The Serin Mystique, Volume 15, Issue 5
You have the honor of holding your hands the 5th Issue of Volume 15 of
the Serin Mystique. This issue is dedicated to the memory of Serra the
Paradigm of Water, who was not only a devout and kind soul, but also
extensively prolific. This issue contains the last submissions she made,
but I also encourage you to read through the books she published during her
lifetime. We are less without your support, dear friend, but we shall carry
your legacy forth with pride.

1) News (see Deathmark, TheNews1, TheNews2, Trial1, Trial2, Wedding, Tidings)
2) Cabal Affairs (see Warlord, Legion, Justice, Keeper)
3) Interviews (see Flinnegan, Tearea1, Tearea2, Tearea3)
4) Poetry (see Echoes, Omnipresence, Untitled, Villanelle)
5) Stories (see TheRose, TheSpy, TheTryst)
6) Wit and Whispers (see Wit, Whispers)
7) Gossip (see ImmortalAffairs, HiddenThreats, Juggernaut)
8) Immortal Sightings (see Overview, Solmundi, Ceridwel, Dogran, Davairus, Resatimm, Phostan1, Phostan2)
9) Obituaries (see Zakzaer, Durak, Serra, Gerok, Aelaldric, Tearea, Flinnegan)

This Mystique brought to you by:

- Polymath Ilromie Illistarre
- Doyenne Serra
- Savant Wylsin Plindane
- Lore Keeper Villidan
- Lore Keeper Valindra Skitterwit
- Annotator Pauwyr Rauwyr

With thanks to our Immortal Guides:

- Lady Vanisse the Myth Weaver, Mirage of Fortune
- Lord Phostan, Headmaster of the Consortium
- Lord Varliv, Supreme Magistrate of Serin

To Serra, who inspired every one of us.

1) News


Deathmark by the Arena

On a day of many duels, one ranger came to kill
He targeted Madroic and swiftly let mage-blood spill.
Honor offended, Shaghroth sought revenge for his friend
He hunted Kelkah and brought about his end.

Later Warlord fought Warlord in a duel to the stun.
Shaghroth defeated his Warmistress, the battle hard-won.
While Kelkah slew the Juggernaut and forced his way inside
His bow aimed true, and Shaghroth once again died.

Honor greatly offended, the warlord swore vengeance
The pixie had shown only vile intentions.
A deathmark was issued and is yet outstanding
Stand not in the path of the Warlord collecting.



An immortal engages us denizens of Serin and asks us if we want good news
or bad news first.

Dodduva wants double surge times. Szrevan is being weird. Senol asks for
bad news first. I answer with "yes"

An Immortal speaks about patching and forgetting some notations.

Now we wait.

And wait.

Rimath yells his auctions to all that will listen.

Scholar Serra asks if they forgot good or bad things because the delay seems

We are still waiting with bated breath.

The reply from an Immortal suggests it is a matter of perspective.

Rimath continues yelling into the void.

Serra mutters "it figures" in response to an Immortal.

We still wait. The lands are hushed.

The insects and animals hide as the apex predator prepares to unleash ..

The wait becomes unbearable.

We really are still waiting.

A patient writhes in agony and Serra heals their wounds as she bows her head
in worship of Kedaleam.

I have come to the healer guild to stand with Serra awaiting this
potentially devastating news.

Oh no!

A plume of smoke billows from the nearby nexus!

A storm begins to rumble!


The plume of smoke gets thicker from the nexus of the void.


The storm roars into existance! The storm is intense but passes very

We all wait as the silence becomes oppressive.

Serra checks to see if she has ... Sprouted a tail? Odd.

Serra queries whether it was the bad news, good news or both. I feel that
the boot has yet to drop.

Serra begins communing with her deity, preparing for the end days.

Serra almost dies from bating her breath with this long delay.

Suddenly, the auction roars to life! Someone has bid on my item! Rimath
shouts about another of my items!


This is the worst announcement by an Immortal I have ever been witness to.

I wonder if they know Farmer Griff is good at this sort of thing?

A dwarf is speaking to me. Serra falls alseep for a moment.

I must conclude this scroll, because this is torture.

In the end there was no announcement. I will never regain this time I have
wasted. I will die 10 minutes younger than I should have.

Signing off



The Trial of Kali Windbreeze, Official Court Report (Part 1)

The Trial of Kali Windbreeze occurred on the 8th Renewal of the Celestial of Retribution.

Present at the trial included:
Judge: Valindra Skitterwit (part 1)
Judge: Lord Davairus (part 2)
Plaintiff: Lord Solmundi
Defense attorney: Duchess Ilromie Illistarre
Defendant: Kali Windbreeze
Jury: Cunnadd Wallstomper
Jury: High Warlord Shaghroth
Jury: Lunaia
Jury: Lore Keeper Villidan
Observer and Witness: Doyen Wylsin Plindane
Observer: Gerok
Observer: Dame Leitha Dondeleon
Observer: Lord Dogran
Observer: Lord Olyn
Observer: Lord Kedaleam
Observer: Tonke
Observer: Tepyr
Observer and Court Recorder: Doyenne Serra

A spectacle for the ages, and not one we will likely forget... for unexpected
reasons. It boded oddly at the very start as the goblin Judge Skitterwit asked
for last minute bribes, to which the Duchess proffered two decades-old fish
from the bottom of her sack, a tempting offering for none. While absent, the
Collector of Secrets offered muffins from a giggling shrubbery. As participants
began to arrive and mill about aimlessly around the Traveller's Rest, the Judge
and other members of the Consortium gathered in the People's Court to prepare.
Apparently at the last moment before the trial, Doyen Wylsin recused himself
from the jury, leaving the jury box with four.

The trial proceeded with the banging of a gavel and the announcement by a tiny
wisp named Hibbadibbity. As Lord Solmundi and Duchess Ilromie took their seats,
the crowd hushed expectantly. Solmundi opened the trial by listing three charges
against the defendant Kali Windbreeze, calling him a fraud, one who attacked
those who held light dear to their hearts, and a menace to society. Ilromie
opened, strangely, by forgiving Solmundi for being a poor horse trainer.
Here Jury member Shaghroth nearly asphyxiated the entire house of attendance
with an epic release of gas only relieved by a sea breeze conjured by Lord Olyn.
Kali then spoke, to which Dogran and Solmundi made snide remarks.

Solmundi's opening statement began by proudly announcing himself as an agent
designed to rid the world of chaos, and pointed at both defendant and counsel
as causal agents of chaos. He then claimed Kali was a fraud, for having
no family members attending the trial in support, and that he had attacked
innocents and invaded the halls of Justice which Solmundi claimed was a death
sentence. He closed by saying the Duchess (whom he refused to acknowledge by
title - Objection!) was a criminal who manufactured her words to misinform
those present.

Ilromie's opening statement simply refuted the prosecutor's claim that an
absence of family members was a strike against Kali's character, called
Lord Solmundi's accusations a pure sham and he a tyrant. (Objection!)

Solmundi then began to present his evidence. The first evidence, again, was the
absence of another Windbreeze in attendance. (Objection!) He then attempted
to turn the discussion to houses of elves before Lord Davairus intervened to
steer the trial back on course with a request to hear the defendant's plea. Of
course, Kali pled innocent. Moreover, he nearly launched into an epic monologue
of the history of his ancestors before (Objection!) he was asked to sit down.

Solmundi then continued with more evidence by calling himself to the stand as
a witness to Kali offending his own gods for attacking Solmundi personally,
invading the halls of Justice and intending to kill Solmundi in cold blood.
Here the Sinister Minister Dogran attempted to offer his services as cross-
examiner but was refused by Valindra and the defense. Ilromie then started to
ask Solmundi pointed questions, accusing him of lying about being attacked by
Kali's illusions, and then talking about an entirely separate incident at an
Executioner. I felt sympathy for the jury at this, none of whom knew what she
was referring to. Again, Lord Davairus interjected, saying nothing was making
sense, but they continued impervious. Solmundi said Kali had infected his mind
and many others.

