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   | The Olympia Times                                      times@pbm.com |
   | August 17, 1994                                           issue g1-9 |
   |                                                                      |
   | turn 9  139 players                           "The Olympia Enquirer" |

Questions, comments, to play: info@pbm.com

Olympia PBEM

* * *

I promise nothing: friends will part; All things may end, for all began; And truth and singleness of heart Are mortal even as is man.

But this unlucky love should last When answered passions thin to air; Eternal fate so deep has cast Its sure foundation of despair.

-- A.E. Housman

* * *

Turn delay ----------

Sorry for the delay getting this turn out. A hard disk on my system developed some errors, and it took me about 10 hours to work around the problem.

GM availability ---------------

I will be on vacation for a few days between turn 9 and 10. Please be patient if you send me some email and don't receive an immediate reply.

Note ----

Ratspiders [81] have been added to the list of beasts which Capture beasts in battle [9506] works on.

New WAIT options ----------------

Note the new WAIT CLEAR.

The following conditions may be waited on: ... rain Wait until it is raining in the noble's province. wind Wait until it is windy in the noble's province. fog Wait until it is foggy in the noble's province. clear Wait until it is not foggy, windy or rainy.

owner Wait until the noble is the first character in the location list.

not Invert the sense of the following condition.

Special Olympia/Flagship offer ------------------------------

The response to the Flagship magazine offer was less than enthusiastic. I suspect the high per-issue cost may have something to do with this. I've worked out an arrangement with Nicky so Olympia players can get Flagship for 1/3 of the standard price: $4/issue, or $18.67 for a one year subscription. Let me know if you're interested.

I've been told that Flagship has extensive coverage planned for Olympia, beginning in issue #51 (release date: early October). Flagship plans to run a diary of player Bob McLain's adventures in the game (who is joining as the Black Dawn Brotherhood faction this turn, in case you want to gain some notoriety in print :-), some short articles on strategy, and other coverage.

Plus, of course, there are advertisements and articles for other PBM and PBEM games. Support the tiny PBM industry!

Some GM statistics ------------------

Turn 8 gold report ------------------ Common magic: 3,500 44% Pots and baskets: 315 4% Trade to cities: 96 1% Inn income: 121 1% Taxes: 0 0% Times press: 925 11% Combat with indeps: 2,169 27% Petty thievery: 0 0% Temple income: 200 2% Pillaging: 494 6% Ferry boarding: 0 0% ---- Total: 7,820

Player combat: 4,472

Turn 9 gold report ------------------ Common magic: 3,200 31% Pots and baskets: 462 4% Trade to cities: 464 4% Inn income: 122 1% Taxes: 0 0% Times press: 1,150 11% Combat with indeps: 4,186 41% Petty thievery: 199 1% Temple income: 200 1% Pillaging: 212 2% Ferry boarding: 0 0% ---- Total: 10,195

Player combat: 3,869

Player-contributed press

I recently came back from vacation to discover that someone had anonymously accused me, Greg Lindahl, of cross-gaming in the Olympia Times. The article contains a lot of other claims about my gaming activities which are total fabrication. I think that it's fine for you to accuse my game character, Oleg the Loudmouth, of lying to other characters, or publishing false information, but fabricating an accusation of cross-gaming by me is entirely different. I could produce my entire alliance as witnesses that the accusation is false, but of course that wouldn't convince anyone.

I invite my accuser to either publish their name, or to return to bounds of good taste. This is the worst display of gaming behavior that has ever been visited upon me ever, and I believe that the author of the accusation is definitely living in a glass house and throwing stones.

-- Greg Lindahl, not Oleg the Loudmouth

Strange signs and ominous portents filled the night sky as the year drew to a close. Three moons filled the night sky, confounding those who claimed that last month there were only two. The orc barked at midnight. A door slammed twice. Rapid footsteps, receding, echoed off the narrow walls, then all was still.

Most Puissant Fellow Olympians,

In manner similar to the Iron Nation, the Windjammer faction and its allies desire to lay claim to landholdings in and around Trion [ao4u], in province bu18. As we have been informing other nobles seen in the region, we have no intention to restrict passage through the area, and the continued presence of all nobles is welcomed. Others with territorial designs on the northern Royal Hunting Forests or Harvest Plains are welcome to discuss boundaries and treaties with us.

Towards a peaceful, prosperous Provinia, Yupa [r1v] of the Windjammers

And who is the first to launch an actual fleet? Not just one tiny galley- but an actual, dangerous... fleet! The waters are soon to become a home only for the Pirate. Fair warning to all!!!

