December 22 2016

The Darkness in the Forest – Ch 2 – by Olthadir – narrated by Asclepius

Hello everyone, this is Asclepius, with the thrilling conclusion of this story from Olthadir, entitled

The Darkness in the Forest

Background music by Smartsound

Chapter 2, “The Darkness”

It was a joke, a jibe, meant to lighten the atmosphere and the tension my companions felt. There was a short, silent chuckle. I was a scholar and not a warrior. The did not truly expect I would speak to them. I once mentioned that we should try to speak to the kobolds that jealously guard the ore my allies often mine in the Elysium Mines. Perhaps the kobolds would prefer to create a trade agreement instead of being slaughtered and slaughtering humans. The laugh from that time was heartfelt, strong and stinging.

My companions’ nervous laugh here in the woods was soft, half-hearted. I looked into the sky at the same time the bespectacled kobold did. We saw the stars themselves had given up trying to communicate their desire for us to run and were beginning to melt in the sky. The sky seemed to be a viscous liquid and the very stars making trails in them as they slowly slid off the sky.

No one spoke. The kobold and I were mesmerized and confused by what we saw above. The others, were caught by what they saw on earth.

I have no doubt that it was a creation or abomination of the Obsidians, or perhaps it predated them, or perhaps even it created them: being the very thing that gave power to the Obsidian Eye. It wasn’t black, black is tangible. We could make things black. This was darker, deeper, more cold than any black that you could imagine. It drained the light from the dripping, sliding stars, made the torches the kobolds had set alight seem like small dying embers. It even drained the light from our very souls.

I saw it out of the corner of my eye, slithering and flowing up from the uncovered idol. It had a form, but was formless, flowing as much as simply being there. It was like a mass of slithering snakes, or a vertical pool of nothingness. I wanted to see it, I wanted to look deep within it, I wanted to use my sight and will to make meaning of it, but I was so utterly afraid that I turned away. Out of the corner of my eye I saw my friends move, being dragged towards it as if pulled by their bellies.

There were screams. Those I will never forget. I still hear them. In the wind as it blows around me here in Ardoris. I hear it in the canals, in the trees, in the grass and in the creak of the houses. The screams were like the screams we hear in our dreams, the screams from ages past that have had their volume lost as they travel countless ages to our sleeping ears. All that is left of these screams is the tremor that tenses our skin and chills us from within.

The kobold workers were all gone. I then looked at the thing, enveloped in my own fear and wishing to escape. It looked as it I was peering in a pond as I lay on the shore, but I was standing. Its edges moved like the oceans tide lapping at the shore. It slowly grew, filling the clearing with its unfathomable darkness. I watched in speechless horror as companions were slowly dragged into it, sending an unnerving black-on-black ripple to it’s undefined edge as they passed the surface. Timeless screams were filling the clearing and my mind.

The learned kobold, the only other living thing in the clearing began screaming, fanatically. It must have been its native tongue or I simply had no ear for terrestrial words. I did not know what she said. I only heard the soundless screams that came out of time.

Something hit me hard in the chest. I was hit by the kobold as she ran past, demanding that I run, “Runz Human! To stay iz worst than def!”

I don’t remember running. Perhaps I didn’t run. I awoke to a cool rain and sunlight. I was laying on my back at the end of a long rain. I was soaked. The final raindrops fell as I awoke, blinking as I watched the sun begin descending in the west. I sat up aching from laying on the ground for a long time – days I soon calculated. I was no longer in the Savrenoc Timberlands or whatever forest I found myself in, but outside in the plains near the ruins of Midras. The Spectral Peaks rose to my right.

I returned to the Timberlands as soon as I could walk. I scoured the area to find evidence of the dig site, but found no evidence whatsoever. What I did find, however, was the bespectacled kobold. This is why I believe it is the Savrenoc Timberlands that this occurred in. The learned kobold was in the northeastern ruins, huddled in a corner clutching a book. A copy of a book I read in the bookstore in Aerie about ancient and powerful magics and artefacts of the Obsidians. She was dead, and had been for days. The colour was drained from her, her eyes, still open and now glossy, looked upwards towards the sky. I remembered the melting stars, the cold darkness that devoured light and fell to my knees.

