-----------==================THE KAEZARIAN EYE==================-----------
Kolbre Edition Age Of Dreams, 647
IN THE SHADOW OF THE VEIL LORD:
A Synopsis of the Current State of Affaires in These Troubling Times
It has been many long Months since those now seemingly far-away Dayes in which the Rot-walker stalked the halls of Seton Keep, a strange Meteor hurtled down from the Heavens to strike along the Sunderland Road, and the Veil Lord from beyond the mysterious Pale became the latest Menace to Peregorne's always tenuous Well-being. In the interests of Space, not to mention those of our precious Forests whose Timber is so essential to the tall Ships of our mercantile Kingdom, this Publication shall not attempt a complete Summary of the entire bewildering sequence of Events up to this point. Rather, only the most recent Complications shall be described, for the aid of the Reader whose Head may be understandably all in a Whirl trying to keep abreast of the Developments of these last Months, and who has no Patience left with which to sort out the various Confusions that came before.
~ The Ravages of the Plague-Beasts ~
Since the Veil Lord last mustered his malign Forces on the field of Battle this last Kolbre and saw them beaten back by a hastily assembled Militia of brave Kessians, the threat from this malicious Entity's Minions has been somewhat more Sporadic in nature. In fact, the Veil Lord himself has chosen to show his Hand but infrequently these many Months, to all appearances preferring to skulk within the Confines of his own strange and sinister Demesne, the Pale. His many baleful Creations seem, for their part, quite Diligent in their Efforts to do their Master's Will by strengthening their hold upon Seton Keep (discussed further in the next Article) and from there launching a number of vicious Incursions upon Kaezar, presumably at the Command of the Veil Lord himself.
Though Kaezar was spared from attack through much of the Spring and early Summer Months of this Year, yet this proved but a deceptive Lull in the Veil Lord's efforts to terrorize the town and its Defenders. Well after nightfall on the 14th Daye of Dien a wild Howling went up all through the streets and Alley-ways of Kaezar, heralding the arrival of a large number of Plague-Beasts of truly monstrous Aspect, appearing to be Orcs that had fallen disastrously afoul of the Crystalline Plague that briefly afflicted some members of the local Populace some Months back. However, these unfortunate Orcs, if such they truly were, had been noticeably Altered in certain key ways, most direly the Addition of exceptionally brutal Talons which they proceeded to use upon the Populace with quite appalling Abandon.
[ Here a shockingly revolting humanoid creature is portrayed in a rather repellent woodblock print. The flesh of the beast pictured appears to have been flayed completely away in areas and dissolved to a gelatinous membrane in others, revealing a grotesque and disturbing visceral display. Yellowed bone peeks through rotting muscle, sinew, and tendons, which ooze what seems to be an extremely foul ichor. Asymmetrical, tumor-like clumps of variegated crystalline material sprout from the blindly-staring eye sockets. Atrophied limbs terminate in fingerbones which have been stripped of all flesh and reinforced with slender, blade-like crystalline growths, giving the appearance of elongated, razor-sharp claws. ]
While this vast Mob of Invaders was at last beaten back by the indefatigable Efforts of the Citizenry, this was only the first of a number of Assaults upon the City, the last such culminating in a pitched Battle not only with the Razor-clawed Beasts from before, but also with a number of even more appalling Creatures that seemed to have been Wyverns in a more fortunate Period of their Lives. While one must give thanks to the Gods that these Creatures were no longer capable of Flight, still they possessed exactly as much talent for Roasting their opponents with fiery Breath as they had once displayed in life. This evidently not being enough to sufficiently Annoy the Defenders, the Plague-Beasts themselves had turned out to be somewhat more Intelligent than previously thought, with one of their number seemingly taking on the responsibilities of Leadership, directing the other Constructs and watching the Battle play out from the Roof-tops.
[ Another woodblock print displays what seems to have once been a wyvern, but is now an abhorrent mutation, rife with decay and crystalline growths. Vacant eye sockets stare out hollowly from beneath armor-plated brows, which flare upwards into spiked ridges meeting in a V in the center of its spadelike head and following the curve of the flattened skull before splaying outward in a crystal-reinforced, bony frill covering the creature's neck. Its overslung, decaying jaw is thick with serrated fangs, jutting upwards even when its mouth is closed. Crystalline growths have overgrown the broad back, forcing their way between the heavy scales covering the animal from head to tail. The wing membranes have rotted away, leaving the fused second and third metacarpal bones encased within a crystalline sheath resembling a giant scythe blade. ]
The morbid Ingenuity of the Veil Lord and his Minions evidently knows no Bounds, for an entirely new sort of Construct has been discovered upon the streets of the City in only the last Week or two. This latest manifestation of the Veil Lord's cruel Whims is little more than a single Eye-ball affixed to a severed Ear, the entire distasteful Bundle stitched together with a length of Muscle. True to their Form, this particular type of Construct lurks quietly in the Shadows anywhere that it may find a Crowd, from which Vantage-point it Spies and Eavesdrops most shamelessly upon those gathered, seemingly all the while using its Vedic powers to relay whatsoever Information that it gleans back to its Master. All Persons are hereby duly warned to carefully search their Surroundings prior to engaging in discussion of Topics of a Sensitive nature.
~ The Coming of the Mysterious Pale-Lady ~
Strange and sinister as the Veil Lord may be, it appears that he is not the only mysterious Being with which our beleagured World must Contend. Another Entity, equally enigmatic and debatably less Malevolent, has taken a quite inexplicable Interest in Miss Miriel Re'Ghat, a young Rehar lady arrived from the far-off Isles of Rhe'Yubla. This poor girl had in fact not been very long in Kaezar before becoming swept up in the efforts to combat the Veil Lord and his Minions, but in spite of the brief period of her Residency in the city, she came Willing to offer her Services in whatever fashion might prove most Useful.
Things quickly took a quite unusual turn for Miss Re'Ghat when she attended a meeting on the topic of the Obelisk Shards and what was to be done with them. It was here that the young lady first spoke the Name, Iantine, that had come unbidden to her Consciousness, and saw a Vision before her Eyes, of a pale Lady whose long hair seemed to Float upon an unseen Breeze. A number of Dayes later, during an assault upon the Veil Lord in his Cave off Sunderland Road, Miss Re'Ghat read upon the Obelisk there the same Name that had appeared within her Mind, and attempted to call upon the Lady she had seen before. However, the Veil Lord would not permit her to speak this Name, and Miss Re'Ghat felt that he attacked her as surely as he did those who bore the Holy weapons of Jakob. It was here also that the young lady felt that, as she said, the Stone of the World had been driven into her Head, which later manifested itself as a Fragment that she most uncomfortably Coughed up some Weeks later.
In the Course of a Night of fervent Prayer to our Lady Eyssa, beseeching Her to lend her Aid to those who had been Touched by the malign Influence of the Crystalline Plague, Iantine manifested upon our own Plane, to quite Spectacular, though Detrimental, effect. Just as Miss Re'Ghat had described her, the Pale-lady presented a markedly Ethereal Aspect, one whose only truly Striking features aside from her great Pallor were the azure Shade of her Eyes, and the Sense of barely-arrested Motion which she gave off. Although she made no Move to harm any of those gathered there, the Heavens above seemed to object most strenuously to her Presence, for the Skies were split asunder with Thundering and Lightnings, while the very Air seemed to draw back from touching her Person. In fact, this Apparition was exceedingly short-lived, for, apparently rejected by Reality itself, Iantine was riven to Pieces and ceased utterly to exist any more upon our Plane.
Even now no one is entirely confident of who this Iantine is nor precisely what she wants of Miss Re'Ghat or of anyone else. Miss Re'Ghat herself believes the Pale-lady to be a Facet of the Veil Lord, albeit an unwilling one, though how such a thing is possible is difficult to Tell. The only thing that seems certain at this point is that Iantine represents another baffling Complication in an already extraordinarily complicated Situation.
~ A Quest for Serenite Relics ~
Whereas one may quite naturally feel a certain sense of Doubt regarding the Motives of this Iantine, it must be far more Reassuring when the Aid of one of our own Goddesses is offered us in our hour of Need. Fortunately for the harried Denizens of Kessia, our good lady Serene has marked out one of our own for the fulfillment of a Quest that may yet prove Essential in the Struggle against the Veil Lord and his Creatures.
