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Story Telling


This festival was one that was thoroughly enjoyed. There are too many elements to record. So I have concentrated on the more literary side of the festival.

Story Telling

[Feywrot Mire, Cedar Clearing]
Draped with soft blankets of moss that flutter to-and-fro of their own accord, spindly cedar trees ring the area. Their branches stretch out overhead, creating a brittle web across the dark sky. In the center of the clearing, the ground is slightly lumpy, though firmly packed, and riddled with a light dusting of ashes. Several blackened cedar stumps jut out of the ground in front of a particurlarly wide arc of grey-green moss. You also see the black Constal disk, an oak-framed ebon parchment sign and a games sign up list.
Also here: High Lord Demyse, Tylaen, Talman, Ascaris, Aneris, Huckster Fungo, Bakral, Bisco, Lord Telare who is sitting, Arulisse who is sitting, Kipa, Lord Thaluhar who is kneeling, Great Lord Constal, Tdem, Sir Metadi, Lady Lysistrata, Beastman Andagia
Obvious paths: north

Andagia slurs, "If not be volunteering, I's be picking someun!"

Aneris says, "I'll go then...."


Andagia slurs, "Okies! Everyun shoosh!"

Aneris says, "This is long again... so I'll be speaking kinda fast."

Aneris nods sagely.

Andagia slurs, "Five meenuts!"

Aneris asks, "We all ready for five stories?"

Andagia slurs, "ONE story!"

Andagia snickers.

Aneris exclaims, "Five in one!"

Aneris recites:
"I'll tell you five stories and each one the same!
They're the tales of five brothers obsessed by the game
With greed in their hearts and profit in mind
Each one would find it! His own fate in time!
With glares at each other, and hate in their eyes
They couldn't accept it, but each one would die "

Aneris recites:
"The oldest of the brothers was an aweful sort
Ugly and slanderous, body so port!
It was no surprise, his chosen game
The pigs that he resembled, those he tried to tame! He wrestled and wrangled, dove for greased swine
On their promised treasure, his dull mind would dine."

Aneris recites:
"What happens when slickness meets with a ball?
His body so round, he had nowhere to fall
So covered in grease, his body would yield
He rolled out of the pig pen and into a field
Where a great boar was waiting, it's tusk all agleam.
Soon he would wish that his greed was a dream!"

Aneris recites:
"But the boar backed away, disgusted by the sight
Of the gruesome thing before him, its grease all alight! 
Yet the murderous rooster glanced up from his back
And leaped from the boar, spurs and beak like a tack
It punctured and pitted,it tore and gored
Blood was a'flying, 'til that fowl bird was bored!"

Aneris says, "One down...."

Aneris coughs.

Aneris asks, "Too fast?"

Aneris coughs.
Aneris recites:
"This is the first story but each is the same!
They're the tales of five brothers obsessed by the game
With greed in their hearts and profit in mind
Each one would find it! His own fate in time!
With glares at each other, and hate in their eyes
They couldn't accept it, but each one would die "

Aneris recites:
"The second, the youngest, was lucky it seemed
A master of raffles, his pockets would gleem
With win after win, but not random chance
His predications were accurate, his cheating a dance.
He slide his body where the pointer would stop
Those precious treasures, in his mansion he'd flop!"

Aneris recites:
"Greed took him over! He had to win
His penchant for gambling, his greatest sin
From raffle to raffle his body would glide
"Are you the winner?" "Yes, me!" he lied
But the curse of the brothers was much of the same
The raffles they took him, yes death by that game!"

Aneris recites:
"After hundred of successes he still wanted more
But a spinner so fast, from the table it tore
And whizzed through the air to where was accurately placed
His rich genius form, but primarily his face 
It imbedded itself so deep in his head
That he dropped to the ground, still spinning but dead!"

Aneris says, "Two down."
Aneris recites:
"The youngest was gone, his story the same!
Of the five brothers, only three still remain
With greed in their hearts and profit in mind
Each one would find it! His own fate in time!
Still glares at each other, and hate in their eyes
They couldn't accept it, but each one would die "

Aneris recites:
"His preference noodlin', the middle was dull
But never for a moment, would his fish catchin' lull
To say he was lowbrow isn't a leap
For what kind of man finds his wealth in the deep?
The kind that finds junk swallowed up by a fish
Hand in the darkness, the wet, stupid-ish?"

Aneris recites:
"Catfish and eels, was there anything more?
He waited, mind vacant, for the catfish of lore
The legend, a catfish so regal it was told
That his treasure was boundless, a stomach of gold
But when one places his hand into dark, deep, wet dirt
It's an inevitable truth that the result will be hurt!"

Aneris recites:
"One night when all others were catching some rest
His hand felt the mouth of a much welcomed guest
But his fingers were ragged and shriveled so thin
That all he could feel was the tearing of skin
As the lake swallowed up his entire form
The beast surfaced in glory, for a fish not the norm."

Aneris recites:
"But catfish are vengeful as is commonly told
Especially this monster, enormous and old!
In the mouth of the brother, his fin he stuck
And dragged him under, beneath the muck!
The brother he thrashed and gasped for breath
But the mud was his tomb, the fish was his death!"

Aneris recites:
"Drowned in that lake, his story the same!
Of the five brothers, only two still remain
With greed in their hearts and profit in mind
Each one would find it! His own fate in time!
They glared at each other with hate in their eyes
They couldn't accept it, but each one would die "

Aneris says, "3 down."
Aneris recites:
"The fourth was athletic, he threw a nice ball
With a fast pitch, all of the bottles would fall
His prizes were trophies to stack on his table
Like a plaque to his glorious talent, a label.
Morning, evening, and night he worked that poor stand
The fury of his pitches, oh, how they'd land!"

Aneris recites:
"But rest not trophies is what that man required
Drunk with his virtue, some lass he desired.
She walked by the stand before he let loose
His pitch went awry, in the air like a goose
It broke through the sky til it vanished from sight
Then from the reaches fell a great light "

Aneris recites:
"The sphere he set free was covered in flame
A meteor from the sky, a mistake of his aim
It fell through the clouds and crashed where he stood
The magnitude of its impact couldn't be good.
It left a burnt crater, but the stand was still there
With great new prizes, like bits of skin and hair!"

