September 27, 2001

The Reward (Global)

Recently posted to BNN (World News):

Exhausted, Guilhem tossed down his spear and sat heavily on a stone in the swamp. The small party of surviving savages took notice of his mood and warily drifted away from their aggravated leader. Weeks ago the Master had ordered him to increase the tribe�s attacks into the human cities, but now they had been forced to settle here, defeated. He had known going into the fight that the odds of holding even one of the cities were slim, and he had tried to express that to the Master. But once an order was given, it was expected to be followed to the letter. Guilhem had seen the penalty for disobedience and had no desire to again, especially from the victim�s point of view. He wondered again what the penalty for failure would be and shuddered.

When the Master had first given him this assignment he had almost been insulted, although he had dared not show it at the time. Lead an unimportant tribe of primitives into the orc lands and drive them away. Live as one of them, gain their trust. To his surprise, after his time with the tribe, he�d become comfortable. He had learned their customs and traditions, even made friends. Never before in his life had he felt guilt, but now it consumed him. Guilt for being the instrument that led the savages away from their home and into the slaughter.

Absentmindedly he rubbed a few flakes of his kin paint off of his itching chin. He would soon need to reapply his tribal markings. The itch manifested itself on his arms and then spread down to his legs and soon encompassed his whole body. Within seconds his skin was numb and he could not move or speak. Light faded from his eyes and his mind went blank as the sensation of movement filled him. Reality blurred and he lost all concept of time. Then slowly, he could feel his thoughts return and feeling prickled itself back into his flesh. He was no longer in the swamps. He lay on cold stone. Around him he could hear a slight clicking sound and lights danced on the other side of his closed eyelids.

�Guilhem, I trust I did not interrupt anything vital?� said the Master.

�You were to report in weeks ago! Explain yourself!� barked the Master�s lackey.

Fighting the initial shock of his journey, Guilhem pulled himself upright and into a standing position, shading his blurry eyes from the bright lights in the room. Despite his dislike for the Master�s servant, he carefully kept his face free of any disdain. If he was going to report a failure, he wanted to keep every chance of living through it.

Guilhem responded steadily, �The humans took the cities back from us in days. They were too powerful; the tribe had no chance of success. We were forced to retreat to the swamps. I beg forgiveness for my failure, Master; my only wish is to serve you.� He knew the last words were a lie even as he spoke them.

The master paused for a moment and then spoke. �Guilhem, you have performed well. I do not consider your distraction a failure.�

�Distraction?!� Guilhem cried, trying desperately not to let his anger show. Hundreds of the clan, perhaps thousands were slaughtered� all for a distraction. �A distraction, M�lord� I do not understand� You sent orders that I was to take the tribes into the cities and hold them. We were defeated.�

�Indeed,� said the Master. �Your primitives occupied the Britannians quite well. Our efforts here were not discovered, thanks to that diversion.�

�However, our assets are far from secure.� A deep voice took Guilhem by surprise. In his nervousness he had not noticed a figure standing in the shadows, concealed by a dark cloak.

�We still have the issue of the renegades.� The stranger spoke in low tones, but with an air of power behind his words. �They have been making attempts almost daily to expose us. If the humans found the city now, they could shut down production of our forces. The savages did distract the Britannians, but it is still too soon for us to be discovered. We need more time.�

Guilhem stood tensely. He had never heard anyone speak that way in front of the master, as if they were an equal! He had seen men die for far less a transgression. To his surprise, the Master responded to the stranger, �What do you suggest?�

�That we launch the golems now. The Britannians are still unfocused after the chaos caused by the orcs and savages. The renegades remain a nuisance. Enough golems have been produced to afford us the ability to have the Controllers both search for the renegades and divert attention away from our work. That should give us enough time to establish our security structures.�

There was a long silence as the whirring sound increased and then settled. �Phoseph, notify the Controllers of our new plans. They are to begin as soon as possible.� He paused while the lackey made some notes on a scroll and then left the room. �Guilhem, step forward.�

Guilhem knew as he stepped forward he could not hide the slight shaking of his legs or the look of anxiety on his face. His mind raced with anger and confusion. He tried not to look in the direction of the dark stranger who was moving silently across the room. He stopped behind Guilhem, casting a slight shadow over him.

�Guilhem, don�t presume to be able to hide anything from me. Although you performed your task well, your growing fondness for the primitives is clear.� The Master spoke in his usual calm tones.

�I� I have come to know them, M�lord. My purpose remains to serve�.�

�Your purpose is mine to decide, as is your reward. You still wear the marks of the primitives. You wish to live as one of them.� A dark blue light enshrouded Guilhem and he rose a few inches off of the cold floor below him. He tried to scream but his face froze in astonished horror. �And you shall die as one.�

Guilhem felt the warmth of his own blood running down his body as he was impaled from behind by the dark cloaked stranger. Through the pain of his spine breaking in two he imagined the home of the savages and let himself have a quick, bloody smile before slumping to the floor.

�I have matters to attend to elsewhere. We are not yet secure,� said the dark figure, not giving a thought to the blood on his cloak.

�For the moment,� replied the Master. �But soon we shall be. The Britannians will not be able to withstand our forces. The renegades shall soon be found. The land will be ours.�

Silently the figure moved out of the room, leaving a small trail of crimson droplets behind him.

Posted by Thellaren at 3:48 PM

August 20, 2001

Scenario Update

The following scenario information was posted to the UO Boards by Calandryll (Designer, Ongoing Content):

Just to answer the question I know is on everyone's mind, the next scenario will not be starting this month. Nobody is more dissapointed about that than I am, but we've hit some snags and decided to add more stuff (mostly related to the ending of the scenario) to make it better. I'd rather have a delay to make sure QA gets to thoroughly test everything and to make sure we add enough content to make the scenario enjoyable then rush it out the door just to make a deadline. Right now, we're working on the next (and last) patch (about 90% art complete), finishing up QA on the first half of the scenario (note, we don't have to test ALL of the scenario ahead of time before we launch, so don't take that as a terrible sign) and finalizing the second half of the scenario (probably about 70% code complete at this point).

I'll update everyone again once I have more information to share.

-Jonathan "Calandryll" Hanna
Designer, Ongoing Content

Posted by Hazard [EiC] at 1:12 PM

August 1, 2001

Ominous News from the Savage General

Here is more of an official slant from the Dawn Forums about the Savage General event mentioned earlier today:

The citizens of Brittania sentenced the savaged general to die for "crimes against humanity." The general was burnt at the stake Sunday night at the Guard Tower near the First Bank of Britain (Trammel) following a careful interogation and trial held at Lord British's Castle.

During the questioning of the general at the Dawn Guard's Prison(Felucca), the history and plans of the savages were revealed to members of Dawn leadership. According to the general, the savages plan to "open the gate for the coming of 'her'" and Occlo is the stage. Dawn scholars are currently examining texts to discern what "her" pertains to. Contemporary theorists believe it is the prophecy of the coming of Minax, who will one day walk upon the earth as man. Members of the recently formed Drow Faction in Dawn, however, pose a different view; the coming of Lloth and the destruction of the Driders.

Lord Will Avengem

Posted by Thellaren at 6:19 PM

Execution of the Savage General (Trammel)

Recently Lord Will Avegem announced the following news relating to Dawn:

Dawn's successful raid on Occlo culminated with the capture of the savages' principal leader, the savage general. As of yet, he awaits trial for "crimes against humanity" in the Kingdom of Dawn's Prison. Since the motives of the savages and their reasons for holding Occlo are still uncertain, the citizens of Brittania will have the opportunity to observe and participate in the interogation of the general. The general will be relocated to Lord British's castle, where the trial and interogation will commence.

The savage general will be interogated this Sunday (7/29) at 8pm PST in Lord British's castle (trammel). If found guilty for "crimes against humanity" by the citizens of Britania, the general will receive a sentence of death and public execution in Brittain's square.
On the night of the execution, Baja citizen Kraagon made the following painting of the event which transpired. According to his brief report, many citizens gathered at Lord Britishes castle waiting for the trial to take place.

The savage general was then brought forth from where he was being held, in the guard tower next to the Britain Bank. Questions were then exercised in the throneroom, and apparently the general was found guilty, for his dead body was later found by the painter on the guard tower roof.

If further information is available, feel free to send it to us here at the Press.

Posted by Thellaren at 3:46 PM

July 24, 2001

Fairhaven Village Seeks Necromantic Sword to Fell Lich Commander

The following was recently posted by Cymidei Fier to UO Stratics:

Fairhaven Village Seeks Necromantic Sword to Fell Lich Commander

Fairhaven Village has experienced many strange events over the past few months linked to a sinister lich lord. Now the villagers are very close to discovering a means to confront this mysterious evil.
Last night the warriors of Fairhaven set out on a quest to find an artifact that would let them destroy the evil Lich that had been terrorizing the countryside. First, the party, led as always by Fizban, set off to the star room to meet a fabled oracle who was believe to have knowledge that could help them.

Although the creature spoke in disjointed riddles when found, the canny villagers were able to deduce that they needed three things: a quantity of shadow ore, a tome with incantations related to Necromancy in it, and the special skill of a certain smith in Jhelom named Mordoc.

These crucial ingredients could supposedly be used to forge a sword of sufficient magical strength and nature to defeat the Lich. The villagers acquired the ore easily enough, and managed to find the tome within the abandoned lab in the center of the hedge maze.

They then brought these two items to Mordoc, the smith in Jhelom, who agreed to forge for them a custom sword of superior strength. After preparing the materials and selecting the right incantation from the book, Mordoc moved about his business quickly and finally produced a katana of amazing power. Hopefully, this weapon will let us defeat this menace once and for all!
Thankye Nether

Posted by Keith at 10:39 AM

July 20, 2001

Calandryll: Scenario Analysis

The following was posted by Teich Dragon to UO Stratics:

Calandryll: Scenario Analysis

Calandryll made his promised synopsis for the orc quest here:
A few weeks ago, based on some requests from players, I promised I'd write a synopsis of the scenario, describe the goals, and write my view of what we accomplished. Ask and ye shall recieve:

The Savage Empire Scenario
Scenario Description
Strange creatures (the savages) are driving the orcs out of their homes, which is causing the orcs to attack the player cities. The savages' reasons for doing so is not revealed...yet. Note, while the scenario title bears the same name as the single player Worlds of Ultima game and was inspired by it, it is not based on that game.

The Savage Empire Scenario had 6 major goals:

1. Introduce players to the concept of scenarios and set the expectations.
a. Since everyone reading this knows what a scenario is by now, I think we achieved this one. :)

2. Update new content into the game within a context (story) on an ongoing and uninterrupted basis (no delays or off-weeks once a scenario starts).
a. With the exception of the Chesapeake shard, there were no delays, off-weeks, or interruptions in the scenario.
b. We did split week 4 into two weeks (the orc bomber was originally supposed to be with the orc chopper and town attacks in week 4) to give QA more time to test, but most players didn't even realize the change to the schedule and it was a good example of fluid design.

3. Make sure new content is fun and useful and try to include as many play-styles as possible.
a. Most feedback from players regarding the new monsters (especially the orc scouts and savages) was very positive. The new AI introduced worked well and players seemed to enjoy the challenged they presented. Good AI, with respects to monsters in a video game, does not mean "make the monster more difficult" means "make the monster fun and challenging."
b. The interaction of the bola with savage riders (need to knock them off the ridgeback to tame the ridgeback) helped create some grouping, while not forcing it on those that like to solo.
c. Some players played the scenario because of the story and role-playing. Some played it for the loot. Others enjoyed searching for the orc encampments and exploring the new dungeon. All of that is good.
d. Most of the new monsters were texture changes. The artists did a great job making sure everything looked good as far as the Third Dawn models and most of the 2d replacement art looked good.

4. Introduce as few bugs as possible, fix any bugs by the next update, and don't impact other development.
a. We published the shards nine times. During those nine publishes, we had no reverts and with the exception of the merge issue with publish 12 (which was not a problem caused by scenario code and only occurred on Chessie), we did not impact development at all.
b. There were only two bugs of major concern released as part of the scenario. One was a shard crasher (happened once, was fixed an hour later) and the other was an issue with stealing caused by the orc mask (again, fixed within 12 hours of the first GM report).
c. The majority of other bugs were fixed by the next week's update (what few there were) and overall, considering the amount of content and nine shard publishes in a row, our QA team did a bang-up job catching the bugs during testing before any of you ever saw them.
d. We also had a lot of help from folks such as Prophet, Evocare, Vex, Adrick, and Groover working on things such as the looting rights change, client patches, making savage paint work (you have no idea how many changes we made to code that had not been touched in years to make this happen), and general design ideas. The team pitched in a lot while continuing to work on their systems.

5. Create a dynamic outcome based solely on code and systems
a. While the dynamic outcome got a bad rap, actually, the code worked perfectly, the timing issue is what caused concern. The fact that it ended too quickly was a major disappointment for many players and one we plan to resolve in future scenarios. But, the way in which the code reacted to the players' actions proved that we can code dynamic outcomes without having to manually update or force anything.

6. Take the feedback from players on the first scenario and incorporate them into the next scenario.
a. I'd like to concentrate on the last one. I've been reading the feedback and here is what I believe were the major concepts players wanted more of.
- i. More in-game fiction. Books, scrolls, etc.
- ii. Less camping...have some monsters spawn in random locations.
- iii. More story in general (explanations and reasons). This is more a product of the fact that the Savage Empire scenario was more of a set-up scenario. You'll learn a lot more in future scenarios.
- iv. More craftables and less that require fighting to get the resources. While I believe that having some craftables require fighting (again, encourages community group play - sorta the point of play an MMORPG) not all should.
- v. Make sure the dynamic outcome lasts longer. This one goes without saying. :)
b. While not all of these will make it into the next scenario, the feedback is useful and could influence future scenarios. Did I miss anything?

-Jonathan "Calandryll" Hanna
Designer, Ongoing Content

Posted by Keith at 12:09 AM

July 18, 2001

Rangers of the Realm Return

The following was posted by Cymidei Fier to UO Stratics:

Rangers of the Realm Return

Rangers of the Realm Return to Baja! This is an eye witness account of the establishment of a new ranger outpost from an anonymous source.
The day started like most others but something would happen and it would become a day to remember. The finishing touches on the log house had been completed the night before and if all went well this humble abode would become a hub for one of the most dynamic forces in the land.

The day dragged on and anxious folk stopped by to see if any news had been heard ("No nothing yet").

Then as daylight turned to dusk, an elderly man walked slowly out of the forest. His pace was deliberate with his eyes and ears wary for any sign of danger. In spite of his years and the weariness of a long trek, the responsibility he carried kept him alert.

Reaching the cabin he paused briefly to observe the path he had taken from the woods. No one approached. He felt confident his arrival was unobserved.

The fact that no one followed and that his trip was uneventful did not really surprise him. No one would ever suspect him or imagine the value contained in his pack.

The man was the Stone Keeper and he carried a precious vessel which permitted him to transport the Guildstone of Baja's once largest and most powerful clan.

The Rangers of the Realm (RoR) have reunited and returned. RAWRR!
Thanks and good luck!

Posted by Keith at 8:15 PM

Scenario Comments By Calandryll

The following was posted by Teich Dragon to UO Stratics:

Scenario Comments By Calandryll

Calandryll also replied to to some comments about the last scenario here. The text inverted are questions/suggestions from the players, so please don't get confused about it:
--First, great feedback!!!
--I pulled out the major points of each of your points to respond to. If I took something out of context, please correct me.

"If neither outcome is worse, then there is no reason to favor a certain outcome at all -- or even participate at all.
--I don't agree. Perhaps neither outcome is worse, but different players will benefit from different outcomes. For instance, let's say two outcomes in a fight for the city of Skara are: a) Skara becomes a dungeon (meaning monsters spawn there) or b) skara is saved (meaning you can bank there). For some players, the idea of a new dungeon is preferable, while to others, Skara is their home and they want it back the way it was. I'm sure I could think of a better example, given enough time. What I meant by my original statement was that outcomes where the player-base as a whole "loses" are a bad idea.

Perhaps the worst outcome should come from doing nothing??"
--I like that idea a lot. In fact, that is what happens now, if players don't retake the towns, they will be forever under attack. Doing nothing does result in a negative outcome until they do something.

During this scenario I felt a little bit that the new content (which took the form of new items many times) was used as a crutch to help support a story that could not be fully expressed in game.
--Actually, it was more that much of the story was not told on purpose. Again, think of this scenario as the opening chapter of a book. For instance, lets say that book starts out with an invasion of a town by marauding monsters. Do you (or the characters in the book) learn in the first chapter who caused that invasion? Usually not. Usually, you have to read a few more chapters before you can put the pieces together. In-game fiction didn't fit in this the next one (the next chapter if you will), it does.

"This scenario needed to be far more dynamic. There were basically three outcomes: orcs, savages, or neither."
--For us to do what you propose in the first scenario would have been the absolute worst thing we could have done for a first pass. What you have listed in your second example is the result of an evolution of what we did in the first one. It is extremely easy to make that diagram, even easy to fill it in, but as you said, infinitely harder and more time consuming to design, code, balance, and test it. The fact that the first, fairly simple dynamic outcome did not go well is proof that trying to do something that complicated would have been disastrous. Too often, in our eagerness to flex our design muscles, we design above our own experience. It�s like trying to run before one has learned how to walk (to quote Tyrant). :)
--Is it a goal to have a scenario like that? Actually, I'm not sure if they ever need to be that complicated...but even if I did, they won't be like that for quite some time until we learn more.

-Jonathan "Calandryll" Hanna
Designer, Ongoing Content

Posted by Keith at 8:05 PM

July 14, 2001

Scenario FAQ By Calandryll

The following two items were posted by Teich Dragon to UO Stratics:

Scenario FAQ By Calandryll

Here is little Scenario FAQ by Calandryll:
Q: Will the items, monsters, and points-of-interest remain in the game once the scenario is over?
A: Yes. With minor exceptions (such as the frightend orc) all of the items, monsters and POIs will remain in the game after the scenario ends. The idea here is to create lasting content that goes beyond the story.

Q: How do the stories on BNN work?
A: The stories are posted about one week before the scenario publish they relate to. The purpose of the stories is to provide you with the context for the updates and to give you clues as to what to expect next.

Q: How often will you do these and how long does each Scenario last?
A: We expect to continue doing these as long as players enjoy them. Generally each scenario will last between 6 to 8 weeks, with about one month (give or take a week) inbetween each one.

Q: Will the scenarios tie into each other?
A: Many will yes. The idea is to create an over-arching story, not just a bunch of short stories.

-Jonathan "Calandryll" Hanna
Designer, Ongoing Content

Posted by Keith at 11:01 AM

July 13, 2001

Orcs Win Against Savages?

There's several rumors flying around that the ongoing "Orcs versus Savages" Quest Scenario is over, and that the Orcs have won the war. There has been no official word on the possiblility of the ending of this conflict, and our eyes are rivited to BNN for confirmation or denial of the rumors.

Some citizens have claimed that there are dramatically less Savages in Britannia, and some suggest there are none left, such as Moorrock on the Savage Truth message board: "[S]eems the orcs and humans won, the Savages are gone completely that i have seen from baja."

Others, however, offer up contrary observations, such as Honda on the Kingdom of Dawn message forums: "Actually I don't think it's over just yet. I just made a trip to Occlo to mark some runes and the place is swamped with Savages."

We'll post more on the Orcs versus Savages conflict as it becomes available.

Posted by Hazard [EiC] at 7:55 AM

July 9, 2001

The Identity of the Ghost, Revealed

Posted by Mirabel to the Darkmor Forum of Heaven's Forge:

"A small but hardy band gathered at the Hospital today to track down the secrets of the restless spirit plaguing Heaven's Forge. I had hired the grandmaster Cartographer Pabo to lead our search, and the group was prepared for whatever might stand between us and learning the truth.

Pabo led us to the first map, it led to a small island off the coast, not even large enough for a house. After digging up the chest and dispatching many beasts, I uncovered a journal wrapped in a magical cloak. I handed it to Opalescense to peruse while I continued sorting the items, and she read portions of it aloud to the group.

The journal was written by a man named Garolyn Megiltura, and it detailed his life as Swordmaster to King Joran, elven ruler, long ago, of a city near what is now Yew... and also the elf we had discovered a while ago to be Sleath's father! If this Garolyn was the ghost, it certainly explained how he knew of Sleath, myself, and Darkmor... but it did not explain his hostility. As Opal continued to read, however... She discovered that Garolyn had not approved of the political marriage between Joran and his shadow elf Queen.. and that this had led him to plot against the lady. We dispatched the last of the monsters and, closing the journal, warily moved onward to the next map.

This second map led us deep into the jungle. The combat was just as fierce, and we found a second book.

We returned to the hospital to read its contents in a safer environment, as one should not dawdle in the jungles.

This journal was signed 'Garolyn Saurar' - which means, in elvish 'Foul One'. We all listened raptly as Opal read.. Sleath became more and more upset as he heard of Garolyn's traitorous acts toward his family, and as the journal detailed the kidnapping of the Queen, the treachery of the Drow who murdered King Joran, and the birth of Sleath's brother in captivity... He became very upset and rushed from the building. I followed but could not find him, he had disappeared into the valley. Opal was also becoming rather upset, but it was not clear exactly why. I assumed she merely was disturbed by the obviously demented nature of the journals. We moved on to the third and final map, without Sleath as he had not returned, all of us feeling a bit apprehensive.

The third map was also in the jungle, and as we were missing Sleath and a couple of others who had helped on the earlier maps, we were a little shorthanded, and had some people visit the spirit realm briefly. We quickly recovered and collected the items from the chest. This time, there was a box. It contained a journal and a pair of earrings with 15 rubies set in an intricate setting. We returned to the hospital, and divided up the money accumulated from the slaughter of the chest guardians, because several people needed to leave. It had been a long day. Opal, Pabo, Taliesin and I went off in search of Sleath, and we found him over the ghost's burial site in the cavern in the Valley. He was waving his kryss at the air and screaming 'Show yourself! Murderer!' -- and I worried for his sanity.. but then the ghost appeared. Opal read the journal aloud, and the ghost alternately cavorted around, unrepentant.. argued with Opal and Sleath, who could speak to him.. and seemed to genuinely mourn some of his actions. He seemed confused, and not entirely in control of his mind.

The third journal detailed the events Janilla had spoken of last week, the prisoner revolt and Garolyn's part in it... and ended with Garolyn's ultimate refusal to accept responsibility for any of his life's actions. He said he was "blessed" with the ability to choose the right side.. and wise enough to know when to leave. It would seem he was a bit too late in leaving the Bloodswords, as it resulted in his demise.

The final sentences of the journal explained the ruby earrings in the box. They had belonged to Isabella, the shadow elf Queen, mother to Sleath. They were a wedding gift from her husband. Opal grew very pale as she read it, and reached beneath her tunic to reveal the necklace she wore. It, also, was described in the journal.. the second part of the set Joran gave his bride. And the only part Isabella managed to hold onto in her flight from Garolyn. It had been given to Opal by her mother! This, along with other evidence, confirmed it.. she and Sleath were both the children of Isabella. Half-siblings. The lady did not die in the woods near Britain. She had managed to survive, make a life for herself, and bear a daughter. Opal and Sleath seemed unable to absorb this new information immediately. Time will tell what it means.

We were left with the decision of what to do with this ghost. Sleath, for his part, wanted to see Garolyn's soul suffer eternally. He refused to have anything to do with the thought of resurrecting him, and told Opal that it was her decision. Leaving Opal and I alone with the ghost, he returned to Darkmor. Opal's compassionate nature overtook her, and with a great effort, she restored him.

Garolyn, once called Swordmaster, Foul One, Betrayer of Lord and Land... returned to the land of the living at the hands of those who had every reason to hate him for what he had done. Perhaps he will find some redemption for the crimes he has committed. I think, however, he had best stay away from Darkmor and its Lord."

Posted by Hazard [EiC] at 7:42 AM

July 6, 2001

The Princess of Thieves (Trammel)

The following notice was posted to the door of the Darkmor Tavern (in Heaven's Forge) a few days back:

Many subsequently gathered at the Ring of Steel (Virtue) Tower on Sunday, July 1, to delve into Wrong and question this Princess. To read a full report of the events following, read the Darkmor Tavern Board, here.

Posted by Thellaren at 8:21 PM

July 5, 2001

OSI: OSI's �Orcs versus the Savages� Quest Continues with �Fighting Back�

The Ultima Online Web site's BNN section has published the latest chapter in OSI's "Orcs versus the Savages" Quest scenario, here. The entire story is reproduced below.

Fighting Back

Jogug kicked a stone and watched as it skittered across the floor and hit the cave wall. He hated this place. No humies to bash, never enough food, and the cave reeked, even by orc standards. He mumbled some irate complaints to the other orcs in the room, although most of them were too busy with complaints of their own to listen.

The cave had been carved out (actually, blown out) by the orc bombers and reinforced by the orc choppers. In truth, it was well built (again, by orc standards), but many of the orcs had grown weary of it. Orcs cared little for the beauty of the outdoors, but Jogug missed the warmth of the sun and the openness of his home near Cove. Jogug wasn't exactly the bravest of orcs, but he had had enough of this hiding. And so had his lord, Sorgulg.

Jogug quieted his mumbling as Sorgulg raised his voice.

"NO!" the orc lord shouted. "No more hiding!"

This was followed by more shouting from the orc mage Opathu. Jogug could not hear the words exactly, but he could tell the mage disagreed with Sorgulg, preferring the safety of the cave. Jogug thought the sentiment typical of the mages. He didn't trust any orc that didn't bash things with an ax, although he did want to get his hands on some of those bottles the orc bombers kept. He liked the noises they made.

"NO! We go without you den. Take back home. You hide like mongbat if yub want to," Sorgulg retorted, his temper quickly rising.

Jogug knew his lord and the mage well enough to know what would happen next, and was not surprised in the least when he heard Opathu yelp, no doubt dodging an attack from Sorgulg. Jogug would have smiled at the thought, and in fact was about to, when he heard the orc mage yell for help.

The ground shook a bit. Jogug suddenly realized what was coming, and his smile quickly faded into a frown. Gathering what courage he had (which wasn't much), Jogug prepared for a fight. The ground shook again, this time much more forcefully, as a hulking brute of an orc entered the room. Easily twice Jogug's mass, with muscles bulging, the large orc immediately went to enter the room where Sorgulg and the mage were arguing. Jogug, trembling despite his attempts to hide his fear, stood to intercept the brute.

The huge orc smiled a wicked grin as it picked Jogug completely off the ground and threw him headlong into another group of orcs. The brutes had a habit of throwing any orcs who got in their way, since it not only made them feel powerful, but watching the smaller orcs grapple with whatever creature they had been thrown onto was really great fun. The brute was just getting ready to hurl another hapless orc when Sorgulg stormed out, boldly striding right past the imposing orc.

Jogug quickly followed Sorgulg as they left the cave, wanting nothing more to do with the hulking orc or those that wished to stay in the cave. He liked the idea of clomping more painted humies and more importantly, he wanted his home back.

"No more hiding," he thought, echoing his Lord's words and looking nervously back at the cave as another orc yelped and was thrown from the dark cavern.

It was time to clomp!

* * * *

Duncan gathered the men and women of Cove into the Inn and waited for them all to settle down. The people were tired and weary from the fighting and it took him a while to secure their attention. Duncan was happy for the time to compose himself and gather his thoughts, since he knew the proposal he was about to give them would not be a popular one. Finally the room quieted and all eyes and ears went to Duncan.

The young Paladin, who had only months ago just begun his questing, was suddenly acutely aware of all the faces watching him. How had he become the leader of this desperate group? He cleared his throat and began speaking, cautiously at first.

"My friends, for weeks we have defended our town against these orc raids, hoping we could weather this terrible storm. Now these savages threaten our homes as well. It is time we took the fight to them and ended this nonsense before all of Cove is destroyed. Neither the orcs nor the savages seem willing or able to end this themselves... so it is now up to us."