THE EMPEROR BREAKS HIS SILENCE ------------------------------

As you all know the Emperor is the last of his line. He has through magical means and healthy living managed to live for many years, but expect to die within the next 100 years.

After long deliberation in private, he has decided to choose his successor among the many promising nobles. He will be watching the various factions to determine the person with the best skill set suited to keep the empire together and safe.

The emperor had hoped to watch the nobles in silence, but after the insults offered by the orc Sootsayer, he has decided to offer some advice and comments. This will take the form of recognition of particularly GOOD and BAD acts.

This humble person has been chosen and the Emperor's mouthpiece, and hope to serve the current Emperor until my death.

The Voice of the Emperor


From the Bjarkamaal:

"In weal and woe we did well with our king, and even in hell will uphold his honor. Let us die in the doing of deeds for his sake; let fright itself run away from our shouts; let weapons measure the warrior's worth. Though life is lost, one thing will outlive us; memory sinks not beneath the mould. Till the Weird of the World, stands unforgotten, high under heaven, the hero's name."

The Olympia Atlas is accepting contributions, and is available for download! Be the first to contribute information for other lands (Cloudlands, Hades, Faery).

In the tradition of Oleg's Map (tm), the Atlas is a compilation of geographical information useful for explorers, traders, and adventurers. Best of all, it's absolutely free!

To contribute to the Atlas, simply send turn excerpts (cut out all the incriminating parts) that contain the following information:

o) Mapping data (region & route info) o) City market reports o) City skills lists o) Inner locations

and send it to sx6@g1.pbm.com. We'll include it into the next version of the Atlas.

Contributions are needed even for areas already covered by the Atlas. Inner locations change ownership, market prices change, new buildings (castles, towers, inns, temples, mines) are constructed, etc. Information in the Atlas marked by turn number ages rapidly and needs updated frequently.

The Atlas is available by ftp from your nearest PBM ftp site (ftp.erg.sri.com in the USA, check the PBM FAQ for other sites), in the directory /pub/pbm/olympia, as atlas.X, where X is the turn of the last update.

The Atlas is also available on the PBMGames forum on CompuServe, in the fantasy games section, as atlas.oly.

The turn 7 version of the atlas is currently available at both sites.

Brought to you by the Skulking Vermin (sx6)

"An Imperial City Poem"

When I wish upon a flash, I'd like to have the Noble's cash, Each newcomer to this magic land, Arrives rich and with a little band, To take some wood or a whole tree, Even a peasant if they were free, They are safe within this city, But do these Nobles have no pity? And although to attack I would not dare, Maybe I could convince them just to "share"!

An anonymous Olympian "Noble"

Journal Entry, 1/2/02

Oh, my aching head. My ears still ring, even two days after the party has ended. Having consumed only wine, and small amounts at that, the distilled spirits of the common folk affected me rather more than I had expected. The revelry of the evening is still hazy in my mind, but I am told that I appeared to enjoy myself immensely.

The Council, of which I am now an official member, met this morning to discuss the events of the past year. We have fared about as well as expected - building a small group of allies, developing the skills required to thrive in this world, and setting off for a remote region to hone our skills. The pace will certainly pick up once land is reached; the Captain assures us that the shift in the storm patterns indicates that land is not more than a few days off. I pray that he is right.

A year. I wonder how Mother is doing. The magic of Gatecraft seems potent, but there does not seem to be any way to re-open the portal which brought us here. I suppose that we must continue to study in the hope that a new incantation will be found, but I don't expect to see one any time soon. Maybe this life of travel and adventure isn't quite as exciting as I once thought.

Journal Entry, Dark Night, Year 1 of the Relocation - Gonzo Greybeard

We are still working on the CLAIM miracle, it seems like it only works with gold and wood, and there is a rumor that it runs out after claiming a certain amount. It will be interesting to discover if this is true as I can imagine the panic setting in for those unaware that the largess will end. The industrious members of our group have proposed all manner of projects and work progresses at a wondrous pace, in spite of the foul weather. Once again the voice has proclaimed from the net that a WAIT order has changed, what is this WAIT thing? This world is truly marvelous! Where to build our tower is a question that has arisen? Where to put down our roots and till the land. Perhaps this would be a good location. We will know more now that Fierce Winds is almost upon us.

No turn 8 Olympia Atlas!

Due to a lack of contributions, there will be no turn 8 version of the Olympia Atlas. The turn 7 version of the atlas currently available is the most recently received data.

If contributions are received, the Atlas will be updated again on turn 9.

Skulking Vermin (sx6)

Attention all Sea Captains!!!

