Friday, June 23, 2006

Words in the Dark Streets

Nagyolaszi, 25 and 26 Byad, YT330

Meanwhile, Nicolai, Olorin, Gorran and Voweslaw made there way towards the craft-working district.

Voweslaw spent several minutes discussing matters with a few Eol who they met in Castlegate. They were tracking a group of Bayars which consisted of Seahkzen warriors and Wallachs which they had recently followed from Nurt Tzingi to Nagyolaszi. Their attitude changed when Amathariel was mentioned, becoming much less voluble.

Near Hanveyd's Workshop they me a party of Earth-kin who had formed an impromptu militia to guard the Craft-working Quarter when the alarm was first raised that evening.

At the Forrester Inn, the building was swiftly surrounded and after loud knocking, a figure came crashing from a window and tried to make his escape. Quickly restrained by Nicolai, the tapsman of the Forrester (for that was who it turned out to be) started to divulge any and all information he knew (and possibly some he didn't) in an effort to avoid a death sentence for conspiracy with the cult. He named Gometch of the Vintners Guild as the figure in scarlet and purple. He also told them that Sgurd and a small band of Sekely and Wallachs had left the town early in the afternoon with traveling-gear and on horse.

On return to the Dark Tower Inn, the whole party agreed set out in the morning to track Hanyeyd leaving the wagons in the town. This gave Leradhir time to replace his clothes and bathe thoroughly.

Where There's Muck There's Money

Nagyolaszi, 25 and 26 Byad, YT330

Once the commotion had subsided, the group decided that they should split up in order to search Ivarsson's building and also the Forrester before the evidence could be removed or trampled on by unperceptive city guards.

Tolarr, Leradhir and Voltarr searched Ivarsson's building starting with the chamber where the summoning took place while the others went through the streets towards the goldsmith's shop and the cultists drinking den.

Tolarr used his innate treasure seeking abilities to unearth a cache of monies amounting to 12 Poltura, 37 Crajczar 7 Half-Thalers, 6 Thalers and an Opal/Gold Cloak-pin of local make. Leradhir after studying the tapestry, made a couple of more significant finds. Firstly, he found a black-bound book which gave off a strong sense Dark Magic. ( This was passed to the Council of Tzutsavanica by Voltarr next day). Secondly he discovered papers with am astrological diagram. Amathariel was able to confirm that this document specified a place and time which might be of significance to the cultists. The place was located in the forests of Nurt Tzingi. The time was mid-summer!

Leradhir while climbing into the solar to look for Hanveyd fell into the mire. When he was finally pulled out the night-soil collectors were the only ones not to remark on the stench. But he did spot a trail of muck and footprints leading towards the South Gate.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Game Yacta

The game of Yacta is played throughout the Realm of St Khuz. It arrived at least a century ago from Wallachia where the inhabitants claim it developed from earlier games played by the legionaries of the Old Empire. The name Jacta may indeed derived from a word in the Old Imperial language.

The game is played with dice which have the numbers and pictures on each side. Each player seeks to make the dice fall into five distinct 'hands' and the winner is the first person to make all five 'hands' Usually five coins are wagered by each player and these are placed in the midst of the table. For Bors and Pa-mosz the coins will be Denar or perhaps Poltura. For craftsmen, shopkeepers, etc. crajczar are used. Rich merhants of course play for Thalers. As is hand is achieved a coin is placed to signify this and the first player to complete all five take all of the coins wagered. Inns often have tables with the hands marked on each edge with symbols which may be covered by a coin to denote the hand has been scored.

The dice are cast, but not disclosed to the other players and each player in turn states which 'hand' he has. He may dissemble (called 'bluff') but unless challenged the call is accepted. The most difficult 'hand' bid is the only one which scores. If a player challenges another's call then bidding stops and the challenged dice are revealed. If the hand is valid then the challenger revokes his highest hand already scored and the challenged hand also scores. If not the challenged player must revoke his highest hand scored.

In some places players are allowed to select some dice already rolled in secret and re-roll these in sight of the other players. This has often lead to alledged cheating, unseemly brawls and sometimes fatalities and so is banned entirely in Crown Lands

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Death and Worse

Nagyolaszi, 25 Byad, YT330

On being shown into the under-croft of the Merchant's hall Olorin and Tolarr were confronted with the disfigured and recently deceased body of an innocent townsman of Nagyolaszi. Their guide cursed loudly and informed them that their ceremonies will have to be rushed forward as a result. They were them shown into the hall above and thence by gallery steps up to Ivarssons chamber. This looked much as described by Voltarr with two additions. Namely, a pentacle was now visible on the floor and on a chair against one wall sat the goldsmith Hanveyd, clearly drugged or in a trance.

