,  like something besides me is   forgot that your height..  umm, yes.
at work.  I suspect there is more to   Well, how  do  you  fare?" he asked.
be learned about the secrets of this   When  I didn't answer, he added, "it
place," he added.                      can be disconcerting in here."
I  walked  toward  an opening in the   I could feel myself blushing, and we
east wall -- at least I think it was   both  giggled,  although I'm sure he
east.  "What's in here?" I asked.      he would call it a chuckle.

"A  small  storage area," he replied   Hunkering  down, I followed him back
offhandedly.                           into the antechamber.
I went through the  opening in anti-   He  locked  the  doors, pointed at a
cipation of relief, for  I could see   potted  plant,  and  a  few  moments
at a glance that the area beyond had   later  I  realized  he was no longer
been  excavated down deeper into the   standing  beside  me.   A droplet of
earth than the rest of the workshop,   water  from the moist dirt roof fell
evidently   to  provide  warmth  and   on  my  head  with  a  "PLOP!" and I
humidity  to preserve the potency of   snatched   a   handful   of  smastan
the  myriad  magical substances laid   berries,  swallowed them, and braced
by  there,  yet  the ceiling was the   myself.  Sure enough!  Once again, I
same height as the other caves.        was  half  a  foot tall!  Scrambling
                                       through  the fissure, I found myself
I  stretched and smiled as I resumed   disoriented  but  I quickly regained
my normal posture; I was standing up   my   original   stature  and  looked
straight.   The  far  corner  of the   around.   Lord Odds didn't even seem
cave  was  dug  down at a very steep   to notice.
angle, walled off by a natural lime-
stone outcropping.  There, I noticed   "You  know," he said, taking my hand
a large chest.                         tenderly  as we headed back down the
                                       mountain path.  "Someone suggested I
"The  gnolls  crafted  me a chest to   install  a  doorbell  that  plays  a
keep  a  small  quantity  of potions   little  Jefferson Airplane, whatever
here,"  Lord  Odds  explained  as  I   that is.  Perhaps I shall mention it
studied it.  Made from limestone, it   to Snibble."
appeared  to  be  antique,  with bas
relief  carvings  of three-foot high                      @
legendary heroes, mages and holy men                     @*@
decorating   all   sides.   I  found                   @@***@@
myself taken with it and studied the           @@@       @*@       @@@
images to imprint them to memory.                *@@@@   @@@   @@@@*
                                                  *@@   @@*@@   @@*
As I turned and was stepping back up               @@@@@@***@@@@@@
into  the  laboratory, a spontaneous               @@@@@@@*@@@@@@@
bright  shimmer  of light blinded me              *****************
 _________             Song of Power's Calling - Part I
/ \ _____ \            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
\@| ~|_|~  |                   by Erion Kulsen
  |  | |   |                     (Prologue)
 _|  |~|   |
/@| _|~|_  |was  not  born into this   the Essence without fail.  To become
\_/ ~~~~~ / world  a prodigy  of the   a Master of  the  Essence is my most
  ~~~~~~~~ Flows of Essence, as most   burning desire.  As I am sure is the
feel they need be to have any effect   very same for those who  have even a
in these lands. Though I was gifted,   minute awareness  or ability to work
I  was  never recognized as one  who   with this invisible force.
would be  able  to fully  manipulate
and bend the very Essence towards my   Yet, in  that I  can never  be known
will. Never was I offered the chance   among  my race, nor those who  dwell
to become a mage or even a sorcerer.   in Jaiman, nor even those who are my
I had  little  talent in  channeling   peers.  Sadly, my father was able to
power from my god,  so  I  was  also   control even more Essence  than I, a
refused  an  equal  place  with  the   trained bard, when he was but a mere
the clerics and healers.  However, I   thief.
was taken  under wing  by one person
who believed I possessed a keen  ear   Because of this and  much more, I am
for music.  Though  I  doubt  that I   always searching  for other  ways to
shall ever become recognized for  my   increase my knowledge, awareness and
works. But if it was a bard I was to   my abilities to  alter the flows and
become, then a bard I would be.        patterns of Essence around me.

Though still, there is a yearning, a   Now  that I have displayed my  inner
deep  desire, to  know, to  want, to   being for all to witness, I hope you
have that  which cannot be mine.   I   will  take heed and understand  what
will always hunger  to know  what it   I have done.  I make no excuses, nor
is like to wield real power. Though,   do I ask  for pity or understanding.
I will always  thirst to have a full   All I ask is that you know who I am,
understanding of  how to  draw  upon   and what I will become...
                                 The Story
The floor was  cold and damp, with a   southernmost tip  of  Jaiman.  I was
definite  smell of  rodents.  Strewn   headed for  Nomikos, mainly  just to
out on the  chilling stones, my body   research  the texts  and  scrolls on
was arranged in a contorted fashion.   the subject of the Flows of Essence,
My  clothes were filthy  and smelled   which so  dominate  our land.  I was
of stale vomit. Pain shot through my   even  hoping  to find  some  key for
head as I  tried  to lift it,  and I   unlocking  greater  power, and being
momentarily faltered while trying to   able to increase a persons  ability,
rise.  I finally  managed to turn my   namely mine.
head toward a small  window, bathing
my face  in the  cool light  of  the   Apparently however,  I had not quite
autumn morning; finally noticing for   reached the Library at Nomikos. But,
the first  time, the iron  bars that   instead, I seem  to have been placed
sealed me in my cage. Bits of images   in to one of  those most unfortunate
flashed through my mind. I attempted   predicaments which my father used to
to  piece  together some story  with   speak  about.  Though,  most like to
which  I could  explain  my  current   refer to  them as  jails. However, I
condition, though it was in vain.      am not helpless in a  situation like
                                       this, even  if  my  profession was a
I did remember, however, where I had   bard.  Listening to  my father's old
been going.  I  had  been  trying to   stories had  indeed helped me out of
reach the great Library  at Nomikos,   worse situations.  This  would prove
on the Isle  of Ormian, just off the   to be but a minor one of those kinds
                                    -18-                            More...
of challenges.                         "The  finest  tavern  in Losan," she
                                       replied matter of factly.
