The Serin Mystique, Volume 10, Issue 6

At last, a new Mystique! This issue comes on the brink of war, and
contains news and events leading up to the current conflict. The next issue
will be exclusively covering the War of the Age, so keep your eyes peeled!

In this issue you can read about:

1) Battles (see battles1, battles2)
2) Cabal Affairs (see Legion, Knight, Keeper, Justice)
3) Coterie Affairs (see Herald, Mystic)
4) News (see ColdWar, Forsaken, Turnings1, Turnings2)
5) Gossip (see Hmm, Tricksy)
6) Poetry (see Barnabas, Sprite, Unspoken)
7) Obituaries (see Trompi, Thodun)
8) Interviews (see Ravinah, Executioner)

With the fog of war slowly engulfing the Serin Citizenry we look for
those who are embroiled in the day to day affairs of the conflict to give
us updates and special reports from the front lines. We will be
dispatching Heralds to cover major events, we believe that no one can
tell the story of war better than the soldiers that are actively fighting its
battles. The next edition of the Mystique will be dedicated to this War
of Legion Aggression and Expansion.

The Heralds appreciate your purchase of the latest Mystique and hope
that the fallout of the war leaves our printing press untouched to bring
you the next edition soon!



1) Battles

battles1

Reakonnier vs Ovazcus

I met up with Ovazcus right in town, just standing around. He told me I'd
want to watch the fight the was going to happen if I wanted to write about
greatness. So, like a good little herald, I asked him to let me watch
through his eyes. Well the little drow came around and started whapping him
real good, managed to blind him, but then they scattered. Reakonnier caught
up with him and made his stomach turn and his eyes go black. Let me tell
you, it was sure strange to be seeing through eyes that don't see nothing.
the shaman closed in.

Winner - Reakonnier

battles2

A clash of swords took place this day, as enemy factions joined the fray.
The Knights Tuston and Adaus waged war against the Tenebrous Cavalier Gaelyn
and the dark-knight Cthartu, for blood they demanded more. This skirmish
went on for quite some time, the prowess of combat was surely sublime. In
the cross Adaus fell, as if the very skies erupted with a death knell. Not
long after Cthartu was slain, if only for the Knight's momentary gain. The
battle concluded with loss to both sides, yet another display of war's ever
shifting tides.


2) Cabal Affairs

Legion

The Dark Army has been reformed under the rule of the new Forsaken,
Gaelyn. With the whispers of Princess Nycticora in his ear, Legion has
massively expanded their army under a new philosophy, using powers of
psychological influence and promises of a new, different Peace and a
redefinition of Order. Rather than brazenly charging around Serin, the
soldiers of Legion have returned to keeping their identities cloaked in
shadow. Whispers of malevolence resonate through the lands, tempting many
to the side of Darkness.

Ranks of Legion are secret.

Knight

The Castle as always stands as the beam of light and virtue in Serin.
Under the leadership of Euriah and the efforts of Generals Tuston and Balan,
the Knights have been a consistent and strong presence.

Ranks of Knights: Euriah, Tuston, Balan, Adaus, Bellen, Vyrus, Gerrot, and
Gesthar.

Keeper

The presence of Keepers has grown curiously scarce in these increasingly
turbulent times. Perhaps it has been their absence that has allowed Legion
to grow so exponentially. Vague sightings of Crisbin and Xaq remind us that
they still exist.

Ranks of Keepers: Crisbin, Makuto, Xaq, Brilser.

Justice

The scarcity of Justices presiding over the expanded territories of
Seringale, Solace and Timaran has led to a perception of weakness. Legion
has capitulated upon this and made an unprecedented claim upon the lands of
law. New officers are being recruited, but is the effort enough? What does
the future of Justice hold? Look to the next issue for full coverage of the
unfolding events!

Ranks of Justice: Fynth, Rheloth, Kewlin, Kyrsztak.


