A Spreading Darkness at the Yew Crypts ^top
Just this evening, word reached me that the town crier of Northwood had begun to cry out of a darkness spreading from the Yew Crypts to Northwood. This Northwood resident asked for aid in defense of the region and I sent pigeons flying to all quarters. Likewise, I dispatched one of my agents to the crypts, a fellow gifted for gathering information without becoming personally involved in said events, to gather what intelligence he may. Below is his accounting:
Down into the bowls of the Crypts, up into the connected halls strewn with dispatched bone knights, liches, and lesser undead I crept. Defenders rallied to the scene fought valiantly, some holding their ground, others falling to undead claws and arcane energies. A dragon climbed the steps to the pinnacle and flung several liche to the stones at its master's beconning. Knights of Yew, Mists of Avalon, and many others who clustered too close in heated battle to make out insignia, cleared the hall slowly of the undead hoste.
As the din quieted, Ghaleon, long time nemisis of Yew, strode to his black throne. Close at hand, much alike a great hound hoping for its master's scraps, stood a towering liche all in grey. He was addressed as the Arche Liche and looked well the part. This creature chatted among the gore to Ghaleon, caring little for the massing defenders of Yew and commented, "They doubt the power of Ventryn and what I shall bring..." A smile from the Grey Elf and the liche continued, "...doubt the power of your alliance".
More fighting arose about the hall and their words were difficult to make out over the din of combat. There was some mention of the Well of Souls, possibly it being a gate through which these evils now file or simply a source of power for Ghaleon and this mentioned "Ventryn".
When it quieted some, Ghaleon was ending a short speech about past injustices against himself by the people of Yew and finished with the proclamation, "This entire forest will be a sea of undead." This was echoed by the Arch Liche with, "Guard your homes. I shall strike there next."
It would seem that Trinsic is not enough to satiate these undead appetites. People of Yew would do well to learn from the lesson of that fallen city and make ready their defenses. If you have any other information regarding these happenings, please send them in, as any lead might well be the clue that turns the tide of this unhappy war.
Posted by Balandar - 10:25 PM EST ^top
An Attempt to Spread the Plague ^top
We received this notice:
To all Kinship Village citizens and visitors,
I just wanted to make everyone aware of what happened in the village when I was working the other night.
A man came in asking where he was and questions about the plague that's been foretold by the gypsy lady Tatiana. The last word from her was that the plague would be spread through food, which has already happened to a young girl in her gypsy band. He also asked about the recent attacks made on the village by evil mages.
He then said he had an offer to extend to the village. He would organize clean food supply to come from the other major cities for a price. At this point, I directed him to Loric who was sitting in the tavern at the time as well, but I continued to follow the conversation.
Benedict was the name the man gave to Loric and he said he was from Serpent's Hold. Just an ordinary merchant is what he told us, though I felt a twinge of suspicion. Loric was as polite as he always is to people offering aid to the village, but told the man that we were already taken care of by the village's many allies. The man handed Loric some food samples. "Just in case," he said.
Everyone said very little until the man had walked out the tavern door and headed down the street. Then everyone began talking at once and a couple of the patrons quickly went to follow him. Loric left to seek Tatiana in her tent in Minoc to see if she could tell anything about the food samples the man had given him.
While the men were away, the sudden appearance of mages outside in the street caused me to hide under the bar for a while. I could hear the sounds of spells being cast and fighting taking place outside. Some of it even sounded to be in the tavern as more warriors were called in to turn the mages away.
Once the battle had died away, people began returning to the tavern tending wounds and comforting one another. Loric had returned some time during the battle with news that he had not found the gypsy lady in Minoc. He decided to gather a small group and seek the man in Serpent's Hold.
A small group was assembled and split up to search Serpent's Hold. Benedict was spotted in a tavern there, but magicked himself quickly away before he could be confronted.
Loric returned to the village and had Cantos, one of our retired barkeeps, test the food Benedict gave him. Cantos determined that the food was tainted, though with what we do not know. We can only conclude that Benedict had intended to spread some sort of poison or illness through the village with his "clean food supply" and upon failing that, had sent the mages to attack us.
Why? We do not know. I can hope that we have turned him away and that no further attempts will be made to spread this vile illness, but I do not think he is done yet.
I urge everyone to be very careful who you accept food from and be watchful for the mage attacks. We will do everything we can to make sure the food we serve in the village is safe.
Barmaid, Kinship Village
Juo'nar Calls for Trinsic's Fall ^top
We were told this tale of Juo'nar's recent appearance.
As is the normal schedule for our guild, this night promised another busy combat training session. Our members began to gather at the Tower of Virtue, and I found myself in Britain, shopping for the necessary reagents, bandages, and weapons.