As  usual, one  of these  places was
only  minimally guarded  for  simple   "Yes, yes, I am  sure it is.  What I
minor offenders like  me, as I  have   meant was, how  far is  it from here
assumed to be at this time.  I still   to Ormian?"
have not recalled  how I ended up in
this dungeon.  Yet in  a short time,   The  barmaid gave  me a  speculative
none of that would matter.  Reaching   glance, trying to assess me.  Though
inside my boot, I retrieved a small,   I doubt the thought got very far. It
but  useful  lockpick.  This was one   would probably  take a few hours for
of my  fathers  most prized, (...and   her thought  processes to  run their
used..), possessions. Quietly, as my   course.
father taught me, I carefully worked
the  lock mechanisms  free with  the   "If  yer  set on  bringing  yourself
pick, and slowly pushed the iron bar   thar, you are not far. A few leagues
door open. It was all too easy after   south will  take  you to  the coast.
that; I merely had to go retrieve my   From there you can buy passage on  a
belongings, which  were thrown  in a   ship to take you to the island."
small  cubicle  across my  cell, and
then slipped by the  sleeping guard,   Another uncertain  glance, something
praising  my god Kieron  during  the   clicked inside  her brain.  She shot
whole event.                           me a  menacing leer and  started  to
                                       say, "Saaay,"  she  drawled, "aren't
Once  outside, I  turned my head and   you that bard last night who..."
looked up at the building I had just
left.  "Losan  City  Jail", the sign   This was definitely my cue to leave.
read.  Not familiar with the town or   I jumped up and  headed for the door
its  whereabouts,  I  quickly headed   without looking back.
for the nearest tavern.
                                       Sure there are times when a man must
It was a  dark musty place, smelling   stand and face danger,  but this was
of  rotten food and  stale  beer,  a   not one  of those times.  As it was,
testament to the rest of town. I sat   I  had apparently tried to  do  just
down at the nearest table and waited   that last night. I obviously had not
for a bit of service while listening   won.  Ducking  into a  nearby alley,
to the usual types of drunks and low   I headed for the  main street out of
lifes.  Do not  get me  wrong, it is   town, and turned south.
not that  I don't like these sort of
people, as a  matter of  fact, it is   A goodly  distance from  the  town I
sometimes useful  to hang  out  with   began thinking  back  to the bar. It
them. It is just that  it is easy to   was at times  like those, that I had
lower your self-esteem in here. Most   wished I could cast a quick spell. I
of them are an uneducated,  vile and   cursed myself for being weak and for
generally  worthless  assortment  of   running away.  If only I  could have
harlots, petty thieves and the local   given  them  a taste  of true power,
common folk.  One  thing  I had  not   and brought them to their knees. Yet
noticed  was that I  was receiving a   in my profession with but a mediocre
lot of angry leers and  the  subject   understanding  of  the  Essence  had
of some  rather lewd,  but whispered   its limitations.  If only I had more
comments.                              power and more control.. then maybe.
                                       But then again, that is why I was on
A barmaid stopped by my table on her   my way to the Library at Nomikos...
way to pick up a few orders.
                                       Angry feelings  still churning  deep
"What will it be yer sirness..?"       within me,  I had left the  town and
                                       headed south, towards the coast  and
"A little  information about where I   destiny.  Little  was I  aware  that
am would be nice."                     destiny would  come to me... Perhaps
                                    -19-                            More...
ending my  quest  for knowledge  and   "Indeed," he uttered "many have said
power.                                 as  much of me,  and regretted  that
                                       they thought so."
With the  sun on my  right, wounding
the horizon a blood red and the wind   Puzzled but still  to self-concerned
whipping my cape  in all directions,   to  find out what he meant, I merely
I was  rather surprised by a curious   grunted and continued my trek. After
man. Surprised not because he looked   a short while, the sun crept beneath
a bit curious, but rather because he   the low lying mountains, signaling a
appeared  to have been walking along   time  for  rest. With the dark robed
side  me, without me  ever noticing.   man still  with me,  I headed  to  a
Looking over at me he began speaking   near  by clump of trees and laid out
as though we were in the middle of a   my  things, searching  for something
conversation.                          to eat.  Picking out a large loaf of
                                       brown bread and a bit of dried meat,
"Where might the bard's travels take   I offered  some to the man.  Shaking
you this time of the year?" He asked   his  head, he  sat back up against a
casually.                              tree and watched me eat. Unnerved by
                                       this, I finished quickly and laid my
"Nomikos." I quipped, still hot over   cape out to rest on.
showing  my weakness in  Losan. "And
how is it you know me as a bard?"      "Strange and  deadly creatures stalk
                                       the night friend. If you don't mind,
Ignoring  my question  he continued,   I will keep a watch tonight."