At the time of the great Defeat of this malevolent Being's army nearly a Year ago, a number of remarkable Treasures were found within the Cave close by the scene of Battle. Among these was a most unusual Emblem, formed of blackened Iron and given to a strange Propensity for both Moon-light and Movement. Research and consultation with a Paladin of Serene revealed the Emblem to be but one part of a set of Armor belonging to an enigmatic figure known as the Black Strider, whom Legend tells once fought bravely against a Facet of Vaen while clad in a set of Pitch-black Plate made from the night Sky. The Strider faring poorly in the fight, the curious Armor was broken into Pieces, its unlucky Bearer slain, and the Plate itself scattered and lost.
Now, however, it appeared that the first Piece of the set had been found after countless Centuries, and Mister Curan Norremitore, a Devotee of Serene, made it his Mission to discover the Whereabouts of the remainder. With the aid of the peculiar Emblem, which granted its devout Bearer a degree of Discernment far beyond that of any mere Mortal, Mister Norremitore at last succeeded in his Quest, tracking the Helm in the midst of a pernicious Bog, ferreting out the Breast-plate that appears to have once held the Emblem, and discovering the final piece, a set of Cuisses or leg-guards, within a small plot of Trees near Fenway Fortress.
Each component of the Armor seems Blessed with great Puissance, and it is thought that its Powers may be used to good Effect against the Veil Lord when he is at last met upon the field of Battle, a struggle which it is thought will play out to its bitter End within the Veil Lord's own realm, the Pale.
~ The Curious Contraption of Dhond's Tower ~
For such to be possible, however, naturally one must first determine how exactly one is to travel to the Pale in the first place. For this bold purpose the strange Contraption in the upper-most Chamber of Dhond's Tower seemed to present a number of intriguing Possibilities, having been used in Years previous to travel to a number of Locales both familiar and Exotic, perhaps the strangest of all being to the profoundest Depths of the Ul'Mydar. If it were possible to open a Portal to such a strange and Otherworldly place as the lands of the Dead, then surely it might also prove Feasible to use such a Machine to Transport a number of Persons to a different Plane of Existence.
Regrettably for the fruition of this Scheme, the Machine in question had in fact been in a state of non-functional Disrepair for some time, in fact ever since its last known use nearly seven Years prior. But happily a team of Mechanists and magickally-skilled Persons, guided by Mages Council Liaison Malo Haithcock and Society Engineer Iiro Takala, have come together to accomplish the Repair of this unusual Contraption. Though for much of the Summer it began to appear a Hopeless task, with many of those once lending their Skills to the Project having rather thoughtlessly allowed themselved to wander away with no Warning to others, within the last Month much Progress has once again been made, such that Repair of the Machine begins to seem once again within the realm of Possibility.
As of the publication Dead-lines of this Edition of the News, Dhond's Contraption has seen its myriad of Chains, Pipes, and Wires variously cleaned, patched, and replaced, and the strange Sigils that provide its Instruction had been extensively analyzed by those familiar with the Intricacies of Runic writings and the Kenzian Syllables. Though some work remains to be done, it may be a matter of but a few Weeks before travel to the Pale can be achieved, bringing what shall hopefully prove the final Encounter with the Veil Lord who has plagued Kessia for so long.
-----------==================THE KAEZARIAN EYE==================-----------
Kolbre Edition Age Of Dreams, 647
THE DECLINE AND FALL OF SETON KEEP:
~*~ Being an ILLUSTRATED Account of the TRIALS Lately Suffered by the Unfortunate Citadel,
~*~ Describing for the Enlightenment of the Reading Publick How It Came to Its Present RUIN,
~*~ Whereby its One-time Regent, LORD TRANTRIS ESSELYON, Did Fall from Grace,
~*~ Leaving it to the Depredations of ORCS, PLAGUE-BEASTS, and all Manner of Wickedness.
Since the start of the Year, Seton Keep has seen a swift Reversal in its Fortunes, changing Hands from one party to another with almost Bewildering speed, and with each change of Hands plunging further into Decline. Wrested some Years ago from the wretched Orcs that had held the decaying Fortress for so long, the Keep soon became a Bastion of Civilization in the midst of many miles of Wilderness and Ruin, and people came from all around to partake of this Oasis of Culture and of the refined Company to be found there. But like so much else in this changeable World, the Glamour has at last fallen off, and the Keep reverted to the Ruin from which it was so ephemerally reclaimed.
The first great Blow to the Keep came with the untimely Insurrection of its Regent, Lord Trantris Esselyon, who up til that point had proven quite diligent in defending the Keep against the Depredations of Orcs and other malevolent Creatures and who had begun to focus his Attentions upon the surrounding Countryside, being as it was still overrun with bloodthirsty bands of Orcs. This offensive upon the Occupiers of Seton Village and the roads thereabouts at first seemed destined for Success, as a small Force of valiant Kessians steadily mowed down the disorganized Ranks of the Enemy. Lady Vivael Wethrin'aer, at the time occupying the respected post of Royal Magus to the King, proved herself equally adept at rallying the Citizenry in the cause of Vengeance against the Orcs, and under the Leadership of herself and Lord Esselyon it seemed certain that the Fortunes of those fell Beasts could only continue to decline to the point where they must be Routed utterly.
[ Here the text is punctuated by a woodblock print of a substantial redan overlooking a ramshackle village. Two breast-height walls of piled earth have been reinforced with gabions of woven branches and topped with a Wessumbrian hedgehog of sharpened stakes. A narrow step-like banquette runs the length of the wall, sufficiently high to enable the defenders standing upon it to see over the crest, yet remain mostly protected. Angling north, the two parapets form a salient which points towards the heart of a dense thicket, beyond which the square tops of the village watch-towers are just visible. Arranged along the length of the wall are a number of figures that seem to represent Royal Guarsdman and other defenders, while two figures engaged in deep discussion at the center are accompanied by the neat labels "Lord Trantris Esselyon" and "Lady Vivael Wethrin'aer".
The entire print bears the caption "Atop the Seton Road Redan, Storme 647." ]
However, this happy state of Affaires was not to last, for News from the far borders of Peregorne soon made it clear that an entire Host of Talone, those most brutal and bloodthirsty of all Orcs, were making their way eastwards from their stronghold in the Hinterlands of Laurdia, seemingly bent on reinforcing their Kessian Brethren. Not only are these Talone greatly stronger and more skilled than most of the Orcs resident in our Country, but the vile Creatures brought with them a number of terrible Dragyn-like Beasts known as Wyverns. Being capable of Flight and prone to breathing great Gouts of Flame upon whatever hapless Soul happens to invoke their Ire, these Wyverns proved formidable Foes, and along with their Orc handlers began to wreak quite devastating Havoc upon the Defenders of Peregorne.
[ Another woodblock pictures a tremendous winged beast that appears large enough to carry off a full-grown gharkin with ease. Deep-set eyes burning with feral rage peer out from beneath armor-plated brows, which flare upwards into spiked ridges that meet in a V in the center of its spadelike head and follow the curve of the flattened skull before splaying outward in a bony frill covering the creature's neck. Its overslung, soot-stained jaw is thick with serrated fangs, jutting upwards even when its mouth is closed. Scutes of bone defend the broad back, forming distinctive bulges beneath the heavy scales covering the animal from head to tail. Lacking forelimbs, the wyvern has a crocodilian, splay-legged stance, appearing to support itself on its clawed hind legs.
A simple caption identifies the creature as "The Redoubtable Wyvern." ]
Despite the terrifying nature of the new Foe, a decisive Victory might still have proven possible if the stout-hearted Defenders, and all those others in whom love for their Country beat strong in their Breasts, had but been able to maintain a united Front against their Enemies. Sadly, this was not to be. Lord Trantris Esselyon, who had previously been brought to Trial for his Assault upon a Lieutenant Colonel of the Imperial Guard and largely Acquitted of the Charges, soon demonstrated that a consuming Ire towards the Imperials still smouldered within his Heart, evidently surpassing his Vexation with the Orcs. Though Lord Esselyon had been quite Free with his Criticism of the Empire whilst awaiting the slow arrival of Imperial Reinforcements, yet he behaved far worse once such Reinforcements at last reported to the Defenders' camp, slaying several of their number in a Fit of Anger.