3) Coterie Affairs

Herald

The Heralds are hard at work bringing in the best events and gossip that
Serin has to offer! As the fleeting winds come and go, so too have members
of this always promising establishment. But as the tides turn, so too has
new blood emerged into the Heralds. Two new members have joined their
ranks, so with fresh quills the Heralds continue to bring new issues of the
Mystique along with a good bit of gossip and a fantastic game of poker. So
make sure to track down one of your friendly neighborhood Heralds, I am sure
they will be more than willing to tell a story, or hear what you have to
say!

The current Heralds of Serin are: Rimera, Wreitha, Prost, Irion, and Hilduin

Mystic

The Ivory Tower returns to action, with an influx of new recruits. Three
branches within the Mystics have developed, funneling the efforts of the
scholars in the directions of Teaching, Lore and Religion. In combination
with the resurgence of Mystics, the influence of religions have been growing
stronger upon Serin.

Current Mystics include: Raphthal, Varliv, Alastair, Anivae, Eluzian, and
Yvorsid.


4) News

ColdWar

The War of Words

The recent saber rattling between the powerful factions of Serin has
reached an absolute fever pitch of late. With each side desperately
trying to win the popularity contest among the common Serin
population, the propaganda and vitriol has become incredibly fierce.
While the essence of the dispute remains one of shadow and light, new
unprecedented steps have been taken by both sides in a war that is
starting to transcend the definitions of alignment.

The Legion refuses to allow the Dragon Sea to be the boundary line of
its territory and has claimed Seringale and Timaran as its own citing a
lack of control as the reason for their annexation. While the reasoning
behind this logic is sound, the true reason behind this move is simple
Power and lots of it. Seringale is arguably the most populated center
therefore making it a hub for trade and the psychological center of the
Serin Universe. Whoever controls Seringale, goes a long way to
winning this ideological war.

The Knights of course see any gain for the Legion as the desecration of
the balance between light and shadow, so they have mobilized
themselves against Legion, redoubling their efforts to protect Serin
from the growing shadow and opened their halls for new Knights to be
baptized in the trial of battle and War. The Justice and Knights both feel
slighted by the expansion of the Legion and have decided to join
against the threat. The only group left to declare themselves are the
Keepers and their allegiance is as fickle as a feather floating in the wind.

Up until this very moment the disturbances have been mere
skirmishes. There have been small battles but the embers are being
stoked and new wood has been placed in the pit. Soon the fire of war
will rage throughout the entire land and it is this Heralds fear that the
only people that are going to be burned are the ones that are trying to
get as far away from the fire as possible.

War is coming. . . Choose your side. . .

Prepare for the worst. . . Pray for the best. . .

Wreitha

Forsaken

A rise in the lands caused trembles for all, the winds whispered an
unholy drawl. Blackness clouded out the light as the land descended into
ominous night. Clashing blades ignited the air, two combative men - one a
knight, one an heir. After much cross the Knight was felled, a violent howl
from above expelled. Silence befell the realms like a soft sigh while
crimson tint hued the sky. Time ceased a moment and the deed was done, the
Tenebrous Cavalier's reign had begun. The new Forsaken claims his throne as
a new darker Legion was to be sewn.

Tidings,
Irion, the Wandering Wordbearer

Turnings1

A Tale of Two Turnings, Part One - scribed by Vanisse
--------------------------------

A juicy story for all of you who have been waiting for news from the
Heralds!

Times have been changing, changing in ways that were unimaginable a few
generations before. New religions have arisen, bringing with them a slew of
devoted followers, and introducing even more tension and conflict between
the realms of Light and Darkness.

I bring you today the story of two who have crossed the greatest divide.

Our first tale is that of Ona. Now Ona spent many years as a staunch
devotee of Sedgwick, Lord of Water and Healing. She entered the Ivory
Towers as a young healer and through years of effort became the leader of
Mystics. Then came the first sign that all was not well with her. She grew
restless, even infuriated at the Gods, and sacrificed herself on an altar.
And so the hall of Mystics became eerily quiet.

Davairus, exhibiting a rare stroke of mercy, allowed Ona to return to the
land of the living. She wandered into the halls of my Rest, and we
sheltered her, too - none other than our High Herald took her under her
wing, and eventually they married - but that is a story for Rimera to tell.
As nurturing as our halls were, she healed her mental wounds and found
herself filled with wanderlust again. This time she went to Eloret and the
Justices. She pledged her life to law, and opened her heart to the just
application of violence.

