The Serin Mystique, Volume 13, Issue 3

SERIN! I release our next issue of volume thirteen! Mystique number fifty-
seven! In this publication, there is a great deal of death. You Legion
folk can dance to that, I imagine; more death than we could cover. Of
ecstatic note, the Penumbral Hand lines a portion of the Obituaries.
Sevaush, as you all know the quasit. In addition, we've a good deal
of different authors: Myself, Blarp and Kozma - featuring Percix
and Dinklebik. Vanisse has also graced a page with her quill about the
Keepers. While relieving yourselves abroad or just idling within
your cabal, tavern or favorite street haunt: we've got quack healers,
word on rare manifestations of ancient deities, observation of Percix
and another round of poetry. We are also a step closer to the end of
the High Tower story. We hope you enjoy the material!

1) Highlights (see Sisters, HighTower2)
2) Cabal Affairs (see Legion, Knights, Keeper, Justice, Warlord)
3) Coterie Affairs (see Herald, Mystic)
4) Gossip (see Percix, LordVirgil, Clinic)
5) Poems (see Study, Sands, Usury)
6) Obituaries (see Xynch, Yiebaen, Sevaush, Kang, Gatha)
7) Classifieds (see Dinklebik)

Sir Scribbles is on a foot-doodling hiatus. He sadly didn't join us
in writing this issue. There are some obituaries we could not draft bec-
ause verification of facts and feelings would transpire a period longer
than is acceptable, jeopardizing the intended timely release of this issue.
These obituaries, once validated, will be in the next mystique. Keep your
eyes peeled for it!

1) Highlights


"Sisters, Several Times Removed, at Odds"

During a night I was absent, a bit of back-and-forth took place between the
cabals of Justice and Keeper. In the interest of balance, Mishtkah made for
the Fist. Seen as unwarranted, Gatha was occupied in disbelief, shuffling
through legal documents to determine the justice in the agression. By the
time all protocols were explored, the Fist was taken and Mishtkah housed it
within the Keeper Halls! But it wasn't over..oh no.

Sir Ladoga then arrived, as did the Chimera of Order, Auhror. The perfect
setup for a second round to rally a rescue of the Fist of Justice! To even
odds, Mishtkah paired with Sir Ladoga; Gatha paired with Auhror. A joint
assault was engaged at the threshold of Keeper Halls. Despite that, Sir
Ladoga waited in active standby. Eventually Auhror and Gatha prevailed,
and the Fist was returned safely to Justice Halls.

Still, it WAS NOT OVER!

Whether led of personal interest or an unbridled adherence to balance at the
exclusion of the potential circumspect observations of others- Mishtkah
made for the Fist a second time! Sir Ladoga fulfilled aid but at times was
forced to withdraw due to some locations of the fighting. At its
conclusion, the second raid on Justice Halls nabbed the Fist once again!

Likely in disbelief still, the two Justices deliberated in Seringale during
the second raid. Then Gatha left to defend alone while Auhror stayed to
maintain a presence against potential criminals that might exploit absence.
But it was too late.

They're almost sisters, these two. Justice and Balance. Is it any wonder
the mess that cabal protocol had met? Some would say personal gain or
hubris is the root here. Others may say balance's other duty is just a
serendipitous, but often cruel and impartial swing of its pendulum for the
greater good.

Who can say? What do you think, Serin?

-Inked of Cyprian


"The Brave Exchange, pt. 2"

Weeks prior....

A pale, solemn old man leaned on a gnarled oak staff toward the peaceful
undulations of a blue sea. He wore a thick turquoise cloak with a dulled
silver chain strung through shoulder overlaps which descended into a
hood at his back. A hood that he never ever pulled over his head. With
tired eyes, he gazed straight ahead along the surface of the waters as a
massive, burnished gold orb slowly ascended behind the farthest reaches
of the ocean. A pair of eyes burdened with recollections mused, turning
about this-and-that, the here-and-there & the then-and-now.