Aneris recites:
"Recite A victim of obsession, his story the same!
Of the five brothers, only one still remain
With greed in his heart and profit in mind
Oh, how he'd find it! His own fate in time!
He glared at their gravesites with hate in his eyes
He couldn't accept it, but he would soon die "

Aneris coughs.
Aneris says, "And one left...."

Aneris recites:
"The last was built thick, amazing strong
With his might, his mallet would never hit wrong
When that large hammer would crash to the ground
The impact would be a followed by a ringing sound
A testament strength, to his perfect mash
But when swinging a mallet, one shouldn't be rash"

Aneris recites:
"An arc of such strength that the whole gate was shaken
He wanted his prize, but instead his back was taken
In pain, he stumbled and fumbled onto the plate
Where the mallet was landing at an incredible rate
It's not hard to imagine what onlookers saw
When the head of the mallet landed square on his jaw"

Aneris recites:
"If you've broke a pi ata, it was something like that
Although brain, not candy, flew fast from his hat
It covered the crowd in bloody chunks of his head
Under his mighty hammer, he finally dropped dead
The game had taken this last greedy brother
Not a single tear, not even from their mother!"

Aneris coughs.
Aneris says, "All dead."
Aneris recites:
"A lesson to learn from these sad kin
Greed and obsession in excess are sin
We must honor each other and practice moderation in the game
I won't tell you again! Your tale won't be this tame
A monster so frightening, it resides in us all
But against it, this greed, our hearts and minds must stand tall!"

Aneris recites:
"There's more to this story
It's time to tell
Each man is a monster
The hucksters more so ."

Aneris recites:
"Their profits were dwindling from the brothers' skill
They planned out their vengeance, the brothers they'd kill
The rooster, the catfish were planted I learned
The lass was a setup to make his head turn
The spinner was rusted, they knew he'd be there
A shot to the back, yes, no one will care
Each man is a monster, frightening in way
In trust be wary, that's all I will say!"

Andagia slurs, "Lysistrata want go next!"


Lysistrata clears her throat.

(Lysistrata moves to stand before the assembled with a flutter of chiffon skirts.)

Lysistrata says, "This is the story of the first banyan trees, a gift from Lorminstra to the world. I do not know, of course, if this is a true story but I will tell it to you as I heard it."

(Lysistrata continues to speak and her voice takes on the traditional singsong quality of a storyteller.)

Lysistrata says, "When this world was made, there were no banyan trees. The Drakes came and went, the Arkati came, the races of Elanthia were born... still no banyan trees."

Lysistrata says, "Back in the mists of time, there was a small settlement of humans living at the edge of an old, expansive forest in a large valley. They lived their lives with little to no fear of... anything, really. It was a quiet and reasonably happy place in a location remote enough to be left to itself for the most part."

Lysistrata adds, "Which, of course, was the perfect place for an evil sorcerer to set up his tower in the forest, a site where he could conduct his horrible experiments in his pursuit to cheat death by any means necessary."

Lysistrata says, "The evil sorcerer subjected his victims to countless tortures as he studied the nature of life and how one might cling to it by will and magic, in one fashion or another. He was close, so close, he thought, to finding the path to life everlasting. But he needed more. More power, more experimental subjects, more everything."

Lysistrata says, "He took his victims one by one in the night and the townspeople were powerless to stop him. He ruled the village, allowing no one to escape and make the journey to the next closest village, days away from there. Those who spoke loudest against him were the first to disappear. All who were taken by him were not seen again and their families were left to mourn them."

Lysistrata says, "And so he took his failed experiments, villagers twisted almost beyond recognition into near-mindless undead, and formed them into the beginnings of an army, tasked with supplying him with all he needed. They came in the night, savoring and using the humans' instinctive fear of darkness. Imbued with a hideous strength and single-mindedness of purpose, the things were unstoppable. Their new, repulsive limbs could be chopped off and still they would crawl and slither and drag their way forward."

(Lysistrata raises her hands, tensing them into claws and raking the air with them.)

Lysistrata emphasizes, "Forever, never ceasing."

Lysistrata says, "The former peacefulness of the town meant that it had few warriors to protect it and they did little good anyway in the face of this undead evil. What the town did have was faith in the form of a priest of Lorminstra. Day and night the man prayed, begging his patron to help his people defeat this horde that eluded the last Gate. Every night saw the population of his village dwindle while the numbers of undead grew. He was close to despair but he continued to pray."

(Lysistrata clasps her hands before her, bowing her head slightly in a pose of prayer as she pauses briefly.)

Lysistrata says, "At last, Lorminstra answered his desperate calls for aid. She was angry with the sorcerer for keeping so many souls from her care in such a twisted, unnatural way and she gave the priest a way to stop them. She gave him a bag full of seeds. She said to the priest..."

Lysistrata commands, "'Plant these seeds at the bases of the trees that stand between the sorcerer's tower and your village'."

Lysistrata continues, "The priest enlisted the help of the few villagers still left and they went into the forest one last, desperate day to plant the seeds one by one. They did not know how it would help them but they had no other options. One brave soul even planted one at the base of the tower itself. Then they waited for night to fall and the attacks to renew once more."

Lysistrata says, "But the attacks never came. They huddled together and listened, flinching, through the night to the screams and angry hisses of the undead echoing in the valley but no monster came to disturb what was left of their town."

Lysistrata says, "At dawn they gathered their courage and crept out into an entirely changed forest. Every previously normal tree, its branches in the air, its roots in the ground, had been consumed by a massive banyan. Their ropy limbs had caught and contained the undead, dragging them beneath the earth to their final resting place."

Lysistrata says, "The biggest banyan of all was where the evil sorcerer's tower had stood, creating a huge canopy over the rest of the forest. The grateful villagers abandoned their torn town and relocated to the depths of the forest, gathering in and around that biggest tree and making it into their new home."