And here is where the Darkness found her. Who it was, how it happened, only
she and her seducers truly know. I saw her spending time with our newest
recruit, Irion, and the shaman adept of Zylenier, Ophalina. Increasingly,
Ona grew more and more attracted to something they were offering.

And one day it was no longer possible to ignore that something about her had
changed. Not only her profession this time - her entire being was wracked
with something evil. I heard rumors that she had been taken to Zylenier's
altar and charmed into performing an unholy ritual. At its completion she
was reduced to a puppet of Zylenier, controlled by the silent mastermind of
Ophalina. Eloret cast her from the halls of Justice in a fit of rage, and
Sedgwick disowned her completely, stripping her of all communion of healing.

When I next saw her, she spoke with a voice of a sultry demon. Her eyes
glowed red. She moved with a brash confidence. And yet sometimes the
demon's grasp would slip and one could see Ona, the real Ona, trapped in the
body that had become her cage. That sight broke the hearts of any and all
who had known her before her change.

All of the efforts of Ona's friends and companions to rescue her from the
demon that inhabited her body were to no avail. Rimera's pleadings, the
reasonings of Duchess Morgolta and the Knights of the Castle, all seemed to
bounce off an invisible barrier. It seemed Ophalina only needed to crook
her finger in a beckon and Ona would be slipping off into the shadows again
like a lost soul.

Sorrowed by her actions, Tuston, General of Knights, prayed to his Lord
Aberdour for Ona's salvation. His prayers were heard. Aberdour's avatar
descended from the heavens to fill Tuston with the light of the Sun, and the
strength of the Storm. His blood, the avatar said, would cleanse her and
remove her demons. Rimera called Ona and Tuston to the Rest, and as I
watched, Tuston bonded his blood to hers and indeed her soul was cleansed.

It was not without price. No mortal can turn their back on a God and expect
to escape unscathed. Ona's ability to heal never returned. But she was
brought to the Light again, and Aberdour accepted her into the folds of his
believers. It was perhaps a surprise, but perhaps in this act Aberdour
exacted retribution upon Zylenier. It must have been a stunning defeat to
the God of Trickery, to have almost ensnared a soul only to have it ripped
away again.

Turnings2

A Tale of Two Turnings, Part Two - scribed by Vanisse
--------------------------------

Our second story is that of Libera, a much younger invoker. He had spent
his formative years living in the city of Darkhaven, a self-made scholar
with no strong ambitions but open to the calls of either Mystics or Legion.
The Legion, dominant in his hometown, swayed him first. Within days of his
application he found himself a member of Legion. But that was when the
trouble started.

I should first note for our future readers that Legion these days is led by
the Forsaken Gaelyn and the Undead Princess Nycticora, avatar of Darkhan.
Under Nycticora's thumb, the Legion have changed from the brutal Army of the
past. No longer only recruiting the most vicious and bloodthirsty murderers
of Serin, the Legion now beckons those of all walks of life, all those who
would bend to the will of Darkhan and enact his dark prophesies. Gaelyn
himself is a prime example of this change in action. He was once a Paladin
Knight. Today he is the Tenebrous Cavalier, Betrayer of Valour, and head of
the Legion.

Libera was a Legion harking from after Gaelyn's conversion, between a period
of calm and before his rise to Forsaken. He had watched the growth of the
new generation of recruits, a vast wave of soldiers being drafted by
Nycticora and Gaelyn to conquer Serin by storm.

On this day Balan, another General of Knights, went after him to cleanse him
of his evil. Lord Olyn, avatar of Aberdour and a keen observer of Serins,
asked Balan to stay his sword and try to convert Libera instead. In the
shrine of Soluminus they met and fell to talking. It was revealed that
Libera had misgivings about Gaelyn and about how the Legion now sought "to
bolster their ranks with fodder and take the realm by swarm" rather than
representing a collective display of individual power the way they once did.

