Volume III, Number 4

TITLE: "Visions of the the B'len Eali"
SUBMITTED: The 30th Day of the 12th Month
AUTHOR: Unknown

Editor's Note: Beware, the following article is pretty gruesome. I was at first inclined not to publish it--I don't believe it, don't want to believe it. But I include it for those of you who can stomach the horror of its words, as a warning perhaps, in case it is true after all. -Math

    The following details what is to come, and what has been forced upon the island chain by Mobius himself, however unwittingly he decided so. Hundreds of years, and generations spanning through the earth like veins, supporting the very opposite of which they lived and died, though some might say they never died at all.
    Since the very beginning, when an unknown fool first dabbled in the art of necromancy, he did not call his studies as they are labelled today. He chose "Sa'ian", meaning "Life in Death" among the Sylvan folk in his day. His studies showed little; mutilated bodies of rats and gulls, limbs tossed about his shelter as if they had rained down from above, and a mass of caked blood covering near all where he slept. Though, as many would soon learn when his journal was found years after his death, the blood of animals was different than what would soon coat his hands.
    His studies became more intense as his efforts in touching the life after mortality itself failed countless times. As his madness continued, he began to watch those who walked by as he worked. Thin. Obese. Two Eyes. One Eye, and another concealed by a rawhide patch. Two Legs. Three legs, if one counted the gnarled oaken cane that dragged alongside the elderly. He began to see his error; perhaps Sa'ian was not as strong in the lesser mammals as it was in the warmbloods that existed around him. Perhaps.
    It was cold that night, as the man snuck from his broken cabin deep within the woods, and gained footing as he walked through the trails. He walked, knowing one thing; by dawn, his perfect specimen would rest upon the table, held by cold steel manacles and a ball of leather to silence the screams that would come.
    Nearing the village, he spotted a young female wandering near the dozen fires set up near the square. The fire caught the dark yellow gleam his teeth still held, and he sat, squatting down among the wet moss and dirt. She would be his.
    As he stood, his vision focused on her, and he began. Grabbing her neck and wrapping his other arm around her waist, he quickly dragged her into the forest, and proceeded to gag her with a crude ball of hide. That was the last anyone in the village heard of the girl named Trelese.
    As the girl lay naked upon the wooden board, he began his work. Thumbing through a thick black tome marked with a tarnished bronze 'S', he flattened out the correct page, and began his work.
    Dripping wax from the chalk white candle fell upon her stomach, burning the skin as it hardened. Muffled screams could still be heard as the crude circle was drawn upon her belly with the wax, sending rushes of searing heat through her bones. A dark, yet glimmering, dust was sprinkled atop the young girl, which seemed to cause its own pain itself. As the dust settled atop her front side, her eyes went wide in horror. Her arms flailed for the next few moments, but stopped as her body seemed to freeze in place, yet her eyes wandered, watered with tears of agony. Of fear.
    The man revealed a dagger, thin and short, with a golden trim and a black opal inset at the hilt. Thrusting the dagger into the warm stomach of the girl, blood splashed through the wood, splattering across the table. The girl could not scream, yet her glazing eyes seemed to damn the man worse than any call to the dead could. But she would not be dead long. Not at all.
    As her body remained frozen from the roots, as she laid lifeless atop the table, he began the rituals. His cries echoed through the cabin, and seemed to pierce reality itself; blackness swirled in his vision, tendrils of dark mist clutching onto the girl hungrily and seeping into every pore.
    The mist continued, encloaking the girl in a shroud of blackness, which eventually settled into her form. Waving away the mist which blocked his vision, and laid eyes on the last thing he would ever see; the tattered and bloodied body of the girl he had torn from the village, raped of all innocence, and forced in to this. She smiled a dead smile, no emotion behind it.
    Gripping his adams apple with two fingers, she jerked her hand towards her, ripping his throat out. Blood gushed onto her pale, naked body, but she did not seem to notice. She stared at his eyes, pools of brown, and let him drop to the ground, still flailing his body in shock.
    As she rose from the table, she flickered for a moment, as if not entirely there. As she took another step, the same happened, and she suddenly blinked from existence, gone from my vision and gone from my mind.
    And then I awoke.
    Immediatly, I began study on what I had seen, and linked the visions of the B'len Eali to them. Reading through the scrolls of merchants that had come to pass me in days not to long ago, I found a startling fact; followers of the B'len Eali, the Sa'ian Sept as they called themselves, have been forced from the mainland and left to wander our island chain.
    If my visions are correct, the B'len Eali taint could fall many. I write this in hope you will be cautious on who you befriend among the new exiles, as what was written in that journal was, in the words of the few who have seen it, 'A horror within itself.' -- and that is something I would not like to see tighten grip upon us.
    May the Sun shelter you, friends.

