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Herald Reports: Order Order Shard Report: March 25, 2006: Issue #1 Icabald
April 25, 2006

INTRODUCTION

Ink up those nibs with enternal ink! Shred those old tapestries and make the scrolls! The HERALD OF ORDER is back in business! 

After many, MANY  months of wanderings and adventures, I was surprised to see my good friend Menkure Saltis standing in the foyer of my lair in Scorpion’s Claw.  He bore himself proudly as ever, ears forward and alert, tail twitching with his eternal curiosity, as he examined the work in progress that is my new home.  We greeted one another warmly, though I must admit that I did knock him off of his feet in my exuberance.  That is when I realized that he was distracted, for he has always been able to nimbly avoid my antics in the past.  Offering him my apologies and some refreshment, which he accepted absently, he began to rummage about in his pack looking for something, mumbling about misplacing his quills and parchment.  With an exclaimation of relief, he pulled out a half-written scroll which bore the heading HERALD of ORDER.

“The HERALD!”  I exclaimed.  “I have missed the HERALD while you were gone.  Will it be back in operation soon, now that you are back?”

“Yesss . . . and no . . . I mean I hope so,” he responded thoughtfully.  “I’ve been keeping a journal of my travels . . . I  have so many tales to tell that I am  . . . well . . . overwhelmed at the moment!” he confessed in a rare moment of  distress.  “I want to get it rolling soon, but with this and that, and getting my home in order after my travels and catching up on the news and all!  I keep trying. But --I feel at a loss!  So much to do and so little time in which to do it!”  Then, throwing back his shoulders resolutely with a shake of his handsome head, he continued, “But, no matter.  I WILL get it back into publication!  Now, “ he said firmly as he poised his quill over the scroll,  “tell me about your lair.  You must be excited.”

“That I am, but may I ask you a question first?  If you have so much to do, and you must surely be tired from your long travels, are you willing to accept – help?”

“Help?  But I . . . . I mean . . . .  “

‘Yes.  Help.  I, too, wish to see the HERALD back in the hands of our friends and neighbors.  I have been beseeching the gods on this very matter.  In fact, I was thinking that your arrival today might be a sign from them.  May I help you get the HERALD published?  Is the answer to my supplications to be yes???”  Then I began to dance on my tiptoes in excitement.  “Please.” I was ready to beg, knowing how independent and obstinate my friend can be when it comes to accepting help.  I watched his face for signs of the internal debate he had to be waging with himself and was thrilled when he suddenly relaxed his tense shoulders, smiled and said “YES!”  Then, we settled down in my Library and made plans for getting out our first issue.

------------
First, allow me to introduce myself to those who may not know me.  I am I. (for Icabald – I hate that name!) Percival Dragon, Eldest Elder and Primary Guild Master of the Elder Spirits, who reside in Apia and neighboring communities; Champion of Drulkar and Mate to the Incomparable Aether Percival.  I may be found in the MarketPlace most days as I ruin more sets of claws lairshaping than one could shake a Gnome at.  As Assistant Editor and Reporter at Large, I may approach YOU one day for your opinions on our daily lives; on the governance of the Realm; on our readiness to drive back the foe; on the perfidy of the Vielo – whatever topic burns hot in your gut at the time. 

I will also be looking for news that is specific to the varied races of our Empire.  Have the Dwarves discovered a new mine shaft or maybe even the location of the fabled adamantium mines?  What new devices have the Gnomes tinkered for us all to make our lives easier or, as in the case of Project X, more dangerous?  What is new in the lives of Dryads, Satyrs, Half-Giants, Fiends, Humans, Elves and Dragons?  You will be the first to know!  

Please feel free to contact either Menkure Saltis at menkure@mchsi.com  or myself at Icabald_Percival_Dragon@hotmail.com  with  any comments, news or stories.  We can also be contacted  in-game.


