Atlas   Rules   Resources   Adventures   Stories       FAQ   Search   Links


Klarmont 1, AC 1019

Norwold League.

Location: City of Alpha, Kingdom of Alpha, Nayce. NW

Description: The rulers of the Norwold Confederacy agree to create a league of nations, with the purpose to promote peace and trade in Norwold. The Norwold League also vows to prevent imperial powers from achieving hegemony in Norwold. The paladin Ethendril h'Caramore becomes the overlord of the Norwold League.

The members of the Norwold League are: the Kingdom of Alpha (Ericall), the Kingdom of Littonia (Uldis IV), the Kingdom of Siegeria (Sieger von Duwn), the Shires of Leeha (Shaedrik Divotfoot), the Grand Duchy of Chitine (Ney), the Duchy of Draken (Beriak), the Duchy of Kameloth (Shuren), the Marquisate of Panteria (Celia), the Khanate of Ublaat-nor (Brogahn), the County of the Free Plains (Allisa Patrician), the Barony of Latela (Longtooth), the Baronie de Chevas (Adik de Chevas), the Barony of Arcadia (Arcadius), the Barony of Redhorn (Diablerus I), the Barony of the Lake (Winnefred of the Lake), the Barony of Shebb (Shebb Woolsey), the Barony of Ossian (Heinrich Niederhaus), the Barony of Moonland (Sandralane), the Barony of Dag (Rutger Dag), the Barony of Sonnenfeld (Fergus), and the Thanedoms of Huninhold (Vin Svenson) and Muninhold (Rolf Dirkson). (See Ya. 15, Ya. 28; Kl. 19, Fe. 5.)

What This Means: The Norwold Confederacy had been formed to counter the Heldannic encroachment in Norwold. Now that this threat is no longer predominant, and that Alpha has shed its Alphatian vassalage, the assembled lords felt it was preferable to alter the alliance and give it new goals that would be shared by many. With this new definition, Littonia and Siegeria and some lesser dominions accepted to join the league. Also of note is the participation of Dag of Sonnenfeld, whose barons are bent on trying to put an end to the strife that has recently plagued the area and the manipulation of the Heldannic Knights and the Thyatians.

There are some noticeable absences from the league, though of course the league's diplomacy will certainly work at convincing them to join. The Kaarjalans are absent, though certainly not hostile. A more worrisome case is Nordalfheim, still in the process of building an elven nation, which does not want to involve itself with the primarily human league at this moment, although it is not hostile either, and Quillan remains its representative. Likewise, the dragons of the Wyrmsteeth are not part of the league. Also not affiliated is Oceansend, which, although a self-governing protectorate of the Thyatian Empire, has opted not to join until King Olaf Yarrvikson finishes weighing his options. Of course, dominions that are infeoded to those outside powers, be they Heldannic, Thyatian, or even Ostlander, are also not part of the league. The others are smaller dominions that, for various reasons, prefer to remain outside the league; among them are several of the Tranquil Coast baronies that are not yet over the events that recently swept them, the battered and count-less Ersenbal, and the conflicting Stamtral and Vyolstagrad.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs who own a dominion in Norwold may decide to join the Norwold League, or stay clear of it.

And Now Comes the Time to Wait...

Location: Sea of Steam. DV

Description: The Thyatian expedition has sailed for many days over the trackless waters of the Sea of Steam, and has faced many perils since leaving the Isles of Steam. Now they have arrived they hope at the location indicated on the map they discovered in the ruins. Where a large island was drawn, however, they see nothing but open sea. The crew sounds the depths around the ship, which have decreased markedly over the past few days, and now are as shallow as 20 feet in some areas. Some crewmembers speculate that the island they are looking for has perhaps sunk into the ocean, or it might never have existed at all.

Julius Ambrosius, convinced that he is on the verge of discovering something important, orders the crew to keep the ship at this location for the next few days. In the meantime, he dispatches a few sailors, equipped with potions of water breathing, to explore the shallows. (See Ya. 7, Ya. 8; Kl. 3, Kl. 26.)

What This Means: Although their losses were to be expected on such a voyage, the Thyatians have become increasingly bitter since their adventures in the Isles of Steam. Several veteran crewmembers were killed by the araneas who dwell on the Mountain of Bones, and Julius fears that, unless something tangible is discovered soon, morale might fall further. The possibility that he and his crew might have discovered a lost island is heartening, but he doubts that anything of interest will be found. Nevertheless, the mysterious gold star that he found in the ruins has led him to this spot, and he feels a strong urge to wait a while, and see what happens.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs could be given the task of exploring the shallows. If this is the case, they can explore what appear to be submerged mountaintops and alpine valleys, all covered with a thick layer of silt and topped with forests of seaweed. The total area that can be explored is large almost 20 square miles, with depths between 20 and 110 feet, as well as many seemingly bottomless ravines. This area drops off sharply beyond this point, and is an oasis for shallow water sea life, so there are many varieties of fish, crustaceans, and other animals to be found here some of which might try to eat the PCs if encountered.


Location: Town of Krakatos, Kingdom of Karameikos. OW

Description: Telokar is furious about the Queen of Karameikos's (and more generally, as he sees it, the Karameikans') harassment of him. He cancels his classes and holds meetings with fellow Alphatian professors at the Karameikan School of Magecraft, other wizards who settled in Karameikos but did not join the faculty of the new school, and non-spellcasting former officers who were his deputies in the Alphatian army. They all feel the same annoyance at the growing harassment they suffer from the Karameikans, and are distraught by the account of a spy foraging among Telokar's personal possessions: such an intrusion into a wizard's research is like physically assaulting him (which, incidentally, also happened). The wizards begin to wonder whether they have overstayed their welcome in this country that presents itself as independent and cosmopolitan but really remains a backwater nation in the shadow of the Thyatian Empire. (See Fl. 14, Ya. 28; Kl. 7, Kl. 19.)

What This Means: Resentment is brewing. Although the Alphatian elite is mostly oblivious to the tension between the Thyatians and the Traladarans of Karameikos, they begin to realise that the country is not as welcoming as it pretends to be. The Alphatians, who brought to this magic-deprived nation a school of magic almost worthy of the universities of Alphatia, and magical knowledge unheard-of here, are outraged at finding out that the Karameikans are trying to steal their secrets.

Klarmont 2, AC 1019

A Visit to Saragón.

Location: Town of Ciudad Matacán, Baronía de Saragón, Savage Baronies. SC

Description: After opening formal diplomatic ties with Almarrón, and striking a few trade deals (including securing a market for Thyatian wine and grain, and an agreement to import fine Almarróñan furniture), the Thyatian expedition heads inland to visit the Baronía de Saragón. Upon reaching the capital, Ciudad Matacán, Paulus Angelinus and his closest advisers make their way to the palace of Barón Balthazar de Montejo y Aranjuez, to secure an audience with him. The palace guards recognise the Thyatians as a foreign delegation, and notify the barón of their arrival.

The visitors do not wait long, and are escorted into a lavish audience chamber, where they are presented to Barón Balthazar, who officially welcomes them to Saragón, and expresses his hope for friendly relations with the empire. Paulus thanks the barón, and states that he has been empowered by the emperor, Eusebius Torion, to negotiate for the empire on all diplomatic and trade matters. In addition, Paulus presents Julius Scaevola, a master bard from Thyatis City, as ambassador. Balthazar greets Julius, and invites his guests to dine with him, while they discuss matters of interest to both parties. (See Ya. 18, Ya. 23; Kl. 9, Kl. 25.)

What This Means: Paulus had decided beforehand to pay a visit to both Saragón and Guadalante, despite the fact that neither territory was accessible by ship, both to ensure that no barony would be offended by not receiving a visit, and to try to find as many trading opportunities and diplomatic inroads as possible. Saragón is among the more enlightened baronies (according to the Thyatians' Texeiran and Vilaverdan allies), and Balthazar has many plans to strengthen and expand his country such an ambitious person bears observation. Paulus's plan is to secure contacts with Saragón's community of sages, as well as establish a trade in the scientific gadgets and other innovations for which the realm is known, while offering precious metals and works of art (both of which are reported to be very much in demand). To sweeten the deal, Paulus will also offer to open discussions on aid against the persistent undead presence in the Bosque de las Sombras.

What the PCs Can Do: A high-level PC could be made ambassador to Saragón.

Klarmont 3, AC 1019

Deletria Receives Mivosian Troops, or So They Think.

Location: Town of Deletria, Mivosian Empire, Meghala Kimata Plains. DV

Description: Mivosian officers in Deletria spot a long line of Mivosian and Milenian enlisted soldiers marching toward the town gate. They are estimated to number 500, among whom about 150 wear Mivosian uniforms. The Mivosian governor happily has the gates opened to greet them.

As soon as the gates are closed behind them, the troops are assigned accommodations throughout the town. The newly arrived Mivosian officers ask for permission to delay the official banquet until they have freshened up and dressed more properly. The governor is flattered and agrees.

The Milenian soldiers rally most of the Deletrians they meet. When the newly arrived officers are received by the governor and his retinue, they draw their weapons and turn against their aghast hosts, who fight bravely but are soon overwhelmed. Before midnight the town is under Meghalan control. (See Ya. 27, Ya. 28; Kl. 5, Kl. 10.)

What This Means: The plan was to enter the city as Mivosian-allied troops using all the uniforms of the Mivosians in Parthenaeum, then the Parthenaean conscripts would contact the local Deletrian officers, or at least the most charismatic soldiers, to try to have them join the uprising which would soon occur.

Unknown to most, a special undercover Mivosian agent, who was trying to uncover the resistance network by lying low in the city, has managed to leave the town using the sewer system. In the deep of the night he runs southeast to bring the news to Syropolis and Tyrnae.

What the PCs Can Do: Impersonate Mivosians and try to incapacitate as many true Mivosians as possible, or possibly run after the agent and stop him before he reaches Syropolis or Tyrnae. Mivosian PCs could try covert operations of their own.

A Miraculous Sign!

Location: Sea of Steam. DV

Description: Several days of exploring the shallow seas have revealed nothing out of the ordinary, and Julius Ambrosius begins to fear that he will have to admit defeat, and set a course for Cestia, and from there return to Thyatis in shame. He prepares himself to issue the fateful orders, when a sharp cry from the crow's nest disturbs his thoughts.

"Land ho!" cries the watchman.

Off the starboard bow, rising low above the waves, is a small, marshy island, in the middle of which is what appears to be the square foundations of an ancient structure, heavily overgrown with algae and kelp. Losing no time, Julius orders his crew to sail for the island. Once there, he trudges through the muck as though driven, followed by a few marines, and soon he stands in the midst of the ruins. At one end is a stone pedestal, which he approaches wordlessly. He clears the mud and algae from the stone, and, seeing a depression in its surface, places the golden star within it.

Suddenly, the ground trembles ominously, and Julius, apparently dazed, is rushed towards to the ship by the marines, who fear that the island will sink violently into the sea. Fortunately, nothing of the sort happens; in fact, the sea seems to recede further for a few seconds, before the tremors cease. Julius shakes his head, and asks what is going on, and is surprised to find himself on an island. He looks around, and sees a rectangular foundation of a building on a rise. Looking to his ship, he sees that it is anchored in shallow water it has almost been grounded, in fact. Realising that something momentous has happened, he orders a careful investigation of the ruins. (See Ya. 8, Kl. 1; Kl. 26, Fe. 9.)

What This Means: Ever since he found the star in the ruined keep, Julius has been drawn to this location, and once he saw the island, which appears only at certain low tides, an incredibly powerful force led him ashore, and made him place the star in the pedestal. Those who have sailed with him have noticed, since that fateful night on the Mountain of Bones, that Julius has been acting differently at times, unaware of his surroundings, and becoming increasingly obsessed about sailing south. Those who observed what happened will notice two things: Julius is no longer acting strangely this will become more apparent over the next few days and the island has apparently risen several feet, placing the ruins on a hill that will always remain above water.

Unknown to the Thyatians, the ruins were once a temple of Ixion, thousands of years ago, situated on a mountaintop in Lhomarr. This was one of the holier sites on the lost island continent, and its return can only mean that Ixion Himself is stirring.

What the PCs Can Do: If one of the PCs took the golden star, he or she will be the one to place it in the pedestal, and trigger the rising of the small island. Otherwise, they can help Julius investigate the island and the ruins. Although almost everything was destroyed with the sinking of Lhomarr, there may be a few small items buried in the drying muck, or hidden under the flagstones of the still intact temple floor. It is up to the DM to determine what they might be, but to survive thousands of years of immersion underwater, they should either be magical, or have some powerful spells of preservation cast upon them.

Quest for a Cure.

Location: Mumlyket of Nagpuri, Kingdom of Sind. OW

Description: The third son of the missing Rajah Salmahlin Kalkiin, Prince Almiron, makes a proposal at court that magical aid be sought outside of Nagpuri. Prince Almiron reminds the court that his mother, Lady Kalindi, the second wife of the rajah, has ties with the present Black Rajah of Jaibul, and that he himself had spent a year in the Great School of Magic in Glantri (disguised as a Krondaharan wizard); these connections might prove useful in rescuing the rajah from the Elemental Plane of Earth or restoring Rani Nipa Kalkiin from being a statue of clay.

Prince Rohan, second son of the rajah and rani, immediately agrees to the plan and announces his eagerness to make the journey to Jaibul, even before Prince Javas, his eldest brother and de facto ruler of Nagpuri, can contemplate his decision. He argues that it might be better for one of Lady Kalindi's sons to see the Black Rajah, but Prince Rohan cannot be dissuaded.

Prince Javas makes a final decision: Prince Almiron will travel to Glantri, while Prince Rohan will travel to Jaibul, accompanied by Prince Lais, the younger son of the rajah and Lady Kalindi.

Lady Kalindi stifles a wail at the proclamation and is brought out of the courtroom before the audience is ended. (See Ya. 11, Ya. 19; Kl. 14, Kl. 18.)

What This Means: With no magical solutions from the jadugeryas of Nagpuri, the Kalkiin family is desperate for the return of the rajah, but more so are Princes Javas and Rohan, since their mother also lies in a cursed state of elemental clay. The proposal from their brother Almiron (actually, only a half-brother, like Lais) seems logical and straightforward enough. In truth, it was actually authored by the ambitious Lady Kalindi who will play the role of a grieving mother, worried for the safety of her two sons on a perilous quest in foreign lands.

What the PCs Can Do: Whether their loyalty lies with Kalindi Kalkiin or the true and rightful rulers of Nagpuri (Rajah Salmahlin and thus Prince Javas), PCs can accompany these princes of Nagpuri to either quest to distant and dangerous lands, especially if they have been to Jaibul or Glantri before.

A Call to the Faithful.

Location: OW, SD, SC, DV

Description: No matter where they are, or what they are doing, all clerics of Ixion in His various incarnations receive a mental image of a small island bursting from the sea, upon which is a brilliant white temple with a golden dome. In their minds, and in their own languages, they all hear the following:

"The storm shall pass, let the light shine! Let what was once forgotten be known once more! Let My wisdom and guidance be as a shining temple on a hill to you, and let the seas of ancient darkness be repelled!"

The image then fades, leaving the clerics disoriented, but otherwise unaffected. (See Ya. 8, Kl. 1; Kl. 26, Fe. 9.)

What This Means: Ixion is aware of the resurgence of the Outer Beings, foes of old that He fought, in Davania. Although He is forbidden from taking direct action in the Prime Plane, He can use symbols and other indirect acts to alert the faithful.

What the PCs Can Do: His Clerics will receive His message.

Klarmont 4, AC 1019

A Name Becomes Official.

Location: Tower of Zynillith, Kingdom of Blackheart, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: The new voidship still has no name as the team members with nautical experience have brought in the old navy tradition to name a ship after she is finished. However, the younger team members, especially the hopeful "voidonauts" Kossan, Iris, Olanth and Xanax, using the beginnings of the names of the ship designers: Lady Ardana, Lady Polint and Lord Loraan, have named the project and ship's class Apollo. Lady Ardana does not like the name too much, but she finally agrees to use it. (See Fl. 3, Fl. 7; Fy. 14, Fy. 15.)

What This Means: It is a typical human custom to give names to everything, and as Lady Ardana had not cared for it herself, the others came up with their own name.

Terror in the Hills!!

Location: Village of Dyrrachium, Imperial Territories, Thyatian Empire. OW

Description: The normally quiet village of Dyrrachium is attacked in the night by a large band of goblins. The villagers are caught completely by surprise, and within minutes many people are killed, and homes set aflame. The more able-bodied villagers try to mount a defence, but the shock of the goblins' swift and organised attack proves to be too much. Before concerted resistance can be brought to bear, the attackers flee into the surrounding Kerendas Hills, laden with plunder. (See Kl. 28, Fe. 9.)

