An Album in Many Parts (A)

Written by Sophina Longlocks on .

A visual guide to persons of import throughout the history of Oberin.

Keywords: Brogan's Keep, Blood Dagger
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Adelphius Kang
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Altaira Mei
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Amalphus Vei
Keywords: Brigobaen
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Keywords: Andrisian Librarian
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Keywords: Shadowed Orb
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Avesne's Golem
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Ayara Rita
Keywords: Blood Dagger
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Happy Endings

Written by Cassandra on .

Full text of the play performed on the 129th day of the Growing moon, year 434.
"Happy Endings" - A tragicomedy

Chorus A = single singer
Chorus B = whole group, moving one step left, one step right
Chorus runs around saying "Opoppopoi oimoi toipoi"

A: Behold Seth, the King's Magician,
A: A man of *bol flas* disposition*.
B: Lightning cometh from his hands,
B: He guides the future of these lands.
A: By old King Austin he was appointed
A: Whose wife Queen Lyrel herself annointed
B: Ruler of Mirith, the usurping cow!
B: Then came Ian, our good King now,
A: Righting wrongs, he seized the throne,
A: thus putting paid to that old crone.
B: Yet her lover, Aureil, haunts us yet,
B: And lurks in shadows, lest we forget.
A: Perhaps his plans will harm the King?
A: But let's get on! The play's the thing!

Episode 1.
Throne Room.
Seth, Coco, Ian.

Ian: The time of lasting peace has come, my subjects.
Ian: Only one foe, Aureil, remains.
Seth: Aye, great King, and with me at your side,
Seth: He shall never lay a hand on you.
Coco: I too stand at your side,
Coco: Providing jokes and scenery, should Aureil choose to attack.
Ian: I can count on your protection, my royal mage.
Ian: But I would like to take one more precaution.
Seth: My Lord?
Ian: We have all heard the prophecy.
Coco: *nods vigorously*
Coco: Not even a fool would dismiss a po... porphe... thing.
Ian: The words of the oracle were clear:
Ian: "The end has come, as existence is revealed to be a jest,
Ian: Winged darkness will devour the realm."
Coco running in circles.
Coco: *flaps arms* I am a Black Dragon! Hear my roar!
Ian: I believe this can only refer to Aureil and his black magic.
Ian: Seth, I want you to destroy him once and for all.
Seth: But your safety...
Ian: We know his whereabouts.
Ian: It will not take you long to join my company again.
Coco: Besides, I prove to be a veritable punching bag as well.
Seth: Well planned, my Lord. I shall confront him!
*Seth off*
Ian: Then let us rejoice as the world finally comes to peace!
Coco: Aww, and here I thought it would come to an end.
Ian: Haha, you sure are a funny one.

Stasimon 1
Chorus, as before.

A: They say that Seth is sage and wise -
A: Has it then escaped his eyes
A: That Coco's humour is somewhat dark?
A: And that behind each glib remark,
A: lies something else: What could it be?
B: Shut up! We are about to see...

Episode 2
Cavern used as hideout.
Aureil. Seth arriving surrepitiously.

Aureil: My portal is almost finished!
Aureil: Finally, I may cross dimensions!
Seth: *enters the cave*
Seth: You shall go nowhere, Aureil!
Aureil: Seth?! What on Oberin...
Aureil: How did you find me?
Seth: Lightning showed me the way.
Seth: *bol flas*
Aureil: Wait, Seth!
Aureil: You have to listen!
Seth: I will hear none of your excuses, murderer of Austin!
Aureil: I mean his son, King Ian, no harm, not anymore!
Seth: Instead you intend to destroy the world as in the prophecy!
Aureil: No, the prophecy, you misunderstand!
Seth: This portal of yours must be eliminated.
Aureil: No! It is my last chance of escape from the prophecy!
Seth: *bol flas*
Aureil: Nooo! What have you done!
Aureil: Now I will die! We will all die!
Seth: Your meddlings are over Aureil, you die indeed.
Seth: *bol flas*
Aureil: *dies*
Seth: This problem is dealt with.
Seth: The prophecy has been avoided.
Seth: Now on to more practical matters.
Seth: *loots*
Seth: A parchment?
Seth: It reads "Till the end! Yours, Coco."
Seth: What does Coco...
Seth: Jest... winged darkness... Oh, no! The prophecy!
Seth: How could I be so blind!
Seth: Not Aureil, it is Coco, the fool!
Seth: He was the one threat remaining!
Seth: *hurries off*

Stasimon 2
Chorus, as before.

A: Doom comes, for Aureil is dead,
A: As Seth has fireballed his head!
B: He planned only to run away,
B: but now he's bolted, there he'll stay,
A: As Seth grasps the dreadful thing,
A: And flees with haste to save his King,
B: And hoping that he's not too late,
B: To turn aside this awful fate.

Episode 3
Throne room.
Ian, Coco.

Ian: Coco, tell me a joke, in celebration.
Coco: I have been waiting eagerly to do so, my King.
Ian: Why that?
Coco: I have a special joke, that will make you die of laughter.
Ian: Haha, you sure know how to provoke my interest.
Ian: You have saved it for this very day?
Coco: I would have told it earlier, but Seth would not have approved.
Coco: You see, it is about Black Magic.
Ian: Pray tell, my fool, I love to hear your jests.
Coco: Very well, my King.
Coco: Once, a travelling black mage met a sheep with white fur.
Coco: Never having met such a thing before,
Coco: The black mage readies himself for battle:
Coco: * Mora *
Ian: My my, black magic, careful Coco.
Coco: No worries, it is a joke.
Coco: But the startled sheep goes:
Coco: * Bah *
Coco: The black mage fears for his live:
Coco: * Mora Elarum Erarum *
Ian: The poor sheep!
Coco: I have to whisper the punchline to your ear, for it is so funny.
Ian: *listens* That tickles!
Coco: *whispers*
Ian: Hahahaha, that was funny!
Coco: Wasn't it wonderful, my Lord?
Ian: Hahahaha! Haha... ha... haha...
Ian: * hahaha hahaha hahaha *
Coco: So funny! A joke to die for!
Ian: * hahaha hahaha hahaha *
Coco: Laughter sure is a blessing, but sometimes it's a curse, my Lord.
Ian: * hahaha hahaha hahaha *
Coco: *grins*
Coco: Seth would never have allowed it.
Ian: * hahaha hahaha hahaha *
Coco: Now, die, you fool of a King! Cheerio!
Ian: * hahaha ha... ha... *
Ian: *dies*
Coco: The King is dead, long live the new King, Coco!
*Seth arrives.*
Seth: Coco, what have you done!
Coco: *takes the Dragonstone Ring from Ian*
Seth: You fool, you killed Ian! Perish!
Seth: *bol flas*
Coco: No! Not now!
Coco: The ring!
Seth: The Dragonstone Ring, don't touch it!
Black Dragons appear.
Coco: If you will not have me King,
Coco: Then you will have nothing at all!
Coco: Black wings shall destroy this world!
Seth: I will survive!
Seth: * Mora Olsen Preldian *
*Seth vanishes.*
Coco: Wasn't this funny?
Coco: Wasn't this foolish?
Coco: Hahahaha!
*Coco vanishes.*

Chorus, as before.

A: Darkness spreads its deadly claws
A: In forests, cities, temples, shores,
A: Come Dragons, to destroy the world,
A: This is the doom Coco unfurled!
B: A time of terror, blood and death,
B: The world torn down by Dragon's breath.
A: All is lost, nothing remains,
A: yet from the shadows, I hear refrains
A: of such sweet songs, a young girl's voice,
B: Elara comes! We shall rejoice!

