May 27 2016

Echoes From the Caverns 05-27-16

Hello everyone! Here is the news! Hope you are enjoying Release 30!!!

  • Play Release 30 Now!
  • Hospitaller Refueling Stations
  • Release 30 Postmortem Invite
  • Brittany Alleys
  • Name Reservation
  • New Cloth Tunic, Polished Cloth Doublet, & Viking Helm
  • New Tropical Island PoT Template & PoT Templates Page
  • MMORPG Previews: Release 30’s Big Changes
  • Gold Crowns of the Obsidians
  • Tax Free Player Owned Town Lot Deeds (Bundles Only)
  • Viking Row House Tax Free Player Owned Lot Bundles
  • 61 Day Countdown to Summer 2016 Expiration Event, Part 1
  • Community Resources – Players Helping Players
  • In-game Community Events
  • Upcoming Events
  • Backer Shipping Addresses
  • Recommended Projects to Back

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May 24 2016

Prologue – by Ulf Berht – narrated by Asclepius

Hello everyone, this is Asclepius, with a wonderful story from Ulf Berht. It is entitled
Prologue (Ulf Berht’s Bio)
It is the first chapter of a longer story, so stay tuned for more!
Background music by Smartsound

Three summers I have endured this second exile. three winters since I was ripped yet again from all things familiar.

My childhood was cruel, torn as I was from family and friends as our boat foundered in the swirling, rocky rapids of the River Volga. The Brigands on the bank had forced us to risk the river. I watched as one by one my family was swallowed by the torrent. Many times since, I have wished that my mother had not lashed me to some planks before she slipped beneath.

After these small men with round faces had gathered what they could of our trade goods, I was bundled into a wheeled cage stuffed with other human wretches. I survived the long trip, as others did not, because of my value. A blonde child was worth much in the slave markets of Constantinople. Like many of my folk, I was big for my age and was expected to grow into a man as large as any of the Vikings in service to the Byzantine Emperor. I was eventually sold into a clan that specialized in metal work. I was treated well, taught to read Greek and Latin, and became privy to the family secrets of iron and steel.

In my 23rd year, a plague decimated my Master’s clan. On his death bed and with no remaining family, my Master granted me my freedom and his remaining stock. The Emperor taxed most of it, but enough was left for me to be well off. I was no longer a barbarian from the North. I was literate, well-travelled, and determined to return closer to home.

Denmark was now my chosen destination, but fickle winds forced my passage onto the southern shores of Britain, near where the River Tamar flows out to the sea. Monks from a nearby abbey arrived before the wreckers did, so most of my stock survived the beaching. I was injured, but my Greek and Latin lessened any suspicions about my intentions and heritage. The same monks aided my recuperation, so I was soon about. I was taken in with the beauty of the land and became content to settle. An abbey is always in need of a blacksmith and my reputation grew from there.

To incur the wrath of beings that care not about human suffering is a punishment beyond comprehension. I committed no heinous crime, I transgressed no moral lore nor the divine teachings of any prophet. I sought only to ply an honest trade and practice an art painfully won.

I curse the day I crossed paths with the enigma known as Merlin. His gold was pure and the offered purse was heavy, so I took it up without hesitation. “Ply your trade,” he said. “Craft me a sword better than any you have forged before. It must be fit for a king, for that is its destiny. Spare no coin, avoid no sweat, and fear not for loss of trade; no expense will be too great.”

My past Master had, on occasion, sent me to Sri Lanka to observe native craftsmen making the ore cakes necessary for Damascus Steel. I remember watching the monsoon winds drive gigantic bellows and marvelling as the heat turned rain into steam a man’s height above the furnace. In the inferno of this furnace, the alchemy of magnetic lodestone, found only in this island’s mines, combined with the finest ironwood charcoal to produce a steel superior to all others. Barely 10 Roman pounds of these ingots survived my travels and the best of these I committed to Merlin.