Ilromie repeated that the illusions did not attack Solmundi and that he was
never in danger, moreover that his grounds were not in fact a death sentence,
which appealed to the more criminally-inclined in the audience. Solmundi
maintained that Kali had nearly killed him and that he was the "second most
malicious person I know", to which Dogran asked with great interest, "Who's the
first?" - perhaps a rivalry in the heavens? The judge was amorously distracted
by Dogran's pasty bald complexion before Ilromie began again with her story of
an encounter at the Executioner (Objection! Relevance?) and Valindra, intrigued
by gossip, allowed her continue to describe being attacked herself by Solmundi
there (Objections! from Dogran, in the audience, as well as Solmundi). Here,
interrupting proceedings, Dogran attempted to direct the court and Valindra
wrested it back again a bit weakly. Solmundi offered to take the stand he was
already standing on. Jury Lunaia started staring at the ceiling and coughing.
Everyone in attendance started staring awkwardly in different directions hoping
something would begin to make sense. I made pancakes.

Solmundi claimed Ilromie was infected by an evil spirit by Kali and that her
goal was to demolish Justice entirely, which was why he had attacked her.
(Objection!) And THEY had lengthy criminal records and THEY had attacked him
many times and THEY attacked him personally and everything he stood for...

Ilromie was then given the opportunity to call witnesses, and she asked Wylsin
to the stand. (Objection!) Villidan leaned over to tell me he ran out of nuts.
I began making pancakes for the slowly starving audience. Wylsin recounted a
long story about collecting dragon heads and chastising Solmundi for
sacrificing their treasures (Objection!) and then following Ilromie to fine her
for wearing a chaotic weapon (OBJECTION!!) -- Here Solmundi again derailed
proceedings claiming he could not pick up a chaotic weapon. We all lost the
plot. Wylsin and I speculated that perhaps sometimes Solmundi had heard the
word "Duchess" and believed it referred to himself. Trying to correct Solmundi,
Wylsin suggested Solmundi abdicate his role (Objection!) and Solmundi attempted
to get Wylsin thrown out of the court. Desperately, Lord Davairus tried to turn
the discussion back to Kali, who was sitting forlornly and forgotten in his chair.

[Continued in part 2]


The Trial of Kali Windbreeze, Official Court Report (Part 2)

Valindra then tried to shoo all the jury members out to make a decision,
when none of them still had any idea what was happening and Wylsin had not
finished his statement. Lunaia chimed in (literally) that she needed more
information. And so, with heavy sighs, we all sat down again. Lunaia
suddenly started lambasting Solmundi for bringing chaos himself to the
proceedings through tangents and disrespect. Wylsin and Solmundi began a
shouting match about horses. Sensing that the herd of cats in the court
were now completely out of her control, the Judge said "Whoops!" And

In the void of her absence, Wylsin claimed a mistrial. Solmundi claimed
Kali guilty, and then attempted to have Lunaia thrown out of court. Wylsin
wrung his hands looking for a judge, to which Dogran pointed to Lord
Davairus, the greatest judge of all... Gerok excitedly suggested trial by
combat, to which Dogran offered to have Ilromie and Shaghroth duel to the

Lord Davairus then took control at last, directing all parties to ask Kali
questions to clarify his version of events and related matters, which should
have happened hours prior. Wylsin attempted to continue his story and was
smited off his seat by Davairus. At last, Ilromie began to ask Kali the
questions we had all woefully been waiting for.

Duchess Ilromie: Why did you attack Solmundi that night?

Kali Windbreeze: When he killed you and did not show a single shred of
remorse, I knew he was beyond redemption. I attacked him to show him that
his actions wuld not go uncontested. I had no intent or ability to kill

DI: Were you attacked by the Commander before that event?

KW: I was attacked by the commander before, North of Seringale, with you.
When neither of us were criminals. And he nearly killed us both.

DI: Do you believe the law serves good?

KW: When appropriately carried out, the law can be a powerful force of good.
In hte wrong hands it can be a source of pain and tyranny.

DI: No further questions.

Solmundi attempted to object to this but Davairus refused to entertain any
more of them.

Commander Solmundi: Kali did you or did you not attack me with no
provocation? My mustang may have gotten a little out of hand, but I am not
a mustang, now am I?

KW: My attack on you was not an act in isolation. My action against you was
a culmination of all of the experiences we had up until that point - many
experiences that showed that you were a paladin in name alone.

CS: Kali did you attack me even though I personally did not attack you or

KW: No. I attacked you because you had attacked us and had shown numerous
times to be of evil nature and no true paladin. You were lost for a very
long time before you ascended, Solmundi. We all know it.

Lunaia then requested for my Lord Kedaleam to be queried, although he had
only just arrived on the scene and had little idea of what he was getting
himself into. By the time he finally figured which seat to sit on, Davairus
moved the trial onto closing statements.

DI: Members of the Jury, if Kali is guilty of anything, it is an excess of
passion. He has yet made a vow to maintain the light, and perhaps he has
acted against the law in times of strife. Know that what is good is to
stand against the abuses of the law and tyranny. To protect those you love.
And to act upon wrongs that you witness.

CS: Persons of the jury. I have thought long and hard about this case.
Perhaps Kali is not guilty of the charges. In fact I cannot sleep at night
knowing he was found guilty. Do yourselves and myself a favor. Find him
innocent. I officially drop my charges against him.

We all blinked at this. Davairus said the charges could not be dropped and
shooed all the jury members out to convene and return with their verdict.
The jurors marched out, all save Lunaia, who was still staring at the
ceiling. Ilromie started pacing around the desk nervously. Lunaia awoke
with a start and flew out of the room. After a short but interminably
awkward pause, the jurors returned - save Lunaia, who had gotten stuck in
the ceiling yet again somewhere in the hallway.

At last - at LONG LAST - High Warlord Shaghroth announced the jury's
verdict: a count of Not Guilty, 5 to 0 (for he could not count). Solmundi
said he was happy with the result and would sleep well that night. The
exhausted audience ran for the door. I was then charged to provide the
service of conversion, and Kali was given the task of choosing a new name
for himself. He first chose a fairly terrible one to which Wylsin and
Davairus winced, before settling on one that fits quite well, I think:
Kaelric Illistarre. With Lord Kedaleam's blessing, I then offered Kali the
path back to light we had been hoping for, and he took on the mantle of
Water as my first student.

This concludes the tumultuous events of the Trial of Kali Windbreeze,
recorded painstakingly by Serra the Paradigm of Water, Doyenne of Religion.


The wedding that joined Ilromie of House Illistarre to Kaelric, formerly
of house Windbreeze, into one union took place within the Music Hall of the
home of Villidan, Master Bard and Lore Keeper. The officiator of the
ceremony was Villidan, singing the song to proclaim the Marriage between the
two, as well as gifting the writ of documentation providing such as well as
the lover's first drink as a couple. The ceremony was small and the time of
such afforded little in attendance. However, one would think that a scion
of House Illistarre and the Polymath of the Scholars would surely host a
fascinating reception to welcome all to celebrate the newly announced union.
Only time will tell.



A strange turn of events

Dear colleagues,

Today I have witnessed two momentous events. Whether they are connected
somehow is unknown.

First, when I awoke earlier this Renewal I ventured to Valour, having sensed
the ghosts that arose. Indeed, the wraiths of past Serin stalked the
streets, but more alarmingly I found corpses strewn about. One of the
disciples of Sarich screamed then, of demons descending upon us...!

