December 30 2015

Catching One’s Breath – by Elgarion De’Kahli – narrated by Asclepius

Hello everyone, this is Asclepius, with a great story from Elgarion De’Kahli, entitled
Catching one’s Breath
Background music is by Smartsound

As the old sorcerer Elgarion hobbled his way down the moss speckled cobblestone road of the now familiar PaxLair, a pause in his progress always seemed to occur alongside the path leading from the road to the fabled Church of the Dark Star. Elgarion’s hesitation was oft interpreted as a respite by those passing, as then he usually leaned heavily upon his cane or a nearby fence post. His aged eyes peered through wrinkled lids and took in the Church’s visage. The venerable and weary traveler’s mind would always spin with curiosity about what lay within the seemingly unforboding structure and what promising resources of knowledge must exist inside.

In Elgarion’s time before his imprisonment hundreds of years before this day, in his homeland of Kahli of the Hidden Vale, those daring enough to worship Chaos or entities of that sort never did so openly fearing persecution or condemnation. Forced into the shadows they were, to worship in secret. Yet no matter how pious or filled with light the peoples of Kahli might have been, no matter how faithful their devotions proved towards Artenius the Seventh Son of the Original Touch, their dedication to this deity of Order did not save them from their sufferings to come.

Now, however, his world had changed. What was once feared or scorned now brought little worry to commoners nor did there seem to be open hatred of such activities. He would never have guessed that beings of Chaos could coexist alongside disciples of Order, but alas, there were a great many things which surprised him upon his travels each and every day in this familiar yet foreign world of New Britannia.

Still not taking the courage to enter and once again deciding against extending his vulnerabilities and pleas for aid to a servant of Chaos, Elgarion continued upon his way. As the months passed, the path would often guide the old man to the Church of the Dark Star, and the considerations for seeking council with the High Priestess grew with each respite. Perhaps one day, the old sorcerer would knock upon the heavy oaken door. Surely Artenius, even then would guide him to the Truth and protect him from the evil which his peoples so feared and perhaps misunderstood.

Album with EQ - B&A - Stile T as SM

December 22 2015

Curiosity Kills Nothing – by Themo Lock – narrated by Asclepius

Hello everyone, this is Asclepius, with a wonderful story from Themo Lock. It is entitled

Curiosity kills Nothing

and was also a winning entry in the “Valorbook of the Vale” competition.
Background music is by Smartsound.

Valorbook of the Vale: The Courage of the Outlanders
by Commander Fortezzo

Volume XXII: Curiosity Kills Nothing

The enemy can take many forms — from a howling throng of brutes charging savagely over the hill to a well-trained and well-armored host, clanking and clattering, thunderous and dread. Sometimes she is solitary, weaving her dark and deadly magic from her frightful tower striking terror into the hearts of those who would oppose her. But often the greatest enemy is simply the unknown. Failing to face what may or may not be can stop the mightiest of men in their tracks. But steeling oneself against the darkness can be the first step in what can become the greatest of heroic journeys. From the crypts of Ravensmoor comes the tale of Themo Lock, the Outlander who was brave enough to make that first step.

* * *

Deep within the crypts of Ravensmoor, Themo crouched before a wall sconce and fumbled with a tinderbox by the dim light that radiated from the cloak about his shoulders. A shudder ran down his spine and he failed to shake off the feeling that he was not alone in the almost unnatural darkness that seemed more like a solid wall than a mere alliance of shadows.

He had been lured into the depths of this neglected tomb by a sense of adventure and an unrelenting curiosity that would shame any cat. His pack brimmed with the rancid ectoplasmic muck that he had harvested from the frail animated skeletons that had challenged his entry in the upper rooms and the smell of it now assailed his nostrils and tested his stomach’s fortitude.

The damp torch sputtered to life with exaggerated brightness, forcing back the darkness to a more comfortable distance and causing the adventurer’s eyes to water. A faint echo caused his breath to catch in his throat, and he spun on his heel, torch outstretched, probing the corridor ahead of him for signs of life.

Was that movement he saw? Or was it perhaps just smoke from the torch being drawn along by a draft? Fatigue began to come over him and made him call his otherwise keen senses into question. Suddenly his back ached from the weight of his pack. He stumbled slightly as he felt his legs tremble and weaken. His torch slipped from his hand, and still lit clattered noisily to the stone floor.

Something was not right — he had felt fully rested and hearty just moments before but now struggled to remain upright and alert. A noise he could only describe as an otherworldly gust of wind alerted him to a threat he now recognized: somewhere in the darkness ahead, a ghost was draining him of his very life-force. He knew he had to act and he had to act fast.