Taira Yoshinawa wishes to know whether some locations are more likely to have hazards to navigation than others. So he proposes the following experiment: We shall study the Ocean spaces from bz19 to bz26 inclusive. For each ship, I would like to know: How many times that ship has entered into each one of these spaces, and how many times it has encountered a reef and in which space. Results will be posted to all participants. Otherwise data will be held in confidence.

Send your data to Taira Yoshinawa [t6k].

Wanderer looked about him. Instead of the ten beggars he had last month he has eighteen looking to him for food now. Yet how was he, a poor explorer to feed them? Then he remembered the military schooling of his youth. No more would he have to worry about the attacks of wild men, he would have an army that would look to him, and him alone. Well, maybe not an army, but enough men to ensure that he wouldn't go hungry this Dark Night.

Note found in a bottle:

Help! I think the captain has gone mad. The first couple of months of the voyage everything seemed fine. But the last month we have been travelling in circles. "Change heading north! Change heading south!" the captain orders, a strange gleam in his eye. Now he is clicking some ball bearings together and muttering about strawberries. The crew is getting restless. Help!

Diary: Dark Night, Day 23 The season is well named. Poor visibility and treacherous currents have forced us to shore on an inhospitable coast. Numerous attempts to clear the southern coast of West Ilion were unsuccessful. We were driven back again and again. The crew is near mutiny. Gold and supplies are low. We will try again next week. If unsuccessful, we shall probably make a temporary settlement and explore this location.

Hey, Hey, Miyuki,

Helluva wild party you threw last night, that Fatted Boar Inn is a real class joint!

Ya know you've really changed since you gave up waitin' for that no good bum Kovaq'nu. All the guys say so.

Hey, what say we hop in my galley Friday night and cruise on over to Atnos for the weekend?

I hear Dr. Pain's is the happenin' place these days. It even got a good review from Calvin 'Libertine' Trillion!

We could take a quick romp thru the poppy fields and then go skinny dippin' in the Atnos channel, whaddya say?

yer lovin' Johnny Boy.


From the stage of OLYSTOCK came the following announcement:

** Now this is one thing.. that I was going to wait a while before we talked about... Maybe we'll talk about it now..so you can think about it... It's a FREE CONCERT from now on! [Applause!!!] That doesn't mean that anything goes. What that means is that we're going to put the music up here for free. What it means is that the people backing this thing... who put up the money for it are going to take a bit of a bath..a BIG bath..thats no hype.. it's true they're gonna to get hurt. But what it means is that these people have it in their heads that your welfare is a hell-of -a-lot more important than the music.. and makin' a dollar off your fun**

Suggest all OLYHEADS of a like mind head out for the Northeast and get their only freebie of the game!!!!! This is the INNER location to end all inner locations. Cosmic conversion is assured. Reach aura level 50 in one move!

MORE ANNOUNCEMENTS.. ** My name is John Barleycorn and I work with the HOG FARM. An I'm worken' ...ahh on a scene some people call it bum trips ..I don't think there's such a thing as a bum trip. We're workin with hobo voyages! After a half-an hour after we release anybody from our section we turn 'em into doctors an' they care for people who were trippin like they were when they came in! Most of the bad trips have come from people trying to get off licking the back of Orcs that frequent various parts of Olympia.**



Please note: all sets are "unplugged" due to the fact that 'lectricity hasn't been invented YET!

Peace and Love to all my fellow OLYHEADS! From One Who's "Been There" And you probably don't even know where you are! "


(AP, Atnos Press) Explorers today reported the discovery of an abandoned galley partway up the side of a mountain in the center of Atnos. The galley, which is reported to be in fair condition, is wedged into a limestone canyon high on eastern side of a mountain over one month's travel from the ocean. Peasants in the area claim that the ship has been there for "as long as any can remember".

"It's a mystery," said Clyde Dalewood, the foreman of the quarrying team that discovered the ship. "Our noble told us to go dig on the next mountain over, and when we got here, that's what we found. I don't know nothing about Archeology -- heck, I'm only an apprentice at quarrying -- but that thing looks pretty old to me. Definitely older than the playtest. It might be from Ancient Olympia. Or even T'nyc."

So far the ship itself remains unexplored. One unlucky worker who ventured too close to the ship was killed when stung by a giant spider. Other observers report that the ship appears to contain a number of different types of monsters -- possibly at least one of each kind known to scholars -- leading the locals to dub it "Noah's Ark". Others report seeing a mysterious artifact and a large pile of gold in the hold of the ship.