My two strongest apprentices and I, with heat and hammers beat the glowing bricks into strips as thin as parchment, folded them together and beat them again and again. The last step I alone undertook: two days in a secret chamber that was encased in many layers of peat. The first day was a test of mortal endurance, keeping the heat in the room as hot as I could withstand, gently quenching the blade with my own sweat. The second day was not much better as I allowed the chamber to slowly cool.

I should have known things were more than they seemed. I needed a day to recover, so I took a stroll along the river bank and stopped to feed some elegant white swans. Without a sound, she was standing beside me. Layers of the most delicate fabric covered her entirely, yet almost on their own seem to flutter and flow around her. Shapes and shadows followed her form and enticed the most unseemly feelings within me. Her eyes were a blue that I had not seen since voyaging on the Mediterranean sea.

“Ulf,” she said, “my name is Ninianne.” I am consort to Merlin. He has asked that you take this ruby and attach it to the pommel of the sword. He also asks that you make the hilt out of bronze.”

My wits were addled by her beauty. I held out my hand and into it she placed a ruby the size of a hen’s egg. I started to stammer about the impossibility of separating sword and hilt when the ruby slipped from my hand and fell to the ground. I bent over to pick it up but when I stood up she was gone, and one swan was gliding silently away. As I made my way home, I resolved to return the ruby to Merlin and to explain the folly of separating blade and hilt. I was suspicious about the nature of this request, but the image of her curves and shadows and flowing gauze lingers to this day.

Within a month the sword was finished, the days of grinding and polishing were done, the edge was keen, and the blade’s balance was perfect. A piece of silk fluttering to the ground could be sliced in mid air. Under the most ferocious of thrusts, the blade merely bent and sprang back into shape. I was confident that no sword known to man could best this blade. With pride, I polished the carefully embossed letters +ULFBERHT+ in the runnel. Light played light on the swirling damask patterns.

I was not surprised the next morning when I saw a grayish white stallion hitched outside my house. Merlin was leaning against a fencepost, smoking from a long stemmed pipe. “I cannot take the sword until the next dark moon. Meet me before midnight at the ring of stones east of here and you will get your final payment.”

“It is not my habit to be abroad at night, let alone during a dark moon.”

“Fear not. No harm will come to you this night. Symril will come for you. He knows the way and can outrun anything with legs. Some say he can even fly. You, the craftsman, must present me with the sword within the ring of stones if I am to impart the sword with an everlasting edge.”

“As you wish,” I said. “I must return this ruby, for it cannot be part of any sword I make.” A flicker of consternation crossed his face as I produced the gem.

He did not reach for the stone. Instead, Merlin stepped back. “How did this come into your possession? I made no request for such an adornment.”

Upon hearing of my riverbank meeting, his face darkened with anger. “Ninianne is more of an apprentice than consort and is prone to take advantage of my feelings for her. It is my intention that she be eventually entrusted with the blade’s safekeeping. She is to have it until the king comes of age.” He was silent for a while, then continued.

“She seeks to have power and influence over the sword and to meddle in affairs beyond her comprehension. This must not happen. The sword must not get into her possession before my tasks are complete. Give your word that this will not take place.”

“Of course,” I agreed. “I will keep it in a place known only to me and inaccessible to others.”

He mounted Symril. “In light of what you say, there are additional preparations for me to undertake. Three days hence, at sunset, Symril will come for you. Bring the sword, ride as swiftly as you can to the ring of stones, and all will be well.”

He was out of sight before I realized my hand still clutched the ruby. I quickly ran inside and placed the sword and the stone in the peat covered chamber, locked its door, and concealed the entrance.

Until my nocturnal appointment, I avoided approaching any body of water larger than the bucket in my well and, except for the necessities of life, remained indoors. Nonetheless, the fates always conspire to thwart the goals of men.

During the night of the second day, I had a dream that Ninianne came to me. As she approached my bed, her gossamer raiments drifted away as she offered herself to me. I refused her advances and her eyes blazed with fury. Suddenly I was holding her at bay with the newly crafted sword. I was transfixed as she reached out and clutched the sword. Blood flowed down the blade but, like water on a sponge, just soaked into the blade and was gone. I awoke with a start. Cold sweat ran down my spine. As I ran to the entrance, I saw that it was still completely hidden. Fearing a ploy, I did not open the door. For the remainder of that sleepless night, I sat staring into my fire.