What This Means: Dyrrachium was founded as a mining village not long after the Great War by Emperor Eusebius, in a bid to strengthen the empire's hold on its fringe territories, and to strengthen the imperial economy. People have known for many years that the surrounding hills contain respectable veins of silver and iron, but the region was considered too remote for active settlement and development, especially since there were already productive mines in more developed regions. Once the imperial government started to actively develop portions of the imperial territories by surveying, building roads, and clearing some land for settlement, the mines became feasible.

The region in which Dyrrachium was founded was considered to be fairly safe; the army had waged a successful campaign against the local goblin tribes in AC 1007, during which many strongholds were destroyed, and so it was thought that the survivors would be too dispersed, and too weak, to pose a serious threat for many years to come. This supposition has proven to be wrong.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs are adventuring in the Kerendas Hills (which are home to a variety of perils), they might be using Dyrrachium as a base. In this case, they could be present when the goblins attack, and their efforts might reduce the damage inflicted on the village, and save some lives, too.

Klarmont 5, AC 1019

Troops Depart for Polakatsikes.

Location: Town of Deletria, Meghala Kimata Plains. DV

Description: All the men the city can spare from its own defence are to leave for the front. An ill-matched army departs on foot and hopes to reach Polakatsikes before it is too late. Father Sigmund has them avoid the river as he fears encountering Mivosian troops. (See Ya. 28, Kl. 3; Kl. 10, Kl. 23.)

What This Means: Local officers gave Father Sigmund the best warriors they could spare, yet they really lack cavalry since the contingent is made of 250 pikemen, 400 light infantrymen and about 200 archers; plus a dozen Heldannic clerics.

What the PCs Can Do: Lead the "army."

Stabbing in the Night.

Location: Ruined City of Pyris/Desperia, Hills of Desolation, Jungle Coast. DV

Description: The Mivosian agent stabs the highest-ranking cleric of the party during the night and flees with the precious stones found during the day. He heads south with one of the two remaining donkeys, hoping to soon reach a region where he can use his hidden ring of teleportation. The murder is only discovered the next morning. (See Ya. 23, Ya. 24; Kl. 5, Kl. 8.)

What This Means: A very big emerald was found and the Mivosian agent assumed that it was the artifact itself, which he wants to bring back to Mivosian authorities. This emerald was just a very big gem: it once was a very powerful sage, who was opposed to the queen's plans but stayed to protect his people from her madness. The artifact has not yet been found, and should not be since it is not physically situated in the city.

What the PCs Can Do: They can organise the hunt.

Traitor Found Dead.

Location: Three miles south of the Ruined City of Pyris/Desperia, Hills of Desolation, Jungle Coast. DV

Description: The Mivosian agent is found dead in the wilderness. His body bears marks of giant claws. A search of his belongings reveals soporific powders and some more lethal poisons. The body is brought back to the city and buried. The donkey is found wandering around but still carrying all the gems the traitor stole. (See Ya. 24, Kl. 5; Kl. 8, Kl. 14.)

What This Means: The day before, a very big emerald was found and the traitor wrongly assumed that this was the artifact they all sought. As he left the city, he was spotted by Pharias who sensed the gems leaving the city. He observed the thief and after a short explanation and mind reading, opted to get rid of the traitor since he reneged on his word.

Pharias left very obvious proof of his deed, and did not take the gems with him to see if other unscrupulous people were present in the party.

What the PCs Can Do: Leading the hunt, it's up to the PCs to discover clues linking the traitor to Mivosia.

Klarmont 6, AC 1019

Balancing the Scales.

Location: City of Minrothad, Exarchate of Minrothad, Thyatian Empire. OW

Description: After nearly a week and a half of investigation and intrigue, agents of the exarch locate and bring in Calahim Elsan. Oran Meditor himself, asserting his privileges as exarch, reviews the young man's case in a public court.

After working through the formalities, Meditor notes that in addition to murder, Calahim is now guilty of flight to avoid arrest, a lesser crime under Thyatian law but still one for which Calahim must be punished. However, Meditor's review of the evidence from Calahim's original trial clearly shows that the murder charge was based upon a simple error in judgment, rather than the cold-blooded intent that the original judge assumed. Because of this, the exarch reduces Calahim's sentence to a fine of 500 gold lucins and a month's hard labour with the Minrothad City harbour maintenance crew. To this, he adds a second month at hard labour for the flight to avoid arrest. (See Ya. 22, Ya. 25.)

What This Means: A potentially dangerous situation has, for the moment, been defused. Some behind-the-scenes politicking was done to reduce Calahim's sentence, but not as much as one might think; Thyatian justice has always considered the criminal's intentions to be at least as important as his actions, and the judge at Calahim's original trial did misread the young man's intent (though Calahim didn't help his own case any, with his smug belief that as a Elsan scion he would be able to buy his way out of trouble with only a slap on the wrist).

The situation, longer-term, is somewhat less certain. The major families of Minrothad are now very well aware that Thyatian law, with all its swift impartiality, applies to them as strongly as it does to the common folk of the isles. They will have to be more careful in their activities in the future, and appreciate the empire somewhat less. On the other hand, Calahim's second trial and sentencing has strongly impressed the common folk of Minrothad City, making them aware that the empire's law can work for them against crimes committed by the wealthy, as well. A lot of their resentment towards the empire's absorption of the guilds begins to fade with this judgment.

Calahim's work with the city harbour crew is fairly honourable, as such sentences go the harbour crew is made up of both convicted criminals providing unskilled labour, and freemen overseeing their work. It is needed work that benefits the city of Minrothad and keeps him very much in the public eye.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs were involved in Scales of Justice, they may have been the ones to bring Calahim Elsan in. If so, Meditor will ask their opinion of the young man's personality and intent, and may take their advice into account on how to deal with his crime. Clever or insightful thinking may gain the PCs patronage either from Meditor directly, or from one or more of the major guild families of Minrothad.

Klarmont 7, AC 1019

A New Ally.

Location: Town of Kammin, Territory of Heldann, Heldannic Empire. OW

Description: Ordensmeisterin Anna von Hendriks receives word that Hermann Adalard and his entourage have returned from their mission to Soderfjord. She orders her aides to escort them in, and is gladdened to see Hermann return with his two men, as well as eight nervous-looking gnomes. The oldest gnome shakes himself, straightens, and, removing his cap, introduces himself as Burdel Stonehand, of the Torkyn Clan. He bids Anna greetings on behalf of his people, and says that, despite her most generous offer of assistance, the gnomes of the Falun Caverns are a hardy folk, and will not give the "dark dwarves" that which belongs to the Torkyn Clan by right. Nevertheless, he and his associates were intrigued by her offer, and will help her as best they can, in exchange for the right to copy all of the gnomish documentation in Heldannic possession, and to take any gnomish devices brought from Oostdok, if they wish. Anna agrees to this. (See Ya. 20, Ya. 28; Kl. 11, Kl. 14.)

What This Means: The Torkyn gnomes' position in Soderfjord does not appear to be as tenuous as Anna has thought, and therefore she does not have as much leverage over them as she had hoped. Fortunately for her, the possibility of obtaining designs of gnomish flying machines and devices proved to be an effective, if unintended, lure.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs in Anna's employ might be called upon to assist her in any negotiations to come, or they might be given the task of observing the gnomes, to ensure that they do not obtain more than they are supposed to, in the way of information.

The Alphatians Are Plotting.

Location: City of Mirros, Kingdom of Karameikos. OW

Description: Queen Olivia learns from her spies that the Alphatians are growing restless, and resentful of the Karameikans. Their leaders, most of whom were officers in the armies of Alphatia, have been meeting under the cover of strong magical protection that her spies were not competent enough to slip through. (See Ya. 28, Kl. 1; Kl. 19, Fe. 26.)

What This Means: The queen is worried, because those reports confirm her suspicions: the Alphatians are plotting, and this cannot bode well. She is unsure what their plot is exactly; one of her theories is that they plan a coup to take over Karameikos the Alphatians constitute the largest minority in Karameikos and there are now more Alphatians than Thyatians while her other pet theory is that they plan to attack Thyatis or Glantri from Karameikos. Whether the Alphatians, under their pretence of helping Karameikos progress in magic, are plotting a takeover or a war, they must be stopped before it is too late.

It's a Girl.

Location: Town of Wongzhao Tsushao, Cao Province, Exarchate of Ochalea, Thyatian Empire. SD

Description: Mister Yao Zhuchin, a top honours student at a military academy in the south, is revealed, in fact, to be Miss Yao Su-Xin, the young man's elder sister. At first it is believed to be a case of fratricide, but her parents and village clerics vouch that the young man died in battle with an ogre bandit that was later slain by his sister. Although the academy granted the young man entrance based on the accomplishment of the ogre slaying, they revoke Miss Su-Xin's martial diploma. (See Th. 26, Fl. 24; Ei. 3.)

What This Means: Though it isn't the first time that a woman poses as a man in order to bypass the bias against women in Ochalean society, this revelation comes at a bad time for Su-Xin as Ochalea has been quite divided on the issue of women's rights in the last few months. Often, when this happens, the men who didn't notice their pupil's true gender just keep pretending that she is a man so that they will not lose honour for their failure to notice earlier, and there is no confrontation as everybody involved keeps the charade up.

Klarmont 8, AC 1019

Escaping Mivosian Agent Captured by Humanoids.

Location: 100 miles southeast of Town of Deletria, Meghala Kimata Plains. DV

Description: The Mivosian agent who fled Deletria to warn Mivosian troops in Syropolis and Tyrnae is captured alive by a band of humanoids. (See Kl. 3; Kl. 10.)

What This Means: It is now very unlikely that Mivosian officers will hear about the taking of Deletria by Milenian forces.

Low Morale in Desperia.

Location: Ruined City of Pyris/Desperia, Hills of Desolation, Jungle Coast. DV

Description: Ever since the traitorous episode, morale is very low in the Heldannic party. Bertolucius is very upset about digging up so many beautiful and precious stones and not being able to keep any of them. Alatia is feeling down for she cannot figure out where they are going wrong. She knows the artifact is near, but cannot locate it despite her best efforts. Plus her lack of magical powers is very disturbing to her; she feels useless. (See Kl. 5, Kl. 5; Kl. 14, Kl. 15.)

What This Means: This is a test for the party. Vanya is observing them and wants to be sure they are dedicated to higher ideals than just looting a place of its treasure, without learning anything from it. She still has some doubts about some members of the party, and so decided to test their will a little while longer.

What the PCs Can Do: Cheering up Alatia or Bertolucius could be worth some extra XP.

Klarmont 9, AC 1019

Next Stop, Guadalante.

Location: Town of Ciudad Huelca, Estado de Guadalante, Savage Baronies. SC

Description: After concluding preliminary trade agreements with the Baronía de Saragón, the Thyatian expedition followed the Rio Copos upstream, reaching the capital of Guadalante in the early afternoon. The Thyatians are viewed with interest upon their arrival visitors from other baronies are rare, those from further afield doubly so and thus it is hardly a surprise that emissaries from the baron, Señor Crístobal Bigotillos y Copetez, approach the newcomers with an invitation to the baronial palace.

Following a brief round of introductions, Paulus and his companions are treated to a light, but delicious meal, during which Señor Crístobal asks many questions about Thyatis and the empire's dealings in the Savage Coast region. During the subsequent discussion, the baron makes it clear that, while his people have few dealings with other baronies, he thinks that both Guadalante and Thyatis could benefit from formal relations. He also makes it clear that he seeks neither military nor financial aid from the empire; his people are self-sufficient, and have prospered on the plains for generations. Paulus states that he respects Crístobal's frankness, and that, while there is little Guadalante might need, the empire can offer many things the people might want, such as affordable luxury goods. He goes on to say that he has heard much about the fine quality of Guadalantan horses, and that certain people in the empire are interested in purchasing some. Crístobal indicates his own interest, and discussions continue. (See Ya. 23, Kl. 2; Kl. 25, Fe. 21.)

What This Means: Paulus knew there would be little material gain for the empire by opening relations with Guadalante, but doing so would cost next to nothing, either certainly far less than having a situation where the barony was the only one not visited by the expedition. By making the effort to come out here, Paulus has shown the empire's willingness to deal with all baronies equally and fairly, a gesture that could be worth considerable diplomatic coin in the future. During the discussion, Paulus will also present Vincenzo Giotto, an experienced bard and merchant from Kerendas, as ambassador. Preliminary discussions will also take place concerning the purchase of horses (some prominent merchants in the Hinterlands and in Redstone are planning to go into ranching, and they think that Guadalantan horses would make fine breeding stock), and the export of Thyatian silks and wines.

What the PCs Can Do: A senior PC could be appointed ambassador. Otherwise, there is a fair amount to see and do in Ciudad Huelca, a town of roughly 6,000 that is arguably the farthest outpost of civilisation in the region. Ambitious PC can venture out into the Pampa Rica, a vast expanse of largely unclaimed grasslands populated by all manner of wild animals and goblinoids.

Market for Slaves in Decline?

Location: Across Nayce. AS, SD

Description: Slave merchants across Nayce complain to their respective rulers and patrons that they are experiencing unprecedented difficulties in selling their wares. In every Naycese kingdom, the numbers of slaves purchased has fallen since the late fall of AY 2018 [AC 1018. Ed.], and at an increasing rate since the summer of this year. The result is that many merchants are finding themselves in the uncomfortable position of being stuck with an increasing number of slaves that no one apparently wants to buy.

The response to this outcry varies. Some long-time customers help their suppliers out by continuing to buy slaves, but many cite financial problems, and simply say they do not have a need for more slaves at this time. (See Ya. 9, Ya. 21; Fe. 4, Fe. 14.)

What This Means: As mass unemployment among the servant and freeman classes spreads, and competition for jobs increases, many wealthy business owners and aristocrats have been able to reduce the wages they offer. Desperate to make ends meet, many people take these jobs anyway, and in some cases finds themselves little better off than slaves. Some employers have noticed that this new arrangement suits them better than owning slaves one cannot fire a slave, after all and there are no obligations whatsoever to care for employees. As some of the elite take advantage of the situation, many labourers soon realise how far they have fallen. This will only feed resentment in the coming months. In the meantime, the overall number of slaves will remain stable.

What the PCs Can Do: This scenario presents an opportunity for new PCs, who might start out as servants or freemen, to leave their old lives behind them and begin adventuring. Additionally, PCs who feel strongly about the slave trade one way or the other could involve themselves more closely in developments as time passes. There may be opportunities for them to get involved in the political manoeuvring that could arise as a result of this event, in order to advance their own agendas.

Klarmont 10, AC 1019

Meghalan Raiders' Remains.

Location: Five days southeast of Town of Deletria, Meghala Kimata Plains. DV

Description: Scouts report they have found the remains of an important Meghalan raiding party. No survivors are found. They apparently were attacked, captured, then horribly tortured to death. Their opponents were humanoids, mainly desert orcs, gnolls and some trolls, some of whom were killed before the Meghalans were overwhelmed.

Father Sigmund orders the dead to be properly buried, and the army resumes its journey toward Polakatsikes. (See Kl. 3, Kl. 5; Kl. 23, Kl. 24.)

What This Means: The Meghalan raiders were captured by the same humanoids who captured the fleeing Mivosian spy.

What the PCs Can Do: Investigate into the humanoids' battle tactics.

King of Randel in the Dark.

Location: "City" of Izchnizoy, Kingdom of Omegaran, Underside, Floating Continent of Alphatia, Alphatian Empire. HW

Description: In his palace at Sundsvall of the Dark, Zandor crowns Riyankar, a vassalich of limited power, King of Ioznyx (Randel of the Dark). King Riyankar is dismissed from Izchnizoy with the mission to establish his dark capital, Issanhass, below the city of Rardish, and to convert the Randel soldiers who patrol the Underside below Randel into subjects of Alphatia of the Dark. (See Va. 17; Fe. 3, Sv. 15.)

What This Means: Among the Randel soldiers captured by Zandor's underlings was an aristocratic officer. Though in Alphatia powerful spellcasters rarely choose a military career, Zandor knows that Randel has different traditions wherein it is actually prestigious to join the military. Thus, despite the fact that this officer was of rather low rank, Riyankar was deemed an acceptable choice for kingship based on Randel's standards. Other dead soldiers were turned into various types of undead subjects, while the living were taken into custody in the palace's dungeons or, as the court vampires call it, the larder.

To make him amenable for his kingship, Zandor used his necromantic knowledge to turn Riyankar into a vassalich. Now subjected to Zandor's will, Riyankar will do his emperor's bidding. His main goal is to use his knowledge of the Randel military base below the town of Dmireton, and of the Randel tactics in general, to prey upon the outpost's garrison and scouts thus acquiring new subjects and if possible capture the outpost altogether.

