The Serin Mystique, Volume 12, Issue 2

Lo and behold, the second issue of volume 12 is here! Dive into the pages
of this elaborate Mystique to learn of the recent happenings in Serin.

1) News (see Shadows, Seringale)
2) Cabal Affairs (see Justice, Legion, Keeper, Warlord, Knight)
3) Coterie Affairs (see Herald, Mystic, Noble)
4) Battles (see Greginsham, Skirmish)
5) Gossip (see Worrywort, Faire!)
6) Events (see Wisps)
7) Stories (see Anchors, Wait)
8) Poems (see Tranquility, Cerberus, Sweetly, Live)
9) Travelers (see Gromchi, Lourch, Krite)

Brought to you by High Herald Blyx, Master Scribe Naredak, Chronicler
Nyhlis, Mascot Grell and ever meddling Immortal Vanisse


1) News

Shadows

Excitement has rippled through Serin's shadow guilds this celestial. A
simple villager unearthed long-forgotten scrolls near Fehnryk's Retreat in
Emerald Forest. These scrolls contained teachings about the ancient art of
controlling one's inner energy. A branch of knowledge related to the school
of martial arts taught by monks in the monastery, the study of controlling
one's ki enables shadows to perform nearly otherworldly feats. Masters of
this art are rumored to be able to vanish across Serin, engulf their enemies
in an explosion of flame, and more.

All of these rumors have led to an increase in young adventurers pledging
themselves to the shadow teachings. How many of these will make it through
the grueling training and practice to achieve this mastery? Only time will
tell.

Seringale

Seringale the merchant city has had a surplus of trade exchanged between
folk from all over the world. The auction house itself has been bustling
with items and treasures from afar and near. Seringale has seen so much
profit and brought in so many merchants that it has brought nosey thieves
and thugs from Faulkner's guild. Due to the lack of the Justice cabal the
crime rate has significantly raised, putting much more pressure on our
expected guild guardians.

Perhaps this is why they up and left the other cities long ago?


2) Cabal Affairs

Justice

[JUSTICE]

Chaos has out-reigned the haven of rules and order for quite some time, ever
since it was all accounted for by the forefathers of the Iron Fist. With
the passings of Kewlin, Rhadnhab, and Dillet, the watch of Justice subsided.
Such are tumultuous times, that often churn or wake the attention of newer
generations that pick up the duties of their ancestors, and then there are
those who are destined for it. These winds shift between chaos and order
and all those related to the active life of the cabal through a rigid
constancy, unbeknown to all as time runs its course.

Yet with time some have held strong and vigilant in the shadow of their
predecessors, and they have simply become that, the predecessor. New life
flourishes in not only Ertyrien's well-esteemed watch, but also in the hope
of the Seringale citizen. As Zymond has taken urgency in the lifestyle of
his profession, a kid who had a liking to illusion and the fading, but yet a
rather unsuspecting appreciation of order. Kedaleam will not be alone in his
quest, and nor will Rohandric, and their tales will be written.

The current active roster of [JUSTICE]: Rohandric the Edgemaster, Kedaleam
the Hierarch of Justice, Alerich, Cleanser of Maledictions, and Zymond the
Shapeshifter of Illusory.

[JUSTICE] is politicked and driven by the Chancellor of Infinite Gnome Justice.

Legion

[LEGION]

Sevaush was born into slavery in the Abyss. During the Great War against
Zaikkra, sevaush took advantage of the turmoil, revolted against his
enslavers and escaped into the land of Serin. Here, he expected to find
powerful adversaries, but he was sorely disappointed. He considered all
that he came across weak, except for the Legion. He met Qurtoc, who
eventually inducted him into Legion's thrall.

According to Sevaush, Legion's ranks are suffering greatly, especially after
the disappearance of Qurtoc. This does not hinder him, though. He
currently seeks to lead Legion and has officially declared his intentions
within the cabal. He states that the Justices are weak and he does not see
them as anything more than a nuisance. There is only one in the land he
views as a challenge: Vidar.