Astral Aureil

Written by Cassandra on .

Cassandra dreams of Aureil and of the events leading to and following the death of King Austin.
Preparing the play had been a long but pleasurable work. Finally, the first draft was ready; it was time to rehearse it and think of stage directions. Cassandra waited for Kwesyther at the Hall. They would not need the actors yet — this evening was just to have a first idea of how long would it take to transpose the written words into a spoken dialogue. Pause, intonations, hesitations, all those factors made a difference impossible to judge by staring at a fixed page.

The two wizards went through the first act a few times,, trying different staging options. Then the second act. The third. In between, there would still be the verses penned by Antoninus. But the cleric was a slow writer, and those would probably be ready shortly before the premiere. The actors composing the chorus were patient. They wouldn't mind learning their lines with such a short notice, so big was the enthusiasm of bringing this project to a good end.

The moon was already high in the sky when the blue robed wizard declared it was time to sleep. He was always the responsible one. Cassandra would gladly spend days and nights working, without thinking of the consequences to her skin and her brain by the end of it. It was so hard to disconnect from an obsessive idea, that even when she slept things would still occupy her thoughts. She would certainly dream of Seth and Fool Coco that night. Or perhaps she would just rest, unable to sleep at all.

Wishing good night to her companion, she untied her boots, and carefully folded her robe next to the bed, with the hat on the top. She didn't like to sleep at the Hall. Too many people could walk in and wake her up abruptly. It would be even worse if they were to trip on her robe carelessly thrown to the floor. Closing her eyes to summon sleep, she recalled one of the details they still had to solve in the play. Different documents had different information on a wizard called Aureil. Most would say he was a man, who had helped Queen Lyrel killing Austin. But one single faded note mentioned him as a woman, the concubine of Coco. "You will play Aureil, and we address him as a male," had said Kwesyther. That way they would keep the ambiguity, and if not right historically, at least it would be an inside joke remind the authors of the problems faced in the research.

"Disparaging comments often include gender references," said the voice. She was now walking on a square stage limited by green fences on all sides but the back, where a wall had been erected with round trunks of trees, carefully aligned so that the light would not pass. "Aureil used Astral Projections. Hold on a second." A figure in a grey robe and a grey wizard hat was standing in front of her. "Normally he wore red. As a projection he looked like this," continued the figure. She heard her own voice asking what would a projection do. "It could do anything he could. But while he was using it his body was vulnerable."

Her sense couldn't recognise the person in front of her. Impalpable, still familiar; the conversation between the two flew as if they had met before. "I assume the advantage was to get to places his body couldn't." The other nodded assent. "Indeed. I seem to recall Marthonis used the same device once or twice. It's something that might be useful." Marthonis, Marthonis and his thirst for all things to be know. Would he teach them about projections? The wizard forced herself to open her eyes again. "I must remember this tomorrow," the told herself, before turning around and falling asleep again, trying to pick up the dream at the point she had left it.

At first she saw sheep. And harpies, in a field of lotus. Sweeping these colourful images aside, she focused on finding the grey robed man again. There he was, standing slightly above her head. She had to ask her questions while she was still convinced of being in possession of her reason. A minute longer could be too late. "Aureil sided with Lyrel, right?" she inquired, "and was from the Sourcerer's Council too?" The man floating above her head seemed to understand her words, even if she didn't understand then herself any longer. "Aureil came after Greil. Who came after Ploog. Aureil was responsible for Sam II killing the King."

She must had asked about the murdering of the King at this point. She would logically have asked, would she be in full control of her voice. "I think it was a conspiracy with Lyrel. But it was a long time ago. I think there was a ruse. The majority of the people were busy somewhere else. Aureil brought Sam II to Austin's bed. Austin had a dagger of power, but he was no match for the ranger." The figure paused to look up to the sky. What would he be able to see from there, she wondered, sheep, harpies, and lotus invading the landscape again. "Austin was wearing a purple robe at the time."

And suddenly she was floating too, orbiting around the grey figure, words pouring forth her mouth, and organising themselves in the air in the form of questions, some round and gentle, others with sharp lines and aggressive. The hands by which the dragonstone ring had passed, the exact order of the dynasty, the colours of Lyrel's waxed hats, the tuskers in the lake of lava… The figure would just turn his head as she passed, waiting for the end of each complete circle to reply to any of the questions asked. She would fly higher and higher at each turn. "Ian was a good boy… Ian was a good boy… Ian was a good boy…" Higher, higher, until she fell heavily on the ground again.

The wizards shivered in discomfort. Unable to wake up, she struggled her way back to the bed, her feet entangled in the blueish sheets of the Mirith Vanguard. "Dominus was Lyrel's mage, but then came the Bane?" she asked, now committed to her dreams, unaware of the absence of blanket, that had fell to the side, nor the freezing cold she was feeling. "He wore a blue robe and a black hat," replied the shadow, once again in suspension above her head. "I know Tholarius wore all blue," she declared with a vehemence strange to her usual tone of voice. "We're not discussing him," stated the shadow, threatening to disappear from sight. "We will in a second," she yelled. The shadow remained.

"He sided with Dominus before the Bane or after?" she inquired, now in a whisper. "Loyal servant to Dominus," was the dry reply. "When Dominus becomes Bane Dominus, he's not Lyrel's mage anymore?" she continued, "Lyrel had been banished before that point," he retorted. And the grey robed figure was gone. In his place, the same man, in a different attire, as if in his voice a multitude of living beings could take shape, and he would only be the unifying narrator of all those different lives.

"When Ian and Seth stormed the castle…" resumed the figure, now covered in black, "Lyrel was banished by Seth. And her followers jailed. For a while after Travis the former Royal Scout tried to find her." He paused to stare at her intimidatingly, showing by his look that his subsequent words would be of major importance. "Wore black plate and robe." She felt the muscles of her face trembling in a smile. "Dominus had been teaching him Black Magic. Worked with Tholarius for a while. They tried to summon Dominus back. To aid them in their quest. After some considerable trouble they located the Book of the Dead…"

A dormant insight made her continue his words. "…And used it to summon Dominus." The shadow changed position, moving to the other side of her. "Yes, with the aid of the witch Sevohabwyn. Dominus returned as a disciple of the Bane." She turned around, following the voice. "Of course around the same time Stefan and the Necromancer were up to no good. Dominus and Tholarius had killed Susan Bridges, Stefan's lover. And a brigand cleric. She was working against Aureil in secret. And had been releasing prisoners from the jail. She screamed and screamed."

"Reminiscence." After a sigh, he continued, "They overthrew Lyrel and the Bane took Dominus. Stefan wanted to bring back Susan Bridges. And entered into a pact with the Necromancer. If Stefan brought him the Tome of the Damned he would bring back Susan Bridges. Escalus had it for reasons I forget. And was meant to burn it. Eventually The Necromancer and Stefan tried to bring back Susan Bridges anyway. But without the Tome they got it wrong. And the spirit of Ploog was brought back instead. Creating the Lord Lich."

She wanted to wake up. Her feet, now liberated, were kicking against the mattress, her head shaking repeatedly, incomprehensible sounds coming from her mouth. After a few minutes, the wizard was still again, the trouble of her dreams being revealed only be her tense hands holding tight the lower ends of the pillow. The figure was still there, waiting quietly for her return. "It was his fault," he stated to the void. "Who killed Ploog in first place," she asked. "He had a royal robe. Fighter. No, wait. He killed Sorcerer Pete." She gave up the question. Asked another. "What happened to the Book of the Dead after Tholarius and Travis? Lost until Marthonis' times?" The other was unsure. Well, he found it in Marali. I imagine it had several owners over the years." Other disconnected little questions followed.