After sunup I searched, without success, for any sign of an intruder around the house and grounds. Only then did I venture into the secret chamber. All seemed undisturbed until I saw bloodstains on the floor. My knees weakened with fear. Was it my imagination that the swirling patterns on the blade seemed darker? Was it the just the light? What do I tell Merlin?

At sunset Symril walked up to my house fully saddled. I gathered up sword and stone, mounted up, and we galloped off into the dusk. Being astride a horse that needed no guidance was an experience I have no wish to repeat. My only thoughts were a prayer that Merlin’s reassuring words held true.

It was full dark when we arrived, but the circle was visible a long way off. Each stone had upon it several candles, which in turn softly illuminated the surrounding mist. Both Merlin and Ninianne were standing near the center gesturing extravagantly and speaking loudly.

“It is I who must bestow the sword on Arthur,” I clearly heard Merlin exclaim. “He must draw it from a stone. You have no influence or rights in this matter.”

“No! No! No!” Was Ninianne’s reply. “The prophecy requires the Lady of the Lake to rise from the water and give it to him. And I do have some sway. It is my blood the blade first drew. Is that not correct, Ulf Berht?”

I entered the circle and lay the sword on a convenient stone. “As the craftsman who made this and still its owner, do I not have any say?” I asked.

To this day I have the clearest of memories of the following events. Merlin, you turned to face me. Your mouth opened in surprise as your right arm rose, palm down with knuckles facing me, the universal sign of dismissal. Ninianne’s arm was up, palm towards me, giving the universal sign to halt. Total darkness enveloped me. I remember falling for both an eternity and for an instant.

Without feeling any bump or stagger, I was standing within an unlit ring of stones, dawn’s light casting its golden hue all about me. Several sheep grazed in lush green meadows.

I must be dead and this is heaven, I thought. But there are no angels nor virgins nor Valkari about. Everything was different. The light, the air, the color of the distant sea, were of no realm to which I’d been. I was somewhere else.

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

May 21 2016

Sweet Tendencies Written/Rapped by Apollox Evanheart

Here is another awesome song by our Soul grabbing star Apollox Evanheart!


Sweet Tendencies by Apollox Evanheart

She said she likes the way
That I make her feel
She had a broken heart
And I was the heal
She was an wreak
But not that way anymore
She likes the way I make her feel
I was something she could adore
Many emotions we can come together
We can share this laughter
And spend time forever
We can make this feel
More then alright
Come over my place
And you can spend the night
So much I am a softy
I’m a big teddy bear
So you don’t have to get off me
I want you to have the best time
You ever did
Forget your past
Your ex boyfriend was the bitch
I am the best thing
That happened to you
But honestly and truthfully
You complete me too
Lets forget about those bad times
Lets save up your energy
We have a whole life
To make new memories
Damn lil momma
I see your smile
Forget about my own past
Stare at you for awhile
Forget about the x
I already found my treasure
I’m lost in your touches
Buried in your pleasure
Leave out the emotion
And just have some fun
Forget about your toys
Lets just use our tongues
I didn’t mean to be naughty
I meant that as a whisper
If I use my tongue
You’ll find me a good kisser
I’m just trying to figure out
What’s Next
We can go to my place
And I can show you my flex
I respect you
For everything you are
But you and I want the same thing
And that’s to go hard
This ale has me
A little tipsy
But we should start the night off
With a strip tease
I want you to know
My feelings for you are real
You seem like my Wonder women
And I’m your man of steele


May 20 2016

Echoes From the Caverns 05-20-16

Hello everyone! Here is the news!