Sevaush declares that under his rule of Legion, they will hunt down all
Knights, Warlords and Keepers with no end. There will be no hiding from
Legion. Either you will join their ranks, offer up support or perish.

A final word from Sevaush: With Legion under his command, the Heralds will
be spared.

The current active roster of [LEGION]: Qurtoc the Forsaken Sage, Sevaush
Usurper of Abyssals, Krite the Raging Volcano, and Yvod the Conquistador.

[LEGION] is guided and influenced by the Princess of Chaos.

Keeper

[KEEPER]

Elusive sightings of Keepers over the past celestial have spawned many
rumors. Have they fallen asleep? Did they get buried under an avalanche of
some hoarder's rares and are still trying to sacrifice their way back out?
Has Serin finally reached true Equilibrium?

Sadly, none of the above. A little bird told me that the Curator asked
someone to bring him a plant to perk up his otherwise drab, gray room. That
someone went straight to Mushnik, of course. And of course the plant he
bought happened to be a monster mutant that has now engulfed their halls.
Want to find a keeper? Look no further than that giant rustling clump of
weeds...

One or two do struggle out of it to wander around the rest of Serin though.
Keep an eye out!

The [KEEPERS] currently lack a formal leader. Members are rumored to
include Falox, Grimfrakk, Idakisu and Saavaak.

[KEEPER] is guided by the wind, and occasionally by Olyn, Lord of Salt and
Sea.

Warlord

[WARLORD]

The Warlord's Fortress is silent and forbidding. From the gates one can
only hear a repeated clanging and occasional "thump" and "OOF!" It is
unclear whether the warlords have decided to seclude themselves for
training, or whether one of the adoring fans from the circus has gotten wind
of them and decided to play warrior in their absence.

Recent sightings of their leader, Lorne, are accompanied by a rumor that he
was bested by a foul illusionist and left with only scraps to cover his
pride. A few other members, Grimjark, Krug and Isogai, have occasionally
been observed representing the Warlord's banner. However, we have not
witnessed or heard reports of their battles, and few of their brethren have
made an appearance.

[WARLORD] is headed by the Warmaster Lorne.

Knight

[KNIGHT]

A sudden wave of grief struck Valour when Morzan, the former Executor of
Valour passed away. His death was quite an unexpected one, because he
was still young and full of life, and a lot of folk agree that he was gone
far before his time, that it was unfinished. Such rumors and accusations
spread like wildfire when any of the royal line pass, and there will be
those shadows who try and distort the truth for their own greater desires.

A new crowning was appointed to Vidar of the Monastery, a stern man of few
words. He has expressed in these few words that he seeks a resurgence of
new Squires and Knights, and that the Light will shine again. A bit later,
Lord Ceridwel revealed to us that the horses are not in fact being eaten,
that it was in fact someone elses horse. The Angel is sure the Knights are
destined to uphold their virtues through the daunting obstacle of time.

This new crowning has caused a ripple effect, granting Serin new Valourian
Nobles like Duchess Tendria, who seek the good will of her beloved Knights.

A [KNIGHT] roster shows us that Vidar wears the kingly crown, Lolath and
a few others are rumored to be under his command.

[KNIGHTS] are shepherded and led by Ceridwel, the Light of Valour.


3) Coterie Affairs

Herald



The tragic lost of Wreitha and Prost have grieved the Heraldic halls, it is
never an easy time when such familiar names are lost to the winds, from any
halls, but their legacies will live on through the Heralds. As for those
remaining, they've never been closer. An unlikely three have strove for
change and have achieved it, and by the life of the quill, they continue on
to share it with others in a world that is simply that, ever-changing. Our
hearts go out to those who have built the foundation in which we stand upon.
A recent gust of wind has brought us both fortune and a new recruit filled
with passion for life and its many pleasures. We happily welcome Nyhlis to
our halls!

The current roster of Heralds: Master Chef Grell, Blyx the Troublemaker,
Naredak the not-so-drunk Fox, and Nyhlis the Tuney Loony.

is sanctioned and led by the mystifying Myth Weaver Vanisse.