What the PCs Can Do: Randel PCs captured last year by Zandor's cronies may be dumped into Izchnizoy's dungeons, a place from which it would be difficult but not impossible to escape while they are hunted like game by vampires, ghouls, or any other type of undead that feed on living flesh that the DM may deem appropriate.

Slow Growth in Eirundrynn.

Location: Kingdom of Eirundrynn, Continent of Bellissaria, Nayce. AS

Description: A number of elves have arrived in Eirundrynn since Governor Jhedryll called for elven settlers last year. With the current economic decline in much of Nayce, many elves have come to establish new lives for themselves in a nation that welcomes them, and where they can escape the harsh situation in the rest of Nayce these days. Many of them have been disappointed, however, as there is little from the Naycese Council to get new things going and because Eirundrynn is a nation of few forests and many displeased humans, who see the new arrivals as invaders. (See Va. 1, Th. 22; Fe. 14, Am. 22.)

What This Means: The Naycese Council realises that there are many elves in Nayce and wanted to give them their own nation. They have not done much to help get that nation going, however. Basically they have thrust the whole enterprise onto Jhedryll, a military leader, with little or no funding. Owing to the economic trouble in Nayce, the growing nation will get even less money this year. The elves that come here find the prospects uncertain or disappointing, even as the local human population feels they are being supplanted or forced to leave, in which case they will be crushed between the elven settlers in Eirundrynn and the invading wizards in the Turmoil Territories. Governor Jhedryll has kept the peace by virtue of being a good military leader, but he has been lacking in showing people that he has visions for the future.

Hope Comes from the Unlikeliest Places.

Location: Baronía de Gargoña, Savage Baronies. SC

Description: Amid widespread fears of the imminent collapse of Gargoña, a saviour appears in the southeast. Visiting the scattered villages south of the Rio Copos, a well-dressed gentleman by the name of Don Marco de Rivera, and his retainers, is promising protection from Narvaez and firm leadership to take back the lands north of the Rio Copos. Many Gargoñans, especially those who recently fled the Narvaezan-held lands across the river, hearken to the man's message. (See Ya. 28; Fe. 13, Fy. 7.)

What This Means: Don Marco is none other than Don Esteban, the former ruler of Almarrón who had been ousted by Barón Maximiliano de Almarrón y Escudor in AC 1008, and who tried, unsuccessfully, to regain control of the country in AC 1016-17. He went into hiding in late AC 1017, and has been quietly rebuilding his power base since that time. Seeing the chaos that is enveloping Gargoña, Esteban has decided to assert himself here, in the hopes of eventually taking over the baronía and using it as a launching point for an invasion of Almarrón. In the meantime, he is counting on the ignorance of the locals, a magical alteration of his appearance, and his own charisma, to prevent people from finding out who he really is.

What the PCs Can Do: Noble PCs in southern Gargoña may feel threatened by this mysterious man, and try to find out what he is doing in the region. They could either find out themselves, or they could send spies to uncover the truth. Alternatively, the PCs could be the spies. Yet another possibility is that the PCs are part of Esteban's entourage, in which case they could be ordered to investigate the nearest nobles, to discover their strengths and weaknesses.

Klarmont 11, AC 1019

Landfall Bombarded.

Location: City of Landfall, Territory of Heldland, Heldannic Empire. NW

Description: The former garrison of Oceansend, as well as troops recruited from among the recent immigrants to Heldland, lay siege to the city of Landfall, currently held by forces loyal to Heinrich Straßenburger, a few hours before sunrise. They are supported by elements of the Thyatian thematic exercitii, a company of dwarven soldiers from Kildorkak, as well as a Thyatian tuldum (engineering) regiment. Trebuchets and catapults start pounding the landward walls by mid afternoon, while defending archers and spellcasters try to dislodge their besiegers. The arrows fall well short of their mark, but some of the lightning bolt and cloudkill spells gain the city brief respites. (See Ya. 28, Kl. 7; Kl. 14, Kl. 21.)

What This Means: Ordensmeisterin Anna von Hendriks has decided, whether or not the zeppelins can be built, to gain as much ground as she can while Straßenburger is still at a disadvantage due to his losses in the Ostbergen. Hence, her move to blockade Althaven, and now to besiege Landfall, to create a two-front war. Partly, she hopes that her move will force Straßenburger's hand, and concentrate his troops in the two combat zones, which could reduce the pressure on Grauenberg. As far as campaigns go, Landfall is significant in that it is the largest port held by Straßenburger's forces in the Kamminer Bay region. Its loss would provide Anna with a secure landing point for more of her troops along the northern shore, if necessary.

The involvement of the dwarves, who are normally excused from military service to the Heldannic Order, was secured by a promise by Anna that they would have a share of any wealth held by the regime.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs on either side can take part in this battle, performing missions to help, or hinder, the defenders.

Mivosians Reinforce Syropolis and Tyrnae.

Location: Towns of Syropolis and Tyrnae, Mivosian Empire, north of Dominion of Polakatsikes, Meghala Kimata Plains. DV

Description: Mivosian troops finally arrive at their destination. Plans are made for the weeks to come. Watch posts are reinforced, and some incursions into Heldannic territory are planned to test the defences of the enemy. Siege engines are to be built soon, too. (See Ya. 23, Ya. 24; Kl. 12, Kl. 14.)

What This Means: When Mivosians are numerous, war is close. The morale is high in the Mivosian ranks.

What the PCs Can Do: If they are Heldannic spies, they have to report the arrival to Polakatsikes's advanced outposts.

The Most Important Secret Meeting of Our Time.

Location: City of Darokin, Republic of Darokin. OW

Description: In a secret house belonging to the DDC, a meeting is held between King Doriath of the fair elves, Princess Tanadaleyo of Aengmor, Radiant King Telemon of the Shadow Elves, Chancellor Corwyn Mauntea of Darokin and King Stefan Karameikos, plus Prince Regent Bensarian of Wendar. The elven rulers agree to share the land of the Canolbarth Forest for the time being. This means that all fair elves now can return to their land, even if not everyone will do this in the near future, many clans having forged lasting bonds with people and land abroad. Besides, for the immediate future the rulers agree to root out the Church of Atzanteotl anywhere in their lands and to cooperate to dismantle, once and for all, the Alfheim Avengers and other hate groups. (See Fl. 12, Ya. 5; Fe. 2, Am. 8.)

What This Means: Enough is enough and Doriath and Tanadaleyo are tired of Atzanteotl's continued attacks against the fragile peace among the elves, and so are Rafiel and Ilsundal. Now they are determined to strike against the evil Immortal and put an end to all of His activities among the elves. Telemon, conscious of the civil war provoked some years ago by Atzanteotl among shadow elves, agrees with them, and even Mauntea and Karameikos are willing to cooperate.

What the PCs Can Do: The PCs could look after the security of the meeting, act as bodyguards to one of the leader, or foil yet another evil plot of the Church of Atzanteotl's.

The Trimark Incident.

Location: City of Akorros, Republic of Darokin. OW

Description: A cargo ship named the Trimark sails into the harbour of Akorros or rather, drifts in. The dockworkers are horrified to find most of the crew torn to pieces or gored to death by sharp objects. There are a few survivors, who feebly try to hide away from all attention or else scream of bird-like demons who attacked the boat. Clearly none of the survivors have retained their sanity, though several of the bodies could have been pecked to death by some very large birds. (See Th. 14, Ya. 26; Kl. 13, Kl. 17.)

What This Means: The Trimark was attacked by screaming demons released onto Mystara by Razrog, the Roaring Demon on Itheldown Island. For centuries Razrog has been trying to break the last barriers that kept him away from Mystara, and now the last barriers are coming down. While Razrog cannot yet travel through the gate himself due to the magics that once created it, there is no longer anything preventing him from sending his lesser demonic servants through the portal. The screaming demons look like large humanoid-shaped stork-like beings and are the first soldiers in Razrog's invasion of the mortal planes.

What the PCs Can Do: Since the Darokinian authorities have prohibited all investigation into the Itheldown matter, the PCs will not be permitted to explore this incident beyond possibly talking to the now insane survivors of the Trimark. They might join up with Millington Vonaday in his attempts to determine the reasons behind the Itheldown curse, however, as they will certainly hear of it if they pursue the matter with the authorities.

Klarmont 12, AC 1019

Cinsa-Men-Noo Is Invaded.

Location: Town of Cinsa-Men-Noo, Emirate of Nithia, Emirates of Ylaruam. OW

Description: Three hundred Northmen and their families are joined by another eighty weary travellers from the Savage Coast. They all claim to be converts to al-Kalim, and they want to help Torcreft build his canal. (See Fl. 25, Ya. 5; Fe. 28, Am. 2.)

What This Means: These are indeed converts, listeners to the tales of Mujibur in his travels. They have received word that a plan to irrigate the Desert Garden has been enacted by Torcreft, so they have come to help build it.

What PC's Can Do: The sultan may want spies among these foreigners, as they are believed to have been mercenaries in the past. The PCs may be spies for other countries that are getting word of a new prophet coming to unite the Ylari, and so they have moved in with these foreigners as well; the Thyatians, by way of friendly Emirate of Tameronikas, are likely to be the first to place spies close to Mujibur.

Polakatsikes Learns of Mivosian Arrival.

Location: Town of Polakatsikes, Dominion of Polakatsikes, Heldannic Empire, Meghala Kimata Plains. DV

Description: Messengers bring the long-feared news: Fresh Mivosian troops have arrived. Heldannic patrols are doubled in the wilderness in all directions. (See Ya. 24, Kl. 11; Kl. 14, Kl. 18.)

What This Means: Open war is close once again. The Heldannic Knights want to be prepared for any contingencies. The ground around the city walls has been dug and filled with spikes and traps. Secret tunnels have been excavated to allow soldiers out of the city or to provide a secret escape. They are now in dire need for their own allies to finally arrive.

What the PCs Can Do: Conduct the final preparations to defend the city.

The Awards Festival.

Location: City of Glantri, Principalities of Glantri. OW

Description: A month after the official declaration of the Marchioness of Berrym's death and more importantly, of the vacancy of her position Glantrian nobles and hopefuls for nobility convene at Parliament House for an Awards Festival.

The Marquisate of Berrym is taken by the ambitious Doña Isabella de Montebello, who is only too glad to leave the cold and inhospitable County of Glenargyll. Sir Gerrid Rientha, Visconte di Castelbianco, declines Glenargyll. Most unexpectedly, Signor Bartolomeo di Malapietra, Visconte di Sirecchia, abandons his recently earned dominion and takes the title of Count of Glenargyll. Signor Vincienzo di Randazzi, Baron of Ylourgne, will return to the ruins of his birthplace, as he takes the unpopular position of Viscount of Sirecchia.

Joining the ranks of nobility as the new Baron of Ylourgne after one Krondaharan hopeful mysteriously disappeared, Prinz Jaggar von Drachenfels's candidate backed down, and the orcish wokan from New Kolland was disqualified again is a certain Jissel de Gheyn, a well-connected wizard of mixed Flaemish and Averoignian heritage. He was a close friend of Prince Vanserie Vlaardoen of Bergdhoven and can also boast of being kissing cousins to the d'Ambrevilles (rumour has it that the blood of Etienne d'Ambreville runs in his veins). He allies with House Linden, openly supporting Princess Juliana Vlaardoen's views of a more tolerant, more diverse Glantri, but some say he also has connections with the more extremist and racist elements among the Flaemish wizards. (See Ya. 2, Ya. 12; Ei. 14.)

What This Means: Some political moves of this Awards Festival were surprising. Viscount Gerrid Rientha had only begun to rule Castelbianco in AC 1017, and wanted to continue his projects for the mountainous region in earnest.

The haunted, monster-laden ruins of Sirecchia have nothing to offer, save for the Abbey of the Bleeding Rose, the sole religious sanctuary run by clerics of Valerias, which is still under construction. Signor Bartolomeo di Malapietra had no love for his family when they were alive, much less would he have any loyalty to his familial lands, now that the Malapietras are dead!

Among the eligible barons were Signor Vincienzo di Randazzi, Baron of Ylourgne, and Lady Danira Voshane, Baroness of Egorn and stalwart ally of Prinz Harald Haaskinz of Sablestone. In a shrewd political move, Signor Vincienzo made a deal with Prinz Harald: He would shift alliances to House Haaskinz, in consideration of their ancient Thyatian ties, if Lady Danira would yield to his bid for Sirecchia. At any rate, the baroness has no interest in Sirecchia, sentimental or otherwise, and with Prinz Harald's poor health and her recent alarms about grey sorcery, she would rather remain in close proximity to the Grand Master of the Great School.

Jissel de Gheyn is secretly the leader of the Followers of the Fire, radical Flaemish fire wizards who believe in the supremacy of the Flaemish race. Prince Vanserie was the former leader and Count Pieter Verlien of High Sonden ranks highly among its members. In truth, Jissel does not truly support their views, and is manipulating the group as well as a network of high-ranking wizards under the influence of his crystal hypnosis balls to fuel his own ambitions of power. He is also an alchemist of the fourth circle and has considerable clout with the Averoignian-based secret craft.

Klarmont 13, AC 1019

Gnolls Expelled from Renardie.

Location: City of Louvines, Domaine Royal, Kingdom of Renardie, Animal Kingdoms. SC

Description: Le Roi Louis issues an edict barring all gnolls from entering Renardie or face deportation to Nouvelle-Renardie. A delegation from El Grande Carrascal is expelled; all other gnolls residing in or visiting the kingdom are urged to leave within one month. (See Va. 7; Am. 24.)

What This Means: The hutaakans discovered three years ago that some lupins worship the Immortal Pflarr, and that they too are looking into their race's origins (see Sviftmont 9, AC 1016). Pursuing the possibility that all three races, hutaakans, gnolls and lupins, may share a common ancestry, several hutaakans (mostly scholars and priests of Pflarr) came to Renardie.

Unfortunately, the questions asked and the lobbying done by the hutaakans drew them the ire of the Renardois clergy, who had the lupin followers of Pflarr rounded up and deported to the Bayou where they founded the colony of Nouvelle-Renardie. Fearing that the gnollish inquiries might rekindle the religious heresy that threatened Renardois society, they had the king issue an edict that sentences them to the same fate as their co-religionists. The Renardois, like everyone else including the hutaakans until recently do not make a distinction between gnolls and hutaakans, whom they consider a sub-race of gnolls; thus, they will be deported as well.

What the PCs Can Do: It will become very dangerous for hutaakan or gnollish PCs to enter Renardie although if they do it might be an opportunity for the DM to send them to the frontier Nouvelle-Renardie without all those bulky magical gizmos and bags of gold the DM wanted to get rid of (an interesting follow-up would be PCs trying to get their money back from the Renardois government or from Renardois citizens or officials on the grounds that the edict deports them but should not confiscate their wealth). For Renardois PCs, the hunt for gnolls is open the king has just declared them monsters, so they are fair game...

Pieces to the Puzzle.

Location: City of Darokin, Republic of Darokin. OW

Description: Since returning from Ierendi, and especially after guessing at the meaning of the clues "Dawn" and "Shadows," Millington Vonaday has been searching in scholarly circles for references to "Dusk," and word of his search has spread. Among several other clues investigated have been the names of swords, unusual components for use with magic, and a host of other things. Bastian Rodens, an important young mage with the Mages' Guild, tells Millington that "Dusk" might also be a person. At least, he believes to recall that Rezak Xygar, a travelling mage in Darokin, once mentioned such a person during a conversation they had last year. (See Ya. 26, Kl. 11; Kl. 17, Fe. 4.)

What This Means: Millington thought he was making progress in his attempt to uncover the mystery of Itheldown Island, but now the track seems to have gone cold...

More Bloodshed in Daraxi Tournaments.

Location: Tiger Clan Lands, Atruaghin Territories. OW

Description: The festival day becomes a rioting day when followers and priests of Atzanteotl attack the crowd in many Tiger Clan cities, and many soldiers and followers of Danel Tigerstripes and Atruaghin react by hunting down suspected followers of Atzanteotl everywhere. Many priests and followers are slaughtered in Tiger Clan holdings before the king's warriors are able to pacify the land. (See Th. 7; Fe. 3, Sv. 10.)

What This Means: Eelsha Spider's Kiss, High Priestess of Atzanteotl, is still alive, and willing to fight for her beloved patron. Her plan failed today, but the king and the priests of Danel and Atruaghin had better watch their backs...

What the PCs Can Do: They could try to locate Eelsha, but finding and killing the high priestess should be very difficult, and involving a massive fight with many priests and warriors loyal to Atzanteotl.