Though a certain sense of Aggravation may not be uncommon in one's Dealings with Imperial Officials, such a display of Violence could hardly be considered anything but a grave Set-back in the Campaign against the Orcs, which had rapidly become a rather grim and worrisome Affaire. The Defenders of Peregorne, up until this point united in their Hatred of Orc-kind and their Determination to hold fast against the Enemy, were now riven with Conflict amongst themselves, with those loyal to the Empire set irrevocably against those who continued in steadfast Allegiance to Lord Esselyon, and Lord Esselyon himself now incontrovertably aligned contrary to the Will of his Sovereign King Vek. As all are now surely aware, the sad Result of this Rebellion was the Deposition of Lord Esselyon from his Post of Regent, and Exile in Perpetuity of himself and certain of his Household most loyal to him, most notably his Steward the Lady Ansivrien Ferisiingen. With the erstwhile Heads of Seton Keep now residing indefinitely upon the bleak Prison-Isle of Despair, and the remainder of the Defenders still cast into some Disarray by this unexpected turn of Events, the Forces of the Talone took advantage of the Chaos to launch a full Offensive upon the Keep, which soon fell before their Might.
The Talone, however, were themselves not destined to achieve their own deepest Desires or even to enjoy their new Accommodations for very long. A number of Weeks passed in which the Orcs seemed to be consolidating their Hold upon the area and preparing for an imminent Assault upon the lands eastward, and all waited anxiously for the Hammer to fall. Then, quite early in the Month of Deatre, the Imperial Forces still stationed just down the road from the Keep reported that a most ominous Silence had fallen upon the Citadel, following what appeared to be a mass Exodus of Orcs fleeing its Confines.
The doughty Gates of the Keep being fast locked and barred, the Soldiers were powerless to discover what might have occurred behind the tall stone walls where the savage Hubbub of the Orcs had so lately prevailed. A small number of Efforts to penetrate the Gates or scale the walls proved futile, and it became clear that more Drastic Measures must needs be employed to illuminate the changed Circumstances within the unlucky Keep. The sudden growth all about the Draw-bridge of strange purplish Crystals, capable of slowly draining the Life from anyone in their Proximity, only increased the sense of Urgency that was felt.
[ A small woodblock print inset above the text shows a drawbridge leading up to the massive gates of a stone-walled keep. Clustered around the end of the drawbridge are a number of crystalline growths, shoulder-high to a daun, that jut out from the ground. A wavery aura etched around the crystals gives the disturbing impression that the things are quivering hungrily. ]
It was at this time that Captain Elli Sojourner of the Royal Guard hit upon the notion of requesting Aid from the Hippogryph-master Spanger, with the idea that the woman might be able to lend them Assistance in the matter of breaching the Defenses of the Keep. This seemed an especially hopeful Proposition given that she had once before, during the dark times of the Wrathe Troubles, demonstrated a degree of Willingness to involve herself in Schemes of an ill-advised nature given that these were employed for a good Cause. As it chanced to be, Spanger herself expressed a certain Reluctance to once again volunteer her own Hippogryphs for the purpose, instead recommending the Services of a Friend of hers, whom she claimed would contact Captain Sojourner shortly.
This in fact proved to be the case, for it was but a Handful of Dayes before Captain Sojourner sighted in the Sky a most unusual and impressive Beast, almost exactly resembling a Bear save for being in possession of great Wings with which it could fly with extraordinary speed and Power. This odd Creature, known as a Molachadur, was owned by a rather eccentric Dwarf by the name of Tyver, who claimed that it could fly perhaps a half-dozen Persons straight over the walls of the Keep, there to leave them free to pursue whatsoever Strategy they should choose.
[ This woodblock print shows what appears to be an enormous bear, an animal that would be exceptional for its size alone even without the addition of feathers and wings. The creature's shaggy coat lends extra mass to an already large, powerfully muscled frame, and gigantic wings covered in striated feathers sprout majestically from his upper back. A ruff of softer feathers surrounds the neck like a mane, flowing smoothly down the broad back before fading into fur. Stout, trunk-like legs support the beast, terminating in heavily-clawed paws. Eyes like deep black opals glare fiercely, yet intelligently from beneath a heavy brow, and blunted ears, one of which is torn from some past altercation, flank either side of the head. His massive maw hangs slightly open, revealing glistening fangs, some the length of a seax.
The caption reads simply "The Molachadur, Arthadain."]
And so it was that, on the 7th Daye of Ghust, six intrepid Adventurers led by Captain Sojourner flew through the Stormy night upon a winged Bear, bent on a daring Mission to infiltrate the Keep and discern whatever unsettling Situation lay within. To their Dismay, a thorough Trek through the environs of the Keep revealed a deep-rooted Infestation of various disagreeable Sorts of Plague-Beasts, all of which showed themselved uniformly Eager to rend apart whatever hapless Mortal they should encounter. The portions of the Courtyard nearest the Great Hall were also found to be covered in the same kind of puce-colored Crystals first seen outside the Gates, with Clumps and Threads of the pernicious Stuff spread not only across the ground, but heaped upon various Structures and even running through the Branches of the unfortunate Trees.
[ Another print illustrates a grim scene in the midst of a ravaged courtyard. To one side of a broad path that runs between a sturdy gate and a well stands a large two-story stone structure. Ominous crystal growths jut up from the path leading to the building, disturbing its inlaid stone design. On each side of the doorway, rough-hewn stumps thrust their jagged tops towards the sky, flanking the twisted remains of a black iron bench. A snapped-off pole overhangs the path, casting a line of darker shadow over the inlaid stone design.
[ Below the first print sits a second showing a similar scene. Sitting askew atop an upthrust mound of dark-hued crystal, a small wooden structure with a thatched roof houses a stone well. Fibrous growths coil around the base of the well, creeping in from the roots of the crystal-infused trees to the north. Nacreous shells encase many of the small buildings in the bailey, reducing them to dark shadows that resemble little more than massive outgrowths of the smaller crystals jutting from the ground. Off to one side, barely visible between the unnatural formations, lie a gate and a long stone staircase leading up to a keep.
The caption states somewhat grimly "The Devastation of Seton Keep."]
The Destruction left by the Orcs was likewise everywhere in evidence, and the Interior of the Great Hall itself filled with torn and smashed-up Objects now hardly even identifiable. Most intriguingly, upon a battered Table in that room was discovered an assortment of Maps and Crystalline Fragments, the latter shot through with various kinds of Metals, and appearing on the whole rather unlike the Life-devouring Crystals so prevalent outside. From this scene of Destruction it was difficult for the courageous Band to escape with their Lives, and indeed some number of them departed the ravaged Keep only in Death, though thankfully such State proved Permanent for none.
The peculiar Crystals being sent to Penthras for analysis to determine their Composition, it was discovered that they are much akin to Serpentine in Composition, and in fact not innately possessed of evil Tendencies. This sets them apart from the malignant puce Crystals of which the Plague-Beasts and their Ilk are composed, as past experiences have shown this Substance to be quite Virulent and well capable of spreading Infection to all those unfortunate enough to get in its way. This being the case, there is some Uncertainty as to precisely what ought now to be done with Seton Keep, as no one can be entirely certain whether blowing it to Bits or burning it to the Ground in a great Conflagration may not in some Manner serve to further spread the terrible Crystals across the Countryside, and even so far as Never-Upon-Vinre or Kaezar. Bearing this dire possibility in Mind, it may unfortunately prove necessary to devise some more complicated Scheme for dealing with the Keep rather than simply destroying it.
And so Seton Keep now awaits the Determination of its Fate by those who were rarely but Guests within its Walls, its past Glories but a fast-fading Dream. Whether the Keep shall outlast the present Crisis to weather more Bizarrities in the future, only Time and the Gods may tell.
-----------==================THE KAEZARIAN EYE==================-----------
Kolbre Edition Age Of Dreams, 647
SUMMONING EXPERIMENT BRINGS OTHERWORLDLY VISITOR TO KAEZAR
It was with the greatest Curiosity that a handful of Persons gathered at the Lyceum on the 21st of Thistle to witness a most intriguing Experimentation in the art of Astral Summoning, performed by noted Indrejani scholar Astolpho Mandel. Hosted by Mages Council Liaison Malo Haithcock, the Procedure was carried out by Mister Mandel for the purpose of attempting to summon a new kind of Entity to our own mortal Plane, one quite apart from the usual round of Demons and Elementals that more typically make their way to our World at the behest of those skilled in the Channeling school of magicks.