The figure in scarlet and purple robed arreared wearing the Torc and racked with pain and terror summoned what at first seemed to be small ass to appear in the room before them. Then, using the beings hideous name he forced it to assume human-like appearance. The demon uttered foul curses and imprecations but was compelled to begin to a horrible and unholy ritual on the person of Hanyeyd. Ivarsson began to whisper nervously to Olorin. He informed Olorin that part of the reason for their presence is that they had knowledge of the infiltration of the Faction by the Death Rune cult. Ivarsson told them that this ritual is but a trial and the coven plan to repeat the process to revive the power of the Liche Hring. He believed that if Hanveyd survived he could be revived but if not he could still be of use to Hring. After considerable time had passed the two Khazad realised that the end of the ritual was approaching. They were compelled to watch as the demon drew all of the life from the goldsmith, leaving in his place an undead monster. The demon was then released and vanished from the chamber.

A clash of weapons and shouting came from the Hall below. Seconds later one of the ill-favored ruffians seen earlier burst in, looking severely battered. With the demon gone Olorin and Tolarr set about the cult mage, Ivarsson and the new arrival. The undead Hanveyd escaped via a trapdoor and the Merchants privy,. Even the town guard and Michaeline Knights fail to find undead-Hanveyd

In the fighting in the under-croft a fire had been started, and as the captives, bodies and other evidence were taken from the building, townsmen and guards fought to extinguish it. The smoke and flames, shouting, bleating, squawking and some looting, fistfights and even cheering, seemed just as described by Brother Dyarran at St Thygra two days earlier

Flies like a Winged Chariot

Nagyolaszi, 25 Byad, YT330

As night approaches Olorin and Tolarr were shown to Ivarsson's premises. But their streetwise guide seemed to smell trouble and let them there by sundry alleys and side-streets. When they arrived in Sheepgate it was from the end which they had believed to be blocked.

The others had watched them leave the Dark Tower and slipped out quietly a few moments later. They reached Sheepgate quickly but not sighted Olorin and Tolarr. For some reason the paladins and town guard do not arrive as soon as anticipated. An hour or more passed before help arrived in Low Street and they could finally take action

The false Hue and Cry started with Gorann acting as the miscreant. Perhaps because it was late or perhaps because of wary townsfolk, no-one else seemed remotely interested. Gorran however ran into the courtyard within the Merchant's building. The guard in the courtyard feigned nonchalance as Vowselaw demanded help in apprehending the 'criminal' Until a lightning blow from Voweslaw's sword severed his right hand and a few more battered him to the ground. Another cultist appeared to investigate but Nicolai's mace smashed his hip and he too fell to the ground without even having time to prepare a weapon. Arriving behind the rest Voltarr staunched the first guard's bleeding allowing him to be captured alive by the authorities a few moments later.

The companions burst into the hall and quickly set about subduing (in several cases permanently) a crowd of cult worshipers who few seconds before had been waiting in rapt anticipation of some immanent event. Gorran, Nicolai and Voweslaw all deal heavy blows to the stunned cultists. In less than a minute one has fled, three are badly injured and the remaining seven are dead.

As the fighting in the hall began to subside, the rear entrance of the Hall opened and a figure in armour with white and gold livery appeared and began assist the companions. At one point his sword shattered but he swiftly prepared a battleaxe and laid into the last visible cultist. Outside in the alleys and beneath their feet they could still hear fighting going on.

Moves at Leisure

Nagyolaszi, 25 Byad, YT330

On the morning of the fore-ordained day, Olorin and Tolarr were invited to the Forrester to meet again with Sgurd and there consume various potable beverages. Sgurd offered the pair cups in proportion to their stature but Tolarr drained Sgurd's larger beaker with a huff. Sgurd seemed genuinely surprised by their capacity to imbibe without any apparent effects. After a while the pair became restless and asked to be shown to the ceremonial site. After considering matters Sgurd sent them off with the Merchant Ivarsson who offered to kill time with some games of dice at whatever Inn they chose.