SUBMITTED: The 27th day of the 12th month
AUTHOR: Perkusi

    At sunrise of day 85 of Autumn in the year 536, Chrono and Perkusi became the proud parents of Zenna and Zehl, twins! The birth was assisted by Heccacia and Kren'daa. Perkusi, at the insistence of Gaia, also gave "birth" to a spirit by the name of Selucreh, to be given to the body of one called Sei'loo Krae.
    It seems that after he traveled to the mainland, Selucreh's spirit was taken from his body by evil doings. The spirit was apparently rescued by Falinea before it could be harmed. She asked Gaia to help transport the spirit to a new body to be made here in the Lok Groton Isles, and Perkusi was chosen to be the means to transfer the spirit. Perkusi doesn't know why she was chosen, but she is honored to have performed this duty.
    Sei'loo Krae frequently watches over Zenna and Zehl, and they have grown to love him dearly. Their bond is strong, and Chrono and Perkusi are grateful for such a guardian for their children as Sei'loo Krae!

TITLE: News from the Ascendancy
SUBMITTED: The 3rd day of the 12th month
AUTHOR: Magliar Turek

    From the quill of Magliar Turek, reporter

    News from The Ascendancy:

    On approximately Day 65 of the year 535, it is reported that a band of rebellious dwarves somehow managed to gain entrance to the Imperial Palace and caused a great deal of havoc within the harem of the Emperor. The Emperor and his Council were in no danger at any time.
    Reports that one or more of the wives and concubines of His Most Numinous and Tumescent Majesty fled from loyal service to the Crown may be discounted. Rumors that the assault was carried forth by a single dwarf shouting "BEER!" repeatedly, along with "Free Puddleby!" and "Lok'Groton Republic Kicks Mobius Arse!" are obviously utter claptrap.
    None of the attackers have been apprehended. Security at the palace has been stepped up with assistance of three new regiments: The Verdant Ikon, the Sea-Deep Trident, and the Scarlet Feather.

    News from Puddleby

    Strange Happenings with New Exiles
    Beginning about Autumn 77 of this year, exiles undergoing processing in the "Newbie Walk" have been emerging into Puddleby society with distinctive coloring! Usually a sea-green, or a mix of green and dark blue, anyone who has exited the halls of "Newbie Walk" has been seen to be afflicted with this strange complexion and hair color. It appaently cares not for race as humans, sylvans, halfings, dwarves, ghorak zo and thoom have all been seen to cary the odd colorations.
    Speculation among the less-educated of the isles is rampant, but Mistress Eva of the Healer's Temple assured this reporter that it is NOT some strange plague and may be just the food that was served to exiles on the last few supply ships. The Healer Master's Assembly officially declares the condition to be non-contagious and of no consequence. They expect to have a remedy for the skin and hair condition soon.

Just three of the folks with the seasick complexions

    A New Arrival Brings Joy and News of a Lost Brother
    What a joyous day for Puddleby's own Nikolai Kyrilov, as well as the Dwarven Militia!
    On Autumn 77 of 535, the burly healer, bard, squire, and captain of the Red Star Fleet was seen to be dancing in the streets as he was re-united with his long-lost betrothed, the Lady Megarys va'Symbelyn, held for the past few years incommunicado in the harem of that fat lazy fool of an Emperor, Mobius. Lady Megarys had just arrived in Puddleby on the regularly scheduled supply and exile delivery ship. Her arrival delivered Puddleby from the continuous lamenting and depression of poor Nikolai, who has been quite a thorn in the side of most vistors to the town square for some time.
    The reunion between the two was said to be tender and ardent, though it took place in the privacy of a deep corner of the library "where we won't be interuppted by nosy folk," said Lady Megarys.
    The Dwarven Militia was made happy by the news that their clan brother Baal Fairbane, feared dead for nearly a month, is apparently still alive and kicking on the mainland!
    According to the Lady Megarys, she was walking in the harem gardens of the Emperor's Palace on Autumn 65 when good old Baal, a longtime friend, popped out from behind a tree and undertook to guide her from those loathsome halls.
    "If I'd known it would be that easy, I would have escaped long before this," the lovely, though green-tinted, sylvan lady proclaimed to this reporter.
    The only sad note in the whole affair was as the pair were making their way down the wharves of Shan Deral to board the Puddleby supply ship. They were set upon by one of Mobius' new regiments (believed to be the Scarlet Feather). Baal pushed Lady Megarys into the harbor and is reported to have said, "Swim fer th' ship, lassie! Ae'll coom alang oncet ae hae dealt wi' this scum!"
    Lady Megarys did so, but the ship, having raised anchor, would not wait for Baal to finish his bloody work and at last sight he was laying into the second rank of the minions of Mobius and looked to be able to defeat them handily.
    As with Nikolai Kyrilov, Lady Megarys claims a constant spirit link both with her betrothed and with her dear friend Baal, and so she asserts that Baal is not dead as had been feared.
    Our greetings and hearty welcome to Lady Meg, a cheery "what were you all upset for" to Nikolai, and fervent prayers for the swift return to the bosom of his clanmates for the boozy Baal Fairbane! BEER!

Is this how their happy reunion began?
Congrats! (artist's conception)

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The Dwarven Militia
Copyright © 2001 Philip M. Sokolov
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