Sunday, 07 October 2018
Some turns seem to have a colour which defines them. That hue might be blue if we spend the marcs watching the ocean, green if we spend time in the grasslands or playing in some meadow, perhaps black if we slept while the 'rifter flew in the sky above and woke to darkness.
Recently I'd guess the colour marking the turn for me was red. I was, once again, down in the N'Rolav tombs. The gloom and shadows down there tend to leach the colours from what we see. But the balloon which follows me is bright red, and its colour still showed. And then I saw more redness, a trail of my blood from some injury I'd not noticed at the time it was inflicted. No wonder I seemed to be feeling weaker by the moment!
I hid in a niche in the stone wall and rummaged through my pack. I didn't have time to think about the memories associated with many of the items in there. I found a few scrolls which could take me away from the tomb, but those weren't what I was searching for. If memory didn't lead me astray there were a couple of salves in there somewhere.
Eventually I found them. Rather squashed from being at the bottom of my pack, crushed beneath everything else. And looking rather sorry for themselves, truth be told. Misshapen and dusty as they were, I pulled one out, hoping that it still held its ability to heal. And hoping I could still remember how to apply it!
Fortunately all turned out well. The wound healed, the blood stopped its flow, and soon I was ready to face the wretches once more.
Tuesday, 25 September 2018
More forays into the gloomy tombs which lie beneath the N'Rolav desert. Recently I go there most turns. Those dark tunnels and catacombs can be claustrophobic at times, but chasing down the innumerable wretches is good exercise - my armour has stopped showing signs of shrinkage!
The voices of the children, or the souls of children, trapped or held within the balloon whose string is looped around my throat, echo oddly around the tombs. I can't pick out any words of the song they sing, but I've got used to the sound. I don't think there is any substantial change to the song, but even so I wouldn't want to cause any distress so I limit my visits to just a few marcs.
Despite all my efforts the numbers of the wretches don't seem to have decreased over all the time I've hunted the passages and corridors. Maybe they never will. But that does mean those tombs are a ready source of coin. Some is put by to finance the training of other fighters in the lands. And some is put aside for the essentials of life - potions, food, wine. And of course, little gifts for my lady. And there's always the faint chance of unearthing a crystal or a treasure chest.
The light, such as it is, never seems to vary down in the tombs, nor does the cold chill within the stone. But in the world above time passes and the seasons roll on. Fall is almost upon us. And winter is coming.
Friday, 14 September 2018
Down in the darkened corridors of the lowest level of the N'Rolav tomb something glittered amongst the scattered remains of wretches.
I'd gone down there on one of my occasional forays, yet another episode in my long-running attempt to clear all the wretches from the area. So far as I can see my protracted efforts have made no difference at all to the numbers of the creatures which infest the place. There seem to be just as many of them as ever.
There's coin to be found there which will come in useful for buying a large stock of potions. I can't wear any sort of protective amulet at the moment, the string of a balloon is wrapped around my throat. Ventures into the Reborn Zone have become more perilous as the creatures there can cause me quite some hurt. So if I'm to spend much time there I will need a pack bulging with healing potions.
From time to time I unearth a treasure chest which will contain some trifle or a more substantial prize. But it was a while since I'd seen that glimmer in light or darkness.
It's been quite some time since I found one of those glowing crystals. In fact it's been so long that I needed to consult a map so that I didn't go astray on my way to the machine under The Wall. The machine spat out a scroll and I went in search of Haggie. By using the scroll, a sword I bought for a pittance became fairly valuable, and the coin he gave me for it will go into my training fund. That's a sum of money put by to be used in the training of others, not for my own benefit. The money I spend on potions, on food and drink, or on presents for Ellyana comes from what I earn or find.
The next time I visit a trainer I'll no longer be able to hunt in those tombs. That's one reason why I am in no particular rush to advance my learning and strength. Those tombs, dark and dangerous as they can be, have been in some strange way a refuge for me. When troubled I can stalk the halls and corridors cutting down wretches while my mind is concerned with other things. Apart from the sheer numbers of the foes I face down there I can walk in comparative safety, and I get a feeling of doing something useful even though my mind might be occupied elsewhere. But wrench or not, perhaps it's time to move on, before my fighting instincts degenerate into sheer mindless reaction and thoughtless slaughter.
Monday, 27 August 2018
A few turns ago was the anniversary of the founding of the Iron Order. To celebrate the occasion there were a series of games and contests. The game of Smites and Cannons produced the usual merriment, although it's quite worrying when you have reason to think about how many ways a person might die. I never saw the large rock which rollled over me, and still have no idea where it came from. Bursting into a shower of ice was, to say the least, uncomfortable. But it was probably preferable to the discomfort felt by someone who died of embarrassment!
Spear-throwing was enjoyable, and nowhere near as messy as throwing tomatos at a target. And on the final turn we ate while being entertained by a few fine tales.
I was fortunate when I spoke with the dealers who exchange prizes for tokens, and ended up with an armful of stuffed toys, which I can leave with Ellyana to keep her company when I'm called away or go off on a hunting-trip. But I sometimes wonder if, with all the toys scattered around, if there is still room for her or if she wil have to take to sleeping on the floor!
