|SERPENT Isle Books|
|This is the complete library of books and scrolls found in the game Ultima VII, part 2: Serpent Isle. Several of them are identical to books in Ultima VII; the developers just copied them directly and changed minor things like the author. In fact, in Briggio's Book of Astonishing Things (which is the same as a book by Alagner in Ultima VII) they even forgot to remove the reference to Alagner's notebook!|
|PHIL'S GUIDE TO UNFINISHED USECODE
An enlightening discourse on the enigma of usecode. Beginning with the heretofore unresolved mysteries of global variables...
THE BOOK OF THE FELLOWSHIP
by Batlin of Britain
Good morning to thee, gentle friend and traveller! No matter what time of day it might be when thou art reading this -- no matter what the hour of the clock -- I say good morning to thee because this very moment brings to thee the coming of the dawn. The dawn, as everyone knows, is the moment when illumination comes. The dawn marks the end of the long dark night. It is the moment that marks a new beginning. It is mine humble hope that these words may be for thee a dawning, or at least, a sort of awakening...
The biography of Britannia's longtime ruler
...While many may remember that Lord British was once but one of eight monarchs (when the lands were known as Sosaria), few are aware that he is not even a native of our own lovely Britannia. His origin is from another world, one from which he entered ours by way of a red moongate. (In fact, it is through this same type of gate that the Avatar of legend purportedly enters Britannia.) As ruler of one of the eight kingdoms, he was instrumental in selecting a champion to face Mondain, Minax, and Exodus.
When the terrible machine, Exodus, was defeated, 'twas Lord British behind whom all the people of Sosaria rallied. The unified land become known as Britannia, with Lord British as the sole monarch. Never let it be said, though, that he rules with a tyrannical hand. His reign hath always been one of Truth, Love, and Courage, supported by his utmost belief in the eight virtues. It was Lord British who had the insight to call forth a quest for the Avatar (who also happened to be the champion from the days of Sosaria), and who gave prosperity and happiness unto the people.
Then came his mysterious disappearance, when the Stranger who became the Avatar was called by his companions to aid in the search for the lost monarch. Note how Lord Blackthorn, affected by the Shadowlords, quickly turned Britannia's fair lands into a place of terror. But find our noble Lord the Avatar did, and Britannia was restored to its former, peaceful state.
Then came the gargoyles, and our honorable sovereign thoughtfully requested the return of the Avatar...
THE APOTHECARY'S DESK REFERENCE
It is the author's expectation that thou art reading this to familiarize thyself with the effects of various potions based on their color. The first part of this work will discuss such aspects, with the remaining pages covering the materials and steps required to make such alchemical creations.
Black potion: Drinking this will render the individual invisible for several minutes.
Blue potion: This mixture will put the imbiber into a deep sleep.
Orange potion: This potion will awaken an individual who was magically put to sleep.
Purple potion: This concoction will provide magical protection for several minutes of hard fighting.
White potion: This potion will provide a small bit of illumination, much like a candle, for a few minutes.
Yellow potion: This powerful mixture will give healing aid to the imbiber's wounds.
WARNING: Green potion: This potion is a dangerous toxin, and will poison the imbiber, possibly killing the individual.
Red potion: This fabulous drink will cure most poisons, including those acquired from the slugs in the swamps and that gained from drinking a GREEN potion.
Bluish Black potion: For thine adventures in the Icy Lands, that renowned concoction is critical in such climate. It is for thee to use in plenty for it will prevent thee from freezing to death.
Orange Shimmering potion: Specifically designed for the busy wizard whose lifestyle requires him or her to cast many a spell. Once this delectable potion is absorbed it will enable thee to cast many more spells.
This next section details how one can best recreate these uncanny concoctions...
THE PROVISIONER'S GUIDE TO USEFUL EQUIPMENT
While most suppliers will rave about the effectiveness of a good sword or specially fitted armour, I personally feel that proper exploring gear is much more necessary. Consider this, dear reader. While thou mightest happen to encounter a wild bear in thy travels, or, even less likely, a troll, thou art doubtless going to be in need of much more mundane equipment. Wilt thou possibly be outside city walls when darkness comes? Then buy a torch. And how wilt thou carry thy provisions? A backpack will prove necessary. And what about a container for thy refreshment? Purchase a jug or bucket. As for...
WHAT COLOR IS THY BLADE?
The first step in effective sword-forging is to fill a crucible with metal. Then, with the bellows, the fire should be made extremely hot. When the flame no longer continues to grow in its glow, set the crucible on the fire to melt the metal. Afterwards, pour the molten metal into the blade mold and let it cool. Be warned! The crucible is at an extremely high temperature. Lift the cooled blade from the mold. Again heat up the fire and set the blade within. Be careful not to let it lose its shape. Set it in there only long enough for the blade to become malleable.
When it is ready, finish shaping it on the anvil with the hammer. When thou hast formed a blade of the desired shape, use the quenching barrel to cool the metal. It will harden quickly, so be sure the blade is as sharp as thou dost want it to be. All that thou hast left to do now is to put the pommel over the tang. It will require hard work to make a fine, sturdy sword, but the finished weapon is well worth it!
JOURNAL OF THE KING OF THE WHITE DRAGON
On the Twelfth Day before the Solstice Festival: Shamino, traitor, I will destroy thee as thou didst destroy my beloved daughter, Beatrix. Shamino, cursed be thy name, I befriended thee and thou didst betray me. I asked my people to help thee erect thy castle and betrayal is thine only response to them. Traitor!
On the Eleventh Day before the Solstice Festival: Despair hath been the daily lot of my poor Beatrix. Now, I myself have my share of worries. I am surrounded by traitors and goblins are closing in on the castle. Shamino, doomed be thy name, I, King of the White Dragon, want to hang, draw and quarter thee. My poor Beatrix was so joyful when thou didst request her hand from me. I agreed happily to such a union. My beloved daughter left me in order to live in thy new castle. By that time thou hadst already been touched by the obsession to foil Mondain from his conquest of the world. Thou didst leave on thy journey to seek the advice of Lord British, from hence never to return. The long-awaited wedding was never to be. My lovely child, my Beatrix, remained unwed waiting for her love to return. She loved thee and had faith in thee, Shamino, cursed be thine offspring.
On the Tenth Day before the Solstice Festival: Those goblins, I see those malformed goblins coming for us. They are destroying our wealth and our lives as Shamino, cursed be his name and his lineage, destroyed my Beatrix's health and life. She died forlorn. Thy treacherous heart led Beatrix to a lonely grave.
On the Ninth Day before the Solstice Festival: The Kingdom is plagued by hordes of goblins that grow more fierce and daring with each passing season. I am surrounded by traitors and should not trust anyone. What to do? Beatrix, thine adorable light no longer shines upon me. How solitary thou must be in thy cold bed. This year I will hold the grandest Solstice Festival ever. Thou wilt love it. 'Tis especially dedicated to thee, my right well beloved.
On the Eighth Day before the Solstice Festival: Those magic-warped goblins are everywhere and they are persistent. They must be led by that villainous Shamino. A man who doth not keep his word is less than a man. How couldst thou trust him, Beatrix.
On the Seventh Day before the Solstice Festival: Shamino the deceitful and his allies are waiting in the dark passages of this castle to ambush me. I know it. I saw them in my dream last night. They will not succeed. They cannot succeed for I have a plan to save my people from traitors and ravaging goblins. Beatrix, I will let thee know about this idea of mine, thou wilt be delighted...
On the Sixth Day before the Solstice Festival: My dearest beloved one, how thou must long for company in thy misery. This bacchanal will bring thee all of thy friends and our people. That villainous Shamino will have the fate he doth deserve.
On the Third Day before the Solstice Festival: I am looking forward to seeing thy Solstice Festival, yes, this season is thy Festival. I planned it for thee. And, indeed, for all of us. Traitors and deceivers alike are in for a surprise. All of my subjects and myself -- we will not leave anything for the goblins to take.
Two days hence....
On the Eve of the Solstice Festival: All is prepared for my greatest bacchanal ever.
On the morning of the Solstice Festival: Beatrix, soon we will be reunited and part never again. This Solstice Festival will be recorded in the annals of the Kingdom of The White Dragon. It is to be the greatest feast ever! Let us all rejoice in one night of revelry! After the midnight revels and before the end of the night, a new dawn will rise...
I was hired by Batlin the first time we met, in Fawn. A recently shipwrecked pirate, I had escaped from the Storms as well as jail. Since then I have been in his service with no interruption nor reason to complain.
Week 1: Our first meeting was a strange one. I remember gazing around from the shores of the bay, climbing on top of a hill and seeing no signs of life. No signs of life for miles and miles around except in a spot in the middle of the bay where I perceived a shimmering city: Fawn. On my way downhill I ran into a group of men in which I recognized an old pirate friend of mine, Pilot. They were looking for manpower and I was available. Pilot introduced me to Batlin and I was in. We marched into Fawn where Batlin had some business to conduct.
Weeks later: How we got to this place, I am not certain, for I was blindfolded while we were in the doing of it. All I can say is that my master knows powerful magics, which allow us to step aside from the barriers of this physical world. Thus, I find myself in the frozen north, in the abandoned sanctuary of a long dead people. Here, we have slain a Beast of Ice, and captured a Daemon's Soul. Soon after the Daemon was imprisoned, I beheld with anxious eyes a dreadful vortex. Believe me, I have seen many a storm on various seas and continents, but never ever such a fury. It is as if Nature herself is in contortion.
On the third day of the following week: At the first streak of dawn, we travelled overland across the snowy wastes to the great mountains which my master calls the Peaks of Skullcrusher. In the depths beneath the mountains, we sought another of these Daemons. This proved to be a difficult task. We had to keep a strict watch to discover him in his hiding place. Finally, we trapped the second prisoner, whose name is Anarchy. We searched all over the Skullcrusher mountains for this bane.
On the last day of the week: Then, we travelled by magical means until we found ourselves in the tangled forest of the northlands. The last Daemon had eluded us in the Plains of Ice, but in his new form he was not so swift. Now his trail hath led us to this ruined castle. I will finish this entry later tonight.
To the only begetter of these sonnets
To the well-wishing adventurer in setting forth...
Shamino, valiant adventurer, Homo malicious
Adored from mine earliest hour,
Magnanimously, thy presence on all dost shower
Infinite love! By life thou dost devour,
Non-fading and delicious, Our charming love, sweetest power.
My heart is a chest Of bitterness
Since we are apart
A harness of teardrops
I fear lest I should fall from some height
On my shoulder
In mine heart
Shamino Dost thou not Know How to care?
Since the War of Mondain
One memory I keep
When beyond these Realms
Thinking of us I weep
Is there one more
Chance to meet under the elms?
Never this warrior's destiny
allowed His love to gain
Though restless, roving on adventure proud
He traversed oft the land
And oft the main
But love is like grain
It needs a tender hand
To grow, flourish and mature
The Wrath of Mondain
Destroyed our bond
Thy past thou shalt nurture
For greater future
In the worlds beyond
Sunset Over the Main Gate
Going thy way I stare at thee
Breathing in thy scent
I start the ascend
Hastily Blasting thee with a spectral
spell I shimmer Away.
Beneath the yew
Thoughts of thee
Keep me warm and jolly
Raindrops like dew
On a lily's petal
Gently brushing my skin
Cleansing for the soul
What a delight
Never too soon
Watching my reflection
In the river
As doth the Harvest Moon
Night after night
In this season.
Shamino, shadows of thee appear
Before mine eyes all the year
I see the main road clear
Winding down to thy Castle
Where the winds whistle
There, at night I delight
At the magic sight
Of spectral spells like thunder
On thy neck, warrior
Thou shalt not Abandon me.
I grew up in a tiny village on the southern coast. Life hath been good so far and I know it will be longer than this book.
- One locket stolen from Frigidazzi, who refused to accept the passion I would have spent on her.
- The Living Scalp stolen from Filbercio, who sentenced me to die.
- The Spectral Orb stolen from Mortegro. I hate him, for he uncovered my dangerous research and betrayed me to the Council of Mages.
- The Flux Analyzer stolen from Gustacio. Gustacio the influential, Gustacio the dignified, Gustacio the magisterial, I despise thee! I despise thee for thou representest everything I could never be.
- The Wand of Stone, taken from Torrissio. I blast mine hatred of Torrissio to the seven winds, for he was my partner in twisting the rules of the Mages, yet he abandoned me to their justice.
I was born and raised in the city of Moonshade, a foe of Vasculio. Then I was taken to this place, where I am a prisoner of He Who Was Dead -- Vasculio. Vasculio survives beyond death! He doth drink blood out of the living to keep himself alive. Hence his great thirst for fresh blood. His corpse is animated by means of spells and the Forbidden Reagent. I am his prisoner, fettered worse than a wild beast; manacled by mine hands and feet by day and by night. My blood is so vital to him that he is afraid I could break away. How could I in this cage. At times, I feel like survival is a meaningless word. I am exhausted. He hath been awakening me at all hours of the already too short night, thereby robbing me of mine all too brief night's slumber.
This week I managed to write more. I feel better than last month but still weak. All through these interminable weeks in this cage, I have suffered from chronic weariness. I do not believe escape is possible. I have seen Death face to face and she hath seen me. I am more than ever determined to continue to struggle for survival, for this is the primary instinct of the animal.
The following week: I am losing track of time. I can track seven day periods but do not seem to recall any other relevant information; seasons and days are not part of my realm. Like life, they escape me. Am I less than an animal? This deranged mage, frantically seeking the lost secrets of Ophidian magic, certainly treats me as such. Actually, I do not feel anything anymore. I may live like an animal, but in my mind I am a man. I still think and write, therefore I exist. If this journal survives me and thou art reading it, regardless of the time elapsed, then I am alive. I am alive because my thoughts are alive.
Today, fifth day of this present week, I am going to tell thee more about the twisted Vasculio. He boasts that his magical powers are too great to be defeated by mere mortals. I have to tell thee that he was executed in Moonshade for practicing spells too diabolical for Man. His powerful magic allowed him to continue living as a liche. Also, I shall share this with thee, so that thou mayest make good use of it: Remember that no information hath value until thou dost test it. My words, hereunder, will guide thine understanding. Vasculio hath been experimenting with eternal life theories. Once, he stumbled upon a magic formula which, when used with the blood of an innocent, allowed a dead body to live longer. Moments before his execution he intoned the spell to keep his body living. Later he escaped from his coffin and travelled to Skullcrusher. Why Skullcrusher, thou askest? The answer is simply because he knew there was a second source for Stoneheart. Stoneheart is the prime ingredient of Bloodspawn, here in these caverns.
There is also another important reason. Vasculio knew that his enemies, the Mages of Moonshade, would never follow him here. Seventh day of the present week: This undying sorcerer doth spend his time researching new spells. He is convinced that great magical secrets lie beyond the sealed entrances. He detects great power and magic in these areas. Vasculio hath not been able to locate the Grand Shrine within the great labyrinth beneath the Skullcrusher Peaks. I could tell thee that he stores provisions to support his allies, the man-eating Gwani. But this is not out of charity for them, for he also lives on with their blood. At this point I must stop writing for I can hear Vasculio howling in the tunnels. This is a sign that he is coming for me once more...
As they lower me down to this
hole in the ground
I scream for help, but they
cannot hear a sound.
I scratch on this lid.
My fingers they bleed.
They plant me deep like
an evil seed.
Now my bones decompose.
My flesh doth rot.
But soon I will rise and
torture the lot
Day 1: This is the dawn of a new era for me. I have been experimenting with eternal life for so long now. At last, I am seeing some results.
Day 2: Entranced more Gwani in order to increase the number of my servants
Day 3: Forced the Gwani to give to me the secret of entering certain passages. Experiments still in progress. A pint or two should keep me alive, depending on the frequency of transfusion.
Day 8: The lost secret of the Ophidians is within my reach, I can feel it. Ophidian magic will give to me absolute power.
Day 12: Last week I stumbled upon this magic formula which further lengthens the life span of a dead body. What a discovery! I need to use the mixture in an adequate proportion with the blood of an innocent.
Day 17: The caverns around Skullcrusher are filled with Stoneheart. More than I ever knew! I need as much Stoneheart as I may find since this is the prime ingredient of Bloodspawn. Stoneheart doth possess the red-orange glow of stalagmites. Once pulverized and mixed with fresh human blood it turns into a powerful magical reagent. Even though I have tried extremely powerful spells, Bloodspawn is easy and safe to transport. The mages who say otherwise are fools.
Day 21: This day I have spent researching many new spells. Exhausting. The prisoners in the cage may not live long enough to fulfill my plans. They seem to be weak.
Day 28: I am convinced that great magical secrets lie beyond the sealed entrances, for I sense great power and magic in the vicinity.
Day 34: Today is a sad day. My servants have failed me! While transporting Bloodspawn, they suffered simultaneous seizures and toppled into a chasm -- the Bloodspawn was lost! This is endangering my schedule. I need more workers. They must work longer hours. Toil is a necessity; sleep, an addiction from which they must be weaned.
BEYOND THE SEALED ENTRANCES
After all these years, I found two sealed entrances in the depths. I believe there is much to be discovered beyond these entrances, for they must have been sealed for a reason which doth go beyond mine understanding at this point in time. I have detected great power and magic in those areas. I presume that superior magical secrets lie beyond the sealed entrances.
The Magic Gate hath not been easy to use. We had to search for the answer and it was only after much trial and error that we were able to determine that the key is a sequence of five colors. Red directly precedes White: Blue follows Yellow: Yellow directly follows Red: Yellow and White do not immediately follow one another.
As heretofore, the access to the doors of the Temple is blocked by a lock. The combination to this lock caused much commotion. Herein is mine experience revealed to thee as it unfolded. Mark my words, for they will save thee much time. I write the letters in our alphabet, but substitute the Serpent Runic letters to make thine understanding plain. I cannot write those cursed snake shapes. The runes must be placed left to right on the floor before the brass doors; any other placement will result in endless frustration. I tried W.O.B. and C., none of the runes were in the right position. I then tried C.B.W. and O.-- again, none of the runes were in the correct position. I then tried the O rune in the first position, which was not where it belonged, and knew I could discern the puzzle...
by Brother Markus
In the middle of a stormy night, a deafening roar of thunder tore apart the heavens and woke us. It was to be followed by five rapid and resounding knocks on the main door. I rose out of bed, donned my sandals and walked to the double doors. A desperate hand was pounding on the wooden frame. Most likely some belated traveller had been caught in the storm, I thought.
As I half-opened the door, a swift streak of lightning pierced dramatically across the clouds, illuminating the darkness. Through the slashing rain appeared the figure of a bedraggled man, bedraggled yet with the certain stamp of nobility in his brow. Yet I did not recognize him. He rushed in, looking for the hearth. Several of my brethren helped him with dry clothes and a hot beverage. He said his name was Blackthorn, and that he had come a long way to seek refuge in our monastery.
He thanked us sincerely and then asked for hospitality, which we granted him. He said that he was an exile from a land called Britannia, and that since his departure he had been roaming the seas in search of a haven. He stayed with us, at the Monastery, for some time. We taught him from the writings of Xenka, whence he learned that birth, ranks, titles, power and gold are meaningless, for this world is but a thoroughfare. We are all brought into this world equal in rights and we depart from it carrying nothing with us but our deeds, good and ill.
Day 1: Alea jacta est! Departure for the daemons' stronghold, with all our worthy company. Finally, we are ready to pursue this campaign. We are going to erase these daemons from the face of the earth. Dungeon Furnace, thy time hath come, thou wilt burn! Our troops are marching into the caves. I am more relaxed after all those days of recruiting men. This is a strong army, as large as daybreak, whereby thou wilt observe the valor concealed in our noble hearts. Monitorian knights have never feared anything or anyone, certainly not daemons! I am confident in a swift victory for our side.
Day 4: 'Tis hot, with a stench like brimstone in the air. The mist doth have an unhealthy odor, and our limited supply of foods hath made us cautious. Wrapped in my bedroll by the fire, I slept soundly. So did most of our men. The battle hath been taking its toll on us all. In the morning, I rose at the sound of the war drums echoing in the distance. They kept coming. In brief, by one means or the other, our company was diminished.
Day 7: The next move was to attack before daemons could form into a solid defense again. Lost two of my right best old stalwarts in a horrible manner. They walked too close to the pool and were taken by that horror in the pool. Knight, pity thy companions for they left for the abysmal depths of the unknown.