  • New Female Avatar
  • Kiln Cistern (a work in progress)
  • Final Duke Tour & Round-table
  • New Community Manager: Berek
  • Spring Telethon Rewards
  • Shroud of the Avatar Wax Cylinder Soundtrack Volumes 2 & 3
  • Ornate Iron Wall Light 3-Pack
  • 68 Day Countdown to Summer 2016 Expiration Event, Part 1
  • Community Resources – Players Helping Players
  • In-game Community Events
  • Upcoming Events
  • Backer Shipping Addresses
  • Recommended Projects to Back

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May 14 2016

Clammr Audio Now on Echoes From the Caverns

I have added “Clammr Audio” to The Echoes From The Caverns Site. What does this do for you?

Maybe nothing, maybe something depending on the individual. You will now see a little red audio symbol at the end of the sound bars on the Echoes website. It also indicates “share. It will allow you to clip up to 24 seconds of sound from the audio clips on the site and share them with your favorite music and social platforms.

Please do! This is a way you can share your favorite pieces with friends and bring more people to hear… The ​Echoes, From, The Caverns!

Ankh Quill

May 13 2016

Echoes From the Caverns 05-13-16

Hello everyone! Here is the news!

  • **** UPDATE: Summer 2016 Expirations ****
  • The Halls of Artifice (A Work In Progress)
  • The Making of Brittany Fields
  • Elad’s Lighthouse
  • Revamped Headgear
  • The Bear, the Bare, and the Maiden, Faire (a Community Event)
  • Balloon PoT Connections
  • Silver Serpent Pendant Available in a Variety of Metals
  • Community Resources – Players Helping Players
  • In-game Community Events
  • Upcoming Events
  • Backer Shipping Addresses
  • Recommended Projects to Back

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May 12 2016

Ripped from the Web – by Lord Tachys al`Fahn – narrated by Asclepius

Hello everyone, this is Asclepius, with a wonderful story from Lord Tachys al`Fahn, entitled
Ripped from the Web
Although this is not an Ultima or Shroud related story, I thought was so well written and compelling it deserved to be brought to the community.

Background music by Smartsound.


Runner had always been the best hunter in the clan. He always caught his prey, and they were invariably the largest beasts brought back to the meeting-place by any one hunter. This did nothing for him in regards to standing, however… he was ever the outcast, and if he were completely honest with himself, that was the way he preferred it. Even tonight as he gathered with the others to bring in the meat needed by the clan, Runner knew he would soon be silently coursing through the forest alone. Whether it was from envy at his prowess, or some unseen signal they responded to, he knew not, but the result was always the same. They would head off together to find and bring down their prey, and Runner would drag home his singular, and very nearly equivalent, kill on his own. Sure, he still earned the grudging respect of the others, but it was one tinged with uneasiness and fear. There were whispers of something darker, that he was touched by gods, and not for the better.

“Let them whisper”, he thought. “The results will be the same.”

And so it went that under the bloody moon, the hunters surged silently forth into the night, catching prey-spoor on the night breezes. Runner caught the mix mid-stride, holding it in while he sorted through the traces mentally. He knew which one the others would follow, the strength of the musk indicating it was large and virile, yet not the strongest specimen present. Strong, but not enough to present the challenge Runner craved. Another loping stride, another lungful of air rich with scents, and he found the challenge he sought. This scent was from the male that would vie for control soon, young and strong enough to pose a challenge to run down, and a threat if cornered. It was then the hunters sprang upon the herd, scattering the hapless animals to the winds to separate them from the intended prey. Runner helped spring the trap, of course, but that was the end of his involvement with the group: his prey had bolted with the rest of the herd. While his clan mates herded the older and weaker animal off to the eventual slaughter, Runner took off in pursuit of his own quarry.

Through brush and brambles, down established trails and off, the animal led him a merry chase. It tried every trick in its repertoire, but to no avail, as Runner was every bit as experienced as the creature was wily. Then it tried one last trick that few contemplated, and fewer still dared.

It crossed the Black River.

He saw it from his hilltop vantage point, peering out from the edge of the woods a mere stone’s fall away from the cursed concourse of emptiness. It had marked the southern-most border of his clan’s holding for time out of memory with a thick black line of evil and emptiness. Some darker rumors held that it was a haunted thing, as nothing living was ever seen within a hundred long strides of its undulating banks. Desperate indeed must his prey be, then, to have braved its crossing. Well, Runner had never come back unladen, and would not start now. Nor would he return with lesser prey, even could he find it now that the herd had been scattered. His chosen prey was close, and weak unto death, he knew. His decision made long before he ever stepped out of the woods, Runner dashed down the hillside, certain of both safety and success.

