The Serin Mystique, Volume 7, Issue 2

Welcome back to the seventh volume of the Serin Mystique! This is Lore
Keeper Farael at your service, with more juicy battles, news, scandal, and
poetry for you to enjoy (and even a story with a fake goat in it)! Do enjoy
and please remember: Fruit makes the world go round.

Contents:

1) Cabal Affairs - What have those cabals been up to? (see affairs1, affairs2)
2) Bloody Battles - Ferocious recent fights at all ranks! (see battles1, battles2)
3) Oh, Scandalous! - A story you wouldn't believe (but its true!) (see scandal)
4) Strange Happenings - Not just any ordinary news (see happenings)
5) Obituaries - Some nice words about famous recently deceased (see obits)
6) Poetry - Run for the hills! (see poem1, poem2, poem3, poem4)
7) Story from Afar - Mystic Niusan has a great tale to share... (see afar)
8) Story about a Troll - ... and so do I! Har har! (see troll)




1) Cabal Affairs - What have those cabals been up to?

affairs1

Cabal Affairs
-------------

[KEEPER]

Hrimoyan reports that though the Keepers have suffered the loss of their newest
and most active member, Tepesh, they are still faring quite well in their duties.
Not much seems to happen recently requiring Keeper interference so Hrimoyan has
taken up fishing.

Hrimoyan reports that though the Keepers have suffered the loss of their newest
and most active member, Tepesh, they are still faring quite well in their duties.
Not much seems to happen recently requiring Keeper interference so Hrimoyan has
taken up fishing.

Members: Hrimoyan, Trogm, Gnobwinkle, Calladuran and someone I've no idea.

[LEGION]

Olyn, Lord of Darkness and Doom and Burnt Corpses informs me that Legion's rise to
power is certain. It sure seems that way! Just today General Rosellin was slain
several times by the underling thief Khelzith, who has already earned a reputation
for being extremely swift and deadly. There are also rumors of promising young
applicants raring to join the ranks.
Unlike some of the other cabals (cough Keeper), Olyn has been actively ridding his
army of dead weight "when [their] use as fodder passed." Having traveled a few
times with the Legionnaires myself, I can say from experience that they are quite
determined to tighten the cold grip of shadows over the lands. The pendulum swings
yet again!

Members: Corzen, Deriic, Kurahwthar, Khelzith, Occuilus, Veriande, Volk

[JUSTICE]

It seems the Justices are hitting a new low with the late scandal (see Strange
Happenings column) and the flaily demise of their youngest officer Ashesia. Maybe
they need to attract fewer crazies. Heck, send them my way! I could use a crazy or
two to keep me company when scribing...

Members: Arvar, Hobern, Tyravel, Sertos

[KNIGHT]

When I asked about the current state of Knightly affairs, Champion Jaqr remarked on
the current trend of Evil Rising. It's true: the Knights are three members now, and
the Legion have all become pinnacled. He also worries about the Justices, who have
an evil member in their ranks. Oh ye silly Knights. Tyravel is a very nice fellow!
Even though there are very few Knights right now, there are a whoooole lot of
squires running around, so I am sure we will hear about the Balance of Serin
sliding again soon!

Members: Rosellin, Jaqr, Aelin

affairs2

[MYSTIC]

Nothing much to report from the Mystic corner. Noliperus bemoans a lack of time
allowance, which probably plagues all of them! He also spends much of his little
time hiding from Trogm who apparently holds a grudge against him. Shinies make
targets of us all.

In other news, Niusan has had encounters with a new breed of Deep Gnomes (you can
read about it in "Story from Afar") which is keeping him quite busy! I have seen
Zalastran poking about once or twice as well, giving the young ones a helping hand.

Members: Noliperus, Ashak, Zalastran, Elarwyn, Niusan

[HERALD]

Sad to say, still no sign of my fellow Heralds nor much word from our meager
applicants. Where is everybody?! I am getting lonely here!

Members: Farael, and some dusty people in the closet


2) Bloody Battles - Ferocious recent fights at all ranks!

battles1

Bloody Battles
--------------

1. Aeila v. [KNIGHT] Rosellin, [JUSTICE] Hobern v. [KNIGHT] Aelin

The Knights decided that Aelin would lead Justice Hobern on a merry goose
chase so that Rosellin could go after Aeila uninterrupted. Sadly, Hobern
fell for the trick and went running about while Aeila kept getting the hell
streamed out of her. After several rounds of this "Knightly Fun" Aeila
finally succumbed and Aelin paid off his fine.