Day 11: Tense and anxious times have fallen upon thee, Pendar. Burning as was the day, I broke out in a chill as I witnessed the company being decimated. What a slaughter! Darkness closed in upon us. For the last couple of days, I have not slept, though I am weary and tormented. I confess having scarcely closed mine eyes on any night this past week. The nights are sleepless and the days seem to be endless nights.
Week 5: I saw a star in the caverns, large and bright. It was surely an omen. I rose and walked aimlessly; soon a peaceful feeling was to overcome me. At that moment, my self-confidence was higher than the sun in the sky. The lure of combat swept again through my veins, mine heart was pounding, I was ready to go into a decisive battle.
THE SLEEPING BULL
Rodolfo of Moonshade
Nakholy of Fawn
Ensorcio of Moonshade
Rishar of Monitor
Batlin of Fawn
Palos, manservant of Batlin
Rodolfo of Moonshade
Rishar of Monitor
THE BOOK OF PROPHECIES
When a stranger sojourns with thee in thy land, thou shalt not do him or her wrong. The stranger who sojourns with thee shall be to thee as the native among ye. And thou shalt love him or her as thyself; for I see the advent of a Hero From Another World who would unite the Serpents and save the world. I see the rocks in motion, and trees bursting open -- I see treasures which have lain hidden for centuries coming forth. There I see one which is of three. It is black. It is magic.
Clearly do I see a Hero From Another World, but let it be said that they must not advance as one alone! I pray thee above all things to have this in remembrance. They must be accompanied by The Three. The Hero From Another World will succeed through the use of powerful magic, the aid of specters, and the implements three of the Hierophant.
My words shed light upon darkness. Follow the unfolding of my words and thou wilt see that the friends of the Hero shall be enemies. Visions shall make wiser than enemies, for thus is it always with . The Hero From Another World must triumph even in Dreams. The dead shall aid , but enemies among the living shall abound. A careful choice of ally is necessary to ensure success. The Hero From Another World will even need a thief and a braggart as ally. I see the future as through a veil -- shall be allied with those once enemies, and shall find good men in bad company. I see the color red, and a woman is involved.
Day 8 -- This rotten place ain't for me. It don't seem possible to revel around here.
Day 9 -- Did some work for Batlin. He thinks too much of hisself. I wish he'd fall off a cliff.
Day 12 -- Why did I ever leave Britannia?
Day 20 -- Batlin better pay me in gold or I'll be teachin' him a lesson. Gold is the only way for me to leave this bilgehole and have some fun in Britannia. Already know what I'll be buyin'! Buccaneer's Den is my idea of a good place to be!
Day 3 of Week 9: Today, I had another argument with Erstam, that old crazy mage with a foul temper! I could never stand him, I never will. Who doth he think he is? Erstam and I are so different that we simply cannot work together.
Day 4 of Week 9: My precious Jawbone, I am so glad thou art mine, I use thee often and often again and still have no grounds to complain. What would I do without thee, tell me? Erstam, thou art not the only one who can travel through the Void!
Day 7 of Week 9: Thy magic telescope is merely another trick thou hadst divined when thou didst fear my powers. Useless piece of equipment for a crazy old mage. I am tired of thee. I understand why Drogeni never came back... Thou art looking for immortality and will end alone, Erstam! I, Silverpate, will prove thee wrong. I will discover the solution relevant to our matters.
This is a complete sourcebook for a variety of patterns. Included are patterns for clothing, blankets, quilts, and sheets. The introduction even includes a section on weaving one's own cloth.
...take the bale of wool and spin it on the wheel to make the thread. Once that is done, warp the thread across the loom and begin weaving. Shortly thou wilt have a nice length of cloth from which canst make a variety of useful things. For variation, use different colored threads on the loom to create exciting patterns.
THE BLACK COMPENDIUM
Written by Mondain,
with annotations by the enchantress Minax
and magical formulae by the hellspawn Exodus.
To extend one's life is a complicated procedure, taking years to complete. However, there is an additional side effect: invulnerability. I have broken this work down into chapters based on each individual ritual. It is very important that these steps be performed in the order presented.
First, thou must procure five stones of the dust of crushed rubies. This must be mixed thoroughly with the ooze of a slime, enough to make the rubies into a thick paste. After thou hast created the paste, set it in an ivory jar and place the entire container in a bucket of olive oil for three years.
The next step is to procure 10 newborn babes, none more than six days old. With a knife cut from the bone of a harpy, thou must remove the blood from each newborn. To be kept fresh, the blood must be stored in an onyx flask, though mixing of each baby's blood is quite permissible.
Now thou shalt seek out...
This large tome describes most of the common plants indigenous to Britannia.
...The Greer plant is especially fascinating, for it spends most of its life huddled with its leaves wrapped in a tight ball. However, every so often, the leaves will unfurl, radiating out from the stem...
...The Reaper is unique in that it is both plant and animal. Resembling a large tree, the Reaper is capable of self-animation as well as self-locomotion. Reapers have been known to attack those who cause harm to their home (i.e., the forests), but seldom reveal themselves otherwise...
Betwixt the covers of this book can be found details on the most prevalent animals that inhabit the lands of Britannia.
...Deer are quite prevalent in the forested areas of Britannia. They are shy creatures, generally shunning the presence of man, whom they know hunt them. Atop their head sits a pair of antlers...
...The fox is a small animal, akin to a dog or a wolf. It is an omnivore, and more than willing to make do with a farmer's chicken when it tires of other foods...
BIRDS OF BRITANNIA
by Brother Wayne
Bound here is the comprehensive guide to the avian species, beautifully and colorfully illustrated by many different artists.
...Surprising to many is that the Silver-Winged Pharcelot is not the most prevalent bird in Britannia, though it is arguably the most visible. Far more popular is the Black-Tipped Grackle, but its predilection for dark, cool areas makes it considerably less visible.
An enlightening discourse on the enigma of programming. Beginning with the heretofore unresolved mysteries of global variables...
TEMPLE OF BALANCE
Only he who hath achieved balance within this temple may be free to find greater balance on the path to the Grand Shrine. He who wishes to find fulfillment must use the fire of chaos and the ice of order to restore balance. Only a true serpent of fire and serpent of ice will bring thee to balance.
IMPLEMENTS OF BALANCE
A devout follower will know the true path towards Balance. Thou shouldst know the arts necessary to achieve Balance. To those of you who have forgotten your lessons -- take heed: Fire is the embodiment of the force of Chaos, Ice is the embodiment of the force of Order. The Ice Diamond and the Fire Ruby are necessary to achieve balance within the shrine. Disciple of Balance, know the true way to balance fire is with ice, and the one way to balance ice is with fire. Using thy tools of the candles of fire and the solids of ice thou mayest achieve the way to Balance and to the Shrine.
The Great Hierophant, who feared that the followers of Chaos would attempt to gain access to the Sacred Library, ordered the Adepts of the Conjury to construct a secure means of entering the Library. The Adepts spent many long nights in contemplation, rejecting one idea after another as being too impractical. It was the suggestion of a mere apprentice, Kethiss, that was finally accepted by all of the Adepts. Our Beloved Leader, the Great Hierophant, was soon informed that there could be only one way to gain ingress into the Sacred Library. The Adepts, acting in concert, placed a charm of teleportation upon our Gate. The Great Hierophant was adamant, however, that he alone could have access to the Sacred Library. Thus, the Adepts wove the charm of teleportation so that it would only trigger when the Wand of the Serpent was used on the Gate.
The Great Hierophant, may he live a thousand years, hath successfully entered the Sacred Library by using the Wand of the Serpent and stepping upon the Serpent Gate...
THE SHRINE OF BALANCE
Before proceeding to the main shrine, the devout follower must reacquaint himself or herself with the six shrines of the Temple. These shrines are dedicated to the forces of: Discipline, Tolerance, Ethicality, Enthusiasm, Emotion, and Logic.
One achieves enlightenment through Balance.
Tolerance becomes the chain that unites the whole.
Ethicality is a beacon to guide our actions.
Enthusiasm is a rose that brings beauty to our rising.
Discipline is our weapon against faltering.
Emotion is a heart that is a reservoir of our feelings.
Logic is calculated truths leading us from ignorance.
Tolerance balanced with Ethicality brings us Harmony.
Enthusiasm balanced with Discipline bestows Dedication upon us.
Emotion blended with Logic and Logic balanced with Emotion achieve Rationality.
Only by achieving Harmony, Dedication, and Rationality can one find the path to the Grand Shrine of Balance. Balance is the key to the Shrine.
ARTIFACTS OF COMMUNION
Before the War of Imbalance our priests did fashion three artifacts: the Web of Fate, the Moon's Eye, and a Magic Lens. Each artifact was made for a particular temple. The Web of Fate was placed within the Temple of Tolerance. The Moon's Eye was placed within the Temple of Emotion, and the Magic Lens was placed within the Temple of Enthusiasm. Our holy fathers used the power of these artifacts to commune with the Power of the Void -- to answer questions that the mind of mortals could never fathom.
The War of Imbalance changed everything! The artifacts no longer worked properly; the holy father's questions were left unanswered -- their hoarse voices echoed within the deserted temples. The only power left within the holy artifacts was the ability to divine the location of the Banes of Chaos. Each artifact could spy upon a different Bane.
GUIDELINES OF LIFE
1: Tolerance becomes the chain that unites the solidarity into the whole.
2: Ethicality is a beacon to guide our actions.
3: Enthusiasm brings beauty to our rising.
4: Discipline is a weapon against faltering.
5: Emotion is a heart beating strong and proud.
6: Logic is a straight guide upon which we can rely...
PENGUINS OF THE NORTH
Observations by Ssashartha
Talking about all living creatures on our beloved Serpent Isle, we cannot forget to mention the family of the penguins. Those clumsy-looking beings are called birds even though they cannot fly. They live in the northern part of this island. Penguins are very good divers. The short wings of their strong bodies are used as a rudder. Out of the water they walk upright just as Men and the tail is an important tool to keep balance. Depending on the species, they can grow taller than 3 feet. No matter what the species, all penguins live in a sociable manner and breed in seemingly peaceful colonies. The female penguins take much pride in building the nests. Because of their size, penguin nests can easily contain more than mere eggs...
TENETS OF DISCIPLINE
Precepts by Shushuro
1: "One cannot master the world around him without first mastering oneself."
2: "A task left unfinished is a task failed."
3. "The means to succeed is brought about by discipline."
4. "Discipline brings about obedience. Obedience brings about order."
5. "The mind disciplines the body."
TEMPLES OF ORDER
Pilgrims, it is a great journey to visit the three Temples of Order. Do not let the obstacles sway thee from thy destination, for though the path is difficult, the rewards are many. Seek the Fountains, for their Water is the essence of the Force which resides at that sanctuary. Imbibe the Waters, and drink of the fruit of thy quest.
The Temple of Ethicality is found near the coast, south of the Spinebreaker Mountains. It was built in such a way that those who come here may gain inspiration from the view. This is the first Temple on the Pilgrimage of Order.
Continue next to the Temple of Discipline. The western branch of the Spinebreaker Mountains is where the Temple of Discipline was carved out. Seek the great bay, then follow the eastern coast until thou dost reach the mountains. Continue east, and thou shalt be sure to find the entrance.
Lastly, the Temple of Logic lies within the Glacier Mountains, with the entrance being in the southern tip of the mountain chain. There are many passageways until one finds the Tests of Logic which lead to the sanctum.
Above all, do not mistake any Temple of Chaos for one of the sanctuaries of Order, for in this path lies Madness. Only Order is fit for study; chaos defiles all it touches.
THE IMPORTANCE OF MEDITATION
Manual by Zazanush
The importance of meditation becomes noticeable when people of all ages admit that they are living a better, more peaceful life since they started to seek communion with the Serpent of Order. To apply the power of meditation to one's life, young student, obey the rules and follow them as they are written in this manual. I have gathered some guidelines that are easy to understand, so that thou mayest begin with these relaxing exercises without having to investigate any further.
1: Find thyself a place where thou wilt not be disturbed by anyone or anything.
2: Carefully spread the Mat of Meditation on the floor. Use only the prepared mats, for they are imbued with special powers to aid meditation.
3: Kneel and close thine eyes.
4: Concentrate on breathing very slowly and deeply.
5: Begin repeating the mantra "Issit."
6: Do not speak.
7: Do not let anything interrupt thee.
8: Continue with the mantras until thou dost feel total peace of mind.
These lessons will lead thee to a much higher level of meditation. They will prepare thee for the climax of the Test of Discipline.
HISTORY OF SERPENT ISLE
During the First Age, the world was divided into four continents -- the LANDS OF LORD BRITISH, the LANDS OF THE FEUDAL LORDS, the LANDS OF DARK UNKNOWN, and the LANDS OF DANGER AND DESPAIR. After the evil wizard Mondain was defeated, only the Lands of Danger and Despair remained -- all other continents were destroyed. The Lands of Danger and Despair became what we now call Serpent Isle, in honor of the Great Earth Serpent who is our guide. It was he who called to us from the Void, and in answer to our pleas, he taught us the ways of the Serpent -- the Way of Balance.
The population on Serpent Isle grew. The citizens helped each other and relied on each other. There was no crime and people were holding to their traditions. Parents taught their children about the Virtues of Order and Chaos. These traditions were passed on from generation to generation.
Their devotions were presided over by the Great Hierophant. He was the only one allowed to open the Wall of Lights and enter the Void -- a magical place that connects dimensions in space and mayhap even time! Because great danger is involved in entering the Void, only the Great Hierophant is entitled to operate the Wall of Lights. Much knowledge is required for this procedure and the Great Hierophant must be in possession of the Artifacts of the Serpent.
THE TEST OF PURITY
Throughout our lives we must measure ourselves in tests of one form or another. This treatise is meant to be read by those who will be given the test of purity. Purity is important for a free soul and demands discipline, logic and ethicality from the obedient human being. Obedience demands a person who is capable of putting others first and himself last. Putting others first demands discipline; the ability to finish a task without being distracted. Putting others first demands logic that will block the emotion that may ask thee to do otherwise. Putting others first demands ethicality that makes one believe in abiding the rules of conduct.
Discipline, Logic and Ethicality in their purest form and always obeyed will give one a free soul. A soul that is not enslaved by materialism, egoism and other evil characteristics. They will serve thee to the purpose of a dedicated life, a life in harmony with the ability to understand the meaning of life and the world around thee. The person that truly lives his life by these rules will be rewarded....
THE POWER OF MAGIC
Many of us have learned with difficulty what it means when an item important to us disappears. In most cases those things disappeared forcibly -- they disappeared by theft! It became necessary to protect brave citizens and their property. People invented their own types of 'protection-devices'! Some of those were unfortunately dangerous and harmed the person they were supposed to protect. Some of them were useful and very effective. Here are some advanced techniques to protect thyself and thy property.
To create a device that will protect thine home against fire, certain items are required. The owner will need 1 keg of moondust and 1 keg of roasted ice ants. The mixture of both must be spread around the house in a circle. Unfortunately this procedure hath not been proven to be absolutely effective yet.
To protect thy farm animals and pets against gruesome predators, a feed mixture out of the following ingredients is very helpful: 1 bucket of red corn, 1 bucket of fish spawn, 1 bucket of ground gargoyle horn and 1 bucket of water from the silver fountain. Feed this to the animals about once a week before sunrise.
The most effective way to protect doors against intruders hath been proven to be a combination puzzle for the lock.
The darkest day of all arrives when one of our Great Hierophants lies down to close his eyes forever. The country's grief is so apparent that it seems that it may be touched. Every follower, down to the littlest child, can feel the void that unfolds with the loss of the Great Hierophant. The only way acceptable to pay our last respects is a ceremony that indicates without any doubt how important this being was to our society and how much they are missed by us.
The body must be laid in state for three full days. After the blessings, the body will be dressed in holy clothes and decorated with holy flowers, so that the ordinary folks may greet the Great Hierophant for the last time, in a quiet manner. Loud wailing and gnashing is not tolerated. The pain must be held back until the outside of the shrine is reached. People may bring small tokens and leave them with the Hierophant to show their gratitude. A state of mourning for the period of seven days is ordered for the whole country. Every temple and every shrine will be open day and night, so people may gather at all times and share their grief.
One last word to those people who never followed the Great Hierophant with all their heart: Rebellion, interruptions of the ceremony and all other possible disturbances will be prosecuted and punished. No crime will go unseen. Keep in mind: 'The Serpent Watches Over All!'
CIVIL WAR OR THE EVIL FORCES OF CHAOS
Every morning when I rise it becomes clearer and clearer to me and to many other people. The Forces of Chaos cannot be the right way of belief. What they are doing is wrong and evil. It will bring our country to a downfall. Their actions are destroying the faith of the citizens in leaders and leadership. Something must be done. There must be a way to end this Civil War. Thousands and thousands of brave followers have been victimized and sacrificed by the powers of Chaos. And thousands more are to follow if this war doth not come to an end soon. Someone must be there to help our people and protect them from the unbridled Tolerance and Anarchy of THOSE people, that were the root cause of this war. There must be a way, there must be....
DIARY OF DIABOLICAL TRAPS
I, Seliashor, am accompanying a score of soldiers and scholars ordered to retrieve the Golden Orb. I was chosen for my knowledge of traps; a specialty particularly suited for a journey into unknown lands controlled by a mind such as the Fiend's.
First Level--The first trap! A soldier, wandering into an alcove, found himself separated from his command by poison fields! I had the good fortune to be looking his way when he triggered the trap; it is obviously of magical nature. If this is all we will face, the ring will surely be ours.
Second Level--The Fiend has raised the stakes! We discovered a large cavern, in which were numerous statues of harpies and decorative suits of armor. We had immediately deduced that these were traps and would smite us if we stepped to near, but the real trap was more cleverly hidden! Caltrops, painted to match the color of the floor, drew a great deal of blood from the soldiers as they gingerly avoided the obvious statue traps. Clever.
Second Level--We have discovered the next trap. A small number of chests, clustered together, proved to be explosive if tampered with. Amateurish--I spotted the trap before any of the foolish soldiers could tamper with it.
Third Level--Three soldiers entered a completely barren cavern and triggered a truly fiendish trap. When they reached the center of the room, we heard the sound of a bell. Nervous seconds passed. Just when we relaxed, a spell of terrifyingly destructive nature went off. The soldiers were consumed in flames which appeared from empty air, disappeared, and reappeared in other locations. Had they fled from the room, they would have lived. There was a body in there, and my mind's eye can still see the light cast from our torches glinting of a golden object in its hands. If it was the orb, it is lost, for not one of our number dares to face the flames. I think it was naught but a gold statue or somesuch; more accurately, I hope it was.
Third Level--we sent another soldier to his death. He was sent into the narrow mouth of a cavern. I knew he would not return. When he entered the cavern, an energy field appeared in the narrow opening! Neither I nor our wizard had Dispel Field in our spellbooks; he was left to die. He was one of the last soldiers alive; our prospects for survival are grim.
DENIZENS OF THE CAVES
During our inhabitance of this remote outpost we have been assaulted by creatures of such uniqueness and variety that I have taken it upon myself to create a bestiary.
Arachnian: This terrifying creature has the full body, head and legs of the giant spider common to our island, with the torso, head and arms of a man growing from just behind its spider-head. Speculation abounds as to the origin of these horrible hybrids; some claim the mad servants of Chaos created it in one of their endless foolish experiments, others say it was the work of a long-dead lunatic mage. Regardless of how they came to be, the Arachnian is perhaps the deadliest of all foes we face here at Serpent's Fang.
Liche: This is not so much a creature as it is a being, but I consider it worthy of note here. All of the folk I have spoken to in the keep are rather retiscent about the liche, but I have compiled the following information: The liche was here before the keep was established. It is undead; once alive, it entered a state of "unliving" which heightened its power but nullified what humanity it may have had when it was alive. It can command undead and hurl the most devastating of spells.
Naga: A fearsome creature whose lower half is that of a giant snake and upper half is that of a human woman, the Naga is capable of delivering devastating vollies of arrows at those who dare intrude upon its lair. The Naga's origin, like that of the Arachnian (see above) is questionable. It is best, when a Naga is spotted, to close for battle immediately, lest their arrows bring thee down before thou hast a chance to flee. Additionally, they have been known to use snakes as a front line while the Naga pick intruders off with arrows.
Shasrajah: These menacing, scaled freaks have intimidating forms of attack; with their long, snake-like necks they thrust their heads toward their enemy, latching on with their rending teeth, then with their strong neck muscles ripping flesh off. Though they seldom land hits, they are deceptively quick and resilient to blows. However, they are enormously stupid, unable to even open doors. They often attack in groups, making them more dangerous, but they are easily led into traps. Thus have we been able to repel their regular attacks.