Local authorities have sent for a mage and support troops and expect to begin cautious explorations before the month is out.

LAST RITES! VISIONS! You got a dead noble and need those NPs back? Contact w4t and we'll see about getting it done for you. Need to get a look at something and don't know where it is? Let us take a look at it for you. Deal with the best. Contact w4t

Imperial City Harbormaster's Report - Year One **********************************************

As a portion of my duties as harbormaster of Imperial City as bestowed on me by the Great Atnerks, I a honored to report to you that in the First Year of Reckoning, seven roundships and nine galleys were launched from this port. My official headcount tallies a total of 183 nobles emigrating from Imperial City via ship last year. Here is a copy of my logbook :

Uroko-Saki [cc2n], roundship departed [aa0m] 2/23 with 20 nobles The Tiger Queen [bf8o], galley departed [aa0m] 3/4 with 8 nobles SS MAFOC Slotted Spoon [gd6j], roundship departed [aa0m] 3/10 with 32 nobles Flowerpot [jc0p], galley departed [aa0m] 3/12 with 4 nobles Tai Lung [jt1r], roundship departed [aa0m] 3/20 with 7 nobles Snapdragon [fj3o], galley departed [aa0m] 3/29 with 7 nobles Wrath of Zeus [er1v], roundship departed [aa0m] 4/1 with 23 nobles Excogitate Soliloquy [iu7o], roundship departed [aa0m] 4/4 with 20 nobles Peasant's Pleasureboat [fs6i], roundship departed [aa0m] 4/15 with 4 nobles Dawn Treader [iw0c], galley departed [aa0m] 5/7 with 11 nobles Chaste Gold [iv0e], roundship departed [aa0m] 5/16 with 18 nobles Vidfamne [ec6s], galley departed 6/1 [aa0m] with 8 nobles Ship of Fools [gk1p], galley departed [aa0m] 6/1 with 4 nobles The Atropos [bg0q], galley departed [aa0m] 6/3 with 9 nobles Freedom [jr8p], galley departed [aa0m] 6/10 with 3 nobles Oceanus [hl0d], galley departed [aa0m] 7/10 with 5 nobles

Horatio the Harbormaster

Life on board ship does indeed get boring. It's time to head for land and do a little exploring before moving on again. It is going to take me a long time to get to East Cameris at this rate, but it is going to be fun trying!

Bogodon [q1z]

Gatekeeping 101, continued: The would be gatemaster must practice his or her Jump repeatedly, so that their maximum weight limit will slowly rise. This will not be obvious at the very beginning, but after achieving the rank of Adept there will be a marked increase in capacity.


Yu shure look delishus in dat white lacey thing yur warin! Yu shure look alonely, tunite! Ho-about we git to know eech othr bettr?


Another issue has arisen about Meditate, namely whether it wears off after a turn. Latest theories are that it stays around until you use a mana-sucking spell, at which point your mana is lowered, period. But until then, the extra meditated point stays around. Anyone have new data on this?

With a mighty roar, Sir Dunadan's host charged the yew grove held by the giant birds. The ten horrific creatures, with huge beaks and sharp claws let out a maddening scream as the knight's party thrust their way into the grove. One bird clawed out, instantly killing two soldiers. Sir Dunadan's mount reared back, almost throwing him. Suddenly from nowhere an angry mob appeared. The yelling and screaming and shrieking created a terrible din. At last the smoke cleared. Sir Dunadan ordered his trusty squire Earnest to survay the grove. "What does our new grove contain?", Dunadan inquired. The squire quickly pulled out a pitch pipe, and sang "Only Yew....".

From the Captain of the Tai Lung [w3g],

To all Interested Parties:

The Osgean Sea between Provincia and Ossicus continues to be dull. No other ships were sighted this month. Only one island was seen, at bz48. The island was owned by a giant spider with 11 giant spiders. There was endless speculation as to how giant spiders could have reached so remote a location. Such is the dullness of our voyage on the open sea. We would like to hear from other parties as to their experiences, and exchange information on ports.

*** Notice ***

The province of by26, the city of Gentlewind, etc. are my castle (construction) site. Traders and honest passersby need not fear for their safety. All others be aware that recruiting, mining, quarrying, _etc_, are considered by me to be rights appurtaining to the fief, and to be used with my permission only.

This is not the normal street offal published in the Times by those unwilling to identify themselves or seeking to blacken someone else's name. You may contact me to verify this, and to clarify any confusion or doubts you may have.

Ali ibn Salim [d1g]

Say what?!? You want me to do what?!? Son, let me remind you of the first Rule of Acquisition:

Once you have their money, you never give it back.