Location: Lands of the Brute-Men. HW

Description: Ka-ro, the young boy from the Fang Cave Clan who was exiled for discovering an object that was thought to be an artifact belonging to the dark Tha-to, finds an empty cave where he can sleep and live in relative safety from the dangerous animals and monsters that roam the lands of the Brute-Men. There, he draws upon the walls the story of his encounter with the flying presence at the clearing, the pursuit of the wounded woolly mammoth, the discovery of the artifact, the trek home, the feast, the suspicion, the ceremony of taboo, and the exile. (See Th. 14, Th. 22; Ei. 19.)

What This Means: Ka-ro was accused of being accursed for finding an object supposedly belonging to Tha-to, and exiled. Forced to live as a hermit, he managed to survive and, being an artist like many Brute-Men, he began drawing his life's story on to the walls of his new abode.

What the PCs Can Do: The painting is beautiful, and when it is over PCs who stumble upon it may try to decipher it. It notably hints at the presence of a hidden object of power.

Klarmont 14, AC 1019

Partial Withdrawal from Grauenberg.

Location: City of Grauenberg, Territory of Heldann, Heldannic Empire. OW

Description: Sentries manning Grauenberg's walls report that a considerable portion of the besieging army has broken camp and is marching north. The ordensgeneral in charge of defending the city is overjoyed at the news, but is sobered by the knowledge that, even with the additional clerical aid provided by Ordensmeisterin Anna von Hendriks, the people of Grauenberg are starving. (See Kl. 7, Kl. 11; Kl. 21, Kl. 25.)

What This Means: While the siege of Grauenberg tied down a large portion of Heinrich Straßenburger's western armies, conditions for the people living in the city were terrible. Despite tremendous effort on the part of the clerics in terms of creating food and healing the injured and sick the people have lived on meagre rations for several months now, and many have succumbed to illness. Those who remained healthy have had to deal with the occasional attack, but for the most part they have coped with the stresses inherent in being surrounded by an enemy, from whom no quarter can be expected.

Although a large portion of the besieging army is being redeployed to Landfall, the force facing the Grauenbergers is still quite formidable, and unless it is dislodged soon, many people will die. Working in Grauenberg's favour are the strength of its fortifications, and the fact that it has spellcasters who have contributed a great deal to the city's defence. Thus, it is reluctant to attack unless it seems certain that it can win quickly.

What the PCs Can Do: Actions undertaken by the PCs, on either side, could shift the balance dramatically. Powerful PC clerics can aid their companions through healing and defensive magic, or they can travel to enemy lines and sow chaos.

Murder in Mahasabad!

Location: Mumlyket of Nagpuri, Kingdom of Sind. OW

Description: At the palace of Mahasabad, the body of a dead young girl is found in the personal chambers of Rani Nipa Kalkiin (who remains petrified as a clay statue since the vanquishing of the horde a few months ago). Her skull is cracked open with blood pooling onto the intricately woven silken carpet. Beside her lies a broken marble statue of the Immortal Trisathi (Tarastia) and strewn on the floor are rare black Ochalean pearls. Many of the rani's precious jewellery pieces are discovered unaccounted for.

Prince Javas assigns some jadugerya advisers to investigate the gruesome matter. They come to the conclusion that the girl was one of the rani's maidservants, who probably took advantage of her mistress's incapacity to steal some jewellery. Magical divinations however do not reveal anything further not the murder, the murderer, or the location of the jewels but it is assumed that the maid had an accomplice who turned against her, killing her and stealing the jewels out of greed.

That night, a vicious rumour begins to spread that the maid had actually been enamoured at the prince. The most malicious minds in Mahasabad thus begin speculating that Prince Javas, or maybe even his wife Lady Pandita, may have slain the girl if not for the jewels, if not out of jealousy, then just to silence her. (See Ya. 19, Kl. 3; Kl. 18, Kl. 21.)

What This Means: This is a point where the plot of Lady Kalindi Kalkiin was almost exposed but she masterfully turned it around to her own advantage. It was she who stole the rani's jewels, but the poor maid was witness to the theft and thus had to be stopped. Lady Kalindi held her with a spell, then after casting magical protections against scrying and other divinations, struck the maid down in a very non-magical way. The scattered pearls were planted to lay the blame of the theft on the maid, and even the rumour of the possible involvement of Prince Javas or his wife began upon Lady Kalindi's own lips.

What becomes of the jewels remains to be seen...

What the PCs Can Do: It would make for some interesting role-playing if the PCs were instead tasked to investigating the murder and the theft. But will the PCs come to the right conclusion or simply fall into Lady Kalindi's well-crafted plot?

First Skirmishes Occur.

Location: North of Village of Doleria, Dominion of Polakatsikes, Heldannic Empire, Meghala Kimata Plains. DV

Description: Emboldened by the arrival of fresh troops, the Mivosians go on the offensive to test their adversaries. They storm a fortified watch post in the hills east of Doleria. Many battle mages participate along with a hundred archers. The Heldannic Knights order a retreat some miles south to another watchtower to strengthen it. (See Kl. 11, Kl. 12; Kl. 18, Kl. 25.)

What This Means: The Mivosians are bluffing. Their use of archers and battle mages proves that they are not so confident in their one-on-one combat skills. This time, everything went well because the Heldannic Knights were caught by surprise, but this will not happen every time like that.

What the PCs Can Do: Attack, or defend themselves.


Location: Ruined City of Pyris/Desperia, Hills of Desolation, Jungle Coast. DV

Description: Morale reaches a new low when a digger is suddenly buried under a crumbling structure of stone walls and sand. The digger is found and carried out in a few minutes, but his condition is very critical. He is tended by the priests as best as they can without their spells, and finally the remaining highest-ranking cleric has him brought to Pharias, to see if he can help. Pharias mends the man's broken bones and orders him to rest. The digger is in shock and babbles semi-consciously about what he did wrong and where the tunnel he was digging was leading. Pharias, who interprets this as a direct question to him, answers both questions fully. Later that day, when the digger returns to his comrades, he tells Alatia about the sphinx's strange reaction.

So many little things seem to hint at Pharias hiding the full truth that Alatia is very concerned and tries to focus her thoughts on finding a satisfying answer. After an hour of intense pondering, she jumps to her feet and runs to Pharias. She bluntly asks him very precise questions about the city and its history, to which Pharias answers fully. She finally asks him if he is bound to tell the truth about the city and he answers positively. Since night has fallen, and she is now very tired, she asks him to meet them first thing in the morning to answer more questions. (See Kl. 5, Kl. 8; Kl. 15, Kl. 16.)

What This Means: Alatia finally realised that their very attitude toward Pharias led him to not reveal everything he knew. Due to the fact that the party never revealed its full intention, Pharias had no reason to trust them fully and to confide in them more fully than he did. Trust is so rarely encountered in this world that when it occurs most people cannot believe it.

The expedition reaches a turning point and shall start again on a new basis.

What the PCs Can Do: They could be the one to figure out the truth and jumpstart this quest.

Corun House Commissions Airship.

Location: City of Corunglain, Republic of Darokin. OW

Description: Following the successful, albeit beleaguered, launch of aerial trade routes between Darokin and Glantri in AC 1018, the head of Corun House, Nathalie Kalimi, commissions an airship from the Glantrian manufacturers Montgolfière & Urbaal Ltd. solely for the business of Corun House. The aging Nathalie Kalimi does not make the trip to Leenz herself, but sends a contingent of merchants and negotiators, led by her son and successor, Aldon Kalimi. (See Ya. 9; Ka. 26.)

What This Means: Many Darokinians will credit this bold move to the recent rise in fortunes of Corun House from the aerial trade last year (much to the chagrin of Umbarth House, its rival in trade with Glantri). While this is partly true, Corun House has actually met with many internal problems: the slowing of business, delays in deliveries, and slacking off of numerous merchants, including the notoriously reluctant Aldon Kalimi. Nathalie decided that expansion of aerial trade would prove beneficial and that thrusting Aldon into responsibility would rouse him from his lethargy.

What the PCs Can Do: Aldon Kalimi's aerial voyage and negotiations in Glantri may be fraught with danger and intrigue (especially if Aldon's bodyguards share the same careless lethargy that seems to have overcome the rest of Corun House). Will the PCs be hired by Nathalie Kalimi for extra security, perhaps as undercover guardians? Will the PCs even be called to be part of the negotiation party? Or will rival parties from Glantri or Darokin hire the PCs for sabotage or even kidnapping?

Klarmont 15, AC 1019

Monsters on the Loose.

Location: Mivosian- and Heldannic-held villages and hamlets, between Towns of Deletria and Tyrnae, Meghala Kimata Plains. DV

Description: While most Mivosian troops have gathered around the front line south of Syropolis, numerous hamlets and small villages north of the river are swarmed by bands of monsters. They are reported as being very organised and well armed. In some places, they even used battle magic. Villages and hamlets are looted and the most able-bodied people are enslaved, while many others are maimed or killed. (See Kl. 5, Kl. 8; Kl. 21, Kl. 23.)

What This Means: The monsters are no fools: they have not ventured too close to any major settlement. Some companies of monsters who have followed the nomads out of the desert have received orders to take as much loot and slaves as possible. They took advantage of the lack of soldiers in the Mivosian-held province to strike easy targets. Now three companies are heading south, laden with loot and slaves. The other companies are starting to gather southeast and southwest of Polakatsikes.

What the PCs Can Do: They can witness the attacks and try to save what can be saved. Would-be heroes, this is your day.

Mysteries Unveiled.

Location: Ruined City of Pyris/Desperia, Hills of Desolation, Jungle Coast. DV

Description: At dawn Pharias meets the party and answers fully their direct questions. Alatia apologises for their reluctant attitude toward him and tells him the full story of their quest. Pharias reveals that the temple they found some days ago does lead to the secret tower where the artifact should still remain. He also informs them that once they enter the tower, its guardian will offer them a deal and they should pick one solution; they cannot leave without choosing one. Since he says all he knows, they decide to enter the strange building called the Threshold of Oblivion and in a second they appear in a very large and dark room. Piles of red gems, some almost 30 feet high, are scattered everywhere. Some light comes from the ceiling, which is made from a strange crystal, but the air is clouded and heavy. A platform stands at the other end of the room, with a dark female figure standing and holding her hands in their direction as if casting a spell.

A thunderous voice almost knocks them off their feet and asks them if they are here to fulfil the prophecy. They answer that they passed through the Threshold of Oblivion to retrieve an old artifact called the Conqueror's Heart. The voice laughs loudly and tells them they have found Oblivion indeed. A dragon rises from under the pile of gems and looks down at them. Bertolucius and Alatia stand in front and do the talking for the party. They explain the why, when, and how of their quest to the dragon, who tells them that no matter how good their intentions are, or seem to be, he has to put them to the test.

"Hear these words of wisdom, which appear on the statue of the last Queen of Pyris:

"He who shall grow plants in the central marketplace of Pyris shall be its new master. The others, the usurpers, shall fall into Oblivion."

"I wonder what kind you are? I give you until the day you shall celebrate the one-month anniversary of your arrival in this city to grow plants in the marketplace. If you don't succeed, well, let's say that oblivion might be your fate.

"In the meantime, you can enjoy the few pleasures you can find here for they may be your last ones, but do not lay hands on the talisman on the statue for death will befall the untrue master who touches such an artifact."

Alatia thanks him and takes a look around. She is amazed to find so many rare books and grimoires on the shelves against the walls in the back of the room on both sides of the throne. She takes the most interesting ones with her to study them. (See Kl. 8, Kl. 16, Kl. 17.)

What This Means: The party shall have a hard time figuring out a way to grow plants on such a barren soil as found in Pyris before Klarmont 23. Plus, the closest natural plants are about 70 miles south. Other means should be considered.

What the PCs Can Do: Good time for the PCs to exercise their brains.

Reinforcements Arrive at Last.

Location: Town of Polakatsikes, Dominion of Polakatsikes, Heldannic Empire, Meghala Kimata Plains. DV

Description: The first and smallest detachment of the Ilioloostian Army finally arrives in Polakatsikes after an eventful journey from Parthenaeum. The wounded are treated and taken care of, and the officers are received by Governor Wolfgang Stemmel. (See Ya. 28, Kl. 12; Kl. 18, Kl. 20.)

What This Means: Reinforcements have arrived at last. Ilioloosti is the only city-state to have answered positively to the Heldannic call for help, in large part because Mivosia has already threatened Ilioloostian borders. This is perhaps the only opportunity to counter Mivosia's ambitions to be the major military power in the region.

What the PCs Can Do: Organise the camps, and allocate food, water, and other supplies.

Klarmont 16, AC 1019

The More I Read, the More I Learn.

Location: Ruined City of Pyris/Desperia, Hills of Desolation, Jungle Coast. DV

Description: Alatia and the other party members who are to stay inside the tower study the very large collection of books. All areas related to magic and magic lore are present; the queen really built up a wonderful library. A full shelf is dedicated to mystical teleportation methods. Another one, obviously Alphatian, deals with building small flying ships. Others tell about the many ways to focus magical energy or to release it from mundane but precious materials such as gems. It becomes clear that the queen had something big in mind when she tried to turn her whole country into gemstones. (See Kl. 14, Kl. 15; Kl. 17, Kl. 18.)

What This Means: Indeed the mad queen had a plan to conquer all the nations around her. She needed a very powerful source of energy; that's why she turned so many people into precious stones. The more powerful the people were, the more precious the stones would be, and the more energy they would contain. She wanted to build a flotilla of small flying ships, armed with magical devices, all powered by the magical might contained in the gems. Thus she planned to expand her influence around Pyris.

She had also discovered that in some mystical spots on Mystara, but also on other planets, energy was naturally and mystically concentrated and allowed the creation of long-lasting magical portals. Such portals existed in several places in Davania, but very few people knew the spells needed to trigger their opening. That's how she managed to have her men travel around Davania in search of long-lost artifacts.

What the PCs Can Do: Read and learn.

Avast, Ye Scurvy Dogs! Prepare To Be Boarded!

Location: Western Sea of Dread. OW

Description: The Gilded Seafarer, a merchantman owned by House Linton in Darokin and sailing the Sea of Dread to deliver a cargo from Mirros to Yavdlom, is accosted by three ships of Minrothad's Privateer's Guild, the Starbow, Reaver, and Dreaded Kraken who demand to be allowed to board the ship. The captain momentarily considers his alternatives, but neither flight nor fight seem like good prospects: the privateers are faster and more agile than his vessel, and better armed. He strikes the colours and allows the reavers to board his ship. They are polite, and efficiently strip the Gilded Seafarer of her cargo, then sail on. Without any cargo to transport, the Gilded Seafarer turns about to sail back to port.

What This Means: The Privateer's Guild of Minrothad has been authorised to attack shipping in the Sea of Dread that is not carried on friendly vessels, i.e. the ships of Minrothad, Thyatis, and their allies. The Thyatians intend to strengthen their grip on the Sea of Dread's sea-lanes, and the privateers will be joined by buccaneers of Terentias and the Isle of Dawn. At first, these ventures are fairly mild. But as merchants begin to hire even more marines to guard their cargoes and take other measures to protect their ships from piracy, violence will come to the fore as the Sea of Dread becomes a dangerous place.

Other nations will attempt to respond in kind, but for now the Minrothaddans have dominance in the region due to the empire's control over numerous isles across the Sea of Dread (as a result of the Twaelar War) where they can find havens, and Thyatis's treaty with the Twaelar as well. The nimble ships of the Privateer's Guild are faster and more manoeuvrable than those of their opponents, and generally can avoid combat when they want to. This, and the regular Thyatian naval patrols throughout the region, gives them a significant advantage over their competitors when other nations respond in kind.

The Sea of Dread is becoming something to dread again for seafarers from many nations. Increasing defences and hiring more marines costs money, thus cutting into the profit margins of Minrothad and Thyatis's competitors, increasing their shipping costs to customers. Meanwhile, the privateers' actions pay for themselves sale of the loot covers the cost of their sorties. To Eusebius, this is an example of efficient economic competition at work. But when confronted by foreign governments, the imperial government claims no knowledge of, and no control over, the attacks. Technically speaking, this is true, because they are not directed by the empire, nor were they directly unleashed by it. This is an example of Minrothad's Exarch, Oran Meditor, taking some initiative himself, and Thyatian buccaneers following suit. But Eusebius does all he can to quietly encourage and promote anything including this that gives Thyatis an advantage over its competitors, and helps increase its pre-eminence in the Sea of Dread.

What the PCs Can Do: Swashbuckling adventures are in the offing here, either as pirates, anti-pirates, or both (pirating the ships of one side while also battling that side's pirates as well). This includes sailing into exotic harbours of barely charted isles and possibly even undersea action against the Twaelar Merrow. What the heck some bright PCs might even decide to engage in a little honest trading, too.

Klarmont 17, AC 1019

Falcon Village Attacked.