The figure looked at the sky once again. It was time to put an end to the encounter. "Sometimes it's nice to talk about the past," he let escape as his final words, disappearing back in the darkness he had come from. She was still on the stage, alone and silent. The trunks were vanishing one by one, the fences dissolving in the background. The floor was the only thing standing still and offering support and safety. She crawled to one of its corners, as the rest of the world was disappearing. Curling in the fetal position, she abandoned herself to a heavy sleep, this time undisturbed by dreams.

[Thanks to those who need to be thanked, as usual.]

The Poisonous Priesthood

Written by Sophina Longlocks on .

A Concise History of Venom Priests.

She breathed in deeply, the aroma of antiquity playing a merry tune on her senses. Thousands of pages of history - epic battles, amazing heroes, tedious records, tales of war and peace - were beckoning to her. The Andrisian library was indeed a wonder. She had been looking forward to this sabbatical for some time, and the prospect of delving through mountains of information made her heart race just as quickly as it did when she was on the hunt.

She chose a table in the corner with a tall candle and set out her studying materials - some new quills, an inkwell, and a freshly purchased stack of paper. Not knowing quite where to start, the Ranger wandered, running her hand along the rows of books. Seeing Ambrose down an aisle, she waved and smiled. He returned her greeting, and went back to reading the logbook he'd recently been given by Cassandra and a group of adventurers. She continued on, looking at each shelf, taking in all of the titles. One caught her eye in particular: "Musings on Priests of Venom". She reached for the book, slipping it from the shelf. It was bound in green leather, worn smooth by the many hands that had handled it. The pages were crisp and only slightly yellowed along the edges. It fell open easily in her hand, the binding having been broken in by hundreds of readers. Yes, she mused, green was a good place to start.

Year: 429-430

A new Senator had just been elected in Andris by the name of Natis Fieltler. At the time, Andris was beset by an order of men who claimed to be "Venom Priests". They possessed the magic of Wizards and Druids. Alys observed "...there seem to be 3 distinct types of these priests. The lesser priests use far fewer spells and rely more on their pets. They tend to carry only one bracken seed, 2-3 dragon teeth, and less than 100 of various reagents. Those priests also carry poison sickles. There are other priests, with more magic, who carry 7-8 dragon teeth and two bracken seeds. There was one priest, though who seemed very special. He was killed near town, and according to Breigje that one had over 100 dragon teeth on his body and wore a green wizard hat." No one knew where they came from, though there was a rumored "cave" where they could be found.

The first recorded Venom Priest encounter was by the Ranger Vael as he mined. He saw a green robed figure run past, making a guttural sound before disappearing. Vael made his way toward the city to tell Alys, soon-to-be leader of the Andris Vanguard. As they talked at the gate, the guards hushed them and told them to stop spreading rumors. Apparently the Senate already knew of this threat and had alerted the guards.

Senator Fieltler expressed concern about the increasing number of poisonous creatures around the city and asked a group to investigate. The group found one of these Venom Priests on Crescent Island with poisonous pets in tow. Though he was certainly not friendly, he didn't attack them directly. He claimed he was out feeding his pets. He showed disdain for the Senate, and threw down a few bracken seeds for the group to deal with to cover his escape. They followed his trail, and came upon the Captain of the guard, who informed them that they had known about them, but it was the first time one had attacked a group.

While the group conducted a search, the guards at the west gate were slaughtered. Not far from the gate they found the Venom Priest that had done it, and he promptly attacked them with his pets and magic. They defeated him and found no clues on his body. Another priest of a higher rank promptly appeared and told them to leave those lands. They refused, of course, and he threatened them. Shortly after, Vael and Faith had killed another Venom Priest that attacked them in the woods. Two more were killed that same night, and their pets.

Days later, another was found on Crescent Island. Alys and Immolated tried to gain some information, but they found this priest very rude and uncooperative. He mentioned an offer from "the other city". When he was asked about this, he attacked them, throwing down a bracken seed and summoning many scorpions and poison beasts while he escaped. They pursued, but as they approached the city, Immolated tracked many creatures at the east gate. Mighty warriors joined them, and they took back the east gate. The venom priest was found and defeated a short time later near the cemetery.

Some weeks passed before D'arkk Lyver and Breigje Balloc encountered another of the priests on Crescent Island. He promptly killed Breigje with his lightning bolts and summoned many beasts to distract the Ranger. Meanwhile, elsewhere on the Andrisian continent, Gwen Hauns and Crysania had been hunting and one of the priests appeared near Crysania and threw a bracken seed down. It was becoming very clear that they needed a plan to get rid of these venomous menaces.

Just after the turn of the new year (430), a Venom Priest was spotted near The Circle's guild hall. After a fierce battle, he was defeated. Senator Fieltler aided and asked that they collect objects from some of the stronger priests to help her with a project. The bracken seed found in the pocket of this priest would be helpful. The group started looking around the forests, but soon heard an eerie voice saying, "This is the last you will see of your home!" They rushed back and found that the east gate was under attack. They battled fiercely through beast and bracken, and killed one priest. He was quickly replaced by another. This one unleashed a larger force, and managed to escape after wreaking much havoc.

A couple more weeks went by. The guards had put up a sign at the end of the road warning people of the danger of Crescent Island. A strong group ventured that way and, after fighting through the bracken that lined the shore, were confronted again by one of these foul priests. They dispatched the priest and then were surrounded by a circle of bracken. They defeated the creatures on the island and things seemed normal again for the time being.

Another attack on The Circle's guild hall came a few days later. Many creatures, many bracken, another priest slain. The next attack... the last recorded... is very strange indeed. As a group fought a Venom Priest near The Circle's hall, the priest ran off toward the cemetery. The party gave chase only to find that a Bone Lord had appeared and began to attack the Venom Priest. With the Bone Lord's help, the group finally vanquished the poisonous priest. Upon questioning the Bone Lord, they found out that Marthonis had made the Venom Priests a subject of study. He asked for the body, and the group reluctantly agreed.

One other bit of information was found... an old work of art with many warriors battling a man named Venudious who seems to have been high up in the Venom Priest order. Senator Fieltler is depicted there, and the legend says that the one known as "Lesser Venudious" of the Venenum Addo guild was overpowered and killed. Redman tells of this battle, but sadly it's in a language that I'm not very familiar with. I will seek someone to help translate.

Much later a Cleric records an event near Andris concerning Senator Fieltler and the search for a Nevia Flower in which the Senator refers to the "old cult" of the Venom Priests. They didn't come upon any that day, but the mere mention of it seems to allow for the possibility...

Excerpt from said record:
There are rumours also.
What are people saying?
Rumors of what, senator?
Sometimes there are parts of the continent where that old cult used to live that can be dangerous.
I fear the scouts may have found something similar.
Which cult was that?
Oh dear... does that mean danger?
It is hard to believe they would not return.
Those Venom priests.
That sounds... scary...
*checks mandrake root supply*
*changes dagger*
It's only a rumor of course. * smiles *

Looking up from her journaling, the Ranger noticed that the once tall candle had become considerably shorter. Being well satisfied with the first day's work, she gathered her things together and placed the books she had used back on the shelves they'd come from. As she closed the door quietly behind her and climbed the ladder on the way to the inn, she grew excited at the prospect of unearthing more buried treasures of Oberin's history on the morrow.


Five Eulogies for Zexe

Written by Cassandra on .