Mister Mandel started off the evening with a brief Lecture to introduce his Audience to the basic Attributes of Summoning, which he said began in long-ago times when one Artex Lensul first successfully drew forth a Spirit from beyond the Veil and bound it to our Plane. In spite of the many Entities that are thought to inhabit the divers Planes of those occult Realms, up until presently it had been the Custom of most Channelers to deal with what Mister Mandel referred to as "the darker Aspects of the Veil," meaning various Beings of chaotic Temperament and often malevolent Intent, who have been summoned to the Confines of our own World with little regard for what Havoc such Creatures might wreak. Mister Mandel stated that it was his Intention to correct the oversights of his Predecessors, and focus his scholarly Researches upon other Inhabitants of the Veil, most especially those of benevolent Character.
To achieve this worthy end, Mister Mandel announced that he would make use of the benign Sabu Onyr magicks in combination with the transportation Capabilities of the In Rik spells, also melded with certain aspects of basic Qel incantations involving direct manipulation of the Veil and the binding of Entities summoned therefrom. Here Mandel concluded his lecture and shepherded his listeners into the Hall of Convocation in order to begin the Experiment itself.
Upon assembling in the Hall, the Audience spread out along the walls to allow Mister Mandel ample room for the intricate Workings of his Spell. They then looked on with bated Breath as he proceeded to draw out two chalk Circles upon the floor, one white for Mandel himself to stand upon, and the other red, to serve as the Gateway to the other side of the Veil. As Mister Mandel completed the Circles and uttered the mystical Incantation, the space above the red Circle began to shimmer perceptibly, and within its confines there opened up a Fissure of bright light which appeared to hover in mid-air. Then, quite abruptly, the Fissure tore wide open and vanished, leaving in its wake a novel Creature of most unusual Aspect.
[ Here the text is once again punctuated by a woodblock print, slightly stylized yet meticulous in its rendering of its peculiar subject. A gaunt, otherwordly-looking creature with strangely disproportionate yet graceful limbs seems to peer out from the page with a look of perceptive curiosity on its strange face. A long and delicate neck punctuated by triple slits of gills supports its oversized head, which is triangular in form and contains a pair of bulbous incandescent white eyes, both pupiless and lidless, set close above a tiny lipless mouth. Backwards-jointed legs are bent underneath its small torso, while its three slender, bony arms appear capable of steadying the creature when necessary. An aura of small dots set about the entity seem to represent scintillating motes drifting upwards from its pale flesh.
[ Beneath the print sits a simple label reading "The Mysterious Malvaunt." ]
True to the nature of Mister Mandel's new form of Summoning, this Creature did not give any indication of wishing Harm upon any of the Persons assembled there, rather seeming content to study them with the geatest evidence of Curiosity. At first none present were certain whether the Entity might understand them or in what manner Communication might be possible, but all at once it emitted a startling sort of Keening noise, and all present were suddenly treated to the most disconcerting Sensation of an alien Consciousness rifling through their Minds. But just as one might begin to think that these actions constituted a Vedic assault and that the Being was not quite so Benevolent after all, a strange Voice began to echo through the Minds of all those in the room, and it was soon learned that such was the Speech of the strange Race to which this new Being belonged.
Proclaiming itself a member of the Malvaunt people, the visitor from beyond the Veil proceeded to study the Persons in the Hall and to speak with them using the Power of its Mind. The Malvaunt appeared quite intrigued by the many Types of people present, making interested Note of the Skills and Characteristics of each. It also asked why it had been summoned to this Realm, to which it received the answer, for the Purposes of seeing whether there might be higher Entities behind the Veil that were not of a Malign bent. In its turn, the Entity answered a number of Inquiries, revealing that it responded to Mister Mandel's call out of Curiosity, and that it came from a higher Plane than that in which Demons and Elementals reside, whose existence it claimed to have some Knowledge of.
It was here that the chimes of Kaezar's Clock-tower were heard distantly to strike the hour of ten Bells, and the Malvaunt indicated that its time on this Plane was up. Expressing satisfaction as to the Outcome of its Visit, the Being moved swiftly back to the spot at which it had exited the Fissure, and with a few Motions of its Peculiar arms once again split the Air open to form a Rift, into which it promptly vanished.
Once the Malvaunt had returned to whatever strange Haunts from whence it came, Mister Mandel allowed his Audience a period of questioning, during which he indicated that another Summoning of this kind might draw forth another sort of Being entirely, as is the case with traditional Summoning, but that with greater familiarity with Malvaunt-kind it might one day be possible to distinguish among Individuals and summon particular Persons from that unusual Race. This being the case, it may be but a matter of time before Kaezar becomes a Destination for any number of new and interesting Visitors from other Planes, who it is to be hoped will show greater Decency in matters of Respect for Persons and Property than certain such Visitors have in the past.
Kolbre Edition Age Of Dreams, 647
EXCITING EXPERIMENT INTRODUCES NEW ANTI-MAGICK DEVICES
In a land where strange Powers prevail and magickally-inclined Persons are concentrated in unprecedented (and, one suspects, possibly unhealthy) Numbers, the disconcerting Tingle or discomforting Chill of a Scrying attempt are regrettably commonplace Sensations. Such experiences are perhaps surpassed in Obnoxiousness only by the Heart-stoppingly sudden Appearances of Wizards, who disdain plebian Modes of transport such as Walking in favor of simply Teleporting directly to the side of their unfortunate Targets, with great disregard as to whether these might be engaged in such Delicate pursuits as Bathing or sipping from extremely hot Mugs of Coffee. Such Magicks are not only capable of producing intense Irritation, but may also be in some unusual Circumstances quite Perilous, as aside from the Dangers of slopping scalding Beverages upon one's tender Person, these Abilities may also be used for Spying, Stalking, and various other forms of meddlesome Mischief.
Happily for the Sanity of those who live in such a world, Mages Council Liaison Malo Haithcock has set out to create certain Devices capable of Warding against such Magicks and safeguarding innocent people against unwanted Intrusion upon their Minds and Persons. Combining the Arcane and Vedic schools of Magick in a form of Enchanting which he has largely devised himself, the Liaison has Painstakingly inscribed a number of sildok Rings with intricate Runes of great Complexity, meant to imbue the Rings with Protections against their Bearers' becoming the unwilling Targets of various Mind-magicks and Teleportation spells.
[ Here a small diagram appears, showing a small ring crafted of some dark metal. Inscribed along the inside, a series of thin, spidery lines appear to twist and bend and intersect with one another, encircling the entirety of the inner band. Another series of writhing sigils is inscribed on the outside of the ring. ]
Liaison Haithcock conducted a publick Testing of his Devices upon the 13th Daye of Deatre, inviting all and Sundry to come view the Experiment and to participate if they were able. Some Half-dozen curious Persons were in attendance to inspect the Rings and test their Capabilities, which proved quite successful in blocking attempts to scry via both Astral and Vedic means, to project Thoughts into another's Mind via Mar Sani Qel Magicks, and to summon via In Rik spells.
Contrary to all reasonable Expectation for any Experiment conducted within the walls of Kaezar, not a single Item or Person was blown to Pieces, nor did anyone burst suddenly into magickal Flame and incinerate spectacularly. However, Liaison Haithock did express the Concern that the latter might well be possible if the Bearer of the Ring were to be targeted by one of the blocked Magicks too many times in Succession. Despite such Reservations, the first Incarnation of these Devices must be considered a notable Success upon which further Experimentation can only improve, and surely marks a significant step forward in this fascinating new field of Vedic Enchantments.
Kolbre Edition Age Of Dreams, 647
COLOSSAL CRUSTACEANS RISE FROM THE DEEP!
Grizzled Mariners, ancient Fish-wives, and other Persons of dubious Veracity have long told tales of strange Creatures of the Deeps, enormous Monsters whose chitinous Pincers, grasping Tentacles, and gnashing Teeth exist only to snatch the Unwary and draw them down to a hideous gory Demise beneath the Waves. Within the past Year, such stories would seem to have gained some Lustre of Truth, as just such terrible Creatures have decided to join a long and illustrious Lineage of other monstrous Entities in venting their Wrath upon the hapless denizens of Kaezar.
On a chill afternoon in early Fraostmonth, Ariano Azor'i, former Court Magus of Kessia, was the first to give a heroic Pull upon his Fishing-pole and find a vengeful Sharl Colossus clinging fast to the end of his Line. This awful Creature then proceeded to rampage with great Vigour up and down the Deck of the proud Imperial Star as it made its way between Kaezar and Never-Upon-Vinre, scattering startled Sailors and other hapless By-standers in its wake. On further Inquiry, it was revealed that Master Azor'i, in what might be considered an act of complete Defiance against Reason and common Sense, had long been fishing with the express Purpose of pulling up such a Monstrosity.