The Paladin paused for a moment, watching the faces of the townsfolk for any sign of reaction. He saw their eyes still focused on him, and continued his speech. Conviction began to creep into his voice as he realized that they were actually listening.

"The time has come for us to leave the relative safety of our homes and take this fight to the orc fort! With these," the paladin held up a mask of orcish kin, "we can rid our land of the savages and put things back the way they were."

At this point, one of the elders of the town jumped from his seat, glaring at the paladin. "Help the orcs? Are you mad!? We've endured their attacks for generations; we'd be better off helping these savages! They're at least human... maybe we can reason with them!"

Duncan had expected this. He knew the deep-rooted hatred the residents of Cove held towards the orcs. But he also knew there would be no negotiations with the savages. The savages were intelligent, cunning, crafty, and were better equipped than the orcs. He had also heard rumors of savages mounted on huge, unfamiliar beasts and powerful savage spellcasters capable of raining lighting down on their enemies from the skies. That, coupled with their terrifying prowess against the most powerful of beasts made the orcs seem to be the lesser of two evils. Before Duncan could respond, the elder spoke again.

"We have already made up our minds, Paladin. We will use their own war paint to blend in with these savages. They'll never know who we are, and we can destroy the orcs once and for all." With that, the elder left the room, and at least half the gathered people followed behind him.

Duncan watched them leave and wondered if this moment would mean the difference between living with the savages or the orcs. Not a happy prospect either way, but he knew he had to do what he could to see that they were not left to the hands of the savages. Turning back to the remaining townsfolk, Duncan began to lay out his plans, and handed out orc masks to those who would fight with the orcs. Those without masks would remain to defend the town.

The time had come to drive the intruders out for good.

Posted by Keith at 3:56 PM

July 2, 2001

Next Scenario Publish

Posted to several UO Community sites:

Because of the recent publish and the holiday (July 4, Wednesday) we will be publishing the next scenario publish today, active tomorrow morning on all shards except for Chessie. Chessie will get the publish sometime later this week. My apologies to those on Chessie for the delay, but given publish 12 and the holiday, we feel this is the best course. I'll keep you posted should anything change.

-Jonathan "Calandryll" Hanna
Designer, Ongoing Content
In other related news, the following picture was posted on the UO Stratics Baja Board, reported being found on female savages.

Posted by Thellaren at 9:40 PM

June 28, 2001

OSI: Orc Scenario Continues with �Conflicts of Conscience�

Calandryll posted the following notes about the latest BNN article on the YahooGroups Ultima e-mail list:

Conflicts of Conscience

New story is up. This one brought to you by Vex. Apologies for the delay, I've been busy helping out with the Chessie publish.

This one has a LOT of foreshadowing for the next scenario, as well as the clue for next week.
The article he's talking about is here. It's the latest chapter of the ongoing multi-Shard Orc Quest scenario. The entire chapter is reproduced below:
Guilhem marveled privately at the craftsmanship of the city, though his contempt for its creators prevented his showing it. Instead, he affected a sneer of disdain as he strode its streets, being careful to make no eye contact with anyone, and ignoring the stares that followed in his wake.

He would have liked to try out one of the keenly honed swords, or even one of the more exotic weapons displayed in the merchants' booths. But he had more pressing matters on his mind, and his role required him to use the more primitive weapons of the savages. The savages were loath to rip holes in the sides of mountains and poison the ground by smelting ore. Instead, they fashioned axes and spears out of rock and wood and bits of strong vine. They hunted for food and used everything they killed. When they broke down an encampment to move on, mere hours would remove every remaining trace that a tribe had once resided there.

Not much else caught his eye as he wound his way through the bazaar en route to his destination. He had made this journey many times, and the novelty of the city had long since worn off. Finally, he strode up the long stairs, sneering at the guards. In the courtyard, he washed his hands and feet in the center fountain, seemingly oblivious to the stares and small gasps generated by his horrible breach of protocol. Guilhem considered urinating on the cobblestones, but decided that would be too far across the line. As his status in this strange army was low and his position tenuous, Guilhem was hardly in a position to push their limits.

"You!" A strangely dressed human, one of Guilhem's new Master's lackeys, said, as if even addressing Guilhem was distasteful. "Clean that mess off." He tossed a dirty oil rag at Guilhem, who caught it without breaking his stare at the other man.

"These are my badges of honor and status," he replied. "I wear them as is my duty."

"That," retorted the lackey, "is food. Why those people insist on wearing their dinner I will never understand. But the Master says if you don't clean up before your audience, I am to have the palace guards wash you. Forcefully. Use the fountain, since you've already defiled it."

Guilhem glowered but didn't say another word as he turned to comply. It took only a few moments with the cloth to rub off the painted lines and swirls and glyphs. He felt naked without them, more naked than he expected he would. Perhaps it was his time spent with the so-called savages or his growing dislike for the minions of his new Master, but he found himself looking forward more and more to donning the paint.

That done, Guilhem followed the other man into the palace proper. He was left in a room, sumptuously decorated with wall hangings and thick carpeting and a small fortune in marble statues and brass lamps. He crossed his arms, shifted his weight to his heels, and stood in the center of the room, awaiting his audience. After a short delay that Guilhem was certain was caused simply by social custom, he was bade into the Master's chamber.

Guilhem could never get accustomed to the constant whirring and clicking and lights in this room. He hated it; it felt unworldly to him. A huge oak dining table was laid out with what must have passed for a feast for the Master's allies, but Guilhem felt no desire to eat. Guilhem truly hated his new role and often pondered if the payment was worth it.

His thoughts were quickly driven to other matters as the Master spoke to him, its grating voice assaulting Guilhem's ears. "Nice of you to respond so quickly to my summons."

Guilhem nodded his head but said nothing, fearing his voice might betray the disgust washing over him in waves.

"Eat while we talk," the Master said in its eternally gravelly voice as the whirring and clicking quickened in pace. Guilhem interpreted the statement as an order, and approached the table. Nothing looked particularly palatable, so he selected a whole cooked fish and proceeded to tear the skin from it. Guilhem discarded half of the fish skin onto an empty platter, and proceeded to peel away layers of the succulent fish flesh with his fingers and pop them into his mouth.

"Well, let us get on with it, then," the lackey said, scowling. "What have you to report?"

"Everything is well, m'lord," Guilhem replied, speaking to the Master and not to the lackey. "The Tribes are driving the greenskins from their camps. The land is bountiful and will make a good home for them."

The other human spoke before Guilhem could continue. "Have you any news from your advance scouts?"

"We have seen cities. They are too deep in greenskin territory for us to risk scouts yet. We have seen them from a distance. The architecture is obviously beyond the greenskin's capabilities. Whoever lives in them look to be as civilized and advanced as you, m'lord." Guilhem's expression remained carefully blank as he studied the other human's face for any reaction. In response, the lackey merely nodded, completely unsurprised by Guilhem's defiance.

The whirring and clicking stopped for a moment before the Master spoke again. "The tribes are to continue their attacks. Drive the greenskins from their homes. Take over their territory." As the Master ponderously issued orders, the lackey retrieved a scroll and a quill from its desk and began to mark it carefully.

Guilhem was dismissed and hurried to another, stranger portion of the palace, where the smell of magic was strong indeed. He presented his orders and was rewarded with a bag containing some jars of paint. Just as quickly, he was escorted to the palace gates, and began the journey back to the Clan. He repainted his body as soon as he left the city, and returned to the village. The last of the orcs would be driven out of the land, and maybe they would take out that other civilized race in the process. He had much work ahead.

Posted by Hazard [EiC] at 5:56 PM

Orc Multi-Shard Quest Extended to 9 Weeks

Calandryll, Designer of Ultima Online's Ongoing Content, posted the following note to the YahooGroups Ultima e-mail list:

Just wanted to make sure everyone knew that this scenario is going to be 9 weeks long (instead of the planned 8). I'll explain why (basically it had to do with splitting up week 4 into two weeks to give QA more time on week 5-8) when I write up my scenario document. But next week is not the final week.

-Jonathan "Calandryll" Hanna
Designer, Ongoing Content

Posted by Hazard [EiC] at 5:34 PM

June 27, 2001

OSI's Orcs versus Savages Multi-Shard Quest

Jonathan "Calandryll" Hanna, Ultima Online's Designer of Ongoing Content and mastermind behind the current multi-shard Orc quest scenario, posted the following teaser yesterday to the YahooGroups Ultima e-mail list:

Yew Orc Fort

For those of you that felt the spawn in the Yew fort was too high and were posting about it a few weeks ago...

Please go there after tomorrow's publish (and after the existing spawn is killed) and let me know what you think. ;)

-Jonathan "Calandryll" Hanna
Designer, Ongoing Content
I went into Baja this morning, wandering around Skara Brae on Trammel, and came across this Savage:

I was able to only stick around to take a sceeenshot, but stay tuned for more reports (combat ability, locations, quantities, etc.) on these Savages as they come in.

Posted by Hazard [EiC] at 8:14 AM

June 21, 2001

BNN: Bad Omens

The next edition in the continuing saga of the orcs, BNN's 'Bad Omens' is now online:

A group of crows screeched angrily and flew into the sky as the knight shooed them away from the corpse. He surveyed the area, looking for any evidence of the creature or creatures that had attacked the caravan. As he approached the body, he spotted an ax, covered in blood, laying in the dirt.

"Orcs, m�lord," the knight called out to his young leader, holding the ax high. The fact that the word "m�lord" was spat out like a curse did not escape the young noble�s detection.

Jarvis turned to regard the speaker, trying with little success to hide his revulsion. This was the first time he had ever seen dead bodies this closely. He had only just recently been given command of a company of knights...a favor to his father from the local lord. Jarvis knew well enough that few of the knights respected him. Every day he listened to their jeers, spoken just loudly enough for the noble to overhear. He was determined to show no sign of weakness, after spending the last two weeks dealing with their snide remarks and thinly veiled insults. He would get the job done, and win their respect in the process.

Jarvis surveyed the area, pushing aside his discomfort, looking for any signs of a survivor. After a thorough search, it was apparent the massacre had been complete. Not a single human had survived the attack. The entire caravan that had been sent to help reinforce Cove was destroyed completely. The stench of the dead lay thick in the air and Jarvis silently hoped he could maintain his composure as he bent low to examine the body of a fallen man. He glanced up at the sound of footsteps approaching. It was the ranger, the one man in the party who he actually liked.

"Look at the holes in his armor, and that wound along his leg. Orcs don�t make cuts like that," the ranger said, as if he was reading the young noble�s mind.

Jarvis noticed it too. Virtually all of the cuts were small, piercing attacks and slender slashes, not the usual large gash from an ax or the dents from an orc�s club. Jarvis nodded grimly as the ranger continued.

"My guess would be brigands. These attacks are too precise to be orcs."

"We haven�t seen brigands in these parts for a long time, Dustin. Besides, they didn�t take any of the valuables, just the food and other perishables. No, not brigands, someone...or something else did this," Jarvis said as he stood up, gaining confidence now that he was in his element.

The young noble always fancied himself as tracker or a detective, not the knight that his father wished (and had forced) him to be. He much preferred the company of the free spirited scouts and trackers ("common men", as his father would say snobbishly) to the strict discipline of these knights.

A hand on his shoulder pulled Jarvis from his thoughts. He stood up and faced the ranger, expecting him to disagree. After all, this was the ranger�s area of expertise, and he was just a nobleman! He should known no one here would listen to him. Instead, the ranger gave him an approving nod and smiled slightly.

"Well done, M�lord. We�ll make a ranger out of you yet!"

Pleased and more than a little surprised, Jarvis turned and was about to call out to the knights when he heard Dustin make a sound. Jarvis turned to regard Dustin. The ranger�s eyes were wide, staring at Dustin, his lips moving but no words escaping. Jarvis looked from Dustin�s face down to his chest, where a spear point was sticking out, covered in the ranger�s blood. The ranger fell to his knees, then to the ground, taking the spear with him. Jarvis would have gone to his friend to try to help him, but he stood transfixed as a large group of strange looking humans charged into the knights� ranks.

The enemy had finally shown itself.

Posted by Thellaren at 4:46 PM

June 14, 2001

OSI: New BNN Orc Scenario Tale: �Takeout�

There's a new BNN article on OSI's ongoing multi-shard Orc scenario on the Ultima Online Web site, here. It's called "Takeout," and we've reproduced it for you below:


Grula scratched her butt. It was hot, she thought sullenly. Too hot. And she was starving. She had asked another scout to steal some food and cider hours ago from a nearby humie camp, and the stupid orc hadn't returned. It was a dangerous time for an orc to be out hunting and they were only doing it whenever they absolutely had to eat.

Turning to glance back down the path for what seemed to be the hundredth time, she heard a rustling. Finally! The orc scout she'd been waiting for burst through the bushes, panting frantically.

"Where my food? Where my drink?" she demanded gruffly, her throat parched from the dry heat.

The other orc looked momentarily confused. "No food! Humies chase then bonk then humies dead!" He pointed back the way he came. "Dere ledder agh rock tingy flyin agh bonk agh bonk, agh--" he gestured wildly and lurched to the side, throwing himself unceremoniously to the ground. "Humies get bonked, fall off four-legs!"

Grula tried to forget her thirst for a moment. "Ledder? Rocks? Who have ledder agh rocks?"

The scout stood clumsily, not bothering to wipe off the dirt that still covered him. "Nub know. Grendul thought it long way killers, but long way killers nub have rock. This different. Not kill, just bonk humie off four-legs. Kill come after but no see what kill." He suddenly stopped and looked around. "Tired. Need drink." He ducked as Grula threw her empty cup at him and growled.

Female orcs rarely fought, but Grula was an exception. Her cooking had been so bad as to have her forbidden from even touching the cookpots, and her smell was, to put it delicately, too much like flowers and spice to have a chance at finding a mate within the orc fort. Scouting worked fine for her... she had few friends, and spent most of her time alone, hidden. Watching. Although there hadn't been much to watch until recently, when every orc scout had been ordered to keep their eyes open for something. What that something was, they didn't know. They just knew that there was something out there, and that it wasn't friendly.

In the distance she heard the shouting of more humies in battle and coming her way on horseback quickly. Picking up the cup she had thrown at the other scout, she turned around and whacked him on the back of the head with it. �Hide! Humies come!� They dove into the bushes and waited for the battle to drift into view.

As they listened to the sounds of the fighting humies it was obvious that they were losing against whatever was in combat with them. Screams ripped through the air and fewer humies could be heard even though the battle was moving closer and closer.

From the bushes across the clearing a male on a four-legs burst through the foliage, panic twisting his face. Grula considered jumping out to meet him but a slight humming sound caught her attention and she hesitated. From behind the humie a blur shot out of the trees and slammed around his neck, knocking him to the ground. His horse, already galloping at full speed, continued running into the distance.

She sat in silence, waiting as the humie slowly got up, obviously dazed from his fall. Whatever did that to the humie, she didn�t want to meet. Thankfully, the other orcs hidden in the bushes had the same idea. Moments went by and nothing came from the bushes to finish off the male. Whatever had attacked was gone now. He stood and, thinking himself to be alone, pulled a jug from his pack and took a long draw of cider.

�Him have drink!� the orc beside Grula breathed as he stared at the jug as if hypnotized. �No see food.�

Finally Grula leaned over to her companion in the bushes. �He fit in pot?� she whispered.

�Chopper make him fit!� he whispered back excitedly.

And that night, the orcs feasted.

Posted by Keith at 4:12 PM

June 11, 2001

Showdown at Justice

Late last night it was discovered that the Nelic Grimoire, the item of power taken from the witch Aria, had been stolen from the magic school of Fairhaven Village where it was hidden. The village was quickly roused, and a thorough examination of the scene indicated that the thief had gone east through the deep forest. I quickly formed a patrol, which included myself and most of the village's most able warriors and mages, and we set out along the trail to recover the tome. Luckily, such a powerful magic item proved rather easy to track. The trail led all the way to the Shrine of Justice, where we confronted our old enemy: the Lich Commander. The pentagram of blood and the bizarre magical reagents present made it obvious he was performing some sort of pagan ceremony. We quickly entered the shrine, and I confronted him. He did not seem surprised or worried at our presence, and he assured us that his work there had just been completed. He would not tell us where the Grimoire was, only that it was hidden away in a place only he knew of. Although his speech was often punctuated by maniacal laughter, the kind one would expect only from a man who is truly mad, he did reveal that he was in league with the evil Minax, and that her grip of terror would soon extend to our peaceful facet once he broke the seal. Unable to bear any more of his insane ramblings, we struck him down, but before he died, he assured us that we could not destroy him merely by destroying his body. He died with a crazed look of satisfaction on his face.
What we found on his corpse was most disturbing, and we immediately convened a village council to discuss the night's events. There we showed our mayor Silkon a letter, seemingly from the lady Minax, affirming an alliance between herself and the Lich. We also found 8 maps, each of the area surrounding a shrine of virtue, with the shrine itself circled in blood. We found no trace of the Nelic Grimoire. After long discussion, it was decided that with the Grimoire in his hands, Lich was nearly immortal. He would be back, we were certain, and would come after the shrines again. We concluded that the only reason he would do such a thing, was if he wanted to break the Great Seal. When our people fled Felucca, Lord British used his magic to split the world in two, much like a mirror. The Great Seal was the barrier, the force that was set in place to keep the two worlds separate. If that seal were to be broken, it would be as if the mirror were shattered, and the two worlds would be one again. The shrines function as symbols of Lord British's power, and if those shrines were corrupted or destroyed, then Lord British's sealing would be dissolved.
We don't know when the Lich will be back, nor what shrine he will strike next. The village of Fairhaven will do its part to try to protect the shrines that are left, but it may not be enough.

Lord Fizban

Posted by Ursula at 7:03 PM

June 7, 2001

OSI: Unrelenting Tide

A new chapter to OSI's ongoing Orc Invasion scenario's been posted on the Ultima Online Web site, here. The latest tale is reproduced in its entirety, below:

Unrelenting Tide

Duncan winced as the local healer pulled the bandage tighter around his wounded arm. As he glanced down at the bloody arrow lying on the ground next to him, Duncan was reminded of his own mortality. The wound would heal in time, but he would have to fight without his shield for a while. As he listened to the healer's idle conversation and looked around the dimly lit room, he reminded himself he was lucky to even be alive after the last orc raid. Many of his fellow townspeople had perished trying to stem the never-ending tide of orcs.

"They can't keep coming like this! How many orcs can there possibly be in the world!?" the young healer suddenly asked, changing the subject.

A warrior laying next to Duncan, her head wrapped in a bandage, propped herself up painfully from her cot. "Seems there's no stopping them. There has to be a way to keep them from taking the town!" The warrior pounded her fist into her open palm as if to accentuate her point.

"They don't seem interested in controlling the city, though," Duncan said, more to himself than to the others. "Can't stop a siege if the invaders don't actually try to take anything over. It's almost as if each wave is a separate group of orcs, running from something and just smashing whatever gets in their way, rather than some organized invasion with a purpose. I've heard reports from other towns that the orcs attacking them aren't actually making moves to take control either. Something's got 'em spooked, that's for sure."

Another warrior joined the group, this one having just recently arrived from Britain. "I've heard that too. You know what I think? The orcs aren't the real problem... more like a symptom of something bigger."

"Aye," Duncan nodded. "And whatever it is that's doing this hasn't shown itself yet. So for now, the best we can do is protect our homes and hope for the best."

"That's hardly encouraging," the healer said, giving the Paladin a wink to let him know she wasn't expecting him to have all of the answers.

Duncan smiled slightly for the first time in days. He knew the people of Cove needed him to stay strong and optimistic, but every band of orcs that attacked made it harder to keep his spirits high and his determination strong. He remained proud of his people, though, knowing that lesser men and women would have long ago fled along with the royal guards to the safety of Britain or Trinsic. As he looked around at the despair and carnage in the room, he silently vowed to himself that when he did find this unseen enemy, they would pay for the destruction their actions had wrought.

As the group continued to talk, a series of explosions from outside rocked the building, knocking the injured warrior from her cot and hurling glasses and healing bottles from their shelves. Duncan immediately rose, much as it pained him to do so, and gripped his sword tightly.

"Cannons!?" the young healer asked shakily, as she helped the injured warrior back to her cot, the fear evident in her eyes.

Duncan waved his hand dismissively, trying to calm those inside. "Orcs don't use cannons, never have. They must have found some new toys." He pointed at the warrior from Britain. "Come with me."

Both warriors carefully left the safety of their hiding place, warily looking for the new orc threat.

Posted by Keith at 8:52 PM

June 4, 2001

OSI: Cities under attack?

The following was posted to the FYI page on the Ultima Online Web site:

Cities under attack?

Reports are pouring in that the orcs have been spotted closer to the cities than ever before. Residents on the outskirts of the cities have said that it appears we're in for an attack within the next couple days.

Guards have been called from all over Britannia to protect the larger cities, which we hope will prevent the orcs from attempting to attack these areas.

This will be a dark time for citizens of the smaller towns, and we can only hope that by banding together, these attacks can be weathered until the true source of this uprising can be found.

Some guards will remain in the smaller towns to see that anarchy does not erupt, and that citizens will be protected from other citizens. Stealing and attacking other players in town unlawfully will still bring the ire of the town guards. However, these remaining guards will be too sparse to defend the town against orc attacks.

NOTE: These updates are related to the continuing scenario occuring in Ultima Online. For more information, read the associated fiction located at . The items associated with the scenario will continue to be available in game after the scenario is complete.

To discuss these scenarios and happening around Britannia, please participate in the Roleplaying, Events, and Scenarios forum at the UO Boards, at

Posted by Keith at 6:28 PM

May 30, 2001

OSI: BNN Reports on Paladin's "Homecoming"

The following article was posted at BNN at the Ultima Online Web site. This article, originally found here, is the fourth in the series of articles that relate to the currently ongoing, cross-shard "Orc Quest" being run by OSI.


His polished armor shining brightly in the sunlight, the young paladin rode through his beloved city of Cove. Duncan had only returned to his city of birth a few days ago, after many years of questing. He knew it was time for some much-needed rest before once again traveling to the far reaches of Britannia in search of those in need. Duncan was proud of his city - a place of hardworking men and women, most of whom had left the larger cities for the excitement of a �frontier� town and the hope of a new life.

The paladin�s thoughts turned bleak as he considered that new life. Cove was not what it once had been. Granted, there had always been the threat of the orc fort nearby, making it difficult to maintain a steady sense of peace, but something had changed recently. Scattered reports of movement by the orc tribes continued to come in, yet there seemed to be no sense of purpose behind the orcs� actions. �Twas easy to understand the mind of an orc. Battle, blood, the conquering of all, the taking of land� these were the things that made an orc. These reports, however, did not reflect a steady march of orcs sent to conquer new land. If Duncan did not know better, he would almost say it seemed as if the orcs were being scattered. They were not marching towards a goal, they were running away from some unknown menace - and it was towards Cove that they fled.

As he turned a corner, Duncan spied a boy, no more than fourteen, running towards him. The boy�s leather armor was in tatters and a long gash could be seen on his right arm. He stumbled a few times as he ran towards the paladin, obviously shaken and in pain. Duncan immediately dismounted as the boy reached him and began applying a bandage to the boy�s arm.

"M�lord, they�ve broken through the outer wall!" the boy cried, his speech interrupted by weak coughs.

The paladin�s crimson eyes went wide. "What are you talking about?"

"Orcs, m�lord! Dozens of them! They�ve already slaughtered most of those at the wall and are making their way into the city."

"What of the guards? Cove still holds a small regiment of the king's men, does it not?"

"I don�t know, m�lord. The guards seem pre-occupied with their patrols and regiments. And many have already left to defend Britain and Trinsic against possible attacks." The boy winced as Duncan tightened the bandage. "But the orcs are not attacking either of those cities, nor does it look as if they will."

"Blast! So it seems we of the smaller towns are left to fend for ourselves, then!" yelled the young paladin, his tired eyes turning cold with rage. "Rally the men and women at the square and see if you can send word to our friends in the larger cities. We�ll deal with the vermin ourselves."

The boy saluted as Duncan drew his longsword and reared his mount. Galloping directly towards the main gate, it only took him a few moments to reach the battle. Duncan quickly tried to surmise the situation - where the line was weakest, who fought for him and who was nowhere to be seen, and, perhaps worst of all, the visible desperation of the men who stood as the town�s only defense. The defenders were slowly being pushed back. Duncan knew he had to do something, anything, and with a reckless shout, he kicked his horse into a charge.

The young paladin�s mount crashed into the line, trampling one orc while Duncan slew another with a quick strike to its head. Duncan barked orders to those near him, trying to bring some order to the chaotic fighting. The arrival of the paladin and other veteran warriors gave the defenders hope, and they managed to gain the advantage, slowly pushing the orcs back. Finally, the remaining orcs fled as the townsfolk let out a roaring cheer.

Their cheer was cut short as a shout rang from the top of the wall.

"More orcs�hundreds of them!!"

Duncan readied his sword and tried to calm his nerves. He shouted orders to the men near him, trying to form a battle line. The front gate was still in ruins and the wooden walls would not stop the orcs. The people of Cove were used to dealing with orc raids, but never anything like this. Help had better arrive fast, he thought, or there would soon be two orc forts east of Britain!

Posted by Keith at 11:34 PM

Some Quick Notes & Links on OSI�s Orc Quest

Have you been keeping up on the current, ongoing multi-Shard Quest that OSI has been playing out in Ultima Online? There's three BNN articles so far: Dudagog's Tale (here), Prying Eyes (here), and Fallen Comrades (here). UO Stratics has a very nice compilation of related information in their Quest section, here.

Fightened orcs and orc scouts seemingly prepare for an impending war. Green-colored masks of orcish kin are found on their corpses, as are dark orcish bows and the new evil orc helms. Be careful when using these new items. They may seem to give you an edge, but they're just as likely to hurt you as help you.

Screenshot from Kawaja, Miwant, Shedevail, and Ce'Nedra Willow's article at UO Stratics

Posted by Keith at 7:34 PM

May 25, 2001

EA: "Fallen Comrades", Part 3 of Ongoing Quest

Have you read the third chapter in the current GM-developed, cross-Shard plot scenario? It's called "Fallen Comrades," and it can be found in the Ultima Online BNN fiction-news secton, here. But, you've had a busy day, so you sit back, kick up your heels, and I'll just post it below:

Fallen Comrades

Kneeling down, Gebrek felt the body of a bloodied orc and stared in a moment of confused silence at the disarray before him. More than twenty of his comrades� corpses lay around the campsite in patches of blood-soaked soil, some still clutching the long pole weapons that had slain them. The tents were undisturbed, as was the campfire. His hunting party had hardly been gone long enough for the day fire to move in the sky. He sat still, thinking, trying to comprehend what could slay so many warriors so quickly. It wasn�t until he heard his hunting party behind him mumbling to each other that he remembered his new position of leadership as a poweruser and began barking orders in his guttural tones.

As the party spread out over the camp, Gebrek breathed a grumbling sigh. Orcs always obeyed a user of the power, no matter what their age, but Gebrek was still nervous. Not many day fires had passed since he had been considered too young to use the power without guidance from an elder poweruser. And he had many seasons left before he would be powerful enough to be recognized as a mage himself. Or so he thought. Now he was a mage and in command of his own party. That is, what was left of it.

Why was this happening? More and more of the young were being named as mages and fighters. Did the clan need the young so badly? Had so many orcs been lost that children were needed to defend the clan? For the first time he could remember the mages had even resorted to bestowing the power on helmets for the warriors. Gebrek couldn�t remember the mages ever putting the power into something for a warrior. Nor could he ever think of a time when a warrior would ask for a way to use the power. Usually both were too proud. Usually one did not need the other.

Half of the orcs in his party were too young to be warriors, too young even to be away from the fort. No warrior would be named when he was still so inexperienced that he feared battle, much less run from it as many of the new warriors had. Of course it was hard to blame them. Many of the battle lords who had known great glory as warriors were using the new helmets for an extra advantage. Most of those that had remained with the camp wore them. Now they were dead. And whatever killed them did it quickly and easily, despite the new helmets.