The five speeches proffered in Mirith, by the time of Zexe's burial.
Everything was exactly as she had left it. No one had touched the piles of notes on the small desk, nor replaced the candles, now covered by a thin layer of dust. She avoided looking at the door of the small cubicle where Kwesyther used to write his indices. She wanted to imagine he was still there, and pretend she could still hear his exclamations of anger every time a drop of ink blurred his clear handwriting, or every time a name was too hard to spell for a native of the modern tongue. Her work had been left undone. Life had changed her projects, and for too long she had lost the necessary motivation to pursue her research. Now, as the year of 433 was reaching its end, she could feel her old enthusiasm returning. Slowly. But it was there. It was time to come back and work again.

The pretext was small, almost insignificant. She had found, in a strip of parchment marking the pages of a more common book, the transcription of the speeches proffered at Zexe's burial. Tiny excerpts of words from the past, yet still worth keeping in the history books. She unfolded the strip on the table, sharpened her old quill, and opened her book of records at the page she had left it. Then, writing carefully the headings of each section, she transcribed the five eulogies.

I remember a story Zexe shared with me, and I would like to share it with all of you. When Zexe was a child, he was in the wilderness alone and was very afraid. His father sent him into the forest to become a man. While he was looking for shelter, a royal guard stumbles upon him. The guard asked "Why are you here young man?" And Zexe replied "I'm a man? Yay!" I got a good chuckle from that one. I think Zexe would not want us to feel sad, but remember the good times. I will miss him...

Birek McCalla
Since coming to Mirith I have met many people otherwise I would have not. And foremost among them was Zexe. From the first we knew each other as fellow warriors. Different cities we followed, aye, but our lives were alike. As we worked together, for the defense of Mirith and Oberin the respect grew. And a firm and unshakable friendship grew. The mark of friendship I believe is to argue at times and all the time remain true. Zexe and I debated on opposing sides many times what was best. But through it all, and to the moment of his death, we remained great friends. He knew one day he would die, and I believe the way he did was as he'd want. Remember him. He deserves it.

You are and he was a great force for Mirith and Oberin. He fought valiantly that day and now rests with the greatest heroes of Oberin. He has fought next to all of you and I am sure it was the best time of his life. What he has done for Oberin and Mirith shall never be forgotten. I wish for you all to hope to become a great warrior like Zexe. Above all else, he would want for Mirith to continue to be a peaceful place. Now if you will all please join me in a moment of silence.

Nhezul Ryithin
Well, I'm in much the same boat as Birek. I'm not actually a Mirithian. Unlike many of you, I didn't have the pleasure of knowing Zexe as well as many did. That being said, I fought beside him, I saw how he fought for what he believed in. I may not remember him as a friend, but I'll remember him as one of the best damn warrior's Oberin has had. That's all.

Well, I only met Zexe once... but he was a great warrior and led us into a tough battle. His efforts will never be forgotten by any of us. That's all.

[Source and full log:]

Index of Associations

Written by Kwesyther on .

A list of alliances and associations.
Where there is a goal, there is a group of people pursuing it and sooner or later, they will band together to act as one. The wizard himself was a member of such a group, the Mirith Vanguard, sworn to protect and fight for the King of Mirith and his kingdom. With the last light of the candle, he wrote down the names of such alliances and associations. Most evoked vivid emotions, time and time again he had fought against or collaborated with those rallying under a name; while others were but legends from a distant past.


Index of Arcane Items

Written by Kwesyther on .

A list of arcane items that made history.
Objects with magical powers have long fascinated mankind; and in the hand of the right or wrong person, legendary artifacts have shaped the history of Oberin like nothing before. Some are rumored to have survived the passage of time and to still hold magic today, while others have been destroyed for good, never to be used again for great evil or great good.


Index of Places

Written by Kwesyther on .

A list of locations and places.
No catalog would be complete without a list of the places where legendary battles had been fought, alliances forged and disbanded, and dark rituals or joyous festivals had been held. Most of them still exist today and the wizard had no trouble reciting them from memory; but some have long been forgotten and only ruins remain were proud people once dwelled.


Tales of a Mirithian ranger - Part 2

Written by Cassandra on .

The story of Willow Hauksen.
Cassandra sat to write for memory the continuation of Asliendor's stories. She had found some other sources on the Hauksen family, perhaps more complete, perhaps less emotionally engaged, but the first-hand narrative of someone who had met Willow Hauksen was something more valuable than dead archives. It was only hours after his first tales, that the ranger decided it was time to proceed. He approached her between a game and an auction, at a time where the bank steps in Mirith were quieter.

"Alrigh Cassandra... Ready for the story of Willow Hauksen?"

"You bet!"

"Some of the details elude me, I must say. It was such a long time ago."

"Tell me how you remember it. Your memory might be refreshed by the telling."

"Alright... Hm... actually... so many important parts just aren't ringing at the moment.. Just brief little horrible bits... We were always fighting together..."

"How did you meet? Oh, wait, with Vei!"

"She was so kind at heart. A might warrior... Yes, she was lumberjacking in Lerilin. And one day in Aborek, we were searching for something, a silver leaf I believe. She was wounded, I thought she was killed... I don't know... it is all such a haze."

"Only the two of you in Aborek?"

"More than ever... I don't know why. No, Vei was there, some others. She became very sick... Altaira Mei was looking after her in Marali. She didn't remember me.. she didn't remember anything."

"What affected her?"

"I knew we had to do something... It became clear to us that there were 8 silver leaves scattered around Oberin. Ancient leaves that could be brought together to have great power... Altaira Mei thought she could use them to help Willow. It took so very long to find them all... We met many strange characters along the way... Mercenaries, thieves... and a great ancient dragon by the name of Crausaar."

"Where were they?"

"All sorts of dungeons, camps of enemies... a few we just discovered... Crausaar was the only ancient dragon we knew of at the time. The only one who could fly, he said there were so few left of his kind. Anyway, the story of that dragon and myself is a whole other story too. There was a strange... voice. He led us around, he left us a note at Aborek when we discovered the blood dagger."

"The voice, you mean? Or the dragon?"

"We never discovered is nature... he was a shadow at the edge of what we could see. The voice, he called himself B."

"Did you give it a name? Ah."

"B?" asked Claire, joining the group.

"B. Thats all we knew... B... Discordia... Discordia means the end of the world. He would only hint to us, we never learned more. And there were other strange things..."

"Tell us more!"

"In Marali... I found ancient tracks of a flying dragon. Marali used to bury their dead around the mountains. But I am getting ahead of myself... The last battle took place on the black island. The final silver leaf awaited us. It was filled to the brim with brutal enemies. Two dragons sitting at each fortress. I remember Birek got trapped by some sort of tree formed by dark magic. He tossed me his ring so I could put up a better fight... but he was being killed slowly in his trap..."

"You always get the rings."

"So we now had to hurry. Death awaited at every turn... there were many frost giants roaming around. But we had a vast force and prevailed, slaying the ice dragon and finding the silver leaf but a powerful red dragon was now stalking us. And we did not have the power to defeat it. Eventually it blocked our path to leave the island..."

"Oh my."

"We had to give it some great magical item in exchange for letting us go."

"What was it?"

"A greater protection ring of Birek's perhaps? I don't remember. We had all 8 leaves.... we thought we had won. But we were wrong... We took them back to Altaira Mei and Marali. Prepared ourselves for a spell. I was in Mirith talking to Nafets.. he urgently told me we were wrong, and that the silver leaves would bring a terrible fate. So I raced to Marali to inform Altaira Mei and Father Vei to hault the spell. But it was too late... they had cast it. And Willow seemed alright... but.... she died not long afterwards. After that, we would see her ghost appear before us. Running around, screaming... From time to time appearing out of nowhere. But even so... I met a strange person one day."

"What... what would she say?"

"Who looked just like her... talked like her, wore the same helmet even! But I never saw that person again, or Willow's ghost."