Monday, 13 August 2018
Two turns back it was that something badly disturbed my rest. I don't recall the dream, only the sound of voices - my own and others.
There was talk of what was and what is, what could have been, what should now be. And how things might be, and how they could or should be. I don't even recall the subject under discussion, nor do I remember what was said. I woke frequently but each time I drifted back to sleep I was once more sucked into that cacophony of babbling voices.
The song of the children raised in a gentle chorus, as though they somehow felt my unease and discomfort. And the one voice was there too, trying to soothe and calm me.
What was said, what was talked about - those I do not remember. Simply thoughts, dreams, and words of endless conflicing possibilities.
I was left disturbed. So disturbed I felt I needed some way to plunge directly into deep sleep, far below the level of any dream or disturbance. So yesterturn I ran to N'Rolav and chased wretches 'til I could hardly keep my eyes open. I made my way back to the hall, exhausted, and plunged into silent blackness.
Tuesday, 31 July 2018
I banged on a drum, trying to maintain the beat while others played. And I wrote a few poems, using the pirate rogue's speech patterns. And along the way I ended up totally covered in silver paint.
The amusement to be found during Summerfaire is neverending!
The seasons pass in their allotted time, though just who or what governs the process is probably something we humans will never fully understand.
Other than enjoying the festivities I've been shut away in the loft, scrawling notes on sheets of parchment. I take a break from my work from time to time, to make sure all is in order and that the princess can sleep in peace and comfort.
I made a few forays into the N'Rolav tombs to chase wretches around the lowest level. The running around seems to hold off the annoying tendency my armour has of shrinking if I sit around in idleness for too long.
Some ask about the balloon, and the children. I have to admit that I no longer really notice the balloon floating beside or behind me unless it tightens the grip of its string around my throat for some reason. And the voices of the children are quite soothing when it's time for me to seek some rest.
Thursday, 28 June 2018
I overheard a few words a while ago, which rather confused me. At first I couldn't make any sense of what I'd heard ...
'Fall seven times, stand up eight times'
Fall over seven times, and get up seven times, that I could understand. You'd be back on your feet where you started off. Perhaps the extra standing up was to get onto your feet to begin with? But then that would be – 'Stand up. Fall seven times, stand up seven times.' That makes more logical sense, but I felt the words had lost some other meaning.
Maybe, while getting up on one occasion, we slip and don't get to out feet on the first attempt – but that would then be 'Fall eight times, stand up eight times.' Again logically correct, but again lacking something compared to the original phrase.
I thought on the words for some time, discussed the matter with a couple of friends, and after a while some inkling of a meaning came to me. If we get up each time we fall, then we are ready to face anything else that may knock us down. We are ready to face more misfortune, always ready to get up once again.
In these lands we have adopted as our home we have all faced adversity in various guises. Minor squabbles or misunderstandings between comrades. Being dumped on our backside during a bos-riding competition. And the more serious serbacks, brought about by the evil which has through history menaced the lands. The Dark One may be gone, but his passing has left a vacuum which may well be filled at any time. So long as we stay alert and watchful, we will be prepared for any new threat which arises against us.
We will be ready. We will keep on striving. We will not ever give up or give in.
And that, I think, is the secret contained within those words. Being ready to face adversity, to fight against it and win – that is the eighth time we stand up.
Sunday, 10 June 2018
Rather than operating on instinct, I've been thinking about what I do, analyzing the actions and movements I make.
Talk of possible seasonal celebrations in the near future brought to mind a thought, the possibility that I had forgotten how to dance. I could imagine the look on the face of anyone who might find me practising alone! But later, as I cut my way through a horde of wretches in the N'Rolav tombs, I realised that the movements of the dance are very similar to those of combat. The step and pace, the sometimes delicacy, turns in direction and variations in speed - all these are common features. So I've been spending more time in those dark halls and corridors, fighting the foes and at the same time re-learning the art of dance.
Mind you, I have a feeling that those wretches would prefer it if I danced rather than fought - even if I did stamp on their feet!
Tuesday, 29 May 2018
By and large I seem to be keeping different marcs from most others in recent turns. I wake while they sleep, or go to my rest as they are waking. I kept to my habit of seeking out sign of our unwanted visitor but with no result. I then discovered that often he had been seen and dealt with while I slept. All rather disheartening, to be quite truthful. I took to sitting in the guildhall, trying to catch up with a few parchments.
Long ago, the Gods saw fit to name me as the Perceptive, a title I've always striven to live up to. But seeing something, and accepting its meaning, are two different processes. The acceptance can be ignored if the ramifications of what we see are put down to any cause we can conjure up in our minds.
More recently, though still some time back, the Blue Knight gave me a necklace made of sea shells. She said it was more likely the salt would disappear from the rolling ocean than it would be that I could forget or ignore duty and dedication, and that she hoped the necklace would serve as a reminder. I keep the gift safe, and just as she said, I have sometimes had cause to think of her words.
Is it dedication, or am I stubborn? I know full well that on odd occasions in the past I've claimed to be stubborn to the point of sheer stupidity.