He walked around the perimeter of the camp observing the others as they checked their dead comrades and rummaged for anything useful, hoping the sight of orc corpses would not escalate their fear. Slowly small piles of supplies started to form by the campfire and Gebrek began considering his options. Whatever had killed the battle lords would make short work of the younger warriors, with or without the helms. As much as he wanted success on his first outing, he knew that this weak, inexperienced group of fledgling warriors would not be able to make the first strike to find new homes.

One of the young orcs lumbered up to Gebrek and grunted, holding out before him what looked like an orc face. Gebrek turned and tilted his head in curiosity. None of the dead had been missing a face. Reluctantly he took it with a scaly hand and almost dropped it in the same instant. This was not flesh! And it held the power! A false face that contained the power... no orc would make such a thing.

Again he looked over the campsite. Their best warriors were all dead. No sign of a struggle. False faces that held the power. An unseen killer. Gebrek could feel his youthful fears creeping into him again. Something was destroying his kin. The orcs were running out of time.

Posted by Keith at 7:05 PM

May 16, 2001

EA: �Prying Eyes�, Another Orc Tale at BNN

Another BNN "Orc story" has been posted on the Ultima Online Web site, called "Prying Eyes," here. This is the sequel to "Dudagog's Tale, both of which are the prelude to a large, upcoming, in-game event.

Here's the first paragraph of the latest tale:

Prying Eyes

Sitting high on a tree branch, the orc scout Milug peered through the branches at the city in the distance. As he watched the humies milling about, completely unaware of his presence as they bought and sold their wares, he could not suppress a scowl. Already he missed his fort near the human city of Cove. He missed the comfort of his hut, the daily brawls, and the occasional forays into the woods looking for prey. Even more strongly, he missed the smell of charred meat in the cookpots and the hoots of laughter as yet another orc mage inevitably earned a beating from one of the lords after setting something ablaze while practicing his arcane arts.

Posted by Keith at 8:23 PM

May 5, 2001

EA: Prequel Fiction: Rumors and Such

The following was posted to the FYI page on the Ultima Online Web site:

Prequel Fiction: Rumors and Such

Rumors of orc sightings and talk of missing sheep has been percolating through some of the towns of Britannia. Could this be a natural migration? Some of the resident orc experts don't think so.

"Well, I used to see orcs all the time near my house in Cove, but I haven't seen one for days," reported Dwiggit, a resident of Cove and a long-time orc hunter. "They didn't even come around when I replanted my garden, and they've trampled that garden every season for two years."

Well, whatever the reason, it can only be assumed that the orcs are moving. Why? No one knows... except perhaps the orcs themselves.
That link at the end of the FYI article leads us to the BNN World News section, specifically an article entitled "Dudagog's Tale." The first paragraph of what seems to be the next multi-Shard plot is reproduced below:
Dudagog's Tale

A sore eye encrusted with blood, received as a �blessing� for questioning the elder shaman during the previous night�s war council, was a minor irritant in a long line of irritants that Dudagog had learned to accept. Although it had been only twenty cycles of the day fire since the shaman council had rolled the bones and driven the tribe to move, Dudagog could barely remember the logs and bone piles he called home. He could remember the rich hunting ground though. Always fresh deer and hummies to munch on, and the strength of a combined tribe of hundreds had made life as good as it gets for an old, fat orc. In his younger days Dudagog would have perhaps enjoyed this nomadic lifestyle, but age had given Dudagog a wisdom that only comes through corpulence; hunting is good, but sitting down for a meal is better. Thus when Dudagog had questioned the shaman about the wisdom of his training the young orcins to hunt with the new long way killer, the shaman elder chastised him with a swift staff to his eye. Dudagog was not stupid enough to retaliate in kind, as the shamans had been known to cause the air around an orc to burn as hot as the home of a lava lizzie.
Read the entire "Dudagog's Tale" here.

Posted by Keith at 12:39 AM

April 29, 2001

Confrontation Near Fairhaven

A Fairhaven patrol was dispatched this evening with orders to range east of the village looking for clues regarding the recent murders. The patrol route included a sweep of the local crypts, which have long been the source of various undead creatures. The leader of the mission, Fizban, an elder of Fairhaven, led his troops inside where they began searching for clues.

Before long, they discovered a passage which led up to a large stone mausoleum infested with undead. The villagers managed to fight their way through, and on the top level they had quite a surprise. A woman, Aria, was there, and behind her was an abomination. It looked somewhat in appearance like a cross between a man and a decaying lich. It's parts looked as though they had been hastily assembled, and its patchwork skin was decaying and pus-ridden.

The villagers demanded an explanation from the woman, but she was not very forthcoming. She ranted and raved about her "creation" and how it was better than any of her previous attempts. She admitted to killing the farmers, saying she needed the parts to complete her pet. Her bragging was mingled with screaming threats to the villagers to leave her abode, on pain of death. The determined patrol would not depart though, and so she ordered her pets, demons, elementals, and even the lumbering lich-man to dispose of the trespassers.

A fierce fight ensued, with the villagers pitted against elementals of magic and wailing undead whose howls can take the courage from even the heartiest warrior. The battle raged all over the complex, and one man was slain when an earth elemental snuck up behind him and twisted his neck. The villagers fought back, though, and eventually the woman and her creatures were slain. The lich attempted to escape, but its magic appeared to fail it when its mistress was slain, and it was hacked to pieces.

The body of the woman Aria was dragged back to Fairhaven where she was revived. She claimed not to remember her crimes, or even her name, but the villagers demanded blood as vengeance for their slain comrade and the murdered farmers. The woman was in no condition to discuss her crimes though, and so she is now in the custody of the village council pending a full investigation. The only clue recovered regarding this mysterious incident, besides the woman herself, was a dusty journal found in a chest in her stronghold. The journal was stained with water and blood though, and was mostly unreadable.

Posted by Keith at 12:44 AM

April 21, 2001

Tragedy in Yew

A small farming family was found butchered in their home late last night in the deep forest near the city of Yew. The family was discovered by a passing traveller who smelled the terrible reek of the carnage. Upon investigating, he found the dismembered remains of the entire family of three. A large pentagram was drawn on the floor of the house in the blood of the victims, and it was later discovered that the heart had been removed from one of the victims, and the head removed from another. The third victim was found dead outside, bludgeoned from behind. His corpse had not been violated. "This is just awful", said a neighbor, who asked not to be identified. "They were very reclusive, we didn't even know their names. What if we're next?"

The local residents are up in arms about the incident and have sought protection from the nearby town of Fairhaven. "We know of no monsters in the area that could do such a thing. Ogres may bash your head in, but they don't cut out your heart", said Mayor Silkon, who has pledged to get to the bottom of the incident. "We're on the edge of the wild out here. Yew is too far away to guarantee our safety."

Residents also don't believe this to be the work of normal monsters, as there are generally very few in the area. "We get the occassional ogre or troll here sometimes, but they generally leave us alone," said local farmer Atkis Williams. "'Bout the most they've ever done is eat a few of our sheep."

This is not the first strange incident to go on in the area. Local hunters have found disturbances in the enviroment and wildlife in the area, and believe there is some unknown force is at work. "Just yesterday I was out huntin' me some cooters, they make a good stew they do, really warms ye up inside, when I saw this poor grizzly just strung out on the ground. It looked like somethin had turned him inside out like, an' there was blood all over. Most of the major organs were missin. I ain't never seen nuthin like that before, an' I been a trapper for 50 years."

Posted by Keith at 3:15 AM

April 11, 2001

Emperor Azalin Visits Fairhaven Village

At the invitation of Mayor Silkon, Emperor Azalin visited Fairhaven village, accompanied with his lady Cymidei Fier. After exchanging pleasantries and tales Cymidei challenged Mayor Silkon to produce a champion from the village to duel the Golem.

After a close match the Golem was defeated by Nethin's Bard,the Fairhaven Village Champion. Emperor Azalin summoned a soldier of the Imperium, Queen of Chaos to duel the bard. The second match was a draw. Swamp Fox challenged Queen of Chaos to a final duel. After a few minutes Queen of Chaos emerged victorious. All enjoyed the event!

The Shadow Imperium

Posted by Keith at 2:28 AM

April 6, 2001

An open declaration to the mirrored realms of Sosaria

An open declaration to the mirrored realms of Sosaria

Tremble before my rage, heathens, for I have won the Dark Tower stone. Once again, the Tower has been re-united in a bloody war to end the heretical influence that has engulfed these lands like a spreading pestilence. The realms must be re-united, and the balance must be restored; blood must be spilt to satisfy the black heavens. Ivy, the blasphemous wench, has lost her feeble mind to grind the will of the Tower into the minds of the mundane, and thus, she must be cleansed of all heretical influences that have betrayed her soul from her path as a destructor. Sacrifice her to us, and she shall feel the painful wrath of the darkness that heralds itself through the Great Pentacle; she shall once again feel the wriggling icy fingers of death through her veins, and be reborn as a mistress of darkness, not pity. Join me in the cause, mortals, and be shown the immortal glamour of destiny. Aid the cause to re-unite the lands, and destroy those who have escaped the damnations of the Great War before you. They resist the balance, and they thrive upon their drunken perpetual false sanctity. Join me at the Dark Tower in Felucca, the true facet, the true Sosaria. Give our world civilization and dark life once again; give Trammel blood and apocalypse�

Join the Alliance of Felucca, or forever be damned in the shadow of death that hovers before you�

Guilds, civilizations of this weary dimension, send me word of your support, or damnations. Let us meet, and plan our strike against those who have betrayed our kind. Let your declarations of war come forth, for us, or against us�

But send me word� (

(I am encouraging all heads of role-played organizations, good or evil, to e-mail me their thoughts and suggestions. Let us all meet OOC to organize and plan our community so we can create a vast alliance of role-play and make this game fun again.)

Posted by Thellaren at 6:21 PM

Forces of Darkness invade Heaven's Forge - Internal war declared within the Dark Tower

Late last evening, upon the striking of the eighth hour, those associated with the Dark Tower arrived within the glorious, steadfast city of Heaven�s Forge. A rally of the Dark Tower had been set earlier this week, as had Na-Krul�s threats and damnations towards the city�s mayor, Darius. He had warned the mayor that upon his uncooperation, his city would burn � and that soon, his people would bleed. Na-Krul addressed the people of Heaven�s Forge, telling them of their future, and his wishes; however, upon their denial of these wishes, Na-Krul had become angered, flustered, and condemned them once and for all�

The fire raged out of control, consuming the Heaven�s Forge City Hall as guardsmen after guardsmen arrived, helpless to control the magical blaze of destruction. The wood blistered as the hungry, dancing flames eagerly ate away at the life of the structure; column after column of thick, black, noxious smoke rising to choke the midnight sky as those standing before it watched in awe and helplessness. The City Hall, once a place of serene gathering, was transformed into a hell of darkness and daemons. Each dark tower mage summoned forth beast after massive beast, the newly declared citizens of Heaven�s Forge, to take appreciation of the engulfing fires before them. Even battle erupted as the Chieftain of the Dert�hed Orc Clan, Slug�lug, engaged the paladins attempting to quell the outrage of chaos; exclaiming his new alliance with those of the Dark Tower and rejoicing at the blood spilt in tribute to his god. A night of darkness, blood, and destruction, and a warning of more to come. What is to be done?

In other related news, Ivy, Mistress of the Dark Tower, was assaulted last eve in the chaos of Heaven�s Forge. Daemon after daemon struck at her soul at the command of Na-Krul, and his loyal mage, Danica. Na-Krul spoke of her cleansing, and threatened that soon he would once again control the Dark Tower stone. He proclaimed that once this was done, his empire would again be re-built and the entire realm would soon suffer the blight of war. Reports have been made that Na-Krul has indeed won favor of those still inhabiting the Tower, and soon, his prophecy shall come true�

Posted by Thellaren at 5:31 PM

Golem Patrols Southern Border

While making it's regular patrols in the Skara Brae area, The Golem was ordered by Azalin to patrol south near Destard. Upon reaching the Destard Outpost cries of help were heard from a prisoner. The Golem reacted swiftly, slaying brigands and creatures that would jeopardize the safety of the citizens of the Imperium.

After the battle, The Golem walked up to the victim and shattered the chains on his wrists. Emperor Azalin stated, "Let this serve as proof to those who would doubt me that the people of Skara Brae can expect just and benevolent rule from the Shadow Imperium."

Painting of Golem Available Here

Posted by Hazard [EiC] at 12:52 AM

March 31, 2001

Nightmares of Reality

Nightmares of Reality

Nightmares, the fleeting poisons of the mind; the subdued emotions peeking and howling within the deep, hollow halls of the reminiscent caverns of the psyche. A disturbance, a remembrance, and a haunting of experiences and fears; a warning and prophecy to the mystic and a revelation to the insane�

Arwyn Blackheart, Gatekeeper of the Dark Tower, acclaimed guardian of the Great Pentacle, turned sharply as he choked with pain. An acute damnation, damp and sweaty, twisting and turning in a haze of sickness that always resulted in the stomach squeezing revulsion of vomit spewn across the cold cobblestone floor. He could smell the sickening aroma, the stench of decay and putrid gore invading his nostrils. He could hear the lunging whispers of the Tower walls, the profound gagged cries of a soul entombed within the very bloodstained stones that erected the great monument of death. He could feel the Great Pentacle pulsating with life and he could feel his soul, his marked remembrance of his vows to his master, tugging at his body. Something was coming, it was in his dreams, and that something needed a host�

That something was a Na-Krul.

Beldock knows much of Arwyn�s dreams�

Arwyn is dead and Na-Krul has returned.

Posted by Keith at 2:46 PM

March 24, 2001

Orcs Attempt Invasion of Britian

The following account by Cymidei Fier was posted to UOSS:

Orcs Attempt Invasion of Britian

At 1:00 PM PST, the Town Cryers at the West Britian Bank [on Trammel. -Ed.] sounded a call to arms "The Orcs are planning a massive attack against Britian. Orcish forces gathering near the Cove Orc Fort."

Within moments, dozens of valiant adventurers arrived at the orc fort to put down the uprising. Hundreds of orcs, orcish mages, ettins, and orcish lords rallied outside the fort.

This is a sketch I made at the battle.

The fighting was fierce and many warriors lost their lives. Finally, the orcs were subdued and the orcish threat against Britian was put to a bloody end.

Posted by Keith at 5:26 PM

Reaching Within

"Damn, damn, DAMN!"

Mirabel cursed and banged her hand on the table as she failed, again, to calm her mind enough to begin the working.

"Calm down, lass," Caelyn admonished her. We've worked out the basic structure, now you just need to focus. I've seen you in meditation this deep before when you needed to.. But you're letting emotion and urgency cloud your thoughts. Just relax."

Mirabel frowned and took a deep breath. Her mind turned inward, and she listened to the beating of her heart.. its deep rhythm made music with the wind through the trees. She felt the warmth of the fire, it touched her skin, and as she felt the heat travel inward, she attached a thought to it, and followed along.

She let her consciousness slip along this path, following the tendril of heat as it moved more inward until it reached her core. Still breathing deeply, listening to her heart, she was completely at peace.

She did not let herself rejoice, she merely existed in this moment for what seemed forever.. and a split second later, her consciousness began to expand, to search her entire body, studying in more minute detail than she had ever allowed. Scars of old wounds, mental and physical, were laid bare to her all-seeing mind.. Damage done and healed, mostly. She was not the patient.

She nodded once and Caelyn reached out to touch her hands. It was almost jarring enough to break her trance, but she did not falter.. she sent a probing thought along the path and began to search Caelyn.

Old injuries, many.. A great peace and security of mind here.. ah, but what is this? He hadn't mentioned any heart trouble. Mirabel prodded at it tenatively and it bared its teeth at her, wasn't going to relinquish its hold on her master without a fight..

Target acquired, she thought, and opened her full mind to the task at hand.

Immediately she was falling into Caeyln, submerging herself in the troubled muscles that screamed at her invasion.. she distantly felt him squeeze her hands sharply, heard an intake of breath, as if it pained him.. she must be careful.. but she was being overwhelmed with sensation, noise, the crackle of something like electricity as she moved within his heart.. she envisioned all she knew of the structure of this organ, her many hours of study allowing her to see it as it should be, clearly.. and drawing on what she saw in front of her, the two compared.. Plucked part out, fashioned new, replaced... over and over, a thousand resurrections it seemed, and so little repaired.. but repaired! it was repaired. That small bit, repaired.. and she could not maintain this, she could not...

Caelyn started a little as Mirabel fell over, he looked at the clock and realized they had been at this for several hours.. the child was exhausted.. HE was exhausted, but.. he felt.. better. Somehow better. He pulled a blanket over Mir and leaned back in his chair, thinking.. It must have worked, on some level, no? He searched his own body for confirmation.. and yes, she had found it, the trouble he had not mentioned, it came with age in his family and he -was- getting old, he smirked. She had found it.. and she had relieved it. Not cured. It would return. But she had held it off.

At what cost? She slept like the dead.

Was this Ivy worth such?

Posted by Keith at 7:51 AM

March 22, 2001

Golems Sighted in Skara Brae

I was at the bank last night minding my own business when I saw a pair of Golems walk up to me. One seemed to be examining me...while the other was "searching for a new target". A few moments later the golems spotted a wild pack horse. They began screetching "exterminate!" and they killed the horse with their halberds.

A few other citizens of Skara Brae looked on with a mixture of shock and uneasy laughter. A few followed the golems out of town...watching to see what they would do next.

One can only wonder....Is Azalin the Lich involved in this?

The Shadow Imperium

Posted by Thellaren at 12:53 AM

BNN Weekly #14

The Britannian News Network has posted their Weekly #14 report which you can listen to by tuning your communication receivers to the following setting.

Posted by Thellaren at 12:49 AM

An Introduction to Ilshenar

The following account was posted to the Britannia News Network by Jerno Milk:


Mondain ruled for 1000 years using the Gem of Immortality to control Sosaria and bend it to his will. Mondain�s reign ended when a Stranger from the stars arrived, destroyed Mondain, and shattered the Gem of Immortality. In the world we live in this was the end of the first age of darkness, but not in Ilshenar. Let us not jump ahead though. First we must speak of shards and facets and what we know about them.

When the Gem of Immortality was shattered an image of Sosaria was captured in each of the broken shards. Each shard from that point further, as far as we can tell, has its own history and peoples. In recent years we have discovered that within each shard there are what may be limitless facets that contain individual worlds - again with their own histories and peoples. The possibility of infinity inside of infinity has many people at this very moment rather upset and thinking if there are layers beneath our current layer, could we not be another layer under some other world�s layer? I leave that thinking to the philosophers.

In the world we know we now have our original facet, Felucca, and our new facet, Trammel. One must also consider that Minax too did come from another facet. As to the nature of her previous world we know very little, but I digress. Trammel is in itself an oddity for it did not exist until Lord British and Nystul cast their magicks to make it so. How exactly this sorcery works it beyond my meager knowledge, beyond the fact that Lord British and Nystul drew power directly from the Virtues themselves to make it so.

Then what of Ilshenar our newly discover facet?
To read more about Ilshenar, proceed to the following accounts, posted at the BNN offices:

An Introduction to Ilshenar : Part I

An Introduction to Ilshenar : Part II

An Introduction to Ilshenar : Part III

Posted by Thellaren at 12:31 AM

Once Returned

This interesting account was recently discovered on the Kingdom of Dawn Public Forum:

His hand glides slowly over a smooth mahagony desk. His steel grey eyes float about the mages tutorium. Desks and bookshelfs lined up in rows. Much like he remembered. But then, how long had it been? His memory was coming back, but there still remained a great many holes within it. Apon entering the kingdom with Queen Hayloh and her escort last night, he had noticed several new buildings. Signs of prosperity and growth. He smiled on this thought. In this bleak chaos stricken world, at least one glimmer of hope remained true.

He turned from the mages tutorium and headed down stairs, offering a candid smile to those he passed by. He didnt remember many of their names, and they seemed quite in awe of him. This brought a blush to his face. This kingdom had once taken him in, placing faith in a questing knight of the virtues. Heralding to his call in the name of them. As with most, they were not truly virtuous. But then, was anyone? Nay, but like himself, what separated them from the others, was their steadfast devotion to strive for them. To make light in a dark world. He held great admiration for the King who stood in Lord British's shadow. Lord British had built an empire and tried to bind them to the virtues. King Desmond had created a small kingdom, where they embraced the virtues. That was the difference.

His memory recalled when Lord British abandoned this land. Fled to a new facet of the shards, leaving many behind toi suffer at Minax's hand. He had gone to the King, to ask that they not flee as well, and stand with him against the tides of darkness. And he did so. In Trinsic, the allied forces had rallied with the Knights of Dawn and engaged Juo'nar to the bitter end. A proud moment indeed in this Kingdom's history.

He remembered sitting with the King and Queen, negotiating for peace with an angry Orcen tribe. Other cities and fiefdoms criticized King Desmond for doing so. Yet the virtues teach not to hate, but to trust and befriend. At great risk to his people and at great loss of respect from neutral nations, they stood by the virtues, and they shown the way.

He smiled as he thought on last night. Meeting Wraith again was interesting. Once a quest knight himself, he wondered what had become of that knighthood. When he had left, they had partitioned themselves suscinctly to their individual virtues and by doing so, unknowingly abandoning them. He recalled his decision to leave them. For he felt they leaned on him as one would a crutch. No longer would they strive to be virtuous, so long as he was there to embody it for them. He had left that they may find the true meaning of the virtues and tarry not over which virtue emblazoned their knight's pin. That was a sad day, and he had only himself to blame. He had failed them. Failed to empower them with the virtues as had been his intention.

Casting aside sad thoughts, he sat before several books and opened one. He was home now. And he had many to thank for it. Arrianna's great sacrifice in bringing him back. Further, for finding a way to make such possible. Queen Hayloh's unending support of his silly quests. Not many would believe in him so trustingly. It was time to restore the virtues, and so many quests left undone. He would embark on those quests again, to bring the relics of the virtues back to this one nation that would stand in defense of the virtues.

Posted by Thellaren at 12:17 AM

March 21, 2001

A Return to Lessons

Mirabel leads Blade up the steep hill that leads to Caelyn's small stone dwelling. Underneath the shade of one of the huge Yew trees, this small cave-like structure had been her home for many months at a time as she had studied with her master. She smiles a little, remembering happier times, when she and Lucas had made this trip together... excited to be leaving home and their parents on such an adventure. The forest here in Trammel looks little different than it had in her youth in Felucca.. She knew Caelyn longed to return to Felucca and begin the healing of the land, but the druids of his circle were forbidden to dwell in a land ruled by Minax. Mirabel shook her head sadly at the great loss, at all the destruction.. then continued her climb.

She must stay focused on her purpose. Although she cannot admit it to herself, she is concerned for Ivy's health and knows that delay serves only to hasten what now seems inevitable. By all rights, she shouldn't even be here, she thinks. What does she care for the life of the Mistress of the Dark Tower.. She who has hurt so many deserves a bit of suffering herself, doesn't she? Ah, but there's the catch, Mirabel thinks. She has suffered. She continues to. And if this illness is not cured, it will kill her. Curing it might be beyond all hope, but.. if it is possible to lend comfort, gain some time.. If Mirabel's healing skill can give that gift.. then is she not obligated to do so? Caelyn would say she was. Others will feel differently. Mirabel pushes her hair out of her eyes, pausing to think for a moment.

This is a point of no return. Once she asks Caelyn for his help... once she begins the research into a kind of healing she has never done before... Duty requires that she see it through to the end. She must make her decisions now, before she climbs this last bit of the hill. She can see her master's home just ahead.

Ivy does not serve the virtues, as I do, Mirabel thinks. She does not even serve goodness. She serves herself and the Tower. But.. as I serve the virtues.. and I serve the light.. I must, in all compassion, do this thing for my enemy if it is within my power.

Mirabel nods her head once, sealing her resolve. Taking up Blade's lead rope, she urges him up the last bit of the steep incline.

"Caelyn! You about?"

She smiles as he pokes his head out of his house, and as he sees her he breaks into a wide grin.

"Aye now lass. Come here and give me a hug!" he exclaims. "It's been too long since we've seen you here."

Mirabel nodded. "Things..." she gropes for the right words, how best to explain the last several months? "Things have been.. hectic. I've missed you," she replies, returning his hug warmly.

Caelyn frowns a little at her tone, and pushes her back to study her face. He notes the strain in her face, and looking into her eyes, he can see sadness.. "What has happened, child.. Isolated as we are, we had little word of your marriage save its announcement.. I am sorry I could not make the trip.. are things not well? Is your lord unkind? Do you come here seeking refuge?"

Mirabel smiles a sad smile. "My lord is not my lord, Caelyn. Much has happened and I will tell you all.. but that is not why I am here. I am.. getting better, myself. I come here on another's behalf, seeking your counsel on how best to proceed."

Caelyn nods slowly, measuring her response. "Alright then. Let us go inside, and we can talk.. and you can tell me why you are here."

She takes her pack off the horse and lets him wander about the yard, knowing he won't stray far.. and follows Caelyn inside.

Posted by Brenstar at 1:29 AM

March 18, 2001

The Path of the Dead

*Screams of pain echo through the Tower, deepening the darkness. Beldock looks up for a moment thinking to himself, �Those screams�.� With a shrug of disinterest, he pulls out his leather bound book on the Paths. Thinking the screams almost sound like a death cry, he decides to write next on the Path of the Dead*

�Blood. Death. Rituals in the night. What more can be said about these death worshiping members of our Tower? Much. They have the power that no mage was ever born to have. An unnatural power to summon forth armies of the undead. Even I shudder at such power. To cross one, was a fate to come back and serve them�. dead. Once again, I bring forth the ancient book on the Paths, and quote from that dark tome.�

�The Second Path of the Dark Tower, the Path of the Dead was based upon the element of Earth. It was the Necromancers who made up this Path. A small but powerful group, the Necromancers were secretive and tended to disassociate from the rest of the Dark Tower. Those on the Path of the Dead were also notorious for working well together, most likely due to the ritualistic nature of their magic. It has been suggested by some that the Path of the Dead is the Dark Tower, for they draw their power from the deaths caused by the other Paths�

*Beldock finishes his notes for another evening, as he hears footsteps outside the Library door. Getting up to see what all the activity is, he sees a man running from the roof, bleeding from a severe wound to his stomach from an unexpected attack. The man does not even notice Beldock standing there, due to pain and fright he has just faced. Wondering what or whom has caused this, he sees a mounted man on a horse with long gray hair. �Father� Beldock says, nodding to his adoptive father, Captain Trips*

Lord Beldock, Cabal of Ether, DT

Posted by Brenstar at 8:13 PM

Path of the Blade

*Lord Beldock sits in the Library of the Tower while Grohl silently reads the tomes of old. As Beldock continues his writings on the Paths, merry-making folk gather in the land of Trammel at Darkmor. Unknowing to them, forces slowly gather around the Dark Tower�*

�The Blades are unique to the Tower, for they are not usually a mage. They are a hard, tough and quick on their feet. Quick to fight and usually the first into battle. They make up the armies of the Dark Tower. In times of need, the ranks of the Blade swell into vast armies that have lain waste to many towns and cities. Another verse from an ancient text I will quote here:�

�The Fourth Path of the Dark Tower was known as the Path of the Blade. This Path corresponded to the element of Water. The...a peculiarity among the Dark Tower, for those who numbered among its ranks were known to have a sense of honor, however twisted it may be...associated with...ritual drink...of suitably consecrated water. It was this Path that made up the Dark Paladins. Many of our grimmer fairy tales involve these feared characters as the primary villains.�

*Beldock concludes his writings with a poem that Ivy whispered during a fevered sleep*

�Sonnet of the Blade�

"We hungrily search for a bit of food
Stalking, silent, through the forest's dark night
Knowing we are evil, we flee from good
I bind with my spell, while she causes fright.
My wielder now shuns me just as the light.
Battle cries erupt as she pulls me free;
One against many, we will win this fight.
I feed on her soul and one we shall be.
Although I am steel and mere flesh be she,
I am her master and she is my slave.
I will return to her, mine she shall be.
She is stubborn, her resistance is brave.
Killing enemies I feed her their souls;
Blackness inside is the highest of tolls..."