With frightening urgency, a messenger rushed to my side.
"Lieutenant, a message from the Lady Eve of Trinsic."
"Very well, lad", I said, as I dispatched the youth with a gold sovereign.
Tearing open the wax seal, I read about the Guard Captain Geoffrey, and his plans to mount an expedition in an effort gather information on the recent undead attacks. The Lady Eve suggested we find this man, join his band, and aid him in any way possible.
With a deep sigh, I realized there would be no training tonight. This eve would bring blood.
After a short period of muster, the Crusaders of Virtue began the search for the Guard Captain of which Eve had spoke. We were one of many guilds in pursuit of this clue, and men were dispatched to every city in the land. Regardless of our toils, Geoffrey could not be found, and with failure hanging upon our shoulders, our guild regrouped in Trinsic to discuss our next move.
Upon our arrival, it was obvious, the situation had made the decision for us. Men and women ran about, fleeing the city in droves, as warriors and mage's prepared for the defense of Trinsic. One word was on everyone's lips; Juo'nar.
The city gates were barricaded, and men from almost every guild were posted throughtout the town, prepared to fight to the death. The Purple Guardians of Honor, The Order of the Griffon, and The Paladins of Trinsic were all well represented at the East gate. My guild was assigned a roving patrol of the Trinsic Jail Area.
Minutes drifted into hours, with nothing but scant raids of a half dozen undead beasts at a time. As the night became early morning, most of the defenders had been dismissed, leaving only small patrols to guard the city.
This was the opportunity Jou'nar sought. With no opposition, the green liche appeared out of the early morning mist and began his torment of those, unfortunate enough, to cross his path.
"Trinsic shall fall" were his only words, as he struck down one man after another, brushing them aside like so many flies. A silver axe, wielded by an unknown knight was driven home into the liche's chest, to no avail. A recruit of CoV by the name of Brett Harringer fired a bolt at the creature, but he was ineffective as well. Both men paid dearly for their bravery.
Then, just as suddenly as he had arrived, the Liche called out an encantation, and was gone with a blast of light.
This night brought more questions than it answered. Why did Juo'nar depart with such haste, when he was not even challenged? Why did he not bring forth his minions in earnest and slaughter those of us who slept as the battle raged? Why did he not take the city when it was most vulnerable?
Another enigma that we, the defenders of Trinsic must unravel.
Crusaders of Virtue
It should also be noted that Trinsic is faring worse than many of the other cities. Lord British has said that he fears reinforcements will not reach there in time, resources are spread thin as it is, and I have received notice that the bridge over the river leading from Trinsic to Britian is being held by lizards and the like (more news on that in another story). Our Liege has called for all non-essential personel and citizens to evacutate if they feel they need to.
I know that many of our brave defenders will stay to the last. This may turn into a guerilla defense of the town, so I wish all of Trinsic's citizens and her brave defenders the luck of the Virtues.
Posted by Balandar - 11:48 AM EST ^top
Keeonan Spotted During a Recent Orc Attack in Yew! ^top
This tale was recently told to us:
I woke up in a bed of Empath Abbey, Yew, with the worst headache in months. The monks had been kind enough to grant me asylum one last eve when, returning from that ill-fated caravan to Britain, I had limped back into town. That must have been the worst battle I ever witnessed first-hand. We were betrayed, no doubt by the same man who hired us. We should have seen it. His insistence on taking the east road, his continuous rant about our delays, ... It was as if he was worried the "highwaymen" would leave before we got into their hands. Oh, it was a superb ambush, I had to grant them that. A strike force of Shadow Clan orcs, undeads from Necropolis and sorcerers from The Balance - may that name live forever in infamy ! – were waiting for us at the first bridge, west of Stark Keep. It wasn't so much a battle than a slaughter. Despite our gallant resistance, we fell swiftly to a lethal combination of fire, lightning, poison and blades. Many of my brothers and sisters of the Mists fell that day, along with Shadow Rangers, and other Yew freedom-fighters. Infighting had been our doom. The Paladin who led us had tried his best to get us organized but individualities had been our downfall. As long as Good stood divided and Evil united, we couldn't prevail. Given the recent attacks on several towns, that didn't bode well for our future.
After a quick trip to the bank area to get some decent equipment, a look at my wristwatch (a nice New Year present if there was one) told me I had missed the best part of the day already. I groaned in despair as I realized that Flicker and Mona's wedding was already over. Two of my brethren of the Mists of Avalon had united their destiny on this day, hoping to forge a bright future for themselves on this beleaguered world. By now, the reception must have begun at the Yew Winery. With a little luck, I would still arrive in time to offer them my congratulations. A monk had gone to fetch Omen, my trusty steed, for me. Vaulting into the saddle, I took the direction of the main doors. The Winery was just a stone-throw away of the Abbey. I would arrive quickly. Little did I know what was awaiting me outside.