These things were on my mind recently. Sometimes just a word or two will lead us to make a decision, though in this case it was what was unsaid. A mutual acquaintance woke but went back to rest without acknowledging my greetings. At which point I shut myself away in my lair for a few turns, checking supplies and making sure my equipment was serviceable. Another couple of turns were spent tidying up around the hall, and then I was ready. I didn't know where I would go, but had decided it was time to travel, to find adveture and excitement. I needed a fair amount of food and other necessities as I was unsure how long I would be travelling.
I was in Milltown, picking up a few final necessities, when I bumped in to someone seeking information about the path of a rogue. She had been told to approach me and after we spoke for a time I agreed to share what I have learned in the lands. It's odd how things work out. As I speak with Zythinalia I find myself thinking about what I do, and the reasons behind my actions. So I have settled back down in the guildhall, resting and working on my 'to-do' list in between meetings with the apprentice rogue. She will, I am sure, be a valuable addition to the ranks of the profession.
Also, I woke a few turns back to find some heartening messages had been left for me to read. I can now carry on with raised spirits.
Monday, 30 April 2018
I spent a few turns roaming the corrupted remains of ancient Ryn. It's a hard road to reach the place. I'm rather weakened, being unable to wear any sort of enchanted amulet, so the creatures of the reborn zone hit me harder than in the past. Having got there I decided to remain for a while.
The place is desolate, and eerie. Everywhere is the stench of blood and the ground still runs slick wuth crimson rivers. Everywhere demons skulk about. Some weak, some strong. And some sent me to the monument.
It was a relief to return to the sweet air of the guildhall gardens.
Saturday, 31 March 2018
There has been a new peril in the lands. A strange, uninvited guest has taken to wandering around, mostly in areas around Dundee and Milltown. He leaves in his wake hordes of the undead. We can not just hack away at the foul creatures. Because of the way they are summoned, careful planning and co-operation is required to deal with them. But deal with them we have, and will continue to do so.
I have still heard nothing from the High Cleric concerning the children - or their souls - which are held within the balloon which wrapped its cord around my throat some time ago. The balloon is in itself no threat so long as it remembers not too wind the cord too tightly sround my neck. Sometimes the grip does tighten slightly, and then I have difficulty getting my words out, but I've found by running a finger around my collar the cord loosens. As for the children, they seem content where they are. And I have the feeling that they feel safe. Their singing has become quite soothing, and it lulls me to sleep when I go to my rest.
I walk the lands each turn, speaking with a few friends as I look for signs of the Necromancer. The zombie ravager is reported unseen in the dungeon beneath Dundee town hall. Whether this is connected is yet to be determined but I feel this must be more than mere coincidence.
At night I sleep in the loft. I make sure Ellyana is comfortable, and so far as possible ensure that her rest is undisturbed. She wakes from time to time, I think, judging by the fact that the food and drink I put out for her is sometimes consumed.
Tuesday, 27 February 2018
Each time I wake I go for a stroll, chatting with a few traders. I enter the tunnels to reach Branishor where I can hunt down Haggie and see what bargains he may have.
The voices of the children echo strangely as I traverse UnderValorn. Although the voices rebound through the tunnels some of the tone is muted by the surrounding rock and stone. I don't tarry below ground in case the diminuition of their voices leaves the children in some distress.
When I go to rest the children's chorus is quite soothing and helps me to drift off to my dreams. Those dreams are, for the most part, pleasant. Though there is one I recall which was rather unsettling.
I was roaming the swamp, though in that dream I had no clue as to why I was there. The stench of the place filled my nostrils, sickening me. And then a familiar scent came to me on a slight breeze, cutting through the odours of rot and decay. The aroma of Ellyana's perfume caressed my senses, and the voice I hold dearest in these lands spoke my name. I looked around but could see no sign of her as the voice and scent faded. As for her voice - when she spoke my name was it in greeting, or a cry for help and comfort? I had no way of knowing.
I woke feeling anxious, but the feeling eased when I saw the princess sleeping, so far as I could tell, soundly and safely.
Monday, 12 February 2018
The sky of a cold night was displaying its first sprinkling of stars as we made our way to Caer Laleldan, to attend the ceremony which would mark the passing of Winter's Warming. There was snow all along the Royal Road from Milltown to the Caer. Several had arrived ready for the ceremony when a messenger-bird found me. There was also snow in Dundee, and a few people were unable to get through the deep drifts which blocked their path. I mentioned this fact, and left the meeting-place to give what assistance I could.
True to the spirit which infuses the adventurers in these lands, many followed. I was told that Dundee had been cleared by those able to do so. The only obstacle now was the length of road leading to Caer Laleldan which needed to be cleared so that all who wished could join the ceremony.
The work was long and hard. Piles of snow lay all around, and many aggressive snowmen lay in wait for the unwary. We shovelled snow when we could, fought when we must, went crashing to a life monument from time to time. But slowly we gained ground. Enchanters strengthened those in need, clerics healed those who were injured. With all working together, eventually the path was clear. By unspoken agreement, the snow lying in drifts in the gardens were left untouched for the ceremony.