Lord Beldock, Cabal of Ether, DT

Posted by Thellaren at 1:26 PM

Heaven's Forge Abduction, Skye Lost to Drow

On the evening of March 17th, the town of Heaven's Forge during a St. Patrick's day celebration Skye of CDC was kidnapped by a group of Drow. The unexpected guests' names are believed to be Briquet, Burdet, and Brizet supposedly being the "prince of the drow".

That Dark Elves promptly began to harass the guests and claim that Heaven's Forge kill without honor, specifically trolls, orcs and ettins. They also demand three trades for Skye's life. Darius, the mayor has agreed to their terms and has instructed Lynx and Anya to have all the guards remove their guild insignia to appear as if they are normal citizens, and not on patrol. The second demand is a mass wealth of five million gold coins. While that is nearly impossible, Darius has no choice but to play along for now. The last demand is that the mayor step down and Buzzit takes his place.

"Tonight the citizens of Heaven's Forge and invited guests from all over Britannia to enjoy a peaceful St. Patrick's day celebration," stated the mayor "Burnzit and his lackeys came in and started spouting their dogma again. I offered them to stay and enjoy the celebration in peace, or to please leave. He said that Skye would suffer for my actions. They left for a while, but returned again to harass our guests. Regardless the evening was a success."

The town is now calling to it's allies for assistance in this situation the mayor feels it does not deserve, as most everyone would agree. Darius feels sympathetic for her friends, and Goliath who has loved Skye for many moons. "I now have called upon the guard, and I call upon the armed guilds, citizens of Heaven's Forge and all of our allies. I bid you help Heaven's Forge. I've learned that there can be no honorable, peaceful outcome with these drow. Regardless of what we do, they will hurt or kill Skye. I plead with you, our forces and allies. Rid us and Britannia of these vermin. Find where they live and rescue Skye if at all possible, but eliminate them at all costs," the mayor finally said.

Posted by Brenstar at 8:46 AM

March 16, 2001

Reaching a Goal

The candle light flickered. Ivy carefully read over the last line of the script. She hadn't slept in days. Her eyes were stinging, and she could barely lift her head. These past days had been hell. After returning the Countess to Dawn, she had decided to return to her studies of advancing in her magic.

A harsh cough shook the Mistress' slight form. She covered her mouth with a soft cloth until it passed. When she pulled it away, she knew what she'd see. Blood. Much the same as she had witnessed from her former love, ages ago it seemed. She sighed. Soon, she hoped it would be done with. He grew better as his skill increased. She had hoped it would be the same for her. Thus far though... it had only gotten worse.

With the words of power just behind her lips, she forced herself up the stairs of the Dark Tower. This would be it. The true test of her studies. All the practice, all the pain... the sheer agony... done with this day. She would finally taste the sweetness of success. She didn't know where Lefty was... or if he still lived in this world, but this was for him. It always had been. From the first spell she ever cast, to this very moment.

Standing in the center of the pentagram, she shouted the words of the spell to the darkening sky. And she waited. Nothing happened. She looked around confused. Even before now, when she had tried this... she could feel her failure. But this time was different. The world was silent, almost frozen. Then she heard it, and felt it. A roar in the ether. It built in her ears and she felt it flooding into her body.

She was filled with elation at having finally succeeded, but her joy was short lived as excrutiating pain ripped through her. She fought with all that she was to control it. For what seemed like an eternity, the ethereal waves tore at her very being, bringing pain where pleasure should have been. And finally it stopped. The Mistress dropped to her knees.

"Now," she breathed the words aloud, yet to herself, "I am... worthy of my place."

She forced herself to her feet and down the stairs. She reached the stone of the Tower. And laid her hand on it. 'You have done well Mistress. Regain our glory. Return the structure I was born to.' The warm voice washed over her mind. Whispering, yet clear as a bell.

The door opened behind her, she turned to see Beldock, astride his Nightmare steed. The world was swimming in front of her eyes. They argued. He was going to smother her ability to use magic, to save her from the "ether sickness" she suffered from. In desperation to prove she would survive, she set her spellbook aflame. He put it out. And put away his private spellbook. He would not blanket her abilities.

Relief flooded her and the sudden release of stresses only weakened her. She weaved unsteadily on her feet. Beldock lifted her from her feet. She felt fever creeping over her, yet she shivered. He set her on her cot and covered her. All the events from the casting of that final spell had been a haze. She closed her eyes, and passed out, into a deep, exhausted sleep. Only one thought rang through her mind... 'I have finally achieved it...'

Posted by Brenstar at 7:36 PM

March 14, 2001

The Path of the Dagger

*Rain pounds against the Tower on a dark, cold night. Lord Beldock, not noticing much outside the brightly-lit library of the Tower, sits and writes in a finely bound leather book. Dipping a black quill in his ink well, he writes about the Path of the Dagger. *

�The Path of the Dagger�

�Ah, the Daggers. A knife in the night, if the gold glinted brightly enough. Never turn your back on them. You may never know if you are marked. The tomes of old, within the Tower speak better then I can about them:

�The Third Path of the Dark Tower, the Path of the Dagger, was related to the element of Air. Quick and mysterious and keeping to the shadows, it was the rogues and assassins who filled these ranks. Certain fighters, such as fencers and the like were also invited to tread this Path. Regardless of occupation, all...this path were synonymous with treachery. It was not uncommon for them to stick a knife in the back of a dear friend even after talking with them. Those on the Path of the Dagger were the only ones among the Dark Tower who were known to sell their services to outsiders�

*Beldock writes further on the Daggers*

�I personally know of one former member, who continued to try and kill me. Many times the forces of �good� tried to hire him to put a dagger in me. It is said to this day, I am still marked by him. To bad he can�t do much from the grave.�

*Early morning light peeks through the windows, enhancing the shadows within. Looking up, Beldock notes a ghostly figure within the shadows. For a brief moment, the figure waves and departs back to wherever it came. A smile plays on Beldock�s face as he remembers his old friend� and assassin. With a finely written signature, Beldock concludes his brief notes on the Path of the Dagger*

Lord Beldock, Cabal of Ether, DT

Posted by Thellaren at 12:14 AM

March 13, 2001

�Order� Restored

*The morning rays shine...*
by Lord Beldock

*.. within the Tower's Library. All night he read the ancient tomes of old. A sigh of content escapes his lips as he closes the last book. With a silent stride, he wanders down to the foyer, careful not to make to much noise to wake Ivy or Shadomir. More so, not to disturb the dark spirits of the Tower itself.*

*He wanders to a hidden niche within the Tower itself. A place he discovered long ago, to hide various things from attackers and looters of the Tower."

*In a black piece of cloth, he removes a guild pin. Not just any guild pin, but his old one. He smiles to himself as he polishes it to its former shine. A unholy light seems to radiate out, pushing back the sunlight streaming in the windows*

*whispering to himself, he says:*

"It is time the old order returns. The Cabal is needed once more."

*With what seems a sigh from the Tower itself, he places the pin on his shirt.*

*whispering to himself once more*

"Let it be known, the Dread Lord Beldock returns to his position of Cabal of Ether. The Cabal will be whole once more. The Dark Tower will have its full Cabal..."


*The Tower walls bleed...*

Posted by Keith at 2:09 AM

March 9, 2001

OSI: Ultima Online Scheduled Events Conclude

The following was just posted to FYI on the website:

Ultima Online Scheduled Events Conclude

We'd like to thank everyone who participated during the last month of our scheduled Ultima Online events. We hope that everyone enjoyed the events!

We will be taking the time to assess running scheduled events of this type, and to that end, we will be keeping the Event message board open for a few more weeks to allow you to share your feedback with us. The message board is located at (A registered UO Message Board account is required to post feedback.)

Once again, our thanks to everyone who participated in these event nights

Posted by Keith at 6:39 PM

March 2, 2001


The following was reported yesterday to BNN World News:

Amidst piles of books, faintly scented by mildew and strange concoctions, Gilforn sat confounded by his lack of success. Idly spinning a mandrake root, he stood looking at the empty space where a facet gate had been. At first he thought he had finally done it. He could see Felucca within the dim purple glow of the gate. He flipped over an hourglass and waited. Right on time it closed and all that was left was nothingness. Offering a sigh and a curse to the Virtues, he turned and began his research anew. He would create a permanent facet gate or else waste away trying.

Gilforn was the foremost authority on Gate travel and teleportation spells in the land. He had written many works including "The Definitive Gate" and "Gate Travel and the Modern World". He was most notably known for his achievement with local teleporters. The Moonglow town teleporters and the similar ones found in J'helom had baffled most modern mages for some time. Gilforn was able to find out how they were crafted and duplicated them. You can see some of his handiwork in the mage shop in Moonglow. The ill-conceived design of that building required some teleporters to ease the flow of shoppers. Also many other congested areas around the realm had called upon Gilforn to implement similar local teleporters to make the common man�s travels a bit easier.

Still, even with that accomplished, the discovery of facets and the accompanying facet gates fascinated Gilforn. It was a fairly simple thing to open a gate and step through to the apothecary down the road, but to be able to step through a gate to another world? The only other instance of this was the now almost fabled Siege Perilous gate that brought the stranger to Sosaria to defeat Mondain. Gilforn had petitioned Nystul endlessly for the books regarding that gate�s creation. Finally Nystul came to see Gilforn personally, to assure him that any record of the methods employed to create that gate was not to be found. Gilforn had publicly stated he believed Nystul to not be telling the whole truth of that matter. However, the facets gates were truly real and required no skill in magic to employ - only a single 'moonstone'. The stone, once placed on the ground, simply buries itself and a facet gate is created to the exact location on the opposite facet. These moonstones began to appear once Minax had arrived in Britannia. It would seem she came from her own facet and her entry into our facet some how spawned the creation of these objects. The horrid-smelling little headless creatures seem to collect these moonstones as some sort of status symbol, or so it has been speculated.

Gilforn had been studying the old texts on the creation of the local Moongates. They were permanent; their destination shifting with the phases of the twin moons that orbited Sosaria. He had tried every conceivable combination of Moongate magicks and Moonstones he could muster and still he could not open a permanent gate. In fact he had injured himself in one attempt in which the gate opened and exploded in a burst of energy.

He began to open his texts again when he realized the lateness of the hour. Instead of continuing his studies, he headed to bed for a much needed rest. He quickly succumbed to sleep and began to dream.

A clear night with a crisp wind blew across Gilforn's face. It was the Moonglow town center. The stars shone brightly only to be outshone by the twin full moons. A wisp appeared and seemingly beckoned Gilforn forward. He followed. South through the metal gates down the road to the Moongate he followed the glowing Wisp. Then, quite suddenly, it was gone. The gate was somehow different looking. It pulsed with a different glow. One unlike any he had seen before. Almost unnoticed, darkness crept in all around and a chorus of voices spoke.

"you have worked hard friend. your efforts will not be in vain. look upon the gate and see..."

The wind whipped harder as Gilforn starred into the swirling gate.

"Who are you and why do you disrupt my dreams with this strange vision?"

"we are wise. we seek to help."

"see what you have not seen. find what you seek. we offer it freely."

This stirred Gilforn from his gaze. Being ever the cynic, he responded, "Nothing is free. With what cost does this knowledge come, spirit?"

"no cost to you, friend. no cost to you at all. look upon the gate and learn."

His eyes slowly returned their gaze to the strange gate swirling before him. Familiar symbols in bizarre combinations spun and twisted in before his eyes.

"It is so clear. It is so simple. It is wonderful."

"we are glad. now step through the gate"

Gilforn stepped forward and entered the gate.

He awoke violently. Shaking and covered in sweat, it took him several moments to compose himself. It was still dark, in the dead of the night. He was dreaming...a wisp..a gate...the gate! He leapt from his bed and hurried to his lab.

His mind was ablaze with symbols and arcane words of magic. Hastily he grabbed at spell components from every corner of the room. A mild sort of madness had taken over. As he finished compiling his spell components he began to chant words he had never heard before, in a meter that was almost poetic.

"init kal vas gres
trak sek-de ter-mer..
re in ew tu-tim in-ten
re grav beh
i trak-por "

At first nothing happened. Then in a flash the spell components burst into a spike of energy illuminating the room, and the moonstone he had placed in the center of the other components sank into the ground. Half-blinded from the flash, Gilforn watched as a swirling gate appeared from the ground. It had the same strangeness about as the gate in his dream. He turned the hourglass.

Slowly he peered into the gate. He could not see what was beyond it. He waited. The sand dropped bit by bit at an almost maddeningly slow pace. He paced, always glancing back at the hourglass. Finally the time had come for the gate to close. He stood bewildered. I was still open! He paced frantically, waiting. Could it be? Another hour passed and the gate still remained. It would seem that this gate was indeed going to remain. Now came the true test. What happened upon walking through it? The other side could not be seen. This gate was murky. He paced some more. It was almost dawn. Should he wait and inform the Council of his discovery? He almost gave in to that thought, but his desire to know if it really worked drove him to step through gate.

There was no sensation. It was like any other gate he had ever taken in his lifetime. He appeared on the other side. He felt fine, but something was terribly wrong. This was not Felucca.

He stood next to a ruined stone structure. At first he did not notice, but then it became very obvious. An ankh! Amidst the rubble was a large standing ankh. In front of it, buried under some debris, rested, to his unbelieving eyes, a Virtue Sigil. The scales : the Sigil of Justice. This was the Shrine of Justice? This looked nothing like the Shrine of Justice he knew. This was amazing. He was overcome with excitement. Briefly, he realized that his gate might not remain forever. He turned and looked into the gate. He looked all around. He longed to explore but realized this was something he should report directly to the Council of Mages. With a tinge of regret he walked back through the gate and was back in his lab. The gate remained. It was near dawn as he gathered himself and headed off to awaken Anon and speak of his grand discovery.

In the blackest part of the Void, three figures grinned darkly. It had begun.

Posted by Thellaren at 1:15 AM

February 24, 2001

OSI: Ultima Online Bi-Weekly Events Continue

The following was posted to the FYI page on the Ultima Online Web site:

Ultima Online Bi-Weekly Events Continue

Miss the chance to join in on a weekly event? Or perhaps you enjoyed the last one and would like to join us again? We�ll be continuing the Ultima Online bi-weekly events for the next two weeks, based on the same daily shard schedule. Thus, if your shard had an event scheduled for the first Monday, you�ll have one again next Monday. The shard event schedule is located at

Ranging from monster mashes to skill contests to PvP competitions, we�ve organized events to offer a little excitement for every playstyle. Each night, multiple events will run on two Ultima Online shards. While we want to make this fun for everyone, not all types of events will run every night. To find information on specific events, visit your nearest in-game Town Crier on the shard�s scheduled day for details. Events will begin at approximately 7:00 PM local server time on US shards, excluding Lake Superior, Siege Perilous, and Great Lakes. Events on the latter three shards will begin at 7:00 PM CST. European shard events will begin at 8:00 PM local server time, and Japanese events will begin at approximately 11:00 PM local server time.

Please remember: Ultima Online Game Masters are not involved with these events and will be unable to provide you with any information about locations, schedules or event types.

Posted by Keith at 7:52 PM

February 23, 2001

BNN Broadcast : Weekly 13

The Britannian News Network has released a new report that includes a small interview with Dupre at the Keg & Anchor Tavern in Trinsic. You can hear it at the following location:

BNN Weekly 13

Posted by Thellaren at 1:58 AM

New Orc Agression, a New Threat (Felucca)

The following was heard relayed from the Kingdom of Dawn's Town Cryer:

Lady Shadomir called the knights and warriors of Dawn together last night, as she was ambushed in Dawn by an Orc War Party. Intent on making sure the Orcs understood that any agression into Dawn would be met with harsh and severe justice, she rallied the forces of Dawn and lead an assault on the Delucia Orc Fort.

The battle raged and many orcs lay fallen at the Dawnites feet. But then Draithnokk, a lich emerged from the fort. He descended on Cleopatra, one of the groups mages, attempting to vanquish the Dawnites by eliminating their magic.

The lich was felled, but the battle had taken its toll on the Dawn forces. They retreated after counting nearly a hundred orcs slain.

Investigations are being launched into the Liches presence amongst the Orcs. Has a new threat arisen to challenge the Kingdom of Dawn. To challenge the last light of Felucca's darkness?


Posted by Thellaren at 1:43 AM

Feluccian Shrines Cleansed / Trammel Attacked (Facetwide)

DupreSkara Brae, Minoc, and Despise. From reports we�ve gathered, three great battles were waged in these locations on Wednesday eve. From lich lords to valorite elementals, citizens of Trammel fought off the various creatures whilst other events were just starting to occur on Felucca. From whisperings amongst barkeeps and fishmongers over the last few days, Minax and/or Keeonean are suspect to be responsible for the sudden outpouring of evil.

Whilst all these attacks were occurring in Trammel, Dupre was busy in Felucca, hiring town cryers to gather forces at his camp just north of Trinsic.

Catching wind that the town cryer had some impending information for us, a few friends gathered in Avalon and heard the summons, scurrying off to the encampment through magical means.

MeredithDupre was indeed at his camp near Trinsic, the site of the tents evoking several unwanted black and white memories of the Trinsic siege, which I quickly shoved to the back of my mind.

Once enough of a force had arrived at the camp, Dupre announed his intentions of creating a new Bell of Courage in order to cleanse the Shrines, a task set forth upon him by Nystul.

Our quest was to find pure white spider silk in order to help recreate the bell. Dupre let us know that there was one person who might know where to find the elusive and rare item. We would have to look in Trinsic, Skara Brae, Moonglow, or possibly even Minoc to find a man by the name of Lodlen.

NystulAfter struggling with a few mount problems we searched through Trinsic and then Skara Brae, finding Lodlen and learning we needed to head to the Terrathan Keep. Apparently a terrathan queen or somesuch had this silk which Dupre was looking for.

At this point our small group launched several unsuccessful attempts into the heart of the keep, perishing one by one until we were so weakened we could not go on. After a time, we learned that somehow Dupre had gotten into the keep and obtained the silk. Someone must have given him and his entourage a rune directly into the keep and no one passed us the entire time we were there.

Back to the camp! When we arrived back at the camp, the Bell of Courage had apparently already been reforged in record time. Our first sight when arriving was Meredith, a bard of great reknown. She was urging everyone onward to the Shrine where undead were purported to be attacking (from town cryer reports).

Several of us hurried there, killing the last of the assembled dead. At this point Nystul appeared on the water underneath the shrine and lifted the darkness out of the stone piece by piece, restoring the Shrine of Spirituality to its former glory. I could not see what he was doing, nor could I hear a bell, as the assembled crowd was quite loud.

On a hunch I magically traveled to a handful of other shrines, each one protected by lich lords, rotting corpses, and other hideous forms. Stray defenders quickly cleared these, as well as a few defenders rallied to the cause. Last I saw 3-4 shrines were restored back to normal shortly thereafter.

For more paintings of this event, see the Freeborn Press Messageboard.

Posted by Thellaren at 1:13 AM

February 21, 2001

Strange Revelations

The following was posted to various message boards by Ivy, Mistress of the Dark Tower:

Strange Revelations

Ivy set the tome she'd been reading aside. Rubbing her tired eyes, she peered around the library. Sleath sat at a desk, studiously reading over one of the many books she had assigned to him to read. Shaking her head, she thought back on the past few days events.

She had received a mysterious letter. She pulled it out of her pocket and looked it over again.

Hello Dark Mistress,

You do not know who I am but you soon shall; I may be needing some assistance from you. I understand that you might be of assistance. I have a package I need to deliver somewhere and I was wondering if you could help.

I will pay you nicely for the storage.

Thank you for your time.
(insignia of a black tree)

She had replied with...

"I tend to like to know with whom I am doing business, before venturing on a deal. And should you like my assistance, you'll give me the information I request. Such as... the nature of the package and to whom it is being delivered. Otherwise, I am sure I would be ...glad to assist.

Lady Ivy
Mistress of the Dark Tower"
*stamped with a sigil of a black and red tower*

Of course, she had agreed. She had shrugged to herself. Why not accept? And she could always change her mind and do as she liked with whatever this package would be. Their folly for trusting her. She smirked.

Later that eve she heard a thud at the doors to the Dark Tower. Carefully openning the doors, her eyes settled on a large bloodstained sack. It was moving and making muffled sounds. Casting a minor spell, she lifted the sack and it's contents into the air and moved it into the back room. Carefully bolting the door and magically securing it, she used the same spell to untie the bag and reveal it's contents.

There lying on the floor before her was a badly beaten and bleeding Baron of Darkmor. Sleath. Ivy frowned deeply. This was not anything she wanted anything to do with; especially as she knew his wedding was to be this night. She had already prepared her crystal ball to watch the ceremony. Using a few other incantations, Ivy healed the Baron's wounds, unbound him and cleaned him up a bit. She allowed him to change out of his ragged torn clothing and into a soft black velvet robe.

She didn't even want to think of the following days. The removal of Sleath's hand. It's replacement. And the final death of the Pretender. And Sleath's request to become a student of the Tower.

That had baffled her the most, she thought he would want to be returned to Darkmor. To Mirabel. But instead he sought his first assignment as a "student of Darkness". She had told him to seek and become familiar with the works of the Library.

And so they sat. Him reading over the tomes, again and again. Saturating his mind with every word, absorbing the ages of knowledge held inside those books.

Ivy excused herself and went downstairs. Rummaging through a chest, she pulled out a small solid bag. Openning it she eyed the many vials within. Kray. Alton. Wraith. Kyra Shadowfare. Miriam. Hella. Sauron. Swift. Mrrshan. Opalescense. Rakhir. Mirabel. Sleath. The Pretender. Thus were the vials labeled. Pulling the one labelled Sleath from its place in the heavily padded bag, she held it up to the candle light.

The vial was brimming full and a double was in the slot beneath where this one had rested. She had gathered enough of his blood to experiment many times over. Securing the bag closed and putting it safely away, she climbed the stairs of the Tower, making her way to the roof.

There she prepared her small ritual and sat down in the center of the pentagram. Putting a drop of his blood on her tongue, she murmured the incantation that would show her what she sought. She closed her eyes and fell into a deep meditation.

King Joran of the elves of the Yew Forests. His bride, Isabella - Princess of... an elven people who dwelled beneath the Earth, yet not Drow. Sleath was their son. Joran's death. Sleath's survival, his heritage hidden with a glamour. Isabella's disappearance. Isabella's reappearance in Britain, under a similar glamour that hid her son's true nature. She had a daughter to a blacksmith. Isabella's eventual passing.

The visions came to her mind, with names, dates, and other details so strong her mind swam. She could only grasp fragments, but those fragments were enough. Forcing the spell to end, she felt herself falling backward upon the cold floor. Opening her eyes, the stars sparkled above her. A slow malevolent smile spread across her lips.

Posted by Keith at 10:46 AM

February 13, 2001

The Principle Pieces - Part I

The following stories of note were recently posted to BNN World News:

In his lab, Nystul sat. Buried deep in a leather-bound tome that had the appearance of timelessness. He picked the book up and slowly closed it, as if taking care not to injure it. The book had a mild blue gleam to it as if it was charged with some magical power. Some might say that it was. The Book of Truth, rarely seen, let alone read by anyone, had been brought to Nystul earlier that day. It normally rested in the Lycaeum, though no one could see it unless they knew just �how� to look, for it is kept out of phase with the normal world.

Nystul gave in to a smile, thinking of the look upon Anon�s face when he found that Mariah had simply walked into the Lycaeum, lifted the book from its dais, and walked out. Anon would be furious. Nystul continued to smile. Anon�s anger might be tempered when Nystul finished his mission but, all the same, he would be even more angered by not being involved. Nystul, though at odds with his old friend, could not bring himself to hate the man.

"Some day", he thought, "we will put things right."

Nystul was not an old man by any stretch of the imagination, but he was no longer as young as he once was. Though a more powerful mage than he was in his younger days, each spell now seemed to sap more life from him. He tapped his foot with impatience. He had all but one item that he needed to complete his goal. The last piece of the puzzle should be in the hands of Lord Dupre and Lord Geoffrey.

Nystul looked across the room to where the candle sat. The Candle of Love gave off a soft and comforting yellow light. The candle had been kept secreted in Empath Abbey until the troubles with the Followers of Armageddon began.

�Julia�, Nystul thought, and sighed.

�Some day�, he said, �another will arrive to take your place, but never shall you be forgotten, dear friend�.

Nystul put the book down next to the candle. Where the yellow glow of the candle met the blue gleam of the book, a clear line of green flickered into existence.

Nystul thought, �Justice�, and smiled.

These objects were the physical representations of two of the Three Principles. The third would be in his hands as soon as his friends returned from Serpent�s Hold with the Bell of Courage. The bell required both Geoffrey and Dupre to retrieve. Only Dupre knew its exact location and only Geoffrey could remove it from the dais upon which it lay. Nystul thought of what he was planning to do again.

"This is important,� he thought, redoubling his resolve.

Dupre appeared in the doorway, looking grim.

"Dupre! You have brought the bell?" Nystul asked hopefully.

"Nay", Dupre spat.

"Nor shall we have that honor, Nystul", Geoffrey said as he stepped past Dupre and into the small room's dim light.

"Nay? What has happened friends?� Nystul asked, looking confused.

"Shattered", Dupre exhaled and slammed his scabbard hard on the floor.

"Shattered?! But how? No one knew where it was!�

"We found this, left in front of the dais", Geoffrey tossed a bound cluster of raven feathers to the floor.

"That witch! How could Minax have known where the bell was hidden?"

"If only I knew.� Dupre sighed and sat down on a small stool.

Nystul looked crushed for a moment. Then his eyes flickered with life.

"Well that is something we may think upon later Dupre. For now we must find a way to make a new bell.� Nystul walked to his bookshelves.

"Make a new bell?� Geoffrey asked.

"Yes. That one must have been forged some how. It didn't just magically appear out of thin air.� Nystul said, gesturing wildly in the air with his hands. "All three of them were made by men�s hands, with the use of magic and power drawn straight from the Virtues themselves. The principles of Truth, Love and Courage outdate most everything in this world."

Dupre looked up, "Then what must we do?�

Nystul smiled, "Get some rest! You both look as if you have not slept in days."

"Indeed, we have not."

"Both of you get some rest then. I will send some one for you if I make any progress." Nystul smiled and pointed to the door.

The men nodded and left.

Nystul slumped down in his chair and sighed heavily.

"That wretched witch" he mumbled.

His resolve seemed to fade a little now that Dupre and Geoffrey had left the chamber. He looked about. The hour was growing late and he knew he needed to travel first thing in the morning. He stood up and put the book he held back in place and headed off to his bedchamber. Tomorrow would not be a good day. Traveling to Moonglow on Felucca could only mean trouble.
The tales continue with the following chapters:

The Principle Pieces - Part II
The Principle Pieces - Part III
The Principle Pieces - Part IV

Posted by Thellaren at 12:46 AM

February 12, 2001

The higher you climb...

The following was posted to the Heaven's Forge message board, here:

The higher you climb...

The happy couple walked out of the tower, to well-wishes and congratulations. Mirabel turned to hug Rakhir tightly, and then she and Sleath started down the stairs to the door.

Out front, she turned to him and asked where they were headed.

"It's a surprise," he said, as he planted the Felucca stone.

Smiling, Mirabel stepped through. He dropped the book and they recalled to a small cottage Mirabel had never seen before, yet it has the Darkmor banner flying and so she was happy.

"A retreat property," Sleath explained.

They walked inside.. it is rather bare. A chest.. an oven.. two training dummies.

"My lord?" Mirabel asked. This isn't what she had expected.

"Drop the act," Sleath responded.