I must have run from the dig site. I must have run further than anyone and in the correct direction. I was the only survivor. I looked at the book the kobold had. It was old, older than the one in the bookstore. It was made with an odd black leather I have never seen before. I reached for it – it was a book after all – but was reminded of the darkness I ran from. I remembered the panicked shrieks from the kobold to dig faster to reveal whatever was in the ground. I left the book there. I wanted nothing more of it. I had enough.

I witnessed something utterly terrifying and beyond thought that night Whatever it was existed outside our imagination. My cowardice saved me from whatever fate my friends and the kobolds encountered.

I am in what I call my home: The gardens of Ardoris. I am writing down my experiences in the hopes that no one will experience what I have. I have done what I can to obscure the details to protect you from the darkness beyond dark.

If you somehow find the kobolds book and if you somehow locate the object the kobold and I found that night, I urge you to destroy them to further obfuscate the knowledge. I could not destroy either, it is not in my nature. And the obsidian idol weighs down my bag every day, waiting for the stellar alignment that will allow its inhabitant to emerge into our world again.

December 16 2016

Echoes From the Caverns 12-16-16

Hello everyone! Hope you are enjoying release 37:


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December 15 2016

The Darkness in the Forest – Ch 1 – by Olthadir – narrated by Asclepius

Hello everyone, this is Asclepius, with a wonderful story from Olthadir. It is entitled
The Darkness in the Forest
Background music “Ashes and Dust” by Holt Ironfell

Chapter 1, “The Forest”
What I am about to write down I do so only so that others do not find themselves in my position and having seen what I have seen. There are things in this world, perhaps all worlds, that should remain secret; hidden among the mists and dust of timeless ages.

It is no secret that I would rather read a book than engage in combat. I would stay in Ardoris my entire life if it were not for my need for coin and a foolish desire for exploration. I am afraid that it was my naive curiosity that caused me to be in the state I currently am. Again, let this be a warning to those who are as curious as I.

I have traveled far and wide. I’ve seen most of Novia, not its entirety – not yet, and maybe not ever, now with the weight I carry. I have walked among the dead of Necropolis and seen the bones of a dragon chained in the Epitaph along with the large troll within. This is not a boast, I know many Outlanders who have done the same and more. Instead it is a touch of my credentials, proof that I have seen some things. But none of them prepared me for what occurred in the woods.

It began in Aerie, in Vyrin and Womby’s Bookstore. I find myself there when I wish to read books that I have not read before. They have quite the book collection and I peruse the collection when I get a chance. I was reading some of the older books that Lord Vyrin had collected from a traveller. They were quite old and I was very excited, and careful, in reading them. They spoke of ancient relics of the Obsidians, things of power and wonder that would confound the minds of their enemies.

This was an idle interest of mine. I had no interest in power. This was curiosity at its best. The tome I held spoke of Midras at its height. It described its fall as if it was recent history. There was no mention of ruins as they were still used and full of life at the time of the writing it seemed. I read of the Avatar of old and the quests the Avatar went on. I read of the Obsidian Eye and the power he wielded. I read of the horrors the Obsidian Empire created, twisting humans into new forms and meddling in death magic. I read of the armies created, not raised, used to conquer the lands of Novia.

To me, they were stories. History, yes, but stories that I could read and close the cover to and return to my life. The life where Obsidian abominations were but a periphery to me.

This all began with a journey in mid Octobre. I find it difficult now, sitting in the gardens of Ardoris to recall the details of the journey. Even the sweet scent of flowers on the wind and the comfortable, familiar atmosphere is not healing me at this point. My mind returns to the forest and the darkness within.

I know that I was in Kiln at one point, and our next destination was North. The Outlanders I was with were leading me northward and rarely used the roads. We stopped in Kiln for a time to rest and replenish out stores. The journey was not long or particularly distant. We were simply being prudent. I look now at a map of Novia, trying to bend my mind to that night. In my shaking hand, I believe we ended in Savrenoc Timberland, but my memory is not very clear of the locations, only the events. I say this not to invite you to explore, but to warn you to stay away. Savrenoc Timberland may seem safe, if it is indeed the location of that horrendous discovery, but what was discovered is not.

