Small monir box
The official GemStone IV encyclopedia.
Located in the South Exhibit Room of the River's Rest Museum, the loresong of a small monir box explores the loyalty and fierceness of the River's Rest Volunteers.
This monir box is made of the darkest burled monir wood and banded with brass. Stamped onto a thin brass plate on the lid is the sigil of the Imperial Quartermaster's Corps. Attached to the box is a tag that reads, "This was donated to the River's Rest Museum by the estate of Berwin Cottswold (4698-4753 M.E.). It was presented to Cottswold by the Imperial Quartermaster for his gallant service to Countess Vicalle Mestyr of Torre during her failed rebellion against Cassolus Chandrennin (4715-4719 M.E.)." The inside of the monir box is lined with dark velvet. Small indentations hold a dozen glass eyes with irises of various colors.
As you sing to the monir box in your hand you feel slightly disoriented. You hear a regular, rhythmic, harsh, honking sound and your song falls into rhythm with it. When the disorientation fades, you see the square of a small village. It's a sunny day...the grass is bright green, a light breeze blows, the shops and taverns around the village square look newly painted. Men armed with the weapons of war are gathered around the square engaged in the common exercises of footsoldiers everywhere...repairing their gear, telling lies to their companions, swapping tales of incompetent commanders with the members of other units. One man is collapsed under a small shrub, sleeping and snoring loud enough to attract attention. An officer strolls up to the man and kicks him roughly in the leg. "Get up, Cottswold, you lazy bugger!" the officer yells. "We've got a war to fight. If I had any sense at all, I'd trade you River Rat volunteers for a pack of wild dogs...and then drown the dogs." The pungent smell of smoke surrounds you as you resume your song, and smoke seems to burn your eyes. As your vision clears, you discover yourself in the same small village square. Now, however, the village lies in ruin. Most of the buildings and shops have suffered some fire damage. Warriors, many of them suffering grievous wounds, lie scattered around the square staring at nothing in particular. Cottswold and his comrades come strolling down the lane leading into the square. Although many of them are wounded, the River's Rest Volunteers seem unaffected by the recent battle defeat. In addition to their gear, many of the warriors carry heavy knapsacks. The officer storms up to Cottswold and shouts, "Where've you lot been?! I sounded the retreat well over an hour ago." Cottswold grins, forgetting to salute. "We heard the trumpet sounding the retreat," he says. "And we were retreating with the best of them. Then Harfen and Tordalv saw Chandrennin's supply train. So we raided it." The officer stares at Cottswold. "Unauthorized looting?!" he shouts. "I'll have to report this to the quartermaster. We are the legitimate representatives of the Empire, Cottswold. Not a pack of brigands." Cottswold reaches into his pouch and pulls out a packet of papers. "We also found dispatches detailing Chandrennin's troop movements," he says. The officer, without a word, seizes the documents and storms away. There is an almost palpable hush surrounding you as you resume your song. You find yourself in the Great Hall in a burned out hulk of an old manor house. A trestle table is set up at one end of the hall. Behind the table is a grim-faced, one-eyed man wearing a spotless uniform of the Imperial Quartermaster's Corps. Standing before him are a gaggle of rumpled, unshaven River Rats. Cottswold is the only one of the warriors who has made even a passing attempt to tidy himself up. The quartermaster scans the faces before him with undisguised contempt. Only his good eye moves...his glass eye remains eerily still. "You have violated the express command of Her Imperial Highness," the quartermaster says in a voice as dry and bloodless as dead leaves. "No unauthorized looting is allowed. Any recovered loot must be turned over to the quartermaster for distribution. Have you anything to say on your own behalf before I pass sentence?" The River Rats look at each other and pointedly shrug. The quartermaster's good eye squints at the implied insult. The officer who reported the River Rats steps forward, his uniform dirty and ragged compared to that of the quartermaster. He says, "My lord, these warriors are terrible soldiers and I'm loathe to have them in my command. But they are very good fighters and we are in desperate need of their swords. Especially now, my lord when the tide of battle has turned against us." The quartermaster turns his cold eye on the officer. "The battle has turned against us?" he asks. "You come very close to speaking treason." The officer's face goes pale. "I mean no offense, my lord. I merely point out that we need strong arms in defense of the Empire." The quartermaster stares at the officer for an eternity. Without any expression at all, he says, "Very well. Take these warriors and go." The River Rats grin amongst themselves and begin to shuffle toward the door. But the voice of the quartermaster arrests them in their tracks. "All but the two who spied the baggage train. I would question them further." Your song assumes a slow, shuffling rhythm. It is the same rhythm of the River Rats you see wearily returning toward the burned out manor house. Their numbers are fewer than they were earlier. The officer is no longer with them. The survivors are too tired to scowl, too battle-numbed to notice anything but a soft patch of turf beneath a tree where they can lay themselves down. As Cottswold leads them to the tree, he notices a hastily-built gibbet near the manor house. The bodies of Harfen and Tordalv dangle from the gibbet like obscene fruit. Around each of their necks hangs a hand-scribbled sign reading "By order of the Imperial Quartermaster." The River Rats stare at the bodies for a long moment. Another small troupe of warriors passes by at a trot. Their leader shouts, "Flee! Vicalle Mestyr has been murdered! The war is over! Flee for your lives." Cottswold points at one group of warriors. "You, cut down Harfen and Tordalv." He turns to another group. "You, go find that quartermaster." For the first time a smile forms on his unshaven face. "We're going home to River's Rest. Our friend the quartermaster is going to give us some wagons and supplies. And maybe his good eye." The River Rats show some rare energy as they hurry to carry out their orders.