Mystic



Dust has settled over the Ivory Towers of Timaran, home to the council of
magi and Mystics of Arcana. The Mystics seem to be withdrawn from the
outside world as many adventurers appear at the entrance knocking from day
to day, some of them have even claimed to have spotted trails of bread
crumbs, leading up through the Tower and into the Observatory. This could
mean a number of different things, but the last Goron awoke at Mocker's
Tavern, his gut was pretty huge from having over-eaten.

All rotten food aside, we of the quill believe the essence of Mystics is in
no real danger of fading away as long as those old geezers are still
hobbling around on their limp noodle canes.

BREAKING UPDATE: A new Mystic has arrived, keen to dust off the towers,
shortly before we sent this to the printing press! His name is Ralith, a
quasit shaman. We look forward to seeing our Mystic friends return to the
lands.

A roster of shows us that Goron, Torath, Mollyra, and Iryn are all
rumored to be Mystics. Ralith's new membership is confirmed.

is guided from the shadows by Vevier, the Collector of Secrets.
Also, occasionally Varliv the Encyclopedia of Ancients hobbles in to meddle
around.

Noble



Valourian and Darkhaven Nobles alike are widely affected by the presence of
their respective Cabals, and with this presence it has been proven to raise
morale and interaction. Both of the Coteries have a pre-determined path in
assisting the Cabals they often represent. Each group may have different
tasks and regulations they should abide by, but they are a lot alike in many
ways as well. When the cold wind blows, or you hear the trumpets sounding
from the Southwest, Nobles are soon to be noticed. There is not yet much
push from either direction, but a select few members have noble aspirations
in which they hope to accomplish with their Cabals.

Reported Valourian Nobles: Ysette, Myrhan, Tendria

Reported Darkhaven Nobles: Reakonnier, Esopus, Weawin


4) Battles

Greginsham

The battle at Greginsham has been an ongoing conflict from generation to
generation, and who knows when it will finally end, or if it ever will!
Forest elves were fighting the orcs and eventually driven out of their
homeland. This also led to the reformation of the torn giants, and how they
were distinguished into three different branches of the giant.

Furthermore, other guilds were created for magi. As traitorous elves and
dwarves were punished by Sarich for their betrayal and cowardice, thus
creating the drow and duergar races. This was known as the Great War, and
the roots of origin for when halflings were first spotted in Serin.

Further, furthermore, not all of the escape tunnels the orcs used to defeat
the elves were accounted for. There is one tunnel still to this day puzzles
Serin's most wise and intelligent scholars. It is often referred to as the
sealed gate of Shasarazade. This was thought to be a place of mysterious
magic, and often ancient dwarves may tell us a little more, such as the
grand gate being a passage to Northern Lands, that was sealed off long ago
by gold sick miners rumored to be distant cousins of the Grimforge clan.

Alas, the tale of Shasarazade remains as a mere myth, but there are those
who believe they know what is on the other side.

Skirmish

A skirmish of sorts was noticed along the Eastern Roads, right near the
very Crossroads themselves. The dispute had Ileana quite on edge as she
made a passing glance around the intersection, and she spoke a name
unfamiliar in time, but it wasn't long after a drow appeared and struck her.

Between the flying shurikens and cards, it was difficult to tell what was
going on, but history has taught us a little about drow aggressiveness. The
bout continued along the road there, until both fighters withdrew from the
fight and sought refuge elsewhere. As history will show us as well, we can
almost always expect the drow to return to try and finish the job.

Rogue population seems much more active than it use to be, and that can only
mean bad luck for unsuspecting folk who are out on the main roads.


5) Gossip

Worrywort

This nice little tidbit has been going around for a while it seems. But
with my return from my self induced coma, I barely thought it true. Vanisse
the Myth Weaver, matron to Heralds and Goddess of her own devout following,
is a worry wort. I never would have thought of such a thing to happen. Let
alone a divine entity being so worried about me. It warmed my heart as I
relinquished my alcohol to her so she could measure my intake to ensure I
don't get locked in my room again.

written by Naredak the Not-So-Drunken Fox

Faire!