I have considerable information on the origin of these beasts; basically, they were an attempt by the forces of Chaos to fuse viper and man. The Lords of Discipline (those fortunate soldiers whose minds were transferred into the bodies of automatons) had brought the advantage to Order in the war, and these Shasrajah were their attempt to tip the scales in their favor. Fortunately, the soldiers sacrificed to this wasteful end went insane in their new bodies. They escaped from the lab and began spreading their foul race all over the subterranean realms of our isle...
THE LOST ORBS
Compiled by Isstherios
I have compiled this work so that, when we have the manpower to seek out the four lost orbs, all of the information we have will be available to the seeker.
The first orb, golden in hue, was stored within the keep in a secret location until stolen by a soldier of Chaos. He imbibed a potion of invisibility and followed behind the commander, who had gone to retrieve the orb. When he found the room, he attacked the unwary commander and stole the orb. However, his invisibility wore off as he was making good his escape and he was seen by a troop of guards. The guards chased the thief until he was cornered southeast of the keep; his only escape from the guards would have been to plunge into the Fiend's Domain. This he did, and was never seen again. We presume it has come into the Fiend's possession and expect he will try to use it to his advantage.
The purple orb, reputedly housed in the Commander's bedchambers, was also purloined by a Chaosite, though this one was no soldier. Those few who saw it will never forget it; they know not whether the thing was man, beast, or both. The thing was bipedal and vaguely humanoid, but it had the fur, large ears, feline face, and claws of a cat. It was being held prisoner in the keep, but an undisciplined soldier on duty relaxed on his watch and the cat-man escaped. I know not how it found its way into the Commander's bedchambers; I assume that its escape was not well-planned and he happened upon it by chance. However it did find the orb, the cat-man stole it and ran into the Maze. No one has seen the creature or the orb since.
The red orb was not stolen, but is out of our hands all the same. Prior to the closure of the addition to the outpost, to the southwest of the keep, SubCommander Gareth was charged with the task of transporting the orb to this area; we can assume he accomplished his mission, but Gareth never did return. Shortly thereafter the area was surrendered to the creatures that currently reign there. It is my presumption that the orb still rests within this catacomb.
The blue orb is certainly the strangest tale, but its possessor is a known entity; it rests in the decayed hands of the lich Aram-Dol. How that malevolent entity came to possess the blue orb is where the strange tale doth lie. Approximately the same time the red orb was carried to presumed safety, the blue orb was to be carried to a location only SubCommander Gareth knew. The six automatons sent on this mission were ambushed not far from the outpost; lookouts witnessed the battle but could not send aid in time. The attackers were assumed to be spies of Chaos, but their identities will forever be unknown. They outnumbered the automatons by fully a score; the battle was quick. They fled away with great haste.
Later a merchant traveling to the keep from Shasavrah reported that he had seen the thieves in a small town west of the keep, but the orb was stolen from them, along with much of their supplies, in the night. The orb appeared again in the hands of authorities in Thiriastith, who siezed it from a suspected stolen goods fence. Not knowing its import, the authorities auctioned it as a bauble to a wizard who knew what the orb was. This wizard, who was known only as the Asp, aspired to steal the silver seed. He came to Serpent's Fang as an adventure seeker and was told that the other orbs were stolen or lost. He discerned their whereabouts from this information, but that which he was told was apparently not true, for he set out immediately for Aram-Dol's lair.
Foolishly, he brought the one orb he possessed with him into those foul tunnels of Aram-Dol's lair. The dead that walk those caverns and tunnels soon forced the Asp to join them in their ever-living death. This new soldier of Aram-Dol brought the orb to the lich, thus bringing a momentary end to its lengthy sojourn.
ON ACCESSING THE SERPENT GATE
Though it be true that most of the Serpent Gates are centerpieces of the destinations they serve, in our fair city this is not so. To provide a measure of security, we have made our Gate inaccessible to all those who are not given permission by the Hierophant himself, for it is he who holds the keys. He doth keep on his person the Key of Fire and entrusts to an advisor (whose identity is kept secret to those outside the clergy) the Key of Ice. When these two keys are placed on the altar in the Great Temple, these two keys merge to form the blackrock key.
It is with this key that the Hierophant opens the door to the Serpent Gate: a simple brass door on the temple's balcony. From here the traveller is teleported to a grand room, wherein he walks on graceful bridges to the Serpent Gate. I myself was once chosen to carry the Key of Ice, and I did keep it on my person even when bathing in the bath house. I can assure thee that the Hierophant kept it close to his breast, even during his leisurely strolls through the park...
REPORT ON THE SHASRAJAH
O Great Hierophant, sorrow fills mine heart to tell thee the regretful news that our great hope, the Shasrajah, cannot be counted on to attach the venomous fangs of victory about the necks of our enemies. Our great experiment hath failed.
As thou hast already been told, we had found a means by which the minds of our finest warriors and the bodies of snakes could be fused with one another. The resulting warrior would wreak terrible havoc on the forces of Order, bringing them their well-deserved destruction. In the earliest stages of the experiment all was well; we succeeded in joining Adder with Man in five of seven volunteers. The resulting form was vaguely humanoid, with resilient green skin, tough as the scales of a serpent.
We found that the soldiers' minds were very much unchanged, and coupled with the quickness and sensitivity to smell of the adder, the Shasrajah were formidable in battle. Their long necks had tremendous reach, and they preferred to attack solely with their strong jaws. We were encouraged by this success, and accepted eighty-three more warriors to undergo the metamorphosis. All was well, as seventy-one survived. We believed we had found a counter to the automaton warriors the forces of Order had reputedly developed.
Much to our chagrin, however, our experiment went awry shortly thereafter. As we had them do battle to assess their powers, we noticed a disturbing trait -- the warrior would become more bloodthirsty and uncontrollable with each triumph! Soon they began to rebel against our commands. We had no choice but to exterminate them and begin anew, but the five hundred soldiers we sent against our own creations -- our monsters -- were unable to best them. We surrendered the area to them, enclosing them with stout doors in the corridors leading out. I can only assume that they have died. O Great Hierophant, I would recommend never performing these experiments again; they are more potentially dangerous than they are potentially helpful...
SERVANTS OF ORDER
Over the years, we who follow Order have devised a number of ingenious servants to simplify our lives. The earliest attempt is known as the "Animated Suit of Armor". Though automatons have made these nothing more than curiosities, some functional units are still in use today (e.g. the Fiend's Domain, but I implore you not to go exploring just to see one) The animated suits of armor have picked up many knicknames, such as "Suits," "Brass-brains," "Dummies," etc. They are severely limited in capability, able to understand but a few words, and even then are more than likely to forget orders more than three words in length. They were used primarily as guards, for they could take more damage than a human guard and were replaced easier if slain than a man would be.
The next achievement, representing a significant leap in servant design, was the "Brass Automaton." These are still used (particularly by frontier outposts such as Serpent's Fang) because they are far more intelligent than animated suits of armor and less costly to create than iron automatons (see next page). Their main drawback is that, like the animated suits of armor, they cannot be re-used once they are slain.
Most commonly used are the "Iron Automatons." Since they are considered the standard servant in our time, they are referred to simply as automatons. Iron automatons are slightly stronger, quicker, and more resilient than brass automatons as well as slightly more intelligent. The greatest advantage, however, is that if an iron automaton is slain, it can be reactivated. The spell used, Create Automaton, is found in nearly every wizard's spellbook. These advantages do not come free, however; they are more costly to initially create and drain more mana and reagents than the lesser servants.
The greatest of all the automatons are not servants at all. The Lords of Discipline are automatons with the minds of the greatest warriors transferred into their bodies. They are unsurpassed in strength, speed, intellect, and resilience, and have thus far proven to be the determining factor in the war. It is to this culmination of our knowledge that we, the followers of the Serpent of Order, shall emerge triumphant in our struggle with the misled followers of Chaos.
STRENGTH THROUGH ETHICS
Dear reader, I intend this essay to be a guide for thee. For thou art what thou dost do. Thou dost do what thou dost judge best for thyself. But, in this matter, is thy judgement as clear as the sky on a summer day? That is the question. If thou canst not answer without a reasonable doubt, thou needest to be enlightened. The purpose of this essay is to increase thy strength through enlightenment. Ethics will enlighten thee.
Strength is to the adventurer what milk is to the newborn. Without it there is no growth, only dwindling and loss of Life. The path to fulfillment is a long climb towards the heights of the highest and greatest mountain of all. Herein, I will show thee that there are no shortcuts, and the rewards awaiting thee are abundant. Be frugal and be prodigal. In order to receive, thou hast need to give, give, and give again. Allow me to clarify this. Do not misunderstand my words. Do not expect to receive something in exchange for thy gift. Thy gift must come from thine heart. If thou dost expect the recipient to thank thee, thou art on the wrong path. Thou shalt thank the recipient.
Meditate upon those words of wisdom and thy strength will grow with thee. Show respect for all life forms. Unless they do attack thee, spare them. Be blameless and upright. Being sincere and fair in all of thy transactions will provide thee with more power than thou ever hadst. Thou wert strong, thou wilt be stronger. Thy strength will be exalted in truth. Be great amongst the multitude of thy brethren. Relieve commoners and seek their welfare. Be humble. Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance flow from thy mouth like wisdom from the fountains of Spinebreaker. Thou shalt not use thy tongue to deceive.
Remember to practice whatever thou dost advocate. Quality should be thy rule. Quality of craftsmanship if thou art a craftsman, quality of the time spent with thy brethren, quality of the words thou speakest, quality in thine actions. Quality secures thine ascent above the multitude. Be patient in all circumstances. That will make thee wealthy, for each minute is a priceless gem. Remember that water and ice are two facets of the same element. Be that element. Like water avoid obstacles as large as mountains. Like ice provide a solid path between two banks. Rush like water to extinguish a fire. Avoid fire as unto ice.
Strength feeds on Ethics and Ethics on strength. When trouble and anguish come upon thee, Ethics will give thee the strength to overcome. By this thou shalt overcome.
THE STRUCTURE OF ORDER
A collection of the Principles of Order
compiled by Shaashaanna
The Philosophy of Order is based upon the Three Forces of Order. The Philosophy of Order is a set of principles meant to lead thee on the path toward strength through enlightenment.
The Three Forces are as follows:
Most righteous reader, let us examine the structure of Order as it appears through the Forces of Order and the underlying principles of the philosophy of Order.
Ethicality: What is Ethicality? Ethicality is the belief in abiding by rules of conduct. Those rules must be in thy mouth, in thy mind and in thine heart at all times. Doing so thou wilt understand thou art those rules. The rules are the Forces. The rules are not a part of thee, they are thee and thou art the rules. Once those rules, or Forces, are one with thee, then, and only then, canst thou abide regardless of the circumstances. Those rules of conduct are not too difficult for thee; neither are they distant so that thou art not able to achieve them. Those rules of conduct are within thy reach. Moreover, they are necessary if thou dost not wish to be torn and slain by beasts. Beware, dear reader, for the beasts of Chaos are watching each of thy steps. Thou shalt perform the words of the Philosophy of Order that are written herein if thou art to live as a man.
Discipline: What is Discipline? Discipline is the ability to finish what one hath begun, and to not be distracted. Persevere, dearest reader, persevere! Listen carefully to these words and let those principles be with thee. Listen to silence and it will speak to thee. Discipline is patiently rebuilding thine house washed away by a solstice flood. In other words, Discipline is not surrendering thy quest even though some of thy precious belongings have been eroded or destroyed.
Logic: What is Logic? Some will tell thee that Logic is 'a little bird chirping in a meadow' or that it is 'a wreath of flowers which smell bad'. Do not lend thine ears to their confusing messages. We say, dearest reader, that Logic deals with two states in the Land of Thought: true and false. Thou shalt realize that: Logic is mightier than magic. Logic turns darkness into bright daylight. Logic will illuminate the tunnel of ignorance for thee. It will bring thee confidence and knowledge. Logic is the ability to think clearly and to reason to a conclusion, without emotional bias. Logic is the power from within which will infallibly guide thee throughout various realms across time and waters.
With the Three forces of Order, wisdom and might are on thy side, dear reader. Once thou dost have the Forces of Order in thy life thou shouldst have no fear. Once thou dost have the Forces of Order in thy life thou shouldst have no doubt. Once thou dost have the Forces of Order in thy life thou shouldst have no emotion. Moreover, neither bias nor conceit affect thee.
Will it be well with thee when thou wilt be put to trial or wilt thou let Chaos overcome thee? Chaos is wrong and hath no place within our philosophy. Do not attempt any sort of combination for thou shalt count Balance as thine enemy. Respect those words for they are words of wisdom. Honor the Great Serpent, for he taught us this system for the benefit of all.
HOLY BOOKS OF THE OPHIDIANS
Our Sacred Books will reveal to thee what thou must know to live the life of a true Ophidian. Respect The Books for They were written with the pain, the blood and the hopes of thine ancestors. Read our Books to know thyself. Thou shalt be clean when touching The Books. Thou shalt be pure when reading The Books. Thou shalt read The Books aloud. Thou shalt not say with thy tongue that which thou wouldst not make good with thine actions. Now, thou mayest proceed.
Herein lies the tale of the Ophidians. The Ophidians are the inhabitants of this continent. In the First Age, the world was divided into four continents. There was no magic in the land, and two Kings ruled in peace. This was before the Enlightenment came to us. Then came a great war, and the Four Lands were sundered from one another. Then, we were alone. The Destruction was great. One Kingdom fell when its liege died while abroad. Madness took the King of the White Dragon. Then the Great Earth Serpent spoke to us! Our people built beautiful cities in safe places under the ground. Six temples were built, and three special Shrines. The Serpents lived among us. This was our world.
This was the time after the defeat of Mondain, when our spiritual leader The Great Hierophant of The Ophidians explained the changes in the Universe through our ethical philosophy of Balance, and its twin properties of Order and Chaos. The Serpent spoke to us through him. The Great Hierophant was the only one who could open the Wall of Lights. The Wall of Lights is the entrance into the Void. He entered the Void to speak with the Serpents.
Our temples and shrines were organized in the following manner:
The Three Grand Shrines
The Chaos Temples
The Order Temples
The total number being nine.
The Three Grand Shrines were divided into Balance, Chaos and Order. The Chaos Temples were divided into the Temple of Emotion, the Temple of Enthusiasm, the Temple of Tolerance.
The Order Temples were divided into the Temple of Ethicality, the Temple of Discipline, the Temple of Logic. The six temples had sub-leaders: the Master of Ethicality, the Master of Discipline, the Master of Logic, the Master of Emotion, the Master of Enthusiasm, and the Master of Tolerance.
During ceremonies, the Great Hierophant was assisted by the Order Hierophant and the Chaos Hierophant. Rich jewelry and shining armour were worn at that time. Throughout the years we had different successors in charge of those functions. The deceased Great Hierophants were buried on the Isle of the Crypts. Then came the Disaster. The Great Earth Serpent was taken from the Void, no longer to communicate with us! We became obsessed with the struggle between Order and Chaos. No more Balance!
The Great Hierophant was murdered and his sacred artifacts were plundered by zealots of Chaos. Rivalry corrupted the hearts and minds of our people. The reigns of belligerent factions began. War broke out. Armies marched, cities were laid waste, and lava flowed from the deep. The Chaos people were defeated. This is when the Chaos Serpent was brought from the Void and split into three Forces. Lest they should wander the world, they were imprisoned at the three Temples of Order.
The scourges of war, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions with their lava flows and destruction reduced the isle to a desolate land. Thereupon, the Order people left the land of their Ancestors known as Serpent Isle in search of a better place. This is a foolish quest. I alone, a servant of Balance, am left. I soon will die. All is Death, and the land forsaken.
MY LIFE AND MY BELIEFS
I do not have much time left. I hope it will be enough time to write everything down, before THEY come for me. And THEY will come... I came here to this Temple full of love and inspiration. All I wanted was to read the writings of artistic truth. The wise men would talk to me and I wanted to listen to them. But then it happened... I did everything right, I followed the rules, but I still got confused. After fasting for two days in the meditation room and staring at the red and black floor, I was still waiting for a sign. A sign which would show me the right path to follow. And finally, I could rejoice. I found my calling and I was taken to the Pool of Dedication.
But then the soldiers came and destroyed everything. They killed the Great Hierophant of Chaos in the garden. Somehow the people saved the Sceptre of Enlightenment. They were able to hide it beneath the lectern... I hope for the safety of my brother Sethys, for he doth have the key to the Altar of Tolerance. The Great Hierophant had entrusted him with the key, before the soldiers arrived... I cannot hope for mine own safety, for I am sitting here now, awaiting my death. The Order fanatics will come soon and with them my death is arriving...
AND LIGHT THERE WILL BE
by Sasoshi, the Mage
The Ophidians have been living too long in the darkness. I have been experimenting with different compounds and different ingredients to find a way to create light, light that lasts much longer than the artificial light that we have. It hath taken me years and years of my life. There have been many accidents with all the devices and the lighting of the Magic Candles. The candles will announce this celebration throughout the sky. He who follows the Ways of Balance will shine. He who shines will pass the Trials of Fire and Ice. He who passes the Trials will enter the Antechamber of the Grand Shrine.
THE DOCTRINE OF CHAOS
I believe in the Forces and Powers of Chaos. I believe in the ways of Tolerance, Enthusiasm and Emotion. I believe that those ways will show me how to better myself and therefore how to better my life. I believe that believing in Tolerance will teach me the acceptance of all things. I believe that believing in Enthusiasm will teach me the source of the energy which will allow me to accomplish great tasks. I believe that believing in Emotion will give me the ability to perceive feelings which come from the heart and not the mind.
The Forces of Order must be stopped. We cannot go on like this much longer. We hope that our beliefs in the Forces of Chaos will help us to survive. If we are able to survive, then our devotion to Enthusiasm will be rewarded in the world beyond our lives. We can hear the Void calling our names. We know we need to follow, but we are not ready yet. We must stop Order first. That must be the purpose of our being here. If we are successful then we can leave this world without feeling guilty. If we stop Order then our lives have not been wasted here. We need to accomplish our task to be able to prove our worthiness. Only in that do we see a way to truly show our gratitude.
THE SERPENT LAMP POSTS
These majestic sculptures, each a great snake poised triumphantly with its mock prey, a shining magical globe, in its mouth, are signatures of our cities. We owe these magnificent light-bearing monuments to a spellcaster who went by the name Eshalveras. It was he who first poised a light globe on a statue of a serpent, making these statues holy reminders of those we owe our being to, but also functional parts of our cities. I was granted, for purposes of recording for posterity the events of our times, the opportunity to converse with this brilliant mage so as to provide insights into his remarkable creation.
Eshalveras revealed to me that it was naught but three reagents combined to form the luminous mineral which acts as long-lasting fuel for the lamps. All of these, Agnium, Serpentinium, and Zerine, can be found in many wizards' labs, and certainly in Eshalveras' lab within the Conjury. The true magic lies in the pedestal, nondescript in appearance but powerful in magic. The reagents, when placed on the pedestal, fuse to form the light mineral, which can then be used in the lamp posts. Eshalveras is truly a remarkable man; he was able to relate to me many exciting tales of dweomercraft in our day...
THE GREAT HIEROPHANTS
The first Hierophant ever to commission a pair of our Temples was Sheshevra. He was selected because of his outstanding qualities of leadership and his overwhelming sense of Harmony. He commissioned the Temples of Tolerance and Ethicality. The Ophidians needed a spiritual leader like him to teach them the doctrines of Balance. He was responsible for the Temples and their ways of belief. He was given the authority to perform all important ceremonies of the Serpent People, known as the Ophidians.
THE GREAT HIEROPHANTS
The last Hierophant to commission a pair of our Temples was Sessessej. He was selected because of his outstanding qualities of leadership and his overwhelming sense of Rationality. He commissioned the Temples of Emotion and Logic. The Ophidians needed a spiritual leader like him to teach them the doctrines of Balance. He was responsible for the Temples and their ways of belief. He was given the authority to perform all important ceremonies of the Serpent People, known as the Ophidians.
With this book I want to express my pride. I am one of the few that are allowed to serve our Great Hierophant and I am proud to serve him. He is one of the few people left in these days who know what life is about. His wisdom and his leadership have shown me the purpose of life. To serve him is quite an experience and I am very thankful to be the one who is blessed with the duty. He hath told me about many events in his life and I want to share these with thee.