As I began to search, red-eyed quasits scattered before me, hissing.
Occasionally a brave one turned back and lashed at me, though I had little
difficulty fending it off. Scattered about were also the fallen remnants of
wisps, indicating that a portal had recently been opened... I am afraid we
are perhaps too late to seal the portals, for the army has begun to enter
Serin. Fortunately the portals are not stable and only a few can enter at a
time. I have spent much time today assisting Solace, Valour, Seringale,
Dankbark Forest, and even Darkhaven in defense. It is not known if there is
a pattern to these portals opening or if they simply arise anywhere the wind

Second, the surprise announcement of the closing of the Legion Cabal.
Indeed, I was there to witness the catalyst, for Tearea had been fighting
young Vargan when she suddenly detoured to Darkhaven and secured the skull.
There was a brief lull then, when Vargan re-engaged her and lost his life in
the process; and all of a sudden a terrified-looking messenger shoved a note
in my face and ran away. You may have seen this note yourselves already -
the announcement by the Sinister Minister that the Legion Cabal is now

Fearing the worst, I ventured myself to Darkhaven and found that the
entrance to their crypt has indeed collapsed, the post that once supported
its entrance crumpled by Lord Dogran's angry fist. I spoke then with
Tearea, to ask what she had done to cause such anger. I expected her to lay
claim to the glory of defeating an entire cabal singlehandedly, but she said
she had done very little other than the mundane act of slaying the
occultist. What will happen with the demon-elf Aelaldric, and the Legion,
remains to be seen.

Could the coming of the demons have weakened the Legion so? Did Aelaldric's
passenger, unwittingly or not, have a hand in its demise?

One has, as ever, so many questions...


2) Cabal Affairs



The Warlords have thundered across Serin of late. It seems as though
each waking moment is peppered with the sounds of duels echoing in the
arena. Tearea, Standard Bearer of the Warlords, reports that the Warlords
live by adherence to a strict code, a life lived through honorable combat
and glory earned from such. Their halls may open for the worthy, but
applicants will be required to meet high standards - those she sets herself.

Current members are Tearea the Red Lotus, Szrevan the Serpent King, High
Warlord Shaghroth, and Senol.

It is to be noted that Senol returned from beyond the abyss. This tidbit
may be of interest for a future interview.



Due to a lack of defense at the Temple, the doors of Legion are closed. In
fact, the very entrance to the temple has been crumbled under the weight of
Dogran's anger. He is currently seeking new sources of power and renovation
suggestions for the new temple.

No members now or in the foreseeable future.



During the course of writing this issue, the Justice cabal has dwindled
from Asendan and Bamor to empty, then one member joined, Gulrig, who lasted
only a few Renewals. It is, now, again, empty. One wonders if there is
some clash between my Lord Kedaleam and Lord Solmundi still, or if this is
simply the era for halfling thieves to rejoice.

Two minutes later, I was wrong, we have just gained a young recruit by the
name of Camadus.



The mission of the Keepers has been unchanged: they seek to maintain Balance
within the lands. The temporary alliance between the Keepers and Warlords
has ended. The late Warmistress and Keepermaster Fenlorn attempted to
negotiate a form of merger, but could not come to a satisfactory arrangement
for everyone involved. With the alliance ended, the Keepers seek to bring
balance to the individual Warlord, or the cabal as a whole if necessary.

They are currently accepting applications and choose not to release their
current roster.

3) Interviews


The Notorious Targets of Flinnegan, Godfather of the Ghetto
Flinnegan's Noteworthy Robbed:

- Eurayel the Drow Queen
- Executor Trovo, quite a bit
- Zakzaer the Legion
- Pretty much all of the Justices for the last few generations
- Flagged once for robbing Szrevan, "the Warlord who clanks", but paid off the
fine using funds from a purloined Justice's treasured item
- A tedious quasit
- Most of the other Knights, Alkas (maybe not noteworthy), not Rhoa who shied
away from him
- All the Legion from the past 3 or 4 generations, but barely notable
- Wylsin
- Ilromie, she started it though
- Gulrig, with his eyes wide open right before us
- Kaa and a friend he can't remember

Flinnegan's Apprehensions:

- Tordrak


Dear colleagues,

I have learned a few things today.

First, that battling Tearea is much like the puzzles I have faced at Xanthak
and the Demoninicon. One is faced with strange and flustering unknowns with
no understanding of how to get out of them, and suffer ignominious defeat
before being taught the correct approach. It might be a testament to her
glory or simply an eccentricity of my own ability to learn that she is more
difficult a puzzle to me than both Xanthak's keep and the Faction of Magic
combined. Let us move on...

Second, is that she is much more than simply a dueling machine, though it is
not a simple task to pass her usual focused demeanor. She considers all
life through the lens of battle, and only converses freely on related
subjects. You will see in the below interview that the initial questions
are like pulling teeth, yet when one begins to talk of battle tactics she
can likely speak for days on end. And now, allow me to share my interview
with Warmistress Tearea, the Red Lotus.

Tearea: Let's play a game... I'll call it twenty questions.

Serra: Very well. What are the rules?

T: You can ask any twenty questions you want, invade my privacy as you will.
Publish the results.

S: How is that a game? It is just a very long interview.

T: Well to make it more interesting.

S: Let's see. To start from the beginning. Where did you grow up? (1)

T: In the Monastery. I also had an education in the nearby convent.

S: Did your instruction there lead you to the Warlords, or something else?

T: Natural talent only gets you so far, I learned a truth that inspired me
to give the maximum amount of effort.

S: What was that truth? (3)

T: My mother is an oathbreaker, and my father is a liar.

S: What oath, and what lie, were those? (4)

T: An oath of celibacy, and a lie about my heritage.

S: Hmm.

T: I am sure you are aware of the oaths the nuns must take in a convent,

S: I did not grow up in a convent. But I have heard of their rules.

T: In a moment of weakness, my mother broke that vow... Else I wouldn't be

S: I see.

T: She covered it up to preserve her position within the convent. I suppose
its something you don't tell a child, still...

S: Indeed, miss. What effort did you undertake after learning the truth?

T: I learned that my talents were hereditary and I sought my own strength
through the trials of fire and dedicated training.

S: Is that when you first found the path of Fire? (6)

T: After defeating my father and leaving the Monastery, yes. I was seeking
a greater challenge as Lord Diocletian often did. I learned about the
concepts of honor and glory.

S: What are your interpretations of honor and glory? (7)

T: Honor is fighting openly and fairly, and therefore a display of respect
to one's opponent. An understanding and tacit agreement to adhere to that
respect. Glory is a measure of accomplishment. Greater glory is achieved
through greater deeds. Though it is accumulative.

S: What are your greatest deeds? (8)

T: Overcoming defeat in battle to eventually secure victory. Also, being
accepted into the halls and chosen to lead those within.

S: Do you answer vaguely so I must use up all my questions faster? (9) (At
a loss here!)

T: I have overcome many defeats at this point... I can list them if
necessary. Though my record speaks to them. The only I have failed to
overcome eventually are a god, and those who have taken their own lives.
And I suppose Aelaldric.

S: Please share their names.

T: Durak, Praoli, Szrevan, Shaghroth, and Grogdan. With Praoli and Grogdan,
it was a matter of blood. Though in the latter's case, honorably.

S: Are not all fights a matter of blood? What distinguished those from the
rest? (10, 11)

T: Some as you experienced do not end in death. Others do.

S: Ah, I see.

T: I am not a bloodthirsty sort, myself. Though I will take a life when it
is called for. Those who prefer deathmatches will be met with death, though
they do tend to disappear quickly. Dishonor too will be met with death.

[continued in part 2]


[continued from part I]

S: You have met Aelaldric. What do you make of him? (12)

T: A coward, but an effective tactician. I have not been able to overcome
him fighting on his terms. Therein lies the challenge.

S: I have found the same. In a different sense.

T: The glory will be all the greater when I separate his spine from his

S: The spine you sever will be an innocent's plagued by evil.