The orb's glory blazed against a fuschia-pink & blueish horizon, tangled
in white, wispy clouds. This psionist's name was "Merovech," and
he would never find it. Squinting his eyes as he averted them from the
golden orb's flaring ascension, memories tumbled around him like dolls as
he reminisced over the past. Though it were so long ago, it seemed only
yesterday. The longer time had passed since the deal, the more his own
name faded behind a moment in time that refreshed itself anew every night.
The moment that he exchanged the power to both give his name and substitute
it, in exchange for the power to know everyone's thoughts at will. He had
forgotten how many centuries had passed since then. At Storm Hill's coast,
he still remembered the point of exchange:

"For a small price I will bestow the power you desire, but you must
forfeit your name as well as the power to place one on yourself," said
a little girl without eyes. "A laughable thing to barter," Merovech mocked
to the Great Maw: the Devourer of Names. "Very well," said the eyeless
girl. A nondescript chest shimmered into existence. At her feet, the
chest popped open with a snap of her fingers. Inside was a leather
backpack, an irridescent poncho, a pair of boots and a luxurious turquoise

"Choose anything out of this chest to wear so long as you live, and our
deal is complete," said the little girl. "You may not be more than a
city's span away from it," she added. Kneeling at the nondescript chest
Merovech said, "I'll take it all." The little girl raised an eyebrow.
Looking up at her Merovach continued, "It's simple, really. The more I
choose, the wider my freedom of movement will be and the easier it will
be to confuse any that may try and band against me. People aren't stupid
They watch. And when they watch, they either covet or fear. At the end of
either, conspiracies hung on ignorance can fester a terrible kanker-of-a-

"As well, you didn't say spans couldn't be chained with multiple articles.
Neither did you put a limit on how much I could take," he explained.

"Ooooh, You're clever! And you know a thing or two about surviving hunts.
I like that!" the eyeless girl exclaimed. "You might live long enough to
taste the life you're researching to extend after all."

Merovech blinked.

"It's only natural I know that, silly! I'm the one giving you unfettered
access to the frequency of other people's thoughts," the little girl

Merovech claimed all that was in the chest and packed it all into the
leather backpack then stood up, glancing at her.

"It's not going to work on me," she giggled again.

Merovech smirked, shook his head and turned around with the leather
backpack over his shouders, leaving the little girl. As he exited the
cave, she locked her eyeless gaze on him from behind.

Shimmering out of existence, she said, "Find a way to reclaim your name,
or I will be back to devour the rest of you in your final hours."

He stopped dead in his tracks to turn around and just like that, his name
began to fade...and he could only ever recall the first syllable. So sad a
state that he'd never recognize a journal entry...confusing it for a
stalker's sick forgery. But even that began to muddle over the centuries
he'd manage to live as a fruit of his side-project. Only way he'd know
what notes were his was if he had cut his finger and bled on the parchment.
The unique congealed design and the bandage on the psionicist's finger
served as affirmations...however crude.

"...would that I had asked what the small price was," Merovech thought

-Inked of Cyprian

2) Cabal Affairs


"Legion's Immediate Statement"

Barely off the heels of recording the efforts of the Knights, a breaking
statement was given just after I published their column:

"We are fear, the shadow that walks unseen even to the keenest of eyes. If
Lolath believes we are beaten, he will find me readily available in a short
to challenge the Executor himself. A lowly minion will carry the entire
dark army in his shoulders. I fear him not, I will bring him to his knees.

Before Nycticora, I give this decree: Before Darkhan I pledge death is here
and it is coming for him (Lolath). As for the Keepers, well they better be
ready for imbalance because Dogen is here."

"Let the weaklings of Serin know that Legion is not dead, we may be just a
coal, but a coal can burn a forest down."

With that, the duergar left me before I could even finish inking. He warned
that the undead, alhoons and vampires alike, will be without ally in these
days; save that they serve in Legion.

Lady Nycticora still oversees this bastion of darkness. The roster is

-Inked of Cyprian


"Legion: Down, Not Out"

Glory, the day when evil is felt to slumber! It seems with the loss of
Kang, Serin sees relative peace aside the normal application of penalty
for transgressing the law.

"Things have been quiet," Sir Lolath thoughtfully remarked in a sober tone.
Valour's official statement is that Legion has been beaten, though was care-
ful to add, "They are down, but never out." Further say indicates than
the Knights have focused their current efforts on alhoons, the new variant
of illithids we've all seen here-and-there.

"We have purified several," Sir Lolath said, while noting the fact that
Godrak, a vampire, still eludes the Knights. The conversation closed with
the statement that the Knights respect the Keepers, but do not outright
trust them.