She blinked in confusion, and stared at him like she'd never seen him before.

"Take a seat, madam. You may need it," Sleath directed her.

She perched on the end of the chest, there being no other seats.

Then her world fell in upon itself as he explained.

He is not Sleath. Sleath is captive. She is married to .. his brother? A brother who wants what Sleath has. Darkmor, everything. She studies his face, finally sees... very very similar.. but no.. not her love. Magicks of some kind, fogging her mind.. fogging everyone's minds... Take me to him! In good time. You may see him. They go to Moonglow. There he is.. she is not allowed near him.. oh.. but he has been beaten.. my poor love.. Do as he says, Sleath cautions her.. He is capable of great evil.. Sobbing, she goes back to Darkmor with the pretender. Sleeping with a dagger in hand. Such bitter arguments. The brother.. and Sleath? are elven.. How.. but why did no one say? A prophecy.. a war.. a battle.. a dead father.. a not-dead mother.. it is all so bewildering.. She falls asleep crying and does not awaken until the next morning.

The pretender mocks her. Forces her to act the bride, using Sleath's life as a bribe. He tells her he will send her gifts, pieces of her love, perhaps his finger so she can place his ring upon it and keep it with her always. She snaps. She locks the door. She will not come out, not for anyone, not for Ursula, Mariah, not even her own sister. She ventures out once.. Agrias is there, Agrias who hates her, hates all humans.. He threatens her, wants the story, wants to know why she is so upset.. just to amuse himself, for no other reason.. she considers telling him.. realizes that would seal Sleath's doom.. She can not do it.

Oh no.. Megra banging on the door.. Solitaire and the Pretender fighting.. She knew the girl was loyal to her but this is not the way.. She runs downstairs, gets between them, it is no use, the angry words fly over her head and around her.. Solitaire has her dagger out, Sl.. the pretender orders the gypsy out.. what will all this mean for Sleath, he is certain to bear the punishment.. oh no now he looks at her..

"Get your things and get out."

She stands frozen.

"You could not cooperate. You have outlived your usefulness. Leave now."

She tries to argue, tries to persuade him to let her go to Sleath, no, I have cooperated, please do not punish him for me...

"What is sad," he laughs, "Is that I would likely have let both of you live. Go now. Take your things and go. You will come to no harm. I cannot say the same for Sleath."

I could kill him here, she thinks.. I could take out this kryss Wraith gave me, the poisoned one, for emergencies.. he is not that strong.. but then what of Sleath? What of his warnings that if he comes to harm then Sleath will pay the penalty? I am a coward. I leave.

Days pass and no word. Then, a box on her doorstep. Opening it.. she retches, removed.. his hand.. the ring she'd chosen so carefully jammed on to the finger that had never known it in life.. holding a note.

"His hand, as promised, madam. I am here, and I watch. Your love is no more, beyond the magics that might have returned him to you. You may retain your title of Baroness but do not think on me as your husband, for I am not. You may resign the title if you choose. I am handing the tavern over to Owen, you may continue to run your vendors from there if you wish.

With contempt, I am,

Sleath, Prince Darkmor."

Posted by Keith at 12:42 AM

January 29, 2001

Return of the King

The following was submitted by Arrianna to UOSS:

Return of the King

Arrianna stood on the roof of the Mage Tower in Dawn. She waited for the rest. Desmond was to be brought to her, and many were relying on her to exorcise that which seemed to be possessing the King. She was nervous, to say the least. She considered herself a simple student of the virtues, not a leader of them. Oh how she wished Arakthor was here! He would know exactly what to do! Instead, it was up to her, and many hours of study she had devoted to understanding and mastering the ritual needed to drive the spirit from Desmond. But one slip, one mistake, and the results could be catastrophous.

Will Avengem entered the arena on the roof. Behind him was Queen Hayloh, who was comforting a distraught and angry Desmond, his wrists and ankles in shackles. A tear formed in Arrianna's eyes to see her King in this manner. But she had herself asked for these precautions. His life and hers were at stake. She wished it wasnt necessary, and would gladly forfeit her life for his, if it were that simple. But it was not.

Behind the King, came Opalescense, Quest Knight of the Virtue Compassion. Followed by Vengence, historian and long time friend of the King. And then Kryn Garamonde, also a Quest knight of the virtue Justice, as well as squire in the Order of the Blue Rose, in the Kingdom of Dawn.

She offered them each a smile as they moved to surround Desmond in a circle. Arrianna directed them to each stand at a specific point. Arrianna herself stood as the one of faith, her back to the north. Opal, one of purity and innocence, her back to the south. To her right was Kryn, one of strength in will and body, his back to the west. And Vengence, one of wisdom and knowledge, his back to the east.

Queen Hayloh and the Prince Riain looked on with others of the Kingdom, and friends, as Will Avengem took up a guard position to make sure none interrupted the ritual. Arrianna raised her voice to proceed, hoping to gain confidence from the strength of her musical voice.

She began the weaving of the spell, by reciting the meaning of the virtues, their place in this world, and more still, their place in King Desmond. Desmond shrieked with rage, calling to those watching to aid him, proclaiming that Arrianna was the one possessed. Possessed by Na-Krul. But she wavered not. The spells power infused King Desmonds body with raw energy derived of the virtues themselves. Culminated from the principles of Love, Truth and Courage. The spirit waned and struggled to free itself from the pure virtuous magics. But it lay trapped within Desmond with only one escape...the bracelet from wence it came.

*Arrianna continued, as Vengence added his words, recalling the counts of Desmonds life. Of his wife and dear child. Of the kingdom that loves him dearly. Desmond, the true Desmond began to stir from within. The spirit was enraged and cornered. It was then, that Arrianna directed Opal to make contact with Desmond. The touch of skin allowing the spirit a new host to flee too. And so it did, but too late did it realize its mistake. For Opal was one of purity. her body, mind and soul, uncorrupt, and worse for the spirit, uncorruptable. There was naught to control within. A body of pure goodness. The spirit was enraged further. Opal was stunned, as she tried to block out the whispers of evil intent the spirit threw desperately at her. But it would avail him not at all. For the spirit was dying, and Opal was too pure.

Again, Arrianna directed, Kryn this time, to make contact with Opal. Once more allowing the spirit an escape. This time to a body that was not pure, so it was inviting to the spirit, and thus was taken. Once inside, Arrianna entered Kyrns mind, telling him how to harness the strength of his mind and the power of her words, to separate from the spirit, that which was Desmond.

Putting the evil in one orb of blackness, the good into one of pure bluish light. One belonged to the spirit of the demon, the other, was a part of Desmond that must be returned. For if a part of Desmond were to die, so to would part of the land.

Kyrn bellowed in anguish, the task at hand was testing the boundaries of his physical and mental strength. Many watched silently, others prayed for him to outlast. The Queen and Prince watched in horror and hope, as Arrianna continued. As both orbs of dark and light were beginning to wane. As a candle flickers in strong light, Arrianna held forth the bracelet, as she slipped it from Desmonds wrist. The spirit fled to the one place it was safe from the magics Arrianna and the rest had conjured to vanquish it. Into the bracelet. She then took Kryn's hand in hers, accepting the light into her, that she could bless it, and mold it back into shape and form that Desmonds weakened body could accept. She then moved to Desmond, taking his hands in hers, staggering under the taxing spell, she transferred the light into Desmond.

A hush reigned at this moment, and all eyes were on Desmond. Had they been successful? Did the spell work? Or were they wrong all along?

Desmond finally broke the silence, asking where he was. His memory of all that had transpired since Na-Kruls resurrection was a void of nothingness. Vengence replied that he was in Dawn, among friends. Asking the King who was his wife, Desmond replied to his old friend, "Hayloh, of course!"

A sigh of relief erupted from the crowd of concerned citizens and friends, as they took this as a positive sign. Arrianna collapsed back into a chair, exhausted from the spell, smiling softly as her King was returned. Rejoicing and celebration went long into the night at the Acropolis, and peace reigned once more in the Kingdom.

Posted by Keith at 6:01 PM

January 27, 2001

A Downside of Last Night's War

On the down side of the opinions of the war in Dawn, not every event goes well for everyone. This afternoon, Baja resident Lagesek submitted his short-yet-aggressive critique about last night's war in Dawn. In the first half of his post he comments:

For the most part it was a one sided effort with the DT and the King's men and women romping all over Dawn.When it was all over (or so we were told) and the dust had settled many dead lay on the field in front of one of Dawns towers.

We the victors rested (lagged) in front of those collecting their spirts and their belongings. All of a sudden we are called to arms again! It seems Sanglant had turned on the tower and those in its service were asked to take him down.

After a valiant battle sanglant succombed to the many and lay dead at our feet.
He continues on with more personal opinions in the original post, which can be found here, on the Avalon Public Forum.

Posted by Keith at 11:02 PM

War in Dawn

It was time.

King Desmond's army stood before him, clad in jet black, a strange assortment of knights and warriors of Dawn, citizens of the Village of Fairhaven, and members of the dreaded Dark Tower. Many nervous and hateful glances were exchanged between the Dawnites and those of the Tower...for they had long been enemies...but dire times called for dire measures, and despite the involvement of the Dark Tower, still these soldiers of Dawn stood by their King.

Of course, Desmond was scantly recognizeable as their ruler, for his hair had gone from light brown to jet black in the hours before the battle. And his eyes...his eyes were like 2 blazing pits from hell, red and piercing.

Desmond smiled. He had received word scant hours earlier that a message had been dispatched to the Royal Guard from the Lord General urging them to join forces with the Royal Court. Apparently some of the guards, including the ringleaders who were organizing the military takeover of Dawn, had fled during the night. So, they think their chances will be better if they join forces against me, Desmond thought.


Mistress Ivy of the Dark Tower approached Desmond. "I take my leave of you now...I leave my children in your care," Ivy said, gesturing to the Dark Tower soldiers.

"Aye, they will serve the, they will serve Dawn well," Desmond replied.

Ivy laughed. "Correct on both counts," she said as she walked away.

Desmond turned back to his soldiers, looking his forces over. "Patriots of Dawn, today shall be a glorious day," he said, "for today we free our kingdom from the traitors and usurpers who have siezed out homeland! DEATH TO ALL TRAITORS!"

"DEATH TO ALL TRAITORS!", the soldiers cried out in reply.

"Mystics, practice your the moongates!"


Multiple blue moongates shimmered deep in Southern Dawn, and Desmond's army flooded out of them into the forest. Silently, Desmond led the soldiers northward.

The first skirmish occured scant minutes later, as Desmond's forces stumbled upon an enemy patrol. Desmond recognized their guild insignia...they were from the fabled Savage Truth guild. So, the Royal Court had turned to their old friends and allies for much good as it would do them, Desmond thought.

In moments, his forces were upon them.

The paladins of the Savage Truth were taken by suprise, and overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of Desmond's forces...but still, they battled on, their swords slashing, seemingly everywhere at once. The bodies of dozens of men lay strewn about them. But then, after what seemed an eternity, the legendary Lord Falwyn fell, lost in a swarm of black...and the hero Tibereous was lost not long after.

Desmond's army moved on.

Approaching the center of the Kingdom and Dawn Tower, Desmond found his forces set upon by wave upon wave of Royal Court soldiers, including more Savage Truth members. The Royal Court, rather than facing Desmond's army en masse, decided to split into several smaller groups. However, the strategy worked against them, as it allowed Desmond's numerically inferior force to beat down the smaller individual groups. Still, the Royal Court's numbers seemed to be unending...until finally, the last of them fell to the blood-stained ground.

Desmond gazed about himself. They, too, had taken heavy casualties...but the battle was done. Once again was he Dawn's one true leige and lord!

Suddenly, a lone soldier rode towards Desmond through the mist. As he drew closer, King Desmond recognized him. It was none other than Sir Malchar, Grand Magistry of the Blue Rose, Dawn's Knighted order. However, Malchar wore niether the black uniform of Desmond's army, nor the blue of the Royal Court, or the red of the guards. Malchar took no sides in the battle, refusing to fight against his countrymen.

"Like a true coward," Desmond smirked.

One of the Dark Tower soldiers unsheathed his sword. "Sire, should I..."

"No," Desmond replied. "Let him come. He is harmless."

Malchar approached. "Desmond, you must stop this madness," he pleaded. "The bracelet is controlling you...please, my liege, come with me that we may find a way to cure you of this evil!"

Desmond only laughed. "You poor fool," he said. "What makes you think I want your cure?" He turned to one of his soldiers to give the order to have Malchar killed.

Suddenly, the defeated ladies Wildstar and Vixen of the Royal Court cried out, almost in unison, "Now!"

With a loud whine, a moongate appeared out of nowhere next to Desmond and Malchar. Malchar grabbed Desmond, and they both fell into the gate. A few of Desmond's soldiers lunged after him, but it was too late; the gate had vanished.

"The King has been abducted!" someone cried out.

"Aye, just as we planned," Lady Wildstar said. Vixen nodded in agreement.

Puzzled, Desmond's army slowly began the task of gathering the prisoners and tending to the dead and wounded. They now controlled Dawn...but still was Dawn without a king.

Posted by Keith at 2:49 AM

January 25, 2001


The wind howled through the empty streets of Dawn. The citizenry huddled behind their barred doors, fearful to step outside in violation of the mad "curfew" established by the Royal Guard. One such citizen had already done so, and his head was placed upon a pike in the center of town as a warning to any others who dared to challenge their will.

The streets, the shops, even Merchant Square and the vendor mall, were empty...only the Royal Guards could be seen, riding back and forth throughout the kingdom on their endless patrols. It seemed they never rested. St. Michael and War Child rode toward Dawn Tower together, canvassed in steel and weapons at the ready. The doors were barred. War Child moved as to bash the door in, but St. Michael bade him to hold. "It will be ours soon enough," he said, a grim smile crossing his face. "At this time tomorrow, Dawn will be ours...!"


Inside the Tower, the Royal Court and their soldiers drafted their strategy against the dual threat of the guards and the King's Army by candlelight. Lady Wildstar's face, normally bright and happy, was sullen and grim. How would she be able to abduct the king, that he could be returned to normal and assume the crown once more? Surely he would be well guarded; and the streets promised to be rife with war and chaos. She knew not the answers; but she knew that if they did not succeed in their task, if the Royal Court fell to either the Guard or the King's army, that Dawn was surely doomed. Tomorrow would tell the tale...


King Desmond sat at the fire, sharpening his spear over and over again, as Hayloh watched in concern and fear. Were his eyes truly red? Nay, how could such a thing be possible, it had to be an optical illusion caused by the fireplace nearby...

...and yet, there were other changes as well...a dark aura surrounded Desmond, something that could not be seen, or smelt, or touched, but it was there. And although this was her husband, the man she had married, yet in some way she could not descibe, it was was as if something else had been overlayed on top of him, something transparent and evil...

Outside, Lord HellRazor continued his grave task of gathering the King's soldiers and going over the battle plans. And as the hours ticked by, a strangely eerie smile began to cross Desmond's face.

Tomorrow it would be at an end, Desmond thought.

Tomorrow, the traitors and conspirators will stain the fields of Dawn red with their blood.

Tomorrow, Dawn will once again belong to...

...I, Na-Kr...

Desmond paused, momentarily confused. Did he almost say Na-Krul? All this preparation for battle must have had him momentarily distracted.

He returned to sharpening his sword, and the smile once again danced over his lips.

Hayloh wept.

Posted by Keith at 7:30 PM

Freeborn Press Interviews Royal Family of Dawn

Tonight, Baja�s Freeborn Press enjoyed the rare opportunity to interview the royal family of the Kingdom of Dawn. King Desmond, Queen Hayloh, and their son, Prince Riain are three of our Shard�s most prominant citizens, a fact especially true currently thanks to the recent events & role-playing which Dawn has been promoting.

Dawn, located East of the Dungeon Wrong on Felucca, is one of the oldest player-cities on Baja. The Kingdom of Dawn is host to several guildstones for its members�including one for guards and another for merchants�and their citizens� guildstone boasts Baja�s highest number of veteran members at 137, with a total membership at 167.

Dawn�s most recent activities�involving dissent in the kingdom and threats against the royal family�promise to come to a violent head this Friday, and two of our staff met with the royals to find out the facts on these latest happenings. A last-minute interview began tonight at 7:45pm PST in the current Freeborn Pressroom, near the Shrine of Justice. Although the interview was conducted in secret, to maintain the safety of the royal family, communication crystals were set-up to broadcast the conversation across Sosaria, into the Dawn Mage Tower, the Avalon Town Hall, the Baja Mage Tower, the Dark Tower, and the Golden Brew.

The complete transcript of the interview session, along with several paintings of the session, can be found on the Freeborn Press message board, here. The Freeborn Press hopes to conduct similar interviews with various prominant members of the Baja community in the near future, each one broadcast across the Shard in a similar manner to tonight.

Posted by Keith at 12:14 AM

January 24, 2001

Interview tonight with Royal Family of Dawn

News Flash! The Freeborn Press has been granted a last-minute interview with King Desmond Cross, the rule-in-exile of the Kingdom of Dawn, and his royal family.

King Desmond's realm is being torn apart from within, with Dawn currently in the heart of a violent state of political upheaval. The royal family has come under fire from a faction of former allies, and the once-loyal royal guards take a stand against both groups. All the action is threatening to come to an explosive head this Friday evening, as all three divisions and will meet in what many feel is a "winner take all" war.

The interview with the royals of Dawn will begin tonight (Wednesday, June 24th), at 7:45pm PST, in a secret location. However, we will be broadcasting the interview live--via communication crystal--to four public locations:

Anyone and everyone is invited to come and listen to the interview of three of the most pivitol characters currently on Ultima Online's Baja Shard, as conducted by Hazard (Editor-in-Chief of the Freeborn Press) and Nathan Harper (Emissary of the Freeborn).

Posted by Keith at 9:38 PM

January 22, 2001

The Battle for Dawn (Felucca)

The following OOC message from King Desmond of Dawn was relayed to the Dawn Town Cryer earlier yesterday:

There will be a consentual PvP (player vs. player) event in Dawn from 8:30pm PST until 11pm PST on the evening of Friday, January 26th, as part of the current revolution quest. This event is 100% voluntary. Those who do not wish to participate should not enter Dawn during those hours next Friday.

There will be a few war declarations made between Dawn and other participating guilds this week. Do NOT attack anyone orange to you until the event Friday night, as the war declarations are SOLELY for Friday night's event so everyone can fight without being concerned about murder counts. So far, the following guilds will likely be involved:

Savage Truth
Fairhaven Village
The Dark Tower

Rules for the Event:

1. You must be on one of the guildstones mentioned above to participate. Anyone else is subject to receiving murder counts.

2. There will be 3 sides competing for control of Dawn Tower. In order to identify who is on what side, those supporting King Desmond should wear all black; those supporting the Royal Court should wear all blue; those supporting the Royal Guard should wear all red.

3. Once you are killed, you are out of the battle. You can retrieve your stuff from your corpse, but leave your death robe on and do not return to the battle or assist anyone in any way.

4. There is NO LOOTING. However, also do not bring anything you can't afford to lose, as we can't control everyone's actions.

5. Do not come if you are concerned about losing fame or karma.

6. The group that is in control of Dawn Tower at 10pm PST wins. After 11pm PST the battle will be considered over and war declarations will be canceled.

7. The revolution quest will then conclude on Saturday evening.

Hope everyone has fun!

Desmond Cross
King of Dawn

Posted by Hazard [EiC] at 12:58 AM

January 20, 2001


The following was also relayed from the Dawn Town Cryer on the evening of the 20th:

Lord HellRazor, escorted by two Loyalists, arrived at Dawn Tower earlier today, delivering a message to the Royal Court and the Royal Guard from King Desmond. Duchess Wildstar accepted the parchment, which read:
Traitors of Dawn:

Thrice have I attempted to reason with thee, and thrice have you sought my life. Therefore the time for talk is over.

Thou and thy ilk have seven days hence to leave Dawn in peace, never to return. After that time, my army shall march upon Dawn, and all those who remain will swear fealty to the crown or die. This I swear.

Death to all conspirators and traitors of Dawn!

Desmond Cross
(Affixed with the Royal Seal)

Posted by Thellaren at 1:59 AM

From the Journal of Brother Antos

The following was taken from the Dawn Town Cryer:

From the Journal of Brother Antos, Arch Bishop of Dawn:
The realm is in an awful state. King Desmond, Queen Hayloh, and young Prince Riain live in exile, unable to return to Dawn for fear of their very lives. Those who remain in Dawn have split into three factions...those still loyal to the King (mostly made up of the Knights of the Order of the Blue Rose); those who follow the Royal Court (currently led by Duchess Wildstar and Countess Vixen), who believe that King Desmond is under some spell of the Dark Tower; and the Royal Guard, who appear to be preparing a military takeover of the kingdom. Yet none of them know the truth, nor will they listen!

I am one of the last of the original citizens of Dawn. These ancient eyes saw the building of Dawn and its sister city Wind, and the rise and fall of Exodus, over 300 years ago. Time moved differently in the Ethereal Void; some say it moved not at all. So when Dawn's magical experiments saw our realm trapped in the Void, time stood still for us for 3 centuries.

But we were not immortal. For once Desmond Cross of the Guardians of Virtue found the Blackrock Orb and freed us from our timeless prison, the years began to catch up with us at an accelerated rate. The Dawn Council of Elders, one by one, passed from this life, and now only I retain their secrets.

The Council of Elders, in their wisdom, knew that Desmond Cross was the Warrior Poet of ancient prophecy, he who was destined to one day lead Dawn to victory during its darkest hour. And so, they chose Desmond, a humble bard, to be the first King of Dawn. But they chose him for another task as well, one not even known to Desmond himself.

For you see, Dawn was a city of magic, magic that permated its very soil; magic fueled by the undying love of its citizens, and brought to razor-sharp focus within its rulers, the Council of Elders. But when Dawn was freed, and the Council began to wither and fade, it was feared that the magic that was Dawn might be lost forever.

And so, when Desmond was made king, the Dawn Council of Elders passed their portion of the Ether to him, and a mystical bond was formed between he, his land, and his unending circle, a whole stronger than the sum of its parts.

I was tasked by the Council to one day reveal this sacred bond to King Desmond, that he might in turn one day pass the magic to young Prince Riain. But now it seems as if that day may never be.

Dawn has suffered too many blows as of late. When Lord British and his mages cast the spell that tore Trammel from Felucca, and handed Felucca to Minax, the land itself screamed in aguish; Desmond grew terribly ill, forced to rest in seclusion for months. And yet, Dawn remained, its magic weakened but restrengthened by the love of its people. But

Whatever evil that infects King Desmond is now beginning to affect, to a lesser degree, the citizenry. The hatred, the bloodlust, the thirst for power grows like a cancer, and is reaching a fever pitch. Chaos reigns in Dawn this day, and those who would murder their king in their madness don't even realize that doing so would be to kill themselves as well...for if the Bond is severed at any link, the kingdom itself shall surely die.

I have delivered this news to both Lady Wildstar and the Dawn Royal Guard, but both factions ready for war. Even now, King Desmond masses an army to march on Dawn, and I fear the three factions are about to collide in a war that may very well rip the kingdom apart.

I must continue in my efforts. I must make them see!

Brother Antos
Arch Bishop of Dawn

Posted by Thellaren at 1:48 AM

January 18, 2001

Martial Law Declared in Dawn

The following flyer was found posted in and around the Kingdom of Dawn:

Gentle Ladies and Lords of the Realm,

There is a plot afoot within the Royal Court to overthrow the Crown. One of the ringleaders, Lady Arrianna, has been taken into custody. The other ringleader, Countess Vixen, is yet at large. At this time, it is unknown who the other conspirators are, although it is known that members of the knighthood and the mystic order are among them.

Vixen continues to attempt to gain supporters under the pretense of some "mental instability" which is supposedly affecting me as a result of a bracelet given to me by the late Na-Krul of the Dark Tower. And yet here I stand, having broken no laws of Dawn, but having been attacked by Vixen and her cronies without provocation on three separate occasions this eve. And if this so-called "madness" is truly the reason for her treasonous acts, why then does she turn against her queen as well? This business with the bracelet is but a smokescreen to hide her true overthrow the crown and seize control of the kingdom.

A state of martial law is hereby declared in Dawn. Countess Vixen is to be considered "kill on sight" as an enemy of the realm until further notice. Citizens are to remain indoors and obey any curfews set by the Royal Guard. Until the conspirators are identified and this rebellion brought low, take caution.

The Queen and I continue to rule the realm from an hidden location. In the coming days I shall gather those who remain loyal to their king and queen that we may root out these mutineers and reclaim the palace.

Desmond Cross, King of Dawn

Posted by Keith at 5:05 PM

A new home for Mages.. and friends

I read the following today at UO Journal:


As the fog settled over the castle a dark figure slipped over the walls into the courtyard. Shrouded in darkness and the dense fog, she silently crept across the grounds to the large stone building in the center of the walls.

The call of a small sparrow drifted across the fog from the shadowed figures lips. After a moment another figure floated over the walls of the castle and glided along the grass to the first figures side.

"Guards are light tonight," the second figure whispered.

"All the better for us, but keep your wits about you wizard, I don't want anything surprising me." The first figure whispered back.

"As m'lady says." The wizard said with a flourish and a bow.

"Oh cut that out you silly fop." She responded with a smile. "Now lets go, the guards are rotating."

The fog around the Savage Truth Tower was light and clung to the ground in the silent morning hours. The dew still lingering upon the flowers and trees.

On the steps of the Tower stood a man, garbed in a dark blue robe of fine cut, who kept looking to the horizon to note the sun's rising.

A patch of fog suddenly swirled, as if disturbed by the wind, only to have two figures, one woman, one man, appear in the center of the disturbance.

"You two are late," The man garbed in blue noted. "You had me worried for a while there."

With and impish grin the wizard retorted "You know me Tib, cant turn down a bit 'o fun can I?"

Giggling right along with the wizard the thief piped up, "Yes Tib, Zedd here is a lot of fun!"

Tiberious rolled his eyes skyward, "Zeddicus, one of these days your going to get yourself in trouble, now what did you two find?"

"The place is perfect. There have been no changes to the structure. Luck for us no, but we will have to change that later. The guards are light and have long rotations, will be very easy to overcome. All in all I would say that we could not ask for a better stronghold." The thief reported. "I would suggest that we do not dally to long on claiming the castle as our own. We should move inside the next few days."

"Then take it we shall. The Council of Mages need a more appropriate base to work with. Then the Sosarian Alliance shall take over Lord Brittish's Castle as our own. Yet we shall never swear our fealty to him."

~By Zeddicus, First Wizard, ST/SA, Baja

Posted by Thellaren at 2:18 AM

January 16, 2001

Gift at the Tower (Felucca)

"Citizens of Sosaria.

"I have had time to meditate upon my actions, and through my rash behavior, I have found a single ray of light. For both you and myself. With the death of Opalescense, I have stirred the rage in each of you. I hope this has reminded you what it is to be alive. I hope it has reminded you what can happen when you relax your guard. And I hope it has reminded you how precious life can be.

"I do not ask your forgiveness. I am not that foolish. But I will amend what I have done, in my own way. I have long been studying the possibility of duplication. The possibility of bringing the once dead, who have been impossible to reach in conventional manners, back to thise realm of the living. And this is what I shall do.

"Come to the Dark Tower. This very night at the hour of 9pm PST. There, shall a gift await you, my attempt to amend the rash actions of my quick temper. Do not come bearing hate, for you will not find me there."

Signed in equally careful writing,

"Ivy, Mistress of the Dark Tower"

Posted by Thellaren at 9:35 PM

Tales of the Alchemist, Episode 1


The Alchemist looked up from his mortar and pestle with a slowly spreading smile. After years of labor, he had finally been able to concoct a potion of poison with a much greater effect than any he had previously made. He stood up from his workbench and walked excitedly around the room mouthing exclamations of joy. He then sat back down, carefully poured the poison into a bottle, and began to gather his things as if to go outside.