Olorin and Tolarr went with the Merchant to their familiar Dark Tower Inn. Ivarsson introduced them to a dice game which was new to them called Yacta. It was not new to Ivarsson, he being in his own estimation adept at it. Unfortunately for him he found it difficult to read the impassive faces of the Khazad and lost 60 Thalers to them.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Holy Orders

The Holy Orders of the Church of St Khuz were formed for two purposes. The militant clerics of the Order of the Archangel Michael and the Order of the Archangel Raphael were founded to combat the dark magic and the cults which came into existence in the time of Tzar Vozin. The monastic clerics of the Brotherhood of Gabriel and the Brotherhood of Ariel were founded to look after the well-being of the bors and pa-mosz. The militant orders are typified by the fearsome paladins in their white and gold or blue and silver liveries. There are however only three hundred of these and the order has many more clerics and lay bretheren. The Brotherhoods in their plain brown and grey habits are more numerous and perform many important roles in addition to their spiritual offices: healers, alms-givers, teachers, advocates, etc.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Drained to the Dregs

Carpenters in Nagyolaszi who drank their way to the bottom of a huge barrel of aqua vitae while renovating a storeroom ran from the building in terror when a pickled corpse tumbled out of the empty barrel.

According to Borrec the herbalist, workers in a vintner in Oldgate Lane tipped it over after they had drained it. Two of the workers required potions to recover from their agitated state. None showed any sign of intoxication.

The authorities believe that the body of the man may have been put there years ago by his wife in order to avoid the cost of a proper burial. The workers told Borrec that the liquid in the hogshead had a "unusual savor" and so they had decanted a few bottles.

Monday, May 01, 2006


What do bargees on the great rivers of the realm, all Aeyep males and Wallach bayars have in common? A raffish air and a rebellious view of the forces of the crown - certainly. A level of distrust and suspicion by bors and nobility alike - often. A gold adornment piercing one earlobe - also true. But the fashion of wearing these and the detail of the item can distinguish one group from another and also one clan or band from another of the same race. Rivermen have the least ostentatious rings, with only enough gold to placate ancient river beliefs. Aeyep give and receive rings as part of their own complex family rituals and the age and quality are significant to them. Why Wallach outlaws wear them is less clear. Perhaps in their own land it causes some of their victims to panic. Who knows? But Wallach rings usually have the mark of their band of cut-throats incised on the gold.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Plans, Plans & More Plans

Nagyolaszi 24 Byad, YT330

Voltarr revisited the Enclave after breaking fast and used Crystal vision to get a detailed description of the room which would contain the Torc on the night of the full moon. This is the description which he relayed to the others:

“Moonlight is falling from a high North-facing window recessed in a gable wall. The room contains a bed, a table and a chair and the wall has a tapestry of a forest scene with a warrior-king. It might be a depiction of Iron Fuzoy. A figure in scarlet and purple robes is there although a good view of his features is difficult in the dim moonlit room. The table displays the Torc and papers with curious glyphs. A trapdoor is just visible beyond the table.”

Voltarr's fellow acolyte, named Horgyath, visited Tolarr at the inn and committed his appearance to memory (not too difficult given his race, his size and the deathshead adorned black leather armour)

While accompanying Voltarr to the Enclave Gorran noticed that someone was keeping careful watch on who was entering and leaving the inn. On returning with Horgyath, Gorran chose to get into the inn by the stable entrance. But was that being watched too?

Nicolai and Vaneslaw went back to St Thygra during the morning. Already the locals seemed to have assessed the devout cleric and his ambitious friend and paid little heed as they walked towards the church. Inside, Brother Dyarran was happy to give them more detail about his prophetic vision of 'the cleansing' He recognised the area of Low Street with the shadow of Bàt Gora falling across it. He had seen people running through the streets, crying out and the also smoke, flames and such commotion. This, and some investigation about prominent merchants, led them to uncover the possible location for the cult ceremonies in a merchants property in Sheepgate.

Since they needed to know more, Amatheriel visited the building on the pretext of buying linen. Her natural charm and knowledge of growing things made an excellent impression with the linen merchant and she returned with more detail about the shops on the street frontage and a narrow internal courtyard.

Eventually, the group agreed on the layout of the room containing contain the Torc and it's approximate location on the first floor at the northern end of the building.

Later in the day further discussions were held at St Thygra to plan how best to come to the aid of Olorin and Tolarr whilst still apprehending all of the cultists.

I. The paladins agreed to wait at St Thygra with the Ursunin's men for word of the appearance of Olorin and Tolarr in Castle Way. After waiting a few moments to allow the cult to assemble they would then make haste to the building in Sheepgate.
II It is intended that the first sight of the Michaelines in Low Street will signal the companions to stage a diversionary 'hue and cry' in Sheepgate with Hamec or Gorran to mask the surrounding of the building.
III. Since the intelligence gathered on most of the building is scant, the storming of the building and the rescue of the stone-kin must be extempore

The companions retired with some trepidation to get as much rest as possible before the new day. Would all of them be alive when the new moon waned again.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Church Militant

Nagyolaszi 23 Byad, YT330

In case they were being observed, the lady and her companion stayed in the inn while Vowleslaw, Nicolai, Olorin and Tolarr went to the Brotherhood. At St Thygra they were quickly shown to the Abbot's study.