My friends were looking for treasure, rare resources to sell to crafters or to craft with themselves. I accompanied them as someone who cared only for a few pelts to tan and perhaps some meat to save me some coin. They allowed me to come as I told good stories.

The woods, which could be the South Majestic Forest, perhaps, were kind to us at first. My companions gathered what they wished, and I gathered what I wished as well. We were pleased. I told them of my research which contained some mysterious and powerful artefacts that the Obsidians had, and used. They bantered and laughed, spoke of how they would use such tools to thwart their enemies, and reclaim dangerous areas for Novians. I shook my head at them, and now I feel like screaming at them through time, demanding they refrain from such wishes.

The time had pressed on and the sun set. We continued to wander the forests, cutting down choice trees and collecting flora, hunting wildlife and telling ancient tales, both from our Earth and Novia. We were tracking a wolf that ran off when we heard kobold voices in a clearing ahead. My allies chose to investigate. They were not friends of kobolds. Some of my allies were miners and they despised the kobolds nearly as much as they despised us. They wanted to sneak up on them and attack. I wanted no such thing. I feel sympathy and compassion for kobolds, even more so after the events I am about to describe. I should have left. I should have turned away and hoped my companions would follow me, but I was foolishly curious.

The kobolds were a small group that were digging in a clearing that they had seemingly made. There were a handful of them, enough that my group hesitated for an all-out attack. I wonder if the attack had happened and we emerged victorious: would things have ended differently?

They were working in what looked like a hurried archaeological dig; there were tools strewn about and areas roped off to mark them suitable for digging or already dug in. There was a bespectacled kobold that was clearly leading them, holding an ancient map and tome in her claws, a bag slung across her chest that – to my trained eye – carried additional books.

I felt an immediate kinship to the leader of this group. She was curious and had an adventurous streak in her. She had found something, tracking it to this location and was bent on discovering it. My curiosity grew and I wished I could go towards them and offer my help. I should have left, though. We all should have left. A much as I wanted to see what the fruits of their labour was going to be, my very bones called out to me to run away from this place. My allies felt it too as one of them suggested, only to have their suggestion waved away with a nervous, uncertain laugh by our leader.

“This might be one of those trinkets Olthadir spoke about,” He said. He wanted to see what they would find too, but there was uncertainty in the bottom of his voice.

The bespectacled kobold yelled to her workers to continue digging, then to dig faster. Her broken and hissed English sounding extraordinarily odd in the night. She was anxious too.

I wanted to leave. I looked up to the heavens and the shattered moon. The stars themselves screamed at me to leave the clearing. Leave my friends, leave everything if you must, but get out of there! I was just about to turn and flee when one of my companions said: “Olthadir, go and talk to them.”

December 9 2016

Echoes From the Caverns 12-09-16

Hello everyone! Here is the news of the week:


  • Ardoris Polish
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December 2 2016

Echoes From the Caverns 12-02-16

Hello everyone! Here is the news of the week:


  • Xenos Polish
  • The Making of Blood Bay
  • Fall into Winter Telethon Results
  • Tips of the Avatar
  • Moustache of the Avatar
  • Community Spotlight: Bladewyke – Player Owned Town
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December 1 2016

Bob the Wizard 2 – by enderandrew – narrated by Asclepius

Hello everyone, this is Asclepius, with the conclusion of this great story from enderandrew, entitled
Bob the Wizard


Vol IV

The past few months have easily been the most terrifying of my life.

My waking hours are filled with dread. I never know if I am safe. I feel an invisible leash, as if the Obsidian Sorcerer I robbed can track me by it.

I’ve barely spoken to anyone more than is absolutely necessary. I don’t want to draw attention to myself in case spies report my location. I’m leery of everyone. And frankly I don’t really care much about them or how they see me now.