Lysistrata says, "Over the centuries, new armies of undead were created by the powerful, corrupted and ambitious, wreaking havoc and spreading terror in the hearts of all peoples... save in this one village, where no undead could set foot without the limbs of the banyan trees pushing them down deep into the earth where they would at last cross through the Gate for a final time."

Lysistrata concludes, "Other plants have their origins in the dead, marking where blood was spilled, where notable personages were buried, but no other plant has the power to hold down the evil, unstoppable undead. So when you face foes who just will not stay down, who claw their way forward on limbs no living creature should possess... perhaps you will have the good fortune to find yourself near a banyan tree."

(Lysistrata casts a glances in the direction of the banyan tree in the distance before taking her curtsy to indicate that she is finished.)

Thaluhar darkly exclaims, "Very well told!"

Aneris says, "Trees frighten me."


Andagia mumbles, "Okies, who want me telled story next?"

You say, "I don't mind."

Andagia nods to you.

Andagia slurs, "Dat one tell storied next!"

Andagia points at you!

You clear your throat.
Lysistrata turns to face you.
Lysistrata folds her hands.

You say, "Good evening all. I hope you are all sitting comfortably."

You recite quietly:
"Aral cowered in the dank recesses of the catacombs and listened wide eyed at the muffled sounds of screaming about her. The putrid smell of decay and death filled her nostrils. This was her third day hiding, with the invasion of undead abominations still raging above her, her heart pounding in her ears. "

You recite quietly:
"The decay around her, the limbs, the blackened charred flesh and the rank sicky sweet copperish smell of blood festooned the area in which she now cowered, shivering against the cold. "

You recite quietly:
"And somewhere above her, battling against the invaders, was her husband, Robnel. He was a baker, not a warrior but he had volunteered to take up arms in defence of the town. That was three days ago and she feared for him. She wanted him with her. She could bear almost anything if she was with him."

You recite quietly:
"Suddenly, she heard steps coming toward her. She held her breath, praying that the tympanic sound of her heart could not be heard beyond her own ears. She wanted to run.. to hide. But there was nowhere to go. "

You recite:
"She grasped for something to use in her defence. Her frozen trembling fingers clamped around the haft of a weapon. It was a rotting arm with flesh clinging from the bone. She screamed, a scream that echoed and reechoed around the chamber and became louder with the realisation that death would now surely come "

You recite:
"And in that instance she was fighting, scratching clawing as a hand covered her mouth, suppressing her now muffled terror. Somewhere within her struggles and her screams she heard the words: "

You say, "It s me my love, it s me.."

You recite:
"Wide eyed and incredulous she stared at the figure before her. It was the hemp strung gold charm that dangled loosely from his neck that she noticed first. Robnel always wore that charm for luck. She stared motionless for a moment and then in tears wrapped her arms around her."

You say, "Shhh he stated. Hush now. I can only stay a moment."

You say, "No don t leave me she cried out burying her face him in chest. He tenderly held her face in his hands."

You say, "Look at me he said and then more firmly Look at me.. As she gazed at him through tear stained eyes he kissed her forehead and said softly I will always be with you my love. Always."

You recite:
"She smiled weakly, nodded and clung to him. "

You say, "I love you she whispered softly."

You say, "And I you always he responded gently."

You recite:
"How and when sleep claimed her, she did not know. But it was the sound of bells that woke her, announcing the defeat of the invaders. She looked for Robnel but he was gone. Gingerly she made her way out of the catacombs, walking with others, and squinting against the brightness of the light. "

You recite:
"The pervading smell of death made her retch. Bodies dismembered, familiar and alien to her in shape and form. Bloodied soldiers wandered almost aimlessly. "

You recite:
"She held one asking if he had seen her husband. The soldier shook his head. She asked another and another and they all shook their heads."

You say, "Someone must have seen him she cried out, desperation in her voice. He was well known. Robnel the baker. Someone MUST have seen him!"

You say, "Aye a voice responded. I was with him lady ."

You recite:
"She turned to stare into the bloodied face of a militiaman. The militiaman placed his hand on her shoulder and smiled weakly."

You say, "He fought bravely. He saved my life and that of many others. But he is dead lady. He was cut down and stood little chance. I am am so sorry. It was the first wave of the attack three days ago."

You recite:
"Aral shook her head violently."

You say, "Then it's not him. He was with me last night."

You recite:
"The soldier's brow furrowed."

You say, "You must be mistaken lady. I knew your husband and I was with him with he died. He could not have been with you. I took this from his body."

You recite:
"The soldier placed his hand in his pocket and slowly pulled out "

You say, "A hemp strung."
You say, ""
You say, ".........charm."

You recite:

"Aral s eyes widened."

You say, "Death is no barrier to love."


Andagia mumbles, "Who want go nexted?"

Tdem says, "Sure."

Andagia nods at Tdem.
Tdem grins.

Andagia rambles, "Goot! Dis one go next."

Andagia points at Tdem.

Tdem says, "My story is about brotherly love .... or maybe not."

Tdem chuckles.
Tdem recites dramatically:
"Jedak and Heflar were brothers who could not have been different from each other if they tried. "

Tdem recites dramatically:
"Jedak, the older of the two was handsome and dashing. He was a decorated soldier who was loved by all with whom he came into contact. His contribution to the town was such that the mayor arranged for a unique commemorative ring to be forged for him - an ornate gold ring with a ruby inset and the inscription: To a good man. . One could not help but love Jedak. Jedak was a good man."

Tdem recites dramatically:
"Heflar was a different matter. He was taciturn to the point of rudeness. He was no hero but a cook within a local inn. He hated his employer, he hated his customers but above all he hated his brother. "

Tdem recites dramatically:
"One day he hatched a plan to take revenge on those whom he hated."

Tdem recites:
"He would hold a banquet in honor of his brother, the hero, at the establishment of his employer and invite those people Heflar most despised. And there he would exact his revenge!"