It sure takes a long time to sail between major islands. We're getting lots of practice in archery. We'll be even better, I suspect, when we try it on stable ground inside of on a swaying deck. Has anyone been in a fight yet where archery was used? How effective was it? It seems prudent for all nobles to know archery so they can justify standing behind their soldiers. At least we can't get lost on the seas, since we can always follow the trail of floating baskets we leave behind us.

Overheard in the Winewood marketplace...

Q: What's the difference between an Oleg and a Soothsayer? A: Orcs are more attractive.

The ancient Order of the Lesser Sages of Aethelarn is still collectively puzzled by the almost-as-ancient riddle:

How many Olegs does it take to change an oil lamp?

Anyone who can answer this is welcome to join the Order.

OP NEWS - Imperial City - New lands found. Groups of nobles are landing on the various continents of Olympia. Exploration groups are reported on West Ilion, Krussos, Atnos, Ilion and Tollus. Ships are expected to reach Ossicus and Rimmon in the next three months. As each group settles on a continent, they tend to claim the entire land mass, even if they have only explored a fraction of it. Battles over these new lands will almost certainly occur unless a more reasonable land management strategy is used.

Greetings all nobles!

I Rachet Storm (m7s) seek others wishing to discuss helpful strategies and possible partnerships. I am skilled in the art of war and have already trained a number of pikemen for military use. The others in my company are skilled in harvesting the natural resources of the land and construction. Please send replys to RCOMBER@delphi.com or to directly through the game.


What news, maestro? What news today? Nothing but idle threats, and big bets, and children out to play. Then strike up the band, give us a hand, and let's check our belongings aside. For today, this day, MAFOC has arrived.

The road leading into the city ran straight through the plains. Deep ruts worn in the dirt surface gave mute testimony to the heavy flow of visitors through the city. The fields around the outer walls were marked with the scars of a dozen campsites, but for now the roadside was almost empty. A small party had made bed near the city gates the night before, shortly after the city guards had sealed the great doors.

Soldiers moved efficiently, packing up the tents and drowning the fire as they made ready to leave. In the center of the activity, three nobles waited. The leader, a tall man in gray leather with an aura of confidence surrounding him, spoke to the slim young woman beside him. "Here is where we part. You will take most of our followers and remain in this region, working to maintain the Balance, as we have discussed. We will be out of reach for a time, until your studies arcane enable us all to bridge the gap."

The woman nodded and pulled the cowl of her cloak close about her face, as the first touches of a cold wind began to tug at her hair. "I'll pass word onto the others, and we will continue the training and hunting."

The third member of the group, a lean, weather-worn man with the tatoo of a skull on his left cheek slid the yew-wood staff he had been shaping into his quiver and slung it across his shoulders. "We 'ave talked this 'alf ta death, alright. Be on with us, then, an' 'ave it done!" He started towards the city, gesturing for a few of the soldiers to follow him.

A shadow passed over the campsite as a huge, predatory bird flew low and banked towards the city. High above a second such beast could be seen. The man in gray lifted his own pack and, not for the first time, headed for the city on the plains.

Greetings all!

Me and my men have got an itchin to follow the wise words of "Go west, young nobles" - and so we're fixin to head that way any day now. Course the road gets a bit lonely at times (not to mention downright dangerous!), so if anyone else would like to come along, we just might have room for ya!

You can email me at aegis@elm.circa.ufl.edu if ya'd like...

- aegis [b3e]


While exploring the seas just east of Atnos, my ship came under attack. The strange thing was that the attacking ship was some how able to mask its name, and defeat me without loss of life even though we had comparable numbers. I was able to escape with the loss of about half my sailors and pirates. I will now have to limp back to Atnos to attempt to recruit some more. The main thing is, if you see a ship with out a name, run!

Greetings fellow Olympians!

In my travels, I have had the good fortune to come upon a stock of fantastically crafted Jewelled Eggs [118], and I would very much wish to see myself come into the gold [1] that these eggs are surely worth. Sadly, I know of no market which will purchase these eggs. If you do, inform me, and you will come into my deep gratitude, not to mention a not-insubstantial monetary recompense, negotiable and dependent on the final price of the eggs.

Contact the Tytalus (cw9).