The roster of Valour bears names of Ederiwyn, Ladoga and Eilayah, the lover
of boxes. Sir Lolath leads them and it's affirmed Lord Ceridwel still
guides them from the Heavens. It's speculated Lord Olyn still does as well,
but the notion could not be verified in time for this issue.

-Inked of Cyprian


'A Keeper's Life: Havoc and Hogs'

While sitting in the hallowed and well-worn seat of gossipers at North
Square, I had a chance to chat with the Keeper Mishtkah. He's mostly
holding up the Keepers' banner all on his own, but he's a one-man whirlwind
of activity! And not just because he can create cyclones out of still air.
Of late, he informed me he's been constantly fighting in the midst of the
ongoing Knight and Legion clashes. One day on the side of Knights Ladoga
and Lolath, the next fighting with the Legion Kang, and back again. A
lively exchange, it seems, and for the most part evenly matched, with Legion
purportedly attracting fresh blood to their cause daily.

He expressed great enthusiasm for the work he's been doing to maintain the
balance of Serin, with only a hint of forlorn-ness that so few yet join his
halls. Hear it, Serins: Keepers are recruiting. And hopefully the new
generation of Keepers will be kinder to their hogs than Mishtkah, who has
experienced quite a few tumbles off their backs as they run off squealing
into the forests. (This might have something to do with him not feeding
them, ever. Keeper applicants, be kind to your animal friends.)

Interested persons may send their applications to Keeper.


"Onion-Skin Decorum"

Really, let's play a game. Guess how many times Justice has had a rapidly
emptying roster within the time span I've been breathing. That was easy.
Unfortunately, you win nothing. They never had a rapidly emptying roster.
Neither does it seem their strength varied from weakness to strength and
back again. The interview was almost royal. A ritual in military lock-
step as Thamu wielded an onion knife and discarded armor for a more showy
(and smelly) onion-skin shirt.

Apparently there are some cities that don't matter, implying, "Quite a few
members keeping watch over the Cities that matter," said Thamu. I won't
ink which cities don't matter, obviously. Just city is moronic
and the other is quite filthy. Thamu is careful to remark, "Those are my
opinions of course, not necessarily reflecting of the Halls."

Among those that show promise, Cedowyl and Gatha are named to be leading
that example.

The official roster boasts Commander Thamu and Captain Cedowyl,
Lieutenant Auhror and officers Abbenon, Renauld & Yelvin. Lord
Kedaleam, the Sovereign of Justice is their main divine patron.

-Inked of Cyprian


"Missing the War for the Trees?"

This is probably because cabal circumstance runs flush with the nature of
the werebeast himself. Alone as the sole leg upon which Warlord stands,
Agrerrogod may see the cabal's dominion to include even the forest, itself.
After all, their base of operations really is more a symbol than a place
of native belonging. War can be practiced anytime, anywhere and with

So it is that it seems Agrerrogod does just that. Why, just prior to this
scroll, my body made peace with the ground in the stave shop of Seringale.
As I write, a duel just concluded between he and Dame Ederiwyn a third
time within the same collection of hours. Echoing a loner sort of theme,
Agrerrogod also battles the Keepers alone; reportedly always against two by
himself. He had some observations to share about them, but I forego.
I've already, essentially, made this column about Agrerrogod more
than about the cabal he is in. I wonder what that says...

That I'd ink with a focus on Agrerrogod in a column intended to to emphasize
Warlord, I'd say I'm missing the war for the trees.

As is clearly read, Agrerrogod is the sole Warlord in existence today.
Lord Lorne is still ruling that cabal from the Heavens.

-Inked of Cyprian

3) Coterie Affairs


"Three's a Coterie"

Having it's ups and downs, Herald may have many more ahead. But as it
stands, we are three. I wield the quill alongside Blarp the Grand Master
of Socks and Kozma the Unholy Knight. Both have contributed well to
this coming Mystique number fifty-seven! Azerayhna is still married
to her feather duster, the bearded fairy is still a sore sight and
Xazappith caught my eye for a bit until I got slapped for waving
goodbye to her one time.

Try her champagne, it's not bad at all: freshly made from ingredients
straight from the ground she tills in front of the Traveler's Rest!