Tdem recites:
"His employer readily agreed to hold the banquet and indeed, agreed to fund it. After all Jedek was a good man. This further infuriated Heflar. But Heflar knew he would have his revenge soon and hid his hatred well."

Tdem nods slowly.

Tdem recites:
"On the night of the banquet the inn was full with dignitaries packed to the rafters. Heflar busied himself in the kitchen peering out at the crowd and chuckling to himself on occasion. Tonight he would have his revenge. "

Tdem recites:
"The preparation of the meal was almost complete, when Heflar s employer received a parchment from a messenger confirming that Jedek would be unable to attend, but that he wished the meal to continue. Heflar smiled inwardly as his employer read the parchment and relayed the information to the guests amassed. "

Tdem recites:
"Heflar served up the meal, sumptuously cooked portions of succulent meat, served on a bed of fresh vegetables, with an accompanying oyster sauce. He watched as the customers gorged themselves and smiled. "

Tdem recites:
"Suddenly there was a commotion from one corner as one of the customers removed something hard from his mouth. The customer gazed at it for a moment, recognising it as a Jedek s gold ring with a ruby inset and an inscription. "

Tdem recites quietly:
"There was a hush in the room, followed by a series of whispers that became a deafening roar. The proprietor rushed to the kitchen and found within one of the trays, the remnants of an arm, and a foot. "

Tdem recites quietly:
"Jedek had not just been the guest of honor. He had been the main course! "

Tdem recites quietly:
"With the sudden realisation that they had consumed the town hero, all the customers began to violently remove the contents of their stomach. "

Tdem recites quietly:
"As the constable dragged Heflar away, Heflar was heard to shout hysterically: "

Tdem recites darkly:

"There you see! It's true! You can t keep a good man down!"

Bakral laughs!
Thaluhar laughs!
Shannivar clasps her hand over her mouth.
Bisco snickers.
Thaluhar turns to Tdem and cheers!
Kipa grins.
Tylaen grins.
Sagoth snickers.
Farliegh chuckles.
Tdem smiles.

Bakral says, "Er, dat's not funny."

Andagia laughs!
Bakral coughs.
Tdem chuckles.
Telare snickers.

Speaking to Tdem, Telare says, "Well done, sir."

Lysistrata leans to her left slightly.

Speaking darkly to Tdem, Thaluhar exclaims, "So when's dinner!"

Arulisse grins.
Bakral snickers at Thaluhar.
Tdem chuckles.


Andagia slurs, "Dis one goed next!"

Tdem nods.
Andagia points at Arulisse.

Arulisse says, "I was born in a small village located in the Ash forest, the forest surrounding the city of Sharath."

Arulisse says, "Though I left my village while I was very young, I remember some things that happened."

Arulisse says, "The Ash forest is in and of itself very isolated, with the villages spread far and wide with much of the resources picked over by the Dhe'nar. Because of this, we only survived due to the meager amounts of trade between the villages by the few brave people who dared to travel."

Arulisse says, "Also because of this, even when people were strange or... off.. we never turned them away. And we never asked too many questions about the goods we had access to."

Arulisse says, "I'm not ashamed to say that we were desperate, and perhaps even backwards, people... we didn't have empaths and clerics and we relied on remedies and potion recipes that were passed down from family to family to heal ourselves, grow what little crops we could, and keep plague from wiping us out."

Arulisse says, "The ingredients for these potions could sometimes only be found through one of the wandering merchants, so when a man named Sed with a small wagon apothecary came to our village, you can imagine how excited everyone was. I remember standing in a long line, sitting on my dad's soldiers, as people haggled to get the best prices for bone marrow and eye juices."

Arulisse says, "The man was himself not too weird, though perhaps a little odd. I remember he was abnormally tall, and so skinny that he literally looked like a skeleton with skin draped over its bones. Beyond that, his features were almost painfully boring and average."

Arulisse says, "A week or so after he arrived in town, an old lady went missing. We didn't take much note because the Ash forest is dangerous and people went missing and died all the time if they ventured too far from the protection of the village. Life went on."

Arulisse says, "Almost as if on a schedule though, every two weeks another person would disappear. At first people thought it was the man with the apothecary wagon, and as time went on and the disappearances became more noticeable, the elders finally decided to kick him out of the village. He moved on and we thought the disappearances would stop."

Arulisse says, "They didn't though. For a full six months following his departure, the regular disappearances continued. And then one day a hunting party came upon a stand of trees, and they found all who had gone missing.. strung up, upside down, in the trees. All of them were in horrible states of decay, so it was hard to tell what had killed them and what had been done post death by scavengers. And obviously, we don't know who put them there."

Arulisse shrugs.

Arulisse says, "We buried our dead though and as the disappearances had stopped, we moved on with life."

Arulisse says, "I should mention at this time that my parents traded carved goods with the nearest two villages. I went with them on their travels and visits, of course, and I always enjoyed visiting people and especially other children who were my age."

Arulisse says, "The pond village was in a state of uproar similar to our village had been, when we next visited it. People going missing without a trace as if on a schedule, pretty much exactly what we had experienced. They scoured the forest for a similar burial stand of trees like we had found, but came up with nothing."

Arulisse says, "By this point, I was distraught.. I hadn't lost anyone close to me in my home village, to the "attacks".. if you could call them that. But I used to play with another little girl from the pond Village, named Erlea, and she had disappeared like so many others."

Arulisse says, "My parents did what they could to soothe me and we returned to our village. Over the next few weeks, I forgot about it as most stupid, small children forget things."

Arulisse says, "The next spring, the man with the apothecary wagon was back and asked to be let in to trade. Once again we were desperate for supplies and because there had been no clear link between the man and the disappearances, he was allowed back in."

Arulisse says, "No more disappearances happened while he stayed with us, and the elders felt vindicated that they had made the correct decision. After a few turns of the moon, he packed again and left and life went on."

Arulisse says, "Late into fall that year, my father came down with a cough that threatened to turn more ominous unless it was taken care of. My mother pulled out the ingredients to make a simple remedy to help him get better, and had me get up on a chair to help her."