Wanda the noblewoman looked anxiously up and down the street. She looked with disdain at the peasants and lower folk of the city of Trinsic. They still put their trust in the worthless paladins of Lord British. Had they not been defeated once by the Archlich Jou'nar? Had they not fallen as easily as the shopkeepers? When the diaspora to Trammel had come, Wanda's family, enamoured by the power of Lady Minax, had opted to stay behind and rule as a new class of nobles.

Now Wanda was hoping to find someone to escort her to the Island of Occlo. This was a test, she knew, of both her abilities and of the citizens of Felucca. The beast British, in his foolish brand of wisdom, had allowed no vigilante justice in the land of Trammel, so most highwaymen attacked travellers in that facet. The bigger danger in Felucca was apathy.

The alchemist walked warily through the streets of Trinsic. His thoughts were filled by the darkness of Felucca like an empty hole. A darkness that allowed him one thought: REVENGE. The nobles of Felucca must die. He saw one ahead, a haughty female of the species with thin cruel lips and a fancy dress. She looked him over and explained her quest, but before she could finish, the alchemist whispered, "I will take thee".

Quickly, then, they went to the Dyn Region, an island outside of Trinsic connected by a long bridge. An island unprotected by guards where, the alchemist had explained, his boat was moored. As soon as the bridge was out of sight, however, the alchemist struck. Quick stab of kryss, parry of shield. Wanda fought hard, but she was soon poisoned. This is it, then, she thought, I lose. The alchemist was soon standing over her corpse, hastily grabbing her backpack and looking for a place to hide. It seemed to him that the corpse was almost smiling.

Lord Slimely looked around the island. He quickly located the ghost of Wanda and was preparing to leave, when he saw a strange creature hiding in some bushes. Ahh, he thought, Wanda's murderer. With some curiousity he noted it was not human. He revealed himself to it in order to get a better look.

"You there," he hissed, " in the bushes. You can come out. I won't kill you."

The creature didn't move so Slimely intoned, "Wis Quas."

And he saw that it was something cloaked in an alchemist's robe. "An Ex Por," he spoke and the creature was frozen, unable to move. Slimely circled the thing and said, "You are a marshwiggle, I believe. I had no idea any of your race aspired to anything other than a life in the mud."

"You have done us quite a service, " he continued, "killing all of our precious nobles. How many have you killed? One hundred? Two hundred? More? And do you know what happens to all of those poor dead Feluccan nobles?"

Slimely paused now for dramatic affect. "Why, they become liches in service of the Lady Minax. It was such a perfect plan, you see. Kill nobles in Trammel and the beast British loses a few, kill nobles in Felucca and Her Ladyship gains a few. All the while creating a larger criminal class with more resources at their disposal. I must say, I rather liked the plan."

The alchemist could only stare in horror.

But now Slimely looked irritated. "But the beast British is on to us and has concocted a scheme to guard the nobles of both facets and regain their loyalty. It will fail, of course."

"Lies, all lies," the alchemist was finally able to choke out. "I killed them. They are gone. They cannot serve you."

Lord Slimely looked amused. "Of course I lie, but I don't lie all the time." He smirked and vanished.

Posted by Keith at 7:28 AM

Opalescense Dies, A Mistress Proclaimed

Zeminar asked Opalescense to step outside the Dawn Mage Tower with him. Once they were out of earshot, he opened a gate and shoved her through. The Dark Tower loomed over them. He forced her inside and chained her to the malevolent stone housed in the back room.

Ivy entered the Tower, and saw her new prize sleeping in the darkness. She smiled to herself. This would work out well. She would keep Opalescense alive, and Mrrshan would remain in the Tower.

As the night progressed Ivy grew irritable. Zeminar appeared and challenged her authority. In a fit of rage, Ivy took out her dagger and beheaded the sleeping Opalescense, tossing her head at the feet of those gathered there. She then went to the roof and stood upon the pentagram to await what she knew was coming.

And death came to her upon the roof. While in the nether realm, Ivy bound Opalescense's spirit there. She would have her revenge upon the Quest Knight.

Ivy was brought back to the living realm and the Tower was there to comfort her, always offering it's promise of forgetfulness. And as she watched, her pin morphed on her shirt. The Tower itself had proclaimed her it's new Mistress.

An attached announcement from Lady Ivy:

The deed is done. The Quest Knight, Opalescense, the thief who disturbed Na-Krul's rest, is dead. Her debt to this world has been paid. She got only what she deserved for the trouble she has brought upon this land. Because of this accursed "Knight of Compassion" an undead plague has been unleashed. Those she brought torment to now have her soul to keep them company.

Lady Ivy
Mistress of the Dark Tower

Posted by Keith at 2:58 AM

January 15, 2001

The Resurrection and Departure of Na-Krul

Last eve we bid a *coughs* sad farewell to our *coughs again* beloved Na-Krul.

Through the use of a more powerful resurrection spell, discovered in some of the most ancient of the Dark Tower Library's tomes, Dipree, Sauron, and myself summoned forth and raised the spirit of our now former *ahem* Master. Our original intent in these actions was to have him close the accursed Well of Souls he and the former Master Xander had created and quiet the unrestful dead that keep pouring forth from it.

Our request met with his ridicule. Tis of little matter, I shall find a way to rid us all of that monstrosity. Instead, Na-Krul revealed that he is travelling on to another realm at the beckoning of... the Guardian.

For all who missed this event, I have had some painters put their paintings on display on the following sky page:

Posted by Brenstar at 1:55 PM

January 13, 2001

Opalescense and the Undead....

Opalescense arrived at the Dawn Tower a little early and was able to watch as the room became more and more crowed with members from the Kingdom of Dawn (DWN), Legion of the Emerald Sashes (E/S), and others. At the prescribed time, Opal started to speak and asked for suggestions on what to do with Na-Krul's remains. Those in the group suggested that they be buried in holy ground with a strong binding spell to keep the remains buried. As this was being discussed, Arwyn Blackheart of the Dark Tower showed up poisoned and warned us of an approaching undead group. What was strange about this, is that Arwyn appeared to be scared and nervous. That is highly unusual for him. We continued to discuss the matter and members of Dark Tower and a small but determined group of undead showed up. A chaotic battle ensued outside the tower, with the undead repeatedly attacking Opal and members of Dark Tower. Near the end of the battle, Arwyn reappeared and begged us to come with him to the Dark Tower. There he explained that they at Dark Tower needed the remains to ressurection Na-Krul, so Na-Krul could seal the Well of Souls. Opal gave the remains to him. A few minutes later, the spirit of Na-Krul appeared. The spirt spoken of his ressurction and about the Well of Souls. Dori of E/S and I agreed that we would help with the ressurction of Na-Krul to rid the realm of the Well of Souls. The ressurction of Na-Krul and the sealing of the Well of Souls will take place at the Dark Tower on Sunday at 8 PM PST.

Posted by Brenstar at 2:05 PM

January 11, 2001

Reminder - Undead Event! (Felucca)

"Please, I need help. I have the remains of Na-Krul in my possession and each day since I have had them, I have been plagued by undead. While I can avoid members of the Dark Tower, I cannot avoid the vengeful beings from beyond, who spring from the very ground I walk over. Innocents are being hurt while those beasts search for me.

I do not know what to do, so I send this missive to all whom my faithful pigeons can reach. Please help me. I fear for my very soul in this. I need to meet with any who can make it to the Kingdom of Dawn's Mage Tower at 8pm PST on the night of Friday, the 12th. I send my apologies now to those of Dawn, but tis one of the few places I feel safer.

Quest Knight of Compassion"

((The Dark Tower is recruiting any and all that wish to participate in an upcoming event this Friday (January 12th)at 8 PM pacific. To participate, you must create a new character and name him with a name such as "an undead warrior", or a "tortured soul". Create this character with light or pale green skin. Skills are irrelevant. We will be meeting at 7:30 PM in the dueling pits of Jhelom. A weapon, potions, bone armor, robes, and few reagents shall be
supplied to you before we depart for the event.))

(("Any wishing to participate as undead should meet at the Sweet Dream's Inn of Britain, in Trammel, for a ride to the Jhelom pits, Felucca at 4:30pm and 8pm PST on Thursday, and at 4:30pm PST Friday, for preparation for the event at 8pm PST Friday night."))

((Remember, this is a role-played event. If you are killed, no murder count is to be given. To register for this event, e-mail for verification and support. Thank you.))

Posted by Thellaren at 1:27 AM

Strange Scroll Discovered

This scroll was found in one of the rooms in the Mage Tower. Click here to read it. It may give us some clues about Nekkar!

Nimble , Bard of the Mists - Baja Mage Tower

Posted by Thellaren at 1:19 AM

January 8, 2001

�Kidnapped by the Shadow Imperium!�

Opal patted Sparrow, her pet ostard � a gift from Wraith, on the head as he strove to keep the pace she set through the forest. She was headed to the Golden Brew to see if she might relax a bit and watch the play the Golden Players were presenting.

"I promise, you can rest as soon as we are least for a while," she urged the winded ostard, it's strides covering less distance then usual.

They arrived at the Golden Globe and Opal reigned Sparrow in. She tied him off in front of the Brew and, trying to stay unnoticed, made her way to the roof to see the play. The voice she had been hearing was still there, trying to persuade her to relinquish the remains to the Dark Tower.

The play was cancelled for the moment, due to some technical difficulties, so Opal went down to retrieve Sparrow. She mounted up, hoping to escape notice...but that did not happen. As she wheeled Sparrow around she saw a familiar face and nearly fell off of her mount. It was Kray.

She spoke to him, confiding in him what had been happening. And suddenly there was a commotion. Mrrshan, who had been at her side since hearing of her situation, was suddenly standing in front of her, brandishing his bardiche as if guarding her from something. She looked in the direction he was facing. The crowd was parting for a man dressed in black, wearing a single green sash. The Dread Lord Beldock.

At his approach, even Sparrow took a few steps backward.

"Give me the remains, Opal."

"I cannot."

"You will die if you do not relinquish them to the Dark Tower. The undead will hunt you until they have them, or you are dead. I ask you to give them to me... as man who once loved you. I rarely ask in public; I am asking you now in front of all these people, please."

Her cheeks flushed slightly at his words, and the world spun. All she could think was 'It's all a dream, let it all be a dream'. And at once her senses came back to her, all her memories and her thoughts were clear. No voice invaded her mind, and her purpose stood clear.

She leaned forward on Sparrow, and looked into Beldocks eyes.

"If you had ever really known me, you would know I cannot do what you ask," she said quietly.

"Very well. I wish you safety in your travels. Kal Ort Por." And he was gone. Sometime in the commotion, Kray had suggested she give the remains to Beldock, and had then disappeared. Wraith stood there. She was thankful there was a friendly face in the crowd. Even Mrrshan was exuding a hate so strong the scar on her hand throbbed slightly.

A cold sensation washed over the crowd as another being in black approached the area where she was standing. Azalin the Lich, of the Shadow Imperium. He was inquiring what was happening in her area. One of his subjects, Vladamir Threep, approached her.

"If you would, I should like to speak to you in private. Come."

The commotion in the crowd was making Sparrow nervous and Opal was feeling rather uncomfortable. So she followed into the gate he opened. As did Mrrshan.

They went inside the house and Vlad offered to help Opal in her endeavours to keep the remains of Na-Krul from those who would misuse them. After a time, she was allowed to leave. Mrrshan, however was ordered to guard her as he would Vlad. Something Opal found very odd, as Vlad was undead and served a lich. She went back to the Golden Brew, Mrsshan by her side, alert.

When they arrived, Mrrshan turned to scan the forest. Opal took this moment, and spurred Sparrow off into the forest. She heard Mrrshan curse behind her and Sparrow sprinted further and further away, leaving him behind. She needed time alone, too much was happening.

As she was finishing off a reaper, who was terrorizing some local homes, Mrrshan approached � But something was wrong, his eyes were hollow. As the reaper fell, she felt a blow to the back of her head, caused by the haft of the bardiche in Mrrshan's hands.

When she awoke, it was to cold water being thrown in her face. Mrrshan was holding her arms. Azalin the Lich stood on one side of her, and the Lady Cymidei, formerly of the Temple of Athala stood on her other. They were searching through her bags. Her mind screamed, "No!" But to her relief, they could not open all of them. The voice reassured her that these creatures would not find the remains.

Cymidei smiled reassuringly at her and stroked her cheek with one hand. Mrrshan released her and headed off down the stairs of the tower they were now standing on. Cymidei firmly grabbed one of her arms.

She spoke of destroying Na-Krul's remains upon the Shrine of Spirtuality with the righteous fires that sprang from it. The voice, always present, kept distracting her from what the Lady was saying. Finally Azalin handed an amulet to Cymidei. She offered it to Opal, saying it would protect her from spiritual energies. The moment she took the amulet, the voice fell silent in her mind. And the Lady Cymidei released her.

Her mind was clouded with confusion and emotion from the happenings of the eve, and she fled to the one spot she considered safe in the world...her patch of flowers. She sat there for many hours, not a sound disturbing her, when she heard the steps of a mounted rider approaching. It was Mrrshan. She picked up her staff and fell into a defensive position.

They had an exchange and he ran off. She ran after him. The ring upon his hand was no longer gold, but black. She tried to get him to be rid of it, but as he tried to fling it into the ocean his eyes went hollow again. He refused. Now she knew there was something the matter. He wore the pin of the Shadow Imperium. Not knowing what else to do, she looked at the amulet Cymidei had given her. Taking it in her hand, she flung it at him.

"Return that to your... lord and lady." She said as she wheeled Sparrow around and whispered the words that would take her to one of the places she felt safe.

Posted by Keith at 2:58 PM

Golem at large

A group of black garbed soldiers cautiously approached the great marbled throne of the Emperor. Their leader swiftly fell to one knee. "Your highness we are here."

Azalin slowly lifted his gaze, his glowing green eyes searching the faces of the soldiers. Azalin clenched his black and green silk robes and rose slowly to his feet. "Excellent..." He replied "I have an urgent task to lay before you. "As you might know, I have constructed a golem. A magickal construct which was to be my prototype for an army of soulless soldiers. During the final phase of my experimentation. The insane mage, Lord Mordock caused a fire at my laboratory. The resulting fire caused the golem to become warped and twisted beyond control. Now the magicks that were used to create it, sustain it no matter what damage is done to it. It has the ability to regenerate and to cause chaos throughout my lands. I order you to defeat it and to bring me the soulstone that generates its power. When I am presented with the soul shall be rewarded."

The hunt begins 1/13/2000 at the center of the Hedge Maze (Trammel)
More information about the quest and the Emperor's armies can be found at

Posted by Brenstar at 1:26 AM

January 7, 2001

A plea for help!

Her breath came in short bursts as she ran across the open field. She could see her breath in the cold night's air. Looking behind her, she saw the mist was still moving through the trees, and she heard the moans of the risen sent to hunt her.

"This way Opal, run this way," came that voice again. She had noticed it that night in Khaldun when she had stepped up to the sarcophagus. A voice, kind and reassuring, yet insistant. "Fetch Arwyn" it had said as she peered down at Na-Krul's remains. Though she disobeyed the voice that night, tonight she did as it said.

Opal ran on through the night, paying no heed to where she was going, simply listening to the voice that had saved her from vengeful undead since leaving Khaldun.

"Here Opal, leave the bones with someone here, they cannot hurt you then, it will all be over. And others will not be hurt."

Opal looked up from where she was catching her breath. The Dark Tower loomed over her.

"No!" she shouted into the night.

At the sound of her voice a dozen undead began clawing their way out of the ground at her feet, and howls of spirits were heard echoing from within the Tower walls - The Well of Souls. She stumbled backwards, and tripped over a zombie, half climbed out of it's unholy grave.

Scrambling to stand up and escape the grasping undead, Opal felt the cold grips of the undead on her. Skeletons scratched her flesh where it could be found, the zombies left poisonous trails of their coagulated blood across her armor, then she heard something that caused her heart to freeze.

"Ahha ha ha ha" The ground in front of the steps to the Dark Tower split open and a corpse rose forth. Opal recognized it. The ancient lich! Ignoring all other things she was feeling at that moment, Opal turned and ran. She knew she could not defeat him alone, and she would not try such a foolish thing.

Fumbling with her runebook as she ran she found the rune she thought. 'Oh please, keepers of everything good, do not let the ether fail me now' She spoke the words of power.

And she was standing in front of the Temple of Virtues on Ocllo.

"Opal not here. Find Arwyn. Return the remains to him, and all this can end. No more suffering for the innocent, no more running for you. All will be well when the remains are returned to the Dark Tower."

Opal shook her head, trying to ignore the voice. It reminded her of the suffering of the innocent as the undead plagued the lands hunting for her. It did not taunt her, but reassured her again and again that if she were to hand the remains over to Arwyn of the Dark Tower, all would be well.

Opal quietly opened the doors to the Temple and made her way to the table where pen and paper were at for the use of the Knights.

By the light of a single candle, she scrawled a message, the same message again and again on multiple sheets:

Please, I need help. I have the remains of Na-Krul in my possession and each day since I have had them, I have been plagued by undead. While I can avoid members of the Dark Tower, I cannot avoid the vengeful beings from beyond, who spring from the very ground I walk over. Innocents are being hurt while those beasts search for me.

I do not know what to do, so I send this missive to all whom my faithful pigeons can reach. Please help me. I fear for my very soul in this. I need to meet with any who can make it to the Kingdom of Dawn's Mage Tower at 8pm PST on the night of Friday, the 12th. I send my apologies now to those of Dawn, but tis one of the few places I feel safer.

Quest Knight of Compassion
Going to the pigeon coup, she fastened the notes to multiple birds and set them off out the windows, hoping she could survive until then.

Posted by Keith at 12:48 AM

January 6, 2001

�Na-Krul's Remains - Stolen!�

The day had been a long one and was going to be even longer, Opal thought as she shouldered her pack and flipped through the pages of her rune book.

Running a finger down along the list of runes, she came across the one she sought � The Dark Tower. Sighing, she recited the words of power that would bring her to that desolate spot.

In a swish of ether she was standing before the dark, massive structure of the Dark Tower. Even after all this time, after all the time the Tower had been 'hibernating', there was still something about this place that made her shrink back with a small feeling of fear in the pit of her stomach.

I am here for a purpose, she reminded herself, and looked around, taking in her surroundings. A female mage, named Danica, on an ostard stood outside with her, she smiled a malevolent smile at Opal.

Quickly making her way inside, Opal took notice of who was here to assist the Dark Tower on their venture to recover the scholar Na-Krul's remains from the tomb that was Khaldun. Former members of the Dark Tower, and of Scythe, a few faces she did not recognize, but two she did. Bub'ger of the Golden Knights, and Wraith - he wore his new Dawn pin proudly. Ignoring sneers from those who recognized her, she made her way to sit beside Wraith.

She had not been sitting there long when the door to the back room opened, and Arwyn stepped out. It was time.

Danica opened the gate outside and all stepped through. Before them was what Opal referred to as the 'back door' to Khaldun. Not the grand entrance that was at the other side of the tomb, but a hole in the side of the rock-face. One by one, each of this group climbed down into the hole.

After a chaotic trek through the first room, where cursed ones tried to halt their advance, Opal spoke.

"I know these tunnels." Perhaps that had been her first mistake.

Arwyn reigned in his horse. "Do you? Then lead us Quest Knight, for the glory of Na-Krul."

Making a slight face, Opal turned and headed off towards an area where she knew there to be tombs. And they followed. It was a bloody night none of them would soon forget. Many had not traveled this excavated site before and knew not what to expect. Zealots attacked from all sides, as well as the Cursed explorers who discovered this condemned place.

Never had Opal seen so many Zealots free roaming in this place. The entity that controlled this place must have known of her, or their, plan and sought to stop their sucess.

Finally the group came to a large room. Across the room was a large sarcophagus, and a decrepit form stood next to it. It's eyes, when it saw the mortals approaching flared with an unholy light and sounds unlike any heard on the earthly realm issued forth from it's decayed mouth.

Fire reigned down about them, lightning flashed, and poisonous claws raked at them. Opal stood forward, she did not come along to let people die on this foolish task, she was here to be sure they made it out of this pit of death alive. Willing all she could, she sought to bring the ancient lich's attention upon herself. He had felled perhaps two or three others, including Arwyn. She could not let him kill any others.

The ancient lich turned his unhallowed gaze upon her. Resisting the sudden urge to flee, she stood her ground, praying to all that was good that she could hold against this powerful and aged evil. Magical wave after magical wave washed over her, burning her and freezing her at the same time. Opening wounds that bled profusely. And just as the world started to dim, her swings becoming unsteady, she felt healing hands on her. Glancing only for a moment over her shoulder, she saw it was Wraith. And then there were others healing her as well.

She renewed her attacks against this blaphemous creature, as did others, and it did eventually fall into a pile of dust at their feet.

They regrouped, standing near the sarcophagus. There was something wrong. While others milled about, lost in the chaos of the moment, having lost comrades in that battle, Opal looked to the large stone coffin. There was an evil fog about it, swirling black in the air. As she looked around at the others, it appeared the could not see it. She stepped a bit closer and the scar upon her right hand, made so long ago by touching the Spear of Hatred, began to throb. She stepped back and tried to reorganize the group.

Once reorganized, she was once again set to lead, so she lead them away from the maleific sepulcher. After much exploration of the tunnelways they had finally been all over the upper level of this dreaded place. Arwyn had returned to their ranks and now lead them.

In time they returned to the place where she had felt that dark presence. Once more she said nothing. Arwyn stepped up to the sarcophagus and tried with all his might to open its lid. The lid did not move, it was almost as if there were no lid - as if it were simply a solid carved piece of stone. He sighed and stepped down from it, turning to the others he announced "This is not it." and they continued on.

Opal shook her head. Bub'ger and Wraith by her side, she decided she had had enough of this, and that if they sought death in this place there was nothing she could do to save them. You cannot save those who wish not to be saved. Bub'ger was going to stay. She and Wraith made their way back to the surface. Allowing Wraith to use her rune to get back to the safety of a town, Opal turned and faced the archway that returned to the tunnels of the tomb.

Na-Krul's remains were in there, and she must not let them find him. She stepped back inside and quickly made her way back to the sarcophagus. Stepping up the couple stairs to stand beside it, she felt a wave of hate wash over her. She nearly stumbled back, so great was it's force. Her hand throbbed. She pulled off her glove, and the black scar that ran across her palm was swollen and angry looking.

Considering her next action, she put her scarred hand on the lid of the sepulcher. Immediately, she knew what it was to feel Death's touch. All the warmth left her body as the aura of death surrounding the tomb burned her with it's cold. Setting her jaw against the pain she felt both in her hand and from the icy cold of Death seeking to take her life, she pushed against the lid. Pain flared hot along the scar on her hand and the darkness she could see around the coffin flared for a moment and flashed as it's seal broke. The lid slid away as if a dozen men were moving it.

The cold receded and the darkness seemed to loom away from her as she looked down into the coffin. There inside laid the skeleton of what was left of a once tattered man, a blood red sash, and a perfect skull. They were what was left of the once powerful sage and scholar Na-Krul, the prize those of the Dark Tower sought this eve, somewhere else in these very tunnels. They would not have them.

Opal took an empty bag out of her pack and carefully, but quickly, placed all of Na-Krul's remains inside of it, and put the bag in her pack. Looking around to be sure no one was watching, she hurriedly made her way back to the surface.

Posted by Keith at 2:25 PM

January 1, 2001

The Remains of Na-Krul

The Remains of Na-Krul (an open letter to the realm)

With the library under re-construction and our lost tomes recovered, we once again can focus upon the recovery of our fallen lord�s remains. Upon our master�s grave and putrid demise his remains were carted off to the deep and dank furrows beneath a vast labyrinth of chaos and destruction. No mortal of the light or dark was to ever disturb his malevolent rest with eternity, granting him the forever contemplation of his disposition in death within the vast ethereal plane of decomposition. Now, upon the commandment of the voice and the sacred guidance of his magnificence will we dare tread upon his unholy burial?

We must recover his remains, as it is vital to the recovery of our lost history and heritage. Upon this letter to the populace, I inscribe the wish of all sturdy and honorable adventurer to assist us in our journey to the dangerously deceitful and destructive lairs of Khaldun. �Twas upon that eve of fate that Na-Krul was struck down that his charred, mutilated, and decaying remains were carried and laid to rest in the dungeon Khaldun, thought to be forever out of the reach of any distinguished mortal. But now, upon the re-discovery of the lost catacombs and crypts, his remains must once again take journey to the safety and peaceful resting-place of the Tower Halls�

The Dark Tower is no more, as we have laid down our weapons in peace to further the enlightenment of our realm. Our only wish is the recovery of our heritage as Sosarians. Aid us in our tasks, and you shall all be rewarded. Ivy has assumed to take the position as keeper of the age-old stone of torment, forever pacifying its intents of destruction and I, too, Arwyn Blackheart, have seen the light in the voice of reassurance that guides us to our other-wise willing fate. To follow your inner voice, is to accept your destiny and chosen path of enlightenment. Help us recover our heritage.

If anyone so brave dares to assist our task, rally at the Dark Tower this Friday at 8 p.m. pacific, to journey to the deep depths of Khaldun and recover the decaying bones of our past.


Arwyn Blackheart

(To contact us about the event, or the Dark Tower in general, e-mail The Dark Tower is currently undergoing the opening of a new chapter in Siege Perilous, so if you wish to participate in the new chapter of Siege Perilous, contact us also via the e-mail address.)||The Dark Tower resides in Felucca on Baja, north of Trinsic, and a radar map can be seen here.

Posted by Keith at 12:41 AM

December 30, 2000

News about the Queen of Dawn

I read the following post from WildStar on the Kingdom of Dawn's Quest Forum, here:

News about the Queen

I have received word that the Queen is in labor. Soon the Prince will be born and the King will have an heir.

I will report more as I receive the information.

Posted by Keith at 12:53 AM

December 23, 2000

The Fate of Minax and the FOA Leader

I was skimming recent non-Baja news on UOSS and was pointed to the following thread (in the Sonoma news section, of all places) from the UO Boards web pages, here:

Re: Plot resolution, a problem in Major Plotlines

Ok let me clarify a few things. Nystul and Lord British did not just go through the trouble of opening Trammel on a whim. :) Minax had taken Trinsic, was ravaging the landscape, and had polluted the Shrines of Virtue. The Shrines was the last straw for LB. The shrines are the physical embodiment of his whole belief system. Seeing this action take place was the point at which he decided to risk casting such a powerful spell.

As for the FoA? Martoo and company are all dead, save the mysterious FoA leader who is held prisoner some where in the world. Who was he? Will there ever be some answers to those mysteries surrounding the FoA? Stay tuned. ;)

Minax is still plotting in the dark corners of Felucca.

So very weird things have been happening with a little know mage in Moonglow...named Revlo.

and a fellowed named about to make the discovery of a lifetime.

As Third Dawn nears release who knows what kind of strange and interesting things are going to happen. Or better still what evil lies beyond Britannia waiting to be released.

*speaks no more*

(Lead Event Designer - UO)
12/21/00 04:07 PM

Posted by Keith at 12:32 AM

December 20, 2000

Dragon Information

Here's some background again on this Wyrm searching for books story. I found it in the archives here. I posted this on Oct 24th. It was an update then to match activity in October. Seems we can add this to the BNN story and put together a picture of what the brothers want the books for.

My theory is that this book will tell us either how to communicate with this animal Jortis has told his secrets to, or tell us where this animal can be found. Jortis being the ArchSorcerer who was in possession of a staff that could destroy one of the brothers. The location of the staff is unknown now and it seems the brothers are very anxious to get ahold of it.