"Since you are  headed south, I will
join you for a while."                 "I've n'er  heard of such  creatures
                                       in  these parts.  You can keep watch
I wanted  to say  no, but  something   if you  like,  though I  know it  is
inside  me held me  back from  doing   safe." I replied, wondering where he
so.  I glanced over at  the  man and   got this idea  of such  creatures in
looked him over.  Save for the small   these parts. Shrugging it off, I let
pouch at  his  belt, he bore nothing   my  eyes  slowly  close and was soon
else than the dark robes he wore. He   fast asleep.
returned my  gaze with  a  smile.  A
smile that tore  away my very flesh,   Snapping tree  limbs and a howl that
peeled  back  the walls I  had built   chilled the blood, woke me.  Quickly
around me  and exposed my bare soul,   rising and reaching  for my saber, I
and  leaving absolutely no questions   stood ready  to  face  whatever  had
about  my  character.  Shuddering, I   made that  horrid  sound.  There,  a
turned away from him, as I heard him   mere fifty paces or less, stood  the
draw breath again to speak.            dark robed man  and a rather hideous
"Is something troubling  you friend,
help I can?"                           The creature somewhat  resembled  an
                                       ogre, though it  stood a good 2 or 3
Friend he said.. Something about the   feet taller.  Its skin shone a scaly
way he said  friend, mocked the very   black against the moon and  its eyes
existence  of  friendship.  For  the   gleamed  an evil red.  A  gaping maw
moment, friendship  did not exist in   showed  long  jagged teeth,  perhaps
my world; the concept seemed somehow   strong enough to  tear away the hide
impossible and even alien to me. Who   of a dragon. Though unmistakably, it
was  this man  anyway?  Certainly no   bore great wings upon its back, most
one with whom I  wished to  share my   likely capable  of lifting that huge
thoughts.  Though I had little doubt   body into the air. Surely this was a
there was much  left  to reveal that   creature of the Unlife.
he did not already know.
                                       Standing  there I  could only stare,
"Nothing that  you can help with," I   and prepare myself to meet death.  I
finally answered.                      would  not run  this  time, though I
                                    -20-                            More...
felt there were very few places that   meant  with him,  though I found out
could hide me from  this creature of   later that I was to continue my own.
the night.  The creature turned  its
attention towards  me  and  began to   Cresting a  hill, we  viewed a small
move towards me.  Steadying  myself,   coastal village.  The familiar scent
I held  the saber before me in a two   of the ocean  filled my  lungs and I
handed grip and waited.                breathed deeply.
Strange words  and  arcane  gestures   "I do know  not why I have continued
began  to come forth from the  robed   towards Nomikos.  If you would  have
man. All around me, I could feel his   me, I will stay with you to continue
calling bring  pure and  raw Essence   my lessons." I stated.
towards him. Screaming, the creature
turned  its attention  back  towards   "Nay.  Though  you  learn fast, I am
the  robed man.  But it was much too   not the right one to teach you these
late.  Power surged  forth  from his   things. North is where you will find
outstretched palms; and striking the   true power, seek there, and you will
creature  in a blinding fury of heat   have the power you desire."
and utter power.
                                       I nodded  and looked  down upon  the
I stood there... in awe.  Where once   village, wondering which way I would
was a  creature that would have very   go.  I looked back at the robed man,
easily torn  me  from  my  limbs and   but found  him  gone.  The  last few
devoured  my soul, there was nothing   days held many secrets and surprises
but wisping trails of smoke left.  I   and this was just another. I sighed,
lowered my saber  and looked back at   thinking it  was fitting for him  to
the now calm figure  of a dark robed   leave the same way he came to me....
man.  He walked  towards me, and set   Though... I never learned  his name,
his cold hand upon my  shoulder, and   or where he was  from.  No matter, I
beckoned me back to camp.              would  go on to Nomikos, then north,
                                       there was time yet.
"Teach me. I want to wield the power
that you now hold.  I no longer wish   I continued on to the  docks, alone.
to be weak." It was all I could say.   Thinking  back  on the hooded figure
It was all I wanted.                   that had been with me for most of my
                                       journey. Before long, I found myself
He merely  nodded and  said, "I will   before the docks. After looking over
keep  watch the  rest of  the night.   the various  boats docked  there,  I
Rest."                                 chose  the one I  thought would best
                                       fit my needs. As I strolled casually
The next two days I spent journeying   over to it, I assessed  the captain,
towards the coast, and ultimately to   trying to determine the best way  to
Nomikos.  Though I had no idea  why,   deal with him.
surely  this  was  what  I  had been
looking for.  I  believed  my search   After  haggling for  several minutes
was over, when I had found this man.   with the  captain about the price of
Yet I  was still drawn  towards that   passage to Nomikos,  I headed across
Isle of Knowledge.                     the gangplank.  Stepping on a meager
                                       excuse for a boat, I headed near the
Patiently teaching  me over the next   prow and sat down.  I was tired, yet
few days, I had gained in skill, and   extremely anxious and excited  about
knew better the ways  of molding the   the  past few days.  I tried to calm
Essence. Though I  learned no way to   myself,  letting the salty  sea  air
expel  raw  power as he  had against   fill my nostrils and clear my mind.
the creature, it was  enough to help
me in combat.  I savored every piece   Across from  me sat a  high elf in a
of knowledge he  gave  me.  He asked   pale  green robe  who was  obviously
for  nothing in return, only  that I   not used  to travel by sea.  We  had
continue  my  studies.  I assumed he   not even been on  the open water for
                                    -21-                            More...
more  than a few minutes  and he was   had  followed Ander  to the college.
already beginning to look sick.  His   "Come..." He said as he gestured for
face matched his robe,  and his eyes   me to follow.
had a vacant stare to them.