They did not get far into the tale when the Abbot dispatched a messenger and ordered supper to be sent in. This was simple bread and soft cheese. Nicolai seemed not to notice the contrast with their previous meal but Voweslaw ceertainly did.

The Knight commander from the Chapel of Michael was soon announced, and strode into the study with a look that would intimidate even a pious knight. Olorin wondered how the goldsmith or his warrior companion would react to the sight of this paladin. The whole day's tale was recounted, elaborated and disected. There was no discussion about what must happen. The Michaelines would allow no compromises. But the means were discussed at length. Curiously, the group were allowed a great deal of say in forming the plans, perhaps because by the evening's end the Khazad had agreed to be the bait!

The Abbot pointed out that two night hence would be the years sixth full moon and while his might be well for those with a Lunar aspect, it would also favour lycanthropes.

All Together at the Inn

Nagyolaszi 23 Byad, YT300

As dusk approached everyone in the disparate fraternity met at the Dark Tower inn. It's location on Castle Way in the shadow of Bàt Gora seemed more portentious than it had that morning. They exchanged information about what each had seen and heard but the discussion was mostly about the affair with craft-master Hanveyd and the warrior Sgurd Hafnersson. Neither of the stone-dwellers was keen to go back there anytime soon. Everyone new without words that if unmasked as imposters by the cultists their demise would be hellish and if found by the authorities in the company of cultists their doom would be swift and final. After length argument they were all agreed that they were duty-bound to report all of this to the monks at St Thygra.

With the Great and the Good of Nagyolaszi

Nagyolaszi 23 Byad, YT330

Vowleslaw and Nicolai attended matins at St Thygra. Voweslaw seemed distracted with recent events. Every few minutes he scanned the isles and pews as if making sure that nothing was sneaking up on them. Nicolai was in a proper contemplation throughout. After Nicolai had completed his devotions, since his gift was healing, he sought out Brother Dyarran. This brother was regarded by the others in the chapter house as having the gift of prophesy. Dyarran after the appropriate time in meditation began to relate an important message affecting not only Nicolai and his companions but the whole town. Slowly and in a tone of voice that reflected his toubled face, he told Nicolai that in two days time the wicked in Nagyolaszi would be visited with Divine wrath and the city cleansed from their iniquity.

Walking along Lords Way towards Bàt Gora Vowleslaw and Nicolai discussed the meaning of this prophesy and the shock it had caused in St Thygra. The Abbot had wisely admonished all of the brothers to keep silence. The two were unsure what to tell the local Ursunin. When they finally met him the matter did not arise for they had to relate the incident at Golgow and the new of the Upiar passing throught Nagyolaszi. Their host was indignant that this could not be so but after enquiries were made of the gate guard he swiftly changed his tune. He delared that he would take immediate steps to increase vigilance for such creatures. Perhaps his guests aquaintance with a Borsonin and members of the Loyal Order made him slightly more vehement. Anyway, the reception was suitably refined and the food and wine were excellent.

The pair excused themselves and returned to the inn before dark.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Nettle by Name

Nagyolaszi 23 Byad, YT300

Voltarr decided to continue his search for a herbalist with the ingredient he needed. He had been told of a herbalist in Old Way and set off accompanied by Gorran and Hamec. Gorran was keen to consult with local musicians about Olvyrr Hnufa.

Following Lords Way to the meeting with Old Way they heard a disturbance like animals moving about down one of the alleys. Given their recent encounters they decided to leave well alone.

In Old Way, halfway towards the defunct Old Gate, they reached the shop of herbalist Borrec whom some call 'Bovecs' (Nettle). It did not take long to see why for the old man was surly and unhelpful until Voltarr finally mentioned that he was a member of the Council of Sutsavanica. Bovecs was persuaded to locate some of the required plant and arrange for delivery to the enclave two days hence.

On going to the Enclave Voltarr found a Council member with his assistant and another acolyte only slightly further in his studies than Voltarr.

The Torc Turns in the Lock

Nagyolaszi 23 Byad, YT300

Olorin and Tolarr were keen to visit the craft guilds of Nagolaszi and Tolarr had it in mind to dispose of the item he had aquired in the barrow. They had been informed that the working of Opals and Goldsmithing were important to the town and that the diminutive folk of Sapadtkuszi and the Eol were prominent in these crafts so they set out along Lords Way towards the starngers quarter. When they reached Palestone Arcade they found the nearest Goldsmith. The owner, was
Goldsmith craft-master Hanveyd. As they entered the shop a Szekely warrior passed them who was leaving. He wore very distinctive northland armour and weapns and he took time to recommend the workmanship of Hanveyd and to display his new gold. Hanveyd said that his name was Sgurd Hafnersson and that he was a good customer.