Uncle, We are writing to you today in an effort to chronicle the expenditure of your generous inheritence. It could not have come at a more opportune time since we have just graduated from the fine university in IC (and Mother and Father kicked us out of the house). We are posting these letters in the Times because we know how much you love to read the bickering and understand that it is now being distributed in Valhalla (Hades?),. We know how much you were loved in the community, why just today a young lady from a local tavern approached us and told us how much she appreciated the 3 cases of rose perfume you gave her (who says barter is dead). Well gotta run we're going to an "orc" burning and weeny roast this afternoon. Sol

Dearest Miyuki,

I find myself thinking of you every waking moment. I am regretting leaving you behind more and more each day. But my journey is not over and the worst may be yet to come. We have been sitting idle these last weeks deciding what to leave behind because, alas, we cannot travel with the weight we are carrying. Fortunately, the winds off the ocean are surprisingly warm, even this time of year. Hopefully they will not impede our journey. The ship will be called the "Miyuki Maru" at my insistence. I hope you are pleased. Alas, no other name would enter my mind! I am glad to hear that your magic studies are going so well. And from what I hear of your weapon practice, you will be quite a swordswoman when I again see you. I would have never thought you would so enjoy combat! Please keep me in mind, always. I shall return as soon as possible, lest my heart break from your absence... - Kovaq'nu

***** Sign Found Deep in the Eastern Emperor's Forest ***

********************************************************* * * * KEEP OUT! KEEP OUT! KEEP OUT! * * * * * * VILLIAN'S SECRET BASE * * * * * * ANYONE COMING WITHIN 4 OF THIS LOCATION * * * * BV34 * * * * WILL BE STOMPED!!! * * * * * * * * That means you wimpy East Coast Avengers too! * * * * Signed, * * * * Kang the Conquerer - Super Adaptoid * * * *********************************************************

Players note: In order to fund the large gold outflow to nobles performing Common Tasks, the Federal Reserve Bank of Olympia has decided to tax the largest single area of activity in the game.

Henceforth, there will be a charge of 25 gold for each posting to the design list. Please put "DEBIT noble-id" in the subject of each design posting.

Thank you.

OP - News from our sources on the outer reaches of Olympia indicate that the Olympian Universe is situated in an L1 Norm. This means that circles consist, not of constantly varying curves, but instead are made of line segments. This discovery has been made possible by several long range gate sightings over the past few months.

"This makes triangulation quite difficult" says noted gatecrafter Hans Im Gluck. "You see, circles in L1 space can intersect in more than 2 points. In almost any other space but L1 space the location of gates can be precisely determined from 3 seperate sightings. It is much more difficult in L1 space."

The elder gatecrafter went on to note that such an occurance is rare indeed. The spaces that have this property are the so-called L1 normspace and the so-called Loo (infinity) normspace. In territories smaller than a province the L2 norm rules, where circles are round.

** Circles in L1 space are characterized by the equation: |R| = |X - Xcenter| + |Y - Ycenter|

The wind on the plains howled outside the tower, newly erected from the bones of the earth. Inside, the stench of saltpeter and mercury issued from alembics and clay pots. The figure hunched over the workbench was used to the smells, although he found the windsong outside annoying.

More annoying still, was the brash attempt to restrict passage between Drucartan and Provenia through the Uldim Pass. These puppies, the Hand of Apocalypse, stood between him and the Imperial City, world reknown as the best source of cheap pottery for use in alchemical research. It wouldn't be long before they were charging tolls on pots to boot!

The old sorcerer grumbled to himself, as the plains winds howled about the smelly tower. Blast those winds! He'd like to send them away...

Away. But where? Might not the Hand of Apocalypse enjoy such winds as they strove to build their fortifications? The wizared chuckled evilly, as he put away his alembic, and brought out some of his other materials. He quickly set about a new course of study, working diligently into the night.

The Hand of Apocalypse had some nasty weather in their future.

AOO Tax Ultimatum =================

Few factions have cooperated in paying the AOO Tax. As a reminder (despite disinformation to the contrary), this tax is being instituted to rid the world of the noxious AOO and all of its members. If you do not pay, you will be held as guilty as they are, of sins against humankind. This is your last warning. If cooperation does not improve, our tax collectors have instructions to begin "active" rather than "passive" collection of the necessary funds.

The Council of the Eumenides

The Imperial City Logging Corporation is open for business. Contact mmwang@mv.us.adobe.com if you wish to place an order for wood.

"Land! Land, milord!"

Morthaine said a quick prayer to the Wanderer, then anxiously waited the landfall. In his rush to get off the ship, he wandered away from his companions.

In a flash, savages surrounded him! Morthaine tried to run away, but there were too many. Trussed up like a deer waiting to be gutted, he awaited his destiny in silent prayer.