[ A woodblock print inserted here shows a towering sharl covered with a mantle of sea life that apparently serves as its armor. Each of the creature's four legs is much thicker than most young trees, and each seems to strain at its task in supporting a massive upper body and fearsome duo of serrated pincers. Wiry and gnarled, two long eyestalks bear its malevolent dark eyes, while nearly obscured behind its bulk is a cracked and battered tail from which trails an oozing stream of filthy-looking ocean water.
The gargantuan animal's identity is given in the needlessly alliterative caption "The Cruel and Choleric Colossus" ]
Though a great number of valiant Adventurers pitted their Strength and Skill against the enormous Creature, all their Efforts came to Naught against its immense Power and Spite. After weathering a fearsome Boat-ride with the Colossus from Kaezar to Never-Upon-Vinre, those who fought it were Powerless to prevent its Stampeding off the Ship and out onto the city Streets, and it might have proved an even more Harrowing daye for Never if the Creature had not abruptly grown tired of its Sport and thrown itself back into the Bay of its own Accord.
The appearance of the second Colossus seemed, rather more reasonably, to be entirely Un-premeditated. Mister Astolpho Mandel, like Mister Azor'i, found himself Face to Face with the monstrous Beast upon receiving a particularly Strenuous yank upon his own Fishing-pole, though in Mister Mandel's case the Creature was greeted with some amount of Consternation rather than Delight. Finding there was little that could be done to the Monster without calling for Reinforcements, Mister Mandel was compelled to leave the Colossus to its own Devices aboard the Ship, where, for mysterious reasons of its own, it simply took up Residence at one end of the Vessel and attempted to repell all who came to gawk at it. Finally the terrible Monster was vanquished through the combined Efforts of Mister Iiro Takala and Captain Sojourner of the Royal Guard, who were engaged in mortal Combat against it for a good half an Hour before the Creature at last fell lifeless to the Deck of the Ship.
[ This woodblock print illustrates a dramatic battle between two harried-looking defenders and an enormous crustacean recognizable from the previous picture as a sharl colossus. The colossus stands upon the bleached wooden deck of a sailing ship, flanked by two smaller but equally vicious looking sharl. One of the defenders, a young vulfen, looks to have been captured in the act of firing a rifle at the colossus's armored chest, while this creature is distracted by a human woman in the uniform of the Royal Guard, who is heroically parrying the blow from the its mighty pincers as she lies prone upon the planking. ]
Perhaps these Colossi may be allowed some righteous Sense of Ire at being snared by the sharp Hooks of Fishermen, but one cannot forgive the Creatures the part they must have played in their own Capture, as surely a thousand-stone Lobster outfitted in three-foot-long Pincers and plated Armor need not heed the Tug of a line pulled by any mere Daun or Half-elf. How the Beasts even managed to land themselves upon the narrow Deck of a smallish sort of Ship without capsizing the entire Craft remains Mystery enough, and could surely not be accomplished without the Beast itself were fully complicit in the Deed. Nevertheless, despite the reasonable Assumption one must draw concerning the Willingness of the Colossus to be caught, neither of those fished up showed any Mercy towards its Collaborators in this Deed. One must simply assume that these denizens of the Depths are inherently plagued by a dire imbalance of the Humours which leads them to hurl themselves wrathfully to the Surface at the least tapping of a Fish-hook, and leave it at that.
Kolbre Edition Age Of Dreams, 647
KESSIANS AWASH IN SUMMER SHOWERS
It cannot have escaped the notice of any sensible Person that these last Months have brought with them what might seem to be rather more than their fair share of Rain and Damp, especially when one considers the usual sort of Heat with which Kaezar is plagued in the Summer-time, the Air being quite Muggy but less frequently persuaded to drop its Burden of Moisture upon the thirsty Fields. It has in fact been a most extraordinarily wet Season, to the great Griefe of numerous Persons of agricultural and pastoral Persuasion. Those who keep themselves well within the Fastness of city walls and deign not to venture forth into the Countryside may wonder the reason why any Peasant or Husbandman should decry what might seem a bounteous Gift of good Rain-fall, but as with all things in this World, Rain being no exception, Moderation is Key, and too much of a seemingly good thing in fact a grievous Ill.
The accommodating Peasantry in the vicinity of Kemstead proved themselves quite Amenable to providing this Publication with any number of interesting Accounts that might illustrate to their city-dwelling Brethren the many Trials that the unusual Weather has brought to bear upon the good Folk of the Countryside. One Goodman Haggeman, a half-Tain of rugged Aspect and Demeanour, explained with some Gusto the latest Affliction to be visited upon his Flock of rabu. This consisted of what he described as a sort of "festering Foot-rot" affecting the Hooves of his Animals, leading to Lameness and much Suffering on the part of the unfortunate Creatures, and, as Goodman Haggeman avowed, causing them to emit "the most piteous Cries ye ever heared, like unto a wee Bairn as had lost its own Dam." He also held forth upon the miserable Fate of a particular Favorite among his Kine, which had stumbled across a treacherous Mud-pit and sank inexorably to her Doom within the Mire, an event which was accompanied by any number of dreary Moans from the poor Beast as it struggled against its ineluctible Fate.
Goodman Davyson, a Daun of middle-age who described himself as "a right honest Farmer and cannae nobody tell ye otherwise," explained at some length the Troubles that the excessive Damp had wrought upon his Fields, causing him the Loss of anywhere from twenty-five to two-hundred Bushels of what he averred were "the best d--d Turnips in the whole of Kessia, never ye mind what old Goody Dimmit down the Way says." The aforementioned Goody Dimmit could not be reached for Comment upon the relative Merits of her Produce, having "gone down Trenkin-Way for to see to poor Miss Treedy what came down with the Influenzy when the Rains come." Davyson offered unbidden the impartial judgement that Goody Dimmit "was as like to kill the poor Girl as cure her, see iffin she don't" -- surely another sad Loss to mark up to the wretched Wet of this intemperate Summer should his dire Predictions come to pass.
Besides the more mundane Ills of rotted Crops and lamed Live-stock, more spectacular Perils have likewise been visited upon the Unwary. Goodman Davyson noted that the intense Lightnings of the many Storms this Summer had been responsible for the utter Destruction of a neighbor's Cottage, which fragile Dwelling had been crushed under a massive Oak-tree struck down in the midst of one such Tempest. However, Davyson offered the Opynion that the neighbor, a Vintner by trade, had brought such a Fate upon himself on account of his having been "terrible Stingy with the Grapevines this Season, and don't no Goddess but Vaen hold with such Meanness of Spirit."
Goodman Davyson went on to express the firm Conviction that in fact this unnatural Weather was in all likelihood the fault of this one man's terrible Greed, and that if only he could be made to Repent of his stubborn Venality and embrace a Spirit of Generosity towards his deserving neighbors, then calm and sunny Dayes might once again prevail. Given the Mildness with which the Autumn has come on, one can only assume that the Fruits of the Vintner's trade once again flow generously across his neighbors' discerning Palates, and all is once again right with the Countryside.
Kolbre Edition Age Of Dreams, 647
*** NEWS IN BRIEFE ***
Many Kessians will recall with sad Regret the untimely death of Lord Mackival Aeterna last Summer, struck down in the Bloom of Youth by some sudden Malady. A versatile man with talents in both Mechanics and the Arts, Lord Aeterna had only recently renounced his former ties to Quesalia in order to pledge his Allegiance to Kessia's own Ruler, our good King Vek. It was thus that his death was felt all the more keenly, for his loss was now all of Peregone's as well. However, Death being the mysterious and mutable Phenomenon that it evidently is, it has now come to pass that Lord Aeterna has demonstrated an admirable Devotion to the realms of the Living by returning quite unexpectedly from those of the Dead, some nine Months after what must now be seen as his rather premature Funeral. After so long a time in the Haunts of the Deceased, it should come as no great Surprise that the poor man retains none of his Memories upon his return, and only the vaguest Sense of the kind of Person he might once have been. But in this matter he may yet have Hope, having enlisted the Aid of Mages Council Liasion Malo Haithcock in the re-habilitation of his much-abused Psyche. It should be noted that Lord Aeterna, apparently a restless and irregular resident of Ul'Mydar for some time prior to his eventual return, made a ghostly Appearance this past Mylywyth, at which time his Shade seemed possessed of all his livelihood's Memories, but did not linger beyond the end of Trost's dark Holy-day.