Discussion about gold with this pair (and his recent sale) seemed to put Hanveyd in a good mood and he talked at length. Evetually Tolarr turned the coversation around to the Torc and cautiosly showed it to Hanveyd. After looking round his own shop Hanveyd lowered his voice and told them to take it to the 'Green Fairie' house nearby where they could arrange matters with Sgurd. It became clear that Hanveyd and Sgurd were part of one of the dark cults and that Hanveyd considered them to be fellow cultists.

They followed his directions to the Green Forrester inn. It was the very model of a low-life den of thieves and hostile stares followed them into the taproom until Sgurd spoke to them. When he saw the Torc he was anxious to take it from them, offering money (which they took) and an invitation to their next gathering in two days time. To get away alive Olorin and Tolarr played along. On their way back te two made a point of stopping for ale in another house to check for any pursuit but they still were back at the inn mid-afternoon.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Wallach Proverbs

Kiss the hand you cannot bite.

When you see a village with eight houses and nine inns, flee from it.

Seize opportunity by the beard for it is bald behind.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Vampyr Lore

Almost nothing is known for certain about these beings. What little is not utterly incredible is mostly folklore. But since the common folk are those that suffer most as a result of 'the curse', perhaps their lore is most likely to contain truth.

All consider them to be 'undead' – neither truly alive nor yet properly dead. Many names are used for their kind – Vampyr, Upiar, Upiarzta, Lyderc Nadali. (the last of these indicates the common belief that these beings are demonic). Several animal or half-animal forms are associated with these beings – Bats, Wolves, etc – but they also appear as humans to their victims (at least to start with!). Some hold that they are pained by strong light – a sure indication of their evil origins. Some say that they need to lair in contact with their native earth or that they cannot approach certain plants. The most heartening thing 'known' is that they seem (unlike lycanthropes) to be mostly solitary beings with only a handful of non-vampyr retainers.

Of the weapons and methods used against them only the vampyr hunters have any real knowledge. Only a handful of the boldest adventurers seek to combat the vampyr. Most end their lives trying. A few become legends!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Khazad Traits

Khazad are secretive about almost everything. They rarely, if ever, teach their language or craft skills to outsiders. They are clannish and do not usually mix with other kinds. Most if not all are deeply attached to their culture and traditions. Even their outer-given names follow age old patterns. Those who depart from custom or spend too long inhabiting the domain of other kinds are regarded with deep suspicion by most other Khazad.

The picture, painted in YT295 as a mural in a Khazad chapel. Shows a Khazad noble of the line of Azaghal, poss. Olorin

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Time-line of Historical Events

1440 Birth of Khuz of Asztärgow
1441 Great Fire of Asztärgow
1498 (YT1) Crowning of the first Tzar
7 Death of St Khuz
8 Council of Tävyl
21-25 First Suppression of Cults
40 Founding of Khorzow
40 Declaration of Boläslowicz
64-65 The Kolloth War
90 First Pestilence
110 Iron Omen
112 The Usurpation and Royal Massacre
112-154 Reign of Iron Fuzoy
155-163 The Kin-strife
191-193 Revolt
193-198 Interregnum Period
198 Concordat of Toszbow
200-205 Second Suppression of Cults
205-207 Great Pestilence


Born YT1 far to the north of the Tzardom of St Khuz, the sixth child of Landril and Amethwë, Amethäriel spent her childhood like most of her kind – wandering the great forests and learning. She showed early aptitude with the mental disciplines. Landril was a manufacturer and merchant of various plant oils and unguents some with innate medicinal properties but Amethäriel did not find this as interesting as the contemplation of the night sky. She was generally to be found in the company of a group including Leradhir and Caragruin. They frequently disappeared on adventures for several days at a time. It was at this time that Amethäriel learned what little weapon skill that she knows and possibly some other adventuring skills.

While on one such adventure the group encountered a sage who knew many strange tales about the lights in the heavens. After talking for several days with this person, Amethäriel started to express a desire to enter the Celestial College. Here she studied hard and mastered the common learning of the college to a level beyond that expected of a novice.