Torches flared across the gardens, their light reflecting off the snow piled around. Ice crystals glittered in the shifting light as we wrote messages on small pieces of parchment. The messages - our hopes, dreams and prayers for the coming cycles - were attached to lanterns. And then, when all were ready, the torches were doused and the lanterns released. They made a fine sight, the flickering fires within the lanterns shining in the sky amid the brilliant stars. And all the time the light from above illuminated the snow scattered across the gardens, sparkling and glinting off the tumbled mounds. All-in-all it made a wondrous sight. I watched as the lanterns slowly drifted across the night sky, and eventually out of sight. The lanterns may have disappeared from view, but the content of the messages I sent flying are still with me, in my mind and in my heart.
Wednesday, 31 January 2018
The 'rifter flies low in the sky during the few marcs of daylight. The days are short, the nights long and cold.
The stark winter has come.
I've been largely shut away in the hall, sleeping and scrawling notes on parchment sheets. But I have been getting out and about more of late. It's either that or visit Denion to get hold of some larger armour!
I've made enquiries about the balloon which still loops its cord around my throat and the children whose voices are heard from within. I've visited a few sites where children have been seen or heard, or where they have been lost. And searched out spots where signs of children have been seen. So far I've not obtained any definite information, though there have been a few suggestions about things I could try.
Winter's Warming is upon us, another reason to stir myself from the loft where I've slept for too many turns and marcs. Time to get out into the lands to seek out friends and festivities.
Sunday, 31 December 2017
I've passed a few marcs on several occasions farming in the gloom of the N'Rolav tombs. It's long been my favoured place to go when I need to collect some coin. After I next visit a trainer the tombs will be closed to me. That's the reason (or rather, one of the reasons) I have for darting past the trainers, while they just cast a level gaze and a quizzical smile in my direction!
I took a tour around the lands, listening out for music. I thought that perhaps finding music might help commumication with the ghostly child voices within the balloon which attached itself to me a couple of cycles ago. I've discussed the matter with a few people, but so far I've not found a way to free myself of the balloon. Not that I'd be willing to do so without being sure the children would be safe, and in a position to find some peace. And I distributesd a few scrolls while I roamed.
The rest of the time I've still been sitting around the guild hall, sending out my messenger-bird and attending to the responses brought by others.
Thursday, 30 November 2017
I've spent far too long lazing around the guild hall since the end of Fall Festival. The season was enjoyed by all who took part thanks to the efforts of those who arranged events. A companion attached itself to me at the end of the season and I've been practising my drawing skills so that I can decorate it. But no matter how much I try I can't disguise the fact that some people find my follower slightly unnerving!
I passed a couple of turns, as is my habit, at the roses. It's a beautiful place, full of memories which never dim.
I've spent the time since FallFest mostly scrawling on pieces of parchment. I only hope I can read them if they're needed at some later time! And I've been looking over a few parchments which need my attention.
It's time to be out and about in the lands once more. The 'rifter flies low during the turns of daytime. But the night skies are glorious, the stars shining as brightly as my lady's eyes.
Tuesday, 31 October 2017
Sand-fever. It's a terrible affliction, well-known for affecting those who, as the name suggests, spend too much time hunting in the desert. Althea grew more and more horrified as I listed the symptoms, and I suspect she was trying to work out whether or not she had been affected by the condition.
Those symptoms became more uncomfortable, more outrageous, as I carried on speaking. At long last I mentioned the habit sufferers develop of constantly searching out stray particles of sand lodged in their equipment or stuck to their person. It was while I explained an observer would think the sufferer appeared to be afflicted by lice that I was unable to hold the laughter in any longer, and Althea realised I'd been teasing her all along.
Fall Festival has come around once more, bringing revelry and fun with it. The season has been long-awaited, anticipation rising in recent turns. As ever the banditos run around the lands, appearing everywhere except where I happen to be. And I hear there's an alligator somewhere it really doesn't belong!
Saturday, 30 September 2017
Seasons turn, as is their way, unconcerned with the doings of mere mortals. They have their moment, their allotted span of time. As do we, I suppose, with the length of our lives and the durability of our aspirations bounded by forces often beyond our control or understanding. Fate may at times be benign, giving reason for joy and laughter. And at other times may treat us more savagely.
The turns are upon us when the 'rifter does not fly so high in the sky, nor is it seen for so many marcs. The nights are darker, longer, colder. And yet even this time has its own beauty, and brings promise of brighter and better times that lie before us.
Saturday, 26 August 2017
I'm not too sure how - doubtless by the intercession of the gods - but the townsfolk have returned to Dundee. Whatever madness affected us as we followed the bronze one around the town must have distorted our senses. There may have been a few scuffles but then the folk presumably found places to hide and we thought, as we could see no sign of them, that we had killed those poor innocents. There's still some cleaning-up to be done as far as I understand. I helped for a few marcs at the ruins of the Building of Glass but that was a while back. I've hardly set foot in Dundee since that turn.
Come to that I've hardly set foot out of the guildhall recently. I've been sleeping quite a bit, waking to chat with any of the kin I see. And still I watch over the princess as she continues to sleep off the effects of her misadventure.