Vanisse still graces Herald with her divine patronage, and I thank you
all for providing us material once again to fill margins!

-Inked of Cyprian



Here, I provide a direct transcription, unedited, of what Percix wished
to say when Herald inquired him for input on the coterie. Rotten tomatoes
are welcome if I misunderstood Percix' intent over whether to leave his
remarks unadulterated or not. 'Not' is where I've erred to stand.

"Greetings to all of Serin,

The Mystics of the Ivory Tower have been busy, running about on our tasks
while helping those who need the help to grow. We often let our tasks go
unnoticed to the general mass, except for those who know where and how to
look for it. Many come to us, seeking religious aid, which is always a
lovely thing. As religion can often be a keystone in someone's life,
pushing them forward onto greater heights.

I would like to end with saying that should you need any advise on which
religion fits you, if you get lost on something and need a hand figuring it
out, or even need a helping hand. Feel free to ask, and a Mystic should be
quick to answer.

Percix, Adept of Mystics"

True to the coterie name, the roster is left as something to mystify over.

-Inked of Cyprian

4) Gossip



Steered by a focused wind not at all flighty, the mast of my quill moved
to the answers of an air that was turbulent, but by no means erratic.
The same had long since claimed its affinity with one Percix, an avian
invoker sporting a bundle of peculiar black feathers, perched behind his
left ear.

Percix recalled the moment that Air called to him as its own as he said,
"It started with a beat of my wings, a powerful burst of wind shot out
and it hit my friend who was gliding below me." Following this, the
expression of his face dropped and froze in the cold admittance,
"...despite that everyone said it wasn't my fault, I knew it was. Far
more." Indeed, that peculiar bundle of black feathers behind his ear
were all that were left intact of his friend; the name of whom I
sensed wasn't meant for either I, nor Serin's readers to know. So I
asked not.

It seemed to me the bitterly silver lining to Percix was that he had
carried a subsequent lesson from the tragedy, imparted in proportion
to their affinity as comrades. That is, "Always to be going, always to
be striving. Even if I am saddened." I believe wisdom finds the same
fertile ground in Percix as will appears to. He had told me that such
misfortune of that caliber will either make or break a person. Obviously,
the former state melded to him.

So it was that Percix was trained formally, but still the control of Air
is more akin to influencing it, than strong-arming it to whim. Sent
to the surface of Serin, he carried an interest in investigating the
apparent absence of Mystics. He remarked, "It is saddening, to know of
their full history, and after coming back in adversity of that legacy to
better the realm, they disappeared, as if a legend in a tome."

Percix worships no deity, but clearly understood the importance of being
familiar with all their religions. As to his familiarity of the cabals and
the Heralds, only the Heralds were spared verbal accolades in a teasing,
"...drunkards who write." So he's not somberly one-dimensional. Maybe a
tad snarky, but faults sometimes serve only to accentuate good traits.

I introduce Percix, invoker of Air, aspirant to Mystic.

-Inked of Cyprian


"Lord Virgil Descends on Serin"

A marvelous answer to faith it is when a deity that hasn't been seen in
ages, graces the presence of one that prays their guidance. The Mystic
Percix bore witness from afar to the appearance of Lord Virgil where the
Keepers congregate among themselves. It's said they were bestowed specific
guidance in response to the prayers of Mishtkah. Word also has it that co-
mmendations were granted for the alleged felling of Kang. Apparently at
home with wine, Lord Virgil shared a bottle of it with Mishtkah and Duswine.

What else was discussed? We may never know, save that Lord Virgil is
reported to have said, "Balance is not so frail a thing. It is bigger than
just a single day or week," as paraphrased by Mishtkah himself.

-Inked of Cyprian


"T & D Clinic: Unlicensed, Uninsured. Fall-ins Welcome"

Are you hungry? Thirsty? Do you burp after drinking fifty flagons? Do
you sleep at night? Do you find yourself breathing without thought?
Do you put your breeches on with both hands? Do you have five fingers
extending from both palms? Do you blink intermittently.....