A Cemetery near Dunofya

A cemetery near Dunofya near to the site of the battlefield (YT66). The style of grave-post dates back to this era but is still used in place of stone monuments in poorer communities.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Strange Incident of the Abbots Cat

Golgow 6th Byad, YT330

Immediately the monks removed his manacles and set him free Voweslaw left the abbey precincts and wandered through Golgow. It had been long five weeks of trying to distract himself with language studies and with devising a new trap. The possibility of sudden death made this harder but now that he was officially declared free of 'the curse' he was determined to breathe the free, and pungent, town air. Until a black cat stepped out in front of him, stopped and turned towards him. Voweslaw's palms began to sweat and his mouth became suddenly as dry as one of the Abbot's sermons. The street began to heave like the deck of the ship Velos on that short-but-memorable sea voyage. Next thing he knew he has racing back to the safety of the cloister.

Because of his wild-eyed look, brother Urbanetcs re-fastened a restraint on one wrist before reviving him and giving him some red wine. Unwittingly, this made matters much worse. For after he had gone, the abbots cat strolled in from the kitchens where she had recently been fed. She now proceeded to investigate the strange man-creature. He seemed to make noise and pull back but this just made him more appealing. To Voweslaw the approach of another cat made the tremors, sweating and nausea return with a vengeance and he fainted to the floor. When he came round briefly to find the cat purring on his chest he screamed and went rigid with fear. The monks duly arrived and the cat ran off but Voweslaw now had a lock of pure white hair and the suspicion that this newly acquired fear of cats probably wouldn't be cured easily.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Art and the Common People

This painting was recently discovered in a manor near Nagyolazi. It shows an elderly pa-mosz couple, possibly a village elder and his wife, in normal attire standing in front of a village dwelling. The unknown artist has managed to capture the very heart and soul of life in the mugyrr. This is certainly not typical folk-art

Shop Signs I

Shops and businesses in large towns and cities use painted boards to show the trade which they practice. This example is an indigo dying business. The use or written script on the sign is not typical. The use of draft horses to power machinery as shown on the sign is not uncommon.

The lay of Dagor Nimaglor

An Account of Dagor Nimaglor, YT325 as recounted to Gorran Petrowec

As it has been written, an account of a battle is like an account of a dance. The dancer only has eyes and ears for his partner and hears only snatches of the words between others. This account came to Gorran from another singer at the Painted Courtesan and it centres on the acts of the paladin Caragruin and the foul liche Hring. Much is lost in translation from the Tylar original.

Eol and Tylar stood together
Facing evil Hring's demesne,
A dark gate in a high hill set.
The daylight then did fail and gates swung wide.
From the dark maw Hring came out,
Proceeded by a host on wakeful dead.
Knights, cavalry, archers, spears and billmen were,
In steady ranks arrayed.
Forth went the Eol knight,
Swift on their shining steeds and fell,
Crushing bones and trampling foes.
Heartening heroes and hardy Bors

Then foul Hring sent down
Clouds of noxious vapours,
That did cause to fall,
In fateful sleep one half of Caragruin's host.
And as the darkness grew upon
The field. The wakeful dead did slaughter all
Of those that helpless lay
Upon the mugyrr land.
Only mist sturdy Tylar men
Fighting on in darkness
Stayed the undead blows and
Saved Eol and Tylar both.

Forth rode the Eol knights
Splendid in war array,
Brothers three, of many
Hundred autumns kin.Towards the evil liche.
Then flames of hellish fire from it
Did issue and consume the spring of Eol pride.
And with a greater darkness fell upon that field
The hopes of many warriors then.
Only a miracle of providence divine
Could save them all from
Ruin and defeat
Before the dawn.

Then Caragruin with his
Eol sword strode
Forward on towards his foe
Disdaining blasts and frightful countenance.
Praying to the Sovereign might
Who sent down light in midst on Midnight hour
Shattering the grim host
Save for it's baleful master
Then Caragruin's blade did bite
Deep into spell wrought, animated flesh
And forced the evil one
Back into his lair

The chosen few of all
The victors then did choose
To follow into darkness and
Beneath the hill did seen to put to final end
The scourge of Prydain past.
Khazad and Eol, Mage and Paladin.
Those of strong will and noble
Spirit did then go
Into the dark and airless ways
But in the dreadful depths
Hring did escape and left
His treasure for the heroes weal.

Numismatic Questions in the Realm of St Khuz

What coins are in use?

denar (a copper piece - cp)
poltura (a double copper piece -dcp)
crajczar (a silver piece - sp)
half-thaler (a small gold piece -sgp)
thaler (a gold piece -gp)

What are they worth?

8 denar = 1crajczar
4 poltura = 1crajczar
12 crajczar = 1 thaler

How much does a coin weigh?