I have ventured over to the reborm zone. If I sit around at the hall for too long my armour develops a tendency to shrink for some reason!! The remedy is for me to run around for a while to make the equipment behave itself. The creatures who inhabit the zone had clearly decided I should have a warm welcome. I was faced at one point by a polyp and two of the huge fallow worms, an encounter which I barely survived. When all three were dealt with I took a break to catch my breath and swallow a lot of health potions and set off once more. And I walked into another of those worms, this time accompanied by a swarm of sea stars. All in all, it was a lively visit to the zone, and certainly one that kept me awake and moving fast! Just what was needed, I think. It did me - and my armour - some good to be up and doing.
I returned to the hall to check on Ellyana. I work on parchments when I can, sleep when necessary. Mostly, when awake, I stay here in the hall sitting quietly. Watching and waiting.
Thursday, 27 July 2017
Marcs and turns go by; the seasons pass; the 'rifter rises and sheds its light on joy or tragedy.
One of those seasons has just come to an end. Summerfaire was, as ever, a parade of fun and festivity enjoyed by all. The usual common thread linked together the various light-hearted contests, that thread being the fact that participation is more important than winning.
I was walking the lands handing out prizes for the guild lottery, and my task took me to the holding of the Blade and Staff. I waited at a campfire to meet one of the winners, and my eyes fell on words carved above the entry to the hall -
'That which we hold closest to our hearts we protect by any means'
Those words dug deep into my conscience as I recalled the events that had taken place in Dundee the previous turn.
The bronze false god stalked through the town, turning all colours to bronze. The building of glass shattered and fell in a torrent of shards as his temple erupted from below, and as he passed he took the minds of the townspeople. We tried to reason with him, tried to cajole or threaten, but all to no avail. And then the townsfolk, by then completely under his control, attacked us.
We had no choice. The only thing to do was to defend ourselves from these people, most of whom we had known since finding the lands. There was no joy in the fight such as might be found when dealing with a raid. The thrill of battle I've often felt when in combat with demoins and the like was missing. Just a deep sadness as, along with others, I fought against Jolan, and with Jaymes.
We are supposed to protect the lands - that is why we have always fought against evil. We should safeguard the people of the towns - but that turn, in Dundee, we slaughtered them all ...
When all was over, the bronze one's power was gone, his followers had abandoned him, and his temple was collapsing around us. If not for the 'chanters and their portals we would have been trapped and crushed beneath the masonry falling from the ceiling. He should hopefully not bother us again. But we have paid a heavy price.
Miranda attempted to comfort us. She laid the blame and responsibility for what had occurred on the bronze one. Her words were welcome, and probably true, but at the time it made no difference to the feelings of those present. Whether we acted correctly or not, and irrespective of where the responsibilty lies, all I know is that what happened did not feel right at the time. And as I look back, it still does not seem right.
The events flickered through my memory as I read those words above the guildhall entrance. They may possibly carry a grain of comfort. We did save the townsfolk from an eternity of enslavement, we did protect them from an extended life during which their minds, thoughts and words would have been comtrolled by the bronzed being. They would have existed, but not lived.
Maybe they're better off. It's something to think about as I, along with others, try to understand the events that transpired on the bloodied streets of Dundee. At the moment all I can say for certain is that I must find a way to deal with the memory of what I did. And I pray that I, and all involved, will find that way, and that we will pass throough darkness into a brighter turn.
Thursday, 20 July 2017
I wrote in this journal on the subject of dreams. I mentioned that some are pleasant, some less so, and that the worst are those where we dream of a loved one in peril and then wake to find that is true.
Some time back all was not peaceful at the guildhall. Ellyana was sleeping, though restlessly. She turned and stirred continually, and from time to time she'd murmur something, though not clearly enough for me to catch her words. I sat watching over her for marc after marc, brushing hair away from eyes that were sometimes closed, sometimes open though unseeing. I spoke to her though I had no way of knowing if my words entered into her mind or dreams. Certainly it seemed I could not soothe her, and after a time I just sat holding her hand.
It had been a busy few turns, and I must have drifted off into a light sleep. There couldn't have been a worse time to weaken ...
I dreamed that Ellyana woke from her fitful sleep and left the loft where we usually rest. I saw her wander the guildhall but couldn't work out if she was searching for something or trying to escape anything. In my dream I heard things she probably didn't. The creatures of the meadow and the swimming-hole as she roamed there; the sounds of fire and water as she passed by the rock pools. And the unmistakable sound of a stopper being removed from a glass vial. The sound came once more, though I wasn't sure if it was echoed or repeated. Silence for a while, then the babble of running water. Silence once more, then the sound of something falling into water.
I started awake, and looked to the couch. Ellyana had gone. Cursing the human frailty that had made me sleep I ran over my own dream, trying to work out the path she had taken. I flew down the stairs from the loft, on out to the meadow and the swimming-hole beyond. True, I saw signs of her passage but no sign of my lady. Again at the rock pool I saw her trail. I hurried past, trying to recall the next phase of my dream. Water ... not a lake, for the water I'd heard had been running. I searched outside the Mooon, walking the banks of the stream. And sure enough the dim light of the moon and stars revealed a flash of colour in the water. There Ellyana lay, floating face-down in the stream. One foot was tangled in a tuft of grass at the stream's edge. That must have been why she fell. Though why immersion in the cold water hadn't woken her I couldn't tell.