HEADLINE NEWS

New attack launched by the Withered Aegis

For the last month, cries of  Foe!  Fire!  Alarm! have echoed throughout the Eastern Frontier as alarming reports have poured into the Capitol that the enemy is afoot once again.  Kwellen Berserkers have taken over the roads in the Eastern sector!  Tireless zombie laborers have been seen tilling the land in the region of the Thornwoods.  What could they possibly be growing?  Do the undead dead eat???  And then, there are the dark whispers of a new terror  called Daknor the Berserk – a giant Kwellen rumored to be the newest warlord of the Withered Aegis.

This reporter has learned that the Empire has responded to this new crisis by appointing a new Commander of the Imperial Forces of Istaria:  Commander Jaktell Greygonn, Hero of the famed Battle of Wolf’s Paw, Savior of the People.  He is asking for all of the Mighty in the land to sign on as scouts and help him gather intelligence on the plans of this Daknor.  He promises a great reward for any useful information.  With very little intel for the brave volunteers to go on, he instructs them to seek out Scout Burris who is camped on the outskirts of Old Oaks and to follow this brave soldier’s directives.

Following his instructions, the volunteers soon learned that Scout Burris does not think much of his new Commander-in-Chief, making snide comments that hint that Jaktell may be a Court Flunky who needed a job to keep him out from underfoot.  But, the threat is real, and it will require REAL warriors to protect the land.  So, off went the Mighty of the land to see what could be found.

It was distressing to learn that once the volunteers killed  the enemy and returned with their findings, the Commander threw them back into their startled faces, screeching that he “cannot use the information.”  He even did it to this Reporter!  He must be brain dead.  Mayhap the battle he keeps prattling on about scrambled his brains, because the brave warriors have been able to decipher at least 3 pieces of the message hides gathered within the first week.  Many Death Points were experienced to gain this information and it can only be hoped that the clues sought can be puzzled from them before it is too late.  Here is what each of those hides reveal:

CHARRED SCRAP OF HIDE

Daknor. Wo-- -as –eached -- ----- ---- -xplo---.  Co------ --- wo--.
(Daknor.  Word has reached us about your exploits.   Continue your work.)

SCORCHED SCRAP OF HIDE
------.  Assemb—your armie-.  ---- you- --ellen, --vad- the ----- of --- -ivi--.
(Daknor.  Assemble your armies.  Take your Kwellen, invade the realm/lands of the living.)

SINGED SCRAP OF HIDE

-x---- --ur ----- no--- tow---- th- ---- -- -arr-.  ---ve –oth--- -- yo-- --ke.
(Extend your reach north towards the town of Harro.  Leave nothing in your wake)
Is Harro soon to be under siege?

Then, during the next two weeks of the search, the brave defenders feared that there was interference from inimical forces from beyond the Rift in the sphere of the DEVs because all of their labors bore no fruit day after day and debate was hot among them on this matter.  Then, an oracle of the people finally announced that one of the denizens of the Sphere of the DEVs revealed to him in a waking vision that there was indeed interference.  Soon the matter set right.  In no time, additional hides were found revealing additional insights into the battle plans.  This brings us  up to the present moment where it seems that when all of these hides are assembled together, the information is enough to satisfy Jaktell.  Here are the remaining hides and their contents:

BURNED FRAGMENT OF HIDE
Br-- -- al-- ---l –he- a---  Ou- --me –s at ---d.
(Burn it all!  Kill them all!  Our time is at hand!)

SINGED FRAGMENT OF HIDE
-afn-- -- on --- --y.  He ---- ---ive –on.
(Fafnir is on his way.  He will arrive soon.)

CHARRED SHRED OF HIDE
(Repeats the Charred Scrap :  Daknor.  Word has reached us about your exploits.  Continue your work.)  Question is, which will Jaktell accept?

BURNED SHRED OF HIDE
F--- --- -outh--- G---, -ur- the l---- -ear --- -lood S----.  Ki-- --l ---- yo- -nc---te-.
(Find the southern Gate, burn the lands near the Blood Swamp.  Kill all that you encounter.)