2. [JUSTICE] Tyravel v. [KNIGHT] Aelin

Recently the Knights have been causing a great deal of disturbances in
Seringale for even the slightest of reasons. The other day I witnessed Aelin
intruding against Hobern to distract him from paying attention to town, so
Rosellin could slay Aeila. Well today it happened again.
Tyravel, a human invoker Justice of the 48th title, fought the pinnacled storm
warrior Knight Aelin who intruded on the Justice halls. The battle was
initiated because Tyravel refused to duel the insistent Knight before reaching
pinnacle himself. Though Tyravel was slain during defense, he returned swiftly
and recuperated. Aelin requested that Tyravel grant him leave to depart the
Justice cabal unscathed, to which the Justice quite rightly struck him down
with distaste.

3. [LEGION] Khelzith vs. [KNIGHT] Rosellin

Rosellin assailed Khelzith with a stream of hell as we hunted in the Shire
today. Though greatly wounded, he managed to recover swiftly and struck her
down with quick attacks and pilfers when she attempted to invade on his temple.
She was killed again later. Of the battles, Khelzith reports that they "were
cliche. The epic story of Darkness prevailing over Light. She is child's play."

Ouch.

4. [JUSTICE] Ashesia v. Kaerravudd, [LEGION] Deriic

Today Ashesia battled piles and piles - okay, maybe just two - wanted
criminals. First Kaerravudd, who has been wanted for quite some time now, ran
around town brazenly flaunting her inability to touch him. Then Deriic tried to
take advantage of her preoccupation to attack Azazhog in the middle of a
conversation with me! But she heard his attack so then she came running. Furious
at losing his prey (Azazhog is a great run-for-the-hillser, he should be a
Herald) Deriic invaded to take her Iron Fist. Somehow even at a nine-rank
disadvantage, she managed to bring him down with the help of her angry
watchguard. Unfortunately she couldn't do the same with Kaerravudd, who managed
to kill her and take all her things.

5. [JUSTICE] Ashesia v. Volk, Ventyx

Ashesia the newest dark-knight Justice attacked Volk during the surge in hopes
of stealing his freshly laundered clothes (you don't get many of those around
here). He was able to elude her attacks however and his groupmate invoker Ventyx
streamed her off to hell.

(Continued in battles2)

battles2

6. [JUSTICE] Tyravel, [JUSTICE] Hobern, ([KNIGHT] Jaqr) v.
[LEGION] Deriic, [LEGION] Khelzith, ([KNIGHT] Jaqr)

A busy busy battle involving Justice, Knight AND Legion today! Jaqr
was apparently wanted from a previous conflict and his most unfortunate
appearance alerted Hobern and Tyravel as well as Deriic, who all started
chasing after him like he was the gingerbread man. Well Deriic got to
eat Jaqr before the Justices could get to him, so they were a little
upset. Even more upset were they when Deriic and Khelzith decided to
take a tour of their cabal looking for milk to go with the cookie!

Well now this wouldn't do, so our two valiant Justices started chasing
the Legions away with brooms. Shoo shoo! They swept, and they swept, and
then Khelzith got swept into a cardboard box and disappeared. And so it
was just Deriic left against the Justices and their brooms. He ran
around a lot and pretty much gave them the slip until finally after
paying off his fine he thought he would tempt Hobern into attacking him
for some final fun. It would have been a great plan....except Hobern
kind of killed him... so in the end Hobern got the last laugh.


3) Oh, Scandalous! - A story you wouldn't believe (but its true!)

scandal

Oh, Scandalous!
---------------

My very own eyes have seen a romance blossoming between the
fearless Legion Deriic and Justice Hobern of Seringale! I only
caught a bit of conversation where Deriic complimented Hobern
on his wenchishness and admired his doll collection, while
Hobern batted his eyelashes, kissed Deriic (yes! it's true! I
wouldn't make this stuff up!), and swooned over "all the words
Deriic would never tell Olyn - See, he loves me!"