                                       We  walked into  the entrance of the
"Are you going  to be  alright..?" I   building,  receiving a  few  glances
asked.                                 from the older men who wore the same
                                       robes  as Ander.  I  followed  Ander
"In a few  moments yes.."  He barely   into an  enormous central  room  and
whispered.                             gaped at the magnificence of it all.
                                       Light streamed in  from a dome above
He reached into  one of his  pockets   and set the white tile floor ablaze.
and  retrieved  a small  vial filled   There were a  few people  sitting at
with a  green liquid.  He drank from   desks or  in chairs  along the wall,
it  and  immediately  began  feeling   reading as  would  be expected.  The
better. We began to make some polite   center of the  room was  cleared and
conversation and soon found the time   several various groups were standing
passing  by rapidly.  Before  I knew   together speaking quietly.
it we were  docking and preparing to
leave.  We walked down the gangplank   We headed  into a  side hallway  and
and  headed  towards  town.  Not yet   walked  a good  distance,  seemingly
having learned his name, I asked him   taking random turns and heading past
that as well  as what brought him to   a myriad of doors.  Finally, we came
Ormian.                                to  an  engraved  windak  door, with
                                       Ander's name inscribed at eye level.
"Ander Ghosan," he replied, "I am an   He opened the door  and gestured for
employed alchemist doing mostly some   me to  enter.  I found  what  I  had
research  work  for the  College  of   expected to see.  There were shelves
Essence at Deirdra.  The city we are   filled with many of Ander's personal
docking at now. And you?"              collections of books.  A large table
                                       was set  in the  middle of the large
"Erion Kulsen.  A bard searching for   room cluttered with vials of liquid,
knowledge."                            samples  of  unknown substances  and
                                       other items I could not identify. He
"Well, you  have come  to the  right   closed the door behind him and began
place Erion.  I assure you  of that.   to speak.
What  type  of knowledge  is it that
you are searching for?"                "I myself understand your plight.  I
                                       might  have  something that can help
I spoke  to him  of what I wanted in   you."
life, how I became to have this need
and my  reasons  for wanting to gain   Excited,  I opened my mouth to speak
more control  over  the very flow of   but he continued.
essence.  All the while, he listened
and nodded once in a while, but said   "..but before I do I must warn you."
                                       I blinked and shut my mouth, waiting
Finally  I finished,  and was rather   for him to continue.
surprised to find myself at the main
entrance of a  large  building.  The   "All of this... " He gestured at the
structure was made  of ancient white   table," work, has been dedicated
marble adorned with varying sizes of   towards  increasing my control  over
dome  as  part of  the  roof.  Grand   the  flows.  I believe I  have found
columns standing at least thirty feet   the answer."
in the air supporting the lip of the
roof.  Massive doors made of ithloss   He picked  up a  glass vial,  filled
were swung  wide  open  allowing the   with  a clear liquid  that shimmered
crowds  of students, professors  and   with iridescent flashes as the light
researchers  entrance.  Apparently I   struck it.
                                    -22-                            More...
"This is what I have found.  Though,       Gladiatorial Games Winners
it is untested and  might have  some       ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
adverse side effects on the mind and      -----
body. I myself would drink of it, if    ///    \\         NON-MAGIC
I were not afraid of what else might   ||||     ||        ~~~~~~~~~
happen.  I am  desperate to know the   |||||    ||  1-ON-1         MELEE
results of my work.  So I will offer    \\\\\  //   ~~~~~~         ~~~~~
it to you, asking only a small favor      -----     Imric          Imric
in return. Yet, before I ask, let me     | . . |    Sasha          Sasha
say  this... there  is no  other way     | . . |    Rasputin       Rasputin
known in Kulthea that  can do  which      \___/     Rasputin       Ichiko
you desire."                             | . . |    Dara           Heron
                                         | . . |    Metaboculus    Blades
I stood there, simply  gazing at the      \___/     Enegue         Blades
iridescent  light refracting through     | . . |     _______
the small vial he held  in his hand.    / \___/ \ _/        \
My mind struggled  with the  various   |  \ | /  |     ___   |
possibilities.  On one  hand I could   | -- * -- |    /   \  |
gain all that I have ever wanted, on   |  / | \  |_/\|      \|
the other, I could suffer a terrible    \_______/         MAGIC
consequence possibly even death. Yet    |\  |   |         ~~~~~
I knew what I would choose.  For me,    |\ \|   |  1-ON-1       MELEE
death  would be preferable to living    |\ \|   |  ~~~~~~       ~~~~~
with my weakness.                       |\ \|   |  Imric        Imric
                                        |\ \|   |  Simon        Hagar
"I will take the chance. What is the    |\ \|   |  Loque        Loque
favor?" As I spoke I reached for the    |\ \|   |  Kenner       Kenner
vial in his hand.                       |\ \|   |  Jarran       Dara
                                        |\ \|   |  Gallenod     No Entries
He  released  the vial  into my grip    |\ \|   |  Dartagan     No Entries
and said one last thing.                |\ \|   |
                                        |\ \|   |  NON-MAGIC TEAMS
"Do not drink it here. I do not want    |\ \|   |  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
to be  responsible  for  what  might    |\ \|   |  Imric/Lydrynn/Legolas
happen.  If you do live... come back    |\ \|   |  Sasha/Imric
and let me learn  from you.  This is    |\ \|   |  Blades & Rasputin
in the name of research after all."     |\ \|   |  Kree/Oberon/Kyreth
                                        |\ \|   |  Dara/Llorien/Jarran
"You do not  know what this means to    |\ \|   |  No Entries