SCOURCHED PORTION OF HIDE
-af—r ---- jo-- -ou so--.  –tr-ng-- --- Ve---anc-!
(Fafnir will join you soon.  Strength and Vengence!)

CHARRED PORTION OF HIDE
Dak---.  Fa---- --ll --- -rriv- in ti--,  Con----- -our ra---.
(Daknor.  Fafnir will not arrive in time. Continue your raids.)


The reward for those who deliver the complete packet of hides to Jaktell is a fine Ceremonial Tower Shieldsporting +300 Armor, 889% base evasion, _200 - +400 Blight Resistance, +20 Block Bonus AND a hoard value of 150K!  There is also a token given that is to be used later to help one advance in rank within the Imperial Army.  For Dragons, It is a lovely thing to hang upon the walls of their lair or even to hoard!  For those who can fight with a single hand, it is a mighty shield, indeed.  So far, the following warriors have stepped forward to claim their prize, (though some are waiting so that they can continue to help others.)  If there are others who wish to be added to this Roll Call of the Mighty, please let me know.

Samael the Ssilk
Kumu
Shargrailar
Flindar Reish the Mighty Dwarf

Strange Happenings Following the Winter Festival

The Citizens of the Empire witnessed  the unexpected appearance of gift giving, ornament bedecked Treants standing around the portal of Mahagra throughout this year’s Winter Festival..  They were quite friendly, and evoked a spirit of hope among many that mayhap the evil that drives them may have disappeared.  So thrilled were thaey that many of the Gifted would collect baubles of different colors and shapes in their adventures and exchange them with the treants for surprise gifts of all sizes.  Then, with great deliberation, the trees would place the ornaments among their foliage like a woman weaving flowers in her hair.

But, the spirit of goodwill was shortlived.  As the Winter Festival was drawing to a close, the treants of Mahagra suddenly turned a Blighted Green, uttered great bellows of rage, and then stormed away across the land.  A young Satyr researcher was convinced that they were the victims of some horrible magic and begged any and all Citizens to watch for these unfortunate Blighted Treants and try to capture one for her.  She wanted to study them to determine what had happened  to turn them away from their sweet, giving selves.

I sadly must report that the Blighted Treants were not willing to come back to Mahagra in one piece.  So the researcher was willing to accept body parts of the poor beasts and was able to ressurect the things from their pieces as small shoulder buddies for the Citizens who brought her enough pieces with which to work.  Thus, you may notice on some of your friends and neighbors little treants sitting on their shoulders like a bluebird of  happiness. 


Birds Have Their Nests and Dragons Have Their Lairs!

Hallelujah!  Thanks be to Drulkar!  Dragons are no longer homeless, doomed to sleep in wooded glades or the halls of their guilds.  With the return of the Lairmasters in Dralk, dragons of both factions have been flocking to their cavern to learn the lost mastery of Lairshaping.  Now the dragonkin are running hither and yon seeking the rare resources to create things called malestones and flowstones and excoriations and imbued bars and, the one that has caused choruses of groans from all involved – lattices!  The labor is arduous, the finesse meticulous, but the end result is a LAIR!  The lairshaping craze has even helped to bridge a bit of the gap between Helian and Lunus and they work wing to wing  on community lairs for the benefit of all Dragons pursuing this Mastery.  Deth in one such philanthropist.  He has been responsible for many such projects being brought to completion.  Another is Kumu who has helped to organize teams of lairshapers for these projects.  The rest of us owe them our gratitude. 


EDITORIALS
 
By I. Percival Dragon

Credentials of Commander Jaktell Greygonn are suspect

After Spending long hours spying out the Eastern Regions, killing Kwellens till I see them in my sleep and dying at the hands of Daknor the Berserk more times than I care to count, I find myself still wondering about who this Commander Jaktell Greygonn really is.  He claims to be the so-called Hero of the Battle at Wolf’s Paw some 10 years ago.  Yet, in searching the archives in Tazoon, I can find zero reference to any settlement ever called Wolf’s Paw let alone any reference to a famous battle having been fought there.  But,WHO is He?