The Heralds are currently in search for Serin's most knowledgable
artisans to participate in an upcoming faire. Where, when, or what this
faire consists of is yet known, but a wee mouse spilled some beans about the
faire being orchestrated by Serin's entire populace, and that artisans will
have hovels or tents to display their skills.

This mouse also squeaked out that those participating as such would be
handsomely rewarded for their efforts. The mouse also claims that it is the
most recent recruit of the Heralds, and to keep an eye out for dragon eggs,
for they have many different treasures.

How useless these mice are!

*squeeeeak!*


6) Events

Wisps

An event! A surprise! Contact from the other side!

Strange, colorful wisps have been pouring in sporadically from portals that
are appearing throughout forests in Serin. Though these creatures are
apparently innocuous, the portals emit pulses of electricity that can be
felt throughout the area. Heavens know what unseen impact this may have
upon the wildlife, or if they might have ulterior motives as they frolic
laughing through our trees!

In fact one of our own scholars, the former High Herald Zanderic, is
undertaking a major research effort to study these creatures and hopefully
learn more about their anatomy, physiology, and origin. He is putting out a
request for citizen scientists to retrieve materials gathered from the
wisps, a curious substance we only know as "wisp essences", and is willing
to trade a good sum of herald chips for each scrap. In addition, there are
rumors of a new imbuing recipe sold by the Strange Old Man of Timaran which
involves use of wisp reagents.

The appearance of the portals has also been worrying the Mystics of the
Ivory Tower. Vollins Vincentio and the other Circle Mages have been trying
to identify the magic that is used to open these portals. Though physically
similar to our own nexus portals, these wisp portals do not allow two-way
transport. Glimpses through the portals suggest that the land on the other
side is likewise covered by vegetation and quite habitable. According to
Master Vincentio, the portals use a different, unfamiliar form of magic
which appears to be closely related to the fey spells cast by Pixies.

We continue to wonder whether these appearances are simply chance
encounters, or indicate change approaching...


7) Stories

Anchors

I cannot remember when it was that I first saw the lightning, but in such a
moment I remember it being so glorious. On a dim night especially, when all
three moons hid behind the dark cloudy sky. Then it was that I seen them,
and they were mysterious folk who had unwritten stories, who had and have a
chapter left untold, like so many of us do.

I fear the day those who worship the deities worship a sanctum of anger and
wrathful gods, who seek to punish mankind for their mortal discrepancies. A
person should wonder over the erratic behavior of the weather, and why it is
that mankind has such a peculiar chance at opportunity.

Death is not a proud thing, but certainly more welcomed during these static
fields, a bit ironic, perhaps? We only know of the good these static fields
yield, but for thsoe interested in the bad, a bit of study on the knowledge
of anchors might be the topic-to-find. Even if it is coincidental, is there
an underlying purpose? If so, does that bode good or bad for Serin?

Wait

"Wait"

A smoky dive in lower Darkhaven, past midnight. X is one more nameless
person in a room dotted here and there with patrons. A singer with a
tobacco-ravaged voice laments at the sagging piano, long fingers stroking
the cracked ivory keys. There's murmured conversation from the small tables
only big enough for two. X occupies one, alone. For the first half hour X
had been self-conscious, not because of the shabby clothes X wears but
rather the unfamiliar surroundings.

Years after transforming X still has the fear of being exposed. But the one
constant about Darkhaven is the assurance of anonymity. As the night went
on X has relaxed into the chair. The highball glass on the table has been
refilled a few times. The ashtray's collected a couple of stubs.

The woman at the next table lets out a loud peal of laughter at something
her companion said and claps her hand over her mouth. X looks over,
accidentally meets the companion's dark eyes. There's dim light in here, so
the contact might easily be dismissed or forgotten. Even so, the mirth goes
out of the man's eyes for a flash. Then the woman clasps his arm and asks
him for the umpteenth time if he's noticed her hair or the shape of her
dress or the new lipstick she bought just for him and if he likes it and he
returns his attention to her.