T: An innocent man does not take lives so easily, nor does he break the
terms of a duel.

S: There is a demon within him, who has enslaved an elf. It is the elf you
can harm. The demon seems immune to everything I have tried.

T: A man who fails to overcome his inner demons is not free from

S: Do you believe such a soul could be saved? (13)

T: You believe external forces can save him, I believe he needs to harness
his potential and leverage his inner strength IF he wants to be free of a

S: He has written me before, pleading for help.

T: Demons are not all powerful existences, they find and exploit weakness.
Something within the man is broken, allowing the demon to subsume his

S: Twice I have heard him begging. And I am powerless.

T: On some level, consciously or subconsciously he has accepted the demon,
or else he would be able to reject it.

S: He was but a young boy when he was taken. I fear he was not taught to
build his willpower as you have.

T: External forces cannot be of an aid, only can we alleviate his suffering.
Naivete and innocence protect the young from demons, unless they are broken
for some reason.

S: Then... When more demons come to these lands... We will only be able to
fight them.

T: Demons are repelled by pure souls, and overcome by strong willed ones.

S: Will you teach others to be strong? (14)

T: A certain amount of strength comes normally. Aside from that, strength
is borne from desire and effort. Those who desire it and put forth the
effort I may teach. Those who abandon the crutch of magic and adhere to the
ways of honor may seek the halls to open to them.

S: What would you wish your legacy to be? (15)

T: That the stories be passed on, and my glory becomes immortal. Each and
every battle begets another tale. Story fades to myths, myths fade to
legends, legends live forever in the hearts of people.

S: I have read of many battles in the annals of the Mystiques. But many of
them are easy to forget.

T: I have some life left in my bones.

S: You are quite young, miss.

T: Almost thirty-four.

S: A spring chicken.

T: Even conditioned and trained bodies will eventually falter from the abuse
we put upon them.

S: If you abuse your body excessively, it is so.

T: The purpose of glory is to inspire future generations to the same ideals.
Glory for the halls, the halls which have yet to be broken by any opposition
or challenge. And glory for myself and my comrades in arms. My comrades
who are closer to me than would be my own brothers, if I had them.

S: There are none to challenge you, miss. Save perhaps a few thieves.

T: None to challenge me? How quickly you forget. Just last renewal I was
defeated bitterly.

S: He is dead.

T: I had sworn an oath of silence, then I had heard of his demise at his own
hands. An ugly business, that.

S: Some souls are not fit for this world.

T: Strong endures, hard shatters. His crass statements to me built his
pride to such an extent it couldn't handle a tumble. Pride is a fine thing,
arrogance a failing. I hold enough pride in myself to speak what I think
without hesitation.

S: Indeed, miss.

T: Alright, lightning round. Ten yes or no questions..... Go.

S: I cannot think that fast. I am old.

T: Thought should improve with age. You've been thinking longer.

S: Tell me that when you have aged fifty years.

T: If my battles continue as they are, I'll die younger than that.

S: I will not be there to see it. But I hope your battles run smoothly.

[continued in part III]


[continued from part II]

Note: Some of this conversation has been redacted for privacy.

T: Hard won battles are the best. They truly stoke my passions.

S: Which was your favorite battle thus far? (16)

T: Against Shaghroth, I snatched victory as I was crawling on the floor.

S: Is there a special crawling monk kick? (17)

T: A trip, perhaps.

S: Do you find anything enjoyable in life other than duelling? (18)

T: Battle is a way of life, I have yet to find something else to pique my

S: So, no.

T: Adventure is a fine thing, though without a purpose it becomes tenuous at

S: There is always a purpose to adventure. One learns a great deal, either
of themselves or their companions. If not the world one explores.

T: Do you have an interest in Archaeology?

S: I do.

T: I have heard rumors of ancient ruins recently uncovered.

S: In the Ford? (19... Alas)

T: I wonder if you have discovered them yet?

S: I have indeed. Have you seen it? (20... I am terrible at this game.)

T: And what did they teach you?

S: Two threads. One: the precursors of your halls are buried within the
tomb. Two: these ancestors are giants.

T: Your people.

S: Perhaps.

T: Well, predecessors. I learned a few things myself.

S: What did you learn there? (21)

T: [... T]hat the ways of war predate any other organization. Your
predecessors moved across the Ford to the west, creating Valour before
settling around Storm Hill. I assume this is the outcome of some ancient
battle, but I could not find the records of it.

S: I have studied the movement of Nevahana. The scrolls write of a great
war that rift the giants into three clans and scattered them across Serin.
You enjoy history then, not only battles.

T: The history of battles.

S: Yes, yes.

[Tearea then went into a long and animated lecture on the mechanics of
fighting which went almost entirely over my old head, though I tried to keep
up. Unfortunately it will not make it into this manuscript. ]

S: I've asked you far more than twenty questions. I apologize. It seems I
have failed multiple things today.

T: I should return to my meditations for now. Failure is not a sin. Giving
up is. Effort is everything.

S: Giving up is not a sin. Just a weakness.

T: I will tell you one short anecdote, before I go.

S: Please.

T: Giving up is a sin against those who try. Before I was accepted into the
halls, I gave an oath to the Lord of Blood. I could not promise to be the
most dominant or cunning in battle, however. I could give the most effort
and drive the most activity. I do believe I have succeeded in both. That
is the measure of my success. You say there are no opponents, and yet the
halls are active.

S: I see. Thank you for your candor today, Warmistress.

4) Poetry


This poem was requested of me by Valindra and Ilromie. I now share with
you all, as they have found it free of errors.

Echoes by Serra

When did I last taste the dew?

The morning's mist slowly fades,
grey haze giving way to blue
skies. City spires cast their shade
upon the blank cobblestones.
Wisps of steam drift upward, bade
leave by the sun's grace. The throne
sits forgotten, meaningless.

Far away, a wizened crone
pressed my palm, broke a stillness.
An echo of Light's bulwark
clamored then for consciousness:
But I had not enough heart
to keep it. Away it sped,
spurred to seek a counterpart.

Instead, entangled, I drew
upon the empowered dread
of a god. I left unsaid
the hope that it was not true.


Here in the waves:
Your body tattooed with the shifting silhouettes
of a thousand rainbows
a hundred saline smiles lifting the ringlets of your hair
in the vibrant current
As I watch you drift away
your memories leach unaided in the wake
of your waning tide
Your child's laughter at seventeen rings
fresh as a newborn babe
in the chortles of a dolphin
And despite this life, your life
now living as effervescent sparkles in the vastly infinite ocean
I'm still standing upon this shore
with your hand in mine
waiting for you
to open your eyes and see.

- Scribed by Vanisse Lareme.


Untitled by Villidan

What deems a fool?
Is it by their drool?
Or maybe a lack of tool?
Perhaps they went to school
Maybe they lost their spool
Or it could have been a suel

But this I do know quite well
Much so that I will tell
Harken me much like a bell
And I hope I don't have to shell
That one might chance excel
Come forth and I shall compel

The rule of the fool
It is fuel for the cruel
A fine sell for a bad cell
A mouthy rebel that can spell
A sort of dual helping of gel
A misrule of grand swell

So, what deems a fool?

It could be that they drool
It could be the lack of a tool
Most definitely not the school
For the head dost ring like a bell
That they are easy to compel
Far easier it is to shell

That is what deems a fool


Witch's Villanelle

I am the Darksworn's concubine.
I seduced him in my office.
Now he knows I take what's mine.

I braid my hair with roses, fine
White strands and fat, black posies. Is
It me, the Darksworn's concubine,

Or the one I've displaced? The line
Blurs. So do I. Cue the chorus:
So now he knows. I take what's mine,

Then a little more. Read the signs,
Dear, wind and flame, scrying glasses.
I am the Darksworn's concubine:

A pointy black hat and some wine,
A little wisp who grows cautious--
She knows too, but she doesn't mind.