Scout Burris could barely contain his contempt for the man when questioned about him.  He will say nothing directly, but he does allude to the opinion that he may be a Court flunky of some sort who needed a job to keep him out of mischief.  Is this the kind of person we need leading the Armed Forces of the Empire?  What is the Empire coming to if  this is the quality of leadership being offered to us in our time of peril??  It is the opinion of this editor that Commander Jaktell Greygonn ought to be removed at once before we are all doomed to fall under the sway of the Withered Aegis once and for all!

There ought to be a law!!

When I was taught Right from Wrong by my Saris friend and mentor Andaras, I learned that it was an evil thing to rape and pillage.  Neighbors and fellow citizens neither rape nor pillage one another.  That is how we can tell US apart from the Withered Aegis, after all.  So, why is it that the Vielo, who live in our midst as neighbors and fellow citizens, are allowed to Rape and Pillage the Gifted at every turn??   35 silver, indeed, for  a single Aegror Pus Packet or Vexator Fringe!  Why, I have witnessed mighty Warriors being reduced to mewling kittens or blubbering dwarves by the greed and rapacity of that vixen Nadia.  And the havoc she has wrecked upon my once mighty hoard for the cost of components for a set of lairshaping scales caused me to tear my scales out in rage and frustration. I strongly urge the Empire to seriously consider placing restrictions on the outrageous trade practices of these intruders!  The Imperial Consigner who stands outside their compound in Bristugo is a small effort in the war for fair prices on components, but more needs to be done!

PLACES OF INTEREST

I will be looking for places of interest to the citizens of Istaria  that will help  them in their crafting and fighting.  If you have anything you think we ought to know about, pleased drop a line to the Herald Office.

WHAT’S NEW AROUND TOWN

This is where we will be offering current, up to the last minute reports of completed community projects and on projects  that are in urgent need of willing hands and wings.

GUILD HIGHLIGHTS

This is where the spotlight will be upon YOU!  Do not be surprised if you see me at your door asking about your Guild and the things that are important to you.  I am looking forward to meeting with you all.  To start this off right, I would like to tell you all a little about my Guild – the Elder Spirits.

The Elder Spirits is a guild that has been around since the Gifted first awoke in Istaria on the Shard of Spirit.  Many of the souls of the Elders had lived in other realms prior to this time in such planes of existance as Dark Ages of Camelot, Star Wars Galaxies, Asheron’s Call and others.  The goal of the Elder Spirits is to work together to help each member find their own elder spirit and to grow in the grace and wisdom of that spirit to their betterment and the betterment of their guild and community.  Thus, we work and play and fight together; we mentor one another and any who ask for our assistance; we have even been known to host shard-wide special events to help the community at large!
Zyaxis Dwarf-Slayer was the founding father among the Gifted, along with Renaa the Crafting Goddess (you should hear the tale she tells of how she created the automaton that later came to be known as Project X) and Sammi Softpaws.  The family grew from this humble beginning into one of the largest and most active guilds on Spirit.

After the world ended and we found ourselves here in Order, the Elder Spirits have continued to work and play and assist where ever we can lend a paw, claw or hand.  Some, who are wandering spirits at heart, have departed our realm for other, newer planes of existence. Though they are gone, we still cherish them in our hearts including Zyaxis  Dwarf-Slayer, who bequeathed the leadership of the guild to myself. Then there is Osidan of the tie-dyed shorts and grog swizzling parrot and Carlito Juarez who was our Captain of Captains and had promised Renaa that he would defeat Project X and lay him to his eternal rest (which he did, numerous times – seems Project X is among the Gifted as well :P).  You may have even known our Mighty Warlord the half-giant To`Tanka and his mate, the dryad Twiinkle Pixidust.