5 silver crajczar coins or copper denar coins weigh 1oz.
10 gold thalers weigh 1oz
(other coins of the same metal have the same weight per value)

Thursday, February 09, 2006

In the Barrow-mound

Nr Tarnow Gora Byol, YT330

"We moved on into the hinterland but soon became hindered by increasingly heavy snowfall. Progress became more and more difficult and we began to speculate that the weather might not be entirely natural. After a second night in the open we decided that conditions had become too challenging and that the only recourse was to turn back. Struggling to turn the carts we headed eastward, Hamec ranging ahead as pathfinder, to seek temporary shelter in more civilised country. Soon the snow lay treacherously deep and showed no sign on abating. Eventually the conditions overcame Tolarr’s driving ability and we heard a loud crack and some Khazad cursing - Olorin’s cart was broken but not beyond remedy. I inspected the damage and soon identified the problem. Despite the appalling working conditions I was, with a few tricks of the artificer’s trade, able to effect a swift and sturdy repair. Yard work would have been required and no little expense had I not been on hand.

Continuing through the snow, now all but a foot in depth, we came to a stop as a large ‘talking’ rat halted in our path. Voltarrr claimed that he could converse with the Taltos creature (though talking to vermin seems a rather mean pastime) and we were able to gain valuable intelligence directing us toward a ‘big hole’, that would shelter all of us and our carts. Repaying the rat with provender for him and his family we set off.

The rat’s 'hole' turned out to be an ancient barrow and was indeed large enough for us all. Thankful to be out of the weather we swiftly established a camp. Leradhir led a group with horses to cut down a suitable tree for fire wood while the rest of us organised fire, conducted a cursory search of the barrow and established a guard duty - one to watch the wagons, horses and fire, another to watch the entrance and the outside and a third with a roving brief. We arranged three watches: Nicolai, Tolarr and myself; Gorran, Hamec and Leradhir; and Amatharial, Olorin and Voltarrr.

By nightfall the snow was nearly four feet deep and we became concerned that it would block the entrance to the barrow, though Hamec and Gorran thought this unlikely due to the prevailing wind. At least our search of the barrow eventually bore some fruit. A central bier indicated that it had once been a burial mound, but was now more frequently used as a shelter for sheep. We then found a crude square stone in the floor, like to those covering passageways or holes. Lifting the stone we discovered that it hid the residence of a strange gangrel creature (it had a gnarled and dirty head and a small hairy beard - the rest of its body was also hairy) possessed of some rudimentary intelligence. Hamec suggested that it must be related to the Dwarves as it and they both ‘lived in holes’. Strangely they ignored the implied insult and acknowledged some distant affinity with the earth dweller, naming in ‘Nogyth Nybbin’ - a creature oft persecuted as a nuisance and pest near established Khazad burrows and gnome mines. It seemed friendly enough. We fed it Dwarven waybread and learned that its name was ‘Boggin’. After much private discussion Olorin declared the creature converted to the worship of Aulë though I had not taken him for a proselytiser.

We traded the Nogyth Nybbin food for tales of the barrow (for the long lived creature had seemingly resided here for very many years) and later for artefacts it had recovered from it. We learned that the barrow had been built by ‘old ones’ who had all died before his arrival, though he remembered it having been in use. The bodies placed in the mound were tall humans and had predated the establishment of Tylaria. We recovered two artefacts - a fine copper torque with a strange symbol engraved upon it ( I draw it here for future reference) and a gemstone of polished graphite with a garnet inside. Olorin, an expert in such things, assayed the stone as ‘very artistic’ but was vague as to its actual value. Nicolai inspected the torque but soon discarded it as though bitten by a snake. He claimed the thing was of such malign and profane influence that he was both sullied and violated by its very touch - and that he would be unable to seek the healing intercession of God until he had sought proper ritual purification. I thought this an over-reaction but I lack his theological sensitivity and agreed that the piece should be shoved back into Boggin’s lair.

After several days the weather showed only slight improvement and it became clear that we would be stuck here for some time while the snow thawed. A path was cleared to the nearby trees and a second tree cut for firewood. Smoke was sighted and Gorran, Hamec and Nicolai went to investigate. They located a farmstead (the farmer being a blond man for whom Tylarian was not his native tongue) and bought some goats and beer. On their way back they spotted cattle drovers in the distance. For a while we were concerned that they would seek shelter in our barrow but they never came.

We had continued in this vein for some days when the attack came. It was close to midnight, with Hamec holding the door watch when a rat-beast in humanoid shape leapt upon him. In the ensuing melee Gorran punched both the beast and Hamec (accidentally I think) both to little effect. Upon realising that the beast was were Hamec withdrew and those of us with silvered weapons (Tolarr and me) finished it off with bolt and sabre.