Will he attend me soon? Divine
The secret of our livered kiss?
I am the Dark (swear it!)--I'll bind
Him to me. Does he know he's mine?

--Valindra Skitterwit

5) Stories


Such a painful thing to see, a love that never got to bloom. The rose
that wasn't tended by caring hands. The pain of the thorn as it cruelly
twists upon its own stem. One may say that a love unspoken can't be
returned, but if one looked signs were there. A rose does not grow without
a whim. Most cases a rose within the wild is an unheard of thing. They
take time, patience, and above all, a loving care to muck through and tend
not just the plant but soil too. The sight of watching one who did care,
who loved and tended and bended one way to the other to show their undying
will to foster. Long since though has the rose been tended, now its soil
turns and corrupts, its stem and bush withers and rots. The pain one sees
is unbearable within the rose that wilted.



If one has anything they wish to hold dear, information not meant for
another's ear. Try your best to keep it in your mind. For one wouldn't
know if there was another ear to hear, an eye to spy, a nose to sniff such a
delectable thing as a secret out. Vevier has often been seen as a being of
folly, jolly muffin spreading cheer. But no one pays mind who is at the
till. They talk and talk, and dilly and dally. Spill their beans to those
beside, not even thinking of those in front. It is quite a sad pain when
their fortunes and fames do wane. Their inner most thoughts no longer a
thought but now a noose ready to let loose. One might say that behind the
smile and behind the dough, she's just a happy fellow. But to those who
listen and those who watch, you best beware and tend well. Your muffins do
cost more than just gold. For there are many a secret left untold. And
within such her fine floured grasp, many do fold. Its far beyond just
breaking a mould, there are many things unknown and to behold. And she must
know for she must uphold, even one such as I she did once scold. For if one
were not to enfold, well, she would definitely be so bold.



It was an auspicious of meetings. A chance opportunity. The dough man
meeting the song bird. The dough man wanted to reach far further than he
could. To see the song bird at her height. The song bird however didn't
know what to make of the dough man. He was odd and lumpy, but cheerful and
full of an unending optimism. But the dough man was afraid, for he knew at
some point if he did not escape he would lose his mobility. He would be
baked and cooked and broken and eaten. So he worried that should he not see
the song bird, he would lose the chance. He tried to parley but the song
bird's song rang out over his words. The rodent wouldn't help him, for he
would want food in return of service, and as dough, the dough man would not
need such. He tried to ask the insect to send a message to the song bird,
but they spoke a different language so neither could understand. The dough
man almost lost hope, for he knew that his time was soon.

And indeed the dough man was right, for as he was thinking of how to see the
song bird, and hear her song one more. It came, loud and thumping one after
the other. It peeled back the cloth, and pulled him up. It twisted and
contorted him. Bending and shaping. He was no longer himself but something
else, unrecognizable. The dough man languished, screaming in pain. Alas,
no one listened and soon enough he knew what would come. Shoved in a tight
metal box with no lid, then again the same, only this far warmer. He
sweated and screeched, but soon he changed. Growing and fluffing, being
lumpy and gooey no more. Soft with a crisp shell. He howled for his dreams
were gone, in the flame of the oven. How long he did not know, but after
what felt like an eternity he was pulled out. He could not move, for he was
far to stiff. He could not even see what he had become, just a silly round,
all sour and less dough. He sigh a most wistful sigh his voice even

In time, he almost gave up hope. Feeling part of himself lost, bit by bit,
section by section. Until only a little remained. He felt it though, how
he was not the same. Not longer freshly made, but old and stale. Soon to
be tossed, lost and forgotten. However, upon his end, he did not know or
even understand. He felt the rustle, the crinkle about him. Before a
voice, then a song. A song so familiar he did not want to believe. Then
soon, piece by piece, he was broken. Tossed. Scattered. A meal. Given to
the song bird he so hopefully desired to see. Now on even height. How
wistful, for she did not know who this was. Just a meal by some strange
chance. She pecked, and nipped. Eating her fill, before chirping out her
jaunty tune. Such is the fate of the dough man and all who came before, and
all who have yet to come.

6) Wit and Whispers


Faithless Readers,

Welcome to a new Wit and Whispers: Volume Up, Issue I Have Several. It is
I, Valindra Skitterwit, your Poetic Prognosticator, another old witch of
Acadia. We're so glad you're here. Who's we, you might ask? Why, me and
the spirit inhabiting the body of my treasured familiar, Hibbadibbity.
Oh--and I mustn't forget Solmundi. He's hiding beneath my desk. If you
seek to pose him a question, I'd say he's all ears.

At least that's what I'm gripping.

Let's get right down to it: Legion is closed, Serra is dead, and demons walk
the realm.

In other news, the gods let Kali rename himself, and he almost chose
Kealric. Keleric? Celery? I don't know. Terrible, simply terrible. I
can only assume his new wife guided him to the correct choice, as she will
continue to do from now until the end of constitution.

Keeper? Keeper far away from me.

Knights? No, honey, I work days.

Legion is still closed.

Justice is blind because they don't deserve a new joke.

I guess the only cabal worth noting is the Warlords, but of course they
already knew that. Could you du-el me a favor and shut up about it already?
Just kidding. Don't kill me. I'm grieving.

(Continued on the next page!)


But what must be celebrated is the unquestioned supremacy of the

See below for my hot take on each notable member:

Serra -- Dead.

Ilromie -- Not far behind.

Villidan -- That cad, dirty bird, etc.

Wylsin -- Mundane. I mean Plindane.

Pauwyr Rauwyr -- Very imp-ressive.

Ocelia -- Ocelia later.

Valindra -- Liver alone.

Well, reader, I'm tired, and you don't pay enough. Join me next time
when I vow to pry the truth out of Hibbadibbity and share my secrets for
binding especially nasty curses. Hint: you need something sticky.

Not yours,
Valindra Skitterwit

7) Gossip


Immortals have very long lives. Lonely lives, for the most part, but not
all the immortals resigned themselves to such fate. In this section of the
Mystique, I document every case of Immortal love affairs I could find.
Sources include the Headmaster Himself, old copies of the Mystique, and the
scrolls on history itself.

Zandar and Carain:
A tragic tale. The young halfling and the ancient gnome magi Zandar were
deeply in love after she was uplifted to the heavens. Little is written
of their relationship, but the record is very clear on how it ends. Jealous
and desperate at the waning of his power, Darkhan trapped her within a gem,
which he soon destroyed. In seeking this gem, Zandar led a successful assault
against the Dark Lord, vanquishing him for good. The cost was his own life.
If there is a great beyond for the Gods, I hope they are happy together now.

Odoacer and Thalia:
The immortal and mortal leader of Justice are rumored to have also been
lovers. Headmaster Phostan assures me that their relationship did not
factor into Commander Thalia's position, though he did suggest that the
corruption rampant in our modern Justices was reflecting during this time as
well, so who can truly say?

Olyn and Valicia:
The Lord of Sand and Sea was once the mortal leader of the Knights. During
that time, he took an elven lover by the name of Valicia. Later, when he
was turned to the dark and became immortal leader of the Legion, Valicia
followed him and Olyn granted her the full protection of the Army of
Darkness. She is quoted as being "not the victim of a cruel spell". Naught
else is written of her, not even an obituary.

Meriando and Galhea:
The details of this affair were printed in the entertainment section of the
relevant Mystique, so it may be but rumor that these gods sought comfort in
each other's arms. Meriando was once the immortal of the Knights, now
retired. Galhea was a fierce Warlord whose time in the heavens was quite
limited. He now spends his days guarding the entrance to the Underworld.
Could it be that this rumored relationship contributed to his limited term
in the heavens?

Varliv and Vikka:
Little is written of this affair, save for a passing reference of 'history'
between the Lord of Mystics and the Herald's own serving-dwarf. This is the
only current 'affair' I could find. It seems the modern gods have little
interest in the exchange of sweet words with mortals.