X guesses the woman doesn't realize his false jollity is only a key to
access her bed later. In reality she knows, just as much as the man knows
the woman only says such vapid things because it is expected. It is all
just a dance. A farce. At the end, if either is successful, there will be
a marriage and children and a small dog and a newspaper-enforced silence
over breakfast. Perhaps later, drunken fights and a divorce and then it
will begin again, and again, until even the smoke and dim lights of the bars
won't provide enough cover for the wrinkles at the corners of her mouth.
And then - where does she go?

This particular woman will eventually fade away quietly in a small village
somewhere with a cat and a meager income from penning opinion columns, but
none of the room's inhabitants are aware. Currently the couple are busy
pretending. The musician is lost in the memories of chance meetings with
beautiful strangers conjured by the lyrics he is crooning absently to the
wandering room.

X's mind is drifting between the entranced swaying of the musician on the
stage and the ceiling leak waiting back at home. The leak was the innocuous
thing that had snowballed into a demon in X's thoughts. It was not so much
the sound of the incessant hollow plink or splash in the tub as the
emasculation of knowing X could do nothing about it. In the quiet of the
apartment, that reminder of time and helplessness ticking away was enough to
drive one mad. And so, in the middle of the night, infuriated and yet
grateful to be living in a city full of insomniacs, X had fled into the
dirty, prostitute-filled streets and then here, to sit in the quasi-darkness
and become lost.


8) Poems

Tranquility

"Rite of Tranquility"

We stand emotionless,
Over a field of bloody death.
The screams we only hear,
As we are sleeping again.

We stand motionless,
In the macabre of splattered rain.
Voices we forever hear,
As we are falling again.

In sadness we lumber,
Just before the wooden oak door.

We stand motionless,
In a parade of falling shade.
The moist, and damp dark fear.
As we are dreaming again.

We stand emotionless,
Before a door we cannot open.
Your voice you must now blare.
As you are lulling yet again.

In sadness we lumber,
Just before the wooden oak door.
When you think you have the answer,
Unlock it and step out of the moor.

Cerberus

"Cerberus"

Our heads shout different directions, each tugging a toe:
I stand at our junction motionless, quivering.
Do not wait, we all scream, there is no time!
And yet we move in no direction but time,
helplessly.

These eyes see less than the child we deemed naive.
Once I would have paid attention.
I was so sure I would keep paying it,
strewing my carefree consciousness to the spins
of leaves and the ripples
of raindrops and the scents of stale air and chemicals,
to the sequential not reciprocal glances,
to the accidents that secretly spelt smiles.

But it's true, I've overspent.
Too many springs, too many storms,
too often that endless passage of whirring and clicking and wafting
of alcohol and ether,
none of it spells magic anymore.
None of it stirs me.

So I ask,
towards what do we strive?
I glance back, imagine the light
from the mirrors of our faces still bouncing about in the dark.
I miss who we once were, so ferociously:
all that stupidity we survived! If only it had been to a good end.
What awaits us?
Was this the right dream?

Sweetly

"Sweetly"

Smoke on the lips,
Slick fingertips
Tapping that tune in threes

Lidded eyes gaze
Through the late night haze
Listening to the clarinet tease

While the walking heart made of string and man
Grins wood-wrapped lazy charm

The snare trickles sound
Tickles sound
Trickles sound
To the silence: ...

So maybe this question isn't new
About love's misdirection,
Of loneliness-filling,
Of waking, of willing,
Of restlessness stilling
Under each street lamp down Travellers Way,
Stepping fresh copies of prints left behind

By the raging, the lost, the worst and best kinds
Of confused, brilliant, mysterious minds

Live

"If I Live To Be"

Accidentally, our intentions align:
Sound and its sentiments intermingle,
wind-swept, across the chasms of our thoughts.