me.  I will find  some way to  repay    |\ \|   |  Blades/Gallenod
you."                                   |\ \|   |
                                        |\ \|   |  MAGIC TEAMS
"Nonsense,  I  ask  for  nothing but    |\ \|   |  ~~~~~~~~~~~
that which I have already asked.  Do    |\ \|   |  Imric/Markham/Silkenford
yourself a favor and learn more ways    |\ \|   |  Imric/Hagar/Silkenford
to utilize the power you may receive    |\ \|   |  Loque/Rasputin
from that vial.  The Library here in    |\ \|   |  Kree/Kenner/Oberon
Deirdra is as good a place to start.    |\ \|   |
Now  please go, I  have  much to  do    |\ \|   |  GRAND MELEE
today."                                 |\ \|   |  ~~~~~~~~~~~
                                        |\ \|   |  1st - Gallenod
"Yes, of course." I said as I headed    |\ \|   |  2nd - Tharpe
out the door.  "Thank you again."       |\ \|   |  3rd - Oberon
                                        |\ \|   |
He waved me away and motioned for me    |\ \|   |  Conducted By:
to shut the door on my  way  out.  I    |\ \|   |  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
walked out of  the room with my fate     \ \|  /   Kree Morlain
held in a small vial in my hands.          \ /     Lord Gallenod Varynesti
 _____________                First Innocence
/ \ _________ \               ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
\@| ||=|=|=|| |                Shiloh Strong
  | ~~ |_| ~~ |
 _|    |_|    |he  trader pushed his   Then out  of the  alley  stepped the
/@|   _|_|_   | way past the  crowd,   town constable. "Ha! Now I have you,
\_/__________/ white  teeth flashing   varlet!" he screamed, to my despair.
a grin as  he walked over to a young   His strong hands gripped my arms and
woman selling  flowers. I've  always   pulled me through the streets to the
hated this guy; he annoys  me. If he   the Constabulary. There he  threw me
ever gets any money off anything, he   into a  small cell  with dirty walls
dances around town tapping his money   and  some  strange animal  scurrying
sack and  bragging  about  how  much   around in the shadows.
silver he just made.
                                       I waited  there for what seemed like
He leaned  against a nearby wall and   hours,  then   the  sound   of  keys
started talking  to the flower girl.   rattling in the  lock  floated to my
I cracked my knuckles, about  to try   joyful ears. A large man in a deputy
a little  trick my  brother  Pheonix   uniform grabbed  me by  the shoulder
taught  me. I slowly  walked over to   and escorted me to Moot Hall.
the trader and pretended  to be lis-
tening to their conversation. He was   There I was placed before the Judge,
telling her about his latest deal as   an  old  man  with large  bushy eye-
she  faked  interest. My  hand  slid   brows. He peered down  his long nose
slowly around the trader's waist and   and  said in  a raspy voice,  "There
towards his money pouch.               can be  no doubt  as to  your guilt.
                                       For the crime  specified, the  court
The girl rearranged her dress as the   hereby fines you 100  silver pieces.
trader droned on. I reached the belt   You are now free to go."
and started to open the pouch when a
tiny  kitten rubbed against  my leg.   The judge  then stood  up and  said,
It startled  me; I lost  my  balance   "Court is adjourned!" He  banged his
and landed with all my weight on the   annoying little gavel upon the table
trader's pouch.                        and retired to his chambers.

His pouch  snapped off and I fell in   I was ushered  out of  the hall  and
a dusty  heap in the  middle of  the   walked  back to  the jail to  get my
road.  He glared at me, I  glared at   stuff. I had just opened the seal of
the kitten, and the girl ran for the   my box when in came Lord Artuero and
constable. The trader took his pouch   Lord  Nixie. I bowed and they  waved
from me and followed after the girl.   at me, then  proceeded  to do things
The kitten stared  at me with intel-   that were strange to me at the time.
ligent eyes.
                                       They would  come into  the room  and
"Thanks a  lot," I  said. "Now I'm a   Lord Nixie would gesture at the jail
wanted man."                           cell door and then they would go out
                                       again.  They did  this four  or five
I sighed, got out my drake falchion,   times before I realized  that  Nixie
slung my shield off my shoulder, and   was casting a  Word of Opening spell
headed to hunt hobgoblins.             on the  door. That was why  they had
                                       to go outside so much, so that Nixie
I returned with the load of my life,   could  prepare his  spell. (The con-
two  chests in my backpack and drag-   stabulary is a magic resistant zone,
ging a chest from a Forest Troll. As   which  means you  are unable  to use
I came to  the town gates, I thought   any magical item or cast any magical
over the amulet network, "Any  chest   spells in the area.)  On their fifth
pickers in  the  Square?"  The reply   trip, Lord  Nixie  gestured  and the
was "yes," so I walked on toward the   door swung open. The  two Lords dis-
Town Square.                           appeared inside the cell.
                                    -24-                            More...
Suddenly the  door swung  shut. They   "One down," Artuero chuckled.
started knocking on  their side, and
I opened the door and walked  in. To   We talked a bit but our conversation
my  dismay, I  heard  the door swing   was  interrupted  when  Artuero  was
shut behind me.                        pulled from  the room. I  sighed and
                                       closed my eyes. I hadn't slept for a
"Darn it!" Artuero said, frowning.     while  and   was  getting  tired.  I
                                       yawned, stretched,  pushed the door,
I  tried  the  door. It  was  locked   punched the door, tried hacking away
tight. Nixie gestured, but his voice   at the door with my drake  falchion.
caught in  his throat and his  spell   Nothing worked.
died. Artuero  whipped out  his Xeno
lockpick   and settled  into picking   I sat  there for  what seemed like a
the door's lock. We all flinched  at   couple hours. Just  when I had memo-
the sound of his lockpick  snapping.   rized every crack in that unsanitary
                                       wall, my  friend the deputy  brought
"We're doomed,"  I said  and  leaned   me over to see the judge.
back against the door.