Obviously something's wrong with you and it's suggested you nip your
symptoms in the bud before you need a dung and arrowroot injection. The
T & D Clinic, headed by Doctor Thamu and maintained by Nurse Dirtbeard,
has a comfortably cold slab of concrete waiting just for you. Methods
of treatment include state-of-the-art tackling, unrefined alternatives
to anesthesia and crude restraints that even the face of Hilga
couldn't scare you out of.

Boasting mobile operations for your convenience, you need not go to them.
Anywhere, anytime without almost anything; or nothing. Impromptu diagnoses
are their specialty, and you'll find no better appreciation for being well
anywhere else. They'll always come to you.

Why, I was just chased madly around Seringale, the Eastern Road, the Mystic
Forest and Gnome Village before they finally risked their eyes to come and
cure me at Hilga. A testament to their determination to brave any frights
and make sure when they're done with you, you are healthy again. I
contracted a horrible sneeze and was spitting green substances after
an encounter with an Alhoon. Luckily, the T & D Clinic arbitrarily
showed up and advised me of the risks.

Make your appointment today. Free troll faces are handed out for each
admission while supplies last. A Dirtbeard a day, keeps the Alhoon
away...or so the saying allegedly goes.

-Inked of Cyprian

5) Poems


"Power Lust or Prudent Study"

Stretching for the sun,
Like a flower in bloom,
The mind starts opening,
Grown and fed of something.

Rabid as a shark at blood,
Thoughts swim in that flood.
Creases in a mental box, 4x4.
To a light peeking through,
Reach & make a mystery yours.

Will it keep or destroy?
Open paths or erect walls?
Grant wisdom more than had?
Knowledge to drive one mad?

Or is it the pursuit thereof?
Unreachable when push-is-shove.
That moment the hand fits glove,
Doing slowly morphs to waiting.
Efforts now a'mercy from above?

Shake someday the snow globe.
The figures think they move.
Feeling rattles, seeing white,
So I write this tonight.

So unlimited in my dreams,
Yet boundaries won't burst their seams.
Evoke speculation as I might:
That I know anything on my own...
That idea is false and trite....

-Inked of Cyprian


"Sands of Mine"

Ticking, ticking, ticking...
Away does this life go living.
Forward does Time go hurdling.
A notion so light and fleeting.

No matter how hard I think,
How contemplative lips sink,
Nor how many times I blink,
In my ears the dead still sing.

Come to me my love unnamed.
Thou woman happily untamed.
What promises do you desire?
That my heart may light yours a'fire?

Slipping yours ever out of mine,
A ring in my hand yet shines.
Nothing true enough for her finger,
Still I hear her ticking, ticking..
Hasting away, yet she does linger.

Funny, her dowry..even ironic.
Ne'er settling down, no not once.
Until at end of something chronic.
The only moment I meet her breath,
It'll be the Time of my death.

For here only does she stop for any.
Committing to none, courting many.
Time, thou mistress so reliable..
Make your power in my hand viable....

Must my death be your price?
Controlling you without expiration..
Wouldn't that be.......

-Inked of Cyprian


"Death's Usury"

All life is a sea.
Its salt has uses three:
To season with happiness.
To preserve with love.
To corrode with loss.

How do I tell up from down?
This deep inside it...
Chloride preserving my frown.
Loss everytime I turn around.

Reflections under the surface,
They tell the lines so crisp.
A few different ways to age:
Idling, living and losing.

The former never notices.
The middle is too busy to see.
The latter sees it clearly.
What costs once to some,
It's charged thrice to me.

Is this how the Heavens feel?
As Death unwinds Life's reel?
Locked ever in its cold usury...
Rewind -that- for eternity....

-Inked of Cyprian

6) Obituaries


"Xynch, the Executioner of Legion"

Xynch the Executioner of Legion has executed himself. It seems the
number two is not as lonely as one as some bards say. At the moment he saw
two Knights he let out a whimper and started to flee. His scales began to
peel from his slimy body. And then he shed his fragile mental state. In a
fit of hysteria, he plunged a dagger into his flesh and ended it all. The
exact details are hazy, but word on the street is that a fisherman found his
corpse, and taking him for a very large iguana, ground up his body to use as

He won many battles and he lost many battles. An average fighter who stood
against the Archon of Valour many times. It is unfortunate he has passed
away. If only he could have wrapped his reptilian mind around numbers.
Perhaps Darkhaven will give a math test to it's new executioner?