I freed her foot from the tangle of grass that could have proved fatal before wading into the stream to pull her out. The only movement was that of her hair and robes, weaving in the shifting flow of water. I lifted Ellyana and took her to the bank of the stream. There was no sign of breathing - I could only pray I'd found her in time. I was much relieved when my fingers, laid upon her throat, felt the faint flutter of a pulse. Rolling my lady onto her stomach, I pressed repeatedly on her back. Water dribbled from her mouth, then ran out more freely as I increased my efforts. Hearing a slight choking cough, I muttered a prayer of thanks as I rolled her onto her back once the water stopped flowing from her nose and mouth. I leaned over to blow a breath into her mouth and noticed a distinctive odour, the smell of the potion she sometimes takes to help her sleep. And from the strength of the aroma, she must have taken two doses in her confusion. I carried on squeezing, to get her breathing, blowing air into her mouth in between. Another cough and a low moan were my reward. Her pulse was stronger now, though pitifully weak compared to what it should have been.
Up in our loft, after the tricky ascent of the stairs with Ellyana in my arms, I wrapped her in warm blankets and made her as comfortable as possible on the couch. Her breathing, though shallow, was more regular and she drifted into what seemed to me to be a more natural sleep.
I sit for marcs watching her, making sure she's warm, checking breath and pulse, holding her hand and talking softly.
I've been venturing out fom time to time, and bring back tea and soup for Ellyana. Sometimes a small amount has been consumed. She wakes occasionally for a couple of marcs, but most of the time she sleeps. As yet there's been no chance to find out what troubled her in that sleep which could have been her last. Time enough for talk when she recovers. For now, I can offer warmth and sustenance. I can only hope that somehow, the words I speak softly are heard, that she hears them in her ears or her mind, ans knows I am there to care for her.
Sunday, 16 July 2017
Two rejoicings, and a warning
We gathered in the temple at Milltown, wearing fire amulets, dressed in any red clothing we had. I laid down an amulet as an offering in Ellyana's name, leaving in my own name red flowers. Others brought orange shards, torches, candles and fireworks - all the things so beloved by Miranda.
We told tales of how she had assisted us, spoke of how we loved, honoured and supported her. And we prayed for her return.
Our prayers were at last answered. The goddess appeared in the temple, brought back from wherever and however she had been imprisoned. True, at first she appeared disorientated as our prayers liberated her and brought her back to us from whatever strife she had been involved in but as she spoke she was recovering, and asked after Zeric. At the time there had been no sign, but she was heartened to hear that we planned to return to the temple in an effort to call him back to us also.
With her thanks for our honour and support, she set off, looking for sign of the Ridder.
The next turn we returned to the temple. This time bearing coins or dice, staves of lightning, and carrying or wearing blue. We told our tales of Zeric, of the times he had aided and supported us. And as we spoke thunder began to roll, a wind rose, and it began to rain.
Fireworks used in the celebration for Miranda had damaged the roof of the temple, leaving a hole. At first water dripped through, starting to form a small puddle. As prayers were spoken and offerings made - I left a lightning staff for myself and one for my lady - the rain increased and soon it was getting wet inside the temple as well as outside! But none were disheartened and the ceremony continued. And sure enough, Zeric appeared to us arriving in the midst of that storm. After a while he left us, intending to seek out Miranda.
The gods who have always protected and guided us, are free once more. The united love and will of those present, as well as that of those who could not attend, has brought them back to us, back to these lands they watch over.
The following turn, again at the temple, was a gathering in support of the bronze one. His name should not be spoken, apparently that strengthens him. Naturally I took no offering, going along with others purely to observe. Those of us who did so made no attempt to disrupt the proceedings. The bronze one did not have to be freed, unlike Miranda and Zeric, as he was already so. Prayers were spoken, offerings laid down, and he spoke. He did not demean himself to appear, just spoke of his forthcoming ascension. No thanks for the support of his followers, just a few orders. And the last of his words stays in my mind - 'All those who are loyal will be saved'
I think the inference is obvious for those with ears to hear. Those who will not submit to him will be destroyed.
The following turn, the bronze one unleashed an attack on the lands.
So, yes, we have two reasons to rejoice. And one threat which must be faced. And standing up to a threat in order to remain free is a duty the adventurers of these lands have never shied away from.
Friday, 30 June 2017
Training goes well. Not my own, I should add ! Udele will be a most worthy additiion to the ranks of my profession.
I've been trying to meet a challenge, but I'm not too sure if I can now succeed.
Summerfaire will soon be upon us, and hopefully the festivities will lift the spirits of those who are low.
Sunday, 28 May 2017
... such stuff as dreams are made on ...
We sleep. Some less than others, and some so little they think they do not sleep at all. Sleep might be taken as a reward after the labours of the turn, or taken grudgingly if perceived as marcs wasted which could be used more fruitfully. And when we sleep, we dream. Again, some more than others. Some recall their dreams when they wake, others may not.
I wonder where they come from, these fantasies of the sleeping marcs? Maybe our mind sorts through memories of the turn just ended. Or perhaps it carries on considering ideas that had come to us, continuing to lay plans which we'd thought of in our waking marcs. It may be that there's a portion of our mind that never sleeps but sees all the turns and marcs of our lives, noticing all and forgetting nothing, putting memories aside in a place where our waking self may be unable to find them.