                                       He looked at me and then, much to my
"I hope the constable knows we're in   enjoyment, screamed  at the  deputy,
here," Nixie  said, and  I  realized   "This man is innocent! Let him go!"
that we might be stuck in here for a
long time.                             I rushed  out of  the hall and found
                                       my two jail buddies waiting for me.
Artuero  banged on the door with his
foot, stubbing  his toe  in the pro-   "Well that  was  an  experience,"  I
cess. I closed my  eyes and tried to   said, as  I tried  to brush the jail
relax. About  three minutes  passed,   dirt off myself.
and  then  suddenly  the  door I was
leaning on opened. I fell back  with   Artuero  chuckled   and  said,  "You
a squeak  and got up just in time to   know, Shiloh, we made history today.
see  the same  deputy I  met earlier   I think  we were  the  first  people
that day dragging  Nixie away.  Then   ever to come out of there innocent."
the door slammed shut again.
Bugg's Newsbites...
                     Health Scare Linked to Berries
It   was  announced  today  by  Lord   entrance-and-exit   scheme   of  his
Strom, that the intestinal  problems   workshop, Lord Odds  replied,  "Hey,
being    experienced   recently   by   magic can  only  do  so much.  I had
residents of Kelfours  Landing  have   to find some common  element  of  my
been  traced  to  the ingestation of   visitors,  whose proportional makeup
swastan berries.  Some  concern  has   was consistent  with  the  necessary
been  expressed  over the diarrhetic   size reduction.    A  diarrhetic was
effects which the  berries  seem  to   the  obvious  solution.   The   only
have  on those of Elven, Common Man,   problem  I've  found  so far is that
and High Man extraction.   The  only   the variation  in  personal  content
known   local   source   of  swastan   is  greater  than I had anticipated,
berries is a pair of bushes  in  the   so some folks  end  up  considerably
vicinity   of  Lord  Odds  workshop.   smaller   than   the   expected  six
                                       inches... I'd prefer not to name any
When  questioned  about  the  reason   names."
for including swastan berries in the
 _________          The Looking Glass War - Conclusion
/ \ _____ \         ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
\@| ~|_|~ |             by Lord Gallenod Varynesti
  |  |~|  |
 _|  |~|  |  ran  toward  the   orcs   the  orc. "Oh, how  wonderful to see
/@| _|~|_ | advancing  on the  small   you!"  Michael,  Stephanie, and  the
\_/ ~~~~~ / group,  knowing  I would   orc all  regarded  me  with  various
  ~~~~~~~~ not be in time. Then, out   degrees of disbelief. I came closer.
of nowhere, an arrow took one of the
orcs  in the shoulder. The other two   "Gallenod,  have  you   gone  nuts?"
slowed. I heard a whoop  from behind   Michael exclaimed.
me. I didn't stop to look. I took an
orc in the throat and  moved to  the   "Trust  me,"  I  whispered,  smiling
next.  No time  to  waste,  none for   broadly at the orc. I moved closer.
finesse. I disembowelled the  second
orc with little  ceremony and turned   "Well Orco,"  I beamed, "how are the
for the third.                         mate and  orclings!  Come  on, let's
                                       find a jug and have a drink."
I saw  three things. I saw  Michael,
with a bow.  Arrow nocked, he  faced   The  orc  stopped  backing  away and
the  wounded orc, who  was holding a   cocked  its head. It  seemed puzzled
sword  to  Lady Stephanie's  throat.   but relieved that I thought it was a
She was frozen, seemingly stunned by   friend. It smiled. A  hideous sight,
the violence  of the scene. Third, I   but I was close  enough. The orc had
saw the portal, through which poured   relaxed its grip on Stephanie.
the astrologer's minions. War trolls
now. But the Pensics were gaining in   "And guess what I've got for you!" I
confidence, and  they  had  captured   exclaimed, reaching inside  my cape.
weapons  from the  orcs.  Apparently   The orc leaned  forward for a closer
their practice battles had done them   look and took my rapier through  its
some good after all.                   right eye. It shook once and died.

The  orc  with   the  arrow  in  its   "Brainless,"   I  muttered,  wincing
shoulder,   holding  Stephanie,  was   slightly  at my own  pun. I withdrew
slowly backing towards the portal. I   the  rapier. The  orc  decayed  into
moved  carefully  towards the orc; I   compost.  Lady Stephanie had fainted
didn't want  to startle  it. It  was   and   Michael  was  making  retching
wounded,  weak, afraid, and in pain.   sounds.  I felt  nothing but  a dull
But still dangerous.                   satisfaction, and then sorrow. I was
                                       no  better  than the  orc; I  killed
"Orc," I said  quietly,  "you  don't   without  pity or mercy.  Perhaps the
want her.  You just want to  escape.   fat toad under Kelfour's Landing was
You just want to  go home." I  don't   right,  after  all.  My  destiny, it
know if the orc understood me, but I   seemed, was death.
hoped the  tone of  my  voice  would
calm  it. I  sheathed my  rapier and   Michael  had recovered  somewhat and
moved forward.                         was  looking at  me  with  something
                                       akin to awe. "That was awesome, man.