At one point in his life he visited the Isle of Balance, which is also known as Sunrise Isle. He hath climbed the mountain there to the top. And that is where the most amazing of his stories took place. On top of that mountain he heard the voice of the Great Earth Serpent. The Great Earth Serpent told him to commission the building of the Serpent Gates and the three Grand Shrines... Believe me reader, when I listened to this, I shuddered with awe... I still cannot believe that I am the one chosen to be his servant. What a blessing it is...
Handbook for the Commissioned Soldier
This handbook will help the Commissioned Soldier to realize how important it is to know how to handle the masses of lower rank soldiers. Only a well trained army is capable of winning a war. The only way to have a well trained army is through the Commissioned Soldier. He is responsible for the training, dedication and devotion of his troops. This is not a training manual. This handbook merely emphasizes the importance of authority. Only the strong and strict leader will receive the respect from his troops that a good leader deserves. Only troops which are willing to take orders are good troops. Therefore troops will follow only orders that are given by a strong leader whom they respect.
Conclusion: there is only one rule on how to train masses of soldiers: Showing strength and authority to the lower rank soldiers, the noncommissioned troops. Only the Commissioned Soldier that interacts on a strong and strict basis with his troops will lead them to victory in combat...
It hath become necessary to create a means of disciplining our soldiery. Though the soldiers we are given to work with are generally obedient and disciplined, on occasion an unruly soldier will appear in the ranks. It would be foolish to merely dismiss this able-bodied man, for in these times of war every hand capable of holding a sword must do so. Nay, dismissal is not the answer. What, then, are we to do with those who resist the teachings of discipline? By what means may we save this soldier from the lure of Chaos and place him firmly back on the path toward being a useful implement with which to smite the Chaotic forces? With these questions our Master did challenge the wisest men in the Temple. I, Sethmantih, did solve these challenges...
On my journey to find the Serpent Fountain I was troubled many times with doubt about my quest. Was I doing the right thing? Was I taking the correct path? How much longer could I resist the urge to accept failure? I hunted through the master's chambers, stared into the coffins of those who once cared for the temple, and searched the library for the keys and implements necessary to complete the quest. The Master would only tell me two things; that I would have no reason to leave the temple, and that somewhere on the path my discipline would be tested. I speak only in generalities, lest my words be seen by the wild eyes of one undisciplined. I doubt not that such a person would die on the way to the water, but there are wards against death in all its incarnations.
My discipline was indeed tested, and tested harshly. The key to completing my quest was perseverance. I had to search the same place many times and not admit defeat; I had to discipline my mind to keep it from wandering. The hardest part of the path to the fountain lay just before it, and I bear the scars on my feet, but, as is taught here, if one can only discipline the mind, the body can then be trained. I pushed the pain from my mind, so that I did not feel the acid searing my flesh, eating away at my skin.
When finally I did reach the fountain, the test was not over -- to return to the temple proper, I had to brave the acid again. The test made me strong, obedient, disciplined. Had I failed, I would be as one of those whose hearts I seek to skewer; chaotic and undisciplined. Due to the lessons of discipline I had learned, I was able to not only force the pain from my mind as the acid tried to eat my legs away, but steel my flesh against it so that now only the soles of my feet bear mild scars...
THE WAR OF ORDER AND CHAOS
No one truly knows what happened to cause the war between the Forces of Chaos and Order about 300 years ago. No one can say for sure that he knows which devilish thoughts possessed people to fight each other when they were supposed to love each other and treat each other with respect. But everyone hath been paying for it since the war ended. The Order Forces won the war, and imprisoned the Chaos Forces. But what exactly did they win? It seems that they miss their brothers and sisters now. And who is to say that the Order Forces enjoyed throwing the Chaos Forces into confinement. Going back to the days before the war, living in peace with the Chaos Forces would be a dream come true for me...
THE SYMBOL OF DISCIPLINE
The Symbol of Discipline is a reminder of what we, the Initiates of Discipline, must strive for. Consisting of three prongs, they symbolize the following: Mind, Body, and Environment. The mind is the first level of discipline; without Discipline of the Mind, one cannot master the other levels of discipline. Discipline of the Body is the second level of discipline, for one cannot master one's surroundings without first mastering one's self. The third branch of the symbol represents Discipline of Environment. This branch, added to represent the superiority of Order, justifies the military's presence here; if one can master one's self, one can then master the world around him, and drive Chaos out from his environment.
The symbols here in our temple are not mere inspiration, however. The Altar before the serpent statue doth have upon it two slots. In order to insure the security of our temple, the automatons are aided by a safeguard against defilers -- bolts of lightning fire from the altar unless the quartz symbol is placed in the slot on the left side. A bridge spanning the water around the statue is called into being if the obsidian symbol is placed in the right slot; if it is not there, none can gain access to the Water of Discipline.
THE BOOK OF DISCIPLINE
The ultimate wisdom of life may only be reached through discipline. It takes strength and concentration to follow the guidelines of discipline. Therefore the weak and distracted mind will fail. The weak and distracted mind will not have the power to succeed. And only that power will take thee to the top. But there is no room for the weak at the top. Only the strong mind will find a place there.
OUR GREAT LEADERS
The religion of our great nation must have leaders, worthy leaders. There are things, events and ceremonies, that require a person of great trust. The nation hath decided to choose trustworthy people for those positions and give them certain ranks. Full of respect do we call the leader of the Shrine of Balance our Great Hierophant. Only the Great Hierophant can perform the important ceremonies at the Grand Shrine of Balance. During those ceremonies, however, he receives help from the leaders of the Shrine of Order and Chaos. They have the rank of Order Hierophant and Chaos Hierophant.
All three have assistants to help them with their duties; these are the sub-leaders. These assistants are of high rank also and we give them the title of Master. These Masters are the leaders of our Temples. Each one of them is authorized to perform ceremonies in their own Temple.
OUR BLESSED SERPENT ISLE
Our beloved Serpent Isle is the prettiest country there is. No place can be more enjoyable for mankind. It is so peaceful. There is no anger or distrust in the population. Everything is balanced, people live together well. There cannot be any other place in any other dimension that could possibly be more peaceful or more blessed with beauty. Only balance is responsible for the well-being of this country. Only balance makes it possible for people to live together in peace. Only balance will provide good harvests, which provide enough food. People that have enough to eat are happy and do not have to worry whether they are going to live to the next day. Balance is the ultimate way to freedom and peace. The beauty of our country cannot be put into words. One must go and discover it for himself.
IS THERE HOPE?
I do not know what to do anymore. I am desperate. We are all going to die, I know it. I and my children are going to die and there is no way for me to protect mine own flesh and blood... It all began with the soldiers entering the city. Without any warning they attacked us. They began to kill people immediately, the elderly, the children and us women. Those heartless and cold-blooded bastards do not care...
Mine only hope is that our men will return in time to defend and protect us. Our food supplies are frighteningly low. Soon we all will be starving. I am already eating only the bare minimum. All my rations I give to my children, hoping that they will survive until our rescuers arrive. I need to support them in every way I possibly can, they are our future -- they are my life. I could not forgive myself if anything happened to them... I do not know if I have the strength to wait for the rescue. If there is no chance for us to survive and wait for them, I will have to choose. The choice is between letting those murderers enjoy us -- or else...
WAR OF IMBALANCE
This shall be the last entry I make before following my kinsmen to a better life. 'Tis appropriate, I think, that I use a newly bound book with the finest vellum; after all, it may be an Age or more before 'tis found -- if ever.
Before I continue, I should write a few words about mine homeland -- Serpent Isle. Before the War of Imbalance, the dreadful war that did tear asunder our beloved homeland, Serpent Isle was a fair land indeed. The land was in Harmony: our people were at peace -- secure within our glorious subterranean cities. The arts prospered under the generous patronage of our most beloved Hierophant, blessed be his name, and no citizen went hungry or was bereft of a home. We were content and happy; we had no reason to suspect that our happiness would not continue indefinitely. We were so naive.
The War of Imbalance started simply enough, but by the time 'twas over most of our people were slaughtered, our cities devastated, and the land laid waste. I have been lucky, for I have survived to write about the tragedy. I cannot say the same thing about many of my friends -- they are all dead. Even as I write, the Adepts are scurrying about, preparing for the great ceremony that shall energize the Wall of Lights. Soon, I and my surviving comrades shall leave our shattered land, never to return. I am afraid of the future, but I know I cannot live in the past. I can only remember the past. I shall strive to remember the times of joy and try to forget the ashen, bitter memories of the war.
The Adepts are ready, they have begun the ceremony. I feel a great surge of power! The light! 'Tis blinding! The Adepts have succeeded. The Wall of Lights is so beautiful...
A TREATISE ON THE CONSTRUCTION OF LIVING GEMS
The construction of living gems requires many a component as well as Pure Discipline. This Treatise contains the exact formulae and incantations which thou dost perform in order to succeed in the construction of living gems. The magical fabrication of gems is one thou shouldst be warned about. For thee and thy kindred, make no attempt if thou dost doubt thy magical powers. Ice Worms are to be found. The Ice Worm doth have to be destroyed. Then wrest its heart from the body. The Worm Heart is cold and hard. The soul of brave warriors who fight magnificently in combat within the Harvest Moon period, or any equinox, escape the battlefield and may be contained within such a gem. Hence the name 'living gem'. Once infused with the soul of a glorious warrior, such gems are placed inside the automatons. This is what gives them true life.
THE TRUE BELIEVERS
The true believers are not only to be found at the rituals and ceremonies. There are many poor souls out there who are pretending they do not believe in religious gatherings and activities. They want to make us believe that they do not need anyone for the sake of their souls. They are wrong, and deep down in their hearts, they know it, too. Sooner or later they will attend ceremonies. Most of them do not come back for a while, but that one appearance rouses their curiosity enough to attend again. It takes courage to admit that everyone needs some kind of belief. I understand that and I do not push for their trust. I know that deep down, underneath all that ruin, is a soul that wants to be rescued. It takes time, but I have all the time I ever need. I can wait and I will. I know that my day will come. And then I will open mine arms and welcome them into our religious community. There is room for everyone, no one will be turned away. And no one will be pressured to join us.
THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR
When a warrior hath demonstrated unswerving Discipline, the Order Hierophant may approve the creation of the Ultimate Warrior. The candidate must be willing to cast aside his or her own body in favor of that of an undying automaton. This is the highest honor of Order... to serve as Order's warrior through all time.
The candidate shall be conducted to the chamber with all pomp and pageantry. Upon the left dais shall stand the inanimate automaton husk. The candidate shall ascend to the right dais after the transference button hath been pressed. Once the bodies have been transferred, the Final Test of Discipline must be completed. In this, the candidate must strike down the now-empty husk that he or she formerly knew as his or her body. Until this is done, the body transfer is not complete and the process will reverse unless the organic husk is destroyed.
Some few candidates may find themselves unable to withstand the transference, and as such would normally be considered failures. But it is the Order Hierophant's wishes that no stigma be attached to this weakness. The candidate shall be allowed to live the remainder of his or her life in service to Order, being an exemplar in all but the Final Test of Discipline.
A SOLDIER'S NOTES
These sheep all went to their deaths with smiles on their accursed faces! We pulled out their fingernails, seared their flesh with burning coals, peeled their skin back with rusty knives, gouged out their eyes with sharp sticks, and still they said nothing! We must have the answer. But I cannot obtain the answer to my question now that they all lie dead. Could there be any truth to the old one's claim that "meditation leads to enlightenment?" Whatever the answer may be, there is no time left. We must go. I have ordered the destruction of the temple -- there must be no trace of this structure left...
by Issik the Architect
The snowswept surface of Sunrise Isle is totally barren. No life can live long upon the surface. It is a good thing, indeed, that the Great Hierophant decreed that it was too dangerous to allow access to the surface.
The devout follower of Balance will know how to form the blocks of ice which are necessary in achieving Balance. To those of you who have forgotten your lessons, take heed: Take the magic tapers to the Walls of Ice. Therein, use the tapers upon the walls.
Create Soul Prism: This spell doth enchant a prism so that it may become the receptacle for a soul. Though powerful, this spell hath limited applications. The reagents necessary are: sulfuric ash, blood moss, garlic, mandrake root, spider silk, and serpent scales.
Create Automata: This spell is actually misnamed, for it doth not create automata, rather, it repairs them. If thou dost have a damaged automaton, simply cast this spell over the body and it shall be fully restored. The necessary reagents to cast this spell are as follows: sulfuric ash, mandrake root, spider silk, and serpent scales.
Create Ice: This spell immobilizes a chosen enemy in a block of ice. After a short period of time, the ice shatters, and the foe is released. Only two reagents are necessary to cast this spell: worm heart and spider silk.
Invoke Serpent: This spell summons a snow serpent that is "friendly" to the caster. The reagents necessary to cast this spell are as follows: blood moss, garlic, worm heart, spider silk, and serpent scales.
Serpent Bond: This powerful spell transforms the caster into a serpent for a short duration. This spell is very useful for obtaining ingress into places ordinarily inaccessible, such as a small crawlspace. The reagents necessary to cast this spell are as follows: blood moss, black pearl, garlic, worm heart, spider silk, and serpent scales.
Imbalance: This powerful spell is very dangerous. The energy released by this spell sprays out in a random pattern, usually destroying whatever is hit. The reagents necessary to cast this spell are as follows: blood moss, sulfuric ash, worm heart, nightshade plant, and serpent scales.
I alone have managed to safely return to the surface. Mine arrogant curiosity was almost mine undoing. The ruined Ophidian structure in the caverns below the swamp is very dangerous. My companions fell to the blows of the undead. No monk should ever return there. I have taken the key that opens the gate to the area and hidden it in the hollow tree near the southeastern portion of the ruin in the swamp. I pray that no one shall ever find that key...
Scattered Verses, Part I
Madness! Madness is all I can see! The world hath turned inside out. The stars shine blood red... Men are beasts... Beasts are men... Ashes... Ashes. The End is upon us all... Snakes leering in the void... Dancing a dance of death. The vision is over. I am without Sight...
Scattered Verses, Part II
I see the Hero From Another World ringing the bells! I am not there. I am dead. Ring the bells. Oh, joy! What sweet music the bells make I am dreaming. I hear the bells and I wake...
Scattered Verses, Part III
I See the frozen waste...
The Hero From Another World is there...
I See men who are not men covered in fur...
I See the Hero From Another World strike...
No! The world is collapsing! I cannot breathe!
Scattered Verses, Part IV
The Hero From Another World will meet the descendants of the Silver Captain under the sign of the Bull. The Hero From Another World will be betrayed by a follower of the Other...
Scattered Verses, Part V
In the City of Mages,
on the Isle of Beyond,
Doth the Hero walk
Mages with two faces prance about
To prove his worth,
The Hero From Another World
Must survive the perils of Freedom...
The Mandrake Root, by Trexin the Gardener
The mandrake root is a short-stemmed plant that hath a fleshy, often forked root, somewhat resembling a man. This tuber, though not particularly pleasant to gaze upon, doth have useful qualities. The root seems to add power to certain spells of the greater circles. The mandrake root, contrary to what my colleague Moxa thinks, can indeed be found on our lonely isle. The root can be found growing in the swamp that is located on the northern part of the island. Most peculiarly, the root doth seemingly appear at random times...
The Berry Bush, by Trexin the Gardener I have discovered a wonderful plant that I have named the Berry Bush. The fruit of this plant hath a wonderfully bittersweet, tangy taste. Furthermore, the bush doth grow well in our intemperate clime and needs little maintenance to produce an abundant crop.
I returned home to the Bull as soon as I received Mother's letter. It was not easy to relinquish my command, but Mother needed me, and so here I am. I have examined the grounds and found nothing. Mother says she heard noises from the cellar the night Father disappeared. When I investigated, I found crates overturned, but nothing else. I feel so useless! If only I had something, some shred of evidence indicating what became of Father...
Welcome to the Sleeping Bull Inn! Our inn hath been owned by the same family for four generations. We have a long tradition of service. We will do our best to ensure that thy stay at the inn will be most enjoyable. If thou hast any questions, please inquire of Mistress Devra or Master Angus.
This day Silverpate came to see me. The black-harted demon came to glote, and to give me scroll and kwill. He said that I could rite whate'er I wanted, fer I would never see daylite agin. I fear he is rite. Silverpate beleves that I stole from him, the paranoid old coot! I ne'er woud beleve me mates when they spoke of the "littel demons" in the cap'in's pate, tellin him what to do. Corse, I beleved em rite enuf when ol' Pate tole me these things hisself! Alas, I lerned too late to prevent me imprisonment. I figure ol' Pate will ne'er read me words, and if he do, then so be it.
Whomever ye be that reads me words, be warned aginst Cap'in Silverpate. He uses majic wardrobes to spy on his own mates! The littel swiches at the Bull don't work, the cap'in said, unless the "Master Wardrobe" is used. This "Master Wardrobe" be sichuated down in these here catacomes. I also herd the evil-harted bastard yammer bout sum Serpint Gate. Ol' Pate said the gate was hidden. It be rite hard to be thinkin strate, but I think the cap'n said something bout too torches markin the hidden entrans. Maybe this Serpint Gate cood help thee. Corse, it be likely that no bloke will e'er read me scribling...
Pate thinks everyone be after his trezhure. So distrustful be ol' Pate, he even spies on his own famly! Let it be nown that I, Bren, cheef bosun on the Black Gull, were a pirate who ne'er turned aginst one o' his own...
MAGIC SCROLLS - A PRIMER
The process of inscribing scrolls with mystic runes is beyond the scope of this primer. Using these enchanted scrolls, however, is a trivial matter. To unleash the power of the spell, simply unroll the parchment. The Runes of Power, and the scroll itself, will be totally consumed by the energies that are released.
Beloved Shamino: Right beloved Sir, I recommend me to thee, greeting thee well and sending thee my blessings. I have to confess and apologize to thee for I have looted the King's private arms. I beg of thee not to condemn me too hastily for I committed that horrible action when the castle was under siege. Danger was everywhere and so were the goblins. Thou wert not here and I had to take action. We need thee at the castle, prithee, when art thou returning? Life without thee is an endless torment. The goblins seemed to be a deliverance more than a threat to me. I am right sorry for this and wish it hath been otherwise. I wait daily for thee to come hither. Faithfully, thy Beatrix
I know I did evil things whilst I was under the control of the Bane. In order to atone for the harm I have caused, I shall sacrifice myself to the Crematorium. If mine ashes can help restore the balance, then I might be partially redeemed for mine evil acts. Farewell, Dupre
Me Map, but I don't need to say that, because if it's anybody but me what's looking at this, I don't want to tell where me treasure is, so read no further, ye dog, lest I leave yer fate to the briny deep! This is dead-reckoning right, but I'm awfully drunk and mebbe I'm holdin' this thing upside-down. 98S,28W 33 Paces past the rock, excludin' that break I took fer drinkin'. 11 Paces east of the whatever that blasted thing is. 30 Paces, I think, because I was staggerin' about a bit and I stumbled and lost me count a couple o' times, past whatever me stinkin' map says is supposed to be there; I was sober when I drew that beauty. Unless this is me what's readin' this, I hope the treasure's already gone, ye thief!
I have paid thee -- and paid thee well -- to fulfill the contract. Only fools would pay a great sum for an easy task... And I am no fool. Remember, I have chosen thee because thou art the best weapon available to me at the moment. Make no mistake, the Avatar is not an easy target and certainly the most challenging thou hast ever had. Dispose of the Avatar quickly. Destroy this note. No evidence should be left behind thee. X
My dearest, I beg thy forgiveness for my behavior last night. This difficulty with the Avatar hath disrupted my performance, but I assure thee that once we have taken care of , I will hold a private celebration thou shalt not soon forget...
As they lower me down,
To this hole in the ground,
I scream for help,
But they can't hear a sound.
I scratch on this lid,
My fingers they bleed.
They plant me deep,
Like an evil seed.
Now my bones decompose,
My flesh doth rot,
But soon I will rise,
And torture the lot.
Right Heartily and Beloved Father, I recommend me to thee, letting thee know I am doing exceedingly well! Though I miss thee nd my beloved sister, Alyssand, I am so excited. I have been learning so much magic, thou wouldst not believe thine eyes. I am good. Honest. I swear to thee, that's what the Mages here are saying. 'Tis fun, but frightening as well. I am a dedicated student, Father, thou canst be proud of me. And Alyssand, too. I miss thee so much. Thou shouldst visit. The Palace is a sight to see. Gorgeous! These Mages are incredible! Learning how to be a Mage is not easy, but I love it as much as I miss thee. Thou art on my mind everyday. I hope to see thee soon. Eternal love, Freli
To thee, fine warrior, who hast made it this far: If thou seekest to be a Knight of Monitor, thou must be willing to shed thy blood for the defense of others. To prove thy resolve, take this claw and use it upon thy person. Let thy blood be thine oath.