Here is what I pulled from the Oct 24th issue of The Freeborn Press:

In July I reported this story about The Warring Brothers:

Last night at The Golden Brew a few of us were sitting around visiting when Meredith showed up at the door. We noticed right away that something was different about her� she wasn�t wearing her famed drake skin armor. I had thought it was her new summer fashion, but she quickly told us of how she had been walking through the woods when a dragon scooped her up. She said she has lost consciousness during the flight and woke up in a web, supposedly held until the dragon was ready to make her a meal. Luckily she was able to slide out of her armor and escape to freedom. She had come to the pub hoping to gather some warriors to go to the lair of the dragon and retrieve her armor. Blind Hawk, Rieko, Kita and I quickly agreed to help, and I sent out pigeons to all I knew. I raced to Skara Brae to claim my horse and met up with members of tDw who readily agreed to join us. We were to meet at the Shrine of Justice and prepare to be gated to the den of this dragon.

As we waited for others to gather at the Shrine, something seemed amiss. Crimson Hellkite noticed it first� Meredith didn�t seem herself. She was anxious for a battle, and had a bit more blood lust than the Meredith we know. I wrote it off to her anger of being captured. When Dane Alexander arrived and gave Meredith a big slobbery kiss he didn�t get the normal reaction, so really started to suspect something. Then the legendary Benedict showed up. Benedict is the paladin from Meredith�s story of how she got her armors�how Benedict had given it to her. This Meredith made a slip though and mentioned that Benedict had made her armor. Suddenly we knew something was very wrong. We played along though to see what was going on.

Once everyone was ready, Meredith gated us to a location near Destard; we marched to the entrance of a cave where we could see that Methos was already in battle with several air and fire elementals. I quickly took a look inside the cave and saw another Meredith standing by a red dragon! The Meredith inside wore the drake skin armor and stood calmly at the side of the red dragon. The Meredith who had brought us there, began casting spells and shouting for us to kill the dragon and the imposter. Benedict commented how it was odd that Meredith suddenly knew so much magic as to cast such powerful spells. I knew then that we were being lead by the imposter. I quickly ran inside the cave and stood next to the real Meredith. I shouted at the warriors not to kill the dragon or Meredith, that we were being led by a fake.

Suddenly the fake Meredith turned into a white dragon and we knew something terrible was a foot. The two dragons began warring as more fire and air elementals appeared. We all bravely fought the elementals until they were no more. Suddenly the white dragon flew from the cave and disappeared and the red dragon disappeared before our eyes.

Meredith was relieved to see us and glad to be saved from the dragon. She suggested we head back to The Golden Brew where she would tell the tale of how she became a captive of the dragon in the cave.

Tucked safely inside the pub, Meredith began her tale of The Warring Brothers. I don�t have the exact story written down as I was busy handing out ale and such, but I think I have the basics.

The two twin brothers Arakhan (who was the red dragon) and Kemarok (the white dragon) grew up a time when humans thought that magic was evil and shunned it. But dragons never scorn any means to power, and so they grew strong in their magic. As they grew older, a fierce rivalry grew between them. One mastered the elements of earth and sea, and the other the elements of fire and air. Each wished devoutly to become the most powerful and each, thinking that their mother loved them best, went to her and asked her how he could defeat his brother. To each she told the same thing... "Only one of you will triumph, and the other will fall. And although I cannot see how it will come to be, the one who falls will fall to power of the staff of Jortis the ArchSorcerer." She knew nothing more about the staff or how this would come to be. So they went their separate ways, each searching desperately for information on the staff, so that they could use it against the other to bring about his downfall. Each hid from the other, fearing that the other might steal what little knowledge they could find about the staff and use it against them. And since there was little to be found about they both hid more and more from the other, jealously protecting their knowledge... and so faded into obscurity and myth.

The story ended there and Meredith explained that she had been looking for information on the staff herself. She gathered that the brothers had gotten wind of her search and hoped she might have knowledge of the location of the staff. Arakhan had found Meredith in the cave and had told her she could leave with her life, if she told him what she knew about the staff. Kemarok on the other hand decided to take this chance and thought he�d trick us warriors into killing his brother.

Arakhan and Kemarok have disappeared for now, and we know little of this Staff of Jortis, but of this I am sure� we have not seen the last of the warring brothers.
Below is the newer part of the story posted Oct. 24
A few weeks ago, Meredith, I think it was, was telling me how Jortis (and I hope I'm getting the basic details right) had befriended an animal of unknown species. Supposedly this animal would know all sorts of Jortis' secrets, but it is not known where the animal can be found.

Now last night Petrus was In Moonglow and a young scribe approached her for help. She said a scribe she was studying under found old book about animals and went to zoo to study some things, but there has been elemental activity in the area and she wanted us to go escort him back.

Petrus gathered some people together and went down to the zoo. They were attacked by tons of elementals, but then a red dragon showed up and demaded the book and called forth tons and tons of fire elementals on them. Eventually the dragon got fed up and left, but before he did he said that it probably wasn't the last they'd see of that dragon...

Petrus told me the book was something to the effect of the study of animal motions, to do with the way animals move, and the red dragon was not in the book. The scribe said it was simply an old tome, but he'd look at it further. When asked if she could copy the tome, he said it would be too dangerous for her to keep a copy, as the dragon might come after her.

Posted by Keith at 10:40 AM

Wyrms Search For Worm-Eaten Tome!

For the second time in mere weeks, a seemingly uninteresting book on zoology has become the center of an intense flurry of activity, this time involving aged scribes, treasonous apprentices and, once again, dragons.

Some of our readers may be aware of the first incident that occurred a few weeks back. At the behest of the apprentice scribe Dorian, a band of brave adventurers rescued the old scribe Adhemar from an attack by a great red dragon, who sought to obtain the scribe's centuries-old book, "Ye Fauna of Sosaria's Fens". They were successful in repelling the dragon's conjured fire and air elementals, and bringing the scribe to a tearful reunion with the beloved apprentice.

It seems rejoicing might have been a bit premature, however. The 'beloved apprentice' turned out to be less than trustworthy, when she made off from the Lycaeum with the book. Adhemar once again called on the people of the realm to help him.

The search was arduous, and Dorian was elusive, but in the end the searchers did catch her; but by then, she had been badly wounded and, alas, she had lost the book. It had been taken by a black dragon! Dorian also revealed that she'd been hired by yet another dragon, Kemarok, to retrieve the book for him. Apparently this dragon is a rival of the red wyrm.

As the searchers absorbed this information, Kemarok, a wyrm of whitish color, appeared and demanded that his employee give him the book. He seemed to refuse to accept that the thief did not have it, and conjured a number of earth and water elementals in anger. In the confusion of the battle that ensued, Dorian managed to escape inside the Lycaeum.

The battle against the furious dragon's minions ended only when a black wyrm, presumably the one described by Dorian, flew past the scene, not pausing in the slightest. Kemarok was heard to mumble the word, "Mother", before taking wing to follow, utterly forgetting about the adventurers. The dragons were seen flying off the isle.

The adventurers returned to Adhemar in the Lycaeum, where they explained to him what had transpired. They very cleverly reasoned that Dorian was still within the hallowed halls of the library, and after a short search, brought her to Adhemar. A rancorous discussion followed about the trust betrayed by Dorian. Despite an escape attempt made, thanks to the cover of an invisibility spell cast by an unknown wizard, Dorian did not elude her pursuers again and was taken away by a guard.

Yet a mystery remains. Neither Adhemar nor Dorian could offer any explanation as to why three dragons were so interested in an ancient tome about zoology. Perhaps some clever soul in our readership can find a relationship, or some later clue will reveal itself. Or maybe dragons share a terribly competitive interest in age-old animals?

Simon the Scribe

Posted by Hazard [EiC] at 1:01 AM

December 12, 2000

Flenniel's Feather Quest

The following information was gathered concerning (Seer character) Flenniel Loak and his quest for feathers.

Ursula's comments were from the Golden Brew message board:

Flenniel's Feather Quest
I was unable to stay for the whole thing, so someone will have to finish it up for me.

Last night at the AoV Tavern Flenniel Loak arrived. He told us that lower Skara Brae had been overrun with chickens. He needed a group of people to go there and gather as many feathers they could, then go to Yew where a bowyer would make arrows. From there the group was to go to Vesper, Felucca to sell the arrows.

We all agreed to help out Flenniel and set out to Skara Brae. After collecting about 8600 feathers we went off to Yew where the bowyer made us arrows.

After that point, I was not around, but here are the photos I did take

Flenniel at the AoV Tavern

Arriving at Skara Brae

The aftermath

Twithead continued on with his telling of the night's activities on the Savage Truth Public Message Board:
Me be try be remember... *thinks hard*

Me be remember we be take alla them feathers be plucked from chickens and we be go to bow shop. We went to one in Yew town square and we be all crowd in there, waiting for bowyer be show up. We wait and we wait and we wait. Then we waited some more... Teeheehee!

Then, someone be say what about bowshop to south? Doh! There be another bowshop? *giggles* So we be make giant horsey parade down down down to other bowshop, and there be nice bowyer person be want our feathers! Him be ask how many feathers we be have and someone be said 8000! Me fainted at that point and not know what be happen until someone be start talking about working hard for be chop boards. At that point, me run outta there fast fast!

*nods* Me hop on me horsey and run off. Me run and me run and me run... until me got to bank. Then me be took out 300 boards from one o' ST wood chop trips and be gate back to shop... It be hard work be try drag boards into shop! Me not strong and it be take forever! In all, me think we alla be got together enough for 2000 arrows?

Then we be go back to Shadowlight where me thought we be have chance sit back and drink some ale after alla hard work... But Joye no be have any ale, just spring water and cider. Me bought some water, thinking it be orc liquor. *sighs* Then we be see him who be hire us all do be all him running around. Me not catch him name, but it be somethink like Foak or Loak or Soak? Me terrible with names, waah! Well, him tell us be make off with arrows be sell them in Vesper on Felucca facet. Felucca! *shivers* Me be get very very bad feeling at this point.

So, him be make facet gate to Felucca, but for some reason, we not be use this one. Instead, him make moongate to crossroads outside o' Vesper near Covetous. And then him make facet moongate from there to Felucca. Whee! Me like take gates, them be fun when me go whoosh!

We be arrive at crossroad on Felucca facet, but alas, Ashli who be carrying alla our arrows be stunned by alla gate travel. We be defend ourselves against alla these wicked mean nasty bad evil mages and them elementals which be come up and try eat us! Then big ugly green poison elemental be come up and scared me bad! Me run around in circles like chicken slapped silly! But it not be touch me, and me be afraid be touch it! After a lot o' noise and confusion and fighting and slapping and spells flying all 'round, we be victorious! Yaaah!!

We be wait for Ashli be recover and head to bowshop. There, nice shopkeep be thank us, and pay nice sum for them arrows. One o' the other nice shopkeep in there be gimme some gold cuz them be feel sorry for me. *grins* Them be sooo nice. We be open up trade route between Yew on Trammel side and Vesper on Felucca facet. It be great!

So, we be all go back to crossroad and be take facet moongate back to Trammel. Then we be go through that moongate back to Shadowlight tavern. Me felt like rejoicing and me go in and buy big jug o' cider. Me be take a few sips when that trader guy be come back and him be talk with us who be gone on trade mission. That cider be quite potent and me be *hic* alla time so me not hear all what be said. But me be understand him be happy with Athena and Ashli for be help him. And him be thank alla those who be helped out. Me be even got part o' the profit... around 1500 gold pieces! Teeheehee! You be know how long it be take be beg for that kinda money?! Me rich, rich!

*smiles happily*

But next time, me not think me be drink that cider. It be too strong for poor Twit.

Ashli of Shadowlight posted a final concern:
Just filling in a few blanks

Between Twit and Ursula that was just about everything :)

Only other thing was it seems Thurston took Athena from us for a few brief seconds. When she returned she was wearing a robe much like his own.

She wouldn't tell us what he said... guess we'll have to keep an eye on her.. and wait for Thurston to appear again.


Posted by Keith at 6:46 PM

Mendur's Mad Cow Quest

Ursula posted these information regarding Mendur Marris (a Seer's character) on the Golden Brew message board:

Mendur's Mad Cow Quest
Last night Mendur Marris showed up during Petrus' party and explained that the people of Cove, Felucca were having a problem with the cows in the area being affected with an odd disease.

He told us that all the cows were also attracting all sorts of monsters that threatened Cove. We raced off for Cove and immediately began attacking the diseased cows. Suddenly an Ogre Lord of surprising strength appeared. Luckily the guards of Cove acted quickly and he died to their blades.

Then a green cow appeared! People who attempted t o attack it were immediately stricken with the same sickness that had effected the poor animal. Athena, sensing that swords and magic might not be the best way to deal with the situation, implored the crowd to stop attacking the sick animal. As we stood watching, the sickly cow became healthy right before our eyes. He began frolicking through the woods and dug up gold and treasure maps. He then dashed off into the forest, happily flicking his tail behind him.

We then all went back to the Golden Brew to tell Mendur about our adventure. After our story Mendur said his good-byes as he plans on vacation in Nu'Jhelom for about a month.

Warriors fighting the mad cow

The cow is cured!

The party telling of it's adventure

Posted by Keith at 6:30 PM

December 10, 2000

Moonglow Quest (Pieced Together)

I pieced together a few accounts of a quest I heard of on the Tradespot and UOSS Baja boards. This is what I have so far:

A few nights back, a scholar at the Encyclopedia Magicka in Moonglow was looking for a book that disappeared. He enlisted the aid of several warriors who went off in seach of the tome. They soon found a thief named Dorian who claims that a dragon commanded him to take the book.

Soon thereafter elementals are found outside Moonglow's Lycaeum(?), apparently summoned by a white dragon. A black dragon soon joins in the fight. One of them carries the book which is entitled "Ye Fauna of Sosaria's Fens", the book they are looking for. Anyway, it turns out that the dragon(s) soon escape through the southside of Moonglow.

After the dragon(s) escapes the scholar tells people to ask around in taverns about the white, black, and red dragons. Apparently the red dragon is named "Arakhan" although I did not find an account of the others.

If anyone has more cohesive information on this quest or paintings, feel free to send them here to our pressroom.

Posted by Thellaren at 4:46 PM

December 6, 2000

Events of Yestereve

The events that happened yester eve were very hard to follow. We were very out numbered and this caused for a bit of chaos. Together though, Anvil and Asmodean have put thier heads together to come up with this recollection of events.

Mendur was at the brew early on in the night, and we talked to him about various things, including him, his daughter and Flenniel leaving for Nujelm. Nothing of real interest happened at the Brew although Athena, a Gypsy Queen who lives in Shadowlight was working spells on the dirt of a plant and producing gems and other such things. Mendur commented on the language that he had heard the accent before and said he couldn't quite put a finger on what it was as it was "very old". So thats about all that happened at the Brew and after Mendur left we took our leave back to Shadowlight. And boy were we in for the shock and fight of our lives!!!

When we got back to the tavern there were elementals of all kinds and their evil mage companions attacking the tavern, we quickly dispatched the first bunch but then a mystical purple gate opened and many more eles and mages poured through and in great numbers too. We were hard pressed to fend off this second wave of attackers but when we did manage to supress this attack we decided to venture into the gate. We found that this gate lead to the Felucca facet and low and behold there were ten times more eles and mages than that had attacked us before. They must have been preparing for the final attack, one that would have left us dead for sure. However, we were in luck as we quickly attacked the unsuspecting elementals and were able to elimante the threat in Felucca as well. But when we thought all was safe, a talkative blood elemental appeared who could summon others of his kin (water, fire, air eles). We wore the blood ele down and killed all his forces. When we were close to victory the blood ran off and then came someone we had met just nights pervious, Thurston!!

We fought with Thurston as he kept on summoning forces, we soon discerned that Thurston and the blood element were one in the same. He kept on proclaiming that those not born with the magics in thier blood were ungifted. That he was gifted and all ungifted shall die. He then summoned great powers and changed into a dragon! Quickly after he changed back into a blood ele as if the dragon form could not be held for very long. We fought this version of Thurston and then, he began to summon the powers of old, as soon as he did he spotted Athena and paused for a moment to glance at her. He informed her that she was gifted, and yet she fought others of her kind, speaking of himself and his fellow mages. He stated that she must go with him and join the Arcane Order of the Light, as we were not worth of her. We all told her NO, dont' join this evil man but she had other ideas and made Thurston promise that the attacks on Shadowlight would cease if she joined the Order. He agreed and proclaimed it was fate that the gifted shall rule the world, and in it's rule all ungifited shall die so that the gifted may be freed! He also noticed a women named Calysto and also said that she had the gift and should join the Order. She seemed rather confused and rattled at hearing this and took her leave. Thurston then went and we journeyed back to the village and the tavern to drink the hurt in our bodies away.

We were in the tavern discussing the events of the eve when Flenniel Loak showed up. We told him of what happened and he replied that he thought it was his fault because the Order of the Arcane Light wants his head. We told him that it was not his fault as people like us will always fight wrong and evil wherever we see it.

Flenniel warned Athena to think before she acts and joines the Order of the Arcane light. We hope she does heed his warning. Nae much of anything else happened, we spoke business with Flenniel for a while, informing him of Shadowlight upcoming trade ventures and thanked him for his inspiration and shared knowledge.

Anvil & Asmodean, AoV

Posted by Thellaren at 9:22 PM

December 2, 2000

Hired by Flenniel Loak & Meeting Thurston

Let me start of by introducin myself. I am Lady Ashli, sister to Anvil, and Master of Merchants to the Village of Shadowlight. *curtsies*

Being a merchant I nae see or do many things that most would find exciting. Less of course taken yer axe to every tree ye see is exciting to ye. *giggles*.

By the by, I stopped in to tell ye what adventure found me yester eve, as after I told Anvil he said the folk at Golden Brew would be interested to hear this.

It started off, with me making furniture for a person that just moved in to Shadowlight. I went to the Village hall to gather some things and I heard a horse nearby. I nae thought much of it, till I heard the door open downstairs. I went down to see who was a bout and there, on his horse sat a strapping older man. Nae a bad looker if I may say so *giggles*. But I digress, he introduced him self as Flenniel Loak, a merchant.

He looked me up and down and could tell, i'm only assuming because of my rather musular arms for a a lady, that I too was a merchant. Folk from around the village soon gathered round.

Sir Loak then told us that the person who has been sending the attacks upon him has now began to attack his hired merchants that he has doing business for him. Because of this he has been working him self to death.

He asked a favor. He wanted me, with guards (Blade, Grand Mystic, Rariel, Asmodean, Greymalkin, and Bjarne) to go to the Empathy Abby and purchase some very fine Wine. He told me that he would give me 10,000 for this purchase, but I should of course get a better deal if possible.

So I with the protection of my guards went to the Yew Empathy Abby to meet the monk, Virgil. Virgil was nae an easy person to do business with. He started off asking 20,000 for the 40 bottles of wine! After a very long negotiation and quick thinking on my part I worked him down to 9,200 for the wine. I had just gotten Flenniel the wine for less then he was expecting!

Our task was not yet over though, as we now had to take this fine wine, and go to the lands ruled by Minax, and sell them at 'The Peg Leg' in Bucaneers Den. We soon arived by a mystical gate that Flenniel conjured for us. We were on the shoreline on the far South side of Bucaneer Isle. The Peg Leg, was to the far north. We began walking, my guards ahead of me to make sure our merchandise reached it's destination.

As we walked through the woods, we were attacked, much like Flenniel's other merchants. Elementals began attacking my guards, they hide me from the attacker with a magic cloaking spell, and quickly made the path safe for me again. But nae for long. My guards fought thier way to the streets of Bucaneer's Den. Where they wre accosted by a very strong Blood Elemental. After a long battle, and many near death experiences, the fiend fell to thier might.

We were once again on our way to the Peg Leg, where we met Burl, a rather crude, and seemingly dishonorable man. After using many... *blushes* tactics that only a female can on a man, I raised what he was willing to by the wine for to 17,500. I quickly accepted the offer, as I had pushed this sale in ways I have never pushed any other. But I have just made Flenniel a profit of 8,300 gold.

We soon were on our way back to the mystical gate summoned by Flenniel. As we gathered around the gate a mage appeared behind us. And began to bark out threats.

"He entered with a dark frown, and yelled that we had destroyed most of the chosen but that we will not win so easily, called us ungifted peasants and began to summon many evil brothern. After those evils were gone my gaurds took thier might to Thurston and attacked. With the attack on himself, he yelled out that the Order of the Arcane light shall see our kind erased, and that they were being paid to do thier duty, which made it only sweeter. With that he summoned more elementals, and recalled from us."

The guards dispatched of the elementals, and we were were once again, back at the Tavern of the Virtues, awaiting Sir Loak to tell him how we fared. After discussing business Sir Loak divided the profit I had made amongst myself and my guards.

We told him of Thurston and the Order of the Archane Light, but like us he had never heard of him, nor this Order he spoke of.

After some light conversation and Flenniel teling us of Mendur and Aireen's trip to Nujelm, and that he may be joining them depending on business, he was off.

We all went back to our business, but each pondering to themselves, of Thurston, and the Order of the Arcane Light.


Posted by Thellaren at 6:43 PM

December 1, 2000

Reward: Dead or Alive...

Hail all ye foolish Sosarians,

As you may have recently heard, a former member of the tower is holding something which we are in dire need of. What you, and possibly he, may not know is that I am now putting out a reward for him. Death Seer is an enemy of the Tower and has stolen one of the sacred tomes left by Na-Krul. I am offering a reward for anyone who can bring me his body with the tome. I am not a picky man, so I will let you decide wheter or not to bring him to me dead or alive, but I must warn you that the tower does not tolerate ignorance and will punish anyone who tries to oppose us. Bring me the tome and Death Seer's body and you shall receive your reward, 'tis as simple as that.

Farewell Sosaria.

Posted by Keith at 6:37 PM

November 26, 2000

An open letter from the Dark Tower

An open letter from the Dark Tower

Here me, Britannians and Sosarians alike. The Dark Tower�s library has been destroyed and most of its tomes stolen from our grasps over the years of decay and silence that had befallen it. It is imperative that the sacred library is restored. The Dark Tower shall pay handsomely to all that recover and return our lost tomes. Gorthaur, the former master priest of darkness, just recently began his intent to begin his contributions to the recovery of our once sacred hall; however, our collection is still not complete. After the Great War and the fall of our great Master, it was recorded the day the library was raided and destroyed by those who opposed us. Seek ye out these tomes, and you shall find yourself in wealth and favor.

Furthermore, in order to further protect the Dark Tower�s future endeavors, a new sect has been formed to prevent such happenings from ever transpiring again. Knight of Swords, former acolyte of Gorthaur and paladin of Blackwolf, has established the Shadowguard, the Dark Tower�s personal guard force composed of the only the finest and most feared paladins of the land. The Shadowguard shall ensure the survival and well being of all who reside within our tower halls, as well as its properties, and future interests. The Shadowguard is seeking fine young warriors to enlist within its honored ranks. If ye be interested in becoming a shadow guard of the tower, seek out Knight of Swords, or send message to for further information. Only those of great prowess seeking the wisdom of the Dark Tower�s spiritual enlightenment may be accepted into this newly established personal guard force. As their first task, the Shadowguard, as well as all who still dwell within the Tower shall uncover the mystery shrouding the mysterious death of our former Master, Na-Krul. �Twas known that night that our master attempted a great ritual, casting forth all his magical power into the blackrock he did posses. Seek out Knight of Swords, for he bore witness to this event and can further enlighten you. To those who choose to assist us in our great plight, returning our sacred tomes, and assisting in the discovery of our master�s death, a reward shall be granted of 10,000 gold, and the promise of audience with our renown Master himself�

Therefor, a meeting shall be called. All who wish to assist the Tower, or wish to hear further what will transpire, meet at the Dark Tower this Wednesday at 7 PM pacific. There, all shall be revealed to you.

Arwyn Blackheart,
Loremaster of the Dark Tower

Posted by Keith at 2:44 AM

November 23, 2000

The End of an Era

The End of an Era

...and with him, died an era. The Dark Tower was abandoned, left to only the vermin and apparitions that feasted upon the emptiness that remained. The death of the Master had left the Tower in utter chaos. Factions split and once again brethren turned against brethren in a bloody rage and struggle for power. The very structure and unification set forth by the malevolent father, the dreaded lord Xander, was ripped apart as the disunity of the Cabal shook the very foundation of its vast and eternal history. No longer did the Cabal posses the wisdom and guidance left to them by the seemingly ancient priest of darkness, the very man that had once been the very breath of life into the lifeless decaying corpse of evil within Sosaria. Xander was the last link to the �Age of Darkness� and all its wisdom, and Na-Krul was his last disciple. The Age of Darkness, a time eons ago when the darkness was so thick no ray of light dared to penetrate its thick and deceitful aura, a time when the great lords of apocalypse sprang forth all Armageddon upon the weak and exasperated. The time when even Beast British shrank in fear to the name of the greatly powerful ancient wizard Mondain, and his legions of daemons. It was then the Dark Tower emerged, spewing forth from the womb of Sosaria into the ravages of time, consumed by the future�

When One Hand sunders
The Dark will slumber
When Eight stones stand high
The Dark will rise
Xander was the very herald of time, the awakener of our people, and the source from which our roots stemmed. With the death of Na-Krul, our link to our history, our birthright, was lost and shattered. And so it was said, when one hand sunders, the Dark shall slumber, and we did. The Cabal scattered, falling into a councious slumber, escaping the cruel fate that had begotten them. What was left of Na-Krul�s followers soon followed. The Tower had become abandoned, empty, and hollow of thought. Cursed by a spell of slumber begotten to them by the very treachery of an age old ally. But now our ancient beckoner has once again awakened us, and the dark shall rise again. Our ancient glory shall be revived and all shall taste the blood lust of our enlightenment. I give a calling to my brethren, my fellow brother and sister who fought by my side in the great war and felt the festering wound of betrayal. My brother and sister who also in the past had become students of darkness and disciples of Na-Krul in an era of blasphemy and revelation. My brother and sister who wish to reclaim their birthright from the foul phantom of death. We must drop our swords, and reclaim our history. I, Arwyn Blackheart, have grown too old. I have rested my sword and shield upon the shrine in a quest of knowledge and understanding to the recovery of our past. Already, the Zargonians have seen the light in our darkness, and join the brotherhood of evil splendor. I call to the citizens of this world, join us in our quest�

I beseech you.

Arwyn Blackheart,
Loremaster of the Tower

Posted by Keith at 12:35 AM

November 22, 2000

Another tale of Mendur Marris and the Cove Orc Fort

Anvil of the AoV posted the following addition to the current "Mendur Marris" Seer's Quest on the Golden Brew's message board:

Here's my account of the events last night. Pasque, Mirable, and Asmodean (who I will contact later) were there before Mendur left may want to contact one of them see if he left any instructions.

We started at the brew where we met with Mendur Marris. Still seeming t' have great anxiety over the recent events. He gave t' us a rune t' Amon's home. He informed us that should we find any evidence or even Amon himself, how we choose t' handle the situation would be left up t' us.

We formed 2 parties, I leading one Ursula leading the other. By use of the magical moonstones we soon found ourselves in the land controled by Minax. After regrouping gates were opened t' the rune that Mendur gave t' us. As soon as we entered Amon's home someone almost instantly found (and almost t' easy in my opinion) a rune labled 'Cove' and with it Amon's journal. The journal told us how he had been selling goods t' the Cove Orc's. It also stated he would be there delivering, or awaiting a shipment. Of which I can nae remember.

We gated t' the mining town of cove and traveled t' the edge of the mountains in the east. After regouping again we marched toward the Orc Fort. There t' greet us were many a ettin, and orcs of all kinds. We slowly made our advance toward the Fort.

Finally inside we saw, Amon speaking with who seemed t' be the lead orc. I over heard part of thier conversation. The orc questioned Amon why us humans were invading his fort. He then quickly went back t' the deal they were seemingly discussing before our arrival and told Amon that the orcs will find him and kill him. And that they will pay him. Though I could not hear Amon amongst the battle around me, the orc said t' him that he would use the human weapons that Amon had supplied t' kill them all. I assume he was speaking of us, though I nae know for sure.