Kaezarians be Wary! In Deatre of this year a most Vile act of Cowardice and attempted Murder was perpetuated upon the person of Lady Ange Fitzroy, who reciev'd a package containing a bottle of Wine. The worthy Lady believed the vintage was Lhaemae, from the renowned Oceala'aen Winery, and having assayed a taste was immediately struck down by a bitter Poison, only barely escaping her immediate Demise. The evil Concoction proved to be not wine at all, but a juice of Unknown Origin, being reddish-purple in Color with a creamy-fruit Odor. No "leads" have been so far divulged by the Imperial Guard at this juncture, and the mystery of the Perpetrator may go forever unsolved. This Publication warns its readers to take Caution in accepting parcels without a Return-Address, particularly those containing Victuals or Spirits, so that this unfortunate Assault upon Lady Fitzroy not be repeated on any other person.
In spite of the perpetually looming Peril of the Veil Lord and the departure of Curan Norremitore from the post of Royal Bard, opportunity for Diversion has not been entirely lacking in Kaezar these Summer Months. Though Astolpho Mandel's greatest Expertise lies in the Astral Magicks and the peculiar art of Summoning, this did not prevent him from indulging in one of his other chief Passions, the enjoyment of History and Art, nor in attempting to foster such Appreciation in others. With this end in mind, Mister Mandel invited all interested Persons in Kaezar to attend a Scavenger-hunt on the 4th of Deatre, which took place at Kaezar's own Filk Museum.
Food and drinks were provided, as well as a List of Questions that participants in the Scavenger-hunt were to answer by means of close Perusal of the Collections of the Filk Museum and the Museum of Arms and Armor, as well as of their immediate Environs. After being led by the list on a merry Romp through these Bastions of Culture, the Participants reassembled in the Foyer of the Filk to turn in their Question-sheets. The Winner was announced as Miss Adrienne Burdon, who returned first of all the Participants, with only one Question answered incorrectly. In reward for her efforts she received a tidy Sum of 30 000 Sovereigns.
Our readers are encouraged to try their own Hand at the list, which, in lieu of monetary Reward, will certainly provide the far greater Prize of Knowledge for all those who are able to complete it.
~ * Mister Mandel's Scavenger Hunt List * ~
1. Painted the Filk Museum lobby ceiling
2. Architect of the Kaezar Palace
3. Established the Temple of the Sundered Heart
4. Lady ______ ______ of Fishborne
5. Eyes of ________
6. Creator of the drell
7. Lord ______ _______ delivered the _______ Address at ________.
8. The Warlord of Surt
9. Created Channeling
10. Biographer of Lady Pendre
11. Theorized that religion and faith have no place in "modern" Kenzian culture
12. Who were the costumes on display worn by?
13. Creator of the "Bardess and the Dragyn" series
14. Number of Tapestries in the "Bardess and the Dragyn" series
15. Tomas _______, Priest of Eyssa
16. Number of Paintings in the Malory Wing
17. Last King of the Nund Dynasty
18. Salvaged Stone from where?
19. _________ ________'s Personal collection
20. Gifted by the haefdins of Briarbrook to King Cedric II
21. Name of the ancient ceremonial weapon of the MacVahl family.
Kolbre Edition Age Of Dreams, 647
AN INTERVIEW WITH CURAN NORREMITORE
Royal Bard Emeritus and Gentleman of Taste
What follows is the second in an ongoing series of interviews of local people of Importance or Interest. Since Royal Bard Emeritus Curan Norremitore joins our Staff with this latest Edition, we at the Eye felt that it was Fitting to speak with him concerning his History, his Influences, and Ambitions, thereby introducing our Readers to this interesting young man of Talent and Taste. This interview took place on the 15th of Thistle at Pava's Tea-room, soon after Mister Norremitore's being hired on with the Eye.
The Kaezarian Eye: Welcome to the Eye! You've become quite the name around Kaezar in the last couple of years. How long have you been resident in this city?
Curan Norremitore: Well, I was born and raised here, but... notably active for just over two years now.
Eye: Really? One pictures you as hailing from somewhere more... glamorous.
Norremitore: My father was an Anjou man.
Eye: Ah! That's how you can speak Anjour so well, then. Did you grow up in the city itself?
Norremitore: Yes, indeed so.
Eye: What part of Kaezar did you live in?
Norremitore: High Terrace for my childhood.
Eye: Of course. I don't really see you as bumping about with the Boggans in the mud-pits of town.
( The interviewee quite suddenly began to evince an appearance of discomfited evasiveness rather remarkable for having occurred so early on in the interview, at a point well before one would even think of introducing uncomfortable topics of the kind liable to put a sudden end to the conversation. )
Eye: Or did you? That would have to be more interesting than the Terrace.
Norremitore: That came later, truth.
Eye: Do tell. Did your family fall on hard times?
Norremitore: Not so much my family. At least... not recently.
( The interviewee here displayed some amount of reluctance to continue, and required imaginative prompting. )
Eye: So you were going about your life on High Terrace, and then terrible calamity struck. Dragyns swept down and devoured your family before your very eyes. Filled with a potent brew of anger and sorrow, you vowed your revenge. But first came many hard years scrabbling by in Kaezar's bitterest slums, fighting to eke out a meagre living.
Norremitore: [clearly nonplussed by this extraordinary synopsis of events, its being to all appearances so much more interesting than the reality] It was... a different sort of dramatic, though I do suppose the results end up being something the same.
Eye: So you ended up out on the streets?
Eye: For how long?
Norremitore: About a dozen years, though some time at length was spent amongst the Lior.
Eye: The Lior were your mother's people?
Norremitore: Yes, they said they knew my mother, at the very least.
Eye: Did they help to get you off the streets, or did you only see them periodically?
Norremitore: Whenever they were in Kessia, I resided with them, and they provided for me as best they could when they were not.
Eye: Why didn't you just leave Kessia to travel with them?
Norremitore: Kessia has always been my homeland. Though, I did go with them to Kitzkannaugh.
Eye: Oh? What did you all go there for?
Norremitore: There was a notable festival being held there, and my kin thought it might be a good way to earn some coin.
Eye: Did you decide to pursue a bardic path as a result of traveling with these Lior?
Norremitore: Yes, how could I not?
Eye: Well, you could have wanted to all along! Or hated it at the time, and then decided later that it wasn't so bad after all.
Norremitore: I'm afraid it wasn't quite that interesting. It might have been in my blood, thanks to my mother, but it was with the Lior that I actually learned.
Eye: What would you say were the most important influences in your life that made you who you are today? Or was it just your Lior kin?
Norremitore: The Lior, certainly. I suppose whatever hardships I went through were what started it all. The Lior trained me in the arts, and Miss Beckah Lotheniel, among others, allowed it to flourish.
Eye: Ah. Well, I'm sure Beckah must have been a good influence.
Norremitore: She offered me my first official post, working as her aide.
Eye: But it wasn't long before you were taken on by Seton as Esselyon's valet. How did that come to pass?
Norremitore: Miss Lotheniel no longer had need of my services. Lord Blackmoore suggested that I offer them to Lord Esselyon and I suppose I impressed.
Eye: No doubt. What sorts of duties did you have there? I'm sure there are a great many people who aren't overly familiar with such posts.
Norremitore: As Valet de Chambre? Well, I woke his Lordship up, delivered breakfast to him, and other meals as necessary. I polished his arms and armor, powdered and maintained his wigs, cleaned and stitched his clothing as appropriate. I was on hand to serve his Lordship whenever he had need of me.
Eye: What did you enjoy most about your time spent serving Esselyon?
Norremitore: There were times of great fondness with his Lordship, the Steward, and others. It felt something like a family, at times. The annual Twelfth Night was, of course, quite enjoyable as well, as were the various audiences Lord Esselyon held.
Eye: If you have any interesting stories for the readers, I'm sure they'd be glad for it.
Norremitore: I could think of a few, but it would likely take me a bit of time to tell them. With Esselyon's actions as of late, I suppose I have been content to forget about these times. It pains me to think upon what happened to him.
Eye: Understandable, I suppose. What eventually led you to decide to apply for the post of Royal Bard with the Court?
Norremitore: I suppose it was some discontent, some idleness within Seton that made me yearn to be of service to His Majesty. Perhaps my Lior wanderlust. It helped that Miss Lotheniel had traipsed off to Indrejan, leaving the position open.