Whatever these dreams may be, wherever they come from, they can reflect our waking thoughts and act as the mirror of our life. We may relive the joy of pleasant times, recall visits with friends and acquaintances. Or they may grant the gift an extra opportunity to spend precious time with those who are dearest to us.
Others dreams, of course, are less pleasant. The terrors of the night, played out before our sleeping eyes as we relive darker events, times of loss and separation. Or perhaps they dwell on anxiety for the safety of loved ones.
And worst of all are those where we see the one we love in mortal peril - followed by the crushing realisation that this is no dream, and that peril in which we find our loved one is all too real.
Sunday, 30 April 2017
I've been thinking about food, and diets. There are a couple of reasons for what might be thought an odd subject for speculation. There are two meanings of 'diet' There's the one meaning - how much we eat, and the other meaning - what food we normally consume.
The first came to mind when I put my armour on last turn. I've spent much of the last cycle sitting around the guild hall, except for short forays into the reborn zone hunting for lucent shards. And I've noticed over that time that my armour seems to be shrinking. It's not a lack of exercise - well, I don't think so. Just some sort of flaw in the construction of my armour. I'll have to get Denion to take a look at it next time I end up at his smithy. And maybe eat less in the meantime!
As for the second use of the word - the term diet can be used to refer to what we eat. We humans can eat a fair range of foodstuffs. We can eat meat - though some choose not to - and we can eat plant matter of some kinds. Vegetables, fruits, herbs to add flavour, and so on. It struck me that many animals don't have the same choice.
The bos, for instance. They usually eat grass. They might kill us with an attack, but they don't chew the remains as human flesh is outside their normal diet. I heard that once an experiment was tried, feeding bos minced-up portions of dead bos. The poor creatures developed a terrible disease which was also passed on to people who ate the affected animals.
Even if animals stick to plant products there might be problems when they try nibbling something unusual. Bunnies apparently suffer some sort of reaction to anything novel. Many people have recently been taken unaware by bunnies, assuming they could fight the creatures. But the bunnies have been raiding supplies of cocoa beans. Although the beans can taste bitter, perhaps there's more sugar in them than the bunnies' usual food, and it's driving them into some sort of frenzy. They grow strong and aggressive, and the result can be alarming - if not fatal - to those who usually hunt bunnies. I can only presume this is a result of the bunnies gorging themselves on a type of food not normall eaten by them.
I'm not too sure if there's any conclusion to my rambling thoughts. Except that perhaps I need to keep an eye on how much I eat. And what other creatures eat!
Saturday, 08 April 2017
Does form define function? I've been puzzling over the question for the last few turns, ever since a meeting was held to discuss ways in which the cracked pillars of the enchanters' nexus might be repaired or replaced. The main problem is that apparently no-one is sure how they work, and there are some who are now preparing to research the subject. It's hoped that the Council of Ryndall can be persuaded to release any information they have on the matter. This lack of knowledge as to the how of the pillars' workings is clearly an obstacle. That obstacle will delay any repairs that can be carried out.
When we assaulted the dark fortress to rescue the High Queen, we found a tainted life monument and tainted pillars. The gods were able to cleanse the monument so that we could use it during the prolonged battle. It isn't known if there is any way the pillars can be similarly cleansed. And if that can be done, how could they be moved? - though perhaps they might be transported to the nexus one by one, by moving them adjecent to another pillar and using its power to do so in the same way it might transport an enchanter to the nexus. Of course, there is then still the small matter of moving the last one.
Which leads me to the other option discussed - replacing the pillars with new ones. Without knowledge of how they work, or how they were first produced, this might be subject to the same delay as repairing the old ones until that knowledge is revealed. And it led to my musing as to whether it is the shape and form of the pillars that makes them work. We all know of places or buildings that feel welcoming, safe, and comfortable. And other places where the opposite is true. Can the atmosphere of a building be produced in some way by the shape, size or design of the building itself? In the same way, the thought crept into my mind that perhaps there is no obscure power which must in some way be incorporated into the production of those pillars. Perhaps the power comes from the structure, thre physical form, of the pillar itself.
If that were the case, then it would be expected that there are some differences - minute perhaps - between pillars the enchanters use to get to different locations and it was suggested they be examined for any such differences. Also, if ti is the case, then producing an exact copy of a pillar should produce a structure which exactly repliactes the function of the original. Having said that, I'm well aware that I understand very little about the pillars - certainly less than the enchanters who use them routinely. But who knows? A wild idea may reflect at least a part of the actual state of affairs. Dealing with magic means we have to expand the possibilites we consider, maybe far beyond what might seem likely or reasonable.
Friday, 31 March 2017
An expedition set out to the ashes of ruined Fartown, hoping to learn the fate of the townspeople. The Order dispatched groups of adventurers, depending on their strength and ability, sending them fanning out across the grasslands. Slowly reports came in, mentioning signs of some sort of evacuation of the town.
A couple of areas of the high grass had been flattened, as though groups of people had rested for a while. A few items of clothing were discovered. One point revealed signs of fighting. A dagger was found covered in blood and not far off a rough grave where one of the villagers had been laid to rest. An arm still protruded from the pile of earth, and we dug down in order to retrieve the unfortunate one and lay them more fittingly to their sleep. The townswoman had been stabbed in the back - a cowardly blow to be sure. Words were spoken over the woman, and we gave her a proper burial.