I suspect a wedding in the near future! Caterers and florists,
get ready!


4) Strange Happenings - Not just any ordinary news

happenings

Strange Happenings
------------------
1. Justice Uproar!

With the new wave of Justices there have been lots of juicy scandals
going on. Officers Agreard and Zdwaobaen both had extremely brief
tenures due to making intimate advances at Khelzith. Who would have
guessed!? Arvar found their stalkerly invasion of Khelzith's Legionny
home to be disgraceful and kicked them and their pink matching
suitcases to the curb.

2. Naleeng Frenzy

Serins beware!

A cursed spring exists just outside of Timaran's northern walls,
which causes fierce creatures known as "Angry Naleengs" to emerge if
one should dare to drink. Today it has caused the demise of many a
young adventurer.

I was taken to visit this strange, deceptively mundane place by Tyravel.
Upon arriving, I found Lady Vevier and a couple of youngsters there
arguing over a pile of corpses. It seems that once the Naleengs are
called forth, they will attack any who enter their field of sight after
slaying the miscreant drinker... This makes the spring quite dangerous
indeed!

The youngsters were blaming Vevier and an unseen Immortal for playing
tricks on them and killing them and so on and so forth, but when the
Immortal drank, no Naleengs appeared. I am inclined to think Naleengs
are only offended by fleshy squishy creatures such as our mortal
selves so we had better watch where we put our mouths!


5) Obituaries - Some nice words about famous recently deceased

obits

Obituaries
----------

OLEKMAR, a young Officer of Justice, passed away on the Day of
the Great Gods, 33rd of the Month of the Winter Wolf. He was a
fellow with staunch ideals and a good heart. Too good a heart.
After falling to an intruder of his halls, he took his life to
spare the other Justices the bother of scolding him for it.

TEPESH, a Keeper werebeast ranger, fell on the Day of the Great
Gods, 5th of the Month of Futility. He was an active member of
the Keeper cabal and a poker enthusiast. Unfortunately he was
driven mad by loneliness (not too many female werebeasts around
I suppose!) and stabbed himself one afternoon while reading
lovelorn sonnets.

LARORAT, ex-footman of the Legion Army, came to his demise at
the hands of former comrade Khelzith on the Day of Freedom, 25th
of the Month of the Great Evil. I had seen his dedication to
protection of the Legion's Skull before, throwing himself in the
way of any who wished to cause it harm regardless of danger to
his person. His best intentions, however, seemed to fall short
of the Dark Lord's expectations. Too bad.

ASHESIA, newest recruit of the Justice cabal, sacrificed herself
to the gods after being slain by Volk on the Day of the Moon,
35th of the Month of Dark Shades. I had a few brief encounters
with her and the first time we met I was almost convinced she
was crazy. The second time she seemed to be sane again. Maybe
this behavior waxed and waned with the moon. The moon! That
explains everything!


6) Poetry - Run for the hills!

poem1

Enough
------

You can't capture many things with a poem.

You can't capture the scent of fresh earth and pine,
of wildflowers breathing
You can't capture the soft whir of your wings
or the crickets' pulsing rhythms
You can't hear the wind sighing in your ears
or feel the sunset sinking cold into your skin.

You can't catch the trail a leaf leaves in the sky as it falls,
nor the way the birches shiver in the wake of a rumbling storm.
Even the waves of the ocean abandon their playfulness and stand still,
and in doing so lose the momentum that makes waves waves.

You can't ensnare the elusive reason why
your heart hurts when the sun touches the bowed heads of wild grasses
You can't trap the tininess you feel standing between the trees.

You can't capture many things with a poem,
but you can trigger a memory with it,

And sometimes that's enough.

poem2

Time Traveler's Wife
--------------------

They warned me this would happen,
but I didn't listen. I said the love of my life
was enough for me.

And that was the end of it.

Now, she speaks:
time transmutes to light,
mountains and valleys interchange,
civilizations scurry like mice in a deserted theater.

Then silence descends.
Eons emerge from seconds of pause
(I can feel my molecules breathing).