Eye: What kinds of challenges did you face as Royal Bard?
Norremitore: Oh, there were a great many challenges, yes. The events I planned were not easy in organizing. Miss Lotheniel truly was an inspiration, though, in trying to hold monthly events.
( At this point another person entered the tearoom, and the interviewee once again required some prompting to return to the topic at hand. )
Norremitore: Yes, a good deal of challenges, organizing monthly events as best I could. It became an increasingly difficult endeavor, as one might assume, as the months went on.
Eye: What do you feel was your greatest accomplishment as Royal Bard? I'm sure I recall some fairly impressive sorts of events that you put on.
Norremitore: My greatest accomplishment... I was quite fond of my Cha'Solas event. Yes, either that or the Royal Masquerade.
Eye: What was the Cha'Solas event like?
Norremitore: It was the one where I had several people tell impressive tales of heroism.
Eye: What was it about these events that made you feel especially proud?
Norremitore: I was pleased to see my events entertain so many of His Majesty's subjects. I suppose that is what made me proud and causes me to remember those two events in particular fondness.
Eye: And now you're working with the paper! What do you hope to accomplish with the column you'll be writing?
Norremitore: Much the same. I hope to entertain and inform the readers upon any and all subjects that I might take up.
Eye: What's the most horrible fashion faux-pas you've ever witnessed?
Norremitore: [very emphatically] Oylet leather.
( The interviewee here nearly became involved in a physical altercation with the person who had entered the tearoom several minutes prior, who expressed views which the interviewee found objectionable. However, disaster was averted and the conversation with some effort steered back on course. )
Eye: I'm sure you'll have a chance to enlighten the world about the evils of oylet leather in your column. Why don't you give me a comment or two about your Oylets for Orphans program and what you hope to accomplish with that?
Norremitore: I hope to better educate the youth of Kaezar, the disenfranchised and forsaken, that they might better themselves when they mature.
Eye: A worthy endeavor. But why oylets?
Norremitore: Whatever represents love and affection better than an oylet? Especially for a child, I should perhaps add.
Eye: Did your own childhood experiences make you want to do something for the unfortunate youth of the city?
Norremitore: Just so. This, in combination with Miss Lotheniel's former orphan program prompted me to restart and expand it.
Eye: Well then. Our hour is up, but I thank you very much for your time. We all look forward to reading your new column in our next edition.
Kolbre Edition Age Of Dreams, 647
THE CRITICAL EYE - Reviews of Culture and the Arts
~ Hylaria's Year in Review ~
My goodness, how the time does fly! It seems hardly any time at all that this humble reviewer was all aflutter over the talents of our dear Miss Beckah Lotheniel, yet since this column last appeared we have not only seen the departure of Miss Lotheniel, but also the entire tenure of Master Curan Norremitore, the Royal Bard this last year. But what a year it was!
Our sweet Miss Lotheniel, with her disarming disposition and winsome ways, would surely be a difficult act to follow for anybody, but Mister Norremitore rose to the challenge with exactly the sort of incomparable aplomb that one might expect from one who had once served so ably as Lord Trantris Esselyon's Valet de Chambre (and it IS so sad what became of Lord Esselyon, who is surely a TRAGIC figure if ever there were one, suited to any number of perfectly THRILLING dramas that I do hope some talented playwright chooses to write and stage one day, for they would prove magnificently diverting, and yet also so very edifying, would they not?)
Of course, my dear readers will remember Mister Norremitore very well from his appearance in these very pages even before he received his Royal appointment, for I assure you that, being an excellent judge of artistry and character, I was always most firmly convinced that this was a young man who would go very far, being quite brimming over with talent as well as having been graced with the most CAPTIVATING looks! It does not surprize me one whit that Mister Norremitore should now also choose to ply his pen in the cause of Fashion, for surely there can never have been more stylish a man, nor one who ever cut a finer figure, than this wonderfully handsome young Sylvan! As for his love for oylets, which I fear many cold-hearted persons in this city are wont to expose to mockery and scorn, I say that this trait of Mister Norremitore's only displays that great GENTLENESS and WARMTH of spirit that are the hallmark of any truly sensitive soul, and to those who find this worthy of ridicule, I say, FIE upon thee! -- you are most hard-hearted and lacking in all finer feeling, and have no business judging your moral betters!
But I must leave off this unpleasant topic of unfeeling persons, of whom there are never any lack in this callous world, and whom I often fear includes certain persons associated with this very publication, tho' I should never be so very rude as to point a finger at any one -- yes, I must leave all this aside and raise my voice in praise for Mister Norremitore's WONDROUS career! There can be no one who has ever devoted so much time and talent to the post, nor put their heart into it so completely. I feel that I must especially call attention to Mister Norremitore's GRAND performance as the conductor of a quite talented Kessian orchestra at this past winter's delightful Masque, in which his VERVE and ENERGY brought the players to life and goaded them onwards to heights of artistic excellence that they had surely never before achieved, and possibly never shall again! And as for his own performance upon the harp, to which we have all so happily been treated on various occasions this last year, there is simply no expressing in suitable superlatives how absolutely DIVINE his playing is! In fact, given the plethora of artistic, aesthetic, and moral virtues displayed by this astonishing young Sylvan it must be evident to everybody that Mister Norremitore simply has NO equal!
In light of the multitude of marvellous qualities possessed by Mister Norremitore, it can only come as a pleasure that an interview with him may be found within these very pages! -- and I am likewise certain that every reader shall THRILL to the romance of Mister Norremitore's past, in which he has overcome so many sad obstacles to rise to such a pinnacle of GRANDEUR! Tho' it does seem quite disappointing that someone who is so assuredly blind to Master Norremitore's many virtues (and who seems to favor the -violin- above all other instruments -- ahem!) should have been granted the privilege of interviewing such a delightful young man at length! I feel certain that this -nameless- interviewer has run quite roughshod all across poor Mister Norremitore and trampled heedlessly upon his fine sensibilities, and that a nymph of delicate temperament would surely have presented a better candidate to perform an interview with such a refined young man, but then, what CAN one do when one is evidently no more than a lowly arts critic who cannot be entrusted with such lofty tasks!
Humble as I must be in the face of such decisions, I confess it pains me very deeply to think how ill our dear Royal Bard Emeritus must have been dealt in this matter -- a pain equalled only by my complete and utter JOY at the knowledge that, however harsh his treatment may have been, he has consented to lend his immense dignity and taste to this very publication in the guise of its new Fashion Commentator!
I am certain that you, my dear readers, will all join me in extending a warm and hearty WELCOME to Mister Curan Norremitore, as well as in giving him an emphatic TWO WINGS UP for his wondrous year as Royal Bard!
~ Kholer's Fall Review ~
Let me start right out by getting the obvious out the way: it's been a terrible year for the arts in Kaezar. Oh, sure, you'd think once we finally got that daisy-brained know-nothing Lotheniel out of the way the scene would finally be clear for some real practitioners of the arts to step forward, but no such luck. Instead we got -- of course -- another elf. Where do they all keep coming from? Aren't there enough trees for them to hug in the forests these days?
Since Curan Norremitore was the first man with guts enough to take on the overly effeminate Royal Bard position, I hoped that maybe he'd also be man enough to overcome the handicap of his background and give us some good old-fashioned foot-stomping entertainment. Unfortunately, it soon became painfully obvious that Norremitore's chief talent is his ability to out-girl the worst in the long chain of girly-bards. There was going to be no culture to speak of aside from prissy pavannes and namby-pamby songs about lost love and oylets. Not that it even mattered, since everyone in Kaezar was too lazy to haul their arses off the steps outside Breen's and actually engage themselves in anything more challenging than counting the number of slops buckets thrown out the window in a day. Now how's that for a landscape photo contest?
If all this weren't enough -- and let me tell you, it was, and then some -- our manager was apparently too busy murdering people with violins for there to be a newspaper to write about (the lack of) culture for anyway. Mind you, this might have been tolerable if she had been using this violin to crush people's skulls or were jabbing the bow through their throats, but no, it was all through some kind of musical mind-magic, which if you ask me just smacks of more froofy elf-ness. In light of all this nonsense, I decided a change of scene was required.