Solmundi and Valindra:
An ongoing affair, but it seems the goblin has bewitched the Darksworn. Keep
reading to see what benefits she'll garner from this affair.


Word around the mill is that there is someone new to be worried of.
Certain individuals have been threatened I suspect. I myself having found
the tools of a shadow left outside a dear friends home. I fear that such a
skilled combatant could cause worry for some, but fear not. If they seek to
strike at you from the shadows, how fearsome can they truly be?



As previously documented, I have been dueling the Warmistress in search
of information regarding the Warlords. Plan in place upon her arrival, we
moved swiftly to the Arena, where the Juggernaut declined to allow her
access. She declared something had gone wrong and the Juggernaut corrupted.
Then she proceeded to slay him before our eyes! We dropped into the arena
and awaited his return before starting the duel.

It seems there is no mercy for anyone who dares stand in the way of a duel.
Even the Juggernaut!

8) Immortal Sightings


As newly dedicated to the pillar of Religion, I will devote this new
section to recording various interactions with and sightings of the
Immortals that appear in Serin.

To begin, here are a list of the deities spotted during this issue:

[WARLORD] Davairus the Implementor of Blood
Resatimm the Oppressor of the Irreproachable, Suzerain of Lightlessness
Vevier the Collector of Secrets
[KNIGHT] Ceridwel the Champion of Dawn, Paragon of the Sun
Phostan, Headmaster of the Consortium
[JUSTICE] Kedaleam the Sovereign of Law
[JUSTICE] Solmundi the Darksworn
[LEGION] Dogran the Sinister Minister

Scribed by Serra, Doyenne of Religion


The Fall of Commander Solmundi
Following the events that transpired in the last issue of the Mystique
leading up to his ascension (Fall2), Commander Solmundi has been sighted
variously in Seringale, often lingering around the Arena of Blood. Ilromie
and I arranged a meeting with him, with the initial intention of extending
an offer of myself becoming a political appointee. However, this
conversation was quickly derailed by his changed demeanor and the Chaos Blade
that he drew out and held in his hand.

The following conversation has been slightly condensed for publication.

Commander Solmundi: I've become a little more... Perceptive. And someone has
become more narrow minded. *glares at Ilromie*

Ilromie Illistarre: You have fallen, in more ways than I thought if you bear
that blade in earnest. Though perhaps it is the truth of Justice showing

Scholar Serra: How did you come to this perception?

CS: Well. It started in blood. And it ended in vision. And now I see all things.

SS: That is splendidly vague.

CS: What exactly would you like to know?

SS: Well, many things - what happened? What have you learned? What do you see now?

CS: I was looking into the hallowed eyes of this [helm of Justice]. Wondering
how many skulls, helms just like it protected. So many minds, spirits, skulls.
Each with a mother. That is when the darkness called to me. Its dark eyes. Filled
with blood. The liquid that gave them sight... It was the God of Blood.

SS: But... sir... what of our lord?

CS: I... took that feeling a little further, but how could I betray my ways? I
couldn't. I wanted to become one with the law. I wanted its blood in my veins. A
sacrifice was in order. So I put my helm on like a good little lawman. Placed my
hands upon its collar and twisted it until my neck broke and I fell to the ground
as a sacrifice. An offering. And the rest is history. My sacrifice was accepted
and I ascended.

SS: You sacrificed yourself... a follower of the God of Law... for the God of
Blood. To become the Law? I do not understand.

CS: Ugh. Serra, what pulses through your body?

SS: Life, I suppose.

CS: Don't dodge. It's blood. Same with Illi's body here.

II: In fact, there is more magic than blood in here.

SS: Blood, sir, is mostly made of water. It is water that gives life to all

CS: The God of Blood flows through all of us.

II: False.

CS: Oh okay, Illi, slit your throat and let's see how far you get without blood.

II: You have yet to explain your blade.

CS: Oh that. This small thing here is just helping me learn about chaos so I can
better destroy it.

SS: Ah, indeed? What does it teach you?

CS: *licks, then eats the blade...* That chaos has a certain taste.

SS: Did Lord Kedaleam have no reaction [to your change]?

CS: He wasn't too happy about it. But if you notice, I still have his tattoo.
Maybe it's his way of trying to change me.

SS: It is but a blemish, if you no longer believe.

CS: Hmpfh. I still remember his blessings.

SS: It is not he who changed, but you... I pray someday you will return to our
path, armed with the knowledge that you seek.

CS: Hmpf. Kneel down and pray all you want. But prayer will do you no good. If
you want to get anywhere in this world you will need to offer blood.


The Inspiration of Ceridwel
I sought an audience with Lord Ceridwel with good intentions for a troubled
friend, Kali. The story of Kali will be scribed elsewhere. Here I recount
the discussion I had with Lord Ceridwel only.

Lord Ceridwel: Greetings, child.

Scholar Serra: It is an honor to meet you, Lord.

LC: What can I do for you?

SS: I am but an old Scholar, who has observed the lands of Serin for many years.
Over this time I have been watching the ebb and flow of the waves of darkness
and light. After I awoke recently, I found many troubling signs that the darkness
was out of balance. I have been relieved to see the young Squires and Knights
joining the Castle. There are three particularly concerning incidents that
troubled me. The fall of Solmundi... The fall of Kali... And of late, I have
learned a demon followed me from Acadia and consumed the soul of a hapless elf,
as well. I feel personally responsible for the last one, but I fear I am no match
for a demon. I seek your guidance in the ways of Light. How is it that we lose so
many, and cannot seem to return them to the path of goodness? Is there a way to
save them?

LC: This question you ask... It sounds like you feel you are partially responsible
for the choices of others?

SS: Not their choices, sir. The demon followed me here and preyed upon an innocent.
It would not have been able to come had I not opened that portal.

LC: Let us use Solmundi as a case study then. You talk of returning them to a path
of goodness. Have you considered that perhaps they don't want to return?

SS: That is what I have witnessed. There has never been, to my knowledge, a fallen
one who has ever returned to the Light.

LC: There are two that come to mind that still have a chance to do so. Kali is, of
course, the prime example. However, his return is not his choice alone. His is a
soul thoroughly grasped by the whims of Davairus.

SS: Of the three, Kali is the only one who seeks a return.

LC: All Kali can do is continue to live the life of a true Lightwalker. Part of
which may be to swallow some pride and put Davairus's fears to rest.

SS: He currently follows the path of Storm. And with it his tempestuous nature
lashes out with abandon. I wonder if he would be amiable to the ways of Water,
which would teach him tranquility, and allay Lord Davairus's fears. [Kali] fears
Lord Davairus will not allow him mercy until he has groveled in the dust, and that
chafes against his elven pride.

LC: Interesting.

SS: I will not pursue such unless my Lord approves, but it seemed like a possible

LC: Have you ever heard of a mortal soul successfully changing deities?

SS: I have not. It is why I have also written to Lord Phostan, who guides the
element of Storm. Kali's family has ever worshipped Aberdour, but I have never
seen him.

LC: It is an interesting proposition. I will say this on the matter... I have
already attempted to change Davairus's mind on Kali myself, to no avail. Thus...
Something as drastic as a change of religion may actually be at the level of
what Davairus expects to release Kali's soul. In other words... At this point,
anything is worth a try.

SS: Fortune-teller Valindra has spoken with the Lord of Blood, and he seemed
rather reasonable. I harbored some reservations since the last time I saw him,
Solmundi was gloating about blood over the power of my Lord. But perhaps I
should seek an audience with Lord Davairus as well, and put forth my case.

LC: I think that is the correct next step.

SS: I do hope Lord Aberdour would agree that a soul would be better guided by a
sister element than claimed by the darkness.

LC: I can't see him not, to be honest.