Arulisse says, "I watched as she poured all sorts of things into our small medicine cauldron.. snake blood, reptile bile, ground up powders and bone shards, heating it slowly and stirring the whole time."

Arulisse hesitantly says, "Then she asked me to hand her an eyeball from within a clay jar."

Arulisse says, "I reached in and felt my fingers brush against one, slimy and cold, and pulled it out, handing it to my mother. She dropped it into her mortar. Just before the pestle went down I looked at the eye. Dark brown, the color of garden soil.. and a small, fleshy lump shaped like a clover at the edge of the iris."

Arulisse says, ""Mama, where did you get that?" I asked suddenly. My mother gave me an exasperated look and told me she got it from Sed, of course."

Arulisse says, "Immediately I thought back to something, something I managed to NOT forget."

Arulisse says, "Hey, what's wrong with your eye, I had asked the little girl at the pond village one of the first times my parents brought me there."

Arulisse says, "My mama says its a birthmark, she had told me matter of factly."

Arulisse says, "I'd never heard of such a thing, and especially not on someone's eye, but it didn't seem implausible, so I accepted it."

Arulisse says, "She had reached out her hand to take mine, leading me towards her mat in her parent's hut. And then she said.."

Arulisse asks, "I'm Erlea by the way.. want to play with my doll?"


Andagia slurs, "Dis one next!"

Andagia points at Constal.
Constal clears his throat.

Constal recites:
"I'm sure we're all familiar with the castle that is on the trail
Between Wehnimers Landing and Solhaven, where we battle and hope not fail
A tall castle stands, alone in the woods, where the AG master
Sends us off to our DOOM!"

Constal recites:
"This place...."

Constal smiles as his voice grows dark and cold, a wicked grin playing over his lips.

Constal recites:
"Castle Varunar!"

Constal recites:
"Now beyond the castle walls are lost souls made of bone
Skeletal warhorses and great warlords haunt it, no king, it's throne
They run rampantly cursed, defying anyone who tresspasses
Their goal.. to murder and torture all those by the masses."

Constal says, "You're probably wondering where I'm going with this. I'm about to tell you how this came to be."

Constal says, "Story goes.. Long ago, a skinny giantman drunkedly entered the fortressed castle.There were many live prized horses, which valiant knights rode to battle. There was honor and prosperity."

Constal says, "Shortly after his arrival, things were never the same again. It's said a group of brave men traveled from Wehnimer Landing to the castle to investigate, because they had not heard, which was unheard of."

Constal says, "Upon their arrival, they couldn't hear the laughter and chatter they were used to. The place was abondoned, cold, lifeless. Something was definitely off-kilter, and they were about to find out what this was. The drawbridge as already set down, and they entered the gloomy desolate castle and could hear a faint whisper.. whispering..."

Constal recites:
"I'm gonna get you.. and I'm going to eat you"

Constal says, "Suddenly, they could hear the clattering of hoofs running quickly towards and they prepared for battle. A fleshless horse, and a skeletal rider atop him bolted from the shadows and attempted to ambush the group of men."

Constal says, "Trained very well in combat, the men were able to defeat the skeletal horse and warlord. They looted what was just the bones of which was once a man, and found a trinket. It was a gift that one of the brave men, had given his brother, who was a protector of the castle. They quickly realized, that this pile of bones, was that the carcus of one of the merry men."

Constal says, "Again.. they heard.."

Constal recites:
"I'm gonna get you.. and I'm going to eat you!"

Constal says, "They gathered themselves and headed for the sound.. which kept on growing louder."

Constal yells, "I'm gonna get you.. and I'm gonna eat you!"

Constal says, "One of the men, lit an oil lamp, and in the corner of the room..... They saw.. a figure eating a piece of meat offa the bone, and a disturbing pile of bones around him. Upon closer gander.. they noticed he was just a man. Oversized, plump, and could barely stand."

(Constal sneaks up behind Bisco, grabbing at his elbows, and pulling his arms up and whispers creeply, "I'm gonna get you.. and I'm gonna eat you.".)

Constal recites:
"This was that man.. that used to be a skinny giantman"

Constal recites:
"And that's how it became, the cursed warhorses and Lords of Castle Varunar. Bisco ate them all and now they're cursed"

Constal gazes in wonder at his surroundings.
Constal recites:
"The end!"


Andagia slurs, "Dis one goed next!"

Andagia points at Metadi.
Metadi strides a few steps forward.
Metadi confides, "It all started with a bet. Five youths, raw and untried, they gathered in a lad's den, chores undone. Schemed and plotted for adventure did they. And lo! Tae pursue it they decided! And if any o' them failed, tae him, humiliation would be paid! Erlik, Caerl, Stimon, Farnk, and Birhan they began."

Metadi continues, "Packed up food and supplies they did. No callow striplings they, or sae they thought. They sought a dark forest o' evil repute, o' which they had heard only whispers.This challenge they could o'ermatch, they declared tae each other!"

(Metadi pulls on his boots, shouldering his pack.)

Metadi darkly exclaims, "Three days they walked. Three nights they slept in their blankets under cold, distant stars. On they trekked, through the cold, o'er the ice and snow!"

Metadi brightly says, "On the fourth morning, they awoke, and decided, 'Heya, let's hae some fish for breakfast! We're hungry and there's an ice pond right here!' Sae they broke through the ice and dropped their lines. Around that broken hole they waited, dangling their bait..."

(Metadi mimes casting a line.)
Metadi glances around the area.
Metadi pauses and waits a moment.

Metadi suddenly says, "Then, out o' the ice comes a trout! Normal sized, nae flashing eyes o' red doom or naught! But right at Erlik's throat it flew! His blood did spurt, and down he fell, flailing frantically! But nae, there and then, Erlik the jester died, in search o' a dish o' fish."

(Metadi throws his arms out.)

Metadi sadly exclaims, "The boys grieved their fellow and bade him hero's farewell, but thought it naught but a spot o' bad luck. Sae they continued on! That nightfall, the trees seemed tae whisper 'Turn back!' But they wouldnae hear. Blind in pride and fear, they continued!"