Location: Bear Clan Lands, Atruaghin Territories. OW

Description: Mercenaries hired by Ystran House attack women and children who are farming near Falcon Village in Bear Clan lands. Clan warriors intervene immediately and repulse the mercenaries, but some innocent villagers are killed. (See Ya. 5, Ya. 22; Kl. 20, Kl. 22.)

What This Means: Ystran House has established itself as defender of the miners, and this act is meant to punish the Atruaghin for their burning of a squatters' village. But the killing of innocents will have only one result: the Bear Clan will mourn their dead and then will seek swift compensation from the Darokinians, or war.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs are Atruaghin, they should try to defend their friends and families from the attack.

A Lone Survivor.

Location: City of Akesoli, Republic of Darokin. OW

Description: A cargo ship entering Akesoli harbour brings with it a frail-looking woman, who explains to the authorities that she was a passenger with the ship called the Trimark. Since the news of the Trimark's fate is already known, the city guards question her about the demonic stork-like beings said to have attacked the ship. The woman looks utterly surprised, however, and tells them that no such creatures were involved. Rather, the Trimark was attacked by pirates who violently killed the crew and stabbed many of them to death with spears or similar large missiles fired from ballistae on their ship. The woman, Selene, survived by jumping from the ship and then swimming for hours until she was rescued by the ship that brought her to Akesoli. The investigators conclude that the rumours of what happened to the Trimark may have been part of some nefarious plot. Since the Trimark was a ship built in Akesoli and owned and used by Umbarth House, some people in that house begin to speculate that it might have been an enemy house, such as Corun or Mauntea, who made up this story to hurt their profits. They begin their own investigation and consider how to respond accordingly. (See Kl. 11, Kl. 13; Fe. 4, Am. 1.)

What This Means: The reason why nobody else has suspected this nefarious plot is quite simply that Selene is an utter fraud. Far from being the frail and poor woman she appears to be, she is actually a whispering demon sent forth from Itheldown Island to cause dissent among the Darokinians. The tension among the merchant houses of Darokin has not gone unnoticed by Razrog, who found that it would be easy to make the Darokinians jump to extreme conclusion, if he spurred their paranoia a little. Whether it will be as easy as Razrog thinks remains to be seen.

What the PCs Can Do: The PCs might want to investigate this new development in the Trimark incident, but it won't be easy, since Selene will be good at covering her tracks. She will also work quickly to draw the romantic attention and interest of important members of Umbarth House, and make those who would accuse her of deception face very negative reactions indeed.

Moon over Pyris.

Location: Ruined City of Pyris/Desperia, Hills of Desolation, Jungle Coast. DV

Description: Bertolucius and the his men-at-arms argue on the best ways to kill a mighty dragon. Most of them believe that in such a case, Vanya would provide a means of victory. After long hours of discussion, unable to sleep because of the rising tension, Bertolucius lies down on the sand and looks up at the starlit sky. The moon, which was full two days ago, brightly emerges from the horizon. Still lost in his thoughts, Bertolucius hums an old childish tune about the moon and the stars:

"I ask the stars every night

"To call the moon and gather light.

"Alas bright dots so clear and frail

"But do not know the Moon that well."

Suddenly an idea pops in his mind. He remembers a place, the Well of the Moon, where he went as a young adventurer [see X5 Temple of Death. Ed.], somewhere between Hule and the Sind Desert. There, they met a dragon defending the sole water source; Bertolucius's brother, a fine swordsman, managed to subdue the beast in formal combat. Thus they were able to leave with water supplies and their lives. The dragon was left to guard the well and the whole pass. The dragon revealed to them that the water had magical properties: If poured on the ground, the water could turn a barren place productive and luxuriant or render already productive soils barren.

Bertolucius gathers his companions and relates his memories and his faith in the possible peaceful solution they could take. They decide to confer with Alatia on the next day and try to find a way to go back to the Well of the Moon to obtain some of its water. (See Kl. 15, Kl. 16; Kl. 18, Kl. 19.)

What This Means: This is one solution which could allow the PCs to fulfil the prophecy and thus to take the artifact away without having to fight an almost invincible opponent.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs went there, one of them might remember the Well of the Moon and its properties. Otherwise, they should find their own method of completing the dragon's quest.

Torreón Versus Torreón.

Location: O Grande Escarpamento, Estado de Texeiras, Savage Baronies. SC

Description: Texeiras's Torreóner mercenaries engage the Torreóner conquistadores. However, due to the policy shared by all Torreóner mercenary companies, the captains meet before the battle to allow those who have close friends or blood relatives in the opposing side to be excused from the fight, and so battles are not particularly fierce. In some cases, whole companies decline to fight.

Needless to say, the Texeirans are worried by these rules of engagement, which, although they are well known by any employer of Torreóner mercenaries, are very detrimental when facing the armies of Torreón itself. Fortunately, the mercenaries are also loyal to their employer and do not change sides altogether, although the possibility it could happen is a major concern. (See Fl. 9, Ya. 28; Fy. 3, Ei. 18.)

What This Means: Exploiting the cinnabryl mines of Terra Vermelha is a substantial source of revenue for Texeiras, as cinnabryl is one of the main exports of the sea power. Therefore, Barão Bartolomeu could not just let Baronesa Isabel seize control of the red lands, and threaten his northern border in the process. However, Texeiras is primarily a sea power, and relies heavily on Torreóner mercenaries for shock troops, which proves a serious hindrance in this situation.

Oil Greases the Wheels of Commerce.

Location: Town of Norfen, Republic of Darokin. OW

Description: In the two years since oil was discovered on the fringes of the Malpheggi Swamp, the formerly remote village of Norfen has transformed into a boomtown. Over a thousand people have moved here since early AC 1017 [Vatermont, AC 1017 to be exact. Ed.], spurred by tales of easy wealth to be had by digging into the ground. The streets are bustling with prospectors seeking to make claims, builders erecting houses to satisfy spiralling demand, and merchants of all stripes trying to carve a niche for themselves. (See Fy. 20, Fy. 22.)

What This Means: The first report of oil found near the swamp turned out to be true, and the Darokin Council seized the opportunity, hoping that revenues generated by extracting and selling the oil would help the overall balance of trade. Of course, such a flurry of activity has attracted less savoury types, including fences, prostitutes, and general swindlers. Needless to say, such rapid changes have upset the original inhabitants of Norfen, who have seen their quiet village life turned upside down. But oil continues to be found, and as long as that is the case, people will continue to move here.

What the PCs Can Do: Although there is little they can do to influence the flow of events at this point, the PCs might want to cash in on the oil boom, too.

Klarmont 18, AC 1019

First Assaults on Treminios and Doleria.

Location: Villages of Treminios and Doleria, Dominion of Polakatsikes, Heldannic Empire, Meghala Kimata Plains. DV

Description: Being aware of the arrival of enemy reinforcements, the Mivosians attack the garrisons of Doleria and Treminios before any new troops can be added to their defences. By nightfall they surround those villages with their cavalry to cut communication and siege engines start bombarding the fortified outposts. Heldannic troops counter with ballistae and volleys of arrows. Yet the odds are in favour of the Mivosians, who have fresher troops and are more mobile. (See Kl. 14, Kl. 15; Kl. 20, Kl. 25.)

What This Means: To get the benefit of surprise, Mivosian engineers have developed new catapults. They are less powerful and have a shorter range than the bigger, regular ones, but they can be transported and assembled in a short time and thus are of great help, especially against lesser fortifications such as those of advanced outposts and watch towers.

What the PCs Can Do: They can try to protect themselves and repel the Mivosians. Time for strategists.

Detour to Darokin?

Location: City of Akesoli, Republic of Darokin. OW

Description: The Sindhi Prince Almiron Kalkiin and his travelling party are supposedly en route to the Principalities of Glantri on a quest for magical aid for the Rajah and Rani of Nagpuri. But for the past few days, they have instead been heading westward towards the Republic of Darokin, and this day find themselves at Akesoli.

The prince makes no explanations to his baffled men for the sudden change in plans, but orders them to find lodgings, while he sends his most trusted crony to deliver a letter to contacts in the Umbarth Merchant House. That night, Prince Almiron is invited to a private meeting with none other than Greenleaf Vickers, Head of the Umbarth House, together with some "gold class" jewellers and agricultural merchants of Akesoli. (See Kl. 3, Kl. 14; Fe. 9, Am. 10.)

What This Means: Prince Almiron has no intentions of going to Glantri to seek out a magical means to return Rajah Salmahlin to the Prime Plane, or for that matter, find a magical cure to the petrified Rani Nipa. But his present actions are not of his own authoring, but part of the grand plan of his mother, Lady Kalindi Kalkiin, the rajah's ambitious second wife, to seize the throne of Nagpuri.

Almiron has his orders from Lady Kalindi to purchase caravans of grain and foodstuffs come harvest time, to be paid for using the precious jewels of Rani Nipa (recently discovered stolen back in Mahasabad). In the meantime, he and his cohorts will hide out in Darokin, awaiting further word from Lady Kalindi.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs agreed to join this quest to Glantri, they may be confused by this sudden turn of events. Their loyalty will be put to the test, and if they wise up early in the game, they could make good an escape from Prince Almiron's company.

Then the PCs can choose to return to Nagpuri and report to Prince Javas, for which Prince Almiron's men will be at their tail or they could choose to proceed to Glantri and fulfil the quest, which they must accomplish on their own.

Moonlight Shadow.

Location: Ruined City of Pyris/Desperia, Hills of Desolation, Jungle Coast. DV

Description: Bertolucius and his comrades meet with Alatia, and discuss the solution that could fulfil the prophecy, which ultimately could grant them the right to take away the artifact they came to claim. Alatia and the other spellcasters feel relieved to have alternate plan to trying to defeat the draconic guardian, Oblivion. They agree that they shall use magical means of transportation to go to the Well of the Moon and be back in time to fulfil the prophecy. Alatia thinks that she will have to use the spells and the mystical magical energy the queen was studying. Oblivion agrees to let three people go for three days (plus an additional day per PC). All the others must remain with him inside the tower.

The three members are Bertolucius, Alatia and Ignatius, the highest-ranking cleric. Once their packs are ready, Alatia utters the magical formulas and a circular portal appears in mid air. After stepping through a pocket dimension, they appear in a large courtyard, at night, in what seems to be a monastery [see X4 Master of the Desert Nomads pages 19 and following. Ed.].. They are welcomed at first by the monks who live there, but it quickly turns out that their master is a vampire, and he needs fresh souls to sacrifice to his entropic Immortal. A pitched battle ensues, in which the party manages to flee, but it is not until they are outside of the monastery that Ignatius's absence is noted he stayed behind to hold off any pursuers at the monastery's gate. Realising their mission comes first, the survivors dash toward the valley and the great pass entrance hoping to come back to rescue their comrade. (See Kl. 16, Kl. 17; Kl. 19, Kl. 20.)

What This Means: Oblivion followed the rules that were given to him and let the trio try to bring water from the Well of the Moon. Alatia, who had studied most of the queen's grimoires, found the best way to get to the great pass with lessened risks (teleportation would have been too dangerous since she had never been there). Using this new method of transportation is a first step. They must then face the many dangers awaiting them in the Great Pass. Some of them, like this monastery, have been set by the Master of Hule to defend the main passes into his country. Ignatius was captured by the vampire's pawns and will be interrogated.

What the PCs Can Do: Feel free to run the escape and the vampire encounter so as to generate a lot of action. The PCs must never feel at rest in this region of Mystara. If one of the PCs is a proficient spellcaster, he or she could easily take Alatia's place. The same applies for the other NPCs any of them can be replaced by PCs.

Klarmont 19, AC 1019

School Council.

Location: Town of Krakatos, Kingdom of Karameikos. OW

Description: As the pressure on the Alphatians increases, several prominent Alphatian wizards follow Telokar's example and cancel their classes, lectures, and other scholarly pursuits, and join Telokar's impromptu council. Alarmed by this massive work stoppage and the disruption it causes, as both research and classes are halted, the Masked One does his best and warns Claransa the Seer, the minister of magic. (See Kl. 1, Kl. 7; Fe. 26, Fy. 1.)

What This Means: The Masked One was not worried when Telokar cancelled his classes: it is not uncommon for wizards to interrupt their academic duties when they delve into spell research, or magical object creation, or other wizardly pursuits that require some time apart. This is different, though, especially since a short investigation revealed that the Alphatian wizards were not doing any kind of magical research (or just their own), but were meeting among themselves or disappearing for periods of time, and excluded non-Alphatians from classes (notably by sending other students on wild-goose chase assignments).

What the PCs Can Do: The PCs could be contacted by the Masked One to investigate the situation. Unbeknownst to the Masked One, Queen Olivia's spies are already onto the case, and the PCs may run into them.

Adventuring Rocks.

Location: The Great Pass, Eastern Black Mountains. WB

Description: After a small rest, Alatia and Bertolucius continue exploring the maze of tunnels in the Great Pass. They soon enter a misty, cold and damp valley, marred by large areas of ripped soil. Some markings on the ground appear to be quite old, while others are recent. Near the centre of the valley, they stumble upon a gnomish camp. The gnomes offer information and shelter in exchange for help in getting out of the great pass. They say they came from Hule, but have been trapped here for years. Their numbers have decreased steadily, and now only a small band is left.

Alatia, using ESP, concludes that their intentions are sincere. Since they need rest, food and shelter they agree to help the gnomes and ask them to pack and be ready to follow them soon. While they are asleep, a giant roc captures Bertolucius, flying high in the air with its prey. The gnomes tell Alatia where the lair of the roc is, and she decides to fly there to rescue her friend and guide.

After hours of cold flight, she reaches the top of the 2,400-foot cliffs and finds the lair. Bertolucius seems to be alive, but he is bruised and unable to move. The roc is nowhere to be seen, but in the lair a baby roc seems to be near death. Alatia casts a levitate spell upon her comrade and prepares for the flight back, but Bertolucius asks her to do something for the baby roc. Its mother has no intention of harming Bertolucius; she seems to think that the resourceful humans might be able to help her baby. Alatia is reluctant to use her only cureall potion, but does so in the end, restoring the baby roc. To her amazement, Bertolucius turns into a giant bird, and her friend appears, tied with ropes at the edge of the cliff. Alatia prepares to fight, but the roc speaks to her, and thanks her for the sacrifice of an item precious to her to save her baby, and offers to carry them wherever they want. Bertolucius is tempted to ask to be carried directly to the Well of the Moon, but he remembers that they gave their word to help the gnomes, and so they ask to be flown back to the gnomish camp. Spotting such a giant bird, the gnomes flee to a safe distance, but are amazed to see the roc gently drop off their new friends, after which they embark on the final journey to the Well of the Moon. (See Kl. 17, Kl. 18; Kl. 20, Kl. 21.)

What This Means: Vanya wants to test Her followers' sense of values. Their reaction to the roc baby and their not breaking their promise to the gnomes led Her to assume that they were worthy to pursue their quest. But many other dangers await them.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs are involved in this event, their values will be tested, too. Feel free to add any other tests or trials.

Nayce and Ericall.

Location: City of Ionace, Island of Ionace, Nayce. AS

Description: The Naycese Council is furious at Ericall's decision to leave the empire. Many view this as betrayal, if not outright treason, and a case is made by the more conservative elements that it is further proof that power should never be given to commoners, as they are unable to use it wisely. A proposition to dethrone all commoner kings and queens, starting with Ericall, is brought forth, but fails to pass for now as nobody wants to go to war over Norwold any more than they did for Esterhold. Since Ericall has been carefully following the procedure for leaving Nayce, including paying Alpha's taxes to Nayce, the council cannot challenge him on any legal ground without first altering the law a process that would take months. (See Th. 6, Ya. 28; Fe. 4, Fe. 5.)

What This Means: Nayce has no choice but to let Alpha go, and with it its claim upon Norwold. The council is so weak that it can only talk of force, but can't resolve to actually use it. Ericall's absence leaves the reformist faction even weaker.

Klarmont 20, AC 1019

Milenians to the Rescue.

Location: Villages of Treminios and Doleria, Dominion of Polakatsikes, Heldannic Empire, Meghala Kimata Plains. DV

Description: After two days of hell under constant fire, the Milenian cavalry sent by Polakatsikes manages to break through the encircling Mivosian lines and allows most of the garrison to escape to the surrounding countryside, where they regroup and join other units who have fled their northern outposts. Some special units set fire to the catapults they find in their areas and withdraw south. (See Kl. 14, Kl. 18; Kl. 25, Fe. 2.)

What This Means: The Mivosians are several days ahead in terms of war preparation. That's why, when they heard that enemy reinforcements would soon reach Polakatsikes, they waited no longer to commence hostilities. They are now not far from the town of Polakatsikes itself, which they hope to conquer soon for Mivosia's glory.

What the PCs Can Do: They can be appointed special operations commandos to conduct sabotage against the Mivosian siege weapons or do any other special mission for either side.