"Come on, orc. Let her go."  I tried   What are those things?"
to  sound  as  soothing as I  could,
given  the  circumstances.  The  orc   "Orcs," I replied. "Just orcs."
still looked nervous.
                                       "Really?" said Michael, "like in the
Remembering  a  story my  father had   books,  and  stuff?  And  that weird
told  me, I decided  to try  another   mirror over there, it leads to--?"
tack. I  slung  my  shield  over  my
shoulder and smiled at the orc.        "Kulthea, my home."
"Friend Orc!" I shouted  joyously at   "You're not from around here, then?"
                                    -26-                            More...
"No," I smiled. Then shouts from the   rushing  over us. I felt a  shift in
camp attracted our attention.          the  core  of my being,  and then we
                                       were in the crypt in the keep.
The  battle   had  centered   around
Prince Alexander and a barrow wight.   "What--?" she said.
I shuddered.  Unlife. The astrologer
was  truly  mad.  The  match  looked   I looked  at her sadly, not  knowing
fairly  even. I moved in,  switching   how to tell her that  she was a long
swords on the fly.                     way from  home  with little  hope of
                                       returning.  The shield  on the  wall
Cut and thrust, slash and parry. The   showed nothing. It seemed to be one-
prince was being driven back, unable   way only.
to damage the  wight. The  remaining
trolls and orcs had fallen in around   "Stay close," I warned.  "Be quiet."
the  wight.  The Pensics  had formed   She  nodded and  blinked; the  shock
similarly around Alexander.            hadn't  quite set in, yet.  We  left
                                       the crypt and went toward the tower.
Then the  wight projected  its aura.
Fear swept  the Pensic  ranks.  Some   We moved outside.  Odd. There was no
fled,  others  froze. Its sword came   sign of the fleeing minions. But the
down in a deadly  arc and clashed on   group  outside the gate  of the keep
enchanted  silver. "Try  me, wight,"   had grown. It now included many more
I  snarled. "Go ahead,  scare  me. I   orcs, several war trolls, and--
dare you."
                                       --a barrow wight?
The wight wasn't impressed. Maybe it
knew  I'd never actually  fought one   I had  a bad feeling about this. We
of its kind without benefit of cler-   headed for the tower. As we entered
ical   aid   before.   Maybe,  being   the  main  hall, I  felt a wave  of
unlife, it didn't care about much of   force slam into my mind!
anything. It  rushed me, along  with
two  of the trolls. The next  minute   A  mind  shout?  Stephanie  slumped,
or so was rather busy.                 stunned by the spell. I gently moved
                                       her into an alcove where I hoped she
Fortunately,  the wight  hadn't fig-   would be safe. A flash of light came
ured out  the power  drain  here. It   from above as I ran up the stairs. A
was weak. I killed the wight and one   strange sight greeted me.
of the trolls without difficulty and
saw that  Alexander had  disposed of   The  gnome  was  about  to  fry  me.
the  other  troll. Our eyes  met; we   Another  me.  As the  gnome released
nodded  briefly  to  each other  and   his  flare, I  charged  forward  and
turned  to  face  the  rest  of  the   knocked  myself out of the way. Into
astrologer's minions.                  the mirror.
Who were  rapidly fleeing  back into   "What?   How?  Where--?"  the  gnome
the portal. That was my ticket home.   spluttered.
I moved to follow  them. I was right
in front of  the portal when someone   "Try 'who,'" I  said,  as I  ran the
grabbed my arm. It was Stephanie.      gnome  through with  my rapier.  The
                                       look of surprise never left his face
"Wait!" she  cried. "Where  are  you   as he slumped  to the floor. He made
going? What's going on!"               one  last  gesture,  and  a  crystal
                                       glowed,  brighter and brighter. Then
"I'm going home, Stephanie," I said,   it shattered.
"To my life, such as it is."
                                       "Too  late,  fool,"  he  gasped. "My
"Wait, I  can--,"  Whatever  she had   army marches."  Then he died.
been about to say was drowned out by
the  portal  suddenly  expanding and   I  looked  in  the  mirror  and  saw
                                    -27-                            More...
myself  in the middle of the  Pensic   In the days that followed, we worked
mock  battle.   A  strange  feeling,   it out, she and I.  Her  name wasn't
viewing your own future past.          really  Stephanie. It was Christina.
                                       She  and her friends had belonged to
I heard  movement outside. The  mon-   a society  that  recreated  medieval
sters were  moving  into  the crypt.   times  for enjoyment.  They  adopted
But it  had been a full day  between   the  names  and  dress  of  historic
my appearance  and theirs.  And  I'd   times  as  a  hobby  and called  the
gotten back before they left. Appar-   gathering  I'd   stumbled  into  the
ently there was some time distortion   "Pensic War."
in the astrologer's system.
                                       Now they  were truly living history,
No kidding. I'd just  skipped back a   if not creating it. The entire group
day, myself. In time to save myself.   had been  swept into Kulthea's past.