Back on the high plains of Kuthgard, that's where you'll find real music and performing these days, none of this fancy-pants prancing that passes for dancing in Kessia lately. I was lucky enough to show up in time for the annual Darkmoon Stompers' Bazaar, which consistently offers the best in the kind of vital performance artistry exemplified in Kaezar only by such true talents as Captain Ghurak of the Imperials. There was manly dancing and drum-beating and plenty of genuine gharkin whiskey, not that piddly daun stuff you find in Breen's. There were also real songs about hunting and epic battles and goring your enemy's face open with your tusks -- that is to say, songs about the kinds of things that actually matter to people other than lovelorn oylet-kissers, ones where the only mention of fuzzy animals comes during the feast at the end where they're being roasted on a spit.
It was at this point that I heard I might actually have a job in Kaezar again, so I took my leave of true culture to return and make a probably futile effort to impart such to the people of Kaezar. I don't hold out much hope.
Two tusks down for the so-called arts of Kessia, two up for the real deal in Kuthgard.
Kolbre Edition Age Of Dreams, 647
AS EYE SEE IT
By Auntie Anony
Hello Hello Hello - Hafe you hearde!
So much to Tell!
A certain il'lthye gentleman of the vulpine persuasion hath been comforting a half-Lior lady with lovely jade green eyes while her brute of a fiance drinks all their money away in Koje... First an outlaw and then a drunkard -- the poor girl is so unlucky in love! And all just in time for his wife to return to Kaezar!
Auntie wonders if Mages Council Liaison Malo Haithcock rues losing the affections of former Royal Magus Lady Vivael Wethrin'aer to Lord Esselyon, considering where they ended up afterwards. Poor boy! But he hath rebounded with the help of our very own Head Reporter. Mayhap he's found virtue in silence!
That rapscallion Kalanin is walking the straight and narrow! Aunty hopes he's been keeping his hands out of other people's pockets in the meantime. Jakob knows if you've been naughty, Kalanin!
Speaking of naughty! Mareschal Marian is back from Quesalia with his sights set on that gentle healer Preldin. Are there wedding bells in their future? What about the former Royal Chirurgeon, Miss Lidrona? Is it bigamy or divorce! Aunty can't wait to find out.
Kitty goes a'courtin! "Miss" Niodevi doesn't make any secret of her profession (or her scandalous wardrobe... dearie, it's too cold for all that peekaboo lace! Put a sweater on!), but an inda'sim? Me-ow!
Druim'dwer everywhere! Aunty wonders if they were all thrown out of wherever they came from. Breen finally has some company as rude as he is!
Did you hear about what happened to Lady Fitzroy? What are the Guards doing with all those fines if they can't catch the villain responsible, Aunty wants to know. The poor Lady's been slapped so many times, Aunty's surprised her head is still on straight.
So many questions for the former Royal Bard, except for the most important one: where is his lovely wife? Penthras keeps her chained to her books, we hear, and her sad husband sighing away the hours back in lonely Kaezar.
Auntie sees all and tells moste!
Kolbre Edition Age Of Dreams, 647
IN THE PUBLIC EYE:
Letters and Opynion
Pernicious Pixie Plotting Puts People on...pAlert!
The people of Kessia are once again struck by noisome misdeeds the likes of which can only be attributed to those pint sized skylarkers known as pixies. These foot high freaks have been known to cause irreversibly deadly tricks on travellers in the past -- and now we are seeing what the combined efforts of a legion of Pixies can really accomplish.
Oh, sure, people will try to attribute these terrible deeds to some evil "Veil Lord," but I ask you -- how many times can Kessia possibly be held under the threat of Veil Lord conquering? Someone might point out the whole "gambler's fallacy" part of this logic, my reply to that would be: Mind your own business! Kessia has done no ill to those Lords of Veil, and they must realize that there is more than one country in Thrael. No, I'm afraid even Kessia cannot have single handedly irritated every demonic monstrosity that happens to be living in an astral realm. We must turn to other, more reasonable causes for the terrors we are now forced to endure. Saner heads... must prevail.
HORDES OF RAMPAGING PIXIES PLOTTING OUR UNTIMELY DEMISE!!! This, good readers, is where all of the evidence -- evidence that has been calmly and rationally gathered and meticulously detailed in a logical process so painstakingly done as to make the position unassailable. I outline it thusly:
1. Veil Lords don't make adorable bastions of death and set them loose upon the population. Demonic WUBWUVS?!?!? Fire breathing BUNNY RABBITS???!?!?! Not the sort of thing that pops out of the deranged mind of a demonic overlord. However EXACTLY the sort of thing that pops out of the mind of a deranged pixie! Those midgetized monsters are not only extremely dangerous, but toxically adorable -- and is not a fire breathing bunny rabbit the epitome of toxically adorable?
2. Pixies have not been seen in the area for the past two years. I have done a series of calculations -- taking into account weather, wind speed, tidal manipulations which would wreak havoc on pixian mental rhythms, and a variety of other details. Do you know how much time it would take a horde of rampaging pixies to plot such a nefarious attack on Kessia? Have you any idea?? ANY??? TWO YEARS PRECISELY!
Well, good readers, it is up to you. Do we waste more of our valuable time chasing after imaginary Veil Lords which were clearly spawned by those elements of the aristocracy who would waste our hard earned tax money on building armies to fight such a thing? Or do we demand that our King and his nobility take the Pixie Revolution which is so clearly evidenced in the preceding manuscript seriously, and save our poor, frightened children from their pernicious plots and dastardly doings?
I leave it to you.
Kolbre Edition Age Of Dreams, 647
@@@@@ WANTED @@@@@ - Men and Women of the Empire in good standing with the law who are interested in serving their fellow Citizenry by joining the ranks of the Imperial Guard. All applicants must be at least 16 years of age, not have any major crimes on the record within the last two years, and be willing to swear their allegiance to His Imperial Majesty.
- policing the cities and kingdoms of the Empire and upholding its Laws and Ordinances
- defending its Officials, and
- defending its Lands and Holdings against all enemies, both Foreign and Domestic.
A 5000 Sovereign signing bonus is authorized, and a generous monthly stipend included. All applicants should either leave notice at the Imperial Keep, or contact one of the 8th Regiment's officers directly.
FOR SALE 1 Parrot (male). Red and gry, about 5 yrs. in age. Docile. Spks fluent Common, Carabello, sundry Phrases in the Anjou tongue. Also fluent in Orcish owing to long resdnce in areas occupied by same. Asking 1 Fasul or best offr, trades negotiable. Pls. remand inquiries to proprietor of Shiman's hostelry.
Locks opened fer cheep! Approved by the Society fer prevention of Cruelty ta Veckles! Ratsi's Lock Shop, Greys Ramble, City of Kaezar
New merchandise! Yggasil's Menswear is proud to offer our latest line of boot hose, coatees, cravats and neck stocks, gaiters, galligaskins, justaucorps and greatcoats, sashes, stockings, and waistcoats. Look for the bronze door on Duel Lane in Shady Court, Cannikin Heights, Never-upon-Vinre.
The Silver Plum is actively interviewing for the job of Downstairs Maid. Will be responsible for cleaning the bar, smoking room, gaming room, ballroom, foyer and alcove of large establishment. A fair wage for experienced domestics, less for non-experienced. Uniform provided. See Horace at The Silver Plum, High Terrace, Armyre's Walk, Kaezar.
Horses Bought! We Pay Gud Pryces for Olde Horse and Mule Flesh. Get Ryd of Dobbyn Here! See Beil at Beil's Meat Market
EYES PRESERVED * VISION GUARDED * BLINDNESS PREVENTED * In Cooperation with Local Empaths and Glassworks * The Royal Scrivener Fills All Your Spectacle Needs * APERTURE SPECTACLES * BOW SPECTACLES * TINTED SPECTACLES * MONOCLES
The Kaezarian Eye is still seeking talented, inquisitive, and DEDICATED writers! The Eye currently has Openings for General Reporters, as well as positions of a more Specialized nature, including Food Critic, Astrologer, and Out-of-Town Correspondent. Any Person hired by the Eye must be willing to produce at least one Article per Edition, and will receive a generous Salary from the timely completion of their Duties. All Persons interested in Applying for these positions, or having ideas for other Topics on which they might wish to write, are encouraged to speak with Siovanhe Starsong, acting manager.
Kolbre Edition Age Of Dreams, 647
NOTE FROM THE EDITORS:
Thanke you for purchasing, or Otherwyse obtaining, our newspaper.
Until the streets of Kaezar are paved, May the Publick Be Wary.
Minerva Sartchilde, Owner and Chief Editor.
Siovanhe Starsong, Head Reporter and Acting Manager.