The Road to War.

Location: Bear Clan Lands, Atruaghin Territories. OW

Description: Falcon Tribe elders come to Gold Creek, the new "capital" of the miners in Atruaghin lands, to demand compensation for their losses. According to Atruaghin tradition, a full-scale war can be avoided if the Darokinians show their remorse for the attack with gifts to the relatives of the villagers killed. (See Ya. 22, Kl. 17; Kl. 22, Fe. 1.)

What This Means: Unfortunately the Ystran agents among the miners do all they can to bring the miners to insult the elders and refuse any compensation, so the elders go away sadly, knowing that there will be war.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs are Atruaghin, there is little they can do to stop the plot of Ystran House. If they are Umbarth or DDC agents, however, they could stop the Ystran agents or persuade the miners to reach an agreement with the Atruaghin elders.

Only You...

Location: The Great Pass, Eastern Black Mountains. WB

Description: Following Bertolucius's memories, the company reaches a broad plain crisscrossed with brooks. No trees, buildings or other cover are visible, and the company feels that it is being watched. Soon, they enter another valley, very narrow, and bordered closely by strangely carved, heavily weather-beaten cliffs almost a hundred feet in height. Scattered about the floor of the valley are bones from animals, humans, dwarves and elves. Bertolucius warns the gnomes that a red dragon lives in a cave at the other end of the valley. Frightened, they decide to wait while Bertolucius and Alatia proceed. After an hour, they reach a large opening in the cliffs, from which loud snoring can be heard. Bertolucius, fearing the dragon might have forgotten that it owed his old adventuring party a life debt, discreetly places a small object in Alatia's side pocket.

The dragon, asleep in its cavern, awakens when they step in, their hands open in a sign of peace. It prepares to breathe fire, but Bertolucius steps ahead of Alatia to protect her and reminds the dragon of the battle that took place 15 years before, during which he and his party defeated it in combat, but spared its life in exchange for a promise. The dragon at first claims that it does not remember such a deal, and then argues that only the one who could prove he defeated it in single combat can claim to be under the old protection oath thus, Alatia must prepare herself to fight. Bertolucius tells the dragon that he can prove it owes a life debt to one of them, and asks Alatia to take out the object she has in her pocket. To her surprise, she takes out a red dragon scale. The dragon agrees that the scale bearer cannot be harmed in any way, but asserts that Bertolucius must fight, which Bertolucius agrees to do only once Alatia has taken water from the Well of the Moon into a small barrel. Alatia understands that Bertolucius has given his life for the success of the mission. He holds Alatia one last time, and bids her farewell. After she leaves, he turns around and steps toward the dragon, sword in hand. A very bright and hot light goes out of the cavern opening, and everything goes still. Alatia, now crying, heads toward the place where she left the gnomes. They all leave the place and establish their camp where they entered the valley. Alatia, who feels deeply affected by the death of Bertolucius, wants to wait until dawn to cast the spell to go back to Pyris. (See Kl. 18, Kl. 19; Kl. 21, Kl. 22.)

What This Means: Bertolucius kept the scale with him all these years as a souvenir of his brother, who was the warrior who defeated the dragon. Once inside the valley of the Well of the Moon, Bertolucius doubted whether the dragon would keep its promise, which was to leave the one who could prove he had defeated the dragon unharmed. He placed the dragon scale, the proof the dragon gave his brother, inside Alatia's pocket to save the only person who had the power to bring the water back to Pyris.

Feel free to have Bertolucius saved if you need him for your campaign later on. Vanya is very proud of him, and would probably intervene in his favour. Such self-sacrifice is not that common, even among the greatest heroes.

What the PCs Can Do: Assuming the PCs are present, or performing this task instead of Alatia and Bertolucius, they may deal with the dragon any way they want. This dragon is not as powerful as Oblivion, so it is possible for the PCs to defeat it in combat.

Klarmont 21, AC 1019

And the Walls Came Tumbling Down.

Location: City of Landfall, Territory of Heldland, Heldannic Empire. NW

Description: Despite many days of bombardment, some of it quite intense, Landfall's heavily damaged walls have held. Early this morning, a deafening roar awakens those few who are asleep, and all eyes are directed at the embattled city. Along a large stretch of the northeastern wall, great cracks shoot up from the ground, causing a rain of debris as clouds of dust billow outwards. Faint screams can be heard from the city as a large section of the wall collapses, and then vanishes from view.

As the thunderous echoes of the collapse die away, everyone on both sides stands as though transfixed. After a few moments, and as the dust clears, a gaping hole in Landfall's wall, going right down to the foundations, can be seen. The armies of Ordensmeisterin Anna von Hendriks spur themselves into action, and charge into the gap, but are prevented from overwhelming the city by the defenders, who manage to rally in time. The battle continues for over an hour, until a second roar shakes the combatants, as a section of the city's northern wall also collapses. More soldiers swarm into the city, but are hampered by hundreds of city folk running about, desperate to escape the conflict. By the end of the day, most of the city's garrison has retreated to the fortress overlooking the harbour, while setting numerous fires to cover its retreat. Anna's forces busy themselves with putting out the fires and evacuating the remaining civilians, and so are unable to lay siege to the fortress right away. (See Kl. 11, Kl. 14; Kl. 25, Fe. 2.)

What This Means: Landfall's walls were heavily reinforced following the city's fall to Heldannic forces in AC 1010, to ensure that it would not fall again to another army. Unfortunately for Anna's armies, the builders did too good a job, and so the city was pretty much impregnable. One of the Kildorkak dwarves came up with the idea of undermining sections of the wall, and so for several days sappers dug tunnels out to the walls, and finally beneath them, with the aid of transmute rock to mud spells. In the meantime, the siege was maintained, and the defenders did not suspect what was going on until it was too late.

Many defenders died in the collapse, but enough of the garrison remained to hold off the main assault until a fighting withdrawal to the fortress could be arranged. The fires set by the retreating defenders will blaze for several days, as they consume the densely built wooden houses and shops that constitute much of the city. Complicating matters for the invaders are the remaining city folk. Although many fled Landfall by sea as soon as Anna's armies were spotted, the vast majority of them remained in their homes. They will have to be removed from the area as soon as possible, so that the siege of the fortress can begin. Another concern for the besieging army is that saboteurs and other enemies could be hidden among the city folk.

What the PCs Can Do: Regardless of which side they are on, the PCs can take part in what could very well become a decisive battle in the civil war. Depending on their abilities and powers, the PCs may even be able to alter the outcome.

The Return of La Vicomtesse.

Location: Château Morlay, Principality of Morlay-Malinbois, Principalities of Glantri. OW

Description: Prince Malachie du Marais of Morlay-Malinbois celebrates the christening of his newborn daughter and future heiress, Therese du Marais, alongside his beautiful wife Dame Diane de Moriamis and his sister, and Therese's godmother, Dame Suzanne du Marais.

Of course, any social event of import is also a political one. Many Averoignian nobles, including Sire Gilles Grenier, the Vicomte de Fausseflammes, and most of the d'Ambreville family, attend the grand celebration. Even Prince Malachie's estranged brother, the dilettante Noussoir du Marais, is present.

Also represented are the rest of the Malachie-Jaggar-Morphail triumvirate with Prinz Jaggar von Drachenfels of Aalban, and Lady Tatyana Gorevitch-Woszlany, Prince Morphail's tragic sister, and her lover, Sire Claude d'Ambreville (Prince Morphail could not himself attend, much to the relief of the vampire-fearing Dame Suzanne). A surprising guest to the human affair is Prince Malachie's new political ally, the kobold Prince Kol XIV of New Kolland, with a large entourage of awkward but uncharacteristically behaved kobolds, goblins, and gnolls.

But the most shocking event of the occasion is the unexpected arrival of an old, fat, ugly, obnoxious, gaudy woman, who claims to be the true Diane de Moriamis. This uninvited visitor begins to taunt, curse, and cast obscenities and maledictions at all the shocked guests, then proceeds to transmute every object within her touch into excrement, pus, and other decaying matter. Finally, the other (more beautiful and more popular) Dame Diane de Moriamis steps up and throws a vial of emerald-green fluid at the intruder and she is gone without a trace. (See Th. 22, Fl. 18; Kl. 22, Fe. 3.)

What This Means: A seemingly innocent happy occasion turned out to be a full-blown scandal that will be talked about in all Glantrian circles for decades to come!

The secrets of House du Marais were threatened with exposure. In AC 1009, Baron Malachie du Marais of Morlay had a political marriage to the old, fat, ugly, and obnoxious Vicomtesse Diane de Moriamis of Malinbois in order to become prince of their joint fiefs, Morlay-Malinbois. Eventually, madame la vicomtesse was replaced by her sultry and voluptuous time-travelling ancestor, the eternally young sorceress Dian de Moriamis, leaving the prince to pursue the romance with his true lover, Dame Suzanne, who posed as Malachie's sister and is the actual mother of Therese. Depending on the rumour, the old vicomtesse was killed, imprisoned in her own dungeons at Malinbois, or became a zzonga-addict, and eventually forgotten until today.

Her dramatic return was actually engineered by Count Pieter Verlien of High Sonden, as part of his campaign to expose fraudulent claims to nobility. Luckily, the quick-witted sorceress Dian de Moriamis sent her double to a place where she can no longer be of trouble into another time! The vial she threw was a potion of time-travel into the future. Nevertheless, the validity of Dame Dian and Prince Malachie will be put to the question for months to come.

What the PCs Can Do: This event has many social and political ramifications that could involve the PCs. Agents of Prince Malachie would be charged with uncovering who was responsible for the arrival of the old vicomtesse (under suspicion are Malachie's nemesis, Princess Dolores Hillsbury of Fenswick, and his archenemy, Comtesse Geneviève de Sephora, a known expert in simulacrums) and ensuring the secrets of House du Marais are safe.

On the other hand, Malachie's enemies would use this scandal to uncover dirt on Malachie, while covering their own tracks. Neutral parties would be after the truth, either to expose it, suppress it, or use it for opportunities in the future.

Back to Pyris.

Location: Pocket plane, then Ruined City of Pyris/Desperia, Hills of Desolation, Jungle Coast. DV

Description: The gnomish clan leaders are worried in the morning, because Alatia, the only one who knows the way out of the Great Pass, intends to leave now that her mission is fulfilled. They beg her to first lead them out of the pass as promised. The gnomes are so frightened by the dragon in the valley that they make her an offer: They shall remain in her service for two years, provided that she feeds and protects them. Alatia, despising servitude of any sort, reluctantly agrees, saying that they shall only swear to remain faithful about their oath of fidelity. She casts her spell, and the circular portal appears in mid-air, which she enters, followed by the gnomes.

They all appear in the pocket dimension, and, as Alatia prepares herself to cast the spell that will transport them to Pyris, she realises that she does not have enough gems to bring all the gnomes with her (casting the spell to bring them to a mystical point consumes gems according to the party's total experience levels). She selects some of the most powerful warriors among them to come with her, with a promise that she will be back soon to convey all the other clan members. An instant later, they are back in the strange temple in Pyris.

Alatia is welcomed warmly by the other members of the Heldannic party, and she recounts her journey. She tells them about the loss of Brother Ignatius in the monastery and of Bertolucius's sacrifice with the dragon. She then explains why she is now accompanied by a group of scared gnomish warriors. A requiem mass is said in memory of Ignatius and Bertolucius. Later, Alatia goes back into the pocket plane with additional gems and reappears afterwards with about three dozen gnomes. They all prepare to meet the mighty dragon outside, in what was formerly the great marketplace of Pyris.

There, Alatia takes out a small flask of water she brought back from the Well of the Moon, pouring some of it on the sandy ground. Pharias and his mate are present to serve as witnesses. Nothing happens. After two hours waiting in the sun, the two sentinels are ordered to continue watching for any unnatural event. (See Kl. 19, Kl. 20; Kl. 22, Kl. 23.)

What This Means: Alatia wanted to be true to Bertolucius's word, but she also seized an opportunity to bring warriors with her to Sudden Death's lair, just in case the water from the Well of the Moon had no effect... Better be prepared, the more warriors, the better.

Always impatient, she wanted to lose no time and decided to try the water on the soil as soon as possible. But to her surprise nothing happens immediately. Oblivion's ultimatum is about to come into force, and the prophecy has not been fulfilled.

What the PCs Can Do: If the PCs were the ones who undertook the quest, then they will be in Alatia's position.

Mivosia Suspects Problems in Parthenaeum and Deletria.

Location: Mivosian Headquarters in Town of Tyrnae, Mivosian Empire, Meghala Kimata Plains. DV

Description: Mivosian officers have received no news from Deletria or Parthenaeum for a month now. Those towns were supposed to send as many men as possible and to conscript most of their able-bodied male population. The Mivosians send spies to investigate. (See Ya. 23, Ya. 24; Fe. 2.)

What This Means: The taking of Parthenaeum could not have remained unnoticed forever. Now that the Mivosian strategists need a lot of expendable troops to launch an assault against Polakatsikes, they realise that the forces they were expecting from those two cities are late and they want to know why.

What the PCs Can Do: They can be the spies sent to enquire about the possible "problems."

Where the Poison Flows...

Location: Mumlyket of Nagpuri, Kingdom of Sind. OW

Description: Several priests from the village of Chandbali storm the royal palace at Mahasabad, demanding an audience with Rajah Salmahlin Kalkiin or at least, Prince Javas Kalkiin, who rules in his father's stead at the moment. They are accompanied by none other than the belligerent Maharishi Tayib Badahur.

The rishiyas announce a shocking discovery: the reason behind the general ill health, constitutional weakness, and numerous deaths plaguing the village of Chandbali for years is that the water sources have been poisoned by toxic substances leaking into the ground from a nearby tower one owned by the Kalkiin family and last used as an alchemical laboratory by Prince Rohan Kalkiin, Javas's own brother.

The Chandbali clerics present documents, witness testimonies, and written accounts to corroborate their story. Despite being faced with overwhelming evidence, Prince Javas asks for time to deliberate the matter, particularly since Prince Rohan is not present to explain his side he is on a quest to Jaibul to find a magical means to save his father and mother but the rishiyas demand an explanation and immediate reparations. Prince Javas leaves the court with the matter unsettled. (See Kl. 3, Kl. 14; Kl. 25, Fe. 1.)

What This Means: The poisoning of Chandbali has been known to Lady Kalindi Kalkiin for some time now, but kept secret for the right moment such as this, to discredit Prince Javas and his brother as possible heirs to the throne of Nagpuri. And the rishiyas of Nagpuri were only too willing to take part in soiling the prince's good name.

What the PCs Can Do: With so much political plotting and court intrigue going on in Mahasabad, will the PCs be able to remember that the poor villagers of Chandbali could use some help in solving their poisoning problem? Besides, who knows what dangers lurk in an old wizard's tower that has turned into an alchemical disaster area.

Klarmont 22, AC 1019

The White Wolf and Sorceress Moriamis.

Location: City of Glantri, Principalities of Glantri. OW

Description: At the Court House at Parliament, Prince Malachie du Marais of Morlay-Malinbois faces an inquiry about the falsification of his marriage to Dame Diane de Moriamis, former Vicomtesse de Malinbois, and the perpetuation of this fraudulence in conspiracy with a certain Dian de Moriamis, a sorceress who posed as the noblewoman. The question of Malachie's marriage will also cast into doubt his legitimacy as a prince of Glantri.

The Supreme Judge of the Council, Princess Dolores Hillsbury of Fenswick, presides over the session, and the primary investigator is Count Pieter Verlien of High Sonden. Even before the session formally opens, Count Pieter is inundated with documents, testimonies, and other evidence from a throng of witnesses. The court is faced with one unanimous and undeniable conclusion: the marriage of Prince Malachie and Madame La Vicomtesse was legal and binding, and a conspiracy to replace Dame Diane (if any could be proven!) occurred after the union and the lawful enfeoffment of Morlay-Malinbois.

Count Pieter is still reeling from the initial legislative assault, when Malachie's magistrates and representatives manoeuvre for Dame Dian de Moriamis to testify. The voluptuous, charming, and well loved mistress of Morlay-Malinbois shocks the entire court by plainly admitting that she had taken the place of her obnoxious grand-niece, Dame Diane but that Malachie had no knowledge or complicity! As far as Prince Malachie knew, the woman he married was the same Moriamis, transformed only in appearance.

The sorceress then steps down to be arrested by the Glantrian constabulary, just as several representatives and witnesses including three of the distinguished d'Ambreville family, Sire Richard, Dame Magdalène, and Sire Gaston press to corroborate the damning testimony. The legal circus ends abruptly, when Lord Pieter Verlien requests for more time to process the overwhelming slew of issues.