During our discussion with Amon and the leader of the Orcs we have found out that Amon not only has been supplying them with weapons but has also informed them of human tactics and has been teaching the orcs how t' fight, and speak the britannian language. Amon also considers the orcs creatures of honor.

We began t' question Amon and his involvement with Pabert. He said he had saw him earlier, as in months ago, and he was in good health though hiding. Amon seems t' believe that Pabert is afraid that he may be caught, as he stole gold from his lord. Who his lord is he never said.

After a few more acusations that seemed t' insult Amon Jolds, he grew tired of defending his innocence and drew his sword and attacked me.

And the battle begun, some of us were attacking Amon for his dishonorable deed of attacking a man who was not threatening him. Others took on the onslaught of orcs that began t' flood in as Amon informed the orc leader that attacking us would be the payment they owed him.

Amon began t' grow weak and he recalled out of the battle. We however were still stuck inside the fort with an army of orcs. Mendur Marris soon joined and fought by our side. After what seemed like eterinity of fighint Mirable, Mendur and I were all that was left in the fort. Mirable and I were having great difficulty in getting Mendur t' leave though we would not join the others without him. He seemed greatly worried about the possessions of the fallen warriors. I informed him we would replace them but t' please hurry and come with us. Mirable and I had grown tired, and were nae as strong as we were before the battle, we both were also running low on bandages t' heal our wounds. Finally Mendur began t' follow us out.

Soon we joined the others, and back t' the Brew we went. Mendur stayed t' talk with us a bit, seemingly very angry at Amon for what he had done.

After many left t' retire I began t' question Mendur of things he knew. All that I learned was he grew up in Cove, and became a sword for hire for Flenniel Loaks caravan. Flenniel soon began t' take him under his wing, taught him how t' fight and the way of the merchant. Mendur soon after a small investment from Flenniel, began his career as a merchant. That career seemed t' come t' a hault when he met his wife. She t' was from Cove. The had a child, Aireen, however, his wife gave her life t' bring Aireen in t' this world.

I then started t' question Mendur on Flenniel Loak, but alas I blacked out. When I came t' Mendur was preparing his leave. We said farewell and off he went.

Not much later, Pasque, Sleatha, Mirabelle and I were still sitting at the Brew, sharing each of our own opinons on all the recent events when Flenniel Loak rode up. We talked with him for a while and informed him of the nights events. I also informed him of what I heard the orc say t' Amon. That though they did not say his name that he should be careful as the orcs are after someone, under Amon's request.

Though I do not feel Amon is the only guilty party. He certainly has done some things that he should be held accountable for...

Posted by Keith at 3:03 PM

*begins to write in her Journal*

I found the following notes about a Seer's Quest from Ursula on the floor of the Golden Brew's message area:

*begins to write in her Journal*

Tonight we met again with Mendur Marris. Fighters from Avalon, Heaven's Forge, Dawn, AoV, Fairhaven and Golden were amongst the crowd. Mendur had a rune to a spot in Britain where he thought we might find Amon. Once we got there we found a book and another rune that took us to Cove.

We figured that Amon was holding a meeting at the Orc Fort so we all headed there... then...orcs..ettins..orcs...ettins...fighting...We found Amon and an Orc Lord in a meeting in the center of the fort. We tried talking to him about the goings on, but he attacked Anvil. So we fought back. It was then the Orc Lord called in recruitments. Hundreds of orcs swarmed the fort and many lives were lost. Amon escaped barely with his life and we all fought our way out of the fort.

Mendur did show up to lend a hand and once we were all clear we made our way back to the pub...we questioned Mendur some more, but didn't get anything out of him while I was there..I must sleep now. Too many orcs...*lays down her pen and goes to sleep*

Posted by Keith at 2:28 PM

The Dark Tower

The Dark Tower

Darkness. Death. Decay. The cruel and inevitable passage of time. The unforgiving fate, the very doom which the Tower sought to bring to the decreped heretics of a blasphemous new era, the very harbinger of plague and disease, fallen to the fates, and now at the mercy of the gods. It was not long ago the Great War was fought. The unquenchable thirst of darkness filled with the lust of destruction as the legions of Minax consumed the lands of Britannia. Side by side, the Tower and Minax fought against a pestilence that had consumed the lands of Sosaria, and that had broken the ties of the dark brethren. Married by the same vows to end the reign of Lord British and to reclaim what was rightfully theirs, The Cabal and Na-Krul aided the generals of Minax. The battles were long and fierce, blood was spilt, and the souls of the pathetic heathens were claimed in the name of Darkness, in the name of the Tower.

First in the South, Na-Krul led his minions of darkness against the newly sprung alliance of liberation, aiding the lich Juo�nar, and solidifying his reign by hunting down the paladin lackey Dupre. Then in the north, as the orcish hordes were fed by the hatred of their enemies, Lord Blackwolf conspired with Keeonean, bringing the downfall of Yew, and the raiding of Avalon. Victory was ours, and all fled from the might of the newly formed alliance of darkness. British was defeated, and the world was once again Sosaria, our Sosaria.

There was never a time the Tower stood so proud, its walls filled with the satisfaction of blood shed, the spreading of enlightenment, and the boastful preaching of dark ones. The wails of the tormented echoed throughout it, the well of souls overflowed with the drunken rage of all who had felt the dark justice of Na-Krul, yet the void was still there, the need, the revenge. The lackeys of Virtue, the followers of British, the heathens that once stood against the Tower, they would not escape the wrath of a thousand years oppression. The forces of Darkness were once again called upon. The remaining forces of the alliance of virtue had gathered within Avalon, Na-Krul�s conquest had not yet been completed. Once again, Lord Blackwolf led his �ominous cloud of doom� towards the war-torn lands of the north�only to find defeat.

Now, as night once again falls upon the Tower, the shadows of the past can again dance on our blood stained walls. The dim flickering light of the candle reveals the waste, the decay, and the illusion of the Dark Tower�s present grandeur as if mocking it with every gasp of air it can consume. The library is now barren and destroyed, its knowledge scattered to the Four Corners of the world. The once great pentacle, the very circle of ritual that accepted the blood of the innocents, empty and yearning for souls. The only sound now heard is the echoes of the ghostly apparitions haunting the present with the damnation of the past. This has become the fate of the Dark Tower. I can only mourn the fate that had befallen the once mighty legion of Darkness and the temple of Na-Krul. Abandoned and betrayed by the wench Minax, the forces of Lord Blackwolf were routed and slaughtered within the lands of the north. The very force that helped guide Minax to victory was left to rot as the overwhelming numbers crushed the then dwindling life of the Dark Tower.

It was after the defeat the body of my master was discovered resting upon the great pentacle, his glorious arms stretched out embracing the death they yearned for. His hands were twisted like that of a daemon�s claw attempting to clutch the last bastion of power he had possessed. His chilling glare, staring into space as if beseeching the very heavens to reign a fiery death upon the world, finally satisfying his thirst for destruction. Na-Krul, my master, was dead�

More to come�

Posted by Keith at 1:23 AM

November 20, 2000

Attack on Flenniel Loak, and a Thanks

We'd like t' thank everyone that came t' the Shadowlight/Alliance of Virtue Thanksgiving Feast!

Many folk came from all over Britannia. Friends of ole' and of new alike were there to gorge themselves on the meal we prepared for them.

Near the end of the event though Flenniel Loak, a great merchant, showed up. However he was not alone.... Following him was hordes of elementals, and a request for his head!

For Anvil's account of the events please see the historical documents of Shadowlight and AoV.

Paintings of the Dinner:
Alliance of Vitue (go to Past AoV Event's page)

Paintings and Story of the Elemental Attack:
Village of Shadowlight (go to Quests page)

Again thank ye to all that showed up!

Anvil, AoV
Village TownCrier, HC

Posted by Keith at 6:08 PM

Goings-on in Shadowlight

Mirabel posted the following account on the Heaven's Forge message board, here:

Goings-on in Shadowlight

An uneventful evening became much more lively as I answered the call of Grand Mystic and our friends of the Village of Shadowlight... Seems Thanksgiving Dinner was interrupted by Flenniel Loak and an entourage of unwelcome elemental visitors.

As near as I can tell, Flenniel apparently had merely intended to join the citizens of Shadowlight for dinner, but was waylaid by these creatures. Many brave warriors fought for quite some time to clear the woods of the invaders. I arrived in the middle of the battle, just as the elementals and their mage handlers were gating in reinforcements.

Flenniel appeared to think this was an attempt on his life. He was reluctant to, or perhaps truly couldn't, name who might be responsible, although he did mention the mystery of Mendur's daughter's disappearance and his hand in helping find her as a possible cause. Maybe some of this can all be cleared up this week at the [Golden] Brew when we meet with Mendur Marris again.

Anvil will publish his accounting of the past day's events on both the Shadowlight and AoV boards tomorrow, follow links below. Please take a gander!


What manner of sorcery is this??!

[More images of the event can be seen in the original post, or on our message board, here]

Posted by Keith at 1:02 AM

November 19, 2000

OSI: The Rescue of Aireen Marris

I read the following article from November 17th, written by Flenniel Loak about Mendur Marris's missing daughter, in the BNN section of the Ultima Online web site:

The Rescue of Aireen Marris

My name is Flenniel, though my friends �oft call me Flen. Ye can call me whatever ye like so long as it does not involve any expletives an references to my mother in unpleasant ways... else I will have to practice tying knots with your internal organs, and neither of us want that do we? Now, my point in writing this is to inform all ye folk about the goings on with my once-apprentice and very old friend Mendur Marris and his daughter, Aireen. So ye know where I fit in here, a week or so back (as the goodly people who scribe this chronicle have put in a previous article) Mendur suspected his daughter of being kidnapped and had his friends o�er at the Golden Brew track his former clerk who was fired due to suspected theft. Paburt, as that was his name an if�n ye have not guessed that ye�d better stop readin an go back to grammar school, told them that the old, if somewhat sage and debonair with amazing wit and intelligence, merchant who apprenticed Mendur and became the closest thing Aireen had to a grandfather, might have an idea where Aireen would have gone if she ran off on her own. That, if ye have not guessed as yet... an if not, shame on ye, dolt... is myself. Mendur used to go on long trips while seeing through deals and, back before his tasks were purely administrative, he often saw the shipments through himself across the more dangerous areas of mainland Britannia. He an I tried to time our trips so that when he was gone, I would be able to help keep watch over Aireen. Sometimes, I had to go on a trip too an I would just take the young Lady with me. Other times, we would just go out on trips together for the fun of it, and quite lovely walks they were. Aireen has always regarded me as a confidant, and friend, and I must admit my day gets brighter with just one smile from the young one. During our trips, one of her favorite places were some old ruins near the Yew Orc Fort, where we would camp out and hide to watch the orcs play and fight each other. It was not too risky in those days, but what with the orcs going rampant lately and growing more restless...

The only place I thought of that she might go in times of trouble would be this place, as despite the dangerous area she seemed to find security in that place. I made out a few maps from the Yew guard tower to the ruins and passed them on to the folks gathered at Golden. Those present seemed to constitute the cities of Golden, Heaven�s Forge, Dawn, and Avalon. There may have been people from other cities there, but I think that covers the majority. They used a rune I had from a long time ago to get to the guard post after facet gating over to Felucca, and then from what I am told found the ruins. And the many orcs infesting it. I was told they were a bit alarmed to find blood on the ground, and Aireen�s diary. With Aireen�s permission I will write the contents here for ye to see:

Dear Eilis,

I don�t know what to do. I write to you every day, and I know that... wherever you are... you hear these words. The hope that perhaps you wait for me on the other side makes me long to join you... but, I just cannot do that to Daddy. I am all he has left... and since I took Mother away from him, it would be cruel to leave him too. But Daddy just won�t see what that Amon Jolds is really like, when he looks at me I feel like a piece of meat he is appraising the worth of... if you were here, you wouldn�t let him look at me like that, would you? I know, my heart, I know. I did not know what to do, so I came to the only place I knew of that nobody would know where to find me... except, maybe Papa Loak. But it�s okay if he comes here... I really need a hug from him.

Oh dear, wait a moment my Eilis, for I think I hear some animals coming near, I shall be right back as soon as I find out what it is.

Aireen has always felt a burden on her heart for the death of her mother... the poor dear�s mother died while giving birth to her, and ever since Aireen has felt an obligation of sorts to Mendur. Mendur, though, instead of getting all bitter-like about it, simply looked at his �lil one as a continuation of his wife in a way, and his world from then on really has been built around her. Then, Aireen had fallen in love with a friend of Mendur�s, Eilis Soll, and Eilis became like a son to Mendur. His death hit Mendur almost as hard as it did Aireen. Anyway, I do digress. The brave folks journeyed on to the Orc Fort right away, smartly predicting that if Aireen was still alive there would be some trace of her at the fort nearby. An of course, there was. Aireen could be heard screaming from the hut inside the fort, and there was a huge orc warrior armored in black, unmarked plate. There was also an unusually powerful orcish mage on the walls attacking the folks trying to save Aireen. But the brave folks fought through wave after wave of them beasties, finally making it inside with no small loss of life, and killing off the orc mage before going for the leader. The leader had been slapping Aireen around, the bloody brute... I wish I had been there, so I could have used his entrails as... oh, nevermind. I hear it was a rather long battle, and the orc warrior was outnumbered by almost fifteen to one, but he kept going strong and even took a few people down before they finally put down the awful creature. They brought Aireen outside and talked to her a bit, getting a sense of what happened and finding out she had indeed ran away but was attacked by orcs at her favorite ruins. I must say, I as well as Mendur give sincere thanks to Golden Brew and Heaven�s Forge for the rescue of my daughter and pursuing her safe return for the last two weeks. I also extend a most sincere congratulations to Dawn and Avalon for joining the rescue mission this last week... it took all of ye to take down those orcs, every last one of ye, and ye made a marvelous team!

Aireen seemed to have suspicions about Amon, and the other people at the tavern from what I hear also had their suspicions. Apparently Amon was the one who, when they were searching Paburt�s (Mendur�s clerk, ye dolt, do ye not remember from above?) house, suggested they check under the floorboards where they found the pilfered gold Mendur was missing. Aireen also did not like Amon�s demeanor, and felt he had less than good intentions. Mendur was quite distressed by this, an I do understand: Amon has been there through a lot of troubles. When Eilis died, Amon was there to be a friend and help Mendur through things. As for myself, Amon is a rather kind sort if a bit ruthless in his business tactics. But the armor and weapons he trades is always of the highest quality, and is renown around Britannia.

I came into the tavern a while after Aireen and Mendur had left and talked some with Beaker and Pasque... that Pasque sure is a rather odd girl, if�n I say so myself, but quite pleasant company... an Beaker showed me the halberd he got from the Orc Warrior. I examined it a bit and used my extensive knowledge from trading for the past fifty years of my life to see what I could tell. Apparently it seemed made of the harder sort of metal that comes from the mountains around the Britain area, and looked to have been forged in a rather dry temperature which shows it is of Felucca... as Trammel has a subtly more damp climate. The angles were rather sharp, which shows it is of a Britain design and the craftsmanship was superb quality, obviously that of a skilled grand master smith. The reason an orc had this could have been that the orc killed and stole weapons and armor off people, but the one odd thing was: the weapon was unmarked. Apparently they had gotten valorite plate off the orc as well, and that too was completely unmarked and of superior quality. As a merchant, I must say, in all my years I have never seen merchandise of that quality made and yet gone unmarked. It had to have been especially ordered that way.

If you would like to find out what steps will be taken to either clear or convict Amon Jolds� name, Mendur will be returning to the Golden Brew Tavern on Tuesday, November 21 at 7 PST.

Posted by Keith at 1:18 PM

OSI: A Wild Goose Chase for Mendur�s Daughter

I read the following article from November 14th, written by Mendor Marris himself about his missing daughter, in the BNN section of the Ultima Online web site:

A Wild Goose Chase for Mendur�s Daughter

I was off on a trip to Yew, Trammel when I first got word that my daughter was missing. Aireen is the center of my world. Ever since her mother died giving birth to the wee little blessing, Aireen was what I cared about most in the world. I had been particularly worried about her recently, as for the last two years or so she has been secluded in her room in constant mourning for her fianc� Eilis Soll. Eilis was a good man, a diplomat for the city of Britain who handled disputes involving trade with any city who traded with Britain. He met my daughter through me, and after a period of courtship asked my permission to marry her. Then, tragedy struck, and pieces of his body were found neat an orc camp � brutally slaughtered by a band of well-armed orcs.

Ever since that horrible day, Aireen had never got on with her life - indeed she had never even left her room to eat. I was worried about my daughter. What would happen to her after I died? I am getting rather old, and while she is a tough young Lady of eighteen years, she is not used to living on her own in this harsh land. I was forced to the decision that she would have to marry, out of love for her, and a middle aged friend of mine named Amon seemed to be the perfect pick. Amon is a good man who has always been there for me, in good times and bad, and is an extremely wealthy arms merchant. Just the person who would take good care of my daughter. He did not suggest this - in fact, I had to work hard to convince him to accept the idea, but finally he did.

Then, while I was on a trade arrangement trip to Yew, Trammel (I live in Britain, Felucca myself and until recently did all my trading in the Felucca mainland area) I received word that she had disappeared. I headed immediately back home to Britain, Felucca and sent all my merchants out looking for Aireen throughout Britannia. After nearly a week, it seemed hopeless, until, with Amon�s help, I realized that a former clerk of mine named Paburt might be responsible. He was caught �juggling the books� and filching a large amount of my money over the years for his own use, and was removed from service two or three months back. He had talked with Aireen a great deal and seemed to have a crush on her, which we decided made him a very likely suspect, seeing as he might have heard about my plans to marry Aireen to Amon. The search was on.

I had arranged a trade conference at the Golden Brew in Felucca, and asked several different people to have those interested come, but it became clearer and clearer that this conference would turn into my only hope to beseech others to aid in finding Aireen. All I knew was that Paburt had a fondness for taverns, and had come from the city of Vesper before he started working for me.

The kind folks from the Golden Brew and Heaven�s Forge, however, were quick to find a tavern in Vesper with a barkeeper who had seen someone of Paburt�s description. He had mentioned that his uncle was in the fishermen�s guild, as though it was a sign of status, and the players quickly found the fishermen�s guild and began to question the guildmaster Treben. At first the man denied knowing Paburt, but from what I heard the group promised not to harm him and showed their good intentions in simply finding Aireen and even proving Paburt�s innocence if they could. Treben finally agreed to help them, and explained that Paburt had come back to Vesper a few months back in a panic, talking about how he was betrayed and wrongly accused of stealing from his job.

When Treben heard that Aireen had gone missing, as it was no secret, Paburt panicked yet again and said they would come looking for him, and ran off to hide in the graveyard. The group thanked Treben and made their way to the graveyard, where Paburt was seen to be calling out for help while being chased by undead.

One particularly large Bone Knight had cornered him and was accusing Paburt of defiling the sanctity of their resting place. After the group defeated a powerful Liche Lord, they dispached the Knight and attempted to calm Paburt down.

With some coaxing, Paburt shared that if anyone would know where Aireen was it would be Flenniel Loak. Flenniel is the merchant that I apprenticed to back when I first started out in the trade, before going off on my own. He was the closest thing that Aireen had to a grandfather, and would often go out with her on trips. The only person who has ever known Aireen better than Flenniel was the late Eilis Soll.

Flenniel, however, is still away on a trading expedition and shall not be back for a few days yet. Paburt agreed to have Flenniel attempt to come to the Golden Brew a week from that day. It is my sincere hope that my daughter will be found, through the efforts of these brave and kind friends I have met at Golden Brew and beyond, and I have faith.

If you would like to assist Mendur Marris in his search for Aireen, join the adventurers at the Golden Brew Tavern on Tuesday, November 14 at 7 PST.

Posted by Keith at 1:09 PM

November 17, 2000

The quest to save Lord Reuben

I read the following exciting Seer's Quest news from Beaker on the Golden Brew message board:

The quest to save Lord Reuben

(this was a late night quest that someone did and I went to. sorry no pics. :( )

I was in Britian lastnight selling some goods. An axe over here, some armor over there when the town crier called out "Lord Reuben has been taken to the mage tower in Fire." Now I have gone to fire many times, and as a Golden Knight I must help those in need so I recalled to the place they call Fire. Inside many have fallen and most did not know where to go. Me and a man named Kazon took the lead. Kazon was a warrior with a big axe, and I had my old longsword and knew where to go.

We battle all the way down to the lowwer level of this place. Liches, Hellhounds and evil mages trying to kill us along the way. But with fast running and healing we made it to the mage tower. On the first floor many of the mages came at us, casting there spells but we showed that a blade can be a better tool in combat. After fighting are way we made it to the top floor and found Lord Reuben. Thing of it was water, fire and air Elementals where in wait. In somewhat of a move I got most of them to come after me. After traping them where they could not hurt my new found friends one who was not so dumb came after me.

After dieing a helpfull mage casted a resurrection spell. HA I was back and after healing myself I was back in the battle. Lord Reuben, Kazon and the rest of are party started to leave. Yet every door we opened more Elementals came after us. And when we got out more of those blasted mages, but we made it back up. We started to head to Papua, but again we had more Fire Elementals coming after us. Many where dead along the road but we would move a little and fight some more. After what felt like days we made it back to the town of Papua, for once I was glad to see that town and smell it too.

Lord Reuben thanked us for are help and gave all of us some old wands he found. And whent to look for a blacksmith. My new found friends thanked me for my help and after that we all left to go back to are homes.

(Sorry for no pics I was in a rush forgot to take some)

Posted by Keith at 11:10 AM

November 15, 2000

Mendur Marris' Daughter Returned

Tonight many brave warriors and mages from Avalon, Dawn, Golden, Heaven's Forge and other towns gathered at The Golden Brew hoping to speak with Flenniel Loak. It was last week that Paburt had told us that Loak might know the whereabouts of Aireen, Mendur Marris' daughter.

Loak arrived at the Golden Brew and told us that he had heard the news of Aireen. He was very distressed as she was like a granddaughter to him. He thought she might be hiding out, worried that her father wanted to marry her off to his old friend, Amon. Loak told us how he often took her on trips, and he thought she might have gone to her favorite spot, which was located near the Yew Orc Fort in Felucca.

We quickly organized ourselves and traveled to the outpost by the Orc Fort. Immediately armies of orcs attacked us. We made our way to an abandoned ruin where we found a journal written by Aireen. It was to her fianc�e, Eilis, who had passed away. She poured her heart out in her journal, but at the end wrote how she was afraid for her life for she had heard strange noises. She wrote she was going to hide, but we suspected foul play when we found traces of blood upon her written pages.

Impie reads Aireen's journal

Fighting off the orcsSeveral of the party decided we had better check out the Orc Fort, so we rode over in that direction. It quickly became obvious that we were on the right track when we ran up against waves of marauding orcs.

We fought the orcs outside the camp, but we could see our greatest challenge was to be once we made our way inside. Those of us on horseback could see just over the wall and saw Aireen being held captive in the top room of the fort. We could also see an orc mage of great power and an Orc Warrior with arms as large as tree trunks.

Several of our group bravely rushed in to save Aireen, but it became obvious that a plan was needed. We decided to concentrate on the mage and then work on the warrior. Finally the orcs were slain and Aireen was freed. We all gathered and returned the Brew to return Aireen to her father.

Safely back at the Golden BrewOnce at the pub, there was heated discussion between many of our group and Mendur. Mendur explained how he had gone to Paburt's home and had discovered millions of dollars hidden beneath some loose floorboards. It was suspicious to us however, that it was actually his friend Amon who had found the loosened boards. Once again we brought up the subject that Amon could possibly be behind this. Mendur had told us that Amon was a dealer in arms and armor and we pointed out that the orcs were very heavily armed. Still he would not accuse Amon of any crime until he had evidence.

Aireen grew weary of the debate and asked to be taken home. Mendur told us that he would take his daughter home, but return to the Golden Brew next Tuesday at 7pm PST. We're hoping that next week we'll get a chance to speak with Amon himself and see if we can clear this mystery up.

Posted by Keith at 12:32 AM

November 14, 2000


I am offering an award for the whereabouts on my wife and my newborn daughter. My wife goes by the name of Rachel Seallady and has been known to cruise the seas. A 150K bounty shall be rewarded to anyone who helps me to kill her and retrieve me daughter.


Posted by Hazard [EiC] at 1:23 AM

November 8, 2000

Mendur Marris' Daughter Missing

Last night Mendur Marris met with some people from Golden and Heaven's Forge. He had wanted to speak to us about trade routes, but quickly told us that his daughter, Aireen, had been kidnapped. He told us about how an ex clerk of his named, Paburt, had kidnapped her and he asked for our help to get her back. He told us that Paburt was often seen in Vesper (Felucca) at the pub there. We all agreed to help Mendur and gathered our group to head to Vesper.

Once we found the pub at Vesper we spoke with Tanya the barkeeper. After explaining our plight, she told us about a man who bragged about having an uncle that was the Fisherman's Guildmaster. She couldn't tell us anything more, so we searched for the Fisherman's Guildhouse in Vesper.

At the Guildhouse we met with Treben, who was the Guildmaster there. At first he claimed he didn't know anyone by the name of Paburt, but soon enough he admitted that Paburt was his nephew. He told us that Paburt felt he was being set up, that he hadn't done anything. Treben made us all pledge not to hurt Paburt for information on how to find him. After we all pledged to keep Paburt safe, Treben told us he was hiding at the graveyard outside of Vesper. We thanked Treben for the information and raced off to the graveyard.

Activity was high in the graveyard. We saw Paburt, but he was running around yelling for us to help him. All sort of undead began attacking us. Everything from zombies to lich lords, and even a bone knight that seemed to be particularly strong. Eventually we beat back the evil that had attacked us and were able to speak with Paburt.

Paburt told us he hadn't seen Aireen and he was rather upset about it. It explained that they often spoke (and actually gave us the impression they might be sweet on each other), and that their closeness upset Mendur. He also told us that Mendur had accused him of stealing some gold from the company, but he had not. We could tell by his distress that he was indeed telling us the truth. He then suggested we speak with a merchant by the name of Flenniel Loak. Unfortunately, Flenniel was out on business and wouldn't be back for a week. Paburt told us he'd get a message to Flenniel to meet us at the Golden Brew next Tuesday (11/14) at 7pm PST so we could speak to him. Paburt felt that Flenniel might know Aireen better than anyone, other than her fianc�e, Eilis, who has passed away.

We escorted Paburt safely to Vesper, then made our way back to golden to speak with Mendur. We convinced him of Paburt's innocence and discussed other possible suspects. He explained that only Paburt had access to the money, but it seemed to us that actually other merchants might have the opportunity to get to the money. Also we were curious to hear more about his good friend Amon. Amon is very wealthy, and rather old. He also would love to marry Aireen. We asked Mendur if Amon could have had anything to do with the kidnapping, but he said there was no way that could be possible. It was late by that time, so we all said goodnight and agreed to meet next week.

Talking amongst ourselves however, many of us thing that Amon may not be as innocent as he seems. If Aireen has fallen for Paburt, perhaps Amon is jealous and trying to frame Paburt.

Hopefully next week we'll find out more information and discover who is behind this horrible crime.

Posted by Hazard [EiC] at 10:46 AM

November 6, 2000

Another visit from Mendur Marris (Felucca)

Our good friend Mendur Marris stopped by the Dawn Mage Tower again last night. He spoke for a bit on trade caravan's to Yew from Britain as well as the city of Yew itself. Then the conversation turned to trading in general and about the City of Dawn. After a bit he spoke of his daughter. He told us of her disappearance and concerns for her saftey.

After what seemed to be endless hours of pleasant coversation he had to return to his home. Before he left he gave me a small warning. He said ealier he passed a large orc in shadow armor of what he believed to be "exceptional quaility". He then said he saw 2 more in oddly colored armor for orcs. Explaining they looked much greater and powerful then other orcs, he warned to watch for them. Saying his final farewell he disappeared into the night.

Guildmaster, DOM

Posted by Thellaren at 11:55 PM

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