Balan spoke of peace. It did not have to be war, he said. He and the
Knights stood as defenders of the peace, and it was for that reason that he
took his sword up against Libera. But he was not inherently a violent man.
He brought Libera to Valour, where the invoker saw with his own eyes the
drastic difference between the comfortable, enjoyable life in Valour and the
world he had known in Darkhaven, where "you either have power, or you scrape
around. Happiness and joy are not things that are common there." It was
this comparison that swayed Libera to cast off the shadowy cloak of Legion,
turn his back to Darkhan and kneel as a new initiate of Olyn. In doing so
he found himself welcomed into the palace as a Noble, suddenly greeted by
comrades instead of enemies.

As I write, this latest story happened only a few hours hence, and so the
Legion have not yet had time to respond to Libera's desertion. He is aware
of the danger that will inevitably swing his way, but he pledged to Balan
and to Olyn that he wishes only for redemption, even if it brings him to the
brink of death.

One only wonders what Balan said to have swayed an older Legion to leave the
army so willingly. A man of action... AND a man of words? What a
combination! Now we must wait with bated breath to see what response will
come.


5) Gossip

Hmm

As I walked through the streets of Seringale this day with a friend of
mine, I was told of a duel today that seemed not as it should have been.
The great general of the Knights of Valour, Sir Balan was part of a duel that
did not seem to end in a honorable fashion at all. My source was very much
in an unease about this situation since they look up to Sir Balan very much.
Seems after Sir Balan had bested his foe in what was said to be a friendly
duel, he ended the life of his opponent with a mighty overhead crush even
though the duel was not to the death. But ladies and gentlemen, what makes
this situation so dishonorable, and makes me question the very morality of
the situation is that this witness told me that not only did Balan kill the
gentleman, but also took his gold!

Now being as it may, I was not here for this fray. However, one can only
think that if this was a duel to the stun, why would Sir Balan do such a
thing? But to also take his gold? That my friends in my opinion is truly
dishonorable.

But that ladies and gentlemen, is the word on the grapevine as they say. Is
there truth to this? I do not know, but I do know that it is something that
is worth looking into...

More to come,
Rimera Galanodel, the Alabaster Matriarch of Heralds

Tricksy

The Trick of Tricks

It has always been my experience that the immortals have a reason
for everything they ask us mortals to do...

So when an immortal hands you a herb of invincibility it just makes
good sense to take that herb and expect to become invicible... Right...

WRONG!

Heaven has its tricksters just like the mortal plane has theirs. However,
mortals usually don't normally have the power to kill you dead were you
stand...

Here is a bit of advice... Don't trust anyone! Ever! Especially not someone
promising you invincibility because they are liars!

Take it from a ranger who died and took the herb as a ghost and then died
as a ghost!

Laugh it up... Until it happens to you... Consider yourself warned!

Wreitha, The Dead Ghost


6) Poetry

Barnabas

Across the horizons and oceans blue, a path long and treacherous too,
there lurks a tale of vast riches'a gold, guarded by a beast of old. With
teeth of razors and eyes stricken red, they say this monstrosity has left
many for dead, that none survived and all did fall, but who remained to tell
the tale after all? A man named Barnabas, a warrior for truth, born from
blood and fire, skirmished his whole youth and sought but one desire. To
slay the beast defending the treasure, he traversed the depths and took
careful measure... Upon a lair he came, sounds of growling and gnawing all
the same. He screamed "Come at me beast, for I've found your lair, come and
face me if you dare!" A sudden clamor cried the cave, then a screech that
sounded quite grave... The monstrous beast, terrible in size, rose up to
regard this new surprise. The fight came and steel did clash, the beast
would strike and Barnabas with his might did bash... In the end the warrior
bested the beast, took all the gold and went back home to feast. He told
his fellows there was no gold... But that's why it's called Barnabas'
treasure, of old.

Sprite

The lonely sprite in the forest, she cries.
The love once in her heart slowly dies.
Her heart once full of life and light.
Torn asunder by demons and night.

She wages a war within her mind.
Loss of faith and virtue leaves her blind.
But her heart ease it will find.
Not known now by those of her kind.