Feebly he juggled with his pouches, plucking out reagents as he mouthed arcane syllables that merged and brought his spell into being. A fleeing rat squealed into lifelessness at his feet and dying insects rained from the ceiling as ahead of him in the darkness the ghost let out a piercing shriek. Themo would not succumb. He was no stranger to death magic. This creature had robbed him of his vitality, but, by all he was, he would have it back!

The spectre came into view, drifting towards him as he chanted a second incantation. The air crackled with raw energy as a bolt of brilliant blue light leapt from his fingers, piercing the ghost’s insubstantial form and splitting the stone bricks beyond. His foe hesitated and he took full advantage with a combination of life draining magic that revitalized his limbs whilst crippling his would-be assassin. The ghost’s form faded and dissipated as the tortured soul once more found rest.

The Outlander hesitated for a moment. Sure he could go back, but that is something his bold heart would not allow. Gathering his will, Themo kicked the torch further down the corridor to scout the shadows for more signs of movement, illuminating the section of wall where the brickwork had crumbled and fallen away, revealing a passageway that had lain hidden beyond.

“Now I wonder what is in there,” he voiced aloud, grinning from ear to ear and shouldering his pack. The Outlander adventured on.

Album with EQ - B&A - Stile T as SM

December 19 2015

Echoes From the Caverns 12-18-15

Hello Everyone! Here is the news for December 18th, 2015. Hope everyone is enjoying R25. We will be off for the next two weeks due to the holidays December 25th and January 1st! Hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and New Years!

  • Happy Holidays!
  • Announcing the 10% Holiday Bonus!
  • Play Release 25 Now!
  • The FireLotus Release 25 Party – Christmas Edition!
  • R25 Patch Notes
  • Q1-2016 Schedule Update
  • SotA’s Dye System
  • SotA Backers Decorate Portalarium for the Holidays!
  • Wake Up New Britannia!!! – 12 Days of SotA
  • Players’ Choice 2015 – Most Anticipated
  • 2015 Winter Holiday Bundles
  • 17 Day Countdown for Winter Reward & Price Expirations
  • In-game Community Events
  • Upcoming Events
  • Recommended Games to Back

News Team logo with moon

December 12 2015

Echoes From the Caverns 12-11-15

Hello Everyone! Here is the news for December 11th, 2015.

Special Guest:

Apollox Evanheart

  • Hilt Fortress Interior
  • New Britannia’s Next Top Model
  • Myrcello’s Peaceful Novia
  • Seven Piece Musical Performance
  • Holly Wreath Hats
  • Let’s Make a Snow Family!
  • Replenishing Rocket Fireworks Boxes
  • Bear Tavern Brawl
  • Wake Up New Britannia!!!
  • The Traditional FireLotus Release 25 Party – Christmas Edition
  • 24 Day Countdown for Winter Reward & Price Expirations
  • Account Services Vouchers
  • In-game Community Weekend Events
  • Upcoming Events
  • Recommended Games to Back

News Team logo with moon

December 5 2015

Echoes From the Caverns 12-05-15

Hello Everyone! Here is the news for December 5th, 2015. Lord Baldrith here flying solo…Asclepius should be back next week! I hope my ramblings are entertaining for this weeks news!

  • The Making of The City of Aerie
  • New Dev+ Asset Pack: All Avatar Animations
  • Hangout of the Avatar – Release 24 Postmortem/li>
  • NPC Submissions Requested for Trading Outpost of Kiln
  • HoBLotH III: Lifeblood of the Hearth
  • Envyco Gaming’s Tour Guide R24 – Pilgrim Bonnet
  • Stone Creature Statues
  • Release 24-25 Christmas Decoration Contest!
  • 31 Day Countdown for Winter Reward & Price Expirations
  • In-game Community Events
  • Upcoming Events
  • Recommended Games to Back

News Team logo with moon

December 3 2015

They are Coming – by Spoon – narrated by Asclepius

Hello everyone, this is Asclepius, with a great story by Spoon. This was the winning entry in the contest promoted by Winfield in February 2015, with the theme

“Valorbook of the Vale: The Courage of the Outlanders” by Commander Fortezzo
Background music is by Smartsound
Volume IX: They Are Coming!

Much has been said of the arrival of the Outlanders. For some, their appearance in our world is the fulfillment of a prophecy spoken in days of old. For others, their coming has brought naught but many, many questions. What is beyond all question, however, is the great courage which many of these newcomers have displayed in the face of unspeakable danger. One of the earliest tales of Outlandish valor was a report told to me by none other than Halmar himself, the Captain of the Guard, a seasoned warrior and a trusted friend. With great admiration, Halmar spoke to me of such Outlanders’ courage as he himself had witnessed firsthand: the bravery of Spoon and his companions, new arrivals from a world far, far beyond our own.