As soon as I cleared the doors, I found myself in the middle of a large battle. It seemed an orc army had invaded Yew once again. Not Shadow Clanners though, shardies, a clear sign it was an attack directed by the mysterious evil Mistress which had been behind the late town attacks. I could see my Brothers and Sisters of the Mists streaming out of the Winery and wading courageously into battle, clad only in ceremonial armor for the most part. The Lord F'nor was on the roof, making fire and lightning rain down on the invaders. I grabbed my hand harp and started playing a music that would, hopefully, get the monsters angry and confused enough to attack each others rather than the natives. Alas, it seemed they were already under some kind of hypnotic spell for they were unusually unresponsive.
Since subtlety had failed, only brute force remained … In the same move I exchanged my harp for my bow, my eyes already scanning the crowd for a suitable target. That's when I saw him. A strange man, clad in a light green armor, walking right in the middle of the fight as casually as if he was only taking a stroll. He had only a runebook in his hands and seemed to be greatly bored by the spectacle of death we were offering him. His skin has a weird purple skin from afar .. until I realized it was in fact covered by a giant tattoo. That alone identified him to me as Keeonean, the infamous evil sorcerer who was behind the attacks on my town. Apparently, I hadn't been alone to make that deduction for Captain Paul Atreides of the Yew Militia fairly ran to the man, ordering him to stop and surrender while others started converging on him with lethal intentions.
The man didn't seem very eager to surrender though, and he simply continued to walk around, unconcerned. Well, I couldn't let such a evil man escape his just punishment so I fired at him in the hope a minor wound would stop him long enough for the militia to arrest him. The arrow struck true but was deflected by his armor as easily as rain. In the next second, the weapons of no less than three able-bodied warriors struck him simultaneously and he simply yawned. He YAWNED ! And not a drop of blood marred his skin. I saw and heard distinctively a man offer him a Gate to Necropolis whose inhabitants were apparently eager to help him. I recognized the sorcerer as one of those who had ambushed the caravan the day before. He didn't seem to hear the offer though .. or if he did, he clearly wasn't interested.
As if in a nightmare I saw my mother charging him from the north, ready to smite him, but the town guards - who until then had seemed in a daze - suddenly shook off their lethargy and jumped in her path, not only preventing her from reaching Keeonean but also swinging their deadly weapons at her, slaying her instantly. Disbelief warred with despair in my heart and I rushed forward to salvage what I could from her body who was lying in the mud of the battlefield. I could vaguely hear people saying the sorcerer had disappeared but I no longer cared. Unfortunately, the worse was yet to come.
As soon as the orc attack was over, undeads from Necropolis attacked from the south. No doubt, they had come to try to rescue Keeonean and spirit him away to their evil lair. They couldn't have picked a worst time. The town defenders, enraged by this new treachery and the apparent flight of the enemy leader, quickly surrounded the undeads and made short work of them. No sooner had they done so that a new wave of orc troops hit us, once again with Keeonean strolling in their midst.
All these senseless deaths, all this blood, my own mother, her broken body lying in my arms .. something snapped in me. I drew my rapier and launched myself at Keeonean with a vengeance, determined to bring him down if it was the last thing I did. Yet, once again, the mad town guards made a human shield of their body for him and struck me down as a common criminal. As my body hit the ground in a spray of blood and my soul was sent to the Grey Realm, I found myself totally confused. Why ? Why had they protected him ?!?
I spied my grand-mother, the healer Dove, running to me as rapidly as her old legs allowed. Yet as soon as she started to invoke the magic of the Shrines to bring me back from the deads, the guards struck her too ! This was too much to bear. That they were corrupt enough to protect a known-criminal, I could accept .. barely ! But that they would stoop down to using lethal force against a defenseless old lady, and one who had devoted her entire life to helping others, I couldn't accept.
Captain Atreides was running around, trying to force Keeonean to face him in single combat, but to no effect. Apparently satisfied with his attacks, the evil mage had disappeared once again into thin air, perhaps to report his progresses to his dark mistress.
When my brother Devin finally arrived and used magic to return my grand-mother and I among the livings, I sat on the side of the road, a dejected look on my face. Mona of the Mists, who know me well, came to me and asked me what was wrong. Had an item of great worth to me been lost in the confusion of the battle, perhaps stolen by a scoundrel ? My answer, when it came, brought tears to her eyes. "Aye Mona, I lost something dear to me today .. my faith in our Kingdom …"
Submitted by Lore d'Ascalon of the Mists of Avalon