Certain he was, until a wailing cry split the night, and the eyes of a river beast suddenly appeared from nowhere, their unnerving corona ripping the certainty, and the courage, from his breast. Before Runner could react, the thing was on him, screaming and rending and tearing at him, transforming his world into light and pain before the darkness swallowed him once more.


Runner opened his eyes to a blanket of darkness.

He sampled the air, only to find nothing. He tried again, and this time it registered that he was getting so much less than the mere absence of a few scents… he could smell nothing.

Confused, he stood, and began to explore this darkness, expecting to be able to find an edge to it. “Maybe I am simply inside of something,” he thought, “and just need to find my way back to the clan.”

He walked in a few experimental circuits, trying desperately to find some indication that he could go back to where he had been before the river beast attacked. He could detect nothing.

Not the slightest of flickering stars.

No scents to tell him about the things he could not see.

No wind or breeze blew by him.

Not even the faintest echo of sound from his movements.


In a panic now, desperate to find his way back, he ran straight out in the direction he thought would take him home. As fast as his legs would take him and heedless of any dangers he might stumble across, he charged through the unnatural night. All that mattered was finding the others, finding home.

The darkness did not lift or change in the slightest.

He changed direction and ran further, his legs pumping so hard they should have been burning from the exertion. Between the panic and running, the strain on his heart and lungs should have had him near collapse.


Despite the knowledge that his legs should have carried him hundreds, perhaps thousands, of strides from where he began, it felt as if he had not moved a single inch. The panic deepened into a yawning chasm within him then, threatening to swallow him whole. He could not get back, he could not even figure out where he was…

That was when the river beasts returned.

As before they appeared without warning, their terrible eyes rooting him to the spot as the weird, rumbling scream ripping through his soul. Then they tore through him with black curved claws and flashing, rending silver teeth. And as suddenly as each appeared, they vanished.

Unlike the last time, these encounters did not render him unconscious, and though the attacks were frightening and debilitating, they somehow did not… hurt. Confusing as this was, he did not have time to ponder it, as more beasts appeared. After a few attacks, he found he could dodge some if he tried, but not all. It was as if they were not really even trying to strike at him, but rather he were simply in the way. The problem he faced now was each one left him feeling somehow less than he was before, as if each beast took the smallest part of him away with it. Soon, he could not even manage to evade the beasts, and the continued strikes left him too weak to even move in this strange nightmare world.

It was when he felt all but completely shredded and dissipated, that a different beast came to him. This one did not come screaming out of the darkness, eyes shining with the cold, indifferent glare of the others. It’s gaze beamed down on him with purpose and intent, the cold white glare softened somewhat by a warm, pulsing yellow light. Something about this warmed Runner, like waking to the first tentative rays of dawn. He struggled weakly to rise, to face this new encounter with the strength and determination he had faced nearly every other challenge in his life, but he could not.

Sharp popping noises heralded the appearance of several brilliant points of shimmering red fire, the purpose of which puzzled Runner, but not for long. Another of this creature’s vicious brethren appeared, and had it continued along its path Runner would have been struck once again. Instead, the river- beast encountered the wall of shimmering fire and veered to the side, screaming past both Runner and this new beast.

Continuing to regard Runner with that strangely soothing gaze, the beast reached forth with a pair of odd appendages, and for the first time, he could see something in this place besides darkness and the beasts. As the appendages came closer and grasped his limp and nearly lifeless form, Runner saw the first glimmerings of dawn crest the horizon beyond the beast. Brilliant rays of sunshine blinded him for a moment, and when his vision cleared, he could see the lush green grass covering rolling hills, and felt the stirrings of a warm summer breeze upon his face. He felt himself being lifted, and carried over to the edge of the grass that lay near the beast. Then the arms gently placed him down so that his body touched the grass…