Before I craved their attention and my smattering of fame, even though I earned it as a charlatan. I felt it was my own form of power. But it was a pale imitation of true power. I understand that now. I’ve seen just the smallest sampling. This gem, if I can call it such, radiates far more power than I’ve ever held in my lifetime.

In truth, it speaks to me. It terrifies me to commit the words to paper. I’ve begun to question my sanity. The only reassuring thought is that a sane man wonders what is real and seeks to question it. The insane man is devout in his delusion. I know every answer lies within this gem more than the tome that describes it.

The tome speaks of transformative powers, how the Obsidians used it to shape men into fomorians to serve their will. They experimented in different ways to bend and alter men into different creatures. But it wasn’t just flesh that was shaped. These creatures were imbued with unique abilities and powers. The satyrs never sleep, for example. The Obsidians were quite careful not to give their thralls too much power. They did not want their newly created weapons to be more powerful than the arm that wielded it.

But I have no such reservations. I knew how the gem called out to me. It told me how I could use its powers, all of them. To free myself of my current predicament, I would need to do precisely what I had always dreamed of doing. I’d need to take this shard, this small fragment and consume every ounce of power it contained. I’d need to have true power within myself for the first time ever.

I would shape myself they like they shaped fomorians. I would become a true wizard like the persona I pretended to be. And when I was done, I would no longer run. I would let my pursuers know precisely where to find me. I’d do my best to lay a trap.
I assume after “The Terrifying Cluck” this isn’t what you expected of Bob the Wizard. Chapter 5 is the end of his backstory, but you may see him again in the future.

Vol V

They knew I would be in the barn at night, sleeping away from prying eyes. I had no obvious defences that would alert someone to my presence. I relied entirely on stealth, hiding as I have done this entire time I’ve been on the run.

I had no wards, no traps when they found me. I was quickly surrounded and I offered no resistance, merely an offer. I held the tome aloft in the air as they approached. I warned them if they ever wished to recover their precious shard to wait. With my death they would find nothing. But if they agreed to let me go, I would give them back both the tome and tell them where their shard was.

They seemed unconvinced and I sensed they would still attack, taking their chances that they could capture me alive and torture me for information.

I warned them of the danger I presented. I told them I had letters stored in each city I had visited. If I did not come back to claim them, they would be opened. I detailed the hidden presence of Obsidians among us. I would expose them.

They paused now as I explained that I did not know who I robbed initially, but I have a great fear and respect for their power. I was willing to hand back what was stolen because I realized I was meddling in something far greater than myself.

They did not realize that this entire time I was stalling, I was also mesmerizing them. They continued their slow advance on me, but also fell more into my grasp. What stood before them was not me, but an illusion. I stood hidden behind the Obsidian, cloaked in her shadows. He never saw my dagger slit his throat.

The satyr reacted immediately either to the gleam of my dagger or the spurt of blood. But as he struck, I was no longer there. I had teleported to just outside the barn door. I blasted him back with a fireball, and then closed the barn doors. I barred them securely as it went up in flames. I did not stay to listen to his screams.

I hear the voices so much clearer now. At first I wasn’t aware it was multiple voices, so that is why they confused me. Poor Daedalus is fractured. There were two moons, equals, opposites and star-crossed lovers. Then they became one largely in the destruction of the other. It is in this joining Daedalus should have rejoiced but she truly feels loss. The fragmented pieces are gone, lost on this earth. Part of her love has been torn away, and that is now part of her that is missing. These shards still contain a piece of her, but they have their own confused voices.

Either I have gone completely insane where it would be far easier to shed these last vestiges of sanity and stop worrying, or I alone hear her call and I alone understand. She wants us all to be together, to be as one. We don’t always have to be apart. She knows how to transform us, and transform this land. She can bend one place to another with her rifts. I have given myself fully to her lessons.

I serve her, but she also serves me well.

I am once again a traveling wizard for hire, but I no longer need tricks when her illusions are so much more powerful. I earn my coin, bide my time and await her instructions. Her voices will guide me.
I would test my new found powers on them. Would I be successful? The gem thinks I might. I’m not sure if I should trust it. But I have no better alternatives. One way or another, this waking nightmare will end soon.

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