Some nights, when she is asleep
and the world is drifting quietly again,
I wonder how it would have felt
had we never met
if life would just have crept,
dogged, complacent,
leaving me with no glimpse of macro- or micro-scopes,

only simple reality.

poem3

Terror
------

unlike fog
these sinister tendrils lash
venomous, hungry

hands clutch electrified lifelines
tearing, searing open wounds
the world shudders, heaves, inverses:

hope vanishes...

submerged, fetuses of fathomless dread
crawl forth from unpunctured bowels
and entwine dark limbs
about unbroken spines, purring

(blind eyes flash white with panic

separated by tumultuous cumuli
the sea briefly mirrors the sky
with pairs of unseen stars)

poem4

Dreamer
-------

Convince me,
for every sunbeam questions your existence.

The air wrapping each empty branch wrinkles
with whispers of words once tumbled from your lips.

Faceless figures wearing stolen fragments
file past, backs front,
silent - until a touch rends their tissue paper costumes

pieces of you drift to the floor
strangers emerging from familiar chrysalises
exchange odd glances for confusion.

Cheated,
tormented,
I retreat.

At dusk, disappearing,
squirrel paws etch shadows of your awakening.
I wait, breath bated, as day's formata shrinks
to slivers and stitch marks patterning across the sky.


7) Story from Afar - Mystic Niusan has a great tale to share...

afar

A Story from Afar: Niusan and the Deep Gnomes
---------------------------------------------

The Mystic Niusan has been busy fighting Deep Gnomes on the other
side of Serin recently, but today he managed to sneak a break from
those awful evil creatures to come and visit Seringale. He is a
very nice and helpful fellow, as all the Mystics are, but has been
scarred for life by his gnome sightings! Not having met, well, any
gnomes outside of the sad prisoner in Goblin Village, I asked him
for a story about his gnomish experiences. This is his story.

Deep Gnomes are evil, wily creatures who live in sandy caves in a
faraway land. They plot incessantly to do away with anyone who
doesn't believe in stinky cheese. Among their ranks are many
gnomish warriors and illusionists but most scary of all are the
invokers, who rain magic missiles and meteor swarms from far away
and are very unpredictable and dangerous. Niusan himself has
narrowly escaped one of these gnome-sky- droppings, which landed
a mere 100 yards away from him. Thank Stryth it missed!

I have decided to help Niusan by calling in the gnome-eating
favors of the Goddess Vanisse. Because these particular Deep
Gnomes camouflage very well in the sands, making themselves
difficult to catch, I will be working to devise a Gnome-Magnet
(GnoMagnet?) to draw them out. If anyone has any metallurgy
experience, I would love to collaborate!
Best of luck and all good wishes to Niusan for his efforts in
Gnomeland!


8) Story about a Troll - ... and so do I! Har har!

troll

Story of a Troll
----------------
Magnet-minded sparrows gathered atop a gnawed wooden troll with
sad, warty eyes protruding beneath thorny brows. Its unshorn head,
crowned with reaching branches, wiggled in the wind along with all
its feathered jewels. Dumpily, the troll sat, dreading spring.

Spring meant goats.

Like all trolls, this one hated goats. Even without a bridge to
quarrel over or a stream to upend it in, somehow the goats always
found it in the bushes. Found it and CHEWED.

If indignation could have manifested on its lumpy features at that
very moment it would probably have scared all of its chirping
companions away. As it were, they found their bowels constricting.
White streaks started decorating the troll's head, giving it a
dishevelled yet oddly distinguished appearance.

The troll sighed.

Snow began to fall. The birds consulted each other with worried
tweets and exploded upward in a flurry of down, jolting the troll's
head back and forth. Fleetingly, out of the corner of one eye, it
saw a white shape with small nubbly horns and, possibly, a beard.

A goat? At this time of year?

The troll tried to take a second glance but its borrowed momentum
had dissipated and it couldn't see. Its other senses heightened.
There seemed to be an unnatural warmth pacing round its backside,
accompanied by rustling sounds echoing from every invisible
direction. Its branches bristled silently.

The sounds grew louder, and the troll panicked. Every withered cell
of its body began to quiver with the strain of holding its meager
wits together. Pressure soared upward, winched by fear.

There was a very quiet, almost indistinguishable "piff."

The white fox's ears pricked as it looked up. For some strange
reason, the ugly stump ahead of it had sprouted a small pink flower.
Unimpressed, it went back to digging for moles.

The snow continued to fall.



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