-- Shmed, Master of Knight's Test
To thee, fine warrior, who hast made it this far: If thou seekest to be a Knight of Monitor, thou must mingle thy blood with the ashes of our ancient foe, Gurnordir the goblin king. Thy blood pledges vengeance against our enemies, and will give thee thy totem animal, the key to thy soul.
-- Shmed, Master of Knight's Test
NOTE FROM CANTRA
I love thee, father. I hope thou dost kill more than thy share of goblins. Come home soon. Cantra
Note to myself for further exploration of the North: I seem to have lost the Serpent Tooth I took from the Mad Mage. Need to check the area near the savages, as that was where I last remember having it with me. Frigidazzi
What follows is an excerpt from my translation of an ancient manuscript. The translation is crude since I do not as yet fully understand the Serpent Runes, but I think thou wilt find this very exciting. Until we meet again,
-- Erstam, thy devoted servant
I write this in great haste, for I can already hear the forces of Order breaching the keep walls. I know not how this missive will survive to reach the outside lands, or for that matter, future generations. Mine only hope is that this speedily-drafted work will offer record of our hallowed philosophy. For our culture to have any chance of enduring the ages, someone, somewhere must find this. Please, reader, I beseech thee, spread the word of our peoples. Release the spirit of our word and learn from the wisdom of the past.
FILBERCIO'S LOVE LETTERS
My darling Rotoluncia, I know thy feelings about my letters, but I cannot help myself -- I think of thee day and night! Thou art the light of my miserable existence. Thou art like the sun, blinding all who doth gaze upon thy beauty. Thy lips are more luscious than the sweetest fruit. Thy skin is smoother than the most glorious rose. Thou art the essence of womanhood; none can surpass thee! Please, I beg of thee, say that thou wilt be mine! Anxiously awaiting thy reply, Filbercio
My darling Rotoluncia, I know that thou dost love me as much as I love thee. Let us forget all of the intrigue that plagues this city and flee to the mainland! I can have built for us a modest love nest where we may spend the rest of our days in bliss! Thy servant, Filbercio
My darling Rotoluncia, I tried to sleep after our dalliance this night, yet I cannot. The feel of thy silken hair and the sweet taste of thy lips linger. Oh, my darling, I cannot wait until I see thee again. I feel that I shall go mad if I cannot make thee mine! Thy lover, Filbercio
Rotoluncia, I saw thee staring at that pig Torrissio at the banquet last night and I know now that thine affections shown toward me were false. Thou art a cow and a shabby sorceress as well! Do not try to pretend otherwise, for I know the truth now. I want nothing more from thee ever again! Filbercio
LETTER FROM POMGIRDUN
Marsten, Lord of Monitor: The destruction of thine enemies is certain. My brave Goblin warriors have already plundered the Fawn Tower, and the Wolves which guarded it. Next, we shall strike the Bull Tower, and the Bears which serve there. Hail to victory! Soon, the Wolves and Bears shall cease to trouble thee. Then Monitor and the Goblins shall live in peace, and thou shalt be King of the Monitorians. Do not let this messenger fall into the hands of our enemies. -- Pomdirgun, Chieftain of the Goblin Horde
LETTER FROM MARSTEN
Honor be to thee, Pomdirgun, Chieftain of the Goblin Horde: Letting thee know that all of our plans in these parts fare well. I have learned from the Wolves that they plan to launch a patrol in the early morning hours of the seventh day of the new moon. If thou dost ambush the patrol, then it shall be easy for thee to overrun Fawn Tower itself. The Wolves shall be critically weakened, and the City of Fawn shall quake in fear! But if thou canst, spare the life of the leader of the patrol. She is a favorite of my liege. We beg of thee not to let this messenger fall into the hands of our enemies, the Wolves. -- Spektor, writing on behalf of Lord Marsten
Honor be to thee, Pomdirgun, Chieftain of the Goblin Horde: Letting thee know that all of our plans in these parts fare well. Having learned from our successful experience with Fawn Tower, we have decided to withdraw, on the fourth night of the coming moon, as many troops as possible from Bull Tower. The Bears shall be marching westward on the plains, and shall be easily slaughtered. Then thou canst take the Tower, and plunder the Inn of the Sleeping Bull. We want to remind thee of the supreme importance not to let this messenger fall into the hands of our enemies, the Wolves and the Bears. -- Marsten, King of Monitor
LETTER IN FREEDOM
Old man, if thou dost truly wish to survive Freedom, but dost feel that thou canst live to tell the tale of Lorthondo's final test, thou hast only to serve in my slave pit. Tend to my pets and I shall personally show thee to the door and to the blue skies of daylight and freedom. Guard my nightmare and care for him well. He is a treasure and a daemon in one. Take him through the teleporter once each day and let him feel the grass beneath his hooves. Take care, for one strike of his hoof could kill an old fool such as thou. Be thou sure to keep Sabrina from him. I fear that she doth frighten him. I find it strange that such a wild, untamed creature such as that should be frightened of her touch. Then again, mayhaps I can fathom why.
Lastly, take great care of my small furry prize. Do not be fooled by its diminutive size, it hath taken the lives of many a foolhardy man who dared to approach thinking it might make a tasty morsel. Thou shouldst treat it with as much respect as thou wouldst bestow upon me. If thou dost not, either one of us could end thy miserable existence. In the supply room, thou wilt find a year's worth of carrots for Buggs. Feed him but one per day. Place the carrots upon his golden plate -- 'tis the only way that he will feed. He is of royal lineage -- a born predator. If thou dost not, thou mayest find that thou art his next meal. Serve me well, old man, and thou mayest live to see the outside of this prison some year...
To me fellow trappers: Greetings to ye. I will be heading north when ye be reading this message. Make sure ye guard the cave and protect our goods well. If I find out ye let some ne'er-do-well steal our goods, I'll personally skin every one of ye bastards, hang yer hide on me walls, and eat yer black hearts for supper! By the way, don't be lookin fer the wonderful glass sword that appeared after the last storm, for I took it with me. I be headin' back to the North. This fancy sword should be mighty handy for slaying some dragon or other fearsome beast... Slaughter a beast in mine honor. - Hazard
I, Purlonio, merchant of Moonshade, am about to tell my tale. Back in the early days of the Sosarian colonization of Serpent Isle, I had accumulated -- I have to tell thee -- a massive fortune in the city. After a most unusual dream, I called upon an enchantress for help. She was expensive, but of good and right advice. Drogeni, the Wizard, warned me that I was about to lose all of my cherished wealth in the near future and that there was nothing she could do to prevent this from happening. I thought I could outsmart Fate...
I took all of my possessions, all of my gold, in a ship to this cave in the far northern reaches for safe storage. I hired Drogeni to create a series of tunnels in the rear of the cave so that a magic map would be required and no one could survive without it. Thereupon, I had the wizard conjure an Ice Dragon to guard my riches. Once this was done, we sailed back to the southern plains where I rid myself of the enchantress so that no one would ever know the secret to my riches. Unfortunately, upon the death of the wizard, the magical map disintegrated. Fearing that the prophecy had come true, I went back to the cave and tried to find the route to my riches. To this day, I have not found my treasure.
In my life as a criminal, as they call me, I have had many a task to overcome. None before was as hard as the ones I am about to describe. This is done so that thou mayest save thy time and thy life. Of all the traps I had to overcome, the most interesting ones were the spear traps. First of all, thou needest to enter the caretaker's room. After many an observation and many more days than thou wouldst think, I discovered the routine of the caretaker. He usually is on patrol during the whole afternoon. He makes his rounds at noon and midnight. In his storehouse, thou shouldst find barrels and chests. Rummaging through the barrels I found a hidden lever. That lever, I came to realize later, turns off the spear traps in the corridor. Make good use of that, my friend. Blessings upon thee.
To My Good Brethren and Comrades In Arms, After many long, arduous and harrowing adventures I have collected this considerable treasure. While this fair measure of wealth would be enough to keep a man happy for the rest of his days, I cannot possess it without remembering my good fellow knights -- many to whom I owe my very life. It is to thee that I leave this bountiful reward. It is secured by the soundest means that I currently have at my disposal. To obtain it, one need only use THE KEY. Ever-faithful, Pendar-
Hark, adventurer, and read these words well. Many know me as Gannt the Bard, singer of songs, and writer of fine poetry for all to enjoy. Though many know of me, most do not know of my life, or at least of how I came to this end. Read, and read well, dear adventurer. If thou hast any justice in thine heart, or any pity in thy soul, then thou wilt seek vengeance for mine untimely death. If thou, hearty adventurer, hast any sense of duty to avenge evils, then thou must seek out the craven and cowardly Captain Stokes of the rusty old bucket 'The Mustang' and exact just payment, for alas, since I am not of this world, I cannot.
One day as I was at the Inn of Sleeping Bull, plucking my lute, not bothering anyone, but practicing my trade, in walked the swine, Captain Stokes, billowing foul fog upon us with his ill-smelling fag. Seeing that no one in the fair establishment could stomach the pungent smell of his tobacco-like rot, I dared to ask him to put it out, for the sake of all our healths. He stared at me, then turned a blind eye. I went back to strumming my lute, 'til again the smell began to bring tears to mine eyes. Again I asked him, begged him to stop, but again he turned away.
Finally, as gentle ladies began to leave for air, and good children began to cough and cry from the Captain's reeking root, I tried once more. This time, though, he answered with the blade of his dagger. He thrust well through my lute and into mine entrails, stuffing it deep into my belly. He grinned and twisted the blade, not once nor twice, but thrice! Being but a humble bard and quite mortal, I had little choice but to expire. I fell in a pool of mine own blood, mine hand strumming my last chord as I fell.
I ask thee, I beg of thee to give me peace, and exact vengeance for my death. Before thee is the key to his rotten hovel which thou mayest find to the west of Fawn, above the forest of Knight's Test. Many ill-begotten instruments doth he hide in his house of ill-wares. Beware them! Please, noble adventurer, exact justice for my death, and exact the toll from that evil Captain Stokes. Do this and let my spirit rest peacefully... Gannt...
THE ART OF WINEMAKING
The art of winemaking is not a difficult trade; indeed, making fine wine is the simplest of tasks. There are those laymen, however, who doth think making wine is some great secret. Nothing could be further from the truth! Sorcery hath made the process of making wine very easy, but sorcery cannot make the wine taste good. To make great wine, thou needest but one commodity -- great grapes! That is the secret to making a truly great vintage, one that shall be remembered by all who partake.
Dear Avatar, All of the portents indicate that this Quest to Find Batlin shall severely tax thine abilities. Consequently, I have ordered the armouries of the kingdom opened in order to equip thee and thy good companions. Thou shalt be given these things --
The Glass Sword, which can slay any foe (but which is destroyed in the act of such slaughter).
The MageBane, a fabled weapon which thou didst recover in thy previous encounter with Batlin. It steals the magic from sorcerers who oppose thee.
The Daemon Sword which thou didst obtain at the Forge of Virtue. It is truly a terrible weapon, but thou wilt surely need it. Beware the Daemon within!
Rudyom's Wand, which doth make blackrock to explode.
The strange Serpent of Blackrock, which thou didst obtain from netherworlds during thy most recent adventure. Its powers are unknown, but those who gave it thee promised that it would be useful to thee soon.
A spellbook, to which hath been added every spell that could be speedily obtained.
For thee to wear, a set of armour of the best enchantments: breastplate, helm, and gauntlets.
For Iolo the Bard: a crossbow, which he doth wield so well.
For noble Dupre: a Magic Shield which I have prepared for him.
For Shamino the Ranger: a Magic Bow, and a goodly supply of Burst Arrows, which he shall no doubt use to good purpose.
As well as such common items as torches, a pair of swamp boots, a good dagger, and much food for an extended journey. Travel in safety, and may the villain Batlin soon fall into thine hands! Also, I hope that thou shalt soon find Iolo's lost wife, the goodwoman Gwenno. -- Lord British, thy liege.
The list of items which we found ourselves with after the storm:
Prepared by Shamino.
With additional notes by Dupre.
And further comments by Iolo, since being freed from that vile Monitorian prison cell!
A pinecone from the northern woods.
A pair of moonsilk stockings, such as the enchantress Columna doth wear.
A funerary urn containing the Ashes of the Dead, taken from the Caves of Monitor.
The missing apparatus from the laboratory of Erstam, the so-called Mad Mage.
A pumice rock from the fiery depths of some dungeon.
The engagement ring belonging to Alyssand of Fawn.
The elegant fur cap which Filbercio the MageLord purchased for his favorite, the sorceress Frigidazzi.
The well-worn slippers belonging to Devra, the mistress of the Inn of the Sleeping Bull.
The ceremonial breastplate of the Priestess of Beauty, who is Kylista of Fawn. A very attractive lady, I should add.
A penguin egg, such as may be found in the ice fields of the distant north.
A grisly brush made from the bones of some poor victim of the Goblins. How foul!
A bottle of that excellent vintage of wine sold by the Rangers of Moonshade. Why, I should sample some now...
Jeweled coins from the City of Beauty, Fawn.
The skull of a great mountain bear.
The severed hand from one of the Mad Mage's experiments. It is not dead, yet not living -- it doth not decay.
One of the common shields used by the Pikemen of Monitor.
The dangerous mineral known as Stoneheart, which is used to produce the illegal reagent Bloodspawn.
Dearest Avatar, I would like to congratulate thee from the bottom of mine heart, on obtaining thy spellbook. That was not an easy task. Thou didst accomplish it most admirably. Also, I have been told that thou art asking questions about me. I think I would be the best person from whom to obtain the ultimate answers to thy questions. That is, the ones concerning myself. For all those reasons and so many more, I would like for thee to come to my manor. Frigidazzi.
Dearest Avatar, Love and Honor be to thee. Letting thee know that I cannot wait to see thee again. I cannot think of time far from thy strong person and handsome body. Thy broad shoulders and great arms are such an open invitation for a woman like me. Thine eyes, Avatar, so piercing yet so full of love. I could feel that love during thy last visit. I beg of thee, come visit me tonight. Thou dost remember where my manor is, dost thou not? I have a very rare spell (a true tongue-twister) I could teach thee and thou wouldst be the only one enjoying that treasured spell of mine. Once more, I beg of thee, do come tonight and do come alone. Thy love, Frigidazzi.
Dearest Avatar, A thousand apologies is what I present thee with. I am the one who caused thee to be arrested and I cannot forgive myself. Thou hauntest my dreams. Memories of thee flash in front of mine eyes and the only way I can solve this nightmare is by presenting thee with a very special gift. I beg of thee to accept these Serpent Earrings, a token of mine affection for thee, Avatar. Frigidazzi.
Dearest Avatar, Love and Honor be to thee. Letting thee know that I cannot wait to see thee again. I cannot think of time far from thy strong and good-hearted person. Thine eyes, Avatar, so piercing yet so full of love. I could feel that love during thy last visit. I beg of thee, come visit me tonight. I have a very rare spell I could teach thee and thou wouldst be the only one learning it. Once more, I beg of thee, do come tonight and do come alone. Sincerely thy, Frigidazzi.
Fedabiblio, this is a message to let thee know that all is not well. I desperately need thine help. I beg of thee to answer my call. Thou must needs use the Crystal Ball. Gustacio.
CAPTAIN HAWK'S TREASURE
To the right good Avatar, Thou must not think thy quest is done. For I offer ye a great challenge. To ye I leave my treasure -- if thou canst find it. Within this booty lies a Serpent Crown, waiting for ye to discover its hiding place. Captain Hawk.
Avatar, I have in my possession something extremely valuable which would be even more vital to thee. Thou couldst make good use of it, believe me. If thou art interested (and thou shouldst be), come to the cabin in the forest. Stefano.
From Flindo To Torrissio:
Dearest and most Powerful Mage, I recommend me to thee as well as the bearer of this message. This letter of introduction entitles the bearer to a chat with thee. Trust thy righteous friend, Torrissio, the bearer is worth thy time. I thank thee for thine understanding. Treat the bearer the way thou wouldst treat me. With a right good will, sincerely thy, Flindo
To Melino and Columna:
Dearest and most Powerful Mages, I recommend me to thee as well as the bearer of this message. This letter of introduction entitles the bearer to a chat with you. Trust thy righteous friend, the bearer is worth your time. I thank you for your understanding. Treat the bearer the way you would treat me. With a right good will, faithfully, Flindo
I have made the most wonderful discovery about the Comb that I took from that empty-headed ruler of Fawn! No longer shall I be forced to content myself with the bumbling attentions of Melino, my pitiful excuse for a husband! For upon using the Comb on myself, I have become beautiful and desirable! No one will ever guess now that Mosh and I are twins! Now I may use my wits for better things... like the Adept Torrissio! Columna
Know, adventurer, that to proceed onward thou must pass three puzzles. At the first test, throw two down. At the second test: throw three down to get eight. At the third test: throw four down to get twelve. If the levers are not in the correct position when the button is depressed, thou wilt surely be destroyed. Aram-Dol
MY LIFE AND MY BELIEFS
I do not have much time left. I hope it will be enough time to write everything down, before THEY come to take me. And THEY will come... I came here to this Temple full of love and inspiration. All I wanted was to read the writings of artistic truth. The wise men would talk to me and I wanted to listen to them. But then it happened... I did everything right, I followed the rules, but I still got confused. After fasting for two days in the meditation room and staring at the red and black floor, I was still waiting for a sign. A sign which would show me the right path to follow. And finally, I could rejoice. I found my calling and I was taken to the Pool of Dedication.
But then the soldiers came and destroyed everything. They killed the Great Hierophant of Chaos in the garden. Somehow the people could save the Sceptre of Enlightenment. They were able to hide it beneath the lectern... I hope for the safety of my brother Sethys, for he doth have the key to the Altar of Tolerance. The Great Hierophant had entrusted him with the key, moments before the soldiers arrived... I cannot hope for mine own safety, for I am sitting here now, awaiting my death. The Order fanatics will come soon and with them my death is arriving...
FOLLOWERS OF ORDER
True follower of Order do not despair! The Hierophant hath led us to a new world via passage through the Wall of Lights! Though thou wert not here to make the passage, fear not. Some day thou too wilt join us. If thou wishest to enter into the Temple of the Hierophant thou must merely place the symbols of Order upon the pedestal indicated by the plaque. Once the three artifacts have been placed one at a time, the door will swing wide.
If thou art a true disciple thou wilt have read the scrolls that contain the words of wisdom that thou needest to decipher the plaque's meaning. The sacred Library of the Hierophant shall remain secure from those who art not of Order. For if thou art not true, thou wilt never enter into the Hierophant's temple. Behold! Thou art worthy to cross to the Temple of Balance! Within my pages lie the bridges to the great chasms. When thou dost reach the great pillars, stand between them and read my words once more.
Day 24: Still looking for the miser's treasure. Fair wind and weather all day. The men are as excited as ever. Plundered a passing ship, appropriated some gold and wine. Lost one man in the fight.
Day 31: Very stormy weather and worse at night. No encounter.
Day 32: Uneventful except for repairs from last night's storm.
Day 40: This hideout is not easy to find. The men are becoming nervous.
Day 41: Ice filling the horizon! Temperature hath dropped. We are freezing. The men complain they have never seen such weather this time of the year. Burning more and more oil to stay warm. Our provisions are diminishing rapidly.
Day 45: Strange how ice magnifies all. Leaden sky is upon us. On the word of a pirate, we will pierce through this as a sword through soft bellies! A day of dead calm.
Day 54: Was forced to hang a brace of men who stole some food from the cook. The weather combined with our disappointing search for the miser's base hath created an unbearable atmosphere. Ice is surrounding us and it feels as though we are imprisoned in this place.
Day 55: We had a storm last night. Two men were found frozen on the quarter-deck. One man missing. He most likely went overboard due to the dense and damp fog, in that cold, inky black night. This treasure hunt is costing us too many men, and might cost us even more...
Day 56: We are wedged in by an icefloe. Food is running low. Frozen land all around us, the ship is trapped. And so are we.
Day 57: Much arguing about rations. We are down to our last portion. We are but a few survivors, bundled in our rags. The terror of the seas, HA! We would not scare a mouse these days.