The scout stumbled slightly as he was ushered before Mhoram, his strength depleted by the ordeal he had suffered. His pride was still strong, however, and he snapped himself back to something approximating military bearing almost instantly. Mhoram's face betrayed recognition of neither his weakness nor the effort to compensate, but inwardly he winced. The toll this has taken on all of us, he thought, and so little we have gained. He pushed the thought away. For all of his power, Mhoram was still prone to doubts. He respected his fears, as he respected his oracularities, but there was no place for them when he was leading men. "Lord Mhoram, I apologize for the delay in this report. We have been sorely pressed." The man's condition and the bandages he wore attested to the truth of his statement. Mhoram bowed his head in acknowledgement. "No one would slight the effort you have given for the Land, and there can be nothing but praise for what you have accomplished." The scout seemed to strengthen under the praise, and his hands, which he had been unconsciously clenching before him, fell to his sides. Head back, voice deepened, he began to speak. "As you know, Lord, we had set out with a small force to survey the area around the pass. We had brought with us twelve men, some Woodhelvenen archers, and had with us two of the Bloodguard, Korik and Annar. We were trying to find a way around the ice that blocks the way, so we did not essay in force." A horrible intuition flared in Mhoram. "How many returned?" The scout paused, and Mhoram held up his hand to still him. "Bring him a seat. What you have to say seems too heavy to be borne standing." A chair was brought for the scout, and he sat, heavily. "Seven of the troops returned, and both Bloodguard, although Annar was seriously injured." "How many of the archers returned?" "None, Lord Mhoram. They have all been lost." Mhoram slumped. "You have all paid a great price. The Land is indebted to you and those who did not return." "We did not succeed in finding a path." "There is no blame for you in that. We did not expect success, but merely hoped. Tell me what befell your group." The scout nodded, and began his tale. "We left camp and headed to the west of the closure. A man in the troop was a gravelingas, and read the way of the rock to indicate that there was a low passage in the west. We picked our way through the ice and up the bluff, using clingor ropes and some shaping of the rock by the gravelingas. "We were very hopeful when the signs of the rock proved true. We found a steep but even fall in the rock once we breasted the cliff, and were soon in a wide valley in the rock. The going was easy there, as the rock was bare of snow or ice for long stretches, and we were confident that we would soon complete a passage. "The first sign of wrong came when the gravelingas fell ill. Late in the day we stopped for lunch, and at that time he sat apart from us. When we gathered to leave, he did not join us. He was found quickly, but he did not rise to join us when we called to him. "Instead, he sat, hunched over like one asleep, and stared at the ground between his feet. Shaken, he did not arise, and no one could lift him from his seat. One of the archers pointed at the ground at the gravelingas' feet, where a green light played in the stone. As they watched, the light moved in the rock, covering a circle about the size of a man's fist. No color remained once the light had moved, so they knew it was not a mineral in the rock. "At this time, Annar of the Bloodguard must have sensed something was wrong, for he began running to the spot where the crowd had gathered. None there knew what transpired, so they merely stood and watched. "When the light faded out, the stone began to bulge outward, and a bubble of stone rose halfway out of the ground. At this point, Annar burst into the group, and pushed the crowd away from the spot. He grabbed the gravelingas and pulled him to a standing position just as the bubble of stone burst and splashed. "The stone was molten, although its color did not betray its heat, and inside the stone was a creature, a tiny horror of teeth and claw. The molten stone burned several of the men who had been watching, and blinded the gravelingas. Annar was severely burned on his hands and arm as he attempted to protect him. "The thing that had been in the stone was unharmed, however, and it set at one of the men who was burned. His scream was short- lived, as it made bloody work of him in less than a minute. Korik and Annar rallied the men in the same time, though, and they presented themselves in formation to battle the thing. "A stalemate ensued, however. We could not see how to battle something so small with a host of men with swords, and it merely stared back at us and snarled defiance and hate. After a moment, it returned to desecrating the body of the man it had felled. "A man in the troop who was from the same town could not bear to see his fellow so defiled, and he threw a stone at the thing. It seemed to flow around it, and had no effect. He threw more, all without result. Frustrated, and without other ammunition on those blasted and empty slopes, he threw a wood cup he had used at lunch. He missed, but the thing flinched, and hissed at him. "Korik knew what to do. He ordered the archers to strip the tips from some of their arrows, and they fired at the thing. The man's body was done further indignity, but the thing was struck, pierced, and killed. "Even dead, it retained its odd nature. When tapped with swords, it rang like stone or metal, and resisted being cut. The sharpened edge of a wooden arrow, however, cut