Metadi turns around.

Metadi scolds, "Turned back, they should hae! The trees were telling them tae! But nae! On they had tae go, they thought! Deeper intae the depths, in shadowed valley and snowy slope they journeyed. The trees grew thick, the air grew dark."

(Metadi describes trees in the air, with crooked branches.)

Metadi warns, "But they didnae stop. Deeper they went, starting tae trip and fall, 'til! Caerl caught his over-long hair on a tree branch mid-stumble. Crack! His neck went, and he was all a'tumble."

Metadi sighs.
Metadi glances down.
Metadi exclaims, "But nae cowards they! Onward! Intae the rocky ground, sere and bouldered. Climbing till their hands were bloody. Deeper intae the scree they went. Scrambling and rambling, they refused tae quit, till a stone landed on the head o' Stimone, the innkeeper's son, and smashed him gone!"

Metadi declares, "Turn back! the wind whispered between the rocks!"

Metadi accuses, "Common sense was an uncommon thing in that band! E'en land shrieked 'Turn back, ye'll find naught but death!' The next night... A beautiful maiden, shining in the starlight, stepped out o' the trees. Smiling at the boys, she beckoned with smoky eyes. Well, Farnk the brewer's lad, he didnae reckon, but jumped tae her, and they vanished!"

(Metadi makes a puff motion with his hands.)

Metadi remarks, "Birhan, the armorer's brat, found this passing odd, but he reasoned tae himself, "Mysterious are the way o' womenfolk. Best tae nae question them!"."

Metadi says, "But, 'pon the morning, he awoke tae find his friend buried tae the neck in the cold, stony ground, frozen all the way 'round. And the earth and sky howled, 'Turn back! Ahead is naught but death!'."

Metadi coughs.

Metadi coldly continues, "But, 'pon the morning, he awoke tae find his friend buried tae the neck in the cold, stony ground, frozen all the way 'round. And the earth and sky howled, 'Turn back! Ahead is naught but death!'."

Metadi concludes, "Whereupon he took off the heavy helmet he'd started wearing and said, "Eh? I couldnae hear ye in that thing! I thought ye'd been saying tae win the bet!" And he high-tailed it back home, swearing ne'er again tae roam!"


Tylaen hesitantly says, "I can, if you want."

Andagia points at Tylaen.

Tylaen says, "How many of you know who Oriahn Delsechal was? Go on, raise your hands."

Bisco says, "Guaranteed to scare ya."

Tylaen surveys the area.

Tylaen wryly says, "All right, we'll start with a little remedial history, then."

Tylaen explains, "Oriahn Delsechal led the sylvans who joined the fight against Despana. During the final battle at Maelshyve, the sylvans took their customary place beside the Faendryl--and when the sorcerers lost control of their demons, it was the sylvans who took the brunt of that blow."

Tylaen quietly continues, "Worse, after Oriahn gathered the survivors and began the journey to their home of Nevishrim, they found another demon in their path, one who had escaped from the battle. Rather than slip around it and leave it free to kill others, Oriahn gathered a few companions and went to confront it."

Tylaen says, "They were successful; they slew the demon. But Oriahn himself was gravely wounded. His men built him a litter and carried him the many long miles to Nevishrim, only to have him stop them just outside the city gates."

Tylaen formally says, "Though I have slain the demon, a shard of its evil remains lodged inside me,' he told them. 'Let me bring it no closer. Let me die here, outside our city, and spare our people its taint.'."

Tylaen concludes, "A few moments later, as the histories say, he died."

Tylaen simply says, "This is what happened after."

Tylaen just opened a matte ivory instrument case.
Tylaen removes a slender pure white haon lute with jade-hued faenor strings from in her instrument case.
(Tylaen walks her fingers idly along the strings of her lute as she continues speaking, setting the mood with a few eerie, minor chords.)
Inurtia frets.

Tylaen softly says, "Oriahn felt cold, and almost beyond pain. He was ready for the quiet comfort of Gosaena's embrace. Instead, there was a faint, sharp snap as his soul separated from his body and drifted free--only to linger in the shadow of Nevishrim's gates."

Tylaen plucks at the strings of her lute, checking the tone.
The string makes a sharp ringing pitch as she releases it.

Tylaen says, "As a ghost, he watched his people build a monument to his memory, watched as they dismantled their city and vanished into the forests once more, looking for a more hidden, safer home. All the while, he pleaded for the Silent One to take him beyond the final gate."

Tylaen quietly says, "There was no answer."

(Tylaen stills her fingers for a moment, then begins to play again, the sounds soft but somehow deliberately jarring and uneven.)
Shannivar frowns.
Shannivar whispers something to Aydan.
Tylaen continues, "He became aware that the forest around him was fading, leaves turning brown and withered out of season, trees sprouting clumps of oily lichen that ate away at their roots. Slime choked the streams he floated beside, poisoned mushrooms took the place of what were once bright-hued flowers. The shard of evil the demon had left in him when its talon pierced his body had not died with his flesh."

Tylaen shivers.

Tylaen regretfully says, "Since the Arkati did not see his plight--or did not choose to interfere--Oriahn sought assistance from the only other source that might grant it, though the decision was bitter to him: the Faendryl who had summoned the demons, who had let his people die and fled the field at Maelshyve without a word of apology or regret."

Tylaen says, "He sought them first in Ta'Faendryl, only to find the city deserted. It was clear the Faendryl had never returned. In despair, Oriahn began the long trek to Maelshyve, hoping to pick up some hint of a trail. He traveled as quickly as he could to spare the elven lands from the demon's touch--and a ghost can travel quickly indeed, unneedful of sleep, unhindered by terrain--but even so, he left black and rotting things in his wake. The taint was growing stronger."

(Tylaen's hands pick up their pace as she describes Oriahn's travels, drawing the rhythms of a marching song from her lute and allowing her earlier discordant theme to surface only occasionally.)