Though this melee was short and no gross damage was done us it soon became clear that Hamec had been bitten and risked infection with the were contagion. With Nicolai in a religious funk the nearest, and only, aid was back in Tarnau Gora. A return to the town now seemed to be our only option - if Hamec was to be saved."

From the Journal of Voweslaw

Outfitting the Expedition

nr Sandamyr, 11th Kabe, YT330

“By the time Olorin and Amethalriel had agreed upon their itinerary it was the 11th of Khabë. The delay was spent pleasantly at the Painted Courtesan and it was with some reluctance that we eventually headed out into the winter chill. The chosen route was westward toward the Eol homelands and the Dungeon of Hring. Initially we headed for Sandamir, and finding that town too small to supply all our needs, on to Tarnau Gora, where we stayed at the Boar’s Head, for further victualling and supplying. The latter town, being so named for its tower, has a substantial population of Szekely. Though I am an indifferent merchant, with my scant expertise limited to the tools of my own profession, it was left to the Lady Amethalriel and I to procure our supplies - the other party members being largely incompetent to fulfil the task or preferring to scoff at our efforts from the comfort of the bar room. Use leaves they said! They’ll be laughing out of the other side of their faces when I’ve got my vinegar and sponge and they are looking for butt wiping foliage in the middle of winter !!!!!

Shortly after the completion of our supplying we departed Tarnau Gora for the wilderness. On our very first night in the wild we suffered a salutary lesson in camp maintenance for some form of hungry animal managed to spoil some of our provisions (perhaps the Khazad will eat it anyway). We must do better if we are to survive the journey.”
From the Journal of Voweslaw

At the Sign of the Painted Courtesan

St Khuz 17th Byol, YT330

"The adventure began when Goran Petrovich invited us to accompany him south to a bardic engagement at the Painted Courtesan. I cannot speak for the others but I was in need of a break having spent the last several months in intensive study in anticipation of my elevation to the company of Royal Artificers (or at least the first rung on that ladder). The Courtesan is an inn of good repute near Thōthāur some ten or so easy travelling days south of the capital. Though the late winter weather was inclement we were able to tag along with a trade caravan, lending our swords in return for their camp fires and company.

We left the capital on the 17th of Byol (330) and arrived at the Courtesan on the 27th, having passed through Sandamyr the day before. The village was filling up fast, with diverse peoples (we even saw some Kolloth with one of their peculiar religious leaders) in anticipation of the bardic festival and we were lucky to procure rooms. Goran was one of several performers playing the festival and certainly not the least of them.

While relaxing in the bar Goran told us that his guild had commissioned the compilation of the works of the famous bard Olvyr Hnuffa who disappeared, believed dead, some years previously. Another of the festival singers chanted a lay composed in memory of the hero Caragruin who, with the aid of the Eöl of Barandanabar, had led an assault upon, and into, the Dungeons of Hring. Upon questioning he told us that his uncle had been at the battle (Dagor Nimaglor, YT325) and had even accompanied Caragruin below ground. Goran wanted us to travel westward to investigate the lay further but I was uncertain for my funds would not support a lengthy trip (at least not in a manner befitting a gentleman).

Shortly thereafter we made the acquaintance of the Khazad Olorin, of the line Azaghal. At first we thought him drawn to his compatriot, our beer drinking companion, but it became clear that he was awaiting the arrival of two Eöl ! For when they arrived, female and male, he soon made excuse to join them at the bar and, in short order, arrange a private meeting. During the course of the evening Goran became part of their council learning that the odd threesome were to travel into the west. He hoped for us to accompany them (the elven lands lying close to the Dungeon of Hring) perhaps hiring on as guards to take the strain off our purses. I was able to further negotiate the promise of an introduction to the famed elven artificers from the Lady Amethalriel. To learn from these sages would indeed make such a journey worthwhile. To speed our journey the Lady agreed to provide mounts for us and we prepared to move out at the end of the festival."

From the Journal of Voweslaw

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Consequences of being bitten by Upiar

If indeed one survives an encounter with an Upiar, what might the long term effects be? Clearly the mind will be altered. Only the strong minded will avoid troubled dreams and daytime terror. Heightened reactions to various sights, sounds, smells will always stay with them. Hypnotic gaze or charm may be lessened or made more effective. Ailurophobia might be found in most or in others a strange and morbid fascination with all felines. They too may be drawn to such a person as if charmed and he or she may develop skills in the handling of such animals whether they will it or not.

Welcome to the Realm of St Khuz

This will not follow any simple chronology or taxonomy but will wander into events and topics in any order that I the teller of tales choose. Feel free to add another viewpoint on these tales in whatever speech your kind allows, but be wary for other eyes are watching