it like any flesh. We did not know what to do with it, and it would not burn, so we cut it to pieces and scattered it, as we prepared a litter to bear the body of the man it had killed with us. Korik had the archers ready all their arrows in case any more of the creatures appeared, and those with pikes removed the metal heads. "The blinded gravelingas was in great pain, and could give us no aid in finding a path. The valley continued straight, but the way was no longer easy. Clear rock became harder and harder to find. At one point we passed on to an upward-sloping sheet of ice, and from that point we walked on stone no more. When we began on the ice, the gravelingas passed out; whether from pain of his wound or something more sinister we know not. "The ice rose to a crown after about half a mile, and we began to walk downhill. The Bloodguard led the way, followed by ordinary fighters and then the archers. Perhaps we were foolish not to cover our back with troops, but the way it turned out I cannot say that it would have helped. "A sense of unease came over us all, and we doubled our pace. We had not gotten more than a dozen paces when the ice erupted. "Behind us, the ice crown that we had thought was solid for a hundred feet's thickness melted almost instantly. Our archers, set in the rear, fell through the ice into the water, and were set upon by things in the water. I cannot say what they were, but they only resembled fish or eels in shape. They were beclawed, and were more jaw than animal. None of the archers were ever seen again. "Korik wheeled the force about, and we began a retreat from the ice while preparing for battle. No more of the ice melted, but there began to emerge from the water more of the things like the creature we battled earlier. There were more of the rat-sized one, and larger ones like hounds or wolves. "As we feared, our swords had no effect on them. The few with pikes were pressed into the front, and they fought until they fell. Other took their place when they were wounded or killed. "Despite their fearsome appearance, they moved slowly, and could be killed like dogs or wolves by the wood. Our force prevailed, but we lost four men in the battle. We won clear of the ice, and turned to return to camp. I convinced the Bloodguard that we could not succeed in finding a path through such peril with so few men, and that we could not return safely without both of them. "We had not gotten back past the point where the attack on the gravelingas occurred when we were halted by Annar. He had ranged ahead, and found a great army being assembled. Kresh, ur-viles, cavewights, and all manner of beast were being massed into a fighting force. He could see no one controlling it, but suggested that we turn to the far west to avoid it on our return. "As he said this, a man emerged from shadows in the rock wall of the valley- or perhaps, from the rock. I called him a man, but he was another of the rock creatures. His arms ended in doubly- jointed claws, and his lipless, overlong mouth could not fully close because of the tangle of teeth and fang. "He spoke to Annar. 'What purpose do you have here, soft thing?' "Annar regarded him without fear. 'We are an advance for a party of Lords of Revelstone.' "'Are you Eumenides, or Olympian?' It asked. "'We are of Revelstone,' Korik interrupted. "'Do you fight in the battle to come?' It did not turn to Korik, but stayed its regard on Annar. "'We do not know of such battle. We may fight if it comes to us, but we seek now to return to the Land.' "'We will let you pass. Our forces must be saved for the battle to come. You are lucky to be allowed to live.' "'We do not fear. We are equal to our needs.' Annar stared back at the man-creature, and did not flinch. Suddenly, the man- creature swung its fist at Korik. This creature did not move slowly, as did the others. Its punch was a blur, but Annar caught the thing's fist. He did not step back, and he was not unbalanced by the punch, although the thing's stony fist had been moving with crushing force. 'We will meet our challenges.' Annar said. "Something parodying a smile crossed the thing's face. 'We may meet again,' it said, and it twisted its fist in Annar's hand. Suddenly sharp and faceted, the fist flayed the skin from Annar's hand. As he fell back covering his hand, the thing melted into the wall of the canyon. A pike thrown by Korik clattered effectlessly against the wall. "We headed far west, and made our way back here. On the way, the blinded gravelingas wandered over the edge of a precipe and fell to his death. That is our story. Our mission has failed." Mhoram mustered a sad smile for the man. "I am chastened to think that I have spent such bravery so pointlessly. Your mission was more than equal to a hundred times the number of men I sent." Bannor, who had been listening silently to the scout's story, spoke. "Did the creature say whether its army fought for the Eumenides or the Olympians?" "No, it did not." "My Lord Mhoram, we must be prepared for attack from any quarter." "Agreed. We will have to beef up our forces, as widely spread as they are. If we can, we will return to the land an escape this insane combat. No one will find us making the first attack, but we will defend our own. There are indeed dire times afoot in this land."

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Again, an original derivative work based on Stephen Donaldson's _Thomas_Covenant_ series. Read the books; they are excellent. I apologize for mistakes in this due to deadline or carelessness, and for transmission errors in upload like those that deleted part of my last story.