"Who was that person?"

"That's a strange story."

"Yet... something floods back into my memory. I felt something so important... A sweet scent... It occured here and there... no one else ever did know what I was talking about. But I can remember that sweetness so clear!"

"Was it like the smell of a Nevia flower?"

"No. I couldn't tell you."

"I thought Willow belonged to a huge family, though. I remember seing her surname somewhere. As mercenaries? Is it possible?"

"They were in fact a family of mercenaries. I remember meeting her sister in Brigobaen."

"Who would they work for?"

"But Marali's forces stormed into Brigobaen. They weren't supposed to, Brigobaen is sacred neutral grounds. King Galandir was furious, as was Cecil, as was I."

"Of course."

"They took Willow's sister, and left her in Marali's jail. Left her there to be executed when it fell to the Twins..."

"Marali and authority... There are things that never change. Did the Twins kill her?"

"I imagine. The sweet scent..."

"Memory keeps strange details, yes."

"No, this was important!"

"Did that scent have any sort of effect on you? Like some drug?"

"No, not that I recall. It was related to Crausaar... the seer... and willow. The seer!"

"The seer?"

"A name whispered only on the winds, man could only prove himself worthy to be granted such presence. There is a man here who speaks of the seer. At the restraunt."

"Here in Mirith?"


At this point, however, the had been interrupted. Libe, the little troublemaker that sometimes dwells in the sewers of Mirith, had lost something. Once again it was proved that even though festivals are a great occasion to learn stories from the past, they are also full of distractions. Libe was looking for a page ripped off a book by a rat. A story about Mirith, to be told by a bard at some point in the festival. "Hmmmpf. That bard never came," thought Cassandra to herself, while archiving Asliendor's memories near the remaining documents on the Hauksens.

[I copy below Aslan's posts in the old forum. Just because they are already a compilation of the Hauksens' story, and it feels right to reproduce it here. You might also be interested in reading this thread, and this, or even this.

Aslan - Wed Jun 29, 2005 - The Story of Willow Hauksen.

(Compiled from several sources - individual accounts may vary)

Part 1.

It all began two years ago in the bowels of the ruins of Aborek. The Family Hauksen, the first mercenary family of Oberin, had been hired to infiltrate a vault under Marali. They were only told that there were "valuable items" inside - they took this to mean magic rings, gold, magic weapons, and so forth.

The Hauksens had discovered that the best way to infiltrate this vault was to use the white portal at the bottom of Aborek. As they were attempting to open the portal, a shadowy figure appeared and stopped them. It was Zara, the Kiss of Death. After a brief struggle, she stabbed Willow Hauksen with her vaunted "Thousand Cuts" technique. By this time, the Marali soldiers had discovered the plot and were on their way to stop the Hauksens.

The Hauksens fled to the surface. There, they bandaged Willow up as best they could, then decided to split up. Furin Hauksen, the father of this family, took Willow, and the rest fled in the opposite direction. However, Willow's wounds soon began to worsen, beyond the help of her father, and he was forced to do the unthinkable - leave her at the doorstep of his new enemy, Marali.

The healers of Marali are known in Oberin as the most skilled in all the lands. However, even they could not keep Willow alive. She fought valiantly against the wound of the Thousand Cuts, but she eventually died.

Standard practice in Marali at this time was to dump enemy combatant's dead bodies in the mountains around the city instead of actually burying them properly - a powerful message to those who would seek to harm the great Fort. Willow's body was dumped in the mountains East of the city after her death. Also, her death was kept a secret from virtually everyone - from the rest of her family, from Father Cecil, from Zexe (who had been a long time friend of Willow since she was a child), from everyone but a few in Marali.

What no one knew, however, was that Zara's technique has an even more sinister facet - it wounds the spirit itself. A body and it's soul cannot be rejoined if the spirit is damaged in any way. The Ghost of Willow Hauksen was injured by the attack, and was destined not to rest until her body was retrieved and buried properly. She would haunt those close to her when the wound occurred, and not let up until either they all died or she was buried with the correct funeral rites.

Fast forward two years. A young woman arrived in Oberin around the time that this generation of heroes had arrived. Her name? Willow Hauksen. She quickly made friends, and made a name for herself as a potent ally in fighting undead. Slowly, however, her new found friends understood that something was wrong with Willow - she heard voices that drove her to seek Cecil. Soon after, Willow began to have delusions - that her newfound friends were actually her family members, and that they were still on the same mission that killed her - breaking into the vault under Marali.

Incredibly, the events happened much like they did before. Zara showed up, just as she had two years ago, and attacked Willow with the Thousand Cuts. Willow ran off. Her friends left Aborek only to be captured and interrogated by General Falvo. They were let go, eventually, but they had more questions than answers.

Soon after, a Marali patrol discovered a body near the ruins. It was of a young girl, blond haired, wearing a gray Robe of Protection. She was badly wounded, with frost marks, large bruises, and a particularly nasty wound to her chest. She was brought back to Marali, where she was treated. The healers named her "Anon".

Part 2.

Anon reminded many of the healers of Willow Hauksen - same hair color, same clothing, same facial features, same strong fighters build. She also reminded them of her spirit - Anon fought hard against her wounds, and eventually made a partial recovery. She was weak, but she could resume her former life of fighting the beasts of Oberin. One vital piece was missing - Anon had no memory of who she was. She didn't remember her name, her parents, her family, her childhood - nothing. It was like something wiped her mind completely.

It was soon decided that this person, this "Anon" was actually the Willow Hauksen that attempted to break into the vault a second time - somehow, Willow's spirit had been forced upon another person for a short time, and made to relive her last weeks of life. The friends that Willow had made the second time around attempted to help Anon return to normalcy, but it was going to be a tough road. Anon despaired often about her lack of memory, about everything being so new and strange, about her wounds... and she was being haunted.

By this point, the people who had been with Willow in Aborek when she was wounded (both times it turned out) began seeing Willow's ghost. At first, it was fleeting glances. Then, in a chance encounter, Willow began to change. Anon's friends happened across the place where Willow's body was dumped - there was a burial stone at the site, as well as Willow's ghost. She tried to talk to them, but she was too weak to understand. After this occurence, the ghost of Willow will haunt these people in more aggressive ways - first by loud angry OOOOO's, then by actual violence (spells). There was a glimmer of hope, however - near the burial stone were the tracks of a very old dragon. A dragon that could fly. The dragon had the body of Willow.

The glimmer of hope, however, was quickly dimmed - Anon had been getting worse, and wouldn't survive without a cure. A cure consisting of 8 silver leaves...]

Tales of a Mirithian ranger - Part 1

Written by Cassandra on .

Asliendor's memories on the "Cemetery Watch," and on Yadeth and the poison forges.
She had to write it down while memory was still fresh. They had left the library to join a festival in Mirith. A festival that had been announced as the greatest of all festivals, and would change the world of Oberin. It is always odd enough for those that live archiving tales from the past to find themselves suddenly in the present; even odder to witness events that will be a turning point in the future. "The story of N'eroth is still to be written. Soon others will soon be in this same library trying to find out who Galandir was."

Late evening of the 228th day of the Growing Moon, year 432.

"We don't want anything getting in the way of this celebration," declared Asliendor Ivanshield on their way back to the bank. Cassandra and Charonia had met him in the Castle, when both girls were wondering about the Centaur's absence from his usual post. "I mean, look at everyone! They aren't paying any attenton at all."
*shakes hands*
1k from Iceane.
1k from Ice going once.

"A troll could walk up behind them and steal all of their money and they would have no idea!"