Tylaen states, "It was a relief to reach Maelshyve's blasted rubble, so stained by death and undeath that no further corruption could mark it. As a ghost, Oriahn's tracking skills had faded; he could no longer feel the dirt crumble in his fingers or sniff the spore of his quarry on the wind. But the wards and hidden doors of the Faendryl meant nothing to him; he sank through the stone into the tunnels as easily as a fish into a stream."

(Tylaen walks her fingers down her lute, playing a series of descending notes, and then removes her fingers from the strings, leaving the instrument cradled in her lap.)

Tylaen continues, "The cave he found himself in was a humble one, occupied by a lone woman in a maid's simple dress. She had before her a candle of the kind the Faendryl use to tell fortunes, and whatever she hoped to see in its thick, dark smoke, it was not Oriahn. Her mouth made a little 'o' of surprise as the sylvan ghost pushed one arm into the cloud, and then the other, and finally his body, leaving him outlined in billowing folds of smoke."

Tylaen cocks her head.
Tylaen warily says, "'What. . .what do you want?' she asked."

Tylaen says, "Oriahn pulled back from the candle and with his finger sketched a few simple letters in the haze: 'Release. Banish demon.'."

Tylaen says, "':uneasy I'm no cleric or sorcerer,' she protested."

Tylaen snarls, "Frustrated, exhausted, Oriahn lunged forward, pressing his snarling face toward the maid and sending smoke roiling into her lungs. As she coughed and choked, he felt a savage sense of satisfaction--and then shame. In life, he would never have done such a thing to an innocent. It seemed the demon had tainted him as well as the land. He withdrew from the smoke, letting it still."

Tylaen closes her eyes for a moment.

Tylaen continues, "The girl's breathing slowly eased. 'Are you still there?' she asked."

Tylaen says, "Oriahn stirred the smoke with the faintest brush of his finger."

Tylaen decisively says, "'All right,' she said, firming her jaw. 'I'll find someone to help you.'."

(Tylaen begins to play again, a series of quiet, rippling notes that mimic the dripping of water in caves far beneath the earth, though she soon lets the sound fade.)

Tylaen says, "Oriahn spent a long and restless day in her cell until she returned to lead him through the city. They went down coiling passages that spiraled in on themselves and out again and finally stopped at a simple door."

Tylaen flatly says, "A man with ash-grey hair opened it--a man Oriahn knew. He had fought beside him, had stood guard over him while he raised his spells that fateful day at Maelshyve. Thaddeus the sorcerer, whose demons had torn sylvans limb from limb."

Tylaen clenches her jaw.

Tylaen says, "'Sir,' the maid said, while Oriahn fought the urge to fall upon the man, 'I've brought you a ghost who seeks aid. He wants release, and I, we thought maybe you could help.'."

Tylaen says, "Thaddeus stared at her a moment, brow furrowed, then said abruptly, 'Well, come in then, and bring your candle with you.'."

Tylaen says, "When the candle was lit, Oriahn thrust himself into the smoke. 'I see,' said Thaddeus, faintly, recognizing the features even distorted by death. 'Why did you come here, my friend?'."

Tylaen sharply says, "'NOT FRIEND,' Oriahn wrote in letters that all but tore the smoke into shreds. 'You left us to die.'."

Tylaen softly continues, "Thaddeus closed his eyes, and when he opened them again he looked, if possible, even older. 'A fair accusation. And is that why you came here?'."

Tylaen replies, "'No,' Oriahn wrote, in smoke that trembled with him. 'Demon. Bound to soul.'."

Tylaen says, "Both of Thaddeus's eyebrows flew upward. The light in the room wavered and rippled like water as he sketched a few glowing strokes in the air. 'So there is,' he said at last. 'And I do not see how to separate it, but given time, I can find away.'."

Tylaen simply says, "'No time,' Oriahn wrote. He did not know how to condense the taint into a few words he could scrawl in smoke, did not know that a Faendryl, one who pierced the veil and let abominations through, would even care. 'Open veil. Banish demon.'."

Tylaen says, "'It is fused with your soul as tightly as ore threads a rock,' Thaddeus objected. 'Where it goes, you will follow--and you will stay. Besides, the spells require a live demon, something physical they can transport. I will need time to change them to work on a mere fragment of spirit.'."

Tylaen repeats, "'Banish demon,' Oriahn said, pushing down the unnatural anger that threatened to rise again."

(Tylaen steeples her fingers atop her silent lute and lets out a long, thoughtful breath.)

Tylaen says, "Thaddeus sat and stared at the smoke silently, watching the words fade away, watching the candle gutter. At last he pushed himself upright with an abrupt gesture of his staff."

Tylaen says, "'Very well.' He turned to the maid. 'I'll need your help.'."

Tylaen surprisedly says, "'Me?' she asked. 'I don't know anything about sorcery.'."

Tylaen says, "'Nonetheless,' said Thaddeus. 'When the moment comes, toss this stone into the circle. It ends the spell.'."

Tylaen says, "He handed her a rune-carved pebble and then began to sketch on the floor, first in chalk and then in crumbled herbs. Phlox, he used, for unity of demon and soul; hellebore, to bind the dead; butterflyweed, to speed both in their flight; and columbine, for the folly of it all."

Tylaen quietly says, "'Stand in the circle,' he told Oriahn, though he could not see if he obeyed. 'Remember what you must do,' he told the maid. And then he began to chant, his hands gripped tightly before him."

(Tylaen draws a few low, moaning chords from her lute, layering them atop each other into a dark counterpoint for the tale.)

Tylaen says, "Was a long chant, and it made Oriahn shiver to hear it, for it was a mirror to the one he had heard that fateful day at Maelshyve. But he stood his ground in the circle, for this was the only way he could see to free the world of his passenger's taint, and he would not let all of Imaera's green places turn to dust and rot only to save his own soul."

Tylaen says, "On the last word, Thaddeus stepped into the circle. For the spell, as he had said, required something living to step through the gateway, something Oriahn, in all his determination, could never provide."