Day 58: Finishing each other is what we have been doing for the last twenty-four hours. Such a waste! 'Tis only the two of us now and a portion of food, a single portion of food. Yet I shall not give in!
Day 17 -- Everyone is overjoyed that we have actually reached the northern marches, including myself. I look forward to setting camp and finding treasure!
Day 22 -- We were forced to kill a pair of wolves near the encampment.
Day 28 -- The men are upset that no gold hath been found... However, I remain confident of our venture.
Day 40 -- Finding more wolves than gold.
Day 41 -- Gold. At last!
Day 45 -- Women and children are finding gold nuggets. How exciting! This is fabulous! 'Tis finally paying.
Day 69 -- More have been eaten alive. Wolves. More wolves. Men behaving like wolves. Worse than wolves. They are after our gold. For them, life is suddenly worthless. How could they value a nugget more than its true worth?
Day 108 -- No one can be trusted. Who will be the next target? Hopefully, I will survive and my gold will not be stolen.
Day 121 -- Something horrible happened to Hamlin. He was found with his throat slit and, of course, his gold was missing. This worthless gold that he hath painstakingly gathered killed him. So, this is what it hath come to... Goldthirsty and bloodthirsty bastards.
Day 127 -- I have finally found a vein of gold, from whence I retrieved a small quantity with my pick.
Day 148-149 -- I lay awake on my bedroll all night until dawn, cannot seem to be able to sleep. Too many angry thoughts disturbing my mind. At daybreak, I rose in a state of exhaustion.
Day 167 -- More men are fighting amongst themselves. I am so weary. Is this what I wanted? The encampment is split into factions. Now, I will cease writing and rest by the fire, gathering much needed strength for tomorrow.
Day 183 -- Draygan betrayed us. Who would have thought it? I think bitterly of his treachery. The ship is burnt. We are doomed. The howling is getting closer...
HAZARD'S LEDGER - PELTS
Sales by customer
Expressed in monetari
Glendor, 3 pelts - 90
Miri, 1 pelt - 50
Tranch, 6 pelts - 180
Falco, 3 pelts - 90 Autumn
Cellia of Monitor, 4 pelts - 88
Voldin of Fawn, 2 pelts - 90
Tornaldo of Moonshade, 3 pelts - 1035
Yelinda of Fawn, 4 pelts - 138
Jorvin of Fawn, 1 pelt - 34
Marsten of Monitor, 4 pelts - 88
Brendann of Monitor, 2 pelts - 69
Fedabiblio of Moonshade, 1 pelt - 34
Cellia of Monitor, 2 pelts - 63
Torrissio of Moonshade, 4 pelts - 140
Cellia of Monitor, 1 pelt - 35
Karl of Monitor, 1 pelt - 25
Garth of Fawn, 2 pelts - 79
Marnok, 1 pelt - 35
BRIGGIO'S BOOK OF ASTONISHING THINGS
A compiled volume of items of interest both magical and mundane
by Briggio of Moonshade
In this volume, compiled for easy reference, are some of the many fascinating constructions I have found during my researches. These items range from interesting uses for mundane items to fascinating miscarriages of magic.
Wands: A trio of terrible weaponry. The three identified varieties of magical wand all seem to have been made for the express purpose of changing the combat-weak spellcaster into a battle-ready automaton. And, for those with the ability to keep them from losing their potency (no small feat of magic, mind thee, but simple for anyone capable of crafting the wand in the first place), they are perhaps the most formidable weapons of their size. Fire Wand: This wand releases a bolt of flaming death. According to all known texts on the subject, the carnage was called "amazing."
Lightning Wand: The effect of a bolt of lightning as it bursts forth from the wand is as devastating as its counterpart, the fire wand. However, according to one of its proponents, "the corpses look and smell much less offensive."
Magician's Wand: While only slightly more lethal than the typical bow, this wand is rendered quite effective due to two interesting facets: Its damage is of a most magical nature and more than powerful against monsters with a predilection for challenging mages, and, it NEVER ceases to function. If thou art interested in power and duration, this is the wand for thee.
FireDoom Staff: Lethality itself. This staff, which hurls exploding fireballs that actually seek out a target, is perhaps the most lethal of all magical weapons created in the era of human-gargoyle cooperation. But, as with most of the more powerful magic weapons, its limited life means it may fail thee at the worst of times.
Glass Swords : A historical legacy of death. These single-use swords will almost always kill any creature in a single blow, but they are seldom useful for a second opponent.
Other Miscellaneous Magical Weaponry. As a general case, any person with a modicum of magical talent can identify magical weapons, armour and other apparatus by their pulsating glow. Often, however, the color indicates even more about the item than merely the existence of the enchantment. For example, a green field often denotes a poisoning weapon.
Burst Arrows: An arrow of myriad targets. The arrow functions as a normal arrow, but upon impact, explodes into a thousand flying shards of death.
Venom Dagger : The assassin's tool. This shimmering green dagger is actually the enchanted tooth of a poisonous sea serpent, joined to the hilt of a normal dagger. Its envenomed blade injects a slow poison into its victim, but it frequently breaks. It is the perfect assassination weapon (see Alagner's History, Assassination of Baron Johann IV (page 54)).
Stone Harpy: Unnatural beast. The stone harpy is the creation of the twisted mind of the magus. It is reputed to be magically triggered by the close approach of any creature.
DRINKING SONGS DUPRE TAUGHT ME
VOLUME ONE - MAIDS IN TRADES
Come all of ye trades and ye tradesmen,
and let ye be wise that are fools.
But remember each day that your trade would decay
if a maid did not look to your tools.
The blacksmith, the smokey old blacksmith,
'tis known as a jolly old fellow.
But his iron would burn old, and his fire would grow cold,
If a maid did not blow up the bellows.
And then there's the candlestick maker,
he works up the tallow so quick.
But his craft would be marred, and the works not get hard,
If a maid did not hold up the wick.
The ploughman, the jolly old ploughman,
he follows the plow in the silt.
But 'tis ne'er a clod turned, if a maid had not learned him,
To drive the blade up to the hilt.
The brewer, the jolly old brewer,
he maketh a very fine ale.
But his brew would be waste, if there's no maid to taste,
And make sure that it doesn't grow stale.
So come all ye journeymen, craftsmen,
and all that are apprenticed to trade.
For 'tis ne'er a screw or a nut would be turned,
If it weren't for the help of a maid!
DRINKING SONGS DUPRE TAUGHT ME
VOLUME TWO - ROLL THY LEG OVER
If all the young ladies were little white rabbits,
I'd be a hare, and teach them bad habits!
Roll thy leg over, roll thy leg over,
Roll thy leg over the man in the moon.
If all the young ladies were bricks in a pile,
I'd be a mason and lay them in style!
If all the young ladies were cocks in the hay,
I'd be a hen, and I'd have a good lay.
If all the young ladies were bats in a steeple,
and I were a bat, there'd be more bats than people.
If all the young ladies were bells in a tower,
and I were a clapper, I'd ring every hour!
If all the young ladies were doors of stout wood,
and I were a knocker, I'd bang them up good!
If all the young ladies were stones in a mill,
and I were some grain between them, I'd spill...
If all the young ladies were coconuts sweet,
I'd suck out their juices and chew on their meat.
If all the young ladies were birds in their nests,
I'd be an egg and lie under their breasts.
VETRON'S GUIDE TO WEAPONS AND ARMOUR
THEIR EFFECTIVENESS AND VALUE
Here are listed, for easy comparison, various weapons and their effects upon opponents. Consider them to be rated on a scale of 1 to 100, with the lower valued weapons being less effective upon thine adversary:
Axe, two-handed: 10
Blowgun: 1, causes enemy to fall asleep and be poisoned
Hammer, two-handed: 9
Main gauche: 2
Powder keg: 16
Sword, two-handed: 11
Throwing axe: 4
Armour and shields and their protection effectiveness are described here to permit the informed soldier the opportunity to select the armour best suited to his or her fighting style:
Chain armour: 2
Chain coif: 2
Chain leggings: 2
Crested helm: 3
Curved heater: 3
Great helm: 4
Kidney belt: 1
Leather armour: 1
Leather boots: 1
Leather collar: 1
Leather gloves: 1
Leather helm: 1
Leather leggings: 1
Plate armour: 4
Plate leggings: 3
Scale armour: 2
Spiked shield: 2
Wooden shield: 2
Here is a list of the better-known enchanted weapons:
Magic arrow: 4
Magic axe: 8, can be thrown
Magic bow: 12
Magic sword: 7, very accurate
Glass sword: 127, breaks
Magic armour: 5,
Magic gauntlets: 3,
Magic gorget: 4,
Magic helm: 5,
Magic leggings: 4,
Magic shield: 4
THE ART OF FIELD DRESSING
Though I personally advocate the use of healing herbs and more cleanly bandaging environments, the steps told in this treatise will suffice until better healing care becomes available. Follow these steps carefully, and thou wilt have no trouble forming a reliable, if not perfect, way to prevent serious blood-loss. Remember, however, that there is no care as good as clean sheets, a sturdy bed, and proper attention!
As long as one doth have shears, cloth, and a conscious mind, thou wilt have little fear of bleeding to death on the corpse-littered fields of battle. Simply cut the cloth into strips and bandages. Quickly placing the center of the bandage over the wound, wrap the strip around and around the bleeding area. As the cloth begins to soak with blood, it will combine with the natural healing aspects of the body to staunch the flow of blood and to quicken the healing process. In no time, thou wilt be ready to travel again (though I advise this travel be to the house of a competent healer!).
The observations enclosed herein are based on mine experiments. Reader, for thy sake and thy thirst for knowledge, I have decided to provide thee with the following accounts. Long ago, when I accidentally landed on this world, the primitive sentients living here erected a temple to me and my 'chariot.' But they were boring and impetuous! Soon, the cats emerged as a more likeable group than any other creatures. Thereafter, I was to begin some experiments on them. Quite successful indeed. My liking for these cats caused me to contemplate how to widen and strengthen their intelligences. Thereupon, I set out to modify the Power Generator. Thus began the experiments.
The Generator provided the felines with a more obdurate life energy, one which was most difficult to suppress -- the cats die, yet with stubborn energy return once again to life! The side effect is that strange glow which surrounds them. After several manipulations I was successful in increasing their lives up to nine times. Thus no one would be able to truly defeat them until their ninth life. The source of all extra life resides in the Power Generator. Dear reader, make of mine experiments what thou wilt.
This book belongs to Teldrono The Mage
For thee, bright reader, I have been deep in the heart of darkness in search of the Way. The Way to reverse or even negate the effects of Bloodspawn hath been my quest. Stoneheart is also on my mind, thou art right, so right... By the way, dear reader, if thou shouldst know how to obtain some, contact me immediately. I thank thee in advance for thy kindness.
Let us begin, for I am losing track of what thou art interested in. Thou art not afraid of dying, art thou? Well, then I shall proceed and tell thee what all this truly concerns. The more I would experiment with it, the closer I would come to success. That was mine intuition. Well, I must admit it did not work. Bloodspawn is bound to have some side effects. I do not know which yet. The heart of the matter, if I may say so dear reader, is that thou art about to take possession of a secret. Darkness may fall upon thee at the very same time. I recommend thou beest extremely careful, a fatal accident is easily triggered when manipulating those forces.
In the heart of the mountain, I found the red-orange mineral. I collected samples and, after many a transformation, I turned it into the Forbidden Reagent. Thou art certain, dearest reader, that thou fearest death no more? I want to make it clear this is nothing like what thou hast seen before... Many a mage's life was taken away. How did I turn it into a powerful magical reagent, thou askest? Yes, indeed, how? Oh! I remember, thou hast only to crush it into a fine powder. Then, thou dost combine the powder with fresh human blood. 'Tis just so!
This powerful reagent, too powerful for my fellow mages who were fools enough to lose their lives, enables thee to create some spells. It might make possible the spells to flay men's minds, or set swords into dancing death, or to decimate entire cities. Mass death. Well, think of it, thou mayest be able to make matter disintegrate, and even call lightning to thy service, if I recall correctly mine experiments. These are the powers of Bloodspawn.
Dear reader, thou art now ready to experiment, or ready to lose thy life. Remember how careful thou shouldst be when carrying it. Finding safe means to avoid the Bloodspawn's side effects is of primary concern. Herein, I did give thee all thou wilt ever need to know. Thou mightest want to be prepared for fits. Experimenting with Bloodspawn and Stoneheart will trigger numerous disorders. Many a time did I attempt to delay the onset of the fits, all in vain, alas.
The future doth not seem to be a long shining path. I even wonder how long I will remain sane. Thou art the reason why I wrote such a book, dear reader, it is for thee to read and for thee to take our place once I be gone. This powerful knowledge painfully extracted from the heart of darkness must outlive us. Thou shalt continue!
OBSERVATIONS OF PAIN
by MageLord Filbercio
We have always thought of "pain" as the unpleasant reaction of a being's nervous system to certain environmental stimuli. But through my recent studies, I believe that I have come to understand pain as a state of mind, rather than a simple physical reaction. It is very easy to inflict physical pain on someone. A casual look about my laboratory will prove that. Iron maidens, thumbscrews, and racks are all useful for this purpose, but what should be done for the person who can literally accept and even ignore physical pain? In this case, a test of one's mental faculties shall be necessary. Research thy subject carefully, and discover what tears into his soul. Understand his psyche, and use what thou dost discover to help augment the physical torture.
We will look now at a few examples. Suppose thou dost want to cause a harpsichordist pain. Thumbscrews are the obvious choice, but why not add to his experience by playing the blissful tune "Sea Shanty"? This should produce some very good results. Similarly, if the subject is a writer, strapping him to "the rack" and reading from the dismal "Sir Trout's Plot Guide" will have him writhing. Throughout these pages, thou wilt find even more insidious ways to produce pain. Read them well, and thou wilt never be disappointed with the results.
POETRY FOR THE ROMANTIC LUTE
by Sir D. Dey
I gave my love a chicken
that had no bone
I gave my love a cherry
that had no stone
I wrote my love a story
that had no end...
Decade 1: This is a new era for me. This newfound land is marvelous! A great destiny awaits our people and thee, Erstam! So much to learn from this land, I am overcome with joy. So much to learn about its fauna and flora, I must start early in the morning. Tonight sleep is not to be found. I must go out, explore and meet the creatures of the night.
2nd Year of Third Decade: Last night I decided to explore the catacombs of the city. I left as fast as I went in. This is not for a man of mine age. The place was filled with creatures unknown to me at this point. My mind doth not know how to describe them. The best description I can conjure is to say that they were some sort of monster, half-man half-rat.
4th Decade, 1st Year: I am still amazed at the variety and abundance of wildlife. Thy grip on nature is always fragile at first, Erstam, remember? As often as not, I would run into a monster or an unknown species. I vividly remember, dear reader, the strange cat I encountered tonight. It was eerie. The cat glowed like a spell. I left in great haste fearing for my life. Such a cat must have a strange effect upon us. I wonder what deranged mind created such a danger.
5th Decade, Third Year: Found some ruins not too far from here. Interesting discovery of a jawbone and large fangs. A relic from an ancient culture?
7th Decade, 4th Year: Today, I encountered a strange white-haired creature from the icy lands; it seemed to be a cross between Man and Beast. Found the clue to how the Ophidians stepped from place to place without travelling through the space between. The answer lies in the Void!
2nd Year of the Eighth Decade: That was the most frightening time so far. Dearest reader, thou wilt not believe me, but let me assure thee of the veracity of this tale. I was wandering in the forest at the northeast edge of town, when I heard this stentorian noise, this growl. I was petrified. Directly in front of me, a terrifying predator, the beast stood erect on its feet, towering well over mine height. Its huge claws and sharp teeth sent a chill down my poor old spine. I still shiver thinking of it when writing these words. The creature lunged for my backpack, tore it asunder and devoured all of the honey jars I had saved for the outing.
6th Year of Eighth Decade: Those jealous mages stole some secrets and powers from me. They want the Teeth, I am certain of it! I shall have to take up residence on some isle, where they cannot find me...
3rd Year of Ninth Decade: I stood all night working on a few formulas. Dawn already. What a chill bleak morning. Need to throw more wood in the fire.
4th Year of Ninth Decade: Today, icy blew the winds from beyond the Frozen Lands. If this lasts I will have to make more dried meat. Food is low. Need more firewood.
6th Year of Ninth Decade: The day passed rather rapidly, uneventfully.
8th Year of the Ninth Decade: What a beautiful sunrise! I can almost taste the salt breeze from the sea. How invigorating!
A SHORT TREATISE ON COMBAT TACTICS & HABILIMENTS OF WAR
Trusty and well-beloved adventurer, I greet thee well and thank thee for reading this short treatise. Herein, combat tactics will be described for thy benefit in setting forth, dearest adventurer. Thou wilt learn how to read a book and how to fight intelligently in our worlds.
Thy safety is important for the worlds are vast enough for thee to roam freely about. Restless warrior, I know thou hast oft crisscrossed the land and oft the swamps, so think how easy a prey an injured man would be for the creatures who inhabit these realms.
The basic rule of safety in combat and in unknown territories is not to think of thyself as over-mighty. Thou mayest be witty and subtle in thy speech, but thou must be even more alert and aware of thy combat environment. Adapt to thine opponent, to the weather and to the terrain.
Know thyself, know thine opponent. Thou shalt know thy limits. Thou shalt identify as quickly as possible what kind of creature thou art faced with so that thou canst use the most appropriate strategy.
For example, know that herbivores will flee quite oft. On the other hand, carnivorous creatures attack the weakest opponent. Some creatures will attack at random or toward the weakest party member. Thou shouldst expect militiamen and guards to use tactically accurate strategies. The weakest member will be attacked, flanking will be used, as well as tactical retreats, and so forth...
Always use logic. Creatures from the Icy Lands will be more susceptible to fire, for example, and swamp creatures are immune to poison. When attacking foes, a good strategy is easily available to thee: thou canst always hide and shoot. Or thou canst flank and protect thyself quite well. When flanking, it is best to use some long range type of habiliment. For example, a crossbow could be given to an ally who is flanking. Make sure the ally who is flanking does not hurt any of the other members in thy group. Caution is strongly advised.
Use thine habiliment of war well. A bow always requires arrows. Ensure thou art not short of ammunition or wielding a useless weapon. Use thy surroundings to slow thine opponents. For example, thou mayest lay down caltrops on thine enemy's path. Most of all, always maintain a good balance between ranged and non-ranged habiliment of war within thy travelling group.
Upon leaving a town for thine adventures in the wilderness, do stop by the various shoppes to purchase a backpack and fill it with many a variety of foods. Long trips without food will leave thee weak and more susceptible to wounds from thine enemies' attacks. Thou shalt not bypass a trainer's hall. Thou shouldst train hard to become a better warrior. Visit trainers and learn from them. Those hours spent training with masters may save thy life.
While it is necessary to use armour wisely, I recommend to thee to buy armour as soon as possible. In doing so take into consideration the following qualities: weight, sturdiness, protection. Armour may be divided into the two types appearing hereunder: antique and magic. The magic armour type is almost twice as effective in protecting thee as the antique one. Antique armour includes leather, metal scales, chain mail and metal plates. The sturdier the material, the greater the protection. Leather armour, boots, collar, gloves and helm offer the least protection. On the other hand, they will be the lightest. Scale armour and chain armour, chain coif and chain leggings are a bit better than leather, but not overmuch.
Shields: a buckler or a wooden shield will provide thee with the least amount of protection in this category. A brass shield or a curved heater will provide thee with the most protection. By protection, thou shouldst understand that thine attacker will be deflected away from thee. Amongst helms, thy choice is great and the best protection comes from the magic helm. The great helm is nearly as efficient, though. The crested helm and the caddelite helm do offer the same amount of safety.
Chain armour, chain coif, and chain leggings will decrease very little the impact of enemy blows. Thou wilt need a gorget and some greaves for those exposed vital areas. A kidney belt could be useful but, I must needs warn thee, of little protection. Plate armour offers solid protection for thy money. I would recommend a pair of plate leggings as well. The ultimate protection, in matters of armour, at this point in time, is as follows: a magic helm, a magic shield, a magic gorget, a pair of magic leggings and some magic gauntlets.
Dearest fighter, for thine ease I will divide weapons into groups. Thus, at one glance, thou mayest easily remember their efficiency. I will begin with the least damaging weapons: Blowguns, boomerangs, daggers, slings, pitchforks, picks and whips have very little effect. A magic axe, a mace, a morning star, a two-handed axe, a spear, a shovel or a sword are of limited effect upon thine opponent. A scythe, a bow, a fire sword, a musket, or a two handed hammer are slightly more damaging.