That night, word breaks out that Dian de Moriamis has vanished without a trace from the Tower of Sighs. (See Fl. 18, Kl. 21; Ka. 1.)

What This Means: Dolores Hillsbury got her archenemy Malachie du Marais just where she wanted... or so she thought.

Though it had only been a day since the sorceress Moriamis was exposed, she and Prince Malachie had been long prepared for that eventuality. Malachie was working the Glantrian political machine, expediting the proceedings, in order to catch their opponents unprepared and so Pieter Verlien and Princess Dolores were!

Moriamis had agreed to be the scapegoat in the conspiracy, certain of her impunity from any legal reprisals and physical captivity, thanks to her time-travelling sorcery.

With Malachie exonerated and neither Moriamis to pursue, Count Pieter is already at a loss but it will be some time before he can close this matter, as Prince Malachie will now work to bog down the legal proceedings to a zombie's pace.

Falcon and Rattlesnake Warriors Strike!

Location: Bear Clan Lands, Atruaghin Territories. OW

Description: Warriors of the Falcon and Rattlesnake Tribes attack miners in the Gold Hills, killing and wounding some of them. Terrified miners gather in Gold Creek where Ystran House agents urge them to form an army to destroy once and for all the nearest Atruaghin villages. The miners' assembly agrees. (See Kl. 17, Kl. 20; Fe. 1, Fe. 12.)

What This Means: This attack is the obvious retaliation after the Ystran killings. An all-out war is looming unless someone intervenes quickly to prevent it.

What the PCs Can Do: Fight for one side or the other or try to persuade the miners to leave the area and ask for help from the Darokinian government, if they are agents of the DDC or Umbarth House.

Still Barren.

Location: Ruined City of Pyris/Desperia, Hills of Desolation, Jungle Coast. DV

Description: Despite all their efforts and the beautiful weather, nothing has happened where the water from the Well of the Moon has been poured. Alatia is depressed to think that the sacrifices of Bertolucius and Ignatius were in vain. (See Kl. 20, Kl. 21; Kl. 23, Kl. 25.)

What This Means: The water from the Well of the Moon needs to be exposed to the moonlight. The previous night, which was overcast, did not allow a single ray of moonlight to touch the spot were the water was poured. Tonight will be different.

What the PCs Can Do: Be patient, and bring comfort to Alatia as she slowly plunges into guilt. If the PCs are the ones leading the show, they will have more than enough to worry about.

The Emperor's Hillfolk Opens.

Location: City of Thyatis, Duchy of Thyatis, Thyatian Empire. OW

Description: A new play debuts at Gabrionus Theatre, The Emperor's Hillfolk, a comedy depicting a Traladaran family that strikes it rich and moves to Emperor's Hill in Thyatis City, and their interactions with their snooty aristocratic neighbours.

What This Means: Thyatians still prefer to think of Karameikos as a backwoods land full of yokels, but the interesting thing about this play is it pokes fun at both the Traladaran family and their Thyatian neighbours. Indeed, the Traladaran father continually outwits the conniving Thyatians with his simple wisdom. The play proves to be immensely popular, and its catchy theme song is often sung on the streets of Thyatis. Soon a version of the play opens in Mirros as well.

What the PCs Can Do: While most Thyatians enjoy the play, not all are amused. Storm Soldiers and other xenophobes may seek to disrupt it or threaten its producers, as may some Traladarans who don't like the ethnic stereotypes of the play. The characters might be called in to help protect the actors from threats and violence.

Klarmont 23, AC 1019

Deletrian Army Spots Dire Situation and Acts.

Location: Eighteen days southeast of Town of Deletria, Meghala Kimata Plains. DV

Description: Scouts report to Father Sigmund that they have seen the beginnings of a very unfavourable battle about a mile ahead: Humanoids have encircled more than a thousand nomads in a deep, two-level depression, and are ready to crush them to the last. The nomads are in the deepest part of the depression, using boulders to hide as much as possible from the humanoids, who are standing on the upper slopes of the depression.

Father Sigmund is at first reluctant to intervene, seeing an opportunity to pass unnoticed and resume their journey. Yet his heart tells him to save the nomads. He is pretty sure that the final assault will occur at night, for the humanoids have infravision. He informs his army about the slim chance they have of beating the humanoids, but he also insists that with them away from their homes, there is no way their home cities can win against such savage enemies. Their duty is to destroy the humanoid threat at all costs. He then explains his plan and they decide to go for it:

At sunset, they encircle the depression, with each foot soldier and pikeman holding two lit torches, one in each hand. At this time of day, when the sun has not set completely, it is not possible for the humanoids to use their infravision to determine with precision their real numbers, and the sunlight is not bright enough to let them count their foes with their normal vision either, except for the torches they are holding.

The archers and battle clerics, who have been placed strategically, concentrate their flaming arrows and spells upon the biggest monsters. Shouting the name of Vanya at the top of their lungs, the clamour shakes the humanoids, who turn their backs to the nomads. It does not take long for the nomads to emerge from cover and run through the humanoid lines, where the archers have already lessened their numbers. Once the humanoid lines have been cut in three spots, the nomads turn back, joined in the fray by the Milenians, who run down the slopes and charge their disoriented enemies. In a matter of one hour, the battle is won for the Milenians and the nomads.

The nomads' emir meets with Father Sigmund, who was lightly injured, and the meeting goes late into the night. (See Kl. 5, Kl. 10; Kl. 24, Fe. 8.)

What This Means: This is a well-planned and well-executed battle plan. Despite their being less numerous and less trained, the Milenians managed to beat the humanoids with their own tactics using the only time of the day when the humanoids could not use their infravision.

What the PCs Can Do: This is maybe the one battle not to miss this year. Hack and slash your way through the packed enemy lines.

I've Got Daisies in Green Pastures.

Location: Ruined City of Pyris/Desperia, Hills of Desolation, Jungle Coast. DV

Description: Last night, rays of moonlight hit the ground where water from the Well of the Moon had been poured. The effects were nothing but spectacular since the whole marketplace is now covered with grass, and even trees in some spots. The ancient fountain once again spouts water. In the morning the sentinel is found next to the fountain, plunged in a deep slumber. Pharias is called to witness the miracle and testify to Oblivion. The effect seems to be spreading all over the city, slowly but surely.

Oblivion arrives later and ponders the turn of events. He announces that his time as guardian of the tower treasures is over. The new master of the Tower of the Queen is now Alatia, who has fulfilled the prophecy; yet the city shall remain masterless as long as the innocent victims of the queen remain as gems. Only the gems inside the tower belong to the new master, along with all its contents. "They should be used wisely," he says, "for history shall not repeat itself if its lessons have been understood."

Alatia solemnly swears to share the gems and the treasures with other people. She also announces that she will continue to study the books in order to undo the wicked spell that turned the people of Pyris into gemstones. In the meantime, Pyris will be placed under Heldannic watch, and men shall come to rebuild the city for the day when its former inhabitants return.

What This Means: The water finally had some effect; the prophecy has been fulfilled and Oblivion is true to his word about the artifact and the Tower of the Queen. Oblivion and Pharias shall remain as guardians of Pyris until its people are freed from their curse. The rubies of the tower can be used at Alatia's discretion along with all the magical knowledge the mad queen gathered over the years. Her notes will be of great value to anyone attempting to undo the curse. As for the Conqueror's Heart, it now belongs to the Heldannic Knights. As with any other immortal artifact, its side effects will become apparent over time.

The regenerated area will reach a maximum radius of half a mile in a day or two. Outside of this region, the land remains barren. (See Kl. 21, Kl. 22; Kl. 25, Fe. 7.)

What the PCs Can Do: Celebrate. If the PCs were the ones who performed Alatia's feats, then one of them will be acknowledged as master of the tower in her stead. If this is the case, DMs should treat future events involving Alatia as being those affecting the PC in question.

Klarmont 24, AC 1019

I Owe You Big Time.

Location: Eighteen days southeast of Town of Deletria, Meghala Kimata Plains. DV

Description: The talks between Father Sigmund and the tribal chiefs have been conclusive: The nomads owe a life debt to the Milenians and they are willing to help them in almost any way. They inform the Milenians that other bands of humanoids are rampaging in the vicinity of Polakatsikes, and the great river valley (the Meghala Kimata Plains) where a war is raging. The nomads also inform the Milenians that there are three major tribes that have ventured north because of the drought. One is encamped further southeast, another one is located in the valley between the fire mountains (volcanoes), and the last one some 130 miles south of the big city on the river (Parthenaeum). Since the three tribes are related, they all owe the Milenians a favour. Father Sigmund asks the nomads to have their relatives further north survey the two cities and if needed to protect them against any attack. Then Father Sigmund asks the chief to come and assist them in their war against Mivosia. The emir refuses because his people have not been ill-treated or even attacked by the Mivosians, hence he has no reason to attack them first.

Father Sigmund asks the emir to accompany them to see for themselves how the Mivosians are treating the people they conquered; then he should be able to make a decision. Either way, the nomads can still be a great help if other bands of humanoids should be met.

They decide to resume their journey as soon as possible, with the nomads as a rear guard. (See Kl. 10, Kl. 23; Fe. 8.)

What This Means: Father Sigmund must lead about 1,500 warriors, among whom 700 are nomads with a different language, and three different warrior cultures. This shall not be a sinecure.

What the PCs Can Do: Not much except try to convince the Meghalese nomads that the Mivosians are the "baddies."

Klarmont 25, AC 1019

A Victory in Ozurfold.

Location: Jarldom of Ozurfold, Kingdom of Soderfjord. OW

Description: For the past few weeks, Skaddri the Skald has been serving as a scout and war leader in the Jarldom of Ozurfold, helping the local warriors defend against humanoid attacks. Today, he leads a group of militia against one of the larger kobold clans, routing them from their caves and avenging many of Ozurfold's fallen defenders. (See Ya. 10; Fe. 5.)

What This Means: Skaddri's fame continues to grow. This latest exploit gives him a reputation not only as a warrior but also as a leader of men.

The Final Siege of Landfall.

Location: City of Landfall, Territory of Heldland, Heldannic Empire. NW

Description: After several days of putting out fires and evacuating the remaining city folk, the invading army commences a siege of the city's fortress, which houses the remaining soldiers loyal to Heinrich Straßenburger. (See Kl. 14, Kl. 21; Fe. 2, Fe. 6.)

What This Means: This could very well be the battle that determines the fate of Landfall. With all civilians removed from the city some of them by force and much of the city destroyed by fire, there is very little to obstruct the siege.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs can take part in this battle on either side. If they are fighting for Ordensmeisterin Anna von Hendriks, the PCs can be tasked with finding a way to infiltrate the fortress, or to lead an assault. PCs fighting for Straßenburger could be ordered to sabotage siege engines, or to conduct raids.

The Black Rajah's Black Welcome.

Location: Ryaset of Jaibul, Kingdom of Sind. OW

Description: On a quest for magical aid to save the Rajah and Rani of Nagpuri, the Princes Rohan and Lais Kalkiin arrive in the magocracy of Jaibul. The royal entourage is welcomed with little ceremony by official envoys of the Black Rajah, the sinister ruler of Jaibul and a notoriously powerful magic-user. The princes are escorted to the royal palace, where they are kept in guest chambers for the rest of the day, more like prisoners than guests.

That evening, the princes are invited to a dinner banquet with the Black Rajah. The feast is sumptuous and the entertainment spectacular, consisting mainly of illusions, conjurations, and other magical tricks. Prince Rohan is restless throughout the banquet, impatient to discuss their quest to the Black Rajah, who pays less interest to his royal guests than the monster tamer and her death-defying antics with a cockatrice, two blink dogs, and a basilisk.

After the dramatic end of monster tamer's disastrous performance (where she tripped over a dog that blinked behind her and ended up being petrified by the basilisk), the Black Rajah takes his leave without so much a word to his guests. The royal guards then close in on Prince Rohan and his unsuspecting entourage and imprison them in the dungeons.

At midnight, the Black Rajah summons Prince Lais to his private chambers, for a drink of tea and to hear news of his cousin in faraway Nagpuri. (See Kl. 14, Kl. 25; Fe. 9, Fe. 14.)

What This Means: It is a little known fact that Lady Kalindi Kalkiin, the second wife to Rajah Salmahlin Kalkiin, and the present Black Rajah of Jaibul come from the same jadugerya clan. And for the ambitious Lady Kalindi to request her cousin to eliminate one of the obstacles to her ascension to power in Nagpuri is no great deal especially since treachery is as common as sand in Jaibul.

What the PCs Can Do: PCs loyal to Prince Rohan Kalkiin might realise the trap they are walking into, and could plan a quick retreat or at the least, a prison break. Then they should try to figure out who set them up and for what reasons.

Status Quo on the Front.

Location: Front line north of Town of Polakatsikes, Dominion of Polakatsikes, Heldannic Empire, Meghala Kimata Plains. DV

Description: For the last few days, the Heldannic and Milenian forces have been able to contain the Mivosian assaults and even to strike back. Neither side is ready to risk a full assault, so they entrench themselves and keep on bombarding each other with siege engines. (See Kl. 14, Kl. 18; Fe. 2, Fe. 5.)

What This Means: Now that the two armies have received reinforcements, they are reluctant to risk them too soon, without a clear chance of winning. The Mivosians are still waiting for their conscripted forces from Parthenaeum and Deletria to arrive, whereas the Heldannic Knights and their Milenian allies, less numerous, have opted for a defensive attitude. Governor Wolfgang Stemmel hopes to be able to use the Conqueror's Heart in the war. Instead of surveying the jungle or the Hills of Desolation, he uses the precious Basin of Vision to survey the Mivosians in order to send troops where they are most needed.

What the PCs Can Do: They can be the instigators of some heroic attacks on either side.

Preparation for Departure.

Location: Ruined City of Pyris/Desperia, Hills of Desolation, Jungle Coast. DV

Description: Orders are given to depart for Polakatsikes as soon as possible. An inventory of the treasures is to be made, and only a bag of rubies will be taken for the journey back. Most of the other treasures will remain in the tower, guarded by Pharias and Oblivion. In the time needed for the men and gnomes to take inventory, Alatia studies all of the writings related to the artifact.

The team in charge of the inventory announces that they should be ready in ten days. Alatia has located a mystical point a few miles from Polakatsikes. She suspects this might be the burial vault in which they first found indications of the location of the Conqueror's Heart. She resumes her studies to avoid any nasty surprises. (See Kl. 22, Kl. 23; Fe. 7, Fe. 8.)

What This Means: Alatia wants to travel light and she also thinks that, should the Mivosians capture them, they had better not have too many treasures with them. The only grimoires she takes with her are those related to the Conqueror's Heart. She plans on travelling by night to avoid detection.

What the PCs Can Do: Help take inventory, try to search the old tower for possible hidden passages or vaults still containing treasures (and dangers). Otherwise, they might be in Alatia's role, if they were the ones who retrieved the water from the Well of the Moon, or who deciphered the grimoires.

Thyatians Visit Cimarron County.

Location: Town of Smokestone City, Cimarron County, Savage Baronies. SC

Description: The Thyatian expedition reaches the Cimarron town of Smokestone City. In relatively short order, the expedition is granted an audience with Duke John of the Wain. The initial discussion is low key, with Duke John asking the Thyatians to indicate their interests in the region. Paulus Angelinus replies that he is on a mission to secure new markets for Thyatian goods, as well as open diplomatic relations with any nations that would wish to do so.

Duke John indicates that his county might be interested in trade, but he cautions his guests that the people of Cimarron County are an independent lot, and prefer to take care of themselves. While he would be happy to see a peaceful, mutually beneficial relationship with Thyatis arise, the Thyatians would be better off negotiating directly with the LB Trading Company, who essentially control the county's economy. The duke's main concern is establishing a defensible route to Fort Whitestone, which has suffered increased goblinoid attacks in recent years. The current route, Bugle Trail, is circuitous, and runs through lands claimed by several goblinoid tribes. Paulus tells the duke that Thyatis would be willing to help build a good road to the fort, and even provide some military aid to eliminate some of the nearest goblinoid tribes, in exchange for docking rights in Smokestone City, and an agreement that Thyatis could purchase some land in or near the city on which it could build warehouses, piers, and other facilities to aid in commerce. (See Kl. 2, Kl. 9; Fe. 21, Fy. 1.)

What This Means: The Thyatians are aware of Cimarron's efforts to establish a trading network of its own in the far western reaches of Brun, and of Zuyevo's annexation of Cimarron's only foothold in that region, the port of Richland, in AC 1017. They hoped that such a change in the county's fortunes might make it more amenable to forming an alliance, or at least to trade. Although Cimarron is not nearly as solicitous of Thyatian aid as Paulus would have hoped, he nevertheless saw an opportunity for the empire to make a display of goodwill, and help the county with its goblinoid problem. The expedition's detachment of engineers will spend the next few weeks surveying the prairie for good locations for a road, while the marines, under Thyatian command, as well as any interested adventuring parties attached to the expedition, will accompany Cimarron units to mount assaults against the goblinoids. In the meantime, Thyatian and Minrothaddan trade officials will meet with the LB Trading Company.