Tylaen regretfully says, "'Yew,' he whispered, as he dropped the last handful of herbs into the circle. 'For repentance. I am sorry, my friend.'."

Tylaen says, "As the crumbled root touched the floor, the flames of the circle flared high and bright. The maid, frozen, fought her terror and won, hurling the runestone into the circle."

(Tylaen lets her music rise into a series of sharp and crackling notes, a crescendo that briefly overwhelms her words, before stilling her lute's strings with the flat of her hand.)

Tylaen says, "With a crackle and a whiff of brimstone, the flames went out, leaving nothing in the circle but ash."

Tylaen tentatively says, "'Oriahn?' the maid asked."

Tylaen says, "But though eddies and whorls of smoke rose from the circle, no ghostly hand disturbed them. The sylvan spirit--and the Faendryl sorcerer--were gone."

Tylaen bows.


Sameera recites somberly:
"Tonight I tell a tale of history... the story behind a weird artifact that has made it's way through time, into the hands of one of our number. He sits here quietly, unaware of the true depth of the curse he has inherited."

Sameera recites quietly:
"On a chill winter's night, a lone warlock stalked along a narrow trail crossing the moors. The pallid light of the waning moon emphasized the deep shadows rather than lighting his way. Cold and weary, he muttered to himself as he walked, counting off the miles to home and reminding himself of the productive work he'd achieved that night."

Sameera recites uneasily:
"The weak moonlight gleaming on the vaalin and platinum handle of the warlock's whip-blade and the rattle of the obsidian beads round his neck drew the attention of a malicious little imp lurking in the nearby bushes."

Sameera recites tensely:
"The imp stalked the warlock as quietly as only an imp can... moving to the center of the path and creeping up to shadow the warlock. When the warlock heard a tiny pebble clatter and roll off the path he stopped and spun around quickly, but the imp spun with him and stayed directly behind."

(Sameera pauses for a moment, letting the tension build as people imagine that dark, quiet walk... when the hairs on the back of your neck prickle and you get the feeling of not being alone, yet you can't see anyone...)
Sameera recites abruptly:

"While the warlock looked around suspiciously, peering into the dark, the imp gave a wild shriek and leapt up onto the his back. Hands moving quickly, the imp peeked and poked into every pocket of every garment the warlock wore, then found a prize and clutched it greedily. The imp leapt away to freedom with his shiny loot, already snickering... "

Sameera recites sadly:
"But it was not to be. The warlock was a better foe than the imp had thought, and his hand circled the imp's ankle firmly. With a firm jerk from the warlock, the imp dangled upside down before him. Glaring fiercely at the squirming creature, the warlock rescued his ring and slung the imp over his shoulder and continued trudging home."

Sameera recites quietly:
"Finally reaching his tower, the warlock tossed the imp into a rusted yet sturdy cage near the worktable. Gathering a variety of potions and jars to one side, he opened a large hide-bound tome on a tall stand and flipped through the pages until he found what he was looking for."

Sameera recites tensely:
"The imp babbled and pleaded, clutching the bars of its cage and peering pathetically at the warlock. He also surreptitiously checked the lock and every seam of the cage, trying to find a way out without being noticed. It made no difference, the warlock completely ignored the imp as he proceeded to draw an intricate spellform across the center of the table in blood-red and bone-white chalk."

Sameera recites grimly:
"Done with all his preparations, the warlock opened the cage and pulled out the imp with a firm grip before it could scrabble away. Pushing it down into the center of the spellform on its stomach, the warlock placed one broad hand across the imp's back and picked up a shiny handaxe with the other. The imp frantically scratched and clawed at the table, still blubbering piteously, but it sprawled on its stomach and fortunately didn't see what was coming."

(Sameera pauses once more, her gaze scanning across the assorted gathering, wondering if they could anticipate what was coming.)
Sameera recites grimly:

"With one swift *chop* the edge of the handaxe sliced through the imp's neck and sank into the table. The head, with its bulging eyes and gaping mouth rolled a short ways away and the body fell limp."

Sameera recites morosely:
"The warlock tossed the body into the corner and moved the head back to the center of the now bloody spellform. He stitched the eyelids shut with catgut on a long curved needle, then turned the head upside down and stuffed a variety of herbs deep inside, chanting in a low tone as he worked methodically."

Sameera recites gratingly:
"After sewing the neck closed, the warlock dipped the head into a mixture of oils and set it back in the center of the spellform to dry. Pointing his whip-blade at the gruesome thing he said, 'Thief you were, and now I name you Thief-taker. Your spirit shall reside in this head and you will guard my pockets from others of your ilk.'"

Sameera recites viciously:
"The more he spoke, the more fury, frustration and anger glittered in the warlock's eyes and his voice shook with passion. 'You will serve me and my will forever more. Protect my fortunes from pirates and accompany me on my journeys.' He jabbed at the abominable thing with the whip-blade as he spoke, leaving a bloody gash below the left ear."

Sameera recites menacingly:
"'If you should ever be stolen from me... end up in another's pocket without my given consent.. well... that is by far the most excessive crime. There should be a special punishment for that... let me think.'"

(Sameera sighs softly, shaking her head a little at the poor thing's fate... and the fate of the one who now harbored his head.)

Sameera recites wryly:
"Unfortunately, the warlock went to the celebration in Sharath, the one that ended in the Big Fire? He'd left the imp's head at home in his casual robes (he wore formal for the celebration) and it was eventually found and claimed."

Sameera recites uneasily:
"The imp's head has travelled the lands, changing hands quite often because his new masters never seem to keep him for very long. There are rumors about the head being cursed, but none of the sellers and auctioneers ever discuss that until after the head has left their hands."

(Sameera stands back up and takes quick bow before moving back to her friends.)


Andagia recites:
"In therd place, wif skerry story... Lysistrata!"
Andagia recites:

"In secund place, wif skerrier story.... Tdem!"
Andagia recites:

"In thurd place, wif skerriest story.... Bremerial!"
Andagia slurs, "Err, furst!"

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