Bolstered by his words, I set off upon my way, full of thought and inspiration.


Dogran's Rise to Power
Tis a strange thing indeed to know a God almost familiarly. It has been
many years since Dogran and I first met, when I was still young, naive and
full of optimism, and he was building his reputation as a young Legionnaire.
As he would later remind me with a smirk, he left me entirely powerless,
blind, tearing my Lord from me and leaving me stumbling in the Void until he
finally put me out of my misery. At the time, he described (for my poor old
mind has long forgotten!), I had been traveling together with the
now-Keeper Fenlorn, and another whose name slips both our memories. I
planted myself in Dogran's way in hopes of letting them escape, but one
returned and was slain for his attempt.

How our young selves displayed the seeds of who we would become...

In this recounting, I share the story of Dogran's ascension. The beginnings
of it, too, stemmed from long ago, before I went to seek my slumber upon the
ice. I was a Lore Keeper then, still studying the Physical realm, and
Dogran was the mortal Forsaken. He invited me for a "friendly duel", but
instead I offered to sit with him to write his story. To my surprise, he
agreed, and we sat tensely in the Rest as he spoke.

During our first meeting, Dogran told me of his ambitious beginnings. He
came from a small village, where older children attempted to bully him until
he outsmarted them and tortured them into submission. When he had tired of
these games, and still at a very young age, he set off on his own to seek
his fortune. As he camped alone in the wilderness, at night he began to
have terrible dreams of a dark force that consumed him with the pain of a
great conflagration, but which left him feeling exhilarated and thrumming
with power. As he said quietly to me there in the Rest that day long ago,
the dark force felt like a greater power even than the Lord of Shadow,
Thorgoth. Still, Dogran entered into a transaction with Lord Thorgoth,
offering his soul in exchange for the power he could feel was rightfully
his. The dreams continued to grow ever stronger as he joined the Legion
Army and began claiming more and more lives.

In a more recent meeting, Dogran continued his tale as follows. The
culmination of his harvest came with the deaths of Rhoa, Thoom, and
(then-mortal) Solmundi by his hand. As each great fighter lay desecrated in
fountains of blood at his feet, he felt the dark power rising within him.
At last, when he drank from the shrine he made from Solmundi, he was set
adrift. The darkness, he said, consumed him for a time, and filled him with
new understanding. It was at that moment that he ascended to the heavens.
He struggled for a short time at his fate, being suddenly torn from the
mortal plane, but eventually came to a realization.

The darkness that had followed him since he was a child was not an external
force at all. It was his true form. For he was the true Dark Lord...

*Author's note: There is no way to confirm the truth of this tale, but the
eternal demise of Lord Thorgoth coincides too easily with Dogran's
ascension. For now, the time of the Usurper is over, and the Minister
presides over Legion and the elements of Shadow and Trickery.


"Of Gods and Monsters: Valindra in Conversation with Davairus"

I entreat the Implementor of Blood at His own arena, the one near my
guild in Seringale. I cannot look upon Him--His visage is too fearsome--but
I am sly and spy Him from the corner of my eye. I have come to ask Him for
ways to pierce the veil (I am, after all, one of the worst witches working
today), but He cares little for my talk of seances. Instead, He agrees to
an impromptu interview, the contents of which I will now share with my
devoted following. Readers should note I have risked my life for this
exclusive content and must lavish me with praise accordingly.

We begin by discussing the recent departure of that divine Legionnaire,
Thorgoth. Though I am a Handmaiden of Tragedy, I confess to the god I know
no perfect rhymes for this name and that such a tribute might seem glib.
Davairus suggests, "Hmm, Thorgoth borgoth corgoth dorgoth, ee-orgoth," and,
while I love the name game, perhaps He should leave the poetry to me. I
press Him, asking if He perceives emotions as mortals might and whether He
will miss His fallen companion. He says, "I care about nobody, and nobody
cares about me, and that's the way I like it. Ha!"

I do not believe Him, of course, for gods are many things, but chief among
them liars, so I press again, and He explains, "Thorgoth has left an
impressive legacy behind." He continues, "I think Dogran will be different
and have his own strengths--I'm somewhat excited about that." Now we're
getting somewhere. I ask if He will replace Thorgoth in the pantheon of
gods, and He says, "He may yet return--the future remains untold--do not
assume anything."

You know what they say about assuming, dear reader? Well, I have made a
career from it. Davairus points to the recent return of that dark deity
Resatimm as proof of his claim: "Not so long ago, I would have thought him
gone forever. But here he is again, horrible pain that he is."

We move on, and I ask for any bit of gossip that might titillate or
scandalize my readers. Davairus says, "Most of what I do is about as
interesting as laundry." I press my luck once more, for I am a little drunk
on flan, saying, "But the world does not go on without clean clothes." And
the Implementor should know--blood is a particularly stubborn stain after
all. Out, damned spot indeed.

I learn through the continuing course of our conversation that His favorite
color is red (not green, as I had hoped); that if He were any tree, He'd be
the one in the Battlezone (blood fountain--yick); and that the quality He
most prizes in a mortal is effective communication (and me over here with
several pens!).

Eventually, we turn to what he is most proud of. In a rare moment of
whimsy, he shows me: a sculpture of a whole roasted duck sitting upon a
marble plinth. If you have seen it before, dear reader, then you will
know--and, if you have not? Happy hunting.

As I perch upon a staircase to nowhere, adjusting my newly crimson robes,
Davairus finally says, "You can see somebody's soul in the art they make."
I am, despite myself, a little touched. I think perhaps Architect of Blood
would be a more appropriate designation. He says, "I'm having a great

I say, "Me too."


Resatimm - by neither a satirist nor a poet.
Jingle bells, zombies smell,
Resatimm left a brain
Oh what fun it is to die
on a death tarot's random slay, hey!


The Illuminating History of Phostan, Part 1
For many years I have worked diligently under the supervision of our dear
Headmaster, but not until recently with the transition to the pillar of
Religion did I dare to ask him for his own story. Yet indeed, Lord Phostan
has quite a remarkable story of his own, which has until now been omitted
from our history books - not for lack of trying, but simply because, as he
told me, Heralds did not exist in his day! Below, I have prepared our
conversation, that others may enjoy benefiting from his Wisdom of the Ages.

Lord Phostan: How is there not tomes of lore regarding my adventures as
Executor in existence? The world has been robbed of my story!

Scholar Serra: I should dearly like to write of it, and also your
perspective of how the Knights have evolved through the years.

LP: Do you want the bits about myself teasing Myria too? Not relevant, but
adds that comic flavor to a story.

SS: I will take all tidbits you wish to offer, sir.

LP: So it's like this you see. I always wanted to crush scoundrels heads
in. It's the sort of work proper Dwarves of my time performed. So then,
Lord Aberdour, and good Executor Yilhet, they say to me. "You show a lot of
promise young Phostan, but we have a few doubts, so you'll be a squire and
prove yourself until we're satisfied." So, I had to sit at my 35th title
for what felt like ages. In fact, I think it was only 4 or 5 years.

SS: Good gracious.

LP: Many encounters with the law. Back then, we just ignored Justices,
killed who needed killing, and dealt with the fallout later.

SS: At that time, were there Paladins who served as officers of the law?

LP: Not at that particular moment, no. A few shadows, a shaman or two, a
few warriors. Of course, their guild went by something different than
shadow back then, but that's asides the point.

SS: Perhaps the truce now is due to the paladin Justice presence.

LP: Well, it's not like I killed the Justices. I just killed people in town
and ignored their marking me a criminal.

SS: Did you stay an outlaw for long, sir?

LP: Oh, yes, a few years running at least.

SS: Well done, sir.

LP: There was an exciting encounter with their mortal leader at the time.
Some human shaman, him and I played the ol' cat and mouse all through
Galaxy. Must have been ensnared three times before I shook him loose.
Finally one day, Lord Aberdour says "Fine work, you've proven yourself,
carry onwards and upwards."