Energy surged forth through his limbs, cutting through the fog and pulling the scattered remnants of his being together. Runner was so caught up in this new upwelling of life and renewal that he found himself several dozen strides across the pasture before he stopped to look back. There, at the edge of the grassland, stood the beast. Covered in shining, golden scales, it sat atop great feet with circular bone-white protrusions and black curved claws that clutched at the ground. While Runner had bolted directly off one of its flanks, it had not moved to pursue him, but instead fixed its bright white gaze directly ahead. The warm, pulsing glow he had seen emanated from two strange horns atop the beast’s head. The darkness lay just beyond the creature but was receding with every passing moment. The beast spat out a sharp bark, and then roared to life, surging away from the grassland to disappear from sight. As it did so, the cold, frightening darkness disappeared, and with it Runner knew the river beasts would never again roam this land.

No longer worried about the lost prey, the Black River, or any of what had happened, Runner turned to face the dawning sun. On the wind, he heard the call of clansmen that he never thought to see again, calling him to the hunt.

This was more than just better, it was right… it was home.


A call had come in saying that something huge had been hit, and lay blocking the road. Dispatch, choosing the closest officer, gave the call to John to come out and clear it. When he had arrived on the scene, he parked the truck some distance back from the animal, and with a series of hollow, hissing pops, set out the flares. He had scarcely finished placing the last one when he spotted the headlights of an oncoming car crest the hill some distance down the road. After waiting a few minutes to ensure the incoming driver steered clear, John turned to survey the job before him, and could scarcely believe his eyes. There, in the middle of the road, was the biggest damned wolf he had ever seen. “To think I had believed it was a deer,” he muttered, still somewhat awestruck.

A low whistle of amazement escaped his lips as he surveyed the poor beast. The coat, despite the blood, was a beautiful black and silver-white pattern reminiscent of a Damascus steel blade, with thick black patches at the well-muscled shoulders and hips. The overall effect of the markings conveyed a sense of speed, as if the wolf were in motion even as it lay still at his feet. Knowing he could not lift an animal this size on his own, he brought over a pallet jack from the back of the truck and began to shove it under the body.

The whimper of pain almost made John wish he were wearing something more absorbent than simple undergarments. The damned thing was still alive! When he had control of himself, he examined the wolf more closely. Multiple compound fractures all over the animal’s body spoke volumes of the animal’s inability to harm him, even if it might want to do so. The blood in its coat and on the road, along with the weak and very labored breathing, told him this poor creature didn’t have long at all. Wanting nothing more than to put the poor thing to rest, he shoved straps under the body just behind the forelegs and another set just in front of the hindquarters and secured them around the body. That done, he very carefully pulled it onto the pallet jack’s forks, lifted it and pulled it to the edge of the grass at the side of the road.

Once there, he managed to deposit the magnificent beast on the ground with a minimum of pain, if the few faint whimpers were any indication. It may have been a figment of his imagination, but the wolf’s breathing seemed to ease when he put it in the grass, and the paws seemed to fidget as if the wolf were running in a dream.

He sat with it for a little while, watching and waiting, paying silent witness to this creature’s passing. As he watched the beast breathe its last, he wiped at tears he had not realized he’d shed. He gazed at the peacefully resting beast one last time, then turned and walked away.

Having mounted the truck and taken his seat, he gave the old truck some gas. With a slam of the door, John drove off into the night, knowing he would never see its like, not if he lived to see his hundredth birthday.

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

May 7 2016

Echoes From the Caverns 05-06-16

Hello everyone! Here is the news!

  • The Making of Valhold (Castle Interior)
  • The Halls of Artifice (A Work In Progress)
  • The Making of Brittany Fields
  • Merchant Outfit Revamp + Fortified Cloth Gloves & Boots
  • The Spring Festival of the Avatar Telethon Results
  • Shroud In The News: Richard Garriott and Personal Rapid Transport
  • Summer 2016 Expirations
  • New Kobold Furniture, Pavers, Streelamps, and Gazebo
  • Upcoming Events
  • Backer Shipping Addresses
  • Recommended Projects to Back

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