"Yes. But I guess they would, was Mirith being invaded." Wishful thinking, eh? thought Cassandra to herself, as she said these words. "Or maybe not."
Take 'em
1k going twice.
1.5k Faustus
1.5k going once...
1.5k going twice....

Eleswyr's attention was caught by the arrival of the small group. "What should we be paying attention to?"

"A difficult thing to miss when a giant is waving a club in your face, yes?" mocked Asliendor.
My god...
You did it again!

"I wouldn't be so sure," sighed the wizard.
1.5k. Get outa here!

Eleswyr raised her voice again, from the confusion of the auction. "Do you think the king will be coming out anytime soon?"
If you sell 20 potions, you're outa here.

"Oh, no," replied the former Commander of the Mirith Vanguard, "There are many events planned. He is coming out at the peak of the festival."
Battle Axe of Speed!
Do I hear 20k?
20k from Tamzin

"Perhaps he'll visit, but that is when his announcement is going to come."
35k Hania.
40k Faustus.
Battle axe of Speed.
42k Ronan.

"And Eles, replying to your question," turned Cassandra, "no one is paying attention to whatever may happen while we are distracted with festivities."
42k Ronan going twice.
*stares at claire*
Bye bye.
42k Ronan going once.
Garion sleepy!
42k Ronan going twice.
*Doesn't Meep*

"I may be drinking ale, but my friend Aethyx is waiting with several pures in hand!"

The druid's reference to the sparkling beverage seemed to have an echo in the ranger's ears.
"I'll fight an army of brigands drunk any day!" he claimed with a hiccup.

"Uh ho. That's what they always say."

"It is an art. Oh but you don't know me, apparently, Cassandra."

"The art of seeing double, yes."

Asliendor shook his head. "You just don't know my experience. Or my capacity for ale."

"Drink you under table young man," yelled a voice in the crowd.

"I guess I'll have plenty of time to know you better in the next few days, then."

Asliendor's virility was hurt for a second: "Faustus, did you just call me young man?"

"I can see a glint in Cassandra's eye," suggested Eleswyr, trying to use Cassandra as an excuse for the questions she wanted to ask herself, "She will be wresting some arcane lore from you in no time, Asliendor!"

"Oh, I'm always pleased to tell a story!"

Despite his hiccups, the ranger must have sounded convincing enough for a small group to form around him. Claire abandoned her dealings at the auction, to take a place next to her red robed friend. Cassandra caught the hint. "Oh! A drunken story teller! I love them! You might even feel at ease to tell us a love story from the past..."

"Oh!!! I love love stories!!!" Druids.

"I don't think I have any stories about love, I'm afraid."

"That's not what your reputation tells me. But drink first, Alsi."

"Ooo! Man in black has a reputation with the ladies...."

"What have you heard?" inquired Asliendor, raising an eyebrow.

"It starts with an 'E.'"

The ranger's face went flat. Between hiccups, he mumbled that he did not want to talk about such topic.

"Hmm.. perhaps this is a story of pain, rather than love."

"Why not, if I may ask?"

"Not the time or the place for such a tale." The auctioneer was now announcing the new item for sale. "How ironic... a yellow rose."

"I hear time or ginseng heals all wounds, warrior."

"We have all the time in the world. You can start by happier tales."

Claire passed some ginseng around. The old ranger took a drag of it with relief, when his turn arrived. "I could tell you about... Where the title commander came from! 'ello Amere!" said the man, turning to his right. "Alright... Well long ago, when had just become a new adventurer in Lerilin. I met two people who seemed, and we managed to move things along, typically. One was Father Amalphus Vei, a cleric. The other a fighter named Willow Hauksen. The story of my friend Willow is a very, very long story... so I wont get into that just yet."

"A romantic name..."

"I remember fighting with Willow and Vei and the cemetery one day... When all of a sudden, bracken started to pop up! And the undead clawed from their graves in numbers I couldn't imagne at the time! Some of us began to hear a strange voice in the back of our minds. This strange event seemed to keep going for some time. We realized it could only be one thing, Lerilin's cemetery was infested by a necromancer."

"Long before Marthonis, I assume."

"A powerful one, and no one was very sturdy, it was quite a challenge. Oh yes, long before Marthonis. His name was Nadirah, and his origins are still unknown to us. He haunted that cemetery for so long that I formed a group called 'the cemetery watch.' And people just started calling me commander, and that is where the title comes from!"

"I think I've found some old reference to that. Oh, com'on! Give us details!"

"Long before any of the vanguards started, once the King created the Mirith vanguard, it just stuck. Well, mostly it was just a long drawn out battle."

"What happened to the necromancer?"

"He killed many many people, Evers finally put an end to him at the final battle."

"Evers," smiled Eleswyr, "What a cutie. Someone was trying to set her up with the king the other day."

"That is also when Seth started to first appear."

"I thought Seth was older than Mirith."

"Seth is quite old. Rumor has it he used to be Mirith's royal mage under a different king. But this is also when we began learning of his verma stone fading."

"Not Mirith's King, but one King," corrected Claire.

"Apparently the verma stone is a corrupted piece of the curio," added Asliendor. "Haha, I remember when Seth accidently shut off all the portals trying to activate the fire portal..."

"What exactly is the stone for?"

"For keeping him alive."

"Ah! That explains his longevity. Asli? Is the story over?"

"Wasn't a very long story."

"Tell us another one!"

"When did Galandir become King?"

"As long as I can remember being here."

"After Elara."

"When I first came to Mirith, it was with Willow and Father Vei."

"Is he 432 years old?"

"Yes." Claire always knew the age of everyone.

"Nafets and Palmer were discussing things in Lerilin, and we snuck up to the window to listen... Anyway, they had the first reports of the now infamous Black Hand. And we were to deliver these reports to Galandir. So we went to Mirith, my first time ever seeing the city. We spoke with Galandir.. I remember meeting Zexe."

"Who was the Black Hand at the time?"

"Same people who are in it now. Brigands... the Twins. I don't think we had realized the Alliance was working for them yet. That came later with Yadeth and the creation of the poison forges."

"But that's a topic you want to avoid?"

"The Mhara folks helped to kill Yadeth, didn't they?"

"I could talk about that time, the parts you are thinking of hadn't yet happened. And yes, Kolarysan spoke to me of what we needed to do. Kolarysan is the king of the Mhara, he gave me a very powerful, and strange ring. I still don't know what it did."

"What ring?"

"Nita arrived with her serpents to finish him off. Yadeth, that is. Erm... Excuse me... Yes, excuse me... Just for a moment," asked the ranger, making his way closer to the place where some others were still selling their goods at an auction. He came back, after announcing something special Mirith had for sale. "Hm, where was I..."

"Poison forges."

"Poison forges..."

"And how you killed Elefin's husband."

"My memory is fuzzy I'm afraid. Easy there, Cassandra."

"Er.. You, I mean, you, in the plural!"

"Anyway, after killing Yadeth, we turned our attention to the forges themselves. This is when Kolarysan gave me the ring I think."

"Were they destroyed?"

"The twins had used the forges to arm giants and trolls with poison weapons. So we had trolls running around with poison blades! Giants with poison spikes on their clubs... it was getting out of hand. My job was to lure the twins away from the forges with the ring Kolarysan gave me."


"Things came up, I was dealing with a great many other things rather far away. So Zexe took my place, and he ended up having to fight off both of the Twins at the same time."

"Without a ring..."

"However, the forges were destroyed... Zexe was badly wounded though. Which leads to the whole story about needing the centaurs to heal him... and of course... the blood dagger... I'll get to that part eventually."

"If it's not too painful. I still don't want to tire you."

"Not yet, and not here though. I'll tell the one of Willow next."


"But not right now, I'm getting a bit tired."