* * *

“They are coming!”

The scout’s cry made Halmar look up. “No. Not so soon,” he said to himself out loud. A cold panic gripped his gut. They were too fatigued. After all, they had been on the move for two days straight. But now, the horrors of the past week had caught up with them. There would be no escape.

“They are coming!” shouted Dan the Scout again.

The original orders to Halmar and his squad had been simple: fetch the remaining folks from the surrounding farms and bring them to the safety of Solace Bridge Keep before the rumored Undead attack. Their orders received, Halmar and his company quickly followed through. The few left in the farms were the stubborn and the overwhelmed: those too afraid to leave their homes behind, the infirm, the elderly, mothers with small children. All else who had had the means had left of their own accord. Halmar had hoped the mission would be quick, but he soon found that his original plan devolved into a quagmire of weeping, coaxing, and delay. Finally, three ox-wagons and almost as many dozen evacuees in a sorry caravan of sorts were heading back to the safety of Solace Bridge Keep.

Those delays would prove a fortune in disguise.

The day before they were due in Solace, Halmar had dispatched Dan to scout ahead. From a hidden vantage point, Dan had seen the vastness of the Undead host and quickly deduced the outcome — Solace had been lost. When Dan returned, Halmar only needed to look him in the eyes: without a word, he knew all hope for a haven had been snuffed out. Solace was doomed.

A seasoned veteran, Halmar gave the harsh orders to change directions with no hesitation. At first the refugees and even some of his soldiers protested having to turn away when their goal was so close. But that night when they rested briefly, a great light could be seen from Solace, and all understood. One of the women tearfully asked why the Undead would burn their conquest. Halmar and his soldiers exchanged knowing glances in silence. The Undead would not, but people without hope would.

They had been fleeing ever since, Halmar and his troop doing all to move the slow caravan faster along the Solace River, though they knew it was all in vain. Dan scouted behind, reporting the steady decreasing distance between the weary fugitives and pursuers who needed no rest.

But now, with Dan’s cry, Halmar knew they had caught up. He looked at the wagons carrying the feeble and the small, the ragged and the struggling. He knew what had to be done.

Quickly he gathered his squad. “All of you,” he said to them, looking each in the eye, “you have served bravely and faithfully. You all know me. You all know what is behind. Most of them will not make it. But there may be hope for some. Each of you, take a child small enough to carry; leave everything and everyone else. Head for the coast. Go! ”

Halmar hated this part. His orders given, he walked away from the caravan, never looking back, ignoring the cries and shouts of confusion as his squad carried out his command. With Dan at his side, Halmar picked a good defensive spot, just above a brook with his back against some rocks. They could hold out there, but just for a short while. “Buy them some time,” he thought to himself.

“It won’t be long now,” said the scout. Halmar gave Dan a tired look but did not respond, instead he drew his sword. A line of figures approached. Oh, how many there were! Halmar swallowed and gathered his spirit.

Suddenly someone ran past them. “Wooohoooo! Over here!”

Halmar stared in disbelief as three warriors fully clad in steel crashed into the line of undead. With quick strokes from axe, sword and halberd, the fragile bones shattered. The three moved from foe to foe, dispatching each with abandon, and calling to each other all along:

“That one’s mine!” said the first.

“Kill first, loot later,” urged another.

“Quick, heal me!” And with a flash of light, the third’s request was quickly answered.

As Halmar watched, a stream of fire detonated into the host of undead, engulfing and shattering whatever it struck. Halmar held out his hand to shield his face from the heat waves, blinking in the bright light.

Then a piercing unreal scream struck not only his ears but also filled his heart with dread.

“There’s the lich!” shouted one of the warriors, “It’s on me!”

“Coming,” he was answered.

“Hey! Leave some for me!”

Halmar looked at Dan, both in amazement, neither understanding what legends had manifested themselves in front of their eyes. Heartened, the captain and the scout tightened their grips on their blades and went to join the fray. Before too long, the last of the unstoppable legion of Undead were defeated.

At battle’s end, removing his helmet, one of the warriors strode up to the captain and spoke, “Hey. I’m sorry — I forgot to ask. Did you mind that we joined your fun?”

Halmar just stood there staring, shaking his head at the absurdity of the question. The stranger smiled at him knowingly. “Name?”

“I’m Halmar, Captain of the Guard… ”

“I’m Spoon,” said the stranger, “pleased to meet you. Back there we passed some ragged people, are they yours? With the immediate threat gone, would you mind if we head back and help heal them up? Maybe even keep you company for a bit?”

Exhausted, relieved and stunned, Halmar grasped for something to say. “But…but where did you come from?”

“Truthfully? Earth.”

Album with EQ - B&A - Stile T as SM