Soon ease will come to her soul.
All is needed is her from her hole.
She is too wonderful to live like a mole.
Once again she will switch her role.

Her light will shine again once more.
She will make it through the open door.
She will shed this mask that she has wore.
To soon settle the final score.

Scribed by,
Rimera Galanodel, the Alabaster Matriarch of Heralds

Unspoken

unspoken
--------

there are things better left unsaid
that unspoken we agreed to let lie

(but i never knew till now the truths
of relentless rushing tides
within head and tightened chest,
temptations of recklessness and folly;
nor till now did i recognize the echoes
of eons of partner dance
during tales i loved to disdain.

thus in one fell swoop i am nothing:
a drop clinging to the tip of a leaf
over the abyss of the earth.
with one breath two sister universes must part,
bearing the bursting burden of two coin-flips,
one searing inward with the rush of attraction,
one shivering to empty stillness

and i, toeing the event horizon,
shadow stretching forward into a ring around time,
doomed to watch the tar drop lengthen
by its irresistible forward flow.)

- scribed by Vanisse


7) Obituaries

Trompi

On the day of the Sun in the Celestial of the Frost Giant, we Heralds
lost our dear Trompi. He was a Thief of the highest caliber and an even
better Herald. Even though his time with us was short, we all learned from
Trompi. He also had a way of getting rumors about Serin like no other
Herald I have ever seen. We Heralds have surely lost not only a member, but
a dear friend and family member.

He will truly be missed.

May he forever walk within the wind,
Rimera Galanodel, the Editoral Queen of Heralds

Thodun

On the day of the Bull within the celestial of the Frost Giant, Thodun
the Battlemaster walked Serin for the last time. Thodun was a giant like no
other. From the first time his feet touch the earth beneath him in the land
of Serin he knew he wanted to become one of the fabled Keepers of Serin.
Against all odds, his dreams became a reality. He trained hard and was
inducted into their halls, and after many years became their Keepermaster.
A wonderful leader he was, I must say. For not only was he mighty with his
blade, but also with his diplomatic abilities. But he also was a great
friend, one I must say that I will miss until I take my final breath. So I
will say, I personally hope that in his afterlife he can truly find the
balance he sought so long in life. He will be missed by many and may his
Keepers always continue to follow the examples and values that he has
bestowed upon them.

Sincerely,
Rimera Galanodel, the Alabaster Matriarch of Heralds


8) Interviews

Ravinah

The first question I asked was on the subject of the Legion and why
Ravinah wanted to join. She said she had to speak to people on the other
side to gain her Shroud of Souls. This is apparently an item crafted by
Lord Resatimm which is the most prized possession of any Necromancer.

Now anyone who's looked upon Ravinah has seen what she looks like and you
know that it ain't pretty. If you ain't seen her, you'll have to take my
word for it. So, being the good Herald I am, I asked her about it and it
turns out that she died and was raised from the dead herself! That's what
makes her flesh so different from everyone else's. Her body and mind belong
fully to Resatimm.

She left the Legion to 'continue her quest' which was to add souls to the
pile and create the Shroud of Souls. Once she left, she told me that Mkatos
was of the highest priority to put on the pile, but that she refused to
strike at him in a moment of weakness, preferring to meet him on even
ground. She didn't never get that soul. Turns out she just needs one
hundred and forty more souls to finish the Shroud. That ain't so many,
right?

I asked her a few more personal questions and here's where I want you all to
pay attention. Ain't nothing she can remember from before she died, and she
seems real lonely, not knowing love or nothing. It can't be a good way to
live.

Executioner

An executioner in the dark...
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><-


From the darkness a man appears, with blood-craven eyes to heighten ones
fears. An ominous cackle and violent smirk was I needed to know a terror
did lurk. He said, "It is I, the Executioner" you see, I thought for
certain he'd come for me. The dark armored man faded once more, my fate had
come - of such I was sure. From the shadows the man paused and stared...
Then said, "This day your life shall be spared." Then he was gone without a
sound and my luck held true, to my astound. This man can kill, I know...
Perhaps he had more interesting death to sow.

Penned by Irion, the Wandering Wordbearer


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