I  looked  back  into   the  mirror.   The gnome's  grand  design had back-
Events were progressing faster, now.   fired  catastrophically  on him. His
Apparently  the  mirror was  running   own plan  had brought  Alexander and
wild  without the astrologer to con-   the  Pensics  to the land. To  drive
trol it. That might explain the time   his own people out. How ironic.
distortions. I watched the night go,
and the fights the next day.  Faster   Christina  cried a lot  at first. It
and faster. The mirror glowed. But I   tore my heart to hear her sobbing in
had to stay. I had to know.            the night as she grieved for  family
                                       and friends left behind.  I consoled
The battle. The orc with  Stephanie.   her as best I could. She was a sweet
The  wight.  And  then,  the  mirror   lass, caring for  me when  the  pain
bowed out from  the wall like a bal-   from my  wounds became  too great to
loon; the image zoomed in. It rushed   travel. After  a few days, she  came
rushed over Stephanie and me. Then a   to terms with her new life by decid-
few seconds later  it swept over the   ing to care for me more permanently.
the Pensics. The mirror shattered.     And I found much to love in her, and
                                       through her, myself. I came to terms
The   blast  knocked  me  into   the   with my life through her love.
astrologer's  workbench. I felt ribs
crack. Stars danced in my eyes.        You  won't see  her in  the Landing.
                                       Adventuring  isn't her type of life.
"Gallenod!" It was Stephanie. I felt   But yet, she is among us. I  carry a
soft hands touch my face. Outside, I   piece of her in my  heart wherever I
heard   the  astrologer's  followers   go; it helps me resist  the darkness
noisily fleeing  from the crypt into   in my  soul.  And though I  know her
the forest. "What is going on? Where   now  only  as  Christina,  she  will
are we?"                               always be a Lady to me.
Bugg's Newsbites...

                         Bailiff Announces Celebration
The  Honorable  Bailiff of Kelfour's   sundry for   several   hours.     He
Landing   wishes   to   announce   a   invites all law-abiding citizens  to
celebration  which will occur on the   reciprocate,  and  says  that at the
occasion     of     Lord     Artuero   close of  the  festivities  he  will
Bresnahanini's   rumoured  departure   retire to  his  own quarters.  There
for the summer.                        he will sip champagne in the company
                                       of Lola, a torkaan he  rescued  from
The Bailiff has  indicated  that  he   the wilds  outside town.  He says he
will   mark   the  event  by  calmly   found  her  quietly  munching  on  a
strolling about the confines of  the   bloody   centaur   hide   vest,  and
town,  and  magnanimously  bestowing   immediately   felt   an   undeniable
his  friendly  smile  upon  all  and   affection for her.

 ____________                Drink, Drank, Drunk
/ \ _________\               ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
\@| ||=|=|=|| |              by Lloyd Llowd, PhD
  | ~~ |_| ~~ |
 _|    |_|    |
/@|   _|_|_   |here  have been  some   by the  departure  of  Lord  Artuero
\_/__________/riotous parties in the   "Torkaan Bait" Bresnahanini from the
Landing of late.  Mostly  going away   town.  It was held  at a secret time
parties.  Still, even the  departure   and locale,  just  in case  Lord Art
of  some of  our  more  disreputable   accidentally returned.  Though I was
citizens  should not result  in  the   unable to gain any information about
drunken debauchery  witnessed in the   the party, there were, however, some
last month.                            noticeable  side  effects  from  the
Helga's  Tavern,  home of  "Blackdew
Grog," a drink that  has been banned   It was  apparently  held  the  night
in  twelve  kingdoms and used as  an   before the last  Gladiatorial Games,
embalming fluid  in six  others, was   as most of the Lords  either did not
the  scene  of  the first debacle of   show  up or were  just plain useless
the spring season:  the departure of   in the fights  due to their  massive
Erion the Bard.                        hangovers.

Young  Erion, is  the page  at House   Lord  Dartaghan,  for instance,  was
Arcane.  A  bard with  a voice  that   clearly  still drunk  from the night
could strip the paint from ironwork,   before, as  he mistakenly entered  a
Erion announced his decision to seek   non-magic fight and  was shaved bald
fame and  fortune in  another  land.   by Lord Enegue. The hapless halfling
Probably at  another profession,  as   later  appeared in a  full body  wig
well.                                  made of elf hair.  How revolting.

From what my informants tell me, the   There  have been  rumors  of  ritual
poor  boy was just  tired  of having   sacrifice by several Arcane Masters.
the dictator of  House Arcane,  Lord   How else do you explain the gruesome
Dartaghan "Stinky"  Darkstar, saddle   body  parts appearing  at the  front
him up and ride him around the House   gate of  town?  There is a suspicion
shouting: "Hi-yo Elfmeat, away!"       that Lord Artuero did not leave town
                                       willingly, and that  the body  parts
Whatever the reason, Erion's goodbye   are his.
announcement  sparked  a  party.  In
which  several of  our younger, more   Which would  be poetic  justice, but
impressionable citizens  were  drawn   it is unfortunate that I did not get
into House Arcane on the promise  of   to him  myself.  The deed he sold me
free drinks.  The  party  eventually   to Thingul Manor is a forgery, and I
moved to Helga's Tavern, where  Lord   am being  evicted  by  ghosts!  Once
Gallenod, who has been reputed as an   again, I am forced into  the street,
absolute teetotaller, was thrown out   unhomed by cruel fate.
for drunken and  disorderly conduct.
Shameful!                              But I  understand that if I hurry, I
                                       can move  into  House  Brigatta  and
Worse still:  near  the  end of  the   establish squatter's  rights.  After
party,  Erion announced that  he had   all, possession  is nine  tenths  of
decided to stay in these lands after   the law.  Ask any demon.
all.  One wonders what coercion Lord
Dartaghan had used to entice the lad   Next month,  what you have  all been
back  into  the  fold.  One wonders,   waiting  to see:  Dr  Lloyd's  Worst
indeed.                                Dressed List.  So have a  care  with
                                       your haberdashery,  or prepare to be
The other party  of note was sparked   exposed in public.

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