The body of Roland the innkeeper was discovered and he too was laid to rest within the remains of the town he had served so faithfully over the cycles and seasons.
A piece of cloth snagged on a branch led us in amongst the soaring trees of Verthedge Forest. A bandit, apparently some sort of lookout, eventually let slip the way we should go and after another short search we followed a path through a fallen hollow tree.
The encampment is, all things considered, well-built, quite substantial. And to our relief most of the inhabitants of Fartown are there, living in some safety.
An odd point has been playing on my mind. The dagger found amongst the high grass was either the one used to slay the poor woman we found in her rough grave, or one very similar. And it seemed to be of a type used by the grassland bandits. And yet we came across one acting as a lookout to warn of people approaching New Fartown, and there are bandits acting as guards at the encampment. Has there been some sort of split amongst the bandits, I wonder - some helping the townspeople, protecting them from another group responsible for the destruction of the town? Or was the attack on the town and its people carried out by another, unknown, group which was joined by one portion of the grassland bandits, while the rest joined with the townspeople in their flight? It would have been a strong and terrible force, it seems to me, to make the fiercely-independent bandits decide to join. Or maybe the truth of it all is something totally different from the suggestions made at the time.
As so often happens, events have left just as many, if not more, unanswered questions than those answered. As for the truth of what occurred, I presume time will reveal some, if not all.
Monday, 27 February 2017
Take a look at anyone who's been farming or training, and you can pretty much tell from the nature of any injuries what creatures they have been fighting. The pattern of bite or claw marks, signs of being crushed, trampled or attacked from above, or maybe their foe used a weapon of some kind. The clues will be there.
But it seems there must be some other creatures around to attack us. I didn't see or hear anything, but they caught up with me. They must be tiny, far too small to be visible, but the harm they do is totally out of all proportion to their size. The last half-cycle or so I've been confined to the loft at the hall, without the energy to do anything except sleep. The limited marcs of waking consist of very short conversations with the kin and a couple of others, but even trying to hold a conversation is exhausting. All the plans I had for a few activities have had to be abandoned. I don't mind that so much for myself, but there are others I'd promised to help, and that's not been possible either. The one advantage is I've not had to cook meals. Anything I need heated up enough to eat I can just leave on my forehead for a few moments! I can only hope that this passes soon and that the energy returns to get up and doing in the lands.
Speaking of guildkin - whether we see them often or infrequently:whether they plan to sleep for a while:if they have left these lands we call home - we can still hold them in our heart and mind, keeping a grasp on the memories of them. And while they are remembered their service and labours endure.
Tuesday, 31 January 2017
The season begins to turn as winter warms. The celebrations, as usual, exercised the mind and the body, and the closing address of the High Queen raised the spirits. And as the lanterns floated above us before slowly drifting into the distance, many sent wishes and prayers with them to soothe the hearts and souls of friends and comrades. I do not know, naturally, the precise wishes sent soaring aloft into the sky above the Caer, but I know of the type of sentiments sent flying with the lanterns.
Many of the guild were active in the events, most notably Ellyana. And the guild has been gifted by the gods. An ice sculpture of a cat now resides in our gardens. My first sight of the precious gift was a proud moment. Apart from the artistry of the sculpture I also see it for what it is - a recognition of what is possible when the kin work toward a common goal, and a tribute to Ellyana who, as leader, works tirelessly for the good of the guild and the kin.
I do not forget those of the guild who were not able to participate. The very act of joining a guild is in itself a gesture of confidence, an offering of friendship and comradeship. Every person who joins a guild makes their own contribution.
As for myself I was unable to attend many of the festivities. I did have a chance to discover that I should not try to be too creative with cooking! On the other hand I was able to take a few marcs to jot down a tale of sorts, a pastime I always enjoy and find relaxing.
The time is now with us to press on with lighter hearts as the turns lenghthen and the 'rifter rises higher into the sky and sheds its blessed rays across the lands. We do not know what we may face in the future. But we do not that together we can face it without fear.
Saturday, 31 December 2016
I need to take more exercise before my armour starts shrinking again! Recently I've slept much, waking to speak with those of the kin I see. And I've been surrounded by parchments as I make notes and try to catch up on correspondence and projects.
I have spent some time searching for comet glass, to leave as an offering at the altar in the Temple to Miranda. And I train while I search - who knows, perhaps by the time Summerfaire comes around once more or maybe by next FallFest I might be ready to visit the trainer. Though once I do so I'll need to find new hunting grounds. The tombs of N'Rolav have been a second home for a long time now, as I've laboured to wipe out the swarms of wretches infesting the darkened halls and corridors, though my attempts seem to have been in vain. Having said that, there's been coin and treasure to be found in plenty. And much of the time I was there not so much to hunt as to hide away when troubled.
For now, anyhting I learn, anything I find, is incidental, unless it's comet glass I find. Each piece taken to the Temple is a renewed declaration of faith and gratitude, a repayment in some small measure of all that has been granted to the people of the lands we call home.