Crossbows (my favorite), halberds, lightning whips, magic bows, fire wands and fire bolts are very powerful weapons. Find the best weapon and armour thou canst obtain. Remember all weapons ought to be kept ready for immediate use. One more word of wisdom: Do not neglect thy sleeping time. Sleeping frequently will give thee the rest fighters need. An eight hour sleep will restore full strength for thee and thine allies.
If thou hast weak allies, thou shouldst know the most suitable and productive method of combat is to prompt them to attack the weakest enemy or encourage them to flee. In order to protect a weak ally, thou shouldst bestow the protection halo on them. In addition to that, thou mayest put the strongest member in thy group in charge of protecting the weakest.
When attacking foes, a good strategy is easily available to thee: thou canst always hide and shoot. Or thou canst flank and protect thyself quite well. When flanking, it is best to use long range type of habiliments, for example, a crossbow. Be sure the member of thy group who is flanking doth not hurt any of thine other allies. Caution is strongly advised.
Thy band members armed with heavy weapons should be swift to attack the strongest opponent. Other members should follow thy guidance and attack the weakest enemies. When reading a book, look for useful information and memorize it or jot it down, for thou mayest have need of it later. Read quickly, but read all pages. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of reading all of the pages of a book.
Dearest adventurer, I beseech thee to thoroughly consider the aforesaid cautions and advice. The reason that I wrote such a treatise is to sharpen thy fighting skills, but thou canst tell that is not a goal in itself. My goal in using my quill is truly to convince thee with all mine heart and all mine expertise to hasten home safely once thy quest hath been completed and thy thirst for adventuring quenched.
THE SLEEPING SOLDIER
Alinda of Monitor
Batlin the Sage
Peter of Monitor
A TREATISE ON TORTURE
by Evad, Royal Servant to the King of the White Dragon
I have been given the privilege of chronicling the King's romp through madness. As a reward, I will be slain quickly. His Majesty began with a commoner named Patric, stretching him on the rack. By his own hands, His Majesty turned the man to a babbling wretch over the course of twelve hours.
...After boiling the flesh from a family of farmers, His Majesty became inspired. He restrained a noble, a guest at the great banquet, upon the torture table and applied tourniquets to each of his limbs. One by one the limbs became useless strands of dead flesh. He showed mercy on the victim by killing him only five hours later by opening numerous small wounds on his person and letting him bleed to death.
The King of the White Dragon killed his own wife by slaying a bull, slitting open the carcass, and placing her, tied securely, into the opening. He then sewed the opening shut such that naught but her head protruded. He sat outside and watched as the carcass decayed around her and vultures and other carrion beasts picked apart the meat -- the bull's and hers...
PRINCIPLES OF ECONOMICS
Economics is, simply put, the study of how an entity could most efficiently allocate its limited resources. I use the word "Entity" because these principles, moderately adjusted, may be applied on different levels. From the largest, and consequently least detailed, level -- that of a worldwide market in which the intricacies of trade and specialization are most emphasized, to an individual business's or, smaller still, an individual's struggle to gain maximum utility from the limited funds provided by that person's livelihood.
Let us begin by defining some simple, underlying theories which may dictate the behavior of our target, which, for the purposes of this book, will focus on the economy as a whole. I intend later to publish a separate document on the wholly different level of business and/or individual-level economic fundamentals. As is the case in any science, one must first be given a foundation upon which to build his knowledge; in this particular instance, I will refer to the "Tower of Economic Understanding."
The market is the basis of my study. A market is not a tangible thing -- not like the marketplace at which one might trade with merchants for needs or wants (these I will define further into the book), although a marketplace is a part of the market. Rather, the market consists of the consumer (the entity purchasing the resource) and the seller (the entity offering the resource for sale or trade). For example, at the aforementioned marketplace, the baker, offering a loaf of bread, would be the seller, and an entity interested in purchasing the loaf would be the consumer.
A market exists when there is a resource to be exchanged. A resource, in simplest terms, can be either a good or a service. A good is a tangible item -- examples include water, diamonds, and false beards. A service is something which is performed by an entity; e.g. the service a cargo ship supplies or even governmental bodies such as a standing garrison of soldiers...
THE DWELLERS OF SERPENT ISLE
One quarter of a millennium ago, the man-daemon Lord British impressed upon the citizens of Sosaria his Eight Virtues. Most of the citizens were deluded into believing that his way of life was just and fair. Some were strong enough to oppose his rule and fled to begin their own civilization, free of the oppressive autocracy. These brave folk, led by a mage whose bravery is now sadly forgotten, ventured out to sea, with little idea as to their destination; only a firm belief that Lord British was a tyrant whose rule was not to be tolerated.
Erstam led them to a large island, which was instantly christened "New Sosaria." The land's name was changed shortly thereafter to "Serpent Isle," after the strange ruins found there. There were three principal groups who left Sosaria -- the Mages of Moon, the chivalrous folk of the Two Montors, and the folk of the port city of Fawn. Each had their own reasons for joining in the emigration: the mages because they felt that certain of Lord British's virtues were unrealistic; the Fawnese because Lord British had failed to acknowledge a ninth virtue -- Beauty; and the brave folk of Monitor because of their belief that Courage ranked above all else...
By Andrew of Monitor
Chapter One: The tale of Kosric and Pedigar
The brothers Kosric and Pedigar sailed with the original expedition to Serpent Isle, when the land was more unknown and mysterious than it is today. Each brother was the Lord of one of the two Montors on Sosaria, and, not content to settle for Lord British's uncompromising and misguided rule, convinced their people to set sail with the mages of Moon and the people of Fawn to the new land.
Lost in the history books of the other two cities, however, is the tale of what happened when the tired sojourners first set foot on this new land. The leader, a mage who went by the name Erstam (it surely could not be the same mad Erstam who performs intolerable experiments today), was given the honor of stepping first on Serpent Isle. It was then up to the leaders of the individual groups to decide who would next trod upon the unknown isle.
Kosric and Pedigar claimed the right, as their group were the finest warriors among them. The Fawnese claimed it also, arguing that their beauty should mingle with the beauty of the new island before anyone else. The Moonshadian mages, being untrustworthy, teleported themselves onto the island while the other two groups were engaged in discussion, stealing the honor. The greatest honor gone, the Fawnese and Monitorians descended the gangplank together. The Moonshadians scattered themselves like the four winds before they could be reprimanded, and the Fawnese ran to explore the beauty of the island.
At that moment, emerging from the hills and woodlands, trolls began an assault on the intrepid band. Were it not for Kosric and Pedigar and their Monitorian soldiers, the expedition would have failed then and there, for the Fawnese and Moonshadians were caught unawares. However, the two launched themselves at the foes, Kosric wielding his hammer, "Thunderbolt," and Pedigar with his greatsword, and brought doom upon the foul trolls.
When the battle was over, a score of courageous Monitorians lay dead beside the bodies of twice that number of trolls. Let it not be forgotten, brave Monitorian, that it was thine ancestors who led the way for all civilized life on this island.
2 apples, peeled and sliced
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons of corn starch
2 tablespoons of butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 double pie crust
Place the apples, sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon into a large bowl and combine them. Put the mixture into the bottom pie crust with the butter. Put on top pie crust and cut slits for steam to escape. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes.
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup warm water
5 ounces of yeast
4 cups unsifted flour
Scald milk, stir in sugar, salt, and butter. Cool to lukewarm. Measure warm water into a large warm bowl. Add yeast and stir until dissolved. Stir in lukewarm milk mixture, egg, and half of the flour, and beat until smooth. Stir in remaining flour to make a stiff batter. Cover the bowl tightly with waxed paper. Refrigerate the dough at least two hours. Divide dough into two halves and roll each piece into a 9 by 14 inch rectangle. Brush lightly with melted butter. Filling: Sprinkle the rectangle with a mixture of 3/4 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/3 cup raisins and pecans. Roll the rectangles so that they are 9 inches long (like a jelly roll). Make sure the edges are firmly sealed.
Cut each roll into nine equal pieces and place them in a greased pan (leave enough room for the pieces to expand). Cover the pan and let the dough rise in a warm place until the rolls have doubled in size. Bake at a moderate temperature (350 F degrees) for about 30 minutes. Frosting: Frost with a mixture of confectioner's sugar (1 1/2 cup) and 5 teaspoons of milk.
Chicken and Rice:
2 cups rice
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped green pepper
3/4 cup thinly sliced onions
3 tablespoons salad oil
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 cups slivered cooked chicken
3 ripe tomatoes, cut in thin wedges
Cook green pepper and onions in oil till tender. Blend cornstarch and a little chicken stock. Add remaining stock and soy sauce. Gently stir chicken and stock into vegetables. Cook and stir until sauce is clear and thickened. Add tomatoes and cook just until heated. Serve over rice. Serves six.
1/2 stick butter
1 cup of rice, cooked
1 cup chopped onions
1 bunch broccoli, chopped
6 ounces of cream of mushroom soup
4 ounces of melted cheese
Melt butter in skillet; add chopped onion and saute until clear. Add the chopped broccoli. Stir thoroughly. Add the cream of mushroom soup. Stir and simmer a few minutes. Add 1 cup cooked rice; stir and simmer. If too thick, add a small amount of water and cook 25 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
Apple Nut Squares:
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup cooking oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 cups peeled, diced apples
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 by 13 inch pan. In large mixing bowl, combine first 8 ingredients; beat rapidly for 3 minutes (about 150 strokes). Stir in apples and pecans. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 60 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Serve with whipped topping, ice cream, or as is, dusted with powdered sugar. Serves 12 to 15.
3 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sifted flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon soft butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
dash of salt
2/3 cup broken almonds, or other nuts
Blend cream cheese and butter. Stir in flour. Chill 1 hour. Shape in 2 dozen 1" balls. Form dough on bottom and sides of cups or muffin tins. Beat remaining ingredients together except nuts. Divide half of the nuts among the cups. Add egg mixture to top with remaining nuts. Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes.
1 lb. franks
2 tablespoons butter
10 3/4 oz. tomato soup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
Score franks in corkscrew fashion. In skillet, brown franks lightly in butter. Add remaining ingredients except green pepper. Simmer covered 10 minutes. Add green pepper and cook 5 minutes longer.
Peanut Butter Fudge:
2 cups sugar
dash of salt
2/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon light syrup
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix first 4 ingredients and cook until soft ball stage. Add remaining ingredients and blend. Pour quickly into greased pan and cut into squares.
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon soft butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1 cup flour
Combine egg, butter, salt, milk, and vinegar. Add enough flour to make a stiff dough. Roll out very thin on floured surface. Let dough stand about 2 hours, until dried. Cut into strips. Drop noodles in salted water or broth. Cook for 10 minutes. Makes 3 cups of uncooked noodles.
Pan Fried Whole Trout:
Trout, 2 to 3 lbs. cleaned
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
3 tbsp. butter
8 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Wash trout under cold water; pat dry with a towel. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix cornmeal and flour. In heavy skillet, melt butter in oil over moderate heat. When the foam begins to subside, roll trout in cornmeal/flour mixture, shake off excess and put in skillet. Fry 4-5 minutes on each side, until golden brown and flaky. Serve with lemon wedges.
FIGHTING IS AN ART
Lesson One: In fighting, thou must never lose, no matter what thou must do. Anyone fighting thee is an enemy. An enemy must be destroyed. During battle thou wilt be confronted by thine enemy. Thou must defeat him, or thou wilt bring disgrace upon thyself, thy clan, and thy trainer. Battles are always on the horizon. Thou must train hard, and work thyself hard. Thou must think battle, eat battle, sleep battle if thou dost expect to be victorious. Those warriors who do not think they can do this should contemplate another line of work.
Knowing thy weapon is the greatest value. Be it sword, mace, or bow, thou must train with it until mastery if thou dost want to be a true warrior. If thou hast not the time or the mind to train in this fashion then thou shouldst perhaps train with the shovel and the carrying of animal wastes from the fields instead. It is better for thee to serve thy clan as best as thou canst, though it be a less than knight-worthy post, than for thee to run in battle and endanger thy comrades.
Anyone caught running away from a battle should be put to the sword immediately, lest others feel that they may let their womanish fears prevail. The true knight is not he who fights battles, but he who relishes in the spilling of blood. He who is enthralled with the smell of a bowel split wide, or the sight of anothers' blood staining his sword and armour, should be praised above all. This is what a true knight seeks. He is a true master in the arts of fighting.
LORD BRITISH'S TYRANNICAL ADVENTURE
Lord British was a monarch who was haughty and vain
And especially proud of his despotic reign.
But conceit of this sort isn't proper at all
And soon the old tyrant was doomed for a fall.
One day as he viewed his subjects from on high,
A voluptuous young wench caught his tired old eye.
Bending over to see, that oversexed goat
Let his gold crown slip and fall into the moat.
With a cry of sheer terror he jumped like a fool,
he rushed to his ditch (it reeked like a cesspool).
He leaped in kersplash! and sank like a stone.
(Everyone hoped for a new heir to the throne.)
But alas he came up and staggered from the sewer,
his robes smelled of offal, his breath like manure.
"Why did I do that? What possessed me today?
I'm as daft as old Iolo, and now I smell like Dupre."
"And if anyone sees me, oh what a disgrace,
I had better leave if I want to save face!"
But a crowd had assembled and stared, amazed,
the sight confused them, the stench left them dazed.
Then with a shriek a young boy began to laugh,
giggling and pointing at the king's fecal bath.
Becoming enraged, the monarch suddenly turned wild,
He looked like he wanted to strangle the child!
His hand turned to fist, he struck lightning fast,
but the old poop missed, and fell on his ass.
Not holding back, the crowd soon roared,
The laughter was deafening. It grew till it soared.
But the king found no humor and called for his men.
The arrival of the guard quickly silenced the din.
"For all of you who found humor in my sorrow and misfortune
Will soon find the rack! And pain! And contortion!
Then I will cackle as you stew and boil,
in a pot full of lard and bubbling oil.
And for those who survive this (they'd liefer be dead),
I'll pluck out their eyes, and chop off their head!
Finally in the wind their bodies will swing,
Then you fools will be sorry for laughing at this king!"
Then all were led away at the point of a sword,
While old Lord Brit took a dip in a ford.
Then he laughed at the cries that screamed through the night,
He chuckled at their anguish, he cackled at their plight.
In Britannia today no one openly tells this tale,
lest they find themselves thrown in tyrant's darkest jail.
But here in our new homeland this song can be sung,
the tale of how British acquired his faint smell of dung.
THE CRYING LUTE
The lute in mine hands as I softly strum,
cries for it knows the hollow man I have become,
of my tragedy, of my sorrow, of my lonely despair.
Only my lute listens, alone, only it cares.
Though I am a knight, and mine emotions I hide,
I still feel the soul-eating darkness inside.
I am a man of armour and a man of the sword,
but the blackness I feel I cannot ward.
The green swine came, silent coward attacks,
with bow and arrow, with sword and axe.
They came for our blood, for our flesh to eat,
We hacked them to death, our blades flaying their meat.
Though I have loved her, she still left this life,
her pale white skin pierced by a goblin's bloody knife.
But I am left here, an empty shell of a man.
I cannot speak, the sorrow is more than I can stand.
Others drink themselves blind, but I cannot partake
The others celebrate, but smiles I can't fake.
I will sit here by the fire and softly strum,
only my lute knows the hollow man I have finally become.
THE HOUSE OF THE UNICORN
Come! Enter into the rich house of the Unicorn.
Open your ears and minds,
Absorb the magic of the steed's fair horn!
We are not now, nor never have we been
Children of the Unicorn.
But if we give in to ourselves,
and listen to music of the elves
one day soon we will be with the Unicorn.
On the day of thy birth
came forth a new ray of sun to our earth
Providing warmth and green riches
to drive away the sorcery of witches.
And we all take part in the gifts of the harvest moon,
and give ourselves to the lute and the tune
and drink the wealth of the early morning dew
and savor the pleasure held by the precious chosen few.
Oh, to belong to the chosen of the Unicorn,
The wealth of spirit, no fear of the forlorn.
We can dance in the meadows by the whispering wonders,
and ride forth on lightning and command the thunder.
Oh, great steed, thou magical beast,
in thine honor we break bread and feast.
We raise our cups high in twilight's last never
We are in the House of the Unicorn where we will dwell forever.
NO SUCH THING AS FAIRIES
In our childhood years we learn that fairies glow,
and this is good as everyone knows.
But we partake the juice of the dark berries
though we know there are no such thing as fairies...
We cry, though we rarely let it show,
our tears fall like melting mountain snow.
But still the fairies float like smoke rings though the night.
stealing us blind with their mythical magical sight.
And with the fortune to seize priceless treasures,
and the subsequent Moonshadian pleasures
and as we grow older and bolder and drawn,
the fairies visit us less till, alas, they are gone.
But for our offspring the fairies will still glow,
and this is good as every child knows.
But we keep partaking in the juice of the dark berries
for we know that there are no such things as fairies...
GUIDE TO KNIGHTHOOD
By Graeme of Monitor
Courage is in thine heart; if thine heart is not in danger of being pierced by a blade, then thou canst not fight with courage. Courageous men choose as weapons the sword, hammer, mace, and axe. Be wary of those who wield these weapons well, for they are fierce foes. Be also wary of those who weave spells, for they have no courage, and the cowardly weave webs of deceit, lies, and trickery. Courage manifests itself on a battlefield, and the side whose courage is greatest, regardless of numbers, shall emerge victorious. A courageous man knows that one can leave the battlefield only two ways: By eliminating all of the enemies or in death. A man whose life thou hast saved, or who hath saved thine, can be trusted the rest of thy life.
A knight must never work toward personal goals in lieu of the goals of his Lord. Courage is not only taking sword up against his foe; it is the courage to admit to and remedy his own shortcomings, and if it happens that the knight is wrong, he must have the courage to admit as much. A knight must know, beyond the martial skills of the weapon of his fancy, the art of tactics, as it may some day come to him that the lives of his fellow knights may be decided by his tactical decisions.
Any knight who betrays another will never be allowed to take up arms again. A knight who perpetrates such a wrongdoing is no knight; he is like unto the goblins he once warred against. Courage is separate from stupidity; there comes a time to run and regroup in some battles, but only those which are unwinnable.
WARRIORS OF FORTUNE QUARTERLY
The Adventurer's Guidebook
For you men who are stern of heart and gifted in the ways of weapons of steel, fortunes more mightier than you can dream of lie in your near future. All you must do is read the secrets held within these pages and you will be on the way to riches. Enter into mysteries that have baffled men through the ages, with rewards greater than those of today's kingdoms. Come, adventure and gold are on your horizon.
This issue offers the stern-hearted adventurer a chance to be the first to a miser's treasure! With more gold than ten ships can carry! Read on, and learn the history and the location of one of the world's richest lost lairs. Couldst thou be the first to find it?
Many hundreds of years ago there was a miser named Triphako who had accumulated a massive fortune by swindling the local natives and by hiring pirates to attack his competitor's ships and cargo. One night after he had a vivid dream about losing his vast wealth, Triphako consulted a great wizard. The sage forewarned that the miser was about to lose all of his wealth in the near future and that nothing that he could do would prevent this. Thinking that he could avoid the prophecy, the miser took all of his gold to a cave in the northern icy reaches for safe storage. He hired the wizard to create a series of tunnels in the rear of the cave that no one could find their way through without a magical map.
When all was finished, the wizard conjured an Ice Dragon to guard the mouth of the cave that led to the riches. On the voyage back to the palace, the miser, fearing that the wizard would allow his secret to be known, killed the wizard by pushing him into the sea. Unfortunately for him, upon the wizard's death, the magical map disappeared in a puff of blue smoke. Fearing that the prophecy had come true, the miser returned to the cave and tried to find the route to his riches. True to the wizard's warning, the miser never did reach his riches. Most say that he lies somewhere within the frozen caverns, for he never returned.
To this day no one hath survived the tunnels and reached the lair of the Ice Dragon. Some have attempted to face the Ice Dragons at the mouth of their cave, but all have either fled, or become permanent fixtures in the ice surrounding the cavern's mouth. If thou beest brave, and sure of thy skills in battle, thou mayest find the secret way into the lair of Triphako and to his riches untold.