For Duke John, the offer of Thyatian assistance in clearing out the goblinoids, and building a road to Fort Whitestone, was a pleasant surprise. In that light, the duke could not find a reason to refuse the Thyatians' request for docking rights, and the opportunity to purchase some land near town. Such a trading facility, if it ever comes to be, would allow transactions to be made on the spot.

What the PCs Can Do: If they are in the mood for a fight, the PCs can go inland to campaign against the goblinoids. Or, if they want to see some action close by, they can visit Smokestone City's numerous saloons, and (more than likely) find themselves in a brawl, or a duel if they are not careful.

Klarmont 26, AC 1019

A Distant Shore... Another Land!

Location: Northern shore of Vulcanian Peninsula. DV

Description: The Thyatian expedition to Davania, led by Julius Ambrosius, finally reaches land, after almost a month of sailing unfamiliar seas. Given how long his men have been at sea, Julius orders his crew to drop anchor, and spend the next few days resting, and exploring the immediate area, which does not appear to be inhabited. (See Kl. 1, Kl. 3; Fe. 9, Fe. 11.)

What This Means: The expedition has reached the northern shore of the Vulcanian Peninsula, roughly midway along its length. Given that no Thyatian in living memory has ever ventured this far south, and given that this region does not appear to be a small island, Julius will surmise that his expedition has reached the far end of Davania, which he remembers seeing from maps based on reports of such explorers as Prince Haldemar of Haaken but none of them ever ventured this far east. As such, he will consider this landing to be very important, as will many of the crewmembers. The expedition's morale will improve considerably.

What the PCs Can Do: The PCs can enjoy a few days' shore leave, and spend their time exploring the coastal forests, which are populated by all sorts of flora and fauna native to temperate coastal forests.

Klarmont 28, AC 1019

A Call to Heroes.

Location: Western Thyatian Empire. OW

Description: News of the unanticipated attack on the village of Dyrrachium has spread to the County of Vyalia, the Barony of Biazzan, and the Duchies of Kerendas and Machetos. Although the accounts often become exaggerated with each telling (on one instance becoming a tale about an invasion of 10,000 goblins, which, despite being discounted fairly quickly, serves as the inspiration for a rather exciting play written later in the year), the underlying message is clear the goblins are active in the Kerendas Hills once more.

Some local rulers let it be known that adventurers who successfully eliminate the goblin threat will be rewarded appropriately. (See Kl. 4; Fe. 9, Fe. 15.)

What This Means: News of a humanoid raid on a frontier village would not normally be topical, but the attack on Dyrrachium is notable in that all accounts of the event describe the goblins as being highly disciplined, whose attack had obviously been well planned. Local rulers will begin to wonder whether this incident is a sign of similar attacks in the future, perhaps closer to home. Nevertheless, in the absence of a large-scale goblinoid military campaign, most rulers are loath to use their own troops; hence the call for adventurers.

What the PCs Can Do: This is a good opportunity to cast the event as an adventure hook for the PCs. If they are in any reasonably sized population centre in western Thyatis, they will likely have heard some version of the tale.

Topic of the Month

Moonlight Shadows

The first part of the account comes from Bertolucius's adventuring notebook. Later accounts were added by Lady Alatia. These notes recall the last stages of the recovery of an ancient artifact known as the Conqueror's Heart.

Day 1: Klarmont 18, AC 1019

At dawn, in the forsaken place known as the ruined city of Pyris, at the heart of the Hills of Desolation, our group went back inside the secret tower of the former Queen of Pyris to meet with our leading wizardess, Lady Alatia. There, we discussed a possible solution for fulfilling the prophecy, which could ultimately grant us the right to claim the artifact for which we have been searching. Lady Alatia and the other spellcasters felt relieved to be able to pursue a non-violent solution instead of having to fight Sudden Death, a dragon in its full glory and might.

We agreed that we would use magical means of transportation to go to the Well of the Moon and be back in time to fulfil the prophecy. Lady Alatia thought that she would have to use the spells and the mystical magical energy the queen was studying. We all agreed that Lady Alatia had to be part of the journey because she was the only one able to cast some of the spells found in the queen's grimoires. Sudden Death agreed to let three people go for three days. All the other members of our group would remain with him inside the tower.

The three members are myself, Lady Alatia, and Brother Ignatius, the highest-ranking cleric in our party. Once our packs were ready, Lady Alatia uttered the magical formulas, and a circular and vertical portal appeared in mid-air. We stepped through and were sucked into a sort of vortex. The first step of the mission was to go to a pocket plane the queen had discovered, in which some other spells had the power to seek the nearest mystical spot around a specific destination. A giant map of Mystara was drawn on the floor of the room. Small dots made of gems seemed to represent the known mystical spots on Mystara's surface. Following my directions, for I had been in the Black Mountains in my youth, Lady Alatia scanned the vicinity of the Great Pass in the Black Mountains and found that such a spot did exist at its entrance. She prepared the group and opened a new portal leading there, consuming in the process several precious stones.

We all appeared in a large courtyard, at night, in what seemed to be a monastery [See X4 Master of the Desert Nomads, page 19 and following. Ed.] . We were welcomed by a group of monks who were wandering the yard muttering prayers. We were asked to come with them to the main cathedral to meet the superior of the order. Once in the cathedral we realised that we were surrounded by a score of monks who might not have the best of intentions. The superior of the order was nothing less than a vampire, and he seemed to need fresh souls to sacrifice to his entropic Immortal. Our battle cleric, Brother Ignatius, cast a barrier spell, which sliced the front lines of our enemies. Then Lady Alatia released a lightning bolt to clear a way through our foes, and we managed to flee toward the main gates, which we found closed. Fortunately they were not difficult for me to open. Our escape seemed at first to be a success, but we ran as fast as we could, and Lady Alatia and I realised that Ignatius was no longer with us. He was still holding the gates to allow us to flee safely. Realising our mission was of primary importance, we dashed toward the valley and the entrance to the Great Pass, hoping to come back soon to try to rescue our comrade. For unknown reasons the evil monks did not follow us inside the tunnels. There is no doubt though that they are still waiting for us at the entrance.

Day 2: Klarmont 19, AC 1019

After a small rest, we both kept on exploring the maze of tunnels that make up the Great Pass. We got out of the main tunnel and entered a misty, cold, and damp valley. The upper slopes of the mountains were hidden behind a thick bank of foggy clouds. The floor of the valley was marred by large areas of churned soil. Some markings on the ground appeared to be quite old, while others were recent. Near the centre of the valley, we stumbled upon a gnomish camp. The gnomes offered us information and shelter in exchange for help in getting out of the Great Pass. They told they came from Hule but had been trapped inside the Great Pass for years. Their numbers had grown steadily less, and now only a small clan was left. Lady Alatia used ESP and confirmed to me that their intentions were sincere. Since we needed rest, food and shelter we agreed to help the gnomes and asked them to pack and be ready to follow us soon.


I am unable to sleep for some reason, so I have taken the time to complete my account of today's events. As I sit here writing, under the clear night sky, I can hear a deep throbbing sound, growing steadily louder. It does not sound like the war drums used by some of the savage hill tribes who inhabit the region; it sounds more like the beating of great wings. I see a shadow eclipse the stars, an-

[The remainder of the entry is a splatter of ink. Ed.]

Later account from Lady Alatia.

While we were asleep, a giant roc dove and captured Bertolucius, flying high into the air with him. I did not have enough time to cast a battle spell; I feared that I might hit my friend, instead of the beast. All that remained was his journal, lying where it fell when Bertolucius was taken. The gnomes told me where the roc's lair was supposed to be, and I decided to fly there and rescue him, my guide. My friend.

After hours of cold flight, against gusts of wind and snow, I reached the top of the high cliffs and found the lair. Bertolucius seemed to be alive but was bruised and unable to move. The roc could not be seen around. In its eyrie, a small baby roc seemed to be very ill and near death. I cast a levitate spell upon my comrade and prepared to fly back. But Bertolucius asked me to do something for the baby roc. Its mother has had no intention of harming him, he said, and she seemed to think that only resourceful humans could help her baby. I was reluctant to use my only cureall potion, but I finally did so, and managed to have the baby roc swallow the liquid. Immediately thereafter the baby roc was cured. To my amazement, Bertolucius turned into a giant bird. And another Bertolucius appeared, tied tightly with ropes, at the edge of the cliff. I prepared to defend my life but the roc spoke to me, thanking me for the sacrifice of an item most precious to me in order to save her baby. She freed my comrade and offered us to carry us back down where we wanted. Bertolucius was tempted to ask to be carried directly to the Well of the Moon because it could have saved us precious time in our mission, but I reminded him that we had given our word to help the gnomes out of the Great Pass. We finally asked to be flown back to the gnomes' camp.

Our arrival was nothing short of theatrical for the gnomes. Seeing such a giant bird, the gnomes fled screaming to a safe distance and were amazed to see the roc gently drop off their new friends. We thanked the roc and wished her well, then we all embarked on the journey toward the valley where the Well of the Moon lay.

Day 3: Klarmont 20, AC 1019

Following Bertolucius's memories from his adventuring youth, our company got out of a tunnel and reached a new valley. This was a broad, level plain, free of stones. Small brooks crisscrossed the valley, their banks very soft and marshy. No trees, buildings or other cover was in sight; we felt that we were being spied upon. Centaurs were seen far away, but we were too numerous to be attacked directly. We avoided narrow paths and kept on marching, leaving the valley to enter another one, oriented west. It was a tumble of fallen cliffs, loose boulders, rockslides, and fault lines. The ground was very rocky and few plants grew there, except along the banks of the streams that trickled down the stony hills and cliffs. There seemed to be no sign of life.

Suddenly our party was under attack by cyclops. Large rocks were thrown at us. One of the attackers uttered a strange sentence in a very loud voice and as suddenly as it started, the attack stopped. No one was badly injured. We proceeded west and entered another tunnel. After a couple of miles, we reached another valley.

The cliffs in this narrow valley were carved with huge faces of strange beings. These carvings were about 100 feet tall, and seemed very old, quite scarred, and weather-beaten. Scattered about the floor of the valley were bones from animals, humans, dwarves and elves. Bertolucius warned the gnomes that a red dragon lived in a cave at the other end of the valley. Frightened, they preferred to wait for us at a safe distance. Bertolucius and I proceeded further into the valley. After an hour, we reached a large opening in the cliffs.

Unknown to me, Bertolucius discreetly placed a small object in my side pocket. The entrance of a big cave gaped at us, and loud snoring could be heard coming from inside. Bertolucius admitted his fear that, after so many years, the dragon might have forgotten the deal he had made with a party that got the better out of him. He told me there that while adventuring with his brother and other comrades some twenty years ago, they fought the dragon guarding the Well of the Moon and that his brother bested the wyrm in single combat. So even now, the dragon owed the last living member of the group a life debt.

We entered and found the dragon asleep on the sandy cavern floor. He raised an eyebrow when we stepped in, while we held up our empty hands in a sign of peace. He extended his neck toward us and prepared himself to breathe fire. Bertolucius stepped ahead to protect me and reminded the dragon about the events which occurred twenty years before. The dragon pretended not to have remembered, then argued that only the one who could prove he defeated him in single combat could now claim to be under the old protection oath. I immediately prepared myself to fight and selected a bunch of offensive spells. Bertolucius told the red dragon that one of us could prove he owed life to one of us, and then asked me to take out the object I had in my left pocket. To my surprise, I found a red dragon scale. The dragon agreed to not harm the scale bearer in any way, but that Bertolucius would have to face him in combat to save his life. Bertolucius agreed to fight the dragon only once I took water from the Well of the Moon into a small barrel and left unharmed the cave and the Great Pass.

It was then that I understood that Bertolucius had given his life for the success of the mission. He kept the scale with him all these years as a souvenir from his brother, who was the warrior who defeated the dragon. He helped me fill the barrels and waterskins we had brought with us. He held me one last time in his arms, explained me how to use the water, and finally we kissed. Then he turned around and asked me to fulfil the mission, and not look back. I left the cave sobbing and headed toward the other end of the valley to meet the gnomes.

His sword in his hands, I pictured him marching toward the dragon. A great roar echoed and a bright light came from the cave. Three times it illuminated the dim valley where shadows were lingering as night grew near. I had lost more than a friend.

Once back with the gnomes, I regained control over myself and prepared for my departure with the gnomes. We all left the place and set up camp where we entered the valley. I had been so affected by the death of Bertolucius, that I ordered everyone to wait until the next morning, for I was not able to gather enough mental strength to cast the required spell to bring us all to Pyris.

Day 4: Klarmont 21, AC 1019

At dawn the gnomish clan leaders were very worried when I announced them that I was going to leave now that my mission in the great pass was fulfilled. They begged me to first lead them out of the pass, as Bertolucius and I promised. I declared that he was the only one who knew the way out.

The gnomes offered to remain in my service, provided that I feed and protect them, and treat them well. I reluctantly agreed. I wanted to be true to my word and to the promise Bertolucius had made to them. Yet I am so disgusted by the idea of slavery and servitude that I was not well inclined to have so many lives in my service. But I had the power to grant them freedom, something that they had craved for far too long. There was no doubt that they had been placed in my path by some superior forces for me to be put to a test, so I remained true to the promise. I briefly explained to them the sequence of spells I was about to cast, asking them not to touch anything once they were in the map room, for they could be killed. I cast the spell, and once again the circular vertical portal appeared in mid-air. I jumped in and was followed by the gnomes who, one by one, were sucked into the vortex. We all appeared in the map room, where all the gems marking the mystical points captured the gaze of the gnomes. I had to remind them not to touch anything, for they could be trapped in this plane forever.

I prepared myself to cast the spell that would transport us to Pyris, when I realised that I did not have enough gems to bring all the gnomes with me. So I selected some of the most powerful warriors among them and told them they could come with me for I would be back soon to convey the rest of the clan members. I touched the mystical point of Pyris, joined hands with the selected gnomes, and uttered the trigger word. An instant later we were back in the strange temple in Pyris.

We were greeted and warmly welcomed by the other members of the Heldannic party. I recounted my journey and the adventures I had, and told them about the loss of Brother Ignatius in the monastery and of Bertolucius's sacrifice with the dragon. Then I explained why I was now accompanied by a group of apparently scared gnomish warriors. A requiem mass was said in memory of our beloved comrades who gave their lives for our success. Later that day I went back into the pocket plane with more gems and reappeared some time later with the last four dozen gnomes. We all prepared to meet the mighty dragon outside, in what was formerly the great marketplace of Pyris.

There I took out a small flask of water I brought back from the Well of the Moon. I gently poured water on the sandy ground, which had been cleaned up a little by my comrades who stayed in Pyris. Pharias and his mate were present as witnesses. Nothing happened. After two hours waiting in the sun, as the sun was setting, two sentinels were ordered to remain in the place to watch for anything.

Day 5: Klarmont 22, AC 1019

Despite all our efforts and the beautiful weather, nothing has happened where the water from the Well of the Moon was poured. I am very depressed to think that the sacrifices of Bertolucius and Ignatius were useless. My faith in You is tested.

Day 6: Klarmont 23, AC 1019

During the night, rays of moonlight hit the ground where water from the Well of the Moon had been poured. The effects were nothing short of spectacular since the whole marketplace is now covered with grass and trees! The ancient fountain once again spouts water in its basin, as well. In the morning, the sentinels were found next to the fountain, plunged in a deep slumber. Pharias was immediately called forth to witness and testify to Sudden Death about the miracle. The effects of the water seemed to be spreading all over the city, slowly but surely.

Sudden Death arrived later and pondered the turn of events. The marketplace was now a green lawn, with occasional trees. He announced that his time as guardian of the tower treasures was over, and that I would be the new master of the Tower of the Queen, for I had fulfilled the prophecy. Yet the city would have to remain masterless as long as the innocent victims of the queen remained in their gemstone forms. Everything contained inside the queen's tower now belonged to me, since I was the new master of the tower. Its wealth would have to be shared, for the greater good of our interests in the region.

I solemnly swore in the name of the Heldannic Knights to share the gems and the treasures for the benefits of other people. I also announced that I, as the new head of the party, should keep and study the books of the queen to maybe one day be able to undo the wicked spell which turned the innocent people of Pyris into gemstones. In the meantime, Pyris would be placed under the Heldannic Knights' watch, and men would only come back to rebuild the city when its former inhabitants returned. I guess that day is not so close, and my heart says that I shall contemplate many other wonders before the time comes.