- scribed by Kozma


Yiebaen the Purifier of Shadows has fallen for the final time. He was an
Archon of Valour and a beloved member of the Knights. In life he won a few
battles, but lost quite a few more. Yet he had some tenacity in his soul
which is highly valued.

No one knows the exact circumstances of his death. It is hard to obtain
information out of the city of Valour as everything seems compartmentalized
at the current time. Could they be mourning this great loss and fearful to
show weakness? Who will replace him and continue the battle against what
they deem to be evil?

And now dear reader, I'll leave you with the last conversation I had with
him. I spotted him in the mines while I was gathering ore and asked him if
he wanted to gain some himself. He replied that he didn't know what he was
doing and left. It left me feeling confused and slightly worried. Perhaps
the next Archon will be a little more objective

- Authored by Kozma


"Sevaush, the Penumbral Hand"

A winged blood-swallower quietly passed not long ago. He kept his goings
aloof and his infernal nature even quieter. Subtle was his way and his
tongue was enough to replace the eelskin on the hilt of any fine katana.
His visage was unnerving to say the least, one wonders what tortures he
experienced prior to his escape from whatever hell he lived in before entry
into Serin. Emaciated limbs, parched & scabbed lips, mis-shapen ears and
exposed nasal cavities where a nose should have been - this was Sevaush,
the hissing Penumbral Hand. Worshipper of Lord Zylenier and ironically..
one that respected the quill beyond what I've had imagined and believe to
have been almost wrought in malicious pretense.

To his name, even the slaying of Lorne (when he was mortal) is included
in Sevaush's sordid deeds. He had an impact in the realms that I welcome
riddance of.

Was it to pave the way for a starker posture of the darkness he silently
propagated while he yet lived? Maybe. Whatever the matter, I record
the Penumbral Hand's obituary in hopes that a general profile rests itself
in the minds of all. That maybe his like can be detected early enough in
the future...and dispatched in his or her youth.

..we are likely too late this time around, and evil lacked not for a
successor throned, lacking pauses it seems.

-Inked of Cyprian


"Kang the Unstoppable of Yang"

Hear Ye Fellow Serins!! I apologize but it seems this note was lost by a
messenger south of town, and I was just lucky enough to refind it. It is
with great pomp and much celebratory (crossed out) ceremony, that I bring
you the notice that the Great master of Yang... Kang, has breathed his
last. He can be said to have lived life in much the same way he died, in a
whirlwind of violence... Or maybe a meteor storm, or perhaps some ice.
What ever way he met it, it can be assured he met it head on. Facing his
greatest foe, The Unstoppable Yin. So for now, Yin has bested the Yang, and
we may all once again live in peace.

Penned by Blarp


"Sergeant Gatha"

The scales of Justice creak with the loss of Gatha. She seemed to espouse
a purpose beyond upholding the law, yet unspoken. The known and dead are
many this issue, and it comes to mind how heavy the soul. Weightless by
physical measure, its spiritual heft can move mountains. Steady the fates.
Pin ambition. Distress has blown away this one as though it weighed
nothing. None should mock. Each of us are but a choice away from losing
our own footing.

I wish I had more to express. I didn't know her well, but I was well-acqua-
inted with the circumstances. Lord Kedaleam and Commander Thamu have my
condolences. I can only hope that the misanthropic era wanes instead of

We can entertain speculation, but only the departed souls themselves can
ever witness of their reasons.

-Inked of Cyprian

7) Classifieds


All Serin: Ladies, Gentleman AND Fences,

"So there Dink was, practicing spells and trying to look impressive and
fancy, when a teleport spell went horribly wrong! With a flash of bright
light, suddenly I found myself facing Xanthak! Of all the places in Serin!
Well, I lost that fight in a spectacular way! A grand explosion felt across
the entire land! Everything I had was scattered across Serin with five
unique items among them! What I would like is for Serin to know that I will
pay 50, 000 gold pieces for the return of my Skull and Cross-Sword Flag.
What is Dink without that pirate flag?!

Esteemed Gentleman Dinklebik the Sage of Arcane Power, Esquire"

Inquiries will be forwarded to Dink the gnome where direct mail-gnome
delivery may fail...and arrival graces itself at Traveller's Rest instead.

-This ad sponsored by Herald