*Lord Phostan chuckles.*

LP: One of the first people I traveled with, was Myria, before she became a
goddess. No sense of humor in that one.

SS: Oh? What was she like?

LP: Well.... Kind of like someone had taken a length of branch and stuck it
up her arse, and then froze it for good measure.

SS: That does not seem very comfortable, sir.

LP: Well, it's the best thing I can reckon to explain her frigid
personality, my goodness, it was some awful encounters with her, both before
and after her ascent. She had this odd backwards pagan belief where she'd
sacrifice bits of the monsters we slew.

SS: Whom did she sacrifice them to?

LP: Gods of the forest, didn't really sound like she knew to whom she was
doing her odd rituals.

SS: Ah, how curious.

LP: I made an off-hand comment about it once, something about us missing a
hand and how we'd go back for it so she could gussy it up and do her
business. Well, that's how that relationship went from mildly frigid to
outward hostile.

SS: Sometimes people are rather defensive about their beliefs.

LP: She even started some terrible New World Order religion pushing pacifism
in retaliation.

SS: Is that the same order that giant in Seringale keeps talking about?
Polik, I think his name is.

LP: That idiot. Now, I have no problem with a pacifist. I may not have a
use for them, but encouraging them to confront and scold those who kept them
from a shallow grave, was just pathetic to listen to.

*Lord Phostan mutters to himself.*

LP: Anyhow, Lord Yilhet did not remain around long after I reached my final
titles, and for awhile it was just myself leading the charge. I managed,
because I was good at crushing skulls.

SS: Were the Justices the biggest threats at the time?

LP: Not really. Not enough of them to be a real concern. Legion had a few
dangerous idiots.

SS: Ah, indeed.

LP: Most of my time was spent dispatching them and the lackeys they
recruited. And I did that for a long long long time. Eventually, I
recruited a few more Knights. The one idiot actually started conversing
with Polik and Myria about their New World Order.

SS: Who was that?

LP: He was a Dwarf, of the warrior guild. Not from my clan of Dwarves
thankfully, not the embarassment it was to watch him go on. The name eludes
me, but I feel it'll come to me.

SS: If I might ask, sir, what guild did you train in?

LP: Why, the best guild of all. *high-fives Serra*

SS: Indeed sir, it is comforting to hear that. I see so few of our guild in
the lands.

LP: Which seems odd. A right proper healer is an instrument for which the
wrath of the Light can be delivered properly to the wicked.

SS: I have observed a very dear one doing such a thing. She staved them off
splendidly. But alas, she is no longer with us.

LP: Well, they often say the bravest go first. I don't know if I believe
it, but some of us tend not to hesitate before leaping forth into danger.

SS: A spectrum of courage exists in these lands. I can believe it.

LP: Sometimes we die on the battlefield, sometimes the wounds from the
battlefield do us in when we don't anticipate it.

[The reader is directed to continue in Part 2.]


The Illuminating History of Phostan, Part 2
SS: How long did you guide the Knights as Executor, and what led you to your

LP: Forty years about?

SS: Quite a long reign sir!

LP: Maybe less. It was quite a long time ago. That scroll they published
about me is fairly spot on, I'd say.

[The curious reader is directed to the help scroll on Phostan.]

SS: A beautiful scroll. Which god lay fading there?

LP: They called him Luminetar from what I learned of him, later on. A
Knight in his own time as a mortal they tell me. Maybe a far distant
ancestor of Leitha even.

SS: I see Luminetar mentioned in the Mystique, volumes four and eight.
Surely the Heralds omitted a large part of history to have missed your
story, sir!

LP: Clearly, I suppose some stories are lost to time though.

SS: What is your perspective on the current Castle and its ways, compared to
the Castle of your time?

LP: Expectations are laid out pretty straight forward these days. Of
course, there's a lot more to be mindful of I suppose. In my day, if they
were evil, we put them down, only one exempted from that were Mystics. Now,
you have to pay attention to those who swear the Oath and all that goes with

SS: Ah, there was no Oath at the time? That is very interesting indeed.

LP: No Oath, no Heralds.

SS: Good gracious. Then... Then you slept for a long time before your
ascension, for Luminetar is reported by the Heralds as a mortal Knight.

LP: Oh I was dead ages before he ever was about.

SS: Ah, indeed.

LP: A lot of things stay the same.

SS: The everlasting quest to dispel the darkness.

LP: Of course, now there's a lot of exceptions made. I'm not sure how I
feel about that.

SS: Do you believe evil can ever be turned to good?

LP: Oh, likely enough. Some people are the way they are because of the
circumstances they were born into. Given time and shown what else they
could do with their lives, some will want to change their ways. Others I
suspect, just use the Oath to avoid being cleansed by the Knights while they
continue on with nefarious and black-hearted deeds.

SS: The question of the Oath is a tricky one. I do not envy our Knights and
Nobles having to trust in such a judgment.

LP: I'd just let a Knight of proper rank and experience be permitted to
terminate someone's Oath. Easily solved.

SS: Would you wish to guide the Knights again someday, sir?

LP: I mean, it is a large part of who I am.

SS: They would surely benefit from your expertise and knowledge. Young
Leitha has struggled on her own without a mortal Executor, though Ceridwel
has asked Ilromie and I to attempt to mentor her.

LP: I used to mentor the last few batches of Knights. I made Trovo the
Executor before I accepted the role of Headmaster. Him and the others at
the time were a fine bunch I thought.

SS: Oh! I respected him greatly. Though I was still young when he passed.

LP: I'd likely do it again, given the chance. The Consortium has enough
benevolent deities with interest in it, to guide it forth, if I wasn't

SS: And wayward Scholars are the best kind.

The conversation continued off in another direction then, as Ilromie arrived
on the scene. But you may read about her findings in the gossip column...

9) Obituaries


Zakzaer the Nearly Forgotten
There once was a dark legionnaire
Whose name we recall as Zakzaer
He took many a life
With dark ritual and rite
Until he choked on his evening prayer.


The Work of Durak Doublechin
On this day I encountered Durak Doublechin, a dwarven paladin,
contemplating his existence at the Sign of Life in Escimir. Since I had
re-awakened in Serin, he had worn the flag of a criminal, despite his
tendency to abide by the laws.

As he explained to me in the jungle, this juxtaposition was a direct result
of his own actions to purge evil and corruption from the halls of Justice
after seeing even the Commander become tainted. By his hand, he recounted,
the tyrannical trio of Melise, Tarelia and Praoli were no more, leaving the
halls with only dwarves whom he could trust to keep the peace honorably.
This effort did not come without sacrifice, for he became outcasted for his
actions. Selfless in his deeds, now that no more evil stands within the
halls, Durak has decided his work is complete and seeks his well-earned
rest, letting others carry the mantle in his wake.


Serra the Paradigm of Water, Doyenne of Religion

How I mourn Serra the Paradigm
Of Water, how I wanted more time
To say this goodbye,
Dear friend. Now I cry
Water's path down my cheeks. Vulgar rhyme.


Gerok the Battlemaster

Farewell from your goblin gran, Gerok.
I'd heal you if I were a cleric--
An imminent war,
And what's it all for?--
Is there honor in the barbaric?


Aelaldric the Possessed
There once was an elf named Aelaldric
Whose morals didn't quite stick.
Possessed by a demon named Xrxz'thyx
Who stuck a knife in his larynx,
He saw the light, and that was it.


Tearea the Tireless
There once was a monk named Tearea
Whose skills excelled in the arena.
She fought any who wanted glory
and left their eyes blurry
When she knocked them down, one, two, three-a


Flinnegan the Godfather

There once was a thief named Flinnegan
With a sack as heavy as a sin
He'd steal from the wealthy
But leave each of them healthy
So he could do it again to them.