THE RITES OF CREMATION
Let this book serve as a guide to those who follow me in the honorable profession of cremator to the finest warriors in all the lands known to mankind, the fine fighters of Monitor! Most of this will become known during thine apprenticeship, but these written words will serve to bolster that which thy predecessor will be teaching thee.
The most important thing thou canst learn of thy profession is this: being a cremator is no less honorable or worthy a duty than taking up sword and shield and doing battle with goblins, trolls, and all the other uncivilized fiends that populate our land. I put to any doubters this question: where would a warrior be if he knew that, should he die valiantly in battle, his body would not be brought back to receive a proper cremation? That his body, primed and trained for war in life, should feed the carrion cowards who would rather flee than fight, or perhaps a meal for the wives of those foul beings who struck him down? He would be in the rear of the force, hoping that he returns home; worried more for his life than guiding his blade through the hearts of his enemies.
I have shown thee the worth of thy profession; now I will reveal to thee the import of burning one's body, as opposed to the primitive practice of burial. Thou hast known from the day thy first words were spoken that there is mystical power in the ashes of the dead. 'Tis true, and thou dost know this from thy Test of Knighthood. Ashes are the soul of a man; his spirit is locked within the remains of his lifeless body, and burning it releases the spirit from its imprisonment. If this is not done, the spirit will go insane and rise up as a monster -- lifeless, yet hateful and vengeful and animated. The spirit is in torment. This is no way for a courageous knight to spend eternity. For such a reason, the cremator is a respected and honored member of our stout city.
The question arises that, after the body is cremated (the method is described in detail in a later chapter), where must the ashes be stored? Fortune and wisdom on the part of our forefathers have placed us in a land whereby an opening in the great mountains to the west can serve as catacombs; a tomb for the courageous dead. It seems that these were once daemon lands, as evidenced by the ruins in the northwest, but more definitively by the catacombs. Therein, coffins and dusty tapestries hold their unburned dead. No doubt the place is naught but ruins because the maddened corpses did rise up and wreak their vengeance on the fools...
TEMPLES OF CHAOS
Translated by Miggim
Xenka's prophecies mention the ancient Ophidian temples of Chaos as somehow being important to the Hero From Another World. Though I have not been able to decipher the true meaning of Xenka's visions regarding these temples, I feel that the Hero From Another World shall surely need some information regarding their location. I have translated a brief description of the Chaos temples from Ophidian script into Runic.
The Temple of Emotion was carved from the living rock of Skullcrusher. To find the Temple of Emotion thou shouldst look for a small lake. The temple's entrance is a small distance south of this lake. The Temple of Enthusiasm lies along the coast, north of the great Spinebreaker mountains. The Temple of Tolerance was built near the coast at the northern end of the snowy valley between the Spinebreaker and Skullcrusher mountains.
GREAT PRACTICAL JOKES
Chapter One: Exploding Books
Heh, heh, heh...
The Ethical Man obtains his strength through Ethics. Hence, he is stronger as well as more daring. The Ethical Man would risk his life to save another man's life. On the topic of Wealth and Ethics: To be truly ethical, thou shouldst reject Wealth. Wealth corrupts the soul. It doth do so by placing a greater value upon goods and material possessions rather than upon the "anima", that is the living matter or spiritual matter. Spiritual kinship should be established as early as possible instead of the numerous tentative efforts by parents and the various communities to establish a Wealth kinship.
Believing thou shouldst abide by rules of conduct, learning well and being of good rule and disposition are what will make an ethical Man of thee. Wealth turns too many men away from rules of conduct. Quickly enough, young men like thee become wastrels and haunters of alehouses, thereby losing their temporary possession, Wealth, but above all losing their richest dowry, their only true wealth, their soul. Ethics will prevent thee from following that path. Reject Wealth, my dear reader and most assured brother, and be truly ethical. I hope I have convinced thee, for if so, I have saved thee.
Never, NEVER, surrender to thine enemies. Fight to the death, but do not abandon thine Ethics. The serpent of gold can send thee along the path to knowledge, but only if balanced by wisdom. Thou mayest already have felt the ill fortune brought about by wealth without wisdom; now use thy newfound wisdom to balance the power of gold.
THE CHAOS GATE
Let this be a final warning: Those who enter this room lacking in discipline will forfeit their lives. Those who know not the password, Despair! The brass gate bars thy way, would-be intruder, and only those privy to the secret password know when to use the runes! Crawl back to your cities of structured folly and temples of Order, dog! As I lie here, slowly dying of starvation, I laugh at thy fate, for though our city hath fallen, fool, thou wilt not use my gate as a means of ingress!
Here in our city, your fellow dogs revel in their victory, knowing not that I have sealed them within! There, look! A general shakes his fist at me through the brass gate, sealed within! Nay, Order dogs, thou wilt not use my gate to send your metal slayers toward my fellows! Thou wilt have to use the serpent gates to conquer the southern lands! I can die in peace, knowing that, though mine home lies in ruin and the Chaos that is our city is now under the control of the enemy, my gate will stand closed for all eternity!
PRINCIPLES OF BALANCE
I write this in great haste, for I can already hear the forces of Order breaching the keep walls. I know not how this missive will survive to reach the outside lands, or for that matter, future generations. Mine only hope is that this speedily-drafted work will offer record of our hallowed philosophy. For our culture to have any chance of enduring the ages, someone, somewhere must find this. Please, reader, I beseech thee, spread the word of our peoples.
Balance -- The harmony between the Principles of Order and Chaos -- is the one pure axiom we hold true. All three Principles are symbolized in our hieroglyphs: The Great Earth Serpent, keeper of Balance, lies on a vertical plane, around which the two opposing serpents of Chaos and Order wrap themselves. Chaos and Order each embrace three Forces. These six Forces, when combined, form the three Principles of Balance. The Forces of Chaos are Tolerance, Enthusiasm, and Emotion; the Forces of Order are Ethicality, Discipline, and Logic.
CHAOS -- Tolerance is that which encourages the acceptance of all things. Enthusiasm is the energy that allows one to perform great tasks. Emotion is the ability to perceive those feelings that come from the heart, as opposed to coming from the mind.
ORDER -- Ethicality is the belief that there is great value in abiding by rules of conduct. Discipline is the drive to complete a task and avoid the distractions that will prevent its completion. Logic permits clear, reasoned thought, free from any instinctual biases.
BALANCE -- From the marriage between two Forces, one each from Chaos and Order, come the Principles. Tolerance and Ethicality combine to form Harmony, the ability to be at peace with the self, the individual, and the world. From the union of Enthusiasm and Discipline springs Dedication, that which permits one to surmount obstacles and lead others. Finally, Emotion tempered by Logic results in Rationality, the ability to comprehend life and understand the world around us.
The Forces of Chaos and Order must ever remain in Balance, for imbalance leads to disaster. Witness the war-torn state of our world today! As thou canst surely see, my world hath been torn asunder by disregard for Balance -- our dearest axiom! If thou dost thrive in a time less violent, I can do no more than plead with thee to help restore Balance to the Serpent Isle! I must end this brief explication here, for I can hear mine attackers pounding upon the oaken door downstairs. I wish thee and thy world better fortune than mine own.
-- Ssithnos, the Great Hierophant
REPORT ON THE CLEANSING OF THE FIEND'S DOMAIN
Subcommander Stherask, I regret to inform thee that, of the entire company of brass automatons, not one has returned. This mission has not only proven costly in terms of the efforts expended by our wizards to create these automatons, but in the lives of brave soldiers as well. Of the three humans we had sent on the mission, Lieutenant Alspeth and her two sergeants, Shesparios and Iskil, none have returned. We can only fear the worst in this case; the mission has failed. Were it not for the unfaltering faith I have in thee and our Commander, I would question the value of our attempt, as the Fiend has ceased to meddle in the affairs of Serpent's Fang.
I assure thee, Subcommander, that none blame thee for the deaths of those three fine warriors. All who know of the failed mission have no doubts that this was a just cause for loss of lives.
RITUAL OF REUNIFICATION
First -- Open the window into the Void by placing the Blackrock Serpent in its proper slot.
Second -- Each imprisoned Bane must be placed upon the altar corresponding to its Principle. Unrestrained Emotion leads to Madness. Unchecked Enthusiasm leads to Wantonness. Unthinking Tolerance produces Anarchy. The Flame of Chaos shall welcome each Bane to its proper place.
Third -- That which shall bond the Banes together must be placed upon the remaining altar. If all is done correctly, Chaos shall be reunited.
As a follower of Order thou must always conform to the principles of conduct as accepted by our alliance. Without these as guides we as a people would be lost. We would be no better than those who are controlled by Chaos. We are far better than those who permit anarchy to control their lives and their thoughts. We must be eternally vigilant to insure that our system of ethics stands strong, that it must not be corrupted from within. We must insure that we remain pure, for corruption is the strength of our enemy, though it will be his own undoing should we stand aligned against it.
Student of Ethicality, take heed! Thou must be stronger than thou art in order to stand against the false truths that Chaos will tempt thee with. As iron is in a forge, thou wilt be blasted with the torrent of Chaos and corruption 'til thou wilt lose thy brittleness and harden into a core of strength. Through Ethics, thou canst become free of the anarchy and pain that lies within Chaos and ignorance.
LIBRARY OF THE ORDER HIEROPHANT
The Great Library of the Hierophant contains all the history and knowledge that defines and guides the followers of Order. Though it is hidden away within the bowels of the mountain, a student of Order may enter it through the portal in the Temple of the Hierophant.
In times of disaster and of war, the Great Library was sealed to prevent its valuable works from being destroyed, or from falling into the hands of Chaos. Entry into the Library meant first opening the door to the Temple of the Hierophant. This could only be achieved by a student placing the correct symbols of Order on the pedestal before the door to the temple. Since only true followers of Order would have the understanding of the symbols, this was the first test to prevent those of Chaos from desecrating both Temple and Library. Only those who have studied the writers and poets of Order will have the wisdom and knowledge to open the door.
Once the door opens the student doth need the Sceptre of the Hierophant to gain entry into the Library. Since the Hierophant keeps it in his charge, only by asking his permission can one gain access. Should the Sceptre be lost, or the Hierophant killed in battle, the Library will remain forever closed, away from the corruptions of Chaos.
With Sceptre in hand, the student must stand in front of the blue pedestal of the temple. He must place the Sceptre atop the pedestal. The student will then gain instant access to the Library. All knowledge of Order is held there as a bastion against corruption and Chaos.
WHAT IS ORDER?
a poem by Sschittek the Wise
What is Order?
Is it a rule?
Is it a law?
Is it a whip with barbs to control the unruly?
It is not any of these, it is more...
It is wisdom, it is knowledge,
It is a sense of duty!
Ethicality is a Scroll,
speaking of principles,
of wisdom and of freedom
from fear and hate.
It is a gleam of sunrise
guiding thee toward enlightenment
and to thy true fate.
Discipline is strength of the mind,
born of willpower and knowledge,
cleansing like a noon summer shower.
It is a well-honed Serpent Dagger,
a blade that cuts through
Chaos and corruption's foul power.
Logic is a straight path,
without obstacles or brambles,
free from both rock and tooth.
Logic is precise and unswerving,
counting Order's truth on an
eternal Abacus of Truth.
SYMBOLS OF THE SERPENT
To commune with the Serpent one must be in possession of the Earrings of the Serpent. Only via these can the Great Serpent channel his words to thee. To be at one with Balance one must have the blackrock Serpents of Order, Chaos, and of Balance. To enter into the Grand Shrine of Balance one must wear the Armour of the Serpent, carry the great Staff of the Serpent, and wear the Crown of the Serpent upon one's head. Only after these are obtained may one enter the most sacred of sanctums of the people of the Ophidian order.
I have blocked the entrance to the Catacombs beneath our outpost with walls of force. None may pass ere this key is used. If thy need is great, and thou dost follow in the steps of Order, thou shalt know what to do to retrieve Loriel's Gift. - Ardiniss
Notes: I have looked for a way through to the other chambers of this cursed outpost, but have yet found nothing. I did discover that the well in the southernmost chamber was empty. By using rope I lowered myself down into the darkness. At the last chamber I could go no further -- a wall of some kind of eldritch force blocked my way. I discerned that no ordinary key would grant me passage. I will search for this key.
To the adventurer actively looking for me treasure: Yes, thou be looking for me gold, I ken that much. Beware! All is not as easy as it seems. All is not as it appears. Thou may not see what is there and what thou do not see can harm ye. Nevertheless, what thou do not see may save thy life. Thy rewards will make ye rich. In order to go there, thou hast to find the entrance. Obvious, yes? Yes, but the entrance is not to be found easily, for it is a hidden one. Good luck to ye! - Silverpate.
To Gustacio, wisest of Mages -- The Mundane outsider, the Avatar, carried a very rare and powerful weapon. The blade gained its considerable power from a Daemon bound within the blade by a most puissant enchantment. I would very much like to study the Mundane's blade. Unfortunately, they released the Daemon from the sword in order to escape from the Mountains of Freedom. I wonder... how doth a mere Mundane obtain such a weapon? Now the blade needs to have its sorcerous energies realigned if it is to ever contain another bound spirit. I could repair it if I coud use thy flux analyzer. I know that the device was stolen from thee years ago. Hast thou ever recovered it? -- Melino
HORN OF THE GWANI
I See the Hero From Another Land in the frozen lands of the North. The Hero seeks the wife of their oldest companion. A wall of ice doth prevent the Hero from reaching the woman. The Hero lifts a horn -- the Horn of the Gwani -- to their lips and blows. The sound of the horn is deafening! The wall of ice is shattered!
RUGGS' LOVE LETTER
The enchanted afternoon when I first saw thy precious face, thou wert in the full bloom of thy beauty and I was blinded. I forgot everything, everyone. I forgot all about Batlin standing next to me and the reagents we were supposed to purchase. That day I fell in love with thee, my Delphynia. But I fear thou wert blinded by my physical appearance as well. Alas! The scars that twist my face are not a pretty sight. Look beyond mine appearance, Delphynia. Let thy mind's eye see my soul. Thy mind is less deceitful than thine eyes which only glance at the surface of things and people. If thou wilt but look, thou wouldst see the hidden treasures of thy scarred Ruggs. For I am a good man. My heart is pure and so is my mind, Delphynia. I beg of thee, look at me. 'Til I see thee again, Ruggs.
Most esteemed Ruggs,
I cannot forget the day I first beheld thy face, for it is never far from my mind. As thou art never far from mine heart. I will admit that to thee, though it may shame me. I cannot promise when, or if, we can ever be together, dear Ruggs. For thou art in exile, and I am the only healer in Fawn. I cannot dwell outside of the gates with thee, no matter how much mine heart may wish it. But someday, if the heavens smile upon us, I shall be able to cast aside my doubts and come to thee as thy love. Until then, I remain ever thine. -- Delphynia
Oh, Great Captains, my Great Captains! So powerful you were yesterday, so pitiful you are today. Rulers of the City are now prisoners of the Oracle. What a fate you might have met! Iolo is pleased that such powerful creatures as you, Great Captains, have lost power, herein uncovering the fools in them... Iolo
Everyone is in search of The Lady of Fawn. For The Lady hath been lost since dawn. Barking their strange tune throughout the city, All of them, townsfolk and priests. Iolo did it, enjoying such feasts. Avatar, is it not pretty? -- Iolo
Right adventurous Avatar,
I greet thee well, Avatar, sending thee my blessings and letting thee know that it appears that thou art not paying due attention to my clues. I require thee that thou dost so. Faithfully thine, Iolo
I must seek out Voldin. He will know what can be done against the power that this "Mad" Iolo doth exhibit. I still can hardly believe what hath befallen me, Zulith, Chancellor of Fawn -- the most clever man on Serpent Isle: forced to flee from an insane mage! Still, all is not lost: the treasure room is well hidden and I have one of its two keys. Lady Yelinda doth have the other, though I doubt she remembers it. The so-called Serpent Armour is safe from that devil Iolo, and I still have my freedom and my life. Yet I cannot leave Fawn till I have secured all of the treasure!
Hah! 'Tis laughable to think about the titular ruler of Fawn -- Lady Yelinda -- a woman that hath the intelligence of a fish. 'Tis best that she spend the rest of her days trapped in Gorlab, the fool! She thought that I was merely redecorating her throneroom when in sooth I had constructed (with the help of a Moonshadian mage) an illusionary wall in the southeast room of the palace! That is where I had to store the Serpent Armour. 'Tis safe from all, I tell you! PS: I must incorporate these writings into my diary lest I forget!
Journey to the mint; ambush the hero there. Succeed in thy mission and thou shalt be richly rewarded. There is but one penalty for failure -- death! Remember, the Avatar often travels with accursed companions, and they may be present. Ignore the companions -- direct thine energies to one goal: the destruction of the Avatar! Destroy this note. No evidence should be left behind thee. -- Batlin
Honor be to thee, dear reader. This piece of parchment is mine only means of communication with thee. Mad Iolo cruelly removed my tongue, that I might lead by example and not by words! I am so disenchanted... I cannot bear the fact that I could not save the city from further plagues. Moreover, there is absolutely no sign of the return of Batlin. What is going to happen? Thou shouldst tell me, I beg of thee. -- Leon.
Order be to thee, my right good reader! Beware that when the virtues are in imbalance, a whole new system is set in motion. The Chaos Forces without the Order Forces create the Chaos Anti-Forces. I hope thou dost understand what the implications of such a change mean.
A virtue like Tolerance without Ethicality creates a lack of standards of conduct and would lead, without a doubt, to Anarchy. Enthusiasm without Discipline promises actions without self-restraint that is Wantonness. Emotion deprived of Logic would foster an inability to overcome emotional impulses with rational thoughts, which augurs Insanity.
On the other hand, the Order Forces without the Chaos Forces create the Order Anti-Forces. In this case, it means that Ethicality without Tolerance would bring about disrespect for the beliefs and rights of others. Discipline without Enthusiasm would foster a spirit of hopelessness which retards positive action. That is called Apathy. Logic without Emotion leads to self-advancing actions taken without regard to the wants or needs of others. That is called Ruthlessness.
Hence, it is now obvious that only Discipline can correct Gwenno. Have this in remembrance and take care of thyself, Karnax
Through darkness and despair
The land was bare
Looking for Thee, Mondain
Alas, but in vain
My soul and mine heart
Pierced by Cupid's dart
Will never heal
Without Mondain's will
Love is a desolate land
Unless Thou, Mondain
Takest me by the hand
To thy youth fountain
NOTES TO MYSELF
Methinks I knowest now why the blink spell no longer works. These cursed teleportation storms disturb the ether in such a way that the spell often ceases to function. Other times, it is partially successful, as when I cast it on Vasel's predecessor. Nasty business, that. After many weeks of fruitless study, I can only conclude that the blink spell simply no longer works correctly. Nine times out of ten, nothing at all happens, while the results of the tenth occurrence are best not pondered. The most obvious reason for these failures is this blasted weather we have been experiencing. Maybe when the storms lessen, I can divine the answer. Until then, I will continue in mine attempts to find the answer. Notes this day, by Gustacio.
THE MAGIC COMPASS
This is said to be the legendary artifact which guided Erstam the Mad during the voyage to Serpent Isle. To use it, thou must set the Compass upon the ground, and then chant the mantra 'Yleg Ort.' According to legend, the compass will show thee the way to travel, but only if thou art worthy. As for myself, I have never been able to make the damn thing work. Hence, I am donating it to the Seminarium.
Filbercio the MageLord
I have been here for more days than I am able to remember, though I have not forgotten the day I entered this forsaken cave which has become my tomb. That was 2-29-0227. But my food was depleted long ago, and the rats are more interested in eating me than letting me eat them. My strength is gone, as is my will. If thou dost find this, please tell Mythra I love her. --Denyel
Welcome, travellers, and be at ease. This rest house is open to all who Walk in Beauty. Feel free to take whatever food thou mayest need. As a courtesy to other travellers, please leave the rest house in the manner that thou didst find it...
BROKEN OAR INN
Welcome to the Broken Oar, the finest inn in the known world! While thou art staying at our fine inn, thou mayest like to try our fine food. Inquire downstairs with the bartender, Jendon. We hope that thou dost enjoy thy stay at our establishment...
Dearest Devra, I hate having to leave thee for even a moment, but my father is as unmovable as a mountain! The months that we shared have been unforgettable. I will miss thee so much! I will miss thy wondrous red hair, thy silken skin, and thy lovely voice. I will miss all of thee. Please write to me. As thou knowest, I shall be going back to our inn, the Sleeping Bull. Love, Angus
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