Today, we have 3 Guild Masters, Myself, Andaras Caradur whom I call Master Kitty, and Lumineux  Talar our Ancient of Days.  We have recently moved our guild community to Apia from Immons and we have many enclaves in other communities including Scorpion’s Claw and Water’s Edge, Heather, Jambi, Pleasant Valley and Forest Guard.   Stop on by for a visit sometime!

BARD'S CORNER


Of the Dragon and the Monk
by Menkure Salitis



It is said that the Ancient Dragons of Istaria are the oldest and wisest of creatures. There is one though, that I know to be the wisest of them all.....


Outside the gates of Aughendell he found him... Dark blue in color, with scales that shimmered like polished silver. Menkure had hoped that he would find him out here, perched in his usual spot. He approached, bowing in reverence to the one whom he held so much respect for, for this dragon was not haunty or condencending towards the 'lesser races'. Indeed, when Menkure bowed and greeted a Dragon by that title of nobility, it was only because the one he did so was deserving of such curteosy.

With his head still bowed, he asks, "I beg your pardon, great Drake.. but I was wondering if perchance you have seen the lovely Lady Sonea today?"

The dragon, whose name was Sephiranoth, looked upon the small saris and regarded him curiously.

"Not yet this tide... Wherefore, if it be not too bold?" He clears his throat, as if giving emphasis to his next statement, "And no Great One am I..."

Menkure raises up, regarding his friend and smiling warmly at him. "So ye say..." He continued, "She was working with me the other day on an order, but we both were tired, and choose to rest for the night."

"Ah. Ye find my words lack True Flame then..." And with that, Sephiranoth grins at Menkure, "and I know the order she worked on and had thought it her intent to complete it when she woke this waking."

"You have caught me quite fairly then. Perhaps then it is selective hearing on this old cat's part."

"Old ye be not, Elder ye be. I shall bespeak her in thy part when she doth wake, if that be thy will..."

"It is no need..." Menkure responded, "I'm sure she'll let me know upon her waking..." He then smiles at Sephiranoth, "And of course, I do not mean to bear pressure, or be a nag." He turns slightly, watching the sun set to the west. "...Just this cat's curiousity"

"There is none such. The Lightning be a thing that many seek, and those not unwise in their seeking..."

Menkure pauses a moment to take in this parable. Understanding dawns on him and he turns to face the Great Drake, giving Sephiranoth a nod of respect for his wisdom. Seeing this, Sephiranoth nods in return, telling the monk and flame disciple, "Victory and Wealth to thee, Elder."

The words stop Menkure in his tracks, ears drooping. Softly, he wispers... "Neither are things which this monk seeks.. but I am not ungreatful for such kind wishes.. Perhapse, a blessing of safe journeys, my friend.. to you. And thank you."

"Ye seek no Victory over the Foe? Then the lands fare ill for the monk's walking. Ye seek no Wealth of virtue, or spirit, or friends? Then thine own spirit be close to the Aegis' door and they will welcome thee."

Menkure turns around abruptly.. Realizing his folley. The words meant not the glory one seeks in victory, nor wealth as in gold and jewels.

"No!! I mean.... Victory over the foe I -do- seek..." Menkure responds, albeit a little to hastily. "but not that which comes from such victory.. Wealth, and power.. are the treasures only a fool would covet." He sighs softly, calming down a little and adding, "I seek victory in memory of those who have suffered, and those who still do... as well as to stop future suffering."

Sephiranoth regards the monk for a moment, then replies, "What comes from Victory? More of strife. But it is in the striving that we grow, not the arrival. And in sooth there is no arrival.. But many see the words and find their own meaning. Let it be as ye do will.."

"Very wise words.. I thank you, Sephiranoth."

"I am but the Fool that walks among the Wise. If ye do find wisdom in mine words, it be only that ye had mislaid it and remembered its lying place as it fell from thee..."