Did you, too, smile upon the highest note held
and hum harmonies beneath the meaning of it all,
melding self to some other freer spirit,
imagining a world of different imperfections?

Laden with longings,
we dream our tentative dreams.
Such a brief respite
before dawn's clearing.

Such invisible parallels,
such an exquisite web is this! To think
its creator knows only a crumb of the happiness enabled
by a few words, fingers, strings.


9) Travelers

Gromchi

Have you met Gromchi Daggleburt? He is the most enthusiastic little
halfling (yes, halfling) I have met. Sure to make great company, he loves
to party and be entertained with music (especially about himself.) He is
also quite the goblin slayer! Maybe you should ask him for a steak? (He
told me they are really rubbery, BLEH!) Oh, and don't forget to remind him
how SPECIAL he is!

scribed by Nyhlis Syriniqel

Lourch

If you happen to frequent the city of Seringale as often as I do, you'll
often find a strange, demonic creature flitting around the Thieves' Guild.
This one's name is Lourch, and he comes from the Abyss.

It is said that many lands crisscross the universe, and Serin is but one of
these. Several other realms are known to border our own, which we have
learned through history by the rips in the ethereal fabric that separates
our worlds. One of these is a benign realm populated by the fey, known as
Acadia. The other, whose name is unpronounceable in our common tongue, is
referred to as the Abyss. It is a harsh, tumultuous world filled with
terror and destruction, and is home to dreaded species including the Fell
and Abyssals that once formed Zaikkra's mighty army, and assorted other
demons including Quasits.

Well, I had never spoke to a denizen of the Abyss about their realm before,
so I had to ask Lourch what it was like over there. If you've ever met him,
you'll know he has some fairly odd behaviors. Such as, um, making
sandwiches out of poop. He seems to enjoy this greatly. It turns out that
they have very, very little upon which to nourish themselves in the Abyss,
and they find our waste products to be delicacies.

In fact, life there is unbelievably harsh. Demons are born? (Formed?
Conjured?) Somehow created in the thousands, but are initially extremely
weak. This makes them prime targets for larger, stronger demons. As a
consequence, most do not survive past what we would term "infancy". This
grueling selectional pressure ensures that only the very strongest survive,
whether it be by wit or by force.

After he told me this, I then asked Lourch about how he traveled to this
land. In response, he reached into his sack and pulled out a living soul.
"This is currency," he said mysteriously. "I made some deals."

Deals? Deals for souls? Deals to cross over to Serin?

If you wish to know, you'll have to find him and ask!

scribed by Vanisse, weaver of myths

Krite

This interview brings us to the Nibbling Nook, right beside a fresh hot
plate of crispy needle mushrooms and some chocolate chip cookies. Krite
expressed he is from a clan of fire giants known as the Bahkrah from the
kingdom of Oclan. He then further continued after being asked about the
ways of combat and cabal warfare, in which he said, "Is necessary when need
his interview brings us to the Nibbling Nook, right beside a fresh hot
plate of crispy needle mushrooms and some chocolate chip cookies. Krite
expressed he is from a clan of fire giants known as the Bahkrah from the
kingdom of Oclan. He then further continued after being asked about the
ways of combat and cabal warfare, in which he said, "Is necessary when need
kill or smash rock!"

Krite was exiled to Serin in his move to overthrow his father, and ended up
at the nexus station in Darkhaven. Though Krite held no comments to whether
or not he was affiliated with Legion, that topic remains a mystery. By the
time this gargantuan consumed about ten batches of chocolate chip cookies, I
decided to ask the brute about another giant named Lorne. "Do you think you
can take him, Krite?" I asked inquisitively. "Of courses. Is only hear
about hims, Lorne. No see much." Straight to the point he was, and in all
honesty, he sounded very convincing. Such a grand battle could only be held
at the Arena, and a few of us are willing to set a date and a time. Alas,
thats if two giant berserkers will be convinced to hold out until the event.

scribed by Blyx 'Dusty' Foulwing


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