Cassandra stopped writing and looked at the text. It was getting long, very long. "Poor Asli. He ended up giving us a whole load of troubles as he was trying to tell us a story." Claire agreed, "Now we have to search for information on all those names and events." Nothing that would be unpleasant to do. On that same night in Mirith, Asliendor told the story of Willow Hauksen. But that would have to be added on a different scroll, for the sake of those who would one day want to read it.

[Thanks, Asli! It is indeed much more fun to learn about the lore in game! We shall add links and bits to this post, as we find them. I thought it better to post this anyway, even if just to tease the audience about future topics to be published here.]

A Bard's song: Commented Edition

Written by Cassandra on .

A poem recited in Mirith on Lancaster and the war between Andris and Mirith.
"So people of Mirith take heed this bold warning that history brings us bright...
Forever and ever we must hold together and be with the Goddess and light!"

Crysania bowed, after reaching for the twentieth time the last verse of the song. Cassandra and Claire clapped nonchalantly. They could already see Crysania learning by heart every single song the Bard would perform during his stay in Mirith. "Alright, Crys," said Cassandra, "if you are to repeat it once again, lets try to interpret it line by line. We have quite a lot of dispersed information on Lancaster. We could try to make some sense out of it."

"I can repeat it as many times as you want, starting at any point, and even backwards, if you need:

I bring you a tale of sadness and ale, of misery, fury and woe...
Of Mirith and Andris, those two great powers, and each each other's great foe..."

"Bah, that's easy to interpret. Mirith and Andris are always whining about each other," mumbled Claire.

"A long time ago in the passage time there was a man of great power....
Lancaster by name and by fame and by game, he was recognised by his glower..."

"Lancaster was a Senator, right?" Claire nodded.

"A most evil plan he did hatch and to match evil with cunning he grew...
A dastardly deed which gave aid to his greed which he knew..."

"I have no idea what is this about."

"Hmmm. The piece of the Curio he stole?" suggested Claire.

"Would give him the power he had sought to devour, and off with Waltham's head he would hew!"

"Who on earth is Waltham?" asked one of the girls.

"All I know is that he was a Senator as well, and was murdered," replied another.

"Murders. Andris. Majara!" shouted Claire, always ready for accusations.

"It is also the name of the potion seller in Duldrus. Do you think he was murdered by Lancaster?"

"You, girls, are just too young," said a familiar voice in the corner. "Waltham was the first piece of the very clever plan made by Lancaster. It was during the very first blue moon festival that it began... Everything was going so well until that one evening Waltham was found murdered near the gates. Two evidences were found near his body: A scrap of grey robe, and a broken insignia of Mirith."

"Uh! See? Mirithians! Murderers. Majara wears gray!" This comment made Crysania frown. She continued:

"With a token and trick he would try to convict one known to be brave and so true!
Zexe's crime wrought from that masterful mind that was evil and knew what to do."

"Of course all attention was turned towards Mirith at that moment. There is one evidence that came a few days later, and finished to persuade about everyone Mirith was indeed the culprit."

"And that was?" asked Cassandra. The Stranger handed them a letter.

"This letter sent to Lancaster. One thing you have to know if you really want to understand that letter... A few weeks before the festival, Zexe was ambushed by the twins. He was unable to move, laying in bed with broken bones. But somehow this letter made everyone believe Mirith was lying about Zexe's condition, and Zexe was the perfect assassin for Senator Waltham.

"Oh! I thought Zexe was a goody good!"

"Everyone was in shock, even more when what was left of Zexe's badge was compared with the piece found on Waltham's body. They matched perfectly. Andris asked that Zexe would undergo a trial to prove his guilt and then be sentenced. But Mirith assured that Zexe was still totally unable to move from the ambush, and that the trial could not possibly take place. That lead to the first skirmishes between Mirith and Andris, until that day Lancaster decided to declare war on Mirith. And from then, his plan was in motion."

Crysania recited a few more lines, stressing dramatically the words "blood," "glove," and "furious swoon:"

"With his trickery planned he knew the time would come soon...
At the festival that they call the Blue Moon...
Where innocent blood would be shed and the glove...
Would be thrown in a furious swoon..."

"The first Blue Moon festival, you said. In which year was this?"

"Uhh. You'll have to dig for that. I'm old and my memory is failing..." apologized the cloaked figure.

"Was before the Marali attack, wasn't it?"

"Yes, way before."

"Right, I can find that."

"So bold Zexe was framed by that man so depraved and swords were rattled in sheathes...
At the moon's closing light when all travellers lights were extinguished and they had to leave...
Lancaster he gained fame and notorious acclaim and made himself King of Andris!
His power so vaunted he gained undaunted by the destruction of our precious peace."

"Andris had a King? I didn't know this!"

The Stranger ignored Cassandra's question. "So, anyway, what happened then... The tensions escalated, a lot, Andris basically publicly accusing Mirith, and Senator Robertson hiring Mercenaries, also amongst citizens, to build up their military force."

"Woah! Crazy!"

"So Lancaster wasn't yet in power? Just a senator?"

"Indeed. After a while, Andris just put things straight: either Zexe's trial takes place in Andris, or it's war. Galandir refused. War was declared."

"Yay! Action!" The announcement of a war made Claire come out of her lethargy.

"Well the thing is, after war was declared, Senator Morgans cames asking shelter in Mirith."

"The Senators fled from their lands and homesteads, fleeing to Galandir's aegis...
And history recounts the deeds of the gallants, and its manifold pages..." confirmed Crysania.

"Andris' walls were closed to the outsiders, and Mercenaries flooded the city. Morgans told Mirith that Lancaster and Robertson went way too far in her opinion. And that she was worried for the other senators, still trapped inside, namely Anderson, who she knew was trying to escape. Mirith sent an assault on Andris and managed to rescue a near-dead Anderson. And that is when a little troublemaker came into plan, by the name of Zara."

"Zara, who is in that Willow's story as well, right?"

"And Falvo's sister?"

The Stranger nodded. "Zexe's girlfriend. Zara saved Morgans, before she resurfaced in Mirith, from a man called Brock, who was apparently hired to murder her. Brock was eventually chased and found by heroes. And that is where he confessed before dying that he was Waltham's murderer, and he was indeed tasked with the murder of Morgans, Anderson, and also Robertson."


"After learning that, Morgans sent a group of volunteers to meet with Robertson, who managed to escape from Andris and to report that Lancaster went totally crazy and now has Andris and the mercenary's army under his control. If you followed the story so far... That also means Lancaster had a whole third of the Curio."

The three girls nodded at once. "Building the Ice Dungeon!"

"Not quite yet. Lancaster's next move was to slaughter everyone at Port Gasp. Er... forgive me, Gast. Welif also suffered a very heavy attack from the mercenaries but Mirith was able to save most of its citizens in time."

"What happened then?"

"It turned out that Lancaster was looking for a certain someone. It is only much too late that the people discovered that, though. In any case, Lancaster managed to find, and capture, who he was looking for. That person did try to send help calls, straight into people's minds. I believe Asliendor was one of the people she tried to contact. But they never really got it, and eventually Lancaster managed to kidnap the little girl. She was Serene, the heir of Elara."

"I've heard of her. She died, didn't she?"

"And Vanderbilt? Is it now?"

"Hold your horses my dear, I only have eleven fingers. Anyway, you see, the Curio is cool and almighty but not everyone is able to fully fathom and apprehend its power." That was new; the Stranger trying to adopt the vocabulary of the modern generations... "That is why Lancaster kidnapped Serene, he wanted to force her into activating the piece of the Curio he had, and giving him the power of the Moon. Vanderbilt was the leader of the Mercenary army hired by Andris, he is the one who found, and kept Serene captive."