Menkure looks back over at the sun, now but a sliver upon the horizon. He responds in a wisper, "That reminds me of an old saying I once heard... 'There is no teacher who can teach anything new.... He can only tell us the things we always knew.'"

"It is so, but then to see one must first open one's eyes. And no other may open them for thee."

"This is very true..." Replied Menkure.

"Once there was a wise man. And he sat for a hundred years of thinking. And when he ceased his sitting, he found many students about him. And they asked him, 'wise one, what is thy wisdom after so long of thinking?' And he did speak.. "life... life is like unto a bowl of cherries." And many pondered this, and many thought, and many were puzzled. But none wished to seem unknowing. And after many many years, the old one was like to die."

"And no one asked?" Replied Menkure.

"No..." Sephiranoth responded. "One student did finally ask... 'wise one, we do not follow thy wind. _Why_ is life like unto a bowl of cherries?' And the old one, near death did look up and he did say.... 'As ye wish. Life is _not_ like unto a bowl of cherries.......'"

"And he did die." Sephiranoth explained, watching the saris. "And that night, the student dreamed. And in that dream he did meet the old one, and he did say.... 'Old one, what was the meaning of thy puzzle?' And the old one did look unto the student and it did speak... 'ye knew not life's meaning and thus ye asked. But I spoke of bowls, and of cherries, and ye had assumed ye knew of those entire. What be a cherry? And what be a bowl?'"

"And the old one was gone."

"But the student did think.. and when he woke, there was a writing near.. and it said 'A cherry... is like unto a life entire. How may ye know one and not the other. And what was the meaning of this thing? That a bowl, or a cherry, or a life.. is but a puzzle that hath no knowing, but that is itself a knowing in the seeking of that which may not be found."

"A man who believes he knows everything is but a fool..." replied Menkure, softly. "but a wise man is wise of the fact that he knows nothing."

Sephiranoth responded, "And in knowing that knowing and having no doubt that he knows nothing, then he is but a fool in a cloak coloured different, but no less threadbare."

"Yes.. this is true." Menkure replied, a near wisper.

"Ye do -know- this?" The dragon replied with an arched eyeridge.

Normally, he would have been thrown for a loop, but Menkure just smiled at this. "I have felt it to be true..." he responded.

"Ah. Indeed. And what bearing do feelings have on wisdom?" The dragon paused, not finished but rather adding emphasis to his next question, "and is wisdom a thing to be sought in any wise?"

"I've always been one to seek wisdom.. only so that I could be a better friend, and to help others. But what I said before.. about the fool and the wise man, for me are words which I live by. I know that, no matter how much I search, I'll never know anything.. but a wise man I am not... nor do I try and portray myself as one." Menkure looks solemly out.. time passing enough that the stars now are out and shine brightly. He gazes upon the constellation of the Goddess Marrith, then continues, "But I guess... it is not so much knowledge which I seek, but peace... in the hopes of bringing that peace to others."

Sephiranoth nods, "It is not the finding. It is the searching. It is not the breathing in and the breathing out that is life, it is the space in between each breath where thy spirit walks. Thus, hold any reason for the journey, and hold any destintion for thy goal. But set one foot ever before the other always..."

"It is not the destination, or the goal, but the journey taken... Very wise words with which to live by."

Grinning, Sephiranoth responds, "If ye find them so, it is so..."

"If it may be of any consolation to ye.. What you said about opening another person's eyes, and how only they can open them themselves.. That is very true. But know this," Menkure pauses with emphasis, "Know that you have helped me open my own eyes tonight."

With that the saris looks back to the city, now alight with the life of the night. Looking back over his shoulder at the great Drake, smiling, "And it is something that is not lost upon me.. And I do thank ye!" With this said, he started walking back to the great city, in search not of the one he seeks, but the journey which will take him to her.
 

-30-                          

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