"The mercenaries' tales, and Vanderbilt's failings, ceased by the glorious Tuck!"

"Andris built a fort near the bridge and sent Vanderbilt and a few mercenaries to keep Serene in security there, so that even if Andris were to fall, Serene would still be his prisoner."

"On what side was Marali?"

"Well it was basically Lancaster vs. the rest of the world. But Marali decided to stay 'neutral.' As in, people from Marali were free to go and help Mirith (bear in mind that the Vanguards didn't exist yet), but Marali wouldn't bring any kind of official support or armed force or things like that. So anyway, Lancaster was getting stronger and stronger, and the mercenaries laying waste on Mirith and Oberin. Things were looking very grim at that time. And that is when two heroes did something that no one expected, took a wild bet, and ended up saving Oberin. Tuck and Valaraukar."

"Hmm. What did they do?"

"During one of the countless attacks on Mirith from the mercenaries, those two pretended to sneak into the castle, and try to assassinate the King, setting his room on fire. They got caught and imprisoned, sentenced to death, and on the very night before their execution, set out of jail by DarkStar.


"She gave them a choice. She would set them free, and arrange a meeting between them, and Vanderbilt. They would join the mercenary army, and serve as her eyes in Andris. If they refused, well.. They'd just die there. Eventually became part of the Andrisian mercenary army... They ran errants for Lancaster for a little while, and since they used to be Mirithian heroes, everyone in Oberin would keep on talking about them and how they betrayed everyone and how they should die and burn and be resurrected and die again.


"That pleased Lancaster a lot, who decided in provocation to assign them to the bridge hall, and the 'protection' of Serene. They reported to DarkStar, who reported to Mirith, and the siege of the hall began. A very long siege, during which Vanderbilt barricaded himself inside the hall, with Serene, Tuck, and Valaraukar. Then, the Mirithian army wiped the mercenaries outside the hall, and soon had it surrounded. Vanderbilt would not surrender, but just like any human being, he eventually had to rest, and gave the responsibility of watching over Serene, and the fort, to Tuck and Valaraukar. Needless to say, this error cost him his life. The two men murdered Vanderbilt in his sleep, rescued Serene, and became heroes again in the eyes of everyone."

"But Serene is killed at some point, isn't she?"

"She died indeed. Technically not killed. But what she went through traumatized her, and the suffering Lancaster inflicted to her body was too much for her to handle."

"Serene, forever traumatized by Lancaster, whose powers seem to have vanished, crying every night trying to forget, praying for those images to leave her mind, and her... She was old, very old, and in a few years..." quoted Claire, by heart.

"Is there any other heir of Elara?"

"Who knows?" The Stranger smiled for a second, and continued, "Last act of the War: Mirith gathered all the explosive material they could, ash, eels, stuff like that, and decided to simply blow up the walls of Andris. Beleth was in charge of gathering the reagents. Needless to say it took them no more than a few days to have what he considered to be enough to destroy a small portion of the walls. The offensive took place, I can't exactly remember when, the walls were destroyed and the Mirithian army poured into Andris and liberated the city from the mercenary army. But Lancaster was already gone... with the Curio."

"Where did he go?"

"Is it finally the Ice Dungeon bit?"

"Yes. Apparently he did manage to use Serene to unleash some of the Curio's power. He used that Curio to build the Ice Dungeon, that would serve as his hiding place. The Mirithian army proceeded to invade the Ice Dungeon. It was long, cold, hard battle, one of the longest battle people ever had to fought. There were many deaths. Eventually... They found Lancaster, and killed him."

"Mirith, Mirith, always Mirith!"

"Well, it was the Mirithian army. But if you really want to set things totally straight the army was led by both Zexe and Birek McCalla."

"Oh! Birek McCalla is mentioned three lines below:

Of Jefferson and Clara, those women who would rather have gold than their own lives...
Of Bigwig's love for that cleric who just never loved him though how much he did strive.
Of Birek McCalla and all who would follow and strike to the heart of the pain..."

"Was Birek already under Mirith at the time?"

"No. Birek was just helping. But it probably was his deeds during this war that led him to become the new Royal Guard after Zexe's death."

"So how did the battle go?"

"Bad. They won, eventually. But... So many casualties, so much pain... No one knew about the place, it was all new. They got lost. They had to kill many dragons on the way...

"Poor things."

"Things were not like today young one. A dragon was actually a real hard threat."

"Anyway. They found them in the end?"

"They found and killed Lancaster, yes. That is how the war ended."

"Hmm... But the poem doesn't end here:

And the dead who attest to the glorious best that our Mirithian forces did gain!
Lancaster's mercs and those lizardly cursed creatures all would endure great pain...
And the blood of the heroes along with their great foes was washed away in the rain..."

"Were the lizard men his allies?"

"I've found tons and tons of letters from that Roman trying to to something with the lizard men at this time. Does that matter?"

"Lancaster did stir up the old conflict between the Lizard and the Human race," said the Stranger, munching an apple. His story was over, and he was getting a bit too tired to reply to the remaining questions that filled up the girls' minds. "Well, I guess he was looking for allies anywhere he could find them."

"A friend once told me," quoted Claire, "all the lands of Mirith down to Welif were belonging of the lizards in the long past. There were wars and the lizards lost. Mirith was built on their blood by taking their land and all they could do was run to that island. They hate humans for this and much blood was spilled during years, with people hunting them all time, like animals."

"That is not totally true, but it does sum up the reason why it was so easy to turn the Lizards vs the humans."

"Okay... And before you get sick of us, can we go back to that line on Bigwig?"

"Aye. What about it?"

"I assume he's love is Clara. I think I've found a letter he wrote somewhere..."

"Clara was the head cleric, I think, of the mercenary army. Jefferson was Clara's lover. Jefferson was also a leader of the army, under Vanderbilt's orders. But Jefferson didn't quite agree with everything that Vanderbilt was ordering her to do, namely murdering innocent Andrisian citizens for the sake of keeping order. So she kind of fed Mirith with information at some point."


"But she wasn't discrete enough and eventually got caught. And murdered in front of the very eyes of her lover, Clara, by Vanderbilt himself. Clara was siding with the Not-Totally-Mirithian-Mirithian-Army during the reconquest of Andris."

"So she changed side?"

"Well Vanderbilt killed her lover in front of her. So yeah, she did."

"Sounds reasonable. And Bigwig...?"

"What about Bigwig?"

"'Of Bigwig's love for that cleric who just never loved him though how much he did strive.' Is this here just for the sake of the rhyme, or did he play an important part in the story?"

"Clara wasn't really into men, you see? Well, what more to say... Once Andris was free Clara realized life without her lover wasn't worth living, and ended her life on Jefferson's grave. But again, I only have half a brain and eleven fingers, and I am getting tired for today. If you, ladies, don't mind, I shall take my leave."

Claire and Cassandra nodded and thanked the Stranger, once again, for coming to their help. They had reached Crysania's favourite part of the poem, and the cleric was already stepping on a table, from where she sang the concluding verses:

"And now Andris lies proud, a glorious crowd, a testament to our might!
That no one shall ever crown himself king of e'rywhere, it is a most heinous slight!
So people of Mirith take heed this bold warning that history brings us bright...
Forever and ever we must hold together and be with the Goddess and light!"

[A large number of informations about Lancaster can be found in the old forum. It is, however, full of gaps, side stories, and quite hard for the youngsters to read. To link it all would be unnecessary - just browse the archives, if you feel like it. You might be interested in this post, though. Thanks again to the GMs, both for making a poem and for helping us interpreting it. You know who you are!]